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THE KUKRI, Issue 15637, 30 October 1914
BARED IN WHITE MAN’S WAR. ALSACE OMENS. BELFORT & THE GUN MENACE. SOUTH AFRICAN CLOUD. TIME FOR WIDE SYMPATHY. [By A. Fpenck.] J A Dunedin business man showed the writer a kukri yesterday. This Ghoorka implement, even to look at. is simple horror. It is curved like a sickle, but not so much curved ; it. is shorter and heavier. Taken in the hand, the weight, and especially the balance of the weight, is the first thing that strikes. After that first j admiration has passed, the feeling that succeeds is to lay the thing down, or throw it in the sea, or otherwise try to forget about it. One wonders sometimes where we stand. The Sermon on the Mount is 1900 years old, but to-day, October 13, 1914, we have the kukri. The labs Captain Hutton, in his thoughtful little book on evolution, gave the opinion that mankind had reached the ultimate physically and intellectually, and that our next march will bo ethical and mural. He might have added religious. -Stark, staring contradiction to all that is the kukri -—embodiment of hate, ferocity, and cunning. With the kukri goes a little leather poison hag, and implements to smear the poison on the blade. That, no doubt, is the knife and the adjuncts to the knife, which the races of India might use if left to their own will. Me may be. sure that poisoning the blade will not be permitted in anv war waged under British direction. The impulse of a .soldier, seeing the kukri bared, would at once, be to shoot, shoot very coolly, and .shoot very straight. If his shots failed his last refuge would lie his bayonet. He. would have to see to it that the cat-like man with the kukri did not parry his blade. On this ugly subject perhaps enough has now been said.
THE NAVY AND THE- CROSS. “Otago High School Boy” writes • “ Sir, —In vour notes I noticed that in enumerating tho names of members of the Navy who have won the Victoria Gross you have omitted tho name, of the hero who lies buried in our own Southern Cemetery—Mr Duncan (Jordon B<sy£S, midshipman.” 1 have lo thank my correspondent for thp correction. The list given was the Admiralty one, but it evidently does not include the names of those Victoria Cross men who have passed away. UNDER WHICH FLAG? Stories of Boer disloyalty continue. Thev need not ho discussed much now, for these burghers are our fellow-subjects. An extended rising would be serious enough, for the Germans are primarily out after the diamond mince of Kimberly and gold mines elsewhere. It is comforting to hear, on flic assurance of the London • Times,’ that the rebellion is in no wise so serious as it was made to seem at first glance. Let us hope so. We have had sad experience of tainted South African news since 1899, for there arc, powerful interests behind. If the cables have a meaning it seems that Dutch feeling is not in favor of taking tho aggressive against an adjoining German colony, but of defending their own homes, stoops, and farms in a passive way. A passive defence never won vet, and never will. Botha does not believe. in it. It seems that he has already routed the commando of Beyers. It is hardly a subject that should be discussed in notes on a war, but, after talking to so many people who have been in Bouth Africa, one wonders about tho outcome. Louis BothaV wife delivered tho most, bitter opinion on England that I have ever seen in print. This was in 1902. Today wo have Louis Botha doing the finest thing which a general could do for us. Ho has seized tho initiative.
WHO FEEDS THE -FOE? "J'here are two unspeakable cable.,. When the school children pass along the street, singing the immortal ‘Road to Jip perarv,’ you stop) and think. 1 lie thought jr always of the soldiers who sang it to the grave. It seems that tile ticnnan man whose (shot freezes tho mouth of the British soldier into marble for ever in fed. He is fed well. He is fed to sonic extent by America and Britain. It is possible that Germans may dine on New Zealand meat some dav. Anynow. the rabies say thenown word. American cargoes are being systematically discharged in Norway, reloaded, and sent on to Danzig. Hundreds of tons of tea from Liverpool and other fluffs have also gone that way. On tho other hand, greed has moved Denmark. .She has adopted a Bill penalising a false declaration regarding me m ■ ■ (ination of a ship or goods. Denmark's notion is ear-y to divine. Sho is not troubling about the outcome of tho war; sho wants that trade, Tise melancholy feature is that there should have been so many false declarations regarding destinations of cargo as to make legislative moaisure ncce-sary. Many think that tho war will lead to two things—to tome, form of socialism and to some form of religion. Perhaps.
THE BEST FALL FIRST'. Yesterday we had news of tho death of Prince Maurice of Bat tenberg. 10-day something good is told of him by Corporal Jollv, ot bis own regiment, the Kings Royal Rifles. During the retreat from Mon* tho Germans endeavored to _ blow up a bridge. A regiment was ordered to cross and slop the German engine-re, before the explosion came. Prince Maurice, second lieutenant, was the first man over. It was only, to be expected that, death would ultimately overtake, such a soldier. There are ninny views on war. _ Its remedial influence has often been written on. Tho most, telling tiling against it is in the moral of (corporal dolly s story ; Mar sajis the world of the flower of its men. The best fall first. EMPLOYMENT. A rather peculiar notice regarding employment and the war was hoisted in one of "the New Zealand Government departments this week. The text of this notice will, be given to-morrow. At Horne it seems that unemployment is not acute at present. The cable states that 7,000 postmen, 2,500 boilermakers, shop assistants, and so on are enlisting. The unemployed are only 4.3 per centum, which is abnormally low. No wonder. With so many men seeking refuge in tho Army it could hardly ho otherwise. But what will they all do when the war releases them on a disorganised labor market? It will indeed bo a time for broad human sympathy. THE FIELD IN FLANDERS. The battle in Belgium is as it was. Towns captured to-day or recaptured tomorrow mean little. Reserves come, and there is the continual interplay of victory and defeat. Generally speaking, the Allies are making a little headway in country where the cover is slight (from artillery at least), and the death rat© correspondingly largo. The Germans, it seems, are carrying some sort of contrivance called “table tops.” What these are I do not know, but the purpose is evident. They form, floats over the rivulets and canals, and are used as shields in crossing the fire zone. Whatever this appliance may . be. it is a curious mixture of buoyancy j and impenetrability.
An extract from a captured copy of the orders of the 14th German Reserve Corps suggests a deterioration in discipline, and also a shortage of supply. This deterioration would be serious if it were general throughout the German army. Local deteriorations of this kind are common in all campaigns. The driftwood at the back of an army is seldom described in print, but it can be imagined. As to depending more on tbe country for supply, the inference to be drawn is only the inference of 1870. The Germans do it now as they did it then. Despite heavy casualties, Britain is taking the war with calmness. There has been an extensive effort by the British Press to iea-6sure, but the casualty lists, which are inevitable, must count. It is new to England on the present scale, but France and Germany saw it in 1870. Any German or Frenchman who remembers that time will say the same thing: “We do not want war; we do not wish to see those scenes again.” THE UNSEEN NEWS. If Stockholm speaks truly, and it has no reason to do otherwise, Zeppelins appeared over Warsaw. The inhabitants viewed them with horror. Horror is the right word for Zeppelins. No one seems to know yet their full power of destruction. We have not yet had a convincing account of n situation where these rigid dirigibles encounter aeroplanes. Most people seem to believe—such is the literature that we get—that the aeroplane can rise above the Zeppelin. That is to say, that a, machine heavier than air can rise over a. machine lighter than air in normal flight. The aeroplane can, no doubt, get over the Zeppelin in a desperate, fly in the top strata of the air where speed creates the wall of resistance to gravity. Rut, as a. general rule, the case is the other way about. From letters which 1 have received from a New Zealander engineering man who has seen a good deal of Zeppelin construction I hope to publish at some convenient time something of interest on aircraft.
The Gormans are said to be, building a Zeppelin air shed on the .Scheldt. If so, they are placing a target that cannot be missed, very close, to England. It is for our own airmen to determine the fate of this shed. Generally speaking, the Zeppelin business will bo viewed in England with alarm. This is part of the unseen news. Lord Northchfle seems to know what is what. AGAIN THOSE GAUGES.
The live clays’ battle near Warsaw, news of which reached us yesterday, indicates that the Russian strategy is not so slowwitted after all There was a. skilful movement by some flanking force from the north, and no doubt a resolute fighting in front, finch movements are difficult. The combination placed portion of the Russian troops well over the Vistula, about 18 or 20 miles. They* would then he faced with the old weary railway problem —the changG in gauges. In respect to those gauges an esteemed correspondent, writing from Waipahi, sends an interesting letter ; Sir, —Are you not overostimating the difficulty of altering those railway lines? Three and a-half inches is not much. On lines with rails fixed as ours are, with “dogs," a platelaying gang would do the job very quickly, and probably onlv one rail—the outer in a double track—would need to bo shifted, as there is ample room on the sleeper. Perhaps Russian and German railway tracks are differently laid, or perhaps cuttings are likely to bo 7in too narrow for the double track. The best thing for the Russians will be to capture the enemy’s rolling stock —if they can. The matter mentioned in the letter was referred to an excellent authority on railway construction. He stated that widening the permanent way in Poland by would not bo serious. The existing sleepers would probably do. The cuttings would hardly count, but tunnels' might. Tlie chief difficulty would be in rearranging the “clearances” where a number of lines load in at important railway stations —the clearance between a train and a platform and between one train and another. To this may be added the difficulty of altering a- railway on a battlefield. As soon as the platelayers begin tney may became an artillery target. Such a situation would be likely in the battle of Warsaw.
BELFORT—GRATE CABLE?, After Antwerp we, must be prepared for any surprise. The reduction of a firstclass fortress in a fortnpht sweeps preconceived not ions away. Since the place fell Lord Svdenham has told us that the day of “fortifications of conventional trace" is over. Xo one knows belter than be. The gun is master of the situation for (he moment. We have bad three messages that the Germans mean to strike a. blow at Belfort, the harrier which blocks movement into Frame near the Swiss border. home weeks ago we were fold that, the Germans were bringing up siege gnn=. Xow we se« that the Germans have beep larsrclr reinforced in Alsace, while the French have strengthened the surroundings of Belfort. Another message indicates that the investment of Belfort is expected to take a long tune, as (he garrison is “very strong and the French have shown themselves masters in the art of building field fortifications." The latter part is childish. The art is to defend a fortress without employing an undue number of men to eat the food. Whether the French are masters in fortification or not remains to he, seen. The fact is that the chief works at Belfort, are works of “ conventional trace." That is the worst side of the case. The best side is (bat the rlan of works at Belfort is verv different from the arrangement at Antwerp, At Antwerp the host works formed the outer ring. When these were silenced the middle ring collapsed, and the inner ring was not worth considering. In the brief bombardment, the German tdege guns (which must Ire brought un fairly eio e ») encountered the chief target fir't. At Belfort there ought to be a lon,r and bloody struggle before the German rntps ran ret into position. Miles in front of the French fortress are ring after ring of smaller works—forts d'arret—and before ‘‘Jack Johnson" comes these works ...m | 0 Bp captured, or sapped, or
blown up. The mod astonishing part of (lie three lit'V rr*bl*=>.*: relating to Belfort is that supplied V.r the Bor no correspondent of the London' ‘Times.’ The norma ns. ho say?, have been laree’v reinforced in A Isa re. If they rap reinforce that part of thr- theatre of war jmt now. they must he otroncor than we have boon ]cd to belt re. Vatnrally, a? the message adds, the “French are strengthening" the eurroiinding- of Belfort.”’ More forts d’arret are going up. t'ERMAX DRIP OF POLAND.
! ho. truthful Petrotrrad source of n?n s lias ixivc.i an interesting note. When the Russians passed over the Vistula near Warsaw they found the German trenches admirably ’ oonstrartwl, as if the enemy had eonn- to stay. Trust, n German to do anv sort of construction. A fiddle or 'a hook on theology seems *o he all the same to him. In t'i's ease, however, tho precision of the Russian artillery fire worms to have, counted. The gun which the Russians are using is practically the same run a.g t-hev used in the Japanese War, and (the magazine boom of the French artillery notwithstanding) that pun still holds its own. The nlhnion to trenebe* is interesting. Probably 200 miles of Poland are now furrowed at all points which, count. It will I}e the came in Belgium when the Allies enter in earnest.
THE KUKRI, Issue 15637, 30 October 1914
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