* A Distributed Proofreaders Canada eBook *

This eBook is made available at no cost and with very few restrictions. These restrictions apply only if (1) you make a change in the eBook (other than alteration for different display devices), or (2) you are making commercial use of the eBook. If either of these conditions applies, please contact a https://www.fadedpage.com administrator before proceeding. Thousands more FREE eBooks are available at https://www.fadedpage.com.

This work is in the Canadian public domain, but may be under copyright in some countries. If you live outside Canada, check your country's copyright laws. IF THE BOOK IS UNDER COPYRIGHT IN YOUR COUNTRY, DO NOT DOWNLOAD OR REDISTRIBUTE THIS FILE.

Title: Nelson's History of the War Volume VIII

Date of first publication: 1915

Author: John Buchan (1875-1940)

Date first posted: Feb. 12, 2020

Date last updated: Feb. 12, 2020

Faded Page eBook #20200225

This eBook was produced by: Delphine Lettau, Howard Ross & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at https://www.pgdpcanada.net

Endpaper 1. The Western Theatre of War.

Endpaper 2. The Eastern Theatre of War.






Volume VIII. The Midsummer Campaigns, and

the Battles on the Warsaw Salient



LVII.A Year of War9
LVIII.Midsummer on the Western Front53
LIX.The African Campaigns72
LX.The Summer’s War in the Air88
LXI.Britain sets her House in Order113
LXII.The Battles on the Warsaw Salient138
LXIII.The Abandonment of Warsaw167
I.The “Lusitania” Question185
II.The Rights of Neutrals190
III.The British Naval Achievement208
IV.The Surrender of Garua213
V.The British Fleet at Gallipoli218

Map showing the fronts held by the enemy in the West and East on July 28, 1915, and the Allied territory (shaded) which was then in hostile possession12, 13
Sketch showing the extent of sea controlled by the Teutonic League, July 28, 191515
The Country round Hooge59
The Crown Prince’s Attack in the Argonne63
The Summer Campaign in the Cameroons77
Map to illustrate the last stage of the Damaraland Campaign84
French Air Raids on South Germany101
The Russian Front after the Fall of Lemberg140, 141
Sketch Map of the Krasnik-Lublin-Cholm region142, 143
Battle of Krasnik144
The Russian Front in Eastern Galicia on July 10, 1915147
The Attack on the Narev.—German Position, July 25150, 151
Battle of Krasnostav152
The Position in Courland, July 20, 1915154
Position of the Austro-German Front before the Evacuation of Warsaw176, 177
Position of the Austro-German Front on August 5, 1915178, 179
Defences of Warsaw181

Nelson's History of the War, Volume VIII



The Military Results of the Year as seen by Germany—The Naval Results—Position outside Europe—How far did Results correspond to Aims?—Germany’s Third Plan—A Revision of her National Purpose—Her Calculations—Her Achievement—Failure of certain Preparations—Renunciation of von Bernhardi and the New Ethics—The Position of the Allies—Difficulties of Britain—The Allies’ imperfect Organization—Their undivided Unity of Purpose—Position of Neutrals—The Balkan States—America—The Cotton Question—New Military Doctrines and Methods—German Novelties and their Justification—The True Position on June 28, 1915—The Question of Numbers—The Losses and Reserves of the Belligerents—The Naval Position—Work of the British Grand Fleet—War and Great Men—Modern War depresses the Individual—Lack of Conspicuous Statesmen—Venezelos and Delcassé—The German Commanders—The Allied Commanders—General Joffre and the Grand Duke Nicholas—The Failures of the Year—Work of the Submarine and Aeroplane.

It is desirable in the chronicle of a campaign to halt now and then and look backwards over the path we have travelled. This work is the more necessary in a history written at a short distance from events, and therefore compelled to take the form of annals, where facts must be set down in their temporal sequence, and no grouping is possible according to logical significance. It may be a help to a true perspective if we attempt a summary and an estimate of the doings of the year of war, which June 28.we may reasonably date from that Sunday, the 28th of June, when the heir to the Austrian throne was murdered at Serajevo.

The military results of the year must have seemed to any man, casting up the account on paper at some distance from the atmosphere of strife, an indisputable German triumph. Belgium, all but a small western fraction, lay captive, and was in process of Germanization. The rich industrial district of Lille, and all north-eastern France between the Oise and the Meuse, were occupied by her troops. She had battered down with ease the northern fortresses. She had driven a wedge across the Upper Meuse. The Woëvre was in her hands. Her battle front was only thirty miles from the gates of Paris. To set against this, the Allies had penetrated German territory for a small distance in Upper Alsace, but Alsace was not Germany in the sense that Picardy was France. Again, she held her conquests with a line of trenches which for eight months the Allies had endeavoured in vain to break. She had the high ground from Ypres to La Bassée; she had the crest of the Falaises de Champagne; and even positions which seemed precarious, like the St. Mihiel salient, had proved so far impregnable. In August she had defeated the Allies in a series of great battles; and though thereafter her progress had been less positive, it was difficult to point to any counterbalancing Allied gain. It was true that her first plan had shipwrecked at the Marne, and her second on the bastion of Ypres; but she had made a third, and the third had prospered mightily. She was holding the Western front with fewer men than her opponents, and she was holding it securely. The much-vaunted efforts of Champagne, Les Eparges, the Artois, Neuve Chapelle, and Festubert had made only inconsiderable dints in her battle line. Moreover, she possessed, as she believed, the vantage ground for a fresh attack upon the Channel ports when she cared to make it. She had reaped the full benefit from the territory she had occupied. Belgium and north-eastern France had been bled white in her interests, and she was using their wealth and industrial organization to forge new weapons against her foes. The situation in the West, an impartial observer might have decided, was wholly advantageous to Germany. There she could keep off the enemy with her left hand while she struck with her right elsewhere.

But if German eyes could turn westward with a modest comfort on that 28th day of June, they looked eastward with something like exultation. There, surely, the age of miracles had dawned. The early disasters in East Prussia had been gloriously atoned for at Tannenberg. Von Hindenburg, after one failure, had secured all Western Poland. Austria had blundered at the start and lost the better part of Galicia, and for some months there had been anxious hearts in the Oder valley. But since the opening of the New Year all failures had been redeemed. East Prussia was inviolate, and German armies were hammering at the gates of Riga. Galicia had been won back, its great oil fields had been regained, and all menace to the cornlands of Hungary had gone. Further, with immense slaughter, the armies of Russia had been driven inside their own frontiers; the Warsaw triangle was being assailed, Warsaw seemed doomed, and it looked as if all Poland would soon be in German hands. Even if Germany was granted no Sedan in the East, she would have broken the Russian offensive for a year, and would presently be free to use half her Eastern armies to compel a decision in the West.

Her Allies had not distinguished themselves; but in the grip of the German machine even Austrian and Turk could march to victory. The threat from Italy did not disturb her. She knew the strength of the Austro-Italian frontier, and, even if Trieste fell, small harm would be done. The Allies were committed to an impossible enterprise at Gallipoli, where even success, in her eyes, would not atone for their desperate losses. She noted with approval that the Balkan States still maintained their uneasy neutrality. After her victories of the summer there would be small inducement for Rumania, Bulgaria, and Greece to pledge their fortunes to a drooping cause. Even if they lost their heads, it would matter little. Germany had a supreme contempt for subsidiary operations. When she had crippled Russia, and broken France and Britain, she could deal at her leisure with any foolish Balkan princeling.

Map showing the fronts held by the enemy in the West and East on July 28, 1915, and the Allied territory (shaded) which was then in hostile possession.

The naval position was less satisfactory. It was true that the German fleet was still intact in the sanctuary of the Heligoland Bight, but it was a weapon that might rust for want of use. The Allied navies had cleared her mercantile shipping from all the seas of the world. Her coasts were blockaded, and her breaches of international law had compelled Britain to rewrite the maritime code and to bear hard upon those neutrals in whom she had trusted. She had no ships of war anywhere except in her home waters, and the few occasions on which she had tried conclusions with Britain had not ended prosperously. Her submarines had, indeed, done marvels, but they were fruitless marvels. They had sent to the bottom a large number of Allied and neutral merchantmen, and had exasperated her enemies; but they had not seriously interfered with the sea-borne Allied commerce, and they had done nothing to relieve the blockade of Germany. No doubt they had destroyed several Allied ships of war, and they had driven the big battleships from the Dardanelles; but thoughtful people in Germany were beginning to look with some disfavour on the submarine worship of which Admiral von Tirpitz was the hierophant. It was daring and brilliant; but it had not weakened the Allied navies or interfered with their operations, and it was raising ugly difficulties with America. On the general question of the rival Grand Fleets there was little difference of opinion. The war must be decided on land, and the victor there would impose his own terms as to the future of the seas. The British fleet had destroyed Germany’s overseas trade, and there its activity ceased. If, in spite of it, Germany could obtain the requisite supplies, then the boasted naval predominance of Britain came to nothing. She would give Britain no occasion for a Trafalgar, and all the battleships on earth could not interfere with the decision on the Vistula or the Oise.

Her economic position, which some months earlier had occasioned much searching of heart, had now been clearly determined. Germany could still, through the complaisance of her enemies, receive certain foreign supplies, such as cotton, and for the rest she could make shift with her own productions. The Teutonic League was virtually self-supporting. All the mechanical skill of her engineers, all the learning and ingenuity of her chemists, were utilized. Her industrial life down to the smallest fraction was mobilized for war. Substitutes were invented for former imports, food supplies were organized and doled out under Government supervision, and all the machinery of her recent commercial expansion was switched on to the making of munitions. She was confident that she could maintain a far greater output than the Allies for a long enough period to ensure victory. As for her finances, she was living upon the certainty of that victory. Her internal credit, which was all that was needed, would last out the war. If she were beaten, then, indeed, she would be bankrupt on a colossal scale; but defeat did not enter into her calculations.

The position of the Teutonic League and Turkey, its ally, was gloomy enough outside Europe. The Turks, though they were doing well under German supervision in the Dardanelles, had been beaten in the Caucasus and in Mesopotamia, and their invasion of Egypt had ended in a fiasco. In the Far East the great German fortress of Tsing-tau, on which millions had been spent—her one foothold on the continent of Asia—had fallen to Japan. Her Pacific possessions had melted away like a mirage. In Africa the dreams of von Wissmann and Nachtigal were vanishing. Togoland was a British colony. The vital parts of the Cameroons were in British and French hands, and its German garrison had been forced far up into the inhospitable hinterland. In East Africa she was holding her own; but she could get no reinforcements there, and it could be only a question of time till her enemies pressed in the sides of the quadrilateral. In South Africa, on which she had counted, the situation was farcical. The rebellion had been a flash in the pan; General Botha had overrun and conquered German South-West territory; and the land which she had looked upon as a likely ally was preparing to send an expeditionary force to France. But she might well comfort herself with the reflection that the ultimate fate of those outland possessions would follow the decision of the European conflict, and she did not doubt what that decision would be.

Sketch showing the extent of sea controlled by the Teutonic League, July 28, 1915.

The summary which we have given would have represented the view of an impartial outsider on 28th June, and, a little more highly coloured, that of the average thinking German. On the whole—the conclusion would have been—the honours of the first year of war lay with Germany. But if we are to judge the situation rightly, we must look beyond the bare facts to the policies of which they were the consequence. An outlook may seem roseate enough to everybody except the man who bears the responsibility. Mere successes do not signify much unless they represent stages in the realization of the central purpose. How far had Germany achieved her desires? Were the victories she had won bringing her nearer to that kind of result which alone would serve her purpose?

Germany’s first plan of campaign had assumed a speedy decision. The Allies in the West were to be crushed by the Day of Sedan; and then, with France prostrate under her heel, she could turn eastwards and compel Russia to sue for peace. That dream of a “battle without a morrow” had died on the day in September when her great armies recoiled to the Aisne plateau. Then had come a new plan. The second offensive was to seize the Channel ports, take Paris from its northern side, terrorize Britain, and compel a settlement before winter had fully come. That scheme, too, had to be relinquished when, in the first week of November, odds of five to one failed to force the West Flanders gate. Thereupon, with admirable courage and amazing vitality, Germany adopted a third course. She consented in the West, and presently in the East also, to a war of attrition which went directly against her interests, for it wore down the one thing she could not replace—her numbers of men. But meanwhile she was busy piling up a weight of munitions which far exceeded the total complement of the Allies. The exact point of this policy should be noted. It would enable her to hold her front, and even to take the offensive, with far fewer men than her enemies. With its aid she could, though outnumbered, hold the front in the West, while she could destroy the Russian lines. It nullified not only the superior numbers of the Allies, but their superior fighting qualities. She could destroy them from a distance, as an undersized mechanic in an aeroplane might with bombs destroy a regiment of heroes. She had grasped with extraordinary precision the exact bearing of modern science upon modern warfare.

If we are to do justice to Germany’s achievement, we must realize that this policy was the reverse of that with which she started. She began with an attempt to destroy her foes in manœuvre battles. When that failed, she calmly and methodically revised her calculations, and adopted a new, difficult, and laborious scheme, which required immense efforts to set it in working order. That is the essence of a performance whose magnitude it is folly to decry.

This new plan of war involved a revision of her national purpose. The dream of sweeping like a new Timour over East and West, and dictating terms in a halo of glory was promptly relinquished. She saw herself condemned to a slow war which would give her enemies the chance of increasing their strength, of making that effort which she had made years before the first shots were fired. She resolved to turn the odds against her to her advantage. Russia and Britain might add millions to their first levies, and multiply their war supplies by twenty; but the business would be slow, for the Allies had not patiently organized themselves for war. If she could hold her own for two years, rifts would appear in the Allied lute. The populations, faced with unfamiliar problems involving novel sacrifices, would grow restive. Criticism would flourish, ministries and governments would fall into discredit, and half their efforts would be dissipated in idle quarrels. There was a chance, too, of serious differences arising between the Allied governments. One Power would carp at the supineness of another; recriminations would follow, and then a division of energy. Germany hoped for much from the old difficulties that confront an alliance of equals. Her allies would give her little trouble, for they were not equals, and she was carrying their burden as well as her own.

Britain was the most dangerous enemy, because of her wealth and her man power. But the longest purse will some day empty itself, and Germany noted with pleasure that Britain, who had to finance much of the Allied preparations, was conducting her expenditure with a wastefulness which must soon impoverish even her deep coffers. As for the British levies, however numerous and sturdy they might be, she comforted herself with the reflection that the British Staff had in the past been trained to handle only small forces, and would in all likelihood find the ordering of millions beyond its power. Her aim, it is clear, was no longer a sweeping conquest, but a draw which would leave her in possession of certain vantage points. This “white peace” would find her much depleted in men and money, but with a universal credit as by far the greatest military power in history. There would follow some years of recuperation, and then a second and successful stroke for the dominion of the world.

These calculations were not ill founded, and on the 28th day of June might well have seemed to impartial observers a just forecast. It is always hard to estimate fairly the achievement of an enemy. Our judgment is apt to follow our inclination till the moment of panic comes, when it follows our fears. In Germany we saw for the first time in history a great nation organized down to the humblest detail for war. No atom of national energy was dissipated in irrelevancies; every channel was tributary to one main purpose. The very faults of Prussianism in peace—its narrowness, its officialdom, its contempt for individual freedom—became assets in strife. If Germany fell it would be no fault of hers, for she had done all that mortal could do to deserve success.

But while it is right to estimate her achievement high, it is easy to put it too high. The machine had taken long years to create. If you have a docile people and a centralized and autocratic Government, and bend all your energies to the preparation for conquest, then you will create a far more efficient machine than your enemy, who has no thought of conquest and only a hazy notion of defence. In a struggle such as this the only side which could be fully prepared was the side which had always contemplated war. The perfection of German methods stood out in relief against the unprofessional ways of the Allies rather than because of their intrinsic virtues, though these were great. As the campaign developed, evidence accumulated to prove that Germany had willed just such a war of conquest for more than two decades, and through years of peace had been toiling without rest to prepare the path. Her machine had been in working order for a generation, and against it there came only improvisations.

In an earlier chapter we have discussed some of Germany’s preparations. A few had grossly failed, and had defeated their own end. For nearly half a century her teachers had been endeavouring to get Europe to accept an idea of the Teutonic race as God’s chosen people. Racial generalities are not an exact science, and this crusade led to some sad nonsense. But it made many converts. Historians in Britain and America fell victims to it, and decried for its sake the Slav and the Latin, and even in Italian schools under German influence there was an attempt to inculcate the worship of Germanenthum.[1] The first whiff of grapeshot shattered these whimsies, and the laborious efforts of the pedants—outside Germany—went for nothing.

So, too, with the attempt on the part of the German governing class to infect the world with a new morality. The Nietzschean doctrine of force, which in peace time was poisoning the springs of the world’s thought, suddenly lost its appeal when war began. It lost its appeal even in Germany. The prophets of the new morality tumbled over each other to prove that they were still devotees of the old. Britain was blamed for actions which, if true, would have been precisely those which Treitschke and von Bernhardi had recommended to their countrymen; and the latter teacher was compelled to explain that he had been misunderstood, and had always been on the side of the old-fashioned angels. The German people were made to believe that they had Right on their side—copy-book, Scriptural Right—and they died confident in the same cause for which the Allies fought, and which to the later fashionable German moralists had been as foolishness. “The German private soldier would not have been shot down unless those eloquent sermons had been preached. None the less, he had never grasped or understood, far less had he adhered to and professed, the cardinal doctrines which they contained. He still believed in the old-fashioned morality, and thought that states as well as individual men were bound to act justly. It was this faith which gave him his strength, and made him die gladly. For he believed that Germany had acted justly, the Allies unjustly; that it was his task, along with other good men and true, to win victory for his emperor and safety for his fatherland, and to crush the treacherous and malignant aggressors.”[2]

The German preparation, then, was of small value, except that part of it which was the military machine. But it had had its effects, and the chief was to bring into being an antagonism which could not be measured merely by the Allied fleets and armies. The German leaders might persuade their obedient people that they stood for truth and righteousness, but to the eyes of the world their writings, their speeches, and above all their deeds, remained damning evidence to the contrary. There lay the chink in the shining German armour. No conquest in history has ever endured unless the conquerors brought to the conquered substantial benefits. The Romans gave law and security, Charlemagne gave peace, even the Turkish dominion in the late Middle Ages brought some order and comfort for the plain man. Still more true is it of the modern world, where education has disposed the majority of men to a critical habit. For Germany to win, she had to persuade not only neutrals but belligerents that an endless and terrible war was more dreadful than her victory. She had persuaded the world of the opposite. To three-fourths of mankind no price seemed too great to pay for her ruin. Even those who retained some kindliness for the rank and file of the German people were being driven to the conviction that their only hope of ultimate salvation was to endure a crushing defeat. Germany was playing now for a one-sided peace, but to win any kind of peace you must convince your opponents that the prospect is at least tolerable. She had by her conduct of the war and by her avowed purpose convinced the Allies that it was of all prospects the most intolerable. This indisputable truth, of which she seemed to have no recognition, vitiated all her plans. She had nothing to offer to the world as the price of acquiescence. She stood glaringly bankrupt in all that the better instinct of our mortal nature desires. The tragedy of Germany was far deeper than the tragedies of Poland and Belgium.

The position of the Allies on 28th June has already been sketched by implication in the preceding pages. There was no slackening of resolution, but to the ordinary man there was a very real dashing of hope. In Britain especially, where the contest had been entered upon in a spirit of exuberant optimism, the truth about the German machine had been slow to dawn upon the popular mind. We had sacrificed so much, we had raised and lost so many men, and now it seemed as if the effort had been fruitless. The talk about “organization,” which political mentors used, perplexed and frightened the nation. To some timid souls it seemed Prussianism under another name. Could we beat our enemy only by adopting what we had been led to regard as that enemy’s vices? And even those who desired to make the ultimate sacrifice did not know how to set about it. We clung to old constitutional watchwords about the “freedom of the individual,” and attempted the ancient impossibility of crossing an unbridged river dryshod. The lack of any conspicuous national leadership intensified the confusion. The British people are not slow to recognize facts when they are once pointed out, but the recognition of facts is the rarest of virtues among politicians, who are accustomed to a particular game, and object to any tampering with the rules and counters. In a democracy such as ours the mass of the people are quicker to learn and wiser in the results than their professional leaders, who, accustomed to wait for a popular “cry” and “mandate,” are rarely capable of that thinking and doing in advance which is the true function of leadership. But for opinion to percolate up from below takes time, and in the urgency of a crisis there is sore need of statesmen to initiate and lead. A democracy is rarely fortunate in its normal governors. That is why in the hour of need it is apt to seek a dictator.

The British people during a season of military set-backs had two difficulties to face which their Allies did not share. Both sprang from their previous lack of interest in military questions. A prosperous business man will rarely take his adversary to the law courts. He will prefer to compromise even at some loss to his own pocket, for litigation is a waste of time and may give an undesirable publicity. It is the same with commercial nations like Britain and, in a far greater degree, the United States. They will always prefer, except in the very last extremity, to pay Danegeld rather than fight the Danes, and if they have to fight they regard their wealth as their principal asset. But conceive the case of a business man who has unwillingly gone to law, announcing that if money can do it he will crush his opponent. Conceive the position of such a man when he suddenly finds that the litigation will deplete his balance, and that he may have great difficulty in paying the fees of the eminent counsel on whom he has set his heart. Yet about midsummer that was not unlike Britain’s position. She realized as in a blinding flash the enormous outlay to which she was committed, and understood that even her vast resources would be strained to meet it.

A second source of discouragement came from the extreme popular ignorance of the conditions of war. In every campaign there are critical, and even desperate moments, times of black uncertainty, obstacles which seem at the time insuperable. It is unnecessary to refer to the position of the North during the first two years of the American Civil War. Take even so small and simple a campaign as the Sudan War of 1898. The situation after the seizure of Berber, the chance of a night attack before Omdurman, and the position of Macdonald’s brigade during the actual battle, were all matters to cause grave uneasiness to those in authority. In the ordinary campaign these anxious hours are experienced only by the Commander-in-chief and his Staff. The public know nothing of them till long afterwards, when detailed histories are published. But in a war like the present, in spite of the paucity of official information, the movements were on so gigantic a scale that they stood out like large type. Every man understood when Paris or Warsaw was in peril, when the Allies failed, and when the Germans succeeded. Moreover, the movements were so long drawn out that instead of critical hours, as in other campaigns, they involved critical weeks. In France and Russia the ordinary educated man had the rudiments of military knowledge which the average Briton lacked. He was aware that war has its ups and downs, that what seem gigantic losses may have little influence on the ultimate decision, and that what seems a glowing success is often the preliminary to failure. In Britain we did not know these things, civilians having rarely interested themselves in the science of war, and consequently the inevitable chances and mischances of the campaign presented themselves to us in darker colours than the truth.

One thing all the Allies had in common—an organization far less perfect than the Germans, and less natural capacity for such organization. There lay their weakness, which no taking thought could wholly remedy. We have seen what Germany did with her unequally-yoked allies, putting precision into the Turks and homogeneity into the Austrian legions, and turning every economic advantage of her colleagues to the profit of the whole. France, Russia, Italy, and Britain, though in spirit far more united than the Teutonic League, had by 28th June still failed to pool their assets scientifically, and to make full use of their advantages of position. The buying of war stores by the different Powers was still often at cross purposes. Events proved that the different strategic plans had not been perfectly harmonized, and that the vital matter of munitions was not treated as one problem, concerning not Russia and Britain as individuals, but the whole Allied front. It is true that much had been done by conferences to make the financing of the war uniform; but even in this sphere Germany would have carried the policy further. She would have devised that which Pitt appealed for in the House of Commons in 1783, “a complete economic system adapted to the new features of the situation.” Had France, Russia, Italy, Britain, Japan, Belgium, and Serbia formed themselves into an economic league to control all matters of international commerce, a formidable weapon would have been prepared against their enemies and a powerful lever to influence the policy of hesitating neutrals.[3]

The great asset of the Allies was their unity of purpose and singleness of heart. They had agreed to make peace as one Power, and they were wholly resolved to make no peace which should be indecisive. When Charles XII. of Sweden was faced, at the age of eighteen, with an attack by three armies, he told his council: “I have resolved never to engage in an unjust war, but, on the other hand, never to conclude a just one but by the ruin of my foes.” In that spirit all the Allies now faced the future. Their situation was far stronger than could be gathered from a map of rival positions. Every day was adding to the numbers of their armies, while very soon every day must lessen the numbers of the enemy. They were moving towards the construction of a machine as strong as the German—gropingly and slowly, it is true, but steadily. Time was still on their side. No one of their armies had been destroyed. Their losses, great as they were, had been made good. More and more, in the eyes not only of soldiers but of politicians and peoples, it was clear that Germany would be defeated only by the destruction of her field armies, and that all her gains of territory were irrelevant except in so far as they postponed that purpose. Hence the conquests which exhilarated Berlin were borne by the Allies—even by those at whose expense they had been made—with a certain robust philosophy. A lion is the less dangerous to an African village when it has gorged itself upon a portion of the herds.

What Germany had fondly counted upon had not come to pass. The Allies were working harmoniously, in spite of the most strenuous Teutonic efforts to stir up strife. Peripatetic German agents in Britain attempted to set labour and capital by the ears; their cousins in France whispered to the French people how infamous it was that Britons should be going on strike in such a crisis, and insisted on the shortness of the British line; while others in Russia, helped by the dregs of the Baltic-German bureaucracy, quoted certain unfortunate witticisms of French generals, pointed to the stagnation in the West, and observed that France would resist no doubt to the last drop of blood, but that that blood would be Russian. On the surface it looked as if the field for mischief-making were clear. But three forces combined to make the seeds of strife sown by Germany fall upon unreceptive ground. The first was the gravity of the crisis and the intense antagonism which Germany had inspired. Men engaged in what they believe to be a holy war are the less inclined to be captious about their colleagues. The second was the goodwill between the Allied armies brought about by the sincere admiration felt by each for the performance of the others. The memories of the Marne and Ypres and Le Cateau, of Rava Russka, Augustovo, and Przasnysz, were the best preventives of a carping spirit. Most important of all, each of the Allies was profoundly conscious of its shortcomings, and was more disposed to criticize its own unpreparedness than that of its neighbours. Each was busy setting its house in order. In Britain, as we have seen, the Government was reconstructed, and there was a zealous inquest for administrative ability. In Russia certain effete and corrupt elements were ruthlessly weeded out. In France there was least change, for the great change had been made on that August day when Paris was threatened and government migrated from the politicians to the soldiers. Since then the rock-like figure of General Joffre had been enthroned in the confidence of his countrymen.

This modesty, admirable in itself, might, if carried too far, have conduced to those evil results on which Germany counted. She cunningly hoped that a spirit of doubt and disquiet would go abroad among the Allies, and lead to the fall of Ministers and the “ungumming” of generals. In Britain, where, since the popular voice was most easily audible, criticism might have been most expected, we sinned little in this respect. Indeed, under the influence of Lincoln’s saying about “swapping horses in the middle of the stream,” we were inclined to be almost too tolerant of proved administrative incompetence and too chary of even well-informed and patriotic criticism. It is a mistake to change horses in the middle of the ford; but if the horse can only lie down, change is necessary to avoid drowning. The fact that competent critics were patriotically silent left the necessary task of public watchfulness to men who had small authority in the nation.

The position of neutral states on that 28th of June was still obscure. Italy had joined the Allies, but the Balkan nations—the only ones remaining whose decision from a military point of view was vital—were still perplexed by the contradictory interests which we have sketched in an earlier chapter. In Greece, though M. Venezelos had won a victory at the polls, he was not yet in office, and his country was as yet uncommitted. Bulgaria had come to a railway agreement with Turkey, but had shown no signs of joining the Teutonic League. Nor had she settled those territorial difficulties with Greece and Serbia which might have brought her in on the Allies’ side. Rumania, though undoubtedly influenced by Italy’s decision, was still keeping an anxious eye on Bulgaria. She did her best to preserve a strict aloofness, and refused to allow officially the passage of war munitions to Turkey through her territory.

Germany had counted on her victories in Galicia and Poland to fix for ever Balkan neutrality. But it is probable that she calculated wrongly, and that von Mackensen’s sweep to the San had the opposite effect from that which she hoped for. No one of the neutral Balkan states desired war. Each would have preferred that the Allies should do all the fighting. But the one prospect they could not face with equanimity was a triumphant Germany. That would mean the end of Rumania’s hopes of Transylvania, of Bulgaria’s Macedonian aspirations, of Greece’s dreams of the hegemony of the Ægean. In all likelihood it would mean at no distant date the end of the little Balkan nationalities altogether, for Austria and Germany would create a Teutonic belt to the Persian Gulf.

The United States, whose markets provided the Allies with war materials, was finding her position one of great and growing difficulty. President Wilson’s policy, though expressed by him in an academic phraseology which seemed curiously inept in such a crisis, was based upon a judicial view of American interests.[4] The pitfalls which beset her path were not fairly estimated by European observers. But Germany seemed determined to make neutrality impossible. The sinking of the Lusitania drew a strong protest from the American Government. This protest brought about the resignation of the Foreign Secretary, Mr. Bryan, who had spent his life in a world of emotional verbiage. To this protest on behalf of neutrals against the barbarity of her submarine practices, Germany replied defiantly. Several Notes were exchanged, and—to anticipate a little—in the middle of July Mr. Lansing, Mr. Bryan’s able successor, presented what would have been regarded by the older diplomacy as an ultimatum.[5] He laid down three uncontrovertible principles: that the high seas are free to neutral ships; that this freedom can only be interfered with after the character and cargo of the ship has been ascertained; and that the lives of non-combatants can only be lawfully endangered if the vessel seeks to escape after summons or attempts resistance. A repetition of the breaches of these principles of which Germany had been guilty would, said the Note, be regarded as an unfriendly act. Germany, through her Press, replied with an arrogant disdain; and a few days after the receipt of the Note her submarines sank an American steamer off the Orkney Islands. The atmosphere was electric, but what with another Power would have meant an immediate declaration of war did not necessarily involve such a consequence in the case of the United States. Her diplomatists had never regarded “terms of art” in the European way, and the phrase “unfriendly act,” which elsewhere was the wording of an ultimatum, was with her only a strong type of protest.

The relations with Britain were also, in spite of very real goodwill on both sides, moving to an impasse. In March, it will be remembered, the British Government declared a blockade of Germany—a blockade which, since it could not be made fully effective, was not in accord with the accepted principles of international law. It decreed the seizure and confiscation of non-contraband goods of German origin, ownership, or destination carried in neutral ships to neutral ports, though Britain did not propose to apply the rule with any technical rigour. This practice involved a considerable breach of the recognized code of maritime law, a breach which Britain justified by the exceptional character of the circumstances and by the international anarchism of Germany, and defended on the precedent of the novel methods adopted by America during the Civil War. To anticipate again—the rival views will be found fully stated in the correspondence[6] which passed during July between Sir Edward Grey and the American Ambassador in London. There was a great deal to be said for the British contention; there was much to be said for the American counterplea. But obviously so grave a matter could not depend only on the argumentation of international lawyers and the Foreign Offices which employed them. The plain facts were that America was seriously affected by British policy in perhaps her most vital interest—her cotton export. She saw her trade with enemy countries and to some extent with neutral countries hampered, and this on a plea which was manifestly at variance with accepted international practice. It did not convince the Southern planter to be told that the North in the Civil War also had done something in the way of rewriting international law. America was on strong ground, and she knew it, and she pressed her claims with much force during the summer months. It was gradually becoming apparent that the British plan, though reasonable enough in itself, would have to be modified.

Cotton was the chief difficulty, and three steps were pressed upon the Government as a solution. The first was to declare cotton contraband. It was clear that it was a most vital munition of war, since it was practically essential to the manufacture of nitro-cellulose, the basis of most modern propellent charges. It was perfectly true that to declare cotton contraband would have given us no weapon to restrict its import to Germany beyond what we had at present, though we should have been able not only to stop but to confiscate cargoes. But, combined with the doctrine of continuous voyage, it would have given us an authority which America could recognize. She herself had declared cotton contraband in her Civil War, and on the facts it was now a military munition like sulphur and saltpetre in former days. In the second place, it was suggested that neutral states might be put on rations, and that we might permit only a certain amount of cotton to be consigned to them, based on their average consumption for the three years before the war. Finally there was a proposal to purchase that portion of the American cotton crop which was normally exported to the enemy countries, and to hold it till after the war. The cost was usually estimated at some £30,000,000.

The importance of the question was as great as its intricacy. On 28th June it was the foremost problem we had to face in connection with our policy towards neutrals, and, since America was the munitioning ground of all the Allies, it vitally affected the whole Allied cause. The wheels of diplomacy move slowly, and the months passed without a solution. Happily the goodwill of the majority of the American people, and the genuine anxiety of the Ministers on both sides of the Atlantic to reach an agreement, prevented the controversy reaching the stage of crisis.

In reviewing a year of war we look naturally to see what new military doctrines have justified themselves, what novel methods in tactics and strategy have appeared in the various theatres. We find nothing revolutionary, nothing at variance with the accepted practices of war. Strategically, all the German prepossessions about envelopment, if they ever existed, had died a sudden death with the opening of trench warfare. In an earlier chapter we have discussed the main German doctrines. One only was clearly justified, and by those who had reflected on the subject it had never been seriously denied. That doctrine was the crushing effect of artillery both against forts and field positions. The German practice of massed infantry attacks had nothing in itself to recommend it; when it succeeded it was only because of the artillery preparation which preceded it. It was less a device deliberately selected than a concessio propter infirmitatem, necessary to armies which had to absorb into their ranks, as the war went on, much inferior fighting material.

Even as regards artillery the special German merit was not their tactical handling of it, but their ample supply. Heavy field pieces and machine guns in great quantities involve certain tactics, as inevitably as the length of reach of a boxer determines his method. The supreme achievement of the German Staff was that they saw precisely the part modern science could be made to play in modern warfare, and that they kept their eyes resolutely fixed on it. Since they were organized for war not only militarily but industrially, they could concentrate as a nation upon a single purpose in a way impossible to the freer civic organisms of their opponents. Germany made use of all her assets; her blow was weighted with her full national strength—that, in a sentence, was the gist of her excellence.

Some of the details of her machine were open to serious criticism not only on moral but on military grounds. Poison gas and liquid fire had momentarily a great success, but it may well be questioned whether they did not defeat their own ends. Apart from the fact that there was no special skill required in their use, and that the Allies if they chose could retaliate in kind, the fact that Germany was a pioneer in such methods was bound to exacerbate the feelings of her opponents—an unfortunate result for a Power which in the long run must play for a draw. On the general moral question it is foolish to dogmatize. Gas and fire were innovations, and seemed atrocious devices to the Allies. But it is doubtful whether the suffering they caused was greater than the suffering from shell fire. A man who died in torture under chlorine might have suffered equal agony from a shrapnel wound. All the arguments against them might have been used with as much force by the mediæval knight against gunpowder, by the old foot-soldier against high explosives, by the savage warrior against Maxims. The true point is that the innovation was not so much barbarous—all war is barbarous—as impolitic. Unless his weapon is so powerful as to break down all opposition, the innovator may find that he rouses a storm of resentment which nullifies the value of his devices. Again, Germany’s machine had this further drawback, that it disposed her soldiers to trust too much to it, and thereby weakened individual initiative and stamina. Here, again, if Germany were to be for all time the sole owner of such a machine, this defect would hurt her little. But if her opponents could sooner or later create a similar machine, then the struggle would lie between the human factors, and hers would ex hypothesi have been weakened.

The Allies on the whole might claim that their theories of war had been justified whenever it had been possible to apply them. The attack in open order, and their high standard of individual rifle fire, provided good results whenever the enemy’s guns allowed fighting at close quarters. Man for man, the average Frenchman, Russian, and Briton had demonstrated his superiority to the German soldier. It was not a question of courage, for the bravery of the German ranks could not be overpraised, but rather of dash, fortitude, stamina, and that indefinable thing which we might call temperamental predominance. This was conspicuously proved in bayonet work, in bomb-throwing, and especially in our most daring and successful aerial reconnaissance. Wherever individual qualities were demanded there the Allies were conspicuous. Our fighting machine, too, so far as it concerned the human element, was at least as good as the German. It was only in material, in the scientific aids to war, that we were excelled, and then only in one class of weapon, which, however, happened to be the most vital.

Summaries are apt to be fallacious, but if we were to summarize the military position on 28th June—the true military position independent of territorial gains—we might say that Germany possessed a machine strong in material but declining in man power, while the Allied mechanism was conspicuous in its man power, and weaker, but slowly moving towards an equality, in its material. On the 28th of June optimism was out of fashion; but none the less, on a dispassionate survey of the case, the conclusion for the Allies would have been optimistic.

At the heart of the whole matter lay the question of numbers. Germany in that respect was on the crest, or had already passed it, of her maximum effort. Her wonderful organization might add indefinitely to the number of her shells, but it could not call the dead from their graves. She must inevitably decrease, the Allies must increase, and, though her artillery machine would allow her yet awhile to hold her front with fewer men, this possibility would shrink as the Allies perfected their equipment. The true estimate of the position on 28th June involved some understanding of the losses of the combatants, and the numbers still available. Unfortunately, even for the high commands, this question was still in the realm of conjecture. A few figures were certain. According to the British Prime Minister, the British casualties up to the middle of July, excluding the operations in German South-West Africa, were 330,995, of which some 70,000 were killed.[7] France published no statement, but an unofficial estimate[8] up to the end of June gave 400,000 killed, 700,000 disabled, and 300,000 prisoners, a total of 1,400,000. The Russian casualty list was very large, and if we are to credit German figures, after making all allowance for their notoriously swollen estimates of prisoners, we should probably put it at well over 3,000,000. The personal losses of the Allies for the year would seem to have reached a figure greater than 4,500,000 but less than 5,000,000. The German losses, according to the calculation of the French Staff, would in the same period have been something over 3,000,000. But the figure only allowed for the normal rate of wastage—260,000 a month—and in May and June this must have been more than doubled, what with the fighting in the Artois and the great Galician advance. We should probably not be far wrong in putting Germany’s permanent loss as between 3,500,000 and 4,000,000. The Austrian casualties were only guesswork, but we know that Russia and Serbia had 700,000 prisoners, and a cautious estimate gave the dead loss in killed and wounded as 1,500,000. Leaving out Turkey, we should probably have been justified in putting the losses—the irreplaceable losses—of the Teutonic League up to 28th June at well over 5,000,000, and those of the Allies at something less than 5,000,000.

But the real question was not how many had fallen, but how many remained? France, on the admission of her General Staff, was able to fight for another year, allowing for her normal wastage, without weakening any of her field units. Britain could in the next year at least double her forces in the field, and supply all necessary drafts. It was announced that Russia at the beginning of July had, apart from her field armies, a reserve for new formations and drafts of over 6,000,000 untrained and partially trained men. If we allow Italy to balance Turkey—an allowance which scarcely does justice to our ally—we reach the conclusion that after a year of war the Teutonic League, in spite of all its artillery preparation, had lost absolutely more men than the Allies, and had nothing like the vast Allied reservoirs from which they could be replaced. The few people who in the end of June cared to work out the calculations found a reasoned justification for their confidence in the Allies’ future.

The naval position demands a very brief note. It was wholly in favour of the Allies. In all the seas of the world German merchantmen and German ships of war had disappeared. In the north-eastern corner of the Adriatic, Italy held the Austrian fleet; in the Ægean, the British and French fleets were operating against the Dardanelles. The one German success, the Battle of Coronel, had been promptly redeemed by von Spee’s destruction at the Falkland Islands. The German Grand Fleet lay behind the shelter of the Frisian Islands. The Battle of the Bight of Heligoland showed that Britain could carry the war inside German territorial waters, and the one serious German raid had been checked and defeated in the battle of 24th January. The boasted German submarine campaign had effected nothing of a military purpose, except the withdrawal of the larger British battleships from the Dardanelles. Up to a date early in July it had sunk 98 British merchantmen—or 195 if we include trawlers—30 Allied ships, and less than 50 neutrals, and had thereby raised international difficulties for Germany which far outbalanced these trivial successes. The British losses by submarines were only about 1¼ per cent. of our total shipping, and the new risk did not raise insurance rates or affect in the slightest degree the nerve of our merchant seamen. The boasts of the German Press were conclusively answered by Mr. Balfour in a letter to an American correspondent—a letter which states with admirable clearness and justice the achievements of the British navy.[9]

The British Grand Fleet during the year was, like the country of the proverb, happy in that it had no history. Without any of the great battleships firing a shot it had fulfilled its task. Its mere existence gave security to our commerce and a free hand to our lighter squadrons, and kept the enemy inside his harbours. Its potent inaction was not idleness. It was ready and anxious to meet its opponent as soon as he ventured forth. But till that day came it held the seas and waited, as Nelson’s fleet for two years before Trafalgar watched the coasts of the enemy. How great a strain this duty involved is beyond a civilian’s estimate. Day and night the great ships kept the sea, in the stormy winter months steaming without lights in black darkness, with the perpetual menace of mines and submarines around them. They were hidden from the nation’s gaze. No achievements filled the papers. There was nothing to relieve the tedium of their toil or key the spirit of their men to that high pitch which is the reward of war. In months of danger and heavy labour they had to endure something worse than the monotony of peace. Yet we know that the Grand Fleet kept its health unimpaired, its nerves steady, its eagerness unabated. Such a moral achievement was not the least of the triumphs of the year, for he that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a city.

A great war usually throws up a great soldier or statesman, but not necessarily at the beginning. England at various times in her history has been long in travail before she has produced a man. Our Civil War was well advanced before it saw the advent of Cromwell and Montrose. The French Revolution was four years old before the star of Napoleon rose above the horizon, and those who led the armies of France during those years were none of them in the first rank. Britain had to wait fourteen years for the coming of Wellington. The American Civil War is an exception, for almost from the start two leaders of the highest genius, Lee and Jackson, sprang full panoplied into fame, like Athene from the brain of Zeus. But the case of the North restores the rule. Lincoln had to work through a long succession of inferior generals, McClellan, McDowell, Burnside, Pope, Banks, and Hooker, before he found in Grant a competent soldier able to use effectively the vast resources of the Union. Unless a war is originated by a genius like Alexander or Charles XII., there must generally be a long interregnum till the nation finds the leader who possesses that “stellar and undiminishable” something which is greatness. How long had the Punic War to wait for Scipio, or the Roman Revolution for Julius Cæsar?

In modern warfare it would seem that the period of waiting must be longer, for modern warfare sinks the individual in the machine. Just as industrialism tends to turn the craftsman into a mere machine-tender, so the latest developments of war transform the soldier into a kind of operative. Till the other day we were accustomed to speak of “fighting races”—of men like the tribesmen of the Indian frontier, or the Boers—whose life had given them a natural hardihood, an eye for country, quick senses, and great bodily endurance, and to contrast with them the products of urban civilization who were born with none of these gifts. But it looks as if we must revise our views. Our new war machine abolishes, or at any rate greatly modifies, the distinction between martial and non-martial peoples. The ideal soldier would appear to be the skilled mechanic, who gets his fortitude partly from a high discipline and partly from confidence in his machine. The noble savage with the spear has fallen before the lesser physique of civilization armed with a rifle. Now it would seem that the soldier, trained in the various branches of the military art, and full of valour and self-reliance, must yield to the pasty operative who can handle at a distance the levers and bolts of a great gun.

In the same way modern warfare gives small chance for individual generalship. Surprises, night marches, ingenious feints are seldom possible. The conditions are rigidly prescribed, and can rarely be dominated and altered by the most fertile mind. The general has also become a machine-tender. The brains—the genius, if you will—are to be found in the construction of the machine, for its use is more or less a mechanical task. Some men will be more skilled in it than others, but the highest skill is not the same thing as generalship in the old sense. A Marlborough, a Cæsar, even a Napoleon, would beat ineffectual wings against the new barriers.

All this is true, and those who declaimed during the campaign against the absence of genius in generalship forgot that generalship, like other arts, needs the proper occasion. Supply will scarcely be forthcoming if the demand is nil. In former days war was three-fourths an art and one-fourth a science. Now it is at least three-fourths science, and the human element is circumscribed. . . . Yes, but not wholly, and not in the last resort. For a machine is not immortal. It may break down through internal weakness, or because it is confronted with a machine of equal strength. When that day comes war will become an art once more, and individual generalship and individual fighting quality will recover their old pre-eminence.

The first year of the war revealed no superlative distinction in statesmanship in any of the belligerent countries. Statesmen of the higher type may be roughly divided into builders and governors. Since Napoleon the world has seen two constructive brains of the first order—Bismarck and Cavour,[10] and one governing mind not less great, that of Abraham Lincoln. The second decade of the twentieth century saw two men alive in Europe who seemed to have the essentials of the higher statesmanship. M. Venezelos had the talent of his famous countryman for making a small town into a great city, and under his lead a new Greece was emerging. M. Delcassé, by common consent the wisest Foreign Minister in Europe, was as courageous and tenacious as he was far-seeing. For the rest, there were few outstanding figures, though many of great respectability. Russia still suffered from her bureaucratic system, largely German in origin, which stifled true nationalism, and since the death of Stolypin she had had no political leader of the first quality. In Britain our system, as we have seen in an earlier chapter, discouraged administrative efficiency, and administrators cannot be easily improvised. Men of proved executive ability—such as some of our Imperial administrators—were too remote from common politics to be readily made use of. On the other hand it should be said that, like the other Allies, we had highly competent men at the Foreign Office and the Ministry of War. France had no second civilian to set quite beside Delcassé. But the lack was most glaring in Germany. Herren von Bethmann-Hollweg, von Jagow, and von Helfferich were very ordinary folk; but they still wore the giant’s mantle which had descended from the great days of Bismarck, and for a time it covered their insufficiencies. Perhaps the two strongest forces in Europe, after Venezelos and Delcassé, were the Italian Foreign Minister, Baron Sonnino, and the Hungarian, Count Stephen Tisza. Both were men a little cold and rigid in temperament, but both had the steeliest kind of resolution. They saw their path clearly, and walked in it with undeviating steps.

A constructive statesman of the Bismarck type was scarcely needed in this crisis. Far-reaching policies had to be put aside for the moment, and Europe must live in the hour. But a governing statesman—the mind which can maintain its purpose undivided, which is an inspirer of fortitude in others, which in hectic moments keeps its judgment, and which has that potent and pervasive effect on the temper of a whole people which is what we mean by political genius—that, indeed, was clamorously required. Such a one as Lincoln would, perhaps, have best filled the part. The possession of a statesman of the first order by any belligerent would have been valuable not only to that Power and its allies, but to its opponents. For some day war must end and peace come, and who was to rebuild a weary and broken world?

It is not often that a country possesses at one and the same time great soldiers and great civilian ministers. More often a Marlborough fights under the direction of a Godolphin, and rarely does a Chatham find a Wolfe and a Clive to do his bidding. The absence of great statesmen in the present war was not, however, atoned for by the presence of commanding figures in the field. By 28th June the new Napoleon had not come, not even perhaps a new Moltke. It is premature to judge the work of men whose tasks were still incomplete, but the exact standing of reputations after a year of struggle is in itself a fact which the historian must account for.

In military circles in Germany before 1914 the high commanders were frankly discussed. One heard often the names of von Eichhorn, von Einem, and von Kluck; occasionally in the Eastern districts of von Mackensen; and very especially that of von Falkenhayn, the Prussian Minister of War. In assessing German personalities we must remember that the machine was far greater than the individual. The praise belonged rather to those who had perfected the machine than to those who worked it. The chief honours must fall to the great men long dead—Bismarck, von Moltke, von Roon, and their immediate successors. The credit for having brought the machine up to date should perhaps go to von Schlieffen, the Chief of the General Staff up to 1906; and the mighty effort of the winter should probably be attributed to von Falkenhayn, who succeeded the younger von Moltke after three months of war. Von Falkenhayn was capable of gigantic blunders—such as the strategy of the first great attack in West Flanders—but he recognized the nature of the assets which his country possessed, and he divined very clearly the best way to use them.

Von Hindenburg was for Germany the discovery of the first year of war, and by September he had become a popular idol. But, apart from the local knowledge which won him Tannenberg, it is difficult to detect in his handling of the campaign any transcendent military genius. He inspired great enthusiasm among his troops, but his plans were not his, but those of the machine behind him. His sledge-hammer blows at different parts of the Russian front were predetermined by the nature of his weapon. For the rest, Germany produced a number of highly competent army commanders, of whom von Mackensen was the most successful. If they cannot be said to reach the first rank, it is none the less foolish to underrate their work. To handle the machine might not demand great genius, but it required a high degree of expert training and a very cool head. We have called von Mackensen the most successful rather than the ablest, for fortune gave him the beau rôle. Some commanders like von Einem and von Eichhorn had had tasks in which it was nearly impossible to win a personal reputation. Of the other leaders the Duke of Wurtemberg seemed to have increased his reputation, while that of the Imperial Crown Prince and the Crown Prince of Bavaria had declined. Von Kluck, a brave and competent general, was still overshadowed by his mistake at the Battle of the Marne.

Austria began with third-rate leaders, and in the process of the campaign discovered several who might rank well up in the second class. The Dankls and von Auffenbergs of the early days were displaced in the spring by new men—Boroevitch von Bojna, Boehm-Ermolli, and von Pflanzer—who were at any rate able to conform to the superimposed German strategy. There seems no reason to suspect any of her archdukes of special talent.

On the side of the Allies two commanding figures overtopped all others—General Joffre and the Grand Duke Nicholas. They were in a true sense national dictators, possessing the complete confidence of their respective nations; and, since their wills could override all other wills, in them was focussed the government of France and Russia. They were men of that large simplicity which is one of the secrets of generalship. They had a genius for disentangling the essential from the less essential; for disregarding side-issues, and seeing losses in their true perspective. Above all, they had stout hearts, and could make those “grand renunciations” inevitable in a war which to begin with must be fought on the defensive. As the months passed both figures became almost legendary. To General Joffre and the Grand Duke were attributed all the flotsam and jetsam of national witticisms and apothegms. But they never became vague, or lost that clear detachment from the atmosphere which we call distinction. The humblest piou-piou had in his mind a picture of a bluff, taciturn, yet kindly general, a true father of his children, whose wisdom would yet give France victory; and the remotest moujik had a vision of the tall, silent Prince who represented the unshakable resolution of Holy Russia.

Both generalissimos were fortunate in having brilliant subordinates. The army group commanders—Alexeiev and Ivanov, Foch, de Castelnau, and Dubail—had certainly no superiors in the German forces, and probably no equals. Foch, in particular, had some claims to be considered the first soldier in Europe. Of the highest quality, too, were some of the corps commanders, such as Brussilov, Lesch, and Dmitrieff in the East, and d’Urbal and Maud’huy in the West.

In the British forces, though so far the high command had not had occasion to prove itself in major operations with armies on the grand scale, the patience and good sense of Sir John French were conspicuous, and in Sir William Robertson and Sir Douglas Haig he had most capable lieutenants. One British soldier had by 28th June won a unique reputation. General Botha was so far the one clear conqueror, and in his difficult campaign he had shown not only true political wisdom but a high degree of technical military skill.

Most campaigns have a heavy roll of personal failures. But in the first year of war there were few cases where a genuine military reputation was lost. General Joffre’s comprehensive “ungumming” after the Marne was directed mainly to political generals. The commanders who retired discreetly to Limoges or the Crimea[11] during the year were for the most part obscure. The brief supersession of Radko Dmitrieff after the Donajetz was quickly rescinded when he was proved free from blame. The one conspicuous case where a great reputation was dimmed was that of Rennenkampf, who lost his field command after his failure at Lodz in November.

The year which ended on 28th June had revealed a war less of the high commands than of subordinate leaders. Trench fighting and the importance of artillery combined to annul all major strategy, and put the main burden on the brigadiers, the battalion and company commanders, and even on the subalterns. There were many chances for individual gallantry, but few and rare were the occasions when officers, from subalterns to generals, could earn distinction by initiative or special military knowledge. In the stalemate on the West war was reduced to very primitive elements, and the débâcle in the East submerged human skill under a shower of shell. Such was the inevitable result of modern scientific war in its early phases.

But the wheel came full circle, and that very science, which depressed the human factor, contrived in its extreme developments to make it the more conspicuous. For a sphere where courage and brains found full scope we must look to the most expert warfare of all—the work of the submarine and aeroplane. There the possession of one kind of machine took a man out of the grip of the Machine, and set him adventuring in a free world, as in the old days of war. The doings of Max Horton, Holbrook, Boyle, Naismith, and von Weddigen under the sea, and of Rhodes-Moorhouse, Warneford, and Garros in the air, will rank with the most brilliant individual enterprises of earlier campaigns.

The chief factor in this odd propaganda was a book called The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Mr. Houston Stewart Chamberlain, an Englishman who had become a German citizen and had married a daughter of Wagner. This grandiose work, written with ability and occasionally with real historical insight, was an attempt to prove that all that is valuable in our modern civilization is the work of the Teutonic genius. For this purpose the author boldly annexed Leonardo and Dante as Teutons. A spurious originality can always be got by writing history up to a fanciful thesis, and one effort of this kind is usually followed by an equally successful effort from the opposite standpoint. If you write a history of the world to prove that progress is the work of red-haired men, somebody else will show as convincingly that it is the work of the black-haired. The pendant to Mr. Chamberlain’s book appeared in 1912, Die Juden und das Wirtschaftsleben, the work of the well-known Berlin professor, Werner Sombart. It showed that modern civilization was mainly the creation of the Jew, and claimed as Jews—among others—Columbus and the Scotsman, John Law of Lauriston.

Mr. F. S. Oliver. Ordeal by Battle, pp. 123-4.

This plan was urged in a brilliant article in the Italian Nuova Antologia.

“Any question of war involves not only a question of right, not only a question of justice, but also a question of expediency. Before any Government goes to war it ought to be convinced, not only that it has just cause for war, but that there is something which renders war its duty; a duty compounded of two considerations—the first what the country may owe to others; the second what she owes to herself.”—Canning: Speech on the Spanish Question, 1823.

See Appendix I.

See Appendix II.

The details were—(1) Military: Killed, 61,384; wounded, 196,620; missing, 63,885. (2) Naval: Killed, 7,929; wounded, 874; missing, 303. The Dardanelles accounted for 8,134 killed, 30,014 wounded, and 11,090 missing.

The Committee of the French Relief Fund.

See Appendix III.

Cecil Rhodes was of the same type, but he wrought on a smaller scale and in the face of far fewer difficulties. We are speaking here of the statesman as man of action. Statesmen who contented themselves with ventilating or inventing political dogmas were as common as peas.

The French and Russian equivalents for the Stellenbosch of the South African War.



Failure of the Allied Offensive—Reasons for not renewing it—Rumours of New German Attack—Belgian Success at Dixmude—Fighting at Hooge and Festubert—The Situation in the Artois—The Labyrinth—Desperate Character of Fighting—Fighting in the Woëvre and the Vosges—The Crown Prince’s Movement in the Argonne—The First Hint of Liquid Fire—The Crown Prince’s Failure—Reason for the Attack—Condition of Allied Lines during Summer—New Science of Trench Fighting—The Complex Mechanism of Modern Armies—Communication Trenches—Trench Life during the Summer—A Subaltern’s War—Wastage.

When von Mackensen was driving Dmitrieff to the San the Allies in the West attempted a diversion. The British attack from Festubert and the French thrust in the Artois, though they had their own special strategic purpose, were largely undertaken with this object in view. Up to a point both succeeded, but the larger intention failed. Early in June it was clear that the enemy’s line had not been pierced—could not yet be pierced—on a front sufficiently broad to give decisive results. Then came the news of still greater Russian trials. Przemysl and Lemberg fell, the southern railway was threatened, and presently came von Hindenburg’s assault upon the Narev and the whole northern line. It seemed as if it were at once the wisdom and duty of the Western Allies to attempt a counter-movement. The civilian population of France and Britain looked for it; the soldiers on the Western front expected it daily. The Russian Press asked again and again what the Allies were doing, and we may believe that the heroic armies of Russia turned their eyes wearily westward in the hope that France and Britain would soon reap the fruit of their sacrifice.

Why was no great counter-offensive undertaken? To answer the question fully would demand an insight into the mind of the High Command which no historian can as yet pretend to. But two reasons may be tentatively put forward, one based on considerations of general strategy, the other on the facts of the local situation.

In a boy’s game, when one member of a side is hard pressed, it is right for others of his side to attempt a counter-pressure on their opponents. That is the ritual of all sports where the players are organized in teams. But the game of war is played under grimmer rules. Its object is victory at any cost; and it may be necessary to permit the continued and desperate harassing of one section, perhaps even its destruction, in order to secure the greater end. Thermopylæ was fought by Leonidas and his Spartans for reasons of sound strategy. Had the Greeks refused the sacrifice and made an abortive attempt at relief, they would have been crushed somewhere on the Locrian coast, and the world would not have heard of Salamis and Platæa. Hence the time when one ally is hard pressed may be the time for the others to hold their hands. If the enemy is triumphant in one section he will be able to send relief to another section which is in difficulties. Provided the ally who receives the onslaught is really capable of supporting it, it may be wiser to let the enemy expend his strength in that quarter. It is a cold-blooded policy, but it may be justified by the higher interests of the whole alliance. The time for the Allies not yet attacked to hurl themselves into the fray may be not when the enemy is succeeding elsewhere, but when he is failing, when he has exhausted his impetus, and is beginning to yield to counter-attacks. For then the wedges will be driven in on both sides of the tree, and its fall will be the speedier.

Such is a possible strategic justification. Whether or not it was present in this case to the minds of the High Command is a matter of guesswork. But there was another reason for the apparent supineness in the West, an argument to which there was no answer. The Allies were not able to make a really effective diversion. Although their numbers were greater than the Germans, they were still behind them in machine guns, heavy pieces, and stores of shell. By the end of May the German numbers were increased—slightly before the British, considerably before the French in the Artois, and very largely in the Argonne and the Woëvre. Against an enemy so firmly entrenched and so amply equipped mere numbers availed little. The advance of the Allies at Festubert and in the Artois had convinced them of two facts. One was that to hurl infantry against German entrenchments without a very complete artillery “preparation” was a senseless waste of life. The other was that it did little good to pierce the enemy’s line on a narrow front. To drive in a thin wedge meant no more than that a dangerous salient was thereby created, and Ypres had disillusioned us on the subject of salients. Even to break the hostile line for five miles, as in the Artois, was not enough. Von Mackensen on the Donajetz had shattered a front of forty miles, and we needed some space like that if we were to manœuvre in the gap. A rent on a great scale would prevent the enemy concentrating his artillery in a sufficient number of fortins to bar our advance. It would be a wound which he could not stanch in time. To achieve it we required a far greater artillery machine. It need not be more powerful than the enemy’s; it need not be as powerful; but it must be powerful enough to permit of a concentration on a front not of half a dozen miles, like our past efforts, but of twenty, thirty, or forty.

Until we possessed this complement our diversions could achieve nothing of substance to ourselves or our Eastern Allies. Could we have torn a wide rent in the Western front, pushed our cavalry through, and harried vital communications, then indeed we should have brought great armies hurrying back from the Vistula. But to drive in tiny wedges could have no effect on the death-grapple in the East, any more than to beat a bull-dog with a light cane will make him slacken his grip. To attempt an abortive offensive would be to play Germany’s game. She wished the Western Allies to keep hurling themselves against her artillery bulwarks, and break themselves in the process, for she believed that thereby they would weaken and lose heart. The path of wisdom for the Allies was identical in both East and West. It was their business to avoid exposing themselves to the full blast of the German machine, till they had secured a machine of their own. They must retire, or fight a holding and delaying battle. If a man with a short sword is engaging a man with a long sword he will do his best to keep his distance till the proper weapon arrives. He will try to lead his adversary a dance and tire him out, till he himself gets a long sword and can close. The long sword of the Allies was not ready, and they had to keep their armies intact till it came.

In June the usual reports were circulated of a great German concentration in the West. It was announced that the frontiers of Holland and Switzerland were closed, and the Dutch Press was full of accounts of troops and supply trains moving towards the Flanders front. These rumours were mere bluff. Germany sent reinforcements not from the East but from her internal reserves, but they were on a limited scale, for she had no intention of making an immediate bid for Calais. That must wait till von Hindenburg had settled his score with Russia.

The story of the midsummer doings in the West is, with one exception, a chronicle of small things—small attacks followed by small counter-attacks, or desperate local struggles for fortresses where a week’s advance was measured in yards. It was the winter stalemate repeated, with less success, for the balance of this war of attrition was not in the Allies’ favour. Little ground was lost, but little was won, and the list of casualties, French and British, advanced ominously for a period which showed no major action. The German machine was taking its toll.

On 14th June the Yser south of Dixmude railway station was crossed by a Belgian battalion, who June 14.captured a German blockhouse and entrenched themselves on the ground they had won. Around Ypres there were various small actions, chiefly in the neighbourhood of the Hooge chateau south of the Bellewaarde Lake, and close to the Menin road. This place had been the headquarters of the First Corps during the critical hours of the first Battle of Ypres. It had been a position in our front when the Salient was curtailed on 3rd May, but it had been lost in the great gas attack of 24th May. Throughout June and July it was the centre of constant fighting, for it represented a patch of higher ground in that flat country. The château and the outbuildings in its grounds had long been in ruins, and the opposing trenches ran through a confusion of broken masonry.

The Country round Hooge.

The Salient in June and July was no more wholesome than it had been in May. Ypres—the neck of the bottle—was still punctually shelled, and on 3rd June the Germans blew to pieces the last June 3.remnants of the spire of St. Martin’s Church. On the last night of May we seized the outbuildings at Hooge, were driven out of them, but recaptured them on the night of 3rd June. That same night, north-east of Givenchy, we won 200 yards of German trenches, taking some prisoners, but had to relinquish the ground in the June 15.morning under the fire of the enemy’s artillery. On the night of 15th June, east of Festubert, we took a mile of trenches, but failed to hold them. Next morning we attacked June 16.with some success south of Hooge, and captured 1,000 yards of German front trenches and part of their second line, taking over 150 prisoners, and repulsing a strong counter-attack. In this action a Territorial battalion, the Liverpool Scottish, greatly distinguished itself. The enemy recovered his second-line trenches later in the day. On the 18th we made June 18.some further progress north of the Menin road. These attacks had no large strategic purpose. They were undertaken to improve our trench line, which in the Ypres Salient was poor at the best, and in parts highly precarious. The retention of the Salient seemed difficult to defend when it involved such constant fighting under difficulties, and such a continuous drain of valuable lives. In all these minor actions, both at Ypres and Festubert, the same situation was drearily repeated. What we won by our gallantry in attack we lost, or held only with heavy casualties, owing to the weight of the enemy’s gun-fire.

In the Artois the great movement on Lens had become stagnant by 20th June. Not that the June 20.struggle slackened, but that little further ground was gained. On that day the French carried the Fond de Buval, a ravine on the south-eastern slope of the Lorette ridge, which was the most formidable fortin remaining in that quarter. The Germans had converted the gully into a sort of bee-hive, with underground passages and rows of trenches one above the other. The last stages of the Artois battle were as bloody and desperate as any action of the campaign. In the famous Labyrinth, which by the middle of the month was practically in French hands, a murderous subterranean warfare endured for weeks. Tunnels ran thirty and forty feet below the ground, and that triangle between the Bethune and Lille roads was the scene of a struggle which for nightmarish horror can be paralleled only from the sack of some mediæval city. The French, no longer moving freely in the open with flowers in their caps, as on the first day of the advance, fought from cellar to cellar, from sap-head to sap-head, hacking their way through partition walls. The only light came from the officers’ electric torches. The enemy resisted stubbornly, and there, far below the earth, men fought at the closest quarters with picks and knives and bayonets—often like wild beasts with teeth and hands.

But the great movement had failed. It was now a matter of reducing separately the many forts, and the slowness of the task enabled reserve lines to spring up, so that the Allies were as far from Vimy heights and Lens as before their effort began. The Germans made no serious counter-attack, but they turned their guns once again on Arras, wrecking still further the cathedral, and hitting a hospital and killing many nuns and nurses. Farther south there was a French success at Hebuterne, between Arras and Albert, where nearly two miles of trenches were taken; and General Petain’s army made a small advance at Quennevières, in the Oise area. On the Allied right-centre in the Woëvre there was a good deal of trench fighting, chiefly around the Bois le Prêtre and on the heights of the Meuse. The Germans made repeated attempts to win back the Les Eparges ridge, attacking chiefly from the southern side, and the French retaliated by harassing with aerial bombs the communications by way of Vigneulles and Conflans. More important were the doings in the Vosges. As we have seen, by the end of May the French had won positions in the Fecht valley which threatened the towns of Metzeral June 17.and Munster and the railway to Colmar. On 17th June the heights were carried which overlooked Metzeral on the north, and June 19.ground was won on the ridge south of the valley. On 19th June, in dense mist and rain, the French took Metzeral, which the Germans had left in flames, and that same day began the long range bombardment of Munster, where they blew up the German ammunition depôt. By the middle of July they had taken the Sondernach ridge farther down the valley, and by the end of the month had pushed their advanced posts very near Munster itself. It was a war of rival chasseurs, mountaineer against mountaineer, for the French Alpins were mainly opposed by Bavarian Jaegers.

The only major action during the midsummer months was the assault of the Imperial Crown Prince in the Argonne. It was a resolute offensive movement, though injudicious and unsuccessful. The heir of the Hohenzollerns had been an ill-fated commander. He was very generally blamed for much of what happened at the Battle of the Marne, and his reputation in his own country had suffered a serious eclipse. For more than eight months with a small army he had been stationed in the Argonne, engaged in a forest warfare which was barren of results. The rival trenches stood at the end of May not very far from where they had stood at the beginning of October. It was necessary to do something, in Napoleon’s phrase, pour chauffer la gloire, for the insignificance of the heir-apparent was repugnant to German ideas of statecraft. Accordingly he was given reinforcements. He had still the 16th Corps of Lorraine, and he received from von Strantz’s army of Metz several divisions of Wurtemberg Landwehr. In all, perhaps, he had 50,000 men.

The Crown Prince’s Attack in the Argonne.

The map will show the curious terrain. The French held the pass between the little towns of Vienne and Varennes, save at its eastern end, where the German lines curved south and covered Varennes itself. Vienne le Château was in French hands, and four miles of the wood of La Grurie to the north of it. The German front lay just south of the village of Binarville, ran north of the shooting lodge called Bagatelle and a woodland spring called Fontaine Madame, turned south at the crest of the ridge on the eastern side of the forest, and dipped sharply to a point on the Clermont road south of the village of Bouveuilles.

The Crown Prince’s attack began on 20th June, and was heralded by an announcement that the June 20.French had been using inflammatory bombs south-east of Varennes, and flooding the opposing trenches with liquid fire. The announcement was false, being part of that naïve German plan by which, when they intended adopting discreditable methods, they began by accusing their opponents of them. The same thing had happened preparatory to the attack by poisoned gas at the second Battle of Ypres, and the Allies were on the alert. It was not till more than a month later that we saw the full working of the device in the affair at Hooge.

Between 20th June and 2nd July four attacks were delivered on the French left against the angle formed by the French lines and the Vienne-Binarville road. Much use was made of asphyxiating shells, but the results were inconsiderable, the total gain being a few hundred yards. On 7th July the July 7.Crown Prince changed his plan, and flung his main strength against the French right in the neighbourhood of the eastern ridge, which, from a green ride cut in the wood, is called the Haute Chevauchée. After a violent artillery bombardment two divisions of the 16th Corps were hurled on the French between Fontaine Madame and the highest point of the Haute Chevauchée, a hillock marked 285 metres in the map, but locally known as La Fille Morte. This position was carried, and the Germans advanced their centre and left a space of nearly a mile.

On the 14th the French counter-attacked at the other side of the forest, where they gained some ground both in the wood of La GrurieJuly 14. and beyond it to the west towards the village of Servon. After that the fighting languished. The Crown Prince was pushed back from the Haute Chevauchée and La Fille Morte, and the total result of a month’s struggle was a German gain of an average of 400 yards on their Argonne front. The casualties on both sides were probably much the same.

It is difficult to see any real strategic purpose in the escapade. If its aim was to reach and cut the Châlons-Verdun railway, and so pen in Verdun on a third side, it never had a chance of succeeding. The numbers were too few, the country was far too difficult. In that woodland fighting artillery was at a certain disadvantage in attack, for the chances of concealing a position were infinite. Had the movement been seriously meant we may assume it would have been seriously equipped. It was in all likelihood only an attempt to retrieve a somewhat damaged reputation on the part of a general whom birth had cast for a part he could not fill.

The lines on the West had become on both sides a series of elaborate fortifications. It was a far cry from the rough and shallow shelter trenches in which we had fought our autumn battles to the intricate network which now spread from the North Sea to the Vosges. Along the Yser, though the floods had shrunk, enough remained to constitute a formidable defence. There the low-lying positions were made as comfortable as possible by ingenious schemes of drainage and timbering, in which the Belgian soldiers were adepts. There, and in the Ypres Salient, the trenches could never be of the best. They could not be made deep enough because of the watery subsoil, and resort was had to parapets, which were too good a target for artillery fire. From Ypres to Armentières the autumn fighting had left the Germans with the better positions on higher ground, but the British trenches there had been brought to a wonderful pitch of excellence, and in various parts were practically impregnable. In the Festubert and La Bassée region, and still more in the Artois, the several Allied advances had brought the front trenches back to something like the autumn improvisations, but there was now a strong system of reserve positions. From Arras to Compiègne in the light soil of the Santerre and the Oise valley the conditions were favourable, though there were one or two horrible places, such as La Boisselle, near Albert, where the French front ran through a graveyard. On the Aisne the Germans had the better ground, and the peculiar chalky soil made trench life uncomfortable. Things were better in northern Champagne, while in the Argonne, the Woëvre, and the Vosges the thick woods allowed of the establishment of forest colonies, where men could walk upright and lead a rational life. Three-fourths of the whole front were probably unassailable except by a great artillery concentration. The remainder was in that fluid condition which a war of attrition involves. But everywhere—as distinguished from the state of affairs in autumn—there was on both sides a series of prepared alternative positions.

Trench fighting was now approaching the rank of a special science. The armies had evolved in nine months a code of defensive warfare which implied a multitude of strange apparatus. There were more than a dozen varieties of bombs, which experience had shown were the only weapons for clearing out a trench network. There were machines for hurling these not unlike the Roman ballista. The different species of shells in use would have puzzled an artillery expert a year before. Provisions had been made to counteract poison gas and liquid fire, and respirator drill was now a recognized part of the army’s routine. Every kind of entanglement which human ingenuity could suggest appeared in the ground before the trenches.

The intricacy of the science meant a very hive of activity behind the lines. Any one journeying from the base to the first line might well be amazed at the immense and complex mechanism of modern armies. At first it seemed like a gigantic business concern, a sort of magnified American “combine.” Fifty miles off we were manufacturing on a colossal scale, and men were suffering from industrial ailments as they suffer in dangerous trades at home. There were more mechanics than in Sheffield, more dock labourers than in Newcastle. But all the mechanism resembled a series of pyramids which tapered to a point as they neared the front. Behind were the great general hospitals and convalescent homes; then came the clearing hospitals; then the main dressing stations; and last of all, the advanced and regimental dressing stations, where mechanism failed. Behind were the huge transport depôts and repairing shops, the daily trains to railhead, the supply columns; and last, the handcarts to carry ammunition to the firing line. Behind were the railways and the mechanical transport, but at the end a man had only his two legs. Behind were the workshops of the Flying Corps and the squadron and flight stations; but at the end of the chain was the solitary aeroplane coasting over the German lines, and depending upon the skill and nerve of one man. Though all modern science had gone to the making of the war, at the end, in spite of every artificial aid, it became elementary, akin in many respects to the days of bows and arrows.

The communication trench was the link between the busy hinterland and the firing line, and no science could make that other than rudimentary. A hump of ground was as vital to the scientific modern soldier as to the belligerent cave-man. There were all varieties of communication trenches. In some fortunate places they were not required. If the trenches lined a thick wood, a man could reach them by strolling through the trees. Sometimes they took their start from what had been a village cellar, or they suddenly came into being behind a hedge a mile or two from the fighting line. In some cases the front trenches could be reached easily by daylight; in others it was a risky enterprise; in one or two parts it was impossible. The immediate hinterland was the object of the enemy’s shelling, and he showed great skill in picking out the points which relieving battalions or supply convoys must pass at a fixed time. Except in an attack, the trenches were safe and salubrious places compared to the road up to them.

Things had changed since the winter, when the weather had turned the best constructed trenches into icy morasses. What had been a sodden field was now a clover meadow, and the tattered brown woods were leafy and green. It was extraordinary what a change the coming of spring wrought in the spirits of our men. The Indians, who had believed that the sun was lost for good, became new beings in April. The foreignness seemed to be stripped from war for the soldier who looked out on corn and poppies in no way different from those in English fields; who watched larks rising in the dead ground between the opposing lines, and heard of an evening the nightingales in the pauses of the machine guns. When there was no attack, life in the trenches in summer was not uncomfortable. There was plenty of good food, relief was frequent, and the dry weather allowed the trenches and dugouts to be made clean and tidy. The men, who in the winter had been perpetually wet, ragged, and dirty, were now smart and well clad. They took to cultivating little gardens and ornamenting their burrows. The graveyards behind the lines, tended by British and French alike, were now flower-decked and orderly.

As the summer went on the heat gave little trouble. Exposure by day and night burned the men brick red, but the northern sun had no terrors for those who had largely fought under tropical skies. Flies became a nuisance, for Flanders is a land of stagnant pools, and billets were apt to be surrounded by moats which bred swarms of insects. Yet there was little sickness, and probably never in history has so great a concourse of men fought in a healthier campaigning ground. The summer months, which in the Dardanelles were sheer purgatory, were in Western Europe pleasant and equable. The hinterland was worse than the trenches, for there the ceaseless traffic smothered the countryside in dust.

All the old battalions of the line and most of the Territorials had had heavy losses, so they were largely composed of new drafts, and their officers were mostly young. In May one famous battalion, which won great honour at the First Battle of Ypres, had, besides its colonel, only one officer who had seen more than a year’s service. Yet it would be hard to say that the units were inferior now to what they had been in October. This new phase of the fighting was especially made for youth. It was a subaltern’s war. Young men with six months’ experience were as efficient for trench warfare as veterans of several campaigns. They had all the knowledge that was relevant, since the conditions were so novel that every man had to learn them from the beginning, and they were young and keen and cheerful to boot. Never had what we may call the “public school” qualities been more at a premium. High spirits, the power of keeping men up to their business and infecting them with keenness, good humour, and good temper, were the essentials demanded; and boys fresh from Eton and Sandhurst had these gifts to perfection. Their temperament was attuned to that of the British soldier, and the result was that perfect confidence which is the glory of an army. The routine of trench work was varied with many bold enterprises of reconnaissance and destruction, undertaken with something of the light-heartedness of the schoolboy.

An occasional visit to the trenches during the summer left the impression that, except in making and repelling an attack, this kind of warfare was reasonably safe and comfortable. None the less there was a steady wastage all along the front, even in those sections where the trench line was most perfect. Working parties were out most nights, and these were often fired on. Sniping was generally going on, and both sides exploded mines at intervals. Now and then a shell would fall full in a trench, or catch a party crossing the hinterland. Familiarity and routine work make the most sober of men careless, and a head incautiously exposed above the parapet or a short cut taken to avoid the circuit of the communication trench accounted for many a loss. Still the summer, except at Ypres and Festubert, in the Artois and the Argonne, was on the Western front an easy time for the nerves and the bodily comfort of the soldier. Only the news which filtered through from the East disturbed him. He grew restless at the thought that an Ally was hard pressed while he stood idle.



The Cameroons—The Allied Strategy—Capture of Eseka and Njok—Capture of Lome—The British Stand at Gurin—Capture of Garua and Ngaundere—Rebellious Tribes—The East African Theatre—Fighting in Uganda—The Expedition to Bukoba—Fighting on Lake Nyassa and the Rhodesian Border—The End of the Koenigsberg—Nature of East African Fighting—The Position in German South-West Africa—Capture of Otavifontein—Action at Gaub—The German Forces surrender unconditionally—The British Terms—Prisoners and Casualties—General Smuts’s Tribute—General Botha’s Speech in Cape Town—The Danger averted.

If during the summer the wheels of war dragged slowly in Western Europe, they moved with greater speed in those outland areas where the forces on both sides were small and the terrains vast and formidable. The summer saw the end of the South African campaign and a clear advance towards the subjugation of the Cameroons. Only in East Africa, where the British offensive was still in embryo, were the elements of decision still remote.

We left the Cameroons campaign in the early spring. By that time both of the railway lines running up from the coast were in our possession, and the enemy had been driven towards the interior plateau. Columns were entering the colony from north, east, and south, from Nigeria and the Chad territory and French Equatoria. The main forces of the enemy were believed to be on the head-waters of the Benue in the high country around Ngaundere. But there were other forces, notably one which operated near the coast just beyond the railheads of the two lines, and there were a number of fortified posts in the southern district towards the French Equatorian border. Hence the campaign resolved itself into several distinct expeditions, directed to the “rounding up” of the various sections of the enemy. The railways had to be closely watched, for on them depended the existence of our central army. The rainy season soon began, and the dripping savannahs and the dank forests were as formidable a barrier as German machine guns.

In May the main Allied force under General Dobell was operating along the two railway lines. A French column under Colonel Mayer, starting from Edea, captured Eseka on 11th May, after some difficult forest fighting, where theMay 11. Germans showed great skill in entrenching themselves at the river crossings. A fortnight later, on 29th May, the same column had transferred itself to theMay 29. northern railway, and driven the enemy from Njok to the north-west of that line. Late in the same month the southern columns fought actions at Monso and Besam, and on 25th June occupied the important post of Lome. The French had now taken practically all the country in the south up to their old boundary. The inhabitants seem to have risen against the Germans, and before the fall of Lome there had been a mutiny among the native troops. The torrential rains of July impeded further movements on this side, and the centre of interest shifted to the higher country towards the Nigerian border.

The first British incursions from Nigeria had been unhappily fated, our men with considerable losses having been driven from Garua and NNsanakong. In April the post of Gurin inside the Nigerian border was attacked by German troops from the Garua garrison. Gurin, a big rambling native town half a mile from the banks of the river Faro, was defended by Lieutenant Pawle of the Nigeria Regiment, a white sergeant, and forty native soldiers, and there was present also Mr. J. F. FitzPatrick, a political officer. The German force consisted of sixteen Europeans, 350 native infantry, forty mounted infantry, and four Maxims. The British garrison occupied a small mud fort three-quarters of a mile from the town. Lieutenant Pawle was killed in the beginning of the fight, and, since the sergeant was soon severely wounded, the direction of the operations devolved upon Mr. FitzPatrick. The little fort held out for seven hours, and finally beat off the enemy. The German Maxims were in constant action, and fired some 60,000 rounds. A third of the native defenders were killed or wounded; the German losses were three Europeans and over thirty native soldiers killed, and a large number wounded.

The behaviour of the invaders was discreditable. In the town they murdered three elderly non-combatants, and stole everything portable, destroying what they could not remove. They carried off forty women, and hobbled one poor wretch and made him carry their ammunition across the fire zone. The German officers and the native soldiery they had trained were utterly regardless of the decencies of war. The defence of Gurin was a fine performance which deserves to be remembered. One pleasant incident may be recorded. Two native soldiers went off to Yola for help, and on their way met three Europeans. “These three had with them ten soldiers, and three carriers who had been soldiers in the dim and distant past. With this force, hearing that Gurin was being attacked by four hundred men, these three civilians set off to relieve the place, having armed the three ex-soldiers with a pickaxe apiece, being the deadliest thing available at that time and place.”[1]

Next day the Yola column arrived at Gurin, having marched sixty-two miles in twenty-two hours. This column, under Colonel F. H. G. Cunliffe, composed of men of the West African Frontier Force, marched upon Garua, and prepared to reduce the position. It was assisted by a French column which had moved westward from the north-eastern border. On 11th June Garua surrendered unconditionally.[2] ThisJune 11. cleared the northern part of the colony except for one small German post which occupied a hill at Mora. The Allied columns then swept south, and on 29th June occupied Ngaundere, the most important German stationJune 29. in the Central Cameroons. The enemy retreated south-west towards Tibati, while the Allies followed, and on 11th June consolidated their position by taking the post of Tingr, 3,700 feet up on the plateau, and some seventy miles north-west of Ngaundere. The German forces had now been penned into the comparatively small area of hilly country between Tibati and the head-waters of the Sanaga River. On all four sides the Allied columns were closing in upon them.

The enemy had hoped for much from native support. But the Cameroon peoples seem to have welcomed the Allies, and the tribes on the Nigerian border were for the most part quiet. The Germans had promised the chiefs that they would be permitted to engage again in the slave trade, and this brought into the field a few of the half-conquered border clans. A column had to be dispatched to deal with these malcontents, and some notion of this lonely and dangerous task may be had from an officer’s letter:—

“The Ezzas are the most warlike tribe in these parts. We hear that they can mobilize 30,000 war boys. As I write, their camp, on the other side of the river from us, is alive with a couple of thousand Ezzas jumping about and howling. It is a cheery life with 2,000 of these beasts about 1,000 yards away! . . . We heard they were to attack another part of the country, so we moved our camp on seven miles. The heat was tremendous, and both —— and —— were laid out with the sun. As our scouts told us the Ezzas were advancing, I had to go off with the police in the afternoon, the other men being in bed.

“The Ezzas were coming to the attack by the way they had come four days previously; and as we marched along for the first two miles the stench was awful, dead bodies rotting in the sun. Everybody had been decapitated. The Ezzas always take the head. A man is not a man till he can take a head home. After we had done two miles we came to the finish of the bush, and reached fine open country. There we tumbled on the Ezzas, a thousand strong. I had fifty police with me. The country the Ezzas were coming through was yam fields, our equivalent of ploughed fields, only the furrows are as high as your knee. The Ezzas came on for us in fine style, taking cover. We put volley after volley into them, and when they got to within 200 yards they broke and ran. We followed at the double and drove them across the —— river. Just imagine five miles through ploughed fields at the double with a two-in-the-afternoon sun overhead. I was done to the world, but we found some cocoanuts, and the milk was very refreshing. We lost two killed and one wounded. The Isheri natives followed us, and every Ezza that fell lost his head. Of course, one can’t stop this sort of thing; when natives see red it is red, and you can only thank God it’s not your head.

“We next got a rumour that our camp was to be attacked, so we shifted another three miles on to high open country. No trees, so you can imagine what the heat is like with only a few palm leaves overhead. We had another go at the Ezzas the day before yesterday, and destroyed all their houses.

“All this must sound rather tedious to you with the war at your doors, but it is very real to us, I can assure you, and one is just as dead and just as long dead from an African’s bullet as from a German’s. Also there is no such thing as surrender at this game. It would be God help you if they got you.”

The Summer Campaign in the Cameroons.

In the East African theatre the reverse at Jassin in January was not retrieved during the summer by any conspicuous field success. On 29th April 29.April it was announced that Brigadier-General Tighe, a distinguished Indian officer, had been appointed to command the troops in British East Africa, with the rank of major-general. The main summer campaign was concerned with the shores of the Victoria Nyanza, and with the borders of Nyassaland and north-eastern Rhodesia. In April there were ineffective attempts to cut the Uganda railway, and there was a certain amount of fighting round the skirts of Kilimanjaro, but in general the high plateau showed little activity.

In March news came that a German column, under Captain Haxthausen, was marching to invade the Karungu district on the eastern shore of Lake Victoria. On the 9th a small force of King’s African Rifles, under Lieutenant-ColonelMarch 9. Hickson, defeated the raiders on the Mara River, and scattered the column. All through May our patrols situated east of the lake between the German frontier and the Uganda railway were engaged in constant skirmishes. West of the lake our troops lay along the river Kagera, facing a German force which operated from the port of Bukoba. It was resolved to destroy the latter place in order to paralyze the enemy’s operations in that district. The plan was to send an expedition by steamer from the British port at Kisumu on the eastern shore, about 240 miles away, and at the same time to advance our forces across the thirty miles which separated the Kagera River from Bukoba.

The expedition sailed on 20th June. It was under the command of Brigadier-General J. A. Stewart, and consisted of detachmentsJune 20. of the King’s African Rifles, the 1st Loyal North Lancashires, and the 25th Royal Fusiliers (the Legion of Frontiersmen), together with some artillery. Bukoba was reached on 25th June, when the enemy’s forces, some 400 strong, were defeated after a sharpJune 25. action, in which the Arab troops fought bravely on the German side. We captured most of their artillery, and inflicted heavy casualties. As a sidelight on German policy it may be noted that a Mohammedan standard of European manufacture was found in the house of the German commandant. This action kept the Uganda borders more or less quiet during the summer.

The shores of Lake Nyassa witnessed considerable naval activity. The German town of Sphinxhaven on the eastern shore was our chief objective, May 30.and on 30th May a naval force under Lieutenant-Commander Dennistoun, supported by field artillery and a landing-party of King’s African Rifles, attacked the place. After a bombardment from the water the enemy were driven out of the town, and a large number of rifles, ammunition, and military stores fell into our hands. It will be remembered that in August the British steamer Gwendolen had surprised and disabled the German armed steamer Von Wissmann, and driven her into the shelter of Sphinxhaven. The present attack meant the end of that unfortunate vessel, which was shelled and completely destroyed.

During the summer there was a good deal of guerilla warfare along the Nyassaland and north-eastern Rhodesian borders. The British forces were drawn from the Northern Rhodesia Rifles and May 17.the Northern Rhodesia Police. On 17th May there was a sharp action about twenty miles from the town of Fife, and on 28th June 28.June the Germans attacked in two bands on the Saisa River, near Abercorn. They were beaten off, but returned on 26th July, 2,000 strong, and besieged the place for six July 26.days before British reinforcements could arrive. In this section of the campaign we received invaluable support from Belgian troops, who defended the western shore of Lake Tanganyika and the frontier between that lake and Lake Mweru.

The early days of July saw the end of the German cruiser, the Koenigsberg. Ever since the close of October she had been sheltering some distance up the Rufiji River, in a place too shallow for the ordinary ship to approach. When we discovered her we sank a collier at the mouth of the river, and so prevented her escape to open seas. Early in June Vice-Admiral King Hall, Commander-in-chief of the Cape station, brought out two river monitors, the Severn and the Mersey. Our aircraft located the exact position of the Koenigsberg, which was surrounded by dense jungle and forest. On the morning of 4th July the monitorsJuly 4. entered the river and opened fire. The crew of the Koenigsberg had made their position a strong one by means of shore batteries which commanded the windings of the river, and look-out towers with wireless apparatus, which gave them the range of any vessel attacking. Owing to the thick jungle a direct sight of the enemy was impossible, and we had to work by indirect fire with aeroplanes spotting for the guns. The bombardment of 4th July, which lasted for six hours, set her on fire. The attack was resumed on 11th July, when the vessel was completely destroyed,July 11. either as a result of our shelling, or because she was blown up by her crew. The fate of this German cruiser, marooned for months far from the fresh seas among rotting swamps and jungles, is one of the most curious in the history of naval war.

Since the fighting during the summer was generally remote from the healthy uplands, and concerned with the low-lying Nyassaland and Uganda borders, the British troops suffered from other discomforts besides German guns. “If ever the Devil had a hand in the making of a country,” wrote one officer serving near the Victoria Nyanza, “this is the one he took most interest in, I fancy; while the country we are supposed to be trying to take is rather worse, if possible. To begin with, it’s about the size of France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and Holland in one. This puddle, one of many, is the size of Scotland, and one is frequently out of sight of land while steaming over it for hours at a time. Every known form of insect, and some peculiar to it alone, swarm on and round it. Tsetse fly and sleeping sickness, nine kinds of fever, each worse than the one before, revel in the district—in addition to hippo and crocs, which prevent bathing on the beaches.” But the life had its modest consolations. “In the intervals of shooting, or trying to shoot, Germans, I get a little game shooting—if possible, on their game preserves. Poaching, when one doesn’t know if one is going to be poached oneself, is real sport.”

The back of the resistance in German South-West Africa was broken when General Botha entered May 12.Windhoek on 12th May. The German troops had retired by the northern line towards Grootfontein, a position on which they could not hope to stand, and from which there was no obvious retreat. The war had now resolved itself, into a “rounding up” expedition, and some of the Union forces could be dispensed with. Accordingly, in May, General Smuts sent home a considerable part of his southern command. A few small actions were fought to the east of the capital by Colonel Mentz and General Manie Botha, when a considerable number of prisoners were taken with few British casualties. Early in June the advance began up the northern line. The station of Omaruru was occupied, eighty miles from Windhoek, and a few days later General Botha was at Kalkfeld. The first objective was the junction of Otavifontein, where the northern railway forks, one branch going north to Tsumeb and the other north-east to Grootfontein. Against this position the Union forces advanced in three columns. To the left went General Manie Botha with the Mounted Free State Brigade. To the right General Lukin, who had originally commanded the column which Van der Venter had led north from the Orange River, marched with the 6th Mounted Brigade, composed of the South African Mounted Rifles. In the centre, along the railway line, moved General Botha and the Headquarters Staff. Otavifontein was taken on the morning of 2nd July,July 2. with few British casualties. The chief part was played by General Manie Botha, who in sixteen hours marched forty-two miles without a halt through the most difficult bush country. Lukin’s flanking column covered forty-eight miles in twenty hours under the same conditions.

The fight at Otavifontein was the last serious German stand. The Union forces now moved towards Tsumeb, Colonel Myburgh on the right advancing between the two railway lines, and General Brits making a big westerly detour towards the great Etosha Pan. Brits’s aim was to prevent the enemy retreating towards the Angola borders. His detour involved a march of 200 miles, and it effected its purpose. Meanwhile Myburgh’s force, which was the operative part, moved laboriously over the sandy Waterberg plateau, where the midwinter July 4.cold was bitter, and on 4th July came into contact with a force of 500 Germans at Gaub, about sixteen miles south of Tsumeb. The Germans made only a slight resistance, and left many prisoners in our hands.

Map to illustrate the last stage of the Damaraland Campaign.

The end was now in sight. Dr. Seitz, the German Governor, opened communications with General Botha. At two o’clock on the morning of 9th July an unconditional surrender was agreed to. The German forces laidJuly 9. down their arms. The active troops were to be interned in such places as the Union Government should decide, the officers being allowed to retain their arms, and, on giving their parole, to reside where they pleased, and the other ranks retaining their rifles without ammunition. The German police on duty at distant stations were to remain at their posts until relieved by Union troops. Civil officials in the employment of the German Government were to remain in their homes on parole. All other war material and all the property of the colony was placed at the disposal of the Union Government. General Lukin was entrusted with the details of the surrender, and the 6th Mounted Brigade and the 1st Infantry Brigade were left at Otavifontein to take charge of the prisoners and the war material.

General Botha could afford to be generous, for his conquest was complete. The numbers surrendering were officially reported as 204 officers and 3,293 of other ranks, while 37 field guns and 22 machine guns were captured. About 1,500 Germans were already prisoners in our hands. The total German casualties appear to have been between 300 and 400. Of the Union casualties in German territory we have as yet no official record; but the total casualties in the rebellion and the Damaraland campaign seem to have been a little over 1,000. Three hundred thousand square miles of territory had been conquered at a less cost than that of a minor action in the European theatre. British and Dutch had fought side by side with equal valour. The Boer commandos, with no particular uniforms and the loosest formation, showed all their old skill in desert campaigning. General Smuts’s words were justified: “Not only is this success a notable military achievement, and a remarkable triumph over very great physical climatic and geographical difficulties. It is more than that, in that it marks in a manner which history will record for all time the first achievement of the United South African nation, in which both races have combined all their best and most virile characteristics, and have lent themselves resolutely, often at the cost of much personal sacrifice, to overcome extraordinary difficulties and dangers in order to attain an important national object.”

The King and the British Parliament telegraphed their congratulations to the South African leader, and his return to Cape Town was in the nature of a triumphant progress. In a speech July 24.which he made there on 24th July he revealed certain facts which showed the reality of the German menace to the integrity of the Union. A map was discovered in the enemy’s hands showing the redistribution of the world after the “Peace of Rome, 1916.” It placed the whole of Africa south of the Equator as part of the German Empire, with a small portion segregated as a Boer reserve. General Botha revealed the fact that as early as 1913 Maritz had been in treaty with Germany, and had inquired how far the independence of his proposed new republic would be guaranteed. The Kaiser’s reply had been: “I shall not only acknowledge the independence of South Africa, but even guarantee it, provided the rebellion starts immediately.” Well might General Botha observe that this guarantee painfully recalled the case of Belgium. He pointed out, too, that the German native policy constituted a danger to the whole sub-continent. The sufferings of the Hereros and other native tribes had left an ineradicable impression on his mind, and he told his hearers that the aborigines of Damaraland had regarded the coming of the British as a deliverance. In the Herero war the Germans, on their own admission, had killed 21,000 natives on the plea that they had massacred German women and children; but the records at Windhoek showed that only one child had perished. A Bastard chief who had refused to fight for the Germans in the recent campaign had had his family murdered in cold blood.

To estimate General Botha’s services to the Empire we must keep in mind what might have happened had he behaved with less honour and loyalty. The rebellion, which enjoyed only a few weeks of life, might have grown to formidable dimensions and raged for years. Had he refrained from attacking the German colony a serious armed menace would have compelled the attention of Britain and distracted her efforts elsewhere. Had he conducted the campaign with less skill and less resolution it might have been long and costly, and would certainly have had a sinister effect on the political situation in the Union itself. His single-hearted devotion and brilliant generalship had saved his country from division, and had laid the foundations of a great and coherent South African nation.

For an account of the siege see Blackwood’s Magazine. September 1915.

See Appendix IV.



Efficiency of Allied Air Work—The Spirit and Tradition of the Flying Corps—Reconnaissance—Aerial Photography—The Anti-aircraft Guns—The Duels over the Trench Lines—The Attack on Zeebrugge and Ostend—Wing-Commander Longmore’s Exploit—Attack on Airship Shed at Brussels—The Risks of Air Work—Experience of Flight-Commander Borton—Death of Second-Lieutenant Rhodes-Moorhouse—Performance of Captain J. A. Liddell—Air Work in the Dardanelles—French Air Work—Destruction of Rottweil Powder Works—Raid on Ludwigshafen—Raid on Karlsruhe—Work in the Woëvre—Loss of Benoist and Garros—The Russian Air Work—The Ilya-Muromets Machine—Italian and Austrian Air Work—The German Air Corps—Attack on British Submarine—German Ingenuity—The Policy of the Zeppelins—The Raids on England—Effect on British People—Failure of Military Purpose—Raids on Paris and Calais—Disabilities of the Zeppelin—Losses of Zeppelins—Sub-Lieutenant Warneford’s Exploit.

Spring and summer brought easier conditions for the air services of the belligerent Powers; but the comparative stagnation in the Western theatre, where the service had been most highly developed, prevented any conspicuous action by this arm. The work of the winter in reconnaissance and destruction went on, and the story is rather of individual feats than of any great concerted activity. The importance of the air had revealed itself, and all the combatants were busied with new construction. In Britain we turned out a large number of new machines. We experimented with larger types, and we perfected the different varieties of aerial bomb. The Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, containing some of the chief scientists of the day, solved various difficult problems, and saw to it that theory kept pace with practice. We added largely to the number of our airmen. At the beginning of the war we had only the Central Flying School, capable of training at one time twenty pupils; by midsummer we had eleven such schools, able to train upwards of two hundred. The enemy aeroplanes began to improve in speed and handiness, but where Germany advanced an inch we advanced an ell. Admirable as was the air work of all the Allies, the British service, under its brilliant Director-General, Sir David Henderson, had reached by midsummer a height of efficiency which was not exceeded by any other branch of the Army or Navy.

To a student of military affairs it seemed amazing that a department only a few years old, and with less than one year’s experience of actual war, should have attained so soon to so complete an efficiency and so splendid a tradition. Perhaps it was the continuous demand upon nerve and intelligence. Young men gathered from all quarters and all professions became in a little while of one type. They had the same quiet voices, the same gravity, the same dull blue eyes, with that strange look in them that a man gets from peering into infinite space. The air, like the deep sea, seemed to create its own gentility, and no service had ever a more perfect breeding. Its tradition, less than a year old, was as high and stiff as that of any historic regiment. Self-advertising did not exist. In the military wing, at any rate, no names were mentioned; any achievement went to the credit of the corps, not of the aviator, unless the aviator were killed. Its members spoke of their profession with a curious mixture of technical wisdom and boyish adventure. The flying men made one family, and their esprit de corps was as great as that of a battleship. To spend some time at their headquarters at the front was an experience which no one could forget, so complete were the unity and loyalty and keenness of every man and officer. To be with them of an evening when they waited for the return of their friends, identifying from far off the thresh of the different propellers, was to realize the warm camaraderie born of a constant facing of danger. In the air service neither body nor mind dared for one second to be stagnant, and character responded to this noble stimulus.

The most vital task of aircraft was reconnaissance—the identification of gun positions, the mapping of enemy entrenchments, the detection of the movement of troops. In earlier chapters we have seen how important this work was as a preliminary to any Allied attack. By its means artillery could be concentrated against an enemy position, while the concentration passed unobserved because of the ascendency established by our airmen. The actions of Neuve Chapelle, Festubert, and the Artois were all preceded by an elaborate aerial reconnaissance. Photography was brought into use, and maps taken from the air revealed the nature of the enemy’s defences. As the weeks passed, certain imperfections, inevitable imperfections, were apparent in the results thus obtained. Photographs could only be taken from a fairly high elevation, and, while they showed the main lines of a hostile position, they could not provide the details with any certainty. For example, they could not show which trenches were occupied and which were not, and they could not distinguish between a trench and a water-course. On the second day at Festubert our troops found themselves faced during a night attack with a stream fifteen feet broad and ten feet deep, for which the most careful aerial reconnaissance had failed to prepare them.

But in spite of defects, which were the fault of the conditions and not of the service, the Allied air work was splendid both in its boldness and in its fruitfulness. Its keynotes were complete resolution and absolute devotion. No risk was considered too high. An enemy when he appeared was engaged, whatever the odds. In this sphere, where individual nerve and skill were predominant, there could be no question of the Allied superiority. But as our skill and boldness increased, the enemy’s defences multiplied. His anti-aircraft guns made good shooting, and hits could be made at an elevation of two miles. These, of course, were outside chances, but it was observed that wherever the guns had frequent opportunities of practice—as at places like Nieuport, Dixmude, and Ypres—their accuracy became remarkable. A French aviator reported: “They waste a lot of ammunition against us, as every time we go out they fire between 300 and 400 shells at each of us. But as a rule they place all their shots within 100 or 150 yards of our machines.” The risk of our airmen was rather from guns on land than from enemy aeroplanes, which rarely showed much enterprise or skill. An airman was in danger of having his control wires cut or his petrol tank pierced and being compelled to descend behind the German lines; in which case his escape was unlikely, for it was not easy to re-start an engine single-handed.

Considering the multiplicity of dangers, it is wonderful how few were the casualties of the corps. A letter from an airman gives a picture of what were everyday occurrences: “I was flying a rotten old machine, with an engine that ran very badly, and was missing from the time I left the ground. Under ordinary circumstances I should have landed again immediately, but it was an important reconnaissance, so I had to do it. The highest I could get the machine to was 4,700 feet, and then as I flew towards the lines I could see our other machines up getting a hot time from ‘Archie.’[1] They were flying between 7,000 feet and 8,000 feet, and as soon as I was within range the Germans opened on my machine; and then during the whole of the reconnaissance, which consisted of circling about a small area, they didn’t give me a moment’s peace. I had shells bursting around my machine the whole time; simultaneously flashes of flame and loud bangs, sometimes on one side and sometimes on the other, below the machine, above it, behind, and in front, and some of them bumped the machine about unpleasantly. It was thoroughly uncomfortable. I twisted the machine about this way and that, made sideslips outwards, and did everything I could to spoil their aim, but they kept me guessing the whole time. One shell exploded just in front, and I saw some bits of things flying off the engine, and thought the propeller was gone. I was very glad when the reconnaissance was over. On landing, I found that the machine had been hit by rifle-fire as well as by shrapnel. . . . Yesterday I was up for over an hour trying to get a reconnaissance, but there was mist from 400 feet up, and from 3,000 feet thick clouds, in which I was awfully knocked about by bumps. After flying some time at a bit under 5,000 feet, I thought I was behind our lines, and shut off the engine and glided down to 3,000 feet, and, when I could see the ground, found I was well behind the German lines. They must have laughed when they saw the machine unsuspectingly appearing out of the clouds, and they greeted me with a tremendous fusilade of rifle-fire and some ‘Archies,’ that didn’t, however, come very near. I got into the clouds again as soon as I could, but had a warm time in doing it. They only succeeded in hitting the machine once or twice.”

To watch the work in the air over any section of our trench lines was on most days an exciting experience. Far behind, flying at an altitude of 7,000 feet, would appear a British aeroplane. As soon as it crossed the front the bombardment began from rifles, machine guns, and anti-aircraft guns. White clouds with yellow hearts dotted the blue sky around the aeroplane—generally fairly distant, if it was flying high, but sometimes seeming to obscure it altogether. Unperturbed, the aviator kept on his way to Belgium. An hour or two later, his reconnaissance completed, he returned to the accompaniment of the same fusilade, and disappeared in the direction of some flight or squadron station behind the British lines. Presently a German aviatik would appear on the same errand. As it crossed our trenches it was saluted by our “Archibalds” and Maxims. Then suddenly from the west, driving up into the heavens with swift bounds, came a British ’plane. The two manœuvred for the upper position, but the superior handling of our machine gave it the victory. The invader turned and made for his own lines, followed by the Briton, and from far above, till it was drowned in the roar of the trench Maxims, could be heard the sound of the conflict in the air. If our man was lucky the German machine might suddenly head for the ground, the pilot killed, or the engine broken, and land a wreck behind the German lines. It was difficult to judge the result of these combats, for the invaders came so small a distance into British territory that, when crippled, they usually managed to descend on their own ground. But of the Allied superiority, both in defence and attack, there was never the slightest doubt. It is said that a young German airman in the early days of the war asked how he would know a British machine if he met it. “Oh, you’ll know it right enough,” was the reply. “It will attack you.”

An instance of the skill and intrepidity of our airmen was the performance of Captain L. G. Hawker. Captain Hawker, who had received the Distinguished Service Order for his bombardment of a German airship shed at Gontrode on 19th April, fell in on 25th July with three enemy aeroplanes. All three were armed with machine guns, and each carried a passenger as well as a pilot. The first managed to escape eventually; the second was driven to the ground in a damaged condition; and the third, which he attacked at a height of 10,000 feet, was completely destroyed, both pilot and observer being killed. Captain Hawker received the Victoria Cross.

We left off the narrative of the campaign in the air with the attempt on Zeebrugge on January 22nd, at the close of the first six months of war. The next episode was a concerted attack by the naval wing in the same neighbourhood on 11th February. Thirty-four seaplanes and aeroplanesFeb. 11. took part in the enterprise, under Wing-Commander Samson. There was a thick, low-lying haze, and the ’planes flew high at first to avoid it. Bombs were dropped on the railway station at Ostend, and the sheds of the naval station there were severely damaged. At Blankenberghe the railway station was completely destroyed. Bombs were dropped on gun positions at Middelkerke, on the coast batteries between Knocke and Zeebrugge, and on the power station and Zeppelin shed at the latter place. A number of batteries were damaged, as well as a submarine, and about a score of soldiers were killed. No civilian was hurt, and no house destroyed. The airmen encountered a heavy snowstorm, and lost three of their number. One was compelled to descend, and was interned in Holland, while Flight-Commander Grahame-White fell into the sea off Nieuport, and was rescued by a French vessel. Five days later a second attack was made by forty aeroplanes, including eightFeb. 16. French machines, when bombs were dropped on various batteries and gun positions, on the Zeebrugge locks, on the Ghistelles aerodrome, and on mine-sweepers in the shore waters. These highly successful raids saw the largest concentration of aircraft that had yet been used in one attack.

On March 8th Wing-Commander Longmore, with six aeroplanes, attacked the submarine base at March 8.Ostend, and on 24th March and on 2nd April bombs were dropped on the submarines then in process of construction at Hoboken. During the whole of the last week of March our airmen were busy in Flanders, and seriously interfered with the movement of German troops. During the action of Neuve Chapelle the railways at Menin, Courtrai, Don, Douai, and Lille were successfully April 26.attacked, and on 26th April the junction at Courtrai was destroyed. This activity was kept up during the summer, and early on the morning of 7th June two British airmen, June 7.Flight-Lieutenants J. P. Wilson and J. S. Mills, dropped bombs on the airship shed at Evere, north of Brussels, and destroyed a Zeppelin. The aviators were violently shelled on their arrival by German guns, and an attempt was made to get out the Zeppelin from the shed. The aeroplane dived to within a few hundred yards and dropped three bombs, and a second later the whole hangar was in flames. For this feat the airmen received the Distinguished Service Cross.

The risks taken in these enterprises may be guessed at from two incidents recorded by the official “Eye-Witness” during the month of June. On 7th June Flight-Commander Borton, while on a reconnaissance about twenty miles from our front, was attacked by several German aviators. Shot through the jaw and neck, he collapsed at first and lost control of his machine. He then recovered sufficiently to steer. His observer handed him bandages, and helped him to bind up the wounds, and though he grew very weak and almost unconscious from loss of blood, he was able to complete the reconnaissance and return to the base. On 20th June two British aviators, while reconnoitring at about a height of 4,000June 20. feet above Poelcapelle, engaged a large German biplane with double engines. After a sharp fight they beat off the enemy, but when they turned towards our own line they found that their petrol tank had been pierced. As they slanted downwards the petrol caught fire, and ran blazing to the front of the body of the aeroplane, while their unexpended rounds of ammunition exploded in the heat. The pilot did not lose control, but steered his machine steadily homeward. Before they reached the ground much of the framework had gone, and the propeller blades were so much burnt that they ceased to revolve. Both officers escaped, though badly scorched. “As an example of terse, unvarnished statement of fact,” wrote “Eye-Witness,” “the last words of the pilot’s official report of this adventure are worthy of quotation: ‘. . . the whole of the nacelle (body) seemed to be in flames. We landed at W. 35 n. P. 16 (Z Series 93 E.W. 1 35,500).’ ”

One of the most heroic incidents of the air campaign belonged to the raid on Courtrai on 26th April. Second-Lieutenant W. B.April 26. Rhodes-Moorhouse, in dropping his bombs, descended to a height of 300 feet, and in the fusilade which greeted him was severely wounded in the thigh. He determined at all costs to save his machine, and made for home at a height of only 100 feet. He was again wounded, this time mortally, but he succeeded in flying thirty-five miles to the base, where he landed and made his report as if nothing had happened. He received the Victoria Cross, but died soon afterwards in hospital of his wounds.

Not less fine was the performance of Captain John Aidan Liddell, who, on 31st July, while on a July 31.reconnaissance in the Bruges neighbourhood, had his right thigh broken by a bullet. He lost consciousness for a moment, and his machine dropped nearly 3,000 feet. By a great effort he recovered partial control, and, in spite of his desperate condition, brought his aeroplane home half an hour after he had been wounded. It was an extraordinary feat of endurance and devotion—the pilot, almost delirious with pain, struggling to save his machine and the life of his observer. When we remember that the control wheel and throttle control were smashed, and that one of the undercarriage struts was broken, the feat must seem almost miraculous. Captain Liddell received the Victoria Cross, but some weeks later succumbed to his injuries.

Of the work of aircraft in the Dardanelles little was reported. From their parent ship, the Ark Royal, our seaplanes “spotted” for the naval guns, and so made indirect fire possible. The enemy’s aerial activity was successfully curbed, and their new aviation camp north of Chanak was more than once bombarded by French aeroplanes. On one occasion in July a French aviator saved a British transport from destruction. He detected a dark shape beneath the water, and, descending to a low height, dropped bombs wherever the periscope appeared, until he had driven it out of reach of the transport.

The French activity in the air corresponded in its main lines to the British. Their aviators made reconnaissances daily along the 500 miles of front. During eight months of war it was calculated that the French had made 10,000 reconnaissances, corresponding to 18,000 hours of flight, and representing a distance equal to forty-five times round the world. On 2nd April, for example, apart from seven bombardments, their work includedApril 2. forty-five reconnaissances and twenty range corrections. Just as the submarine and airship bases at Flanders were the main British objective, so the French directed their chief efforts to the bases of south-eastern Germany.

The main feats of destruction may be briefly chronicled. On 8th February, in a heavy gale, a French airman dropped bombs on an ammunition column near Middelkerke,Feb. 8. and then bombarded the Kursaal at Ostend. In order to escape the searchlights and the German guns he was driven out to sea, and descended low enough to feel the spray of the waves. Early in March the powder works at Rottweil were destroyed—a fine achievement, for the place is on the other side of the Black Forest, and nearly 100 miles from Belfort as the crow flies. On 26th March the airship sheds of FrescatyMarch 26. and the station of Metz were bombarded from the air. During the April fighting in the Woëvre, Vigneulles, the nodal point of German communications and an important air station, was constantly April 19.attacked by French aeroplanes; while on 19th April a single airman attacked the airship shed near Ghent and caused a heavy explosion. At the same time Pégoud was busy in Champagne, and brought down his third German aeroplane in the neighbourhood of St. April 28.Menehould. On 28th April Friedrichshafen was attacked, and a Zeppelin damaged in its shed.

On 27th May an important raid was undertaken. A French squadron composed of eighteen aeroplanes May 27.attacked the chemical factory at Ludwigshafen, the Badische Anilin und Soda Fabrik, the most important factory of explosives in Germany. The aviators dropped eighty-five bombs, and kindled three enormous fires, which must have destroyed a large part of the works. June was a busy month in the air. On 3rd June, very early in the morning, twenty-nine June 3.French airmen bombarded the headquarters of the Imperial Crown Prince. On 9th June there was a raid on Brussels, and on 15th June, as a reprisal for the bombardment of open French and British towns, an attack was made upon Karlsruhe, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Baden. Twenty-three French aeroplanes arrived above the city just before 6 a.m.; 130 bombs were dropped on the castle, the arms factory, and the railway station. Many fires broke out, and a wild panic was created. The German Press fell into transports of fury over the episode, and the Kaiser telegraphed his “deep indignation at the wicked attack on beloved Karlsruhe.” Karlsruhe had a garrison of 4,000 men, and so was infinitely less of an open town than Scarborough or Whitby. The French enterprise was definitely undertaken as a reprisal, and does not appear to have infringed the accepted rule as to reprisals, that they should not be disproportionate to the offence committed by the enemy.

French Air Raids on South Germany.

In July the chief episodes were determined by the nature of the land campaign. During the Crown Prince’s attack in the Argonne all the hinterland was heavily bombarded, especially such vital points as Vigneulles and Conflans. Colmar station was also attacked as an incident in the Vosges campaign. Later in the month French aeroplanes bombarded a factory in Alsace engaged in the production of asphyxiating gas, the station of Freiburg, the petrol works between Hagenau and Weissenburg, the station at Dettweiler, and the aviation sheds of Pfalzburg.

The French losses during the summer were small considering their constant activity. The brilliant aviator, Jean Benoist, was accidentally July 29.killed on 29th July. On 19th April Roland Garros, perhaps the most famous figure in the French service, was forced to land behind the German lines in West Flanders. Three April 19.days before he had performed one of his most remarkable feats. A German aeroplane had been reported to be heading for Dunkirk, and Garros gave chase. Reserving his fire until he was within twenty yards of the enemy, he shot both pilot and observer dead with two shots, and the derelict German machine was presently dashed to fragments. Late in August, to the profound regret of all lovers of gallant men, Pégoud was killed in Alsace by a shot in the air. For twelve months he had served continuously, and no man had ever a nobler roll of achievements.

The news of the Russian air work was naturally scanty. The chief feature of her air service was the gigantic Ilya-Muromets biplane, which had a length of 65 feet, a weight of 3½ tons, four engines, and a horse-power varying between 400 and 600. The enormous weight-lifting capacity of these machines give them a special advantage in destructive work, and they had already done good work in bombarding the railway stations of Soldau, Plock, and Mlawa. In the great Russian retreat to the San they operated against the enemy’s railways and transport columns, and owing to their stability it was claimed that greater accuracy in bomb-throwing could be obtained from them than from any other type. In July a remarkable encounter took place in the neighbourhood of Cholm, where an Ilya-Muromets biplane was attacked at the height of 8,000 feet by three German aeroplanes. The Russian machine was at a disadvantage, being unable to bring the full weight of her artillery to bear. She was able, however, to inflict serious damage on one of the German machines which approached too close. She had several of her motors and one of her propellers put out of action, and received no less than sixteen holes in her petrol tanks. Her captain was twice wounded, and one of her crew had both hands frozen. In spite of injuries which would have destroyed any other type of aeroplane, she was able to reach her shed in safety.

The entry of Italy into the war led to great aerial activity in the northern corner of the Adriatic. The Italian aeroplanes attacked all the Austrian railways; dropped bombs on Pola, and the Monfalcone dockyard; bombarded the torpedo works and submarine factory at Fiume; and repeatedly assailed the dockyards at Trieste. The Austrian airwork was not happily fated. Venice, protected by a squadron of French seaplanes, proved barren ground; and the German airman who attacked the city on the morning of the declaration of war was brought down by a shell and fell into the lagoon. A similar fate befell an aeroplane which dropped bombs on Bari. Austrian machines attacked Cettinje and the Serbian arsenal at Kragujevatz, but achieved nothing beyond the death of a few civilians.

The German air corps followed the suit of the Allies in the work of reconnaissance and bombardment; but their activity, owing to the formidable nature of our defence, was less marked than in the early days of the war. On 27th MarchMarch 27. Calais was bombarded; on 11th MayMay 11. bombs were dropped in the St. Denis suburb of Paris, and again on 22ndMay 22. May when the attempt ended in a fiasco. Towards the end of July there were attempts on St. Omer, St. Pol, and Nancy. Little was achieved by these escapades, and the “Taube” for the civilian people of France was becoming a figure of fun rather than of fear. Attacks were made also upon merchantmen in the narrow seas, both British and neutral, but without serious results. Such attacks were the most naked form of piracy, but the barrenness of the attempts prevented a critical question arising with neutral nations. One curious incident was reported in May, where a German machine—whether airship or aeroplane it is not certain—had an encounter in the North Sea with a British submarine, which drove it off by gun-fire.

Speaking generally, the German aeroplanes seem to have been inferior alike in speed, stability, and handiness to the best machines of the Allies, as their operators were conspicuously inferior to our airmen in technical skill and boldness. It was to the airship rather than to the aeroplane that Germany looked to help her to the mastery of the air. But what she lacked in skill she strove to make up for in cunning. She was an adept at faking a “Taube” to look like an Allied craft. One instance may be quoted of her methods. It was the custom on occasion for British aviators to send back messages by means of light signals. The Germans, according to “Eye-Witness,” “evolved the following method of putting a stop to it, exploiting the fact that it is sometimes very difficult for those below to recognize whether an aeroplane at a high altitude is friend or foe. If they see a British machine hovering overhead and using these daylight flares, some of their guns at once open fire on areas or targets in our lines which have already been carefully registered. The object of this procedure is, by the sequence of the fire of their guns after the exhibition of lights from our aeroplane, to make those in charge of our anti-aircraft armament imagine that the aeroplane they see is a hostile machine observing for the German artillery, and to shell it.”

The summer was punctuated with Zeppelin raids, which vied with the submarine exploits in their fascination for the German public. With its curious grandiosity of mind, that public chose to see in the sudden descent of the mighty engine of destruction out of the heavens a sign of the almost supernatural prowess of their race. A great mystery was made of the business in the hope of exciting among the civilian population of the Allies a dread commensurate with German confidence. In this Germany was disappointed. The French and British peoples took the danger with amazing calmness. It was a war risk, unpleasant in its character, but very clearly limited in its scope. There was a moment in Britain when the peril was overestimated; there were also moments when it was unduly minimized; but for the most part the thing was regarded with calm good sense. There were four types of German airship in use—the Zeppelin, the Schütte-Lanz, the Parseval, and the military ship known as the “M” type—but the term Zeppelin was used popularly to cover them all. During the war Germany went on building at the rate of perhaps one a month, a rate which more than made up for losses. Her main difficulty was the supply of trained crews, for her reserves at the beginning of the campaign were speedily absorbed.

The raids on England, as we have seen in a former chapter, began on 19th January, when the April 14.coast of Norfolk was bombarded. On 14th April came a more serious attack on our north-eastern coast, which seems to have been aimed at the industrial and shipping regions of Tyneside. The Zeppelin was first sighted at Blyth about eight o’clock in the evening, and moved over Wallsend and South Shields. Numerous bombs were dropped, but the destruction of property was small, and there appears to have been no April 15.loss of life. Next night an airship visited the coast of East Anglia and dropped bombs on Lowestoft and Maldon. According to the German Press it aimed at destroying the Lowestoft fishing fleet, as a retaliation for the English blockade of German foodstuffs.April 16. Next day, in the afternoon, a biplane paid a futile visit to Kent, dropping bombs on Faversham and Sittingbourne. On 23rdApril 23. April a Zeppelin attempted to reach Blyth, but failed. Early on the morning of 30th April another passed over Ipswich, and dropped bombs there and at Bury St.April 30. Edmunds, destroying a few shops and cottages, but causing no loss of life.

On 10th May the watering-place of Southend-on-Sea on the Thames estuary was bombarded by an airship, several houses being struckMay 10. and one woman killed. On the 13th a Zeppelin attacked Ramsgate, but after dropping six bombs was driven off by British machines. On its way back it wasMay 13. met by Flight-Commander Bigsworth off the Flemish coast. Four bombs were dropped on it, and its tail seemed to have been blown off, for it steered homewards on a very drunken course. On the night of 26th May another attack was made on Southend by two Zeppelins,May 26. which resulted in one death and several injuries.

London was first visited on the night of 31st May. The airships came by way of Ramsgate and Brentwood, and their object seems to have been the Thames riverside docks.May 31. There were a certain number of casualties but little material destruction. The raid caused wild jubilation in Germany. “Great God, at last!” wrote one newspaper. “Like an organ tone in the sky is the hum of the propellers. This is no ordinary war; it is a crusade, a holy war. There lies a giant city, in which for fifty years they have worked only evil against us. London lies beneath us, the heart of the British world-empire! A moment which sets the keystone to the life-work of Count Zeppelin.” Such extreme heroics were scarcely warranted by the modest results, but the Zeppelin had become an obsession for the German mind.

During June the east and north-eastern coasts were repeatedly raided. One visit fell on the night of 4th June, a second on the night of June 4-16.6th June, a third on the night of 16th June. In these attacks there was a considerable loss of civilian life, but no military purpose of the remotest kind was effected. The British authorities very wisely discouraged the publication of details, and the good sense of the people prevented this silence from breeding wild rumours. No risk of war had ever been more calmly accepted. The threatened localities pursued their ordinary avocations, and people went holiday-making as usual to parts of the coast in the direct track of the invaders. In a letter to a correspondent Mr. Balfour summarized the Zeppelin results during a year of war. Seventy-one civilian adults and 18 children had been killed, 189 civilian adults and 31 children had been injured. “No soldier or sailor has been killed; seven have been wounded; and only on one occasion has damage been inflicted which could by any stretch of language be described as of the smallest military importance.”

The French Press published, in the middle of June, a complete list of raids made by German aeroplanes and airships on open towns.[2] From this it appeared that such towns in France and England had up to that date been bombarded eighty-three times by German aeroplanes, and twenty-one times by Zeppelins. The principal French centres thus assailed were Paris and Calais. On 20th March, early in the morning, two Zeppelins dropped bombs on Paris, but wereMarch 20. driven off by the anti-aircraft guns. On their way back they attacked Compiègne and some of the adjoining villages. One of them was probably hit, and during the summer Paris was little molested. Its aerial defence had been so carefully prepared that there was little chance of a hostile airship being able to stay long enough to do much damage. As soon as a raider arrived he was received by fire from the forts and the anti-aircraft batteries. The great searchlights flashed into the sky, and a squadron of aeroplanes rose to meet him. Bugles warned the inhabitants, and every light in Paris was turned off. Into this hornets’ nest the boldest aviator thought twice before entering. Calais was an easier matter. It was bombarded on 21st February, and again on the morning of 18th March, when a number of railway employees wereFeb 21. killed. A Zeppelin appeared on theMarch 18. night of 16th May, when there wereMay 16. four victims, three children and an old lady.

The Zeppelin campaign was undertaken for two purposes, both strategically sound. The first was to destroy works of military value, such as arsenals and barracks; the second was to inspire in the civilian population that nervous dread which in the long run would weaken the Allies in the field. It failed, failed almost ludicrously, in both purposes. In Mr. Balfour’s words, “Zeppelin raids have been brutal; but so far they have not been effective. They have served no hostile purpose, moral or material.” The resolution of the Allied nations was confirmed, not weakened, by these efforts of blind terrorism. As for the first aim, no military or naval work was damaged. Little shops and the cottages of the working classes alone bore the brunt of the enemy’s fury. It was very different with the Allied air work. The yellow smoke of burning chemical factories and the glare of blazing Zeppelin sheds attested the fruitfulness of their enterprises. The truth was that the boasted Zeppelin proved an unhandy instrument of war. Its blows were directed blindly and at random. This was not to say that it might not achieve a surprising result, but that achievement would be more by accident than design. In the darkness of night its aim was handicapped. It was highly sensitive, too, to weather conditions, for a layer of snow equivalent to one-twenty-fifth of an inch on its surface would mean a weight of four tons, and would inevitably bring it down. Weather forecasts in Britain were rigorously suppressed, but it seems certain that the Germans found some means of obtaining barometrical information; otherwise their losses would have been a hundred-fold greater.

It is difficult to estimate with any accuracy the casualties among German airships. During the first six months of war probably at the outside half a dozen Zeppelins were demolished by the Allies. In February two of the largest, L 3 and L 4, were wrecked on the coast of Denmark owing to their encounter with snowstorms. In March L 8 came to grief in the neighbourhood of Tirlemont, and seems to have become a total wreck. In April one of the Zeppelins lent by Germany to Austria fell into the Adriatic and was lost. In May another broke loose from its moorings near Koenigsberg, and disappeared into the void. There were unverified reports of other losses, and a certain number—not less than four—were destroyed by the Allied aircraft in their sheds.

A fight between a Zeppelin and an aeroplane had been long looked forward to as, sooner or later, inevitable, and the Allied aircraft had instructions to engage a German airship whenever it appeared. It was not till the morning of 7th June that such a duel took place. About 3 a.m. Flight-Sub-Lieutenant R. A. J. Warneford, anJune 7. officer of the Naval Air Service, discovered a Zeppelin between Ghent and Brussels. He was flying in a very light monoplane, and managed to rise above the airship, which was moving at a height of about 6,000 feet. Descending to a distance of about 50 feet, he dropped six bombs, the last of which burst the envelope, and caused the whole ship to explode in a mass of flame. The force of the explosion turned the monoplane upside down, but the skill and presence of mind of Sub-Lieutenant Warneford enabled him to right it. He was compelled to descend in the enemy’s country, but was able to re-start his engine and return safely to his base. The Zeppelin fell in a blazing mass to the ground, and was destroyed with all its crew.

The hero of this brilliant exploit had only received his flying certificate a few months before. It would be hard to overpraise the courage and devotion which inspired such an attack, or the nerve and fortitude which enabled him to return safely. Flight-Sub-Lieutenant Warneford’s name became at once a household word in France and Britain, and he was most deservedly awarded the Victoria Cross and the Cross of the Legion of Honour. June 17.His career was destined to be as short as it had been splendid, for on 17th June he was accidentally killed while flying in the aerodrome at Versailles.

The British soldiers’ name for the anti-aircraft gun.

It should be remembered that in the existing international conventions on the subject of bombardments the distinction is not between “fortified” and “unfortified” places, but between “defended” and “undefended.” Defended places include towns where troops are quartered, or where there are Government establishments, factories, or storehouses, or even railway stations used for the transport of troops. London is a “defended” place in this sense, and so liable to bombardment. The distinction is very clearly stated in the little manual on land warfare published by the British War Office. The Hague Convention on bombardments is a curious document. The first clause seems to make scores of places immune, but the following clauses take away this immunity from almost every large town in the world.



The Difficulties of Britain—National Service—The National Register—The Munitions Department—The Problems to be faced—The Munitions Act—Its Provisions—“Controlled Establishments”—The Inventions Department—The Mobile Munitions Brigade—The South Wales Strike—Its Settlement—The Incidence of Blame—Our National Extravagance—The Thrift Campaign—The War Loan—Its Merits—Its Success—Proposals for Increased Taxation—Our War Finance compared with Former Wars—The Napoleonic Wars—Large Area of Voluntary Work—The Work of Women.

In this chapter we return to the domestic affairs of Britain, which at the time were of vital interest to all the Allies. Her problems were the most difficult, partly because she was of all the great Powers the least organized for war, and partly because her geographical position and her history had endowed her with certain stiff and unyielding beliefs and certain not very malleable forms of government which made new departures slow, even under the strain of a world crisis. At the same time she was the linch-pin of the Alliance. In the last resort her colleagues looked to her for those economic reserves and that multitude of trained men which should turn the balance. Her domestic history at this moment was, therefore, part of the main march of the history of the war.

In the beginning of June the new National Government was getting into working order. The country was alive to the need for an unprecedented effort, an effort which involved not only the provision of fresh resources but the organization and economizing of those which already existed. There was no question any longer of awakening the ordinary man. He was almost too much awake, and was inclined to be impatient even of the necessary preliminaries of reform. But both he and his leaders found it hard to reach that clarity of mind and that capacity for sacrifice without reservation which were inspired elsewhere by the stringent lessons of direct suffering. For a little our racial energy tended to go round in a whirlpool rather than to find a clear outlet.

The question of National Service, hotly canvassed in these days, suffered from this general confusion. Those who had always preached it were inclined to put their case too high, and argue that its acceptance a year ago would have prevented war—a proposition something more than disputable. Others were content to dub it unnecessary, because of the excellent response to Lord Kitchener’s appeal for recruits for the new armies. To such it was answered that our recruiting had been unscientific, unfair in its incidence, and most costly; that the so-called voluntary system was neither truly voluntary nor much of a system; that the whole nation and not merely the fighting part of it required to be organized; and that National Service in the true sense meant that every citizen must be at the disposal of the State. In a fine phrase of Mr. Lloyd-George’s, the trench lines were not only in France and Gallipoli, but in every factory and workshop, every town and village in Britain; and trench fighting meant being under orders.

A great crisis calls for the sacrifice not only of time and money and life, but of principles—those political principles which, being themselves deductions from facts, are rightly jettisoned when facts alter. It is unfair to underrate the reality of this last sacrifice. Trade Unions were required to give up temporarily rules and regulations for which they had fought hard for half a century. Others were asked to relinquish doctrines of voluntaryism and individualism which were in the warp and woof of their minds. But it may fairly be said that the great bulk of the British nation were prepared to make any sacrifice of which the necessity was clearly proved. The number of those who sincerely believed in voluntaryism at any cost was probably small and insignificant in quality. They had no moral justification, for it is not ethically nobler to pay men to fight for you than to fight yourself. They were true doctrinaires who for the sake of an adjunct of liberty would have sacrificed liberty itself. Prussia, when confronted by Napoleon, declined to fight for her own interests, but she was presently compelled to fight for the interests of her conqueror. The extreme voluntaryist, like the wife of Master-Builder Solness in Ibsen’s play, could think only of the safety of his dolls when the house was burning.

Obviously the matter had gone beyond the sphere of argument. Pleas for or against National Service of the kind familiar before the war were no longer relevant. Nor did newspaper propaganda help towards a solution. Those who had always advocated the reform lay under suspicion of desiring to use a national emergency to further their pet scheme. The strong argument against it lay in the fact that the Government had not declared it necessary, and clearly only the Government were in possession of information which allowed them to decide on the necessity. It was not a question of the inherent desirability of National Service, but of whether or not the immediate situation made it imperative.

The difficulties of the Government were no doubt very great. They could not be certain that they had judged the popular temper correctly, and, assuming that the objections to compulsion were widespread, then its benefits might be too dearly bought at the cost of national disunion. Trade Union leaders who agreed to suspend Union rules found that they had no power to bind their followers, the whole discipline of the Unions having woefully declined since the passing of the disastrous Trades Disputes Act. Here, again, to grasp the nettle boldly would probably have been the wisest course. The State, if it speaks with a resolute voice, has an authority which no minor organization can possess. But as yet the Government gave no clear lead to popular opinion. It was obvious from their actions that they were converts to a certain measure of compulsion, and the speeches of many Ministers seemed to be arguments in favour of the general principle. Now in a crisis there must be leadership; and if a sharp change in national habits and modes of thought is necessary, that leadership must be bold and confident. The previous Government had not hesitated at compulsion for purposes of social reform, even unpopular compulsion, as in the case of the Insurance Act. But for some reason compulsion which might involve in certain cases service in the field seemed to many different in kind from any compulsion which they had hitherto practised.

The matter was beset with difficulties—of detail as well as of principle, and the result was that, after our traditional fashion, we compromised and dealt with the question piecemeal. The doctrine which statesmen were never tired of preaching, and popular leaders apparently accepted—that the whole nation must be organized in a great effort and everybody put at the disposal of the State—was not given effect to. What our Government toyed with was a form of industrial compulsion. With that we thought we were familiar; we thought that it would be accepted without serious opposition, especially on the part of those classes whose creed was semi-socialism, and who had clamorously announced their opposition to military conscription.

It was a strange, topsy-turvy procedure, destined to break down at the first trial. National Service for everybody without exception was, assuming the necessity to be established, a comprehensible and a genuinely democratic principle, but industrial compulsion was neither more nor less than a vicious type of class legislation. The people at large were probably willing enough to respond to any call. They were less attached to shibboleths than their nominal leaders, and would have done the bidding of any man who spoke clearly and with authority. That clear voice did not sound, and in its absence we tended to approach the question by shy and timid curves.

The chief tentative towards National Service was the passing of a Bill for a National Register. This was introduced by Mr. Walter June 29.Long on 29th June, and became law on 15th July, in spite of the jeremiads of a few members of Parliament. The Register, July 15.which was to be taken in the second week of August, was framed to include all persons, male and female, between the ages of fifteen and sixty-five. The information obtained was to be regarded as secret. The Act did not extend to soldiers or sailors, and it could be applied to Ireland only by the special order of the Lord Lieutenant specifying certain areas. All persons were required to fill up forms setting forth, inter alia, their occupation, the number of those depending on them, whether or no they were already employed on Government work, and whether they were able and willing to engage in any other occupation. Mild penalties were laid down for neglecting to make or for falsifying the returns.

Such a registration was obviously a right step, whatever the ultimate policy adopted. If National Service ever became law it would provide the indispensable preliminary. Moreover, it would be easy, after the returns were received and classified, to secure a further answer from males between eighteen and forty-one who were not employed on Government work, and this would be in effect a referendum on the subject, so far as it concerned military service. In any case it would provide the Government with exact and detailed knowledge of the fighting and industrial reserves which were still available.

In an earlier chapter we have discussed the difficulties about munitions which resulted in the formation of a new Munitions Department with Mr. Lloyd-George at its head. The Bill for the purpose was passed on 9th June, and it was made clear that the new department was a temporary expedient, to last only during the war.June 9. An Order in Council defined the Minister’s duties as “to examine into and organize the sources of supply and the labour available for the supply of any kind of munitions of war, the supply of which is in whole or in part undertaken by him, and by that means, as far as possible, to ensure such supply of munitions for the present war as may be required by the Army Council and the Admiralty, or may otherwise be found necessary.”[1] It was a supply department to meet estimates and requisitions provided by the military and naval authorities. It took over from the Army Council most of the functions of the Master-General of the Ordnance, the control of Woolwich Arsenal, the Government small-arms factories and similar establishments, and it was endowed also with a large field of discretionary activity.

Mr. Lloyd-George set to work at once. He visited Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, and Cardiff, to inquire into local conditions at first hand, and he made many stirring speeches in order to rouse the ordinary workman to a sense of the gravity of the position. The problem he had to face was not materially altered from that to which a startled Government had awakened in the early spring. To put it briefly, Germany alone of the belligerents had shown herself to be industrially organized for war. By Government assistance she had kept not only the regular armament works but a vast number of civilian factories, which could be adapted for the purpose, in a state of constant activity and efficiency. It is easy to exaggerate the importance of an establishment like Krupp’s. It was no larger than the aggregate of our Sheffield shops, and technically it was probably inferior to certain French concerns. But the whole State-endowed industrial system of Germany could be mobilized in a short time for war work, and that example we had no means of imitating. Again, Germany had for some time shared with America the supply of machine-tools for the world, and this enabled her to improvise new factories. Moreover, the cessation of her foreign trade turned her whole energies to the making of war material. Her manufacturers had no option in the matter; their only market was their own Government. Economic loss proved, not for the first time in history, to be a military gain.

In Britain our system and position were the precise opposite. Our Government establishments had been decreased, and many private firms who, in the past, had made armaments had grown disheartened and dropped the business. The Admiralty side was different; there steady Government orders and a large amount of foreign business had maintained both public and private yards at full strength. But when it came to improvising military stores we found our machinery terribly short. The Government began by trusting to the chief armament makers, who in their turn endeavoured to find sub-contractors throughout the country. But, since our private industries had not been organized with a view to adaptability, the business of increasing production proved lamentably slow. There was much cut-throat competition for labour; there was a universal shortage of machine-tools, which cannot be improvised; and with the best will in the world both Government and manufacturers found the situation beyond them. The process of industrial organization, it was realized, must be drastic and wholesale, and it must begin at the beginning.

The Munitions Act—introduced on 23rd June and passed into law on 2nd July—was an attempt to put our whole industrial system on a war basis. It was framed after muchJune 23-July 2. consultation with Trade Union leaders and employers of labour, and it aimed at applying a moderate degree of compulsion to all industries concerned directly or indirectly with the supply of war material, to replacing in certain cases private management by Government control, and to collecting and employing the large amount of administrative and inventive talent which had been placed at the disposal of the nation. Its chief provisions may be shortly summarized.

Arbitration was made compulsory in all trade disputes, with whatever subject they might be concerned. A difference had to be reported to the Board of Trade, which would refer it for settlement to an arbitration court or some other tribunal. Strikes and lock-outs were forbidden unless a month had elapsed and the Board of Trade had not intervened. Primarily this rule referred only to munition works, but the Minister of Munitions was empowered to apply it by proclamation to other industries. The coal miners and the cotton operatives objected, and it was agreed that, if machinery existed for settling disputes without stoppage of work, this should stand without Government interference. However, in the last resort, the right of State interference even in these industries could be exercised.

The Minister of Munitions, if he thought it necessary, for the successful prosecution of the war, could declare any works “a controlled establishment.”[2] This step involved four important consequences. In the first place, employers’ profits were limited. The owner was permitted to take out of the gross profits the net profits plus one-fifth, the rest to go to the State. Net profits were to be ascertained by taking the average net profits “during two corresponding periods completed just before the outbreak of war.” A small committee was appointed to decide difficult questions about depreciation and such like matters, and the Minister had power, if the arrangement worked unfairly in any case, to refer the question to referees. In the second place, Trade Union rules and all rules, practices, and customs not having the force of law were to be suspended, if they tended to restrict production and employment.[3] This was for the period of the war only, and was in no way to prejudice the future position of the workmen. It was understood that wages would not be affected by the introduction of semi-skilled or female labour. Disputes under this head were to be decided by the Board of Trade or arbitrators appointed by it. In the third place—in order to prevent a sudden and arbitrary depletion of earnings—no changes in wages were to be made without the consent of the Minister or an arbitration tribunal. Finally, the Minister was empowered to make special regulations to which all employees in a controlled establishment must submit.

The weak part of the Act was its penalty clauses. Small fines, which might be deducted from wages, were imposed for breaches of its provisions, the maximum being £5 per man per day. Penalties were to be imposed by a munitions tribunal, which, besides a president, would be composed equally of representatives of Labour and Capital. To prevent idle competition, employers were forbidden to give work to a man who had recently worked at munitions, unless six weeks had elapsed since leaving his prior employment, or he held a certificate from his last employer or from a munitions tribunal.

Mr. Lloyd-George announced various co-ordinate activities. The country was divided for munitions purposes into ten areas, each controlled by a committee of local business men. This was the French plan, and was probably adopted after the meeting with M. Albert Thomas, the French Munitions Minister. Efforts were to be made to bring back skilled workers from the front and from the new armies still training at home. The Munitions Department, with its headquarters close to the War Office, was organized with the usual paraphernalia of a Government office. At first there was some confusion as to its personnel. Mr. Lloyd-George was himself too busy with speech-making and ministerial work to be a possible administrative head. The services of many of the ablest business men in Britain were available, but there was some danger at the start that knowledge and earnestness would be wasted owing to the lack of a co-ordinating authority at the top. A sub-department for inventions—an admirable scheme—was presently organized, and did good service. Less successful was the plan for a Mobile Munitions Brigade to be recruited voluntarily among the workers. After an elaborate advertising campaign, involving much expenditure of public funds, some 100,000 volunteers were enrolled, but an enormous proportion of these were already employed on war business, and could not be spared. A few thousands at the most were the result of the enterprise.

The new department entered upon its task with abundant energy. But in the nature of things results must be slow. It was the labour of Hercules to improvise a gigantic system of State socialism under the name of “controlled establishments,” and to combine in the service of the State the scientific and industrial talent of the people. The Munitions Act, for all its merits, gave a very inadequate weapon to the hand of the Government. It had begun at the wrong end. By introducing compulsion only for one class it provided no sanction for the enforcing of such compulsion. Its penal clauses were futile. Fines were no remedy against the resistance of a mass of men, and since under the Trades Disputes Act the Union funds were inviolate, any large body of strikers could set the Government at defiance.

Proof was not slow in coming. On 1st April the Miners’ Federation of South Wales and Monmouth had handed in notices to terminateApril 1. the existing wages agreement within three months, and to negotiate another. The Board of Trade attempted to make terms, and offered certain proposals into which we need not enter. It was one of the old disputes, so familiar in peace time, between Labour and Capital for the division of the spoils. The men may have had a reasonable case, and there is no doubt that the widespread belief that the masters were making huge profits did much to determine their attitude. But the merits of the case were beside the question in a season of war.

On 12th July the delegates[4] met at Cardiff, and rejected the Board of Trade proposals. Their Executive advised them to continue atJuly 12. work under day-to-day contracts, pending further negotiations, but they passed instead the following resolution: “That we do not accept anything less than our original proposals, and that we stop the collieries on Thursday next (15th July) unless these demands are conceded.” The miners, at their own request, had been excluded from the Munitions Act, but their leaders had undertaken that there would be no strikes or stoppages during war. Unfortunately, however, their official leaders had small authority, and the men were led by self-elected extremists. On 13th July the July 13.Government by proclamation extended the Munitions Act to the South Wales coal area. This made it an offence to leave work, and enjoined the reference of the dispute to arbitration. That same day the Miners’ Federation of Great Britain advised the men to work from day to day, and the colliery owners put themselves wholly at the Government’s disposal.

Next day the Executive again tried to persuade the miners to keep to their work pending a settlement. The advice was not taken, and July 14.on the following day, Thursday, the 15th, 200,000 men went on strike. That day the delegates had met at Cardiff, and by a July 15.majority refused to countermand the strike—an act which constituted a defiance of the Royal Proclamation of 13th July, and an open challenge to the nation.

The Government proceeded to set up, in the terms of the Act, a munitions tribunal for South Wales and Monmouth. On Friday, Mr. Runciman, July 16.the President of the Board of Trade, saw the Executive, but found them powerless. That day several furnaces were damped down. The situation had reached a deadlock. How could the Government fine or imprison 200,000 men? Their Act had broken under its first trial. Many of the miners—especially the older men—felt the shame of the situation acutely, but they were bound by loyalty to their fellows and by the net which agitators had woven round them.

On Monday, the 19th, the position was grave indeed. That day Mr. Lloyd-George went to Cardiff, accompanied by two other Ministers,July 19. Mr. Runciman and Mr. Arthur Henderson, and met the Executive. Next morning terms of settlement were arranged, which the delegates accepted, and the menJuly 20. returned to work. These terms were in substance the granting of the men’s demands. An emotional meeting, at which Mr. Lloyd-George spoke with great seriousness and frankness, showed the tension of everybody’s nerves and the relief of the miners at being extricated from a position where they were fast earning the contempt of their fellow-countrymen.

It was an ugly episode, which did little credit to any one concerned in it. The stoppage of labour meant the reduction of our coal output by 200,000 tons, at a time when every ton was needed. It had the worst effect upon public opinion among our Allies, and it exasperated our sorely tried troops in the field. A settlement was only reached by the submission of the Government—submission to men who, collectively and individually, had been guilty of treason. The blame must fall impartially on both sides—on the Government for not having anticipated what obviously must happen and preventing it in time, on the men for sinking their patriotism and good sense in a selfish trade squabble. It is idle to plead that many South Wales miners were at the front; the more shame to those who remained behind for leaving their brothers in the lurch. If the country at this time produced many sons of whom the world was not worthy, it produced others who were unworthy even of our imperfect world. But the main lesson of the incident was the folly of half measures and irrational compromises. Compulsion applied piecemeal to one class could neither be enforced nor defended.

The question of finance, since the easy confidence of the winter had gone, began to weigh heavily on the Government by the end of May. We were waging war on an extravagant scale as compared with France, and still more with Germany. This was partly due to the fact that we had to improvise so much, for things done in a hurry are always expensive. It was due still more to our voluntary system of recruiting, which meant that we had to offer terms high enough to attract men from the labour market, and that, owing to our inability to select our material, we had to take often the costliest type of recruit. A few figures will make this clear. We needed a great number of motor-drivers for our mechanical transport, and to attract these we paid six shillings a day, and a lavish allowance for dependents. Germany secured as many as she needed at something below the ordinary wage rate of peace time. The German allowance for a wife was 9s. a month from May to October, and a minimum of 12s. per month for the rest of the year. Her rate for each child and dependent was a minimum of 6s. monthly. The British allowance for a wife alone began by being 7s. 7d. per week; it was raised in October to 12s. 6d. per week; and in March to 17s. 6d. Higher rates were paid to the families of non-commissioned officers and to those resident in the London area. A wife with four children received from 25s. to 35s. 6d. a week. Since our system was unselective, we took a large number of married men with families. The patriotism of such recruits was admirable, but from the point of view of the national finances it would have been better if their places had been taken by unmarried men. It was retorted in reply to such criticism that the critics wished to make war “on the cheap,” as if that was an undesirable aim. From one point of view no pay could be too high for the men who risked their lives for their country; but in the sober light of reason extravagance, even in this respect, meant the weakening of our belligerent power, and in the long run disaster to the very men and their families who were for the moment benefited by the outlay.

Again, the Government continued civil expenditure which may have been justifiable enough in times of peace, but was no better than waste in war. Such were the various outlays involved in schemes of social or land reform, and the continuance of salaries to members of Parliament, who were no longer required to work for their money. Certain public bodies, too—though there were many honourable exceptions—did not curtail their expenditure on public works. Again, rich men were allowed to make very large profits out of material directly or indirectly connected with the war, profits which meant a loss to the public purse. All such payments, which were not strictly necessary, involved a lessening of the national resources available for the conduct of war.

Had our purse been bottomless this extravagance might have been defended; but it was becoming painfully clear that our financial resources had strict limits. We were expending some 1,000 millions[5] a year on the actual conduct of the war, and our national income fell short by some £80,000 of the mere interest on this outlay. In such a crisis, whether in public or private life, there are three means of remedy—to reduce expenditure, to increase income, or to do both together. Obviously our military expenditure could not be seriously reduced, for the lavish scale we had instituted at the beginning must be maintained more or less unchanged to the end. The saving could only be in our civil expenditure. Hence arose the need for universal thrift—economy not only in civil government but in every detail of the private life of each citizen. The necessity can be made clear from a simple illustration. Normally our imports from foreign countries are paid for by our exports, by freights, and by the interest on the securities of those countries held in British hands. In time of war our exports were curtailed, our freights yielded less, and, on the other hand, from certain foreign countries we increased our imports under the head of munitions. If the balance of trade was not to go fatally against us, and compel us either to export gold to redress the balance, or see hostile exchanges damage British credit, it was essential to reduce our normal imports. This could only be done by a rigorous economy which decreased the consumption of imported goods—not only articles of luxury, but staples like meat and grain. Our actual expenditure under all heads must be diminished, and so far as possible British-produced substitutes found for the necessaries of life.

The thrift campaign was inaugurated by some of the chief authorities in British finance, and warmly seconded by the Government. Excellent and most practical instructions were issued to householders as to how to avoid waste and how to exclude foreign goods from their daily bill. There was reason to believe that this crusade made a genuine appeal to many thousands of homes. Men and women who were unable to serve their country otherwise welcomed the chance of this humble but invaluable service.

The problem of increasing the national income was faced with courage and good sense. A loan on a colossal scale was necessary, and that could only come out of the savings of our countrymen. The only free capital for a foreign loan was New York, but there it seemed as if we had missed our market. Probably a successful loan could have been floated in America in the early months of the war, but in May it was believed that money could have been borrowed there, if at all, only at a crushing discount. Britain had to rely upon her own efforts.

In November we had issued a loan of £350,000,000, at a discount of 5 per cent., and carrying 3½ per cent. interest. It was resolved in June that another loan should be raised, since it was impracticable to sell our foreign securities, and the method of renewable Treasury bills was inconvenient, and did not bring in the general public. It was further decided that the new loan should be issued at par, and that every effort should be made to popularize it with the humblest investor. It is the multitude of small subscriptions by which a national loan succeeds, just as it is the manufacturer of some cheap article of universal use who makes the largest fortune. The new loan was to be of an indefinite amount, and it was to carry 4½ per cent. interest—a wonderful change from twenty years ago, when Consols at 2¾ per cent. stood at 112¾.[6] Subscribers of £100 and its multiples applied through the Bank of England; but vouchers for 5s., 10s., and £1 were purchasable at any money order office in the country, and these vouchers carried 5 per cent. interest. Everything was made easy for the small investor. A vast “publicity” campaign advertised him of the benefits of the scheme. When his scrip vouchers reached £5 or any multiple, he could exchange them for a stock certificate, and he received a bonus on the exchange. War Loan stock bought through the Post Office or a savings bank could be sold at any time through the same means at the current market price, and scrip vouchers would be accepted as the equivalent of cash in making deposits. The whole loan was redeemable at par in 1925 at the discretion of the State, and was compulsorily redeemable in 1945.

A new and interesting departure was the opportunity given to holders of the Three-and-a-half loan of November, of Consols, and of other Government securities, to convert into the new loan. The motive of the concession was to increase subscriptions to the new loan, for the aforesaid holders could only convert by taking up stock in the latter. For example, a man by taking up £100 War Loan could have an equal amount of his holding in the November loan taken up at the price of issue—95—and converted into War Loan stock by paying an extra £5. A man with £75 in Consols could convert it into £50 in the new loan by first applying for £100 stock of the latter. Annuities were similarly exchangeable in the proportion of £78 in Two-and-a-half per cents. and £67 in Two-and-three-quarter per cents. to £50 of the new loan.

The high rate of interest, the right of conversion, the privileges given to small investors, the widespread “publicity,” and the turning of the national mind at the moment to questions of thrift combined to make the loan a conspicuous success. The lists closed on 10th July, and on that day the amount subscribed throughJuly 10. the Bank of England was £570,000,000, and through the Post Office £24,000,000. As the latter channel was to remain open till December there was a chance of a considerable increase by the time the thrift campaign had aroused all parts of the country. It was far the greatest loan ever raised—greater by £144,000,000 than that which Germany claimed to have floated at a higher rate of interest and accompanied by many dubious financial expedients. The finance of the British loan was wholly sound and straightforward. For the first time in our history we saw what many economists had long urged—the popularization and retail sale of a premier Government security.

The only doubt which might have been entertained was as to whether we were not raising too large a proportion of our funds by loan, and thereby placing an undue burden on posterity. Though increases in taxation had been made, the amount thereby contributed was a very small fraction of the total. It had not been so in our earlier wars. The eight years’ War of the Austrian Succession cost us more than £43,000,000; of this nearly a third was paid out of revenue. The Seven Years’ War cost £82,000,000, and a quarter came from revenue. It is true that the American War was financed mainly by loans, but in the great struggle with Napoleon fully 47 per cent. was raised by taxation—an amazing effort, which was possible only because of the rise at the same time of British industrialism. Even so the burden left by that war was sufficiently crushing, and for six or seven years after Waterloo the economic health of Britain was in a parlous state. Nearly half the cost of the Crimean War was met out of revenue. Mr. Harold Cox estimated that the close of this war would find us with an annual debt charge of £110,000,000 and some £20,000,000 for pensions. Towards this immense liability increased taxation had given us in June no more than £65,000,000 a year. A deputation from the City of London, which about this time met the Prime Minister, urged among other things the taxation of imported articles and a wholesale revision of the income tax, so as to relieve the arbitrariness of its incidence, and reach the wages of the prosperous workman. As things stood the middle classes were bearing a disproportionate burden. If the taxation of imports tended to check their flow, that, as we have seen, was in itself a desirable end. If, on the contrary, they still came in, their taxation would give us revenue.

The financial situation of Britain at the moment was apt to be judged by pessimists on the basis of years of peace. But the true comparison was with the other great struggle in our history, the strife with revolutionary France and with Napoleon. That war lasted from 1793 to 1815, and cost Britain well over £800,000,000. In the year 1812 it was costing something like £60,000,000 a year. Then the average income per head of the civil population was about £22, and the cost of the war had reduced it to about £17, In 1914 our average income per head was, according to the Prime Minister, about £50, and the normal savings £9. Assuming that these savings went for war loans, and that £600,000,000 a year—an average contribution of £13—had to be raised besides, that would reduce the average private income to £28. It is difficult to make such comparisons accurately, for we have to allow for the rise in the minimum standard of comfort and the difference in the purchasing power of money; but, making all deductions, it looked as if the position of Britain after a three years’ modern war would compare favourably with her position after Waterloo. In 1880 it was calculated by statisticians that the average private income was £33, and the average spent on the daily requirements of life £28. “If the extra cost of the present war were paid for out of income, the country would be left, so far as its expenditure on necessaries and luxuries was concerned, in exactly the position it occupied in a time of peace, shortly after the death of the late Lord Beaconsfield.”[7] This conclusion was doubtless too optimistic, but it may stand if we assume a considerable curtailment of luxuries.

No survey of British effort is complete without some reference to the work done by voluntary bodies and by individuals in the thousand and one paths of charity which the war revealed. The British Red Cross Society, the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, and the Voluntary Aid Detachments provided a nursing organization which could not be paralleled in the world. Private hospitals were sent to Serbia, where they grappled with the insoluble problem of an army ill supplied with medical comforts and with various deadly epidemics, and lost many devoted members of their staffs. Nurses and ambulances went to the French, Russian, and Belgian fronts, and the civilian population of France and Belgium were cared for by special organizations. The immense business of dealing with the refugee Belgian population was skilfully handled, and they were temporarily absorbed into the social life of Britain, while with the assistance of a commission of neutrals food supplies were sent to Belgium itself. Large sums were raised for the relief of distress in Poland and for a dozen other charitable purposes. Happily there was little immediate distress in Britain, and the energies of her people could be devoted to war purposes and the succour of the invaded lands. Our own troops were amply supplied with the small luxuries and comforts which are not included in rations. Scarcely a household in the Empire but did its part. The remotest cottages in the Highlands, the loneliest farms in Alberta and Queensland, were connected by strange threads with the far-away theatres of war.

During the later months women began to appear in many novel employments. As ticket-collectors, tram conductors, chauffeurs, bill-posters, postmen, and in a score of other tasks, they released men for the fighting line. Never had the women of Britain shown to finer advantage. Of all who were compelled to remain at home, they were the chief sufferers, for they had given sons and brothers, husbands and lovers, to the field of danger. From the beginning they realized the gravity of the struggle. The women’s movement of recent years had given to a large class a special organization and discipline, which was turned to admirable purpose. The leaders of that movement in the Press and on the platform did a great work in rousing the nation, and none dealt more trenchantly with counsels of supineness and peace. The women of Britain asked only for the chance of service, and when the munitions difficulty revealed itself they were foremost in offering their work. What had happened in Germany and France was beginning to take place in Britain. The barriers of sex were falling, like the barriers of class, before the trumpet call of the national need.

The Minister had power to deal not only with armaments in the narrower sense, but with any form of production connected with the war—such as clothing, boots, jam, tinned foods, railways, huts, etc.

Up to 6th August, 356 establishments had been declared “controlled”—a very small proportion of the total engaged in war contracts. The machine-tool makers were taken over en bloc.

The way had been prepared for this step so far as the Trade Union leaders were concerned. On March 17-19 there was a conference between the Government and the representatives of thirty-five labour organizations. An agreement was reached that for the period of the war “the relaxation of the present trade practices is imperative, and that each union be recommended to take into favourable consideration such changes in working conditions or trade customs as may be necessary with a view to accelerating the output of war munitions or equipments.”

There were three bodies concerned—the Executive Council, the delegates sent by the lodges, and the general body of the miners. The decisions of the first needed ratification by the second, and those of the second by the third.

As an example of human fallibility it may be noted that Mr. Lloyd-George, shortly after the beginning of the war, estimated our daily expenditure at £750,000, which he said was a diminishing figure.

It was a cheap loan, however, compared with those raised during the Napoleonic wars, which were issued at a heavy discount and accompanied by an extravagant system of bonuses. It has been estimated that during that war, on the average, for every £100 received, £169 of debt was created.

Mr. W. H. Mallock in the Fortnightly Review.



The Conference at Posen—Von Falkenhayn’s Plan—Changes in Russian Commands—The Attack on the Lublin-Cholm Railway—Fall of Zamosc—Check of Von Mackensen—Battle of Krasnik—Movements of the Austro-German Right—Russians fall back to Zlota Lipa—Changes in Austro-German Dispositions—Von Hindenburg’s Strategy compared with Napoleon’s—The Beginning of the Attack on the Narev—Von Gallwitz crosses the River—Battle of Krasnostav—Bridgehead seized at Sokal—Von Woyrsch advances to the Vistula—Von Buelow takes Windau—Von Eichhorn threatens Kovno—Position on Saturday, 24th July—The Grand Duke resolves to abandon Warsaw—Difficulties of the Decision—Magnificence of Russian Retirement—Russia sets her House in Order—The Russian Soldier.

One day in June, when the fall of Lemberg was assured, the Kaiser met von Hindenburg and von Falkenhayn at Posen. The scene of the meeting was the new and staring royal castle, built in the heavy modern German style that apes the Roman, which frowns over the sluggish Warta and the ancient Polish city. The plans discussed were as grandiose as the environment. We can picture the Emperor, his spirits high at von Mackensen’s success, and his fancy inflamed with dreams of an entry into Warsaw as conqueror and deliverer, declaring that the moment has come for that annihilating blow which will establish for ever the dominance of German arms. His Chief of Staff agrees; it is the scheme he has long been preparing. The grim, square-faced old Field-Marshal applauds. He has been to the Western front, his will has been behind von Mackensen, and he believes that he has the measure of the situation. The lines in France and Flanders can be held yet awhile without effort; let the whole might of German purpose be hurled upon the broken and dispirited enemy in the East. The position has now that strategic simplicity which his soul loves. It is a case for hammer-strokes, and he is the master hammer-man of his generation.

The conditions were, indeed, fortunate for an army that possessed so mighty an engine of artillery and prided itself on its desperate impulse in attack. The weakness of the whole Russian position in Poland had now revealed itself. It was a salient, and a precarious salient. It depended upon the integrity of the two long railway lines which connected Warsaw with Petrograd, Moscow, and Kiev. In front of each of these lines lay the enemy—from Mlawa to Shavli in the north, from Sandomirz to the Dniester in the south. At the apex stood Warsaw, the capital of Russian Poland, and the key of the Vistula. The German armies were already pressing northward against the southern line. It was now von Hindenburg’s business to balance this movement by a descent from East Prussia upon the northern sector. Mathematical calculations would again be vindicated. What had happened on the Donajetz, the Wisloka, and the San would happen on the Narev, the Niemen, and the Bug. Once the railways were cut the troops in the point of the salient would be isolated, and it would be strange if they could extricate themselves from such a trap. Warsaw would fall, and the Vistula would be no longer a Russian but a German rearguard.

But von Falkenhayn, to whom von Hindenburg was chief executive officer, aimed at more than the conquest of a capital or a river line or the occupation of a few more thousand square miles of Polish ground. His business was to shatter the Russian armies. To this end he fell back upon the favourite German enveloping strategy. The army of the left, under von Buelow, had overrun Courland as far as the Windawa, and was within measurable distance of Riga. If this force struck strongly it might hack its way south, master Kovno and Vilna, and cut the Petrograd line far to the eastward. Then the Russians in the salient would be taken both in flank and rear. Squeezed between the enemy on north and south, the Bug would be no halting place, nor would any stand be possible in the Pripet Marshes. A greater Sedan would follow, and the remnants that escaped to the line of the Beresina would be but a fraction of the force which in April had looked for a triumphant summer.

The scheme was not over-confident. Germany had behind her all the advantages of speedy transport. Her shell supplies were still enormous, she had lost few guns, and the gaps in her ranks had been filled up from the reserves. Reinforcements were necessary for the great movement, and they were got in some small degree by drafts from the Western front, but mainly by means of four new corps which were raised in Pomerania, Schleswig, and North Prussia, and concentrated at Thorn. The army which faced Russia after the fall of Lemberg was probably the most formidable yet launched against the Allies.

The Russian Front after the Fall of Lemberg.

The Grand Duke Nicholas was aware of the enemy’s strategy. He read clearly the meaning of the strange activity in Courland, and he divined the purpose of the new concentration at Thorn. So far as he could he kept his armies at full strength. Their losses in men could be replaced, but rifles and machine guns could not be improvised, nor could all the courage and goodwill in the world provide in a few weeks an adequate accumulation of shells. The immediate danger was the Ivangorod-Lublin-Cholm railway, against which moved von Mackensen’s phalanx. Radko Dmitrieff had handed over the 3rd Army to General Lesch, who had formerly had a corps in that command. For the rest the personnel was unchanged, save that Ruzsky, now happily recovered, was given the Army of Petrograd, which might soon be called upon to defend the Russian capital.

Let us look first at the campaign in the south, where the Archduke Joseph Ferdinand and von Mackensen, with von Woyrsch on the left, and Boehm-Ermolli, von Linsingen, and von Pflanzer on the right, faced the armies of Ewarts, Lesch, Brussilov, and Lechitsky. On 22nd June Lemberg had fallen to Boehm-Ermolli’s army. Whilst that army pressed on towards the line of the Upper Bug, and von Linsingen fought for the Dniester crossings about Halicz, and von Pflanzer threatened the line of that river eastward to the frontier, the two main armies of the Archduke Joseph Ferdinand and von Mackensen moved steadily northward. The objective of the first was Krasnik and Lublin, of the second Zamosc, Cholm, and Kovel. The Archduke had already left the railways behind him, and was moving through a country of plains, forests, and bad country roads, a country generally flat, but rising near Krasnik to inconspicuous uplands. It was the district where ten months before he had been driven south by Ivanov in precipitate retreat. Von Mackensen, when he left the railheads north of Rava Russka, had the same country before him, but he had to face also the considerable marshes around the upper stream of the Wieprz. The summer was wet, and the tangled levels, now scorched with the hot winds of the Polish plain, now drenched with torrential rains, made the movement of the great phalanx slow and painful. At first sight it would seem that the easier plan would have been to strike at the railway east of Kovel, where he would be nearer his Galician railheads. But to do that involved getting the difficult valley of the Bug between him and the Archduke Joseph, and so separating the two parts of the German striking force.

At first the two armies met with little opposition. Small rearguard actions were fought by the Russians at Tomaszov, but the main forces of Lesch and Ewarts were thirty miles away. By the end of June the Archduke Joseph was north of the woods which bound the Tanev watershed, and had his centre on the tolerable road, embanked above the reach of floods, which runs by Krasnik to Lublin. Von Mackensen was approaching the antiquated fortress of Zamosc, a place served by no railway, and had before him the main road to Cholm by Zamosc and Krasnostav. By 2nd July the Archduke Joseph was in Krasnik, and Zamosc had fallen without trouble. ProbablyJuly 2. it was not defended.

Sketch Map of the Kras-Lublin-Cholm region.

But that evening the situation changed, for both the Archduke and von Mackensen were now in touch with the main Russian defence. Their position was about half-way between the Galician railheads and the vital Russian lateral railway.

It is at Krasnik that the main road or causeway to Lublin starts, and it was the aim of the Russians to prevent the Archduke debouching on it. The village stands on a little stream, the Wisnitza, which flows west to the Vistula. To the east of it the Bistritza rises in some high ground, and runs north by Lublin to the Wieprz, having its course just to the east of the highroad. At first the Russians succeeded in holding the bank of the Wisnitza north of the village, but on Sunday, 4th July, the Austrian right managed to turn the Russian front by way of the hamlet ofJuly 4. Bychava, east of the Bistritza, and the Russians fell back to a position on the Lublin road some three miles north of Krasnik. At the same time von Mackensen found himself checked about half-way between Zamosc and Krasnostav in the angle formed by the Wieprz and its tributary, the Wolitza. The position was suitable to the defence, for the front of about seven miles was protected from envelopment on its flank by the two streams, which flowed in marshy hollows across which artillery could not easily move. On 7th July theJuly 7. German advance came to a standstill, and resolved itself into an artillery duel.

Battle of Krasnik.

Presently the Archduke Joseph at Krasnik found himself engaged in a serious action. The battle began on the morning of Monday, the 5th, and ended in a considerable defeat on the evening of Friday, the 9th. The two main German armies, aiming at the railway, were separated by the valley of the Wieprz, and consequently were unable to co-operate in their movements. On the evening of Sunday, the 4th, the Archduke Joseph lay with his left at Urzedow on the rising ground north of the Wisnitza, his centre on the Lublin road, and his right at Bychava, on the slopes east of the Bistritza—a front some eighteen miles long. On the Monday morning the Russians—Lesch’s right wing, which had been heavily reinforced—struckJuly 5. at the Archduke’s centre, drove it in, took the wayside hamlet of Wilkolaz, and cleared the enemy’s left wing out of Urzedow. The next four days of attack and counter-attack led to the retreat of the Archduke an average of two miles on a front of eighteen. The Russians carried Bychava village, and the hamlet of Bistritza on the stream of that name, and forced the whole enemy line back to the slopes just north of Krasnik, with the loss of 15,000 prisoners, a very large number of machine guns, and heavy casualties in dead and wounded. On the 9th the Archduke was in this position, with his right-centre on the small elevated triangle between the twoJuly 9. sources of the Bistritza—the place called Hill 218 in the survey maps. Here he was secure, but his advance had been checked, and was to remain checked, as was that of von Mackensen, for a week. The vital Russian railway was safe for the moment.

Let us look at what had been happening meantime to the flanking German armies. Ewarts, whose opponent was von Woyrsch, had on 22nd June been astride the Vistula. The advance of the Archduke Joseph compelled him to retire his left, and the rest of his line slowly followed suit. By the end of June he was well back from Opatow, on the line Zawichrost-Ozorov-Sienno, and that night Zawichrost, on the Vistula, was relinquished. His right fell back down the valley of the Kamienna, fighting stubborn rearguard actions on both sides of the stream. Presently the river crossing at Josefov—celebrated during the first assault upon Warsaw—had gone, and early in July, before the battle of Krasnik, Ewarts’s line ran sharply back from Radom, crossed the Vistula below the mouth of the Kamienna, and covered the Ivangorod-Lublin railway.

The right wing of the Austro-German advance was in the nature of a flank-guard to protect the main movement of the Archduke Joseph and von Mackensen. Boehm-Ermolli was directed towards the Upper Bug from Kamionka to Sokal, von Linsingen moved against the Gnila Lipa and especially against Halicz, while von Pflanzer operated upon the Lower Dniester as far as the frontier. By 24th June von Linsingen was across the Dniester west of Halicz, but for the moment could make no progress. On the 26th he carried a heightJune 26. north-west of the town, and his left was nearing Rohatyn, on the Tarnopol railway. On the 28th he captured Halicz, and so turned the Russian lines on the Gnila Lipa;June 28. while on the same day Boehm-Ermolli to the north was approaching Kamionka, where the Lemberg-Kiev railway crosses the Bug. For some days there was heavy fighting on the Gnila Lipa, as the Russian rearguard held off the pursuit to enable Lechitsky to retire in good order. On the night of 3rd July the whole Russian front in this sectorJuly 3. was back on the Zlota Lipa, a tributary of the Dniester, some twenty miles to the eastward. There a position was found which resisted all von Linsingen’s attacks and all the attempts of von Pflanzer to turn it on the south. Meanwhile Brussilov farther north held the Upper Bug, and frustrated Boehm-Ermolli’s attempts to cross that river at Sokal and Kamionka. By 10th July there wasJuly 10. a lull in this part of the front corresponding to the check of the main attack upon Cholm and Lublin.

About this time there were some vital changes in the Austro-German armies of the south, at which we can only guess. The army of von Linsingen drops out of action. Perhaps it was put in reserve, for it had suffered heavily; perhaps it was sent to join von Mackensen, and the Russian extreme left handed over to the attack of von Pflanzer and von Bothmer. More important, an alteration appears to have been made in the grouping of the corps. Hitherto it had been the German plan to keep their own corps in solid units. Von Mackensen’s phalanx was wholly, von Linsingen’s army largely, German, and in the armies of the north the German element was practically unmixed. But before the middle of July this plan was relinquished. The largest pure German unit in any part of the front appears to have been three corps. Austrian regiments could be detected everywhere in the line, and no less than three—recruited from Galician Poles—were traced as far north as the Army of the Niemen. The change would seem to imply that the German High Command now considered that the game was in their hands. No people ever believed more devoutly in the superior virtues of their own race, and in all the critical moments on the Eastern front they had been wont to fashion their spearhead from unalloyed German metal.

The Russian Front in Eastern Galicia on July 10, 1915.

When Napoleon in the early summer of 1812 began the invasion of Russia, he had to face, like von Hindenburg, two army groups. One, under Barclay de Tolly, was in the north around Vilna; one, under Bagration, lay south of the Pripet Marshes. Napoleon sent Schwarzenberg against Lublin, and directed Jerome to feint in the same direction. His object was to entangle the Russian Southern Army in meaningless operations, while he himself with his main forces struck hard and swiftly in the north. The precedent may now have been in von Falkenhayn’s memory, or he may have remembered the Japanese strategy at Mukden, when Oyama struck not simultaneously but successively in different places. If the effect of each blow is not lost, if each attacking force retains the positions won and engages a portion of the enemy’s reserves, then each new blow has the effect of a surprise, for the line assailed cannot be easily reinforced, and the result is a general and cumulative disorder.

The Grand Duke Nicholas was not caught unawares, but he was compelled to strain his resources to their uttermost to meet the danger. A number of minor incidents had shown him the direction of the wind. Through the last days of June skirmishes in the Shavli area went on. On 6th July von Eichhorn’s Army of the Niemen woke intoJuly 6. activity, and carried a position west of the road from Suwalki to Kalvaria. On 8th July there was fighting at Stegma, north-east of Przasnysz. About the same timeJuly 8. there was a German movement on the Bzura which won some trenches near Goumin, and lost them on 9th July. On 12th JulyJuly 9. there was much activity on the Bobr, and the long-suffering fortress of Ossowietz was again bombarded. On 15th July there cameJuly 12. more ominous news. The Germans in Courland were pressing hard on the Windawa and Wenta rivers, the whole Niemen frontJuly 15. was engaged, and the Russians were resisting an attack in force just south of Przasnysz. Przasnysz had fallen to the Germans the day before. It was the first muttering of what soon became a tempest.

The great onslaught involved every army on the front, from the Baltic to the Bukovina; but for the moment the vital attacks were against the two lateral railways. Elsewhere we have described the Narev terrain, where in February von Hindenburg had fought and failed. Its valley, from its junction with the Bobr, runs south-west, till it joins the Bug at Sierok, fifteen miles from Novo Georgievsk. It is heavily wooded, marshy in parts, but in several places diversified with sandy ridges. Thirty or forty miles south of it runs the great Warsaw-Petrograd railway, sending off several branches to the north which meet at Ostrolenka. The main river crossings at Sierok, Pultusk, Rozhan, Ostrolenka, and Lomza are fortified. The Narev line represented the screen of the Petrograd railway. If it could be forced, that railway must soon be mastered by the enemy.

The great attack began on 14th July. General von Gallwitz, a former Inspector of Artillery, with a force which cannot have been less than five corps, moved upon PrzasnyszJuly 18. and took the town. He had behind him the admirable East Prussian railway system, and to serve his right flank the line from Mlawa to Novo Georgievsk. On his left moved the army of General von Scholtz, connecting with von Eichhorn’s Army of the Niemen. The Russians, falling back from Przasnysz, took up a prepared position running from Czechanov to Krasnosielce, in the Orzyc valley. Here they were attacked on the 15th, but their rearguards managed to hold the line for two days while the main forces fell back towards the Narev. In this way the salient was curtailed, and the drawing in of the northern side necessitated the withdrawal of the point. About the 18th the famous lines of the Rawka and BzuraJuly 14. were relinquished—voluntarily, for there seems to have been no pressure there—and the Russian force covering Warsaw on the west retired fourteen miles to the Blonie lines, some fifteen miles from the city. This position had been the one originally chosen in November for the defence of the capital, and it was only the unexpected successes on the Bzura which led to the line of the little rivers being adopted in its place.

The Attack on the Narev—German Position, July 25.

During the next week the Russians fell back, fighting stubbornly, on the Narev. By the 20th they were mostly on its southern bank, but held all the bridgeheads on theJuly 20. northern shore. The river fortresses were coming under the fire of the German heavy guns, and their outworks were crumbling. There were sorties from Novo Georgievsk, but they had little effect. On the night of the 23rd von Gallwitz won certain crossings of the Narev. TheJuly 23. chief was just opposite the mouth of the Orzyc, between Pultusk and Rozhan. Another effort which failed—it may have been only a feint to cover the first—was near Rozhan itself, just north of the big bend of the river. Farther east a passage was won between Ostrolenka and Lomza, where the ground on the south side is free from marshes. Von Scholtz made strenuous efforts to cross at Novogorod, at the mouth of the Pissa, but his Landwehr troops were repulsed with heavy losses. By Sunday, the 25th, no further ground hadJuly 25. been won on the south bank, but von Gallwitz’s right was on the Bug between Sierok and Novo Georgievsk. Though he had not yet won the river line on a broad front, he was within twenty miles of Warsaw and the Petrograd railway.

Battle of Krasnostav.

Meanwhile the battle had been resumed on the southern sector. On 16th July the Archduke Joseph attacked the Russians on the Krasnik-Lublin road, but after ten assaults failed to carry the Wilkolaz position. The same day von July 16.Mackensen made his great effort against Krasnostav. As we have seen, his centre lay in the angle between the Wieprz and the Wolitza, the Russian lines crossing the narrower end. During the week he had bridged the marshy streams on his flanks, and was able to dispose his artillery on a broad front and use his superior numbers for envelopment. He pushed his left across the Wieprz towards the village of Pilaskowice, and flung his right across the Wolitza, while his centre—where were his heaviest guns—forced a passage along the Cholm road. Before such weight of men and guns Lesch’s force was compelled to give way, July 18.and, fighting desperate rearguard actions with the bayonet, fell back behind Krasnostav. On the morning of Sunday, the 18th, von Mackensen had won that town and the village of Pilaskowice, and was within ten miles of the vital railway.

The skies had darkened for Russia along the whole front. Next day General Kirchbach, commanding a mixed Moravian, Silesian, and Galician corps in Boehm-Ermolli’sJuly 19. army, forced a crossing of the Upper Bug at Sokal, though a few days later Brussilov managed to clear most of the right bank as far up as Kamionka. In front of Warsaw, where the enemy’s strength was lowest, the Blonie line was still held, but the events to south and north were speedily making it a position of danger. For in those days von Woyrsch’s army began to drive Ewarts’s right wing from the whole left bank of the Vistula. The advance of von Mackensen and the Archduke Joseph was bound very shortly to make Ivangorod untenable, and the shortening of the Bzura front turned the flank of the Radom position. On the 19th Ewarts’s centre was driven east of Itza on the Itzanka River, and next day von Woyrsch’s cavalry were on the Radom-Ivangorod railway, and Radom had fallen. Presently Sienno fell, and on the 21st von Woyrsch’s advanced guard seized theJuly 21. Vistula bridgehead at Nova Alexandria. On the 22nd the Russian right was driven into Ivangorod, which was thus assailed atJuly 22. once from south and west. The Russian army holding the Archduke Joseph at Wilkolaz now found itself outflanked by von Woyrsch on the right and von Mackensen on the left, and was compelled to fall back nearer Lublin.

The Position in Courland. July 20, 1915.

Far in the north there loomed a peril more remote but not less deadly. On the 14th the left of General von Buelow’s army had crossed the Windawa near Kurschany,July 14. was sweeping round towards Tukkum, the halfway house between Windau and Riga, while his centre was in front of Shavli, with the great guns of the East Prussian fortresses in support. Tukkum and Windau fell on 20th July, and the advance on Mitau began, while theJuly 20. centre was now east of Shavli. Farther south, on the Dubissa, the Russian line was forced, and von Eichhorn’s left wing advanced on Kovno. The factories and depôts at Riga began to move their goods and plant to the interior. Von Buelow was within twenty miles of Riga, and von Eichhorn within sixty of Vilna.

Such was the situation on Saturday, 24th July. It was sufficiently desperate, for Russia had drawn all the spears to her breast. The enemy were close up on the railway salient—fifteenJuly 24. miles from the apex, ten miles from the southern side, no more than twenty from the northern. The fortified line of the Narev was pierced, though not yet wholly broken. In these days the Grand Duke Nicholas had been called upon to make one of the most momentous decisions in the history of his country. The great Polish triangle of fortresses, the base of Russia’s frontier defence—Novo Georgievsk, Ivangorod, Brest Litovski—was still intact. Should he endeavour, with the aid of these works, to hold the triangle, and with it Warsaw? Or should he sacrifice Poland and its capital, with all that it held of military and political significance, and fall back to the east, as Peter the Great and Kutusov had done before him? The second course was far the harder. To extricate great armies from a narrowing salient along three railways, two of which might any day become impossible, in the face of an enemy so amply equipped, might well seem to demand a miracle for success. It meant that his wearied troops must hold for a space of weeks the sides of the salient while the front retired. The easier path seemed to be to trust the fortresses, and hold out in the triangle, in that hope of some sudden gift of fortune with which even strong men sometimes flatter their souls.

The Grand Duke chose the path of difficulty, of honour, and of sound strategy. He made the gran rifiuto, but not, like Dante’s figure, per viltate. Let the enemy have such satisfaction as they desired from the gain of forts and territory and a capital city. Kutusov’s view was his: it was not land or cities that mattered, but the armies of Holy Russia. He trusted his men to perform the impossible. Some day out of the East these armies would return, strong and replenished, to win back more than they had sacrificed. He saw the joints in the formidable harness of his foes. Their vast conglomerate was not a homogeneous or a coherent whole. There was a multitude of inferior Landwehr and Landsturm stuff in their ranks—von Scholtz’s army was nothing else. The Austrian troops, even in their triumphant progress, had the air of being dragged at the chariot wheels of an alien conqueror.[1] In the letters of captured Austrians there appeared anxious bewilderment and bitter complaints of their Allies. They had hoped for peace in April. Now they saw the war stretch out for ever under the spur of German ambition. Against this motley host the Russian Generalissimo knew his men superior in everything but equipment. That equipment would come. Somewhere in the east, on the line of the Bug, or, if necessary, on the Dnieper, a position would be found in which to await the preparation of the machine that would redress the balance.

On 15th July the resolution was taken to abandon Warsaw, and with it the restJuly 15. of Russian Poland.

As we draw near to the close of the first act in the drama of the Russian retreat we may pause to do honour to one of the greatest achievements in human history. The most brilliant feat was still to come; but from the day on the Wisloka, when the Russians took command of the situation, down to the end of July the world has seen no more masterly handling of difficulties and no more wonderful heights of endurance and courage. We praise, and rightly praise, the retreat from Mons, but here was a withdrawal lasting for months, a withdrawal in almost every part undertaken on the Russian initiative and not under the compulsion of defeat, a withdrawal which was rarely out of close touch with the enemy. Before such a retirement all similar exploits in history must fade into insignificance.

The weeks of trial purged and purified the Russian commonweal. She had long had sinister elements in her Government—that bureaucracy, German in origin, and largely German in blood, which had engendered abuses alien to the Russian temper. To it she owed the harshness of her officialism, its occasional freaks of brutality, its conception of human beings as automata—traits which belong less to the essential Russian than to any people on earth. Hence to the world she remained an enigma. What part had the infinite kindliness, simplicity, and mysticism of her people with a dull mechanical régime from which charity and imagination were absent? The crisis enabled her to shake herself loose from her fetters. There was a very thorough inquisition into Petrograd officialdom, and many an eminent bureaucrat went under. There had been gross corruption in certain civil departments connected with the army, which did much to explain her weakness in war supplies. The army reasserted itself, and the army, both leaders and men, was the heart of the nation, at once sane, liberal, and patriotic. There was a sudden rise into power of the men who had fought the bureaucracy. M. Gouchkov, the Octobrist leader, became Minister of Munitions. The Duma for the first time in its history was looked to universally as the mouthpiece of the nation, and the ally of the Third Duma, General Polivanov, became Minister of War.

The Russian soldier had proved his title to the admiration of the world. Those who saw him in the hospitals marvelled at his patience under suffering, his unshakable nerve, and his wholesome colour and undimmed eye even when desperately wounded. No man ever fought with less hate or greater courage. The German treatment of prisoners and use of poison gas had convinced him that he was engaged in a holy war against evil, but even this conviction could not distort his natural humanity. He carried into battle the strange unself-conscious innocence of his race, and, like King Alfred in the poem,

      “fought as gravely

As a wise child at play.”

If it be true that men show likest gods when mercy seasons justice, the true superman was the peasant soldier of Russia rather than the be-ribboned marshals of the Hohenzollern.

See Note at end of the chapter.


The following extract from the diary of an officer of the 12th Rifle Battalion of the 10th Austrian Division is interesting, since it casts a light on Austrian feeling during the triumphant advance to the San. The writer was captured at Sieniawa by the Russian Caucasian Corps. The translation is by Professor Bernard Pares. The extract begins with the great attack on Gorlice, when the Austro-German artillery blasted the Russian position.

. . . April 30.—We are drawn up in attacking order opposite Rzepeinik. Four hundred of our cannon thunder against the heights at Gollanka. At nine o’clock in the evening we cut through our wire entanglements. The 1st and 2nd Company go forward to the attack, and we behind them in reserve. We lose connection. The trenches are empty: there is no one there. At last, after three-quarters of an hour, we find other trenches. We have advanced 1½ kilometres. We entrench ourselves. Katz wants us to entrench in the open in front of the wood, but I advise on the edge of the wood as the enemy’s artillery cannonades us on our flank. We have scarcely begun entrenching ourselves when heavy Russian mortars open fire on us. That night was awful. I sit with Janikovski (my orderly); no one speaks. We press our backs against the clay dug-out. The side of the trench is an admirable defence from the firing. The shrapnels burst all around us, lighting up the surroundings with a hellish fire. Janikovski shuts his eyes and does not want to look. I try to begin talking. The clay keeps on crumbling into the trench from the impact of the air. I think of every one at home. I think of Mary. I think of the action of shells, and wonder how it was possible to invent such a terrible thing. It is dawning. Thank God. The shells no longer shine up in the darkness, and do not seem so terrible. Now our two batteries have begun to talk. Beneath me I hear soldiers talking. They want to get breakfast. The Muscovite has, perhaps, stopped already. I remain silent. They get me beams to cover my trench in case the Russians should think of bombarding us again. I go off to sleep.

May 1.—About six I woke up. Janikovski has made some coffee. Where he got it is for me a mystery. I stretch myself, and feel altogether knocked up, as my legs were higher than my head. Our artillery thunders in salvos all round. We wait. At eleven o’clock the Guard regiment with the 21st is to go to the attack. It is already midday. It is only now that musketry fire has suddenly begun. Our men are talking. The Russian cannon fire straight on to us. We have to go forward in the direction of Rzepeinik. It is in the valley in front of us. My squad has three or four men crawling forward. The Russian shrapnels burst a few yards off us. I and Katz go to the left. The bullets whistle past us. Our people are pressing the Russians on the right flank. After two hours we all go forward. In front of us the village of Rzepeinik is in flames. The 21st Regiment has had enormous losses. We receive orders to take the southern slope of the hill from Kazalov. The Russians fire on our flank from the left of Gollanka. The hillock is taken. We have only two or three wounded. I sleep in a hut in front of which are our trenches.

May 2.—At 8 a.m. orders to march. With the 2nd Rifle Regiment we go up through the wood on Dobrotyn, Hill 517. We come under fire of the Russian artillery. We have to go forward as quick as we can. We march in column. One shell bursts on the first column and knocks out eight men—two killed, four heavily wounded, two slightly wounded. A volunteer is killed. We go forward at a run. The shrapnels burst behind us. We several times march forward round Hill No. 517. In the end we entrench for the night.

May 3.—Morning. We move forward as the reserve of the I. T. Division. Three short advances and then an order comes to take Hill 417 (Obzar) with the Rifles. It is three o’clock already. We turn from the road into the wood. We are to attack at night. At six o’clock we are ready. We go round the wood. It begins to get dark. The 3rd Company has to cover a battalion on its left. We lose connection with the front line. Katz runs back, and I come out on to the road. Katz is unnerved. He has lost connection. He wants to lead his company from behind. I run forward to Katz, and in person order the company to scatter into attack order and advance up the hill. In front of us are our sentries. I meet the squad of Ensign Minster. I take it with me. By this time we are come up to the reserve company of Canicani. I determine to attack along the road. Canicani goes first. We make our way for a whole hour parallel with the crest of the hill. It is dark. To the left of us the houses are on fire, where the Russians were in the morning. We have certainly gone forward a long way, and the Russian left flank is able to turn us. We turn back. Midnight. We want to stay on the road in the wood. We have found a company of the 18th Regiment to the left, and to the right is the 80th. We entrench.

May 4.—3 a.m. Obzar is in our hands. We may expect a Russian artillery attack. We entrench ourselves on the Obzar Hill. In a hut by the road they have got us breakfast. I entrench myself with the Chief of Scouts, Altman, who was a volunteer from Libertz. At eleven o’clock we get wine and something to eat. Katz and Hoffmann go off to hospital. Lieutenant Kahl takes over the company. At 5 a.m. we are relieved by the 98th, and go in the direction of Wyzjowa, Hill 419. Between Obzar and Wyzjowa we entrench for the night.

May 5.—The Prussian Guard is attacking to the right of us. All round huts are burning. The Russian batteries fire past us. Our batteries are going off to their positions. Behind, one catches sight of a group of cavalry. We bivouac in a courtyard. The 2nd Company of Canicani sends out sentries towards Wyzjowa. What is Mary doing? May is the month of love, and my dear one is asleep at home. Shall I return? I believe, I believe; it is by belief that I live. We have taken prisoner a Russian N.C.O., a gunner.

May 6.—Alarm at 4 a.m. We march in the advance guard, and are to go to the river Wisloka. With fifteen men I go scouting, direction of Wyzjowa, Dembow, and Blazkow, or rather south of Blazkow, Hill 291. We are to reconnoitre the course of the river Wisloka, to see if the enemy is there. I go with Polnerycz; he goes off a little to the north. We get to Czerinne. In the morning there were Cossacks here everywhere. Every one is afraid of the Germans. On the road we buy some eggs. We get to the top of the hill, and in front of us lies the Wisloka. We cannot advance farther. German scouts. The Russian artillery is cannonading us from the opposite heights. I and my men look for cover in a deep ditch. Only two go forward on their knees up the hill, and keep a look out; two I send to a hut to cook some potatoes. Columns are moving along the road to Blazkow. I think it is our battalion coming up. I send two men to the village, and meanwhile read the newspaper. At my order the thinned ranks go forward. God of Mercy, have mercy on us! I wonder who of us will survive.

Two o’clock. We eat some potatoes. The battalion is in the village. I go forward to it. We got there safely. In the village two of our batteries are taking up position. We get some dinner. Unexpectedly there arrive two civilians. I thought I knew one of them. Just then he came up to me and said in pure German, “Sir, I have the honour to report myself from captivity.” It was Tandler of my squad, who, with Palme of the Rifles, was taken prisoner by the Russians in December and escaped. They were disguised as Poles. Tandler spoke Bohemian well, and the Russians took him for a Pole. The other pretended to be dumb. The schoolmaster of the village of Blazkow helped them.

The 1st Company goes forward towards the river. At night we are to attack the heights beyond the river. The Russians have burned the bridges. We must ford the river. I leave my knapsack in the kitchen, and take with me only my field-glasses, spade, and revolver. At twelve o’clock we get up, have a meal, and drink black coffee. We come to the river, the 4th Company in front, at 2 a.m. The road is very dusty. Behind us a Russian shell has set the hut on fire. Our 4th Company arrives at the burned bridge. Just then we come under a rain of bullets. All lie down. Next to me is Sub-Lieutenant Bader. I call Kahlen, and want to give orders, but it is no use. We run along the marsh to the bank of the river. I see its shining surface. Just one plunge forward, and with the name of God we are in the water. Some fall behind in the water. I see that the copse on the opposite bank is full of our men, and hear the rear ranks coming through the river. About six hundred yards from us a hut has been set on fire, and lights up the house to the right. We are going towards the flaming hut. The sub-lieutenant doesn’t want to go forward, saying that he has no orders. I lose him. Our right flank is already engaged. We hear a Russian machine gun. I send an orderly to the left, and want to know who is there, as so far there is not a sound on that side. We run forward about 300 yards, and begin going up the hill. At 100 or 115 yards in front of us we see the trenches. I don’t know whether they are Russians or ours.

The firing does not slacken. If the Russians have gone, then they may come back. “Forward!” I shout, “first battalion, forward, hurrah!” but no one wants to move. All our men turn to the left, and no one listens to me. Only when I repeat the order and explain that there are very few Russians, they go forward. Three or four Russians are still firing. The rest throw away their guns and throw up their hands, about seventy. I leave four men with them, and go forward. To the left of us the Russian machine guns are firing on our flank. We are joined by a company of the 2nd Rifles. I direct them quickly to the left, where I see flashes of musketry fire. Myself I go at a quick pace to the hill. I see that the Russians are returning, and can easily turn our 4th Company. Quickly forward. It is sad to think of so many lives. The will of God be done.

Just then I hear from behind shouts of “Hurrah!” and bullets whistling. This is the reserve of the 98th Regiment, which was going to attack the Russians whom we had already taken prisoners, and took us for retreating Russians. They fire at us with a machine gun. I shout out, use my whistle, and at last succeed in stopping the fire. I look round to the left, and see Captain Tezera coming up. I am very tired, tortured with thirst, and can hardly stand on my legs. With a gesture I explain to him the position of affairs to the left. He is wounded in the hand. Our men quickly entrench on the hill. Czwanczara takes me to a hut, and makes some coffee. They now suggest that I should go to the first-aid point. I am in the village of Bukowa. I wait for Janikovski with clean linen, so as to change. The Russian shrapnels are bursting in Bukowa, above which are our trenches.

After paying the hostess I go to look for the doctor. Everywhere there is a mass of wounded, ours and the Russians. Some dead Russians lie on the road. In the hut I happen to meet our major. I tell him that I am going off. He is very annoyed, and says that he has no one to replace me. The doctor of the 2nd Rifles looks me over. He is anxious about my lungs, otherwise it is simply fatigue and a bad cold. At the first-aid point there are a mass of wounded, lots of them ours. I meet Janikovski. I hear from him that among the wounded are Boguslaw, Minster, Klein, Tepser, Werner, Silberbauer, seriously; and killed, Radlenbacher, Gezl, Scoutmaster Kalina, and Altman. The field hospital is in the school. There are many wounded in head and chest and stomach. I sleep with the slightly wounded, and have a fairly good night. . . .



Alexeiev’s Reputed Plan—The Essentials of Russian Strategy—Comparison of 1812 and 1915—Napoleon’s Russian Campaign—Difficulty of Supplies—History of Supply System—The Changed Conditions—General von Buelow’s Views—Russia’s Assets—The Civilian Evacuation of Warsaw—The Holding of the Narev Front—Von Mackensen pierces the Southern Railway—The Russian Centre falls back from the Blonie Lines—The Vistula Bridges blown up—The Germans enter Warsaw—The Kaiser’s Anniversary Manifesto—Prince Leopold of Bavaria.

There is a tale that Alexeiev, then Chief of Staff to Ivanov, differed from his colleagues in the preceding August when the Austrian armies crossed the southern border of Poland. They saw the weakness of the enemy’s position, and were resolved to give effect to that admirable strategic plan which in a fortnight gave them the victories of Lemberg and Rava Russka. But Alexeiev, it is said, took a larger view. He counselled retreat, and still retreat, behind the Pripet Marshes, away into the heart of the country. Let us inflame our opponents by means of easy successes, he said, and they will follow blindly, and then, when winter comes, we shall not beat them, we shall destroy them. His advice was not taken. Had it been, who shall say how the campaign would have evolved? Hypothetics is a bastard science, which should be shunned by the historian. But the tale, if true, is interesting as revealing in an extreme form the deepest instinct of Russian strategy. The determining factor has never been Peter or Kutusov, or the Grand Duke Nicholas, but General Russia. It was an echo of the policy which gave them Poltava and Krasny and the Beresina, and which five hundred years before the birth of Christ had baffled the army of Darius. “The Scythians,” wrote Herodotus, “in regard to one of the greatest of human matters, have struck out a plan cleverer than any I know. In other respects I do not admire them, but they have contrived this great object, that no invader or their country shall ever escape out of it or shall ever be able to find out and overtake them unless they themselves choose.”

But the precedents of 1709 and 1812 were no accurate guide to the happenings of to-day. Let us look more closely into the matter, and consider exactly what causes led to Napoleon’s failure, and whether or not they were still operative. On such an inquiry must depend our view of the wisdom of the Grand Duke’s strategy.

The main lines of the 1812 expedition are familiar. By the third week of June in that year Napoleon had massed 400,000 men and 1,000 guns on a front roughly defined by the great bend of the Niemen, which has its centre at Kovno. He began the crossing of the river on 24th June—whistling “Malbrouck,” say the chroniclers—and presently the Grande Armée was swallowed up in the silence of the northern forests. On the 28th he occupied Vilna, and on 23rd July reached Vitebsk. Here, the readers of Ségur will remember, he fell into a mood of indecision, and paced restlessly up and down the rainy street. He found his supply system working badly, and sickness and poor food had done much to reduce his forces. Accordingly he told his marshals that the campaign of 1812 was over. He proposed to go into cantonments on a line running north and south through Vitebsk, covered by Murat’s cavalry divisions. During the winter Poland and Lithuania would be reorganized, and supplies collected on the Vitebsk front, and from this advanced base the operations for the campaign of 1813 would begin.

The plan was sound, and had it been persisted in the course of history would have been different. But on 8th August the Russians made a surprise attack on Murat’s centre. Napoleon counter-attacked, and set the whole Grande Armée in motion, believing that his enemy was about to give him the chance of fighting a decisive battle. He moved on Smolensk, and entered it on 18th August. Once there he was captivated by the notion of a dash for Moscow. His hope was that, if he could beat the Russians in a great battle and occupy their ancient capital, Alexander would be willing to make peace, as he had done before after the disaster of Friedland. Accordingly Napoleon found himself committed to a march on Moscow in the late summer, which could only be a desperate race against time.

The decision sealed his fate. His army began to vanish long before he reached the capital. At Borodino he had little more than 130,000 men in line. He entered Moscow with less than 100,000. Three-fourths of the Grande Armée had gone. The rest of the great tale is tragedy. We know from Ségur the strange scene on the Sparrow Hills, where Napoleon waited for the capitulation of the Russian nobles which never came. Then followed the proud entry into a sepulchre of a city, then the great fire, and then, on 13th October, the first frost of winter and the beginning of the retreat. The country rose behind the invaders, and cold and famine hastened like avengers of blood on their trail. Presently the Grande Armée was only 40,000; soon it was only 24,000. The Beresina was reached, where the Emperor fell into a stupor, and murmured “Poltava.” Eighteen thousand broken men crossed the Niemen, where a few months before the Emperor had whistled “Malbrouck s’en va-t-en guerre,” and Ney, as the story goes, staggered into Dumas’ bivouac crying, “Je suis l’arrière-garde de la Grande Armée.” Malbrouck had gone to the wars and had returned, but when he entered Warsaw by sledge he had left his empire behind him.

The débâcle of 1812 was due mainly to the impossibility of obtaining adequate supplies. It was that more than the winter weather which destroyed the Grande Armée, for it is too often forgotten that that army had ceased to be an efficient force before it reached Moscow. What was Napoleon’s method of supply?

In the seventeenth century the small armies of the day lived largely on the country they occupied. Their system was one of inadequate magazines and transport lines, supplemented by a general levying of contributions and extensive plunder. The army of Gustavus Adolphus fought in alliance with Prussia, but it took Prussia fifty years to recover from its exactions. This system proved as inadequate as it was demoralizing. In the eighteenth century, accordingly, armies were munitioned by the help of contractors, who formed magazines at the base and the advanced bases, and brought up supplies to the front by horse and water transport. This was the regular system, and it was supplemented not by levying contributions, but by purchasing supplies locally, and paying for them out of the travelling military chest. The eighteenth century was probably the time when, speaking broadly, armies inflicted the least hardships on the districts in which they operated. The system was carried sometimes to a farcical excess. In 1806 the Prussian army, which still followed the eighteenth-century fashion, found itself occasionally starving in the midst of ripe cornfields, or shivering beside piles of cut timber, because the commissaries had not yet closed the bargain for corn and firewood.

The French Republican levies broke from the system, and Napoleon followed them. The new plan was to make war support itself. They levied money contributions on the cities they occupied, and still larger contributions in kind. This practice secured far greater freedom and rapidity of movement for moderately large forces operating on a broad front. If supplies for men and horses could be found on the ground, it was no longer necessary for the units to depend on the wagon-trains coming slowly up from the base. But, as numbers increased, the method broke down, and recourse had to be had again to magazines and lines of supply. In the campaign of Ulm in 1805, for example, the French army found itself working in a confined space where long halts had to be made, and bodies of troops occupied successively the same villages. The result was very nearly catastrophe. One of Ney’s staff officers wrote that his corps suffered almost as much there as later in Russia.

When Napoleon began to advance from the Niemen the conditions were such that living off the country was impossible. Wood and water were the only things that could be furnished locally. The district, poor at the best, was swept clear of everything, not only because the Russians deliberately destroyed supplies, but also because, as they retired, they ate up all that was locally available. Napoleon had to depend upon the old system of magazines, which in May and June were collected on the Niemen front. But to send forward supplies was a difficult business. The roads were atrocious, wagons and horses were constantly breaking down, the quantity of transport required was enormous, and grew daily as the lines of operations extended. The very life of the Grande Armée depended on the continuous double stream of wagons coming up loaded from the Niemen front, and returning empty for further supplies. The problem proved too great. In that realm of Chaos and old Night, where roads were tracks and rain turned the land into a morass, the whole commissariat went to pieces, and victories only meant starvation.

Clearly the situation in this respect was very different in 1915 from what it had been in 1812. General von Buelow pointed out to a correspondent in July the change in the nature of the case. The German soldiers at Windau were eating bread baked and fresh meat packed in Berlin the day before. Railways were being built a mile behind the advancing forces, thousands of motor wagons were ready to supplement them, and, if necessary, an asphalted road fifty miles long could be constructed in two days. The German base on the Niemen would not consist of magazines filled up during a few weeks by collecting food and forage from Poland and East Prussia. They had behind them a railway system which enabled them to draw continuously on all the resources of Central Europe. The magazines would merely represent the temporary accumulation at the railheads, and every day would bring in more. If the Russians destroyed local supplies it would matter little. The German armies would live on their railways and their motor transport.

The view was sound, but it was not all the truth. Modern science had indeed removed one of the worst of Napoleon’s difficulties. The precedent of 1812 was no basis for a precise forecast, but certain rock facts remained. Russia was still a country of infinite distances. The heart of the land was the people, and no capital or province. Human energy is limited, and all the railways on earth could not make a campaign in hostile territory a hundred miles from the frontiers as easy as one fought just inside them. As the German line of communications lengthened out it must grow weaker and more vulnerable, for though the relation of distance to time had changed, it still remained a fixed proportion; supplies would still take twice as long to travel four hundred miles as to travel two hundred. Moreover, as the German army advanced eastward the front would tend to broaden and the lines grow thinner. A space of some hundreds of miles proved fatal to Napoleon; that space might now need to be multiplied by ten or twenty, but space, if ample enough, would sooner or later dissipate the fiercest effort.

In two respects the situation was more fortunate for Russia than in 1812. Then she was still an unwieldy and inorganic Power. The Poles and Lithuanians were all on the French side. Vilna celebrated Napoleon’s birthday; Minsk greeted the troops of Davoust with music and flowers; at Mogilev there was mass in the cathedral for the Emperor’s well-being. Even in Russia proper the people were at first confused, for a few years before their Tsar had been in alliance with the French. They were ignorant of the doings in the West, and were for long puzzled to understand the meaning of the invasion. Nor was there any fierce hostility felt then or later to Napoleon himself, such as flourished at the time in Britain. Pushkin’s words represented the judgment of many classes: “All hail! He pointed out a great destiny to the Russian people, and from the gloom of his banishment bequeathed to the world lasting freedom!” The feeling of the ordinary Russian was bewilderment and pity rather than wrath. When a priest of Smolensk, on his way to a dying parishioner, met the Emperor tramping moodily in the icy slush, he pressed on him the sacrament, because he seemed the greatest of human sufferers.

But in 1915 the slow consciousness of Russia had awakened. She knew the war for a struggle not of armies and dynasties, but of peoples and of ideals. Civilization had laid its hand on her since 1812. Her great spaces were pierced with roads and railways, and cornlands lay where had once been wood and marsh. The Germans were advancing in an easier country, but the century which had improved the face of the land had given a new cohesion and force to the human resistance.

Again, the armed strength of Russia, both absolutely and relatively, was far greater than in 1812. Napoleon, it should be remembered, thought first of dividing and breaking the Russian armies. The occupation of Moscow was only a secondary matter, a quasi-political move forced on him by his inability to get really to grips with his foe. “Bagration and Barclay will not see each other again,” he had said confidently when he crossed the Niemen, believing that he had driven a wedge between the armies of the north and of the south. He was wrong, for on 3rd August the two armies joined hands in Smolensk, and thereafter their cohesion was never broken. The united Russian forces were not formidable; at Borodino they numbered little over 103,000, and on that bloody day they lost some 58,000 killed and wounded, including twenty-two generals. They had no commanders of genius, certainly no one comparable to Napoleon. The seasoned troops which the Grand Duke Nicholas led in 1915 had a superiority over their foe in everything but artillery. Once again, as in 1812, the aim of the invader must be the destruction of the armies. If these could retreat without grave loss into their infinite hinterland the enterprise of von Hindenburg might shipwreck as grievously as Napoleon’s.

The last days of July in Warsaw saw a strange sight. The great factories with their plant migrated eastward. While homeless peasants from the neighbouring country thronged into the city, the normal inhabitants, to the number of nearly half a million, sought refuge in Russia, travelling by the northern line within sound of the guns on the Narev. All goods which could be useful to the coming enemy were removed, and what could not be taken was burned. The Praga and Alexander bridges were thronged with convoys carrying gold from the banks, archives from the State departments, and sacred relics and ikons from the churches. The crops were destroyed in the surrounding fields, when no man could be found to reap them. A migration of hackney carriages began, carrying families on the thousand-mile road to Moscow. The newspapers announced the evacuation, and then appeared no more; their linotype machines and founts of type were carried off, and all the copper fittings which could be found in the city. Only Poles remained, and the very poorest of the Ghetto.

The civil evacuation was carried out with extraordinary efficiency and speed. But the real task was the withdrawal of the troops from the western lines. The railway to Brest Litovski was reserved for military trains, and about 24th July the Blonie forces began to fall backJuly 24. gradually to the suburbs of the city. If the army in the front of the salient were to get clear away the sides must be held, and especially that northern side where, on the Narev and Bug, the enemy was only some twenty miles distant. The holding battle fought there during the last week of July was one of the great episodes of the retirement. Heavy reinforcements were brought against the Narev, and von Gallwitz and vonJuly 26. Scholtz attacked fiercely on 26th July and the subsequent days, but they were unable to break the Russian resistance.

Position of the Austro-German Front before the Evacuation of Warsaw.

Farther south, where the position was for the moment less critical, the enemy won several notable successes. On the 28th von Woyrsch succeeded in crossing the Vistula between Warsaw and Ivangorod at several points south of theJuly 28. mouth of the Pilitza. Ivangorod was now untenable, and very wisely it was resolved not to defend the great fortress. Ewarts’s army fell back north-eastward, keeping in touch with the army defending Warsaw.

Next day von Mackensen at last pierced the southern railway. His left wing, thrust forward between Lublin and Cholm, cut the line at the station of Biskupice, and dominatedJuly 29. a section east of that place, while his right, containing the Prussian Guard, advanced north-east of Krasnostav to a point five miles south of the line. The following day LeschJuly 30. fell back from the railway to a position well to the north, and Lublin and Cholm were in German hands.

Feverishly the work of evacuation went on, and the flanking forces were able either to hold the enemy or to make his progress slow. By 4th August the moment had come for the point of the salient to yield. The stores and gunsAug. 4. had all gone eastward, and, while the flanking army of the Narev still held, it was time for the centre to fall back. On the evening of 4th August the Russians retired without difficulty from the Blonie lines, and began to move through the city. For the past days German aircraft had been dropping bombs on Warsaw, and the great guns had set the western suburbs on fire. By midnight the last troops were filing over the bridges, fighting rearguard actions with the pursuing cavalry. At three o’clock on the Aug. 5.morning of Thursday, 5th August, there was a sound of heavy explosions. The three Vistula bridges had been blown up.

Two hours later the German cavalry, the advance guard of Prince Leopold’s army, entered the city.

The Kaiser did not fulfil the expectations of his opponents. He made no spectacular entry into the Polish capital. On the last day of July he had issued a manifesto to mark the anniversaryJuly 31. of the beginning of war. It is a curious document, well worth quoting in full, as an illustration of the attitude of the German people as reflected in the mind of their Emperor, that faithful mirror of popular opinion:—

“One year has elapsed since I was obliged to call to arms the German people. An unprecedented time of bloodshed has befallen Europe and the world.

“Before God and history my conscience is clear. I did not will the war. After preparations during a whole decade, the coalition Powers, for whom Germany was becoming too great, believed that the moment had come to humiliate the Empire which had loyally stood by its Austro-Hungarian ally in a just cause, or to crush it by overwhelming encircling forces.

“As I already stated a year ago, no lust for conquest drove us into war. When in the days of August all able-bodied men rushed to the colours and our troops marched to a defensive war, every German on earth felt, in accordance with the unanimous example of the Reichstag, that he was to fight for the highest good of the nation, for its life and its freedom. What awaits us if the enemy force succeeded in determining the fate of our people and Europe has been shown by the hardships endured by my dear province of East Prussia.

“The consciousness that the fight was forced upon us accomplished miracles. Political conflict of opinion became silent. Old opponents began to understand and esteem each other. A spirit of true comradeship governed the entire people. In full gratitude we can say to-day that God was with us. The enemy armies who boasted that they would enter Berlin in a few months have been driven back with heavy blows far East and West. The numberless battlefields in various parts of Europe and the naval battles off near and distant coasts testify what German anger in self-defence and what German strategy can do. No violation of international laws by our enemies is able to shake the economic foundation of our conduct of the war.

“The communities of agriculture, industry, commerce, science, and technical art endeavoured to soften the stress of war. Appreciating the necessity of measures for the free intercourse of goods and wholly devoted to the care of their brethren in the field, the population have exerted their utmost strength to parry the common danger.

“With deep gratitude the Fatherland to-day remembers, and will ever remember, its warriors, those who defying death show a bold front to the enemy, those who are wounded, or who have come back ill, those, above all, who rest from the battle on foreign soil or at the bottom of the sea. I grieve with mothers, widows, and orphans for the beloved who have died for the Fatherland.

“Internal strength and the unanimous national will in the spirit of the founders of the Empire guarantee victory. The dykes which they erected in the anticipation that we would once more have to defend what we gained in 1870 have defied the highest tide of the world’s history. After unexampled proofs of personal ability and national energy I cherish the bright confidence that the German people, faithfully preserving the purification which they have acquired through war, will vigorously proceed along the old and tried paths, and confidently enter upon new ones.

“Great trials make a nation reverent and firm of heart. In heroic action we suffer and work without wavering till peace comes, a peace which offers us the necessary military, political, and economic guarantees for the future, and which fulfils the conditions necessary for the unhindered development of our producing energy at home on the free seas. Thus we shall emerge with honour from the war for Germany’s right and freedom, however long the war may last, and be worthy of victory before God, who, we pray, may henceforth bless our arms.”

Position of the Austro-German Front on August 5, 1915.

The Kaiser, however, permitted himself one modest outburst. In a telegram to the Queen of Greece he gave rein to his exultation. “My destructive sword,” he said, “has crushed the Russians. They will need six months to recover. In a short time I will announce new victories won by my brave soldiers, who have shown themselves invincible in battle against nearly the whole world. The war drama is now coming to a close.” He had some cause for his pride. The Christmas gift, the birthday gift, had failed; but Warsaw had now come to him as an anniversary memento, a token that the first year of war had ended in a German triumph.

The privilege of entering Warsaw as a conqueror was left to Prince Leopold of Bavaria, an old gentleman of seventy, who had never before commanded anywhere but at manœuvres. He had married the eldest daughter of the Emperor of Austria, and his selection may have been due to a desire to placate Austrian sentiment, and reveal to the world the conquest as due to the valour of both nations. Prince Leopold was no Attila, and he had only a remnant to deal with. He took hostages after the German fashion, and after the same fashion issued a proclamation announcing that he waged war against troops and not against peaceful citizens, and inviting the people “to trust to the German sense of justice.”

Defences of Warsaw.

As he rode with his suite in the evening through the Sigismund Square on his way to the Palace he saw a glow on the eastern horizon. It was the ominous sight which Napoleon had seen—the skies reddened with the flames of crops and villages as the armies of Russia fell back before the invader.





The Note of the Imperial German Government, dated July 8, 1915, has received the careful consideration of the Government of the United States. It regrets that it is obliged to say that it has found it most unsatisfactory, because it fails to meet the real differences between the two Governments and indicates no way in which the accepted principles of the law of humanity may be applied in the grave matter in controversy, but proposes on the contrary arrangements for the partial suspension of those principles which virtually set them aside.

The Government of the United States notes with satisfaction that the Imperial German Government recognizes without reservation the validity of the principles insisted upon in several communications which this Government addressed to the Imperial German Government in regard to its announcement of a war zone and the use of submarines against merchantmen on the high seas—principles that the high seas are free, that the character and cargo of a merchantman must first be ascertained before it can be lawfully seized or destroyed, and that the lives of non-combatants may in no case be put into jeopardy unless the vessel resists or seeks to escape after it has been summoned to submit to examination. For a belligerent act of retaliation is per se an act beyond the law, and defence of the act retaliatory is an admission that it is illegal.


The Government of the United States is, however, keenly disappointed to find that the Imperial German Government regards itself to a large degree exempted from the obligation to observe these principles, even where neutral vessels are concerned, by what it believes the policy and practice of the Government of Great Britain to be in the present war in regard to neutral commerce.

The Imperial German Government will readily understand that the Government of the United States cannot discuss the policy of the Government of Great Britain in regard to neutral trade except with that Government itself, and must regard the conduct of other belligerent Governments as irrelevant to any discussion with the Imperial German Government of what this Government regards as grave and unjustifiable violations of the rights of American citizens by the German naval commanders. Illegal and inhuman acts, however justifiable they may be thought to be against an enemy who is believed to have acted in contravention of law and humanity, are manifestly indefensible when they deprive neutrals of their acknowledged rights, particularly when they violate the right to life itself.

If a belligerent cannot retaliate against an enemy without injuring the lives of neutrals as well as their property, humanity as well as justice and due regard for the dignity of neutral Powers should dictate that the practice be discontinued. If persisted in it would in such circumstances constitute an unpardonable offence against the sovereignty of the neutral nation affected.


The Government of the United States is not unmindful of the extraordinary conditions created by this war or the radical alterations in the circumstances and method of attack produced by the use of instrumentalities of naval warfare which the nations of the world cannot have had in view when the existing rules of international law were formulated. It is ready to make every reasonable allowance for these novel and unexpected aspects of war at sea, but it cannot consent to abate any essential or fundamental rights of its people, because of a mere alteration in circumstances. The rights of neutrals in time of war are based on principle, not upon expediency, and principles are immutable. It is the duty and obligation of belligerents to find a way to adapt the new circumstances thereto. The events of the past two months have clearly indicated that it is possible and practicable to conduct such submarine operations as have characterized the activity of the Imperial German Navy within the so-called war zone in substantial accord with the accepted practices of regulated warfare. The whole world has looked with interest and increasing satisfaction at the demonstration of that possibility by German naval commanders. It is manifestly possible, therefore, to lift the whole practice of submarine attack above the criticism which it has aroused and to remove the chief causes of offence.


In view of the admission of illegality made by the Imperial Government when it pleaded the right of retaliation in defence of its acts, and in view of the manifest possibility of conforming to the established rules of naval warfare, the Government of the United States cannot believe that the Imperial Government will longer refrain from disavowing the wanton act of its naval commander in sinking the Lusitania or offering reparation for the American lives lost, so far as reparation can be made for the needless destruction of human life by that illegal act.

The Government of the United States, while not indifferent to the friendly spirit in which it is made, cannot accept the suggestion of the Imperial German Government that certain vessels be designated by agreement which should be free on the seas now illegally proscribed. The very agreement would by implication subject other vessels to illegal attack and be a curtailment, and therefore an abandonment, of the principles for which this Government contends, and which in times of calmer counsels every nation would concede as of course.


The Government of the United States and the Imperial German Government, contending for the same great object, long stood together in urging the very principles on which the Government of the United States now so solemnly insists. They are both contending for the freedom of the seas. The Government of the United States will continue to contend for that freedom from whatever quarter it is violated, without compromise and at any cost. It invites the practical co-operation of the Imperial German Government at this time, when co-operation may accomplish most and this great common object can be most strikingly and effectively achieved. The Imperial German Government expresses the hope that this object may in some measure be accomplished even before the present war ends. It can be.

The Government of the United States not only feels obliged to insist upon it, by whomsoever it is violated or ignored, in the protection of its own citizens, but it is also deeply interested in seeing it made practicable between the belligerents themselves. It holds itself ready at any time to act as a common friend who may be privileged to suggest a way.


In the meantime the very value which this Government sets upon the long unbroken friendship between the people and Government of the United States and the people and Government of the German nation impels it to press most solemnly upon the Imperial German Government the necessity for the scrupulous observance of neutral rights. This is a critical matter. Friendship itself prompts it to say to the Imperial Government that repetition by the commanders of German naval vessels of acts in contravention of those rights must be regarded by the Government of the United States when they affect American citizens as deliberately unfriendly.

(Signed)     LANSING.



Correspondence between Sir E. Grey and the American Ambassador in London.

The following correspondence between Sir Edward Grey and the American Ambassador in London on the subject of Prize Court proceedings in cases where American interests may be involved was issued by the Foreign Office:—

Mr. Page to Sir Edward Grey.

(Received July 17.)

American Embassy, London, July 16, 1915.


I have the honour to acquaint you that I have received instructions from my Government to make known to you their attitude for the purpose of avoiding any misunderstandings in regard to Prize Court proceedings in cases in which American interests may be involved.

The Government of the United States, in view of differences which are understood to exist between the two countries as to the principles of law applicable in cases before the Prize Court, desire to make clear to His Majesty’s Government that in so far as the interests of American citizens are involved the Government of the United States feel constrained to insist upon the rights of their citizens under the hitherto established principles and rules governing neutral trade in time of war, without modification or limitation of Orders in Council or other municipal legislation by the Government of Great Britain.

I am instructed to add that the Government of the United States cannot recognize the validity of proceedings taken in His Majesty’s Prize Court under restraints imposed by the municipal law of Great Britain in derogation of the rights of American citizens.

I have, etc.,


Mr. Page to Sir Edward Grey.

(Received July 19.)

American Embassy, London, July 17, 1915.


I have the honour to acquaint you that I am in receipt of instructions from my Government to request your consideration of the following matter, which it regards as being of the utmost importance:—

It has been brought to the attention of the Secretary of State that the steamship Neches, of American register, sailing from Rotterdam to a port of the United States, carrying general cargo, was detained in the Downs and brought to London, where its captain was obliged by His Majesty’s authorities to discharge the cargo, the property of American citizens.

The ground advanced to sustain this action, it appears, is that the goods in question originated, in part, at least, in Belgium, and fell therefore within the provisions of paragraph 4 of the Order in Council of the 11th March, which stipulates that every merchant-vessel sailing from a port other than a German port carrying goods of enemy origin may be required to discharge such goods in a British or allied port.

The Government of the United States very earnestly reiterates its position with respect to this Order in Council, as set forth in the note which I had the honour to address to you on the 2nd April, 1915, and regards the international invalidity of the order as plainly illustrated in the present instance of the seizure of American-owned goods passing from the neutral port of Rotterdam to a neutral port of the United States, merely because the goods came originally from territory in the possession of Great Britain’s enemy.

In view of the position of my Government as set forth above, I am instructed to acquaint you that the legality of the seizure of these goods on board the Neches by His Majesty’s authorities cannot be admitted by the Government of the United States, and that it considers that the course pursued is in violation of the right of the citizens of one neutral country to trade with those of another, as well as with those of belligerents, except in contraband or in contravention of a legal blockade of an enemy seaport. My Government feels that it must insist upon the rights of American owners to bring their goods out of Holland in due course in neutral ships, even though such goods may have come originally from the territories of a country at war with Great Britain.

I am furthermore directed to communicate my Government’s insistent request that goods taken from the steamship Neches, which are the property of American citizens, shall be expeditiously released to be forwarded to their destination.

I venture to ask that you will be so good as to let me be informed at the earliest convenient moment as to the course of His Majesty’s Government in this connection.

I have, etc.,


Sir Edward Grey to Mr. Page.

Foreign Office, July 30, 1915

Your Excellency,

The note which your Excellency addressed to me on the 17th instant respecting the detention of the cargo of the steamship Neches has, I need hardly say, received the careful attention of His Majesty’s Government.

The note which I had the honour to send to your Excellency on the 23rd instant has already explained the view of His Majesty’s Government on the legal aspect of the question, though it was prepared before your Excellency’s communication of the 17th had been received; and pending consideration by the Government of the United States of the views and arguments set forth in the British note of the 23rd, it is unnecessary for me to say more on the question of right or of law.

There is, however, one general observation that seems relevant to the note from your Excellency respecting the cargo of the Neches.

It is the practice of the German Government in the waters through which the Neches was passing to sink neutral as well as British merchant vessels, irrespective of the destination of the vessel, of the destination or origin of the cargo, and without proper regard or provision for the safety of passengers or crews, many of whom have lost their lives in consequence. There can be no question that this action is contrary to the recognized and settled rules of international law, as well as to the principles of humanity.

His Majesty’s Government, on the other hand, have adhered to the rules of visit and search, and have observed the obligation to bring into port and submit to a Prize Court any ships or cargoes with regard to which they think they have a good case for detention or for condemnation as contraband.

His Majesty’s Government are not aware, except from the published correspondence between the United States and Germany, to what extent reparation has been claimed from Germany by neutrals for loss of ships, lives, and cargoes, nor how far these acts have been the subject even of protest by the neutral Governments concerned.

While these acts of the German Government continue it seems neither reasonable nor just that His Majesty’s Government should be pressed to abandon the rights claimed in the British note of the 23rd and to allow goods from Germany to pass freely through waters effectively patrolled by British ships of war.

If, however, it be alleged that in particular cases and special circumstances hardship may be inflicted on citizens of neutral countries, His Majesty’s Government are ready in such cases to examine the facts in a spirit of consideration for the interest of neutrals, and in this spirit they are prepared to deal with the cargo of the Neches, to which your Excellency has called attention, if it is held that the particular circumstances of this case fall within this category.

I have, etc.,


Sir Edward Grey to Mr. Page.

Foreign Office, July 22, 1915.

My dear Ambassador,

I am sending you a note, which had been prepared and was ready before the notes from your Government about our Prize Court proceedings and the Neches case were sent in last week.

The note I now send you was, therefore, written without reference to these latter notes; but I think it well to send it, as it explains more clearly than has yet been done why we have felt ourselves compelled to take the measures that were initiated last March, and the grounds on which we consider that they may be justified.

The notes that you have sent in about the Prize Court proceedings and the Neches case are receiving careful consideration, and I hope to send you an answer on both of them next week.

I do not propose to publish the note pending an agreement with your Government as to the date on which this should be done.

Yours sincerely,




Sir Edward Grey to Mr. Page.

Foreign Office, July 23, 1915.

Your Excellency,

On the 2nd April your Excellency handed to me a copy of a communication containing the criticisms of the United States Government on the measures we have been constrained to take on account of the menace to peaceful commerce resulting from the German submarine policy. This communication has received the most careful consideration of His Majesty’s Government.

I fully appreciate the friendly spirit and the candour which are shown in the communication, and, replying in the same spirit, I trust that I may be able to convince your Excellency, and also the Administration at Washington, that the measures we have announced are not only reasonable and necessary in themselves, but constitute no more than an adaptation of the old principles of blockade to the peculiar circumstances with which we are confronted.

I need scarcely dwell on the obligation incumbent upon the Allies to take every step in their power to overcome their common enemy, in view of the shocking violation of the recognized rules and principles of civilized warfare of which he has been guilty during the present struggle. Your Excellency’s attention has already been drawn to some of these proceedings in the memorandum which I handed to you on the 19th February. Since that time Lord Bryce’s Report, based on evidence carefully sifted by legal experts, describing the atrocities committed in Belgium; the poisoning of wells in German South-West Africa; the use of poisonous gases against the troops in Flanders; and, finally, the sinking of the Lusitania, without any opportunity to passengers and non-combatants to save their lives, have shown how indispensable it is that we should leave unused no justifiable method of defending ourselves.

Your Excellency will remember that in my notes of the 13th and 15th March I explained that the Allied Governments intended to meet the German attempt to stop all supplies of every kind from leaving or entering British or French ports by themselves intercepting goods going to or from Germany. I read the communication from your Excellency’s Government not as questioning the necessity for our taking all the steps open to us to cripple the enemy’s trade, but as directed solely to the question of the legitimacy of the particular measures adopted.

In the various notes which I have received from your Excellency, the right of a belligerent to establish a blockade of the enemy ports is admitted—a right which has obviously no value save in so far as it gives power to a belligerent to cut off the sea-borne exports and imports of his enemy. The contention which, I understand, the United States Government now put forward is that, if a belligerent is so circumstanced that his commerce can pass through adjacent neutral ports as easily as through ports in his own territory, his opponent has no right to interfere, and must restrict his measures of blockade in such a manner as to leave such avenues of commerce still open to his adversary. This is a contention which His Majesty’s Government feel unable to accept, and which seems to them unsustainable either in point of law or upon principles of international equity. They are unable to admit that a belligerent violates any fundamental principle of international law by applying a blockade in such a way as to cut off the enemy’s commerce with foreign countries through neutral ports if the circumstances render such an application of the principles of blockade the only means of making it effective. The Government of the United States, indeed, intimates its readiness to take into account “the great changes which have occurred in the conditions and means of naval warfare since the rules hitherto governing legal blockade were formulated,” and recognizes that “the form of close blockade, with its cordon of ships in the immediate offing of the blockaded ports, is no longer practicable in the face of an enemy possessing the means and opportunity to make an effective defence by the use of submarines, mines, and aircraft.”

The only question, then, which can arise in regard to the measures resorted to for the purpose of carrying out a blockade upon these extended lines is whether, to use your Excellency’s words, they “conform to the spirit and principles of the essence of the rules of war,” and we shall be content to apply this test to the action which we have taken in so far as it has necessitated interference with neutral commerce.

It may be noted in this connexion that at the time of the Civil War the United States found themselves under the necessity of declaring a blockade of some 3,000 miles of coastline, a military operation for which the number of vessels available was at first very small. It was vital to the cause of the United States in that great struggle that they should be able to cut off the trade of the southern States. The Confederate armies were dependent on supplies from overseas, and those supplies could not be obtained without exporting the cotton wherewith to pay for them; to cut off this trade the United States could only rely upon a blockade. The difficulties confronting the Federal Government were in part due to the fact that neighbouring neutral territory afforded convenient centres from which contraband could be introduced into the territory of their enemies and from which blockade running could be facilitated. Your Excellency will no doubt remember how, in order to meet this new difficulty, the old principles relating to contraband and blockade were developed and the doctrine of continuous voyage was applied and enforced, under which goods destined for the enemy territory were intercepted before they reached the neutral ports from which they were to be re-exported.

The difficulties which imposed upon the United States the necessity of reshaping some of the old rules are somewhat akin to those with which the Allies are now faced in dealing with the trade of their enemy. Adjacent to Germany are various neutral countries which afford her convenient opportunities for carrying on her trade with foreign countries. Her own territories are covered by a network of railways and waterways, which enable her commerce to pass as conveniently through ports in such neutral countries as through her own. A blockade limited to enemy ports would leave open routes by which every kind of German commerce could pass almost as easily as through the ports in her own territory. Rotterdam is indeed the nearest outlet for some of the industrial districts of Germany.

As a counterpoise to the freedom with which one belligerent may send his commerce across a neutral country without compromising its neutrality, the other belligerent may fairly claim to intercept such commerce before it has reached, or after it has left, the neutral State, provided, of course, that he can establish that the commerce with which he interferes is the commerce of his enemy and not commerce which is bona fide destined for, or proceeding from, the neutral State. It seems accordingly that, if it be recognized that a blockade is in certain cases the appropriate method of intercepting the trade of an enemy country, and if the blockade can only become effective by extending it to enemy commerce passing through neutral ports, such an extension is defensible and in accordance with principles which have met with general acceptance.

To the contention that such action is not directly supported by written authority it may be replied that it is the business of writers on international law to formulate existing rules rather than to offer suggestions for their adaptation to altered circumstances, and your Excellency will remember the unmeasured terms in which a group of prominent international lawyers of all nations condemned the doctrine which had been laid down by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of the Springbok—a doctrine upheld by the Claims Commission at Washington in 1873. But the United States and the British Government took a broader view, and looked below the surface at the underlying principles; and the Government of this country, whose nationals were the sufferers by the extension and development of the old methods of blockade made by the United States during the Civil War, abstained from all protest against the decisions by which the ships and their cargoes were condemned.

What is really important in the general interest is that adaptations of the old rules should not be made unless they are consistent with the general principles upon which an admitted belligerent right is based. It is also essential that all unnecessary injury to neutrals should be avoided. With these conditions it may be safely affirmed that the steps we are taking to intercept commodities on their way to and from Germany fully comply. We are interfering with no goods with which we should not be entitled to interfere by blockade if the geographical position and the conditions of Germany at present were such that her commerce passed through her own ports. We are taking the utmost possible care not to interfere with commerce genuinely destined for or proceeding from neutral countries. Furthermore, we have tempered the severity with which our measures might press upon neutrals by not applying the rule which was invariable in the old form of blockade, that ships and goods on their way to or from the blockaded area are liable to condemnation.

The communication made by the United States Embassy on the 2nd April describes as a novel and quite unprecedented feature of the blockade that it embraces many neutral ports and coasts and has the effect of barring access to them. It does not appear that our measures can be properly so described. If we are successful in the efforts we are making to distinguish between the commerce of neutral and enemy countries, there will be no substantial interference with the trade of neutral ports except in so far as they constitute ports of access to and exit from the enemy territory. There are at this moment many neutral ports which it would be mere affectation to regard as offering facilities only for the commerce of the neutral country in which they are situated; and the only commerce with which we propose to interfere is that of the enemy, who seeks to make use of such ports for the purposes of transit to or from his own country.

One of the earlier passages in your Excellency’s memorandum was to the effect that the sovereignty of neutral nations in time of war suffers no diminution except in so far as the practice and consent of civilized nations has limited it “by the recognition of certain now clearly determined rights,” which it is considered may be exercised by nations at war, and these it defines as the right of capture and condemnation for unneutral service, for the carriage of contraband, and for breach of blockade. I may, however, be permitted to point out that the practice of nations on each of the three subjects mentioned has not at any time been uniform or clearly determined, nor has the practice of any maritime nation always been consistent.

There are various particulars in which the exact method of carrying a blockade into effect has from time to time varied. The need of a public notification, the requisite standard of effectiveness, the locality of the blockading squadrons, the right of the individual ship to a preliminary warning that the blockade is in force, and the penalty to be inflicted on a captured blockade runner are all subjects on which different views have prevailed in different countries, and in which the practice of particular countries has been altered from time to time. The one principle which is fundamental and has obtained universal recognition is that, by means of blockade, a belligerent is entitled to cut off by effective means the sea-borne commerce of his enemy.

It is the same with contraband. The underlying principle is well established, but as to the details there has been a wide variety of view. As for unneutral service, the very term is of such recent introduction that many writers of repute on international law do not even mention it. It is impossible, in the view of His Majesty’s Government, in these circumstances to maintain that the right of a belligerent to intercept the commerce of his enemy is limited in the way suggested in your Excellency’s communication.

There are certain subsidiary matters dealt with in your Excellency’s communication to which I think it well to refer. Amongst these may be mentioned your citation of the Declaration of Paris, due, no doubt, to the words which occur in the memorandum sent by me to your Excellency on the 1st March, wherein it was stated that the Allied Governments would hold themselves free to detain and take into port ships carrying goods of presumed enemy destination, ownership, or origin, and to our announcement that vessels might be required to discharge goods of enemy ownership as well as those of enemy origin or destination.

It is not necessary to discuss the extent to which the second rule of the Declaration of Paris is affected by these measures, or whether it could be held to apply at all as between Great Britain and the United States. In actual practice, however, we are not detaining goods on the sole ground that they are the property of an enemy. The purpose of the measures we are taking is to intercept commerce on its way from and to the enemy country. There are many cases in which proof that the goods were enemy property would afford strong evidence that they were of enemy origin or enemy destination, and it is only in such cases that we are detaining them. Where proof of enemy ownership would afford no evidence of such origin or destination we are not in practice detaining the goods.

His Majesty’s Government have been gratified to observe that the measures which they are enforcing have had no detrimental effect on the commerce of the United States. Figures of recent months show that the increased opportunities afforded by the war for American commerce have more than compensated for the loss of the German and Austrian markets.

I trust that in the light of the above explanations it will be realized that the measures to which we have resorted have been not only justified by the exigencies of the case, but can be defended as in accordance with general principles which have commended themselves to the Governments of both countries. I am glad to be able to assure your Excellency that we shall continue to apply these measures with every desire to occasion the least possible amount of inconvenience to persons engaged in legitimate commerce.

I have, etc.,


Sir Edward Grey to Mr. Page.

Foreign Office, July 31, 1915.

Your Excellency,

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of the note dated the 16th instant, in which you were good enough to communicate to me, for the information of His Majesty’s Government, the opinion held by the Government of the United States that, in view of differences which they understand to exist between the two countries as to the principles of law applicable in cases before the Prize Court, they could not recognize the validity of proceedings taken in His Majesty’s Prize Court in derogation of the rights of citizens of the United States.

I do not understand to what divergence of views as to the principles of law applicable in cases before the Prize Court the Government of the United States refer, for I am not aware of any differences existing between the two countries as to the principles of law applicable in cases before such Courts.

British Prize Courts, according to the ancient form of commission under which they sit, are to determine cases which come before them “according to the course of Admiralty, and the law of nations, and the statutes, rules, and regulations for the time being in force in that behalf.” As to the principles applied by the American Prize Courts, I note that, in the case of the Amy Warwick (2 Sprague, 123), it was held that “Prize Courts are subject to the instructions of their own Sovereign. In the absence of such instructions their jurisdiction and rules of decision are to be ascertained by reference to the known powers of such tribunals, and the principles by which they are governed under the public law and the practice of nations.” It would appear, therefore, that the principles applied by the Prize Courts of the two countries are identical.

As illustrating further the attitude adopted by the judges of British Prize Courts towards these two sources of law, the municipal legislation of its Sovereign on the one hand and the principles of international law on the other, I should like to refer your Excellency to a classical passage in the judgment of Lord Stowell in the case of the Fox, in which that famous judge observed:—

In the course of the discussion a question has been started, What would be the duty of the Court under Orders in Council that were repugnant to the law of nations?

It has been contended on one side that the Court would at all events be found to enforce the Orders in Council; on the other, that the Court would be bound to apply the rule of the law of nations adopted to the particular case in disregard of the Orders in Council. . . . This Court is bound to administer the law of nations to the subjects of other countries in the different relations in which they may be placed towards this country and its Government. That is what others have a right to demand for their subjects, and to complain if they receive it not. This is its unwritten law, evidenced in the course of its decisions, and collected from the common usage of civilized States. At the same time, it is strictly true that, by the Constitution of this country, the King in Council possesses legislative rights over this Court, and has power to issue orders and instructions which it is bound to obey and enforce; and these constitute the written law of this Court. These two propositions, that the Court is bound to administer the law of nations, and that it is bound to enforce the King’s Orders in Council, are not at all inconsistent with each other, because these orders and instructions are presumed to conform themselves, under the given circumstances, to the principles of its unwritten law. They are either directory applications of these principles to the cases indicated in them—cases which, with all the facts and circumstances belonging to them, and which constitute their legal character, could be but imperfectly known to the Court itself; or they are positive regulations, consistent with these principles applying to matters which require more exact and definite rules than those general principles are capable of furnishing. The constitution of this Court, relatively to the legislative power of the King in Council, is analogous to that of the Courts of common law, relatively to the Parliament of this kingdom. These Courts have their unwritten law, the approved principles of natural reason and justice; they have likewise the written or statute law, in Acts of Parliament, which are directory applications of the same principles to particular subjects, or positive regulations consistent with them, upon matters which would remain too much at large if they were left to the imperfect information which the Courts could extract from mere general speculations. What would be the duty of the individuals who preside in these Courts, if required to enforce an Act of Parliament which contradicted those principles, is a question which I presume they would not entertain a priori; because they will not entertain a priori the supposition that any such will arise. In like manner, this Court will not let itself loose into speculations, as to what would be its duty under such an emergency; because it cannot, without extreme indecency, presume that any such emergency will happen. And it is the less disposed to entertain them, because its own observation and experience attest the general conformity of such orders and instructions to its principles of unwritten law.

The above passage has recently been quoted and adopted by the President of the Prize Court in the case of the Zamora, in which Sir S. Evans said:—

I make bold to express the hope and belief that the nations of the world need not be apprehensive that Orders in Council will emanate from the Government of this country in such violation of the acknowledged law of nations that it is conceivable that our Prize Tribunals, holding the law of nations in reverence, would feel called upon to disregard and refuse obedience to the provisions of such Orders.

In the note which I handed to your Excellency on the 23rd July I endeavoured to convince the Government of the United States, and I trust with success, that the measures which we have felt ourselves compelled to adopt, in consequence of the numerous acts committed by our enemies in violation of the laws of war and the dictates of humanity, are consistent with the principles of international law. The legality of these measures has not yet formed the subject of a decision of the Prize Court; but I wish to take this opportunity of reminding your Excellency that it is open to any United States citizen whose claim is before the Prize Court to contend that any Order in Council which may affect his claim is inconsistent with the principles of international law and is, therefore, not binding upon the Court. If the Prize Court declines to accept his contentions, and if, after such a decision has been upheld on appeal by the Judicial Committee of His Majesty’s Privy Council, the Government of the United States of America consider that there is serious ground for holding that the decision is incorrect and infringes the rights of their citizens, it is open to them to claim that it should be subjected to review by an international tribunal.

This principle, that the decisions of the National Prize Courts may properly be subjected to international review, was conceded by Great Britain in article 7 of the Jay Treaty of 1793, and by the United States of America under the Treaty of Washington of 1871. Your Excellency will no doubt remember that certain cases (collectively known as the “Matamoros cases”) were submitted to the Commission established under articles 12-17 of the Treaty of Washington. In each of these cases proceedings in prize had been instituted in the Prize Courts of the United States, and in each case the judgment of the Supreme Court, the court of last resort in cases of prize, had been obtained. The United States filed a demurrer in these cases, alleging that, as they had been heard by the Prize Courts of the United States of original and appellate jurisdiction, the decision of the Appellate Court was final, and no claim based upon it could be made before the Commission. The demurrer was unanimously over-ruled and the cases heard, and the agent of the United States, in his report upon the proceedings of the Commission, stated that he personally “maintained no doubt of the jurisdiction of the Commission, as an international tribunal, to review the decisions of the Prize Courts of the United States, where the parties alleging themselves aggrieved had prosecuted their claims by appeal to the court of last resort. As this jurisdiction, however, had been sometimes questioned, he deemed it desirable that a formal adjudication by the Commission should be had upon this question.

The same principle was accepted both by the United States Government and His Majesty’s Government, in 1907, in connection with the proposed establishment of an International Prize Court, although certain constitutional difficulties have led the United States Government to propose that the right of recourse to the International Prize Court in connection with a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States should take the form of a direct claim for compensation.

It is clear, therefore, that both the United States Government and His Majesty’s Government have adopted the principle that the decisions of a national Prize Court may be open to review. If it is held in the Prize Court and in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, on appeal, that the orders and instructions issued by His Majesty’s Government in matters relating to prize are in harmony with the principles of international law, and should the Government of the United States unfortunately feel compelled to maintain a contrary view, His Majesty’s Government will be prepared to concert with the United States Government in order to decide upon the best way of applying the above principle to the situation which would then have arisen. I trust, however, that the defence of our action which I have already communicated to your Excellency, and the willingness of His Majesty’s Government (which has been shown in so many instances) to make reasonable concessions to American interests, will prevent the necessity for such action arising.

In any case, I trust that the explanations given above will remove the misapprehension, under which I cannot but feel the Government of the United States are labouring, as to the principles applied by British Prize Courts in dealing with the cases which come before them.

I have, etc.,




Mr. Balfour’s Letter.

The First Lord of the Admiralty addressed the following letter to Mr. Tuohy, of the New York World:—

July 31, 1915.

Dear Mr. Tuohy,

I am obliged to you for showing me a copy of the communication from Count Reventlow entitled “A Year of Naval Warfare,” which has just been published in the New York World. I am not quite sure that I comprehend the purpose with which it has been written, but in accordance with your desire I am making a few observations upon its contents.

The introductory paragraph calls for no comment from me. Count Reventlow explains why the German Fleet was not completed during the fifteen years which have elapsed since the first Navy Bill, and recounts some of the political miscalculations of the German Government through which, as he believes, the German Fleet in the North Sea has been put in a position of numerical inferiority. These are points on which perhaps Count Reventlow speaks with authority; in any case they only concern his own country. But when he incidentally declares that England “desired to attack Germany,” he blunders into a controversy where he will hardly receive so respectful a hearing. The world, though he may not know it, has long made up its mind as to who is the aggressor in the present war; and I should have thought it hardly worth his while to repeat such charges outside the limits of the German Empire.

The main purpose, however, of Count Reventlow’s communication is to praise the performances of the German Fleet; and certainly it is no purpose of mine to belittle the courage or the skill of the sailors composing it. I doubt not that they have done all that was possible both in the honourable warfare to which doubtless they were inclined, and in the dishonourable warfare required of them by their superiors. But what, in this the first year of the war, have they accomplished by either method? He tells us that we—the British—have failed to induce the German Fleet to come out and fight us—and certainly we have. So far the German Fleet has thought it wise to avoid engaging a superior force, and I am the last person to blame them. But this surely is hardly to be counted as a triumph of either tactics or strategy; it is a military exploit which, however judicious, would be well within the competence of the least efficient fleet and the most incapable commander.

Failure of the High Sea Fleet.

The truth is that the German High Sea Fleet has so far done nothing, and probably has not been in a position to do anything. At the beginning of the war we were told that by a process of continual attrition it was proposed to reduce the superior British Fleet ship by ship until an equality was established between the two antagonists. The design has completely failed. The desired equality is more remote than it was twelve months ago; and this would be true even if certain extraordinary mis-statements about such small actions as have occurred in the North Sea had any foundation in fact. He tells us, for example, that in the skirmish of August 28, when some German cruisers were destroyed, the English squadron suffered heavy damage. This is quite untrue. He tells us, again, that in the skirmish of January 24 last when the Blücher was sunk, the British lost a new battle cruiser (the Tiger). This is also untrue. In that engagement we did not lose a cockle boat. I do not know that these mis-statements are of any great moment. But for the benefit of those who think otherwise, let me say that in no sea fight, except that off the coast of Chile, has any ship of the English Fleet been either sunk or seriously damaged.

War on Civilians.

Apart from these purely imaginary triumphs, the only performance of German warships in the North Sea on which Count Reventlow dwells with pride and satisfaction is the attack by some German cruisers on undefended towns in Yorkshire. This exploit was as inglorious as it was immoral. Two or three fast cruisers came over the North Sea by night; at dawn they bombarded an open watering-place; they killed a certain number of civilian men, women, and children; and, after an hour and a half of this gallant performance, retired to the safety of their own defended waters. Personally, I think it better to invent stories like the sinking of the Tiger than to boast of such a feat of arms as this.

But in truth, if any one will examine Count Reventlow’s apology for the German High Sea Fleet, he will find that it amounts to no more than praise of German mines and German submarines. There is no doubt that German mines, scattered at random and with no warning to neutrals, have been responsible for the destruction of much neutral shipping and of some vessels of war. The first result is deplorable; the second is legitimate. Mine-laying is not, indeed, a very glorious method of warfare; though, used against warships, it is perfectly fair. But something more must be said about submarines. Anybody reading Count Reventlow’s observations would suppose that submarines were a German invention and that only German foresight had realized that their use would necessitate a modification in battle fleet tactics. But this truth has been among the commonplaces of naval knowledge for years past, and was no more hid from Washington and London than from Berlin and Vienna. What was new in the German use of submarines was not their employment against ships of war, but their employment against defenceless merchantmen and unarmed trawlers. This, it must be owned, was never foreseen either in Washington or London. It is purely German. But Count Reventlow is profoundly mistaken if he supposes that, during the year which has elapsed, these murderous methods have affected in the slightest degree the economic life of England; what they have done is to fix an indelible stain upon the fair fame of the German Navy.

Seven Functions of a Fleet.

If any one desires to know whether the British Fleet has during the last year proved itself worthy of its traditions, there is a very simple method of arriving at the truth. There are seven, and only seven, functions which a fleet can perform:—

It may drive the enemy’s commerce off the sea.

It may protect its own commerce.

It may render the enemy’s fleet impotent.

It may make the transfer of enemy troops across the sea impossible, whether for attack or defence.

It may transport its own troops where it will.

It may secure their supplies, and (in fitting circumstances) it may assist their operations.

All these functions have so far been successfully performed by the British Fleet. No German merchant ship is to be found on the ocean. Allied commerce is more secure from attack, legitimate and illegitimate, than it was after Trafalgar. The German High Sea Fleet has not as yet ventured beyond the security of its protected waters. No invasion has been attempted of these islands. British troops, in numbers unparalleled in history, have moved to and fro across the seas, and have been effectively supported on shore. The greatest of military Powers has seen its colonies wrested from it one by one, and has not been able to land a man or a gun in their defence. Of a fleet which has done this we may not only say that it has done much, but that no fleet has ever done more. And we citizens of the British Empire can only hope that the second year of the war will show no falling off in its success, as it will assuredly show no relaxation of its efforts.

Pray believe me, yours faithfully,




A memorandum sent to Sir Frederick Lugard, Governor-General of Nigeria, by an officer serving with the British Force in Cameroon, describes the surrender of Garua and its German garrison to an Anglo-French force. The memorandum, dated Garua, June 12, and issued by the Secretary for the Colonies, states:—

The unconditional surrender of Garua and its garrison—to the Allied Forces—took place the night before last without any loss of life on our side.

After a very careful reconnaissance of the whole terrain surrounding the enemy’s positions, and having finally selected what we considered to be their weakest point of attack for our line of advance, we commenced gradually sapping by a series of parallel trenches nearer and nearer to the fort immediately to our front. Sapping only took place at night.

Bombardment of the Forts.

A well-regulated bombardment of the three forts situated on the high ridge overlooking Garua, as well as on the old fort in the plain below, was kept up from heavy guns from a distance of about 4,000 yards at first, and latterly from 3,000 yards. This bombardment was supplemented on the last day or two by fire from smaller guns, for which there had been found a fairly well-concealed position about 1,900 yards from Nos. 1 and 2 forts. The enemy kept up a very lively fire from their field guns at first—in reply to our guns—which fortunately only resulted in the wounding of three or four men.

To prevent the garrison breaking out, we had left a company on the hill at Bilondi—opposite Garua and on the other side of the Benue—to watch the forts opposite their position, and employed our M.I. patrolling and watching the fords to the south-west, the French cavalry being employed doing the same to the south-east.

On the afternoon of the 10th, about 4.30 p.m., I was observing the fire of the guns, when a French sous-officier rushed up to me in great excitement, saying that a white flag had been hoisted from No. 3 fort, which was not visible from where I was standing. I thought the man must be mistaken, but on moving off to the left I could clearly see through my glasses several men standing up in No. 3 fort waving white flags.

White Flags appear.

This was followed up by white flags going up in all positions and in the old fort. The cease fire was ordered, and the C.O., the French Commander, and the two Staff officers galloped forward to our forward trenches about 1,000 yards from No. 1 fort. They then dismounted and walked on another few hundred yards, headed by a man carrying a white shirt on a stick to do duty for a flag. Having arrived fairly close to the enemy’s position, they halted and waited events. A long pause ensued before they saw a party of horsemen under a white flag emerge from the old fort and advance in their direction.

A German officer heading this procession on getting close to them dismounted, walked forward, saluted, and stated that he wished in the name of the German Commandant of Garua to offer the surrender of the forts, town, and garrison of Garua to the Allied Forces; but on certain conditions—namely, the garrison to march out with the honours of war, and to be allowed to proceed down south to rejoin the rest of the German forces! Our C.O. at once replied that he would listen to no terms of any sort, and that the surrender must be absolutely unconditional. The German saluted, and replied he would carry back this answer to the German Commandant, and requested two days’ grace to bring back the Commandant’s reply. Our C.O. said he would give him two hours.

Punctual almost to the minute, we saw lights advancing, and the same officer with four others appeared and stated that our terms had been accepted, but that the Commandant hoped that all German officers would be allowed to retain their swords, and asked that the native inhabitants of the town would be protected. This was agreed to, and the four extra German officers were then told off to guide four of our “boys” to each of the three forts and to the old forts, to take over these positions till the morning. Von Cranzelheim, the Commandant, remained in our camp that night as a hostage.

Entry into Garua.

At daybreak the next morning, leaving our camp standing, we marched into Garua, past all three forts, with all our guns and the remainder of our troops, halted in front of the Commandant’s house, pulled down the German flag, and with a flourish of bugles hoisted the Union Jack and the Tricolor side by side! Our total bag—so far as I can gather up to this moment—is 37 European prisoners (nearly all officers or non-commissioned officers) and 270 native rank and file (Schützstruppen). Also four field guns (three intact), ten Maxim guns (five intact), and several hundred rifles not counted yet; large quantities of equipment, saddles, bridles, etc.; workshops, containing valuable armourer’s, carpenter’s, and blacksmith’s tools; a very well-equipped hospital, with quantities of valuable medical instruments, microscopes, medicines, bandages, and even an up-to-date dentist’s chair and all dentist’s tools; and an immense amount of small-arm ammunition—quite half a million, I should think.

Poisoned Spears in Pits.

The old fort, a strongly fortified walled-in enclosure surrounded by a broad deep ditch, about 150 yards by 100 yards, containing bungalows, offices, and stores, seems to be full of stuff of all sorts—provisions, bales of cloth and beads, and I don’t know what. The walls of the fort are of mud faced with cement and bricks, about 15 ft. or 16 ft. high and 4 ft. thick, embrasured for guns, and sandbag loopholes all round. It contains underground bombproof shelters for the garrison; a deep ditch filled with upright spears surrounds it, and outside this is a 20 ft. broad barbed-wire entanglement; beyond this an abattis of felled prickly acacia trees, and outside this again a maze of 10 ft. deep circular holes cunningly covered over, with poisoned spears, stuck upright in the bottom. Every bungalow is also strongly fortified, and surrounded in the same way with barbed-wire entanglements and covered over pits.

From a short conversation with von Cranzelheim and von Dühring (the two senior officers) it appeared that their men were completely demoralized by our shell fire—melinite and lyddite. One lucky shell bursting on No. 2 fort is said to have penetrated a bombproof shelter and exploded inside, killing about 20 of them. They began mutinying and refusing to man the forts on the 9th, and on the 10th, when our bombardment was very accurate and severe, a good number of their cavalry broke loose, seized their horses and rifles, and bolted.

Fortunately the Benue has risen considerably in the last day or two. I hear one lot who got across last night were held up by a section of our company on the other side and had 17 killed. A large number have, we know, been drowned attempting to cross, and both our M.I. and the French cavalry are now in vigorous pursuit of the remainder, on the other side of the river. Several others are, we know, hiding in the village, which is an enormous one, said to contain 10,000 inhabitants. I think we can take it for granted that the Garua garrison is completely wiped out. Not a single European has escaped.

Von Dühring says that 2,000 labourers have been hard at work for over six months fortifying the place. It is almost incredible the extraordinary luck we have had in capturing it without the loss of a single life.

The whole frontier of the Yola Province is now clear, and I don’t think we need fear any more raids across the Muri Province, at any rate once we begin moving.

Formidable Forts.


I have now been round all the forts surrounding Garua, and am amazed at the skill and ingenuity shown in their construction. They are most formidable works. Each fort is within a distance of 400 to 500 yards from the next, and a fairly stiff climb up the slope. Telephones connect up with the old fort, and to the Commandant’s bungalow, nearly a mile and a half away. Very little material damage from the fire of our guns is to be seen.

All guns, rifles, equipment, Maxims, and ammunition have now been collected, together with bales of cloth and beads, and they have all been divided up equally between the French and ourselves, the cloth and beads falling to our share. These have been equally divided up amongst our men as a reward for their discipline and self-restraint. Some indiarubber and silk have also been found, and our share will be kept for public revenue.

This morning there was held a full funeral parade service over the graves of Colonel Maclear and the other officers who fell in the action last August, and a large wooden cross with their names engraved on it has been erected.



Admiral de Robeck’s Dispatch.

(See Chapter 49, Vol. VI.)

Admiralty, August 16, 1915.

The following dispatch has been received from Vice-Admiral John M. de Robeck, reporting the landing of the Army on the Gallipoli Peninsula, 25-26 April 1915:—

Triad, July 1, 1915.


I have the honour to forward herewith an account of the operations carried out on the 25th and 26th April 1915, during which period the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force was landed and firmly established in the Gallipoli Peninsula.

The landing commenced at 4.20 a.m. on the 25th. The general scheme was as follows:—

Two main landings were to take place—the first at a point just north of Gaba Tepe, the second on the southern end of the peninsula. In addition a landing was to be made at Kum Kale, and a demonstration in force to be carried out in the Gulf of Xeros near Bulair.

The night of the 24th-25th was calm and very clear, with a brilliant moon, which set at 3 a.m.

The first landing, north of Gaba Tepe, was carried out under the orders of Rear-Admiral C. F. Thursby, C.M.G. His squadron consisted of the following ships:—

Battleships.Cruiser.Destroyers.Seaplane Carrier.Trawlers.Balloon Ship.
QueenBacchanteBeagleArk Royal15Manica
Prince of WalesFoxhound

To Queen, London, and Prince of Wales was delegated the duty of actually landing the troops; to Triumph, Majestic, and Bacchante the duty of covering the landing by gun-fire.

In this landing a surprise was attempted. The first troops to be landed were embarked in the battleships Queen, London, and Prince of Wales.

The squadron then approached the land at 2.58 a.m. at a speed of 5 knots. When within a short distance of the beach selected for landing the boats were sent ahead. At 4.20 a.m. the boats reached the beach, and a landing was effected.

The remainder of the infantry of the covering force were embarked at 10 p.m., 24th.

The troops were landed in two trips, the operation occupying about half an hour; this in spite of the fact that the landing was vigorously opposed, the surprise being only partially effected.

The disembarkation of the main body was at once proceeded with. The operations were somewhat delayed owing to the transports having to remain a considerable distance from the shore in order to avoid the howitzer and field gun fire brought to bear on them, and also the fire from warships stationed in the Narrows at Chanak.

The Landing at Gaba Tepe.

The beach here was very narrow and continuously under shell fire. The difficulties of disembarkation were accentuated by the necessity of evacuating the wounded; both operations proceeded simultaneously. The service was one which called for great determination and coolness under fire, and the success achieved indicates the spirit animating all concerned. In this respect I would specially mention the extraordinary gallantry and dash shown by the 3rd Australian Infantry Brigade (Colonel E. G. Sinclair Maclagan, D.S.O.), who formed the covering force. Many individual acts of devotion to duty were performed by the personnel of the Navy; these are dealt with below. Here I should like to place on record the good service performed by the vessels employed in landing the second part of the covering force; the seamanship displayed, and the rapidity with which so large a force was thrown on the beach, are deserving of the highest praise.

On the 26th the landing of troops, guns, and stores continued throughout the day; this was a most trying service, as the enemy kept up an incessant shrapnel fire, and it was extremely difficult to locate the well-concealed guns of the enemy. Occasional bursts of fire from the ships in the Narrows delayed operations somewhat, but these bursts of fire did not last long, and the fire from our ships always drove the enemy’s ships away.

The enemy heavily counter-attacked, and though supported by a very heavy shrapnel fire he could make no impression on our line, which was every minute becoming stronger. By nightfall on the 26th April our position north of Gaba Tepe was secure.

Landing at Beaches “Y” and “X.”

The landing at the southern extremity of the Gallipoli Peninsula was carried out under the orders of Rear-Admiral R. E. Wemyss, C.M.G., M.V.O., his squadron consisting of the following ships:—

Lord Nelson
Prince George

Landings in this area were to be attempted at five different places; the conditions at each landing varied considerably. The position of beaches is given below.

Position of Beach.—“Y” beach, a point about 7,000 yards north-east of Cape Tekeh. “X” beach, 1,000 yards north-east of Cape Tekeh. “W” beach, Cape Tekeh—Cape Helles. “V” beach, Cape Helles—Seddul Bahr. Camber, Seddul Bahr. “S” beach, Eski-Hissarlik Point.

Taking these landings in the above order:—

Landing at “Y” Beach.—The troops to be first landed, the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, embarked on the 24th in the Amethyst and Sapphire, and proceeded with the transports Southland and Braemar Castle to a position off Cape Tekeh. At 4 a.m. the boats proceeded to “Y” beach, timing their arrival there at 5 a.m., and pulled ashore covered by fire from H.M.S. Goliath. The landing was most successfully and expeditiously carried out, the troops gaining the top of the high cliffs overlooking this beach without being opposed; this result I consider due to the rapidity with which the disembarkation was carried out and the well-placed covering fire from ships.

The Scottish Borderers were landed in two trips, followed at once by the Plymouth Battalion Royal Marines. These troops met with severe opposition on the top of the cliffs, where fire from covering ships was of little assistance, and, after heavy fighting, were forced to re-embark on the 26th. The re-embarkation was carried out by the following ships: Goliath, Talbot, Dublin, Sapphire, and Amethyst. It was most ably conducted by the beach personnel and covered by the fire of the warships, who prevented the enemy reaching the edge of the cliff, except for a few snipers.

Landing at “X” Beach.—The 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers (two companies and M.G. Section) embarked in Implacable on 24th, which ship proceeded to a position off the landing-place, where the disembarkation of the troops commenced at 4.30 a.m., and was completed at 5.15 a.m.

A heavy fire was opened on the cliffs on both sides. The Implacable approached the beach, and the troops were ordered to land, fire being continued until the boats were close into the beach. The troops on board the Implacable were all landed by 7 a.m. without any casualties. The nature of the beach was very favourable for the covering fire from ships, but the manner in which this landing was carried out might well serve as a model.

Landing at Beach “W.”

The 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers embarked in Euryalus and Implacable on the 24th, who proceeded to positions off the landing-place, where the troops embarked in the boats at about 4 a.m. Shortly after 5 a.m. Euryalus approached “W” beach and Implacable “X” beach. At 5 a.m. the covering ships opened a heavy fire on the beach, which was continued up to the last moment before landing. Unfortunately this fire did not have the effect on the extensive wire entanglements and trenches that had been hoped for, and the troops, on landing at 6 a.m., were met with a very heavy fire from rifles, machine guns, and pom-poms, and found the obstructions on the beach undamaged. The formation of this beach lends itself admirably to the defence, the landing-place being commanded by sloping cliffs offering ideal positions for trenches and giving a perfect field of fire. The only weakness in the enemy’s position was on the flanks, where it was just possible to land on the rocks and thus enfilade the more important defences. This landing on the rocks was effected with great skill, and some Maxims, cleverly concealed in the cliffs and which completely enfiladed the main beach, were rushed with the bayonet. This assisted to a great extent in the success of the landing; the troops, though losing very heavily, were not to be denied, and the beach and the approaches to it were soon in our possession.

The importance of this success cannot be overestimated; “W” and “V” beaches were the only two of any size in this area on which troops, other than infantry, could be disembarked, and failure to capture this one might have had serious consequences, as the landing at “V” was held up. The beach was being continuously sniped, and a fierce infantry battle was carried on round it throughout the entire day and the following night. It is impossible to exalt too highly the service rendered by the 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers in the storming of the beach; the dash and gallantry displayed were superb. Not one whit behind in devotion to duty was the work of the beach personnel, who worked untiringly throughout the day and night, landing troops and stores under continual sniping. The losses due to rifle and machine-gun fire sustained by the boats’ crews, to which they had not the satisfaction of being able to reply, bear testimony to the arduous nature of the service.

During the night of the 25th-26th enemy attacked continuously, and it was not till 1 p.m. on the 26th, when “V” beach was captured, that our position might be said to be secure.

The work of landing troops, guns, and stores continued throughout this period, and the conduct of all concerned left nothing to be desired.

Landing at Beach “V.”

This beach, it was anticipated, would be the most difficult to capture; it possessed all the advantages for defence which “W” beach had, and in addition the flanks were strongly guarded by the old castle and village of Seddul Bahr on the east and perpendicular cliffs on the west; the whole foreshore was covered with barbed-wire entanglements which extended in places under the sea. The position formed a natural amphitheatre with the beach as stage.

The first landing here, as at all other places, was made in boats; but the experiment was tried of landing the remainder of the covering force by means of a collier, the River Clyde. This steamer had been specially prepared for the occasion under the directions of Commander Edward Unwin; large ports had been cut in her sides and gangways built whereby the troops could reach the lighters which were to form a bridge on to the beach.

“V” beach was subjected to a heavy bombardment similarly to “W” beach, with the same result—i.e., when the first trip attempted to land they were met with a murderous fire from rifle, pom-pom, and machine gun, which was not opened till the boats had cast off from the steamboats.

A landing on the flanks here was impossible, and practically all the first trip were either killed or wounded, a few managing to find some slight shelter under a bank on the beach; in several boats all were either killed or wounded; one boat entirely disappeared, and in another there were only two survivors. Immediately after the boats had reached the beach the River Clyde was run ashore under a heavy fire rather towards the eastern end of the beach, where she could form a convenient breakwater during future landing of stores, etc.

As the River Clyde grounded, the lighters which were to form the bridge to the shore were run out ahead of the collier; but unfortunately they failed to reach their proper stations, and a gap was left between two lighters over which it was impossible for men to cross. Some attempted to land by jumping from the lighter which was in position into the sea and wading ashore. This method proved too costly, the lighter being soon heaped with dead; and the disembarkation was ordered to cease.

The troops in the River Clyde were protected from rifle and machine-gun fire, and were in comparative safety.

Commander Unwin, seeing how things were going, left the River Clyde and, standing up to his waist in water under a very heavy fire, got the lighters into position; he was assisted in this work by Midshipman G. L. Drewry, R.N.R., of H.M.S. Hussar; Midshipman W. St. A. Malleson, R.N., of H.M.S. Cornwallis; Able Seaman W. C. Williams, O.N. 186774 (R.F.R. B.3766), and Seaman R.N.R. George McKenzie Samson, O.N. 2408A, both of H.M.S. Hussar.

The bridge to the shore, though now passable, could not be used by the troops, any one appearing on it being instantly shot down, and the men in River Clyde remained in her till nightfall.

At 9.50 a.m. Albion sent in launch and pinnace manned by volunteer crews to assist in completing bridge, which did not quite reach beach; these boats, however, could not be got into position until dark owing to heavy fire.

It had already been decided not to continue to disembark on “V” beach, and all other troops intended for this beach were diverted to “W.”

The position remained unchanged on “V” beach throughout the day, men-of-war and the Maxims mounted in River Clyde doing their utmost to keep down the fire directed on the men under partial shelter on the beach.

During this period many heroic deeds were performed in rescuing wounded men in the water.

During the night of the 25th-26th the troops in River Clyde were able to disembark under cover of darkness and obtain some shelter on the beach and in the village of Seddul Bahr, for possession of which now commenced a most stubborn fight.

The fight continued, supported ably by gun-fire from H.M.S. Albion, until 1.24 p.m., when our troops had gained a position from which they assaulted Hill 141, which dominated the situation. Albion then ceased fire, and the hill, with old fort on top, was most gallantly stormed by the troops, led by Lieutenant-Colonel C. H. H. Doughty-Wylie, General Staff, who fell as the position was won. The taking of this hill effectively cleared the enemy from the neighbourhood of the “V” Beach, which could now be used for the disembarkation of the Allied armies. The capture of this beach called for a display of the utmost gallantry and perseverance from the officers and men of both services; that they successfully accomplished their task bordered on the miraculous.

Other Landings.

Landing on the Camber, Seddul Bahr.—One half-company Royal Dublin Fusiliers landed here without opposition, the Camber being “dead ground.” The advance from the Camber, however, was only possible on a narrow front, and after several attempts to enter the village of Seddul Bahr this half-company had to withdraw after suffering heavy losses.

Landing at “De Totts” “S” Beach.—The 2nd South Wales Borderers (less one company) and a detachment 2nd London Field Company R.E. were landed in boats, convoyed by Cornwallis, and covered by that ship and Lord Nelson.

Little opposition was encountered, and the hill was soon in the possession of the South Wales Borderers. The enemy attacked this position on the evening of the 25th and during the 26th; but our troops were firmly established, and with the assistance of the covering ships all attacks were easily beaten off.

Landing at Kum Kale.—The landing here was undertaken by the French.

It was most important to prevent the enemy occupying positions in this neighbourhood, whence he could bring gun fire to bear on the transports off Cape Helles. It was also hoped that by holding this position it would be possible to deal effectively with the enemy’s guns on the Asiatic shore immediately east of Kum Kale, which could fire into Seddul Bahr and De Totts.

The French, after a heavy preliminary bombardment, commenced to land at about 10 a.m., and by the afternoon the whole of their force had been landed at Kum Kale. When they attempted to advance to Yeni Shehr, their immediate objective, they were met by heavy fire from well-concealed trenches, and were held up just south of Kum Kale village.

During the night of the 25th-26th the enemy made several counter-attacks, all of which were easily driven off; during one of these 400 Turks were captured, their retreat being cut off by the fire from the battleships.

On the 26th, when it became apparent that no advance was possible without entailing severe losses and the landing of large reinforcements, the order was given for the French to withdraw and re-embark; which operation was carried out without serious opposition.

Allies’ Co-operation.

I now propose to make the following more general remarks on the conduct of the operations.

From the very first the co-operation between Army and Navy was most happy; difficulties which arose were quickly surmounted, and nothing could have exceeded the tactfulness and forethought of Sir Ian Hamilton and his staff.

The loyal support which I received from Contre-Amiral E. P. A. Guepratte simplified the task of landing the Allied armies simultaneously.

The Russian fleet was represented by H.I.R.M.S. Askold, which ship was attached to the French squadron. Contre-Amiral Guepratte bears testimony to the value of the support he received from Captain Ivanoff, especially during the landing and re-embarkation of the French troops at Kum Kale.

The detailed organization of the landing could not be commenced until the Army Headquarters returned from Egypt on the 10th April. The work to be done was very great, and the naval personnel and material available small.

Immediately on the arrival of the Army Staff at Mudros, committees, composed of officers of both services, commenced to work out the details of the landing operations, and it was due to these officers’ indefatigable efforts that the expedition was ready to land on the 22nd April. The keenness displayed by the officers and men resulted in a good standard of efficiency, especially in the case of the Australian and New Zealand Corps, who appear to be natural boatmen.

Heroism of the Enterprise.

Such actions as the storming of the Seddul Bahr position by the 29th Division must live in history for ever; innumerable deeds of heroism and daring were performed; the gallantry and absolute contempt for death displayed alone made the operations possible.

At Gaba Tepe the landing and the dash of the Australian Brigade for the cliffs were magnificent; nothing could stop such men. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in this, their first battle, set a standard as high as that of any army in history, and one of which their countrymen have every reason to be proud.

In closing this dispatch I beg to bring to their Lordships’ notice the names of certain officers and men who have performed meritorious service. The great traditions of His Majesty’s Navy were well maintained, and the list of names submitted of necessity lacks those of many officers and men who performed gallant deeds unobserved and therefore unnoted. This standard was high, and if I specially mention one particular action, it is that of Commander Unwin and the two young officers and two seamen who assisted him in the work of establishing communication between River Clyde and the beach. Rear-Admirals R. E. Wemyss, C.M.G., M.V.O., C. F. Thursby, C.M.G., and Stuart Nicholson, M.V.O., have rendered invaluable service. Throughout they have been indefatigable in their efforts to further the success of the operations, and their loyal support has much lightened my duties and responsibilities.

I have at all times received the most loyal support from the Commanding Officers of His Majesty’s ships during an operation which called for the display of great initiative and seamanship.

Captain R. F. Phillimore, C.B., M.V.O., A.D.C., as principal Beach Master, and Captain D. L. Dent, as principal Naval Transport Officer, performed most valuable service.

Deeds of Conspicuous Merit.

Commander Edward Unwin, R.N.

While in River Clyde, observing that the lighters which were to form the bridge to the shore had broken adrift, Commander Unwin left the ship and under a murderous fire attempted to get the lighters into position. He worked on until, suffering from the effects of cold and immersion, he was obliged to return to the ship, where he was wrapped up in blankets. Having in some degree recovered, he returned to his work against the doctor’s order and completed it. He was later again attended by the doctor for three abrasions caused by bullets, after which he once more left the ship, this time in a lifeboat, to save some wounded men who were lying in shallow water near the beach. He continued at this heroic labour under continuous fire, until forced to stop through pure physical exhaustion.

Midshipman George L. Drewry, R.N.R.

Assisted Commander Unwin at the work of securing the lighters under heavy rifle and Maxim fire. He was wounded in the head, but continued his work and twice subsequently attempted to swim from lighter to lighter with a line.

Midshipman Wilfred St. A. Malleson, R.N.

Also assisted Commander Unwin, and after Midshipman Drewry had failed from exhaustion to get a line from lighter to lighter, he swam with it himself and succeeded. The line subsequently broke, and he afterwards made two further but unsuccessful attempts at his self-imposed task.

Able Seaman William Chas. Williams, O.N. 186774 (R.F.R. B.3766).

Held on to a line in the water for over an hour under heavy fire, until killed.

Seaman R.N.R. George McKenzie Samson, O.N. 2408A.

Worked on a lighter all day under fire, attending wounded and getting out lines; he was eventually dangerously wounded by Maxim fire.

Lieut.-Commander Ralph B. Janvrin, R.N.

Conducted the trawlers into Morto Bay, for the landing at “De Totts,” with much skill.

This officer showed great judgment and coolness under fire, and carried out a difficult task with great success.

Lieut. John A. V. Morse, R.N.

Assisted to secure the lighters at the bows of the River Clyde under a heavy fire, and was very active throughout the 25th and 26th at “V” beach.

Surgeon P. B. Kelly, R.N., attached to R.N.A.S.

Was wounded on the foot on the morning of the 25th in River Clyde. He remained in River Clyde until morning of 27th, during which time he attended 750 wounded men, although in great pain and unable to walk during the last twenty-four hours.

Lieut.-Commander Adrian St. V. Keyes, R.N.

General Sir Ian Hamilton reports as follows:—

“Lieutenant-Commander Keyes showed great coolness, gallantry, and ability. The success of the landing on ‘Y’ beach was largely due to his good services. When circumstances compelled the force landed there to re-embark, this officer showed exceptional resource and leadership in successfully conducting that difficult operation.”

I entirely concur in General Hamilton’s opinion of this officer’s services on the 25th-26th April.

Commander William H. Cottrell, R.N.V.R.

This officer has organized the entire system of land communication; has laid and repaired cables several times under fire; and on all occasions shown zeal, tact, and coolness beyond praise.

Mr. John Murphy, Boatswain, Cornwallis.

Midshipman John Saville Metcalf, R.N.R., Triumph.

Midshipman Rupert E. M. Bethune, Inflexible.

Midshipman Eric Oloff de Wet, London.

Midshipman Charles W. Croxford, R.N.R., Queen.

Midshipman C. A. L. Mansergh, Queen.

Midshipman Alfred M. Williams, Euryalus.

Midshipman Hubert M. Wilson, Euryalus.

Midshipman G. F. D. Freer, Lord Nelson.

Midshipman R. V. Symonds-Taylor, Agamemnon.

Midshipman C. H. C. Matthey, Queen Elizabeth.

Lieut. Massy Goolden, Prince of Wales.

Recommended for accelerated promotion:—

Mr. Charles Edward Bounton, Gunner, R.N., Queen Elizabeth.

The following officers are “Commended for service in action”:—

Capt. H. A. S. Fyler, Agamemnon, Senior Officer inside the Straits.

Capt. A. W. Heneage, M.V.O., who organized and trained the mine-sweepers.

Capt. E. K. Loring, Naval Transport Officer, Gaba Tepe.

Capt. H. C. Lockyer, Implacable.

Capt. C. Maxwell-Lefroy, Swiftsure.

Capt. the Hon. A. D. E. H. Boyle, M.V.O., Bacchante.

Capt. A. V. Vyvyan, Beach Master, “Z” beach.

Capt. C. S. Townsend, Beach Master, “W” beach.

Capt. R. C. K. Lambert, Beach Master, “V” beach.

Commander the Hon. L. J. O. Lambart, Queen.

Commander (now Captain) B. St. G. Collard, Assistant Beach Master, “W” beach.

Commander C. C. Dix, Assistant Beach Master, “Z” beach.

Commander N. W. Diggle, Assistant Beach Master, “V” beach.

Commander H. L. Watts-Jones, Albion (acting Captain).

Commander I. W. Gibson, M.V.O., Albion.

Lieut.-Commander (now Commander) J. B. Waterlow, Blenheim.

Lieut.-Commander H. V. Coates, Implacable.

Lieut.-Commander E. H. Cater, Queen Elizabeth.

Lieut.-Commander G. H. Pownall, Adamant (killed in action).

Lieut. A. W. Bromley, R.N.R., Euryalus.

Lieut. H. R. W. Turnor, Implacable.

Lieut. H. F. Minchin, Cornwallis.

Lieut. Oscar Henderson, Ribble.

Lieut. Kenneth Edwards, Lord Nelson.

Major W. T. C. Jones, D.S.O., R.M.L.I., Beach Master, “X” beach.

Major W. W. Frankis, R.M.L.I., Cornwallis.

Tempy. Surgeon W. D. Galloway, Cornwallis.

Mr. Alfred M. Mallett, Gunner T., Ribble.

Mr. John Pippard, Boatswain, Sapphire.

Midshipman Eric Wheler Bush, Bacchante.

Midshipman Charles D. H. H. Dixon, Bacchante.

Midshipman Donald H. Barton, London.

Midshipman A. W. Clarke, Implacable.

Proby. Midshipman William D. R. Hargreaves, R.N.R., Sapphire.

Midshipman F. E. Garner, R.N.R., Triumph.

Midshipman George H. Morris, R.N.R., Lord Nelson.

Midshipman the Hon. G. H. E. Russell, Implacable.

Midshipman D. S. E. Thompson, Implacable.

Midshipman W. D. Brown, Implacable.

Work of the Destroyers.

The work accomplished by the destroyer flotillas fully maintained the high standard they have established in these waters.

On the 25th and 26th Wolverine (Commander O. J. Prentis) (killed in action), Scorpion (Lieut.-Commander (now Commander) A. B. Cunningham), Renard (Lieut.-Commander L. G. B. A. Campbell), Grampus (Lieut.-Commander R. Bacchus), Pincher (Lieut.-Commander H. W. Wyld), and Rattlesnake (Lieut.-Commander P. G. Wodehouse), carried out mine-sweeping operations under Captain Heneage inside the Dardanelles in a most satisfactory manner, being frequently under heavy fire. On the 26th the French sweepers Henriette (Lieut. de Vaisseau Auverny), Marius Chambon (Lieut. de Vaisseau Blanc), and Camargue (Lieut. de Vaisseau Bergeon), assisted them, Henriette doing particularly well.

Beagle (Commander (now Captain) H. R. Godfrey), Bulldog (Lieut.-Commander W. B. Mackenzie), Scourge (Lieut.-Commander H. de B. Tupper), Foxhound (Commander W. G. Howard), Colne (Commander C. Seymour), Chelmer (Lieut.-Commander (now Commander) H. T. England), Usk (Lieut.-Commander W. G. C. Maxwell), and Ribble (Lieut.-Commander R. W. Wilkinson) assisted in the disembarkation at Gaba Tepe.

Rear-Admiral Thursby reports as follows on the work accomplished by these boats:—

“The destroyers under Captain C. P. R. Coode (Captain ‘D’) landed the second part of the covering force with great gallantry and expedition, and it is in my opinion entirely due to the rapidity with which so large a force was thrown on the beach that we were able to establish ourselves there.”

I entirely concur in Admiral Thursby’s remarks on the good work performed by this division.

Petty Officers and Men.

P.O. John Hepburn Russell, O.N. F.839, of the Royal Naval Air Service.

Was wounded in gallantly going to Commander Unwin’s assistance.

P.O. Mech. Geoffrey Charlton Paine Rummings, O.N. F.813, Royal Naval Air Service.

Assisted Commander Unwin in rescuing wounded men.

P.O. Sec. Cl. Frederick Gibson, O.N. 191025, R.F.R. B.3829, Albion.

Jumped overboard with a line and got his boat beached to complete bridge from River Clyde to shore. He then took wounded to River Clyde under heavy fire.

Ord. Seaman Jesse Lovelock, Albion, J.28798.

Assisted in getting pontoon in position; also helped wounded on beach and in boats to reach River Clyde, displaying great gallantry and coolness under fire.

A.B. Lewis Jacobs, O.N. J.4081, Lord Nelson.

Took his boat into “V” beach unaided, after all the remainder of the crew and the troops were killed or wounded. When last seen Jacobs was standing up and endeavouring to pole the cutter to the shore. While thus employed he was killed.

Herbert J. G. Morrin, Leading Seaman, O.N. 236225, Bacchante.

Alfred J. Chatwin, Ch. Yeo. Signals, O.N. 156109, Cornwallis.

Albert Playford, P.O., O.N. 202189, Cornwallis.

Arthur Roake, A.B., O.N. S.S. 1940 (R.F.R. B.8843), Cornwallis.

Henry Thomas Morrison, Seaman, R.N.R., O.N. 1495D., Albion.

Daniel Roach, Seaman, R.N.R., 1685D., Albion.

David S. Kerr, A.B., O.N. 239816, Ribble.

Albert Balson, P.O., O.N. 211943, Prince of Wales.

William Morgan, P.O., O.N. 193834, Prince of Wales.

James Getson, Stoker, P.O., O.N. 295438, London.

Edward L. Barons, A.B., O.N. J.7775, London.

William Putman, P.O., O.N. 236783, Queen.

Robert Fletcher, Leading Seaman, O.N. 213297, Queen.

Samuel Forsey, A.B., S.S. 2359 (R.F.R. B.4597), Albion.

Henry J. Anstead, Acting C.P.O., 179989, Implacable.

Kenneth Muskett, Leading Seaman, J.1325, Implacable.

Thomas P. Roche, Ch. P.O. (Pensioner), O.N. 165533, Prince George.

John Maple, Leading Seaman, O.N. 171890 (R.F.R., Chat., B.2658), Euryalus.

Henry Williams, Leading Seaman, O.N. 176765 (R.F.R., Chat., B.1326), Euryalus.

William F. Hoffman, A.B., O.N. 195940 (R.F.R., Chat., B.2650), Euryalus.

Henry G. Law, A.B., O.N. 195366 (R.F.R., Chat., B.8261), Euryalus.

Henry Ridsdale, Stoker, R.N.R., O.N. 1136U, Euryalus.

Colin McKechnie, Leading Seaman, O.N. 157509, Lord Nelson (killed).

Stanley E. Cullum, Leading Seaman, O.N. 225791, Lord Nelson (killed).

Frederick T. M. Hyde, A.B., O.N. J.21153, Lord Nelson (killed).

William E. Rowland, A.B., O.N. J.17029, Lord Nelson (wounded).

Albert E. Bex, A.B., O.N. J.17223, Lord Nelson (wounded).

The above men from Lord Nelson were part of boats’ crews landing troops on “V” beach, a service from which few returned.

Commended for service in action:—

Harry E. Pallant, P.O., O.N. 186521, Implacable.

Jesse Bontoft, P.O., O.N. 193398, Implacable.

Thomas J. Twells, Leading Seaman, O.N. 232269, Implacable.

Richard Mullis, Leading Seaman, O.N. 220072, Implacable.

Matthew B. Knight, Leading Seaman, O.N. 230546, Implacable.

John E. Mayes, Leading Seaman, O.N. 196849 (R.F.R. B.8581), Implacable.

William J. White, P.O.I., O.N. 142848, Albion.

Frederick G. Barnes, P.O., O.N. 209085, Swiftsure.

Henry Minter, P.O., O.N. 163128, Queen Elizabeth.

Harry R. Jeffcoate, Sergeant, R.M.L.I., Ch. 10526, Cornwallis.

Frank E. Trollope, Private, R.M.L.I., Ch. 19239, Cornwallis.

George Brown, Ch. P.O., 276085, Sapphire.

Bertie Sole, Leading Seaman, 208019 (R.F.R. B.10738), Sapphire.

Charles H. Soper, Signalman, J.9709, Sapphire.

Frank Dawe, A.B., 231502, Albion.

Samuel Quick, Seaman, R.N.R., 3109B., Albion.

James Rice, Seaman, R.N.R., 519D., Albion.

William Thomas, Seaman, R.N.R., 2208B., Albion.

William H. Kitchen, Seaman, R.N.R., 4330A., Albion.

Francis A. Sanders, A.B., 221315 (R.F.R., Chat., B.8199), Euryalus.

William F. Hicks, A.B., S.S. 4795, Euryalus.

William F. Hayward, A.B., 235109, London.

George Gilbertson, A.B., 207941 (R.F.R. B.4910), London.

Andrew Hope, A.B., S.S. 2837 (R.F.R. B.5847), London.

Charles A. Smith, A.B., J.27753, Lord Nelson (wounded).

Basil Brazier, A.B., J.6116, Lord Nelson (wounded).

Charles H. Smith, A.B., J.28377, Lord Nelson.

Henry A. B. Green, A.B., 238024, Lord Nelson (wounded).

Work of Staff.

No officer could have been better served by his staff than I have been during these operations. The energy and resource of my Chief of Staff, Commodore R. J. B. Keyes, was invaluable, and, in combination with Major-General Braithwaite—Chief of the General Staff—he established a most excellent working agreement between the two services.

Captain George P. W. Hope, of Queen Elizabeth, acted as my flag captain. His gift of organization was of the greatest assistance in dealing with the mass of details inseparable from an operation of such magnitude.

Commander the Hon. A. R. M. Ramsay has used his sound practical knowledge of gunnery to great advantage in working out, in connection with the military, the details of gun-fire from the covering ships.

Captain William W. Godfrey, R.M., a staff officer of great ability, has given me invaluable assistance throughout the operations.

I would also mention my secretary, Mr. Basil F. Hood, Acting Paymaster, and secretarial staff, whose good services under the direction and example of Mr. Edward W. Whittington-Ince, Assistant Paymaster, will form the subject of a later separate report. Also Lieutenant-Commander James F. Sommerville (Fleet Wireless Telegraph Officer), and Flag Lieutenants L. S. Ormsby-Johnson, Hugh S. Bowlby, and Richard H. L. Bevan, who have performed good service in organizing with the military the intercommunication between the Allied Fleets and Armies.

I have, etc.,

J. M. de Robeck, Vice-Admiral.

The Secretary of the Admiralty.

Admiralty, August 16, 1915.

The King has been graciously pleased to approve of the grant of the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned officers and men for the conspicuous acts of bravery mentioned in the dispatch:—

Commander Edward Unwin, R.N.

Midshipman Wilfred St. Aubyn Malleson, R.N.

Midshipman George Leslie Drewry, R.N.R.

Able Seaman William Chas. Williams, O.N. 186774 (R.F.R. B.3766) (since killed).

Seaman R.N.R. George McKenzie Samson, O.N. 2408A.

The King has been graciously pleased to approve of the grant of the Victoria Cross to

Lieut.-Commander (now Commander) Eric Gascoigne Robinson, R.N.,

for the conspicuous act of bravery specified below.

Lieutenant-Commander Robinson on the 26th February advanced alone, under heavy fire, into an enemy’s gun position, which might well have been occupied, and destroying a four-inch gun, returned to his party for another charge with which the second gun was destroyed. Lieutenant-Commander Robinson would not allow members of his demolition party to accompany him, as their white uniforms rendered them very conspicuous. Lieutenant-Commander Robinson took part in four attacks on the mine fields—always under heavy fire.

1. The Western Theatre of War.

2. The Eastern Theatre of War.
Note.—Only the chief railways converging from the eastward on Warsaw are shown.



Mis-spelled words and printer errors have been corrected or standardised.

Inconsistency in accents has been corrected or standardised.

Illustrations have been relocated due to using a non-page layout. Some illustrations have been reconstructed from images on facing pages and parts of them adjacent the binding, a region called the gutter, may be missing.

Clicking on any of the maps will bring up a higher resolution version.

[The end of Nelson's History of the War Volume VIII by John Buchan]