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seems to have overcome its pre-war coyness in approaching the question. The word "doctrine " is less alarming to the men who brought the army victorious out of the war than to the distinguished soldiers who had the responsibility for training it before the war, and who controlled its earlier operations. We now find that "Field Service Regulations, 1920 " opens with the words :
The army will be trained in peace and led in war in accordance with the doctrine contained in this volume. The principles of this doctrine should be so thoroughly impressed on the mind of every commander that, whenever he has to come to a decision in the field, he will instinctively give them their full weight.
The principles of war, from which the doctrine in "Field Service Regulations" derives, are defined in that bible of the army as being-maintenance of the objective, offensive action, surprise, concentration, security, economy of force, mobility and co-operation. There appears to be agreement throughout the three services as to the validity of the last seven of these eight principles and, for all practical purposes, the same interpretation is placed upon them. It is when we come to examine the teaching in respect of the first principle, the object or "maintenance of the objective" in war, that we are confronted with a sharp divergence of thought. The nature of this divergence and the reasoning upon which it is based call for careful examination, as disagreement on a principle so fundamental as the objective in war, if allowed to persist, is an intellectual barrier or chasm dividing the services and rendering difficult, if not impossible, true co-operation, especially that most vital of all aspects of cooperation which is involved in the preparation of operation schemes or war plans to govern the higher conduct of war by the British Empire. Men who disagree as to their object cannot very well produce a single coherent plan for attaining it: if they evolve one scheme it will be a compromise in the soundness of which some or none of them really believe; or they will submit to the deciding authority two or more plans, leaving it to that authority (in the case of the British Empire an uninstructed Cabinet of civilian statesmen) to make the final selection.
The nature of the danger to which the British Empire may be exposed in a future war from lack of agreement between the three services on this vital question can be gauged if we imagine
some future Cabinet turning for advice to a committee of chiefs of the staff composed of Admiral Sir Herbert Richmond, General Sir Edmond Ironside and Air-Marshal Brooke-Popham. All three are officers of such distinction, and speak with such authority in their own services, that the supposition the reader is asked to make is by no means far fetched. After all, each of these three officers has had entrusted to him the most responsible task that can fall to the lot of sailor, soldier or airman in time of peace that of moulding the minds and educating the thought of those carefully selected comrades of his own profession, who are destined to form the higher command in future wars. There is no place for le bon général ordinaire at the head of a Staff College. Not only was Marshal Foch once Commandant of the École Supérieure de Guerre, but two former Commandants of the Staff College at Camberley, Field-Marshal Sir William Robertson and FieldMarshal Sir Henry Wilson, were in turn chiefs of the Imperial General Staff in the greatest war the British Empire has yet waged. It does not require any great strain on the imagination to anticipate the possibility that in a future and greater war the fate of the Empire may depend on the advice given to the government of the day by the three officers whose thoughts on war are presented to us in the collection of lectures assembled by Sir George Aston. Let us see what they have to tell us and endeavour to form some estimate of the nature and quality of their thinking on war.
General Ironside begins his lecture by telling his hearers in the words of "Field Service Regulations," that: "War can be brought to a successful conclusion only by the defeat of the enemy's armed forces and the destruction of his powers of resistAt first sight this statement appears to be a challenge to the naval conception of war which governed the conduct of the Grand Fleet in the late war, if that conception is embodied in Lord Jellicoe's book, "The Grand Fleet, 1914-16." He there defines under four headings the main objects for which our navy exists. The first, a defensive object, "is to ensure for British ships the unimpeded use of the sea.' The second, "to bring steady economic pressure to bear on our adversary by denying to him the use of the sea, thus compelling him to accept peace." The other two refer to over-sea movements of troops and are beside the present point. Of these two main objects, that which envisages the enemy's defeat points to its attainment by the slow
method of economic pressure. The destruction of the enemy's naval armed force is not noted as one of the four main objects for which our navy exists. It is dealt with subsequently in a paragraph, which reads:
The above objects are achieved in the quickest and surest manner by destroying the enemy's armed naval forces, and this is therefore the first objective of our fleet.
The tremendous moral and political effect of destroying the enemy's armed naval forces is not referred to: such "effect" as is aimed at is "economic," although the author goes on to say in his next sentence: "The fleet exists to achieve victory." So, victory itself is only to lead to an eventual economic effect. The passage quoted from Lord Jellicoe's book does not embody the doctrine of war of the navy in 1914, as at that time there was none, but it does present the doctrine held by an influential school of thought.
Admiral Richmond, after reminding his hearers that “sea warfare is one of the branches of warfare, action at sea is not something distinct from, something unrelated to, the other activities of war," in a few closely reasoned paragraphs effects a synthesis between General Ironside's conception of war on land and the conception of war at sea now held in the navy. He says:
The operations of the sea forces constitute a course of action to attain the object of the whole of the fighting force, of which they are a part. The operations of the whole fighting forces are themselves a course of action to attain a national object-the object for which the nation went to war. What is that object? That object is to compel the enemy nation to compliance, to force them to accept a solution of some difference against their will.
Compliance is compelled by the imposition of hardship. In the long run, that which obliges one nation to surrender claims, which it considers vital to its national existence or security, is the hardship it will suffer if it does not surrender. Although surrender follows the defeat of the fighting forces, it is not the loss of so many tons of wood or steel called "ships," or so many hundred thousands, or even millions, of men out of the millions of the population that causes surrender, but the results that follow from their loss.
Compliance can be compelled by interruption of essential external lines of supply and distribution. The degree to which a nation is dependent on the external lines by sea is the measure of efficiency of sea warfare against that objective. Though I must speak with diffidence of land warfare, I suggest there is an analogy. The overthrow of the armies is usually followed by surrender, not because of
the actual loss of men, but because the nation is thereby defenceless. The life of a nation is largely made up in activities of production and distribution loss of defence places the means of production and distribution in the hands of the enemy. To stave off occupation and its ills, the nation, when its armies are defeated, surrenders, in order to avoid the greater ills which occupation would entail. Ludendorff, in October, 1918, wished to continue fighting when he heard President Wilson's suggested terms. "Could the terms be harder than they promise to be?" he asked. "Oh, yes," replied the Chancellor," they might invade Germany and lay waste the country.'
He goes on to point out that the immediate object of a fleet is to disable the enemy's naval force," using the word 'disable' in its widest sense of rendering it unable to oppose; and to that object, attention must be exclusively directed" in order to obtain ultimate command of the sea with all that flows therefrom. In short, Admiral Richmond, and the teaching of the Royal Naval War College, are at one with General Ironside and the teaching of the Staff College, in taking as the main military objective in war the destruction in battle of the enemy's forces. He utters a much needed warning when he goes on to emphasise this point by reminding us that :
The national debt would be smaller to-day if [in the late war] principles, established by long experience and supported by plain logic, had governed action. And principles were never more in need than at the present moment, when warfare has extended into the air. The air definitely modifies the question of defence of territory from oversea military attack, but does not alter the principles.
It is here that Admiral Richmond and General Ironside part company from their colleague who addressed the University of London on the subject of air warfare.
Air Vice-Marshal Brooke-Popham prefaces his exposition of air warfare by an examination of the object of war, which he defines as an act of violence to break an opponent's will-power. He goes on to say :
There was a period when the will-power was that of one individual -namely, a king's; at other periods, it was the will of a small body of individuals, powerful barons, a Cabinet, and so forth; but this has now been changed by social and economic developments. Every individual in a nation is directly affected by war and at the same time his power to hinder or to stop a war has increased, in fact no Government now can enter on or continue a war unless the majority of the people are in favour of such a course. It is the will of the people
as a whole that continues or stops a war, and consequently it is the will-power of the enemy people that must now be broken in order to win.
Before the advent of air-power the chief means of bringing force to bear upon an enemy nation was through an army or a navy, the former acting ultimately by occupation of the enemy country, the latter by control of oversea communications.
Now, how can an air force be used by itself to bring pressure to bear upon an enemy people? It is by attacking such targets as will most affect the enemy's will and power to continue the war; in fact, what one may term the enemy's vital centres. Attacks may be made on large towns with the deliberate object of terrorising the inhabitants. But this method is attended by certain disadvantages, of which the ultimate moral effect on the attacking nation itself is not the least. Perhaps, on the analogy of the attack on the system of command of an army, the main objective should be the centre of government; for, deprive a nation of its controlling brain and the conduct of war becomes impossible. Or we may attack the centres of transportation, supply, water or lighting systems; in fact, such targets as are most essential to the normal life of the enemy people. If we can bring about a continued dislocation of that normal life, their position will become so intolerable that the people will submit to any conditions of peace.
Having parted company with his naval and military colleagues in substituting the unproved factor of psychological pressure, or "frightfulness," for the well-proved factor of economic pressure by blockade or occupation as his object, the Air Vice-Marshal goes on to say :
This leads to another problem. An army cannot proceed to occupy enemy territory until it has disposed of the hostile army; a navy cannot effectively control sea communications until it has disposed of the enemy navy. Will an air force have to follow the same principle and dispose of the enemy air force before it can proceed to attack the enemy's vital centres? The answer is that it will not.
This contention is supported by argument to show that the air forces of a defender cannot take up a position to compel the attacker to fight or else abandon his object, owing to the limitations of the petrol capacity of aircraft, which leads the lecturer to the conclusion that: "In fact, fighting in the air on a large scale only takes place by accident or by mutual consent." Although he admits that there will be much fighting in the air, amounting to a continuous struggle, for local and temporary superiority, he is careful to point out that " there will be nothing corresponding