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DISCLOSURE., Issue 15657, 23 November 1914
WHY “K. OF K.” WENT TO FRANCE. FIFTH POLISH BATTLE, HINDENBURG AND HIS PUPIH NORTH SEA & NEW PILOTS. [By A. Spence.] ‘ liOfb Wheel,' the articles which I wrote after Mens, roused the outcry of a battalion of correspondents. It was (they said) pessimistic, it was untrue, it was pro-Goman. At tho time I could do no oilier. My knowledge of major strategy told mo that the German right wing could not have wheeled twice to the left unless something was wrong—and very wrong, too. Tho mails from Home now disclose that the picture was not overdrawn, but very much watered down in these notes. The situation was, in fact, so bad that Lord Kitchener had to go to France, Tho cables said nothing of this. It is still an open question whether, in consequence of this visit, one of tho French cavalry loaders, whoso sympathies were suspected of being German, and whose wife was a German, did not suffer the extreme penalty. Whether that was so or not, his handling of tho cavalry on the British right formed tho subject of a military inquiry. When tho War 1-ord reached France about the end of August ho found Paris in a dangerous state of panic. It was more than panicky j it was frozen with fear. Two or three changes in the French Ministry had to ho made, but with these Lord Kitchener had certainly nothing to do. The point on which liifi weighty opinion would tell would be one, and only one. Tho French concentration had been struck while incomplete. It had been struck with great results. Where was it to ho completed now? Popular opinion—nearly always wrong on questions of war—. was running strongly one way. Tho dtoyou and citoycnne of Paris were emphatic that no more French territory should be given up to tho invader. Tho army must oo sent, forward to meet them, even if it took the suicidal course of going forward in fractions and driblets. That would have meant a series of isolated massacres at the hands of a concentrated foe. Popular opinion at this time must have made thbWarLorda very sick man. He insisted on the opposite course. Since such a mess had been made of things in the first concentration, the real concentration must be completed very far hack That, was why the Germans got so far south as the Marne. Only an iron will could have insisted on such a step in the face of popular opinicai. THE NEW WISEACRE. If the concept of those days was twisted one way by tho French populace, it is now being twisted another way hy some of I the ‘‘military experts.” Then now say that the Germans never meant to go very far south. Tho lino which they intended all along was the Aisne, That k to say, that tho educated German Staff broke the first rule of strategy by under- 1 taking a.n offensive which they luiew they could not maintain. Also, in going so far south, instead of sitting passively on that chosen Aisne (which Von Kluok had inspected tho year lie fore, and where a German company construe ted mushroom bods which were really trenches), they were such fools as to take The edge off their troops by committing them to the battle of the Marne, in which they were so badly knocked about. For Germany the Marne was a. real effort and a real reverse. It spelt the failure of Plan No. 1. It was tho direct effect of Kitchener's “far-back” concentration. To be sure, tho German teeth aro now dug deep in Franco- j but when tho first concentration failed they would have been dug deep in any case. One hitch in the major strategy of a nation at the beginning of a war will he felt to the end. BATTLE OF THORN. Pupil and teacher aro now fighting the battle of Thorn—the fifth of the great battles of Poland. Six or seven cable messages giro various accounts, all interesting, hut there is rot space to analyse them iodav. Sumo messages indicate that Hinde'nburg is winning ; sonic favor tho Russian chances. If all wore analysed there would bo nothing in it at present. “In the battles of to-day,” says a military writer in an American review, “their beginning is marked by many engagements as large as the greatest battles of bygone generations were. These fights gradually merge into one great battle in which all become involved. They cease very much as they he gam, being broken off by a series of engagements of gradually lessening size. When frontal attacks aro made tho winner is almost as tired at the end as the loser.” The map crystallises tho-Battle.
It will be quickly noticed that all the Russian flanks are safe but one. The Vilna army guards the extreme northern flank. The Kiel? and Odessa commands are well up in line in the south. There is, however, just one point where the Russian position is not as good as it might be. That point is where the northern flank of the four Russian central armies Is near Thom. That is the point which Hindenburg Las selected for assault. RELATIONS BETWEEN THE CROWN PRINCE AND HINDENBURG. Teacher and pupil—Hindenburg and the Crown Prince—are conducting the new battle near 1110™. Two commanders more different in temperament would be hard to picture. Moreover, Hindenbnrg’s word was law to the Prince at peace manoeuvres; ■now he takes his order* from hi* former anbnffidinata.
Tho Crown Prince is not a bad tactician, but is careless. On parade, for instance, ho docs not oven try to sit his horse as a eoldier should. Many a rating he has had from Hindenburg when that, general happened to be director of manoeuvresHindenburg k a. precisian, intolerant of the least fault, and very long-winded when the “ pow-wow,” as English officers call it, conies at the cloeo of a peace exercise. A pen picture of such a scene is given by an American officer who saw it *in September, 1913. “The commander.” he says, “who held this criticism. General Hindenburg, was famous for his long-winded lectures, which were nevertheless appreciated for their sagacity. On this occasion he talked for nearly an j hour and a-half, this critique, as generally, being held on the top of a hill to give a view of the terrain fought over. The general, a short man, sat on his horse so as to be in a commanding position in the centre of tho brigade and division officers. There was a sharp, Indirect criticism of tho Crown Prince, who took his medicine like a soldier, frankly admitting when questioned that tin's fault or that had been his. I was amused at tho Prince taking pictures of the director during tho lecture. _ Ho grew very bored towards the end, shifting from ono foot to another. Ho had a miniature camera, with which he snapped the general two or three times, holding it behind his back until the opportunity presented itself, whan lie would quickly take the snapshot, and then hand the camera to an officer who stood directly behind him. This officer would turn on a new film, and return the camera to the Prince unobserved.” HOW 3,500,000 MEN ARE FED. Russian staff and transport officers must ho tired men. Imagine the little tent, the jaded officer, the more weary telegraph operator, and tho nightly pile of telegrams. There aro 70 army corps—soo brigades at least; and mightly each brigade must have its route and roads allotted, and Poland .s not rich in roads, though it is full of swamps, forests, bogs, marshes, and lakes. There are, for instance, 250 miles of bog at Pinsk. and it does not meet the case to say that the lagoons and marshes will bo frozen over. A staff will not send artillery skating out on ice if it can help it. It must bo one long nightmare for tho transport, too. The Hussion infantryman receives an issue of mare than 101b a day in food, ammunition, equipment, and forage. That means that more than 16,000 tons must be dragged after tho army daily —over the mor.is.sre, remember—and the roads cleared of empty vehicles, so that the motors coming up on tho following day can get through. And when the brigade or division halts for battle, side roads and cross roads must be found for the lorries, so that they do not block the path for tho reserve artillery and battalions getting forward to the front Even this 15,000 tons per day doss mot include the contents of the artillery caissons, tho pontoons of tho engineers, and the hospital stores- and turnout. NORTH SEA NARROWS. The throat of tho English Chamiel to the North 3ca is narrow now—narrower than we have been told about. On Saturday there was news that pilotage had been made compulsory for the Humber, Tyne, Firth of Forth, Moray Firth, and Scalpa Flow. From the North Foreland in Kent up to tho Orkneys tho coast will bo all mine sown. The Admiralty, apparently, does not propore to hand over knowledge of its private mine-swept avenues to neutral captains indiscriminately, as it did once. Some staff of trusted pilots have taken charge, and the neutral captain—the doubtful neutral—will never know what course is steered. His trips from London to Leith will he made in tho daily fogs and tho enshrouding night. It :a doubtful whether he will he permitted one peep into the binnacle while tho pilot is on the bridge. As a war measure it is. in fact, possible that the uncertain neutral skipper will not be allowed on his own bridge. Tho wartime pilot may have full power to send him below. The “ neutrals' ” quartermasters may bo ordered off the bridge too, for this novel pilot may bring his own stourers and lookout men with him. Wo have not heard much—we have not heard anything—of the new minefields in the North Sea, bub it seems from the London ‘Times’ that the English Admiralty had got busy as early as October 2. On that date the Secretary of the Admiralty notified that neutrals would be wise not to endeavor to cross the zone between latitude 50deg 15min X. and 50deg 40min N., .and longitude Ideg 35min E- and 3deg W. This means that a large oblong block of mines had been set down between tho nearer English coast and tho coast of Belgium and Holland. These blocks do not quite enclose Holland, though they impinge severely on Ostend and on the Scheldt. 'Die path for navigation now is close to tho English coast —-through the Downs, in fact. On the date when ‘The Times’ gave that news tho German mine area was as close as 52deg latitude—the latitude of Harwich. Unrough that line of mines the trawlers and lobster-bobbers no doubt sweep daily with the net, clearing tho road for the blinded "neutral” on his road north to Leith, “ URIAH ” BUSTS." After King David had sinned with Bath, sheba the King of Judah’s treatment of Uriah led on to tho great penitential Psalm which most know so well. To-day we have Uriah brought up to date in the (Miles. The Uriah of 1914 is said to he tho Bavarian Uriah. He goes first in the firing line, and Prussian soldiers come after in the second and third lino of reserves. It is true that there is little love lost between
tha military chiefs of Prussia and Bavaria, but, considering what the bther messages are like, we may pause here, too, before we believe. It is probable that some young correspondent, dimly acquainted with tire history of the Fianco-Prussiaa War, knows that Bavarians and Prussians were not too friendly then, and the oonjeoturer is mak mg the most of it now. Elsewhere we read that the Guard are being _ spalled after their severe engagement with ‘lie British. It is, of course, all a guess, since only the first and fourth brigades of the Guard took part, and no one could know what troops the Prussians are resting and what are not. BuT"in this monstrously censored war a cloud of guessers is inevitable. The probability is that troops are being epelled or fought in proportion to losses, and regardless whether they belong to Brandenburg or Berlin or Munich, or any other place* In such a struggle
tlv> present no general stall could manage the finesse indicated by the woros “ Uriah ” posts. THE JUNKERS AND THE NEWS. August in France is therefore an illustration of the nows wo get. or do not cet. To-day vve see that the Jyondon ‘Times,’ in'a, leading article, tells the nation that the Government have, exercised the, control of the Press with singular incompetence and great lack <>f judgment; also that if wrong impressions are .prevalent critics ought to andress their complaints to the Government, and not to the newspapers. It swans as though some of the \ i<Utilised public are awakening to the fact that they are being bought and sold by military Junkerdoin. and, in the first moment of resentment. they turn savagely on their best friend, the Press. What the man in the street never realises—what ho probably never will realise—is that he is now being tilled chock-full of falsehood. His sensibilities and passions are played upon, and his slender [iur.se is exploited ; his sons and brothers, bleed and die in tho ranks of war. lei, such is the peculiar pastime, of tho young duchesses (aged 21) and the young strategists (aged 19) who reign at the Horse Guards that this cruel imposture must be played from goal to goal. Tho man in the street must never know what the realism of it is. MEDLEY OF CABLES. (rerman losses are notv reckoned at 1,250,000, and 500,000 sick. Last timeonly a week ago—it was computed at 900,000 ; four weeks previously at 200,000 j three weeks previous to that at 400,000. The guesser again, of course. The aeroplane swoop on hriednchshaten. if it happened at, all, met fill that might have been expected. The aerodromes on which the, Zeppelins rise are guarded by triple rows of balloon guns, maxims, and rifles. Tho Porto explains that the shots fired at tho Tennessee’s launch at Smyrna were merelv a. “ warning about submarine mines. Tho Porto is in playful vein. Tho fact is that a national aifront was offered to “Unde Sara,” and ha has got to take it lying down. . ~ . . , Llovd’s ara reinsuring Suez Canal licks. That’risk is real. Somo two or three neutrals, laden with cement from America to Calcutta or Japan, may yet contrive to sink in ihd canal. Probahlv tho world .s cargoes are now well watched. Bouchos inutilcs again! The military occupation of Cracow has expelled civilians —an extreme step to toko with the population of the city of am ally. If there- is a scintilla of truth in it the investment of Cracow is near. It is also going to be strenuous. A British inaval officer describes the arduous daily and nightly watch for submarines. It may not be Known that a newform of defence agaunst submarines —termed the “ electric blockade ”>—is being mooted at Home. As it is the plan of a private inventor the armament firms may demur. The new counter-stroke to the submarine will be described in to-morrow’s notes. A missionary in the South Seas has been flogged by the Germans. These stories of German outrages grow. If true, they are welcome ; if false, they are sowing a BlUy blood feud between the peoples ot the nations for ever, and a strong protest against them was written by Earl Roberts just before he died. There are some rampant stories of outrages on nurses current in Dunedin now, said to have been received by private letters from Home. The story of the Goeben’o fight 25 miles off the Chersonese lighthouse looks Jess reliable than ever, although there must have been some encounter. Tho cheerful person "who sends ns the news states that the damage was done by llin guns. This calibre is not carried by the Russian Black Sea fleet.
DISCLOSURE., Issue 15657, 23 November 1914
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