Elkan Vera, Imperial War Museums Members of the International Brigade in the British cookhouse at Albacete raise their fists in the Communist salute.

Military Lessons of the Spanish War

ALTHOUGH there was an immense development of new weapons and new military methods during the Great War, there has been little opportunity of testing their postwar evolution during the uneasy peace that has followed. Abyssinia taught us something of the value of airplanes, both as a destructive weapon and for the transport of supplies in difficult mountainous country; the tank in that unsuitable terrain was found not to be a success. Mechanical transport and good engineering, on the other hand, won the war for the Italians; without them they could not have reached Addis Ababa before the rains. Deductions from the Ethiopian campaign, however, are apt to be misleading, as the Abyssinians had no air force, no artillery and few modern weapons. Their tactics also seemed peculiarly designed to ensure their early defeat.

It might be expected that the civil war in Spain would have taught some valuable military lessons. Certainly the Powers that sent their material to the support of one side or the other have had an unusual opportunity for a practical test of its efficiency. But accurate information as to the performance of the various weapons is exceedingly hard to obtain; the secrets are jealously guarded. The correspondents with the two forces in the field are not allowed very much freedom of movement and the messages they send are subject to censorship. Even when they are able to write freely, their information is seldom sufficiently exact to allow generalizations on the success of this or that weapon or method of warfare. The peculiar conditions under which civil war is necessarily fought is another reason for avoiding hasty judgments in this case. The failure of tanks in a particular action may have been due to the fact that they were in inexperienced hands rather than to any inherent defect in the weapon itself. On the Government side particularly the militia was hastily recruited from civilian ranks. Few officers possessed of any military knowledge remained loyal and Staff work at

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