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CHANGED CHANCES., Issue 15642, 5 November 1914
NEW SEA MEASURES. MINERVA'S TIMELY STROKE. GERMAN SORTIE. GUNS HEARD (W THE ENGLISH COAST. MOSLEM MILLIONS. THE UNKNOWN CITY MECCA. [By A. Spence.J Britain may have half a million men over on the Continent now. Perhaps more. The London Scottish have been in action, and borne themselves gallantly in the terrible fight for Ypres. It is plain, therefore, that whole or part of the British Second Army is on the scene.
The Second Army Mas intended to consist of 500,000. The First Army would be something between 140,000 and 160,000. Its losses are steadily repaired from the First Reserve, 6o we may assume that it is still at full war strength. Then there aro the Indians. The despatch from Bombay, so far as we know, comprised two divisions of infantry and one of cavalry. That ought to mean 45,000 at lowest. If the whole of the Second Army is over then* may he 700,000 British engaged. This is the ninety-third day of the war. As far as Britain is concerned, and if she has got her Socond Army en Woe on the field, she has done very well indeed. A presentable soldier can bo turned out in three months if he gives his whole mind to his work, but the training of officers is different. A year's hard work and study will haTdly make a E;ood officer. The battle of Belgium can be summed up in a word or two. Inundation has .-topped the march of the Germans nearest to the coast. Berlin admits this much. Further inland wo hold fast to Ypres, and Ypres is the backbone of the battle at present. ThivS was the operation in which the London Scottish fought with distinction. The German march on Calais is therefore no further than it nas. There has never been such a stationary battle in the world's wars. BEET-FIELD CHARGES. The grapple between the London Scottish and the Bavarians, perhaps the most savage portion of the German army, has a note of interest all its own. There was much resort to tho bayonet, and some of the charges were over beet- fields. It is wonderful how the humble beet and turnip can rear their heads in the ir.ee of charg ing legions. o:ie of the Black Watch told the London 'Times' that he Ml heavily over a turnip when charging near Mons, and sustained a severe ankle sprain. Crippled as he was, he lost, touch of his battalion, and at one stage some of the artillery gave him a lift. To his consternation they carried him into action 10 minutes later, he sitting as a. passive- noncombatant on the limber. An infantryman would not like that. CRISIS WE NEVER HEARD. Two unexpected messages tell of a crisis in Belgium of which we heard nothing. Belgian officers state that the British fire from tho sea saved fhein. They were worn out by long fighting, and must have been Riving way. Bordeaux, the present seat of the French Government, also admits the crisis, whatever it was, and adds that,, it is "almost over." The ostensible explanation is eredited to General Joffro. He states that ICO.COO men's lives would have Hopu cast away in forcing the position (position unstated). It is another commentary on the Censor. The English and French papers probably have every word of this story, whatever it amounts to, but. rfo far as New Zealand is concerned the news was ruled out. In notes written a week ago it was stated that if tho English Admiralty was using battleships such as the Venerable to shell the const of Belgium it- was an indent matter cither for better or worse. Jt seems now that it has been so. RIGHT DAY TO DO IT. This is Guy Fawkcs Day—the ricbt day for explosions—and the Admiralty has chosen thi.s day for thv official closure of the northern* approaches io tho North Pea. "As from November 5."' says the Admiralty, ''all ships passing a line drawn from the northern point of the Hebrides through the Faro IsLmds to Iceland will do fa at their own risl-r." The Admiralty's messaae sufficiently explains how two steamers were struck by wider-water explosion off the coast of Donegal last week. It is no jv.enl.-ir " ovai-layr " which is at work, lint harm-lo-s-I'x.-kinjr neutrals. An ordinary minelayer is easily discernible by her special stern war end the rows of mines which show on dee]-. Tho new mine hyer must I lift a hum'der sort of concern, rarrwncr only a few ..dobc-s of destruction, and these well concealed. It scorns thai th<bier White Star steamer Olympic, only missed disaster by a dispensation of Providence, so mines mus-t h'-ive been laid .south of Ireland, as well as north of it. The Admiralty's mes.fi.ieje gives no bintwhat is to happen in the North Sea itself, except that it is to be a _" military area." The evident- intent hj strir'or dealing with doubtful neutrals. Th" fisheries in the North Sea w:!l be adequately protected to the; last, we tnav i" 1 sure. ' There is still no intention to interfere with bona fide neutrals, as Jar as we can so. Every effort is to be undo to convey ihe liniely warning to t-h<> ri'jht sort of neutral. We may trust Mr Winston Churchill to do the ri-ht thiny. and in the rijht way. vague, as thi<* pari of the news is at present. GOOD ACT BY MTXERVA. The Gulf of Akabah and the old fort at the top of it is the dangerous soot at present. We know, on the authority of a jiipssago by the Foreign 0"'-™ ' *nr>t a mine equipment had- been assembled there, and these mines wer° to be floated out on to the Red Sea. The old Minerva. 5.600 tons, and 11 6itt guns, seems to have got in britrht and oirlv. She d'Oivrrd fiiTlcie.nt fire, to compel tho garrison (mostly Bedouins and irregulars, it seems) to puJI out into the desert. Hie also destroyed the landine, fort, barracks, and stores; also, no doubt, the wireless plant. The danger to the navigation of the Bed Sea cannot, be said to have been removed yet, but the .Minerva has done her share. Attack is the lw>st kind of defence. By the way. the Minerva is the ship which carried out the, steam trials from Gibraltar in conjunction with the Hyacinth, in the days when the merits of the n'd Scotch boiler and the water tube principle were in more dispute than they are now. THE MARCH THROUGH CAIRO. Elsewhere the move to defend the Suez Canal must be going on fast. About Saturday the British troops marched out through Cairo. It is said that it was the greatest military display ev«>r witnessed there, and deo-ry" impressed the natives. 'No doubt it would, for there is hardly anything more impressive than the march of' troops going tp war, and doubtless "Tommy" marched at his best. Tho vanguards ought to be on the Canal, or over it now. Cruisers of the Minerva type, or monitors, will come up fast to give the necessary artillery backing. THE HOLY CITY. Mecca, the holy city, the almost unknown city, may figure in the war presently. France and Russia have joined England's assurance that they will not molest the Mohammedan holy places in Arabia, provided Indian pilgrims aro not molested. Well, there's the rub. Indian pilgrims will probably be. molested. Enver Bey would not mind it Uiev »' ere '. Then maj
oome a few shots in the streets of Jeddah, Eh« port -where the Indian pilgrims disembark. And after that the consequences might be anything. for long the British Foreign Office hai taken steps to see that no Englishman penetrated to Mecca. While public interest was'fixed on such enterprises as the South Pole, adventurous men began to ■wonder what place on earth could b» exploited next. There was always Mecca. So far only two outsiders had seen itSir Richard Burton and a German named Burckhardt. A claim to have explored both Mecca and Medina has been made in very recent years by a Mr Keane, who was mate of a Bombay boat carrying pilgrims, and who has written a book about it The book looks as if it speaks truth, but much effort has been made in influential quarters to discredit the story he tells. The primary object of the authorities was doubtless to relieve the mind of the Mohammedan that an unbeliever—an Englishman, too —had been into the holy city. The penalty of being caught in Mecca would probably be death in some savage form. There have, I believe, been projects by aviators during the last two or three years to fly over the place, but they dropped the proposal when they learned that the Foreign Office would * probably interfere.
Mecca is, therefore, a serious place, and any influence which brings on fighting at Jeddah will have much to answer for. SORTIE FROM THE JAHDE.
There has been some sort of adventure out of the Jahde by Gorman cruisers. In this action the Halcyon, torpedo gunboat., 1,070 tons, played first part. She is not what might be* called a fighting ship, but she is the leader of a class of vessels suited for this work. Until the war began sh« was the senior officer's ship directing preparations among the North Sea fisheries, and she is under the control of the Admiral commanding Coastguard and Beserves. When the" Halyoon saw the German chimneys .smoking, betokening a sortie to sea, she got busy with her wireless, and, .-is the- message sisimS'-.arrtJy adds, "varioiia naval measures were mad©, with the result that the- enemy retreated rapidly." "they did not wish to see Sir David Beatty and the Lion anv more.
It seems that our own light cruisers were d«!rrres of repeating the achievement hy which tho Mainz, Kolw, and Ariadne wer-e sunk, but darkness interfered. In th« trloom one of the German cruisers threw out mines, and wc lost submarine D 5. She is fairly modem ; not so modern a« the FJ clasv, but a good boat —16 knots awash, and 9 under water.
The surprising part of tho story is that the sortie should have eomo so near to England. The firing was heard at Lowestoft, on the coast of Suffolk, about 10 miles youth of Yarmouth. Seven German cruisers were, seen, some sailing under the white ensign. The unconvincing part of the etory is that the German snooting was poor. Their naval gunnery is, ae a matter of fact, more than good.
It seems that the sortie was effected because the Germans have got hold of the Admiralty's special charts showing tha swept tracks in the North Sea. Some alleged neutral captain has been at work. The Admiralty's information was freely given to neutrals, but, with the new stringency, this information will be les6 easy lo obtain than it was. SCHARNHORST REPORTED.
The armored cruisers -Scharnhorst and Gneisensiu are reported at Valparaiso, in Chile. With them is the Nurnberg, which cut- the cable at Fanning Island eome tim« ago. These ships took in provisions and left, and it rather look's as if Count Von Spee, who is presumably in command, intends to quit the Pacific and join tha Karlsruhe and the E-ber in the Atlantio Ocean. Thereby he enters an area, where chances of damage promise more, and he also bids adieu to Admiral Patey and the Australian squadron. The Leipzig, Captain Haun's command, was last heard of on the ooa=t c-f Peru, and will likely stay in the Pacific till she is run down. The Gier is in trouble now at Honolulu. She put- in there to refit, and to-day's news ,-tates that, she must leave goon. As tha roprrseotation about her to tho United .State? was made by Japan, it ifi sure that .some Japanese ships are waiting for her. The Gier can neither run nor fight, so one wonders whether she will put out to sea at all.
ABE WE AT WAR WITH TURKEY? After the act. by the Minerva and the march of our Egyptian troops in the direction of the Hue?." Canal, to say nothing of an alleged shelling of the forts on the Dardanelles, it is difficult to believe that England is not now formally at war with Turkey. To-day. however, the news is that the Foreign Gfu>« does not confirm the taaternent that Sir Louis Mallet lias M< fVriftar.finopk; and, on the other hand, Tewfik Pasha, the Turkish representative, n London, has not shifted quarters l'jorn No. 69 Portland place, W. MIGHTY NAUUR TRAINS.
Ei'eht supplv trains, each having 60 warc'ons loaded with munitions, are said 10 "hive been despatched from Namur to Northern France. A train of 60 waggons vould be a wonderful train, and not at all a German militarv train in make-up and outfit Tbev believe in handy trams and frequent despatches. It is said that- they are =tiil entrenching at Namur. This is -tatintr the obvious. The. re fortification of Namur is iw. months old, a-nd the plaee must be veiy strong now, but it is unlikeb- that war correspondents or inhabior other sources of news are permit'.•■d to sec. what is going on. !• is believed also that the Germans have -concentrated 400 gun« at Ypres. Tbcv will, of course, make every effort to ■■■ct.-jkc Ypres. and part of the effort will i-e'a great concentration of artillery. But who counted tip the 400 gunsr
CHANGED CHANCES., Issue 15642, 5 November 1914
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