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"LIMPING FROM THE YSER"

A GRIM STORY. German " kuTlur," as represented by the Kaiser's army, is slowly but surely relaxing its deadly grip on the war-ravaged kingdom of Belgium. Tho German host that came and sat down by the sea at Nieuport and attempted to hack a road info Dunkirk has melted awav (says Me Donohoe, the ' Daily Chronicle ' correspondent) before, the avenging cannon of the Allies, and it is limping back along the road towards Ostend sadly reduced in numbers, and disconsolate because of its want of success. The invaders have been badly mauled by the small but glorious Belgian army. In the recent desperate fighting, death has. alas, exacted a heavytoll from these brave soldiers of King Albert. Against a powerful and relentless enemy they have defended the last remaining corner of their country with a courage and devotion which surely can find no parallel in history. The Belgians, in their efforts to fling back the enemy, have been ably supported by our own and I-'iench troops. Around Ypres our "contemptible little army " has shown the enemv that it knows how to fight and to die. Belgian and French wounded who have; been brought in from the firing line speak of the unexampled heroism of our troops holding on grimly, yielding up their live; ■ without a murmur in the sacred cause of duty. _ _ ! —"_Mauseritis." —. With all the German talent for organisation and thoroughness, the life •-' the Kaiser's soldiers in the flooded trenches, where they stand knee-deep in water, is horrible in the extreme. Suitable food is lacking, there are practically no medical comforts for the men, disease has made its appearance and is ravaging the ranks of those whom British shrapnel has temporarily overlooked. The mental and physical strain of those long vigils, where one is always looking death, in the face, has affected tho morale of tho stolid, phlegmatic German much more than it has our own men. The former has become "jumpy,'' and is developing what old soldiers call " Alauseritis.'' He flinches when under fire, and will not readily abandon the shelter of the trenches to attack in the open. I have been told that under tho awful strain hundreds of German soldiers have gone mad. Ar.d little. wonder. Days and nights without repose, with cold, hunger, and one's own dead as inseparable companions, and the presence of British snipers 300 yds away to heighten the grim reality oi this Belgian inferno. Some of the. German prisoners whom ! have seen bore but a remote resemblance to human beings. In their hard., brutaliscd, dirt-matted faces there was little trace of the. divine image. —Hair Had Become White.— Their beards had grown to rii inordinate length, and the hair of even the comparatively young had become white. 1 shuddered as L realised how thoroughly the dread monster war had effaced everything human from these poor trench dwellers whom fate had delivered into our hands as prisoners of war. When mortally stricken the, Germans are often left, to die, because ambulance and surgical aid are unprocurable. Every wounded German who is able to walk has to find his v.::y unaided to the field or base hospital. It is often a task beyond the ebbing strength of tho injured, and small wonder 'if numbers die on the road far distant from the looked for goal of succor. Their bodio;! strew the route from the German firing line back to Ostend. —Opening the Sluice?.—• Baulked by the British Fleet in their attempt to cross the Yser at Lombaertzyde, the Germans prepared to make a night attack on Manneslceusvers, further inland, and this is what happened : In the face of the superiority of the enemy's artillery, the Belgians were obliged to retire on Wulpen, and the German columns advanced. The quickliring sections of a Scots regiment were able, owing to their mobility, to escape the action of the German artillery, and defeuded the passage for half an hour. Whole lines of the enemy were mown down, but always more came on. and it seemed as if the whole of the Duke of Wurtemberg's army was concentrated at this spot. The British were at length forced to retire before this human avalanche. At noon the Germans, with tho aid of planks supported on sunken barges, tree trunks, and bodies of horses and men, which had blocked the stream for the week before began to cross the Yser. The main Franco-Belgian forces retired in the direction of Ramscapelle. Two Indian regiments remained in the trenches at a distance of a kilometre from tho river, and protected the, retreat. When the Indians received orders to quit the trenches a few field caps were left behind, on which the enemy wasted many cartridges. Soon the Germans rushed forward, and occupied the empty trenches. It was three o'clock when a low rumble was heard from the west, and, like the rush of a large tidal wave, a devastating stream rushed up the canal, carrying all before it, houses, trees, and corpses. A cry-of alarm arose from the Germans, but it was too late ; the water rose to their waists, and. panic-stricken, the Germans began a mad rush for high ground, which, however, was swept by a murderous fire from the Belgians. The enemy were caught between fire and water, and the few who were fortunate enough to escape being drowned or shot wp.rr> made prisoners. The ground which had lately been occupied byThc Wsirtem-bcrg Brigade became a vast ?heet-of water, from which emerged only » few telegraph poles.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19150105.2.53

Bibliographic details

"LIMPING FROM THE YSER", Evening Star, Issue 15692, 5 January 1915

Word Count
920

"LIMPING FROM THE YSER" Evening Star, Issue 15692, 5 January 1915

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