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Preparations During Peace

Whether the operations be large or small, full preparations must be

made during peace. These preparations include first of all the drawing

up of plans through the study of political and military relations.

Then the operations can be carried out under international

jurisdiction, avoiding thereby any disturbances of importance. The

possibilities of friction must be given careful thought.

First of all, a bas
for prospective operations must be determined by

exhaustive investigations as to landings that may be suitable. While

the first inquiries are made by naval officers, they can only be

completed by army officers. The following essential points must be

kept in view in searches made by naval officers:

I. To determine the naval strength required for protection of the

transport fleet and to settle the question of communication with home


II. To decide upon proper and specific points on the respective

coasts, from a marine standpoint.

III. To investigate all harbor facilities for the disembarking of the

troops, and to ascertain the number and size of ships the harbor will

admit so as to insure the protection of the land and sea flank.

IV. To study the enemy's coast defenses and decide upon the strength

required to attack them.

The researches of the army officers concern principally the following:

I. The aim of the operations is to overcome the obstacles as reported

by the naval officers.

II. The number of troops which the opponents can muster against the

invasion should be estimated.

III. All questions as to climate, water supply, and equipment

necessary should be decided.

All this information has been shown to be of distinct value, and

perhaps would cause us to alter, within the next year, the disposition

of the line of battle in case of war. Through a well ordered

intelligence department definite plans can be made.

Regarding operations which require troops fitted for tropical service,

capable officers and forces should be reviewed and inspected during

times of peace and made note of accordingly. The division would make a

suitable unit for large operations and could be formed from different

army corps. These divisions should be so equipped that they could

operate independently in customary situations. Fuller preparations

should be made for the sending of heavy artillery, the telegraph and

airship divisions. These formations would be important problems during

the voyage at sea. An especially skilled staff is needed. To this end,

loading transports and landing maneuvers for the heavy artillery and

other heavy divisions should take place annually in suitable harbors

on coasts that present the right opportunities for the troops. An

enlarged command of officers and subordinate officers would show

sufficient strength in a relatively short time. Incidentally it might

be possible to have these maneuvers take place in our foreign

possessions, where we could better determine the actual needs of

operations of this sort. This training would bring forth the simplest

and best means for the adjustment of our merchant marine for

transporting troops. All other expedients for the voyage would

likewise be shown. Some of this needed experience has already been

acquired through our expedition to China.

Just as a detailed plan of mobilization is required for any war on

land, a complete plan is necessary for operations over the sea which

embraces also the railway trip to the harbor and the rapid execution

of the tasks involved in embarking. On account of limited facilities

only one division can be handled on a railroad. The necessity for

transfer by wagons to the ships requires enlarged railway stations and

piers in many places. Furthermore, many different supply depots must

be built and maintained. In these depots building material should be

held in reserve for the alterations that are needed for the

transformation of the merchant ships into transports. All other

apparatus for successful transporting, such as extra lifting

contrivances, flat-bottom boats, gang planks, and so forth, should be

stored in advance. Usually, these adjuncts are lacking in the merchant

marine. Light railroad rolling stock for use in the tropics or in

difficult land conditions is also recommended.

In addition to these supply depots there must be in all harbors large

warehouses containing clothing, food and coal. The small requirements

of our transport to China did not emphasize sufficiently the value of

advance preparations, but it is evident that within a few days over

one hundred steamers should be provided with such accommodations. To

do this in an emergency would require too much time aside from the

difficulty that might be encountered in securing skilled labor.

For long distance transportation our large harbors on the North and

East seas can be utilized equally well for embarkation. Speed is the

chief requisite. In order to lessen the distance of transporting,

operations toward the west must be conducted from the North Sea ports

and toward the east from our east sea ports. This does not preclude

the possibility of towing the transports from the east sea through the

Kaiser Wilhelm Canal to the North Sea should it be found desirable,

but it would involve a waste of time. The smaller harbors should not

be used for embarking for large enterprises because they lack the

necessary facilities. They might be utilized to advantage in a smaller

way, provided sufficient means were at hand to take care of one

division a day. Especially suitable harbors on the North Sea are

Emden, Wilhelmshaven and Bremerhaven, in connection with Bremen, and

Cuxhaven with Hamburg and Glueckstadt. These are the harbors that

should have complete preparations made for possible expeditions.

Bremerhaven is by far the best. In every respect it would take first

place for embarkation, because of its extensive wharfs. From this

point two or more divisions could be shipped daily without difficulty.

Cuxhaven is not so well situated, but its connection with Hamburg is

important. If it were brought up to full development it could take

care of two divisions a day which Hamburg could well supply.

Glueckstadt is an especially important base because most of our live

stock exporting business is carried on there. It is recommended that a

short double-track railroad be built from Elmshorn to Glueckstadt,

making a connection with the reserve corps frontier. In Glueckstadt one

infantry division and part of a cavalry division can be shipped.

In Wilhelmshaven all the essential features are at hand, but it is

doubtful whether, in view of simultaneous mobilization of the fleet,

this place can be chosen for the embarkation of land troops. In any

event, it would be necessary to enlarge the harbor buildings. The

railroad facilities would also have to be increased.

While Emden is favorably situated, an examination discloses many

drawbacks. It needs better dock facilities and railroads to bring it

up to standard and in order to relieve the extensive shipping of

troops at Wilhelmshaven. Under existing circumstances Leer and

Papenburg could be used for transporting purposes, and these two with

Emden could handle one division.

The situation on the Baltic Sea is peculiarly unfavorable, no harbor,

with the exception of Kiel, being deep enough to accommodate our

larger steamships. At Danzig the dredging of navigable waters and

extension of docks should be planned, which are of great importance

from a military standpoint. The other smaller ports on the Baltic are

at present not suitable for transporting troops.

The Kiel harbor could not be utilized for the loading of large

transports because of the same conditions that affect Wilhelmshaven,

namely, the delay that might hinder the rapid mobilizing of the fleet,

which would not be permitted. The docks at Kiel must therefore be

greatly enlarged so that they could thoroughly satisfy simultaneously

the demands of the battle and transport fleets. Pillau and Swinemuende

should be authorized to extend their very small docks. On the other

hand, the large dry docks in Danzig, Stettin and Kiel should be in a

position, within the shortest possible time, to provide the necessary

buildings for transporting, if the materials and warehouses are

planned correctly.

Of the greatest importance in operations over the sea is the provision

of the proper number of ships. Defects in preparations in time of

peace would hinder successful execution and would give the enemy time

to take the necessary precautions to oppose an invasion. Yet it should

be stated that England, at the outbreak of the Boer, although lacking

full preparation during peace, in the course of a few weeks procured

the required number of ships for the first shipment.

The problem of ship control would at best fall to the loading

commission, which should be settled upon as an established authority

to make a comprehensive survey and appraise the German steamers for

military transporting. This commission should also list the

foreign-owned steamers which might be available in the harbors for use

in emergencies. Through close commercial relations this control can be

extended to neighboring foreign ports (Amsterdam, Rotterdam,

Copenhagen) to the end that we might charter several large foreign


The construction of stables for horses on our commercial ships would

cause delay, as we have pointed out previously. It would seem

advantageous to have our subsidized steamship companies to build

several ships which can be quickly adjusted for shipping horses. This

ought to be an easy matter with ships used for shipping cattle. The

Hamburg-American Line, it is known, will readily provide such a ship.

The management of the transport depots and the training of the

dry-dock and harbor personnel would obviously fall to the loading

commission. In a similar way, the navy would be permitted to divide

the sea-fighting strength, in the event of mobilization, into a fleet

of warships and an escort for the transport fleet, assuring effective

protection and a fighting force equal in rank to the enemy.