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I might add that what a man desires most is dictated by what he believes to be truth,
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Produced by Robert J. Hall

SEA-POWER AND OTHER STUDIES

BY ADMIRAL SIR CYPRIAN BRIDGE, G.C.B.
CONTENTS

I. SEA-POWER. II. THE COMMAND OF THE SEA. III. WAR AND ITS CHIEF LESSONS. IV. THE HISTORICAL RELATIONS BETWEEN THE NAVY AND THE MERCHANT SERVICE. V. FACTS AND FANCIES ABOUT THE PRESS-GANG. VI. PROJECTED INVASIONS OF THE BRITISH ISLES. VII. OVER-SEA RAIDS AND RAIDS ON LAND. VIII. QUEEN ELIZABETH AND HER SEAMEN. IX. NELSON: THE CENTENARY OF TRAFALGAR. X. THE SHARE OF THE FLEET IN THE DEFENCE OF THE EMPIRE. XI. NAVAL STRATEGY AND TACTICS AT THE TIME OF TRAFALGAR. XII. THE SUPPLY AND COMMUNICATIONS OF A FLEET. INDEX.
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VII

OVER-SEA RAIDS AND RAIDS ON LAND[64]

[Footnote 64: Written in 1906. (_The_Morning_Post_.)]

It has been contended that raids by 'armaments with 1000, 20,000, and 50,000 men on board respectively' have succeeded in evading 'our watching and chasing fleets,' and that consequently invasion of the British Isles on a great scale is not only possible but fairly practicable, British naval predominance notwithstanding. I dispute the accuracy of the history involved in the allusions to the above-stated figures. The number of men comprised in a raiding or invading expedition is the number that is or can be put on shore. The crews of the transports are not included in it. In the cases alluded to, Humbert's expedition was to have numbered 82 officers and 1017 other ranks, and 984 were put on shore in Killala Bay. Though the round number, 1000, represents this figure fairly enough, there was a 10 per cent. shrinkage from the original embarkation strength. In Hoche's expedition the total number of troops embarked was under 14,000, of whom 633 were lost before the expedition had got clear of its port of starting, and of the remainder only a portion reached Ireland. General Bonaparte landed in Egypt not 50,000 men, but about 36,000. In the expeditions of Hoche and Humbert it was not expected that the force to be landed would suffice of itself, the belief being that it would be joined in each case by a large body of adherents in the raided country. Outside the ranks of the 'extremists of the dinghy school'—whose number is unknown and is almost certainly quite insignificant—no one asserts or ever has asserted that raids in moderate strength are not possible even in the face of a strong defending navy. It is a fact that the whole of our defence policy for many generations has been based upon an admission of their possibility. Captain Mahan's statement of the case has never been questioned by anyone of importance. It is as follows: 'The control of the sea, however real, does not imply that an enemy's single ships or small squadrons cannot steal out of port, cannot cross more or less frequented tracts of ocean, make harassing descents upon unprotected points of a long coast-line, enter blockaded harbours.' It is extraordinary that everyone does not perceive that if this were not true the 'dinghy school' would be right. Students of Clausewitz may be expected to remember that the art of war does not consist in making raids that are unsuccessful; that war is waged to gain certain great objects; and that the course of hostilities between two powerful antagonists is affected little one way or the other by raids even on a considerable scale.

The Egyptian expedition of 1798 deserves fuller treatment than it has generally received. The preparations at Toulon and some Italian ports were known to the British Government. It being impossible for even a Moltke or—comparative resources being taken into account—the greater strategist Kodama to know everything in the mind of an opponent, the sensible proceeding is to guard against his doing what would be likely to do you most harm. The British Government had reason to believe that the Toulon expedition was intended to reinforce at an Atlantic port another expedition to be directed against the British Isles, or to effect a landing in Spain with a view to marching into Portugal and depriving our navy of the use of Lisbon. Either if effected would probably cause us serious mischief, and arrangements were made to prevent them. A landing in Egypt was, as the event showed, of little importance. The threat conveyed by it against our Indian possessions proved to be an empty one. Upwards of 30,000 hostile troops were locked up in a country from which they could exercise no influence on the general course of the war, and in which in the end they had to capitulate. Suppose that an expedition crossing the North Sea with the object of invading this country had to content itself with a landing in Iceland, having eventual capitulation before it, should we not consider ourselves very fortunate, though it may have temporarily occupied one of the Shetland Isles _en_route_? The truth of the matter is that the Egyptian expedition was one of the gravest of strategical mistakes, and but for the marvellous subsequent achievements of Napoleon it would have been the typical example of bad strategy adduced by lecturers and writers on the art of war for the warning of students.

The supposition that over-sea raids, even when successful in part, in any way demonstrate the inefficiency of naval defence would never be admitted if only land and sea warfare were regarded as branches of one whole and not as quite distinct things. To be consistent, those that admit the supposition should also admit that the practicability of raids demonstrates still more conclusively the insufficiency of defence by an army. An eminent military writer has told us that 'a raiding party of 1000 French landed in Ireland without opposition, after sixteen days of navigation, unobserved by the British Navy; defeated and drove back the British troops opposing them on four separate occasions… entirely occupied the attention of all the available troops of a garrison of Ireland 100,000 strong; penetrated almost to the centre of the island, and compelled the Lord-Lieutenant to send an urgent requisition for "as great a reinforcement as possible."' If an inference is to be drawn from this in the same way as one has been drawn from the circumstances on the sea, it would follow that one hundred thousand troops are not sufficient to prevent a raid by one thousand, and consequently that one million troops would not be sufficient to prevent one by ten thousand enemies. On this there would arise the question, If an army a million strong gives no security against a raid by ten thousand men, is an army worth having? And this question, be it noted, would come, not from disciples of the Blue Water School, 'extremist' or other, but from students of military narrative.

The truth is that raids are far more common on land than on the ocean. For every one of the latter it would be possible to adduce several of the former. Indeed, accounts of raids are amongst the common-places of military history. There are few campaigns since the time of that smart cavalry leader Mago, the younger brother of Hannibal, in which raids on land did not occur or in which they exercised any decisive influence on the issue of hostilities. It is only the failure to see the connection between warfare on land and naval warfare that prevents these land raids being given the same significance and importance that is usually given to those carried out across the sea.
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In the year 1809, the year of Wagram, Napoleon's military influence in Central Germany was, to say the least, not at its lowest. Yet Colonel Schill, of the Prussian cavalry, with 1200 men, subsequently increased to 2000 infantry and 12 squadrons, proceeded to Wittenberg, thence to Magdeburg, and next to Stralsund, which he occupied and where he met his death in opposing an assault made by 6000 French troops. He had defied for a month all the efforts of a large army to suppress him. In the same year the Duke of Brunswick-Oels and Colonel Dornberg, notwithstanding the smallness of the force under them, by their action positively induced Napoleon, only a few weeks before Wagram, to detach the whole corps of Kellerman, 30,000 strong, which otherwise would have been called up to the support of the Grande Armée, to the region in which these enterprising raiders were operating. The mileage covered by Schill was nearly as great as that covered by the part of Hoche's expedition which under Grouchy did reach an Irish port, though it was not landed. Instances of cavalry raids were frequent in the War of Secession in America. The Federal Colonel B. H. Grierson, of the 6th Illinois Cavalry, with another Illinois and an Iowa cavalry regiment, in April 1863 made a raid which lasted sixteen days, and in which he covered 600 miles of hostile country, finally reaching Baton Rouge, where a friendly force was stationed. The Confederate officers, John H. Morgan, John S. Mosby, and especially N. B. Forrest, were famous for the extent and daring of their raids. Of all the leaders of important raids in the War of Secession none surpassed the great Confederate cavalry General, J. E. B. Stuart, whose riding right round the imposing Federal army is well known. Yet not one of the raids above mentioned had any effect on the main course of the war in which they occurred or on the result of the great conflict.

In the last war the case was the same. In January 1905, General Mischenko with 10,000 sabres and three batteries of artillery marched right round the flank of Marshal Oyama's great Japanese army, and occupied Niu-chwang—not the treaty port so-called, but a place not very far from it. For several days he was unmolested, and in about a week he got back to his friends with a loss which was moderate in proportion to his numbers. In the following May Mischenko made another raid, this time round General Nogi's flank. He had with him fifty squadrons, a horse artillery battery, and a battery of machine guns. Starting on the 17th, he was discovered on the 18th, came in contact with his enemy on the 19th, but met with no considerable hostile force till the 20th, when the Japanese cavalry arrived just in time to collide with the Russian rearguard of two squadrons. On this General Mischenko 'retired at his ease for some thirty miles along the Japanese flank and perhaps fifteen miles away from it.' These Russians' raids did not alter the course of the war nor bring ultimate victory to their standards.

It would be considered by every military authority as a flagrant absurdity to deduce from the history of these many raids on land that a strong army is not a sufficient defence for a continental country against invasion. What other efficient defence against that can a continental country have? Apply the reasoning to the case of an insular country, and reliance on naval defence will be abundantly justified.

To maintain that Canada, India, and Egypt respectively could be invaded by the United States, Russia, and Turkey, backed by Germany, notwithstanding any action that our navy could take, would be equivalent to maintaining that one part of our empire cannot or need not reinforce another. Suppose that we had a military force numerically equal to or exceeding the Russian, how could any of it be sent to defend Canada, India, and Egypt, or to reinforce the defenders of those countries, unless our sea communications were kept open? Can these be kept open except by the action of our navy? It is plain that they cannot.
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War is the method adopted, when less violent means of persuasion have failed, to force your enemy to comply with your demands. There are three principal ways of effecting this—invasion of his country, raids on his territory, destruction or serious damage of his sea-borne commerce. Successful invasion must compel the invaded to come to terms, or his national existence will be lost. Raids upon his territory may possibly so distress him that he would rather concede your terms than continue the struggle.[90] Damage to his sea-borne commerce may be carried so far that he will be ruined if he does not give in. So much for one side of the account; we have to examine the other. Against invasion, raids, or attempts at commerce-destruction there must be some form of defence, and, as a matter of historical fact, defence against each has been repeatedly successful. If we need instances we have only to peruse the history of the British Empire.

[Footnote 90: Though raids rarely, if ever, decide a war, they may cause inconvenience or local distress, and an enemy desiring to make them should be obstructed as much as possible.]

How was it that—whilst we landed invading armies in many hostile countries, seized many portions of hostile territory, and drove more than one enemy's commerce from the sea—our own country has been free from successful invasion for more than eight centuries, few portions of our territory have been taken from us even temporarily, and our commerce has increased throughout protracted maritime wars? To this there can only be one answer, viz. that the arrangements for defence were effectual. What, then, were these arrangements? They were comprised in the provision of a powerful, well-distributed, well-handled navy, and of a mobile army of suitable strength. It is to be observed that each element possessed the characteristic of mobility. We have to deal here more especially with the naval element, and we must study the manner in which it operates.

Naval war is sea-power in action; and sea-power, taken in the narrow sense, has limitations. It may not, even when so taken, cease to act at the enemy's coast-line, but its direct influence extends only to the inner side of a narrow zone conforming to that line. In a maritime contest each side tries to control the ocean communications and to prevent the other from controlling them. If either gains the control, something in addition to sea-power strictly defined may begin to operate: the other side's territory may be invaded or harassed by considerable raids, and its commerce may be driven from the sea. It will be noticed that control of ocean communications is the needful preliminary to these. It is merely a variant of the often employed expression of the necessity, in war, of obtaining command of the sea. In the case of the most important portion of the British Empire, viz. the United Kingdom, our loss of control of the ocean communications would have a result which scarcely any foreign country would experience. Other countries are dependent on importations for some part of the food of their population and of the raw material of their industry; but much of the importation is, and perhaps all of it may be, effected by land. Here, we depend upon imports from abroad for a very large part of the food of our people, and of the raw material essential to the manufacture of the commodities by the exchange of which we obtain necessary supplies; and the whole of these imports come, and must come to us, by sea. Also, if we had not freedom of exportation, our wealth and the means of supporting a war would disappear. Probably all the greater colonies and India could feed their inhabitants for a moderately long time without sea-borne imports, but unless the sea were open to them their prosperity would decline.

This teaches us the necessity to the British Empire of controlling our maritime communications, and equally teaches those who may one day be our enemies the advisability of preventing us from doing so. The lesson in either case is driven farther home by other considerations connected with communications. In war a belligerent has two tasks before him. He has to defend himself and hurt his enemy. The more he hurts his enemy, the less is he likely to be hurt himself. This defines the great principle of offensive defence. To act in accordance with this principle, a belligerent should try, as the saying goes, to carry the war into the enemy's country. He should try to make his opponents fight where he wants them to fight, which will probably be as far as possible from his own territory and as near as possible to theirs. Unless he can do this, invasion and even serious raids by him will be out of the question. More than that, his inability to do it will virtually indicate that on its part the other side can fix the scene of active hostilities unpleasantly close to the points from which he desires to keep its forces away.

A line of ocean communications may be vulnerable throughout its length; but it does not follow that an assailant can operate against it with equal facility at every point, nor does it follow that it is at every point equally worth assailing. Lines running past hostile naval ports are especially open to assault in the part near the ports; and lines formed by the confluence of two or more other lines—like, for example, those which enter the English Channel—will generally include a greater abundance of valuable traffic than others. Consequently there are some parts at which an enemy may be expected to be more active than elsewhere, and it is from those very parts that it is most desirable to exclude him. They are, as a rule, relatively near to the territory of the state whose navy has to keep the lines open, that is to say, prevent their being persistently beset by an enemy. The necessary convergence of lines towards that state's ports shows that some portion of them would have to be traversed, or their traversing be attempted, by expeditions meant to carry out either invasion or raids. If, therefore, the enemy can be excluded as above mentioned, invasions, raids, and the more serious molestation of sea-borne commerce by him will be prevented.

If we consider particular cases we shall find proof upon proof of the validity of the rule. Three great lines—one from the neighbourhood of the Cape of Good Hope, one from the Red Sea, and a third from India and Ceylon—converge near the south-western part of Australia and run as one line towards the territory of the important states farther east. If an assailant can be excluded from the latter or combined line he must either divide his force or operate on only one of the confluents, leaving the rest free. The farther he can be pushed back from the point of confluence the more effectually will he be limited to a single line, because the combining lines, traced backwards, trend more and more apart, and it is, therefore, more and more difficult for him to keep detachments of his force within supporting distance of each other if they continue to act against two or more lines. The particular case of the approaches to the territory of the United Kingdom has the same features, and proves the rule with equal clearness. This latter case is so often adduced without mention of others, that there is some risk of its being believed to be a solitary one. It stands, however, exactly on all fours with all the rest as regards the principle of the rule.

A necessary consequence of an enemy's exclusion from the combined line as it approaches the territory to be defended is—as already suggested—that invasion of that territory and serious raids upon it will be rendered impracticable. Indeed, if the exclusion be absolutely complete and permanent, raids of every kind and depredations on commerce in the neighbourhood will be prevented altogether. It should be explained that though lines and communications are spoken of, it is the area crossed by them which is strategically important. A naval force, either guarding or intending to assail a line, does not necessarily station itself permanently upon it. All that it has to do is to remain, for the proper length of time, within the strategic area across which the defended or threatened line runs. The strategic area will be of varying extent, its boundaries being determined by circumstances. The object of the defence will be to make the area from which the enemy's ships are excluded as extensive as possible. When the enemy has been pushed back into his own waters and into his own ports the exclusion is strategically complete. The sea is denied to his invading and important raiding expeditions, and indeed to most of his individual cruisers. At the same time it is free to the other belligerent. To effect this a vigorous offensive will be necessary.
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The immediate theatre of operations, the critical strategic area, need not be, and often ought not to be, near the territory defended by our navy. It is necessary to dwell upon this, because no principle of naval warfare has been more frequently or more seriously misapprehended. Misapprehension of it has led to mischievous and dangerous distribution of naval force and to the squandering of immense sums of money on local defence vessels; that is, vessels only capable of operating in the very waters from which every effort should be made to exclude the enemy. Failure to exclude him from them can only be regarded as, at the very least, yielding to him an important point in the great game of war. If we succeed in keeping him away, the local defence craft of every class are useless, and the money spent on them has been worse than wasted, because, if it had not been so spent, it might have been devoted to strengthening the kind of force which must be used to keep the enemy where he ought to be kept, viz. at a distance from our own waters.

The demand that ships be so stationed that they will generally, and except when actually cruising, be within sight of the inhabitants, is common enough in the mother country, and perhaps even more common in the over-sea parts of the British Empire. Nothing justifies it but the honest ignorance of those who make it; nothing explains compliance with it but the deplorable weakness of authorities who yield to it. It was not by hanging about the coast of England, when there was no enemy near it, with his fleet, that Hawke or Nelson saved the country from invasion, nor was it by remaining where they could be seen by the fellow-countrymen of their crews that the French and English fleets shut up their enemy in the Baltic and Black Sea, and thus gained and kept undisputed command of the sea which enabled them, without interruption, to invade their enemy's territory.

The condition insisted upon by the Australasian Governments in the agreement formerly made with the Home Government, that a certain number of ships, in return for an annual contribution of money, should always remain in Australasian waters, was in reality greatly against the interests of that part of the empire. The Australasian taxpayer was, in fact, made to insist upon being injured in return for his money. The proceeding would have been exactly paralleled by a householder who might insist that a fire-engine, maintained out of rates to which he contributes, should always be kept within a few feet of his front door, and not be allowed to proceed to the end of the street to extinguish a fire threatening to extend eventually to the householder's own dwelling. When still further localised naval defence—localised defence, that is, of what may be called the smaller description—is considered, the danger involved in adopting it will be quite as apparent, and the waste of money will be more obvious. Localised defence is a near relation of passive defence. It owes its origin to the same sentiment, viz. a belief in the efficacy of staying where you are instead of carrying the war into the enemy's country.

There may be cases in which no other kind of naval defence is practicable. The immense costliness of modern navies puts it out of the power of smaller states to maintain considerable sea-going fleets. The historic maritime countries—Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Portugal, the performances of whose seamen are so justly celebrated—could not now send to sea a force equal in number and fighting efficiency to a quarter of the force possessed by anyone of the chief naval powers. The countries named, when determined not to expose themselves unarmed to an assailant, can provide themselves only with a kind of defence which, whatever its detailed composition, must be of an intrinsically localised character.

In their case there is nothing else to be done; and in their case defence of the character specified would be likely to prove more efficacious than it could be expected to be elsewhere. War is usually made in pursuit of an object valuable enough to justify the risks inseparable from the attempt to gain it. Aggression by any of the countries that have been mentioned is too improbable to call for serious apprehension. Aggression against them is far more likely. What they have to do is to make the danger of attacking them so great that it will equal or outweigh any advantage that could be gained by conquering them. Their wealth and resources, compared with those of great aggressive states, are not large enough to make up for much loss in war on the part of the latter engaging in attempts to seize them. Therefore, what the small maritime countries have to do is to make the form of naval defence to which they are restricted efficacious enough to hurt an aggressor so much that the victory which he may feel certain of gaining will be quite barren. He will get no glory, even in these days of self-advertisement, from the conquest of such relatively weak antagonists; and the plunder will not suffice to repay him for the damage received in effecting it.

The case of a member of the great body known as the British Empire is altogether different. Its conquest would probably be enormously valuable to a conqueror; its ruin immensely damaging to the body as a whole. Either would justify an enemy in running considerable risks, and would afford him practically sufficient compensation for considerable losses incurred. We may expect that, in war, any chance of accomplishing either purpose will not be neglected. Provision must, therefore, be made against the eventuality. Let us for the moment suppose that, like one of the smaller countries whose case has been adduced, we are restricted to localised defence. An enemy not so restricted would be able to get, without being molested, as near to our territory—whether in the mother country or elsewhere—as the outer edge of the comparatively narrow belt of water that our localised defences could have any hope of controlling effectively. We should have abandoned to him the whole of the ocean except a relatively minute strip of coast-waters. That would be equivalent to saying good-bye to the maritime commerce on which our wealth wholly, and our existence largely, depends. No thoughtful British subject would find this tolerable. Everyone would demand the institution of a different defence system. A change, therefore, to the more active system would be inevitable. It would begin with the introduction of a cruising force in addition to the localised force. The unvarying lesson of naval history would be that the cruising division should gain continuously on the localised. It is only in times of peace, when men have forgotten, or cannot be made to understand, what war is, that the opposite takes place.

If it be hoped that a localised force will render coast-wise traffic safe from the enemy, a little knowledge of what has happened in war and a sufficiently close investigation of conditions will demonstrate how baseless the hope must be. Countries not yet thickly populated would be in much the same condition as the countries of western Europe a century ago, the similarity being due to the relative scarcity of good land communications. A part—probably not a very large part—of the articles required by the people dwelling on and near the coast in one section would be drawn from another similar section. These articles could be most conveniently and cheaply transported by water. If it were worth his while, an enemy disposing of an active cruising force strong enough to make its way into the neighbourhood of the coast waters concerned would interrupt the 'long-shore traffic' and defy the efforts of a localised force to prevent him. The history of the Great War at the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth teems with instances of interruption by our navy of the enemy's coast-wise trade when his ocean trade had been destroyed. The history of the American War of 1812 supplies other instances.

The localised defence could not attempt to drive off hostile cruisers remaining far from the shore and meaning to infest the great lines of maritime communication running towards it. If those cruisers are to be driven off at all it can be done only by cruising ships. Unless, therefore, we are to be content to leave our ocean routes, where most crowded and therefore most vulnerable, to the mercy of an enemy, we must have cruisers to meet the hostile cruisers. If we still adhere to our localised defence, we shall have two distinct kinds of force—-one provided merely for local, and consequently restricted, action; the other able to act near the shore or far out at sea as circumstances may demand. If we go to the expense of providing both kinds, we shall have followed the example of the sage who cut a large hole in his study door for the cat and a small one for the kitten.
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Is local naval defence, then, of any use? Well, to tell the truth, not much; and only in rare and exceptional circumstances. Even in the case of the smaller maritime countries, to which reference has been made above, defence of the character in question would avail little if a powerful assailant were resolved to press home his attack. That is to say, if only absolute belligerent considerations were regarded. In war, however, qualifying considerations can never be left out of sight. As the great Napoleon observed, you can no more make war without incurring losses than you can make omelettes without breaking eggs. The strategist—and the tactician also, within his province—will always count the cost of a proposed operation, even where they are nearly certain of success. The occupation of a country, which would be of no great practical value to you when you got it, would be a poor return for the loss to which you would have been put in the process. That loss might, and probably would, leave you at a great disadvantage as regards enemies more nearly on an equality with yourself. It would, therefore, not be the improbability of breaking down the local naval defence of a minor maritime state, but the pressure of qualifying and only indirectly belligerent considerations, that would prevent its being attempted.

In a struggle between two antagonists of the first rank, the circumstances would be different. Purely belligerent considerations would have fuller play. Mistakes will be made, of course, for war is full of mistakes; but it may be accepted that an attack on any position, however defended, is in itself proof that the assailant believed the result hoped for to be quite worth the cost of obtaining it. Consequently, in a struggle as assumed, every mode of defence would have to stand on its intrinsic merits, nearly or quite unaided by the influence of considerations more or less foreign to it. Every scrap of local defence would, in proportion to its amount, be a diminution of the offensive defence. Advocates of the former may be challenged to produce from naval history any instance of local naval defence succeeding against the assaults of an actively aggressive navy. In the late war between Japan and Russia the Russian local defence failed completely.

In the last case, a class of vessel like that which had failed in local defence was used successfully, because offensively, by the Japanese. This and many another instance show that the right way to use the kind of craft so often allocated to local defence is to use them offensively. It is only thus that their adoption by a great maritime power like the British Empire can be justified. The origin and centre of our naval strength are to be looked for in the United Kingdom. The shores of the latter are near the shores of other great maritime powers. Its ports, especially those at which its fleets are equipped and would be likely to assemble on the imminence of war, are within reach of more than one foreign place from which small swift craft to be used offensively might be expected to issue. The method of frustrating the efforts of these craft giving most promise of success is to attack them as soon as possible after they issue from their own port. To the acceptance of this principle we owe the origin of the destroyer, devised to destroy hostile torpedo-boats before they could reach a position from which they would be able to discharge with effect their special weapon against our assembled ships. It is true that the destroyer has been gradually converted into a larger torpedo-boat. It is also true that when used as such in local defence, as at Port Arthur, her failure was complete; and just as true that she has never accomplished anything except when used offensively.

When, therefore, a naval country's coast is so near the ports of another naval country that the latter would be able with swift small craft to attack the former's shipping, the provision of craft of a similar kind is likely to prove advantageous. War between great powers is a two-sided game, and what one side can do the other will at least be likely to attempt. Nothing supports the view that it is well—either above or beneath the surface of the water—to stand on the defensive and await attack. Everything points to the superiority of the plan of beating up the enemy's quarters and attacking him before he can get far from them on his way towards his objective. Consequently the only justification of expending money on the localised vessels of which we have been speaking, is the probability that an enemy would have some of his bases within reach of those vessels' efforts. Where this condition does not exist, the money expended is, from the belligerent point of view, thrown away. Here comes in the greatest foe of belligerent efficiency, viz. political expediency. In time of peace it is thought better to conciliate voters than to prepare to meet an enemy. If local defence is thought to be pleasing to an inexpert electorate, it is only too likely to be provided, no matter how ineffectual and how costly in reality it will turn out to be.

Not only is the British Empire the first of naval powers, it is also the first of colonial powers. One attribute is closely connected with the other; neither, without the other, would be applicable. The magnitude of our colonial domain, and especially the imposing aspects of some of its greater components—the Dominion, the Commonwealth, South Africa, New Zealand—are apt to blind us to a feature of great strategical importance, and that is the abundance and excellence of the naval bases that stud our ocean lines of communication. In thinking of the great daughter states we are liable to forget these; yet our possession of them helps greatly to strengthen our naval position, because it facilitates our assuming a far-reaching offensive. By themselves, if not too numerous, they can afford valuable support to the naval operations that are likely to prove most beneficial to us. The fact that they are ours, and not an opponent's, also constitutes for us an advantage of importance. Of course, they have to be defended, or else they may fall into an opponent's hands. Have we here a case in which highly localised or even passive defences are desirable? No doubt we did act for a time as though we believed that the question could only be answered in the affirmative; but that was when we were under the influence of the feelings engendered by observation of the long series of land wars previously discussed.

Perhaps we have not yet quite shaken off the effects of that influence; but we have at least got so far as to tolerate the statement of the other side of the question. It would be a great mistake to suppose that the places alluded to are meant to be ports of refuge for our ships. Though they were to serve that purpose occasionally in the case of isolated merchant vessels, it would be but an accident, and not the essence, of their existence. What they are meant for is to be utilised as positions where our men-of-war can make reasonably sure of finding supplies and the means of refit. This assurance will largely depend upon their power of resistance if attacked. Before we can decide how to impart that power to them we shall have to see the kind of attack against which they would have to be prepared. If they are on a continent, like, for example, Gibraltar, attack on them by a land force, however improbable, is physically possible. Against an attack of the kind a naval force could give little direct help. Most of our outlying naval bases are really or virtually insular, and are open to attack only by an expedition coming across the sea. An essential characteristic of a naval base is that it should be able to furnish supplies as wanted to the men-of-war needing to replenish their stocks. Some, and very often all, of these supplies are not of native production and must be brought to the base by sea. If the enemy can stop their conveyance to it, the place is useless as a base and the enemy is really in control of its communications. If he is in control of its communications he can send against it as great an expedition as he likes, and the place will be captured or completely neutralised. Similarly, if we control the communications, not only can supplies be conveyed to it, but also no hostile expedition will be allowed to reach it. Thus the primary defence of the outlying base is the active, sea-going fleet. Moderate local defence, chiefly of the human kind, in the shape of a garrison, will certainly be needed. Though the enemy has not been able to obtain control of the communications of the place, fitful raids on it will be possible; and the place should be fortified enough and garrisoned enough to hold out against the inconsiderable assaults comprised in these till our own ships can drive the enemy's away.

Outlying naval bases, though but moderately fortified, that contain depots of stores, docks, and other conveniences, have the vice of all immobile establishments. When war does come, some of them almost certainly, and all of them possibly, may not be in the right place with regard to the critical area of operations. They cannot, however, be moved. It will be necessary to do what has been done over and over again in war, in the latest as well as in earlier wars, and that is, establish temporary bases in more convenient situations. Thus much, perhaps all, of the cost and trouble of establishing and maintaining the permanent bases will have been wasted. This inculcates the necessity of having not as many bases as can be found, but as few as it is possible to get on with.
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Theodoric Theodoric is offline
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The control of ocean communications, or the command of the sea, being the end of naval warfare, and its acquisition being practicable only by the assumption of a vigorous offensive, it follows as a matter of course that we must have a strong and in all respects efficient mobile navy. This is the fundamental condition on which the continued existence of the British Empire depends. It is thoroughly well known to every foreign Government, friendly or unfriendly. The true objective in naval warfare is the enemy's navy. That must be destroyed or decisively defeated, or intimidated into remaining in its ports. Not one of these can be effected without a mobile, that is a sea-going, fleet. The British Empire may fall to pieces from causes as yet unknown or unsuspected: it cannot be kept together if it loses the power of gaining command of the sea. This is not a result of deliberate policy: it is inherent in the nature of the empire, scattered as its parts are throughout the world, with only the highway of the sea between them.

Such is the position of the fleet in the defence of the empire: such are its duties towards it. Duties in the case are mutual, and some are owed to the fleet as well as by it. It is incumbent on every section of the empire, without neglecting its land forces, to lend zealous help in keeping the fleet efficient. It is not to be supposed that this can be done only by making pecuniary contributions to its maintenance. It is, indeed, very doubtful if any real good can be done by urging colonies to make them. It seems certain that the objections to this are greater than any benefit that it can confer. Badgering our fellow-subjects beyond sea for money payments towards the cost of the navy is undignified and impolitic. The greatest sum asked for by the most exacting postulant would not equal a twentieth part of the imperial naval expenditure, and would not save the taxpayer of the mother country a farthing in the pound of his income. No one has yet been able to establish the equity of a demand that would take something from the inhabitants of one colony and nothing from those of another. Adequate voluntary contribution is a different matter.

There are other ways in which every trans-marine possession of the Crown can lend a hand towards perfecting the efficiency of the fleet—ways, too, which would leave each in complete and unmenaced control of its own money. Sea-power does not consist entirely of men-of-war. There must be docks, refitting establishments, magazines, and depots of stores. Ports, which men-of-war must visit at least occasionally in war for repair or replenishment of supplies, will have to be made secure against the assaults which it has been said that a hastily raiding enemy, notwithstanding our general control of the communications, might find a chance of making. Moderate fixed fortifications are all the passive defence that would be needed; but good and active troops must be available. If all these are not provided by the part of the empire in which the necessary naval bases lie, they will have to be provided by the mother country. If the former provides them the latter will be spared the expense of doing so, and spared expense with no loss of dignity, and with far less risk of friction and inconvenience than if her taxpayers' pockets had been nominally spared to the extent of a trifling and reluctantly paid money contribution.

It has been pointed out on an earlier page that a country can be, and most probably will be, more effectually defended in a maritime war if its fleet operates at a distance from, rather than near, its shores. Every subject of our King should long to see this condition exist if ever the empire is involved in hostilities. It may be—for who can tell what war will bring?—that the people of some great trans-marine dependency will have to choose between allowing a campaign to be conducted in their country or forcing the enemy to tolerate it in his. If they choose the latter they must be prepared to furnish part at least of the mobile force that can give effect to their choice. That is to say, they must be prepared to back up our sea-power in its efforts to keep off the tide of war from the neighbourhood of their homes. History shows how rarely, during the struggle between European nations for predominance in North America, the more settled parts of our former American Colonies were the theatre of war: but then the colonists of those days, few comparatively as they were, sent strong contingents to the armies that went campaigning, in the territory of the various enemies. This was in every way better—the sequel proved how much better—than a money contribution begged or extorted would have been.

Helping in the manner first suggested need not result in dissociating our fellow-subjects beyond the seas from participation in the work of the active sea-going fleet. It is now, and still would be, open to them as much as to any native or denizen of the mother country. The time has fully come when the people of the greater outlying parts of the empire should insist upon perfect equality of treatment with their home fellow-subjects in this matter. They should resent, as a now quite out-of-date and invidious distinction, any difference in qualification for entry, locality of service, or remuneration for any rank or rating. Self-respect and a dignified confidence in their own qualities, the excellence of which has been thoroughly tested, will prompt the King's colonial subjects to ask for nothing but equal chances in a force on which is laid so large a part of the duty of defending the empire. Why should they cut themselves off from the promising career that service in the Royal Navy opens to the capable, the zealous, and the honourable aspirant of every grade? Some of the highest posts in the navy are now, or lately have been, held by men who not only happened to be born in British Colonies, but who also belong to resident colonial families. Surely in this there is a strong moral cement for binding and keeping the empire together. It is unnecessary to expatiate on the contrast between the prospect of such a career and that which is all that a small local service could offer. It would soon be seen towards which the enterprising and the energetic would instinctively gravitate.

In the defence of the British Empire the fleet holds a twofold position. To its general belligerent efficiency, its strength and activity, we must look if the plans of an enemy are to be brought to nought. It, and it only, can secure for us the control of the ocean communications, on the freedom of which from serious interruptions the prosperity—indeed, the existence—of a scattered body must depend. In time of peace it can be made a great consolidating force, fostering every sentiment of worthy local patriotism whilst obliterating all inclination to mischievous narrow particularism, and tending to perfect the unity which gives virtue to national grandeur and is the true secret of national independence and strength
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