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THE PRUSSIAN GUARD., Issue 15654, 19 November 1914
THE PRUSSIAN GUARD.
DEATH MARCH AT ZOHNEBEKE. FOOD & FINANCE. THE TIME FOR THE "GLAD HAND." [By A. Spekcb.] " Gefalten " ifi still tho word—the word of yesterday, to-day, and to-morrow. The savagery in Belgium outmatches anything that war has known, far, as we see from one message, they havo pot the l«ifith of charging on trenches with cavalry. No more cruel operation for cavalry could be ima.gh:ed. Moreover, General Von Loowenfeld, Major-genoral Sch-r.idfc Von Knobolsdorf, and others who command the Prussian Infantry Guard have seen tho pride of German military manhood lift tho bitter cup of death to their lips once more. It is a very different sort of Guard from the celebrated Old Guard of Napoleon's day. Napoleon used his Guard in a, rather theatrical way, reserving', them for dramatic occasions, and at leaet giving each Guardsman a sporting ehanoe for his life. Tho Prussian Guardsman gets none. From Gravelotto of 1670 to Zohnebcfco of Wednesday week last, tho whole history of the Guard has been one of downright slaughter. Tho broad features of tho supremo assault by these- world-famous troops on the equally world-f am one British are given in some detail. It appears that the Guard had beon badly handled by the French at Charleroi in Augu.st, and later at the Mame in the early part of September. I ventured the opinion, in notes written at tho beginning of the war, that as soon as the Guard appeared in the fog of hatUe every rifle, machine gun, and cannon would at once be turned on therm. All eyes would be clear for the Guard.
It seems that these troops "had been rested for about two mont-hs, which it in accordance with military practice. When soldiers, no matter how good, have iufieied losses compressed into short dranatic periods, some fueling, akin to fear, seizes them. A certain undesirable attitude begins, and is li.-i.iyl to cast aeide. The usual way is to spell the body of men over which the blue mesmeric bands of death have waved, feed them, and havo the bands playing in the camps. The Guard, having been spelled, came on again on November 11. They came on *n the usual way, the old way of Clravc'.otto, where they lost 6,CCO men in 10 minutes. Tiiis time it was not Caurobert, but Sir Douglas Haiif who liad to be met. There was the ueual preliminary, the diabolical overture played by the guns. This lasted eight hours, pinning down every, liritisher in his trench. Then came the Guard, en- • fenny trench after trench. It was j;ood as far as it went, but it did not rcckj.'i on the match] e&s British comyiany and regimental leading. Operations to a think under heavy assault have hitherto bwa held to be impossible. All the military books will tell yon that men committed to a heavy engagemen' can only novo two ways—forward or backward. Not so here, however. Suddenly the British lir.ts dispersed to either eide—a. wonderfully novel thine; —leaving a huge pap through which the Guard poured cheering. Into the .laws of death came ihe Kaiser's finest troops, then (to use the phrase with \vh:. Y /. Highlander described Mens) the I'iitisli artillery lifted off the lid of Hell at a raiijio of 50 yards. The cable docs not state what happened to them, but we can realise a little what artillery could do point blank with such mightiy blocks of troops. The Black Watch took up the pursuit ar.d charged tavagely for over a mile. Rome of those artillery and infantry officers have now qualified for decoration. One looks in vain in the annals of war for anything that can match the story. The wonderful in the military manuals treating of the cooperation of all arms combined look small things now. If, after this conflict of tl.e nations, men persist once more in the foolery of war. Zohnebeke will furnish the larr, word on combined tactics for the military student of the future. HOW LONG CAN IT LAST? The interesting question, the question which everyone is a.sking. is: How long can this kind of thing last? Some think that the. (ierman war machine will stop automatically at Just for want of officers, for the (.rerrnan officer (eic-in as he is in driving on has men) docs not spare himself, Wherever the hulletc, arc. 'there he is. To-day we have a Copenhagen story telling that the German casualties to dat.; are 549.247, exclusive of the independent Bavarian. Saxon, and Wurtemherg commands, which are " estimated " at another 400,000. I think this is placing the figure. very high. But, even at the lowest, jt w still high. One dees not wonder so much over the loss of men as over the lose of officers. The London 'Times' of September 25 stated that the German machine would soon lie out of gear for want of men competent to give the word of command in the right way at the right time. It cuts two ways, and 'The Times' adds, significantly enough : We have t-uCered heavily, luo. An
examination of our casualty lists shows that we lost 1,100 officers, killed,
wounded, and missing, in a month [August-September]. Little more than live infantry divisions have been engaged, and an each division include.'' about 600 officers, we lost nearly two officers out of overy five in the hr.-t, month of the war. In the field, aifco, officer? an; taken from regiments for various extra-regimental duti-\% aud, owing to the operation of all these causes, many battalions have been reduced to five or ei.v officers per battalion. Obviously this cannot go on for ever. Many officers consider tnat if we only present and maintain in the field .eight good regular divisions we shall provide a more effectual instrument than wo would have by deploying Mr Churchill's '"twenty-five army corps."
This view of officer* is interesting, but it is done with. Both sides arc now committed to the principle of Inrsje masses. We see to-day that direct railway communication with Holland has > boon temporarily in!U minted. There is only one meaning. All tne German rolling stock is called for the moment to Aix-la-Chnix.'lle. The blue-clad Lajidsturin man, with his Mauser 14 or 15 vcars old and his artillery elder, is coming up en masse. The final phase of the war may he the spectacle of millions of unskilled ronmers wandering about Europe with guns in their hands. It is reminiscent of a story attributed to De Wet. The legend is that he grew rather tired of the Yeomanry, and in returning a couple of them to the British lines wrote: "Please chain thew; two devils up. I catch them every day." HOW IT FEELS TO BE HIT. The automata on this bloody chess booxd seem to appreciate matters both. ways. There is first a view by the man who has not been hit, and secondly the view by the man who knows, by intimate experiment on hisv body, what war is. About September 24 a representative of the London ' Times' interviewed a Russian officer, and his first question was: " How do you feel under fire?" The interview went on as follows j Officer t It was unpleasant at first, but after a while it became even pleasant, exhilarating. You feel an extraordinary freedom in the midst of death. The same with the soldiers. Writer: They feel active hate towards the Germans? Officer: N-j. I would not say that. They regard them merely as tJio enemy— the old enemy. Writer: Then there is a certain beauty in war in going to death with songs? [Russians generally sing marchm--* into battle.] Officer: I would even eajg that- iimc9 is
' The Times's' writer then goes on, in three or four graphic sentences, to state that war hereby comes into its own in popular imagination again. Despite the- praiso of peaoe and tho comfort of peace (no eaye), and even the fact that we are iiirhting for peace, war f*ems to be a thing that musi eternally roeur—one of the human liturgies of beauty.
Human liturgy of beauty! Gc'mpa-e with it the statement published by a I'ntish wounded oliict-r in '"ho limws' on September 24:—"1 was just behind the. limber of a pm v hen I vas knocked fla.: by a fragment of a big shell, feeling exactly as if I had boen battered all oner with enormous sledge h-tmmors. It hurt like anything and at onoe. There was none of that pause which one roads about between tho moment cf being hit and the moment when one feels it." After readinir tltat, one thinks a little less of the "human liturgy of beauty" and a little, more of Ypre's, where the Black Watch and the artillery smote the famous Prussian Guard. THE LLOYD GEORGE MILLIONS. Mr Lloyd George's War Estimates, published to-day, make the head reel. The war is eating up the world's wealth at an unparalleled rate. Mr Lloyd Gsorge says that the country will have to face the most Bfcrious induetri.il situation it has ever confronted. It is therefore desirable to raise as much by taxation as possible- during the trade inflation. _ Now, here is the broad hint that every citizen must, from now on, help every other citizen he can. We are on the of the time for the broadest human sympathies, class for class. The geineral ran cor of Capital and Labor, of Labor and Capital, and all the rest of it should pause ' a little. In London thev arc publishing articles en 'How to be" Useful in Wax Time,' with a strong hint not to hoard, but (o shop. In consequence, there has been a great revival im chopping, and one hopes we will do just tho same here. The West_ 'End, truly patriotic, is shopping lika fun. Could we not imitate that here in Dunedin, or in anv other town in New Zealand? It will not hurt in the last resort if only we stand by one another. The thing really wants to be> organised to some ext«nt —I An not know how—but I a.m much mistaken if it is beyond the reach of the fine Dunedin efforts of that kind which are the envy and admiration of our other cities. Mr Lloyd George hints at the dislocation which will come when the ultimate of the war is reached. Ha eavs that the chief result is Tikeh to be a diminution of armaments. At present all these metalworkers must be engaged nicht and dav, but thousands, hundreds of thousands, will be out of work by and by. The time is coming when w-e must all put out the glad hand to one another, regardless of class. We are not told, of course, in the broad financial array of figures given us by the Chancellor of the Exchequer what we arc going to do when the steady stream of British gold begins to pass over to the United States, as it must pass more and more the longer the war continues. With the present Director of the Bank of England at the helm, however, we may trust. We'll " muddle through " somehow. There never was a moment when that ancient phrase looked more reputable than it docs at present. THE SHUT NORTH SEA. The prohibition of Iho export of tin plates to Holland, Denmark, and Sweden will close down 35 mills at Swansea, throwing 1,700 men out of work. This is the first trade effect we have heard of regarding thei closing of the North Sea by the Admiralty. These tin plates are, of course, for the German army, and this was part of what the Admiralty Board foresaw when they took the extreme step. When the-mails left Home there was '• consternation in commercial and financial circles in London" by the unexpected placing of iron and tin on the list of contraband. It was contended by interested parties that Article 28 of the- Declaration of London, 1909, expressly exempted metallic ores, and it was further pointed out that tho Declaration had been given a revived effect by the King's Proclamation of August 20, 1914. Under the newer stressea of tho war, howovor, the .Admiralty and tho British Government, acting with His Majesty's sanction, have brushed tho old arrangement a ride. DEVOTED RHEEMS. Poor Rheims, historic city, bombarded oiico more' Tho original oumonada on the cathedral—famous from memories of ftj. Joan of Arc—gave everyona a shock. It is still an open question whether the French used one of the tower* of the cathodra! as «iri<:b serration post, or whether smw atheist i'.i the German artil- , levy thought he saw a, target that would suit. Recently we were told that the German Chancellor had informed the Vatican that, in view of certain French military act*?, further destruction be deemed ru'ix'.ssary by the German commasiders. This setms to be coning. At present the Homo papers are full of bitterness on bombardments of " tho Houso of God," I In;! the ivality w no nearer elucidation than if. was. GOOD GOSPEL. I Tlio British, who saw, fought, and loathed the passive defence of tho Boers in South Africa, have- no time for it. Hard pif<---od as troops may be, those troops mi:st o.'Uiitvr-ai-tai-k in the end if they are io win. That is the good British military i_"i=p<>! oi tin' day, and every candidate who .-its for the Staff College examinations, or ev/vi fi>i - the mere humble "Examination.-, for Promotion for Captains and Lieuis made to know it. Tho Hiph Oommic'sioner reports to-day that, after the ufiinl artillery thunder and the first iiawj-t-o-hand conflict, tho British carried or.t a brilliant cmintcr-attack, thus following the old gwH pospoL They threw the oncrny liack 500 yard's. The distance* is short, bii'.. on such a thiek-wrt field as i Ypres, with its barns and hedgerow!) and I canals arid inundations, it counts for miks. i ZEEBRUGGE.
T!m little haven at Zcebruggo on the const of Bc-lsium/ is apparently to bo the Iwo for pome part of the German "jump ctf " c, n Fr. gland, if it pomes. Them must ho otic danger, or the British Fleet- would not, have paid the perilous visit indicated to-day. The bombardment was directed on a factory—ominou* word—on the canal between Zeebriigge and Bruffec. Recently we learned that British and French aii-men had been bombing oil tanks at Bruges, which never exiVNvl till the Oormaiis came to Belgium. All this is sicTiifiraint. British warship? have not been reported off the coast of Belgium si nee Octobr»- 21. and considering how creat the risk from Mibmarinej is, only great urgency would justify sending them there again. CRACOW. My anticipation yesterday that the Germans would not ahow Cracow to go overboard, no matter what the Austrian feeling might be, receives confirmation in to-day's entiles. The Germans have taken over the place, it is raid, and relegated the Austrian* t(_> the Carpathians. The lost part is doubtful, but the first sure enough. Some field, victory also seems to have been won by Yon Hindenburg, commanding the German kft wing in the neighborhood of the fortress ofl Thorn, but tne cables do not feature German victories much, and wo are left to guess what it amounts to.
The view formedin these notes all along wan that the Russians are not nearly out of Poland, though last week's cables professed to tell us that they had reached that wonderfully vulnerable spot Kalise. If the reader draws on his atlaa a line from Thorn to Cracow he will probably have the correct, line of the front which was readjusted after the of the Vistula. The London "Times* estimates that the eeven Russian armies now total 3,500,000 and the Austro-Germana 2,000,000. The attack demands a superiority of about three to one at the point of decision (to say 1 nothing of fortresses). If this is the onlv margin of superiority which Russia can boast at present the road to Breslau is now fully as long as the celebrated road to Tipperary.
THE PRUSSIAN GUARD., Issue 15654, 19 November 1914
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