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DE WET.

HIS VOOii-'iRE ..NT.' ENDS.

LOWICZ AND LODZ.

THE RCSSIW -PFF SE. K r A SCAPEGOAT.

FIRST PLAN FAILS.

RENNENKAMPF NOW BLAMED.

[By A. Spence.] Christian Rudolph De Wet, eighthclass general and first-class traitor, is now liable to be tried for treason under ordinary criminal law. The maximum penalty is death. If ho had been a member of the South African forces he would have had to face a general court martial—a more sudden process. Most people regard him as more or less lunatic, with a strong bias towards what he would call religion. Looking back on the Boer War, it is hard to realise now why so much was said about this burner of mails, this continual runner. Only once—the occasion when he directed part of the assault on Colonel Carletoil's position at Nicholson's Nek, in the early stages of the war in Natal—did he show a gleam of tactical insight. The poor fellow is 60 years of ago, and his book 'Three Years' War' is doubtless familiar to many. It reads like the rattle of a few pebbles on a tin roof, the little noise being in favor of himself. It ia cheap brag; page after page.

His brother Piet fell foul of him before the war was over, and it may be remembered that after peace had been signed at Vcreeniging Christian met Piet and picked a quarrel. Piet's reply was as simple as it was effective, lie shut his fist and knocked Christian down. That was one of two occasions in Christian De Wet's life where there was no chance to run away. The other occasion is the present. Some enterprising officer—Brits, it is stated—has got him. The period which the staff officers in Africa used to refer to jocularly as "the Christian era" is finished for the second and final time.

In the last public Epeech which the man medae he uttered the words " Wo forgive, but we cannot forget," the utterance seeming to indicate that some German overture had been made to him then. Or perhaps it was only the tall talk which is olten the symptom of a- deranged mind. Politically De Wet's lamp ha,s shone about as dimly as his generalship in/ the field, but, like many other dull men, he has occupied a number of public positions. He \va3 Minister of Agriculture for Ofanga River Colony, 1907, and M.L.A. Cor Vredefort; held cornet for the Heideburg district, 1881; some sort of influential leader in the Boer War, 1881; Transvaal Volksraad, 1885; member of the Free State Volksraad, 1885-97; general of Free State forces during the South African War, and so on. Alter the war he went to England, and, like other Boer leader.';, was received by the. late. King Kriward VII. His case is, of course, sub judiee now, and no one wishes to help or prejudice it. One only wonders whether '-ho Britisn Courts will'go so far as to elevate a lunatic to the status of a martyr. INTREPID -MEN. We did not begin the war very favorably placed in air machines, but wo seem to have kept the initiative so far. To-day there is mention of ». swoop on Essen. There ha,ve been four visitations of English aviators on German towns so far, the. firtt being about October 9, when Cotnmandei.' Ui'ey and Lieutenants Marix and Sippe lett Avilwerp tor iuisseldot'f and Cologne. I'i.c av .'on::(.-; now nhtainnhle from the German newspapers indicate that the peasants working in the tiokir mistook the. British machines for '.l'aitoes practising in the air. They were, only undeceived when the tit>t noitib came whirlim; down and fell in the noil without explouing. An old wuuir.n dug it out with her hoe. 'lbis was the nooi.est shot, tired from ;i British air machine, the other bomb* b.ing businesslike. One just missed putting the Du.-wehlorf gasworks alight, while another set a Zeppelin hnngat on tire, tlie flames only being put out ny the tire brigade after "10 minutes. The visitation to the Rhine towns was repeated, and on N'ovember 22 we had news of the. daring descent, on Friedrichshaien, the prominent men being Baoingtou and Nippe. It seems than tiny must ha.ve been in danger of artillery lire all the. way, for the standing hiMruetiou to pilots is to keep a minimum height of 0.000.t- -when on!v line fire is to appii-hmded. In the flight to Eried.'iehs.haien the mean distance, above eaitb was 4.060 metres.

Lieutenant S.ipi'O has only made his name since, the war began, for it is not long sinre lie. received his _ ccrtiiicate. Marix and Grey were noted aviators years ago. BELGRADE GONE. Like a thief in the nijdu the news has stolen on us that Belgrade, the capital ot •Servia, is gone. Ono" would hardly hare expected it after the series of_ Servian victories which, we have rend of for 100 days. Austrians have been "annihilated'' and "decimated" so many times on the Danube front that tho only wonder is how many hundreds of thousands of Austrians have been killed by cable. The news of the, occupation of Belgrade is not serious, so far as it goes, for the Servians moved back their capital at the beginning of the war. What is montjmporiant is the nature of the news. Tho Auslrians must have won occasionally, but net one An;tri.-in win of any eonsn»|nen>"c has been reported. Many of tho Servian victories would hejrue accounts, so far as they went, but- if the victories achieved) bv the other side were cut out by the Censor, the perspective, of the operations on the Danube, in obviously destroyed.

MOLTKE HIMSELF AGAIN, There is further news of Helmuth Von Moltke. Previous messages relating to the nephew of the great Voa Moltke read a» follows : October 27.--General Von F;tlkcnha.yn has .succeeded General Von Moltke as Chief of the General Staff. AniPterda.ni, October 27.—1t, is official iv confirmed that General Von Moltke is in a dying condition. and has been taken home" to Berlin. His symptoms are aggravated by the failure of his plans to reach Paris, the result of which roused the Kaiser's anger. November 9.—The 'Standard's' correspondent at Copenhagen states that Von Moltke's dismissal has been officially announoed It was due to the Kaigor'g desire for supreme control. This week there wa3 ft message that Von Moltke's Danish wife asserted that he was a polite prisoner in a chateau—the penalty for Interfering with the Crown Prince. To-day Von iloltko is back to the army again. There is probably a good deal in it if we knew details. The secret has been gradually disclosed to tho world that the Prussian higher leaderships fight like cats and dogs. Tha best disclosure is a little book by Lily Braun, wife of a highly-placed officer on the staff of Prince Karl's army in 1870. Even the great Von Moltke had to face a severe tribunal at Versailles. Tho tribunal wanted to know why the siego guns- for Paris had not been brought up earlier. Von Boon sat in the chair next to the King of Prussia, and Von Moltke, facing that tribunal squarely, gave his facts and reasons. It seems like the same thing over again now*

RETIRE RENNESTKAMPff ,

Hints and conjectures are that General Rennenkampf, commanding the Vilna Army (on ine flank of the battle of LodiJ, may be retired. His Cossacks failed to close the trap on Von Francois and Von Mackensen. There really was no trap, for the two German commanders must have knowiil what they were doing when they started from Thorn. There was only one miscalculation, but it was serious. These generals did not realise that blocks of Russian reserves (most likely Moscow troops) were detained in the snow near. Lodz, though evidently intended to take part in the Czenstochowa battle, which is a distinct operation. When Hindenburg began to pour in troops after .November 11 between the Vistula and the Warta, General Plava, the Moscow commander, must have soon realised that something was auju.->:> oii iiis riglit llank. 'The caoles nave told us uut uv wheeled half north, uiiu.s bringing Vun .Uackenaen into action

racing south. At tne same time tho Petro3rad army must, have brought Von Jfranyjis into action lacing north. It is said -nat Von Mackendeu threw in live corps perhaps 260,0uUj, Vou Francois two corps v -l0j,oo0), wane Yon lima cubing 'hold jve corps ii!6O,GGO; as grand restsrve to iucd the battle as circumstances might -.icta-Ui. '1 he situation, as it was devel.jticii by Vou llinduntiurg, resembles- the t /usiuou whicii Hie catiks describe—a fiat ..lutatiou of .Napoleon at Leipzig when ha asned M ■■iiiiha.l Al .ledonakl out, of tho v-iurlpool by sending in iiurat'a massed cavalry and tho Uld Guard. It rather looks as though tho copyist of Aapoieon succeeded, lor to-day a news speaks oiniuousiy of " tho failure of the enveloping plan a week ago." When a strategic puu miscarries there is always a hum, for a scapegoat. In this case tho appointed scapegoat is Remieukampf. Hid Cossacks had over a week to travorso 80 miles in order to fall on tho rear of Von Francois, and, as ltemieiikampf is a cavalry man himself, ho should havo had a good idea what to do and when to do it. When tho picture is so dim it is idle to rush in eager-mouthed assigning praise or blame. Probably, however, the Russian Government Jiave not forgiven Rennenkampf for being outmanujuvrod, enveloped, and badly defeated in the battle of Allenstein at the beginning of the war. This was a battle regarding which the Censor applied tho usual closure, but the Home papers have much to say about it. As, far as to-day's news goes tho Russian plan of envelopment, having partially failed on the northern side, is being pushed in on Von Francois again. There is mention of a movement " south of Plock," on the German left flank. This ia the movement which Rennenkampf should have carried out. it is apparently being taken up by new troops. THOSE ARCHANGEL RUSSIANS. The transit of Russians through England was recently denied by Mr H. J. Tennant (Under-Secretary of War), and his word must bo taken as final. But it seems that tho belief was deep-rooted in England. A correspondent tends me the following: A story of the Russians' arrival on French soil is given to a Cardiff evening paper by Mr W. H. Champion, a well-known Welsh engineer, who, it Is stated, travelled from Archangel to Leith with 2,500 Oossackti. " The contingent of 2.500 'were," savs Mr Champion, "the last of a batch of 70,000 Cossacks who were despatched from Archangel ; and, as a matter of fact, tho train by which I travelled from Leith was the' 193 rd which had passed through York filled with Russians. The Russians were delighted at the prospect. It is true that they were ordered to travel with the blinds down, but this condition did not prevent the Russians from pulling up the blinds in order to have a peep at England, a country for whose people they expressed the greatest Admiration. It was the adhesion of England to the Triple Entente which gave the greatest satisfaction. The Russians did not know in the least whero

they were going to land on the Continent* of Europe. Even the superior officers were, 1 believe, ignorant of their exact destination. They were quite content to leave that to England. All they knew or cared was that they were to have an opportunity of fighting with the British and the French, and this ac- < omits for the enthusiasm with which

liny resprmdod to the call." Mr Champion, it is stated, took photographs of many of the Cossacks, which are now in \\\a "posficaion of tito 'Cardiff Evening F.K\:r<-ss,' hut .it is not Intondcd to publish tr.-m until they have been released by the Censor. But their existence absolutely authenticates Mr Champion's interesting ft cry. THE BAIT TO ITALY.

Everyone talks of the chance of Italy jr.iuiii/iii. To-day v,e see the 'Deutsche 'Pa-nes Ziifung' out fishing with the Tunis Inn. The reader need not be deceived. If Italv comes in she will only c.r.mc in under heavy dipolmatic by tiic .Allies. Tliat pressure may be ultimately exerted, for Italy is onn of three gates through which the stream of food and munitions passes on to Germany from the United states a r,d South America. Italy naturally wishes to stay where the is, for the golden stream of money is {Hissing in though. her eitie.-, and she is poor. The Tunis bait is a poor thing to catch an alert Utile- fish with. If Italy stirs in favor of Germany she loses Trijioli for sure. and sh» knows that. If the antipathy of the Italia.ii and Austrian merchants were not . c o deep it would be a sure forecast to say that Italy will remain a neutral till iho end of the war. Thai consideration, and the diplomatic pressure which will be exerted from London and Paris in ail sorts of secret way 3, leave the Ultimata altitude of Italy less sure.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141204.2.54

Bibliographic details

DE WET., Issue 15667, 4 December 1914

Word Count
2,180

DE WET. Issue 15667, 4 December 1914

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