Page:EB1911 - Volume 02.djvu/651

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
609
ARMY

composed in addition of men who have at some period in the past gone through a regular training. Herein lies the difference between continental and British auxiliary forces. In the French army, an ex-soldier during his ten years of reserve service was by the law of 1905 only liable for two months’ training, and for the rest of his military career for two weeks’ service only. The further reduction of this liability was proposed in 1907 and led to much controversy. The question of the value of auxiliary forces, then, as between the continuous work of, say, English territorials, and the permanent though dwindling influence of an original period of active soldiering, is one of considerable importance. It is largely decided in any given case by the average age of the men in the ranks.

56. The transfer of troops from the state of peace to that of war is called mobilization. This is, of course, a matter which primarily depends on good administration, and its minutest details are in all states laid down beforehand. Reservists have to be summoned, and, on arrival, to be clothed and equipped out of stores maintained in peace. Officers and men of the regular army on leave have to be recalled, the whole medically examined for physical fitness to serve, and a thousand details have to be worked out before the unit is ready to move to its concentration station. The concentration and the strategic deployment are, of course, dependent upon the circumstances of each war, and the peace organization ceases to be applicable. But throughout a war the depots at home, the recruiting districts of second-line troops, and above all the various arsenals, manufactories and offices controlled by the war department are continually at work in maintaining the troops in the field at proper strength and effectiveness.

57. Territorial System.—The feudal system was of course a territorial system in principle. Indeed, as has been shown above, a feudal army was chiefly at fault owing to the dislocation of the various levies. Concentration was equally the characteristic of the professional armies which succeeded those of feudalism, and only such militia forces as remained in existence preserved a local character. The origin of territorial recruiting for first-line troops is to be found in the “cantonal” system, said to have been introduced by Louis XIV., but brought to the greatest perfection in Prussia under Frederick William I. But long service and the absence of a reserve vitiated the system in practice, since losses had to be made good by general recruiting, and even the French Revolution may hardly be said to have produced the territorial system as we understand it to-day. It was only in the deliberate preparation of the Prussian army on short-service lines that we find the beginning of the “territorial system of dislocation and command.” This is so intimately connected with the general system of organization that it cannot be considered merely as a method of recruiting by districts. It may be defined as a system whereby, for purposes of command in peace, recruiting, and of organization generally, the country is divided into districts, which are again divided and subdivided as may be required. In a country in which universal service prevails, an army corps district is divided into divisional districts, these being made up of brigade and of regimental districts. Each of these units recruits, and is in peace usually stationed, in its own area; the artillery, cavalry and special arms are recruited for the corps throughout the whole allotted area, and stationed at various points within the same. Thus in the German army the III. army corps is composed entirely of Brandenburgers. The infantry of the corps is stationed in ten towns, the cavalry in four and the artillery in five. In countries which adhere to voluntary recruiting, the system, depending as it does on the calculable certainty of recruiting, is not so fully developed, but in Great Britain the auxiliary forces have been reorganized in divisions of all arms on a strictly territorial basis. The advantage of the system as carried into effect in Germany is obvious. Training is carried out with a minimum of friction and expense, as each unit has an ample area for training. Whilst the brigadiers can exercise general control over the colonels, and the divisional generals over the brigadiers, there is little undue interference of superior authority in the work of each grade, and the men, if soldiers by compulsion, at any rate are serving close to their own homes. Most of the reservists required on mobilization reside within a few miles of their barracks. Living in the midst of the civil population, the troops do not tend to become a class apart. Small garrisons are not, as formerly, allowed to stagnate, since modern communications make supervision easy. Further, it must be borne in mind that the essence of the system is the organization and training for war of the whole military population. Now so great a mass of men could not be administered except through this decentralization of authority, and the corollary of short service universally applied is the full territorial system, in which the whole enrolled strength of the district is subjected to the authority of the district commander. Practice, however, falls short of theory, and the dangers of drawing whole units from disaffected or unmilitary districts are often foreseen and discounted by distributing the recruits, non-regionally, amongst more or less distant regiments.

58. Army Administration.—The existing systems of command and organization, being usually based upon purely military considerations, have thus much, indeed almost all, in common. Administration differs from them in one important respect. While the methods of command and organization are the result of the accumulated experience of many armies through many hundred years, the central administration in each case is the product of the historical evolution of the particular country, and is dependent upon forms of government, constitutions and political parties. Thus France, after 1870, remodelled the organization of her forces in accordance with the methods which were presumed to have given Germany the victory, but the headquarters staff at Paris is very different in all branches from that of Berlin. Great Britain adopted German tactics, and to some extent even uniform, but the Army Council has no counterpart in the administration of the German emperor’s forces.

The first point for consideration, therefore, is, what is the ultimate, and what is the proximate, authority supervising the administration? The former is, in most countries, the people or its representatives in parliament, for it is in their power to stop supplies, and without money the whole military fabric must crumble. The constitutional chief of the army is the sovereign, or, in republics, the president, but in most countries the direct control of army matters by the representatives of the people extends over all affairs into which the well-being of the civil population, the expenditure of money, alleged miscarriages of military justice, &c., enter, and it is not unusual to find grand strategy, and even the technical deficiencies of a field-gun or rifle, the subject of interpellation and debate. The peculiar influence of the sovereign is in what may be termed patronage (that is, the selection of officers to fill important positions and the general supervision of the officer-corps), and in the fact that loyalty is the foundation of the discipline and soldierly honour which it is the task of the officers to inculcate into their men. In all cases the head of the state is ipso facto the head of the army. The difference between various systems may then be held to depend on the degree of power allowed to or held by him. This reacts upon the central administration of the army, and is the cause of the differences of system alluded to. For the civil chief of the executive is not necessarily a soldier, much less an expert and capable soldier; he must, therefore, be provided with technical advisers. The chief of the general staff is often the principal of these, though in some cases a special commander-in-chief, or the minister for war, or, as in France and England, a committee or council, has the duty of advising the executive on technical matters.

59. Branches of Administration.—In these circumstances the only general principle of army administration common to all systems is the division of the labour between two great branches. Military administration, in respect of the troops and material which it has to control, is divided between the departments of the War Office and the General Staff. In the staff work of subordinate units, e.g. army corps and divisions, the same classification of duties is adopted, “general staff” duties being performed by one set of officers, “routine staff” duties by another.