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prevail in war over the one which next follows it. Sometimes this order is based on tonnage, sometimes on the possession of capital ships, sometimes on the sum total of vessels of all classes, and inasmuch as it is an axiom that “good men in bad ships are better than bad men in good ships,” one may even construct tables based on the presumed skill as well as on the numbers of the opposing personnels. In time of peace, such calculations may suffice to convey to the public crude general notions of relative efficiencies, but, in time of war, factors, before speculative, become actual, and conditions hitherto in a state of flux become permanent and solidified. For the "chances of war” must be taken with whatever force a nation has at the outset and with only such later additions as it may be possible to make while the conflict is in progress.
MODERN SEA FIGHTS.
In modern times, two whole navies never simultaneously join battle. That happens only in one's club or front parlor. The days of duels between ships, such as the five frigate actions. of the War of 1812, have gone by. The sea battle of the future is between groups of units, which may vary greatly in numbers and individual strength and which may meet under all sorts of conditions, from the purely fortuitous to the scientifically prearranged. In such an action it by no means follows that the units which belong to the greater navy will be victorious. ... The great basic factor of strategy is concentration-or in more homely language, “getting there first with the most men”—and that may depend quite as much upon the skill which places the men and weapons as upon the men and weapons themselves. In the Chile action the Germans won because they got there first with the greater force. In the Battle of the Sea of Japan, the Japanese won because the Russians continued throughout to be the last to arrive and with the fewest men.
Napoleon defined war as “a business of positions,” but the use made of the positions is quite as important. The past development of the German Navy is due to its disadvantage of position, as compared with that of the British fleet, by reason of which the latter now remains concentrated in home waters.
When one undertakes to draw comparisons, these are some of the considerations to be borne in mind. And there are others which are even paradoxical if only “numbers” and “other things being equal” are to control the conclusion. Thus, when ships of a stronger navy engage similar ships of a weaker one, and each side inflicts equal damage on the other, the stronger antagonist increases in relative strength. For if A has twenty ships and B has ten, and each destroys five ships belonging to the other, then the relative strength of A increases from 2 to 1 before the action, to 3 to 1 afterward-as every checker player has always known.
SHOULD OUR NAVY OPERATE IN EUROPE?
It is not necessary for present purposes to elaborate this: somewhat elementary discussion, since the sole object is to show.
that there are a great many factors other than numerical relations to be considered before it can be safely decided whether our naval force should be weakened to supplement that of the Allies, and that as these factors are largely strategic and have to be learned, the layman cannot be expected to know or with entire accuracy to improvise them. Nor should he be misled by present enthusiasms. Of course, we would like to see the fleet, echoing Farragut's battle-cry “Damn the torpedoes,” force it way into Wilhelmshaven or the Kiel Canal, and come to grips with the Kaiser's ships at their moorings. And who can help questioning whether the peril incurred is any more formidable to the powerful steel monsters of today than were the forts and mines and guarding ironclad at Mobile to the wooden walls which Farragut led to victory? But Great Britain has refused her whole naval might, and does not attempt a landing on the German shore. The isolated stretch of beach in Flanders is attractive, but the shallows there extend far out to sea, and the endless bombardment of Zeebrugge still seems barren of results.
The latest guess at the existing German battleship force is twenty-seven dreadnoughts and nineteen predreadnoughts, in comparison with which the British fleet is beyond doubt overwhelmingly the stronger. Manifestly if Great Britain declines to attack so inferior a force, the reason lies in the land fortifications and the mines and the submarines which protect it. It is certainly not apparent how our fleet-much less a part of it-can cross the ocean and then tackle not only those defenses, but a fleet larger in numbers than itself behind them, with any better chance of success, nor is it clear how the addition of our vessels to the British array would help to any controlling extent. . .
If the German fleet could be induced to give battle, then, of course, it might be argued that any addition we could provide would be valuable to the British fleet, despite the latter's preponderance. But the German fleet insists on keeping itself shut up. The British are not doing it, for all their and our naval traditions are against “bottling” the enemy and in favor of getting him to come out and fight. It is only German logic which converts the Kaiser's array into a "fleet in being" purposely held in its base harbors to prevent the British fleet from making landings on the North Sea shore-a truly remarkable elucidation, which perhaps accounts for the brevity of its sallies to kill women and children in English watering places, and to take part in two sea battles, wherefrom it departed sans adieu and somewhat precipitately, through a desire, of course, quickly to resume its "fleet in being" functions.
NEEDS AT HOME.
To people who are staying awake o nights because of possible “raids” or other hostile attacks along the coast, any diminution of our sea defenses will be unthinkable. The homemade strategists are solemnly advocating the contribution of a few battleships of the older types, which they think can conveniently be spared because outclassed by the newer dread
noughts. “What is the use of the Oregon' if half a dozen like her can be stood off by the 'Pennsylvania, or of the 'Indiana,' which the 'Arizona' might rip to pieces before the old fighter could get near enough to render her guns effective?" they demand. The answer is that after the dreadnoughts on both sides have met and got through mauling and hammering one another, the unscathed reserve ships of the second line will become extremely important as against what is left of the victor, should the German vessels prevail-so important that Admiral Mahan long ago insisted that “the nation which can then (after the battle of the dreadnoughts) put forward the largest reserves of ships of the older types will win.” The ships of Santiago, therefore, are far from useless--they may be very useful indeed—and we cannot spare them.
And there are the people who have already begun to howl to the Navy Department “to station a battleship before our harbor.” That is not a battleship's business-and, what is more serious, it smacks of treason-for there is no surer way of consigning the feet to destruction. It is really charitable to believe that only fools, in a cowardly and futile effort to save their own skins, would be willing to see each of our dreadnoughts overpowered in turn. And lastly the nervous—the very nervous who so recently have been set trembling over the prospective shelling of New York for an hour by a battle-cruiser"the bombardment of the city by fifty aeroplanes”--the terrors of a blockade, and the "landing of 100,000 troops in Massachusetts Bay"; it will be as a soothing ointment to assure them that the distinguished naval authority who recounted these horrors the other day was merely performing his bounden duty to think battles all the time, and not to omit any contingency however improbable, remote or seemingly absurd-and in addition that these particular atrocities had their genesis only in an imaginary Teutonic hypnotizing or bribery of the Allies whereby they were supposedly induced to step aside and unconcernedly watch the Germans wreak on us their amiable will. Neither pictures of this sort, nor the people who are scared by them, will help us to decide wisely whether to send the ships abroad or not.
(Independent, CX, 167-169; Apr. 21, 1917.)
D. [$278] PROVISIONS FOR THE NEW
MILITARY NEEDS. 1. Specific References on the Section.
The Army. A national service hand book, 111-202.
History, III, 247-248 (Nov., 1915).
VI, 829 (Feb., 1916).
769 (July, 1916).
(May 10, 1915). Anon. “Invisible Man Behind the Gun,” in Scientific American,
vol. 112, p. 46 (Jan. 9, 1915).
Anderson, W. D. A. "Trench Warfare,” in ibid, vol. 113, pp. 6-8
(July 3, 1915).
Fighting,” in ibid, vol. 116, pp. 12-13 (Jan. 6, 1917).
Century, LXXVIII, 936-947 (Oct., 1915).
587 (Dec. 19, 1914).
2. Modern Weapons. (a) Rifles, grenades and grenade throwers, machine guns, sharp
shooting rifles, etc. 3. Modern Artillery. (a) Howitzers, long range guns, large bore guns for smashing de
4. Trench Equipments.
(a) Steel caps, gas helmets, etc. 5. Provision for Transportation and Trench Distribution. 6. Aeroplanes.
(a) Scout and fighting. 7. Tanks and Other Moving Fortresses. 8. Maps and Plans.
(a) For directing attack. 9. Documents and Extracts on the Section.
(a) [$279] Military Training and Policy.
By Ex-PRESIDENT THEODORE ROOSEVELT. Our regular army would be strengthened by them at the very beginning and would be set free in its entirely for immediate aggressive action; and in addition a levy in mass of the young men of the right age would mean that two or three million troops were put into the field who, although not quite as good as regulars, would at once be available in numbers sufficient to overwhelm any expeditionary force which it would be possible for any military power to send to our shores. The existence of such a force would render the immediate taking of cities like San Francisco, New York or Boston an impossibility and would free us from all danger from sudden raids and make it impossible even for an army corps to land with any prospect of success.
THE WAR DEPARTMENT.
Our people are so entirely unused to things military that it is probably difficult for the average man to get any clear idea of our shortcomings. Unlike what is true in the military nations of the Old World, here the ordinary citizen takes no interest in the working of our War Department in time of peace. No President gains the slightest credit for himself by paying attention to it. Then, when a crisis comes and the War Department breaks down, instead of the people accepting what has happened with humility as due to their own fault during the previous two or three decades, there is a road of wrath against the unfortunate man who happens to be in office at the time.
There was such a roar of wrath against Secretary Alger in the Spanish War. Now, as a matter of fact, 90 per cent. of our shortcomings when the war broke out with Spain could not have been remedied by any action on the part of the Secretary of War. They were due to what had been done ever since the close of the Civil War.
EXPERIENCE OF 1898. We were utterly unprepared. There had been no real mafieuvring of so much as a brigade and very rarely had any of our Generals commanded even a good-sized regiment in the field. The enlisted men and the junior officers of the regular army were good. Most of the officers above the rank of Captain were nearly worthless. There were striking exceptions, of course, but, taking the average, I really believe that it would have been on the whole to the advantage of our army in 1898 if all the regular officers above the rank of Captain had been retired and if all the Captains who were unfit to be placed in the higher positions had also been retired. The Lieutenants were good.
The lack of administrative skill was even more marked than the lack of military skill. No one who saw the congestion of trains, supplies, animals and men at Tampa will ever forget the impression of helpless confusion that it gave him. The volunteer forces included some organizations and multitudes of individuals offering first-class material. But as a whole the volunteer army would have been utterly helpless against any efficient regular force at the outset of the '98 war, probably almost as inefficient as were the two armies which fought one another at Bull Run in 1861. Even the efficiency of the regular army itself was such merely by comparison with the volunteers.
I do not believe that any army in the world offered finer material than was offered by the junior officers and enlisted men of the regular army which disembarked on Cuban soil in June, 1898, and by the end of the next two weeks probably the average individual infantry or cavalry organization therein was at least as good as the average organization of the same size in an Old World army. But taking the army as a whole and considering its management from the time it began to assemble at Tampa until the surrender of Santiago, I seriously doubt if it was as efficient as a really good European or Japanese army of half the size.
Since then we have made considerable progress. Our little army of occupation that went to Cuba at the time of the revolution in Cuba ten years ago. was thoroughly well handled and did at least as well as any foreign force of the same size could have done. But it did not include 10,000 men, that is, it did not include as many men as the smallest military power in Europe would assemble any day for maneuvres.
WEAKNESS OF PEACE MOVEMENTS.
We can never follow out a worthy national policy, we can never be of benefit to others or to ourselves, unless we keep steadily in view as our ideal that of the just man armed, the