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ANXIOUS OCTOBER DAYS. ARMY REFITTED. FLASHLIGHTS ON DIM CABLES. [By A, Spence.] Sir John Erenc]i pave us another of his interesting despatches yesterday. He says nothing about himself, of course, but he loav-ss one wondering at his resource as a tactician. Tho moves described arc Napoleonic, for they include the transfer of it oops to a Dank across the front of au enterprising enemy end a general breaking of tJw rules r.f war. Every operation in war is difficult, but a lateral move in the face of the foe is the most difficult of all. Sir John French makes the loilowing poinds :

1. The delicate operation was made possible bv the excellent friendship and c, operat'd! which exists between the British higher leaders and the French fSlulf ; r.1.-o, no doubt, between "Tommy” and “ Biou-piou.” 2. Out of his slender force be had to dctai-h >ir H. S. Rawlinsou and the Third Division for duty in Belgium while tho battle of the Aifine was proceeding at maximum intensity. The object was to "ive a ilacking to tho harassed Belgians, who were then quitting Antwerp. 5, Neither British nor French have, so far, bean abie to wrest La Bassee

from the Germans. 4. A vital question arose- on October 19. The Belgians wore being driven in at- a rate calculated to lay l>aro the Cha'nuel ports. Thereupon, at the risk of having to operate on an extended front elsewhere, the Field-marshal bad to make a further detachment. Sir Douglas Haig and the Aldershot corps were sent to Belgium, “so as to avoid such disastrous consequences as being

outflanked towards Calais.” I do not. know whether this means much to the npn-military reader. All that can he said is that two successive detachments —first Rawlinson’s Third Division, and then the whole Aldershot corps—would ho evepain to unv commander. The position, so far as strategy goes, is still governed by one of Napoleon's maxims: “Hold your own ferco well together, and leave it to the enemy to divide. Then you have him.' 1 In Sir John French's case tho same result was brought about by breaking tho rule. Generals do not sail through the rules of strategy without groat cause, and if Sir John French did as he describes the urgency must havo been great, even though the cables were then killing Germans wholegale and every cable was a German rout. The question of detachments is the more worthy ot icmark it Is a matter rdvv.ys dear to the colonial heart. Nightly and daily vcm hear the man in the Greet devising" schemes for routing tho enemy, always embodying what they call “ rneakinu icund on tho flank.” 1 have coached a large number of New Zealand officers through ‘Examinations for Promotion for G.ptaius and Lieutenants,’ and nearly always found this fatuous heresy of “sneaking round to a flank ” deeply embedded in the colonial mind. It ,- s a relic of the Boer War. That wisehead General Godlcy tool: the first opportunity to kick this dayfooled idol oil his pedestal. In tho first training ramp for officers at Tauherinjkau come vears ago the march of invasion was supposed to be from Palliser Bay to Fea-ibcK-ton. Imaginary foes were presented in Hie tarti''a,rscheme, suddenly on this flank, suddenly on that. What would the colonial oiiicer do? In most cases the idea was to send off a. heavy detachment to this point or that. The ‘general jumped or. that. A light flank guard would meet it, he pointed out. In effect he raid : “ Hold your forces v. < 11 together and push on.”


Kir John French must havo watched his line;: jii-raier divisions moving away from ilie Airne to Belgium with feelings of regrn. If the G-- norms had then driven home on him at Koi-son.s his reputation .md the reputation o] the English Army as a whole might, have gone up in smoke; hut he fared the contingency. With him un-re the remnants of tim southern command, uniler Smilh-Dorricp, and the Irish coni'i'and. under General W. I’. Pnl-tv-ney. They must havo done good things in ih-it ioiielv interval of separation, for (teiKiral I‘ulumev is mentioned in de-

? p nt c hcs. Men Mime Rawlinson—the first detachment sent off—did things in Belgium. Ho f emed (He framework behind which the Belgian*. L il buck from Antwerp. He was verv client in those days, but he stood, and (Hon gradually withdrew in good heart to (he Yaer. “This movement.'' ray,- (he l.’.'it.Hh eomrnandrr, “ had u great influeii,v. (, :] subsequent operations.’’ It formed, ns wo can roe, now, the nucleus ({ the resistance on which Kir Douglas IL-dg aligned near Ypres. It was fore-cn.-led in these notes long ago that Vpres woifld >.» the convincing ground, and it is Thr-ro must have been many anxious moments at headquarters «h>ic tills lateral movement across rim German front was (dripping the A him of Britain’s beet troops, and the General titan of the .Aides do not km to havo been unmindful. Wo see, fiom Sir John French’* report., lint (hero was a solemn ((inference with Genera! Joflfrr on holding our lines apainft the enemy’s attempt “to nuflank or break through.'’' (kmoral Jr.ffro apparently promised every hacking to- the thin British line which* lie roiiH put in by way of re. ■ Lor Led no as he is in a greater lint tic. of which we bear very little, lie may havo detached rc.rerve after reserve to "helii. If the British held on singlehanded, there is no feat in war like it. Indeed, Kir John French euye so. “No more arduous task,” bo states, “was ever a‘signed to British soldiers.” It is a tribute to the Find, British Army —an army which can never bo replaced—and n wonderful commentary on the flexibility of Britain’s first line. To the man in the street manoeuvre is always easy — on the atlas. In this case one of the most astonishing mancruvrcs has been carried out in war, when the atlas was remote and the enemy’s cannon very near. Finally! it will be noticed how much importance Sir John French attaches to the protection of the Channel ports. Wo have heard a good deal about the chances of direct invasion of Britain, and in the fog of falsehood it is hardly possible to say wbat tltis amounts to. Not very much, I should think, as lona as tho Allies keep their grip on Belgium. That they have fought so strenuously fen Yprc-s shows how much the higher British direction appreciate the possibilities. IYi tfid rnicuitini&i ® well that ends well ” THE ARMY REFIT'! TAB Lord Kitchener has stated that the First Army has been refitted and is again in good buckle. It may be in. . fstng to mention that tho British soldiers deny allowance is: Bread lilb, resh frozen meat lilb or tinned meat At, j&n [lb, bacon ilb, cheese 3oz, sugar 3oz, t*a £ oz, salt ioz, mm i gill, tobacco 2oz per week, vegetables ilb daily. , The transport for one of the _ British divisions consists of 38 3-ton lorries, one for postal service and 27 for one day a food and forage. The remaining 10 lorries are partly for first aid and partly for emergency work. In the early stages of the war thr t military maid-of-all-work, tin. Army Service Corps, sometimes worked 22 hours a day to ensure that the Britisl fighting man was fed. A Highlander, srfter Arons, wrote; “We were only short once all the

ZEEBRUGGB NOT DONE. There have been two bombardment* at Zeohrugge, and we were led to understand that this German sea base was done withit looked doubtful news at the time, and looks more doubtful now. To-day’s news throws us back on the painful fact that the Germans are making “ immense prepaxations” to safeguard this prospective submarine haven. We must face that in plain terms of war. A prolonged duel between ships and forts can only end one way—the fort wins. Doubtless the Admiralty will take other suitable measures. When Antwerp fell our naval direction had every appliance ready to bottle up tho Scheldt if Germany had violated those neutral waters by bringing submarines into the river. Germany thought hard over such a breach of friendship with Holland, and then decided on Zeebmgge. We will hear much more of this place yet.

RICOCHETS. The Germans lost another 100,000 men at Lodz. This makes a total cable slaughter of 4,277,000 Aastro-Germans to date. There is no mention whether Yon Mackensen got out of the triangle near Lodz, but most likely he did. German casualties are given to-day as 627,073, exclusive of Saxons and Wurtembergers, etc., who keep their own rosters. The total German loss has now been reported five times: 400,000,200,000, 900,090, 1,500,000, and now to-day. The compiler of official losses seems to lag sadly behind the breezy imagination of the cables. General Von Aloltke’s Danish wife says that he is now a polite sort of prisoner in a castle for interfering with tho Crown Prince on “the west front” in the early stages of the retreat from the Marne. The Crown Prince never was on the “ west front.” The supersession of Von Moltke by General Von Faikeuhayn was announced by Amsterdam message on October 27.

‘ Giornaie dTtalia' is too modest in one way. It announces that the -tuistroGennan losses in the present battle in Poland ere estimated at one in four. This seems only half of the other cable estimate of 100*000. Otherwise ‘ Giornaie dTtalia’ is bold enough. It announces that tiie victorious Hussions are marching on Breslau, Posen, and_ Thom. This matter may be more profitably discussed in a month or two from now. Perhaps six months. Colonel Shumsky, the well-known Russian military contributor to the Bourse, estimates that the Germans have from. 22 to 25 army corps facing Poland, and about 34 corps facing France. It may lie all wrong, but it looks more like truth than some other messages. Mark how the authorities differ! The ‘Daily Chronicle’ says that previous reports on the investment of Cracow were premature. A bold Milan paper, however, asserts that the siege guns are np and one suburb is on fire. It is 62 days since the cables first began to besiege

Cracow. There is a remarkable report that the Russian vanguards are through the Carpathians and only 45 miles off Vienna. Bead it with many grains of salt. We heard, for instance, of the triumphant entry of Russians into the capital of Bukowina, which is far from Vienna, and then a more triumphant re-entry yesterday “ after heavy bombardment,” We heard nothing that would give ns a clue to the fighting in the interval. The move of the Cossacks through the Carpathians towards Vienna is at least 45 days old, and it has walked at a great rate—over paper.

TEE DANGEROUS SENDS6L Unlike the Bulwark, the Moslem magazine will not go off. The Sheik-ul-Islam put the torch of Jehad to it on November 19, hut the powder seems wet. Tho most dangerous clan of ail the Moslem clant are the Scnusei—a religious brotherhood dwelling in tire oases of the Libyan Desert, on the flank of Egypt. It is believed that thev cost Lord Kitchener more than one thoughtful moment during his advance up the Nile. They might have cut ins communications with Cairo any time, and it is known that more than one embassy was despatched _ by the Khalifa from Omdurman to interview Wnd-el-Senussi. He sat tight. When Italy rushed into tho Tripolitaine It was believed that now at last the Senuesi would march to battle. They sat tight again. Yesterday’s cables were to the effect that the Sheik-uI-Islam’s proclamation of a holy war had reached them. This time thev did not sit tight. They took the trouble to inform the Government of Egypt that they proposed to remain friendly. It is very good news. Elsewhere the occupation of Basra, the gate to Bagdad, is producing the desired effect., but that effect is more commercial than religious. Yesterday we were told that General Barrett’s march was upsetting the gamble of the German concerns that covet Mesopotamia. It will do all that. The religious effect will be telling, too, but only after Bagdad is occupied and the mouths of tne pilgrims in the Persian caravans are filled with the news.

THE OLD HAND. Essen, the Russian Admiral in the Baltic, mentioned yesterday, is a man with a record. Ho was captain of the battleship Sevastopol when Port Arthur fell to tha Japanese, and, unlike his brother captains, he did not subscribe to the doctrine of sinking his ship in the mud and leaving h,-.-r 1 o bo salved afterwards by the conquerors. Ho brought her outside Port Aithur roads some days previously, and when the surrender came be directed that the Sevastopol should be tugged out into 2i fathoms. Then he opened the valves and sank her. He seems to Have learned some of the Port Arthur lessons very well. In those days the Japanese and Russian flotillas sometimes got mixed in the night, and steamed about together, only discovering who wa-s who at dawn. He tried “ a little on the dog” at Kiel on November 4, painting his ships German canary grey, and cruising about with the enemy in tha mist. Before his identity was revealed ho ha-1 sunk one cruiser and damaged another. It was Essen who, after witnessing the great show of cadets at the military review at Flemington (Meiooume), when the present King opened the first Federal Parliament, declared that the British could defy tho world bo long as they had such promising material from which, to draw their future soldiers. OLD NEWS FOP- NEW. Wonderful indeed is the readiness of the man with the beam in his eye to pick out the mote from his fellow-man’s eye. We were informed yesterday that one of the Kvmptoms evidencing panic in Berlin was that the official news was always a f.-w days old. Some of our own news taken at random from the cables has not been remarkable for promptness:— I.ondon, November 22.—General fmith Dorricn complimented the West Kents for gallantry at end of October. [Twenty-two days old at lcast-1 London, November 21. —Prussian Guard sent to the rear to recuperate. [Kef.erring to the action at Yores on November 11-] London, November 17.—The Guard hsd been defeated by the French at Charleroi, and again on tho Marne. [First details of these actions in August and September have not yet been received.] London, November 19.—1t is important to remember that our artillery had previously been inferior. [Referring to the 9.2 in guns which, ware brought up about November 9.] Paris, November 19.—Since October 16 DLsmude,has been an artillery storm centre. [Thirtv-fcmr days before we received a word.’] London, November 18.—French soldier describes 40 hours’ foot-to-foot struggle at Ypras. [After seven days.] Paris, November 23.—Details of the destruction of German aeroplanes between Soissons and Compiegne are now published. [This happened in September.] London, November 24.—The ‘Mom* ing Post’s' Petrograd correspondent ex- ■ plains the disaster which happened to the German destroyers at the mouth of the Kiel CanaL [Twenty days after c date.] The High Commissioner’s long messages . are generally so far behind the whirl of . things that readers have gotten the, pcosionwhgtjjfogjUHgjaWggftgjjMjj;

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OUR FIELD-MARSHAL, Issue 15664, 1 December 1914

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OUR FIELD-MARSHAL Issue 15664, 1 December 1914

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