The state of our infantry on Jan. 15 was very satisfactory and much superior to that of the German infantry. On an average each of our regiments has forty-eight officers, including eighteen regular officers, fifteen reserve officers, and fifteen non-commissioned officers. In each regiment six of the twelve companies are commanded by Captains who are regular officers, three by Captains of the reserve and three by Lieutenants. Each company has at least three officers. The state of the army as regards the commissioned ranks from the highest to the lowest is declared to be exceptionally brilliant. The army is led by young, well-trained, and daring chiefs, and the lower commissioned ranks have acquired the art of war by experience.
2,500,000 FRENCH AT FRONT.
Including all ranks, France now has more than 2,500,000 men at the front, and every unit is, or was on Jan. 15, at war strength. The infantry companies are at least 200 strong. In many regiments the companies have a strength of 250 or more.
In other arms, which have suffered less than the infantry, the units are all up to, or above, regulation strength.
This fact constitutes one of the most important advantages of the French Army over the Germans. While Germany has created a great number of new units, army corps or divisions, which absorbed at a blow all of her available resources in officers and men, the French supreme command has avoided the formation of new units, except in limited number, and has only admitted exceptions to this rule when it was able to count with certainty on being able to provide amply for both the present and future requirements of the new units, as regards all ranks, without encroaching upon the reserves needed for the existing units.
At the same time, thanks to the depots in the interior of the country, the effectives at the front have been maintained at full strength. The sources of supply for this purpose were the remainder of the eleven classes of the reserves, the younger classes of the territorial army, and the new class of 1914. A large number of the men wounded in the earlier engagements of the war have been able to return to the front. They have been incorporated in the new drafts, providing these with a useful stiffening of war-tried men.
With regard to the supplies of men upon which the army can draw to repair the wastage at the front, we learn that there are practically half as many men in the depots as at the front, in other words about 1,250,000. Further supplies of men are provided by the class of 1915 and the revision of the various categories of men of military age previously exempted on grounds of health or for other reasons from the duty of bearing arms. As a result of this measure nearly half a million men have been claimed for the army, almost all of whom, after rigorous physical tests, have been declared fit for military service.