Of what are these resources composed? Chiefly of men who were untrained in time of peace, the trained reservists having almost all left the depots for the front. It has, moreover, to be noted that out of these 3,200,000 men there are, according to the statistics, 800,000 who are more than 39 years of age, and therefore of only mediocre military value. Thus there remain 2,400,000. Finally, the category of the untrained in peace comprises, according to the estimates of German military authorities themselves, one-quarter of inefficients.
The really valuable resources capable of campaigning are therefore just 2,000,000. These men, comprising the 1915, 1916, and 1917 classes, called out in anticipation, constitute—and this point cannot be too strongly insisted upon—the total of available resources for the operations during the twelve months of 1915. As to what the military value of these troops will be, considering the haste with which they have been trained, the formidable losses sustained in the battle of Flanders by the newly formed corps show very clearly. Their military value will be limited.
When it is remembered that, according to the German documents themselves, the definite loss each month is 260,000 men, it is manifest that the available resources for the year 1915 will not suffice to fill the gaps of a war of ten months.
It is then superabundantly established that in the matter of effectives Germany has reached the maximum of possible effort. If with the men at present available she creates, as it is certain that she is preparing to do at this moment, fresh formations, she will be preventing herself, if the war lasts another ten months, as is admissible, from being able to complete afresh her old formations. If she creates no new formations, she will have in 1915 exactly what is necessary and no more to complete the existing units afresh.
Bearing in mind the ways of the German General Staff, one may suppose that, disregarding the eventual impossibility of recompleting, it is still addressing itself to creating new formations. The weakness to which Germany will expose herself in the matter of effectives has just been set forth, and it is easy to show that this weakness will be still further aggravated by the wastage in the regimental orders.
In the sixth installment, beginning with the field gun, the famous “seventy-fives,” the compiler of the report, after rehearsing the splendid qualities of this weapon—its power, its rapidity of action, and its precision—points out that it possesses a degree of strength and endurance which makes it an implement of war of the first order.
It may be stated without hesitation [says the review] that our “seventy-five” guns are in as perfect condition today as they were on the first day of the war, although the use made of them has exceeded all calculations. The consumption of projectiles was, in fact, so enormous as to cause for a moment an ammunition crisis, which, however, was completely overcome several weeks ago.