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TRAINING THE ARMY.

MEMORANDUM FROM pyt£pßlAlj STAFF.' •■"■'-■'■ PROJECTED IMPROVEMENTS. Volunteers in New Zealand will be directly affected by a memorandum, of importance issued by theillitperial .General Staff with reference to the training of the forces at Home and in the British Dominions. The principles will be made manifest at the New Zealand Easter training camps of 1010, if not during those of the current year. These principles will not, it is stated, revolutionise all byegone theories df trAirring;4nit-I>hey will leave behind much that has been held sacred in the past. It is pointed out that the British forces may be called upon to face hostile forces to whom they are numerically inferior, ami, consequently, the development of exceptional mobility, the ability to manoeuvre for position, the fostering of initiative, and' the offensive spirit in battle, must be re- : garded as the cardinal features of army training. The memorandum has been prepared under instructions from the Chief of the General Staff with the following objects: ( 1) To draw attention to regulations affecting training about to be published, modifying existing regulations. (2) To review the progress of training during recent years, to note certain tendencies as revealed at manoeuvres, etc., and to endeavour to influence training in certain desired direotione. " Tactical exercises" are defined as operations against a skeleton force in which the initiative of the commanders is limited. " Manoeuvres " arc denned as operations between opposing forces or a skeleton force in which the commanders are allowed freedom. In recent years the training of the army at Home has been largely confined to tactical exercises, and though most remarkable results have been obtained, there was a number of faults. The " battle oi encounter " has been too much neglected as to umpires. The essence of the new regulations is that the control of the troops should rest as far as possible in the hands of their eommandere. Umpires will seldom, therefore, interfere with the movements, but will exercise such control as is legitimate, by conveying information to officers in command, as to the effect of their own and the enemy'a fire, and by giving decisions when troops come into contact. It is not (states the memorandum) that in some cases recently we have not been open to the reproach of attempting to teach officers to run before they can walk, that is, to command divisions and brigades before they can commnnd battalions and companies. Staff tours proper should be reserved for the instruction of etaff and departmental, officers and senior . regimental officers, and strategical and tactical principles ought not to be the only object of these exercises. An army moves upon its belly, and the study of problems of organisation and administration are of equal importance. It should therefore be the endeavour of those charged with the theoretical training of oilieers to develop the mind of each in a direction which is likely to be most profitable, to the service. The question of direct and indirect artillery (Ire continues the memorandum) is still with us, and a solution as to which is the better is not likely to be arrived at for some time to come. Until the artillery hns still further developed its power of dealing with moving "targets by indirect fire without loss of time, the only possible course to take is to insist that positions for indirect or direct fire must continue to be taken up in accordance with the tactical situation. In siege operations night fire, in conjunction with searchlights, will undoubtedly be made use of in future wars, and the practice should continue to receive attention. In field operations artillery fire by night will probably also be used in tha defence of positions either with or without lights, and should also hi studied. The use ot artillery fire by night in support of an attack is an open question ior many reasons that will readily oocur. Still, circumstances may arise when a night bombardment may facilitate the delivery of a night assault, and the artillery should continue their training to meet such an emergency. The new courses of musketry training have been designed with regard to such conditions as—invisibility of target —effect of hostile fire, necessitating the uee of cover, combined with a rapid aim (snap shooting), nnd—the ability to bring a rapid and well-aimed fire upon tho onemy for short periods—the necessity for reliance on collective ttre at ranges exceeding 600 yards. The memorandum concludes with a reference to machine gun training: " Sufficient importance has not been attached, nor sufficient attention paid, to training in machine gun practice." Definite instructions with regard to this will shortly bo issued.

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TRAINING THE ARMY. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 71, 24 March 1909

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