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THOUSANDS OF SPIES, Issue 15656, 21 November 1914
THOUSANDS OF SPIES
! GERMANY'S ADVANCE ARMY. A WONDERFUL SYSTEM. [By G. Ward Price, in the ' Daily Mail.'] There is one branch of modern warfare in which I doubt whether the allied army will prove to be as well organised when it gets into Germany as the Germans ha-vo shown themselves in Franco. And that is in its system of spying. The German spies in Franc© at the beginning of the Avar must have been numbered not in battalions but in army corps. No village was too small to have its paid informer waiting to point out to the invaders the best way for their advance, to the next village, to indicate a ford, to reveal the hiding place of the octroi receipts. Often the actual ueefulncf* of these individual scouts in disguise has turned out to belimited to the single service of indicating to a company officer where his orderly could find the te-ndarest chicken in the village for his dinner. For the most trivia! services tho German General Staff have risked tho lives of thousands of their compatriots—have sacrificed th.» lives of hundreds—for the numbers of iv«i giving themselves out for commercial travellers, for shepherds, for postmen, in all sort 3 of disguises, and adopting every station of iife, who during the last six weeks have been pushed up against a wall with a handkerchief across their eyes and a row of Lebel rifles levelled at them from 10ft away have been literally countless. —Extraordinary Pluck.—■ But though hundred* of them have been shot hundreds still remain. Tho pluck of the fellows is extraordinary, mean though their task naturally seems when y:>u are on the other side. For instance, I was coming down a long, weary, wet road near Chalous when I overtook a characteristic little group. Two gendarmes behind on bicycles, with loaded carbines and revolvers, and in front of them, splashing along through the puddles, two men chained wrist to wrist. On© was in dungaree overalls—that seems, a favorite disguise ; I have seen several wearing them j they are easy to procure and fit in with a lot of different explanations. The other waa in French private's uniform, but without a belt just the red trousers and short blue jacket of the Intendance, or Army Service Corps. His face must have given him awav. He was a, typical blond Holstefoer. "i believe that when the German aniiv is on the retreat the officers " fall ouf" men who can speak French well—there are so many thousand Germans who have heid employment in France that the supply oi these is large—and leave them behind in civilian clothes to await the arrival of the French and afterwards trv tt> creep up to tho German lines again with a report. These two were probably Germnn soldier* told off to this desperate duty. One could not help being sorry for them. What a dreary walk, mile after mile of a straight French road, in the rain, with tho grim certainty of being shot in the morning after you get to Chalons, at the end of it." In R-beims alone, according to an account I heard, they have discovered 600 spies. The champagne industry, of course, employed very many, and nearlv all the 6pies who have been taken had lived in the. district. '• I have arrested seven myself, of whom live have been shot," complacently remarked a dear old whitebearded gentleman, with the badge of a special constable on his arm, as he examined my paper.?. —Secret Wireless in Rheims.— It is believed by tho authorities of the town 'that while the bombardment lof Rheims was going on there were spies in the city with a secret wireless installation, who sent directions for tire control to the batteries three miles away. A close search has been made through the town, but the police have not been able to discover where the installation, if it does exist, wa6 mounted. The German devices for the control of artillery fire, are indeed very ingenious. One of them, described to me by an officer of Chasseurs a Cheval, w to send on patrols of Uhlans, who purih right up to close contact with the enemy's positions and then make signals to their guns in the Tear by using the belfries of villages like gigantic candles. They climb to the top of the tower, soak the rafters w-ith petrol, and then set lire to it. The. steeple consequently burns slowly downwards, like a gigantic torch, and tho guns, seeing the signal, know where to tiro. Another method is to have spies disguised as shepherds, moving about with flock* cf 6heep in the rear ot the French lines. Thesespies locate the concealed position of the French batteries, which are usually posted under the cover of woods. _ Then "they lead their flocks to a point direct!}' in rear of this position. A German aeroplane comes over shortly after, sees the dock of sheep, though it cannot tee the hidden guns, and so is able to signal to the German batteries where their enemy is. Many of these pastoral spies have been shot on the ground. They aroused suspicion by the persistence with which they chose grazing for their flocks immediately in the rear of the same French battery time after time.
THOUSANDS OF SPIES, Issue 15656, 21 November 1914
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