Discipline of the Prussian Army
Morning Chronicle, Commercial and Shipping Gazette; Quebec, 30 August 1870
The discipline and daily routine of exercise for the Prussian army is to all foreigners a source of never ending wonder. The early morning is devoted to cleansing the quarters, and correcting any irregularities which may have arisen out of the previous days' duties. Later in the forenoon the hours are given to study—arithmetic, geography, geometry, theory and practice of military science; and even singing is not neglected. Great importance is attached to the studies of the soldiers, and by attaining a certain advancement in knowledge, each one, after satisfactory examination, can shorten his term of service from one to two years. In the afternoon of each day the bodily culture is attended to, and this consists not only of purely military drill, but also of every variety of physical exercise calculated to add either strength or suppleness to the human form—running, leaping, vaulting, balancing, bayonet exercise, lifting, shooting, bending, altogether such an innumerable variety of movements that no muscle of the body is without its daily exercise. These "squad" drill are followed by company and regimental parades, and at short intervals by grand field movements of brigades and divisions, and these once a or twice year by grand army movements with mock battles. I have not been fortunate enough to witness any of the grand tactics, but the exercise in detail by company, battalion, squadron, or battery, and in particular the artillery movements, seem to me to be as near perfection as patience and practice can make them. All this perfection pr preparatory knowledge and practice must, of course, have its weight on the struggle of actual war; but if there is any ground for doubt as to the power of the German militia, it would lie on its too great reliance which is here placed on scientific knowledge, and consequent distrust of a quick common sense which is not too overburdened with acquired wisdom.