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CHIEFLY NATAL, Issue 15676, 15 December 1914
DART INTO DARDANELLES. OLD SHIP SUNK. THE ALTAR OF MILITARISM. [By A. Spesce.] Our playful American friends have sunk the British super-Dieadnought Audacious. Otf the coast of Ireland, too! What would she bo doing there? The Psalmist said in his haste " All men are liars," and then repented. In the day of the PsaJmist America had not been thought of ; otherwise ho. might have stuck to hk statement. It is an audacious story indeed—an audacious sort of eighth-class lie. If H M.S. Audacious had really been sunk, and the Olympic's passengers saw her sink, does anyone believo that the. bona fides of the tiling could have been concealed? People sometimes wonder where our Grand Fleet is. The last American account had them " anchored on the Dogger Bank " Perhaps it will not he telling the enemy anything that they do not already know if it is stated that the capital ships must bo back on Kosyth, Cromarty, or Scapa Flow, or perhaps on all three. At the- time of the Agadir tension, one of our best fleets a seem bled at Scapa Flow. From any of these spots—they are bases impregnable- to the submarine—they can be rapidly called by wireless. 1 f they had been cruising continuously in the North iSea we should have lost more than one Dreadnought before this. The experience of the Scharnhorst, foul after four months' cruising, furnishes another link in the chain of o-.-riainty that the "big fellows" are not cruising to sea—at k-a-st not much. It' they were they would bo foul too, and a daily use of divers could not keep the hulls clean. Divers can do no more than scrape marine growths, and in doing so they would scrape away the paint. Thereafter, these marine growths would fasten morn rapidly. Wnen the German ships come out for tattle they will come out very clean. Mr Winston Churchill will see to it that our ships come out equally clean. To bring them out clean they must bo continually near their bases, and must repaint as often <-.« the logged spc-ed begins to fall away from the chief engineer's estimates in turns of revolutions of the screws. The call, when it comes, will be sudden, and no admiral would like to leave a Dreadnought behind, painting in dock. The emergency painting in tho Navy, however, ca-n be as sudden as the call to battle. The ship is floated in, and is at onto surrounded, by an army of painters on rafte. They paint arm to arm. The pumping of the dock proceeds, the water level sinks slowly, and the painters keep pace with it. When tli.i dock is dry the ship has been painted. All that remains is to tloat her out again. A HUNT NEARLY ENDED.
Speaking of foul hulls reminds one lhat there are only ;i few German cruisers to catch at sea now—Karlsruhe, Berlin, Bremen —and about two auxiliary chips, the Prinz Eitel being one. Of these, the Karlsruhe is the flier. She made 23 knots on her trials, but her plates must now be weedy and her boilers Jar from clean. Still, if she can only work up part of her nominal speed, it looks as if something of the Dreadnought cruiser type may be wanted to overhaul her, and, reading the action between Admiral Sturuce and Count Von Spee again, it does look as it avo had something of that class out in South American waters. Further evidence pointing that way is furnished by the la*t files of the London ' Times': Those ocean sweeps were one of the purposes for which the Invinciblcs were orignally built. These vessels, it was announced, were to be used in connection with a number of auxiliary merchantmen equipped with wireless. If clean, the Invincible can " whack up " something more than 25 knots, and the type of ship is something resembling I-I.M.S. New Zealand. It ie a better type to have off the Plate now than slow old pluggers. like the Canopus. The Karlsruhe may continue to inn for some time, but a period to her reign is now set. It seems a little one-sided to scud a lion out to catch a mouse, but it is all'fair in war. THE NURSTJEnC'S 'NO!" A feature of nil engagements at sea, so far, lifts been the disinclination to surrender. Tr. the days of the " woodem walls" c.-.pitulr.tion v. as common enough, but not now. Yesterday we "o;:d that the Number? vbs summo'icd bv the British, and with a defiant "No!" went down lighting. Surrender, either on land or sea, is an u,qlv topic. 'I he chief ms-tance of surrnn- ' da- at sea in modern titiK>s in that of At\- ! miral WoogatoiT on Mav 28, 1905. He ' banded ove- to Japan the. remains of the. ; Baltic fleet, but these remains included \hu . first class battle-shin Orel. Tried before a ! tv'lirial in Pctvo'.'vad. !m pointed out to the Court that the effective ranee of his "i:n- w.vs 54 cables, and Cic Japanese were ! fii'ii" at 56 cables: that if he tri >rl to -p----l]io:cb them clojcr thev r-tired further I a-iay ; that, havintr the call vn speed, thev I could do that ns thev ple.as-H : that hi- > five ships were surrmni''ed by 97 : that he ! did not mind sacrificing his own life, hut | ho had the lives of 2.000 men to consy'or under circumstances which were certainly : hopeless. ! I? ever r> surrender were justifiable that was one. and under Herniation 361 of ' be Rus/ian navy he was confirmed i.n doing what he did. But—lCirulation or no regulation—the Court him. War. being savagery, and nothing else, the Court put its boot on the regulations, and, acting quite illegally, sentenced Nebogatoff (a good man. by the way) to some disgraceful punishment. The lesson burnt itself home in every officers' ward room in Europe. That is probably why there are no surrenders now. HAVOC IN THE HELLESPONT. What will stop submarines? German or British submarine*? We have got " sonic of our own back" to-day by the feat of one of our submarines in the Hellespont. Her target, th-e 40-yrvir-oid Me=sudieli, was a small thing to * hit. Though dignified by the name of "battleship," she could fight a. modern light cruder. But that if, nothing. What matter--- i.s that ('-omnia'.der Norman Holbrook dived with his vessel under five rows of mines, in spite of stiff currents —nothing fogs up the commander of a submarine so much. a,s a ciirrtont—and achieved his purpo.-e. The Messudieh was guard-ship inside the minefield. Mines are usually anchored so as to be barely visible at low water, the distance of submergence being determined by the rise and fall of tides at the spot. The allusion to "five rows of mines" is not clear. If the five rows were held by .separate series of anchors the diving would be easy. The plunge that passed the first row would pass the fifth. But what if tho five rows were strung on the same cables vertically from sea surface to fea floor? If 81l 'got through that she did a famous thing. Mt renders aek sometimes why our fiubmarfnos cannot go to Wilhelmsnn.ven and the Kiel Canal and do something like that. It is a different proposition. The narrow throats of the floating basins at the' German ports are locked by explosive trellis-work of booms, and with these booms there can he no argument. Our submarines have done all that submarines can do. Only three hours after the declaration of war on August 4 British submarines snorted into the Jahde and looked in to see what the enemy were doing. They could not have done more. THE PLAINTIVE GUSHER. The Gibraltar message relating how the Chamber of Commerce banqueted Captain Glossop, of the Sydney, and how lha
crowd took his horses ont and dragged his- carriage to his quarters, must hav« formed scenes amusing to the captain. In a collateral way the London ' Times' on October 28 found it necessary to warn th» fublic against the curious gush about the ndian and his kukri : It is perhaps advisable to suggest that the Indians should not be made the subject of exaggerated panegyric, but should be treated exactly the same as the rest of His Majesty's troops. The Indian Army is an excellent army, but there is no 'need for lyrics just because the service of these troops in Europe is more or less a novelty, and because the races represented, their uniforms, and their customs appeal to tho emotions. la other words, we are now so thoroughly regretful of " Mafeking Day" that we want no more. But Gibraltar aeems to have been doing a little more gushIt is .t plaintive message. "WE PROGRESSED SLIGHTLY." How often have we read that " We progressed slightly" in the Woevre, or the Argonne, or south or west of Ypres, or somewhere else? A wag once told the writer that, if we progressed only a furlong a day, we should have been well over the Rhine by now. I have nevei thought that this class of news was newf to laugh at. It is, indeed, fine reading if one looks at it aright. General Joffre and General French feel the German front insistently, not exactly to bring about s decision, but to discover whether th< Germans have made detachments tc Poland. .So, when we " progress slightly " to-day that tells Headquarters a good deal, and Headquarters talks continually to the Grand Duke Nicholas over the wire. In his address to the Black Watch (cabled to-day) Sir John French put it just in the way that soldiers would understand : The Russians won a great victory foi you [meaning the battle of the Vistula]. You, in holding back the Germans, woe great victories, too [perhaps referring to November 11 at Ypres]. Had you not done this, tho Russians could not have achieved their successes. And that is the general clue to the way in which the cables should be read. I often have a good laugh at the military writers in the New Zealand, Australian, and London Press measuring up how much ground we gained or lost at Passchendaele, or Lowicz. or Altkirch, or Arras, or Soiesons. or some other spot. It means nothing in the sense of absolute victory, but much in its indication that the whole German front in Belgium and France is continuously felt. To be sure, they do not tell us when we lose Dixinude or some other village, but that point may pass at present. ""If the time comes when we happen to "progress slightly" over a lot of jjoints at once. Joffre and French may take it into their heads to order a general offensive. That time, however, is far off yet. BIG MEN BICKER. More about the bickering of big men, and Von Moltke's position, appears to-day. It seems that Von Falkenheyn has been Chief of the General Staff since Antwerp fell, and has discharged the separata duties which, in 1870, were carried out by the uncle of the deposed general and Von Boon. That is to say, Chief of th« Staff and Minister of War. Th« Antwerp siege plainly indicated a difference at German Headquarters, for it was divergent- to the main operation in France. The elder Moltke would never have listened to such a proposition as the sieg« of Antwerp, but would, on the contrary, have made every effort to restore the damage done to the German invasion in the battle of the Marne. It seems that the present Moltke originally proposed to concentrate on the Lorraine front, bul the Kaiser resisted that because the wedg« which Von Moltke desired to drive in on the Vcrdun-Toul line might be struck on the flank by the scattered British and French forces which were then far to the north. Either Gorman plan was good enough at the time, but too many cooks spoil" all broths, and two strategists are sufficient to spoil any plan. When the big men bicker the poor soldier lays down his life always on the bloody altar of militarism. It is better for the strategist to be hot on a bad line than hot and cold on a good one. MORE ABOUT THE CENSOR. The following dossier—damning or otherw-'.se —is from the London 'Times.' Ii relates to the Censor, and in fairnesi it may be added that the source is American : Mr Roy Martin, the assistant general manager of the Associated Press, stated yesterday [October 26] that _ that organisation has a record showing every change, made by the censors in every one of its thousands of despatches sines the censorship was established. An examination of the work of the censors for the first two months shows that the 500 newspapers comprising the membership of the Associated Press were permitted to receive much less news than was published in London papers, that they were forbidden to receive several statements issued by the Official Press Bureau in London, and that almost all official despatches from_ the German side were "thrown away" by the censors. Some of these official German statements were published in the London papers. In _ countless despatches there were evidences of political as well as military censorship; ov-en despatches referring to the work of American diplomatic representatives and American refugees were thrown av.-av bv the censors.
CHIEFLY NATAL, Issue 15676, 15 December 1914
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