A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 76

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THE OPPOSING FORCES


as a militarist endeavouring to stampede the country into conscription. The majority of the British people were unable to imagine what a European war would mean; they trusted implicitly in the navy to shield the country from invasion, and they comforted themselves with the belief that anyhow war would not come in their time.

Before the outbreak of the Great War the British army was organized in accordance with the scheme of 1907, the work of Lord Haldane. This remodelled the old system and created the so-called Territorial Force. Britain's military forces were divided into two main branches, the army proper, i.e. the regular troops with their reserves, and the Territorial Force, the volunteers of old. In 1914 the strength of the regular army in Great Britain and the colonies was 156,110 officers and men, 12,000 short of the establishment or nominal strength. There were, in addition, 78,400 British troops serving in India, making with miscellaneous units something over 250,000 men. The regular reserve, all trained men, numbered 146,000 and the special reserve, consisting of partially trained men, numbered 63,000. All these were liable to foreign service. From this host of men, however, important deductions had to be made. About 30,000 of the regular army were under 20 years of age and unfit for foreign service. Another 10,000 must be subtracted for men of military age in hospital or incapable of taking the field. At the same time, all the units — regiments, squadrons, and batteries — required further complements of reservists to bring them up to war strength; and these reservists, joining from civil life, needed some days or weeks of training before they could support the trials and privations which fall upon the soldier in time of war.

Behind the regular army was the Territorial Force, which had replaced the volunteers of the Victorian age. The force had a nominal strength of 313,000 officers and men. It differed from the old volunteers in that it was organized in brigades and divisions, which were composed of all arms, i.e. of infantry, cavalry or yeomanry, artillery, and engineers. This organization was a real gain from the military standpoint. But the force lacked training. The men serving in it passed at most 15 days in camp each year and attended a certain number of drills. As it was recruited voluntarily, from men employed in industry and business, a longer and more arduous training was impracticable. On the eve of the war the force was about 63,000 men

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