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Title: History of the World War, Vol. 3
Author: Beamish, Richard Joseph, 1879-, March, Francis Andrew, 1863-
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the World War, Vol. 3" ***

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Complete Edition

HISTORY OF THE WORLD WAR, VOLUME III

An Authentic Narrative of the World's Greatest War

by

FRANCIS A. MARCH, Ph.D.

In Collaboration with

RICHARD J. BEAMISH
Special War Correspondent and Military Analyst

With an Introduction by General Peyton C. March
Chief of Staff of the United States Army

With Exclusive Photographs by James H. Hare and Donald Thompson
World-Famed War Photographers
and with Reproductions from the Official Photographs of the
United States, Canadian, British, French and Italian Governments

Leslie-Judge Company
New York

MCMXIX



[Illustration: THE THRILL OF OLD-TIME WAR

The stirrup charge of the Scots Greys at St. Quentin. Holding on to the
stirrup leathers of the cavalry the Highlanders crashed like an
avalanche upon the German lines, tearing great gaps in their massed
formations.]



CONTENTS

VOLUME III


                                                                  PAGE
CHAPTER I. NEUVE CHAPELLE AND WAR
IN BLOOD-SOAKED TRENCHES

War Amid Barbed-Wire Entanglements and the Desolation
of No Man's Land--Subterranean Tactics Continuing Over
Four Years--Attacks that Cost Thousands of Lives for
Every Foot of Gain                                                   1


CHAPTER II. ITALY DECLARES WAR ON
AUSTRIA

Her Great Decision--D'Annunzio, Poet and Patriot--Italia
Irredenta--German Indignation--The Campaigns on the Isonzo
and in the Tyrol                                                    29

CHAPTER III. GLORIOUS GALLIPOLI

A Titanic Enterprise--Its Objects--Disasters and Deeds
of Deathless Glory--The Heroic Anzacs--Bloody Dashes up
Impregnable Slopes--Silently they Stole Away--A Successful
Failure                                                             58


CHAPTER IV. THE GREATEST NAVAL
BATTLE IN HISTORY

The Battle of Jutland--Every Factor on Sea and in Sky
Favorable to the Germans--Low Visibility a Great Factor--A
Modern Sea Battle--Light Cruisers Screening Battleship
Squadron--Germans Run Away when British Fleet Marshals Its
Full Strength--Death of Lord Kitchener                              78


CHAPTER V. THE RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN

The Advance on Cracow--Von Hindenburg Strikes at
Warsaw--German Barbarism--The War in Galicia--The
Fall of Przemysl--Russia's Ammunition Fails--The Russian
Retreat--The Fall of Warsaw--The Last Stand--Czernowitz            104


CHAPTER VI. HOW THE BALKANS DECIDED

Ferdinand of Bulgaria Insists Upon Joining Germany--Dramatic
Scene in the King's Palace--The Die is Cast--Bulgaria Succumbs
to Seductions of Potsdam Gang--Greece Mobilizes--French and
British Troops at Saloniki--Serbia Over-run--Roumania's
Disastrous Venture in the Arena of Mars                            145


CHAPTER VII. THE CAMPAIGN IN MESOPOTAMIA

British Army Threatening Bagdad Besieged in Kut-el-Amara--After
Heroic Defense General Townshend Surrenders after 143 Days of
Siege--New British Expedition Recaptures Kut--Troops Push on Up
the Tigris--Fall of Bagdad the Magnificent                         187


CHAPTER VIII. IMMORTAL VERDUN

Grave of the Military Reputations of von Falkenhayn and the
Crown Prince--Hindenburg's Warning--Why the Germans Made the
Disastrous Attempt to Capture the Great Fortress--Heroic
France Reveals Itself to the World--"They Shall Not
Pass"--Nivelle's Glorious Stand on Dead Man Hill--Lord
Northcliffe's Description--A Defense Unsurpassed in the
History of France                                                  209



ILLUSTRATIONS

VOLUME III


THE THRILL OF OLD-TIME WAR                              _Frontispiece_

                                                                  PAGE

THE GLORIOUS CHARGE OF THE NINTH LANCERS                             4

CHARGING THROUGH BARBED WIRE ENTANGLEMENTS                           6

BRITISH INDIAN TROOPS CHARGING THE GERMAN
  TRENCHES AT NEUVE CHAPELLE                                        10

CHARGING ON GERMAN TRENCHES IN GAS MASKS                            12

AN INCIDENT OF THE WAR IN FLANDERS                                  18
   [Transcriber's Note: This illustration was missing from
   the source for this e-book.]

ITALY'S TITANIC LABOR TO CONQUER THE ALPS                           30

WAITING THE ORDER TO ATTACK                                         38

TRANSPORTING WOUNDED AMID THE DIFFICULTIES
  OF THE ITALIAN MOUNTAIN FRONT                                     42

THE LOSS OF THE "IRRESISTIBLE"                                      68

THE HISTORIC LANDING FROM THE "RIVER CLYDE"
  AT SEDDUL BAHR                                                    76

ADMIRAL WILLIAM S. SIMS                                             98

ADMIRAL SIR DAVID BEATTY                                            98

GERMAN FRIGHTFULNESS FROM THE AIR                                  110

BAGDAD THE MAGNIFICENT FALLS TO THE BRITISH                        208

AMMUNITION FOR THE GUNS                                            224

HOW VERDUN WAS SAVED                                               224



CHAPTER I

NEUVE CHAPELLE AND WAR IN BLOOD-SOAKED TRENCHES


After the immortal stand of Joffre at the first battle of the Marne and
the sudden savage thrust at the German center which sent von Kluck and
his men reeling back in retreat to the prepared defenses along the line
of the Aisne, the war in the western theater resolved itself into a play
for position from deep intrenchments. Occasionally would come a sudden
big push by one side or the other in which artillery was massed until
hub touched hub and infantry swept to glory and death in waves of gray,
or blue or khaki as the case might be. But these tremendous efforts and
consequent slaughters did not change the long battle line from the Alps
to the North Sea materially. Here and there a bulge would be made by
the terrific pressure of men and material in some great assault like
that first push of the British at Neuve Chapelle, like the German attack
at Verdun or like the tremendous efforts by both sides on that bloodiest
of all battlefields, the Somme.

Neuve Chapelle deserves particular mention as the test in which the
British soldiers demonstrated their might in equal contest against the
enemy. There had been a disposition in England as elsewhere up to that
time to rate the Germans as supermen, to exalt the potency of the
scientific equipment with which the German army had taken the field.
When the battle of Neuve Chapelle had been fought, although its losses
were heavy, there was no longer any doubt in the British nation that
victory was only a question of time.

[Illustration: THE BATTLE GROUND OF NEUVE CHAPELLE]

The action came as a pendant to the attack by General de Langle de
Cary's French army during February, 1915, at Perthes, that had been a
steady relentless pressure by artillery and infantry upon a strong
German position. To meet it heavy reinforcements had been shifted by
the Germans from the trenches between La Bassée and Lille. The
earthworks at Neuve Chapelle had been particularly depleted and only a
comparatively small body of Saxons and Bavarians defended them. Opposite
this body was the first British army. The German intrenchments at Neuve
Chapelle surrounded and defended the highlands upon which were placed
the German batteries and in their turn defended the road towards Lille,
Roubaix and Turcoing.

The task assigned to Sir John French was to make an assault with only
forty-eight thousand men on a comparatively narrow front. There was only
one practicable method for effective preparation, and this was chosen by
the British general. An artillery concentration absolutely unprecedented
up to that time was employed by him. Field pieces firing at point-blank
range were used to cut the barbed wire entanglements defending the enemy
intrenchments, while howitzers and bombing airplanes were used to drop
high explosives into the defenseless earthworks.

Sir Douglas Haig, later to become the commander-in-chief of the British
forces, was in command of the first army. Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien
commanded the second army. It was the first army that bore the brunt of
the attack.

No engagement during the years on the western front was more sudden and
surprising in its onset than that drive of the British against Neuve
Chapelle. At seven o'clock on the morning of Wednesday, March 10, 1915,
the British artillery was lazily engaged in lobbing over a desultory
shell fire upon the German trenches. It was the usual breakfast
appetizer, and nobody on the German side took any unusual notice of it.
Really, however, the shelling was scientific "bracketing" of the enemy's
important position. The gunners were making sure of their ranges.

[Illustration: THE GLORIOUS CHARGE OF THE NINTH LANCERS

An incident of the retreat from Mons to Cambrai. A German battery of
eleven guns posted in a wood, had caused havoc in the British ranks. The
Ninth Lancers rode straight at them, across the open, through a hail of
shell from the other German batteries, cut down all the gunners, and put
every gun out of action.]

At 7.30 range finding ended, and with a roar that shook the earth the
most destructive and withering artillery action of the war up to that
time was on. Field pieces sending their shells hurtling only a few feet
above the earth tore the wire emplacements of the enemy to pieces and
made kindling wood of the supports. Howitzers sent high explosive
shells, containing lyddite, of 15-inch, 9.2-inch and 6-inch caliber into
the doomed trenches and later into the ruined village. It was eight
o'clock in the morning, one-half hour after the beginning of the
artillery action, that the village was bombarded. During this time
British soldiers were enabled to walk about in No Man's Land behind the
curtain of fire with absolute immunity. No German rifleman or machine
gunner left cover. The scene on the German side of the line was like
that upon the blasted surface of the moon, pock-marked with shell holes,
and with no trace of human life to be seen above ground.

An eye witness describing the scene said:

"The dawn, which broke reluctantly through a veil of clouds on the
morning of Wednesday, March 10, 1915, seemed as any other to the
Germans behind the white and blue sandbags in their long line of
trenches curving in a hemi-cycle about the battered village of
Neuve Chapelle. For five months they had remained undisputed
masters of the positions they had here wrested from the British in
October. Ensconced in their comfortably-arranged trenches with but
a thin outpost in their fire trenches, they had watched day succeed
day and night succeed night without the least variation from the
monotony of trench warfare, the intermittent bark of the machine
guns--rat-tat-tat-tat-tat--and the perpetual rattle of rifle fire,
with here and there a bomb, and now and then an exploded mine.

[Illustration: _Illustrated London News_.

CHARGING THROUGH BARBED WIRE ENTANGLEMENTS

In one sector at Givenchy, the wire had not been sufficiently smashed by
the artillery preparation and the infantry attack was held up in the
face of a murderous German fire.]

"For weeks past the German airmen had grown strangely shy. On this
Wednesday morning none were aloft to spy out the strange doings
which, as dawn broke, might have been descried on the desolate
roads behind the British lines.

"From ten o'clock of the preceding evening endless files of men
marched silently down the roads leading towards the German
positions through Laventie and Richebourg St. Vaast, poor shattered
villages of the dead where months of incessant bombardment have
driven away the last inhabitants and left roofless houses and rent
roadways....

"Two days before, a quiet room, where Nelson's Prayer stands on the
mantel-shelf, saw the ripening of the plans that sent these sturdy
sons of Britain's four kingdoms marching all through the night. Sir
John French met the army corps commanders and unfolded to them his
plans for the offensive of the British army against the German
line at Neuve Chapelle.

"The onslaught was to be a surprise. That was its essence. The
Germans were to be battered with artillery, then rushed before they
recovered their wits. We had thirty-six clear hours before us. Thus
long, it was reckoned (with complete accuracy as afterwards
appeared), must elapse before the Germans, whose line before us had
been weakened, could rush up reinforcements. To ensure the enemy's
being pinned down right and left of the 'great push,' an attack was
to be delivered north and south of the main thrust simultaneously
with the assault on Neuve Chapelle."

After describing the impatience of the British soldiers as they awaited
the signal to open the attack, and the actual beginning of the
engagement, the narrator continues:

"Then hell broke loose. With a mighty, hideous, screeching burst of
noise, hundreds of guns spoke. The men in the front trenches were
deafened by the sharp reports of the field-guns spitting out their
shells at close range to cut through the Germans' barbed wire
entanglements. In some cases the trajectory of these vicious
missiles was so flat that they passed only a few feet above the
British trenches.

"The din was continuous. An officer who had the curious idea of
putting his ear to the ground said it was as though the earth were
being smitten great blows with a Titan's hammer. After the first
few shells had plunged screaming amid clouds of earth and dust into
the German trenches, a dense pall of smoke hung over the German
lines. The sickening fumes of lyddite blew back into the British
trenches. In some places the troops were smothered in earth and
dust or even spattered with blood from the hideous fragments of
human bodies that went hurtling through the air. At one point the
upper half of a German officer, his cap crammed on his head, was
blown into one of our trenches.

"Words will never convey any adequate idea of the horror of those
five and thirty minutes. When the hands of officers' watches
pointed to five minutes past eight, whistles resounded along the
British lines. At the same moment the shells began to burst farther
ahead, for, by previous arrangement, the gunners, lengthening their
fuses, were 'lifting' on to the village of Neuve Chapelle so as to
leave the road open for our infantry to rush in and finish what the
guns had begun.

"The shells were now falling thick among the houses of Neuve
Chapelle, a confused mass of buildings seen reddish through the
pillars of smoke and flying earth and dust. At the sound of the
whistle--alas for the bugle, once the herald of victory, now
banished from the fray!--our men scrambled out of the trenches and
hurried higgledy-piggledy into the open. Their officers were in
front. Many, wearing overcoats and carrying rifles with fixed
bayonets, closely resembled their men.

[Illustration: BRITISH INDIAN TROOPS CHARGING THE GERMAN TRENCHES AT
NEUVE CHAPELLE

Germany counted on a revolution in India, but the Indian troops proved
to be among the most loyal and brilliant fighters in the Imperial
forces.]

"It was from the center of our attacking line that the assault was
pressed home soonest. The guns had done their work well. The
trenches were blown to irrecognizable pits dotted with dead. The
barbed wire had been cut like so much twine. Starting from the
Rue Tilleloy the Lincolns and the Berkshires were off the mark
first, with orders to swerve to right and left respectively as soon
as they had captured the first line of trenches, in order to let
the Royal Irish Rifles and the Rifle Brigade through to the
village. The Germans left alive in the trenches, half demented with
fright, surrounded by a welter of dead and dying men, mostly
surrendered. The Berkshires were opposed with the utmost gallantry
by two German officers who had remained alone in a trench serving a
machine gun. But the lads from Berkshire made their way into that
trench and bayoneted the Germans where they stood, fighting to the
last. The Lincolns, against desperate resistance, eventually
occupied their section of the trench and then waited for the
Irishmen and the Rifle Brigade to come and take the village ahead
of them. Meanwhile the second Thirty-ninth Garhwalis on the right
had taken their trenches with a rush and were away towards the
village and the Biez Wood.

"Things had moved so fast that by the time the troops were ready
to advance against the village the artillery had not finished its
work. So, while the Lincolns and the Berks assembled the prisoners
who were trooping out of the trenches in all directions, the
infantry on whom devolved the honor of capturing the village,
waited. One saw them standing out in the open, laughing and
cracking jokes amid the terrific din made by the huge howitzer
shells screeching overhead and bursting in the village, the rattle
of machine guns all along the line, and the popping of rifles. Over
to the right where the Garhwalis had been working with the bayonet,
men were shouting hoarsely and wounded were groaning as the
stretcher-bearers, all heedless of bullets, moved swiftly to and
fro over the shell-torn ground.

"There was bloody work in the village of Neuve Chapelle. The
capture of a place at the Bayonet point is generally a grim
business, in which instant, unconditional surrender is the only
means by which bloodshed, a deal of bloodshed, can be prevented. If
there is individual resistance here and there the attacking
troops cannot discriminate. They must go through, slaying as they
go such as oppose them (the Germans have a monopoly of the
finishing-off of wounded men), otherwise the enemy's resistance
would not be broken, and the assailants would be sniped and
enfiladed from hastily prepared strongholds at half a dozen
different points.

[Illustration: CHARGING ON GERMAN TRENCHES IN GAS MASKS

Each British soldier carried two gas-proof helmets. At the first alarm
of gas the helmet was instantly adjusted, for breathing even a whiff of
the yellow cloud meant death or serious injury. This picture shows the
earlier type before the respirator mask was devised to keep up with
Germany's development of gas warfare.]

"The village was a sight that the men say they will never forget.
It looked as if an earthquake had struck it. The published
photographs do not give any idea of the indescribable mass of ruins
to which our guns reduced it. The chaos is so utter that the very
line of the streets is all but obliterated.

"It was indeed a scene of desolation into which the Rifle
Brigade--the first regiment to enter the village, I believe--raced
headlong. Of the church only the bare shell remained, the interior
lost to view beneath a gigantic mound of débris. The little
churchyard was devastated, the very dead plucked from their graves,
broken coffins and ancient bones scattered about amid the fresher
dead, the slain of that morning--gray-green forms asprawl athwart
the tombs. Of all that once fair village but two things remained
intact--two great crucifixes reared aloft, one in the churchyard,
the other over against the château. From the cross, that is the
emblem of our faith, the figure of Christ, yet intact though all
pitted with bullet marks, looked down in mute agony on the slain in
the village.

"The din and confusion were indescribable. Through the thick pall
of shell smoke Germans were seen on all sides, some emerging half
dazed from cellars and dugouts, their hands above their heads,
others dodging round the shattered houses, others firing from the
windows, from behind carts, even from behind the overturned
tombstones. Machine guns were firing from the houses on the
outskirts, rapping out their nerve-racking note above the noise of
the rifles.

"Just outside the village there was a scene of tremendous
enthusiasm. The Rifle Brigade, smeared with dust and blood, fell in
with the Third Gurkhas with whom they had been brigaded in India.
The little brown men were dirty but radiant. Kukri in hand they had
very thoroughly gone through some houses at the cross-roads on the
Rue du Bois and silenced a party of Germans who were making
themselves a nuisance there with some machine guns. Riflemen and
Gurkhas cheered themselves hoarse."

Unfortunately for the complete success of the brilliant attack a great
delay was caused by the failure of the artillery that was to have
cleared the barbed wire entanglements for the Twenty-third Brigade, and
because of the unlooked for destruction of the British field telephone
system by shell and rifle fire. The check of the Twenty-third Brigade
banked other commands back of it, and the Twenty-fifth Brigade was
obliged to fight at right angles to the line of battle. The Germans
quickly rallied at these points, and took a terrific toll in British
lives. Particularly was this true at three specially strong German
positions. One called Port Arthur by the British, another at Pietre
Mill and the third was the fortified bridge over Des Layes Creek.

Because of the lack of telephone communication it was impossible to send
reinforcements to the troops that had been held up by barbed wire and
other emplacements and upon which German machine guns were pouring a
steady stream of death.

As the Twenty-third Brigade had been held up by unbroken barbed wire
northwest of Neuve Chapelle, so the Seventh Division of the Fourth Corps
was also checked in its action against the ridge of Aubers on the left
of Neuve Chapelle. Under the plan of Sir Douglas Haig the Seventh
Division was to have waited until the Eighth Division had reached Neuve
Chapelle, when it was to charge through Aubers. With the tragic mistake
that cost the Twenty-third Brigade so dearly, the plan affecting the
Seventh Division went awry. The German artillery, observing the
concentration of the Seventh Division opposite Aubers, opened a vigorous
fire upon that front. During the afternoon General Haig ordered a
charge upon the German positions. The advance was made in short rushes
in the face of a fire that seemed to blaze from an inferno. Inch by inch
the ground was drenched with British blood. At 5.30 in the afternoon the
men dug themselves in under the relentless German fire. Further advance
became impossible.

The night was one of horror. Every minute the men were under heavy
bombardment. At dawn on March 11th the dauntless British infantry rushed
from the trenches in an effort to carry Aubers, but the enemy artillery
now greatly reinforced made that task an impossible one. The trenches
occupied by the British forces were consolidated and the salient made by
the push was held by the British with bulldog tenacity.

The number of men employed in the action on the British side was
forty-eight thousand. During the early surprise of the action the loss
was slight. Had the wire in front of the Twenty-third Brigade been cut
by the artillery assigned to such action, and had the telephone system
not been destroyed the success of the thrust would have been complete.
The delay of four and a half hours between the first and second phases
of the attack caused virtually all the losses sustained by the attacking
force. The total casualties were 12,811 men of the British forces. Of
these 1,751 officers and privates were taken prisoners and 10,000
officers and men were killed and wounded.

The action continued throughout Thursday, March 11th, with little change
in the general situation. The British still held Neuve Chapelle and
their intrenchments threatened Aubers. On Friday morning, March 12th,
the Crown Prince of Bavaria made a desperate attempt under cover of a
heavy fog to recapture the village. The effort was made in
characteristic German dense formations. The Westphalian and Bavarian
troops came out of Biez Wood in waves of gray-green, only to be blown to
pieces by British guns already loaded and laid on the mark. Elsewhere
the British waited until the Germans were scarcely more than fifty paces
away when they opened with deadly rapid fire before which the German
waves melted like snow before steam. It was such slaughter as the
British had experienced when held up before Aubers. Slaughter that
staggered Germany.

So ended Neuve Chapelle, a battle in which the decision rested with the
British, a victory for which a fearful price had been paid but out of
which came a confidence that was to hearten the British nation and to
put sinews of steel into the British army for the dread days to come.

The story of Neuve Chapelle was repeated in large and in miniature many
times during the deadlock of trench warfare on the western front until
victory finally came to the Allies. During those years the western
battle front lay like a wounded snake across France and Belgium. It
writhed and twisted, now this way, now that, as one side or the other
gambled with men and shells and airplanes for some brief advantage. It
bent back in a great bulge when von Hindenburg made his famous retreat
in the winter of 1916 after the Allies had pressed heavily against the
Teutonic front upon the ghastly field of the Somme. The record is one of
great value to military strategists, to the layman it is only a
succession of artillery barrages, of gas attacks, of aerial
reconnaissances and combats.

One day grew to be very much like another in that deadlock of pythons. A
play for position here was met by a counter-thrust in another place.
German inventions were out-matched and outnumbered by those coming from
the Allied side.

Trench warfare became the daily life of the men. They learned to fight
and live in the open. The power of human adaptation to abnormal
conditions was never better exemplified than in those weary, dreary
years on the western front.

[Illustration: SCENE OF THE BLOODY BATTLES OF THE SOMME

The tide of war swept over this terrain with terrific violence. Peronne
was taken by the British in their great offensive of 1916-17; in the
last desperate effort of the Germans in 1918 they plunged through
Peronne, advancing 35 miles, only to be hurled back with awful losses by
Marshal Foch.]

The fighting-lines consisted generally of one, two, or three lines of
shelter-trenches lying parallel, measuring twenty or twenty-five inches
in width, and varying in length according to the number they hold; the
trenches were joined together by zigzag approaches and by a line of
reinforced trenches (armed with machine guns), which were almost
completely proof against rifle, machine gun, or gun fire. The ordinary
German trenches were almost invisible from 350 yards away, a distance
which permitted a very deadly fire. It is easy to realize that if the
enemy occupied three successive lines and a line of reinforced
intrenchments, the attacking line was likely, at the lowest estimate, to
be decimated during an advance of 350 yards--by rifle fire at a range of
350 yards' distance, and by the extremely quick fire of the machine
guns, each of which delivered from 300 to 600 bullets a minute with
absolute precision. In the field-trench, a soldier enjoyed far greater
security than he would if merely prone behind his knapsack in an
excavation barely fifteen inches deep. He had merely to stoop down a
little to disappear below the level of the ground and be immune from
infantry fire; moreover, his machine guns fired without endangering him.
In addition, this stooping position brought the man's knapsack on a
level with his helmet, thus forming some protection against shrapnel
and shell-splinters.

At the back of the German trenches shelters were dug for
non-commissioned officers and for the commander of the unit.

Ever since the outbreak of the war, the French troops in Lorraine, after
severe experiences, realized rapidly the advantages of the German
trenches, and began to study those they had taken gloriously. Officers,
non-commissioned officers, and men of the engineers were straightway
detached in every unit to teach the infantry how to construct similar
shelters. The education was quick, and very soon they had completed the
work necessary for the protection of all. The tools of the enemy
"casualties," the spades and picks left behind in deserted villages,
were all gladly piled on to the French soldiers' knapsacks, to be
carried willingly by the very men who used to grumble at being loaded
with even the smallest regulation tool. As soon as night had set in on
the occasion of a lull in the fighting, the digging of the trenches was
begun. Sometimes, in the darkness, the men of each fighting
nation--less than 500 yards away from their enemy--would hear the noise
of the workers of the foe: the sounds of picks and axes; the officers'
words of encouragement; and tacitly they would agree to an armistice
during which to dig shelters from which, in the morning, they would dash
out, to fight once more.

Commodious, indeed, were some of the trench barracks. One French soldier
wrote:

"In really up-to-date intrenchments you may find kitchens,
dining-rooms, bedrooms, and even stables. One regiment has first
class cow-sheds. One day a whimsical 'piou-piou,' finding a cow
wandering about in the danger zone, had the bright idea of finding
shelter for it in the trenches. The example was quickly followed,
and at this moment the ----th Infantry possess an underground farm,
in which fat kine, well cared for, give such quantities of milk
that regular distributions of butter are being made--and very good
butter, too."

But this is not all. An officer writes home a tale of yet another one
of the comforts of home added to the equipment of the trenches:

"We are clean people here. Thanks to the ingenuity of ----, we are
able to take a warm bath every day from ten to twelve. We call this
teasing the 'boches,' for this bathing-establishment of the latest
type is fitted up--would you believe it?--in the trenches!"

Describing trenches occupied by the British in their protracted
"siege-warfare" in Northern France along and to the north of the Aisne
Valley, a British officer wrote: "In the firing-line the men sleep and
obtain shelter in the dugouts they have hollowed or 'undercut' in the
side of the trenches. These refuges are slightly raised above the
bottom of the trench, so as to remain dry in wet weather. The floor of
the trench is also sloped for purposes of draining. Some trenches
are provided with head-cover, and others with overhead cover, the
latter, of course, giving protection from the weather as well as from
shrapnel balls and splinters of shells.... At all points subject to
shell-fire access to the firing-line from behind is provided by
communication-trenches. These are now so good that it is possible to
cross in safety the fire-swept zone to the advanced trenches from the
billets in villages, the bivouacs in quarries, or the other places where
the headquarters of units happen to be."

A cavalry subaltern gave the following account of life in the trenches:
"Picnicking in the open air, day and night (you never see a roof now),
is the only real method of existence. There are loads of straw to bed
down on, and everyone sleeps like a log, in turn, even with shrapnel
bursting within fifty yards."

One English officer described the ravages of modern artillery fire, not
only upon all men, animals and buildings within its zone, but upon the
very face of nature itself: "In the trenches crouch lines of men, in
brown or gray or blue, coated with mud, unshaven, hollow-eyed with the
continual strain."

"The fighting is now taking place over ground where both sides have for
weeks past been excavating in all directions," said another letter from
the front, "until it has become a perfect labyrinth. A trench runs
straight for a considerable distance, then it suddenly forks in three or
four directions. One branch merely leads into a ditch full of water,
used in drier weather as a means of communication; another ends abruptly
in a cul-de-sac, probably an abandoned sap-head; the third winds on,
leading into galleries and passages further forward.

"Sometimes where new ground is broken the spade turns up the
long-buried dead, ghastly relics of former fights, and on all sides
the surface of the earth is ploughed and furrowed by fragments of
shell and bombs and distorted by mines. Seen from a distance, this
apparently confused mass of passages, crossing and recrossing one
another, resembles an irregular gridiron.

"The life led by the infantry on both sides at close quarters is a
strange, cramped existence, with death always near, either by means
of some missile from above or some mine explosion from beneath--a
life which has one dull, monotonous background of mud and water.
Even when there is but little fighting the troops are kept hard at
work strengthening the existing defenses, constructing others, and
improvising the shelter imperative in such weather."



CHAPTER II

ITALY DECLARES WAR ON AUSTRIA


For many years before the great war began the great powers of Europe
were divided into two great alliances, the Triple Entente, composed of
Russia, France and England, and the Triple Alliance, composed of
Germany, Austria and Italy. When the war began Italy refused to join
with Germany and Austria. Why? The answer to this question throws a
vivid light on the origin of the war.

Italy was a member of the Triple Alliance; she knew the facts, not only
what was given to the public, but the inside facts. According to the
terms of the alliance each member was bound to stand by each other only
in case of attack. Italy refused to join with Austria and Germany
because they were the aggressors. The constant assertions of the German
statesmen, and of the Kaiser himself, that war had been forced upon
them were declared untrue by their associate Italy in the very
beginning, and the verdict of Italy was the verdict of the world. Not
much was said in the beginning about Italy's abstention from war. The
Germans, indeed, sneered a little and hinted that some day Italy would
be made to regret her course, but now that the Teuton snake is scotched
the importance of Italy's action has been perceived and appraised at its
true value.

The Germans from the very beginning understood the real danger that
might come to the Central Powers through Italian action. Every effort
was made by the foreign office to keep her neutral. First threats were
used, later promises were held out of addition to Italian territory if
she would send her troops to Germany's assistance. When this failed the
most strenuous efforts were made to keep Italy neutral, and a former
German premier, Prince von Bülow, was sent to Italy for this purpose.
Socialist leaders, too, were sent from Germany to urge the Italian
Socialists to insist upon neutrality.

[Illustration: ITALY'S TITANIC LABOR TO CONQUER THE ALPS

When the Italians were making their first mighty advance against Austria
descriptions came through of the almost unbelievable natural obstacles
they were conquering. Getting one of the monster guns into position in
the mountains, as shown above, over the track that had to be built for
every foot of its progress, was one such handicap.]

In July, 1914, the Italian Government was not taken by surprise. They
had observed the increase year by year of the German army and of the
German fleet. At the end of the Balkan wars they had been asked whether
they would agree to an Austrian attack upon Serbia. They had
consequently long been deliberating as to what their course should be in
case of war, and they had made up their minds that under no
circumstances would they aid Germany against England.

Quite independently of her long-standing friendship with England it
would be suicide to Italy in her geographical position to enter a war
which should permit her coast to be attacked by the English and French
navies, and her participation in the Triple Alliance always carried the
proviso that it did not bind her to fight England. This was well known
in the German foreign office, and, indeed, in France where the writers
upon war were reckoning confidently on the withdrawing of Italy from the
Triple Alliance, and planning to use the entire forces of France against
Germany.

A better understanding of the Italian position will result from a
consideration of the origin of the Triple Alliance.

After the war of 1870, Bismarck, perceiving the quick recovery of
France, considered the advisability of attacking her again, and, to use
his own words, "bleeding her white." He found, however, that if this
were attempted France would be joined by Russia and England and he gave
up this plan. In order, however, to render France powerless he planned
an alliance which should be able to control Europe. A league between
Germany, Austria and Russia was his desire, and for some time every
opportunity was taken to develop friendship with the Czar. Russia,
however, remained cool. Her Pan-Slavonic sympathies were opposed to the
interests of Germany. Bismarck, therefore, determined, without losing
the friendship of Russia, to persuade Italy to join in the continental
combination. Italy, at the time, was the least formidable of the six
great powers, but Bismarck foresaw that she could be made good use of
in such a combination.

At that time Italy, just after the completion of Italian unity, found
herself in great perplexity. Her treatment of the Pope had brought about
the hostility of Roman Catholics throughout the world. She feared both
France and Austria, who were strong Catholic countries, and hardly knew
where to look for friends. The great Italian leader at the time was
Francesco Crispi, who, beginning as a Radical and a conspirator, had
become a constitutional statesman. Bismarck professed the greatest
friendship for Crispi, and gave Crispi to understand that he approved of
Italy's aspirations on the Adriatic and in Tunis.

The next year, however, at the Berlin Congress, Italy's interests were
ignored, and finally, in 1882, France seized Tunis, to the great
indignation of the Italians. It has been shown in more recent times that
the French seizure of Tunis was directly due to Bismarck's instigation.

The Italians having been roused to wrath, Bismarck proceeded to offer
them a place in the councils of the Triple Alliance. It was an easy
argument that such an alliance would protect them against France, and no
doubt it was promised that it would free them from the danger of attack
by Austria. England, at the time, was isolated, and Italy continued on
the best understanding with her.

The immediate result of the alliance was a growth of Italian hostility
toward France, which led, in 1889, to a tariff war on France. Meanwhile
German commercial and financial enterprises were pushed throughout the
Italian peninsula. What did Italy gain by this? Her commerce was
weakened, and Austria permitted herself every possible unfriendly act
except open war.

As time went on Germany and Austria became more and more arrogant.
Italy's ambitions on the Balkan peninsula were absolutely ignored. In
1908 Austria appropriated Bosnia and Herzegovina, another blow to Italy.
By this time Italy understood the situation well, and that same year,
seeing no future for herself in Europe, she swooped down on Tripoli. In
doing this she forestalled Germany herself, for Germany had determined
to seize Tripoli.

[Illustration: HOW THE POWERS DIVIDED NORTHERN AFRICA]

Both Germany and Austria were opposed to this action of Italy, but
Italy's eyes were now open. Thirty years of political alliance had
created no sympathy among the Italians for the Germans. Moreover, it was
not entirely a question of policy. The lordly arrogance of the
Prussians caused sharp antagonism. The Italians were lovers of liberty;
the Germans pledged toward autocracy. They found greater sympathy in
England and in France.

"I am a son of liberty," said Cavour, "to her I owe all that I am."
That, too, is Italy's motto. When the war broke out popular sympathy in
Italy was therefore strongly in favor of the Allies. The party in power,
the Liberals, adopted the policy of neutrality for the time being, but
thousands of Italians volunteered for the French and British service,
and the anti-German feeling grew greater as time went on.

Finally, on the 23rd of May, 1915, the Italian Government withdrew its
ambassador to Austria and declared war. A complete statement of the
negotiations between Italy and Austria-Hungary, which led to this
declaration, was delivered to the Government of the United States by the
Italian Ambassador on May 25th. This statement, of which the following
is an extract, lucidly presented the Italian position:

"The Triple Alliance was essentially defensive, and designed solely
to preserve the _status quo_, or in other words equilibrium, in
Europe. That these were its only objects and purposes is
established by the letter and spirit of the treaty, as well as by
the intentions clearly described and set forth in official acts of
the ministers who created the alliance and confirmed and renewed it
in the interests of peace, which always has inspired Italian
policy. The treaty, as long as its intents and purposes had been
loyally interpreted and regarded, and as long as it had not been
used as a pretext for aggression against others, greatly
contributed to the elimination and settlement of causes of
conflict, and for many years assured to Europe the inestimable
benefits of peace. But Austria-Hungary severed the treaty by her
own hands. She rejected the response of Serbia which gave to her
all the satisfaction she could legitimately claim. She refused to
listen to the conciliatory proposals presented by Italy in
conjunction with other powers in the effort to spare Europe from a
vast conflict, certain to drench the Continent with blood and to
reduce it to ruin beyond the conception of human imagination, and
finally she provoked that conflict.

"Article first of the treaty embodied the usual and necessary
obligation of such pacts--the pledge to exchange views upon any
fact and economic questions of a general nature that might arise
pursuant to its terms. None of the contracting parties had the
right to undertake without a previous agreement any step the
consequence of which might impose a duty upon the other signatories
arising under the alliance, or which would in any way whatsoever
encroach upon their vital interests. This article was violated by
Austria-Hungary, when she sent to Serbia her note dated July 23,
1914, an action taken without the previous assent of Italy. Thus,
Austria-Hungary violated beyond doubt one of the fundamental
provisions of the treaty. The obligation of Austria-Hungary to come
to a previous understanding with Italy was the greater because her
obstinate policy against Serbia gave rise to a situation which
directly tended toward the provocation of a European war.

[Illustration: _Photo by James H. Hare_.

WAITING THE ORDER TO ATTACK

Italian shock troops, young picked soldiers, resting before the order
came to hurl themselves against the Austrians.]

"As far back as the beginning of July, 1914, the Italian Government,
preoccupied by the prevailing feeling in Vienna, caused to be laid
before the Austro-Hungarian Government a number of suggestions
advising moderation, and warning it of the impending danger of a
European outbreak. The course adopted by Austria-Hungary against
Serbia constituted, moreover, a direct encroachment upon the general
interests of Italy both political and economical in the Balkan
peninsula. Austria-Hungary could not for a moment imagine that Italy
could remain indifferent while Serbian independence was being trodden
upon. On a number of occasions theretofore, Italy gave Austria to
understand, in friendly but clear terms, that the independence of
Serbia was considered by Italy as essential to the Balkan equilibrium.
Austria-Hungary was further advised that Italy could never permit that
equilibrium to be disturbed through a prejudice. This warning had been
conveyed not only by her diplomats in private conversations with
responsible Austro-Hungarian officials, but was proclaimed publicly
by Italian statesmen on the floors of Parliament.

"Therefore, when Austria-Hungary ignored the usual practices and
menaced Serbia by sending her ultimatum, without in any way
notifying the Italian Government of what she proposed to do, indeed
leaving that government to learn of her action through the press,
rather than through the usual channels of diplomacy, when
Austria-Hungary took this unprecedented course she not only severed
her alliance with Italy but committed an act inimical to Italy's
interests....

"After the European war broke out Italy sought to come to an
understanding with Austria-Hungary with a view to a settlement
satisfactory to both parties which might avert existing and future
trouble. Her efforts were in vain, notwithstanding the efforts of
Germany, which for months endeavored to induce Austria-Hungary to
comply with Italy's suggestion thereby recognizing the propriety
and legitimacy of the Italian attitude. Therefore Italy found
herself compelled by the force of events to seek other solutions.

"Inasmuch as the treaty of alliance with Austria-Hungary had ceased
virtually to exist and served only to prolong a state of continual
friction and mutual suspicion, the Italian Ambassador at Vienna was
instructed to declare to the Austro-Hungarian Government that the
Italian Government considered itself free from the ties arising out
of the treaty of the Triple Alliance in so far as Austria-Hungary
was concerned. This communication was delivered in Vienna on May
4th.

"Subsequently to this declaration, and after we had been obliged to
take steps for the protection of our interests, the Austro-Hungarian
Government submitted new concessions, which, however, were deemed
insufficient and by no means met our minimum demands. These offers
could not be considered under the circumstances. The Italian
Government taking into consideration what has been stated above, and
supported by the vote of Parliament and the solemn manifestation of
the country came to the decision that any further delay would be
inadvisable. Therefore, on May 23d, it was declared, in the name of
the King, to the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador at Rome, that, beginning
the following day, May 24th, it would consider itself in a state of
war with Austria-Hungary."

It was a closely reasoned argument that the Italian statesmen presented,
but there was something more than reasoned argument in Italy's course.
She had been waiting for years for the opportunity to bring under her
flag the men of her own race still held in subjection by hated Austria.
Now was the time or never. Her people had become roused. Mobs filled the
streets. Great orators, even the great poet, D'Annunzio, proclaimed a
holy war. The sinking of the Lusitania poured oil on the flames, and the
treatment of Belgium and eastern France added to the fury.

[Illustration: _Photo by International Film Service_.

TRANSPORTING WOUNDED AMID THE DIFFICULTIES OF THE ITALIAN MOUNTAIN FRONT

The isolated mountain positions were only accessible to the bases of
operations by these aerial cable cars. This picture, taken during the
Austrian retreat, shows a wounded soldier being taken down the mountain
by this means.]

Italian statesmen, even if they had so desired, could not have withstood
the pressure. It was a crusade for Italia Irredenta, for
civilization, for humanity. The country had been flooded by
representatives of German propaganda, papers had been hired and, by all
report, money in large amounts distributed. But every German effort was
swept away in the flood of feeling. It was the people's war.

Amid tremendous enthusiasm the Chamber of Deputies adopted by vote of
407 to 74 the bill conferring upon the government full power to make
war. All members of the Cabinet maintained absolute silence regarding
what step should follow the action of the chamber. When the chamber
reassembled on May 20th, after its long recess, there were present 482
Deputies out of 500, the absentees remaining away on account of illness.
The Deputies especially applauded were those who wore military uniforms
and who had asked permission for leave from their military duties to be
present at the sitting. All the tribunes were filled to overflowing. No
representatives of Germany, Austria or Turkey were to be seen in the
diplomatic tribune. The first envoy to arrive was Thomas Nelson Page,
the American Ambassador, who was accompanied by his staff. M. Barrere,
Sir J. Bennell Rodd, and Michel de Giers, the French, British and
Russian Ambassadors, respectively, appeared a few minutes later and all
were greeted with applause, which was shared by the Belgian, Greek and
Roumanian ministers. George B. McClellan, one-time mayor of New York,
occupied a seat in the President's tribune.

A few minutes before the session began the poet, Gabrielle D'Annunzio,
one of the strongest advocates of war, appeared in the rear of the
public tribune which was so crowded that it seemed impossible to squeeze
in anybody else. But the moment the people saw him they lifted him
shoulder high and passed him over their heads to the first row.

The entire chamber, and all those occupying the other tribunes, rose and
applauded for five minutes, crying "Viva D'Annunzio!" Later thousands
sent him their cards and in return received his autograph bearing the
date of this eventful day. Señor Marcora, President of the Chamber,
took his place at three o'clock. All the members of the House, and
everybody in the galleries, stood up to acclaim the old follower of
Garibaldi. Premier Salandra, followed by all the members of the Cabinet,
entered shortly afterward. It was a solemn moment. Then a delirium of
cries broke out.

"Viva Salandra!" roared the Deputies, and the cheering lasted for a long
time. After the formalities of the opening, Premier Salandra, deeply
moved by the demonstration, arose and said:

"Gentlemen, I have the honor to present to you a bill to meet the
eventual expenditures of a national war."

The announcement was greeted by further prolonged applause. The
Premier's speech was continually interrupted by enthusiasm, and at times
he could hardly continue on account of the wild cheering. The climax was
reached when he made a reference to the army and navy. Then the cries
seemed interminable, and those on the floor of the House and in the
galleries turned to the military tribune from which the officers
answered by waving their hands and handkerchiefs.

At the end of the Premier's speech there were deafening vivas for the
King, war and Italy. Thirty-four Socialists refused to join the cheers,
even in the cry "Viva Italia!" and they were hooted and hissed.

The action of the Italian Government created intense feeling. A
newspaper man in Vienna, describing the Austrian indignation, said:

"The exasperation and contempt which Italy's treacherous surprise attack
and her hypocritical justification aroused here, are quite
indescribable. Neither Serbia nor Russia, despite a long and costly war,
is hated. Italy, however, or rather those Italian would-be politicians
and business men who offer violence to the majority of peaceful Italian
people, are unutterably hated." On the other hand German papers spoke
with much more moderation and recognized that Italy was acting in an
entirely natural manner.

On the very day on which war was declared active operations were begun.
Both sides had been making elaborate preparations. Austria had prepared
herself by building strong fortifications in which were employed the
latest technical improvements in defensive warfare. Upon the Garso and
around Gorizia the Austrians had placed innumerable batteries of
powerful guns mounted on rails and protected by armor plates. They also
had a great number of medium and smaller guns. A net of trenches had
been excavated and constructed in cement all along the edge of the hills
which dominated the course of the Isonzo River.

These trenches, occupying a position nearly impregnable because so
mountainous, were defended by every modern device. They were protected
with numerous machine guns, surrounded by wire entanglements through
which ran a strong electric current. These lines of trenches followed
without interruption from the banks of the Isonzo to the summit of the
mountains which dominate it; they formed a kind of formidable staircase
which had to be conquered step by step with enormous sacrifice.

During this same period General Cadorna, then head of the Italian army,
had been bringing that army up to date, working for high efficiency and
piling up munitions.

The Army of Italy was a formidable one. Every man in Italy is liable to
military service for a period of nineteen years from the age of twenty
to thirty-nine.

At the time of the war the approximate war strength of the army was as
follows: Officers, 41,692; active army with the colors, 289,910;
reserve, 638,979; mobile militia, 299,956; territorial militia,
1,889,659; total strength, 3,159,836. The above number of total men
available included upward of 1,200,000 fully trained soldiers, with
perhaps another 800,000 partially trained men, the remaining million
being completely untrained men. This army was splendidly armed, its
officers well educated, and the men brave and disciplined.

The Italian plan of campaign apparently consisted first, in neutralizing
the Trentino by capturing or covering the defenses and cutting the two
lines of communication with Austria proper, the railway which ran south
from Insbruck, and that which ran southwest from Vienna and joined the
former at Fransensfets; and second, in a movement in force on the
eastern frontier, with Trieste captured or covered on the right flank in
the direction of the Austrian fortress at Klagenfurt and Vienna.

The first blow was struck by Austria on the day that war was declared.
On that day bombs were dropped on Venice, and five other Adriatic ports
were shelled from air, and some from sea. The Italian armies invaded
Austria on the east with great rapidity, and by May 27th a part of the
Italian forces had moved across the Isonzo River to Monfalcone, sixteen
miles northwest of Trieste. Another force penetrated further to the
north in the Crown land of Gorizia, and Gradisco. Reports from Italy
were that encounters with the enemy had thus far been merely outpost
skirmishes, but had allowed Italy to occupy advantageous positions on
Austrian territory. By June 1st, the Italians had occupied the greater
part of the west bank of the Isonzo, with little opposition. The left
wing was beyond the Isonzo, at Caporetto, fighting among the boulders of
Monte Nero, where the Austrian artillery had strong positions.
Monfalcone was kept under constant bombardment.

A general Italian advance took place on June 7th across the Isonzo River
from Caporetto to the sea, a distance of about forty miles. Monfalcone
was taken by the Italians on June the 10th, the first serious blow
against Trieste, as Monfalcone was a railway junction, and its
electrical works operated the light and power of Trieste.

Next day the center made a great blow against Gradisca and Sagrado, but
the river line proved too strong. The only success was won that night at
Plava, north of Borrigia, which was carried by a surprise attack. The
Isonzo was in flood, and presented a serious obstacle to the onrush of
the Italians. By June 14th the Italian eastern army had pushed forward
along the gulf of Trieste toward the town of Nebrosina, nine miles from
Trieste.

Meanwhile, the Austrian armies were being constantly strengthened. The
initial weakness of the Austrian defensive was due to the fact that the
armies normally assigned to the invaded region had been sent to defend
the Austrian line in Galicia against the Russians. When Italy began her
invasion the defenses of the country were chiefly in the hands of
hastily mobilized youths below the military age of nineteen, and men
above the military age of forty-two. From now on Austrian troops began
to arrive from the Galician front, some of these representing the finest
fighting material in the Austrian ranks. The chance of an easy victory
was slipping from Italy's hands. The Italian advance was checked.

On the 15th of June the Italians carried an important position on Monte
Nero, climbing the rocks by night and attacking by dawn. But this
conquest did not help much. No guns of great caliber could be carried on
the mountain, and Tolmino, which had been heavily fortified, and
contained a garrison of some thirty thousand men, was entirely safe.
The following week there were repeated counter-attacks at Plava and on
Monte Nero, but the Italians held what they had won.

The position was now that Cadorna's left wing was in a strong position,
but could not do much against Tolmino. His center was facing the great
camp of Gorizia, while his right was on the edge of the Carso, and had
advanced as far as Dueno, on the Monfalcone-Trieste Railroad. The army
was in position to make an attack upon Gorizia. On the 2d of July an
attack on a broad front was aimed directly at Gorizia. The left was to
swing around against the defenses of Gorizia to the north; the center
was directed against the Gorizia bridge head, and the right was to swing
around to the northeast through the Doberdo plateau. If it succeeded the
Trieste railway would be cut and Gorizia must fall.

[Illustration: AREA OF CADORNA'S OPERATIONS

Showing the Isonzo Valley and the town of Gorizia which fell to the
Italians August 9, 1916.]

Long and confused fighting followed. The center and the right of the
Italian army slowly advanced their line, taking over one thousand
prisoners. For days there was continuous bombardment and
counter-bombardment. The fighting on the left was terrific. In the
neighborhood of Plava the Italian forces found themselves opposed by
Hungarian troops, unaccustomed to mountain warfare, who at first fell
back. Austrian reserves came to their aid, and flung back three times
the Italian charge.

Three new Italian brigades were brought up, and King Victor Emanuel
himself came to encourage his troops. The final assault carried the
heights. On the 22d of July the Italian right captured the crest of San
Michele, which dominates the Doberdo plateau.

Meanwhile the Austrian armies were being heavily reinforced, and General
Cadorna found himself unable to make progress. Much ground had been won
but Gorizia was still unredeemed. Many important vantage points were in
Italian hands, but it was difficult to advance. The result of the three
months' campaign was a stalemate. In the high mountains to the north
Italy's campaign was a war of defense. To undertake her offensive on the
Isonzo it was necessary that she guard her flanks and rear. The
Tyrolese battle-ground contained three distinct points where it was
necessary to operate; the Trentino Salient, the passes of the Dolomites,
and the passes of the Carnic Alps.

Early in June Italy had won control of the ridges of the mountains in
the two latter points, but the problem in the Trentino was more
difficult. It was necessary, because of the converging valleys, to push
her front well inland. On the Carnic Alps the fighting consisted of
unimportant skirmishes. The main struggle centered around the pass of
Monte Croce Carnico.

In two weeks the Alpini had seized dominating positions to the west of
the pass, but the Austrians clung to the farther slopes. A great deal of
picturesque fighting went on, but not much progress was made. Further
west in the Dolomite region there was more fighting. On the 30th of May
Cartina had been captured, and the Italians moved north toward the
Pusterthal Railway. Progress was slow, as the main routes to the railway
were difficult.

By the middle of August they were only a few miles from the railway,
but all the routes led through defiles, and the neighboring heights were
in the possession of the Austrians. To capture these heights was a most
difficult feat, which the Italians performed in the most brilliant way;
but even after they had passed these defiles success was not yet won.
Each Italian column was in its own grove, with no lateral communication.
The Austrians could mass themselves where they pleased. As a result the
Italian forces were compelled to halt.

In the Trentino campaign the Italians soon captured the passes, and
moved against Trente and Roverito. These towns were heavily fortified,
as were their surrounding heights. The campaign became a series of small
fights on mountain peaks and mountain ridges. Only small bodies of
troops could maneuver, and the raising of guns up steep precipices was
extremely difficult. The Italians slowly succeeded in gaining ground,
and established a chain of posts around the heights so that often one
would see guns and barbed wire entrenchments at a height of more than
ten thousand feet among the crevasses of the glaciers. The Alpini
performed wonderful feats of physical endurance, but the plains of
Lombardy were still safe.



CHAPTER III

GLORIOUS GALLIPOLI


If ever the true mettle and temper of a people were tried and
exemplified in the crucible of battle, that battle was the naval and
land engagement embracing Gallipoli and the Dardanelles and the people
so tested, the British race. Separated in point of time but united in
its general plan, the engagements present a picture of heroism founded
upon strategic mistakes; of such perseverance and dogged determination
against overwhelming natural and artificial odds as even the pages of
supreme British bravery cannot parallel. The immortal charge of the
Light Brigade was of a piece with Gallipoli, but it was merely a battle
fragment and its glorious record was written in blood within the scope
of a comparatively few inspired minutes. In the mine-strewn Dardanelles
and upon the sun-baked, blood-drenched rocky slopes of Gallipoli, death
always partnered every sailor and soldier. As at Balaklava, virtually
everyone knew that some one had blundered, but the army and the navy as
one man fought to the bitter end to make the best of a bad bargain, to
tear triumph out of impossibilities.

France co-operated with the British in the naval engagement, but the
greater sacrifice, the supreme charnel house of the war, the British
race reserved for itself. There, the yeomanry of England, the unsung
county regiments whose sacrifices and achievements have been neglected
in England's generous desire to honor the men from "down under," the
Australians and New Zealanders grouped under the imperishable title of
the Anzacs--there the Scotch, Welsh and Irish knit in one devoted
British Army with the great fighters from the self-governing colonies
waged a battle so hopeless and so gallant that the word Gallipoli shall
always remind the world how man may triumph over the fear of death; how
with nothing but defeat and disaster before them, men may go to their
deaths as unconcernedly as in other days they go to their nightly sleep.

On November 5, 1914, Great Britain declared war upon Turkey.
Hostilities, however, had preceded the declaration. On November 3d the
combined French and British squadrons had bombarded the entrance forts.
This was merely intended to draw the fire of the forts and make an
estimate of their power. From that time on a blockade was maintained,
and on the 13th of December a submarine, commanded by Lieutenant
Holbrook, entered the straits and torpedoed the Turkish warship
Messoudieh, which was guarding the mine fields.

By the end of January the blockading fleet, through constant
reinforcement, had become very strong, and had seized the Island of
Tenedos and taken possession of Lemnos, which nominally belonged to
Greece, as bases for naval operations. On the 19th of February began the
great attack upon the forts at the entrance to the Dardanelles, which
attracted the attention of the world for nearly a year.

The expedition against the Dardanelles had been considered with the
greatest care, and approved by the naval authorities. That their
judgment was correct, however, is another question. The history of naval
warfare seems to make very plain that a ship, however powerful, is at a
tremendous disadvantage when attacking forts on land. The badly served
cannon of Alexandria fell, indeed, before a British fleet, but Gallipoli
had been fortified by German engineers, and its guns were the Krupp
cannon. The British fleet found itself opposed by unsurmountable
obstacles. Looking backward it seems possible, that if at the very start
Lord Kitchener had permitted a detachment of troops to accompany the
fleet, success might have been attained, but without the army the navy
was powerless.

The Peninsula of Gallipoli is a tongue of land about fifty miles long,
varying in width from twelve to two or three miles. It is a mass of
rocky hills so steep that in many places it is a matter of difficulty to
reach their tops. On it are a few villages, but there are no decent
roads and little cultivated land. On the southern shore of the
Dardanelles conditions are nearly the same. Here, the entrance is a flat
and marshy plain, but east of this plain are hills three thousand feet
high. The high ground overhangs the sea passage on both sides, and with
the exception of narrow bits of beach at their base, presents almost no
opportunity for landing.

A strong current continually sifts down the straits from the Sea of
Marmora.

Forts were placed at the entrance on both the north and south side, but
they were not heavily armed and were merely outposts. Fourteen miles
from the mouth the straits become quite narrow, making a sharp turn
directly north and then resuming their original direction. The channel
thus makes a sharp double bend. At the entrance to the strait, known as
the Narrows, were powerful fortresses, and the slopes were studded with
batteries. Along both sides of the channel the low ground was lined with
batteries. It was possible to attack the forts at fairly long range,
but there was no room to bring any large number of ships into action
at the same time.

[Illustration: MAP OF THE GALLIPOLI PENINSULA

Showing the various landing-places, with inset of the Sari-Bair Region.]

At the time of the Gallipoli adventure there were probably nearly half a
million of men available for a defense of the straits, men well armed
and well trained under German leadership. The first step was
comparatively easy. The operations against the other forts began at 8
A.M. on Friday, the 19th of February. The ships engaged were the
Inflexible, the Agamemnon, the Cornwallis, the Vengeance and the Triumph
from the British fleet, and the Bouvet, Suffren, and the Gaulois from
the French, all under the command of Vice-Admiral Sackville Carden. The
French squadron was under Rear-Admiral Gueprette. A flotilla of
destroyers accompanied the fleet, and airplanes were sent up to guide
the fire of the battleships.

At first the fleet was arranged in a semicircle some miles out to sea
from the entrance to the strait. It afforded an inspiring spectacle as
the ships came along and took up position, and the picture became most
awe-inspiring when the guns began to boom. The bombardment at first was
slow. Shells from the various ships screaming through the air at the
rate of about one every two minutes.

The Turkish batteries, however, were not to be drawn, and, seeing this,
the British Admiral sent one British ship and one French ship close in
shore toward the Sedd-el-Bahr forts. As they went in they sped right
under the guns of the shore batteries, which could no longer resist the
temptation to see what they could do. Puffs of white smoke dotted the
landscape on the far shore, and dull booms echoed over the placid water.
Around the ships fountains of water sprang up into the air. The enemy
had been drawn, but his marksmanship was obviously very bad. Not a
single shot directed against the ships went within a hundred yards of
either.

At sundown on account of the failing light Admiral Carden withdrew the
fleet. On account of the bad weather the attack was not renewed until
February 25th. It appeared that the outer forts had not been seriously
damaged on the 19th, and that what injury had been done had been
repaired. In an hour and a half the Cape Helles fort was silenced. The
Agamemnon was hit by a shell fired at a range of six miles, which killed
three men and wounded five. Early in the afternoon Sedd-el-Bahr was
attacked at close range, but not silenced till after 5 P.M. At this time
British trawlers began sweeping the entrance for mines, and during the
next day the mine field was cleared for a distance of four miles up the
straits.

As soon as this clearance was made the Albion, Vengeance and Majestic
steamed into the strait and attacked Fort Dardanos, a fortification some
distance below the Narrows. The Turks replied vigorously, not only from
Dardanos but from batteries scattered along the shore. Believing that
the Turks had abandoned the forts at the entrance, landing parties of
marines were sent to shore. In a short time, however, they met a
detachment of the enemy and were compelled to retreat to their boats.
The outer forts, however, were destroyed, and their destruction was
extremely encouraging to the Allies.

For a time a series of minor operations was carried on, meeting with
much success. Besides attacks on forts inside of the strait, Smyrna was
bombarded on March the 5th, and on March the 6th the Queen Elizabeth,
the Agamemnon and the Ocean bombarded the forts at Chanak on the Asiatic
side of the Narrows, from a position in the gulf of Saros on the outer
side of the Gallipoli Peninsula. To all of these attacks the Turks
replied vigorously and the attacking ships were repeatedly struck, but
with no loss of life. On the 7th of March Fort Dardanos was silenced,
and Fort Chanak ceased firing, but, as it turned out, only temporarily.

Preparations were now being made for a serious effort against the
Narrows. The date of the attack was fixed for March 17th, weather
permitting. On the 16th Admiral Carden was stricken down with illness
and was invalided by medical authority. Admiral de Roebeck, second in
command, who had been very active in the operations, was appointed to
succeed him. Admiral de Roebeck was in cordial sympathy with the
purposes of the expedition and determined to attack on the 18th of
March. At a quarter to eleven that morning, the Queen Elizabeth,
Inflexible, Agamemnon, Lord Nelson, the Triumph and Prince George
steamed up the straits towards the Narrows, and bombarded the forts of
Chanak. At 12.22 the French squadron, consisting of the Suffren,
Gaulois, Charlemagne, and Bouvet, advanced up the Dardanelles to aid
their English associates.

Under the combined fire of the two squadrons the Turkish forts, which at
first replied strongly, were finally silenced. All of the ships,
however, were hit several times during this part of the action. A third
squadron, including the Vengeance, Irresistible, Albion, Ocean,
Swiftshore and Majestic, then advanced to relieve the six old
battleships inside the strait.

[Illustration: THE LOSS OF THE "IRRESISTIBLE"

During an attack on the Dardanelles the British battleship
"Irresistible" struck a Turkish mine and sank in a few minutes. Severe
losses of similar character demonstrated that it would be impossible to
force the strait by naval attack.]

As the French squadron, which had engaged the forts in a most brilliant
fashion, was passing out the Bouvet was blown up by a drifting mine
and sank in less than three minutes, carrying with her most of her crew.
At 2.36 P.M. the relief battleships renewed the attack on the forts,
which again opened fire. The Turks were now sending mines down with the
current. At 4.09 the Irresistible quitted the line, listing heavily, and
at 5.50 she sank, having probably struck a drifting mine. At 6.05 the
Ocean, also having struck a mine, sank in deep water. Practically the
whole of the crews were removed safely. The Gaulois was damaged by
gunfire; the Inflexible had her forward control position hit by a heavy
shell, which killed and wounded the majority of the men and officers at
that station and set her on fire. At sunset the forts were still in
action, and during the twilight the Allied fleet slipped out of the
Dardanelles.

Meantime, an expeditionary force was being gathered. The largest portion
of this force came from Great Britain, but France also provided a
considerable number from her marines and from her Colonial army. Both
nations avoided, as far as possible, drawing upon the armies destined
for service in France.

In the English army there were divisions from Australia and New Zealand
and there were a number of Indian troops and Territorials. The whole
force was put under the command of General Sir Ian Hamilton. The
commander-in-chief on the Turkish side was the German General Liman von
Sanders, the former chief of the military mission at Constantinople. The
bulk of the expeditionary force, which numbered altogether about a
hundred and twenty thousand men, were, therefore, men whose presence in
the east did not weaken the Allied strength in the west.

The great difficulty of the new plan was that it was impossible to
surprise the enemy. The whole Gallipoli Peninsula was so small that a
landing at any point would be promptly observed, and the nature of the
ground was of such a character that progress from any point must
necessarily be slow. The problem was therefore a simple one.

The expeditionary force gathered in Egypt during the first half of
April, and about the middle of the month was being sent to Lemnos.
Germany was well aware of the English plans, and was doing all that it
could to provide a defense.

On April 28d the movement began, and about five o'clock in the afternoon
the first of the transports slowly made its way through the maze of
shipping toward the entrance of Mudros Bay.

Immediately the patent apathy, which had gradually overwhelmed everyone,
changed to the utmost enthusiasm, and as the liners steamed through the
fleet, their decks yellow with khaki, the crews of the warships cheered
them on to victory while the bands played them out with an unending
variety of popular airs. The soldiers in the transports answered this
last salutation from the navy with deafening cheers, and no more
inspiring spectacle has ever been seen than this great expedition.

The whole of the fleet from the transports had been divided up into five
divisions and there were three main landings. The 29th Division
disembarked off the point of the Gallipoli Peninsula near Sedd-el-Bahr,
where its operations were covered both from the gulf of Saros and from
the Dardanelles by the fire of the covering warships. The Australian and
New Zealand contingent disembarked north of Gaba Tepe. Further north a
naval division made a demonstration.

Awaiting the Australians was a party of Turks who had been intrenched
almost on the shore and had opened up a terrific fusillade. The
Australian volunteers rose, as a man, to the occasion. They waited
neither for orders nor for the boats to reach the beach, but springing
out into the sea they went in to the shore, and forming some sort of a
rough line rushed straight on the flashes of the enemy's rifles. In less
than a quarter of an hour the Turks were in full flight.

While the Australians and New Zealanders, or Anzacs as they are now
generally known from the initials of the words Australian-New Zealand
Army Corps, were fighting so gallantly at Gaba Tepe, the British troops
were landing at the southern end of the Gallipoli Peninsula. The
advance was slow and difficult. The Turk was pushed back, little by
little, and the ground gained organized. The details of this progress,
though full of incidents of the greatest courage and daring, need not be
recounted.

On June the 4th a general attack was made, preceded by heavy
bombardments by all guns, but after terrific fighting, in which many
prisoners were captured and great losses suffered, the net result was an
advance of about five hundred yards. As time went on the general
impression throughout the Allied countries was that the expedition had
failed. On June 30th the losses of the Turks were estimated at not less
than seventy thousand, and the British naval and military losses up to
June 1st, aggregated 38,635 officers and men. At that time the British
and French allies held but a small corner of the area to be conquered.
In all of these attacks the part played by the Australian and New
Zealand army corps was especially notable. Reinforcements were
repeatedly sent to the Allies, who worked more and more feverishly as
time went on with the hope of aiding Russia, which was then desperately
struggling against the great German advance.

On August 17th it was reported that a landing had been made at Suvla
Bay, the extreme western point of the Peninsula. From this point it was
hoped to threaten the Turkish communications with their troops at the
lower end of the Peninsula. This new enterprise, however, failed to make
any impression, and in the first part of September, vigorous Turkish
counter, offensives gained territory from the Franco-British troops.
According to the English reports the Turks paid a terrible price for
their success.

It had now become evident that the expedition was a failure. The Germans
were already gloating over what they called the "failure of British sea
power," and English publicists were attempting to show that, though the
enterprise had failed, the very presence of a strong Allied force at
Saloniki had been an enormous gain. The first official announcement of
failure was made December 20, 1916, when it was announced that the
British forces at Anzac and Suvla Bay had been withdrawn, and that only
the minor positions near Sedd-el-Bahr were occupied. Great Britain's
loss of officers and men at the Dardanelles up to December 11th was
112,921, according to an announcement made in the House of Commons by
the Parliamentary Under Secretary for War. Besides these casualties the
number of sick admitted to hospitals was 96,688. The decision to
evacuate Gallipoli was made in the course of November by the British
Government as the result of the early expressed opinion of General
Monro, who had succeeded General Hamilton on October 28, 1915.

General Monro found himself confronted with a serious problem in the
attempt to withdraw an army of such a size from positions not more than
three hundred yards from the enemy's trenches, and to embark on open
beaches every part of which was within effective range of Turkish guns.
Moreover, the evacuation must be done gradually, as it was impossible
to move the whole army at once with such means of transportation as
existed. The plan was to remove the munitions, supplies and heavy guns
by instalments, working only at night, carrying off at the same time a
large portion of the troops, but leaving certain picked battalions to
guard the trenches. Every endeavor had to be made for concealment. The
plan was splendidly successful, and the Turks apparently completely
deceived. On December 20th the embarkation of the last troops at Suvla
was accomplished. The operations at Anzac were conducted in the same
way. Only picked battalions were left to the end, and these were carried
safely off.

[Illustration: THE HISTORIC LANDING FROM THE "RIVER CLYDE" AT SEDDUL
BAHR

An incident of the Dardanelles Expedition. Terrible losses were
sustained by the Allied troops from the concentrated fire of the Turkish
machine guns on shore.]

The success of the Suvla and Anzac evacuation made the position at Cape
Helles more dangerous. The Turks were on the lookout, and it seemed
almost impossible that they could be again deceived. On January 7th an
attack was made by the Turks upon the trenches, which was beaten back.
That night more than half the troops had left the Peninsula. The next
day there was a heavy storm which made embarkation difficult, but it was
nevertheless accomplished. The whole evacuation was a clever and
successful bit of work.



CHAPTER IV

THE GREATEST NAVAL BATTLE IN HISTORY


Germany's ambition for conquest at sea had been nursed and carefully
fostered for twenty years. During the decade immediately preceding the
declaration of war, it had embarked upon a policy of naval up-building
that brought it into direct conflict with England's sea policy.
Thereafter it became a race in naval construction, England piling up a
huge debt in its determination to construct two tons of naval shipping
to every one ton built by Germany.

Notwithstanding Great Britain's efforts in this direction, Germany's
naval experts, with the ruthless von Tirpitz at their head, maintained
that, given a fair seaway with ideal weather conditions favoring the low
visibility tactics of the German sea command, a victory for the Teutonic
ships would follow. It was this belief that drew the ships of the
German cruiser squadron and High Seas Fleet off the coast of Jutland and
Horn Reef into the great battle that decided the supremacy of the sea.

The 31st of May, 1916, will go down in history as the date of this
titanic conflict. The British light cruiser Galatea on patrol duty near
Horn Reef reported at 2.20 o'clock on the afternoon of that day, that it
had sighted smoke plumes denoting the advance of enemy vessels from the
direction of Helgoland Bight. Fifteen minutes later the smoke plumes
were in such number and volume that the advance of a considerable force
to the northward and eastward was indicated. It was reasoned by
Vice-Admiral Beatty, to whom the Galatea had sent the news by radio,
that the enemy in rounding Horn Reef would inevitably be brought into
action. The first ships of the enemy were sighted at 3.31 o'clock. These
were the battle screen of fast light cruisers. Back of these were five
modern battle cruisers of the highest power and armament.

The report of the battle, by an eye-witness, that was issued upon
semiofficial authority of the British Government, follows:

First Phase, 3.30 P.M. May 31st. Beatty's battle cruisers, consisting
of the Lion, Princess Royal, Queen Mary, Tiger, Inflexible, Indomitable,
Invincible, Indefatigable, and New Zealand, were on a southeasterly
course, followed at about two miles distance by the four battleships of
the class known as Queen Elizabeths.

Enemy light cruisers were sighted and shortly afterward the head of the
German battle cruiser squadron, consisting of the new cruiser
Hindenburg, the Seydlitz, Derfflinger, Lützow, Moltke, and possibly the
Salamis.

Beatty at once began firing at a range of about 20,000 yards (twelve
miles) which shortened to 16,000 yards (nine miles) as the fleets
closed. The Germans could see the British distinctly outlined against
the light yellow sky. The Germans, covered by a haze, could be very
indistinctly made out by the British gunners.

The Queen Elizabeths opened fire on one after another as they came
within range. The German battle cruisers turned to port and drew away
to about 20,000 yards.

Second Phase, 4.40 P.M. A destroyer screen then appeared beyond the
German battle cruisers. The whole German High Seas Fleet could be seen
approaching on the northeastern horizon in three divisions, coming to
the support of their battle cruisers.

The German battle cruisers now turned right around 16 points and took
station in front of the battleships of the High Fleet.

Beatty, with his battle cruisers and supporting battleships, therefore,
had before him the whole of the German battle fleet, and Jellicoe was
still some distance away.

The opposing fleets were now moving parallel to one another in opposite
directions, and but for a master maneuver on the part of Beatty the
British advance ships would have been cut off from Jellicoe's Grand
Fleet. In order to avoid this and at the same time prepare the way so
that Jellicoe might envelop his adversary, Beatty immediately also
turned right around 16 points, so as to bring his ships parallel to the
German battle cruisers and facing the same direction.

As soon as he was around he increased to full speed to get ahead of the
Germans and take up a tactical position in advance of their line. He was
able to do this owing to the superior speed of the British battle
cruisers.

Just before the turning point was reached, the Indefatigable sank, and
the Queen Mary and the Invincible also were lost at the turning point,
where, of course, the High Seas Fleet concentrated their fire.

A little earlier, as the German battle cruisers were turning the Queen
Elizabeths had in similar manner concentrated their fire on the turning
point and destroyed a new German battle cruiser, believed to be the
Hindenburg.

Beatty had now got around and headed away with the loss of three ships,
racing parallel to the German battle cruisers. The Queen Elizabeths
followed behind engaging the main Seas Fleet.

Third Phase, 5 P.M. The Queen Elizabeths now turned short to port 16
points in order to follow Beatty. The Warspite jammed her steering
gear, failed to get around, and drew the fire of six of the enemy, who
closed in upon her.

The Germans claimed her as a loss, since on paper she ought to have been
lost, but, as a matter of act, though repeatedly straddled by shell fire
with the water boiling up all around her, she was not seriously hit, and
was able to sink one of her opponents. Her captain recovered control of
the vessel, brought her around, and followed her consorts.

In the meantime the Barham, Valiant and Malaya turned short so as to
avoid the danger spot where the Queen Mary and the Invincible had been
lost, and for an hour, until Jellicoe arrived, fought a delaying action
against the High Seas Fleet.

The Warspite joined them at about 5.15 o'clock, and all four ships were
so successfully maneuvered in order to upset the spotting corrections of
their opponents that no hits of a seriously disabling character were
suffered. They had the speed over their opponents by fully four knots,
and were able to draw away from part of the long line of German
battleships, which almost filled up the horizon.

At this time the Queen Elizabeths were steadily firing on at the flashes
of German guns at a range which varied between 12,000 and 15,000 yards,
especially against those ships which were nearest them. The Germans were
enveloped in a mist and only smoke and flashes were visible.

By 5.45 half of the High Seas Fleet had been left out of range, and the
Queen Elizabeths were steaming fast to join hands with Jellicoe.

To return to Beatty's battle cruisers. They had succeeded in outflanking
the German battle cruisers, which were, therefore, obliged to turn a
full right angle to starboard to avoid being headed.

Heavy fighting was renewed between the opposing battle cruiser
squadrons, during which the Derfflinger was sunk; but toward 6 o'clock
the German fire slackened very considerably, showing that Beatty's
battle cruisers and the Queen Elizabeths had inflicted serious damage
on their immediate opponents.

Fourth Phase, 6 P.M. The Grand Fleet was now in sight, and, coming up
fast in three directions, the Queen Elizabeths altered their course four
points to the starboard and drew in toward the enemy to allow Jellicoe
room to deploy into line.

The Grand Fleet was perfectly maneuvered and the very difficult
operation of deploying between the battle cruisers and the Queen
Elizabeths was perfectly timed.

Jellicoe came up, fell in behind Beatty's cruisers, and followed by the
damaged but still serviceable Queen Elizabeths, steamed right across the
head of the German fleet.

The first of the ships to come into action were the Revenue and the
Royal Oak with their fifteen-inch guns, and the Agincourt which fired
from her seven turrets with the speed almost of a Maxim gun.

The whole British fleet had now become concentrated. They had been
perfectly maneuvered, so as to "cross the T" of the High Seas Fleet,
and, indeed, only decent light was necessary to complete their work of
destroying the Germans in detail. The light did improve for a few
minutes, and the conditions were favorable to the British fleet, which
was now in line approximately north and south across the head of the
Germans.

During the few minutes of good light Jellicoe smashed up the first three
German ships, but the mist came down, visibility suddenly failed, and
the defeated High Seas Fleet was able to draw off in ragged divisions.

Fifth Phase, Night. The Germans were followed by the British, who still
had them enveloped between Jellicoe on the west, Beatty on the north,
and Evan Thomas with his three Queen Elizabeths on the south. The
Warspite had been sent back to her base.

During the night the torpedo boat destroyers heavily attacked the German
ships, and, although they lost seriously themselves, succeeded in
sinking two of the enemy.

[Illustration: HOW THE GREAT NAVAL BATTLE OF JUTLAND WAS FOUGHT

This chart must be taken only as a general indication of the courses of
the opposing German and British battle fleets.]

Co-ordination of the units of the fleet was practically impossible to
keep up, and the Germans discovered by the rays of their searchlights
the three Queen Elizabeths, not more than 4,000 yards away.
Unfortunately they were then able to escape between the battleships and
Jellicoe, since the British gunners were not able to fire, as the
destroyers were in the way.

So ended the Jutland battle, which was fought as had been planned and
very nearly a great success. It was spoiled by the unfavorable weather
conditions, especially at the critical moment, when the whole British
fleet was concentrated and engaged in crushing the head of the German
line.

Commenting on the engagement, Admiral Jellicoe said: "The battle cruiser
fleet, gallantly led by Vice-Admiral Beatty, and admirably supported by
the ships of the fifth battle squadron under Rear Admiral Evan-Thomas,
fought the action under, at times, disadvantageous conditions,
especially in regard to light, in a manner that was in keeping with the
best traditions of the service."

His estimate of the German losses was: two battleships of the
dreadnought type, one of the Deutschland type, which was seen to sink;
the battle cruiser Lützow, admitted by the Germans; one battle cruiser
of the dreadnought type, one battle cruiser seen to be so severely
damaged that its return was extremely doubtful; five light cruisers,
seen to sink--one of them possibly a battleship; six destroyers seen to
sink, three destroyers so damaged that it was doubtful if they would be
able to reach port, and a submarine sunk. The official German report
admitted only eleven ships sunk; the first British report placed the
total at eighteen, but Admiral Jellicoe enumerated twenty-one German
vessels as probably lost.

The Admiral paid a fine tribute to the German naval men: "The enemy," he
said, "fought with the gallantry that was expected of him. We
particularly admired the conduct of those on board a disabled German
light cruiser which passed down the British line shortly after the
deployment under a heavy fire, which was returned by the only gun left
in action. The conduct of the officers and men war entirely beyond
praise. On all sides it is reported that the glorious traditions of the
past were most worthily upheld; whether in the heavy ships, cruisers,
light cruisers, or destroyers, the same admirable spirit prevailed. The
officers and men were cool and determined, with a cheeriness that would
have carried them through anything. The heroism of the wounded was the
'admiration' of all. I cannot adequately express the pride with which
the spirit of the fleet filled me."

At daylight on the 1st of June the British battle fleet, being
southward of Horn Reef, turned northward in search of the enemy vessels.
The visibility early on the first of June was three to four miles less
than on May 31st, and the torpedo-boat destroyers, being out of visual
touch, did not rejoin the fleet until 9 A.M. The British fleet remained
in the proximity of the battlefield and near the line of approach to the
German ports until 11 A.M., in spite of the disadvantage of long
distances from fleet bases and the danger incurred in waters adjacent
to the enemy's coasts from submarines and torpedo craft.

The enemy, however, made no sign, and the admiral was reluctantly
compelled to the conclusion that the High Sea Fleet had returned into
port. Subsequent events proved this assumption to have been correct. The
British position must have been known to the enemy, as at 4 A.M. the
fleet engaged a Zeppelin about five minutes, during which time she had
ample opportunity to note and subsequently report the position and
course of the British fleet.

The Germans at first claimed a victory for their fleet. The test, of
course, was the outcome of the battle. The fact that the German fleet
retreated and nevermore ventured forth from beneath the protecting guns
and mine fields around Helgoland, demonstrates beyond dispute that the
British were entitled to the triumph. The German official report makes
the best presentation of the German case. It follows in full:

     The High Sea Fleet, consisting of three battleship squadrons, five
     battle cruisers, and a large number of small cruisers, with several
     destroyer flotillas, was cruising in the Skagerrak on May 31 for
     the purpose, as on earlier occasions, of offering battle to the
     British fleet. The vanguard of the small cruisers at 4.30 o'clock
     in the afternoon (German time) suddenly encountered ninety miles
     west of Hanstholm, (a cape on the northwest coast of Jutland), a
     group of eight of the newest cruisers of the Calliope class and
     fifteen or twenty of the most modern destroyers.

     While the German light forces and the first cruiser squadron under
     Vice Admiral Hipper were following the British, who were retiring
     north-westward, the German battle cruisers sighted to the westward
     Vice Admiral Beatty's battle squadron of six ships, including four
     of the Lion type and two of the Indefatigable type. Beatty's
     squadron developed a battle line on a southeasterly course and Vice
     Admiral Hipper formed his line ahead on the same general course and
     approached for a running fight. He opened fire at 5.49 o'clock in
     the afternoon with heavy artillery at a range of 13,000 meters
     against the superior enemy. The weather was clear and light, and
     the sea was light with a northwest wind.

     After about a quarter of an hour a violent explosion occurred on
     the last cruiser of the Indefatigable type. It was caused by a
     heavy shell, and destroyed the vessel.

     About 6.20 o'clock in the afternoon five warships of the Queen
     Elizabeth type came from the west and joined the British battle
     cruiser line, powerfully reinforcing with their fifteen-inch guns
     the five British battle cruisers remaining after 6.20 o'clock. To
     equalize this superiority Vice Admiral Hipper ordered the
     destroyers to attack the enemy. The British destroyers and small
     cruisers interposed, and a bitter engagement at close range
     ensued, in the course of which a light cruiser participated.

     The Germans lost two torpedo boats, the crews of which were rescued
     by sister ships under a heavy fire. Two British destroyers were
     sunk by artillery, and two others--the Nestor and Nomad--remained
     on the scene in a crippled condition. These later were destroyed by
     the main fleet after German torpedo boats had rescued all the
     survivors.

     While this engagement was in progress, a mighty explosion, caused
     by a big shell, broke the Queen Mary, the third ship in line,
     asunder, at 6.30 o'clock.

     Soon thereafter the German main battleship fleet was sighted to the
     southward, steering north. The hostile fast squadrons thereupon
     turned northward, closing the first part of the fight, which lasted
     about an hour.

     The British retired at high speed before the German fleet, which
     followed closely. The German battle cruisers continued the
     artillery combat with increasing intensity, particularly with the
     division of the vessels of the Queen Elizabeth type, and in this
     the leading German battleship division participated intermittently.
     The hostile ships showed a desire to run in a flat curve ahead of
     the point of our line and to cross it.

     At 7.45 o'clock in the evening British small cruisers and
     destroyers launched an attack against our battle cruisers, who
     avoided the torpedoes by manoeuvring, while the British battle
     cruisers retired from the engagement, in which they did not
     participate further as far as can be established. Shortly
     thereafter a German reconnoitring group, which was parrying the
     destroyer attack, received an attack from the northeast. The
     cruiser Wiesbaden was soon put out of action in this attack. The
     German torpedo flotillas immediately attacked the heavy ships.

     Appearing shadow-like from the haze bank to the northeast was made
     out a long line of at least twenty-five battleships, which at first
     sought a junction with the British battle cruisers and those of the
     Queen Elizabeth type on a northwesterly to westerly course, and
     then turned on an easterly to southeasterly course.

     With the advent of the British main fleet, whose centre consisted
     of three squadrons of eight battleships each, with a fast division
     of three battle cruisers of the Invincible type on the
     northern-end, and three of the newest vessels of the Royal
     Sovereign class, armed with fifteen-inch guns, at the southern end,
     there began about 8 o'clock in the evening the third section of the
     engagement, embracing the combat between the main fleets.

     Vice Admiral Seheer determined to attack the British main fleet,
     which he now recognised was completely assembled and about doubly
     superior. The German battleship squadron, headed by battle
     cruisers, steered first toward the extensive haze bank to the
     northeast, where the crippled cruiser Wiesbaden was still
     receiving a heavy fire. Around the Wiesbaden stubborn individual
     fights under quickly changing conditions now occurred.

     The light enemy forces, supported by an armored cruiser squadron of
     five ships of the Minatour, Achilles, and Duke of Edinburgh classes
     coming from the northeast, were encountered and apparently
     surprised on account of the decreasing visibility of our battle
     cruisers and leading battleship division. The squadron came under
     a violent and heavy fire by which the small cruisers Defense and
     Black Prince were sunk. The cruiser Warrior regained its own line a
     wreck and later sank. Another small cruiser was damaged severely.

     Two destroyers already had fallen victims to the attack of German
     torpedo boats against the leading British battleships and a small
     cruiser and two destroyers were damaged. The German battle cruisers
     and leading battleship division had in these engagements come under
     increased fire of the enemy's battleship squadron, which, shortly
     after 8 o'clock, could be made out in the haze turning to the
     north-eastward and finally to the east, Germans observed, amid the
     artillery combat and shelling of great intensity, signs of the
     effect of good shooting between 8.20 and 8.30 o'clock particularly.
     Several officers on German ships observed that a battleship of the
     Queen Elizabeth class blew up under conditions similar to that of
     the Queen Mary. The Invincible sank after being hit severely. A
     ship of the Iron Duke class had earlier received a torpedo hit, and
     one of the Queen Elizabeth class was running around in a circle,
     its steering apparatus apparently having been hit.

     The Lützow was hit by at least fifteen heavy shells and was unable
     to maintain its place in line. Vice Admiral Hipper, therefore,
     transshipped to the Moltke on a torpedo boat and under a heavy
     fire. The Derfflinger meantime took the lead temporarily. Parts of
     the German torpedo flotilla attacked the enemy's main fleet and
     heard detonations. In the action the Germans lost a torpedo boat.
     An enemy destroyer was seen in a sinking condition, having been hit
     by a torpedo.

     After the first violent onslaught into the mass of the superior
     enemy the opponents lost sight of each other in the smoke by powder
     clouds. After a short cessation in the artillery combat Vice
     Admiral Scheer ordered a new attack by all the available forces.

     German battle cruisers, which with several light cruisers and
     torpedo boats again headed the line, encountered the enemy soon
     after 9 o'clock and renewed the heavy fire, which was answered by
     them from the mist, and then by the leading division of the main
     fleet. Armored cruisers now flung themselves in a reckless onset at
     extreme speed against the enemy line in order to cover the attack
     of the torpedo boats. They approached the enemy line, although
     covered with shot from 6,000 meters distances. Several German
     torpedo flotillas dashed forward to attack, delivered torpedoes,
     and returned, despite the most severe counterfire, with the loss of
     only one boat. The bitter artillery fire was again interrupted,
     after this second violent onslaught, by the smoke from guns and
     funnels.

     Several torpedo flotillas, which were ordered to attack somewhat
     later, found, after penetrating the smoke cloud, that the enemy
     fleet was no longer before them; nor, when the fleet commander
     again brought the German squadrons upon the southerly and
     southwesterly course where the enemy was last seen, could our
     opponents be found. Only once more--shortly before 10.30
     o'clock--did the battle flare up. For a short time in the late
     twilight German battle cruisers sighted four enemy capital ships to
     seaward and opened fire immediately. As the two German battleship
     squadrons attacked, the enemy turned and vanished in the darkness.
     Older German light cruisers of the fourth reconnoissance group
     also were engaged with the older enemy armored cruisers in a short
     fight.

     This ended the day battle.

     The German divisions, which, after losing sight of the enemy, began
     a night cruise in a southerly direction, were attacked until dawn
     by enemy light force in rapid succession.

     The attacks were favored by the general strategic situation and the
     particularly dark night.

     The cruiser Frauenlob was injured severely during the engagement of
     the fourth reconnoissance group with a superior cruiser force, and
     was lost from sight.

     One armored cruiser of the Cressy class suddenly appeared close to
     a German battleship and was shot into fire after forty seconds, and
     sank in four minutes.

     The Florent (?) Destroyer 60, (the names were hard to decipher in
     the darkness and therefore were uncertainly established) and four
     destroyers--3, 78, 06, and 27--were destroyed by our fire. One
     destroyer was cut in two by the ram of a German battleship. Seven
     destroyers, including the G-30, were hit and severely damaged.
     These, including the Tipperary and Turbulent, which after saving
     survivors, were left behind in a sinking condition, drifted past
     our line, some of them burning at the bow or stern.

     The tracks of countless torpedoes were sighted by the German ships,
     but only the Pommern (a battleship) fell an immediate victim to a
     torpedo. The cruiser Rostock was hit, but remained afloat. The
     cruiser Elbing was damaged by a German battleship during an
     unavoidable maneuver. After vain endeavors to keep the ship afloat
     the Elbing was blown up, but only after her crew had embarked on
     torpedo boats. A post torpedo boat was struck by a mine laid by the
     enemy.

                   ADMITTED LOSSES--BRITISH

  NAME                                TONNAGE  PERSONNEL

  Queen Mary (battle cruiser)          27,000      1,000
  Indefatigable (battle cruiser)       18,750        800
  Invincible (battle cruiser)          17,250        750
  Defense (armored cruiser)            14,600        755
  Warrior (armored cruiser)            13,550        704
  Black Prince (armored cruiser)       13,550        704
  Tipperary (destroyer)                 1,850        150
  Turbulent (destroyer)                 1,850        150
  Shark (destroyer)                       950        100
  Sparrowhawk (destroyer)                 950        100
  Ardent  (destroyer)                     950        100
  Fortune (destroyer)                     950        100
  Nomad (destroyer)                       950        100
  Nestor (destroyer)                      950        100

                        BRITISH TOTALS

  Battle cruisers                      63,000      2,550
  Armored cruisers                     41,700      2,163
  Destroyers                            9,400        900

  Fourteen ships                      114,100      5,613


                  ADMITTED LOSSES--GERMAN[A]

  NAME                                TONNAGE  PERSONNEL

  Lutzow (battle cruiser)              26,600      1,200
  Pommern (battleship)                 13,200        729
  Wiesbaden (cruiser)                   5,600        450
  Frauenlob (cruiser)                   2,715        264
  Elbing (cruiser)                      5,000        450
  Rostock (cruiser)                     4,900        373
  Five destroyers                       5,000        500

                         GERMAN TOTALS

  Battle cruisers                      39,800      1,929
  Cruisers                             18,215      1,537
  Destroyers                            5,000        500

  Eleven ships                         63,015      3,966

[Footnote A: These figures are given for what they are worth, but no one
outside of Germany doubted but that their losses were very much greater
than admitted in the official report.]

[Illustration: ADMIRAL WILLIAM S. SIMS

Commander-in-Chief of United States Naval Forces in European waters.]

[Illustration: ADMIRAL SIR DAVID BEATTY

Commander-in-Chief of the British Grand Fleet.]

                   TOTAL LOSSES OF MEN

                        BRITISH

  Dead or missing.............................. 6,104
  Wounded......................................   513

  Total........................................ 6,617

                         GERMAN

  Dead or missing.............................. 2,414
  Wounded .....................................   449

  Total........................................ 2,863


                 LOSS IN MONEY VALUE
                  (Rough Estimate)

  British ............................... $115,000,000
  German ................................   63,000,000

  Total.................................. $178,000,000


While the world was still puzzling over the conflicting reports of the
Battle of Jutland came the shocking news that Field Marshal Lord Horatio
Herbert Kitchener, the British Secretary of State for War, had perished
off the West Orkney Islands on June 5th, through the sinking of the
British cruiser Hampshire. The entire crew was also lost, except twelve
men, a warrant officer and eleven seamen, who escaped on a raft. Earl
Kitchener was on his way to Russia, at the request of the Russian
Government, for a consultation regarding munitions to be furnished the
Russian army. He was intending to go to Archangel and visit Petrograd,
and expected to be back in London by June 20th. He was accompanied
by Hugh James O'Beirne, former Councillor of the British Embassy at
Petrograd, O.A. Fitz-Gerald, his military secretary, Brigadier-General
Ellarshaw, and Sir Frederick Donaldson, all of whom were lost.

The cause of the sinking of the Hampshire is not known. It is supposed
that it struck a mine, but the tragedy very naturally brought into
existence many stories which ascribe his death to more direct German
action.

Seaman Rogerson, one of the survivors, describes Lord Kitchener's last
moments as follows: "Of those who left the ship, and have survived, I
was the one who saw Lord Kitchener last. He went down with the ship, he
did not leave her. I saw Captain Seville help his boat's crew to clear
away his galley. At the same time the Captain was calling to Lord
Kitchener to come to the boat, but owing to the noise made by the wind
and sea, Lord Kitchener could not hear him, I think. When the explosion
occurred, Kitchener walked calmly from the Captain's cabin, went up
the ladder and on to the quarter deck. There I saw him walking quite
collectedly, talking to two of the officers. All three were wearing
khaki and had no overcoats on. Kitchener calmly watched the preparations
for abandoning the ship, which were going on in a steady and orderly
way. The crew just went to their stations, obeyed orders, and did their
best to get out the boats. But it was impossible. Owing to the rough
weather, no boats could be lowered. Those that were got out were
smashed up at once. No boats left the ship. What people on the shore
thought to be boats leaving, were rafts. Men did get into the boats as
these lay in their cradles, thinking that as the ship went under the
boats would float, but the ship sank by the head, and when she went she
turned a somersault forward, carrying down with her all the boats and
those in them. I do not think Kitchener got into a boat. When I sprang
to a raft he was still on the starboard side of the quarter deck,
talking with the officers. From the little time that elapsed between my
leaving the ship and her sinking I feel certain Kitchener went down with
her, and was on deck at the time she sank."

[Illustration: WHERE EARL KITCHENER MET HIS DEATH]

The British Admiralty, after investigation, gave out a statement
declaring that the vessel struck a mine, and sank about fifteen minutes
after.

The news of Lord Kitchener's death shocked the whole Allied world. He
was the most important personality in the British Empire. He had built
up the British army, and his name was one to conjure by. His efficiency
was a proverb, and he had an air of mystery about him that made him a
sort of a popular hero. He was great before the World War began; he was
the conqueror of the Soudan; the winner of the South African campaign;
the reorganizer of Egypt. In his work as Secretary of War he had
met with some criticism, but he possessed, more than any other man,
the public confidence. At the beginning of the war he was appointed
Secretary of War at the demand of an overwhelming public opinion. He
realized more than any one else what such a war would mean. When others
thought of it as an adventure to be soon concluded, he recognized that
there would be years of bitter conflict. He asked England to give up its
cherished tradition of a volunteer army; to go through arduous military
training; he saw the danger to the Empire, and he alone, perhaps, had
the authority to inspire his countrymen with the will to sacrifice. But
his work was done. The great British army was in the field.



CHAPTER V

THE RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN


In the very beginning Russia had marked out one point for attack. This
was the city of Cracow. No doubt the Grand Duke Nicholas had not hoped
to be able to invest that city early. The slowness of the mobilization
of the Russian army made a certain prudence advisable at the beginning
of the campaign. But the great success of his armies in Lemberg
encouraged more daring aims. He had invested Przemysl, and Galicia lay
before him. Accordingly, he set his face toward Cracow.

Cracow, from a military point of view, is the gate both of Vienna
and Berlin. A hundred miles west of it is the famous gap of Moravia,
between the Carpathian and the Bohemian mountains, which leads down into
Austria. Through this gap runs the great railway connecting Silesia
with Vienna, and the Grand Duke knew that if he could capture Cracow he
would have an easy road before him to the Austrian capital. Cracow also
is the key of Germany.

Seventy miles from the city lies the Oder River. An army might enter
Germany by this gate and turn the line of Germany's frontier fortresses.
The Oder had been well fortified, but an invader coming from Cracow
might move upon the western bank. The Russian plan no doubt was to
threaten both enemy capitals. Moreover, an advance of Russia from Cracow
would take its armies into Silesia, full of coal and iron mines, and one
of the greatest manufacturing districts in the German Empire. This would
be a real success, and all Germany would feel the blow.

Another reason for the Russian advance in Galicia was her desire to
control the Galician oil wells. To Germany petrol had become one of the
foremost munitions of war. Since she could not obtain it from either
America or Russia she must get it from Austria, and the Austrian oil
fields were all in Galicia. This, in itself, would explain the Galician
campaign. Moreover, through the Carpathian Mountains it was possible
to make frequent raids into Hungary, and Russia understood well the
feeling of Hungary toward her German allies. She hoped that when Hungary
perceived her regiments sacrificed and her plains overrun by Russian
troops, she would regret that she had allowed herself to be sacrificed
to Prussian ambition. The Russians, therefore, suddenly, moved toward
Cracow.

Then von Hindenburg came to the rescue. The supreme command of the
Austrian forces was given to him. The defenses of Cracow were
strengthened under the direction of the Germans, and a German army
advanced from the Posen frontier toward the northern bank of the
Vistula. The advance threatened the Russian right, and, accordingly,
within ten days' march of Cracow, the Russians stopped. The German
offensive in Poland had begun. The news of the German advance came about
the fifth of October. Von Hindenburg, who had been fighting in East
Prussia, had at last perceived that nothing could be gained there. The
vulnerable part of Russia was the city of Warsaw. This was the capital
of Poland, with a population of about three-quarters of a million. If
he could take Warsaw, he would not only have pleasant quarters for the
winter but Russia would be so badly injured that no further offensive
from her need be anticipated for a long period. Von Hindenburg had with
him a large army. In his center he probably had three-quarters of a
million men, and on his right the Austrian army in Cracow, which must
have reached a million.

Counting the troops operating in East Prussia and along the Carpathians,
and the garrison of Przemysl, the Teuton army must have had two
and a half million soldiers. Russia, on the other hand, though her
mobilization was still continuing, at this time could not have had as
many as two million men in the whole nine hundred miles of her battle
front.

The fight for Warsaw began Friday, October 16th, and continued for three
days, von Hindenburg being personally in command. On Monday the Germans
found themselves in trouble. A Russian attack on their left wing had
come with crushing force. Von Hindenburg found his left wing thrown
back, and the whole German movement thrown into disorder. Meanwhile an
attempt to cross the Vistula at Josefov had also been a failure. The
Russians allowed the Germans to pass with slight resistance, waited
until they arrived at the village Kazimirjev, a district of low hills
and swampy flats, and then suddenly overwhelmed them.

Next day the Russians crossed the river themselves, and advanced along
the whole line, driving the enemy before them, through great woods of
spruce out into the plains on the west. This forest region was well
known to the Russian guides, and the Germans suffered much as the
Russians had suffered in East Prussia. Ruzsky, the Russian commander,
pursued persistently; the Germans retreating first to Kielce, whence
they were driven, on the 3d of November, with great losses, and then
being broken into two pieces, with the north retiring westward and the
south wing southwest toward Cracow.

Rennenkampf's attack on the German left wing was equally successful, and
von Hindenburg was driven into full retreat. The only success won during
this campaign was that in the far south where Austrian troops were
sweeping eastward toward the San. This army drove back the Russians
under Ivanov, reoccupied Jaroslav and relieved Przemysl. This was a
welcome relief to Przemysl, for the garrison was nearly starved, and it
was well for the garrison that the relief came, for in a few days the
Russians returned, recaptured Jaroslav and reinvested Przemysl. As von
Hindenburg retreated he left complete destruction in his wake, roads,
bridges, railroad tracks, water towers, railway stations, all were
destroyed; even telegraph posts, broken or sawn through, and insulators
broken to bits.

It was now the turn of Russia to make a premature advance, and to pay
for it. Doubtless the Grand Duke Nicholas, whose strategy up to this
point had been so admirable, knew very well the danger of a new advance
in Galicia, but he realized the immense political as well as military
advantages which were to be obtained by the capture of Cracow. He
therefore attempted to move an army through Poland as well as through
Galicia, hoping that the army in Poland would keep von Hindenburg busy,
while the Galician army would deal with Cracow.

The advance was slow on account of the damaged Polish roads. It was
preceded by a cavalry screen which moved with more speed. On November
10th, the vanguard crossed the Posen frontier and cut the railway on the
Cracow-Posen line. This reconnaissance convinced the Russian general
that the German army did not propose to make a general stand, and it
seemed to him that if he struck strongly with his center along the
Warta, he might destroy the left flank of the German southern army,
while his own left flank was assaulting Cracow. He believed that even if
his attack upon the Warta failed, the Russian center could at any
rate prevent the enemy from interfering with the attack further south
upon Cracow.

[Illustration: GERMAN FRIGHTFULNESS FROM THE AIR

A gas attack on the eastern front photographed by a Russian airman.]

The movement therefore began, and by November 12th, the Russian cavalry
had taken Miechow on the German frontier, about twenty miles north of
Cracow. Its main forces were still eighty miles to the east. About this
time Grand Duke Nicholas perceived that von Hindenburg was preparing a
counter stroke. He had retreated north, and then, by means of his
railways, was gathering a large army at Thorn. Large reinforcements were
sent him, some from the western front, giving him a total of about eight
hundred thousand men. In his retreat from Warsaw, while he had destroyed
all roads railways in the south and west, he had carefully preserved
those of the north already planning to use them in another movement. He
now was beginning an advance, once again, against Warsaw. On account of
the roads he perceived that it would be difficult for the Russians to
obtain reinforcements. Von Hindenburg had with him as Chief of Staff
General von Ludendorff, one of the cleverest staff officers in the
German army, and General von Mackensen, a commander of almost equal
repute.

The Russian army in the north had been pretty well scattered. The
Russian forces were now holding a front of nearly a thousand miles, with
about two million men. The Russian right center, which now protected
Warsaw from the new attack could hardly number more than two hundred
thousand men. Von Hindenburg's aim was Warsaw only, and did not affect
directly the Russian advance to Cracow, which was still going on.
Indeed, by the end of the first week in December, General Dmitrieff had
cavalry in the suburbs of Cracow, and his main force was on the line of
the River Rava about twelve miles away. Cracow had been strongly
fortified, and much entrenching had been done in a wide circle around
the city.

The German plan was to use its field army in Cracow's defense rather
than a garrison. Two separate forces were used; one moving southwest of
Cracow along the Carpathian hills, struck directly at Ivanov's left;
the other, operating from Hungary, threatened the Russian rear. These
two divisions struck at the same time and the Russians found it
necessary to fight rear actions as they moved forward. They were doing
this with reasonable success and working their way toward Cracow, when,
on the 12th of December, the Austrian forces working from Hungary
carried the Dukla Pass. This meant that the Austrians would be able to
pour troops down into the rear of the Russian advance, and the Russian
army would be cut off. Dmitrieff, therefore, fell rapidly back, until
the opening of the Dukla Pass was in front of his line, and the Russian
army was once more safe.

Meanwhile the renewed seige of Przemysl was going on with great vigor,
and attracting the general attention of the Allied world. The Austrians
attempted to follow up their successes at the Dukla Pass by attempting
to seize the Lupkow Pass, and the Uzzok Pass, still further to the east,
but the Russians were tired of retreating. New troops had arrived, and
about the 20th of December a new advance was begun.

With the right of the army swinging up along the river Nida, northeast
of Cracow, the Russian left attacked the Dukla Pass in great force,
driving Austrians back and capturing over ten thousand men. On Christmas
Day all three great western passes were in Russian hands. The Austrian
fighting, during this period, was the best they had so far shown, the
brunt of it being upon the Hungarian troops, who, at this time, were
saving Germany.

Meantime von Hindenburg was pursuing his movement in the direction of
Warsaw. The Russian generals found it difficult to obtain information.
Each day came the chronicle of contests, some victories, some defeats,
and it soon appeared that a strong force was crushing in the Russian
outposts from the direction of Thorn and moving toward Warsaw. Ruzsky
found himself faced by a superior German force, and was compelled to
retreat. The Russian aim was to fall back behind the river Bzura, which
lies between the Thorn and Warsaw. Bzura is a strong line of defense,
with many fords but no bridges. The Russian right wing passed by the
city of Lowicz, moved southwest to Strykov and then on past Lodz. West
of Lowicz is a great belt of marshes impossible for the movement of
armies.

The first German objective was the city of Lodz. Von Hindenburg knew
that he must move quickly before the Russians should get up reserves.
His campaign of destruction had made it impossible for aid to be sent to
the Russian armies from Ivanov, far in the south, but every moment
counted. His right pushed forward and won the western crossings of the
marshes. His extreme left moved towards Plock, but the main effort was
against Piontek, where there is a famous causeway engineered for heavy
transport through the marshes.

At first the Russians repelled the attack on the causeway, but on
November 19th the Russians broke and were compelled to fall back. Over
the causeway, then, the German troops were rushed in great numbers,
splitting the Russian army into two parts; one on the south surrounding
Lodz, and the other running east of Brezin on to the Vistula. The
Russian army around Lodz was assailed on the front flank and rear. It
looked like an overwhelming defeat for the Russian army. At the very
last moment possible, Russian reinforcements appeared--a body of
Siberians from the direction of Warsaw. They were thrown at once into
the battle and succeeded in re-establishing the Russian line. This left
about ninety thousand Germans almost entirely surrounded, as if they
were in a huge sack. Ruzsky tried his best to close the mouth of the
sack, but he was unsuccessful. The fighting was terrific, but by the
26th the Germans in the sack had escaped.

The Germans were continually receiving reinforcements and still largely
outnumbered the Russians. Von Hindenburg therefore determined on a new
assault. The German left wing was now far in front of the Russian city
of Lodz, one of the most important of the Polish cities. The population
was about half a million. Such a place was a constant danger, for it was
the foundation of a Russian salient.

When the German movement began the Russian general, perceiving how
difficult it would have been to hold the city, deliberately withdrew,
and on December 6th the Germans entered Lodz without opposition.

The retreat relieved the Russians of a great embarrassment. Its capture
was considered in Germany as a great German victory, and at this time
von Hindenburg seems to have felt that he had control of the situation.
His movement, to be sure, had not interfered with the Russian advance on
Cracow, but Warsaw must have seemed to him almost in his power. He
therefore concentrated his forces for a blow at Warsaw. His first new
movement was directed at the Russian right wing, which was then north of
the Bzura River and east of Lowicz. He also directed the German forces
in East Prussia to advance and attempted to cut the main railway line
between Warsaw and Petrograd. If this attempt had been successful it
would have been a highly serious matter for the Russians. The Russians,
however, defeated it, and drove the enemy back to the East Prussian
border. The movement against the Russian right wing was more successful,
and the Russians fell back slowly. This was not because they were
defeated in battle, but because the difficult weather interfered with
communications. There had been a thaw, and the whole country was
waterlogged. The Grand Duke was willing that the Germans should fight in
the mud.

This slow retreat continued from the 7th of December to Christmas Eve,
and involved the surrender of a number of Polish towns, but it left the
Russians in a strong position. They were able to entrench themselves so
that every attack of the enemy Was broken. The Germans tried hard. Von
Hindenburg would have liked to enter Warsaw on Christmas. The citizens
heard day and night the sound of the cannon, but they were entirely
safe.

The German attack was a failure. On the whole, the Grand Duke Nicholas
had shown better strategy than the best of the German generals.
Outnumbered from the very start, his tactics had been admirable. Twice
he had saved Warsaw, and he was still threatening Cracow. The Russian
armies were fighting with courage and efficiency, and were continually
growing in numbers as the days went by.

During the first weeks of 1915 while there were a number of attacks and
counter attacks both armies had come to the trench warfare, so familiar
in France. The Germans in particular had constructed a most elaborate
trench system, with underground rooms containing many of the ordinary
comforts of life. Toward the end of the month the Russians began to move
in East Prussia in the north and also far south in the Bukovina. The
object of these movements was probably to prevent von Hindenburg from
releasing forces on the west. Russia was still terribly weak in
equipment and was not ready for a serious advance. An attack on sacred
East Prussia would stir up the Germans, while Hungary would be likewise
disturbed by the advance on Bukovina. Von Hindenburg, however, was still
full of the idea of capturing Warsaw. He had failed twice but the old
Field Marshal was stubborn and moreover he knew well what the capture of
Warsaw would mean to Russia, and so he tried again.

The Russian front now followed the west bank of the Bzura for a few
miles, changed to the eastern bank following the river until it met with
the Rawka, from there a line of trenches passed south and east, of
Balinov and from there to Skiernievice. Von Mackensen concentrated a
considerable army at Balinov and had on the 1st of February about a
hundred and forty thousand men there. That night, with the usual
artillery preparation, he moved from Balinov against the Russian
position at the Borzymov Crest. The Germans lost heavily but drove
forward into the enemy's line, and by the 3d of February had almost made
a breach in it. This point, however, could be readily reinforced and
troops were hurried there from Warsaw in such force that on February 4th
the German advance was checked. Von Mackensen had lost heavily, and by
the time it was checked he had become so weak that his forces yielded
quickly to the counter-attack and were flung back.

This was the last frontal attack upon Warsaw. Von Hindenburg then
determined to attack Warsaw by indirection. Austria was instructed to
move forward along the whole Carpathian front, while he himself, with
strong forces, undertook to move from East Prussia behind the Polish
capital, and cut the communications between Warsaw and Petrograd. If
Austria could succeed, Przemysl might be relieved, Lemberg recaptured,
and Russia forced back so far on the south that Warsaw would have to be
abandoned. On the other hand if the East Prussia effort were successful,
the Polish capital would certainly fall. These plans, if they had
developed successfully, would have crippled the power of Russia for at
least six months. Meantime, troops could be sent to the west front, and
perhaps enable Germany to overwhelm France. By this time almost all of
Poland west of the Vistula was in the power of the Germans, while
three-fourths of Galicia was controlled by Russia.

Von Hindenburg now returned to his old battle-ground near the Masurian
Lakes. The Russian forces, which, at the end of January, had made a
forward movement in East Prussia, had been quite successful. Their right
was close upon Tilsit, and their left rested upon the town of
Johannisburg. Further south was the Russian army of the Narev. Von
Hindenburg determined to surprise the invaders, and he gathered an army
of about three hundred thousand men to face the Russian forces which did
not number more than a hundred and twenty thousand, and which were under
the command of General Baron Sievers. The Russian army soon found itself
in a desperate position. A series of bitter fights ensued, at some of
which the Kaiser himself was present. The Russians were driven steadily
back for a week, but the German stories of their tremendous losses are
obviously unfounded They retreated steadily until February 20th,
fighting courageously, and by that date the Germans began to find
themselves exhausted.

Russian reinforcements came up, and a counter-attack was begun. The
German aim had evidently been to reach Grodno and cut the main line from
Warsaw to Petrograd, which passes through that city. They had now
reached Suwalki, a little north of Grodno, but were unable to advance
further, though the Warsaw-Petrograd railway was barely ten miles away.
The southern portion of von Hindenburg's army was moving against the
railway further west, in the direction of Ossowietz. But Ossowietz put
up a determined resistance, and the attack was unsuccessful. By the
beginning of March, von Hindenburg ordered a gradual retreat to the East
Prussian frontier.

While this movement to drive the Russians from East Prussia was under
way, von Hindenburg had also launched an attack against the Russian army
on the Narev. If he could force the lower Narev from that point, too, he
could cut the railroad running east from the Polish capital. He had
hoped that the attacks just described further east would distract the
Russian attention so that he would find the Narev ill guarded. The
advance began on February 22d, and after numerous battles captured
Przasnysz, and found itself with only one division to oppose its
progress to the railroad. On the 23d this force was attacked by the
German right, but resisted with the utmost courage. It held out for more
than thirty-six hours, until, on the evening of the 24th, Russian
reinforcements began to come up, and drove the invaders north through
Przasnysz in retreat.

It was an extraordinary fight. The Russians were unable to supply all
their troops with munitions and arms. At Przasnysz men fought without
rifles, armed only with a bayonet. All they could do was to charge with
cold steel, and they did it so desperately that, though they were
outnumbered, they drove the Germans before them. By all the laws of war
the Russians should have been defeated with ease. As it was, the German
attempt to capture Warsaw by a flank movement was defeated. While the
struggle was going on in the north, the Austrian armies in Galicia were
also moving, Russia was still holding the three great passes in the
Carpathian Mountains, but had not been able to begin an offensive in
Hungary.

The Austrians had been largely reinforced by German troops, and were
moving forward to the relief of Przemysl, and also to drive Brussilov
from the Galician mountains. Brussilov's movements had been partly
military and partly political. From the passes, in those mountains
Hungary could be attacked, and unless he could be driven away there was
no security for the Hungarian cornfields, to which Germany was looking
for food supplies. Moreover, from the beginning of the Russian movement
in Galicia, northern Bukovina had been in Russian hands. Bukovina was
not only a great supply ground for petrol and grain, but she adjoined
Roumania which, while still neutral, had a strong sympathy with the
Allies, especially Italy. The presence of a Russian army on her border
might encourage her to join the Allies. Austria naturally desired to
free Roumania from this pressure. The leading Austrian statesmen, at
this time, were especially interested in Hungary. The Austrian Minister
of Foreign Affairs was Baron Stephen Burian, the Hungarian diplomatist,
belonging to the party of the Hungarian Premier, Count Tisza. It was his
own country that was threatened. The prizes of a victorious campaign
were therefore great.

The campaign began in January amid the deepest snow, and continued
during February in the midst of blizzards. The Austrians were divided
into three separate armies. The first was charged with the relief of
Przemysl. The second advanced in the direction of Lemberg, and the third
moved upon Bukovina. The first made very little progress, after a number
of lively battles. It was held pretty safely by Brussilov. The second
army was checked by Dmitrieff. Further east, however, the army of the
Bukovina crossed the Carpathian range, and made considerable advances.
This campaign was fought out in a great number of battles, the most
serious of which, perhaps, was the battle of Koziowa. At that point
Brussilov's center withstood for several days the Austrian second army
which was commanded by the German General von Linsengen. The Russian
success here saved Lemberg, prevented the relief of Przemysl and gave
time to send reinforcements into Bukovina.

The Austrian third army, moving on Bukovina, had the greatest Austrian
success. They captured in succession Czernowitz, Kolomea, and Stanislau.
They did not succeed, however, in driving the Russians from the
province. The Russians retired slowly, waiting for reinforcements. These
reinforcements came, whereupon the Austrians were pushed steadily back.
The passes in the Carpathians still remained in Austrian hands, but
Przemysl was not relieved or Lemberg recaptured. On March 22d Przemysl
fell.

The capture of Przemysl was the greatest success that Russia had so far
attained. It had been besieged for about four months, and the taking of
the fortress was hailed as the first spectacular success of the war. Its
capture altered the whole situation. It released a large Russian army,
which was sent to reinforce the armies of Ivanov, where the Austrians
were vigorously attacked.

By the end of March the Russians had captured the last Austrian position
on the Lupkow pass and were attacking vigorously the pass of Uzzok,
which maintained a stubborn defense. Brussilov tried to push his way to
the rear of the Uzzok position, and though the Austrians delivered a
vigorous counter-attack they were ultimately defeated. In fire weeks of
fighting Ivanov captured over seventy thousand prisoners.

During this period there was considerable activity in East Prussia, and
the Courland coast was bombarded by the German Baltic squadron. There
was every indication that Austria was near collapse, but all the time
the Germans were preparing for a mighty effort, and the secret was kept
with extraordinary success. The little conflicts in the Carpathians and
in East Prussia were meant to deceive, while a great army, with an
enormous number of guns of every caliber, and masses of ammunition,
were being gathered. The Russian commanders were completely deceived.
There had been no change in the generals in command except that General
Ruzsky, on account of illness, was succeeded by General Alexeiev. The
new German army was put under the charge of von Hindenburg's former
lieutenant, General von Mackensen. This was probably the strongest army
that Germany ever gathered, and could not have numbered less than two
millions of men, with nearly two thousand pieces in its heavy batteries.

On April 28th, the action began. The Austro-German army lay along the
left of the Donajetz River to its junction with the Biala, and along the
Biala to the Carpathian Mountains. Von Mackensen's right moved in the
direction of Gorlice. General Dmitrieff was compelled to weaken his
front to protect Gorlice and then, on Saturday, the 1st of May, the
great attack began. Under cover of artillery fire such as had never been
seen before bridges were pushed across the Biala and Ciezkowice was
taken. The Russian positions were blown out of existence. The Russian
armies did what they could but their defense collapsed and they were
soon in full retreat.

The German armies advanced steadily, and though the Russians made a
brave stand at many places they could do nothing. On the Wisloka they
hung on for five days, but they were attempting an impossibility. From
that time on each day marked a new German victory, and in spite of the
most desperate fighting the Russians were forced back until, on the
11th, the bulk of their line lay just west of the lower San as far as
Przemysl and then south to the upper Dniester. The armies were in
retreat, but were not routed. In a fortnight the army of Dmitrieff had
fallen back eighty-five miles.

The Grand Duke Nicholas by this time understood the situation. He
perceived that it was impossible to make a stand. The only thing to do
was to retreat steadily until Germany's mass of war material should be
used up, even though miles of territory should be sacrificed. It should
be a retreat in close contact with the enemy, so that the Austro-German
troops would have to fight for every mile. This meant a retreat not for
days, but perhaps for weeks. It meant that Przemysl must be given up,
and Lemberg, and even Warsaw, but the safety of the Russian army was of
more importance than a province or a city.

On May 18th the German War Office announced their successes in the
following terms: "The army under General von Mackensen in the course of
its pursuit of the Russians reached yesterday the neighborhood of
Subiecko, on the lower Wisloka, and Kolbuezowa, northeast of Debica.
Under the pressure of this advance the Russians also retreated from
their positions north of the Vistula. In this section the troops under
General von Woyrach, closely following the enemy, penetrated as far as
the region northwest of Kielce. In the Carpathians Austro-Hungarian and
German troops under General von Linsingen conquered the hills east of
the Upper Stryi, and took 8,660 men prisoners, as well as capturing six
machine guns. At the present moment, while the armies under General von
Mackensen are approaching the Przemysl fortresses and the lower San, it
is possible to form an approximate idea of the booty taken. In the
battles of Tarno and Gorlika, and in the battles during the pursuit of
these armies, we have so far taken 103,500 Russian prisoners, 69 cannon,
and 255 machine guns. In these figures the booty taken by the Allied
troops fighting in the Carpathians, and north of the Vistula, is not
included. This amounts to a further 40,000 prisoners. Przemysl
surrendered to the German's on June 3, 1915, only ten weeks after the
Russian capture of the fortress, which had caused such exultation."

General von Mackensen continued toward Lemberg, the capital of Galicia.
On June 18th, when the victorious German armies were approaching the
gates of Lemberg, the Russian losses were estimated at 400,000 dead and
wounded, and 300,000 prisoners, besides 100,000 lost before Marshal von
Hindenburg's forces in Poland and Courland. On June 23d Lemberg fell.
The weakness of Russia in this campaign arose from the exhaustion of her
ammunition supplies, but great shipments of such supplies were being
constantly forwarded from Vladivostock.

When the German army crossed the San, Wilhelm II, then German Emperor,
was present. It is interesting to look back on the scene. Here is a
paragraph from the account of the Wolff Telegraphic Bureau: "The Emperor
had hurried forward to his troops by automobile. On the way he was
greeted with loud hurrahs by the wounded, riding back in wagons. On the
heights of Jaroslav the Emperor met Prince Eitel Friedrich, and then,
from several points of observation, for hours followed with keen
attention the progress of the battle for the crossing."

While the great offensive in Galicia was well under way, the Germans
were pushing forward in East Prussia. Finding little resistance they
ultimately invaded Courland, captured Libau, and established themselves
firmly in that province. The sweep of the victorious German armies
through Galicia was continued into Poland. On July 19th William the War
Lord bombastically 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."

It would be futile to recount the details of the various German
victories which followed the advance into Poland. On July 24th, the
German line ran from Novogard in the north, south of Przasnysz, thence
to Novogeorgievsk, then swinging to the southeast below Warsaw it passed
close to the west of Ivangorad, Lublin, Chelm, and then south to a point
just east of Lemberg. Warsaw at that time was in the jaws of the German
nutcracker.

On July 21st, the bells in all the churches throughout Russia clanged a
call to prayer for twenty-four hours' continual service of intercession
for victory. In spite of the heat the churches were packed. Hour after
hour the people stood wedged together, while the priests and choirs
chanted their litanies. Outside the Kamian Cathedral an open-air mass
was celebrated in the presence of an enormous crowd. But the German
victories continued.

On August 5th Warsaw was abandoned. Up to July 29th hope was entertained
in military quarters in London and Paris that the Germans would stand a
siege in their fortresses along the Warsaw salient, but on that date
advices came from Petrograd that in order to save the Russian armies a
retreat must be made, and the Warsaw fortresses abandoned. For some time
before this the Russian resistance had perceptibly stiffened, and many
vigorous counter-attacks had been made against the German advance, but
it was the same old story, the lack of ammunition. The armies were
compelled to retire and await the munitions necessary for a new
offensive.

The last days of Russian rule in Warsaw were days of extraordinary
interest. The inhabitants, to the number of nearly half a million,
sought refuge in Russia. All goods that could be useful to the Germans
were either removed or burned. Crops were destroyed in the surrounding
fields. When the Germans entered they found an empty and deserted city,
with only a few Poles and the lowest classes of Jews still left. Warsaw
is a famous city, full of ancient palaces, tastefully, adorned shops,
finely built streets, and fourscore church towers where the bells are
accustomed to ring melodiously for matins and vespers. In the Ujazdowske
Avenue one comes to the most charming building in all Warsaw, the
Lazienki Palace, with its delicious gardens mirrored in a lovely lake.
It is a beautiful city.

The fall of Warsaw meant the fall of Russian Poland, but Russia was not
yet defeated. Von Hindenburg was to be treated as Napoleon was in 1812,
The strategy of the Grand Duke was sound; so long as he could save the
army the victories of Germany would be futile, It is true that the
German armies were not compelled, like those of Napoleon, to live on the
land. They could bring their supplies from Berlin day by day, but every
mile they advanced into hostile territory made their task harder. The
German line of communication, as it grew longer, became weaker and the
troops needed for garrison duty in the captured towns, seriously
diminished the strength of the fighting army, The Russian retreat was
good strategy and it was carried on with extraordinary cleverness.

It is unnecessary to describe the events which succeeded the fall of
Warsaw in great detail. There was a constant succession of German
victories and Russian defeats, but never one of the Russian armies
enveloped or destroyed. Back they went, day after day, always fighting;
each great Russian fortress resisted until it saw itself in danger, and
then safely withdrew its troops. Kovno fell and Novogeorgievsk, and
Ivangorad, then Ossowietz was abandoned, and Brest-Litovsk and Grodno.
On September 5th the Emperor of Russia the following order:

     Today I have taken supreme command of all the forces of the sea and
     land armies operating in the theater of war. With firm faith in the
     clemency of God, with unshakable assurance in final victory, we
     shall fulfil our sacred duty to defend our country to the last. We
     will not dishonor the Russian land.

The Grand Duke Nicholas was made Viceroy of the Caucasus, a post which
took him out of the main theater of fighting but gave him a great field
for fresh military activity. He had been bearing a heavy burden, and had
shown himself to be a great commander. He had outmaneuvered von
Hindenberg again and again, and though finally the Russian armies under
his command had been driven back, the retreat itself was a proof of his
military ability, not only in its conception, but in the way in which it
was done.

The Emperor chose General Alexieff as his Chief of General Staff. He was
the ablest of the great generals who had been leading the Russian army.
With this change in command a new spirit seemed to come over Russia. The
German advance, however, was not yet completely checked. It was
approaching Vilna.

The fighting around Vilna was the bitterest in the whole long retreat.
On the 18th of September it fell, but the Russian troops were safely
removed and the Russian resistance had become strong. Munitions were
pouring into the new Russian army. The news from the battle-front began
to show improvement. On September 8th General Brussilov, further in the
south, had attacked the Germans in front of Tarnopol, and defeated them
with heavy loss. More than seventeen thousand men were captured with
much artillery. Soon the news came of other advances. Dubno was retaken
and Lutsk.

The end of September saw the German advance definitely checked. The
Russian forces were now extended in a line from Riga on the north, along
the river Dvina, down to Dvinsk. Then turning to the east along the
river, it again turned south and so on down east of the Pripet Marshes,
it followed an almost straight line to the southern frontier. Its two
strongest points were Riga, on the Gulf of Riga, which lay under the
protection of the guns of the fleet, and Dvinsk, through which ran the
great Petrograd Railway line. Against these two points von Hindenburg
directed his attack. And now, for the first time in many months, he met
with complete failure. The German fleet attempted to assist him on the
Gulf of Riga, but was defeated by the Russian Baltic fleet with heavy
losses. A bombardment turned out a failure and the German armies were
compelled to retire.

A more serious effort was made against Dvinsk but was equally
unsuccessful and the German losses were immense. Again and again the
attempt was made to cross the Dvina River, but without success; the
German invasion was definitely stopped. By the end of October there was
complete stagnation in the northern sector of the battle line, and
though in November there were a number of battles, nothing happened of
great importance.

Further south, however, Russia become active. An army had been organized
at her Black Sea bases, and for political reasons it was necessary that
that army should move. At this time the great question was, what was
Roumania about to do? To prevent her from being forced to join the
Central Powers she must have encouragement. It was determined therefore
that an offensive should be made in the direction of Czernowitz. This
town was the railway center of a wide region, and lay close to
Roumania's northern frontier.

[Illustration: THE GERMAN ATTACK ON THE ROAD TO PETROGRAD]

The Russian aggressive met with great success. It is true that it never
approached the defenses of Czernowitz, but Brussilov, on the north, had
been able to make great gains of ground, and the very fact that such a
powerful movement could be made so soon after the Russian retreat was an
encouragement to every friend of the Allied cause. This offensive
continued till up to the fourth week of January when it came to an
abrupt stop. A despatch from Petrograd explained the movement as
follows: "The recent Russian offensive in Bessarabia and Galicia was
carried out in accordance with the plan prepared by the Entente Allies'
War Council to relieve the pressure on the Entente forces while they
were fortifying Saloniki and during the evacuation of the Gallipoli
Peninsula." Russia had sacrificed more than seventy thousand soldiers for
her Allies.

During the year 1916 the Russian armies seemed to have had a new birth.
At last they were supplied with guns and munitions. They waited until
they were ready. In March a series of battles was fought in the
neighborhood of Lake Narotch, and eight successive attacks were made
against the German army, intrenched between Lake Narotch and Lake
Vischenebski. The Germans at first were driven back and badly defeated.
Later on, however, the Russian artillery was sent to another section,
and the Germans were able to recover their position. During June the
Russians attacked all along the southern part of their line. In three
weeks they had regained a whole province. Lutsk and Dubno had been
retaken; two hundred thousand men and hundreds of guns, had been
captured, and the Austrian line had been pierced and shattered. Further
south the German army had been compelled to retreat and the Russian
armies were in Bukovina and Galicia. On the 10th of August Stanislau
fell.

By this time two Austrian armies had been shattered, over three hundred
and fifty thousand prisoners taken, and nearly a million men put out of
action. Germany, however, was sending reinforcements as fast as
possible, and putting up a desperate defense. Nevertheless everything
was encouraging for Russia and she entered upon the winter in a very
different condition from her condition in the previous year. Then she
had just ended her great retreat. Now she had behind her a series of
successes. But a new difficulty had arisen in the loss of the political
harmony at home which had marked the first years of the war. Dark days
were ahead.



CHAPTER VI

HOW THE BALKANS DECIDED


For more than half a century the Balkans have presented a problem which
disturbed the minds of the statesmen of Europe. Again and again, during
that period, it seemed that in the Balkan mountains might be kindled a
blaze which might set the world afire. Balkan politics is a labyrinth in
which one might easily be lost. The inhabitants of the Balkans represent
many races, each with its own ambition, and, for the most part,
military. There were Serbs, and Bulgarians, and Turks, and Roumanians,
and Greeks, and their territorial divisions did not correspond to their
nationalities. The land was largely mountainous, with great gaps that
make it, in a sense, the highway of the world. From 1466 to 1878 the
Balkans was in the dominion of the Turks. In the early days while the
Turks were warring against Hungary, their armies marched through the
Balkan hills. The natives kept apart, and preserved their language,
religion and customs.

In the nineteenth century, as the Turks grew weaker, their subject
people began to seek independence. Greece came first, and, in 1829,
aided by France, Russia and Great Britain, she became an independent
kingdom. Serbia revolted in 1804, and by 1820 was an autonomous state,
though still tributary to Turkey. In 1859, Roumania became autonomous.
The rising of Bulgaria in 1876, however, was really the beginning of the
succession of events which ultimately led to the World War of 1914-18.
The Bulgarian insurrection was crushed by the Turks in such a way as to
stir the indignation of the whole world. What are known as the
"Bulgarian Atrocities" seem mild today, but they led to the
Russo-Turkish War in 1877.

The treaty of Berlin, by which that war was settled in 1878, was one of
those treaties which could only lead to trouble. It deprived Russia of
much of the benefit of her victory, and left nearly every racial
question unsettled. Roumania lost Bessarabia, which was mainly inhabited
by Roumanians. Bosnia and Herzegovina were handed over to the
administration of Austria. Turkey was allowed to retain Macedonia,
Albania and Thrace. Serbia was given Nish, but had no outlet to the sea.
Greece obtained Thessaly, and a new province was made of the country
south of the Balkans called Eastern Rumelia. From that time on, quarrel
after quarrel made up the history of the Balkan peoples, each of whom
sought the assistance and support of some one of the great powers.
Russia and Austria were constantly intriguing with the new states, in
the hope of extending their own domains in the direction of
Constantinople.

The history of Bulgaria shows that that nation has been continually the
center of these intrigues. In 1879 they elected as their sovereign
Prince Alexander of Battenburg, whose career might almost be called
romantic. A splendid soldier and an accomplished gentleman, he stands
out as an interesting figure in the sordid politics of the Balkans. He
identified himself with his new country. In 1885 he brought about a
union with Eastern Rumelia, which led to a disagreement with Russia.

Serbia, doubtless at Russian instigation, suddenly declared war, but was
overwhelmed by Prince Alexander in short order. Russia then abducted
Prince Alexander, but later was forced to restore him. However, Russian
intrigues, and his failure to obtain support from one of the great
powers, forced his abdication in 1886.

In 1887 Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha became the Prince of
Bulgaria. He, also, was a remarkable man, but not the romantic of his
predecessor. He seems to have been a sort of a parody of a king. He was
fond of ostentation, and full of ambition. He was a personal coward, but
extremely cunning. During his long reign he built up Bulgaria into a
powerful, independent kingdom, and even assumed the title of Czar of
Bulgaria. During the first days of his reign he was kept safely on the
throne by his mother, the Princess Clementine, a daughter of Louis
Phillippe, who, according to Gladstone, was the cleverest woman in
Europe, and for a few years Bulgaria was at peace. In 1908 he declared
Bulgaria independent, and its independence was recognized by Turkey on
the payment of an indemnity. During this period Russia was the protector
of Bulgaria, but the Bulgarian fox was looking also for the aid of
Austria. Serbia more and more relied upon Russia.

The Austrian treatment of the Slavs was a source of constant
irritation to Serbia. Roumania had a divided feeling. Her loss of
Bessarabia to Russia had caused ill feeling, but in Austria's province
of Transylvania there were millions of Roumanians, whom Roumania
desired to bring under her rule. Greece was fearful of Russia, because
of Russia's desire for the control of Constantinople. All of these
nations, too, were deeply conscious of the Austro-German ambitions
for extension of their power through to the East. Each of these
principalities was also jealous of the other. Bulgaria and Serbia
had been at war; many Bulgarians were in the Roumanian territory,
many Serbians, Bulgarians and Greeks in Macedonia. There was only
one tie in common, that was their hatred of Turkey. In 1912 a league
was formed, under the direction of the Greek statesman, Venizelos,
having for its object an attack on Turkey. By secret treaties
arrangements were made for the division of the land, which they
hoped to obtain from Turkey.

War was declared, and Turkey was decisively defeated, and then the
trouble began. Serbia and Bulgaria had been particularly anxious for an
outlet to the sea, and in the treaty between them it had been arranged
that Serbia should have an outlet on the Adriatic, while Bulgaria was to
obtain an outlet on the Ægean. The Triple Alliance positively refused
Serbia its share of the Adriatic coast. Serbia insisted, therefore, on a
revision of the treaty, which would enable her to have a seaport on the
Ægean.

An attempt was made to settle the question by arbitration, but King
Ferdinand refused, whereupon, in July, 1913, the Second Balkan War
began. Bulgaria was attacked by Greece and Serbia, and Turkey took a
chance and regained Adrianople, and even Roumania, which had been
neutral in the First Baltic War, mobilized her armies and marched toward
Sofia. Bulgaria surrendered, and on the 10th of August the Treaty of
Bucharest was signed by the Balkan States.

As a result of this Bulgaria was left in a thoroughly dissatisfied state
of mind. She had been the leader in the war against Turkey, she had
suffered heavy losses, and she had gained almost nothing. Moreover she
had lost to Roumania, a territory containing a quarter of a million
Bulgarians, and a splendid harbor on the Black Sea. Serbia and Greece
were the big winners. Such a treaty could not be a final settlement. The
Balkans were left seething with unrest. Serbia, though she had gained
much, was still dissatisfied. Her ambitions, however, now turned in the
direction of the Jugoslavs under the rule of Austria, and it was her
agitation in this matter which directly brought on the Great War. But
Bulgaria was sullen and ready for revenge. When the Great War began,
therefore, Roumania, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece were strongly in
sympathy with Russia, who had been their backer and friend. Bulgaria, in
spite of all she owed to Russia in the early days, was now ready to find
protection from an alliance with the Central Powers. Her feeling was
well known to the Allies, and every effort was made to obtain her
friendship and, if possible, her aid.

Viviani, then Premier of France, in an address before the French Chamber
of Deputies, said:

     The Balkan question was raised at the outset of the war, even
     before it came to the attention of the world. The Bucharest Treaty
     had left in Bulgaria profound heartburnings. Neither King nor
     people were resigned to the loss of the fruits of their efforts and
     sacrifices, and to the consequences of the unjustifiable war they
     had waged upon their former allies. From the first day, the Allied
     governments took into account the dangers of such a situation, and
     sought a means to remedy it. Their policy has proceeded in a spirit
     of justice and generosity which has characterized the attitude of
     Great Britain, Russia and Italy as well as France. We have
     attempted to re-establish the union of the Baltic peoples, and in
     accord with them seek the realization of their principal national
     aspirations. The equilibrium thus obtained by mutual sacrifices
     really made by each would have been the best guarantee of future
     peace. Despite constant efforts in which Roumania, Greece and
     Serbia lent their assistance, we have been unable to obtain the
     sincere collaboration of the Bulgarian Government. The difficulties
     respecting the negotiations were always at Sofia.

At the beginning of the war it appears, therefore, that Bulgaria was
entering into negotiations with the Allies, hoping to regain in this
way, some of the territory she had lost in the Second Baltic War. Many
of her leading statesmen and most distinguished generals favored the
cause of Russia, but in May came the great German advance in Galicia,
and the Allies' stalemate in the Dardanelles, and the king, and his
supporters, found the way clear for a movement in favor of Germany.
Still protesting neutrality they signed a secret treaty with Berlin,
Vienna and Constantinople on July 17th. The Central Powers had promised
them not only what they had been asking, in Macedonia, but also the
Greek territory of Epirus. This treaty was concealed from those
Bulgarian leaders who still held to Russia, and on the 5th of October
Bulgaria formally entered into war on the side of Germany, and began an
attack on Serbia.

The full account of the intrigue which led to this action has never been
told. It is not improbable that King Ferdinand himself never had any
other idea than to act as he did, but he dissembled for a long time. He
set forth his claims in detail to the Allies, who used every effort to
induce Roumania, Greece and Serbia to make the concessions that would be
necessary. Such concessions were made, but not until it was too late. In
a telegram from Milan dated September 24th, an account is given of an
interview between Czar Ferdinand and a committee from those Bulgarians
who were opposed to the King's policy.

"Mind your own head. I shall mind mine!" are the words which the King
spoke to M. Stambulivski when he received the five opposition members
who had come to warn him of the danger to which he was exposing himself
and the nation.

The five members were received by the King in the red room at the Royal
Palace and chairs had been placed for them around a big table. The King
entered the room, accompanied by Prince Boris, the heir apparent, and
his secretary, M. Boocovitch.

"Be seated, gentlemen," said the King, as he sat down himself, as if for
a very quiet talk. His secretary took a seat at the table, a little
apart to take notes, but the conversation immediately became so heated
and rapid that he was unable to write it down.

The first to speak was M. Malinoff, leader of the Democratic party, who
said: "The policy adopted by the Government is one of adventure, tending
to throw Bulgaria into the arms of Germany, and driving her to attack
Serbia. This policy is contrary to the aspirations, feeling and
interests of the country, and if the Government obstinately continues in
this way it will provoke disturbances of the greatest gravity." It was
the first allusion to the possibility of a revolution, but the King
listened without flinching. M. Malinoff concluded: "For these reasons we
beg your Majesty, after having vainly asked the Government, to convoke
the Chamber immediately, and we ask this convocation for the precise
object of saving the country from dangerous adventures by the formation
of a coalition Ministry."

The King remained silent, and, with a nod, invited M. Stambulivski to
speak. M. Stambulivski was a leader of the Agrarian party, a man of
sturdy, rustic appearance, accustomed to speak out his mind boldly, and
exceedingly popular among the peasant population. He grew up himself as
a peasant, and wore the laborer's blouse up till very recently. He stood
up and looking the King straight in the face said in resolute tones: "In
the name of every farmer in Bulgaria I add to what M. Malinoff has just
said, that the Bulgarian people hold you personally responsible more
than your Government, for the disastrous adventure of 1913. If a
similar adventure were to be repeated now its gravity this time would be
irreparable. The responsibility would once more fall on your policy,
which is contrary to the welfare of our country, and the nation would
not hesitate to call you personally to account. That there may be no
mistake as to the real wishes of the country I present to your Majesty
my country's demand in writing."

He handed the King a letter containing the resolution voted by the
Agrarians. The King read it and then turned to M. Zanoff, leader of the
Radical Democrats, and asked him to speak. M. Zanoff did so, speaking
very slowly and impressively, and also looking the King straight in the
face: "Sire, I had sworn never again to set foot inside your palace, and
if I come today it is because the interests of my country are above
personal questions, and have compelled me. Your Majesty may read what I
have to say in this letter, which I submit to you in behalf of our
party."

He handed the letter and the King read it and still remained silent.
Then he said, turning to his former Prime Minister and ablest
politician: "Gueshoff, it is now your turn to speak."

M. Gueshoff got up and said: "I also am fully in accord with what M.
Stambulivski has just said. No matter how severe his words may have been
in their simple unpolished frankness, which ignores the ordinary
formalities of etiquette, they entirely express our unanimous opinion.
We all, as representing the opposition, consider the present policy of
the Government contrary to the sentiments and interests of the country,
because by driving it to make common cause with Germany it makes us the
enemies of Russia, which was our deliverer, and the adventure into which
we are thus thrown compromises our future. We disapprove most absolutely
of such a policy, and we also ask that the Chamber be convoked, and a
Ministry formed with the co-operation of all parties."

After M. Gueshoff, the former Premier, M. Daneff also spoke, and
associated himself with what had already been said.

The King remained still silent for a while, then he, also, stood up and
said: "Gentlemen, I have listened to your threats, and will refer them
to the President of the Council of Ministers, that he may know and
decide what to do."

All present bowed, and a chilly silence followed. The King had evidently
taken the frank warning given him as a threat to him personally, and he
walked up and down nervously for a while. Prince Boris turned aside to
talk with the Secretary, who had resumed taking notes. The King
continued pacing to and fro, evidently very nettled. Then, approaching
M. Zanoff, and as if to change the conversation, he asked him for news
about this season's harvest.

M. Zanoff abruptly replied: "Your Majesty knows that we have not come
here to talk about the harvest, but of something far more important at
present, namely, the policy of your Government, which is on the point of
ruining our country. We can on no account approve the policy that is
anti-Russian. If the Crown and M. Radoslavoff persist in their policy
we shall not answer for the consequences. We have not desired to seek
out those responsible for the disaster of 1913, because other grave
events have been precipitated. But it was a disaster due to criminal
folly. It must not be repeated by an attack on Serbia by Bulgaria, as
seems contemplated by M. Radoslavoff, and which according to all
appearances, has the approval of your Majesty. It would be a
premeditated crime, and deserve to be punished."

The King hesitated a moment, and then held out his hand to M. Zanoff,
saying: "All right. At all events I thank you for your frankness." Then,
approaching M. Stambulivski, he repeated to him his question about the
harvest.

M. Stambulivski, as a simple peasant, at first allowed himself to be led
into a discussion of this secondary matter, and had expressed the hope
that the prohibition on the export of cereals would be removed, when he
suddenly remembered, and said: "But this is not the moment to speak of
these things. I again repeat to your Majesty that the country does not
want a policy of adventure which cost it so dear in 1913. It was your
own policy too. Before 1913 we thought you were a great diplomatist, but
since then we have seen what fruits your diplomacy bears. You took
advantage of all the loopholes in the Constitution to direct the country
according to your own views. Your Ministers are nothing. You alone are
the author of this policy and you will have to bear the responsibility."

The King replied frigidly, "The policy which I have decided to follow is
that which I consider the best for the welfare of the country."

"It is a policy which will only bring misfortune," replied the sturdy
Agrarian. "It will lead to fresh catastrophes, and compromise not only
the future of our country, but that of your dynasty, and may cost you
your head."

It was as bold a saying as ever was uttered before a King, and Ferdinand
looked astonished at the peasant who was thus speaking to him. He said,
"Do not mind my head; it is already old. Rather mind your own!" he
added with a disdainful smile, and turned away.

M. Stambulivski retorted: "My head matters little, Sire. What matters
more is the good of our country."

The King paid no more attention to him, and took M. Gueshoff and M.
Danoff apart, who again insisted on convoking the Chamber, and assured
him that M. Radoslavoff's government would be in a minority. They also
referred to the Premier's oracular utterances.

"Ah!" said the King. "Has Radoslavoff spoken to you, and what has he
said?"

"He has said--" replied the leaders, "that Bulgaria would march with
Germany and attack Serbia."

The King made a vague gesture, and then said: "Oh, I did not know."

This incident throws a strong light upon the conflict which was going on
in the Balkan states, between those Kings who were of German origin, and
who believed in the German power, and their people who loved Russia.
King Ferdinand got his warning. He did not listen, and he lost his
throne. All this, however, took place before the Bulgarian declaration
of war. Yet much had already shown what King Ferdinand was about to do.
The Allies, to be sure, were incredulous, and were doing their best to
cultivate the good will of the treacherous King, On September 23rd the
official order was given for Bulgaria's mobilization. She, however,
officially declared that her position was that of armed neutrality and
that she had no aggressive intentions. As it has developed, she was
acting under the direction of the German High Command.

It was at this period that Germany had failed to crash Russia in the
struggle on the Vilna, and, in accordance with her usual strategy when
one plan failed, another was undertaken. It seemed to her, therefore,
that the punishment of Serbia would make up for other failures, and
moreover would enable her to assist Turkey, which needed munitions,
besides releasing for Germany supplies of food and other material which
might come from Turkey.

They therefore entrusted an expedition against Serbia to Field Marshal
von Mackensen, and had begun to gather an army for that purpose, north
of the Danube.

This army of course was mainly composed of Austrian troops, but was
stiffened throughout by some of the best regiments from the German army.
To assist this new army they counted upon Bulgaria, with whom they had
already a secret treaty, and in spite of the falsehoods issued from
Sofia, the Bulgarian mobilization was meant for an attack on Serbia. The
condition of affairs was well understood in Russia.

On October 2, 1915, M. Sazonov, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs,
issued the following statement: "The situation in the Balkans is very
grave. The whole Russian nation is aroused by the unthinkable treachery
of Ferdinand and his Government to the Slavic cause. Bulgaria owes her
independence to Russia, and yet seems willing now to become a vassal of
Russia's enemies. In her attitude towards Serbia, when Serbia is
fighting for her very existence, Bulgaria puts herself in the class with
Turkey. We do not believe that the Bulgarian people sympathize with the
action of their ruler therefore, the Allies are disposed to give them
time for reflection. If they persist in their present treacherous course
they must answer to Russia." The next day the following ultimatum from
Russia was handed the Bulgarian Prime Minister:

     Events which are taking place in Bulgaria at this moment give
     evidence of the definite decision of King Ferdinand's Government to
     place the fate of its country in the hands of Germany. The presence
     of German and Austrian officers at the Ministry of War and on the
     staffs of the army, the concentration of troops in the zone
     bordering on Serbia, and the extensive financial support accepted
     from her enemies by the Sofia Cabinet, no longer leave any doubt as
     to the object of the present military preparations of Bulgaria. The
     powers of the Entente, who have at heart the realization of the
     aspirations of the Bulgarian people, have on many occasions warned
     M. Radoslavoff that any hostile act against Serbia would be
     considered as directed against themselves. The assurances given by
     the head of the Bulgarian Cabinet in reply to these warnings are
     contradicted by facts. The representative of Russia, bound to
     Bulgaria by the imperishable memory of her liberation from the
     Turkish yoke, cannot sanction by his presence preparations for
     fratricidal aggression against a Slav and allied people. The
     Russian Minister has, therefore, received orders to leave Bulgaria
     with all the staffs of the Legation and the Consulates if the
     Bulgarian Government does not within twenty-four hours openly break
     with the enemies of the Slav cause and of Russia, and does not at
     once proceed to send away the officers belonging to the armies of
     states who are at war with the powers of the Entente.

Similar ultimatums were presented by representatives of France and Great
Britain. Bulgaria's reply to these ultimatums was described as bold to
the verge of insolence. In substance she denied that German officers
were on the staffs of Bulgarian armies, but said that if they were
present that fact concerned only Bulgaria, which reserved the right to
invite whomsoever she liked. The Bulgarian Government then issued a
manifesto to the nation, announcing its decision to enter the war on the
side of the Central Powers. The manifesto reads as follows:

     The Central Powers have promised us parts of Serbia, creating an
     Austro-Hungarian border line, which is absolutely necessary for
     Bulgaria's independence of the Serbians. We do not believe in the
     promises of the Quadruple Entente. Italy, one of the Allies,
     treacherously broke her treaty of thirty-three years. We believe in
     Germany, which is fighting the whole world to fulfill her treaty
     with Austria. Bulgaria must fight at the victor's side. The Germans
     and Austro-Hungarians are victorious on all fronts. Russia soon
     will have collapsed entirely. Then will come the turn of France.
     Italy and Serbia. Bulgaria would commit suicide if she did not
     fight on the side of the Central Powers, which offer the only
     possibility of realizing her desire for a union of all Bulgarian
     peoples.

The manifesto also stated that Russia was fighting for Constantinople
and the Dardanelles; Great Britain to destroy Germany's competition;
France for Alsace and Lorraine, and the other allies to rob foreign
countries; the Central Powers were declared to be fighting to defend
property and assure peaceful progress. The manifesto filled seven
columns in the newspapers, and discussed at some length Bulgaria's trade
interests. It attacked Serbia most bitterly, declaring that Serbia had
oppressed the Bulgarian population of Macedonia in a most barbarous
manner; that she had attacked Bulgarian territory and that the Bulgarian
troops had been forced to fight for the defense of their own soil. In
fact it was written in quite the usual German manner.

Long before this M. Venizelos, the Greek Premier, had perceived what was
coming. Greece was bound by treaty to assist Serbia if she were attacked
by Bulgaria. On September 21st, Venizelos asked France and Britain for a
hundred and fifty thousand troops. On the 24th, the Allies agreed to
this and Greece at once began to mobilize. His policy was received with
great enthusiasm in the Greek Chamber, and former Premier Gounaris, amid
applause, expressed his support of the government.

On October 6th an announcement from Athens stated that Premier Venizelos
had resigned, the King having informed him that he was unable to support
the policy of his Minister. King Constantine was a brother-in-law of the
German Emperor, and although professing neutrality he had steadily
opposed M. Venizelos' policy. He had once before forced M. Venizelos'
resignation, but at the general elections which followed, the Greek
statesman was returned to power by a decisive majority.

[Illustration: SCENE OF GREAT ALLIED OFFENSIVE THAT DEFEATED BULGARIA IN
SEPTEMBER, 1918]

Intense indignation was caused by the King's action, though the King was
able to procure the support of a considerable party. Venizelos'
resignation was precipitated by the landing of the Allied troops in
Saloniki. They had come at the invitation of Venizelos, but the
opposition protested against the occupation of Greek territory by
foreign troops. After a disorderly session in which Venizelos explained
to the Chamber of Deputies the circumstances connected with the landing,
the Chamber passed a vote of confidence in the Government by 142 to 102.
The substance of his argument may be found in his conclusion:

"We have a treaty with Serbia. If we are honest we will leave nothing
undone to insure its fulfillment in letter and spirit. Only if we are
rogues may we find excuses to avoid our obligations."

Upon his first resignation M. Zaimis was appointed Premier, and declared
for a policy of armed neutrality. This position was sharply criticised
by Venizelos, but for a time became the policy of the Greek Government.
Meantime the Allied troops were arriving at Saloniki. On October 3d,
seventy thousand French troops arrived. A formal protest was made by the
Greek commandant, who then directed the harbor officials to assist in
arranging the landing. In a short time the Allied forces amounted to a
hundred and fifty thousand men, but the German campaign was moving
rapidly.

The German Balkan army captured Belgrade on the 9th of October, and by
that date two Bulgarian armies were on the Serbian frontier. Serbia
found herself opposed by two hundred thousand Austro-Germans and a
quarter of a million Bulgarians. Greece and Roumania fully mobilized and
were watching the conflict, and the small allied contingent at Saloniki
was preparing to march inland to the aid of Serbia.

The conduct of Greece on this occasion has led to universal criticism.
The King himself, no doubt, was mainly moved by his German wife and the
influence of his Imperial brother-in-law. Those that were associated
with him were probably moved by fear. They had been much impressed by
the strength of the German armies. They had seen the success of the
great German offensive in Russia, while the French and British were
being held in the West. They knew, too, the strength of Bulgaria. The
national characteristic of the Greeks is prudence, and it cannot be
denied that there was great reason to suppose that the armies of Greece
would not be able to resist the new attack. With these views Venizelos,
the greatest statesman that Greece had produced for many years, did not
agree, and the election seemed to show that he was supported by the
majority of the Greek people.

This was another case where the Allies, faced by a dangerous situation,
were acting with too great caution. In Gallipoli they had failed,
because at the very beginning they had not used their full strength.
Now, again, knowing as they did all that depended upon it, bound as they
were to the most loyal support of Serbia, the aid they sent was too
small to be more than a drop in the bucket. It must be remembered,
however, that the greatest leaders among the Allies were at all times
opposed to in any way scattering their strength. They believed that the
war was to be won in France. Military leaders in particular yielded
under protest to the political leaders when expeditions of this
character were undertaken.

Certainly this is true, that the world believed that Serbia had a right
to Allied assistance. The gallant little nation was fighting for her
life, and public honor demanded that she should be aided. It was this
strong feeling that led to the action that was taken, in spite of the
military opinions. It was, however, too late.

In the second week of October Serbia found herself faced by an enemy
which was attacking her on three sides. She herself had been greatly
weakened. Her losses in 1914, when she had driven Austria from her
border, must have been at least two hundred thousand men. She had
suffered from pestilence and famine. Her strength now could not have
been more than two hundred thousand, and though she was fairly well
supplied with munitions, she was so much outnumbered that she could
hardly hope for success. On her west she was facing the Austro-German
armies; on her east Bulgaria; on the south Albania. Her source of
supplies was Saloniki and this was really her only hope. If the Allies
at Saloniki could stop the Bulgarian movement, the Serbians might face
again the Austro-Germans. They expected this help from the Allies.

At Nish the town was decorated and the school children waited outside
the station with bouquets to present to the coming reinforcements. But
the Allies did not come.

Von Mackensen's plan was simple enough. His object was to win a way to
Constantinople. This could be done either by the control of the Danube
or the Ottoman Railroad. To control the Danube he had to seize
northeastern Serbia for the length of the river. This was comparatively
easy and would give him a clear water way to the Bulgarian railways
connected with Constantinople. The Ottoman railway was a harder route
to win. It meant an advance to the southeast, which would clear the
Moravo valley up to Nish, and then the Nishava valley up to Bulgaria.
The movements involved were somewhat complex, but easily carried out on
account of the very great numerical superiority of von Mackensen's
forces.

On September 19th Belgrade was bombarded. The Serbian positions were
gradually destroyed. On the 7th of October the German armies crossed the
Danube, and on the 8th the Serbians began to retreat. There was great
destruction in Belgrade and the Bulgarian General, Mishitch, was forced
slowly back to the foothills of the Tser range.

For a time von Mackensen moved slowly. He did not wish to drive the
Serbians too far south. On the 12th of October the Bulgarian army began
its attack. At first it was held, but by October 17th was pushing
forward all along the line. On the 20th they entered Uskub, a central
point of all the routes of southern Serbia. This practically separated
the Allied forces at Saloniki from the Serbian armies further north.
Disaster followed disaster. On Tuesday, October 26th, a junction of
Bulgarian and Austro-German patrols was completed in the Dobravodo
mountains. General von Gallwitz announced that a moment of world
significance had come, that the "Orient and Occident had been united,
and on the basis of this firm and indissoluble union a new and mighty
vierbund comes into being, created by the victory of our arms."

[Illustration: GERMANY'S DREAM: "THE
BREMEN-BERLIN-BOSPORUS-BAGDAD-BAHN"]

The road from Germany, through Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria to Turkey
lay open. On October 31st, Milanovac was lost, and on November 2nd,
Kraguyevac surrendered, the decisive battle of the war. On November
7th, Nish was captured. General Jecoff announced: "After fierce and
sanguinary fighting the fortress of Nish has been conquered by our brave
victorious troops and the Bulgarian flag has been hoisted to remain
forever."

The Serbian army continued steadily to retreat, until on November 8th,
advancing Franco-British troops almost joined with them, presenting a
line from Prilep to Dorolovo on the Bulgarian frontier. At this time the
Bulgarian army suffered a defeat at Izvor, and also at Strumitza. The
Allied armies were now reported to number three hundred thousand men.
The Austro-Germans by this time had reached the mountainous region of
Serbia, and were meeting with strong resistance.

On November 13th, German despatches from the front claimed the capture
of 54,000 Serbian prisoners. The aged King Peter of Serbia was in full
flight, followed by the Crown Prince. The Serbians, however, were still
fighting and on November 15th, made a stand on the western bank of the
Morava River, and recaptured the town of Tatova.

At this time the Allied world was watching the Serbian struggle with
interest and sympathy. In the House of Lords, Lord Lansdowne in a
discussion of the English effort to give them aid said: "It is
impossible to think or speak of Serbia without a tribute to the wondrous
gallantry with which that little country withstood two separate
invasions, and has lately been struggling against a third. She repelled
the first two invasions by an effort which I venture to think formed one
of the most glorious chapters in the history of this Great War."

Serbia, however, was compelled once more to retreat, and their retreat
soon became a rout. Their guns were abandoned and the roads were strewn
with fainting, starving men. The sufferings of the Serbian people during
this time are indescribable. Men, women, and children struggled along in
the wake of the armies without food or shelter. King Peter himself was
able to escape, with the greatest difficulty. By traveling on horseback
and mule back in disguise he finally reached Scutari and crossed to
Brindisi and finally arrived at Saloniki on New Year's Day, crippled and
almost blind, but still full of fight.

"I believe," he said, "in the liberty of Serbia, as I believe in God. It
was the dream of my youth. It was for that I fought throughout manhood.
It has become the faith of the twilight of my life, I live only to see
Serbia free. I pray that God may let me live until the day of redemption
of my people. On that day I am ready to die, if the Lord wills. I have
struggled a great deal in my life, and am tired, bruised and broken from
it, but I will see, I shall see, this triumph. I shall not die before
the victory of my country."

The Serbian army had been driven out of Serbia. But the Allies who had
come up from Saloniki were still unbeaten. On October 12th, the French
General Serrail arrived and moved with the French forces, as has already
been said, to the Serbian aid. They met with a number of successes. On
October 19th they seized the Bulgarian town of Struminitza, and
occupied strong positions on the left bank of the Vardar. On October
27th they occupied Krivolak, with the British Tenth Division, which had
joined them on their right. They then occupied the summit of
Karahodjali, which commanded the whole section of the valley. This the
Bulgarians attacked in force on the 5th of November, but were badly
repulsed. They then attempted to move toward Babuna Pass, twenty-five
miles west of Krivolak, where they hoped to join hands with the Serbian
column at that point.

They were being faced by a Bulgarian army numbering one hundred and
twenty-five thousand men, and found themselves in serious danger. They
were compelled to fall back into what is called the "Entrenched Camp of
Kavodar" without bringing the aid to the Serbian army that they had
hoped. The Allied expedition to aid Serbia had failed. It was hopeless
from the start, and, if anything, had injured Serbia by raising false
expectations which had interfered with their plans.

During the whole of this disastrous campaign a desperate political
struggle was going on in Greece. On November 3rd, the Zaimis Cabinet
tendered its resignation to King Constantine. The trouble was over a
bill for extra pay to army officers, but it led to an elaborate
discussion of the Greek war policy, M. Venizelos made two long speeches
defending his policy, and condemning the policy of his opponents in
regard to the Balkan situation. He said that he deplored the fact that
Serbia was being left to be crushed by Bulgaria, Greece's hereditary
enemy, who would not scruple later to fall on Greece herself. He spoke
of the King in a friendly way, criticizing, however, his position. He
had been twice removed from the Premiership, although he had a majority
behind him in the Greek Chamber.

"Our State," he said, "is a democracy, presided over by the King, and
the whole responsibility rests with the Cabinet. I admit that the Crown
has a right to disagree with the responsible Government if he thinks the
latter is not in agreement with the national will. But after the recent
election, non-agreement is out of the question, and now the Crown has
not the right to disagree again on the same question. It is not a
question of patriotism but of constitutional liberty."

When the vote was taken the Government was defeated by 147 to 114.
Instead of appointing Venizelos Premier, King Constantine gave the
position to M. Skouloudis, and then dissolved the Greek Chamber by royal
decree. Premier Skouloudis declared his policy to be neutrality with the
character of sincerest benevolence toward the Entente Powers. The
general conditions at Athens during this whole time were causing great
anxiety in the Allied capitals, and the Allied expedition were in
continual fear of an attack in the rear in case of reverse. They
endeavored to obtain satisfactory assurances on this point, and while
assurances were given, during the whole period of King Constantine's
reign aggressive action was prevented because of the doubt as to what
course King Constantine would take.

In the end Constantine was compelled to abdicate. Venizelos became
Premier, and Greece formally declared war on the Central Powers.

It was not till August 27th, 1916, that Roumania cast aside her rôle of
neutral and entered the war with a declaration of hostilities on
Austria-Hungary. Great expectations were founded upon the supposedly
well-trained Roumanian army and upon the nation which, because of its
alertness and discipline, was known as "the policeman of Europe." The
belief was general in Paris and London that the weight of men and
material thrown into the scale by Roumania would bring the to a speedy,
victorious end.

Germany, however, was confident. A spy system excelling in its detailed
reports anything that had heretofore been attempted, made smooth the
path of the German army. Scarcely had the Roumanian army launched a
drive in force into Transylvania on August 30th, when the message spread
from Bucharest "von Mackensen is coming. Recall the army. Draft all
males of military age. Prepare for the worst."

And the worst fell upon hapless Roumania. A vast force of military
engineers moving like a human screen in front of von Mackensen's array,
followed routes carefully mapped out by German spies during the period
of Roumanians neutrality. Military bridges, measured to the inch, had
been prepared to carry cannon, material and men over streams and
ravines. Every Roumanian oil well, mine and storehouse had been located
and mapped. German scientists had studied Roumanian weather conditions
and von Mackensen attacked while the roads were at their best and the
weather most favorable. As the Germans swept forward, spies met them
giving them military information of the utmost value. A swarm of
airplanes spied out the movements of the Roumanians and no Roumanian
airplanes rose to meet them.

General von Falkenhayn, co-operating with von Mackensen, smashed his way
through Vulkan Pass, and cut the main line running to Bucharest at
Craiova. The Dobrudja region was over-run and the central Roumanian
plain was swept clear of all Roumanian opposition to the German advance.
The seat of government transferred from Bucharest to Jassy on November
28, 1916, and on December 6th Bucharest was entered by von Mackensen,
definitely putting an end to Roumania as a factor in the war.

The result of the fall of Roumania was to release immense stores of
petroleum for German use. British and Roumanian engineers had done
their utmost by the use of explosives to make useless the great
Roumanian oil wells, but German engineers soon the precious fluid in
full flow. This furnished the fuel which Germany had long and ardently
desired. The oil-burning submarine now came into its own. It was
possible to plan a great fleet of submersibles to attempt execution of
von Tirpitz's plan for unrestricted submarine warfare. This was decided
upon by the German High Command, the day Bucharest fell. It was realized
that such a policy would bring the United States into the war, but the
Kaiser and his advisers hoped the submarine on sea and a great western
front offensive on land would force a decision in favor of Germany
before America could get ready. How that hope failed was revealed at
Château-Thierry and in the humiliation of Germany.



CHAPTER VII

CAMPAIGN IN MESOPOTAMIA


In our previous discussion of the British campaign in Mesopotamia we
left the British forces intrenched at Kurna, and also occupying Basra,
the port of Bagdad. The object of the Mesopotamia Expedition was
primarily to keep the enemy from the shores of the Gulf of Persia. If
the English had been satisfied with that, the misfortune which was to
come to them might never have occurred, but the whole expedition was
essentially political rather than military in its nature.

The British were defending India. The Germans, unable to attack the
British Empire by sea, were hoping to attack her by land. They had
already attempted to stir up a Holy War with the full expectation that
it would lead to an Indian revolution. In this they had failed, for the
millions of Mohammedans in India cared little for the Turkish Sultan or
his proclamations. Through Bagdad, however, they hoped to strike a blow
at the English influence on the Persian Gulf. The English, therefore,
felt strongly that it was not enough to sit safely astride the Tigris,
but that a blow at Bagdad would produce a tremendous political effect.
It would practically prevent German communication with Persia, and the
Indian frontier.

As a matter of fact the Persian Gulf and the oil fields were safe so
long as the English held Kurna and Basra, and the Arabs were of no
special consequence. The real reason for the expedition was probably
that about this time matters were moving badly for the Allies. Serbia
was in trouble in the Balkans, Gallipoli was a failure, something it
seemed ought to be done to restore the British prestige. Up to this time
the Mesopotamia Expedition had been a great success, but it had made no
great impression on the world. The little villages in the hands of the
British had unknown names, but if Bagdad should be captured Great
Britain would have something to boast of; something would keep up its
prestige among its Mohammedan subjects.

Before the expedition to Bagdad was determined on, there had been
several lively fights between the English forces and the Turks. On March
3d a Turkish force numbering about twelve thousand appeared at Ahwaz
where the British had placed a small garrison to protect the pipe line
of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. The British retirement led to heavy
fighting, with severe losses.

A number of lively skirmishes followed, and then the serious attack
against Shaiba. The Turkish army numbered about eighteen thousand men,
of whom eleven thousand were regulars. The fighting lasted for several
days, the Turks being reinforced. On the 14th of April, however, the
English attacked in turn and put the whole enemy force to flight. The
British lost about seven hundred officers and men, reported a Turkish
loss of about six thousand. In their retreat the Turks were attacked by
their Arab allies, and suffered additional losses. From that time till
summer there were no serious contests, although there were occasional
skirmishes which turned out favorably to the British.

By this time the Turks had collected a considerable army north of Kurna,
and on May 31st an expedition was made to disperse it. On June 3d the
British captured Amara, seventy-five miles above Kurna, scattering the
Turkish army. Early in July a similar expedition was sent against
Nasiriyeh, which led to serious fighting, the Turks being badly defeated
with a loss of over two thousand five hundred men.

Kut-el-Amara still remained, and early in August an expedition was
directed against that point. The Turks were found in great force, well
intrenched, and directed by German officers. The battle lasted for four
days. The English suffered great hardship on account of the scarcity of
water and the blinding heat, but on September 29th they drove the enemy
from the city and took possession. More than two thousand prisoners were
taken. The town was found thoroughly fortified, with an elaborate
system of trenches extending for miles, built in the true German
fashion. Its capture was the end of the summer campaign.

[Illustration: THE MESOPOTAMIAN SECTOR, WHERE THE BRITISH ROUTED THE
TURKISH ARMY]

The British now had at last made up their minds to push on to Bagdad.
General Townshend, whose work so far had been admirable, protested, but
Sir John Nixon, and the Indian military authorities, were strongly in
favor of the expedition. By October, Turkey was able to gather a large
army. She was fighting in Transcaucasia, Egypt, Gallipoli and
Mesopotamia. Little was going on in the first three of these fronts,
and she was able therefore to send to Mesopotamia almost a quarter of a
million men.

To meet these, General Townshend had barely fifteen thousand men, of
whom only one-third were white soldiers. He was backed by a flotilla of
boats of almost every kind,--river boats, motor launches, paddle
steamers, native punts. The British army was almost worn out by the
fighting during the intense heat of the previous summer. But their
success had given them confidence.

In the early days of October the advance began. For some days it
proceeded with no serious fighting. On the 23d of October it reached
Azizie, and was halted by a Turkish force numbering about four thousand.
These were soon routed, and the advance continued until General
Townshend arrived at Lajj, about seven miles from Ctesiphon, where the
Turks were found heavily intrenched and in great numbers. Ctesiphon was
a famous old city which had been the battle ground of Romans and
Parthians, but was now mainly ruins. In these ruins, however, the Turks
found admirable shelter for nests of machine guns. On the 21st of
November General Townshend made his attack.

The Turks occupied two lines of intrenchments, and had about twenty
thousand men, the English about twelve thousand. General Townshend's
plan was to divide his army into three columns. The first was to attack
the center of the first Turkish position. A second was directed at the
left of that position, and a third was to swing widely around and come
in on the rear of the Turkish force. This plan was entirely successful,
but the Turkish army was not routed, and retreated fighting desperately
to its second line. There it was reinforced and counter-attacked with
such vigor that it drove the British back to its old first trenches. The
next day the Turks were further reinforced and attacked again. The
British drove them back over and over, but found themselves unable to
advance. The Turks had lost enormously but the English had lost about
one-third of their strength, and were compelled to fall back. They
therefore returned on the 26th to Lajj, and ultimately, after continual
rear guard actions, to Kut. There they found themselves surrounded, and
there was nothing to do but to wait for help. By this time the eyes of
the world were upon the beleaguered British army. Help was being hurried
to them from India, but Germany also was awake and Marshal von Der
Goltz, who had been military instructor in the Turkish army, was sent
down to take command of the Turkish forces. The town of Kut lies in the
loop of the Tigris, making it almost an island. There was an intrenched
line across the neck of land on the north, and the place could resist
any ordinary assault. The great difficulty was one of supplies. However,
as the relieving force was on the way, no great anxiety was felt. For
some days there was constant bombardment, which did no great damage. On
the 23d an attempt was made to carry the place by assault, but this too
failed. The relieving force, however, was having its troubles. These
were the days of floods, and progress was slow and at times almost
impossible. Moreover, the Turks were constantly resisting.

The relief expedition was composed of thirty thousand Indian troops, two
Anglo-Indian divisions, and the remnants of Townshend's expedition, a
total of about ninety thousand men. General Sir Percy Lake was in
command of the entire force. The march began on January 6th. By January
8th the British had reached Sheikh Saad, where the Turks were defeated
in two pitched battles. On January 22d he had arrived at Umm-el-Hanna,
where the Turks had intrenched themselves.

After artillery bombardment the Turkish positions were attacked, but
heavy rains had converted the ground into a sea of mud, rendering rapid
movement impossible. The enemy's fire was heavy and effective,
inflicting severe losses, and though every effort was made, the assault
failed.

For days the British troops bivouacked in driving rain on soaked and
sodden ground. Three times they were called upon to advance over a
perfectly flat country, deep in mud, and absolutely devoid of cover
against well-constructed and well-planned trenches, manned by a brave
and stubborn enemy, approximately their equal in numbers. They showed a
spirit of endurance and self-sacrifice of which their country may well
be proud.

But the repulse at Hanna did not discourage the British army. It was
decided to move up the left bank of the Tigris and attack the Turkish
position at the Dujailah redoubt. This meant a night march across the
desert with great danger that there would be no water supply and that,
unless the enemy was routed, the army would be in great danger.

General Lake says: "On the afternoon of March 7th, General Aylmer
assembled his subordinate commanders and gave his final instructions,
laying particular stress on the fact that the operation was designed to
effect a surprise, and that to prevent the enemy forestalling us, it was
essential that the first phase of the operation should be pushed through
with the utmost vigor. His dispositions were, briefly, as follows: The
greater part of a division under General Younghusband, assisted by naval
gunboats, controlled the enemy on the left bank. The remaining troops
were formed into two columns, under General Kemball and General Keary
respectively, a reserve of infantry, and the cavalry brigade, being held
at the Corps Commander's own disposal. Kemball's column covered on the
outer flank by the cavalry brigade was to make a turning movement to
attack the Dujailah redoubt from the south, supported by the remainder
of the force, operating from a position to the east of the redoubt. The
night march by this large force, which led across the enemy's front to a
position on his right flank, was a difficult operation, entailing
movement over unknown ground, and requiring most careful arrangement to
attain success."

Thanks to excellent staff work and good march discipline the troops
reached their allotted position apparently undiscovered by the enemy,
but while Keary's column was in position at daybreak, ready to support
Kemball's attack, the latter's command did not reach the point selected
for its deployment in the Dujailah depression until more than an hour
later. This delay was highly prejudicial to the success of the
operation.

When, nearly three hours later, Kemball's troops advanced to the attack,
they were strongly opposed by the enemy from trenches cleverly concealed
in the brushwood, and were unable to make further ground for some time,
though assisted by Keary's attack upon the redoubt from the east. The
southern attack was now reinforced, and by 1 P.M. had pushed forward to
within five hundred yards of the redoubt, but concealed trenches again
stopped further progress and the Turks made several counter-attacks with
reinforcements which had by now arrived from the direction of Magasis.

It was about this time that the Corps Commander received from his
engineer officers the unwelcome news that the water supply contained in
rain-water pools and in Dujailah depression, upon which he had reckoned,
was insufficient and could not be increased by digging. It was clear,
therefore, that unless the Dujailah redoubt could be carried that day
the scarcity of water would, of itself, compel the troops to fall back.
Preparations were accordingly made for a further assault on the redoubt,
and attacks were launched from the south and east under cover of a heavy
bombardment.

The attacking forces succeeded in gaining a foothold in the redoubt. But
here they were heavily counter-attacked by large enemy reinforcements,
and being subjected to an extremely rapid and accurate shrapnel fire
from concealed guns in the vicinity of Sinn After, they were forced to
fall back to the position from which they started. The troops who had
been under arms for some thirty hours, including a long night march,
were now much exhausted, and General Aylmer considered that a renewal of
the assault during the night could not be made with any prospect of
success. Next morning the enemy's position was found to be unchanged and
General Aylmer, finding himself faced with the deficiency of order
already referred to, decided upon the immediate withdrawal of his troops
to Wadi, which was reached the same night.

For the next month the English were held in their positions by the
Tigris floods. On April 4th the floods had sufficiently receded to
permit of another attack upon Umm-el-Hanna, which this time was
successful. On April 8th the Turkish position at Sanna-i-yat was
attacked, but the English were repulsed. They then determined to make
another attempt to capture the Sinn After redoubt. On April 17th the
fort of Beit-Aiessa, four miles from Es Sinn, on the left bank, was
captured after heavy bombardment, and held against serious
counter-attacks. On the 20th and 21st the Sanna-i-yat position was
bombarded and a vigorous assault was made, which met with some success.
The Turks, however, delivered a strong counter-attack, and succeeded in
forcing the British troops back.

General Lake says: "Persistent and repeated attempts on both banks have
thus failed, and it was known that at the outside not more than six
days' supplies remained to the Kut garrison. The British troops were
nearly worn out. The same troops had advanced time and again to assault
positions strong by art and held by a determined enemy. For eighteen
consecutive days they had done all that men could do to overcome, not
only the enemy, but also exceptional climatic and physical obstacles,
and this on a scale of rations which was far from being sufficient in
view of the exertions they had undergone but which the shortage of river
transports, had made it impossible to augment. The need for rest was
imperative."

On April 28th the British garrison at Kut-el-Amara surrendered
unconditionally, after a heroic resistance of a hundred and forty-three
days. According to British figures the surrendered army was composed of
2,970 English and 6,000 Indian troops. The Turkish figures are 13,300.
The Turks also captured a large amount of booty, although General
Townshend destroyed most of his guns and munitions.

During the period in which Kut-el-Amara was besieged by the Turks, the
British troops had suffered much. The enemy bombarded the town almost
every day, but did little damage. The real foe was starvation. At first
the British were confident that a relief expedition would soon reach
them, and they amused themselves by cricket and hockey and fishing in
the river. By early February, however, it was found necessary to reduce
the rations, and a month later they were suffering from hunger. Some
little help was given them by airplanes, which brought tobacco and some
small quantities of supplies. Soon the horses and the mules were
slaughtered and eaten. As time went on the situation grew desperate;
till almost the end, however, they did not lose hope. Through the
wireless they were informed about the progress of the relief expeditions
and had even heard their guns in the distance. They gradually grew,
however, weaker and weaker, so that on the surrender the troops in the
first lines were too weak to march back with their kits.

The Turks treated the prisoners in a chivalric manner; food and tobacco
was at once distributed, and all were interned in Anatolia, except
General Townshend and his staff, who were taken to Constantinople. Later
on it was General Townshend who was to have the honor of carrying the
Turkish plea for an armistice in the closing days of the war.

The surrender of Kut created a world-wide sensation. The loss of eight
thousand troops was, of course, not a serious matter, and the road to
India was still barred, but the moral effect was most unfortunate. That
the great British nation, whose power had been so respected in the
Orient, should now be forced to yield, was a great blow to its prestige.
In England, of course, there was a flood of criticism. It was very plain
that a mistake had been made. A commission was appointed to inquire into
the whole business. This committee reported to Parliament on June 26,
1917, and the report created a great sensation. The substance of the
report was, that while the expedition was justifiable from a political
point of view, it was undertaken with insufficient forces and inadequate
preparation, and it sharply criticized those that were responsible.

It seems plain that the military authorities in India under-estimated
their opponent. The report especially criticized General Sir John Eccles
Nixon, the former commander of the British forces in Mesopotamia, who
had urged the expedition, in spite of the objection of General
Townshend. Others sharing the blame were the Viceroy of India, Baron
Hardinge, General Sir Beauchamp Duff, Commander-in-Chief of the British
forces in India, and, in England, Major-General Sir Edmund Barrow,
Military Secretary of the India office, J. Austin Chamberlain, Secretary
for India, and the War Committee of the Cabinet. According to the
report, beside the losses incurred by the surrender more than
twenty-three thousand men were lost in the relieving expedition. The
general armament and equipment were declared to be not only
insufficient, but not up to the standard.

In consequence of this report Mr. Chamberlain resigned as secretary for
India. In the House of Commons, Mr. Balfour, Secretary of Foreign
Affairs, supported Lord Hardinge, who, at the time of the report, was
Under Secretary of Foreign Affairs. He declared the criticism of Baron
Hardinge to be grossly unjust. After some discussion the House of
Commons supported Mr. Balfour's refusal to accept Baron Hardinge's
resignation, by a vote of 176 to 81. It seems to be agreed that the
civil administration of India were not responsible for the blunders of
the expedition. Ten years before, Lord Kitchener, after a bitter
controversy with Lord Curzon, had made the military side of the Indian
Government free of all civilian criticism and control. The blunders here
were military blunders.

The English, of course, were not satisfied to leave the situation in
such a condition, and at once began their plans for a new attempt to
capture Bagdad. The summer campaign, however, was uneventful, though on
May 18th a band of Cossacks from the Russian armies in Persia joined the
British camp. A few days afterwards the British army went up the Tigris
and captured the Dujailah redoubt, where they had been so badly defeated
on the 8th of March. They then approached close to Kut, but the weather
was unsuitable, and there was now no object in capturing the city.

In August Sir Percy Lake was succeeded by Lieutenant-General Sir
Frederick Stanley Maude, who carefully and thoroughly proceeded to
prepare for an expedition which should capture Bagdad. A dispatch from
General Maude dated July 10, 1917, gives a full account of this
expedition. It was thoroughly successful. This time with a sufficient
army and a thorough equipment the British found no difficulties, and on
February 26th they captured Kut-el-Amara, not after a hard-fought
battle, but as the result of a successful series of small engagements.
The Turks kept up a steady resistance, but the British blood was up.
They were remembering General Townshend's surrender, and the Turks were
driven before them in great confusion.

The capture of Kut, however, was not an object in itself, and the
British pushed steadily on up the Tigris. The Turks occasionally made a
stand, but without effect. On the 28th of February the English had
arrived at Azizie, half way to Bagdad, where a halt was made. On the 5th
of March the advance was renewed. The Ctesiphon position, which had
defied General Townshend, was found to be strongly intrenched, but
empty. On March 7th the enemy made a stand on the River Diala, which
enters the Tigris eight miles below Bagdad. Some lively fighting
followed, the enemy resisting four attempts to cross the Diala. However,
on March 10th the British forces crossed, and were now close to Bagdad.
The enemy suddenly retired and the British troops found that their main
opponent was a dust storm. The enemy retired beyond Bagdad, and on March
11th the city was occupied by the English.

The fall of Bagdad was an important event. It cheered the Allies, and
proved, especially to the Oriental world, the power of the British army.
Those who originally planned its capture had been right, but those who
were to carry out the plan had not done their duty. Under General Maude
it was a comparatively simple operation, though full of admirable
details, and it produced all the good effects expected. The British, of
course, did not stop at Bagdad. The city itself is not of strategic
importance. The surrounding towns were occupied and an endeavor was made
to conciliate the inhabitants. The real object of the expedition was
attained.

[Illustration: BAGDAD THE MAGNIFICENT FALLS TO THE BRITISH

Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick Stanley Maude, Commander-in-Chief of
the British Mesopotamian Army, making his triumphal entry into the
ancient city at the head of his victorious army on March 11, 1917.]



CHAPTER VIII

IMMORTAL VERDUN


France was revealed to herself, to Germany and to the world as the
heroic defender of civilization, as a defender defying death in the
victory of Verdun. There, with the gateway to Paris lying open at its
back, the French army, in the longest pitched battle in all history,
held like a cold blue rock against the uttermost man power and resources
of the German army.

General von Falkenhayn, Chief of the German General Staff and military
dictator of the Teutonic allies, there met disaster and disgrace. There
the mettle of the Crown Prince was tested and he was found to be merely
a thing of straw, a weak creature whose mind was under the domination of
von Falkenhayn.

For the tremendous offensive which was planned to end the war by one
terrific thrust, von Falkenhayn had robbed all the other fronts of
effective men and munitions. Field Marshal von Hindenburg and his crafty
Chief of Staff, General Ludendorff, had planned a campaign against
Russia designed to put that tottering military Colossus out of the war.
The plans were upon a scale that might well have proved successful. The
Kaiser, influenced by the Crown Prince and by von Falkenhayn, decreed
that the Russian campaign must be postponed and that von Hindenburg must
send his crack troops to join the army of the Crown Prince fronting
Verdun. Ludendorff promptly resigned as Chief of Staff to von Hindenburg
and suggested that the Field Marshal also resign. That grim old warrior
declined to take this action, preferring to remain idle in East Prussia
and watch what he predicted would be a useless effort on the western
front. His warning to the General Staff was explicit, but von Falkenhayn
coolly ignored the message.

[Illustration: IMMORTAL VERDUN, WHERE THE FRENCH HELD THE GERMANS WITH
THE INSPIRING SLOGAN, "THEY SHALL NOT PASS"]

Why did Germany select this particular point for its grand offensive?
The answer is to be found in a demand made by the great Junker
associations of Germany in May, 1915, nine months before the attack was
undertaken. That demand was to the effect that Verdun should be attacked
and captured. They declared that the Verdun fortifications made a
menacing salient thrust into the rich iron fields of the Briey basin.
From this metalliferous field of Lorraine came the ore that supplied
eighty per cent of the steel required for German and Austrian guns and
munitions. These fields of Briey were only twenty miles from the great
guns of Verdun. They were French territory at the beginning of the war
and had been seized by the army of the Crown Prince, co-operating with
the Army of Metz because of their immense value to the Germans in war
making.

As a preliminary to the battle, von Falkenhayn placed a semicircle of
huge howitzers and rifles around the field of Briey. Then assembling the
vast forces drained from all the fronts and having erected ammunition
dumps covering many acres, the great battle commenced with a surprise
attack upon the village of Haumont on February 21, 1916.

The first victory of the Germans at that point was an easy one. The
great fort of Douaumont was the next objective. This was taken on
February 25th after a concentrated bombardment that for intensity
surpassed anything that heretofore had been shown in the war.

Von Falkenhayn, personally superintending the disposition of guns and
men, had now penetrated the outer defenses of Verdun. The tide was
running against the French, and shells, more shells for the guns of all
caliber; men, more men for the earthworks surrounding the devoted city
were needed. The narrow-gauge railway connecting Verdun with the great
French depots of supplies was totally inadequate for the transportation
burdens suddenly cast upon it. In this desperate emergency a transport
system was born of necessity, a system that saved Verdun. It was fleet
upon fleet of motor trucks, all sizes, all styles; anything that could
pack a few shells or a handful of men was utilized. The backbone of the
system was a great fleet of trucks driven by men whose average daily
rest was four hours, and upon whose horizon-blue uniforms the stains of
snow and sleet, of dust and mud, were indelibly fixed through the
winter, spring, summer and fall of 1916, for the glorious engagement
continued from February 21st until November 2d, when the Germans were
forced into full retreat from the field of honor, the evacuation of Fort
Vaux putting a period to Germany's disastrous plan and to von
Falkenhayn's military career.

Lord Northcliffe, describing the early days of the immortal battle,
wrote:

"Verdun is, in many ways, the most extraordinary of battles. The mass of
metal used on both sides is far beyond all parallel; the transformation
on the Douaumont Ridge was more suddenly dramatic than even the battle
of the Marne; and, above all, the duration of the conflict already looks
as if it would surpass anything in history. More than a month has
elapsed since, by the kindness of General Joffre and General Pétain, I
was able to watch the struggle from various vital viewpoints. The battle
had then been raging with great intensity for a fortnignt, and, as I
write, four to five thousand guns are still thundering round Verdun.
Impossible, therefore, any man to describe the entire battle. The most
one can do is to set down one's impressions of the first phases of a
terrible conflict, the end of which cannot be foreseen.

"My chief impression is one of admiration for the subtle powers of mind
of the French High Command. General Joffre and General Castelnau are men
with especially fine intellects tempered to terrible keenness. Always
they have had to contend against superior numbers. In 1870, when they
were subalterns, their country lost the advantage of its numerous
population by abandoning general military service at a time when Prussia
was completely realizing the idea of a nation in arms. In 1914, when
they were commanders, France was inferior to a still greater degree in
point of numbers to Prussianized Germany. In armament, France was
inferior at first to her enemy. The French High Command has thus been
trained by adversity to do all that human intellect can against almost
overwhelming hostile material forces. General Joffre, General
Castelnau--and, later, General Pétain, who at a moment's notice
displaced General Herr--had to display genius where the Germans were
exhibiting talent, and the result is to be seen at Verdun. They there
caught the enemy in a series of traps of a kind hitherto unknown in
modern warfare--something elemental, and yet subtle, neo-primitive,
and befitting the atavistic character of the Teuton. They caught him in
a web of his own unfulfilled boasts.

"The enemy began by massing a surprising force on the western front.
Tremendous energy and organizing power were the marks of his supreme
efforts to obtain a decision. It was usually reckoned that the Germans
maintain on all fronts a field army of about seventy-four and a half
army corps, which at full strength number three million men. Yet, while
holding the Russians from Riga to the south of the Pripet Marshes, and
maintaining a show of force in the Balkans, Germany seems to have
succeeded in bringing up nearly two millions and a half of men for her
grand spring offensive in the west. At one time her forces in France and
Flanders were only ninety divisions. But troops and guns were withdrawn
in increasing numbers from Russia and Serbia in December, 1915, until
there were, it is estimated, a hundred and eighteen divisions on the
Franco-British-Belgian front. A large number of six-inch and twelve-inch
Austrian howitzers were added to the enormous Krupp batteries. Then a
large proportion of new recruits of the 1916 class were moved into
Rhine-land depots to serve as drafts for the fifty-nine army corps, and
it is thought that nearly all the huge shell output that had accumulated
during the winter was transported westward.

"The French Staff reckoned that Verdun would be attacked when the ground
had dried somewhat in the March winds. It was thought that the enemy
movement would take place against the British front in some of the
sectors of which there were chalk undulations, through which the rains
of winter quickly drained. The Germans skilfully encouraged this idea by
making an apparent preliminary attack at Lions, on a five-mile front
with rolling gas-clouds and successive waves of infantry. During this
feint the veritable offensive movement softly began on Saturday,
February 19, 1916, when the enormous masses of hostile artillery west,
east, and north of the Verdun salient started registering on the French
positions. Only in small numbers did the German guns fire, in order not
to alarm their opponents. But even this trial bombardment by shifts was
a terrible display of power, calling forth all the energies of the
outnumbered French gunners to maintain the artillery duels that
continued day and night until Monday morning, February 21st.

"The enemy seems to have maintained a bombardment all round General
Herr's lines on February 21, 1916, but this general battering was done
with a thousand pieces of field artillery. The grand masses of heavy
howitzers were used in a different way. At a quarter past seven in the
morning they concentrated on the small sector of advanced intrenchments
near Brabant and the Meuse; twelve-inch shells fell with terrible
precision every few yards, according to the statements made by the
French troops. I afterwards saw a big German shell, from at least six
miles distant from my place of observation, hit quite a small target. So
I can well believe that, in the first bombardment of French positions,
which had been photographed from the air and minutely measured and
registered by the enemy gunners in the trial firing, the great,
destructive shots went home with extraordinary effect. The trenches were
not bombarded--they were obliterated. In each small sector of the
six-mile northward bulge of the Verdun salient the work of destruction
was done with surprising quickness.

"After the line from Brabant to Haumont was smashed, the main fire power
was directed against the other end of the bow at Herbebois, Ornes, and
Maucourt. Then when both ends of the bow were severely hammered, the
central point of the Verdun salient, Caures Woods, was smothered in
shells of all sizes, poured in from east, north and west. In this manner
almost the whole enormous force of heavy artillery was centered upon
mile after mile of the French front. When the great guns lifted over the
lines of craters, the lighter field artillery placed row after row in
front of the wreckage, maintained an unending fire curtain over the
communicating saps and support intrenchments.

"Then came the second surprising feature in the new German system of
attack. No waves of storming infantry swept into the battered works.
Only strong patrols at first came cautiously forward, to discover if it
were safe for the main body of troops to advance and reorganize the
French line so as to allow the artillery to move onward. There was thus
a large element of truth in the marvelous tales afterwards told by
German prisoners. Their commanders thought it would be possible to do
all the fighting with long-range artillery, leaving the infantry to act
as squatters to the great guns and occupy and rebuild line after line of
the French defenses without any serious hand-to-hand struggles. All they
had to do was to protect the gunners from surprise attack, while the
guns made an easy path for them and also beat back any counter-attack in
force.

"But, ingenious as was this scheme for saving the man-power of Germany
by an unparalleled expenditure of shell, it required for full success
the co-operation of the French troops. But the French did not
co-operate. Their High Command had continually improved their system of
trench defense in accordance with the experiences of their own hurricane
bombardments in Champagne and the Carency sector. General Castelnau, the
acting Commander-in-Chief on the French front, was indeed the inventor
of hurricane fire tactics, which he had used for the first time in
February, 1915, in Champagne. When General Joffre took over the conduct
of all French operations, leaving to General Castelnau the immediate
control of the front in France, the victor of the battle of Nancy
weakened his advance lines and then his support lines, until his troops
actually engaged in fighting were very little more than a thin covering
body, such as is thrown out towards the frontier while the main forces
connect well behind.

"We shall see the strategical effect of this extraordinary measure in
the second phase of the Verdun battle, but its tactical effect was to
leave remarkably few French troops exposed to the appalling tempest of
German and Austrian shells. The fire-trench was almost empty, and in
many cases the real defenders of the French line were men with machine
guns, hidden in dug-outs at some distance from the photographed
positions at which the German gunners aimed. The batteries of light
guns, which the French handled with the flexibility and continuity of
fire of Maxims, were also concealed in widely scattered positions. The
main damage caused by the first intense bombardment was the destruction
of all the telephone wires along the French front. In one hour the
German guns plowed up every yard of ground behind the observing posts
and behind the fire trench. Communications could only be slowly
re-established by messengers, so that many parties of men had to fight
on their own initiative, with little or no combination of effort with
their comrades.

"Yet, desperate as were their circumstances, they broke down the German
plan for capturing trenches without an infantry attack. They caught the
patrols and annihilated them, and then swept back the disillusioned and
reluctant main bodies of German troops. First, the bombing parties were
felled, then the sappers as they came forward to repair the line for
their infantry, and at last the infantry itself in wave after wave of
field-gray. The small French garrison of every center of resistance
fought with cool, deadly courage, and often to the death.

"Artillery fire was practically useless against them, for though their
tunnel shelters were sometimes blown in by the twelve-inch shells, which
they regarded as their special terror by reason of their penetrative
power and wide blast, even the Germans had not sufficient shells to
search out all their underground chambers, every one of which have two
or three exits.

"The new organization of the French Machine-gun Corps was a fine factor
in the eventual success. One gun fired ten thousand rounds daily for a
week, most of the positions selected being spots from which each German
infantry advance would be enfiladed and shattered. Then the French 75's
which had been masked during the overwhelming fire of the enemy
howitzers, came unexpectedly into action when the German infantry
attacks increased in strength. Near Haumont, for example, eight
successive furious assaults were repulsed by three batteries of 75's.
One battery was then spotted by the Austrian twelve-inch guns, but it
remained in action until all its ammunition was exhausted. The gunners
then blew up their guns and retired, with the loss of only one man.

[Illustration: AMMUNITION FOR THE GUNS

Canadian narrow-gauge line taking ammunition up the line through a
shattered village.]

[Illustration: HOW VERDUN WAS SAVED

The motor transport never faltered when the railroads were put out of
action.]

"Von Falkenhayn had increased the Crown Prince's army from the fourteen
divisions--that battled at Douaumont Fort--to twenty-five divisions.
In April he added five more divisions to the forces around Verdun by
weakening the effectives in other sectors and drawing more troops from
the Russian front. It was rumored that von Hindenburg was growing
restive and complaining that the wastage at Verdun would tell against
the success of the campaign on the Riga-Dvinsk front, which was to open
when the Baltic ice melted.

"Great as was the wastage of life, it was in no way immediately
decisive. But when the expenditure of shells almost outran the highest
speed of production of the German munition factories, and the wear on
the guns was more than Krupp and Skoda could make good, there was danger
to the enemy in beginning another great offensive likely to overtax his
shellmakers and gunmakers."

Immortal and indomitable France had won over her foe more power than she
had possessed even after the battle of the Marne. If her Allies, with
the help of Japan and the United States, could soon overtake the
production of the German and Austrian munition factories, it was
possible that Verdun, so close to Sedan, might become one of the turning
points of the war.

Throughout the entire summer Verdun, with the whole population of France
roused to the supreme heights of heroism behind it, held like a rock.
Wave after wave of Germans in gray-green lines were sent against the
twenty-five miles of earthworks, while the French guns took their toll
of the crack German regiments. German dead lay upon the field until
exposed flesh became the same ghastly hue of their uniforms. No Man's
Land around Verdun was a waste and a stench.

General Joffre's plan was very simple. It was to hold out. As was
afterwards revealed, much to the satisfaction of the French people, Sir
Douglas Haig had placed himself completely at the service of the French
Commander-in-Chief, and had suggested that he should use the British
army to weaken the thrust at Verdun. But General Joffre had refused the
proffered help. No man knew better than he what his country, with its
exceedingly low birthrate, was suffering on the Meuse. He had but to
send a telegram to British Headquarters, and a million Britons, with
thousands of heavy guns, would fling themselves upon the German lines
and compel Falkenhayn to divide his shell output, his heavy artillery,
and his millions of men between Verdun and the Somme. But General
Joffre, instead of sending the telegram in question, merely dispatched
officers to British Headquarters to assure and calm the chafing Scotsman
commanding the military forces of the British Empire.

Throughout that long summer the battle cry of Verdun, "_Ne passeront
pas_!" ("They shall not pass!"), was an inspiration to the French army
and to the world. Then as autumn drifted its red foliage over the
heights surrounding the bloody field, the French struck back. General
Nivelle, who had taken command at Verdun under Joffre, commenced a
series of attacks and a persistent pressure against the German forces on
both sides of the Meuse. These thrusts culminated in a sudden sweeping
attack which on October 24th, resulted in the recapture by Nivelle's
forces of Fort Douaumont and on November 2d, in the recapture of Fort
Vaux.

Thus ended in glory the most inspiring battle in the long and honorable
history of France.





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