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Prussian Army - Organization

The first step was to redistribute the country into districts, so numbered and arranged that each corps d'annee and regiment should have its particular district corresponding with the civil divisions of the country. The regiment is scarcely ever moved from its own district, and it naturally follows that the Reserves (men on furlough) and Landwehr battalions belonging to the regiment were on the spot and ready for instant mobilization. Thus the whole North German country was divided into twelve corps d'armee districts, and each of these was divided into four sub-districts, corresponding with the four brigades of the corps. Then the sub-districts were again divided into districts of Landwehr battalions. There are generally two Laudwehr battalions to each regiment, so there are, as a rule, four Landwehr battalion districts within each brigade district.

Each district of the country contained its own corps complete as an army in every respect. Even each regiment had its district where it lived, surrounded by the friends of the soldiers, together with the reserves which were to reinforce it in war, and the Landwehr, who were to take its place in the fortresses. If a father served in a regiment, his sons served there too some day. Family traditions were kept up, and home influences were not denied to the soldier. The Officers were well known throughout the country side, and no one out of harmony can be admitted to the regiment except by carelessness on the part of the Officers already holding commissions in it. Most of the civil posts in the district were before the men as possible rewards for good conduct and cultivation of talents, and in the worst case there was always the old regiment at hand to help those who had passed through it, and since fallen into difficulties. Thus there cannot but be good feeling between the soldiers and the civil population, and the private was never quite out of reach of the tender advice of a mother and the softening influences of home.

Like all the rest of the Army administration, the Budget was characterized by the most extreme simplicity. The active Army may by law amount to 1 per cent, of the whole population of the country, and the money required was estimated at 225 thalers, about 33 15s. per head of the permissible active Army. The law granting this money was voted for a number of years, so the War Minister has only to estimate the population, divide it by 100 for the number of men serving, and then multiply by 225 to get the figure representing the number of thalers he has a right to take out of the public revenue for the year. For any extraordinary expenditure, such as re-armament of artillery or infantry, coast defence, &c., he would goe to Parliament with a supplementary Estimate. If the money was refused, he can take any accumulations in the military chest, or he could dismiss men to their homes some months before their three years' service with the colors is over, or, finally, he can take fewer recruits for the year. Thus he had far more power than was granted to any Minister in England, France, or Austria. The Minister can get exactly as many men as he wants - no less and no more.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 02:55:24 ZULU