A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 77

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THE BRITISH ARMY


short of its proper strength. That is to say, it numbered about 250,000 men instead of 313,000, and of those in the ranks nearly 7,000 were in 1913 under 18 years of age. Its weapons, too, were not of the latest patterns; and though the physique, morale and patriotism of its members were beyond praise, its units were not, without further training, fit to meet a highly trained army in the field.

The nucleus of the regular army was the infantry, divided into Guards, four regiments or nine battalions, and infantry of the line, 69 regiments or 148 battalions. The latter were organized on a territorial basis, i.e., the country was mapped out into military districts, a regiment being allotted to each. These regiments consisted of a number of battalions, usually two of regular troops and others of special reservists and territorials.

The other arms of the service consisted of cavalry organized in 31 regiments, which, however, resembled the battalions rather than the regiments of infantry; and artillery, divided into field and garrison, and the former further into horse and foot, i.e. for service with cavalry and infantry respectively. Its strength in 1913 was 25 battalions of horse, 135 of field and nine of mountain artillery, as well as 98 companies of garrison artillery. Other branches of the army included the Army Service Corps; the Army Medical Corps; the Army Pay Corps; and the Army Ordnance Corps. The engineers were a separate unit, and there was also a department for chaplains. The Royal Flying Corps had just been formed, while another new department was the Army Signal Service.

Until the formation of the army corps the largest unit was the division. This consisted of three brigades of infantry, altogether about 12,000 men, with the necessary artillery, cavalry, engineers, etc. Its total strength was about 18,000, and it was really an army in miniature. Below the divisions were the brigades, each of four battalions of infantry, or of three regiments of cavalry. The artillery was also organized in brigades. An Imperial General Staff co-ordinated the fighting activities and provided the brains of the army. Its head, the chief of the general staff, was a member of the army council.

The highest rank was that of Field Marshal. General, Lieutenant General, and Major General came next. Brigadier General was only a temporary title, bestowed for the tune being upon colonels or others commanding brigades. Colonel was the

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