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THE MORRINSVILLE CAMP., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 86, 12 April 1909
THE MORRINSVILLE CAMP.
A USEFUL DAYS WORK. •-THE. EHEMY >» WIPED OUT., (By Telegraph:—Own Correspondent J Saturday., f Thunder-toned: fifteen.pounders -huri-r mg death-dealing shrapnel across a peaceful valley, rifles-sgitting;their ladencon--1 tents over the fern-matted plain,, the galloping ofc squadrons of i horse; supplywaggons, and. busy- mounted officers .up, down and. round, hills and; spurs—such, was -the sight which met the spectator's gaze on Saturday a« he watched our country's- defenders- tasting: the realities of' war amh&t the- lovely .valleys of Tahuroa, a-.retiring little settlement- seven miles- from Morrinsville. The shrill screech of shrapnel echoed and. reverberated amongst the foothills and mountains, and', as- the shells furrowed- over hillside, and jets ,of soil, tracing the paths,of, bullets glanced up through the air, bystanders were, en- ' abled more fully than ever before to. understand: the terrible import of war. Saturday was the big day of the- encampment, but manoeuvres were sadly, marred: at the- outset by heavy rain., Friday: evening, was rather- threatening, and the morning was ushered by a few light showers,, which: steadily increased in volume through, the forenoon. This appeared: at first- decidedly unfortunate, for big things had been justly expected, from the practice. The First Infantry Battalion provided the outposte< last' night; guarding; each ford and bridge- in the Vicinity. A visit of inspection was paid: them by Colonel Wolfe-and staff; everything being found in splendid order. It having been decided; -as previously stated; to maintain only the-one camp at the racecourse, preparations were- begun, early on Saturday nfcrnihg for the • eifc miles march out to Mr, J. Starkey'6 Tahuroa estate, where the enemy had been reported to have taken up a position on. the march" from Kawhia' to Morrinsville. The general idea, of-course, embraced the whole province. Colonel Wolfe,' being ' informed that the enemy had landed'men at Kawhia to seize .Morrinsville and' dis--1 organise concentration, had. ordered two. regiments, of-'mounted-rifles and a field battery, two battalions- infantry, engineers, signallers, etc., to proceed- to Mor- ' rinsville, the garrison artillery holding the Auckland- forts against the enemy's 'fleet in the Thames'estuary.At six on Saturday -morning, Colonel Wolfe was. informed, that a force off the enemy, believed; to be the. Tight flank, consisting of mounted- rifles, infantry, and two guns, had reached Tahuroa, and. had taken up a position at the foot, of the Maungakawa" ranges near Cambridge-road. He decided', to- move forward and' attack, leaving a troop con-< centrated at Morrinsville to deal with the enemy's main, force, as it was not considered that the latter, would advance on Morrinsville from Tauwhare until he was certain that his flank guard, could get through and join him. Shortly after eight the advance guard, of- mounteds moved off from camp, followed half an hour later by more mounteds, the A Battery, signallers, and infantry. The march through the rain to Tahuroa was not inspiring, 'but- despite the weather conditions the scene of the attack was reached by eleven. The country afforded an ideal ground for manoeuvres, defence forces being drawn up on the ridge by Starkey's : homestead, and having; the position of the enemy indicated by lines of targets Those for the battery were constructed of white canvas, as distinct from.the khaki butts for- the infantry. The targets were placed, in position-a few hours before by a small force under Captain Carpenter, A.A.G. The. country intervening comprised hill, and-valley, plain and swamp, and the troops as they advanced to follow up the fire were enabled, through the topography of the country, to employ various military tactics. The rain cleared off before midday, and thence onward the manoeuvres proceeded briskly-until the-final retreat was sounded, two hours before dark.' The scene of; operations was along the Homestead ridge' at different points, the First and Second! A.M.R. guarding the left flank (Cam-bridge-road), the infantry on Homestead Hill, the battery further to the west, and: the Seddon Horse on the extreme right; on Mount Misery.-> An extensive plain, partly swamp and. tirtree, and, rising-in-to spurs in front, extended between the; Homestead ridge and' the enemy's posi-. tion-. on the low. hill opposite, covered; with ti-tree and fern. There were four lines, of targets, two for the infantry- and: two for the battery, the nearer of- the' former being 900 yards away from the nearest body of; infantry and: the fartherof the latter 2000 yards-from the battery.. The mounted infantry, wai sent off to the west flank, and enfiladed the enemy from there, while the main Body, under Colonel Wolfe, held them, in front. The enemy had, of course, entrenched under the hills. Proceedings commenced about' noon, when the battery opened fire on 'the targets with blank, followed almost immediately by the infantry; with similar ammunition. Several live shells were used by the battery for practice. It" was not, however,! until after' a hastily-swal-lowed lunch that the real work, of the encampment commenced. At 2, the Battery, under Captain Sherson, began the music with shrapnel, the First Battalion Infantry following with ball. The roar_aL the big 15-pounders~ was punctuated hy the sharp snapping of rifles, and by both corps splendid, work was done. Before getting the exact range of the enemy, the Battery sent one or two wides, but the fourth was a hit. A minute later three targets were swept out of existence through a nicely-timed fuse. Two more, together, and.a sixth followed to destruction immediately; and on turning to the longer range shooting, it was a treat to. witness every one of the targets being wholly invisible after a short 15 minutes' firing. Turning ii the previous range, about four more canvases were wiped out before the order te cease firing was given.. Considering the light and heavy mists, this was a performance on. which the Battery members niay be justly proud.. A detachment of infantry took up a position, below the guns, and opened fire on the entrenchments. Meanwhile the main body of the First Battalion, on the, spur below the Homestead, worked havoc with the rifle . targets, spurts of earth in front bearing indications of the.'number of hits. 'The • men divided into squads, and took turns at the enemy, the Second Battalion following in similar divisions with alternate firing. Each man was apportioned 25 rounds of ball, and it can be readily understood that a perfect fusillade of rifles was heard right through the afternoon. The College Rifles, with their Maxims, meanwhile opened fire on the Battery's, right; and spread a death-deal-ing-shower of bullets all over-the vicinity of the targets. On completion, of the infantry firing, the Seddon Horse,, at tee (foot; of: the hills to thY right,; combined ' with the batter; and Maxims to distrivs tute -ft laidi Art and
THE MORRINSVILLE CAMP., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 86, 12 April 1909
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