Fourth Prize Essay

R. A. Johnson
1906 Royal United Services Institution Journal  
Sunquum non Puratrrs. P A R T I. TAc Requirements of Xationnl Defence, und the Contributions to be ezpected:. (a) of the Regulnr Army; ( b ) of the non-Regular Forces of the Crotcn. . This point is further illustratcd by Colonel Callwell in his recent " There is a dangerous idea prevalent in this country tbat because a dominating Navy is the best safeguard for its security, the complement of sea power-military force-is of altogether secondary importance to the State so situated. Tho attitude
more » ... en up by soldiers of prominence on the subject of home defence-an attitude which has helped to throw the true functions of the Army so long into t.he background-has contributed to this. An insular Pomcr lvith great fleets a t its command may be justified in trusting to its battle-ships and'cruiscrs to guard not only its sea-bornc trade, but also to ensure its sliores against invasion; but that is defence, mere passive dcfcncc. " The Empire and the Ccntury," p. 18.5. As Mr. Amery has well put it :bbok : -494 FUUIlTlI PItIZE ESSAY. . . . Naval resources unaided cannot, under the ordinary conditions which a r w i n warfare between maritime nations, infllct upon an enemy the amounL of injury requisite to bring about a collapse. Command of the sca IS, as Corbett so well eswessed it, merely a meaiis to an end, and that end is attainment of the object for which the war was undertaken. Sometimes war is undertaken for the express purpose nf conquering territory; if so, military force must perform its share in tho struggle. Sometimes it is undertaken to destroy naval forces which have, grown into a menace to future prosperity; if SO, sea power unaided may be unable to accomplish the task. Sometimcs, and niore often, a war arises out of some quarrel or as tho result of rivalry betwcen nations, and then the purpose which either side has in view is to achieve such measure of success as will lead up to an advantageous peace. Success means injury to the enemy in the form of exhaustion financially, of securing some material guarantee at the enemy's cost, or the acquisition of hostile tcrritory, and this kind of success is generally beyond the scope of naval force to accomplish, UUICSS, indeed, the contest be protracted to a dangerous length, and unless the victorious belligerent is prepared to emerge from the The case, then, is ?s follows: If wc are to remain a great Power, our armed forces should be such that in the case of war w e should have reasonable hope of decisive success before we are financially exhausted, and that in the.case of initial reverses me should be able to offer prolonged resistance, and so exhaust our enemy. To leave the Armyout of account and to imagine tliat a Navy could do everything that a nation requires to be done in time of war is to make a fundamental mistake, both as to the strategical conditions of the position and of the temper and spirit of the British people. At prescnt if we win, the best we can hope for would be a ' I draw," the If me lose, we lose everything. What we have to provide for is a force that will enable us to win decisive su'ccess by penetrating some part of our enemy's country. Fortunately, however, for oursclves the military force which we require, though it must be large, need not attempt to equal the vast hordes with which compulsory service provides our Continental neighbours. The great advantage conferred upon an amphibious Power like our own is that we shall be able in the future, a . $ we have been in the past, with a comparatively small force, to wear out and defeat tho much more numerous Armies of our enemies. I n Colonel Callwell's volume will be found example after example of the effect, out of all proportion t o its numbers, which an army which uses the high seas as its base can produce upon the forces of a Continental Power, which are limited to transport by land. The great Napoleon himself was obliged, lio~~cver unwillingly, to acknowledge himself baaed and even beaten by the amphibious power of Great Britain. H e had driven them into the sea a t Toulon, and they had sailed away to Corsica. His generals had worsted them amidst the dykes and dunes of h'orth Holland, but they had been obliged to let tho enemy embark and return to England. To ic commander accustomed to decisive victories like Marengo and Austerlitz, these islanders, with. -struggle ruined if triumphant."' .result of which would not be in our farour.
doi:10.1080/03071840609416784 fatcat:ongp6lzzx5eelfjvqwbr6z5uca