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III. MILITARY SYSTEM AND MILITARY INSTRUCTION IN
1. OUTLINE OF MILITARY SYSTEM. In the year 1847 seven of the cantons of the Swiss Republic seceded from the Confederacy. Among them were the three forest cantons, the original nucleus around which the whole Republic had been formed, the birth-place of William Tell and Arnold, of Winkelreid. The seceders held the strongest military position in Europe, but the loyal cantons put on foot an army of 100,000 men, well armed, drilled, and officered. The city of Friburg was taken, and in thirty days from the first proclamation of the commanding general the war was ended and order was restored.
In 1856, a quarrel having arisen with the king of Prussia, Switzerland placed on foot an army of 200,000 men well provided with artillery Thus the military system of Switzerland has proved itself effective; and as there is no standing army whatever, and the state is a confederacy of cantons under democratic forms of government, we may find something in their system applicable to our own case.
Switzerland covers an area of about 15,000 square miles, equal to that of Vermont and New Hampshire together, of which a large portion is covered by lakes, forests, mountains, ice and snow, leaving only thirty-one per cent of the land fit for agricultural purposes, not includirg the mountain pastures. Possessing a population of only two millions and a half of people, it is surrounded by military powers of the first class, and must needs be strong to be free. France, Austria, and Prussia are not always as good friends as they are near neighbors, and the little Republic must ever be ready to ward a blow and return it. The constitution of Switzerland declares that every citizen is a soldier. “Tout Suisse est soldat.” Military service is required between the ages of twenty and forty-four. The substitution of one man for another is forbidden, but exemption from service is allowed to certain persons, such as officers of the government and of public institutions, clergymen, students of theology, members of the police, pilots and others. In some cases a man is excused from the more active service, but required to pass through the regular course of military instruction and to serve in the reserve of the army when called upon. Such are the only son, or one of the sons, of a widow; or of a widower, provided the father be over sixty years old, and the son necessary to his support; a widower, the father of children in their minority, who has no resources except the work of his own hands; one of two or more sons when they make common household with their parents, if the family could not be supported by other brothers not subject to service; married men, or widowers having at least two children. These exceptions do not apply to officers.
The Council of State of each canton appoints yearly a “Commission on Furlough and Discharge,” consisting of ten members, of whom two are medical men, two officers, one a corporal, one a soldier, and the others members of the council. The commission acts under oath; grants exemption for physical defects or want of height; or passes men from the active service to the reserve. A man who at the age of twenty has not attained the height of five feet and one inch can be furloughed for two years; and if, at the end of the third year, he has not reached this height, discharged from all service. Men who have been convicted of disgraceful crimes, or have suffered penal sentence, are declared unworthy of bearing arms; and if once deprived of their civil rights can not hold a commission.
The militia is divided into the federal contingent and the landwehr. The federal contingent consists—First, of the elite, which includes three per cent of the whole population, taken from those between the ages of twenty and thirty-four. The time of service in the elite is eight years. Second, the reserve, being one and a half per cent of the population and not above the age of forty. The landwehr includes men up to the age of forty-four. The landsturm, or lery en masse, consists of the whole male population, capable of bearing arms, between the ages of twenty and fifty, and not included in the classes before described. The male population of Switzerland is 1,140,000, of which thirty-seven per cent, or 422,000, are between twenty and forty-four years of age. One-fourth of these are exempt or found unfit for service, leaving 316,000 perfectly fit. In 1853 the number of men required for the federal contingent was 104,354,* but according to official statements the number of men in all branches of the service, well armed and instructed, amounted to 125,126. The excess of men supplied, over those required, arose from the public spirit and general desire for military instruction existing among the people. Add to these 125,000 the landwehr, which numbered 150,000, and we have a total of 275,000 effective men, well armed, drilled, and officered.
* Infantry, including Rifles, 89,366; Artillery, 10,366; Cavalry, 2,869; Engineers, 1,530.
The federal army is composed of the following arms: engineers, including sappers and pontoniers; artillery, including rocket batteries; cavalry, riflemen, light infantry, and intantry. There is besides a medical corps for the service of the ambulances and hospitals. But as uninstructed men are of little or no value, the federal law upon military organization provides that the cantons shall see to it that the infantry of their contingent is completely instructed according to the federal rules, and though the application of this principle in its details is left to each canton, yet the following rules are laid down: recruits are not received into the federal elite until they have gone through a complete course of instruction which lasts at least twenty-eight days for infantry, and thirty-five days for light infantry. The confederation charges itself with the instruction of the engineers, artillery, cavalry, and riflemen. This course lasts twenty-eight days for riflemen and forty-two days for the three other arms, but these recruits have previously been drilled in the school of the soldier by their cantons, and the riflemen have received preparatory instruction in firing at a mark.
In the larger cantons—that of Zurich for instance-divisions of recruits in succession are put into barracks and well drilled practically and theoretically for fifty-six days, either consecutively or ai two periods of the same year, as may best suit the youths. In the second year after entering the elite, and for each year afterwards, the infantry is called out for drill during three days, by half battalions at least, with preparatory drill of three days for the “cadres,"* the commissioned and non-commissioned officers forming skeleton corps. Days of entry into service are not counted as days of drill, and in case of interruption the days of drill are increased by two days. The reserve is called out for drill during two days of each year, with a preparatory drill of one day for the “cadres.”
In the corps of engineers, artillery, cavalry, and riflemen, the elite is called out every alternate year for the engineers and artillery, and every year for the cavalry and rifles. The drill lasts four days for the “cadre of engineers and artillery, and immediately after ten days for the cadres and companies united, or twelve days for both together. For the cavalry the drill lasts seven days for dragoons and four clays for “guides;" for riflemen, two days for the cadres, and immediately afterwards four days for cadres and companies united. The rezerve is called out for a drill of half the length of that of the elite.
To complete the instruction of the soldier the cantons in their turn send their men yearly to the federal camps where the troops to the number of three or four thousand, are kept under canvas for two weeks. Larger numbers of men, forming bodies of 5,000 and upwards, are also mustered and cantoned in the villages, and during several days exercised in the grand movements and maneuvres of war, chiefly for the instruction of commanders and officers of the staff.
* The officers, non-commissioned officers, and corporals, constitute what is called the
To keep up the efficiency of every department of the service the whole is subjected to the yearly inspection of colonels of the federal staff appointed by the central government. The inspection of infantry is confided to ten colonels who serve for three years. There is also an inspector in each of the arms of engineers and artillery, the latter having under his direction an administrator of materiel charged with the inspection and surveillance of all the materiel of the confederation. This administrator directs and superintends the workmen employed in the factories of the confederation for the manufacture of powder and percussion caps, as well as arms, gun-carriages, &c. The colonel of cavalry and the colonel of rifles direct all that relates to their respective arms, and recommend the necessary improvements. If these inspectors detect in the contingent of any canton any want of perfection in drill, they have the power to order such additional drill as may bring the men up to the proper standard.
Great care is taken in the instruction and selection of officers. The officers of infantry, up to the grade of major, are appointed by the cantonal authorities; the higher officers by the federal government. But no officers can be appointed to the special arms of engineers, artillery, and cavalry, except such as have gone through a course of instruction at a military school appropriate to each arm. No one can become a non-commissioned officer vnio has not served at least one year as a soldier, nor a commissioned officer oxccp: after two years' service. Candidates for promotion must pass a public examination, before a commission, both in theoreticai and practicai knowledge. Promotion is given, according to seniority, up to the grade of dirst lieutenant. Captains are chosen from among the lieutenants without regard to seniority. To be appointed major. eight years' service as an officer is required, of which, at least, two years as captain. For a lieutenant-colonel, ten cars' service as officer, of which, at least, four as major of the special arm. For a colonel, twelve years' service as an officer is required, of which, at least, four years as “commandant," or in a higher grade. In the Swiss service there is no higher rank than that of colonel. When a colonel has been appointed commanderin-chief of the army, he receives for the time being, the title of general, which he afterwards retains by courtesy.
We are indebted to Professor L. Simonson, of Trinity College, Hartford, Conn., for the following communication respecting the cadet system in schools not specially military and the practice of target shooting in Switzerland, by which a military spirit is fostered throughout the entire population and the highest skill in the use of the rifle is attained by a large number of individuals, who are thus prepared for any sudden call to arms.
2. THE CADET SYSTEM. The Swiss boy learns target shooting and practices gymnastic and military exercises at a very early age. He imbibes with his mother's milk the thought that his first duty is to become a defender of his country,
These boy-soldiers are styled Cadets, and are a fruit that can spring up and ripen on democratic soil only. The first armed corps of the kind we find in Berne near the end of the 16th century. But the general practice of military exercises among them dates back only about eighty years, when the HELVETIC MILITARY AssociATION began to advocate the formation of Corps de Cadets in all parts of Switzerland. From that time the most efficient and eminent officers devoted themselves enthusiastically to this cause. The first corps sprang up in Aarau, Sursen and Olten. Aarau possessed for a long time the best drilled, largest and finest corps, and in the canton of Argovia generally the system has struck deeper root than elsewhere; but well drilled corps can be found in any of the larger places, as in Zofingen, Lenzburg, Brugg, Baden, and a dozen other places. It was an old custom for the cadets to parade in the federal cities-Zurich, Berne and Lucerne-in honor of the assembling of the Swiss Diet, (Tagsatzung.) As far back as 1770 we find a boy-corps of infantry and artillery in Zurich, yet towards the end of the last century the organization was partially broken up, until the political renovation of the canton in 1830 re-organized the corps anew. Besides in the capital, we find corps in Winterthur, Uster, Wald, Stäfa, Meilen, Hor- · gen, Wädenswyl, and other towns on the lake shores. Berne, Biel, Thun, Burgdorf, and many other Bernese villages, for thirty or forty years have practiced their school-boys in the exercise of arms. The state takes special care to give the students of the University of Berne and of the two normal schools a thorough military training. The cantons of Lucerne, Solothurn, Basle, Schaffhausen, St. Gall, Appenzell, Glarus, Tessin, Friburg, Neufchâtel, and the countries of Vaud and of the Grisons, possess each of them one or more cadet-corps. Military drill, as well as gymnastic exercises, forms part of the regular