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HOW LONG?, Issue 15700, 14 January 1915
THAT TALK ABOUT SPRING. [By A. fspEKCn.] Metellus, I think, was the name of the Roman general who exclaimed j " My plan? Tf my shirt knew that, I would burn it!" Wo have been invited to believe that Lord Kitchener haa informed the whole world what his plan may be. He does not know when the war will end, but he does know that it will begin in Mav. There's a nice confession of intent to make, if you like. It mtiet have made the saturnine- Kitchener angry when he read it. But. the London reporters will laugh. I beard one of them fay once : " Oh, give the dear old public something that ttasy like to hear/' Pome prognostication of a dramatic renewal of the war in May, if attributed to Kitchener, would be the tiling. The public got it. This silly measace has been more frequently discussed in Dunedin this week than all other cables. It is homething like* the interest engendered over the putrid little Emden. The dark river of national destiny roars along, framed in a firmament of black futilities. Sotueono dimes the torch of sensationalism on it for a minute, and a, straw is seen. The straw becomes everything. The -river rolls pact undieoeined. But the righteous anger of those who perceive the river and decline to look at the straw rises. To-day the nation receives one more, word from its beet friend, the London 'Times.' As long as we, poor bystanders beside the. stream of destiny, are content with solitary flashes of sensationalism wo will receive the absurd story in default of better news. The best cable to-day reads : ■The. Times' urge/; the Government to reconsider their refusal to give information. It says the Empire, ifi in no temper to light behind a. veil of mysterv. It is a novel, remarkable, and re all v extravagant thooiy that, a great democracy like .mrs. linked with valiant self-iroverniiig Dominions, should be asked to fight a war for existence without being mid what the Government are, about. It i.s haul to gird at the the news daily —hard and unpopular—but surely this fatuous tvianuv'must stop. It serves no niiiitarv end whatever. We arc compelled to .receive War Office news, no doubt covcrimr «!> ' n '" ruins OI " many a profes <sional reputation of its own ca.ste ; 1 he Ik-sL that we have heard so far is that the War Oilk-c officials have been sending the police in on the homes of soldiers' dependents to spy out how the money is spent. thits woman or 'thii< woman drink? That _ i« the quest ion which engrossed the War Ofnce so much that, at, la.-t. the London police, niiietlv .refrained from carrying nut the War" Office, regulations. Resides that the. War Office gives us the -'news. .Most people have probably formeo their opinion on this ••news" ion; since. IS GERMANY DONE:' The old Emperor of Au-tria. meeting a deputation of Galician nobles at the palace of St Imiiliniiiii. i- alleged to have twice referred to possibilities of peace. That news came -, c.-lerday. To-day "a. high Berlin personage" •-fates that Germany's power of undertaking a serious offensive has vanished, and adds that the German public are still kept in ignorance of the real -tab- of affairs. ]f .n, they march in the same darkness as the public of Great Brit a in. Relief, on this may hinge securely on our. or two point*. Any mistake in strafe" ic calculation made at the beginning of n war will tell to the end. The first, mistake culminated about September 6 or 7. when the Fiench and English broke the back- of the battle of the Marne. That ended Plan No. ]- the plan for Paris. The second calculation brought on the bloody operations which reached their maximum when Sir Douglas llaig's troops threw back the Ist, and 4th Brigades of the Prussian Guard at- Zonnehcke, on November 11. Y\"e can fairlv conclude that this battle settled the fate of the Channel ports. That was the end of Plan No. o. These iwo chains of reverses have been so severe that they would have crushed out anything cast in other than the iron mould in which the mind of Germany is cast. It i- n mistake to suppose that her resources ere a! an end. or anything like it. She has neither played the naval card nor the aerial card yet, and until sho does we ran only wail. Rome has told us that she is hurrying on unprecedented things for a -i;].i!fini> military effort in the «pring. Doubtless she hurries all the time, and has never ceased to hurry since the fateful Saturday night at the beginning of August, when we read the shocking news : '"Germany has declared war against Russia.' Fibre will count, of course, when the -Gain develops ■-our fibre :md theirs, iioine intelligence shows that hundreds of English women have been drilling and shooting at the butts, putting on very fair scores, too. To-day wo see that a number of Prussian women have, cither been wounded or taken prisoners on the Polish side. They behaved with tho same indifference charai tensing the German officer-, and apparently belonged io the upper Thus we have got to a war of Amazons as well as m-h. and until ail this is finally reduced to terms of blood and tears it seems useless even to hint at the outcome. THE WINTER DEADLOCK. All messages give the impre-ssion that winter wii! . oonc.t.ihiPo a, deadlock of trenches a conclusion that, I am by no means sjuro ahouf. Little had been said in the >eabli?s regarding' the. stalemate" in which the struggle has com© cut as a. " war of positions.'' Somot-i-m«s there is a. word, by " Eye-witness," who describes the i ominunioa.l.ion trenches as wet and the fire trenches as fairly dry. Ho moans that the. avenues through which, the trench r<\'ii'fs march are open to the pfcy and the rain. In the fire trenches head coven- is provided, and t'hh keeps t-he rain out, ;<.s well as the German ebeUs. As far as can bo discerned., Hritisii. cavalry are acting as a, dismounted ami. The horses have been mowed up in eiibterraiiean stables. The HousfthoJo Cavairy, Lancers. Tfussarts, and what not have parted with "the white arm," wl amrifles and bayonets. Thw act. as iirfswrtry, and (Jent-ra! A.llenby will not 3ik>-> that—at least, not quite. It all indicates the wonderful flexibility and adaptability of the British. First Army, and also the strain alongihe. front. In many wnys tb<tcomplete soldier is wonderful. ALdcrshot's boast, years before lite- w.ir bespin, was as modest a.t it was, true:- -"We are not a grftat, army, but vw are- wonderfully good, for our size. We can do anything from cavalry to cooking."' We have- heard that miles of trencher* have, been battered in by hisrh explosive artillery tire, which is a gooA deal more than our -wondrously ineffective artillery coud do in South Africa. It was probably a hnnible keeper of the Belgian sluices wbo first showed tTie Allies what guns cotild do to earthworks. H« planne<l the flooding- of the German positions on thoYsor. He out to tho Belgian Staff how this ombankntjnt and that could be broken by the guns to Jet tho water' in. lie has sinos been decorated. NED KELLY'S HELMET. Among tho devices of trench, warfare there is mention that eoma Frenchmen in the look-out trenches have discarded the kepi and aro using helmets similar tx> the Ned Kelly pattern. It is likely, but the reflective mind will not halt over that lo.il'. It will pass on very quickly to the. late Ned Kelly hinieelf, and then travel far beyond him to the emptying- of Cork Gaol and other Irish gaols a hundred years ago to make up drafts for the Ibike <.f Wellington's regiments in Spain, 'fhe jiiLtimd )«jndev ja witethtu: uoyKti' jrili.
' ever find a n&e for the dare-devils of their communities. All that society has been aWe to do eo far is to douclio their daring by extreme penalties, but "it ehould'not be. to. The dare-devils represent .1 valuable asset to isoekdy, even in (heir crude ingenuity, and, as wo see today, til? armies of the world are not abovo copy in?. GRENADES. Grenades feature the. trench fighting. and there is curiosity about them. It is a German idea in its modern form, for it was the German instruction which hinted to the Japanese what its effect might h* after the supreme operation in siege warfare known as "crowning the counterscarp" had been achieved. The grcnana is a, small shell exploded by a time fuse. It is about three inches in diameter, and is made of iron or annealed glass filled witli a lyddite charge, and thrown from the hand. It is supposed to kill anything inside 50yds, but this may be only an armament linn's claim. Muddy, bloody "Tommy" is expected to carry out certain instructions by th* War Office when he takes his grenade off, the hook on his belt and lets it fly. "The" grenade," says the War Office. " should b« thrown well' upwards at not less than an angle of 35deg." Then follows a heap of technicality. The War Office has perhaps, not realised that a man reduced to the status of a beast by five months of mud and blood will not stop to calculate what the angle of elevation may be when he lets go. FOCH THE GREAT. Appreciation of the French generals Foeh. and lit* Mandhny .appears to-day. They are .said to he, General Jorrro's right-hand men. General Foch has had the disadi vantage or beintr a Royalist, a.nd France therefor* l stowed him away as far as possible in an eastern command. Thart was Nancy. It is said that in July he was merely a. corps commander, meaning the 20th Corps, of three divisions. At tho outbreak of war the 33fh Division, constituting the premier tactical unit of tin* corps-, was quartered in Nancy itself unaer General Balfotirier. The 38th Division, the other wing oi the corps, was at. Ton! under General Ebener. The 2nd Cavalry Division, also under the ooirtrnl of the new hero, was under General Lescol, and v, a.s stationed at, Limeville. Those, few who follow war up in n. serious way may have heard of General Foch's book ' Des Priueipcs de la G:ie.n"e.' It is a strong and characteristically French plea fur what is known as the economy of forces, a.nd probably gives the key to all Fiench .strategy. .Except, in such imperative situations" as the Manic the French commanders have evidently aimed that no loss* should be incurred unless a ennesponding loss could be inflicted. In tic* judgment of these Trench directors tho life of a Frenchman was. at., least worth the life of a German. With, their .skimpy birth rate ■that line of strategy seemd wise. SMOKE TRAIL SMELLS. The cables to dav are denied to-morrow. It. is not. so nnicJi the fault of the untutored reporter at the front as the lypi< ca! Staff officer, who, without necessarily kiinwi, g more about the subject of war than his dupe, the correspondent, prime? the public with the daily falsehood. Yon Khn-k's headquarter? arc, it is said, .something like a. fortress. No doubt commanders live in .dugouts, but their best refuge from the xkv bomb is the saddle. It is said that Sif'John French -the big man who lias just paid a Hying visit to England -will sit in the saddle for hour.? under iiie watching a ha.ttle. and when lu: gets hack to his dugout about 11 p.m. be shoots out a few "brief words to tha Chief-ni-StafFs typewriter and goes to bed. All commanders nowadays are alike u; this respect. A new and deadly shell, wliuh the Germans aie using. contains a certain proportion of phosphorus, an I the wounds it inflicts nm poisonous and tiritreatable. The meaning whereof is! the old smoke trail shell, invented by Krupps seven or eight years ago, a.nd futlv described in the English work •Ke'thell on Artillery.' It ha.s now had the "atrocity" dressing wrapped round it. and comes into the. news to-day :u novel manner. THE DAILY CONTRADICTION. Yv-Sterday the ba.u.le of Karykamish, in the- Caucasus district, was compared, witn nothing less than Sedan, which was -n grandiose that it did not seem worth commenting on. We. were, led to believe that. the. 9th and 10th Turkish Corps had been blotted out. To-day we are'told, that another corps- --possibly Gi armed Pasha's troops from Hagdad—have entered. Persia in the direction of Tabriz. We .were also told that the march through Palestine towards the Suez Canal was off. To-day, however, it is on, and there, is mentio,i of a concentration' at the old Bible, tow a of Hebron, due south of Jerusalem. Nc less than six commanders have _ now been designated to command in Palestine, so it is"all von.' curious. Guesswork, chiefly. ] think. If we could interview General God ley now, [' am sure that that hone.-:, soldier would tei"< us frankly that the Kite?. Canal needs every man, as far as can I>3 st'cu at pivernt. BRAVO THE 'TRIBUNE'! Good wine nee/In no bush, and the New York •Tribune' may be left to say wlir.t it ha.s said without much comment : New York. January 12.—The 'Trc b-nio' bitterly assails the. United States Administration, accusing them of igivv niiuioiislv running away when a protest njighr ' have been effective in Belgium's case, but immediately recovering emirr,:'c when the copper'kings' profits wc-m endangered. No more than one is noceftsarv by wav of adornment. The New Yotlc "IT: mi no' occupies the sam* high, position in America which the ly.ndon ' Ttni"s ' noes in England.
HOW LONG?, Issue 15700, 14 January 1915
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