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BATTLE OF THE AISNE, Issue 15644, 7 November 1914
BATTLE OF THE AISNE
TALES OF HEROISM. KAISER’S VANQUISHED ARMY. “To the story of the battle of tiro Matne,” writes the special correspondent in France of ‘The Times’ on September 15, “must be added that of the Aisne, a river crossing on & scale such as has never before bean seen in the world. The battle of the Marne was a fight of rivers and plains, of wooded and high, plateaus, but this of the Aisne was a river battle only, its object simply its crossing, ft was a triumph and victory for organisation and engineering, as much a.s for courage and fighting prowess. “ The events that led up to the great struggle aio result of the tremendous retreat on Friday and Saturday last, which followed the victories along the Ourcq and Grand Morin, and which was tanned out in a north-easterly direction. The vanquished army of the German Emperor, General Von Kluck's army, was driven across the Petit Mo’’in, and then across the Aisne itself, suffering terribly in lac process of reefing northward. It succeeded, though with, great difficulty, in effecting the passage of the Aisne, a huge tributary of the. Oise, running almost due east and west. The time was Saturday evening, and the moment had arrived when, if the fleeing host was to be saved, a. stand of some sort must be made. The enemy gathered himself together for a great effort on the heights which _ overlook the river. He had his guns in place, his men ready when onr troops and those of our ally reached the south, bank of the river. Clearly it was essential to the Allies that that crossing should be made if the great pursuit was to be continued and a hard-won victory pressed home. “Yet consider what an attack meant. rhe_ river was swollen and running swiftly after the recent heavy rains. Bridges must be built under withering fire: they mnst be maintained undamaged ; they must he crossed. All vantage points were held by men rendered desperate and fighting for their lives. It was a formidable prospect, but it did not daunt onr splendid forces. —The Attack Begins.— “ The attack began on hunday morning with all the dash which characterised the great struggle of the week before. Our guns were brought up and placed in position, and a violent ariiueiy oik! opened. For so long as the German artillery remained unsilenced the hope of effecting a passage was sligm. ,11 deed, from what ] have heard, and fortune has favored me in this respect, the ‘ wrangle of the great guns’ was an inspiring business—a combat of Titan?. Over the valley shells screeched hour after hour, doing fierce execution on both sides; but our gunners, those same gay British Lads whom 1 saw on Saturday' at Versailles and ,J uvje.sy being idolised by crowds, which never seemed to tire of cheering, bead to thc-ir post in a. manner which bus evoked the wonder and admiralioil of ai] who witnessed it. 1 have heard double expressed as to whether the events of last week may not have cz-hansU-d th- endurance of these and rendered them incapable of continuing the pursuit. Far fivm showing any sign of weariness, our men are difficult to hold ■back. ■ Keep the enemy on the run ’ if the watchword of the whole force. “But '.ha. a t.v-k 'hat of .bridging th.ire;!’ r;vc r. The ng places art v Jt-’. ..a.- 1 ,... -,-,ru rompic e aa and ccissous. </iiv may imagine that Mow, stern work of bringing inc big jjomouus into position ami launching them—a work difficult under f.v.ai;',:o.'v rircunistarees. „\<m it might sc- in almost impossible. The engineers labor d-gg.-djy under a. fire that, rets into iff. ,i i. iniw;,. —(Silencing lixs Itm-rny’s Guns.— “ The day grow;; old. Over on the north bank the ca-cnyV, gnus are becoming hushed. The fiercest hours of combat are, past. One by one the great pontoons arc brought- into lino. The soldier lads begin lo advance across the newlyopened bridge, and sliil our artillery sweeps th« height, making way for them. In the, hour of sunset u chill wit id arise?, hearing rain, in short, shorn showers. The heights arc won, and Ihe enemy is again thrown Lack. IK; has trained his respite of 12 hours, but that respite is not enough. l.'aik.m-.0. falls upon Lis bitter recoil. “’They fought stiff on Flic, bank.-/ I was told by a soldier to-day, ‘but not stiff enough. Once lot us get right- up to them, and tiny must local:. Besides, ii has been a louj day. and 1 think they were hungry. Not ns. Wo went iiu-t thorn, anti in and our. of them, and they melted afterwards. it was •pjeerly quiet in the night, Uur hoys arc mad, and the French are mad. All along the lines there has been victory, not once, but many time.-, and in many pino-s h.-s this < 10.-s ing neon accomplished. Vy c have vied with one no! in-r, We Allies, in the os say ing of the task. A< hievoment ha--, come to each of us almost, at the samemoment.' —Combat in the Clouds.— “ Meanwhile, ] have learned of a. emu bat ihut lias been, waged up among th» < loud: —«.m of Kii: mo. i r- 1,1 . . ... . it tiffs war of wonders has hitherto diaeic.scd. i German aeroplane, Hying visit. (I 11f... Brci.-u lii.es aa || Ljie on_j-ct ‘>f rc-r,u,i.,it ring. As the machine hovered ovt-rn, an, w- .1 v.it of icacn of lire, a i>ri lish aii-naii .-ha;,, up 10 the attack. The < lennan .*.a w Ins ad wesary, ami attempted to attack him fr..m above. shots were fired. hut ta—y missed their mark. The' i'-ril.'.-h ,o. i. .- < in, m a v. uin sesni-cin-i<-a'-.u ! (loi-.aiy, mounting steadily, luc via.-uc... tv.-cl i.j swoop, in order to < ;---n tin ,-e range from alkjvc. An-ui.m-r :->um cGcig.- of posit,on. and the German ami Briton were almost at Lha .-.umi all iViioc, hut. out of range of one another, and each fighting for the higher place. The two machines were far up, now looking exactly like great birds in comb d. i a.- distant sound of shooting, ' ■hen ihe giva: s: ru.gg !i. up and down, darling hither and tailher. cacti airman tleu-rmiiiwi to win th- advantage over his to-. Tin- macfi.n- s advance and jv tiro. Fuddenly tin- British airman swings I'bove, tin- German re. B and scorns U* Htag'ger. and then, traveiling more slowly than, sight, ihc M.uuri of shot-. The German doscemi.-i .-lowly lo the ground. ]I» is wounded.”
BATTLE OF THE AISNE, Issue 15644, 7 November 1914
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