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corps affected by the loss of men compensated by new grants which will enable them to replace the inefficient men by effective soldiers. The Yeomanry has reached an unprecedented condition of efficiency, pari passu with an increase of numbers.
The Colonial garrisons have been reduced, thus allowing of that concentration of units which is so desirable in the interests of military efficiency, and which in this case has been compatible with an important reduction of expenditure. The deficiency of officers, which was so marked in the Cavalry and the Guards, has been made good.
These and many other things have been done. Want of time and active opposition have prevented, or rather have postponed, the carrying out of the proposals in their entirety ; and it is a melancholy reflection that in every case the remedy which those proposals were calculated to supply is still urgently demanded. But that the remedy will be applied, and that, in fact if not in name, it will be identical with that already proposed the author does not doubt, and has never doubted. Already there are valuable indications of the recogtion of principles which have been obscured by the dust of party conflict.
It is now admitted that there “is a place in our system for a small body of really good short-service troops, with a proportionately large reserve,” and that this force should be raised upon a threeyears, or preferably a two-years term of colour service.
1 Both these reforms, sanctioned by the Army Council in 1905, have been vetoed by the present Secretary of State. See pp. 232 and 265.
The division of the Army into two parts is practically “recognised” as the logical outcome of our Imperial strategy; and the fact that the Militia must form the bulk of the Home Service Army and must be practically a part of the Regular Army, is frankly admitted by the Secretary of State. It is true that the Home Army is, it appears, to be trained for seven months instead of for twelve, but the difference is one of detail, not of principle; and the inexorable logic of the situation will eventually compel an extension to a minimum period of twelve months.
The fact that all Volunteers cannot perform, and do not perform the same duties, has been recognised in the clearest manner by Mr. Haldane, and thus another premise laid down in 1904 has been conceded.
The need for consolidating and improving the Militia has now become a cardinal point of doctrine, instead of its assertion being regarded as an offence against the Militia. Instances might be multiplied, all tending to show that the public mind is becoming reconciled to the proposals of 1904 ; and that even the harshest critics, relieved from the duty of condemning the shortcomings of an individual, are willing to give a fair and even a favourable consideration to principles which in the interests of controversy it is no longer necessary to confute. For it cannot be too clearly realised that the proposals of 1904 were no brand-new invention, no fantastic
1 Spectator, July 7, 1906.
conception evolved from the brain of an ambitious but ill-informed tyro. Nothing can be further from the fact. The proposals represented an earnest and bona-fide attempt to apply to the circumstances of our Army-Regular and Auxiliaryprinciples on which there was practical unanimity; and to remedy admitted evils by the adoption of obvious and, indeed, inevitable remedies.
No step was taken until the concurrence of the leaders of military opinion in the Army had been received as to the existence of these evils, and as to the character of the remedy appropriate in each
That in the endeavour to apply these remedies to the body politic of the Army some interests should be alarmed, some resentments excited, was not only natural, but was inevitable.
But these difficulties can be overcome, and will be overcome as soon as the public opinion of the country is fully alive to the real character of the problem, and to the nature of the difficulties which interfere with its correct solution.
It is the hope of the author that he may have done something to arouse, and at the same time to satisfy public interest with regard to this allimportant subject. To those of his readers who bring to the perusal of these pages knowledge, and the consequent power and right to criticise and condemn, he would make one appeal. It is his earnest desire that whatever is here written should be judged upon its merits only; that the fact that a statement is made, a proposal submitted by one who has been and is a party politician, shall not be allowed to have weight in any judgment that may be formed with respect to the statement or proposal itself. Two questions and two only are really relevant. In the first place, “Is the statement true, or is the proposal moderate and reasonable ?” And in the second place,
« Will the proposal, if adopted, make the Army, or that part of the Army to which it applies, more fit for war than it is at present ? ”
And, if the personal element must needs be imported, the author ventures to hope that the ideas, the facts, and the suggestions which he has brought before the notice of his readers may be regarded, not as the expressions of a politician who for two short years has borne the burden of a great office; but rather those of a diligent student of our military problem, who for many years of his life has devoted such powers as he may possess to seeing things as they are, and who has endeavoured to utilise his knowledge according to his opportunities for the best advantage of the country, and for the welfare of the Army, for which he has always entertained a whole-hearted respect and affection.
H. O. A.-F.
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