The chapter on losses of officers begins with the statement that the condition of the cadres, or basic organizations, in the German Army is bad. The proportion of officers, and notably of officers by profession, has been enormously reduced, it says; and a report made in December showed that in a total of 124 companies, active or reserve, there were only 49 officers of the active army. The active regiments have at the present time, according to the review, an average of 12 professional officers; the reserve regiments, 9 to 10; the reserve regiments of new formation, 6 to 7; and it is to be remembered that these officers have to be drawn upon afresh for the creation of new units.
“If Germany creates new army corps, and if the war lasts ten months,” it continues, “she will reduce almost to nothing the number of professional officers in each regiment, a number which already is very insufficient.”
The French report points out that on the other hand, all the French regiments have been constantly kept at a minimum figure of eighteen professional officers per regiment. At the same time it admits that the commanders of German corps, commanders of active battalions, and the officers attached to the commanders of army corps are officers by profession.
The French report then addresses itself to the wastage of material. Discussing the wastage of guns, it says:
It is easy to ascertain the German losses in artillery. On Dec. 28 the Sixty-sixth Regiment of Artillery entrained at Courtrai for Germany twenty-two guns, of which eighteen were used up. This figure is extremely high for a single regiment.
The same facts have been ascertained as regards heavy artillery. On Dec. 21 and 22 seventy-seven guns of heavy artillery, which were no longer serviceable, were sent to Cologne. These movements, which are not isolated facts, show how ill the German artillery has resisted the ordeal of the campaign.
Other proofs, moreover, are decisive. For some weeks we have noted the very peculiar aspect of the marking on the bands of a great number of shells of the 77 gun. When these markings are compared with those of shells fired three months ago it is plain beyond all question that the tubes are worn and that many of them require to be replaced. This loss in guns is aggravated by the necessity which has arisen of drawing upon the original army corps for the guns assigned to the recently formed corps or those in course of formation. Several regiments of field artillery have, in fact, had to give up two batteries.
These two phenomena—wearing out of material and drafts upon batteries—will inevitably result either in the reduction of batteries from six to four guns, a reduction of the number of batteries in the army corps, or the partial substitution for 77 guns of 9-centimeter cannon of the old pattern, the presence of which has been many times perceived at the front.