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HANS ON TOMMY AND VICE VERSA, Issue 15699, 13 January 1915
HANS ON TOMMY AND VICE VERSA
Numerous effusions—from poems to Crown-Princely Orders of the Day—have appeared in the German Press expressing the fiendish hatred of the entire nation of Perfidious Albion. But fear has now been added to the hatred in the breasts of the German soldiers, who have changed their original contempt for a high opinion, not only of British courage, but also of British
" Kriegskuiist,” or the art of war. lluis wrote, for example, a German officer in a letter found on his body:—‘‘The Englisli
soldier is the best-trained soldier in the world. His fire is 10.0C0 times worse than Hell. If we could only beat the
English it would be well for us : but I’m afraid that we shall never be able to beat those English devils.” Again, a member of the staff of a leading Berlin newspaper, who is serving at the front a? an officer of the Laud-turm, seriously warns his countrymen against underrating the British infantry, who, from their behaviour at Ypres. when they defeated with great loss the Kaiser's Household Brigade of Guards, are equal to any troops in the world. He declares that the British " Tommies ” can only he dc-i rihed as " the best of troops." The great vigor with which the British soldiers defended their positions is admirable, and when they were repulsed they always tried—mostly during the night
—to regain the Inst terrain. The main strength of the British infantry lies, without doubt, in defence, mid in the good use o: their terrain. Here the instinct of the British hunting man is very useful to him, and of this our average infantryman h.as mane. . . . We Hermans must not underrate the British mercenaries.'’ And to a well-known Dane a Herman Staff officer wrote thus :—" Yes. the Kiiglish have pre-
pared a surpi-i.se inr u.- in this war, especially in the battles in North France. The Englishman is cool, indifferent to danger. and to the dispensations of Providence. He stays where ho is commanded. He shoots magnificently, extraordinarily well. He is good at bayonet attack, better than the Frenchman, and. if I may say so, good in another way, for it is during those bayonet attacks when luck is against him that he is at his very best. His endurance and markmanship make him an opponent of high rank. Rut it is the Engli'h we try to hit- hardest in this ward’ .Many other tc-timonies of the same kind might be quoted, but let the foregoing be enough. They show what the Hermans now tiling of our ‘'contemptible little Annv."
Now let Ib see what "Tommy" thinks ] of his antagonist in the trenches" and elscI v.- Tkb d- 'b.e.\‘iV iuib'.-eisioa v, that the German soldier is brave, but it is a bravery partly engendered by the fists, the foot, the sword flats, and sometimes bv the revolvers of their officers, who urge them on by such means, instead of leading them. The only thing impressed on the mind of our " Tommy ” by actual experience is that the average German soldier cannot shoot—" not for buttons,'’ says one of our men. But the German artillery tire is terrific, especially with its noise; but their musketry tiro is a long way below ours. Then ire have the high authority of Sir John French that "our soldiers have established a personal ascendancy over their foes. The cavalry do as they like with tho enemy until they are confronted with thrice their numbers. The German patrols simply fly before, our horsemen. The German troops will not face infantry fire, and as regards our artillery they have never been opposed by less than three or four times their number.” A private of the Black tVatch wrote to his people at Home:—‘‘But those Germans are brave—one must say that of them. Thev come on again and again, and in such numbers! But when they see the glint of British bayonets they simply turn and run.” In a letter written in tho trenches the writer says:—‘'Bill and I have been thinking it over, and we’ve come to tho conclusion that the German army system is rotten.” ‘AVc are led, but they are driven.” savs a Northumberland Fusilier: while the "sergeant of another battalion opined that “ the German officers are a rum lot : they lead from the rear all the time.” In which connection take this statement of an officer of the Irish Guards :—'‘There should be no attempt made to underrate the efficiency of the German officers, who are all good fighters and very courageous men. You seldom hear of one of them bei-lg captured. They do not compare with our officers, however. They seem to bo of a different breed. Our officers are gentlemen first and soldiers after. Them is a great difference between the two of them. There never has been, and never will ho, men to lead troops the equal of tho men under whom we are serving.” That is, in short, the universal opinion of the rank and file of our ‘'contemptible little Armv.” And, per contra, tho officers have the highest opinion of the men whom thev command. ‘‘ The men,” writes one. officer, “arc simply splendid, and t am proud to command such a brave, fine lot of men ” ; while another said: “Our men are splendid, really splendid; one simply marvels at them." _ Tins testimony could be multiplied ad infinitum, but do not their doughty deeds speak volumes for the RHtish “Tonnnv”?
HANS ON TOMMY AND VICE VERSA, Issue 15699, 13 January 1915
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