Consideration Of Landing Operations Against Powers That Can Be Reached Only By Sea
The recognized military complication with England and America affords
an interesting example on account of the difference in distances in
which the transporting of troops takes place, on account of the
strength of the sea and land fighting forces of the two opponents, and
lastly on account of the difference in the territorial extensions of
the aforesaid countries, and on the whole challenges various measures.
A conflict with England must be fixed in the eye of Germany, for the
great German struggle for commerce represents to England just as great
a danger as the advance of Russia against India. Beginning operations
with a naval war with England, we could almost foresee the result.
England has brought about the existence of such a powerful, active
navy that we, with the best defenses we have, would hardly be able to
win a decisive victory. Only by closing an alliance with Russia would
the strength of England be injured indeed, but never by a direct
threat from these provinces. But an alliance with France would in fact
menace England. The latter, however, through her geographical location
and through her large and timely expenditures, which every combined
operation demands, could make possible by proper equipment a maritime
superiority against this alliance.
England's weakness is in just that which forms our strength, namely,
the land army. The English army responds to neither quantity nor
quality of its great and powerful position in comparison with the
extent of the land; therefore England, from convictions, proceeds so
that every invasion of the land can be prevented by the fleet. These
convictions are in no way justified, for while England in developing a
powerful sea-fighting strength has every day prepared for war, she has
not had a view of the consequences of confronting and beating a really
weaker sea opponent with its fighting units.
These are the measures which Germany, in case of a threatened war with
England, must adopt and practise: Our endeavors must be to engage the
fleet, if possible; to throw part of our land forces upon the English
coast, so that the conflict on the sea can be carried to the enemy's
land, where our troops are already superior in quality to England's,
and so that a victory for England's powerful naval strength could
have but the smallest influence.
The army fighting strength of England under the commander-in-chief is
composed of the army reserve, the militia, the volunteers and the
yeomanry. In the event of an unexpected invasion, only the
commander-in-chief and army reserve can be considered to any extent,
for the militia needs so much time to assemble and equip that they
would be in a weak position to assist the commander-in-chief in the
first decisive battle. The volunteers and yeomanry cannot in so short
a time be trained for war or be mobilized for action. Also their
insignificant fighting value must be kept in view, beside which our
well-trained troops will not let them seem as menacing opponents.
The English army is formed of three army corps with three divisions to
each corps. A third to a half of these corps is comprised of militia,
so that either it must be first completed, and then it would be too
late for cooperation in the first decisive battle, or it would be so
untrained that it really cannot be said to reach the strength of a
division. Of two army corps, two divisions and one cavalry brigade are
in Ireland, the greater part of which must remain there to prevent the
undertaking of a German invasion through Ireland even though it
brought about the longed-for freedom.
The preparation for defense should also be considered. This might
consist of one army corps with three divisions, or one army corps
comprised of two divisions, with perhaps a cavalry brigade made up
from three army corps. Whereas the army strength of an English
division is about 10,000 men, a German division carries 16,000 men,
hence four German divisions and a cavalry division would have a
superiority over the English army. But we are in a position to set
over in England, in the shortest time, six divisions of infantry, or
five divisions of infantry and one cavalry division.
How a well regulated operation against England is to be conducted
across the sea, obviously cannot be forecasted here. The passage in
moderate weather is a little over thirty hours' ride from our North
Sea harbors. The English coast affords extensive stretches of shore
which are suitable for landing troops. The land contains such large
resources that the invading army can procure a living therefrom. On
the other hand, the extent of the island is not so great that the
English land defenses could ever succeed in timely destroying a
successful invading force.
It is improbable that Germany could carry on for very long a well
regulated war necessitating considerable reenforcement of troops. The
supplies would have to be furnished for the greater part on land.
Maintaining communication with the home country can therefore readily
be seen to be of importance.
It is conclusive that the first aim of every operation of invasion in
England is their field army, and the second must be London. It is
probable that these two objectives would fall together, in that the
field army, on account of the small value of the volunteers, is needed
for the protection of London fortifications, so as not to leave the
metropolis insufficiently defended. Powerful public opinion would
demand this for fear that London would fall into the hands of the
invaders. But if London is taken by the invading army this would still
be only one of the many war ports which must be seized, to secure a
base of supplies and for the further operations which have every view
to concluding the overthrow of England.
Operations against the United States of North America must be entirely
different. With that country, in particular, political friction,
manifest in commercial aims, has not been lacking in recent years, and
has, until now, been removed chiefly through acquiescence on our part.
However, as this submission has its limit, the question arises as to
what means we can develop to carry out our purpose with force, in
order to combat the encroachment of the United States upon our
interests. Our main factor here is our fleet. Our battle fleet has
every prospect of victoriously defeating the forces of the United
States, widely dispersed over the two oceans. It is certain that after
the defeat of the United States fleet, the great extension of
unprotected coast line and powerful resources of that country would
compel them to make peace.
There is no effective method to force this opponent to relinquish its
maritime operations, even though there is only a trifling number of
American merchantmen, except the simultaneous blockading with our sea
forces of American ports, which can only be taken with heavy losses,
while our fleet demonstrated the actual limited worth of the
unpacified American colonies.
It must be deemed a possibility that the battle fleet of the United
States would not risk an engagement at sea except to avoid a disaster,
but would await, in its fortified harbors, a favorable opportunity to
strike. It is evident, then, that a naval war against the United
States cannot be carried on with success without at the same time
inaugurating action on land. Because of the great extensions of the
United States it would not be satisfactory for the operation of an
invading army to be directed toward conquering the interior of the
land. It is almost a certainty, however, that a victorious assault on
the Atlantic coast, tying up the importing and exporting business of
the whole country, would bring about such an annoying situation that
the government would be willing to treat for peace.
If the German invading force were equipped and ready for transporting
the moment the battle fleet is despatched, under average conditions
these corps can begin operations on American soil within at least four
weeks. To what extent we will be able to succeed has already been
The United States at this time is not in a position to oppose our
troops with an army of equal rank. Its regular army actually totals
65,000 men, of whom not more than 30,000 are ready to defend the home
country. Of these at least 10,000 men are required to guard Indian
territory and for the garrisoning of coast-wise fortifications, so
that only a regular army of 20,000 is available for field service.
There is also a militia of 100,000 men, the larger number of whom have
not been trained since the last war summons, and they are poorly
equipped with inferior rifles and still more poorly drilled.
If an unexpected invasion of the United States is prevented by the
length of time for the transporting of troops, and only an unexpected
landing can take place, it must be emphasized that the weakness and
inexperience of their regular army would essentially facilitate a
For the continued occupation of as large a territory as the United
States, if they can oppose us for any length of time, an important
fighting force will be necessary, to protect the operating lines and
to carry on a successful warfare. An invading operation will be
difficult to reenforce, in that a second trip of the transport fleet
will be required, in order to despatch the necessary number of troops,
at such a great distance.
It is upon the whole questionable whether there is anything to be
gained in occupying for any length of time so large a stretch of land
as the United States. The fact that one or two of her provinces are
occupied by the invaders would not alone move the Americans to sue for
peace. To accomplish this end the invaders would have to inflict real
material damage by injuring the whole country through the successful
seizure of many of the Atlantic seaports in which the threads of the
entire wealth of the nation meet. It should be so managed that a line
of land operations would be in close juncture with the fleet, through
which we would be in a position to seize, within a short time, many of
these important and rich cities, to interrupt their means of supply,
disorganize all governmental affairs, assume control of all useful
buildings, confiscate all war and transport supplies, and lastly, to
impose heavy indemnities. For enterprises of this sort small land
forces would answer our purpose, for it would be unwise for the
American garrisons to attempt an attack.
Their excellently developed net of railways will enable them to
concentrate their troops in a relatively short time at the various
recognized landing points on the coast. But there are many other
splendid landings, and it appears feasible for the invading corps to
conduct its operations on these points with the cooperation of the
fleet. The land corps can either advance aggressively against the
concentrated opposing forces, or through embarking evade an attack and
land at a new place.
As a matter of fact, Germany is the only great power which is in a
position to conquer the United States. England could of course carry
out a successful attack on the sea, but she would not be prepared to
protect her Canadian provinces, with which the Americans could
compensate themselves for a total or crushing defeat on the sea. None
of the other great powers can provide the necessary transport fleet to
attempt an invasion.