even that 20th century exception, the North-West frontier of India, there was a joy of hunting whether it was mountain sheep or hill tribesmen. There was al- ways a challenge to manliness, which makes the frontier still a great nostalgic subject, though more in the individualism of "Westerns" than in the portrayal of military heroes.
The encroaching military was finally successful only when the government supported continuous systematic efforts to seal off and engulf the frontier terri- tory. When the raiders could no longer retire with their loot because the military finally forced them against either a mountain range or a barrier people of greater strength, their fate was settled. In this process knowledge of the terrain was of more importance than technology, though speedy communications by telegraph, rail, and later air, played their part after 1850.
Naval success, as against the Barbary pirates in 1816, came only with the imposition of superior force and the destruction of the pirates' will to interfere with commerce for fear of further retaliation. This gunboat diplomacy paralleled the landlubber's technique of penning hostiles against a natural barrier or putting them into reservations and sometimes even as at Alexandria in 1882, of follow- ing Roman precedent and simply absorbing them as provinces or protectorates.
It may be helpful to suggest that the position of the military in the expan- sion process can be likened to a river system in which the flow is reversed. At the mouth is the capital with the government, the War Office and the Admiralty. Nearby are the supply bases and the home ports. Further upstream are the peace- time establishments and garrisons, still governed by civilian concepts and con- trols. Somewhere upstream of them begins the frontier in which the settlers are both civilian and military, sharing a common danger and with economic, social, and ideological linkages. Here numerous small fortified points at some distance from each other like brooks were erected for mutual benefit and communities created. In the frontier area of sudden danger, ambush, and self-reliance as well as self-sufficiency, the rules of might and war took precedence over law and civilian preferences.
III. Frontier Armies
Frontier armies have usually been small, tightly knit, under-strength and outnumbered. At least that is the legend. The numbers of men in a frontier unit have been low, fewer than 600 and frequently as few as 40. Estimating the num- bers of opponents, especially in the smoke and confusion of battle or when the enemy has been shifting skillfully from cover to cover, has been notoriously unreliable. Nevertheless, when frontier armies were at least for a while better armed or better disciplined than their opponents, they developed a sort of calcu- lated bravery or confidence about engaging superior numbers. Because they op- erated in a hostile environment, they were forced to be constantly on the alert