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Title: World's War Events, Vol. I
Author: Reynolds, Francis J. (Francis Joseph), 1867-1937 [Editor], Churchill, Allen L. (Allen Leon), 1873- [Editor]
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.

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        NEW YORK

Copyright 1919




        OF THE WAR TO
        THE CLOSE OF


  ARTICLE                                        PAGE

      I. WHAT CAUSED THE WAR                       7
            _Baron Beyens_

     II. THE DEFENSE OF LIÈGE                     41
            _Charles Bronne_

    III. THE GREAT RETREAT                        62
            _Sir John French_

     IV. THE BATTLE OF THE MARNE                  73
            _Sir John French_

      V. HOW THE FRENCH FOUGHT                    83
            _French Official Account_

     VI. THE RACE FOR THE CHANNEL                 96
            _French Official Account_

    VII. THE LAST DITCH IN BELGIUM               108
            _Arno Dosch_

   VIII. WHY TURKEY ENTERED THE WAR              125
            _Roland G. Usher_

     IX. THE FALKLAND SEA FIGHT                  142
            _A. N. Hilditch_

      X. CRUISE OF THE EMDEN                     176
            _Captain Mücke_

     XI. CAPTURE OF TSING-TAO                    198
            _A. N. Hilditch_

    XII. GALLIPOLI                               221
            _A. John Gallishaw_

   XIII. GAS: SECOND BATTLE OF YPRES             240
            _Colonel E. D. Swinton_

    XIV. THE CANADIANS AT YPRES                  248
            _By the Canadian Record Officer_

     XV. SINKING OF THE LUSITANIA                277
            _Judicial Decision by Judge J. M. Mayer_

    XVI. MOUNTAIN WARFARE                        313
            _Howard C. Felton_

            _Official Account of the French Headquarters Staff_

            _Brand Whitlock_

    XIX. GALLIPOLI ABANDONED                     366
            _General Sir Charles C. Monro_

     XX. THE DEATH-SHIP IN THE SKY               375
            _Perriton Maxwell_



The National Review, June, 1916.


[Sidenote: Political designs of Francis Ferdinand.]

The Archduke Francis Ferdinand will go down to posterity without having
yielded up his secret. Great political designs have been ascribed to
him, mainly on the strength of his friendship with William II. What do
we really know about him? He was strong-willed and obstinate, very
Clerical, very Austrian, disliking the Hungarians to such an extent that
he kept their statesmen at arm's-length, and having no love for Italy.
He has been credited with sympathies towards the Slav elements of the
Empire; it has been asserted that he dreamt of setting up, in place of
the dual monarchy, a "triune State," in which the third factor would
have been made up for the most part of Slav provinces carved out of the
Kingdom of St. Stephen. Immediately after he had been murdered, the
_Vossische Zeitung_ refuted this theory with arguments which seemed to
me thoroughly sound.

The Archduke, said the Berlin newspaper, was too keen-witted not to see
that he would thus be creating two rivals for Austria instead of one,
and that the Serb populations would come within the orbit of Belgrade
rather than of Vienna. Serbia would become the Piedmont of the Balkans;
she would draw to herself the Slavs of the Danube valley by a process of
crystallization similar to that which brought about Italian unity.

[Sidenote: Army and Navy reorganized.]

From year to year the Archduke had acquired more and more weight in the
governance of the Empire, in proportion as his uncle's will grew weaker
beneath the burden of advancing age. Thus he had succeeded in his
efforts to provide Austria-Hungary with a new navy, the counterpart, on
a more modest scale, of the German fleet, and to reorganize the
effective army, here again taking Germany for his model. Among certain
cliques, he was accused of not keeping enough in the background, of
showing little tact or consideration in the manner of thrusting aside
the phantom Emperor, who was gently gliding into the winter of the years
at Schönbrunn amid the veneration of his subjects of every race.

Another charge was that he appointed too many of his creatures to
important civil and military posts.

[Sidenote: Antagonism of Russia and Austria.]

We may well believe that this prince, observing the gradual decay of the
monarchy, tried to restore its vigour, and that his first thought was to
hold with a firm grasp, even before assuming the Imperial crown, the
cluster of nationalities, mutually hostile and always discontented, that
go to make up the Dual Empire. So far as foreign relations are
concerned, we may assume that he was bent on winning her a place in the
first rank of Powers; that he wished, above all, to see her predominant
all along the Danube and in the Balkans; that he even aimed at giving
her the road to Salonika and the Levant, though it were at the price of
a collision with Russia. This antagonism between the two neighbour
Empires must have often been among the topics of his conversations with
William II.

The Archduke needed military glory, prestige won on the battle-field, in
order to seat his consort firmly on the throne and make his children
heirs to the Cæsars. He had been suspected, both in Austria and abroad,
of not wishing to observe the family compact which he had signed at the
time of his marriage with Countess Sophie Chotek. It was thought that he
perhaps reserved the right to declare it null and void, in view of the
constraint that had been put upon him. The successive honours that had
drawn the Duchess of Hohenberg from the obscurity in which the
morganatic wife of a German prince is usually wrapped, and had brought
her near to the steps of the throne, showed clearly that her rise would
not stop half-way.

[Sidenote: Domestic life of the Archduke.]

The Archduke, like William II himself, was reputed to be an exemplary
father and husband. He was one of those princes who adore their own
children, but, under the spur of political ambition, are very prone to
send the children of others to the shambles. A fine theme for Socialist
and Republican preachers to enlarge upon!

I often met the heir to the Imperial crown, especially at Vienna in
1910, where I had the honour of accompanying my Sovereign, and two years
later at Munich, the Prince Regent's funeral.

On each occasion this Hapsburg, with his heavy features, his scowling
expression, and his rather corpulent figure (quite different from the
slim build characteristic of his line), struck me as a singular type.
His face was certainly not sympathetic, nor was his manner engaging. The
Duchess of Hohenberg, whom, after having known her as a little girl when
her father was Austrian Minister at Brussels, I found gracefully doing
the honours in the Belvedere Palace, had retained in her high station
the genial simplicity of the Chotek family. This probably did not
prevent her from cherishing the loftiest ambitions for herself, and
above all for her eldest son, and from coveting the glory of the double


[Sidenote: Assassination of Francis Ferdinand.]

The news that an assassin's hand had struck down the Archduke and his
wife, inseparable even in death, burst upon Berlin on the afternoon of
Sunday, June 28, like an unexpected thunderclap in the midst of a calm
summer's day. I went over at once to the Austro-Hungarian Embassy, in
order to express all the horror that I felt at this savage drama. Count
Szögyen, the senior member of the diplomatic corps, was on the eve of
resigning the post that he had held for twenty years, honoured by all
his colleagues. It was whispered that his removal had been asked for by
the Archduke, who was anxious to introduce young blood into the
diplomatic service. I found the Ambassador quite overcome by the
terrible news. He seemed stricken with grief at the thought of his aged
Sovereign, who had already lost so many of his nearest and dearest, and
of the Dual Empire, robbed of its most skillful pilot, and with no one
to steer it now but an octogenarian leaning on a youth of twenty-six. M.
Cambon had come to the Embassy at the same time, and we left together
discussing the results, still impossible to foresee clearly, that this
fatality might have for European affairs.

[Sidenote: Serajevo tragedy a menace.]

From the very next day the tone of the Berlin Press, in commenting on
the Serajevo tragedy, was full of menace. It expected the Vienna Cabinet
to send to Belgrade an immediate request for satisfaction, if Serbian
subjects, as it was believed, were among those who had devised and
carried out the plot. But how far would this satisfaction go, and in
what form would it be demanded? There was the rub. The report, issued by
the semi-official _Lokalanzeiger_, of a pressure exerted by the
Austro-Hungarian Minister, with a view to making the Serbian Government
institute proceedings against the anarchist societies of which the
Archduke and his wife had been the victims, surprised no one, but was
not confirmed. On the other hand, a softer breeze soon blew from Vienna
and Budapest, and under its influence the excitement of the Berlin
newspapers suddenly abated. An order seemed to have been issued: the
rage and fluster of the public were to be allowed to cool down. The
Austro-Hungarian Government, so we were informed by the news agencies,
were quietly taking steps to prosecute the murderers. Count Berchtold,
in speaking to the diplomatic corps at Vienna, and Count Tisza, in
addressing Parliament at Budapest, used reassuring language, which
raised hopes of a peaceful solution.

[Sidenote: Opinion is moderate in Berlin.]

The Wilhelmstrasse also expressed itself in very measured terms on the
guarantees that would be demanded from Serbia. Herr Zimmermann, without
knowing (so he said to me) what decision had been arrived at in Vienna,
thought that no action would be taken in Belgrade until the
Austro-Hungarian Government had collected the proofs of the complicity
of Serbian subjects or societies in the planning of the Serajevo crime.
He had made a similar statement to the Russian Ambassador, who had
hastened to impart to him his fears for the peace of Europe, in the
event of any attempt to coerce Serbia into proceeding against the secret
societies, if they were accused of intrigues against the Austrian
Government in Bosnia and Croatia. Herr Zimmermann declared to M.
Sverbeeff that, in his opinion, no better advice could be given to the
Serbian Government than this: that it should put a stop to the nefarious
work of these societies and punish the accomplices of the Archduke's
assassins. The moderation of this remark fairly reflected the general
state of public opinion in Berlin.

[Sidenote: Kaiser William's opinion.]

But what of the Emperor, the Archduke's personal friend? Would not his
grief and anger find voice in ringing tones? All eyes were turned
towards Kiel, where the fatal news reached William II while he was
taking part in a yacht race on board his own clipper. He turned pale,
and was heard to murmur: "So my work of the past twenty-five years will
have to be started all over again!" Enigmatic words which may be
interpreted in various ways! To the British Ambassador, who was also at
Kiel, with the British squadron returning from the Baltic, he unburdened
himself in more explicit fashion: "Es ist ein Verbrechen gegen das
Deutschtum" ("It is a crime against Germanity"). By this he probably
meant that Germany, feeling her own interests assailed by the Serajevo
crime, would make common cause with Austria to exact a full retribution.
With more self-control than usual, however, he abstained from all
further public utterances on the subject.

It had been announced that he would go to Vienna to attend the
Archduke's funeral. What were the motives that prevented him from
offering to the dead man this last token of a friendship which, at first
merely political, had become genuine and even tender, with a touch of
patronage characteristic of the Emperor?

[Sidenote: William II not at the funeral.]

He excused himself on the ground of some slight ailment. The truth is,
no doubt, that he was disgusted with the wretched stickling for
etiquette shown by the Grand Chamberlain of the Viennese Court, the
Prince di Montenuovo, who refused to celebrate with fitting splendour
the obsequies of the late heir apparent and his morganatic wife. Under
these circumstances, Vienna could have no desire either for the presence
of William II or for his criticisms.

[Sidenote: The Kaiser goes to Norway.]

At the beginning of July, the Emperor left for his accustomed cruise
along the Norwegian coast, and in Berlin we breathed more freely. If he
could withdraw so easily from the centre of things, it was a sign that
the storm-clouds that had nearly burst over Serbia were also passing off
from the Danube valley. Such, I fancy, was the view taken by the British
Government, for its Ambassador, who was already away on leave, was not
sent back to Berlin. Other diplomats, among them the Russian Ambassador,
took their annual holiday as usual. But the Emperor, in the remote
fiords of Norway, was all the time posted up in the secret designs of
the Vienna Cabinet. The approaching ultimatum to Serbia was telegraphed
to him direct by his Ambassador in Vienna, Herr von Tschirsky, a very
active worker, who strenuously advocated a policy of hostility towards
Russia, and from the first moment had wanted war.

[Sidenote: The Kaiser decides.]

We may assume that the Emperor, if his mind was not already made up at
Kiel, came to a decision during his Norwegian cruise. His departure for
the north had been merely a snare, a device for throwing Europe and the
Triple Entente off the scent, and for lulling them into a false
security. While the world imagined that he was merely seeking to soothe
his nerves and recruit his strength with the salt sea breezes, he was
biding his time for a dramatic reappearance on the stage of events,
allowing the introductory scenes to be played in his absence.


During the first half of July, my colleagues and I at Berlin did not
live in a fool's paradise. As the deceptive calm caused by Vienna's
silence was prolonged, a latent, ill-defined uneasiness took hold of us
more and more. Yet we were far from anticipating that in the space of a
few days we should be driven into the midst of a diplomatic maelstrom,
in which, after a week of intense anguish, we should look on, mute and
helpless, at the shipwreck of European peace and of all our hopes.

[Sidenote: Austria's ultimatum to Serbia.]

The ultimatum, sent in the form of a Note by Baron von Giesl to the
Serbian Cabinet on July 23, was not disclosed by the Berlin newspapers
until the following day, in their morning editions. This bolt from the
blue proved more alarming than anything we had dared to imagine. The
shock was so unexpected that certain journals, losing their composure,
seemed to regard the Vienna Cabinet's arraignment as having overshot the
mark. "Austria-Hungary," said the _Vossische Zeitung_, "will have to
justify the grave charges that she makes against the Serbian Government
and people by publishing the results of the preliminary investigations
at Serajevo."

[Sidenote: Russia would defend Serbia.]

My own conviction, shared by several of my colleagues, was that the
Austrian and Hungarian statesmen could not have brought themselves to
risk such a blow at the Balkan kingdom, without having consulted their
colleagues at Berlin and ascertained that the Emperor William would
sanction the step. His horror of regicides and his keen sense of
dynastic brotherhood might explain why he left his ally a free hand, in
spite of the danger of provoking a European conflict. That danger was
only too real. Not for one moment did I suppose that Russia would prove
so careless of Serbia's fate as to put up with this daring assault on
the latter's sovereignty and independence; that the St. Petersburg
Cabinet would renounce the principle of "The Balkans for the Balkan
nations," proclaimed to the Duma two months before by M. Sazonoff, in
short, that the Russian people would disown the ancient ties of blood
that united it with the Slav communities of the Balkan peninsula.

The pessimistic feeling of the diplomatic corps was increased on the
following day, the 25th, by the language addressed to it at the
Wilhelmstrasse. Herren von Jagow and Zimmermann said that they had not
known beforehand the contents of the Austrian Note. This was a mere
quibble: they had not known its actual wording, I grant, but they had
certainly been apprised of its tenor. They hastened to add, by the way,
that the Imperial Government approved of its ally's conduct, and did not
consider the tone of its communication unduly harsh. The Berlin Press,
still with the exception of the Socialist organs, had recovered from its
astonishment of the day before; it joined in the chorus of the Vienna
and Budapest newspapers, from which it gave extracts, and faced the
prospect of a war with perfect calm, while expressing the hope that it
would remain localized.

[Sidenote: No signs of peaceful settlement.]

In comparison with the attitude of the German Government and Press, the
signs pointing to a peaceful settlement seemed faint indeed. They all
came from outside Germany, from the impressions recorded in foreign
telegrams. Public opinion in Europe could not grasp the need for such
hectoring methods of obtaining satisfaction, when there was no case for
refusing discussion on the normal diplomatic lines. It seemed impossible
that Count Berchtold should ignore the general movement of reproof which
appeared spontaneously everywhere but in Berlin against his ultimatum. A
moderate claim would have seemed just; but Serbia could not be asked to
accept a demand for so heavy an atonement, couched in a form of such
unexampled brutality.

[Sidenote: Key to the situation in Berlin.]

The more I reflected on the ghastly situation created by the collusion
of German and Austro-Hungarian diplomacy, the more certain did I feel
that the key to that situation (as M. Sazonoff said later) lay in
Berlin, and that there was no need to look further for the solution of
the problem. If, however, the choice between peace and war was left to
the discretion of the Emperor William, whose influence over his ally in
Vienna had always overruled that of others, then, considering what I
knew as to His Majesty's personal inclinations and the plans of the
General Staff, the upshot of it all was no longer in doubt, and no hope
of a peaceful arrangement could any longer be entertained. I
communicated this dismal forecast to the French Ambassador, whom I went
to see on the evening of the 25th. Like myself, M. Cambon laboured under
no illusions. That very night I wrote to my Government, in order to
acquaint it with my fears and urge it to be on its guard. This report,
dated the 26th, I entrusted, as a measure of precaution, to one of my
secretaries, who at once left for Brussels. Early next morning, my
dispatch was in the hands of the Belgian Foreign Minister.

[Sidenote: War aimed at Russia and France.]

The ultimatum to Serbia [it ran] is a blow contrived by Vienna and
Berlin, or rather, contrived here and carried out at Vienna. Requital
for the assassination of the Austrian heir apparent and the Pan-Serb
propaganda serves as a stalking-horse. The real aim, apart from the
crushing of Serbia and the stifling of Jugo-Slav aspirations, is to deal
a deadly thrust at Russia and France, with the hope that England will
stand aside from the struggle. In order to vindicate this theory, I beg
to remind you of the view prevailing in the German General Staff,
namely, that a war with France and Russia is unavoidable and close at
hand--a view which the Emperor has been induced to share. This war,
eagerly desired by the military and Pan-German party, might be
undertaken to-day under conditions extremely favourable for Germany,
conditions that are not likely to arise again for some time to come.

After a summary of the situation and of the problems that it raised, my
report concluded as follows:

        We, too, have to ask ourselves these harassing
        questions, and keep ourselves ready for the
        worst; for the European conflict that has
        always been talked about, with the hope that it
        would never break out, is to-day becoming a
        grim reality.

[Sidenote: Dangers for Belgium.]

        The worst contingencies that occurred to me, as
        a Belgian, were the violation of a part of our
        territory and the duty that might fall upon our
        soldiers of barring the way to the
        belligerents. In view of the vast area over
        which a war between France and Germany would be
        fought, dared we hope that Belgium would be
        safe from any attack by the German army, from
        any attempt to use her strategic routes for
        offensive purposes? I could not bring myself to
        believe that she would be so fortunate. But
        between such tentatives and a thoroughgoing
        invasion of my country, plotted a long time in
        advance and carried out before the real
        operations of the war had begun, there was a
        wide gulf, a gulf that I never thought the
        Imperial Government capable of leaping over
        with a light heart, because of the European
        complications which so reckless a disdain for
        treaties would not fail to involve.


Until the end of the crisis, the idea of a preventive war continually
recurred to my mind. Other heads of legations, however, while sharing
my anxieties on this point, did not agree with me as to the
premeditation of which I accused the Emperor and the military chiefs. I
was not content with putting my questions to the French Ambassador,
whose unerring judgment always carried great weight with me. I also
visited his Italian colleague, an astute diplomat, thoroughly versed in
German statecraft. He had always put me in mind of those dexterous
agents employed by the sixteenth-century Italian republics.

[Sidenote: Signor Bollati's views.]

[Sidenote: Germany and Austria confident.]

According to Signor Bollati, the German Government, agreeing in
principle with the Vienna Cabinet as to the necessity for chastising
Serbia, had not known beforehand the terms of the Austrian Note, the
violence of which was unprecedented in the language of Chancelleries.
Vienna, as well as Berlin, was convinced that Russia, in spite of the
official assurances that had recently passed between the Tsar and M.
Poincaré regarding the complete readiness of the French and Russian
armies, was not in a position to enter on a European war, and that she
would not dare to embark upon so hazardous an adventure. Internal
troubles, revolutionary intrigues, incomplete armaments, inadequate
means of communication--all these reasons would compel the Russian
Government to be an impotent spectator of Serbia's undoing. The same
confidence reigned in the German and Austrian capitals as regards, not
the French army, but the spirit prevailing among Government circles in

At present [added the Ambassador] feeling runs so high in Vienna that
all calm reflection goes by the board. Moreover, in seeking to
annihilate Serbia's military power, the Austro-Hungarian Cabinet is
pursuing a policy of personal revenge. It cannot realize the mistakes
that it made during the Balkan War, or remain satisfied with the
partial successes then gained with our aid--successes that, whatever
judgment may be passed upon them, were certainly diplomatic victories.
All that Count Berchtold sees to-day is Serbia's insolence and the
criticism he has had to endure even in Austria. By this bold stroke,
very unexpected from a man of his stamp, he hopes to turn the criticism
into applause.

The Ambassador held that Berlin had false ideas as to the course that
the Tsar's Government would adopt. The latter would find itself forced
into drawing the sword, in order to maintain its prestige in the Slav
world. Its inaction, in face of Austria's entry into the field, would be
equivalent to suicide. Signor Bollati also gave me to understand that a
widespread conflict would not be popular in Italy. The Italian people
had no concern with the overthrow of the Russian power, which was
Austria's enemy; it wished to devote all its attention to other
problems, more absorbing from its own point of view.

[Sidenote: Vienna welcomes war on Serbia.]

The blindness of the Austrian Cabinet with regard to Russian
intervention has been proved by the correspondence, since published, of
the French and British representatives at Vienna. The Viennese populace
was beside itself with joy at the announcement of an expedition against
Serbia, which, it felt sure, would be a mere military parade. Not for a
single night were Count Berchtold's slumbers disturbed by the vision of
the Russian peril. He is, indeed, at all times a buoyant soul, who can
happily mingle the distractions of a life of pleasure with the heavy
responsibilities of power. His unvarying confidence was shared by the
German Ambassador, his most trusted mentor. We can hardly suppose that
the Austrian Minister shut his eyes altogether to the possibility of a
struggle with the Slav world. Having Germany as his partner, however,
he determined, with the self-possession of a fearless gambler, to
proceed with the game.

At Berlin, the theory that Russia was incapable of facing a conflict
reigned supreme, not only in the official world and in society, but
among all the manufacturers who made a specialty of war material.

[Sidenote: Berlin believes Russia weak.]

Herr Krupp von Bohlen, who was more entitled to give an opinion than any
other of this class, declared on July 28 that the Russian artillery was
neither efficient nor complete, while that of the German army had never
before been so superior to all its rivals. It would be madness on
Russia's part, he inferred, to take the field against Germany under
these conditions.


The foreign diplomatic corps was kept in more or less profound ignorance
as to the _pourparlers_ carried on since the 24th by the Imperial
Foreign Office with the Triple Entente Cabinets. Nevertheless, to the
diplomats who were continually going over to the Wilhelmstrasse for
news, the crisis was set forth in a light very favourable to Austria and
Germany, in order to influence the views of the Governments which they
represented. Herr von Stumm, the departmental head of the political
branch, in a brief interview that I had with him on the 26th, summed up
his exposition in these words: "Everything depends on Russia." I should
rather have thought that everything depended on Austria, and on the way
in which she would carry out her threats against Serbia.

On the following day I was received by Herr Zimmermann, who adopted the
same line of argument, following it in all its bearings from the origin
of the dispute.

It was not at our prompting [he said], or in accordance with our advice,
that Austria took the action that you know of towards the Belgrade
Cabinet. The answer was unsatisfactory, and to-day Austria is
mobilizing. She can no longer draw back without risking a collapse at
home as well as a loss of influence abroad. It is now a question of life
and death to her. She must put a stop to the unscrupulous propaganda
which, by raising revolt among the Slav provinces of the Danube valley,
is leading towards her internal disintegration. Finally, she must exact
a signal revenge for the assassination of the Archduke. For all these
reasons Serbia is to receive, by means of a military expedition, a stern
and salutary lesson. An Austro-Serbian War is, therefore, impossible to

[Sidenote: Attempts to limit conflict.]

England has asked us to join with her, France, and Italy, in order to
prevent the conflict from spreading and a war from breaking out between
Austria and Russia. Our answer was that we should be only too glad to
help in limiting the area of the conflagration, by speaking in a pacific
sense to Vienna and St. Petersburg; but that we could not use our
influence with Austria to restrain her from inflicting an exemplary
punishment on Serbia. We have promised to help and support our Austrian
allies, if any other nation should try to hamper them in this task. We
shall keep that promise.

If Russia mobilizes her army, we shall at once mobilize ours, and then
there will be a general war, a war that will set ablaze all Central
Europe and even the Balkan peninsula, for the Rumanians, Greeks,
Bulgarians, and Turks will not be able to resist the temptation to come

As I remarked yesterday to M. Boghitchevitch [the former Serbian Chargé
d'Affaires, who was on a flying visit to Berlin, where he had been
greatly appreciated during the Balkan War], the best advice I can give
Serbia is that she should make no more than a show of resistance to
Austria, and should come to terms as soon as possible, by accepting all
the conditions of the Vienna Cabinet. I added, in speaking to him, that
if a universal war broke out and went in favor of the Triplice, Serbia
would probably cease to exist as a nation; she would be wiped off the
map of Europe. I still hope, though, that such a widespread conflict may
be avoided, and that we shall succeed in inducing Russia not to
intervene on Serbia's behalf. Remember that Austria is determined to
respect Serbia's integrity, once she has obtained satisfaction.

I pointed out to the Under-Secretary that the Belgrade Cabinet's reply,
according to some of my colleagues who had read it, was, apart from a
few unimportant restrictions, an unqualified surrender to Austria's
demands. Herr Zimmermann said that he had no knowledge of this reply (it
had been handed in two days before to the Austrian Minister at
Belgrade!) and that, in any case, there was no longer any possibility of
preventing an Austro-Hungarian military demonstration.

[Sidenote: Serbian reply.]

The Serbian document was not published by the Berlin newspapers until
the 29th. On the previous day they all reproduced a telegram from
Vienna, stating that this apparent submission was altogether inadequate.
The prompt concessions made by the Pasitch Cabinet, concessions that had
not been anticipated abroad, failed to impress Germany. She persisted in
seeing only with Austria's eyes.

[Sidenote: Zimmermann's arguments.]

Herr Zimmermann's arguments held solely on the hypothesis that, in the
action brought by Austria against Serbia, no Power had the right to
come forward as counsel for the defendant, or to interfere in the trial
at all. This claim amounted to depriving Russia of her historic rôle in
the Balkans. Carried to its logical conclusion, the theory meant
condemning unheard every small State that should be unfortunate enough
to have a dispute with a great Power. According to the principles of the
Berlin Cabinet, the great Power should be allowed, without let or
hindrance, to proceed to the execution of its weak opponent. England,
therefore, would have had no right to succor Belgium when the latter was
invaded by Germany, any more than Russia had a right to protect Serbia
from the Austrian menace.

Russia, it was asserted at the Wilhelmstrasse, ought to be satisfied
with the assurance that Austria would not impair the territorial
integrity of Serbia or mar her future existence as an independent State.
What a hollow mockery such a promise would seem, when the whole country
had been ravaged by fire and sword! Surely it was decreed that, after
this "exemplary punishment," Serbia should become the lowly vassal of
her redoubtable neighbour, living a life that was no life, cowed by the
jealous eye of the Austrian Minister--really the Austrian Viceroy--at
Belgrade. Had not Count Mensdorff declared to Sir Edward Grey that
before the Balkan War Serbia was regarded as gravitating towards the
Dual Monarchy's sphere of influence? A return to the past, to the tame
deference of King Milan, was the least that Austria would exact.

[Sidenote: German opinion is misled.]

The version given out by the Imperial Chancellery, besides being
intended to enlighten foreign Governments, had a further end in view.
Repeated _ad nauseam_ by the Press, it aimed at misleading German
public opinion. From the very opening of the crisis, Herr von
Bethmann-Hollweg and his colleagues strove, with all the ingenuity at
their command, to hoodwink their countrymen, to shuffle the cards, to
throw beforehand on Russia, in case the situation should grow worse, the
odium of provocation and the blame for the disaster, to represent that
Power as meddling with a police inquiry that did not concern her in the
least. This cunning man[oe]uvre resulted in making all Germany, without
distinction of class or party, respond to her Emperor's call at the
desired moment, since she was persuaded (as I have explained in a
previous chapter) that she was the object of a premeditated attack by


[Sidenote: German diplomacy.]

The game of German diplomacy during these first days of the crisis, July
24 to 28, has already been revealed. At first inclined to bludgeon, it
soon came to take things easily, even affecting a certain optimism, and
by its passive resistance bringing to naught all the efforts and all the
proposals of the London, Paris, and St. Petersburg Cabinets. To gain
time, to lengthen out negotiations, seems to have been the task imposed
upon Austria-Hungary's accomplice in order to promote rapid action by
the Dual Monarchy, and to face the Triple Entente with irrevocable
deeds, namely the occupation of Belgrade and the surrender of the
Serbians. But things did not go as Berlin and Vienna had hoped, and the
determined front shown by Russia, who in answer to the partial
mobilization of Austria mobilized her army in four southern districts,
gave food for reflection to the tacticians of the Wilhelmstrasse. Their
language and their frame of mind grew gentler to a singular degree on
the fifth day, July 28. It may be recalled, in passing, that in 1913,
during the Balkan hostilities, Austria and Russia had likewise proceeded
to partial mobilizations; yet these steps had not made them come to
blows or even brought them to the verge of hostilities.

[Sidenote: The Kaiser returns to Berlin.]

On the evening of the 26th the Emperor's return was announced in Berlin.
Why did he come back so suddenly? I think I am justified in saying that,
at this news, the general feeling among the actors and spectators of the
drama was one of grave anxiety. Our hearts were heavy within us; we had
a foreboding that the decisive moment was drawing near. It was the same
at the Wilhelmstrasse. To the British Chargé d'Affaires Herr von
Zimmermann frankly confessed his regret at this move, on which William
II had decided without consulting any one.

Nevertheless, our fears at first seemed to be unwarranted. The 28th was
marked by a notable loosening of Germany's stiff-necked attitude. The
British Ambassador, who had returned to Berlin on the previous day, was
summoned in the evening by the Chancellor. Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg,
while rejecting the conference proposed by Sir Edward Grey, promised to
use his good offices to induce Russia and Austria to discuss the
position in an amicable fashion. "A war between the Great Powers must be
averted," were his closing words.

It is highly probable that the Chancellor at that time sincerely wanted
to keep the peace, and his first efforts, when he saw the danger coming
nearer and nearer, succeeded in curbing the Emperor's impatience for
forty-eight hours. The telegram sent by William II to the Tsar on the
evening of the 28th is friendly, almost reassuring: "Bearing in mind
the cordial friendship that has united us two closely for a long time
past, I am using all my influence to make Austria arrive at a genuine
and satisfactory understanding with Russia."

How are we to explain, then, the abrupt change of tack that occurred the
following day at Berlin, or rather, at Potsdam, and the peculiar
language addressed by the Chancellor to Sir Edward Goschen on the
evening of the 29th? In that nocturnal scene there was no longer any
question of Austria's demands on Serbia, or even of the possibility of
an Austro-Russian war. The centre of gravity was suddenly shifted, and
at a single stride the danger passed from the southeast of Europe to the

[Sidenote: Will England be neutral?]

What is it that Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg wants to know at once, as he
comes straight from the council held at Potsdam under the presidency of
the Emperor? Whether Great Britain would consent to remain neutral in a
European war, provided that Germany agreed to respect the territorial
integrity of France. "And what of the French colonies?" asks the
Ambassador with great presence of mind. The Chancellor can make no
promise on this point, but he unhesitatingly declares that Germany will
respect the integrity and neutrality of Holland. As for Belgium,
France's action will determine what operations Germany may be forced to
enter upon in that country; but when the war is over, Belgium will lose
no territory, unless she ranges herself on the side of Germany's foes.

[Sidenote: A bargain proposed.]

Such was the shameful bargain proposed to England, at a time when none
of the negotiators had dared to speak in plain terms of a European war
or even to offer a glimpse of that terrifying vision. This interview was
the immediate result of the decisive step taken by German diplomacy on
the same day at St. Petersburg. The step in question has been made known
to us through the diplomatic documents which have been printed by the
orders of the belligerent Governments, and all of which concur in their
account of this painful episode. Twice on that day did M. Sazonoff
receive a visit from the German Ambassador, who came to make a demand
wrapped up in threats.

[Sidenote: Germany's demands on Russia.]

Count de Pourtalès insisted on Russia contenting herself with the
promise, guaranteed by Germany, that Austria-Hungary would not impair
the integrity of Serbia. M. Sazonoff refused to countenance the war on
this condition. Serbia, he felt, would become a vassal of Austria, and a
revolution would break out in Russia. Count de Pourtalès then backed his
request with the warning that, unless Russia desisted from her military
preparations, Germany would mobilize. A German mobilization, he said,
would mean war. The results of the second interview, which took place at
two o'clock in the morning, were as negative as those of the first,
notwithstanding a last effort, a final suggestion by M. Sazonoff to
stave off the crisis. His giving in to Germany's brutal dictation would
have been an avowal that Russia was impotent.

To the Emperor William, who had resumed the conduct of affairs since the
morning of the 27th--the Emperor William, itching to cut the knot,
driven on by his Staff and his generals--to him and no other must we
trace the responsibility for this insolent move which made war
inevitable. "The heads of the army insisted," was all that Herr von
Jagow would vouchsafe a little later to M. Cambon by way of explanation.
The Chancellor, and with him the Foreign Secretary and Under-Secretary,
associated themselves with these hazardous tactics, from sheer inability
to secure the adoption of less hasty and violent methods. If they
believed that this summary breaking off of negotiations would meet with
success, they were as grievously mistaken as Count de Pourtalès, whose
reports utterly misled them as to the sacrifices that Russia was
prepared to make for Serbia.

At all events this upright man, when he realized the appalling effects
of his blunder, gave free play to his emotion. Such sensitiveness is
rare indeed in a German, and redounds entirely to his credit.

[Sidenote: Russian military development.]

[Sidenote: French military situation.]

But the Emperor and his council of generals--what was their state of
soul at this critical moment? Perhaps this riddle will never be wholly
solved. From the military point of view, which in their eyes claimed
first attention, they must have rejoiced at M. Sazonoff's answer, for
never again would they find such a golden opportunity for vanquishing
Russia and making an end of her rivalry. In 1917 the reorganization of
her army would have been complete, her artillery would have been at full
strength, and a new network of strategic railways would have enabled her
to let loose upon the two Germanic empires a vast flood of fighting men
drawn from the inexhaustible reservoir of her population. The struggle
with the colossus of the North, despite the vaunted technical
superiority of the German army, would in all likelihood have ended in
the triumph of overwhelming might. In the France of 1917, again, the
three years' term of service would have begun to produce its full
results, and her first-line troops would have been both more numerous
and better trained than at present.

On the other hand, William II could cherish no false hopes as to the
consequences of this second pressure that he was bringing to bear on
St. Petersburg. Had it succeeded in 1914 as in 1909, the encounter
between Germany and the great Slav Empire would only have been put off
to a later day, instead of being finally shelved. How could the Tsar or
the Russian people have forgiven the Kaiser for humbling them once more?
If they had pocketed the affront in silence, it would only have been in
order to bide their time for revenge, and they would have chosen the
moment when Russia, in possession of all her resources, could have
entered upon the struggle with every chance of winning.

[Sidenote: William II and Russia.]

Here an objection may be raised. The German Emperor, some may hold,
fancying that the weight of his sword in the scale would induce the Tsar
to shrink from action, had foreseen the anger of the Slav nation at its
sovereign's timorous scruples, and looked forward to revolutionary
outbreaks which would cripple the Government for years to come and make
it unable to think of war, if indeed they did not sweep the Romanoffs
from the throne. I would answer that this Machiavellian scheme could
never have entered the head of such a ruler as William II, with his deep
sense of monarchial solidarity, and his instinctive horror of anarchist
outrages and of revolution.

[Sidenote: The Kaiser eager to act.]

No: the Emperor, together with the military authorities whose advice he
took, wished to profit by a juncture which he had awaited with longing,
and which fickle Fortune might never again offer to his ambition.
Everything proves it, down to his feverish haste, as soon as M.
Sazonoff's reply was conveyed to him, to learn the intentions of
England, and to suggest, on that very day, a bargain that might purchase
her neutrality. This is why Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg received orders to
summon the British Ambassador on the night of the 29th. The Emperor
could not wait until the following morning, so eager was he to act. Is
this impatience the mark of one who was the victim of a concerted
surprise? If he had not wanted war, would he not have tried to resume
negotiations with Russia on a basis more in keeping with her dignity as
a Great Power, however heavy a blow it was to his own pride that he had
failed to intimidate her?


The abortive efforts to overawe St. Petersburg and the offers made to
the British Ambassador, as if Great Britain's inaction could be sold to
the highest bidder, brought results that were not hard to foresee.

[Sidenote: Sir Edward Grey's telegram.]

In London, Sir Edward Grey's indignation found immediate vent in the
following passage of his telegram of July 30 to Sir Edward Goschen: "It
would be a disgrace for us to make this bargain with Germany at the
expense of France--a disgrace from which the good name of this country
would never recover. The Chancellor also in effect asks us to bargain
away whatever obligation or interest we have as regards the neutrality
of Belgium. We could not entertain that bargain either."

Through the brazen overtures of Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg, however, the
British Cabinet henceforth came to occupy itself, before all things,
with the fate allotted to our country by the Imperial Government in the
war that it was preparing. In order to tear off the mask from German
statesmanship, the surest method was to ask it a straightforward
question. On July 31, Sir Edward Grey, following the example of the
Gladstone Ministry of 1870, inquired both of Germany and France whether
they would respect the neutrality of Belgium. At the same time he gave
Belgium to understand that Britain counted on her doing her utmost to
maintain her neutrality.

[Sidenote: Neutrality of Belgium.]

The answer of the Republican Government was frank and unhesitating. It
was resolved to respect Belgian neutrality, and would only act otherwise
if the violation of that neutrality by some other Power forced it to do
so in self-defence.

The Belgian Government, for its part, hastened to assure the British
Minister at Brussels of its determination to resist with might and main
should its territory be invaded.

At Berlin, however, the Foreign Secretary eluded Sir Edward Goschen's
questions. He said that he must consult the Emperor and the Chancellor.
In his opinion, any answer would entail the risk, in the event of war,
of partly divulging the plan of campaign. It seemed doubtful to him,
therefore, whether he would be able to give a reply. This way of
speaking was perfectly clear in its ambiguity. It did not puzzle Sir
Edward Grey for a moment. On the following day he declared to the German
Ambassador that the reply of the German Government was a matter of very
great regret. Belgian neutrality, he pointed out, was highly important
in British eyes, and if Belgium was attacked, it would be difficult to
restrain public feeling in his country.

On the same day, August 1, in accordance with instructions from my
Government, I read to the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs (at the
same time giving him a copy) a dispatch drafted beforehand and addressed
to the Belgian Ministers attached to the Powers that had guaranteed our
neutrality. This dispatch affirmed that Belgium, having observed, with
scrupulous fidelity, the duties imposed on her as a neutral State by the
treaties of April 19, 1839, would manifest an unshaken purpose in
fulfilling them; and that she had every hope, since the friendly
intentions of the Powers towards her had been so often professed, of
seeing her territory secure from all assault, if hostilities should
arise near her frontiers. The Belgian Government added that it had
nevertheless taken all the necessary steps for maintaining its
neutrality, but that, in so doing, it had not been actuated by a desire
to take part in an armed struggle among the Powers, or by a feeling of
distrust towards any one of them.

Herr Zimmermann listened without a word of comment to my reading of this
dispatch, which expressed the loyal confidence of my Government in
Germany's goodwill. He merely took note of my communication. His silence
did not surprise me, for I had just learnt of Herr von Jagow's evasive
reply to the British Government concerning Belgium; but it bore out all
my misgivings. His constrained smile, by the way, told me quite as much
as his refusal to speak.

[Sidenote: Russia and Germany hasten preparations.]

[Sidenote: Austria mobilizes.]

From the 30th, Russia and Germany--as an inevitable sequel to the
conversations of the 29th--went forward actively with their military
preparations. What was the exact nature of these preludes to the German
mobilization? It was impossible to gain any precise notion at Berlin.
The capital was rife with various rumors that augured ill for the
future. We heard tell of regiments moving from the northern provinces
towards the Rhine. We learnt that reservists had been instructed to keep
themselves in readiness for marching orders. At the same time, postal
communication with Belgium and France had been cut off. At the
Wilhelmstrasse, the position was described to me as follows: "Austria
will reply to Russia's partial mobilization with a general mobilization
of her army. It is to be feared that Russia will then mobilize her
entire forces, which will compel Germany to do the same." As it turned
out, a general mobilization was indeed proclaimed in Austria on the
night of the 30th.

Nevertheless, the peace _pourparlers_ went on between Vienna and St.
Petersburg on the 30th and 31st, although on the latter date Russia, as
Berlin expected, in answer both to the Austrian and the German
preparations, had mobilized her entire forces. Even on the 31st these
discussions seemed to have some chance of attaining their object.
Austria was now more accurately gauging the peril into which her own
blind self-confidence and the counsels of her ally were leading her, and
was pausing on the brink of the abyss. The Vienna Cabinet even consented
to talk over the gist of its Note to Serbia, and M. Sazonoff at once
sent an encouraging reply.

It was desirable, he stated, that representatives of all the Great
Powers should confer in London under the direction of the British

Was a faint glimmer of peace, after all, dawning above the horizon?
Would an understanding be reached, at the eleventh hour, among the only
States really concerned with the Serbian question? We had reckoned
without our host. The German Emperor willed otherwise. Suddenly, at the
instance of the General Staff, and after a meeting of the Federal
Council, as prescribed by the constitution, he issued the decree of
_Kriegsgefahrzustand_ (Imminence-of-War). This is the first phase of a
general mobilization--a sort of martial law, substituting the military
for the civil authorities as regards the public services (means of
communication, post, telegraphs, and telephones).

This momentous decision was revealed to us on the 31st by a special
edition of the _Berliner Lokalanzeiger_, distributed at every street
corner. The announcement ran as follows:


        "From official sources we have just received
        (at 2 P.M.) the following report, pregnant with

        "'The German Ambassador at St. Petersburg sends
        us word to-day that a general mobilization of
        the Russian Army and Navy had previously been
        ordered. That is why His Majesty the Emperor
        William has decreed an Imminence-of-War. His
        Majesty will take up his residence in Berlin

        "Imminence-of-War is the immediate prelude to a
        general mobilization, in answer to the menace
        that already hangs over Germany to-day, owing
        to the step taken by the Tsar."

[Sidenote: The Kaiser's ultimatum to Russia.]

As a drowning man catches at a straw, those who in Berlin saw
themselves, with horror, faced by an impending catastrophe, clutched at
a final hope. The German general mobilization had not yet been ordered.
Who knew whether, at the last moment, some happy inspiration from the
British Cabinet, that most stalwart champion of peace, might cause the
weapons to drop from the hands that were about to wield them? Once more,
however, the Emperor, by his swift moves, shattered this fond illusion.
On the 31st, at seven o'clock in the evening, he dispatched to the
Russian Government a summons to demobilize both on its Austrian and on
its German frontiers. An interval of twelve hours was given for a reply.

It was obvious that Russia, who had refused two days before to cease
from her military preparations, would not accept the German ultimatum,
worded as it was in so dictatorial a form and rendered still more
insulting by the briefness of the interval granted. As, however, no
answer had come from St. Petersburg by the afternoon of August 1st,
Herren von Jagow and Zimmermann (so the latter informed me) rushed to
the Chancellor and the Emperor, in order to request that the decree for
a general mobilization might at least be held over until the following
day. They supported their plea by urging that the telegraphic
communication with St. Petersburg had presumably been cut, and that this
would explain the silence of the Tsar. Perhaps they still hoped against
hope for a conciliatory proposal from Russia. This was the last flicker
of their dying pacifism, or the last awakening of their conscience.
Their efforts could make no headway against the stubborn opposition of
the War Minister and the army chiefs, who represented to the Emperor the
dangers of a twenty-four hours' delay.

[Sidenote: Germany mobilizes.]

The order for a mobilization of the army and navy was signed at five
o'clock in the afternoon and was at once given out to the public by a
special edition of the _Lokalanzeiger_. The mobilization was to begin on
August 2nd. On the 1st, at ten minutes past seven in the evening,
Germany's declaration of war was forwarded to Russia.

[Sidenote: Pretexts given in Germany.]

[Sidenote: Heroism of France.]

As all the world knows, the Berlin Cabinet had to resort to wild
pretexts, such as the committing of acts of hostility (so the military
authorities alleged) by French aviators on Imperial soil, in order to
find motives, two days later, for its declaration of war on France.
Although Germany tried to lay the blame for the catastrophe at Russia's
door, it was in reality her western neighbour that she wished to attack
and annihilate first. On this point there can be no possible doubt
to-day. "Poor France!" said the Berlin newspapers, with feigned
compassion. They acknowledged that the conduct of the French Government
throughout the crisis had been irreproachable, and that it had worked
without respite for the maintenance of peace. While her leaders
fulfilled this noble duty to mankind, France was offering the world an
impressive sight--the sight of a nation looking calmly and without fear
at a growing peril that she had done nothing to conjure up, and,
regarding her word as her bond, determined in cold blood to follow the
destiny of her ally on the field of battle. At the same time she offered
to Germany, who had foolishly counted on her being torn by internal
troubles and political feuds, the vision of her children closely linked
together in an unconquerable resolve--the resolve to beat back an
iniquitous assault upon their country. Nor was this the only surprise
that she held in store. With the stone wall of her resistance, she was
soon to change the whole character of the struggle, and to wreck the
calculations of German strategy.

No one had laboured with more energy and skill to quench the flames lit
by Austria and her ally than the representative of the Republic at

"Don't you think M. Cambon's attitude has been admirable?" remarked the
British Ambassador to me, in the train that was whirling us far away
from the German capital on August 6th. "Throughout these terrible days
nothing has been able to affect his coolness, his presence of mind, and
his insight." I cannot express my own admiration better than by
repeating this verdict of so capable a diplomat as Sir Edward Goschen,
who himself took a most active part in the vain attempt of the Triple
Entente to save Europe from calamity.


[Sidenote: Berlin enthusiastic.]

The Berlin population had followed the various phases of the crisis with
tremendous interest, but with no outward show of patriotic fervour.
Those fine summer days passed as tranquilly as usual. Only in the
evenings did some hundreds of youths march along the highways of the
central districts, soberly singing national anthems, and dispersing
after a few cries of "Hoch!" outside the Austro-Hungarian and Italian
Embassies and the Chancellor's mansion.

On August 2nd I watched the animation of the Sunday crowd that thronged
the broad avenue of the Kurfürstendamm. It read attentively the special
editions of the newspapers, and then each went off to enjoy his or her
favourite pastime--games of tennis for the young men and maidens, long
bouts of drinking in the beer-gardens, for the more sedate citizens with
their families. When the Imperial motor-car flashed like a streak of
lightning down Unter den Linden, it was hailed with loud, but by no
means frantic, cheers. It needed the outcries of the Press against
Russia as the instigator of the war, the misleading speeches of the
Emperor and the Chancellor, and the wily publications of the Government,
to kindle a patriotism rather slow to take fire. Towards the close of my
stay, feeling displayed itself chiefly by jeers at the unfortunate
Russians who were returning post-haste to their native country, and
blackguardly behaviour towards the staff of the Tsar's Ambassador as he
was leaving Berlin.

[Sidenote: German people deluded.]

That the mass of the German people, unaware of Russia's peaceful
intentions, should have been easily deluded, is no matter for
astonishment. The upper classes, however, those of more enlightened
intellect, cannot have been duped by the official falsehoods. They knew
as well as we do that it was greatly to the advantage of the Tsar's
Government not to provoke a conflict. In fact, this question is hardly
worth discussing. Once more we must repeat that, in the plans of William
II and his generals, the Serbian affair was a snare spread for the
Northern Empire before the growth of its military power should have made
it an invincible foe.

[Sidenote: Uncertainty regarding Britain.]

[Sidenote: England's attitude.]

There is no gainsaying that uncertainty as to Britain's intervention was
one of the factors that encouraged Germany. We often asked ourselves
anxiously at Berlin whether Germany's hand would not have been stayed
altogether if the British Government had formally declared that it would
not hold aloof from the war. We even hoped, for a brief moment, that Sir
Edward Grey would destroy the illusions on which the German people loved
to batten. The British Foreign Secretary did indeed observe to Prince
Lichnowsky on July 29th that the Austro-Serbian issue might become so
great as to involve all European interests, and that he did not wish the
Ambassador to be misled by the friendly tone of their conversations into
thinking that Britain would stand aside. If at the beginning she had
openly taken her stand by the side of her Allies, she might, to be sure,
have checked the fatal march of events. This, at any rate, is the most
widespread view, for a maritime war certainly did not enter into the
calculations of the Emperor and Admiral von Tirpitz, while it was the
nightmare of the German commercial world. In my opinion, however, an
outspoken threat from England on the 29th, a sudden roar of the British
lion, would not have made William II draw back. The memory of Agadir
still rankled in the proud Germanic soul. The Emperor would have risked
losing all prestige in the eyes of a certain element among his subjects
if at the bidding of the Anglo-Saxon he had refused to go further, and
had thus played into the hands of those who charged him with conducting
a policy of mere bluff and intimidation. "Germany barks but does not
bite" was a current saying abroad, and this naturally tended to
exasperate her. An ominous warning from the lips of Sir Edward Grey
would only have served to precipitate the onslaught of the Kaiser's
armies, in order that the intervention of the British fleet might have
no influence on the result of the campaign, the rapid and decisive
campaign planned at Berlin.

[Sidenote: British opinion.]

We know, moreover, from the telegrams and speeches of the British
Foreign Minister, how carefully he had to reckon with public feeling
among his countrymen in general and among the majority in Parliament. A
war in the Balkans did not concern the British nation, and the strife
between Teuton and Slav left it cold. It did not begin to be properly
roused until it grasped the reality of the danger to France's very
existence, and it did not respond warmly to the eloquent appeals of Mr.
Asquith and Sir Edward Grey until the day when it knew that the Germans
were at the gates of Liège, where they threatened both Paris and
Antwerp--Antwerp, "that pistol pointed at the heart of England."

       *       *       *       *       *

With the failure of diplomatic efforts to prevent war as a result of the
deliberate intention of Germany to bring about the conflict, the great
German war machine was put in motion. It was anticipated by the General
Staff that the passage across Belgium would be effected without
difficulty and with the acquiescence of King and people.

How wrong was this judgment is one of the curious facts of history. The
Germans discovered this error when their armies presented themselves
before the strong fortress of Liège, the first fortified place in their
path. Its capture was necessary for the successful passage of the German

[Sidenote: Importance of the delay.]

It was captured, but at a cost in time and in their arrangement of plans
which were a great element in the great thrust--back at the Marne.



English Review, April, 1915.

[Sidenote: Germany invades Belgium.]

On Sunday, August 2nd, while the news was going round that a train had
entered Luxembourg with German forces, the German Minister at Brussels
delivered an ultimatum to Belgium demanding the free passage through our
territory of the German armies. The following day, Monday, the Belgian
Government replied that the nation was determined to defend its
neutrality. The same night the German advanced posts entered our
territory. Tuesday morning they were before Visé, at Warsage, at
Dolhain, and at Stavelot. The bridges of Visé and Argenteau and the
tunnels of Troisponts and Nas-Proué were blown up.

[Sidenote: Atrocities begin.]

From this day the atrocities committed by the pioneers of German
"Kultur" began at Visé with fire and the massacre of inhabitants. On
Thursday, they were to continue at Warsage and Berneau. On Wednesday,
August 5th, the investment of Liège began, the bombardment being
specially directed to the north-west sector which comprises the forts of
Evegnée, Barchon, and Fléron. In the afternoon the attack extended as
far as the fort of Chaudfontaine. The region attacked by the foe was
thus that between the Meuse and the Vesdre, the beautiful country of
Herve, where cornfields are followed by vineyards, where meadowland
encroaches on the sides of narrow but picturesque valleys, where small
but thick woods conceal the number of the assailants. It was found
necessary to destroy some prosperous little farms, several country
houses, and pretty villas. This was but a prelude to the devastation
brought by the soldiers of the Kaiser.

The enemy was in force. Later it was known that around Liège were the
10th Prussian Army Corps from Aix-la-Chapelle on the way to Visé, the
7th Corps, which had passed through the Herve country, the 8th, which
had entered through Stavelot, and also a brigade of the 11th Corps,
making up a total of about 130,000 men.

[Sidenote: Forts of Liège.]

To resist these forces, General Leman had forts more than twenty-four
years old and 30,000 men: the 3rd division of the army increased by the
15th mixed brigade, _i.e._, the 9th, 11th, 12th, and 14th of the line, a
part of the 2nd Lancers, a battalion of the 1st Carabineers, and the
Divisional Artillery.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thursday, August 6th, was rich in moving incidents.

While the enemy were in force before Barchon, in a night attack, an
attempt was made on General Leman. The story has been variously told.
Here is the true version.

[Sidenote: German spies.]

The enemy's spies, so numerous in Liège, had been able to give the most
exact information regarding the installation of the General Staff in the
Rue Sainte Foy. They were quite aware that for a week the defender of
Liège had only been taking two or three hours' rest in his office, so as
to be more easily in telephonic communication with the forts and
garrison. These offices in the Rue Sainte Foy were very badly situated,
at the extreme end of the northern quarter, and were defended only by a
few gendarmes. General Leman had been warned, however, and the King
himself had at last persuaded him to take some precautions against a
possible attempt. He had finally given way to this advice, and a
rudimentary structure, but a sure one, fitted with electric light and
telephone, was being set up under the railway tunnel near the Palais

This was, then, the last night the General would pass at Rue Sainte Foy.

[Sidenote: General Leman in danger.]

Towards half-past four in the morning a body of a hundred men descended
from the heights of Tawes. Whence did they come? How had they been able
to penetrate into the town? Some have said that they dressed in Liège
itself. In reality, they represented themselves to the advanced posts of
the fort of Pontisse as being Englishmen come to the aid of Liège, and
asked to be conducted to the General Staff. They were soldiers of a
Hanoverian regiment, and bore upon their sleeves a blue band with the
word "Gibraltar." This contributed in no small degree to cause them to
be taken for British sharpshooters. They were preceded by a spy who had
put on the Belgian uniform of the 11th of the line and who seemed to
know the town very well. At Thier-à-Liège, they stopped a moment to
drink at a wine-shop and then went on. They were more than a hundred in
number and were preceded by two officers. A detachment of Garde Civique,
posted at the gas factory of the Rue des Bayards, did not consider it
their duty to interfere. A few individuals accompanied the troop, crying
"Vive les Anglais." A few passers-by, better-aware of the situation,
protested. The troop continued its imperturbable march. The officers
smiled. Thus they arrived at Rue Sainte Foy where, as we have said, the
offices of the General Staff of General Leman were installed.

A German officer asked of the sentinel on the door an interview with
General Leman. The officers of the latter, who now appeared, understood
the ruse at once, and drew their revolvers. Shots were exchanged. One of
the officers, Major Charles Marchand, a non-commissioned officer of
gendarmes, and several gendarmes were killed. The Germans attempted to
enter the offices, of which the door had been closed. They fired through
the windows, and even attempted to attack the house by scaling the
neighbouring walls. General Leman, who was working, ran out on hearing
the first shots. He was unarmed. He demanded a revolver. Captain Lebbe,
his aide-de-camp, refused to allow him to expose himself uselessly, and
begged him to keep himself for the defence of Liège. He even used some
violence to his chief, and pushed him towards the low door which
separated the house from the courtyard of a neighbouring cannon foundry.
With the help of another officer, the captain placed his General in
safety. While this was happening, the alarm had been given, and the
Germans, seeing that their attempt to possess themselves of the person
of General Leman had failed, retired. The guard, which comprised some
fifty men, fired repeatedly on the retreating party. Some fifty Germans,
including a standard-bearer and a drummer, were killed. Others were made

[Sidenote: General Leman in Fort Loncin.]

The General retired to the citadel of Sainte Walburge, and later to the
fort of Loncin. From there he followed the efforts of the enemy
attacking anew the north-east and south-east sectors. The environs of
Fort Boncelles are as difficult to defend as those of the
Barchon-Evegnée-Fléron front. There is first the discovered part which
surrounds what remains of the unfortunate village of Boncelles, which
the Belgians themselves were forced to destroy to free their field of
fire, but for the rest, there are only woods, that of Plainevaux, which
reaches to the Ourthe, Neuville, and Vecquée woods, that of Bégnac,
which continues Saint Lambert wood as far as Trooz and the Meuse.

[Sidenote: Belgian troops fight heroically.]

Every place here swarmed with Germans, 40,000 at least, an army corps
which had spent a day and a night in fortifying themselves, and had been
able to direct their artillery towards Plainevaux, to the north of
Neuville, and upon the heights of Ramet. Thirty thousand men at least
would have been needed to defend this gap and less than 15,000 were
available. A similar attack was delivered at the same time between the
Meuse and the Vesdre. On both sides miracles of heroism were performed,
but the enemy poured on irresistibly. They were able to pass, on the one
side, Val Saint Lambert, on the other, between Barchon and the Meuse,
between Evegnée and Fléron. Fighting took place well into the night, the
enemy being repulsed at Boncelles twice. The following morning I saw
pieces of German corpses. The Belgian artillery had made a real carnage,
and no smaller number of victims fell in the bayonet charges. The 9th
and the Carabineers, who had fought the day before at Barchon, were
present here.

[Sidenote: Retreat ordered.]

In the other sector, the soldiers of the 12th of the line particularly
behaved like heroes. The battle began towards two o'clock in the morning
at Rétinne where, after prodigies of valour and a great slaughter of the
enemy, the Belgian troops were forced to retire. The struggle continued
at Saine and at Queue du Bois. Here Lieutenant F. Bronne and forty of
his men fell while covering the retreat. In spite of such devotion and
of a bravery that will not be denied, the enemy passed through. Why?
Some troops surrendered with their officers, who were afterwards set
free upon parole at Liège. But this was only a very small exception, and
it was under the pressure of an enemy four times as numerous that the
3rd division succumbed after three days of repeated fighting, during
which the soldiers were compelled to make forced marches from one
sector to another, and stop the rest of the time in the trenches
fighting. The enemy's losses were 5,000 killed and 30,000 wounded.

General Leman considered that he had obtained from his troops the
maximum effort of which they were capable and ordered a retreat. It was
executed in good order, and the enemy had suffered so severely that they
did not dream of pursuit. They contented themselves with pushing forward
as far as the plateau of Saint-Tilman (close to Boncelles) and that of
Robermont (behind Fléron) some cannons of 15, which had bombarded the
town the first time on Thursday, August 6th, at four o'clock in the
morning. No German troops, except some 200 men who entered as prisoners,
penetrated into the town on this day.

Although this retreat left behind a few men with several guns, it may be
said to have been effected in good order. I was able to see that for
myself in passing through with the troops, from the fifth limit of the
Saint Trond route, near Fort Loncin, up to the centre of the town. The
auto in which I was seated was able to pass easily.

[Sidenote: Refugees.]

The terrified population from Bressoux began to arrive. There were
people half-dressed, but who carried some object which to them seemed
the most precious, sometimes a simple portrait of a loved one. Others
drove cattle before them. The men carried children, while women followed
painfully loaded with household goods. Mixed up with them were the Garde
Civique. It had just been assembled and informed that it was disbanded,
and a certain number of them had told the inhabitants that the Prussians
were coming, and that there was nothing better to do than for everyone
to bolt himself in. The cannon had thundered all night. The citizens of
Liège had found in their letter-boxes a warning from the burgomaster
concerning the behaviour of the inhabitants in case of the town being
occupied by the enemy. This urgent notice, distributed the night before
between 9 and 11 p.m., foreshadowed an imminent occupation. The hasty
flight of the people of Bressoux stopped when they had crossed the
Meuse; but as the bombardment recommenced towards noon, fright again
seized on the population. The bombardment lasted till two. Some thirty
shells fell on different parts of the town.

[Sidenote: Bridge of Arches destroyed.]

At half-past twelve a dull noise was heard as far as the furthest fort;
it was the old Bridge of Arches which gave way, towards the left bank.
The engineers had just blown it up. It seemed wiser to destroy the
bridge at Val Bénoit, which left the Germans railway communication. But
no one thought of this; or rather, orders to that effect were not given
by the higher authorities. This was afterwards to cause the degradation
to the ranks of the chief officer of engineers who was responsible for
this unpardonable lapse.

The second bombardment lasted till two o'clock. Several projectiles now
fell upon the citadel, where everything was in readiness to set fire to
the provisions and munitions which remained there along with some
unserviceable cannon, generally used in the training of the Garde
Civique. By 10 a.m. the citadel had been evacuated, only very few
persons remaining, among them a major, who hastily hoisted the white

[Sidenote: German envoys in Liège.]

Burgomaster Kleyer awaited developments at the Town Hall. At half-past
three, he received envoys, who demanded the surrender of the town and
forts. Put into communication with General Leman, who was all the time
at Loncin with his Staff, he informed him that if the forts persisted in
their resistance, the town would be bombarded a third time. General
Leman replied that the threat was an idle one, that it would be a cruel
massacre, but that the higher interests of Belgium compelled him to
impose this sacrifice on the town of Liège.

[Sidenote: Bombardment of Liège.]

[Sidenote: Gloomy aspect of the town.]

At 9 p.m. fresh shells fell on different parts of the city and caused
more damage if not more victims. This bombardment lasted till 2 a.m. It
recommenced at intervals of half-an-hour, and caused two fires, one in
Rue de Hanque, and the other in Rue de la Commune. After midday, the
streets were deserted and all dwelling houses closed. In the afternoon a
convoy of Germans taken prisoners were seen to pass along the
boulevards, and were then shut up in the Royal Athenæum. Then there was
an interminable defile of autos and carts conveying both German and
Belgian wounded, especially the former, those who came from Boncelles
more particularly. Bodies of stragglers re-entered Liège slowly,
ignorant of what had happened, as they were either untouched by the
order to retire, or had been forgotten in the advanced posts or in the
trenches. They were very tired and hardly had the courage to accelerate
their pace, except when the few passers-by explained the position in a
couple of words. The aspect of the town was very gloomy, and the only
places where any animation was to be seen were around Guillemins
station, where trains full of fugitives were leaving for Brussels, the
West quarter, towards which the last of the retiring companies were
marching, and the North, where many were still ignorant of this

[Sidenote: Germans enter Liège.]

On Friday, August 7th, at 3 a.m., the bombardment of Liège began again,
chiefly directed against the citadel, where only a few soldiers now
remained. These evacuated the place after setting fire to some
provisions they were unable to carry off. The population passed through
hours of anguish, which were destined not to be the last. Everybody
took refuge in the cellars. Some people lived there for several days in
fear that a shell might fall upon their house. On this Friday the
Germans penetrated into the town at five o'clock in the morning by the
different bridges which had remained intact. They came in through
Jupille and Bois de Breux chiefly. They seemed tired and, above all,
hungry. Leaving detachments in the Place de Bavière and near the
bridges, they successively occupied the Provincial Palace and the

Count Lammsdorf, Chief of the Staff of the 10th Corps, Commander of the
Army of the Meuse, arrested Burgomaster Kleyer at the Town Hall, and
conducted him to the citadel, where he at first made him a rather
reassuring communication as to the fate of the town. . . . He then spoke
anew and said that he understood all the forts would surrender, in
default of which the bombardment would recommence. M. Kleyer vainly
protested against a measure so contrary to the laws both of war and of
humanity. He was simply authorized to pass through the German lines with
a safe conduct, to discuss the matter with General Leman, or even with
the King himself.

[Sidenote: The Burgomaster's task.]

This task of the burgomaster of Liège was a heavy one, and terrible was
the expectant attitude of the German authorities. Later, some people
have discussed the attitude he should have taken up and conceived the
nature of what should have been his reply; they would have desired words
of defiance on his lips and an immediate answer.

He lacked courage for this, and who will dare to-day to blame him for
the immense anxiety he felt on hearing of the horrible fate with which
his beloved town and his unhappy fellow-citizens were threatened?

He gathered together at the Town Hall several communal and provincial
deputies, some deputies and senators. The general opinion at the
beginning of the discussion was that it was necessary to obtain the
surrender of the forts. Someone pointed out that there was not much
likelihood of getting this decision from General Leman, who had already
pronounced himself upon that question, and thought it would be necessary
to continue the work heroically begun of arresting the progress of the
invader, and that the forts, all intact, would powerfully contribute to
that end.

It was finally decided to approach General Leman again with a message
which was entrusted to the burgomaster, the Bishop of Liège, and M.
Gaston Grégoire, permanent deputy. These gentlemen repaired to the
citadel in search of the promised safe conduct. They were met there,
according to the demand of Count Lammsdorf, by some prominent Liège
citizens, to whom he had expressed his desire to explain the situation.

[Sidenote: Hostages to the Germans.]

At the moment the three delegates were about to depart on their mission,
with a good faith upon which it would be foolish to insist, the German
commander declared that all the persons present were detained as
hostages. He gave as a specious pretext for this violation of right that
some German soldiers had been killed by civilians in some neighbouring
villages, and that the hostages would enable the Germans to guard
against the repetition of such acts, the more so as they were prepared
to make a striking example at the beginning of the campaign.

All the Liège citizens who had entered the citadel on this day were kept
there till the next day, Saturday. Moreover, the following persons were
retained as responsible hostages for three days: 1. Mgr. Rutien, Bishop
of Liège; 2. M. Kleyer, Burgomaster of Liège; 3. M. Grégoire, Permanent
Deputy; 4. M. Armand Flechet, Senator; 5. Senator Van Zuylen; 6. Senator
Edouard Peltzer; 7. Senator Colleaux; 8. Deputy De Ponthière; 9. Deputy
Van Hoegaerden; 10. M. Falloise, Alderman.

The hostages were shut up in damp case-mates, palliasses were given them
for the night and, as food, the first day each one had half a loaf and
some water. The burgomaster and the bishop were, however, allowed to go
about their duties after they had given their parole to remain at the
disposal of the German military authorities.

[Sidenote: Last train for Brussels.]

The same day at 9 a.m. the last train left Liège for Brussels with
numbers of fugitives. The number of persons who abandoned Liège and its
suburbs may be calculated at some five thousand. From this moment and
for several days Liège was absolutely cut off from the rest of the
world, all communications having been cut.

On Saturday, August 8th, while the Germans were methodically organising
the occupation of Liège, Burgomaster Kleyer was authorised to wait upon
the King, in order to discuss the surrender of the forts. Furnished with
a safe conduct and accompanied by a German officer, he reached Waremme
early in the afternoon, and placed himself in communication with the
General Staff. The King was consulted, and the reply brought back to
Liège was the one the mayor had foreseen.

The same day saw the appearance of the following order of the day
addressed to the soldiers of the army of Liège:--

        "Our comrades of the 3rd Army Division and of
        the 15th mixed brigade are about to re-enter
        our lines, after having defended, like heroes,
        the fortified position of Liège.

[Sidenote: The King encourages the army.]

        "Attacked by forces four times as numerous,
        they have repulsed all assaults. None of the
        forts have been taken; the town of Liège is
        always in our power. Standards and a number of
        prisoners are the trophies of these combats. In
        the name of the Nation I salute you, officers
        and soldiers of the 3rd Army Division and the
        15th mixed brigade.

        "You have done your duty, done honour to our
        arms, shown the enemy what it costs to attack
        unjustly a peaceable people, but one who wields
        in its just cause an invincible weapon. The
        Fatherland has the right to be proud of you.

        "Soldiers of the Belgian Army, do not forget
        that you are in the van of immense armies in
        this gigantic struggle, and that you await but
        the arrival of our brothers-in-arms in order to
        march to victory. The whole world has its eyes
        fixed upon you. Show it by the vigour of your
        blows that you mean to live free and

        "France, that noble country which has
        throughout history been associated with just
        and generous causes, is hurrying to our aid and
        her armies will enter our territory.

        "In your name I address them a fraternal
        salute.                      ALBERT."

[Sidenote: German precautions.]

[Sidenote: Barricades constructed.]

On this day the Germans, who were not yet sure as to the intentions of
the Belgian field army, and who feared a possible offensive on the part
of the French advanced guards, put Liège in a state of defence.
Moreover, they distrusted the civilian population, and fortified
themselves in the town itself. They placed machine guns at the head of
the bridges, and upon one of them, Boverie, which they feared might be
blown up, or might be bombarded by the forts, they placed a curtained
recess in which they shut up several citizens. They caused the soldiers
to occupy Quai des Pêcheurs, Quai l'Industrie, and the houses in
proximity to the bridge, after clearing out the occupants. They placed
bags of earth in the windows, behind which were installed machine guns.
In the arteries leading to La Hesbaye and La Campine, and in the streets
of the latter, they erected barricades, and installed themselves in the
riverside houses. These labours continued during several days on the
heights of Saint Nicholas and Hollogne, while the soldiers of the 10th
Corps installed themselves on the plateau of Cointe, the General Staff
having taken possession there of a convent, although this had been
transformed into a hospital. In the town, the German troops, delayed for
a short time by the necessity of carrying off their dead, shifting their
wounded, and of taking a much-needed rest, entered in large numbers.
They occupied the different stations, that of Ans on the Herbignon
plateau being the last one where they established themselves.

On Sunday, September 6th, there were at Liège more than 100,000 Germans.
On this day, at one o'clock in the afternoon, the hostages were given
their unconditional liberty. On the same date, in the neighbourhood of
Landen, the King, accompanied by the General Staff, reviewed the valiant
and now reconstituted 3rd Division, reconstituted in spite of the heavy
losses in officers suffered by certain regiments. General Leman received
from M. Schollaert, President of the Belgian Chamber, the following
telegram: "With a heart overflowing with enthusiasm and patriotic pride,
I acclaim the glorious defender of Liège."

[Sidenote: Praise for defense of the city.]

[Sidenote: President Poincaré honors General Leman.]

With reference to the defence of Liège, letters, despatches, and
addresses of felicitation were received at Brussels from the Presidents
of the French Chamber and the French Senate, from the Paris Municipal
Council, and other French municipalities, words of friendship and
encouragement were pronounced later in the British Parliament, while the
King of the Belgians received the congratulations of King George, the
Tsar, and the President of the French Republic. Finally, M. Poincaré
sent him the most envied of distinctions, the military medal. The
resistance of Liège had everywhere aroused grateful enthusiasm, for the
days, and even the hours gained from the invader were now of inestimable
value. But while the twelve forts were not yet to harass, as they could,
the progress of the enemy, Liège, whose hatred of the Prussian is
ingrained, was to pay dearly for the resistance it had made, and its
heart was to suffer cruelly over the vexations of which it was to be the
object, while awaiting pillage and burning.

Here we enter upon a new period, which cannot, however, be separated
from the siege of Liège, for at this time the forts still held out.

[Sidenote: The twelve forts.]

[Sidenote: Forts on the banks of the Meuse.]

The forts still held out, but the resistance of their garrisons had to
be heroic. The defences crumbled quite rapidly. We should not be
surprised at this, but should rather remember that these forts were more
than twenty years old. Their construction began in 1889, and their
armament, though modified later in certain details, was not capable of
resisting the heavy artillery of the Germans. Liège was defended by
twelve forts, large and small. The most important works were Barchon,
Fléron, Boncelles, Flémalle, Loncin, and Pontisse. These forts possessed
five large cupolas and three or four small ones. They were armed with
two guns of 15 centimetres, four of 12, two howitzers of 21, and three
or four guns of 5'7, ten more of 5'7 flanking the ditches. The little
forts counted upon four large and three or four small cupolas. They were
armed with two pieces of 15, two of 12, a howitzer of 21, three or four
guns, without cupola, of 5'7, and of seven or eight commanding the
ditches. The forts are arranged around Liège in the following order:--On
the left bank of the Meuse: Flémalle, Hollogne, Loncin, Lantin, and
Pontisse. On the right bank, between the Meuse and the Vesdre: Barchon,
Evegnée, and Fléron. Between the Vesdre and the Ourthe: Chaudfontaine
and Embourg. Between the Ourthe and the Meuse: Boncelles. The forts are
four kilometres apart, except Flémalle-Boncelles and Embourg-Pontisse,
which are six kilometres apart, while Chaudfontaine and Embourg are only
two kilometres from one another. The forts are eight kilometres from the
limits of the town. The forts of Hollogne, Loncin, Lantin, and Liers are
in grassy country. Boncelles is nearly completely surrounded by woods;
Embourg and Chaudfontaine dominate the deep and winding valleys of the
Ourthe and the Vesdre. Pontisse, Flémalle, and Barchon, commanding the
Meuse, are on broken ground. This last-named fort, with Evegnée and
Fléron, holds the most important strategic position in the Herve
country, facing the German frontier, in a land cut up by meadows planted
with trees and by little woods, traversed by many vales, not very deep,
but winding.

[Sidenote: War conditions changed.]

It is known that in the Brialmont project the intervening spaces were to
be defended and fortified with siege artillery. To tell the truth, the
eminent military engineer, in the pamphlets where he set out the
project, only allowed for a small mobile garrison, but he confessed
later that the difficulties which he knew he would meet with in the
Belgian Parliament over the credits for the fortifications made him
underestimate the number of men required. Besides which, the conditions
of war have been greatly modified during the twenty-five years which
have passed, owing to the increased power of siege guns. So that it may
be laid down that 80,000, if not 100,000, men were needed to properly
defend the entrenched camp of Liège.

[Sidenote: Troops in the forts.]

As for the forts, they were each occupied by a battery of artillery (250
men) and three companies (120 men), a total of 370 men. About 4,500
artillerymen for the twelve forts.

General Leman was shut up in Loncin, one of the chief forts, which
commanded the road towards Waremme and Brussels. He had sent away all
his General Staff with the division, in spite of the supplications of
his officers, who begged to be allowed to share his fate. He continued
to direct the longest resistance possible. The enemy was anxious to cut
all the communications between the forts, but soldiers volunteered for
carrying messages to the different commanders. Several succeeded, but
many were killed, for the investment became steadily tightened. Indeed,
certain gaps, where the ground was most broken, could not be swept by
the guns from the forts, and, under cover of the night, troops ensconced
themselves there comfortably. Moreover, the Germans, having received
reinforcements and heavy artillery, undertook the siege systematically,
first of Barchon, which it was unable to take by storm any more than
Boncelles, but which it subjected to a formidable deluge of shells.
Barchon could only reply haphazard to heavy guns the position of which
it could not tell. It was, indeed, deprived of its observation posts,
and was in the position of a blind man desperately parrying the blows of
an adversary who could see where to strike.

[Sidenote: Fort Barchon taken.]

The struggle was not for long, and the fort, reduced to impotence, left
a wide breach through which the invader scrambled. Through there he
could also introduce his heavy siege guns, howitzers of 28, and even
pieces of 42 cms.

[Sidenote: Forty-two centimetre guns.]

The enemy then followed a tactic which was to succeed rapidly. He
attacked the different fortifications in a reverse way. Thus Loncin,
Lantin, Liers, and Pontisse were bombarded by batteries placed in the
citadel itself and to which the Belgians could not reply without
shelling the town and doing frightful damage. A battery was also placed
in a bend of ground up Rue Naniot, under the "Tomb," where some of those
who fell in 1830 are buried, but it was discovered and had to be
withdrawn. Forts Boncelles and Embourg were attacked by guns placed on
the hill at Tilff, a pretty village, which would have been completely
destroyed had the firing been responded to. Finally, along the line of
the plateau of Herve, no longer dominated by Barchon and Fléron, now
destroyed, the enemy was able to bring into the very centre of the town
four of those howitzers of 42 cms. which were later to bombard Namur,
Maubeuge, and Antwerp.

The following are the dates on which the different forts succumbed:
Barchon and Evegnée fell on August 9th. Right from the 5th they had not
ceased to be the object of continual attacks. They had valiantly
resisted repeated assaults and field artillery. The heavy pieces poured
in a hurricane of fire.

Pontisse, which had so usefully barred the passage of the enemy below
Visé, did not give way till the 12th. On the 13th Embourg surrendered
after a twenty-six hours' bombardment.

[Sidenote: Forts yield one by one.]

The same day saw the fall of Chaudfontaine and Nameche, where two
accidents happened worthy of being related. A shell burst on a cupola
gun as it was finishing its movement after being loaded. The whole gun
was shattered and ten men were wounded. A little while after, a shell
entered the fort through the embrasure and set fire to the powder
magazine. One hundred and ten artillerymen were terribly burned, fifty
dying upon the spot. The 14th saw the fall of Boncelles, Liers, and
Fléron. Boncelles from the 5th had offered an admirable resistance.
Commandant Lefert had been wounded on the 8th, when 200 Germans,
presenting themselves to surrender, treacherously fired upon him.
Suffering greatly, he none the less went on directing the defence until
his officers met together in a kind of council of war, and had him taken
away in an ambulance. The unfortunate man was seized by a fever and
became delirious. Boncelles was bombarded unceasingly for a whole day
and the following morning. It was nearly destroyed, and may be
considered as the fort which was the centre of the worst carnage of
German soldiers. The enormous heaps of dead buried around it bear
witness to the fact. Liers was put out of action by guns installed at
Sainte Walburge.

[Sidenote: Loncin and Lantin fall.]

To get the better of the obstinate resistance of Fléron (Commandant
Mozin), the Germans united twenty guns by an electric battery and fired
them all off at the same time upon the fort, which trembled in its
massive foundations. No one can have an idea of how demoralising this
rain of projectiles was. On the 15th, Loncin and Lantin fell, the
defenders firing until they were overcome by asphyxia. On the 16th, it
was the turn of Flémalle, and on the 18th, of Hollogne.

We know that it was at Loncin, which dominated the roads of La Hesbaye,
where General Leman was shut up. Commandant Naessens and Lieutenant
Monard had the honour of defending the fort under the General's eyes.
Electrified by the presence of the governor of the fortress, the
soldiers of Loncin wrote with their blood the most heroic page of the
heroic defence of Liège. Commandant Naessens modestly narrated the
story when he had been wounded and transported to the military hospital
of Saint Laurent. General Leman has also _résuméd_ the different phases
of the attack, while a prisoner at Magdeburg. We will listen to his
clear and crisp recital.

[Sidenote: General Leman's story.]

He distinguishes four periods during the bombardment. The first
commenced on August 14th at 4.15 p.m. The shell fire, directed with
great exactitude, lasted two hours without interruption. After a break
of half-an-hour, some 21-centimetre guns opened fire. All night, at
intervals of ten minutes, they rained shells upon the fort, causing it
considerable damage. The escarpment was damaged, the protecting walls of
the left flank battery destroyed, and the shutters of the windows
pierced. Another unfavourable circumstance was that all the places of
the escarpment where shelter could be obtained were full of smoke from
the shells which had burst either in the protecting wall or in the
ditches. The deleterious gases rendered it impossible to stand in the
covered places, and forced the General to assemble the garrison in the
interior and in the gallery. Even in these refuges the stupefying
effects of the gases allowed themselves to be felt, and weakened the
fighting value of the garrison.

[Sidenote: Horrors of the bombardments.]

The third period of bombardment began on the 15th at 5.30 a.m. and
continued until two o'clock in the afternoon. The projectiles caused
fearful havoc. The vault of the commanding post, where General Leman was
present with his two adjutants, was subjected to furious shocks, and the
fort trembled to its foundations. Towards two o'clock, a lull occurred
in the firing, and the general took advantage of it to inspect the fort.
He found part of it completely in ruins.

[Sidenote: Currents of poisonous gas.]

The fourth period is described as follows: "It was two o'clock when the
bombardment recommenced with a violence of which no idea can be given.
It seemed to us as if the German batteries were firing salvoes. When the
large shells fell we heard the hissing of the air, which gradually
increased into a roar like a furious hurricane, and which finished by a
sudden noise of thunder. At a certain moment of this formidable
bombardment, I wished to reach the commanding post in order to see what
was happening, but at the end of a few paces in the gallery I was
knocked down by a shock of violent air and fell face forward. I got up
and wished to continue my way, but I was held back by a current of
poisonous air which invaded the whole space. It was a mixture of the gas
from the exploded powder and of the smoke of a fire which had started in
the rooms of the troops where furniture and bedding were kept.

[Sidenote: The fort blown up.]

[Sidenote: General Leman a prisoner.]

"We were thus driven back to the place whence we had come, but the air
had become unbreathable. We were near to being asphyxiated when my
adjutant, Major Collard, had the idea of taking off the top of the
shutter, which gave us a little air. I was, however, obsessed by the
idea of placing part of the garrison in safety, and I told my comrade I
desired to reach the counter-escarpment. I managed to pass the gap and
reach the ditch, which I crossed. What was my amazement when I perceived
that the fort was blown up, and that the front was strewn with ruins,
forming a quay reaching from the escarpment to the counter-escarpment.
Some soldiers were running to and fro upon it. I took them for Belgian
gendarmes and called to them. But I was being suffocated, giddiness
seized upon me, and I fell to the ground. When I came to, I found myself
in the midst of my comrades, who tried to come to my aid. Among them was
a German major, who gave me a glass of water to drink. As I learnt
afterwards, it was then about 6.30 p.m. I was placed in an ambulance
carriage and transported to Liège.

"I was taken, but I had not yet surrendered."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Surrender of Namur.]

Following the capture of Liège the German armies made rapid progress
through Belgium. After several sharp engagements with Belgian troops,
which resisted with heroic tenacity, the Germans on August 19 took
Louvain, and then began the deliberate system of atrocities which
horrified the civilized world. The most valuable parts of the city,
including many beautiful and important edifices, were burned, citizens
were killed and tortured, and the utmost brutality was practiced, under
the excuse that German troops had been fired upon by citizens of the
town. On August 17 Brussels had been abandoned by the Belgian Government
which withdrew to Antwerp. The former city was surrendered without
resistance. In the meantime the French had hurried their armies to
assist the Belgian forces and, joined by the available troops of the
English Expeditionary Force, they encountered the Germans at Charleroi.
On August 23 the great fortress of Namur was surrendered under the fire
of the heavy German artillery, and on the following day, the Allied
armies were defeated at Charleroi, and began the Great Retreat toward
Paris which was to continue to the banks of the Marne. The French armies
were under the command of General Joffre, while Sir John French
commanded the British Expeditionary Force. In the following narrative
General French describes the heroic performances of his gallant troops
during the terrible ordeal.



The transport of the troops from England both by sea and by rail was
effected in the best order and without a check. Each unit arrived at its
destination in this country well within the scheduled time.

[Sidenote: Disposition of British forces.]

The concentration was practically complete on the evening of Friday,
September 21st, and I was able to make dispositions to move the force
during Saturday, the 22d, to positions I considered most favorable from
which to commence operations which the French Commander in Chief,
General Joffre, requested me to undertake in pursuance of his plans in
prosecution of the campaign.

The line taken up extended along the line of the canal from Condé on the
west, through Mons and Binche on the east. This line was taken up as

From Condé to Mons inclusive was assigned to the Second Corps, and to
the right of the Second Corps from Mons the First Corps was posted. The
Fifth Cavalry Brigade was placed at Binche.

In the absence of my Third Army Corps I desired to keep the cavalry
division as much as possible as a reserve to act on my outer flank, or
move in support of any threatened part of the line. The forward
reconnoissance was intrusted to Brigadier General Sir Philip Chetwode
with the Fifth Cavalry Brigade, but I directed General Allenby to send
forward a few squadrons to assist in this work.

[Sidenote: Advance on Soignies.]

During the 22d and 23d these advanced squadrons did some excellent work,
some of them penetrating as far as Soignies, and several encounters took
place in which our troops showed to great advantage.

2. At 6 A. M. on August 23, I assembled the commanders of the First and
Second Corps and cavalry division at a point close to the position and
explained the general situation of the Allies, and what I understood to
be General Joffre's plan. I discussed with them at some length the
immediate situation in front of us.

From information I received from French Headquarters I understood that
little more than one, or at most two, of the enemy's army corps, with
perhaps one cavalry division, were in front of my position; and I was
aware of no attempted outflanking movement by the enemy. I was confirmed
in this opinion by the fact that my patrols encountered no undue
opposition in their reconnoitring operations. The observations of my
aeroplanes seemed also to bear out this estimate.

[Sidenote: Attack on Mons line.]

About 3 P. M. on Sunday, the 23d, reports began coming in to the effect
that the enemy was commencing an attack on the Mons line, apparently in
some strength, but that the right of the position from Mons and Bray was
being particularly threatened.

The commander of the First Corps had pushed his flank back to some high
ground south of Bray, and the Fifth Cavalry Brigade evacuated Binche,
moving slightly south; the enemy thereupon occupied Binche.

[Sidenote: Germans gain passages of the Sambre.]

The right of the Third Division, under General Hamilton, was at Mons,
which formed a somewhat dangerous salient; and I directed the commander
of the Second Corps to be careful not to keep the troops on this salient
too long, but, if threatened seriously, to draw back the centre behind
Mons. This was done before dark. In the meantime, about 5 P. M., I
received a most unexpected message from General Joffre by telegraph,
telling me that at least three German corps, viz., a reserve corps, the
Fourth Corps and the Ninth Corps, were moving on my position in front,
and that the Second Corps was engaged in a turning movement from the
direction of Tournay. He also informed me that the two reserve French
divisions and the Fifth French Army on my right were retiring, the
Germans having on the previous day gained possession of the passages of
the Sambre between Charleroi and Namur.

3. In view of the possibility of my being driven from the Mons position,
I had previously ordered a position in rear to be reconnoitred. This
position rested on the fortress of Maubeuge on the right and extended
west to Jenlain, southeast of Valenciennes, on the left. The position
was reported difficult to hold, because standing crops and buildings
made the siting of trenches very difficult and limited the field of fire
in many important localities. It nevertheless afforded a few good
artillery positions.

[Sidenote: British retire to Maubeuge position.]

When the news of the retirement of the French and the heavy German
threatening on my front reached me, I endeavored to confirm it by
aeroplane reconnoissance; and as a result of this I determined to effect
a retirement to the Maubeuge position at daybreak on the 24th.

A certain amount of fighting continued along the whole line throughout
the night and at daybreak on the 24th the Second Division from the
neighborhood of Harmignies made a powerful demonstration as if to retake
Binche. This was supported by the artillery of both the First and Second
Divisions, while the First Division took up a supporting position in the
neighborhood of Peissant. Under cover of this demonstration the Second
Corps retired on the line Dour-Quarouble-Frameries. The Third Division
on the right of the corps suffered considerable loss in this operation
from the enemy, who had retaken Mons.

The Second Corps halted on this line, where they partially intrenched
themselves, enabling Sir Douglas Haig with the First Corps gradually to
withdraw to the new position; and he effected this without much further
loss, reaching the line Bavai-Maubeuge about 7 P. M. Toward midday the
enemy appeared to be directing his principal effort against our left.

I had previously ordered General Allenby with the cavalry to act
vigorously in advance of my left front and endeavor to take the pressure

[Sidenote: General Allenby supports Fifth Division.]

About 7:30 A. M. General Allenby received a message from Sir Charles
Fergusson, commanding the Fifth Division, saying that he was very hard
pressed and in urgent need of support. On receipt of this message
General Allenby drew in the cavalry and endeavored to bring direct
support to the Fifth Division.

During the course of this operation General De Lisle, of the Second
Cavalry Brigade, thought he saw a good opportunity to paralyze the
further advance of the enemy's infantry by making a mounted attack on
his flank. He formed up and advanced for this purpose, but was held up
by wire about 500 yards from his objective, and the Ninth Lancers and
the Eighteenth Hussars suffered severely in the retirement of the

The Nineteenth Infantry Brigade, which had been guarding the line of
communications, was brought up by rail to Valenciennes on the 22d and
23d. On the morning of the 24th they were moved out to a position south
of Quarouble to support the left flank of the Second Corps.

[Sidenote: Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien suffers great losses.]

With the assistance of the cavalry Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien was enabled
to effect his retreat to a new position; although, having two corps of
the enemy on his front and one threatening his flank, he suffered great
losses in doing so.

At nightfall the position was occupied by the Second Corps to the west
of Bavai, the First Corps to the right. The right was protected by the
fortress of Maubeuge, the left by the Nineteenth Brigade in position
between Jenlain and Bry, and the cavalry on the outer flank.

4. The French were still retiring, and I had no support except such as
was afforded by the Fortress of Maubeuge; and the determined attempts of
the enemy to get round my left flank assured me that it was his
intention to hem me against that place and surround me. I felt that not
a moment must be lost in retiring to another position.

I had every reason to believe that the enemy's forces were somewhat
exhausted and I knew that they had suffered heavy losses. I hoped,
therefore, that his pursuit would not be too vigorous to prevent me
effecting my object.

The operation, however, was full of danger and difficulty, not only
owing to the very superior force in my front, but also to the exhaustion
of the troops.

The retirement was recommenced in the early morning of the 25th to a
position in the neighborhood of Le Cateau, and rearguards were ordered
to be clear of the Maubeuge-Bavai-Eth Road by 5:30 A. M.

[Sidenote: General Allenby covers west flank.]

Two cavalry brigades, with the divisional cavalry of the Second Corps,
covered the movement of the Second Corps. The remainder of the cavalry
division, with the Nineteenth Brigade, the whole under the command of
General Allenby, covered the west flank.

The Fourth Division commenced its detrainment at Le Cateau on Sunday,
the 23d, and by the morning of the 25th eleven battalions and a brigade
of artillery with divisional staff were available for service.

I ordered General Snow to move out to take up a position with his right
south of Solesmes, his left resting on the Cambrai-Le Cateau Road south
of La Chaprie. In this position the division rendered great help to the
effective retirement of the Second and First Corps to the new position.

Although the troops had been ordered to occupy the Cambrai-Le
Cateau-Landrecies position, and the ground had, during the 25th, been
partially prepared and intrenched, I had grave doubts--owing to the
information I had received as to the accumulating strength of the enemy
against me--as to the wisdom of standing there to fight.

[Sidenote: Retirement of French troops on right.]

Having regard to the continued retirement of the French on my right, my
exposed left flank, the tendency of the enemy's western corps (II.) to
envelop me, and, more than all, the exhausted condition of the troops, I
determined to make a great effort to continue the retreat till I could
put some substantial obstacle, such as the Somme or the Oise, between my
troops and the enemy, and afford the former some opportunity of rest and
reorganization. Orders were, therefore, sent to the corps commanders to
continue their retreat as soon as they possibly could toward the general
line Vermand-St. Quentin-Ribemont.

The cavalry, under General Allenby, were ordered to cover the

Throughout the 25th and far into the evening, the First Corps continued
its march on Landrecies, following the road along the eastern border of
the Forêt de Mormal, and arrived at Landrecies about 10 o'clock. I had
intended that the corps should come further west so as to fill up the
gap between Le Cateau and Landrecies, but the men were exhausted and
could not get further in without rest.

[Sidenote: British brigade in Landrecies.]

[Sidenote: French reserve divisions support First Corps.]

The enemy, however, would not allow them this rest, and about 9:30 P. M.
a report was received that the Fourth Guards Brigade in Landrecies was
heavily attacked by troops of the Ninth German Army Corps, who were
coming through the forest on the north of the town. This brigade fought
most gallantly, and caused the enemy to suffer tremendous loss in
issuing from the forest into the narrow streets of the town. This loss
has been estimated from reliable sources at from 700 to 1,000. At the
same time information reached me from Sir Douglas Haig that his First
Division was also heavily engaged south and east of Maroilles. I sent
urgent messages to the commander of the two French reserve divisions on
my right to come up to the assistance of the First Corps, which they
eventually did. Partly owing to this assistance, but mainly to the
skillful manner in which Sir Douglas Haig extricated his corps from an
exceptionally difficult position in the darkness of the night, they were
able at dawn to resume their march south toward Wassigny on Guise.

By about 6 P. M. the Second Corps had got into position with their right
on Le Cateau, their left in the neighborhood of Caudry, and the line of
defense was continued thence by the Fourth Division toward Seranvillers,
the left being thrown back.

During the fighting on the 24th and 25th the cavalry became a good deal
scattered, but by the early morning of the 26th General Allenby had
succeeded in concentrating two brigades to the south of Cambrai.

The Fourth Division was placed under the orders of the general officer
commanding the Second Army Corps.

On the 24th the French cavalry corps, consisting of three divisions
under General Sordêt, had been in billets north of Avesnes. On my way
back from Bavai, which was my "Poste de Commandement" during the
fighting of the 23d and 24th, I visited General Sordêt, and earnestly
requested his co-operation and support. He promised to obtain sanction
from his army commander to act on my left flank, but said that his
horses were too tired to move before the next day. Although he rendered
me valuable assistance later on in the course of the retirement, he was
unable for the reasons given to afford me any support on the most
critical day of all, viz., the 26th.

[Sidenote: British Second Corps and Fourth Division heavily attacked.]

At daybreak it became apparent that the enemy was throwing the bulk of
his strength against the left of the position occupied by the Second
Corps and the Fourth Division.

At this time the guns of four German army corps were in position against
them, and Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien reported to me that he judged it
impossible to continue his retirement at daybreak (as ordered) in face
of such an attack.

I sent him orders to use his utmost endeavors to break off the action
and retire at the earliest possible moment, as it was impossible for me
to send him any support, the First Corps being at the moment incapable
of movement.

The French cavalry corps, under General Sordêt, was coming up on our
left rear early in the morning, and I sent an urgent message to him to
do his utmost to come up and support the retirement of my left flank;
but owing to the fatigue of his horses he found himself unable to
intervene in any way.

There had been no time to intrench the position properly, but the troops
showed a magnificent front to the terrible fire which confronted them.

[Sidenote: British artillery outmatched by four to one.]

The artillery, although outmatched by at least four to one, made a
splendid fight, and inflicted heavy losses on their opponents.

At length it became apparent that, if complete annihilation was to be
avoided, a retirement must be attempted; and the order was given to
commence it about 3:30 P. M. The movement was covered with the most
devoted intrepidity and determination by the artillery, which had itself
suffered heavily, and the fine work done by the cavalry in the further
retreat from the position assisted materially in the final completion of
this most difficult and dangerous operation.

Fortunately the enemy had himself suffered too heavily to engage in an
energetic pursuit.

[Sidenote: General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien cited for conspicuous

I cannot close the brief account of this glorious stand of the British
troops without putting on record my deep appreciation of the valuable
services rendered by General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien.

I say without hesitation that the saving of the left wing of the army
under my command on the morning of the 26th August could never have been
accomplished unless a commander of rare and unusual coolness,
intrepidity, and determination had been present to personally conduct
the operation.

[Sidenote: British retreat holding on line Noyon-Chauny-La Fère.]

The retreat was continued far into the night of the 26th and through the
27th and 28th, on which date the troops halted on the line
Noyon-Chauny-La Fère, having then thrown off the weight of the enemy's

On the 27th and 28th August I was much indebted to General Sordêt and
the French cavalry division which he commands for materially assisting
my retirement and successfully driving back some of the enemy on

General D'Amade also, with the Sixty-first and Sixty-second French
Reserve Divisions, moved down from the neighborhood of Arras on the
enemy's right flank and took much pressure off the rear of the British
forces located there.

[Sidenote: End of four days' battle at Mons.]

This closes the period covering the heavy fighting which commenced at
Mons on Sunday afternoon, 23d August, and which really constituted a
four days' battle.

At this point, therefore, I propose to close the present dispatch.

[Sidenote: Serious losses in British forces.]

I deeply deplore the very serious losses which the British forces have
suffered in this great battle; but they were inevitable in view of the
fact that the British Army--only two days after a concentration by
rail--was called upon to withstand a vigorous attack of five German army

It is impossible for me to speak too highly of the skill evinced by the
two general officers commanding army corps; the self-sacrificing and
devoted exertions of their staffs; the direction of the troops by
divisional, brigade, and regimental leaders; the command of the smaller
units by their officers; and the magnificent fighting spirit displayed
by non-commissioned officers and men.

[Sidenote: Royal Flying Corps cited for admirable work.]

I wish particularly to bring to your Lordship's notice the admirable
work done by the Royal Flying Corps under Sir David Henderson. Their
skill, energy, and perseverance have been beyond all praise. They have
furnished me with the most complete and accurate information, which has
been of incalculable value in the conduct of the operations. Fired at
constantly both by friend and foe, and not hesitating to fly in every
kind of weather, they have remained undaunted throughout.

Further, by actually fighting in the air, they have succeeded in
destroying five of the enemy's machines.

I wish to acknowledge with deep gratitude the incalculable assistance I
received from the General and Personal Staffs at Headquarters during
this trying period.

[Sidenote: Lieutenant General Sir Archibald Murray, Major General
Wilson, Brigade General Hon. Lambton cited for admirable work.]

Lieutenant General Sir Archibald Murray, Chief of the General Staff;
Major General Wilson, Sub-Chief of the General Staff; and all under them
have worked day and night unceasingly with the utmost skill,
self-sacrifice, and devotion; and the same acknowledgment is due by me
to Brigadier General Hon. W. Lambton, my Military Secretary, and the
personal Staff.

[Sidenote: Major General Sir William Robertson cited for admirable

In such operations as I have described the work of the Quartermaster
General is of an extremely onerous nature. Major General Sir William
Robertson has met what appeared to be almost insuperable difficulties
with his characteristic energy, skill, and determination; and it is
largely owing to his exertions that the hardships and sufferings of the
troops--inseparable from such operations--were not much greater.

[Sidenote: Major General Sir Nevil Macready.]

Major General Sir Nevil Macready, the Adjutant General, has also been
confronted with most onerous and difficult tasks in connection with
disciplinary arrangements and the preparation of casualty lists. He has
been indefatigable in his exertions to meet the difficult situations
which arose.



                                                 17th September, 1914.

My Lord: In continuation of my dispatch of September 7, I have the honor
to report the further progress of the operations of the forces under my
command from August 28.

On that evening the retirement of the force was followed closely by two
of the enemy's cavalry columns, moving southeast from St. Quentin.

The retreat in this part of the field was being covered by the Third and
Fifth Cavalry Brigades. South of the Somme General Gough, with the Third
Cavalry Brigade, threw back the Uhlans of the Guard with considerable

[Sidenote: General Chetwode routs German attack.]

General Chetwode, with the Fifth Cavalry Brigade, encountered the
eastern column near Cerizy, moving south. The brigade attacked and
routed the column, the leading German regiment suffering very severe
casualties and being almost broken up.

The Seventh French Army Corps was now in course of being railed up from
the south to the east of Amiens. On the 29th it nearly completed its
detrainment, and the French Sixth Army got into position on my left, its
right resting on Roye.

The Fifth French Army was behind the line of the Oise, between La Fère
and Guise.

[Sidenote: Vigorous pursuit of retreating German forces.]

The pursuit of the enemy was very vigorous; some five or six German
corps were on the Somme, facing the Fifth Army on the Oise. At least two
corps were advancing toward my front, and were crossing the Somme east
and west of Ham. Three or four more German corps were opposing the Sixth
French Army on my left.

This was the situation at 1 o'clock on the 29th, when I received a visit
from General Joffre at my headquarters.

I strongly represented my position to the French Commander in Chief, who
was most kind, cordial, and sympathetic, as he has always been. He told
me that he had directed the Fifth French Army on the Oise to move
forward and attack the Germans on the Somme, with a view to checking
pursuit. He also told me of the formation of the Sixth French Army on my
left flank, composed of the Seventh Army Corps, four reserve divisions,
and Sordêt's corps of cavalry.

[Sidenote: Short retirement towards Compiègne-Soissons.]

I finally arranged with General Joffre to effect a further short
retirement toward the line Compiègne-Soissons, promising him, however,
to do my utmost to keep always within a day's march of him.

In pursuance of this arrangement the British forces retired to a
position a few miles north of the line Compiègne-Soissons on the 29th.

[Sidenote: Right flank of German army in dangerous line of connection.]

The right flank of the Germany Army was now reaching a point which
appeared seriously to endanger my line of communications with Havre. I
had already evacuated Amiens, into which place a German reserve division
was reported to have moved.

Orders were given to change the base to St. Nazaire, and establish an
advance base at Le Mans. This operation was well carried out by the
Inspector General of Communications.

[Sidenote: Retirement to the Marne ordered.]

In spite of a severe defeat inflicted upon the Guard Tenth and Guard
Reserve Corps of the German Army by the First and Third French Corps on
the right of the Fifth Army, it was not part of General Joffre's plan to
pursue this advantage; and a general retirement to the line of the
Marne was ordered, to which the French forces in the more eastern
theatre were directed to conform.

A new Army (the Ninth) had been formed from three corps in the south by
General Joffre, and moved into the space between the right of the Fifth
and left of the Fourth Armies.

While closely adhering to his strategic conception to draw the enemy on
at all points until a favorable situation was created from which to
assume the offensive, General Joffre found it necessary to modify from
day to day the methods by which he sought to attain this object, owing
to the development of the enemy's plans and changes in the general

In conformity with the movements of the French forces, my retirement
continued practically from day to day. Although we were not severely
pressed by the enemy, rearguard actions took place continually.

[Sidenote: Attack on British First Cavalry Brigade.]

On the 1st September, when retiring from the thickly wooded country to
the south of Compiègne, the First Cavalry Brigade was overtaken by some
German cavalry. They momentarily lost a horse artillery battery, and
several officers and men were killed and wounded. With the help,
however, of some detachments from the Third Corps operating on their
left, they not only recovered their own guns, but succeeded in capturing
twelve of the enemy's.

Similarly, to the eastward, the First Corps, retiring south, also got
into some very difficult forest country, and a somewhat severe rearguard
action ensued at Villers-Cotterets, in which the Fourth Guards Brigade
suffered considerably.

[Sidenote: British forces in position south of the Marne.]

On September 3 the British forces were in position south of the Marne
between Lagny and Signy-Signets. Up to this time I had been requested
by General Joffre to defend the passages of the river as long as
possible, and to blow up the bridges in my front. After I had made the
necessary dispositions, and the destruction of the bridges had been
effected, I was asked by the French Commander in Chief to continue my
retirement to a point some twelve miles in rear of the position I then
occupied, with a view to taking up a second position behind the Seine.
This retirement was duly carried out. In the meantime the enemy had
thrown bridges and crossed the Marne in considerable force, and was
threatening the Allies all along the line of the British forces and the
Fifth and Ninth French Armies. Consequently several small outpost
actions took place.

On Saturday, September 5, I met the French Commander in Chief at his
request, and he informed me of his intention to take the offensive
forthwith, as he considered conditions very favorable to success.

[Sidenote: General Joffre announces intention to take offensive.]

General Joffre announced to me his intention of wheeling up the left
flank of the Sixth Army, pivoting on the Marne and directing it to move
on the Ourcq; cross and attack the flank of the First German Army, which
was then moving in a southeasterly direction east of that river.

He requested me to effect a change of front to my right--my left resting
on the Marne and my right on the Fifth Army--to fill the gap between
that army and the Sixth. I was then to advance against the enemy in my
front and join in the general offensive movement.

[Sidenote: Battle begins Sunday, September 6.]

These combined movements practically commenced on Sunday, September 6,
at sunrise; and on that day it may be said that a great battle opened on
a front extending from Ermenonville, which was just in front of the left
flank of the Sixth French Army, through Lizy on the Marne, Mauperthuis,
which was about the British centre, Courtecon, which was on the left of
the Fifth French Army, to Esternay and Charleville, the left of the
Ninth Army under General Foch, and so along the front of the Ninth,
Fourth and Third French Armies to a point north of the fortress of

[Sidenote: Battle concluded September 10. Germans driven to the line

This battle, in so far as the Sixth French Army, the British Army, the
Fifth French Army, and the Ninth French Army were concerned, may be said
to have concluded on the evening of September 10, by which time the
Germans had been driven back to the line Soissons-Rheims, with a loss of
thousands of prisoners, many guns, and enormous masses of transport.

About September 3 the enemy appears to have changed his plans and to
have determined to stop his advance south direct upon Paris, for on
September 4 air reconnoissances showed that his main columns were moving
in a southeasterly direction generally east of a line drawn through
Nanteuil and Lizy on the Ourcq.

On September 5 several of these columns were observed to have crossed
the Marne, while German troops, which were observed moving southeast up
the left flank of the Ourcq on the 4th, were now reported to be halted
and facing that river. Heads of the enemy's columns were seen crossing
at Changis, La Ferté, Nogent, Château Thierry, and Mezy.

[Sidenote: German columns converging on Montmirail.]

Considerable German columns of all arms were seen to be converging on
Montmirail, while before sunset large bivouacs of the enemy were located
in the neighborhood of Coulommiers, south of Rebais, La Ferté-Gaucher,
and Dagny.

I should conceive it to have been about noon on September 6, after the
British forces had changed their front to the right and occupied the
line Jouy-Le Chatel-Faremoutiers-Villeneuve Le Comte, and the advance
of the Sixth French Army north of the Marne toward the Ourcq became
apparent, that the enemy realized the powerful threat that was being
made against the flank of his columns moving southeast, and began the
great retreat which opened the battle above referred to.

[Sidenote: Position of allies and Germans on September 6.]

On the evening of September 6, therefore, the fronts and positions of
the Allied Army were roughly as follows:

_Sixth French Army._--Right on the Marne at Meux, left toward Betz.

_British Forces._--On the line Dagny-Coulommiers-Maison.

_Fifth French Army._--At Courtagon, right on Esternay.

_Conneau's Cavalry Corps._--Between the right of the British and the
left of the French Fifth Army.

The position of the German Army was as follows:

_Fourth Reserve and Second Corps._--East of the Ourcq and facing that

_Ninth Cavalry Division._--West of Crecy.

_Second Cavalry Division._--North of Coulommiers.

_Fourth Corps._--Rebais.

_Third and Seventh Corps._--Southwest of Montmirail.

[Sidenote: First and Second German army.]

All these troops constituted the First German Army, which was directed
against the French Sixth Army on the Ourcq, and the British forces, and
the left of the Fifth French Army south of the Marne.

The Second German Army (IX., X., X.R., and Guard) was moving against the
centre and right of the Fifth French Army and the Ninth French Army.

On September 7 both the Fifth and Sixth French Armies were heavily
engaged on our flank. The Second and Fourth Reserve German Corps on the
Ourcq vigorously opposed the advance of the French toward that river,
but did not prevent the Sixth Army from gaining some headway, the
Germans themselves suffering serious losses. The French Fifth Army threw
the enemy back to the line of the Petit Morin River after inflicting
severe losses upon them, especially about Montceaux, which was carried
at the point of the bayonet.

The enemy retreated before our advance, covered by his Second and Ninth
and Guard Cavalry Divisions, which suffered severely.

Our cavalry acted with great vigor, especially General De Lisle's
brigade, with the Ninth Lancers and Eighteenth Hussars.

[Sidenote: Germans retreat September 8.]

On September 8 the enemy continued his retreat northward, and our army
was successfully engaged during the day with strong rearguards of all
arms on the Petit Morin River, thereby materially assisting the progress
of the French armies on our right and left, against whom the enemy was
making his greatest efforts. On both sides the enemy was thrown back
with very heavy loss. The First Army Corps encountered stubborn
resistance at La Trétoire, (north of Rebais.) The enemy occupied a
strong position with infantry and guns on the northern bank of the Petit
Morin River; they were dislodged with considerable loss. Several machine
guns and many prisoners were captured, and upward of 200 German dead
were left on the ground.

[Sidenote: Forcing of Petit Morin September 9.]

The forcing of the Petit Morin at this point was much assisted by the
cavalry and the First Division, which crossed higher up the stream.

Later in the day a counter-attack by the enemy was well repulsed by the
First Army Corps, a great many prisoners and some guns again falling
into our hands.

On this day (September 8) the Second Army Corps encountered considerable
opposition, but drove back the enemy at all points with great loss,
making considerable captures.

The Third Army Corps also drove back considerable bodies of the enemy's
infantry and made some captures.

[Sidenote: British First and Second Army Corps forced passage of Marne.]

On September 9 the First and Second Army Corps forced the passage of the
Marne and advanced some miles to the north of it. The Third Corps
encountered considerable opposition, as the bridge at La Ferté was
destroyed and the enemy held the town on the opposite bank in some
strength, and thence persistently obstructed the construction of a
bridge; so the passage was not effected until after nightfall.

During the day's pursuit the enemy suffered heavy loss in killed and
wounded, some hundreds of prisoners fell into our hands and a battery of
eight machine guns was captured by the Second Division.

[Sidenote: Sixth French Army heavily engaged west of River Ourcq.]

On this day the Sixth French Army was heavily engaged west of the River
Ourcq. The enemy had largely increased his force opposing them; and very
heavy fighting ensued, in which the French were successful throughout.

The left of the Fifth French Army reached the neighborhood of Château
Thierry after the most severe fighting, having driven the enemy
completely north of the river with great loss.

The fighting of this army in the neighborhood of Montmirail was very

[Sidenote: British and French advance on the line of the Ourcq,
September 10.]

The advance was resumed at daybreak on the 10th up to the line of the
Ourcq, opposed by strong rearguards of all arms. The First and Second
Corps, assisted by the cavalry divisions on the right, the Third and
Fifth Cavalry Brigades on the left, drove the enemy northward. Thirteen
guns, seven machine guns, about 2,000 prisoners, and quantities of
transport fell into our hands. The enemy left many dead on the field.
On this day the French Fifth and Sixth Armies had little opposition.


[Sidenote: First and Second German armies in full retreat.]

As the First and Second German Armies were now in full retreat, this
evening marks the end of the battle which practically commenced on the
morning of the 6th inst.; and it is at this point in the operations that
I am concluding the present dispatch.

In concluding this dispatch I must call your Lordship's special
attention to the fact that from Sunday, August 23, up to the present
date, (September 17,) from Mons back almost to the Seine, and from the
Seine to the Aisne, the army under my command has been ceaselessly
engaged without one single day's halt or rest of any kind.

[Sidenote: Continuous fighting of British from Sunday, August 23, to
September 17, from Mons to Seine and from Seine to the Aisne.]

[Sidenote: Amiens and Rheims captured.]

In the narratives preceding we have seen how the English forces
conducted themselves during the Great Retreat and at the Marne. It must
be remembered, however, that they comprised but a small proportion of
the armies opposing the Germans. The French bore the brunt of the
attack, and a French army turned the tide of battle. Beginning with the
first days of September all other military events were overshadowed by
the Great Retreat. On September 1 the Germans, in spite of French and
British resistance, had reached Senlis. On September 4th Amiens was
captured, and two days later the German army entered Rheims. In the
following narrative is shown, through the official records, how the
French armies bore themselves during the Great Retreat, the First Battle
of the Marne, and in the fighting which marked the hurried return of the
German armies to the banks of the Aisne which they had, with true
foresight, fortified with such a possible situation in mind.



The first month of the campaign began with successes and finished with
defeats for the French troops. Under what circumstances did these come

[Sidenote: Two principal actions.]

Our plan of concentration had foreseen the possibility of two principal
actions, one on the right between the Vosges and the Moselle, the other
on the left to the north of Verdun-Toul line, this double possibility
involving the eventual variation of our transport. On August 2, owing to
the Germans passing through Belgium, our concentration was substantially
modified by General Joffre in order that our principal effort might be
directed to the north.

From the first week in August it was apparent that the length of time
required for the British Army to begin to move would delay our action in
connection with it. This delay is one of the reasons which explain our
failures at the end of August.

[Sidenote: Mulhouse occupied.]

Awaiting the moment when the operations in the north could begin, and to
prepare for it by retaining in Alsace the greatest possible number of
German forces, the General in Chief ordered our troops to occupy
Mulhouse, (Mülhousen,) to cut the bridges of the Rhine at Huningue and
below, and then to flank the attack of our troops, operating in

This operation was badly carried out by a leader who was at once
relieved of his command. Our troops, after having carried Mulhouse, lost
it and were thrown back on Belfort. The work had, therefore, to be
recommenced afresh, and this was done from August 14 under a new

[Sidenote: Enemy losses.]

Mulhouse was taken on the 19th, after a brilliant fight at Dornach.
Twenty-four guns were captured from the enemy. On the 20th we held the
approaches to Colmar, both by the plain and by the Vosges. The enemy had
undergone enormous losses and abandoned great stores of shells and
forage, but from this moment what was happening in Lorraine and on our
left prevented us from carrying our successes further, for our troops in
Alsace were needed elsewhere.

On August 28 the Alsace army was broken up, only a small part remaining
to hold the region of Thann and the Vosges.

The purpose of the operations in Alsace was, namely, to retain a large
part of the enemy's forces far from the northern theatre of operations.
It was for our offensive in Lorraine to pursue still more directly by
holding before it the German army corps operating to the south of Metz.

This offensive began brilliantly on August 14. On the 19th we had
reached the region of Saarburg and that of the Etangs, (lakes,) and we
held Dieuze, Morhange, Delme, and Château Salins.

[Sidenote: French offensive stopped.]

On the 20th our success was stopped. The cause is to be found in the
strong organization of the region, in the power of the enemy's
artillery, operating over ground which had been minutely surveyed, and,
finally, in the default of certain units.

[Sidenote: German reinforcements.]

On the 22d, in spite of the splendid behavior of several of our army
corps, notably that of Nancy, our troops were brought back on to the
Grand Couronne, while on the 23d and 24th the Germans concentrated
reinforcements--three army corps, at least--in the region of Lunéville
and forced us to retire to the south.

This retreat, however, was only momentary. On the 25th, after two
vigorous counter-attacks, one from south to north and the other from
west to east, the enemy had to fall back. From that time a sort of
balance was established on this terrain between the Germans and
ourselves. Maintained for fifteen days, it was afterward, as will be
seen, modified to our advantage.

[Sidenote: Battle of the north.]

There remained the principal business, the battle of the
north--postponed owing to the necessity of waiting for the British Army.
On August 20 the concentration of our lines was finished and the General
in Chief gave orders for our centre and our left to take the offensive.
Our centre comprised two armies. Our left consisted of a third army,
reinforced to the extent of two army corps, a corps of cavalry, the
reserve divisions, the British Army, and the Belgian Army, which had
already been engaged for the previous three weeks at Liège, Namur, and

The German plan on that date was as follows: From seven to eight army
corps and four cavalry divisions were endeavoring to pass between Givet
and Brussels, and even to prolong their movements more to the west. Our
object was, therefore, in the first place, to hold and dispose of the
enemy's centre and afterward to throw ourselves with all available
forces on the left flank of the German grouping of troops in the north.

[Sidenote: The offensive fails.]

On August 21 our offensive in the centre began with ten army corps. On
August 22 it failed, and this reverse appeared serious.

The reasons for it are complex. There were in this affair individual and
collective failures, imprudences committed under the fire of the enemy,
divisions ill-engaged, rash deployments, precipitate retreats, a
premature waste of men, and, finally, the inadequacy of certain of our
troops and their leaders, both as regards the use of infantry and

In consequence of these lapses the enemy, turning to account the
difficult terrain, was able to secure the maximum of profit from the
advantages which the superiority of his subaltern complements gave him.

[Sidenote: Enemy crosses the Sambre.]

In spite of this defeat our manoeuvre had still a chance of success, if
our left and the British Army obtained a decisive result. This was
unfortunately not the case. On August 22, at the cost of great losses,
the enemy succeeded in crossing the Sambre and our left army fell back
on the 24th upon Beaumont-Givet, being perturbed by the belief that the
enemy was threatening its right.

On the same day, (the 24th,) the British Army fell back after a German
attack upon the Maubeuge-Valenciennes line. On the 25th and 26th its
retreat became more hurried. After Landrecies and Le Cateau it fell back
southward by forced marches. It could not from this time keep its hold
until after crossing the Marne.

[Sidenote: The British retreat.]

The rapid retreat of the English, coinciding with the defeat sustained
in Belgian Luxembourg, allowed the enemy to cross the Meuse and to
accelerate, by fortifying it, the action of his right.

The situation at this moment may be thus summed up: Either our frontier
had to be defended on the spot under conditions which the British
retreat rendered extremely perilous, or we had to execute a strategic
retirement which, while delivering up to the enemy a part of the
national soil, would permit us, on the other hand, to resume the
offensive at our own time with a favorable disposition of troops, still
intact, which we had at our command. The General in Chief determined on
the second alternative.

[Sidenote: New offensive planned.]

Henceforward the French command devoted its efforts to preparing the
offensive. To this end three conditions had to be fulfilled:

1. The retreat had to be carried out in order under a succession of
counter-attacks which would keep the enemy busy.

2. The extreme point of this retreat must be fixed in such a way that
the different armies should reach it simultaneously, ready at the moment
of occupying it to resume the offensive all together.

3. Every circumstance permitting of a resumption of the offensive before
this point should be reached must be utilized by the whole of our forces
and the British forces.

[Sidenote: Counter-attacks.]

The counter-attacks, executed during the retreat, were brilliant and
often fruitful. On August 20 we successfully attacked St. Quentin to
disengage the British Army. Two other corps and a reserve division
engaged the Prussian Guard and the Tenth German Army Corps, which was
debouching from Guise. By the end of the day, after various
fluctuations, the enemy was thrown back on the Oise and the British
front was freed.

On August 27 we had also succeeded in throwing back upon the Meuse the
enemy, who was endeavoring to gain a foothold on the left bank. Our
successes continued on the 28th in the woods of Marfée and of Jaulnay.
Thanks to them we were able, in accordance with the orders of the
General in Chief, to fall back on the Buzancy-Le Chesne-Bouvellemont

Further to the right another army took part in the same movement and
carried out successful attacks on August 25 on the Othain and in the
region of Spincourt.

[Sidenote: Recrossing the Meuse.]

On the 26th these different units recrossed the Meuse without being
disturbed and were able to join in the action of our centre. Our armies
were, therefore, again intact and available for the offensive.

On August 26 a new army composed of two army corps, five reserve
divisions, and a Moorish brigade was constituted. This army was to
assemble in the region of Amiens between August 27 and September 1 and
take the offensive against the German right, uniting its action with
that of the British Army, operating on the line of Ham-Bray-sur-Somme.

[Sidenote: The retreat continues.]

The hope of resuming the offensive was from this moment rendered vain by
the rapidity of the march of the German right wing. This rapidity had
two consequences, which we had to parry before thinking of advancing. On
the one hand, our new army had not time to complete its detraining, and,
on the other hand, the British Army, forced back further by the enemy,
uncovered on August 31 our left flank. Our line, thus modified,
contained waves which had to be redressed before we could pass to the

To understand this it is sufficient to consider the situation created by
the quick advance of the enemy on the evening of September 2.

A corps of cavalry had crossed the Oise and advanced as far as
Château-Thierry. The First Army, (General von Kluck,) comprising four
active army corps and a reserve corps, had passed Compiègne.

The Second Army, (General von Bülow,) with three active army corps and
two reserve corps, was reaching the Laon region.

The Third Army, (General von Hausen,) with two active army corps and a
reserve corps, had crossed the Aisne between the Château Porcien and

[Sidenote: The German armies.]

More to the east the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Armies, namely,
twelve army corps, four reserve corps, and numerous Ersatz formations,
were in contact with our troops, the Fourth and Fifth Armies between
Vouziers and Verdun and the others in the positions which have been
indicated above, from Verdun to the Vosges.

[Sidenote: The left in peril.]

It will, therefore, be seen that our left, if we accepted battle, might
be in great peril through the British forces and the new French Army,
operating more to the westward, having given way.

A defeat in these conditions would have cut off our armies from Paris
and from the British forces and at the same time from the new army which
had been constituted to the left of the English. We should thus be
running the risk of losing by a single stroke the advantage of the
assistance which Russia later on was to furnish.

General Joffre chose resolutely for the solution which disposed of these
risks, that is to say, for postponing the offensive and the continuance
of the retreat. In this way he remained on ground which he had chosen.
He waited only until he could engage in better conditions.

[Sidenote: The limit of the retreat.]

In consequence, on September 1, he fixed as an extreme limit for the
movement of retreat, which was still going on, the line of
Bray-sur-Seine, Nogent-sur-Seine, Arcis-sur-Aube, Vitry-le-François, and
the region to the north of Bar-le-Duc. This line might be reached if the
troops were compelled to go back so far. They would attack before
reaching it, as soon as there was a possibility of bringing about an
offensive disposition, permitting the co-operation of the whole of our

On September 5 it appeared that this desired situation existed.

The First German Army, carrying audacity to temerity, had continued its
endeavor to envelop our left, had crossed the Grand Morin, and reached
the region of Chauffry, to the north of Rebaix and of Esternay. It aimed
then at cutting our armies off from Paris, in order to begin the
investment of the capital.

[Sidenote: The German lines.]

The Second Army had its head on the line Champaubert, Etoges, Bergeres,
and Vertus.

The Third and Fourth Armies reached to Chalons-sur-Marne and
Bussy-le-Repos. The Fifth Army was advancing on one side and the other
from the Argonne as far as Triacourt-les-Islettes and Juivecourt. The
Sixth and Seventh Armies were attacking more to the east.

But--and here is a capital difference between the situation of September
5 and that of September 2--the envelopment of our left was no longer

In the first place, our left army had been able to occupy the line of
Sézanne, Villers-St. Georges and Courchamps. Furthermore, the British
forces, gathered between the Seine and the Marne, flanked on their left
by the newly created army, were closely connected with the rest of our

[Sidenote: Allies' armies ready.]

This was precisely the disposition which the General in Chief had wished
to see achieved. On the 4th he decided to take advantage of it, and
ordered all the armies to hold themselves ready. He had taken from his
right two new army corps, two divisions of infantry, and two divisions
of cavalry, which were distributed between his left and his centre.

On the evening of the 5th he addressed to all the commanders of armies a
message ordering them to attack.

[Sidenote: Joffre orders the advance.]

"The hour has come," he wrote, "to advance at all costs, and to die
where you stand rather than give way."

If one examines on the map the respective positions of the German and
French armies on September 6 as previously described, it will be seen
that by his inflection toward Meaux and Coulommiers General von Kluck
was exposing his right to the offensive action of our left. This is the
starting point of the victory of the Marne.

[Sidenote: The Battle of the Marne.]

On the evening of September 5 our left army had reached the front
Penchard-Saint-Soutlet-Ver. On the 6th and 7th it continued its
attacks vigorously with the Ourcq as objective. On the evening of
the 7th it was some kilometers from the Ourcq, on the front
Chambry-Marcilly-Lisieux-Acy-en-Multien. On the 8th, the Germans, who
had in great haste reinforced their right by bringing their Second and
Fourth Army Corps back to the north, obtained some successes by attacks
of extreme violence. They occupied Betz, Thury-en-Valois, and
Nanteuil-le-Haudouin. But in spite of this pressure our troops held
their ground well. In a brilliant action they took three standards, and,
being reinforced, prepared a new attack for the 10th. At the moment that
this attack was about to begin the enemy was already in retreat toward
the north. The attack became a pursuit, and on the 12th we established
ourselves on the Aisne.

[Sidenote: Enemy left exposed.]

Why did the German forces which were confronting us and on the evening
before attacking so furiously retreat on the morning of the 10th?
Because in bringing back on the 6th several army corps from the south to
the north to face our left the enemy had exposed his left to the attacks
of the British Army, which had immediately faced around toward the
north, and to those of our armies which were prolonging the English
lines to the right. This is what the French command had sought to bring
about. This is what happened on September 8 and allowed the development
and rehabilitation which it was to effect.

[Sidenote: The part of the British.]

On the 6th the British Army had set out from the line Rozcy-Lagny and
had that evening reached the southward bank of the Grand Morin. On the
7th and 8th it continued its march, and on the 9th had debouched to the
north of the Marne below Château-Thierry, taking in flank the German
forces which on that day were opposing, on the Ourcq, our left army.
Then it was that these forces began to retreat, while the British Army,
going in pursuit and capturing seven guns and many prisoners, reached
the Aisne between Soissons and Longueval.

[Sidenote: The rôle of the French army.]

The rôle of the French Army, which was operating to the right of the
British Army, was threefold. It had to support the British attacking on
its left. It had on its right to support our centre, which from
September 7 had been subjected to a German attack of great violence.
Finally, its mission was to throw back the three active army corps and
the reserve corps which faced it.

On the 7th it made a leap forward, and on the following days reached and
crossed the Marne, seizing, after desperate fighting, guns, howitzers,
mitrailleuses, and 1,300,000 cartridges. On the 12th it established
itself on the north edge of the Montagne-de-Reime in contact with our
centre, which for its part had just forced the enemy to retreat in

[Sidenote: Attack on the French centre.]

Our centre consisted of a new army created on August 29 and of one of
those which at the beginning of the campaign had been engaged in Belgian
Luxembourg. The first had retreated on August 29 to September 5 from the
Aisne to the north of the Marne and occupied the general front

The second, more to the east, had drawn back to the south of the line

[Sidenote: A further retreat.]

The enemy, in view of his right being arrested and the defeat of his
enveloping movement, made a desperate effort from the 7th to the 10th to
pierce our centre to the west and to the east of Fère-Champenoise. On
the 8th he succeeded in forcing back the right of our new army, which
retired as far as Gouragançon. On the 9th, at 6 o'clock in the morning,
there was a further retreat to the south of that village, while on the
left the other army corps also had to go back to the line

[Sidenote: Foch out-man[oe]uvres Germans.]

Despite this retreat the General commanding the army ordered a general
offensive for the same day. With the Morocco Division, whose behavior
was heroic, he met a furious assault of the Germans on his left toward
the marshes of Saint Gond. Then with the division which had just
victoriously overcome the attacks of the enemy to the north of Sézanne,
and with the whole of his left army corps, he made a flanking attack in
the evening of the 9th upon the German forces, and notably the guard,
which had thrown back his right army corps. The enemy, taken by surprise
by this bold man[oe]uvre, did not resist, and beat a hasty retreat.

[Sidenote: Centre armies established.]

On the 11th we crossed the Marne between Tours-sur-Marne and Sarry,
driving the Germans in front of us in disorder. On the 12th we were in
contact with the enemy to the north of the Camp de Chalons. Our other
army of the centre, acting on the right of the one just referred to, had
been intrusted with the mission during the 7th, 8th, and 9th of
disengaging its neighbor, and it was only on the 10th that, being
reinforced by an army corps from the east, it was able to make its
action effectively felt. On the 11th the Germans retired. But,
perceiving their danger, they fought desperately, with enormous
expenditure of projectiles, behind strong intrenchments. On the 12th the
result had none the less been attained, and our two centre armies were
solidly established on the ground gained.

To the right of these two armies were three others. They had orders to
cover themselves to the north and to debouch toward the west on the
flank of the enemy, which was operating to the west of the Argonne. But
a wide interval in which the Germans were in force separated them from
our centre. The attack took place, nevertheless, with very brilliant
success for our artillery, which destroyed eleven batteries of the
Sixteenth German Army Corps.

[Sidenote: Germans retreat on the right.]

On the 10th inst. the Eighth and Fifteenth German Army Corps
counter-attacked, but were repulsed. On the 11th our progress continued
with new successes, and on the 12th we were able to face round toward
the north in expectation of the near and inevitable retreat of the
enemy, which, in fact, took place from the 13th.

The withdrawal of the mass of the German force involved also that of the
left. From the 12th onward the forces of the enemy operating between
Nancy and the Vosges retreated in a hurry before our two armies of the
East, which immediately occupied the positions that the enemy had
evacuated. The offensive of our right had thus prepared and consolidated
in the most useful way the result secured by our left and our centre.

Such was this seven days' battle, in which more than two millions of men
were engaged. Each army gained ground step by step, opening the road to
its neighbor, supported at once by it, taking in flank the adversary
which the day before it had attacked in front, the efforts of one
articulating closely with those of the other, a perfect unity of
intention and method animating the supreme command.

[Sidenote: Meaning of the victory.]

To give this victory all its meaning it is necessary to add that it was
gained by troops which for two weeks had been retreating, and which,
when the order for the offensive was given, were found to be as ardent
as on the first day. It has also to be said that these troops had to
meet the whole German army, and that from the time they marched forward
they never again fell back. Under their pressure the German retreat at
certain times had the appearance of a rout.

[Sidenote: Numbers of German prisoners.]

In spite of the fatigue of our men, in spite of the power of the German
heavy artillery, we took colors, guns, mitrailleuses, shells, more than
a million cartridges, and thousands of prisoners. A German corps lost
almost the whole of its artillery, which, from information brought by
our airmen, was destroyed by our guns.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: The next objective is the Channel ports.]

After the failure of the German drive against Paris, whose capture was
the first objective in the plan of campaign of the German General Staff,
preparations were made to carry out the plans for the second objective,
the capture of the Channel seaports, and the control of the coasts. The
Allied commanders were quite aware of this purpose, and made plans to
circumvent it. Then followed the famous Race for the Channel, which is
described by official French observers in the pages that follow.



As early as September 11 the Commander in Chief had directed our left
army to have as important forces as possible on the right bank of the
Oise. On September 17 he made that instruction more precise by ordering
"a mass to be constituted on the left wing of our disposition, capable
of coping with the outflanking movement of the enemy." Everything led us
to expect that flanking movement, for the Germans are lacking in
invention. Indeed, their effort at that time tended to a renewal of
their manoeuvre of August. In the parallel race the opponents were bound
in the end to be stopped only by the sea; that is what happened about
October 20.

[Sidenote: Allies in the race to the sea.]

The Germans had an advantage over us, which is obvious from a glance at
the map--the concentric form of their front, which shortened the length
of their transports. In spite of this initial inferiority we arrived in

From the middle of September to the last week in October fighting went
on continually to the north of the Oise, but all the time we were
fighting we were slipping northward. On the German side this movement
brought into line more than eighteen new army corps (twelve active army
corps, six reserve corps, four cavalry corps). On our side it ended in
the constitution of three fresh armies on our left and in the transport
into the same district of the British Army and the Belgian Army from

[Sidenote: Resistance in Battle of Flanders.]

For the conception and realization of this fresh and extended
disposition the French command, in the first place, had to reduce to a
minimum the needs for effectives of our armies to the east of the Oise,
and afterwards to utilize to the utmost our means of transport. It
succeeded in this, and when, at the end of October, the battle of
Flanders opened, when the Germans, having completed the concentration of
their forces, attempted with fierce energy to turn or to pierce our
left, they flung themselves upon a resistance which inflicted upon them
a complete defeat.

The movement began on our side only with the resources of the army which
had held the left of our front during the battle of the Marne,
reinforced on September 15 by one army corps.

This reinforcement, not being sufficient to hold the enemy's offensive
(district of Vaudelincourt-Mouchy-Uaugy), a fresh army was transported
more to the left, with the task "of acting against the German right wing
in order to disengage its neighbor, * * * while preserving a flanking
direction in its march in relation to the fresh units that the enemy
might be able to put into line."

[Sidenote: Reinforcements for the First Army.]

To cover the detrainments of this fresh army in the district
Clermont-Beauvais-Boix a cavalry corps and four territorial divisions
were ordered to establish themselves on both banks of the Somme. In the
wooded hills, however, which extend between the Oise and Lassigny the
enemy displayed increasing activity. Nevertheless, the order still
further to broaden the movement toward the left was maintained, while
the territorial divisions were to move toward Bethune and Aubigny. The
march to the sea went on.

[Sidenote: Alternate reverse and success.]

From the 21st to the 26th all our forces were engaged in the district
Lassigny-Roye-Peronne, with alternations of reverse and success.

It was the first act of the great struggle which was to spread as it
went on. On the 26th the whole of the Sixth German Army was deployed
against us. We retained all our positions, but we could do no more;
consequently there was still the risk that the enemy, by means of a
fresh afflux of forces, might succeed in turning us.

Once more reinforcements, two army corps, were directed no longer on
Beauvais, but toward Amiens. The front was then again to extend. A fresh
army was constituted more to the north.

From September 30 onward we could not but observe that the enemy,
already strongly posted on the plateau of Thiepval, was continually
slipping his forces from south to north, and everywhere confronting us
with remarkable energy.

[Sidenote: Cavalry operations.]

Accordingly, on October 1 two cavalry corps were directed to make a leap
forward and, operating on both flanks of the Scarpe, to put themselves
in touch with the garrison of Dunkirk, which, on its side, had pushed
forward as far as Douai.

But on October 2 and 3 the bulk of our fresh army was very strongly
attacked in the district of Arras and Lens. Confronting it were two
corps of cavalry, the guards, four active army corps, and two reserve
corps. A fresh army corps was immediately transported and detrained in
the Lille district.

But once more the attacks became more pressing, and on October 4 it was
a question whether, in view of the enemy's activity both west of the
Oise and south of the Somme, and also further to the north, a retreat
would not have to be made. General Joffre resolutely put this
hypothesis aside and ordered the offensive to be resumed with the
reinforcements that had arrived. It was, however, clear that, despite
the efforts of all, our front, extended to the sea as it was by a mere
ribbon of troops, did not possess the solidity to enable it to resist
with complete safety a German attack, the violence of which could well
be foreseen.

[Sidenote: Transport of the British Army.]

In the Arras district the position was fairly good. But between the Oise
and Arras we were holding our own only with difficulty. Finally, to the
north, on the Lille-Estaires-Merville-Hazebrouck-Cassel front, our
cavalry and our territorials had their work cut out against eight
divisions of German cavalry, with very strong infantry supports. It was
at this moment that the transport of the British Army to the northern
theatre of operations began.

[Sidenote: British Army taken from the Aisne.]

Field Marshal French had, as early as the end of September, expressed
the wish to see his army resume its initial place on the left of the
allied armies. He explained this wish on the ground of the greater
facility of which his communications would have the advantage in this
new position, and also of the impending arrival of two divisions of
infantry from home and of two infantry divisions and a cavalry division
from India, which would be able to deploy more easily on that terrain.
In spite of the difficulties which such a removal involved, owing to the
intensive use of the railways by our own units, General Joffre decided
at the beginning of October to meet the Field Marshal's wishes and to
have the British Army removed from the Aisne.

It was clearly specified that on the northern terrain the British Army
should co-operate to the same end as ourselves, the stopping of the
German right. In other terms, the British Army was to prolong the front
of the general disposition without a break, attacking as soon as
possible, and at the same time seeking touch with the Belgian Army.

But the detraining took longer than had been expected, and it was not
possible to attack the Germans during the time when they had only
cavalry in the Lille district and further to the north.

[Sidenote: Wearied Belgian troops.]

There remained the Belgian Army. On leaving Antwerp on October 9 the
Belgian Army, which was covered by 8,000 British bluejackets and 6,000
French bluejackets, at first intended to retire as far as to the north
of Calais, but afterwards determined to make a stand in Belgian
territory. Unfortunately, the condition of the Belgian troops, exhausted
by a struggle of more than three months, did not allow any immediate
hopes to be based upon them. This situation weighed on our plans and
delayed their execution.

On the 16th we made progress to the east of Ypres. On the 18th our
cavalry even reached Roulers and Cortemark. But it was now evident that,
in view of the continual reinforcing of the German right, our left was
not capable of maintaining the advantages obtained during the previous
few days. To attain our end and make our front inviolable a fresh effort
was necessary. That effort was immediately made by the dispatch to the
north of the Lys of considerable French forces, which formed the French
Army of Belgium.

The French Army of Belgium consisted, to begin with, of two territorial
divisions, four divisions of cavalry, and a naval brigade. Directly
after its constitution it was strengthened by elements from other points
on the front whose arrival extended from October 27 to November 11.
These reinforcements were equivalent altogether in value to five army
corps, a division of cavalry, a territorial division, and sixteen
regiments of cavalry, plus sixty pieces of heavy artillery.

Thus was completed the strategic manoeuvre defined by the instructions
of the General in Chief on September 11 and developed during the five
following weeks with the ampleness we have just seen. The movements of
troops carried out during this period were methodically combined with
the pursuit of operations, both defensive and offensive, from the Oise
to the North Sea.

[Sidenote: Five armies co-ordinated.]

On October 22 our left, bounded six weeks earlier by the Noyon district,
rested on Nieuport, thanks to the successive deployment of five fresh
armies--three French armies, the British Army, and the Belgian Army.

Thus the co-ordination decided upon by the General in Chief attained its
end. The barrier was established. It remained to maintain it against the
enemy's offensive. That was the object and the result of the battle of
Flanders, October 22 to November 15.

The German attack in Flanders was conducted strategically and tactically
with remarkable energy. The complete and indisputable defeat in which it
resulted is therefore significant.

The forces of which the enemy disposed for this operation between the
sea and the Lys comprised:

[Sidenote: German forces between the sea and the Lys.]

(1) The entire Fourth Army commanded by the Duke of Württemberg,
consisting of one naval division, one division of Ersatz Reserve, (men
who had received no training before the war,) which was liberated by the
fall of Antwerp; the Twenty-second, Twenty-third, Twenty-sixth and
Twenty-seventh Reserve Corps, and the Forty-eighth Division belonging to
the Twenty-fourth Reserve Corps.

(2) A portion of another army under General von Fabeck, consisting of
the Fifteenth Corps, two Bavarian corps and three (unspecified)

(3) Part of the Sixth Army under the command of the Crown Prince of
Bavaria. This army, more than a third of which took part in the battle
of Flanders, comprised the Nineteenth Army Corps, portions of the
Thirteenth Corps and the Eighteenth Reserve Corps, the Seventh and
Fourteenth Corps, the First Bavarian Reserve Corps, the Guards, and the
Fourth Army Corps.

(4) Four highly mobile cavalry corps prepared and supported the action
of the troops enumerated above. Everything possible had been done to
fortify the "morale" of the troops. At the beginning of October the
Crown Prince of Bavaria in a proclamation had exhorted his soldiers "to
make the decisive effort against the French left wing," and "to settle
thus the fate of the great battle which has lasted for weeks."

[Sidenote: Importance of thrusts in Flanders.]

[Sidenote: German plan in Flanders.]

On October 28, Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria declared in an army order
that his troops "had just been fighting under very difficult
conditions," and he added: "It is our business now not to let the
struggle with our most detested enemy drag on longer * * * The decisive
blow is still to be struck." On October 30, General von Deimling,
commanding the Fifteenth Army Corps (belonging to General von Fabeck's
command), issued an order declaring that "the thrust against Ypres will
be of decisive importance." It should be noted also that the Emperor
proceeded in person to Thielt and Courtrai to exalt by his presence the
ardor of his troops. Finally, at the close of October, the entire German
press incessantly proclaimed the importance of the "Battle of Calais."
It is superfluous to add that events in Poland explain in a large
measure the passionate resolve of the German General Staff to obtain a
decision in the Western theatre of operations at all costs. This
decision would be obtained if our left were pierced or driven in. To
reach Calais, that is, to break our left; to carry Ypres, that is, to
cut it in half; through both points to menace the communications and
supplies of the British expeditionary corps, perhaps even to threaten
Britain in her island--such was the German plan in the Battle of
Flanders. It was a plan that could not be executed.

[Sidenote: Dunkirk the first objective.]

The enemy, who had at his disposal a considerable quantity of heavy
artillery, directed his efforts at first upon the coast and the country
to the north of Dixmude. His objective was manifestly the capture of
Dunkirk, then of Calais and Boulogne, and this objective he pursued
until November 1.

[Sidenote: Ramscapelle retaken.]

[Sidenote: Allies win the Battle of Calais.]

On October 23 the Belgians along the railway line from Nieuport to
Dixmude were strengthened by a French division. Dixmude was occupied by
our marines (fusiliers marins). During the subsequent day our forces
along the railway developed a significant resistance against an enemy
superior in number and backed by heavy artillery. On the 29th the
inundations effected between the canal and the railway line spread along
our front. On the 30th we recaptured Ramscapelle, the only point on the
railway which Belgians had lost. On the 1st and 2d of November the enemy
bombarded Furnes, but began to show signs of weariness. On the 2d he
evacuated the ground between the Yser and the railway, abandoning
cannon, dead and wounded. On the 3d our troops were able to re-enter the
Dixmude district. The success achieved by the enemy at Dixmude at this
juncture was without fruit. They succeeded in taking the town. They
could not debouch from it. The coastal attack had thus proved a total
failure. Since then it has never been renewed. The Battle of Calais, so
noisily announced by the German press, amounted to a decided reverse for
the Germans.

The enemy had now begun an attack more important than its predecessor,
in view of the numbers engaged in it. This attack was intended as a
renewal to the south of the effort which had just been shattered in the
north. Instead of turning our flank on the coast, it was now sought to
drive in the right of our northern army under the shock of powerful
masses. This was the Battle of Ypres.

[Sidenote: Importance of the Ypres position.]

[Sidenote: British cavalry a connecting link.]

In order to understand this long, desperate, and furious battle we must
hark back a few days in point of time. At the moment when our cavalry
reached Roulers and Cortemark (October 28) our territorial divisions
from Dunkirk, under General Biden, had occupied and organized a
defensive position at Ypres. It was a point d'appui, enabling us to
prepare and maintain our connections with the Belgian Army. From October
23 two British and French army corps were in occupation of this
position, which was to be the base of their forward march in the
direction of Roulers-Menin. The delays already explained and the
strength of the forces brought up by the enemy soon brought to a
standstill our progress along the line Poelcapelle, Paschendaele,
Zandvorde, and Gheluvelt. But in spite of the stoppage here, Ypres was
solidly covered, and the connections of all the allied forces were
established. Against the line thus formed the German attack was hurled
from October 25 to November 13, to the north, the east, and the south of
Ypres. From October 26 on the attacks were renewed daily with
extraordinary violence, obliging us to employ our reinforcements at the
most threatened points as soon as they came up. Thus, on October 31, we
were obliged to send supports to the British cavalry, then to the two
British corps between which the cavalry formed the connecting link, and
finally to intercalate between these two corps a force equivalent to two
army corps. Between October 30 and November 6 Ypres was several times in
danger. The British lost Zandvorde, Gheluvelt, Messines, and Wytschaete.
The front of the Allies, thus contracted, was all the more difficult to
defend; but defended it was without a recoil.

[Sidenote: French reinforcements.]

The arrival of three French divisions in our line enabled us to resume
from the 4th to the 8th a vigorous offensive. On the 10th and 11th this
offensive, brought up against fresh and sharper German attacks, was
checked. Before it could be renewed the arrival of fresh reinforcements
had to be awaited, which were dispatched to the north on November 12. By
the 14th our troops had again begun to progress, barring the road to
Ypres against the German attacks, and inflicting on the enemy, who
advanced in massed formation, losses which were especially terrible in
consequence of the fact that the French artillery had crowded nearly 300
guns on to these few kilometers of front.

Thus the main mass of the Germans sustained the same defeat as the
detachments operating further to the north along the coast. The support
which, according to the idea of the German General Staff, the attack on
Ypres was to render to the coastal attack, was as futile as that attack
itself had been.

[Sidenote: Losses of the enemy.]

During the second half of November the enemy, exhausted and having lost
in the Battle of Ypres alone more than 150,000 men, did not attempt to
renew his effort, but confined himself to an intermittent cannonade. We,
on the contrary, achieved appreciable progress to the north and south
of Ypres, and insured definitely by a powerful defensive organization of
the position the inviolability of our front.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: The war in Belgium.]

[Sidenote: Siege of Antwerp.]

[Sidenote: Belgian troops retreat to Ostend.]

[Sidenote: The territory left to the Belgians.]

We have seen that, with the fall of Liège the German armies swept
through Belgium on their way to Paris. Brussels was abandoned as the
capital, and the Government moved hastily to Antwerp, where a portion of
the Belgian army also gathered to defend the city. The remainder of the
Belgian forces, under the leadership of their gallant King, opposed as
stoutly as their numbers would permit the advance of the Germans.
Battles were fought at Alost and Termonde in which the Germans were, for
the time, repulsed, but their ever-increasing reinforcements enabled
them to advance despite the efforts of the Belgians to check them. Ghent
was captured on September 5 and the Belgians, in an effort to stay the
German advance on Antwerp, opened the dikes and let in the waters of the
North Sea. Termonde fell on September 13, and seven days later the
German armies began the siege of Antwerp. The military authorities in
command of the city had taken whatever measures were possible for
defense. A body of British marines was hurried to the beleaguered city
and preparations were made for a long siege. The Germans brought up guns
of heavy caliber, with which they bombarded the city at long range.
After a brave defense of two weeks, during which the inhabitants endured
many hardships, it was plain that further resistance was useless, and
the city was surrendered on October 10. The Belgian troops in the city,
and many of the noncombatants escaped. The Belgian troops retreated to
Ostend, which they reached on October 11 and 12, after having been
greatly harassed by the pursuing Germans. On the 13th, Ostend was
evacuated, and was occupied by the Germans, and Bruges on the following
day. The German forces now controlled the whole of Belgium, with the
exception of the northwest corner, north of Ypres, to the coast of the
Channel. This little slip of territory they held throughout the entire
war, and at what a cost! But the heroic defense of this territory by the
Belgians saved the French coast cities and prevented the Germans from
breaking through the line which extended now from the North Sea to



Copyright, World's Work, January, 1915.

[Sidenote: The Yser the Belgian's last ditch.]

A little piece of the Low Countries, so small I walked across it in two
hours, was all that remained of Belgium in the last days of October. A
tide-water stream, the Yser, ebbed and flowed through the sunken fields,
and there King Albert with his remnant of an army stopped the German
military machine in its advance on Calais. If he and his forty thousand
men had been crushed back ten miles farther they would have been
fighting on French soil. The Yser was the last ditch in Belgium.

The Belgians were able to hold that mere strip of land against more men
and better artillery because they had determined to die there. Some of
those who had not yet paid the price of death told me. They were not
tragic about it. There was no display of heroics. They said it
seriously, but they smiled a little, too, over their wine glasses, and
the next morning they were back in the firing-line.

I counted on my American passport and my _permit de sejour_ in Paris
seeing me through the zone of the fighting, and they did. At the station
at Dunkirk, when I admitted I had no _laisser passer_, an obliging
gendarme led me to his commander, and he placed his visée on my passport
without question. He asked me whether I was a correspondent, and I
confessed to it, but it seemed only to facilitate the affair. Earlier
experiences had made me feel that the French gendarmes were my natural
enemies, but I have had a kindlier regard for them since.

[Sidenote: Troop trains.]

The train I was on had ten cars full of French and Belgian soldiers. The
Belgians had all been recently re-equipped. On other troop trains which
passed us going forward there were many more Belgian soldiers, some of
whom I had seen only a few hours earlier in the streets of Calais
without rifles. As their trains passed now I could see them studying the
mechanism and fondling their new firearms.

Coming in through the suburbs of Dunkirk we passed hundreds of children
perched on the fences singing the Marseillaise. Nor were their voices
flat and colorless like most school children's. They felt every word
they sang, and they put their little hearts into it. Looking back along
the side of the cars at the faces of soldiers leaning out, I could see
they were touched by the faith of the children.

[Sidenote: In Dunkirk.]

As I rattled along on the cobbles of Dunkirk half an hour later I heard
an explosion with a note unfamiliar to me. It sounded close, too, but it
did not seem to bother the people of the street. A few children ran
behind their mothers' skirts and a young girl hurried from the middle of
the street to the protection of an archway, but that was all.

Standing up in the fiacre I could see a thin smoke about three hundred
feet away in a garden in the direction from which the explosion came,
and high in the evening sky I could barely make out an aeroplane. "A
German bomb?" I asked the driver in some excitement.

"Oh, yes," he replied, cracking his whip, "we usually get three or four
every afternoon about this time, but they have not hurt any one."

Dunkirk that night answered the description of what a threatened town
which was not afraid should look like. It had none of the depressing
atmosphere of Calais. All the refugees and the wounded were passed on
to a safer place. It was full of French, English, and Belgian soldiers,
with a scattering of sailors and breezy officers from both the French
and English navies. They kept the waiters in the cafés on the run, and
there was only an occasional bandage showing from under a cap or around
a hand to indicate these men were engaged in any more serious business
than a man[oe]uvre.

[Sidenote: Armored motor-car.]

In the street, however, in front of the statue of Jean Bart, an armored
Belgian motor-car was standing. It was built with a turret where the
tonneau usually is and it was covered with thick sheet steel right down
to the ground. Just in front of the driver was a slit with a lip
extending over it, giving it somewhat the effect of the casque belonging
to an ancient suit of armor. That was the only opening except the one
for the barrel of the rapid-fire gun in the turret. The armor was dented
in a dozen places where bullets had glanced off, but it had only been
penetrated at one spot, about six inches from the muzzle of the gun.
From the soldier at the steering gear I learned that that bullet had
passed over the shoulder of the man in the turret.

[Sidenote: Bombardment of Nieuport.]

Twenty-four hours later, at Nieuport, when the German shells seemed to
be falling in every street and on every house, I saw this car again,
going forward at not less than forty miles an hour. The turret was being
swung to bring the gun-muzzle forward, as if the gunner were expecting
to go into action almost immediately. As the last of the Belgian
trenches were just the other side of the town, I have no doubt that he

[Sidenote: A walk to the firing line.]

Getting out of Dunkirk was rather more of a problem than going in. To
obtain permission to ride toward the Belgian line in any kind of
conveyance was an elaborate performance, and quite properly so, as I
soon learned. There were preparations for defence going on there which
should not have been publicly known. The country was full of spies. Four
suspects had been picked up on the boat coming from Folkestone. If I had
realized what I was to see in the next few miles I would not have
attempted what I did. But, as I was anxious to get on and the
firing-line was only twenty miles away, I decided to walk.

A French hat and a French suit of clothes, I think, were alone
responsible for my success in passing through the city gate. Two
military automobiles were stopped and forced to show their credentials,
but I strolled through unmolested. Once outside, the reservists guarding
the various barricades let me pass as soon as I showed them my passport
viséd in Dunkirk. I was stopped many times, too, trying each time not to
give an appearance of too great interest in the works of defence being
built all around me.

[Sidenote: Sand-dune barricades.]

Even though this cannot be published for some time I do not feel free to
tell what these defences were. I have no doubt there are complete
descriptions of these works in the hands of the German army, their spy
system is so thorough, but I would not care to have any military secrets
escape through anything I write. I think I can go so far as to say,
though, that I received a liberal education in how to barricade
sand-dunes and low-lying fields.

Ten miles out of Dunkirk I was surprised to see a civilian on a bicycle,
as civilians were no longer permitted to go near the theatre of war on
bicycles, a precaution taken against spies. As he approached I
recognized Mr. J. Obels, the Belgian correspondent of the Chicago _Daily
News_, whom I had last seen under arrest near Brussels when the German
army first passed through Belgium. He told me he had been kept in prison
seventeen days by the German military governor of Brussels, but, once
released, was given every possible kind of pass. I was relieved to see
him alive and free.

As Obels left me to continue his journey to Dunkirk and on to London to
deliver his own "copy," he advised me to go directly to Furnes, the most
considerable town in what was left of Belgium, and have my passport
viséd again. So I continued down the long, flat highway, bordered on
both sides by sunken fields, toward the cannonading I could now hear
ahead. The road had been fairly full of automobiles, motor-trucks,
motorcycles, and bicycles over its whole length, but it became crowded
now with the addition of a long string of Parisian motor-buses taking
several infantry regiments forward. A whole artillery division of yellow
French "Schneiders" also took up its share of the wide road, and at the
barricades there were traffic blockades lasting at times for ten

[Sidenote: The road to Furnes.]

All the way from Dunkirk I had been struck by the character of the land.
As I approached Furnes, the dykes were being opened and half the fields
were already inundated. It seemed a poor country for military
operations. There were at most three highways, all defended. They could
only be taken at a price no army could afford, and any departure from
them meant being mired in the heavy fields, now being hastily harvested
of a bumper crop of sugar-beets: at one place a whole French regiment in
uniform was gathering the beets preparatory to inundation. With the
dykes open these fields would be covered with four feet of water half
the time. The only possible course for an army was over the sand-dunes,
which lay a mile to the north, looking like the imitation mountains you
see in the scenic-railways at every amusement resort in the United

[Sidenote: Tommies' battles on the sand-dunes.]

A reservist with whom I walked a mile or so told me Dunkirk had never
been successfully attacked except over those sand-dunes, and the English
and French had fought some of the bloodiest battles of history there
against the Spanish, when they held Dunkirk. I doubt, though, that they
were as bloody as the battle I was to see within a few hours.

[Sidenote: Belgian soldiers.]

The old Flemish town of Furnes had much less military precision about it
than Dunkirk. It was on the very edge of the battle, and an occasional
shell was dropping in the town. One exploded as I crossed the bridge and
entered a narrow street, but it was on the far side of town, too far
away for the soldiers halted in the street to notice. These were tired
and dirty men, but not too tired to be courteous. They were also passing
jokes among themselves, and laughing. By that, even if I had not known
their uniforms, I could have told they were Belgians.

[Sidenote: The enemy held at the Yser.]

Every street and every courtyard in Furnes was full of Belgian soldiers.
They were resting for the day, waiting to go forward at night-fall to
relieve the men on the firing line only five miles away. Even above the
noises of the street I could hear the answer of their small field
artillery to the heavy assault of the German guns. Nothing I heard the
soldiers say, however, would have given the idea that the Belgians
considered themselves outclassed by their enemy. They seemed superbly
unconscious of the absurdity of their position. This was the tenth day
they had held the Germans at the Yser, and they had done it with rifles
and machine guns, taking punishment every minute from the big
fieldpieces the Germans had brought against them. So far they had lost
twelve thousand men at that ditch, but the thought of giving it up had
evidently not even occurred to them. They could not give it up, one of
them explained to me later, it was all they had left. There was a little
irritation in his tone, too, as he said it, such as one might feel
toward a child who was slow at grasping a simple fact.

[Sidenote: Military automobiles and wagons.]

The town square was full of military automobiles and a few provision
wagons. I did not see any fieldpieces or machine guns. Every last one
was right up on the firing-line. My feet were tired from walking over
the Belgian blocks, and I held tenaciously to the sidewalk passing
around the square, though it was mostly taken up with café tables and
bay trees in boxes. At one point the tables were empty and a single
sentry was sauntering up and down. I stopped to ask him the way to the
_gendarmerie_, and, in the middle of giving me the directions, he came
to attention, as a door opened behind me, and saluted.

[Sidenote: Two Belgian generals.]

Two men came out of the door, one rather tall, with an easy manner, and
smartly dressed as a general in the Belgian army. The other was older,
also a general, wearing, if anything, the more gold braid of the two.
They entered a waiting automobile and drove off as casually as two men
at home might leave their office for their club.

Something about the first of the two men impressed me as familiar. I had
only seen his back, but that had arrested my attention. I thought
possibly I had seen him at the beginning of the war in Brussels, so I
asked the sentry his name.

[Sidenote: King Albert.]

"That is our king, Albert," he said quite simply.

During the next couple of days I saw the King of Belgium a number of
times. He spent his nights at a small villa on the seashore at La Panne,
a hundred yards possibly beyond the hotel where I spent mine. He passed
through the streets as unnoticed as any one of the other Belgians who
had retreated from Antwerp and Ghent ahead of the army, but preferred
the chilly nights in an unheated seaside hotel in Belgium to comfort
somewhere beyond. It seemed to be a point of courtesy on the part of the
Belgians not to bother their king with ceremony at this trying time. I
doubt if he cares much for ceremony, anyhow. Searching around for a
single adjective to describe him, I should call him off-handed. His
manner, even then, while alert, was casual. It is easy to see why the
Belgians love him. If kings had always been as simple and direct as
Albert, I am inclined to think democracy would have languished.

[Sidenote: Luncheon at La Panne.]

At La Panne, which I reached at noon on a little steam railway running
from Furnes, I had luncheon with several Belgian soldiers and a Belgian
in civilian clothes, who told me I would see all the fighting I was
looking for at Nieuport, just beyond. The civilian, a tall youth with a
blond beard, volunteered to show me the way to the beach, the shortest
route, and ended by going all the way. He told me he was recovering from
an "attack of Congo," which I take to be an intermittent fever. He had
just been mustered out of the civic guard and was waiting for a uniform
to join the army. He had the afternoon free and his Belgian sense of
hospitality impelled him to see that the stranger was properly looked

For several miles along the wide, flat beach, which stretches
unobstructed as far as Ostend, except for the piers at Nieuport-les-Bains
and Westende, there were Belgian soldiers bathing in the shallow water.
Some of them, cavalrymen, were riding naked into the deeper water, and
this, mind you, was late October. They were even playing jokes on one
another, and did not seem to be paying any attention to the fifteen
English and French cruisers and gunboats which were standing off the
shore almost opposite them, keeping up a steady stream of fire obliquely
along the beach at the sand dunes just beyond the pier at
Nieuport-les-Bains. In these dunes, _five_ miles away, big German guns
were hidden.

[Sidenote: Fishermen unconcerned.]

Farther on, and even right up to the pier at Nieuport, we passed, along
the beach behind the shrimp fishermen, who seemed even less interested
in the novel fight on land and sea. The barelegged men and women were as
industriously taking advantage of the low-tide as if nothing at all were
happening. The French and English warships were directly opposite them,
and, by this time, they were drawing the German fire. German shells,
probably from siege guns, were plumping down into the water all around
them only a couple of miles off-shore, but, though the shrimpers looked
up occasionally when the explosion of a shell fairly shook the face of
the ocean, their attention would be directed again to their work before
the column of water raised by the shell had had time to fall again. The
shelling kept up about an hour, but none of the warships was struck.
They kept moving at full-speed in an uneven line, making it impossible
to get their range.

[Sidenote: A panorama of battle.]

[Sidenote: Germans try to cross the Yser.]

Just before we reached the pier heavy cannonading began inland. We
climbed the sand dunes and there we came suddenly upon a perfect
panoramic view of the battle all the way from the dunes across the
inundated fields to Dixmude in the distance. The whole line of battle
for ten miles was in the midst of a German attack, covered by a terrific
artillery fire. Over the white, red-tiled cottages of the fishermen,
almost lost among the lesser sand dunes, we could make out the Belgian
line by the fire of their rifle and machine guns. At two points we could
see the Yser Canal and at one of these the Germans were trying to throw
across a pontoon bridge.

We could see it only through the smoke of breaking shells, but it was
the most exciting event I have ever witnessed. At three miles or more,
though, the figures of the men were so small, it was hard to keep the
fact in mind that those who dropped were not merely stooping, but had
been shot. Eager to get closer, we ran over the sand dunes, but never
got another view of it.

[Sidenote: Running to see a battle.]

My Belgian friend knew his way and we trotted along a raised path among
the fields toward Nieuport. It was under fire, but it seemed worth the
risk to get close enough so we could see the pontoons being rushed into
the water. As we neared Nieuport, however, the firing became much more
active and we stopped for second thought. After catching our breath, we
decided to pass through the edge of Nieuport and to go on to the village
of Ramscapelle to the south of it. Few shells seemed to be breaking

[Sidenote: Almost under fire.]

Along the cross road we took, alternately running and walking. The
Belgian trenches were perhaps a half mile beyond us, and we could make
out the tap-tap of the rifle fire which had been only a continuous
cracking a mile in the rear. Into this the machine guns cut with a whir.
Spent bullets dropped here and there in the inundated field to the west
of us, but the German shell fire must have been right in the trenches.

Somewhere before we reached Ramscapelle we crossed a road with military
automobiles going both ways, but my desire to get behind the sheltering
buildings of Ramscapelle was too strong at the moment to take it in.

[Sidenote: Fires and explosions in Ramscapelle.]

About a hundred yards from the village there was a house on the edge of
a canal, and we stopped behind it, safe from bullet-fire, to catch our
breath again. It was as far as we were destined to get. All at once
shells began dropping on the village, and I have not seen shells drop so
fast in so small an area. In the first minute there must have been
twenty. Three fires broke out almost at once. Between the explosions we
could hear the falling tiles.

The short October day grew unexpectedly dusk and the fires in the
village reflected in the water on the fields. After the bombarding had
been going on without the least let-up for fully fifteen minutes, a bent
old woman, a man perhaps older but less bent, and a younger woman
appeared on the road to Furnes just beyond us, hurrying along without
once looking back. They were the only people we saw and the destruction
of the town looked like the most ruthless piece of vandalism. It had a
military purpose, however. The Germans were concentrating an attack on
it with the hope of reaching Furnes. They occupied it that night, but
were later driven out again. I have learned since some of the villagers
remained through that bombardment, and were killed in their houses.

[Sidenote: Destruction of Ramscapelle.]

While we stood sheltered by the house on the canal, speculating as to
which one of the houses still standing in Ramscapelle would be hit next,
the light from those on fire reflected on the dark, brackish water of
the canal, which was running in with the tide. Presently we noticed
something in the water, and, stooping down in the twilight, we made out
the body of a man face downward. The color of the coat and the little
short skirt to it showed it was the body of a German soldier. It passed
on and was followed by three more before we left. They had been in the
water several days.

The fire from the trenches died down at dusk and we made our way back
along the empty crossroad. Half way back to the dunes we passed a Red
Cross motor ambulance, headed toward Ramscapelle. On the seat beside the
driver was a young English woman. She was wearing the gray-brown coat
and gray-brown puttees of the English soldier. We called out to her we
thought the town was empty, but the only answer we got from the speeding
ambulance was an assuring wave of the young woman's hand, which was
evidently meant to inform us she knew where she was going.

[Sidenote: Ambulances and infantry pass.]

On the main road from Nieuport to Furnes, which we followed a short
distance, there were dozens of ambulances going to the rear and a long
column of infantry going forward. Headed toward the rear there were also
many wounded men on foot. They had been dressed at Nieuport, but there
were not enough ambulances to take them all away. One who was walking
slowly and painfully told me he had a bullet in his back.

During the afternoon the Schneiders I had seen had evidently been placed
among the sand dunes, and they were now bombarding the German lines over
our heads. Crossing over the sand dunes to the beach, we passed under
two batteries, though we did not see them. We could tell they were
French, though, by the rapidity of the fire. The French seem to be able
to fire their guns several times as fast as the Germans or the English.

A cluster of houses belonging to shrimp fishermen was right under these
batteries, where they were sure to get some of the return fire. But we
noticed there were lights in every one of the cottages. Inside were the
same fishermen who were so apathetic about the fight off-shore.

[Sidenote: Battle of the sand dunes.]

[Sidenote: Red flashing of the contact shells.]

The view from the sand dunes was what the war artists on English
illustrated weeklies try so hard to show. The French batteries were
using shrapnel on the German trenches, the shrapnel leaving puffs of
white smoke in long, uneven lines; and the Germans were keeping up their
steady pounding of contact shells, with a short red flash after each
explosion. The firing of the guns on both sides gave the effect of
continuous summer lightning.

Into the panorama the fleet off-shore kept up a new attack on the German
batteries in the sand dunes just beyond Nieuport-les-Bains. As it was
dark now we could see where they were only by the streaks of fire from
their guns. These flashes came and went like the strokes of a dagger, as
if they were stabbing the dark.

[Sidenote: French soldiers.]

We went back along the beach to avoid being questioned, turning around
constantly to watch the fleet. At Coxyde a whole company of French
soldiers was standing along the edge of the water, jumping back in
surprise when the little waves advanced on them. They told us they were
from the centre of France and had never seen salt water before.

The shore there is lined with new villas made of light colored bricks.
One of these had been dynamited, because it belonged to a German and was
suspected of having a concrete floor for siege guns. I had heard of
cases of this kind before, but I had never had an opportunity to examine

[Sidenote: Concrete foundations.]

My private thought was that the villa had probably been built by a
German with a passion for solidity, but, examining it under a half-full
moon, I could see the foundations were brick walls two feet thick
covered with mosaic backed by reinforced concrete about a foot thick. It
seemed like something more than Teutonic thoroughness.

A little later in La Panne I was shown a concrete tennis court belonging
to a German which had been punched full of holes. It was in no place
thick enough, however, to give cause for suspicion that its real
purpose was in any way sinister.

By the time we regained La Panne I was hardly able to walk as I had been
going hard all day, a good deal of the way through soft sand. But even
if I had been much more tired I would have sensed the atmosphere of that
town. To me the little seaside village, built for summer gayety, had
more of the romance of war in it than any place I have seen.

The half dozen summer hotels and all the villas were filled with the
mothers, wives, and children of the Belgian soldiers whose firing line I
had just left. Their homes had been in Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent. Now
they were in the last little town in Belgium. To some their soldiers had
already returned, and they were dining as merrily as if to-morrow did
not hold out a reasonable likelihood of being killed. At the doors of
the hotels and on the street were many others waiting, and, as the
street had filled up with another French artillery division bivouacked
for a few hours, they could not see their men folk until they were close
at hand.

[Sidenote: Refugees at La Panne.]

Now and then as we passed we could hear little gasps of happiness. For
some, of course, there were disappointment and bad news. But they must
have carried their sorrow to their chambers, as La Panne was all gayety.

A comment on the Belgian soldiers made at the beginning of the war
occurred to me: "They shoot the enemy all day; at night they come home
and kiss mother. In the morning they kiss mother again and go back to
shoot some more."

They certainly showed themselves capable of shaking off the horrors of
war before their women folk. To see them there in La Panne that night
you might have thought it was all a sham battle if it had not been for
a conviction of reality that would not shake off.

It was nearly ten o'clock, now but Belgian soldiers relieved from the
firing line and off duty for the night were still coming into La Panne.
In the Hotel Des Arcades, which incidentally, has no arcades, the bar
and the dining room were full of soldiers. Officers and their men were
eating and drinking together in the pleasant democratic way they have in
the Belgian army. Room was made for us at the long central table in the
dining room, and all at the table were solicitous to see that we were at
once given plenty to eat and drink. Several of the fifteen men at the
table had hands or heads bandaged, but that did not seem to detract from
their gayety.

[Sidenote: Spirit of the Belgian soldiers.]

A joke was being told as we sat down, and every one was taking a lively
interest in it, the narrator was a bearded man of fifty, and he was
telling to the delight of the others how his son had once got the better
of him in Brussels before the war. There were other stories of matters
equally foreign to war. The private on one side of me told me he was the
manager for Belgium of an American typewriter. The lieutenant on the
other side was in ordinary times an insurance agent. All the men there
were in business and talked and acted like a company of young American
business men.

My first hint that these men had been through any trying experience was
the apology offered by a new-comer for being late. He entered rather
gravely and said something about having to take the word to his sister
of his brother-in-law's death. The whole company turned grave then and
conversation from being general was carried on for a few minutes between
those near together. I asked the typewriter agent, to fill an awkward
pause, whether they had seen much action, and he told me their story.

[Sidenote: The fight on the road to Nieuport.]

This was a crack mitrailleuse company of Brussels. It had been in the
fight from Liège back to Malines and from Antwerp back to Dixmude and
Nieuport. Three days before it was told to hold a road into Nieuport. It
was a road the Germans must take, if they were to advance, but the
Belgians would not give way. They were too clever with their rapid-fire
guns to be rushed, and the German bayonet charges only blocked the road
with their dead. Again and again the gray line came on, but each time it
crumpled before their fire. They were attacked every hour of the day or
night, but they were always ready. Finally the Germans got their range
and dropped shell after shell right among them.

"They blew us all to pieces," the story went on in a low tone at my
elbow. "Those shells don't leave many wounded, but they littered the
place with arms and legs. They got a good many of us, but they did not
seem to be able to get our guns."

I asked what their loss had been, and he looked around the table,
counting, before he answered.

"Let's see, now," he said. "We lost some at Dixmude first. I think there
were just seventy last Monday." This was Thursday. "We had a pretty bad
time," he ended; looking down.

"How many are there now?" I asked, and he answered with a sweep of his
hand around the table. "Five or six more," he said. There were eighteen
of them at table now. That meant twenty-three or twenty-four--out of

"The dogs suffered, too," he added. "We've only got eight out of twenty,
and I just heard the dogs around here have already been pressed into

[Sidenote: Courtesy of the machine gunners.]

When I went to bed four of the members of that shattered mitrailleuse
company climbed three flights of stairs to see that I had a comfortable
room. And these men had just come out of a trench where they had lost
more than two thirds their number in three days stopping one of the main
lines of the German advance.

[Sidenote: Back to the lines.]

In the twilight of early morning, when the cannonading had at last died
down, I heard the movement of troops in the street and saw my friends of
the night before falling into line and getting their equipment straight.
By the time I reach the sidewalk they were moving off, some of the men
helping the dogs with the mitrailleuse.

"Big fight last night," said the typewriter agent smiling. "Company that
relieved us got it hard. We must hurry back."

They were all very alert and soldierlike in the chill of the morning,
but they were a pitifully small company as they passed up the road and
were lost in the sand dunes.

       *       *       *       *       *

In August and September, while on the western front were being fought
the great initial struggles of the Great War, Turkey, long under German
political influence, was making ready to cast her lot with the Teutonic
Powers. Germany had already made diplomatic and military moves which
indicated that she was certain of a Turkish alliance. The strongest
figures of the Ottoman Empire, Enver Pasha and Talaat Bey were strongly
pro-German, although the latter endeavored for a time to conceal his
real sentiments and intentions under a cloak of pretended neutrality.
The causes which induced Turkey to side with the Central Powers rather
than with the Allies are explained in the narrative which follows.



Copyright, World's Work, January, 1915.

[Sidenote: Extreme danger of Turkey.]

Many people entirely misunderstand the significance of the declaration
of war by Turkey against Russia, France, and England. Why these
despairing gasps of the dying? they ask. What possible chance has this
weak, moribund state to survive a clash of arms with the Triple Entente?
Has not the Turk, in fact, dug his own grave and committed suicide? In
all probability the Turk is in considerable danger, but the danger does
not arise from his joining Germany. In fact, the war and the present
international situation provide the Turk with the best opportunity in a
century to achieve the aims cherished by Turkish statesmen who have the
best interests of Turkey itself at heart. For several years Turkey has
been in extreme peril. It was condemned to death by the Triple Entente
some time ago, and the prediction of the British Prime Minister in a
recent public speech that this war would end the existence of Turkey as
an independent power was only the publication of the sentence of death
long since decided upon. The Sick Man was kept alive by his friends, the
doctors, largely because they deemed his malady incurable. The moment he
showed signs of convalescence they agreed to poison him. But for the
protection of Germany the political existence of Turkey would be already
a thing of the past. The Turk, therefore, will stand or fall according
to the decision in this war for or against Germany. He will be
excessively foolish not to do everything he can to insure a German

[Sidenote: Entrance of Turkey into War.]

[Sidenote: Constantinople core of the War.]

The entrance of Turkey into the war has long been foreseen, and its vast
significance has long been clear to students. Some trained observers go
much further: Sir Harry Johnston, a traveler, statesman, and diplomat of
repute, has declared: "Constantinople is really the core of the war." In
diplomatic circles in Vienna this summer there was a general agreement
that the loss of Salonika, which the Turk was forced to hand over to
Greece at the end of the Balkan wars, was a vital blow to the Triple
Alliance, and its recovery would be of sufficient importance to justify
the risk of a European war to accomplish it. The situation in the Near
East and in the Balkans is an integral part of the European war. In
fact, the war is not a European war at all; it is a world war in the
most literal sense of the words.

[Sidenote: Control of exit from the Black Sea imperative to Russia.]

At the beginning of the twentieth century keen observers saw clearly
that the old order of things, which had preserved the Turk so long in
the face of many enemies, had passed away beyond a peradventure and had
left the Turk in great peril. Ever since the decay of the strength of
the Ottoman Empire the Turk had been hardly pressed in Europe by Russia
and by Austria, both of whom coveted sections of his dominions, and both
of whom would have been glad to obtain Constantinople, the gateway
between Europe and Asia. Of the two, Russia was more insistent because
her interests made the control of the exit from the Black Sea imperative
for her. The Turk, however, until very recently, was himself strong
enough to throw considerable obstacles in the face of the invader; he
was probably, in 1900, more efficient than in 1850; but his enemies had
grown by leaps and bounds. He was confronted by a new Austria and a new

What was worse, the Balkan nations, who had long been subject peoples,
ill-organized, poverty stricken, had grown with the help of the Turk's
enemies into sturdy, self-reliant, independent communities with
good-sized armies and something approaching national wealth. The long
years of subjection had left behind a consuming hatred of the Turk in
their breasts; as Christians, they hated the Turk as the Infidel; and
they promised themselves some day the control of Constantinople in the
interest of Christianity. The neighbors of the Turk had grown formidable
and would be able to make short work of him unless help arrived.

[Sidenote: Industrial growth of Germany.]

[Sidenote: Old order changes.]

There was none to be had from his past friends; so much was only too
clear. The shift in the international situation caused by the astounding
industrial growth of Germany, the rapid development of the German,
Austrian, and Italian fleets, the increased efficiency of the armies of
the Triple Alliance had all made the control of the Mediterranean far
more difficult for England and France. They could no longer spare ships
and troops in sufficient numbers to rescue the Turk from Russia without
exposing themselves more than was wise in northern Europe. Besides, the
designs of the Triple Alliance made it seem only too probable that the
possession of Constantinople by Russia and the creation of a fleet in
the Black Sea might be the only means of preserving for the French and
English control of the western Mediterranean. The old order had changed:
the Turk's friends were now his enemies bent on his destruction.

[Sidenote: Ambition of new Turkish party.]

[Sidenote: Democratic and nationalist revival.]

Yet there had never been a time when the Sick Man was more desperately
determined to get well, when life had seemed to him so entirely
desirable. The passing of the old order caused no grief among the
Turks--outside of those few henchmen who had long drawn a fat revenue
from foreign nations. The Turks had become fired with ambition, with
democratic conceptions, highly inconsistent with the state of things
which the old order had so long sanctioned. The new democrats declared
indignantly that Turkey had been for years conducted for the benefit of
foreign nations; it should be conducted in the future solely in the
interests of Turkey. They were roused to enthusiasm by the past history
of the Ottoman empire and burned to reconquer its old provinces, to
establish a closer relationship between the provinces which remained. An
imperialistic movement, a nationalistic revival, if you will, was
preached in Turkey by ardent enthusiasts whose words fell on willing
ears. To the democratic and nationalist revival was joined religious
discontent. The Sultan was the religious head of the Mohammedan world.
Everywhere the true Believers were in chains. Everywhere the infidel
reigned supreme. From Constantinople to Mecca, from the confines of
Morocco to the plains of India, the Mohammedan world was ground under
the heel of the conqueror and the conqueror was the Arch Enemy of Truth.
There must be, they preached, a great crusade, a united rising to cast
out the Christian dogs and restore the sceptre of empire to the hand of
a devout believer in Allah. Turkey, Assyria, Asia Minor, Persia, Arabia,
India, Egypt, the whole of Africa, should be freed from the yoke of the

[Sidenote: Great Confederation of States.]

[Sidenote: From Berlin to Bagdad railroad.]

And now appeared an ally, unfortunately a Christian, in fact a
peculiarly devout Christian, but one able to save the Turk from his
foes, glad to foster his ambitions. The plans of Germany for her future
involved the creation of a great confederation of states stretching from
the North Sea to the Persian Gulf and including Holland, Belgium,
Denmark, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Balkans, Turkey, and Persia.
These states controlled the great overland roads from central Europe to
the Persian Gulf and would make possible overland trade with the East. A
railroad already existed as far as Constantinople, and a railroad from
Constantinople to Bagdad and the Gulf would not only throw open Asia
Minor and the great plains of Mesopotamia to European capital, but would
furnish a perfectly practicable commercial road to the East through
which in time would flow a trade which would make the great
Confederation rich. Of this Confederation, Turkey would be an integral
and essential part. Adrianople, the key to the Balkans; Salonika, key to
the Ægean; Constantinople, controlling the outlet to the Black Sea and
the crossing to Asia Minor; the land approaches of the Tigris and
Euphrates valleys--all these the Turk had, all these an alliance with
him would give Germany. The stronger the Turkish State, the better
organized, the larger its army and fleet, the greater its resources, the
more useful it would be to Germany and the more thoroughly it would
insure the success of Pan-Germanism.

[Sidenote: England and France sustain courteous hold on Constantinople.]

It had been for the interests of England and France to keep Turkey weak.
The Turk must hold Constantinople, but must not be strong enough to use
it; as a tenant, as a nominal owner, he was extremely useful; some one
had to own it; England and France could not hold it themselves; they
were determined Russia should not have it; and the Turk was a useful
_locum tenens_. They, therefore, frowned upon Turkish ambitions for
democratic government and would, undoubtedly, have sacrificed the Turk
rather than see an independent Mohammedan State take real control of
Asia Minor and Northern Africa.

[Sidenote: Pan-Germanic Confederation.]

Germany, on the contrary, wished an active agent to pursue an
aggressive policy in her favor. If the Sick Man could get out of bed
only with assistance, Germany was anxious to help him; and the Turk
vastly preferred an alliance with a Power which was eager to make him
well to one with Powers almost afraid to keep him alive. The Turks
wished a capable government, a good army, a State deserving of
independence, and were overjoyed to find Germany ready and desirous to
foster this ambition. Indeed, as a member of the Pan-Germanic
Confederation, the Turk must be strong enough to hold Constantinople and
the Bagdad Railway in the event of a general European war, without
depending upon Germany for more than assistance, supplies, and advice.
Germany and Austria, menaced on both sides at home, would not be able to
take the risks of sending troops to the Near East, and the Turk would
have to be strong enough to keep at bay such forces as it seemed likely
Russia would be able to spare from the battlefields of northern Europe.

[Sidenote: Pan-Islam.]

Germany was equally ready to have the Turk gratify his imperialist and
religious ambitions. Pan-Islam would destroy the political control of
England and France in northern Africa and in Egypt. It might even
overturn the British Empire in India. This would be the greatest
possible service any one could render Germany, and it might be one which
Germany could accomplish in no other way. If the Triple Entente was the
greatest foe of Pan-Islamism, Pan-Germanism should be its greatest
friend. Where ambition and interest coincide, co-operation is simple.

[Sidenote: Reorganization of Turkey.]

In complete accord, therefore, the Germans and the Turks undertook the
reorganization of Turkey above five years or more ago. They saw with
clear vision the real truth about Turkey. With engaging candor they laid
the blame for the deficiencies of Turkish government upon England and
France and declared them the work of intention. Turkey, they saw, was
not a nation in the European sense of the word; it was not even a single
race. It was not a geographical unit by any means, but a series of
districts on the whole geographically disconnected. Far from being an
economic unit with a single interest vital to all its inhabitants, it
produced nothing essential to the outside world which its inhabitants
could depend upon exchanging for European manufactured goods.

[Sidenote: Turkey's economic interests.]

Its economic interests were potential rather than real; its trade, the
result of its strategic position rather than of the interests and the
capacity of its population. Normally and naturally the Turk should be a
middleman, a distributor rather than a producer. He was placed in
control of the continental roads between Asia and Central Europe, and
was able to control the overland trade as soon as it emerged from the
Caucasus or the Persian Gulf, and maintain that control until the
continental highway passed into the defiles of the Balkans beyond
Adrianople. Constantinople itself, controlling the narrow passage which
formed the exit of the Black Sea, was in a position to foster or hinder
the entire trade of southern Russia with the rest of the world. In fact,
it was impossible to deny, and the Germans thoroughly well understood
it, that the trade of the East with Europe and the trade of Russia with
the rest of the world might pass through Turkey, but was not likely to
stay there.

[Sidenote: Turkey's important strategic position.]

In this important strategic position, economically valuable to others
but not to its inhabitants, had been collected a peculiar and
extraordinary conglomeration of races, creeds, and interests; few of
which had much in common, and all of which cherished for each other
antipathies and jealousies almost as old as history. The racial problem
of Turkey would be less difficult if the races were only located side by
side in solid masses. With few exceptions the races interpenetrate one
another to a remarkable extent and the Turk himself is numerically in
the majority in comparatively few districts of Asia Minor, where the
bulk of the Turkish population lives, and in scarcely any part of
European Turkey. The Turks are literally overlords, a ruling class.

[Sidenote: Turkey's weak political fabric.]

The Turk has governed this vast territory and this conglomeration of
races and religions by a peculiarly weak political fabric which seemed
in the nineteenth century to combine in one structure all the
disadvantages of centralization, and all those of decentralization.
Subject peoples have been ruled by a combination of military, civil, and
religious authority which has been dependent in the long run for its
support on the army. However, had the subject peoples hated each other
less cordially, had they been more capable of organization and willing
to compromise, they might have ended the Turkish rule decades ago, army
or no army. Some observers, indeed, have thought the Turkish Government
an artificial sham kept alive by France and England for their own
purposes. Whatever reasons were to be given, the Germans and the Turks
saw that Turkey as a nation and Turkey as a state had been, both of
them, practically non-existent. Both had been names, not realities.
Turkey had appeared on the European maps. A series of so-called
statesmen had taken European bribes in Constantinople; numerous
incompetent and venal officials had robbed the populace with the help of
the soldiers in the provinces, and this Government plus the army was
Turkey. Turkey had, indeed, been sick, but that particular kind of
illness, the Turks thought, could be cured; and the Germans agreed with

[Sidenote: Germany's willingness to assist Turkey.]

[Sidenote: Germany's influence in Turkey.]

[Sidenote: Reasons for Turkey's joining Germany.]

We must not forget as observers the exceeding importance of German
willingness to assist the ambitions of the educated Turks for
self-government and for independence from European influence. The
English and French control of Turkey was fortuitous and artificial and
depended solely upon the control of a little group of men in
Constantinople. German influence in Turkey has deep and fundamental
roots in a large and significant part of the Turkish population and
appeals to their best and highest impulses. We have here in the last
analysis the reasons why Turkey has joined Germany in the war. The
enlightened Turks see in Pan-Germanism a democratic Turkey with
constitutional self-government, a Turkey developing its own resources, a
Turkey gradually freeing itself from the fetters of European alliances
and becoming gradually but certainly strong enough to take its place in
the Pan-Germanic chain as a state of worth, integrity, and importance.
They see in the victory of Pan-Germanism the effective promise of the
realization of such ideals. They see in the defeat of Pan-Germanism
political and national death, the annexation of Turkey by its enemies,
and the subjection of the Turks to the rule of the Infidel. For these
reasons they joined Germany in the first place. For these deep,
fundamental reasons they hold staunchly to their friend. We shall be
guilty of quibbling and of shortsightedness if we look for an
explanation of Turkish policy in the seizure of warships and the breach
of treaties.

[Sidenote: Reorganization of Turkey.]

The reorganization of Turkey was duly observed by the Triple Entente and
its purpose thoroughly well understood. Their opposition to it was
prompt, and Italy attempted by the Tripolitan War to rob the Turk of one
of his distant provinces. Having seized Tripoli with the consent of the
Triple Entente, Italy then changed sides, returned to the Triple
Alliance and took Tripoli with her. The result was a prompt reversal of
the strategic situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and placed England
and France in such danger that they saw the moment had probably come
when it would be positively to their advantage to gratify Russia's
ambition and allow her to seize Constantinople. The Tripolitan War
suspended the sword of Damocles over the Turk's head.

[Sidenote: The Balkan War.]

[Sidenote: The loss of Macedonia.]

The Balkan War threatened for a time to annihilate him. The prompt aid
of Austria and Germany as stout representatives in the international
conclave, the mobilization of the Austrian army, the knowledge that
Germany was ready to mobilize, saved the Turk. The ambitions of Bulgaria
brought her over to the side of the Triple Alliance, which was more than
ready to assist her in dominating the Balkans. The second war cost
Bulgaria dear but gave back to the Turk Adrianople. Macedonia, however,
was lost entirely, and much of Thrace, with Salonika, the key of the
Ægean, was also lost and fell into the hands of the Turk's enemy,

[Sidenote: Little likelihood of attack on Constantinople.]

The reorganized state was now undeniably in great peril; and the
probability of an outbreak of a European war in the near future, the
knowledge that the Turk must himself defend Constantinople and the
Bagdad Railway, urged the Germans and the Turks to great efforts in
reorganizing the army and providing equipment. The fleet also received
attention; two battleships were building in England and another was
purchased from one of the South American states. There would this time
be no escape. The death sentence had been passed upon the Turk, and if
he waited for his enemies to gather and descend upon him defense would
be problematical. It was, of course, realized that in the long run
Germany would save Turkey by battles won in France or in Poland, and
also that German defeats in Europe would in the long run spell the
downfall of Turkey whatever the Turk did. It was, therefore, advisable
to postpone action as long as possible. While Russia was exerting
herself to the utmost to mobilize an army in Poland, there was small
likelihood of an attack on Constantinople, and the Turk might well
remain neutral, equip and organize the army, acquire supplies, and
choose the moment to take the offensive.

[Sidenote: German cruisers at Constantinople.]

England, on the outbreak of the war, seized the two battleships building
in England, and, therefore, weakened the Turkish strength in the Black
Sea. The deficiency was supplied by sending two German cruisers to
Constantinople and selling them to the Turkish Government. Some weeks
ago the Germans judged that the time had come when the Turk must openly
join in the war, send his troops to the frontier in order to hold the
invader as far as possible from Constantinople. Indeed, action at this
time might allow the Turk to accomplish results of the utmost
importance. Those who see simply the fact that Russia could easily
overwhelm the Turk standing alone, that the Balkan States united might
also dispose of him, entirely fail to grasp the possibilities before the
Turk at the present moment when Russia is extremely busy in the North,
when the Balkan States seem hopelessly divided, and when Italy is
maintaining with determination her neutrality.

[Sidenote: Closing of the Black Sea by Turkey.]

[Sidenote: Enormous value of oil supplies in the Black Sea District.]

The most important thing the Turk has done for Germany has been the
closing of the Black Sea. The sowing of a few mines in the Straits
promptly put an end to Russian trade from the Black Sea and dealt
southern Russia a great blow commercially. Germany thus struck at
England, because a large part of the English food supply has normally
come from the Black Sea district, and the desire to protect the grain
ships through the Mediterranean has been one of England's chief reasons
for maintaining control of that sea. So large were these supplies
normally that England has had considerable difficulty in replacing them
and is destined soon to experience greater difficulty in furnishing a
supply equivalent in volume and accessibility. The Black Sea district
also has large oil supplies which would be of enormous value to England
and France, now that the extensive use of the automobile in warfare has
made gasolene a supply second in importance only to powder and food. If
the Turkish navy, augmented by the German cruisers, can dispose of the
Russian ships in the Black Sea, and this seems not improbable, the Turk
might annex for Germany this supply of oil. That would be a stroke of
the utmost consequence.

[Sidenote: Isolation of Russia.]

[Sidenote: Importance of Turkey to Germany.]

Closing the Black Sea by the Turk, plus the closing of the Baltic by the
German fleet in the North Sea, would also accomplish another extremely
important result, the absolute and complete isolation of Russia from
contact with all parts of the world except Germany, Austria, and Turkey.
The question has often arisen as to the ability of Germany to prolong
the war in the face of her inability to export goods to her usual
customers. The complete cessation of manufacture in Germany would sooner
or later bankrupt the country and bring her to her knees. The Germans
point out that the isolation of Russia will have precisely the same
effect on that country unless Russia can find some place where her raw
products can be exchanged for the manufactured goods which are much more
necessary in warfare than the crude products which she always has to
sell. The experience of the past has proved again and again that
belligerent countries persistently trade with one another when it is
profitable. The Germans expect to sell their manufactured goods in
Russia in exchange for the raw materials which Russia produces, just as
long as their fleet holds the mouth of the Baltic and the Turk controls
Constantinople. A brisk trade between Germany, Austria, and Russia is
already reported and if it attains the proportions the Germans expect,
their commercial problem will have been largely solved. But its
continued solution will depend upon the maintaining of Turkey in
Constantinople. If these considerations are as important as the
Pan-Germanists have usually claimed, it will be obvious that the
adhesion of the Turk has exceeding importance for Germany and had long
been arranged in advance.

[Sidenote: Control of the Suez Canal vital to Great Britain.]

The possibilities before the Turkish army, well equipped with modern
munitions of war and capably officered by Germans, have been by no means
forgotten. The great objective of Pan-Germanism is not in Europe but in
Asia and Africa. The defense of the English and French dominions in both
will have to be made in Europe. The strength of the German army, the
size of the German fleet, would prevent the English and French from
dissipating their forces over the vast territory which they claim to
control. The experienced troops in India, in Egypt, and in Morocco were
shipped to France upon the outbreak of the war exactly as the Germans
expected and hoped. Their places were filled by less experienced
regiments from France, England, and the English colonies. Egypt and the
Suez Canal, India, and the great defenses would not be so strongly held.
The Turk occupied a position flanking Persia and a position flanking
Egypt. A strong, well-trained Turkish army might conceivably capture
either or both. Assistance from within might well be expected in both,
and victory in either would exert a moral effect upon the war in Europe
which would be of the utmost importance. A few hours' possession of the
Suez Canal, furthermore, would allow the Germans to obstruct it and
effectually block the approach of England to Australia and India except
by the long road around Africa. Conceivably this might interfere
seriously with the English food supplies from Australia and New Zealand,
particularly with the supplies of meat from the latter. This would be
more than usually important in view of the deficiency of meat supplies
in the United States and Canada, and the length of time necessary to
procure them from the Argentine Republic. It is by these blows at the
food supply that the Germans expect to make the greatest impression upon
England. Short of actual invasion, the stoppage of supplies is the only
method by which the Germans can inflict suffering upon England.

[Sidenote: Bulgaria ally of Germany.]

[Sidenote: All Balkan states weakened by Balkan War.]

No one in Berlin or Constantinople has forgotten the existence of the
Balkans. Servian enmity, Greek hatred for the Turk, are only too
obvious; Bulgaria is believed to be entirely faithful to the German
interests; Roumania has never been very trustworthy, and has at times
been an ally of both the coalitions in Europe. The ability of the Turk,
of course, to hold Constantinople and above all to take the offensive
would depend upon the continued neutrality or alliance of the Balkan
States. Combined, they are amply strong enough to overrun Turkey in
Europe and probably to invade Asia Minor in force. All the Balkan States
except Roumania--which is hardly a Balkan State--were very much weakened
in men and in resources by the late Balkan wars, and will probably have
considerable difficulty in obtaining any quantity of supplies from
foreign countries, though we are told of large purchases by the Greeks
in the United States. The fact, however, that the Turk has taken the
offensive against Egypt and Persia makes it extremely probable that the
Balkan hatreds have offset each other. Bulgaria's existence probably
depends upon Austrian protection. Roumania is probably afraid to take
the field with Bulgaria, Turkey, Russia, and Austria against her, while
the Greeks and Servians have still to recover from the recent wars. It
is probable, therefore, that, Bulgaria and Roumania being neutral,
Servia at war with Austria, Turkey can take from Greece Salonika and
possibly Macedonia. Should the war in Europe progress favorably for
Germany, the attitude of the Balkan States toward Germany would be
influenced and a scramble would ensue to join the victor, which would
probably result in the extinction of Servia and Greece and the
strengthening of Bulgaria and Turkey. Naturally, the Turk would retake
the islands in the Ægean Sea which are now in Italy's hands.

[Sidenote: Turkey's position if Germany wins in Europe.]

Let us suppose that all goes as they hope: that the Germans win in
Europe; that the Turks and Bulgarians take control of the Balkans; that
the Russians are excluded from Persia, and the English from Egypt. The
victorious Turkish army is then in a position to advance along the
Persian Gulf road upon India, and would assail India at her weakest
point, outflanking the great defenses at Quetta which have been
developed primarily against Russia.

[Sidenote: Possibilities of Pan-Islam.]

We must not forget to enumerate, among the possibilities, Pan-Islam.
Success by the Turks in Egypt or Persia would undoubtedly give an
impulse to Pan-Islam which might put all the fanatical enthusiasm of the
Mohammedans into a vast uprising which might sweep the French and
English out of northern Africa and India. The Sultan of Turkey is the
official head of the Mohammedan religion. His orders Moslems are all
bound to obey. At present the Mohammedans in the English and French
possessions, who are, of course, under English and French influence, are
claiming that the acts of the Sultan are not really his, but those of
German officers; and the reports at the time of writing indicate that at
the present moment the order from Constantinople for a holy war will
probably not be regarded or obeyed. But a victory by Turkish arms would
probably instantly change the situation and might loose the pent-up
fanaticism of the most intensely emotional of the Oriental races. Here
is another weapon in the German arsenal whose use will depend upon the
coöperation of the Turk.

[Sidenote: Key of situation is Constantinople.]

It should now be evident that there is much to be said for the view that
the key to the present situation is Constantinople. We are dealing with
world politics, with a world war which is being fought on the
battlefields of Europe; but we are dealing with a world war whose
results are not expected to develop in Europe proper. The key to this
situation lies in Constantinople, and the Turk holds it.

       *       *       *       *       *

The outbreak of the Great War found the British navy in a high state of
preparedness, and so preponderant in number of vessels and in weight of
guns that the German Grand Fleet as a whole was content to remain behind
the walls of Helgoland. Squadrons were sent out, however, to attack
isolated British ships, and on August 28 the first naval battle of the
war occurred in the Bight of Helgoland. Here British and German cruisers
engaged in a struggle in which the honors were for a time even. The
arrival of British dreadnoughts quickly turned the scale, and the German
ships fled to the safety of their harbor. The Germans lost four large
ships, while the British fleet lost none.

The German navy was revenged in November 3, when a fleet of warships met
and sunk three British cruisers off the Coronel. On December 9, however,
a British fleet, after a search of many days, came up with and sank
three German cruisers, and severely damaged two others in the Battle of
Falkland Islands.



Battle Sketches by A. N. Hilditch, Oxford University Press.

[Sidenote: The Falkland Islands.]

In 1592, John Davis, the arctic explorer, after whom the strait between
Greenland and the North American mainland is named, made an attempt, in
company with Thomas Cavendish, to find a new route to Asia by the
Straits of Magellan. Differences arose between the two leaders. One was
an explorer: the other had a tendency towards freebooting. They parted
off the coast of Patagonia. Davis, driven out of his course by stormy
weather, found himself among a cluster of unknown and uninhabited
islands, some three hundred miles east of the Straits of Magellan. This
group, after many changes and vicissitudes, passed finally into the
hands of Great Britain, and became known as the Falkland Islands.

[Sidenote: Climate surface, and vegetation.]

They consist of two large islands and of about one hundred islets,
rocks, and sandbanks. The fragments of many wrecks testify to the
dangers of navigation, though masses of giant seaweed act as buoys for
many of the rocks. So numerous are the penguins, thronging in battalions
the smaller islands and the inland lagoons, that the governor of the
colony is nicknamed King of the Penguins. As New Zealand is said to be
the most English of British possessions, the Falklands may perhaps be
appropriately termed the most Scottish. Their general appearance
resembles that of the Outer Hebrides. Of the population, a large
proportion are of Scottish extraction. The climate is not unlike that of
Scotland. The winters are misty and rainy, but not excessively cold. So
violent are the winds that it is said to be impossible to play tennis or
croquet, unless walls are erected as shelter, while cabbages grown in
the kitchen-gardens of the shepherds, the only cultivated ground, are at
times uprooted and scattered like straw. The surface, much of which is
bogland, is in some parts mountainous, and is generally wild and rugged.
Small streams and shallow freshwater tarns abound. A natural curiosity,
regarded with great wonder, exists in 'stone-rivers'; long, glistening
lines of quartzite rock débris, which, without the aid of water, slide
gradually to lower levels. There are no roads. Innumerable sheep, the
familiar Cheviots and Southdowns, graze upon the wild scurvy-grass and
sorrel. The colony is destitute of trees, and possesses but few shrubs.
The one tree that the Islands can boast, an object of much care and
curiosity, stands in the Governor's garden. The seat of government, and
the only town, is Port Stanley, with a population of about 950. Its
general aspect recalls a small town of the western highlands of
Scotland. Many of the houses, square, white-washed, and grey-slated,
possess small greenhouse-porches, gay with fuchsias and pelargoniums, in
pleasing contrast to the prevailing barrenness. A small cathedral,
Christ Church, and an imposing barracks, generally occupied by a company
of marines, stand in the midst of the town. The Government House might
be taken for an Orkney or Shetland manse.

[Sidenote: Government.]

[Sidenote: Prosperity of the colony.]

The administration of the colony and of its dependencies is vested in a
Governor, aided by a Colonial Secretary, and by an executive and a
legislative council. The Governor acts as Chief Justice, and the
Colonial Secretary as Police Magistrate. There is a local jail, capable
of accommodating six offenders at a time. Its resources are not stated,
however, to be habitually strained. Education is compulsory: the
Government maintains schools and travelling teachers. The inhabitants
are principally engaged in sheep-farming and seafaring industries. The
colony is prosperous, with a trade that of late years has grown with
extraordinary rapidity. The dividends paid by the Falkland Islands
Company might excite the envy of many a London director. Stanley's
importance has been increased by the erection of wireless installation;
and as a coaling and refitting station for vessels rounding the Horn,
the harbour, large, safe, and accessible, is of immense value.

[Sidenote: A raid expected.]

To this remote outpost of empire came tidings of war in August, 1914.
Great excitement and enthusiasm prevailed. News was very slow in getting
through: the mails, usually a month in transit, became very erratic. But
the colony eagerly undertook a share in the burden of the Empire; £2,250
was voted towards the war-chest; £750 was collected on behalf of the
Prince of Wales's Fund. Detached, though keen, interest changed,
however, as the weeks passed, to intimate alarm. The Governor, Mr.
Allardyce, received a wireless message from the Admiralty that he must
expect a raid. German cruisers were suspected to be in the
neighbourhood. Never before had the colony known such bustle and such
excitement. They, the inhabitants of the remote Falklands, were to play
a part in the struggle that was tugging at the roots of the world's
civilization. The exhilaration of expectancy and of danger broke
suddenly into their uneventful, though not easy, lives. But there was
cause for keen anxiety. The colonists were, however, reassured for a
time by a visit from three British warships, the cruisers _Good Hope_,
_Monmouth_, and _Glasgow_, with the armed liner _Otranto_.

[Sidenote: British warships arrive.]

[Sidenote: Search for German cruisers.]

The _Good Hope_ had, at the declaration of war, been patrolling the
Irish coast. She was ordered to sweep the Atlantic trade routes for
hostile cruisers. She reached the coast of North America, after many
false alarms, stopping English merchantmen on the way, and informing the
astonished skippers of the war and of their course in consequence. When
forty miles east of New York, Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock came
aboard with his staff, and hoisted his flag. The Admiral turned
southwards, sweeping constantly for the enemy. Passing through the West
Indies, he proceeded to the coast of Brazil. Here he was joined by the
_Glasgow_. The _Good Hope_ had picked up the _Monmouth_ previously. The
three ships, accompanied by the auxiliary cruiser _Otranto_, kept a
southerly course. The discovery at Pernambuco of twenty-three German
merchantmen snugly ensconced behind the breakwater, in neutral harbour,
proved very galling. The Straits of Magellan and the cold Tierra del
Fuego were at length reached. The squadron was on the scent of three
German cruisers, the _Leipzig_, _Dresden_, and _Nürnberg_. It was
suspected that they had gone to coal in this remote corner of the
oceans. Their secret and friendly wireless stations were heard talking
in code. The British made swoops upon wild and unsurveyed bays and
inlets. The land around was covered with ice and snow, and the many huge
glaciers formed a sight wonderful to behold. But the search had proved
fruitless. After rounding the Horn several times, the squadron had
turned towards the Falklands.

[Sidenote: Rumors of disaster.]

The inhabitants could not long rely, however, upon these powerful
guardians. The squadron, after coaling, departed, again bound for the
Straits of Magellan and the Pacific. Its strength was certainly adequate
to tackle with success the three German ships believed to be in the
vicinity. The colony could depend upon Admiral Cradock to protect it to
the best of his ability. But it was not improbable that the enemy might
evade the patrolling cruisers, and descend upon the hapless Falklands
without warning. The Governor saw the advisability of instant
preparation. On October 19, he issued a notice that all women and
children were to leave Stanley. Provisions, stores, and clothes were
hastily removed into the interior, which was locally termed the 'camp'.
The colony possessed a Volunteer Rifle Company, some 120 strong, and two
nine-pounder field-guns. Further volunteers were enrolled and armed.
Suddenly, on November 3, an alarming wireless message was received. The
_Good Hope_ and the _Monmouth_ were reported to have been sunk off the
coast of Chili. It was unsigned. There was no proof of its authenticity.
But the next day another message followed from the captain of the
_Glasgow_. The disaster was confirmed. The _Glasgow_, in company with H.
M. S. _Canopus_, was running with all speed for the Falklands. They were
probably being followed by the victorious Germans. Four days of acute
suspense followed. The situation seemed critical. The Governor passed
several nights without taking off his clothes, in expectancy of wireless
messages that needed instant decoding. People slept beside their
telephones. Early in the morning of Sunday, November 8, the two warships

[Sidenote: The _Glasgow_ arrives.]

The _Glasgow_ was badly damaged. An enormous hole, three feet by nine
feet, gaped in her side. A shell had wrecked Captain Luce's cabin,
giving off fumes such as rendered unconscious several men who rushed in
to put out the fire. The vessel had escaped any serious outbreak,
however, and had suffered only four slight casualties. Warm tributes
were paid by the captain to the cool and disciplined conduct of both
officers and men. The _Canopus_ had not been engaged. But a narrative of
the preceding events may now be appropriate.

[Sidenote: German cruisers in Pacific.]

Vice-Admiral the Graf Maximilian von Spee was in command, at the
outbreak of hostilities, of the German China fleet stationed at
Tsing-tao. A successor, indeed, had been appointed, and was on the way
to relieve him. But just before war was declared von Spee and his
squadron steamed off into the open seas. To remain at Tsing-tao while
vastly superior forces were closing in upon him would be to little
purpose. Commerce raiding offered a field for rendering valuable service
to the Fatherland. The _Emden_ was dispatched to the southern seas. The
_Leipzig_ and the _Nürnberg_ proceeded across the Pacific, and began to
prey upon the western coast of South America. Half the maritime trade of
Chili was carried in English ships. Many of them might be seized and
destroyed at little risk. The Admiral, with his two remaining vessels,
the _Scharnhorst_ and the _Gneisenau_, successfully evaded the hostile
fleets for some time. On September 14 he touched at Apia, in German
Samoa, familiar to readers of Robert Louis Stevenson. It could be
remembered how, fifteen years before, this colony, shortly to fall
before a New Zealand expeditionary force, had been a bone of contention
between Great Britain and Germany. Captain Sturdee, whom von Spee was
soon to meet in more arduous operations, had on that occasion commanded
the British force in the tribal warfare. Eight days later, on September
22, the two German cruisers arrived off Papeete, in Tahiti, one of the
loveliest of Pacific islands. A small disarmed French gunboat lying
there was sunk, and the town was bombarded. The Admiral, planning a
concentration of German ships, then steamed east across the Pacific. He
got into touch with friendly vessels. By skilful man[oe]uvring he
finally brought five warships, with colliers, together near Valparaiso.

[Sidenote: Armament of cruisers.]

[Sidenote: Coal needed.]

[Sidenote: Drake's exploits.]

[Sidenote: Search for cruisers.]

The German ships were all of recent construction. The _Scharnhorst_ and
the _Gneisenau_ were armoured cruisers of 11,600 tons. The _Leipzig_,
the _Nürnberg_, and the _Dresden_ were light cruisers of about 3,500
tons. The armament of the larger vessels included eight 8·2-inch and six
6-inch guns. The smaller relied upon either ten or twelve 4-inch pieces.
Each ship carried torpedo tubes, and the speed of each was about
twenty-two or twenty-three knots an hour. The _Dresden_, however, could
go to twenty-seven knots. The squadron possessed all-important allies.
Several German merchant-marine companies, notably the Kosmos, plied
along the Chilian coast. The tonnage of their vessels, indeed, amounted
to no less than half that of the English companies. The advance of
German enterprise in Chili in recent years had been very marked. Von
Spee's great stumbling-block was coal. The laws of war prevented him
from sending more than three of his warships into a neutral port at the
same time, from staying there more than twenty-four hours, from taking
more coal than was necessary to reach the nearest German harbour, from
coaling again for three months at a port of the same nationality. But if
German merchantmen, hampered by no such restrictions, could constantly
renew his supplies, the difficulty of fuel could be to some extent met.
Provisions and secret information as to British movements could also be
obtained through the same source. Such employment of merchantmen,
however, being contrary to international law, would have to be
clandestine. The great Pacific coast offered numerous harbours and
abundant facilities for being utilized as a base under such conditions.
It showed many historic precedents for bold and adventurous exploits
which could not fail to appeal to an admiral whose family, ennobled by
the Emperor Charles VI, took pride in its ancient and aristocratic
lineage. The occasion seemed opportune, moreover, for the
accomplishment, by himself, his officers, and men, of deeds which should
inspire their posterity as British naval traditions, for lack of other,
at present inspired them. They could recall how, on this very coast, in
1578-9, Drake, the master raider, had seized a Spanish treasure-ship off
Valdivia, had descended like a hawk upon Callao, had pounced upon
another great galleon, taking nearly a million pounds in gold and
silver; and how the intrepid mariner, sailing off into the unknown
ocean, had circumnavigated the globe, while the furious de Toledo
waited, with eleven warships, in the Straits of Magellan. Why, indeed,
should not the Germans imitate, in the twentieth century, the deeds of
Drake in the sixteenth? If they preyed ruthlessly upon English
merchantmen, laden with the wealth of the West, if they made a descent
upon the Falkland Islands, if then they were to disappear into the wide
Pacific, a career of splendid adventure and of unbounded usefulness
would earn for them both the respect and the plaudits of the world.
Australian and Japanese warships were sweeping the eastern Pacific for
them. Many British vessels, called from useful employment elsewhere,
would have to join in the search for them. But so vast was the area that
they might elude their enemies for months.

British ships were already cruising near the Horn, possibly unaware that
a concentration of the Germans had been effected. It was not unlikely
that von Spee might be able to cut off and to destroy stray units of the
patrolling squadrons. The Graf could see many opportunities of serving
effectively the cause of the Fatherland. He must utilize them to the

[Sidenote: Cradock near coast of Chili.]

[Sidenote: German cruisers sighted.]

Sir Christopher Cradock, meanwhile, had rounded the Horn once more, and
was cruising northwards up the coast of Chili. That coast, indeed, once
the haunt of corsairs and filibusters, was rich in historic associations
and in natural beauties. An element of grandeur and of mystery seemed to
hover around the countless ridges and peaks of the Andes, stretching,
with the gleam of their eternal snows, for four thousand miles, and
gazing down across the illimitable waters of the occident. Upon the
plateaux, miles above sea level, stood old stone temples and pyramids
which rivalled in massiveness and ingenuity those of Egypt and of
Babylon. The student of ancient civilizations could trace, in the mystic
deities of the Incas and Araucanians, a strange similarity to the
deities of the Chaldeans and Babylonians. Speculation upon this analogy
formed a fascinating theme. This coast, too, was sacred to memories that
could not but be dear to sailors as gallant and daring as Cradock, since
his services in China, in 1900, was known to be. Among other familiar
British names, Cochrane, Lord Dundonald, had won enduring glory in the
struggle for Chilian independence, nearly a hundred years before. The
conditions of naval warfare had, indeed, through the introduction of
armour and the perfection of weapons, radically changed since Cochrane,
in a series of singularly audacious exploits, had overcome the fleets of
Spain. Sea-fighting had become purely a matter of science. The object of
strategy was to concentrate faster ships and more powerful guns against
weaker force. The odds with which Cradock was to contend against the
Germans were greater in proportion, if less in bulk, than the odds with
which Cochrane had contended, with his peasant crews and his hulks,
against the Spanish "wooden-walls". Admiral Cradock now knew that there
were two more cruisers in the neighbourhood than had at first been
supposed. The _Canopus_ had accordingly been sent to join his squadron.
But she was a battleship, and much slower than the cruisers. She could
travel no faster than at eighteen knots. Cradock proceeded northwards,
ahead of the _Canopus_, made a rendezvous off Concepcion Bay for his
colliers, and went into Coronel and on to Valparaiso to pick up news and
receive letters. The squadron then returned to the rendezvous and
coaled. This completed, the Admiral directed the _Glasgow_ to proceed
again to Coronel to dispatch certain cables. Captain Luce duly carried
out his mission, and left Coronel at nine o'clock on Sunday morning,
November 1, steaming northwards to rejoin the other ships. A gale was
rising. The wind was blowing strongly from the south. Heavy seas
continually buffeted the vessel. At two o'clock a wireless signal was
received from the _Good Hope_. Apparently from wireless calls there was
an enemy ship to northward. The squadron must spread out in line,
proceeding in a direction north-east-by-east, the flagship forming one
extremity, the _Glasgow_ the other. It was to move at fifteen knots. At
twenty minutes past four in the afternoon, smoke was observed upon the
horizon. The _Glasgow_ put on speed and approached. Officers soon made
out the funnels of four cruisers. It was the enemy. The Germans, their
big armoured cruisers leading, and the smaller behind, gave chase.

[Sidenote: The squadrons approach.]

The _Glasgow_ swept round to northward, calling to the flagship with her
wireless. Von Spee, anticipating this move, at once set his wireless in
operation, in order to jamb the British signals. Captain Luce soon
picked up the _Monmouth_ and the _Otranto_, and the three ships raced
northwards towards the flagship, the _Glasgow_ leading. At about five
o'clock the _Good Hope_ was seen approaching. The three ships wheeled
into line behind her, and the whole squadron now proceeded south. Von
Spee, coming up from that direction in line ahead, about twelve miles
off, changed his course and also proceeded south, keeping nearer to the
coast. The wind was now blowing almost with the force of a hurricane. So
heavy was the sea that small boats would have been unable to keep
afloat. But the sky was not completely overcast, and the sun was
shining. Firing had not opened. The washing of the seas and the roaring
of the wind deafened the ear to other sounds. The warship of to-day,
when her great turbines are whirling round at their highest speed, moves
without throb and almost without vibration through the waves. The two
squadrons, drawing level, the Germans nearer to the coast, raced in the
teeth of the gale, in two parallel lines, to the south.

[Sidenote: British vessels.]

[Sidenote: Cradock orders attack.]

Sir Christopher Cradock could not but realize that the situation was
hazardous. He had three vessels capable of fighting men-of-war. The
_Otranto_ was only an armed liner, and must withdraw when the battle
developed. The _Good Hope_ displaced some 14,000 tons, and was armed
with two 9'2-inch and sixteen 6-inch guns. The _Monmouth_, with a
tonnage of 9,800, carried fourteen 6-inch pieces, but the _Glasgow_, a
ship of 4,800 tons, had only two of the 6-inch weapons. It was certain
that the German 8·2-inch guns, if the shooting was at all good, would be
found to outrange and outclass the British. Cradock was certainly at a
disadvantage in gun-power. His protective armour was weaker than that of
the enemy. Nor did his speed give him any superiority. Though the
_Glasgow_ was capable of twenty-six knots, the flagship and the
_Monmouth_ could only go to twenty-three. But there was another
consideration which the Admiral might weigh. Coming slowly up from the
south, but probably still a considerable distance off, was the
battleship _Canopus_. Her presence would give the British a decided
preponderance. She was a vessel of some 13,000 tons, and her armament
included four 12-inch and twelve 6-inch pieces. How far was she away?
How soon could she arrive upon the scene? Evening was closing in.
Cradock was steering hard in her direction. If the British, engaging the
enemy immediately, could keep them in play throughout the night, when
firing must necessarily be desultory, perhaps morning would bring the
_Canopus_ hastening into the action. It was possible that the Germans
did not know of her proximity. They might, accepting the contest, and
expecting to cripple the British next morning at their leisure, find
themselves trapped. But in any case they should not be allowed to
proceed without some such attempt being made to destroy them. It must
not be said that, because the enemy was in greater force, a British
squadron had taken to flight. Perhaps it would be better, since darkness
would afford little opportunity of man[oe]uvring for action, to draw
nearer and to engage fairly soon. It was about a quarter past six. The
Germans were about 15,000 yards distant. Cradock ordered the speed of
his squadron to seventeen knots. He then signalled by wireless to the
_Canopus_, 'I am going to attack enemy now'.

[Sidenote: At closer range.]

[Sidenote: Only gun flashes to direct fire.]

[Sidenote: The _Good Hope_ blown up.]

The sun was setting. The western horizon was mantled by a canopy of
gold. Von Spee's man[oe]uvre in closing in nearer to the shore had
placed him in an advantageous position as regards the light. The British
ships, when the sun had set, were sharply outlined against the glowing
sky. The Germans were partly hidden in the failing light and by the
mountainous coast. The island of Santa Maria, off Coronel, lay in the
distance. Von Spee had been gradually closing to within 12,000 yards.
The appropriate moment for engaging seemed to be approaching. A few
minutes after sunset, about seven o'clock, the leading German cruiser
opened fire with her largest guns. Shells shrieked over and short of the
_Good Hope_, some falling within five hundred yards. As battle was now
imminent, the _Otranto_ began to haul out of line, and to edge away to
the south-west. The squadrons were converging rapidly, but the smaller
cruisers were as yet out of range. The British replied in quick
succession to the German fire. As the distance lessened, each ship
engaged that opposite in the line. The _Good Hope_ and the _Monmouth_
had to bear the brunt of the broadsides of the _Scharnhorst_ and the
_Gneisenau_. The _Glasgow_, in the rear, exchanged shots with the light
cruisers, the _Leipzig_ and the _Dresden_. The shooting was deadly. The
third of the rapid salvos of the enemy armoured cruisers set the _Good
Hope_ and the _Monmouth_ afire. Shells began to find their mark, some
exploding overhead and bursting in all directions. In about ten minutes
the _Monmouth_ sheered off the line to westward about one hundred yards.
She was being hit heavily. Her foremost turret, shielding one of her
6-inch guns, was in flames. She seemed to be reeling and shaking. She
fell back into line, however, and then out again to eastward, her 6-inch
guns roaring intermittently. Darkness was now gathering fast. The range
had narrowed to about 5,000 yards. The seven ships were all in action.
Many shells striking the sea sent up columns of white spray, showing
weirdly in the twilight. It was an impressive scene. The dim light, the
heavy seas, the rolling of the vessels, distracted the aim. Some of the
guns upon the main decks, being near the water-line, became with each
roll almost awash. The British could fire only at the flashes of the
enemy's guns. Often the heavy head seas hid even the flashes from the
gun-layers. It was impossible to gauge the effect of their shells. The
fore-turret of the _Good Hope_ burst into flames, and she began to fall
away out of line towards the enemy. The _Glasgow_ kept up a continual
fire upon the German light cruisers with one of her 6-inch guns and her
port batteries. A shell struck her below deck, and men waited for the
planks to rise. No explosion nor fire, however, occurred. But the
British flagship was now burning brightly forward, and was falling more
and more out of line to eastward. It was about a quarter to eight.
Suddenly there was the roar of an explosion. The part about the _Good
Hope's_ after-funnel split asunder, and a column of flame, sparks, and
débris was blown up to a height of about two hundred feet. She never
fired her guns again. Total destruction must have followed. Sir
Christopher Cradock and nine hundred brave sailors went down in the
stormy deep. The other ships raced past her in the darkness. The
_Monmouth_ was in great distress. She left the line after a while, and
turned back, steaming with difficulty to northwest. She had ceased
firing. The vessels had been travelling at a rate which varied from
seven to seventeen knots. The _Glasgow_, now left alone, eased her speed
in order to avoid shells intended for the _Monmouth_. The Germans
dropped slowly back. The _Scharnhorst_ and the _Gneisenau_ now
concentrated their salvos upon the _Glasgow_. The range was about 4,500
yards. A shell struck the second funnel: five others hit her side at the
waterline, but fortunately not in dangerous places. Luce, her captain,
since the flagship was no more, was senior officer. He brought his
vessel round and moved rapidly back.

[Sidenote: _Monmouth_ in distress.]

[Sidenote: Enemy is signalling in Morse.]

[Sidenote: _Glasgow_ draws away.]

[Sidenote: The _Monmouth_ finally capsizes.]

The _Monmouth_ had now fallen away to a north-easterly course. Luce
stood by signalling. Could she steer north-west? She was making water
badly forward, Captain Brandt answered, and he wanted to get stern to
sea. The enemy were following, Luce signalled again. There was no reply.
The _Glasgow_ steamed nearer. The _Monmouth_ was in a sinking condition.
Her bows were under water, and the men were assembled at the stern. The
sea was running very high. Rain and mist had come on, though a moon was
now rising. The enemy had altered course, and were approaching in line
abreast about 6,000 yards away. A light kept twinkling at regular
intervals from one of the ships. They were signalling in Morse, and
evidently were forming plans of action. Firing was still proceeding
intermittently. It was about half-past eight. Captain Luce could see
nothing for it but to abandon the _Monmouth_ to her fate. To rescue her
crew, under such conditions, was impossible, while to stand by and
endeavour to defend her would be folly. The _Glasgow_ was not armoured,
and could not contend with armoured vessels. Of the two guns she
possessed capable of piercing the enemy's armour, one had been put out
of action ten minutes after the start. If she stayed and fought to the
end, 370 good lives, in addition to the sufficiently heavy toll of 1,600
in the _Good Hope_ and the _Monmouth_, would be needlessly sacrificed.
The _Canopus_, moreover, must be warned. She was coming up from the
south to sure destruction. She could hardly be expected successfully to
combat the whole German squadron. Nevertheless, it must have been with
heavy hearts that the men of the _Glasgow_ turned away to seek safety in
flight. It is recorded that, as they moved off into the darkness, a
cheer broke forth from the _Monmouth's_ decks. Before the sinking vessel
became lost to sight another and a third went up. At about a quarter
past nine the _Nürnberg_, which had not been engaged in the main action,
came across the _Monmouth_. It is said that, though in a sinking
condition, the British ship attempted to ram her enemy. But the
_Nürnberg_ began to bombard her, and she capsized.

[Sidenote: _Glasgow_ and _Canopus_ start for Rio de Janeiro.]

The _Glasgow_ steamed off in a north-westerly direction. A few minutes
before nine the enemy became lost to sight. Half an hour later many
distant flashes of gunfire, the death-struggle of the _Monmouth_, were
seen. The play of a searchlight, which lasted a few seconds and then
disappeared, was also observed. The vessel bore round gradually to the
south. Her wireless was put into operation, and she made efforts to get
through to the _Canopus_. But the Germans had again set their apparatus
in motion, and the messages were jambed. Only after some hours was the
_Glasgow_ successful. Steaming hard at twenty-four knots through the
heavy seas, her engines and boilers fortunately being intact, she at
length joined the battleship. The two ships made straight for the
Falkland Islands.

The news of the disaster stirred great alarm in the colony. Before the
day on which the ships arrived was out the dismay was further increased.
The _Canopus_ at first expected to stay ten days. Her presence provided
substantial relief. If the enemy appeared, she and even the damaged
_Glasgow_ could give a very good account of themselves. But during the
morning Captain Grant of the _Canopus_ received a wireless message from
the Admiralty. He was to proceed immediately to Rio de Janeiro with the
_Glasgow_. The Brazilian Government had granted the latter permission to
enter the dry dock there to make urgent repairs. But seven days only
were allowed for this purpose. In the evening the warships cast off, and
steamed away to northward.

[Sidenote: The colony almost defenseless.]

[Sidenote: Falklands prepare for attack.]

[Sidenote: Burying the Governor's silver and table linen.]

Stanley was now in an unenviable situation. A powerful German squadron,
flushed with victory, was probably making for the Islands. The colony
was almost defenceless. All the opposition that the enemy would meet
would be from a few hundred volunteers. A wireless message that came
through emphasized the imminence of the danger. Warnings and
instructions were outlined. If the enemy landed, the volunteers were to
fight. But retiring tactics must be adopted. Care should be taken to
keep out of range of the enemy's big guns. The Governor at once called a
council of war. There could be little doubt that a descent would be made
upon the colony. The position was full of peril. But resistance must
certainly be offered. The few women, children, and old men who still
remained at Stanley must be sent away immediately. Fortunately the time
of year was propitious. November is, indeed, in the Falklands considered
the only dry month. The ground is then covered with a variety of
sweet-scented flowers. Further, all the stores it was possible to remove
must be taken into the 'camp'. Quantities of provisions must be hidden
away at various points within reach of the town. In order to add to the
mobility of the defending force, it would be well to bring in another
hundred horses from the 'camp'. Every man should be mounted. These
measures were duly carried out. Every preparation was made and every
precaution taken. Everybody began to pack up boxes of goods. Clothes,
stores, and valuables were all taken away to safety. Books, papers, and
money were removed from the Government offices, and from the
headquarters of the Falkland Islands Company. What was not sent away was
buried. The official papers and code-books were buried every night, and
dug up and dried every morning. The Governor's tableclothes gave rise to
much anxiety. It was thought, since they were marked 'G. R.', they would
be liable to insult by the Germans. They were accordingly buried. This
conscientious loyalty, however, proved costly. The Governor's silver,
wrapped in green baize, was, unfortunately, placed in the same hole. The
tablecloths became mixed up with the baize. The damp got through, and
the linen was badly stained. There was a feeling that the attack would
come at dawn. People sat up all night, and only went to bed when morning
was well advanced. All offices were closed and business was suspended.
This state of tension lasted several days. At length, from the look-out
post above the town, a warship, apparently a cruiser, was seen making
straight for the wireless station. When she got within range she turned
broadside on. Her decks were cleared for action.

[Sidenote: _Canopus_ arrives.]

There was a call to arms. Church and dockyard bells pealed out the
alarm. Non-combatants streamed out of the town into the 'camp'. The
volunteers paraded, and lined up with their horses. It would soon become
a question whether to resist a landing or to retire. In any event the
men were ready and provided with emergency rations. But no firing
sounded. Signals were exchanged between the vessel and the shore. It was
a false alarm. The new-comer was H. M. S. _Canopus_.

[Sidenote: A serious outlook--decks are cleared for action.]

She had proceeded, in accordance with her orders, towards Rio de Janeiro
with the _Glasgow_. When two days' journey off her destination, however,
she received another message. She was directed to return and to defend
the Falklands in case of attack. These instructions were received with
mingled feelings. To fight alone a powerful squadron was by no means an
attractive prospect. Duty, however, was duty. The _Canopus_ turned
about, and retraced her passage. She set her wireless in operation, and
tried to get through to Stanley. But for some reason she was unable to
do so. It was concluded that the Germans had made a raid and had
destroyed the wireless station. Probably they had occupied the town. The
outlook seemed serious. The _Canopus_ had her instructions, however, and
there was no drawing back. The decks were cleared for action. Ammunition
was served out. Guns were loaded and trained. With every man at his post
the ship steamed at full speed into the harbour. Great was the relief
when it was found that all was well.

[Sidenote: German raid anticipated.]

[Sidenote: Shackleton's visit to South Georgia.]

The inhabitants were not less relieved. The presence of the battleship
was felt to add materially to the security of the town. The Germans
would probably hesitate before attacking a ship of her size. If they
sustained damage involving loss of fighting efficiency, there was no
harbour they could turn to for repair, except so far as their
seaworthiness was affected. Nevertheless, it was almost certain that
some raid upon the Islands would be attempted. Guns were landed from the
ship, and measures were taken to make the defence as effective as
possible. Perhaps if the enemy blockaded Stanley, the British would be
able to hold out until other warships, certain to be sent to avenge the
defeat, arrived. Relief could hardly be expected for two or three weeks.
The Falklands formed a very distant corner of the Empire. It was
doubtful, indeed, whether even the ubiquitous German spy had penetrated
to these remote and barren shores. It could, however, be recalled that,
in 1882, a German expedition had landed on South Georgia, a dependent
island of the Falklands, eight hundred miles to their south-east, to
observe the transit of Venus. Upon that same island, indeed, another
and a quite unsuspicious expedition had landed, early in that very
month, November. Sir Ernest Shackleton, the explorer, had left Buenos
Ayres on the morning of October 26, on his way across the antarctic
continent. His little vessel of 230 tons, the _Endurance_, passed
through the war zone in safety, and reached South Georgia on November 5.
He remained for about a month before leaving for the lonely tracts for
which his little party was bound. The island was his last link with
civilization. Though sub-antarctic, it possessed features as up-to-date
as electric-light, universal even in pigsties and henhouses. And the
march of man, it was observed, had introduced the familiar animals of
the farmyard, and even a monkey, into a region whose valleys, destitute
of tree or shrub, lay clothed with perpetual snow.

[Sidenote: Sturdee's squadron reaches Port Stanley.]

[Sidenote: German cruisers sighted.]

Meanwhile, November passed into December without any appearance of the
Germans off the Falklands. The tension became very much relieved. Women
and children were brought back to Stanley, after being away a month or
six weeks. Messages emanating from the hostile squadron, registered by
the wireless station, indicated that the enemy were still in the
vicinity. But the condition of the colony became again almost normal.
The relief and security were complete when, at length, on Monday,
December 7, a powerful British squadron, under Vice-Admiral Sir Doveton
Sturdee, arrived at Port Stanley. There were seven warships, besides the
_Canopus_. The _Invincible_ and the _Inflexible_ had left Plymouth on
November 11, and had proceeded to the West Indies. Their mission was to
avenge Coronel. They had picked up at Albatross Rock the _Carnarvon_,
_Cornwall_, _Bristol_, _Kent_, _Glasgow_, now repaired, and _Macedonia_,
an armed liner. All had then steamed southwards towards the Falklands.
The vessels started coaling. Officers came ashore to stretch their legs.
Certain stores were laid in. It was anticipated that the squadron would
depart in search of the enemy on the evening of the following day. That
search might, indeed, be a matter of months. Early next morning,
December 8, at about eight o'clock, a volunteer observer posted on
Sapper's Hill, two miles from Stanley, sighted two vessels upon the
horizon. Twenty minutes later the smoke of two others came into view in
the same direction. They were soon recognized as German cruisers. The
excitement was intense. The news was immediately carried to the
authorities. It was hastily signalled to the fleet. Most of the ships
were at anchor in Port William, the outer entrance to Port Stanley. Some
of the naval officers were aroused from their repose. It is recorded
that, upon hearing the news, the flag-lieutenant dashed down to Admiral
Sturdee's cabin, clad in his pyjamas. Sir Doveton was shaving. The
lieutenant poured forth his information. 'Well,' said the Admiral,
dryly, 'you had better go and get dressed. We'll see about it later.'[1]


[1] The writer cannot vouch for the truth of this anecdote,
which he merely records as given in a letter published in the press. But
the source from which it was taken, together with many of the preceding
details of the condition of Stanley during the period of tension, has
proved so accurate in essential points of fact, that their insertion
seems justifiable.

[Sidenote: Achievements of the raiders.]

[Sidenote: Supplies hard to obtain.]

[Sidenote: The question of neutrality.]

[Sidenote: Chile's neutrality.]

[Sidenote: Falklands a possible base.]

[Sidenote: _Gneisenau_ and _Nürnberg_ fire on wireless station.]

[Sidenote: Germans are surprised.]

The Graf von Spee had, meanwhile, after the Battle of Coronel, been
devoting himself to harrying maritime commerce. The Falklands could wait
for the present. Since the beginning of hostilities the work of his
light cruisers had been moderately successful. The _Nürnberg_ had cut
the cable between Bamfield, British Columbia, and Fanning Island. The
_Leipzig_ had accounted for at least four British merchantmen, and the
_Dresden_ for at least two more. The armed liner _Eitel Friedrich_ had
also achieved some success. Several traders had had narrow escapes. The
Chilian coast was in a state of blockade to British vessels, the ports
being crowded with shipping that hesitated to venture forth into the
danger zone. The Germans were masters of the Pacific and South Atlantic
trade routes. The Straits of Magellan and the Horn formed a great
waterway of commerce, which for sailing vessels was, indeed, the only
eastern outlet from the Pacific. But completely as he had the situation
in hand, von Spee was experiencing increasing problems and difficulties
with regard to supplies of coal and provisions. Without these he was
impotent. He had been employing German merchantmen to great advantage
for refueling. But trouble was brewing with the Chilian authorities.
Many signs were leading the latter to suspect that, contrary to
international law, German traders were loading at Chilian ports cargoes
of coal and provisions, contraband of war, and were transferring them at
sea to the German warships. There were other causes of complaint. Juan
Fernandez, the isle of romance and of mystery, the home of the original
of Robinson Crusoe, was said to have been degraded into use as a base
for apportioning the booty, coals and victuals, among the belligerent
vessels. The island was a Chilian possession. It was practically certain
that von Spee's squadron had stayed there beyond the legal limit of
time. A French merchantman had, contrary to rule, also been sunk there
by the _Dresden_, within Chilian territorial waters. Inquiries in other
quarters were being made, moreover, as to the friendly wireless stations
which the Germans had been utilizing secretly in Colombia and Ecuador;
while a rumour was current in the United States that neutral vessels had
been seized and pillaged on the high seas. Von Spee soon found that he
was nearing the end even of his illegitimate resources. He had tried the
patience of the Chilian authorities too far. About the middle of
November they suddenly prohibited, as a provisional measure, the vessels
of the Kosmos Company from leaving any Chilian port. On November 24 a
Government ship was sent to Juan Fernandez to investigate, and to see
that Chilian neutrality was upheld. Many such signs seemed to warn von
Spee that the time was appropriate to a sudden disappearance. He
gathered his squadron for a descent at last upon the Falklands. His
plans must be, not merely for a raid, but for an occupation. There were
probably two or three small ships there. They should be sunk. The
wireless station must be destroyed. The Islands, after a landing had
been effected and the defence reduced, could be used as a base for the
German operations. There were large quantities of coal and stores at
Stanley. The harbour possessed facilities for refitting. To dislodge a
strong German naval force, with adequate guns, placed in occupation of
the colony, would be a difficult task for the enemy. The Falklands had
many possibilities. According to von Spee's information they were feebly
defended and would fall an easy prey. At length, early in the morning of
December 8, the Admiral brought his fleet off Stanley. His five cruisers
approached from the south. They were, of course, observed. A warning
gun, probably from one of the small ships which he would shortly sink,
sounded the alarm inside the harbour. There was no need, however, for
haste. At twenty minutes past nine the _Gneisenau_ and the _Nürnberg_
moved towards the wireless station, and brought their guns to bear upon
it. But suddenly from inside the harbour there came the thunder of a big
gun. Five shells, of very heavy calibre, screamed in quick succession
from over the low-lying land. One of the vessels was struck. Surprise
and bewilderment took the Germans. This was most unexpected. The
_Gneisenau_ and the _Nürnberg_ hastily retired out of range.

[Sidenote: Strength of British squadron.]

[Sidenote: Admiral Sturdee both confident and cautious.]

[Sidenote: Enemy eight miles away.]

[Sidenote: _Canopus_ opens fire.]

Sir Doveton and his fleet, meanwhile, had gone to breakfast. Steam for
full speed was got up as rapidly as possible. Coaling operations had
recommenced at 6.30 that morning. The colliers were hurriedly cast off,
and the decks were cleared for action. Officers and men were delighted
at the prospect of an early fight. The Germans had saved them a long
cold search around the Horn by calling for them. There was going to be
no mistake this time. The enemy could not escape. Sturdee's squadron was
superior both in weight and speed to the German. It consisted of two
battle-cruisers of over 17,000 tons, the _Invincible_ and _Inflexible_;
of three cruisers of about 10,000 tons, the _Carnarvon_, _Kent_, and
_Cornwall_; and of two light cruisers of 4,800 tons, the _Glasgow_ and
_Bristol_. The primary armament of the _Invincible_ and _Inflexible_ was
eight 12-inch guns; of the _Carnarvon_, four 7'5-inch; of the _Kent_ and
_Cornwall_, fourteen 6-inch; of the _Glasgow_ and _Bristol_, two 6-inch.
The speed of the battle-cruisers was twenty-eight knots; of the three
middle-class cruisers, twenty-two to twenty-four knots; and of the light
cruisers, twenty-five to twenty-six knots. In size, in armament, in
speed, the British squadron would decidedly preponderate. Admiral
Sturdee, however, though confident of victory, was determined to take no
risks, and to minimize loss in men and material by making full use of
his superior long-range gunfire, and of his superior speed. He would
wait, screened by the land, until the Germans had drawn nearer.
Everything should be got ready carefully. Undue excitement was to be
deprecated. Meanwhile, he watched the enemy closely. At about a quarter
to nine, Captain Grant of the _Canopus_ reported that the first two
ships sighted were now about eight miles away: the other two were still
at a distance of some twenty miles. The _Kent_ passed down the harbour
and took up a position at the entrance. Five minutes later the smoke of
a fifth German vessel was observed. When, in about half an hour's time,
the two leading enemy ships made a threatening move in the direction of
the wireless station, the Admiral ordered a swift counterstroke.
Officers upon the hills above the town signalled the range, 11,000
yards, to the _Canopus_. She opened fire with her 12-inch guns. The
Germans hoisted their colours and drew back. Their masts and smoke were
now visible from the upper bridge of the _Invincible_ across the low
land bounding Port William on the south. Within a few minutes the two
cruisers altered course and made for the harbour-mouth. Here the _Kent_
lay stationed. It seemed that the Germans were about to engage her. As,
however, they approached, the masts and funnels of two large ships at
anchor within the port became visible to them. The _Gneisenau_ and the
_Nürnberg_ could hardly expect to contend alone with this force. They at
once changed their direction, and moved back at increased speed to join
their consorts.

[Sidenote: Weather unusually fair.]

[Sidenote: Chase begins.]

[Sidenote: More German ships sighted.]

[Sidenote: Battle joined.]

The morning was gloriously fine. The sun shone brightly, the sky was
clear, the sea was calm, and a breeze blew lightly from the north-west.
It was one of the rare bright stretches that visit the Islands, for
usually rain falls, mostly in misty drizzles, on about 250 days in the
year. At twenty minutes to ten the _Glasgow_ weighed anchor, and joined
the _Kent_ at the harbour-mouth. Five minutes later the rest of the
squadron weighed, and began to steam out. The battleship _Canopus_, her
speed making her unsuitable for a chase, was left in harbour. The
_Bristol_ and the _Macedonia_ also remained behind for the present. By a
dexterous use of oil fuel the two battle-cruisers were kept shrouded as
much as possible in dense clouds of smoke. The enemy for some time could
not gauge their size. But as vessel after vessel emerged, Admiral von
Spee grew uneasy. The English were in altogether unexpected strength.
His squadron could not cope with such force. He had played into the
enemy's hands, and unless he could outspeed their ships, the game was
up. Without hesitation, he steamed off at high speed to eastward. The
British followed, steaming at fifteen to eighteen knots. The enemy, to
their south-east, were easily visible. At twenty past ten an order for a
general chase was signalled. The _Invincible_ and the _Inflexible_
quickly drew to the fore. The Germans were roughly in line abreast,
20,000 yards, or some eleven miles, ahead. The morning sunlight, the
gleaming seas, the grey warships, white foam springing from their bows,
tearing at high speed through the waves, formed a magnificent spectacle.
Crowds of the inhabitants of Stanley gathered upon the hills above the
town to view the chase. The excitement and enthusiasm were intense. The
vessels were in sight about two hours. At about a quarter past eleven it
was reported from a point in the south of East Falkland that three other
German ships were in sight. They were probably colliers or transports.
The _Bristol_ signalled the information to Admiral Sturdee. He at once
ordered her, with the armed liner _Macedonia_, to hasten in their
direction and destroy them. The newcomers made off to south-west, and
the British followed. Meanwhile the rest of the squadron, now travelling
at twenty-three knots, were slowly closing upon the enemy. The distance
had narrowed to 15-16,000 yards. The British were within striking
range. Nevertheless, Sturdee decided to wait till after dinner before
engaging. His guns could outdistance those of the enemy. It would be
advisable for him to keep at long range. The Germans, on the other hand,
would be forced, when firing commenced, to alter course and draw in, in
order to bring their own guns into play. The men had their midday meal
at twelve o'clock as usual. It is said that comfortable time was allowed
afterwards for a smoke. The _Invincible_, _Inflexible_, and _Glasgow_ at
about 12.30 increased their speed to between twenty-five and
twenty-eight knots, and went on ahead. Just after a quarter to one there
was a signal from the Admiral: 'Open fire and engage the enemy.' A few
minutes later there were sharp commands. The ranges were signalled, and
the bigger guns were laid. Fiery glares and dense clouds of smoke burst
suddenly from their muzzles. The air quivered with their thunder. Shells
went screaming in the direction of the nearest light cruiser, the
_Leipzig_, which was dropping rapidly astern. The firing was
uncomfortably accurate. The three smaller German cruisers very soon left
the line, and made an attempt, veering off to the south, to scatter and
escape. Flame and smoke issued from the _Leipzig_, before she drew
clear, where a shell had struck. Sir Doveton Sturdee directed the
_Glasgow_, _Kent_, and _Cornwall_ to pursue the German light cruisers.
With his remaining vessels, the _Invincible_, the _Inflexible_, and the
slower _Carnarvon_, he turned upon the _Scharnhorst_ and the
_Gneisenau_, and began operations in earnest.

[Sidenote: The _Scharnhorst_ on fire.]

[Sidenote: The _Scharnhorst_ sinks.]

[Sidenote: The _Gneisenau_ goes down.]

The interval of sunlight which had opened the day with such promise was
of short duration. The sky became overcast. Soon after four o'clock the
air was thick with rain-mist. From 1.15 onwards for three hours a fierce
duel was maintained between the two British battle-cruisers and the two
German armoured cruisers. The enemy made every effort to get away. They
replied to the British fire for some time, having dropped back to within
13,500 yards. But shortly after two o'clock they changed their course,
and began to haul out to south-east. The _Invincible_ and the
_Inflexible_ had eased their speed, and the range now widened by about
3,000 yards. A second chase ensued. A full-rigged sailing-ship appeared
in the distance at about a quarter to three. Her crew must have beheld
an awe-inspiring scene. Shortly before the hour firing recommenced. The
action began to develop. Great coolness and efficiency were shown on
board the British vessels. Every man was at his battle-station, behind
armour. Fire-control parties were at their instruments. Water from
numerous hoses was flooding the decks as a precaution against fire. The
roaring of the discharges, the screaming of the shells, the clangour of
metal upon metal, the crashes of the explosions, made up a tumult that
was painful in its intensity. During intervals in the firing came the
rushing of the waves and of the breeze, and the grinding and grunting of
the hydraulic engines in the turrets, where swung, training constantly
upon the enemy, the greater guns. The Germans soon began to show signs
of distress. The _Scharnhorst_ particularly suffered. Dense clouds of
smoke, making it difficult for the British accurately to gauge the
damage, rose from her decks. Shells rending her side disclosed
momentarily the dull red glow of flame. She was burning fiercely. The
firing on both sides was deadly, though the German had slackened
considerably. But the British vessels, through their preponderance in
gunfire, suffered little damage. Their 12-inch guns hit their marks
constantly, while 8·2-inch guns of the _Scharnhorst_ were accurate, but
ineffective. She veered to starboard at about 3.30, to bring into play
her starboard batteries. Both her masts and three of her four funnels
were shot away. At length the German flagship began to settle down
rapidly in the waters. It was about a quarter past four. There was a
swirl of the seas and a rush of steam and smoke. The _Scharnhorst_
disappeared. She went down with her flag flying to an ocean grave,
bearing 760 brave men and a gallant admiral, whose name will deservedly
rank high in the annals of German naval history. The _Gneisenau_ passed
on the far side of her sunken flagship. With the guns of both
battle-cruisers now bearing upon her alone, the German was soon in sore
straits. But she fought on gallantly for a considerable time. At
half-past five she had ceased firing, and appeared to be sinking. She
had suffered severe damage. Smoke and steam were rising everywhere. Her
bridge had been shot away. Her foremost funnel was resting against the
second. Her upper deck was so shattered that it could not be crossed,
and every man upon it had been killed. An exploding shell had hurled one
of the gun-turrets bodily overboard. Fire was raging aft. Her colours
had been shot away several times, and hoisted as often. One of the flags
was hauled down at about twenty to six, though that at the peak was
still flying. She began to fire again with a single gun. The
_Invincible_, the _Inflexible_, and the _Carnarvon_, which had now come
up, closed in upon the doomed vessel. Firing was recommenced. The
_Gneisenau_ was not moving. Both her engines were smashed. Shells
striking the water near her sent up colossal columns of water, which,
falling upon the ship, put out some of the fires. She soon began to
settle down in the waves. All her guns were now out of action, and
Sturdee ordered the "Cease fire". There could be little doubt that her
stubborn resistance was nearing its end. The German commander lined up
his men on the decks. The ammunition was exhausted. The ship would soon
go down. Some six hundred men had already been killed. The survivors had
better provide themselves with articles for their support in the water.
At six o'clock the _Gneisenau_ heeled over suddenly. Clouds of steam
sprang forth. Her stem swung up into the air, and she sank. Large
numbers of her crew could be seen floating in the icy waves, hanging on
to pieces of wreckage, and uttering terribly uncanny cries. The sea was
choppy. Drizzling rain was falling. The British steamed up immediately.
All undamaged boats were got out. Ropes were lowered. Lifebuoys and
spars were thrown to the drowning men. But many of them, numbed by the
freezing water, let go their hold and sank. About 180, among them the
captain of the _Gneisenau_, were saved. It is said that much agreeable
surprise, upon the discovery that their anticipations of being shot
would not be realized, was manifested by the German sailors.

[Sidenote: The _Eitel Friedrich_ escapes.]

[Sidenote: The _Leipzig_ is sunk.]

Meanwhile, battle had been in progress elsewhere. The _Bristol_ and the
_Macedonia_ had overtaken the transports _Baden_ and _Santa Isabel_, had
captured their crews, and had sunk the ships. The armed liner
accompanying them, the _Eitel Friedrich_, had, however, made off and got
away by means of her superior speed. The _Kent_, _Glasgow_ and
_Cornwall_ had pursued the German light cruisers in a southerly
direction. The _Dresden_, the fastest, proved too speedy a vessel to
overtake. She was ahead of her consorts, upon either quarter, and made
her escape whilst they were being engaged. The _Kent_ gave chase to the
_Nürnberg_. The _Glasgow_, in pursuit of the _Leipzig_, raced ahead of
the _Cornwall_, and by about three o'clock in the afternoon had closed
sufficiently, within 12,000 yards, to open fire with her foremost guns.
The German ship turned every now and then to fire a salvo. Soon a
regular battle began which was maintained for some hours. Shells fell
all around the _Glasgow_. There were several narrow escapes, but the
casualties were few. Shortly after six a wireless message was received
from Admiral Sturdee, announcing that the _Scharnhorst_ and the
_Gneisenau_ had been sunk. A cheer surged up, and the men set to work
with renewed spirits and energy. The _Cornwall_ had come up some time
before, and the _Leipzig_ was now severely damaged. But she fought on
for three more hours. Darkness came on. The German cruiser began to burn
fore and aft. It was nine o'clock before she at last turned over and

[Sidenote: The _Kent_ returns.]

[Sidenote: Sinking of the _Nürnberg_.]

The British vessels had, during the course of the action, steamed miles
apart, and far out of sight of land. During the evening and night they
began to get into touch with one another and with Stanley by means of
their wireless. All the ships except the _Kent_ were accounted for, and
reported all well. But no reply was forthcoming to the numerous calls,
"Kent, Kent, Kent", that were sent out. She had, in chase of the
_Nürnberg_, lost all touch with the rest of the squadron. There was
great uneasiness. It was feared that she had been lost. The other ships
were directed to search for her, and for the _Nürnberg_ and the
_Dresden_. Late in the afternoon of the following day, however, she
entered Stanley harbour safely. Her wireless had been destroyed, but she
had sunk the _Nürnberg_, after a very stern struggle. The German
captain, Schönberg, is reported, indeed, to have said at Honolulu, "The
_Nürnberg_ will very likely be our coffin. But we are ready to fight to
the last". He had fought and died true to his words. The German ship was
ordinarily more than a knot faster than the British. But the engineers
and stokers of the _Kent_ rose magnificently to the occasion. Fuel was
piled high. Her engines were strained to the utmost. Soon she was
speeding through the waves at twenty-five knots, a knot and a half more
than her registered speed. The _Nürnberg_ drew nearer. At five o'clock
she was within range, and firing was opened. A sharp action began which
lasted some two and a half hours. The _Kent_ was struck many times, and
lost several men. She had one narrow escape. A bursting shell ignited
some cordite charges, and a flash of flame went down the hoist into the
ammunition passage. Some empty shell bags began to burn. But a sergeant
picked up a cordite charge and hurled it out of danger. Seizing a fire
hose, he flooded the compartment and extinguished the fire. A disastrous
explosion, which might have proved fatal to the vessel, was thus
averted. Her silken ensign and jack, presented by the ladies of Kent,
were torn to ribbons. The gallant captain collected the pieces, some
being caught in the rigging, and carefully preserved them. The
_Nürnberg_, however, was soon in sore straits. Many shells struck her,
and she was set afire. Day drew into evening, and darkness deepened. The
Germans ceased firing, and the _Kent_, within about 3,000 yards,
followed suit upon the enemy's colours being hauled down. The _Nürnberg_
sank just before half-past seven. As she disappeared beneath the
surface, men upon her quarterdeck were waving the German ensign. The
_Kent_, after picking up some survivors, put about, and returned to

Here the rest of the squadron soon gathered. Congratulatory telegrams
began to pour in to Sir Doveton Sturdee. And the curtain closed, in the
flush of triumph, upon the most memorable and most dramatic episode in
the history of the Falklands.

[Sidenote: Exploits of the _Eitel Friedrich_.]

[Sidenote: The _Eitel Friedrich_ comes to Newport News.]

[Sidenote: The _Dresden_ sinks.]

One further episode remains to complete the story. The _Dresden_ and
the armed liner _Eitel Friedrich_, the sole survivors of the German
squadron, made once more for the Pacific. They were lost sight of for
many weeks. Suspicious movements and activities on the part of German
merchantmen were, however, again observed. The Government wireless
station at Valparaiso intercepted messages from the _Dresden_ summoning
friendly vessels to bring her supplies. Persistent rumours began to be
circulated that she was hiding in the inlets of southern Chili. During
January, 1915, the _Eitel Friedrich_ seized and destroyed six vessels,
chiefly sailing-ships, some in Pacific, most in Atlantic waters. In
February she accounted for four more. Towards the end of the month a
British barque was sunk by the _Dresden_. The position was again rapidly
becoming troublesome. The movement of British shipping, on the Chilian
coast had to be suspended. But the _Glasgow_ and the _Kent_ were on the
_Dresden's_ track. The _Kent_ entered Coronel on March 13, coaled, and
departed the same night. The _Eitel Friedrich_, meanwhile, had arrived
at Newport News, a United States port, with her engines badly in need of
repair. Much indignation was aroused among Americans by the announcement
that one of her victims had been an American vessel. The German liner
had many prisoners on board. Declarations of a resolve, if he had been
caught by the British, to have sunk fighting to the last, were
repeatedly and emphatically declaimed by the German captain. Five days
later he learned that the _Dresden_ had tamely surrendered off Juan
Fernandez after a five minutes' action. The _Kent_, at nine o'clock on
the morning after she had left Coronel, together with the _Glasgow_ and
the auxiliary cruiser _Orama_, came up with the _Dresden_ near the
island. A sharp encounter followed. The German cruiser was hit heavily.
Fire broke out. In five minutes' time she hauled down her colours and
hoisted a white flag. The crew were taken off. The _Dresden_ continued
to burn for some time, until finally her magazine exploded and she sank.
The German officers contended that their vessel was sunk within Chilian
territorial waters. It had not hitherto been noticeable that their
consciences were concerned to maintain Chilian neutrality inviolate.

[Sidenote: Results of the Falkland battle.]

The Battle of the Falkland Islands was the first decisive naval contest
of the war. It removed a formidable menace to the trade routes. It
relieved British convoys and transports from danger of interruption. It
freed many battleships and cruisers, engaged in sweeping the oceans, for
other usefulness. It gave Great Britain effective mastery of the outer
seas. Henceforth German naval ambition, frustrated in its endeavour to
disorganize the trade routes, was forced, within the limits of the North
Sea and of British waters, to seek less adventurous but more
disreputable ends. A series of bombardments of coast towns was planned.
A preliminary success was followed by a galling disaster.

       *       *       *       *       *

With the exception of the naval engagements described above, the
operations of the Germans in the sea was limited chiefly to preying upon
enemy commerce by isolated vessels. Of these terrors of the sea the most
famous was the cruiser _Emden_, which began her career on October 29 by
sinking the Russian cruiser _Jemtchug_ in Penang Harbor. Her career
until her destruction and the adventures of those of her crew who
escaped are described in the following chapter.



[Sidenote: The _Indus_ sunk.]

"We on the _Emden_ had no idea where we were going, as on August 11,
1914, we separated from the cruiser squadron, escorted only by the
coaler _Markomannia_. Under way, the _Emden_ picked up three officers
from German steamers. That was a piece of luck, for afterward we needed
many officers for the capturing and sinking of steamers, or manning them
when we took them with us. On September 10 the first boat came in sight.
We stop her. She proves to be a Greek tramp, chartered from England. On
the next day we met the _Indus_, bound for Bombay, all fitted up as a
troop transport, but still without troops. That was the first one we
sunk. The crew we took aboard the _Markomannia_. 'What's the name of
your ship?' the officers asked us. '_Emden!_ Impossible. Why, the
_Emden_ was sunk long ago in battle with the _Ascold_!'

[Sidenote: Capturing ships a habit.]

[Sidenote: Provisions secured.]

"Then we sank the _Lovat_ a troop transport ship, and took the _Kabinga_
along with us. One gets used quickly to new forms of activity. After a
few days capturing ships became a habit. Of the twenty-three which we
captured, most of them stopped after our first signal. When they didn't,
we fired a blank shot. Then they all stopped. Only one, the _Clan
Mattesen_, waited for a real shot across the bow before giving up its
many automobiles and locomotives to the seas. The officers were mostly
very polite and let down rope ladders for us. After a few hours they'd
be on board with us. We ourselves never set foot in their cabins, nor
took charge of them. The officers often acted on their own initiative
and signaled to us the nature of their cargo; then the Commandant
decided as to whether to sink the ship or take it with us. Of the cargo,
we always took everything we could use, particularly provisions. Many of
the English officers and sailors made good use of the hours of transfer
to drink up the supply of whisky instead of sacrificing it to the waves.
I heard that one Captain was lying in tears at the enforced separation
from his beloved ship, but on investigation found that he was merely
dead drunk. But much worse was the open betrayal which many practiced
toward their brother Captains, whom they probably regarded as rivals.
'Haven't you met the _Kilo_ yet? If you keep on your course two hours
longer, you must overhaul her,' one Captain said to me of his own
accord. To other tips from other Captains we owed many of our prizes. I
am prepared to give their names," Captain Mücke added.

"The Captain of one ship once called out cheerily: 'Thank God I've been
captured!' He had received expense money for the trip to Australia, and
was now saved half the journey!

[Sidenote: The process of sinking.]

"We had mostly quiet weather, so that communication with captured ships
was easy. They were mostly dynamited, or else shot close to the water
line. The sinking process took longer or shorter, according to where
they were struck and the nature of the cargo. Mostly the ships keeled
over on their sides till the water flowed down the smokestacks, a last
puff of smoke came out, and then they were gone. Many, however, went
down sharply bow first, the stern rising high in the air.

[Sidenote: The _Kabinga_.]

"On the _Kabinga_ the Captain had his wife and youngster with him. He
was inclined at first to be disagreeable. 'What are you going to do
with us? Shall we be set out in boats and left to our fate?' he asked.
Afterward he grew confidential, like all the Captains, called us 'Old
Chap,' gave the Lieutenant a nice new oilskin, and as we finally let the
_Kabinga_ go wrote us a letter of thanks, and his wife asked for an
Emden armband and a button. They all gave us three cheers as they
steamed away. 'Come to Calcutta some time!' was the last thing the
Captain said, 'and catch the pilots so that those [unprintable seaman's
epithet] fellows will feel something of the war, too.'

"A few days later, by Calcutta, we made one of our richest hauls, the
_Diplomat_, chock full of tea--we sunk $2,500,000 worth. On the same day
the _Trabbotch_, too, which steered right straight toward us, literally
into our arms.

[Sidenote: Madras oil tanks burned.]

"But now we wanted to beat it out of the Bay of Bengal, because we had
learned from the papers that the _Emden_ was being keenly searched for.
By Rangoon we encountered a Norwegian tramp, which, for a cash
consideration, took over all the rest of our prisoners of war. Later on
another neutral ship rejected a similar request and betrayed us to the
Japanese into the bargain. On September 23 we reached Madras and steered
straight for the harbor. We stopped still 3,000 yards before the city.
Then we shot up the oil tanks. Three or four burned up and illuminated
the city. They answered. Several of the papers asserted that we left
with lights out. On the contrary, we showed our lights so as to seem to
indicate that we were going northward; only later did we put them out,
turn around, and steer southward. As we left we could see the fire
burning brightly in the night, and even by daylight, ninety sea miles
away, we could still see the smoke from the burning oil tanks. Two days
later we navigated around Ceylon, and could see the lights of Colombo.
On the same evening we gathered in two more steamers, the _King Lund_
and _Tyweric_. The latter was particularly good to us, for it brought us
the very latest evening papers from Colombo, which it had only left two
hours before.

[Sidenote: Ships that the _Emden_ captured.]

"Everything went well, the only trouble was that our prize, the
_Markomannia_, didn't have much coal left. We said one evening in the
mess: 'The only thing lacking now is a nice steamer with 500 tons of
nice Cardiff coal.' The next evening we got her, the _Burresk_,
brand-new, from England on her maiden voyage, bound for Hongkong. Then
followed in order the _Riberia_, _Foyle_, _Grand Ponrabbel_, _Benmore_,
_Troiens_, _Exfort_, _Grycefale_, _Sankt Eckbert_, _Chilkana_. Most of
them were sunk; the coal ships were kept. The _Eckbert_ was let go with
a load of passengers and captured crews. We also sent the _Markomannia_
away because it hadn't any more coal. She was later captured by the
English together with all the prize papers about their own captured
ships. All this happened before October 20; then we sailed southward, to
Deogazia, southwest of Colombo. South of Lakadiven on Deogazia some
Englishmen came on board, solitary farmers who were in touch with the
world only every three months through schooners. They knew nothing about
the war, took us for an English man-of-war, and asked us to repair their
motor boat for them. We kept still and invited them to dinner in our
officers' mess. Presently they stood still in front of the portrait of
the Kaiser, quite astounded. 'This is a German ship!' We continued to
keep still. 'Why is your ship so dirty?' they asked. We shrugged our
shoulders. 'Will you take some letters for us?' they asked. 'Sorry,
impossible; we don't know what port we'll run into.' Then they left our
ship, but about the war we told them not a single word.

[Sidenote: Coal steamers captured.]

"Now we went toward Miniko, where we sank two ships more. The Captain of
one of them said to us: 'Why don't you try your luck around north of
Miniko? There's lots of ships there now?' On the next day we found three
steamers to the north, one of them with much desired Cardiff coal. From
English papers on captured ships we learned that we were being hotly
pursued. The stokers also told us a lot. Our pursuers evidently must
also have a convenient base. Penang was the tip given us. There we had
hopes of finding two French cruisers.

[Sidenote: The fourth smokestack.]

"One night we started for Penang. On October 28 we raised our very
practicable fourth smokestack--Mücke's own invention. As a result, we
were taken for English or French. The harbor of Penang lies in a channel
difficult of access. There was nothing doing by night; we had to do it
at daybreak. At high speed, without smoke, with lights out, we steered
into the mouth of the channel. A torpedo boat on guard slept well. We
steamed past its small light. Inside lay a dark silhouette; that must be
a warship! But it wasn't the French cruiser we were looking for. We
recognized the silhouette--dead sure; that was the Russian cruiser
_Jemtchug_. There it lay, there it slept like a rat. No watch to be
seen. They made it easy for us. Because of the narrowness of the harbor
we had to keep close; we fired the first torpedo at 400 yards. Then to
be sure things livened up a bit on the sleeping warship. At the same
time we took the crew quarters under fire, five shells at a time. There
was a flash of flame on board, then a kind of burning aureole. After the
fourth shell, the flame burned high. The first torpedo had struck the
ship too deep because we were too close to it, a second torpedo which we
fired off from the other side didn't make the same mistake. After
twenty seconds there was absolutely not a trace of the ship to be seen.
The enemy had fired off only about six shots.

[Sidenote: French ships fight the _Emden_.]

[Sidenote: A burial at sea.]

"But now another ship, which we couldn't see, was firing. That was the
French _D'Ibreville_, toward which we now turned at once. A few minutes
later an incoming torpedo destroyer was reported. He mustn't find us in
that narrow harbor, otherwise we were finished! But it proved to be a
false alarm; only a small merchant steamer that looked like a destroyer,
and which at once showed the merchant flag and steered for shore.
Shortly afterward a second one was reported. This time it proved to be
the French torpedo boat _Mousquet_. It comes straight toward us. That's
always remained a mystery to me, for it must have heard the shooting. An
officer whom we fished up afterward explained to me that they had only
recognized we were a German warship when they were quite close to us.
The Frenchman behaved well, accepted battle and fought on, but was
polished off by us with three broadsides. The whole fight with both
ships lasted half an hour. The commander of the torpedo boat lost both
legs by the first broadside. When he saw that part of his crew were
leaping overboard, he cried out: 'Tie me fast; I will not survive after
seeing Frenchmen desert their ship!' As a matter of fact, he went down
with his ship as a brave Captain, lashed fast to the mast. Then we
fished up thirty heavily wounded; three died at once. We sewed a
Tri-color (the French flag), wound them in it and buried them at sea,
with seamen's honors, three salvos. That was my only sea fight. The
second one I did not take part in."

Mücke, who had been recounting his lively narrative, partly like an
officer, partly like an artist, and not trying to eliminate the flavor
of adventure, now takes on quite another tone as he comes to tell of
the end of the _Emden_:

[Sidenote: Landing on Cocos Island.]

[Sidenote: Order to weigh anchor.]

"On November 9 I left the _Emden_ in order to destroy the wireless plant
on the Cocos Island. I had fifty men, four machine guns, about thirty
rifles. Just as we were about to destroy the apparatus it reported:
'Careful; _Emden_ near.' The work of destruction went smoothly. The
wireless operator said: 'Thank God! it's been like being under arrest
day and night lately.' Presently the _Emden_ signaled to us: 'Hurry up.'
I pack up, but simultaneously wails the _Emden's_ siren. I hurry up to
the bridge, see the flag 'Anna' go up. That means 'Weigh anchor.' We ran
like mad into our boat, but already the _Emden's_ pennant goes up, the
battle flag is raised, they fire from starboard.

[Sidenote: The _Sydney_ traps the _Emden_.]

"The enemy is concealed by the island and therefore not to be seen, but
I see the shells strike the water. To follow and catch the _Emden_ is
out of the question; she's going twenty knots, I only four with my steam
pinnace. Therefore, I turn back to land, raise the flag, declare German
laws of war in force, seize all arms, set up my machine guns on shore in
order to guard against a hostile landing. Then I run again in order to
observe the fight. From the splash of the shells it looked as if the
enemy had fifteen-centimeter guns, bigger, therefore, than the
_Emden's_. He fired rapidly, but poorly. It was the Australian cruiser

"Have you heard?" Mücke suddenly asked in between, "if anything has
happened to the _Sydney_? At the Dardanelles maybe?" And his hatred of
the _Emden's_ "hangman" is visible for a second in his blue eyes. Then
he continues:

[Sidenote: The _Emden_ on fire.]

"According to the accounts of the Englishmen who saw the first part of
the engagement from shore, the _Emden_ was cut off rapidly. Her forward
smokestack lay across the ship. She went over to circular fighting and
to torpedo firing, but already burned fiercely aft. Behind the mainmast
several shells struck home; we saw the high flame. Whether circular
fighting or a running fight now followed, I don't know, because I again
had to look to my land defenses. Later I looked on from the roof of a
house. Now the _Emden_ again stood out to sea about 4,000 to 5,000
yards, still burning. As she again turned toward the enemy, the forward
mast was shot away. On the enemy no outward damage was apparent, but
columns of smoke showed where shots had struck home. Then the _Emden_
took a northerly course, likewise the enemy, and I had to stand there
helpless gritting my teeth and thinking: 'Damn it; the _Emden_ is
burning and you aren't on board!' An Englishman who had also climbed up
to the roof of the house, approached me, greeted me politely, and asked:
'Captain, would you like to have a game of tennis with us?'

[Sidenote: The fighting ships disappear.]

"The ships, still fighting, disappeared beyond the horizon. I thought
that an unlucky outcome for the _Emden_ was possible, also a landing by
the enemy on Keeling Island, at least for the purpose of landing the
wounded and taking on provisions. As, according to the statements of the
Englishmen, there were other ships in the neighborhood, I saw myself
faced with the certainty of having soon to surrender because of a lack
of ammunition. But for no price did I and my men want to get into
English imprisonment. As I was thinking about all this, the masts again
appear on the horizon, the _Emden_ steaming easterly, but very much
slower. All at once the enemy, at high speed, shoots by, apparently,
quite close to the _Emden_. A high, white waterspout showed among the
black smoke of the enemy. That was a torpedo. I see how the two
opponents withdrew, the distance growing greater between them; how they
separate, till they disappear in the darkness. The fight had lasted ten

[Sidenote: Mücke seizes a schooner.]

"I had made up my mind to leave the island as quick as possible. The
_Emden_ was gone; the danger for us growing. In the harbor I had noticed
a three-master, the schooner _Ayesha_. Mr. Ross, the owner of the ship
and of the island, had warned me that the boat was leaky, but I found it
quite a seaworthy tub. Now quickly provisions were taken on board for
eight weeks, water for four. The Englishmen very kindly showed us the
best water and gave us clothing and utensils. They declared this was
their thanks for our 'moderation' and 'generosity.' Then they collected
the autographs of our men, photographed them, and gave three cheers as
our last boat put off. It was evening, nearly dark. We sailed away.
After a short address, amid three hurrahs, I raised the German war flag
on 'S.M.S. _Ayesha_.'"

[Sidenote: The _Ayesha_ sails westward.]

"The _Ayesha_ proved to be a really splendid ship," Mücke continued, and
whenever he happens to speak of this sailing ship he grows warmer. One
notices the passion for sailing which this seaman has, for he was
trained on a sailing ship and had won many prizes in the regattas at
Kiel. "But we had hardly any instruments," he narrated, "we had only one
sextant and two chronometers on board, but a chronometer journal was
lacking. Luckily I found an old 'Indian Ocean Directory' of 1882 on
board; its information went back to the year 1780.

[Sidenote: En route to Padang.]

"At first we had to overhaul all the tackle, for I didn't trust to
peace, and we had left the English Captain back on the island. I had
said: 'We are going to East Africa.' Therefore I sailed at first
westward, then northward. There followed the monsoons, but then also
long periods of dead calm. Then we scolded! Only two neutral ports came
seriously under consideration: Batavia and Padang. At Keeling I
cautiously asked about Tsing-tao, of which I had naturally thought
first, and so quite by chance learned that it had fallen. Now I decided
for Padang, because I knew I would be more apt to meet the _Emden_
there, also because there was a German Consul there, because my schooner
was unknown there, and because I hoped to find German ships there and
learn some news. 'It'll take you six to eight days to reach Batavia,' a
Captain had told me at Keeling. Now we needed eighteen days to reach
Padang, the weather was so rottenly still.

[Sidenote: Life on board the _Ayesha_.]

"We had an excellent cook on board; he had deserted from the French
Foreign Legion. But with water we had to go sparingly, each man received
three glasses daily. When it rained, all possible receptacles were
placed on deck and the main sail was spread over the cabin roof to catch
the rain. The whole crew went about naked, in order to spare our wash,
for the clothing from Keeling was soon in rags. Toothbrushes were long
ago out of sight. One razor made the rounds of the crew. The entire ship
had one precious comb.

[Sidenote: A Dutch torpedo boat.]

"As at length we came in the neighborhood of Padang, on November 26, a
ship appeared for the first time and looked after our name. But the name
had been painted over, because it was the former English name. As I
think, 'You're rid of the fellow,' the ship comes again in the evening,
comes within a hundred yards of us. I send all men below deck. I
promenade the deck as the solitary skipper. Through Morse signals the
stranger betrayed its identity. It was the Hollandish torpedo boat
_Lyn_. I asked by signals, first in English, then twice in German: 'Why
do you follow me?' No answer. The next morning I find myself in
Hollandish waters, so I raise pennant and war flag. Now the _Lyn_ came
at top speed past us. As it passes, I have my men line up on deck, and
give a greeting. The greeting is answered. Then, before the harbor at
Padang, I went aboard the _Lyn_ in my well and carefully preserved
uniform and declared my intentions. The commandant opined that I could
run into the harbor, but whether I might come out again was doubtful."

[Sidenote: A German ship.]

"On the South Coast," interjected Lieutenant Wellman, who at that time
lay with a German ship before Padang and only later joined the landing
corps of the _Emden_, "we suddenly saw a three-master arrive. Great
excitement aboard our German ship, for the schooner carried the German
war flag. We thought she came from New Guinea and at once made all boats
clear, on the _Kleist_, _Rheinland_, and _Choising_, for we were all on
the search for the _Emden_. When we heard that the schooner carried the
landing corps, not a man of us would believe it."

[Sidenote: Supplies are refused.]

"They wanted to treat me as a prize!" Mücke now continued. "I said, 'I
am a man of war,' and pointed to my four machine guns. The harbor
authorities demanded a certification for pennant and war flag, also
papers to prove that I was the commander of this warship. I answered,
for that I was only responsible to my superior officers. Now they
advised me the most insistently to allow ourselves to be interned
peacefully. They said it wasn't at all pleasant in the neighborhood.
We'd fall into the hands of the Japanese or the English. As a matter of
fact, we had again had great luck. On the day before a Japanese warship
had cruised around here. Naturally, I rejected all the well-meant and
kindly advice, and did this in presence of my lieutenants. I demanded
provisions, water, sails, tackle, and clothing. They replied we could
take on board everything which we formerly had on board, but nothing
which would mean an increase in our naval strength. First thing, I
wanted to improve our wardrobe, for I had only one sock, a pair of
shoes, and one clean shirt, which had become rather seedy. My comrades
had even less. But the Master of the Port declined to let us have not
only charts, but also clothing and toothbrushes, on the ground that
these would be an increase of armament. Nobody could come aboard, nobody
could leave the ship without permission. I requested that the Consul be
allowed to come aboard. This Consul, Herr Schild, as also the Brothers
Bäumer, gave us assistance in the friendliest fashion. From the German
steamers boats could come alongside and talk with us. Finally we were
allowed to have German papers. They were, to be sure, from August. Until
March we saw no more papers.

[Sidenote: The German ship _Choising_.]

"Hardly had we been towed out again after twenty-four hours, on the
evening of the 28th, when a searchlight appeared before us. I think:
'Better interned than prisoner.' I put out all lights and withdrew to
the shelter of the island. But they were Hollanders and didn't do
anything to us. Then for two weeks more we drifted around, lying still
for days. The weather was alternately still, rainy and blowy. At length
a ship comes in sight--a freighter. It sees us and makes a big curve
around us. I make everything hastily 'clear for battle.' Then one of our
officers recognizes her for the _Choising_. She shows the German flag. I
send up light rockets, although it was broad day, and go with all sails
set that were still setable, toward her. The _Choising_ is a coaster,
from Hongkong for Siam. It was at Singapore when the war broke out, then
went to Batavia, was chartered loaded with coal for the _Emden_, and
had put into Padang in need, because the coal in the hold had caught
fire. There we had met her.

[Sidenote: The crew board the _Choising_.]

"Great was our joy now. I had all my men come on deck and line up for
review. The fellows hadn't a rag on. Thus, in Nature's garb, we gave
three cheers for the German flag on the _Choising_. The men on the
_Choising_ told us afterward 'we couldn't make out what that meant,
those stark naked fellows all cheering!' The sea was too high, and we
had to wait two days before we could board the _Choising_ on December
16. We took very little with us; the schooner was taken in tow. In the
afternoon we sunk the _Ayesha_ and we were all very sad. The good old
_Ayesha_ had served us faithfully for six weeks. The log showed that we
had made 1,709 sea miles under sail since leaving Keeling. She wasn't at
all rotten and unseaworthy, as they had told me, but nice and white and
dry inside. I had grown fond of the ship, on which I could practice my
old sailing manoeuvres. The only trouble was that the sails would go to
pieces every now and then because they were so old.

[Sidenote: The _Ayesha_ is sunk.]

"But anyway she went down quite properly, didn't she?" Mücke turned to
the officer. "We had bored a hole in her; she filled slowly and then all
of a sudden plump disappeared! That was the saddest day of the whole
month. We gave her three cheers, and my next yacht at Kiel will be named
_Ayesha_, that's sure.

[Sidenote: Turkey an ally of Germany.]

"To the Captain of the _Choising_ I had said, when I hailed him: 'I do
not know what will happen to the ship. The war situation may make it
necessary for me to strand it.' He did not want to undertake the
responsibility. I proposed that we work together, and I would take the
responsibility. Then we traveled together for three weeks, from Padang
to Hodeida. The _Choising_ was some ninety meters long and had a speed
of nine miles, though sometimes only four. If she had not accidentally
arrived I had intended to cruise high along the west coast of Sumatra to
the region of the northern monsoon. I came about six degrees north, then
over Aden to the Arabian coast. In the Red Sea the northeastern monsoon,
which here blows southeast, could bring us to Djidda. I had heard in
Padang that Turkey is allied with us, so we would be able to get safely
through Arabia to Germany.

"I next waited for information through ships, but the _Choising_ did not
know anything definite, either. By way of the _Luchs_, the _Königsberg_,
and _Kormoran_ the reports were uncertain. Besides, according to
newspapers at Aden, the Arabs were said to have fought with the English.
Therein there seemed to be offered an opportunity near at hand to damage
the enemy. I therefore sailed with the _Choising_ in the direction of
Aden. Lieutenant Gerdts of the _Choising_ had heard that the Arabian
railway now already went almost to Hodeida, near the Perim Strait. The
ship's surgeon there, Docounlang, found confirmation of this in Meyer's
traveling handbook. This railway could not have been taken over by the
Englishmen, who always dreamed of it. By doing this they would have
further and completely wrought up the Mohammedans by making more
difficult the journey to Mecca. Best of all, we thought, we'll simply
step into the express train and whizz nicely away to the North Sea.
Certainly there would be safe journeying homeward through Arabia. To be
sure, we hadn't maps of the Red Sea; but it was the shortest way to the
foe, whether in Aden or in Germany.

[Sidenote: On toward Aden.]

"Therefore, courage! Adenwards!"

[Sidenote: Through the Strait of Perim.]

"On the 7th of January, between 9 and 10 o'clock in the evening, we
sneaked through the Strait of Perim. That lay swarming full of
Englishmen. We steered along the African coast, close past an English
cable layer. That is my prettiest delight--how the Englishmen will be
vexed when they learn that we have passed smoothly by Perim. On the next
evening we saw on the coast a few lights upon the water. We thought that
must be the pier of Hodeida. But when we measured the distance by night,
3,000 meters, I began to think that must be something else. At dawn I
made out two masts and four smokestacks; that was an enemy ship, and,
what is more, an armored French cruiser. I therefore ordered the
_Choising_ to put to sea, and to return at night.

[Sidenote: Mücke's party enters Hodeida.]

"The next day and night the same; then we put out four boats--these we
pulled to shore at sunrise under the eyes of the unsuspecting Frenchmen.
The sea reeds were thick. A few Arabs came close to us; then there
ensued a difficult negotiation with the Arabian Coast Guards. For we did
not even know whether Hodeida was in English or French hands. We waved
to them, laid aside our arms, and made signs to them. The Arabs,
gathering together, begin to rub two fingers together; that means 'We
are friends.' We thought that meant 'We are going to rub against you and
are hostile.' I therefore said: 'Boom-boom!' and pointed to the warship.
At all events, I set up my machine guns and made preparations for a
skirmish. But, thank God! one of the Arabs understood the word
'Germans'; that was good.

"Soon a hundred Arabs came and helped us, and as we marched into Hodeida
the Turkish soldiers, who had been called out against us, saluted us as
allies and friends. To be sure, there was not a trace of a railway, but
we were received very well, and they assured us we could get through by
land. Therefore, I gave red-star signals at night, telling the
_Choising_ to sail away, since the enemy was near by. Inquiries and
determination concerning a safe journey by land proceeded. I also heard
that in the interior, about six days' journey away, there was healthy
highland where our fever invalids could recuperate. I therefore
determined to journey next to Sana. On the Kaiser's birthday we held a
great parade in common with the Turkish troops--all this under the noses
of the Frenchmen. On the same day we marched away from Hodeida to the

"Two months after our arrival at Hodeida we again put to sea. The time
spent in the highlands of Sana passed in lengthy inquiries and
discussions that finally resulted in our foregoing the journey by land
through Arabia, for religious reasons. But the time was not altogether
lost. The men who were sick with malaria had, for the most part,
recuperated in the highland air.

[Sidenote: To sea in sambuks.]

"The Turkish Government placed at our disposal two 'sambuks' (sailing
ships) of about twenty-five tons, fifteen meters long and four meters
wide. But in fear of English spies, we sailed from Jebaua, ten miles
north of Hodeida. That was on March 14. At first we sailed at a
considerable distance apart, so that we would not both go to pot if an
English gunboat caught us. Therefore, we always had to sail in coastal
water. That is full of coral reefs, however."

[Sidenote: One sambuk runs on a reef.]

"The Commander," Lieutenant Gerdts said, "had charge of the first
sambuk; I of the second, which was the larger of the two, for we had
four sick men aboard. At first everything went nicely for three days.
For the most part I could see the sails of the first ship ahead of me.
On the third day I received orders to draw nearer and to remain in the
vicinity of the first boat, because its pilot was sailing less
skillfully than mine. Suddenly, in the twilight, I felt a shock, then
another, and still another. The water poured in rapidly. I had run upon
the reef of a small island, where the smaller sambuk was able barely to
pass because it had a foot less draught than mine. Soon my ship was
quite full, listed over, and all of us--twenty-eight men--had to sit on
the uptilted edge of the boat. The little island lies at Jesirat Marka,
200 miles north of Jebaua. To be sure, an Arab boat lay near by, but
they did not know us. Nobody could help us. If the Commander had not
changed the order a few hours before and asked us to sail up closer, we
would probably have drowned on this coral reef--certainly would have
died of thirst. Moreover, the waters thereabouts are full of sharks, and
the evening was so squally that our stranded boat was raised and banged
with every wave. We could scarcely move, and the other boat was nowhere
in sight. And now it grew dark. At this stage I began to build a raft of
spars and old pieces of wood, that might at all events keep us afloat.

[Sidenote: The crew finally rescued.]

[Sidenote: Machine guns brought up.]

"But soon the first boat came into sight again. The commander turned
about and sent over his little canoe; in this and in our own canoe, in
which two men could sit at each trip, we first transferred the sick. Now
the Arabs began to help us. But just then the tropical helmet of our
doctor suddenly appeared above the water in which he was standing up to
his ears. Thereupon the Arabs withdrew; we were Christians, and they did
not know that we were friends. Now the other sambuk was so near that we
could have swam to it in half an hour, but the seas were too high. At
each trip a good swimmer trailed along, hanging to the painter of the
canoe. When it became altogether dark we could not see the boat any
more, for over there they were prevented by the wind from keeping any
light burning. My men asked 'In what direction shall we swim?' I
answered: 'Swim in the direction of this or that star; that must be
about the direction of the boat.' Finally a torch flared up over
there--one of the torches that were still left from the _Emden_. But we
had suffered considerably through submersion. One sailor cried out: 'Oh,
pshaw! it's all up with us now; that's a searchlight.' The man who held
out best was Lieutenant Schmidt, who later lost his life. About 10
o'clock we were all safe aboard, but one of our typhus patients, Seaman
Keil, wore himself out completely by the exertion; he died a week later.
On the next morning we went over again to the wreck in order to seek the
weapons that had fallen into the water. You see, the Arabs dive so well;
they fetched up a considerable lot--both machine guns, all but ten of
the rifles, though these were, to be sure, all full of water. Later they
frequently failed to go off when they were used in firing.

[Sidenote: Sami Bey becomes guide.]

"Now we numbered, together with the Arabs, seventy men on the little
boat, until evening. Then we anchored before Konfida, and met Sami Bey,
who is still with us. He had shown himself useful even before in the
service of the Turkish Government, and has done good service as guide in
the last two months. He is an active man, thoroughly familiar with the
country. He procured for us a larger boat, of fifty-four tons, and he
himself, with his wife, sailed alongside on the little sambuk. We sailed
from the 20th to the 24th unmolested to Lith. There Sami Bey announced
that three English ships were cruising about in order to intercept us. I
therefore advised traveling a bit overland. I disliked leaving the sea a
second time, but it had to be done."

[Sidenote: Travelling overland.]

"Lith is, to be sure, nothing but this," said Mücke, with a sweeping
gesture toward the desert through which we were traveling, "and
therefore it was very difficult to get up a caravan at once. We remained
aboard ship so long. We marched away on the 28th. We had only a vague
suspicion that the English might have agents here also. We could travel
only at night, and when we slept or camped around a spring, there was
only a tent for the sick men. Two days' march from Jeddah, the Turkish
Government, as soon as it had received news about us, sent us sixteen
good camels.

[Sidenote: An attack.]

"Suddenly, on the night of April 1, things became uneasy. I was riding
at the head of the column. All our shooting implements were cleared for
action, because there was danger of an attack by Bedouins, whom the
English here had bribed. When it began to grow a bit light, I already
thought: 'We're through for to-day'; for we were tired--had been riding
eighteen hours. Suddenly I saw a line flash up before me, and shots
whizzed over our heads. Down from the camels! Form a fighting line! You
know how quickly it becomes daylight here. The whole space around the
desert hillock was occupied. Now, up with your bayonets! Rush 'em! * * *
They fled, but returned again, this time from all sides. Several of the
gendarmes that had been given us as an escort are wounded; the machine
gun operator, Rademacher, falls, killed by a shot through his heart;
another is wounded; Lieutenant Schmidt, in the rear guard, is mortally
wounded--he has received a bullet in his chest and abdomen.

[Sidenote: A flag of truce and a barricade.]

"Suddenly they waved white cloths. The Sheik, to whom a part of our
camels belonged, went over to them to negotiate, then Sami Bey and his
wife. In the interim we quickly built a sort of wagon barricade, a
circular camp of camel saddles, rice and coffee sacks, all of which we
filled with sand. We had no shovels, and had to dig with our bayonets,
plates, and hands. The whole barricade had a diameter of about fifty
meters. Behind it we dug trenches, which we deepened even during the
skirmish. The camels inside had to lie down, and thus served very well
as cover for the rear of the trenches. Then an inner wall was
constructed, behind which we carried the sick men. In the very centre we
buried two jars of water, to guard us against thirst. In addition we had
ten petroleum cans full of water; all told, a supply for four days. Late
in the evening Sami's wife came back from the futile negotiations,
alone. She had unveiled for the first and only time on this day of the
skirmish, had distributed cartridges, and had conducted herself

[Sidenote: Death of Schmidt and Rademacher.]

"Soon we were able to ascertain the number of the enemy. There were
about 300 men; we numbered fifty, with twenty-nine guns. In the night,
Lieutenant Schmidt died. We had to dig his grave with our hands and with
our bayonets, and to eliminate every trace above it, in order to protect
the body. Rademacher had been buried immediately after the skirmish,
both of them silently, with all honors.

[Sidenote: The men suffer from thirst.]

"The wounded had a hard time of it. We had lost our medicine chest in
the wreck; we had only little packages of bandages for skirmishes; but
no probing instrument, no scissors were at hand. On the next day our men
came up with thick tongues, feverish, and crying 'Water! water!' But
each one received only a little cupful three times a day. If our water
supply was exhausted, we would have to sally from our camp and fight our
way through. Then we should have gone to pot under superior numbers. The
Arab gendarmes simply cut the throats of those camels that had been
wounded by shots, and then drank the yellow water that was contained in
the stomachs. Those fellows can stand anything. At night we always
dragged out the dead camels that had served as cover, and had been
shot. The hyenas came, hunting for dead camels. I shot one of these,
taking it for an enemy in the darkness.

"That continued about three days. On the third day there were new
negotiations. Now the Bedouins demanded arms no longer, but only money.
This time the negotiations took place across the camp wall. When I
declined, the Bedouin said: 'Beaucoup de combat,' (lots of fight.) I

"'Please go to it!'

[Sidenote: Troops of the Emir of Mecca.]

"We had only a little ammunition left, and very little water. Now it
really looked as if we would soon be dispatched. The mood of the men was
pretty dismal. Suddenly, at about 10 o'clock in the morning, there
bobbed up in the north two riders on camels, waving white cloths. Soon
afterward there appeared, coming from the same direction, far back, a
long row of camel troops, about a hundred; they draw rapidly near by,
ride singing toward us, in a picturesque train. They were the messengers
and troops of the Emir of Mecca.

"Sami Bey's wife, it developed, had, in the course of the first
negotiations, dispatched an Arab boy to Jeddah. From that place the
Governor had telegraphed to the Emir. The latter at once sent camel
troops, with his two sons and his personal surgeon; the elder, Abdullah,
conducted the negotiations; the surgeon acted as interpreter, in French.
Now things proceeded in one-two-three order, and the whole Bedouin band
speedily disappeared. From what I learned later, I know definitely that
they had been corrupted with bribes by the English. They knew when and
where we would pass and they had made all preparations. Now our first
act was a rush for water; then we cleared up our camp, but had to
harness our camels ourselves, for the camel drivers had fled at the
very beginning of the skirmish. More than thirty camels were dead. The
saddles did not fit, and my men know how to rig up schooners, but not
camels. Much baggage remained lying in the sand for lack of pack

[Sidenote: The party reaches Mecca.]

"Then, under the safe protection of Turkish troops, we got to Jeddah.
There the authorities and the populace received us very well. From there
we proceeded in nineteen days, without mischance, by sailing boat to
Elwesh, and under abundant guard with Suleiman Pasha in a five-day
caravan journey toward this place, to El Ula, and now we are seated at
last in the train and are riding toward Germany--into the war at last!"

"Was not the war you had enough?" I asked.

"Not a bit of it," replied the youngest Lieutenant; "the _Emden_ simply
captured ships each time; only a single time, at Penang, was it engaged
in battle, and I wasn't present on that occasion. War? No, that is just
to begin for us now."

[Sidenote: Mücke's great task.]

"My task since November," said Mücke, "has been to bring my men as
quickly as possible to Germany against the enemy. Now, at last, I can do

"And what do you desire for yourself?" I asked.

"For myself," he laughed, and the blue eyes sparkled, "a command in the
North Sea."

       *       *       *       *       *

Japan was bound by alliance with Great Britain to join with her to
attack any aggressor, and to carry out her pledges she, at the outbreak
of the war, prepared to capture the German stronghold Tsing-tao, the
capital of the concession of Kiao-chau, which Germany had obtained from
China, and had converted into a German possession.



Battle Sketches by A. N. Hilditch, Oxford University Press.

[Sidenote: Qualities of the Japanese.]

[Sidenote: Count Okuma Prime Minister.]

[Sidenote: Japanese ultimatum.]

Tokyo, capital of Japan, lies at the head of Tokyo Bay, in the
south-east of Nippon. Its two million inhabitants are distributed among
houses and streets which present curious intermixtures of Japanese and
European architecture, customs, or science. The jinrikisha notably has
been displaced largely by tramcars which, carrying all passengers at a
uniform rate of four sen, make it possible to travel ten miles for a
penny. It is an industrial city, but on account of occasional
earthquakes no very large buildings line the thoroughfares. The
traveller can here observe to advantage the strange characteristics of
the most stoical race upon earth, or can contrast, if he will, the
courteous, imperturbably serene disposition of the most martial nation
of the East with the present disposition of the most rabidly bellicose
nation of the West. When Japanese and German, indeed, met in conflict
before Tsing-tao in the autumn of 1914, there was seen, in the Japanese
soldier, during a campaign of peculiar hardship and difficulty, a
revival of the qualities of the old Samurai, with his quiet courage, his
burning patriotism, his patience, his habitual suppression of emotional
display singularly distinct from those of the modern Goth. Nor was the
statesmanship which brought about that conflict less admirable. Japan's
alliance with Great Britain was at once a solemn pledge and the guiding
principle of her foreign policy. August 1914 found British interests
and the vast trade that centred at Hong-kong in danger: German armed
vessels prowled the seas, and the German naval base of Tsing-tao was
busy with warlike preparations. Great Britain appealed to Japan to free
their joint commerce from the menace. The Japanese Prime Minister, Count
Okuma, might well hesitate, however, before recommending intervention.
Was he the right minister to direct a war? He was nearer eighty than
seventy years old, and recently had been for seven years in retirement:
his Government had a minority in the Diet, and to the Genro his name was
anathema: he claimed the allegiance of no party, and the powerful
military and naval clans, Choshiu and Satsuma, were openly hostile. He
had been raised to power a few months before by public demand for
progressive government. There were considerations other than domestic or
personal, indeed, which might have tempted some statesmen to hold their
hands. To temporize while events revealed themselves in Europe would be
safer than immediate action; while to remain neutral might lead to the
transference to the Japanese of much trade with China now in British
hands, inevitably hampered by the menace of German commerce-destroyers.
Nevertheless, Count Okuma's Cabinet came to a bold and loyal decision.
Baron Kato, the Foreign Minister, reassured Great Britain of active
Japanese aid, and on August 15 sent an ultimatum to Germany. The latter
was requested to withdraw at once all German armed vessels from Eastern
waters, and to deliver to Japan before September 15 the entire leased
territory of Kiao-chau, with a view to its eventual restoration to
China. The ultimatum was timed to expire at noon on August 23. That day
arrived without satisfaction having been given to Japan. Within a few
hours the 2nd Japanese squadron steamed off towards Tsing-tao.

[Sidenote: German Pacific squadron sails.]

[Sidenote: Tsing-tao's importance.]

[Sidenote: Germans prepare defense.]

[Sidenote: Japanese warships approach.]

Before the outbreak of hostilities with Great Britain, Vice-Admiral the
Graf von Spee, who commanded the German Pacific squadron, had steamed
away from Tsing-tao with most of his ships. To use Tsing-tao as a naval
base while engaging in commerce-raiding seemed a sound and a practicable
plan, since the British and Australian naval forces, though superior,
were hardly strong enough simultaneously to blockade the harbour and to
search the seas. The plan was, however, rendered impossible by the
Japanese ultimatum, and the Admiral, after having lingered for some
weeks in the Western Pacific, departed for other seas and other
adventures. Such was the result of Japan's action, and thus dangerous
were the tactics that Japan's action had frustrated. For Tsing-tao,
situated upon one of the two peninsulas, divided by two miles of
waterway, enclosing the bay of Kiao-chau, with its safe and spacious
anchorage for vessels of any size, constituted one of the most important
naval bases on the Chinese coast. It had, indeed, been described as the
key to Northern China. Dominating the eastern coast of the Shantung
peninsula, the port formed the centre of the semicircular area known as
Kiao-chau, extending on a radius of 32 miles around the shores of the
bay, with a population of 60,000. This area was, under the Chinese
German agreement as to Tsing-tao, influenced and controlled by Germany,
though not strictly subject to her, and regarded as neutral territory.
Its surface was mainly mountainous and bare, though the lowlands were
well cultivated, but in parts it was rich in mineral wealth, large but
undeveloped supplies of coal being present. In winter the port,
connected to the junction of Tsi-nan by a German-built railway, was the
natural outlet for the trade of Northern China. The heights which
surrounded the bay offered admirable sites for fortification, while the
land-approaches to Tsing-tao were guarded by formidable defences
stretched across its peninsula. In many quarters the stronghold was
regarded as a second Port Arthur. The Germans had paid particular
attention to defence, so much so, indeed, that over five-sixths of the
white inhabitants were engaged in military occupations. Five thousand
German marines constituted the normal garrison, though the outbreak of
war in August called about a thousand more men--volunteers, reservists,
and sailors--to the colours. The complement of the _Kaiserin Elizabeth_,
an Austrian cruiser sheltering in the harbour, left for Tientsin, having
received orders to disarm their ship, but returned in time to join the
defenders. The garrison was amply provisioned for five or six months,
and well provided with weapons, stores, and munitions. Most of the
German ships off the Chinese coast at the outbreak of war, indeed, had
made immediately for Tsing-tao, and discharged upon its wharves many
thousand tons of cargo. When war with Japan became inevitable,
therefore, the defenders could anticipate a successful resistance,
provided the expected instantaneous victories in Europe materialized.
Elaborate preparations were made for the defence. The harbour mouth was
blocked by three sunken vessels, enabling only small craft to enter.
Chinese villages within the leased territory, and the bridge where the
railway crossed the boundary, were destroyed, partial compensation being
paid to the inhabitants. Native labourers were engaged to throw up
earthworks to strengthen the town fortifications. Many foreigners,
women, children, and non-combatants, meanwhile, had left the town. On
Friday evening, August 21, at roll-call, the Governor, Captain
Meyer-Waldeck, read out a message from the German Emperor exhorting the
garrison to defend the town to their utmost, and to do their 'duty to
the last'. It was listened to stoically. The following day a diversion
occurred which opened hostilities propitiously for the Germans. The
British destroyer _Kennet_, encountering the German destroyer _S. 90_
off the coast, gave chase. The _S. 90_ immediately made for port, and
the _Kennet_, in the ardour of pursuit, closed in unawares within range
of the German land batteries. The latter opened fire, and before she
could draw off the _Kennet_ sustained ten casualties, though little
material damage. Next day the term of the Japanese ultimatum expired. It
was doubtful at what point the Japanese would begin operations, or what
tactics they would adopt. The fear was prevalent among Germans that the
enemy would enter Chinese territory to reach the town from the land:
newspapers under German influence, indeed, circulating in Chinese coast
towns, started a press campaign with the object of stirring the Chinese
Government to oppose by force any Japanese landing in her territory.
Outposts were placed by the Germans along the shores of the neutral zone
to watch for developments: they descried, on August 24, the approach of
Japanese warships.

Vice-Admiral Sadakichi Kato, who commanded the approaching squadron,
immediately upon arrival took measures to protect himself against danger
from mines. Seven islets clustering round the mouth of Kiao-chau Bay
were occupied, to form a convenient local naval base, while
mine-sweepers swept the surrounding seas. No less than a thousand mines
were taken from the water. A blockade of the whole Kiao-chau coast was
declared, as commencing from 9 a.m., August 27, and war vessels
patrolled the shores, some seventy miles long. Action soon began, and
continued during ensuing days, with shells that at intervals screamed
towards the town. The position was, however, reconnoitred carefully.
Japanese airmen went up frequently to scan the fortifications and to
drop bombs. All protruding structures, spires and factory-chimneys, had
been levelled to the ground by the Germans so as to afford no mark for
fire. Bombs were dropped on the railway station and on one of the
numerous barrack buildings. The operations continued spasmodically into
September, while Kato was awaiting the approach by land of a
co-operating army, which had now disembarked on the northern coast of
the Shantung peninsula, about 150 miles due north of Tsing-tao.

[Sidenote: Landing effected.]

[Sidenote: Floods hinder advance.]

The landing was effected on September 2, without hindrance or opposition
on the part of the Chinese. The Government, following the precedent of
the Russo-Japanese War, immediately published a declaration refusing to
hold itself responsible for the obligations of strict neutrality in
areas that formed, within Lung-kow, Lai-chau, and the neighbourhood of
Kiao-chau Bay, passage-ways essential to the belligerent troops. It was,
of course, incumbent upon the Powers involved to respect Chinese
property and administrative rights. Japan, therefore, was permitted to
make use of the main roads to transport an army to the rear of
Tsing-tao. The forces landed composed a division numbering 23,000, and
commanded by Lieutenant-General Mitsuomi Kamio. An advance-guard was
sent forward without delay, but soon found its way rendered impassable
by torrential floods which at this time swept down upon and devastated
the province of Shantung, bridges, roads, and even villages being
submerged and destroyed, with great loss of life, largely owing to
Chinese official incompetence. The Japanese, after covering 20
kilometres in two days, reached a stream so swollen that crossing was
impossible. The artillery had to return to Lung-kow. German diplomacy,
meanwhile, exasperated at its inability to prevent a Japanese landing,
had not been inactive.

[Sidenote: Chinese neutrality.]

[Sidenote: Rivalry of British and Japanese.]

[Sidenote: Japanese advance.]

The German and Austrian ministers at Peking, on hearing of the Japanese
landing, protested strongly. China, it was claimed, ought to have
forestalled and resisted the landing, but instead had deliberately
extended the war-zone in order to facilitate Japanese movements. She
would be held responsible for any injury to the German cause or
property. To this China replied that, if it was incumbent upon her to
prevent by force Japan operating in her territory, it was equally her
duty to prevent by force Germany fortifying and defending Tsing-tao.
China had endeavoured, indeed, but unsuccessfully, to preclude
belligerent operations in her territory: only after the Japanese
landing, when she was powerless to do otherwise, had she extended the
zone of war. As to the responsibility, she reiterated her previous
declaration. The baffled Germans fell back on threats: the right was
reserved to visit upon China dire consequences for her alleged breach of
neutrality. The incident, thrown into striking contrast with Germany's
offer to Belgium, marked the unscrupulousness of German diplomacy, but
stirred also many doubts among the foreign communities in China, in
which the British, allied as they were to the Japanese, formed a
predominating element. An anomaly of the situation was that British
local interests had long conflicted with Japanese national interests.
Japan's activities had, at every stage of her recent history, reduced
British opportunities. Japanese trader competed with British trader for
the markets of China, and Japan's share of the annual trade expansion
was increasing, that of Great Britain decreasing. High tariffs and
preferential rates had closed Corea and Manchuria to British enterprise.
It is easy to estimate in what commercial jealousy and rivalry such
circumstances had resulted. While the expediency of the British-Japanese
alliance was fully recognized, and its consequences admitted to be the
freedom of the China seas from menace of commerce-destroyers,
nevertheless the fact remained that the hostilities against Tsing-tao
would constitute a fresh impulse to Japanese expansion. The operations
in Shantung were watched with critical eyes by many British in the
foreign settlements of China. The floods had, meanwhile, subsided
considerably, and on September 12 Japanese cavalry reached Tsimo, ten
miles outside the Kiao-chau zone. No trace of the enemy north of the
Pai-sha River had been seen, beyond a German aeroplane that occasionally
passed overhead on reconnoitring flights. On the following day a number
of sharp skirmishes with outposts occurred, and one Japanese patrol
found its way to the small town of Kiao-chau, situated at the head of
the bay, some 22 miles from Tsing-tao itself. The brushes with the
Germans became of daily occurrence, and in one of them a high official
of the German Legation at Peking, who had volunteered for service, was
killed. On September 17 the Japanese attacked Wang-ko-huang, 13 miles
from Tsimo, the enemy being in a fortified position and provided with
machine-guns. At sunset, however, they abandoned the village and
withdrew under cover of darkness, leaving behind quantities of equipment
and supplies. A little later a development came about that brought the
dissatisfaction of British traders to a head. About September 18, after
hostile patrols had been driven away from the shore by the fire of
destroyers, Japanese artillery and troops were landed at Laoshan Bay,
north of Tsing-tao, just within the leased territory. Why was it
necessary that troops should have been landed on the northern shore of
the peninsula of Shantung, 150 miles from their objective, when guns
could be disembarked with perfect safety on the eastern shore, not 40
miles from the objective, and within the German zone?

[Sidenote: A British force co-operates.]

The British were not as critical of Japan's strategy as they were
suspicious of her policy. Dark suggestions got afoot that she had
ulterior designs upon the whole Chinese province of Shantung. Such views
could not but have reached the ears of the British authorities at
Wei-hei-wei and elsewhere, nor could they have been deaf to previous
murmurs. Diplomatic circles, however, could extend little sympathy to
the critics. Nevertheless, it was undeniable that the latter were
aggrieved, and that their attitude might produce unfortunate effects. If
Great Britain herself took some share in the Tsing-tao operations,
greater sympathy with their purpose might be induced, and a better state
of feeling in the Orient between the two peoples might possibly result.
It must have been some aim such as this that prompted the dispatch of a
British force to the Tsing-tao area to co-operate with General Kamio, a
step which the earlier symptoms of the British discontent cannot but
have influenced. On September 19, however, 1,000 of the 2nd South Wales
Borderers, a force so small as to be nominal, under Brigadier-General
Barnardiston, left Tientsin and proceeded to Wei-hei-wei. Transport
mules having here been taken on board, the expedition on September 22
coasted down the eastern shore of Shantung, and next day landed at
Laoshan Bay. A month later, as will be seen, they were joined by 500 of
the 36th Sikhs.

[Sidenote: Faint opposition.]

[Sidenote: Artillery battle.]

Meanwhile, it was probably about this time, or shortly after, that the
_Triumph_, a British battleship of nearly 12,000 tons displacement,
19-1/2 knots speed, and four 10-inch guns primary armament, joined the
Japanese squadron off Tsing-tao. A spasmodic bombardment had been
maintained during the preceding weeks, and seaplanes had been busy,
bombing and range-finding. The wireless station, the electric-power
station, and several ships in harbour were damaged by explosive
missiles. Little could be done, however, from the sea alone, and the
attack by land, owing largely to transport difficulties, had still to
develop. But the weather was now improving considerably. Another
set-back to Japanese military ardour was, indeed, constituted by the
marked reluctance of the Germans to form a line of resistance. German
outposts, upon encountering hostile patrols, invariably retired after
offering faint opposition. When the British troops, after a circuitous
march of 40 miles, much hampered by bad roads, came up in the rear of
the Japanese, then preparing to assault the enemy's advanced positions
on high ground between the rivers Pai-sha and Li-tsun, the part that it
had been arranged they should take in the Japanese attack, on September
26, fell through owing to a disinclination of the Germans to fight.
Their resistance was so meagre that the Allies were hardly engaged, and
next day gained without difficulty the easterly banks of the Li-tsun and
Chang-tsun rivers, only seven miles north-east of Tsing-tao. The enemy
at all points fell back, and the advance upon the town continued. The
Japanese had now drawn their lines across the neck of the narrow
peninsula upon which Tsing-tao stands. There were indications that the
main forces were now in contact. The only obstacle, but a formidable
one, between the invaders and the forts themselves was constituted by
the dominating height of Prince Heinrich Hill, from whose crest, rising
some five miles from the town, all the forts could be bombarded. General
Kamio estimated that three days of fighting would be required for its
capture: it was as all-important to the defence as to the attack, and
was sure to be strongly held. The forts themselves, of the latest type,
were elaborately constructed, and equipped with concrete and steel
cupolas, mounting high calibre pieces. They commanded both landward and
seaward approaches to the town, those nearest the invading Japanese
being situated upon, and named Moltke Berg, Bismarck Berg, and Iltis
Berg. Earth redoubts and trenches between formed the German line of
defence. Plans for the most considerable engagement, the assault of
Prince Heinrich Hill, that had so far taken place, to begin on Sunday,
September 27, were made by the Japanese General. It developed more
speedily than had been expected. German artillery opened a terrific
cannonade upon the Japanese lines, while three warships shelled the
attacking right wing from the bay. The German fire was heavy and
accurate. Japanese warships and aeroplanes, and also the British
battleship _Triumph_, however, created a diversion that relieved the
assaulting forces. Two of the forts were shelled from the sea, and
suffered serious injury, a barrack-house and other buildings being,
moreover, damaged. For many hours the great guns, thundering their
challenges from sea and land and estuary, maintained continual uproar.
Darkness began to gather. Fighting continued into the night, and early
next morning was renewed. But the defenders seemed to lack enthusiasm.
It is doubtful, indeed, whether their forces were sufficiently numerous
to hold with strength their advanced positions, and at the same time to
man adequately their main fortified positions. During the morning of the
28th the Germans withdrew from Prince Heinrich Hill, leaving fifty of
their number and four machine-guns in Japanese hands, and many dead upon
the slopes. The Japanese casualties numbered 150. By noon the whole
position was in the attackers' hands, and the beleaguered town, visible
from the height, was now face to face with siege. German officers who
knew all the points, weak and strong, of the defences, could not but
realize their inability to withstand the siege guns which Japan would
sooner or later bring to the attack. But the heavy artillery was yet far
away. A month was to elapse before the pieces could be dragged across
the difficult country, and emplaced in prepared positions on Prince
Heinrich Hill.

[Sidenote: The siege continues.]

[Sidenote: Gunboats sunk.]

This month, which covered the whole of October, saw many interesting
incidents, and betrayed no signs of idleness on the part of besiegers or
besieged. The Germans, indeed, proved extraordinarily prodigal in
ammunition, firing on an average 1,000 to 1,500 shells daily, a fact
which lent support to the current view that, while undesirous of
incurring their emperor's displeasure, they realized the hopelessness,
so far as Tsing-tao was concerned, of their emperor's cause. Warships in
the bay assisted the cannonade from the forts, and Lieutenant von
Pluschow, the airman of the single aeroplane the town possessed,
ventured forth at intervals to reconnoitre or to bomb. Life in the town
itself continued to be quite normal. Japanese and British, meanwhile,
drew their lines closer and closer to the fortress by sap and mine,
though hindered greatly by terrible weather, and occasionally having
slight encounters with the enemy. In one of these, on October 5, a
German night-attack was heavily repulsed, forty-seven dead being left
behind by the attackers. At sea the operations were also spasmodic. At
the end of September a landing force occupied Lao-she harbour, in the
vicinity of Tsing-tao, where four abandoned field-guns were taken
possession of. Mine-sweeping had constantly to be maintained, under fire
from the shore, and proved a dangerous task. Several vessels thus
engaged were sunk or damaged, though with comparatively few casualties,
through coming into contact with mines. Some German gunboats, however,
among them the _Cormoran_ and the _Iltis_, were apparently sunk about
this time, either deliberately by the Germans, or from the fire of the
Japanese guns. A torpedo flotilla bombarded one of the barracks,
moreover, to some effect, while Japanese aeroplanes were also active.
Von Pluschow twice attempted to attack vessels of the blockading
squadron, but unsuccessfully, and on one occasion a Japanese aeroplane
pursuing him gave a German balloon, floating captive above the town,
some critical moments before it could be hauled to safety. A few days
later, about October 7, the rope which held this balloon was, during the
spasmodic firing, severed by a shot, and the great bag floated away,
apparently across the bay in the direction of Kiao-chau town and the
railway line inland. In this quarter, indeed, over the line itself,
serious friction had arisen between the Japanese and the Chinese

[Sidenote: Railway seized.]

[Sidenote: China protests.]

The line ran from Tsing-tao and Kiao-chau to the junction of Tsi-nan, a
distance of about 250 miles, passing through the towns of Wei-hsien and
Tsing-chau. It was German built and almost wholly German owned. From
some points of view it might reasonably be said to constitute an
adjunct, if not a part, of the leased territory itself. In any case the
Japanese claimed that, since the outbreak of war, the line had been
consistently utilized to bring reservists, supplies, and ammunition to
the town. The Austrian crew of the disarmed _Kaiserin Elizabeth_, both
when they left and later returned to Tsing-tao, had used this means of
transit. The railway, being still under German control, constituted a
menace in the Japanese rear, which the latter, upon consolidating their
position towards the end of September, took measures to remove. After
occupying Wei-hsien, they began to arrange for the seizure of the whole
line as far as Tsi-nan itself. Hints of such action drew forth protests
from China, whose Government, however, adopted too compromising an
attitude. The Japanese Government was firm. China's right to formal
protest was admitted, but the occupation was stated to be an urgent
military necessity, and without any prejudice to Chinese claims after
the war. Since China was unable to enforce the neutrality of the line,
flagrantly violated by the Germans, the Japanese had no alternative but
to bring it under their own control. The Chino-German Treaty of 1898 and
the German Government's charter clearly proved that the railway was
essentially German. A compromise, hastened by the unhesitating and
thorough measures taken by the Japanese to effect the occupation, was
arrived at. The Japanese were temporarily to control the administration,
while the Chinese conducted the traffic, of the railway. Its fate, since
China did not admit the contention that it was purely German, was to be
decided after the war. A bellicose attitude noticeable in Chinese
military circles became very marked when, three days later, on October
6, unquestionably in breach of the arrangement, Japanese soldiers
arrived at Tsi-nan, and took over the control of the rolling stock on
the Shantung line. It was alleged at Peking that this force had declared
martial law in the town, which contained, indeed, many German
sympathizers who, rumour added, had destroyed several collieries there
in their anxiety to obstruct the Allies. But the Chinese Government
submitted under further strong protest, and with a request that the
troops should be withdrawn. The Japanese action occasioned, however,
further distrust among British residents in the Orient. Meanwhile, a
second British force, consisting of 500 Sikhs, was being prepared to
reinforce General Barnardiston.

[Sidenote: Non-combatants depart.]

[Sidenote: Heavy weather.]

[Sidenote: Difficulties on land.]

[Sidenote: Bombardment on Mikado's birthday.]

At one o'clock on October 12, Captain Meyer-Waldeck, the Governor of
Tsing-tao, received a joint wireless message from the commanders of the
besieging troops and the blockading squadron, offering a safe escort out
of the town of Tientsin of neutrals and non-combatants. He at once
assented. Delegates met next day at ten o'clock to discuss details, and
on the 15th the American consul, accompanied by German women and
children and Chinese subjects, left the town. On the previous day there
had been a combined sea and air attack upon forts Iltis and Kaiser, in
which the _Triumph_ participated and suffered the only Allied
casualties. It is recorded that, before reopening bombardment after the
departure of the non-combatants, the Japanese, ever polite, signalled
'Are you now quite ready, gentlemen?' For reply a German sniper, taking
careful but faulty aim, sent a bullet which removed three out of the
eleven hairs on the signalman's moustache. Two days later, days notable
for torrential rains, which intensified the discomforts of the troops
ashore, the Japanese suffered a severe naval loss. The _Takachiho_, an
old cruiser of some 3,000 tons, which had seen service in the
Chino-Japanese War, was on patrol duty on Saturday night, October 17,
when she fouled a mine, released by and adrift in the rough seas.
Destroyers hastened to her aid, but rescue work was difficult in the
darkness and the heavy weather. The cruiser sank rapidly. Two hundred
and seventy-one officers and seamen lost their lives. The rough weather
which contributed to the disaster continued with little break, and
hindered operations, till the end of the month. The landing of the Sikh
contingent at Laoshan Bay on October 21 was, indeed, attended by great
difficulties and some loss of life. A strong southerly gale had raised
high seas, and enormous lighters and sampans, employed for
disembarkation, were thrown high and dry upon the beach. Sixteen
Japanese were drowned in trying to save other boats that broke loose.
The Sikhs got safely ashore, but next morning again the winds blew and
the rains descended, and the camping-ground was soon a miry pool.
Circumstances other than the weather, however, helped to put the British
officers out of humour. Trouble ahead threatened in connexion with
transport arrangements. While the Chinese carts and drivers, brought
hurriedly from Tientsin, were doubtfully reliable, many of the mules
were raw and quite unused to harness. When a start for the front was
preparing on the morning of the 23rd, it was found that the best of the
harness, which had been purchased from peasants in the locality, had
been stolen in the night by the people who had brought it in, and that
what was left was tied up with string. The column, however, at length
set off, and made a march memorable for hardship and difficulty. From
Laoshan to Lutin, where a metalled road began, was 30 miles, crossed by
a track formed at one time by quagmire, at another by slippery boulders.
During eleven hours 6 miles were covered, by which time the Sikhs were
completely exhausted with digging carts or mules out of the mud, hauling
them out with drag-ropes, reloading overturned carts, or unloading those
immovable. Next day the column was on the road at seven o'clock, and
covered 13 miles. So deep was the mud in parts that when, owing to the
rotten harness giving way, a mule would occasionally lurch forward
suddenly and walk away by itself, the body of the cart would be left
floating on the surface. One cart was pulled completely off its axles by
a squad of men, and slid along admirably for a considerable distance.
Seventy Chinese wheelbarrows, however, obtained from a Japanese dépôt,
rendered invaluable aid on this day. Tsimo, the halting-place, was
reached in the evening, and next day, after the first ten miles, saw
plain sailing. A few days later, on October 30, after the Sikhs had
rested and recovered, the whole British force, now some 1,500 strong,
moved up to the front in readiness for the bombardment of Tsing-tao,
which had been arranged to begin next morning in celebration of the
birthday of the Mikado. Siege artillery, 150 pieces, including six
28-cm. howitzers and some heavy naval guns, had now been brought up and
placed in position. The shelling was timed to start, in royal salute, at

[Sidenote: Oil-tanks blaze.]

Men who, stationed upon Prince Heinrich Hill, could look below upon the
doomed town, athwart the narrowing peninsula, with the sea, studded with
grey warships, surrounding, had before them a wonderful spectacle as the
morning sun, rising from the Pacific, slowly dispersed the darkness. The
thunder of the great guns broke suddenly upon that stillness which only
dawn knows, and their discharges flashed redly on the darkling slopes.
The Japanese shooting, it is related, displayed remarkable accuracy,
some of the first projectiles bursting upon the enormous oil-tanks of
the Standard Oil Company and the Asiatic Petroleum Company. A blaze
roared skywards, and for many hours the heavens were darkened by an
immense cloud of black petroleum smoke which hung like a pall over the
town. Shells passing over these fires drew up columns of flame to a
great height. Chinese coolies could be seen running before the spreading
and burning oil. Fires broke out also on the wharves of the outer
harbour, in which during the day a gunboat, apparently damaged fatally
by a shot which carried away her funnel, disappeared. The redoubts and
infantry works particularly were heavily bombarded. On the left of the
German line 100 Chinese in the village of Tao-tung-chien were
unfortunately caught by shell-fire directed on the redoubt close at
hand, while the fort of Siao-chau-shan, near by, was set afire. The tops
of several of the forts were soon concealed by clouds of dust and smoke.
A heavy fusillade was concentrated upon an observation point which the
defenders had constructed on a hill in the town, and had considerable
effect. The Germans did not on this first day of general bombardment
reply strongly, two only of the forts persistently firing. At length the
sun sank and night obscured the conflict. It had been a bad day for the
besieged: and dismantled guns, shattered concrete platforms and
entrenchments, devastated barbed-wire entanglements, augured the town's
approaching fate.

[Sidenote: Aeroplanes direct guns.]

[Sidenote: The _Triumph_ attacks Fort Bismarck.]

[Sidenote: _Kaiserin Elizabeth_ sinks.]

[Sidenote: Night activity.]

The bombardment continued for a week. During that period the Japanese
and British guns, directed from land and sea by a balloon, by
aeroplanes, or by observation stations on the hills, in daytime
thundered incessantly. The German shelling, though severe, was far less
heavy, because, it is said, the men in the forts, sheltering most of
the time in bomb-proof caverns, issued forth only at night, and during
pauses of the Japanese to return the fire. The airman von Pluschow
actively directed the replies. The latter seemed not, indeed,
impartially distributed. The marked attention paid to British troops and
ships afforded an illustration of that attitude of peculiar malevolence
which Germans have adopted towards the British nation and name. The
German airman singled out the British camp, recognizable by its white
tents, for his bombs, while for the German artillery it had an
inordinate attraction. Officers on board the _Triumph_, moreover,
observed that the largest German guns, of 12-inch calibre, were
consistently directed upon their vessel. But of many projectiles one
only, which struck the mast, being fired from Hui-tchien-huk, proved
effective. This hit, however, caused rejoicing in Tsing-tao which, it is
asserted, would not have been equalled by the sinking of a Japanese
Dreadnought. The _Triumph_ singled out for attack Fort Bismarck
especially, and two of the German 6-inch guns were early put out of
action. The British gunners adopted the ingenious plan of heeling their
ship by five degrees, and bombarding the enemy, from sight strips
specially calculated, without exposing themselves or their weapons. It
became customary aboard to call the bombardment 'pressing the enemy'
from an exhortation sent by the Japanese Crown Prince to 'press the
enemy, braving all hardships'. Ashore, indeed, the pressure on the enemy
developed steadily as the days passed. On November 2 the Austrian
cruiser _Kaiserin Elizabeth_, which had, with the German gunboats still
afloat, been engaging vigorously in the fighting, sank, having probably
been blown up deliberately, and the floating dock also disappeared.
Iltis Fort, moreover, was silenced, two guns being smashed and
ammunition giving out, and Japanese infantry advanced and captured an
eminence in German hands. On another ridge, however, hard by the
silenced fort, some German naval gunners carried out a ruse which saved
for the present both their position and their battery, composed of naval
9-cm. pieces, which were exposed dangerously to fire from sea and land.
Lieutenant von Trendel, in command, during the night constructed wooden
models of cannon, which he placed in position 200 yards from his real
guns. Next morning he exploded powder near by, and drew the fire of the
besiegers, attracted by the flashes, upon the dummies. That day the
wireless and electric power stations were wrecked, and large attacking
forces crept further forward, despite severe fire, and entrenched closer
to the enemy's lines. In the evening and night the latter showed special
activity, star rockets and other fireworks being used to illumine the
opposing positions, which were heavily fusilladed. A German night-attack
was delivered, but was repulsed. Next day, the 4th, and on the two
following days, progress was maintained. The Allied trenches were pushed
forward until they were right up to and almost half round the nearest
German forts. Many casualties were suffered, but the German fire was
kept down by the Japanese guns, whose accuracy was remarkable. The
weather conditions were unfavourable, high winds and heavy rains
prevailing, and the troops in the trenches had to endure hard
privations. So effective was the bombardment, however, that during
November 5 and 6 plans were prepared for the final assault. It was
arranged that a general infantry attack should be made as soon as
practicable. The garrisons in the forts, meanwhile, were beginning to
exhaust their ammunition, of which they had been, during the
preliminary operations, strangely prodigal. Guns lay silent for other
reasons than structural injury, though the latter cause, indeed, was
frequent, a single shot, in one case, from the _Suwo_, the Japanese
flagship, having destroyed a 24-cm. gun and killed eight men on Fort
Hui-tchien-huk. In the town itself the streets, not immune from falling
projectiles, were deserted, and the only centre of social intercourse
and conviviality was the German Club, where regularly officers or
non-combatants slipped in for dinner, luncheon, or a glass of beer. But
it was realized that the end was not far distant.

[Sidenote: Central redoubt taken.]

[Sidenote: Mass attack on forts.]

[Sidenote: The white flag.]

Early in the morning of November 6 the airman von Pluschow flew away
across Kiao-chau Bay, and did not return. He escaped with the Governor's
last dispatches into Chinese territory, where his machine was interned.
That day and night saw no cessation of the firing, the guns of the
defenders still roaring at intervals. About an hour after midnight the
first impulse of the general attack took effect. While a particularly
heavy artillery fire kept the Germans in their bomb-proof shelters, the
central redoubt of the first line of defence, which had been badly
shattered by the bombardment, was rushed by a storming party headed by
General Yoshimi Yamada. Engineers had in the darkness sapped right up to
the barbed-wire entanglements, which being cut provided way for the
infantry, who, while part held the enemy in front, rushed the redoubt on
both flanks. Two hundred prisoners were taken, and the Japanese flag was
hoisted. The besiegers were through the German line, but the position
had to be consolidated, or disaster would follow. Danger from the flank
was, however, soon obviated by advances in other parts of the line. Just
after five o'clock a battery on Shao-tan Hill was captured; half an hour
later another battery in Tao-tung-chien redoubt was taken, and Fort
Chung-shan-wa, the base of the German right wing, fell. The shadows were
still dense, and the final phase of the siege, viewed from Prince
Heinrich Hill, presented a sight brilliant with many flashes and flaming
fireworks, and a sound dominated by the thunder of the batteries. But
dawn, as the besiegers began in mass to close in upon the main line of
forts Iltis, Moltke, and Bismarck, was breaking. It was decided to storm
these positions forthwith, since the German fire, owing to exhaustion of
the ammunition, was dying away. Governor Meyer-Waldeck, who had been
wounded, realized now that further resistance was futile. Shortly before
six o'clock he sent Major von Kayser, his adjutant, accompanied by
another officer and a trumpeter, from the staff headquarters bearing the
white flag: at the same time a signal of surrender was made from the
Observatory. This was not, however, observed, while von Kayser's party,
coming under fire, was dispersed by a shell which killed the trumpeter
and the adjutant's horse. Meanwhile, Japanese and British were closing
in, and were tensely awaiting the final assault. It was never made. Soon
after seven o'clock a welcome sight relaxed the tension of the troops,
torn, dirty, and weary, calling forth cheers from the British, and
shouts of 'Banzai!' from the Japanese. The campaign was over: Tsing-tao
had fallen. White flags were fluttering from the forts.

[Sidenote: Terms of capitulation.]

[Sidenote: War material taken.]

[Sidenote: Cost of victory.]

That evening delegates from the two armies met and signed the terms of
capitulation, which were unconditional. Honours of war were accorded the
defenders, the Governor and his officers being permitted to retain their
swords. The Allies marched into the town, and on November 10 the
garrison was formally transferred. Over 4,000 Germans were sent to
Japan as prisoners, and large quantities of war material were
confiscated. The captures included 30 field-guns, 100 machine-guns,
2,500 rifles, 40 motor-cars, £1,200 in bullion, and 15,000 tons of coal.
All ships in harbour, and also the floating dock, had been destroyed,
but it seemed probable that the _Kaiserin Elizabeth_ could be
successfully raised. Sufficient provisions were found to feed 5,000
persons for three months, and the victors were able to regale their
appetites with luxuries such as butter, crab, or salmon, which were
plentiful. Looting, however, was strictly forbidden. For fastidious
persons the bath, after many weeks, was again available, and proved,
indeed, in view of steady accumulations of mud, a salutary course.
Measures, meanwhile, were at once taken to restore the town to its
normal condition. The troops and sailors were employed in removing
débris or undischarged land and sea mines. Another Japanese gunboat was
sunk, and several officers and men lost their lives, while engaged in
this dangerous work. The victory had to be paid for, indeed, with a
heavy toll of life and limb. The Japanese casualties numbered 236 killed
and 1,282 wounded; the British, 12 killed and 53 wounded. On November 16
the Allies formally took possession of Tsing-tao; and a memorial service
was held for the dead.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Plan for Dardanelles campaign.]

The plan of breaking through the Straits of the Dardanelles, and thus
clearing the way to Constantinople, is believed to have been conceived
by Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the British Admiralty. After
careful consideration it was approved by the military and naval
authorities, and plans were made to carry out the project. The initial
steps are described in the following chapter.



Copyright, Century Magazine, July, 1916.

[Sidenote: The Newfoundlanders in the War.]

Husky, steel-muscled lumbermen; brawny, calloused-handed fishermen;
loose-jointed, easy-swinging trappers; athletes from the city foot-ball
and hockey teams; and gawky, long-armed farmers joined the First
Newfoundland Regiment at the outbreak of war. A rigid medical
examination sorted out the best of them, and ten months of bayonet
fighting, physical drill, and twenty-mile route marches over Scottish
hills had molded these into trim, erect, bronzed soldiers. They were
garrisoning Edinburgh Castle when word came of the landing of the
Australians and New-Zealanders at Gallipoli. At Ypres the Canadians had
just then recaptured their guns and made for themselves a deathless

[Sidenote: Not militaristic.]

So the Newfoundlanders felt that as colonials they had been overlooked.
They were not militaristic and hated the ordinary routine of army life,
but they wanted to do their share. That was the spirit all through the
regiment. It was the spirit that possessed them on the long-waited-for
day at Aldershot when Kitchener himself pronounced them "just the men I
want for the Dardanelles." That day at Aldershot every man was given a
chance to go back to Newfoundland. They had enlisted for one year only,
and could demand to be sent home at the end of the year; and when
Kitchener reviewed them ten months of that year had gone.

[Sidenote: Re-enlistment at Aldershot.]

[Sidenote: The desire to get to the front.]

With the chance to go home in his grasp, every man of the first
battalion reenlisted for the duration of war. And it is on record, to
their eternal honor, that during the week preceding their departure from
Aldershot breaches of discipline were unknown, for over their heads hung
the fear that they would be punished by being kept back from active
service. To break a rule that week carried with it the suspicion of
cowardice. This was the more remarkable because many of the men were
fishermen, trappers, hunters, and lumbermen who until their enlistment
had said "Sir" to no man, and who gloried in the reputation given them
by one inspecting officer as "the most undisciplined lot he had ever
seen." From the day the Canadians left Salisbury Plain to take their
places in the trenches in Flanders the Newfoundlanders were obsessed by
one idea: they had to get to the front.

[Sidenote: Troop-ships in Mudros Harbor.]

So it was with eleven hundred of such eager spirits that I lined up, on
a Sunday evening early in August, 1915, on the deck of the troop-ship in
Mudros Harbor, which is the center of the historic island of Lemnos,
about fifty miles from Gallipoli. Around us lay all sorts of ships, from
ocean leviathans to tiny launches and rowboats. There were
gray-and-black-painted troopers, their rails lined with soldiers;
immense four-funneled men-of-war; and brightly lighted, white hospital
ships, with their red crosses outlined in electric lights. The landing
officer left us in a little motor-boat. We watched him glide slowly
shoreward, where we could faintly discern through the dusk the white of
the tents that were the headquarters for the people at Lemnos; to the
right of the tents we could see the hospital for wounded Australians and
New-Zealanders. A French battleship dipped its flag as it passed, and
our boys sang "The Marseillaise."

[Sidenote: The Iron Ration.]

A mail that had come that day was being sorted. While we waited, each
man was served with his "iron ration." This consisted of a one-pound
tin of pressed corned beef--the much-hated and much-maligned "bully
beef"--a bag of biscuits, and a small tin that held two tubes of Oxo,
with tea and sugar in specially constructed air- and damp-proof
envelopes. This was an emergency ration, to be kept in case of direst
need, and to be used only to ward off actual starvation. After that we
were given our ammunition, two hundred and fifty rounds to each man.

[Sidenote: The solitary letter home.]

But what brought home to me most the seriousness of our venture was the
solitary sheet of letter paper, with its envelope, that was given to
every man to be used for a parting letter home. For some poor chaps it
was indeed the last letter. Then we went over the side and aboard the
destroyer that was to take us to Suvla Bay.

The night had been well chosen for a surprise landing. There was no
moon, but after a little while the stars came out. Away on the port bow
we could see the dusky outline of land, and once, when we were about
half-way, an airship soared phantomlike out of the night, poised over us
a short time, then ducked out of sight. At first the word ran along the
line that it was a hostile airship, but a few inquiries soon reassured

[Sidenote: Approaching Cape Hellas.]

[Sidenote: Passing Anzac.]

[Sidenote: The name Anzac.]

Suddenly we changed our direction. We were near Cape Hellas, which is
the lowest point of the peninsula of Gallipoli. Under Sir Ian Hamilton's
scheme it was here that a decoy party of French and British troops were
to be landed to draw the Turks from Anzac. Simultaneously an
overwhelming British force was to land at Suvla Bay and Anzac to make a
surprise attack on the Turks' right flank. Presently we were going
upshore past the wrecked steamer _River Clyde_, the famous "Ship of
Troy" from the side of which the Australians had issued after the ship
had been beached on the shore hitherto nameless, but now known as Anzac.
Australian New Zealand Army Corps those five letters stand for; but to
those of us who have been on Gallipoli they stand for a great deal more;
they represent the achievement of the impossible. They are a glorious
record of sacrifice, reckless devotion, and unselfish courage; to put
each letter there cost the men from Australasia ten thousand of their
best soldiers.

And so we edged our way along, fearing mines or, even more disastrous
than mines, discovery by the enemy. From the Australasians over at Anzac
we could hear desultory rifle fire. Once we heard the boom of some big
guns that seemed almost alongside the ship. Four hours it took us to go
fifty miles in a destroyer that could make thirty-two knots easily. By
one o'clock the stars had disappeared, and for perhaps three-quarters of
an hour we nosed our way through pitch darkness. Gradually we slowed
down until we had almost stopped. Something scraped along our side.
Somebody said it was a floating mine, but it turned out to be a buoy
that had been put there by the navy to mark the channel.

Out of the gloom directly in front some one hailed, and our people

"Who have you on board?" we heard a casual English voice say, and then
came the reply from our colonel:

"Newfoundlanders." There was to me something very reassuring about that
cool, self-contained voice out of the night. It made me feel that we
were being expected and looked after.

[Sidenote: Arrival of a launch.]

"Move up those boats," I heard the English voice say, and from right
under our bow a naval launch with a middy in charge swerved alongside.
In a little while it, with a string of boats, was securely fastened.

Just before we went into the boats the adjutant passed me.

"Well," he said, "you've got your wish. In a few minutes you'll be
ashore. Let me know how you like it when you're there a little while."

"Yes, sir," I said. But I never had a chance to tell him. The first
shrapnel shell fired at the Newfoundlanders burst near him, and he had
scarcely landed when he was taken off the peninsula, seriously wounded.

[Sidenote: The Newfoundlanders land.]

In a short time we had all filed into the boats. There was no noise, no
excitement; just now and then a whispered command. I was in a tug with
about twenty others who formed the rear-guard. The wind had freshened
considerably, and was now blowing so hard that our unwieldy tug dared
not risk a landing. We came in near enough to watch the other boats.
About twenty yards from shore they grounded. We could see the boys jump
over the side and wade ashore. Through the half-darkness we could barely
distinguish them forming up on the beach. Soon they were lost to sight.

[Sidenote: Enemy artillery in action.]

During the Turkish summer dawn comes early. We transhipped from our tug
to a lighter. When it grounded on the beach day was just breaking.
Daylight disclosed a steeply sloping beach, scarred with ravines. The
place where we landed ran between sheer cliffs. A short distance up the
hill we could see our battalion digging themselves in. To the left I
could see the boats of another battalion. Even as I watched, the enemy's
artillery located them. It was the first shell I had ever heard. It came
over the hill close to me, screeching through the air like an
express-train going over a bridge at night. Just above the boat I was
watching it exploded. A few of the soldiers slipped quietly from their
seats to the bottom of the boat. At first I did not realize that any
one had been hit. There was no sign of anything having happened out of
the ordinary, no confusion. As soon as the boat touched the beach the
wounded men were carried by their mates up the hill to a temporary

[Sidenote: Beginning of bombardment.]

[Sidenote: Coolness of the Newfoundlanders.]

The first shell was the beginning of a bombardment. Beachy Bill, a
battery that we were to become better acquainted with, was in excellent
shape. Every few minutes a shell burst close to us. Shrapnel-bullets and
fragments of shell-casing forced us to huddle under the baggage for
protection. A little to the left some Australians were severely
punished. Shell after shell burst among them. A regiment of Sikh troops,
mule-drivers, and transport-men were caught half-way up the beach. Above
the din of falling shrapnel and the shriek of flying shells rose the
piercing scream of wounded mules. The Newfoundlanders did not escape.
That morning Beachy Bill's gunners played no favorites. On all sides the
shrapnel came in a shower. Less often, a cloud of thick, black smoke and
a hole twenty feet deep showed the landing-place of a high-explosive
shell. The most amazing thing was the coolness of the men. The
Newfoundlanders might have been practising trench-digging in camp in
Scotland. When a man was hit some one gave him first aid, directed the
stretcher-bearers where to find him, and coolly resumed digging. In two
hours our position had become untenable. We had been subjected to a
merciless and devastating shelling, and our first experience of war had
cost us sixty-five men. In a new and safer position we dug ourselves in.

[Sidenote: Four miles of graveyard.]

No move could be made in daylight. That evening we received our ration
of rum, and under cover of darkness moved in open order across the Salt
Lake for about a mile, then through three miles of knee-high, prickly
underbrush, to where our division was intrenched. Our orders were to
reinforce the Irish. The Irish sadly needed reinforcing. Some of them
had been on the peninsula for months. Many of them are still there. From
the beach to the firing-line is not over four miles, but it is a ghastly
four miles of graveyard. Everywhere along the route are small, rude
wooden crosses, mute record of advances. Where the crosses are thickest
there the fighting was fiercest, and where the fighting was fiercest
there were the Irish. On every cross, besides a man's name and the date
of his death, is the name of his regiment. No other regiments have so
many crosses as the Dublins and the Munsters. And where the shrapnel
flew so fast that bodies mangled beyond hope of identity were buried in
a common grave, there also are the Dublins and Munsters; and the cross
over them reads "In Memory of Unknown Comrades."

[Sidenote: The incomparable Twenty-ninth.]

[Sidenote: How the hill was taken, and lost.]

The line on the left was held by the Twenty-ninth Division; the Dublins,
the Munsters, the King's Own Scottish Borderers, and the Newfoundlanders
made up the 88th Brigade. The Newfoundlanders were reinforcements. From
the very first days of the Gallipoli campaign the other three regiments
had formed part of what General Sir Ian Hamilton in his report calls the
"incomparable Twenty-ninth Division." When the first landing was made,
this division, with the New-Zealanders, penetrated to the top of a hill
that commanded the Narrows. For forty-eight hours the result was in
doubt. The British attacked with bayonet and bombs, were driven back,
and repeatedly re-attacked. The New-Zealanders finally succeeded in
reaching the top, followed by the 88th Brigade. The Irish fought on the
tracks of a railroad that leads into Constantinople. At the end of
forty-eight hours of attacks and counter-attacks the position was
considered secure. The worn-out soldiers were relieved and went into
dug-outs. Then the relieving troops were attacked by an overwhelming
hostile force, and the hill was lost. A battery placed on that hill
could have shelled the Narrows and opened to our ships the way to
Constantinople. The hill was never retaken. When reinforcements came up
it was too late. The reinforcements lost their way. In his report
General Hamilton attributes our defeat to "fatal inertia." Just how
fatal was that inertia is known only to those who formed some of the

[Sidenote: Newfoundlanders run in battle.]

[Sidenote: The Turks charge in mass formation.]

[Sidenote: Terrible casualties of the enemy.]

After the first forty-eight hours we settled down to regular trench
warfare. The routine was four days in the trenches, eight days in rest
dug-outs, four in the trenches again, and so forth, although two or
three months later our ranks were so depleted that we stayed in eight
days and rested only four. We had expected four days' rest after our
first trip to the firing-line, but at the end of two days came word of a
determined advance of the enemy. We arrived just in time to beat it off.
Our trenches, instead of being at the top, were at the foot of the hill
that meant so much to us. The ground here was a series of four or five
hogback ridges about a hundred yards apart. Behind these towered the
hill that was our objective. From the nearest ridge, about seven hundred
yards in front of us, the Turks had all that day constantly issued in
mass formation. During that attack we were repaid for the havoc wrought
by Beachy Bill. As soon as the Turk topped the crest they were subjected
to a demoralizing rain of shell from the navy and the artillery. Against
the hazy blue of the sky-line we could see the dark mass clearly
silhouetted. Every few seconds, when a shell landed in the middle of the
approaching columns, the sides of the column would bulge outward for an
instant, then close in again. Meanwhile every man in our trenches stood
on the firing-platform, head and shoulders above the parapet, with fixed
bayonet and loaded rifle, waiting for the order to begin firing. Still
the Turks came on, big, black, bewhiskered six-footers, reforming ranks
and filling up their gaps with fresh men. Now they were only six hundred
yards away, but still there was no order to open fire. It was uncanny.
At five hundred yards our fire was still withheld. When the order came,
"At four hundred yards, rapid fire," everybody was tingling with
excitement. Still the Turks came on, magnificently determined. But it
was too desperate a venture. The chances against them were too great,
our artillery and machine-gun fire too destructively accurate. Some few
Turks reached almost to our trenches, only to be stopped by
rifle-bullets. "Allah! Allah!" yelled the Turks as they came on. A
sweating, grimly happy machine-gun sergeant between orders was shouting
to the Turkish army in general, "'Tis not a damn' bit of good to yell to
Allah now." Our artillery opened huge gaps in their lines; our
machine-guns piled them dead in the ranks where they stood. Our own
casualties were very slight, but of the waves of Turks that surged over
the crest all that day only a mere shattered remnant ever straggled back
to their own lines.

[Sidenote: The armies in a state of siege.]

That was the last big attack the Turks made. From that time on it was
virtually two armies in a state of siege. Every night at dark we stood
to arms for an hour. Every man fixed his bayonet and prepared to repulse
any attack of the enemy. After that sentry groups were formed, three
reliefs of two men each. Two men stood with their heads over the parapet
watching for any movement in the no-man's-land between the lines. That
accounts for the surprisingly large number of men one sees wounded in
the head.

At daylight every morning came "Stand to arms" again. Then day duties
began. In the daytime, by using a periscope, an arrangement of double
mirrors, a sentry can keep his head below the parapet while he watches
the ground in front. Sometimes a bullet struck one of the mirrors, and
the splintered glass blinded the sentry. It was a common thing to see a
man go to hospital with his face badly lacerated by periscope glass.

[Sidenote: When a shell comes.]

Ordinarily a man is much safer on the firing-line than in the rest
dug-outs. Trenches are so constructed that even if a shell drops right
in the traverse where men are, only half a dozen or so suffer. In open
or slightly protected ground where the dug-outs are the burst of a
shrapnel-shell covers an area twenty-five by two hundred yards in

[Sidenote: Shrapnel and bullets.]

A shell can be heard coming. Experts claim to identify the caliber of a
gun by the sound the shell makes. Few live long enough to become such
experts. In Gallipoli the average length of life was three weeks. In
dug-outs we always ate our meals, such as they were, to the
accompaniment of "Turkish Delight," the Newfoundlanders' name for
shrapnel. We had become accustomed to rifle-bullets. When you hear the
_zing_ of a spent bullet or the sharp crack of an explosive you know it
has passed you. The one that hits you you never hear. At first we dodged
at the sound of a passing bullet, but soon we came actually to believe
the superstition that a bullet would not hit a man unless it had on it
his regimental number and his name. Then, too, a bullet leaves a clean
wound, and a man hit by it drops out quietly. The shrapnel makes nasty,
jagged, hideous wounds, the horrible recollection of which lingers for
days. It is little wonder that we preferred the firing-line.

[Sidenote: The mode of intrenching.]

Most of our work was done at night. When we wished to advance our line,
we sent forward a platoon of men the desired distance. Every man carried
with him three empty sand-bags and his intrenching-tool. Temporary
protection is secured at short notice by having every man dig a hole in
the ground that is large and deep enough to allow him to lie flat in it.
The intrenching-tool is a miniature pickax, one end of which resembles a
large-bladed hoe with a sharpened and tempered edge. The pick end is
used to loosen hard material and to break up large lumps; the other end
is used as a shovel to throw up the dirt. When used in this fashion the
wooden handle is laid aside, the pick end becomes a handle, and the
intrenching-tool is used in the same manner as a trowel.

[Sidenote: The necessity for concealment.]

Lying on our stomach, our rifles close at hand, we dug furiously. First
we loosened up enough earth in front of our heads to fill a sand-bag.
This sand-bag we placed beside our heads on the side nearest the enemy.
Out in no-man's-land, with bullets and machine-gun balls pattering about
us, we did fast work. As soon as we had filled the second and third
sand-bags we placed them on top of the first. In Gallipoli every other
military necessity was subordinated to concealment. Often we could
complete a trench and occupy it before the enemy knew of it.

[Sidenote: The Turks use star-shells.]

Sometimes while we were digging the Turks surprised us by sending up
star-shells. They burst like rockets high overhead. Everything was
outlined in a strange, uncanny way that gave the effect of stage-fire.
At first when a man saw a star-shell he dropped flat on his face; but
after a good many men had been riddled by bullets, we saw our mistake.
The sudden blinding glare makes it impossible to identify objects
before the light fades. Star-shells show only movement. The first stir
between the lines becomes the target for both sides. So after that, even
when a man was standing upright, he simply stood still.

[Sidenote: Aëroplanes attacked by artillery.]

Every afternoon from just behind our lines an aëroplane buzzed up. At
the tremendous height it looked like an immense blue-bottle fly. At
first the enemy's aëroplanes came out to meet ours, but a few encounters
with our men soon convinced them of the futility of this. After that
they relied on their artillery. In the air all around the tiny speck we
could see white puffs of smoke where their shrapnel was exploding.
Sometimes those puffs were perilously close to it; at such times our
hearts were in our mouths. Everybody in the trench craned his neck to
see. When our aëroplane man[oe]uvered clear you could hear a sigh of
relief run along the trench.

[Sidenote: An air-man's adventure.]

One of our air-men, Samson, captured a German Taube that he used for
daily reconnaissance. Every day we watched him hover over the Turkish
lines, circle clear of their bursting shrapnel, and return to our
artillery with his report. One day we watched two hostile planes chase
him back right to our trench. When they came near us we opened rapid
fire that forced them to turn; but before Samson reached his
landing-place at Salt Lake we could see that he was in trouble; one of
the wings of the machine was drooping badly. We watched him land in
safety, saw him jump out of his seat, and walk about ten yards to a
waiting motor-ambulance. The ambulance had just turned when a shell hit
the aëroplane. A second shell blew it to pieces.

[Sidenote: A naval and artillery bombardment.]

But Samson had completed his mission. About half an hour later the navy
in the bay and our artillery began a bombardment. From our trenches,
looking through ravines, we could see the men-of-war lined up pouring
broadsides over our heads into the Turkish lines. From our position in
the valley we watched our shells demolish the enemy's front-line
trenches on the hill well to our left. Through field-glasses we could
see the communication-trenches choked with fleeing Turks. Some of our
artillery concentrated on the support-trenches, preventing
reinforcements from coming up. A mule-train of supplies was caught in
the curtain of fire. The Turks, caught between two fires, could not
escape. In a few minutes all that was left of the scientifically
constructed intrenchments was a conglomerate heap of sand-bags,
equipments, and machine-guns; and on top of it all lay the mangled
bodies of men and mules.

All through the bombardment we had hoped for the order to go over the
parapet, but for the Worcesters on our left was reserved the distinction
of making the charge. High explosives cleared the way for their advance,
and cheering and yelling they went over the parapet. The Turks in the
front-line trenches, completely demoralized, fled to the rear. A few,
too weak or too sorely wounded to run, surrendered.

[Sidenote: The Turk's dislike for German officers.]

Prisoners taken in this engagement told us that the Turkish rank and
file heartily hated their German officers. One prisoner said that he had
been an officer, but since the outbreak of this war had been replaced by
a German. At present the Turks are officered entirely by Germans.

[Sidenote: Losses from disease.]

With the monotony varied occasionally by some local engagement like this
we dragged through the hot, fly-pestered days and cold, drafty,
vermin-infested nights of September and early October. By the middle of
October, 1915, disease and scarcity of water had depleted our ranks;
instead of having four days on the firing-line and eight days' rest, we
were holding the firing-line eight days and resting only four. In my
platoon, of the six non-commissioned officers who started with us, only
two corporals were left, I and one other. For a week after he had been
ordered by the doctor to leave the peninsula the other chap hung on,
pluckily determined not to leave me alone, although staying meant
keeping awake nearly all night. By this time dysentery and enteric had
taken toll of more men than bullets. These diseases became epidemic
until the clearing-stations and the beaches were choked with sick. The
time we should have been sleeping was spent in digging, but still the
men worked uncomplainingly. Some, too game to quit, would not report to
the doctor, working on courageously until they dropped, although down in
the bay beckoned the Red Cross of the hospital-ship, with its assurance
of safety, rest, and cleanliness. By sickness and snipers' bullets we
lost thirty men a day. Every day the sun poured down relentlessly,
adding to the torment of parched throats and tongues. Every night,
doubly cold in comparison with the day's burning heat, found us chilled
and shivering.

[Sidenote: The wounded considered lucky.]

Nobody in the front-line trenches or on the shell-swept area behind ever
expected to leave the peninsula alive. Their one hope was to get off
wounded. Every night men leaving the trenches to bring up rations from
the beach shook hands with their comrades. From every ration party of
twenty men we always counted on losing two. Those who were wounded were
looked on as lucky. The best thing we could wish a man was a "cushy
wound," one that would not prove fatal. But no one wanted to quit. Every
day rumors flew through the trenches that in four days all the Turks
would surrender. Men dying from dysentery and enteric lingered to see
it, but the surrender never materialized.

[Sidenote: Faith in Australians.]

We knew that in the particular section of trench held by us an advance
was hopeless. Still, we thought that some other parts of the line might
advance. There was always faith in the invincible Australasians. Early
in October, 1915, had come the news of the British advance at Loos. The
report that reached us said that the enemy on the entire Western front
had begun to retreat. The Australians, catching the Turks napping, took
two lines of trenches.

[Sidenote: The man who stood on a bomb.]

By the time I left, the sordid monotony had begun to tell on the men.
Every day officers were besieged with requests for permission to go out
between the lines to locate snipers. When men were wanted for night
patrol every one volunteered. Ration parties, which had formerly been a
dread, were now an eagerly sought variation. Any change was welcome. The
thought of being killed had lost its fear. Daily intercourse with death
had robbed it of its horror. One chap had his leg blown off from
standing on a bomb. Later, in hospital, he told me that he felt
satisfied. He had always wondered what would happen if a man stood on a
bomb; now he knew. It illustrates how the men hated the deadly sameness.
Anything was better than waiting in the trenches, better than being
killed without a chance to struggle.

[Sidenote: Donnelly's post on Caribou Ridge.]

The men our regiment lost, although they gladly fought a hopeless fight,
have not died in vain; the foremost advance on the Suvla Bay front,
Donnelly's Post on Caribou Ridge, was made by Newfoundlanders. It is
called Donnelly's Post because it is here that Lieutenant Donnelly won
his military cross. The hitherto nameless ridge from which the Turkish
machine-guns poured their concentrated death into our trenches stands
as a monument to the initiative of the Newfoundlanders. It is now
Caribou Ridge as a recognition of the men who wear the deer's-head

[Sidenote: Swept by machine-guns.]

From Caribou Ridge the Turks could enfilade parts of our firing-line.
For weeks they had continued to pick off our men one by one. You could
almost tell when your turn was coming. I know, because from Caribou
Ridge came the bullet that sent me off the peninsula. The machine-guns
on Caribou Ridge not only swept parts of our trench, but commanded all
of the intervening ground. Several attempts had been made to rush those
guns. All had failed, held up by the murderous machine-gun fire. Under
cover of darkness, Lieutenant Donnelly, with only eight men, surprised
the Turks in the post that now bears his name. The captured machine-gun
he used to repulse constantly launched bomb and rifle attacks.

[Sidenote: How Donnelly surprised the Turks.]

[Sidenote: Deeds of great heroism.]

Just at dusk one evening Donnelly stole out to Caribou Ridge and
surprised the Turks. All night the Turks strove to recover their lost
ground. Darkness was the Newfoundlanders' ally. When reinforcements
arrived, Donnelly's eight men were reduced to two. Dawn showed the havoc
wrought by the gallant little group. The ground in front of the post was
a shambles of piled-up Turkish corpses. But daylight showed something
more to the credit of the Newfoundlanders than the mere taking of the
ridge. It showed one of Donnelly's men, Jack Hynes, who had crawled away
from his companion to a point about two hundred yards to the left. From
here he had all alone kept up through the whole night a rapid fire on
the enemy's flank that duped them into believing that we had men there
in force. It showed Hynes purposely falling back over exposed ground to
draw the enemy's attention from Sergeant Greene, who was coolly making
trip after trip between the ridge and our lines, carrying a wounded man
in his arms every time until all our wounded were in safety. Hynes and
Greene were each given a distinguished-conduct medal. None was ever more
nobly earned.

One Saturday morning near the end of October, 1915, the brigade major
passed through our lines. Before we took over the trench the occupants
of the firing-line threw their refuse over the parapet into the short
underbrush. Since coming in we had made a dump for it. I was sent out
with five men to remove the rubbish from the underbrush to the dump, and
this despite the fact that a short distance to our right we had just
lost two men sent over the parapet in broad daylight to pick up some

[Sidenote: The writer is wounded.]

About nine in the morning we started. It was about half-an-hour's work.
There was no cover for men standing. The small bushes hid men lying or
sitting. Every little while I gave the men a rest, making them sit in
the shelter of the underbrush. We had almost finished when the snipers
somewhere on our left began to bang at us. I ordered the men to cover,
and was just pointing out a likely place to young Hynes when I felt a
dull thud in the left shoulder-blade and a sharp pain in my chest. Then
came a drowsy, languid feeling, and I sank down first on my knees, then
my head dropped over on my chest, and down I went like a Mohammedan
saying his prayers. Connecting the hit in the back with the pain in my
chest, I concluded that I was done for, and can distinctly remember
thinking quite calmly that I was indeed fortunate to be conscious long
enough to tell them what to do about my will and so forth. I tried to
say, "I'm hit," and must have succeeded, because immediately I heard my
henchman Hynes yell with a frenzied oath: "The corporal's struck! Can't
you see the corporal's struck?" and heard him curse the Turk. Then I
heard the others say, "We must get him in out of this." After that I was
quite clear-headed, and when three or four of the finest boys that ever
stepped risked their lives to come out over the parapet under fire, I
was able to tell them how to lift me, and when the stretcher-bearers
arrived to give me first aid I was conscious enough to tell them where
to look for the wound. Also I became angry at the crowd who gathered
around to watch the dressing and make remarks about the amount of blood.
I asked them if they thought it was a nickel-show. This when I felt
almost certain I was dying. I don't remember even feeling relieved when
they told me the bullet had not gone through my heart.

[Sidenote: Hospital at Alexandria.]

That night I was put on board a hospital-ship, and a few days later I
was in hospital at Alexandria.

[Sidenote: The rear-guard action.]

The night the First Newfoundland Regiment landed in Suvla Bay there were
about eleven hundred of us. In December, 1915, when the British forces
evacuated Gallipoli, to the remnant of our regiment fell the honor of
fighting the rear-guard action. This is the highest recognition a
regiment can receive; for the duty of the rear-guard in a retreat is to
keep the enemy from reaching the main body of troops, even if this means
annihilation for itself. At Lemnos island the next day, when the roll
was called, of the eleven hundred men who landed when I did, only one
hundred and seventy-one answered "Here."

       *       *       *       *       *

The German armies, following the Great Retreat from the Marne to the
Aisne, and after the series of mighty struggles which make up the Battle
of the Aisne, and the attempts to win the Channel ports, continued the
efforts to break through the British and French lines. The British held
the strong line of Ypres, and in March made gains at Neuve Chapelle. In
April the Germans made a desperate effort to break through at Ypres.
There followed the Second Battle of Ypres, terrific in itself, but
especially notable because of the first employment by the Germans of
poisonous gas.



[Sidenote: Second Battle of Ypres.]

Since the last summary there has been a sudden development in the
situation on our front, and very heavy fighting has taken place to the
north and northeast of Ypres, which can be said to have assumed the
importance of a second battle for that town. With the aid of a method of
warfare up to now never employed by nations sufficiently civilized to
consider themselves bound by international agreements solemnly ratified
by themselves, and favored by the atmospheric conditions, the Germans
have put into effect an attack which they have evidently contemplated
and prepared for some time.

Before the battle began our line in this quarter ran from the
cross-roads at Broodseinde, east of Zonnebeke on the Ypres-Moorslede
Road to the cross-roads half a mile north of St. Julien, on the
Ypres-Poelcapelle Road, roughly following the crest of what is known as
the Grafenstafel Ridge. The French prolonged the line west of the
Ypres-Poelcapelle Road, whence their trenches ran around the north of
Langemarck to Steenstraate on the Yperlee Canal. The area covered by the
initial attack is that between the canal and the Ypres-Poelcapelle Road,
though it was afterward extended to the west of the canal and to the
east of the road.

[Sidenote: Germans plan a gas attack.]

An effort on the part of the Germans in this direction was not
unexpected, since movements of troops and transport behind their front
line had been detected for some days. Its peculiar and novel nature,
however, was a surprise which was largely responsible for the measure of
success achieved. Taking advantage of the fact that at this season of
the year the wind not infrequently blows from the north, they secretly
brought up apparatus for emitting asphyxiating vapor or gas, and
distributed it along the section of their front line opposite that of
our allies, west of Langemarck, which faced almost due north. Their plan
was to make a sudden onslaught southwestward, which, if successful,
might enable them to gain the crossings on the canal south of Bixschoote
and place them well behind the British left in a position to threaten

The attack was originally fixed for Tuesday, the 20th, but since all
chances of success depended on the action of the asphyxiating vapor it
was postponed, the weather being unfavorable. On Thursday, the 22d, the
wind blew steadily from the north, and that afternoon, all being ready,
the Germans put their plan into execution. Since then events have moved
so rapidly and the situation has moved so frequently that it is
difficult to give a consecutive and clear story of what happened, but
the following account represents as nearly as can be the general course
of events. The details of the gas apparatus employed by them are given
separately, as also those of the asphyxiating grenades, bombs, and
shells of which they have been throwing hundreds.

[Sidenote: The first gas battle in war.]

At some time between 4 and 5 p.m. the Germans started operations by
releasing gases with the result that a cloud of poisonous vapor rolled
swiftly before the wind from their trenches toward those of the French
west of Langemarck, held by a portion of the French Colonial Division.
Allowing sufficient time for the fumes to take full effect on the troops
facing them, the Germans charged forward over the practically
unresisting enemy in their immediate front, and, penetrating through the
gap thus created, pressed on silently and swiftly to the south and west.
By their sudden irruption they were able to overrun and surprise a large
proportion of the French troops billeted behind the front line in this
area and to bring some of the French guns as well as our own under a hot
rifle fire at close range.

The first intimation that all was not well to the north was conveyed to
our troops holding the left of the British line between 5 and 6 p.m. by
the withdrawal of some of the French Colonials and the sight of the wall
of vapor following them. Our flank being thus exposed the troops were
ordered to retire on St. Julien, with their left parallel to but to the
west of the high road. The splendid resistance of these troops, who
saved the situation, has already been mentioned by the Commander in

[Sidenote: Bombardment by shell and gas projectiles.]

Meanwhile, apparently waiting till their infantry had penetrated well
behind the Allies' line, the Germans had opened a hot artillery fire
upon the various tactical points to the north of Ypres, the bombardment
being carried out with ordinary high-explosive shell and shrapnel of
various calibres and also with projectiles containing asphyxiating gas.
About this period our men in reserve near Ypres, seeing the shells
bursting, had gathered in groups, discussing the situation and
questioning some scattered bodies of Turcos who had appeared; suddenly a
staff officer rode up shouting "Stand to your arms," and in a few
minutes the troops had fallen in and were marching northward to the
scene of the fight.

Nothing more impressive can be imagined than the sight of our men
falling in quietly in perfect order on their alarm posts amid the scene
of wild confusion caused by the panic-stricken refugees who swarmed
along the roads.

[Sidenote: Steadiness of the British.]

In the meantime, to the north and northeast of the town, a confused
fight was taking place, which gave proof not only of great gallantry and
steadiness on the part of the troops referred to above, but of
remarkable presence of mind on the part of their leaders. Behind the
wall of vapor, which had swept across fields, through woods, and over
hedgerows, came the German firing line, the men's mouths and noses, it
is stated, protected by pads soaked in a solution of bicarbonate of
soda. Closely following them again came the supports. These troops,
hurrying forward with their formation somewhat broken up by the
obstacles encountered in their path, looked like a huge mob bearing down
upon the town. A battery of 4.7-inch guns a little beyond the left of
our line was surprised and overwhelmed by them in a moment. Further to
the rear and in a more easterly direction were several field batteries,
and before they could come into action the Germans were within a few
hundred yards. Not a gun, however, was lost.

[Sidenote: The left retires slowly.]

One battery, taken in flank, swung around, fired on the enemy at
point-blank range, and checked the rush. Another opened fire with the
guns pointing in almost opposite directions, the enemy being on three
sides of them. It was under the very heavy cannonade opened about this
time by the Germans, and threatened by the advance of vastly superior
numbers, that our infantry on our left steadily, and without any sign of
confusion, slowly retired to St. Julien, fighting every step.

[Sidenote: British reserves arrive.]

Help was not long in arriving, for some of our reserves near Ypres had
stood to arms as soon as they were aware of the fact that the French
line had been forced, and the officers on their own initiative, without
waiting for orders, led them forward to meet the advancing enemy, who,
by this time, were barely two miles from the town. These battalions
attacked the Germans with the bayonet, and then ensued a mêlée, in which
our men more than held their own, both sides losing very heavily.

One German battalion seems to have been especially severely handled, the
Colonel being captured among several other prisoners. Other
reinforcements were thrown in as they came up, and, when night fell, the
fighting continued by moonlight, our troops driving back the enemy by
repeated bayonet charges, in the course of which our heavy guns were

[Sidenote: Germans cross the canal.]

By then the situation was somewhat restored in the area immediately
north of Ypres. Further to the west, however, the enemy had forced their
way over the canal, occupying Steenstraate and the crossing at Het Sast,
about three-quarters of a mile south of the former place, and had
established themselves at various points on the west bank. All night
long the shelling continued, and about 1.30 a.m. two heavy attacks were
made on our line in the neighborhood of Broodseinde, east of Zonnebeke.
These were both repulsed. The bombardment of Ypres itself and its
neighborhood had by now redoubled in intensity and a part of the town
was in flames.

In the early morning of Friday, the 23d, we delivered a strong
counter-attack northward in co-operation with the French. Our advance
progressed for some little distance, reaching the edge of the wood about
half a mile west of St. Julien and penetrating it. Here our men got into
the Germans with the bayonet, and the latter suffered heavily. The
losses were also severe on our side, for the advance had to be carried
out across the open. But in spite of this nothing could exceed the dash
with which it was conducted. One man--and his case is typical of the
spirit shown by the troops--who had had his rifle smashed by a bullet,
continued to fight with an intrenching tool. Even many of the wounded
made their way out of the fight with some article of German equipment as
a memento.

[Sidenote: The British intrench.]

About 11 a.m., not being able to progress further, our troops dug
themselves in, the line then running from St. Julien practically due
west for about a mile, whence it curved southwestward before turning
north to the canal near Boesinghe. Broadly speaking, on the section of
the front then occupied by us the result of the operations had been to
remove to some extent the wedge which the Germans had driven into the
allied line, and the immediate danger was over.

During the afternoon our counter-attack made further progress south of
Pilkem, thus straightening the line still more. Along the canal the
fighting raged fiercely, our allies making some progress here and there.
During the night, however, the Germans captured Lizerne, a village on
the main road from Ypres to Steenstraate.

[Sidenote: The enemy throws bridges across the canal.]

When the morning of the 24th came the situation remained much the same,
but the enemy, who had thrown several bridges across the canal,
continued to gain ground to the west. On our front the Germans, under
cover of their gas, made a further attack between 3 and 4 a.m. to the
east of St. Julien and forced back a portion of our line. Nothing else
in particular occurred until about midday, when large bodies of the
enemy were seen advancing down the Ypres-Poelcapelle road toward St.
Julien. Soon after a very strong attack developed against that village
and the section of the line east of it.

[Sidenote: A French counter-attack.]

Under the pressure of these fresh masses our troops were compelled to
fall back, contesting every inch of ground and making repeated
counter-attacks; but until late at night a gallant handful, some 200 to
300 strong, held out in St. Julien. During the night the line was
re-established north of the hamlet of Fortuin, about 700 yards further
to the rear. All this time the fighting along the canal continued, the
enemy forcing their way across near Boesinghe, and holding Het Sase,
Steenstraate, and Lizerne strongly. The French counter-attacked in the
afternoon, captured fifty prisoners, and made some further progress
toward Pilkem. The Germans, however, were still holding the west bank
firmly, although the Belgian artillery had broken the bridge behind them
at Steenstraate.

[Sidenote: German assaults on Broodseinde.]

On the morning of Sunday, the fourth day of the battle, we made a strong
counter-attack on St. Julien, which gained some ground but was checked
in front of the village. To the west of it we reached a point a few
hundred yards south of the wood which had been the objective on the 23d
and which we had had to relinquish subsequently. In the afternoon the
Germans made repeated assaults in great strength on our line near
Broodseinde. These were backed up by a tremendous artillery bombardment
under the throwing of asphyxiating bombs; but all were beaten off with
great slaughter to the enemy, and forty-five prisoners fell into our
hands. When night came the situation remained unchanged.

This determined offensive on the part of the enemy, although it has
menaced Ypres itself, has not so far the appearance of a great effort to
break the line and capture the Channel ports. Its initial success was
gained by the surprise rendered possible by the use of a device which
Germany pledged herself not to employ.




[Sidenote: Position of the Canadian Division.]

On April 22 the Canadian Division held a line of, roughly, 5,000 yards,
extending in a northwesterly direction from the Ypres-Roulers Railway to
the Ypres-Poelcapelle road, and connecting at its terminus with the
French troops. The division consisted of three infantry brigades, in
addition to the artillery brigades. Of the infantry brigades the First
was in reserve, the Second was on the right, and the Third established
contact with the Allies at the point indicated above.

[Sidenote: The sudden gas attack.]

The day was a peaceful one, warm and sunny, and except that the previous
day had witnessed a further bombardment of the stricken town of Ypres,
everything seemed quiet in front of the Canadian line. At 5 o'clock in
the afternoon a plan, carefully prepared, was put into execution against
our French allies on the left. Asphyxiating gas of great intensity was
projected into their trenches, probably by means of force pumps and
pipes laid out under the parapets. The fumes, aided by a favorable wind,
floated backward, poisoning and disabling over an extended area those
who fell under their effect.

[Sidenote: The French give ground.]

The result was that the French were compelled to give ground for a
considerable distance. The glory which the French Army has won in this
war would make it impertinent to labor the compelling nature of the
poisonous discharges under which the trenches were lost. The French did,
as every one knew they would do, all that stout soldiers could do, and
the Canadian Division, officers and men, look forward to many occasions
in the future in which they will stand side by side with the brave
armies of France.

The immediate consequences of this enforced withdrawal were, of course,
extremely grave. The Third Brigade of the Canadian Division was without
any left, or, in other words, its left was in the air.

[Sidenote: Gap on the Canadian left.]

It became imperatively necessary greatly to extend the Canadian lines to
the left rear. It was not, of course, practicable to move the First
Brigade from reserve at a moment's notice, and the line, extending from
5,000 to 9,000 yards, was naturally not the line that had been held by
the Allies at 5 o'clock, and a gap still existed on its left.

It became necessary for Brigadier General Turner, commanding the Third
Brigade, to throw back his left flank southward to protect his rear.

In the course of the confusion which followed upon the readjustments of
position, the enemy, who had advanced rapidly after his initial
successes, took four British 4.7 guns in a small wood to the west of the
village of St. Julien, two miles in the rear of the original French

[Sidenote: Heroism of the Canadian Division.]

The story of the second battle of Ypres is the story of how the Canadian
Division, enormously outnumbered--for they had in front of them at least
four divisions, supported by immensely heavy artillery--with a gap still
existing, though reduced, in their lines, and with dispositions made
hurriedly under the stimulus of critical danger, fought through the day
and through the night, and then through another day and night; fought
under their officers until, as happened to so many, those perished
gloriously, and then fought from the impulsion of sheer valor because
they came from fighting stock.

The enemy, of course, was aware--whether fully or not may perhaps be
doubted--of the advantage his breach in the line had given him, and
immediately began to push a formidable series of attacks upon the whole
of the newly-formed Canadian salient. If it is possible to distinguish
when the attack was everywhere so fierce, it developed with particular
intensity at this moment upon the apex of the newly formed line, running
in the direction of St. Julien.

[Sidenote: Assault on the wood.]

It has already been stated that four British guns were taken in a wood
comparatively early in the evening of the 22d. In the course of that
night, and under the heaviest machine-gun fire, this wood was assaulted
by the Canadian Scottish, Sixteenth Battalion of the Third Brigade, and
the Tenth Battalion of the Second Brigade, which was intercepted for
this purpose on its way to a reserve trench. The battalions were
respectively commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Leckie and Lieutenant
Colonel Boyle, and after a most fierce struggle in the light of a misty
moon they took the position at the point of the bayonet. At midnight the
Second Battalion, under Colonel Watson, and the Toronto Regiment,
Queen's Own, Third Battalion, under Lieutenant Colonel Rennie, both of
the First Brigade, brought up much-needed reinforcement, and though not
actually engaged in the assault were in reserve.

All through the following days and nights these battalions shared the
fortunes and misfortunes of the Third Brigade. An officer who took part
in the attack describes how the men about him fell under the fire of the
machine guns, which, in his phrase, played upon them "like a watering
pot." He added quite simply, "I wrote my own life off." But the line
never wavered. When one man fell another took his place, and with a
final shout the survivors of the two battalions flung themselves into
the wood. The German garrison was completely demoralized, and the
impetuous advance of the Canadians did not cease until they reached the
far side of the wood and intrenched themselves there in the position so
dearly gained. They had, however, the disappointment of finding that the
guns had been blown up by the enemy, and later on in the same night a
most formidable concentration of artillery fire, sweeping the wood as a
tropical storm sweeps the leaves from a forest, made it impossible for
them to hold the position for which they had sacrificed so much.

The fighting continued without intermission all through the night, and,
to those who observed the indications that the attack was being pushed
with ever-growing strength, it hardly seemed possible that the
Canadians, fighting in positions so difficult to defend and so little
the subject of deliberate choice, could maintain their resistance for
any long period. At 6 A. M. on Friday it became apparent that the left
was becoming more and more involved, and a powerful German attempt to
outflank it developed rapidly. The consequences, if it had been broken
or outflanked, need not be insisted upon. They were not merely local.

[Sidenote: Counter-attack on German lines.]

It was therefore decided, formidable as the attempt undoubtedly was, to
try and give relief by a counter-attack upon the first line of German
trenches, now far, far advanced from those originally occupied by the
French. This was carried out by the Ontario First and Fourth Battalions
of the First Brigade, under Brigadier General Mercer, acting in
combination with a British brigade.

It is safe to say that the youngest private in the rank, as he set his
teeth for the advance, knew the task in front of him, and the youngest
subaltern knew all that rested upon its success. It did not seem that
any human being could live in the shower of shot and shell which began
to play upon the advancing troops. They suffered terrible casualties.
For a short time every other man seemed to fall, but the attack was
pressed ever closer and closer.

[Sidenote: Enemy's first line trenches taken.]

The Fourth Canadian Battalion at one moment came under a particularly
withering fire. For a moment--not more--it wavered. Its most gallant
commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Burchill, carrying, after an old
fashion, a light cane, coolly and cheerfully rallied his men and, at the
very moment when his example had infected them, fell dead at the head of
his battalion. With a hoarse cry of anger they sprang forward, (for,
indeed, they loved him,) as if to avenge his death. The astonishing
attack which followed--pushed home in the face of direct frontal fire
made in broad daylight by battalions whose names should live for ever in
the memories of soldiers--was carried to the first line of German
trenches. After a hand-to-hand struggle the last German who resisted was
bayoneted, and the trench was won.

The measure of this success may be taken when it is pointed out that
this trench represented in the German advance the apex in the breach
which the enemy had made in the original line of the Allies, and that it
was two and a half miles south of that line. This charge, made by men
who looked death indifferently in the face, (for no man who took part in
it could think that he was likely to live,) saved, and that was much,
the Canadian left. But it did more. Up to the point where the assailants
conquered, or died, it secured and maintained during the most critical
moment of all the integrity of the allied line. For the trench was not
only taken, it was held thereafter against all comers, and in the teeth
of every conceivable projectile, until the night of Sunday, the 25th,
when all that remained of the war-broken but victorious battalions was
relieved by fresh troops.

[Sidenote: The poisonous gas attack.]

It is necessary now to return to the fortunes of the Third Brigade,
commanded by Brigadier General Turner, which, as we have seen, at 5
o'clock on Thursday was holding the Canadian left, and after the first
attack assumed the defense of the new Canadian salient, at the same time
sparing all the men it could to form an extemporized line between the
wood and St. Julien. This brigade also was at the first moment of the
German offensive, made the object of an attack by the discharge of
poisonous gas. The discharge was followed by two enemy assaults.
Although the fumes were extremely poisonous, they were not, perhaps
having regard to the wind, so disabling as on the French lines, (which
ran almost east to west,) and the brigade, though affected by the fumes,
stoutly beat back the two German assaults.

Encouraged by this success, it rose to the supreme effort required by
the assault on the wood, which has already been described. At 4 o'clock
on the morning of Friday, the 23d, a fresh emission of gas was made both
upon the Second Brigade, which held the line running northeast, and upon
the Third Brigade, which, as has been fully explained, had continued the
line up to the pivotal point, as defined above, and had then spread down
in a southeasterly direction. It is, perhaps, worth mentioning that two
privates of the Forty-eighth Highlanders who found their way into the
trenches commanded by Colonel Lipsett, Ninetieth Winnipeg Rifles, Eighth
Battalion, perished in the fumes, and it was noticed that their faces
became blue immediately after dissolution.

[Sidenote: A brief retirement.]

The Royal Highlanders of Montreal, Thirteenth Battalion, and the
Forty-eighth Highlanders, Fifteenth Battalion, were more especially
affected by the discharge. The Royal Highlanders, though considerably
shaken, remained immovable upon their ground. The Forty-eighth
Highlanders, which, no doubt, received a more poisonous discharge, was
for the moment dismayed, and, indeed, their trench, according to the
testimony of very hardened soldiers, became intolerable. The battalion
retired from the trench, but for a very short distance, and for an
equally short time, in a few moments they were again their own men. They
advanced upon and occupied the trenches which they had momentarily

In the course of the same night the Third Brigade, which had already
displayed a resource, a gallantry, and a tenacity for which no eulogy
could be excessive, was exposed (and with it the whole allied case) to a
peril still more formidable.

[Sidenote: Germans pass gap on left.]

It has been explained, and, indeed, the fundamental situation made the
peril clear, that several German divisions were attempting to crush or
drive back this devoted brigade, and in any event to use their enormous
numerical superiority to sweep around and overwhelm its left wing. At
some point in the line which cannot be precisely determined the last
attempt partially succeeded, and in the course of this critical struggle
German troops in considerable though not in overwhelming numbers swung
past the unsupported left of the brigade, and, slipping in between the
wood and St. Julien, added to the torturing anxieties of the long-drawn
struggle by the appearance, and indeed for the moment the reality, of
isolation from the brigade base.

[Sidenote: The Royal Highlanders of Montreal.]

In the exertions made by the Third Brigade during this supreme crisis it
is almost impossible to single out one battalion without injustice to
others, but though the efforts of the Royal Highlanders of Montreal,
Thirteenth Battalion, were only equal to those of the other battalions
who did such heroic service, it so happened by chance that the fate of
some of its officers attracted special attention.

[Sidenote: Death of Captain McCuaig.]

Major Norsworth, already almost disabled by a bullet wound, was
bayoneted and killed while he was rallying his men with easy
cheerfulness. The case of Captain McCuaig, of the same battalion, was
not less glorious, although his death can claim no witness. This most
gallant officer was seriously wounded, in a hurriedly constructed
trench, at a moment when it would have been possible to remove him to
safety. He absolutely refused to move and continued in the discharge of
his duty.

But the situation grew constantly worse, and peremptory orders were
received for an immediate withdrawal. Those who were compelled to obey
them were most insistent to carry with them, at whatever risk to their
own mobility and safety, an officer to whom they were devotedly
attached. But he, knowing, it may be, better than they, the exertions
which still lay in front of them, and unwilling to inflict upon them the
disabilities of a maimed man, very resolutely refused, and asked of them
one thing only, that there should be given to him, as he lay alone in
the trench, two loaded Colt revolvers to add to his own, which lay in
his right hand as he made his last request. And so, with three revolvers
ready to his hand for use, a very brave officer waited to sell his life,
wounded and racked with pain, in an abandoned trench.

On Friday afternoon the left of the Canadian line was strengthened by
important reinforcements of British troops amounting to seven
battalions. From this time forward the Canadians also continued to
receive further assistance on the left from a series of French
counter-attacks pushed in a northeasterly direction from the canal bank.

[Sidenote: The defenders give ground.]

But the artillery fire of the enemy continually grew in intensity, and
it became more and more evident that the Canadian salient could no
longer be maintained against the overwhelming superiority of numbers by
which it was assailed. Slowly, stubbornly, and contesting every yard,
the defenders gave ground until the salient gradually receded from the
apex, near the point where it had originally aligned with the French,
and fell back upon St. Julien.

[Sidenote: The enemy in St. Julien.]

Soon it became evident that even St. Julien, exposed to fire from right
and left, was no longer tenable in the fact of overwhelming numerical
superiority. The Third Brigade was therefore ordered to retreat further
south, selling every yard of ground as dearly as it had done since 5
o'clock on Thursday. But it was found impossible, without hazarding far
larger forces, to disentangle the detachment of the Royal Highlanders of
Montreal, Thirteenth Battalion, and of the Royal Montreal Regiment,
Fourteenth Battalion. The brigade was ordered, and not a moment too
soon, to move back. It left these units with hearts as heavy as those
with which his comrades had said farewell to Captain McCuaig. The German
tide rolled, indeed, over the deserted village, but for several hours
after the enemy had become master of the village the sullen and
persistent rifle fire which survived showed that they were not yet
master of the Canadian rearguard. If they died, they died worthily of

The enforced retirement of the Third Brigade (and to have stayed longer
would have been madness) reproduced for the Second Brigade, commanded by
Brigadier General Curry, in a singularly exact fashion, the position of
the Third Brigade itself at the moment of the withdrawal of the French.
The Second Brigade, it must be remembered, had retained the whole line
of trenches, roughly 2,500 yards, which it was holding at 5 o'clock on
Thursday afternoon, supported by the incomparable exertions of the Third
Brigade, and by the highly hazardous employment in which necessity had
involved that brigade. The Second Brigade had maintained its lines.

[Sidenote: General Curry's maneuvres.]

[Sidenote: Lieutenant Colonel Lipsett holds the left.]

It now devolved upon General Curry, commanding this brigade, to
reproduce the tactical maneuvres with which, earlier in the fight, the
Third Brigade had adapted itself to the flank movement of overwhelming
numerical superiority. He flung his left flank around south, and his
record is, that in the very crisis of this immense struggle he held his
line of trenches from Thursday at 5 o'clock till Sunday afternoon. And
on Sunday afternoon he had not abandoned his trenches. There were none
left. They had been obliterated by artillery. He withdrew his undefeated
troops from the fragments of his field fortifications, and the hearts of
his men were as completely unbroken as the parapets of his trenches were
completely broken. In such a brigade it is invidious to single out any
battalion for special praise, but it is, perhaps, necessary to the story
to point out that Lieutenant Colonel Lipsett, commanding the Ninetieth
Winnipeg Rifles, Eighth Battalion of the Second Brigade, held the
extreme left of the brigade position at the most critical moment.

The battalion was expelled from the trenches early on Friday morning by
an emission of poisonous gas, but, recovering in three-quarters of an
hour, it counter-attacked, retook the trenches it had abandoned, and
bayoneted the enemy. And after the Third Brigade had been forced to
retire Lieutenant Colonel Lipsett held his position, though his left
was in the air, until two British regiments filled up the gap on
Saturday night.

The individual fortunes of these two brigades have brought us to the
events of Sunday afternoon, but it is necessary, to make the story
complete, to recur for a moment to the events of the morning. After a
very formidable attack the enemy succeeded in capturing the village of
St. Julien, which has so often been referred to in describing the
fortunes of the Canadian left. This success opened up a new and
formidable line of advance, but by this time further reinforcements had
arrived. Here, again, it became evident that the tactical necessities of
the situation dictated an offensive movement as the surest method of
arresting further progress.

[Sidenote: Cheers for the Canadians.]

General Alderson, who was in command of the reinforcements, accordingly
directed that an advance should be made by a British brigade which had
been brought up in support. The attack was thrust through the Canadian
left and centre, and as the troops making it swept on, many of them
going to certain death, they paused an instant, and, with deep-throated
cheers for Canada, gave the first indication to the division of the warm
admiration which their exertions had excited in the British Army.

The advance was indeed costly, but it could not be gainsaid. The story
is one of which the brigade may be proud, but it does not belong to the
special account of the fortunes of the Canadian contingent. It is
sufficient for our purpose to notice that the attack succeeded in its
object, and the German advance along the line, momentarily threatened,
was arrested.

[Sidenote: Second and Third Brigades relieved.]

We had reached, in describing the events of the afternoon, the points at
which the trenches of the Second Brigade had been completely destroyed.
This brigade, the Third Brigade, and the considerable reinforcements
which this time filled the gap between the two brigades were gradually
driven fighting every yard upon a line running, roughly, from Fortuin,
south of St. Julien, in a northeasterly direction toward Passchendaele.
Here the two brigades were relieved by two British brigades, after
exertions as glorious, as fruitful, and, alas! as costly as soldiers
have ever been called upon to make.

Monday morning broke bright and clear and found the Canadians behind the
firing line. This day, too, was to bring its anxieties. The attack was
still pressed, and it became necessary to ask Brigadier General Curry
whether he could once more call upon his shrunken brigade. "The men are
tired," this indomitable soldier replied, "but they are ready and glad
to go again to the trenches." And so once more, a hero leading heroes,
the General marched back the men of the Second Brigade, reduced to a
quarter of its original strength, to the very apex of the line as it
existed at that moment.

[Sidenote: Back to the apex of the line.]

This position he held all day Monday; on Tuesday he was still occupying
the reserve trenches, and on Wednesday was relieved and retired to
billets in the rear.

Such, in the most general outline, is the story of a great and glorious
feat of arms. A story told so soon after the event, while rendering bare
justice to units whose doings fell under the eyes of particular
observers, must do less than justice to others who played their
part--and all did--as gloriously as those whose special activities it is
possible, even at this stage, to describe. But the friends of men who
fought in other battalions may be content in the knowledge that they,
too, shall learn, when time allows the complete correlation of diaries,
the exact part which each unit played in these unforgettable days. It
is rather accident than special distinction which had made it possible
to select individual battalions for mention.

[Sidenote: Signalers and dispatch carriers.]

It would not be right to close even this account without a word of
tribute to the auxiliary services. The signalers were always cool and
resourceful. The telegraph and telephone wires being constantly cut,
many belonging to this service rendered up their lives in the discharge
of their duty, carrying out repairs with the most complete calmness in
exposed positions. The dispatch carriers, as usual, behaved with the
greatest bravery. Theirs is a lonely life, and very often a lonely
death. One cycle messenger lay upon the ground, badly wounded. He
stopped a passing officer and delivered his message, together with some
verbal instructions. These were coherently given, but he swooned almost
before the words were out of his mouth.

[Sidenote: Artillery and engineers.]

The artillery never flagged in the sleepless struggle in which so much
depended upon its exertions. Not a Canadian gun was lost in the long
battle of retreat. And the nature of the position renders such a record
very remarkable. One battery of four guns found itself in such a
situation that it was compelled to turn two of its guns directly about
and fire upon the enemy in positions almost diametrically opposite.

It is not possible in this account to attempt a description of the
services rendered by the Canadian Engineers or the Medical Corps. Their
members rivaled in coolness, endurance, and valor the Canadian infantry,
whose comrades they were, and it is hoped in separate communications to
do justice to both these brilliant services.

No attempt has been made in this description to explain the recent
operations except in so far as they spring from, or are connected with,
the fortunes of the Canadian Division. It is certain that the exertions
of the troops who reinforced and later relieved the Canadians were not
less glorious, but the long, drawn-out struggle is a lesson to the whole
empire. "Arise, O Israel!" The empire is engaged in a struggle, without
quarter and without compromise, against an enemy still superbly
organized, still immensely powerful, still confident that its strength
is the mate of its necessities. To arms, then, and still to arms! In
Great Britain, in Canada, in Australia there is need, and there is need
now, of a community organized alike in military and industrial

That our countrymen in Canada, even while their hearts are still
bleeding, will answer every call which is made upon them, we well know.

[Sidenote: The Canadian graveyard in Flanders.]

The graveyard of Canada in Flanders is large; it is very large. Those
who lie there have left their mortal remains on alien soil. To Canada
they have bequeathed their memories and their glory.

        On Fame's eternal camping ground
          Their silent tents are spread,
        And Glory guards with solemn round
          The bivouac of the dead.

Assaults accompanied with gas were not made on every position of the
front held by the British to the north of Ypres at the same time. At one
point it was not until the early morning of Saturday, April 24, that the
Germans brought this method into operation against a section of our line
not far from our left flank.

[Sidenote: Germans fire poison gas shells.]

Late on Thursday afternoon the men here saw portions of the French
retiring some distance to the west, and observed the cloud of vapor
rolling along the ground southward behind them. Our position was then
shelled with high explosives until 8 P.M. On Friday also it was
bombarded for some hours, the Germans firing poison shells for one hour.
Their infantry, who were intrenched about 120 yards away, evidently
expected some result from their use of the latter, for they put their
heads above the parapets, as if to see what the effect had been on our
men, and at intervals opened rapid rifle fire. The wind, however, was
strong and dissipated the fumes quickly, our troops did not suffer
seriously from their noxious effect, and the enemy did not attempt any

[Sidenote: Stupefying gas employed.]

On Saturday morning, just about dawn, an airship appeared in the sky to
the east of our line at this point, and dropped four red stars, which
floated downward slowly for some distance before they died out. When our
men, whose eyes had not unnaturally been fixed on this display of
pyrotechnics, again turned to their front it was to find the German
trenches rendered invisible by a wall of greenish-yellow vapor, similar
to that observed on the Thursday afternoon, which was bearing down on
them on the breeze. Through this the Germans started shooting. During
Saturday they employed stupefying gas on several occasions in this
quarter, but did not press on very quickly. One reason for this, given
by a German prisoner, is that many of the enemy's infantry were so
affected by the fumes that they could not advance.

To continue the narrative from the night of Sunday, April 25. At 12:30
A. M., in face of repeated attacks, our infantry fell back from a part
of the Grafenstafel Ridge, northwest of Zonnebeke, and the line then ran
for some distance along the south bank of the little Haanebeek stream.
The situation along the Yperlee Canal remained practically unchanged.

[Sidenote: Line pierced at Broodseinde.]

When the morning of the 26th dawned the Germans, who had been seen
massing in St. Julien, and to the east of the village on the previous
evening, made several assaults, which grew more and more fierce as the
hours passed, but reinforcements were sent up and the position was
secured. Further east, however, our line was pierced near Broodseinde,
and a small body of the enemy established themselves in a portion of our
trenches. In the afternoon a strong, combined counter-attack was
delivered by the French and British along the whole front from
Steenstraate to the east of St. Julien, accompanied by a violent
bombardment. This moment, so far as can be judged at present, marked the
turning point of the battle, for, although it effected no great change
in the situation, it caused a definite check to the enemy's offensive,
relieved the pressure, and gained a certain amount of ground.

[Sidenote: Attack near St. Julien.]

During this counter-attack the guns concentrated by both sides on this
comparatively narrow front poured in a great volume of fire. From the
right came the roar of the British batteries, from the left the rolling
thunder of the _soixante-quinze_, and every now and then above the
turmoil rose a dull boom as a huge howitzer shell burst in the vicinity
of Ypres. On the right our infantry stormed the German trenches close to
St. Julien, and in the evening gained the southern outskirts of the
village. In the centre they captured the trenches a little to the south
of the Bois des Cuisinirs, west of St. Julien, and still further west
more trenches were taken. This represented an advance of some 600 or 700
yards, but the gain in ground could not at all points be maintained.
Opposite St. Julien we fell back from the village to a position just
south of the place, and in front of the Bois des Cuisinirs and on the
left of the line a similar retirement took place, the enemy making
extensive use of his gas cylinders and of machine guns placed in farms
or at other points of vantage. None the less, the situation at nightfall
was more satisfactory than it had been. We were holding our own well all
along the line and had made progress at some points. On the right the
enemy's attacks on the front of the Grafenstafel Ridge had all been

[Sidenote: Enemy lines.]

In the meantime the French had achieved some success, having retaken
Lizerne and also the trenches round Het Sast, captured some 250
prisoners, and made progress all along the west bank of the canal. Heavy
as our losses were during the day, there is little doubt that the enemy
suffered terribly. Both sides were attacking at different points, the
fighting was conducted very largely in the open, and the close
formations of the Germans on several occasions presented excellent
targets to our artillery, which did not fail to seize its opportunities.

Nothing in particular occurred during the night.

[Sidenote: The new battle lines.]

The morning of the 27th found our troops occupying the following
positions; North of Zonnebeke the right of the line still held the
eastern end of the Grafenstafel Ridge, but from here it bent
southwestward behind the Haanebeek stream, which it followed to a point
about half a mile east of St. Julien. Thence it curved back again to the
Vamheule Farm, on the Ypres-Poelcappelle road, running from here in a
slight southerly curve to a point a little west of the Ypres-Langemarck
road, where it joined the French. In the last mentioned quarter of the
field it followed generally the line of a low ridge running from west to
east. On the French front the Germans had been cleared from the west
bank of the canal, except at one point, Steenstraate, where they
continued to hold the bridgehead.

About 1 P. M. a counter-attack was made by us all along the line
between the canal and the Ypres-Poelcappelle road, and for about an hour
we continued to make progress. Then the right and centre were checked. A
little later the left was also held up, and the situation remained very
much as it had been on the previous day. The Germans were doubtless much
encouraged by their initial success, and their previous boldness in
attack was now matched by the stubborn manner in which they clung on to
their positions. In the evening the French stormed some trenches east of
the canal, but were again checked by the enemy's gas cylinders.

[Sidenote: German exhaustion.]

The night passed quietly, and was spent by us in reorganizing and
consolidating our positions. The enemy did not interfere. This is not
surprising, in view of the fact that by Tuesday evening they had been
fighting for over five days. Their state of exhaustion is confirmed by
the statements of the prisoners captured by the French, who also
reported that the German losses had been very heavy.

On Wednesday, the 28th, there was a complete lull on this sector of our
line, and the shelling was less severe. Some fighting, however, occurred
along the canal, the French taking over 100 prisoners.

[Sidenote: Air battles.]

Nothing of any importance has occurred on other parts of the front. On
the 27th at the Railway Triangle opposite Guinchy, the south side of the
embankment held by the Germans was blown up by our miners. On the 28th a
hostile aeroplane was forced to descend by our anti-aircraft guns. On
coming down in rear of the German lines, it was at once fired upon and
destroyed by our field artillery. Another hostile machine was brought
down by rifle fire near Zonnebeke.

Splendid work has been done during the past few days by our airmen, who
have kept all the area behind the hostile lines under close
observation. On the 26th they bombed the stations of Staden, Thielt,
Courtrai, Roubaix, and other places, and located an armored train near
Langemarck, which was subsequently shelled and forced to retire. There
have been several successful conflicts in the air, on one occasion a
pilot in a single seater chasing a German machine to Roulers, and
forcing it to land.

[Sidenote: Raid on Courtrai].

The raid on Courtrai unfortunately cost the nation a very gallant life,
but it will live as one of the most heroic episodes of the war. The
airman started on the enterprise alone in a biplane. On arrival at
Courtrai he glided down to a height of 300 feet and dropped a large bomb
on the railway junction. While he did this he was the target of hundreds
of rifles, of machine guns, and of anti-aircraft armament, and was
severely wounded in the thigh. Though he might have saved his life by at
once coming down in the enemy's lines, he decided to save his machine at
all costs, and made for the British lines. Descending to a height of
only 100 feet in order to increase his speed, he continued to fly and
was again wounded, this time mortally. He still flew on, however, and
without coming down at the nearest of our aerodromes went all the way
back to his own base, where he executed a perfect landing and made his
report. He died in hospital not long afterward.

[Sidenote: Steadiness of the Canadians.]

The outstanding feature of the action of the past week has been the
steadiness of our troops on the extreme left; but of the deeds of
individual gallantry and devotion which have been performed it would be
impossible to narrate one-hundredth part. At one place in this quarter a
machine gun was stationed in the angle of a trench when the German rush
took place. One man after another of the detachment was shot, but the
gun still continued in action, through five bodies lay around it. When
the sixth man took the place of his fallen comrades, of whom one was his
brother, the Germans were still pressing on. He waited until they were
only a few yards away, and then poured a stream of bullets on to the
advancing ranks, which broke and fell back, leaving rows of dead. He was
then wounded himself.

[Sidenote: Telephone wires cut.]

Under the hot fire to which our batteries were subjected in the early
part of the engagement telephone wires were repeatedly cut. The wire
connecting one battery with its observing officer was severed on nine
separate occasions, and on each occasion repaired by a Sergeant, who did
the work out in the open under a perfect hail of shells.

About 5 P. M. a dense cloud of suffocating vapors was launched from
their trenches along the whole front held by the French right and by our
left from the Ypres-Langemarck road to a considerable distance east of
St. Julien. The fumes did not carry much beyond our front trenches. But
these were to a great extent rendered untenable, and a retirement from
them was ordered.

[Sidenote: Strange appearance of gas battle.]

No sooner had this started than the enemy opened a violent bombardment
with asphyxiating shells and shrapnel on our trenches and on our
infantry as they were withdrawing. Meanwhile our guns had not been idle.
From a distance, perhaps owing to some peculiarity of the light, the gas
on this occasion looked like a great reddish cloud, and the moment it
was seen our batteries poured a concentrated fire on the German

Curious situations then arose between us and the enemy. The poison belt,
the upper part shredding into thick wreaths of vapor as it was shaken by
the wind, and the lower and denser part sinking into all inequalities of
the ground, rolled slowly down the trenches. Shells would rend it for a
moment, but it only settled down again as thickly as before.

Nevertheless, the German infantry faced it, and they faced a hail of
shrapnel as well. In some cases where the gas had not reached our lines
our troops held firm and shot through the cloud at the advancing
Germans. In other cases the men holding the front line managed to move
to the flank, where they were more or less beyond the affected area.
Here they waited until the enemy came on and then bayoneted them when
they reached our trenches.

[Sidenote: A charge through the gas.]

On the extreme left our supports waited until the vapor reached our
trenches, when they charged through it and met the advancing Germans
with the bayonet as they swarmed over the parapets.

South of St. Julien the denseness of the vapor compelled us to evacuate
trenches, but reinforcements arrived who charged the enemy before they
could establish themselves in position. In every case the assaults
failed completely. Large numbers were mown down by our artillery. Men
were seen falling and others scattering and running back to their own
lines. Many who reached the gas cloud could not make their way through
it, and in all probability a great number of the wounded perished from
the fumes.

It is to that extent, from a military standpoint, a sign of weakness.
Another sign of weakness is the adoption of illegal methods of fighting,
such as spreading poisonous gas. It is a confession by the Germans that
they have lost their former great superiority in artillery and are, at
any cost, seeking another technical advantage over their enemy as a

[Sidenote: The enemy sticks at nothing.]

Nevertheless, this spirit, this determination on the part of our enemies
to stick at nothing must not be underestimated. Though it may not pay
the Germans in the long run, it renders it all the more obvious that
they are a foe that can be overcome only by the force of overwhelming
numbers of men and guns.

Further to the east a similar attack was made about 7 P. M. which seems
to have been attended with even less success, and the assaulting
infantry was at once beaten back by our artillery fire.

It was not long before all our trenches were reoccupied and the whole
line reestablished in its original position. The attack on the French
met with the same result.

Prisoners captured in the recent fighting, the narrative continues,
stated that one German corps lost 80 per cent. of its men in the first
week; that the losses from our artillery fire, even during days when no
attacks were taking place, had been very heavy and that many of their
own men had suffered from the effects of the gas.

[Sidenote: German gains due to poison gas.]

In regard to the recent fighting on our left, the German offensive,
effected in the first instance by surprise, resulted in a considerable
gain of ground for the enemy. Between all the earlier German efforts,
the only difference was that on this latest occasion the attempt was
carried out with the aid of poisonous gases.

There is no reason why we should not expect similar tactics in the
future. They do not mean that the Allies have lost the initiative in the
Western theatre, nor that they are likely to lose it. They do mean,
however, and the fact has been repeatedly pointed out, that the enemy's
defensive is an active one, that his confidence is still unshaken and
that he still is able to strike in some strength where he sees the
chance or where mere local advantage can be secured.

The true idea of the meaning of the operations of the Allies can be
gained only by bearing in mind that it is their primary object to bring
about the exhaustion of the enemy's resources in men.

In the form now assumed by this struggle--a war of attrition--the
Germans are bound ultimately to lose, and it is the consciousness of
this fact that inspires their present policy. This is to achieve as
early as possible some success of sufficient magnitude to influence the
neutrals, to discourage the Allies, to make them weary of the struggle
and to induce the belief among the people ignorant of war that nothing
has been gained by the past efforts of the Allies because the Germans
have not yet been driven back. It is being undertaken with a political
rather than a strategical object.

[Sidenote: Violent artillery fire.]

The calm that prevailed Thursday and Friday proved to be only the lull
before the storm. Early Saturday morning it became apparent that the
Germans were preparing an attack in strength against our line running
east and northeast from Ypres, for they were concentrating under cover
of a violent artillery fire, and at about 10 o'clock the battle began in

At that hour the Germans attacked our line from the Ypres-Poelcappelle
road to within a short distance of the Menin highroad, it being
evidently their intention while engaging us closely on the whole of this
sector to break our front in the vicinity of the Ypres-Roulers Railway,
to the north and to the south of which their strongest and most
determined assaults were delivered.

Under this pressure our front was penetrated at some points around
Frezenberg, and at 4:30 o'clock in the afternoon we made a
counter-attack between the Zonnebeke road and the railway in order to
recover the lost ground. Our offensive was conducted most gallantly, but
was checked before long by the fire of machine guns.

[Sidenote: Enemy attacks near Menin road.]

Meanwhile, the enemy launched another attack through the woods south of
the Menin road, and at the same time threatened our left to the north of
Ypres with fresh masses. Most desperate fighting ensued, the German
infantry coming on again and again and gradually forcing our troops
back, though only for a short distance, in spite of repeated

[Sidenote: On the Poelcappelle road.]

During the night the fighting continued to rage with ever-increasing
fury. It is impossible to say at exactly what hour our line was broken
at different points, but it is certain that at one time the enemy's
infantry poured through along the Poelcappelle road, and even got as far
as Wieltje at 9 P. M.

There was also a considerable gap in our front about Frezenberg, where
hostile detachments had penetrated. At both points counter-attacks were
organized without delay. To the east of the salient the Germans first
were driven back to Frezenberg, but there they made a firm stand, and
under pressure of fresh reinforcements we fell back again toward

[Sidenote: Canadian counter-attack.]

Northeast of the salient a counter-attack carried out by us about 1 A.
M. was more successful. Our troops swept the enemy out of Wieltje at the
bayonet's point, leaving the village strewn with German dead and,
pushing on, regained most of the ground to the north of that point. And
so the fight surged to and fro throughout the night. All around the
scene of the conflict the sky was lit up by the flashes of the guns and
the light of blazing villages and farms, while against this background
of smoke and flame, looking out in the murky light over the crumbling
ruins of the old town, rose the battered wreck of the cathedral town and
the spires of Cloth Hall.

[Sidenote: German assaults on the east.]

When Sunday dawned there came a short respite, and the firing for a time
died down. The comparative lull enabled us to reorganize and
consolidate our position on the new line we had taken up and to obtain
some rest after the fatigue and strain of the night. It did not last
long, however, and in the afternoon the climax of the battle was
reached, for, under the cover of intense artillery fire, the Germans
launched no less than five separate assaults against the east of the

To the north and northeast their attacks were not at first pressed so
hard as on the south of the Menin road, where the fighting was
especially fierce. In the latter direction masses of infantry were
hurled on with absolute desperation and were beaten off with
corresponding slaughter.

At one point, north of the town, 500 of the enemy advanced from the
wood, and it is affirmed by those present that not a single man of them

[Sidenote: German losses at Château Hooge.]

On the eastern face, at 6:30 P. M., an endeavor was made to storm the
grounds of the Château Hooge, a little north of the Menin road, but the
force attempting it broke and fell back under the hail of shrapnel
poured upon them by our guns. It was on this side, where they had to
face the concentrated fire of guns, Maxims and rifles again and again in
their efforts to break their way through, that the Germans incurred
their heaviest losses, and the ground was literally heaped with dead.

They evidently, for the time being at least, were unable to renew their
efforts, and as night came on the fury of their offensive gradually
slackened, the hours of darkness passing in quietness.

During the day our troops saw some of the enemy busily employed in
stripping the British dead in our abandoned trenches, east of the Hooge
Château, and several Germans afterward were noticed dressed in khaki.

[Sidenote: A successful day.]

So far as the Ypres region is concerned, this for us was a most
successful day. Our line, which on the northeast of the salient had,
after the previous day's fighting, been reconstituted a short distance
behind the original front, remained intact. Our losses were
comparatively slight, and, owing to the targets presented by the enemy,
the action resolved itself on our part into pure killing.

The reason for this very determined effort to crush our left on the part
of the Germans is not far to seek. It is probable that for some days
previously they had been in possession of information which led them to
suppose that we intended to apply pressure on the right of our line, and
that their great attack upon Ypres on the 7th, 8th, and 9th was
undertaken with a view to diverting us from our purpose.

In this the Germans were true to their principles, for they rightly hold
that the best manner of meeting an expected hostile offensive is to
forestall it by attacking in some other quarter. In this instance their
leaders acted with the utmost determination and energy and their
soldiers fought with the greatest courage.

[Sidenote: The enemy held in check.]

The failure of their effort was due to the splendid endurance of our
troops, who held the line around the salient under a fire which again
and again blotted out whole lengths of the defenses and killed the
defenders by scores. Time after time along those parts of the front
selected for assault were parapets destroyed, and time after time did
the thinning band of survivors build them up again and await the next
onset as steadily as before.

Here, in May, in defense of the same historic town, have our
incomparable infantry repeated the great deeds their comrades performed
half a year ago and beaten back most desperate onslaughts of hostile
hordes backed by terrific artillery support.

The services rendered by our troops in this quarter cannot at present
be estimated, for their full significance will only be realized in the
light of future events. But so far their devotion has indirectly
contributed in no small measure to the striking success already achieved
by our allies.

Further south, in the meantime, on Sunday another struggle had been in
progress on that portion of the front covered by the right of our line
and the left of the French, for when the firing around Ypres was
temporarily subsiding during the early hours of the morning another and
even more tremendous cannonade was suddenly started by the artillery of
the Allies some twenty miles to the south.

The morning was calm, bright, and clear, and opposite our right, as the
sun rose, the scene in front of our line was the most peaceful
imaginable. Away to the right were Guinchy, with its brickfields and the
ruins of Givenchy. To the north of them lay low ground, where, hidden by
trees and hedgerows, ran the opposing lines that were about to become
the scene of the conflict, and beyond, in the distance, rose the long
ridge of Aubers, the villages crowning it standing out clear cut against
the sky.

[Sidenote: Bombardment of Guinchy.]

At 5 o'clock the bombardment began, slowly at first and then growing in
volume until the whole air quivered with the rush of the larger shells
and the earth shook with the concussion of guns. In a few minutes the
whole distant landscape disappeared in smoke and dust, which hung for a
while in the still air and then drifted slowly across the line of

[Sidenote: The battle near Festubert.]

Shortly before 6 o'clock our infantry advanced along our front between
the Bois Grenier and Festubert. On the left, north of Fromelles, we
stormed the German first line trenches. Hand-to-hand fighting went on
for some time with bayonet, rifle, and hand grenade, but we continued to
hold on to this position throughout the day and caused the enemy very
heavy loss, for not only were many Germans killed in the bombardment,
but their repeated efforts to drive us from the captured positions
proved most costly.

On the right, to the north of Festubert, our advance met with
considerable opposition and was not pressed.

[Sidenote: A French victory.]

Meanwhile, the French, after a prolonged bombardment, had taken the
German positions north of Arras on a front of nearly five miles, and had
pushed forward from two to three miles, capturing 2,000 prisoners and
six guns. This remarkable success was gained by our allies in the course
of a few hours.

As may be supposed from the nature of the fighting which has been in
progress, our losses have been heavy. On other parts of the front our
action was confined to that of the artillery, but this proved most
effective later, all the communications of the enemy being subjected to
so heavy and accurate a fire that in some quarters all movement by
daylight within range of our lines was rendered impracticable. At one
place opposite our centre a convoy of ammunition was hit by a shell,
which knocked out six motor lorries and caused two to blow up. Opposite
our centre we fired two mines, which did considerable damage to the
enemy's defenses.

[Sidenote: Air fighting.]

During the day also our aeroplanes attacked several points of
importance. One of our airmen, who was sent to bomb the canal bridge
near Don, was wounded on his way there, but continued and fulfilled his
mission. Near Wytschaete, one of our aviators pursued a German aeroplane
and fired a whole belt from his machine gun at it. The Taube suddenly
swerved, righted itself for a second, and then descended from a height
of several thousand feet straight to the ground.

On the other hand, a British machine unfortunately was brought down over
Lille by the enemy's anti-aircraft guns, but it is hoped that the
aviator escaped.

_In regard to the German allegation, that the British used gas in their
attacks on Hill 60, the Eyewitness says_:

[Sidenote: British had not used gas.]

No asphyxiating gases have been employed by us at any time, nor have
they yet been brought into play by us.

       *       *       *       *       *

Germany, desperate at her failure to win the rapid victories she had
anticipated on the land, resorted, in 1915, to a ruthless policy of
sinking the ships of the belligerent powers, whether or not they were
engaged on legitimate errands. This policy culminated on May 7, 1915, in
the sinking of the great transatlantic steamship the _Lusitania_, with
the loss of over a thousand men, women, and children.



[Sidenote: The _Lusitania_ sails.]

On May 1, 1915, the British passenger-carrying merchantman _Lusitania_
sailed from New York bound for Liverpool, with 1,257 passengers and a
crew of 702, making a total of 1,959 souls on board, men, women, and
children. At approximately 2:10 on the afternoon of May 7, 1915, weather
clear and sea smooth, without warning, the vessel was torpedoed and went
down by the head in about eighteen minutes, with an ultimate tragic loss
of 1,195.

[Sidenote: Passengers and equipment.]

So far as equipment went, the vessel was seaworthy in the highest sense.
Her carrying capacity was 2,198 passengers and a crew of about 850, or
about 3,000 persons in all. She had 22 open lifeboats capable of
accommodating 1,322 persons, 26 collapsible boats with a capacity for
1,283, making a total of 48 boats with a capacity for 2,605 in all, or
substantially in excess of the requirements of her last voyage. Her
total of life belts was 3,187, or 1,959 more than the total number of
passengers, and, in addition, she carried 20 life buoys. She was classed
100 A1 at Lloyd's being 787 feet long over all, with a tonnage of 30,395
gross and 12,611 net. She had 4 turbine engines, 25 boilers, 4 boiler
rooms, 12 transverse bulkheads, dividing her into 13 compartments, with
a longitudinal bulkhead on either side of the ship for 425 feet,
covering all vital parts.

[Sidenote: The _Lusitania_ unarmed.]

The proof is absolute that she was not and never had been armed nor did
she carry any explosives. She did carry some 18 fuse cases and 125
shrapnel cases, consisting merely of empty shells without any powder
charge, 4,200 cases of safety cartridges, and 189 cases of infantry
equipment, such as leather fittings, pouches, and the like. All these
were for delivery abroad, but none of these munitions could be exploded
by setting them on fire in mass or in bulk, nor by subjecting them to
impact. She had been duly inspected on March 17, April 15, 16, and 17,
all in 1915, and before she left New York the boat gear and boats were
examined, overhauled, checked up, and defective articles properly

[Sidenote: The drills sufficient.]

There is no reason to doubt that this part of her equipment was in
excellent order when she left New York. The vessel was under the command
of a long service and experienced Captain and officered by competent and
experienced men. The difficulties of the war prevented the company from
gathering together a crew fully reaching a standard as high as in normal
times, (many of the younger British sailors having been called to the
colors,) but, all told, the crew was good and, in many instances, highly
intelligent and capable. Due precaution was taken in respect of boat
drills while in port, and the testimony shows that those drills were
both sufficient and efficient. Some passengers did not see any boat
drills on the voyage, while others characterized the drills, in effect,
as formally superficial. Any one familiar with ocean traveling knows
that it is not strange that boat drills may take place unobserved by
some of the passengers who, though on deck, may be otherwise occupied or
who may be in another part of the ship, and such negative testimony must
give way to the positive testimony that there were daily boat drills,
the object of which mainly was to enable the men competently and quickly
to lower the boats.

[Sidenote: Emergency precautions.]

Each man had a badge showing the number of the boat to which he was
assigned, and a boat list was posted in three different places in the
ship. Each day of the voyage a drill was held with the emergency boat,
which was a fixed boat, either No. 13 on the starboard side or No. 14 on
the port side, according to the weather, the idea, doubtless, being to
accustom the men quickly to reach the station on either side of the
ship. The siren was blown and a picked crew from the watch assembled at
the boat, put on life belts, jumped into the boat, took their places,
and jumped out again.

Throughout this case it must always be remembered that the disaster
occurred in May, 1915, and the whole subject must be approached with the
knowledge and mental attitude of that time. It may be that more
elaborate and effective methods and precaution have been adopted since
then, but there is no testimony which shows that these boat drills, as
practiced on the voyage, were not fully up to the then existing
standards and practices. There can be no criticism of the bulkhead door
drills, for there was one each day.

[Sidenote: Speed reduced.]

In November, 1914, the Directors of the Cunard Company, in view of the
falling off of the passenger traffic, decided to withdraw the
_Lusitania's_ sister ship, _Mauretania_, and to run the _Lusitania_ at
three-fourths boiler power, which involved a reduction of speed from an
average of about twenty-four knots to an average of about twenty-one
knots. The ship was operated under this reduced boiler power and reduced
rate of speed for six round trips until and including the fatal voyage,
although at the reduced rate she was considerably faster than any
passenger ship crossing the Atlantic at that time. This reduction was in
part for financial reasons and in part "a question of economy of coal
and labor in time of war." No profit was expected and none was made,
but the company continued to operate the ship as a public service. The
reduction from twenty-four to twenty-one knots is, however, quite
immaterial to the controversy, as will later appear.

Having thus outlined the personnel, equipment, and cargo of the vessel,
reference will now be made to a series of events preceding her sailing
on May 1, 1915.

On February 4, 1915, the Imperial German Government issued a
proclamation as follows:

[Sidenote: The German proclamation.]

        "1. The waters surrounding Great Britain and
        Ireland, including the whole English Channel,
        are hereby declared to be war zone. On and
        after the 18th of February, 1915, every enemy
        merchant ship found in the said war zone will
        be destroyed without its being always possible
        to avert the dangers threatening the crews and
        passengers on that account.

        "2. Even neutral ships are exposed to danger in
        the war zone, as in view of the misuse of
        neutral flags ordered on January 31 by the
        British Government and of the accidents of
        naval war, it cannot always be avoided to
        strike even neutral ships in attacks that are
        directed at enemy ships.

        "3. Northward navigation around the Shetland
        Islands, in the eastern waters of the North Sea
        and in a strip of not less than thirty miles
        width along the Netherlands coast is in no

                                          "VON POHL,
               "Chief of the Admiral Staff of the Navy.
        "Berlin, February 4, 1915."

[Sidenote: Submarine blockade declared.]

This was accompanied by a so-called memorial, setting forth the reasons
advanced by the German Government in support of the issuance of this
proclamation, an extract from which is as follows:

        "Just as England declared the whole North Sea
        between Scotland and Norway to be comprised
        within the seat of war, so does Germany now
        declare the waters surrounding Great Britain
        and Ireland, including the whole English
        Channel, to be comprised within the seat of
        war, and will prevent by all the military means
        at its disposal all navigation by the enemy in
        those waters. To this end it will endeavor to
        destroy, after February 18 next, any merchant
        vessels of the enemy which present themselves
        at the seat of war above indicated, although it
        may not always be possible to avert the dangers
        which may menace persons and merchandise.
        Neutral powers are accordingly forewarned not
        to intrust their crews, passengers, or
        merchandise to such vessels."

[Sidenote: Protests sent by the United States.]

To this proclamation and memorial the Government of the United States
made due protest under date of February 10, 1915. On the same day
protest was made to England by this Government regarding the use of the
American flag by the _Lusitania_ on its voyage through the war zone on
its trip from New York to Liverpool of January 30, 1915, in response to
which, on February 19, Sir Edward Grey, Secretary of State for Foreign
Affairs, handed a memorandum to Mr. Page, the American Ambassador to
England, containing the following statement:

[Sidenote: British reply to American protest.]

        "It is understood that the German Government
        had announced their intention of sinking
        British merchant vessels at sight by torpedoes
        without giving any opportunity of making any
        provisions for saving the lives of noncombatant
        crews and passengers. It was in consequence of
        this threat that the _Lusitania_ raised the
        United States flag on her inward voyage and on
        her subsequent outward voyage. A request was
        made by the United States passengers who were
        embarking on board her that the United States
        flag should be hoisted, presumably to insure
        their safety."

The British Ambassador, the Hon. Cecil Spring-Rice, on March 1, 1915,
in a communication to the American Secretary of State regarding an
economic blockade of Germany, stated in reference to the German
proclamation of February 4:

[Sidenote: British statement on the submarine blockade.]

        "Germany has declared that the English Channel,
        the north and west coasts of France, and the
        waters around the British Isles are a war area
        and has officially notified that all enemy
        ships found in that area will be destroyed, and
        that neutral vessels may be exposed to danger.
        This is in effect a claim to torpedo at sight,
        without regard to the safety of the crew or
        passengers, any merchant vessel under any flag.
        As it is not in the power of the German
        Admiralty to maintain any surface craft in
        these waters, this attack can only be delivered
        by submarine agency."

[Sidenote: Submarines sink merchant ships.]

Beginning with the 30th of January, 1915, and prior to the sinking of
the _Lusitania_ on May 7, 1915, German submarines attacked and seemed to
have sunk twenty merchant and passenger ships within about 100 miles of
the usual course of the _Lusitania_, chased two other vessels which
escaped, and damaged still another.

It will be noted that nothing is stated in the German memorandum as to
sinking enemy merchant vessels without warning, but, on the contrary,
the implication is that settled international law as to visit and search
and an opportunity for the lives of passengers to be safeguarded will be
obeyed, "although it may not always be possible to avert the dangers
which may menace persons and merchandise."

As a result of this submarine activity, the _Lusitania_ on its voyages
from New York to Liverpool, beginning with that of January 30, 1915,
steered a course further off from the south coast of Ireland than

[Sidenote: Precautions in danger zone.]

In addition, after the German proclamation of February 4, 1915, the
_Lusitania_ had its boats swung out and provisioned while passing
through the danger zone, did not use its wireless for sending messages,
and did not stop at the Mersey Bar for a pilot, but came directly up to
its berth.

The petitioner and the master of the _Lusitania_ received certain
advices from the British Admiralty on February 10, 1915, as follows:

        "Vessels navigating in submarine areas should
        have their boats turned out and fully
        provisioned. The danger is greatest in the
        vicinity of ports and off prominent headlands
        on the coast. Important landfalls in this area
        should be made after dark whenever possible. So
        far as is consistent with particular trades and
        state of tides, vessels should make their ports
        at dawn."

[Sidenote: Advices from the British Admiralty.]

On April 15 and 16, 1915, and after the last voyage from New York,
preceding the one on which the _Lusitania_ was torpedoed, the Cunard
Company and the master of the _Lusitania_ received at Liverpool the
following advices from the British Admiralty:

        "Confidential Daily Voyage Notice 15th April,
        1915, issued under Government War Risks Scheme.

        "German submarines appear to be operating
        chiefly off prominent headlands and landfalls.
        Ships should give prominent headlands a wide

        "Confidential memorandum issued 16th April,

[Sidenote: Fast steamers follow a zigzag course.]

        "War experience has shown that fast steamers
        can considerably reduce the chance of
        successful surprise submarine attacks by
        zigzagging--that is to say, altering the course
        at short and irregular intervals, say in ten
        minutes to half an hour. This course is almost
        invariably adopted by warships when cruising in
        an area known to be infested by submarines. The
        underwater speed of a submarine is very slow
        and it is exceedingly difficult for her to get
        into position to deliver an attack unless she
        can observe and predict the course of the ship

Sir Alfred Booth, Chairman of the Cunard Line, was a member of the War
Risks Committee at Liverpool, consisting of ship owners, representatives
of the Board of Trade and the Admiralty, which received these
instructions and passed them on to the owners of vessels, including the
Cunard Company, which distributed them to the individual masters.

[Sidenote: Advertisement in the New York papers.]

On Saturday, May 1, 1915, the advertised sailing date of the _Lusitania_
from New York to Liverpool on the voyage on which she was subsequently
sunk, there appeared the following advertisement in the New York
"Times," New York "Tribune," New York "Sun," New York "Herald," and the
New York "World," this advertisement being in all instances except one
placed directly over, under, or adjacent to the advertisement of the
Cunard Line, regarding the sailing of the _Lusitania_:

        "Travelers intending to embark on the Atlantic
        voyage are reminded that a state of war exists
        between Germany and her allies and Great
        Britain and her allies. That the zone of war
        includes the waters adjacent to the British
        Isles. That in accordance with formal notice
        given by the Imperial German Government,
        vessels flying the flag of Great Britain or of
        any of her allies are liable to destruction in
        those waters, and that travelers sailing in the
        war zone on ships of Great Britain or her
        allies do so at their own risk."

                        "IMPERIAL GERMAN EMBASSY,
        "April 22, 1915.          Washington, D. C."

This was the first insertion of this advertisement, although it was
dated more than a week prior to its publication. Captain Turner, the
master of the vessel, saw the advertisement or "something of the kind"
before sailing, and realized that the _Lusitania_ was included in the
warning. The Liverpool office of the Cunard Company was advised of the
sailing and the number of passengers by cable from the New York office,
but no mention was made of the above quoted advertisement. Sir Alfred
Booth was informed through the press of this advertisement on either
Saturday evening, May 1, or Sunday morning, May 2.

[Sidenote: _Lusitania_ justified in sailing.]

The significance and construction to be given to this advertisement will
be discussed infra, but it is perfectly plain that the master was fully
justified in sailing on the appointed day from a neutral port with many
neutral and non-combatant passengers, unless he and his company were
willing to yield to the attempt of the German Government to terrify
British shipping. No one familiar with the British character would
expect that such a threat would accomplish more than to emphasize the
necessity of taking every precaution to protect life and property which
the exercise of judgment would invite.

And so, as scheduled, the _Lusitania_ sailed, undisguised, with her four
funnels and a figure so familiar as to be readily discernible not only
by naval officers and marines, but by the ocean-going public generally.

[Sidenote: In the submarine war zone.]

The voyage was uneventful until May 6. On approaching the Irish coast on
May 6 the Captain ordered all the boats hanging on the davits to be
swung out and lowered to the promenade deckrail, and this order was
carried out under the supervision of Staff Captain Anderson, who later
went down with the ship. All bulkhead doors which were not necessary for
the working of the ship were closed, and it was reported to Captain
Turner that this had been done. Lookouts were doubled, and two extra
were put forward and one on either side of the bridge; that is, there
were two lookouts in the crow's-nest, two in the eyes of the ship, two
officers on the bridge, and a quartermaster on either side of the

Directions were given to the engine room to keep the highest steam they
could possibly get on the boilers, and in case the bridge rang for full
speed, to give as much as they possibly could. Orders were also given
that ports should be kept closed.

[Sidenote: Wireless messages from the Admiralty.]

At 7:50 P. M., on May 6, the _Lusitania_ received the following wireless
message from the Admiral at Queenstown: "Submarines active off south
coast of Ireland," and at 7:56 the vessel asked for and received a
repetition of his message. The ship was then going at a rate of 21 knots
per hour.

At 8:30 P. M. of the same day the following message was received from
the British Admiralty:

        "To All British Ships 0005:

        "Take Liverpool pilot at bar and avoid
        headlands. Pass harbors at full speed; steer
        midchannel course. Submarines off Fastnet."

[Sidenote: The _Lusitania's_ speed reduced.]

At 8:32 the Admiralty received a communication to show that this message
had been received by the _Lusitania_, and the same message was offered
to the vessel seven times between midnight of May 6 and 10 A. M. of May

At about 8 A. M. on the morning of May 7, on approaching the Irish
coast, the vessel encountered an intermittent fog, or Scotch mist,
called "banks" in seafaring language, and the speed was reduced to 15
knots. Previously the speed, according to Captain Turner's recollection,
had been reduced to 18 knots. This adjustment of speed was due to the
fact that Captain Turner wished to run the last 150 miles of the voyage
in the dark, so as to make Liverpool early on the morning of May 8, at
the earliest time when he could cross the bar without a pilot.

[Sidenote: Approaching the most dangerous waters.]

Judging from the location of previous submarine attacks, the most
dangerous waters in the _Lusitania's_ course were from the entrance to
St. George's Channel to Liverpool Bar. There is no dispute as to the
proposition that a vessel darkened is much safer from submarine attack
at night than in the daytime, and Captain Turner exercised proper and
good judgment in planning accordingly as he approached dangerous waters.
It is futile to conjecture as to what would or would not have happened
had the speed been higher prior to the approach to the Irish coast,
because, obviously, until then the Captain could not figure out his
situation, not knowing how he might be impeded by fog or other
unfavorable weather conditions.

On the morning of May 7, 1915, the ship passed about twenty-five or
twenty-six, and, in any event, at least eighteen and a half miles south
of Fastnet, which was not in sight. The course was then held up slightly
to bring the ship closer to land, and a little before noon land was
sighted, and what was thought to be Brow Head was made out.

Meanwhile, between 11 A. M. and noon, the fog disappeared, the weather
became clear, and the speed was increased to 18 knots. The course of the
vessel was S. 87 E. Mag. At 11:25 A. M. Captain Turner received the
following message:

        "Submarines active in southern part of Irish
        Channel, last heard of twenty miles south of
        Coningbeg. Light vessel make certain
        '_Lusitania_' gets this."

[Sidenote: Submarines reported by wireless.]

At 12:40 P. M. the following additional wireless message from the
Admiralty was received:

        "Submarines five miles south of Cape Clear,
        proceeding west when sighted at 10 A. M."

After picking up Brow Head and at about 12:40 P. M., the course was
altered in shore by about 30 degrees, to about N. 63 or 67 E. Mag.,
Captain Turner did not recall which. Land was sighted which the Captain
thought was Galley Head, but he was not sure, and therefore held in
shore. This last course was continued for an hour at a speed of 18 knots
until 1:40 P. M., when the Old Head of Kinsale was sighted and the
course was then changed back to the original course of S. 87 E. Mag.

[Sidenote: The _Lusitania_ torpedoed.]

At 1:50 P. M. the Captain started to take a four-point bearing on the
Old Head of Kinsale, and while thus engaged and at about 2:30 P. M., as
heretofore stated, the ship was torpedoed on the starboard side. Whether
one, two, or three torpedoes were fired at the vessel cannot be
determined with certainty. Two of the ship's crew were confident that a
third torpedo was fired and missed the ship. While not doubting the good
faith of these witnesses, the evidence is not sufficiently satisfactory
to be convincing.

[Sidenote: Conflicting testimony.]

[Sidenote: Probably two torpedoes.]

[Sidenote: No explosives on board.]

There was, however, an interesting and remarkable conflict of testimony
as to whether the ship was struck by one or two torpedoes, and
witnesses, both passengers and crew, differed on this point,
conscientiously and emphatically. The witnesses were all highly
intelligent, and there is no doubt that all testified to the best of
their recollection, knowledge, or impression, and in accordance with
their honest conviction. The weight of the testimony (too voluminous to
analyze) is in favor of the "two torpedo" contention, not only because
of some convincing direct testimony, (as, for instance, Adams, Lehman,
Morton,) but also because of the unquestioned surrounding circumstances.
The deliberate character of the attack upon a vessel whose identity
could not be mistaken, made easy on a bright day, and the fact that the
vessel had no means of defending herself, would lead to the inference
that the submarine commander would make sure of her destruction.
Further, the evidence is overwhelming that there was a second explosion.
The witnesses differ as to the impression which the sound of this
explosion made upon them--a natural difference due to the fact, known by
common experience, that persons who hear the same explosion even at the
same time will not only describe the sound differently, but will not
agree as to the number of detonations. As there were no explosives on
board, it is difficult to account for the second explosion, except on
the theory that it was caused by a second torpedo. Whether the number of
torpedoes was one or two is relevant, in this case, only upon the
question of what effect, if any, open ports had in accelerating the
sinking of the ship.

While there was much testimony and some variance as to the places where
the torpedoes struck, judged by the sound or shock of the explosions,
certain physical effects, especially as to smoke and blown-up débris,
tend to locate the areas of impact with some approach of accuracy.

From all the testimony it may be reasonably concluded that one torpedo
struck on the starboard side somewhere abreast of No. 2 boiler room and
the other, on the same side, either abreast of No. 3 boiler room or
between No. 3 and No. 4. From knowledge of the torpedoes then used by
the German submarines, it is thought that they would effect a rupture of
the outer hull thirty to forty feet long and ten to fifteen feet

[Sidenote: Flooding of boiler rooms and coal bunkers.]

Cockburn, senior Second Engineer, was of opinion that the explosion had
done a great deal of internal damage. Although the lights were out,
Cockburn could hear the water coming into the engine room. Water at once
entered No. 1 and No. 2 boiler rooms, a result necessarily attributable
to the fact that one or both of the coal bunkers were also blown open.
Thus, one torpedo flooded some or all of the coal bunkers on the
starboard side of Nos. 1 and 2 boiler rooms, and apparently flooded both
boiler rooms.

The effect of the other torpedo is not entirely clear. If it struck
midway between two bulkheads, it is quite likely to have done serious
bulkhead injury. The _Lusitania_ was built so as to float with two
compartments open to the sea, and with more compartments open she could
not stay afloat. As the side coal bunkers are regarded as compartments,
the ship could not float with two boiler rooms flooded and also an
adjacent bunker, and, therefore, the damage done by one torpedo was
enough to sink the ship.

To add to the difficulties, all the steam had gone as the result of the
explosions, and the ship could not be controlled by her engines.

Little, senior Third Engineer, testified that in a few seconds after the
explosion the steam pressure fell from 190 to 50 pounds, his explanation
being that the main steam pipes or boilers had been carried away.

[Sidenote: Engines disabled.]

The loss of control of and by the engines resulted in disability to stop
the engines, with the result that the ship kept her headway until she
sank. That the ship commenced to list to starboard immediately is
abundantly established by many witnesses.

[Sidenote: The ship's behavior in going down.]

Some of the witnesses, (Lauriat and Adams, passengers; Duncan, Bestic,
and Johnson, officers,) testified that the ship stopped listing to
starboard and started to recover and then listed again to starboard
until she went over.

This action, which is quite likely, must have resulted from the inrush
of water on the port side. There can be no other adequate explanation
consistent with elementary scientific knowledge; for, if the ship
temporarily righted herself, it must have been because the weight of
water on the two sides was equal or nearly so. The entry of water into
the port side must, of course, have been due to some rupture on that
side. Such a result was entirely possible, and, indeed, probable.

The explosive force was sufficiently powerful to blow débris far above
the radio wires--i. e., more than 160 feet above the water. The boiler
rooms were not over sixty feet wide, and so strong a force could readily
have weakened the longitudinal bulkheads on the port side in addition to
such injury as flying metal may have done. It is easy to understand,
therefore, how the whole pressure of the water rushing in from the
starboard side against the weakened longitudinal bulkheads on the port
side would cause them to give way and thus open up some apertures on the
port side for the entry of water. Later, when the water continued to
rush in on the starboard side, the list to starboard naturally again
occurred, increased and continued to the end. As might be expected, the
degree of list to starboard is variously described, but there is no
doubt that it was steep and substantial.

[Sidenote: Ports had all been ordered closed.]

A considerable amount of testimony was taken upon the contention of
claimants that many of the ship's ports were open, thus reducing her
buoyancy and substantially hastening her sinking. There is no doubt that
on May 6 adequate orders were given to close all ports. The testimony is
conclusive that the ports on Deck F (the majority of which were dummy
ports) were closed. Very few, if any, ports on E deck were open, and, if
so, they were starboard ports in a small section of the first class in
the vicinity where one of the torpedoes did its damage. A very limited
number of passengers testified that the portholes in their staterooms
were open, and if their impressions are correct, these portholes,
concerning which they testified, were all, or nearly all, so far above
the water that they could not have influenced the situation.

[Sidenote: Sinking not affected by open ports.]

There was conflicting testimony as to the ports in the dining room on D
deck. The weight of the testimony justifies the conclusion that some of
these ports were open--how many it is impossible to determine. These
ports, however, were from twenty-three to thirty feet above water, and
when the gap made by the explosion and the consequent severe and sudden
list are considered, it is plain that these open ports were not a
contributing cause of the sinking, and had a very trifling influence, if
any, in accelerating the time within which the ship sank.

From the foregoing the situation can be visualized. Two sudden and
extraordinary explosions, the ship badly listed so that the port side
was well up in the air, the passengers scattered about on the decks and
in the staterooms, saloons and companion ways, the ship under headway
and, as it turned out, only eighteen minutes afloat--such was the
situation which confronted the officers, crew, and passengers in the
endeavor to save the lives of those on board.

[Sidenote: Calm heroism of the passengers.]

The conduct of the passengers constitutes an enduring record of calm
heroism with many individual instances of sacrifice and, in general, a
marked consideration for women and children. There was no panic, but
naturally, there was a considerable amount of excitement and rush and
much confusion, and, as the increasing list rendered ineffective the
lowering of the boats on the port side, the passengers, as is readily
understandable, crowded over on the starboard side.

The problem presented to the officers of the ship was one of exceeding
difficulty, occasioned largely because of the serious list and the
impossibility of stopping the ship or reducing her headway.

[Sidenote: Lookouts sighted the torpedo.]

[Sidenote: Boats ordered lowered.]

The precaution of extra lookouts resulted in a prompt report to the
Captain, via the bridge, of the sighting of the torpedo. Second Officer
Heppert, who was on the bridge, immediately closed all watertight doors
worked from the bridge, and the testimony satisfactorily shows that all
watertight doors worked by hand were promptly closed. Immediately after
Captain Turner saw the wake of the torpedo there was an explosion and
then Turner went to the navigation bridge and took the obvious course,
i. e., had the ship's head turned to the land. He signaled the engine
room for full speed astern, hoping thereby to take the way off the ship,
and then ordered the boats lowered down to the rail and directed that
women and children should be first provided for in the boats. As the
engine room failed to respond to the order to go full speed astern, and
as the ship was continuing under way, Turner ordered that the boats
should not be lowered until the vessel should lose her headway, and he
told Anderson, the Staff Captain, who was in charge of the port boats,
to lower the boats when he thought the way was sufficiently off to allow
that operation. Anderson's fidelity to duty is sufficiently exemplified
by the fact that he went down with the ship.

[Sidenote: The officers display courage and skill.]

Jones, First Officer, and Lewis, Acting Third Officer, were in charge of
the boats on the starboard side and personally superintended their
handling and launching. Too much cannot be said both for their courage
and skill, but, difficult as was their task, they were not confronted
with some of the problems which the port side presented. There, in
addition to Anderson, were Bestic, Junior Third Officer, and another
officer, presumably the Second Officer. These men were apparently doing
the best they could and standing valiantly to their duty. Anderson's
fate has already been mentioned, and Bestic, although surviving, stuck
to his post until the ship went down under him. The situation can
readily be pictured even by a novice.

With the ship listed to starboard, the port boats, of course, swung
inboard. If enough man power were applied, the boats could be put over
the rail, but then a real danger would follow. Robertson, the ship's
carpenter, aptly described that danger in answer to a question as to
whether it was possible to lower the open boats on the port side. He

[Sidenote: Port boats could not be lowered.]

"No. To lower the port boats would just be like drawing a crate of
unpacked china along a dock road. What I mean is that if you started to
lower the boats you would be dragging them down the rough side of the
ship on rivets which are what we call "snap-headed rivets"--they stand
up about an inch from the side of the ship, so you would be dragging the
whole side of the boat away if you tried to lower the boats with a
15-degree list."

That some boats were and others would have been seriously damaged is
evidenced by the fact that two port boats were lowered to the water and
got away, (though one afterward filled,) and not one boat reached

Each boat has its own history, (except possibly Boats 2 and 4,) although
it is naturally difficult, in each case, to allocate all the testimony
to a particular boat.

[Sidenote: Accidents in lowering.]

There is some testimony, given in undoubted good faith, that painted or
rusted davits stuck out, but the weight of the testimony is to the
contrary. There were some lamentable occurrences on the port side, which
resulted in spilling passengers, some of whom thus thrown out or injured
went to their death. These unfortunate accidents, however, were due
either to lack of strength of the seaman who was lowering, or possibly,
at worst, to an occasional instance of incompetency due to the personal
equation so often illustrated, where one man of many may not be equal to
the emergency. But the problem was of the most vexatious character. In
addition to the crowding of passengers in some instances was this
extremely hazardous feat of lowering boats swung inboard from a tilted
height, heavily weighted by human beings, with the ship still under way.
It cannot be said that it was negligent to attempt this, because,
obviously, all the passengers could not be accommodated in the starboard

[Sidenote: Six boats get away from starboard.]

On the starboard side, the problem, in some respects, was not so
difficult, while, in others, troublesome conditions existed quite
different from those occurring on the port side. Here the boats swung so
far out as to add to the difficulty of passengers getting in them, a
difficulty intensified by the fact that many more passengers went to the
starboard side than to the port side and, also that the ship maintained
her way. Six boats successfully got away. In the case of the remaining
boats, some were successfully lowered but later met with some
unavoidable accident, and some were not successfully launched (such as
Nos. 1, 5, and 17) for entirely explainable reasons which should not be
charged to inefficiency on the part of the officers or crew.

[Sidenote: Collapsible boats cut loose.]

The collapsible boats were on the deck under the open lifeboats, and
were intended to be lifted and lowered by the same davits which lowered
the open boats after the open boats had gotten clear of the ship. It was
the duty of the officers to get the open boats away before giving
attention to the collapsible boats, and that was a question of time.
These boats are designed and arranged to float free if the ship should
sink before they can be hoisted over. They were cut loose and some
people were saved on these boats.

It is to be expected that those passengers who lost members of their
family or friends, and who saw some of the unfortunate accidents, should
feel strongly and entertain the impression that inefficiency or
individual negligence was widespread among the crew. Such an impression,
however, does an inadvertent injustice to the great majority of the
crew, who acted with that matter-in-fact courage and fidelity to duty
which are traditional with men of the sea. Such of these men, presumably
fairly typical of all, as testified in this court, were impressive not
only because of inherent bravery, but because of intelligence and
clear-headedness, and they possessed that remarkable gift of simplicity
so characteristic of truly fearless men who cannot quite understand why
an ado is made of acts which seem to them merely the day's work.

Mr. Grab, one of the claimants and an experienced transatlantic
traveler, concisely summed up the situation when he said:

"They were doing the best they could--they were very brave and working
as hard as they could without any fear. They didn't care about
themselves. It was very admirably done. While there was great confusion,
they did the best they could."

[Sidenote: Captain Turner's comment on the crew.]

It will unduly prolong a necessarily extended opinion to sift the
voluminous testimony relating to this subject of the boats and the
conduct of the crew and something is sought to be made of comments of
Captain Turner, construed by some to be unfavorable but afterward
satisfactorily supplemented and explained, but if there were some
instances of incompetency they were very few and the charge of
negligence in this regard cannot be successfully maintained.

In arriving at this conclusion, I have not overlooked the argument
earnestly pressed that the men were not sufficiently instructed and
drilled; for I think the testimony establishes the contrary in the light
of conditions in May, 1915.

I now come to what seems to be the only debatable question of fact in
the case, i. e., whether Captain Turner was negligent in not literally
following the Admiralty advices and, also, in not taking a course
different from that which he adopted.

[Sidenote: The Captain's judgment free.]

The fundamental principle in navigating a merchantman, whether in times
of peace or of war, is that the commanding officer must be left free to
exercise his own judgment. Safe navigation denies the proposition that
the judgment and sound discretion of the Captain of a vessel must be
confined in a mental straitjacket. Of course, when movements are under
military control, orders must be strictly obeyed, come what may. No such
situation, however, was presented either to the Cunard Steamship Co. or
Captain Turner. The vessel was not engaged in military service nor under
naval convoy. True, she was, as between the German and British
Governments, an enemy ship as to Germany, but she was unarmed and a
carrier of not merely noncombatants, but, among others, of many citizens
of the United States, then a neutral country, at peace with all the

[Sidenote: Admiralty advices considered.]

In such circumstances the Captain could not shield himself automatically
against error behind a literal compliance with the general advices or
instructions of the Admiralty, nor can it be supposed that the
Admiralty, any more than the Cunard Steamship Co., expected him so to
do. What was required of him was that he should seriously consider and,
as far as practicable, follow the Admiralty advices and use his best
judgment as events and exigencies occurred; and if a situation arose
where he believed that a course should be pursued to meet emergencies
which required departure from some of the Admiralty advices as to
general rules of action, then it was his duty to take such course, if in
accordance with his carefully formed deliberate judgment. After a
disaster has occurred, it is not difficult for the expert to show how it
might have been avoided, and there is always opportunity for academic
discussion as to what ought or ought not to have been done; but the true
approach is to endeavor, for the moment, to possess the mind of him upon
whom rested the responsibility.

[Sidenote: Enemy obligations in care of merchant ships.]

Let us now see what that responsibility was and how it was dealt with.
The rules of naval warfare allowed the capture and, in some
circumstances, the destruction of an enemy merchant ship, but, at the
same time, it was the accepted doctrine of all civilized nations (as
will be more fully considered infra) that, as Lord Mersey put it, "there
is always an obligation first to secure the safety of the lives of those
on board."

The responsibility, therefore, of Captain Turner, in his task of
bringing the ship safely to port, was to give heed not only to general
advices advanced as the outcome of experience in the then developing
knowledge as to submarine warfare, but particularly to any special
information which might come to him in the course of the voyage.

[Sidenote: Advices of the Admiralty.]

Realizing that if there was a due warning, in accordance with
international law, and an opportunity, within a limited time, for the
passengers to leave the ship, nevertheless that the operation must be
quickly done, Captain Turner, on May 6, had taken the full precautions,
such as swinging out the boats, properly provisioned, which have been
heretofore described. The principal features of the Admiralty advices
were (1) to give the headlands a wide berth; (2) to steer a midchannel
course; (3) to maintain as high a speed as practicable; (4) to zigzag,
and (5) to make ports, if possible, at dawn, thus running the last part
of the voyage at night.

[Sidenote: Fastnet given a wide berth.]

The reason for the advice as to keeping off headlands was that the
submarines lurked near those prominent headlands and landfalls to and
from which ships were likely to go. This instruction Captain Turner
entirely followed in respect of Fastnet, which was the first point on
the Irish coast which a vessel bound from New York to Liverpool would
ordinarily approach closely, and, in normal times, the passing would be
very near, or even inside of Fastnet. The _Lusitania_ passed Fastnet so
far out that Captain Turner could not see it. Whether the distance was
about twenty-five miles, as the Cunard Steamship Co. contends, or about
eighteen and one-half miles, as the claimants calculate, the result is
that either distance must be regarded as a wide berth, in comparison
with the customary navigation at that point, and, besides, nothing
happened there. At 8:30 P. M. on May 6 the message had been received
from the British Admiralty that submarines were off Fastnet, so that
Captain Turner, in this regard, not only followed the general advices,
but the specific information from the Admiralty.

At 11:25 A. M. on May 7 Captain Turner received the wireless from the
Admiralty plainly intended for the _Lusitania_, informing him that
submarines (plural) were active in the southern part of the Irish
Channel and when last heard of were twenty miles south of Coningbeg
Light Vessel. This wireless message presented acutely to the Captain
the problem as to the best course to pursue, always bearing in mind his
determination and the desirability of getting to the Liverpool Bar when
it could be crossed while the tide served and without a pilot. Further,
as was stated by Sir Alfred Booth, "The one definite instruction we did
give him with regard to that was to authorize him to come up without a
pilot." The reasons for this instruction were cogent and were concisely
summed up by Sir Alfred Booth during his examination as a witness as

[Sidenote: The Mersey sandbar.]

"It was one of the points that we felt it necessary to make the Captain
of the _Lusitania_ understand the importance of. The _Lusitania_ can
only cross the Liverpool Bar at certain states of the tide, and we
therefore warned the Captain, or whoever might be Captain, that we did
not think it would be safe for him to arrive off the bar at such a time
that he would have to wait there, because that area had been infested
with submarines, and we thought therefore it would be wiser for him to
arrange his arrival in such a way, leaving him an absolutely free hand
as to how he would do it, that he could come straight up without
stopping at all. The one definite instruction we did give him with
regard to that was to authorize him to come up without a pilot."

The tide would be high at Liverpool Bar at 6:53 on Saturday morning, May
8. Captain Turner planned to cross the bar as much earlier than that as
he could get over without stopping, while at the same time figuring on
passing during the darkness the dangerous waters from the entrance of
St. George's Channel to the Liverpool Bar.

[Sidenote: The Captain decides to work inshore.]

Having thus in mind his objective, and the time approximately when he
intended to reach it, the message received at 11:25 A. M. required that
he should determine whether to keep off land approximately the same
distance as he was when he passed Fastnet, or to work inshore and go
close to Coningbeg Lightship. He determined that the latter was the
better plan to avoid the submarines reported in midchannel ahead of him.

[Sidenote: Taking a bearing.]

When Galley Head was sighted the course was changed so as to haul closer
to the land, and this course was pursued until 1:40 P. M., at which time
Captain Turner concluded that it was necessary for him to get his
bearings accurately. This he decided should be done by taking a
four-point bearing, during which procedure the ship was torpedoed. It is
urged that he should have taken a two-point bearing or a cross bearing,
which would have occupied less time, but if, under all the conditions
which appealed to his judgment as a mariner, he had taken a different
method of ascertaining his exact distance and the result would have been
inaccurate, or while engaged in taking a two-point bearing the ship had
been torpedoed, then somebody would have said he should have taken a
four-point bearing. The point of the matter is that an experienced
Captain took the bearing he thought proper for his purposes, and to
predicate negligence upon such a course is to assert that a Captain is
bound to guess the exact location of a hidden and puzzling danger.

[Sidenote: Testimony about the ship's speed.]

Much emphasis has been placed upon the fact that the speed of the ship
was eighteen knots at the time of the attack instead of twenty-four, or,
in any event, twenty-one knots, and upon the further fact (for such it
is) that the ship was not zigzagging as frequently as the Admiralty
advised or in the sense of that advice.

Upon this branch of the case much testimony was taken, (some in camera,
as in the Wreck Commissioners' Court,) and, for reasons of public
interest, the methods of successfully evading submarines will not be
discussed. If it be assumed that the Admiralty advices as of May, 1915,
were sound and should have been followed, then the answer to the charge
of negligence is twofold: (1) that Captain Turner, in taking a
four-point bearing off the Old Head of Kinsale, was conscientiously
exercising his judgment for the welfare of the ship, and (2) that it is
impossible to determine whether, by zigzagging off the Old Head of
Kinsale or elsewhere, the _Lusitania_ would have escaped the German
submarine or submarines.

As to the first answer I cannot better express my conclusion than in the
language of Lord Mersey:

[Sidenote: Lord Mersey's opinion.]

"Captain Turner was fully advised as to the means which in the view of
the Admiralty were best calculated to avert the perils he was likely to
encounter, and in considering the question whether he is to blame for
the catastrophe in which his voyage ended I have to bear this
circumstance in mind. It is certain that in some respects Captain Turner
did not follow the advice given to him. It may be (though I seriously
doubt it) that had he done so his ship would have reached Liverpool in
safety. But the question remains: Was his conduct the conduct of a
negligent or of an incompetent man? On this question I have sought the
guidance of my assessors, who have rendered me invaluable assistance,
and the conclusion at which I have arrived is that blame ought not to be
imputed to the Captain. The advice given to him, although meant for his
most serious and careful consideration, was not intended to deprive him
of the right to exercise his skilled judgment in the difficult questions
that might arise from time to time in the navigation of his ship. His
omission to follow the advice in all respects cannot fairly be
attributed either to negligence or incompetence.

[Sidenote: Skilled and experienced judgment.]

"He exercised his judgment for the best. It was the judgment of a
skilled and experienced man, and although others might have acted
differently, and, perhaps, more successfully, he ought not, in my
opinion, to be blamed."

[Sidenote: More than one submarine in wait.]

As to the second answer, it is only necessary to outline the situation
in order to realize how speculative is the assertion of fault. It is
plain from the radio messages of the Admiralty, (May 6, 7:50 P. M.,
"Submarines active off south coast of Ireland"; May 6, 8:30 P. M.,
"Submarines off Fastnet"; the 11:25 message of May 7, supra; May 7,
11:40 A. M., "Submarines five miles south of Cape Clear, proceeding west
when sighted at 10 A. M.,") that more than one submarine was lying in
wait for the _Lusitania_.

[Sidenote: Submarines bold with unarmed vessels.]

A scientific education is not necessary to appreciate that it is much
more difficult for a submarine successfully to hit a naval vessel than
an unarmed merchant ship. The destination of a naval vessel is usually
not known, that of the _Lusitania_ was. A submarine commander, when
attacking an armed vessel, knows that he, as the attacker, may and
likely will also be attacked by his armed opponent. The _Lusitania_ was
as helpless in that regard as a peaceful citizen suddenly set upon by
murderous assailants. There are other advantages of the naval vessel
over the merchant ship which need not be referred to.

[Sidenote: Probably two submarines.]

It must be assumed that the German submarine commanders realized the
obvious disadvantages which necessarily attached to the _Lusitania_,
and, if she had evaded one submarine, who can say what might have
happened five minutes later? If there was, in fact, a third torpedo
fired at the _Lusitania's_ port side, then that incident would strongly
suggest that, in the immediate vicinity of the ship, there were at least
two submarines.

It must be remembered also that the _Lusitania_ was still in the open
sea, considerably distant from the places of theretofore submarine
activity and comfortably well off the Old Head of Kinsale, from which
point it was about 140 miles to the Scilly Islands, and that she was
nearly 100 miles from the entrance to St. George's Channel, the first
channel she would enter on her way to Liverpool.

[Sidenote: Attack intended to destroy life.]

No transatlantic passenger liner, and certainly none carrying American
citizens, had been torpedoed up to that time. The submarines, therefore,
could lay their plans with facility to destroy the vessel somewhere on
the way from Fastnet to Liverpool, knowing full well the easy prey which
would be afforded by an unarmed, unconvoyed, well-known merchantman,
which from every standpoint of international law had the right to expect
a warning before its peaceful passengers were sent to their death. That
the attack was deliberate and long contemplated and intended ruthlessly
to destroy human life, as well as property, can no longer be open to
doubt. And when a foe employs such tactics it is idle and purely
speculative to say that the action of the Captain of a merchant ship, in
doing or not doing something or in taking one course and not another,
was a contributing cause of disaster or that had the Captain not done
what he did or had he done something else, then that the ship and her
passengers would have evaded their assassins.

[Sidenote: The Captain and company not negligent.]

I find, therefore, as a fact, that the Captain and, hence, the Cunard
Company were not negligent.

The importance of the cause, however, justifies the statement of another
ground which effectually disposes of any question of liability.

It is an elementary principle of law that even if a person is negligent
recovery cannot be had unless the negligence is the proximate cause of
the loss or damage.

There is another rule, settled by ample authority, viz.: that, even if
negligence is shown, it cannot be the proximate cause of the loss or
damage if an independent illegal act or a third party intervenes to
cause the loss.

The question, then, is whether the act of the German submarine commander
was an illegal act.

[Sidenote: International law.]

The United States courts recognize the binding force of international

At least since as early as June 5, 1793, in the letter of Mr. Jefferson,
Secretary of State, to the French Minister, our Government has
recognized the law of nations as an "integral part" of the laws of the

To ascertain international law, "resort must be had to the customs and
usages of civilized nations; and, as evidence of these, to the works of
commentators and jurists. * * * Such works are resorted to by judicial
tribunals * * * for trustworthy evidence of what the law really is."

Let us first see the position of our Government, and then ascertain
whether that position has authoritative support. Mr. Lansing, in his
official communication to the German Government dated June 9, 1915,

[Sidenote: Mr. Lansing's communication.]

[Sidenote: Responsibility of the German Government.]

[Sidenote: A principle of humanity.]

"But the sinking of passenger ships involves principles of humanity
which throw into the background any special circumstances of detail that
may be thought to affect the cases, principles which lift it, as the
Imperial German Government will no doubt be quick to recognize and
acknowledge, out of the class of ordinary subjects of diplomatic
discussion or of international controversy. Whatever be the other facts
regarding the _Lusitania_, the principal fact is that a great steamer,
primarily and chiefly a conveyance for passengers, and carrying more
than a thousand souls who had no part or lot in the conduct of the war,
was torpedoed and sunk without so much as a challenge or a warning, and
that men, women, and children were sent to their death in circumstances
unparalleled in modern warfare. The fact that more than one hundred
American citizens were among those who perished made it the duty of the
Government of the United States to speak of these things and once more
with solemn emphasis to call the attention of the Imperial German
Government to the grave responsibility which the Government of the
United States conceives that it has incurred in this tragic occurrence,
and to the indisputable principle upon which that responsibility rests.
The Government of the United States is contending for something much
greater than mere rights of property or privileges of commerce. It is
contending for nothing less high and sacred than the rights of humanity,
which every Government honors itself in respecting and which no
Government is justified in resigning on behalf of those under its care
and authority. Only her actual resistance to capture or refusal to stop
when ordered to do so for the purpose of visit could have afforded the
commander of the submarine any justification for so much as putting the
lives of those on board the ship in jeopardy. This principle the
Government of the United States understands the explicit instructions
issued on August 3, 1914, by the Imperial German Admiralty to its
commanders at sea to have recognized and embodied as do the naval codes
of all other nations, and upon it every traveler and seaman had a right
to depend. It is upon this principle of humanity, as well as upon the
law founded upon this principle, that the United States must stand. * * *

[Sidenote: Americans must be safeguarded.]

"The Government of the United States cannot admit that the proclamation
of a war zone from which neutral ships have been warned to keep away may
be made to operate as in any degree an abbreviation of the rights either
of American shipmasters or of American citizens bound on lawful errands
as passengers on merchant ships of belligerent nationality. It does not
understand the Imperial German Government to question those rights. It
understands it, also, to accept as established beyond question the
principle that the lives of non-combatants cannot lawfully or rightfully
be put in jeopardy by the capture or destruction of an unresisting
merchantman, and to recognize the obligation to take sufficient
precaution to ascertain whether a suspected merchantman is in fact of
belligerent nationality or is in fact carrying contraband of war under a
neutral flag. The Government of the United States therefore deems it
reasonable to expect that the Imperial German Government will adopt the
measures necessary to put these principles into practice in respect of
the safeguarding of American lives and American ships, and asks for
assurances that this will be done. (See White Book of Department of
State entitled 'Diplomatic Correspondence with Belligerent Governments
Relating to Neutral Rights and Duties, European War, No. 2,' at p. 172.
Printed and distributed October 21, 1915.)"

The German Government found itself compelled ultimately to recognize the
principles insisted upon by the Government of the United States, for,
after considerable correspondence, and on May 4, 1916, (after the
_Sussex_ had been sunk,) the German Government stated:

[Sidenote: The _Sussex_ agreement.]

"The German submarine forces have had in fact, orders to conduct
submarine warfare in accordance with the general principles of visit
and search and destruction of merchant vessels as recognized by
international law, the sole exception being the conduct of warfare
against the enemy trade carried on enemy freight ships that are
encountered in the war zone surrounding Great Britain. * * *

[Sidenote: Merchant ships not to be sunk without warning.]

"The German Government, guided by this idea, notifies the Government of
the United States that the German naval forces have received the
following orders: In accordance with the general principles of visit and
search and destruction of merchant vessels recognized by international
law, such vessels, both within and without the area declared as naval
war zone, shall not be sunk without warning and without saving human
lives, unless these ships attempt to escape or offer resistance. See
Official Communication by German Foreign Office to Ambassador Gerard,
May 4, 1916. (White Book No. 3 of Department of State, pp. 302, 305.)"

[Sidenote: Right to make a prize.]

There is, of course, no doubt as to the right to make prize of an enemy
ship on the high seas, and, under certain conditions, to destroy her,
and equally no doubt of the obligation to safeguard the lives of all
persons aboard, whether passengers or crew.

Two quotations from a long list of authorities may be given for
convenience, one stating the rule and the other the attitude which
obtains among civilized Governments. Oppenheim sets forth as among
violations of the rules of war:

"(12) Attack on enemy merchantmen without previous request to submit to

The observation in Vattel's "Law of Nations" is peculiarly applicable to
the case of the _Lusitania_:

"Let us never forget that our enemies are men. Though reduced to the
disagreeable necessity of prosecuting our right by force of arms, let us
not divest ourselves of that charity which connects us with all mankind.
Thus shall we courageously defend our country's rights without
violating those of human nature. Let our valor preserve itself from
every stain of cruelty and the lustre of victory will not be tarnished
by inhuman and brutal actions."

[Sidenote: Codes and rules of nations.]

In addition to these authorities are the regulations and practices of
various Governments. In 1512 Henry VIII. issued instructions to the
Admiral of the Fleet which accord with our understanding of modern
international law. Such has been England's course since.

Substantially the same rules were followed in the Russian and Japanese
regulations, and probably in the codes or rules of many other nations.

The rules recognized and practiced by the United States, among other
things, provide:

"(10) In the case of an enemy merchantman it may be sunk, but only if it
is impossible to take it into port, and provided always that the persons
on board are put in a place of safety. (U. S. White Book, European War,
No. 3, p. 192.)"

[Sidenote: Humane principles in American wars.]

These humane principles were practiced both in the war of 1812 and
during our own war of 1861-65. Even with all the bitterness (now happily
ended and forgotten) and all the difficulties of having no port to which
to send a prize, Captain Semmes of the _Alabama_ strictly observed the
rule as to human life, even going so far as to release ships because he
could not care for the passengers. But we are not confined to American
and English precedents and practices.

While acting contrary to its official statements, yet the Imperial
German Government recognized the same rule as the United States, and
prior to the sinking of the _Lusitania_ had not announced any other
rule. The war zone proclamation of February 4, 1915, contained no
warning that the accepted rule of civilized naval warfare would be
discarded by the German Government.

Indeed, after the _Lusitania_ was sunk, the German Government did not
make any such claim, but in answer to the first American note in
reference to the _Lusitania_ the German Foreign Office, per von Jagow,
addressed to Ambassador Gerard a note dated May 18, 1915, in which,
inter alia, it is stated in connection with the sinking of the British
steamer _Falaba_:

[Sidenote: The _Falaba_ case.]

"In the case of the sinking of the English steamer _Falaba_, the
commander of the German submarine had the intention of allowing
passengers and crew ample opportunity to save themselves. It was not
until the Captain disregarded the order to lay to and took to flight,
sending up rocket signals for help, that the German commander ordered
the crew and passengers by signals and megaphone to leave the ship
within ten minutes. As a matter of fact, he allowed them twenty-three
minutes, and did not fire the torpedo until suspicious steamers were
hurrying to the aid of the _Falaba_. (White Book No. 2, U. S. Department
of State, p. 169.)"

Indeed, as late as May 4, 1916, Germany did not dispute the
applicability of the rule, as is evidenced by the note written to our
Government by von Jagow of the German Foreign Office, an extract of
which has been quoted supra.

Further, Section 116 of the German Prize Code, (Huberich and Kind
translation, p. 68,) in force at the date of the _Lusitania's_
destruction, conformed with the American rule. It provided:

[Sidenote: Safety of passengers necessary.]

"Before proceeding to a destruction of the vessel the safety of all
persons on board, and, so far as possible, their effects, is to be
provided for, and all ship's papers and other evidentiary material
which, according to the views of the persons at interest, is of value
for the formulation of the judgment of the prize court, are to be taken
over by the commander."

Thus, when the _Lusitania_ sailed from New York, her owner and master
were justified in believing that, whatever else and theretofore
happened, this simple, humane and universally accepted principle would
not be violated. Few, at that time, would be likely to construe the
warning advertisement as calling attention to more than the perils to be
expected from quick disembarkation and the possible rigors of the sea
after the proper safeguarding of the lives of passengers by at least
full opportunity to take to the boats.

It is, of course, easy now in the light of many later events, added to
preceding acts, to look back and say that the Cunard Line and its
Captain should have known that the German Government would authorize or
permit so shocking a breach of international law and so foul an offense,
not only against an enemy, but as well against peaceful citizens of a
then friendly nation.

But the unexpected character of the act was best evidenced by the horror
which it excited in the minds and hearts of the American people.

[Sidenote: Fault with the Imperial German Government.]

[Sidenote: Those who plotted the crime.]

The fault, therefore, must be laid upon those who are responsible for
the sinking of the vessel, in the legal as well as moral sense. It is,
therefore, not the Cunard Line, petitioner, which must be held liable
for the loss of life and property. The cause of the sinking of the
_Lusitania_ was the illegal act of the Imperial German Government,
acting through its instrument, the submarine commander, and violating a
cherished and humane rule observed, until this war, by even the
bitterest antagonists. As Lord Mersey said, "The whole blame for the
cruel destruction of life in this catastrophe must rest solely with
those who plotted and with those who committed the crime."

       *       *       *       *       *

Italy, bound at the outbreak of the war to Germany and Austria by a
treaty which formed the so-called Triple Alliance, was in a most
difficult position. Her people, however, were strongly convinced of the
aggressive intentions of Germany, and, after careful consideration, the
Government and the people alike decided to cast their lot with the
Allies. Active operations were at once begun along the border between
Italy and Austria, and in this difficult terrain the events which are
described in the following chapter occurred.



Copyright, Munsey's Magazine, May, 1916.

[Sidenote: New style of warfare.]

At the outbreak of the great war huge and well-equipped bodies of men,
led by highly trained officers, rich in the strategic lore of centuries,
set out to demonstrate the value of the theories that they had learned
in time of peace. In a few months an entirely new style of warfare
developed, and most of the military learning of the past was interesting
chiefly because of its antiquity.

[Sidenote: Italy and Austria fight in the Alps.]

After the tremendous conflict at the Marne and the German rush for
Calais, which was halted on the line of the Yser, there were on the
western front no more battles in the old sense of the word. From the
North Sea to the Swiss frontier, the fighting was just a novel and
gigantic form of siege warfare. Cavalry became an obsolete arm. Battle
tactics, in the old sense, ceased to have any meaning. Of strategy
nothing much remained save the dictionary definition.

And now, since Italy and Austria have locked horns above the clouds,
among the glaciers and snow-faced slopes of the Alps, even the old
text-books on mountain warfare have lost their significance. In the
Trentino and along the Isonzo we see the consummation of a new style of
mountain fighting, which grew out of the old methods in the struggle for
the Carpathian passes during the first winter and spring of the war.

In the old days, during a campaign in a mountain region, most of the
battles were fought on the level--in the literal, not the colloquial
sense of the word. There was a deal of marching and scouting among crags
and precipices, but all with the object of obtaining the best position
in an open valley or upland plain where the real fighting must take
place. Now the smooth floors of the valleys are comparatively deserted,
while whole armies are spread out over great peaks and dizzy snow-fields
thousands of feet above sea-level, chopping trenches in the ice and
sparring for some vantage-point on a crag that in peace times might tax
the strength and skill of the amateur mountain-climber.

[Sidenote: Bourcet's "Principles of Mountain Warfare."]

Some time between 1764 and 1770, Pierre de Bourcet wrote a treatise
entitled "The Principles of Mountain Warfare." This may seem to be going
a long way back, but Bourcet's volume and that of the young Comte de
Guilbert on general tactics have historical interest and importance
because, according to Spenser Wilkinson, they show where some of
Napoleon's strategic "miracles" were born. Bourcet's observations are as
vital as if they had been written in 1910, but, as will be seen, many of
them are somewhat musty in 1916.

[Sidenote: Passes and defiles once the strong positions.]

Bourcet, without the slightest idea of a battle-line extending from
frontier to sea, lays down as the first principle of mountain warfare
that when the enemy holds a strong position, the assailant should force
him to leave it by turning it. These strong positions in the mountains
were, until this war, the passes and defiles.

"These contracted places," he explains, "as they generally constitute
the principal objects of the defense, must compel the general who is
taking the offensive to seek every possible means of turning them, or of
misleading the enemy by diversions which will weaken him and facilitate
access to them.

"Suppose, for example, that the general on the defensive should be
entrenched at all points surrounding his position in such a way as to be
able to resist any direct attack that might be attempted against him, it
would be necessary to attempt to turn him by some more distant point,
choosing positions that would facilitate the scheme, and which, by
suggesting some different object, could not raise the suspicion that the
troops there collected were destined for the purpose really in view.

[Sidenote: Unlike modern warfare.]

"It often happens in the mountains that the only passages favorable to
our plans are interrupted by narrow defiles. In such cases we must avoid
letting the enemy know our real purpose, and must undertake diversions,
dividing our forces into small bodies. This method, which would be
dangerous in any other sort of country, is indispensable in the
mountains, and is the whole science of this kind of warfare, provided
that the general who uses it always has the means to reconcentrate his
forces when necessary."

Bourcet's conclusion is that in such a campaign the offensive has great
advantages over the defensive. It will always possess the initiative;
and if it prepares its blow with sufficient secrecy and strikes swiftly,
the enemy, whose troops are necessarily scattered along the whole line
menaced, can never be ready to meet the attack.

[Sidenote: Generals understand each other's strategy.]

To-day, the only trouble about this beautifully tricky system of
strategy is that the defending general would pay no attention to it. The
Austrian general staff, for instance, knew that the Italians would try
to smash through the frontier defenses of the Dual Empire, and that the
natural avenues of attack were up the valley of the Adige, along the
railway through Pontebba and Malborghetto, or between Malborghetto and
the sea. The Austrians have enough men and guns to defend all these
routes and all the tortuous pathways in between. So all they had to do
was plant themselves on their chosen ground along the whole carefully
fortified mountain line, and wait for the Italians to attack wherever
they pleased.

"It is only by marching and countermarching," Bourcet said, "that we can
hope to deceive the enemy and induce him to weaken himself in certain
positions in order to strengthen himself in others."

[Sidenote: The enemy cannot be outflanked.]

But this cannot be done in the mountain fighting in the Alps to-day. The
Italians might march and countermarch as much as they pleased, but there
is no possible way of turning the enemy out of his position by
outflanking him. It is a case of frontal attack, with every valley
blocked and every peak a fortress.

[Sidenote: Italy's great objectives.]

The Italians campaign has two principal objectives--Trent and Gorizia.
These two lovely cities of Italia Irrendenta are respectively the keys
to the right and left flank of the Austrian frontier. Trent guards the
valley of the Adige, one of the few natural highways from Italy into
Austrian territory. Bourcet himself, in 1735, designed the defense of
this pathway at Rivoli, just inside the Italian boundary, where he laid
out what were considered impregnable positions. To the north; where
Trent lies, the country becomes more and more difficult for an invader,
and up to this time the Italians have not been able to come within
striking distance of the great Austrian fortress, though they hold
Rovereto, and have cut the direct line of communication between Trent
and Toblach.

[Sidenote: Italian game on the Gorizia front.]

On the Gorizia front they have made what in this war may be considered
as important gains. Gorizia stands watch over the valley of the Isonzo
and Austria's Adriatic littoral. Besides occupying Grado and Monfalcone
in the coastlands, General Cadorna's forces have crossed the Isonzo at
several points, have smashed through to the north, and now threaten to
envelop Gorizia. Indeed, many observers believe that Cadorna could at
any time take the place by a grand assault if he were willing to pay the
cost in blood.

Despite the very unfavorable character of the country, the Italians have
gained more ground here in the same period than either the Germans or
the Anglo-French forces in the flat or rolling plains of Flanders and
northern France. But the outflanking tactics of Bourcet, with feints and
swift maneuvering, have had little to do with it. The assailants have
had to fight their way step by step.

The Austrians had prepared all sorts of disagreeable surprises. They had
hewn gun-positions out of solid cliffs, skilfully placed so as to cover
the routes of approach, and had cemented up the embrasures. It was
merely necessary to knock the cement out and pour shells upon the
advancing Italians at a range of several miles. The batteries were
inaccessible to storming parties, and the Italians had to drag up guns
of equal caliber to put them out of business.

[Sidenote: Ancient methods employed.]

In some places rocks and masses of ice were rolled down the slopes, as
in the brave old days of the Helvetians; and in this line the Austrians
introduced an innovation. When the Italians began driving their trenches
up the steep slopes of Podgora--the Gibraltar of Gorizia--the defenders
rolled down barrels of kerosene and set them alight with artillery fire.
This enterprise throve joyously until the Italian gunners got the range
of the launching-point and succeeded in exploding a few barrels among
the Austrians themselves.

[Sidenote: Austria had possession of the heights.]

The writer does not mean to give the impression that Italy's job in the
Alps is all but finished. A glance at the map of the frontier will cure
any one of such a notion. The Italians were forced to start this
campaign under every strategic disadvantage. By the frontier delimited
in 1866, they were left without natural defenses on the north and east.
All along the Austrian boundary the heights remained in the hands of the
Hapsburgs as natural menaces to Venetia and Lombardy. Italy received the
plains, but Austria held the mountain fastnesses that hung above them.

This is so much the case that when Italy declared war, the Austrian
general orders reminded the troops that they were in the position of men
on the top floor of a six-story house, defending it from attackers who
must mount from the street under a plunging fire.

[Sidenote: Chasseurs Alpins in the Vosges.]

But in one way or another the Italians have been doggedly fighting their
way up the walls of the house. For one thing, their Alpini have brought
to great perfection the use of skis in military operations on the
snow-clad slopes. This is the first war in which skis have really come
to the front. In France, too, the Chasseurs Alpins have been able to
show the Germans some astonishing things with their long wooden
snow-shoes in the winter fighting among the crests of the Vosges.

A typical instance of this is the story of the capture of a German post
on the Alsatian frontier in the winter of 1914-15. The Germans, holding
the railroad from Ste. Marie to Ste. Croix, were expecting an attack
from the French position at St. Dié. This impression was deliberately
strengthened by a heavy artillery fire from St. Dié, while a
considerable detachment of the Chasseurs Alpins led a body of infantry
along a winding mountain road to the village of Bonhomme. There they
posted themselves just out of sight of the German lines, while the
_chasseurs_ scaled the snow-covered heights and crept along the flank
of the German position.

When they had reached the desired position, the infantry charged along
the road and the Chasseurs Alpins simultaneously whizzed down the slope
on their skis. The swift flank attack did the business, and the Germans
were driven for some miles down the valley of the Weiss toward Colmar.

[Sidenote: Austrians capture of Mt. Lövchen.]

One of the greatest single mountain successes of the war was the
Austrian capture of Mount Lövchen, the huge black mass of rock, nearly
six thousand feet high, which dominates the Austrian port of Cattaro and
sentinels the little kingdom of Montenegro on the west.

Ever since the war began the Austrians have from time to time made
attempts to reach the summit of this mighty rock. It is only a matter of
an hour or two by winding road in peace times, but the Austrians were
something like eighteen months on the job; and in all this time it is
doubtful if the defenders ever numbered much more than five thousand. It
was not captured until the Montenegrins had practically run out of
ammunition and of reasons for holding the position. The rest of their
kingdom was overrun, and they were to all intents and purposes out of
the war.

[Sidenote: Russians in the Carpathians.]

The Russian campaign in the Carpathians, before the great German drive
of a year ago pushed the Czar's armies back into their own country, also
illustrates how the mountain warfare of to-day grew by natural
tendencies from the tactics of Bourcet into the trench warfare of
northern France.

In the first weeks of the war, when the great offensive movement of the
Austrian army toward Lublin was crushed by the Grand Duke Nicholas, and
the broken hosts of the Dual Monarchy were sent flying through Galicia
and the Carpathians, a cloud of Cossack cavalry followed them and
penetrated into the plains of Hungary. This last operation was merely a
raid, however, and the Cossacks were soon galloping back through the
mountain passes.

Then the Russians laid siege to Przemysl, and occupied the whole of
Galicia up to the line of the San. Later they pushed on westward to the
Dunajec, threatening Cracow. This was their high tide. On their left
flank was the mass of the Carpathians, pierced by a number of passes.
The more important of these, from west to east, are the Tarnow, Dukla,
Lupkow, and Uzsok.

[Sidenote: The Carpathian passes.]

The Austrians were rallied after some weeks, and put up something of a
fight for these "contracted places." The Russians, following the
precepts of Bourcet, threatened the passage which seemed most desirable,
because of the railroad facilities, and delivered a heavy blow at the
Dukla Pass, the least important of the four. Here they pushed through to
Bartfeld, on the Hungarian plain. Then, however, Mackensen's fearful
blow smashed the Russian line on the Dunajec and poured the German
legions across Galicia in the rear of the Carpathian armies, forcing the
Muscovites to abandon the passes and scurry home.

[Sidenote: Plains more often battlegrounds.]

Mountain warfare has always had a certain romantic glamour, and it has
filled many pages in the literature of fighting. As a matter of
historical fact, however, it has played a comparatively small part in
the world's annals. Almost all the great campaigns have been fought out
in the lowlands. It is Belgium, for instance, and not Switzerland, that
has been proverbially the battle-ground of Europe. Napoleon and Suwaroff
marched armies through the Alps, but only as a means of striking
unexpectedly at the enemy who occupied the plains beyond.

Up to the time of the present war, mountain campaigns have usually been
no more than picturesque foot-notes to history, illuminated by the valor
of raiding clansmen like Roderick Dhu of the Scottish Highlands, or
guerrilla chiefs like Andreas Hofer, the Tyrolese patriot. Hofer's
struggle against Napoleon was indeed a gallant and notable one, but it
scarcely entered into the main current of history.

[Sidenote: Garibaldi's mountain campaigns.]

If, however, we include Garibaldi among the mountain fighters--and such
was the characteristic bent of his remarkable military genius--we must
accord him a place among the molders of modern Europe, for without his
flashing sword Italy could not have been liberated and united. His two
Alpine campaigns against the Austrians were successful and effective,
but his most brilliant powers were shown in his memorable invasion of
Sicily in 1860. Chased ashore at Marsala by the Neapolitan war-ships,
and narrowly escaping capture, he led his followers--one thousand
red-shirted volunteers armed with obsolete muskets--into the Sicilian
mountains, where he played such a game that within two months he
compelled the surrender of a well-equipped army of nearly thirty
thousand regulars. The history of warfare can show but few exploits so
daring and so dramatic.

       *       *       *       *       *

The most important military movement on the western front in the early
autumn of 1915 was the great French offensive in Champagne. During the
preceding months of the spring and summer, there had been hard fighting
all along the 400-mile line from the North Sea to Switzerland. The
military results had been small on either side and now the French
resolved on a mighty offensive which should be decisive in its
accomplishments. What these results actually were is told in the
following narrative.



Copyright, National Review, January, 1916.

[Sidenote: Menace of the French in Alsace.]

After the battles of May and June, 1915, in Artois, activity on the
Western front became concentrated in the Vosges, where, by a series of
successful engagements, we managed to secure possession of more
favorable positions and to retain them in spite of incessant
counter-attacks. The superiority established over the adversary, the
wearing down of the latter through vain and costly counter-offensives,
which absorbed in that sector his local resources; the state of
uncertainty in which the Germans found themselves in view of the menace
of a French division in Alsace--such were the immediate results of these
engagements. From the number of the effectives engaged, and the limited
front along which the attacks took place, those attacks nevertheless
were no more than local.

[Sidenote: Preparing for a great offensive.]

While those operations were developing, the higher command was carefully
preparing for a great offensive. The situation of the Russian armies
imposed on us, as their Allies, obligations the accomplishment of which
had been made possible by the results of a long course of preparation no
less than by the aid of circumstances.

[Sidenote: Improved defensive organizations.]

The inaction of the adversary, engaged on the Eastern front in a series
of operations of which he had not foreseen the difficulties, and thus
reduced to the defensive on our front, left the initiative of the
operations in our hands. The landing in France of fresh British troops
enabled Marshal French to take upon himself the defence of a portion of
the lines hitherto held by French troops. The improvement of our
defensive organizations, which made possible certain economies in the
effectives, the regrouping of units and the creation of new units, also
had the effect of placing a larger number of men at the disposal of the
Generalissimo. The increased output of war _matériel_ ensured him the
necessary means for a complete artillery preparation.

[Sidenote: Joffre's appeal to the troops.]

Among all the elements of success which were thus united at the end of
the summer of 1915, not the least was the incomparable individual worth
of the French soldier. It was to the traditional warlike qualities of
the race that the Generalissimo appealed when, on September 23, 1915, he
addressed to the troops the following general order, which was read to
the regiments by their officers:


        "After months of waiting, which have enabled us
        to increase our forces and our resources, while
        the adversary has been using up his own, the
        hour has come to attack and conquer and to add
        fresh glorious pages to those of the Marne and
        Flanders, the Vosges and Arras.

        "Behind the whirlwind of iron and fire let
        loose, thanks to the factories of France, where
        your brothers have, night and day, worked for
        us, you will proceed to the attack, all
        together, on the whole front, in close union
        with the armies of our Allies.

[Sidenote: The spirit of the soldier.]

        "Your _élan_ will be irresistible. It will
        carry you at a bound up to the batteries of the
        adversary, beyond the fortified lines which he
        has placed before you.

        "You will give him neither pause nor rest until
        victory has been achieved.

        "Set to with all your might for the deliverance
        of the soil of la Patrie, for the triumph of
        justice and liberty.

                                          "J. JOFFRE."

The description of the operations in Champagne will show under what
conditions our troops acquitted themselves of the task assigned to them,
and also the value and significance of this success, without precedent
in the war of positions in which we are at present engaged.

[Sidenote: The German line that was broken.]

The German line that was broken in Champagne is the same that was
fortified by our adversaries after the victory of the Marne. It rests on
the western side on the Massif de Moronvillers; to the east it stretches
as far as the Argonne. It was intended to cover the railway line from
Challerange to Bazancourt, a line indispensable for the concentration
movements of the German troops. The offensive front, which extended from
Auberive to the east of Ville-sur-Tourbe, presents a varied aspect. From
east to west may be seen:

[Sidenote: A wooded glacis.]

(1) A glacis about eight kilometres in width, the gentle slopes of which
are covered by numerous little woods. The road from Saint-Hilaire to
Saint-Souplet, with the Baraque de l'Epine de Vedegrange, marks
approximately its axis.

[Sidenote: Valley of Souain.]

(2) The hollow, at the bottom of which is the village of Souain and of
which the first German line followed the further edge. The road from
Souain to Pomme-Py describes the radius of this semi-circle. The farm of
Navarin, at a distance of three and a half kilometres to the north of
Souain, stands on the top of the hills.

[Sidenote: Second German line.]

(3) To the north of Perthes a comparatively tranquil region of uniform
aspect, forming between the wooded hills of the Trou Bricot and those of
the Butte du Mesnil a passage three kilometres wide, barred by several
lines of trenches and ending at a series of heights, the Butte de
Souain, Hills 195 and 201, and the Butte de Tahure, surmounted by the
second German line.

[Sidenote: A strong German position.]

(4) To the north of Le Mesnil, a very strong position, bastioned on the
west by two twin heights (Mamelle Nord and Trapèze), on the east by the
Butte du Mesnil. The German trenches formed between these two bastions a
powerful curtain, behind which extended as far as Tahure a thickly
wooded, undulating region.

(5) To the north of Beauséjour a bare terrain easily practicable, with a
gentle rise in the direction of Ripon as far as the farm of Maisons de

[Sidenote: Eastern flank of the German line.]

(6) To the north of Massiges, Hills numbered 191 and 199, describing on
the map the figure of a hand, very strongly constructed and constituting
the eastern flank of the whole German line. This tableland slopes down
gently in the direction of Ville-sur-Tourbe.

[Sidenote: German system of trench defenses.]

The achievements of our troops from September 25 to October 3, 1915, in
this region may be thus summarised: They scaled the whole of the glacis
of l'Epine de Vedegrange; they occupied the ridge of the hollow at
Souain; debouched in the opening to the north of Perthes to the slopes
of Hill 195 and as far as the Butte de Tahure; carried the western
bastions of the curtain of le Mesnil; advanced as far as Maisons de
Champagne and took by assault the "hand" of Massiges. That is to say
that they captured an area about forty square kilometres in extent. The
importance of that figure is shown when one examines on the map
accompanying this report the position of the German trenches, with a
view to understanding the system of defence adopted by our adversaries.
Two positions, distant from three to four kilometres from each other,
stand out clearly. The first is the more dense; the trenches with their
alleys of communication present at certain points the appearance of a
wirework chessboard. Everywhere, to a depth of from 300 to 400 metres
there are at least three parallel lines, sometimes five. The trenches
are separated from each other as a rule by wire entanglements varying in
width from 15 to 60 metres.

[Sidenote: The second position.]

[Sidenote: Alleys of communication.]

The second position comprises only one trench, reinforced at certain
points by a supporting trench. It is everywhere constructed, as is the
wire network in front of it, in the form of a slope. On top there are
merely observation stations with machine-gun shelters connected with the
trench by an alley of communication. Between the two positions the
terrain was also specially prepared, being cut up by transverse or
diagonal trenches. The alleys of communication constructed to facilitate
the firing, which were in many cases protected by wirework, make
possible, according to the German method, a splitting up of the terrain
by lateral fire and the maintenance, even after the tide of the
assailants had flooded the trenches, of centres of resistance, veritable
strongholds that could only be reduced after a siege. The positions of
the artillery were established, as were also the camps and provision
depots, behind the first position, the principal line of defence.

[Sidenote: German organization known.]

The whole German organization was known to us. It was shown on our maps,
and every defensive work, trench, alley of communication, and clump of
trees was given a special name or a number preceded by a certain letter,
according to the sector of attack wherein it was situated. This minute
precision in the details of the preparation is worthy of being pointed
out; it constitutes one of the peculiarities of the present war, a
veritable siege war, in which the objective has to be realised
beforehand and clearly determined, every piece of ground having to be
captured by heavy fighting, as was formerly every redan and every

The bombardment of the German positions began on September 22, 1915 and
was pursued night and day according to a time scheme and a division of
labour previously determined upon. The results expected were:

[Sidenote: Results of bombardment.]

(1) The destruction of the wire entanglements.

(2) The burial of the defenders in their dug-out.

(3) The razing of the trenches and the demolition of the embrasures.

(4) The stopping-up of the alleys of communication.

[Sidenote: Work of the long-range guns.]

The gun-fire covered not only the first trench but also the supporting
trench and even the second position, although the distance at which the
last was situated and the outline of its wire entanglements made it
difficult to make field observations in that direction. At the same time
the heavy long-range guns bombarded the headquarters, the cantonments
and the railway stations; they cut the railway lines, causing a
suspension of the work of revictualling. The best witnesses to the
effectiveness of our bombardment are to be found in unfinished letters
found upon prisoners.

[Sidenote: Letters found on prisoners.]

                                         "SEPTEMBER 23.

        "The French artillery fired without
        intermission from the morning of the 21st to
        the evening of the 23rd, and we all took refuge
        in our dug-outs. On the evening of the 22nd we
        were to have gone to get some food, and the
        French continued to fire on our trenches. In
        the evening we had heavy losses, and we had
        nothing to eat."

                                         "SEPTEMBER 25.

        "I have received no news, and probably I shall
        not receive any for some days. The whole postal
        service has been stopped; all places have been
        bombarded to such an extent that no human being
        could stand against it.

        "The railway line is so seriously damaged that
        the train service for some time has been
        completely stopped.

        "We have been for three days in the first line;
        during those three days the French have fired
        so heavily that our trenches are no longer

[Sidenote: Number of wounded.]

                                         "SEPTEMBER 24.

        "For the last two days the French have been
        firing like mad. To-day, for instance, a
        dug-out has been destroyed. There were sixteen
        men in it. Not one of them managed to save his
        skin. They are all dead. Besides that, a number
        of individual men have been killed and there
        are a great mass of wounded.

        "The artillery fires almost as rapidly as the
        infantry. A mist of smoke hangs over the whole
        battle-front, so that it is impossible to see
        anything. Men are dropping like flies.

        "The trenches are no longer anything but a
        mound of ruins."

[Sidenote: Sufferings of the soldiers.]

                                         "SEPTEMBER 24.

        "A rain of shells is pouring down upon us. The
        kitchen and everything that is sent to us is
        bombarded at night. The field-kitchens no
        longer come to us. Oh, if only the end were
        near! That is the cry every one is repeating.
        Peace! Peace!"

Extract from the notebook of a man of the 103rd Regiment:

        "From the trench nothing much can now be seen;
        it will soon be on a level with the ground."

Letter of an artilleryman of the 100th Regiment of Field Artillery:

                                         "SEPTEMBER 25.

        "We have passed through some terrible hours. It
        was as though the whole world was in a state of
        collapse. We have had heavy losses. One company
        of two hundred and fifty men had sixty killed
        last night. A neighboring battery had sixteen
        killed yesterday.

[Sidenote: Destructiveness of the French shells.]

        "The following instance will show you the
        frightful destructiveness of the French shells.
        A dug-out five metres deep, surmounted by 2
        metres 50 centimetres of earth and two
        thicknesses of heavy timber, was broken like a

Report made on September 24 in the morning, by the captain commanding
the 3rd company of the 135th Regiment of Reserve:

        "The French are firing on us with great bombs
        and machine-guns. We must have reinforcements
        at once. Many men are no longer fit for
        anything. It is not that they are wounded, but
        they are Landsturmers. Moreover the wastage is
        greater than the losses announced.

        "Send rations immediately; no food has reached
        us to-day. Urgently want illuminating
        cartridges and hand grenades. Is the hospital
        corps never coming to fetch the wounded?"

[Sidenote: German troops exhausted.]

                                  "SEPTEMBER 25, 11.45.

        "I urgently beg for reinforcements; the men are
        dying from fatigue and want of sleep. I have no
        news of the battalion."

The time fixed for all the attacks on the Champagne front was a
quarter-past nine in the morning. There was no hesitation. At the time
mentioned the troops came out of the trenches with the aid of steps or
scaling ladders and drew up in line before making a rush at the German

The operation was rapidly effected. The objective was at an average
distance of two hundred metres; this was covered without serious losses.
The Germans were nearly everywhere surprised, and their defensive fire
was not opened until after the invading tide of the attackers had passed

[Sidenote: First German trench penetrated.]

Over the whole attacking front our troops penetrated into the first
German trench. But subsequently the progress was no longer uniform.
While certain units continued their forward movement with extreme
rapidity, others came up against machine guns still in action and either
stopped or advanced only with difficulty. Some centres of the German
resistance maintained their position for several hours and even for
several days.

[Sidenote: Outline of advance in Champagne.]

[Sidenote: The battle a series of assaults.]

A line showing the different stages of our advance in Champagne would
assume a curiously winding outline, and would reveal on the one hand the
defensive power of an adversary resolved to stick to the ground at all
costs and on the other the victorious continuity of the efforts of our
troops in this hand-to-hand struggle. The battle of Champagne must be
considered in the light of a series of assaults, executed at the same
moment, in parallel or convergent directions and having for their object
either the capture or the hemming in of the first German position, the
units being instructed to reform in a continuous line before the second

[Sidenote: Unity of the action.]

In order to understand the development, the terrain must be divided into
several sectors, in each of which the operations, although closely
co-ordinated, assumed, as a consequence either of the nature of the
ground or of the peculiarities of the enemy defences, a different
character. The unity of the action was nevertheless ensured by the
simultaneity of the rush, which carried all the troops beyond the first
position, past the batteries, to the defences established by the enemy
on the heights to the south of Py.

[Sidenote: At extremities offensive does not progress.]

At the two extremities of our attacking front, subjected to converging
fires and to counter-attacks on the flanks, our offensive made no
progress. The fighting which took place in Auberive and round about
Servon were distinguished by more than one trait of heroism, but they
were destined to have no other result than that of containing the forces
of the enemy and of immobilising him at the wings while the attack was
progressing in the centre.

[Sidenote: Position from Auberive to Souain a triangle.]

[Sidenote: Wire checks the attackers.]

[Sidenote: Gains maintained.]

(1) _Sector of l'Epine de Vedegrange._ The first German line was
established at the base of a wide glacis covered with clumps of trees,
and formed a series of salients running into each other. At certain
points it ran along the edge of the woods where the supplementary
defences were completed by abattis. The position as a whole between
Auberive and Souain described a vast triangle. To the west of the road,
from Saint-Hilaire to Saint-Souplet, the troops traversed the first
enemy line and rushed forward for a distance of about a kilometre as far
as a supporting trench, in front of which they were stopped by the
wirework. A counterattack debouching from the west and supported by the
artillery of Moronvillers caused a slight retirement of our left. The
troops of the right, on the contrary, maintained their gains and
succeeded on the following days in enlarging and extending them,
remaining in touch with the units which were attacking on the east of
the road. The latter had succeeded in a particularly brilliant manner
in overcoming the difficulties with which they were confronted.

[Sidenote: Nature of the position captured.]

[Sidenote: Prisoners and guns seized.]

The German position which they captured, with its triple and quadruple
lines of trenches, its small forts armed with machine guns, its woods
adapted for the purpose in view, constituted one of the most complete
schemes of defence on the Champagne front and afforded cover to a
numerous artillery concealed in the woods of the glacis. On this front,
which was about three and a half kilometres wide, the attack on
September 25, 1915 achieved a varying success. The troops on the left,
after having penetrated into the first trench, had their progress
arrested by machine guns. On the right, however, in spite of the
obstacle presented by four successive trenches, each of which was
covered by a network of wire entanglements and was concealed in the
woods, where our artillery had difficulty in reaching them, the
attacking troops gained nearly two kilometres, capturing seven hundred
prisoners, of whom seventeen were officers, and seizing two guns of 77
and five guns of 105.

The advance recommenced on September 27, 1915. The left took possession
of the woods lining the road from Saint-Hilaire to Saint-Souplet as far
as the Epine de Vedegrange. Along the whole extent of the wooded heights
as far as the western side of the hollow at Souain the success was
identical. Notwithstanding the losses they sustained, notwithstanding
the fatigue involved in the incessant fighting, the troops pushed
forward, leaving behind them only a sufficient force to clear the woods
of isolated groups of the enemy who still remained there. Between 4 and
6 p.m. we arrived immediately in front of the second German position.

[Sidenote: Second German position penetrated.]

[Sidenote: Results of attack in this sector.]

On the 27th we penetrated into this position at two points. We took
possession of a trench about a kilometre wide, called the "parallel of
the Epine de Vedegrange," which is duplicated almost throughout by
another trench (the parallel of the wood of Chevron), and the wirework
entanglements of which were intact, and precluded an assault. Further
east our soldiers also continued, thanks to the conformation of the
terrain, to penetrate into the enemy trench to a depth of about four
hundred metres. But it was impossible to take advantage of this breach
owing to a concentration of the German heavy artillery, a rapidly
continued defence of the surrounding woods, and the fire of machine guns
which it was not possible to capture and which were directed from the
trenches on the right and left of the entry and exit to the breach. The
results attained in this attacking sector alone may be stated thus:
fifteen square miles of territory organized for defence throughout
nearly the whole of its extent; on September 28, forty-four cannon,
seven of 105 and six of 150, and more than three thousand prisoners.

(2) _Sector of Souain._ The enemy lines round about Souain described a
wide curve. In the immediate vicinity of our trenches, to the west at
the Mill and to the east of the wood of Sabot, they swerved to the
extent of over a kilometre to the north of the village and of the source
of the Ain.

[Sidenote: Sapping operations.]

[Sidenote: Assault made in three directions.]

When the offensive was decided upon it was necessary, in order to extend
our lines forward to striking distance, to undertake sapping operations
in parallel lines, and at times to make dashes by night over the
intervening ground. The men working underground got into communication
with the trenches by digging alleys of communication. This difficult
undertaking was effected with very slight losses, under the eyes and
under the fire of the enemy. Our parallel lines approached to within a
distance of two hundred metres of the German trenches. The assault was
made in three different directions: on the west in the direction of
Hills 167 and 174; in the centre along a line running parallel with the
road from Souain to Pomme-Py, in the direction of the farm of Navarin;
on the east in the direction of the woods intersected by the road from
Souain to Tahure, and in the direction of the Butte de Souain.

[Sidenote: Machine gun positions surrounded.]

The advance was extremely rapid--on the left two kilometres in less than
one hour, in the centre three kilometres in forty-five minutes. At 10
a.m. we had reached the farm of Navarin. Towards the east the forward
march was more difficult. Some German machine guns stood their ground in
the wood of Sabot and contributed to the resistance of the enemy. This
defence was destined to be overcome by surrounding them. Arriving at the
wooded region in that part where it is intersected by the road from
Souain to Tahure, the assailants joined up on September 27, 1915 with
those of our troops who were attacking to the north of Perthes. They
left behind them only what was barely necessary in the way of troops to
clear the woods of stragglers.

[Sidenote: The French take guns and supplies.]

Parlementaires were sent to the Germans, who received them with a volley
of rifle shots and endeavored to escape during the night. The majority
were killed and the survivors surrendered. Several batteries and a large
quantity of _matériel_ (supplies of shells and provisions, grenades,
telephones, wire, light railways) remained in our hands. On the 28th,
along the entire length of the sector, we were immediately in front of
the second German position. The troops had shown an unparalleled ardour
and energy. They had been trained by officers whose courage and spirit
of self-sacrifice are indicated by this casualty list; a general of
division and four colonels wounded; two colonels killed.

[Sidenote: Wooded region between Souain and Perthes.]

[Sidenote: Region broken up by mines and trenches.]

(3) _Sector of Perthes._ Between Souain and Perthes stretches a wooded
region in which already, in February and March, heavy fighting had taken
place. At that period we had contrived to take possession on the eastern
extremity of this region of the German defences of the wood of Sabot. We
had also made progress to the north-west of Perthes, on the summit of
Hill 200. But between these two positions the Germans had retained a
strong system of trenches forming a salient almost triangular in shape,
to which we gave the name of the Pocket (_la Poche_). During the whole
year a war of mining had been going on, and the region, which was broken
up by concave constructions and intersected in all directions by
trenches and alleys of communication, constituted an attacking ground
all the more difficult because to the north of la Poche the somewhat
thickly wooded Trou Bricot, the edges of which were in a state of
defence, obstructed a rapid advance. This wooded region extends over a
width of a kilometre and a half and a depth of four kilometres. The
arrangements made for the attack contemplated, after the capture of la
Poche, the surrounding of the wood of the Trou Bricot. The junction was
to be made at the road from Souain to Tahure, with the troops assigned
for the attack on the eastern border of the hollow at Souain.

[Sidenote: The York trench.]

The ground to the east of the Trou Bricot was less difficult. Open and
comparatively flat, it was defended on the north of Perthes by a triple
line of trenches distant 100 metres from each other. At a distance of
1000 metres to 1200 metres a supporting trench, called the "York
trench," was almost unique in its entire construction. The open country
beyond stretched for a distance of three kilometres up to the second
German position (Hill 195, Butte de Tahure). The principal effort was
directed against this passage, the left flank of the attack being
secured by a subsidiary action confined to the capture of la Poche.

[Sidenote: Attack preceded by artillery fire.]

At 9 a.m. our artillery directed its fire successively against the
first-line trenches and the supporting trenches. The attack took place
in the most perfect order. The assailants were already swarming in the
German lines when the enemy artillery opened its defensive fire. Our
counter-batteries hampered the German pieces and our reserves in the
rear suffered little from their fire.

[Sidenote: La Poche position surrendered.]

[Sidenote: The York trench occupied.]

At 9.45 a.m. the two columns which were attacking the extremities of the
salient of la Poche joined hands. The position was surrounded. These
Germans who remained alive inside it surrendered. At the same time a
battalion was setting foot in the defences of the southern edges of the
wood of Trou Bricot. The battalions that followed, marching to the
outside of the eastern edges, executed with perfect regularity a "left
turn" and came and formed up alongside the alleys of communication as
far as the supporting trench. At the same moment, in the open country to
the north of Perthes, the troops surmounted the three first-line
trenches and, preceded by our artillery, made a quick march towards the
York trench and occupied it almost without striking a blow.

[Sidenote: Cleaning up the sector.]

Further to the East, along the road from Perthes to Tahure, their
advance encountered greater difficulties. Some centres of the German
resistance could not be overcome. A sheltered machine gun continued its
fire. An infantry officer, with a quartermaster of artillery, succeeded
in getting into action a gun at a distance of three hundred metres from
the machine gun and in firing at it at close quarters. Of the troops
which were advancing to the north of Perthes, some made for the eastern
border of the wood of Bricot, where they penetrated into the camps,
ousting the defenders and surprising several officers in bed. Late in
the afternoon one of our regiments had reached the road from Souain to
Tahure. Other units were marching straight towards the north, clearing
out the little woods on the way. They there captured batteries of which
the artillerymen were riveted to their guns by means of bayonets
(notably ten pieces of 105 and five of 150).

[Sidenote: Progress hindered by weather.]

The same work was being performed in the woods extending east of the
road from Perthes to Souain and Tahure, where batteries were charged and
captured while in action. At this spot a regiment covered four
kilometres in two hours and captured ten guns, three of 105 and seven of
77. But, from twelve o'clock midday onwards the rate of progress
decreased, the bad weather making it impossible for our artillery to see
what was going on, and rendering the joining up of the different corps
extremely difficult. From the Buttes de Souain and Tahure the enemy
directed converging fires on our men, who were advancing along very open
ground. Nevertheless they continued their advance as far as the slopes
of Hill 193 and the Butte de Tahure, and there dug themselves in.

[Sidenote: Contact with second German position.]

The night passed without any counter-attack by the enemy. Our artillery,
including several field batteries, which had arrived immediately after
the attack beyond the York trench, also brought forward its heavy
pieces. At dawn the reconstituted regiments made another forward rush
which enabled them to establish themselves in immediate contact with the
second German position from the Butte de Souain to the Butte de Tahure,
and even to seize several advanced posts in that neighbourhood.

But on the lower slopes some of the wire entanglements remained intact;
a successful assault on them would have been possible only after a fresh
preparation. Up to October 6, 1915, the troops remained where they were,
digging trenches and organizing a defensive system which had to be
constructed all over again on ground devastated by the enemy fire.

[Sidenote: Ravin des Cuisines.]

(4) _Sector of Le Mesnil._ It was to the north of Le Mesnil that we
encountered the greatest resistance on the part of the adversary. In the
course of the engagements of the preceding winter we had succeeded in
securing a foothold on top of the hill numbered 196. The Germans
remained a little to the east, in a ravine which we continued to call by
its designation of the "Ravine of the Kitchens" (Ravin des Cuisines).
Our assault rendered us masters of it, but we could make no further

[Sidenote: Fighting on the Butte du Mesnil.]

The German trenches are constructed on the northern slopes of Hill 196,
and are concealed from field observation so that it is difficult for the
artillery to play upon them. Moreover, they are flanked on one side by
the twin heights of the Mamelles, on the other by the Butte du Mesnil.
To the eastward some of our units contrived on September 25, 1915, to
penetrate into the trenches of the _butte_ (knoll), but failed to
maintain their ground, in consequence of a counter-attack supported by
flank fires. Westward, it was not until the night of the 1st to the 2nd
of October, 1915, that we captured the northern Mamelle, thus
surrounding the works of the Trapèze which surmount the southern

[Sidenote: Rapid and brilliant advance.]

(5) _Sector of Beauséjour._ The attacks launched north of Beauséjour met
with a more rapid and more brilliant success. The swarm of invaders
throwing themselves on the first German lines captured one after the
other the enemy works in the very sparsely timbered woods called the Fer
de Lance wood and the Demi-Lune wood, and afterwards all the works known
as the Bastion. In one rush certain units gained the top of Maisons de
Champagne, past several batteries, killing the artillerymen as they
served their pieces. The same movement took the assailants across the
intricate region of the mine "funnels" of Beauséjour up to the extended
wood intersected by the road to Maisons de Champagne. Our soldiers then
came across German artillerymen engaged in unlimbering their guns. They
killed the drivers and horses; the survivors surrendered.

[Sidenote: Cavalry supports the infantry.]

[Sidenote: Enemy counter-attacks.]

Further westward the left wing of the attacking troops advanced with
greater difficulty, being hampered by small forts and covered works with
which the trenches were everywhere protected. It was at this moment that
the cavalry came unexpectedly to the support of the infantry. Two
squadrons of hussars having crossed our old trenches in face of a heavy
defensive artillery fire prepared to gallop against the German batteries
north of Maisons de Champagne, when they reached that part of the lines
where the Germans still maintained their position. The latter
immediately directed the fire of their machine guns against the
cavalrymen, several of whose horses were hit. The hussars dismounted
and, with drawn sabres, made for the trenches, while favoured by this
diversion, the infantrymen resumed their forward movement. The
resistance of the enemy broke down; more than six hundred Germans were
captured in this way. In the course of the afternoon and during the day
of September 25, 1915, some enemy counter-attacks were made from the
direction of Ripont, but were unsuccessful in ousting us from the summit
of Maisons de Champagne.

On the following days a fierce struggle took place north of the summit
in the region of a defensive work known as the "Ouvrage de la Défaite,"
which was captured by us, lost, then recaptured, and finally evacuated
in consequence of an extremely violent bombardment.

[Sidenote: Heights of Massiges.]

(6) _Sector of Massiges._ The safety of our troops which had advanced as
far as the extended wood and Maisons de Champagne was assured by the
capture of the summits of the heights of Massiges. This sharply
undulating upland, numbered 199 on the north and 191 on the south,
constituted in the hands of the Germans a fortress which they believed
to be impregnable and from the top of which they commanded our positions
in several directions. At 9.15 a.m. the two first attacking parties
marched out in columns. The men went forth gaily and deliberately,
preceded by the firing of the field artillery. By 9.30 a.m. our
infantry, before the enemy had had time to recover themselves, had
reached the summit.

[Sidenote: Enemy machine gun fire.]

[Sidenote: Lines of grenadiers.]

From this moment, subject to machine gun and musketry fire, the men
could only proceed slowly along the summits by the alleys of
communication, with hand grenades, supported by the artillery, with whom
they remained in constant touch by flag-signalling. As the advance of
our grenadiers continued, the Germans surrendered in large numbers. An
uninterrupted chain of grenade-bearers, like the chains of
bucket-holders at a fire in former times, was established in the alleys
of communication from Massiges forward, and each fresh arrival of
grenades was accompanied by a fresh advance.

[Sidenote: Value of possessing the heights.]

From September 25 to October 3, 1915, the fight continued in this way
and was carried on by our soldiers with fierce persistency. The Germans
hurled upon the spot constant reinforcements and offered an obstinate
resistance that has rarely been equalled. They stood up to be shot
down--the machine-gun men at their guns, the grenadiers on their grenade
chests. All attempts at a counter-attack remained equally unproductive.
The possession of the heights of Massiges enabled us to extend our gains
towards Ville-sur-Tourbe, while taking in flank the trenches which we
had failed to secure by a frontal attack.

The loss of the heights of Massiges appears to have particularly upset
the German General Staff, which, after having denied the fact,
represented that the ground which it had lost as a consequence of
grenade fighting had been abandoned owing to artillery fire.

[Sidenote: Attitude of the enemy.]

The attitude of the enemy was characterized by: (1) Surprise; (2)
disorganization; (3) a sudden and almost disorderly engagement of the
reserves; (4) the exhaustion and demoralization of the soldiers.

[Sidenote: Reasons for surprise.]

(1) It is beyond doubt that the Germans were surprised by the extent and
violence of our attacks. They were expecting a French offensive. The
orders of the day of Generals von Fleck and Von Ditfurth prove this.
("The possibility of a great French offensive must be considered": Von
Ditfurth, August 15. "The French Higher Command appears to be disposed
to make another desperate effort": Von Fleck, September 26.) But the
Germans foresaw neither the strength nor the success of the effort.
During our artillery preparation twenty-nine battalions only were
brought back to Champagne (the 183rd Brigade, the 5th Division of the
3rd Corps, and one-half of the 43rd Division of Reserve). In thus
limiting before the attack the reinforcements of its effectives the
German General Staff showed that they did not suspect the vigour of the
blow that was about to be delivered.

The same thing happened with regard to the subordinate forces. Inside
the shelters in the second line officers were captured while lying down;
they had an unwarranted confidence in the strength of their first line,
and the interruption of telephone communications had prevented their
being informed of the rapid progress of our offensive.

[Sidenote: Rapidity of French attack.]

(2) This rapidity of our attack explains the disorganization of the
adversary on the morning of September 25. At some points certain
officers and non-commissioned officers were able to continue the
resistance until the investment, followed by capitulation. But elsewhere
there were prompt surrenders. Men were also seen flying before our
attacking troops and being killed while making for their second

[Sidenote: How the German reserves were utilized.]

(3) In order to make up for the insufficiency of the local reserves the
German military authorities had to put in line not only the important
units which they held at their disposal behind the front (10th Corps
brought back from Russia), but the local reserves from other sectors
(Soissonnais, Argonne, Woevre, Alsace), which were despatched to
Champagne one battalion after another, and even in groups of double

Nothing better indicates the disorganization of the German command and
the significance of the check suffered than the conditions under which
these reserves were engaged.

The units were despatched to the fight completely disassociated. Among
the regiments of the 5th Division (3rd Corps), one, the 81st, was
identified near Massiges, while a battalion of the 12th was at Tahure
and a battalion of the 32nd at the Trou Bricot. It was the same as
regards the 56th Division, of which the 88th and 35th Regiments were
despatched to Massiges and the 91st to Souain, while a battalion of the
79th took up a position to the west of the Butte de Tahure.

[Sidenote: Haste increased German losses.]

Ill provided with food and munitions, the reinforcements were thrown
into the engagement on an unknown terrain without indication as to the
direction they had to take and without their junction with neighbouring
units having been arranged. Through the haste with which they threw
their reserves under the fire of our artillery and of our infantry,
already in possession of the positions, the German General Staff
considerably increased the number of their losses.

[Sidenote: Soldiers brought by motor-car.]

A letter taken from a soldier of the 118th Regiment furnishes us with
proof of this: "We were put in a motor-car and proceeded at a headlong
pace to Tahure, by way of Vouziers. Two hours' rest in the open air,
with rain falling and then we had a six hours' march to take up our
positions. On our way we were greeted by the fire of the enemy shells,
so that, for instance, out of 280 men of the second company, only 224
arrived safe and sound inside the trenches. These trenches, freshly dug,
were barely from 35 to 50 centimetres deep. Continually surrounded by
mines and bursting shells, we had to remain in them and do the best we
could with them for 118 hours without getting anything hot to eat.

"Hell itself could not be more terrible. To-day, at about twelve o'clock
noon, 600 men, fresh troops, joined the regiment. In five days we have
lost as many and more."

[Sidenote: Battalions from many regiments.]

The disorder amid which the reinforcements were engaged appears clearly
from this fact, that on the only part of the front included between
Maisons de Champagne and Hill 189 there were on October 2, 1915,
thirty-two battalions belonging to twenty-one different regiments.

(4) The violence of the shock sustained, and the necessity of replacing
in the fighting line units which had almost entirely disappeared,
hampered the German military authorities. On the first day they were
unable to respond effectively even with their artillery, the fire of
which along the whole front was badly directed and as a rule poorly
sustained. The loss of numerous batteries obviously deprived them of a
portion of their resources.

[Sidenote: Enemy endeavors to stem advance.]

[Sidenote: Isolated battalion on the heights of Massiges.]

The following days the enemy seemed to have but one idea, to strengthen
their second line to stem our advance. The counter-attacks were
concentrated on a comparatively unimportant part of the battlefront in
certain places, the loss of which appeared to them to be particularly
dangerous. Therefore on the heights of Massiges the German military
authorities threw in succession isolated battalions of the 123rd, 124th,
and 120th regiments, of the 30th regular regiment and of the 2nd
regiment of Ersatz Reserve (16th Corps), which were each in turn
decimated, for these counter-attacks, hastily and crudely prepared, all
resulted in sanguinary failures. Generally speaking, the offensive
capacity of the Germans appeared to be broken. The following order of
the day of General von Ditfurth bears witness to this:

[Sidenote: General von Ditfurth's order.]

"It seemed to me that the infantry at certain points was confining its
action to a mere defensive. . . . I cannot protest too strongly against
such an idea, which necessarily results in destroying the spirit of
offensive in our own troops and in arousing and strengthening in the
mind of the enemy a feeling of his superiority.

"The enemy is left full liberty of action and our own action is
subjected to the will of the enemy."

[Sidenote: Prisoners exhausted.]

(5) In an engagement in the open the number of prisoners is an
indication of the spirit of the enemy. In Champagne the Germans
surrendered in constituted units (sections or companies), and even in
groups of several hundred men. They confessed that they were worn out.
They had been, for the most part, without supplies for several days and
had suffered more particularly from thirst. They all showed that they
had been greatly impressed by our uninterrupted artillery fire, the
feeble response of their own guns, and the extent of their losses.

Here by way of specimen is what was set down by a reserve lieutenant of
the 90th Regiment of infantry (10th Corps):

"Yesterday I had sixteen men killed by high explosive bombs. The trench
was nearly filled up. Extreme activity of the French howitzers. Our
artillery fires shrapnel, but unfortunately does not get the range.

"B . . . was also killed. The second battalion, too, has had heavy losses.
It is frightful. Those confounded high explosive shells!

[Sidenote: An officer wishes for rain.]

"The weather is becoming fine again. If only it would rain again, or fog
would come. As it is, the aviators will arrive and we shall have more
high explosive bombs and flank firing on the trenches. Abominable fine
weather! Fog, fog, come to our assistance."

[Sidenote: The enemy's lines.]

It is difficult to estimate precisely the German losses. Certain
indications however serve to indicate their extent. A _vizefeldwebel_
declares that he is the only man remaining out of his company. A soldier
of the third battalion of the 123rd Regiment engaged on the 26th, states
that his regiment was withdrawn from the front after only two days'
fighting because its losses were too great. The 118th Regiment relieved
in the trenches the 158th Regiment after it had been reduced to fifteen
or twenty men per company. Certain units disappeared completely, as for
instance the 27th Reserve Regiment and the 52nd Regular Regiment,
which, by the evening of the 25th had left in our hands, the first
thirteen officers and 933 men, the second twenty-one officers and 927
men. In order to arrive at the total of the losses certain figures may
serve as an indication.

[Sidenote: German strength in Champagne.]

[Sidenote: Ninety-three fresh battalions.]

At the beginning of September, 1915 the Germans had on the Champagne
front seventy battalions. In anticipation of our attack they brought
there, before September 25, 1915, twenty-nine battalions. This makes
ninety-nine battalions, representing, if account be taken of the
corresponding artillery and pioneer formations, 115,000 men directly
engaged. The losses due to the artillery preparation and the first
attacks were such that from September 25 to October 15, 1915, the German
General Staff was compelled to renew its effectives almost in their
entirety by sending ninety-three fresh battalions.

It may be assumed that the units engaged on September 25 and 26, 1915,
suffered losses amounting to from 60 to 80 per cent. (even more for
certain corps, which have entirely disappeared). The new units brought
into line for the counter-attacks, and subjected in connection with
these to an incessant bombardment, lost 50 per cent. of their
effectives, if not more. We think we shall be understating the case if
we set down 140,000 men as the sum of the German losses in Champagne.
Account must be taken of the fact that of this number the proportion of
slightly wounded men able to recuperate rapidly and return to the front
is, in the case of the Germans, very much below the average proportion
in connection with other engagements by reason of the fact that they
were unable to gather up their wounded, and thus left in our hands
nearly the whole of the troops entrusted with the defence of the first

[Sidenote: Enthusiasm of the French.]

All those who lived through the engagements of the battle of Champagne
experienced the sensation of victory. The aspect of the battlefield, the
long columns of prisoners, the look in the eyes of our soldiers, their
animation and their enthusiasm, all this gave expression to the
importance of a success which the Generalissimo recognized in these

[Sidenote: Thanks of the commander-in-chief.]

                         "Grand Headquarters,
                                      "OCTOBER 5, 1915.

        "The Commander-in-Chief addresses to the troops
        under his orders the expression of his profound
        satisfaction at the results obtained up to the
        present day by the attacks.

        "Twenty-five thousand prisoners, three hundred
        and fifty officers, a hundred and fifty guns, a
        quantity of material which it has not yet been
        possible to gauge, are the trophies of a
        victory the echo of which throughout Europe
        indicates its importance.

        "The sacrifices willingly made have not been in
        vain. All have been able to take part in the
        common task. The present is a sure guarantee to
        us of the future.

        "The Commander-in-Chief is proud to command the
        finest troops France has ever known.

                                         "J. JOFFRE."

       *       *       *       *       *

Of all the brutal atrocities perpetrated by the Germans in Belgium, none
aroused such world-wide horror and execration as the murder of Edith
Cavell, an English nurse, on the charge of aiding English and Belgian
soldiers who escaped from Belgium in order to rejoin their respective



Copyright, Delineator, November, 1918.

[Sidenote: The first letter of inquiry not answered.]

[Sidenote: Reasons given for Miss Cavell's arrest.]

One day in August it was learned at the Legation that an English nurse,
named Edith Cavell, had been arrested by the Germans. I wrote a letter
to the Baron von der Lancken to ask if it was true that Miss Cavell had
been arrested, and saying that if it were I should request that Maître
de Leval, the legal counselor of the Legation, be permitted to see her
and to prepare for her defense. There was no reply to this letter, and
on September tenth I wrote a second letter, repeating the questions and
the requests made in the first. On the twelfth of September I had a
reply from the Baron stating that Miss Cavell had been arrested on the
fifth of August, that she was confined in the prison of St. Gilles, that
she had admitted having hidden English and French soldiers in her home,
as well as Belgians, of an age to bear arms, all anxious to get to the
front, that she had admitted also having furnished these soldiers with
money to get to France, and had provided guides to enable them to cross
the Dutch frontier; that the defense of Miss Cavell was in the hands of
Maître Thomas Braun, and that inasmuch as the German Government, on
principle, would not permit accused persons to have any interviews
whatever, he could not obtain permission for Maître de Leval to visit
Miss Cavell as long as she was in solitary confinement.

[Sidenote: The German mentality.]

[Sidenote: The principle that power makes right.]

[Sidenote: The accused without rights.]

For one of our Anglo-Saxon race and legal traditions to understand
conditions in Belgium during the German occupation, it is necessary to
banish resolutely from the mind every conception of right we have
inherited from our ancestors--conceptions long since crystallized into
inimitable principles of law and confirmed in our charters of liberty.
In the German mentality these conceptions do not exist; they think in
other sequences; they act according to another principle, if it is a
principle, the conviction that there is only one right, one privilege,
and that it belongs exclusively to Germany, the right, namely, to do
whatever they have the physical force to do. These so-called courts, of
whose arbitrary and irresponsible and brutal nature I have tried to
convey some notion, were mere inquisitorial bodies, guided by no
principle save that of interest in their own bloody nature; they did as
they pleased, and would have scorned a Jeffreys as too lenient, a Lynch
as too formal, a Spanish _auto da fé_ as too technical, and a tribunal
of the French Revolution as soft and sentimental. Before them the
accused had literally no rights, not even to present a defense, and if
he was permitted to speak in his own behalf, it was only as a generous
and liberal favor.

It was before such a court that Edith Cavell was to be arraigned. I had
asked Maître de Leval to provide for her defense, and on his advice,
inasmuch as Maître Braun was already of counsel in the case, chosen by
certain friends of Miss Cavell, I invited him into consultation.

[Sidenote: Personality of Edith Cavell.]

[Sidenote: Miss Cavell's character and ability.]

Edith Cavell was a frail and delicate little woman about forty years of
age. She had come to Brussels some years before the war to exercise her
calling as a trained nurse. She soon became known to the leading
physicians of the capital and nursed in the homes of the leading
families. But she was ambitious, and devoted to her profession, and ere
long had entered a nursing-home in the Rue de la Clinique, where she
organized for Doctor Depage a training-school for nurses. She was a
woman of refinement and education; she knew French as she knew her own
language; she was deeply religious, with a conscience almost puritan,
and was very stern with herself in what she conceived to be her duty. In
her training-school she showed great executive ability, was firm in
matters of discipline, and brought it to a high state of efficiency. And
every one who knew her in Brussels spoke of her with that unvarying term
of respect which her noble character inspired.

[Sidenote: Mr. Whitlock engages a defender.]

Some time before the trial, Maître Thomas Braun announced to the
Legation that for personal reasons he would be obliged to withdraw from
the case, and asked that some one else appear for Miss Cavell. We
engaged Maître Sadi Kirschen.

[Sidenote: The court martial in the Senate chamber.]

It was the morning of Thursday, October seventh, that the case came
before the court martial in the Senate chamber, where the military
trials always took place, and Miss Cavell was arraigned with the
Princess de Croy, the Countess de Belleville, and thirty-two others. The
accused were seated in a circle facing the court, in such a way that
they could neither see nor communicate with their own counsel, who were
compelled to sit behind them. Nor could they see the witnesses, who were
also placed behind them.

The charge brought against the accused was that of having conspired to
violate the German Military Penal Code, punishing with death those who
conduct troops to the enemy.

[Sidenote: The trial secret.]

[Sidenote: Miss Cavell's attitude.]

[Sidenote: Admits aiding English soldiers.]

We have no record of that trial; we do not know all that occurred there
behind the closed doors of that Senate chamber, where for fourscore
years laws based on another and more enlightened principle of justice
had been discussed. Miss Cavell did not know, or knew only in the
vaguest manner, the offense with which she was charged. She did not deny
having received at her hospital English soldiers whom she nursed and to
whom she gave money; she did not deny that she knew they were going to
try to cross the border into Holland. She even took a patriotic pride in
the fact. She was very calm. She was interrogated in German, a language
she did not understand, but the questions and responses were translated
into French. Her mind was very alert, and she was entirely
self-possessed, and frequently rectified any inexact details and
statements that were put to her. When, in her interrogatory, she was
asked if she had not aided English soldiers left behind after the early
battles of the preceding Autumn about Mons and Charleroi, she said yes;
they were English and she was English, and she would help her own. The
answer seemed to impress the court. They asked her if she had not helped

"Yes," she said "more than twenty; two hundred."


"No, not all English; French and Belgians, too."

But the French and Belgians were not of her own nationality, said the
judge--and that made a serious difference. She was subjected to a
nagging interrogatory. One of the judges said that she had been foolish
to aid the English because, he said, the English are ungrateful.

"No," replied Miss Cavell, "the English are not ungrateful."

"How do you know they are not?" asked the inquisitor.

[Sidenote: Miss Cavell makes a fatal admission.]

"Because," she answered, "some of them have written to me from England
to thank me."

It was a fatal admission on the part of the tortured little woman; under
the German military law her having helped soldiers to reach Holland, a
neutral country, would have been a less serious offense, but to aid them
to reach an enemy country, and especially England, was the last offense
in the eyes of the German military court.

[Sidenote: Rumor that death sentence is asked.]

The trial was concluded on Saturday, and on Sunday one of the nurses in
Miss Cavell's school came to tell me that there was a rumor about town
that the prosecuting officer had asked the court to pronounce a sentence
of death in the cases of the Princess de Croy, the Countess de
Belleville, and of Miss Cavell, and of several others. I remember to
have said to Maître de Leval, when he came up to my room to report the
astounding news:

"That's only the usual exaggeration of the prosecutor; they all ask for
the extreme penalty, everywhere, when they sum up their cases."

[Sidenote: Leval's opinion of German courts.]

"Yes," said Maître de Leval, "and in German courts they always get it."

Maître de Leval sent a note to Maître Kirschen, asking him to come on
Monday, at eight-thirty o'clock, to the Legation or to send a word
regarding Miss Cavell. Maître Kirschen did not send Maître de Leval the
word he had requested, and on that Sunday, de Leval saw another lawyer
who had been on the case and could tell him what had taken place at the
trial. The lawyer thought that the court martial would not condemn Miss
Cavell to death. At any rate, no judgment had been pronounced, and the
judges themselves did not appear to be in agreement.

[Sidenote: Leval asks to see Miss Cavell.]

On Monday, the eleventh of October, at eight-thirty in the morning,
Maître de Leval went to the _Politische Abteilung_ in the Rue
Lambermont, and found Conrad. He spoke to him of the case of Miss Cavell
and asked that, now that the trial had taken place, he and the Reverend
Mr. Gahan, the rector of the English church, be allowed to see Miss
Cavell. Conrad said he would make inquiries and inform de Leval by
telephone, and by one of the messengers of the Legation who that morning
happened to deliver some papers to the _Politische Abteilung_, Conrad
sent word that neither the Reverend Mr. Gahan nor Maître de Leval could
see Miss Cavell at that time, but that Maître de Leval could see her as
soon as the judgment had been pronounced.

[Sidenote: Waiting for judgment to be pronounced.]

[Sidenote: Promise to inform the Legation.]

At eleven-thirty o'clock on the Monday morning, Maître de Leval himself
telephoned to Conrad, who repeated this statement. The judgment had not
yet been rendered, he said, and Maître de Leval asked him to let him
know as soon as the judgment had been pronounced, so that he might go to
see Miss Cavell. Conrad promised this, but added that even then the
Reverend Mr. Gahan could not see her, because there were German
Protestant pastors at the prison, and that if Miss Cavell needed
spiritual advice or consolation she could call on them. Conrad concluded
this conversation by saying that the judgment would be rendered on the
morrow, that is, on Tuesday, or the day after, and that even when it had
been pronounced it would have to be signed by the Military Governor, and
that the Legation would be kept informed.

At twelve-ten on the Monday, not having received any news from Maître
Kirschen, Maître de Leval went to his house, but did not find him there,
and left his card.

[Sidenote: Leval makes repeated inquiries.]

At twelve-twenty o'clock, Maître de Leval went to the house of the
lawyer to whom reference has already been made, and left word for him to
go to his home.

At four o'clock that afternoon the lawyer arrived at the Legation and
said that he had been to see the Germans at eleven o'clock, and that
there he had been told no judgment would be pronounced before the
following day. Before leaving the Legation to go home, Maître de Leval
told to Gibson all that had happened, and asked him to telephone again
to Conrad before going home himself. Then at intervals all day long the
inquiry had been repeated, and the same response was made.

[Sidenote: The chancellerie was closed for the night.]

Monday evening at six-twenty o'clock, Belgian time, Topping, one of the
clerks of the Legation, with Gibson standing by, again called Conrad on
the telephone, again was told that the judgment had not been pronounced,
and that the Political Department would not fail to inform the Legation
the moment the judgment was confirmed. And the _chancellerie_ was closed
for the night.

[Sidenote: A nurse informs Leval of the death sentence.]

At nine o'clock that Monday evening, Maître de Leval appeared suddenly
at the door of my chamber; his face was deadly pallid; he said that he
had just heard from the nurse who kept him informed, that the judgment
had been confirmed and that the sentence of death had been pronounced on
Miss Cavell at half-past four o'clock that afternoon, and that she was
to be shot at two o'clock the next morning. It seemed preposterous,
especially the immediate execution of sentence; there had always been
time at least to prepare and present a plea for mercy. To condemn a
woman in the evening and then to hurry her out to be shot before another
dawn! Impossible! It could not be!

[Sidenote: Judgment read in the afternoon.]

[Sidenote: Plea for mercy had been prepared.]

But no; Maître de Leval was certain. That evening he had gone home and
was writing at his table when about eight o'clock two nurses were
introduced. One was Miss Wilkinson, little and nervous, all in tears;
the other, taller and more calm. Miss Wilkinson said that she had just
learned that the judgment of the court condemned Miss Cavell to death,
that the judgment had been read to her in her cell at four-thirty that
afternoon, and that the Germans were going to shoot her that night at
two o'clock. Maître de Leval told her that it was difficult to believe
such news, since twice he had been told that the judgment had not been
rendered and that it would not be rendered before the following day, but
on her reiteration that she had this news from a source that was
absolutely certain, de Leval left at once with her and her friends and
came to the Legation. And there he stood, pale and shaken. Even then I
could not believe; it was too preposterous; surely a stay of execution
would be granted. Already in the afternoon, in some premonition, Maître
de Leval had prepared a plea for mercy, to be submitted to the
Governor-General, and a letter of transmittal to present to the Baron
von der Lancken. I asked Maître de Leval to bring me these documents and
I signed them, and then, at the last minute, on the letter addressed to
von der Lancken, I wrote these words:

[Sidenote: Mr. Whitlock's personal appeal.]

        "MY DEAR BARON:

        "I am too sick to present my request to you in
        person, but I appeal to your generosity of
        heart to support it, and save this unfortunate
        woman from death. Have pity on her."

[Sidenote: Search for the Spanish ambassador.]

I told Maître de Leval to send Joseph at once to hunt up Gibson to
present my plea and, if possible, to find the Marquis de Villalobar and
to ask him to support it with the Baron von der Lancken. Gibson was
dining somewhere; we did not know where Villalobar was. The _Politische
Abteilung_, in the Ministry of Industry, where Baron von der Lancken
lived, was only half a dozen blocks away. The Governor-General was in
his château at Trois Fontaines, ten miles away, playing bridge that
evening. Maître de Leval went; and I waited.

The nurses from Miss Cavell's school were waiting in a lower room; other
nurses came for news; they, too, had heard, but could not believe. Then
the Reverend Mr. H. Stirling T. Gahan, the British chaplain at Brussels
and pastor of the English church, came. He had a note from some one at
the St. Gilles prison, a note written in German, saying simply:

[Sidenote: English rector summoned.]

"Come at once; some one is about to die."

[Sidenote: A delay of execution expected.]

He went away to the prison; his frail, delicate little wife remained at
the Legation, and there, with my wife and Miss Larner, sat with those
women all that long evening, trying to comfort them, to reassure them.
Outside a cold rain was falling. Up in my chamber I waited; a stay of
execution would be granted, of course; they always were; there was not,
in our time, anywhere, a court, even a court martial, that would condemn
a woman to death at half-past four in the afternoon and hurry her out
and shoot her before dawn--not even a German court martial.

[Sidenote: Miss Cavell calm and courageous.]

When Mr. Gahan arrived at the prison that night Miss Cavell was lying on
the narrow cot in her cell; she arose, drew on a dressing gown, folded
it about her thin form, and received him calmly. She had never expected
such an end to the trial, but she was brave and was not afraid to die.
The judgment had been read to her that afternoon, there in her cell. She
had written letters to her mother in England and to certain of her
friends, and entrusted them to the German authorities.

She did not complain of her trial; she had avowed all, she said; and it
is one of the saddest, bitterest ironies of the whole tragedy that she
seems not to have known that all she had avowed was not sufficient, even
under German law, to justify the judgment passed upon her. The German
chaplain had been kind, and she was willing for him to be with her at
the last, if Mr. Gahan could not be. Life had not been all happy for
her, she said, and she was glad to die for her country. Life had been
hurried, and she was grateful for these weeks of rest in prison.

"Patriotism is not enough," she said, "I must have no hatred and no
bitterness toward any one."

[Sidenote: Notes made in Bible and prayer-book.]

She received the sacrament, she had no hatred for any one, and she had
no regrets. In the touching report that Mr. Gahan made there is a
statement, one of the last that Edith Cavell ever made, which, in its
exquisite pathos, illuminates the whole of that life of stern duty, of
human service and martyrdom. She said that she was grateful for the six
weeks of rest she had just before the end. During those weeks she had
read and reflected; her companions and her solace were her Bible, her
prayer-book and the "Imitation of Christ." The notes she made in these
books reveal her thoughts in that time, and will touch the uttermost
depths of any nature nourished in that beautiful faith which is at once
so tender and so austere. The prayer-book with those laconic entries on
its fly-leaf, in which she set down the sad and eloquent chronology of
her fate, the copy of the "Imitation" which she had read and marked
during those weeks in prison--weeks, which, as she so pathetically said,
had given her rest and quiet and time to think in a life that had been
"so hurried"--and the passages noted in her firm hand have a deep and
appealing pathos.

Just before the end, too, as I have said, she wrote a number of letters.
She forgot no one. Among the letters that she left one was addressed to
the nurses of her school; and there was a message for a girl who was
trying to break herself of the morphine habit--Miss Cavell had been
trying to help her, and she sent her word to be brave, and that if God
would permit she would continue to try to help her.

[Sidenote: The petitioners fail.]

Midnight came, and Gibson, with a dark face, and de Leval, paler than
ever. There was nothing to be done.

[Sidenote: Errand of Marquis Villalobar, Gibson and de Leval.]

De Leval had gone to Gibson, and together they went in search of the
Marquis, whom they found at Baron Lambert's, where he had been dining;
he and Baron Lambert and M. Francqui were over their coffee. The three,
the Marquis, Gibson and de Leval, then went to the Rue Lambermont. The
little Ministry was closed and dark; no one was there. They rang, and
rang again, and finally the _concierge_ appeared--no one was there, he
said. They insisted. The _concierge_ at last found a German functionary
who came down, stood staring stupidly; every one was gone; _son
Excellence_ was at the theater. At what theater? He did not know. They
urged him to go and find out. He disappeared inside, went up and down
stairs two or three times, finally came out and said that he was at Le
Bois Sacré. They explained that the presence of the Baron was urgent and
asked the man to go for him; they turned over the motor to him and he
mounted on the box beside Eugene. They reached the little variety
theater there in the Rue d'Arenberg. The German functionary went in and
found the Baron, who said he could not come before the piece was over.

[Sidenote: The sad wait for der Lancken.]

All this while Villalobar, Gibson and de Leval were in the salon at the
Ministry, the room of which I have spoken so often as the yellow salon,
because of the satin upholstery of its Louis XVI. furniture of white
lacquer--that bright, almost laughing little salon, all done in the
gayest, lightest tones, where so many little dramas were played. All
three of them were deeply moved and very anxious--the eternal contrast,
as de Leval said, between things and sentiments. Lancken entered at
last, very much surprised to find them; he was accompanied by Count
Harrach and by the young Baron von Falkenhausen.

"What is it, gentlemen?" he said. "Has something serious happened?"

They told him why they were there, and Lancken, raising his hands, said:


[Sidenote: Der Lancken believes the rumor false.]

He had vaguely heard that afternoon of a condemnation for spying, but he
did not know that it had anything to do with the case of Miss Cavell,
and in any event it was impossible that they would put a woman to death
that night.

"Who has given you this information? Because, to come and disturb me at
such an hour you must have actual information," he said.

De Leval replied: "Without doubt I consider it so, but I must refuse to
tell you from whom I received the information. Besides, what difference
does it make? If the information is true, our presence at this hour is
justified; if it is not true, I am ready to take the consequences of my

The Baron grew irritated.

"What," he said, "is it on the hint of mere rumor that you come and
disturb me at such an hour, me and these gentlemen? No, no, gentlemen,
this news can not be true. Orders are never executed with such
precipitation, especially when a woman is concerned. Come and see me
to-morrow. Besides, how do you think that at this hour I can obtain any
information? The Governor-General must certainly be sleeping."

Gibson, or one of them, suggested to him that a very simple way of
finding out would be to telephone to the prison.

"Quite right," said he. "I had not thought of that."

He went out, was gone a few minutes and came back embarrassed, so they
said, even a little bit ashamed, for he said:

[Sidenote: The sad news confirmed.]

"You are right, gentlemen; I have heard by telephone that Miss Cavell
has been condemned and that she will be shot to-night."

Then de Leval drew out the letter that I had written to the Baron and
gave it to him, and he read it in an undertone--with a little sardonic
smile, de Leval said--and when he had finished he handed it back to de
Leval and said:

[Sidenote: The plea for mercy.]

"But it is necessary to have a plea for mercy at the same time."

"Here it is," said de Leval, and gave him the document. Then they all
sat down.

[Sidenote: Von der Lancken's attitude.]

[Sidenote: Miss Cavell not a spy.]

I could see the scene as it was described to me by Villalobar, by
Gibson, by de Leval, in that pretty little Louis XVI. salon that I knew
so well--Lancken giving way to an outburst of feeling against "that
spy," as he called Miss Cavell, and Gibson and de Leval by turns
pleading with him, the Marquis sitting by. It was not a question of
spying as they pointed out; it was a question of the life of a woman, a
life that had been devoted to charity, to helping others. She had nursed
wounded soldiers, she had even nursed German wounded at the beginning of
the war, and now she was accused of but one thing: having helped English
soldiers make their way toward Holland. She may have been imprudent, she
may have acted against the laws of the occupying power, but she was not
a spy, she was not even accused of being a spy, she had not been
convicted of spying, and she did not merit the death of a spy. They sat
there pleading, Gibson and de Leval, bringing forth all the arguments
that would occur to men of sense and sensibility. Gibson called
Lancken's attention to their failure to inform the Legation of the
sentence, of their failure to keep the word that Conrad had given. He
argued that the offense charged against Miss Cavell had long since been
accomplished, that as she had been for some weeks in prison a slight
delay in carrying out the sentence could not endanger the German cause;
he even pointed out the effect such a deed as the summary execution of
the death sentence against a woman would have upon public opinion, not
only in Belgium, but in America, and elsewhere; he even spoke of the
possibility of reprisals.

[Sidenote: The military authority supreme.]

But it was all in vain. Baron von der Lancken explained to them that the
Military Governor, that is, General von Saubersweig, was the supreme
authority in matters of this sort, that an appeal from his decision lay
only to the Emperor, that the Governor-General himself had no authority
to intervene in such cases, and that under the provisions of German
martial law it lay within the discretion of the Military Governor
whether he would accept or refuse an appeal for clemency. And then
Villalobar suddenly cried out:

"Oh, come now! It's a woman; you can't shoot a woman like that!"

The Baron paused, was evidently moved.

"Gentlemen," he said, "it is past eleven o'clock; what can be done?"

[Sidenote: Lancken goes to von Saubersweig.]

It was only von Saubersweig who could act, he had said, and they urged
the Baron to go to see von Saubersweig. Finally he consented. While he
was gone Villalobar, Gibson and de Leval repeated to Harrach and von
Falkenhausen all the arguments that might move them. Von Falkenhausen
was young, he had been to Cambridge in England, and he was touched,
though of course he was powerless. And de Leval says that when he gave
signs of showing pity, Harrach cast a glance at him, so that he said
nothing more, and then Harrach said:

"The life of one German soldier seems to us much more important than
that of all these old English nurses."

[Sidenote: Lancken's return.]

At last Lancken returned and, standing there, announced:

"I am exceedingly sorry, but the Governor tells me that only after due
reflection was the execution decided upon, and that he will not change
his decision. Under his prerogative he even refuses to receive the plea
for mercy. Therefore, no one, not even the Emperor, can do anything for

[Sidenote: The plea for mercy handed back.]

With this he handed my letter and the _requête en grace_ back to Gibson.
There was a moment of silence in the yellow salon. Then Villalobar
sprang up and seizing Lancken by the shoulder said to him in an
energetic tone:

"Baron, I wish to speak to you."

"It is useless," began Lancken.

[Sidenote: The Marquis Villalobar pleads.]

But the old Spanish pride had been mounting in the Marquis, and he
literally dragged the tall von der Lancken into a little room near by,
and then voices were heard in sharp discussion, and even through the
partition the voice of Villalobar:

"It is idiotic, this thing you are going to do; you will have another

A few moments later they came back, Villalobar in silent rage, Lancken
very red. And, as de Leval said, without another word, dumb, in
consternation, filled with an immense despair, they came away.

[Sidenote: The messengers withdraw.]

I heard the report, and they withdrew. A little while and I heard the
street door open. The women who had waited all that night went out into
the rain.

The rain had ceased and the air was soft and warm the next morning; the
sunlight shone through an autumn haze. But over the city the horror of
the dreadful deed hung like a pall.

[Sidenote: Other prisoners condemned.]

Twenty-six others were condemned with Miss Cavell, four of whom were
sentenced to death: Philippe Baucq, an architect of Brussels; Louise
Thuiliez, a school-teacher at Lille; Louis Severin, a pharmacist of
Brussels; and the Countess Jeanne de Belleville of Montignies-sur-Roc.

[Sidenote: Severe sentences.]

Harman Capian, a civil engineer of Wasmes; Mrs. Ada Bodart of Brussels;
Albert Libiez, a lawyer of Wasmes; and Georges Derveau, a pharmacist of
Pâturages, were sentenced each to fifteen years' penal servitude at hard

The Princess Maria de Croy was sentenced to ten years' penal servitude
at hard labor.

Seventeen others were sentenced to hard labor or to terms of
imprisonment of from two to five years. The eight remaining were

[Sidenote: The people horrified at Miss Cavell's execution.]

All day long sad and solemn groups stood under the trees in the
boulevards amid the falling leaves discussing the crime in horrified
tones. The horror of it pervaded the house. I found my wife weeping at
evening; no need to ask what was the matter; the wife of the chaplain
had been there, with some detail of Miss Cavell's last hours: how she
had arisen wearily from her cot at the coming of the clergyman, drawing
her dressing-gown about her thin throat.

[Sidenote: The body not given to friends.]

I sent a note to Baron von der Lancken asking that the Governor-General
permit the body of Miss Cavell to be buried by the American Legation and
the friends of the dead girl. In reply he came himself to see me in the
afternoon. He was very solemn, and said that he wished to express his
regret in the circumstances, but that he had done all he could. The
body, he said, had already been interred, with respect and with
religious rites, in a quiet place, and under the law it could not be
exhumed without an order from the Imperial Government. The
Governor-General himself had gone to Berlin.

[Sidenote: Whitlock and Villalobar.]

And then came Villalobar, and I thanked him for what he had done. He
told me much, and described the scene the night before in that anteroom
with Lancken. The Marquis was much concerned about the Countess Jeanne
de Belleville and Madame Thuiliez, both French, and hence protégées of
his, condemned to die within eight days; but I told him not to be
concerned; that the effect of Miss Cavell's martyrdom did not end with
her death; it would procure other liberations, this among them; the
thirst for blood had been slaked and there would be no more executions
in that group; it was the way of the law of blood vengeance. We talked a
long time about the tragedy and about the even larger tragedy of the

"We are getting old," he said. "Life is going; and after the war, if we
live in that new world, we shall be of the old--the new generation will
push us aside."

[Sidenote: Miss Cavell's death wins mercy for others.]

Gibson and de Leval prepared reports of the whole matter, and I sent
them by the next courier to our Embassy at London. But somehow that very
day the news got into Holland and shocked the world. Richards, of the
C. R. B., just back from The Hague, said that they had already heard of
it there and were filled with horror. And even the Germans, who seemed
always to do a deed and to consider its effect afterward, knew that they
had another Louvain, another _Lusitania_, for which to answer before the
bar of civilization. The lives of the three others remaining, of the
five condemned to death, were ultimately spared, as I had told
Villalobar they would be. The King of Spain and the President of the
United States made representations at Berlin in behalf of the Countess
de Belleville and Madame Thuiliez, and their sentences were commuted to
imprisonment, as was that of Louis Severin, the Brussels druggist. The
storm of universal loathing and reprobation for the deed was too much
even for the Germans.

       *       *       *       *       *

In an earlier chapter we have read of the beginning of the attempt to
cross the Dardanelles and to capture the Peninsula of Gallipoli. After
great losses and terrible suffering had been endured in these attempts,
it was decided in December, 1915, by the British war authorities that
further sacrifices were not justified. Preparations were accordingly
made to abandon the enterprise. How these plans were carried out is told
in the chapter following.



On October 20, 1915, in London, I received instructions to proceed as
soon as possible to the Near East and take over the command of the
Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.

[Sidenote: General Monro's orders on arrival.]

My duty on arrival was in broad outline:

(a) To report on the military situation on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

(b) To express an opinion whether on purely military grounds the
Peninsula should be evacuated or another attempt made to carry it.

(c) The number of troops that would be required--

(1) To carry the Peninsula.

(2) To keep the strait open, and

(3) To take Constantinople.

[Sidenote: Military defects in positions occupied.]

The positions occupied by our troops presented a military situation
unique in history. The mere fringe of the coast line had been secured.
The beaches and piers upon which they depended for all requirements in
personnel and material were exposed to registered and observed artillery
fire. Our intrenchments were dominated almost throughout by the Turks.
The possible artillery positions were insufficient and defective. The
force, in short, held a line possessing every possible military defect.
The position was without depth, the communications were insecure and
dependent on the weather.

No means existed for the concealment and deployment of fresh troops
destined for the offensive--while the Turks enjoyed full powers of
observation, abundant artillery positions, and they had been given the
time to supplement the natural advantages which the position presented
by all the devices at the disposal of the field engineer.

[Sidenote: Disease, loss of competent officers, make-shift

Another material factor came prominently before me. The troops on the
Peninsula had suffered much from various causes--exposure to shell fire,
disease, the dearth of competent officers owing to earlier losses, and
"make-shifts" due to the attachment of Yeomanry and Mounted Brigades to
the Territorial Divisions. Other arguments, irrefutable in their
conclusions, convinced me that a complete evacuation was the only wise
course to pursue.

[Sidenote: Consequences of unusual storms.]

On November 21, 1915 the Peninsula was visited by a storm said to be
nearly unprecedented for the time of the year. The storm was accompanied
by torrential rain, which lasted for twenty-four hours. This was
followed by hard frost and a heavy blizzard. In the areas of the Eighth
Corps and the Anzac Corps the effects were not felt to a very marked
degree owing to the protection offered by the surrounding hills. The
Ninth Corps was less favorably situated, the water courses in this area
became converted into surging rivers, which carried all before them. The
water rose in many places to the height of the parapets and all means of
communications were prevented.

The men, drenched as they were by the rain, suffered from the subsequent
blizzard most severely. Large numbers collapsed from exposure and
exhaustion, and in spite of untiring efforts that were made to mitigate
the suffering I regret to announce that there were 200 deaths from
exposure and over 10,000 sick evacuated during the first few days of

From reports given by deserters it is probable that the Turks suffered
even to a greater degree.

[Sidenote: Difficulties pertaining to withdrawal.]

The problem with which we were confronted was the withdrawal of an army
of a considerable size from positions in no cases more than 300 yards
from the enemy's trenches, and its embarkation on open beaches, every
part of which was within effective range of Turkish guns, and from which
in winds from the south or southwest, the withdrawal of troops was not

I came to the conclusion that our chances of success were infinitely
more probable if we made no departure of any kind from the normal life
which we were following both on sea and on land. A feint which did not
fully fulfill its purpose would have been worse than useless, and there
was the obvious danger that the suspicions of the Turks would be aroused
by our adoption of a course the real purport of which could not have
been long disguised.

[Sidenote: Unsettled weather a menace.]

Rapidity of action was imperative, having in view the unsettled weather
which might be expected in the Ægean. The success of our operations was
entirely dependent on weather conditions. Even a mild wind from the
south or southwest was found to raise such a ground swell as to greatly
impede communication with the beaches, while anything in the nature of a
gale from this direction could not fail to break up the piers, wreck the
small craft, and thus definitely prevent any steps being taken toward

[Sidenote: Evacuation of supplies continues satisfactorily.]

Throughout the period December 10 to 18, 1915 the withdrawal proceeded
under the most auspicious conditions, and the morning of December 18,
1915, found the positions both at Anzac and Suvla reduced to the numbers
determined, while the evacuation of guns, animals, stores, and supplies
had continued most satisfactorily.

It was imperative, of course, that the front-line trenches should be
held, however lightly, until the very last moment and that the
withdrawal from these trenches should be simultaneous throughout the

The good fortune which had attended the evacuation continued during the
night of the 19th-20th. The night was perfectly calm with a slight haze
over the moon, an additional stroke of good luck, as there was a full
moon on that night.

[Sidenote: Final withdrawals from Anzac and Suvla.]

Soon after dark the covering ships were all in position, and the final
withdrawal began. At 1:30 A. M. the withdrawal of the rear parties
commenced from the front trenches at Suvla and the left of Anzac. Those
on the right of Anzac who were nearer the beach remained in position
until 2 A. M. By 5:30 A. M. the last man had quit the trenches.

At Anzac, four 18-pounder guns, two 5-inch howitzers, one 4.7 naval gun,
one anti-air craft, and two 3-pounder Hotchkiss guns were left, but they
were destroyed before the troops finally embarked. In addition,
fifty-six mules, a certain number of carts, mostly stripped of their
wheels, and some supplies which were set on fire, were also abandoned.

[Sidenote: A few supplies destroyed.]

At Suvla every gun, vehicle and animal was embarked, and all that
remained was a small stock of supplies, which were burned.

On December 28, 1915, your Lordship's telegram ordering the evacuation
of Helles was received, whereupon, in view of the possibility of bad
weather intervening, I instructed the General Officer Commanding
Dardanelles Army to complete the operation as rapidly as possible. He
was reminded that every effort conditional on not exposing the personnel
to undue risk should be made to save all 60-pounder and 18-pounder
guns, 6-inch and 4.5 howitzers, with their ammunition and other
accessories, such as mules, and A. T. carts, limbered wagons, &c.

[Sidenote: Situation on Gallipoli Peninsula.]

[Sidenote: Increase in Turkish artillery.]

At a meeting which was attended by the Vice Admiral and the General
Officer Commanding Dardanelles Army I explained the course which I
thought we should adopt to again deceive the Turks as to our intentions.
The situation on the Peninsula had not materially changed owing to our
withdrawal from Suvla and Anzac, except that there was a marked
increased activity in aerial reconnoissance over our positions, and the
islands of Mudros and Imbros, and that hostile patrolling of our
trenches was more frequent and daring. The most apparent factor was that
the number of heavy guns on the European and Asiatic shores had been
considerably augmented, and that these guns were more liberally supplied
with German ammunition, the result of which was that our beaches were
continuously shelled, especially from the Asiatic shore. I gave it as my
opinion that in my judgment I did not regard a feint as an operation
offering any prospect of success; and it was decided the navy should do
their utmost to pursue a course of retaliation against the Turkish
batteries, but to refrain from any unusually aggressive attitude should
the Turkish guns remain quiescent.

[Sidenote: General Birdwood's comprehensive plans.]

General Sir W. Birdwood had, in anticipation of being ordered to
evacuate Helles, made such complete and far-seeing arrangements that he
was able to proceed without delay to the issue of the comprehensive
orders which the consummation of such a delicate operation in war

[Sidenote: French infantry embarked.]

The evacuation, following the same system as was practiced at Suvla and
Anzac, proceeded without delay. The French infantry remaining on the
Peninsula were relieved on the night of January 1-2, 1916, and were
embarked by the French navy on the following nights. Progress, however,
was slower than had been hoped, owing to delays caused by accident and
the weather. One of our largest horse ships was sunk by a French
battleship, whereby the withdrawal was considerably retarded, and at the
same time strong winds sprang up which interfered materially with work
on the beaches. The character of the weather now setting in offered so
little hope of a calm period of any duration that General Sir W.
Birdwood arranged with Admiral Sir J. de Robeck for the assistance of
some destroyers in order to accelerate the progress of re-embarkation.

[Sidenote: Turks shell trenches and beaches.]

Meanwhile the Eighth Corps had maintained the offensive spirit in
bombing and minor operations with which they had established the moral
superiority they enjoyed over the enemy. On December 29, 1915 the
Fifty-second Division completed the excellent work which they had been
carrying out for so long by capturing a considerable portion of the
Turkish trenches, and by successfully holding these in the face of
repeated counter-attacks. The shelling of our trenches and beaches,
however, increased in frequency and intensity, and the average daily
casualties continued to increase.

On January 7, 1916, the enemy developed heavy artillery fire on the
trenches held by the Thirteenth Division, while the Asiatic guns shelled
those occupied by the Royal Naval Division. The bombardment, which was
reported to be the heaviest experienced since we landed in April, lasted
from noon until 5 P. M., and was intensive between 3 and 3:30 P. M.

January 8, 1916 was a bright, calm day, with a light breeze from the
south. There was every indication of the continuance of favorable
conditions, and, in the opinion of the meteorological officer, no
important change was to be expected for at least twenty-four hours. The
Turkish artillery was unusually inactive. All preparations for the
execution of the final stage were complete.

[Sidenote: Unfavorable weather.]

[Sidenote: Hostile submarine near by.]

About 7 P. M. the breeze freshened considerably from the southwest, the
most unfavorable quarter, but the first trip, timed for 8 P. M., was
dispatched without difficulty. The wind, however, continued to rise
until, by 11 P. M., the connecting pier between the hulks and the shore
at "W" Beach was washed away by heavy seas, and further embarkation into
destroyers from these hulks became impracticable. In spite of these
difficulties the second trips, which commenced at 11:30 P. M., were
carried out well up to time, and the embarkation of guns continued
uninterruptedly. Early in the evening reports had been received from the
right flank that a hostile submarine was believed to be moving down the
strait, and about midnight H. M. S. _Prince George_, which had embarked
2,000 men, and was sailing for Mudros, reported she was struck by a
torpedo which failed to explode. The indications of the presence of a
submarine added considerably to the anxiety for the safety of the troop
carriers, and made it necessary for the Vice Admiral to modify the
arrangements made for the subsequent bombardment of the evacuated

[Sidenote: Gully Beach embarkation completed.]

At 1:50 A. M., Gully Beach reported that the embarkation at that beach
was complete, and that the lighters were about to push off, but at 2:10
A. M. a telephone message was received that one of the lighters was
aground and could not be refloated. The N. T. O. at once took all
possible steps to have another lighter sent in to Gully Beach, and this
was, as a matter of fact, done within an hour, but in the meantime, at
2:30 A. M. it was decided to move the 160 men who had been relanded
from the grounded lighter to "W" Beach and embark them there.

[Sidenote: Conflagrations show Turks the allies have withdrawn.]

At 3:30 A. M. the evacuation was complete, and abandoned heaps of stores
and supplies were successfully set on fire by time fuses after the last
man had embarked. Two magazines of ammunition and explosives were also
successfully blown up at 4 A. M. These conflagrations were apparently
the first intimation received by the Turks that we had withdrawn. Red
lights were immediately discharged from the enemy's trenches, and heavy
artillery fire opened on our trenches and beaches. This shelling was
maintained until about 6:30 A. M.

[Sidenote: Good luck and skilled organization forthcoming.]

Apart from four unserviceable fifteen-pounders which had been destroyed
earlier in the month, ten worn-out fifteen-pounders, one six-inch Mark
VII gun, and six old heavy French guns, all of which were previously
blown up, were left on the Peninsula. In addition to the above, 508
animals, most of which were destroyed, and a number of vehicles and
considerable quantities of stores, material, and supplies, all of which
were destroyed by burning, had to be abandoned.

[Sidenote: Competent officers in charge.]

The entire evacuation of the Peninsula had now been completed. It
demanded for its successful realization two important military
essentials, viz., good luck and skilled disciplined organization, and
they were both forthcoming to a marked degree at the hour needed. Our
luck was in the ascendant by the marvelous spell of calm weather which
prevailed. But we were able to turn to the fullest advantage these
accidents of fortune.

Lieutenant General Sir W. Birdwood and his corps commanders elaborated
and prepared the orders in reference to the evacuation with a skill,
competence, and courage which could not have been surpassed, and we had
a further stroke of good fortune in being associated with Vice Admiral
Sir J. de Robeck, K. C. B., Vice Admiral Wemyss, and a body of naval
officers whose work remained throughout this anxious period at that
standard of accuracy and professional ability which is beyond the power
of criticism or cavil.

       *       *       *       *       *

The form of "frightfulness" in which the Germans placed the greatest
faith was the terrorizing of the inhabitants of unprotected enemy cities
by bombs from Zeppelins and aeroplanes. While the objects for which
these atrocities were perpetrated were not attained, hundreds of
innocent men, women, and children were murdered. The following narrative
describes one of these German air raids.



Copyright Forum, August, 1916.

[Sidenote: The switchman at Walthamstow.]

For twenty-six years old Tom Cumbers had held his job as switchman at
the Walthamstow railroad junction where the London-bound trains come up
from Southend to the great city. It was an important post and old Tom
filled it with stolid British efficiency. A kindly man who felt himself
an integral part of the giant railroad system that employed him, old Tom
had few interests beyond his work, his white-haired wife, his reeking
pipe and the little four-room tenement in Walthamstow which he called
home. The latter was one of the thousands of two-storied rabbit-hatches
of sooty, yellow brick, all alike and all incredibly ugly, which
stretch, mile upon mile, from Walthamstow toward London's tumultuous

[Sidenote: The workshops near Epping Forest.]

[Sidenote: An appalling tragedy of the war.]

Within a radius of four dun miles, just on the nearer edge of Epping
Forest--the scene in a forgotten day of Robin Hood's adventurings--a
section of these huddling homes of the submerged, together with a street
of trams and some pathetic shops, constitute this town of Walthamstow.
It is a sordid, unlovely place, but for some ten thousand
wage-strugglers it is all of England. There are workshops hereabout in
which one may mingle one's copious sweat with the grime of machinery and
have fourteen shillings a week into the bargain--if one is properly
skilled and muscular and bovinely plodding. Walthamstow is not the place
where one would deliberately choose to live if bread could be earned
elsewhere with equal certainty. But for all its dirt and dullness it has
a spot on the map and a meaning in the dull souls of its inhabitants,
and here, within half an hour's train travel of the Lord Mayor's Mansion
and the golden vaults of the Bank of England, transpired on the
sweltering night of which I write, one of the most witless and appalling
tragedies of the present war. Forever memorable in the hitherto
colorless calendar of Walthamstow will be this tragedy in the second
year of Armageddon.

[Sidenote: An ordinary hot night.]

[Sidenote: News of the war.]

Beyond the stenchful heat-stress of it, there was nothing up to
half-past eleven to mark this night as different from its fellows of the
past. From eight o'clock till ten the small activities of the town
centered chiefly about its tramway terminus, its smudgy station, its
three or four moving-picture theatres, and its fetid pubs. On the
pavements, in the roadways and at every crossing, corduroyed men yawned
and spat, and slatternly women, most of them with whimpering infants in
their arms, talked of shop or household cares and the frailties of their
neighbors. Some, more alive to the big events of a clashing world,
repeated the meagre news of the ha'penny press and dwelt with prideful
fervor on the latest bit of heroism reported from the front. Now and
again an outburst of raucous humor echoed above the babble of cockney
tongues. The maudlin clamor of "a pore lone lidy 'oos 'subing 'ad
desarted 'er" failed to arouse anyone's curiosity. Ladies in their cups
are not a rarity in Walthamstow. In side streets, lads in khaki, many of
them fresh from fields of slaughter "somewhere in Flanders," sported
boisterously with their factory-girl sweethearts or spooned in the
shadows. Everywhere grubby children in scant clothing shrilled and
scampered and got in the way. Humidity enveloped the town like a sodden
cloak and its humanity stewed in moist and smelly discomfort.

[Sidenote: Street lamps out.]

But shortly after eleven o'clock the whole place became suddenly and
majestically still and black. People who go to their work at sunrise
cannot afford the extravagance of midnight revelry, and there are few
street-lamps alight after ten o'clock in any London suburb in these
times of martial law. Walthamstow slept in heated but profound oblivion
of its mean existence. Beyond the town lay, like a prostrate giant
camel, the heat-blurred silhouette of the classic forest. Low over
Walthamstow hung the festoons of flat, humid clouds, menacing storm, but

[Sidenote: The rhythm of the Zeppelin.]

[Sidenote: The train to serve as pilot to London.]

[Sidenote: The Zeppelin forced to travel low.]

If there was no disturbance in the clouds themselves there was among
them something very active, something that drilled its way through them
with a muffled whirring, something that was oblong and lean and light of
texture, that was ominous and menacing for all its buoyancy. The sound
it made was too high up, too thickly shrouded by clouds, to determine
its precise position. It gave forth a breathing of persistent, definite
rhythm. This was plainly not the wing-stroke of a nocturnal bird; for no
bird, big or little, could advertise its flight in such perfect
pulsation. And yet it was a bird, a Gargantuan, man-made bird with
murder in its talons and hatred in its heart. From its steel nest in
Germanized Belgium this whirring monster had soared eight thousand feet
and crossed the Channel with little fear of discovery. It had penetrated
the English Coast somewhere down Sheerness way and over Southend and
then, dropping lower, had sought and found through the haze the tiny
train whose locomotive had just fluted its brief salutation to
Walthamstow. To the close-cropped men on the Zeppelin, the string of
cars far down under their feet, with its side-flare from lighted
windows, its engine's headlamp and its sparks, had proved a providential
pilotage. They knew that this train was on the main line, and that it
would lead them straight to the great Liverpool Street Station, and that
was London, and it was London wharfs and ammunition works along the
Thames that they had planned to obliterate with their cylinders of
mechanical doom. But the moist clouds which aided so materially in
hiding the Zeppelin's presence from below also worked for its defeat, in
so far as its ultimate objective was concerned, for to keep the guiding
train in view it was compelled to travel lower and yet lower--so low,
indeed, as to make it a target for Kitchener's sentinels.

[Sidenote: The switchman signals "danger."]

[Sidenote: The train stops at Walthamstow.]

Somehow, by sight or intuition or the instant commingling of the two,
old Tom Cumbers became aware of the danger above him; for he sprang to
his switch, shut off all the cheery blue and white lights along "the
line" and swung on with a mighty jerk the ruby signal of danger. The
engineer in the on-rushing train jammed down his brakes and brought up
his locomotive with a complaining, grinding moan, a hundred yards beyond
Walthamstow station. Tom Cumbers had done a greater thing than any other
in all his existence.

[Sidenote: The German revenge.]

That by his act the Germans in their speeding sky-craft were baffled
there is no doubt. They had lost their trail of fire; their involuntary
guide had disappeared in the gloom. The airmen's long journey had
suddenly become fruitless; their peril from hidden British guns and
flying scouts was increased tenfold. The heat of the night was as
nothing to the hot surge of disappointment that must have swept the
brains of the Zeppelin crew. Their commander, too, must have lost his
judgment utterly, forgotten his sense of military effectiveness.
Whatever happened, he sacrificed his soul when he turned his cloud-ship
aside from the railway line, steered over the shabby roofs of
Walthamstow and, at less than two thousand feet, unloosed his iron dogs
of destruction.

[Sidenote: Bombing tenements of a defenseless town.]

I have it on the authority of experienced aviators that it is not
impossible on a dark night to distinguish buildings of importance like
St. Paul's or the Houses of Parliament or a great gun factory or a river
as broad as the Thames with its uprearing and frequent bridges. The
crowding tenements of Walthamstow could have had no semblance to any of
these, at any height. It would seem a cheap and worthless revenge, then,
to wreck an unimportant and defenceless town, having failed to wreck the
military nerve-center of the world's metropolis. But this is what one of
Count Zeppelin's soaring dreadnoughts did in this night, in this
blood-drenched year.

[Sidenote: When a bomb explodes.]

Like the mirage of a tropical island the dirigible hung motionless in
space for a breathless minute. There was a wavering pin-prick of light
in the carriage suspended from the leviathan's belly--a light that
fluttered fore and aft as of a man with a fairy lantern running to and
fro giving orders or taking them. Then faintly discernible against the
sky, like a rope hung down for anchorage, came a thin, gray streak--the
tail of a bomb with all hell in its wake. From somewhere near the town's
centre the earth split and roared apart. The world reeled and a
brain-shattering crash compounded of all the elements of pain and hurled
from the shoulders of a thousand thunderclaps smote the senses. It was a
blast of sickening and malignant fury. It did not so much stun as it
stopped one--stopped the breath and the heart's beat, suspending
thought, halting life itself for a fraction of time. One was, somehow,
aware of existence but without sensation. And then came reaction and
the realization of what was really taking place. The German's bomb
landed fully ten blocks away, but you would have taken oath in court
that it had fallen at your feet, behind you, above you and into your
very brain.

[Sidenote: Terror of the people.]

[Sidenote: A broken gas main.]

An air raid on Walthamstow, which drab town can boast neither ammunition
works nor the ownership of war material of any description, could not be
at once realized. But here was the cyclonic fact, hideously real,
appallingly actual; and there in the heavens was the buoyant Zeppelin
maneuvering for further mischief. The reverberation of the first
explosion was still grumbling back in Epping Forest when all
Walthamstow, rubbing its eyes, tumbled out into the black streets. Men,
women, children, all ludicrously clotheless, swarmed aimlessly like bees
in an overturned hive. Stark terror gripped them. It distorted their
faces and set their legs quivering. The dullest among these toil-dulled
people knew what that explosion meant, knew that it was part of the
punishment promised by the German foe. "Gott strafe England" had come to
pass. But they could not understand why the enemy had singled them out
for such drastic distinction. The more alert and cool-headed of the men
battled with their fellows and shouted instructions to get the women
folks and the kiddies back indoors and down into their cellars. The
night-gowned and pajamaed throng could not be persuaded that safety lay
not in sight of the Zeppelin but away from it. The hypnotism of horror
lured them on to where twelve houses lay spread about in smoking chaos,
a plateau of blazing and noisome havoc. Somewhere a gas-main burst with
a roar and drove the crowd back with its choking fumes as no human hands
could have done. Women frankly hysterical or swooning were roughly
thrust aside. Children shrieking in uncomprehending panic were swept
along with the crowd or trodden upon. Lumbering men ran and shouted and
cursed and shook hairy fists at the long blot on the clouds. Some of the
men leaped over iron palings like startled rabbits and flung themselves
in the grass, face downward and quaking. And yet, I dare say that most
of these would have walked straight into a familiar danger without the
waver of an eyelash; it was the unknown peril, the doubt as to how and
whence this hurtling death might spring upon them out of the night, that
unhinged their manhood. And while Walthamstow's walls went down and
great flame-tongues spouted where homes had stood, while the thick, hot
air was tortured with agonized and inhuman cries, the enemy up above let
loose another bolt.

[Sidenote: The second bomb as the town blazes.]

[Sidenote: Effects of the explosion.]

More terrible than the first explosion was, or seemed, this second one.
It mowed down half a hundred shrieking souls. And it was curious to note
the lateral action of the blast when it hit a resisting surface.
Dynamite explodes with a downward or upward force, lyddite and
nitro-glycerine and what not other devil's own powers act more or less
in the same set manner. But the furious ingredients of these bombs
hurled on Walthamstow contained stuff that released a discharge which
swept all things from it horizontally, in a quarter-mile, lightning
sweep, like a scythe of flame. A solid block of shabby villas was laid
out as flat as your palm by the explosion of this second bomb. Scarcely
a brick was left standing upright. What houses escaped demolition around
the edge of the convulsion had their doors and windows splintered into
rubbish. The concussion of this chemical frenzy was felt, like an
earthquake, in a ten-mile circle. Wherever the scorching breath of the
bombs breathed on stone or metal it left a sulphurous, yellow-white
veneer, acrid in odor and smooth to the touch. Whole street-lengths of
twisted iron railings were coated with this murderous white-wash.

[Sidenote: More bombs as the Zeppelin rises.]

[Sidenote: Freaks of the explosion.]

Having made sure of its mark, the ravaging Zeppelin rose higher on the
discharge of its first bomb and still higher after firing the second. At
the safe distance of four thousand feet it dropped three more shells
recklessly, haphazard. One of these bored cleanly through a slate-tiled
roof, through furniture and two floorings and burrowed ten feet into the
ground without exploding. This intact shell has since been carefully
analyzed by the experts of the Board of Explosions at the British War
Office. Another bomb detonated on the steel rails of the Walthamstow
tram-line and sent them curling skyward from their rivetted foundations
like serpentine wisps of paper. Great cobblestones were heaved through
shop windows and partitions and out into the flower-beds of rear
gardens; some of the cobbles were flung through solid attic blinds and
others were catapulted through brick walls a foot in thickness. A hole
as big as a moving-van burned into the road at one place. In a side
street an impromptu fountain squirted playfully into the dust-burdened
air, the result of a central water-pipe punctured by a slug from one of
the bomb's iron entrails. But these things were not noted until dawn and
comparative peace had returned to Walthamstow and men could count with
some degree the cost of the reckless invasion.

[Sidenote: British aeroplanes pursue.]

Before the clouds had swallowed up the hateful visitant the noise of its
attack had aroused the military guards across Epping Forest, in
Chingford village, and, aided by a search-light, the anti-aircraft-gun
opened its unavailing fire on the Zeppelin--ineffective, except that its
returning shrapnel smashed up several roofs and battered some innocent
heads. The Germans had gauged their skyward path to London along which,
apparently, they felt reasonably safe from gun-reach. But they had
barely headed homeward before a flock of army aeroplanes, rising from
all points of the compass, were in hot pursuit. One of the Britishers
was shot down by the men aboard the Zeppelin. Neither speed nor daring
counts for much in an encounter between flying-machines and swift
dirigibles of the latest types. The advantage lies solely with the one
that can overfly his adversary. This can be achieved by a biplane or
monoplane pilot only if he has a long start from the ground and time
enough to surmount his opponent. This is difficult even in daylight with
a cloudless sky. Given darkness and clouds, the chances for success are
tremendously against the smaller craft.

[Sidenote: The old switchman a victim.]

Eight bombs in all were launched on Walthamstow--two of them
ineffectual. The sixth bomb fell into a field close beside the railway
line and worked a hideous wonder. It blew into never-to-be-gathered
fragments all that was mortal of old Tom Cumbers, the signalman. They
found only his left hand plastered gruesomely against the grassy bank of
the railway cut--not a hair nor button else.

       *       *       *       *       *

The great series of attacks by the massed German Army against the mighty
forces of Verdun began in February, 1917, and continued throughout the
following months. Taken as a whole, it was the most dramatic effort in
all its phases which took place between the German and French forces.
The French showed during these terrible months, the spirit of devotion
and sacrifice which was never excelled during the war.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Page 5, "Liege" changed to "Liège" (The Defense of Liège)

Page 11, "again" changed to "against" (against the anarchist)

Page 24, "Petersberg" changed to "Petersburg" (and St. Petersburg

Page 28, "thave" changed to "have" (must have rejoiced)

Page 35, "neighbor" changed to "neighbour" to match rest of text (her
western neighbour)

Page 41, "Liege" changed to "Liège" (strong fortress of Liège)

Page 41, "LIEGE" changed to "LIÈGE"

Page 57, Sidenote: "centimeter" changed to "centimetre" to match text
(Forty-two centimetre)

Page 74, Sidenote: "Compiegne" changed to "Compiègne" (towards

Page 77, "Ferte" changed to "Ferté" (Changis, La Ferté, Nogent)

Page 83, "betweeen" changed to "between" (right between the Vosges)

Page 85, "Liége" changed to "Liège" (weeks at Liège Namur)

Page 92, "Chateau" changed to "Château" (Marne below Château-Thierry)

Page 92, Sidenote: "center" changed to "centre" to match text (on the
French centre)

Page 92, "Chateau" changed to "Château"

Page 93, "Fére" changed to "Fère" (east of Fère-Champenoise)

Page 93, Sidenote: "man[oe]uvers" changed to "man[oe]uvres" to match
text (Foch out-man[oe]uvres Germans)

Page 93, "center" changed to "centre" to match text (Centre armies

Page 110, "statute" changed to "statue" (in front of the statue)

Page 119, Sidenote: "sand-dunes" changed to "sand dunes" (Battle of the
sand dunes)

Page 124, "is" changed to "are" (Allies are explained)

Page 136, word "her" inserted into text (to her knees)

Page 137, "strongely" changed to "strongly" (not be so strongly)

Page 169, "most" changed to "must" (crew must have beheld)

Page 171, double word "the" deleted. Original text read: "overtaken the
the transports".

Page 191, "ships" changed to "ship" (sails of the first ship)

Page 195, "intrument" changed to "instrument" (no probing instrument)

Page 221, "hocky" changed to "hockey" (and hockey teams)

Page 233, Sidenote: "Aeroplanes" changed to "Aëroplanes" (Aëroplanes
attacked by artillery)

Page 236, "oof" changed to "of" (mere taking of the)

Page 251, "blow" changed to "blown" (been blown up)

Page 276, "asphxiating" changed to "asphyxiating" (No asphyxiating gases)

Page 280, "advoided" changed to "avoided" (always be avoided)

Page 288, "ships's" changed to "ship's" (ship's crew were confident)

Page 288, "volminous" changed to "voluminous" (voluminous to analyze)

Page 302, "that" changed to "than" (conclusion than in)

Page 307, "submarines" changed to "submarine" (submarine warfare in)

Page 314,  word "a" inserted into text (vantage-point on a crag)

Page 310, "N." changed to "No." (Book No. 2, U. S.)

Page 333, "to" changed to "of" (advantage of this)

Page 336, "These" changed to "Those" (Those Germans who)

Page 338, "Trapeze" changed to "Trapèze" (of the Trapèze which)

Page 339, word "the" inserted into text (from the summit)

Page 343, "arrival" changed to "arrived" (224 arrived safe)

Page 356, Sidenote: "executive" changed to "execution" (delay of

Page 359, Sidenote: "De-" changed to "Der" (Der Lancken believes)

Page 367, word "had" inserted into text (and they had been)

Both "Ypres-Poelcapelle" and "Ypres-Poelcappelle" appear in the text.
Both spellings were retained.

Manoeuvre, man[oe]uvre and maneuvre were used and retained.

Both Ripon and Ripont appear in this text. Ripont seems more accurate.

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