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cation, he is apt to find himself too well supplied with leisure. He is hardly in a position to commence practice, even should he have at his disposal the means for such a step, and, as a matter of fact, it will be found that many occupy the early years which immediately follow graduation by travelling, by holding the post of resident officer in smaller hospitals, by acting as ships' surgeons, and by working as qualified assistants. There would, I think, be little difficulty in enrolling from among the ranks of the 'recently qualified' a valuable Medical Reserve on the following lines. Candidates would be required to serve for three years, one year of which would be with the Colours, and two in the Reserve. When in the Reserve they would of course be perfectly free to occupy themselves as they thought fit. In the event of a war the Director-General would have at his immediate disposal a number of young surgeons who had been carefully selected, and who would already possess such a knowledge of military routine as would enable them to be of the utmost service. So far as the members of the Reserve themselves are concerned, the engagement would not be irksome to the many who had not as yet taken upon themselves the more serious duties of professional life, and few men would be other than benefited by twelve months' welldirected discipline. It is obvious that the members of this Reserve would have to be adequately remunerated, but even if that remuneration were liberal it would, I think, be still found to be on the side of economy.
With regard to the fourth recommendation of the Commissioners there can be little doubt as to the value of the suggestion. The good orderly is a rara avis, and a very liberal employment of nurses in fixed hospitals has proved in the present campaign to be in every way eminently satisfactory. Orderlies should be reserved for the field hospitals, in which the employment of nurses is impossible. There is no doubt that all nursing should be in the hands of properly trained women whenever and wherever the employment of women is possible.
The fifth suggestion in the report will also commend itself strongly to all who have interested themselves in the care of the sick and wounded in war; and it may be well to add to the suggestion that the sanitary officer should not only be 'properly qualified,' but should be placed in such a position of authority as would enable him to go beyond the mere making of recommendations.
SHAM VERSUS REAL HOME DEFENCE
As Colonel Lonsdale Hale, in his article of last month, has referred very fully to me and to the views which I put forward about Home Defence, perhaps I may be permitted to say a few words myself upon those views. I should hardly have ventured to publish the last chapter of my Great Boer War had I realised the number of controversies in which it would plunge me, and yet I cannot regret it since I am more convinced than ever that my conclusions are sound, now that they have run the gauntlet of a good deal of professional criticism, and come out undamaged, or at least very slightly modified.
A large part of that last chapter was devoted to the effect which the war has had, and will have, upon the different arms in our Service. Some of the views there put forward are already accomplished facts. I refer to this because it shows that, though some of my critics have discounted my remarks as being those of a civilian, my judgment was none the less correct as to the military lessons of the war. I spoke, for example, of the need for breaking up batteries into their sections, and it has been very largely done since then. I spoke of the approximation of the cavalry to the mounted infantry, and we have seen a cavalry brigade go out armed with the rifle. I spoke of the uselessness of the lance, and I saw a letter from a lancer the other day which described how they stuck their lances into the ground at the beginning of an action, and came back for them when it was finished. I spoke of the necessity for getting the extra seven stone off the cavalry horses, and something has since then been done in that direction. In these and other instances I read the signs of the times correctly. I put forward this fact to screen me against the foolish and narrow-minded suggestion that a civilian cannot be correct in military matters-a suggestion which has never been made by Colonel Lonsdale Hale, but frequently in other quarters.
The remainder of my last chapter was devoted to sketching out a method of reorganising our military forces by which, as it seemed to me, they might be made more formidable. The encouragement of the civilian rifleman was only one out of several factors which were to add to our strength, but for some reason it appears to have eclipsed
all the others completely, and to have left upon the mind of some professional critics the idea of a bogey rifleman-a dreadful person, undisciplined, turbulent, unorganised, pushing aside regulars, volunteers, and militia, to claim the sole right of forming that mob behind a hedge-row which seems to act as a nightmare upon so many military writers. It was remarked lately, with great truth, in an article in the Spectator, that if my suggestion had been to put the navy out of commission, and to disband the army, some of the criticisms which have been evoked could not be more grotesque. There are many who may have read these criticisms without seeing the original article, so let me say again for their benefit that I have never contemplated the civilian rifleman as our first line of defence. Let us first have an overpowering navy, let us next have as large and efficient an army as we can afford, let us back it up by a strong militia, and a generously encouraged volunteer force. Then, and only then, let us make a reserve of the rest of the nation by covering the country with rifle clubs, and teaching every man that which is the most difficult and the most essential portion of a soldier's training. If the net result of the movement should be a single rifleman, he will be one rifleman to the good. How the country could suffer by such an addition to its defences passes the wit of man to discover, and yet I have read a dozen articles which allude to it as if it were the obvious end of the British Empire. Perhaps the fault lies with some obscurity of expression of my own, and so I will go over the ground again, with such additions or modifications as have been suggested by fuller consideration and by criticism.
There is a limit to the amount of money which can be spent upon the regular army without excessive taxation on the one side or starving the navy on the other. How are we to spend this sum? Is it better to get the largest number we can at the lowest wage, or would it be better to have fewer at a wage which would ensure that they should be picked men. Personally I believe that we should get better value for our money by having fewer regulars and paying them more highly. Every officer knows that he has certain men in his regiment or battery who are useless as fighting men. Yet these men take the same pay, the same food, the same equipment, and the same transport as an efficient soldier. The British soldier has his fighting to do in Northern India, in Southern Africa, or in China. Is it not false economy to transport a man for these thousands of miles, and to sustain him there, unless he is absolutely a first-class article? Many that we now have are first-class material. But many are not. If you wish that they should all be so, you can only effect it by raising the pay until there is a keen competition to enter the army, and you can dismiss the worthless man with the certainty of getting a better one in his place. By doing this you are diminishing the numbers of the paper army, but you are not
diminishing the numbers of your effective army. When the pinch came in South Africa, nearly a hundred thousand men who had figured in our paper army were left behind because they were unfit to go out. Yet these useless men were costing the country great sums of money. With a higher scale of pay you would have fewer men, but they would all be effectives, and no money would be wasted. It may be argued that the hundred thousand men were of the nature of a reserve who would mature as the war went on. But such a reserve might as well be formed at the outbreak of a war, and would equally mature. We should not then be paying for so large a number of inefficient men in time of peace.
A man who is not a good shot is not merely no use in the firing line, but he becomes a positive hindrance, as he is likely to be himself hit, and when hit he has to be tended. There should be no place in the regular army for a man who is not a marksman. But at present we have to be only too glad to enrol any man of the required measurements who presents himself, and to retain him, however hopeless his shooting may be. If the scale of pay were high enough you could ensure that every man should be a dead shot -or should become one under penalty of dismissal. Under such a system it would be your much-abused civilian rifle clubs which would furnish you with the best recruits. Colonials too with a taste for adventure would flock into the ranks of the Imperial army.
If you were to pay two shillings or half-a-crown clear a day, and so secure a good long-service soldier whom you could train to a very high pitch of efficiency, how many would be sufficient for the needs of the Empire? I should suggest as many as we could afford to have. But at so high a rate of pay the number must be limited. I mentioned 100,000 in my original article and my critics have convinced me that it is an under-estimate. I amended it to 130,000, to contain a large corps of highly trained mounted infantry. The scheme must be supplemented by home arrangements by which nearly all these men would be available for the service of the outer Empire. In that case they would represent nearly as large a force as we could possibly send abroad at present and an infinitely more effective one.
Apart from the fact that without compulsory service we cannot have more soldiers than we can afford to pay for, there is much to be said, as it seems to me, for the small effective mobile army, as against the large one. If one considers a modern battlefield one cannot but wonder where the large army is going to put itself. When advances are conducted with intervals of ten paces, and a company covers a thousand yards, a comparatively small army occupies a very great area. The attack advances in successive waves, but each wave must come some distance behind the other, and a brigade may find itself with a front of several miles and perhaps a
mile of depth. Any other formation becomes impossible under magazine fire. Several brigades, therefore, will occupy the greatest space which a general can control. Where is he to put his great numbers? If they wait as reserves, they will, if they are within five miles, be exposed to the enemy's shell fire, without being able to help in the engagement. If they are beyond that distance, their presence will have no effect save a moral one on the battle that is being fought. The large army will doubtless endeavour to outflank the small, but even the small army upon the defensive can cover a very extended area, and the large one may find it difficult to turn its flanks, and may then itself be so far removed from the centre that the supply of food and ammunition will become a serious matter. Altogether, Providence is not now so obviously upon the side of the big battalions, and a decrease of numbers and increase of efficiency may prove to be the general law of the future. This, however, is speculation. What is certain, as it seems to me, is that: (1) It is false economy to employ anything but a first-class man; (2) That you can only get first-class men by a considerable increase in pay; (3) That this must mean a decrease in numbers.
Now if the regular army is to be set free for the service of the Empire, it can only be safely done by making ourselves invulnerable at home. There is only one way in which this can be effected, and that is by the enforcement of the militia ballot for home defence. Colonel Lonsdale Hale advocates this measure as if it were an antidote to the civilian riflemen. I have merely advocated the civilian riflemen as a supplement to a reorganised militia. 'We must depend upon a developed system of militia,' I say in one place, and later, 'We must have such an extension of the Militia Act' as would give us a competent home defence army. That demon civilian rifleman seems somehow to have drawn the attention of every military critic from all the points of my suggestion except his undisciplined self. Not only have I made the same suggestion as Colonel Lonsdale Hale now puts forward, but I have indicated how things may be done which he states as desirable. For example, he says, 'The regular army must no longer use the militia as its milch-cow.' This can only be prevented by putting the regular army upon an entirely different footing as a highly-paid foreign-service army in some such way as is here suggested.
There are two alternatives before the nation, and one or other must eventually be adopted. The first is universal military service by which the whole nation might be passed through the ranks, each man serving for one year and then being enrolled in the reserve. That such a measure would have an admirable effect on the physique and, in some ways, upon the mind of the nation is undoubted. But I do not think that it has come within the range of practical politics. People do not make such changes in cold blood. Nothing short of a
VOL. XLIX.-No. 289