RIGHT NAME FOR RIGHT SHIP NO MEAN FEAT. OSTEND AS NEW SEA BASE. WAR NEARER HOME. CALAIS NEXT OBJECTIVE. [By A. Spexce.]
Undaunted, cruiser, has not belied the name on her stern plates. We had just lost the Hawke, gloomy enough. This light cruiser, parent to fbur destroyers, at once got “some of our own bank.’’ At least £1,000,000 worth of German naval construction has been sent to the bottom. Undaunted was just the right name. So honors are getting even. We had lost the Amphion, Pathfinder, Aboukir, Crossy, Hogue, and Hawke. In money the three Cressys represented £2,400,000, and file Hawke £430,000. They have now lost three cruisers of the “ Town ” class in action off the Elbe ; submarine sunk by the Birmingham; Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse (armed merchantman), sunk by the Highflyer ; Kouigin Luise, adapted mine layer; possibly one submarine, sunk when the Cressys sank; and now four destroyers. Russians have lost Pallada, but Austrians have lost at corresponding rate. So the toll of the war at sea is beginning to balance up both ways. Let no one say; “ Oh, it’s only four destroyers, and destroyers don’t count.” German destroyers do count, and for nfuch. It seems an opportune time to say now what should have been said in these notes long ago. The personnel of the enemy’s fleet is drawn entirely from tifa seafaring classes of Germany. There are few
“Vons” amongst the #nd_ ©very German’s heart—the heart of the intelligent commoner—has been in his work at sea for yearn. It is an English opinion, quite common in tho English Navy, that for intelligent devotion to the work of the day the German ships’ companies are hard to equal; harder still to beat. Nowhere does this intense oneness of purpose snow itself more than in the German torpedo flotillas. We see now that, given equal chance or approximately equal chance on blue water, we can manage—manage even their destroyers, on which the beet of their sailors are. The Admiralty, unlike the dreadful, exclusive, aristocratic coteries at th© War Office, s©ems to be giving the English nation its worst news as well as its beet, frankly and impartially. We will await details of this fine action with interest. Good as the German naval manning is, it rather looks as if we were beginning to establish the thing that counts most either on land or sea—personal ascendancy. The action was off the coast of Holland, but we do not know whether the Germans were drawing the long bow on some far-reaching enterprise at sea or merely nosing gently out past Borkum.
OSTEND: WHAT AFTER? The Germans lost no time in beating up Dstend. They were there just a week .liter Antwerp, which is fast going where the vanguards have to clear the roads of armed opposition. Indeed every German movement, so far, has been marked by wonderful speed. Photographs of operations in Belgium, taken since the war began, knocked down mother popular illusion. The illusion is Jiat the Germans march in mathematical “goose-step” style, paying great attention to the slope of the rifles. They do not. The photographs show that they do not even take the trouble to keep tho stop. If Fritz is stepping out with his left in one file of fours, Hans, just behind dm, thinks it no disgrace to step out with nis right. The rifles are sloped on any angle. The main thing seems to be to step out long. The photographs give the impression of a full yard or more at each stride, and the dressing of the files is often so ragged as to suggest that the troops are making over four miles an hour. This is sprint speed for soldiers in long column on the road. There was, of course, “ great commotion ” among the refugees on tho quays and in the hotels when the heads of the German columns turned in on Ostend. The refugee is to some extent only a euphemism for the. wealthy globe-trotter. Caesar stated about one of his wars that he. came, he saw, he conquered. The idle curious rich came to Belgium; let us hope they saw; they certainly ran. Whether it was their fault or not, even women and children were crushed back from the gangways of the. mail packets at the last, trust the globe-trotter to be first in the crush, regardless of man, woman, or child. Ostend is a very good port. Large sums have been spent in improving it in the last 10 or 12 years, so its occupation means more than may be at first apparent. For one thing it is uncomfortably close to the neck of the English Channel, where a world’s merchandise passes through to the port of London. It is only 65 miles distant from the naval port of Dover, and is therefore a telling base for German submarines. This untersce base may be established without incurring the drawback which exists at Antwerp—the chance of trouble with Holland.
Ostend also places the striking force of Germany within reach of the French port of Calais, which looks at Dover through field-glass range. They will press on for Nieuport, Dunkirk, and Calais, in that order. All the object of the confused fighting in West Flanders, which we have been hearing about for some time, is to deny the passage to Calais to the Kaiserliches. It explains why the main Anglo-French concentration in the battle of North France has been towards the left. The Allies do not wish the German flag to fly there, and they fear Ostend and Calais as bases for airship and other attack. In connection with this we had two rather grave messages on Saturday. The London ‘ Times ’ has warned Britain that the war may now come nearer home. l ln the second place, the British have ! keen pulled out of the trenches nearer Soissons, and railed off somewhere, possibly to the vicinity of the Belgian frontier. There has also been every symptom of concentration to stem the German tide at Ypres and other spots. Only tactical decision in the field can determine the fate of Calais, but the Allies are alive to the meaning of the welter of bloodshed in the nook where the frontiers meet between Nieuport and Dunkirk, and east of that point to Lille. DECIDEDLY INTERESTING. A correspondent writes a decidedly interesting little letter regarding those "longlost Russians who were supposed to have been shipped from Archangel to some point nearer the theatre of battle. The letter reads.-Sir,-—I remember when the cables telling of a Russian force landing in Scotland appeared in the Press you backed up the possibility, even when it was officially contradicted. It may interest yon to know that I received a letter from Home which asserts that the Russians did actually land at Aberdeen, and were entrained to the South of England. —I am, etc., One Interested in Your Nightly Criticisms. I think we all found it hard to give that Russian story up, and, as far as I can judge, there must have been something in it. Anyhow,, the correspondent’s letter speaks for itself. DUAL CRIME—WEAK AND GOOD. “ Y hat, in God’s name,” says a citizen of Bruges, “have we to look forward to at the end of the war? Our cities are smoking mins, and all our peasants will have to start life again elsewhere. Our country has been wiped out, and we no longer exist,”
One does not doubt that message. In the savacc materialism of the world Belgium has been weighed in the balance and found wanting in two respects. .She was weak, and she was also religious and good. Over her weakness and her goodness and religiousness Nietzsche marched—Nietzsche and the cannon which .‘6 the visible expression of his doctrine. It seems that the Belgian peasantry fly from the villa ve of their fathers as soon as they hear that the Germans are a day’s march away. The London ‘Times’ 'of August. 24 describes the usual scene; When the enemy have taken possession of one village or passed through a stretch of new country, a number of armored cars—more often at night than in the day time—are eent bowling along to the next village, followed by a cavalry patrol. The inhabitants clear out when the Germans are known to be 20 or 30 miles away. Another sentence in the great London journal describes the swift passage of fans of cyclists in front of the columns, cutting the wires everywhere. Then come the fast motor-borne trains of engineers, with material to restore broken bridges; afterwards the trotting artillery and the. wide-stepping infantry. One harks back to the bmming words of Mr H. G. Wells: The harvest of this darkness comes now almost as a relief, and it is grim satisfaction that we can at Last look across the roar and torment to the possibility of organised peace. For this is now a war for peace. It aims straight at disarmament. It aims at a settlement that shall stop this sort of thing for ever. Every soldier who fights against Germany is a crusader against war. This, the greatest of all wars, is not just another war. It is ,the last war! There shall bp no more Kaisers, there shall be no more Krupps, we are resolved. That foolery shall end! One hopes so, but it is a far vision. Why the materialist., the armament rings fin England is well as elsewhere), the trusts, combines, and hideous business and war swindles of the world should trample out the good, the humble, industrial trier, the sanely religious peasant and artisan, no eye can see. But war clears all eyes, bad as it is. The day of the yawping Jingo. the music-hall patriot, and the swashbuckler at the breakfast table is, let us trust, nearly over, for half a century at least. These el outers are as powerful for wars as a fcattal’Vin of Kaisers. WHAT STRUCK LILLE?
Not one French fortress now stands in the wide gap between Verdun and the English Channel. Lille went down last week—went down in two modest lines of cable, jvst as quietly as Manbeuae and Longwy did. One wonders what struck Lille, for it looked p, strong place on paper, hedged as it is by seven fairly modern forts. North of it lie Fort , Carnot and Fort Lobau, three and a-half miles apart, each crossing its fire, with its neighbor. On the eastern ride Forts Macdonald and Bouvines rise from the plain, five miles from each other. The Seglin and Pierquin works are couth of the town, Seglin, being five and a-half miles from Bouvines and Pierquin seven and a-half miles from Segiin. The fort on the west is named after Napoleon’s artillery general Renammont, and tne very name suggests good gunnery. The modest little message gave the etory that the fortress was only weakly held by Territorials, but it is a peculiar story. Normally the town is the headquarters of the Ist French Army Corps, and though they w'ould certainly not be rn the place when it fell, yet where were the. usual complement of fortress troops? The Germans will now refortify the place, or fire it—most likely the former. In pushing the enemy out of France and Belgium six distinct sieges at least will be necessary—Longwy, Man* beuge, Lille, Liege, Namur, and Antwerp. Sieges eat up armies, so it is going to be a long road —a very long road— to the Rhine.
THE TALE AND THE TRUTH. One hoary old cable stoiy should now he pensioned off. We have been steadily told that the war had plunged Germany in gloom; that it was an unpopular war; that men had to be driven to the shambles. The London ‘ Times ’ has taken some pains to unmask the truth, and the truth is very different from the talc. On one point all Germans arc agreed. They are absolutely certain (or think they arc) what the result of the- war will be. “ Win?” said one officer. “Why, of course we shall win. Belgians? Already done with. France? A little boy who has been snarling for years at someone whom he knows no cannot tackle. English? What are 100,000 or 200,000 against the Kaiser's huge forces? Russians? Ah, yes, they have some millions; but only one million are eoldiens. We have our 42centimetre guns, which will break the roof of any fort in the world. English fleet? Oh, it is big, but we will smash it between Dover and Boulogne. Just now we are giving their crews nervous prostration.” • This opinion was typical, as also was the following:—“Oh, yes. a Just wax. We enter it with a clear conscience. Our Kaiser was forced into it.” This last part reads strangely, even humorously. Travellers whir* came back late from the Continent assert that there was not one wet eye in Germany. At Munich, in particular, the eoene appears to have been a very striking one The park in Luieenetrasae was closed to the public, and for two whole days a stream of artisans and peasants, many in the picluiesque costume of the Tyrol, passed in at one gate, emerging at the other end as smart soldiers fully armed and equipped. Everywhere the new outfits, complete to the last button, were issued rapidly to officers and men. Generally the eoldiers made no secret of their destination—Paris first, London dfar- W—Birmhara in Qnoumc iba war
appeared to he popular. In Austria it was very different. AH through that country the most heartrending scenes were witnessed by tourist® returning from Carlsbad and other health resorts. The railway stations wore thronged with weeping men and women and children. ♦ LOSS OF THE HAWKE.
Further particulars of the loss of the 7,350-ton cruiser Hawke in the North Sea disclose two points. She has 14 watertight compartments, and seems to have been hit in the ninth or tenth just aft of the engines. She endeavored to fire on the periscope of the German submarine, but experienced the same trouble as the Russian ships, notably the battleship Osleabia, experienced, at Tsushima. Once she took her first heavy cant it was impossible to elevate the guns sufficiently to reach the target, and the water must have spread rapidly to her 48 furnaces, causing something in the nature of a series of detonations. Like the Highflyer, which sank the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, she had a number of boys and cadets in training bfirne on her books. Her exact complement was 540. As we see, only a handful of these valuable lives were recovered from the water. HORSE AND ITS LOAD. Horses in both armies seem to have been ridden to death. Pictures of Uhlam advancing on Vise at the beginning of the war show that they ride very heavy—perhaps at 16st. A good deal of gear is strapped ,at the back of the saddle, and some in front. One cable read : The French animals are always distinguishable, because their ribs can bo counted. They have not been fed on green stuffs, and have literally been ridden to death. It must be the same all round, except, perhaps, with the valuable English cavalry, where the care of horses is probably better. Uhlans are only what may be called medium heavies, the real heavies being the cuirassiers, who ride at about 18st. Perhaps this note may help to explain to some disappointed horse pedlars why their mounts were rejected in Otago recently. We have no cuirassiers and no Uhlans, and we therefore need no chargers, devourers of com. The big eater, stalwart as he may be, is no use for the only kind of mounted arm which comes within our own purview. We require the longtrekker. on 101b of oats a day. As for the exhaust of horseflesh, the Germans are in no trouble. Plenty more can be got from Austria and Hungary.
“GOOD-BYE, MB FLYING MAN.” We should have got the following good story when it happened. “Tommy" told it to a London ‘ Times ’ reporter after Mors. It seems that when the soldiers entered Mens they had no idea that the baptism of fire was coming, fox there was neither sound nor sign of Germane. Going through the town the men got the order to load. They crested a little ridge, and were at once picked up by the German artillery. Picks and shovels were got out, and from 2 p.m. till 6 p.m. the advanced troops strove to dig themselves in. It was no good. Wherever there was a symptom of entrenching showers of shells came from scores of batteries. The German ranging was deadly. It was at this stage that some hawk-eyed British artilleryman got in a wonderful shot. “They had,” said tbe soldier who tells of it, ‘'aeroplanes to show them where to drop shells. One came a bit too near. Some gunner of cram—a long way behind us, you know—waited and let him come on. He thought he was all right. Two thousand feet he was up, I daresay. We could hoax his engine. He may have made a lot of notes, but they weren’t any use to him or anybody, for all of a sudden, a gunner let fly. We could see the tiring stagger, and then ‘t dropped like a stone. Good-bye, Mr Flying Man 5” , Getting an aeroplane in a single shot is a feat indeed.
WKAT SOLDIERS CARRY. Pack weights carried in the field by the British soldier are astonishingly big. Home papers give them as high as 9olb ner man—a heavy incubus in hot autumn, weather. “ Feel it, sir,’’ said one mfantryman to the Amiens correspondent of The Times.’ “The general himself felt the weight of it, and said it was too much. Some of the men threw their pacto away Thev had to do that or fall out. It seems hardly believable that the War Office has weighted toe men in the manner mdioated The legion mips of ancient Borne were veritable £ of burden, but they probably never carried anything like 961b. the daily guesser. Some gilded vouto on toe English Press (probable age about 19) asks us to underhand that only 1,500 Belgian ciUzens stay in Antwerp. Tes, exactly i hut what next’ In a people’s war which the people pay for and bleed for. what next! Another message—from Rotterdam this time —indicates that 34 German steamers were discovered in the port- On August 24. three weeks after war began, the number of German merchantmen toed werp was only 26, aggregating 100,984 tons. It is possible, though not very probable, that other German vessels entered the Scheldt since then. This, however, isi the news The capture of food and wool is said to be, equivalent to 10,000.000 marks^ and the copper and silver to 5,001,000 marks —say £770.000. tis a low figure for Antwerp. The cable is English and Dutch guesswork. GEIR AT HONOLULU,
It is evident that the German Pacific warships are roaming the ocean in detachment The gunboat Geir is now reported at Honolulu with some engine-room or boiler-room troubles. When last we heard of the Leipzig she was off the coast of Peru In the bombardment of Papeete on September 23 the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau appeared without the others, and between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., firing slowly, threw 70 aimed shells into the place. It is significant that these two vessels were accompanied by a collier, which lav further off. Also, they were last seen'steaming for a quarter where a cargo of 2,000 tons of Newcastle coal was expected to arrive. It would be interesting to know when and bow this essential coal got away from New South Wales, and also what merchant firm shipped it. CORRESPONDENTS.
A number of correspondents _ have written on various points asking information on quite reasonable subjects. The daily analysis of cables leaves little tune 101 examination of special points, but the letters will be answered at earliest opportunity, as far as I can. Some of the letters, however, have reference to what are termed “ secrets reserved for the experts” —that is to say, for the Plutocratic Armament rings.
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UNDAUNTED., Evening Star, Issue 15627, 19 October 1914