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A REMARKABLE FORECAST., Issue 15649, 13 November 1914
A REMARKABLE FORECAST.
Germany will have to pay something more preeious even than money as the cost of unresistingly bum’;'..: iter neck to the yoke of the military caste ami its swollen-headed captain, tue Raisin. Six voars ago this very month there was published an interview which the. writer, a Frenchman, had had with one v. hum he described as " a high German personage.’’ Looked back upon at this interval of time the uvth’le testifies to the 10markable perspicacity of the anonymous " personage.” He stated that the General Staff calculated that live years must elapse before by diligent preparation Getmatty would be in a position to beat France, uu land and England on the sea. As things turned out they, by way of making quite sure, added another year before embarking on the enterprise. Among other particulars that with curious exactness forecasted events ol the last seven weeks, the " personage" reckoned upon a blockade of tiro North Sea by the British Fleet, the invasion of East Germany hv Russia, anil the landing in Frame of an Expeditionary British Force of 120,000 men. ‘Ho even named Sir John French as tho general commanding. Like the Kaiser on sotting out from Berlin, he did not doubt that a smashing blow would be dealt to Frame in time for the German army to concentrate their lories in East Prussia and drive back the Russians. But, a business-like man, he recognised tho possibility of things miscarrying. It is here where in existing circumstances he becomes exceptionally interesting. Ho admitted that if the war lasted more than six months Germany would be ruined, and be forced to submit to the terms of the Allied forces. These, he reckoned, involved the restoration to France of Metz and Lorraine, with a war indemnity of 100 millions and two German colonies; a war indemnity of 150 millions to Russia, a levy in whoso provision Austria would share; and the surrender to England of German East Africa and South-west Africa, half a dozen battleships, and a dozen cruisers. The statement is interesting as showing how. so far back as six years ago, the Kaiser and his General .Staff had planned in minutest detail the disastrous campaign which has brought his dynasty and their country to the verge of irreparable ruin.
EASING THE. PUEGSr.UK IX THE WESTERN TIIKATUK. WHAT IT COST KFSSIA. The first detailed story iltat r; m ;e to hand of the battle of Taiinenberg or Ostorodo), in P.ast Prussia, v.liieb tool; plan' on August 2(i-‘_’S, appeared in tlm Uirininp.ham ‘Post’ from Us Petrograd corrospondent. The. message, which was dated Soptom her S, and was delayed in transmission, gives a graphic account of the overwhelming defeat which the Unssiaus sustained at the hands of the Gormans, a reverse which appears to have lieen fine to a blunder on the part of the itnssian commander and an under-estimation of the enemy’s forces It is estimated iii.it tho Uussian losses numbered .110,000, including 11.000 killed, 90,(11)0 piismuTs, and 30.000 wounded. 1 lohcnstein (continues the correspondent) is tho most decisive battle so far fought. As described to inv by tlio slightly wounded Captain Piotr Irinotl, ef the staff of tlie Sixth Army Corps, half of which escaped, it was a very simple affair. General Sam sen off. with 20(1,000 men. advanced into the Allenstein “Be/irk” ol East Prussia, meeting practically no opposition. Ills plait was to collaborate with _ Ueiiuenkainpf, who had entered via Stal!npoehneii ami 1 nslerhnrg, in a iron tel attack upon tho \ istnla. line. 'I his line bri-.ties with powerful fortresses. At the same time, tjvo oilier Unssian armies (Russia before Die destruction of Samsonoff’s force had nine armies in tho Held) were to turn the ilank of tho German position via Posen, The Russians seem to have been over-conlident, and to have been misled by the current talk about Germany's extraordinary weakness in Cm east, her concentration of all good troops on the Belgian-French theatre, and so on.
As a fact, the Gormans had in Past Prussia about 2i'o,Oi)i) mop,, or nearly half tlio strength of tiio Russians. Those wore mostly l.andwehr, but thov wore superior to Knssinns in every factor except aye. 'J hey had splendid held artillery, :i i>ark ot howitzers. about 12 of the famous 12ccntimetre puns used with such efleet in the wo.-n ; the use of their own railua Vs (winch the 11 nssians, having no rolling stock of German gauge. could not use), and splendid automobile transport. On paper far inferior in numbers, their mobility ensured them a superiority at every threatened point. The Russian chiefs did not realise this, and they seemed entirely to have been misled by the notion that the Germans would merely put tip a good defensive light mid then retire to the Vistula, the scene of their main stand. 'i'llis notion was ivnmy. The Germans, in addition to other assets, had Ilunlenburg, an old man. taken out of retirement to command Landwelir troops, but an extremely confident and aggressive commander. Hindonbiirg is known here. He made a stir in military circles 10 years ago by a series of letters called * Always the Attack.’ This policy lie put into force. He know that Samsonolf had somewhat imprudently rushed into the .Masurian plain, which is nothing but lake, bog, and swamp. A defeat there meant disaster. Samsonolf ought to have realised this, as his chief (or second chic:) el stalT was General Pestiteh. author oi books cm the topography of this very district. Also General Marios, another of the StalF, knew the country. Ilindenbtirg, who bgdd the railway lino from Wnrtenburg to Gardemm. had concentrated a very big force tu-rib of AVartcnburg and fliseliofstein SamsonoS did not suspect, this. Tim Germans advanced south, and after 36 hours’ fighting occupied Passenheiiii a town in tho middle of tho swamp am! lake district. Samsonoff’s right wing was now completely turned. Still harder fighting took place on tho Russian left wing, where the attacking Germans wore weaker. The German objective was Xoidenbnrg, The advance was from Lobau, Lautenbtirg, and Solcluu. AVhon Neiclenburg was captured, the Russians, if they failed to break through, were practically doomed. Their main force, still fighting desperately against Get-
tu'ip eenlre we f nl Ii i ihett st (’ill, it it ■ 1 I>•mi ii n 1 il noDiii'..; hit: lakes ami s \(;i 11 ill a, ;ird through this
country the gap for re! cat was not mere than 20 miles broad. Tin> battle ended Gy the outlying Russians being driven in on their eenlre. mowed dovn as rimy (ought in close formation by tie' < term an artillery, and utterly’ d‘ -rrn\e-l as they attempted lo Hmit. Only the First Army Corps and naU the sixth, neither of which was seriously engaged, got away. The eighth, sixteenth, and twenty-third, ami half tlie sixth, numbering in ail ab.nn 1(0,ODD. were wholly destroy ('d. '!’!"• Russian killed is estimated ai ll.UD'.i; tin' number of prisoners was 9(1.01 ID. As none escaped it may b“ assumed that over 30,000 were wounded. These corps did not succeed in saving cite gnu. Most ol the guns were ran into the lakes or abandoned bait.mnkim in the swamps. Tin* Germans at Xeidenbnrg and Hohenstein fought with great eotirage, and hist, very heavily. A German telegram to band via, Copenhagen says that the total German losses in this buttle were only 9.000. This is a big under-estimate if Incod's story is correct. Tin l Russians sav that German shells by mere concussion put out of order their field telephones, and that to this fact was due the failure to send reinforeenumi, to defend Xeidenbnrg against the first a track. The whole tragic a/i'air ef i lobensiein or Tannenberg is full of heroic incidents which sometimes ennsoi> the Rnssian:-. and are a presage of h.-Ger luck when next they face the e;,. an . A XAMLLIAS HERO. FIXE SELF-SACmFIC'E. The following story of an unidentified private of the Royal Irish Regiment who deliberately threw away In's life in order t" warn bis comrades of an ambush is told by a wounded corpriivd of (he West Yorkshire Regiment in hospital in Woolwich : ‘‘The tight in which 1 got. hit was in a little tillage near lo Rhcim-. We were working in touch with the French corps mi one left, and early one morning wo were sent ahead to tin's village, which we had reason to believe was el-'vr of tne enemy. On the out Airi.s we (piestioned a French lad. but be M-me'd seared and ran awav. e went m; through Die long narrow street, and j ll -1. as we were in sight of the r-nti the figure of a man (bi-ln'd mit from a fai mliiei',' on the ingot. Immediately (he rides began to crack in front., and the poor chap fell dead before he reached ns. He was one of mir men. a private of the Royal Irish Regiment. We learned that he ’had been raptui ed the previous day by a marauding party of German cavalry, ami bad been held a pri-oner at the farm where the Germans weir- in ainbndi for i.-.. JJe tumbled to tin ir game, and though he knew that if he made the slightest sound th"v would kill him. be decided to make
a tin: It to warn iv of what was in store. He hari morn than a dozen bullets in him. and there wa- not .the slightest hopo for him. We carried him into a house until the fight was over, and then wo buried hint next day with military honor l . His identilieatie.it di-e and everything el-e, was iTn’s-ing, -o that, we eotdd only pul over higravc Ihe tribute that was paid to a greater; ‘He saved others; himself lie coitid not save.’ Them wasn’t a dry eye among ns when we laid him to vest in that lit lie village. When the Gormans saw their (rick had failed they made of, after :oine hdldirarted shooting. Late the, next night, however, they came hark in strong force, and n night their way into (lie tillage, taking advantage of all the cover that wa- available. In the early morning, when it was pitch dark, we got orders to advance along Die street for the purpose of ciearing them nut. We got along as (pm-lly a- we could, but just when we Jiad got near In the farm where we had Hie adventure the previous day we stumbled ou a party of their infantry. Tit ey didn't wait tor an introduction, but went for ns right away, and we didn't wait long either. Clearing them out wa< the toughest job Eve ever been in. They fought like madmen, dodging about from one piece of cover to another, nod shooting ai ns at clo-e range. They tired so Co.-e that it wa- like having a pistol discharged at your bead. The long, narrow street, helped (hem a In), and we lost heavily. We got them out in the end."
A REMARKABLE FORECAST., Issue 15649, 13 November 1914
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