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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica
(from Fr. armee, Lat. armata), a considerable body of men armed and organized for the purpose of warfare on land (Ger. Armee), or the whole armed force at the disposal of a state or person for the same purpose (Ger. Heer= host). The application of the term is sometimes restricted to the permanent, active or regular forces of a state. The history of the development of the army systems of the world is dealt with in' this article in sections i to 38, being followed by sections 39 to 59 on the characteristics of present-day armies. The remainder of the article is devoted to sections on the history of the principal armies of Europe, and that of the United States. For the Japanese Army see Japan, and for the existing condition of the army in each country see under the country heading.
General History 1. Early Armies. - It is only with the evolution of the specially military function in a tribe or nation, expressed by the separation of a warrior-class, that the history of armies (as now understood) commences. Numerous savage tribes of the present day possess military organizations based on this system, but it first appears in the history of civilization amongst the Egyptians. By the earliest laws of Egypt, provision was made for the support of the warriors. The exploits of her armies under the legendary Sesostris cannot be regarded as historical, but it appears certain that the country possessed an army, capable of waging war in a regular fashion, and divided thus early into separate arms, these being chariots, infantry and archers. The systems of the Assyrians and Babylonians present no particular features of interest, save that horsemen, as distinct from charioteers, appear on the scene. The first historical instance of a military organization resembling those of modern times is that of the Persian empire.
Drawn from a hardy and nomadic race, the armies of Persia at first consisted mainly of cavalry, and owed much of their success to the consequent ease and rapidity of their movements. The warlike Persians constantly extended their power by fresh conquests, and for some time remained a distinctly conquering and military race, attaining their highest power under Cyrus and Cambyses. Cyrus seems to have been the founder of a comprehensive military organization, of which we gather details from Xenophon and other writers. To each province was allotted a certain number of soldiers as standing army. These troops, formed originally of native Persians only, were called the king's troops. They comprised two classes, the one devoted exclusively to garrisoning towns and castles, the other distributed throughout the country. To each province was appointed a military commander, responsible for the number and efficiency of the troops in his district, while the civil governor was answerable for their subsistence and pay. Annual musters were held, either by the king in person or by generals deputed for the purpose and invested with full powers. This organization seems to have fully answered its original purpose, that of holding a vast empire acquired by conquest and promptly repelling inroads or putting down insurrections. But when a great foreign war was contemplated, the standing army was augmented by a levy throughout the empire. The extent of the empire made such a levy a matter of time, and the heterogeneous and unorganized mass of men of all nations so brought together was a source of weakness rather than strength. Indeed, the vast hosts over which the Greeks gained their victories comprised.
but a small proportion of the true Persians. The cavalry alone seems to have retained its national character, and with it something of its high reputation, even to the days of Alexander.
The Homeric armies were tribal levies of foot, armed with spear, sword, bow, &c., and commanded by the chiefs in their war-chariots. In historic times all this is changed. Greece becomes a congeries of city-states, each with its own citizen-militia. Federal armies and permanent troops are rare, the former owing to the centrifugal tendency of Greek politics, the latter because the " tyrannies," which must have relied very largely on standing armies to maintain themselves, had ultimately given way to democratic institutions. But the citizen-militia of Athens or Sparta resembled rather a modern " nation in arms " than an auxiliary force. Service was compulsory in almost all states, and as the young men began their career as soldiers with a continuous training of two or three years, Hellenic armies, like those of modern Europe, consisted of men who had undergone a thorough initial training and were subsequently called up as required. Cavalry, as always in the broken country of the Peloponnesus, was not of great importance, and it is only when the theatre of Greek history is extended to the plains of Thessaly that the mounted men become numerous. In the 4th century the mainstay of Greek armies was the hoplite (Or Xirns), the heavy-armed infantryman who fought in the corps de bataille; the light troops were men who could not provide the full equipment of the hoplite, rather than soldiers trained for certain special duties such as skirmishing. The fighting formation was that of the phalanx, a solid corps of hoplites armed with long spears. The armies were recruited for each war by calling up one or more classes of men in reserve according to age. It was the duty and privilege of the free citizen to bear arms; the slaves were rarely trusted with weapons.
So much is common to the various states. In Sparta the idea of the nation in arms was more thoroughly carried out than in any other state in the history of civilization. In other states the individual citizen often lived the life of a soldier, here the nation lived the life of a regiment. Private homes resembled the " married quarters " of a modern army; the unmarried men lived entirely in barracks. Military exercises were only interrupted by actual service in the field, and the whole life of a man of military age was devoted to them. Under these circumstances, the Spartans maintained a practically unchallenged supremacy over the armies of other Greek states; sometimes their superiority was so great that, like the Spanish regulars in the early part of the Dutch War of Independence, they destroyed their enemies with insignificant loss to themselves. The surrender of a Spartan detachment, hopelessly cut off from all assistance, and the victory of a body of well-trained and handy light infantry over a closed battalion of Spartiates were events so unusual as seriously to affect the course of Greek history.
5. Greek Mercenaries
The military system of the 4th century was not called upon to provide armies for continuous service on distant expeditions. When, after the earlier campaigns of the Peloponnesian War, the necessity for such expeditions arose, the system was often strained almost to breaking point, (e.g. in the case of the Athenian expedition to Syracuse), and ultimately the states of Greece were driven to choose between unprofitable expenditure of the lives of citizens and recruiting from other sources. Mercenaries serving as light troops, and particularly as peltasts (a new form of disciplined " light infantry ") soon appeared. The corps de bataille remained for long the old phalanx of citizen hoplites. But the heavy losses of many years told severely on the resources of every state, and ultimately non-national recruits - adventurers and soldiers of fortune, broken men who had lost their possessions in the wars, political refugees, runaway slaves, &c. - found their way even into the ranks of the hoplites, and Athens at one great crisis (407) enlisted slaves, with the promise of citizenship as their reward. The Arcadians, like the Scots and the Swiss in modern history, furnished the most numerous contingent to the new professional armies. A truly national army was indeed to appear once more in the history of the Peloponnesus, but in the meantime the professional soldier held the field. The old bond of strict citizenship once broken, the career of the soldier of fortune was open to the adventurous Greek. Taenarum and Corinth became regular entrepots for mercenaries. The younger Cyrus raised his army for the invasion of Persia precisely as the emperors Maximilian and Charles V. raised regiments of Landsknechte - by the issue of recruiting commissions to captains of reputation. This army became the famous Ten Thousand. It was a marching city-state, its members not desperate adventurers, but men with the calm self-respect of Greek civilization. On the fall of its generals, it chose the best officers of the army to command, and obeyed implicitly. Cheirisophus the Spartan and Xenophon the Athenian, whom they chose, were not plausible demagogues; they were line officers, who, suddenly promoted to the chief command under circumstances of almost overwhelming difficulty, proved capable of achieving the impossible. The merit of choosing such leaders is not the least title to fame of the Ten Thousand mercenary Greek hoplites. About the same time Iphicrates with a body of mercenary peltasts destroyed a mora or corps of Spartan hoplites (391 B.C.).
Not many years after this, Spartan oppression roused the Theban revolt, and the Theban revolt became the Theban hegemony. The army which achieved this under the leadership of Epaminondas, one of the great captains of history, had already given proofs of its valour against Xenophon and the Cyreian veterans. Still earlier it had won the great victory of Delium (424 B.C.).
It was organized, as were the professional armies, on the accepted model of the old armies, viz. the phalangite order, but the addition of peltasts now made a Theban army, unlike the Spartans, capable of operating in broken country as well as in the plain. The new tactics of the phalanx, introduced by Epaminondas, embodied, for the first time in the history of war, the modern principle of local superiority of force, and suggested to Frederick the Great the famous " oblique order of battle." Further, the cavalry was more numerous and better led than that of Peloponnesian states. The professional armies had well understood the management of cavalry; Xenophon's handbook of the subject is not without value in the 10th century. In Greek armies the dearth of horses and the consequent numerical weakness of the cavalry prevented the bold use of the arm on the battlefield (see Cavalry). But Thebes had always to deal with nations which possessed numerous horsemen. Jason of Pherae, for instance, put into the field against Thebes many thousands of Thessalian horse; and thus at the battle of Tegyra in 375 the Theban cavalry under Pelopidas, aided by the corps delite of infantry called the Sacred Band, carried all before them. At Leuctra Epaminondas won a glorious victory by the use of his " oblique order " tactics; the same methods achieved the secondgreatvictoryof Mantineia (362 B.C.) at which Epaminondas fell. Pelopidas had already been slain in a battle against the Thessalians, and there was no leader to carry on their work. But the new Greek system was yet to gain its greatest triumphs under Alexander the Great.
The reforms of Alexander's father, Philip of Macedon, may most justly be compared to those of Frederick William I. in Prussia. Philip had lived at Thebes as a hostage, and had known Iphicrates, Epaminondas and Pelopidas. He grafted the Theban system of tactics on to the Macedonian system of organization. That the latter - a complete territorial system - was efficient was shown by the fact that Philip's blow was always struck before his enemies were ready to meet it. That the new Greek tactics, properly used, were superior to the old was once more demonstrated at Chaeronea (338 B.C.), where the Macedonian infantry militia fought in phalanx, and the cavalry, led by the young Alexander, delivered the last crushing blow. On his accession, like Frederick the Great, Alexander inherited a well-trained and numerous army, and was not slow to use it. The invasion of Asia was carried out by an army of the Greek pattern, formed both of Hellenes and of non-Hellenes on an exceedingly strong Macedonian nucleus. Alexander's own guard was composed of picked horse and foot. The infantry of the line comprised Macedonian and Greek hoplites, the Macedonians being subdivided into heavy and medium troops. These fought in a grand phalanx, which was subdivided into units corresponding to the modern divisions, brigades and regiments, the fighting formation being normally a line of battalion masses. The arm of the infantry was the z8-foot pike (sarissa). The peltasts, Macedonian and Greek, were numerous and well trained, and there was the usual mass of irregular light troops, bowmen, slingers, &c. The cavalry included the Guard (dyn,ua), a body of heavy cavalry composed of chosen Macedonians, the line cavalry of Macedonia (e'raipot) and Thessaly, the numerous small contingents of the Greek states, mercenary corps and light lancers for outpost work. The final blow and the gathering of the fruits of victory were now for the first time the work of the mounted arm. The solid phalanx was almost unbreakable in the earlier stages of the battle, but after a long infantry fight the horsemen had their chance. In former wars they were too few and too poorly mounted to avail themselves of it, and decisive victories were in consequence rarely achieved in battles of Greek versus Greek. Under Epaminondas, and still more under Philip and Alexander, the cavalry was strong enough for its new work. Battles are now ended by the shock action of mounted men, and in Alexander's time it is noted as a novelty that the cavalry carried out the pursuit of a beaten army. There were further, in Alexander's army, artillerymen with a battering train, engineers and departmental troops, and also a medical service, an improvement attributed to Jason of Pherae. The victories of this army, in close order and in open, over every kind of enemy and on every sort of terrain, produced the Hellenistic world, and in that achievement the history of Greek armies closes, for after the return of the greater part of the Europeans to their homes the armies of Alexander and his successors, while preserving much of the old form, become more and more orientalized.
The decisive step was taken in 323, when a picked contingent of Persians, armed mainly with missile weapons, was drafted into the phalanx, in which henceforward they formed the middle ranks of each file of sixteen men. But, like the third rank of Prussian infantry up to 1888, they normally fought as skirmishers in advance, falling into their place behind the pikes of the Macedonian file-leaders only if required for the decisive assault. The new method, of course, depended for success on the steadiness of the thin three-deep line of Macedonians thus left as the line of battle. Alexander's veterans were indeed to be trusted, but as time went on, and little by little the war-trained Greeks left the service, it became less and less safe to array the Hellenistic army in this shallow and articulated order of battle. The purely formal organization of the phalanx sixteen deep became thus the actual tactical formation, and around this solid mass of 16,384 men gathered the heterogeneous levies of a typical oriental army. Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, retained far more of the tradition of Alexander's system than his contemporaries farther east, yet his phalanx, comparatively light and mobile as it was, achieved victories over the Roman legion only at the cost of self-destruction. Even elephants quickly became a necessary adjunct to Hellenistic armies.
8. Carthage. - The military systems of the Jews present few features of unusual interest. The expedient of calling out successive contingents from the different tribes, in order to ensure continuity in military operations, should, however, be noticed. David and Solomon possessed numerous permanent troops which served as guards and garrisons; in principle this organization was identical with that of the Persians, and that of Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. Particular interest attaches to the Carthaginian military forces of the 3rd century B.C. Rarely has any army achieved such renown in the short space of sixty years (264-202 B.C.). Carthage produced a series of great generals, culminating in Hannibal, who is marked out, even by the little that is known of him, as the equal of Napoleon. But Napoleon was supported by a national army, Hannibal and his predecessors were condemned to work with armies of mercenaries. For the first time in the world's history war is a matter with which the civil population has no concern. The merchants of Carthage fought only in the last extremity; the wars in which their markets were extended were conducted by non-national forces and directed by the few Carthaginian citizens who possessed military aptitudes. The civil authorities displayed towards their instruments a spirit of hatred for which it is difficult to find a parallel. Unsuccessful leaders were crucified, the mercenary soldiers were cheated of their pay, and broke out into a mutiny which shook the empire of Carthage to its foundations. But the magnetism of a leader's personality infused a corporate military spirit into these heterogeneous Punic armies, and history has never witnessed so complete an illustration of the power of pure and unaided esprit de corps as in the case of Hannibal's army in Italy, which, composed as it was of Spaniards, Africans, Gauls, Numidians, Italians and soldiers of fortune of every country, was yet welded by him into thorough efficiency. The army of Italy was as great in its last fight at Zama as the army of Spain at Rocroi; its victories of the Trebia, Trasimene and Cannae were so appalling that, two hundred years later, the leader to whom these soldiers devoted their lives was still, to a Roman, the " dire " Hannibal. In their formal organization the Carthaginian armies resembled the new Greek model, and indeed they were created in the first instance by Xanthippus, a Spartan soldier in the service of Carthage, who was called upon to raise and train an army when the Romans were actually at the gates of Carthage, and justified his methods in the brilliant victory of Tunis (255 B.C.). For the solid Macedonian phalanx of 16,000 spears Xanthippus substituted a line of heavy battalions equal in its aggregate power of resistance to the older form, and far more flexible. The triumphs of the cavalry arm in Hannibal's battles far excelled those of Alexander's horesemen. Hannibal chose his fighting ground whenever possible with a view to using their full power, first to defeat the hostile cavalry, then to ride down the shaken infantry masses, and finally to pursue au fond. At Cannae, the greatest disaster ever suffered by the Romans, the decisive blow and the slaughter were the work of Hannibal's line cavalry, the relentless pursuit that of his light horse. But a professional long-service army has always the greatest difficulty in making good its losses, and in the present case it was wholly unable to do so. Even Hannibal failed at last before the sustained efforts of the citizen army of Rome.
9. Roman Army under the Republic. - The earliest organization of the Roman army is attributed to Romulus, who formed it on the tribal principle, each of the three tribes contributing its contingent of horse and foot. But it was to Servius Tullius that Rome owed, traditionally, the complete classification of her citizen-soldiers. For the details of the Roman military system, see Roman Army. During the earlier period of Roman history the army was drawn entirely from the first classes of the population, who served without pay and provided their own arms and armour. The wealthiest men (equites) furnished the cavalry, the remainder the infantry, while the poorer classes either fought as light troops or escaped altogether the privilege and burden of military service. Each " legion " of 3000 heavy foot was at first formed in a solid phalanx. The introduction of the elastic and handy three-line formation with intervals (similar in many respects to Alexander's) was brought about by the Gallic wars, and is attributed to M. Furius Camillus, who also, during the siege of Veii, introduced the practice of paying the soldiers, and thus removed the chief obstacle to the employment of the poorer classes. The new order of battle was fully developed in the Pyrrhic Wars, and the typical army of the Republic may be taken as dating from the latter part of the 3rd century B.C. The legionary was still possessed of a property qualification, but it had become relatively small. An annual levy was made at Rome to provide for the campaign of the year. Discipline was severe, and the rewards appealed as much to the soldier's honour as to his desire of gain. A legion now consisted of three lines (Hastati, Principes, Triarii), each line composed of men of similar age and experience, and was further subdivided into thirty " maniples," each of two " centuries." The normal establishment of 300 cavalry, 3000 heavy and I 200 light infantry was still maintained, though in practice these figures were often exceeded. In place of the old light-armed and somewhat inferior rorarii, the new velites performed light infantry duties (211 B.C.), at the same time retaining their place in the maniples, of which they formed the last ranks (compare the Macedonian phalanx as reorganized in 323, § 7 above). The 300 cavalry of the legion were trained for shock action. But the strength of the Roman army lay in the heavy legionary infantry of citizens. The thirty maniples of each legion stood in three lines of battle, but the most notable point of their formation was that each maniple stood by itself on its own small manoeuvre-area, free to take ground to front or flank. To the Roman legion was added a legion of allies, somewhat differently organized and possessing more cavalry, and the whole force was called a " double legion " or briefly a " legion." A consul's army consisted nominally of two double legions, but in the Punic wars military exigencies rather than custom dictated the numbers of the army, and the two consuls at Cannae (216 B.C.) commanded two double consular armies, or eight double legions.
To. Characteristics of the Roman Army. - Such in outline was the Roman military organization at the time when it was put to the severe test of the Second Punic War. Its elements were good, its military skill superior to that of any other army of ancient history, while its organization was on the whole far better than any that had gone before. The handy formation of maniples at open order was unique in the ancient world, and it did not reappear in history up to the advent of Gustavus Adolphus. In this formation, in which everything was entrusted to the skill of subordinates and the individual courage of the rank and file, the Romans met and withstood with success every type of impact, from the ponderous shock of the Macedonian phalanx and the dangerous rush of Celtic savages to the charge of elephants. Yet it was no particular virtue in the actual form employed that carried the Roman arms to so many victories. There would have been positive danger in thus articulating the legion had it been composed of any but the most trustworthy soldiers. To swiftness and precision of manoeuvre they added a dogged obstinacy over which nothing but overwhelming disaster prevailed. It is, therefore, not unnatural to ask wherein the system which produced these soldiers failed, as it did within a century after the battle of Zama. The greatest defect was the want of a single military command. The civil magistrates of Rome were ex officio leaders of her armies, and though no Roman officer lacked military training, the views of a consul or praetor were almost invariably influenced by the programme of his political party. When, as sometimes happened, the men under their command sided in the political differences of their leaders, all real control came to an end. The soldiers of the Republic hardly ever forgot that they were citizens with voting powers; they served as a rule only during a campaign; and, while there could be little question as to their patriotism and stubbornness, they lacked almost entirely that esprit de corps which is found only amongst the members of a body having a permanent corporate existence. Thus they had the vices as well as the virtues of a nation in arms, and they fell still further short of the ideal because of the dubious and precarious tenure of their generals' commands. The great officers were usually sent home at the end of a campaign, to be replaced by their elected successors, and they showed all the hesitation and fear of responsibility usually found in a temporary commander. Above all, when two armies, each under its own consul or praetor, acted together, the command was either divided or exercised on alternate days.
z z: Roman Empire. - The essential weaknesses of militia forces and the accidental circumstances of that under consideration led, even in earlier times, to the adoption of various expedients which for a time obviated the evils to which allusion has been made. But a change of far greater importance followed the final exploits of the armies of the old system. The increasing dominions of the Republic, the spread of wealth and luxury, the gradual decadence of the old Roman ideas, all tended to produce an army more suited to the needs of the newer time than the citizen militia of the 3rd century. Permanent troops were a necessity; the rich, in their newly acquired dislike of personal effort, ceased to bear their share in the routine life of the army, and thus the proletariat began to join the legions with the express intention of taking to a military career. The actual change from the old regime to the new was in the main the work of Gaius Marius. The urgent demand for men at the time of the Teutonic invasions caused the service to be thrown open to all Roman citizens irrespective of census. The new territories furnished cavalry, better and more numerous than the old equites, and light troops of various kinds to replace the velites. Only the heavy foot remained a purely Italian force, and the spread of the Roman citizenship gradually abolished the distinction between a Roman and an allied legion. The higher classes had repeatedly shown themselves unwilling to serve under plebeians (e.g. Varro and Flaminius); Marius preferred to have as soldiers men who did not despise him as an inferior. Under all these influences for good or for evil, the standing army was developed in the first half of the 1st century B.C. The tactical changes in the legion indicate its altered character. The small maniples gave way to heavy " cohorts," ten cohorts forming the legion; as in the Napoleonic wars, light and handy formations became denser and more rigid with the progressive decadence in moral of the rank and file. It is more significant still that in the days of Marius the annual oath of allegiance taken by the soldier came to be replaced by a personal vow, taken once and for all, of loyalty to the general. Ubi bene, ibi patria was an expression of the new spirit of the army, and Caesar had but to address his men as quirites (civilians) to quell a mutiny. Hastati, principes and triarii were now merely expressions in drill and tactics. But perhaps the most important of all these changes was the growth of regimental spirit and tradition. The legions were now numbered throughout the army, and the Tenth Legion has remained a classic instance of a " crack " corps. The moral of the Roman army was founded no longer on patriotism, but on professional pride and esprit de corps. With this military system Rome passed through the era of the Civil Wars, at the end of which Augustus found himself with forty-five legions on his hands. As soon as possible he carried through a great reorganization, by which, after ruthlessly rejecting inferior elements, he obtained a smaller picked force of twenty-five legions, with numerous auxiliary forces. These were permanently stationed in the frontier provinces of the Empire, while Italy was garrisoned by the Praetorian cohorts, and thus was formed a regular long-service army, the strength of which has been estimated at 300,000 men. But these measures, temporarily successful, produced in the end an army which not only was perpetually at variance with the civil populations it was supposed to protect, but frequently murdered the emperors to whom it had sworn allegiance when it raised them to the throne. The evil fame of the Italian cohorts has survived in the phrase " praetorianism " used to imply a venal military despotism. The citizens gradually ceased to bear arms, and the practice of self-mutilation became common. The inevitable denouement was delayed from time to time by the work of an energetic prince. But the ever-increasing inefficiency and factiousness of the legions, and the evanescence of all military spirit in the civil population, made it easy for the barbarians, when once the frontier was broken through, to overrun the decadent Empire. The end came when the Gothic heavy horse annihilated the legions of Valens at Adrianople (A.D. 387).
There was now no resource but to take the barbarians into Roman pay. Under the name of foederati, the Gothic mercenary cavalry played the most conspicuous part in the succeeding wars of the Empire, and began the reign of the heavy cavalry arm, which lasted for almost a thousand years. Even so soon as within six years of the death of Valens twenty thousand Gothic horse decided a great battle in the emperor's favour. These men, however, became turbulent and factious, and it was not until the emperor Leo I. had regenerated the native Roman soldier that the balance was maintained between the national and the hired warrior. The work of this emperor and of his successors found eventual expression in the victories of Belisarius and Narses, in which the Romans, in the new role of horse-archers, so well combined their efforts with those of the foederati that neither the heavy cavalry of the Goths nor the phalanx of Frankish infantry proved to be capable of resisting the imperial forces. At the battle of Casilinum (553) Roman foot-archers and infantry bore no small part of the work. It was thus in the Eastern Empire that the Roman military spirit revived, and the Byzantine army, as evolved from the system of Justinian, became eventually the sole example of a fully organized service to be found in medieval history.
12. The " Dark Ages.
In western Europe all traces of Roman military institutions quickly died out, and the conquerors of the new kingdoms developed fresh systems from the simple tribal levy. The men of the plains were horsemen, those of marsh and moor were foot, and the four greater peoples retained these original characteristics long after the conquest had been completed. In organization the Lombards and Franks, Visigoths and English scarcely differed. The whole military population formed the mass of the army, the chiefs and their personal retainers the elite. The Lombards and the Visigoths were naturally cavalry; the Franks and the English were, equally naturally, infantry, and the armies of the Merovingian kings differed but little from the English fyrd with which Offa and Penda fought their battles. But in these nations the use of horses and armour, at first confined to kings and great chiefs, gradually spread downwards to the ever-growing classes of thegns, comites, &c. Finally, under Charlemagne were developed the general lines of the military organization which eventually became feudalism. For his distant wars he required an efficient and mobile army. Hence successive " capitularies " were issued dealing with matters of recruiting, organization, discipline and field service work. Very noticeable are his system of forts (burgi) with garrisons, his military train of artillery and supplies, and the reappearance of the ancient principle that three or four men should equip and maintain one of themselves as a warrior. These and other measures taken by him tended to produce a strong veteran army, very different in efficiency from the tumultuary levy, to which recourse was had only in the last resort. While war (as a whole) was not yet an art, fighting (from the individual's point of view) had certainly become a special function; after Charlemagne's time the typical feudal army, composed of well-equipped cavalry and ill-armed peasantry serving on foot, rapidly developed. Enemies such as Danes and Magyars could only be dealt with by mounted men who could ride round them, compel them to fight, and annihilate them by the shock of the charge; consequently the practice of leaving the infantry in rear, and even at home, grew up almost as a part of the feudal system of warfare. England, however, sought a different remedy, and thus diverged from the continental methods. This remedy was the creation of a fleet, and, the later Danish wars being there carried out, not by bands of mounted raiders, but by large armies of military settlers, infantry retained its premier position in England up to the day of Hastings. Even the thegns, who there, as abroad, were the mainstay of the army, were heavyarmed infantry. The only contribution made by Canute to the military organization of England was the retention of a picked force of hus caries (household troops) when the rest of the army with which he had conquered his realm was sent back to Scandinavia. At Hastings, the forces of Harold consisted wholly of infantry. The English array was composed of the king and his personal friends, the hus caries, and the contingents of the fyrd under the local thegns; though better armed, they were organized after the manner of their forefathers. On that field there perished the best infantry in Europe, and henceforward for three centuries there was no serious rival to challenge the predominance of the heavy cavalry.
13. The Byzantines (cf. article Later Roman Empire).- While the west of Europe was evolving feudalism, the Byzantine empire was acquiring an army and military system scarcely surpassed by any of those of antiquity and not often equalled up to the most modern times. The foederati disappeared after the time of Justinian, and by A.D. 600 the army had become at once professional and national. For generations, regiments had had a corporate existence. Now brigades and divisions also appeared in war, and, somewhat later, in peace likewise. With the disappearance of the barbarians, the army became one homogeneous service, minutely systematized, and generally resembling an army in the modern sense of the word. The militia of the frontier districts performed efficiently the service of surveillance, and the field forces of disciplined regulars were moved and employed in accordance with well-reasoned principles of war; their maintenance was provided for by a scutage, levied, in lieu of service, on the central provinces of the empire. Later, a complete territorial system of recruiting and command was introduced. Each " theme " (military district) had its own regular garrison, and furnished a field division of some 5000 picked troopers for a campaign in any theatre of war. Provision having been made in peace for a depot system, all weakly men and horses could be left behind, and local duties handed over to second line troops; thus the field forces were practically always on a war footing. Beside the " themes " under their generals, there were certain districts on the frontiers, called " clissuras," placed under chosen officers, and specially organized for emergency service. The corps of officers in the Byzantine army was recruited from the highest classes, and there were many families (e.g. that from which came the celebrated Nicephorus Phocas) in which soldiering was the traditional career. The rank and file were either military settlers or men of the yeoman class, and in either case had a personal interest in the safety of the theme which prevented friction between soldiers and civilians. The principal arm was, of course, cavalry, and infantry was employed only in special duties. Engineer, train and medical services were maintained in each theme. Of the ensemble of the Byzantine army it has been said that " the art of war as it was understood at Constantinople ... was the only system of real merit existing. No western nation could have afforded such a training to its officers till the 16th or ... 17th century." The vitality of such an army remained intact long after the rest of the empire had begun to decay, and though the old army practically ceased to exist after the great disaster of Manzikert (1071), the barbarians and other mercenaries who formed the new service were organized, drilled and trained to the same pitch of military efficiency. Indeed the greatest tactical triumph of the Byzantine system (Calavryta, 1079) was won by an army already largely composed of foreigners. But mercenaries in the end developed praetorianism, as usual, and at last they actually mutinied, in the presence of the enemy, for higher pay (Constantinople, 1204).
From the military point of view the change under feudalism was very remarkable. For the first time in the history of western Europe there appears, in however rough a form, a systematized obligation to serve in arms, regulated on a territorial basis. That army organization in the modern sense - organization for tactics and command - did not develop in any degree commensurate with the development of military administration, was due to the peculiar characteristics of the feudal system, and the virtues and weaknesses of medieval armies were its natural outcome. Personal bravery, the primary virtue of the soldier, could not be wanting in the members of a military class, the metier of which was war and manly exercises. Pride of caste, ambition and knightly emulation, all helped to raise to a high standard the individual efficiency of the feudal cavalier. But the gravest faults of the system, considered as an army organization, were directly due to this personal element. Indiscipline, impatience of superior control, and dangerous knight-errantry, together with the absence of any chain of command, prevented the feudal cavalry from achieving results at all proportionate to the effort expended and the potentialities of a force with so many soldierly qualities. If such defects were habitually found in the best elements of the army - the feudal tenants and subtenants who formed the heavy cavalry arm little could be expected of the despised and ill-armed footsoldiery of the levy. The swift raids of the Danes and others (see above) had created a precedent which in French and German wars was almost invariably followed. The feudal levy rarely appeared at all on the battlefield, and when it was thus employed it was ridden down by the hostile knights, and even by those of its own party, without offering more than the feeblest resistance. Above all, one disadvantage, common to all classes of feudal soldiers, made an army so composed quite untrustworthy. The service which a king was able to exact from his feudatories was so slight (varying from one month to three in the year) that no military operation which was at all likely to be prolonged could be undertaken with any hope of success.
z 5. Medieval Mercenaries. - It was natural, therefore, that a sovereign who contemplated a great war should employ mercenaries. These were usually foreigners, as practically all national forces served on feudal terms. While the greater lords rode with him on all his expeditions, the bulk of his army consisted of professional soldiers, paid by the levy of scutage imposed upon the feudal tenantry. There had always been soldiers of fortune. William's host at Hastings contained many such men; later, the Flemings who invaded England in the days of Henry I. sang to each other ! " Hop, hop, Willeken, hop! England is mine and thine," - and from all the evidence it is clear that in earlier days the hired soldiers were adventurers seeking lands and homes. But these menusuallyproved tobe most undesirable subjects, and sovereigns soon began to pay a money wage for the services of mercenaries properly so called. Such were the troops which figured in English history under Stephen. Such troops, moreover, formed the main part of the armies of the early Plantagenets. They were, as a matter of course, armed and armoured like the knights, with whom they formed the men-at-arms (gendarmes) of the army. Indeed, in the r i th and 12th centuries, the typical army of France or the Empire contains a relatively small percentage of " knights," evidence of which fact may be found even in so fanciful a romance as Aucassin and Nicolete. It must be noted, however, that not all the mercenaries were heavy cavalry; the Brabancon pikeman and the Italian crossbowman (the value of whose weapon was universally recognized) often formed part of a feudal army.
16. Infantry in Feudal Times. - These mercenary foot soldiers came as a rule from districts in which the infantry arm had maintained its ancient predominance in unbroken continuity. The cities of Flanders and Brabant, and those of the Lombard plain, had escaped feudal interference with their methods of fighting, and their burgher militia had developed into solid bodies of heavy-armed pikemen. These were very different from those of the feudal levy, and individual knightly bravery usually failed to make the slightest impression on a band of infantry held together by the stringent corporate feeling of a tradegild. The more adventurous of the young men, like those of the Greek cities, took service abroad and fought with credit in their customary manner. The reign of the " Brabancon " as a mercenary was indeed short, but he continued, in his own country, to fight in the old way, and his successor in the profession of arms, the Genoese crossbowman, was always highly valued. In England, moreover, the infantry of the old fyrd was not suffered to decay into a rabble of half-armed countrymen, and in France a burgher infantry was established by Louis VI. under the name of the milice des communes, with the idea of creating a counterpoise to the power of the feudatories. Feudalism, therefore, as a military system, was short-lived. Its limitations had always necessitated the employment of mercenaries, and in several places a solid infantry was coming into existence, which was drawn from the sturdy and self-respecting middle classes, and in a few generations was to prove itself a worthy opponent not only to the knight, but to the professional man-at-arms.
17. The Crusades
It is an undoubted fact that the long wars of the Crusades produced, directly, but slight improvement in the feudal armies of Europe. In the East large bodies of men were successfully kept under arms for a considerable period, but the application of crusading methods to European war was altogether impracticable. In the first place, much of the permanent force of these armies was contributed by the military orders, which had no place in European political activities. Secondly, enthusiasm mitigated much of the evil of individualism. In the third place, there was no custom to limit the period of service, since the Crusaders had undertaken a definite task and would merely have stultified their own purpose in leaving the work only half done. There were, therefore, sharp contrasts between crusading and European armies. In the latter, systematization was confined to details of recruiting; in the armies of the Cross, men were from time to time obtained by the accident of religious fervour, while at the same time continuous service produced a relatively high system of tactical organization. Different conditions, therefore, produced different methods, and crusading unity and discipline could not have been imposed on an ordinary army, which indeed with its paid auxiliaries was fairly adequate for the somewhat desultory European wars of that time. The statement that the Crusaders had a direct influence on the revival of infantry is hardly susceptible of convincing demonstration, but it is at any rate beyond question that the social and economic results of the Crusades materially contributed to the downfall of the feudal knight, and in consequence to a rise in the relative importance of the middle classes. Further, not only were the Crusading knights compelled by their own want of numbers to rely on the good qualities of the foot, but the foot themselves were the " survivors of the fittest," for the weakly men died before they reached the Holy Land, and with them there were always knights who had lost their horses and could not obtain remounts. Moreover, when " simple " and " gentle " both took the Cross there could be no question of treating Crusaders as if they were the mere feudal levy. But the little direct influence of the whole of these wars upon military progress in Europe is shown clearly enough by the fact that at the very close of the Crusades a great battle was lost through knight-errantry of the true feudal type (Mansurah).
18. The Period of Transition (1290-1490). - Besides the infantry already mentioned, that of Scotland and that of the German cities fought with credit on many fields. Their arm was the pike, and they were always formed in solid masses (called in Scotland, schiltrons). The basis of the medieval commune being the suppression of the individual in the social unit, it was natural that the burgher infantry should fight " in serried ranks and in better order " than a line of individual knights, who, moreover, were almost powerless before walled cities. But these forces lacked offensive power, and it was left for the English archers, whose importance dates from the latter years of the i 3th century, to show afresh, at Crecy, Poitiers and Agincourt, the value of missile action. When properly supported by other arms, they proved themselves capable of meeting both the man-at-arms and the pikeman. The greatest importance attaches to the evolution of this idea of mutual support and combination. Once it was realized, war became an art, and armies became specially organized bodies of troops of different arms. It cannot be admitted, indeed, as has been claimed, that the 14th century had a scientific system of tactics, or that the campaign of Poitiers was arranged by the French " general staff." Nevertheless, during this century armies were steadily coming to consist of expert soldiers, to the exclusion of national levies and casual mercenaries. It is true that, by his system of " indents," Edward III. of England raised national armies of a professional type, but the English soldier thus enrolled, when discharged by his own sovereign, naturally sought similar employment elsewhere. This system produced, moreover, a class of unemployed soldiers, and these, with others who became adventurers from choice or necessity, and even with foreign troops, formed the armies which fought in the Wars of the Roses - armies which differed but slightly from others of the time. The natural result of these wars was to implant a hatred of soldiery in the heart of a nation which had formerly produced the best fighting men in Europe, a hatred which left a deep imprint on the constitutional and social life of the people. In France, where Joan of Arc passed like a meteor across the military firmament, the idea of a national regular army took a practical form in the middle of the 15th century. Still, the forces thus brought into existence were not numerous, and the soldier of fortune, in spite of such experiences of his methods as those of the Wars of the Roses, was yet to attain the zenith of his career.
19. The Condottieri
The immediate result of this confused period of destruction and reconstruction was the condottiere, who becomes important about 1300. In Italy, where the condottieri chiefly flourished, they were in demand owing to the want of feudal cavalry, and the inability of burgher infantry to undertake wars of aggression. The " free companies " (who served in great numbers in France and Spain as well as in Italy) were " military societies very much like trade-gilds," which (so to speak) were hawked from place to place by their managing directors, and hired temporarily by princes who needed their services. Unlike the older hirelings, they were permanently organized, and thus, with their experience and discipline, became the best troops in existence. But the carrying on of war " in the spirit of a handicraft " led to bloodless battles, indecisive campaigns, and other unsatisfactory results, and the reign of the condottieri proper was over by 1400, subsequent free companies being raised on a more strictly national basis. With all their defects, however, they were the pioneers of modern organization. In the inextricable tangle of old and new methods which constitutes the military system of the 15th century, it is possible to discern three marked tendencies. One is the result of a purely military conception of the now special art of war, and its exposition as an art by men who devote their whole career to it. The second is the idea of a national army, resulting from many social, economical and political causes. The third is the tendency towards minuter organization and subdivision within the army. Whereas the individual feudatories had disliked the close supervision of a minor commander, and their army had in consequence remained always a loosely-knit unit, the men who made war into an art belonged to small bands or corps, and naturally began their organization from the lower units. Herein, therefore, was the germ of the regimental system of the present day.
20. The Swiss
The best description of a typical European army at the opening of the new period of development is that of the French army in Italy in 1494, written by Paolo Giovio. He notes with surprise that the various corps of infantry and cavalry are distinct, the usual practice of the time being to combine one lancer, one archer, one groom, &c., into a small unit furnished and commanded by the lancer. There were Swiss and German infantry, armed with pike and halbert, with a few " shot," who marched in good order to music. There were the heavy men-at-arms (gendarmes), accompanied as of old by mounted archers, who, however, now fought independently. There were, further, Gascon slingers and crossbowmen, who had probably acquired, from contact with Spain, some of the lightness and dash of their neighbours. The artillery train was composed of 140 heavy pieces and a great number of lighter guns; these were then and for many generations thereafter a special arm outside the military establishments (see Artillery). In all this the only relic of the days of Crecy is the administrative combination of the men-at-arms and the horse archers, and even this is no longer practised in action. The most important element in the army is the heavy infantry of Swiss and Germans. The Swiss had for a century past gradually developed into the most formidable troops of the day. The wars of Zizka in Bohemia (1420) materially assisted in the downfall of the heavy cavalry; and the victories of the Swiss, beginning with Sempach (1382), had by 1480 proved that their solid battalions, armed with the long pike and the halberd, were practically invulnerable to all but missile and shock action combined. By fortune of war, they never met the English, who had shown the way to deal with the schiltron as early as Falkirk. So great was their confidence against ordinary troops, that on one occasion (1444) they detached 1600 men to engage 50,000.
It was natural that a series of victories such as Granson, Morat and Nancy should place them in the forefront of the military nations of Europe. The whole people devoted itself thereupon to professional soldiering, particularly in the French service, and though their monopoly of mercenary employment lasted a short time only, they continued to furnish regiments to the armies of France, Spain and the Pope up to the most modern times. But their efficiency was thoroughly sapped by the growth of a mutinous and insubordinate spirit, the memory of which has survived in the proverb Point d'argent, point de Suisse, and inspired Machiavelli with the hatred of mercenaries which marks every page of his work on the art of war. One of their devices for extorting money was to appear at the muster with many more soldiers than had been contracted for by their employers, who were forced to submit to this form of blackmail. At last the French, tired of these caprices, inflicted on the Swiss the crushing defeat of Marignan, and their tactical system received its death-blow from the Spaniards at Pavia (1525).
21. The Landsknechts
The modern army owes far more of its organization and administrative methods to the Landsknechts ("men of the country," as distinct from foreigners) than to the Swiss. As the latter were traditionally the friends of France, so these Swabians were the mainstay of the Imperial armies, though both were mercenaries. The emperor Maximilian exerted himself to improve the new force, which soon became the model for military Europe. A corps of Landsknechts was usually raised by a system resembling that of " indents," commissions being issued by the sovereign to leaders of repute to enlist men.
A " colour " (Fi hnlein) numbered usually about 400 men, a corps consisted of a varying number of colours, some corps having 12,000 men. From these troops, with their intense pride, esprit de corps and comradeship, there has come down to modern times much of present-day etiquette, interior economy and " regimental customs " - in other words, nearly all that is comprised in the " regimental " system. Amongst the most notable features of their system were the functions of the provost, who combined the modern offices of provost-marshal, transport and supply officer, and canteen manager; the disciplinary code, which admitted the right of the rank and file to judge offences touching the honour of the regiment; and the women who, lawfully or unlawfully attached to the soldiers, marched with the regiment and had a definite place in its corporate life. The conception of the regiment as the home of the soldier was thus realized in fact.
22. The Spanish Army
The tendencies towards professional soldiering and towards subdivision had now pronounced themselves. At the same time, while national armies, as dreamed of by Machiavelli, were not yet in existence, two at least of the powers were beginning to work towards an ideal. This ideal was an army which was entirely at the disposal of its own sovereign, trained to the due professional standard, and organized in the best way found by experience to be applicable to military needs. On these bases was formed the old Spanish army which, from Pavia (1525) to Rocroi (1643), was held by common consent to be the finest service in existence. Almost immediately after emerging from the period of internal development, Spain found herself obliged to maintain an army for the Italian wars. In the first instance this was raised from amongst veterans of the war of Granada, who enlisted for an indefinite time. Probably the oldest line regiments in Europe are those descended from the famous tercios, whose formation marks the beginning of military establishments, just as the Landsknechts were the founders of military manners and customs. The great captains who led the new army soon assimilated the best points of the Swiss system, and it was the Spanish army which evolved the typical combination of pike and musket which flourished up to 1700. Outside the domain the tactics, it must be credited with an important contribution to the science of army organization, in the depot system, whereby the tercios in the field were continually " fed " and kept up to strength. The social position of the soldier was that of a gentleman, and the young nobles (who soon came to prefer the tercios to the cavalry service) thought it no shame, when their commands were reduced, to " take a pike " in another regiment. The provost and his gallows were as much in evidence in a Spanish camp as in one of Landsknechts, but the comradeship and esprit de corps of a tercio were the admiration of all contemporary soldiers. With all its good qualities, however, this army was not truly national; men soon came from all the various nations ruled by the Habsburgs, and the soldier of fortune found employment in a tercio as readily as elsewhere. But it was a great gain that corps, as such, were fully recognized as belonging to the government, however shifting the personnel might be. Permanence of regimental existence had now been attained, though the universal acceptance and thorough application of the principle were still far distant. During the 16th century, the French regular army (originating in the compagnies d'ordonnance of 1445), which was always in existence, even when the Swiss and gendarmes were the best part of the field forces, underwent a considerable development, producing amongst other things the military terminology of the present day. But the wars of religion effectually checked all progress in the latter part of the century, and the European reputation of the French army dates only from the latter part of the Thirty Years' War.
23. The Sixteenth Century
The battle of St Quentin (1557) is usually taken as the date from which the last type of a purely mercenary arm (as distinct from corps) comes into prominence. " Brabancon " or " Swiss " implied pikemen without further qualification, the new term "Reiter" similarly implied mercenary cavalry fighting with the pistol. Heavy cavalry could disperse arquebusiers and musketeers, but it was helpless against solid masses of pikemen; the Reiters solved the difficulty by the use of the pistol. They were well armoured and had little to fear from musket-balls. Arrayed in deep squadrons, therefore, they rode up to the pikes with impunity, and fired methodically dens le tas, each rank when it had discharged its pistols filing to the rear to reload. These Reiters were organized in squadrons of variable strength, and recruited in the same manner as were the Landsknechts. They were much inferior, however, to the latter in their discipline and general conduct, for cavalry had many more individual opportunities of plunder than the foot, and the rapacity and selfishness of the Reiters were consequently in marked contrast to the good order and mutual helpfulness in the field and in quarters which characterized the regimental system of the Landsknechts.
24. Dutch System
The most interesting feature of the Dutch system, which was gradually evolved by the patriots in the long War of Independence, was its minute attention to detail. In the first years of the war, William the Silent had to depend, for field operations, on mutinous and inefficient mercenaries and on raw countrymen who had nothing but devotion to oppose to the discipline and skill of the best regular army in the world. Such troops were, from the point of view of soldiers like Alva, mere canaille, and the ludicrous ease with which their armies were destroyed (as at Jemmingen and Mookerheyde), at the cost of the lives of perhaps a dozen Spanish veterans, went far to justify this view. But, fortunately for the Dutch, their fortified towns were exceedingly numerous, and the individual bravery of citizen-militia, who were fighting for the lives of every soul within their walls, baffled time after time all the efforts. of Alva's men. In the open, Spanish officers took incredible liberties with the enemy; once, at any rate, they marched for hours together along submerged embankments with hostile vessels firing into them from either side. Behind walls the Dutch were practically a match for the most furious valour of the assailants.
The insurgents' first important victory in the open field, that of Rymenant near Malines (1577), was won by the skill of " Bras de Fer," de la Noue, a veteran French general, and the stubbornness of the English contingent of the Dutch army - for England, from 1572 onwards, sent out an ever-increasing number of volunteers. This battle was soon followed by the great defeat of Gembloux (1578), and William the Silent was not destined to see the rise of the Dutch army. Maurice of Nassau was the real organizer of victory. In the wreck of all feudal and burgher military institutions, he turned to the old models of Xenophon, Polybius, Aelian and the rest. Drill, as rigid and as complicated as that of the Macedonian phalanx, came into vogue, the infantry was organized more strictly into companies and regiments, the cavalry into troops or comets. The Reiter tactics of the pistol were followed by the latter, the former consisted of pikes, halberts and " shot." This form was generally followed in central Europe, as usual, without the spirit, but in Holland it was the greater trustworthiness of the rank and file that allowed of more flexible formations, and here we no longer see the foot of an army drawn up, as at Jemmingen, in one solid and immovable " square." In their own country and with the system best suited thereto, the Dutch, who moreover acquired greater skill and steadiness day by day, maintained their ground against all the efforts of a Parma and a Spinola. Indeed, it is the best tribute to the vitality of the Spanish system that the inevitable debacle was so long delayed. The campaigns of Spinola in Germany demonstrated that the " Dutch " system, as a system for general use, was at any rate no better than the system over which it had locally asserted its superiority, and the spirit, and not the form, of Maurice's practice achieved the ultimate victory of the Netherlanders. In the Thirty Years' War, the unsuccessful armies of Mansfeld and many others were modelled on the Dutch system, - the forces of Spinola, of Tilly and of Wallenstein, on the Spanish. In other words, these systems as such meant little; the discipline and spirit behind them, everything. Yet the contribution made by the Dutch system to the armies of to-day was not small; to Maurice and his comrades we owe, first the introduction of careful and accurate drill, and secondly the beginnings of an acknowledged science of war, the groundwork of both being the theory and practice of antiquity. The present method of "forming fours" in the British infantry is ultimately derived from Aelian, just as the first beats of the drums in a march represent the regimental calls of the Landsknechts, and the depots and the drafts for the service battalions date from the Italian wars of Spain.
25. The Thirty Years' War. - Hitherto all armies had been raised or reduced according to the military and political situation of the moment. Spain had indeed maintained a relatively high effective in peace, but elsewhere a few personal guards, small garrisons, and sometimes a small regular army to serve as a nucleus, constituted the only permanent forces kept under arms by sovereigns, though, in this era of perpetual wars, armies were almost always on a war footing. The expense of maintenance at that time practically forbade any other system than this, called in German Werbe-system, a term for which in English there is no nearer equivalent than " enlistment " or " levy " system. It is worth noticing that this very system is identical in principle with that of the United States at the present day, viz., a small permanent force, inflated to any required size at the moment of need. The exceptional conditions of the Dutch army, indeed, secured for its regiments a long life; yet when danger was finally over, a large portion of the army was at once reduced. The history of the British army from about 1740 to 1820 is a most striking, if belated, example of the Werbe-system in practice. But the Thirty Years' War naturally produced an unusual continuity of service in corps raised about 1620-1630, and fifty years later the principle of the standing army was universally accepted. It is thus that the senior regiments of the Prussian and Austrian armies date from about 1630. At this time an event took place which was destined to have a profound influence on the military art. Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden landed in Germany with an army better organized, trained and equipped than any which had preceded it. This army, by its great victory of Breitenfeld (1631), inaugurated the era of " modern " warfare, and it is to the system of Gustavus that the student must turn for the initial point of the progressive development which has produced the armies of to-day. Spanish and Dutch methods at once became as obsolete as those of the Landsknechts.
26. The Swedish Army. - The Swedish army was raised by a carefully regulated system of conscription, which was " preached in every pulpit in Sweden." There were indeed enlisted regiments of the usual type, and it would seem that Gustavus obtained the best even of the soldiers of fortune. But the national regiments were raised on the Indelta system. Each officer and man, under this scheme, received a land grant within the territorial district of his corps, and each of these districts supplied recruits in numbers proportionate to its population. This curious mixture of feudal and modern methods produced 'the best elements of an army, which, aided by the tactical and technical improvements introduced by Gustavus, proved itself incomparably superior to its rivals. Of course the long and bloody campaigns of 1630-34 led to the admission of great numbers of mercenaries even into the Swedish corps; and German, Scottish and other regiments figured largely, not only in the armies of Duke Bernhard and his successors, but in the army of Gustavus' own lifetime. As early as 1632 one brigade of the army was distinguished by the title " Swedish," as alone containing no foreigners. Yet the framework was much the same as it had been in 1630. The battle-organization of two lines and two wings, which was typical of the later " linear " tactics, began to supplant the system of the tercios. How cumbrous the latter had become by 1630 may be judged from any battle-plan of the period, and notably from that of Liitzen. Gustavus' cavalry fought four or three deep only, and depended as little as possible on the pistol. The work of riding down the pikes was indeed rendered easier by the improved tactical handiness of the musketeers, but it was fiery leading which alone compelled victory, for there were relatively few Swedish horse and many squadrons of Germans and others, who in themselves were far less likely to charge boldly than the " Pappenheimers " and other crack corps of the enemy. The infantry was of the highest class, and only on that condition could loose and supple lines be trusted to oppose the solid tercios of Tilly and Wallenstein. Cumbrous indeed these were, but by long practice they had acquired no small manoeuvring power, of which Breitenfeld affords a striking example. The Swedes, however, completely surpassed them. The progress thus made may be gauged from the fact that under Gustavus the largest closed body of infantry was less than 300 strong. Briefly, the genius of a great commander, the ardour of a born cavalry leader, better arms and better organization, carried the Swedes to the end of their career of victory, but how personal was the vis viva which inspired the army was quickly noticeable after the death of Gustavus. Even a Bernhard could, in the end, evoke no more heroism from a Swedish army than from any other, and the real Swedish troops fought their last battle at Nordlingen (1634). After this, little distinguished the " Swedish " forces from the general mass of the armies of the time, save their system, to which, and to its influence on the training of such leaders as Bailer, Torstensson and Wrangel, all their later victories were due. So much of Gustavus' work survived even the carnage of NOrdlingen, and his system always obtained better results, even with the heterogeneous troops of this later period, than any other of the time.
27. The English Civil War (see Great Rebellion). - The armies on either side which, about the same time, were fighting out the constitutional quarrel in England were essentially different from all those of the continent, though their formal organization was similar to that of the Swedes. The military expression of a national conscience had appeared rarely indeed in the Thirty Years' War, which was a means of livelihood for, rather than an assertion of principle by, those who engaged in it. In England, on the other hand, there were no mercenaries, and the whole character of the operations was settled by the burning desire of a true " nation in arms " to decide at once, by the arbitrament of battle, the vital points at issue. A German critic (Fritz Hoenig) has indicated Worcester as the prototype of Sedan; at any rate, battles of this kind invariably resulted in failure when entrusted to a " standing " army of the 18th century. But the national armies disappeared at the end of the struggle; after the Restoration, English political aims became, so far as military activity was concerned, similar in scope and execution to those of the continent; and the example of Cromwell and the " New Model," which might have revolutionized military Europe, passed away without having any marked influence on the armies of other nations.
28. Standing Armies
Nine years after NOrdlingen, the old Spanish army fought its last and most honourable battle at Rocroi. Its conquerors were the new French troops, whose victory created as great a sensation as Pavia and Crecy had done. Infusing a new military spirit into the formal organization of Gustavus' system, the French army was now to " set the fashion " for a century. France had been the first power to revive regular forces, and the famous " Picardie " regiment disputed for precedence even with the old tercios. The country had emerged from the confusion of the past century with the foreign and domestic strength of a practically absolute central power. The Fronde continued the military history of the army from the end of the Thirty Years' War; and when the period of consolidation was finally closed, all was prepared for the introduction of a " standing army," practically always at war strength, and entirely at the disposal of the sovereign. The reorganization of the military establishments by Louvois may be taken as the formal date at which standing armies came into prominence (see historical sketch of the French army below). Other powers rapidly followed tile lead of France, for the defects of enlisted troops had become very clear, and the possession of an army always ready for war was an obvious advantage in dynastic politics. The French proprietary system of regiments, and the general scheme of army administration which replaced it, may be taken as typical of the armies of other great powers in the time of Louis XIV.
29. Character of the Standing Armies
A peculiar character was from the first imparted to the new organizations by the results of the Thirty Years' War. A well-founded horror of military barbarity had the effect of separating the soldier from the civilian by an impassable gulf. The drain of thirty years on the population, resources and finances of almost every country in middle Europe, everywhere limited the size of the new armies; and the decision in 1648 of all questions save those of dynastic interest dictated the nature of their employment. The best soldiers of the time pronounced in favour of small field armies, for in the then state of communications and agriculture large forces proved in practice too cumbrous for good work. In every country, therefore, the army took the form of a professional body, nearly though not quite independent of extra recruits for war, set apart entirely from all contact with civil life, rigidly restricted as to conduct in peace and war, and employed mostly in the " maintenance " of their superiors' private quarrels. Iron discipline produced splendid tenacity in action, and wholesale desertion at all times. In the Seven Years' War, for instance, the Austrians stated one-fifth of their total loss as due to desertion, and Thackeray's Barry Lyndon gives no untrue picture of the life of a soldier under the old regime. Further, since men were costly, rigid economy of their lives in action, and minute care for their feeding and shelter on the march, occupied a disproportionate amount of the attention of their generals. Armies necessarily moved slowly and remained concentrated to facilitate supply and to check desertion, and thus, when a commander had every unit of his troops within a short ride of his headquarters, there was little need for intermediate general officers, and still less for a highly trained staff.
30. Organization in the 18th Century. - All armies were now almost equal in fighting value, and war was consequently reduced to a set of rules (not principles), since superiority was only to be gained by methods, not by men. Soldiers such as Marlborough, who were superior to these jejune prescriptions, met indeed with uniform success. But the methods of the 18th century failed to receive full illustration, save by the accident of a great captain's direction, even amidst the circumstances for which they were designed. It is hardly to be wondered at, therefore, that they failed, when forced by a new phase of development to cope with events completely beyond their element. The inner organization was not markedly altered. Artillery was still outside the normal organization of the line of battle, though in the period 1660-1740 much was done in all countries to improve the material, and above all to turn the personnel into disciplined soldiers. Cavalry was organized in regiments and squadrons, and armed with sabre and pistol. Infantry had by 1703 begun to assume its three-deep line formation and the typical weapons of the arm, musket and bayonet. Regiments and battalions were the units of combat as well as organization. In the fight the company was entirely merged in the higher unit, but as an administrative body it still remained. As for the higher organization, an army consisted simply of a greater or less number of battalions and squadrons, without, as a rule, intermediate commands and groupings. The army was arrayed as a whole in two lines of battle, with the infantry in the centre and the cavalry on the flanks, and an advanced guard; the so-called reserve consisting merely of troops not assigned to the regular commands. It was divided, for command in action, into right and left wings, both of cavalry and infantry, of each line. This was the famous " linear " organization, which in theory produced the maximum effort in the minimum time, but in practice, handled by officers whose chief care was to avoid the expenditure of effort, achieved only negative results. To see its defects one need only suppose a battalion of the first line hard pressed by the enemy. A battalion of the second line was directly behind it, but there was no authority, less than that of the wing commander, which could order it up to support the first. All the conditions of the time were opposed to tactical subdivision, as the term is now understood. That the 18th century did not revive schiltrons was due to the new fire tactics, to which everything but control was sacrificed. This " control," as has been said, implied not so much command as police supervision. But far beyond any faults of organization and recruiting, the inherent vice of these armies was, as Machiavelli had pointed out two centuries previously, and as Prussia was to learn to her cost in 1806, tha t once they were thoroughly defeated, the only thing left to be done was to make peace at once, since there was no other armed force capable of retrieving a failure.
31. Frederick the Great. - The military career of Frederick the Great is very different from those of his predecessors. With an army organized on the customary system, and trained and equipped, better indeed, but still on the same lines as those of his rivals, the king of Prussia achieved results out of all proportion to those imagined by contemporary soldiers. It is to his campaigns, therefore, that the student must refer for the real, if usually latent, possibilities of the army of the 18th century. The prime secret of his success lay in the fact that he was his own master, and responsible to no superior for the uses to which he put his men. This position had never, since the introduction of standing armies, been attained by any one, even Eugene and Leopold of Dessau being subject to the common restriction; and with this extraordinary advantage over his opponents, Frederick had further the firmness and ruthless energy of a great commander. Prussia, moreover, was more strictly organized than other countries, and there was relatively little of that opposition of local authorities to the movement of troops which was conspicuous in Austria. The military successes of Prussia, therefore, up to 1757, were not primarily due to the system and the formal tactics, but were the logical outcome of greater energy in the leading, and less friction in the administration, of her armies. But the conditions were totally different in 1758-1762, when the full force of the alliance against Prussia developed itself in four theatres of war. Frederick was driven back to the old methods of making war, and his men were no longer the soldiers of Leuthen and Hohenfriedberg. If discipline was severe before, it was merciless then; the king obtained men by force and fraud from every part of Germany, and had both to repress and to train them in the face of the enemy. That under such conditions, and with such men, the weaker party finally emerged triumphant, was indeed a startling phenomenon. Yet its result for soldiers was not the production of the national army, though the dynastic forces had once more shown themselves incapable of compassing decisive victories, nor yet the removal of the barrier between army and people, for the operations of Frederick's recruiting agents made a lasting impression, and, further, large numbers of men who had thought to make a profession of arms were turned adrift at the end of the war. On the contrary, all that the great and prolonged tour de force of these years produced was a tendency, quite in the spirit of the age, to make a formal science out of the art of war. Better working and better methods were less sought after than systematization of the special practices of the most successful commanders. Thus Frederick's methods, since 1758 essentially the same as those of others, were taken as the basis of the science now for the first time called " strategy," the fact that his opponents had also practised it without success being strangely ignored. Along with this came a mania for imitation. Prussian drill, uniforms and hair-powder were slavishly copied by every state, and for the next twenty years, and especially when the war-trained officers and men had left active service, the purest pedantry reigned in all the armies of Europe, including that of Prussia. One of the ablest of Frederick's subordinates wrote a book in which he urged that the cadence of the infantry step should be increased by one pace per minute. The only exceptions to the universal prevalence of this spirit were in the Austrian army, which was saved from atrophy by its Turkish wars, and in a few British and French troops who served in the American War of Independence. The British regiments were sent to die of fever in the West Indies; when the storm of the French Revolution broke over Europe, the Austrian army was the only stable element of resistance.
32. The French Revolution
Very different were the armies of the Revolution. Europe, after being given over to professional soldiers for five hundred years, at last produced the modern system of the " nation in arms." The French volunteers of 1792 were a force by which the routine generals of the enemy, working with instruments and by rules designed for other conditions, were completely puzzled, and France gained a short respite. The year 1793 witnessed the most remarkable event that is recorded in the history of armies. Raw enthusiasm was replaced, after the disasters and defections which marked the beginning of the campaign, by a systematic and unsparing conscription, and the masses of men thus enrolled, inspired by ardent patriotism and directed by the ferocious energy of the Committee of Public Safety, met the disciplined formalists with an opposition before which the attack completely collapsed. It was less marvellous in fact than in appearance that this should be so. Not to mention the influence of pedantry and senility on the course of the operations, it maybe admitted that Frederick and his army at their best would have been unable to accomplish the downfall of the now thoroughly roused French. Tactically, the fire of the regulars' line caused the Revolutionary levies to melt away by thousands, but men were ready to fill the gaps. No complicated supply system bound the French to magazines and fortresses, for Europe could once more feed an army without convoys, and roads were now good and numerous. No fear of desertion kept them concentrated under canvas, for each man was personally concerned with the issue. If the allies tried to oppose them on an equal front, they were weak at all points, and the old organization had no provision for the working of a scattered army. While ten victorious campaigns had not carried Marlborough nearer to Paris than some marches beyond the Sambre, two campaigns now carried a French army to within a few miles of Vienna. It was obvious that, before such forces and such mobility, the old system was doomed, and with each successive failure the old armies became more discouraged. Napoleon's victories finally closed this chapter of military development, and by 1808 the only army left to represent it was the British. Even to this the Peninsular War opened a line of progress, which, if different in many essentials from continental practice, was in any case much more than a copy of an obsolete model.
33. The Conscription
In 1793, at a moment when the danger to France was so great as to produce the rigorous emergency methods of the Reign of Terror, the combined enemies of the Republic had less than 300,000 men in the field between Basel and Dunkirk. On the other hand, the call of the " country in danger " produced more than four times this number of men for the French armies within a few months. Louis XIV., even when all France had been awakened to warlike enthusiasm by a similar threat (1709), had not been able to put in the field more than one-fifth of this force. The methods of the great war minister Carnot were enforced by the ruthless committee, and when men's lives were safer before the bayonets of the allies than before the civil tribunals at home, there was no difficulty in enlisting the whole military spirit of France. There is therefore not much to be said as to the earliest application of the conscription, at least as regards its formal working, since any system possessing elasticity would equally have served the purpose. In the meanwhile, the older plans of organization had proved inadequate for dealing with such imposing masses of men. Even with disciplined soldiers they had long been known as applicable only to small armies, and the deficiencies of the French, with their consequences in tactics and strategy, soon produced the first illustrations of modern methods. Unable to meet the allies in the plain, they fought in broken ground and on the widest possible front. This of course produced decentralization and subdivision; and it became absolutely necessary that each detachment on a front of battle 30 m. long (e.g. Stokach) should be properly commanded and self-sufficing. The army was therefore constituted in a number of divisions, each of two or more brigades with cavalry and artillery sufficient for its own needs. It was even more important that each divisional general, with his own staff, should be a real commander, and not merely the supervisor of a section of the line of battle, for he was almost in the position that a commander-in-chief had formerly held. The need of generals was easily supplied when there was so wide a field of selection. For the allies the mere adoption of new forms was without result, since it was contrary both to tradition and to existing organization. The attempts which were made in this direction did not tend to mitigate the evils of inferior numbers and moral. The French soon followed up the divisional system with the further organization of groups of divisions under specially selected general officers; this again quickly developed into the modern army corps.
34 . Napoleon. - Revolutionary government, however, gave way in a few years to more ordinary institutions, and the spirit of French politics had become that of aggrandizement in the name of liberty. The ruthless application of the new principle of masses had been terribly costly, and the disasters of 1799 reawakened in the mass of the people the old dislike of war and service. Even before this it had been found necessary to frame a new act, the famous law proposed by General Jourdan (1798). With this the conscription for general service began. The legal term of five years was so far exceeded that the service came to be looked upon as a career, or servitude, for life; it was therefore both unavoidable and profitable to admit substitutes. Even in 1806 one quarter of Napoleon's conscripts failed to come up for duty. The Grande Armee thus from its inception contained elements of doubtful value, and only the tradition of victory and the 50% of veterans still serving aided the genius of Napoleon to win the brilliant victories of 1805 and 1806. But these veterans were gradually eliminated by bloodshed and service exposure, and when, after the peace of Tilsit, " French " armies began to be recruited from all sorts of nations, decay had set in. As early as 1806 the emperor had had to " anticipate " the conscription, that is, call up the conscripts before their time, and by 1810 the percentage of absentees in France had grown to about 80, the remainder being largely those who lacked courage to oppose the authorities. Finally, the armies of Napoleon became masses of men of all nations fighting even more unwillingly than the armies of the old regime. Little success attended the emperor's attempt to convert a " nation in arms " into a great dynastic army. Considered as such, it had even fewer elements of solidity than the standing armies of the 18th century, for it lacked the discipline which had made the regiments of Frederick invincible. After 1812 it was attacked by huge armies of patriots which possessed advantages of organization and skilful direction that the levee en masse of 1 793 had lacked. Only the now fully developed genius and magnificent tenacity of Napoleon staved off for a time the debdcle which was as inevitable as had been that of the old regime.
35. The Grande Armee
In 1805-1806, when the older spirit of the Revolution was already represented by one-half only of French soldiers, the actual steadiness and manoeuvring power of the Grande Armee had attained its highest level. The army at this time was organized into brigades, divisions and corps, the last-named unit being as a rule a marshal's command, and always completed as a small army with all the necessary arms and services. Several such corps (usually of unequal strength) formed the army. The greatest weakness of the organization, which was in other respects most pliant and adaptable, was the want of good staff-officers. The emperor had so far cowed his marshals that few of them could take the slightest individual responsibility, and the combatant staffofficers remained, as they had been in the 18th century, either confidential clerks or merely gallopers. No one but a Napoleon could have managed huge armies upon these terms; in fact the marshals, from Berthier downwards, generally failed when in independent commands. Of the three arms, infantry and cavalry regiments were organized in much the same way as in Frederick's day, though tactical methods were very different, and discipline far inferior. The greatest advance had taken place in the artillery service. Field and horse batteries, as organized and disciplined units, had come into general use during the Revolutionary wars, and the division, corps and army commanders had always batteries assigned to their several commands as a permanent and integral part of the fighting troops. Napoleon himself, and his brilliant artillery officers Senarmont and Drouot, brought the arm to such a pitch of efficiency that it enabled him to win splendid victories almost by its own action. As a typical organization we may take the III. corps of Marshal Davout in 1806. This was formed of the following troops: Cavalry brigade - General Vialannes - three regiments, 1538 men. Corps artillery, 12 guns.
1st Division - General Morand - five infantry regiments in three brigades, 12 guns, 10,820 men.
2nd Division - General Friant - five regiments in three brigades, 8 guns, 8758 men.
3rd Division - General Gudin - four regiments in three brigades, 12 guns, 9077 men.
A comparison of this ordre de bataille with that of a modern army corps will show that the general idea of corps organization has undergone but slight modification since the days of Napoleon. More troops allotted to departmental duties, and additional engineers for the working of modern scientific aids, are the only new features in the formal organization of a corps in the 20th century. Yet the spirit of 1806 and that of 1 9 06 were essentially different, and the story of the development of this difference through the 19th century closes for the present the history of progress in tactical organization.
36. The Wars of Liberation
The Prussian defeat at Jena was followed by a national surrender so abject as to prove conclusively the eternal truth, that a divorce of armies from national interests is completely fatal to national well-being. But the oppression of the victors soon began to produce a spirit of ardent patriotism which, carefully directed by a small band of able soldiers, led in the end to a national uprising of a steadier and more lasting kind than that of the French Revolution. Prussia was compelled, by the rigorous treaty of peace, to keep a small force only under arms, and circumstances thus drove her into the path of military development which she subsequently followed. The stipulation of the treaty was evaded by the Kriimper system, by which men were passed through the ranks as hastily as possible and dismissed to the reserve, their places being taken by recruits. The regimental establishments were therefore mere cadres, and the personnel, recruited by universal service with few exemptions, ever-changing. This system depended on the willingness of the reserves to come up when called upon, and the arrogance of the French was quite sufficient to ensure this. The denouement of the Napoleonic wars came too swiftly for the full development of the armed strength of Prussia on these lines; and at the outbreak of the Wars of Liberation a newly formed Landwehr and numerous volunteer corps took the field with no more training than the French had had in 1793. Still, the principles of universal service (allgemeine Wehrpjlicht) and of the army reserve were, for the first time in modern history, systematically put into action, and modern military development has concerned itself more with the consolidation of the Kriimper system than with the creation of another. The debut of the new Prussian army was most unsuccessful, for Napoleon had now attained the highest point of soldierly skill, and managed to inflict heavy defeats on the allies. But the Prussians were not discouraged; like the French in 1793 they took to broken ground, and managed to win combats against all leaders opposed to them except Napoleon himself. The Russian army formed a solid background for the Prussians, and in the end Austria joined the coalition. Reconstituted on modern lines, the Austrian army in 1813, except in the higher leading, was probably the best-organized on the continent. After three desperate campaigns the Napoleonic regime came to an end, and men felt that there would be no such struggle again in their lifetime. Military Europe settled down into grooves along whichit ran until 1866. France, exhausted of its manhood, sought a field for military activities in colonial wars waged by long-service troops. The conscription was still in force, but the citizens served most unwillingly, and substitution produced a professional army, which as usual became a dynastic tool. Austria, always menaced with foreign war and internal disorder, maintained the best army in Europe. The British army, though employed far differently, retained substantially the Peninsular system.
37. European Armies 1815-1870. - The events of the period 1815-1859 showed afresh that such long-service armies were incomparably the best form of military machine for the purpose of giving expression to a hostile " view " (not " feeling "). Austrian armies triumphed in Italy, French armies in Spain, Belgium, Algeria, Italy and Russia, British in innumerable and exacting colonial wars. Only the Prussian forces retained the characteristics of the levies of 1813, and the enthusiasm which had carried these through Leipzig and the other great battles was hardly to be expected of their sons, ranged on the side of despotism in the troubled times of 1848-1850. But the principle was not permitted to die out. The Bronnzell-Olmiitz incident of 1850 (see Seven Weeks' War) showed that the organization of 1813 was defective, and this was altered in spite of the fiercest opposition of all classes. Soon afterwards, and before the new Prussian army proved itself on a great battlefield, the American Civil War, a fiercer struggle than any of those which followed it in Europe, illustrated the capabilities and the weaknesses of voluntary-service troops. Here the hostile " view " was replaced by a hostile " feeling," and the battles of the disciplined enthusiasts on either side were of a very different kind from those of contemporary Europe. But, if the experiences of 1861-1865 proved that armies voluntarily enlisted " for the war " were capable of unexcelled feats of endurance, they proved further that such armies, whose discipline and training in peace were relatively little, or indeed wholly absent, were incapable of forcing a swift decision. The European " nation in arms," whatever its other failings, certainly achieved its task, or failed decisively to do so, in the shortest possible time. Only the special characteristics of the American theatre of war gave the Union and Confederate volunteers the space and time necessary for the creation of armies, and so the great struggle in North America passed without affecting seriously the war ideas and preparations of Europe. The weakness of the staff work with which both sides were credited helped further to confirm the belief of the Prussians in their system, and in this instance they were justified by the immense superiority of their own general staff to that of any army in existence. It was in this particular that a corps of 1870 differed so essentially from a corps of Napoleon's time. The formal organization had not been altered save as the varying relative importance of the separate arms had dictated. The almost intangible spirit which animates the members of a general staff, causes them not merely to " think " - that was always in the quartermastergeneral's department - but to " think alike," so that a few simple orders called " directives " sufficed to set armies in motion with a definite purpose before them, whereas formerly elaborate and detailed plans of battle had to be devised and distributed in order to achieve the object in view. A comparison of the number of orders and letters written by a marshal and by his chief of staff in Napoleon's time with similar documents in 1870 indicates clearly the changed position of the staff. In the Grande and in the French army of 1870 the officers of the general staff were often absent entirely from the scene of action. In Prussia the new staff system produced a far different result - indeed, the staff, rather than the Prussian military system, was the actual victor of 1870. Still, the system would probably have conquered in the end in any case, and other nations, convinced by events that their departure from the ideal of 1813, however convenient formerly, was no longer justified, promptly copied Prussia as exactly, and, as a matter of fact, as slavishly, as they had done after the Seven Years' War.
38. Modern Developments. - Since 1870, then, with the single exception of Great Britain, all the major European powers have adopted the principle of compulsory short service with reserves. Along with this has come the fullest development of the territorial system (see below). The natural consequence therefore of the heavy work falling upon the shoulders of the Prussian officer, who had to instruct his men, was, in the first place, a general staff of the highest class, and in the second, a system of distributing the troops over the whole country in such a way that the regiments were permanently stationed in the district in which they recruited and from which they drew their reserves. Prussia realized that if the reservists were to be obtained when required the unit must be strictly localized; France, on the contrary, lost much time and spent much trouble, in the mobilization of 1870, in forwarding the reservists to a regiment distant, perhaps, 300 m. The Prussian system did not work satisfactorily at first, for until all the district staff-officers were trained in the same way there was great inequality in the efficiency of the various army corps, and central control, before the modern development of railways, was relatively slight. Further, the mobilization must be completed, or nearly so, before concentration begins, and thus an active professional army, always at war strength, might annihilate the frontier corps before those in the interior were ready to move. But the advantages far outweighed the defects of the system, and, such professional armies having after 1870 disappeared, there was little to fear. Everywhere, therefore, save in Great Britain (for at that time the United States was hardly counted as a great military power, in spite of its two million war-trained veterans in civil life), the German model was followed, and is now followed, with but slight divergence. The period of reforms after the Prussian model (about 1873-1890) practically established the military systems which are treated below as those of the present day. The last quarter of the century witnessed a very great development of military forces, without important organic changes. The chief interest to the student of this period lies in the severe competition between the great military powers for predominance in numbers, expressed usually in the reduction of the period of service with the colours to a minimum. The final results of this cannot well be predicted: it is enough to say that it is the Leitmotiv in the present stage in the development of armies. Below will be found short historical sketches of various armies of the present day which are of interest in respect of their historical development. Details of existing forces are given in articles dealing with the several states to which they belong. Historical accounts of the armies of Japan and of Egypt will be found in the articles on those states. The Japanese wars of 1894-95 and 1904-5 contributed little to the history of military organization as a pure science. The true lessons of this war were the demonstration of the wide applicability of the German methods, upon which exclusively the Japanese army had formed itself, and still more the first illustration of the new moral force of nationalities as the decisive factor. The form of armies remained unaltered. Neither the events of the Boer War of 1899-1902 nor the Manchurian operations were held by European soldiers to warrant any serious modifications in organization. It is to the moral force alluded to above, rather than td mere technical improvements, that the best soldiers of Europe, and notably those of the French general staff (see the works of General H. Bonnal), have of late years devoted their most earnest attention.
Present-Day Armies 39The main principles of all military organization as developed in history would seem to be national recruiting and allegiance, distinctive methods of training and administration, continuity of service and general homogeneity of form. The method of raising men is of course different in different states. In this regard armies may conveniently be classed as voluntarily enlisted, levied or conscript, and militia, represented respectively by the forces of Great Britain, Germany and Switzerland. It must not be forgotten, however, that voluntary troops may be and are maintained even in states in which the bulk of the army is levied by compulsion, and the simple militia obligation of defending the country is universally recognized.
40. Compulsory Service. - Universal liability to service (allgemeine Wehrpflicht) draws into the active army all, or nearly all, the men of military age for a continuous period of short service, after which they pass successively to the reserve, the second and the third line troops (Landwehr, Landsturm, &c.). In this way the greatest number of soldiers is obtained at the cheapest rate and the number of trained men in reserve available to keep the army up to strength is in theory that of the ablebodied manhood of the country. In practice the annual levy is, however, not exhaustive, and increased numerical strength is obtained by reducing the term of colour-service to a minimum. This may be less in a hard-worked conscript army than in one which depends upon the attractions of the service to induce recruits to join. In conscript armies, training for war is carried out with undeviating rigour. In these circumstances the recruits are too numerous and the time available is too limited for the work of training to be committed to a few selected instructors, and every officer has therefore to instruct his own men. The result is usually a corps of officers whose capacity is beyond question, while the general staff is composed of men whose ability is above a high general average. As to the rank and file, the men taken for service are in many respects the best of the nation, and this superiority is progressively enhanced, since increase of population is not often accompanied by a corresponding increase in the military establishments. In Germany in 1905, it is stated, nearly half the contingent was excused from serving in peace time, over and above the usual numbers exempted or medically rejected. The financial aspect of compulsory service may be summed up in a few words. The state does not offer a wage, the pay of the soldier is a mere trifle, and, for a given expenditure, at least three times as many men may be kept under arms as under any known " voluntary " system. Above all, the state has at its disposal for war an almost inexhaustible supply of trained soldiers. This aspect of compulsory service has indeed led its admirers sometimes to sacrifice quality to quantity; but, provided always that the regular training is adequate, it may be admitted that there is no limit to the numbers which are susceptible of useful employment. There are, however, many grave defects inherent in all armies raised by compulsory levy (see Conscription, for a discussion of the chief economical and social questions involved). Most of the advantages of universal service result, not from the come lsory enlistment, but from the principle of short service and serves. But the cost of maintaining huge armies of the modern European type on the voluntary system would be entirely prohibitive, and those nations which have adopted the allgemeine Wehrpflicht have done so with full cognizance of the evil as well as of the good points of the system.
The chief of these evils is the doubtful element which exists in all such armies. Under the merciless discipline of the old regime the most unwilling men feared their officers more than the enemy. Modern short service, however, demands the good-will of all ranks and may fail altogether to make recalcitrants into good soldiers, and it may be taken for granted that every conscript army contains many men who cannot be induced to fight. Herein lies the justification of the principle of " masses," and of reduced colour-service; by drawing into the ranks the maximum number of men, the government has an eventual residuum of the bravest men in the nation left in the ranks. What has been said of the officers of these armies cannot be applied to the non-commissioned officers. Their promotion is necessarily rapid, and the field of selection is restricted to those men who are willing to re-engage, i.e. to serve beyond their compulsory term of two or three years. Many men do so to avoid the struggles of civil life, and such " fugitive and cloistered virtue " scarcely fosters the moral strength required for command. As the best men return to civil life, there is no choice but to promote inferior men, and the latter, when invested with authority, not infrequently abuse it. Indeed in some armies the soldier regards his officer chiefly as his protector from the rapacity or cruelty of his sergeant or corporal. A true shortservice army is almost incapable of being employed on peace service abroad; quite apart from other considerations, the cost of conveying to and from home annually one-third or one-half of the troops would be prohibitive. If, as must be the case, a professional force is maintained for oversea service many men would join it who would otherwise be serving as non-commissioned officers at home and the prevailing difficulty would thus be enhanced. When colonial defence calls for relatively large numbers of men, i.e. an army, home resources are severely strained.
41. Conscription in the proper sense, i.e. selection by lot of a proportion of the able-bodied manhood of a country, is now rarely practised. The obvious unfairness of selection by lot has always had the result of admitting substitutes procured by those on whom the lot has fallen; hence the poorer classes are unduly burdened with the defence of the country, while the rich escape with a money payment. In practice, conscription invariably produces a professional long-service army in which each soldier is paid to discharge the obligations of several successive conscripts. Such an army is therefore a voluntary long-service army in the main, plus a proportion of the unwilling men found in every forced levy. The gravest disadvantage is, however, the fact that the bulk of the nation has not been through the regular army at all; it is almost impossible to maintain a large and costly standing army and at the same time to give a full training to auxiliary forces. The difference between a " national guard " such as that of the siege of Paris in 1870-71 and a Landwehr produced under the German system, was very wide. Regarded as a compromise between universal and voluntary service, conscription still maintains a precarious existence in Europe. As the cardinal principle of recruiting armies, it is completely obsolete.
42. Voluntary Service
Existing voluntary armies have usually developed from armies of the old regime, and seem to owe their continued existence either to the fact that only comparatively small armaments are maintained in peace, other and larger armies being specially recruited during a war (a modification of the " enlistment system "), or to the necessities of garrisoning colonial empires. The military advantages and disadvantages of voluntary service are naturally the faults and merits of the opposite system. The voluntary army is available for general service. It includes few unwilling soldiers, and its resultant advantage over an army of the ordinary type has been stated to be as high as 30%. At all events, we need only examine military history to find that with conscript armies wholesale shirking is far from unknown. That loss from this cause does not paralyse operations as it paralysed those of the 18th century.
is due to the fact that such fugitives do not desert to the enemy, but reappear in the ranks of their own side; it must not therefore be assumed that men have become braver because the " missing " are not so numerous. In colonial and savage warfare the superior personal qualities of the voluntary soldier often count for more than skill on the part of the officers. These would be diminished by shortening the time of service, and this fact, with the expense of transport, entails that a reasonably long period must be spent with the colours. On the other hand, the provision of the large armies of modern warfare requires the maintenance of a reserve, and no reserve is possible if the whole period for which men will enlist is spent with the colours. The demand for long service in the individual, and for trained men in the aggregate, thus produces a compromise. The principle of long service, i.e. ten years or more with the colours, is not applicable to the needs of the modern grande guerre; it gives neither great initial strength nor great reserves. The force thus produced is costly and not lightly to be risked; it affords relatively little opportunity for the training of officers, and tends to become a class apart from the rest of the population. On the other hand, such a force is the best possible army for foreign and colonial service. A state therefore which relies on voluntary enlistment for its forces at home and abroad, must either keep an army which is adaptable to both functions or maintain a separate service for each.
In a state where relatively small armaments are maintained in peace, voluntary armies are infinitely superior to any that could be obtained under any system of compulsion. The state can afford to give a good wage, and can therefore choose its recruits carefully. It can thus have either a few incomparable veteran soldiers (long-service), or a fairly large number of men of superior physique and intelligence, who have received an adequate short-service training. Even the youngest of such men are capable of good service, while the veterans are probably better soldiers than any to be found in conscript armies. This is, however, a special case. The raw material of any but a small voluntary army usually tends to be drawn from inferior sources; the cost of a larger force, paid the full wages of skilled labourers, would be very great, and numbers commensurate with those of an army of the other model could only be obtained at an exorbitant price. The short-service principle is therefore accepted. Here, however, as recruiting depends upon the good-will of the people, it is impossible to work the soldiers with any degree of rigour. Hence the voluntary soldier must serve longer than a conscript in order to attain the same proficiency. The reserve is thus weakened, and the total trained regular force diminished. Moreover, as fewer recruits are required annually, there is less work for the officers to do. In the particular case of Great Britain it is practically certain that in future, reliance will be placed upon the auxiliary forces and the civil population for the provision of the enormous reserves required in a great war; this course is, however, only feasible in the case of an insular nation which has time to collect its strength for the final and decisive blow overseas. The application of the same principle to a continental military power depends on the capacity for stern and unflagging resistance displayed by the corps de couverture charged with the duty of gaining the time necessary for the development and concentration of the national masses. In Great Britain (except in the case of a surprise invasion) the place of this corps would be taken by " command of the sea." Abroad, the spirit of the exposed regiments themselves furnishes the only guarantee, and this can hardly be calculated with sufficient certainty, under modern conditions, to justify the adoption of this new " enlistment system." Voluntary service, therefore, with all its intrinsic merits, is only applicable to the conditions of a great war when the war reserve can be trained ad hoc. 43. The militia idea (see Militia) has been applied most completelyin Switzerland, which has no regular army, but trains almost the whole nation as a militia. The system, with many serious disadvantages, has the great merit that the maximum number of men receives a certain amount of training at a minimum cost both to the state and to the individual. Mention should also be made of the system of augmenting the national forces by recruiting " foreign legions." This is, of course, a relic of the Werbe-system it was practised habitually by the British governments of the 18th and early 19th centuries. " Hessians " figured conspicuously in the British armies in the American War of Independence,. and the " King's German Legion " was only the best and most famous of many foreign corps in the service of George III. during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. A new German Legion was raised during the Crimean War, but the almost universal adoption of the Kriimper system has naturally put an end to the old method, for all the best recruits are now accounted for in the service of their own countries.
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Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Army'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/bri/a/army.html. 1910.