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RUSSIA'S SOLDIERS

A POLYGLOT ARMY. COSSACKS PAST COUNTING. (From the 'Yorkshire Observer* and. the. ' Daily" Chronicle ' Special Correspondent.)

GRODNO (via Petrograd) (Received m Louden October 21.)

I have returned here after a journey along the East Prussian front, as close to the scenes of daily fighting as I could obtain pcrmi'-sion to go. 'The rout-e was from the north of Suvaiki southwards to Grodno, a stretch of country recently in. German, occupation, but where now remains not a single Gorman outpost. General Rennenkampfs presence on tiie present front is in itself a victory of brilliant quality which brought, to nothing the. German purpose of an advance on Petrograd and the Warsaw line, in conjunction with the Silesian .armies moving on Warsaw. It is stimulating to nerves troubled by a lack of news to see the Hessian soldier "in his habit as ho lives" and fights. J have seen many thousands nf (.hem eanipe<i in rain-swamped bogs, or marching indefatigably over roads which, .'ire long quagmires of nrud, always with an air of stolid contentment and alook of being b e]l {, on business.

—A Mixture, of Races.—

They iivlrde. Baltic. Province men speaking German uith n strong liavoring. .Jp\t? from Rign-Libau are brigaded with huge Siberians, whose, marching must constitute a -noild record. The CoM-neks are past cr.ivnting. and with Ihcm a.re long-coated, tight-belted Circassians and Kalmucks. aJi representing ». mixture 0 f races and. langrages like that of the British Empire itbattalions. Actually the whole line is n battle front from the north of VUthalicn_ to well into Poland, and no day posers wniiout contact with the enemy, is en army in which every man has fought, .Mom. of tlien! have been in hand-to-hand conflict, with Germans. Thev have approached the front through eounU-v which the- enemy has devastated. There is no vtllaga which docs not bear the mark oi wanion destruction of life and property. I have seen these things for mv-self—-hoix-es burned, others pillaged, and the contents dragged into the streets and there smashed. Churches have been invariably gutted and denied in a manner peculiar to the Germans. Piteous tales are told of the shooting of villagers and of outrages on wc-iron and young girls. Fieri) the stolidity of the- Rusidcin soldier was not proof against these- excesses. Soma Siberians at Folusch and Wishainv saw the worst of it and some of the jv.cn actual!v wept. When later they took the trenches at with the bayonvl, they shouted as thev! fought " Com,, and try it with us. You Germans!'" k j s impossible not to admire these endless battalions of Siberians. They'' are common objects of this countryside. 1 came pastSuvulki as they were moving up. cr-Jnnin alter column, In grey overcoats aswing in (lie rhythm of their stride like the kilts of the Highlanders, one rank alter another, with unshaven, blunt, grimy faces almost empty of expression. It was they who bore, flic- brunt of the fighting unsupported by artillery, tn the forest's ot and with the Rrdtic re"'<ments pn.-hed on and took Lvck. TlnTso aro the men who ma relied. 40 miles. .Starting at midnight, th<?y then went into action between Gor and Raigrod, and delivered a bayonet charge which their officers still boast about to-da-v.

—Elaborate Oraian 'i'rcnche.s.-

I may i.ot. judicata the geography of the | front on whmh the R uss i ans alK \ o orm;ins n,rc now taring each other, but the German general plan is u, protect tlw railway and all approaches io vital junctions, such as Go;.iap and Intcrsburg. Between themand uio frontier lies a country of singular difficulty for troops. It is easy ot delenee, with email, broken hills nl numerable laker-, roads winding in watery valleys among y, owl,:. The Germans have to cartli in m th. ]r UM ,.,i ] avi^]l f as ] U071; digging themselves j„ ~-jth a thoroughness worthy oi permanent foitifications. ' Their trenches roe sft, deep, „j l /'. earthworks in !r< T, 1 ■!- I K'--'- l '~'i : ''i: "■<■ a. precaution against ennadmg. .Some of them arc very elevrrly hi'.oen with, growing bushes. All the peasants .remaining at iho countryside an I ruwui are_ compelled to work "digging trenches. Emplacements for guns of a largo calibre havo concrete foundations. It is :miercM.:.n/ to see at Suvalki elaborate German work'-, and to tho east and south of their, hurried, and purely tempoK.ry Russian, position.*, from which the Russian* earned out an attack which expelled tlti Go-mans. The encmv had iortihYd Suvalki, <-mplnying forced"labor, connected uji the trench !s\Wm with the telephony jnst ■iHatiop, and appointed a military I iiivoii'T and other functionaries. Many German ..flWr.« were joined thorp bv their wives and who. when theV retired, took w,rh them souvenirs consisting of nearly every portable object of value in Hi.- iuwn, beside mticli furniture and clothing. The Rus.-ian trenches are scarcely more tha.n tdiallow grooves in. tho ground, with earth thrown up in front of them, making barely sufficient rover for prone riflemen. Once the German outer positions wer<» carried by florin with ghastly carnage. ■• \\",-, didn't, <lig much," said a, Russian oflh-er to me. " \\"p. knew! we shouldn't, .day ilicie. Wo should either | go forward or bank, i-md we. w.u-p. sine to j go forward." I

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19150109.2.71

Bibliographic details

RUSSIA'S SOLDIERS, Evening Star, Issue 15696, 9 January 1915

Word Count
1,317

RUSSIA'S SOLDIERS Evening Star, Issue 15696, 9 January 1915

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