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MR SPENCE’S AVAR NOTES., Issue 15644, 7 November 1914
MR SPENCE’S AVAR NOTES.
TO THK EDITOR. Sir.—The information contained in the special war notes contributed by Mr A. Spence is sometimes interesting. In your to-night's issue (Thursday) ho heads one of Ids paragraphs ‘Crisis We Never Heard.’ and writes thereunder:--Two unexpected messages tell of acrisis in Belgium, ami of which wo heard nothing. Belgian otlieeis state that the British lire from the sea saved them. They here wain out by long lighting, and must have been giving way. Bordeaux. the present seal of Government, ainn.-l admits tho crisis is almost over. 'I h- ostensible explanation is credited to General .Iclfiv. He f Litre that IdO.OtO men's lives would have been cast .away in forcing the posilon (position im-.-talcd!. It a- another commentary on the Consoi. The English and French papers probably have eveiy word of this ft.ory whatever il amounts to. but so far as Now Zealand is concerned the nows was ruled out. Lie.
Tins special war column lias been severely criticised fiom time to time, and several gnus have been fired otf at Mr Spence, so that I trust he will not take it unkindly if 1 lire a. Ixunhshcll at this )>articular part of his notes by leiiiug him that his remarks in this instame are, in my opinion, unworthy «,f one who is supposed to have special knowledge. “Two unexpected messages tell of a crisis in Belgium which we have never heard.” Never heard’.' Why, the most important and eagerly sought news for tho past week has been as to how tho Allies were, faring in that momentous crisis in We»t Flanders. Not a week ago the cables stated that the Kaiser had given orders that "Calais must be taken at any cost,” and he drove his army as fast as possible down b; the south-west of Belgium, across tho bolder, and into North-west France. It was a most critical time for the Allies——a crisis had been reached iu the great war.
Brussels. Antwerp, and Ostend had been taken. To lake- Calais would be another great (?) achievement, another conquest for the great German army. Was it not a critical time for the. Allies? Waa it not a crisis iu Belgium? Last week w<; heard of seven; fighting at Dixmude at the Canal de la Baste, and at Bergus. These places are all not far from Calais. 'I he fighting was terrific. One cable stated that the slaughter was worse than at Mons—day in. day out we anxiously waited our cables to aster tain how the light was progressing. It Yet your contributor heads, hie paragraph ‘Crisis We Never Heard.’
1 hen lie goes on. " Belgian officers slate that the British tire from the oca saved them." There is nothing strange, in this. What did the Admiralty send British warships to the ooa.st of Belgium for if it was not to assist the Allies in this most critical stage of the wav? Did your contributor think that they were sent there to have a little gun practice just to loop their hands in? That the fire fiom the British warships was a great factor iu repelling the onslaught of the Germans and helping the Belgians at tin- ei nival moment there can be no question. One enu -eo that by reading last week’s eafiles. Bordeaux admit;; that it was a crisis in tho war; everybody knew it. except your o.intributor.
To again quote fiom the paragraph : "General J off re stales that 100,000 men’s lives would have been cast .-way in forcing •die position (position unstated).” Now, if your contributor will read this partiem Inr cable again lie will find that Genera) JolTie said u<> such tiling. What he is credited with saving is : "It would cost Eratioe 100X00 men to force the position, ami it is not worth the expenditure when at a lessor cost the enemy can ho fought back over tho frontier.” For your contributor’s information I may tell him (as lie appeals not to know when lie a.-ks Whal position?) that the position referred to by Genera! Joffro is the one in which tho Goimans and Allies are now confronting one another. A decidedly better position for the Allies than what they held a week ago. Then the lighting on tho extreme west was almost on the coast. The Canal de la Basse is rally a few miles from Dunkirk. The former place was the scene of a bloodv battle.
But what- is the position now, a week afterwards? 'I here j.s iightinii between Yores and lioulers;--many miles inland from Dunkirk and nearer Lille than the coast. That is the position. Tho Allies have gained ground, the crisis is over; but it was a most anxious lime lor the Allies vbilst ii iastej. I in* position is better than u week ag". and could be made much Letter immediately if Franco were to force the posllit.n, (ml it would cotff 100.900 men to do it. General Jolfre considers the same ends can b<- reached at a lesser cost by gradually forcing the enemy over the frontier. One lias ~j,iy u, read the rallies catelitilv, and to study the maps, mid a more or less intelligent, dci ision can be arrived at. The English and French papers may have further details of the battles during (his critical time, but so tar as Now Zealand is concerned we have nothing to complain of. Ail the news that one could reasonably experl has been forwarded. It has been an anxious week—a. critical time iu the fortunes of the Allies—but the hit-t-r have .hiveil back the Germans from the coast, am! the position is more than favorable. The Germans to the oast and west are now on the offensive. The days of thcic advancement are over, the crisis is past, we may almost rejoice. I think Mr Kpotiee must admit that tho particular paragraph in his notes which I have, commented on docs not ennvov a correct interpretation of the , aides.—-I am, etc.. Harmav Bkkvks. November 6 [My correspondent does not appear to nrmei tnat tin-re an- two kinds of eris-'s -strategical and tactical. The general German strategic effort in Belgium was sufficiently summed up in an article headed ' Plan No. 2.’ Tim crisis, which we did not know about, but which has been mentioned in two vague rutiles, refers to a tactical crisis—a chance where the battle line looked like giving wav. A.S. |
MR SPENCE’S AVAR NOTES., Issue 15644, 7 November 1914
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