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TURK MARCHES, Issue 15640, 3 November 1914
FROM GAZA TO THE CANAL
THE COUNTERSTROKES. BROAD CHANCES SUMMED UP. [By A. Spence.]
Turkey i«, of course, the topic of general conversation to-day, and the cables relating to her evert acts arc both grave and interesting.
The British Foreign Office is at once the most alert and straightforward public department/ of State in, England. As far as it can. it takes the people of the Empire into its confidence, and it. has sent us a dcan-cul message today. Coming from this source, there will be neither understatement nor exaggeration.
'J he Foreign Office has not sought to make little of the position. There was, as it well knew, a fourfold danger. It was aware that the camels of Syria had been called up as early as August 15, and that the mobilisation at Damascus was being fed by drafts of troops from Europe. These drafts would no doubt he furnished mainly by Taksin kasha's sth Corps at Saionica. That portended an attack on Egypt, and, as we see, the “jumping off” points arc to bo ancient. Gaza (in Phiiistia) and the Gulf of Akahah. There was the second danger of stoppage of wheat from the Black Sea ; the third risk that. Islam may blaze into revolt ; and, lastly, Turkey's 550 battalions which will now come into line of battle. Facing these grave chances. Sir Louis Mallet-, our representative at Constantinople, and Iho Foreign Office did their best, and we may be sure that that best was a very good best. The greatest paticmcc, forbearance, and tacc were reed, in spite of repeated nets which were almost tantamount to acts of war.
lint P.aron Von Wangeiiboim. the (!crma.!i Ambassador, and Enver Bey, (he Turkish Minister of War, went ahead, and last Thursday there was overt net of war. Tilly oil reservoirs a.t Novo-Roa.-iisk and five at Odessa were set ablaze by bombardment. Fourteen transports were also ennlc off the Russian coast. A wireless station was shot clown. This bombardment was a very deliberate and leisurely piece of shooting. Xh<? 5,8G0-tnn cruiser Ilarnidieh could readily deliver SO shells a. minute from either broadside, but she tired only at the rate of 1.6 shells per minute. She was evidently watching the effect of each shot on the oil tanks.
WHERE WAS THE RUSSIAN FLEET? One was inclined to wonder what the Riir-ian battleships, based on Sebastopol, were doing at the time. They have some very fair ships there —Johann Zlatoust, Pautelimon. and thue or four others. No one of them is a match for the Goeben, but ranged on her together they would tell. It seems that they never got a chance. They knew nothing till it was all over. Tinklian Pasha and Mouhiedrtine Bey wore telling the giddy lalseho.id at Petrograd that all was peace. .Meantime the wires leading into Constant ample w.-. e blocked to enable the 'lHirco-tK-rman Left to inflict the utmost damage before Russia could ic.ilise that a blow had. been struck.
It would he cheap eriiisiem to say that Russia must have been slow-witted in this matter. The whole client of the Abus was to pres-uve the jk-ucc A tout-do loe.i; at sea by the fleet at Sehastop-ol might have proved prove-ative. for fleets do not exchange many “ he,; pardon.-- " in situations where- the int' iit of a potential enemy is doubtful. When Admiral Rest)jefitvensky was passing the -a-t .a China in May. 1905. before the b.-uilc «.i Tr.u-shima. cur China squadron tied ilseb tip hard to it-', mooring- at Hongkong. No .-hip went to tea in those eritia! days. 1-loots meeting each other at night on such occasions are apt enough to fire into one another. Afterwards mint's the n-ttal mass oi reel iminalion and fals -hood an to “who fired tils’." Tile Russians, would naturally be desirous of avoiding that. UNPR EC El) E N TED A CT. The Foreign Office stales quite cogently that the attack trade on the open, undefended towns of Novo-Rossiisk and ’1 hmdosia. without a declaration of war and without provocation of any kind, was an unprecedented violation of the most ordinary rules of international law and usage. it. was all that. There is sometimes discussion as to whether an undefended town mar be made a, target for naval bombardment. Germany hereelf has subscribed to tho following, under temits of the second Pence Conference held at. The Hague in 1907;—“ The bombardment by naval fences of undefended ports, town-, village-, dwellings, and buildings is forbidden.” Then follow certain reservations, but none of these affect the action of -Admiral Gosehen. The kind of war which was offered on the Russian eor-st was C.-nisr-witz pure and simple. “Scrape of paper” do not count with Turkey, either.
It. is a little grim, a strange irony, that, the, Ambassadories which have so little regard for “ srraps of paper " should now he carrying the war so close to Sinai, where Mose? brought down the Ten Commandments —the sheet-anchor which lias held men fast to duty, lo a .-('Use of right and wrong, for ages. THE CHANCE OF A " .IETIAD." The Foreign Office does not think that Herman intrigue can influence t he 70.000,000 Mohammedans in India. If the foreign Office says so, that is probably the last word on'flic matter, as far ns the Foreign Office can sec. But the Foreign Office probably does not profess to see very far info the vague Sunnite, Shiite. 3 emeu, and Hindustan beliefs, which are nut one expression of faith, hut many. The chance of a Holv Wav docs exist, though many discount 'it. The Turco-Germans apparently intend to try it. Tim 13th Army Corps, said to be commanded by Giamid Ikisha, but most likely by Ali Ri'/a Pasha, is to advance into Persia and (hen move on to India, It will be wonderful logistics if thev manage to do so. But the Bagdad corps'may be merely playing Ur moral effect. DEFENCE OF THE SUEZ CANAL. Measures to meet flic imw development have been suggested. Obviously a eounterstroko would"’ be to march the three Caucasus army corps from r l iflis into Asiatic Turkov" Obviously, however, this movement would be slow to produce the effect desired, for (bo roads cannot be very good'just now; and. long beforcthe Caucasus troops did something decisive, the blow which will tell most, might have been struck at the Suez Canal.
The message from the Foreign Office indicates that complete transport has been collected for the move on the Canal, which is to hop off from Gaza and other points. Home unspecified Arab, called Zakki Pasha, is to command the advance from Palestine. This may or may not be a cable error for Zeki Pasha, who figured so prominently in the first Balkan War." He is now. or was lately, in command of the Ist Corps at Constantinople, and as he is an enterprising man it is likely that the advance by El Arisb on the Suez Canal will be under his direction.
If the transport is ready, the move on the Canal will be rapid. It is reasonable to suppose that measures to defend the great waterway will be equally rapid. Our 17,000 troops in Egypt arc only a mouthful, for perhaps 105,000 Nizam and Red if troops are coming from Palestine and Arabia, but the military measures on our side ought to bo plain. An advance guard, featuring camel troops, will be thrown over the Canal to bring the advance from Gaza under early observation. Certain field fortifications will be extemporised on the Palestine side of the Canal. Monitors or other suitable ships must have left England now for Port Said.
DEADLY GERMAN IDEA. The situation at the Gulf of Akabah is different. This point does not directly touch the Suez Canal, but it stands at the gate. German and Turkish mine equipment has been collected there. The proposal apparently is to block the top end of the Red Sea alike to traffic and troop transports. It is difficult to see -what will stop that. Nothing that we have on the spot will do so. So it looks as if Red Sea movements are going to bo stopped, for some time possibly. It is a far-reaching design, which may .have far-reaching effects if it can bo put into execution. DIRECT STROKE. What of a direct stroke at Turkey 1 An army passed over tho Black Sea and landed near Constantinople? It is strongly hinted at in a cable to-day. The ‘ Bourse Gazette ’ says that Constantinople has seen Russian troops outside its walls, and will now see them inside. The Russian Black Sea fleet will sweep the Goeben and her consorts off the sea. A force destined for direct invasion will follow. The Caucasus forces will simultaneously invade Asia Minor.
Tho invasion of Asia Minor is sure. The attack directly on Constantinople would be good—good because it would be swift —but it seems a little remote vet. The Russian Black Sea fleet has still to beat the Goeben and others. Given equal efficiency at the guns, this ought to happen. Afterwards, however, comes tho wrestle with such things as minefields.
FIRST SHIP BOMBED. Turning to other matters, the experience of tho modern French armored cruiser Waldeck-Eousseau is unique, because she is the first ship that has been bombed from the air, so far as we know. The story was given in the cables this wee!:. It seems that she became a target for surface attack by destroyers, underwater attack, and air attack. The bomb from tho air fell near the ship's bridge. This marks an innovation in the, war news. So far the cable recorder says nothing about the Austro-German air machines, except that they consistently kill women and children. Yesterday, for examplo :
Two Gonna it aeroplanes dropped bombs at Bethune. One fell in a group of women in the market place, killing 19 and wounding 40. Another dropped bombs at Dunkirk, killing a woman and a. child. The bombs were loaded with lead, bullets. «>id steel nails.
Tho cable, effort is good, especially the part about the steel nails. Most air bombs fire worse than steel nails, but the cable man and the Censor may possibly kti’iw. If bombs fell on Bethune. they were no doubt dropped on infantry, artillery, or depots, for airmen have no bombs to spare for women and chiidmr. The bombing of the Waldeck-Ronsseau is more like the thing. We are only on the edge of that kind of enterprise yet. By (he way. a squadron of Zeppelins passed over itussc-li. in Belgium, three or four days ago steering west. If they were cattle ZcppeHns it is only part of the day's vaudeville, of course. But if they were the real thing one wonders where they were going. The Zeppelin is not definitelv known to have been in action yet. ami the explosion from the sky is a war effect yet, to come. THE LOST HERMES.
An interesting account is given by :i survivor of the Hermes. S'he was In midChannel when struck, and sustained two blows, a, third narrowly missing. The interval lv. ween th ' fust and second torpedo striking is given as 24 minutes, indicating that the sinking ship was well
vaklifii. and mat the second di-chars*? was withheld until it, was htii whether ;d:*> was done with. The host- iinvs is that- only Aii nut <if a ship's company of 45? arc tnisfin,!. perhaps the new swimmiii.S collar has to do with lids saivaf ion of life. In any mv>, the w.arnii>yr m'ven by the .Adnti’-.ilty after the loss of (he Hosne, Press'.-, and Abonkir must have been acted on. Siim r clear of the stricken ship and lower away all boats i<* the idea. It is.a di(Tienlt duly which British ships are carrying old- on the coast- of Belgium, and. a- we see. even such types as the battleship Venerable (15.C00 tons) have been sharin': the risk. OHUMAN XUMBEB-S.
Tin tv i.-- a message which toll* ns that Germany ha.' 18.0C0.000 reservists to come. It is nonsense, of course, but inav he a rah!--* mistake for 8.000,000 all fold. The total German forces seem to be every, where est tinned in print as between d.OOG.'XO and 5.000.0C0. The London ■Times’ hit ely raised its figure to the hit tor. 7 see no reason lei depart from my original esl imate-between 6.000.000 and 7.000X00.
TURK MARCHES, Issue 15640, 3 November 1914
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