From Mobilization to Field Forces, 1914
The outbreak of the First World War saw the implementation of the most meticulously planned mobilizations in history. As the war that had been expected and feared for decades finally broke out, mobilization plans that had been developed and revised for more than a generation were finally put to the test of activation, in order to implement equally detailed war plans – the “perfect plans” that would prove so flawed in the test of fire.
Because of differing military systems, railroad networks, resources, and geography, each of the principal European powers had a different model for mobilization.
|Mobilization Timetable, 1914|
|Austria-Hungary|| 13|| 21|
|France || 24 || 18|
|Germany || 38 || 15|
|Italy || 17 || 23|
|Russia || 16 || 19 |
|Note: Figures include second and third Line units, as well as Active and first line Reserve units, save for Russia, where they include only the “first echelon” of the army, about a third of the overall force.|
Britain has been omitted, because it did not have a reserve system such as those of the other countries in Europe.
Feeding His Majesty’s Sailors, 1745
Armies may march on their stomachs, but Navies sail on theirs. During the eighteenth century the dominance of the Royal Navy was in no small part due to its superior manpower, which was in turn linked to Britain’s ability to feed its sailors.
|Weekly Ration Issue|
|Salt Pork|| 4 pds|
|Cheese|| ¾ |
|Butter|| ½ |
|Peas|| 2 pts|
|Beer|| 7 gal|
For the times, this was a fairly generous ration, given the relative ignorance of vitamins and such that would keep a man healthy; it would be another generation before the issuance of lime juice and other anti-scorbics would be added to ration.
One recent addition to the ration was “grog.” Grog was a mixture of 80-percent water and 20-percent rum that was issued to the men in two daily doses of four ounces each. It had been introduced in 1740 by Admiral Lord Edward Vernon. Nicknamed “Old Grog” because he wore a ratty old grogham coat much of the time, Vernon believed that by regularizing the issue of drink, he could reduce drunkenness in the ranks. He was right, and until the ration was abolished in the mid-twentieth century it was ever afterwards named “grog” in his memory.