IF CANADAWERE INVADED
Harry W. Anderson
Vol.NXVII OCTOBER, 1914 _No. 12
CANADA’S brief and busy War Parliament was at an end. For the first time in over a century —since Sir Isaac Brock called together the members of the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada in the early days of 1812—Canadian legislators had met to deal with the grim issues involved in actual warfare. They had done their work unitedly and well. Sir Robert Borden and Sir Wilfrid Laurier had stood shoulder to shoulder.
Through the open doors came the sound of distant martial music-—in turn the roll of the National Anthem, a real prayer now; the throb of Rule Britannia. an inspiration and a determination; the strains of 0 Canada, the testimony of Dominion participation. Even as Parliament was finishing its legislative labor the citizen soldiery were hastening to their sternei task.
Clad in his khaki uniform, the Minister of Militia rose to inform the House of the spirit that dominated Canada. Over 100,000 Canadians had already volunteered for service. Only 22,000 were needed at the front at the present time, but incoming trains were bringing 27,000. “They are climbing on the trains so persistently that we can’t keep them off,” commented the Minister, laconically. The silence was broken by hearty cheering.
Then, unexpectedly and spontaneously, the war came home. The personal dominated Parliament. Members talked in husky tones.
“While giving heed to the words of the Divine Book, ‘Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off’,” declared Dr. Michael Clark, at the close of a thrilling sentence, “we have solemnly determined that, come what may, in this fight there can be no let-up. We must fight to its termin-
£ £ jy UT it may yet fy be our s.” What did Sir George Foster mean? He is not an alarmist. Neither is he a militarist. In his speech there was no exaggerated rhetoric to raise the mind to a state of visionary excitement. His words do not intoxicate.
Ilis is one of the calmest, keenest, and most lucid minds. But he calls—and calls solemnly—for courage, for preparedness,
ation—victory for what we believe to be the right.”
“He speaks from the heart,” exclaimed the Minister of Militia warmly. “I may tell the House something it probably does not know. Our colleague from Red Deer has given his son to the service of his country.” Again the cheering of the members broke forth afresh.
Sir George Foster was the last speaker. He began in a voice that was barely audible. “We are met in Parliament as a band of Canadians,” said he. “That generosity which sometimes lies more or less concealed in partisan or racial disputes, has burst all those ignoble bonds, and the feeling of pure patriotism, love of country, and devotion to what the flag symbolizes, has come to the front disfigured by no mean or petty purpose.
“The one solemn thing for us to remember,” proceeded the veteran, “is that there is more to war than the first march out of the troops, the first blare of the trumpet, the first flaunting of the flag. What there is more to war has been demonstrated by Belgium in these last thirteen or fourteen days, when the homes of their citizens have gone up in flames, when their wives ana their children have given up their lives, and when their own bodies, as strong and valiant ns ours, have been shattered by the grim weapons of war. We have aot had that experience. BUT IT MA Y YET BE OURS. My word to this country to-day is, to put on the full armour of courage and confidence, not to be daunted by a temporary reverse, or by a series of reverses, but to feel sure that justice will burn bright and strong in
proportion to our readiness to make the necessary sacrifice, and as the fires of this sacrifice burn away all that is selfish in our country, our people and ourselves.”
for confidence. Is this Dominion equal to the task of repelling hostile invasion?
For years Canada has been coming to recognize the fact that a country with a population growing at the rate at which hers has been increasing, with a water-borne commerce
greater than Japan’s, with a national outlook broadening daily, and with potential resources that make this century assuredly hers, could not rest content with relying on the British navy for the defence of her seaboard and her commerce, her shipping and her communications, but must face the problem of naval defence. In the existing situation her Government has availed itself of the Naval Service Act and placed her navy, the Niobe and the Rainbow, with the two recently purchased submarines on the Pacific coast, at the disposal of the Admiralty for coast defence. The call for recruiting found her maritime men ready and willing. On both her ocean coasts she has a splendid maritime population. A generation ago Nova Scotia alone was the home of one of the largest fleets of wooden vessels in the Engiish-speaking world, owned and crewed by natives of that province, and found on every sea. All that flotilla has vanished, and to-day Canada’s deep-sea commerce, and no small share of even her coasting trade is done by Norwegian ships and men. Many Nova Scotians who followed the sea have migrated to New England or New York to find more profitable employment in the fisher smacks out of Gloucester, the pogiehunters out of Rhode Island, or the freighters out of New York, and it is a matter of record that considerably more than half the men making up the Gloucester fishing crews are natives either of Nova Scotia or Newfoundland.
PACIFIC IS SAFE.
Invasion must come by the Atlantic. The Pacific is safe. There is only one way into the inside western waters of the Gulf of Georgia, the gulf that sepa-
But Canada has no sufficient or effective naval defence on either of her continental shores to defend her against hostile invasion. That is a problem she yet must solve or else occupy such an ignoble role as her dependent status would imply, with the further alternative of relying on the still more ignoble plea that the inviolability of her territories is guaranteed by the Monroe doctrine.
Yet Canada, independent of military or naval aid from without, would require “some taking.” Suppose the worst, which God forbid! Germany at the end of a terrible war has dictated terms to France at Paris, and with Austria, has driven back the Russians far within their borders. Submarines and aircraft have reduced the numbers of the British fleet. Britain, in self-preservation, must use her every available warship to protect her home coast. The world-conquering Kaiser casts envious eyes upon Canada. The Marconi operator at Glace Bay picks up a code message which tells him that fifty German transports, convoyed by five battleships and eight cruisers are heading for the Gulf. What then?
rates the great Island of Vancouver, on which the city of Victoria sits, and its sister groups of smaller islands, from the mainland. That way, as Bonnycastle Dale pointed out in a recent article, is through the Straits of Juan de Fuca, straits one hundred miles long and tapering to twelve miles in width, commanded by Esquimalt, the British naval station on the Pacific, and by magnificent modern cannon. Even waiving the question as to whether this international waterway between Canada and the United States could be traversed by hostile ships of war bent on attacking the north coast of America, the toll which invaders would have to pay to those guns would be staggering, while the narrow passages of the northern entrances could easily be mined against the navies of the world. Moreover, the task of a foreign pilot on that cost, with the lights of the marine service extinguished, would be a momentous one. And back of marine disaster land invasion would be confronted by the Rocky Mountains, with their marvelous natural fortifications. None but a mad-man would seek to invade and conquer Canada from the Pacific.
Any attack must come from invasion on the Atlantic coast. Here the enemy must silence the garrisons at the forts of Halifax and Quebec to even make a successful landing. Then a huge task lies before them. The size of the country, the huge tracts of almost unsettled and rocky land, the comparatively poor railway facilities present a gigantic military problem. What the Boers were able to do to embarrass the British in the South African war Canadians would do over again with infinitely greater advantage and natural assistance than was possessed by the yeoman armies of Paul Kruger.
Canada’s voluntary militia is not to be sneered at. General Sir John French, now commander-in-chief of the British
forces in Europe, in 1910, and General Sir Ian Hamilton, last year, both at the conclusion of thoro u g h inspections which covered the entire Dominion, testified to efficiency and strength of the Dominion’s citizen soldiery.
Under Section 10 of the Militia Act, the whole manhood of the nation, beween the ages of eighteen and sixty years, is “available for service in the militia.” The rapidly expanding population of Canada stands already at nearly eight millions, of whom it was assumed by Sir Ian Hamilton that about one million males were in all respects fit for active service.
This number, less the active militia, forms the reserve militia of the country, for which no sort of military organization at present exists. The custom of keeping up muster rolls of those liable for service, which obtained until comparatively recently, is now in abeyance.
Approximately, according to Sir Ian Hamilton’s report, 29,000 riding horses and 26,000 draught and pack animals would be needed for the field army alone. In Canada there are in all some 2,400,000 horses of all sorts, of which about 20 per cent., or rather less than half a million, are believed to be suitable for military purposes. Under the Militia Act the number can be taken under requisition. Owing to the expense entailed, little has yet been done towards inspecting and registering the horses of the country. Nor have any steps been taken towards classifying motor cars and motor lorries.
The relation between stocks of arms, ammunition, clothing and stores on hand and stocks required on mobilization show some deficiency in howitzers for the field army and in equipment, but are generally up to standard.
The strength of the Canadian militia in actual training is as follows:
TRAINED IN 1913.
Other Officers. Ranks.
Permanent Force....... 55 2,190
Active Militia.......... 4,198 50,353
Total............... 4,253 52,543
For 1914 these numbers have been considerably increased, while Sir Ian Hamilton found the requirements of the war organization to be as follows :
If, therefore, mobilization of the Canadian army was suddenly required it would be necessary to find some 2,100 officers and 110,000 other ranks from the militia forces of the country in order to complete the field army and garrison troops to the war establishment duly sanctioned by Parliament.
The Canadian Army is organized for war as follows:
Seven mounted brigades.
Three mixed brigades.
Lines of communication units. Garrison Troops-^
At Halifax, Quebec and Esquimalt. The liability of the Canadian military forces is strictly territorial. Not an officer or man, either permanent or nonpermanent, can, in his capacity as a Canadian militiaman, volunteer for service overseas, either in peace or war, as provided by Section 69 of the Militia Act. The primary duty of Canada is held to be to make all reasonable provision, up to the limit of its resources, for defence against invasion of its own territories.
Are, then, Canada’s military forces adequate for home defence? The first factor, of course, is the fighting force to be encountered; the next, the time in which that force can get to work. A state entering into war from its normal condition of peace is at a terrible disadvantage when pitted against the state which is ready,
and even engaged in warfare. For the ways of war are changing just as fast as, or faster than, the ways of peace. The railway and the wireless are busy eating into space and time. Distance is ceasing to serve as any material protection. Operations which formerly took months are now carried out in weeks, and will be carried out in days—perhaps hours.
The task of Canada’s home defence that falls on the active military forces, as Sir Ian Hamilton conceived it in his report, would be:
(a) To protect the vitals of Canada, the chief towns, the arsenals and military stores, the ports on the coasts and the main railway systems, against raids, great or small.
(b) To delay the enemy’s main attack until the reserve militia can be assembled and knocked into some sort of military shape.
In point of time the first of these tasks is clearly the most pressing. Every detail of mobilization as affecting men, horses, stores, transport, etc., must be thought out so as to enable the units to be standing ready at their war stations within as few hours as possible after the outbreak of hostilities, and all plans for the movement of the troops by rail carefully matured.
Other Officers. Ranks.
Field Army........... 5,500 143,000
Garrison Troops....... 400 10,000
Total............... 5,900 153,000
matured. In 1910 Field Marshal Sir John French reported as follows: “At present it would not be possible to put the militia in the field in a fit condition to undertake active operations until after the lapse of a considerable period.” Last year General Sir Ian Hamilton reported progress. “Since 1910,” he said, “great progress has been made in many directions. Organization is
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very markedly more thorough; training has been leveled up in some respects and, under the supervision of the general staff the education of all ranks, and especially of the higher ranks, has been improved. Let Sir John French’s ‘considerable period’ be represented by ‘a’; the militia should now be able to undertake active operations in time. I honestly think that, as great an advance has been made during the past three years as it would be reasonable to expect, seeing that the stimulus of danger has been entirely wanting. But there is no scope for any resting on the oars. Let there be none; and if the recommendations I have made are in the main carried out, another four or five years should put Canada quite at her ease as to raids, great or small.”
A summary of the recommendations to which Sir Ian Hamilton alludes are as follows :
Increase in the instructional staff of the active militia.
Localization of instruction in divisional areas by means of provisional schools.
Increase in the remuneration of officer instructors.
Direct engagement from outside sources of some of the sergeant instructors.
Increase in the peace establishment of the active militia.
Amalgamation of weak units.
Sixteen days’ paid training for rural troops as well as for city corps.
Training of rural troops at other times than during camp period.
Assimilation of permanent force units, if concentrated, to the regular model.
Interchange of permanent force and regular units.
Scientific treatment of horse registration in peace.
Institution of a national reserve.
Preparation of classified muster-rolls of men liable and fit for service.
Organization on paper of the reserve militia.
The recommendations, in essence, can be classed as changes in organization and improved methods of training and organization.
A STRONG ORGANIZATION.
In event of the Canadian militia taking the field at home to repel threatened invasion its first eastern organization would probably be made upon the lines laid down by Field Marshal Sir John French. That organization would comprise one cavalry division of four brigades, five army divisions, and two field forces and garrisons.
This first force, or an organization approximating its arrangement and strength, could be placed in the field for home defence almost immediately upon the completion of mobilization. With the war organization complete machinery will exist for absorbing 160,000 troops. There are. however, no reserve cadres, nor is
here any -machinery for replacing the Igly gaps war makes in the ranks. It is lot to be doubted, notwithstanding, that iny call for volunteers would meet with i tremendous response, and practically he whole male population, between the iges of 18 and 60 years, would be initantly available for service.
The command and staff of the Canadian ’orces are, to some extent, modeled on the ines of the Imperial army. The Militia Council, of which the Minister of Militia s the head, is a body which, in times of jeace, is charged with the functions of a :ommander,-in-chief. In time of war a :ommander-in-chief is specially selected md appointed by the Government. The ifficer thus appointed takes supreme control of the entire Canadian army and 3pon him rests the direction of the entire :ampaign.
To the commander-in-chief would be leputed the responsibility for resisting my threatened invasion, and upon his ifficient disposal of the troops and strategic ability would largely depend the ength and scope of the enemy’s incursion.
While the ready army undertook the irst check thousands of recruits would be rounding into shape and coming to the assistance of their comrades. The horsemen from the prairie provinces would be exceedingly effective in service. Of them Sir Ian Hamilton was eulogistic. “The Western cavalry,” said he in his report, “are fine. The physique of the men is just right. They ride daringly and well. They are keen as mustard, and their horses, the bronchoes of the prairie, show blood and stamina.” These corps would be an extremely formidable force, augmenting with their dash the steady cavalry of the Eastern provinces. The artillery, too, could be depended upon to give a good account of themselves. “Certainly most of the militia artillery I have seen surprised me by the standards they had attained,” declared Sir Ian. “The men are able to ride and bring their guns into action with considerable dash. I have seen them move fast, keeping their intervals, for quite a distance along a narrow, bad winding track through the forest.”
But the backbone of Canada’s defence would probably be her rural troops and volunteers. “Their hearts are in the right place,” was the British Inspector-General of the Overseas Forces’ comment, “and it is necessary to add in fairness that their physical fitness also, as well as the habitudes of their daily life, would go far in practice to bridge over the want of elementary military training which seems at first sight to separate them, to their disadvantage, from their comrades in the city corps. These latter suffer from the prevailing Canadian habit of preferring any other mode of locomotion to making an appeal to their legs, whose chief function seems very often to consist in standing at a street corner waiting for a car. The rank and file of the rural corps can, from the first day, cover a lot of ground. Again the rural men are quite at home in bivouac. They settle down right away and know how to accommodate themselvis to heat and cold, wet and dry, wind or
calm. They can light fires, cook rations, make bridges, dig trenches, mend carts and, in fact, are born campaigners readymade in many of the essentials of campaigning. Here we have a true military virtue, covering many deficiencies in quickness, knowledge and skill, and this virtue at least I am convinced myself is posessed by the rank and file, and indeed, by all of the rural corps.”
It would be against such a force, inspired by the spirit of defence of home and loved ones, that any invading enemy must throwutself did it succeed in reducing the coast defences and fortifications with the heavy guns of its fleet. The first objective of the invaders would doubtless be Ottawa, the capital. And what problems of distance, and geography and climate failed to produce would be vigorously and determinedly supplied by the yeoman soldiery at every step. The sturdy militia troops of the Dominion, their knowledge of the country, and their ability to take care of themselves and their own, would make conquest well nigh impossible to anything but a colossal and indomitable invading army, such as it would take months of time to transport.
Here Canada’s climate would come impassably to her defence. No force of invaders could live and feed themselves under the necessities of out-of-doors advance in her zero months of snow and ice. The problem of clothing and supplies would be gigantic ; the problem of keeping alive the all-absorbing one. Meantime English Canada, Scottish Canada, Irish Canada, French Canada, Iceland Canada, Scandinavian Canada, and all the other cosmopolitan units in this great new-world melting pot of nations, every one intensely loyal to the land of its adoption and the flag that flies over it, would be arrayed, should to shoulder, against the impudent intruder.
It would be a world task to conquer the Canada of to-day, as hopeless as is the aspiration of Kaiser Wilhelm to destroy the fleet of the little home isle which still “rules the waves.” i_
SPECIAL LOCOMOTIVE FOR SAND STORMS.
For use on the Sahara Desert line of one of the French railways, a peculiar type of engine, designed for cutting through the terrific sand and wind storms characteristic of the region, has been built. The farther railroads have been pushed into the desert the greater has been the difficulty encountered from storms these being at time sufficiently strong to bring heavy trains to a complete standstill or even topple them over. To facilitate driving into head-on blasts a locomotive with a sharp V-shaped hood has been constructed. All its surface lines are made so as to offer the least possible resistance to the wind, while the wheels are built as nearly open as is practical, furnishing a minimum surface for the wind-driven sand to wear upon. This paitern of wheel is also to be adopted for, use on the cars, as solid wheels under incessant sand blasts have been found to weir so thing within a year’s time as to be irsafe for further use.