Page 3434


their military organization gone to seed,

as did the Prussian army that was formed

by Frederick the Great and that was later

defeated at Jena and Auerstadt by Napoleon. The Germans were keen enough

not to repeat that mistake, and Kaiser

Wilhelm II. spoke the truth when, on

August 4, at the historic opening of the

Reichstag, he said: "All that human forethought and energy can accomplish in

arming a people has been done."

The heads of the German military

machine were scientists who were keenly

aware that the world does not stand still.

No detail had been too small for their careful attention. Their minds had always

been open for ideas and improvements.

And, thanks to this spirit and to their

untiring labors, they had managed to

prepare at least three unpleasant surprises

for their enemies: (1) secretly they had

evolved an almost invisible gray-green

uniform; (2) they had discovered the

importance of having an unusually large

quota of machine guns; and (3) they

had constructed powerful mobile howitzers

capable of destroying in short order any

fort in existence. They had also devoted

much time and vast sums of money to

the construction of immense, heavier-than-air flying machines; but, as events

were to show, the Zeppelin was hardly to

justify its reputation, except for slaughtering non-combatants, and in the domain

of the air, since they had concentrated

upon aeroplanes, the French were as well

equipped as were the Germans.

The French army was not much behind

the German in efficiency, and yet it was

not so well equipped. There were not

enough rifles for all the reserves, and the

troops still wore the glaringly visible red

trousers and black coats. Nor were the

supplies of ammunition so adequate, nor

the factories for producing it by any means

so large and numerous as in Germany.

The French officers were,

however, splendidly trained,

and the men were full of

love for France and of hatred

for the Germans. The spirit

of comradeship between officers and men was most admirable, there being no social

gap such as yawns between

officers and privates in the

German, the British, or even

the American army.

In the matter of weapons,

the French light field gun,

the "75", was the best in

the world; but the Germans

greatly excelled in heavy

artillery. Their improved

Mauser rifle was also superior to either the Lee-Enfield of the British, the

Lebel of the French, or the "3-line" of

the Russians. Their reserve supply of

ammunition for great and small arms was

also immense, and they were equipped for

making more at a very rapid rate. Furthermore, as already stated, the Germans

were more fully awake to the possibilities

of the machine gun than were any of the

other powers.

That this was so is not to the credit of

the British military authorities. Their

armies had had more practical experience

with machine guns than any other

nation. They had used them with great

effect in their wars with the Matabeles,

the Dervishes, and other savage and half