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Germany and the Next War by Friedrich von Bernhardi

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At the same time the consideration of the political position presses the
conviction home that in our preparations for war there must be no talk
of a gradual development of our forces by sea and land such as may lay
the lightest possible burden on the national finances, and leave ample
scope for activity in the sphere of culture. The crucial point is to put
aside all other considerations, and to prepare ourselves with the utmost
energy for a war which appears to be imminent, and will decide the whole
future of our politics and our civilization. The consideration of the
broad lines of the world policy and of the political aspirations of the
individual States showed that the position of affairs everywhere is
critical for us, that we live at an epoch which will decide our place as
a World Power or our downfall. The internal disruption of the Triple
Alliance, as shown clearly by the action of Italy towards Turkey,
threatens to bring the crisis quickly to a head. The period which
destiny has allotted us for concentrating our forces and preparing
ourselves for the deadly struggle may soon be passed. We must use it, if
we wish to be mindful of the warning of the Great Elector, that we are
Germans. This is the point of view from which we must carry out our
preparations for war by sea and land. Thus only can we be true to our
national duty.

I do not mean that we should adopt precipitately measures calculated
merely for the exigencies of the moment. All that we undertake in the
cause of military efficiency must meet two requirements: it must answer
the pressing questions of the present, and aid the development of the
future. But we must find the danger of our position a stimulus to
desperate exertions, so that we may regain at the eleventh hour
something of what we have lost in the last years.

Since the crucial point is to safeguard our much-threatened position on
the continent of Europe, we must first of all face the serious problem
of the land war--by what means we can hope to overcome the great
numerical superiority of our enemies. Such superiority will certainly
exist if Italy ceases to be an active member of the Triple Alliance,
whether nominally belonging to it, or politically going over to
Irredentism. The preparations for the naval war are of secondary

The first essential requirement, in case of a war by land, is to make
the total fighting strength of the nation available for war, to educate
the entire youth of the country in the use of arms, and to make
universal service an existing fact.

The system of universal service, born in the hour of need, has by a
splendid development of strength liberated us from a foreign yoke, has
in long years of peace educated a powerful and well-armed people, and
has brought us victory upon victory in the German wars of unification.
Its importance for the social evolution of the nation has been discussed
in a separate chapter. The German Empire would to-day have a mighty
political importance if we had been loyal to the principle on which our
greatness was founded.

France has at the present day a population of some 40,000,000; Russia in
Europe, with Poland and the Caucasus, has a population of 140,000,000.
Contrasted with this, Germany has only 65,000,000 inhabitants. But since
the Russian military forces are, to a great extent, hampered by very
various causes and cannot be employed at any one time or place, and are
also deficient in military value, a German army which corresponded to
the population would be certainly in a position to defend itself
successfully against its two enemies, if it operated resolutely on the
inner line, even though England took part in the war.

Disastrously for ourselves, we have become disloyal to the idea of
universal military service, and have apparently definitely discontinued
to carry it out effectively. The country where universal service exists
is now France. With us, indeed, it is still talked about, but it is only
kept up in pretence, for in reality 50 per cent., perhaps, of the
able-bodied are called up for training. In particular, very little use
has been made of the larger towns as recruiting-grounds for the army.

In this direction some reorganization is required which will
energetically combine the forces of the nation and create a real army,
such as we have not at the present time. Unless we satisfy this demand,
we shall not long be able to hold our own against the hostile Powers.

Although we recognize this necessity as a national duty, we must not
shut our eyes to the fact that it is impossible in a short time to make
up our deficiencies. Our peace army cannot be suddenly increased by
150,000 men. The necessary training staff and equipment would not be
forthcoming, and on the financial side the required expenditure could
not all at once be incurred. The full effectiveness of an increased army
only begins to be gradually felt when the number of reservists and
Landwehr is correspondingly raised. We can therefore only slowly recur
to the reinforcement of universal service. The note struck by the new
Five Years Act cannot be justified on any grounds. But although we wish
to increase our army on a more extensive scale, we must admit that, even
if we strain our resources, the process can only work slowly, and that
we cannot hope for a long time to equalize even approximately the
superior forces of our opponents.

We must not, therefore, be content merely to strengthen our army; we
must devise other means of gaining the upper hand of our enemies. These
means can only be found in the spiritual domain.

History teaches us by countless examples that numbers in themselves have
only been the decisive factor in war when the opponents have been
equally matched otherwise, or when the superiority of the one party
exceeds the proportion required by the numerical law.[A] In most cases
it was a special advantage possessed by the one party--better equipment,
greater efficiency of troops, brilliant leadership, or more able
strategy--which led to victory over the numerically superior. Rome
conquered the world with inferior forces; Frederick the Great with
inferior forces withstood the allied armies of Europe. Recent history
shows us the victory of the numerically weaker Japanese army over a
crushingly superior opponent. We cannot count on seeing a great
commander at our head; a second Frederick the Great will hardly appear.
Nor can we know beforehand whether our troops will prove superior to the
hostile forces. But we can try to learn what will be the decisive
factors in the future war which will turn the scale in favour of victory
or defeat. If we know this, and prepare for war with a set purpose, and
keep the essential points of view always before us, we might create a
real source of superiority, and gain a start on our opponents which
would be hard for them to make up in the course of the war. Should we
then in the war itself follow one dominating principle of the policy
which results from the special nature of present-day war, it must be
possible to gain a positive advantage which may even equalize a
considerable numerical superiority.

[Footnote A: _Cf_. v. Bernhardi, "Vom heutigen Kriege," vol. i., chap. ii.]

The essential point is not to match battalion with battalion, battery
with battery, or to command a number of cannons, machine guns, airships,
and other mechanical contrivances equal to that of the probable
opponent; it is foolish initiative to strain every nerve to be abreast
with the enemy in all material domains. This idea leads to a certain
spiritual servility and inferiority.

Rather must an effort be made to win superiority in the factors on which
the ultimate decision turns. The duty of our War Department is to
prepare these decisive elements of strength while still at peace, and to
apply them in war according to a clearly recognized principle of
superiority. This must secure for us the spiritual and so the material
advantage over our enemies. Otherwise we run the danger of being crushed
by their weight of numbers.

We cannot reach this goal on the beaten roads of tradition and habit by
uninspired rivalry in arming. We must trace out with clear insight the
probable course of the future war, and must not be afraid to tread new
paths, if needs be, which are not consecrated by experience and use. New
goals can only be reached by new roads, and our military history teaches
us by numerous instances how the source of superiority lies in progress,
in conscious innovations based on convincing arguments. The spiritual
capacity to know where, under altered conditions, the decision must be
sought, and the spiritual courage to resolve on this new line of action,
are the soil in which great successes ripen.

It would be too long a task in this place to examine more closely the
nature of the future war, in order to develop systematically the ideas
which will prove decisive in it. These questions have been thoroughly
ventilated in a book recently published by me, "Vom heutigen Kriege"
("The War of To-day"). In this place I will only condense the results of
my inquiry, in order to form a foundation for the further consideration
of the essential questions of the future.

In a future European war "masses" will be employed to an extent
unprecedented in any previous one. Weapons will be used whose deadliness
will exceed all previous experience. More effective and varied means of
communication will be available than were known in earlier wars. These
three momentous factors will mark the war of the future.

"Masses" signify in themselves an increase of strength, but they contain
elements of weakness as well. The larger they are and the less they can
be commanded by professional soldiers, the more their tactical
efficiency diminishes. The less they are able to live on the country
during war-time, especially when concentrated, and the more they are
therefore dependent on the daily renewal of food-supplies, the slower
and less mobile they become. Owing to the great space which they require
for their deployment, it is extraordinarily difficult to bring them into
effective action simultaneously. They are also far more accessible to
morally depressing influences than compacter bodies of troops, and may
prove dangerous to the strategy of their own leaders, if supplies run
short, if discipline breaks down, and the commander loses his authority
over the masses which he can only rule under regulated conditions.

The increased effectiveness of weapons does not merely imply a longer
range, but a greater deadliness, and therefore makes more exacting
claims on the _moral_ of the soldier. The danger zone begins sooner than
formerly; the space which must be crossed in an attack has become far
wider; it must be passed by the attacking party creeping or running. The
soldier must often use the spade in defensive operations, during which
he is exposed to a far hotter fire than formerly; while under all
circumstances he must shoot more than in bygone days. The quick firing
which the troop encounters increases the losses at every incautious
movement. All branches of arms have to suffer under these circumstances.
Shelter and supplies will be more scanty than ever before. In short,
while the troops on the average have diminished in value, the demands
made on them have become considerably greater.

Improved means of communication, finally, facilitate the handling and
feeding of large masses, but tie them down to railway systems and main
roads, and must, if they fail or break down in the course of a campaign,
aggravate the difficulties, because the troops were accustomed to their
use, and the commanders counted upon them.

The direct conclusion to be drawn from these reflections is that a great
superiority must rest with the troops whose fighting capabilities and
tactical efficiency are greater than those of their antagonists.

The commander who can carry out all operations quicker than the enemy,
and can concentrate and employ greater masses in a narrow space than
they can, will always be in a position to collect a numerically superior
force in the decisive direction; if he controls the more effective
troops, he will gain decisive successes against one part of the hostile
army, and will be able to exploit them against other divisions of it
before the enemy can gain equivalent advantages in other parts of the

Since the tactical efficiency and the _moral_ of the troops are chiefly
shown in the offensive, and are then most needful, the necessary
conclusion is that safety only lies in offensive warfare.

In an attack, the advantage, apart from the elements of moral strength
which it brings into play, depends chiefly on rapidity of action.
Inasmuch as the attacking party determines the direction of the attack
to suit his own plans, he is able at the selected spot to collect a
superior force against his surprised opponent. The initiative, which is
the privilege of the attacking party, gives a start in time and place
which is very profitable in operations and tactics. The attacked party
can only equalize this advantage if he has early intimation of the
intentions of the assailant, and has time to take measures which hold
out promise of success. The more rapidly, therefore, the attacking
General strikes his blow and gains his success, and the more capable his
troops, the greater is the superiority which the attack in its nature

This superiority increases with the size of the masses. If the advancing
armies are large and unwieldy, and the distances to be covered great, it
will be a difficult and tedious task for the defending commander to take
proper measures against a surprise attack. On the other hand, the
prospects of success of the attacking General will be very favourable,
especially if he is in the fortunate position of having better troops at
his disposal.

Finally, the initiative secures to the numerically weaker a possibility
of gaining the victory, even when other conditions are equal, and all
the more so the greater the masses engaged. In most cases it is
impossible to bring the entire mass of a modern army simultaneously and
completely into action. A victory, therefore, in the decisive
direction--the direction, that is, which directly cuts the arteries of
the opponent--is usually conclusive for the whole course of the war, and
its effect is felt in the most distant parts of the field of operations.
If the assailant, therefore, can advance in this direction with superior
numbers, and can win the day, because the enemy cannot utilize his
numerical superiority, there is a possibility of an ultimate victory
over the arithmetically stronger army. In conformity to this law,
Frederick the Great, through superior tactical capability and striking
strength, had always the upper hand of an enemy far more powerful in
mere numbers.

No further proof is required that the superiority of the attack
increases in proportion to the rapidity with which it is delivered, and
to the lack of mobility of the hostile forces. Hence the possibility of
concealing one's own movements and damaging the effective tactics of the
enemy secures an advantage which, though indirect, is yet very

We arrive, then, at the conclusion that, in order to secure the
superiority in a war of the future under otherwise equal conditions, it
is incumbent on us: First, during the period of preparation to raise the
tactical value and capabilities of the troops as much as possible, and
especially to develop the means of concealing the attacking movements
and damaging the enemy's tactical powers; secondly, in the war itself to
act on the offensive and strike the first blow, and to exploit the
manoeuvring capacity of the troops as much as possible, in order to be
superior in the decisive directions. Above all, a State which has
objects to attain that cannot be relinquished, and is exposed to attacks
by enemies more powerful than itself, is bound to act in this sense. It
must, before all things, develop the attacking powers of its army, since
a strategic defensive must often adopt offensive methods.

This principle holds good pre-eminently for Germany. The points which I
have tried to emphasize must never be lost sight of, if we wish to face
the future with confidence. All our measures must be calculated to raise
the efficiency of the army, especially in attack; to this end all else
must give way. We shall thus have a central point on which all our
measures can be focussed. We can make them all serve one purpose, and
thus we shall be kept from going astray on the bypaths which we all too
easily take if we regard matters separately, and not as forming parts of
a collective whole. Much of our previous omissions and commissions would
have borne a quite different complexion had we observed this unifying

The requirements which I have described as the most essential are
somewhat opposed to the trend of our present efforts, and necessitate a
resolute resistance to the controlling forces of our age.

The larger the armies by which one State tries to outbid another, the
smaller will be the efficiency and tactical worth of the troops; and not
merely the average worth, but the worth of each separate detachment as
such. Huge armies are even a danger to their own cause. "They will be
suffocated by their own fat," said General v. Brandenstein, the great
organizer of the advance of 1870, when speaking of the mass-formation of
the French. The complete neglect of cavalry in their proportion to the
whole bulk of the army has deprived the commander of the means to injure
the tactical capabilities of the enemy, and to screen effectually his
own movements. The necessary attention has never been paid in the course
of military training to this latter duty. Finally, the tactical
efficiency of troops has never been regarded as so essential as it
certainly will prove in the wars of the future.

A mechanical notion of warfare and weak concessions to the pressure of
public opinion, and often a defective grasp of the actual needs, have
conduced to measures which inevitably result in an essential
contradiction between the needs of the army and the actual end attained,
and cannot be justified from the purely military point of view. It would
be illogical and irrelevant to continue in these paths so soon as it is
recognized that the desired superiority over the enemy cannot be reached
on them.

This essential contradiction between what is necessary and what is
attained appears in the enforcement of the law of universal military
service. Opinion oscillates between the wish to enforce it more or less,
and the disinclination to make the required outlay, and recourse is had
to all sorts of subterfuges which may save appearances without giving a
good trial to the system. One of these methods is the _Ersatzreserve_,
which is once more being frequently proposed. But the situation is by no
means helped by the very brief training which these units at best
receive. This system only creates a military mob, which has no capacity
for serious military operations. Such an institution would be a heavy
strain on the existing teaching _personnel_ in the army, and would be
indirectly detrimental to it as well. Nor would any strengthening of the
field army be possible under this scheme, since the cadres to contain
the mass of these special reservists are not ready to hand. This mass
would therefore only fill up the recruiting depots, and facilitate to
some degree the task of making good the losses.

A similar contradiction is often shown in the employment of the troops.
Every army at the present time is divided into regular troops, who are
already organized in time of peace and are merely brought to full
strength in war-time, and new formations, which are only organized on
mobilization. The tactical value of these latter varies much according
to their composition and the age of the units, but is always much
inferior to that of the regular troops. The Landwehr formations, which
were employed in the field in 1870-71, were an example of this,
notwithstanding the excellent services which they rendered, and the new
French formations in that campaign were totally ineffective. The sphere
of activity of such troops is the second line. In an offensive war their
duty is to secure the railroads and bases, to garrison the conquered
territory, and partly also to besiege the enemies' fortresses. In fact,
they must discharge all the duties which would otherwise weaken the
field army. In a defensive war they will have to undertake the local and
mainly passive defence, and the support of the national war. By acting
at first in this limited sphere, such new formations will gradually
become fitted for the duties of the war, and will acquire a degree of
offensive strength which certainly cannot be reckoned upon at the outset
of the war; and the less adequately such bodies of troops are supplied
with columns, trains, and cavalry, the less their value will be.

Nevertheless, it appears to be assumed by us that, in event of war, such
troops will be partly available in the first line, and that decisive
operations may be entrusted to them. Reserves and regulars are treated
as equivalent pieces on the board, and no one seems to suppose that some
are less effective than others. A great danger lies in this mechanical

For operations in the field we must employ, wherever possible, regulars
only, and rather limit our numbers than assign to inferior troops tasks
for which they are inadequate. We must have the courage to attack, if
necessary, with troops numerically inferior but tactically superior and
more efficient; we must attack in the consciousness that tactical
striking power and efficiency outweigh the advantages of greater
numbers, and that with the immense modern armies a victory in the
decisive direction has more bearing on the ultimate issue than ever

The decision depends on the regular troops, not on the masses which are
placed at their side on mobilization. The commander who acts on this
principle, and so far restricts himself in the employment of masses that
he preserves the complete mobility of the armies, will win a strong
advantage over the one whose leader is burdened with inferior troops and
therefore is handicapped generally, and has paid for the size of his
army by want of efficiency. The mass of reserves must, therefore, be
employed as subsidiary to the regular troops, whom they must relieve as
much as possible from all minor duties. Thus used, a superiority in the
numbers of national reserves will secure an undoubted superiority in the
actual war.

It follows directly from this argument that we must do our best to
render the regular army strong and efficient, and that it would be a
mistake to weaken them unnecessarily by excessive drafts upon their
_personnel_ with the object of making the reserves tactically equal to
them. This aim may sometimes be realized; but the general level of
efficiency throughout the troops would be lowered.

Our one object must therefore be to strengthen our regular army. An
increase of the peace footing of the standing army is worth far more
than a far greater number of badly trained special reservists. It is
supremely important to increase the strength of the officers on the
establishment. The stronger each unit is in peace, the more efficient
will it become for war, hence the vital importance of aiming at quality,
not quantity. Concentration, not dilution, will be our safeguard. If we
wish to encourage the enforcement of universal service by strengthening
the army, we must organize new peace formations, since the number of
professional officers and sub-officers will be thus increased. This step
is the more necessary because the present available cadres are
insufficient to receive the mass of able-bodied recruits and to provide
for their thorough training.

The gradual enforcement of universal military service hand in hand with
an increase of the regular army is the first practical requirement. We
shall now consider how far the tactical value of the troops, the
efficiency of the army, the cavalry, and the screening service can be
improved by organization, equipment, and training.

I must first point out a factor which lies in a different sphere to the
questions already discussed, but has great importance in every branch of
military activity, especially in the offensive, which requires prompt
original action--I mean the importance of personality.

From the Commander-in-Chief, who puts into execution the conceptions of
his own brain under the pressure of responsibility and shifting fortune,
and the Brigadier, who must act independently according to a given
general scheme; to the dispatch rider, surrounded with dangers, and left
to his own resources in the enemy's country, and the youngest private in
the field fighting for his own hand, and striving for victory in the
face of death; everywhere in the wars of to-day, more than in any other
age, personality dominates all else. The effect of mass tactics has
abolished all close formations of infantry, and the individual is left
to himself. The direct influence of the superior has lessened. In the
strategic duties of the cavalry, which represent the chief activity of
that arm, the patrol riders and orderlies are separated more than before
from their troop and are left to their own responsibility. Even in the
artillery the importance of independent action will be more clearly
emphasized than previously. The battlefields and area of operations have
increased with the masses employed. The Commander-in-Chief is far less
able than ever before to superintend operations in various parts of the
field; he is forced to allow a greater latitude to his subordinates.
These conditions are very prominent in attacking operations.

When on the defensive the duty of the individual is mainly to hold his
ground, while the commander's principal business is to utilize the
reserves. On the offensive, however, the conditions change from moment
to moment, according to the counter-movements of the enemy, which cannot
be anticipated, and the success or failure of the attacking troops. Even
the individual soldier, as the fight fluctuates, must now push on, now
wait patiently until the reinforcements have come up; he will often have
to choose for himself the objects at which to fire, while never losing
touch with the main body. The offensive makes very varied calls on the
commander's qualities. Ruse and strategy, boldness and unsparing energy,
deliberate judgment and rapid decision, are alternately demanded from
him. He must be competent to perform the most opposite duties. All this
puts a heavy strain on personality.

It is evident, then, that the army which contains the greatest number of
self-reliant and independent personalities must have a distinct
advantage. This object, therefore, we must strive with every nerve to
attain: to be superior in this respect to all our enemies. And this
object can be attained. Personality can be developed, especially in the
sphere of spiritual activity. The reflective and critical powers can be
improved by continuous exercise; but the man who can estimate the
conditions under which he has to act, who is master of the element in
which he has to work, will certainly make up his mind more rapidly and
more easily than a man who faces a situation which he does not grasp.
Self-reliance, boldness, and imperturbability in the hour of misfortune
are produced by knowledge. This is shown everywhere. We see the awkward
and shy recruit ripen into a clear-headed smart sergeant; and the same
process is often traced among the higher commands. But where the mental
development is insufficient for the problems which are to be solved, the
personality fails at the moment of action. The elegant guardsman
Bourbaki collapsed when he saw himself confronted with the task of
leading an army whose conditions he did not thoroughly grasp. General
Chanzy, on the other hand, retained his clear judgment and resolute
determination in the midst of defeat. Thus one of the essential tasks of
the preparations for war is to raise the spiritual level of the army and
thus indirectly to mould and elevate character. Especially is it
essential to develop the self-reliance and resourcefulness of those in
high command. In a long military life ideas all too early grow
stereotyped and the old soldier follows traditional trains of thought
and can no longer form an unprejudiced opinion. The danger of such
development cannot be shut out. The stiff and uniform composition of the
army which doubles its moral powers has this defect: it often leads to a
one-sided development, quite at variance with the many-sidedness of
actual realities, and arrests the growth of personality. Something akin
to this was seen in Germany in the tentative scheme of an attack _en
masse_. United will and action are essential to give force its greatest
value. They must go hand in hand with the greatest spiritual
independence and resourcefulness, capable of meeting any emergency and
solving new problems by original methods.

It has often been said that one man is as good as another; that
personality is nothing, the type is everything; but this assertion is
erroneous. In time of peace, when sham reputations flourish and no real
struggle winnows the chaff from the coin, mediocrity in performance is
enough. But in war, personality turns the scale. Responsibility and
danger bring out personality, and show its real worth, as surely as a
chemical test separates the pure metal from the dross.

That army is fortunate which has placed men of this kind in the
important posts during peace-time and has kept them there. This is the
only way to avoid the dangers which a one-sided routine produces, and to
break down that red-tapism which is so prejudicial to progress and
success. It redounds to the lasting credit of William I. that for the
highest and most responsible posts, at any rate, he had already in time
of peace made his selection from among all the apparently great men
around him; and that he chose and upheld in the teeth of all opposition
those who showed themselves heroes and men of action in the hour of
need, and had the courage to keep to their own self-selected paths. This
is no slight title to fame, for, as a rule, the unusual rouses envy and
distrust, but the cheap, average wisdom, which never prompted action,
appears as a refined superiority, and it is only under the pressure of
the stern reality of war that the truth of Goethe's lines is proved:

"Folk and thrall and victor can
Witness bear in every zone:
Fortune's greatest gift to man
Is personality alone."



I now turn to the discussion of some questions of organization, but it
is not my intention to ventilate all the needs and aims connected with
this subject that occupy our military circles at the present time. I
shall rather endeavour to work out the general considerations which, in
my opinion, must determine the further development of our army, if we
wish, by consistent energy, to attain a superiority in the directions
which will certainly prove to be all-important in the next war. It will
be necessary to go into details only on points which are especially
noteworthy or require some explanation. I shall obviously come into
opposition with the existing state of things, but nothing is further
from my purpose than to criticize them. My views are based on
theoretical requirements, while our army, from certain definitely
presented beginnings, and under the influence of most different men and
of changing views, in the midst of financial difficulties and political
disputes, has, by fits and starts, grown up into what it now is. It is,
in a certain sense, outside criticism; it must be taken as something
already existing, whose origin is only a subject for a subsequent
historical verdict. But the further expansion of our army belongs to the
future, and its course can be directed. It can follow well-defined
lines, in order to become efficient, and it is politically most
important that this object should be realized. Therefore I shall not
look back critically on the past, but shall try to serve the future.

The guiding principle of our preparations for war must be, as I have
already said, the development of the greatest fighting strength and the
greatest tactical efficiency, in order through them to be in a position
to carry on an offensive war successfully. What follows will, therefore,
fall naturally under these two heads. Fighting strength rests partly, as
already said, on the training (which will be discussed later), the
arming, and the _personnel_, partly on the composition of the troops,
and, therefore, in the case of line regiments, with which we chiefly
have to deal, since they are the real field troops, on the strength of
their peace establishment. It was shown in the previous chapter how
essential it is to have in the standing army not only the necessary
cadres ready for the new formations, but to make the separate branches
so strong that they can easily be brought up to full strength in

The efficiency and character of the superiors, the officers and the
non-commissioned officers, are equally weighty factors in the value of
the troops. They are the professional supporters of discipline,
decision, and initiative, and, since they are the teachers of the
troops, they determine their intellectual standard. The number of
permanent officers on the establishment in peace is exceedingly small in
proportion to their duties in the training of the troops and to the
demands made of them on mobilization. If we reflect how many officers
and non-commissioned officers from the standing army must be transferred
to the new formations in order to vitalize them, and how the modern
tactical forms make it difficult for the superior officer to assert his
influence in battle, the numerical inadequacy of the existing
_personnel_ is clearly demonstrated. This applies mainly to the
infantry, and in their case, since they are the decisive arm, a
sufficient number of efficient officers is essential. All the more
important is it, on the one hand, to keep the establishment of officers
and non-commissioned officers in the infantry at full strength, and, on
the other hand, to raise the efficiency of the officers and
non-commissioned officers on leave or in the reserve. This latter is a
question of training, and does not come into the present discussion.

The task of keeping the establishments at adequate strength is, in a
sense, a financial question. The amount of the pay and the prospects
which the profession holds out for subsequent civil posts greatly affect
the body of non-commissioned officers, and therefore it is important to
keep step with the general increase in prices by improved pecuniary
advantages. Even for the building up of the corps of officers, the
financial question is all-important. The career of the officer offers
to-day so little prospect of success and exacts such efficiency and
self-devotion from the individual, that he will not long remain in the
service, attractive as it is, if the financial sacrifices are so high as
they now are. The infantry officer especially must have a better
position. Granted that the cavalry and mounted artillery officers incur
greater expenses for the keep of their horses than the infantry officer
has to pay, the military duties of the latter are by far the most
strenuous and require a very considerable outlay on clothing. It would
be, in my opinion, expedient to give the infantry officer more pay than
the cavalry and artillery officers, in order to make service in that arm
more attractive. There is a rush nowadays into the mounted arm, for
which there is a plethora of candidates. These arms will always be well
supplied with officers. Their greater attractiveness must be
counterbalanced by special advantages offered by the infantry service.
By no other means can we be sure of having sufficient officers in the
chief arm.

If the fighting strength in each detachment depends on its composition
and training, there are other elements besides the tactical value of the
troops which determine the effectiveness of their combined efforts in
action; these are first the leadership, which, however, depends on
conditions which are beyond calculation, and secondly the numerical
proportion of the arms to each other. Disregarding provisionally the
cavalry, who play a special role in battle, we must define the
proportion which artillery must bear to infantry.

With regard to machine guns, the idea that they can to some extent
replace infantry is quite erroneous. Machine guns are primarily weapons
of defence. In attack they can only be employed under very favourable
conditions, and then strengthen only one factor of a successful
attack--the fire-strength--while they may sometimes hinder that
impetuous forward rush which is the soul of every attack. Hence, this
auxiliary weapon should be given to the infantry in limited numbers, and
employed mainly on the defensive fronts, and should be often massed into
large units. Machine-gun detachments should not overburden the marching

The relation of infantry to artillery is of more importance.

Infantry is the decisive arm. Other arms are exclusively there to smooth
their road to victory, and support their action directly or indirectly.
This relation must not be merely theoretical; the needs of the infantry
must ultimately determine the importance of all other fighting
instruments in the whole army.

If we make this idea the basis of our argument, the following is the
result. Infantry has gained enormously in defensive power owing to
modern weapons. The attack requires, therefore, a far greater
superiority than ever before. In addition to this, the breadth of front
in action has greatly increased in consequence of the former close
tactical formations having been broken up through the increase of fire.
This refers only to the separate detachment, and does not justify the
conclusion that in the future fewer troops will cover the same spaces as
before. This assumption applies at the most to defence, and then only in
a limited sense. In attack the opposite will probably be the case. The
troops must therefore be placed more deeply _en echelon _than in the
last wars. Now, the average breadth of the front in attack must regulate
the allotment of artillery to infantry. No definite proportion can be
settled; but if the theoretical calculation be compared with the
experiences of the last wars, conclusions may be obtained which will
most probably prove appropriate. No more than this can be expected in
the domain of military science.

If we agree to the above-mentioned proportion of breadth and depth in an
infantry attack, we shall be driven to insist on a reduction of
artillery as compared with the past; but should we think that modern
artillery helps the attack, especially by indirect fire, we must
advocate, from the standpoint of offensive warfare, an increase of the
artillery. Actual war experiences alone can find the true middle path
between these two extremes.

If the frontal development of the artillery of a modern army corps, or,
better still, two divisions, be regarded from the point of view that the
guns cannot advance in connected line, but that only the specially
adapted parts of the field can be used for artillery development, the
conclusion is certain that by such frontal extension the infantry is
reduced to a covering line for the artillery. In forming this opinion we
must not assume the normal strength of the infantry, but take into
account that the strength of the infantry in war rapidly melts away. If
we estimate the companies on the average at two-thirds of their proper
strength, we shall be above rather than below the real figures. Such
infantry strength will, of course, be sufficient to defend the position
taken up by the artillery, but it is hardly enough to carry out, in that
section of the field, a decisive attack, which, under present conditions,
requires greater numbers and depth than before.

In this connection it is very instructive to study the second part of
the Franco-German War, and the Boer War, as well as the Manchurian

Some of the German infantry had in the first-named period
extraordinarily diminished in numbers; companies of 120 men were not
rare. The artillery, on the contrary, had remained at its original
strength. The consequences naturally was that the powers of the Germans
on the offensive grew less and the battles and skirmishes were not so
decisive as in the first part of the war. This condition would have
shown up more distinctly against an enemy of equal class than in the
contest with the loosely-compacted, raw French levies. In the former
case the offensive would have been impracticable. The strong artillery,
under the existing conditions, no doubt gave great support to the weak
infantry; but an unbiassed opinion leads to the conclusion that, under
the then existing proportion of the arms to each other, the infantry was
too weak to adopt energetic offensive tactics against a well-matched
enemy. This is irresistibly proved if we consider what masses of
infantry were needed at Woerth and St. Privat, for instance, in spite of
the support of very superior artillery, in order to defeat a weaker
enemy of equal class.

Again, in South Africa, the overwhelming superiority of the English in
artillery was never able to force a victory. In Manchuria the state of
things was very instructive. Numerically the Russian artillery was
extraordinarily superior to the enemy's, and the range of the Russian
field guns was longer than that of the Japanese; nevertheless, the
Japanese succeeded in beating an enemy stronger in infantry also,
because, in the decisive directions of attack, they were able to unite
superior forces of infantry and artillery, while the Russian artillery
was scattered along the whole of their broad front.

The lesson of this war is that, apart from the close relation of the
arms to each other in the separate units, the co-operation of these
units must be looked at, if the strength of the two sister arms is to be
appropriately determined.

The requirement that each separate tactical unit should he made equal or
superior in artillery to the corresponding hostile unit is thoroughly
mechanical, as if in war division always fought against division and
corps against corps! Superiority at the decisive point is the crucial
test. This superiority is attained by means of an unexpected
concentration of forces for attack, and there is no reason why the
superiority in artillery should not also be brought about in this way.
If by superior tactical skill two army corps, each with 96 guns, combine
against a hostile army which brings 144 guns into action, that signifies
a superiority of 48 guns and a double superiority in infantry. If it is
assumed that on both sides the army corps is armed with 144 guns, and
that in consequence of this the tactical superiority has become so
slight that neither side can claim a superiority in one direction, then
equal forces meet, and chance decides the day. Since the Japanese were
tactically more efficient than their enemy and took the offensive, they
were enabled to unite the superior forces in the most decisive
directions, and this advantage proved far greater than the numerical
superiority of the Russian army as a whole.

If we look at the whole matter we shall come to the conclusion that the
artillery, if it is not a question of pure defence, need never occupy
within a line of battle so much ground that the concentration of a
considerably superior force of infantry for attack is rendered doubtful.
In this respect we have, in our present organization already exceeded
the expedient proportion between the two arms in favour of the
artillery. The conclusion is that this latter arm never need, within the
separate divisions, be made so strong that the attacking capacities of
the army are thereby prejudiced. This is the decisive point. Any excess
in artillery can be kept on the battlefield in reserve when space is
restricted; if the attacking efficiency of the troops is reduced, then
artillery becomes a dead weight on the army instead of an aid to
victory. It is far more important to be able to unite superior forces
for a decisive attack than to meet the enemy with equally matched forces
along the whole front. If we observe this principle, we shall often be
weaker than the enemy on the less important fronts; this disadvantage
may be partly counterbalanced by remaining on the defensive in such a
position. It becomes a positive advantage, if, owing to an overpowering
concentration of forces, victory is won at the decisive point. This
victory cancels all the failures which may have been recorded elsewhere.

The operative superiority of an enemy is determined by the greater
marching capacity of the troops, by the rapid and systematic working of
the communications with the rear, and, above all, by the length of the
columns of the operating troops. Under the modern system of colossal
armaments, an army, especially if in close formation, cannot possibly
live on the country; it is driven to trust to daily food-supplies from
the rear. Railways are used as far as possible to bring up the supplies;
but from the railhead the communication with the troops must be
maintained by columns of traction waggons and draught animals, which go
to and fro between the troops, the rearward magazines, and the railhead.
Since traction waggons are restricted to made roads, the direct
communication with the troops must be kept up by columns of draught
animals, which can move independently of the roads. The waggons of
provisions, therefore, which follow the troops, and are filled daily,
must come up with them the same day, or there will be a shortage of
food. This is only possible if the troop column does not exceed a
certain length and starts at early morning, so that the transport
waggons, which, at the end of the march, must be driven from the rear to
the head of the column, can reach this before the beginning of the
night's rest. The fitness of an army for attack can only be maintained
if these supplies are uninterrupted; there must also be a sufficient
quantity of tinned rations and provisions which the soldiers can carry
with them. If the length of the columns exceeds the limit here laid
down, the marches must be proportionately shortened. If unusually
lengthy marches are made, so that the provision carts cannot reach the
troops, days of rest must be interposed, to regulate the supply. Thus
the capacity of an army to march and to carry out operations is directly
dependent on the possibility of being fed from the rear. A careful
calculation, based on practical experiences, shows that, in order to
average 20 to 22 kilometres a day--the minimum distance required from an
army--no column on a road ought to exceed a length of about 25
kilometres This consideration determines the depth of the army corps on
the march, since in an important campaign and when massing for battle
troops seldom march in smaller bodies than a corps.

This calculation, by which the conditions of modern war are compulsorily
affected, makes it highly necessary that the system of supplies and
rations should be carefully organized. The restoration of any destroyed
railways, the construction of light railways, the organization of
columns of motor transport waggons and draught animals, must be prepared
by every conceivable means in time of peace, in order that in war-time
the railroads may follow as closely as possible on the track of the
troops, and that the columns may maintain without interruption
continuous communications between the troops and the railhead. In order
to keep this machinery permanently in working order, and to surmount any
crisis in bringing up supplies, it is highly advisable to have an ample
stock of tinned rations. This stock should, in consideration of the
necessary mass-concentration, be as large as possible. Care must be
taken, by the organization of trains and columns, that the stock of
tinned provisions can be quickly renewed. This would be best done by
special light columns, which are attached to the army corps outside the
organization of provision and transport columns, and follow it at such a
distance, that, if necessary, they could be soon pushed to the front by
forced or night marches. There is naturally some reluctance to increase
the trains of the army corps, but this necessity is unavoidable. It is
further to be observed that the columns in question would not be very
long, since they would mainly convey condensed foods and other
provisions compressed into the smallest space.

An immense apparatus of train formations, railway and telegraph corps,
and workmen must be got ready to secure the efficiency of a modern army
with its millions. This is absolutely necessary, since without it the
troops in modern warfare would be practically unable to move. It is far
more important to be ahead of the enemy in this respect than in any
other, for there lies the possibility of massing a superior force at the
decisive point, and of thus defeating a stronger opponent.

However careful the preparations, these advantages can only be attained
if the troop columns do not exceed the maximum strength which can be fed
from the rear, if the necessary forward movement is carried out.
Everything which an army corps requires for the war must be kept within
these limits.

Our modern army corps without the heavy artillery of the field army
corresponds roughly to this requirement. But should it be lengthened by
a heavy howitzer battalion, with the necessary ammunition columns, it
will considerably exceed the safe marching depth--if, that is, the
necessary advance-guard distance be included. Since, also, the infantry
is too weak in proportion to the space required by the artillery to
deploy, it becomes advisable in the interests both of powerful attack
and of operative efficiency, within the separate troop organizations to
strengthen the numbers of the infantry and reduce those of the

In addition to the length of the column, the arrangement of the division
is very important for its tactical efficiency. This must be such as to
permit the most varied employment of the troops and the formation of
reserves without the preliminary necessity of breaking up all the units.
This requirement does not at all correspond to our traditional
organization, and the man to insist upon it vigorously has not yet
appeared, although there can be no doubt as to the inadequacy of the
existing tactical organization, and suitable schemes have already been
drawn up by competent officers.

The army corps is divided into two divisions, the division into two
infantry brigades. All the brigades consist of two regiments. The
formation of a reserve makes it very difficult for the commander to fix
the centre of gravity of the battle according to circumstances and his
own judgment. It is always necessary to break up some body when a
reserve has to be formed, and in most cases to reduce the officers of
some detachment to inactivity. Of course, a certain centre of gravity
for the battle may be obtained by assigning to one part of the troops a
wider and to the other a narrower space for deployment. But this
procedure in no way replaces a reserve, for it is not always possible,
even in the first dispositions for the engagement, to judge where the
brunt of the battle will be. That depends largely on the measures taken
by the enemy and the course of the battle.

Napoleon's saying, "_Je m'engage et puis je vois,"_ finds its
application, though to a lessened extent, even to-day. The division of
cavalry brigades into two regiments is simply a traditional institution
which has been thoughtlessly perpetuated. It has not been realized that
the duties of the cavalry have completely changed, and that brigades of
two regiments are, in addition to other disadvantages, too weak to carry
these duties out.

This bisecting system, by restricting the freedom of action, contradicts
the most generally accepted military principles.

The most natural formation is certainly a tripartition of the units, as
is found in an infantry regiment. This system permits the separate
divisions to fight near each other, and leaves room for the withdrawal
of a reserve, the formation of a detachment, or the employment of the
subdivisions in lines _(Treffen)_, for the principle of the wing attack
must not be allowed to remain merely a scheme. Finally, it is the best
formation for the offensive, since it allows the main body of the troops
to be employed at a single point in order to obtain a decisive result

A special difficulty in the free handling of the troops is produced by
the quite mechanical division of the artillery, who bring into action
two kinds of ordnance--cannons and howitzers. These latter can, of
course, be used as cannons, but have special functions which are not
always required. Their place in the organization, however, is precisely
the same as that of the cannons, and it is thus very difficult to employ
them as their particular character demands.

The object in the whole of this organization has been to make corps and
divisions equal, and if possible superior, to the corresponding
formations of the enemy by distributing the batteries proportionately
according to numbers among the divisions. This secured, besides, the
undeniable advantage of placing the artillery directly under the orders
of the commanders of the troops. But, in return, it robbed the
commanding General of the last means secured by the organization of
enforcing his tactical aims. He is now forced to form a reserve for
himself out of the artillery of the division, and thus to deprive one
division at least of half its artillery. If he has the natural desire to
withdraw for himself the howitzer section, which is found in one
division only, the same division must always be subjected to this
reduction of its strength, and it is more than problematical whether
this result always fits in with the tactical position. It seems at least
worth while considering whether, under these circumstances, it would not
be a more appropriate arrangement to attach a howitzer section to each

The distribution of the heavy field howitzers is another momentous
question. It would be in accordance with the principles that guide the
whole army to divide them equally among the army corps. This arrangement
would have much in its favour, for every corps may find itself in a
position where heavy howitzer batteries can be profitably employed. They
can also, however, be combined under the command of the
General-in-Chief, and attached to the second line of the army. The first
arrangement offers, as has been said, many advantages, but entails the
great disadvantage that the line of march of the army corps is
dangerously lengthened by several kilometres, so that no course is left
but either to weaken the other troops of the corps or to sacrifice the
indispensable property of tactical efficiency. Both alternatives are
inadmissible. On the other hand, since the employment of heavy howitzers
is by no means necessary in every engagement, but only when an attack is
planned against a strongly-posted enemy, it may be safely assumed that
the heavy howitzers could be brought up in time out of the second line
by a night march. Besides, their mobility renders it possible to detach
single batteries or sections, and on emergency to attach them to an army
corps temporarily.

There is a prevalent notion that the heavy howitzers are principally
used to fight the enemy's field artillery, and therefore must be on the
spot in every engagement. They have even been known to stray into the
advance guard. I do not approve of this idea. The enemy's field
artillery will fire indirectly from previously masked positions, and in
such case they cannot be very successfully attacked by heavy howitzers.
It seems to me quite unjustifiable, with the view of attaining this
problematic object, to burden the marching columns permanently with long
unwieldy trains of artillery and ammunition, and thus to render their
effectiveness doubtful.

No doubt the Japanese, who throughout the war continually increased
their heavy field howitzers, ultimately attached artillery of that sort
to every division. The experiences of that war must not, however, be
overestimated or generalized. The conditions were quite _sui generis_.
The Japanese fought on their whole front against fortified positions
strengthened by heavy artillery, and as they attacked the enemy's line
in its whole extension, they required on their side equally heavy guns.
It should be noticed that they did not distribute their very effective
12-centimetre field howitzers along the whole front, but, so far as I
can gather, assigned them all to the army of General Nogi, whose duty
was to carry out the decisive enveloping movement at Mukden. The
Japanese thus felt the need of concentrating the effect of their
howitzers, and as we hope we shall not imitate their frontal attack, but
break through the enemy's front, though in a different way from theirs,
the question of concentration seems to me very important for us.

Under these circumstances it will be most advantageous to unite the
heavy batteries in the hand of the Commander-in-Chief. They thus best
serve his scheme of offence. He can mass them at the place which he
wishes to make the decisive point in the battle, and will thus attain
that end most completely, whereas the distribution of them among the
army corps only dissipates their effectiveness. His heavy batteries will
be for him what the artillery reserves are for the divisional General.
There, where their mighty voice roars over the battlefield, will be the
deciding struggle of the day. Every man, down to the last private, knows

I will only mention incidentally that the present organization of the
heavy artillery on a peace footing is unsatisfactory. The batteries
which in war are assigned to the field army must in peace also be placed
under the orders of the corps commanders _(Truppenfuehrer)_ if they are
to become an organic part of the whole. At present the heavy artillery
of the field army is placed under the general-inspection of the foot
artillery, and attached to the troops only for purposes of manoeuvres.
It thus remains an isolated organism so far as the army goes, and does
not feel itself an integral part of the whole. A clear distinction
between field artillery and fortress artillery would be more practical.

This view seems at first sight to contradict the requirement that the
heavy batteries should form a reserve in the hands of the
Commander-in-Chief. As the armies do not exist in peace-time, and
manoeuvres are seldom carried out in army formation, the result of the
present organization is that the tactical relations of the heavy
artillery and the other troops are not sufficiently understood. This
disadvantage would be removed if heavy artillery were assigned
permanently to each army corps. This would not prevent it being united
in war-time in the hands of the army leaders. On the contrary, they
would be used in manoeuvres in relation to the army corps in precisely
the same sense as they would be in war-time in relation to the armies.

The operations of the army in the enemy's countries will be far more
effective if it has control of the railways and roads. That implies not
merely the restoration of railroads that may have been destroyed, but
the rapid capture of the barrier forts and fortresses which impede the
advance of the army by cutting off the railway communications. We were
taught the lesson in 1870-71 in France how far defective railway
communications hindered all operations. It is, therefore, of vital
importance that a corps should be available, whose main duty is the
discharge of these necessary functions.

Until recently we had only one united corps of pioneers, which was
organized alike for operations in the field and for siege operations,
but these latter have recently been so much developed that that system
can no longer supply an adequate technical training for them.

The demands made by this department of warfare, on the one hand, and by
the duties of pioneering in the field on the other, are so extensive and
so essentially different that it seems quite impracticable to train
adequately one and the same corps in both branches during two years'
service. The chief functions of the field pioneer are bridge-building,
fortifying positions, and supporting the infantry in the attack on
fortified places. The most important part of the fortress pioneer's
duties consists in sapping, and, above all, in mining, in preparing for
the storming of permanent works, and in supporting the infantry in the
actual storm. The army cannot be satisfied with a superficial training
for such service; it demands a most thorough going previous preparation.

Starting from this point of view, General v. Beseler, the late
Inspector-General of Fortresses and Pioneers, who has done inestimable
service to his country, laid the foundations of a new organization. This
follows the idea of the field pioneers and the fortress pioneers--a
rudimentary training in common, followed by separate special training
for their special duties. We must continue on these lines, and develop
more particularly the fortress pioneer branch of the service in better
proportion to its value.

In connection with the requirements already discussed, which are
directly concerned with securing and maintaining an increase of tactical
efficiency, we must finally mention two organizations which indirectly
serve the same purpose. These diminish the tactical efficiency of the
enemy, and so increase our own; while, by reconnoitring and by screening
movements, they help the attack and make it possible to take the enemy
unawares--an important condition of successful offensive warfare. I
refer to the cavalry and the air-fleet.

The cavalry's duties are twofold. On the one hand, they must carry out
reconnaissances and screening movements, on the other hand they must
operate against the enemy's communications, continually interrupt the
regular renewal of his supplies, and thus cripple his mobility.

Every military expert will admit that our cavalry, in proportion to the
war-footing of the army, and in view of the responsible duties assigned
them in war, is lamentably weak. This disproportion is clearly seen if
we look at the probable wastage on the march and in action, and realize
that it is virtually impossible to replace these losses adequately, and
that formations of cavalry reserves can only possess a very limited
efficiency. Popular opinion considers cavalry more or less superfluous,
because in our last wars they certainly achieved comparatively little
from the tactical point of view, and because they cost a great deal.
There is a general tendency to judge cavalry by the standard of 1866 and
1870-71. It cannot be emphasized too strongly that this standard is
misleading. On the one hand, the equipment was then so defective that it
crippled the powers of the mounted man in the most important points; on
the other hand, the employment of the cavalry was conducted on a wholly
antiquated system. It was, consequently, not armed for independent
movements. What they then did must not be compared with what will be
required from them in the future. In wars in which mounted forces were
really effective, and not hampered in their movements by preconceived
notions (as in the American War of Secession and the Boer War), their
employment has been continuously extended, since the great value of
their operative mobility was convincingly shown, especially in Africa,
notwithstanding all modern weapons. These are the wars which must be
studied in order to form a fair opinion. They will convince us that an
increase of our cavalry is absolutely imperative. It will, of course,
only be valuable when the divisions of the army cavalry are equipped
with columns and trains in such a way that they can operate
independently. The effectiveness of the cavalry depends entirely on the
fulfilment of this condition. It is also imperatively necessary, when
the measures of our opponents are considered, to strengthen the fighting
force of the cavalry by an adequate addition of cyclist sections. This
is the more requisite, as, on the one hand, the attack on the enemy's
communications must expect vigorous opposition, and, on the other hand,
the screening duties, which are even more important for the offensive
than the reconnaissances, are likely to be specially successful if
cavalry and cyclists combine. Again, an increased strength of cavalry is
undeniably required to meet the reconnoitring and screening troops of
the enemy.

Besides the strengthening of this arm and the addition of cyclists,
another organization is required if the cavalry are to do useful
service. Brigades of two regiments and divisions of six regiments are in
war-time, where all depends on decisive action, far too small, as I have
repeatedly demonstrated without being refuted.

The brigades must in war be three regiments strong. The strength of the
divisions and corps may vary according to the requirements of the time
being. Just because our cavalry is so weak, the organization must be in
a high degree elastic. There can, besides, be no doubt on the point that
the side which commands the services of the stronger cavalry, led on
modern lines, will have at the outset quite inestimable advantage over
the enemy, which must make itself felt in the ultimate issue.

I might remark incidentally that the mounted batteries which are
attached to the army cavalry must be formed with four guns each, so that
the division with its three parts would have the control of three
batteries, and, if necessary, a battery could be assigned to each
brigade. That is an old suggestion which the Emperor William I. once
made, but it has never yet been considered. It is not with cavalry
usually a question of protracted artillery engagements, but of utilizing
momentary opportunities; the greatest mobility is required together with
the most many-sided efficiency and adaptability. There can obviously,
therefore, be no question of a systematic combination with the
artillery. Such a thing can only be of value in the case of cavalry when
it is important to make a decisive attack.

The reconnaissance and screening duties of the cavalry must be completed
by the air-fleet. Here we are dealing with something which does not yet
exist, but we can foresee clearly the great part which this branch of
military science will play in future wars.[A] It is therefore necessary
to point out in good time those aspects of it which are of special
weight in a military sense, and therefore deserve peculiar consideration
from the technical side.

[Footnote A: The efficiency and success of the Italian aviators in
Tripoli are noteworthy, but must not be overvalued. There were no
opponents in the air.]

The first requirement is that airships, in addition to simplicity of
handling and independence of weather, should possess a superior fighting
strength, for it is impossible effectively to screen the movements of
the army and to open the road for reconnaissances without attacking
successfully the hostile flying-machines and air cruisers.

The power to fight and destroy the hostile airships must be the leading
idea in all constructions, and the tactics to be pursued must be at once
thought out in order that the airships may be built accordingly, since
tactics will be essentially dependent on the construction and the
technical effectiveness. These reciprocal relations must be borne in
mind from the first, so as to gain a distinct advantage over our

If the preceding remarks are epitomized, we have, apart from the
necessity of enforcing universal service, quite a long list of proposed
changes in organization, the adoption of which will considerably improve
the efficiency of our army.

The whole organization must be such that the column length of the army
corps does not exceed the size which allows a rapid advance, though the
supplies are exclusively drawn from magazine depots.

In case of the larger formations, and especially of the army corps as
being the tactical and operative unit, the principle of tripartition
must be observed.

The infantry must be, in proportion to the artillery, substantially

The artillery must be organized in such a way that it is possible to
concentrate the fire of the howitzers where required without breaking up
the units.

The cavalry must be increased, strengthened by cyclist sections, and so
organized as to insure their efficiency in war.

The formation of reinforcements, especially for supplies, must be so
elaborated that, on a rapid advance, an efficient system of feeding the
troops entirely from magazine depots can be maintained.

The air-fleet must be energetically developed with the object of making
it a better fighting machine than that of the enemy.

Finally, and this is the most important thing, we must strain every
nerve to render our infantry tactically the best in the world, and to
take care that none but thoroughly efficient formations are employed in
the decisive field war.

The fulfilment of all these requirements on the basis of our present
organization offers naturally great difficulties and can hardly be
carried out. It is impossible to imagine a German Reichstag which,
without the most extreme pressure of circumstances, could resolve to
make for the army the sacrifices called for by our political condition.
The temptation to shut the eyes to existing dangers and to limit
political aims in order to repudiate the need of great sacrifices is so
strong that men are sure to succumb to it, especially at a period when
all political wisdom seems summed up in the maintenance of peace. They
comfort themselves with the hope that the worst will not happen,
although history shows that the misery produced by weakness has often
surpassed all expectations.

But even if the nation can hardly be expected to understand what is
necessary, yet the War Department must be asked to do their utmost to
achieve what is possible, and not to stop short out of deference to
public opinion. When the future of a great and noble nation is at stake
there is no room for cowardice or inaction. Nothing must be done, as
unhappily has too often been the case, which runs counter to the
principles of a sound military organization.

The threefold division of the larger formations could be effected in
various ways. Very divergent ideas may be entertained on this subject,
and the difficulties of carrying out the scheme need extensive
consideration. I will make a few proposals just by way of illustration.

One way would be to split up the army corps into three divisions of
three infantry regiments each, and to abolish the superfluous
intermediate system of brigades. Another proposal would be to form in
every corps one of the present divisions of three brigades, so that the
extra brigade combined with the light field howitzers and the Jaeger
battalion would constitute in event of war a separate detachment in the
hands of the commanding General. This last arrangement could be carried
out comparatively easily under our present system, but entails the
drawback that the system of twofold division is still in force within
the brigades and divisions. The most sweeping reform, that of dividing
the corps into three divisions, would have the advantage of being
thorough and would allow the separate groups to be employed in many more

The relations between the infantry and the artillery can naturally only
be improved gradually by the strengthening of the infantry through the
enforcement of universal service. The assignment of a fifth brigade to
each army corps would produce better conditions than exist at present.
But so soon as the strengthening of the infantry has gone so far that
new army corps must be created, the artillery required for them can be
taken from existing formations, and these can be diminished by this
means. It will conduce to the general efficiency of the army if the
artillery destined for each army corps is to some degree limited,
without, however, reducing their total. Care must be taken that only the
quantity of ammunition necessary for the first stages of the battle
should be habitually carried by the columns of the troops engaged. All
that exceeds this must be kept in the rear behind the commissariat
waggons, and brought forward only on necessity--that is to say, when a
battle is in prospect. The certainty of being able to feed the troops
and thus maintain the rapidity of the advance is far more important than
the more or less theoretical advantage of having a large quantity of
ammunition close at hand during the advance. The soldiers will be
inclined to be sparing of ammunition in the critical stages of the
fight, and will not be disposed to engage with an unseen enemy, who can
only be attacked by scattered fire; the full fire strength will be
reserved for the deciding moments of the engagement. Then, however, the
required ammunition will be on the spot, in any event, if it is brought
forward by stages in good time.

A suitable organization of the artillery would insure that each division
had an equal number of batteries at its disposal. The light field
howitzers, however, must be attached to a division in such a way that
they may form an artillery corps, without necessarily breaking up the
formations of the division. The strength of the artillery must be
regulated according to that of the infantry, in such a way that the
entire marching depth does not exceed some 25 kilometres. The heavy
field howitzers, on the other hand, must in peace be placed under the
orders of the General commanding, and in event of war be combined as
"army" artillery.

It would, perhaps, be advisable if the cavalry were completely detached
from the corps formation, since the main body is absolutely independent
in war as "army" cavalry. The regiments necessary for service with the
infantry could be called out in turn during peace-time for manoeuvres
with mixed arms, in order to be trained in the work of divisional
cavalry, for which purpose garrison training can also be utilized. On
the other hand, it is, I know, often alleged that the _Truppenfuehrer_
are better trained and learn much if the cavalry are under their orders;
but this objection does not seem very pertinent.

Another way to adapt the organization better to the efficiency of the
arm than at present would be that the four cavalry regiments belonging
to each army corps should be combined into a brigade and placed under
the commanding General. In event of mobilization, one regiment would be
withdrawn for the two divisions, while the brigade, now three regiments
strong, would pass over to the "army" cavalry. The regiment intended for
divisional cavalry would, on mobilization, form itself into six
squadrons and place three of them at the service of each division. If
the army corps was formed into three divisions, each division would only
be able to receive two squadrons.

In this way, of course, a very weak and inferior divisional cavalry
would be formed; the service in the field would suffer heavily under it;
but since it is still more important to have at hand a sufficient army
cavalry than a divisional cavalry, quite competent for their difficult
task, there is, for the time being, no course left than to raise the one
to its indispensable strength at the cost of the other. The blame for
such a makeshift, which seriously injures the army, falls upon those who
did not advocate an increase of the cavalry at the proper moment. The
whole discussion shows how absolutely necessary such an increase is. If
it were effected, it would naturally react upon the organization of the
arm. This would have to be adapted to the new conditions. There are
various ways in which a sound and suitable development of the cavalry
can be guaranteed.

The absolutely necessary cyclist sections must in any case be attached
to the cavalry in peace, in order that the two arms may be drilled in
co-operation, and that the cavalry commander may learn to make
appropriate use of this important arm. Since the cyclists are restricted
to fairly good roads, the co-operation presents difficulties which
require to be surmounted.

The views which I have here tried to sketch as aspects of the
organization of the army can be combated from several standpoints. In
military questions, particularly, different estimates of the individual
factors lead to very different results. I believe, however, that my
opinions result with a certain logical necessity from the whole aspect
of affairs. It is most essential, in preparing for war, to keep the main
leading idea fixed and firm, and not to allow it to be shaken by
question of detail. Each special requirement must be regarded as part of
that general combination of things which only really comes into view in
actual warfare. The special standpoint of a particular arm must be
rejected as unjustified, and the departmental spirit must be silenced.
Care must be taken not to overestimate the technical and material means
of power in spite of their undoubted importance, and to take sufficient
account of the spiritual and moral factors. Our age, which has made such
progress in the conquest of nature, is inclined to attach too much
importance to this dominion over natural forces; but in the last resort,
the forces that give victory are in the men and not in the means which
they employ.

A profound knowledge of generalship and a self-reliant personality are
essential to enable the war preparations to be suitably carried out;
under the shifting influence of different aims and ideas the "organizer
of victory" will often feel doubtful whether he ought to decide this way
or that. The only satisfactory solution of such doubts is to deduce from
a view of warfare in its entirety and its varied phases and demands the
importance of the separate co-operating factors.

"For he who grasps the problem as a whole
Has calmed the storm that rages in his soul"



Our first object, then, must be to organize and transform the German
army into the most effective tool of German policy, and into a school of
health and strength for our nation. We must also try to get ahead of our
rivals by superiority of training, and at the same time to do full
justice to the social requirements of the army by exerting all our
efforts towards raising the spiritual and moral level of the units and
strengthening their loyal German feelings.

Diligence and devotion to military education are no longer at the
present day sufficient to make our troops superior to the enemy's, for
there are men working no less devotedly in the hostile armies. If we
wish to gain a start there is only one way to do it: the training must
break with all that is antiquated and proceed in the spirit of the war
of the future, which will impose fresh requirements on the troops as
well as on the officers.

It is unnecessary to go into the details about the training in the use
of modern arms and technical contrivances: this follows necessarily from
the introduction of these means of war. But if we survey the sphere of
training as a whole, two phenomena of modern warfare will strike us as
peculiarly important with regard to it: the heightened demands which
will be made on individual character and the employment of "masses" to
an extent hitherto unknown.

The necessity for increased individualization in the case of infantry
and artillery results directly from the character of the modern battle;
in the case of cavalry it is due to the nature of their strategical
duties and the need of sometimes fighting on foot like infantry; in the
case of leaders of every grade, from the immensity of the armies, the vast
extent of the spheres of operation and fields of battle, and the
difficulty, inseparable from all these conditions, of giving direct
orders. Wherever we turn our eyes to the wide sphere of modern warfare,
we encounter the necessity of independent action--by the private soldier
in the thick of the battle, or the lonely patrol in the midst of the
enemy's country, as much as by the leader of an army, who handles huge
hosts. In battle, as well as in operations, the requisite uniformity of
action can only be attained at the present time by independent
co-operation of all in accordance with a fixed general scheme.

The employment of "masses" requires an entirely altered method of moving
and feeding the troops. It is one thing to lead 100,000 or perhaps
200,000 men in a rich country seamed with roads, and concentrate them
for a battle--it is another to manoeuvre 800,000 men on a scene of war
stripped bare by the enemy, where all railroads and bridges have been
destroyed by modern explosives. In the first case the military empiric
may be equal to the occasion; the second case demands imperatively a
scientifically educated General and a staff who have also studied and
mastered for themselves the nature of modern warfare. The problems of
the future must be solved in advance if a commander wishes to be able to
operate in a modern theatre of war with certainty and rapid decision.

The necessity of far-reaching individualization then is universally
recognized. To be sure, the old traditions die slowly. Here and there an
undeserved importance is still attached to the march past as a method of
education, and drilling in close formation is sometimes practised more
than is justified by its value. The cavalry is not yet completely
awakened from its slumbers, and performs the time-honoured exercises on
the parade-grounds with great strain on the horses' strength, oblivious
of the existence of long-range quick-firing guns, and as if they were
still the old arm which Napoleon or Frederick the Great commanded. Even
the artillery is still haunted by some more or less antiquated notions;
technical and stereotyped ideas still sometimes restrict the freedom of
operations; in the practice of manoeuvres, artillery duels are still in
vogue, while sufficient attention is not given to concentration of fire
with a definite purpose, and to co-operation with the infantry. Even in
theory the necessity of the artillery duel is still asserted. Many
conservative notions linger on in the heavy artillery. Obsolete ideas
have not yet wholly disappeared even from the new regulations and
ordinances where they block the path of true progress; but, on the
whole, it has been realized that greater individual responsibility and
self-reliance must be encouraged. In this respect the army is on the
right road, and if it continues on it and continually resists the
temptation of restricting the independence of the subordinate for the
sake of outward appearance, there is room for hope that gradually the
highest results will be attained, provided that competent military
criticism has been equally encouraged.

In this direction a healthy development has started, but insufficient
attention has been given to the fact that the main features of war have
completely changed. Although in the next war men will have to be handled
by millions, the training of our officers is still being conducted on
lines which belong to a past era, and virtually ignore modern
conditions. Our manoeuvres more especially follow these lines. Most of
the practical training is carried out in manoeuvres of brigades and
divisions--i.e., in formations which could never occur in the great
decisive campaigns of the future. From time to time--financial grounds
unfortunately prevent it being an annual affair--a corps manoeuvre is
held, which also cannot be regarded as training for the command of
"masses." Sometimes, but rarely, several army corps are assembled for
combined training under veteran Generals, who soon afterwards leave the
service, and so cannot give the army the benefit of any experience which
they may have gained.

It cannot, of course, be denied that present-day manoeuvres are
extraordinarily instructive and useful, especially for the troops
themselves', but they are not a direct training for the command of
armies in modern warfare. Even the so-called "Imperial Manoeuvres" only
correspond, to a very slight extent, to the requirements of modern war,
since they never take account of the commissariat arrangements, and
seldom of the arrangements for sheltering, etc., the troops which would
be essential in real warfare. A glance at the Imperial Manoeuvres of
1909 is sufficient to show that many of the operations could never have
been carried out had it been a question of the troops being fed under
the conditions of war. It is an absolute necessity that our officers
should learn to pay adequate attention to these points, which are the
rule in warfare and appreciably cramp the power of operations. In
theory, of course, the commissariat waggons are always taken into
account; they are conscientiously mentioned in all orders, and in theory
are posted as a commissariat reserve between the corps and the
divisions. That they would in reality all have to circulate with a
pendulum-like frequency between the troops and the magazines, that the
magazines would have to be almost daily brought forward or sent farther
back, that the position of the field bakeries is of extreme
importance--these are all points which are inconvenient and troublesome,
and so are very seldom considered.

In great strategic war-games, too, even in a theatre of war selected in
Russia which excludes all living upon the country, the commissariat
arrangements are rarely worked out in detail; I should almost doubt
whether on such occasions the possibility of exclusive "magazine
feeding" has ever been entertained. Even smaller opportunities of being
acquainted with these conditions are given to the officer in ordinary
manoeuvres, and yet it is extremely difficult on purely theoretical
lines to become familiar with the machinery for moving and feeding a
large army and to master the subject efficiently.

The friction and the obstacles which occur in reality cannot be brought
home to the student in theory, and the routine in managing such things
cannot be learnt from books.

These conditions, then, are a great check on the freedom of operations,
but, quite apart from the commissariat question, the movements of an
army present considerable difficulties in themselves, which it is
obviously very hard for the inexperienced to surmount. When, in 1870,
some rather complicated army movements were contemplated, as on the
advance to Sedan, it was at once seen that the chief commanders were not
masters of the situation, that only the fertility of the theatre of war
and the deficient attacking powers of the French allowed the operations
to succeed, although a man like Moltke was at the head of the army. All
these matters have since been thoroughly worked out by our General
Staff, but the theoretical labours of the General Staff are by no means
the common property of the army.

On all these grounds I believe that first and foremost our manoeuvres
must be placed on a new footing corresponding to the completely altered
conditions, and that we must leave the beaten paths of tradition. The
troops must be trained--as formerly--to the highest tactical efficiency,
and the army must be developed into the most effective machine for
carrying out operations; success in modern war turns on these two
pivots. But the leaders must be definitely educated for that war on the
great scale which some day will have to be fought to a finish. The paths
we have hitherto followed do not lead to this goal.

All methods of training and education must be in accordance with these

I do not propose to go further into the battle training of infantry and
cavalry in this place, since I have already discussed the question at
length in special treatises.[A] In the case of the artillery alone, some
remarks on the principles guiding the technical training of this arm
seem necessary.

[Footnote A: v. Bernhardi: "Taktik und Ausbildung der Infanterie," 1910
"Unsere Kavallerie im naechsten Krieg," 1899; "Reiterdienst," 1910.]

The demands on the fighting-efficiency of this arm--as is partly
expressed in the regulations--may be summed up as follows: all
preconceived ideas and theories as to its employment must be put on one
side, and its one guiding principle must be to support the cavalry or
infantry at the decisive point. This principle is universally
acknowledged in theory, but it ought to be more enforced in practice.
The artillery, therefore, must try more than ever to bring their
tactical duties into the foreground and to make their special technical
requirements subservient to this idea. The ever-recurring tendency to
fight chiefly the enemy's artillery must be emphatically checked. On the
defensive it will, of course, often be necessary to engage the attacking
artillery, if there is any prospect of success, since this is the most
dreaded enemy of the infantry on the defensive; but, on the attack, its
chief duty always is to fire upon the enemy's infantry, where possible,
from masked positions. The principle of keeping the artillery divisions
close together on the battlefield and combining the fire in one
direction, must not be carried to an extreme. The artillery certainly
must be employed on a large plan, and the chief in command must see that
there is a concentration of effort at the decisive points; but in
particular cases, and among the varying incidents of a battle, this idea
will be carried out less effectively by uniformity of orders than by
explaining the general scheme to the subordinate officers, and leaving
to them the duty of carrying it out. Accordingly, it is important that
the personal initiative of the subordinate officer should be recognized
more fully than before; for in a crisis such independent action is
indispensable. The great extent of the battlefields and the natural
endeavour to select wooded and irregular ground for the attack will
often force the artillery to advance in groups or in lines one behind
the other, and to attempt, notwithstanding, united action against the
tactically most important objective. This result is hard to attain by a
centralization of command, and is best realized by the independent
action of tactically trained subordinates.

This is not the place to enter into technical details, and I will only
mention some points which appear especially important.

The Bz shell _(Granatschuss)_ should be withdrawn as unsuitable, and its
use should not form part of the training. It requires, in order to
attain its specific effect against rifle-pits, such accurate aiming as
is very seldom possible in actual warfare.

No very great value should be attached to firing with shrapnel. It seems
to be retained in France and to have shown satisfactory results with us;
but care must be taken not to apply the experiences of the
shooting-range directly to serious warfare. No doubt its use, if
successful, promises rapid results, but it may easily lead, especially
in the "mass" battle, to great errors in calculation. In any case,
practice with Az shot is more trustworthy, and is of the first importance.

The Az fire must be reserved principally for the last stages of an
offensive engagement, as was lately laid down in the regulations.

Care must be taken generally not to go too far in refinements and
complications of strategy and devices. Only the simplest methods can be
successfully applied in battle; this fact must never be forgotten.

The important point in the general training of the artillery is that
text-book pedantries--for example, in the reports on shooting--should be
relegated more than hitherto to the background, and that tactics should
be given a more prominent position. In this way only can the artillery
do really good service in action; but the technique of shooting must not
be neglected in the reports. That would mean rejecting the good and the
evil together, and the tendency to abolish such reports as inconvenient
must be distinctly opposed.

Under this head, attention must be called to the independent manoeuvres
of artillery regiments and brigades in the country, which entail large
expenditure, and, in fact, do more harm than good. They must, in my
opinion, be abandoned or at least considerably modified, since their
possible use is not in proportion to their cost and their drawbacks.
They lead to pronounced tactics of position _(Stellungstaktik)_ which
are impracticable in war; and the most important lesson in actual
war--the timely employment of artillery within a defined space and for a
definite object without any previous reconnoitring of the country in
search of suitable positions for the batteries--can never be learnt on
these manoeuvres. They could be made more instructive if the tactical
limits were marked by troops; but the chief defect in these
manoeuvres--viz., that the artillery is regarded as the decisive
arm--cannot be thus remedied. The usual result is that favourable
artillery positions are searched for, and that they are then adhered to
under some tactical pretence.

After all, only a slight shifting of the existing centre of gravity may
be necessary, so far as the development of the fighting _tactics_ of the
various branches of the service is concerned, in order to bring them
into line with modern conditions. If, however, the troops are to be
educated to a higher efficiency in _operations_, completely new ground
must be broken, on which, I am convinced, great results and an undoubted
superiority over our opponents can be attained. Considerable
difficulties will have to be surmounted, for the crucial point is to
amass immense armies on a genuine war footing; but these difficulties
are not, in my opinion, insurmountable.

There are two chief points: first, the practice of marching and
operations in formations at war strength, fully equipped with
well-stocked magazines as on active service; and, secondly, a
reorganization of the manoeuvres, which must be combined with a more
thorough education of the chief commanders.

As regards the first point, practice on this scale, so far as I know,
has never yet been attempted. But if we consider, firstly, how valuable
more rapid and accurate movements of great masses will be for the war of
the future, and, secondly, what serious difficulties they involve, we
shall be rewarded for the attempt to prepare the army systematically for
the discharge of such duties, and thus to win an unquestioned advantage
over our supposed antagonist.

The preparation for the larger manoeuvres of this sort can naturally
also be carried out in smaller formation. It is, moreover, very
important to train large masses of troops--brigades and divisions--in
long marches across country by night and day with pioneer sections in
the vanguard, in order to gain experience for the technique of such
movements, and to acquire by practice a certain security in them.

Training marches with full military stores, etc., in columns of 20 to 25
kilometres depth would be still more valuable, since they correspond to
the daily needs of real warfare. Should it not be possible to assemble
two army corps in such manoeuvres, then the necessary depth of march can
be obtained by letting the separate detachments march with suitable
intervals, in which case the intervals must be very strictly observed.
This does not ever really reproduce the conditions of actual warfare,
but it is useful as a makeshift. The waggons for the troops would have
to be hired, as On manoeuvres, though only partly, in order to save
expense. The supplies could be brought on army transport trains, which
would represent the pioneer convoys _(Verpflegungsstaffel)_, and would
regulate their pace accordingly.

Marching merely for training purposes in large formations, with food
supplied from the field-kitchens during the march, would also be of
considerable value provided that care is taken to execute the march in
the shortest possible time, and to replace the provisions consumed by
bringing fresh supplies forward from the rear; this process is only
properly seen when the march, with supplies as if in war, is continued
for several days. It is naturally not enough to undertake these
manoeuvres once in a way; they must be a permanent institution if they
are intended to develop a sound knowledge of marching in the army.
Finally, flank marches must be practised, sometimes in separate columns,
sometimes in army formation. The flank marches of separate columns will,
of course, be useful only when they are combined with practice in
feeding an army as if in war, so that the commissariat columns march on
the side away from the enemy, in a parallel line, and are thence brought
up to the troops at the close of the march. Flank marches in army
formation will have some value, even apart from any training in the
commissariat system, since the simultaneous crossing of several marching
columns on parallel by-roads is not an easy manoeuvre in itself. But
this exercise will have its full value only when the regulation
commissariat waggons are attached, which would have to move with them
and furnish the supplies.

I also consider that operative movements in army formation extending
over several days are desirable. Practice must be given in moving
backwards and forwards in the most various combinations, in flank
movements, and in doubling back, the lines of communication in the rear
being blocked when necessary. Then only can all the difficulties which
occur on such movements be shown one by one, and it can be seen where
the lever must be applied in order to remove them. In this way alone can
the higher commanders gain the necessary certainty in conducting such
operations, so as to be able to employ them under the pressure of a
hostile attack. An army so disciplined would, I imagine, acquire a
pronounced superiority over any opponent who made his first experiments
in such operations in actual war. The major strategic movements on both
sides in the Franco-German War of 1870-71 sufficiently showed that.

I recognize naturally that all exercises on this scale would cost a
great deal of money and could never all be carried out systematically
one after the other. I wished, however, to ventilate the subject,
firstly, in order to recommend all officers in high command to study the
points of view under consideration--a thing they much neglect to do;
secondly, because it might be sometimes profitable and possible to carry
out in practice one or other of them--at the Imperial Manoeuvres, for
example, or on some other occasion. How much could be saved in money
alone and applied usefully to this purpose were the above-mentioned
country manoeuvres of the artillery suspended? From reasons of economy
all the commissariat waggons and columns need not actually be employed
on such manoeuvres. It would be useful, however, if, in addition to one
detachment equipped on a war footing, the head waggons of the other
groups were present and were moved along at the proper distance from
each other and from the detachment, which could mainly be fed from the
kitchen waggon. It would thus be possible to get a sort of presentation
of the whole course of the commissariat business and to acquire valuable
experience. It is, indeed, extraordinarily difficult to arrange such
manoeuvres properly, and it must be admitted that much friction and many
obstacles are got rid of if only the heads of the groups are marked out,
and that false ideas thus arise which may lead to erroneous conclusions;
but under careful direction such manoeuvres would certainly not be
wholly useless, especially if attention is mainly paid to the matters
which are really essential. They would, at any rate, be far more
valuable than many small manoeuvres, which can frequently be replaced by
exercises on the large drill-grounds, than many expensive trainings in
the country, which are of no real utility, or than many other military
institutions which are only remotely connected with the object of
training under active service conditions. All that does not directly
promote this object must be erased from our system of education at a
time when the highest values are at stake.

Even then exercise in operations on a large scale cannot often be
carried out, primarily because of the probable cost, and next because it
is not advisable to interrupt too often the tactical training of the

It must be repeated in a definite cycle in each large formation, so that
eventually all superior officers may have the opportunity of becoming
practically acquainted with these operations, and also that the troops
may become familiarized with the modern commissariat system; but since
such practical exercises must always be somewhat incomplete, they must
also be worked out beforehand theoretically. It is not at all sufficient
that the officers on the General Staff and the Intendants have a mastery
of these subjects. The rank and file must be well up in them; but
especially the officers who will be employed on the supply service--that
is to say, the transport officers of the standing army and those
officers on the furlough establishment, who would be employed as column

The practical service in the transport battalions and the duties
performed by the officers of the last-mentioned category who are
assigned to these battalions are insufficient to attain this object.
They learn from these mainly practical duties next to nothing of the
system as a whole. It would therefore be advisable that all these
officers should go through a special preliminary course for this
service, in which the whole machinery of the army movements would be
explained to them by the officers of the General Staff and the higher
transport service officers, and they would then learn by practical
examples to calculate the whole movement of the columns in the most
varied positions with precise regard to distances and time. This would
be far more valuable for war than the many and often excessive trainings
in driving, etc., on which so much time is wasted. The technical
driver's duty is very simple in all columns and trains, but it is not
easy to know in each position what is the crucial point, in order to be
able, when occasion arises, to act independently.

While, therefore, on the one hand, driving instruction must be
thoroughly carried out, on the other hand, the institution of a
scientific transport service course, in which, by practical examples out
of military history, the importance of these matters can be explained,
is under present circumstances an absolute necessity. I have shown
elsewhere how necessary it is to proceed absolutely systematically in
the arrangements for relays of supplies, since the operative
capabilities of the army depend on this system. Its nature, however,
cannot be realized by the officers concerned like a sudden inspiration
when mobilization takes place; knowledge of its principles must be
gained by study, and a proof of the complete misapprehension of the
importance which this service has attained under modern conditions is
that officers are supposed to be able to manage it successfully without
having made in peace-time a profound scientific study of the matter.

The transport service has advanced to a place of extraordinary
importance in the general system of modern warfare. It should be
appreciated accordingly. Every active transport service officer ought,
after some years' service, to attend a scientific course; all the senior
officers on the furlough establishment intended for transport service
ought, as their first duty, to be summoned to attend such a course. If
these educational courses were held in the autumn in the training camps
of the troops, they would entail little extra cost, and an inestimable
advantage would be gained with a very trifling outlay.

The results of such a measure can only be fully realized in war, when
the superior officers also thoroughly grasp these matters and do not
make demands contrary to the nature of the case, and therefore
impossible to be met. They should therefore be obliged to undergo a
thorough education in the practical duties of the General Staff, and not
merely in leading troops in action.

This reflection leads to the discussion of the momentous question how,
generally, the training of the superior officers for the great war
should be managed, and how the manoeuvres ought to be reorganized with a
view to the training. The essential contradiction between our obsolete
method of training and the completely altered demands of a new era
appears here with peculiar distinctness.

A large part of our superior commanders pass through the General Staff,
while part have attended at least the military academy; but when these
men reach the higher positions what they learnt in their youth has long
become out of date. The continuation school is missing. It can be
replaced only by personal study; but there is generally insufficient
time for this, and often a lack of interest. The daily duties of
training troops claim all the officer's energy, and he needs great
determination and love of hard work to continue vigorously his own
scientific education. The result is, that comparatively few of our
superior officers have a fairly thorough knowledge, much less an
independently thought out view, of the conditions of war on the great
scale. This would cost dearly in real war. Experience shows that it is
not enough that the officers of the General Staff attached to the leader
are competent to fill up this gap. The leader, if he cannot himself
grasp the conditions, becomes the tool of his subordinates; he believes
he is directing and is himself being directed. This is a far from
healthy condition. Our present manoeuvres are, as already mentioned,
only occasionally a school for officers in a strategical sense, and from
the tactical point of view they do not meet modern requirements. The
minor manoeuvres especially do not represent what is the most important
feature in present-day warfare--i.e., the sudden concentration of
larger forces on the one side and the impossibility, from space
considerations, of timely counter-movements on the other. The minor
manoeuvres are certainly useful in many respects. The commanders learn
to form decisions and to give orders, and these are two important
matters; but the same result would follow from manoeuvres on the grand
scale, which would also to some extent reproduce the modern conditions
of warfare.

Brigade manoeuvres especially belong to a past generation, and merely
encourage wrong ideas. All that the soldiers learn from them--that is,
fighting in the country--can be taught on the army drill-grounds.
Divisional manoeuvres are still of some value even to the commanders.
The principles of tactical leadership in detail can be exemplified in
them; but the first instructive manoeuvres in the modern sense are those
of the army corps; still more valuable are the manoeuvres on a larger
scale, in which several army corps are combined, especially when the
operating divisions are considered part of one whole, and are compelled
to act in connection with one grand general scheme of operation. The
great art in organizing manoeuvres is to reproduce such conditions, for
only in this way can the strain of the general situation and the
collective mass of individual responsibility, such as exist in actual
warfare, be distinctly brought home. This is a most weighty
consideration. The superior officers must have clearly brought before
their eyes the limits of the possible and the impossible in modern
warfare, in order to be trained to deal with great situations.

The requirements which these reflections suggest are the restriction of
small-scale manoeuvres in favour of the large and predominantly
strategical manoeuvres, and next the abolition of some less important
military exercises in order to apply the money thus saved in this
direction. We must subject all our resources to a single test--that they
conduce to the perfecting of a modern army. We must subject all our
resources to a single test--that they conduce to the perfecting of a
modern army. If the military drill-grounds are suitably enlarged (a
rather difficult but necessary process, since, in view of the range of
the artillery and the mass tactics, they have generally become too
small) a considerable part of the work which is done in the divisional
manoeuvres could be carried out on them. The money saved by this change
could be devoted to the large army manoeuvres. One thing is certain: a
great impulse must be given to the development of our manoeuvre system
if it is to fulfil its purpose as formerly; in organization and
execution these manoeuvres must be modern in the best sense of the word.

It seems, however, quite impossible to carry out this sort of training
on so comprehensive a scale that it will by itself be sufficient to
educate serviceable commanders for the great war. The manoeuvres can
only show their full value if the officers of every rank who take part
in them have already had a competent training in theory.

To encourage this preliminary training of the superior officers is thus
one of the most serious tasks of an efficient preparation for war. These
must not regard their duty as lying exclusively in the training of the
troops, but must also be ever striving further to educate themselves and
their subordinates for leadership in the great war. Strategic war games
on a large scale, which in the army corps can be conducted by the
commanding Generals, and in the army-inspections by the Inspectors, seem
to me to be the only means by which this end can be attained. All
superior officers must be criticized by the standard of their efficiency
in superior commands. The threads of all this training will meet in the
hands of the Chief of the General Army Staff as the strategically
responsible authority.

It seems undesirable in any case to leave it more or less to chance to
decide whether those who hold high commands will be competent or not for
their posts. The circumstances that a man is an energetic commander of
a division, or as General in command maintains discipline in his army
corps, affords no conclusive proof that he is fitted to be the leader of
an army. Military history supplies many instances of this.

No proof is required to show that under the conditions of modern warfare
the reconnoitring and screening units require special training. The
possibility and the success of all operations are in the highest degree
dependent on their activity. I have for years pointed out the absolute
necessity of preparing our cavalry officers scientifically for their
profession, and I can only repeat the demand that our cavalry
riding-schools should be organized also as places of scientific
education. I will also once more declare that it is wrong that the bulk
of the training of the army cavalry should consist in the divisional
cavalry exercises on the military drill-grounds. These exercises do not
correspond at all to actual conditions, and inculcate quite wrong
notions in the officers, as every cavalry officer in high command finds
out who, having been taught on the drill-ground, has to lead a cavalry
division on manoeuvres.

The centre of gravity of effectiveness in war rests on the directing of
operations and on the skilful transition from strategical independence
to combination in attack; the great difficulty of leading cavalry lies
in these conditions, and this can no more be learnt on the drill-grounds
than systematic screening and reconnaissance duties. The perpetual
subject of practice on the drill-grounds, a cavalry engagement between
two divisions in close formation, will hardly ever occur in war. Any
unprejudiced examination of the present conditions must lead to this
result, and counsels the cavalry arm to adopt a course which may be
regarded as a serious preparation for war.

It is a truly remarkable fact that the artillery, which in fact, always
acts only in combination with the other arms, carries out annually
extensive independent manoeuvres, as if it had by itself a definite
effect on the course of the campaign, while the army cavalry, which
_always_ takes the field independently, hardly ever trains by itself,
but carefully practises that combination with infantry which is only
rarely necessary in war. This clearly demonstrates the unsystematic and
antiquated methods of all our training.

Practice in reconnoitring and screening tactics, as well as raids on a
large scale, are what is wanted for the training of the cavalry.
Co-operation with the air-fleet will be a further development, so soon
as aviation has attained such successes that it may be reckoned as an
integral factor of army organization. The airship division and the
cavalry have kindred duties, and must co-operate under the same command,
especially for screening purposes, which are all-important.

The methods for the training of pioneers which correspond fully to
modern requirements have been pointed out by General v. Beseler. This
arm need only be developed further in the direction which this
distinguished officer has indicated in order to satisfy the needs of the
next war.

In the field war its chief importance will be found to be in the support
of the infantry in attacks on fortified positions, and in the
construction of similar positions. Tactical requirements must, however,
be insisted upon in this connection. The whole training must be guided
by considerations of tactics. This is the main point. As regards sieges,
especial attention must be devoted to training the miners, since the
object is to capture rapidly the outlying forts and to take the
fortresses which can resist the attack of the artillery.

The duties of the Army Service Corps[B] are clear. They must, on the one
hand, be efficiently trained for the intelligence department, especially
for the various duties of the telegraph branch, and be ready to give
every kind of assistance to the airships; on the other hand, they must
look after and maintain the strategical capacities of the army. The
rapid construction of railroads, especially light railways, the speedy
repair of destroyed lines, the protection of traffic on military
railways, and the utilization of motors for various purposes, are the
duties for which these troops must be trained. A thorough knowledge and
mastery of the essential principles of operations are indispensable
qualifications in their case also. They can only meet their many-sided
and all-important duties by a competent acquaintance with the methods
and system of army movements on every scale. It is highly important,
therefore, that the officers of the Army Service Corps should be
thoroughly trained in military science.

[Footnote B: _Verkehrstruppen_.]

Thus in every direction we see the necessity to improve the intellectual
development of the army, and to educate it to an appreciation of the
close connection of the multifarious duties of war. This appreciation is
requisite, not merely for the leaders and special branches of the
service; it must permeate the whole corps of officers, and to some
degree the non-commissioned officers also. It will bear good fruit in
the training of the men. The higher the stage on which the teacher
stands, and the greater his intellectual grasp of the subject, the more
complete will be his influence on the scholars, the more rapidly and
successfully will he reach the understanding of his subordinates, and
the more thoroughly will he win from them that confidence and respect
which are the firmest foundations of discipline. All the means employed
to improve the education of our establishment of officers in the science
of war and general subjects will be richly repaid in efficient service
on every other field of practical activity. Intellectual exercise gives
tone to brain and character, and a really deep comprehension of war and
its requirements postulates a certain philosophic mental education and
bent, which makes it possible to assess the value of phenomena in their
reciprocal relations, and to estimate correctly the imponderabilia. The
effort to produce this higher intellectual standard in the officers'
corps must be felt in their training from the military school onwards,
and must find its expression in a school of military education of a
higher class than exists at present.

A military academy as such was contemplated by Scharnhorst. To-day it
assumed rather the character of a preparatory school for the General
Staff. Instruction in history and mathematics is all that remains of its
former importance. The instruction in military history was entirely
divested of its scientific character by the method of application
employed, and became wholly subservient to tactics. In this way the
meaning of the study of military history was obscured, and even to-day,
so far as I know, the lectures on military history primarily serve
purposes of directly professional education. I cannot say how far the
language teaching imparts the spirit of foreign tongues. At any rate, it
culminates in the examination for interpreterships, and thus pursues a
directly practical end. This development was in a certain sense
necessary. A quite specifically professional education of the officers
of the General Staff is essential under present conditions. I will not
decide whether it was therefore necessary to limit the broad and truly
academical character of the institution. In any case, we need in the
army of to-day an institution which gives opportunity for the
independent study of military science from the higher standpoint, and
provides at the same time a comprehensive general education. I believe
that the military academy could be developed into such an institution,
without any necessity of abandoning the direct preparation of the
officers for service on the General Staff. By the side of the military
sciences proper, which might be limited in many directions, lectures on
general scientific subjects might be organized, to which admission
should be free. In similar lectures the great military problems might be
discussed from the standpoint of military philosophy, and the hearers
might gain some insight into the legitimacy of war, its relations to
politics, the co-operation of material and imponderable forces, the
importance of free personality under the pressure of necessary
phenomena, sharp contradictions and violent opposition, as well as into
the duties of a commander viewed from the higher standpoint.

Limitation and concentration of the compulsory subjects, such as are now
arranged on an educational plan in three consecutive annual courses, and
the institution of free lectures on subjects of general culture,
intended not only to educate officers of the General Staff, but to train
men who are competent to discharge the highest military and civic
duties--this is what is required for the highest military educational
institution of the German army.



"Germany's future lies on the sea." A proud saying, which contains a
great truth. If the German people wish to attain a distinguished future
and fulfil their mission of civilization, they must adopt a world policy
and act as a World Power. This task can only be performed if they are
supported by an adequate sea power. Our fleet must be so strong at least
that a war with us involves such dangers, even to the strongest
opponent, that the losses, which might be expected, would endanger his
position as a World Power.

Now, as proved in another place, we can only stake our forces safely on

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