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THE CANOPUS., Issue 15670, 8 December 1914
IS HER LOSS CONCEALED? JUNKERS REIGN. SOME NOTES ON WEIRD NEWS. [By A. Spexce.] Have -we lost the battleship Canopus? The American and German papers have Wen full of some concealed naval loss which took place a month ago. What was that loss? If the London 'Times' has taken the matter up, something must have happened. ' The Tiroes' mentions "a piece of news that the whole world outside Great Britain was acquainted with. . . . The Government have placed the Press of this country in an exceedingly difficult position. We fear that the Government have ceased to understand how to keep in touch with the British public." Now, the battleship Canopus, 17 year* old, is nothing to us except that she bore the names oj 750 officers, bluejackets, and marines on her books. What is everything to us is that the Admiralty should not ape the suppressions of the military Caesars. These suppressions do no good to the nation, though they may serve to keep some m.litary idol from tumbling oil' hie perch now and then.
AiJ that we know o] the Canopus is that she was 15,000 yank t*\vay when the battle of November 1 begun ucivr<xn Couut Von Spec .-md Admiiai Cradock. The Good Hope was rvduood to m.ns by the fourth Geimaii salvo, and no wonder, for the SchauiJiiiriit is one of tJi-e best gunnciy ships in the world. Between 7 p.m. and C.30 p.m. on that wJd evening the Glasgow saw 75 flushes in the dark, indicating, a.s they thought, the final attack on the. Monmouth. Jt may liavo been the beg.lining of the- attack on the Canopus, for if tli-j battleship cuuld not catch up on the fight it is obvious that she could not run away, if the Germans chose to look for hor. Neither cculd slk- successfully fight the Schamhorst and Gneieenau. for there, would d-.livji' 36 heavy shots per minute on the beam, while tlie Canopus could only return four. In armor, too, the Germans would have the advantage. The Canopus had a protection of 6in Harveyr.ickel sted. Tlv Sch■ rnhorsb and her eister have ako a 6in belt, but it is a belt of " Krupp cemented." Hew ng a rough line through the story of the battle, it is safe to assert that the result of the fight would have beer, all the same even if the Canopus had been able to come into line of battle astern of the Good Hope. A CHARGE NEVER REFUTED. Gerrymandering with the people's news cuts ever so many ways. It is not without its influence on the price of the people's food, to say nothing of its effect on the national spirit. Jt has been admitted by the British Government that this power, now in the hands of the military, is capable of " serious abuse." A military Cajsarism, armed with such terrible machinery, ought at least to be above suspicion, but is it? Here is one cable ancient and eloquent : London, October 27. The Censor has been charged by the London correspondent of the Xw York ' Kvenin K Post ' [a reputable- journal] with seeking t<i conceal German successes, and with blackening the. German character to win American opinion. The Press Bureau [where the military despot reigns] has promised a full investigation. It is 42 days since that important investigation was promised, but, so far, no word. The German successes do not interest us much, whatever they may havo been, but this dust which is for ever thrown in the eyes of the public does. FOUR FUNNELS ASHORE. .Santiago do Chile sends the news that there is a four-funnelled warship piled up on the beach on "the Californian coast." The weather prevents work by the. lifesavers. Funnels are the first point in identification of warships, and unless they have a,'! rigged dummy funnels, as the Emden did. it is hard to'say yet what war steamer (if any) has come* ashore. The Seharnhorst and" the Gneisenau have four funnels, the Dresden three, the Nurnburg three, and the Leipzig three. JOTTINGS ON MID-POLAND. We are told that five Russian army corps are impinging on Kalisz. This town is the heart of the Polish salient. It looks like one for the marines. The message adds that the Russian commanders are glad to fight at a distance from the frontier, where the strategic railways greatly assist. They might have added also that a. salient is* an awkward place to mano.-uvre in. esj>ecially when every operation is a mud inarch.
The Russian soldiers are delighted at the frequent opportunities to use the bayonet. True, no doubt. Their great general—the lati! Dragomiroff—reverses Napoleon's aphorism by stating : " The bullet's a. fool; the bayonet's a hero." Tho Russian carries no bayonet scabbard, and is. perhaps, the one dull, unimaginative man on earth who glories in the bayonet. In the case of other armies a bayonet charge never lasts more than a minute or two, once it becomes a case of close quarters. Either one side or the other gives way at once.
Siberians marched 60 miles to reach the country dominating Lodz. It is to be regretted that the cable man (or the Censor) did not think it worth while to state tho time in which this inarch was carried out. The Russian soldiers' hoots are the worst in the world, and his packs the heaviest.
I'he Siberian counter-offensive hurled the Germans from the heights, and Lodz has been bombarded for several days, it looks as if one detachment from Kennenkampf got up in time, though the rest were late. The popular opinion about the Siberian troops is that they are the best, in tho Russian army; but war is a great leveller, and the elite troops to-day are apt to be nowheie to-morrow. The whole of the Prussian Guard could not have been smashed on the usual cable scale at Ypres on November 11, for they have since been reported repeatedly in Mid-Poland. Tho Ist and 4th Brigades encountered Sir Douglas Haig, leaving at least eight other brigades to be accounted for.
It is stated that the Germans now hold a triangle in Mid-Poland, of which Lowicz is the apex and Thoni-Kalisz the base. The reference is only to the central battle, but, if it is true. Von Mackensen could not have been so badly mauled as we were invited to believe. Last estimate of German losses ("killed by cable") was 4,277,000. Since then the killing by cable brings tho figure nearly up to five millions. Germans bombarded a madhouse near Lodz, and scores of lunatics jumped from the windows. Many were burned to death. Yes! What next?
Eye-witnesses say that they have never seen such wrack as the trail of Von Mackensen fighting north via Strykow. As this war happens to be Armageddon, it w;ould be interesting to know on what previous experience they base the tail statement that they have " never seen such sights before." "
The eye-witnesses also assert that the Germans " carefully conceal their losses." As everyone knows now, we publish ours every day! War, being a reversion to savagery, truth perishes as well as men. The question is how long the democracy will stand it. STRAIN ON THE NAVY.
Heavy gale 3 and bitter weather are inflicting hardships on the Navy. That is the cable account. Since the woodwork has been cut out of the ships, sleeping ou cold metal pan ba no joke, and tWo
are also hints that " only superb seamanship prevented losses." This may mean losses by submarine attack. It is pleasant to be able to mention that private news received from the fleet is to the effect that the old system of port and starboard watches has been broken up, and there are so many watches now that every bluejacket and marine gets one clear . day off in three. The gun-laying practice —screwing in 12 pounders into tho big cannon on the sub-calibre system —is a daily affair. Judging from tho annual layers' returns the German gunnery was rather better than the British when the war began, but the daily sub-calibre practice has doubtless remedied that long ag °' GREAT MAN RESUMES.
It is equally pleasant to notice that Rudyard Kipling has taken up his mighty pen once more. In his struggling days in India the jumped-up officer did not like him, and tne uncrowned Laureate of tho British Army was often referred to as " That Gad!" He pocketed the cheap insult of the junker without remark, and wrote on singing his grand saga to the British Army: Now all you recruities wot's listed to-day Just shut up your rag-box and 'ark to my lay, And I'll sing you a soldier as far as I may— A soldier wot's fit for a soldier.
To-day the great man is back with the same saga, only in prose. Everyone in England, ho says, is passionately desirous to learn. They are everywhere surmounting the trouble of learning by good will, numor, and co-operation.
THE CANOPUS., Issue 15670, 8 December 1914
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