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trait of most flag-officers ; * and the average Commanderin-Chief lost himself in a morass of detail.
Nor was this tendency confined to the British Navy. Moltke has pointed out that the Austrian staff orders in 1866 were not bad orders, but had one insuperable defect; they went into enormous detail, and reached the Army Commanders only after the battle had been fought.f The same fault characterised our staff work in South Africa. The German official account, commenting on the Spion Kop operation orders, says: "The above orders are typical of English methods; they contain a mass of detail which could be perfectly well left to junior officers.' I Similarly, in the Russo-Japanese war, the orders issued by the Great Headquarter Staff dealt with a vast mass of local administrative detail. Kuropatkin states that 'the amount of writing done by the various staff officers was colossal; they worked the whole evening and all night; their effusions were lithographed and sent off in all directions, but they were rarely received by the troops in proper time. At the battle of
” Telissu the operation orders never even reached the First East Siberian Division, and the battle was one long string of blunders from beginning to end. Compare this with Moltke's system.
The order of Aug. 21, 1870, directing the movements of more than 200,000 men for the next four days, did not fill one printed page.
Brevity and despatch are the life of war; and brevity and despatch are only possible if all extraneous effort has been eliminated from the controlling centre by the adoption of some vital principle of distinction, such as exists between operations and supply, that is, between the science of the use of the weapon and the science of its maintenance in an efficient state. Curiously enough, very
distinction, which is now one of the recognised principles of staff organisation, is to be found in the system of paval organisation established by Henry VIII in 1546, which held sway in our Navy down to 1832. It s true that the analogy must not be pressed too closely,
I never omitted to analyse all shootings personally,' Bacon's "Dover
Parol,' i, 93.
+ 'It is lengthy documents which make the Austrians so slow.' Kraft,
on Strategy' (1898), vol. II, 133. German official account, trans. Colonel H, Du Cane, 139. Vol. 235.-No. 466.
for the circumstances of the time were different, bu is there, and is plainly discernible. In Henry V organisation the Lord High Admiral represented function of general control, while the actual adminis tion was performed by the four Principal Offic namely, the Treasurer, Comptroller, Surveyor, and CI of the Acts, who were responsible respectively for fina the general supervision of accounts, the building upkeep of ships, and the record of naval busin These officials were known as the Navy Board. Anot official acted as President of the Board, under the t of Lieutenant of the Admiralty.*
The offices of Lord High Admiral and of the N Board were sometimes in commission, but this i serves to distinguish the two separate functions all more clearly. The supply system was doubtless of bad and insufficient—sometimes deplorably so; but insufficiency seems to have been due rather to the ine able limitations of the time than to any inherent def of principle. There can be little doubt that the conception attached to the office of the Lord H Admiral was that of general direction and command, that the work of supply-victualling, equipment, P clothing-was kept separate from it. All our old wi were fought under this dual organisation, in which Admiralty was responsible for the general direction, & the Navy Office for the maintenance and provision all the multifarious requirements of war. It was und this system that Hawke and Nelson fought; and it this system, in a modified form, which was fina adopted by Sir Eric Geddes and Lord Jellicoe in 1917 the result of experience gained in the recent war.
In 1832, when the memory of the French wars was ginning to fade, Sir James Graham merged the Admira
* This officer would have been in general charge of all administra or maintenance' functions; and the retention of the office might b served to remedy many of the subsequent defects in the system, but it into abeyance.
† The functions of the Principal Officers, for instance, were perfor by Commissioners from February 1619 to February 1628. The office of Lord High Admiral was in commission from September 1628 to March 1 The Principal Officers were again replaced by Navy Commissioners at outbreak of the Civil War by an ordinance of Sept. 15, 1642, and tu Commissioners continued till the Restoration. Nine Commissioners of Admiralty were similarly appointed by both Houses on Oct. 19, 1642.
and the Navy Board into one on the plea of economy and efficiency–a plea which seemed sound enough, and was made more plausible by the unsatisfactory working of the supply services.* This amalgamation was regarded as a master-stroke, but its real nature was not discerned. The Admiralty congratulated itself on swallowing up the Navy Board, but the work of the Navy Board swallowed up the real functions of the Admiralty. The successors of St Vincent became slaves of the lamp of administration and supply; and, to use a lowly analogy, the mistress of the house, because the range was out of order, installed herself in the kitchen to supervise the cook. The consequence can be traced in the naval literature of the 19th century, which is almost barren of any contribution to the science of naval war. The naval officer became more and more immersed in the business of peace administration; and the effect of the change was enormously accentuated as technical services multiplied.
Progress and development in the technical branches of naval knowledge had hitherto been relatively slow, but the advent of the steam engine, and what may be called the hydrocarbon era of industry, altered the whole aspect of affairs. Marine engineering thrust masts and yards into the background; ships and ordnance underwent an enormous change; technical crafts multiplied; the sciences of gunnery, torpedoes, hydraulics, electricity, and wireless telegraphy grew up almost in a night, and became transformed in a single decade. The naval officer of the past had aimed only at being a seaman. He now became imbued with the idea that it was his business to be a master of every craft practised on board a ship. The brains and talent of the service were mortgaged to the schools of gunnery and torpedoes † -schools very necessary in themselves, but represe ing only the technical branches of naval warf In this world of change and new fields of study th were, however, two factors which did not change. was human capacity, the other was time. The br could hold only a certain amount; the day was s only twenty-four hours long. The result was inevita The study of strategy and of staff work, which is business aspect of war, was ignored, while navigat and hydrography, which are the handmaids of strat and the real technical crafts of the sea, became · Cinderella' branches of the service, and for years w regarded with something like contempt.
* The faulty functioning of the supply services is remedied by reforming the supply services. If the Quartermaster General is inefficient, he must be replaced by one who is efficient. To make the Chief of the Staff do his work may remedy the evil, but it only introduces another-Who is going to do the work of the Chief of the Staff ?
* It is interesting to observe the casual way in which electrical engi. Leering became an adjunct of the torpedo branch. The first torpedo was cored, and fired by electricity when in contact with the enemy. Hence corpedoes became associated with electricity; and, as electrical science developed, the whole electrical service of the ship became an adjunct of the dorpedo officer, though the torpedo itself is driven by compressed air, and quite independently of electricity. But, while the torpedo officer was worrying over a fault in the dynamo, he was neglecting the study torpedo tactics and control.
Here again, if the evolution of these new techni branches be studied, the same neglect to distingu between the use of the instrument and its construct and maintenance will be found retarding progress a development. From 1870 to 1900 the gunnery lieutena concerned himself much more with the gun than w gunnery; and the gunnery that existed prior to the of Sir Percy Scott was a mere exercise entirely divor from reality, while the name of tactics was given certain quadrille movements, useful enough perhaps an exercise in handling ships, but with no earthly re tionship to gunfire or to the actual movements of a fi in battle. In the same way, the torpedo lieutenant spe his time in taking torpedoes to bits * and putting the together again, and had none left for the study of th use and tactical control in action.
The gunnery reform initiated by Sir Percy Scott abc 1897 marked the genesis of a new era. In Lord Fish a kinetic man, eruptive and disruptive, there glowed instinct for reform; but, though a big man, he lack perspective, and was a man of action, indisposed to stu a subject deeply and exhaustively. His early traini had wedded him to a system of centralisation; and was strongly opposed to the idea of staff organisatic There was something to be said for this view, for it m
* Not only the torpedo lieutenant. It is narrated of a distinguis Admiral of the Fleet that as a captain he would spend a spare forenoor stripping and assembling a torpedo.
be doubted whether a service which had wandered for forty years in the barren deserts of technical knowledge could supply the capital of intellect necessary for the conception and initiation of a naval staff on the scale of modern war. The brains of the navy had been mortgaged almost irretrievably to technical subjects; gunnery, torpedoes, wireless, and ship administration were all sufficiently studied, or at least received a large measure of attention, but in the spheres of strategy and tactics little
progress had been made.
It may be said with a large degree of truth that between 1830 and 1880 the words 'strategy' and 'tactics passed out of naval vocabulary and were lost. One or two men like Sir Geoffrey Hornby and Philip Colomb sought for them, but they were not to be found. The dawn of a new era came between 1880 and 1890, and found its first expression in the Intelligence Department, instituted about 1886, and later in the War College, which started about 1900. The development of these institutions would require a book in itself. The Intelligence Department was the forerunner of the Naval Staff, but it lacked a school of staff training, made no effort to compete with the great technical schools for the best brains of the community, neglected the vital principle of differentiation between Operations and Administration, and sank more and more into the position of a mere handmaid for the collection of data and the making of translations from the foreign press. The War College, which was started largely on the initiative of the late Rear-Admiral Henry May, supplied an element of organised instruction, but there was still no real Naval Staff; and the older admirals, wedded to the methods of individualism and centralisation, strongly opposed it.
The Agadir incident in 1911 revealed the bankruptcy of the no-staff system. Under the system of centralisaton a 'great plan' was concocted, possibly very remote from reality and entirely independent of the other great departments of State. It was kept carefully secret, ready to be revealed at the critical hour. The critical
It first appeared in the Navy List in 1887, but a Foreign Intelligence Branch had been started about 1883.