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check, and with the single important incident of taking Ghuzni by storm on the way. Our positions at and about Cabul were not seriously molested until late in 1841, when the paralysis of demoralization struck our soldiers because of the crass follies of a wrong headed civilian chief and the feebleness of a decrepit general. Nott throughout held Candahar firmly; the Khyber Pass remained open until faith was broken with the hillmen; Jellalabad held out until the "Retribution Column" camped under its walls. But for the awful catastrophe which befell in the passes the hapless brigade which under the influence of deplorable pusillanimity and gross mismanagement had evacuated Cabul, no serious military calamity marked our occupation of Afghanistan, and certainly stubborn resistance had not confronted our arms. From 1878 to 1880 we were in Afghanistan again, this time with breechloading, far-ranging rifles, copious artillery of the newest types, and commanders physically and mentally efficient. All those advantages availed us not one whit. The Afghans took more liberties with us than they had done forty years previously. They stood up to us in fair fight over and over again at Ali Musjid, at the Pewar Kotul, at Charasiab, on the Takt-i Shah and the Asmai heights, at Candahar. They took took the dashing offensive at Ahmed Kheyl and at the Shuturgurdan; they drove Dunham Massy's cavalry and took British guns; they reoccupied Cabul in the face of our arms, they besieged Candahar, they hemmed Roberts within the Sherpoor cantonments and assailed him there. They destroyed a British brigade at Maiwand, and blocked Gough in the Jugdulluck Pass. Finally our evacuating army had to macadamize its unmolested route down the passes by bribes to the hillinen, and the result of the second Afghan war was about as barren as that of the first.
It was in the year 1886 that, the resolution having been taken to dethrone Thebau and annex Upper Burmah, Prendergast began his all but bloodless movement on Mandalay. The Burmans of today have never adventured a battle, yet after years of desultory bushwhacking the pacification of Upper Burmah seems still far distant. On the 10th of April, 1852, an Anglo-Indian expedition commanded by General Godwin landed at Rangoon.
During the next fifteen months it did a good deal of hard fighting, for the Burmans of that period made a stout resistance. At midsummer of 1853, Lord Dalhousie proclaimed the war finished, announced the annexation and pacification of Lower Burmah, and broke up the army. The cost of the war of which the result was this fine addition to our Indian Empire, was two millions sterling; almost from the first the province was self-supporting, and uninterrupted peace has reigned. within its borders. We did not dally in those primitive smooth-bore days. Charles Napier took the field against the Scinde Ameers on the 16th of February, 1843. Next day he fought the battle of Meanee, entered Hyderabad on the 20th, and on the 24th of March won the decisive victory of Dubba which placed Scinde at his mercy, although not until June did the old "Lion of Meerpore" succumb to Jacob. But before then Napier was well forward with his admirable measures for the peaceful administration of the great province he had added to British India.
The expedition for the rescue of General Gordon was tediously boated up the Nile, with the result that the "desert column" which Sir Herbert Stewart led so valiantly across the Bayuda sands, reached Gubat just in time to be too late, and was itself extricated from imminent disaster by the masterful promptitude of Sir Redvers Buller. Notwithstanding a general consensus of professional and expert opinion in favor of the alternative route from Souakin to Berber, 240 miles long and far from waterless, the adoption of it was condemned as impossible. In June 1801, away back in the primitive days, an Anglo-Indian brigade 5000 strong, ordered from Bombay, reached Kosseir on the Red Sea bound for the Upper Nile at Kenéh, thence to join Abercromby's force operating in Lower Egypt. The distance from Kosseir to Kenéh is 120 miles across a. barren desert with scanty and unfrequent springs. The march was by regiments, of which the first quitted Kosseir on the 1st of July. The record of the desert march of the 10th Foot is now before me. It left Kosseir on the 20th of July, and reached Kenéh on the 29th, marching at the rate of twelve miles per day. Its loss on the march was one drummer. The whole brigade was at Kenéh in the early days of August, the period between its debarka
tion and its concentration on the Nile being about five weeks. The march was effected at the very worst season of the year. It was half the distance of a march from Souakin to Berber; the latter march by a force of the same strength could well have been accomplished in three months. The opposition on the march could not have been so severe as that which Stewart's desert column encountered. Never theless, as I have said, the Souakin-Berber route was pronounced impossible by the deciding authority.
The comparative feebleness of contemporary warfare is perhaps exceptionally manifest in relation to the reduction of fortresses. During the Franco-German war, the frequency of announcements of the fall of French fortresses used to be the subject of casual jeers. The jeers were misplaced. The French fortresses, laboring under every conceivable disadvantage, did not do themselves discredit. All of them were more or less obsolete. Excluding Metz and Paris, neither fortified to date, their average age was about a century and a half, and few had been amended since their first construction. They were mostly garrisoned by inferior troops, often almost entirely by Mobiles. Only in one instance was there an effective director of the defence. That they uniformly enclosed towns whose civilian population had to endure bombardment, was an obvious hindrance to desperate resist ance. Yet, setting aside Bitsch, which was never taken, the average duration of the defence of the seventeen fortresses which made other than nominal resistance was forty-one days. Excluding Paris and Metz, which virtually were entrenched camps, the average period of resistance was thirty-three days. The Germans used siege artillery in fourteen cases; although only on two instances, Belfort and Strasburg, were formal sieges undertaken. "It appears,' "writes Major Sydenham Clarke in his recent remarkable work on Fortification which ought to revolutionize that art, "that the average period of resistance of the (nominally obsolete) French fortresses was the same as that of besieged fortresses of the Marlborough and Peninsular periods. Including Paris and Metz, the era of rifled weapons actually shows an
* Fortification. By Major G. Sydenham Clarke, C.M.G. (London: John Murray.)
increase of 20 per cent. in the time-endurance of permanent fortifications. Granted that a mere measurement in days affords no absolute standard of comparison, the striking fact remains, that in spite of every sort of disability the French fortresses, pitted against guns that were not dreamed of when they were built, acquitted themselves quite as well as the chefs-d'œuvre of. the Vauban school in the days of their glory." Even in the cases of fortresses whose reduction was urgently needed since they interfered with the German communications such as Strasburg, Toul and Soissons-the quick ultima ratio of assault was not resorted to by the Germans. yet the Germans could not have failed to recognize that but for the fortresses they would have swept France clear of all organized bodies of troops within two months of the frontier battles. During the Peninsular war Wellington made twelve assaults on breached fortresses, of which five were successful; of his twelve attempts to escalade, six succeeded. The Germans in 1870-71 never attempted a breach, and their solitary effort at escalade, on the Basse Perche of Belfort, utterly failed.
The Russians in 1878 were even less enterprising than had been the Germans in 1870. They went against three permanently fortified places, the antediluvian little Matchin, which if I remember right blew itself up; the crumbling Nicopolis, which surrendered after one day's fighting; and Rustchuk, which held out till the end of the war. They would not look at Silistria, ruined, but strong in heroic memories; they avoided Rasgrad, Schumla, and the Black Sea fortresses; Sophia, Philippopolis, and Adrianople made no resistance. The earthworks of Plevna, vicious as they were in many characteristics, they found impregnable. I think Suvaroff would have carried them; I am sure Skobeleff would, if he had got his way.
The vastly expensive armaments of the present-the rifled breechloader, the magazine rifle, the machine guns, the longrange field guns, and so forth, are all accepted and paid for by the respective nations in the frank and naked expectation that these weapons will perform increased execution on the enemy in war time. This granted, and it cannot be denied, it logically follows that if this increased execution is not performed, peoples are entitled
to regard it as a grievance that they do not get blood for their money, and this they certainly do not have; so that even in this sanguinary particular the warfare of to-day is a comparative failure. The topic, however, is rather a ghastly one, and I refrain from citing evidence; which, however, is easily accessible to any one who cares to seek it.
The anticipation is confidently adventured that a great revolution will be made in warfare by the magazine rifle with its increased range, the machine gun, and the quick-firing field artillery which will speedily be introduced into every service. It does not seem likely that smokeless powder will create any very important change, except in siege operations. On the battle-field neither artillery nor infantry come into action out of sight of the enemy. When either arm opens fire within sight of the enemy, its position can be almost invariably detected by the fieldglass, irrespective of the smokelessness or non-smokelessness of its ammunition. Indeed, the use of smokeless powder would seem inevitably to damage the fortunes of the attack. Under cover of a bank of smoke, the soldiers hurrying on to feed the fighting-line are fairly hidden from aimed hostile fire. It may be argued that their aim is thus reciprocally hindered; but the reply is that their anxiety is not so much to be shooting during their reinforcing advance, as to get forward into the fighting line, where the atmosphere is not so greatly obscured. Smokeless powder will no doubt advantage the defence.
It need not be observed that a battle is a physical impossibility while both sides adhere to the passive defensive; and experience proves that battles are rare in which both sides are committed to the active offensive, whether by preference or necessity. Mars la Tour (August 16, 1870) was the only contest of this nature in the Franco-German war. Bazaine had to be on the offensive, because he wanted to get away toward Verdun; Alvensleben took it because it was the only means whereby he could hinder Bazaine from accomplishing his purpose. But for the most part one side in battle is on the offensive; the other on the defensive. The invader is habitually the offensive person, just for the reason that the native force commonly acts on the defensive; the latter is anxious to hinder further penetration into the bow
els of its land; the former's desire is to effect that penetration. The defensive of the native army need not, however, be the passive defensive; indeed that, unless the position be exceptionally strong, is according to present tenets to be avoided. When, always with an underlying purpose of defence, its chief resorts to the offensive, for reasons that he regards as good, his strategy or his tactics, as the case may be, are expressed by the term defensiveoffensive.'
It says a good deal for the peaceful predilections of the nations, that there has been no fairly balanced experience affording the material for decision as to the relative advantage of the offensive and the defensive under modern conditions. In 1866 the Prussians, opposing the needlegun to the Austrian muzzle-loader, naturally utilized this pre-eminence by adopting uniformly the offensive, and traditions of the Great Frederick doubtless seconded the needle gun. After Sadowa, controversy ran high as to the proper system of tactics when breechloader should oppose breechloader. A strong party maintained that "the defensive had now become so strong that true science lay in forcing the adversary to attack. Let him come on, and then one might fairly rely on victory. As Boguslawski observes-this conception of tactics would paralyze the offensive, for how can an army advance if it has always to wait till an enemy attacks ?” After much exercitation the Germans determined to adhere to the offensive. In the recent modest language of Baron von der Goltz :*"Our modern German mode of battle aims at being entirely a final struggle, which we conceive of as being inseparable from an unsparing offensive. Temporizing, waiting, and a calm defensive are very unsympathetic to our nature. Everything with us is action. Our strength lies in great decisions on the battle-field." Perhaps also the guileless Germans were quite alert to the fact that Marshal Niel had shattered the French army's tradition of the offensive, and gone counter to the French soldier's nature, by enjoining the defensive in the latest official instructions. Had the Teutons suborned him, the Marshal could not have done them a better turn.
*The Nation in Arms. By LieutenantColonel Baron von der Goltz. (Allen.)
Their offensive tactics against an enemy unnaturally lashed to the stake of the defensive stood the Germans in excellent stead in 1870. On every occasion they resorted to the offensive against an enemy in the field; strictly refraining, however, from that expedient when it was a fortress, and not soldiers en vive force, that stood in the way. At St. Privat their offensive would probably have been worsted if Canrobert had been reinforced, or even if a supply of ammunition had reached him; and a loss there of one-third of the combatants of the Guard Corps without result caused them to change for the better the method of their attack. But in every battle from Weissenburg to Sedan, with the exception of the confused mêlée of Mars la Tour, the French, besides being bewildered and discouraged, were in inferior strength; after Sedan the French levies in the field were scarcely soldiers. There was no fair testing of the relative advantages of defence and offence in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78; and so it remains that in an actual and practical sense no firm decision has yet been established. All civilized nations are, however, assiduously practising the methods of the offensive.
It may be anticipated that in future warfare between evenly matched combatants the offensive will get the worst of it at the hands of the passive defensive. The word anticipate" is used in preference to" apprehend," because one's sympathy is naturally for the invaded state, unless it has been wantonly aggressive and insolent. The invaded army, if the term may be used, having familiar knowledge of the terrain, will take up a position in the fairway of the invader; affording strong flank appui, and a farstretching clear range in front and on flanks. It will throw up several lines, or, still better, tiers of shallow trenches along its front and flanks, with emplacements for artillery and machine guns. The invader must attack; he cannot turn the enemy's position and expose his communications to that enemy. He takes the offensive, doing so, as is the received practice, in front and on a flank. From the outset he will find the offensive a sterner ordeal than in the Franco-German War days. will have to break into loose order at a greater distance, because of the longer range of sinall arms, and the further scope, the greater accuracy, and the quicker fire
of the new artillery. He too possesses those weapons, but he cannot use them with so great effect. His field batteries suffer from the hostile cannon-fire as they move forward to take up a position. His infantry cannot fire on the run; when they drop after a rush, the aim of panting and breathless men cannot be of the best. And their target is fairly protected and at least partially hidden. The defenders behind their low épaulement do not pant; their marksmen only at first are allowed to fire; these make things unpleasant for the massed gunners out yonder, who share their attentions with the spraying-out infantrymen. The quick-firing cannon of the defence are getting in their work methodically. Neither the gunners nor the infantry need be nervous as to expending ammunition freely, since plenteous supplies are promptly available, a convenience which does not infallibly come to either guns or rifles of the attack. The Germans report as their experience in the capacity of assailants, that the rapidity and excitement of the advance, the stir of strife, the turmoil, exhilarate the soldiers, and that patriotism and fire-discipline in combination enforce a cool steady maintenance of fire; that in view of the ominous spectacle of the swift and confident advance, under torture of the storm of shellfire and the hail of bullets which they have to endure in immobility, the defenders, previously shaken by the assailants' artillery preparation, become nervous, waver, and finally break when the cheers of the final concentrated rush strike on their ears. That this was scarcely true as regarded French regulars the annals of every battle of the Franco-German war up to and including Sedan conclusively show. It is true, however, that the French nature is intolerant of inactivity, and in 1870 suffered under the deprivation of its métier; but how often the Germans recoiled from the shelter trenches of the Spicheren and gave ground all along the line from St. Privat to the Bois de Vaux, men who witnessed those desperate struggles cannot forget while they live. Wairiors of greater equanimity than the French soldier possesses might perhaps stand on the defensive in calm self-confidence, with simple breechloaders as their weapons, if simple breechloaders were also weapons of the assailants. But in his magazine rifle the soldier of the future can
keep the defensive, not only with selfconfidence, but with high elation, for in it (so long as it is not the Lee-Speed) he will possess a weapon against which no attack (although armed too with a magazine or repeating rifle) can prevail.
The assailants fall fast as their advance pushes forward, combed down by the rifle fire, the mitraille, and the shrapnel of the defence. But they are gallant men, and while life lasts they will not be denied. The long bloody advance is all but over; the survivors of it who have attained thus far are lying down getting their wind for the final concentration and rush. Meanwhile, since after they once again stand up they will use no more rifle fire till they have conquered or are beaten, they are pouring forth against the defence their reserve of bullets in or attached to their rifle-butts. The defenders take this punishment, like Colonel Quagg, lying down, courting the protection of their earth-bank. The hail of the assailants' bullets ceases; already the artillery of the attack has desisted lest it should injure friend as foe. The word runs along the line and the clumps of men lying prostrate there out in the open. The officers spring to their feet, wave their swords, and cheer loudly. The men are up in an instant, and the swift rush focussing toward a point begins. The distance to be traversed before the attackers are aux prises with the defenders is about one hundred and fifty yards.
It is no mere storm of missiles which meets fair in the face those charging heroes; no, it is a moving wall of metal against which they run to their ruin. For the infantry of the defence are emptying their magazines now at point-blank range. Emptied magazine yields to full one; the Maxims are pumping, not bullets, but veritable chains of lead, with calm, devilish swiftness. The quick-firing guns are spouting radiating torrents of case. The attackers are mown down as corn falls, not before the sickle, but the scythe. Not a man has reached, or can reach, the little earth-bank behind which the defenders keep their ground. The attack has failed; and failed from no lack of valour, of methodized effort, of punctilious compliance with every instruction; but simply because the defence-the defence of the future in warfare-has been too strong for the attack. One will not occupy space by recounting how in the very nick of time
the passive defence flashes out into the counter-offensive; nor need one enlarge on the sure results to the invader as the unassailed flank of the defence throws forward the shoulder, and takes in flank the dislocated masses of aggressors.
One or two such experiences will definitively settle the point as to the relative advantage of the offensive and the defensive. Soldiers will not submit themselves to re-trial on re-trial of a res judicata. Grant, dogged though he was, had to accept that lesson in the shambles of Cold Harbor. For the bravest sane Iman will rather live than die. No man burns to become cannon-fodder. The Turk, who is supposed to court death in battle for religious reasons of a somewhat material kind, can run away even when the alternative is immediate removal to a Paradise of unlimited houris and copious sherbet. There are no braver men than Russian soldiers; but going into action against the Turks tried their nerves, not because they feared the Turks as antagonists, but because they knew too well that a petty wound disabling from retreat meant not alone death. but unspeakable mutilation before that release.
It is obvious that if, as is here anticipated, the offensive proves impossible in the battle of the future, an exaggerated phase of the stalemate which Boguslawski so pathetically deprecates will occur. world need not greatly concern itself regarding this issue: the situation will almost invariably be in favor of the invaded, and will probably present itself near his frontier line. He can afford to wait until the invader tires of inaction and goes home.
Magazine and machine guns would seem to sound the knell of possible employment of cavalry in battle. No matter how dislocated are the infantry ridden at so long as they are not quite demoralized, however rusé the cavalry leader-however favorable to sudden unexpected onslaught is the ground, the quick-firing arms of the future must apparently stall off the most enterprising horsemen. Probably if the writer were arguing the point with a German, the famous experiences of Von Bredow might be adduced in bar of this contention. In the combat of Tobitschau in 1866 Von Bredow led his cuirassier regiment straight at three Austrian batteries in action, captured the eighteen guns and everybody and