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GEFALLEN., Issue 15653, 18 November 1914
GERMAN BOYS & ALDERSHOT. POPE'S ENCYCLICAL. CABLE GUESSES & TRUTH. [By A. Spence.] "Gefallen" is the- dread word with which the Germans chalk their trains bringing hark war's wrack, the poor face of the warrior frozen for ever into marble. And, when the sore business is done, you contemplate that much of " gefallen" are boys. The eye-witiess with the British headquarters testifies to these German boys in a passage which is eloquent: A large proportion of the German forces are comparatively untrained, but the great fact remains that these illassorted levies did not hesitate to advanco against highly-trained troops. Boys of 16 and 17 inarched steadily up to the muzzles of our rifles, and met death in droves unflinchingly. Great boys ! Thpy marched against highlytrained troops, against those from Aidershot and the Curragh. And Aldershot and the Curragh could do no other than they did. Every shot would bo like the shot of Der Preischutj; in the German legend : " Aimed by the Fiend." The last time that boys were employed in regular battle (the Boer War excluded) was when the cadets of the Lexington Military Institute, Virginia, vr-ro called to assist Lee in his long, vvea - grapple with Grant in 1864. The call came after evening prayers ; the adjutant of tho cadets read the general order; there was neither cheering nor demonstration. But that night Iho battalion of cadets set out. and they marched on through mud and rain till they reached Bieckinridge's line of battle iu the Shenandoah Valley. As they arrived the veterans who had seen four years' war greeted them with derisive songs—'Rock-n-by, baby,' and some others. The cadets felt a little' abashed, but said nothing. Tho troops were just going into battle, and the boys put down their packs by the roadside, set their teeth, and pulled their cartridge boxes round to the front. Before the end of the day they had pierced the Union centre. Opposing them were a cood many Germans—tlvy worn iiiihtinc; Franz Sigel—and one prisoner said afterwards: "'Dam leedle devils mit der white uniform were the deuce and all." It seems that tho world has come back to the spectacle of boys in battle — hoys who are game to march muzzle to muzzle on the best troops on earth. When "gefallen" include striplings, one turns with keen eye to the first "Encyclical of His Holiness tho Pcpc : Tho spectaclo of blood and misery has induced me to hearken to the last words of my predecessor, and begin my ministry by praying to the princes and peopln to end this fratricidal war. I pray God that my Pontifical voice of peace mav resound through the entire world. And every sensible man, Catholic or Protestant, will readily say Amen. This slaughter of striplings" may bo according to Clausewitz, but it is repugnant to everv sense in that vast series of senses which wo broadly describe under tho term of humanity. THE UNHEEDED SEER. Earl Roberts, who, after all, is to be buried nt St. Paul's-, said his great say for nothing. 'When he pointed to what ha called "the convergence of national destiny" ho was met by the "Ha! ha!" of derision. He was told that he was a very old_ man. The 'British Weekly' (a very estimable religious paper in its way) said so The Manchester 'Guardian' pnkl .so. The pc-aco societies said so. Earl Roberts did not complain. He might have vaunted his forecast after the war began, but no word escaped him. Others have something to say, however, and one of these is Evelyn Wood. This notable fieure in British military history spraks only of casualties, recruiting, awd other purely army matters. For the citizen there are other nightmares. The Hon?e of Commons has agreed to a stupendous vote of £22.5.C00,C00. > Mr Asquith has stated that the cost of the war is between £900.000 and £1,000,000 daily. There's a nice bill for the citizon to foot, and foot it he must. It. will he felt here, as elsewhere. Indeed, we see already, in some collateral souse, that tho Victorian Government, have, decided in a ova nee the prices of essentia] foodstuff*. SOME SPLENDID GENERALSHIP. Seme splendid British, general is yet unnamed in the cables. When the assault of tho Prussian Guard developed on Sir Douglas Haig's front near Ypres last Wednesday ho noted tho three German shooting lines taking up position. The first rank wat lving, the second kneeling, and the remainder standing. That in true German regimental assault. Suddenly, thinngh the gaps between the battalions, the machine puns came forward. It would then bo "now or never" for that unnamed British general, and, with great tactical insight, he sent the men forward with the bayonet. It wafi, in his judgment', better to attack and be decimated than to stand and suffer equal loss. Imagine a " green " general in the same position. The primitive in«tinct in man i» generally to stand, io defend. No doubt a simpleton officer would have held his ground to tho last (as the story books put it), and <=;i.-f;ii<iH the- ;,a:iio or greater less for nothing. Tho general engaged must have been a good man, and it is a pity that the cables do not disclose hie name. THE YARD ARM. One of the worst features of our national life comes up again respecting the captain of tho Eind'STi. Fight to-day ; embrace- the ouemy nest dav There is some want of hnlanee about this, and one sometimes wonders if our national sentiment i: - , coing to the dogs. The same note which was struck hi the 'Evening Star' last woek by a correspondent is again .struck by Judge Backhouse, speaking at a public function in Sydney. Hy told tho gathering, plainly enough, that using tho enemy's colore wa* a viry i-etioui affair, equivalent to a misuse of uniform. If the llmdeji's captain did this ho was no better than a pirate, and his lvvi.rd should be tho yardaram. They speak very lightly of hanging i.u New South Wales—they have had so much of this barbarous mode of execution there—but otherwise there is much in what the Judge says. If Russia foTnpJ.lv demanded tho person of Captain Muller she could get it YPRES UNDER SNOW. There .seems to bo a halt in thv great battle of Ypres at present, tho country being under snow and. water, to say nothing of the inundations which the Allies have created by opening the sluices. It is rumored (<-ays tho cable) that a big force of Gomianti in an advanced position ! at Dixmude have b?en cut off by the j floods. This ia wonderful news. The ' Allies were supposed to have recaptured , Dixmude last Wednesday. Either to day's ; message, or one older by three or four j days, is a gue&a by the war corref.pon- j dent?. The truth is" that wo do not know ! half of what is happening. Tho cable i goes on to say that the Germans are admirably equipped for operations. This reiteration of the obvious begins to grow more tiresome than ever. Our fairly reliable friend the " Eye-wit-ness " with British headquarters states that the effect of our howitzers and the French 75-millimetre field gun has been great. He refrains from saying anything about the German trench mortar and the 42-centimetre gun. SECOND INDIAN ARRIVAL. The cables vouch for the fact that a second Indian contingent has reached Maav scillee. The fir6t denveiy of Indian troops was two divisions of infantry and one of cavalry. It reached the front about 65 days after the declaration of war. In to-"day's message we are merely told that the new Indian arrival is of "cor»-i4e»ble /strength," A division, pcrhagv
THAT FOOT) FOB BELGIUM. Some think that the food whioH is new passing into Belgium may bo * dangerourt commodity, used to feed Germane. It i« oariainly coming in throngh the Scheldt, under the mfe conduct of General Von. d«r Ooltz, Military Governor of Brussels. The question is a triple one. Under the administration of America it ought to be safe enough. That is the first consideration, and, provided the fidelity of America is as it ought to be, the question may rest at that. The second aspect is that the Germans naturally do not desire to have thousands of starving peasantry and faitisans on their hands, for that will impede ordinary operations o£ wax. Lastly comes thw supreme aspect. H etre&s cornea, the Germane will commandeer every ounce of that food, bo the fidelity of the United States in. this matter looks more than doubtful. Poor fair-dealing England, which could stop every shipment if eke chose-, has a new problem before her. She can hardly arrest her ally's food. It looks like a very deep move by Germany, acting la conjunction -with, some of the American trusts. THE FAR-FLUNG LINE. The far-flung battle line in France and Belgium, is at least 160 miles. The cable states, quite unnecessarily, that the fight, mg in th-a Argon ne has not varied during the past two months. Every method known to siegecraft has been practised, and the advanced trenches are only 50 yards apart. Let us hope that this intimation (even if it only repeats the obvious) will kill the venal cable stating that •no have "progressed slightly in the Wrevre,"' or at Berry-au-Bac, or at some other obscure place which does not matter. The war correspondents are merely guessing, and the* latest guess Is that fretsh French troops have been wheeled to the front at Dixmude aud thereabouts. 'Hie Allies' counter-attacks at Diimude are "progressing." Hie real point is: Do we hold this plaoe, or do we not? It is the left flank for the battle of Ypres. SIR DOUGLAS HAIG. The promotion of Sir Douglas Haig to full rank aa general is pleasant news. Ho was one of "those who established the clehrated "wall of fog" against which the Germans, fought in vain at Mons. He has commanded at Aldershot since 1912, and is now 53 years of age. In respect to active ecrvioe, he saw Atbara, Khartum, and South Africa, and, generally speaking. its an educated soldier. His book, ' Cavalry Studies,' is full of good reading. H« held a number of important military posi« tions in India before coming back to England to take charge of our premier con* cetitration at Aldershot. SYDNEY AND EMDEN. Captain Glossop, of the Sydney, giver his own version of the action with th« Kinder, to-day. It will be noted that hd says that the battle began at 9.40 a.m. at'a range of 10,000 yards. He adds that' the German chip's shoouixg was excellent until the Sydney began hitting her. This was exactly the view formed in these not ef. a we'ek ago, and now there is on« other word. The original cables gave us the time at which the engagement started as 6 a.m. The cable man and Captain Glossop do not tell the same etory. Thexa was. as it seems, the usual gueeswoik in the first rush news. POLAND AND PIFFLE. 'Hie retreating Germans have destroyed the railways and bridges, impeding the Russian pursuit in Poland. The obvious again. There is some word of a counteroffensive by the Germans, troops having been transferred to the point of decision by their wonderful network of railways. A battle is now in progress near Plock, If so, the old problem of the Polish. salient is very much aa it was. Mean* while, we get the ancient item once morei '• I'hero hae been a desperate sortie from Przemysl." There is also a etory that th# fortress of Cracow is invested, and M ablaze. A sudden investment, if true. GOEBEN'S BUNKERS. If it is not a guess, the Russian Black Sea fleet have done good work by shelling the ancient town of Heraclea, whence the Turks derive 400,000 tons of coal each year. Tliis will help to keep the Goeben's bunkers empty if the news is true, _ But the maze of guesses leaves one in doubt. The Goebun and Breslau, we see to-day, have re-entered the Bosphorus, after taking part in some vague action in the Dar. dam-ll.'*. Some little time ago we wem informed that the Goeben, lying off Sevastopol, signalled her consortsi 'Am damaged ; going back to Constantinople for repairs." Those repairs must have been rapid. The featurs of the news, as we get it to-day, is that the Russian Black Sea fleet, composed of pre-Dre3dnoughts, can keep the sea unchallenged. It uan open and very interesting question whether one Dreadnought, choosing her own range, cannot defeat any number of pre-Dread-nought?. This aoademio question will doubtless be tested in the Black Sea.
GEFALLEN., Issue 15653, 18 November 1914
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