Puslapio vaizdai

instruction which develops them as repre- thirty-two in the élite, and in the landsentative authorities in the better methods wehr every four years up to the age of of intensive instructors of recruits.

forty-five. The superior officers in the

élite are called every year until the exTHE REPEATED COURSES

piration of their time of service. At the close of the school for recruits, the In the succession of annual meetings the young militiaman is turned over to his instruction for subaltern units is made to branch of the army, --regiment, squadron, alternate with that of the great body of or battery, -and the instruction of the mixed troops. After a year in which the class that he has already received in the exercises have taken place in regiments, temporary units of the school he will now squadrons of cavalry and artillery comcomplete in his definite branch of the ser- panies, or in which the different branches vice. The instruction that he there re- of the army have worked alone, there will ceives is called the repeated courses; that be maneuvers of brigades or divisions for is to say, the periods of exercises and ma- instruction in the movement of armies. næuvers. These periods are designed for One year is given to detail, another to the the purpose of keeping the soldiers in form movement of large bodies of troops. Every and of preparing the army and its com- one is short of breath and periodically manders for the exigencies of service in finds occasion for perfecting his practice the field.

and his knowledge. In this manner, with The course of repetition takes place ev- the exception of some of the older solery year and continues for two weeks. diers, all the troops of the Swiss army are The soldiers and corporals are called to every year mobilized and held under the it up to the age of twenty-seven in the colors for two weeks. élite, and once again in the landwehr; Naturally, during these maneuvers the non-commissioned officers and subalterns troops work over different ground, quarare called every year up to the age of tering at home. Only the instruction of

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Just so far as the officers are worthy, so far will the troops be worthy, it is said. It goes without saying that the shorter the periods of instruction, so much the more ought officers to be prepared for their duties. We have spoken of the practical instruction given in the schools for recruits by permanent officers. This alone would be insufficient. One must pay for his officer's stripes, says a Swiss adage. That signifies that every promotion is preceded by a term of probation in which no promotion is accorded without good work. The first selection is made as early as the school for recruits. There those soldiers who appear to possess the qualifications for non-commissioned officers and superior officers are noted; their social position is inquired into, in order that no sacrifice out of proportion to their re

sources may be imposed upon them, for no one has the right to refuse an advance in grade. In like manner their conduct in civil life is inquired into, and if the information thus obtained confirms the good opinion that the authorities have formed of them in barracks, they are called to a school for non-commissioned officers, from which they depart with the grade of corporal.

This rank leads to a second selection. The corporals selected for the staff of non-commissioned officers in the army become instructors in the school for recruits, and those considered fitted for the grade of officers are sent to a school for officers, where for nearly three months they are prepared for the grade of lieutenant. In practice, the future lieutenant, before being selected for instruction in a school for officers, has usually acted as a non-commissioned officer in the school for recruits. The young men who desire the grade of lieutenant are so numerous that there is never any difficulty in obtaining men who hesitate to give up the two or three months necessary for this additional training. If they successfully pass the examination in this school, it is necessary for them to attend the repeated course as chiefs of divisions, though now with the

rank of lieutenant. Only then can they The principle is the same for all subfeel that they have paid for their officers' sequent promotions. If a lieutenant destripes.

sires to gain the grade of captain, he must If now we account for the number of pass through at least eight repeated courses, days of service that young men between a school for firing, the central school, the ages of twenty and twenty-one give that is to say, a school which brings toI to the army, following which they remain gether the future captains in all branches simple soldiers or become non-commis- of the army, -and must act as chief of a sioned officers or lieutenants, we find in the company, of a squadron, or a battery in a infantry, the most numerous body, the fol- school for recruits. The total of his days lowing differences:

of service will reach 541, and if he has

been considered qualified for the rank, he THE SIMPLE SOLDIER:

will still be called to take part in two School of recruits.

67 days courses in tactics, and must continue the First repeated course

13 days

annual courses of repetition until he has Total.

80 days

reached the age of thirty-five rather than

thirty-two. CORPORAL:

If one takes into account the fact that School of non-commissioned

the pay of a lieutenant is six francs for officers

22 days every day of actual service, that of a capSchool of recruits

67 days

tain ten francs, and that of a major eigh

teen francs, and remembers that for every Total

. 169 days

man who in civil life is bound down by LIEUTENANT:

an exacting profession these frequent calls

to the colors constitute a serious interrupSchool of officers.

82 days

tion in his professional gains, one may well School of recruits.

67 days

understand that the military system rests Total .

.318 days on traditions of patriotism and self-denial.




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Company IV of the 19th Battalion displaying their numerals in a moment of relaxation



All these periods of exercise and instruction succeed one another with periodical regularity. The danger is that between two periods a soldier may lose his intellectual and technical training. The law has therefore provided a program of courses of studies, carried on by numerous associations, which offer to their members supplementary military training. The society of officers and non-commissioned officers is charged, with others, with preparatory military instruction. The society of artillerymen, of bridge-makers, of hospital nurses, even of drummers, of gymnasts, and of sharp-shooting, have similar courses.

A study of this program would carry one too far, but it is not possible to pass over in silence the societies of sharp-shooting, which are semi-official in character, the direction of which is under the joint charge of the Société Fédérale des Carabiniers and the military bureaus. The groundwork of the plan is a legal obligation imposed on every soldier who carries a gun to fire every year a certain number of bullets at a target. This holds good through the entire period of his military life. The program for the practice is arranged by the republic, and the work is supervised by certain delegated officers. If you travel by rail through Switzerland, along the way you will constantly see target-butts, more or less large, arranged in different

and if


walk through the country on a Sunday in spring, you will hear on all sides the reports of rifles of sharp-shooters at practice.

For every rifleman who fulfils the conditions of the program, - that is to say, who fires the required number of bullets and obtains the required result in precision, - the republic returns to the society a subsidy slightly exceeding the price of the cartridges. The militiaman who has not met the requirements of the targetpractice is called, at his own expense, to the parade-ground, for a special course at target-practice, which lasts for three days.

A post of observation

Thus in Switzerland thirty million cartridges are shot

every year,


represents an average of little less than a hundred cartridges for every inhabitant. This total shows not only the extent of the regular exercises for militiamen, but is also an indication of the numerous opportunities for every one to exercise himself in the really national sport of rifle-shooting. Target-firing is a certain feature of every popular feast in even the smallest villages, and not unfrequently militiamen who have passed the age of military duties still fire two or three hundred service cartridges a year.

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tutes a veritable mobilization of all the their work while the regiment completes units called out-a mobilization equal to its organization, and in forty-eight hours that of war.

the regiment is ready to proceed to the Every militiaman keeps in his own region of concentration of its division. home, and at his own responsibility, not Everything, therefore, is done expedionly his uniform, but his arms and equip- tiously, and the experience of 1914 has ment. Every year, on a certain day, he established the fact that in general the is called out for an inspection of his cloth- measures that have been adopted have all ing and his whole equipment; certain spe- been well taken. The whole army- élite, cial inspectors, aides of subaltern officers, landwehr, and landsturm-was mobilized make note of their condition. Whatever simultaneously, and the completed task has not been well cared for must be re- was done within the limits of the time placed by the militiaman at his own ex- planned. pense.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to confess As a consequence, at the first call the that in one essential matter there was failmilitiaman can present himself with arms ure. If the operations were rapid, there and baggage at the place of assembly of was still slowness in getting into line on his company, where he has only to receive the part of certain troops that did not certain effects kept in the magazines of wait for their reservists and marched with the regiment, like sappers' tools, etc. The only the effective forces in times of peace. cavalryman comes with his own horse, The measures taken by Switzerland are which he always cares for at home. full, provided her neighbors observe the

The troops are thus assembled and rights of the people. But suppose that equipped in a minimum of time. The Germany had dealt to Switzerland the more so, indeed, because they find equally blow she dealt to Belgium ? She would ready in the magazine of their regiments have found, in forty-eight hours, at the the greater part of the material that con- frontier only some companies of the landstitutes the equipment of the corps-am- wehr, a force wholly insufficient to oppose munition-cartridges, kitchens on wheels, the advance of a single corps of cavalry baggage-wagons, etc. Artillery companies charged with the task of destroying the find ready their cannon; the companies of railroads. sappers, their tool-wagons. The only car- There is therefore one reform to be riages requisitioned are those used for the studied closely. It would not be necessary transportation of the men themselves; then if Switzerland were in the condition of a come the teams for such carriages.

great country like the United States, for These requisitions are regulated in times example, where the absence of neighbors of peace. Every community knows that on one side, and the extent of the counon the first day of mobilization it will be try on the other, present barriers to a necessary to send to the place of assembly surprise. so many horses and so many carriages. But for the most part the system has Here the owners of these horses and car- commended itself, and appears to demand riages find assembled the commissioners only a certain number of improvements charged with the task of fixing the prices in detail that in nowise alter the prinfor conveyances. These commissioners do ciple.

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