HOW CAN THE EFFICIENCY OF FIELD BATTERIES OF THE ORGANIZED MILITIA BE INCREASED?






Publication: Fires
Date published: January 1, 2011

The recent report of the Chief of Staff of the Army contains the following:

"MILITIA

"The field artillery is specially in need of this assistance from the National Government. Because of the absence of this assistance the instruction of this arm is far from satisfactory. Indeed, speaking in a general way, we may say that it is, with the exception of a few batteries, practically uninstructed infield duty and wholly unprepared for service. The gravity of this situation becomes evident when it is remembered that in both the regular army and the militia the field artillery falls far below its proper proportion with respect to the other arms."

"MOBILE ARMY

"Field Artillery - The existing deficiency in the field artillery constitutes one of the greatest menaces to our country in case of war. ****** Under the heading 'Militia' the condition of militia field artillery has been stated. It is, with the exception of a few good batteries, very unsatisfactory."

These remarks of an officer in a position to know whereof he speaks disclose a serious situation, and at once suggest the question. "Is there any remedy for this, and, if so, what is it?"

The writer of this article has heard some officers of the regular army (fortunately not many) state that militia batteries can never be made effective. But he does not share this opinion. Rather, the writer believes that the American can accomplish anything within reason, and that to be an efficient field artilleryman comes within this category; that it is merely necessary to provide the American with time and facilities and he will accomplish his object. But the writer does not believe that the American, any more than the man of any other nationality, can accomplish the impossible. And yet it looks as though, under the present conditions, this is exactly the task we have set for the militia field artilleryman.

To determine the remedy to correct a general defect, we must analyze the latter into its specific elements, and then we are in a position to apply specific remedies, to be definite in our statements and, accordingly, an attempt is made in the following pages to carry out this procedure. This will involve at least a hasty glance at the subject in its entirety, from which we pass to details.

Relation Between Field Artillery and Infantry

The old aphorism, "the infantry is the Army," is still true, but fire action has, in recent years, so developed that unaided infantry can no longer advance.

The volume and range fire from the magazine rifle, the use of smokeless powder, and the evolution of the rapid-fire, indirect laying, shielded field gun, have so modified battlefield conditions that movements in the open of infantry in close order have become practically impossible, and the old battlefield pictures of troops maneuvering on the field gave place in the last war (the far east) to an "empty battlefield."

Nowadays, troops in the presence of each other burrow like moles to escape observation and to secure protection from fire. If we assume for a moment the action of advancing infantry, which is necessarily more or less exposed, against entrenched infantry, neither side being assisted by artillery, we find that, theoretically, the loss on each side should be in proportion to the amount of surface exposed, or about as 5 to 1. Practically, it has been found that the ratio is much greater. For, in reality, a man under cover can hardly be reached by the flat trajectory of the small-arm; to do so requires an accuracy of fire which infantry cannot hope to attain under the conditions and emotions of the battlefield. It therefore becomes necessary for the advancing force to receive further assistance than its own rifles to enable it to hold down the fire of the defenders. This is accomplished by the artillery, which, by bursting shrapnel in the air near the enemy's trenches, reaches the personnel behind the trenches, thus preventing these men from rising to fire. Either side being provided with artillery, the other side must also be so provided, for only artillery can effectively combat artillery; the infantry bullet is harmless against artillery shields, even if it reaches them in the concealed positions which are now recognized as the rule throughout the world. Holding down the enemy's infantry and artillery fire by our artillery enables our own infantry to advance. In addition, only the heavier projectiles of the artillery can remove or destroy material obstacles in the way of our advancing infantry. The result of these conditions is a greater dependence of the infantry on its artillery.

In addition to the material result which the artillery thus accomplishes, this armis well known to furnish the greatest possible moral support to the infantry. This fact is recognizedby all authorities, and with the greater nervous tension on the infantry, due to modern warfare conditions, the need for moral support has also increased; again, the more untrained the infantry, the greater the need for moral support. Hence, while the field artilleiy is always auxiliaiy to the infantry, it has become a vital, essential, and indispensable adjunct. Such a thing as a large force of infantiy without artillery has now become inconceivable; it would not be worth placing in the field!

The union between infantiy and artilleiy is so close that in all modern armies the two arms are closely associated intime of peace as well as in war, and the drill regulations of each arm contain copious references to the action of the other arm. In Germany, when "the line" is spoken of, infantiy and artilleiy are meant, all other troops being regarded as auxiliary but these two being always classed together. This intimate relation between infantiy and field artilleiy is not generally understood in the United States.

Field Artillery in Foreign Armies

The increasing importance attached to field artilleiy in foreign armies is shown by the following statement of the number of field (light, horse, and mountain)batteries maintained in 1 909. The figures are from Von Loebell's reports, and only the active standing army is considered.

Germany ............................................... has over 570 batteries

France ................................................... has 631 batteries

Russia ................................................... has 549 batteries

Austro-Hungary .................................... has 325 batteries

As an indication of the strength in field artilleiy of minorpowers, the following is given (the figures are for the year 1909):

Brazil ................................................................... 64 batteries

Bulgaria ............................................................... 90 batteries

Belgium ............................................................... 34 batteries

Chili ..................................................................... 22 batteries

Sweden ................................................................ 54 batteries

The United States has but 36 batteries in its standing army.

From another source of information, believed to be even more correct than the foregoing, it is learned that the following is the number of guns maintained in the standing army in peace of each of the countries mentioned:

France ............................................................................ 2,936

Germany ........................................................................ 3,866

Austria ........................................................................... 1,854

Russia ............................................................................ 4,432

England (in regular army) .............................................. 1,170

(in territorial army) ......................................... 1,000

Italy ................................................................................. 1,470

Mexico ................................................................................ 176

Japan ....................................................................... 954 light

" ................................................................................ 220 heavy

United States ....................................................... 144, including mountain, light, horse, and heavy.

No comment would seem to be necessary as to our inadequate number of guns.

Classification of Guns

Not only has the proportion of artilleiy to other arms considered necessaiy with the army been greatly increased in recent years, but there has also been a corresponding development of classes of artilleiy in order, so to speak, to obtain a tool adapted to each class of work. Briefly stated, field artillery is of the following classes:

1. Mountain, light, or horse artilleiy.

2. Heavy field artillery.

In each class there is both a gun and howitzer, the latter intended by its curved fire to supplement the direct fire of its corresponding gun. These classes of artilleiy are part of the mobile army. They exist in time of peace, are horsed and equipped at all times, possess enough mobility to accompany an army, and according to all authorities may be expected to be present on eveiy battlefield.

After heavy artilleiy comes siege artilleiy, or position artilleiy, this being a class which is brought up to the front for particular occasions, is not permanently horsed, requires special platforms or anchorages, and is handled by fortress artilleiymen. These fortress artilleiymen, a class not existing in the United States, garrison the land frontier forts, which are equipped with much lighter guns than our coast forts.

Another special class of artilleiy that is being developed is for the attack of balloons. But all aeronautical matters can well be left in abeyance until more pressing needs are provided for in the United States.

Our own Ordnance Department, is keeping abreast of developments of artilleiy abroad; has designedforthe United States field artilleiy the following guns:

1. 3 -inch mountain gun, throwing a fifteen-pound projectile, and to be carried by pack transportation.

2. 3-inchfield artilleiy, light, thro wingafifteen-poundprojectile, and with about 4,000 pounds behind the horses. This gun is

3. An intermediate gun, throwing a thirty -pound projectile, and with about 5,000 pounds behind the horses.

4. A howitzer of the same caliber and firing a projectile of the same weight, and with about 4,000 pounds behind the horses.

5. A4.7-inch heavy field gun,throwing a sixty-pound projectile, and with about 8,000 pounds behind the horses.

6. Alight howitzer, of the same caliber and throwing aprojectile of the same weight, and with about 5,000 pounds behind the horses.

7. Aheavy field howitzer, 6-inch caliber, throwing a 1 20-pound projectile, and with about 8,000 pounds behind the horses.

With the exception of the thirty -pound gun and howitzer, there is no question but that all of the above calibers are essential and should now be in commission.

It is understood that a heavier gun than any of the above is being designed for siege purposes but to which branch of the artilleiy - field or coast - it will be assigned is unknown to the writer.

Of all of the above mentioned field artilleiy guns and howitzers, there are actually in service at the present time only the 3 -inch light gun. It is understood that the mountain gun will soon be placed in service and also the 4.7-inch gun, but the latter only at the cost of withdrawing a corresponding number of 3 -inch guns.

It is important that all of these types of guns and howitzers be placed in service in order that their drill regulations may be prepared and that troops may become more or less familiar with the use of this ordnance before actually taking the field. The importance of these guns and howitzers to the mobile army is not generally understood in the United States.

Shortage of Field Artillery in the United States

The thirty regiments of regular infantry will form three and one-third divisions, requiring under the Field Service Regulations six and two-thirds regiments of light and mountain artillery; there are in existence five regiments of this artillery.

The fifteen regiments of cavalry will supply cavalry for the divisions mentioned above, and also enough for a cavalry division requiring one regiment of horse artillery; there is one regiment of horse artillery in existence.

The three and one-third infantry divisions will require three and one-third battalions of heavy field artillery; there are none in existence. Of the tenregiments of field artillery that are now required, therefore, for divisions which may be formed from existing infantry and cavalry, we have but six in existence. There are enough militia infantry regiments to form about sixteen divisions requiring thirtytwo regiments, or 192 batteries of light and mountain artillery; there are in existence fifty-one batteries. These divisions would require sixteen battalions of heavy field artillery; there are none in existence.

The regular army, therefore, contains about one-half as much artillery as is needed for the regular infantry and cavalry, and the militia contains about one-fifth or one-sixth as much artillery as it needs for existing infantry.

Bearing in mind the close relationship existingbetween infantry and field artillery, it may be said that the fighting value of unaided or inadequately supported infantry increases in direct proportion to the number of regiments only up to a certain point; beyond this each added regiment of the infantry adds a lessening proportion of increased strength. The forces of the United States have long since passed the point of maximum value, and, with our poorly proportioned army (both regular and militia, considered together or separately), we have now reached the point where the strength of the army can be most effectively increased by favoring in effort and money organizations of field artillery rather than of other arms. In other words, our critical shortage of field artillery should lead us to strain every point to bring what we have to the highest attainable efficiency and then to create more of this arm.

Efficiency of Present Militia Batteries

Of the fifty-one batteries of the militia now in existence (last report Chief of Division of Militia Affairs), only forty -four are equipped with the 3 -inch rapid-fire guns. Of these forty -four batteries, very few have any real or potential efficiency in them under present conditions. As an illustration of the character of the average militia battery, the following extracts from the inspection reports of the last inspection of seventeen batteries are given:

1. Recruited from element of doubtful character.

2. Efficiency as field artillery almost nullified.

3. About sixty -five per cent consists of recruits of about four months' service.

4. Present efficiency is very low and fire discipline very indifferent.

5. Efficiency low; service of pieces slow and fire discipline indifferent.

6. Fire control and direction very poor.

7. Average knowledge of guns and service not high.

8. Battery demoralized.

9. Privates not thoroughly informed as to duties of cannoneers.

10. Menpossess fair knowledgeof standing gun drill, butofficers are in need of much instruction, particularly conduct of fire.

11. Could not as field artillery be expected to go anywhere.

12. At present know little about field artillery.

13. Battery as a whole inefficient and lacks interest.

14. Very slow at drill; not efficient, captain lacks knowledge of drill regulations.

15. Not at present efficient.

16. Command is far from field service efficiency.

17. Officers not up to requirements in instrumental work and handling firing data.

The inefficient condition of state batteries is not generally appreciated by state authorities.

Hasty Improvisation

The relation of field artillery to the other arms, its importance to them, and the internal difficulties in organizing, equipping and handling it, have neverbeen understood or appreciated in the United States. There still exists to some extent the opinion that this arm can be improvised or hastily created upon the outbreak of war. This opinion, always ill-founded, is absolutely wrong to-day.

Misunderstanding as to the field artillery in the Civil War led General Hunt, Chief of Artillery in the Army of the Potomas, in his final report, dated June 5, 1865, to state:

"I do not hesitate to state that the field artillery of this army (Potomae), although not inferior to any in our service, has been from one-third to one-half less efficient than it ought to have been, while it has cost from one-third to one-half more money than there was any necessity for."

But artillery conditions in that war were simple as compared to present requirements. The guns were mostly smooth-bore, the range was short, the laying appliances were extremely simple, and the principal work in fighting the guns consisted merely in getting them on the line and then firing almost point blank. There were no mathematical computations of firing data; there was no shrapnel fire to adjust in three directions; there was no sheaf of fire to manipulate there were no delicate, accurate instrumental scales to set, bubbles to center, etc., as there now are. Such targets as could be reached were at short range and quite visible; consequently no elaborate training in observation and communication was necessary for the personnel.

At the present time, both in the War Department and in the militia of the several states, field artillery is theoretically on the same footing as other arms. In the militia, a company is largely regarded as a company, whether under the designation of company, troop, or battery. As a matter of fact, the field artillery is worse off than the other arms, because there is an actual hostility among the states against the arm, partially due to lack of understanding and partially to the cost of maintaining it.

The result is, that we are drifting along the same way as before the Civil War; but the consequences of such drifting will be more disastrous in the next war, for the requirements to obtain efficiency in field artillery are now much greater than they were then. It is now absolutely out of the question to obtain efficient field artillery by hasty improvisation. It will be long after our existing infantry and auxiliary arms, other than field artillery, have taken the field before any artillery support canbe obtained from batteries organized or created at the outbreak of war. That we are now sadly lacking in artillery for our existing infantry and cavalry has already been pointed out.

Proof of the statement that a long time is now required to obtain efficient field artillery is seen in the recent war in the far east. The Russians had a gun that overmatched the Japanese in eveiy respect - range, flatness of trajectory, rapidity of fire, and weight of projectile - yet it was not until after the first year of the war that the Russian artilleiy could cope with the Japanese or furnish its infantiy the support the Japanese gun furnished its infantiy from the very first battle. This was due simply to the fact that the Russians were unfamiliar with their gun, it being a new one issued to them at the outbreak of the war and one with which they had never practiced. And in this connection two things must be borne in mind: First, the Russians were already organized, possessing artilleiy knowledge, and not ignorant untrained men as would be the case in hastily raised batteries in the United States; and second, the gun it took the Russians months and months to learn even in war was far more simple than the present rapid-fire gun with which all nations are now equipped. The Russians, themselves, since the war, have adopted the true rapid-fire gun the use of which is based on radically different principles from that of its predecessors and requires an immensely increased amount of training to utilize its inherent powers.

The amount of training required to obtain an effective firing batteiy is not generally understood in the United States.

Resume

An attempt has been made in the foregoing pages to briefly present the field artilleiy situation in the United States. It may be summed up as follows:

1. Considering only existing regiments of infantiy, there is about one-sixth enough field artilleiy to support these regiments.

2. This shortage of field artilleiy would in real war veiy largely negative the efficiency of the infantiy.

3 . Infailing to make adequate artilleiy provision, we are pursuing a policy diametrically opposed to the rest of the civilized world, or rather, we are neglecting to have a policy.

4. The absolute dependency of large masses of infantiy upon its artilleiy is not generally understood in the United States.

5. There will appear against us in any large war special classes of ordnance with which we cannot cope unless we previously get into service the same classes of ordnance, now being manufactured by our Ordnance Department.

6. Of the existing militia field artilleiy, alarge part has practically no efficiency at present.

7. The artilleiy deficiency cannot be overcome by hastily improvising batteries when the emergency arises.

In the preceding remarks, no attempt has been made to entertain certain other important field artilleiy considerations from which we suffered during the Civil War, such as higher organization and ammunition supply, but attention has been concentrated on our present policy of maintaining an inadequate quota of this arm.

Specific Defects in Militia Batteries

By passing now from a consideration of our generally deplorable condition to the specific defects in existing units of the organized militia, we can determine the cause of these defects and hence the remedies to be applied.

Of the two actions in battle, shock and fire, the latter long ago became the predominating one. Field artilleiy is the highest development of fire action. It applie s machine and mechanical action more than any other arm. It has no action except fire. But it cannot fire until it gets into its firing position. To get there it must be able to march. Marching is the combined work of men and horses.

Untrained horses may have to be used in war; but an untrained driver on an untrained horse is a poor combination for moving a heavy load. At present drivers are untrained, due to lack of horses with which driving can be learned. But before a man can drive well, which involves managing two horses, he must be a sufficiently good rider to be able to devote his undivided attention to his pair without the necessity of devoting attention to his riding. Hence, before he can learn to drive he must learn to ride. There is no known way of learning to ride except by mounting a horse, and, as states make practically no provision for horses, the drivers are as a rule poor riders.

Again, whenpairs of horses are combined into a six-horse team, the difficulty of management is further increased. It is not generally appreciated in the service, muchless in the United States at large, that a great deal of training is necessary to make a good artilleiy driver out of a good rider or other horseman. Moreover, in the marching and maneuvering of artillery, there enters not only the skill of the individual drivers, but in addition the noncommissioned officers and the officers must possess knowledge as to the management of the horses. This knowledge is not possessed at the present time, nor can it be acquired without the presence of horses.

It is true that at maneuvers, militia batteries, as a rule, manage, ultimately, with their untrained men and horses, to get into position; but it is equally true that usually this is done too slowly and too confusedly to be of use in campaign. And the only reason they are able to do this even in peace is on account of having empty ammunition chests. Filling the caisson with ammunition as in campaign adds 90 per cent to its weight, and under this latter condition the average militia batteiy could neither maintain its place in a marching column nor get into its firing position. All of these deficiencies are manifestly due to lack of horses.

Working horses canbe maintained in condition only by properly fitted and adjusted harness; but to learn to fit and adjust harness requires horses. Furthermore, horses canbe maintained in serviceable condition in the field only by proper care; but without horses in time of peace the proper care of them will not be learned. It is safe to assume that if the men have not learned in peace how to care for horses, the latter will receive scant attention in campaign, with the result that the batteiy will soon be immobilized.

Hence, the first class of deficiencies is:

(a) Poor riding.

(b) Poor driving.

(c) Poor management of six-horse teams.

(d) Ignorance as to fitting and adjusting harness and saddles.

(e) Ignorance as to stable duty and care of horses.

The remedy is, to have in the batteiy sufficient horses for instruction purposes. In the veiy few brilliant exceptions, where the batteiy maintains a nucleus of horses, the defects herein stated do not exist to any appreciable degree, conclusively proving that militia batteries can acquire and apply the necessary knowledge connected with the horse part of the batteiy if given the requisite facilities.

And it must be borne in mind that if we include horses in the facilities we must include mento care for them. The number of men need not be great (anywhere from five to twenty), but they should be permanently enlisted in the batteiy, should care for the horses and be proficient in all matters properly pertaining to the duties of an enlisted man; they could thus also act as instructors and would form a nucleus of trained men that would make its influence felt in leavening the mass of other men that might at any time be taken into the battery.

Hence, the first need can be summed up by saying it is a nucleus of trained men and horses.

It is frequently assumed that of the two essential features of field artillery (the horse or marching part and the gun or firing part) the former at present is, for the militia, the weaker end in efficiency. Actually this is not the case. Militia batteries are no more efficient in delivering an effective fire than in marching; in fact, they are probably less efficient. Efficiency in firing is wholly the work of the personnel, commissioned and enlisted; and, with the notable exception of a very few batteries, there is now a total lack of adequate instruction in this work. As a rule, the officers have not sufficient knowledge of reconnaissance to reconnoiter an approach and select a suitable position and install the battery thereinfor firing. This is important, for if struck by fire when limbered the battery is practically helpless, as it cannot, as can infantry, conceal itself by lying down in a fold of the ground. To assist the captain, there are providedby the Drill Regulations "Informationand Communication details." These are at present untrained; generally they have never even been appointed. Some officers do not even know the firing commands, many do not know how to compute firing data, and very few are able to manipulate the sheaf of fire. Some of these defects in officers are due to lack of instruction. In some cases they are due to lack of elementary education, the officer being unable to use a simple formula involving algebraic signs.

But, aside from the question of efficiency of the officers of a battery, they cannot deliver an effective fire without properly instructed enlisted personnel. That a battery is a firing machine is the conception of the present rapid-fire gun. The machine sows a selected area with shrapnel balls by turning a rafale on it, the density of balls per square yard being adapted to the situation existing; the desired result accomplished, the sheaf of fire is shifted to another target. This conception is essential, for troops now present only fleeting targets. The idea is entirely opposed to the old one (which was suitable to oldertypes of ordnance) of an aggregate of individual guns keeping up a continuous bombardment. Rapidity and accuracy in the setting of instruments is essential to the working of the firing machine . The se requisites do not, as a rule, exist at present. Occasionally a battery is found that has accuracy, but it is thought that not over three batteries in the United States combine accuracy with rapidity. To secure this combination, the Drill Regulations subdivide the work of loading and laying so that each man has only one or two things to do; but, necessarily, this subdivision of labor makes each man dependent upon every other. Nowhere is the necessity for cooperation so vital as in the field artillery. One man failing to do his part will delay or negative one gun - that is, 25 per cent of the battery. Hence the necessity for a high degree of training in the individual man of the gun squad. In addition, the captain adjusts his fire by corrections based on observations of rounds just fired. If the gun detachment is inaccurate in its work, the firing is erratic, the captain never gets his fire adjusted, and, therefore, it will never be effective; hence, the net result will be merely a waste of ammunition - and waste of a round of ammunition in field artillery is very different from a waste of one round of small-arms ammunition.

Batteries capable of delivering an effective fire adapted to the tactical situation are vital to the infantry; a battery incapable of delivering such a fire will be at best merely a useless expense and an annoyance, and may be an actual impediment and source of weakness requiring assistance from other arms to extricate it or possibly save it from capture. Abattery canbe capable of delivering an effective fire only when each individual enlisted man in it is thoroughly trained, when the entire personnel is trained to work together, and when the captain is a master in handling the machine thus created and in skillfully manipulating the sheaf of fire delivered by the machine. Failure in any part of these requisites causes the machine to break down, and the very rapidity of fire of the gun will result within a few minutes in wasting the entire ammunition carried, for all the ammunition carried with a battery at war strength can be fired away in about half an hour.

The proper training of the personnel in all that relates to fire can be accomplished in militia batteries, but it requires facilities and opportunities, time and money. These requisites do not at present exist, and hence the untrained condition of the personnel. These requisites are considered below:

(a) Facilities and opportunities for drill and practice.

As stated in the last report of the Chief of Division of Militia Affairs, instruction commences with that of the armory and passes up through the state encampment to the culmination in combined maneuvers. But at present, according to inspection reports, (see report Chief of Division of Militia Affairs), the armories are, as a rule, inadequate and poorly adapted for the purpose. The armory, or foundation part of the scheme, being defective, naturally the whole structure falls to the ground. An armory should be large enough to permit placing the four guns in line for instruction in the firing battery, and as most of the drilling is done at night the armory should be so lighted that the scales and bubbles on sights, etc., canbe easily read. In addition, there should be a clear space in rear of the gun for the erection of aiming points, and space enough in front for firing sub-caliber cartridges, with a suitable back stop. The armory should also contain a riding ring, or there should be one available and conveniently located. Assuming that suitable armories have been erected in which the appropriate elementary indoor instruction for both officers and men has been held, both mounted and dismounted, the state encampments would afford facilities for carrying this instruction to the next higher degree; but these should be artillery encampments, in order that the batteries may receive necessary instruction in the technique of artillery and not be required to participate in combined problems for which they are at present wholly unready and which divert them from vastly more necessary work. State troops armed with the small-arm go into camp annually and hold target practice, and in addition the law provides each regiment and separate battalion with an inspector of small-arm practice; yet, for the field artillery, which has no action except fire, there is no such requirement, and no provision for firing instructors. It is an absolute impossibility to obtain fire efficiency in the field artillery under these conditions. Batteries should be required to hold target practice as soon as they have reached such a degree of development as will render such firing instructive to them. Many have not yet reached this stage, and many never will unless more encouragement is given in the future than in the past.

Finally, as has already been indicated, the field artillery officer requires a high degree of training, and to assist him in this respect the special elementary summer school established at Fort Riley last June should be maintained until each and every militia officer outgrows it. After that, they should attend the proposed School of Fire at Fort Sill, under provisions and regulations that need not be considered now.

Of immediate assistance toward securing a better standard and in preparing the batteries for their summer encampment and for target practice, would be the detail to each battery so desiring it of a noncommissioned officer from the regular field artillery. This simple act would require no legislation, would involve but slight expense, and is believed to be desired by numerous battery commanders. This noncommissioned officer should be used entirely as an instructor and not as a laborer, clerk or caretaker of the armory. Classes should be ordered to Fort Riley (which seems to be our field artilleiy center of information) for a special course of instruction prior to being detailed to militia batteries, and should be given a course of instruction relating exclusively to field artilleiy and calculated to make them of the maximum value to the militia of that arm; and finally, the men should be obtained by increasing the number of noncommissioned officers in certain regular batteries, which can now be done under the law. This would work no hardship on regular batteries.

But the capacity of a noncommissioned officer is limited, and, therefore, his instruction should be supplemented by that of regular field artilleiy officers. While ultimately there should be one such officer to each group of from three to six batteries, at present details should be limited, because of shortage of officers, to one to each of the Departments of the Lakes and the Gulf and two to the Department of the East. The first contains 10, the second 5, and the third 19 batteries, the first and third together comprising over one-half the militia field artilleiy of the United States.

The second detail (Department of the Gulf) is recommended on account of the very backward condition of the batteries stationed therein. It is not believed that four officers could be assigned to any other duty in which their services would be of equal value to the United States. But they should be carefully selected, and should be almost continuously at one batteiy or another. They can do but little good if merely stationedatDepartment Headquarters. Personal contact and instruct are needed, not written communications. It is idle to think that field artilleiy will ever be made efficient without supplying competent instructors to the national guard.

(b) Time and money.

Although it is not generally recognized, it is a fact that much more canbe done even with the present lack of facilities than is being done toward securing efficiency. There is a great deal of instruction that canbe given without enlarging the present armories or requiring horses. Reference is had to the training of officers in computing firing data and manipulating the sheaf, and to the instruction of the specialists (information and communication details). It is merely necessary for these men to go out in the countiy a few miles, taking with them such instruments and appliances as can be carried by hand. A ride on the trolley will generally take them into the open countiy where they can secure the desired practice. But this work will have to be done in the daytime, and most of the personnel are engaged during that time in making a living. If these men could be gotten out for one or two afternoons a week, a course that would double or treble the present efficiency of the whole organization in a short time could be laid out. But the men cannot in general be expected to be absent from their daily vocations unless they are at least partially compensated for their loss. This necessary training cannot be secured in an armory at night. Granting, therefore, that to secure efficiency a certain amount of instruction must be given in the daytime, and that daytime instruction cannot be secured without compensation, the question arises, where is the money to come from? The number of field artilleiy officers in any state is so small as compared with the infantiy and other officers, and the demand from all sources for money is so great, that the field artilleiy cannot make its voice heard. Were the infantiy thoroughly conversant with the absolute necessity for field artillery support, the infantiy would itself insist on more adequate training of the field artilleiy. But only a large engagement in actual campaign will make the question of support understood. Then there will be a demand from one end of the land to the other for artilleiy. Field artilleiy officers generally complain that they cannot get enough money to even approximately enable them to secure efficiency. It is a notable fact that one batteiy of the middle Atlantic states, which secures a large annual sum of money and has special opportunities in the management of its finances, compares very favorably with the regular artilleiy. The only solution, then, is a special and distinct appropriation for field artilleiy. This will have to come from either the states, individually, or from the United States, or partly from each. Butto get the states themselves to make a distinct field artilleiy appropriation is regarded as hopeless. There would be too much opposition, and to sufficiently educate public sentiment in each state would be the work of years during which the field artilleiy would remain in its present inefficient condition. Moreover, there is at the present time a feeling that this is a distinctly national arm, unsuited to state police purpose, and that it is not right to ask the state for liberal appropriations for it. Whether this sentiment is right or wrong, it exists and must be reckoned with. Therefore, the only remedy is forthe federal government to make such an appropriation.

The second class of deficiencies, therefore, is:

1. Inadequately trained enlisted personnel in firing duties.

2. Untrained condition of enlisted specialists.

3. Untrained condition of officers in using specialists.

4. Untrained condition of officers in handling firing batteiy.

5. Untrained condition of officers in computing firing data; in some cases insufficient elementaiy education to learn the work.

6. Inadequate armoiy facilities for instruction.

7. Lack of target practice.

8. Lack of instructors, noncommissioned and commissioned.

9. Lack of daylight instruction.

10. Lack of financial support.

And all of these could be remedied by a sufficient appropriation and by the detail of a few officers and men of the regular field artilleiy.

Conclusion

The steps to be taken to secure greater efficiency in batteries of the organized militia, mentioned in the order of ease with which they can be taken and the advantages that would accrue, are:

1. Continuing to hold annually the elementaiy instruction camp for officers at Fort Riley,

2. Detailing a class of field artilleiy sergeants, similar to that prescribed in General Orders, No. 60, War Department, series of 1909, by increasing the strength of certain batteries in the United States field artilleiy, the class to consist of about 35 men, to report at Fort Riley, Kansas, for a course of instruction somewhat similar to that prescribed by Circular, No. 29, War Department, series of 1909, but specially designed to meet the needs of the field artilleiy. Upon completion of the course the men would be assigned to such batteries as governors of states may request.

3. Detail of a suitable field artilleiy officer of the regular army for duty in each of the Departments of the Lakes and the Gulf and two to the Department of the East, under suitable instructions to the commanders thereof. These officers should be traveling instructors, the matter of dates and details to be arranged by correspondence between the department commander and the governors of states concerned; the number of officers so detailed to be increased later, as circumstances demand and conditions require, and all officers so detailed to be in touch with the central militia authorities in Washington.

4. Provisionforthe attendance of militia field artillery officers at the proposed School of Fire at Fort Sill, under such restrictions as the War Department may impose, suchforinstance as the states defraying a part or all of the cost of such officer's attendance; and admission to the school might be extended to only those officers who, by previous examinational the Fort Riley instruction camp, are found to be sufficiently advanced to profit by the course at Fort Sill.

5. The passage by Congress of an appropriation act for the specific purpose of developing the field artillery of the organized militia, the appropriation to be expended, not according to Congressional representation under the provisions of Section 1661. Revised Statutes, as amended, or upon any other basis of numbers, but to be expended as the Secretary of War may see fit, upon the basis of obtaining efficiency. Participation in this fund should be held out as a reward for incentive. It is believed that to allow all batteries to participate in this fund as a matter of right would be a mistake and would not secure the best progress; but the opposite policy of progressively allotting just so much to any battery whenever it or its state accomplishes a certain result as determined by examinations and inspections by the United States, would act as an incentive and secure true progress toward efficiency.

It is thought that in no way other than as herein indicated can the general apathy now existingbe removed. Only by radical actioncan the field artillery ever be made efficient. The sooner the deplorable situation now existing is realized and appropriate steps taken to relieve it, the sooner shall we avert the disaster we are not inviting. We should either spend enough money on national guard batteries to get some real efficiency out of them, or else stop spending on them entirely money for which we would get practically no real return in the field. We are now either spending too much or not enough on the field artillery.

[The writer of this article has evidently devoted considerable time and thought to the subject, and it seems to be an excellent analysis of the situation with respect to the field artillery of the organized militia. Officers of the army and of the militia, without regard to the arm of the service to which they belong, are requestedto express theirviews onthe subjectforpublication in THE JOURNAL.- THE EDITOR

The use of this website is subject to the following Terms of Use