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THE LONG, LONG ROAD.

ANALYSIS OF SIR DOUGLAS HAIG'S LAST BATTLETWO MILES IN A MONTH. THE SHELLING OF UNDEFENDED CITIES. [By A. Spekce.]

Passchcndaele-Moorslede is Sir Douglas Haig's Inst battle. It is neither moro complex nor Ices complex than his other battles, but it is very complex all the same. Still, with tho aid of the map, it is hoped that tho intelligent may be able to realise how it is that a successful general may fight skilfully and doggedly, and yet not make much mere than a mile of ground. There are other points of interest in the map. Zcebrugge, with its backwash of canal, in which the Germans are preparing submarines, atari appear.";. Jt will bo seen that thes:i craft ean lie as far away from- the sea as Bruges, and are therefore immune from bombardment from the sea, though not from the air. Zoniiebeke, Zillebeke, Klein Zillebeke, Moorslode, and Oheluvelt carry an interest of their own. for though the names look formidable, they have this element of grandeur : that each stands for tho pale, upturned faces of thousands of the best young men of all countries engaged. In this house-to-house and hedgc-to-hedgo wrestle Zonnebeke should be noticed lii'Ht, for it was here that the Aldershot Corps fought tho l«t and 4th Brigades of the Prussian Guard io a standstill. Roughly wo call it tho battle of Ypres, but Zonnebeko itself is seven miles away from the ancient town on the Ypeilec, and Passchendaele is only one mile further on the arterial road leading on through the plain to Bctdcrs. The conflict at Zonnebeke took place, about November 11, and to-day is December 19, so that after 58 days of warfare Sir Donglas Haig has progressed one mile, or maybe two: The complexity of these battle? in Belgium was very well put in a message

at Moorslede, but had actually been pushed back through Passchendaele. That was Stage No. 2. The British turn came in Stage Xo. 3. The roaring Germans, pushing through Passchendaele, were brought up by renewed fire from the all-important dominating, position at Gheluvelt, and thereupon "there was a general advance by the Allies, who also regained Moorslede." Truly a remarkable reversal of positions; but that did not end the matter. A modem battle is never ended. The Germans sought to bring about Stage No. 4 to attack on the flank via Langemarck and Bixschote. The map shows those positions. They wore on Sir Douglas Haig's left flank, and ihe cable puts the result very modestly: " Nowhere, however, did the Germans succeed." Recently wo heard that the swing of the German concentrations is towards Courtrai, so perhaps they are now trying the British right. Anyhow, both the manoeuvre and fighting seem to bo brisk. An analysis of a battle in thiswise is perhaps more a. study for an officer than tor an article of popular interest, but the \ general reader should not rind it hard to lollow. And what an extraordinary interest attaches to it, too! The whole area of operations could be covered with a saucer, yet on it 24,000 men fell. "An army," says "Linesman," "is a great machine for the production of death,' and war is the machinery in a state of motion. Death, normal and natural, not machine-made, has a. steady output quite sufficient for the ordinary demand; indeed, in excels of it, if one may judge by the wriggling and agitation of those at whose doorp the grim package is delivered. 'Death! death 1 Who sent it? I never ordered it I Oh, open it not in this house. And; you, good doctor, all my worldly goods are thine if thou wilt cast it forth. And ] you, reverend man of God, wait in a handy room until 1 call.'" Yes. citizens resent the frightful jolt it gives evt*n in peace, and "Linesman"

had further special information, or t&& -would not bare risked each ships a* th* following:— Ship. Siz«. Speed, Moltke 23,000 tons 27 Jaiot* Yon der Tann ... 19,000 tons 25 knot* Blucher .., ... 15,600 tons 24} knots Roon 9,050 tons 21 knot* That they could risk such large vessela and return to port unharmed was, of course, meant to be part of the general insult. By the vr&y, the Moltke is a sister of the Goeben, and ihe mention of the Von der Tann has at least this element of interest that it dissolves the ridiculous report from Buenos Ayres that Bhe won cruising in the South American peas. INTERESTING LETTER. In this connection a correspondent writes:—" About a month, ago an acquaintance of mine met a seafaring man in Dxmedin, who stated inter alia, that lie had. fieen the German cruiser Von der Tann in Bio Harbor on or about the middle of July, and lie did not think that she bad left South American waters at all. He was positive about seeing the cruiser named, and he was of opinion that she waa engaged in the naval action which ended so disastrously for the British squadron early in November. If you attach any importance to this theory 1 shall be pleased to introduce you to the man from whom I received the information. Permit me to add that I follow your notes in the ' Star' with the utmost appreciation, and I should value your opinion on tie followinjj proposition:—lf it bo correct that the Germans have conveyed submarines in pieces to points at or near- the coast of Flanders, dees that not indicate a greet difficnlty in getting out into the Noxwi Sea, due u\ British submarines nnd mines clcaeJy inventing the German North Sea ports? Further, if a submarine finds it & difficult matter to get out, how can a fleet of capital ships hope to pet thro-ujfh without sustaining serious loss?" This letter was received at the office oE the ' Evening Star' before the news «{ the bombardment on the English coast arrived Like many others (including th*> Admiralty) I am not sure where the Von der Tann was in July, but, if a mtneps is sure that ho saw her in Bio at that time, that in first-hand evidence. She would, however, have time to return to German v before war began. The other query —a.s to the difficulty of geitine out into the North Sea—is unfortunately answered by the result of the recent raid. Capital ships did, as it happened, get through, but even that does not dismiss the interesting question raised. When real battle comp* one sometimes wonders where the capital ships will find sea room to nraiKßuvn* This is a matter regarding which. Sir Joh-i •Jellicoe will know a good deal more than the Germans. Having the superior flo.: and the superior gun fire, Britain can ruak.* a first-hand inspection of the North 8?; i daily. Tho enemy must depend on nscond hand information. WARSAW AND VODKA. The Kaiser wants Warsaw, of courv\ This would be a "swap of queens" in exchange for Paris, which he did not £»•. Such a. hush has come over the Polar i cables lately that the inferenco to draw i.-tha-t the Germans are In Lewie?;, which i

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141219.2.62

Bibliographic details

THE LONG, LONG ROAD., Issue 15680, 19 December 1914

Word Count
1,188

THE LONG, LONG ROAD. Issue 15680, 19 December 1914

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