Proper loading is the business of the land forces and should be

conducted by trained officers so as to ensure the shipment of

materials and men. To make landing effective the necessary supplies

should go on the vessels with the troops. A loading plan should be so

drawn up in advance as to meet all emergencies. The length of time

consumed for loading depends on the distance of the voyage.

At the most the limit of a short sea voyage for us has been considered

about forty-eight hours. This is too small an estimate; it should

undoubtedly be doubled. The Italian General Staff estimates the length

of a short sea voyage to be five days. Besides, to preserve the

fighting worth of our troops, we must allow sufficient time for rest.

The troop transport capacity of a ship has heretofore been calculated

by the ship's tonnage, that is, sixty per cent. of the ship's capacity

is net ton loading space. The necessary space for us, for a long sea

voyage, is set at two tons for each man and six to seven tons for

each horse. The English and Russian estimates are about the same. But

the English transports to Cape Town accommodated a larger number of

troops than was thought possible, and the American transports to Cuba

were increased by one-third.

As for the arrangements which must be made for sleeping, cooking and

washing and for a hospital service, we need not go any further here,

as they have been discussed at length in the press. The stowing of

equipment and baggage should be done in such a way as to make the

articles available on landing in the order in which they are needed.

The ship's space required for maintenance supplies for man and horse

figures relatively as about one to five.

Coming next to the loading of the artillery, the rule should be to

place all common and machine guns on deck. A certain amount of

ammunition should be stowed so as to be quickly accessible. This is an

essential measure to afford the transport protection from some

privateer. The guns should be securely placed to prevent their

movement by the motion of the sea and to render feasible their use on

deck. Trials will soon be made to find the suitable means whereby

field artillery may be put to successful use on shipboard, and this

testing will certainly repay us. All rolling stock will be stowed away

firmly in the freight space without removing the wheels. The material

and personnel of the field hospital should be divided among the ships,

so that a ship's hospital division may be formed. The airship division

should be placed on deck in such fashion that observation flights may

be made during the voyage.

The shipping of horses is especially difficult. By former methods the

horses had to stand the entire trip and had practically no exercise.

This left them in a weakened condition and made necessary a long rest

after arrival. For a war transport, in which is required a rapid and

successful offensive, such horses are not useful. Because of the

important work to be done by them after landing, careful attention

should be given to the horses to keep them in good working condition.

To this end, proper nourishment must be given and facilities provided

for daily exercise while on the transports, which should consume at

least three-quarters of an hour for each horse.

Ships that are built particularly for the transportation of horses can

be adjusted with four decks over each other, including upper deck

stables and two courses for exercise, so that a transport of from

three to four thousand net tons capacity can carry over one thousand

horses. Three ships would accommodate two cavalry brigades. On every

large steamer many horses can be shipped for a long trip, in addition

to its regular quota of men and supplies.

After the transports have been prepared, about seven hundred and fifty

horses, equal to one cavalry regiment, or six batteries, can be loaded

daily on the lower decks. Cleanliness, ventilation and care are the

three most important factors for the good health of the horses. Every

horse transport must be given ventilating apparatus to assure

sufficient fresh air. Artificial ventilation is to be preferred to

natural ventilation, for if the latter becomes too strong the horses'

lungs are easily affected. Through this cause, for example, the

American transport to Cuba lost the greater number of their horses.

Likewise condensers are required for the necessary quantities of

drinking water. It is recommended that each ship be given its own

condenser. The provision of only one or two large condensers on

special ships which supply the entire demand of the transport fleet,

as the Americans employed in their expedition to Cuba, has not proved


For the short sea voyage, our transports would be able to despatch

substantially more troops, through Germany's geographical position.

The strength of near-by powers requires, though, the immediate

utilization of all ships and materials at our disposal, if the

operations are to succeed. For short expeditions, the general rule

will be to ship as many troops as the transports will carry. The

forces will bivouac on the upper and lower decks and receive only

straw bags and covers. They will keep their whole baggage with them.

Cooking will be done in large field kettles. If time permits, it is

recommended that the same adjustments as for a long journey be made

for the horses, at least to provide separate stalls. This will prevent

heavy losses in case of rough weather. Guns and accessories can be

disposed of in the same manner as for long voyages.

The length of time for embarkation depends on whether the loading can

be done from the wharves of the harbors or whether the troops and

materials must be taken out by lighters and then transferred to the

ships. The latter method is a waste of time and is dependent on wind

and weather.

The time required for loading is as follows: Fifteen minutes for one

hundred men, one minute for one horse, ten minutes for a cannon. In an

operation by the Russians, 8,000 men, including infantry and cavalry,

were embarked in eight hours. In our loading of East Asia transports,

it required one to one and one-half hours to load one battalion. The

speed of our loading has amazed departmental circles in general. It is

certain, though, that this time can be greatly reduced through

detailed preparation and training. Napoleon I, in the year 1795, had

ostensibly drilled his troops so well that he could plan to put

132,000 men and their materials on shipboard in two hours.

It must be remembered that everything, troops, guns and supplies must

eventually be landed on open coasts. Portable flat-bottom boats and

building materials for piers must therefore be carried on the

transports. Special vessels must accompany the transport fleet with

large reserve supplies of food, equipment, ammunition, coal and so

forth. A cable-laying ship is also required.

We must now consider to what extent Germany is able to load forces for

the execution of operations which involve only a short voyage, in

which success depends so much on speed. For embarkation on the North

Sea, Hamburg and Bremen alone could furnish so many steamers capable

of being converted into transports, that with their tonnage capacity

the loading of four infantry divisions is possible in a period of four

days. With the addition of ships from Emden, Wilhelmshaven, Glueckstadt

and Kiel we would be able to despatch in the same length of time, at

least six infantry divisions, or five infantry and one cavalry

division. To these must be added several especially large and fast

German steamers, partly for the shipment that might be delayed and

partly to expedite the return to home waters. A large number of troops

can also be shipped from Baltic ports. Besides this, a repeated trip

of the transport fleet is possible if the command of the sea is

maintained continuously.

For longer sea voyages, in which the importance of speed is not so

great, our transport fleet can be greatly increased through chartering

or purchasing ships of foreign nations. Still, we are at present in

the position to despatch about four infantry divisions, with present

available ships, within ten or twelve days.

Consideration Of Landing Operations Against Powers That Can Be Reached Only By Sea Landing facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail