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By Major Roger Sherman Hoar1

(Major Ordnance Reserves, U. S. Army. Author of "Patent Tactics and Law," and many other books and articles on Legal and Military subjects. America's leading authority on Military Ballistics.)

Here is a significant and authoritative resume of Nazi Germany's chances for victory in the new World War, by an experienced army expert on military tactics, ballistics and economics

1: Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not of tho War Department.

AT a time when every man-on-the-street is freely expressing his opinion on tactical and strategical questions, and particularly on Germany's supposed control of the air, it may not be amiss for a military man to present the view that economic factors rather than military strength are likely to determine the outcome of this new World War which now is upon us, and that nowhere is this more true than as relates to Germany's alleged air-supremacy.

From the purely military viewpoint, the situation at the moment looks pretty black for England and France. England has practically no Army, as European armies go. At a time when even the tiny nations of the continent are talking in terms of millions of men in arms, England has not over 275,000 regulars, not over 450,000 territorials, and not over 100,000 militia. And such troops as she does have, are woefully under-officered.

Although Britannia rules the waves, the British navy will probably limit its functions to continuing to rule the waves. The fleet is no more likely to attack Hamburg or the Kiel Canal than it was eager to force the passage of the Dardanelles in the World War. Nor is the fleet likely to try to enter the Baltic Sea, through the well guarded and thoroughly mined German Sea Barrier extending among the Danish islands from the Swedish peninsula to Denmark. That is why Allied troops could not be landed to aid Poland.

But before we accuse the British fleet of cowardice, let us recall the "first principle of naval versus land warfare" as taught at the Army and Navy service schools, namely that: "One emplaced gun on shore is the equal of an entire warship whose major weapons are of the same caliber as that one gun." Add to this a modern electrically-controlled mine-field, and you see what England was up against.

To revert to the subject of Poland's isolation. Even with Italy keeping out of the War, and with the Mediterranean accordingly open to England and France, Poland was cut off from her allies by Hungary, Rumania and Russia.

Germany's impregnable Siegfried Line, extending from Holland to Switzerland, interposes an apparently insuperable obstacles to France's huge, well-trained, and well-equipped Army, undoubtedly the best in Europe.

Two considerations stood in the way of aiding Poland by air, namely Germany's excellent antiaircraft artillery, and the fact that Poland had neither the personnel, the facilities nor the material to service the Allied air-fleets.

Then too there are the terrifying implications of the Russo-German treaty.

But most terrifying is the Nazi air force. The fear of the utter annihilation of Paris and London by a rain of bombs is universally accepted as the cause of the pusillanimous peace of Munich a year ago. And that fear still exists. Ever since Col. Billy Mitchell, backed by the Hearst papers, made his campaign against what he was pleased to call the "arm-chair aviators" of the American General Staff, America has been air-war conscious—perhaps unduly so.

I list all the foregoing bad features, merely so that the worst may be portrayed at the outset. Now let us nibble away at that apparently lugubrious picture.

It is rash to make prophecies, especially in view of the fact that one of America's leading columnists had an article explaining just why Hitler would not possibly go to war, in the same newspaper issues which announced the invasion of Poland. Even while I am writing this, the situation is kaleidoscopically changing. Nevertheless I will hazard the guess that neither Russia nor Italy will fight on behalf of Germany.

Mussolini could be of but little help to Hitler. The immediate result of Italian participation would be the loss of Italy's African empire, and the blockading of the Italian coasts. Not many more Allied troops would have to be diverted to hold the French-Italian frontier than are now holding it any-way—just in case. The British and French might even overwhelm Italy and force their way into Germany through the Brenner Pass. Well-in-formed circles believe that Hitler considers Mussolini a liability rather than an asset, and is keeping him out of the War as the lesser of two evils.

Dictator Stalin fears war worse than any other European potentate. We Americans are apt to think of the Russians as one race, one nation; whereas the Socialist Soviet Republics which compose the Ur S. S. R. consist mostly in conquered peoples, no more basically loyal to the Stalin regime than the Czechs and the Slovaks can be expected to be to Hitler's. Thus fully half the population of Russia today consists of oppressed minorities, who fought against the Bolshevik revolution.

Though the Soviet army is immense, it is largely recruited from these subject peoples. Only recently ten thousand officers of various ranks were executed as traitors. There is a life-sized guerrilla rebellion going on right now in the Russian Ukraine, the very Ukraine which Hitler has been coveting; which fact is perhaps one of the reasons why Stalin signed the nonaggression pact, so as to forestall the "rescue" of this minority by Hitler.

It is to be doubted if there are in the Russian Army more than 400,000 officers and men whose loyalty could be trusted. When target-practice takes place in Russia the cartridges are handed out a round at a time, lest the men revolt.

So Comrade Stalin dare not risk a real war. Should he lose, a counter-revolution would overthrow Bolshevism. Should he win, the victorious Russian general would succeed to Stalin's job.

So Stalin knew just what he was about, when he refused to ally himself with England and France against Germany. And he is no more anxious to fight for Germany than against her. Incidentally Poland knew just what she was about in refusing to accept Russia as an ally.

Now that Germany has crushed Poland Russia may be expected to seize some of the pieces.2

2: Major Hoar's prediction has been borne out with Soviet Russia's march into Poland. This has happened just as the author anticipated, and Poland will be divided by Nazis and Soviets.—Ed.

Even so Russia cannot be of much aid to Germany for Russia will not weaken its already tottering economy by supplying its moneyless ally.

Incidentally, the Russo-Nazi pact has one great advantage to America. One-hundred-percent Americans can now criticize Communism without having the epithets "Nazi! Fascist!" hurled at them—can criticize Fascism, without being called reds. Now that the mask has been stripped from these twin forms of totalitarianism, the Dies Committee can proceed in their great work, unhampered by false accusations.

Has Germany the control of the air? The opinions of most persons on this question were formed at a time when the expected lineup was Germany and Italy, against England, France, Poland and Russia. Italy and Russia are now out of the picture. Even if Stalin should eventually team up with Hitler, the negligibility of the Soviet air force, the reporting of which brought so much criticism down on Lindbergh's head, will then cut the other way.

Furthermore the relative air power of a few months ago is not the relative air power of today. Still less is it the air-power of tomorrow. According to latest information, England, France and Poland had 4500 first-line planes, as against 8000 for Nazi Germany. The allies are now building close onto 1700 planes a month, with maximum possibilities of 3300 a month in the near future; whereas Germany is extremely unlikely ever to top 2500 a month although she may possibly eventually draw up to 1000 a month from Italy. And the Allies have the whole world to draw from, in addition to their own output. It is to be doubted that Stalin, Hitler's only outside source, will sell.

And even assuming complete German control of the air (which assumption is contrary not only to the statistics but also to the news from England and France), air-power is considerably overrated. Consider how ineffective were the Italian air-forces operating with Franco against the Loyalists in the recent Spanish War. Several thousand civilians were killed, but the military effect was practically zero; the winning of the war still had to proceed upon terra firma. The much-heralded advent of the airplane as a weapon of war has still not altered the "first principle of land warfare": that "all branches of the service exist for but one purpose, namely to assist the Infantry."

A few years ago, one of our obsolete warships was anchored off the Virginia Capes, to serve as a target for bombing from the air. For several days, in perfectly clear weather, our planes hunted for the ship and couldn't find it. Finally they found it and dumped all their bombs upon it. It remained afloat, practically undamaged.

Remember that these bombers and Franco's bombers were unopposed. They would have been even less effective against adequate antiaircraft defense. In 1919 I was one of the official observers for the U. S. Army at the target practice of the Atlantic Fleet, and I marveled at the Sperry and Ford computing machines which automatically took account of wind, atmospheric density, temperature, the speed and direction of the firing ship, and the speed and direction of the ship fired upon. They aimed, laid and fired the guns with uncanny accuracy. These same principles have new been extended from the two dimensions of the surface of the sea, to the three dimensions of the air.

At the time that I resigned from the Regular Army in 1921, it was considered good work if an antiaircraft battery could register one hit in 5000 at a towed target at S000 feet elevation. A few years later I returned to Aberdeen Proving Ground for a tour of active duty, and was informed that the Coast Artillery A. A. battery there was making one hit in 17. Today I am told that 50% hits at the maximum bombing height of 10,000 feet is not uncommon.

On the other hand, I understand that British bombers, equipped with the new American automatic bomb-sight, presumably operating on these same Sperry and Ford principles, have been scoring 100% hits (i.e., within 100 feet of center of target, from 10,000 feet elevation. It is to be doubted that Germany has any device approaching this in efficiency, especially inasmuch as England and the United States have for years led the world in developing of instruments of this sort.

So much for the question of the control of the air.

The general military opinion in this country has been that Poland could not hold out, unless the rains came in time. Hitler struck early so as to avoid the rains, for Poland's army was extremely mobile, with large quantities of cavalry and horse-drawn artillery, and Polish mud would have given such outfits a great advantage over Germany's mechanized forces. But the rains did not come early, and Poland is finished.

However, do not forget that England and France were not fighting merely to save Poland—they are fighting to save their own national hides. In this connection I am reminded of what a German said to me at the close of the last World War: "We would have won, if it hadn't been for the stupidity of the British. An intelligent race would have known when they were licked, and would have surrendered. But those dumkopfs kept right on fighting." England is apt to display the same dumbness in the present war.

Is the Siegfried Line impregnable? Compare the successful defense of Verdun by the French in the last war. Well, breaking the Siegfried Line may prove impractical, for there is a fundamental truth that a salient driven into such a chain of fortifications is more dangerous to the attackers than to the attacked. But the flank of such a line can be turned. One of the most surprising things which one learns at military school is that the tactical principles of trench warfare are no different from those of mobile warfare—merely a bit slower. So watch the German left flank, where it adjoins Switzerland.

And, regardless how discouraging may be the war news of the first few months, remember that it is the long pull that counts in war, as in the investment market. Don't speculate on war news—invest.

Compare to the present situation, bad as it may seem by the time these words are published, with the situation at the end of an equal number of days after the beginning of the World War of 1914. Recall the Kaiser's triumphant, almost unresisted push through Belgium and France. And then remember how that war turned out, due largely to the British sea-blockade of a Germany less land-isolated than now.

You know the story of the American who told a Britisher that he had been checking up on the military record of the Empire, and had found to his surprise that Britain had lost more than three quarters of the great battles in which it had been engaged. The Britisher replied, "True, but have you noticed that we usually manage to win the final battle of each war?"

So the real question in this confiict is: Can Germany last? The answer is emphatically No!

It is true that England does not have a trained Army, but she is ahead of all the World in munitions output. She had been roundly criticized by experts for letting her armament program get so far ahead of her training program. But has not this been wise?

William Jennings Bryan was once quite justly ridiculed for his bombastic statement that "a million men would spring to arms overnight." It was pointed out that America had no arms to spring to. England is not now confronted by that difficulty; and if the program of the Army Ordnance Association of this country continues unhampered by the isolationists in Congress, America will not be confronted with that difficulty. Incidentally, one of the great inconsistencies of our isolationist-pacifists is that they are so bitterly opposed to the only policy which can enable our country to maintain its isolation, namely preparedness.

But to get back to my thesis that Germany cannot last. Compare the estimated gold reserves of four belligerants: England, one billion dollars; France, two and a half billions; little Poland, eighty million; Germany, even including her seizures in Czecho-Slovakia, only twenty-nine million. This estimation, so far as Germany is concerned may be false by latest reports.

Consider the question of food and military supplies. England and France, with their control of the seas, have the whole world to draw from. Germany, in spite of her land contacts, is virtually blockaded. And England cannot afford to jeopardize that blockade by any rash naval attacks on Germany.

Do not be misled by German submarine activity, into any erroneous idea that the Allies do not have complete control of the seas. Recently, in reading Admiral Mahan's epic work, "The Influence of Sea Power on History," I was much impressed by his demonstration that commerce-raiding and coast-raiding are symptoms of having completely lost control of the sea.

So what does this blockade mean in terms of the necessities of life and war to Germany?

Food. Germany is only about 80% 'self-sufficient. There is a shortage of agricultural labor, which the demand for soldiers will render even more acute. Rationing of foods was put into effect even before the War started. In fact, there are those who say that the food-rationing had become necessary, war or no war; and that this was the real basic reason for Hitler's attack on Poland. However, this can be safely discounted. France is agriculturally self-sufficient. And, although Britain produces only 40% of her own food, it is inconceivable that Germany's submarines can appreciably dent the other 60%.

Gasoline. Much has been said about Germany's synthetic production of petroleum from coal. Yet the maximum as yet accomplished in this way has been to supply about a third of the country's needs. Where is Hitler to find sufficient manpower to devote to the mining of coal and the production of even this much ersatz gasoline? The remaining two-thirds must come primarily from Rumania and overseas. England and France control both the seas and the Rumanian oil-fields. Of course, Germany can attack Rumania, but that would give the Allies just the entry into Germany that they need.

Coal. Here Germany is reported to have more than enough for all needs. Yet, if this be so, why has Hitler so carefully restricted the diversion of coal from the production of gasoline? England, of course, is heavily oversupplied. The war should prove a boon to her most depressed industry.

Rubber. Here again, Germany's maximum synthethic production has been only about a third of her needs. And here, more definitely than in the case of gasoline, the remaining two-thirds are cut off from her by the blockade.

Wood. Here the possibilities are not very far short of the needs. The deficiencies can probably be made up from Scandinavia; and even if these communications are cut, the loss will not be seriously felt.

Iron. Germany is only 25% self-sufficient. Her principal outside source is Sweden.

The mines with which Germany fought the last war, now lie inside of France. If Britain should gain control of the Straits of Denmark, the shortage would be acutely felt. And even without this control, Sweden isn't likely to sell to a moneyless nation, in competition with the offers of real gold from the Allies.

Copper, tin, etc. Here Hitler has to depend entirely on outside sources, which are now cut off. It is inconceivable that his hoarded stores of these metals, regardless how vast, can supply his entire needs indefinitely.

Aircraft. Nowhere will the effects of Germany's gold-shortage, and of the British blockade, be more acutely felt than in aircraft production. The very best of materials are needed in this field; ersatz will not do. And even before the incidence of the blockade, before war rendered necessary real cash instead of barter, the Allies had forged ahead of Germany—ahead even of Germany plus Italy plus Russia—in the production of planes.

Competent observers estimate that Hitler can last about a year—two years at the most. Therefore, in order to win, he must beat England and France to their knees within that time.

England and France are not in the habit of being beaten to their knees. Both countries realize that they are fighting for their very existence.

Which is why I say that, regardless of the immediate fortunes of war, in the long run Germany cannot win!

Editor's note: The opinions in this article may be considered basically sound. "Major Hoar has long been a recognized authority. As this goes to press many of his points are already evident.

Although Poland at first seemed to offer little resistance to the mechanized Nazi advance, it became evident later that the defense had been greatly strengthened, obviously from a pre-arranged plan. Warsaw, although nearly surrounded, still holds out, although Nazis claim victory a matter of hours.

Most interesting is the aerial warfare thus tar. The British have carried out but one raid, and this seems to have been totally ineffectual. The French also have clone little. Only Nazi flyers have gone into real action, and it is certain that their activities caused much of the damage to Poland's defense. Does the strange lack of activity mean air attack is not what it is cracked up to be? New rumors that Nazi Germany has as high as 18,000 first line planes as compared with Britain, France, and Poland's 4,500 are staggering, but quite possibly true. Perhaps that mighty fleet will be in action as this is published.