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Title: Germany's Fighting Machine - Her Army, her Navy, her Airships and Why She Arrayed Them - Against the Allied Powers of Europe
Author: Henderson, Ernest Flagg
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Germany's Fighting Machine - Her Army, her Navy, her Airships and Why She Arrayed Them - Against the Allied Powers of Europe" ***

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[Transcriber's Notes

Underscores are used for italic markup; the three words that end this
sentence _are in italics_.

The spelling and hyphenation are as found in the original text.

There is one spelling mistake that deserves mention. Although
“dreadnaught” can be accepted as an older spelling of “dreadnought”,
Henderson's use of it to denote a certain type of battleship is
incorrect. Battleships of this type were called dreadnoughts after
_H.M.S. Dreadnought_, the first example of this type of ship.

There is only one footnote: it has been left inline, that is,
immediately after its flag.]

                      GERMANY’S FIGHTING MACHINE

[Illustration: Kaiser Wilhelm II]

                           FIGHTING MACHINE

                _Her Army, Her Navy, Her Air-ships, and
                   Why She Arrayed Them Against the
                       Allied Powers of Europe_

                          ERNEST F. HENDERSON

                              _Author of_

                       SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY
                          BLÜCHER, ETC., ETC.

                        WITH MANY ILLUSTRATIONS

                       THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY

                            COPYRIGHT 1914
                       THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY


                      GERMANY’S FIGHTING MACHINE

                      GERMANY’S FIGHTING MACHINE

                                PART I

                                THE WAR

But a few weeks ago the author of this little book was in Germany
studying the land and its institutions and full of admiration for its
achievements in every field. Two days after he had taken ship for
America Germany was practically at war with France and Russia. England
soon joined in the conflict, and the splendid Hamburg liner on which
the author was a passenger was a hunted thing on the ocean, owing her
safety at last to a friendly fog. The great shipping company, with its
nearly two hundred vessels, was out of the running as a commercial
enterprise, a symbol of the paralyzed industries of the whole country.

To the ordinary observer the conflict came like a bolt from the blue,
but to the historian and to the man who reads the foreign newspapers it
was not unexpected. The historians recognized that it was the appointed
time for a war between the great nations. The Franco-Prussian War took
place forty-three years ago. When, since the days of the grandsons
of Charlemagne, have the chief powers kept out of war for so long a
time? In the ninth and tenth centuries the question of Lorraine was
as troublesome as it has been in the nineteenth and twentieth; in the
eleventh and twelfth an expedition against Italy was in the day’s work
of almost every German emperor; and England and Sicily were conquered
by the Normans; in 1215 took place the first general international
battle; in 1250 the final expeditions against the Emperor Frederick
II; in 1272 the Sicilian wars of the house of Anjou. The Guelphs
and Ghibellines carry us on to the Hundred Years’ War; the Hapsburg
struggles against Italy and the Turks bring us down to the invasion of
Italy by Charles VIII of France, to the campaigns of Maximilian, to the
Field of the Cloth of Gold, to the religious wars of Charles V. Close
on the heels of the latter struggles came not only the French religious
wars but the invasion of England by Philip II’s great armada. The
Thirty Years’ War, Louis XIV’s war of conquest, the Spanish Succession,
the Silesian and the Seven Years’ Wars fill the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries; the Napoleonic, Crimean and Franco-Prussian Wars
the nineteenth. Yes, it was time for a new struggle.

When a great and extraordinary event takes place it is easy, somewhere
in the world, to point to omens and prophecies that have heralded it.
But in the case of the present war we can see in the German newspapers
how, from month to month of the present year, the struggle was felt to
be more and more imminent and how Russia, the power that eventually
precipitated the catastrophe, was felt to be the center of real
danger. “In well-informed diplomatic circles,” writes the _Magdeburger
Zeitung_ in January, 1914, “the impression can not be concealed that
in Russia at present there prevails a thoroughly hostile attitude to
Germany and Austria-Hungary, and that the agitation in the czar’s realm
is greater even than during the last Balkan crisis. … It looks as
though Russia were preparing to make an extraordinarily great show of
strength against a specific, not far distant date.” And the _Deutsche
Tageszeitung:_ “What is Russia’s purpose in building a mighty fleet
of dreadnaughts for the Baltic? Surely not merely to coerce Sweden.”
Again the Madgeburg paper: “The Russian government, which already owes
French capitalists twelve billions, has received a new loan of two
billions five hundred millions, of which five million are yearly to be
issued in Paris. This whole gigantic sum is exclusively to be spent
for building strategic railways along the German-Russian boundary. …
France compelled Russia to do this. The French general staff thinks
that Russia, because of her clumsiness in mobilizing, but especially
for lack of tracks leading to the German frontier, will not be able, in
a new war with Germany, to bring help to France in time. Russia has now
fulfilled France’s wishes in this regard. Thus does the Franco-Russian
alliance, which of late seemed to be falling into oblivion, celebrate
its resurrection.”

In February the _Hallesche Zeitung_ writes: “To keep friendship with
Russia is one of the chief aims of our foreign policy, but it is
sometimes made very hard for us indeed. … They keep the peace because
it is to the advantage of the czar’s empire to do so; but they are
to be had for every combination directed against Germany.” And the
_Dresdener Nachrichten:_ “The Russian-German relations leave very much
to be desired at the moment. The Russian government fails to show the
least approachableness in foreign questions and Russian society and
the press are in an extremely anti-German mood. Evidences of the same
thing are to be seen in their attitude to Austria. … The Russian policy
lets itself be taken more and more in tow by the French desires, and
has nothing but polite speeches left for Germany.” The _Weser Zeitung_
finds the explanation of the hostility in Germany’s efforts to help the
Turks reorganize their army, and declares, “Here we have touched
one of the weakest spots in Russia’s world-policy, her endeavor to
get to the Mediterranean.” The _Fränkische Kurier_ thinks that Russia
intends to form a protectorate over the Balkan states as a military
weapon against Austria and her allies: “The soul of this endeavor is
the Russian diplomacy and the Servian minister-president, Pasitsch.”
The _Dresdener Anzeiger_ observes that the influence of the Pan-Slavist
party over the Russian government is steadily growing and that the
extraordinary activity in military matters ill suits the constant peace
assurances: “The measures are pointed against Austria-Hungary.”

[Illustration: The Crown Prince and Crown Princess]

[Illustration: Prince Henry of Prussia, the Emperor’s Brother]

On March second an article in the _Kölnische Zeitung_ aroused great
excitement all over Germany. It declared that Russia was not yet in a
position to supplement political threats by military action, however
much France might “rattle with the Russian saber.” But in three years
all the enormous preparations would be completed, and already “it is
openly said even in official military periodicals, that Russia is
arming for war against Germany.” There is no immediate danger, the
article continued, but the legend of the historical German-Russian
friendship had better be thrown to the dogs.

The papers took different attitudes toward this article, but there
were not wanting those who considered the warnings of the _Kölnische
Zeitung_ justified. General Keim, in the _Tag_, declares that the
German-Russian boundary is one huge camp, that the underlying thought
of the whole armament is an offensive war against Germany, that France
had proceeded in the same way just before 1870 and that the recent
visit to St. Petersburg of President Poincaré and his chief of staff
Joffre had not been merely a pleasure jaunt. Had not a French general,
only last summer, declared in a treatise published anonymously that
the tension between Russia and Austria was ground for a European war
“perhaps in the near future”? And had not this French officer even
gone so far as to spread the legend that in case of war Germany would
disregard the neutrality of Belgium and Luxemburg in order to be able
to envelop the French left wing?

Several of the March newspapers bring the Russian hostility into
connection with the commercial treaty that has only about two years
more to run. Russia, by making a bold front, can gain from Germany
better terms than she has had in the past. “Russia, with her military
preparations,” writes the _Pester Lloyd_, “wishes to put Austria
and Germany under military pressure in order to achieve diplomatic
successes and harm her neighbors economically.” The idea that
France is behind it all crops out repeatedly. The _Neue Preussische
Zeitung_ speaks of the pressure “ever stronger, that the French
need for revenge is exercising on the Russian ally and debtor.” The
_Hannöverische Courier_ accuses the French press of having first caused
the agitation of public opinion in Russia, on which it afterward
comments as so remarkable. As far back as March 10th, 1913, the
_Kölnische Zeitung_ had written: “Never was our relation to our western
neighbor so strained as to-day, never has the idea of vengeance shown
itself so openly and never has it been made so evident that in France
the Russian alliance, the English friendship, are claimed only for the
purpose of reconquering Alsace-Lorraine. In whatever corner of the
world the flame starts up it is quite certain that we shall have to
cross swords with France. When that will be, no one can tell.”

The Russian military preparations cause the German papers much concern
in the month of April also. The _Vossische Zeitung_ considers them a
gigantic bluff, and declares that they have been worth millions to the
Russian government. “For only because France thinks that in Russia she
possesses an ally ready for war has she heaped billions and billions
on her in the form of loans. … That the latest French loans to Russia
were accompanied by instructions seriously to take up the anti-Austrian
and anti-German preparations no one doubts. Just as little is it
doubted that Pan-Slavism is not pleased with the latest changes in the
Balkans or that the freedom of the Dardanelles and the seizure of
Constantinople still present themselves as the goal of Russian policy.
Hatred of the Germans is increasing. … One thing is certain: Russia is
arming to a gigantic extent. She wishes to throw a heavy weight into
the scale of the national quarrels. Germany and Austria have every
reason to be on their guard.” The _Allgemeine Zeitung_, of Chemnitz,
writes that “The goals of French and Russian policy are unattainable
without world-shattering callings-to-account,” and the _Weser Zeitung_,
after speaking of Pan-Slavism as threatening the existence of the
Austrian-Hungarian monarchy, finally exclaims, “It neither can nor
should be concealed that if—which God forbid!—this direction gain
the upper hand in Russian politics it would mean the very war-danger
against which we sought and found refuge in the Triple Alliance.”

[Illustration: The Unworldly Kaiserin as the Protectress of the

[Illustration: Princess Victoria Louise, the Emperor’s Only Daughter]

The newspapers of May have a somewhat calmer tone than those of March
and April. “There is, to be sure,” writes the _Tag_, “danger for peace
in the possibility that the anti-German tendency in Russia may prove so
strong that the government will not be able to check it. Another danger
lies in the relations of Russia and Austria. … Although there is much
talk to the effect that we shall once more be compelled to fight for
our national existence, it is not absolutely necessary that such a
war shall come.” On the other hand, Admiral Breusing, in the _Tägliche
Rundschau_ of May the seventh, writes: “The striving of the Slavic and
Mongolian races to extend their power and possessions will surely lead
to an encounter with the German race.” The _Rheinisch-Westphälische
Zeitung_ declares of France that “public sentiment in military and
political circles has long gone over from the defensive to the
offensive. Apparently the aim is to create a situation where Germany
will have to choose between receding or attacking.” The _Dresdener
Anzeiger_, too, thinks that the “relations between Germany and France
give the key to the grouping of the European powers,” and the _Berliner
Tageblatt_ says, “The future and salvation of Europe and its culture
lies solely in a German-French-English rapprochement; that alone will
guarantee the world-peace.” Toward the end of the month the _Dresdener
Anzeiger_ writes: “The German-Russian relations have latterly taken a
remarkable change for the worse. Certainly the nationalistic elements
in Russia are once more conspicuously active. … Should the whole mass
of the Russian people once become conscious of its nationality the
world will see the most mighty movement both as regards extent and
elemental intensity. … For Russia, Pan-Slavism is the idea of the
Russian leadership over all Slavs.”

Already in May, more than two months before there is a sign that the
conflict is at hand, doubts begin to be expressed whether Italy’s
alliance would be of any value in case of war. The Berlin _Neueste
Nachrichten_ has to acknowledge that as far as Austria is concerned the
alliance is “more a matter of the intellect than of the heart;” while
the _Rheinisch-Westphälische Zeitung_ reports on May twelve that “in
more than ten years such a senseless agitation against Austria has not
been seen in Italy. … The Italian government is by no means master of
the difficult situation in which it is placed by the demonstrations
of protest against Austria-Hungary. … _Were war to break out to-day
the easily excited Italian people would compel any government of
theirs, however friendly to the Triple Alliance, to declare against

The nearer we approach to the crisis the more serious is the situation
regarded by the better newspapers. The _Neue Preussische Zeitung_ in
June tells of the surprising spirit of sacrifice there is in France and
of the quiet efforts that are being made to strengthen the army: “If
the revenge cries have almost ceased that does not in the least mean
that the idea has been given up; on the contrary, they already reckon
on the war as on a sure thing.” Of the Russian military preparations,
the Vienna _Neue Freie Presse_ writes on June twelve: “About two
months ago it became known that Russia had set aside two hundred
sixteen million _kronen_ (a _krone_ is about a franc) for military
exercises and especially for a ‘mobilization.’ The great amount of
this sum will be realized when one remembers that Austria spends about
ten millions for all of its military exercises put together. Under the
harmless title of ‘trial-mobilization’ and the still more harmless
one of ‘exercises for the reserves’ Russia, then, for a period of six
weeks, is placing its giant army practically on a war-footing. Think
of 1,800,000 men holding military exercises at a time when Austria has
200,000, Germany from 300,000 to 400,000 trained men at her immediate
disposal! Whether it be intentional or not this implies so imminent a
threat that the neighbors will need the greatest ‘cold-bloodedness’
to allow these ‘military exercises’ to pass without friction. _These
exercises signify the most colossal endangering of the peace that was
ever attempted under the form of a periodically recurring measure of
organization_, and it would not be surprising if all those who long for
a peaceful turn of political affairs were to be completely embittered….
_To add to this dark aspect comes the relatively enormous credit
demanded by the Servian military administration_—123,000,000. It is as
much in proportion as though Austria were to demand a billion and a
half. Since 1908 Servia has been arming uninterruptedly, and now again
spends this sum on military purposes the tendency of which practically
amounts to a direct threatening of her neighbors.” The _Hallesche
Zeitung_ on the twenty-third of June discusses the various alliances:
“Originally the Russian-French alliance was a military convention,
in the last few months there has been added a naval agreement. It is
desired to enter with united forces into the great decisive struggle
for the division of the world. Russia wants elbow-room as far as the
North Atlantic Ocean and the Southern Baltic, besides free entry into
the Mediterranean.”

I have quoted all these newspaper extracts because they seem to me
absolutely indicative of the sentiment that prevailed in Germany just
before the war broke out, whether that sentiment be based on correct
impressions or not. We have the Russian side of it in an article
written by Professor Maxim Kowaleski, for the _Frankfurter Zeitung_:
“In Russia people believe that Germany and Austria are arming against
Russia, in Germany and Austria they take for granted that the opposite
is the case.”


[Illustration: General von Heeringen]

[Illustration: General von Eichhorn]

[Illustration: General von Bülow]

[Illustration: General von Prittwitz]

To the unprejudiced observer it looks very much as though Servia,
thinking her hour had come and feeling sure of Russia’s support,
had instigated the murder of the heir to the Austrian throne with
the deliberate intention of starting a great conflagration. The
preliminary inquiry into the matter, which was carried on very
deliberately by Austria, with no sensational charges or accusations,
revealed a great plot reaching to the very steps of the Servian
throne. Around that throne, as the world well knows, were the men who
had deliberately murdered their own previous king and queen and who
had been rewarded with high positions for their share in that dark
transaction. It was proved to Austria’s satisfaction—and she had so
much to lose by a war of aggression that no ulterior motive could
have influenced her—that the royal Servian arsenal had provided the
weapons of death and that a high official in the army had been directly
concerned. Servia’s attitude during the preliminary investigation had
been provocative. Then Austria hurled her ultimatum.

It was an unheard-of ultimatum—that much an Austrian friend
acknowledged to me at the time. But, he added, the whole situation
was equally unheard of. In Germany, except in the ranks of the social
democrats, who glory in having no national sentiments, Austria’s act
met with the most complete approval. Truth to tell, no one had expected
such firmness and decision. The seriousness of the matter was not for
a moment overlooked. In my own immediate neighborhood and, I imagine,
from end to end of Germany, the first impulse on hearing the news
was to sing national hymns. One heard them throughout that whole
night—especially the solemn “_Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser_” and
“_Deutschland, Deutschland über alles_.” There was a resigned feeling,
too, a feeling that Servia had been such a menace since 1908 that the
time had come when something must be done. My Austrian friend believed
that the powers would sympathize with his country’s desire to chastise
a band of assassins; that the Russian czar especially would never take
sides with regicides; that England would see fair play.

To blame the German emperor for what followed is the attitude of the
uninformed. Germany has foreseen the struggle, as our extracts from
the newspapers show, but her one idea has been self-defense. The worst
that can be said of her is that her wonderful prosperity has made her
a little boastful and that she has talked too much about her share
in world politics and her own “place in the sun.” That indeed was
an unfortunate remark of his imperial majesty. In general, however,
he has honestly tried to keep the peace, and that Germany, with her
blooming trade, her model educational system and her splendid fleet and
army should have a larger voice in the affairs of nations was not an
unreasonable aim. Those who accuse her of greed for territory should
look at the history of their own country and see if they are entitled
to throw stones. Nor should they attribute her recent army-increase to
a mere spirit of aggression. So hemmed in is Germany, so exposed are
her frontiers in every direction, that she can not help taking alarm
at the movements of her neighbors. Actually touching her borders are
nations with a total population more than doubling her own, not to
speak of England with her enormous fleet.

England of late has stood for the restriction of armaments provided her
own naval superiority be preserved in the present proportions. Germans
believe, probably falsely, that before making such a proposition
England hastily ordered the laying of the keels of three new
battle-ships which in the ordinary course of events would not have been
begun until later. At any rate England leads in the matter of supplying
other countries with deadly instruments of war and her attitude is not
unlike that of her own rich beer-brewing families to the temperance
question. They preach against the use of alcohol, but go on deriving
their income from it. The largest factory of Whitehead torpedoes is at
Fiume, in Austria; Armstrong and Vickers have branches in Italy and
supply that government with naval guns; while the British Engineers’
Association, with a capital of $350,000,000, is endeavoring to corner
the trade of the world in firearms. England introduced dreadnaughts
and not only builds them for herself but also furnishes them on
demand to Japan and South America. With a cannon factory on the Volga
and an arsenal equipped by Armstrong and Vickers on the Golden Horn,
England has fairly fattened of late on war. By building the first
dreadnaught, indeed, she did herself a poor service. Previously Germany
was out of the running as regards the number of ships; now, where
only dreadnaughts count, she is becoming a good second. Was there not
something more than naïvete in Sir Edward Grey’s serious proposal that
Germany and England should restrict the number of their battle-ships
but always preserve the proportion of ten to six in England’s favor?
We have here, I think, the whole gist of the differences between
the two countries. England has steadily preserved her attitude of
superiority everywhere its basis was disappearing. She has been jealous
of Germany’s commerce, of her colonial progress. These Germans are to
England upstarts who need to be kept in their place and are not to
be allowed to have a word in the larger world-policies. Almost every
Englishman feels that a German is his social inferior. Such assumptions
provoke bumptiousness and self-assertion, which, I do not deny, have
at times been evidenced. Just before this war broke out, indeed, the
feeling of mutual antagonism seemed to be lessening. The English fleet
was welcomed at Kiel, the English trade delegation in Berlin. The
press of both countries had softened and sweetened.

[Illustration: The Kaiser with the Bürgemeister of Aix-la-Chapelle on
the Balcony of the Town Hall]

[Illustration: The Emperor at Maneuvers]

[Illustration: Duke Albert of Württemberg]

[Illustration: Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria]

[Illustration: Grand Duke Frederick II of Baden]

As for England’s present alliance with Russia against Germany, it is
the most monumental act of folly in modern history. Has Britannia been
attacked by sclerosis? At home a maudlin sentiment keeps her from
enforcing obedience to her laws and abroad she allows her real enemies
to pull her about by the nose. It is as though in the middle ages a
Henry or an Edward had joined hands with a Genghis Khan or a Timour the
Tartar. Can England gain anything whatever by humiliating Germany and
furthering Pan-Slavism? A little commercial advantage, possibly, though
America will be correspondingly strengthened and the final result will
be no better. Britannia, wake up! It is less far from the Mediterranean
to the Atlantic than it is from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean.
Gibraltar will soon be as irksome to Pan-Slavism as are now the forts
on the Dardanelles. Your own race is made up mainly of Angles and
Saxons—all your ideals, all your real interests are far closer to
those of the Germans than they are to those of the Russians. The time
may come, and very soon, when you are only too glad to throw yourself
around Germany’s neck and beg her aid in opposing the hordes from the
East. In Russia’s wake are your allies, the Japanese, who now for
the first time have taken a hand in European affairs. Japan has been
likened by a bright American girl to a man who has never been invited
to dinner in certain circles but who at last has invited himself and
simply can not be turned out of the house.

Germany, though drawn into the matter merely by the plain terms of her
alliance with Austria, stands virtually alone, for Italy is faithless
and Austria, as usual, is only half prepared. We may see a recurrence
of those exciting days when for seven years Frederick the Great of
Prussia—of a Prussia less than half the size that it is now—held his
own not only against the great powers of Europe but against the rest
of Germany as well. The help that he had from England was not greater
than may be expected from Austria to-day, and even the English deserted
him at last. Again and again Frederick risked, even as our contemporary
Hohenzollern is likely to do, _le tout pour le tout_. And like
Frederick, I think that William, because of better equipment, better
discipline and better strategy, is likely to prevail even over the many
millions arrayed against him.

England to-day throws the whole blame for the terrible war on Germany,
who was lukewarm, so England declares, in counseling Austria not
to let her strained relations with Servia develop into war; and in
the English press at least there are no words too scathing for the
violation by Germany of Belgium neutrality. The average Englishman, I
am sure, considers that the reason for England joining in the struggle.
Yet what are we to think of Sir Edward Grey’s own words in the
“Correspondence respecting the European Crisis” laid before the Houses
of Parliament and received here from London August twenty-fifth.

 _July 31._—The German ambassador asked me to urge the Russian
 government to show good-will in the discussions and to suspend their
 military preparations. … I informed the German ambassador that, as
 regards military preparations, I did not see how Russia could be urged
 to suspend them unless some limit were put by Austria to the advance
 of her troops into Servia.

 _August 1._—I told the German ambassador to-day … if there were a
 violation of the neutrality of Belgium by one combatant while the
 other respected it it would be extremely difficult to restrain public
 feeling in this country. … He asked me whether, if Germany gave a
 promise not to violate Belgium neutrality, we would engage to remain
 neutral. I replied that I could not say that. … The ambassador pressed
 me as to whether I could not formulate conditions on which we would
 remain neutral. He even suggested that the integrity of France and her
 colonies might be guaranteed. I said that I felt obliged to refuse
 definitely any promise to remain neutral on similar terms, and I could
 only say that we must keep our hands free.

So England, directly from the first, took sides with Servia in a matter
that concerned only Servia and Austria. She “could not see how Russia
could be urged to suspend preparations” and would not, even for the
sake of Belgium, state the terms on which she would agree to remain
neutral in the new German-Russian mobilization dispute. Why Germany
finally did violate Belgian neutrality is explained by a telegram from
the German foreign office to the German ambassador in London, Prince
Lichnowsky, on August four. … “Please impress upon Sir E. Grey that
German army could not be exposed to French attack across Belgium, which
was planned according to absolutely unimpeachable information. Germany
had consequently to disregard Belgian neutrality, it being for her a
question of life or death to prevent French advance.”

All eyes then are likely for the next few months to be fixed on the
German army and it has seemed worth while to me hastily to collect and
publish all the items concerning the land, naval and aerial forces
that will be of general interest in America. No one will look, I hope,
for much originality in a work of this kind. My information is taken
from Major von Schreibershofen’s excellent book _Das deutsche Heer_,
from Colonel von Bremen’s _Das deutsche Heer nach der Neuordnung von
1913_; from Lieutenant Neumann’s _Luftschiffe_ and his _Flugzeuge_;
from Count Reventlow’s interesting _Deutschland zur See_; Troetsch’s
_Deutschland’s Flotte im Entscheidungskampf_ and Toeche-Mittler:
_Die deutsche Kriegsflotte_. The three last mentioned works, and
also Von Bremen’s, are absolutely new, having been published in 1914;
Schreibershofen’s dates from 1913. The two others have no date but one
can see that they have appeared very recently. The large new works _Das
Jahr 1913_, _Deutschland unter Kaiser Wilhelm II_, and the _Handbuch
der Politik_ have also been of use to me. For the last six months I
have followed very carefully in the _Zeitungs-Archiv_ all the newspaper
extracts bearing on our subject. The war has doubtless interrupted the
publication of the _Archiv_, so that I shall remain “up to date” for
some little time to come.

                                PART II

                               THE ARMY

The great military authority, Bernhardi, in an article in _Das Jahr
1913_, points out various ways in which military science has developed
since the Franco-Prussian War and shows how completely we have had to
abandon many of the conceptions gained by a study of earlier campaigns.
Responsible in the main for the changes are the increased size of the
armies and the new technical inventions of our age.

[Illustration: Bird’s-eye View Berlin Parade Grounds]

Almost all the states of continental Europe have gone over to the
principle of universal military service, with the result that the
armies are greater now in time of peace than ever before in time of
war, and that when mobilization is called for and the reserves are
summoned, the number of men in the field amounts to millions. The first
result has been that far other means of transporting and concentrating
such masses have to be employed than used to be the case and that
networks of railroads have had to be built for purely strategic
purposes. In the maneuvers that were to have taken place this coming
autumn at Münster in Germany it had been intended to make a record in
the matter of quick transportation and to dispose of 120,000 men in
the course of a single morning without interrupting the regular
passenger traffic. The old method of victualing armies, too, has had to
be changed, for it is impossible for such hordes to nourish themselves
by what they chance to find in the enemy’s country. Problems of another
kind have arisen. Modern armies are composed of regulars and reservists
alike: the reservists are not so hardened as the regulars and often
not so efficient, so that it has become a custom to distribute them
in such a way as to achieve the best results. As a rule, the regulars
must be spared for decisive actions and reservists must occasionally be
sacrificed, apparently needlessly. There may be cases, for instance,
where the reserves must expose themselves to a murderous fire while the
regulars are engaged in the more difficult but less dangerous task of
cutting off the enemy’s line of retreat.

[Illustration: Arrival of Recruits]

[Illustration: The Field Kitchen]

Technical improvements, such as the longer range and quicker fire of
the guns, swifter means of communication and of signaling and the
like, not to speak of other considerations due to experience, have so
changed the old tactics that a line of battle is now more than ten
times as long as it was only a few years ago. At Sadowa, with 215,000
men, the Austrians had a front of only 10 kilometers; at Mukden the
attacking line of the Japanese, who had only 170,000 men, extended
for 110 kilometers. “The broken line,” writes Bernhardi, “is to-day
the only battle formation of the infantry.” To-day, officers and men
fight in trenches and take every advantage of the inequalities of the
ground; in 1870 it was considered disgraceful to take such advantages
and the officers stood erect in the most deadly fire. In consequence of
the length of the lines a check in one quarter is no longer so serious
a matter as it used to be; a modern battle is a succession of single
engagements of which the victor only needs to win a good majority.
The commander no longer takes up a position, as Napoleon did at
Leipzig, where he can oversee the whole field of operations; the best
place for him is some railroad junction or central telephone station,
with wireless and ordinary telegraph equipment, where messages can
constantly be sent and received, and to and from which he can despatch
troops, automobiles, motor-wagons or aeroplanes. One of the chief
modern problems is supplying sufficient ammunition for quick-firing
guns—the baggage trains must not be so long as to hinder the advance of
the troops, yet where there are many guns and each shoots off hundreds
of shots a minute, great quantities of ammunition are needed.

[Illustration: Transmitting and Receiving Orders by Telephone]

[Illustration: Telegrams]

[Illustration: Giving Orders]

I have spoken of military service being almost universally compulsory
in Europe. This means that every man of a certain age and with the
requisite health and strength is obliged to report for duty. It has not
hitherto meant that every eligible recruit was obliged to serve. In
Germany a large contingent, even of the capable, was formerly excused.
In 1910, for instance, nearly 235,000 were declared more or less
unfit for service, although in France they would probably nearly all
have been accepted. By the German army bills of 1911, 1912 and 1913
indeed the numbers of those required for active service were steadily
increased: 9,482 in the first named year, some 29,000 in the second,
and then the great increase of 63,000 in the third. But there were
still, up to the present mobilization, some thirty thousand able-bodied
recruits who could not be placed.

In the Prussian military-service law of 1814, and again in the
constitution of the North German Confederation of 1867, the principle
was laid down that the army should consist of one per cent. of the
population. This had long been disregarded as the population increased,
and the proportion had sunk as low as eight-tenths of one per cent.
It has now been raised to a little over the original figure. The
population as given officially in 1913 was 64,925,993, while the number
of common soldiers (I quote the figures given by Stavenhagen in the
_Handbuch der Politik_) was 647,811.[A]

[Footnote A: It may be worth giving the exact strength of the
German army on October 1, 1913: Total 790,788 and 157,816 horses.
Of these: officers, 30,253; sanitary officers, 2,483; veterinaries,
865; non-commissioned officers, 104,377; common soldiers, 647,811.
(Infantry, 515,216; cavalry, 85,593; field artillery, 126,042; sappers
and miners, 24,010; communication troops, 18,949; army service,

The cost of the German army has been enormous—more than twenty-five
billion marks between 1872 and 1910, and in 1913 alone, 1,608,653,300
marks. The extraordinary defense contribution for 1913, 1914 and
1915, a tax, not on income but on capital direct, is estimated to
bring nearly 1,300,000,000 marks. Strange to say, the tax was very
popular—every party in the Reichstag voted for it, even the social
democrats, whose delight in a measure that fell most heavily on the
rich (small properties were exempted) made them swallow the fact that
the money was for national and military purposes. The yearly sums that
the sudden increase in the army entails are to be paid by a curious tax
on the increase of property value to be estimated every three years.

The estimates as to how much the army numbers when on a war footing
varies between two and three-fourths millions and four millions.
Austria’s army, on paper at least, numbers 380,000 men in time of
peace, which number gradually was to have risen to 410,000 in the next
few years. In war-time it is estimated at 1,300,000 men. Curiously
enough Italy, with a peace army of only 300,000, estimates her war army
officially at 3,400,000, or about as much as either Germany or France.

[Illustration: Telegraph Battalion]

[Illustration: Military Telephone Station]

[Illustration: Putting up Campaign Tents]

[Illustration: Death’s-head Hussars]

[Illustration: The Crown Prince]

[Illustration: The Crown Prince at Mess]

For the armies of the Triple Entente we have an estimate published by
the _Deutsche Tageszeitung_ in January, 1914, which is worth quoting
at some length, as it is from a well-known military writer, Lieutenant
Colonel von Bremen:

 The basis of France’s military increase in 1913 is the reintroduction
 of the three years’ term of service. By retaining these third-year
 men the peace-showing is increased by almost a third. This year
 185,000 men are to be called in. The peace strength of the French
 army will, from the autumn of 1916 on, amount to 33,000 officers and
 officials and some 833,000 men, while up to that period we can reckon
 with 780,000 men. One must add to this, 28,000 gendarmes, customs
 and forest officials, who likewise belong to the territorial army
 (like the _Landwehr_). In Germany we have for 1913 and 1914, counting
 officers, non-commissioned officers and men, 802,000, to which, in
 1915, will be added 13,000 men. Deducting from the present strength
 of both armies the mere laborers who have to do with supplies, etc.,
 Germany’s peace force is momentarily the higher, but not if we reckon
 France’s gendarmerie, etc. Counting in this, France, with 40,000,000
 inhabitants, has a larger army in time of peace than Germany, with
 65,000,000. The French army has further advantages in the longer
 training and in the increased readiness for war. The troops covering
 the eastern frontiers have two hundred men to a company (four-fifths
 of the war strength) and even at the time when the recruits are being
 mustered in, one hundred forty trained men; while our companies at
 the same time can dispose of only half so strong a number. And what
 it means in case of war to have at hand two fully trained years’
 contingents (especially in the cavalry) during the period of training
 the recruits is self-evident. Further advantages in the French army
 lie in the longer training of the inactive officers and in the good
 provision for officers and non-commissioned officers. In the house of
 deputies negotiations are pending regarding advancement regulations
 tending to lower the age limit of the whole body of officers. And,
 above all, it has been made possible to create a new, twenty-first
 army corps. So we see that France, in 1913, has made a very great step

 The Russian armaments of 1913 are also significant. The most important
 event was the appearance in October of the draft of a law to prolong
 the term of active service by three months and that in the decisive
 time from January first (fourteenth) to April first (fourteenth). As
 in Russia, the recruits are called in at latest by November fifteenth.
 Russia will, until spring, still have under arms, besides the
 recruits, the trained contingents of three years in the infantry—four,
 indeed, in the cavalry. That considerably increases her readiness for
 war. And in addition to lengthening the term of service the number
 of recruits is still further increased by twenty thousand men. The
 momentary military strength of the Russian empire is about one and
 one-half millions, of which about 1,200,000 concern Europe (thirty
 army corps and twenty-four cavalry divisions). But already for 1914 we
 can reckon on the formation of from two to three new army corps and on
 a considerable increase of the artillery by at least forty batteries,
 for which purpose three hundred twenty million marks have been called
 for. To make mobilization speedier and to facilitate the march to the
 west boundary railroads are to be built. The estimates for this are
 about two hundred sixty million marks. The following stretches are
 under consideration: 1. Nowogeorgiewsk to Plozk on the Vistula. 2.
 Cholm—Tomoschow—Belzek. 3. Schepetowka—Proskurow—Larga. In addition a
 number of lines are planned of which one is to encircle our province
 of East Prussia. Along the German frontier, too, the erection of
 wireless stations has energetically been taken in hand. Likewise they
 have begun to modernize their fort and field artillery. Side by side
 with these endeavors go intended improvements in military education
 and training and organized changes in the situation of the officers’
 corps and general staff in the way of raising salaries and of quicker
 advancement. Thus for the Russian army, too, and its capacity for
 service the year 1913 is to be looked upon as important.

 Furthest in arrears of the armies of the Triple Entente is the
 English, which made no progress worth speaking of in 1913. England
 in her war plans against us long reckoned with landing an army of
 invasion on our coast. The idea has been given up because it was
 declared that probably the weak, active army would be more needed
 elsewhere, especially as its maximum of about 130,000 men could not
 play a decisive part against the millions-of-men armies of Germany.
 Nor has the “territorial army,” destined for protection at home,
 shown any progress; of its required strength there were still lacking
 in October, 1913, seventy thousand men and all efforts to bring it
 to the intended height of 314,000 men have failed. The thought of
 tunnel connection with France, however, in spite of the dislike of the
 Britisher, so proud of the isolation the sea offers him, has found
 more adherents than was formerly the case.

 If now we draw our conclusions from our military review of the year
 1913 the armaments of Austria and Italy on the one hand and Russia
 and England on the other are insignificant as compared with those of
 Germany and France. The two latter remain well in the foreground, and
 indeed in a European war, too, it is they who first and foremost would
 have to try conclusions with each other.

These observations, made by an expert at the beginning of 1914,
are exceedingly interesting in view of what is now going on. Since
Von Bremen wrote, however, there have been several interesting
developments. In February it became known that of the French soldiers
no less than 265,000 had died, were on the sick-list, or had been
discharged during the previous month. The explanation is, that in
order to raise the figures even the poorest kind of material had
been accepted, that old unhealthy barracks were overcrowded and that
new ones had been occupied while the plaster was still wet on the
walls; that the army was short of physicians to the extent of many
hundreds. An official note in a Paris paper declares that two-thirds
of the recruits arrive in a tuberculous condition. Together with these
revelations comes a book, by a French military aeronaut, complaining of
the utter neglect of the air fleet, and declaring that at the moment
France has not one serviceable hydroplane. The whole appropriation for
air-ships in connection with the navy was but 400,000 francs in 1913,
as compared with millions appropriated by the rival powers. At the same
time come revelations regarding the regular navy itself. Although there
are nine dreadnaughts building, but two are ready, and no cruisers.

In March appeared the “general annual report of the British army,”
published by the War Office, which showed that Von Bremen’s statement
as to the shortage of men was not only not exaggerated but greatly
underestimated. The regular army is 9,211 men short, the territorial
army 66,969, the special reserve 29,370. The explanation lies in the
greater attractiveness of the navy and in the high emigration figures
(178,468 males in 1913).

[Illustration: Line Infantry]

[Illustration: Rear Guard in Ambush]

[Illustration: Artillery Patrol]

In April we hear of great appropriations in Austria both for the army
and the navy. Official estimates place the strength of the army at
390,250 men, but a German critic points out that of these 60,000 are
_Landwehr_, or reserves, and ought not to be counted. There is to
be a yearly increase of 31,300 recruits, but the measure is not to
take full effect until 1918. For the navy, 427,000,000 _kronen_ are
appropriated, of which 4,000,000 are to go for military air-ships; but
the expenditures are to be extended over a period of five years. It has
been Austria’s fate throughout the centuries always to be several years

In June, finally, we learn that Russia has set aside for military
expenditures in 1914 alone the monstrous sum of 2,500,000,000 marks,
and by 1916 will have _added_ 400,000 men—more than Austria’s whole
force—to her standing army, which will amount, in the winter months
at least, to 2,200,000 men. “Characteristic,” writes the _Tägliche
Rundschau_ in commenting on it, “is the strengthening of the western
boundary-strip and the improvement of the strategic network of
railroads in order to hasten the forwarding of troops.” On the other
hand, attention is drawn in the _Danziger Zeitung_ to the fact
that Russia has at the moment in the Baltic but four battle-ships,
all old-fashioned, although by 1915 it is hoped to have ready four

       *       *       *       *       *

We shall hear much in the next few months of infantry and cavalry, of
field artillery and foot artillery, of pioneers, of _Verkehrstruppen_
or communication troops, and of the _Train_ or transport division. I
therefore preface this section with the definition of these terms given
by a staff officer in the newest book of instructions for the one-year

[Illustration: Infantry on the March]

 The infantry represent the main troops of the army. Their value lies
 in their endurance when marching, in their correct shooting and in
 their brave dashing against the enemy. The infantry is armed with the
 ninety-eight gun and bayonet; the sword-knot non-commissioned officers
 (_Portepeeunteroffiziere_), battalion-drummers and ambulance-men carry

 To the infantry belong the sharpshooter battalions
 (_Jägerbataillone_), the guard sharpshooter battalion
 (_Gardejägerbataillon_) and the guard rifle-battalion
 (_Gardeschützenbataillon_). The infantrymen are known as grenadiers,
 musketeers and fusileers.

 The cavalry is armed with lance, saber and carbine. Its chief value is
 for scouting and for precautionary service, but it is also used for
 riding down the enemy and piercing him with the lance. The cavalry may
 also dismount and fight on foot like the infantry. For shooting it
 uses the carbine.

 The cavalry consists of cuirassiers, uhlans, hussars, dragoons
 and mounted riflemen. (In Saxony guard-riders (_Gardereiter_) and
 carbineers; in Bavaria heavy riders and light horse (_Chevaulegers_).)

 The field artillery is effective through the swiftness with which
 it rides up and through the certainty of aim of its quick-firing
 guns. The field artillery carries batteries of cannon for firing
 against visible goals and light howitzer batteries, for shooting at
 objects behind cover and for demolishing light field fortifications.
 The drivers carry a sword and revolver, the cannoneers a dagger and
 revolver. Every man of the horse-drawn division is mounted and carries
 sword and revolver.

 The foot artillery has to serve the fort and siege artillery as well
 as the heavy artillery guns of the field army; in attacking a fortress
 it must silence the enemy’s heavy fort guns and make breaches in
 the fortifications; when defending it must overcome the enemy’s heavy
 siege guns. The men are called cannoneers; they carry the carbine and
 the ninety-eight bayonet.

 The pioneers see to the throwing up of entrenchments, the building and
 destroying of bridges, obstructions, etc.; they are armed like the

 The communication troops consist of the railroad regiments, which in
 time of war have to see to the building and running of railroads;
 of the telegraph battalions, which put up telegraph lines; of the
 fortress telephone companies, which attend to all telephone matters
 in the fortress; of the air-ship and aeroplane battalions, who are
 entrusted with spying out the land and the enemy’s positions by means
 of balloons, air-ships and aeroplanes.

 The communication troops are armed like the infantry.

 The transport service (_Train_) supplies every kind of column of the
 army with bridge materials, food, ammunition, etc. Its weapons are
 swords, carbines and revolvers.

[Illustration: Floating the Pontoons]

[Illustration: Machine Guns Being Loaded on Pontoons]

It is not worth while here to enter into the question of uniforms.
In time of peace the blue coats and red collars of the infantry, the
varied colored _attilas_ and fur caps of the hussars, the helms with
the flying eagles of the guards, the tresses, the gleaming epaulettes,
the scarves, the waving plumes, are all interesting enough, especially
to the other sex; but in war that is all laid aside. In order to be as
invisible as possible to the enemy all categories of troops wear the
same ashen gray—a comparatively recent adaptation of the principle of
protective coloring.

In the German army the cavalry is merely an adjunct of the infantry. It
is the infantry which decides battles—not the cavalry, not even the
artillery. However, the infantry of to-day is something very different
from the infantry of the eighteenth and even from that of a great part
of the nineteenth century. German military writers acknowledge that
the world learned new tactics from the sharpshooters and riflemen of
the American war of the rebellion. The whole modern battle formation
rests on the idea of giving more play to the individual. In spite of
the technical progress that has made of armies great machines, more
weight than ever before is laid on quick judgment, on good shooting, on
physical bravery and endurance. I know that an idea quite contrary to
this prevails, that many consider war reduced to the art of setting off
the greatest quantities of explosives within a given time. But this is
very far from the truth. The battles of the past were of much shorter
duration than are those of the present. Wagram was won in two hours,
Mukden took three days.

One learns to adapt one’s self even to quick-firing guns and incredible
rifle-ranges. It has been mathematically demonstrated that, with the
rifles now in the hands of the German infantry, a bullet fired from
a distance of three hundred yards will pass right through five men
standing closely one behind the other and lodge in the body of the
sixth. But men in battle line no longer stand closely one behind the
other, nor even closely side by side. Even in what is considered a
thick firing line they stand about three feet apart.

[Illustration: Mountain Earthworks]

[Illustration: Pursuit]

[Illustration: Infantry Embarking]

I have said that the modern idea is to give more play to the
individual. Within certain limits the men choose their own position,
find the proper rests for their rifles, get each the range for himself,
determine the speed of their own fire and use their own judgment in the
economizing of ammunition. They are expected to advance according as
they see their opportunity.

A glance at the methods of training the infantry will give some
idea of the care and thoroughness with which the Germans have made
their preparations for war. The old drill has not been entirely
abandoned—indeed, some military critics think that there is still too
much of the goose-step marching and of the parade tricks. But these
have lost their old importance and the tendency of late years is toward
the most realistic representation of the circumstances and problems of
actual combat. The parade-ground has given place to the maneuvering
field, acres and miles in extent. For the first time in Germany, this
autumn, whole army corps were to have engaged in mock combat with one

In the ordinary rifle practise the men are taught first to shoot well
individually, then in groups and detachments, next in whole troops
and companies and finally in conjunction with cavalry and artillery.
They are made to adapt themselves to the most unfamiliar and unusual
surroundings. Even the targets are of the most varied description:
targets that fall to the ground when hit, targets that burst, targets
surrounded by smoking objects or colored fires so that there will be
some of the semblance of battle, fixed targets and targets that move or
that float in the air, targets that have been lying flat on the ground
but that suddenly appear here and there like an enemy issuing from the
bushes. The rifleman must learn never to be surprised at anything, but
to keep his eyes open in all directions.

The German army rifle is of a type first introduced in 1888, and so
much improved in 1898 that it is now known as the ninety-eight gun.
All the infantry carry the same, for there is no longer any essential
distinction between musketeers, fusileers and grenadiers. It is a
quick-loading rifle which renders it possible to take aim and shoot
as many as twenty-five times a minute. The caliber is seven and
nine-tenths millimeters, a fact which may not at first seem to the
American reader of great importance, but which becomes more interesting
when it is realized that this is the smallest caliber which will
inflict sufficient injury on an enemy to make its use profitable. In
other words, if it does not kill him at once it will put him out of the
fight and keep him out for a reasonable time. It was found in the
Russian-Japanese War that a smaller bullet could, and in a number of
cases did, pass through a foeman’s body without rendering him _hors de
combat_, and that no less than forty per cent. of all wounded were back
with their troops in three months.

[Illustration: Building a Pontoon Bridge]

[Illustration: Cannon for Shooting Air-ships]

[Illustration: Combination Hydro and Aeroplane]

There are Maxim rifles which can fire as many as a hundred shots a
minute and which have other advantages too; but the German government
is well satisfied with its own gun, considers it superior to that of
any of its neighbors’ and has never seriously considered the question
of changing. It has a smokeless powder, the process of manufacture of
which is a carefully guarded secret.

A recent innovation is the supplying of the infantry—for that matter of
the cavalry also—with so-called machine guns. They are the Gatling guns
of our own country, and every German infantry regiment now—since the
army reform of 1913—has a machine-gun company. It consists of ninety
men and forty horses, with six guns and three ammunition wagons. As the
newest guns can fire at the rate of six hundred shots a minute, and as
there are more than two hundred infantry regiments, not to speak of the
cavalry and artillery, which also have their companies of “Gatlings,”
one can gain some impression of the deadliness of modern campaigning.
Many of the quick-firing guns now are supplied with stands on pivots so
that they can be pointed in the air against balloons and aeroplanes.
But their chief use will be in guarding bridges and narrow passes.
Their bullets carry for two miles, but they can be silenced by heavy
artillery far beyond this range, nor can they carry enough ammunition
for long-continued use. Altogether, however, a comparison of their fire
with the simple flames of the traditional hell makes the latter place
seem a mere pleasure-resort.

The training of a soldier has of late years become more and more humane
and rational, and is no longer confined to manning guns, shooting
rifles and performing long marches. Those Germans with whom I have
spoken on the subject look back to their term of service with pleasure,
and my general conviction is that the army in time of peace is the most
perfect educational institution in existence. With school learning
every boy when he comes to “serve” is more or less equipped. What he
learns is _esprit de corps_, manly bearing, endurance and the feeling
that his tasks must be quickly and faultlessly performed—in other
words, regularity and discipline. The mere change of surroundings and
interests is a benefit, and the outlook on the world is immeasurably
broadened. The old argument against compulsory military training—that,
namely, young men in their best years are withdrawn from productive
work, does not amount to much in an age where the general complaint
is of overcrowdedness in almost every calling and profession. The
German boy does his work all the better for his military training and
the nation has thoroughly adjusted itself to the falling out of these
two years. There are dispensations for cases where the boy’s presence
at home is a vital matter for the support of others, and, as a rule, a
place that he filled before is kept open for him against his return.

[Illustration: War Dogs Used as Messengers]

[Illustration: Covered Field Artillery]

[Illustration: A Howitzer Battery Crossing a Pontoon Bridge]

One of the pleasantest recent developments has been the enthusiasm for
sport that had taken hold of the army. The authorities encouraged it in
every way, for it was in keeping with the new tactics of training the
individual to be efficient and independent. The author had the pleasure
of attending the first great military athletic meet that has ever taken
place. It was held in June, 1914, in the great stadium that has been
erected near Berlin for the Olympic games of 1916, and that army which
is now fighting so strenuously for the very existence of its country
was represented in all its pomp and glory. On an elevated terrace
was the emperor with his court. Next came the _logen_ or boxes which
were blue with the uniforms of the officers. A large majority of the
spectators were soldiers, for whom whole sections had been reserved;
they marched in in seemingly unending lines, looking very neat in
their summer undress uniforms. The exercises began with gymnastics
or _turnen_, to which, all over Germany, the greatest importance
is attached. There was the usual running, jumping and throwing of
weights—with us it is a shot, with them it is a discus. There was a
cross-country run of four miles which started and ended in the stadium,
and in which some fifty or sixty officers took part. It was won by a
splendid young prince of the royal house, Prince Frederick Leopold. The
best comment that I heard on him was that he looked like a first-class

But most interesting of all was the obstacle race for the common
soldiers. A part of their regular training consists in climbing walls
and trees; and on their parade grounds you will find special tracks
with ditches, walls and palisades; while occasionally the obstacles
are of the most serious kind—iron railings with twisted spikes through
which they must make their way. In the stadium games the soldiers lined
up on the farther side of a great swimming-pool that runs along one
end of the field below the spectators. At a given signal they plunged
into the water, swam for dear life to the other side, climbed the low
protecting wall and were off helter-skelter for the hurdles and other
obstacles. Behind one of the hurdles, concealed by green boughs, was a
slimy watery hole, but it detained them but for a moment. Across the
track a high straight impromptu wall was held in place by soldiers
and up it all the contestants had to clamber. One almost stuck at
the top; you watched him breathlessly to see if he could achieve it,
but there was no jeering, as I fear there would have been at home.
The whole race, in which were some fifty or more participants, was
run with a wonderful freshness, joyousness and what the Germans call
_schneidigkeit_, which corresponds to our American slang expression

[Illustration: Rough Riding]

[Illustration: Effect of Two Shells on a Six-Foot Reinforced Concrete

[Illustration: Scaling Barricades]

Even in the ordinary practise on the parade-ground an adjutant keeps
a record of the time that the soldiers need to overcome the different
obstacles. Whole companies have to pass the required tests. The whole
thing is already reduced to such a system that in war an officer will
know to the smallest detail what he can expect of his men. Great
importance is attached to swimming, for occasions are sure to arise in
a campaign when streams are to be forded or where the pontoon divisions
have to be assisted.

On the whole the rise of sport has had a great leveling influence in
the army. Soldiers and officers do not, indeed, compete with each other
as a rule; but they take part in the same meets, and I have observed
that the soldier seems to rise in importance while the tendency of the
officer is to forget himself in the excitement of the moment. I have a
vision of non-participants flying across the field with the tails of
their long coats flapping behind them to carry tidings or encouragement
to some tired runner—which denotes a very great change from the
unswervingly dignified bearing of other days. Soldiers and officers
now are encouraged to join athletic associations, which makes for less

If the infantry is the mainstay of the German army, the cavalry is
indispensable for reconnoitering, for making raids and for pursuit.
Each cavalryman, as has been said, carries a lance, a sword and a
carbine. Much time is spent in training the men to the use of the
lance, which is of hollow steel. Men of straw, for instance, are placed
on the ground and the lancer, riding by, has to inflict a wound in
exactly the place designated. Or a straw head is placed on a stake and
must be knocked off in passing. The carbines, which are stuck in the
saddle, are of a perfected modern type and are but little inferior to
the muskets of the infantry.

Cavalry regiments, with which speed of progress is the first
consideration, carry their own bridge-wagons, so that they can either
repair bridges that have been destroyed, or construct entirely new
ones. It has been found that rafts made of fodder-bags stuffed with
straw and held together by lances, boards, logs, etc., can carry
comparatively heavy weights. Six such bags as I have described can, at
a pinch, carry six men. Barrels and chests are still more useful if
they happen to be at hand. Needless to say, the cavalry bridge-wagons
also carry explosives for destroying the enemy’s bridges and other

[Illustration: Lancer Practising with Straw Man]

[Illustration: Cavalry Patrol]

[Illustration: Building a Bridge with Sacks]

It has been thought in some quarters that aeroplanes and other
contrivances for scouting and communication would supersede cavalry,
but the German army administration evidently does not think so, as it
has more than 150,000 horses in use even in time of peace. In time
of war all private horses are subject to requisition, as are also
automobiles, motor-trucks, motor-wheels and aeroplanes. The better
riders in a regiment train the horses for the rest, and there is a
constant mustering out of the inferior ones in favor of others that are
stronger or younger or more docile. There are military riding schools
at Hanover, Dresden and Munich, where officers are taught not only to
ride well and to instruct others but also to break in young horses.

Prussia has her own stud-farms in which the royal family, since the
days of Frederick William I, has taken the greatest interest. There
is a regular Prussian type, small and tough. The theory has lately
been advanced that Asiatic horses are more free from disease and that
they proved more enduring in the recent Turkish-Bulgarian War, while
the Prussian horse, through faults in the manner of raising, has
degenerated during the long period of unbroken peace. This, however,
is simply an academic question and nothing short of war itself can
demonstrate that under all conditions another type of horse will be

The Russian-Japanese War brought the old cavalry raid, such as we
associate with the names of Sheridan and Wilson, once more to honor,
and an expedition of Mischtschenko’s in February, 1905, though not
wholly successful, aroused much interest in cavalry circles in Europe.
It is considered not unlikely that such “raids” will play a great part
in the present war. The Germans use the American word for the maneuver.

If cavalry is merely an adjunct of infantry, this is still more true of
artillery. Its function, according to the latest German writers, is to
facilitate the advance of the infantry, or, in other words, to break
and open the path by which the infantry shall storm. It has sometimes
been thought of the battle of the future that it would consist of two
parts: the great artillery duel and the infantry struggle; and that the
infantry would have to stand aside until the artillery duel was over.
The contrary is the case. The two, in this coming war, will fight side
by side: the artillery opening the breach, the infantry coming in.

[Illustration: A Field Gun]

[Illustration: Wheel Belt for Cannon]

[Illustration: A Howitzer Battery]

German batteries consist of six guns, while those of the French have
only four. Good authorities, even in Germany, prefer the French
system, but the change would mean more expense than was considered
warrantable. A novelty is that the guns now have great steel shields
that protect the gunners. Another most useful innovation is the
so-called wheel belt. A number of flat blocks or shoes, wider than the
tire and hinged so as to form a great chain, protect the wheels of the
gun-carriage and prevent them from sinking into the mud. Formerly a
supply of beams, jackscrews and the like had to be carried along for
use in extricating the cannon when they stuck fast. Now every large
gun in the army has its belt, which can be removed and put on again at
will, the operation lasting but six minutes.

The largest guns accompanying the infantry have a bore of twenty-one
centimeters, which is much less, of course, than the fixed guns in
fortresses or those used for coast defense. The size of these is ever
increasing, and there is already talk of forty centimeter guns. The
field guns fire shells and shrapnel and there is a so-called “unit
charge” which is a combination of the two. A shrapnel is a thin metal
ball filled with explosive bullets and can be discharged either by
ignition or percussion. It is considered preferable to have it burst in
the air, just above the point aimed at, as the shock is downward. Krupp
has patented a shell that explodes by clock-work.

One further fact concerning artillery may interest those who follow
the present campaigns. In all the older famous battles the greatest
efforts were made to drag the artillery up the hills and have it crown
the heights. According to recent strategy it chooses rather low-lying
protected spots. Howitzers can shoot right over a hill and have the
shell curve and descend on the other side. The calculations as to just
where it will strike are made with astounding accuracy, even though the
goal itself may be invisible. The guns are being constantly improved,
but the greatest secrecy is observed with regard to them. They are
shrouded as they pass through the streets and no one can inspect them
without a written order.

The low situation has its great advantages as well as its
disadvantages, but the latter can be counteracted. In order to be able
to overlook the field, each battery now has an observation ladder or
column, of which the parts can be telescoped into short space and
carried between two wheels. When desired it is projected into the air.
One advantage of this new invention is that the wheeled observation
ladder can be sent off to quite a distance carrying a portable
telephone by means of which it is possible at all times to communicate
with the gunners.

[Illustration: Observation Column]

[Illustration: Observation Ladder]

Many cannon now have telescopes attached to them to assist the gunner
in taking aim. When we reflect that some of the guns can shoot five
and six miles, the necessity of this will be apparent.

[Illustration: Covered Field Artillery]

For storming fortifications there are special heavy siege guns. A
modern fortress is something very different from a medieval or even
from an early nineteenth century one. The old city walls, however
solidly built, are now regarded as mere pleasant bits of antiquity, and
in dozens of German towns have been razed to the ground and converted
into rings or boulevards. So in the city of Cologne, in Ulm. In their
place we now have groups of sunken guns, of protected batteries and
of underground bomb-proof rooms with walls of reinforced concrete
twelve and fifteen feet thick. Here and there armored turrets project
a few feet above the ground. Some of the rooms are large enough for
a whole company of infantry. The sunken guns can rise from their
resting-places, fire their charges and sink back into their beds.
Germany has twenty-eight land forts in all, of which nine are modern in
every regard, and eight coast fortifications. Should the Russians enter
Prussia we may hear much of the great forts at Königsberg, Graudenz and
Thorn, at Danzig, Kulm and Marienburg, or of the Silesian forts Glogau,
Neisse and Glatz, which played a part already in the wars of Frederick
the Great. In the west, Metz and Strasburg have been immeasurably
strengthened since they passed into German hands, and Mainz, Coblenz,
Cologne, Germersheim and Wesel are all formidable. To the south are Ulm
and Ingolstadt, while in the north are Kustrin and Spandau, the latter
but a few miles from Berlin. In Saxony is the Königstein, which, by
reason of its natural position, is considered as impregnable as any
fortress can be.

Whether the Germans will ever be forced back into these strong
positions remains to be seen. Their policy is to keep to the offensive
and spare their own land as much as possible. However, what strength
of arms may fail to accomplish may be reserved for famine. With her
commerce entirely cut off, the food supply for the nation at large will
be but scanty, and of all the criticisms I have read on the German army
during the last six months those on the commissariat department have
been the most severe. A change in the whole administration was ordered
a few months before the war broke out, but it has scarcely as yet had
time to go into full effect.

_The Army of the Air_

Probably the greatest difference between ancient and modern warfare
lies in the systematic use that is now made of balloons, air-ships,
aeroplanes and kites, also of telegraphy, both fixed and wireless, and
of the telephone. I should add to these, automobiles, motor-trucks,
motorcycles and simple bicycles.

[Illustration: Military Airdome at Cologne Showing _Zeppelin Number II_]

[Illustration: Cabin of the Zeppelin Airship _Hansa_]

It may not be generally known that as far back as 1870 Germany
attempted to make regular use of military balloons, and that two
balloons and equipment were purchased from an English aeronaut.
Several ascents were successfully made with a member of the general
staff as passengers. Before Paris, however, it proved impossible to
obtain the gas for inflation, and the whole balloon detachment was
dissolved. Fourteen years later, in 1884, regular experiments regarding
the taking of observations and the exchanging of signals were begun.
Fifty thousand marks a year were set aside for the purpose, and so
satisfactory were the results that in 1887 a regular balloon corps
was organized with a major, a captain, three lieutenants and fifty
non-commissioned officers and men. The discovery that the gas could be
transported in steel cases in a greatly condensed form placed military
ballooning on a much securer basis and the corps, greatly increased,
has taken part in the yearly maneuvers since 1893. The captive balloon
is still used as a sort of training-ship for recruits, but the free
balloon has been practically superseded.

The first Zeppelin and the first Parseval air-ships were acquired in
1907 and, in spite of frequent accidents, have become as much a part
of the armed forces as have batteries or battle-ships. There are now
no less than five air-ship battalions under the “general board of
inspection of military, air and power transport matters.” The combined
appropriations of Prussia, Bavaria and Württemberg for their air
fleets in 1913 amounted to 70,000,000 marks. The recent ships, which
are not necessarily confined to the Zeppelin type, though built along
the same lines, are almost as large as ocean steamships. Last year the
“L II” carried twenty-eight passengers on its trial trip. It exploded
in mid-air and twenty-seven were killed, among them almost all of
Germany’s chief military aeronautic experts. “L III,” which is nearly
completed, will have a displacement of 32,000 cubic meters. The largest
and newest ship at present, the Schütte-Lanz II, has a displacement
of between 23,000 and 24,000 cubic meters, is run by four Maybach
motors, each of one hundred seventy horse-power, and beats the previous
Zeppelin record for speed (seventy-nine kilometers or forty-nine and
three-eighths miles an hour) by six kilometers. No other country has
any air-ship that can in any way compare with this. Under construction
is the twenty-fifth Zeppelin, which will have a length of some four
hundred fifty feet. All modern air-ships are equipped with wireless
telegraphy having a range of about four hundred kilometers, and can
carry light Gatling guns. They can lift a weight of some 16,000
pounds and their cost is from 700,000 marks upward. The Germans have
practised very industriously with their air-ships—only the other day a
pilot completed his seven hundredth trip.

[Illustration: Military Airship in Process of Construction]

[Illustration: Gondola of the _Schütte-Lanz I_ Airship]

[Illustration: Airship _Parseval_]

Whether in war the Zeppelins will come up to the expectations that have
been formed of them remains of course to be seen. One can conceive
of a single ship, under favorable conditions, throwing down enough
explosives on an army to put it completely to rout. But the Zeppelin is
a very big target and its motors make enough noise to warn a whole city
of its approach. Russia and Germany herself now have many vertical guns
for shooting air-ships. On the other hand, a Zeppelin can fly very high
and can take refuge behind a cloud. Its chief objects of attack will
doubtless be arsenals, dockyards, bridges and tunnel-mouths, though no
fleet near the shore and no camp can feel quite safe from it in future.
It would be so tempting to drop a shell in the midst of an enemy’s
general staff and thus bring confusion into the whole guidance of the

The Zeppelin has dangerous enemies in the ordinary aeroplanes. A
Frenchman has just vowed to run the nose of his “plane” into the first
air-ship that appears over Paris. It is possible for the airman to
shoot, too, at close range, or to fly above the monster and let down
ropes with hooks that shall tear its sides. The new ships, however,
as I have said, can carry Gatling guns, and it is only a question of
how they can best trail them on the enemy. The latest idea is a shaft
that shall extend right through the body of the Zeppelin and come out
on the upper surface. This arrangement has been tried on the newest

To the value of aeroplanes as instruments of war Germany awakened
late. Not until after an exhibition of the American, Orville Wright,
on the Templehof field near Berlin in 1910 was the matter taken very
seriously. Now there are four flying battalions in the army with nearly
fifteen hundred men, and it is believed that the machines are more
solid and stable than those of the French. All records were broken
by German machines during the past year, and the great Prince Henry
races in May, though fatal accidents occurred, demonstrated very well
about what may be expected from a troop of airmen in time of war. The
conditions were extremely severe and the weather was not favorable, yet
twelve out of twenty-nine starters achieved the final goal within the
time limit.

[Illustration: Austrian Military Airship _Parseval_]

[Illustration: Marine Airship]

[Illustration: A Zeppelin over the Kiel Bay]

The favorite machine in the German army is the Albatross-Taube, which
looks quite warlike with its metal armor covering motor and all. Both
monoplanes and biplanes are used. In case of war all aeroplanes, even
the stock in trade of the manufacturer, are commandeered. These
aeroplanes are easily transportable by rail so that a number of them
can be concentrated close to the scene of action. They will be used for
scouting, carrying despatches and dropping bombs, and undoubtedly will
have a great effect upon warfare. It is likely that more maneuvering
will be done under the cover of night than formerly in order to escape
the spying eyes of the birdmen, that false marches and maneuvers will
be undertaken, that bivouac fires will be lighted in unoccupied places
merely for the purpose of deceiving. It will be easy to conceal cannon
by covering them with green boughs.

The German soldiers are already being trained for these new night
operations which the aeroplane and air-ship will necessitate. They are
taught to make their way by the moon and stars, to place their ears
to the ground and catch and interpret sounds. It is possible for a
finely trained ear to tell in the case of a passing horse whether it
is running free or whether it is carrying a load, also to estimate the
approximate number of a passing troop. Silent marching is practised,
too, the greatest care being taken that the objects carried shall not
clash or rattle. The enemy carries powerful electric search-lights
against aeroplanes; a single apparatus requires several vehicles,
each drawn by four horses. There must be a motor, a dynamo, a great
mirror, a water wagon and a portable tower thirty feet high. The
infantry carries lighter apparatus, too, that can now be loaded on an
automobile, the motor of which can be used for running the dynamo.
Aeroplanes, too, now carry search-lights.

An enormous number of automobiles are used in the army. The German
government has a special arrangement with motor-truck owners (the same
is done with steamship companies) by which it pays a subsidy for new
trucks on the understanding that they shall be at its disposal in time
of need. It has been estimated that nine motor-wagons can replace one
hundred thirty-nine horses and will need thirty instead of one hundred
two men. Such a wagon will carry easily four tons of baggage.

_The Officers_

With all the technical aids and inventions, however, the decisive
factor in a war remains the men and more especially the officers.

[Illustration: Albatross-Taube Model 1914]

[Illustration: Albatross-Taube Packed for Shipping]

[Illustration: Double Monoplane]

[Illustration: Albatross Hydro and Aeroplane]

I recently overheard a well-known Boston woman teacher holding
forth with the positiveness of complete conviction on the subject
of the German officer and commiserating him on the life of idleness
circumstances forced him to lead “except, of course, during the three
or four hours a day when he is obliged to exercise.” The remark was
addressed to a distinguished Harvard professor—anti-military,
however, to the core—who had no contradiction to offer. I should have
marked both of these great people zero for flat ignorance of the
subject had I had them in a class. The German officer, I grant, may
occasionally seem as idle and as frivolous as the son of a new American
millionaire: the only difference would be that the American conceals
his idleness under a show of industriousness, sending telegrams when
he has nothing else to do, while the German conceals the fact that he
has been up since four in the morning training a mass of raw recruits,
that he has spent several hours at the _Kriegsakademie_ studying
languages, geography, political economy and the like and that he has as
a permanent job some important problem in tactics to work out. Those
who know the methods of the Prussian government could never accuse it
of giving its employees too little work. A list is kept of all officers
in which their industry, their interest in their work and their general
good conduct is noted. The ideal that is kept before them may not be
exactly our ideal, but it is a wonderful one of knightly virtue all the
same. The man may never forget that he is a leader of men; he must grip
his standard of honor, such as it is, like grim death and be willing
unhesitatingly to lay down his life for it. If he flinch or falter in
physical encounter or in any way is “guilty of conduct unbecoming an
officer” he has to resign his position. He has to conform not only to
the rule of his superiors but also to the code of his fellow officers.
There are things in that code that one would like not to see there and
one misses much that might well be included, but to down the profession
as a sinecure “except, of course, during the three or four hours a day”
is the purest folly.

And peace-time is the mere waiting-period, the period of training
for the real work. In war-time the fate of the whole country hangs
on the officer. An Italian, Mangiarotti, recently inquired of some
two thousand soldiers who had just taken part in the African campaign
regarding their sensations when facing the enemy. “The great ideals
of God, king and fatherland,” he writes, “incorporate themselves in
one single personality, the officer.” The lieutenant who does his
duty in the firing line is an absolute hero to his men. But only real
superiority of mind and body can keep him at this height.

There are more than thirty thousand officers in the regular standing
army, the great majority of them belonging to the nobility, who feel
that they have a hereditary right to these positions. I am inclined to
think that this feeling of caste will not be disadvantageous in war.
The military career from youth up has been the one serious object and
occupation in life. The memory of Jena has been preventative of
pride and an incentive to hard work. The habit of commanding gained as
lord of the manor—as _Herr Graf_ or as _Herr Baron_—will not be useless
in the field.

[Illustration: A Taube over the Military Flying Grounds at
Johannisthal, near Berlin]

[Illustration: Biplane]

[Illustration: Airship Transportation Wagon]

Price Collier, in his _Germany and the Germans_, gives the officer a
bad character for arrogance and instances the fact that an officer will
crowd a woman off the sidewalk. Such cases are very rare to-day, much
rarer than they were some thirty years ago. The Zabern affair, however,
has thrown a glaring light on a certain presumptuousness in the army
and aroused at the time very bitter passions. There was a contempt for
the ordinary laws of justice connected with the trial that is likely
to avenge itself in time if it has not already done so. But no human
institution is perfect, and the officer has at present far other things
to think of than presumptuousness.

In time of war many more officers are needed than in time of peace.
This is provided for in Germany by a different and less perfect
system than in France. From the one-year volunteers, of whom there
are about 15,000 yearly, are taken the “officer aspirants,” who then
undergo supplementary training, returning at intervals in later life
for further instruction and practise. The general structure of the
army does not change in time of war. Instead of numbering five or
six hundred men the size of a battalion is raised to eleven hundred
or more. There are supplementary troops in all branches, consisting
partly of retired soldiers and partly of raw recruits, who must be
licked into shape as quickly as possible, but who serve mainly to fill
up the ranks at the front as they become depleted. Every able-bodied
man must leave his occupation and take to the ranks whether he has had
military training or not. Even a German in foreign lands, if he fail to
report for duty to his consul, is liable on his return to a sentence
of six years in the penitentiary. How many will hasten to naturalize
themselves in other countries is one of the problems of the war.

Horses, too, are called in in great numbers as soon as mobilization is
ordered. In time of peace the twenty-five army corps, each numbering
about forty thousand men, require 157,000 horses; in time of war the
demand, of course, will be much larger, and this is provided for by
instant requisition. But not at random. A list or census is regularly
kept of practically all the horses in the country; it is revised at
stated intervals and commissioners note the adaptability of every
animal to this or that purpose. In times of mobilization the animals
are brought before final commissions, consisting partly of military,
partly of civilian members, who appraise their value and declare them
confiscate. The transferring of horses to the rallying centers is
one of the chief difficulties of the railroads, which, as is well
known, belong to the state and are altogether closed to general traffic
during the mobilization period.

[Illustration: Uhlans Crossing River]

[Illustration: Patrol of Uhlans]

[Illustration: Uhlans Fording River]

[Illustration: Easily Upset]

Germany is putting, so it is estimated, some four million men into the
field. And behind them, should the war last long, are nearly a million
boys who belong to the Prussian _Jung Deutschland_ and to the Bavarian
_Wehrkraftverein_. Boy scouts, we should call them in our country,
but in Germany they are regularly trained by officers in the army—an
occupation of these sinecure-holders that I omitted to mention. They
are taken in squads on long tramps, are trained to use their eyes
and ears and enjoy the life of the hills and woods. They carry their
cooking utensils and prepare their own meals. The government encourages
the institution by large grants and often places barracks and tents at
the disposal of the boys for longer expeditions. Public and private
generosity, too, has provided homes in out-of-the-way places where the
boys can take shelter over night.

How deadly an instrument for war is the German army remains to be seen.
That it has already accomplished many fine things in time of peace is
undoubted. Not the least of these is the spread of hygienic knowledge
and the encouragement of manliness.

By the terms of the German constitution the Kaiser is head and chief
of the whole German army and, notwithstanding concessions made to
Bavaria, Württemberg and Saxony for the period when it remains on
a peace-footing, is absolute commander in time of war. Whether he
will personally take the field or not is another question. If he
does he will be upheld by an enormous wave of loyalty, but, on the
other hand, the presence of a monarch in camp is often a hindrance to
the operations. His own great-grandfather, and at the same time the
Austrian emperor, made life very bitter for Blücher and the other real
fighters in 1814.

The real business of commanding a modern army is done by the chief of
the general staff. It is of good augury that the present holder of
that position is again a Moltke. On him falls the planning and the
responsibility for carrying out of the plans, though he has under him a
huge staff of subordinates—more than two hundred in all—whose duty is
to collect information, make reports and even tender advice. The older
Moltke once wrote: “The make-up of the headquarters of an army is of an
importance not always sufficiently realized. Some commanders need no
advice, but weigh and decide things for themselves. Their subordinates
have merely to carry out instructions. But such stars of first radiance
are only to be found about once in a century. Only a Frederick the
Great takes counsel with no one and determines everything himself. As
a rule the leader of an army can not do without advice.” The old plan
was to hold a council of war and abide by its decisions; the new one is
for the commanding general to use every aid from others but to take the
whole responsibility himself.

Headquarters travels with the army and with it goes the imperial
chancellor, ready to take advantage of every happening in the field
to influence the course of negotiations. The minister of war remains
at home to see to the prompt forwarding of troops and supplies. In
1870 and 1871 Bismarck had much to suffer from female influences—royal
ladies who objected to the bombardment of beautiful cities and the
like. There are at present no royal ladies in Germany who are likely to
interfere. Blücher used to insist that the most merciful way of making
war was to be absolutely relentless in pursuit—to the last man and to
the last horse. The worst thing that can happen is to have the campaign
drag on slowly with necessity of renewing battles. This phase of the
matter royal ladies do not always understand.

If the example of the Franco-Prussian War is followed the Germans will
put as many as six different armies into the field, each with some four
army-corps. There are twenty-five army-corps, and the fighting part
of a single army-corps, which numbers some 41,000 men, strings out on
an ordinary road to a distance of twenty-six kilometers or more than
sixteen miles. As the food supplies, medical and surgical apparatus
and ammunition wagons have to follow at a considerable distance we
may estimate the length of the whole column at more than double this
amount. Were the whole standing army (not to speak of the reserves)
to travel along the same road it would take twenty-five days to pass
a fixed point. It may be said here that the number of direct roads
passing from Germany into France is small and that for purposes of
invasion the possession of Belgium was a strategic necessity. Its
occupation meant victory or defeat in the great struggle and the devil
take the consequences. Belgium and France are so at one that the French
have so trusted to the forts of Liege and Namur, which they believed to
be impregnable, that they have done little to fortify their own borders
in that direction.

Who the commanding generals of the German army are to be has not yet
been made public in America. Judging by the holders of high positions
in peace-time they will be Grand Duke Frederick II of Baden, Duke
Albert of Württemberg, Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria and the generals
Bülow, Eichhorn, Heeringen and Prittwitz. Whether or not the German
crown-prince will be given a command is doubtful. He is brave and
dashing but impetuous and unbalanced, and his relations with his father
have been somewhat strained. I am told that at maneuvers he expects
far too much from his men and horses, though his pleasant manners and
his joking way make him very popular. He may, of course, prove the
Frederick the Great of the campaign should it last sufficiently long
for him to gain the proper experience.

                               PART III

                               THE NAVY

In 1848 the German Confederation was at war with Denmark on account
of Schleswig-Holstein. The national parliament voted six million
thalers for the creation of a fleet; it might as well have voted
sixty millions as far as the possibility of collecting it in such
disordered circumstances was concerned. But on June fourth, 1849, a
squadron of three steamships, the _Barbarossa_, the _Hamburg_ and the
_Lübeck_ did set out from the mouth of the Elbe, with decks cleared for
action. The admiral was a Saxon, Rudolph Bromme. It was known that a
Danish corvette was becalmed in the neighborhood of Helgoland. She was
sighted and some shots had already been sent through her rigging, when
suddenly from another direction, from Helgoland itself, then a British
possession, a shot was fired. It signified that the ships were within
the three-mile limit over which then and now a state’s sovereignty
extended, and that England was forbidding the fray. The “fleet”
complied with the order and Lord Palmerston took occasion to send a
diplomatic note to the German Confederation stating that ships had
been seen in the North Sea flying a black-red-gold flag and conducting
themselves as war-ships; that England would not recognize such ships
with a black-red-gold flag as war-ships, but would treat them, if need
be, as pirates.

England has more or less preserved this attitude to the present day and
has been righteously indignant whenever Germany increased her fleet.
A first lord of the admiralty once publicly declared that Britain’s
rule of the sea was part of the common treasure of mankind and that
England could never endure that another power should be able to weaken
her political influence by exerting naval pressure. Such a position, he
said, would unquestionably lead to war.

The attempts to weld Germany into a nation having failed, the fleet
was put up at auction and sold in 1852. The state of Prussia, however,
which was one of the purchasers, had by this time started her own fleet
and soon began to build the harbor in the _Jadebucht_, which is now
called _Wilhelmshaven_. One of the royal princes, Adalbert, was made
admiral and furthered the cause of the fleet in every way. Himself an
intrepid leader, he was wounded in an encounter with Morocco pirates,
who fired on one of the small boats of the _Danzig_. In 1863, however,
the fleet consisted of but four corvette cruisers, the _Arkona_,
_Gazelle_ and _Vineta_, which had each twenty-eight cannon, and the
_Nymphe_, which had but seventeen. Add to these twenty-one cannon
boats, four of which carried three cannon, the rest but two. In 1867
the Prussian fleet merged in that of the North German Confederation,
which in turn, in 1871, merged into that of the new German Empire.

In the war with France the German fleet played no rôle whatever, there
being but five ironclads in all, two of them small coast defenders, to
oppose to France’s fifty-five. There were but one or two insignificant
encounters between small single ships—one between the _Grille_ and the
_Hirondelle_ in the Baltic, and one between the _Meteor_, whose whole
crew numbered sixty-three, and the French despatch-boat _Bouvet_, with
eighty-three. The two had come upon each other in the harbor of Havana
and then tried conclusions on the high seas. But the German victories
on land had been so quick and decisive that the fleet as a whole never
came into action.

Even the successful outcome of the war did not spur Germany on to
build up a strong navy. A general, not a seaman, was made chief of the
admiralty and, although Von Stosch brought in a building plan according
to which the navy, by 1882, would have had fourteen large ironclads,
seven monitors, twenty cruisers and twenty-eight torpedo-boats, it
was carried out only in part. Stosch deserves credit, however, for
insisting that Germany should build all her own ships. The sinking of
the _Grosse Kurfürst_ in 1879, which was run into by one of her own
sister ships, was a great calamity for the navy, and the loss of her
two hundred sixty-five officers and men caused wide-spread grief.

Caprivi, the later chancellor, followed Von Stosch in 1883 as head of
the admiralty. He was conscientious, but, it would seem, altogether
without fruitful ideas. He placed all his hopes in the torpedo-boat,
and from 1883 to 1887 not a single battle-ship was built. It was
not so much to be credited to Caprivi, but to a young officer, Von
Tirpitz, now grand admiral and state secretary for the navy office,
that the German torpedo-boat fleet became the best in the world.
Tirpitz made a new weapon of it, one that could be used not merely
for coast-defense, but also for fighting on the high seas. But the
fact remains that the torpedo-boat under Caprivi’s régime was greatly
overestimated and that its usefulness has more and more been checked by
new inventions—search-lights, Gatling guns, torpedo-boat-destroyers and
the like.

Toward the end of his term indeed Caprivi began to see the importance
of a strong fleet and the idea gained ground that “a navy which has its
center of gravity on or near shore is not worthy of the name.” In 1887
was begun the Kaiser Wilhelm canal between the Baltic and the North
Sea, which enables the one fleet to operate in both waters without fear
of being intercepted. Meanwhile Germany had started on her career as
a colonial power, having acquired by purchase and by treaty tracts in
Africa and islands in the Pacific Ocean more than twice the size of her
possessions in Europe. Some of her little cruisers and cannon boats
had even seen service against unruly natives. The Reichstag, however,
showed little interest in the government’s colonial policy and was not
to be won for the building of large war-ships.

A change came soon after the accession of the present emperor, William
II. One of his first acts was to reorganize the whole naval system,
separating the administrative part from the purely military. At present
Admiral von Tirpitz is at the head of the former and Prince Henry of
Prussia, subject to the emperor’s own commands, of the latter. Four
great battle-ships, all of the Brandenburg class, were begun in 1889.
England responded by ordering ten new battle-ships, but in 1890, by
ceding Helgoland in return for a correction of boundaries in East
Africa, she gave Germany an advantage worth fifty dreadnaughts. And
almost before there was any tangible fleet at all Germany was at work
scientifically, learning both by theory and by practise how a fleet
should be managed and maneuvered.

 “How few these ships were,” writes a vice admiral, “and how little in
 accord with modern warfare on the high seas, we all know. Imagination
 often had to substitute what was lacking. School-ships, still with all
 their old full rigging, represented ironclads; torpedo-boats served
 as cruisers, and the _Mars_, built to be an artillery training-ship,
 acted as flag-ship. In those next few years we went through a period
 which—we can say it without boasting—is unique in the history of
 fleets. Not but that we made mistakes—much that then seemed to us
 indubitably right has since been superseded—but the German fleet,
 which had fewer and less available ships than many other countries,
 has outdistanced them all in tactical development. … The stake, it
 is true, became greater as ships representing a capital of millions
 and carrying hundreds of men took the place of the little boats, but
 the method remained the same. Commander and crew, by progressing from
 easier to more difficult and more warlike maneuvers, achieved that
 feeling of security which is not a foolish scorn of danger but the
 knowledge of power to cope with it. That is the state of mind which
 makes for success in war and which enables one to win all by risking

The fleet legislation of 1898 for the first time looked ahead and
established rules as to the future number of ships and the time-limit
within which they should be built, and also laid down principles as to
the tasks that the fleet was intended to accomplish. Two squadrons, of
eight battle-ships each, were to be in constant readiness and were to
have a flag-ship at their head. Six large and sixteen small cruisers
were to act as scouts, three large and ten small cruisers as a “foreign
fleet”; two battle-ships, three large cruisers and four small ones were
to form the reserve, and the whole reorganization was to be completed
in six years—that is, by 1904. It had heretofore been provided that
in case of war each ship should give up half of its trained men as a
nucleus for the new crews of the reserve ships. This greatly weakened
the fighting power of the ships at the crucial moment, and the
legislation of 1898 abolished the compulsion for one at least of the
two squadrons.

Between 1898 and 1900 came events which greatly disquieted Germany: the
Spanish-American and Boer Wars and disturbances in Samoa. Off Manila
there were amenities between the German and American admirals which
might have ended more creditably for the former had he been able to
display more force. The legislation of 1900 was influenced by all these
factors and has a wider perspective than any that had gone before. The
preamble declared that “Germany must have a battle-fleet so strong
that even for the most powerful naval opponent a war is connected
with such dangers that that opponent’s own position as a power may
be impaired.” And further: “For this purpose it is not imperative
that the German battle-fleet be as strong as that of the greatest
maritime power, for, as a rule, a great maritime power will not be in a
position to concentrate its whole fighting force against us. But even
though it should succeed in opposing us with greatly superior forces
the subjection of a strong German fleet would so weaken an enemy
that, in spite of any victory he may win, his fleet will no longer be
sufficiently powerful to assure his own predominant position.” “For
the first time,” writes Mittler, “the so-called _risk idea_ which was
henceforth to be a determining factor in our fleet development was
clearly expressed.”

The legislation of 1900 amounted to a doubling of the fleet provided
for only two years previously. Seventeen battle-ships, four large
cruisers and sixteen small cruisers were to be in constant readiness,
while exactly as many more ships of each of the three types were to
be kept, partially manned, in reserve. In 1906, in addition to a
number of submarines, six cruisers for the “foreign squadron” were
provided for, and it was voted to raise the number of torpedo-boats
and also to provide automatically for their renewal, the life of a
torpedo-boat being estimated at twelve years. This meant that twelve
torpedo-boats would have to be built each year. England’s example in
building dreadnaughts necessitated greatly raising the appropriation
for battle-ships and also influenced the legislation of 1908, by which
the normal life of a battle-ship was declared reduced from twenty-five
to twenty years. The legislation of 1912, finally, increased the number
of active battle-ships by eight, of large cruisers by four and of small
cruisers by six, not to mention that the number of submarines is to be
brought up to seventy-two, fifty-four of which are to be always ready
for service. But as the period for finishing all the new ships is 1920
they will play little part in the present war. The reserve ships, of
course, will all now be called into action.

To resume, then, and to be more specific, the actual German fleet,
counting ships expected to be ready in the course of 1914, numbers
thirty-eight ships of the line, fourteen armored cruisers, thirty-eight
protected cruisers, two hundred twenty-four torpedo-boats and thirty
submarines. There are no torpedo-boat-destroyers as in other navies,
the small cruisers being supposed to take their place. The battle-ships
are ranged in classes. There are three of the “King class” (the
_König_, the _Grosser Kurfürst_ and the _Markgraf_), which have a
displacement of nearly 26,000 tons and are equipped with every possible
modern improvement, such as net protection against torpedoes, turbine
engines, provision for oil-fuel, torpedo tubes, etc. It is from these
monsters, of which each carries ten of the largest guns, not to speak
of the smaller ones, that we shall probably hear most in the course
of the war, though not perhaps in the beginning, as they are not
fully completed. They are to be joined in 1915 by a sister-ship, the

[Illustration: H. M. Man-of-War _Wittelsbach_ Passing under a High
Bridge in the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal]

[Illustration: H. M. Ship _Seydlitz_ in Dry-Dock]

[Illustration: Signaling on Submarine]

The _König_ class is to be larger in dimension, in horse-power and in
displacement, though not in speed or armament than the _Kaiser_
class, of which there are five ships: The _Kaiser_, the _Kaiserin_,
the _Friedrich der Grosse_, the _Prinzregent Luitpold_ and the _König
Albert_. Next come the _Helgoland_ class (_Helgoland_, _Ostfriesland_,
_Thüringen_, _Oldenburg_) and the _Nassau_ class (_Nassau_,
_Westfalen_, _Rheinland_, _Posen_) after which, with the _Deutschland_
class (13,200 tons), we are out of the region of the dreadnaughts.

There is a dreadnaught cruiser, the _Derfflinger_, just ready, with a
greater displacement (28,000 tons), and of course, with far greater
speed than any of the battle-ships. Next comes the _Seydlitz_ (25,000
tons), then the _Moltke_ and the _Goeben_ (23,000 tons), and the _Von
der Tann_ (19,500 tons). The _Goeben_ has already been practically
captured, as has also the _Breslau_ (4,550 tons). They are now in the
Dardanelles, and the Turkish government is considering their purchase.
Twenty-three of the protected cruisers bear the names of German cities
(like the _Breslau_, _Colberg_, _Dresden_, _Königsberg_), while the
rest for the most part have such names as the _Gazelle_, the _Medusa_,
the _Niobe_, the _Undine_.

Some fifteen of the largest and best-known passenger ships of the
Hamburg and Bremen lines were to have served as auxiliary cruisers,
but a number of these now are in foreign ports and far from the needed
protection of their fleets. It remains to be seen what use will be
made of the _Imperator_, which is still at Cuxhaven or Hamburg.

In concluding our list of ships in the German navy it may interest
Americans to know that there is one called the _Alice Roosevelt_. It is
not likely to influence the progress of the war or even to come into
action. Its special title is _Stationsjacht_, and it is at the service
of the general inspector of the navy, Prince Henry of Prussia.

Germany’s ally, Austria, although in May, 1914, she appropriated more
than 400,000,000 _kronen_ for her fleet, makes at present a very
weak showing. She has fifteen ships of the line, of which three are
dreadnaughts, two armored cruisers and seven protected cruisers.

England, Germany’s chief naval opponent, has sixty-three ships of the
line as compared to her own thirty-eight, and of these twenty-four
are dreadnaughts, as compared to seventeen. England has forty-four
armored cruisers, of which ten are dreadnaughts; Germany has but
fourteen armored cruisers, and but five of them are dreadnaughts. In
protected cruisers the ratio is still more in England’s favor, while
with torpedo-boats Germany is comparatively well provided—one hundred
fifty-four as against one hundred ninety. It may be mentioned here,
as a bit of interesting history, that the majority of great naval
victories have been won over numerically superior fleets.

France has ten dreadnaught battle-ships, on paper, but no dreadnaught
cruisers, and is said to have had difficulty in officering the ships
that she has. Moreover, of the ten dreadnaughts six are only what are
called half-dreadnaughts and only three of the others are ready for
service. Russia is practically without a fleet, though she has four
battle-ships and fourteen cruisers in the Baltic and four battle-ships
and two cruisers in the Black Sea. Next year she expects to have ready
for use in the Baltic four new dreadnaughts.

Naval warfare has been so far from our thoughts these many years, its
terms have become so unfamiliar that it is worth dwelling for a while
on the different types of ships and showing their special uses and
their special tasks in battle.

Most important of all, with their supremacy unassailed by any of the
newly invented types, are the battle-ships or ships of the line.
They are called _of the line_ because that is their natural position
in battle, the position that renders the fire of their guns most
effective. This does not mean that their bows are to be all in a line,
though that position may sometimes have to be adopted; but rather that
they are to string out, one behind the other at stated intervals,
so as to be able to fire a vast broadside often miles in length. It
may be that the line must be slanting or again that the position must
be constantly changed as new exigencies arise. The ruling idea, of
course, is to strike the right balance between the amount of surface
presented as a target for the enemy’s guns and the ability to keep
up the most effective running fire. All this is diligently practised
in time of peace in the so-called maneuvers. The utmost exactness of
calculation is required, for the nearer together the ships the more
effective is their fire; indeed the great distinction between modern
naval encounters and those of former times lies in this team work, if
we may call it so. The great dreadnaughts, with their turbine engines
and carefully adjusted steering apparatus, are much more manageable
and can be brought much closer to one another than was the case with
old-fashioned battle-ships. The distance between the bow of one ship
and the stern of the next one is reckoned in practise at a hundred
yards or less; one can see what an advantage it is to have the eight
ships of a squadron all of about the same size and speed. This idea
has been carried so far in the German fleet that, even after the
superiority of the turbine engine had been demonstrated the ships
required to complete a squadron were built in the old style. Single
encounters like those which make up such thrilling pages in history
are not likely often to occur again, and if they do, will not come to
boardings and to hand-to-hand conflicts.

[Illustration: For Raising Sunken Submarines]

[Illustration: The Second Squadron Passing the Friedrichsort Light]

[Illustration: H. M. Cruiser _Breslau_]

[Illustration: H. M. Royal Yacht _Hohenzollern_ with His Majesty on
Board in the Lock at Kiel]

The range at which the great naval battles of the future will be
fought will be very great, all the way up to ten thousand yards. The
great guns can easily shoot that distance, while a reason for not
coming nearer until, at least, the heavy ammunition is gone, is that
at that range each fleet will be practically safe from the torpedoes
of the other. The German fleet often practises at that range, firing
at a moving target which is dragged along by another boat. On each
modern gun is a telescope, and there are instruments for determining
the distance at any given moment, as well as complicated adjustments
for sighting and aiming. The projectiles used in the biggest guns
weigh each nearly a ton and cost well up into the thousands, so every
precaution is taken not to waste them. We can no longer speak of a
cannon-ball, for the modern charges are cylindrical, pointed and filled
with explosives so as to inflict the utmost damage for the money.
Experience has shown that at very close range they will pass through
blocks of steel more than a yard thick!

The bore of the greatest guns in the German navy has hitherto
been a little over thirty centimeters, but is fast reaching the
forty centimeter mark; the guns themselves are from forty-five to
fifty-eight feet long and weigh correspondingly. The best are from
the foundries of Krupp, who, when he died, left his daughter the
richest woman in Germany. The Krupps have a special steel of the
utmost toughness and resistance. The gun-barrel is made of a single
block, which is regularly excavated or bored; it is then protected
by innumerable rings, which are put on when red-hot, and sit firmly
ever after. The “kick” of the gun has been entirely eliminated by an
ingenious contrivance. Altogether the cannon of to-day have become
so complicated and so perfect as instruments that it takes longer to
manufacture them than it does to construct the ship, and the English
navy gives its orders for them about six months before even the keel
is laid. And the life of such a gun is short. It is said that some of
the guns on the new English, Japanese and Italian ships will be useless
after they have fired eighty shots; on the American, French and German
after from one hundred and fifty to two hundred. The difference lies
in the construction of the gun-barrel, and there are controversies
and rivalries over which methods are the best, just as there are over
almost everything else that pertains to warfare: over the best shells,
the best powder, the best mechanical contrivances for loading, for
getting the range, etc. Dreadnaughts have scarcely yet been tried in
actual warfare, and the nation that has made mistakes in theory may
live to rue them bitterly in practise.

The guns are placed, two and two, in turrets on the battle-ships,
and can be turned in any direction; if need be they can fire a whole
broadside; while, as two turrets are elevated above the rest, a volley
can be fired of four guns direct from the bow or stern. The turrets
are armored with tough hard steel and their surface is curved so that
a shot will glance off. The _King_ and the _Kaiser_ classes carry ten
great guns, the _Helgoland_ and _Nassau_ classes even twelve, but the
latter are no more effective, as they have not the two elevated turrets
for shooting over the other guns. Some of the new French and American
ships are to have three and even four guns to a turret, but the German
navy is conservative enough not to wish to try the experiment.

Theoretically at least a great dreadnaught is almost unsinkable. Not
only is its hull divided into a great number of cells and compartments
but many of the cells themselves are armored, so that even if a torpedo
penetrates to them it will not have things all its own way. All
vulnerable places, too, are heavily armored with plates that extend
away below the water line; while the powder magazines and torpedo tubes
are well down in the depths of the ship.

It is the heavy armament that has conditioned the size of the ships,
for they have few other advantages than the ability to carry the extra
weight, and they have increased the cost of navies enormously. The
appropriations of eight great powers for 1914-1915 come to not far
from three billion five hundred million marks, England leading with
more than one billion. And the expenses do not cease with the building
of the ships, for docks, dry docks, canals, etc., have to be enlarged
accordingly. The Kaiser Wilhelm canal, built between the years 1887 and
1895, at a cost of one hundred fifty-six million marks, had already
outgrown its usefulness ten years after its opening. Its widening,
which will not be fully completed until 1915, is to cost two hundred
twenty-three millions in addition.

We have thus far spoken only of ships of the line, and, although we
shall have to return to them in a moment, a few words must first be
said as to the use of the other categories of ships in actual warfare.
Armored cruisers in themselves are nothing new. England has forty-four
of them, France nineteen, Japan fifteen and Germany and the United
States each fourteen. But _great armored battle-cruisers_ have existed
only since 1907 and are possessed as yet by only three powers: England
has ten; Germany has, or had, five (for the _Goeben_ is out of the
running), and Japan has two.

The big battle-cruiser is as long as a battle-ship, or even longer;
it, also, is called a dreadnaught. It has guns as large, but fewer
of them; eight instead of ten. Where, then, is the difference? The
difference is in the lines, which are long and slender, like those of
a yacht, and in the speed, which is from twenty-eight to thirty knots
instead of twenty-two or twenty-three. The cruiser has been described
as a sort of naval cavalry that can fly to any weak point of the enemy,
can chase a single ship or can outflank a line of ships, bring them
between two fires, thus deciding the battle. The cruisers can also
fight each other. A new instrument of war has thus been introduced that
may, after all, once more make naval contests thrilling and dramatic
instead of being mere pounding competitions.

The small cruiser, in contradistinction to the large armored one, has
but a light iron belt and carries only light guns and deck torpedo
tubes. Its purpose is not to engage in battle, unless it be with a
torpedo-boat, but rather to avoid it. It combines the qualities of
scout and of torpedo-boat-destroyer, which latter type is altogether
lacking in the German navy. Its chief quality is swiftness, and a swarm
of small cruisers accompanies the fleet when it puts to sea, darting
here and there to make sure that none of the much-dreaded little
enemies is approaching.

Of large torpedo-boats the German fleet has one hundred fifty-four,
all of its own special type. The value of the type has at times been
overestimated, at times underestimated, but the recent gains in
speed and in seaworthiness have made it no contemptible adversary.
Practically its only weapon is the torpedo, for projecting which it
carries four tubes on deck; its small guns are merely for use against
other torpedo-boats. Its chief defense is its extreme swiftness, for
some of the boats have a speed of thirty-eight miles an hour. It can
turn, too, incredibly quickly, for it has a rudder in the bow as
well as in the stern. It is unarmored, but is painted black for its
protection. For it is a creature of the night, stealing up in the
darkness with its deadly weapon and scarcely ever exposing itself to
the enemy’s guns by the light of day. It has one enemy, to be dreaded
above all others, the search-light.

[Illustration: H. M. Cruiser _Goeben_]

There are hundreds of the little black devils in the navy, and they
have every sort of trick for concealment and escape. By running very
swiftly they can keep the smoke from rising vertically from their
funnels and thus betraying their presence. They often go forth in
flotillas and if an enemy start to chase them they scatter, having
previously arranged where they are to meet again. They come bow on to
the ship they mean to injure, for the distance between them will then
increase more rapidly. If brought to bay a torpedo-boat turns its
own search-light on the commander of the other vessel and tries to
blind him with its glare. It is a risky business, that of torpedo-boat
commander, and requires men of the very highest training and courage.
The reason there are such numbers of the little craft is that many are
sure to go to the bottom in the course of a campaign. Germany expects
that her flotilla will be of great help in a war with England, for
when a torpedo hits the damage is apt to be severe. Dynamite is mild
compared to the new melanite and lyddite that are used in charging.

[Illustration: Submarine Fleet in Harbor at Kiel]

[Illustration: Armored Cruiser _Moltke_]

If the torpedo-boat is a fiend that works mainly at night, its sister,
the submarine, works only by day. If the submarine has not, as was
at one time expected, completely revolutionized naval warfare, it
has at least so far asserted itself that it can never be left wholly
out of the reckoning. Its improvement has kept pace with that of the
torpedo-boat in stability, in size and in manageableness. The newest
boats have a displacement of a thousand tons, and long sea voyages are
now possible. Germany has far fewer torpedo-boats than has England, but
claims that hers are much stronger and much better adapted for service
in rough weather and on the high seas.

When there is no enemy in the immediate vicinity the submarine rides
the waves like any other boat; when there is danger she dives like
a duck. Just before firing her torpedo she comes to the surface for
an instant to get one last good look. She is helpless at that moment,
of course, but trusts to not being seen in time. When under water
her speed is only about ten miles an hour, as the pressure is very
great; on the surface she can travel about sixteen. Her slowness is
a disadvantage, for she can only lurk for and intercept a fleet, not
pursue and overtake it. She labors under another disadvantage, too,
for she has to carry two motors and can not use the same one above and
under water. Why? Because the one is an oil motor and generates gases
which would be fatal when all outlets are closed. The other is run by
an electric storage battery, the filling of which requires time and

How can the submarine communicate with its own fleet? It has wireless
telegraphy and also deep-water signals, but these do not work so well
as might be desired. It has one other connection with the visible
world as wonderful as anything described by Jules Verne in his _Twenty
Thousand Leagues Under the Sea_, the periscope, or literally the
“looker round.” I can not do better than describe it in the words of a
naval officer, Count Ernest zu Reventlow:

Roughly speaking, the apparatus consists in this: If the boat is under
water and yet wishes to see what is going on above, it pushes up a
long thin pipe until the surface is reached and a little beyond. At the
farther end of this pipe is a contrivance with glass prisms, or mirrors
and lenses. This throws down the image reflected from the surface of
the water, through the vertical pipe, into the interior of the boat.
The image is caught on a plate and the commander of the submarine,
although he may be several yards under water, can see everything that
is floating and happening on the surface and consequently can make his
attack with the sole guidance of this image and steer the boat until it
is at the right distance for firing the torpedo.

It sounds like magic, and indeed the witches were not in it when it
comes to the achievements of modern science. But Reventlow has to
confess that in practise the periscope is not so wonderful as it sounds
in theory. The splashing of the salt water, unless the sea be perfectly
calm, which it seldom is, soon dims and even effaces the image. It was
long before the inventors could bring the periscope to reflect more
than a small section of the horizon, but that difficulty seems to have
been overcome.

It is possible, with map, clock and compass, to take reckonings and
keep on a course even when deep down under water. Deeper than ninety
feet the submarine seldom goes. It has found a new and unexpected
enemy in the air-ship or aeroplane, for it is a well-known fact that
from a height on a clear day, at least, you can see very far into the
water. But what, one will ask, can the aeroplane do about it even if it
sights a submarine far down beneath the surface? Projectiles would not
be likely to do much damage. At the same time it can warn ships and can
pursue and worry the submarine.

That the latter is not a perfect instrument goes without saying;
indeed, when it darts about blindly it becomes a menace to its own
ships. Its arrangements are so complicated, too, with all the letting
in and out of water, the diving and coming up, the changing of motors
and providing artificial air that things are very apt to go wrong. The
service is extremely exhausting for the men and extremely dangerous.

Yet all the same the value of submarines is universally acknowledged
and every great navy has them. They will probably prove useful in
planting that new instrument of destruction, the floating mine, about
which a few words must be said here: “It is to be presumed,” writes
Reventlow, “that in the next naval war [how little he dreamed in
November, 1913, that that war was so close at hand!] mines will play an
important part not merely in coast defense but also in sea fights as a
weapon with the same justification as artillery and torpedoes and that
their use will materially influence the tactics to be employed.” As
such a weapon of attack mines were first used in the Japanese-Russian

[Illustration: A Submarine Flotilla]

[Illustration: Torpedo Boat]

[Illustration: Search Lights]

[Illustration: A Submarine About to Dive]

A mine, as the reader probably knows, is a cask filled with high
explosives and fastened by means of weights and anchors so that it
floats some feet below the surface. Mines can be planted in fields,
as it were, by torpedo-boats or submarine and then a hostile fleet
can be lured or chased in among them. The North Sea, as we know, is
at present thickly strewn with them and fatal results have already
been chronicled. Air-ships and aeroplanes can help by finding the
whereabouts of the hostile fleet and designating by wireless the spots
where the mines should be planted.

Air-ships and aeroplanes will possibly find their chief use as
coast-defenders. They need refuges to which they can retire, which
limits their use on the high seas. But along the shore they can scout
for hostile ships and also can detect submarines and mines. They can
throw down explosives and, if they are near enough to the enemy’s
harbors, can destroy docks and demoralize shipping. Already there is
talk of specially armored decks and of great iron grills for protecting
the openings of funnels.

       *       *       *       *       *

More than six months ago a thoughtful German, Rudolf Troetsch, wrote a
book called _Germany’s Fleet in the Decisive Struggle_, in which he
weighs the different tasks the fleet will be called upon to perform in
case of war, and comes ever and again to the conclusion that a battle
on the high seas is the only possible option—a battle _im grossen
Stile_, in the grand style. Even if the enemy’s fleet is not conquered
it can be greatly weakened and strategy and tactics will go far to make
up for want of numbers.

Troetsch begins by showing the different methods an enemy will be
likely to pursue; and one sees throughout that he has England in mind.
First of all will come—as has already happened—the so-called cruiser
war or attempt to destroy the country’s commerce by snapping up her
merchant ships. This can eventually end the war by the starvation
process; that is, by cutting off all food and other supplies. According
to the Paris international agreement of 1856 there shall be no
privateering, which means that individuals may not fit out ships and
take prizes, but does not mean that the property of individuals, if
they are subjects of one or other of the warring powers, may not be
seized. Prizes of war may either be towed into the nearest port or,
after the crews and passengers have been taken off, may be sent to the
bottom with all their cargo. To be effective, however, this method of
warfare must be methodically pursued, which means regularly employing
a force of swift cruisers. The method had its warm advocates in naval
circles, especially in France about thirty years ago. There is a strong
feeling at present that the game is not worth the candle and that
there are other tasks for the cruisers to perform which are of more
importance. For a country which has few foreign coaling stations into
which the prizes can be towed but very little is to be gained; while a
naval battle is greatly to be preferred to having an enemy try these

Another method that may be applied against Germany is the blockading
of her North Sea coast. A blockade, according to the Paris declaration
of 1856 and again according to the London conference of 1908, must
be effective in order to be binding; a country may not, in other
words, simply declare an enemy’s coasts in a state of blockade, but
must have enough ships there to enforce the regulations. A successful
blockade hinders even neutral ships from landing and is the best
way of preventing the entry of contraband of war and of paralyzing
all commerce. The form of Germany’s coast line fairly invites to a
blockade, much more than do the coasts either of England or France.
A line drawn from Holland to Denmark would form the hypothenuse of
a triangle including the mouths of Germany’s chief rivers, her main
seaports as well as all her North Sea islands. The Baltic, too, could
be easily shut off from the ocean, and with the enemy’s ships all
bottled up there would be no fear of a descent on the coasts of England.

This sounds well in theory, but in practise the difficulties will be
well-nigh insuperable. Those who know the coast will remember the
miles and miles of shallows—the so-called _Wattenmeer_ so difficult to
navigate. In time of war all lighthouses and buoys are removed and, if
they approach the shore, the English ships will inevitably run aground,
while the German torpedo-boats and submarines will be in their very
element. Floating mines, too, will get in their deadly work, as will
also the strings of fixed mines which are ignited not by percussion but
by means of an electric current controlled from the shore. The German
fleet can retire well up the great streams and menace the enemy there;
while it must not be forgotten that the great cannon of the coast
defenses can shoot fifteen kilometers (nine and three-eighths miles)
or more. Finally the islands in the neighborhood, notably Borkum and
Wangerood, are fortified, and last but not least, there is Helgoland
far out in the sea. A whole fleet could not take this Gibraltar of
the North. The rocky walls are very hard; indeed, with true German
thoroughness, they have been tested to see if they would successfully
withstand bombardment. Under their shelter a harbor for torpedo-boats
and submarines has been built at a cost of thirty million marks. From
here they can issue forth and here, protected from afar by the great
guns, they can take refuge and form new projects.

Troetsch considers it more than likely that England will proceed to
a blockade, but a blockade not in the narrow but in a broader sense.
One objection to the narrower blockade would be that her naval bases,
necessary for repairs, fuel and ammunition, would be very far away. But
this can be obviated if the blockading line begin somewhere between
Dover and Calais, extend along the east coast of Scotland, with bases
at Rosyth and Scapa Flow, and end near the southernmost point of
Norway, Cape Lindesnaes. This would shut every exit from the North Sea
to the Atlantic and at the same time encircle all the exits from the
Baltic: the Skager Rak and Cattegat and the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal. Here
England could carry on what is known as an “observation blockade,”
biding her time to fall upon the enemy’s fleet.

The great disadvantage is that the blockading line will have to be so
very long. The surface of the North Sea is about equal to that of the
whole German Empire, and such a line as we have traced would extend
for two hundred fifty or three hundred miles. It is a question if even
England’s enormous fleet can spare the requisite number of ships. Such
a blockading fleet consists not only of a long chain of vessels close
together but also of a supporting fleet and, behind that, of the real
battle squadrons. The whole force must be nearly double that of the
enemy, as it operates on a much broader line. The foggy stormy weather
that is apt to prevail in the North Sea will also render the blockade
less efficient.

Germany is likely to attempt to break it and to bring about a great
naval battle at the earliest opportunity. But that opportunity may not
come so very soon. Reventlow, speaking indeed of a hypothetical war,
declares that such a blockade may last a year or longer. Germany has
too much at stake to risk her small but excellent fleet before the
tactical moment has come. Will her Zeppelins help her to victory? That
is the question that all are asking now. They are but fragile toys
in a stormy sea, but, with circumstances in their favor, may achieve
wonderful results.

When it does come to the battle on the high seas into which Germany
will surely force England, we shall see modern tactics put to their
supreme test, for only by tactical superiority can Germany hope to win.
In an old-fashioned battle in which the ships rushed at each other
pellmell, or in one in which the rival fleets simply lie to and pound
each other she would be sure to lose. A modern battle is much more a
game of skill in which the victory is not to the strongest but to the

In a modern battle the ships are ever and always moving. Not that the
maneuvers are necessarily complicated, but there goes on the whole time
a constant thrust and parry. There are different kinds of encounters.
First there is the running fight, in which the two fleets, the vessels
one behind the other, run in the same direction, firing all the while.
Here the strength of the ships, the power of the guns and the quickness
of the gunners play the decisive part. The more turrets, funnels,
engine-rooms and stearing gear put out of commission, so much the
better. The so-called passing fight, where the fleets run not in the
same but in opposite directions, is apt to be preferred by a fleet
that is numerically weaker. The agony is less prolonged and escape is
easier. Then there is the circular fight, in which the fleets are like
great serpents trying to catch one another’s tails. The circular fight
can follow directly after the passing fight when the fleets have not
been seriously crippled.

But the crown and acme of all fleet maneuvers is the so-called crossing
of the T.

 “The maneuver of the crossing of the T,” writes Troetsch, “consists in
 endeavoring to bring one’s own line at right angles across the head,
 or also across the tail, of the hostile line—of enfilading it, as the
 expression goes, so that the opposing lines come into the relative
 positions of the two bars of the Latin T…. Such a movement renders it
 possible to concentrate the entire fire of one’s own broadsides on
 the ship that is at the head of the enemy’s fleet. In this way one
 increases the effectiveness of one’s own fire to the very highest
 degree, inasmuch as all the shots which go too far to one side will
 strike the hinder ships of the long hostile line. The ships at its
 head must gradually succumb to the concentrated fire, while one’s own
 line is exposed only to the guns in the opponent’s bow and to the
 fire of the few guns which can be pointed from the sides at such an
 angle as still to reach the enfilading ships. This position signifies
 for the fleet that succeeds in shoving itself across the head of the
 enemy’s line the most effective application of the principle of the
 concentration of power, which is based on the endeavor always to bring
 into play when attacking the enemy a greater number of guns than he
 in his momentary position has at his disposal. If one can open fire
 in this position it may prove of the greatest significance for the
 whole battle. … There are cases where the advantage of this position
 is gained by mere chance, as when the two fleets come upon each other
 in that formation in thick or foggy weather. … It is difficult to
 assume the position of crossing the T when the fighting is already in
 progress. …

 The fleet against which the crossing of the T is attempted can seek
 to lessen its effect by various counter maneuvers. It can turn in the
 same direction and take a parallel course with the enveloping fleet,
 whereby if it be swift enough it has the advantage of being on the
 inner or shorter line: the battle then becomes a simple running fight,
 or it can simply turn and follow the tail of the hostile line or
 engage with the head of the line in a passing fight.”

We can even imagine the line of ships, the bow of which has been
crossed, executing a sort of dance with its opponent in order to bring
its broadsides into play—the first ship turning to the right, the
second to the left, the third to the right again and so on until all
are opposite and parallel to the enemy.

And so the war is on which brings Germany’s fleet and army into play—to
the last man and to the last gun. We have suddenly found ourselves in
the midst of a struggle which makes even the wars of Napoleon seem

As many men are now engaged simultaneously as were then called out
in the course of years. And the instruments of death are a hundred
times more deadly. From the skies above destruction rains down; from
subterranean forts and from the depths of the sea it wells up. The
difference between hand labor and machinery has been transmitted into
terms of killing; we have artificial earthquakes and eruptions.

How shall we name the war? The War of 1914? But it may last on into the
next year, and the next and the next. As I know Germany she will never
now submit to being conquered unless the social democrats gain the
upper hand. And even then I am not sure that the social democrats are
prepared to draw the last consequences of their long agitation against
the imperial, or against any national government. Our descendants may
look back on it as the Thousand Years’ War, for one fails to see how
the passions now unchained can ever again be calmed. And there are
signs that we are at the beginning of a colossal shoving around of
races that will make our children mock at the awe with which their
fathers read of the so-called wandering of the nations. All the Suevi
and Allemanni and Goths, Vandals and Visigoths that ever overran Gaul
would have made but a few corps in the great Teuton army that is now
pressing into France.

Russia, with her one hundred sixty millions, is likely to claim a much
vaster influence than she has yet had. Napoleon would once have been
willing to share Europe with Czar Alexander; will some such partition
enter into the new treaty of peace? Will it perhaps be between Teuton
and Slav and will England have to move to Canada and France to
Africa? I can not believe, in any case, that Germany will succumb.
She is reproached now by sentimental ladies with having devoted such
serious study to the work of destruction. She devotes serious study to
everything that she attempts. Only recently I was initiated into the
splendid methods by which she runs her labor-exchanges and also into
the workings of her prisons and penitentiaries. Everything is foreseen,
everything provided for. And so it is with her fighting force. Every
single problem is attacked theoretically as well as practically, and in
almost every regard we other nations are but as untrained children to

Once more, who is to blame for the horrible war? A clever writer,
such as we have for detective stories, would have little difficulty
in convincingly foisting the guilt on each of the great powers in
succession. Austria is to blame for her ultimatum to Servia, Russia
for mobilizing against Austria, France for entering the conflict when
the matter did not concern her at all, Germany for demanding Russian
demobilization, England for stabbing Germany in the back when she was
already struggling with enemies on either side, Japan for her bumptious

It is the twilight of the gods. Is Germany the Walhalla that is to
fall in ruins? Or is she merely about to build a Walhalla that shall
project over all other political edifices? The moment is a serious one
for us Americans. Where shall we stand in the new order of things? Will
a Japan that has conquered a China, a Russia and a Germany submit to
American exclusion acts? Her fleet already outnumbers ours in ships of
all types except ships of the line, and her naval appropriations are
progressing more steadily than our own. And when Japan secures what she
wishes from us, China will be ready to make the same demands. It is a
far cry since Austria interpreted the five vowels in her favor: _Alles
Erdreich ist Österreich unterthan_ (all earthly kingdoms are subject to
Austria). Which will be the next world-power?

                                THE END

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