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WAR (O. Eng. werre, Fr. guerre, of Te...

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 311 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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WAR (O. Eng. werre, Fr. guerre, of Teutonic origin; cf. O.H.G. werran, to confound), the armed conflict of states, in which each seeks to impose its will upon the other by force. War is the opposite of Peace (q.v.), and is the subject of the military art. In separate sections below the general principles of the art of war are discussed, and the laws which have gradually become accepted among civilized peoples for the regulation of its conditions. The details concerning the history of individual wars, and the various weapons and instruments of war, are given in separate articles. See ARMY, NAVY, CONSCRIPTION, STRATEGY, TACTICS, INFANTRY, CAVALRY, ARTILLERY, ENGINEERS, FORTIFICATION, COAST DE-FENCE, OFFICERS, STAFF, GUARDS, SUPPLY AND TRANSPORT, UNIFORMS, ARMS AND ARMOUR, GUN, RIFLE, PISTOL, SWORD, LANCE, ORDNANCE, MACHINE GUNS, SUBMARINE MINES, TORPEDO, &C. The important wars are dealt with under the names commonly given to them; e.g. AMERICAN CIVIL WAR, AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE, AMERICAN WAR OF 1812, CRIMEAN WAR, DUTCH WARS, FRANCO-GERMAN WAR, FRENCH REVOLUTIONARY WARS, GREAT REBELLION, GREEK WAR OF INDEPENDENCE, ITALIAN WARS, NAPOLEONIC CAMPAIGNS, PELOPONNESIAN WAR, PENINSULAR WAR, PUNIC WARS, RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR, RUSSO-TURKISH WARS, SERVO-BULGARIAN WAR, SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, SEVEN YEARS' WAR, SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR, SPANISH SUCCESSION WAR, THIRTY YEARS' WAR. Important campaigns and battles are also separately treated (e.g. WATERLOO, TRAFALGAR, SHENANDOAH VALLEY, WILDERNESS, METZ, &C.). I. GENERAL PRINCIPLES It is not easy to detertnine whether industrial progress, improved organization, the spread of education or mechanical inventions Modem have wrought the greater change in the military art. conditions. War is first and foremost a matter of movement; and as such it has been considerably affected by the multiplication of good roads, the introduction of steam transport, and by the ease with which draught animals can be collected. In the second place, war is a matter of supply; and the large area of cultivation, the increase of live-stock, the vast trade in pro-visions, pouring the food-stuffs of one continent into another, have done much to lighten the inevitable difficulties of a campaign. In the third place, war is a matter of destruction; and while the weapons of armies have become more perfect and more durable, the modern substitutes for gunpowder have added largely to their destructive capacity. Fourthly, war is not merely a blind struggle between mobs of individuals, without guidance or coherence, but a conflict of well-organized masses, moving with a view to intelligent co-operation, acting under the impulse of a single will and directed against a definite objective. These masses, however, are seldom so closely concentrated that the impulse which sets them in motion can be promptly and easily communicated to each, nor can the right objective be selected without some knowledge of the enemy's strength and dispositions. Means of intercommunication, therefore, as well as methods of observation, are of great importance; and with the telegraph, the telephone, visual signalling, balloons, airships and improved field-glasses, the armies of to-day, so far as regards the maintenance of connexion between different bodies of troops, and the diffusion, if not the acquiring, of information, are at a great advantage compared with those of the middle of the 19th century. War, then, in some respects has been made much simpler. Armies are easier to move, to feed and to manoeuvre. But in305 other respects this very simplicity has made the conduct of a campaign more difficult. Not only is the weapon wielded by the general less clumsy and more deadly than heretofore, less fragile and better balanced, but it acts with greater rapidity and has a far wider scope. In a strong and skilful hand it may be irresistible; in the grasp of a novice it is worse than useless. In former times, when war was a much slower process, and armies were less highly trained, mistakes at the outset were not necessarily fatal. Under modern conditions, the inexperienced commander will not be granted time in which to correct his deficiencies and give himself and his troops the needful practice. The idea of forging generals and soldiers under the hammer of war disappeared with the advent of " the nation in arms." Military organization has become a science, studied both by statesmen and soldiers. The lessons of history have not been neglected. Previous to 187o, in one kingdom only was it recognized that intellect and education play a, more prominent part in war than stamina and courage. Taught by the disasters of 1806, Prussia set herself to discover the surest means of escaping humiliation for the future. The shrewdest of her sons undertook the task. The nature of war was analysed until the secrets of success and failure were laid bare; and on these investigations a system of organization and of training was built up which, not only from a military, but from a political, and even an economical point of view, is the most striking product of the 19th century. The keynote of this system is that the best brains in the state shall be at the service of the war lord. None, therefore, but thoroughly competent soldiers are entrusted with the responsibility of command; and the education of the officer is as thorough, as systematic and as uniform as the education of the lawyer, the diplomatist and the doctor. In all ages the power of intellect has asserted itself in war. It was not courage and experience only that made Hannibal, Alexander and Caesar the greatest names of antiquity. Napoleon, Wellington and the Archduke Charles were certainly the best-educated soldiers of their time; while Lee, Jackson and Sherman probably knew more of war, before they made it, than any one else in the United States. But it was not until 1866 and 187o that the preponderating influence of the trained mind was made manifest. Other wars had shown the value of an educated general; these showed the value of an educated army. It is true that Moltke, in mental power and in knowledge, was in no wise inferior to the great captains who preceded him; but the remarkable point of his campaigns is that so many capable generals had never before been gathered together under one flag. No campaigns have been submitted to such searching criticism. Never have mistakes been more sedulously sought for or more frankly exposed. And yet, compared with the mistakes of other campaigns, even with that of 1815, where hardly a superior officer on either side had not seen more battles than Moltke and his comrades had seen field-days, they were astonishingly few. It is not to be denied that the foes of Prussia were hardly worthy of her steel. Yet it may be doubted whether either Austria or France ever put two finer armies into the field than the army of Bohemia in 1866 and the army of the Rhine in 187o. Even their generals of divisions and brigades had more actual experience than those who led the German army corps. Compared with the German rank and file, a great part of their non-commissioned officers and men were veterans, and veterans who had seen much service. Their chief officers were practically familiar with the methods of moving, supplying and manoeuvring large masses of troops; their marshals were valiant and successful soldiers. And yet the history of modern warfare records no defeats so swift and so complete as those of Koniggratz and Sedan. The great host of Austria was shattered to fragments in seven weeks; the French Imperial army was destroyed in seven weeks and three days; and to all intent and purpose the resistance they had offered was not much more effective than that of a respectable militia. But both the Austrian and the French armies were organized and 'trained under the old system. Courage, experience and professional pride they possessed in abundance. Man for man, in all virile qualities, neither officers nor men were inferior to their foes. But one thing their generals lacked, and that was education for war. Strategy was almost a sealed book to them; organization a matter of secondary importance. It was no part of their duty, they declared, to train the judgment of their subordinates; they were soldiers, and not pedagogues. Know-ledge of foreign armies and their methods they considered useless; and of war prepared and conducted on " business principles " they had never even dreamt. The popular idea that war is a mere matter of brute force, redeemed only by valour and discipline, is responsible for a greater evil than the complacency of the amateur. Statesmen It blinds both the people and its representatives to and war. their bounden duties. War is something more than a mere outgrowth of politics. It is a political act, initiated and controlled by the government, and it is an act of which the issues are far more momentous than any other. No branch of political science requires more careful study. It is not pretended that if military history were thoroughly studied all statesmen would become Moltkes, or that every citizen would be competent to set squadrons in the field. War is above all a practical art, and the application of theory to practice is not to be taught at a university or to be learned by those who have never rubbed shoulders with the men in the ranks. But if war were more generally and more thoroughly studied, the importance of organization, of training, of education and of readiness would be more generally appreciated; abuses would no longer be regarded with lazy tolerance; efficiency would be something more than a political catchword, and soldiers would be given ample opportunities of becoming masters of every detail of their profession. Nor is this all. A nation that understood something about war would hardly suffer the fantastic tricks which have been played so often by the best-meaning statesmen. And statesmen them-selves would realize that when war is afoot their interference is worse than useless; that preparation for defence, whether by the multiplication of roads, the construction of railways, of arsenals, dockyards, fortresses, is not the smallest of their duties; and lastly, that so far as possible diplomacy and strategy should keep step. Each one of these is of far greater importance than in the past. In the wars of the 18th century, English cabinets and Dutch deputies could direct strategical operations without bringing ruin on their respective countries. The armies of Austria in 1792-1795, controlled as they were by the Aulic Councils, were more formidable in the field than those of the French Republic. In the campaigns of 1854 and 1859 the plans of Newcastle and Napoleon III. worked out to a successful issue; and if Lincoln and Stanton, his Secretary of War, imperilled the Union in 1862, they saw the downfall of the Southern Confederacy in 1865. But in every case amateur was pitted against amateur. The Dutch deputies were hardly less incapable of planning or approving a sound plan of campaign than Louis XIV. The Aulic Council was not more of a marplot than the Committee of Public Safety. Newcastle was not a worse strategist than the tsar Nicholas I. Napoleon III. and his advisers were quite a match for the courtier generals at Vienna; while Lincoln and Stanton were not much more ignorant than Jefferson Davis. The amateur, however, can no longer expect the good fortune to be pitted against foes of a capacity no higher than his own. The operations of Continental armies will be directed by soldiers of experience whose training for war has been incessant, and who will have at their command troops in the highest state of efficiency and preparation. It is not difficult to imagine, under such conditions, with what condign punishment mistakes will be visited. Napoleon III. in 1859 committed as many blunders as he did in 1870. But the Austrians had no Moltke to direct them; their army corps were commanded by men who knew less of generalship than a Prussian major, and their armament was inferior. Had they been the Austrians of to-day, it is probable that the French and the allies would have been utterly defeated. And to come to more recent campaigns, while American officers have not hesitated to declare that if the Spaniards at Santiago had been Gennans or French, the invasion would have ended in disastrous failure, it is impossible to doubt that had the Boers of 1899 possessed a staff of trained strategists, they would have shaken the British Empire to its foundations. The true test of direction of war is the number of mistakes. If they were numerous, although the enemy may not have been skilful enough to take advantage of them, the outlook for the future under the same direction, but against a more practised enemy, is anything but bright. As regards preparation for defence, history supplies us with numerous illustrations. The most conspicuous, perhaps, is the elaborate series of fortifications which were constructed by Vauban for the defence of France; =Prepaforraand there can be no question that Louis XIV., in defence. erecting this mighty barrier against invasion, gave proof of statesmanlike foresight of no mean order. An instance less familiar, perhaps, but even more creditable to the brain which conceived it, was Wellington's preparation of Portugal in 1809-1811. Not only did the impregnable stronghold of Torres Vedras, covering Lisbon, and securing for the sea-power an open door to the continent of Europe, rise as if by magic from the earth, but the whole theatre of war was so dealt with that the defending army could operate wherever opportunity might offer. No less than twenty supply depots were established on different lines of the advance. Fortifications protected the principal magazines. Bridges were restored and roads improved. Waterways were opened up, and flotillas organized; and three auxiliary bases were formed on the shores of the Atlantic. Again, the famous " quadrilaterals " of Lombardy and Rumelia have more than fulfilled the purpose for which they were constructed; and both Austria and Turkey owe much to the fortresses which so long protected their vulnerable points. Nor has the neglect of preparation failed to exert" a powerful effect. Moltke has told us that the railway system of Germany before 187o had been developed without regard to strategical considerations. Yet the fact remains that it was far better adapted both for offence and defence than those of Austria and France; and, at the same time, it can hardly be denied that the unprovided state of the great French fortresses exercised an evil influence on French strategy. Both Metz and Strassburg were so far from forming strong pivots of manoeuvres, and thus aiding the operations of the field armies, that they required those armies for their protection; and the retreat on Metz, which removed Bazaine's army from the direct road to Paris and placed it out of touch with its supports, was mainly due to the unfinished outworks and deficient armament of the virgin city. Since 187o it has been recognized that preparation of the theatre of war is one of the first duties of a government. Every frontier of continental Europe is covered by a chain of entrenched camps. The great arsenais are amply fortified and strongly garrisoned. Strategy has as much to say to new railways as trade; and the lines of communication, whether by water or by land, are adequately protected from all hostile enterprises. We now come to the importance of close concert between strategy and diplomacy. On the continent of Europe they can easily keep pace, for the theatre of war is always within easy reach. But when the ocean intervenes between two hostile states it is undoubtedly difficult to time an ultimatum so that a sufficient armed force shall be at hand to enforce it, and it has been said in high places that it is practically impossible. The expedition to Copenhagen in 1807, when the British ultimatum was presented by an army of 27,000 men carried on 300 transports, would appear to traverse this statement. But at the beginning of the 2oth century an army and a fleet of such magnitude could neither be assembled nor despatched without the whole world being cognizant. It is thus perfectly true that an appreciable period of time must elapse between the breaking off of negotiations and the appearance on the scene of an invading army. Events may march so fast that the statesman's hand may be forced before the army has embarked. But because a powerful blow cannot at once be struck, it by no means follows that the delivery or the receipt of an ultimatum should at once produce a dangerous situation. Dewey's brilliant victory at Manila lost Concert between diplomacy and strategy. the greater part of its effect because the United States Government was unable to follow up the blow by landing a sufficient force. Exactly the same thing occurred in Egypt in 1882. The only results of the bombardment of Alexandria were the destruction of the city, the massacre of the Christian inhabitants, the encouragement of the rebels, who, when the ships drew off, came to the natural conclusion that Great Britain was powerless on land. Again, in 1899 the invading Boers found the frontiers unfortified and their march opposed by an inadequate force. It is essential, then, that when hostilities across the sea are to be apprehended, the most careful precautions should be taken to ward off the chance of an initial disaster. And such pre-cautions are always possible. It is hardly conceivable, for instance, that a great maritime power, with Cyprus as a place d'armes, could not have placed enough transports behind the fleet to hold a sufficient garrison for Alexandria, and thus have saved the city from destruction. Nor in the case of a distant province being threatened is there the smallest reason that the garrison of the province should be exposed to the risk of a reverse before it is reinforced. It may even be necessary to abandon territory. It will certainly be necessary to construct strong places, to secure the lines of communication, to establish ample magazines, to organize local forces, to assemble a fleet of transports, and to keep a large body of troops ready to embark at a moment's notice. But there is no reason, except expense, that all this should not be done directly it becomes clear that war is probable, and that it should not be done without attracting public attention. In this way strategy may easily keep pace with diplomacy; and all that is wanted is the exercise of ordinary foresight, a careful study of the theatre of war, a knowledge of the enemy's resources and a resolute determination, despite some temporary inconvenience and the outcry of a thoughtless public, to give the enemy no chance of claiming first blood. The Franco-German War supplies a striking example. Moltke's original intention was to assemble the German armies on the western frontier. The French, he thought, inferior in numbers and but half prepared, would probably assemble as far back as the Moselle. But, as so often happens in war, the enemy did what he was least expected to do. Hastily leaving their garrisons, the French regiments rushed forward to the Saar. The excitement in Germany was great; and even soldiers of repute, although the mobilization of the army was still unfinished, demanded that such troops as were available should be hurried forward to protect the rich provinces which lie between the Saar and Rhine. But the chief of the staff became as deaf as he was silent. Not a single company was despatched to reinforce the slender garrisons of the frontier towns; and those garrisons were ordered to retire, destroying railways and removing rolling-stock, directly the enemy should cross the boundary. Moltke's foresight had embraced every possible contingency. The action of the French, improbable as it was deemed, had still been provided against; and, in accordance with time-tables drawn up long beforehand, the German army was disentrained on the Rhine instead of on the Saar. Ninety miles of German territory were thus laid open to the enemy; but the temporary surrender of the border provinces, in the opinion of the great strategist, was a very minor evil compared with the disasters, military and political, that would have resulted from an attempt to hold them. It is hardly necessary to observe that no civilian minister, however deeply he might have studied the art of war, could be expected to solve for himself the strategic problems Duties of which come before him. In default of practical the War knowledge, it would be as impossible for him to Mlaister. decide where garrisons should be stationed, what fortifications were necessary, what roads should be constructed, or how the lines of communication should be protected, as to frame a plan of campaign for the invasion of a hostile state. His foresight, his prevision of the accidents inevitable in war, would necessarily be far inferior to those of men who had spent their lives in applying strategical principles to concrete cases; and it is exceedingly unlikely that he would be as prolific ofstrategical expedients as those familiar with their employment. Nevertheless, a minister of war cannot divest himself of his responsibility for the conduct of military operations. In the first place, he is directly responsible that plans of campaign to meet every possible contingency are worked out in time of peace. In the second place, he is directly responsible that the advice on which he acts should be the best procurable. It is essential, therefore, that he should be capable of forming an independent opinion on the merits of the military projects which may be submitted to him, and also on the merits of those who have to execute them. Pitt knew enough of war and men to select Wolfe for the command in Canada. Canning and Castlereagh, in spite of the opposition of the king, sent Wellington, one of the youngest of the lieutenant-generals, to hold Portugal against the French. The French Directory had sufficient sense to accept Napoleon's project for the campaign of Italy in 1796. In the third place, strategy cannot move altogether untrammelled by politics and finance. But political and financial considerations may not present themselves in quite the same light to the soldier as to the statesman, and the latter is bound to make certain that they have received due attention. If, however, modifications are necessary, they should be made before the plan of campaign is finally approved; and in any case the purely military considerations should be most carefully weighed. It should be remembered that an unfavourable political situation is best redeemed by a decisive victory, while a reverse will do more to shake confidence in the Government than even the temporary surrender of some portion of the national domains. " Be sure before striking " and Reculer pour mieux sauter are both admirable maxims; but their practical application requires a thorough appreciation of the true principles of war, and a very large degree of moral courage, both in the soldier who suggests and in the statesman who approves. If, however, the soldier and the statesman are supported by an enlightened public, sufficiently acquainted with war to realize that patience is to be preferred to precipitation, that retreat, though inglorious, is not necessarily humiliating, their task is very considerably lightened. Nothing is more significant than a comparison between the Paris press in 1870 and the American Confederate press in 1864. In the one case, even after the disastrous results of the first encounters had proved the superior strength and readiness of the enemy, the French people, with all the heat of presumptuous ignorance, cried out for more battles, for an immediate offensive, for a desperate defence of the frontier provinces. So fierce was their clamour that both the generals and the government hesitated, until it was too late, to advise the retreat of Bazaine's army; and when that army had been cut off at Metz, the pressure of public opinion was so great that the last reserve of France was despatched to Sedan on one of the maddest enterprises ever undertaken by a civilized state. In 1864, on the other hand, while Lee in Virginia and Johnston in the west were retreating from position to position, and the huge hosts of the Union were gradually converging on the very heart of the Confederacy, the Southern press, aware that every backward step made the Federal task more difficult, had nothing but praise for the caution which controlled the movements of their armies. But the Southern press, in three crowded years of conflict, had learned something of war. In 1866 and 187o the German press was so carefully muzzled that even had there been occasion it could have done nothing to prejudice pubic opinion. Thus both the sovereign and the generals were backed by the popular support that they so richly merited; but it may be remarked that the relations between the army and the government were characterized by a harmony which has been seldom seen. The old king, in his dual capacity as head of the state and commanderin-chief, had the last word to say, not only in the selection of the superior officers, but in approving every important operation. With an adviser like Moltke at his elbow, it might appear that these were mere matters of form. Moltke, however, assures us that the king was by no means a figurehead. Although most careful not to assert his authority in a way that would embarrass his chief of staff, and always ready to yield his own judgment to sound reasons, he expressed, nevertheless, a perfectly independent opinion on every proposal placed before him, and on very many occasions made most useful suggestions. And at the same time, while systematically refraining from all interference after military operations had once begun, he never permitted military considerations to override the demands of policy. In 1866, when it was manifestly of the first importance, from a military point of view, that the Prussian army should be concentrated in a position which would enable it to cross the border immediately war was declared, the political situation was so strained that it was even more important to prevent the enemy from setting foot at any single point on Prussian territory. The army, in consequence, was dispersed instead of being concentrated, and the ultimate offensive became a difficult and hazardous operation. It is true that the king was an able and experienced soldier. Nevertheless, the wise restraint he displayed in the course of two great campaigns, as well as the skill with which he adjusted conflicting factors, are an admirable example of judicious statesmanship. The duration of a campaign is largely affected by the deadly properties of modern firearms. It is true that the losses in battle are relatively less that in the days of Brown moral of Bess and the smooth-bore cannon, and almost in-fire. significant when compared with the fearful carnage wrought by sword and spear. The reason is simple. A battlefield in the old days, except at close quarters, was a comparatively safe locality, and the greater part of the troops engaged were seldom exposed for a long time together to a hot and continuous fire. To-day death has a far wider range, and the strain on the nerves is consequently far more severe. De-moralization, therefore, sets in at an earlier period, and it is more complete. When troops once realize their inferiority, they can no longer be depended on. It is not the losses they have actually suffered, but those that they expect to suffer, that affect them. Unless discipline and national spirit are of superior quality, unless the soldier is animated by something higher than the mere habit of mechanical obedience, panic, shirking and wholesale surrender will be the ordinary features of a campaign. These phenomena made themselves apparent, though in a less degree, as long ago as the American Civil War, when the weapon of the infantry was the muzzle-loading rifle, firing at most two rounds a minute, and when the projectiles of the artillery were hardly more destructive than the stone shot of Mons Meg. With the magazine rifle, machine guns, shrapnel and high explosives they have become more pronounced than even at Vionvilie or Plevna. "The retreat of the 38th (Prussian) Brigade," writes Captain Hoenig, an eye-witness of the former battle, " forms the most awful drama of the great war. It had lost 53 % of its strength, and the proportion of killed to wounded was as 3 to 4. Strong men collapsed inanimate. . . . I saw men cry like children, others fell prone without a sound; in most the need of water thrust forth all other instincts; the body demanded its rights. Water, water,' was the only intelligible cry that broke from those moving phantoms. The enemy's lead poured like hail upon the wretched remnant of the brigade; yet they moved only slowly to the rear, their heads bent in utter weariness; their features distorted under the thick dust that had gathered on faces dripping with sweat. The strain was beyond endurance. The soldier was no longer a receptive being; he was oblivious of everything, great or small. His comrades or his superiors he no longer recognized; and yet he was the same man who but a short time before had marched across the battlefield shouting his marching chorus. A few active squadrons, and not a man would have escaped! Only he who had seen men in such circumstances, and observed their bearing, knows the dreadful imprint that their features leave upon the memory. Madness is there, the madness that arises from bodily exhaustion combined with the most abject terror. . . . I do not shrink," he adds, "from confessing that the fire of Mars-la-Tour affected my nerves for months." If such are the results of ill-success, a whole army might he reduced to the condition of the 38th Brigade in the firstmonth of the campaign, and it is thus perfectly clear that some small mistake in conduct, some trifling deficiency in preparation, an ill-conceived order or a few hours' delay in bringing up a reinforcement may have the most terrible consequences. The importance, nay the necessity, that the people, as a governing body, should keep as watchful an eye on its armed forces and the national defences as on diplomacy or legislation is fully realized naturally enough, only by those nations whose instincts of self-preservation, by reason of the configuration of their frontiers or their political situation, are strongly developed. Yet even to maritime empires, to Great Britain or indeed to the United States, an efficient army is of the first necessity. Their land frontiers are vulnerable. They may have to deal with rebellion, and a navy is not all-powerful, even for the defence of coasts and commerce. It can protect, but it cannot destroy. Without the help of an army, it can neither complete the ruin of the enemy's fleet nor prevent its resuscitation. Without the help of an army it can hardly force a hostile power to ask for terms. Exhaustion is the object of its warfare; but exhaustion, unless accelerated by crushing blows, is an exceedingly slow process. In the spring of 1861 the blockade was established in American waters along the coasts of the Southern Confederacy, and maintained with increasing stringency from month to month. Yet it was not till the spring of 1865 that the colours of the Union floated from the capitol of Richmond, and it was the army which placed them there. A state, then, which should rely on naval strength alone, could look forward to no other than a protracted war, and a protracted war between two great powers is antagonistic to the interests of the civilized world. With the nations armed to the teeth, and dominated to a greater or smaller extent by a militant spirit; with commerce and finance dependent for health and security on universal peace, foreign intervention is a mere question of time. Nor would public opinion, either in Great Britain or America, be content with a purely defensive policy, even if such policy were practicable. Putting aside the tedium and the dangers of an interminable campaign, the national pride would never be brought to confess that it was incapable of the same resolute effort as much smaller communities. " An army, and a strong army," would be the general cry. Nor would such an army be difficult to create. Enormous numbers would not be needed. An army supported by an invincible navy possesses a strength which is out of all proportion to its size. Even to those who rely on the big battalions and huge fortresses, the amphibious power of a great maritime state, if intelligently directed, may be a most formidable menace; while to the state itself it is an extraordinary security. The history of Great Britain is one long illustration. Captain Mahan points out that there are always dominant positions, outside the frontiers of a maritime state, which, in the interests of commerce, as well as of supremacy at sea, should never be allowed to pass into the possession of a powerful neighbour. Great Britain, always dependent for her prosperity on narrow seas, has long been familiar with the importance of the positions that command these waterways. In one respect at least her policy has been consistent. She has spared no effort to secure such positions for herself, or, if that has been impracticable, at least to draw their teeth. Gibraltar, Malta, St Lucia, Aden, Egypt, Cyprus are conspicuous instances; but above all stands Antwerp. In perhaps the most original passage of Alison's monumental work the constant influence of Antwerp on the destinies of the United Kingdom is vividly portrayed. " Nature has framed the Scheldt to be the rival of the Thames. Flowing through a country excelling even the midland counties of England, in wealth and resources, adjoining cities equal to any in Europe in arts and commerce; the artery at once of Flanders and Holland, of Brabant and Luxemburg, it is fitted to be the great organ of communication between the fertile fields and rich manufacturing towns of the Low Countries and other maritime states of the world." Antwerp, moreover, the key of the great estuary, is eminently adapted for the establishment of a vast naval arsenal, such as it became under Philip II. of Naval and military force. Spain and again under the first Napoleon. " It is the point," ; indeed were their dreams of empire, yet the presentiment' of continues the historian, " from which in every age the independ- future greatness, based on the foothold they had already gained ence of these kingdoms has been seriously menaced. Sensible in Hindustan, seems always to have controlled the national policy. They knew as well as Napoleon that Malta and Egypt, to use his own phrase, were merely the outworks of their strong-hold in the East; and that if those outworks fell into the hands of France, a great army of warlike Mahommedans, led by French generals, stiffened by a French army corps, and gathering impetus from the accession of every tribe it passed through, might march unopposed across the Indus. So, from first to last, the least threat against Egypt and Malta sufficed to awaken their apprehensions; and in their knowledge that India was the ultimate objective of all his schemes is to be found the explanation of the stubbornness with which they fought Napoleon. It is not to be denied that in thwarting the ambition of their mighty rival, or perhaps in furthering their own, the navy was the chief instrument; but in thrusting the French from Egypt, in adding Ceylon, Mauritius and Cape Colony to the outworks, the army, small as it was then, compared with the great hosts of the Continent, did much both for the making and the security of the British Empire. But the scope of the military operations of a maritime state is by no means limited to the capture of colonies, naval arsenals and coaling-stations. Timely diversions, by attracting a large portion of the enemy's fighting strength on the mainland, may give valuable aid to the armies of an ally. The Peninsular War is a conspicuous example. According to Napoleon, the necessity of maintaining his grip on Spain deprived him of 18o,000 good soldiers during the disastrous campaign of 1813; and those soldiers, who would have made Dresden a decisive instead of a barren victory, were held fast by Wellington. Again, it was the news of Vittoria that made. it useless for the emperor to propose terms of peace, and so escape from the coils that strangled him at Leipzig. Nor is the reinforcement supplied by a small army based upon the sea to be despised. In 1793 a British contingent under the duke of York formed part of the allied forces which, had the British government forborne to interfere, would in all probability have captured Paris. Twenty-two years later, under wiser auspices, another contingent, although numbering no more than 30,000 men, took a decisive part in the war of nations, and the blunders of the older generation were more than repaired at Waterloo. Nevertheless, the strength of the amphibious power has been more effectively displayed than in the campaign of 1815. Intervention at the most critical period of a war has produced greater results than the provision of a contingent at the outset. In 1781 the disembarkation of a French army at Yorktown, Virginia, rendered certain the independence of the United States; and in 1878, when the Russian invaders were already in sight of Constantinople, the arrival of the British fleet in the Dardanelles, following the mobilization of an expeditionary force, at once arrested their further progress. Had the British Cabinet of 1807 realized the preponderating strength which even a small army, if rightly used, draws from the command of the sea, the campaign of Eylau would in all probability have been as disastrous to Napoleon as that of Leipzig. The presence of 20,000 men at the great battle would have surely turned the scale in favour of the allies. Yet, although the men were available, although a few months later 27,000 were assembled in the Baltic for the coercion of Denmark, his Majesty's ministers, forgetful of Marlborough's glories, were so imbued with the idea that the British army was too insignificant to take part in a Continental war, that the opportunity was let slip. It is a sufficiently remarkable fact that the successive governments of that era, although they realized very clearly that the first duty of the army was to support the operations and complete the triumph of the navy, never seemed to have grasped the principles which should have controlled its use when the command of the sea had been attained. The march of the Allies on Paris in 1793 was brought to a standstill because the British Cabinet considered that the contingent would be better employed in besieging Dunkirk. After the failure of the expedition of her danger, it had been the fixed policy of Great Britain for centuries to prevent this formidable outwork from falling into the hands of her enemies, and the best days of her history are chiefly occupied with the struggle to ward off such a disaster." In ascribing, however, every great war in which Great Britain has been engaged to this cause alone he has gone too far. The security of India has been a motive of equal strength. Nevertheless, it was to protect Antwerp from the French that Charles II. sided with the Dutch in 1670; that Anne declared war on Louis YIV. in 1704; that Chatham supported Prussia in 1742; that Pitt, fifty years later, took up arms against the Revolution. The trophies of the British army in the great war with France were characteristic of the amphibious power. The troops took Inter- more battleships than colours, and almost as many actions of naval arsenals as land fortresses. Many were the naval and blows they struck at the maritime strength of France mmtary and her allies; but had the expedition which landed operations, on the Isle of Walcheren in 1809 been as vigorously conducted as it was wisely conceived, it would have hit Napoleon far harder than even the seizure of the Danish fleet at Copenhagen. The great dockyard that the emperor had constructed on the Scheldt held the nucleus of a powerful fleet. Eight lineof-battle ships and ten frigates lay in mid-channel. Twenty vessels of different classes were on the slips, and in the magazines and storehouses had been accumulated sufficient material to equip all these and twenty more. The destruction of Antwerp—and for a full week it was at Lord Chatham's mercy—would have freed scores of British frigates to protect British commerce; Wellington, in his great campaign of 1813, could not have had to complain that, for the first time, the communication by sea of a British army was insecure; the Americans, in the war which broke out in 1812, would have been more vigorously opposed; and Napoleon, who, while Antwerp was his, never altogether abandoned hope of overmastering Great Britain on her own element, might, on his own confession, have relinquished the useless struggle with the great sea power. The expedition failed, and failed disastrously. But for all that, fulfilling as it did the great maxim that the naval strength of the enemy should be the first objective of the forces of the maritime power, both by land and sea, it was a strategical stroke of the highest order. The predominant part played by the army under Wellington in Spain and Belgium has tended to obscure the principle that governed its employment in the war of 1793-1815. The army, in the opinion of the country, was first and foremost the auxiliary of the fleet; and only when the naval strength of the enemy had been destroyed was it used in the ordinary manner, i.e. in the invasion of the hostile territory and in lending aid to the forces of confederate powers. Events proved that these principles were absolutely sound. It was not in the narrow seas alone that the army rendered good service to the navy. Depriving France of her colonies, occupying her ports in foreign waters, ousting her from commanding posts along the trade routes, it contributed not only to her exhaustion, but to the protection of British commerce and to the permanent establishment of maritime supremacy. Few of these operations are of sufficient magnitude to attract much notice from the ordinary historian, yet it is impossible to overrate their effect. To the possession of the dominant positions that were captured by the army, Great Britain, in no small degree, is indebted for the present security of her vast dominions. The keynote of the fierce struggle with the French Empire was the possession of India. Before he became First Consul, Napoleon had realized that India was the throne of Asia; that whoever should sit on that throne, master of the commerce of the East, of the richest and most natural market for the products of the West, and of the hardiest and most en-lightened nations of the golden hemisphere, would be master of more than half the globe. But his prescience was not surer than the instinct of the Britisl• people. Vague and shadowy under Sir John Moore to achieve the impossible, and in conjunotion with the Spaniards drive the French from the Peninsula, the ministry abandoned all idea of intervention on the main theatre, although, as we have seen, had such intervention been well timed, it might easily have changed the current of events. It is true that when the main theatre is occupied by huge armies, as was the case during the whole of the Napoleonic conflict, the value of a comparatively small force, however sudden its appearance, is by no means easily realized. For instance, it would seem at first sight that a British contingent of roo,000 men would be almost lost amid the millions that would take part in the decisive conflicts of a European war. It is remembered, however, that with enormous masses of men the difficulties of supply are very great. Steam has done much to lighten them, and the numbers at the point of collision will be far greater than it was possible to assemble in the days of Napoleon. Nevertheless, the lines of communication, especially railways, will require more men to guard them than heretofore, for they are far more vulnerable. The longer, therefore, the lines of communication, the smaller the numbers on the field of battle. Moreover, the great hosts of the Continent, not only for convenience of supply, but for convenience of manceuvre, will deploy several armies on a broad front. At some one point, then, a reinforcement of even one or two army corps might turn the scale. The objections, however, to intervention of this character are numerous. Between allied armies, especially if one is far larger than the other, there is certain to be friction, weakness as was the case in the Crimea; and the question of of allied armies. supply is not easily settled. If> however, the decisive point is near the coast, as in the campaign of Eylau, the army of the maritime power, possessing its own base, can render effective aid without embarrassment either to itself or its ally. But, under all other conditions, independent opera- tions of a secondary nature are distinctly to be preferred. Such was clearly the opinion of the British ministries during the war with France. They recognized that by giving vitality and backbone to popular risings even a small army might create useful diversions. But their idea of a diversion was a series of isolated efforts, made at far-distant points; and even so late As 1813 they were oblivious of the self-evident facts that for a diversion to be really effective it must be made in such strength as to constitute a serious threat, and that it should be directed against some vital point. Fortunately for Europe, Wellington foresaw that the permanent occupation of Portugal, and the presence of a British army in close proximity to the southern frontier of France, would be a menace which it would be im- possible for Napoleon to disregard. Yet with what difficulty he induced the government to adopt his views, and how luke- warm was their support, is exposed in the many volumes of his despatches. In all history there are few more glaring instances of incompetent statesmanship than the proposal of the cabinet of 18r3, at the moment Wellington was contemplating the campaign that was to expel the French from Spain, and was asking for more men, more money and more material, to detach a large force in the vague hope of exciting a revolution in southern Italy. Whether the improvement in communications, as well as the increase in the size of armies, have not greatly weakened the value of diversions on the mainland, it is difficult to say. Railways may enable the defender to concentrate his forces so rapidly that even the landing may be opposed, and with the enormous numbers at his command he may well be able to spare a considerable force from the main theatre. It is possible to conceive that a small army, even if it completed its embarka- tion, might find itself shut up in an entrenched position by a force little larger than itself. If, however, the diversion were made at a crisis of the campaign, the sudden appearance of a new army might be decisive of the war. Otherwise, the army would probably do more good if it refrained from landing and confined itself to threats. So long as it was hidden by the horizon, it would be invested with the terrors of the unknown. The enemy's knowledge that at any moment a well-equipped force, supported by a powerful fleet, might suddenly descend upon some prosperous port or important arsenal, would compel him to maintain large garrisons along the whole seaboard. The strength of these garrisons, in all probability, would be much larger in the aggregate than the force which menaced them, and the latter would thus exercise a far greater disintegrating effect on the enemy's armed strength than by adding a few thousand men to the hosts of its ally. On theatres of war which are only thinly populated or half civilized, a descent from the sea might easily produce a complete change in the situation. The occupation of Plevna, in close proximity to the Russian line of communications and to the single bridge across the Danube, brought the Russian advance through Bulgaria to a sudden stop, and relieved all pressure on Turkey proper. The deadlock which ensued is suggestive. Let us suppose that the invaders' line of communications had been a railway, and Plevna situated near the coast. Supplied from the sea, with unlimited facilities for reinforcement, Osman's ring of earthworks would have been absolutely impregnable; and had the ring been pushed so far inland as to secure scope for offensive action, the Russians; in all human probability, would never have crossed the Balkans. It is perfectly possible, then, that if an army lands within reach of a precarious line of communications it may compel the enemy, although far superior in numbers, to renounce all enterprises against distant points. Railways in war are good servants, but bad masters. In some respects they are far superior to a network of highroads. Two trains will supply the daily needs of roo,000 men several hundred miles distant from their base. But Railways. the road-bed is easily destroyed; the convoy system is impracticable, and the regular course of traffic is susceptible to the slightest threat. So, when railways become the principal factors, as when an army finds itself dependent on a long and exposed line, a powerful aggressive combination becomes a matter of the utmost difficulty. The whole attention of the commander will be given to the security of his supplies, and even if he is not thrown on the defensive by the enemy's activity, his liberty of action will be exceedingly circumscribed. The relative values of the different kinds of communications have a most important bearing on the art of war. A great waterway, such as the Nile, the Mississippi, the Danube or the Ganges, is safer and surer than a railway. But railways are far more numerous than navigable rivers, and a series of parallel lines is thus a better means of supplying a large army. But neither railways nor waterways as lines of supply or of operation are The sea as to be compared with the sea. Before the war of 187o, a operation. for instance, a study of the French railway system enabled Moltke to forecast, with absolute accuracy, the direction of Napoleon's advance, the distribution of his forces, and the extent of front that they would occupy. In a war, therefore, between two Continental powers, the staff on either side would have no difficulty in determining the line of attack; the locality for concentration would be at once made clear; and as the carrying capacity of all railways is well known, the numbers that would be encountered at any one point along the front might be easily calculated. But if the enemy's army, supported by a powerful fleet, were to advance across blue water, the case would be very different. Its movements would be veiled in the most complete secrecy. It would be impossible to do more than guess at its objective. It might strike at any point along hundreds of miles of coast, or it might shift from one point to another, perhaps far distant, in absolute security; it cculd bewilder the enemy with feints, and cause him to disperse his forces over the whole seaboard. Surprise and freedom of movement are pre-eminently the weapons of the power that commands the sea. Witness the War of Secession. McClellan, in 1862, by the adroit transfer of 120,000 men down the reaches of Chesapeake to the Virginia Peninsula, had Richmond at his mercy. Grant in 1864, by continually changing his line of communication from one river ,to another, made more progress in a month than his predecessors had done in two years. Sher-man's great march across Georgia would have been impossible had not a Federal fleet been ready to receive him when he reached
End of Article: WAR (O. Eng. werre, Fr. guerre, of Teutonic origin; cf. O.H.G. werran, to confound)
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