Topic: European Armies
The German and British Armies (1882)
A Military Organ Contrasts the Two Forces—A Pair of Blue Spectacles
Montreal Daily Witness, 19 July 1882
The Big Battalions of Bismarck are a perpetual source of discomfort and irritation to the little battalions of Britain. The Army and Navy Gazette indulges in the following:
"We see by the German papers, says the Army and Navy Gazette, that the German Army are to manoeuvre this autumn with eight Army Corps, that is, 250,000 men, if the corps are brought out at war strength. Even on the peace establishment over 200,000 men will take the field. Moreover, many thousands, of the Reserve are to be called out to drill. Per contre, The Imperial Army of Great Britain—better known as the harmonious and territorial whole of the modern Army reformer—are also to take the field of mimic war at Aldershot, and the Grand Army is, we are told, already with much trumpeting, to consist of 35,000 men. But the effect is much marred when we find that the number is made up from the militia and volunteer armies—our gallant auxiliary forces. We hope Germany may not become alarmed and double her armies; but we think she is more likely to send some sharp officers to take a careful look at the army of England, as it now appears on parade before the Queen and the world in general. When the Queen reviewed the divisions at Aldershot a few days ago, there were only 10,000 out of 14,000 men and boys on parade—nearly one-third, in fact, were casuals. As the reserves cannot be called out until national danger or great emergency is manufactured, they are comparatively useless for ordinary war, and therefore quite unreliable. Moreover, as the Government have never ventured to call them out for drill, they will forget their discipline and taste for soldiering; and, eventually, they will become impressed with the notion that they cannot be called out—except in case of invasion—like the auxiliary forces. After the army has been tinkered for twelve years, under the short service system and divers and numerous reorganizations, the results of their first performance in public will be watched with most critical eyes. The hard strain of a European war can alone test the merits of all these reorganizations; and if the new army turns out to be a complete failure, the country will demand a heavy reckoning."