The night before we reached Samoa an English military officer on board told me it was remarkable, and highly creditable, the rapidity with which the men had adapted themselves to the changed circumstances....
The expedition called at Noumea to pick up the French warship Montcalm, also the Australia and Melbourne of ours. Noumea had been very worried since the war began, lest the German fleet from Samoa would come along and bombard the place. Had notices up to the effect that five shots would signify the arrival of the Germans, and that every inhabitant was then to grab rations and make for the horizon. The welcome the French handed to us would have stirred the blood of a jellyfish.
Samoa proved a walk-over. Not a gun, not a ship, not a mine. A bunch of schoolboys with Shanghais and a hatful of rocks could have taken it. The German fleet that was supposed to be waiting to welcome us hadn't been around for eleven months. Seemingly the German fleet has gone into the business of not being around.
VIII. GERMAN NEW GUINEA.
The Australasian (Melbourne) for Sept. 19 prints the following, describing the conquest of German New Guinea, which, with the Bismarck Archipelago, off the coast, has an area of 90,000 square miles—something less than half the size of the German Empire:
The Minister for Defense (Mr. Millen) has received the following further information by wireless regarding the operations at Herbertshohe and Rabaul, from Admiral Patey: The Australian naval reserve captured the wireless station at Herbertshohe at 1 P.M. on Sept. 12, after eighteen hours' bush fighting over about six miles. Herbertshohe and Rabaul, the seat of Government, have been garrisoned and a base has been established at Simpsonshafen.
Have prisoners: German officers, 2, including commandant; German non-commissioned officers, 15; and native police, 56. German casualties about 20 to 30 killed. Simpsonshafen swept and ready to be entered Sept. 12.
Naval force landed under Commander Beresford of the Australian Navy met with vigorous opposition. Advanced party at dawn established landing before enemy aware of intention. From within a few hundred yards of landing bush fight for almost four miles. Roads and fronts also mined in places, and stations intrenched. Officer commanding German forces in trench 500 yards seaward side of station has surrendered unconditionally.
Our force have reconnoitred enemy strength holding station. Have landed 12-pounder guns, and if station does not surrender intend shelling. Regret to report following casualties: 4 killed, 3 wounded.
Later a wireless message from Rear-Admiral Sir George Patey informed the Minister for Defense (Mr. E.D. Millen) on Monday, Sept. 14, that, as a result of the operations of the Australian Expeditionary Force, Rabaul, the seat of government in German New Guinea, had been occupied. The British flag was hoisted over the town at 3:30 on Sunday afternoon (Sept. 13, 1914) and it was saluted. A proclamation was then read by Rear-Admiral Patey, formerly setting out the occupation.
Apia (Samoa) had been occupied by British forces on Aug. 29. The Caroline Islands, first occupied by Japan, were turned over to New Zealand. The Marshall and Solomon Islands were likewise occupied on Dec. 9, thus completing the tale of Germany's colonial possessions in the Pacific.
There remain large areas in Kamerun and East Africa, but in both cases the coast line is in the possession of the Entente powers.
IX. FIGHTING IN THE CAUCASUS.
The first considerable battle in the Caucasus, after Turkey entered the war, was decided in favor of Russia, on Jan. 3. On Jan. 16 the Eleventh Corps of the Turkish Army was cut up at Kara Urgaun. On Jan. 30 the Russians occupied Tabriz. On Feb. 8 Trebizond was bombarded by Russian destroyers. On May 4 the Turks were again defeated, leaving 3,500 dead.
The most recent considerable action was the taking of the ancient and important City of Van, which is graphically described in Novoe Vremya, June 19:
"When our armies scattered the forces of Halil Bey and gained marked successes in the western part of Azerbijan, the question of taking Van and the more important towns on Lake Van arose. At the same time we received news of the desperate situation of the Christians (Armenians) of the Van vilayet, who had been compelled to take up arms against the Kurds.
"Our division was directed to go to Van through the Sanjak of Bajazet, crossing the Tatar Pass under fire of Turkish regulars and Kurds. In spite of the Spring season, the whole pass was covered with a thick carpet of snow, in places up to our men's belts. At the highest point of the pass, 10,000 feet, we were forced to halt. After a brief rest we reached Taparitz and were immediately in contact with the enemy, who attacked with shell and rifle fire, but we soon silenced them with our rifles and machine guns. Scattering, the Turks and Kurds hid among the rocks and sniped at us.
"From Taparitz we advanced much more rapidly along the Abaga Valley, then turned to the west along the River Bendimach-Su, the best route to Van. We were informed that Begri-Kala was strongly occupied by Turks who were determined to defend it to the last.
"They began an irregular fire, which soon developed into a hotly contested battle. We were compelled to reply with bullet and bayonet. We took several mountain guns, many rifles and cartridges and much ammunition. Many of the enemy threw up their hands and surrendered. We liberated several dozen Christian girls who had been captured by the Kurds at the time of the Turk and Kurd raid on the Armenian villages.
"We then resumed our march on Van, after driving the Turks from the Village of Sor. The enemy gathered in the Town of Janik, one march from Van, on the northeast shore of Lake Van. To take Janik cost us several days' fighting. The Turks fought desperately, undaunted by enormous losses, their dead falling in heaps on all sides. The Turkish infantry fought a brave and honorable fight, but the Kurds are foul fighters, murdering and looting.
"Attacking directly with only a part of our forces, we sent the rest by a long detour around the enemy's position, taking the Turks in flank; then our men charged with the bayonet, and the fight was over.
"The fall of Janik decided the fate of Van. On the night of May 5 (18) the Turks evacuated Van, leaving twenty-six guns, 3,000 poods (a pood equals 36 pounds) of powder, their treasure and documents; they went so silently that the inhabitants did not know of it until the next morning.
"On May 6 (19) the birthday of Czar Nicholas II., we entered antique Van, the centre of the large and once wealthy vilayet of the same name, amid extraordinary rejoicings, the entire Christian population coming forth to meet us, strewing flowers and green branches in the streets and decking our soldiers with garlands.
"The capture of Van is as important politically as it is strategically. The advance on Mush and Bitlis is a necessary consequence."
An "Insult" to War
Mount Kisco, N.Y., July 11, 1915.
To the Editor of The New York Times:
On Friday night at Carnegie Hall Miss Jane Addams stated that in the present war, in order to get soldiers to charge with the bayonet, all nations are forced first to make them drunk. I quote from THE TIMES report:
In Germany they have a regular formula for it [she said]. In England they use rum and the French resort to absinthe. In other words, therefore, in the terrible bayonet charges they speak of with dread, the men must be doped before they start.
In this war the French or English soldier who has been killed in a bayonet charge gave his life to protect his home and country. For his supreme exit he had prepared himself by months of discipline. Through the Winter in the trenches he has endured shells, disease, snow and ice. For months he had been separated from his wife, children, friends—all those he most loved. When the order to charge came it was for them he gave his life, that against those who destroyed Belgium they might preserve their home, might live to enjoy peace.
Miss Addams denies him the credit of his sacrifice. She strips him of honor and courage. She tells his children, "Your father did not die for France, or for England, or for you; he died because he was drunk."
In my opinion, since the war began, no statement had been so unworthy or so untrue and ridiculous. The contempt it shows for the memory of the dead is appalling; the credulity and ignorance it displays are inconceivable.
Miss Addams does not know that even from France they have banished absinthe. If she doubts that in this France had succeeded let her ask for it. I asked for it, and each maitre d'hotel treated me as though I had proposed we should assassinate General Joffre.
If Miss Addams does know that the French Government has banished absinthe, then she is accusing it of openly receiving the congratulations of the world for destroying the drug while secretly using it to make fiends of the army. If what Miss Addams states is true, then the French Government is rotten, French officers deserve only court-martial, and French soldiers are cowards.
If we are to believe her, the Canadians at Ypres, the Australians in the Dardanelles, the English and the French on the Aisne made no supreme sacrifice, but were killed in a drunken brawl.
Miss Addams desires peace. So does every one else. But she will not attain peace by misrepresentation. I have seen more of this war and other wars than Miss Addams, and I know all war to be wicked, wasteful, and unintelligent, and where Miss Addams can furnish one argument in favor of peace I will furnish a hundred. But against this insult, flung by a complacent and self-satisfied woman at men who gave their lives for men, I protest. And I believe that with me are all those women and men who respect courage and honor.
RICHARD HARDING DAVIS.
The Drive at Warsaw
Germany's Story of the Eastern Campaign
Battles of Radymno, Przemysl, Lemberg, the Dniester, Krasnik, Przasnysz, Ostrolenka
The grand sweep of the victorious German armies through Galicia and into Poland, on a more tremendous scale than has hitherto been witnessed in the warfare of history, is recorded in the semi-official German accounts of the Wolff Telegraphic Bureau, published by the Frankfurter Zeitung from June 3 to June 29, and translated below. The official German reports of the campaign concentrated upon the Polish capital of Warsaw follow. On July 19 a Petrograd dispatch to the London Morning Post reported that Emperor William had telegraphed his sister, the Queen of Greece, to the effect that he had "paralyzed Russia for at least six months to come" and was on the eve of "delivering a coup on the western front that will make all Europe tremble."
STORMING OF RADYMNO
The semi-official report dispatched by the Wolff Telegraphic Bureau from Berlin on June 3, 1915, reads as follows:
From the Great Headquarters we learn the following concerning the battles at Radymno:
The corps of General von Mackensen, on the evening of the 23d of May, stood on both sides of the San in a great bow directed toward the east. On the right wing Bavarian troops stood on the watch facing the northwest front of the fortress of Przemysl. In touch with the Bavarian troops German and Austro-Hungarian forces stood south of the San before the strongly fortified bridgehead of Radymno. Farther north still other troops linked up with the army.
The bridgehead of Radymno consisted of a threefold line of field works. There was in the first place the main position well provided with wire entanglements. This ran along the heights that lie westward of the village of Ostroro and through the low lands of the San up to this river. Then there was a well-constructed intermediate position which was laid through the long straggling village of Ostroro. Finally there was the so-called bridgehead of Zagrody which was constructed for the protection of the street and railroad bridges crossing the river to the east of Radymno. Air-men had photographed all these positions and had reduced the views by the photogrammeter and transferred them to the map.
The first task was to render the enemy's main positions ripe for attack. With this object the artillery on the afternoon of May 23 began its fire, which was continued on the next day. From the heights near Jaroslau could be seen the valley of the San lying in the mists, out of which jutted the cupola towers of Radymno and the hamlets of Ostroro, Wietlin, Wysocko, etc. The artillery fire was raised to the utmost pitch of intensity. The heavy projectiles howling, furrowed the air, lit great fires as they struck and excavated vast pits in the earth. The Russian artillery replied.
At six o'clock in the morning the long infantry lines rose in their storming positions and advanced to the attack. The flyers reported that behind the enemy's positions they observed grazing cattle and baggage carts. The enemy seemed not to expect a serious attack. Anyhow, the Petersburg bulletin had announced that the battles in Galicia had decreased in intensity, that the Teutonic allies had practically throughout gone over to the defensive.
At six-thirty in the morning the enemy's main position in its whole extent was in the hands of the German troops. Shaken by the heavy artillery fire the enemy had made only brief resistance; he was in hasty retreat toward the east.
But just in that direction and into Radymno, whence the enemy's reinforcements were to be expected, the artillery had in the meantime turned its fire. Great clouds of smoke covered these villages set afire by the bombardment. The Russians thus did not have the chance to take permanent footing in Ostroro. The troops holding the town surrendered, leaving hundreds of guns and great quantities of ammunition in the hands of the victors.
Along the whole line the German infantry was now advancing upon Radymno and the villages connecting with this place, Skolowszo and Zamojsce. With every step forward the number of prisoners was increased. Soon one division reported to headquarters that it did not have enough men to attend to the removal of the great masses of prisoners without prejudice to the conduct of the action. Cavalry was therefore assigned to this task.
At Radymno the enemy's troops had become jammed in crowds. A wooden wagon bridge over the San had been burned down too soon. From the position of the staff directing the battle one could see the leaping flames and the clouds of heavy black smoke caused by the pouring on of naphtha. One could also see long columns fleeing eastward covering the street toward Dunkowice with their disordered crowds. As the Russian recruits which had been gathered in Radymno made only a brief resistance, this place together with all the artillery which was attempting to escape through the town to the San, was also lost. Only at the bridgehead of Zagrody did the Russian leaders, by hastily bringing up fresh reserves, finally check the attack of the Germans. On this day 70 officers, 9,000 men, 42 machine guns, 52 cannon of which 10 were heavy, 14 ammunition wagons, and extensive other booty was reported. But also on the north bank of the San a great battle had developed.
A semi-official dispatch by the Wolff Telegraphic Bureau dated Berlin, June 6, said:
From the Great Headquarters we have received the following telegram concerning the fall of the fortress Przemysl:
When on the 2d of May the offensive of the allies in West Galicia began, few probably could have imagined that four weeks later the heavy guns of the Central Powers would open their fire on Przemysl. The Russian staff was not likely to have been prepared for this possibility. Its decision swayed this way and that, whether, as originally planned, to hold the fortress, for "political reasons" or "voluntarily to withdraw" from it. Constantly our airmen reported the marching of troops in and out of the fortress. On the 21st of May the decision seemed to have been reached to abandon it. In spite of this, eight days later the place was stubbornly defended.
General von Kneussl pushed the line of his Bavarian regiments from the north closer to the fortress to shut in the foe. About eleven o'clock in the forenoon the heavy batteries began to engage the forts on the north front. In the night from the 30th to the 31st of May the infantry pushed forward closer to the wire entanglements. It awaited the effect of the heavy artillery. This confined the defenders to their bomb-proof shelters, so that our infantry could step out of its trenches and from the top of the breastworks watch the tremendous drama of destruction. The lighter guns of the assailants found ideal positions in the battery emplacements formerly built by the Russians as part of their siege works when operating against the Austrians in Przemysl. So, too, General von Kneussl with his staff found shelter near, and the chief of artillery in the observation station constructed by the Russians near Batycze. From this point, distant from the line of forts only a little more than two kilometers, one could observe the whole front of Forts 10 and 11. On the 31st of May, at four in the afternoon, the heavy guns ceased firing. Simultaneously the infantry, Bavarian regiments, a Prussian regiment and a detachment of Austrian sharp-shooters, moved to the attack. The destruction of the works and advanced points of support of the fortress by the heavy artillery had such a shattering and depressing effect on its garrison that it was not capable of offering any effective resistance to the attacking infantry.
The troops manning Forts 10a, 11a, and 11, such of them as did not lie buried in the shattered casemates, fled, leaving behind their entire war material, including a great number of the newest light and heavy Russian guns. The enemy replied to the assailants who pushed forward to the circular connecting road, only with artillery fire, and in the night made no counter attack of any kind. On the 1st of June the enemy threw several single battalions into a counter attack. These attacks were repulsed without difficulty.
The heavy artillery now fought down Forts 10 and 11. The Prussian infantry regiment No. 45, jointly with Bavarian troops, stormed two earthworks lying to the east of Fort 11 which the enemy had stubbornly defended. On the 2d of June, at noon, the 22d regiment of Bavarian infantry stormed Fort 10, in which all "bombproofs" except one had been made heaps of debris by the action of the heavy artillery. A battalion of fusiliers of the Queen Augusta Guard regiment of grenadiers in the evening took Fort 12. Works 10b, 9a and 9b capitulated.
In the evening the troops of General von Kneussl began the attack in the direction of the city. The village Zurawica and the fortified positions of the enemy situated there were captured. The enemy now desisted from all further resistance. Thus the German troops, followed later by the 4th Austro-Hungarian cavalry division were able to occupy the strongly built inner line of forts, and at 3 o'clock in the morning after making numerous prisoners, to march into the relieved city of Przemysl.
Here, where a battalion of the third infantry regiment of the Guard was the first troop to enter, there was still a last halt before the burned bridges over the San. But these were soon replaced with military bridges. After a siege of only four days the fortress of Przemysl was again in the hands of the allies. The Russians had in vain attacked this fortress for months. Although they brought hecatombs of bloody sacrifices they had not succeeded in taking the fortress by storm. Only by starvation did they bring it to fall, and they were enabled to enjoy their possession only nine weeks. Energetic and daring leadership, supported by heroically fighting troops and excellent heavy artillery, had in the briefest possible space of time reduced the great fortress.
BATTLE OF GRODEK
A semi-official dispatch by the Wolff Telegraphic Bureau, dated Berlin, June 27, reported as follows:
From the Great Headquarters we have received the following telegram about the battle for Grodek and the Wereszyca position:
In the night from the 15th to the 16th of June the enemy began his retreat in front of the allied troops in an easterly and northeasterly direction. He was now unquestionably withdrawing to his defenses on the Wereszyca and the so-called Grodek position. The Wereszyca is a little stream that rises in the hilly lands of Magierow and flows in a southerly course to the Dniester. Insignificant as the streamlet is in itself, it yet forms, because of the width of its valley and the ten rather large lakes in it, a locality peculiarly well fitted for defense.
Whatever was lacking to the situation in natural strength had been supplied by art. This the Russians displayed above all in the Grodek position which, joining the Wereszyca on the north at Janow, stretches for a distance of more than 70 kilometres in a northwestern direction as far as the region of Narol Miasto. Thousands of laborers had here worked for months to construct a fortified position which does honor to the Russian engineers. Here extensive clearings have been made in the forests. Dozens of works for infantry defense, hundreds of kilometres of rifle trenches, covering and connecting trenches, had been dug, the hilly forest land quite transformed, and finally vast wire entanglements stretched along the entire Wereszyca and Grodek front. Taken as a whole this position formed the last great bulwark with which the Russians hoped to check their victorious opponents and to bring their advance upon Lemberg to a permanent halt.
The Russian army found itself incapable of acting up to these expectations of its leaders. A cavalry regiment of the Guard, with the cannon and machine guns assigned to it, succeeded on the 16th of June, on the road Jaworow-Niemirow, in making a surprise attack on a Russian infantry brigade marching northward to the Grodek position and in scattering it in the forests. In the evening the city of Niemirow was stormed. On the 18th of June the armies of General von Mackensen deployed into line of battle before the Russian positions. On the following day they moved to the attack. Early in the morning the decisive onslaught was made on the Grodek position and in the evening on the Wereszyca line. Very soon the hostile positions on both sides of the Sosnina forest were taken. Four of the enemy's guns were captured, and the Russian positions on Mt. Horoszyko, which had been built up into a veritable fortress, were stormed.
The main attack was made by regiments of the Prussian Guard. Before them lay, to the west of Magierow, Hill 350. Even from a distance it can be seen that this elevation, rising to a height of fifty metres above the slope, is the key to the whole position. The defenses consisted of two rows of trenches, lying one over the other, with strong cover, and with wire entanglements and abattis in front of them. At daybreak began the artillery battle. This already at six o'clock in the morning resulted in the complete subduing of the Russian artillery, which, as always in the recently preceding days, held back and only very cautiously and with sparing use of ammunition took part in the battle. At seven the hostile position was considered ripe for storming and the infantry attack ordered. Although the forces manning the heights still took up the fire against the attackers, it was without, however, inflicting on them losses worth mentioning. The German heavy artillery had done its duty. The enemy was so demoralized that, although in the beginning he kept up his fire, he preferred to absent himself before the entry of the Germans into his trenches.
More than 700 prisoners and about a dozen machine guns fell into the hands of the attackers. In the ditches that were taken alone there lay 200 dead Russians. In the meantime the attack was directed against the neighboring sections. Soon the Russians found themselves compelled also to vacate without giving battle the very strong position running north of the street that leads to Magierow, with its front toward the south. Since the German troops were able to penetrate with the fleeing enemy into Magierow and to advance north of the city toward the east, the position at Bialo-Piaskowa also became untenable. The Russians flowed backward and only at Lawryko again tried to get a firm footing. Late in the evening a Guard regiment took the railroad station of Dabrocin, where but a short time before the Russians had been trans-shipping troops, and thus won the Lemberg-Rawa-Ruska road. The adjoining corps in the evening stood about on a level with the regiments of the Guard. Again penetration of the Russian front had succeeded to a width of 25 kilometres, and the fate of Lemberg had been decided here and on the Wereszyca. This line was stormed late in the evening and partly in the early morning hours of the 20th of June. The German corps, which on this day had been joined by the German Emperor, stormed the hostile positions of Stawki as far as the Bulawa outwork. Since the morning hours of the 20th of June the enemy, who in places had already withdrawn in the night, was in full retreat toward the east along the whole front. The pursuit was at once undertaken. On the evening of the same day Royal and Imperial troops stood close before the fortifications of Lemberg.
THE FALL OF LEMBERG
A semi-official report dispatch by the Wolff Telegraphic Bureau from Berlin, June 28, reads:
From the Great Headquarters we have received the following telegram about the taking of Lemberg:
The Russians entered Lemberg, the capital of Galicia, a city of 250,000 inhabitants, in the beginning of September, 1914. They at once restored to the city its Polish name, Lwow, and during their reign in the beautiful town made themselves exceedingly well at home. They began promptly to develop Lemberg into a great fortress and for the further protection of their new possession to construct the fortified lines of Grodek and Wereszyca. The protective works of Lemberg built by the Austrians were strengthened and extended by the Russians, especially along the south and southwest fronts. The existing depot facilities were enlarged and a number of railways, both field and permanent, extended throughout the domain of the fortress. To guarantee the maintenance of the fortress of Lemberg, even in case the Grodek position should be penetrated and have to be given up, a strongly fortified supporting work had been built. This ran along the heights to the west of the Lemberg-Rawa-Ruska railway to the vicinity of Dobrocin.
After the armies of General von Mackensen had broken through the Grodek and Wereszyca position, German divisions and allied troops struck these supporting works. The centre of the Army Boehm-Ermolli simultaneously approached the west from Lemberg. The main body of this army attacked sections of the hostile army which had prepared for renewed resistance behind the Szczerzek and Stavczonka streams and in contact with the fortress on the south. This position on the evening of the 21st of June was successfully penetrated at several points and the attacking troops were pushed closer to the defenses on the west front of Lemberg. German connecting troops under the leadership of General von der Marwitz on the same day stormed the most important points of the stubbornly defended supporting position. They thus compelled the enemy to evacuate this position in the whole of its extent and opened for the adjacent Austrian troops the road to the defenses on the northwest front of the fortress. In consequence the Austro-Hungarian troops were able on the 22d of June to take the works on the northwest and west fronts.
At five o'clock in the morning fell the fortification Rzesna, soon thereafter Sknilow, and toward eleven Lysa Gora. This work was conquered by infantry regiment No. 34, "William I., German Emperor and King of Prussia." In the Rzesna fortification alone, besides gun limbers and machine guns, 400 prisoners were taken who belonged to no less than eighteen different Russian divisions. In the work there was found, besides masses of weapons and ammunition, a large number of unopened wooden boxes containing steel blinders (Stahlblenden).
At noon of that day the victorious troops set foot in the Galician capital in which the Russians had ruled for nearly ten months. About four o'clock in the afternoon the Austrian commander made his entry into the city, which was quite undamaged and decked with flags. In the streets, in the windows and on balconies stood thousands and thousands of the inhabitants, who enthusiastically greeted their deliverers and showered the automobiles with a rain of flowers. The next day the commander-in-chief, General von Mackensen, congratulated in Lemberg the conqueror of the fortress, the Austrian General of Cavalry von Boehm-Ermolli. The German Emperor, on receiving the announcement of the fall of Lemberg, sent the following telegram to General von Mackensen:
"Accept on the crowning event of your brilliantly led Galician campaign, the fall of Lemberg, my warmest congratulations. It completes an operation which, systematically prepared and executed with energy and skill, has led in only six weeks to successes in battles and amount of booty, and that, too, in the open field, seldom recorded in the history of wars. To God's gracious support we, in the first instance, owe this shining victory, and then to your battle-tried leadership and the bravery of the allied troops under you, both fighting in true comradeship. As an expression of my thankful recognition I appoint you field marshal.
(Signed) "Wilhelm I.R."
At the same time the commander of the Austrian army, Grand Duke Frederick, was appointed a Prussian general field marshal. The faithful working together of the allied armies had borne rich fruits.
THE CZAR'S RESCRIPT
The following Imperial Rescript addressed to the Premier, M. Goremykin, was announced at Petrograd on June 30:
From all parts of the country I have received appeals testifying to the firm determination of the Russian peoples to devote their strength to the work of equipping the Army. I derive from this national unanimity the unshakable assurance of a brilliant future. A prolonged war calls for ever-fresh efforts. But, surmounting growing difficulties and parrying the vicissitudes which are inevitable in war, let us strengthen in our hearts the resolution to carry on the struggle, with the help of God, to the complete triumph of the Russian arms. The enemy must be crushed, for without that peace is impossible.
With firm faith in the inexhaustible strength of Russia, I anticipate that the governmental and public institutions of Russian industry and all faithful sons of the Fatherland, without distinction of ideas and classes, will work together in harmony to satisfy the needs of our valiant Army. This is the only and, henceforth, the national problem to which must be directed all the thoughts of united Russia, invincible in her unity.
Having formed, for the discussion of questions of supplying the Army, a special commission, in which members of the Legislative Chambers and representatives of industry participate, I recognize the necessity, in consequence, of advancing the date of the reopening of these Legislative bodies in order to hear the voice of the country.
Having decided that the sessions of the Duma and the Council of the Empire shall be resumed in the month of August at the latest, I rely on the Council of Ministers to draw up, according to my indications, the Bills necessitated by a time of war.—Reuter.
RUSSIA'S DEFENSIVE PLAN
A dispatch to the London Daily Chronicle from Petrograd on July 6 said:
The Russian defense is now a two-fold and rather complex process. Along the frontiers the army is parrying blows of the enemy and wearing him down, avoiding big battles, losing territory indeed, little by little, but gaining time and husbanding resources.
The other side of the process is the rally of the nation to the support of the army. It would be wholly wrong to regard the gradual advance of the Germans and Austrians in Russian territory as evidence that Russian resistance is breaking down. On the contrary the nation has never been so thoroughly aroused as now.
The broad back of the Russian soldier has done marvels in sustaining the heavy burden of war, but when retreat in Galicia began it suddenly flashed on the nation that this was not enough—valor must be reinforced by technique. The attitude of the nation to the war immediately changed. Formerly it was a spectator watching with eager hope mingled with anxiety the deeds of the army that was part of its very self. Now it has become an active reserve of the army and in securing liberty to act it has gained in moral force.
The Cabinet is being strengthened, more effective contact is being established between the Government and the nation, and the War Office is now the centre of popular interest.
Russia has not yet followed the example of her allies in appointing a Minister of Munitions, but the course of events is tending in this direction and the new War Minister, General Polivanoff, commands the confidence of the Duma and nation generally. The War Office has become the focus of the new national organizing movement of which all existing public bodies are being made the nucleus.
FIGHTING ON TWO RIVERS
The statement issued by the German Army Headquarters Staff in Berlin on June 30 reported:
Between the Bug and the Vistula Rivers the German and Austro-Hungarian troops have reached the districts of Belz, Komanow and Zamosc and the northern border of the forest-plantations in the Tanew section. Also on a line formed by the banks of the Vistula and in the district of Zawichost, to the east of Zarow, the enemy has commenced a retreat.
An enemy aeroplane was forced to descend behind our lines. The occupants of the machine were made prisoners.
On July 1 the situation on the Russian front was thus officially reported from Berlin:
Eastern theatre of war: Our positions here are unchanged. The booty taken during June amounts to two flags and 25,695 prisoners, of whom 120 were officers; seven cannon, six mine throwers, fifty-two machine guns, and one aeroplane, besides much material of war.
Southeastern theatre of war: After bitter fighting the troops under General von Linsingen yesterday stormed the Russian positions east of the Gnila Lipa River near Kunioze and Luozynoe and to the north of Rohatyn. Three officers and 2,328 men were made prisoners and five machine guns were captured.
East of Lemberg the Austro-Hungarian troops have pressed forward into the enemy positions. The army under Field Marshal von Mackensen is continuing to press forward between the Bug and Vistula Rivers. West of the Vistula, after stubborn fighting by the Russians, the Teutonic allies are advancing on both sides of the Kamenna in pursuit.
The total amount of captures during June made by the Teutonic allied troops under General von Linsingen, Field Marshal von Mackensen, and General von Woyrich amounts to 409 officers and 140,650 men and 80 cannon and 268 machine guns.
From Vienna—The following official communication was issued on July 1 by the War Office:
Battles in Eastern Galicia continued on July 1 on the Gnila Lipa and in the region east of Lemberg. Our troops advanced in several places on the heights east of the Gnila Lipa and broke through hostile positions. The allied troops also succeeded, after stubborn fighting, in reaching the eastern bank of the Rohatyn.
On the Dniester complete calm prevails. In the region of the source of the Wieprz we occupied Zamoso, north of the Tanew all lower lands are occupied. West of the Vistula our troops pursued the flying enemy up to Tarlow.
The total booty taken during June by the allied troops during the fighting in the northeast comprises 521 officers and 194,000 men, 93 guns, 164 machine guns, 78 caisson, and 100 military railroad carriages.
The statement issued by German Army Headquarters on July 2 says:
In the Eastern Theatre: Southwest of Kalwarya, after stubborn fighting we took a mine position from the enemy and made 600 Russians prisoners.
In the Southeastern Theatre: After storming the heights southeast of Bu-Kaszowice, north of Halicz, the Russians along the whole front from the district of Maryampol to just north of Firjilow have been obliged to retreat. Troops under General von Linsingen are pursuing the defeated enemy.
Up to yesterday we had taken 7,765 prisoners, of whom 11 are officers. We also captured eighteen machine guns.
The German official report of July 3 reads:
In the Southeastern Theatre: North of the Dniester River our troops are advancing under continuous fighting in pursuit of the enemy and penetrating by way of the line of Mariampol, Narajoa and Miasto toward the Zlota Lipa section. They have reached the Bug at several places between Kamionka and Strzumilowa and below Krylow and are quickly advancing in a northerly direction between the Bug and the Vistula.
The lowlands of the Labunka now are in our possession, after our opponents had offered stubborn resistance at certain places.
German troops also obtained a firm foothold on the northern bank of the river in the Wysnica section, between Krasnik and the mouth of the Labunka.
Between the left bank of the Vistula and the Pilica River the situation remains generally unchanged.
A Russian counter-attack southeast of Radom was repulsed.
The following Austrian official war statement was given out in Vienna on July 3:
In East Galicia the Teutonic allied troops are advancing, pursuing the enemy east of Halicz and across the Narajowska, and to the north attacking successfully on the heights east of Janozyn. On the Bug River the situation is unchanged.
Between the Vistula and the Bug Rivers the Teutonic allied troops are steadily advancing, with fierce fighting. Zamosc has been stormed. West of there the Russians everywhere have been repulsed beyond the Por Plain, which is in our possession. At several places we forced a passage of the brook.
East of Krasnik, for which fighting is still proceeding, Studzianki has been captured. The village of Wysnica, west of Krasnik, also was stormed. Here and elsewhere in this sector the enemy was repulsed.
Friday on the Por and near Krasnik, 4,800 prisoners were captured, and three machine guns were taken.
West of the Vistula there were artillery duels.
Following is the official report of the operations on the front in Galicia and Southern Poland, wirelessed July 4 from Berlin to Sayville, N.Y.:
General von Linsingen's army, in full pursuit of the enemy, is advancing toward the Zlota Lipa. Three thousand Russians were taken prisoners yesterday. Under pressure of the Germans the enemy is evacuating his positions from Narajow to Miasto, and to the north of Przemyslany from Kamionka to Krylow.
ON ZLOTA LIPA RIVER
Following is the Austrian official war statement given out from Vienna on July 6:
In Eastern Galicia the Teutonic allied troops under General von Linsingen, after two weeks of successful battles, have reached the Zlota Lipa River, the western bank of which has been cleared of the enemy. In the sectors of Kamionka Strumilowa and Krasno battles against the Russian rearguards are continuing.
Near Krylow (on the Bug River), in Southern Russian Poland, near the Galician border, the enemy has evacuated the western bank of the Bug and burned the village of Krylow.
Fighting is proceeding on both banks of the Upper Wieprz.
The Teutonic allied troops drove the enemy from positions north of the small River Por and advanced to Faras and Plonka.
The western army, commanded by Archduke Joseph Ferdinand, after several days' battle, broke through the Russian front on both sides of Krasnik and drove the Russians back with heavy losses in a northerly direction. We captured twenty-nine officers and 8,000 men and took six caissons and six machine guns.
West of the Vistula River the situation is unchanged.
The Petrograd correspondent of The London Times telegraphed on July 6:
No apprehension is entertained as to the fate of Warsaw, for the city bids fair to be protected. Even if the Germans should reach Ivangorod, this would not necessarily involve the surrender of Warsaw.
The Russian waiting game in fact has been justified. The critic of the Novoe Vremya correctly explains the withdrawal as a manoeuvre deliberately undertaken with the object of accepting battle under the best conditions for the Russians. He adds that on the Vistula front the ground which offers the Russians the greatest advantage is that with Brest Litovsk as a base, Ivangorod on the right flank and a strong army occupying the flank and rear positions in relation to the right flank of General von Boehm-Ermolli's Army.
The War Department at Vienna on July 6 gave out the following official statement:
The Russians, who, in the second battle of Krasnik, were defeated by the army of Archduke Joseph Ferdinand, are retreating in a northern and north-eastern direction, pursued by the Austrians who are pressing to attack.
The Austrians on Monday captured the district of Cieszanow and the heights north of Wysnica. Under pressure of our advance the enemy is retreating on the Wieprz beyond Tarnogora. Our booty in this fighting has increased to 41 officers and 11,500 men and 17 machine guns.
On the Bug River and in East Galicia the situation is unchanged.
On the Zlota Lipa and Dniester Rivers quiet prevails.
German Army Headquarters wirelessed the following report from Berlin to Sayville, N.Y., on July 7:
During pursuit of the Russians to the Zlota Lipa River from July 3 to July 5 the Germans captured 3,850 men. The number of prisoners made south of Biale River has been increased to seven officers and about 800 men.
In Poland, south of the Vistula, the Germans stormed Height 95, to the east of Dolowatka and south of Borzymow. The Russian losses were very considerable. Ten machine guns, one revolver gun and a quantity of rifles were taken.
More to the northward, near the Vistula, a Russian charge was repulsed.
The Czernowitz, Bukowina, correspondent of the Zeitung am Mittag, says:
"The scarcity of rifles with the Russians is growing greater daily. The reserves are unarmed until they begin the attack, and then they take rifles from their fallen comrades. The Russian artillery fire, however, has grown more active."
DEFEAT AT KRASNIK
From Austrian Army Headquarters in Galicia, July 11, came the following:
The relative subsidence of activity on the part of the Teutonic allies during the last week may be explained by the fact that the goal set for the Lemberg campaign already has been attained. This was the recapture of the city and the securing of strong defensive positions to the eastward and northward. These positions have now been secured along the line of the Zlota Lipa and Bug Rivers and the ridge to the northward of Krasnik.
The Russians attempted a counter-offensive from Lubin against the Austro-German positions north of Krasnik, bringing up heavy reinforcements for this purpose. Owing to this movement the Austrian troops, which had rushed beyond the positions originally selected, withdrew to the ridge, where they have been successfully resisting all Russian attacks. They feel secure in their present positions, and it is believed here that they can be easily held against whatever forces Russia can throw against them.
Indications now point to a period of quiet along the Russo-Galician front, while the Teutonic allies are preparing for operations in other quarters.
This statement from Russian General Headquarters was published in Petrograd on July 14:
In the direction of Lomza (Russian Poland) on the evening of July 12 and also on the 13th, the enemy developed an intensive artillery fire. On the right bank of the Pissa, on July 13, the Germans succeeded in capturing Russian trenches on a front of two versts (about one and one-third miles). They, however, were driven back by a counter-attack and the trenches were recaptured.
On both banks of the Shikva stubborn fighting has taken place. Considerable enemy forces between the Orjetz (Orzyc?) and the Lydymia adopted the offensive and the Russians, declining a decisive engagement, retreated during the night of the 13th to their second line of positions. On the left bank of the Vistula the situation is unchanged.
In the battle near Wilkolaz, south of Lublin, during the week ending July 11 the Russians captured 97 officers and 22,464 men.
In the Cholm region engagements have taken place along the Volitza River, and on the night of July 13 we captured over 150 prisoners.
On the rest of the front there have been the usual artillery engagements. On the evening of July 12 the enemy assumed the offensive on the Narew front.
In the eastern theater: In the course of minor fights on the Windau below Koltany 425 Russians were taken prisoners.
South of the Niemen River, in the neighborhood of Kalwarya, our troops captured several outer positions at Franziskowa and Osowa and maintained them against fierce counter-attacks.
To the northeast of Suwalki the Heights of Olszauka were taken by storm.
South of Kolno we captured the village of Konsya, and the enemy positions east of this village and south of the Tartak line. Two thousand four hundred prisoners and eight machine guns fell into our hands.
Battles in the neighborhood of Przasnysz are being continued. Several enemy lines were captured by our troops, and the City of Przasnysz, for which we were fighting hotly in the last days of February, and which was strongly fortified by the Russians, we have occupied by our troops.
In the southeastern theater the situation generally is the same.
A Petrograd dispatch to the London Morning Post said on July 15:
The Germans have opened a new campaign for the conquest of Russia. Their plan is to catch the Russian armies like a nut between nutcrackers.
The German line of advance from the northwest lies between the Mlawa-Warsaw Railway line and the River Pissa and from the south from the Galician line. On paper the German scheme is that these two fronts shall move to meet one another and everything between them must be ground to powder. But the nut to be cracked is rather a formidable area of space and well fortified, the kernel sound and healthy, being formed of the Russian armies inspired not merely with the righteousness of their cause, but the fullest confidence in themselves and absolute devotion to the proved genius of their Commander in Chief. The area referred to cannot be less than eighty miles in extent, north to south, by 120 miles west to east. That is the mere nucleus and minimum area, as contained between the Novo Georgievsk fortress in the north to the Ivangorod fortress in the south and the Russian lines on the Bzura in the west to Brest-Litovsk on the east.
The Germans have an incalculable amount of fighting to face before they win to that area, the nut to be cracked, and then the cracking is still to be done. It is all sheer frontal fighting. The Germans have been twelve months trying frontal attacks against Warsaw on a comparatively narrow front, and in vain. What chance have they of success by dividing their forces against the united strength of Russia?
BREAKING RUSSIA'S LINES
An official German bulletin dated Berlin, July 17, reported:
The offensive movement begun a few days ago in the eastern theatre of war, under command of Field Marshal von Hindenburg, has led to great results. The army of General von Buelow, which on July 14 crossed the Windau River near and north of Kurshany, continued its victorious advance. Eleven officers and 2,450 men were taken prisoners, and three cannon and five machine guns were captured.
The army of General von Gallwitz proceeded against the Russian positions in the district south and southeast of Olawa. After a brilliant attack three Russian lines, situated behind each other northwest and northeast of Przasnysz, were pierced. Dzielin was captured and Lipa was reached and attacked by pressure exerted from both these directions. The Russians retreated, after the evacuation of Przasnysz on the 14th, to their line of defense from Ciechanow to Krasnosielo, lying behind them. On the 15th German troops also took these enemy positions by storm, and pierced the position south of Zielona, over a front of seven kilometers, forcing their opponents to retreat. They were supported by troops under General von Scholtz, which are occupied with a pursuit from the direction of Kolno. Since yesterday the Russians have been retreating on the center front, between the Pissa and Vistula Rivers, in the direction of Narew.
Southeastern Theatre of War.—After the Teutonic allies had taken during the last few days a series of Russian positions on the River Bug and between the Bug and the Vistula, important battles developed yesterday on this entire front under the leadership of Field Marshal von Mackensen. West of the Vierpz, in the district southwest of Krasnostav, German troops broke through the enemy's line. So far 28 officers and 6,380 men have fallen into our hands, and 9 machine guns have been captured.
West of the Upper Vistula the offensive has again been begun by the army of General von Woyrich.
An official statement issued by general headquarters in Vienna on July 18 says:
On the Bug River, in the region of Sokol, our troops drove the enemy from a series of stubbornly defended places. To the northeast of Sienvno we broke through the Russian front.
The enemy is evacuating his positions between the Vistula and the Kielce-Radom Railway.
An earlier bulletin, dated July 17, read as follows:
Between the Vistula and the Bug Rivers important battles have developed favorably for the allied troops. Some Austro-Hungarians, operating closely with the Germans west of Grabovetz, took an important enemy point of support after storming it several times, and pressed forward into the enemy's main position.
Southwest of Krasnostav the Germans broke through the enemy's lines.
On the Upper Bystrcz and north of Krasnik our troops took advanced positions of the enemy. The offensive also was resumed successfully west of the Vistula.
An Associated Press dispatch from Berlin via London on July 18 said:
The news of Field Marshal von Hindenburg's newest surprise for the Russians, which the War Office announces has resulted in important victories, was made known late yesterday, causing general rejoicing and the appearance of flags all over the city.
Military critics attach great significance to the breaking of the Russian lines and the consequent Russian retreat toward the Narew River, particularly as the German advance between the Pissa and Vistula rivers threatens to crumple the right flank positions of the Russians.
With Field Marshal von Mackensen proceeding against the other flank, the maintenance of communications offers a serious problem for the Russians. The breaking of the Russian line near Krasnostav, thirty-four miles south of Lublin, brings the Germans dangerously near Cholm and Lublin, both of which points are of the highest importance for the Russians in maintaining their position in the Vistula region.
The following official bulletin concerning the operations was issued tonight by the War Office:
Portions of the army of General von Buelow have defeated the Russian forces near Autz, where 3,620 men and six guns and three machine guns were captured. They are pursuing the enemy in an easterly direction.
Other portions of this army are fighting to the northeast of Kurshany. East of that town an enemy advance position has been stormed.
On the southeastern front the offensive was taken by the army under General von Woyrich, which made successful progress under the heavy fire of the enemy.
Our troops on Saturday morning took a narrow point in the wire entanglements of a strongly fortified enemy main position, and through this opening stormed an enemy trench on a front of 2,000 meters (about a mile and a third). In the course of the day the wedge was widened and pushed forward, with tenacious hand-to-hand fighting, far into the enemy's position.
In the evening the enemy's Moscow Grenadier Corps was defeated by our landwehr and reserve troops. The enemy retreated during the night behind the Iljanka River to the district south of Zwolen, suffering heavy losses in their retirement.
Between the Pissa and Vistula Rivers the Russian troops are retreating and the troops of General von Schaltz and von Gallwitz are close behind them.
The enemy is attacked and driven back where he offers resistance in prepared positions.
Reserve troops and a levy of troops of General von Schaltz have stormed the towns of Poremky and Wykplock, and regiments of General von Gallwitz have broken through the extended positions of Mlodzi, Nome and Kaniewo. The number of prisoners was considerably increased and four guns were captured.
From the north of the Vistula to the Pilica the Russians also have begun to retreat. Our troops in a short engagement during the pursuit made 620 prisoners.
Between the Upper Vistula and the Bug fighting continues under the command of Field Marshal von Mackensen. The Russians have been driven by the German troops from the hills of Biclaczkowice, south of Piaski, as far as Krosnoskow, and both these places have been taken by storm. The fire of the Siberian army corps could not ward off defeat. We made more than 1000 prisoners.
An Associated Press dispatch from London dated July 20 recorded the doubt in the English capital of Warsaw's holding out, as follows:
The Morning Post's Budapest correspondent reports that the gradual evacuation of Warsaw has been ordered by the Russians.
Continued successes of the great Teutonic movement against the Polish capital were indicated in the German official bulletin received from Berlin this morning. This stated that the Russians were retreating along the whole front between the Vistula and the Bug. The bulletin reads:
The Germans have occupied Tukum and Windau (Province of Courland).
Between the Vistula and the Bug the battle continues with unabated violence.
The Austro-Hungarians have forced a crossing of the Wolicza River in the neighborhood of Grabovetz and advanced across the Bug to the north of Sokal, the Russians having during the night retreated along the whole front between the Vistula and the Bug.
The Germans captured from July 16 to July 18 16,000 prisoners and twenty-three machine guns.
That German columns have occupied Tukum, thirty-eight miles west of Riga, and Doblen eighteen miles west of Mitau, is admitted by an official statement issued at the headquarters of the Russian general staff. The same report admits that the Austrians have gained the right bank of the Volitza and have crossed the Bug River on a front reaching to Sokal. The bulletin says:
On the Narew front the night of the 18th the enemy took the offensive, capturing the village of Poredy, on the right bank of the Pissa River. On the left bank of the Skwa enemy attacks against the villages of Vyk and Pchetchniak were repulsed with success. West of the Omulew our troops, retiring progressively toward a bridgehead on the Narew, delivered on the evening of the 17th a rearguard action of a stubborn character near the town of Mahoff. Near the village of Karnevo we made a brilliant counter-attack.
In the direction of Lublin enemy attacks during the 18th on the front Wilkolaz-Vychawa (east and north of Krasnik) were successfully repulsed.
At dawn of the 18th the enemy captured Krasnostav, thirty-four miles south of Lublin on the Vieprz, and crossed upstream. During the course of the 19th enemy attacks between the stream flowing from Rybtchevbitze toward the village of Piaski and the Vieprz remained without result. On the right bank of the Vieprz we repulsed near Krasnostav and the River Volitza many extremely stubborn enemy attacks.
Nevertheless, near the mouth of the Volitza and the village of Gaevniki the enemy succeeded in establishing himself on the right bank of this river, after which we judged it advisable to retire to our second-line positions.
In the region of the village of Grabovetz on the 18th we repulsed four furious enemy attacks on a wide front, supported by a curtain of fire from his artillery.
Between Geneichva and the Bug on the evening of the 17th, after a desperate fight we drove the enemy from all the trenches previously occupied by him.
On the Bug energetic fighting continued against the enemy, who crossed on the 18th on the front Skomorskhy-Sokal.
"Can Warsaw be held?" is the question now being asked here.
With the German Field Marshals, von Hindenburg on the north and von Mackensen on the south, whipping forward the two ends of a great arc around the city, it is realized in England that Grand Duke Nicholas, Commander in Chief of the Russian armies, has the most severe task imposed on him since the outbreak of the European war, and the military writers of some of the London papers seem to think that the task is well-nigh impossible.
There was sustained confidence that Germany's previous violent attacks along the Bzura-Rawka front would never pierce the Russian line, but the present colossal co-ordinate movement was developed with such suddenness, and has been carried so far without meeting serious Russian resistance, that more and more the British press is discounting the fall of the Polish capital, and, while not giving up all hope of its retention, is pointing out the enormous difficulty the Russian armies have labored under from the start by the existence of such a salient.
An Associated Press dispatch from London on July 21 said:
From the shores of the Gulf of Riga in the north to that part of Southern Poland into which they drove the Russians back from Galicia, the Austro-German armies are still surging forward, and if Warsaw can be denied them it will be almost a miracle.
This seems to be the opinion even among those in England who heretofore have been hopeful that the Russians would turn and deliver a counter-blow, and news of the evacuation of the Polish capital, followed by the triumphant entry of the Germans amid such scenes as were enacted at Przemysl and Lemberg, would come as no surprise.
The German official statement, beginning at the northern tip of the eastern battle line, records the progress of the German troops to within about fifty miles of Riga. Then, following the great battle arc southward, chronicles further successes in the sector northeast of Warsaw, culminating in the capture of Ostrolenka, one of the fortresses designed to shield the capital.
The acute peril to Warsaw is accentuated by the Russian official communication which says that German columns are within artillery range of the fortress of Novo Georgievsk, the key to the capital from the northwest, and only about twenty miles from it.
Immediately southwest of the city, seventeen miles from it, Blonie has fallen, and further south Grojec, twenty-six miles distant, while German cavalry have captured Radom, capital of the province of that name, on the railroad to the great fortress of Ivangorod. The Lublin-Chelm Railway is still in the hands of the Russians, so far as is known, but the Russian Commander-in-Chief has issued, through the Civil Governor, an order that in case of a retreat from the town of Lublin, the male population is to attach itself to the retiring troops.
The belief is expressed in Danish military circles, according to a Copenhagen dispatch to the Exchange Telegraph Company, that the Germans intend to use Windau and Tukum as bases for operations designed to result in the capture of Riga, which would be used as a new naval base after the Gulf of Riga had been cleared of mines.
OSTROLENKA FORT TAKEN
From Berlin on July 20 came this report from the German War Office:
Eastern theatre of war: In Courland the Russians were repulsed near Grosschmarden, east of Tukum, and near Gruendorf and Usingen. East of Kurshany the enemy also is retreating before our attack.
North of Novgorod, on the Narew, German troops captured enemy positions north of the confluence of the Skroda and Pissa rivers. Fresh Landsturm troops who were under fire for the first time especially distinguished themselves. North of the mouth of the Skwa we reached the Narew. The permanent fortifications of Ostrolenka, on the northwest bank of the river, were captured.
South of the Vistula our troops advanced into hostile positions to Blonie and Grojec. (Blonie is seventeen miles west of Warsaw, and Grojec twenty-six miles south of the city.) In rearguard fighting the Russians lost 560 prisoners and two machine guns.
Southeastern theatre of war: German Landwehr and reserve troops of the army of General von Woyrich repulsed superior forces of the enemy from their position at Ilzanka. All counter attacks made by Russian reserves, which were brought up quickly, were repulsed. We captured more than 5,000 prisoners. Our troops are closely pursuing the enemy. Our cavalry already has reached the railway line from Radom to Ivangorod.
Between the upper Vistula and the Bug we are following the retreating enemy.
A bulletin, issued early on July 20, had announced the capture of the Baltic port of Windau, thus bringing the Germans within a few miles of Riga, seat of the Governor General of the Baltic Provinces. It read:
German troops occupied Tukum and captured Windau. (Windau is a seaport in Courland on the Baltic Sea at the mouth of the Windau River, 100 miles northwest of Mitau.) Pursuing the enemy, who was defeated on the Aa River at Alt Autz, our troops yesterday undiminished energy, and at some points report that progress has been made.
They are operating, however, through country which the retiring troops have laid waste and in which what roads there are, are little suited for the movement of the heavy artillery which is necessary for the bombardment of the great fortresses that bar their way.
It is not expected, therefore, that decisive actions on any of the fronts will be fought for a few days yet, although the battle between the Vistula and the Bug Rivers, where the German Field Marshal von Mackensen's army is advancing toward the Lublin-Chelm Railroad, has about reached a climax. Here, according to the German official communication issued this afternoon, the Germans have succeeded in breaking the obstinate resistance of the Russians at several points and forced them to retreat.
Naval Losses During the War
The following diagram, compiled mainly from information given in a June number of the Naval and Military Record and appearing in the London Morning Post of July 8, 1915, shows the different causes of loss to each side in tonnage of capital ships, gunboats, destroyers, submarines, torpedo-boats, and armed merchantmen to the end of May. The diagram being drawn to scale the true proportion of each loss from each cause can be accurately gauged at a glance. It will be seen that the Triple Entente and Japan have had no loss from capture or internment, that the Entente's characteristic of fighting has been "above board," i.e., by gunfire, while that of the enemy has been by submarines and mines.
Battles in the West
Sir John French's Own Story
France's "Eyewitness" Reports and Germany's Offensive in the Argonne
Since June 15, 1915, the British army, reinforced by divisions of the "new" army now in France, has held practically the same position on the front to the north and south of Ypres. The subjoined report by Sir John French, Commanding-in-Chief the British forces in France, published July 12, covers the operations from April 5 down to June 15, and deals particularly with the great poison-gas attacks by the enemy, the capture and loss of Hill 60, the second battle of Ypres, and the battle of Festubert. It embodies the story by Sir Herbert Plumer of the terrible fighting that began May 5. France's official reports, following, tell of the battle of Hilgenfirst in the Vosges, the week's battle in the Fecht valley, the 120 days' struggle between Betlaine and Arras, and the battle of Fontenelle. The Crown Prince's "drive" in the Argonne resulting in German advantages is also dealt with.
FROM THE FIELD-MARSHAL COMMANDING-IN-CHIEF THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE
To the Secretary of State for War, War Office, London, S.W.
GENERAL HEADQUARTERS, June 15, 1915.
I have the honor to report that since the date of my last dispatch (April 5, 1915) the Army in France under my command has been heavily engaged opposite both flanks of the line held by the British Forces.
1. In the North the town and district of Ypres has once more in this campaign been successfully defended against vigorous and sustained attacks made by large forces of the enemy and supported by a mass of heavy and field artillery, which, not only in number, but also in weight and caliber, is superior to any concentration of guns which has previously assailed that part of the line.
In the South a vigorous offensive has again been taken by troops of the First Army, in the course of which a large area of entrenched and fortified ground has been captured from the enemy, whilst valuable support has been afforded to the attack which our Allies have carried on with such marked success against the enemy's positions to the east of Arras and Lens.
2. I much regret that during the period under report the fighting has been characterized on the enemy's side by a cynical and barbarous disregard of the well-known usages of civilized war and a flagrant defiance of The Hague Convention.
[Footnote 2: In a long statement seeking to justify the use of asphyxiating gases in warfare the semi-official Wolff Telegraph Bureau asserted in German newspapers of June 25 that the Allies first used such gases against the Germans, and it cites French documents as proof that France in February, months before the German advance at Ypres, made extensive preparations for the application of gases and for counteracting their effects on the attacking troops.
After quoting the official German war report of April 16 that the French were making increased use of asphyxiating bombs, the statement says:
"For every one who has kept an unbiased judgment, these official assertions of the strictly accurate and truthful German military administration will be sufficient to prove the prior use of asphyxiating gases by our opponents. But let whoever still doubts consider the following instructions for the systematic preparation of this means of warfare by the French, issued by the French War Ministry, under date of Feb. 21, 1915:
Minister of War, Feb. 21, 1915.
Remarks concerning shells with stupefying gases:
The so-called shells with stupefying gases that are being manufactured by our central factories contain a fluid which streams forth after the explosion, in the form of vapors that irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. There are two kinds: hand grenades and cartridges.
Hand Grenades.—The grenades have the form of an egg; their diameter in the middle is six centimeters, their height twelve centimeters, their weight 400 grams. They are intended for short distances, and have an appliance for throwing by hand. They are equipped with an inscription giving directions for use. They are lighted with a small bit of material for friction pasted on the directions, after which they must be thrown away. The explosion follows seven seconds after lighting. A small cover of brass and a top screwed on protect the lighted matter. Their purpose is to make untenable the surroundings of the place where they burst. Their effect is often considerably impaired by a strong rising wind.
Cartridges.—The cartridges have a cylindrical form. Their diameter is twenty-eight millimeters, their height ten centimeters, their weight 200 grams. They are intended for use at longer distances than can be negotiated with the hand grenades. With an angle of twenty-five degrees at departure they will carry 230 meters. They have central lighting facilities and are fired with ignition bullet guns. The powder lights a little internal ignition mass by means of which the cartridges are caused to explode five seconds after leaving the rifle. The cartridges have the same purpose as the hand grenades but because of their very small amount of fluid they must be fired in great numbers at the same time.
Precautionary measures to be observed in attacks on trenches into which shells with asphyxiating gases have been thrown.—The vapors spread by means of the shells with asphyxiating gases are not deadly, at least when small quantities are used and their effect is only momentary. The duration of the effect depends upon the atmospheric conditions.
It is advisable therefore to attack the trenches into which such hand grenades have been thrown and which the enemy has nevertheless not evacuated before the vapors are completely dissipated. The attacking troops, moreover, must wear protective goggles and in addition be instructed that the unpleasant sensations in nose and throat are not dangerous and involve no lasting disturbance.
"Here we have a conclusive proof that the French in their State workshops manufactured shells with asphyxiating gases fully half a year ago at least," says the semi-official Telegraph Bureau. "The number must have been so large that the French War Ministry at last found itself obliged to issue written instructions concerning the use of this means of warfare. What hypocrisy when the same people grow 'indignant' because the Germans much later followed them on the path they had pointed out! Very characteristic is the twist of the French official direction: 'The vapors spread by the shells with asphyxiating gases are not deadly, at least not when used in small quantities.' It is precisely this limitation that contains the unequivocal confession that the French asphyxiating gases work with deadly effect when used in large quantities."]
All the scientific resources of Germany have apparently been brought into play to produce a gas of so virulent and poisonous a nature that any human being brought into contact with it is first paralyzed and then meets with a lingering and agonizing death.
The enemy has invariably preceded, prepared and supported his attacks by a discharge in stupendous volume of these poisonous gas fumes whenever the wind was favorable.
Such weather conditions have only prevailed to any extent in the neighborhood of Ypres, and there can be no doubt that the effect of these poisonous fumes materially influenced the operations in that theater, until experience suggested effective counter-measures, which have since been so perfected as to render them innocuous.
The brain power and thought which has evidently been at work before this unworthy method of making war reached the pitch of efficiency which has been demonstrated in its practice shows that the Germans must have harbored these designs for a long time.
As a soldier I cannot help expressing the deepest regret and some surprise that an Army which hitherto has claimed to be the chief exponent of the chivalry of war should have stooped to employ such devices against brave and gallant foes.
BATTLE OF HILL 60
3. On the night of Saturday, April 17, a commanding hill which afforded the enemy excellent artillery observation toward the west and northwest was successfully mined and captured.
This hill, known as Hill 60, lies opposite the northern extremity of the line held by the 2d Corps.
The operation was planned and the mining commenced by Major-General Bulfin before the ground was handed over to the troops under Lieutenant-General Sir Charles Fergusson, under whose supervision the operation was carried out.
The mines were successfully fired at 7 P.M. on the 17th inst., and immediately afterwards the hill was attacked and gained, without difficulty, by the 1st Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment and the 2d Battalion King's Own Scottish Borderers. The attack was well supported by the Divisional Artillery, assisted by French and Belgian batteries.
During the night several of the enemy's counter-attacks were repulsed with heavy loss, and fierce hand-to-hand fighting took place; but on the early morning of the 18th the enemy succeeded in forcing back the troops holding the right of the hill to the reverse slope, where, however, they hung on throughout the day.
On the evening of the 18th these two battalions were relieved by the 2d Battalion West Riding Regiment and the 2d Battalion King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, who again stormed the hill under cover of heavy artillery fire, and the enemy was driven off at the point of the bayonet.
In this operation fifty-three prisoners were captured, including four officers.
On the 20th and following days many unsuccessful attacks by the enemy were made on Hill 60, which was continually shelled by heavy artillery.
On May 1 another attempt to recapture Hill 60 was supported by great volumes of asphyxiating gas, which caused nearly all the men along a front of about 400 yards to be immediately struck down by its fumes.
The splendid courage with which the leaders rallied their men and subdued the natural tendency to panic (which is inevitable on such occasions), combined with the prompt intervention of supports, once more drove the enemy back.
A second and more severe "gas" attack, under much more favorable weather conditions, enabled the enemy to recapture this position on May 5.
The enemy owes his success in this last attack entirely to the use of asphyxiating gas. It was only a few days later that the means, which have since proved so effective, of counteracting this method of making war were put into practice. Had it been otherwise, the enemy's attack on May 5 would most certainly have shared the fate of all the many previous attempts he had made.
SECOND BATTLE OF YPRES
4. It was at the commencement of the second battle of Ypres on the evening of April 22, referred to in paragraph 1 of his report, that the enemy first made use of asphyxiating gas.
Some days previously I had complied with General Joffre's request to take over the trenches occupied by the French, and on the evening of the 22d the troops holding the lines east of Ypres were posted as follows:
From Steenstraate to the east of Langemarck, as far as the Poelcappelle Road, a French Division.
Thence, in a south-easterly direction toward the Passchendaele-Becelaere Road, the Canadian Division.
Thence a Division took up the line in a southerly direction east of Zonnebeke to a point west of Becelaere, whence another Division continued the line southeast to the northern limit of the Corps on its right.
Of the 5th Corps there were four battalions in Divisional Reserve about Ypres; the Canadian Division had one battalion of Divisional Reserve and the 1st Canadian Brigade in Army Reserve. An Infantry Brigade, which had just been withdrawn after suffering heavy losses on Hill 60, was resting about Vlamernighe.
Following a heavy bombardment, the enemy attacked the French Division at about 5 P.M., using asphyxiating gases for the first time. Aircraft reported that at about 5 P.M. thick yellow smoke had been seen issuing from the German trenches between Langemarck and Bixschoote. The French reported that two simultaneous attacks had been made east of the Ypres-Staden Railway, in which these asphyxiating gases had been employed.
What follows almost defies description. The effect of these poisonous gases was so virulent as to render the whole of the line held by the French Division mentioned above practically incapable of any action at all. It was at first impossible for any one to realize what had actually happened. The smoke and fumes hid everything from sight, and hundreds of men were thrown into a comatose or dying condition, and within an hour the whole position had to be abandoned, together with about fifty guns.
I wish particularly to repudiate any idea of attaching the least blame to the French Division for this unfortunate incident.
After all the examples our gallant Allies have shown of dogged and tenacious courage in the many trying situations in which they have been placed throughout the course of this campaign it is quite superfluous for me to dwell on this aspect of the incident, and I would only express my firm conviction that, if any troops in the world had been able to hold their trenches in the face of such a treacherous and altogether unexpected onslaught, the French Division would have stood firm.
THE CANADIANS' PART
The left flank of the Canadian Division was thus left dangerously exposed to serious attack in flank, and there appeared to be a prospect of their being overwhelmed and of a successful attempt by the Germans to cut off the British troops occupying the salient to the East.
In spite of the danger to which they were exposed the Canadians held their ground with a magnificent display of tenacity and courage; and it is not too much to say that the bearing and conduct of these splendid troops averted a disaster which might have been attended with the most serious consequences.
They were supported with great promptitude by the reserves of the divisions holding the salient and by a brigade which had been resting in billets.
Throughout the night the enemy's attacks were repulsed, effective counter-attacks were delivered, and at length touch was gained with the French right, and a new line was formed.
The 2d London Heavy Battery, which had been attached to the Canadian Division, was posted behind the right of the French Division, and, being involved in their retreat, fell into the enemy's hands. It was recaptured by the Canadians in their counter-attack, but the guns could not be withdrawn before the Canadians were again driven back.
During the night I directed the Cavalry Corps and the Northumbrian Division, which was then in general reserve, to move to the west of Ypres, and placed these troops at the disposal of the General Officer Commanding the Second Army. I also directed other reserve troops from the 3d Corps and the First Army to be held in readiness to meet eventualities.
In the confusion of the gas and smoke the Germans succeeded in capturing the bridge at Steenstraate and some works south of Lizerne, all of which were in occupation by the French.
The enemy having thus established himself to the west of the Ypres Canal, I was somewhat apprehensive of his succeeding in driving a wedge between the French and Belgian troops at this point. I directed, therefore, that some of the reinforcements sent north should be used to support and assist General Putz, should he find difficulty in preventing any further advance of the Germans west of the canal.
At about ten o'clock on the morning of the 23d connection was finally ensured between the left of the Canadian Division and the French right, about 800 yards east of the canal; but as this entailed the maintenance by the British troops of a much longer line than that which they had held before the attack commenced on the previous night, there were no reserves available for counter-attack until reinforcements, which were ordered up from the Second Army, were able to deploy to the east of Ypres.
Early on the morning of the 23d I went to see General Foch, and from him I received a detailed account of what had happened, as reported by General Putz. General Foch informed me that it was his intention to make good the original line and regain the trenches which the French Division had lost. He expressed the desire that I should maintain my present line, assuring me that the original position would be re-established in a few days. General Foch further informed me that he had ordered up large French reinforcements, which were now on their way, and that troops from the North had already arrived to reinforce General Putz.
I fully concurred in the wisdom of the General's wish to re-establish our old line, and agreed to co-operate in the way he desired, stipulating, however, that if the position was not re-established within a limited time I could not allow the British troops to remain in so exposed a situation as that which the action of the previous twenty-four hours had compelled them to occupy.
During the whole of the 23d the enemy's artillery was very active, and his attacks all along the front were supported by some heavy guns which had been brought down from the coast in the neighborhood of Ostend.
The loss of the guns on the night of the 22d prevented this fire from being kept down, and much aggravated the situation. Our positions, however, were well maintained by the vigorous counter-attacks made by the 5th Corps.
During the day I directed two brigades of the 3d Corps, and the Lahore Division of the Indian Corps, to be moved up to the Ypres area and placed at the disposal of the Second Army.
In the course of these two or three days many circumstances combined to render the situation east of the Ypres Canal very critical and most difficult to deal with.
The confusion caused by the sudden retirement of the French Division, and the necessity for closing up the gap and checking the enemy's advance at all costs, led to a mixing up of units and a sudden shifting of the areas of command, which was quite unavoidable. Fresh units, as they came up from the South, had to be pushed into the firing line in an area swept by artillery fire, which, owing to the capture of the French guns, we were unable to keep down.
All this led to very heavy casualties, and I wish to place on record the deep admiration which I feel for the resource and presence of mind evinced by the leaders actually on the spot.
The parts taken by Major-General Snow and Brigadier-General Hull were reported to me as being particularly marked in this respect.
An instance of this occurred on the afternoon of the 24th, when the enemy succeeded in breaking through the line at St. Julien.
Brigadier-General Hull, acting under the orders of Lieutenant-General Alderson, organized a powerful counter-attack with his own brigade and some of the nearest available units. He was called upon to control, with only his brigade staff, parts of battalions from six separate divisions which were quite new to the ground. Although the attack did not succeed in retaking St. Julien, it effectually checked the enemy's further advance.
It was only on the morning of the 25th that the enemy were able to force back the left of the Canadian Division from the point where it had originally joined the French line.
During the night, and the early morning of the 25th, the enemy directed a heavy attack against the Division at Broodseinde cross-roads, which was supported by a powerful shell fire, but he failed to make any progress.
During the whole of this time the town of Ypres and all the roads to the East and West were uninterruptedly subjected to a violent artillery fire, but in spite of this the supply of both food and ammunition was maintained throughout with order and efficiency.
During the afternoon of the 25th many German prisoners were taken, including some officers. The hand-to-hand fighting was very severe, and the enemy suffered heavy loss.
During the 26th the Lahore Division and a Cavalry Division were pushed up into the fighting line, the former on the right of the French, the latter in support of the 5th Corps.
In the afternoon the Lahore Division, in conjunction with the French right, succeeded in pushing the enemy back some little distance toward the north, but their further advance was stopped owing to the continual employment by the enemy of asphyxiating gas.
On the right of the Lahore Division the Northumberland Infantry Brigade advanced against St. Julien and actually succeeded in entering, and for a time occupying, the southern portion of that village. They were, however, eventually driven back, largely owing to gas, and finally occupied a line a short way to the south. This attack was most successfully and gallantly led by Brigadier-General Riddell, who, I regret to say, was killed during the progress of the operation.
Although no attack was made on the southeastern side of the salient, the troops operating to the east of Ypres were subjected to heavy artillery fire from this direction, which took some of the battalions, which were advancing north to the attack, in reverse.
Some gallant attempts made by the Lahore Division on the 27th, in conjunction with the French, pushed the enemy further north; but they were partially frustrated by the constant fumes of gas to which they were exposed. In spite of this, however, a certain amount of ground was gained.
The French had succeeded in retaking Lizerne, and had made some progress at Steenstraate and Het Sas; but up to the evening of the 28th no further progress had been made toward the recapture of the original line.
I sent instructions, therefore, to Sir Herbert Plumer, who was now in charge of the operation, to take preliminary measures for the retirement to the new line which had been fixed upon.
On the morning of the 29th I had another interview with General Foch, who informed me that strong reinforcements were hourly arriving to support General Putz, and urged me to postpone issuing orders for any retirement until the result of his attack, which was timed to commence at daybreak on the 30th, should be known. To this I agreed, and instructed Sir Herbert Plumer accordingly.
No substantial advance having been made by the French, I issued orders to Sir Herbert Plumer at one o'clock on May 1 to commence his withdrawal to the new line.
The retirement was commenced the following night, and the new line was occupied on the morning of May 4.
I am of opinion that this retirement, carried out deliberately with scarcely any loss, and in the face of an enemy in position, reflects the greatest possible credit on Sir Herbert Plumer and those who so efficiently carried out his orders.
The successful conduct of this operation was the more remarkable from the fact that on the evening of May 2, when it was only half completed, the enemy made a heavy attack, with the usual gas accompaniment, on St. Julien and the line to the west of it.
An attack on a line to the east of Fortuin was made at the same time under similar conditions.
In both cases our troops were at first driven from their trenches by gas fumes, but on the arrival of the supporting battalions and two brigades of a cavalry division, which were sent up in support from about Potijze, all the lost trenches were regained at night.
On May 3, while the retirement was still going on, another violent attack was directed on the northern face of the salient. This was also driven back with heavy loss to the enemy.
Further attempts of the enemy during the night of the 3d to advance from the woods west of St. Julien were frustrated entirely by the fire of our artillery.
During the whole of the 4th the enemy heavily shelled the trenches we had evacuated, quite unaware that they were no longer occupied. So soon as the retirement was discovered the Germans commenced to entrench opposite our new line and to advance their guns to new positions. Our artillery, assisted by aeroplanes, caused him considerable loss in carrying out these operations.
Up to the morning of the 8th the enemy made attacks at short intervals, covered by gas, on all parts of the line to the east of Ypres, but was everywhere driven back with heavy loss.
Throughout the whole period since the first break of the line on the night of April 22 all the troops in this area had been constantly subjected to violent artillery bombardment from a large mass of guns with an unlimited supply of ammunition. It proved impossible whilst under so vastly superior fire of artillery to dig efficient trenches, or to properly reorganize the line, after the confusion and demoralization called by the first great gas surprise and the subsequent almost daily gas attacks. Nor was it until after this date (May 8) that effective preventatives had been devised and provided. In these circumstances a violent bombardment of nearly the whole of the 5th Corps front broke out at 7 A.M. on the morning of the 8th, which gradually concentrated on the front of the Division between north and south of Frezenberg. This fire completely obliterated the trenches and caused enormous losses.
The artillery bombardment was shortly followed by a heavy infantry attack, before which our line had to give way.
SIR H. PLUMER'S STORY
[Footnote 3: General Sir Herbert Charles Onslow Plumer, K.C.B., was born in 1857. He entered the York and Lancaster Regiment in 1876, and served with distinction in the Sudan and South Africa. He was Q.M.G. and third military member of the Army Council, 1904-5, and commanded the 5th Division Irish Command, 1906-9. He was knighted in 1906.]
I relate what happened in Sir Herbert Plumer's own words:
"The right of one brigade was broken about 10.15 A.M.; then its centre, and then part of the left of the brigade in the next section to the south. The Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, however, although suffering very heavily, stuck to their fire or support trenches throughout the day. At this time two battalions were moved to General Headquarters second line astride the Menin road to support and cover the left of their division.
"At 12.25 P.M. the center of a brigade further to the left also broke; its right battalion, however, the 1st Suffolks, which had been refused to cover a gap, still held on, and were apparently surrounded and overwhelmed. Meanwhile, three more battalions had been moved up to reinforce, two other battalions were moved up in support to General Headquarters line and an infantry brigade came up to the grounds of Vlamertinghe Chateau in corps reserve.
"At 11.30 A.M. a small party of Germans attempted to advance against the left of the British line, but were destroyed by the 2d Essex Regiment.
"A counter-attack was launched at 3.30 P.M. by the 1st York and Lancaster Regiment, 3d Middlesex Regiment, 2d East Surrey Regiment, 2d Royal Dublin Fusiliers, and the 1st Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The counter-attack reached Frezenberg, but was eventually driven back and held up on a line running about north and south through Verlorenhoek, despite repeated efforts to advance. The 12th London Regiment on the left succeeded at great cost in reaching the original trench line, and did considerable execution with their machine gun.
"The 7th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the 1st East Lancashire Regiment attacked in a northeasterly direction toward Wieltje, and connected the old trench line with the ground gained by the counter-attack, the line being consolidated during the night.
"During the night orders were received that two Cavalry Divisions would be moved up and placed at the disposal of the 5th Corps, and a Territorial Division would be moved up to be used if required.
"On the 9th the Germans again repeated their bombardment. Very heavy shell fire was concentrated for two hours on the trenches of the 2d Gloucestershire Regiment and 2d Cameron Highlanders, followed by an infantry attack which was successfully repulsed. The Germans again bombarded the salient, and a further attack in the afternoon succeeded in occupying 150 yards of trench. The Gloucesters counter-attacked, but suffered heavily, and the attack failed. The salient being very exposed to shell fire from both flanks, as well as in front, it was deemed advisable not to attempt to retake the trench at night, and a retrenchment was therefore dug across it.
"At 3 P.M. the enemy started to shell the whole front of the center Division, and it was reported that the right Brigade of this Division was being heavily punished, but continued to maintain its line.
"The trenches of the Brigades on the left center were also heavily shelled during the day and attacked by infantry. Both attacks were repulsed.
"On the 10th instant the trenches on either side of the Menin-Ypres road were shelled very severely all the morning. The 2d Cameron Highlanders, 9th Royal Scots, and the 3d and 4th King's Royal Rifles, however, repulsed an attack made, under cover of gas, with heavy loss. Finally, when the trenches had been practically destroyed and a large number of the garrison buried, the 3d King's Royal Rifles and 4th Rifle Brigade fell back to the trenches immediately west of Bellewaarde Wood. So heavy had been the shell fire that the proposal to join up the line with a switch through the wood had to be abandoned, the trees broken by the shells forming an impassable entanglement.
"After a comparatively quiet night and morning (10th-11th) the hostile artillery fire was concentrated on the trenches of the 2d Cameron Highlanders and 1st Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders at a slightly more northern point than on the previous day. The Germans attacked in force and gained a footing in part of the trenches, but were promptly ejected by a supporting company of the 9th Royal Scots. After a second short artillery bombardment the Germans again attacked about 5.15 P.M., but were again repulsed by rifle and machine-gun fire. A third bombardment followed, and this time the Germans succeeded in gaining a trench—or rather what was left of it—a local counter-attack failing. However, during the night the enemy were again driven out. The trench by this time being practically non-existent, the garrison found it untenable under the very heavy shell fire the enemy brought to bear upon it, and the trench was evacuated. Twice more did the German snipers creep back into it, and twice more they were ejected. Finally, a retrenchment was made, cutting off the salient which had been contested throughout the day. It was won owing solely to the superior weight and number of the enemy's guns, but both our infantry and our artillery took a very heavy toll of the enemy, and the ground lost has proved of little use to the enemy.
"On the remainder of the front the day passed comparatively quietly, though most parts of the line underwent intermittent shelling by guns of various calibers.
"With the assistance of the Royal Flying Corps the 31st Heavy Battery scored a direct hit on a German gun, and the North Midland Heavy Battery got on to some German howitzers with great success.
"With the exception of another very heavy burst of shell fire against the right Division early in the morning the 12th passed uneventfully.
"On the night of the 12th-13th the line was reorganized, the center Division retiring into Army Reserve to rest, and their places being taken in the trenches by the two Cavalry Divisions; the Artillery and Engineers of the center Division forming with them what was known as the 'Cavalry Force,' under the command of General De Lisle.
"On the 13th, the various reliefs having been completed without incident, the heaviest bombardment yet experienced broke out at 4.30 A.M., and continued with little intermission throughout the day. At about 7.45 A.M. the Cavalry Brigade astride the railway, having suffered very severely, and their trenches having been obliterated, fell back about 800 yards. The North Somerset Yeomanry, on the right of the Brigade, although also suffering severely, hung on to their trenches throughout the day, and actually advanced and attacked the enemy with the bayonet. The Brigade on its right also maintained its position; as did also the Cavalry Division, except the left squadron, which, when reduced to sixteen men, fell back. The 2d Essex Regiment, realizing the situation, promptly charged and retook the trench, holding it till relieved by the cavalry. Meanwhile a counter-attack by two cavalry brigades was launched at 2.30 P.M., and succeeded, in spite of very heavy shrapnel and rifle fire, in regaining the original line of trenches, turning out the Germans who had entered it, and in some cases pursuing them for some distance. But a very heavy shell fire was again opened on them, and they were again compelled to retire to an irregular line in rear, principally the craters of shell holes. The enemy in their counter-attack suffered very severe losses.