INTERVIEWER AND ADMIRAL.
DURATION OF WAR.
THE FOUR ARMIES AT HOME,
GERMAN SEA SORTIE.
THE MAIN NAVAL CHANCES.
[By A. Spekce.]
The snare of the interviewer was spread for 'Admiral Von Tirpitz, and ho told his country’s plans. Imagine that interview; Interviewer: “Here is my card. Admiral. You doubtless know all about me without the formality of a card, however. I represent a semi-official agency with world-wide influence. What 1 have said all along is that the duration of the war depends on England. Not that I mean to bolster up England—it is, os you know, an iniquitous country—but Von Tirpitz (with a gesture of impatience and a significant glance at the door-watcher who let the intruder in) i “ Ja! Ja t” Interviewer : “ One moment, Admiral I I know that your time is precious— —>’ Admiral (growing realistic): “Ja!” Interviewer; “You misunderstand me altogether, Admiral. I say that with your fleet, which is only one-third of tho English, you cannot afford to come out at present and allow the English to deliver their blow. Submarines in the Channel is the game, don’t you think! Better than Zeppelins, eh?” .Admiral (realising that the wrong sort of message is going out to an expectant world): “ Oh, yes, you may say that. You may say that I said so, if you please. But lam very busy this morning. Von (summoning his secretary and turning his back on the interviewer), bring me the list of to-day’s states at sea—present and future states.
I mean.” The interviewer leaves. The Admiral smiles . a little, and murmurs softly “ Deutschland über alles.”
The naval correspondent of the London * Times ’ employs his time better than taking notice of anything that Von Tirpitz may say.' The British Admiralty, he states, is hoping that tho German fleet may come out and fight; hence it has not taken any measures yet to shut the German ports. “When the Germans do come out, we may bo sure that we are approaching tho culminating episode of the war.”
It will be more than the culmination. It will be a stage within a stone’s throw of the finish. Four Russian Dreadnoughts, products of the Neva yards, should now be ready to hoist the flag, even allowing for the notoriously slow rate of Russian construction. Therefore, if the German High fleet is going to sea it must come very soon or very late. The problem is simple, but serious. The British Fleet steadily declines to cruise to sea, and there is, therefore, no feasible surprise by any mode of attack—surface attack or under water. Unless the element of surprise can bo introduced, tho smaller fleet, which is the German fleet, must fail in battle in the North Sea. If it fails, it leaves the Baltic sea-road to Berlin open. The girdle of fortresses facing Russia ceases to matter, for, with the German fleet settled, tho waterway to the gates of Berlin gapes wide for tho Russian forces. In the world’s history of naval war there never was such a nice balance of chances.
So analysis .seems to sort the position out to this : If Gei-many cannot go to sea very *ron she will be*tied up to the Baltic problem. One aim of the raids on the English coast is to draw some British Dreadnoughts to sea and destroy them by mines or other means. But as the British Dreadnoughts have been commendablv slow to walk into that trap, the problem lacing Von Tirpitz is still as grave as it was. That is why the Admiralty took special pains to assure the nation, after the raid of December 16, that “ under no circumstances must the present line of naval policy be interfered with.” ‘I SPY I.” “I spy I,” the pleasant little game of childhood, is being vigilantly watched at Homo, it eoems. They have been rounding up Germans at West, Hartlepool, and doubtless elsewhere. Without, some aid fioni I spy I” agencies the bombardment e,f December 16 could hardly have Lee ll possible. The trial of Carl Lodv, now given us in extended reports in the English flies, indicate., the dancer. Lody stopped with an Edinburgh landlady, telling her that he was travelling on holiday to “see tho fights,” as undoubtedly he was. Ho found the scenery of the Firth of Forth particularl.!' charming, .i£fl the naval base at Ros’vth (where most of the Dreadnoughts may be) even more entrancing than tho Mno lulls of Fife, towards which many an Edinburgh man has looked from the piers of Leith. Lody went back to London full of firsthand hows, hut apparently did not reckon with the intelligence of the London Post Office. They opened the big letter written bv him and”addressed to a confederate in Stockholm. Inside the extensive envelope war. an enclosure addressed to Karl J 'inum-r. Courbierreetrasse, 'Berlin. The n-oc-cdiims at the trial do not disclose what rim' 5 letter to Herr Stammer said, but Herr Stammer, at all events, etill knows as little as wo dm After the execution ol Lody a,_ the Tower <-f London the system of confidential reports by written communication to Dm bmi'D o f ibe Nacbricbten Bureau has no' doubt ceased. The most dangerous wavs at present seem to be passage by sDamer from Harwich to Hook of Holland au;l the use. of tho telegraph. ARMIES FORMING AT HOME.
just, one liny messa.Ro has ever told us anvthin.g about, our Second Army. On December 7 we learned that m the previous 124 days the Navy had convoyed f) vc T * 2,000 transports over the Channel, q'hoso would be largely laden with stores. Sir John French had his sea base onginally at Havre, but after the great left v.’liecl bv the. German armies at the end of August he had to move it south to 6t. Naza:re, on the Bay of Biscay. It is doubtless now at Calais and Boulogne. Wo still know nothing of the Second Army, and it is oven possible that tho London Scottish, whose presence in action has been reported, have been attached to the First Army. It is a topical subject at present when the duration of tho war is being talked of. , Letters from Home say that tho east coast of Scotland ia an armed camp, and tho London ‘Times’ of November 5 states definitely that four eof arate arroie* were assembling id England at that time. Much of the training had been handed over to the supervision of Sir Ar-sWbiud Hunter. They were intended to be aitmos for a spring campaign, and are not ready vet. A syllabus for a six month*’ course of training had been laid down U' Army Order No. 383. For the first of supplementary armies individual Ruining was to extend from August 15 to November 15; company training from November 16 to December 23; battalion training from December 27 to January 14; training from January 15 to 31; divisional training from February 1 to 15. “The other armies,” says * The Times,’ “ will not bo far behind those dates, and should have completed work'by March 15.” This does not look much like an .early termination of the war unless disturbances begin in Berlin, and of those there is some mention to-day. Berlin bw displayed a revatetonuy «S*d«J*? WOta* than in
tho history ol PrusaWbut to an ordinary intelligent may of thinking it seems a premature announcement when the fibre ol the sober German nation .is considered. HE CONTRIVES. Multitudinous as grains of sand upon the eeaShoro at St. Clair are the amazing - etmies from Poland. Every correspondent has hi» red pages, bis purple patches, his great inferences, and lew of these men are tormented with less than a score of these, so stimulating have the operations been to the limitless fertility of invention of the man who writes. He serves up his daily amplification or subtraction as hot and regular as the morning coffee. If he is received in the car-de-luxa in which tho Russian General Staff dine at Warsaw, good and well. If not, still good and well. He contrives. ‘ Tho latest is that the Germans in frozen Poland have to strip coats before they charge. They receive rum and ether, and then, presumably, vanish into the “ewigkeit,” trailing fumes of alcohol. It is true, as “ Linesman ” puts it , that Wax is not on foot. She, in , her oar, is the spirit of speed, as well as daughter. But “Linesman” probably never conceived such a picture of the Godde*» of War as this ' one. She has lately added rum and ether and coatless men to her team, so that they shall move “like some celestial Jaegers with homed speed to her objective.” Tho story of the drunken, coatless men might be worthy of a thought if it Were not that tho London ‘Times’ chips in as follower—“ The backward move along the whole Russian front is due to strategical considerations, and is deliberately undertaken.”
No backward movement convinces. Why nob say that the shivering Germans, inflamed with drink if you like, are in Lowicz. That turns tho flank of the Gzen-stochowa-Oracow lino of battle in the south, and that, as far as w® can see, is tho truth. General Staffs axe not fond ot “ deliberate backward moves.” “EYE-WITNESS” IDENTIFIED. Identification of “ Eve-witness. ’ ’ —The recorder who is generally a month behind with his hews is Colonel Swinton. He was assistant secretary and librarian to the Committee of Imperial Defence before he went to France. One would not judge from his emasculated despatches that he is tho brilliant author of a book called ‘The Green Curve,’ but Ms despatched are not his fault. One of the Home papers states; —“As the semi-official ‘Eye-witness’ o; this campaign, he deserves a good deal a sympathy, for be occupies the tantalising position of seeing a great deal of what it going on, while being allowed to say verj little. Often he falls back in sheer despen ation upon ‘ good stories ’ and soldiers* jokes." Bo that Is how the public get their news! Good stories and soldiers Jokes!
MONSTERS UNMASKED. All that there is to he known about • the heavy German guns is nearly known now, except their weight. Soma English estimates put the weight of the 42-cen-timetre gun as high as 100 tons, which seems heavy, One well-informed authority places the shell fired by the gnu at 2,6651b (over a ton). Two of these guns were used at Liege, and 26 traction engines hauled each forward. At Namur 28-oentimetre guns were brought into action, the weight of the projectile being 7501b. Tire “minerfwa.” or trench mortar, of which one of the High Commissioner’s messages spoke under date November 12, fires a spherical shell of 1871b, with a dependable range of only 350 yards. The shell belches clouds of smoke on bursting, the idea being to create a veil which will shield the infantry in tho last stages of an assault. As far as can be gathered yet, Britain has not mads good her deficiency in heavy gun» by any special manufacture. The old expedient of using naval guns has apparently beei adopted. RICOCHETS. War time prices for Dunedin wool attracted a good deal of attention yesterday. The comment—especially by artisans and other dwellers in the cities—was mors direct than polite. The ‘Lokal Anzeiger* soys that “England is trembling more than ever at th< thought of invaadoq.’’ This is a most bellicose journal It is the chosen organ of the Junkers. It did more to bring on the present war than any other agency in Germany, More than medals are flying round the British army at present. The following is from the last issue of the ‘ Naval and Military Record*: —Royal Warwickshire Regiment: Lieutenant-colonel John F. Elkington is cashiered by sentence of a general court-martial. , Dated l4th September, 1914. Royal Dublin Fusiliers: Lieutenant-colonel Arthur E. Main waring is caaHored by sentence of a general court-martial Dated 14th September, 1914. „ t x General Von Heermgen, pays tribute to tho steadiness and quality of the British troops, but accuses them of the misuse of the Red Cross flag and also of the use of dum-dums. Recent flies of German and American papers indicate that both sides are now flinging the dum-dum charge about. Not one dum-dum bullet has perliaps been, fired 1a the if tiio ‘trulii. were known, but Britain, being the m- ' venter of the dum-dum, must face whatever story flies round the German campsNo jperjum* is quite bo crude as the imuPetrograd sails dong with a victory over the Turks near Lake Van. The Turks were defeated with heavy loss. Then the cable, in an unguarded moment, adds- “'Die Russians captured a mountain pun and ammunition.'; It reads like Poes etory of the raven—“ Only that and no- * Jibe™ arc sometimes levelled at the British soldier on tho score that he is a mercenary— meaning a paid professional soldier. An honest Gennans !«U«- hdps to wipe nway the slur to-day. He says that he is at least as good as 1m own couotxvman. and the astounding flexibility of tho' army in battle seems to have imf S John *Bull, with all his awkwardness, does do one thing betlcrthan another, he does it at Christmas. The pursy hand m open and the genial Streams of gifts are now flowing to the dug-outs in Belgium. the barn scene at, Dixmude may be another effort by “ Eye-witnet*. They had it wems. a vaudeville stage *iggea on ammunition boxes, wifh candles stuck in sockci.fi for footlights, tenlv the bugles called, and presumably hTUi»c. U their burned the door. II it h.d notboea for the allusion to the bugles the just ot •(fie store would have been passable. iWtian and French Governments intend placing on historical, buildings wrecked bv Germans the sentence: “Ro; stored in the vear of Germany srimme It is like the dum-dum charge. When the i . j' jJr.T- fills and the core business — —is over. Governments will not -it down to offer further deliberate affronts to each otl Tsanitiirv inspector in Liverpool discovered a, complete wirdeas plant in the Xmnc-v of a suburban villa. According tea recent issue of the ‘Manchester Guardian ’ a peaceful resident of East Ang-io, who’was tending a sick earner watched night and day by a Boy Scort, who reported him to the coastguard. Ho had some d'*sculty in clearing his charactc on a charge of “I spy I.” Italy seems to be making a move on tho dne and copper passing through her tenitorv and also on the foodstuffs. Some consigners were fined £1,700. This materialis coming from America. Judging by the revised lists of contraV nd now appearing in the Homo papers , ffdohter matters, the Declaration of London bar practically gone overboard. It*!’ appears to be spoiling _ for battle over til* Hodeida incident. Plainly it is a duel for war or no war between the wealthy Signor Saiandra and a people who »rv> much too poor to faoe the war,, except in its last stages.
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"UBER ALLES.", Evening Star, Issue 15684, 24 December 1914