-The ex-staff officer said, speaking from personal experience.
I’m curious of the conceptions others have on the role of staff officers. I am, after all, just a silly civilian armchair general.
To my understanding, staff officers are a support, and therefore are subordinate, to the field officer of equivalent rank, the latter which I refer to as commander since their primary role is making commands and decisions and have the final say in the matter.
The role of a staff officer is not to command since that role is already taken up by the field officer he is attached to. It is to help the field officer make decisions, gather information to inform the decisions, and do menial tasks, all of which are designed to have the field officer concentrate on his primary role better.
Neither are meant to be superior to the other, since they don’t play the same roles.
My main Inspiration for the Junior Academy would be the Prussian Académie Militaire which gave young men a basic education in some general courses (Geography, Mathematics, Philosophy, Rhetoric etc.) but then also offered language courses (to widen the educational source material) and Riding, Fencing, Drill etc.
The idea wasn’t to educate Baron A to be an Infantry Platoon leader specifically, that training still took place at the Regiments, but to give a shared basis for which further education could be applied, either at the Regiments or at a more specific academy (if we can get so far). I think the main difficulty is that officers with commissions come to the Tierran Army so widely differing in basic abilities (Elson’s horsemanship, Carrecort’s leadership abilities etc.) that it becomes difficult to create a shared training/education regimen without tailoring it to the various individuals.
Next step would then be to upgrade a General Academy to various schools so to specialize the young men further. Artillery Students would get additional courses in chemistry, ballistics. Cavalry officers in fencing, geography (specifically for map-studying and scouting). And Infantry Officers to double down on drill.
Next step again would then be to offer courses to Officers already existing within the Army’s structure. Staff courses, weapons testing, language courses for an upcoming theater etc.
I might go a bit Prussia-boo with it, but it is how the Prussians moved from a Feudal Army to the Professional one we know.
I’m actually more reluctant with the idea of having all officers of the Royal Engineer Corps to be well educated and to be excellent at mathematics as the enlisted men does. As the engineers need officers who know what they must do in their position or else the artillery and engineers will be rotting inside out. Also having all officers to start from the lowest commission rank as Ensign or Cornet. As for promotion, they can only obtained them through their merit and actions in battle besides of seniority, and of course no more purchasing these commissions.
@Cataphrak Exactly! I’m not to be trusted…
@Herrington Here we are speaking mostly of those officers assigned to the staff of a general officer and really mostly the General Staff. In modern terms whatever it is that goes on in the Pentagon (I wouldn’t know). What I do know is as a poor sap on the edge of the empire is that if one of those guys has a bad day it could mean my entire Division goes without chow for a week.
@Studwick Tierra already has something of a tradition of educating it noble scions who can afford it at Aetoria university. There are also the orders of the green and blue which are necessarily academic. I wonder if a “military studies major”/corps of cadets at AU wouldn’t be a place to start? Seems like the Army will be too small to support a separate university. At a total of 25,000 soldiers in the army where I’m guessing at most 10% are officers -half or more of those on half pay- I would expect something like 100-250 newly minted junior officers a year. That would put them on par with USMC turnover, which is probably an overestimation.
Size-wise, the Unified Kingdom has more than twice the population of Denmark-Norway, who could successfully support both a naval and an army cadet academy as early as 1701.
Given, Denmark-Norway made a great deal of money from extort- i mean taxing merchant vessels who wanted access to the Baltic.
Money-wise it isn’t even that expensive. Other than getting a building made available, teachers could get pulled from the suddenly large amount of half-pay officers out of jobs. Some of those officers might not be firstborn sons either, so they don’t have an estate to look out for.
Of course, this might necessitate that the Tierran education system has developed to a certain point, which might not necessarily be the case.
I think my conception of the staff officer for the general grades is still similar just upped in scale. They are key in operational and strategic planning as well as doctrinal dissemination after all. It’s just that when strategic planning is concerned, there has to be input from the civilian/political sphere since this has some overlap with domestic and foreign policy due to the sheer scale.
The military history course idea is not a bad one. Once students pass the course, they could transfer to an actual military academy. If they don’t, I certainly won’t object to future politicians knowing something about military history. Definitely not salty with the lack of military history courses in non-military post-secondary schools here in Ontario. Not at all.
I know that Britain and France also established military academies before the French Revolution. I read an article somewhere that the ‘Ballistics Revolution’ of the early-mid 18th century was one factor for the creation of military academies, since artillery officers needed math more advanced than arithmetic. Napoleon was enrolled into one of these and got a lot of his ideas from military supporters of Gribeauval.
More salient than the size of the population though is the size of the army and specifically the officer corps. I could see a Naval Academy in Tierra’s case but I don’t see the institutional drivers as being there for the army. Potentially something combined for all services? That’s what leads me back to a cadet corps out of AU.
The main concept that I want to strike a chord on is using the Tierran concept of patronage to get it pushed through. Normally, I wouldn’t want to go and just keep it all elitist and separated, but, the problem is that Tierran staff officers are all self-trained or they get tossed into the ring and have zero idea how to do it or the complexities. This also is a way to fill the GS jobs with qualified people.
The Superintendant role for the Academy could be given out to Castermaine for instance who has a mind for this kind of thing. I’m thinking of it as a way to get prestige because it’ll be the equivalent of using your family connections to land an intendancy position.
Of course, I also believe current officers like Sandoral or people who enjoy the science of war should also go. The hope is that Tierra’s army will grow slighly more professional.
The officers who attended Welles’ private meetings are more likely to just pay the tuition and I’m sure that they’ll find the money, or find a wealthy sponsor (ie: Castermaine) to get them through.
Is their something wrong with being a staff officer?
It depends how far you get down the road most likely, I can’t speak from a military perspective but when I first started working at a firm I was just a spreadsheet monkey. I’d go and be rented out to various firms and create financial models and get a lot of data and work 14 hours a day. When I got out of that, I got to do the more fun things like trade and do risk-management. But, honestly talking to @cascat07 or @Studwick will give you the military take on a staff position.
The institutional driver being the crown though. That is why most of these academies show up in the capital and are royal. Don’t think the modern Tierran Army is hugely outsized by some related armies in Europe (Denmark-Norway, some of the German States).
We probably can never get away with nepotism and patron-relationships, but it mustn’t split the army.
If there should be any favouritism, it should be unitary (the state and central monarchy) or there might be regional tension. WW1 Russia was just such a system. Regional strongmen sponsoring youths for their own system leading to a split between Baltic German officers and ethnic Russian officers, and between individual officers sponsored by different higher-ups (Samsonov vs Rennemkapf).
There needs to be a central authority and school that ensures that the Tierran military will at least not compete with eachother as much as the enemy.
Also, i’m just a lowly (former) infantryman. I’m as experienced on the subject as most others here, except cascat. He really is the authority on this stuff
The problem is that, as you brought up previously the Austrian reforms post War of Austrian Succession is that Tierra is still dealing with many different regional divides. So it’ll always taint how things are run. Until such a time that every Duchy and Earldom accepts the Intendancy and Exchequer and the necessity of some overarching central government all meaningful reforms will be regional.
Also didn’t Samsonov shoot himself after Tannenburg?
I think the army as it currently works is not really less likely to split over patronage. Tierra is a long way away from any but a handful of guys actually wanting to be on the staff (except in the sense of “in the family of General X” connections) - not even what Cascat is talking about as just the cult of the fighting officer and the idea of red martyrdom and all don’t exactly encourage placing a high value on “the guy who does so and so’s paperwork” relative to line assignments.
The thing with staff is that it’s not just that, if you are in brigade staff or in Havenport’s staff your job is when Havenport wants to attack Octorobirit to go and figure out how to route all the supplies, get the vedettes out, and all the other mechanisms that are required for an army to function.
Which is why it’s a miserable position because you do all that hard work and present the plan to Havenport and he gets all the credit. Like Hindenburg and Ludendorff with Hoffmann.
Useful to have the people who can tolerate that trained to at least know how, thus the discussion, but unlikely to be enjoyed in any sense by 98% of the officer corps.
If one joined the military intending to be a interestingly dressed bureaucrat then no. Of course if that was why said one joined the military than they really shouldn’t be trusted with the position because it is really easy to lose sight of the lives in your hands from the inside your ivory cubical. The work tempts you to sloth, gluttony, covetousness and pride more than the devil himself. Otherwise good people become monsters of indifference on staffs. It should be treated like radiation at a nuclear power plant. It’s inherent for the whole operation to run, but the only way to mitigate risk is to limit exposure.
@Studwick was it the nobles attending these original academies or was it intended to instruct those from a common background? Seems like the classic liberal arts education would have been attained by most of the nobles by tutors. In Tierra’s case I think that might be so. AU I believe ventures down the more esoteric paths literature, natural sciences, mathematics and philosophy.
IIRC in Britain it was to educate middle-class officers on the intricacies required to not get bullied by their Latin speaking noble-twat counterparts.
Depend on the job position or service. But its sometimes a boring and ungrateful job that someone has to do. I even a met a few staff officers when I was in the guard who actually love their job. But I was enlisted so i didn’t hang with the officers that much unless we were off duty. But I feel bad for officers cause they have more rules to obey while on or off duty.
@Cataphrak, do the Takarans have their own General Staff College? Did Cassius’ dad run it for a time?
Don’t take me home,
Please don’t take me home,
I just don’t wanna go to work,
I wanna stay here and drink all your beer,
Please don’t, please don’t take me home!
You English are great, keep it up.
As well as this:
Woah, England are in Russia,
Woah, drinking all your vodka,
Woah, England’s going all the way!