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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Army Organization

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Arms of the Service. - Organization into " arms " is produced by the multiplicity of the weapons used, their functions and their limitations. The " three arms " - a term universally applied to infantry, cavalry and artillery - coexist owing to the fact that each can undertake functions which the others cannot properly fulfil. Thus cavalry can close with an enemy at the quickest pace, infantry can work in difficult ground, and artillery is effective at great ranges. Infantry indeed, having the power of engaging both at close quarters and at a distance, constitutes the chief part of a fighting force. Other " arms," such as mounted infantry, cyclists, engineers, &c., are again differentiated from the three chief arms by their proper functions. In deciding upon the establishment in peace, or the composition of a force for war, it is therefore necessary to settle beforehand the relative importance of these functions in carrying out the work in hand. Thus an army operating in Essex would be unusually strong in infantry, one on Salisbury Plain would possess a great number of guns, and an army operating on the South African veldt would consist very largely of mounted men. The normal European war has, however, naturally been taken as the basis upon which the relative proportions of the three arms are calculated. At the battle of Kolin (1757) the cavalry was more than half as strong as the infantry engaged. At Borodino (1812) there were 39 cavalry to ioo of other arms, and 5 guns per 1000 men. In 1870 the Germans had at the outset 7 cavalrymen to every ioo men of other arms, the French 10. As for guns, the German artillery had 3, the French 32 per moo men. In more modern times the proportions have undergone some alteration, the artillery having been increased, and the cavalry brought nearer to the Napoleonic standard. Thus the relative proportions, in peace time, now stand at 5 or 6 guns per moo men, and 16 cavalry soldiers to ioo men of other arms. It must be borne in mind that cavalry and artillery are maintained in peace at a higher effective than infantry, the strength of the latter being much inflated in war, while cavalry and artillery are not easily extemporized. Thus in the Manchurian campaign these proportions were very different. The Russian army on the eve of the battle of Mukden (loth of February 1905) consisted of 370 battalions, 142 squadrons and 153 field batteries (1200 guns), with, in addition, over 200 heavy guns. The strength of this force, which was organized in three armies, was about 300,000 infantry and 18,000 cavalry and Cossacks, with 32 guns per 1000 men of other arms. The Japanese armies consisted of 300,000 infantry, 11,000 cavalry, 900 field and 170 heavy guns, the proportion of field artillery being 21 guns per 1000 men.

It is perhaps not superfluous to mention that all the smaller units in a modern army consist of one arm only. Formerly several dissimilar weapons were combined in the same unit. The knight with his four or five variously armed retainers constituted an example of this method of organization, which slowly died out as weapons became more uniform and their functions better defined.

45. Command. - The first essential of a good organization is to ensure that each member of the organized body, in his own sphere of action, should contribute his share to the achievement of the common object. Further, it is entirely beyond the power of one man, or of a few, to control every action and provide for every want of a great number of individuals. The modern system of command, therefore, provides for a system of grades, in which, theoretically, officers of each grade control a group of the next lower units. A lieutenant-colonel, for instance, may be in charge of a group of eight companies, each of which is under a captain. In practice, all armies are permanently organized on these lines, up to the colonel's or lieutenant-colonel's command, and most of them are permanently divided into various higher units under general officers, the brigade, division and army corps. The almost invariable practice is to organize infantry into companies, battalions and regiments. Cavalry is divided into troops, squadrons and regiments. Artillery is organized in batteries, these being usually grouped in various ways. The other arms and departments are subdivided in the same general way. The commands of general officers are the brigade of infantry, cavalry, and in some cases artillery, the division of two or more infantry brigades and a force of artillery and mounted troops, or of cavalry and horse artillery, and the army corps of two or more divisions and " corps troops." Armies of several corps, and groups of armies are also formed.

46. A brigade is the command of a brigadier or major-general, or of a colonel. It consists almost invariably of one arm only. In armies of the old regime it was not usual to assign troops of all arms to the subordinate generals. Hence the brigade is a much older form of organization than the division of all arms, and in fact dates from the 16th century. The infantry brigade consists, in the British service, of the brigadier and his staff, four battalions of infantry, and adminstrative and medical units, the combatant strength being about 4000 men. In Germany and France the brigade is composed of the staff, and two regiments (6 battalions) with a total of over 6000 combatants at war strength. The cavalry brigade is sometimes formed of three, sometimes of two regiments; the number of squadrons to a regiment on service is usually four, exceptionally three, and rarely five and six. The " brigade " of artillery in Great Britain is a lieutenant-colonel's command, and the term here corresponds to the Abtheilung of the German, and the groupe of the French armies (see Artillery). In Germany and France, however, an artillery brigade consists of two or more regiments, or twelve batteries at least, under the command of an artillery general officer.


A division is an organization containing troops of all arms. Since the virtual abolition of the " corps artillery " (see Artillery), the force of field artillery forming part of an infantry division is sometimes as high as 72 guns (Germany); in Great Britain the augmented division of 1906 has 54 field guns, 12 field howitzers, and 4 heavy guns, a total of 70. The term " infantry " division is, in strictness, no longer applicable, since such a unit is a miniature army corps of infantry, artillery and cavalry, with the necessary services for the supply of ammunition, food and forage, and for the care of the sick and wounded. A more exact title would be " army " division. In general it is composed, so far as combatants are concerned, of the divisional commander and his staff, two or more infantry brigades, a number of batteries of field artillery forming a regiment, brigade or group, a small force, varying from a squadron to a regiment, of cavalry (divisional cavalry), with some engineers. The force of the old British division (1905) may be taken, on an average, as io,000 men, increased in the 1906 reorganization to about 15,000 combatants. In other armies the fighting force of the division amounts to rather more than 14,000. The cavalry division (see Cavalry) is composed of the staff, two or three cavalry brigades, horse artillery, with perhaps mounted infantry, cyclists, or even light infantry in addition. In many, if not most, armies cavalry divisions are formed only in war. In the field the cavalry division is usually an independent unit with its own commander and staff. " Cavalry corps " of several divisions have very rarely been formed in the past, a division having been regarded as the largest unit capable of being led by one man. There is, however, a growing tendency in favour of the corps organization, at any rate in war.

1 48. Army Corps

2 49. Constitution of the Army Corps

3 53. First and Second Lines

4 54. War Reserves

5 57. Territorial System

6 58. Army Administration

7 59. Branches of Administration

8 Bengal

9 71. Madras

10 72. Bombay

11 73. Consolidation of the Army

12 74. The Army before the Mutiny

48. Army Corps

The " corps " of the 18th century was simply a large detachment, more or less complete in itself, organized for some particular purpose (e.g. to cover a siege), and placed for the time being under some general officer other than the chief commander. The modern army corps is a development from the division of all arms, which originated in the French Revolutionary wars. It is a unit of considerable strength, furnished with the due proportion of troops of all arms and of the auxiliary and medical services, and permanently placed under the command of one general. The corps organization (though a corps d'armee was often spoken of as an armee) was used in Napoleon's army in all the campaigns of the Empire. It may be mentioned, as a curious feature of Napoleon's methods, that he invariably constituted each corps d'armee of a different strength, so that the enemy would not be able to estimate his force by the simple process of counting the corps flags which marked the marshals' headquarters. Thus in 1812 he constituted one corps of 72,000 men, while another had but 18,000. After the fall of Napoleon a further advance was made. The adoption of universal service amongst the great military nations brought in its train the territorial organization, and the corps, representing a large district, soon became a unit of peace formation. For the smooth working of the new military system it was essential that the framework of the war army should exist in peace. The Prussians were the first to bring the system to perfection; long before 1866 Prussia was permanently divided into army corps districts, all the troops of the III. army corps being Brandenburgers, all those of the VI. Silesians, and so on, though political reasons required, and to some extent still require, modifications of this principle in dealing with annexed territory (e.g. Hanover and Alsace-Lorraine). The events of 1866 and of 1870-71 caused the almost universal adoption of the army corps regional system. In the case of the British army, operating as it usually did in minor wars, and rarely having more than sixty or seventy thousand men on one theatre even in continental wars, there was less need of so large a unit as the corps. Not only was a British army small in numbers, but it preserved high traditions of discipline, and was sufficiently well trained to be susceptible as a unit to the impulse given by one man. Even where the term " corps " does appear in Peninsular annals, the implication is of a corps in the old sense of a grand detachment. Neither cavalry nor artillery was assigned to any of the British " corps " at Waterloo.

49. Constitution of the Army Corps

In 1870-71 the III. German army corps (with which compare Marshal Davout's ordre de bataille above) consisted of the following combatant units: (a) staff; ( b ) two infantry divisions (4 brigades, 8 regiments or 24 battalions), with, in each division, a cavalry regiment, 4 batteries of artillery or 24 guns, and engineers; (c ) corps troops, artillery (6 field batteries), pioneer battalion (engineers), train battalion (supply and transport). A rifle battalion was attached to one of the divisions.

This ordre de bataille was followed more or less generally by all countries up to the most modern times, but between 1890 and 1902 came a very considerable change in the point of view from which the corps was regarded as a fighting unit. This change was expressed in the abolition of the corps artillery. Formerly the corps commander controlled the greater part of the field artillery, as well as troops of other arms; at the present time he has a mere handful of troops. Unless battalions are taken from the divisions to form a corps reserve, the direct influence of the corps organization on the battle is due almost solely to the fact that the commander has at his disposal the special natures of artillery and also some horse artillery. Thus the (augmented) division is regarded by many as the fighting unit of the loth, as the corps was that of the 19th century. In Europe there is even a tendency to substitute the ancient phrase " reserve artillery " for " corps artillery," showing that the role to be played by the corps batteries is subordinated to the operations of the masses of divisional artillery, the whole being subject, of course, to the technical supervision of the artillery general officer who accompanies the corps headquarters. Thus limited, the army corps has now come to consist of the staff, two or more divisions, the corps or reserve artillery (of special batteries), a small force of " corps " cavalry, and various technical and departmental troops. The cavalry is never very numerous, owing to the demands of the independent cavalry divisions on the one hand and those of the divisional cavalry on the other. The engineers of an army corps include telegraph, balloon and pontoon units. Attached to the corps are reserves of munitions and supplies in ammunition columns, field parks, supply parks, &c. The term and the organization were discontinued in England in 1906, on the augmentation of the divisions and the assignment of certain former " corps troops " to the direct control of the army commanders. It should be noticed that the Japanese, who had no corps organization during the war of 190 4 -5, afterwards increased the strength of their divisions from 15,000 to 20,000; the augmented " division," with the above peace strength, becomes to all intents and purposes a corps, and the generals commanding divisions were in 1906 given the title of generals-in-chief.

50. Army. - The term" army " is applied, in war time, to any command of several army corps, or even of several divisions, operating under the orders of one commander-in-chief. The army in this sense (distinguished by a number or by a special title) varies, therefore, with circumstances. In the American Civil War, the Army of the Ohio consisted in 1864 only of the army staff and the XXIII. corps. At the other extreme we find that the German II. Army in 1870 consisted of seven army corps and two cavalry divisions, and the III. Army of six army corps and two cavalry divisions. The term " army " in this sense is therefore very elastic in its application, but it is generally held that large groups of corps operating in one theatre of war should be subdivided into armies, and that the strength of an army should not exceed about 150,000 men, if indeed this figure is reached at all. This again depends upon circumstances. It might be advisable to divide a force of five corps into two armies, or on the other hand it might be impossible to find suitable leaders for more than two armies when half a million men were present for duty. In France, organization has been carried a step further. The bulk of the national forces is, in case of war, organized into a " group of armies " under a commander, usually, though incorrectly, called the generalissimo. This office, of course, does not exist in peace, but the insignia, the distinctive marks of the headquarters flag, &c., are stated in official publications, and the names of the generalissimo and of his chief of staff are known. Under the generalissimo would be four or five army commanders, each with three or four army corps under him. Independent of this " group of armies " there would be other and minor " armies " where required.

51. Chief Command. - The leading of the " group of armies " referred to above does not, in France, imply the supreme command, which would be exercised by the minister of war in Paris. The German system, on the other hand, is based upon the leadership of the national forces by the sovereign in person, and even though the headquarters of the " supreme war lord " ( Oberste Kriegsherr ) are actually in the field in one theatre of operations, he directs the movements of the German armies in all quarters. Similarly, in 1864, General Grant accompanied and controlled as a " group " the Armies of the Potomac and the James, supervising at the same time the operations of other groups and armies. In the same campaign a subordinate general, Sherman, commanded a " group " consisting of the Armies of the Tennessee, the Cumberland and the Ohio. The question as to whether the supreme command and the command of the principal group of armies should be in the same hands is very difficult of solution. In practice, the method adopted in each case usually grows out of the military and political conditions. The advantage of the German method is that the supreme commander is in actual contact with the troops, and can therefore form an accurate judgment of their powers. Under these conditions the risk of having cabinet strategy forced upon the generals is at its minimum, and more especially so if the supreme commander is the head of the state. On the other hand, his judgment is very liable to be influenced unduly by facts, coming under his own notice, which may in reality have no more than a local significance. Further, the supreme commander is at the mercy of distant subordinates to a far greater degree than he would be if free to go from one army to another. Thus, in 1870 the king of Prussia's headquarters before Paris were subjected to such pressure from subordinate army commanders that on several occasions selected staff-officers had to be sent to examine, for the king's private information, the real state of things at the front. The conduct of operations by one group commander in the campaign of 1864 seemed, at a distance, so eccentric and dangerous that General Grant actually left his own group of armies and went in person to take over command at the threatened point. Balanced judgment is thus often impossible unless the supreme command is independent of, and in a position to exercise general supervision over, each and every group or army. At the other end of the scale is the system of command employed by the Turks in 1877, in which four armies, three of them being actually on the same theatre of war, were directed from Constantinople. This system may be condemned unreservedly. It is recognized that, once the armies on either side have become seriously engaged, a commander-in-chief on the spot must direct them. Thus in 1904, while the Japanese and Russian armies were under the supreme command of their respective sovereigns, General Kuropatkin and Marshal Oyama personally commanded the chief groups of armies in the field. This is substantially the same as the system of the French army. It is therefore permissible to regard the system pursued by the Germans in 1870, and by the Union government in 1864, more as suited to special circumstances than as a general rule. As has been said above, the special feature of the German system of command is the personal leadership of the German emperor, and this brings the student at once to the consideration of another important part of the " superior leading." 52. The Chief of the General Staff is, as his title implies, the chief staff officer of the service, and as such, he has duties of the highest possible importance, both in peace and war. For the general subject of staff duties see Staff. Here we are concerned only with the peculiar position of the chief of staff under a system in which the sovereign is the actual commander-in-chief. It is obvious in the first place that the sovereign may not be a great soldier, fitted by mental gifts, training and character to be placed at the head of an army of, perhaps, a million men. Allowing that it is imperative that, whatever he may be in himself, the sovereign should ex officio command the armies, it is easy to see that the ablest general in these armies must be selected to act as his adviser, irrespective of rank and seniority. This officer must therefore be assigned to a station beyond that of his army rank, and his orders are in fact those of the sovereign himself. Nor is it sufficient that he should occupy an unofficial position as adviser, or ad latus. If he were no more than this, the sovereign could act without his adviser being even aware of the action taken. As the staff is the machinery for the transmission of orders and despatches, all orders of the commander-in-chief are signed by the chief of staff as a matter of course, and this position is therefore that in which the adviser has the necessary influence. The relations between the sovereign and his chief military adviser are thus of the first importance to the smooth working of the great military machine, and never have the possibilities of this apparently strange system been more fully exploited than by King William and his chief of staff von Moltke in 1866 and in 1870-71. It is not true to say that the king was the mere figurehead of the German armies, or that Moltke was the real commander-in-chief. Those who have said this forget that the sole responsibility for the consequences of every order lay with the king, and that it is precisely the fear of this responsibilty that has made so many brilliant subordinates fail when in chief command. The characters of the two men supplemented each other, a„s also in the case of Blucher and Gneisenau and that of Radetzky and Hess. Under these circumstances, the German system of command works, on the whole, smoothly. Matters would, however, be different if either of the two officers failed to realize their mutual interdependence, and the system is in any case only required when the self-sufficing great soldier is not available for the chief executive command.

53. First and Second Lines

The organization into arms and units is of course maintained in peace as well as for war. Military forces are further organized, in peace, into active and reserve troops, first and second lines, &c., according to the power possessed by the executive over the men. Broadly speaking, the latter fall into three classes, regulars, auxiliary forces and irregular troops. The regulars or active troops are usually liable to serve at all times and in any country to which they may be sent. Auxiliary forces may be defined as all troops which undergo actual military training without being constantly under arms, and in Great Britain these were until 1908 represented by the Militia, the Yeomanry and the Volunteers, and now by the Territorial Force anti the Special Reserve. In a country in which recruiting is by voluntary enlistment the classification is, of course, very different from that prevailing in a conscript army. The various " lines " are usually composed of separate organizations; the men are recruited upon different engagements, and receive a varying amount of training. Of the men not permanently embodied, only the reserve of the active army has actually served a continuous term with the colours. Other troops, called by various appellations, of which " militia " may be taken as generic, go through their military training at intervals. The general lines of army organization in the case of a country recruiting by universal service are as follows: - The male population is divided into classes, by ages, and the total period of liability to service is usually about 25 years. Thus at any given time, assuming two years' colourservice, the men of 20 and 21 years of age would constitute the active army serving with the colours, those of, say, 22 and 23, the reserve. The Landwehr or second line army would consist of all men who had been through the active army and were now aged 24 to 36. The third line would similarly consist of men whose ages were between 36 and 44. Assuming the same annual levy, the active army would consist of 200,000 men, its reserve 200,000, the second line of 1,300,000, and the third of 800,000. Thus of 2,500,000 men liable to, and trained for, military service, 200,000 only would be under arms at any given time. The simple system here outlined is of course modified and complicated in practice owing to re-engagements by non-commissioned officers, the speedy dismissal to the reserve of intelligent and educated men, &c.

54. War Reserves

In war, the reserves increase the field armies to 400,000 men, the whole or part of the second line is called up and formed into auxiliary regiments, brigades and divisions, and in case of necessity the third line is also called upon, though usually this is only in the last resort and for home defence only. The proportion of reservists to men with the colours varies of course with the length of service. Thus in France or Germany, with two years' service in force, half of the rank and file of a unit in war would be men recalled from civil life. The true military value of reservists is often questioned, and under certain circumstances it is probable that units would take the field at peace strength without waiting for their reservists. The frontier guards of the continental military powers, which are expected to move at the earliest possible moment after hostilities have begun, are maintained at a higher effective than other units, and do not depend to any great extent on receiving reservists. The peace footing of cavalry and artillery units is similarly maintained at an artificial level. An operation of the nature of a coup de main would in any case be carried out by the troops available at the moment, however large might be the force required - twenty weak battalions would, in fact, be employed instead of ten strong ones. There is another class of troops, which may be called depot troops. These consist of officers and men left behind when the active corps completed with reserves takes the field, and they have (a) to furnish drafts for the front - and ( b ) to form a nucleus upon which all later formations are built up. The troops of the second line undertake minor work, such as guarding railways, and also furnish drafts for the field army. Later, when they have been for some time under arms, the second line troops are often employed by themselves in first line. A year's training under war conditions should bring such troops to the highest efficiency. As for irregulars, they have real military value only when the various permanent establishments do not take up the whole fighting strength of the nation, and thus states having universal service armies do not, as a rule, contemplate the employment of combatants other than those shown on the peace rolls. The status of irregulars is ill defined, but it is practically agreed that combatants, over whose conduct the military authorities have no disciplinary power, should be denied the privileges of recognized soldiers, and put to death if captured. So drastic a procedure is naturally open to abuse and is not always expedient. Still, it is perfectly right that the same man shall not be allowed, for example, to shoot a sentry at one moment, and to claim the privileges of a harmless civilian at the next. The division into first, second and third lines follows generally from the above. The first line troops, in a conscript army, are the " active army " or regulars, permanently under arms in peace time, and its reserves, which are used on the outbreak of war to complete the existing units to full strength. The German terms Landwehr and Landsturm are often applied to armies of the second and the third lines.

55. The military characteristics of the various types of regular troops have been dealt with in considering the advantages and disadvantages of the several forms of recruiting. It only remains to give some indication of the advantages which such forces (irrespective of their time of service) possess over troops which only come up for training at intervals. Physically, the men with the colours are always superior to the rest, owing to their constant exercise and the regularity and order under which they live; as soldiers, they are more under the control of their officers, who are their leaders in daily life, in closer touch with army methods and discipline, and, as regards their formal training, they possess infinitely greater power of strategic and tactical manoeuvre. Their steadiness under fire is of course more to be relied upon than that of other troops. Wellington, speaking of the contrast between old and young soldiers (regulars), was of opinion that the chief difference lay in the greater hardiness, power of endurance, and general campaigning qualities given by experience. This is of course more than ever true in respect of regular and auxiliary troops, as was strikingly demonstrated in the Spanish-American War. On the whole, it is true to say that only a regular army can endure defeat without dissolution, and that volunteers, reservists or militiamen fresh from civil life may win a victory but cannot make the fullest use of it when won. At the same time, when they have been through one or two arduous campaigns, raw troops become to all intents and purposes equal to any regulars. On the other hand, the greatest military virtue of auxiliary forces is their enthusiasm. With this quality were won the great victories of 1 79 2 -94 in France, those of 1813 in Germany, and the beginnings of Italian unity at Calatafimi and Palermo. The earlier days of the American Civil War witnessed desperate fighting, of which Shiloh is the best example, between armies which had had but the slightest military training. In the same war the first battle of Bull Run illustrated what has been said above as to the weaknesses of unprofessional armies. Both sides, raw and untrained, fought for a long time with the greatest determination, after which the defeated army was completely dissolved in rout and the victors quite unable to pursue. So far it is the relative military value of the professional soldier and the citizen-soldier that has been reviewed. A continental army of the French or German stamp is differently constituted. It is, first of all, clear that the drilled citizen-soldier combines the qualities of training and enthusiasm. From this it follows that a hostile " feeling " as well as a hostile " view " must animate such an army if it is to do good service. If a modern " nation in arms " is engaged in a purely dynastic quarrel against a professional army of inferior strength, the result will probably be victory for the latter. But the active army of France or Germany constitutes but a small part of the " nation in arms," and the army for war is 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 i 9 05 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 1 9 07 and led to much controversy. The question of the value of auxiliary forces, then, as between the continous 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 firstline 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 fuiinerly, 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 inculate 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.

II. 20 The work of a General Staff may be taken as consisting in preparation for war, and this again, both in Great Britain and abroad, consists of military policy in all its branches, staff duties in war, the collection of intelligence, mobilization, plans of operations and concentration, training, military history and geography, and the preparation of war regulations. These subjects are usually subdivided into four or five groups, each of which is dealt with by a separate section of the general staff, the actual division of the work, of course, varying in different countries. Thus, the second section of the French staff deals with " the organization and tactics of foreign armies, study of foreign theatres of war, and military missions abroad." A War O f fice is concerned with peace administration and with the provision of men and material in war. Under the former category fall such matters as " routine " administration, finance, justice, recruiting, promotion of officers (though not always), barracks and buildings generally, armament, equipment and clothing, &c., in fact all matters not directly relevant to the training of the troops for and the employment of the troops in war. In war, some of the functions of a war office are suspended, but on the other hand the work necessary for the provision of men and material to augment the army and to make good its losses is vastly increased. In 1870 the minister of war, von and the quartermaster - general's branch, which supervises the provision and issue of supplies, stores and materiel of all kinds. Over and above these, provision has to be made for control of all the technical parts of administration, such

as artillery and engineer services (in Great Britain, this, with a portion of the quartermaster-general's department, is under the mastergeneral of the ordnance), and for military legislation, preparation of estimates, &c. These are, of course, special subjects, not directly belonging to the general administrative system. It is only requisite that the latter should be sufficiently elastic to admit of these departments being formed as required. However these subordinate offices may be multiplied, the main work of the war office is in the two departments of the adjutantgeneral (personnel ) and the quartermaster-general (materiel). Beyond and wholly distinct from these is the general staff, the creation of which is perhaps the most important contribution of the past century to the pure science of military organization.

British Army 60. Prior to the Norman Conquest the armed force of England was essentially a national militia. Every freeman was bound to bear arms for the defence of the country, or for the maintenance Comparative Strength Of Various Armies (a) Compulsory Service (1906).







Annual Contingent for the Colours. ... .






Medically unfit and exempt .






Excused from Service in Peace, able-bodied .





Total of Men becoming liable for Service in 1907. .






Total Permanent Armed Force in Peace. .






(not includ-

ing colonial


First-Line Troops, war-strength (estimated)






Second-Line Troops, war-strength (estimated) .






Numbers available in excess of these (estimated). .






Total War Resources of all kinds. .. .. .






Annual Military Expenditure-total.. .

£ 27,720,000

£ 32,228,000




Annual Military Expenditure-per head of population

(approximate). .. .

13s. 9d.

Ios. 9d.

5s. 3d.

6s. 8d.

6s. 5d.

(b)Authorized Establishments and Approximate Military Resources of the British Empire (1906-1907).














&c.) .





Great Britain. .







Channel Islands, Malta, Bermuda, Colonies and Dependencies .













Canadian Force






Australian Forces (including New Zealand)






South African Force








1 20,000




1 ,340,000

Note.-Ex-soldiers of regular and auxiliary forces, still fit for service, and estimated levees en masse, are not counted. Enlistment chiefly voluntary.

(c ) The Regular Army of the United States has a maximum authorized establishment (1906) of 60,000 enlisted men; the Organized Militia was at the same date 110,000 strong. Voluntary enlistment throughout. (See United States.) In 1906-1907 the total numbers available for a levee en masse were estimated at 13,000,000.

Roon, accompanied the headquarters in the field, but this arrangement did not work well, and will not be employed again. The chief duties other than those of the general staff fall into two classes, the " routine staff," administration or adjutantgeneral's branch, which deals with all matters affecting personnel, of order. To give some. organization and training to the levy, the several sheriffs had authority to call out the contingents of their shires for exercise. The " fyrd," as the levy was named, was available for home service only, and could not be moved even from its county except in the case of emergency; and it was principally to repel oversea invasions that its services were required. Yet even in those days the necessity of some more permanent force was felt, and bodies of paid troops were maintained by the kings at their own cost. Thus Canute and his successors, and even some of the great earls kept up a household force ( huscarles). The English army at Hastings consisted of the fyrd and the corps of huscarles. The English had fought on foot; but the mailed horseman had now become the chief factor in war, and the Conqueror introduced into England the system of tenure by knight-service familiar in Normandy. This was based on the unit of the feudal host, the constabularia of ten knights, the Conqueror granting lands in return for finding one or more of these units (in the case of great barons) or some fraction of them (in the case of lesser tenants). The obligation was to provide knights to serve, with horse and arms, for forty days in each year at their own charges. This obligation could be handed on by sub-enfeoffment through a whole series of under-tenants. The system being based, not on the duty of personal service, but on the obligation to supply one or more knights (or it might be only the fraction of a knight), it was early found convenient to commute this for a money payment known as " scutage " (see Knight Service and Scutage). This money enabled the king to hire mercenaries, or pay such of the feudal troops as were willing to serve beyond the usual time. From time to time proclamations and statutes were issued reminding the holders of knights' fees of their duties; but the immediate object was generally to raise money rather than to enforce personal service, which became more and more rare. The feudal system had not, however, abrogated the old Saxon levies, and from these arose two national institutions - the posse comitatus, liable to be called out by the sheriff to maintain the king's peace, and later the militia. The posse comitatus, or power of the county, included all males able to bear arms, peers and spiritual men excepted; and though primarily a police force it was also bound to assist in the defence of the country. This levy was organized by the Assize of Arms under Henry II. (1181), and subsequently under Edward I. (1285) by the so-called " Statute of Winchester," which determined the numbers and description of weapons to be kept by each man according to his property, and also provided for their periodical inspection. The early Plantagenets made free use of mercenaries. But the weakness of the feudal system in England was preparing, through the 12th and 13th centuries, a nation in arms absolutely unique in the middle ages. The Scottish and Welsh wars were, of course, fought by the feudal levy, but this levy was far from being the mob of unwilling peasants usual abroad, and from the fyrd came the English archers, whose fame was established by Edward I.'s wars, and carried to the continent by Edward III. Edward III. realized that there was better material to be had in his own country than abroad, and the army with which he invaded France was an army of national mercenaries, or, more simply, of English soldiers. The army at Crecy was composed exclusively of English, Welsh and Irish. From the pay list of the army at the siege of Calais (1346) it appears that all ranks, from the prince of Wales downward, were paid, no attempt being made to force even the feudal nobles to serve abroad at their own expense. These armies were raised mainly by contracts entered into " with some knight or gentleman expert in war, and of great revenue and livelihood in the country, to serve the king in war with a number of men." Copies of the indentures executed when Henry V. raised his army for the invasion of France in 1415 are in existence. Under these the contracting party agreed to serve the king abroad for one year, with a given number of men equipped according to agreement, and at a stipulated rate of pay. A certain sum was usually paid in advance, and in many cases the crown jewels and plate were given in pledge for the rest. The profession of arms seems to have been profitable. The pay of the soldier was high as compared with that of the ordinary labourer, and he had the prospect of a share of plunder in addition, so that it was not difficult to raise men where the commander had a good military reputation. Edward III. is said to have declined the services of numbers of foreign mercenaries who wished to enrol under him in his wars against France.

The funds for the payment of these armies were provided partly from the royal revenues, partly from the fines paid in lieu of military service, and other fines arbitrarily imposed, and partly by grants from parliament. As the soldier's contract usually ended with the war, and the king had seldom funds to renew it even if he so wished, the armies disbanded of themselves at the close of each war. To secure the services of the soldier during his contract, acts were passed (18 Henry VI. c. 19; and 7 Henry VII. c. I) inflicting penalties for desertion; and in Edward VI.'s reign an act " touching the true service of captains and soldiers " was passed, somewhat of the nature of a Mutiny Act.

61. It is difficult to summarize the history of the army between the Hundred Years' War and 1642. The final failure of the English arms in France was soon followed by the Wars of the Roses, and in the long period of civil strife the only national force remaining to England was the Calais garrison. Henry VIII. was a soldier-king, but he shared the public feeling for the old bow and bill, and English armies which served abroad did not, it seems, win the respect of the advanced professional soldiers of the continent. In 1519 the Venetian ambassador described the English forces as consisting of 150,000 men whose peculiar, though not exclusive, weapon was the long bow (Fortescue i. 117). The national levy made in 1588 to resist the Armada and the threat of invasion produced about 750 lancers (heavyarmed cavalry), 2000 light horse and 56,000 foot, beside 20,000 men employed in watching the coasts. The small proportion of mounted men is very remarkable in a country in which Cromwell was before long to illustrate the full power of cavalry on the battlefield. It is indeed not unfair to regard this army as a miscellaneous levy of inferior quality.

It was in cavalry that England was weakest, and by three different acts it was sought to improve the breed of horses, though the light horse of the northern counties had a good reputation, and even won the admiration of the emperor Charles V. Perhaps the best organized force in England at this time was the London volunteer association which ultimately became the Honourable Artillery Company. At Flodden the spirit of the old English yeomanry triumphed over the outward form of continental battalions which the Scots had adopted, and doubtless the great victory did much to retard military progress in England. The chief service of Henry VIII. to the British army was the formation of an artillery train, in which he took a special interest. Before he died the forces came to consist of a few permanent troops (the bodyguard and the fortress artillery service), the militia or general levy, which was for home, and indeed for county, service only, and the paid armies which were collected for a foreign war and disbanded at the conclusion of peace, and were recruited on the same principle of indents which had served in the Hundred Years' War. In the reign of Mary, the old Statute of Winchester was revised (1553), and the new act provided for a readjustment of the county contingents and in some degree for the rearmament of the militia. But, from the fall of Calais and the expedition to Havre up to the battle of the Dunes a century later, the intervention of British forces in foreign wars was always futile and generally disastrous. During this time, however, the numerous British regiments in the service of Holland learned, in the long war of Dutch independence, the art of war as it had developed on the continent since 1450, and assimilated the regimental system and the drill and armament of the best models. Thus it was that in 1642 there were many hundreds of trained and war-experienced officers and sergeants available for the armies of the king and the parliament. By this time bows and bills had long disappeared even from the militia, and the Thirty Years' War, which, even more than the Low Countries, offered a career for the adventurous man, contributed yet more trained officers and soldiers to the English and Scottish forces. So closely indeed was war now studied by Englishmen that the respective adherents of the Dutch and the Swedish systems quarrelled on the eve of the battle of Edgehill. Francis and Horace Vere, Sir John Norris, and other Englishmen had become generals of European reputation. Skippon, Astley, Goring, Rupert, and many others soon to be famous were distinguished as company and regimental officers in the battles and sieges of Germany and the Low Countries.

The home forces of England had, as has been said, little or nothing to revive their ancient renown. Instead, they had cqme to be regarded as a menace to the constitution. In Queen Elizabeth's time the demands of the Irish wars had led to frequent forced levies, and the occasional billeting of the troops in England also gave rise to murmurs, but the brilliancy and energy of her reign covered a great deal, and the peaceful policy of her successor removed all immediate cause of complaint. But after the accession of Charles I. we find the army a constant and principal source of dispute between the king and parliament, until under William III. it is finally established on a constitutional footing. Charles, wishing to support the Elector Palatine in the Thirty Years' War, raised an army of io,000 men. He was already encumbered with debts, and the parliament refused all grants, on which he had recourse to forced loans. The army was sent to Spain, but returned without effecting anything, and was not disbanded, as usual, but billeted on the inhabitants. The billeting was the more deeply resented as it appeared that the troops were purposely billeted on those who had resisted the loan. Forced loans, billeting and martial law - all directly connected with the maintenance of the army - formed the main substance of the grievances set forth in the Petition of Right. In accepting this petition, Charles gave up the right to maintain an army without consent of parliament; and when in 1639 he wished to raise one to act against the rebellious Scots, parliament was called together, and its sanction obtained, on the plea that the army was necessary for the defence of England. This army again became the source of dispute between the king and parliament, and finally both sides appealed to arms.

62. The first years of the Great Rebellion showed primarily the abundance of good officers produced by the wars on the continent, and in the second place the absolute inadequacy of the military system of the country; the commissions of array, militia ordinances, &c., had at last to give way to regular methods of enlistment and a central army administration. It was clear, at the same time, that when the struggle was one of principles and not of dynastic politics, excellent recruits, far different from the wretched levies who had been gathered together for the Spanish war, were to be had in any reasonable number. These causes combined to produce the " New Model " which, originating in Cromwell's own cavalry and the London trained bands of foot, formed of picked men and officers, severely disciplined, and organized and administered in the right way, quickly proved its superiority over all other armies in the field, and in a few years raised its general to supreme civil power. The 15th of February 1645 was the birthday of the British standing army, and from its first concentration at Windsor Park dates the scarlet uniform. The men were for the most part voluntarily enlisted from existing corps, though deficiencies had immediately to be made good by impressment.

Four months later the New Model decided the quarrel of king and parliament at Naseby. When Cromwell, the first lieutenantgeneral and the second captain-general of the army, sent his veterans to take part in the wars of the continent they proved. themselves a match for the best soldiers in Europe. On the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 the army, now some 80,000 strong, was disbanded. It had enforced the execution of Charles I., it had dissolved parliament, and England had been for years governed under a military regime. Thus the most popular measure of the Restoration was the dissolution of the army. Only Monk's regiment of foot(now the Coldstream Guards) survived to represent the New Model in the army of to-day. At the same time the troops (now regiments) of household cavalry, and the regiment of foot which afterwards became the Grenadier Guards, were formed, chiefly from Royalists, though the disbanded New Model contributed many experienced recruits. The permanent forces of the crown came to consist once more of the " garrisons and guards," maintained by the king from the revenue allotted to him for carrying on the government of the country. The " garrisons " were commissioned to special fortresses - the Tower of London, Portsmouth, &c. The " guards " comprised the sovereign's bodyguards (" the yeomen of the guard " and " gentlemen-at-arms," who had existed since the times of HenryVll. and VIII.), and the regiments mentioned above. Even this small force, at first not exceeding 3000 men, was looked on with jealousy by parliament, and every attempt to increase it was opposed. The acquisition of Tangier and Bombay, as part of the dower of the infanta of Portugal, led to the formation of a troop of horse (now the 1st Royal Dragoons) and a regiment of infantry (the 2nd, now Queen's R.W. Surrey, regiment) for the protection of the former; and a regiment of infantry (afterwards transferred to the East India Company) to hold the latter (1661). These troops, not being station

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Army Organization'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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