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deployment on a wide front imperative, the telegraph not only renders the subsequent concentration a far less hazardous operation than in the era of Napoleon, but gives a latitude and freedom in the use of detached forces which, had they been enjoyed by Napoleon, would have given even greater vigour to his offensive strategy.
Nevertheless, we venture to think that Von Moltke's plan of concentration was a daring and original conception. None but a great general would have sought such a solution of his difficulties. Boldness,' says Clausewitz, 'directed by ⚫ an overruling intelligence is the mark of a hero,' and a careful study of the operations in Bohemia reveals a daring conception worked out with a skill, method, and accuracy, which have seldom been surpassed. It is difficult to uproot the popular belief that the merits of a plan of campaign depend upon some complicated manoeuvre, some extraordinary exertion, or the overcoming of some obstacle hitherto deemed impassable. There is a positive objection to operations planned with deliberation, and carried out with mathematical exactitude; and yet the most brilliant victories of Napoleon and of Wellington were due as much to industry as to inspiration. It is not everyone who realises that simplicity is a far more desirable characteristic than ingenuity; and, in our opinion, if a line of operations enlists the advantage of surprise; if it promises opportunity of defeating the army in detail, or of keeping him divided; if it provides for the concentration of superior numbers at the decisive point, compels the enemy to form front to a flank, and at the same time covers the line of communications, it is the very best that could have been selected. Originality is not the true test of strategic genius. Hannibal's march across the Alps is universally admitted to be a masterpiece of war, but Hannibal was not the author of the idea. The project was a family tradition, and it had been discussed in the council tent of his father whilst the great Carthaginian was still a child. When Napoleon swooped down upon Melas' communications in 1800, he was inspired by the example of his mighty predecessor; and General Pierron has been at pains to show that for the initial operations of 1796 he was in some degree indebted to the campaign of a French marshal whose name is unfamiliar even to French soldiers.
Was the plan the best that could have been adopted? If all the diligence of the critics, unsaddled by responsibility, with the whole situation laid bare before them, with
unlimited time at their disposal, and with the methods of the greatest masters analysed at their elbow, is unable to produce a better, the question may be answered in the affirmative, and we may at least conclude that the general was equal to the situation. Greater praise it is impossible to award.
Nor should it be forgotten that generals are to be judged as much by execution as by conception. Not only did Von Moltke realise with accurate foresight what should and could be done in the war of 1866; not only did he pursue his course without deviating a hair's breadth from the plan he had laid down, despite the disturbing influences of Prince Frederick Charles' false move and the enemy's advance against the Crown Prince; but he organised his war in exact accordance with his means and object, and he did neither too little nor too much, which, according to Clausewitz, is the greatest proof of genius. Moreover, his quick recognition of the tactical advantage to be gained by postponing concentration, is a strong proof that he was not lacking in 'that most rare faculty of coming to prompt and sure con'clusions on sudden emergencies-the certain mark of a 'master spirit in war.'* Had he delayed his attack for a single day, Benedek would have fallen back. 'I cannot ' remain here,' he wrote to the Emperor, for any time. 'After to-morrow there will probably be a want of water, and on the 3rd I shall retreat on Pardubitz.' His armies, too, moved with that noiseless harmony' which is more admirable than the invention of new methods; and as a lesson in staff work the Bohemian campaign is invaluable.† The orders and instructions issued from headquarters-so important a part of a commander's duties-are models of clearness and conciseness; and if his subordinates showed themselves equal to their responsibilities, if they constantly gave proofs of intelligent initiative, it was because no army ever yet possessed a sounder system of command, because no modern general has ever equalled Von Moltke in stimulating intelligence, in crushing the fear of responsibility, in inspiring his subordinates with his own spirit, and in making
History of the War in the Peninsula. Sir William Napier. Book xxiv. chap. vi.
† Mr. Morris is wrong in asserting that the message sent to the Crown Prince on the eve of the great battle was entrusted to a single officer. The official account, page 166, distinctly states that two copies were despatched by different routes.
them assimilate his own ideas. In this respect alone his campaigns are worth the closest study; and, if they are examined, not by the light of inapplicable maxims, but of common sense-the true criterion of strategy--it will be found that in those of 1866 and 1870 we have most valuable object lessons in modern warfare, and that to the soldier of to-day Von Moltke is a master whose precepts and practice are not one whit less useful than the precepts and practice of Napoleon. In fact, as regards the handling of enormous masses, we are inclined to the opinion that Von Moltke was the more skilful. The campaigns of Moscow and Leipsic, where Napoleon commanded armies approaching those of to-day in numerical strength, were by no means his most brilliant exhibitions of strategy.
We regret that we are unable to deal with the charge that Von Moltke was feeble in pursuit. His assertion that it is only novices who contend that pursuit ought always to follow a victory' Mr. Morris treats with ridicule, and he compares Königgrätz with Austerlitz and Jena, battles which certainly 'effaced the landscape,' but which, taken as typical instances, have nothing whatever in common with the great conflict in Bohemia. Königgrätz was the crowning act of a series of engagements; Austerlitz and Jena were practically the first steps in the campaign. On some future occasion we hope to discuss this question at length, and at the same time to show that the scathing strictures which have been levelled against the operations in 1870 are as groundless as those of which we have now disposed.
ART. VII. 1. Navy Estimates for the Year 1894-95, with Explanatory Observations by the Financial Secretary. Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, March 12, 1894.
2. Statement of the First Lord of the Admiralty, Explanatory of the Navy Estimates, 1894-95. Presented to both Houses of Parliament by command of her Majesty. 1894. 3. Return showing the Battle Ships and Cruisers built, building, and preparing to build, for England, France, Russia, Germany, Italy, and Austria. Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, December 15, 1893. 4. Aide-Mémoire de l'Officier de Marine. Par EDOUARD DURASSIER et CHARLES VALENTINO. Paris: 1893.
5. Almanach für die k. und k. Kriegs-Marine, 1894. Pola: 1894.
6. The Naval Annual. Edited by T. A. BRASSEY. Portsmouth: 1893.
7. Darf Russland einen Angriff auf den Bosporus wagen?
Von F. Wien: 1892.
8. Der kürzeste Weg nach Konstantinopel. Capitain zur See. Kiel: 1894.
9. Il Pericolo è dal Mare. Per JACK LA BOLINA (Vittorio Vecchj). Firenze: 1893.
HE visit which the Russian fleet paid to Toulon last October, and the extraordinary outburst of enthusiasm with which it was welcomed by the French people and the French Government, were not unnaturally considered in other countries as indicating a union between the two Powers which might easily become a danger to the peace of Europe. Many rumours were sent abroad as to measures proposed or contemplated in order to mark the permanence of that union; and more especially it was asserted that Russia had asked for, and that France had, in principle, ceded some French harbour to be fortified and held as a military port, though some doubt remained as to the exact locality. To the student of history and statecraft, knowing that all Governments, under all circumstances, regard their present friends as potential enemies, this, or anything like it, was clearly absurd; but the very general belief with which it was received was at least a proof of the uneasiness caused by the presence of the Russian squadron in the Mediterranean at this
particular juncture. It was forgotten that a Russian fleet in the Mediterranean was no new thing, even in time of peace; and that a squadron of some importance assisted in bowing the French troops out of Syria in 1861, when there was assuredly no waste of affection between the Governments or the officers of the two nations.
How far the festivities at Toulon and Paris denoted any real political union must be, for the present, uncertain. It is quite possible that their significance has been exaggerated, but it is not improbable that they were meant to hint at such a union, and beyond doubt they spoke of the possibility of a very serious danger. It is this which we propose to consider. Of all courses of action in presence of a possible danger, the worst is to ignore it; the best is carefully to examine it, and to endeavour to render it impossible. In this instance the appearance of danger has been intensified by the very evident exertions which both France and Russia have been and are still making to increase their navies beyond what might be supposed to be their normal requirements; and not only to increase them, but to place them approximately on a war footing. In time of peace, with no war cloud overhead or on the horizon, it may fairly be asked, What does this mean? In neither country are the finances on a sound basis; in both, the ordinary expenditure largely exceeds the revenue; and in the face of this, both countries have increased their expenditure in order to increase their navy. Since 1889 France has added 2,300,000l. to her naval estimates. Russia in the same time has added 1,700,000l. These additions must necessarily signify loans. To what end are the finances thus deranged?
It may of course be said, it has been said, that the measure has been forced on them by the threatening attitude of England, and by the increase made to the English navy during the last five years under the Naval Defence Act. Any such contention rests on a false basis. For England the navy is a necessity of existence; for France and for Russia it is a mere appendage of power: for England its function is purely defensive; for France and Russia, beyond certain easily defined limits, it cannot be other than aggressive. Russia and France are both self-supporting; England depends on its external relations: the maritime commerce of both Russia and France is insignificant; that of England is very great the merchant shipping of Russia and France is inconsiderable; that of England exceeds that of all the rest of the world. The statistics of this are incontrovertible.