Article image
Article image
Article image
This article displays in one automatically-generated column. View the full page to see article in its original form.

IN AN ARMORED TRAIN.

Writing from the North of Franca on October 16, the ' Daily News' special correspondent (Mr Geoffrey Young) said : It is imposßible to attempt to give an* idea of the battle now in progress without using big, unmeaning words. Back and fro, back and fro, it rages along the Yser> with a destruction of life that can only be described as frightful. Air engines, sea engines, land engines of death sweep this desolate country vertically, horizontally, transversely, with every form of annihilating mechanical fire. And through it the little human engines crawl and dig, and walk and run, skirmishing, charging, blundering, in little individual fights and tussles, tired, puzzled, ordered here, ordered there, sleeping where the? can, washing never, dying unnoticed. I passed outside one town which has been twice occupied by Germans, twice by French, and once by Belgians. Impossible to say from hour to hour who may be there. Friend may find himself firing ou friendly force, and few be to blame. Thursday the Germans were driven back over the Yser. Friday they secured n footing again on our bank: Saturday they were again hurled back. Now a bridge is blown up by one side, repaired bv either, again blown up by the other, or left as a death trap till the enemy's force are actually crossing. —The Armored Train.— Can you picture the conditions as I know them? A slow crawl up in aa armored train, one of tho reckless ventures lent to the allied army before us* Day after day it is accumulating an unj written record for individual feat* of daring, feats which are accepted as part of the work, and can never be known, that might fill a. volume. As a matter of couree. day after day our men push out on these dangerous explorations, attacked hy shell, in danger of cross fire, in danger of dynamite, of ambuscade, bringing priceless "support to the threatened lines. As it approaches the river, under shell fire, the ea# is cracking with the constant thunder of our guns on board—right, left, ahead. It is amazing the angle through whloh th« guns can be swung, north and south, in view of {he frail support thatr tho hogey cars can maintain against the recoil in any direction but straight ahead. Over* head passes the continual shriek andwhina of shell and projectile from the enemy j from our own flank—cross firing, from out own chips raking the country diagonally above our head. Every now and then the whirl and moan of the rival aeroplanes. Almost disregarded now in the general presence of peril. At Antwerp single soldiers, our men, used to go out stalking them like game, and with success. Now we must leave them to'the artillery. —Looping the Loop.— The nerve of those airmen! Through the heart of the hail of iron, the green fog-puffs of exploding shells, to get one small fact of information! Wc used to look upon "loop the loop" o'f the Germans overhead as a hare-brained piece of impudent defiance to our infantry fire. New we know that double loop has its own tell-tale significance, and means early trouble for infantry. Beside us, as wa crawl up, snuffing the line with our guns like dogs on a scent, the grim trainloads of wounded wait soundlessly in sidings, Further up the lines of ambulances ar« running slowly back. The bullets o: machine guns begin to rattle on our armor coat. Like dogs ou a hot scent the guns lift their noses and bay; we are racing at view. Now and Again there is a shout from a mitrailleuse car roaring through the lanes. The stormy petrels of this war, led by their dauntless chief, tho " bravest of the brave," they have been known to rush in ahead, alone, upon a whole battalion of Germans and iweep them from wood or ambuscade. Not only once, has a single cor swept past' in front of a large body of our finest troops, and saved them, by furious pace and deadly fire, from being cut off and destroyed by a larger German force in ambush. Shells we learn to disregard. Bub the- machine gun is master of this wan

—The River Duel.— Xow we are near the river : a fiat ooiin* try, a farm or two, and factory phimneys j a "slisrht fall of land, with a rise to the riverr Tha territory is scarred and mazed with trenches. Impossible to say at first who is in them, or who occupies any of the homesteads near; so accidental and separate are tho fortunes of this riverbank tattle. The Germans aro over on our bank, enfilading lines of our Allied trench?.*). Steadily we creep _ up. Tha noise and turmoil of explosion is inextricably minted. No timo to distinguish between the death follies round us and the death we despatch. Perhaps our fire has turned tho scale. Tho Germans dip into siffhfc out of tho trenches; crush to th? ha nit, and are smashed by pursuing hail of iron. Our Allies are after them with n. ficrco bayonet charce. They never wait for it. On to tho bridge, ana now, swept away by the deadliest destroyer of all, th* protected machine guns, bubbling demoniacally from the entrenchments. Tea minutes, half an hour, qf furious firo end counter-fire from either bank; and come* a deafening thunder. The bridge is blown up—ihy us? by the enemy? by projectile or dynamite? Who can say? Vapor, smoke, -and fragments tear th<* sunlit dry, and precede an instant's interruption and startling silence in tha lone- monotony of thudding- sound. The* it begins again. Only a. narrow riveT bstween. On thi* side our raised bank-and trench, on that side theirs. A head raised, a hand exposed for an and a, man sinks forward or slips down. Quick aa they fall they are dragged back till the pile wa'itimr for th« stretchers seems inconceivable. Other* corns- up the line and take their placet in this nerve-shattering- sound ana presence of death it seems almost as inconceivable that rr-fln can be found to do it. But- there is never a pause . We are told wo are winning here. The enemy i« beyond the river; -we hear later thai- he if back foar miles. Four miles 1 . Bug out of the sentient vitality of human bodies, of civilised brains. Our job here is done. The ships have swept the coast line of the enemy's supports. He dare not venture in force even near Ostend. The French have ■pushed him back on our right and left. We hear that, our own distant army is holdinpr well on the advance. More quickly tho train reins back—for some new venter*. The silence is almost painful at first. **A brisk day; not bad; got a lot of thtxn, Thanke, no; a teetotaller," is all the businesslike commander remarks as he shake* hl» ?puch/ ooaU

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141217.2.43

Bibliographic details

IN AN ARMORED TRAIN., Issue 15678, 17 December 1914

Word Count
1,153

IN AN ARMORED TRAIN. Issue 15678, 17 December 1914

  1. New formats

    Papers Past now contains more than just newspapers. Use these links to navigate to other kinds of materials.

  2. Hierarchy

    These links will always show you how deep you are in the collection. Click them to get a broader view of the items you're currently viewing.

  3. Search

    Enter names, places, or other keywords that you're curious about here. We'll look for them in the fulltext of millions of articles.

  4. Search

    Browsed to an interesting page? Click here to search within the item you're currently viewing, or start a new search.

  5. Search facets

    Use these buttons to limit your searches to particular dates, titles, and more.

  6. View selection

    Switch between images of the original document and text transcriptions and outlines you can cut and paste.

  7. Tools

    Print, save, zoom in and more.

  8. Explore

    If you'd rather just browse through documents, click here to find titles and issues from particular dates and geographic regions.

  9. Need more help?

    The "Help" link will show you different tips for each page on the site, so click here often as you explore the site.

Working