army spain reserve strength century infantry peace
SPANISH Aran% Spain, once the proudest of nations, has been brought so low by years of misrule and anarchy that she can scarcely now be classed among the powers of Europe; and the army which under Charles V., the Duke of Alba, and the Constable of Bourbon had proved itself so formidable, has been reduced to a state of disorganisation that makes any detailed notice of it impossible. The martial spirit of old Spain, roused by the protracted struggle with the Moors, and fanned by the exploits of the Cid and the successes of Ferdinand of Castle, culminated in the reigns of Ferdi- nand and Isabella, and of their successor, Charles V. At the end of the 15th and beginning of the 1Gth century the Spanish army was renowned throughout Europe ; while the discoveries of Columbus and the conquests of Cortes and Pizarro had extended her power and the fame of her arms to the New World. Gonsalvo de Cordova, Ferdinand's "great captain," was the creator of the Spanish infantry, which, modelled originally on that of the Swiss, soon eclipsed the latter, and became in its turn the model for other nations. More heavily armed than the Swiss, it trusted, like them, to massive formations and the irresistible weight of its attack. During the 16th century the Spanish infantry maintained its reputation, and it was not till the close of the century that its renown began to fade before the new school of Maurice of Nassau, and that the deep masses of the " Spanish brigade" gave way to the smaller and more mobile formations of the Netherland ordonsauce. Under the disastrous reigns of the last princes of the house of Austria the army rapidly degenerated, and when Philip V. ascended the throne in 1700 it scarcely amounted to 15,000 men. During the 18th century it was largely augmented, and at the outbreak of the French revolution numbered about 120,000 of all arms. But though formidable in numbers, it was no longer so in quality; and throughout the long war with Napoleon it distinguished itself principally by its uniform ill success, and the haste with which it abandoned even the strongest positions. After the peace the army was reorganised, and efforts were made to improve its general condition. But the series of civil wars, or of risings in which the army was a principal actor, thwarted all such attempts. When Isabella was driven from the throne in 1868 the army espoused different sides, the bulk of the infantry joining Prim and the revolutionists, while the artillery and some of the corps defile remained faithful to the queen. In 1S67 the total armed forces of the kingdom (including navy and colonial troops) were fixed at 200,000. The land forces in Spain itself amounted to 150,000, of whom 80,000 belonged to the regular army, and the remaining 70,000 were made up of carabineros or gendarmerie, guardia civil, and provincial militia. The law of recruiting passed in 1870 made all Spaniards liable to service on reaching the age of 20, and fixed the terms of service at four years in the ranks and two in the reserve. Substitution by exchange of numbers or by renvlacants, mid exoneration by payment, were sanctioned - the price of the latter being fixed at £60. In 1872 the draft of a new military law was laid before the Cortes, by which substitution and exoneration were abolished, and the annual contingent required to complete the army was to be taken by position (according to age) on the lists, instead of by ballot. The term of service was [MINOR EUROPEAN.
fixed at seven years, - three to be passed in the army, two in the first reserve, and two in the second reserve; the first reserve being liable to be called out at any time to complete the active army, but the second reserve only in case of war, and by a vote of the Cortes. The abdication of King Amadeus, however, prevented the carrying out of the contemplated reorganisation of the army.
' The contrast between the conduct of the Spanish soldiers and of the Spanish people during the Peninsular war presents a curious problem. At the very time that the armies of Spain were dispersed on every occasion, often almost without firing a shot, the people were signalising themselves by the heroic defence of their towns, and by carrying on a desperate guerilla, warfare that nothing could subdue. The Spaniard possesses many of the highest qualities of a soldier: he is hardy, temperate, individually brave, high-spirited, and independent; and though naturally indolent and idle, is easily roused, and capable of great heroism, as well as of sustained exertion. Yet this people, when brought together, form without exception the worst soldiers of Europe. They are impatient of discipline and restraint, and as easily discouraged as they are excited; and that mutual confidence in one another and in their leaders, which alone gives moral strength to a mass of men, is altogether wanting. How much of this may be due to the want of good leaders may be a question; but discipline must always be the basis of all military efficiency, and of discipline in the true sense of the word neither the soldiers nor the people of Spain have any idea.
The-existing army dates from the Peninsular war, when a considerable force of Portuguese, at one time exceeding 60,000 men, was organised under Marshal Beresford. Trained and partly officered by English officers, it proved itself not unworthy of its allies, and bore its full share in the series of campaigns ,and battles by which the French were ultimately expelled from Spain. At the peace the army numbered about 50,000 infantry and 5000 cavalry, formed on the English model, and all in the highest state of efficiency. This force was reduced in 1821, under the new constitutional government, to about one-half. By the present law of military organisation, passed in 1864, the strength of the army is fixed at 30,000 men on peace footing, and 68,000 on war footing. The number under arms, however, has never approached this; and in 1869 the actual strength and composition of the army was as follows: - The number of troops in the Portuguese colonies amounted to 8500 infantry and artillery, besides a reserve of 9500 men.
The army is raised partly by conscription and partly by voluntary enlistment, more than one-half being obtained by the latter method. Exemption may be purchased by the payment of a fixed sum, amounting to about £80. The time of service is eight years, of which five are spent in the regular army and three in the militia. The Portuguese have distinguished themselves rather by naval enterprise than as soldiers. Physically they are inferior to the Spaniards; but they are more amenable to discipline, and proved themselves far more valuable and trustworthy auxiliaries in the long Peninsular struggle.
The military power of the " United Provinces " dates its rise from the middle of the 15th century, when, after a long and sanguinary struggle, they succeeded in emancipating themselves from the yoke of Spain; and in the following century it received considerable development in consequence of the wars they had to maintain against Louis XIV. In 1702 they had in their pay upwards of 100,000 men, exclusive of 30,000 in the service of the Dutch East India Company. At the beginning of the wars of the French Revolution the army had fallen to 36,000 men. In 1795 Holland was conquered by the French under Pichegru, and in the course of the changes which ensued the army was entirely reorganised, and under French direction bore its share in the great wars of the empire. In 1814 Holland was relieved of the yoke of France, and in the following year, her armies, under the gallant Prince of Orange, fought side by side with the British at Waterloo. At the peace of 1815 the Belgian provinces, subject before the war to Austria, were annexed to Holland, and the whole formed into a constitutional kingdom ; but the union between the northern and southern provinces of the Netherlands was dissolved by the Belgian revolution of 1830, and in 1839 Belgium was finally acknowledged as an independent kingdom.
The military forces of the Netherlands consist of a home or regular army, a colonial army, and a militia. The regular army is in theory raised by conscription, five years being the term of service, but substitutes are allowed, and a great part of the force under arms are volunteers, the conscripts being drilled for ten months only, and then sent home on furlough, subject to six weeks' annual training. The colonial army is raised entirely by voluntary enlistment. The infantry of the regular army consists of 8 regiments of the line, each of 4 active and 1 depUt battalion, a regiment of guards, composed of 2 battalions of chasseurs and 2 of grenadiers, and a battalion of instruction. A battalion consists of 5 companies, of a peace strength of about 100 men, and a war strength of 200. The cavalry consists of 4 regiments of hussars, each regiment having 6 squadrons, viz., 4 field, 1 reserve, and 1 depot. The strength of a squadron in time of peace is about 100 men, in time of war about 200. The artillery consists of 5 regiments, viz., 1 field, 3 garrison, and 1 of horse artillery. The field. artillery regiment has 14 active batteries of 6 guns each, and 1 depot company ; the horse artillery has 4 active batteries and 1 depUt ; the garrison regiments have each 14 companies, of which 1 is for torpedoes and 1 instructional. The engineers consist of a scientific staff, and 1 battalion of sappers and miners. The war strength of the Dutch army in 1872 was as follows : - with 108 guns. The colonial army numbered about 28,000 men,-13,000 Europeans, and 15,000 natives.
The militia, or garde civiqxe, is divided into two classes: the first, or active militia, numbering about 26,000 ; the second, or resting militia, about 61,000. The whole are organised in battalions according to locality. They are generally well clothed and armed, and of fair physique, but are very badly drilled. The men of the regular army arc well drilled, and sturdy and robust, though rather small. They have had the advantage of the services of many Prussian officers as instructors, and a large camp of instruction is formed annually. The officers are mainly supplied from the military academy at Breda, and are of the upper classes ; promotions from the ranks are very rare.