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UNTER WASSEN., Issue 15672, 10 December 1914
END OF THE SCHARNHORST.
* OUR OCEAN SWEEPS.
THE CLIMAX OFF THE HORN.
[By A. SpenCe.]
Great news! Scharnhorst and Gne.isenau aro done. The ocean sweeps which began to take effect on October 9 have brought about a splendid consummation. The details will be awaited with breathless interest, for the Scharnhorst as a fighting ship was no joke.
a fighting ship. Something very splendid must have matched her, and overcome her gunnery. Was it H.M.A.S. Australia? She and others? No, the cable says it was ViceAdmiral Sir F. C. Doveton'Sturdee, who hoisted his flag almost exactly a year ago. All that wo can see at present is that the Scharnhorst and others ware brought to their doom near the Falkland Islands, indicating that they were then waiting for our Cape Horn trade. In a duel with the Scharnhorst and the Gneisenau every shot would be " aimed by the Fiend," as the Gorman legend has it, for the Scharnhorst, with her back and frame strainod after being on the mud some years ago, is not a very good steamer. The British seem to have got her in the same plight as she had the Good Hope on November 1. Both fight and flight were out of the question. Among those who scrged in on the " Extras " to-day wore a few 20-year-olds, who expressed the fervent hope that every inan-jack German had been drowned, and not a soul saved. It is typical of the savagery of youth—especially in Dunedin —but it would not present itself that way to the winners. As soon as the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and Leipsic took the last list all boats would be lowered away from the British ships to save life. Whatever overthrew these German ships must have ben soemething extra special, and their end, after only 98 days, is a mighty tribute to Mr Winston 'Churchi ill. Ho was badly slapped in the fate by the result of the action of November 1, but whether wo lost the battleship Canopus, or merely the armed merchantman Otranto, ceases to matter. We have got our own back—and more. What a worthy descendant of the. original Duke of Marlborough our First Lord of the Admiralty is! You may slap him in the face once, but not twice! Wide as the ocean is to the* raider, he has laid Count Von Spec low after no greater interval than 128 days. The modern Alabama seems to have a short reign while he directs. SHIPS SUNK. Scharnhorst, 11,600 tons; age seven years; built by Bl.ihm and Voss at Hamburg; eight B.2ii: 40-calibr© guns; six 6in guns; crew, 650. Gneisenau, built in the Weser yards, otherwise identical with tho Scharnhorst. Leipzig. 3.250 tons; eight years old; built in the Weser yards'; 10 4.lin guns ; crew, 9,86. The Dresden and Nurnbcrg seem tc have got out of tbi battle much as the Olasgow got out of the engagement, of November 1. It ceases to matter where they aro, for the only two /ightii'ig ships have pone, and the risk of ocean sweeps is relaxed. Tlwro is no further need to keep clusters <jf armored _ ships together. The sweep can ,co as it pleases. The end of these- ocean raids ie now only a matter of time. EVEN~NAMES LOCK. Being a holiday, and this issue of the 'Evening Star* a holiday paper, allusion to the funny arm of coincidence is permissible, even though the main theme is so drab a .-mbject as war. For fom« days people have been talking over the. following : J OF F R E FRE N C H It, is something like an acrostic. In the days of Rome it would have been re-carded as an augury. Spell it from loft to ricrht and then from top to bottom. The union of names is a happy thing if one looks back at the union of generalship. When Sir John French began his perilous dctadimrnts from the Aisne in ''the rare for (he sea," he evidently knew his Joifro. And J off re knew hie French. And now. as one notices, even their names lock in friendship. FIRTH OF FORTH. The closing of the Firth of Forth leads back from the gay to the giave. Edinbirsh mon who have stood on th« piers at Loith .*>nd Granton and looked out into the him; Firth, and watched the brigs and steamers coming in, will understand what this means to many toilers of the se.i. The step would not have been taken without grave roa.son. Preceding it came th-* ncwe that as from to-day (December 10) the Admiralty Te:-erves the ripht of changing or extinguishing the navigation light-, and shifting or removing buoys and other marks in the wet track up Channel which I«.ds to London. Submarines, perhaps; perhaps, also, the harmless-looking neutral with the mine 3 : perhaps, teo. the dangerous man whose window winks out intelligence to the enemy night after night, and who, if he could bo caught, would certainly be stood against tho nearest wali. Perhaps, indeed, it may be a combination of all these risks, with n. few more thrown in to make good measure.
Whatever it may mean, it can only have one reference, and that reference is to thi : safety of the Grand Fleet of Britain whi:h Sir John Jellicoc leads in the Iron Duk". The KnglUh papers, very properly, refrain from making reference to the location of the iieet, though it must now be known to nearly every editor and reporter in th>.United Kingdom. The American Press, however, gamble on the matter almost daily, and the latest thcoiy is that it " must bo .anchored on the Dogsjcr Bank." Hal and also Ho! In blue water strategy we may he .sure (hat Sir John Jellicoo and Sir C." E. Madden have managed something a good deal better than that. INDIANS AND THE CROSS. Baluchis, Sikhs, Gurkhas, and Pathans have been mentioned frequently, and three Indiai.* —including ono Baluchi—have received the Cross. Iho wild accounts of midnight encounters on the outpost lines where Indians bring in 30 sentries bound and gagged, or the mail bags, or catch bayonets in the left baud while they stab with the right, arc amusing, if m.t ver\ convincing. But even if they do not actually do these things, the Indian Army has an interest all its own, ana perhaps the Afridi may be mentioned soon, for ho is the most picturesque person in tbat motley army. An.American —Arthur Ollivant —describes an Afridi squadron in a cuvalry regiment which he saw just before the war began. "-Not a man in that squadron," lie says, " is a subject of tho British Kmpire. Ho is from the hills beyond our border, where the blood feud reigns supreme instead of the Pax Britannica." Sometimes a trooper of that squadron comes to his officer and asks for leave. Why does he want leave? He'has urgent private atfairs at home to see to.
Yes, he may have leave. May he take bis rifle? No; he may not take his rifle. Urgent private affairs ajo best settled without rifles. " That is not our way m our country, Huzzoor." " That is our way, Mizra Khan, and ours is the better way. For, il your private affairs are settled you you might not return—nor your rine." " True, Huzzoor." He goes away and return* in time—or not. He has killed his man or been killed by him; but the faithfulness of these wild men of the border is almost pathetically touching.
LA MORT. Some of the small cables tell ninch. There was ono yesterday describing how French general rode to death. The Staff had assigned him an impossible advance, and he had a choice between blind obedience and wilful disobedience. The playful cable man says that he "chose a middle course." Middle or extreme? He certainly took the step of offering up his all—his life. In the endless friction between the Staff and the line officers, this French general was desperate. He saw "La mort,'" and, under the circumstances, death was iiis friend.
The same thing happened in the British army at Paardeburg. The divisional commanders were fighting like Kilkenny cats. Kelly-Kenny wanted one thing, some other division commander another. Kitchener, as Chief of Staff, desired that the lines at Paardeburg should be stormed at once, no matter how many lives it cost. Unfortunately the direction of the Chief of Staff does not amuunt to an order unless it is expressly endorsed by the Com-mander-in-Chief. "Lord Roberts was then laid up with illness at Jacobedal. The divisional commanders, disregarding Kitchener to some extent, played on at the game of Kilkenny cats. But, here and there, some urgence from Kitchener fell on this brigadier or that. Ono of them grew tired. He sent away his Staff, disregarded the urgent direction to press in his command, mounted his horse, and charged in. Ho fell inside the Boer lines, and his suicide—for it was the suicide of a resolute man tired of staffs and chiefs of staffs and ambitious divisional generals—cast a gloom over the army that night. Thoso who wish to look further into the story will Jiud it all strongly written in the London 'TimesV 'History of the Boer War.' LODZ AND LIES. Officers who have sat down to a tactical problem before n map 3ft by Ift, with its general and special ideas, probably never %:c\ved such a tangle as to-day's news about Lodz. It is not a military study, hut a 'guessing competition. You have to find the iniseing word which the Censor has cut out. The 'Daily Chronicle'*' Petrograd correspondent labors on manfully to state: 1. When the disaster happened to Maekenscn south of Lodz he began to bombard it from the west. 2. Two of Mackensens corps fought to pet out throueh Breziny. The Russians shelled this place for nine hours. 3. The fighting of December 1, 2, and 3 war. die climax of the German attempt to capture Lodz. 4. The Russian artillery was unable to locate [some or other], until an aeroplane on December 3 reported the approximate position. 5. During the night of December o 700 guns could be heard at Warsaw, 60 miles distant. Putting thi3 together, it amounts to about a. quarter of an acre of Pelichet Bay inud. The further you step out on it the deeper you sink. Still, then is no need to step on it at all, for the side which begins to make excuses or give reasons mav be regardxi as the side which, for the moment, has lieen beaten. These excuses and reasons are plentiful: retrournd, December 9.—The Germans have been thrown hack from Lowicz and arc now threatening Lodz and Petrokow, hoping to save East Prussia, and hamper Russian operations at Cracow bv obliging the Grand Duke Nicholas to pour in more forces between the Vistula and the Warta. [There is a good deal in thie-. If Cracow is invested the Polish salient ends. The German aim is therefore to compel the Russian commander to make, detachments towards Lodz.]
Pctrogracl, December 9.—The latest , German attack from Kalisz has spent itself. Thus far the Grand Duke Nicholas has not licen obliged to relax his attack upon Cracow, though a new Austro-German counter-attack i<= developing. [A mixture of truth and falsehood, evidently designed to prepare the public for developments on the CzenztocnowaCracow front.] Amsterdam, December 8. —Tlie Kaiser, supposed now to be on the Polish front, is suffering from catarrh. [Correspondent's pure invention. The number of cable catastrophes which have struck the Kaiser since the war began ehould have laid him low in the family tomb atCharlottenberg long before this.] Amsterdam, December 9.—A Berlin official message says that the Germans and south-east of Lodz are pursuing the rapidly-retreatl-vg Russians. [lt is a conflict of lies, of coursc,_but this Berlin account looks real, if considered in relation to the general balance of cables.] Hi;:h Commissioner, December B.—lhi Russian official messages neither contradict nor confirm the German capture of l.(xlz. They state that the defence of Lodz is no longer an urgent necessity. as holding it has tmbanatscd the Hussions, who have withdrawn to revise their offensive. Good, cauiious Thomas Mackenzie! When an army withdraws to '*revise its offensive" it is well beaten for the turns being. CORRESPONDENTS. F. 0. Bridgeman.—The letter is couched in h'.ss bellicose ti-nns than of yore, %ind the sketch forvvardt-d would be interesting if it were up to date. Jt doe* not. however, inquire- the wisdom of Solomon to pprojivu that the Army .Service Corps must, approach tho firing Jino frequently, as, otherwise, the; troops would starv<v. "W.S.S,"—The possibilities of invasion of Britain oouid only be exhausted in column?- It was practicable by Germany be-fore the war, but much lees practicable now. Lord Charles Beresf.ird covered this point in a recent speech.
UNTER WASSEN., Issue 15672, 10 December 1914
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