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BAGDAD., Issue 15660, 26 November 1914
GENERAL BARRETT’S MARCH. JEHAD FALLS FLAT. THE FOOT SLOG IN POLAND. [By A. Spekce.] Bagdad, quaint Mussulman centre, city of the great Caliph Haroun-al-Raschid, is coming into the war. It is the headquarters of the 13th Turkish Army Corps—tho command which was to debouch into Persia under Giamid Pasha, and perhaps strike at Hindustan. Tho long arm of tho Government of India has been astonishingly quick in countering the blow. On October 9 tire High Commissioner reported that successful operations had boon carried out by Indian forces at tho mouth of the Shatt-01-Arab, where the product of a hundred watersheds joins the steamy Persian Gulf. It is one of the hottest of climates. On November 17 the advance bad progressed nine miles up the flat country on th© right bank of tho great river in which the waters of tho Euphrates and Tigris commingle. On Saturday last General Barrett’s Indian forces hoisted the flag at Basra, 51 miles further on. Fragrant with memories of 1 The Arabian Nights 1 as it is, ancient mystic city, it will be weird now to read of modern military and modem mitrailleuses inarching on Bagdad. The distance from Brasa, where the Indian troops are, to tho city is about 440 miles, following the course of tho river. The town sits astride the Tigris, which is 275 yds wide where it passes through. Tho country over which General Barrett has to inarch is extremely low, and at this time of tho year subject to extensive floods. Two lines of steamers—one Turkish and one Eng-lish—-run up tho river from Basra, and if General Barrett could get hold of these he would be fortunate; but such good luck is not likely, As Ah Roza Pasha, the governor of Bagdad, must have seized these vessels long ago.
It is just seven _ days since tho Sheik-ul-Islam proclaimed a holy war, and wo learn from tho cables that it is not catching on in Central Asia Minor. It will fall flatter still if wo get Bagdad, for this Antwerp of tho East is a centre of Mussulman gossip, second only to Mecca. Tho caravans coming from Khorassan and other regions iu Persia pass through it on the way to Arabia and Central Asia Minor, and nothing spreads news quicker than the Mussulman tongue. If these gossips find the English in Bagdad the stocks of “ Hadji Mohammed Wilhelm ” will slump. Bagdad itself must be a strange mixture. All tho buildings are of furnaceburnt bricks, giving a general ruddy yellow appearance to the place. The old crooked lanes of tho days of tho Caliphs still exist, often so narrow that two horsemen cannot pass. Conjoined and mingling with this ancient Oriental aspect are vast parks and esplanades, groves of pomegranates, figs, and dale palms. These parks and groves were the idea of the celebrated Midhat Pasha, who endeavored to modernise the town about the end of the sixties. Ho even got tho length of introducing horse tramways, which run yet. Tho capture of Bagdad will end ono German dream—the ownership of tho Euphrates Valley railway. Tho dream is as old as 1899, and was at first a Russian vision. They wished to build tho line, hut wero opposed by tho Germans,, who, as controlling some railway interests in Asia Minor, claimed preference In 1903 the eyes of England opened to the importance of this line in relation to India, and up till 190S and after there were complications and friction. What will take place if the Turks’ territory is partitioned by too Allies at tho end of the war is past conjecture, but tho Euphrates raifwav may yet become an All-British concern*. FRENCH NEWS AT LAST.
" C’eet Join d’ici a Tipperary. . . . Adieu Piccadilly, adieu done Leicester square." This is the new tunc that the French are hinging. It is the ‘Long Way to Tipperary’ set to their own words. There are more long roads than that to Tipperary. One is the long road to the French news; they give so little. Today, however, there is an official review of the six weeks’ battle of Flanders. This little summary is interesting in ono or two ways. It discloses, for instance, that changes are taking place among the higher commanders of the German army. Lieu-tenant-general Yon Deimling is one of the names mentioned. At the beginning of the war he was merely the commander of the 29th Division of Badeners, forming the left wing of tho 14th Army Corps, but now he seems to be an independent army commander. Von Fabeck is also named. Originally ho was the officer commanding the 15th Corps of Alsatians, but appears to be something higher now. The review states that the Germans massed 15 army corps at certain points of decision, but does not say where. Judging from the names of the commanders, however, these corps were crowded in north of Arras and on towards Belgium. At maximum strength this would imply about 700,000 men, and the figure given looks low. It only means a fraction of tho total battle line, anyhow, and, as the French say, the “chief burden” fell on them. There is probably no intention to set up an odious comparison between themselves and tho British. What more likely is meant is that they had the major portion of the line to hold running far east past Verdun and on to Lorraine, and thev have been heavily engaged all over this tiresome front. It is a pity that they do not tell us more about it, especially as to how the fortress of Belfort is faring. We have had news that the Germans were bringing up guns to this highly important point. If they had been driven away from the fortress we should have heard so. One can onlv hope that tho story of Belfort will notf eventually read like tho story of Longwy, regarding which we only received two lines brusquely indicating that the place fell after a bombardment of 24 days. In one passage the review definitely locates the position held by the popular and able General Curieres De HoJLs in the Arras region, confronting V on Kluck. At the beginning of tho war he was second in command to General Joffrc, and may still be so, though sonic prominence is given in the message to General Foch. ABOUT ZOUAVES. Zouaves conic into tho cables every week. There is a story to-day that, in an attack on a bridge-head, Zouave prisoners were driven forward, the Germans behind them shouting “ Cease fire, French '. ’ Of course, any ruse seems to be fair in war, but some' Zouave spoilt it by calling: “Fire now, in God’s name.” The story may be true or false, but a general word on 'Zouaves is topical. They 'were organised in 1850, partly Kabyles of Algeria and.partly French “ Volontaires Parisians ” and “ Bataillons do le Chart ” (prisoner battalions). These regiments are as much noted for their extraordinary behaviour and rascality as for their extravagant daring. Mr Charles Furlong, F.R.G.S., who travelled extensively in Algeria and the hot Sahara, furnishes the latest account we have of them: They are fire-eaters all, a rather shortstatured, broad-shouldered, bull-necked picked lot. There is hardly a bill of the Algerian Atlas which has not borne witness to their' agility, endurance, and wonderful fighting ability; few valleys in which they have not bivouacked ; and scarcely a wood copse of corkwood or Algerian oasis through which, in their picturesque green turbans, blue jackets, and red Oriental trousers* bound at tho
waist with broad cummerbund, they have not flitted as skirmishers like evasive will-o’-the-wisps in streaks of golden sunshine and violet shadow. Bred as they are amid the fiery breath of the “ Garden of Allah," with its sunshine, its shadow, and its continual warring and death, one would expect the Zouave to do just as he did according to the cable—to call: “ Fire now, in God’s name.” ARTILLERY IN BELGIUM. One wonders whether tho birds ever sing in Belgium now. Tho Americans, in their civil war, used to refer to the Battle of Antietam as “ artillery hell,” but what is Belgium? Among the floods, tho dugouts, and the snow, artillery is the premier arm at present. The fleet, it seems, got to Zeebrugge again, and the allegation is that six Gorman submarines were destroyed. There was tho inevitable danger of under-water attack, but the plans of the minefields plotted out in the ‘Evening Star’ yesterday showed the shield on the port side of the ships engaged. We heard two or three weeks ago that the British , were landing 9.2 in guns, and a few of the more recent cables, placed in order of date, indicate clearly enough that both sides realise that the struggle for Calais is primarily a matter of artillery. These cables read:— Oct. 28. —Tho Germans have mounted heavy guns at Zeebrugge to meet our attacks from the sea. Nov. 9.—There is a military consensus in Britain that more guns are needed. Nov. 9.—First mention of armored trains carrying heavy guns. Nov. 16.—Warships bombard Zeebrugge. Nov. 19.—Tho London ‘ Times ’ stated that it was important to remember that when the Germans made their supreme effort [referring to the attack of tho Prussian Guard on November 11, no doubt] our artillery was inferior, 'but our heavy guns are now doing great execution. Nov. 19.—Eighty heavy German guns traversed Liege for tho front. They were accompanied by 7,000 engineers. Nov. 21.—The superiority of our artillery has been accentuated. Nov. 22.—Six submarines arrive overland at Zeebrugge. Nov. 23.—Germans reported as collecting a flotilla of motor boats at Osteud. To-day.—The enemy’s bombardment on Monday included tho use of 12in guns. Six trains of sailors and soldiers with planks, sacks, and small boats have left Louvain for Brussels, apparently bound for West Flanders. Even the motor boats bear a relation to tho artillery, if there were space or time to explain ; but at present it will be sufficient to pass on directly to to-day’s news. Tho sun is shining in Belgium, and one remembers the old satire on man and his ways: “It’s a fine day; let us go out and kill something.” To-day we have news that the British artillery is thwarting every effort, whatever those efforts
amount to. ‘‘lt is noteworthy,” adds the cable, “ that the Allies’ artillery is now proving superior. A feature of the recent fighting is the number of Gorman batteries which nave been destroyed.” On the whole, we can figure now some sort of restoration of the artillery balance. When I began those notes I pointed out as strongly as possible that the magazine boom of tho French artillery would bo found out to be what it is now proved to be—a fable for tho man in the street. England and her allies are starting out to mend matters —late, as usual, but still in time. MIGHT IS BIGHT. An Admiralty report on the sinking oi the defenceless passenger chip Amirai Ganteaume appeals today. The .report adds that this is the best specimen of German methods yet recorded. Collateral messages relate to the bombing of undefended towns iu North France, contrary to the usages of war as Britain understands them. A correspondent raises a kindred question as follows: Sir, —Will you kindly tell me through your columns whether an unescorted troop-chip is liable under tho rules of war to bo sunk with ail hands should she come in contact with an enemy's warship. The question arises out of the Mayor’s speech last Saturday, and according to it recruits leaving New Zealand per mail boat catalogue such boat as a troopship. —I am, etc., J-D-H. The answer is that might right. A troopship may be sunk at si.hi. as the Russian Vladivostock squadvc 1 more than once during the Japanese r. ’The chief point raised in the letter i., whether a mail boat, carrying only a handful of troop;, would he sunk. It would depend entirely on tire* humanity and discretion of the enemy captain. A British captain would not do an act of that kind, but the story of the Amirai Ganteaume indicates all that might be anticipated from the enemy. Their usages and ours at© different. DIXMUDE THE OBSCURE. There has been a natural wonder for some time whether wo hold Dixmudo, 10 miles .from the Belgian coast, or have lust it. It was retaken by the Allies early _on tho morning of November 11, both rides lighting waist deep in water. It seems that we have tho place still, for one cable mentions the losses of French marines who “are holding” Bixmude. The soggy country where the ruins of Dixmude are forms the British left fiank. If the Germans get Dixmude Sir John French will not be salient, but ho. will not be comfortable.
LEGS WILL WIN. Legs win battles better than generals—' legs and Ptratcgic railways. To be superior at the point of decision is the aim of strategy, and the battle between the Warta and tho Vistula tells the old story. We learned on November 19 that General Hindenburg, the Prussian left-wing commander, was pouring iu troops between the Vistula and the Warta. and the point of contact was Lowicz, which is fully 95 miles out over the German border and only 55 miles short of Warsaw, the Polish capital. Intelligence received to-day says that this heavy concentration to a flank was effected by a skilful use of the German lateral railways. To achieve a counter-concentration tho Russians, having no corresponding railways, would have to rely on ‘‘foot slogging.” Tho cable says that they sometimes marched 50 and even 40 miles a day. It would bo great going in the mud, the more especially as the Russian soldier’s pack is heavy and his boots always bad. Captain Solovieff, of the 34th East .Siberian Rifles, has lately had a word in print about Ruenian boots. He says : Tho footwear consists of heavy and easily-torn boots. _On account of the difficulties of tho campaign these boots, without exaggeration, may bo said to be heavy leaden weight©. In walking over a. slippery surface the soles elide, and the feet slip in different directions. Instead of two steps one has to make three. Moreover, they are airproof, and tiie foot is covered 'with perspiration, and a soldier's wet boot is hard to dry. If the decision obtained at Lowicz is anything approaching that picture iu today’s nows, the Russian soldiers marching to a flank in ouch boots and over such mud must have marched wonderfully well. 1 do not think, however, that any real decision has been achieved. Hindenburg is a long-headed commander. THE BALKAN BUGBEAR. Sooner or later, I suppose, the Balkans will jump iu. A phase of the war which we have not seen, but may presently sos, will be tho despatch of Turkish battalions bv the railway leading into Servia via, Mustapha Pasha. Sivvia eeoms to be exhausted, and across Servia, across Austria, l>s tho path for Turkish battalions going to tho front in Europe when the time comes. Tho teatur© state oi th© Balkans is probably Bulgaria. Some time ago she intimated an intention to remain quiet, unless troops were railed across her territory. To-day there arc reassuring words, on Reuter’s authority, from Sotia. M. Bndoalavoff, Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs, has upheld tho principle of neutrality in tho Bobranje, and “ the | majority warmly applauded.” Rumania, 100, is* bogiiinina to shape some sort of! attitude. Her American goods are being shut out partly by the closure of tho Dardanelles, paitly by the Austrian progress in Kervi.a, which shuts tiro trade, tracks to tho Adriatic porta. 1
BAGDAD., Issue 15660, 26 November 1914
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