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Full text of "The Times documentary history of the war"

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DOCUMENTARY HISTORY 
OF THE WAR 



VOLUME VIII 



MILITARY PART 2 




LONDON 

PRINTING HOUSE SQUARE 
1919 







v, 



PREFACE 

THIS volume continues the publication of documents dealing 
with the Military aspects of the War in 1914. Despatches 
from British Eye- Witness and French and Belgian Official 
and semi-Official Reports illustrate the campaign in the West 
in that year. Despatches and Communiques dealing with 
the Turkish campaign of 1914 are prefaced by a selection 
from the Turkish Papers [Cd. 7628], in so far as they are 
concerned with Military matters. Then follows material 
relating to the Japanese operations at Kiao-chau, and 
extracts from the Correspondence [Cd. 7972] and [Cd. 7975] 
dealing with the capture of German Pacific Possessions by 
Expeditionary Forces from Australia and New Zealand. 

For convenience of reference, an explanatory list of the 
abbreviations used in the margin of this volume to indicate 
sources of information is here appended : 

B. des A. . . Bulletin des Armees (French official military publication, 
issued monthly) ; and Histoire de la Guerre par le 
Bulletin des Armees. Paris, Hachette. 

Second Belgian Correspondance Diplomatique relative a la Guerre de 
Grey Book . 1914-15, ii. 

K. D. . . Kriegs-Depeschen, a German serial publication entitled 

' Kriegs-Depeschen, nach den amtlichen Berichten 
des W.T.B. [i.e., the Wolff Telegraphic Bureau] 
zusammengestellt ' (Boll u. Pickardt, Verlagsbuch- 
handlung, Berlin). This serial is largely, but not 
entirely, identical with K. V. below. (Issued 
monthly.) 

K. V. . . Der Kriegsverlauf : Sammlung der amtlichen Nach- 

richten von den Kriegsschaupldtzen. Berlin, Carl 
Heymann. (Issued monthly.) 

L. G. . . . London Gazette. 
P B. . Press Bureau. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

GERMAN INTENTION TO MAKE WAR i 

DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS . . . 5 

FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS . . '160 

BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 236 

WAR WITH TURKEY 311 

WAR IN THE FAR EAST 405 

WAR IN THE PACIFIC . . . . ~ . . 432 

INDEX 471 

MAP 

THE BELGIAN CAMPAIGN OF 1914 251 



GERMAN INTENTION TO MAKE WAR 
POTSDAM MEETING 



[The following important communication from a well- Times, 
rmed correspondent was made to The Times in July 1917.] J ^ ' 
In the report of Herr Haase's speech in the Reichstag last 



week, which appears in the Leipziger Volkszeitung of July 29, 
there is a reference to ' the meeting of July 5, 1914,' as one of 
the matters which will have to be explained before the origin 
of the war is fully understood. This is the first public refer- 
ence to a date which will probably become the most famous 
of the fateful month of July 1914. 

I have it on authority which it is difficult, if not impossible, 
to doubt, that the meeting referred to was a meeting which 
was held at Potsdam on the date named. There were present 
the Kaiser, Herr von Bethmann Hollweg, Admiral von Tirpitz, 
General von Falkenhayn, Herr von Stumm, the Archduke 
Frederick, Count Berchtold, Count Tisza, and General Conrad 
von Hoetzendorf . It appears that Herr von Jagow and Count 
Moltke were not present. 

The meeting discussed and decided upon all the principal 
points in the Austrian ultimatum which was to be despatched to 
Serbia eighteen days later. It was recognised that Russia 
would probably refuse to submit to such a direct humiliation, 
and that war would result. That consequence the meeting 
definitely decided to accept. It is probable, but not certain, 
that the date of mobilisation was fixed at the same time. 

The Kaiser, as is well known, then left for Norway, with 
the object of throwing dust in the eyes of the French and 
Russian Governments. Three weeks later, when it became 
known that England would not remain neutral, Herr von 
Bethmann Hollweg wished to withdraw, but it was too late. 
The decision of July 5 was irrevocable. 

MILITARY 2 A I 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

The peculiar way, or rather ways, in which these facts have 
become known cannot as yet be told. But it is certain that 
most of Herr Haase's hearers were fully aware of the meaning 
of his reference to July 5. For the subject appears to have 
been more fully and explicitly raised in secret session of the 
Budget Committee of the Reichstag eight weeks ago by the 
Socialist Deputy, Herr Cohn. He challenged a certain 
Minister to deny the facts. To the astonishment of the other 
deputies, the Minister did not deny the facts, but declined to 
make any statement. 

The incident created an immense sensation in the Reichs- 
tag Committee, and was possibly one of the factors under- 
lying the recent political crisis. The fact that Herr Haase has 
now raised the matter in public seems to indicate that he and 
his friends consider that the time has come to bring the fuU 
truth to light. 



A MEMORANDUM BY DR. MUHLON, A DIRECTOR OF 
KRUPP'S TILL TOWARDS THE END OF 1914 1 

Times, In the middle of July 1914, I had, as I frequently had, a 

March 28, conversation with Dr. Helfferich, then director of the Deutsche 

9 Bank in Berlin, and now Vice-Chancellor. The Deutsche Bank 

Diplomatic ha( ^ ad P ted a negative attitude towards certain large trans- 

Z'P- 327] ' actlons . m Bulgaria and Turkey, in which the firm of Krupp, 

for business reasons delivery of war material had a lively 

interest. As one of the reasons to justify the attitude of the 

Deutsche Bank, Dr. Heliferich finally gave me the following 

reason : 

' The political situation has become very menacing. The 
Deutsche Bank must in any case wait before entering into any 
further engagements abroad. The Austrians have just been 
with the Kaiser. In a week's time Vienna will send a very 
severe ultimatum to Serbia, with a very short interval for the 
answer The ultimatum will contain demands such as punish- 
ent of a number of officers, dissolution of political associa- 



T ji r , a ; J 16 memoran dum was originaUy pubUshed by the Berliner 

TageUatt of March 21, 1918.] 

2 



GERMAN INTENTION TO MAKE WAR 

tions, criminal investigations in Serbia by Austrian officials, 
and, in fact, a whole series of definite satisfactions will be 
demanded at once ; otherwise Austria-Hungary will declare 
war on Serbia/ 

Dr. Helfferich added that the Kaiser had expressed his 
decided approval of this procedure on the part of Austria- 
Hungary. He had said that he regarded a conflict with Serbia 
as an internal affair between these two countries, in which he 
would permit no other State to interfere. If Russia mobilised, 
he would mobilise also. But in his case mobilisation meant 
immediate war. This time there would be no oscillation. 
Helfferich said that the Austrians were extremely well satisfied 
at this determined attitude on the part of the Kaiser. . . . 

After my return from Berlin I informed Herr Krupp von 
Bohlen und Halbach, one of whose directors I then was at 
Essen. Dr. Helfferich had given me permission, and at that 
time the intention was to make him a director at Krupp's. 
Herr von Bohlen seemed disturbed that Dr. Helfferich was in 
possession of such information, and he made a remark to the 
effect that the Government people can never keep their mouths 
shut. He then told me the following. He said that he had 
himself been with the Kaiser in the last few days. The 
Kaiser had spoken to him also of his conversation with the 
Austrians, and of its result ; but he had described the matter 
as so secret that he (Krupp) would not even have dared to in- 
form his own directors. As, however, I already knew, he could 
tell me that Helfferich 's statements were accurate. Indeed, 
Helfferich seemed to know more details than he did. He said 
that the situation was really very serious. The Kaiser had 
told him that he would declare war immediately if Russia 
mobilised, and that this time people would see that he did not 
turn about. The Kaiser's repeated insistence that this time 
nobody would be able to accuse him of indecision had, he said, 
been almost comic in its effect. 

On the very day indicated to me by Helfferich the Austrian 
ultimatum to Serbia appeared. . . . 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

TOUL AND VERDUN AS GUARANTEE OF 
NEUTRALITY 

Telegram from the Imperial German Chancellor, Herr von Beth- 
mann Hollweg, to Baron von Schoen, German Ambassador 
at Paris. 

(Translation) 

Cf.Diplo- Russia has ordered mobilisation of her entire army and 
matic ,2, fleet ^ therefore also against us, in spite of our still pending 
mediation, and although we ourselves have taken no measures 
of mobilisation. We have therefore declared the state of 
danger of war, which is bound to be followed by mobilisation 
unless Russia stops within twelve hours all measures of war 
against us and Austria. Mobilisation inevitably implies war. 
Please ask French Government whether it intends to remain 
neutral in a Russo-German war. Reply must follow within 
eighteen hours. Wire at once hour of inquiry. Utmost 
speed necessary. 

If, contrary to expectation, French Government declares 
that it will remain neutral, your Excellency will please de- 
clare to the French Government that we must demand as 
guarantee of neutrality the handing over of the fortresses of 
Toul and Verdun, which we should occupy, and hand back on 
the conclusion of the war with Russia. 

Reply to this last question must be here before four o'clock 
on Saturday afternoon. BETHMANN HOLLWEG. 

[The first portion of this despatch the first paragraph- 
was published in the French Yellow Book in 1914 (see Diplo- 
matic, i, p. 382). The second portion was made public for 
the first time by M. Stephen Pichon, French Minister for 
Foreign Affairs, in a speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, on March i 
1918.] 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH 
EYE-WITNESS 

THE FOLLOWING NARRATIVE OF EVENTS WAS COMPILED BY 
A MILITARY EYE- WITNESS ATTACHED TO THE GENERAL 
HEADQUARTERS OF THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE. 1 

September 6 September 10, 1914 

It will be remembered that the general position of our [All taker 
troops on Sunday, September 6, was stated to be south of the from The 
Marne, with French forces in line on our right and left. Times] 
Practically there had been no change in the situation since 
Thursday, the 3rd, which marked the end of our Army's long 
retirement from the Belgian frontier through Northern France. 

On Friday, the 4th, it became apparent that there was an 
alteration in the direction of advance of almost the whole of 
the ist German Army. That army since the battle near Mons 
on August 23 had been playing its part in the colossal strategic 
endeavour to create a Sedan for the Allies by outflanking and 
enveloping the left of their whole line so as to encircle and 
drive both British and French to the south. There was now 
a change in its objective ; and it was observed that the German 
forces opposite the British were beginning to move in a south- 
easterly direction instead of continuing south-west on to the 
Capital. 

Leaving a strong rearguard along the line of the "river 
Ourcq (which flows south and joins the Marne at Lizy-sur- 
Ourcq) to keep off the French 6th Army, which by then had 
been formed and was to the north-west of Paris, they were 
evidently executing what amounted to a flank march diagon- 

1 [These despatches from the British 'Eye-witness' were from time to time 
officially supplied to the daily press of the United Kingdom. The year 1914 is 
covered in this volume. A few passages which have no military or permanent interest 
have here been eliminated.] 

5 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

ally across our front. Prepared to ignore the British, as being 
driven out of the fight, they were initiating an effort to attack 
the left flank of the French main army, which stretched in a 
long curved line from our right towards the east, and so to 
carry out against it alone the envelopment which had so far 
failed against the combined forces of the Allies. 

On Saturday, the 5th, this movement on the part of the 
Germans was continued, and large advanced parties crossed 
the Marne southwards at Trilport, Sammeroy, La Ferte-sous- 
Jouarre and Chateau-Thierry. There was considerable fight- 
ing with the French 5th Army on the French left, which fell 
back from its position south of the Marne towards the Seine. 
On Sunday large hostile forces crossed the Marne, and pushed 
on through Coulommiers past the British right. Further east 
they were attacked at night by the French 5th Army, which 
captured three villages at the point of the bayonet. 

On Monday, the yth, there was a general advance on the 
part of the Allies in this quarter of the field. Our forces, 
which had by now been reinforced, pushed on in a north- 
easterly direction, in co-operation with an advance of the 
French 5th Army to the north and of the French 6th Army 
eastwards, against the German rearguard along the Ourcq. 

Possibly weakened by the detachment of troops to the 
eastern theatre of operations, and realising that the action 
of the French 6th Army against the line of the Ourcq and the 
advance of the British placed their own flanking movement 
in considerable danger of being taken in rear and on its right 
flank, the Germans on this day commenced to retire towards 
the north-east. This was the first time that these troops had 
turned back since their attack at Mons a fortnight before, and, 
from reports received, the order to retreat when so close to 
Paris was a bitter disappointment. From letters found on the 
dead there is no doubt that there was a general impression 
amongst the enemy's troops that they were about to enter 
Paris. 

On Tuesday, the 8th, the German movement north-east- 
wards was continued, their rearguards on the south of the 
Marne being pressed back to that river by our troops and by 
the French on our right, the latter capturing three villages 
after a hand-to-hand fight and the infliction of severe loss on 
the enemy. 
6 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

The fighting along the Ourcq continued on this day and 
was of the most sanguinary character, for the Germans had 
massed a great force of artillery along this line. Very few 
of their infantry were seen by the French. The French 5th 
Army also made a fierce attack on the Germans in Montmirail, 
regaining that place. 

On Wednesday, the gth, the battle between the French 
6th Army and what was now the German flank guard along 
the Ourcq continued. The British Corps, overcoming some 
resistance on the river Petit Morin, crossed the Marne in 
pursuit of the Germans, who were now hastily retreating north- 
wards. One of our corps was delayed by an obstinate defence 
made by a strong rearguard with machine-guns at La Ferte- 
sous-Jouarre, where the bridge had been destroyed. 

On Thursday, the loth, the French 6th Army continued 
its pressure on the west, while the 5th Army, by forced marches 
reached the line Chateau-Thierry Dormans on the Marne. 
Our troops also continued the pursuit on the north of the latter 
river, and after a considerable amount of fighting captured 
some 1500 prisoners, 4 guns, 6 machine-guns, and 50 transport 
wagons. Many of the enemy were killed and wounded, and 
the numerous thick woods which dot the country north of the 
Marne are filled with German stragglers. Most of them 
appear to have been without food for at least two days. 
Indeed, in this area of operations the Germans seem to be 
demoralised and inclined to surrender in small parties, and 
the general situation appears to be most favourable to the 
Allies. 

Much brutal and senseless damage has been done in the 
villages occupied by the enemy. Property has been wantonly 
destroyed, pictures in the chateaux have been ripped up, 
and the houses generally pillaged. It is stated on unimpeach- 
able authority, also, that the inhabitants have been much 
ill-treated. 

Interesting incidents have occurred during the fighting. 
On the loth part of our 2nd Army Corps advancing north 
found itself marching parallel with another infantry force at 
some little distance away. At first it was thought that this 
was another British unit. After some time, however, it was 
discovered that it was a body of Germans retreating. Measures 
were promptly taken to head off the enemy, who were sur- 

7 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

rounded and trapped in a sunken road, where over 400 men 
surrendered. 

On the loth a small party of French under a non-com- 
missioned officer was cut off and surrounded. After a des- 
perate resistance it was decided to go on fighting to the end. 
Finally the N.C.O. and one man only were left, both being 
wounded. The Germans came up and shouted to them to 
lay down their arms. The German commander, however, 
signed to them to keep their arms, and then asked for per- 
mission to shake hands with the wounded non-commissioned 
officer, who was carried off on his stretcher with his rifle by 
his side* 

The arrival of the reinforcements and the continued ad- 
vance have delighted the troops, who are full of zeal and 
anxious to press on. 

Quite one of the features of the campaign, on our side, has 
been the success attained by the Royal Flying Corps. In 
regard to the collection of information it is impossible either 
to award too much praise to our aviators for the way they have 
carried out their duties, or to overestimate the value of the 
intelligence collected, more especially during the recent ad- 
vance. In due course, certain examples of what has been 
effected may be specified and the far-reaching nature of the 
results fully explained, but that time has not yet arrived. 
That the services of our Flying Corps, which has really been 
on trial, are fully appreciated by our Allies is shown by the 
following message from the Commander-in-Chief of the French 
Armies received on the night of September 9 by Field-Marshal 
Sir John French : 

' Please express most particularly to Marshal French 
my thanks for services rendered on every day by the 
English Flying Corps. The precision, exactitude, and 
regularity of the news brought in by its members are 
evidence of their perfect organisation and also of the 
perfect training of pilots and observers/ 
To give a rough idea of the amount of work carried out 
it is sufficient to mention that, during a period of twenty days 
up to September 10, a daily average of more than nine recon- 
naissance flights of over a hundred miles each has been 
maintained. 

The constant object of our aviators has been to effect the 
8 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

accurate location of the enemy's forces, and, incidentally 
since the operations cover so large an area of our own units. 
Nevertheless, the tactics adopted for dealing with hostile air- 
craft are to attack them instantly with one or more British 
machines. This has been so far successful that in five cases 
German pilots or observers have been shot in the air and their 
machines brought to the ground. As a consequence, the 
British Flying Corps has succeeded in establishing an individual 
ascendancy which is as serviceable to us as it is damaging 
to the enemy. How far it is due to this cause it is not possible 
at present to ascertain definitely, but the fact remains that 
the enemy have recently become much less enterprising in 
their flights. Something in the direction of the mastery of 
the air has already been gained. 

In pursuance of the principle that the main object of 
military aviators is the collection of information, bomb- 
dropping has not been indulged in to any great extent. On 
one occasion a petrol bomb was successfully exploded in a 
German bivouac at night, while, from a diary found on a dead 
German cavalry soldier, it has been discovered that a high- 
explosive bomb thrown at a cavalry column from one of our 
aeroplanes struck an ammunition wagon. The resulting 
explosion killed fifteen of the enemy. 

September 10-13, 1914 

Since Thursday, September 10, the Army has made 
steady progress in its endeavour to drive back the enemy in 
co-operation with the French. The country across which it 
has had to force its way, and will have to continue to do so, 
is undulating and covered with patches of thick wood. Within 
the area which faced the British before the advance com- 
menced, right up to Laon, the chief feature of tactical import- 
ance is the fact that there are six rivers running right across 
the direction of advance, at all of which it was possible that 
the Germans might make resistance. 

These are, in order from the south, the Marne, the Ourcq, 
the Vesle, the Aisne, the Ailette, and the Oise. The enemy 
held the line of the Marne, which was crossed by our 
forces on September 9, as a purely rearguard operation ; our 
passage of the Ourcq, which here runs almost due east and 
west, was not contested ; the Vesle was only lightly held ; 

9 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

while the resistance along the Aisne, both against French 
and British, has been and still is of a determined char- 
acter. 

The course of the operations during nth, I2th, and I3th 
has been as follows. On Friday, the nth, but little opposition 
was met with by us along any part of our front, and the 
direction of advance was, for the purpose of co-operating with 
our Allies, turned slightly to the north-west. The day was 
spent in pushing forward and in gathering in various hostile 
detachments, and by nightfall our forces had reached a line 
to the north of the Ourcq, extending from Oulchy-le-Chateau 
to Long Pont. On this day there was also a general advance 
on the part of the French along their whole line, which ended 
in substantial success, in one portion of the field Duke Albrecht 
of Wurtemberg's 4th Army being driven back across the 
Saulz, and elsewhere the whole of the corps artillery of a 
German corps being captured. Several German colours also 
were taken. 

It was only on this day that the full extent of the victory 
gained by the Allies on the 8th was appreciated by them, and 
the moral effect of this success has been enormous. An order 
dated the 6th or yth September, by the Commander of the 
German 7th Corps, was picked up, in which it was stated 
that the great object of the war was about to be attained, since 
the French were going to accept battle, and that upon the 
result of this battle would depend the issue of the war and 
the honour of the German armies. 

It seems probable that the Germans not only expected 
to find that the British Army was beyond the power of assum- 
ing the offensive for some time, but counted on the French 
having been driven back on to the line of the Seine ; and that, 
though surprised to find the latter moving forward against 
them after they had crossed the Marne, they were in nowise 
deterred from making a great effort. 

On Saturday, the i2th, the enemy were found to be 
occupying a very formidable position opposite to us on the 
north of the Aisne. At Soissons they held both sides of the 
river and an entrenched line on the hills to the north. Of 
eight road bridges and two railway bridges crossing the Aisne 
within our section of front, seven of the former and both of 
the latter had been demolished. Working from west to east 
10 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

our 3rd Army Corps gained some high ground south of 
the Aisne, overlooking the Aisne valley east of Soissons. 
Here a long range artillery duel between our guns and those 
of the French on our left and the enemy's artillery on the 
hills continued during the greater part of the day, and did 
not cease until nearly midnight. The enemy had a very 
large number of heavy howitzers in well-concealed positions. 
The movement of this Army Corps was effected in co-operation 
with that of the French 6th Army on our left, which gained 
the southern half of the town during the night. The 2nd 
Army Corps did not cross the Aisne. 

The ist Army Corps got over the river Vesle to the 
south of the Aisne, after the crossing had been secured by 
the ist Cavalry Division. It then reached a line south of the 
Aisne, practically without fighting. At Braine the ist Cavalry 
Division met with considerable opposition from infantry and 
machine-guns holding the town and guarding the bridge. 
With the aid of some of our infantry it gained possession 
of the town about midday, driving the enemy to the north. 
Some hundred prisoners were captured round Braine, where 
the Germans had thrown a large amount of field-gun ammuni- 
tion into the river, where it was visible under two feet 
of water. On our right the French reached the line of the 
river Vesle. 

On this day began the action along the Aisne which is not 
yet finished, and which may be merely of a rearguard nature 
on a large scale, or may be the commencement of a battle of a 
more serious nature. It rained heavily on Saturday after- 
noon and all through the night, which severely handicapped 
the transport. 

On Sunday, the I3th, an extremely strong resistance was 
encountered along the whole of our front, which was some 
fifteen miles in length. The action still consisted for the most 
part of long-range gun fire, that of the Germans being to a 
great extent from their heavy howitzers, which were firing 
from cleverly concealed positions. Some of the actual cross- 
ings of the Aisne were guarded by strong detachments of 
infantry with machine-guns. By nightfall portions of all 
three corps were across the river, the cavalry returning to 
the south side. By this night or early next morning three 
pontoon bridges had been .built, and our troops also 

ii 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

managed to get across the river by means of a bridge 
carrying the canal over the river, which had not been 
destroyed. On our left the French pressed on, but were 
prevented by artillery fire from building a pontoon bridge 
at Soissons. A large number of infantry, however, crossed 
in single file on the top of one girder of the railway bridge 
which was left standing. 

During the last three or four days many isolated parties 
of Germans have been discovered hiding in the numerous 
woods a long way behind our line. As a rule they seem 
glad to surrender, and the condition of some of them may be 
gathered from the following incident. An officer, who was 
proceeding along the road in charge of a number of led horses, 
received information that there were some of the enemy in 
the neighbourhood. Upon seeing them he gave the order 
to charge, whereupon 3 German officers and 106 men 
surrendered. 

The following are some of the details of the conduct of the 
enemy in occupation of three of the small towns to the north 
of Paris : 

At Senlis it is stated, on what appears to be good authority, 
that a poacher shot one German soldier and wounded another 
as the forces entered the town. The German commander 
then assembled the Mayor of the town and five other leading 
citizens and forced them to kneel before graves which had 
already been dug. Requisition was made for various supplies, 
and the six citizens were then taken to a neighbouring field 
and shot. According to the corroborative evidence of several 
independent persons, some twenty-four people, including 
women and children, were also shot. The town was then 
pillaged, and was fired in several places before it was evacu- 
ated. It is believed that the cathedral was not damaged, 
but many houses were destroyed. 

Creil was also thoroughly pillaged and many houses were 
burnt. 

At Crepy on September 3 various articles were requisi- 
tioned under threat of a fine of 100,000 f . for every day's delay 
in the delivery of the goods. The following list shows the 
amounts and natures of the supplies demanded, and also the 
actual quantities furnished : 

12 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

Requisitioned. Furnished. 

Flour, 20,000 kilos .... 20,000 kilos. 

Dried vegetables, 5000 kilos . . 800 

Coffee, 1000 kilos .... 809 ,, 

Salt, 1000 kilos . . . . . 2,000 

Oats, 100,000 kilos .... 55,000 ,, 

Red wine, 2500 litres .... 2,500 litres. 
All smoked meats, ham, cloth, new 



boots, tobacco, biscuits, handker- 
chiefs, shirts, braces, stockings, 
horseshoes, bicycles, motor-cars, 
petrol. 



61 prs. of boots. 
91 bicycles. 
15 motor tyres. 
6 inner tubes. 



Immediately on arrival a proclamation was issued by the 
commander of the German division. The main points were : 
That all arms were to be handed in at the Town Hall at once. 
That all civilians found with arms would be shot at once. 
That no person was to be in the street after dark. That 
no lights were to be maintained in the houses or streets at 
night. That the doors of all houses were to be left open. 
That the inhabitants were not to collect in groups. That 
any obstruction of the German troops or threatening of 
them would be immediately punished by death. That 
German money was to be accepted at the rate of i mark 
for 1.25 f. 

At Villers-Cotterets the Mayor appears to have behaved 
very judiciously, and, though supplies far in excess of the 
capabilities of the place were demanded, the town was not 
seriously damaged. The Germans evacuated the place on 
September n in such haste that they left behind a large 
amount of the bread requisitioned. It was stated by the 
inhabitants that the enemy destroyed and abandoned fifteen 
motor-lorries, seven guns and ammunition wagons. 

Reims was occupied by the enemy on September 3. It 
was reoccupied by the French after considerable fighting on 
the I3th. On the I2th a proclamation, a copy of which is in 
possession of the British Army, was posted all over the town. 
A literal translation of this poster is given below. 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 



PROCLAMATION 

In the event of an action being fought either to-day or 
in the immediate future in the neighbourhood of Reims, or in 
the town itself, the inhabitants are warned that they must 
remain absolutely calm and must in no way try to take part 
in the fighting. They must not attempt to attack either 
isolated soldiers or detachments of the German Army. The 
erection of barricades, the taking up of paving stones in the 
streets in a way to hinder the movements of troops, or, in a 
word, any action that may embarrass the German Army, is 
formally forbidden. 

With a view to securing adequately the safety of the 
troops and to instil calm into the population of Reims, the 
persons named below have been seized as hostages by the 
Commander-in-Chief of the German Army. These hostages 
will be hanged at the slightest attempt at disorder. Also 
the town will be totally or partly burnt, and the inhabitants 
will be hanged for any infraction of the above. 

By order of the German authorities. 

THE MAYOR (Dr. Langlet). 
REIMS, September 12, 1914. 

[Here follow the names of eighty-one of the principal inhabitants 
of Reims, with their addresses, including four priests, ending with the 
words ' and some others/] 

September 14-17 

At the date of the last narrative on the I4th September 
the Germans were making a determined resistance along 
the river Aisne. The opposition, which it was at first thought 
might possibly be of a rearguard nature not entailing material 
delay to our progress, has developed, and has proved to be 
more serious than was anticipated. The action now being 
fought by the Germans along their line may, it is true, have 
been undertaken in order to gain time for some strategic 
operation or move, and may not be their main stand. 

But if this be so, the fighting is naturally on a scale which, 
as to extent of ground covered and duration of resistance, 
makes it indistinguishable in its progress from what is known 
14 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

as a ' pitched battle/ though the enemy certainly showed 
signs of considerable disorganisation during the earlier days 
of their retirement. Whether it was originally intended by 
them to defend the position they took up as strenuously as 
they have done, or whether the delay gained for them during 
the I2th and I3th by their artillery has enabled them to 
develop their resistance and to reinforce their line to an 
extent not originally contemplated, cannot yet be said. 

So far as we are concerned, the action still being contested 
is the Battle of the Aisne, for we are fighting just across that 
river along the whole of our front. To the east and west the 
struggle is not confined to the valley. of that river, though it 
will probably bear its name. The progress of our operations 
and of those French Armies nearest to us for the I4th, I5th, 
i6th, and iyth will now be described. 

On Monday, the I4th, those of our troops which had on 
the previous day crossed the Aisne, after driving in the German 
reafguard on that evening, found portions of the enemy's 
forces in prepared defensive positions on the plateau on the 
right bank, and could do little more than secure a footing 
north of the river. This, however, they maintained in spite 
of two counter-attacks, delivered at dusk and at 10 P.M., in 
which the fighting was severe. 

During the I4th strong reinforcements of our troops were 
passed to the north bank, the troops crossing by ferry, by 
pontoon bridges, and by the remains of the permanent bridges. 
Close co-operation with the French forces was maintained, 
and the general progress made was good. Although the 
opposition was vigorous and the state of the roads after the 
heavy rain made movements slow, one division alone failed 
to secure the ground it expected to. The ist Army Corps, 
after repulsing repeated attacks, captured 600 prisoners 
and 12 guns; the cavalry also took a number of prisoners. 
Many of the Germans taken belong to Reserve and Landwehr 
formations, which fact appears to indicate that the enemy 
is compelled to draw on the older classes of soldiers to fill the 
gaps in his ranks. 

There was heavy rain throughout the night of the I4th- 
I5th, and during the 15th September the situation of the 
British forces underwent no essential change, but it became 
more and more evident that the defensive preparations made 

15 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

by the enemy were more extensive than was at first apparent. 
In order to counterbalance these, measures were taken by us 
to economise troops and to secure protection from the hostile 
artillery fire, which was very fierce, and our men continued to 
improve their own entrenchments. 

The Germans bombarded our lines nearly all day, using 
heavy guns, brought no doubt from before Maubeuge, as well 
as those with the corps. All their counter-attacks, however, 
failed, although in some places they were repeated six times ; 
one made on the 4th Guards Brigade was repulsed with heavy 
slaughter. An attempt to advance slightly made by part of 
our line was unsuccessful as regards gain in ground, but led 
to withdrawal of part of the enemy's infantry and artillery. 
Further counter-attacks made during the night were beaten 
off. Rain came on towards evening and continued inter- 
mittently until 9 A.M. on the i6th. Besides adding to the 
discomfort of the soldiers holding open trenches in the firing 
line, the wet weather to some extent hampered the motor trdns- 
port service, which was also hindered by the broken bridges. 

On Wednesday, the i6th, there was little change in the 
situation opposite the British. The efforts made by the enemy 
were less active than on the previous day, though their bom- 
bardment continued throughout the morning and evening. 
Our artillery fire broke the defenders off one of the salients 
of their position, but they returned in the evening. Forty 
prisoners were taken by the 3rd Division. 

On Thursday, the iyth, the situation still remained un- 
changed in its essentials. The German heavy artillery fire 
was more active than on the previous day. The only infantry 
attacks made by the enemy were on the extreme right of our 
position, and, as had happened before, were repulsed with 
heavy loss, chiefly on this occasion by our field artillery. 

In order to convey some idea of the nature of the fighting, 
it may be said that along the greater part of our front the 
Germans have been driven back from the forward slopes on 
the north of the river. Their infantry are holding strong lines 
of trenches amongst and along the edges of the numerous 
woods which crown these slopes. These trenches are elabor- 
ately constructed and cleverly concealed. In many places 
there are wire entanglements and lengths of rabbit fencing 
both in the woods and in the open, carefully aligned so that 
16 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

they can be swept by rifle fire and machine-guns, which are 
invisible from our side of the valley. The ground in front 
of the infantry trenches is also as a rule under cross fire from 
field artillery placed on neighbouring features and under 
high-angle fire from pieces placed well back behind woods on 
top of the plateau. 

A feature of this action, as of the previous fights, is the 
use made by the enemy of their numerous heavy howitzers, 
with which they are able to direct a long-range fire all over 
the valley and right across it. Upon these they evidently 
place great reliance. Where our men are holding the forward 
edges of the high ground on the north side they are now 
strongly entrenched. They are well fed, and in spite of the 
wet weather of the past week are cheerful and confident. 
The bombardment by both sides has been very heavy, 
and on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday was practically con- 
tinuous. 

Nevertheless, in spite of the general din caused by the 
reports of the immense number of heavy guns in action along 
our front on Wednesday, the arrival of a French force acting 
against the German right flank was at once announced on 
the east of our front some miles away by the continuous roar 
of their quick-firing artillery with which their attack was 
opened. So far as the British are concerned, the greater part 
of this week has been passed in bombardment, in gaining 
ground by degrees, and in beating back severe counter- 
attacks with heavy slaughter. Our casualties have been 
severe, but it is probable that those of the enemy are heavier. 
The rain has caused a great drop in temperature, and there is 
more than a distinct feeling of autumn in the air, especially 
in the early mornings. 

On our right and left the French have been fighting fiercely 
and have also been gradually gaining ground. One village 
has already during this battle been captured and recaptured 
twice by each side, and at the time of writing remains in the 
hands of the Germans. The fighting has been at close quarters 
and of the most desperate nature, and the streets of the village 
are filled with the dead of both sides. 

The Germans are a formidable enemy. Well trained, long 
prepared, and brave, their soldiers are carrying on the contest 
with skill and valour. Nevertheless they are fighting to win 

MILITARY 2 B 17 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

anyhow, regardless of all the rules of fair play, and there 
is evidence that they do not hesitate at anything in order 
to gain victory. A large number of the tales of their mis- 
behaviour are exaggerations, and some of the stringent pre- 
cautions they have taken to guard themselves against the 
inhabitants of the areas traversed are possibly justifiable 
measures of war. But at the same time it has been definitely 
established that they have committed atrocities on many 
occasions, and they have been guilty of brutal conduct. 

So many letters and statements of our own wounded 
soldiers have been published in our newspapers that the 
following epistle from a German soldier of the 74th In- 
fantry Regiment (loth Corps) to his wife may also be of 
interest : 

MY DEAR WIFE, I have just been living through days that defy 
imagination. I should never have thought that men could stand it. 
Not a second has passed but my life has been in danger, and yet not 
a hair of my head has been hurt. It was horrible, it was ghastly. 
But I have been saved for you and for our happiness, and I take heart 
again, although I am still terribly unnerved. God grant that I may 
see you again soon, and that this horror may soon be over. None of us 
can do any more, human strength is at an end. 

I will try to tell you about it : 

On the 5th September the enemy were reported to be taking up 
a position near St. Prix (N.E. of Paris). The loth Corps, which had 
made an astonishingly rapid advance, of course, attacked on the 
Sunday. 

Steep slopes led up to heights which were held in considerable force. 
With our weak detachments of the 74th and gist Regiments we reached 
the crest and came under a terrible artillery fire that mowed us down. 
However, we entered St. Prix. Hardly had we done so than we were 
met with shell fire and a violent fusillade from the enemy's infantry. 
Our Colonel was badly wounded he is the third we have had. Four- 
teen men were killed round me. . . . We got away in a lull without 
being hit. 



The yth, 8th, and gth of September we were constantly under 
shell and shrapnel fire, and suffered terrible losses. I was in a house 
which was hit several times. The fear of a death of agony which is in 
every man's heart, and naturally so, is a terrible feeling. 

How often I thought of you, my darling, and what I suffered in 
that terrifying battle, which extended along a front of many miles near 
18 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

Montmirail, you cannot possibly imagine. Our heavy artillery was 
being used for the siege of Maubeuge ; we wanted it badly, as the 
enemy had theirs in force and kept up a furious bombardment. For 
four days I was under artillery fire. It is like Hell, but a thousand 
times worse. On the night of the gth the order was given to retreat, 
as it would have been madness to attempt to hold our position with our 
few men, and we should have risked a terrible defeat the next day. 
The ist and 3rd Armies had not been able to attack with us, as we 
had advanced too rapidly. 

Our moral was absolutely broken. 

In spite of unheard-of sacrifices we had achieved nothing. I cannot 
understand how our Army, after fighting three great battles and being 
terribly weakened, was sent against a position which the enemy had 
prepared for three weeks, but naturally I know nothing of the inten- 
tions of our Chiefs. . . . They say nothing has been lost. In a word, 
we retired towards Cormontreuil and Reims by forced marches by day 
and night. We hear that three armies are going to get into line, 
entrench, rest, and then start afresh our victorious march on Paris. It 
was not a defeat, but only a strategic retreat. I have confidence in our 
Chiefs that everything will be successful. Our first battalion, which 
has fought with unparalleled bravery, is reduced from 1200 to 194 men. 
These numbers speak for themselves. . . . 

Amongst minor happenings of interest is the following : 

During a counter-attack by the German 53rd Regiment 
on portions of the Northampton and Queen's Regiments on 
Thursday, the I7th, a force of some four hundred of the enemy 
were allowed to approach right up to the trench, occupied by 
a platoon of the former regiment, owing to the fact that they 
had held up their hands and made gestures that were inter- 
preted as signs that they wished to surrender. When they 
were actually on the parapet of the trench they opened fire 
at our men at point blank range. 

Unluckily for the enemy, however, flanking them and only 
some 400 yards away there happened to be a machine-gun 
manned by a detachment of the ' Queen's/ This at once 
opened fire, cutting a lane through their mass, and they fell 
back to their own trench with great loss. Shortly afterwards 
they were driven farther back with additional loss by a 
battalion of the Guards which came up in support. 

An incident which occurred some little time ago during 
our retirement is also worthy of record. On August 28, 
during the battle fought by the French along the Oise, be- 

19 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

tween La Fere and Guise, one of the French commanders 
desired to make an air reconnaissance. It was found, how- 
ever, that no observers were available. Wishing to help our 
Allies as much as possible, the British officer attached to this 
particular French Army volunteered to go up with a pilot to 
observe. He had never been in an aeroplane, but he made 
the ascent and produced a valuable reconnaissance report. 
Incidentally he had a duel in the air at an altitude of 6000 
feet with the observer of a German Taube monoplane which 
approached. He fired several shots and drove off the 
hostile aeroplane. His action was much appreciated by the 
French. 

In view of the many statements being made in the Press 
as to the use of Zeppelins against us, it is interesting to note 
that the Royal Flying Corps, who have been out on recon- 
naissances on every day since their arrival in France, have 
never seen a Zeppelin, though airships of a non-rigid type 
have been seen on two occasions. Near the Marne, late one 
evening, two such were observed over the German forces. 
Aeroplanes were despatched against them, but in the darkness 
our pilots were uncertain of the airships' nationality and did 
not attack. It was afterwards made clear that they could 
not have been French. A week later, an officer reconnoitring 
to the flank saw an airship over the German forces and opposite 
the French. It had no distinguishing mark and was assumed 
to belong to the latter, though it is now known that it also 
must have been a German craft. The orders of the Royal 
Flying Corps are to attack Zeppelins at once, and there is 
some disappointment at the absence of those targets. 

September 18-20. 

The enemy is still maintaining himself along the whole 
front ; and in order to do so is throwing into the fight detach- 
ments composed of units from very different formations the 
Active Army, the Reserve, and the Landwehr as is shown 
by the uniforms of the prisoners recently captured. Our 
progress, although slow, on account of the strength of the 
defensive positions against which we are pressing, has in 
certain directions been continuous. But the present battle 
may well last for some days more before a decision is reached, 
20 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

since, in truth, it now approximates somewhat to siege war- 
fare. The Germans are making use of searchlights, and this 
fact, coupled with their great strength in heavy artillery, leads 
to the supposition that they are employing material which 
may have been collected for the siege of Paris. 

The nature of the general situation after the operations of 
the i8th, the igth, and the 20th, cannot better be summarised 
than as expressed recently by a neighbouring French com- 
mander to his corps : 

' Having repulsed repeated and violent counter-attacks 
made by the enemy ... we have the feeling that we have 
been victorious/ 

So far as the British are concerned, the course of events 
during these three days can be described in a few words. 
During Friday, the i8th, artillery fire was kept up inter- 
mittently by both sides during daylight. At night the 
Germans counter-attacked certain portions of our line, sup- 
porting the advance of their infantry, as always, by heavy 
bombardment ; but the strokes were not delivered with any 
great vigour, and ceased about 2 A.M. During the day's fight- 
ing an anti-aircraft gun of the 3rd Army Corps succeeded in 
bringing down a German aeroplane. News was received also 
that a body of French cavalry had demolished part of the 
railway to the north, so cutting at least temporarily one 
line of communication which is of particular importance to the 
enemy. 

On Saturday, the igth, the bombardment was resumed 
by the Germans at an early hour, and continued intermittently 
under reply from our own guns. Some of their infantry 
advanced from cover, apparently with the intention of attack- 
ing, but on coming under fire they retired. Otherwise the day 
was uneventful except for the activity of the artillery, which 
is now a matter of normal routine rather than an event. 
Another hostile aeroplane was brought down by us ; and one 
of our airmen succeeded in dropping several bombs over the 
German lines, one incendiary bomb falling with considerable 
effect on a transport park near La Fere. A buried store of 
the enemy's munitions of war was also found not far from the 
Aisne, ten wagons-loads of live shell and two wagons of cable 
being dug up ; and traces were discovered of large quantities 

21 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

of stores having been burnt, all tending to show that so far 
back as the Aisne the German retirement was hurried. There 
was a strong wind during the day, accompanied by driving 
rain, and this militated against aerial reconnaissance. 

On Sunday, the 2Oth, nothing of importance occurred 
until the afternoon, when there was a break in the clouds and 
an interval of feeble sunshine which, however, was hardly 
powerful enough to warm the soaking troops. The Germans 
took advantage of this brief spell of fine weather to make 
several separate counter-attacks against different points. 
These were all repulsed with loss to the enemy ; but the 
casualties incurred by us were by no means light. In one 
section of our firing line the occupants of the trenches were 
under the impression that they heard a military band in the 
enemy's lines just before the attack developed. It is now 
known that the German infantry started their advance with 
bands playing. The offensive against one or two points was 
renewed at dusk with no greater success. 

The brunt of the resistance has naturally fallen upon the 
infantry. In spite of the fact that they have been drenched 
to the skin for some days and their trenches have been deep 
in mud and water, and in spite of incessant night alarms, and 
of the almost continuous bombardment to which they have 
been subjected, they have on every occasion been ready for 
the enemy's infantry when the latter have attempted to assault, 
and they have beaten them back with great loss. Indeed, the 
sight of the Pickelhauben coming up has been a positive relief 
after the long, trying hours of inaction under shell-fire. The 
object of the great proportion of artillery the Germans employ 
is to beat down the resistance of their enemy by a concentrated 
and prolonged fire, and to shatter their nerve with high ex- 
plosives before the infantry attack is launched. They seem 
to have relied on doing this with us ; but they have not done 
so, though it has taken them several costly experiments to 
discover this fact. From the statements of prisoners, indeed, 
it appears that they have been greatly disappointed by the 
moral effect produced by their heavy guns, which, despite the 
actual losses inflicted, has not been at all commensurate with 
the colossal expenditure of ammunition, which has really been 
wasted. 

By this it is not implied that their artillery fire is not good. 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

It is more than good ; it is excellent. But the British soldier 
is a difficult person to impress or depress, even by immense 
shells filled with high explosives which detonate with terrific 
violence, and form craters large enough to act as graves for 
five horses. The German howitzer shells are 8 to 9 inches in 
calibre, and on impact they send up columns of greasy black 
smoke. On account of this they are irreverently dubbed 
' Coal-boxes/ ' Black Marias/ or ' Jack Johnsons/ by the 
soldiers. Men who take things in this spirit are, it seems, 
likely to throw out the calculations based on loss of moral so 
carefully framed by the German military philosophers. 

A considerable amount of information about the enemy 
has by now been gleaned from prisoners. It has been gathered 
that our bombardment on the I5th produced a great impres- 
sion. The opinion is also recorded that our infantry make 
such good use of the ground that the German companies are 
decimated by our rifle fire before a British soldier can be seen. 
From an official diary captured by the ist Army, Corps it 
appears that one of the German Corps contains an extra- 
ordinary mixture of units. If the composition of the other 
corps is at all similar, it may be assumed that the present 
efficiency of the enemy's forces is in no way comparable with 
what it was when war commenced. The losses in officers are 
noted as having been especially severe. A brigade is stated 
to be commanded by a major, and some companies of the Foot 
Guards to be commanded by one-year volunteers, while after 
the battle of Montmirail one regiment lost fifty-five out of 
sixty officers. 

The prisoners recently captured appreciate the fact that 
the march on Paris has failed, and that their forces are retreat- 
ing, but state that the object of this movement is explained 
by the officers as being to withdraw into closer touch with 
supports which have stayed too far in rear. The officers are 
also endeavouring to encourage the troops by telling them 
that they will be at home by Christmas. A large number of 
the men, however, believe that they are beaten. The follow- 
ing is an extract from one document : 

' With the English troops we have great difficulties. They have 
a queer way of causing losses to the enemy. They make good trenches, 
in which they wait patiently. They carefully measure the ranges for 
thejr rifle fire, and they then open a truly hellish fire on the unsus- 

23 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

peeling cavalry. This was the reason that we had such heavy losses. 
. . . According to our officers, the English striking forces are ex^ 
hausted. The English people never really wanted war/ 

From another source : 

' The English are very brave and fight to the last man. . . . One of 
our companies has lost 130 men out of 240.' 

The following letter, which refers to the fighting on the 
Aisne, has been printed and circulated to the troops : 

LETTER FOUND ON A GERMAN OFFICER OF THE 
7TH RESERVE CORPS 

CERNY, S. OF LAON, September 17, 1914. 

MY DEAR PARENTS, . . . Our corps has the task of holding the 
heights south of Cerny in all circumstances till the I5th Corps on our 
left flank can grip the enemy's flank. On our right are other corps. 
We are fighting with the English Guards, Highlanders, and Zouaves. 
The losses on both sides have been enormous. For the most part 
this is due to the too brilliant French artillery. The English are mar- 
vellously trained in making use of the ground. One never sees them, 
and one is constantly under fire. The French airmen perform wonder- 
ful feats. We cannot get rid of them. As soon as an airman has 
flown over us, ten minutes later we get their shrapnel fire in our 
position. We have little artillery in our corps ; without it we cannot 
get forward. 

Three days ago our division took possession of these heights, dug 
itself in, etc. Two days ago, early in the morning, we were attacked 
by immensely superior English forces (one brigade and two battalions), 
and were turned out of our positions ; the fellows took five guns from 
us. It was a tremendous hand-to-hand fight. How I escaped myself 
I am not clear. I then had to bring up supports on foot (my horse was 
wounded, and the others were too far in rear). Then came up the 
Guard Jager Battalion, 4th Jager, 65th Regiment, Reserve Regiment 
13, Landwehr Regiments 13 and 16, and, with the help of the artillery, 
drove back the fellows out of the position again. 

Our machine-guns did excellent work. The English fell in heaps. 

In our battalion three Iron Crosses have been given, one to the C.O., 
one to the Captain, one to the Surgeon. Let us hope that we shall be 
the lucky ones next time. . . . During the first two days of the battle 
I had only one piece of bread and no water, spent the night in the rain 
without my greatcoat. The rest of my kit was on the horses, which 
have been left miles behind with the baggage (which cannot come up 
into the battle), because as soon as you put your nose out from behind 
24 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

cover the bullets whistle. The war is terrible. We are all hoping that 
the decisive battle will end the war, as our troops have already got 
round Paris, 

If we first beat the English, the French resistance will soon be 
broken. Russia will be very quickly dealt with, of this there is no 
doubt. We received splendid help from the Austrian heavy artillery at 
Maubeuge. They bombarded Fort Cerfontaine in such a way that 
there was not ten metres of parapet which did not show enormous 
craters made by shells. The armoured turrets were found upside 
down. 

Yesterday evening about 6 P.M., in the valley in which our reserves 
stood, there was such a terrible cannonade that we saw nothing of the 
sky but a cloud of smoke. We had few casualties. 

Amongst items of news are the following. Recently a pilot 
and observer of the Royal Flying Corps were forced by a 
breakage in the aeroplane to descend in the enemy's lines. 
The pilot managed to ' pancake ' his machine down to earth, 
and the two escaped into some thick undergrowth in a wood. 
The enemy came up and seized the smashed machine, but did 
not search for our men with much zeal. The latter lay hid 
till dark, and then found their way to the Aisne, across which 
they swam, reaching camp in safety, but barefooted. Numer- 
ous floating bridges have by now been thrown across the Aisne, 
and some permanent bridges repaired, under fire. On the 
20th a lieutenant of the 3rd Signal Company, Royal Engineers, 
was unfortunately drowned whilst attempting to swim across 
the river with a cable in order to open up fresh telegraph com- 
munication on the north side. 

Espionage is still carried on by the enemy to a considerable 
extent. Recently the suspicions of some French troops were 
aroused by coming across a farm from which the horses had not 
been removed. After some search they discovered a tele- 
phone which was connected by an underground cable with the 
German lines ; and the owner of the farm paid the penalty 
usual in war for his treachery. 

After some cases of village fighting which occurred earlier 
in the war it was reported by some of our officers that the 
Germans had attempted to approach to close quarters by 
forcing prisoners to march in front of them. The Germans 
have recently repeated the same trick on a larger scale against 
the French, as is shown by the copy of the order printed below. 

25 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

It is therein referred to as a ' ruse ' ; but if that term be 
accepted, it is distinctly an illegal ruse. 

Army. September, 1914. 

General Staff. 
3rd Bureau. 
No. 

During a recent night attack the Germans drove a column of 
French prisoners in front of them. 

This action is to be brought to the notice of all our troops : 

1. In order to put them on their guard against such a dastardly 
ruse : 

2. In order that every soldier may know how the Germans treat 
their prisoners. Our troops must not forget that if they allow them- 
selves to be taken prisoners the Germans will not fail to expose them 
to French bullets. 

(Signature of Commander.) 

Further evidence has now been collected of the misuse of 
the white flag and other signs of surrender during the action 
on the 1 7th, when owing to this one officer was shot. During 
the recent fighting also some German ambulance wagons ad- 
vanced in order to collect the wounded. An order to cease 
fire was consequently given to our guns which were firing on 
this particular section of ground. The German battery com- 
manders at once took advantage of the lull in the action to 
climb up their observation ladders, and on to a haystack to 
locate our guns, which soon afterwards came under a far more 
accurate fire than any to which they had been subjected up 
to that time. 

A British officer who was captured by the Germans and 
has since escaped reports that while a prisoner he saw men 
who had been fighting subsequently put on Red Cross bras- 
sards. That the irregular use of the protection afforded by 
the Geneva Convention is not uncommon is confirmed by 
the fact that on one occasion men in the uniform of com- 
batant units have been captured wearing the Red Cross 
brassard hastily slipped over the arm. The excuse given has 
been that they had been detailed after a fight to look after 
the wounded. It is reported by a cavalry officer that the 
driver of a motor-car with a machine-gun mounted on it, 
which he captured, was wearing the Red Cross. 

Full details of the actual damage done to the Cathedral 
36 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

at Reims will doubtless have been cabled home, so that no 
description of it is necessary. The Germans bombarded the 
cathedral twice with their heavy artillery. One reason why 
it caught alight so quickly was that on one side of it was some 
scaffolding which had been erected for restoration work. 
Straw had also been laid on the floor for the reception of 
German wounded. It is to the credit of the French that 
practically all the German wounded were successfully extri- 
cated from the burning building. There was no justification 
on military grounds for this act of vandalism, which seems to 
have been caused by the exasperation born of failure, a sign 
of impotence rather than of strength. It is noteworthy that 
a well-known hotel not far from the cathedral, which was kept 
by a German, was not touched. 

September 21-22 

For four days there has been a comparative lull all along 
our front. This has been accompanied by a spell of fine 
weather, though the nights are now much colder. One cannot 
have everything, however, and one evil result of the sunshine 
has been to release the flies which were torpid during the wet 
days. Advantage has been taken of the arrival of reinforce- 
ments to relieve by fresh troops the men who have been in 
the firing line for some time. Several units, therefore, have 
received their baptism of fire during the week. 

Since the la ,t letter left General Headquarters, evidence 
has been received which points to the fact that during the 
counter-attacks on the night of Sunday, the 2oth, the German 
infantry fired into each other the result of an attempt to 
carry out the dangerous expedient of a covering advance in 
the dark. Opposite one portion of our position a considerable 
massing of the hostile forces was observed before dark, and 
some hours later a furious fusillade was heard in front of our 
line, though no bullets came over our trenches. 

This narrative begins with the 2ist and covers only two 
days. On Monday, the 2ist, there was but little rain, and the 
weather took the turn for the better, which has been main- 
tained. Action was practically confined to the artillery, our 
guns at one point shelling and driving away the enemy, who 
were endeavouring to construct a redoubt. The Germans for 
their part expended a large number of heavy shell in a long- 

27 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

range bombardment of the village of Missy. Reconnoitring 
parties sent out during the night of the 2ist-22nd discovered 
some deserted trenches, and in them, or near them in the 
woods, over one hundred dead and wounded were picked up. 
A number of rifles, ammunition, and equipment were also 
found. There were various other signs that portions of the 
enemy's forces had withdrawn for some distance. 

Tuesday, the 22nd, was also fine, with less wind, and was 
one of the most uneventful days that has passed since we 
reached the Aisne uneventful, that is, for the British. There 
was less artillery work on either side, the Germans neverthe- 
less giving the village of Paissy a taste of the ' Jack Johnsons/ 
The spot thus honoured is not far from a ridge where some 
of the most severe close fighting in which we have taken 
part has occurred. All over this ' No man's land ' between 
the lines, the bodies of the German infantry are still lying in 
heaps where they have fallen at different times. 

Espionage plays so large a part in the conduct of war by 
the Germans that it is difficult to avoid reference to the 
subject. They have evidently never forgotten the saying of 
Frederick the Great : ' When Marshal Soubise goes to war he 
is followed by a hundred cooks. When I take the field I am 
preceded by a hundred spies/ Indeed, until about twenty 
years ago there was a paragraph in the Field Service Regula- 
tions directing that the service of ' protection in the field/ e.g. 
outposts and advanced guards, should always be supplemented 
by a system of espionage. Though such instructions are no 
longer made public, the Germans, as is well known, still carry 
them into effect. 

Apart from the more elaborate arrangements which were 
made in peace time for obtaining information by paid agents, 
some of the methods being employed for the collection or 
conveyance of intelligence are as follows : 

Men in plain clothes signal to the German lines from points 
in the hands of the enemy by means of coloured lights at night 
and puffs of smoke from chimneys by day. Pseudo-labourers 
working in the fields between the armies have been detected 
conveying information, and persons in plain clothes have 
acted as advanced scouts to the German cavalry when advanc- 
ing. German officers and soldiers in plain clothes, or in French 
or British uniforms, have remained in localities evacuated by 
28 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

the Germans in order to furnish them with intelligence. One 
spy of this kind was found by our troops hidden in a church 
tower. His presence was only discovered through the erratic 
movements of the hands of the church clock, which he was 
using to signal to his friends by means of an improvised 
semaphore code. Had this man not been seized it is probable 
that he would have signalled to the German artillery the time 
of arrival and the exact location of the Headquarters and 
Staff of the force. High-explosive shells would then have 
mysteriously dropped on to the building. Women spies have 
also been caught, and secret agents have been found at rail- 
heads observing entrainments and detrainments. 

It is a simple matter for spies to mix with Jhe numbers of 
refugees moving about to and from their homes, and difficult 
for our troops, who speak neither French nor German, to 
detect them. The French have found it necessary to search 
villages and also the casual wayfarers on the roads for carrier 
pigeons. Amongst the precautions taken by us to guard 
against spying is the publication of the following notice, 
copies of which have been printed in French and posted up : 

(1) Motor-cars and bicycles other than those carrying 
soldiers in uniform may not circulate on the roads. 

(2) Inhabitants may not leave the localities in which they 
reside between 6 P.M. and 6 A.M. 

(3) Inhabitants may not quit their homes after 8 P.M. 

(4) No person may on any pretext pass through the 
British lines without an authorisation countersigned by a 
British officer. 

Events have moved so quickly during the last two months 
that anything connected with the mobilisation of the British 
Expeditionary Force is now ancient history. Nevertheless, 
the following extract of a German order is evidence of the 
mystification of the enemy and is a tribute to the value of the 
secrecy which was so well and loyally maintained at the time 
in England. 

' loth Reserve Army Corps, 

' Headquarters Mont St. Guibert, 

1 zoth August 1914, 23.40. 

'CORPS ORDER, 2isx AUGUST 

1 The French troops in front of the loth Army Corps have 

29 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

retreated south across the Sambre. Part of the Belgian Army 
has withdrawn to Antwerp. It is reported that an English 
Army has disembarked at Calais and Boulogne en route for 
Brussels/ 

September 23-24 

Wednesday, the 23rd, was a perfect autumn day. It 
passed without incident as regards major operations, though 
the enemy concentrated their heavy artillery fire upon the 
plateau near Paissy. Nothing more than inconvenience, 
however, was caused. The welcome absence of wind gave our 
airmen a chance of which they took full advantage, gathering 
much information. 

Unfortunately one of our aviators, who has been par- 
ticularly active in annoying the enemy by dropping bombs, 
was wounded in a duel in the air. Being alone on a single- 
seater monoplane, he was not able to use a rifle, and whilst 
circling above a German two-seater in an endeavour to get 
within pistol shot, was hit by the observer of the latter, who 
was armed with a rifle. He managed to fly back over our 
lines, and by great good luck descended close to a motor- 
ambulance, which at once conveyed him to hospital. Against 
this may be set off the fact that another of our fliers exploded 
a bomb amongst some led artillery horses, killing several and 
stampeding others. 

On Thursday, the 24th, the fine weather continued, as 
did the lull in the action, the heavy German shells falling 
mostly near Pargnan. On both Wednesday and Thursday 
the weather was so fine that many flights were made by the 
aviators of the French, the British, and the Germans, 
producing corresponding activity amongst the anti-aircraft 
guns. 

So still and clear was the atmosphere towards evening on 
Wednesday and during the whole of Thursday, that to those 
not specially on the look-out the presence of aeroplanes high 
up above them was first made known by the bursting of the 
projectiles aimed at them. The puffs of smoke from the 
detonating shell hung in the air for minutes on end like balls 
of fleecy cotton-wool before they slowly expanded and were 
dissipated. 

30 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

From the places mentioned as being the chief targets for 
the enemy's heavy howitzers, it will be seen that the Germans 
are now inclined to concentrate their fire systematically upon 
definite areas in which their aviators think they have located 
our guns, or upon villages where it is imagined our troops 
may be billeted. The result will be to give work to the local 
builders. 

The growing resemblance of this battle to siege warfare 
has already been pointed out. The fact that the later actions 
of the Russo-Japanese war assumed a similar character was 
thought by many to have been due to exceptional causes, 
such as the narrowness of the theatre of operations between 
the Chinese frontier on the west and the mountainous country 
of Northern Korea on the east, and the lack of roads, which 
limited the extent of ground over which it was possible for the 
rival armies to manoeuvre, and the fact that both forces were 
tied to one line of railway. 

No such factors are exerting any influence on the present 
battle. Nevertheless a similar situation has been produced, 
owing, first, to the immense power of resistance possessed by 
an army which is amply equipped with heavy artillery and 
has sufficient time to fortify itself ; and, secondly, to the vast 
size of the forces engaged, which at present stretch more than 
half across France. The extent of country covered is so great 
as to render slow any efforts to manoeuvre and march round 
to a flank in order to escape the costly expedient of a frontal 
attack against heavily fortified positions. To state that 
methods of attack must approximate more closely to those 
of siege warfare, the greater the resemblance of the defences 
to those of a fortress is a platitude ; but it is one which will 
bear repetition if it in any way assists to make the present 
situation clear. 

There is no doubt that the position on the Aisne was not 
hastily selected by the German Staff after the retreat had 
begun. From the choice of ground, and the care with which 
the fields of fire have been arranged to cover all possible 
avenues of approach, and from the amount of work already 
carried out, it is clear that the contingency of having to act 
on the defensive was not overlooked when the details of the 
strategically offensive campaign were arranged. 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

September 25-29 

The general situation as viewed on the map remains 
practically the same as that described in the last letter ; and 
the task of the Army has not changed. It is to maintain itself 
until the general resumption of the offensive. No ground has 
been lost, some has been gained, and every counter-attack 
has been repulsed, in certain instances with very severe loss 
to the enemy. 

Nevertheless the question of position is only part of the 
battle, and there has been a considerable improvement in the 
situation in another important aspect. The recent offensive 
efforts of the enemy have been made without cohesion, the 
assaults being delivered by comparatively small bodies acting 
without co-operation with those on either side. Some of them, 
indeed, evince clear signs of inferior leadership, thus bearing 
out the statements made by prisoners as to the great losses in 
officers suffered by the enemy. 

\ Further, the hostile artillery fire has decreased in volume 
and deteriorated both in control and direction. The first is 
probably due to a transfer of metal to other quarters, but 
the two latter may be a direct result of the activity of our 
aircraft and their interference with the enemy's air recon- 
naissance and observation of fire. Recently the Germans 
have been relying to some extent on observation from captive 
balloons sent up at some distance in rear of their first line, 
which method, whatever its cause, is a poor substitute for the 
direct overhead reconnaissance obtainable from aeroplanes. 

As a consequence the damage being done to us is wholly 
disproportionate to the amount of ammunition expended by 
the enemy. For the last few days it has amounted to pitting 
certain areas with large craters and in rendering some villages 
' unhealthy ' as the soldiers put it. A concrete example 
of what was on one occasion achieved against our infantry 
trenches is given later. 

Of recent events the actual narrative will be carried on 
from the 25th to the 2Qth inclusive. During the whole of this 
period the weather has remained fine, though not so bright 
as it was. On Friday, the 25th, comparative quiet reigned 
in our sphere of action, the only incident worthy of special 
mention being the passage of a German aeroplane over the 
32 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

interior of our lines. It was flying high, but drew a general 
fusillade from below, with the result that the pilot was killed 
outright and the observer was wounded. By the aid of dual 
control, however, the latter continued his flight for some 
miles. He was then forced to descend by a hit in his petrol 
tank and was captured by the French. 

That night a general attack was made against the greater 
part of the Allies' position, and it was renewed in the early 
morning of the 26th. The Germans were everywhere repulsed 
with loss. Indeed, opposite one portion of our line, where 
they were caught in mass by our machine-guns and howitzers 
firing at different ranges, it is estimated that they left one 
thousand killed and wounded. 

The mental attitude of our troops may be gauged from 
the fact that the official report next morning from one corps 
of which one division had borne the brunt of the fighting 
ran thus laconically : 

' . . . . The night was quiet, except for a certain amount 
of shelling both from the enemy and ourselves. At 3.40 A.M. 
an attack was made on our right. At 5 A.M. there was a 
general attack on the right of the th Division, but not really 
heavy, and firing is dying down/ 

Further ineffectual efforts to drive us back were made on 
Saturday, the 26th, at 8 A.M., and in the afternoon ; and 
artillery fire continued all day. The Germans came on in 
a T-shaped formation, several lines shoulder to shoulder, 
followed almost immediately by a column in support. After 
a very few minutes the men had closed up into a mob, which 
afforded an excellent target for our fire. 

On Sunday, the 27th, whilst the German heavy guns were 
in action, their brass bands could be heard playing hymn 
tunes, presumably at Divine Service. The enemy made an 
unimportant advance on part of our line about 6 P.M., and 
renewed it in strength at one point at 11.30 P.M. with no 
better success than on the previous night. Sniping continued 
all day along the whole front. On Monday, the 28th, there 
was nothing more severe than bombardment and intermittent 
sniping, and this inactivity continued during Tuesday, the 
2gth, except for a night attack against our extreme right. 

An incident that occurred on Sunday, the 27th, serves to 
illustrate the type of fighting that has for the past two weeks 

MILITARY 2 C 33 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

been going on intermittently in various parts of our line. It 
also brings out the extreme difficulty of ascertaining what is 
actually happening during an action, apart from what seems 
to be happening, and points to the value of good entrench- 
ments. At a certain point in our front our advanced trenches 
on the north of the Aisne are not far from a village on the hill- 
side and also within a short distance of the German works, 
being on the slope of a spur formed by a subsidiary valley 
running north and the main valley of the river. 

It was a calm, sunny afternoon but hazy ; and from a 
point of vantage south of the river it was difficult exactly to 
locate on the far bank the well-concealed trenches of either 
side. From far and near the sullen boom of guns echoed 
along the valley, and at intervals, in different directions, 
the sky was flecked with the almost motionless smoke of 
anti-aircraft shrapnel. Suddenly, without any warning, for 
the reports of the distant howitzers from which they were 
fired could not be distinguished from other distant reports, 
three or four heavy shells fell into the village, sending up 
huge clouds of smoke and dust which slowly descended in a 
brownish grey column. To this no reply was made by our 
side. 

Shortly afterwards there was a quick succession of reports 
from a point some distance up the subsidiary valley on the 
side opposite our trenches, and therefore rather on their flank. 
It was not possible, either by ear or by eye, to locate the guns 
irom which these sounds proceeded. 

Almost simultaneously, as it seemed, there was a corre- 
sponding succession of flashes and sharp detonations in a line 
on the hillside along what appeared to be our trenches. There 
was then a pause, and several clouds of smoke rose slowly 
and remained stationary, spaced as regularly as a line of 
poplars. Again there was a succession of reports from the 
German quickfirers on the far side of the misty valley, and 
like echoes the detonations of high explosive and the row of 
expanding smoke clouds were prolonged by several new ones. 
Another pause, and silence, except for the noise in the distance. 
After a few minutes there was a roar from our side of the main 
valley as our field-guns opened one after another in a more 
deliberate fire upon the position of the German guns. 

After six reports there was again silence, save for the whir 
34 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

of the shell as they sang up the small valley, and then followed 
the flashes and balls of smoke one, two, three, four, five, 
six, as the shrapnel burst nicely over what in the haze looked 
like some ruined buildings at the edge of a wood. 

Again, after a short interval, the enemy's gunners reopened 
with a burst, still further prolonging the smoke, which was 
by now merged into one solid screen above a considerable 
length of trench, and again did our guns reply. And so 
the duel went on for some time. Ignoring our guns, the 
German artillerymen, probably relying on concealment for 
immunity, were concentrating all their efforts in a particularly 
forceful effort to enfilade our trenches. For them it must 
have appeared to be the chance of a lifetime, and with their 
customary prodigality of ammunition they continued to pour 
bouquet after bouquet of high-explosive Einheitsgeschoss, 
or combined shrapnel and common shell, on to our works. 
Occasionally, with a roar, a high-angle projectile would sail 
over the hill and blast a gap in the village. One could only 
pray that our men holding the trenches had dug themselves in 
deep and well, and that those in the village were in the cellars. 

In the hazy valleys bathed in sunlight not a man, not a 
horse, not a gun, nor even a trench was to be seen. There 
were only flashes, smoke, and noise. Above, against the blue 
sky, were several round white clouds hanging in the track of 
the only two visible human souls represented by a glistening 
speck in the air. On high also were to be heard the more or 
less gentle reports of the bursts of the anti-aircraft projectiles. 
But the deepest impression created was one of sympathy for 
the men subjected to the bursts along that trench. 

Upon inquiry as to the losses sustained, however, it was 
found that our men had been able to take care of themselves 
and had dug themselves well in. In that collection of trenches 
on that Sunday afternoon were portions of four battalions of 
British soldiers the Dorsets, the West Kents, the King's 
Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, and the King's Own Scottish 
Borderers. Over three hundred projectiles were fired against 
them. The result was nine men wounded. 

On the following day one hundred and nine shells were fired 
at the trenches occupied by the West Kent Regiment alone. 
Four officers were buried, but dug out unhurt. One man was 
scratched. The village itself was unoccupied. 

35 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

September 30 October 2 

It is always instructive to regard matters from the opposing 
point of view ; and the following further extracts from the 
letters of prisoners may be of interest : 

' In all places we passed through we found wounded and many 
parties of men with bandaged arms and hands. On the I5th (Sep- 
tember) we reached a village in which we thought we should get some 
rest, but we had hardly gone to the field kitchens for our food when 
shrapnel started bursting near our regiment, which was in close for- 
mation. We at once sought cover in some houses. At six o'clock our 
company was ordered to move up to a wood in order to protect our 
artillery, which was coming into action in a field, the rest of the bat- 
talion marching northwards. On the i6th we advanced, covered by 
our guns. The enemy was hidden in bushes, and some were firing from 
houses into our trenches, which were not more than a hundred yards 
from the village. To my right and left wounded comrades were com- 
plaining bitterly that the enemy, shooting from the houses, found too 
easy a mark in us. If we assumed an upright position we were im- 
mediately fired on. Two of our soldiers endeavoured to carry a 
wounded man to the rear ; one was killed, and the other was wounded 
in the attempt. Soon the enemy's bullets began to get us from the 
right, and after about one hour, during which time the Company lost 
about 25 men, we were forced to retire. This brought our total strength 
down to 80 (we started 251 men). We had no officers left. . . . On the 
i8th, at 4.30 A.M., we reached a village where we thought we expected 
to be able to rest, and collected some straw. Before half an hour had 
passed, however, the shrapnel again found us out. We spent the after- 
noon in the village, which was continuously under shell fire in spite of 
the fact that our guns were shelling the enemy's artillery. We heard 
our Colonel say that our guns could not get at those of the enemy satis- 
factorily, as the latter were so well concealed. . . . Our condition is 
now really awful, for we have to lie out in all weathers ; and we are 
all looking forward to a speedy end. We are very badly off as regards 
food. . . . Some of our regiments can only muster three to four 
companies.' 

(The enemy referred to are the French.) 

Another letter written during the retreat in front of the 
French from Montmirail contains the following : 

' After a thirty-six hours' march we had a rest, and arrived just in 
time for the fight. For three days we did not have a hot meal, because 
36 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

our field kitchens were lost. We got a hot meal yesterday evening. 
Though we are all just ready to drop, we must march on/ 

Yet two more extracts : 

' We found great quantities of food, but for fear of poison did not 
take possession of it until we had got hold of the proprietor of the house 
and forced him to taste it.' 

' We are near Reims, after having gone through hard, bloody, 
and most horrible days. Thank God I am still alive. Of our regiment 
of 3000 men there are now only 1600. Let us hope that this battle 
which ought to be one of the greatest in history will leave me safe 
and well, and give us peace. I am absolutely done, but we must not 
despair/ 

Wednesday, September 30, merely marked another day's 
progress in the gradual development of the situation, and was 
distinguished by no activity beyond slight attacks by the 
enemy. There was also artillery fire at intervals. One of our 
airmen succeeded in dropping nine bombs, some of which fell 
on the enemy's rolling-stock collected on the railway near 
Laon. Some of the enemy's front trenches were found empty 
at night ; but nothing much can be deduced from this fact, 
for they are frequently evacuated in this way, no doubt to 
prevent the men in the back line firing on their comrades in 
front of them. 

Thursday, October i, was a most perfect autumn day, 
and the most peaceful that there has been since the two forces 
engaged on the Aisne. There was only desultory gun fire as 
targets offered. During the night the enemy made a few new 
trenches. A French aviator dropped one bomb on a railway 
station and three bombs on troops massed near it. 

The weather on Friday, the 2nd, was very misty in the 
early hours, and it continued hazy until the late afternoon, 
becoming thicker again at night. The Germans were driven 
out of a mill which they had occupied as an advanced post, 
their guns and machine-guns which supported it being knocked 
out one by one by well-directed artillery fire from a flank. 
During the night they made the usual two attacks on the cus- 
tomary spot in our lines, and as on previous occasions were 
repulsed. Two of their trenches were captured and filled in. 
Our loss was six wounded men. 

Up to September 21 the air mileage made by our airmen 

37 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

since the beginning of the war amounted to 87,000 miles, an 
average of 2000 miles per day, the total equalling nearly four 
times the circuit of the world. The total time spent in the 
air was 1400 hours. 

There are many points connected with the fighting methods 
of either side that may be of interest. The following de- 
scription was given by a battalion commander who has been 
at the front since the commencement of hostilities, and has 
fought both in the open and behind entrenchments. It must, 
however, be borne in mind that it only represents the ex- 
periences of a particular unit. It deals with the tactics of the 
enemy's infantry : 

' The important points to watch are the heads of valleys 
and ravines, woods especially those on the sides of hollow 
ground and all dead ground to the front and flanks. The 
German officers are skilled in leading troops forward under 
cover, in closed bodies, but once the latter are deployed and 
there is no longer direct personal leadership the men will not 
face heavy fire. Sometimes the advance is made in a series of 
lines, with the men well opened out at five or six paces inter- 
val ; at other times it is made in a line, with the men almost 
shoulder to shoulder, followed in all cases by supports in close 
formation. The latter either waver when the front line is 
checked, or crowd on to it, moving forward under the orders 
of their officers, and the mass forms a magnificent target. 
Prisoners have described the fire of our troops as pinning them 
to the ground, and this is certainly borne out by their action. 

' When the Germans are not heavily entrenched no 
great losses are incurred in advancing against them by the 
methods in which the British Army has been instructed. 
For instance, in one attack over fairly open ground against 
about an equal force of infantry sheltered in a sunken road 
and in ditches we lost only ten killed and sixty wounded, 
while over four hundred of the enemy surrendered after about 
fifty had been killed. Each side had the support of a battery, 
but the fight for superiority from infantry fire took place at 
about seven hundred yards, and lasted only half an hour. 
When the Germans were wavering some of them put up the 
white flag, but others went on firing, and our men continued 
to do the same. Eventually a large number of white flags, 
improvised from handkerchiefs, pieces of shirt, white biscuit 
38 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

bags, etc., were exhibited all along the line, and many men 
hoisted their helmets on their rifles. 

' In the fighting behind entrenchments the Germans en- 
deavour to gain ground by making advances in line at dusk 
or just before dawn, and then digging themselves in, in the 
hope no doubt that they may eventually get so near as to be 
able, as at manoeuvres, to reach the hostile trenches in a single 
rush. They have* never succeeded in doing this against us. 
If by creeping up in dead ground they do succeed in gaining 
ground by night, they are easily driven back by fire in the 
morning. A few of the braver men sometimes remain behind, 
at ranges of even three hundred or four hundred yards, and 
endeavour to inflict losses by sniping. Sharpshooters, also, 
are often noticed in trees or wriggling about until they get 
good cover. The remedy is to take the initiative and detail 
men to deal with the enemy's sharpshooters. 

1 A few night attacks have been made against us. Before 
one of them a party crept up close to the British line and set 
alight a hayrick, so that it should form a beacon on which the 
centre of the attacking line marched. Generally, however, 
in the night and early morning attacks, groups of forty or 
fifty men have come on, the groups sometimes widely separated 
one from another, and making every endeavour to obtain any 
advantage from cover. Light-balls and searchlights have on 
some occasions been used. Latterly the attacks have become 
more and more half-hearted. Against us the enemy has 
never closed with the bayonet. The German trenches I have 
seen were deep enough to shelter a man when firing standing, 
and had a step down in rear for the supports to sit in. 

' As regards our own men, there was at first considerable 
reluctance to entrench, as has always been the case at the 
commencement of a war. Now, however, having bought 
experience dearly, their defences are such that they can defy 
the German artillery fire/ 

October 3-8 

The comparative calm on our front has continued. Though 
fine and considerably warmer, the last six days have been 
slightly misty, with clouds hanging low, so that the conditions 
have not been very favourable for aerial reconnaissance. In 
regard to the latter, it is astonishing how quickly the habit is 

39 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

acquired even by those who are not aviators of thinking 
of the weather in terms of its suitability for flying. There has 
been a bright moon also, which has militated against night 
attacks. 

On Saturday, the 3rd, practically nothing happened, 
except that each side shelled the other towards evening. On 
Sunday there was a similar absence of activity. Opposite 
one portion of the line the enemy's bands played patriotic 
airs, and the audiences which gathered gave a chance to our 
waiting howitzers. Not only do their regimental bands per- 
form occasionally, but with their proverbial fondness for music 
the Germans have in some places got gramophones in their 
trenches. 

On Monday, the 5th, there were three separate duels in 
the air between French and German aviators, one of which 
was visible from our trenches. Two of the struggles were, so 
far as could be seen, indecisive, but in the third the French 
airmen were victorious and brought down their opponents, 
both of whom were killed, by machine-gun fire. The observer 
was so burnt as to be unrecognisable. During the day some 
men of the Landwehr were taken prisoners by us. They were 
in very poor condition, and wept copiously when captured. 
One, on being asked what he was crying for, explained that, 
though they had been advised to surrender to the English, 
they believed that they would be shot. On that evening our 
airmen had an unusual amount of attention paid to them both 
by the German aviators and their artillery of every description. 
One of our infantry patrols discovered one hundred and fifty 
dead Germans in a wood one and a half miles to our front. 
We sent out a party to bury them, but it was fired upon and 
had to withdraw. 

On Tuesday, the 6th, the enemy's guns were active in the 
afternoon. It is believed that the bombardment was due to 
anger because two of our howitzer shells had detonated right 
in one of the enemy's trenches which was full of men. Three 
horses were killed by the German fire. Wednesday, the yth, 
was uneventful. On Thursday, the 8th, the shelling by the 
enemy of the locality of our front, which has so far been the 
scene of their greatest efforts, was again continuous. 

Opposite one or two points the Germans have attempted 
to gain ground by sapping, in some places with a view secretly 
40 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

to pushing forward machine-guns in advance of their trenches, 
so that they can suddenly sweep with cross fire the space 
between our line and theirs, and so take any advance of ours 
in flank. It is reported that at one point where the French 
were much annoyed by the fire of a German machine-gun 
which was otherwise inaccessible, they drove a mine gallery 
fifty metres long up to and under the emplacement, and blew 
up the gun. The men who drove the gallery belonged to a 
corps which is recruited in one of the coal-mining districts 
of France. The German machine-guns are mounted on low 
sledges and are inconspicuous and evidently easily moved. 

The fighting now consists mostly of shelling by. the- artillery 
of both sides, and in the front line of fire from machine-guns, 
as an occasional target offers. Our Maxims have been doing 
excellent work and have proved most efficient weapons for 
the sort of fighting in which we are now engaged. At times 
there are so many outbursts of their fire in different directions 
that it is possible for an expert to tell by comparison which 
guns have their springs properly adjusted and are well ' tuned 
up ' for the day. 

The amount of practice that our officers are now getting 
in the use of this weapon is proving most valuable in teaching 
them how to maintain it at concert pitch, as an instrument, 
and how to derive the best tactical results from its employ- 
ment. Against us the Germans are not now expending so 
much gun ammunition as they have been, but they continue 
to fire at insignificant targets. They have a habit of suddenly 
dropping heavy shells without warning in localities or villages 
far behind our front line, possibly on the chance of catching 
some of our troops in bivouac or billets. They also fire a few 
rounds at night. 

Artillery has up to now played so great a part in the war 
that a few general remarks descriptive of the methods of its 
employment by the enemy are justified. Their field artillery 
armament consists of 15 pr. Q.F. guns for the horse and field 
batteries of divisions, and there are, in addition, with each 
corps three to six batteries of 4.3 in. field howitzers and about 
two batteries of 5.9 in. howitzers. With an army there are 
some 8.2 in. heavy howitzers. 

The accuracy of their fire is apt at first to cause some 
alarm, more especially as the guns are usually well concealed 

41 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

and the position and the direction from which the fire is 
proceeding difficult of detection. But, accurate as is their 
shooting, the German gunners have on the whole had little 
luck, and during the past three weeks an astonishingly small 
proportion of the number of shells fired by them have been 
really effective. Quite the most striking feature of their 
handling of artillery is the speed with which they concentrate 
fire upon any selected point. They dispense to a great extent 
with the method of ranging known by us as ' bracketing/ 
especially when acting on the defensive, and direct fire by 
means of squared maps and telephone. Thus, when a target 
is found, its position on the map is telephoned to such batteries 
as it is desired to employ against that particular square. 

In addition to the guns employed to fire on targets as they 
are picked up, others are told off to watch particular roads 
and to deal with any of the enemy using them. Both for the 
location of targets and the communication of the effect of fire, 
reliance is placed on observation from aeroplanes and balloons, 
and on information supplied by special observers and secret 
agents who are sent out ahead or left behind in the enemy's 
lines to communicate by telephone or signal. These observers 
have been found in haystacks, barns, and other buildings 
well in advance of the German lines. 

Balloons of the so-called ' Sausage ' pattern remain up 
in the air for long periods for the purpose of discovering 
targets ; and until our aviators made their influence felt by 
chasing all hostile aeroplanes on sight, the latter were con- 
tinually hovering over our troops in order to ' register ' their 
positions and to note where headquarters, reserves, gun teams, 
etc., were located. If a suitable target is discovered, the air- 
man drops a smoke ball directly over it or lets fall some strips 
of tinsel which glitter in the sun as they a slowly descend to 
earth. 

The range to the target is apparently ascertained by those 
near the guns by means of a large telemeter, or other range- 
finder, which is kept trained on the aeroplane, so that when 
the signal is made the distance to the target vertically below 
is at once obtained. A few rounds are then fired and the 
result -signalled back by the aviator according to some pre- 
arranged code. 

42 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

October 9 

In spite of the perfection of their arrangements for ranging 
and observation, there has been much waste of ammunition 
by the Germans. 

For instance, within an area of two acres on our side of 
the Aisne there are over one hundred craters made by their 
heavy high-explosive shell. This shower of projectiles, which 
must have cost some 1000, did absolutely no damage, for the 
locality never happened to be occupied whilst it was being 
bombarded. It also incidentally illustrates one weak point 
of indirect fire when unaccompanied by observation. Another 
example of prodigality in ammunition is the continued shell- 
ing of Reims. This is still carried on at intervals, and on the 
6th resulted in the deaths of an entire family of eight people. 
On the. 7th twelve of the inhabitants were hit. 

On the other hand, concealment of their own guns as of 
all their troops has been most carefully practised by the 
Germans ; and they construct alternative emplacements so 
that when one position is made too hot another can be taken 
up without loss of time. 

Ever since the South African war the desirability of render- 
ing troops as invisible as possible has been generally recognised 
in all armies, and this war has thrown much light on the 
matter. It appears that at long ranges the uniform matters 
little ; the blue coat and red trousers of the French infantry 
and cavalry not being any more conspicuous than the clothes 
of our own men or of the Germans. But at medium ranges the 
red trousers of our allies show up very clearly. When infantry 
are lying down, however, their kepis are not so easily seen as 
our own flat-topped forage caps. From the interrogation of 
prisoners it has been ascertained that at medium ranges both 
French and British officers are very easily distinguishable 
from their men, and that selected marksmen provided with 
field-glasses are specially told off from each platoon of German 
infantry to pick off officers. The French officer is betrayed 
by the greater visible length of his red trousers and by his 
accoutrements, while the British officer is ' given away ' by 
his sword, his open jacket with low collar and tie, his Sam 
Browne belt, and the absence of a pack. Even such trifling 
differences as the colour or cut of the breeches are said to be 

43 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

noticeable. The Germans certainly do employ snipers, and 
some have been found on church towers, up trees, and in 
houses. One of them succeeded in killing two of our officers 
and wounding two more before he was accounted for. 

Some of our prisoners report that their officers have been 
ordered to remove their distinguishing shoulder straps. But 
this may be in order not to convey information to the enemy 
as to the units to which they belong. At any rate, to judge 
from the officers already captured, the order has not been 
carried out generally. 

The following notification to his troops by one of the 
French Army Commanders bears upon German methods of 
warfare : ' The Germans have forced some prisoners of war 
to remain in their trenches. When the French advanced, 
under the impression that the trenches were in possession of 
their own side, they were fired on at close range/ 

That this has actually been done is fully confirmed, with 
illuminating details as to the German methods of war in the 
twentieth century, by an entry in a captured field note-book. 
It runs thus : 

1 i6th September. At dawn the shelling began. We 
retired with the prisoners. My two prisoners work hard at 
digging trenches. At midday I got the order to rejoin at the 
village with them. I was very glad, as I had been ordered 
to shoot them as soon as the enemy advanced. Thank God 
it was not necessary/ 

On the other hand, an example is given of an order which 
prescribes only legal and suitable precautions except as 
regards the shooting of hostages for self-protection in an 
enemy country. It was issued some time ago. 

' AIX-LA-CHAPELLE, August 10, 1914. 

' To protect ourselves from the extremely hostile attitude 
of the Belgian population it is necessary to take very vigorous 
and energetic measures against non-combatants who take 
part in the struggle. For this purpose no firearms or ex- 
plosives must be retained by them. 

' It is therefore ordered that before a locality is occupied 
a detachment of all arms will march in ahead of the columns 
and warn the population through the mayor and local clergy 
to deliver up all arms, ammunition, and explosives. 
44 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

' After they have handed over their arms the inhabitants 
will be collected outside the locality, and the houses and 
gardens will be searched. If any arms are found, hostages 
will be executed and the place set on fire. 

' When the inhabitants are summoned to surrender their 
arms, they will be informed of the penalties to which they 
expose themselves by non-compliance. 

' The arms will be destroyed and the explosives thrown 
into water. 

' (Signed) VON QUASI, 

' Commanding IX. A.C.' 

Another German order of the 2nd Army is quoted 
because it is possibly significant of the present state of 
Germany's military resources : 

' The Minister of War wishes to impress upon all the 
necessity for searching the field of battle with the greatest 
care for all warlike material belonging to our own Army, such 
as Field-glasses, water-bottles, haversacks, rifles, cartridges, 
also limbers and supply wagons, which can be used again for 
new formations. In addition to this, units must take care to 
pick up unexpended ammunition and empty cartridge cases/ 

The lull in the operations on our immediate front pending 
a general advance affords an opportunity (to-day, October 9, 
1914) for giving some further description of the country in 
which we are operating, and of the valley of the Aisne in 
particular. 

The different rivers which cut across the line of advance 
in the direction of Laon have already been enumerated. Any 
northward move from the Marne traverses the Department 
of the Aisne, which is one of several departments included in 
the district of Champagne. To our right rear lies the southern 
half of the district called La Champagne Pouilleuse, which 
owing to the nature of its soil is the most famous wine district 
of France, indeed of the world, where the lower slopes of the 
undulating country are covered with vineyards for miles. We 
are, however, more concerned with the area immediately 
ahead of us, which is the higher portion of two plateaux which 
are connected by the line of slopes known as La Falaise de la 
Champagne, forming the original French defensive position 
running from La Fere through Laon to Reims. This area 

45 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

consists of a fairly open plateau, intersected by the depres- 
sions down which run the watercourses of the westward flow- 
ing rivers. Between the Marne and Laon, though there are 
a few vineyards, the country is not wine-growing to the same 
degree as is that south of Reims and round Epernay. On 
the slopes of the Aisne valley itself, the vineyards are few 
and far between, and only to be found in favoured spots. 

The Aisne flows right across our front, following a tortuous 
course along the bottom of the valley some hundred metres 
below the edge of the plateau on either bank. It is a placid 
stream between 150 and 200 feet in width, and unfordable. 
The bottom of the valley down which it meanders consists of 
practically flat meadowland intersected by the various roads 
leading north and south over the bridges which span the river. 
These roads are for the most part lined with poplars or fruit 
trees, whose military significance lies in the fact that they 
screen the movement of troops along the roads, though, on 
the other hand, they make the position of the latter con- 
spicuous from afar. 

There are several villages either actually on the banks 
of the river or nestling on the slopes of the valley. The chief 

Elace along the British front is Soissons, a town lying on the 
ift bank at a pronounced bend northwards. The villages on 
the river itself are of considerable tactical importance, since 
most of the bridges are close to them. They have therefore 
been the targets of the German artillery, and some are now no 
more than masses of ruins. Several of the hamlets at some 
distance from the Aisne and on its left bank have formed the 
objects of similar attentions from the enemy's guns probably 
because they might serve as points of concentration for our 
troops as have also the greater number of the roads winding 
down the hillsides facing north and leading across the meadows, 
which afford the only channels of approach to our troops on 
the north side. In regard to the villages, one point which 
strikes a fresh eye is their compactness, for in most of them 
the houses are clustered together in one mass, outlying houses 
being rare. When on a hillside, they line the road, sometimes 
almost entirely on one side. There are also, of course, outlying 
chateaux and farms which are quite isolated. 

The other main topographical features of the valley are 
two railways and a canal. At the village of Vailly, the light 
46 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

railway which to the east of that place skirts the foothills on 
the south side crosses over to the right bank and continues 
westward to Soissons. The double line joining Compiegne 
on the west with Reims on the east follows the lower hills on 
the south side from Soissons to Sermoise, and, at the latter 
point, turns south-east up the Vesle valley. From Conde, 
where it joins the Aisne, a canal runs parallel to the river on 
its left bank to Bourg, where it is joined from the north-east 
by a branch canal carried across the river on an aqueduct. 

Generally speaking, the slopes forming the north side of 
the valley are steeper than those of the south, but in other 
respects the two sides are very similar. Both are equally cut 
up into spurs and subsidiary valleys, the chief of the latter on 
the south being formed by the watercourse of the Vesle, which 
extends south-eastwards through Braisne. Both on the north 
and south the slopes leading down to the Aisne are thickly 
wooded in patches, the woods in some places stretching away 
back over the edge of the plateau for some distance. On 
account of the existence of these woods on the edges of the 
slopes on our bank of the river, it is at many points only 
possible to obtain glimpses of short stretches of the opposite 
slopes, while the woods on that side screen large portions of 
the top of the plateau on the north. 

Owing to the concealment afforded to the Germans' fire 
trenches and gun emplacements by the woods, and to the fact 
that nearly all the bridges and roads leading to them as well 
as a great part of the southern slopes are open to their fire, the 
position held by them is a very strong one. Except for these 
patches of wood, the terrain generally is not enclosed. No 
boundaries between the fields exist as in England. There are 
ditches here and there, but no hedges, wire fences, or walls, 
except round the enclosures in the villages. A large propor- 
tion of the woods, however, are enclosed by high rabbit-netting, 
which is in some places supported by iron stanchions. The 
top of the plateau on the south of the river to some extent 
resembles Salisbury Plain, except that the latter is downland, 
while the former is cultivated, being sown with lucerne, wheat, 
and beetroot. The Aisne valley is broader and deeper than 
any of those to be found on Salisbury Plain, and much more 
heavily wooded. 

A feature of this part of the country, and one which is not 

47 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

confined to the neighbourhood of the Aisne, is the large number 
of caves, both natural and artificial, and of quarries. These 
are of great service to the forces on both sides, since they can 
often be used as sheltered accommodation for the troops in 
the second line. Other points worthy of note are the excel- 
lence of the metalled roads, though the metalled portion is 
very narrow, and the comparative ease with which one can 
find one's way about, even without a map. This is due partly 
to the prevailing straightness of the roads, and partly to the 
absence of hedges. There are signposts at all cross-roads, 
whilst the name of each village is posted in a conspicuous place 
at the entry and exit of the main highway passing through it. 
In addition to the absence of hedges, the tall white ferro- 
concrete telegraph-posts lining many of the main roads give 
a somewhat strange note to the landscape. 

October 9-12 

From Friday, October 9, until Monday, the I2th, so little 
has occurred that the narrative of events can be given in a 
few words. There has been the usual sporadic shelling of our 
trenches, which has resulted in but little harm, so well dug in 
are our men ; and on the night of the loth the Germans made 
yet a fresh assault, supported by artillery fire, against the point 
which has all along attracted most of their attention. The 
attempt was again a costly failure, towards which our guns 
were able to contribute with great effect. 

Details have now been received of an exciting encounter 
in mid-air. One of our aviators, on a fast scouting mono- 
plane, sighted a hostile machine. He had two rifles fixed, 
one on either side of his engine, and at once gave chase, but 
lost sight of his opponent amongst some clouds. Soon, how- 
ever, another machine hove into view, which turned out to be 
a German Otto biplane, a type of machine which is not nearly 
so fast as our scouts. Our officer once again started in pur- 
suit. He knew that, owing to the position of the propeller 
on the hostile machine, he could not be fired at when astern of 
his opponent. At sixty yards' range he fired one rifle without 
apparent result ; then, as his pace was carrying him ahead of 
his quarry, he turned round and, again coming to about the 
same distance behind, emptied his magazine at the German. 
48 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

The latter began at once to descend as if either he or his 
machine were hit. 

Shutting off his engine and volplaning to free his hands, 
the pursuer re-charged his magazine. Unfortunately it 
jammed, but he managed to insert four cartridges and to fire 
them at his descending opponent, who disappeared into a 
bank of cloud with dramatic suddenness. When the British 
officer emerged below the clouds he could see no sign of the 
other. He therefore climbed up to an altitude of some 
7000 feet, and came to the conclusion that the German must 
have come to earth in the French lines. 

French airmen, too, have been very successful during the 
last three days, having dropped several bombs amongst some 
German cavalry and caused considerable loss and disorder, 
and having by similar means silenced a battery of field 
howitzers. 

The German anti-aircraft guns have recently been un- 
usually active. From their rate of fire they seem to be nearly 
automatic, but so far they have not had much effect in 
reducing the air reconnaissances carried out by us. 

The general account of the position of the Aisne already 
given is incomplete without some description of the line 
actually held by our troops, though it must be at once obvious 
that the information on that subject which it is possible to 
publish is strictly limited. It is treading on less dangerous 
ground to depict the life led by our soldiers in the trenches. 
A striking feature of our line to use the conventional term 
which so seldom expresses accurately the position taken up 
by an army is that it consists really of a series of trenches 
not all placed alongside each other, but some more advanced 
than others and many facing in different directions. At one 
place they run east and west, along one side of a valley ; at 
another almost north and south, up some subsidiary valley ; 
here they line the edge of a wood and there they are on the 
reverse slope of a hill or possibly along a sunken road. And 
at different points both the German and British trenches jut 
out like promontories into what might be regarded as the 
opponent's territory. 

Though both sides have moved forward at certain points 
and withdrawn at others, no very important change has been 
effected in their dispositions, in spite of the enemy's repealed 

MILITARY 2 D 49 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

counter-attacks. These have been directed principally against 
one portion of the position won by us. But, in spite of lavish 
expenditure of life, they have not so far succeeded in driving 
us back. 

The situation of the works in the German front line as a 
whole has been a matter of deliberate selection, for they have 
had the advantage of previous reconnaissance, being first in 
the field. Behind the front they now have several lines pre- 
pared for a step-by-step defence. 

Another point which might cause astonishment to the 
visitor to our entrenchments is the evident indifference dis- 
played to the provision of an extended field of frontal rifle 
fire which is generally accepted as being one of the great 
requirements of a defensive position. It is still desirable if 
it can be obtained without the usually accompanying draw- 
back of exposure to the direct fire of the hostile artillery. 
But experience has shown that a short field of fire is sufficient 
to beat back the infantry assaults of the enemy ; and by giving 
up direct fire at long or medium ranges and placing our 
trenches on the reverse slope of a hill or behind the crest, it 
is in many places possible to gain shelter from the frontal 
fire of the German guns. For men well trained in musketry 
and under good fire-control, dead ground beyond short range 
from their position has comparatively small terrors. 

Many of the front trenches of the Germans equally lack 
a distant field of fire, but if lost they would be rendered 
untenable by us by the fact that they are exposed to fire from 
the German guns in rear and to a cross rifle fire from neigh- 
bouring works. The extent to which cross fire of all kinds 
is employed is also remarkable. Many localities and areas 
along the Aisne are not swept from the works directly in front 
of them, but are rendered untenable by rifle fire from neigh- 
bouring features or that of guns out of sight. So much is 
this the case, that amongst these hills and valleys it is a difficult 
matter for troops to find out whence they are being shot at. 
There is a perpetual triangular duel. A's infantry can see 
nothing to shoot at, but are under fire from B's guns. The 
action of B's guns then brings upon them the attention of 
some of A's artillery waiting for a target, the latter being in 
their turn assailed by other batteries ; and so it goes on. 
In wooded country, in spite of aeroplanes and balloons, smoke- 
50 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

less powder has made the localisation and identification of 
targets a matter of supreme difficulty. 

Our men have made themselves fairly comfortable in the 
trenches, in the numerous quarries cut out of the hillsides, 
and in the picturesque villages whose steep streets and red- 
tiled roofs climb the slopes and peep out amid the green and 
russet of the woods. In the firing line the men sleep and 
obtain shelter in the dug-outs they have hollowed or ' under- 
cut ' in the sides of the trenches. These refuges are slightly 
raised above the bottom of the trench so as to remain dry in 
wet weather. The floor of the trench is also sloped for pur- 
poses of drainage. Some trenches are provided with head- 
cover, and others with overhead cover, the latter, of course, 
giving protection from the weather as well as from shrapnel 
balls and splinters of shell. 

Considerable ingenuity has been exercised in naming the 
shelters. Amongst other favourites are ' The Hotel Cecil/ 
'The Ritz/ 'Hotel Billet-doux/ 'Hotel Rue Dormir/ etc. 
On the road barricades, also, are to be found boards bearing 
the notice ' This Way to the Prussians/ Obstacles of every 
kind abound, and at night each side can hear the enemy driv- 
ing in pickets for entanglements, digging trous-de-loup, or 
working forward by sapping. In some places the obstacles 
constructed by both sides are so close together that some wag 
has suggested that each should provide working parties to 
perform this fatiguing duty alternately, since their work is 
now almost indistinguishable and serves the same purpose. 

The quarries and caves to which allusion has already 
been made provide ample accommodation for whole bat- 
talions, and most comfortable are the shelters which have 
been constructed in them. The northern slopes of the Aisne 
valley are fortunately very steep, and this to a great extent 
protects us from the enemy's shells, many of which pass harm- 
lessly over our heads, to burst in the meadows below along the 
river bank. At all points subject to shell fire access to the 
firing line from behind is provided by communication trenches. 
These are now so good that it is possible to cross in safety the 
fire-swept zone to the advanced trenches from the billets in 
villages, the bivouacs in quarries, or the other places where 
the headquarters of units happen to be. 

To those at home the life led by our men and by the in- 






DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

habitants in this zone would seem strange indeed. All day, 
and often at night as well, the boom of the guns and the scream 
of the shells overhead continue. At times, especially in the 
middle of the day and after dark, the bombardment slackens ; 
at others it swells into an incessant roar in which the reports 
of the different types of gun are merged into one great volume 
of sound. Now, there are short, fierce bursts, as a dozen 
heavy howitzer shells fall into a ploughed field, sending up 
clouds of black smoke and great clods of earth, or the white 
smoke-puffs of shrapnel suddenly open out and hang in clusters 
over a bridge, trench, or road. Then, perhaps, there is a 
period of quiescence, soon to be broken by a smaller howitzer 
shell which comes into a village and throws up a shower of 
dust, tiles, and stones. 

And through this pandemonium the inhabitants go about 
their business as if they had lived within the sound of guns 
all their lives. A shell bursts in one street. In the next 
not a soul pays any attention or thinks of turning the corner 
to see what damage has been done. Those going to the 
trenches are warned to hurry across some point which the 
enemy have been shelling, and which has already proved a 
death-trap for others. After running across it some morti- 
fication may be felt at the sight of an old woman pulling turnips 
in the very line of fire. Along certain stretches of road 
which are obviously ' unhealthy/ the children continue to 
play in the gutter, or the old folks pass slowly trundling wheel- 
barrows. It may be fatalism, for not all these people can be 
deaf, nor can all be so stupid as not to realise how close they 
are to death. 

It has already been mentioned that, according to infor- 
mation obtained from the enemy, fifteen Germans were killed 
by a bomb dropped upon an ammunition wagon of a cavalry 
column. It was thought at the time that this might have 
been the work of one of our airmen, who reported that he had 
dropped a hand-grenade on a convoy, and had then got a 
bird's-eye view of the finest firework display that he had 
ever seen. 

From the corroborative evidence of locality it now appears 
that this was the case, and that the grenade thrown by him 
must probably have been the cause of the destruction of a 
small convoy carrying field-gun and howitzer ammunition, 
52 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

which has now been found, a total wreck, on a road passing 
through the Foret de Retz, north-east of Villers-Cotterets. 
Along the road lie fourteen motor lorries, which are no more 
than skeletons of twisted iron, bolts, and odd fragments. 
Everything inflammable on the wagons has been burnt, as 
have the stripped trees some with trunks split on either side 
of the road. Of the drivers nothing now remains except some 
tattered boots and charred scraps of clothing, while the ground 
within a radius of fifty yards of the wagons is littered with 
pieces of iron, the split brass cases of cartridges which have 
exploded, and some fixed gun ammunition with live shell 
which has not done so. 

It is possible to reconstruct the incident, if it was, in fact, 
brought about as supposed. 

The grenade must have detonated on the leading lorry on 
one side of the road and caused the cartridges carried by it 
to explode. The three vehicles immediately in rear must then 
have been set on fire, with a similar result. Behind these are 
groups of four and two vehicles, so jammed together as to 
suggest that they must have collided in a desperate attempt 
to stop. On the other side of the road, almost level with the 
leading wagon, are four more, which were probably fired by the 
explosion of the first. If this appalling destruction was due 
to one hand-grenade, and there is a considerable amount of 
presumptive evidence to show that this was the case, it is an 
illustration of the potentialities of a small amount of high 
explosive detonated in the right spot, whilst the nature of the 
place where it occurred a narrow forest road between high 
trees is a testimony to the skill of the airman. 

It is only fair to add that some of the French newspapers 
claim that this damage to the enemy was caused by the action 
of some of their Dragoons. 

October 13-16 

The time has come when some light can be thrown on 
a change in the strategic part in the operations which is being 
played by the British forces, this change being in the direction 
of the application of pressure. 

Since the fighting on the Marne, the gradual and progres- 
sive extension northwards on the Allies' line has been one 

53 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

of the features of the campaign in France, and it has up till 
recently been carried out by the French alone. But now, 
thanks to the arrival of reinforcements, we have been enabled 
to take a hand in this prolongation, and to utilise a portion 
of our forces in acting much farther to the north than hereto- 
fore. 

During the past few days British troops have been engaged 
along the Franco-Belgian border, as well as along the Aisne, 
and in the former sphere the Allied forces extend southwards 
from Nieuport on the coast. In both theatres the results 
attained, without being in any way decisive, have been 
entirely satisfactory and in furtherance of the general scheme 
which the Allied Armies are carrying out in co-operation. 
In the southern of the two spheres in which we have been 
engaged on the Aisne our right wing has been maintaining 
its pressure without actually moving forward, whilst in the 
northern sphere our left wing has advanced a considerable 
distance in the face of some opposition. 

The narrative of tactical events will be continued up to the 
i6th. On the Aisne, since the repulse inflicted on the enemy 
on the night of the loth-nth, which has already been recorded, 
there has been no serious fighting, and less artillery action 
than usual, for misty and occasionally rainy weather has 
rendered observation almost impossible and militated against 
the employment of guns. On the night of the I3th-I4th the 
enemy began an attack which was not pushed through and 
may be regarded as a demonstration. Our patrols have been 
active with the bayonet at night and have accounted for 
numerous small parties of German infantry left to occupy 
their front trenches. But the positions of the opposing forces 
have remained practically unchanged. 

In the north of France the fighting has so far been of a 
preparatory nature alone. As stated, ground has been gained 
by us, but misty weather has hampered aerial reconnaissance 
and has at times rendered artillery co-operation almost im- 
possible. These factors, taken together with the nature of the 
terrain, have rendered progress somewhat slow. Before the 
actual course of events in this quarter is recounted it will 
assist to an understanding of what our troops are doing if 
the country in which they are operating is described. 

The region bordering on the seaward portion of the western 
54 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

frontier of Belgium is quite unlike the region of plateaux and 
broad river valleys east of Paris. It is mainly an industrial 
region, and, with its combination of mining and agriculture, 
might be compared to our Black Country, with Fen lands 
interspersed between the coal-mines and factories. In some 
directions the villages are so close together that this district 
has been described as one immense town, of which the various 
parts are in some places separated by cultivation and in others 
by groups of factories bristling with chimneys. The cultivated 
portions are very much enclosed, and are cut up by high, un- 
kempt hedges and by ditches. The homelike note given to 
the landscape by the hedges is accentuated in places by the 
hopfields in which the poles have been left standing. 

Next to the coast is the Wattergands, a reclaimed marshy 
tract drained by innumerable canals and dykes. The whole 
district is gently undulating or quite flat, except for a hill 
about 500 feet high, called Mont des Cats, situated some eight 
miles north-east of Hazebrouck, from which radiate spurs 
like fingers from the palm of the hand, and is the eminence 
upon which stands the town of Cassel. From anywhere save 
these two elevated points view is much restricted by the hedges 
and frequent belts of trees. The communications are bad. 
The main roads, though straight, have a narrow strip of 
inferior pave in the centre, while the by-roads are very winding. 

It is in blind country of this nature that our advanced 
guards near the Belgian frontier are engaging the advanced 
troops of the enemy. The latter consist in some places of 
cavalry supported by Jager and Schiitzen detachments with 
large numbers of machine-guns, and in others of larger bodies 
of infantry. As was the case in our advance up to the Aisne, 
the enemy are making every effort to delay our progress, no 
doubt to give time for the stronger forces behind to perfect 
their arrangements. In general they take every advantage 
that is to be obtained from the ground and conceal themselves 
well, making use of ditches, hedges, and villages. They hold 
the buildings, many of which are placed in a state of defence, 
and in addition occupy narrow trenches with inconspicuous 
parapets outside the villages. The machine-guns are often 
placed in the centre of rooms, whence they can command an 
approach through a window. 

So far in our advance we have inflicted considerable loss 

55 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

on these detachments, in spite of the fact that they retreat 
under cover of darkness whenever possible. But their resist- 
ance is by no means passive, and they have made several 
determined counter-attacks in order to free themselves and 
throw us back. Many of the prisoners taken show the greatest 
surprise at being opposed by the British in this quarter. 

To the north of the Lys, although for the reasons already 
given adequate reconnaissance ahead has been practically 
impossible, and in spite of the fact that the Germans held a 
strong position on the high ridge between Godewaersvelde 
and Bailleul, one of our cavalry forces would not be denied, 
and, supported by infantry, has driven the enemy back 
steadily. Some hard fighting has taken place in this direc- 
tion, especially in the neighbourhood of Mont des Cats, where 
Prince Max of Hesse was mortally wounded on the I2th. 
He is buried in the grounds of the monastery which crowns 
the hill, together with three British officers and some German 
soldiers. 

On the I3th a brilliant little exploit was performed by one 
of our cavalry patrols. Coming suddenly upon a German 
machine-gun detachment, the subaltern in command at once 
gave the order to charge, with the result that some of the 
Germans were killed, the rest scattered, and the gun captured 
and carried off. 

On the right, to the south of the Lys, progress has been 
slower, partly because the terrain affords greater facilities 
to the force acting on the defensive, partly because the enemy 
has had more time for preparation and is in greater strength. 
The numerous dykes in this low-lying part are so broad and 
deep as to necessitate the transport of planks and ladders by 
which to cross them. It is in this quarter that the most 
obstinate combats for the possession of villages have so far 
taken place, and that the enclosed country has rendered the 
co-operation of the artillery most difficult, except where the 
villages attacked contain a church or other landmark standing 
above the trees, by which the guns can get their range. 
Though the employment of our field artillery in battering 
down defended villages is thus hampered, another and very 
efficacious method of arriving at the same result has been 
evolved and is proving most effective. 

Parts of the region where fighting has been in progress 
56 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

now present a melancholy aspect. Many of the once prosper- 
ous homesteads and hamlets are literally torn to pieces, the 
walls still standing pitted by shrapnel balls, and in some of 
the villages the churches are smouldering ruins. Dead horses, 
cows, and pigs which have been caught in the hail of shrapnel 
litter the village streets, and among the carcasses and debris 
wander the wretched inhabitants, who have returned to see 
what they can save from the wreckage. Here, blocking up 
a narrow side street, is a dead horse still harnessed to a trap, 
and beside it is stretched the corpse of a Jager ; close by, in 
an enclosure where a shell has found them, lie some thirty 
cavalry horses ; a little farther on is laid out a row of German 
dead, for whom graves are being dug by the peasants. 

The work of burial falls to a great extent on the inhabitants, 
who, with our soldiers, take no little care in marking the last 
resting-places of their countrymen and their Allies, either by 
little wooden crosses or else by flowers. Amidst the graves 
scattered all over the country-side are the rifle pits, trenches, 
and gun emplacements, which those now resting below the 
sod helped to defend or to attack. From these the progress 
of the fighting can be traced, and even its nature, for they 
vary from carefully constructed and cunningly placed works 
to the hastily shaped lair of a German sniper, or the roadside 
ditch, with its sides scooped out by the entrenching imple- 
ments of our infantry. 

October 12-14 

Notwithstanding the trying nature of the fighting in this 
quarter, and the wet weather, the troops are very fit, and the 
fact that we are steadily advancing and that the enemy is 
giving way before us has proved a most welcome and inspiring 
change for those who have been experiencing some weeks of 
monotony in trenches, where they had to endure continuous 
losses without the satisfaction of knowing for certain what 
losses were being inflicted upon the enemy except when he 
attacked. This is not the only advantage we possess over the 
Germans, for we still hear from prisoners that their advanced 
troops, at any rate, are short of food and exhausted by con- 
tinual outpost work. We can afford to give our troops more 
rest, and there is no lack of good food. 

Many of the troops opposed to us at present have only 

57 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

two months' service, and some of our prisoners state that these 
men will not expose themselves in the trenches. Nevertheless, 
the enemy in front are fighting well and skilfully, and are 
showing considerable powers of endurance. They generally 
contrive to remove the wounded and often to bury their killed 
before they retire, their escape being facilitated by the numerous 
deep ditches. 

Many of their cavalry patrols are wearing Belgian uniforms, 
a practice which is not excusable on the grounds of any lack 
of their own. 

The inhabitants of one small town which has now been 
occupied by us state that a large force of German cavalry 
was recently billeted in the place, but that it retired hurriedly 
on the night of the I3th-i4th, having some six hundred 
wounded, of which sixty-eight serious cases were left behind. 
The truth of the last part of the statement has been confirmed, 
for our troops found that number of men in a building over 
which an immense Red Cross flag was flying. As the British 
approached the town, smoke signals were being made from 
a tall chimney close to the building flying the flag. The 
Germans, consisting largely of Bavarian cavalry, who occupied 
this town for eight days, did not burn down the place, but they 
otherwise behaved in a way which merits the worst that has 
ever been said of them. 

In spite of the adverse weather the aviators of both sides 
have not been idle in the northern theatre of operations. 
To begin with, on Monday, the I2th, a German airman flew 
over St. Omer and dropped five bombs on to it, apparently 
under the impression that the place was occupied by us. As 
a result two women and a little girl were killed. On Wednes- 
day a hostile aeroplane was brought down by rifle and machine- 
gun fire, and both observer and pilot were captured. The 
pilot was decorated with the Iron Cross, which, according to 
his own account, had been awarded to him as being the first 
German to drop a bomb on to Antwerp. On the I5th three 
of our aeroplanes gave chase to a German machine. Un- 
luckily, the one machine of ours which was faster than the 
enemy's met with some slight accident, and had to give up 
the chase. 

A German airman recently made an unsuccessful attempt 
by means of four incendiary bombs to explode a French 
58 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

captive observation-balloon. The missiles fell simultaneously 
on the circumference of a circle of about fifty yards diameter, 
and as they struck the ground emitted vivid red flames, fol- 
lowed by columns of dark smoke about sixty feet high. At 
the point where each fell was found a large mass resembling 
dark pumice-stone, and the stubble was burnt in patches of 
about a yard in diameter. 

An incident which occurred during the I3th shows the 
resource and bravery of some of our enemy's scouts. The 
German artillery was retiring, and from time to time coming 
into action. An officer of one of our flank cavalry patrols 
had been standing for some minutes under a tree, when he 
noticed a fine wire hanging down close to the trunk. 

Following the wire upwards with his eye, he was astonished 
to see one of the enemy in the tree. As he drew his revolver 
and fired the German dropped on to his head, also firing. 
The British officer was stunned, and when he came to it was 
to find himself alone, the peak of his cap blown away, and 
his uniform covered with blood, which was not his own. 

As the campaign goes on the tendency of the Germans 
to rely on the splendid war material with which they have 
been so amply provided, rather than on the employment of 
masses of men, has become more and more marked. There 
are now indications, however, that their supply of material 
is not inexhaustible. The significant circular of the Prussian 
Minister of War enjoining the careful search of battlefields 
for equipment, and even the collection of empty cartridge 
cases, has been quoted in a previous letter. This circular 
seems to have been prompted more by necessity than by 
habits of economy, for in the recent fighting both gun and 
rifle ammunition of old patterns have been found in the 
trenches evacuated by the enemy, on the dead, and on 
prisoners. 

Amongst the latter are Mauser cartridges similar to those 
used by the Boers in the South African War. 

The following is a translation of a leaflet that German 
aviators have been dropping over the French lines : 

FRENCH SOLDIERS! 

The Germans are only making war against the French Government, 
which is sacrificing you and your country to the egotism of the English. 

59 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

Your commerce, your industry, and your agriculture will be ruined by 
this war, whilst the English alone will derive enormous profit from it. 

You are pulling the chestnuts out of the fire for the English. 

The news spread by your Government that the Russians are near 
Berlin is false. On the contrary, the Russians have been beaten in 
two great battles. One hundred and fifty thousand Russians have 
been captured, and the rest have been driven in rout from German 
territory. 

FRENCH SOLDIERS, SURRENDER ! 

So that this war which is ruining your country may be ended as soon 
as possible. 

Rest assured that the prisoners and wounded are well treated by us. 

In order to let you know the truth, the following testimonial from 
Surgeon-Major Dr. Sauve, of the French Army (Rue Luxembourg, Paris) 
is given : 

I, the undersigned, declare that I have seen that in the German 
hospitals at Somme-Py and Aure the French wounded receive exactly 
the same treatment as the German. I may add that not only the 
French wounded but also their prisoners whom I saw were very well 
looked after. 

The terms of this summons to surrender cannot be said 
to be tactful ; and it has not had the desired effect. Apart 
from endeavours to influence the enemy, for others have pro- 
bably been made, news of a sort is disseminated amongst the 
German soldiers by means of a special military newspaper 
called The Patrol, which is published in Berlin. Its historical 
value may be gauged by the statement made in its issue for 
September 6 :- 

It may be confidently asserted that the resistance of the active 
army of the French has been overcome. Reserve troops and new 
formations will no doubt give our heroic forces plenty to do as they 
advance further. 

After some three weeks' further fighting, however, facts 
must have convinced the German troops that this assertion 
was not justified. In a captured letter, dated September 27, 
for instance, the following passage occurs : 

We are very anxious about the result of the fighting. We have 
nothing but reports of great successes, but don't now put much faith 
in them. To-day we got some papers of the ist to 5th September, and 
it is really painful to read the boastful announcements of the march on 
60 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

Paris, for we are no nearer to Paris now than we were then. I don't 
know whether you realise this, but there is no use in trying to hide it. 

Information recently received corroborates the impression 
already gained that the enemy's troops suffered severe priva- 
tions during August and September. From the many letters 
which bear this out some extracts are given : 

September 22. ... My best pals are killed or wounded. One com- 
pany has dwindled to two-thirds of its original strength. We want 
peace quickly. We have been driven to exhaustion, and have marched 
for entire weeks, even through the nights. We have not had bread 
every day, have not washed for a fortnight, nor shaved since the com- 
mencement of the war. But all this is nothing, and we shall soon be 
home, for it will all soon be over. We have just been under the enemy's 
artillery fire for eight days. 

We get no letters. We have passed thousands of full mail-bags on 
the road, but there are no officers to deal out the letters. 

After a thirty-six hours' march without halting we arrived just in 
time for the fight. For three days we did not have a hot meal because 
our field kitchens went astray. We had a hot meal yesterday evening. 
We are all ready to drop, but must march on. 

There is no doubt that the Germans have to a great extent 
recovered from the conditions implied by the above letters. 
But their forces are by no means what they were. 



October 12-20 

Before bringing the narrative of events in the northern 
area up to date, it will be as well to recapitulate on broad 
lines, with the addition of certain new matter now avail- 
able, the general course of operations up to the night of 
October 16. 

When the arrival of reinforcements enabled British troops 
to assist in the extension northwards of the Allies' line, the 
enemy in this area had advanced from the north-east and east 
and was holding a front extending from the high ground about 
Mont des Cats through Meteren to Estaires, on the river Lys, 
with advanced bodies of cavalry and other troops thrown out 
some distance in front. South of the Lys his line was con- 
tinued due south from Estaires through very intricate 
country for about three miles, when it turned slightly to 

61 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

the south-east, passing about three miles east of Bethune 
to Vermelles. 

The Allies encountered some resistance on the I2th from 
the enemy's advanced troops, and on the I3th there was 
fighting all along the line between our advanced guards and 
those of the Germans, who at some points made determined 
counter-attacks. As a result, however, of two minor engage- 
ments at Mont des Cats and Meteren on the I3th, the enemy's 
right fell back in considerable haste, making use of the 
darkness to evade pursuit. Bailleul, which had been 
occupied for eight days, was abandoned without a shot 
being fired. 

On the 1 4th the advance was continued by our left wing, 
the enemy being driven back so far that the rest of his line 
became endangered as we have since learnt from the cap- 
tured operation orders of the 6th Bavarian Cavalry Division. 
These state that, the right of the line having been forced 
to withdraw, the left was compelled to conform to the move- 
ment. The latter withdrawal left us by the night of the 
1 5th in possession of all the country on the left bank of the 
Lys to a point some five miles below Armentieres, and of all 
the bridges above Armentieres. On the i6th the enemy 
retired from that town after a few shells had been fired at 
the barricade on the Nieppe bridge, and the river line to 
within a short distance of Frelinghien fell into our hands. 
At Armentieres the enemy left behind fifty wounded, some 
rifles and ammunition, and a motor-car. 

The state in which the crossings of the Lys were found 
indicates that no organised scheme of defence of the river 
line had been executed, even if it had been intended. Thus, 
to take six adjacent points, at Warneton the bridge had been 
destroyed and was being repaired by the Germans. That 
at Frelinghien had not been demolished and was strongly 
defended. At Houplines the bridge was destroyed; but at 
Nieppe the important road bridge connecting with Armentieres 
and the railway bridge next to it were merely barricaded 
and not even prepared for demolition ; while, strange to say, 
the bridge at Erquinghem was neither defended nor broken. 

The river Lys, which plays a prominent part in the 
operations, here flows through a depression so broad and 
shallow as to be practically a plain. It is from 45 feet to 
62 



] DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

75 feet wide, but only 6 feet deep. The navigation of its 
natural course is much obstructed by sandbanks, and it has 
been canalised in some parts, its value as a military obstacle 
being thereby much increased. To permit the passage of 
barges, many of the bridges are of the draw or swing type 
and can be easily demolished, but the gaps are not large and 
can be bridged easily. 

To return to the narrative. Our right wing, south of the 
Lys, was, for the reasons already given, able to make little 
progress until the I5th. The resistance offered to its advance 
was of a most determined character, and the fighting resolved 
itself into a series of fiercely contested encounters. In the 
attack on some villages all the efforts of the infantry were un- 
availing until our howitzers had reduced the houses to ruins ; 
other villages would be taken and retaken three times before 
they were finally secured. On this front the French cavalry 
gave our infantry most welcome support, and by the night 
of the 1 6th resistance had been overcome, and the enemy had 
fallen back some five miles to the eastward. 

An incident of the fighting on this night is worth recording. 
An important crossing over the Lys at Warneton was strongly 
held by the Germans, who at the entrance to the town had 
constructed a high barricade loopholed at the bottom so that 
men could fire through it from a lying position. This formid- 
able obstacle was encountered by a squadron of our cavalry. 
Nothing daunted, they obtained help from the artillery, who 
man-handled a gun into position, and blew the barricade to 
pieces, scattering the defenders. 

They then advanced some three-quarters of a mile into the 
centre of the town, where they found themselves in a large 
place. They had hardly reached the farther end when one 
of the buildings suddenly appeared to leap skywards in a 
sheet of flame, a shower of star shells at the same time making 
the place as light as day, and enabling the enemy who were 
ensconced in the surrounding houses to pour in a devastating 
fire from rifles and machine-guns. Our cavalry managed to 
extricate themselves from this trap with a loss of only one 
officer the squadron leader wounded and nine men killed 
and wounded ; but, determining that none of their number 
should fall into the enemy's hands, a party of volunteers 
went back, and, taking off their boots in order to make 

63 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

no noise on the pavement, re-entered the inferno they had 
just left, and succeeded in carrying off their wounded 
comrades. 

During Saturday the I7th, Sunday the i8th, and Monday 
the igth, our right encountered strong opposition about La 
Bassee from the enemy, who was established behind embank- 
ments and spoil-heaps, and well provided with machine-guns. 
Advance was slow on account of the difficulty of recon- 
naissance. In the centre and on the left better progress was 
made, although the Germans were everywhere entrenched and 
still continued to hold some of the villages on the Lys in spite 
of bombardment. At the close of each of these days a night 
counter-stroke was delivered against one or other part of our 
line, but all were repulsed without difficulty. 

On Tuesday, the 2Oth, a determined but unsuccessful 
attack was made against practically the whole of our line. 
At one point, where one of our brigades made a counter-attack, 
noo German dead were found in a trench and 40 prisoners 
were taken. Among the prisoners captured this day by 
the Belgians was a hunchback, who expressed his gratitude 
and relief at being a prisoner. He had had no training before 
August igth last, and said that many men of his regiment were 
between seventeen and eighteen years of age. 

The following letter found on a German gives an inter- 
esting appreciation of the present situation from the enemy's 
point of view : 

PERENCHIES, NEAR LILLE, October 16, 1914. 

DEAR BROTHER, Taking the opportunity of a five hours' pause, 
which is the first chance of writing I have had, I hasten to inform 
you of my present position. On the 5th October came the order that 
the 1 9th Corps should leave the 3rd Army and form part of the 
ist Army under General Kluck. The march from St. Hillegras to 
Lille, 180 kilometres (108 miles) in five days was very exhausting. In 
Lille hostile infantry was reported, and we were engaged in street and 
house fighting on the I3th and I4th, and it was only by the I9th Heavy 
Artillery that the town was compelled to surrender. Lille has already 
been taken by us three times, and if troops or supply columns are 
attacked again the place will be razed to the ground. The shell fire, 
although it only lasted an hour, has cost the town at least a hundred 
buildings. Here, also, in Lille the 77th Field Artillery has many of 
our comrades on its conscience. 

Of prisoners we have absolutely none at present, since the wretches 
64 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

put on civilian clothes, and then one can look in vain for soldiers. We 
lie five miles from Lille, and are to hold up the English who have landed. 
This will be no light task, since we are not fully informed as to their 
strength. It gives one the impression that the war will last a long 
time. Well, I shall hold out even if it goes on for another year. In 
front of us we can hear heavy guns, so we may easily have more fight- 
ing to-day. We have had no post for fourteen days, for the country 
here is very unsafe. 

Although the enemy as a rule contrives to remove his 
wounded, there have been signs in many of the villages of a 
hurried retirement. In one a great quantity of lances and 
ammunition was abandoned, in another so hasty was the 
retreat that the staff left behind their dinner, operation orders, 
and a number of photographs of the campaign, which they 
were evidently examining when they were alarmed. 

The advance has been much hindered not only by the 
weather and by the nature of the country, but by the im- 
possibility of forecasting the reception that our advanced 
troops are likely to meet with on approaching a village or 
town. One place may be hastily evacuated as untenable, 
while another in the same general line may continue to resist 
all efforts for a considerable time. The feelings of our cyclists 
may be imagined when on cautiously approaching a town, 
suspecting an ambush at every turn, they are met by a throng 
of citizens of both sexes who kiss them effusively. Un- 
fortunately this experience is rather the exception than the 
rule. At the next village the roads will in all probability have 
trenches cut in them and be blocked by barricades defended 
by machine-guns. Another, perhaps, can only be taken after 
an action of all arms. 

Under such circumstances an incautious advance is 
severely punished, and it is impossible for large bodies of 
troops to push on until the front has been thoroughly recon- 
noitred. This work requires the highest qualities from the 
cavalry, cyclists, and advanced guards, for it cannot be carried 
out merely by obtaining a view of the enemy, which is often 
impossible, but must be effected by drawing his fire and com- 
pelling him to disclose his dispositions. 

Among other incidents of the fighting which serve to 
illustrate the resource and initiative of our rank and file may 
be mentioned the following : 

MILITARY 2 E 65 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

On the I5th an infantry patrol which was digging an 
advanced trench at night, hearing some of the enemy's 
cavalry approaching, lay in wait for them, killing four and 
capturing five without suffering any casualties themselves. 
On the i6th the crew of one of our armoured motor-cars 
obtained information that a party of hostile cavalry was in 
a farm. They enlisted help from ten men of the nearest 
battalion, who stationed themselves on one side of the farm 
while the motor-car waited on the other. Being unable to bolt 
their quarry, our men carried fire to the farm, which had the 
desired effect and resulted in two Uhlans being killed and eight 
captured, no casualties being sustained by the attacking party. 

Armoured motor-cars equipped with machine-guns are 
now playing a part in the war and have been most successful 
in dealing with the small parties of German mounted troops. 
In their employment our gallant Allies the Belgians, who are 
now fighting with us and acquitting themselves nobly, have 
shown themselves to be experts. They appear to regard 
Uhlan-hunting as a form of sport. The crews display the 
utmost dash and skill in this form of warfare, often going out 
several miles ahead of their own advanced troops and seldom 
failing to return loaded with spoils in the shape of Lancer 
caps, busbies, helmets, lances, rifles, and other trophies, which 
they distribute as souvenirs to the crowds in the market-places 
of the frontier towns. 

An easy capture was recently effected by an Engineer 
telegraph lineman. Returning in the dark after repairing 
some air lines which had been cut by shell fire, he was passing 
through a wood when his horse shied at some figures crouching 
in a ditch. He called out ' Come out of it/ whereupon, to his 
surprise, three German cavalrymen emerged and surrendered. 
He marched them back to his headquarters. 

Although the struggle in the northern area naturally 
attracts more attention, that on the Aisne still continues, 
though there is no alteration in the general situation. The 
enemy has made certain changes in the positions of his heavy 
artillery, with the result that one or two places which were 
formerly safe quarters are now subject to bombardment, 
while others which were only approachable at night or by 
crawling on hands and. knees now serve as recreation-grounds. 
At one point even a marquee has been erected. 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

A story from this quarter illustrates a new use for the 
craters of the ' Black Marias/ An officer on patrol stumbled 
in the dark on to a German trench. He turned and made for 
the British lines, but the fire was so heavy that he had to throw 
himself on the ground and crawl. There was, however, no 
cover, and his chances were looking desperate when he saw 
close by an enormous hole made by one of these large shells. 
Into this he scrambled, and remained there for the whole 
ensuing day, and succeeded when night again came on in 
safely reaching our lines. 

The following extract from a captured copy of the orders 
of the German I4th Reserve Corps, dated October 7, sug- 
gests some deterioration in the general discipline of one corps 
of the enemy, as well as shortage of supplies : 

It is notified that the troops must no longer count on the regular 
arrival of supplies. They must, therefore, utilise the resources of the 
country as much and as carefully as possible. 

The regulations for the use of the iron rations must be strictly 
observed. 

In spite of all precautions complaints are continually being received 
that supply and ammunition columns constantly fail to arrive because 
they are stopped and unloaded by unauthorised persons. It is again 
notified that only the authorities to whom the supplies, etc., are con- 
signed have the right to take delivery of them. 

Official casualty lists of recent date which have been 
captured show that the losses of the Germans continue to be 
heavy. One infantry company in a single list reports 139 
killed and wounded, or more than half its war establishment. 
Other companies have suffered almost as heavily. It further 
appears that the number of men reported ' missing ' that 
is, those who have fallen into the hands of the enemy or have 
become marauders is much greater in Ersatz battalions 
than in first line units. This is evidence of the inferior 
quality of some of the reserves which are now being brought 
up to reinforce the enemy's field army, and is all the more 
encouraging since every day adds to our first line strength. 
The arrival of the Indian contingents has caused every one 
to realise that while the enemy is filling his depleted ranks 
with immature levies we have large reserves of perfectly fresh 
and thoroughly trained troops to draw upon. 

67 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

October 20-25 

Before the narrative of the progress of the fighting near 
the Franco-Belgian frontier subsequent to October 20 is con- 
tinued, a brief description will be given of the movement of a 
certain fraction of our troops from its former line facing north, 
on the east of Paris, to its present position facing east, in the 
north-west corner of France, by which a portion of the British 
Army has been enabled to join hands with the incoming and 
growing stream of reinforcements. This is now an accom- 
plished fact, as is generally known, and can therefore be ex- 
plained in some detail without detriment. Mention will also 
be made of the gradual development up to October 20 in the 
nature of the operations in this quarter of the theatre of war, 
which has recently come into such prominence. 

In its broad lines the transfer of strength by one com- 
batant during the course of a great battle, which has just 
been accomplished, is somewhat remarkable. It can best be 
compared with the action of the Japanese during the battle 
of Mukden, when General Oku withdrew a portion of his force 
from his front, moved it northwards behind the line, and threw 
it into the fight again near the extreme left of the Japanese 
armies. In general direction, though not in scope of possible 
results, owing to the coastline being reached by the Allies, 
the parallel is complete. The Japanese force concerned, how- 
ever, was much smaller than ours, and the distance covered by 
it was less than that from the Aisne to the Franco-Belgian 
frontier. General Oku's troops, moreover, marched, whereas 
ours were moved by march, rail, and motor. 

What was implied in the actual withdrawal from contact 
with the enemy along the Aisne will be appreciated when the 
conditions under which we were then situated are recalled. 
In places the two lines were not 100 yards apart, and for us 
no movement was possible during daylight. In some of the 
trenches which were under enfilade fire our men had to sit 
all day long close under the traverses as are called those 
mounds of earth which stretch like partitions at intervals 
across a trench, so as to give protection from lateral fire. 
Even where there was cover, such as that afforded by de- 
pressions or sunken roads, on the hillside below and behind 
our firing line any attempt to cross the intervening space was 
68 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

met by fierce bursts of machine-gun and shell fire. The men 
in the firing line were on duty for twenty-four hours at a time, 
and brought rations and water with them when they came on 
duty, for none could be sent up to them during the day. 
Even the wounded could not be removed until dark. 

The preliminary retirement of the units was therefore 
carried out gradually under cover of darkness. That the 
Germans only once opened fire upon them whilst so engaged 
was due to the care with which the operation was conducted, 
and also, probably, to the fact that the enemy were so accus- 
tomed to the recurrence of the sounds made by the reliefs 
of the men in the firing line and by the movement of the 
supply trains below, that they were misled as to what was 
actually taking place. What the operation amounted to on 
our part was the evacuation of the trenches, under carefully 
made arrangements with the French, who had to take our 
place in the trenches, the retirement to the river below in 
many cases down a steep slope the crossing of the river 
over the noisy plank roadways of floating or repaired bridges 
which were mostly commanded by the enemy's guns and 
the climb up to the top of the plateau on the south side. 
The rest of the move was a complicated feat of transporta- 
tion, which cut across some of the lines of communication of 
our Allies ; but it requires no description here. In spite of 
the various difficulties, the whole strategic operation of trans- 
ferring the large number of troops from the Aisne was carried 
out without loss and practically without a hitch. 

As regards the change in the nature of the fighting in which 
we have recently been engaged, it has already been pointed 
out that the operations had up till then been of a preparatory 
nature, and that the Germans were obviously seeking to delay 
us by advanced troops whilst heavier forces were being got 
ready and brought up to the scene of action. It was known 
that they were raising a new army consisting of corps formed 
of Ersatz, volunteers, and other material which had not yet 
been drawn upon, and that part of it would in all probability 
be sent to the western theatre, either to cover the troops laying 
siege to Antwerp, in case that place should hold out, or, in the 
event of the capture of the fortress, to act in conjunction with 
the besieging force in a violent offensive movement towards 
the coast. 

69 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

After the fall of Antwerp and the release of the besieging 
troops, there was a gradual increase in the strength of the 
opposition met with by us. The resistance of the detach- 
ments which beyond the right extreme of the German 
fortified line near Bethune a fortnight ago consisted almost 
entirely of cavalry grew more and more determined, as more 
infantry and guns came up into the front line, until Tuesday, 
October 20, when the arrival opposite us of a large portion of 
the new formations and a considerable number of heavy guns 
enabled the enemy to assume the offensive practically against 
the whole of our line, at the same time that they attacked 
the Belgians between us and the coast. The operations then 
really assumed a fresh complexion. 

Since that date up to the 25th, apart from the operations 
on either side of us, there has been plenty of action to chronicle 
on our immediate front, where some of the heaviest fighting in 
which we have yet been engaged has taken place, resulting in 
immense loss to the Germans. On Wednesday, the 2ist, the 
new German formations again pressed forward in force vigor- 
ously all along our line. On our right, south of the Lys, an 
attack on Violaines was repulsed with loss to the assailants. 
On the other hand, we were driven from some ground close 
by, to the north, but regained it by a counter-attack. Still 
farther north the Germans gained and retained some points. 
Their total casualties to the south-east of Armentieres are 
estimated at over 6000. 

On the north of the Lys, in our centre, a fiercely contested 
action took place near Le Gheir, which village was captured 
in the morning by the enemy and then retaken by us. In 
this direction the German casualties were also extremely 
heavy. They came on with the greatest bravery, in swarms, 
only to be swept away by our fire. One battalion of their 
iO4th Regiment was practically wiped out, some 400 dead 
being picked up by us in our lines alone. Incidentally, by 
our counter-attack, we took 130 prisoners and released some 
40 of our own men who had been surrounded and captured, 
including a subaltern of artillery, who had been cut off while 
observing from a point of vantage. It is agreeable to record 
that our men were very well treated by their captors, who 
were Saxons, being placed in cellars for protection from the 
bombardment of our own guns. 
70 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

On our left our troops advanced against the German 
26th Reserve Corps near Passchendaele and were met by a 
determined counter-offensive, which was driven back with 
great loss. At night the Germans renewed their efforts un- 
successfully in this quarter. At one point they tried a ruse 
which is no longer new. As they came up in a solid line two 
deep they shouted out, ' Don't fire ; we are the Coldstream 
Guards/ But our men are getting used to tricks of this 
kind, and the only result of this ' slimness ' was that they 
allowed the enemy's infantry to approach quite close before 
they swept them down with magazine fire. Apart from the 
400 dead found near our lines in our centre, our patrols after- 
wards discovered some 300 dead farther out in front of our 
left, killed by our artillery. 

Thursday, the 22nd, saw a renewal of the pressure against 
us. We succeeded, however, in holding our ground in nearly 
every quarter. South of the Lys the enemy attacked from 
La Basse and gained Violaines and another point, but their 
effort against a third village was repulsed by artillery fire 
alone, the French and British guns working together very 
effectively. On the north of the river it was a day of minor 
attacks against us, which were all beaten back. 

The Germans advanced in the evening against our centre 
and left, and were again hurled back, though they gained 
some of our trenches in the latter quarter. By this time the 
enemy had succeeded in bringing up several heavy howitzers, 
and our casualties were considerable. 

On Friday, the 23rd, all action south of the Lys on our 
right was confined to that of the artillery, several of the hostile 
batteries being silenced by our fire. In the centre their 
infantry again endeavoured to force their way forward and 
were only repulsed after determined fighting, leaving many 
dead on the ground and several prisoners in our hands. 
North of the Lys attacks at different points were repulsed. 

On our left the 23rd was a bad day for the Germans. 
Advancing in our turn, we drove them from some of the 
trenches out of which they had turned us on the previous 
evening, captured 150 prisoners, and released some of our 
men whom they had taken. As the Germans retreated our 
guns did great execution amongst them. They afterwards 
made five desperate assaults on our trenches, advancing in 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

mass and singing ' Die Wacht am Rhein ' as they came on. 
Each assault was easily beaten back, our troops waiting until 
the enemy came to very close range before they opened fire with 
rifles and Maxims, causing terrible havoc in the solid masses. 

During the fighting in this quarter on the night of the 
22nd and on the 23rd, the German losses were again extremely 
heavy. We made over 600 prisoners during that time, and 
picked up 1500 dead, killed on the latter day alone. Much 
of the slaughter was due to the point-blank magazine fire of 
our men against the German assaults, while our field-guns 
and howitzers, working in perfect combination, did their 
share when the enemy were repulsed. As they fell back 
they were subjected to a shower of shrapnel. When they 
sought shelter in villages or buildings they were shattered 
and driven out by high-explosive shell and then again caught 
by shrapnel as they came into the open. The troops to surfer 
so severely were mostly of the 23rd Corps one of their new 
formations. Certainly the way their advance was conducted 
showed a lack of training and faults in leading which the 
almost superhuman bravery of the soldiers could not counter- 
balance. It was a holocaust. The spectacle of these devoted 
men chanting a national song as they marched on to certain 
death was inspiring. It was at the same time pitiable. And 
if any proofs were needed that untrained valour alone cannot 
gain the day in modern war, the advance of the 23rd German 
Corps on October 23 most assuredly furnished it. Besides 
doing its share of execution on the hostile infantry, our artillery 
in this quarter brought down a German captive balloon. As 
some gauge of the rate at which the guns were firing at what 
was for them an ideal target, it may be mentioned that one field 
battery expended 1800 rounds of ammunition during the day. 

On Saturday, the 24th, action on our right was once 
more confined to that of artillery, except at night, when the 
Germans pressed on, only to be repulsed. In the centre, near 
Armentieres, our troops withstood three separate attempts 
of the enemy to push forward, our guns coming into play 
with good effect. Against our left the German 27th Corps 
made a violent attempt, with no success. On Sunday, the 
25th, it was our turn to take the offensive. This was carried 
out by a portion of our left wing, which advanced, gained 
some ground, and took 2 guns and 80 prisoners. It is be- 
72 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

lieved that 6 machine-guns fell to the French. In the centre 
the fighting was severe, though generally indecisive in result, 
and the troops in some places were engaged in hand-to-hand 
conflict. Towards evening we captured 200 prisoners. On 
the right, action was again confined to that of the guns. 

Up to the night of the 25th, therefore, not only have we 
maintained our position against the great effort on the part 
of the enemy to break through to the west, or to force us back, 
which started on the 2oth ; we have on our left passed to 
the offensive. These six days, as may be gathered, have 
been spent by us in repelling a succession of desperate on- 
slaughts. It is true that the efforts against us have been 
made to a great extent by partially trained men, some of 
whom appear to be suffering from lack of food. But it must 
not be forgotten that these troops, which are in great force, 
have only recently been brought into the field, and are, there- 
fore, comparatively fresh. They are fighting also with the 
utmost determination, in spite of the fact that many of them 
are heartily sick of the war. 

The struggle has been of the most severe and sanguinary 
nature, and it seems that success will favour that side which 
is possessed of most endurance or can bring up and fling 
fresh forces into the fray. Though we have undoubtedly 
inflicted immense loss upon the enemy, they have so far been 
able to fill up the gaps in their ranks and to return to the 
charge, and we have suffered heavily ourselves. 

One feature of the tactics now employed has been the 
use of cavalry in dismounted action, for on both sides many 
of the mounted troops are fighting in the trenches alongside 
the infantry. Armoured motor-cars armed with Maxims and 
light quick-firing guns have also recently played a useful part 
on our side, especially in helping to eject the enemy lurking 
in villages and isolated buildings. Against such parties the 
combined action of the quick-firer against the snipers in 
buildings and the IVJaxim against them when they are driven 
into the open is most efficacious. 

October 26-30 

In spite of the great losses which they suffered in their 
attacks last week, the Germans have continued their offensive 

73 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

towards the west almost continuously during the five days from 
October 26 to 30. Opposite us it has gradually grown in in- 
tensity and extent of application as more men and guns have 
been brought up and pushed into the fight, and it has de- 
veloped into the most bitterly contested battle which has been 
fought in the western theatre of war. 

The German artillery has to a large extent been increased 
by that transferred from round Antwerp. As regards in- 
fantry, it is possible that some of the additional troops now 
appearing on our front have been rendered available by the 
relaxation of the pressure against our Allies to the north of 
Ypres caused by the desperate and successful resistance made 
by the latter, by the harassing nature of the artillery fire 
brought to bear by our ships against the strip of country along 
the coast, and by the flooding of an area along the river Yser. 
Forces have been massed also from the south, whilst another 
of the new army corps has definitely made its debut before us. 
And though the attempts to hack, or rather to blast and hack 
a way through us have been made in other directions, they 
have for the last few days been most seriously concentrated 
upon the neighbourhood of Ypres. 

Whether the motive inspiring the present action of the 
Germans against that place is an ambition to win through 
to the port of Calais as is to be gathered from articles in their 
newspapers or whether the operation is due to a desire to 
drive the Allied forces out of the whole of Belgium, in order 
to complete the conquest of that country with a view to its 
annexation and to gain prestige with neutrals, is immaterial. 
What concerns'us more closely is that they have been making, 
and are still pressing, a desperate attempt to gain the town. 

On Monday, the 26th, south of the Lys, on our right, the 
enemy attacked Neuve Chapelle one of the villages held by 
us in the evening, advancing under cover of a wood. They 
managed to gain possession of a portion of it. North of the 
Lys, in the centre, bombardment alone was kept up, and some 
ground was made by us. A detached post which was attacked 
in force during the night drove back its assailants, who left 
fifty-six dead behind. Near our left the Germans developed 
a very strong attack on a section of our line to the east of 
Ypres. Though supported by a great mass of 'artillery this 
was checked. But it had two results. One was that our 
74 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

position was readjusted. The other was that our extreme 
left alone advanced in conjunction with some of our Allies. 

On Tuesday, the 27th, the Germans rather focused their 
principal attention on our right centre and right, and most 
desperate fighting took place for the possession of Neuve 
Chapelle. In spite of repeated counter-attacks by our troops 
the enemy during the day managed to hold on to the northern 
part of the village, which he had gained the day before. 
Towards evening we had gradually regained the great part 
of the place by step-by-step fighting when fresh hostile rein- 
forcements were brought up and the entire village was cap- 
tured by the enemy. They made several assaults against our 
whole front south of the Lys, but with the exception of their 
success at Neuve Chapelle won no advantage. 

The combat for that place, as is usually the case with 
village fighting, was of the most murderous description, while 
it is believed that the enemy's losses in this quarter of the 
field generally were very great. An artillery officer who was 
observing their advance reports that the effects of our rifle 
and gun fire were stupendous, and that the Germans had to 
throw the corpses of their own men out of their trenches as 
they came on, in order to obtain cover. Four successive 
attacks were made, each by a different regiment, and in this 
way the whole of one division was engaged piecemeal in about 
the same locality. The last of these regiments has now been 
practically disposed of, and according to prisoners their 
condition is deplorable. 

North of the river our centre was subjected to heavy 
shell fire from pieces of various sizes. Our guns were by no 
means idle, and one of our patrols found eleven Germans dead, 
and one rendered unconscious by fumes in a farm in which 
they had observed one of our lyddite shells detonate. Towards 
our left the readjustment of our line, commenced on Monday, 
was completed, and some redistribution of strength was 
effected. On the extreme left ground was gained. 

Neuve Chapelle was again the scene of desperate fighting on 
Wednesday, the 28th, some of our Indian troops greatly dis- 
tinguishing themselves by a well-conducted counter-attack, 
by which they drove the Germans out of the greater part of 
the place with the bayonet. On emerging from the village, 
however, they were exposed to the concentrated fire of machine- 

75 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

guns, and had to remain contented with what they had gained. 
Farther on the left, during the morning, the enemy made 
attacks under cover of the usual heavy bombardment, but 
each effort was repulsed with great slaughter. One of our 
trenches was carried, and then recovered after a loss of 200 
dead had been inflicted on the enemy. On our centre, north 
of the Lys, nothing of particular moment occurred. On the 
extreme left our advance was not pressed, and the enemy re- 
mained in possession of Becelaere. A night attack by them 
was repulsed. 

Next day the centres of pressure were for the most part 
our two flanks. South of the Lys, against our right, the 
Germans delivered an assault which failed. In front of one 
battalion they are estimated to have left between 600 and 700 
dead, whilst not far off a trench into which they had pene- 
trated was recaptured by us at an expense to them of 70 killed 
and 14 prisoners. 

In the centre little took place worthy of special record. A 
few Germans came in and surrendered voluntarily ; and in 
this quarter we experienced for the first time in the northern 
theatre of war the action of the Minenwerfer, or trench mortar. 
It has a range of some 500 or 600 yards, and throws a bomb 
loaded with high explosive weighing up to 200 Ibs., being fired 
at extreme elevation from the bottom of a pit in the trench. 
About midnight our line was attacked in two places. One 
of these efforts did not mature, as the ground over which the 
German infantry had to advance was well swept by our guns. 
In the other case the assault was carried out against one of 
our brigades by a force of some twelve battalions. With great 
self-restraint our men held their fire for forty minutes until 
the attackers got quite close, and then drove them back with a 
loss of 200 killed. The enemy penetrated into a portion of- 
one of our trenches, but were driven out again, losing 80 men 
killed and captured. 

The really important feature in this day's operations 
occurred north of the Lys, and consisted of an onslaught in 
..great force made in the morning in the direction of Ypres. 
After a heavy cannonade the assault was driven home and a 
portion of our front line was forced back. By evening the 
lost ground was recovered, and in some places more than 
recovered, with the exception of one part to which the enemy 
76 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

clung. Our losses were heavy, but not so severe as those of 
the enemy, who at one spot suffered enormously from the 
concentrated fire of our massed machine-guns. 

Friday, the soth, witnessed a renewal of the efforts against 
our right, but without success to the enemy. In the centre 
the bombardment was heavy. Indeed, so many shells fell 
round our positions that the telephone wires were frequently 
cut. The attack in the direction of Ypres generally was re- 
newed. South-east of that town it was pressed in great force, 
and in places our line was again forced back a short distance ; 
but on our left the oncoming Germans were stopped by our 
entanglements under close rifle fire, and after two efforts to 
advance gave way. 

On Saturday, the 3ist, a most determined attack was made 
upon our left and left centre, the pressure being specially 
severe against the latter portion of our position. Part of our 
line was driven back temporarily by sheer weight of metal and 
numbers, but was almost all recovered again before night. 
Against our centre the enemy did not advance, whilst against 
our right they were not nearly so active as farther north. 

So far, with the assistance of the French, who have been 
co-operating most effectually, we have succeeded in main- 
taining our line, and in retaining possession of Ypres, upon 
the capture of which by the end of October the Germans had 
set their heart. As may have been gathered, the fighting of 
the past five days has been of the most desperate nature. It 
has been eminently a soldiers' battle ; and without ex- 
aggeration or any undue self-congratulation it can be said that 
our men have behaved splendidly. In the face of heavy odds, 
and against the repeated onslaughts of great masses continu- 
ally replaced by fresh men and backed by the almost con- 
tinuous fire of an immense concentration of guns, they have 
by their dogged resistance well upheld the reputation of our 
army. Heavy as have been our losses, we have taken a far 
heavier toll from the enemy, and have prevented them gaining 
the object upon which all their energies have been concen- 
trated. And not only our troops have maintained their 
traditions. Our French Allies have been fighting with all the 
dash for which they are famous, and from all accounts at 
Dixmude and along the Yser they have made a name for 
themselves which will never die. The Belgian Army has like- 

77 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

wise resisted the furious onslaughts of the enemy with the 
utmost gallantry. 

The German troops, also, have won our respect for the 
way in which they have advanced. Whether it is due to 
patriotism or the fear induced by an iron discipline, the fact 
remains that they have steadily pressed on to what in many 
cases must obviously have been certain death. That they are 
sometimes forced to go on is shown by the following answer 
to an interrogation put to a wounded prisoner : 

' I belong to the Company of the th Regiment of Infantry, of 
the Division of the th Corps. I was embodied in October, 1913. 
On mobilisation the weakly and those backward in training, to the 
number of about sixty per company, were withdrawn from the Active 
Regiment to form the nucleus of a Reserve Regiment, which was com- 
pleted by Badeners and Wurttembergers belonging to the 2nd Ban of 
the Landwehr. We received new " field grey " uniform. 

' After ten weeks of hard training we travelled for three days and 
two nights from Thuringia up to Achiet (?), where we remained in 
reserve. We were told that our nearest enemies were the English. 

On the I7th October and the next day we performed such fatiguing 
forced marches that many men fell out on the road. On the igth we 
each received 285 rounds of ammunition, and had our first taste of fire. 
Although we were told that there were only francs-tireurs in front of us, 
I saw French cavalrymen and no other foes. 

' From this day onward the battle was uninterrupted. On the 20 th 
my section received orders to go forward to the attack, and the officers 
warned us that if we gave way fire would be opened upon us from 
behind. This threat was carried into effect when the losses we suffered 
compelled us to retire. Indeed, it was by a German bullet that I was 
wounded. 

' Having fallen on the ground, I remained between the lines without 
food or care for two days, at the end of which time I dragged myself 
to a ruined house. 

' During the whole of this time the German shells, which were 
short, were falling about my shelter, some hundreds of paces from the 
French lines. These having advanced on the 24th, I myself moved 
forward, called out to a passing patrol, and surrendered. 

' We have received no distribution of food since our arrival in 
France. 

' The " Commandant " of my company was the Reserve Lieutenant 

, twenty-eight years of age. The Colonel, whose name I don't 

know, also belonged to the Reserve, as did all the other officers of the 

Regiment. 

78 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

' The officers told us that if we fell into the hands of the French we 
should be sent to the Foreign Legion, and certainly should be massacred 
by the Moroccans. 

' I only saw one man shot. He was a priest who, they said, was a 

spy.' 

The results of the inundation to the north of Dixmude 
have been observed by our aviators, who have seen numbers 
of the enemy collected in groups on the dykes which intersect 
the flooded area where, according to report, some of the 
German heavy artillery is bogged. Our airmen have also been 
able to harass advancing hostile columns by bomb dropping 
and machine-gun fire. The tactical transfer of troops behind 
the German front line is now carried out* to a great extent by 
motor omnibuses, of which long strings are visible from above. 

During the past few days large numbers of refugees have 
been streaming back along all the roads from Belgium, and 
crowding the empty trains returning from the front, upon 
which the French have most humanely allowed them to travel. 
In these whole families may be seen jostled together in horse- 
trucks, together with what few household goods they have 
been able to carry away ; but the less fortunate have to trudge 
the roads, making use of any shelter they can find. The in- 
habitants of the district within our zone of operations, also, 
line the roads from morning to night and listen to the sound 
of the guns, there being nothing else for them to do. As the 
dull roar waxes or wanes so does confidence die away or 
return ; and in such alternations of fear and hope is each 
weary day passed. All this traffic to and fro of civilians entails 
the utmost vigilance in order to guard against espionage. 

October ^i-November 3 

Before the chronological record of the course of events 
is resumed, a short description will be given of the part in 
the battle played on Saturday, October 31, by the I4th 
(County of London) Battalion of the London Regiment, or, 
as it is far better known, ' The London Scottish/ Reference 
has already been made to its action, and the Commander-in- 
Chief's message to the officer commanding has been quoted, 
but no details of what happened have been given. 

The occasion is not looked upon as a special one because 

79 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

this battalion acquitted itself well, for that was regarded as 
a matter of course, nor because it was done better than the 
Regular battalions, who have been doing as much, if not 
more, for weeks on end. It is a special event because it 
forms an epoch in the military history of the British Empire, 
and marks the first time that a complete unit of our Terri- 
torial Army has been thrown into the fight alongside its 
sister units of the Regulars. Briefly, what happened was 
this : 

On Saturday, being ordered to take up a section of the 
firing line to support some of our cavalry, and having advanced 
to its position under heavy fire from field-guns, howitzers, and 
machine-guns, the battalion reached a point where further 
movement forward was impossible. There it maintained 
itself till dusk, when it proceeded to entrench. From 9 that 
night till 2 A.M. on Sunday the Germans made numerous 
attacks on the Scottish line, all of which were repulsed by 
rifle fire. 

At 2 A.M. they made their great effort and assaulted the 
front and left of the position in great force. A considerable 
number succeeded by a detour in getting round the flank of 
the regiment. A large proportion of these were engaged by 
the companies in support and reserve, while others penetrated 
between the first and second lines of trenches and assailed 
our firing line in the rear. While fighting with rifle and 
bayonet was going on both in front and immediately behind 
the firing line, the reserve company still farther behind made 
repeated bayonet charges against the enemy who had got 
round, and so prevented an entire envelopment of the bat- 
talion. Behind the firing line the scene of combat was lit up 
by a blazing house which the Germans had set alight. 

At dawn it was discovered that large numbers of the 
enemy had, according to custom, worked round both flanks 
with machine-guns, and a retirement was carried out. This 
was effected under a cross fire from machine-guns and rifles. 
Naturally in an encounter of this nature the battalion suffered 
heavy loss ; but though unable to maintain its position it 
acquitted itself with gallantry and coolness in a situation 
of peculiar difficulty, and, following the national motto of 
Nemo me impune lacessit, inflicted far more damage on the 
enemy than it received. 
80 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

To turn to the general narrative, on Sunday, November I, 
the full violence of the enemy's attack again fell on our left, 
their main efforts being still directed slightly south of Ypres. 
Such was the force of the onslaught and the weight of artillery 
supporting it that our line was temporarily driven back. It 
was soon readjusted, however, and by evening the situation 
in this quarter was the same as it had been twenty-four 
hours earlier. That night some shell were thrown into 
Ypres itself. 

Farther to the south the Germans had during the previous 
night retaken the village of Messines and had also captured 
Wytschaete. By n A.M. our cavalry, working in co-operation 
with the French, drove them out of the latter place by a 
brilliant bayonet charge ; but we did not occupy it. A few 
of the prisoners taken at this place were only seventeen years 
of age, and said that they had had practically no training 
and little food ; some had never fired a rifle before. 

The fact that Messines still remained in hostile hands 
necessitated a slight readjustment of our front in the centre, 
but apart from this there was no change in this quarter, the 
bombardment continuing all day. During the action round 
these two villages the Germans moving across our front 
suffered very greatly from the massed fire of our horse artillery 
at short range ; but though they fell literally in heaps they 
still came on with admirable determination. South of the 
Lys some trenches which had been lost on the previous night 
were recaptured by us. Otherwise the situation remained 
as it had been ; no attacks were delivered against us ; and 
the enemy contented himself with bombarding our trenches. 
A heavy battery was knocked out by our artillery fire. One 
of our prisoners a Saxon professor who was captured on 
the first day he entered the field, stated as his opinion that 
Germany realised that she had failed in her object, and was 
only fighting in order to obtain good terms. What his opinion 
is worth remains to be seen. During the afternoon a German 
aeroplane was captured quite uninjured. 

On Monday, the 2nd, on our left, pressure was still kept 
up towards Ypres, and at first our line was once more forced 
back, but it was restored towards evening by a vigorous 
advance carried out in co-operation with the French, who 
were rendering us very timely assistance. The maximum 

MILITARY 2 F 8l 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

effort of the Germans on this day, however, was more to the 
south of Ypres, as if to drive a wedge between the town on 
the north and Armentieres on the south ; and the bombard- 
ment of our positions in this quarter of the field was especially 
heavy, though it was well replied to by a concentric fire from 
our guns and those of the French. The French counter- 
attacked in the direction of Wytschaete, which remained 
disputed ground, fiercely blazing amidst a hail of shell from 
both sides. 

More to the south the enemy advanced in force, but were 
checked. Still farther towards our right a hostile attack in 
the neighbourhood of Armentieres met with the same fate. 
On our extreme right several assaults were repulsed, though 
at one or two points the Germans gained ground slightly, 
obtaining possession of Neuve ChapeUe. 

The inundation round Nieuport had by this day reached 
the enemy's trenches, and it is stated that two heavy guns 
and some field artillery had to be abandoned in the mud. 

Tuesday, the 3rd, was, on the whole, a comparatively 
uneventful day, which enabled our troops to get a much- 
needed rest. In front of Ypres the German infantry ceased to 
press, but to the south, in the neighbourhood of Wytschaete 
and Hollebeke, they made unsuccessful attempts to get forward, 
effective counter-attacks being delivered by the French and 
British. In this quarter the fighting was of a severe nature. 

South of the river there were some minor attacks against 
our trenches, which were beaten off. It seemed that the 
violence of the German efforts was abating, even the cannonade 
being in some places less heavy than it had been. 

November 4-10 

In describing the operations for the six days from Nov- 
ember 4 to 9, it can be said that during that period the Germans 
have nowhere along our front made an attack in great force, 
such as was launched against Ypres at the end of October. 
What they may be contemplating remains to be seen. Their 
policy has appeared to be to wear us out by continual bom- 
bardment interspersed with local assaults at different points. 
As regards their artillery attack which has now continued 
without cessation for days wonder is aroused as to when this 
82 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

prodigal expenditure of ammunition will cease, for it has not 
produced its obviously calculated effect of breaking the defence 
in preparation for the advance of their infantry. So far the 
latter have been the chief sufferers from the tactics employed. 

On Wednesday, the 4th, they renewed the attack east 
of Ypres ; but their efforts bore no resemblance to those which 
had preceded it, being more in the nature of a demonstration 
in force than a serious attempt to drive in our line, and it was 
beaten off with ease. By then our men had been reinforced, 
had enjoyed some rest, and had had time to improve their 
trenches in different ways. Moreover, the consciousness that 
they had repelled one great effort of the enemy was a moral 
factor of no small value. 

Farther to the south, on our left centre, the French ad- 
vanced under cover of our guns and made some progress in 
spite of the heavy fire brought to bear on them from the 
enemy's massed batteries. On our centre all was quiet. On 
the right our Indian troops scored a success by capturing and 
filling in some trenches in which the enemy had established 
himself only fifty yards from our lines under cover of some 
heavy artillery brought up after dark. 

On our extreme left, one of our howitzer batteries whose 
fire was being most effectively directed selected as its first 
target a farm from which a machine-gun was harassing our 
infantry. It scored a hit at the first found and knocked out 
the machine-gun. The second target was a house occupied 
by snipers. This was set alight by a shell, and when the 
occupants bolted they came under the rapid fire of our in- 
fantry. The third target was another building from which 
the Germans were driven and then caught in the open by 
shrapnel. One of our heavy batteries, also, obtained several 
direct hits on the enemy's guns. 

Thursday was another comparatively quiet day, there 
being no attempt at an infantry attack against any point 
of our line. South-east of Ypres the Germans maintained 
a heavy bombardment on one section of our front, but gener- 
ally speaking their artillery fire was not so heavy as it had 
been. Somewhat to the south the French made some slight 
progress and recaptured some ground. 

Farther to the south two villages which the enemy had 
captured and their line on a ridge close by were heavily bom- 

83 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

barded by the British and French artillery. From the high 
ground to the west the effect of this cannonade could be seen 
to some extent, though the villages under fire were partially 
obscured from view by the smoke of the bursting shells, and 
resembled the craters of volcanoes belching fire and fumes. 
At one place the gaunt wreck of the old church tower and the 
blackened remains of a few houses round it would emerge for 
a moment, only to be again blotted out in the pall of smoke. 
The long, straggling villages, when they became temporarily 
visible, seemed to melt away, and assume odd and fantastic 
shapes as the houses crumbled and the blocks of masonry 
were thrown hither and thither by the blasting effect of lyddite 
and melinite. 

The result of this artillery work was most satisfactory. 
When the Germans were seen to be running from the shelter 
which had ceased to act as such, they were caught and mowed 
down by the rapid fire of the French field artillery. Against 
a suitable target the action of the French 75 mm. field-guns 
' les soixante-quinze,' as they are always affectionately called 
is literally terrific, and must be seen to be realised. On the 
whole, the ground which the Germans have gained in this 
direction has so far proved a somewhat barren acquisition. 
It is so exposed that it proves a death-trap for their troops, 
and they can derive no advantage from its possession. 

Along the rest of our line nothing of special interest 
occurred. Farther south our aeroplanes and those of the 
French scored a success by partially destroying two of the old 
forts of Lille. Fort Englos was blown up on the 4th, and Fort 
Carnot on the 5th. They were most probably used as maga- 
zines, and may have been of some tactical importance as 
points d'appui in the line of entrenchments. 

On Friday, the 6th, the attack was renewed south of the 
Menin-Ypres high road, but it was repulsed without difficulty. 
Against the south-east of Ypres, which town had been sub- 
jected to a bombardment during the night and was also shelled 
during the day, a fairly strong advance was made in the after- 
noon, and the enemy gained some ground. The French, 
however, made a counter-stroke supported by us, and by 
nightfall recovered all the lost ground. The French attack 
on the two villages which had been shelled on Thursday made 
considerable progress, one point being captured, but the 
84 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

enemy contrived to render the position untenable, and our 
Allies had retired from the hill by dusk. On our centre 
nothing of particular interest occurred. On our right, south 
of the Lys, the enemy made two unsuccessful night attacks. 

On Saturday, the yth, on our left the enemy in the after- 
noon again attacked on the east and south-east of Ypres. 
Along the Menin Road our line was at one point forced back, 
only to be regained after a few minutes. About 4 P.M. the 
Germans appeared to be massing opposite our line south-east 
of Ypres, and the pressure was for a time severe, although the 
attack was not driven home. Slightly farther to the south 
the fighting continued with unabated fury, and resulted in a 
gain to our Allies. About 400 of the enemy advanced from 
the cover of a wood against the French, half of them, with 
most reckless bravery, came on to close quarters, and were 
all shot or bayoneted. A tremendous cannonade was main- 
tained by both sides in this direction, the Allies pouring a hail 
of shells all along the ridge facing them held by the Germans, 
and the latter bombarding some high ground and a valley to 
the east of it in our possession. Three machine-guns were 
captured by us during the day. 

On our centre there was a recrudescence of activity on 
the enemy's part. During the previous night some six bat- 
talions of Saxons had succeeded in capturing some of our 
trenches, only to be driven out by a counter-attack which re- 
sulted in one officer and seventy men being taken prisoners. 
The Germans, however, refused to accept defeat, and, return- 
ing to the charge, again occupied some of our trenches, and 
penetrated into a wood. They were again counter-attacked 
and cleared out of the wood, but continued in possession of 
part of our line and also some houses which commanded them. 
Farther south, again, the enemy behaved with great boldness, 
sapping up to within a short distance of our trenches. 

Some of the prisoners captured on this day were very 
young. They stated that their corps had lately been brought 
up to strength with new recruits who had received only a few 
weeks' training. 

Throughout the recent fighting Sunday has proved to be 
a day of activity, and November 8 was no exception to the rule. 
On the left the morning passed quietly so far as the British 
were concerned. To the south-east of Ypres the French con- 

85 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

tinued to give us considerable support, and pressed forward. 
At 2.30 P.M. the daily attack on our line was made this time 
in force to the north of the Menin- Ypres high road ; and 
again did the enemy succeed in temporarily piercing our front. 
They were driven back, however, and all the ground lost by 
us was regained before dark. After this repulse 107 dead 
Germans were counted in front of one battalion, the total 
hostile force engaged being estimated at 2000. 

These strong attacks are accompanied or preceded by 
attempts to press at other points,, which are usually attended 
with heavy loss. An instance of the cost to the enemy of these 
subsidiary operations occurred on this day, when one of our 
battalions killed 47 Germans, this number being actually 
counted in front of our trenches, and captured 51. It is cal- 
culated that on Sunday their casualties in killed and wounded 
in front of one small section of our line were about 1200. 
Ypres itself was again subjected to heavy shelling, and some 
damage was done to the town. 

In front of our right centre the enemy fell back slightly, 
while farther south, to the north of the Lys, he continued 
to occupy the trenches and houses he had secured, but was 
unable to reinforce this point and so consolidate his position, 
for the ground was swept by the fire of our guns and enfiladed 
from our trenches. To the south of the Lys the hostile attacks 
were renewed without success on the night of the 7th-8th. On 
our right also a minor effort met with the same fate. 

Monday, the gth, was a comparatively quiet day. On 
our. left the shelling was less. In this direction the Germans 
for the time being desisted from making attacks in force, and 
confined their efforts to minor assaults and to the wanton 
destruction of Ypres, which with Louvain and Reims is appar- 
ently to be included among the monuments to German 
' culture/ During the fighting of the 7th, 8th, and loth, 
no prisoners and 6 machine-guns were captured by us in this 
quarter. 

Slightly to the south the French made some progress, 
while on our centre the situation remained much the same as 
it has been. The houses and trenches gained by the Germans 
remained in their hands during the day, but measures were 
taken to overcome their resistance, and at night part of the 
ground was retaken by us. On our right, during the night of 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

the 8th-gth a German trench was captured ; otherwise the 
situation did not alter. 

Night attacks have been of regular occurrence at different 
points, and are made apparently more with a view to annoying 
our troops and preventing them sleeping than with any other 
object. Sometimes, of course, the advance has been of a 
more serious nature, and has been carried out by large bodies. 
In such cases the Germans have so far invariably lost heavily, 
and even if they have succeeded in gaining our first line of 
trenches, have almost always been driven out again. The 
demonstrations would appear to be proportionately more 
costly and even more useless than the heavier attacks. 
Similar tactics were a feature of the fighting on the Aisne, and 
to judge by the diaries we have obtained from German soldiers 
their futility is fully appreciated by the men. They are 
usually made from the trenches in rear of the front line, the 
latter being only lightly held. 

The front lines of both sides are now at many points so 
close that our men amuse themselves by listening to what goes 
on in the enemy's trenches. The Germans frequently cheer 
themselves up with music or singing, while on one occasion 
the usual programme was varied by a violent quarrel which 
appeared to have culminated in a free fight. 

On the whole there is evidence to show that the Germans 
are beginning to be affected by their heavy losses. From 
prisoners it is gathered that the young men of the new corps 
cannot withstand the fatigues and privations of campaigning, 
and that the middle-aged men lack ardour. From the same 
source, also, it is learned that recruits who have not previously 
served have only received some eight or nine weeks' training 
instead of the twelve weeks' course prescribed for them, that 
they have had practically no instruction in musketry, and 
that they have not practised entrenching. 

On the other hand, too much can be made of these side- 
lights on the present condition of the enemy. They are still 
fighting with a stubbornness and recklessness which, whatever 
its futility, is remarkable when exhibited by forces of which a 
large proportion consists of comparatively untrained men. 
The following two incidents serve to illustrate their courage : 

During the fighting near Ypres a force consisting of about 
one company of infantry advancing against us was enfiladed 

87 






DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

by one of our machine-guns, with the result that they were 
all killed except six men who crawled away wounded. The 
corpses lay in a regular row. After nightfall another company 
of the Germans, nothing daunted, advanced and dug them- 
selves in on the line upon which the bodies of their comrades 
were lying. Again, on November 4, some of the enemy's 
cavalry at dusk charged a trench held by the French. Every 
single horse was killed ; but those riders who were not hit 
continued the charge on foot, the last survivors being slain on 
the very parapet of the trench. 

And, whatever deterioration there may be in the material 
now being drafted into the ranks of our enemy, it must be 
admitted that the Prussian war machine, acting on a nation 
previously inured to the sternest discipline, has obtained the 
most remarkable results. The Germans have up to the present 
time been able to make good their losses, to continue to deliver 
repeated blows with fresh men when required and where re- 
quired, and to concentrate large forces in different directions. 
It is true that a considerable proportion of the masses recently 
thrown into the field against the British has consisted of hastily 
trained and immature men ; but the great fact remains that 
these ill-assorted levies have not hesitated to advance against 
highly trained troops. 

In spite of lack of officers, in spite of inexperience, boys of 
sixteen and seventeen have faced our guns, marched steadily 
up to the muzzles of our rifles, and have met death in droves, 
without flinching. Such is the effect of a century of national 
discipline. That ~the men subjected to it are the victims of 
an autocratic military caste does not alter the fact that they 
have accepted that system as necessary to the attainment of 
national ideals. However discordant the elements which 
make up the German Empire, by the force of the Prussian war 
machine they have one and all been welded together to be 
able to fight for national existence, and by their actions it is 
evident that for them ' Deutschland iiber Alles ' is no empty 
cry. 

November 10-12 

The diminution in force of what may by a paraphrase be 
described as the Gerfnan Drang nach Westen in this quarter 
88 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

has not lasted long. The section of front to the north of 
us was the first to meet the recrudescence of violence in the 
shape of an attack by the enemy in the neighbourhood of 
Dixmude and Bixschoote. Our turn came next, and after 
eight days of a comparative relaxation of pressure from 
Tuesday the 3rd to Tuesday the loth the nth saw a 
repetition of the great attempt to break through our line to 
the French coast. 

What was realised might happen has happened. In spite 
of the immense losses suffered by the enemy during the five 
days' attack against Ypres, which lasted from October 29 
to the 2nd of this month, the cessation of their more violent 
efforts on the latter day was not an abandonment of the whole 
project, but a temporary relinquishment of the main offensive 
until fresh troops should be massed to carry on what was 
proving to be a somewhat costly and difficult operation. 

Meanwhile, as has been pointed out, the interval was 
employed in endeavouring to wear out the Allies by repeated 
local attacks of varying force and to shatter them by a pro- 
longed and concentrated bombardment. By the nth, there- 
fore, it seems that they must have considered that they had 
attained both objects, for on that day, as will be described, 
recommenced the desperate battle for the possession of Ypres 
and its neighbourhood. Though the struggle has not yet 
come to an end, this much can be said : The Germans have 
gained some ground, but they have not captured Ypres. In 
repulsing the enemy so far we have naturally suffered heavy 
casualties. But battles of this fierce and prolonged nature 
cannot but be costly to both sides ; and we have the satis- 
faction of knowing that we have foiled the enemy in what 
appears at present to be his main object in the western theatre 
of operations, and have inflicted immensely greater loss on him 
than those suffered by ourselves. 

To carry the narrative on for the three days, the loth, 
nth, and I2th November, Tuesday the loth was for us 
uneventful. Beyond our left flank the enemy advanced in 
force against the French, but were repulsed. On our left, 
however, along the greater part of our front the shelling was 
less severe ; and no infantry attacks took place. South-east 
of Ypres the enemy kept up a heavy bombardment against 
our line as well as that of the French ; and on our left centre 

89 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

the situation remained unchanged, both sides contenting 
themselves with a furious cannonade. 

In our centre the Germans retained their hold on the 
small extent of ground they had gained from us, but in doing 
so incurred heavy loss from our artillery and machine-gun 
fire. Incidentally, one of the houses held by them was so 
knocked about by our fire that its defenders bolted. On 
their way to the rear they were met by reinforcements under 
an officer who halted them, evidently in an endeavour to 
persuade them to return. While the parley was going on 
one of our machine-guns was quietly moved to a position 
of vantage, whence it opened a most effective fire on the 
group. On our right one of the enemy's saps which was being 
pushed towards our line was attacked by us and all the men 
in it were captured. 

As has been said, Wednesday, the nth, was another day 
of desperate fighting. So soon as day broke the Germans 
opened up on our trenches to the north and south of Menin- 
Ypres Road what was probably the most furious artillery 
fire that they have yet employed against us, and a few hours 
later followed up this bombardment by an infantry assault 
in force. This was carried out by the ist and 4th Brigades 
of the Guard Corps, which, as we now know from prisoners, 
had been sent for in order to make a supreme effort to capture 
Ypres, that task having proved too heavy for the Infantry 
of the Line. 

As the attackers surged forward they were met by our 
frontal fire, and since they were moving diagonally across part 
of our front were also taken in flank by artillery, rifles, and 
machine-guns. Though their casualties before they reached 
our line must have been enormous, such was their resolution 
and the momentum of the mass that, in spite of the splendid 
resistance of our troops, they succeeded in breaking through 
our line in three places near the road. They penetrated for 
some distance into the woods behind our trenches, but were 
counter-attacked and again enfiladed by machine-guns and 
driven back to the line of trenches, a certain portion of which 
they succeeded in holding, in spite of our efforts to expel them. 
What their total losses must have been during the advance can 
to some extent be gauged from the fact that the number of dead 
left in the woods behind our line alone amounted to 700. 
90 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

A simultaneous effort made to the south of the road, as 
part of the same operation, though not carried out by the 
Guard Corps, failed entirely, for when the attacking infantry 
massed in the woods close to our line, our guns opened upon 
them with such effect that they did not push the assault 
home. 

As generally happens in operations in wooded country, 
the fighting was to a great extent carried on at close quarters, 
and was of the most desperate and confused description. 
Indeed, the scattered bodies of the enemy who penetrated 
into the woods in rear of our position could neither go back- 
wards nor forwards, and were nearly all killed or captured. 

The portion of the line south-east of Ypres held by us 
was heavily shelled, but did not undergo any very serious 
infantry attack. That occupied by the French, however, 
was both bombarded and fiercely assaulted. On the rest 
of our front, save for the usual bombardment, all was com- 
paratively quiet. On the right one of our trenches was mined 
and then abandoned. So soon as it was occupied by the 
enemy the charges were fired, and several Germans were 
blown to pieces. 

Thursday, the I2th, was marked by a partial lull in the 
fighting all along our line. To the north of us the German 
force which had crossed the Yser and entrenched on the left 
bank was annihilated by a night attack with the bayonet 
executed by the French. Slightly to the south the enemy 
was forced back for a distance of about three-quarters of a 
mile. Immediately to our left the French were strongly 
attacked and driven back a short distance, our extreme left 
having to conform to the movement. But our Allies soon 
recovered the ground they had lost, which enabled us to 
advance also. To the south-east of Ypres, the enemy's 
snipers were very active. On our centre and right the 
enemy's bombardment was maintained, but nothing worthy 
of special note occurred. 

The fact that on this day the advance against our line 
in front of Ypres was not pushed home, after such an effort 
as had been made on Wednesday, tends to show that for the 
moment at least the attacking troops had had enough. 

Although the failure of this great attack by the Guard 
Corps to accomplish its object cannot yet be described as a 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

decisive event, it possibly marks the culmination, if not the 
close, of a second stage in the attempt to capture Ypres, and 
is therefore not without significance. It has also a dramatic 
interest of its own. Having once definitely failed to achieve 
this object by means of sheer weight of numbers, as already 
explained, and having done their best to wear us down in the 
manner already described, the Germans brought up fresh 
picked troops to carry Ypres salient by an assault from north, 
south, and east. 

That the Guard Corps should have been selected to act 
against the eastern edge of the salient may perhaps be taken 
as a proof of the necessity felt by the Germans to gain this 
point in the line, and their dogged perseverance in the pur- 
suance of their objective claims our whole-hearted admiration. 
The failure of one great attack, heralded as it was by impas- 
sioned appeals to the troops, made in the presence of the 
Emperor himself, but carried out by partially trained men, 
has been only the signal for another desperate effort in which 
the place of honour was assigned to the corps d' elite of the 
German Army. 

It must be admitted that that corps has retained that 
reputation for courage and contempt of death which it earned 
in 1870, when Emperor William I., after the battle of Grave- 
lotte, wrote : ' My Guard has found its grave in front of 
St. Privat/ And the swarms of men who came up so bravely 
to the British rifles in the woods round Ypres repeated the 
tactics of forty-four years ago, when their dense columns, 
toiling up the slopes of St. Privat, melted away under the fire 
of the French. 

That the Germans are cunning fighters and are well up in 
all the tricks of the trade has been frequently pointed out. 
For instance, they often succeed in ascertaining what regiment 
or brigade is opposed to them, and, owing to their knowledge 
of English, are able to employ the information to some pur- 
pose. On one recent occasion, having by some means dis- 
covered the name of the commander of the company holding 
a trench they were attacking, they called on him by name, 
asking if Captain was there. Fortunately, the pro- 
nunciation of the spokesman was somewhat defective, and 
curiosity was rewarded by discovering that both the officer 
in question and his men were very much there. 
92 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

There are reports from so many different quarters of the 
enemy having been seen wearing British and French uniforms 
that it is impossible to doubt their truth. One remarkable 
and absolutely authentic case occurred during the fighting 
near Ypres. A man dressed in a uniform which resembled 
that of a British Staff officer suddenly appeared near our 
trenches, and walked along the line, asking if many casualties 
had been suffered, and stating that the situation was serious, 
and that a general retirement had been ordered. A similar 
visit was reported by several men in different trenches, and 
orders were issued that this strange officer was to be de- 
tained if again seen. Unluckily, he did not make another 
appearance. 

The following remarks extracted from a German soldier's 
diary are published, not because there is reason to believe that 
they are justified as regards the conduct of the German officers, 
but because they are of interest as a human document : 

' 2nd November. Before noon sent out in a regular storm of bullets 
by order of the major. These gentlemen, the officers, send their men 
forward in the most ridiculous way. They themselves remain far 
behind safely under cover. Our leadership is really scandalous. 
Enormous losses on our side, partly from the fire of our own people, for 
our leaders neither know where the enemy lies nor where our own 
troops are, so that we are often fired on by our own men. It is a marvel 
to me that we have got on as far as we have done. Our captain fell, 
also all our section leaders, and a large number of our men. Moreover, 
no purpose was served by this advance, for we remained the rest of the 
day under cover, and could go neither forward nor back, nor even 
shoot. A trench we had taken was not occupied by us, and the English 
naturally took it back at night. That was the sole result. Then, 
when the enemy had again entrenched themselves, another attack was 
made costing us many lives and fifty prisoners. It is simply ridiculous, 
this leadership. If only I had known it before ! 

' My opinion of the German officers has changed. An adjutant 
shouted to us from a trench far to the rear to cut down a hedge which 
was in front of us. Bullets were whistling round from in front and 
from behind. The gentleman himself, of course, remained behind. 
The 4th company has now no leaders but a couple of N.C.O.'s. When 
will my turn come ? I hope to goodness I shall get home again ! 

' Still in the trenches. Shells and shrapnel burst without ceasing. 
In the evening a cup of rice and one-third of an apple per man. Let 
us hope peace will soon come. Such a war is really too awful. The 

93 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

English shoot like mad. If no reinforcements come up, especially 
heavy artillery, we shall have a poor look-out, and must retire. 

' The first day I went quietly into the fight with an indifference 
which astonished me. To-day, for the first time in advancing, when 
my comrades right and left fell, felt rather nervous, but lost that feeling 
again soon. One becomes horribly indifferent. Picked up a piece of 
bread by chance. Thank God ! At least something to eat. 

' There are about 70,000 English who must be attacked from all 
four sides and destroyed. They defend themselves, however, ob- 
stinately.' 

His Majesty the King's message of congratulation to the 
Commander-in-Chief has caused the liveliest satisfaction 
[i See amongst all ranks. 1 
Military, i, November 13-15 

The nature of the situation on our front has not altered 
since the last letter. The Germans have continued to press 
generally along our line and have focused their attention 
mostly round Ypres, though there has up to now not been a 
resumption of the violent attacks against that place. For 
the last ten days the weather has been much against aerial 
reconnaissances. It has either been so misty that nothing 
can be seen or so windy as to interfere with flying. There 
has also been a good deal of rain, which has added to the dis- 
comforts of active service. 

Before the course of events during the three days Novem- 
ber 13, 14, and 15 is given, it may be mentioned that the 
incident recorded in the last summary of the blowing up of 
some of the enemy in a mined trench on the night of the nth 
has had a curious sequel. Amidst the debris hurled into our 
own trenches by the explosion was found the identity disc of 
a German soldier belonging to a regiment about whose pre- 
sence in this quarter there has been much doubt. 

Friday, the I3th, was windy with much rain. Trying as 
life in the trenches is under such conditions, our men have at 
least the consolation of knowing that the enemy were in a 
worse plight, for the wind blew steadily in their faces. On our 
left the morning passed in desultory shelling, which gradually 
swelled in the afternoon into a fierce bombardment of the 
section of our line running south to the Menin- Ypres Road. 
This was the prelude to an attack upon the whole line round 
Ypres. The enemy rushed our trenches at one point, but 
94 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

they were driven out again, and the assault was repulsed. 
Here, again, our losses, though heavy, were much less than 
those of the Germans. As each successive attempt to take 
Ypres by assault fails, the bombardment of the unhappy town 
is renewed with ever-increasing fury. 

Farther to the south, on our left centre, the situation re- 
mained practically unchanged, a little ground being lost here 
and there and then regained. 

On our centre and right, and indeed along the whole of our 
line, the hostile artillery appears to have received orders on 
this day to search the area in rear of our trenches. This no 
doubt is a part of the policy of wearing down. It is naturally 
welcome to the men in the trenches that the enemy should 
expend ammunition on the mere chance of getting a shell 
or two into our transport or into some brigade or divisional 
headquarters. 

On the right, on the night of the I3th-i4th, a German 
trench was taken by a portion of one of our battalions, the 
occupants being bayoneted or taken prisoners. A part of 
another battalion which also advanced during the night 
encountered some of the enemy who were attempting a 
similar operation. A hand-to-hand fight ensued in which 
we came off the victors, killing 25 Germans and only losing 
two ourselves. 

Saturday was very cold. There was also some rain. On 
our left, proceedings were started with the usual heavy shelling, 
and the Germans again resumed the offensive in the afternoon 
south of the Menin- Ypres Road, with a similar result to that 
obtained on the previous day. They penetrated our line at 
one or two points ; but were soon driven out and the line was 
almost completely restored. Farther to the south the French 
made an attack near Wytschaete and gained some ground 
under cover of a heavy fire from their guns. In the afternoon 
our left centre was subjected to shelling alone, and in our 
centre Armentieres was subjected to similar treatment. The 
town is now practically deserted by its inhabitants. 

During the day Bethune was bombarded by the enemy, 
who continued to devote his attention to towns, villages, and 
roads in rear of our line rather than to the trenches them- 
selves. 

On Sunday, the I5th, on our left, east of Ypres, a well- 

95 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

conducted counter-attack was carried out against that portion 
of the line occupied by the enemy on the previous day, where 
he had established himself in some stables and trenches. Two 
attempts had already failed, when, at 5.30 A.M., a gun was 
brought up to within 300 yards range. After four rounds 
had been fired a storming party succeeded in carrying the 
position. The subaltern in command being killed, the attack 
was led by a company sergeant-major. This non-com- 
missioned officer was awarded the Distinguished Conduct 
Medal, but has since died of his wounds. 

The bombardment slackened considerably in this quarter 
during the day. About 3 P.M. a half-hearted attack was 
executed up the Menin Road, but the enemy never got to close 
quarters. On the south-east of Ypres, between Hollebeke and 
Wytschaete, there was some hard fighting, in which the French 
held their ground. 

On our left centre nothing occurred beyond the usual 
shelling. In the centre we scored a local success. Some of 
the trenches and houses lately captured by the Germans were 
heavily bombarded by our howitzers, with the result that the 
defenders were bolted from the position and caught by the fire 
of our machine-guns as they retired, losing about half their 
number. On our right all was quiet. 

The weather on this day was about the worst we have yet 
experienced. It was bitterly cold, and rain fell in torrents. 
Nevertheless, in spite of all difficulties, our aviators carried out 
a successful reconnaissance. For some time they hovered 
over the German lines observing the emplacements of batteries 
and searching the roads for hostile columns in the midst of a 
storm of driving snow and sleet which was encountered at 
high altitudes. 

Further information has recently come to hand regarding 
the enemy's methods of sniping and spying upon our dis- 
positions. Non-commissioned officers are offered Iron Crosses 
if they will penetrate our lines at night. Those that attempt 
this work, having discarded boots, helmets, and other im- 
pedimenta, crawl as close as possible to our defences and try 
to attract the attention of one of our sentries by throwing a 
stone in a direction contrary to that in which they are crawl- 
ing. This generally causes the neighbouring sentries to fire, 
thus betraying their positions and that of our line of trenches. 
96 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

These spies or snipers often wear khaki uniform and woollen 
caps similar to those worn by our men, and thus disguised 
sometimes succeed in getting right behind our lines to favour- 
able spots from which they shoot men passing to and fro. 
Many of them speak English well, and display great ingenuity / 
and effrontery in getting out of tight corners. 

Another reason for penetrating our lines is the cutting of 
telephone wires ; and behind one section of our front the 
breaks have of late been very frequent. That the damage 
has not been entirely due to bursting shells has now been 
proved by the capture of one of the enemy's secret agents 
carrying wire-cutters and a rifle. The man was known to 
have been on intimate terms with the Germans before they 
retired from the area now occupied by us. He was shot. 

The following is an account of the heroic conduct of a 
French medical officer who, while in charge of the Medical 
Corps of one of the French divisions, was attending to the 
wounded in the Civil Hospital at Ypres during the bombard- 
ment of that place. On November 9 he commenced a letter 
explaining the situation at that time : 

' I have the honour to inform you that for the last four 
days, with the help of volunteer assistants, I have been 
attending to 54 German wounded at the Civil Hospital at 
Ypres. The hospital has been struck by six shells, one of 
which was an incendiary shell. 

' Bread is failing, and my assistants are sharing their own 
with the wounded Germans. . . .' 

The letter continued that, to a suggestion that, since the 
position of the hospital and the danger incurred by their own 
men was known to the Germans, and these considerations did 
not affect them, there was no reason why the French should 
concern themselves any longer about their fate, his answer 
had been as follows : 

' I replied that our superiority consisted precisely in 
showing to this race of vandals that we possess those humani- 
tarian feelings of which they seem to be devoid, and that 
we should do this because example is the only law which 
nations obey. If we imitate the Germans there is no reason 
why the present state of things should not continue for ever, 
for we are merely descending to their level, whereas the mission 
of France is to elevate the Germans to our own. 

MILITARY 2 G 97 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

' So long as I remain here, by your leave, I will continue 
to look after the wounded Germans, showing them that a 
French doctor laughs at their shells, and only knows his duty.' 

On November 10, when the situation improved slightly, 
he wrote : 

'Two nursing sisters have returned from Poperinghe 
crying, driven hither by remorse for having abandoned their 
sick charges. . . . 

' I am continuing to dress the wounded. There are now 
only 52. Two have just died. The others are in a very grave 
condition ; their wounds are suppurating. All the men but 
one are in bed : one is suffering from tetanus/ 

This was the officer's last message, though, with the nuns, 
he remained in that hell for at least three days longer. He is 
reported to have been killed by a shell on the I3th or I4th, 
and on the morning of the I4th the surviving wounded were 
in sole charge of the nuns, who had remained faithful to 
the last. The Frenchman had died at his post tending to 
the maimed and suffering enemy. And his devotion was 
not in vain, for on the evening of the I4th the wounded 
Germans for whom he had laid down his life were taken to 
a place of safety. 

It is with great grief that the Army has learnt of the death 
of Field-Marshal Earl Roberts. 1 Though he died in the middle 
of his visit to us, he lived long enough to take what has proved 
to be a last farewell of the Indian troops amongst whom he 
began his career sixty years ago, and with whom so much of 
his life has been associated. Moreover, it is felt that he has 
met the end he would have wished, on active service as a 
soldier. At an age when he might well have claimed a rest, 
he has set a glorious example of patriotism, remaining in 
harness and carrying on the work to which he had devoted 
his life by coming out to greet those fighting for their country 
on the great day of trial that day whose arrival he had so 
clearly foreseen and for which he had so earnestly striven to 
prepare the nation. 

November 16-19 

Once more there is no change to record in the military 
situation on our front. With the exception of an attack in 
force, again upon our left, on the I7th, the four days from the 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

i6th to the igth have been unusually uneventful. The great 
change that has occurred has been in the weather, for winter 
has now set in in earnest. A miserable afternoon of snow 
and slush has been succeeded by a night of frost, and this 
morning is keen, calm, and bright, and promises well for 
the airmen, who have recently been so much hampered in 
their work. 

In regard to the exact situation at Ypres, since certain 
misstatements to the effect that the Germans had penetrated 
the town and been driven out again have apparently been 
circulated, it may be as well to state that Ypres is in the hands 
of the Allies, and that, save for prisoners of war, or possibly 
spies, no Germans have succeeded in entering the town or even 
getting near entering it. The Allied position there is stronger 
than it has ever been. 

On Monday, the i6th, our troops on the left passed the 
most peaceful day they have experienced during the last 
month. There was little shelling, and no infantry attacks 
were made. A prisoner asserted that it had been the inten- 
tion of the Germans to assault in this quarter on the I5th, 
but that the damage inflicted by our artillery on the previous 
day had been so heavy that it had been decided to postpone 
the operation until reinforcements should arrive. There is 
no doubt that on the igth, in massing preparatory to the 
attack, the Germans had committed certain faults and so 
given a good opportunity for our guns and Maxims, which 
was at once seized, with devastating results to the rear 
battalions. 

The fighting to the south of Ypres continued without any 
marked advantage to either side, but the French everywhere 
held their ground ; on our centre all was quiet ; and on our 
right the enemy continued to show some activity in pushing 
forward saps and throwing bombs from their trench-mortars. 
One of their sap-heads was successfully attacked during the 
night, and an earth-boring tool was captured. 

On Tuesday nothing particular occurred along our line 
except, as has been stated, on the left, where the Germans 
made yet another effort in the direction of Ypres. After 
shelling our positions to the east and south-east they made 
three attacks. About i P.M. their infantry advanced in 
strength against our section of this line and took possession 

99 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

of some trenches out of which our troops "had been driven by 
shell fire. When they endeavoured to press on, however, 
our infantry made a brilliant counter-attack with the bayonet 
and drove them out of the trenches and for some 500 yards 
beyond. 

The second attempt was made farther to south-west, and 
was pressed to within five yards of our line before it was 
broken by our rifle fire. On this occasion the Germans 
advanced obliquely across our front again, and suffered very 
severely both from our rifle and gun fire. The number of 
killed left in front of a length of some 500 yards of our front 
is estimated at about 1200. This assault was made by 
regular troops, though not by the Guard. About 3 P.M. they 
massed for a third assault, but on being subjected to a hot 
shell fire they gave up the attempt. On the whole it was a 
most successful day for our arms. 

Wednesday, the i8th, was another quiet day, and nothing 
occurred except shelling. On our right the enemy contented 
himself with sapping. It was stated that owing to the high 
tide the inundation was extending satisfactorily to the south- 
east of Dixmude. 

Thursday, the igth, was also uneventful. Our trench- 
mortars were used for the first time with good results. 

The successful resistance we have up to the present made 
to all the efforts of the enemy has had a very encouraging 
effect ; and in spite of the exhausting nature of the operations 
of the past month, our men show great enterprise in making 
local counter-attacks, in cutting off the enemy's patrols, and 
in similar ' affairs of outposts/ 

Frequent allusion has been made to the losses of the enemy. 
Round Ypres we are continually finding fresh evidence of 
the slaughter inflicted. On the I5th one of our battalions 
upon advancing discovered a German trench manned by 
17 corpses, while there were 49 more in a house close by. 
Next day a patrol discovered 60 dead in front of one trench 
and 50 opposite another. In fact, all the farms and cottages 
to our front are charnel-houses. The significance of such 
small numbers lies only in the fact that they represent the 
killed in a very small area. According to prisoners, the 
German attempts to take Ypres have proved costly. One 
man stated that there were only 15 survivors out of his 
100 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

platoon, which went into action 50 strong ; another reported 
that of 250 men who advanced with him only 19 returned. 

It is believed that one Bavarian regiment 3000 strong, 
which left Bavaria for the front on October 19, had only 
1200 men left before the attack made along the Menin-Ypres 
Road on November 14, in which it again suffered severely. 
The plight of some of the units of the new formations is even 
worse, one regiment of the 23rd Reserve Corps having but 
600 men out of 3000. If the period since the beginning of the 
war is considered, the numbers are greater. For instance, of 
the I5th Corps, one regiment had lost 60 officers and 2560 
men, and another had lost 3000 men. These figures include 
casualties of every kind killed, wounded, missing. 

On all four days the weather has been bad. Generally 
fine and frosty in the early morning, it has turned to rain as 
the day has worn on. On Thursday there was a variation, 
and snow started to fall about i P.M. and continued till about 
six o'clock. It fell in large soft flakes, and covered the ground 
to a depth of perhaps nearly two inches, but melted under 
foot. The state of the roads, already bad, was rendered worse, 
while the condition of the trenches became wretched beyond 
description. From having to sit or stand in a mixture of 
straw and liquid mud, the men had to contend with half- 
frozen slush. ' It is an ill wind/ however, and the one good 
point about the wet weather of the last few days is that it has 
made the ground so soft that the enemy's howitzer shell sink 
for some depth before they detonate and expend a great part 
of their energy in an upward direction, throwing mud about. 

Nevertheless, the wet and cold has added greatly to the 
hardships of the troops in the trenches ; and the problem of 
how to enable them to keep their feet reasonably dry and 
warm is now engaging serious attention. At one place, 
owin^ to the kindness of the proprietor, certain works have 
recently been placed at our disposal as a wholesale bath- 
house, lavatory, and repair shop. In the works are a number 
of vats large enough to contain several men at one time, and 
they serve most excellently for the provision of hot baths for 
the men on relief from the trenches. Whilst they are en- 
joying a bath their clothes are taken away. The under- 
clothing is washed or burnt and replaced by a new set, whilst 
the uniform is fumigated, cleaned, and repaired, and buttons 

101 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

are sewn on and repairs done by a gang of women who are 
employed for the purpose. At this installation some 1500 
men are catered for every day. 

What this rehabilitation really means to the soldiers can 
alone be appreciated from a realisation of their previous state. 
It must be remembered that they have not only not bathed 
for weeks, they have not even been able to take off their 
clothes, and consequently in many cases officers as well as 
men are verminous. As the latter troop up to the bath they 
are, to say the least of it, unprepossessing in appearance. 
Weary, unshorn, and haggard, they are coated with mud, a 
good deal of which has crusted on them, and some are splashed 
with the blood of their comrades or of the enemy. When 
they come out clean, refreshed, and reclothed, they are 
different beings. And not only is this a good thing from the 
point of view of the happiness and comfort of the individual ; 
it is a distinct gain in his fighting value and an asset to the 
force to which he belongs. 

Nevertheless, bodily the men are in good condition. Food 
in abundance has reached them regularly, except in a few 
cases such as are incidental to trench warfare. 

The following is a collection of extracts from the diaries 
of German soldiers. Except the last two, they have no 
special bearing on the present phase of the operations, for they 
refer to a period which has now passed ; but they throw some 
light on the different aspects of the actual fighting, and may, 
therefore, be of interest to those who have no first-hand ex- 
perience. They throw light, also, upon the psychological side 
of warfare and upon the manner in which their experiences 
affect the more impressionable of the men engaged. In this 
connection the effect produced by shell fire on the minds of 
the writers is somewhat remarkable, though their estimates 
of the losses suffered may be over the mark. Those of jis in 
the field are sufficiently uncharitable to derive comfort from 
any revelation of the success of our operations, whether it be 
in the nature of the actual damage inflicted, or of the depres- 
sion caused thereby. 

From the Diary of a Man of the qth Jdger Battalion 

' We got our (? machine) guns into position, but did not fire, as 
we were informed that it was our H4th Infantry Regiment that was 
102 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

shooting at us. It was only by sounding the Wacht am Rhein that we 
were able to bring the fellows to their senses. 

' The enemy's artillery fire was now directed more to the left w Our 
regiment began to retire. How the shells followed us ! One exploded 
three yards from our gun-carriage, and showered earth all over us, 
but did no further damage. Another dropped just in front and 
wounded two men mortally, and then a third exploded twenty yards 
ahead, right in the middle of a column, killing twelve men outright. 
A horrible sight ! We were retiring on the village of St. Pol. Luckily 
the enemy's fire did not follow us here, for there would certainly have 
been a panic. One company leader, Lieutenant Fuchs, was killed by 
a piece of shell, and our Captain is now the only officer we have left. 

' On this day our position was literally plastered by the heavy 
French naval guns. One projectile fell in a trench, killing nine men 
and wounding several others severely. Another fell in a trench of the 
loth Company with the same deadly effect. An enormous shell ex- 
ploded near the nth Company trench, destroying fifteen yards of it 
and burying some twelve men. One of the howitzer batteries of the 
30th Artillery Regiment suffered very severely. Two of its guns were 
hit and broken up. At the end of the day we all felt very bad/ 

' The I42nd Regiment, lying to the right of us, suffered very much 
and had to keep on withdrawing, as shell after shell was falling right 
in its trenches, and the men were absolutely exhausted. When shells 
are dropping in front, behind, to the right, and to the left, to remain 
in suspense continually in expectation of death or injury without being 
able to make any resistance, and to hear the screams of wounded who 
cannot be attended to in the narrow trenches, is a sensation which can 
be appreciated only by those who have experienced it.' 

From a Letter of a Gunner of the Field Artillery 
No. n 

21/10/14. 

' On the 26th September a French aviator dropped a bomb on 
Cambrai, killing four Landwehr men and tearing off the arm of the 
Paymaster. On the 2Qth we were again sent to Verdun, south of Arlon. 
... On the 4th October in Mons, thence to Lille. On the 8th October 
our 2nd Battery suffered heavy losses at Dulle (?), losing seven men and 
nineteen horses. On the nth we did not come into action, but took 
twenty prisoners.' 

From a Letter of a Man of the qth Jdger Battalion 

21/10/14. 

' We reached Peronne on the 27th September. We were then 
ordered to march on Combre (?) in the Amiens District. We were 

103 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

attached to the Cavalry Division, to support it, and also to cover the 
flank of the Guard Division. 

' On the 5th October we reached Lens, and on the 7th took up a 
position at Jeuer. The enemy shelled us so heavily all day that 
Lieutenant B. gave the order to retire at 4 P.M., and we lost touch of the 
other companies. We retreated under terrible rifle and shell fire, and 
had hardly arrived under cover when our captain drove us out again 
to our old position. The fire was so heavy on our return that I was 
surprised that we got there at all ; it was so terrible that one could 
imagine hell had. opened up and was pouring fire out of a thousand 
craters. I spent the most terrible hours of my life that day. The 
awful bombardment continued, our artillery not being able to give us 
any protection. At noon the next day we were forced to retire. This 
movement took place under still heavier artillery and machine-gun fire. 
How I survived is a wonder/ 

From the Diary of a Bavarian Non-Commissioned Officer 

' 31/8/14. We suffered terribly from the enemy's artillery. The 
village is in ruins and is like a slaughter-house ; dead horses, bodies of 
men torn to bits, pools of blood a picture of horror. The 5,th G. 
Regiment is marching up to relieve us. This regiment has already 
been decimated in the fighting a day or two ago. 

' The enemy directs a hellish shell fire against us and our artillery ; 
one battery is destroyed, and ammunition wagon is on fire ; wounded 
are crying out. Even the gravest trembles. My men tell their rosaries 
continually. Only One Above can help us. 

' 8/9/14. Yesterday one of our sections was surprised by the 
enemy and almost annihilated. Only two men survive. 

' 8/10/14. We are now near the town of Arras in the N.W. of 
France. I am now leader (as Sergeant) of my company, as all our 
officers have either been killed or wounded. We have suffered terrible 
losses during the last few days. Yesterday I was nearly killed, a bullet 
hitting my belt buckle/ 

From a Letter of a Man of the 246^ Reserve Regiment 
(zjth Reserve Corps}. 

' On the 24th October we were ordered to be ready for an assault 
before dawn. We had hardly advanced five hundred yards when we 
were met by a terrific shell fire from the English. When we were col- 
lected again I found what an awful disaster had overtaken us. Of our 
battalion scarcely eighty men came through/ 

(Note. This apparently refers to one of the preliminary attacks 
in the neighbourhood of Ypres.) 
104 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

From a Letter of a Man of the 2^2nd Reserve Regiment of the Same Corps 

' The shooting of the English artillery is marvellous. They get 
the right range and direction every shot, and place each shell within 
a yard of the previous one. They must be wonderfully well informed 
of our movements. I don't know whether the intelligence is obtained 
by their aeroplanes, which are always hovering over us, or whether 
they have telephones behind our lines/ 

November 20-22 

As regards the progress on our immediate front affairs 
remain in statu quo, and there is no change to record except a 
climatic one, which has, in this quarter, really affected both 
sides more than any operations. The cold which set in on the 
20th has continued without break. For three days the hard 
frost was accompanied by brilliant sunshine, but to-day, 
though the cold continues, the sky is clouded over. Accord- 
ing to local authorities and gazetteers, the climate of the Pas 
de Calais is not subject to extremes of temperature, so it is to 
be hoped that the present severe weather, which is causing 
great hardship to the troops, in spite of the welcome sunshine, 
may prove to be only a cold ' snap/ 

It is true that since the snow has frozen hard the men 
in the firing line are no longer suffering the misery of living in 
mud and slush, which culminated on the evening of the igth, 
but it is almost impossible for them to keep warm at night in 
the open trenches. To give some idea of what life means 
under such conditions, it may be mentioned that many men are 
so stiff that they have to be lifted out on relief, and that some 
have been admitted to hospital suffering from frost-bite. 
Beyond the hardship inflicted on individuals, the change in 
the weather has chiefly affected aerial reconnaissance and the 
question of transport. 

The former has been much facilitated in two ways. In 
the bright sunlight and through the clear atmosphere the 
whole landscape is very clearly visible even from the height 
at which our aviators are forced to fly by the hostile anti- 
aircraft guns, while against the white background of snow, 
entrenchments, roads, transports, rolling stock, and troops 
show up most distinctly. On the other hand, the present 
cold experienced at high altitudes, intensified by the speed at 

105 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

which the aeroplanes travel through the air, greatly increases 
the rigour of the work. In spite of the employment of every 
device for retaining warmth, both pilots and observers have 
on some recent occasions returned so numb that they have 
had to be lifted from their machines. 

The difficulty of transport and communication has to some 
extent been reduced by the cold, for as the coating of ice has 
been worn off or ground up the pave has become far less 
slippery than it was when damp and greasy, while for the 
heavy motor-lorries the frozen ground on the sides of the 
roads is naturally better than a foot of slippery mud. 

To turn to the operations : the 2oth, 2ist, and 22nd have 
been as uneventful as the preceding three days. To avoid 
any misconception, however, it must be explained that the 
use of this adjective is entirely comparative. What is now 
considered as uneventful is not so in the peace sense of the 
word. It merely signifies that no active operation of any 
special vigour by either side has stood out from the back- 
ground of artillery bombardment. This continues day and 
night with varying intensity, hardly ever ceasing altogether, 
and includes fire from the 42 cm. howitzers one of which is 
believed to be in use against our left down to that of the 
anti-aircraft spitfires. It implies, also, that hundreds of 
shells are bursting and detonating along the length of each 
line, and that men are continually being killed and wounded. 
And yet, comparatively, even from so small a standpoint of 
the whole war as that of the British Army alone, uneventful 
is the only word to apply to such days days on which scores 
of lives are being lost. 

Friday, the 2Oth, passed absolutely without any occurrence 
of special importance. By that time our line had been so 
much strengthened owing to the arrival of reinforcements as 
to make it possible for the men in the trenches to be relieved 
regularly and frequently, and thus to gain the rest they re- 
quire. It was found that the difficulty of patrolling had been 
much increased by the snow, the men's figures showing up so 
clearly against the white background. 

In the centre our enemy employed a ' silent ' gun, which 
may be pneumatic or worked by some mechanical contrivance. 
Its chief points appear to be that there is no report of dis- 
charge, that the projectile travels through the air without 
106 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

any such warning sound as that made by ordinary shell, and 
that the first notice received of its arrival is its detonation. 
So far this weapon has done no damage. On our right centre 
our artillery made some good practice, especially in the neigh- 
bourhood of Neuve Chapelle, where it rendered some of the 
German trenches untenable. During the day much valuable 
information was obtained from aerial reconnaissance. 

Saturday, the 2ist, was of a similar nature to Friday. 
On our left there was no activity. In the left centre the 
opposing trenches were at some points not more than 25 to 
40 yards apart. In this quarter good effects were being 
produced by the use of rifle grenades ; the shrapnel was found 
an efficacious means of curbing the German snipers, who were 
very enterprising. On the right centre the German airmen 
were active and dropped a bomb on Bailleul. This has no 
more useful effect in helping on their operations than most of 
the other similar exploits of their airmen, for the bomb dropped 
on the hospital. Being fitted with a sensitive fuse, which 
acted on impact with the roof, it detonated midway through 
the ward just below before reaching the floor. Luckily the 
ward had just been vacated by forty patients, but one wounded 
man who had been left behind was again wounded. Every 
window within a large radius of the explosion was shattered. 
On our right a German aeroplane was forced to descend in 
our lines after an action in the air with one of our machines, 
and the observing officer and the pilot were made prisoners. 
They were found to be furnished with proclamations printed 
in Hindi recommending the native troops to desert. 

Sunday, the 22nd, was unusually quiet, and more like the 
Day of Rest than it has been for some time. On our left 
sniping was again countered by the use of shrapnel. Two 
more German aeroplanes were brought down, one was chased 
by one of our machines for some distance, during which a 
running fight was kept up, in which our aviator was slightly 
wounded in the hand. It then came down in our lines. 
When they landed the German observer and pilot appeared 
to be much surprised and disgusted to discover where they 
had descended. The officer who succeeded in forcing down 
this hostile machine had previously flown over Lille, where 
he had dropped several bombs on the aerodrome. The other 
aeroplane was also chased and forced to descend, but managed 

107 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

to do so inside the German lines. On our right a short section 
of one trench held by the Indian Corps was blown in by bombs 
from a trench-mortar and had to be abandoned. But, more 
than counterbalancing this, our heavy guns scored direct hits 
on two of the German batteries. 

Some of the roads behind the enemy's front line in one 
quarter have, it is believed, become impassable owing partly 
to the weather conditions existing before the recent drop in 
temperature and also to the attentions of the Allied artillery. 
It is possible to render roads impracticable by long-range fire 
from heavy guns, either by shelling any object that attempts 
to pass, or by merely dropping shell on the road itself. A 
combination of craters such as are made by large calibre 
high-explosive shell and a sea of deep mud forms an obstacle 
difficult of negotiation by motor transport. 

Many reports have come in of the excellent results recently 
achieved by our artillery, especially in repelling the attacks 
on Ypres, in which quarter of the field our artillery officers 
say they have had such targets as gunners dream of but 
seldom see. On one occasion, in order to support our infantry 
in a counter-attack, one of our guns was brought up to within 
500 yards of the enemy, and succeeded almost immediately 
in getting a direct hit on a German gun, silencing it, and killing 
several of the infantry at the same time. In another part of 
the field our trench-mortars have been effective in throwing 
bombs into the enemy's works. 

In the kind of warfare now being waged, which is in many 
cases conducted at very close quarters, the opposing lines 
being often not so much as 40 yards apart, the strangest 
situations occasionally arise. Our men and the enemy con- 
verse for many of the Germans understand English hold 
shooting competitions, and throw packets of tobacco to one 
another. These positions in close proximity to the enemy 
are not unwelcome to our men, for then they are at any rate 
secure from shell fire, the hostile artillery being unable to 
shoot at them for fear of hitting its own infantry. Indeed, 
for either side a trench close to the enemy is often a safer 
spot than any other in the fighting zone. 

The news of the destruction of the Emden 1 naturally caused 
immense satisfaction amongst all ranks ; and at one place 
where the opposing trenches were especially close together it 
108 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

was greeted with cheers and at once thoughtfully passed on 
with comments to the enemy. The result was that our trench 
was fired at heavily for some time. The reaction produced 
in France by a British success in the Indian Ocean may in- 
terest some of those who took part in the naval action. 

It is reported that a certain Landwehr brigade, one of 
whose mail-bags has recently been found in front of a German 
trench, is now fighting on the Russian frontier. 

November 23-25 

Again there is no change to be reported in the military 
situation. The break in the weather foreshadowed by the 
cloudy sky of the 22nd has now arrived, and since the 23rd 
a thaw has set in. It is consequently again wet underfoot, 
though the weather has been fine. The narrative for the 
three days, November 23-25, is as follows : 

On Monday, the 23rd, interest centred on the south of the 
Lys, where the Germans resumed their activity in the neigh- 
bourhood of Festubert. In the morning, having sapped 
towards a certain section of our position and bombarded it* 
with trench-mortars, they advanced and succeeded in cap- 
turing some of our trenches by a rush. Two counter-attacks 
were delivered by us in the afternoon, but were stopped by 
bombs and machine-gun fire. 

During the night, however, the enemy was gradually 
driven from the positions he had captured, losing over 100 
killed and 100 prisoners, including three officers. Three 
machine-guns and a trench-mortar were also taken. This 
counter-attack was carried out in the face of heavy fire from 
machine-guns, our British and Indian troops storming the 
trenches on both flanks, and then clearing them by working 
inwards. The Gurkhas did considerable execution at close 
quarters with their kukris, even penetrating into some of the 
German trenches, while a grenade party, led by an officer 
of the Royal Engineers, co-operated with great effect. Our 
casualties were numerous, as is natural in fighting at such 
close quarters, but they were not so heavy as those of the 
enemy. 

During the German attack on the 23rd, a British officer 
in charge of a trench in a position of some tactical importance 

109 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

received an urgent telephone message instructing him to hold 
on at all costs. His reply was to the effect that he had never 
had any intention of doing anything else, and that he would 
be obliged if he could be informed when his men's rations 
would be sent up. 

On this night a minor success was gained a few miles 
farther north by a small party belonging to one of our bat- 
talions. After the officer in command had shot the German 
sentry, our men, by rapid fire, cleared three of the enemy's 
advanced trenches without sustaining any casualties. Our 
guns then interposed to keep down the fire from other trenches 
as our men retired. On the rest of our line nothing of interest 
occurred ; the bombardment continued to slacken, being re- 
placed to a great extent by sniping on both sides. 

During this war the cavalry have had to play many roles, 
varying from charging with the bayonet to sapping and even 
mining, but November 23 furnished a fresh experience even 
for them, a brigade being moved by motors, since the road 
was too slippery for horses. 

Tuesday, the 24th, was absolutely uneventful. One of 
our Territorial battalions proved themselves already adepts 
at sniping by accounting for seven Germans with a loss of one 
man to themselves. On our right there was much bomb- 
throwing on both sides, but the enemy showed no inclination 
to press on. That night, in the centre of oar line, an officer 
accompanied by some sappers and an infantry escort went 
out in order to mine a farm from which there had been sniping. 
Under fire from the German trenches they laid the charge 
and retired. A party of the enemy went into the farm, found 
the fuse, and cut it. 

There was, however, another means of firing the charge, 
which, unluckily for them, they did not discover, and the 
building and its occupants were blown up. 

Wednesday, the 25th, was a comparatively warm day, 
which, after the cold of the last few nights, came as a great 
relief to the men in the trenches. All was quiet along our 
line except on the left, where both sides continued to shell 
one another's positions. In the centre our troops have con- 
trived to make it extremely unpleasant for the Germans who 
gained a foothold on the edge of Ploegsteert Wood some weeks 
ago. Their position is subjected to a cross fire from all direc- 
no 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

tions, which during the last two days alone has accounted for 
nineteen men. Indeed, since the enemy desisted from his 
attacks in force, the fighting has resolved itself into a com- 
petition in sniping and small affairs of outposts all along the 
line, contested with rifle, hand-grenades, bombs from mortars, 
and mines. 

Our aeroplanes have been especially active in offence 
during the last few days, having dropped 123 bombs on various 
targets which need not be specified. One of our heavy 
howitzers, also, registered a direct hit on a railway station. 

Every effort is being made to mitigate the hardships in- 
cidental to campaigning in winter. The trenches themselves 
are heated by braziers and stoves and floored with straw, 
bricks, and boards. Behind them are shelters and dug-outs 
of every description, most ingeniously contrived so as to give 
some degree of comfort and facilities for cooking. The men 
are being provided with skin-coats in addition to their great- 
coats. 

There is remarkably little sickness, which fact is due no 
doubt to the ample quantity and excellent quality of food, 
but there have been several cases of frost-bite in the feet. 
Hot baths are being arranged for the men when their turn of 
duty is over. The arrangements for bathing made at one 
place already described have now been elaborated, and after 
bathing a man can rest, drink a cup of coffee, and smoke a 
cigarette. 

The account already given of the repulse of the attack 
by the Prussian Guard on November n was necessarily brief, 
and no reference was made to the prominent, and, indeed, 
decisive part played by the artillery. After the enemy 
had broken .through our front line, the situation became 
most serious, for there were only two field companies of 
Royal Engineers available at the moment as a reserve in 
this quarter of the field. On the right front of the German 
attack, firing through open spaces between the woods, were a 
heavy battery and a field battery, which dealt havoc amongst 
the attackers both before and after they reached our line. 
But the Germans continued to come on almost up to the 
guns, some bodies being picked up at a distance of only 70 
yards from them. 

Realising that all might be lost unless a firing line of some 

in 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

kind could be established, the battery officers managed to 
form a line of gunners, regimental cooks, and details of various 
descriptions. These men stood firm, kept up a steady rifle 
fire, and checked the assault at a most critical moment, thus 
enabling other troops to come up to repel it more completely. 
At another point five Sapper cooks attacked a house contain- 
ing some Germans who were sniping a French battery at short 
range. They drove an equal number of Germans from the 
house, capturing three of them. 

One of our artillery officers, who was observing for his 
battery from a building near the firing line, found himself 
completely cut off and in rear of the Germans who had gained 
our advanced trenches. Not at all perturbed, however, by 
the strangeness of his situation, and recognising that a turn 
of affairs had given him a unique opportunity, he continued 
for two whole days to direct the fire of the guns by telephone, 
subsequently rejoining our troops by night. 

Another officer of the same regiment who was employed 
on a similar duty also had a strange experience. Stationed 
in one of our advanced trenches, he was engulfed in the wave 
of Germans who suddenly appeared from the mist and pressed 
on past the trench in which he was ensconced. He then 
found himself stranded high and dry between the two 
advancing masses of the enemy. Running down the rear 
of the front column, he succeeded in the fog in escaping to 
the flank without being noticed. 

It speaks wonders for German discipline that their officers 
should be able to get so much out of their men, but an incident 
which occurred recently in front of one of our battalions shows 
that the demands made are sometimes beyond the limit of 
human endurance. The Germans were holding. the edge of a 
wood, and in order to attack our trenches had to advance 
across an open space of some 200 yards. After much shout- 
ing and cries of ' Vorwarts ' the first assault was delivered. 
It was repelled, and the enemy retired to the shelter of the 
wood. The assault was repeated a second and then a third 
time, being on each occasion preluded by louder exhortations. 
Once again did our listening men hear shouts of ' Vorwarts ' ; 
but on this occasion these were greeted with loud exclama- 
tions of ' Nein,' ' Nein,' and no advance was made. 

The way in which Our troops have been supplied is ad- 

112 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

mittedly one of the features of the campaign. In fact it is 
probably not saying too much to state that no soldiers in the 
field have ever been so well fed as are ours to-day. Full 
credit for this must be given to the branch of the British 
Army concerned, but at the same time it must be recognised 
that its efforts would have been in vain except for the whole- 
hearted co-operation and assistance of the French railway 
authorities. The railway system has worked without a 
hitch, and in carrying out a complicated transport task which 
has developed in a direction which could not exactly have 
been foreseen, has proved to what an extent of elastic efficiency 
the organisation has been brought by preparation and practice 
in peace manoeuvres. Amidst all its multifarious duties in 
supplying the French troops spread over an arc of some 350 
miles, it has never once failed in the additional duty of acting 
as a line of communication for the British Army. 

Retrospect October and November 

As was said in the last narrative, there has recently been 
a lull in active operations. No progress has been made by 
either side in our sphere of action, and no change has occurred 
in the situation of the British relative to the enemy. Yet 
there has come about an important modification in the scope 
of the part played by our army as a whole. This modification, 
comprising a readjustment of our forces, has been maturing 
for some time, and has now been completed. It can therefore 
be referred to in some detail in the course of a brief general 
review of the development of the situation of the Expedi- 
tionary Force during the past six weeks. 

When that force was transferred northwards from the 
Aisne to the neighbourhood of the Belgian frontier during 
the first days of October, its task was to prolong the left flank 
of the French and to prosecute farther north the action which 
they had been so gallantly carrying on for a month on our left, 
from Soissons up to the north of Arras, and also to join hands 
with the French and Belgian forces on the coast. Incidentally, 
in attempting this, it was compelled to assume responsibility 
for a very extended section of front. That this was so was 
due to the exigencies of the moment and to the numerical in- 
adequacy of the British Army for the part it was forced to 
play by the course taken by the war. 

MILITARY 2 H 113 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

It is necessary to point out that in any appreciation of 
the role played by our forces in the past, being played in the 
present, or to be played in the future, sight must never be lost 
of the fact that they are not waging this war single-handed, 
and that their deeds, important as they naturally must appear 
to us, represent but a small fraction of the joint action of the 
Allies in the western theatre of war. Geographically the 
extent of front for which the British were responsible during 
October was in length less than one-twelfth of the immense 
line, from Switzerland on the right to the English Channel 
on the left, held by the Allies. This being so, it is obvious 
that by far the greater share of the common task of opposing 
the enemy a share which they have splendidly performed 
has fallen and still falls to the French, while the Belgians have 
played an important, almost vital, part. 

This extended front having been taken up by our Army, 
what happened ? As has already been pointed out, the action 
on its part at first, up to October 20, was preparatory in 
nature, the British advancing in an attempt to turn the 
German right, and the Germans fighting delaying actions in 
order to gain time for reinforcements to come up. From 
the moment that Antwerp fell on October 9 the Germans 
made every effort to push forward the besieging forces re- 
leased towards the west, and to follow up the Belgian Field 
Army and the British detachment landed on the coast. They 
also hastened to bring up from various parts of Germany 
certain new army corps which had been hastily raised and 
trained after the commencement of the war. Their object 
was first to reinforce their comparatively weak right wing 
north of La Bassee, which was being gradually pushed back 
by the enveloping British, and then, pivoted on that place, 
which was still in their hands, to assume the offensive in 
strength, drive the Allies out of Belgium, and break through 
to Dunkirk and Calais. 

Of their new formations four corps reached the zone of 
operations comprised in the stretch of country from Lille to 
the sea between October 15 and 21 ; and these, with the 
troops which had been set free from Antwerp, together 
made up a force of some 250,000 fresh men. Other corps 
were also concentrated from different parts of the front, and 
eventually the Germans had, north of La Bassee, about 
114 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

fourteen corps and eight cavalry divisions, that is, a force 
of three-quarters of a million men with which to attempt to 
drive the Allies into the sea. In addition, and this is most 
important, there was the immensely powerful armament of 
heavy siege artillery which had also been brought up from 
round Antwerp. 

As is known, the first blow was delivered about October 17 
along the coast, against our Allies round Nieuport and in the 
neighbourhood of Dixmude, both places being beyond the 
left of our line, which then had its flank slightly to the 
north-east of Ypres. From that time up to the 28th a series 
of desperate attempts were made against the French and 
Belgians holding the line of the Yser, who resisted with the 
utmost determination and entire success. Shortly after these 
attacks commenced, on October 20, the enemy began also 
to press at different points along our front ; and from that 
day up to November 17, or for nearly a month, he continued 
to deliver a succession of furious blows, the most violent of* 
which were directed against Ypres. At the commencement 
of this period the Allies were very greatly outnumbered, which 
fact enabled the Germans, in the execution of their offensive 
strategy, to mass greater strength than that possessed by the 
defence at any place selected for attack, or, in other words, at the 
place which for the moment was regarded as the decisive point. 

To turn to the action of the British Army round Ypres : 
for practically a month it succeeded in holding its ground 
against those repeated onslaughts made by vastly superior 
forces. The action during this period can be divided into 
two phases, one lasting from October 20, when the Germans 
first assumed the offensive against us definitely, to Novem- 
ber 2, and the other from the 3rd to the I7th of that month. 
Before these two phases are considered, however, it will be 
as well to define briefly in what manner the portion of the 
line most concerned, i.e. that near Ypres, was held, so that 
some idea may be gained of the course of the operations in 
connection with locality. At first, when the German offensive 
started, the British held part of the re-entrant in the line to 
the north of the Ypres salient, the salient to the east of the 
town, and the re-entrant to the south of it. The German 
attacks in this quarter were of a double nature. Against the 
northern and southern re-entrants their immediate object 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

was to cut off the defenders of the Ypres salient. Against the 
east of the salient, from the direction of Menin, their efforts 
were directed to drive the defenders straight westwards 
through the town. 

During the first phase, from October 21 to 23, occurred 
the unsuccessful attack of the German 23rd Corps against us 
in the neighbourhood of Bixschoote and that of the 27th Corps 
from the neighbourhood of Becelaere against the British on 
the north of the Menin Road, both of these corps being new 
formations. After these attacks the French relieved us of 
part of the front on the northern re-entrant. This phase 
culminated in the five days' desperate fighting on the east of 
Ypres, which lasted from October 29 till November 2, when 
the Germans attempted to capture the town by a direct blow 
westwards and penetration through the southern re-entrant. 

This operation, as has previously been described, was 
their great effort, heralded by numerous orders inciting the 
troops to do their utmost, preluded and supported by an 
intense concentrated artillery fire, and encouraged by the 
presence of the Emperor. The attack was made by five corps 
in all, and when first its full fury fell on us we were still holding 
a very extended front, in spite of the fact that the French 
had relieved us of a portion of it to the north and were co- 
operating most gallantly in the defence. 

During this time our force which consisted all along of 
the same units, be it noted had to withstand an almost 
continuous bombardment and to meet one desperate assault 
after another, each carried out by fresh units drawn from 
the large number which the Germans were devoting to the 
operation. 

On the 30th the French came to our assistance and took 
over a portion of our front on the southern re-entrant, thus 
relieving the pressure considerably ; and on the succeeding 
days a continuous stream of French reinforcements arrived 
in this quarter and in the north of Ypres. Never was help 
more welcome, for by then our small local reserves had again 
and again been thrown into the fight in the execution of 
repeated counter-attacks, and our men were exhausted by 
incessant fighting. 

It is an interesting fact that this timely relief should have 
been afforded us by our Allies within a few days of the sixtieth 
116 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

anniversary of that other occasion at the Battle of Inkerman 
when the British Army welcomed a French force advancing 
to its assistance. 

During the second phase in the struggle there was a 
renewal of the attacks, marked by the special effort made by 
the Prussian Guard on the nth directly westwards against 
the salient, and that made by the 15th Corps on November 
17 to force its way in by the southern re-entrant. The 
results of those attempts are known. On November 20 the 
thin khaki line in this quarter was finally relieved by the 
French, and our weary men vacated the battered trenches 
they had so gallantly held for a month. 

This, then, is the modification of the role now being 
played by the British Army ; its front has been considerably 
shortened by the extent taken over by the French, and has, 
in addition, been reinforced. The lull in activity of about a 
week in the operations also has enabled us to readjust our 
forces, strengthen their position, and to bring up reserves. 
There has, therefore, been a great general improvement in 
the conditions under which we are carrying on the fight : 
and the time has arrived when it becomes possible for the 
first time without danger of giving away information that 
might enlighten and encourage the enemy, to refer to what 
our troops have done in one quarter of the small portion of 
the whole battle line which they have been holding, and to 
explain broadly why the stand made by them during the 
month after October 20, 1914, forms one of the most glorious 
chapters in our military history. Special attention is drawn 
to this quarter of our front because it was that most highly 
tried. 

It may be that the story of that month will never be fully 
told. Many of those who could have supplied essential details 
are dead, and the nature of the fighting was such as to pre- 
clude any chance of careful records being kept. But it can be 
said that the dogged pluck of the troops and the individual 
acts of gallantry and devotion on the part of regimental 
officers and men again and again retrieved a situation that 
was at times critical ; and that it has been due solely to their 
resource, initiative, and endurance that success has lain 
with us. 

As the struggle swayed backwards and forwards through 

117 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

wood and hamlet, the fighting assumed a most confused and 
desperate character. Units became inextricably mixed, and 
in many cases, in order to strengthen some threatened point 
or fill a gap in the line, officers had to collect and throw into 
the fight what men they could, regardless of the units to 
which they belonged. In one trench a subaltern was perhaps 
in charge of a detachment composed of Scotch, Irish, and 
English regiments. Here, a brigadier commanded a few 
companies. There, another has been in control of a division. 
One officer of that rank at one time had thirteen battalions 
under his command, which were much below strength owing 
to casualties and the disintegration inseparable from hand-to- 
hand fighting. Our casualties have been severe, but we have 
been fighting a battle, and a battle implies casualties. And 
heavy as they have been, it must be remembered that they 
have not been suffered in vain. The duty of the French, 
Belgians, and British in the western theatre of operations has 
been to act as a containing force, in other words, to hold on 
and to keep occupied as many of the enemy as possible 
whilst the Russians were attacking in the east. In this we 
have succeeded in playing our part, and by our resistance 
have contributed materially towards the success of the 
campaign. 

Moreover, our losses have not impaired our fighting 
efficiency. The troops have required only a slight respite 
in order to be able to continue the action with as much deter- 
mination as ever. They are physically fit and well fed, and 
have suffered merely from the fatigue inseparable from a pro- 
tracted struggle such as they have been through. The severest 
handling by the enemy has never had more than a temporary 
effect on their spirits, which have soon recovered owing to the 
years of discipline and training to which officers and men have 
been accustomed. 

The value of such preparation is as noticeable on the side 
of the enemy as on our own. The phenomenal losses suffered 
by the German new formations have been remarked, and 
they were in part due to their lack of training. Moreover, 
though at the first onset these formations advanced to the 
attack as bravely as their active corps, they have not by 
any means shown the same recuperative power. The 27th 
Corps, for instance, which is a new formation, composed 
118 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

principally of men with only from seven to twelve weeks' 
training, has not yet recovered from its first encounter with 
British infantry round Becelaere, to the north-east of Ypres, 
a month ago. On the other hand, the Guard Corps, in spite 
of having suffered severely in Belgium, of having been thrown 
headlong across the Oise at Guise, and of having lost large 
numbers on the plains of Champagne and on the banks of 
the Aisne, advanced against Ypres on November n as bravely 
as they did on August 20. 

It is well that the services of those who lie dead on the 
slopes and in the woods along the Franco-Belgian frontier 
should be realised, even though the realisation of their perfor- 
mances must at present of necessity be imperfect. Theirs it 
has been to defend against tremendous odds a line that could 
only be maintained if they were prepared to undergo great 
sacrifices. 

The fact that the situation has now been relieved is no 
reason for assuming that the enemy has abandoned his 
intention to press through to the sea ; and the same task 
lies before the British Army of maintaining its share in the 
struggle until the nation in arms shall come to our support. 
The price already paid has been, and will doubtless be, great, 
but it will be paid ungrudgingly, in the certainty that help 
will come before long. 

What the Army has done cannot be better expressed than 
in the concluding words of a Special Order recently issued by 
the Field-Marshal Commanding-in-Chief : 

' I have made many calls upon you, and the answers you have made 
to them have covered you, your regiments, and the Army to which 
you belong with honour and glory. 

'Your fighting qualities, courage, and endurance have been sub- 
jected to the most trying and severe tests, and you have proved your- 
selves worthy descendants of the British soldiers of the past who have 
built up the magnificent traditions of the regiments to which you 
belong. 

' You have not only maintained those traditions, but you have 
materially added to their lustre. 

' It is impossible for me to find words in which to express my ap- 
preciation of the splendid services you have performed/ 

The Germans are, indeed, no unworthy foes. In spite of 
the strain of conducting a gigantic struggle on two fronts, 

119 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

they continue to attack with a courage which appears to 
be but little abated by failure. In this quarter they have 
not succeeded in gaining the Straits of Dover ; but the new 
army which they put into the field in the middle of October 
has enabled them to consolidate their position on this frontier, 
and to retain all but a very small portion of Belgium, in- 
cluding an important stretch of coastline. Well as they have 
fought, however, it is doubtful if their achievements have 
been commensurate with their losses, which, as has been said, 
have recently been very largely due to the lack of training 
and comparative lack of discipline of the improvised units 
they have placed in the field. The qualification ' compara- 
tive ' is employed advisedly, for owing to the discipline to 
which every German is subjected from childhood, that of their 
new formations is probably greater than any that could be 
instilled into Englishmen of a similar class in similar circum- 
stances. Nevertheless, the prospect of their ultimate defeat, 
certain as it seems to us, does not appear even yet to have 
dawned on them, nor will it do so until further great efforts 
and further great sacrifices have been made by the Allies. , 

This war is going to be one of exhaustion ; and after the 
regular armies of the belligerents have done their work it 
wfll be upon the measures taken to prepare and utilise the 
raw material of the manhood of the countries concerned 
that final success will depend. This implies trained men 
hundreds of thousands of trained and disciplined men. 

November 26-28 

From the 26th to the 28th the weather has continued 
warm, and, except for an occasional heavy shower, has been 
fine. These three days have been productive of no incidents 
of any magnitude, and have, on the whole, been about the 
quietest we have experienced for weeks. The narrative of 
operations, therefore, can be dismissed in a very few words. 

Though generally inactive along our front, the Germans 
have continued to press in one quarter i.e. against the 
Indian troops, where, in spite of the loss suffered by them 
in their last attack in this direction, they have been busy 
extending their saps in order to carry out assaults from short 
distances. None of these however, has been carried out in 
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DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

great force. South of the Lys generally there has been some 
shelling of localities in the rear of our front line ; but this 
form of annoyance diminishes daily along our whole front. 
Sniping is carried on almost incessantly. There seems little 
doubt that the Germans are employing civilians, either willing 
or unwilling, to dig trenches, for some have been seen and 
shot while engaged in this work. 

On Thursday, the 26th, there is nothing to record. 

On the ayth the enemy succeeded by means of sapping 
up, and then assaulting from a short distance amidst a shower 
of bombs, in gaining possession of a portion of a trench on 
our right. From this, however, they were soon ejected. 

On the 28th, facing our centre, there were signs of some 
change having been made in the composition of the hostile 
artillery, which was employed in ' registering ' fresh zones 
of fire. On the right, one of the German batteries was dis- 
covered in the morning to have been left out in the open. 
This was probably due to the failure of an attempt to move 
it during the night. However, whatever the cause of its 
exposed position, our guns did not fail to take advantage of 
it. On the same day, though inactive against us, the Germans 
made an isolated and unsupported attack on the French on 
our left. They were easily beaten back, and, it is believed, 
lost some 400 killed and many prisoners. 

While it is necessary to accept the evidence of all prisoners 
with caution, there is a change of tone in the views expressed 
by some of the officers recently captured which appears to be 
genuine. They admit the failure of German strategy, and 
profess to take a gloomy view of the future. At the same 
time, it must be confessed that there is as yet no sign that 
their view is that generally held by the enemy. Nor has there 
been any definite indication of a lack of morale amongst his 
troops. 

During the last six weeks various mobilisation orders 
calling up different classes of men liable to service have been 
issued by the French Government. To the average English- 
man, whom a life spent far removed from all that war implies 
is apt to render unimaginative, even the immediate effect of 
such orders is hard to conceive : and to him a journey, made 
shortly after their issue, along the highways of Northern 
France or, for that matter, in any part of France might 

121 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

have come as somewhat of a revelation. From the middle of 
October onwards the roads have been thronged with men 
literally thousands being met with in the course of a short 
motor journey all trudging along towards the mobilisation 
centres, carrying their few clothes and necessaries in bags 
slung over their shoulders. Some have more, some less, but 
few are without the spare pair of boots which they apparently, 
and quite rightly, regard as the most necessary article of a 
soldier's outfit. ' The Emperor fights his campaigns with 
our legs and not with our muskets/ said the conscripts of 
Napoleon, and their descendants have evidently not forgotten 
the lesson. The strange procession includes a curious mixture 
of types. A considerable proportion consists of middle-aged 
men of good physique, broad-shouldered and sturdy, and of 
likely young men from the countryside, of a type to make 
excellent soldiers. 

For some years, as is probably generally known, there 
have been no exemptions from military service in France. 
Educational standards and professions, such as those of the 
actor, lawyer, doctor, and artist, which were formerly ex- 
cepted, are now so no longer. But, besides those who escaped 
in the past, many others have now been gathered in the net 
of service and have gone to swell the numbers of those who 
have recently been streaming along every road in France to 
answer to the call of their country. 

The change that, within the last few days, has come over 
what may be termed the ' atmosphere ' of the battlefield is 
marked. As regards noise, the cannonade has now decreased 
to such an extent that for hours on end nothing is heard but 
the infrequent boom of one of the Allies' heavy guns, the 
occasional rattle of machine-guns, and the intermittent ' pop ' 
for that word expresses the sound best of the snipers on 
either side. And in certain quarters, where the combatants 
are close and operations appertain to those of siege warfare, 
the bombs of the Minenwerfer, and the smaller bombs thrown 
by hand, are detonating almost continuously. But the air no 
longer throbs to the continuously dull roar of heavy artillery 
and the detonating of great projectiles. 

Of course, if an attack is in progress, there is again turmoil, 
but it is more local and does not approach in intensity that 
which recently reigned on a large scale. The scene as a whole, 

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DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

as viewed from one of the few commanding points in our front, 
is almost one of peace as compared with that of a week or 
two ago. The columns of black smoke vomited by the ex- 
ploding howitzer shell are as rare as those from burning 
villages. The only generally visible signs of war are the 
occasional puffs of bursting shrapnel opening out above 
woods and villages and floating slowly away on the still air. 

It was mentioned in the account of the fighting on the 
Aisne that, so far as we were concerned, the struggle had to 
some extent assumed the character of siege operations. The 
same can be said with still greater truth of the battle in which 
we are now engaged. Both sides have had time to dig 
themselves in and to strengthen their positions with all the 
resources available in the field. In spite of this, the Germans, 
urged by weighty motives, limited as to time, and confident in 
their numerical superiority and the weight of a very powerful 
siege armament such as .has, indeed, never before been 
brought into the field have, when face to face with the 
Allies' line, attempted to break it by frontal attacks. Having 
failed in this, in spite of desperate efforts, they are now en- 
deavouring in some quarters to progress by the slower methods 
of siege warfare. 

Until recently they have attempted to gain ground by 
assaulting our position across the open, seizing wiiat they can 
out of it, retaining and strengthening that, and using it as a 
starting-point for a fresh assault. Their aim is still the same 
to gain ground and drive us back but, owing to the im- 
mense loss entailed in the summary method of assaulting 
across the open for any distance, the means employed are 
modified. To shorten the space over which their infantry 
has to advance, they now move forward by several narrow 
end-on approaches, which are either open to the air or a foot 
or two below the surface of the ground. Where open, these 
approaches are zigzagged to avoid being enfiladed. In 
either case forward progress is made by evacuating at one 
end. At what is considered a possible assaulting distance, 
these approaches, or saps, are joined up by a lateral trench 
roughly parallel to that being attacked. Here the stormers 
collect for a fresh rush. 

The extent to which subterranean or semi-underground 
life is forced on the combatants in the neighbourhood of the 

123 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

firing line varies with the nature of the ground, and depends 
on the character of the enemy's activity in the particular 
locality in which they are. Where sniping or rifle fire is alone 
to be expected, the amount of the excavations behind the 
front line is limited. When bombardment is, or has been, 
severe every one within range of the enemy's guns, the 
brigadier not excepted, will be found ensconced underground 
in ' dug-outs/ or ' funk-holes/ as they are familiarly called, for 
in the zone under fire houses are no better than shell traps. 

Behind the firing-line trenches are found the shelters for 
the men holding the line and those for supports. These are 
more elaborate and comfortable than the fire trenches, usually 
are roofed over, and contain cooking-places and many con- 
veniences. Some of these underground quarters have now 
become almost luxurious and contain windows. Communica- 
tion between the firing line and the various shelters in rear 
and with the headquarters of units is kept up along approach 
trenches, all zigzagged to prevent being enfiladed, and liberally 
partitioned into compartments by traverses, so as to localise 
the effect of shell fire. 

For some time the character of the artillery fire has been 
such as to force both combatants, even for some distance 
behind the firing line, to burrow into the earth in order to 
obtain shelter, and to conceal their works as far as possible 
in order to gain protection both from guns and aeroplanes. 

This has been carried on to such an extent, that behind the 
front fire trenches of British, French, and Germans are perfect 
labyrinths of burrows of various types. The principal feature 
of the battlefield, therefore, as has been often pointed out, is 
the absence of any signs of human beings. 

Where resort is had to siege methods the earthworks on 
both sides become still more complicated, though there is a 
definite system underlying their apparent confusion. It is 
not possible to give any details of the methods upon which 
our trenches are arranged, but it is permissible to describe 
how the enemy is carrying on the close attack at some points. 

From the last position attained they sap forward in the 
two ways already mentioned. The approaches are excavated 
by pioneers working at the head, the German pioneers being 
technically trained troops which correspond to our sappers. 
Owing to the close range at which the fighting is conducted, 
124 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

and the fact that rifles fixed in rests and machine-guns are 
kept permanently directed upon the crest of the trenches, 
observation is somewhat difficult ; but the ' head ' or end 
of the approaching sap can be detected from the mound of 
earth which is thrown up. This cannot be done, however, 
where the advance is being conducted by a ' blinded ' sap. 
In executing this type of sap a horizontal bore-hole, about 
a foot in diameter and some three or four feet below ground, 
is bored by means of a special earth borer worked by hand. 
It is then enlarged by pick and shovel into a small tunnel, 
whose roof is one or two feet below the surface. 

Several of these saps having been driven forward, their 
heads are connected by a lateral trench, which becomes the 
front line, and can be used for stormers to collect for an assault. 
In some cases, usually at night, a sap is driven right up 
to the parapet of the hostile trench, which is then blown in 
by a charge. Amidst the confusion caused, and a shower 
of grenades, the stormers attempt to burst in through the 
opening and work along the trench. They also assault it in 
front. As in their ordinary infantry attacks, machine-guns 
are quickly brought up to any point gained in order to repel 
counter-attacks . 

Most of this fighting takes place at such close range that 
the guns of either side cannot fire at the enemy's infantry 
without great risk of hitting its own men. The role of artillery 
projectiles, however, is well played by bombs of all descrip- 
tions, which are used in prodigious quantities. 

The larger ones projected by the Minenwerfer, of which 
the Germans employ three sizes, correspond to the heavy 
howitzer shell of the distant combat, and have much the 
same effect. They have a distinctive nickname of their own, 
but they may be termed the ' Jack Johnsons ' of the close 
attack of siege warfare. The smaller bombs or grenades are 
thrown by hand from a few yards distance, perhaps just 
lobbed over a parapet. They are charged with high explosive 
and detonate with great violence ; and since their impetus 
does not cause them to bury themselves in the earth before 
they detonate, their action, though local, is very unpleasant 
in the enclosed space between two traverses in a trench. 

These grenades of various types are being thrown con- 
tinuously by both sides, every assault being preluded and 

125 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

accompanied by showers of them. In fact, the wholesale use 
of these murderous missiles is one of the most prominent 
features of the close attack now being carried on. 

As may be imagined, what with sharpshooters, machine- 
guns and bombs, this kind of fighting is very deadly, and some- 
what blind, owing to the difficulty of observation. The latter, 
however, is somewhat decreased by the use of the * hyper- 
scope/ which is much the same in principle as the periscope 
of a submarine, and allows a man to look over the top of a 
parapet without raising his head above it. 

November 2g-December i 

The uneventfulness of affairs on our front continues, as 
does the mild weather. 

On Sunday, the 29th, the enemy in front of the right of 
our line kept up their efforts to throw bombs into our trenches. 

On our left the French made progress both north and 
south of Ypres and captured some German trenches. 

On Monday, the 3Oth, the Germans displayed a little 
more activity along our line, and on our extreme left, as well 
as south of the Lys, there was a decided increase of artillery 
fire. On the left two of their guns were caught in the open 
by our artillery as they were apparently changing position 
under cover of a rainstorm. One was knocked out and the 
other was abandoned. In this part of the field also occurred 
one of those strange incidents which are not uncommon 
in fighting at close quarters. An infantry officer who walked 
up to a German trench found all its occupants asleep. As a 
memento of his visit he carried off a bayonet. 

In the centre we gained some minor local successes. A 
party of the enemy which had started to excavate a new 
trench within sight was immediately driven out by our 
artillery ; a house used by their snipers was blown up ; and 
a patrol from one of our Territorial battalions successfully 
rounded up a hostile patrol, making two prisoners. At other 
points along this part of the front the enemy has now begun 
to use rifle grenades freely. These incidents are of the most 
insignificant character, and have no bearing on the operations, 
but it is in a succession of such small actions that the periods 
of inactivity on a grand scale are passed. 
126 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

Beyond our left the French again advanced slightly, and 
captured a German trench. 

On Tuesday, December i, there is nothing in the way of 
military operations to record. 

It is reported, on what is believed to be good authority, 
that the Germans have renamed Ostend, and that the railway 
station is now placarded with the name ' Kales/ The only 
possible object of such a manoeuvre, if it has indeed been 
carried out, would appear to be to encourage the soldiers who 
are brought from distant parts in absolute ignorance of what 
has really been happening. That this action is not so futile 
as it may seem is shown by the fact that many of our prisoners 
are still convinced that both Calais and Paris are in the hands 
of the Germans. 

The course taken by the German operations round Ypres, 
ending in bombardment, has been such as to suggest that the 
destruction of the place is really the outcome of disappoint- 
ment and exasperation at its resistance, and at the failure 
of the much-advertised plans for its capture. 

Up till the end of October the town had not been bom- 
barded as a whole, the shells which had fallen in it being 
obviously directed at points where our headquarters were 
believed to be situated, and at one or two others, such as the 
railway station, where destruction would have some military 
value. The shelling of the town itself only began in earnest 
on the night of November 5, since when it has been main- 
tained intermittently. That the town escaped so long was 
apparently due to the fact that up till the 5th the Germans 
counted on capturing it and did not wish to cause damage. 
Hopes of doing so were no doubt still held after that date, 
as'is evinced by the continuation of the attacks, notably that 
of the nth by the Prussian Guard. But these later attempts 
to take the place seem rather to have been of the nature of 
' forlorn hopes/ which called for all the assistance that could 
be obtained by artillery co-operation, even at the risk of 
the destruction of a historic place which might become 
German ; and considerable advantage was certainly to be 
gained by concentrating fire on a place where roads met and 
which must be a focus of traffic. 

On these military grounds the initial bombardment can 
to a certain extent be justified, though it is doubtful whether 

127 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

the results achieved were commensurate with the expenditure 
of ammunition involved. And its object could have been 
attained equally well if the German artillery had concentrated 
on the points where the roads, of which there are not many, 
issue from the town, and it did not entail the employment 
of incendiary shell. But the subsequent conduct of the 
enemy denotes a desire for senseless destruction. 

The last attack in force was delivered on November 17. 
Four days later, on the 22nd, the Germans commenced to 
pour a stream of shell into the central market square ; and 
whereas the Cloth Hall and Cathedral had both escaped 
material damage up till then, these two historic buildings 
were blazing fiercely by 3 P.M. It is stated that in order 
to do this the Germans brought up a train armed with heavy 
guns, which were used under the direction of a captive 
balloon. The bombardment was continued until the evening 
of the 23rd. The reason to which is ascribed this wanton 
destruction has already been stated, but in case there should 
be any doubts as to the justice of the indictment, it must be 
stated that so soon as the Cloth Hall and the Cathedral had 
been obviously demolished, fire was no longer directed on those 
buildings. In the words of a French communique, which will 
also be the verdict of history : ' This magnificent old city was 
condemned to death on the day when the Emperor was forced 
to renounce the hope of making an entry into it.' 

The recent connection of the British Army with the city 
is in reality an old one renewed. Ypres was one of the 
barrier fortresses against France, for the defence of which 
we were bound by the ' Barrier Treaty/ made in 1715, to 
provide garrisons amounting to 10,000 men. Almost two 
hundred years have passed since then, but the old ramparts 
are still there, looking down upon the French and British 
soldiers who have jointly maintained the proud title of the 
old fortress against another foe. 

December 2-5 

In the situation of the British Army no fresh development 
has occurred during the last four days. To the south of the 
Lys, Wednesday, December 2, passed quite uneventfully, 
though the enemy's artillery displayed more activity than it 
128 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

has recently been showing, while to the north of the river we 
destroyed an observation station by our howitzer fire. On 
our right centre a successful reconnaissance was made at night. 

Beyond our flanks, as has already been made public, on 
our right the French captured the Chateau of Vermelles and 
some trenches, while on our left they discovered that their 
field artillery had destroyed a German heavy gun and two 
ammunition wagons the day before. 

On the next day there was a great deal of rain, but no 
incident along our whole front. It was found, however, that 
a minor expedition against a German sap-head made on the 
night of November 27-28 had been more successful than was 
realised at the time, having resulted in a loss of between forty 
and fifty to the enemy at an expense of thirteen casualties 
to us. 

On Friday, the 4th, another German observation station 
in front of our right centre was destroyed by our guns. Other- 
wise nothing more than the usual artillery fire, sniping, and 
bomb throwing occurred, the latter more especially on our 
right. There was again much rain. Beyond our right the 
French made further progress at Vermelles, capturing a certain 
amount of war material, including a machine-gun and am- 
munition, and on our left they captured a village near Lange- 
marck. 

Saturday, the 5th, brought another week of the war to a 
close on a miserable day of almost continuous rain and high 
wind. 

During these four days the most important event for the 
British Army has been the visit of His Majesty the King. 
His Majesty's stay at General Headquarters luckily coincided 
with a period of inactivity, which enabled far more of the 
troops at the front to welcome him than might otherwise have 
been the case. 

Of major tactical operations by the British forces there 
has recently been an entire absence, and there has therefore 
been no definite progress to record of a material nature such 
as might be achieved by inflicting defeat and severe loss on the 
enemy. Nor for some seven weeks has any strategical advan- 
tage been won in the geographical sense, since there has been 
no advance nor gain of ground. But there is another kind of 
strategic progress, more imponderable, less direct, and less 

MILITARY 2 I I2Q 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

obvious than the two mentioned namely, that produced by 
the lapse of time when time is working against one side 
every day tends to make it stronger, and active resistance on 
its part tends to force the enemy to misapplication of force 
which might be employed to greater advantage elsewhere. 
In this direction, as has been so clearly pointed out by the 
Commander-in-Chief in his latest despatch, the stationary 
attitude of the army has not been sterile. Acting as the Allies 
are, every day passed has co-operated towards the desired 
result. This contributory strategy, as it may be termed, 
however useful though it is, is monotonous, unexciting, and 
bereft of incidents on a large enough scale to provide inter- 
esting reading. It does not, therefore, lend itself to descrip- 
tion. All that can be done is to point out what is happening. 

It is proverbial that Allies fall out. But it is also pro- 
verbial that the exception proves the rule, and if that be true, 
the rule has certainly been established during the four months' 
duration of this war. There could be no more cordial relations 
than those existing between the French and British, both in 
their official and social life. In all the towns, large or small,, in 
which the British Army has been quartered the friendliness 
with which the inhabitants have received us is more than 
remarkable ; and it would be difficult to say in how many 
French houses British officers and men have now been billeted, 
or how many have been converted into military offices. In 
many cases the houses are empty, save possibly for a care- 
taker, in others the owners and their families, or portions of 
their families, are still inhabiting one part of their homes, 
while the British are occupying another usually, be it noted, 
the better part. And, at best even in the absolute upheaval 
of life which occurs in an invaded country this incursion of 
strangers of another race must be intensely inconvenient. 

One reason for the cordiality, or possibly, the good- 
humoured resignation, with which our French hosts receive 
us is as they say with a smile, ' Nous preferons, Monsieur, 
que vous soyez ici que les Allemands/ This is the sentiment 
that is always at the back of their minds, and the nearer the 
place in which they live to the hig;h- water mark of the German 
invasion, the more fervently is it expressed. Indeed, it is 
absolutely impossible for those in England to realise the 
feelings and fears of the people out here who have either once 
130 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

had the loathed invader in occupation of their homes, even 
when the latter have done no special damage, or who live in 
some place which by the merest chance the Germans have not 
entered. 

This is quite apart from those instances in which towns 
have been destroyed and the enemy has taken what he con- 
sidered rigorous measures. Even in those hard cases where 
it is necessary to turn the inhabitants out of their houses in 
order to demolish them so as to clear a field of fire, the resig- 
nation and courtesy met with are astonishing. The reasons 
given for this drastic action are at once appreciated, and the 
usual comment made is, ' Ah, well ! It is a small matter com- 
pared to the war/ Such is the temper and mental attitude 
of the majority towards the war and their British allies. 

There is no doubt, also, that our troops have never for- 
gotten, and have by the treatment they have received never 
been allowed to forget for a moment, that they are in a friendly 
and allied country ; and they have returned courtesy and 
good feeling in kind. Indeed, it is somewhat of a revelation 
to see how freely our soldiers mix with the population, and 
how the members of both nationalities get on with the smallest 
knowledge of the other's language. And a very pleasing side 
of the joint operations of the Allies is the fact that there has 
never been any sort of friction between the troops. This 
appears all the more remarkable when it is remembered how 
many thousands of men have been thrown together, often in 
most trying circumstances, and that wine is the common drink 
of the country. 

If it does nothing more, this war is bound to increase the 
mutual knowledge of, and respect for, each other of the French 
and British, and there is no doubt that it will leave a lasting 
and beneficial effect on the intercourse of the two nations. 
The same may be said of the relations between the Belgians 
and British ; but their connection has been neither so exten- 
sive nor so prolonged. 

It has been stated in some of the British papers that the 
Germans have taken Domremy-la-Pucelle. This report is 
entirely incorrect, for the Germans have never been near that 
place ; and it is likely to cause pain and annoyance to our 
Allies, since Domremy-la-Pucelle was the birthplace of Joan 
of Arc, and is a point of national and religious interest. 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

December 6-9 

For the 6th, 7th, 8th, and gth December the operations 
of the army have been of the same character as for the past 
three weeks. 

The tale of minor events is as follows : On Sunday, the 
6th, on our right our howitzers obtained direct hits on two 
German gun emplacements, whilst other guns shelled some 
of the enemy's trenches with good effect. There are grounds 
for believing that in this portion of our front the activity of 
our infantry in sniping, backed up by the fire of our artillery 
and the ingenuity of the Sappers in devising new methods 
of causing annoyance, has rendered the enemy somewhat 
uneasy, the quiet of the nights being continually broken by 
spasmodic outbursts of musketry from the German trenches 
and the frequent firing of star shell. These precautionary 
outbursts, however, are perhaps not altogether unjustified, 
for Gurkhas are unpleasant enemies on dark nights, and in 
many places the trenches of the Indians and the Germans 
are only a few yards apart. In this quarter a bombardment 
of the German trenches was carried out during the day, but 
the effect is not known. In the centre one of our battalions 
took an opportunity of opening fire on a German working 
party and caused considerable loss. Evidence of spying on 
the part of civilians was obtained on this day. A man in 
plain clothes was observed in the hostile trenches pointing 
out our positions. A German aviator dropped six bombs 
on Hazebrouck with little effect. 

Since it has been so frequently stated that our howitzers 
have obtained ' direct hits ' on the enemy's gun emplace- 
ments, perhaps it is as well to explain what this means in 
terms of damage done to the enemy. In the most unfavour- 
able case to us, it means that one of our shell charged with 
many pounds of lyddite and fitted with a percussion fuse has 
detonated on the parapet of an emplacement. The result 
would be that a number of the detachment might be killed 
or wounded, but that the gun would probably not be seriously 
damaged. In the most favourable case it would mean that 
the shell has detonated in the emplacement itself, or actually 
on the gun or its mounting. This would almost certainly 
imply the destruction of both gun and detachment. 
132 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

On Monday, the 7th, there was very heavy rain. The 
Germans fired rifle grenades for the first time against the 
trenches in the centre of our line. Our artillery, however, 
soon put a stop to this innovation. On the right and left 
nothing occurred worthy of special notice. 

On Tuesday two German field-guns were put out of action 
by our artillery. Our guns also set fire to a railway station 
and some rolling stock, and destroyed a chimney used by 
the enemy for observation. Otherwise nothing occurred. It 
rained during a part of the day. 

On Wednesday, the gth, the only item to record is that 
opposite the left of our line the enemy was heard to be cheer- 
ing. This may have been due to the receipt of the German 
official version of the battle of Lodz. Over the low-lying 
ground it was very foggy in the evening. 

The weather has been very wet and much warmer during 
the last four days. There has also been a high wind during 
most of. this period, but our aviators have succeeded in making 
several valuable reconnaissances. In spite of the absence of 
serious active operations, considerable progress has been 
made in generally improving our situation. The number of 
communication trenches has been increased, the drainage and 
heating of fire and living trenches have been arranged, the 
organisation of the supply and transport services has been 
brought to a higher pitch of efficiency, and everything is being 
prepared to meet the winter campaign before us. As an 
instance of some of the refinements of active service to which 
we are being introduced, it may be mentioned that the men 
in certain front-line trenches have been regaling themselves 
by listening on the telephone to a gramophone concert eight 
miles away. 

That knowledge is power, and that to be forewarned is to 
be forearmed, are matters of proverbial philosophy, and in 
no sphere of human activity do they apply with greater force 
than in the conduct of war. In a military sense knowledge 
implies almost entirely an accurate acquaintance with facts 
concerning the enemy ; where he is, what strength he is in, 
what he is doing in a word, all that confers the ability to 
gauge the hostile general's strength and weakness, and to 
divine his intentions and his power to carry them into effect. 
To a greater or less degree it forms the basis of all action taken. 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

Indeed, Wellington is reported to have said that he owed his 
success to the fact that he was always wondering what ' the 
other fellow was doing on the other side of the hill. 1 

Nearly all the knowledge of this nature required by a 
commander in the field can be included in the term ' intelli- 
gence ' ; and to its collection and analysis is devoted a special 
branch of the General Staff of an army. 

There are various ways of acquiring intelligence which 
are universally practised. They are broadly reconnaissance, 
whether it be by cavalry, infantry, or both, by motor cycle, 
or aircraft ; the employment of spies, or, as they are more 
pleasantly called, ' agents ' ; and the collection of such infor- 
mation as can be gained from an inspection of the uniforms 
worn by the dead or by prisoners, and from the papers carried 
by, or the cross-examination of, the latter. In these methods 
there is a certain amount of overlapping, but this does not 
entail such a waste of time and energy as might appear, for 
it is only by some overlap that can be obtained that corro- 
boration of isolated pieces of information which enables 
decisions to be made and action to be taken with some reason- 
able chance of success. All methods, however, whether posi- 
tively or negatively, by direct or devious ways, by the obser- 
vation and record of major or minor facts, work towards the 
sum of knowledge. 

The employment of agents is on occasion the most whole- 
sale way in which intelligence can be gained, and at its best it 
furnishes a broader basis upon which to build than the others. 
The work of such persons does not always depend on the 
accuracy of vision of an individual, which is a very variable 
quality, but is often established on statements of facts pro- 
duced with the greatest care by the enemy for his own use. 
On the other hand, it is absolutely dependent on the bona fides 
of a class which is universally looked upon with distrust and on 
the ability of an individual to discriminate between what is 
true and what may be fiction purposely arranged for his benefit. 
It is a slow method, the transmission of the news gained 
being of necessity mostly effected through devious channels. 
It is also unreliable as to the quantity and frequency of the 
information furnished, for though the collection of the latter 
is not much affected by the weather, it depends on factors 
which are not under the control of the agent or his employers. 
134 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

Reconnaissance is the most direct, and probably the 
quickest way of obtaining news of the enemy. It is not 
uniform, however, in amount or quality, because it generally 
depends on the quickness of eye and power of appreciation 
of some scout or observer watching from a distance ; and it is 
liable to be interrupted or affected by atmospheric conditions. 

Lastly comes the third method mentioned. If a prisoner 
gives away information either tKrough stupidity or from a 
desire to curry favour, and to better his lot, a good deal may 
be attained at one bound. But this applies chiefly to the in- 
formation given by officers, who are not very often captured, 
and are, moreover, not in the habit of imparting valuable news. 
A soldier's knowledge of what is going on on his own side is 
comparatively limited. Communications from prisoners, also, 
are to be accepted with reserve. In the direction of identi- 
fication the activity of an Intelligence Section is largely con- 
fined to the examination of the badges or equipment worn by 
the dead and by prisoners. The personality of the individual 
of course has no military value, but the identity discs and 
effects of the dead are carefully guarded for eventual return 
to their Government. The examination of letters, diaries, 
and orders also claims a great deal of attention. Newspapers 
are rarely of value, because no sane Government allows current 
details of the nature sought to be published by the press. 
On the other hand, soldiers' diaries and letters are often in- 
discreet in the extreme, for the writers, in describing the 
physical condition of the men often unwittingly betray the 
state of their morale, and in recording their impressions of the 
effect produced by the enemy's rifle fire, or the havoc wrought 
by his artillery, quite innocently give away valuable infor- 
mation as to where the shoe pinches. 

Since the composition of the larger formations of all armies 
is known, it is possible, except in those cases where sweeping 
changes are made during a war, to extract vital information 
from the connection of even a single soldier killed or captured 
at a certain spot with a certain battalion. The result of 
ascertaining that this battalion was at that point at a given 
time may lead to the first suspicion that a much larger for- 
mation to which that battalion belongs is not somewhere else 
where its presence has been assumed. The possible signi- 
ficance of the results of such a discovery when corroborated 

i35 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

is obvious. This explains why the identification of units with 
localities by means of accoutrements, badges, etc., takes so 
much of the time of certain bureaus in all armies. As it has 
been flippantly, but by no means inaccurately, expressed, an 
important part of the duty of a great General Staff is that of 
constituting army corps out of shoulder-straps. 

During the war the air is full of rumours even at General 
Headquarters, and when these rumours are concerned with 
the dispositions of the enemy their scope is much enlarged if 
the hostile army is composed of forces of different nationalities. 
On the other hand, it is not only the connection of units with 
localities that is useful. It often happens that the mere 
presence of a unit being in the field betrays the fact that rein- 
forcements have come up, or that new formations are being 
raised, for, inaccurate as knowledge of the enemy may be, it is 
generally sufficient for the original organisation of his army 
to be known. 

As is seen, a considerable part of intelligence work is syn- 
thetic in character, and amounts to the building up first of a 
possible and then of a probable theory based on a mass of sus- 
picions, facts which merely amount to side-lights, and estab- 
lished evidence. It resembles that of a detective, or the 
framer of a jig-saw puzzle. No small clue or seemingly irre- 
levant fact can be neglected. It is often an apparently useless 
scrap of information that fits in and forms the final link in a 
chain of evidence. 

It is obvious, apart from discussion as to causes and 
results, however, that if all this trouble is actually taken to 
identify individuals, whether in connection with places or not, 
it must be considered worth doing. And it follows that it must 
be worth while to put every obstacle in the way of the enemy 
doing the same. That this view is held is proved by the pains 
at which all the combatants in the present war are to prevent 
reference in the press to units in the field. This reticence is 
not maintained in order to deny to the general public news 
which would quite naturally and rightly be of absorbing 
interest, but in order not to give gratis to the enemy infor- 
mation he needs, and to acquire which if it is not presented 
to him he is forced to spend much money and trouble. 

Is it better to help the nation in its struggle for existence 
by an admittedly tantalising reticence, or to satisfy the people's 
136 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

curiosity and natural anxiety at the . risk of endangering 
national success in the field? This is the question. To it 
there can be only one answer. 

A further and natural step beyond this negative policy of 
withholding from the enemy the knowledge of where troops 
are is the more active course of inducing him to suppose that 
they are in localities remote from their "actual situation. This, 
of course, appertains to the art of mystifying, misleading, and 
surprising the enemy, which is so valuable a part of the conduct 
of war, and reference may be made to what possibly was an 
example of its existence on a grand scale in recent war, i.e. 
that between Russia and Japan. 

Before and' during the commencement of the battle of 
Mukden the great unknown factor to the Russians was the 
direction in which Marshal Oyama would throw into the fight 
the weight of General Nogi's 3rd Army, then on its way up 
from Port Arthur. Its action was bound to have a great in- 
fluence on the battle. It is true that the creation of the new 
Japanese 5th Army away on the east was also somewhat of 
a mystery to the Russians, but its existence had been dis- 
covered, and it had been located approximately. As is 
known, the Japanese Commander intended to employ the 
bulk of the 3rd Army in a sudden blow in great strength on 
the west against the Russian right. To assist in this scheme 
he detached a portion of the 3rd Army to act with the 5th 
on his right, which combined force was to open the action 
by an attack in the east calculated to cause the Russians to 
transfer strength to that quarter, and so away from the 
quarter where the Japanese main stroke was to fall. The 
ruse succeeded, and it is believed that -its success was largely 
due to the fact that the fraction of General Nogi's troops on 
the east purposely advertised their presence with the 5th 
Army. 

Similarly, reports of an intended invasion of England may 
be spread by the enemy in the hope of causing a dislocation 
of plans of which full advantage can be taken. Such a course 
would only be in accordance with the action of the Germans 
in 1870, when they spread abroad rumours that there were 
large concentrations of their troops in the Black Forest 
where there were practically none in order to induce the 
French to detain forces in Southern Alsace. 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

Misleading reports of this nature are usually set in circu- 
lation by those interested and spread either by their dupes, 
honest people who are purposely allowed to overhear care- 
fully arranged conversations held for their benefit ; by means 
of espions doubles, or agents in the pay of both sides ; by 
common traitors willing to sell their own nation ; or by men 
working patriotically for their own country who have an in- 
timate acquaintance with the enemy nation. As an example 
of this may be mentioned the presence at the capital of a 
neutral country of a German officer who was for some years 
stationed in London, and has an intimate knowledge of our 
naval, military, political, and social life, and has probably 
made such a deep study of our national psychology that he 
would be well-equipped to play on our idiosyncrasies. 

December 10-13 

In the particular sense of the word already defined, the 
situation has remained ' uneventful ' for yet another four days. 

On the night of the gth-ioth the enemy made a demon- 
stration against our centre, but did not press an attack. On 
the same night one shot was fired after dark by one of our 
heavy howitzers at a village in front of our left, which is 
believed to be a busy centre of the enemy. It was discovered 
next morning from our infantry holding the trenches that 
there had been an explosion some way behind the enemy's 
front line during the night, which had caused great com- 
motion amongst the Germans in the trenches. The news 
of the destruction of the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and Leipzig ! 
reached the troops on the morning of the loth, and caused 
great satisfaction. 

As had been the case after the loss of the Emden, the 
kindly thought of keeping the German Army posted as to the 
doings of the sister service was carried into effect, on this 
occasion by wrapping a written message round a brickbat, 
which was then hurled towards the German trenches by the 
best thrower of the cricket ball on the spot. The result of 
this attention is not known. The information, with the ad- 
dition of the news ' of the sinking of the Number g, was also 
given to the Germans by means of a notice-board next day. 

Beyond our left the French recaptured some trenches 
taken from them on the gth, and made some prisoners. 
138 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

On Friday, the nth, long-range sniping was the only 
activity to claim attention. On Saturday the enemy's guns 
were rather more active against our left, but otherwise 
nothing occurred worthy of record. Action on Sunday, the 
I3th, was of a similar character, the enemy's artillery paying 
more attention to our left. 

To our left, on the I2th, the French repulsed three German 
attacks, inflicting severe punishment. The Germans with- 
drew from the left bank of the Yser Canal. 

The weather has, on the whole, been rainy and very 
windy, though Saturday was one of the finest days we have 
had for some time. Over large areas, also, the clouds have 
hung as low as 400 feet. Since the German anti-aircraft 
guns make fairly accurate shooting up to a vertical range of 
8000 feet, to say nothing of the rifle and machine-gun fire, 
it can be appreciated that the conditions have not been ideal 
for aerial reconnaissance. 

On the other hand, a low-lying layer of clouds may not 
be such a disadvantage to errands of destruction. It may 
be thick enough to prevent the observation and identification 
of comparatively small objects such as those whose presence 
it is usually sought to discover, but not to hide the features 
of the country, such as towns, villages, and rivers, and so 
prevent an airman orienting himself by sight. When this 
is so he can fly above the cloud bank until he arrives over 
the point which he wishes to attack and then drop his bombs 
unseen from below, or he can descend and drop them from a 
lower altitude. It is easier to discern large objects on the 
ground through cloud than it is for those below to see an 
aeroplane through the same medium. The moral effect of 
' bolts from the blue,' or, rather, from the blank grey, is some- 
what greater than when the destroyer is actually seen. 

In the matter of sniping, the Germans, thorough as always, 
are well prepared. Some of their sharpshooters are armed 
with rifles having telescopic sights and are equipped with 
small bullet-proof shields, the latter being painted in cubist 
patterns in futurist colours in order to obtain concealment 
by confusion. Success in this somewhat murderous form of 
warfare is largely a matter of position and luck ; but it is 
remarkable what can be done by pains and skill. At some 
points, where we are fortunate in having some exceptionally 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

good shots who are also keen on this work, we have established 
a mastery over the German sharpshooters which enables our 
men to leave their trenches, whilst the occupants of the 
German front line dare not show a head above the parapet. 
It would be interesting to explain exactly how this result 
has been achieved, but the time for such disclosures has 
not yet arrived. 

December 14-17 

There is now some definite action on our front to report. 
In conjunction with the French, who are also pressing, a 
forward movement has been started which has resulted in 
a small gain of ground. 

On the night of the I3th-i4th, to the south of the Lys, 
some of the Indian troops rushed two German sap-heads and 
gained possession of them. On Monday, the I4th, on our 
right, the artillery of both sides was kept employed, our guns 
taking the greater share in the action, and there was rifle fire 
all along the line. It was on the left that a somewhat more 
important operation was initiated. Here, after a bombard- 
ment of a section of the German position, our infantry pushed 
forward at a point to the west of Wytschaete. We captured 
some sections of trench at a loss to'the enemy of 120 killed, 
and 2 officers and 60 men taken prisoner. Beyond our left 
the Germans were also forced back some distance along the 
line running between St. Eloi, to the south-east of Ypres, and 
Zonnebeke, to the north of the Ypres-Menin Road. North 
of Ypres the Germans also withdrew at certain points. That 
night the enemy fired 250 shell into Armentieres. 

Next day, Tuesday, there was no advance made by either 
side. To the north of the Lys our artillery action continued, 
and our infantry maintained the gain in ground made the day 
before. On our immediate left the French were opposed by 
a stubborn resistance and made no further progress. During 
the night, near Givenchy, an assault was carried out in three 
bodies against the German saps. Two of these attacks were 
successful, and our troops retained possession of a certain 
length of each sap. In the centre a minor attack against a 
German trench was also successful. Beyond our right the 
French gained some ground. 

On Wednesday, the i6th, the .Germans started what 
140 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

looked like an advance in force against our right, but it did 
not develop ; and in the centre sapping operations alone 
occupied each side. On our left we maintained the ground 
won on the I4th, and to the north of us the French made 
some progress, capturing some 400 yards of trench on the 
north of the Menin Road, from which we were driven by the 
Prussian Guard on October u. 

On Thursday, the J-7th, nothing happened on our right, 
but it was noticeable that the enemy showed signs of being 
in expectation of an attack by manning his fire trenches in 
force. In the centre sapping continued, and some of our 
heavy guns obtained several hits upon a German howitzer 
battery arid what appeared to be a headquarters. On our 
left our action was confined to that of the artillery, the in- 
fantry not advancing beyond the line they had gained on the 
I4th. In this quarter of the field two German soldiers who 
had crawled out of their trenches to throw hand-grenades 
were both blown up by a premature burst of one of these 
missiles. 

Beyond our left, up in the north, a German counter-attack 
on the night of the i6th-i7th, near Lombaertzyde, was re- 
pulsed, and the Germans were slowly forced back east and 
south of Nieuport, and lost about a hundred sailors and 
marines, captured by the French. 

From a prisoner captured on the I4th it has been ascer- 
tained that both the 23rd Regiment and Jagers suffered 
enormous losses on November 4. The same man described 
November 5 as a ' terrible day/ and mentions that he had 
never before seen such mud as that in which the Germans 
were operating, and that the troops were suffering very much 
from the water in the trenches. The shelling that he went 
through on the I4th of this month he states to have exceeded 
all his previous experience. 

We have reason to believe from the evidence of prisoners 
that many of the Landwehr are heartily sick of the war, and 
resent the harsh treatment of their officers. They have been 
persuaded that the British ill-treat their prisoners, and but 
for this some would be willing to surrender. 

The Germans appear to be discarding their helmets, the 
Pickelhauben with which they have for fifty years been 
associated in the eyes of the world. Also, probably for 

141 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

purposes of concealment, they are covering the red bands of 
their forage caps with strips of grey cloth. Many variations 
in their uniforms are now to be seen, some of the troops wearing 
their peace clothing, which is of brighter colour than the grey 
service dress. There is evidence that certain of the units 
facing us are much under strength. 

The opposition now being encountered resembles to some 
extent that met with by us in the beginning of October, 
when we first reached the Franco-Belgian frontier and before 
the Germans brought up their 'full force and assumed the 
offensive. It has one great difference, however, and that is 
that the enemy is in much greater force and his positions are 
much stronger and better organised than they* were two 
months ago. Then an advance by either side implied move- 
ment across enclosed and very difficult country as it does 
still and for us it meant the attack of skilfully but hastily 
fortified strong points or villages held to a large extent by 
cavalry and Jagers, with a large proportion of machine-guns. 
What we have in front of us to-day is no longer a succession 
of isolated points. There still are such points, and some are 
the same, but they are stronger and form part of a practically 
continuous defensive zone, consisting in some places of several 
lines of cunningly sited and carefully constructed works. This 
zone really amounts to a maze of fire trenches and obstacles. 
Every known form of obstacle is used, the entanglements 
to select the most common varying from loose coils of wire 
to securely staked networks of from 18 inches to nearly 6 feet 
in height and of different widths. 

These measures of defence are only such as are to be 
expected from troops who are well trained and have ample 
resources and time. And there are, of course, ways in which 
they can be overcome. But where these methods are applied 
the rate of advance is necessarily slow, and when it is reported 
in laconic terms that ground has been gained at a certain 
point, topographically the gain may amount to only a few 
yards. Tactically, on the other hand, the progress implied 
by even such a small step forward may be important, for a 
trench, a cluster of trenches, the edge of a wood, a building, 
a village, or a knoll may have been reached, the possession of 
which will facilitate further operations. 

Siege approaches, such as saps, help the attacker to 
142 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

advance under cover and so to minimise loss, but they do 
not and cannot obviate liability to surprise receptions of the 
nature indicated when once the enemy's works are gained. 
The only certain method of preventing this is by a prolonged 
bombardment with higri-explosive shell till trenches, mines, 
and machine-guns are reduced to scrap heaps, or to mine under 
them and blow them into the air. 



December 18-21 

The activity on our part which commenced on December 
14 in conjunction with the pressure brought to bear by 
our Allies along the whole line has continued. On Friday, 
the i8th, on our right centre we made progress, capturing 
some sap-heads and twenty-five prisoners. Many dead 
Germans were found by us, presumably killed by our artillery 
fire. On our left a heavy bombardment was directed by us 
against the German trenches in that area. Our guns had got 
the range to a nicety, and must have inflicted considerable 
damage, every section of this portion of the enemy's line 
being subjected to bursts of concentrated fire. In the centre 
our infantry executed some most gallant attacks. They were 
successful in driving the enemy from his fire trenches, but 
they could not hold the latter when captured, and retired to 
their former positions. But there was a net gain of ground 
at different points along the whole front. Both to the north 
and south of us the French continued to gain ground, and took 
many prisoners and several machine-guns. 

During the night of the i8th and early hours of the igth, 
on our right three lengths of trenches and two machine-guns 
were taken by us, and an extent of ground was gained vary- 
ing from 300 to 500 yards. The enemy, however, counter- 
attacked on the morning of the igth, and forced us to evacuate 
a portion of the position we had won. Some heavy fighting 
then ensued, the Germans making determined efforts to regain 
all the ground they had lost. By weight of numbers they 
succeeded so far that on the morning of the 2oth only two 
sap-heads remained in our hands. 

On the i gth, on our left centre, we were successful in 
regaining certain defended houses and trenches. On the left 
the bombardment was maintained as on the previous day. 






DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

On Sunday, the 20th, the Germans made an effort to 
check the general progress of the Allied offensive by a counter- 
attack on a considerable front against our right and the left 
of the French acting to the south of us. During the morning 
they advanced against our line in some strength, and though 
suffering heavy losses succeeded by about midday in gaining 
temporary possession of some of our advanced trenches. But 
in the afternoon our troops, returning to the charge, retook 
a village which the enemy had just occupied and some of the 
neighbouring trenches. By the early morning of Monday, the 
2ist, the greater part of our line had been restored. Mean- 
while, in our centre, on Sunday, the enemy, perhaps with a 
view to supporting the operation against our right, demon- 
strated with artillery and trench-mortars, but did not launch 
any infantry assault. In our centre we gained one more 
house from the enemy, destroyed another, and consolidated 
our foothold at this point. On our left our guns alone took 
part in the action. 

After one of our attacks made on the i8th in the centre 
of the line, there occurred an innovation in our relations with 
the enemy. A kind of armistice was concluded in order to 
permit of the burying of the dead on both sides. 

Of the recent action the employment of bombs has un- 
doubtedly been the chief feature. Indeed, the throwing 
of large bombs from trench-mortars, and of similar smaller 
missiles or grenades from rifles or by hand, has now become 
general all along the line. As has been stated when the 
fighting reaches the stage of trench warfare at short range 
as it has now done over a front of very many miles these 
missiles take the place of the projectiles of longer range 
weapons, which cannot be used with safety owing to the 
propinquity to each other of the front lines of either side. 
The great use made by the Germans of these engines of 
destruction is only one more sign of the reliance they place 
upon every possible means of helping their infantry. 

An artillery bombardment of the enemy's positions- 
such as has recently been carried out viewed from the high 
ground on our left is a most impressive sight. After a short 
burst of fire lasting perhaps for only three or four minutes the 
hostile trenches are obscured by a pall of smoke, in the midst 
of which can be seen the flashes of the shrapnel bursts and the 
144 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

miniature volcanoes of earth where the high-explosive common 
shells burst in the soft clay soil. Then, if an infantry attack 
is to be launched the cannonade suddenly ceases, there is a 
moment of suspense, and a swarm of khaki figures springs 
from our trenches and rushes across the fire-swept zone of 
possibly a hundred yards in breadth. Instantly there breaks 
out the rattle of machine-guns and musketry. There is some 
hesitation as the stormers reach the entanglement ; and then, 
if the assault succeeds, they disappear into the enemy's 
trenches, leaving a few or many scattered bodies lying in the 
track of their advance. Save at such moments as these there 
is often no movement whatever in the battle zone, for not a 
man, horse, or gun is to be seen. . And there are periods of 
absolute stillness when, except for the sight of the deserted 
and ruined hamlets, the scene is one of peace and agricultural 
prosperity. 

The mere recapitulation of results attained conveys so 
little idea of the system of control by which the operations 
are directed, that a superficial description of the chain of 
command may not be out of place. In that rather vague 
area known as ' the front/ omitting the ' bases/ ' advanced 
bases/ and lines of communication lying behind, the first 
and most important point for consideration is the General 
Headquarters of the Army, where is located the directing 
brain, and the driving force of the Army as a whole. G.H.Q., 
as it is usually called, is generally in some centrally situated 
town which may be within sound of the enemy's guns but not 
within their reach, and at it are installed the Commander-in- 
Chief and the General Staff of the Army. That a commander 
can afford to be so far away from the front is due to the 
fact that he no longer has to, or can, depend on personal 
observation for information upon which to base action. He 
relies entirely on second or third hand evidence of things seen 
or heard by others over a front of many miles, and communi- 
cated back by the agency of electricity or petrol. Messages 
sent in by telegraph, wireless, telephones, motor cars, motor 
cycles, and aeroplanes are the daily food of the General Staff ; 
for the handling of this mass of material collected by others, 
its analysis, and its application to the situation for the purpose 
of framing plans is their work. At the Headquarters of the 
Army, as at those of corps, divisions, and brigades, a great 

MILITARY 2 K 145 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

part of this work is done by means of maps. Here, in certain 
offices, may be seen large tables spread with maps, upon 
which every movement of both sides is carefully recorded in 
flags or coloured chalks, as news is received from the various 
sources of information available. At this centre also are 
the heads of the administrative branches and departments 
of the Army, which deal with discipline, supplies of all sorts, 
transport of every nature, the transmission of information, 
and the medical services. Naturally, all the people concerned 
in this work are billeted in houses, and unless the town has 
been previously in the occupation of the enemy, the life of 
the inhabitants outwardly goes on almost normally. 

As the Army moves backwards or forwards, General 
Headquarters is transferred from one place to another, but 
it is always maintained at such a distance from the fighting 
line that it is not disturbed by the operations or influenced 
by what is going on in one part of the front to the detriment 
of other parts. Nevertheless, for the purpose of the more im- 
mediate control and direction of operations, the Commander- 
in-Chief has one or more central posts nearer the front, 
at which he can more conveniently meet his subordinate 
commanders for consultation, and to which the latter can more 
quickly send reports or their representatives, These are 
called posies de commandement, or report centres. Touch is 
maintained daily between General Headquarters, Corps Head- 
quarters, and the General and Corps Headquarters of the 
Allies by means of special liaison officers, who travel to and 
fro by motor. They can convey personally the wishes of 
those authorities whom they connect, and, knowing the views 
of both, can, if necessary, verbally amplify written com- 
munications. 

Behind their respective corps, and some way in front of 
General Headquarters, but also generally in a town and far 
enough from the firing line to be immune from the turmoil 
of the fighting, are the Corps Headquarters. These are 
replicas on a smaller scale suitable to the requirements and 
lesser size of a corps of General Headquarters. At them, 
as may be supposed, are stationed the corps commanders 
and their staffs. These commanders also are kept in touch 
with each other by liaison officers and have their posies de 
commandement. 
146 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

Again, a step farther down the military hierarchy, and 
still closer to the front, come Divisional Headquarters. These 
are pushed as far forward as is compatible with comparative 
immunity from hostile artillery fire. With heavy howitzers 
or guns in the field, complete immunity is unobtainable at 
the distance from the front at which it is desirable for divi- 
sional commanders to exercise control. Here in this neigh- 
bourhood are to be found the first visible signs that fighting 
is going on. These do not consist so much in the ruined 
houses and devastated villages, which are rather proofs of 
past fighting, and may be in evidence even behind General 
Headquarters, but consist paradoxically enough in the actual 
absence of any traces of the presence of masses of soldiers, 
for though the area from here onwards may contain thousands- 
of troops, all cavalry, artillery, and infantry will alike be so 
hidden away in villages, in woods, or in folds of the ground, 
that there will be no trace of them in the landscape. This is 
one result of the all-pervading and all-seeing aeroplane. On 
the roads, however, at this distance from the firing line the 
transport will be moving freely. 

Yet another stage farther towards the fighting line, are 
the Brigade Headquarters. The brigadier, with his staff, 
may be in a house, when he can get one in a conveniently 
situated village where his dwelling-place will be inconspicuous 
amongst the other buildings, but it is as likely that his office 
will be in an underground dug-out roofed with earth and 
well hidden, for the area in which he lives and moves is liable 
to be swept at any time by a hail of shells, to say nothing of 
the rifle bullets which are constant visitors. In this district 
there are even less traces of military occupation than farther 
back, since a greater proportion of the occupants are below 
ground, and the movement of transport by day is more limited. 
Nevertheless, even as far up as this, the population can be 
seen continuing their usual avocations ploughing, sowing, or 
reaping as the case may be. 

Still farther on, some 400 or 500 yards from Brigade Head- 
quarters, lies the belt of country in which hide the supports 
and actual firing line. In this will be found the battalion 
commanders. Seamed with dug-outs, burrows, trenches, and 
excavations of every kind, and pitted with craters, it is 
bounded on the front by a long discontinuous irregular line 

147 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

fringed with barbed wire and broken by saps wriggling still 
more to the front. This is the Ultima Thule. Beyond, of 
width varying according to the nature of the fighting and of 
the ground, is neutral territory, the No-man's-land between 
the hostile forces. It is strewn with the dead of both sides, 
some lying, others caught and propped in the sagging wire, 
where they may have been for days, still others half buried 
in craters or destroyed parapets. When darkness falls, with 
infinite caution, an occasional patrol or solitary sniper may 
explore this gruesome area, crawling amongst the debris 
possibly of many fights over the dead bodies and the in- 
equalities of the ground till some point of vantage is gained 
whence the enemy's position can be examined or a good shot 
obtained. On the other side of this zone of the unburied 
dead bristles a similar fringe of wire and a long succession of 
low mounds and parapets the position of the enemy. And 
woe betide the man who in daylight puts up his head carelessly 
to take a long glance at it. 

From General Headquarters, miles behind,, via divisional, 
brigade, arid battalion headquarters, to the officer or man 
in the observation post in front of the firing line there is a 
long trail of wire. For the first part of the distance it is 
carried on permanent telegraph posts, next on the slender 
black and white military posts, then it may be looped from 
tree to tree or along the hedges, and, finally, it lies half hidden 
in the mud at the roadside. But it serves to convey the 
orders of the commander to the points where his wishes are 
ultimately translated into action. 

December 21-24 

As regards our right, where heavy fighting took place 
on Sunday, it will be remembered that in this quarter the 
greater part of our line had been restored by the early morn- 
ing of Monday, the 2ist. On that day the action was con- 
tinued with determination by both sides. Our efforts were 
chiefly directed to lessening a small gap which still existed in 
the centre of this section of our front, and as reinforc.ements 
were thrown into the fight, the Germans were gradually 
driven from the trenches they were holding. During the 
afternoon they made a fresh effort, endeavouring to work 
148 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

round the flanks of the troops holding a village. Here a 
most gallant and stubborn defence was made by our men 
under a very severe fire directed on them from three sides 
at once, but their position finally became so precarious that 
a retirement was ordered. 

The enemy's success was, however, short-lived. Reinforce- 
ments arrived, stormed the village, and established themselves 
firmly in the trenches round it. In this action the French 
co-operated and gave us the most valuable assistance. 

The fighting on this afternoon and during the night took 
place in a perfect hurricane of driving rain and sleet. Night 
brought no cessation of the desperate struggle, and the 
enemy's searchlights and flares lit up the darkness. Friend 
and foe were now fighting at close quarters, in such a maze 
of trenches, running in all directions, that it was difficult to 
distinguish the position of the one from the other. 

On the rest of our front nothing of importance took 
place. Our trenches in the centre and left were more heavily 
shelled than they had been for some days, while on the right 
centre the area behind our front line was searched by the 
hostile artillery, which appears to have been reinforced to 
some extent. In the centre we continued to consolidate the 
position won on the igth. At one point our guns replied 
with considerable effect against some German working parties. 

The French continued their pressure to the north and 
south of us, and achieved substantial gains. 

On Tuesday, the 22nd, all interest continued to be centred 
on the right. In the early morning the troops in the village 
which we had recovered the night before, who had been 
fighting all night, advanced and seized a line of trenches 
held by the Germans. This position, however, was found 
to be too exposed, and a retirement to the original line was 
carried out, and our hold on the village still more firmly 
secured. The fighting in this quarter took place over ground 
which was literally a quagmire, the trenches being full of 
water. A fresh attack in strength developed by the Germans 
against two villages in the centre of this section, and from 
one our troops were driven back. During the night the line 
was re-established. 

By Wednesday, the 23rd, it was evident that the force of 
the attack against our right had spent itself, for no further 

149 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

advance was made by the enemy, who must have suffered 
severe loss during the previous three days. Along the rest 
of our line, also, there was no activity. A thick mist mili- 
tated against air reconnaissance and artillery action. 

On Thursday, the 24th, nothing of importance occurred 
along our front. On the right, both sides confined themselves 
to bombardment with mortars and hand-grenades. 

The Belgians and French between the British Army and 
the sea made progress at several points. 

It would appear from the evidence of prisoners that the 
strength of many of the German units in our front is still 
much reduced ; some companies muster only 150 men, and 
there is seldom more than one officer per company. 

Though the weather has been generally unfavourable to 
aviation, several reconnaissances have been made during the 
past week, and there have been three encounters in the air 
between British and German aeroplanes, as a result of which 
the hostile machine has in each case been forced to go down 
in the German lines. On one occasion our machine chased 
a Taube, and having attained the favourable position for 
shooting, the observer emptied his automatic pistol at the 
enemy without any visible result at about 150 feet range. 
He then proceeded to take a photograph, and the appearance 
of the camera seems to have alarmed the German airman, 
who at once fled. 

Upon another occasion a somewhat difficult situation arose 
when a bomb which was being dropped caught in a string 
and remained suspended three or four feet below the aero- 
plane. There was no way of reaching the bomb, and it was 
impossible to land. Finally the observer kicked a hole 
through the floor of the fuselage, hooked the string with his 
foot, and shook it until the bomb fell off. 

The country on our right, where the fighting of the last 
few days has been proceeding, has already been described 
as it appeared during our first advance, some weeks ago. 
A great deal of this area is flat and at all times marshy, and 
is now almost impassable in places. Some of the villages 
round Bethune have suffered heavily from shell fire. The 
factories and coal-fields are, of course, deserted, and it is 
difficult to imagine anything except possibly the flooded 
area nearer the coast which more suggests ' the abomination 
150 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

of desolation ' than this whole district as seen through fog 
and driving snow. The great pyramidal slag-heaps stand out 
amid the smoke-blackened ruins of mining villages and the 
swamped fields intersected by dykes and fringed with rows 
of pollard willows. 

There is no sign of the ordinary life of the place save the 
few inhabitants who are living in destitution and misery 
under incessant shell fire, 'mid the wreckage of bricks and 
mortar which was once their home. Everywhere, as far as 
the eye can see, there is nothing but trenches, ruins, mud. 

The mud of Poland is proverbial, but it is hard to believe 
that the difficulties produced by it are greater than those at 
present being experienced by both sides in some parts of our 
front. This applies especially to any advance over the low- 
lying areas which, besides being cut up by ditches, are water- 
logged and in some places pitted with shell craters full of 
water. In such conditions, also, the construction of entrench- 
ments is no easy matter. The clay is so tenacious that it 
will not leave the shovel, which has continually to be scraped, 
while in the wettest places the soil is so liquid that parapets 
slide down into shapeless masses as soon as they are thrown 
up, and the sides of an excavation continually cave in. 

It is reported that in one place the mud is so bad that 
in a recent action between the French and the Germans 
neither side could fire their rifles, and clubbed them, or fought 
with shovels and pickaxes. 

December 24-27 

Christmas has come and gone, but it has brought no 
modification of the situation. There has, however, been a 
change in the weather, which is, perhaps, a matter of greater 
importance to the hundreds of thousands of men living in 
the open than is at first realised. It has become much colder. 

On Christmas Eve a hard frost set in, and the 
25th December was very cold, though it was not bright, for 
a mist hung over the countryside. On our right, which has 
been the scene of the most recent action, we captured a 
short length of German trench. It was also discovered that 
a group of buildings behind the German front line was being 
used as headquarters of some sort. The fire of a certain 
number of batteries was therefore concentrated on the spot, 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

the buildings being first shelled with lyddite, and then the 
ground all round being searched with shrapnel. It is believed 
that this bombardment was effective. Fifty dead Germans 
were picked up in one of the trenches recently retaken, by us. 
It is estimated that in the attack on the village captured by 
them on the 2ist their loss in killed alone must have amounted 
to 400. In our centre the only incident was the capture of 
two of the enemy, who came across to our trenches uninvited, 
ostensibly to wish us the compliments of the season. 

Boxing Day was quiet except for some shelling by the 
enemy of a few points near our left. It was a day of mingled 
frost, sleet, and then rain. 

On Sunday, the 27th, nothing occurred. There were 
periods of heavy rain. 

On Christmas Day every officer and man in the field 
received two most acceptable gifts. From the King and 
Queen came a card. On one side of this were portraits of 
their Majesties, the King being in khaki field service dress, 
and on the other side was a greeting in facsimile of the King's 
handwriting : ' With our best wishes for Christmas 1914. 
May God protect you and bring you home safe. Mary R., 
George R.I/ The inscription on the special card for the sick 
and wounded ended with the words : ' May you soon be 
restored to health/ 

From Her Royal Highness Princess Mary's Soldiers' and 
Sailors' Christmas Fund came a present. This varied accord- 
ing as the recipient was a smoker or a non-smoker, and also 
varied for some of the Indian troops. For the smokers it 
consisted of the following : A briar pipe and a small gilt 
casket containing photo of Princess Mary, a card with the 
inscription ' With best wishes for a Happy Christmas and 
a Victorious New Year from Princess Mary and friends at 
home/ an ounce of tobacco, and a packet of cigarettes. Em- 
bossed on the cover of the box is a portrait medallion of the 
Royal donor, with the superscriptions Imperium Britannicum, 
1 Christmas, 1914,' and the names of our six Allies France, 
Russia, Belgium, Serbia, Montenegro, Japan. In quarters, in 
the trenches, and in the hospitals these tokens of the kindly 
thought of their Majesties gave the most intense pleasure. 
In fact, the eagerness shown by some of the wounded to 
receive their presents was almost pathetic, and many soldiers 
152 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYEWITNESS 

have written personal letters of thanks to their Majesties. 
The Indian troops exhibited their boxes with an undisguised 
pride and glee, which showed how these prizes would be 
treasured and handed down as heirlooms. 

As can be imagined, the distribution of this number of 
parcels in addition to the immense amount of warm clothing 
and other gifts for the troops was no easy task. But the 
organisation of the transport, the supply, and the railway 
services was sufficient to cope with the problem. All the 
Christmas traffic was handled by means of a special staff, 
with officers stationed at the bases and railheads. Elaborate 
precauticns were taken to prevent any loss en route of the 
presents of the Princess Mary's Fund. They were conveyed 
in closed vans locked by letter-locks, of which the key-word 
was known only to certain officers. Some of the vans were 
also tied up with barbed wire. This great precaution nearly 
led to disaster in one case. The receiving officer had either 
forgotten or not received the opening word, ' Noel/ and could 
not get the van open until he hauled at the fastening with a 
motor-lorry. In regard to the King and Queen's cards the 
chief difficulty surmounted was to ensure delivery on one 
day to units scattered at bases, at advanced bases, on the 
lines of communication, and in the trenches. Many units, 
also, were actually moving. 

A certain amount has been said about the hardships under 
which the troops are fighting, which are, of course, mostly 
incidental to the conduct of a winter campaign. On the other 
hand, everything possible has been done to mitigate the 
rigours of active service under such conditions. The troops 
are fed as no army in the field has been fed before. Both 
from public and private sources they are furnished with every 
imaginable kind of garment. Materially, our soldiers want 
for nothing which it is possible to give them in the circum- 
stances. Morally, they are in very good heart and contented. 
But there is one thing which nearly all of them refer to when 
asked, and that is the lack of means of making a ' cheerful 
noise/ or, in other words, the dearth of mouth-organs ! When 
the men are collected in the burrows and dug-outs behind the 
firing line in the long, dull evenings when nothing happens, 
any musical instrument for the performance of a solo or the 
accompaniment of a song is a godsend. 

i53 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

It will probably be gratifying to the thousands of kind- 
hearted people at home who have sent out luxuries for the 
soldiers to learn that there was no lack of Christmas fare for 
them. At every regimental headquarters could be seen piles 
of plum puddings, chocolate, tobacco, and other luxuries. 
Of Christmas puddings alone over eighty tons reached the 
different railheads between December 24 and 26. The men 
who came from their turn of duty in the trenches, weary, 
sodden with water, and chilled to the bone were soon sitting 
down in their billets to eat their dinners with greater relish 
than if they had been in barracks at home. 

It is wonderful what effect a little rest and warmth and 
a change of clothes has in enabling the men to recover from 
the exposure and strain of life in the trenches. One night with 
a roof over their heads and near a stove fire, and they are again 
fit for anything. They suffer most in their feet, which are 
apt to swell after much standing in mud and water, but they 
soon recover once they have taken off their boots and put on 
a dry pair of socks. Certain means are now being taken to 
give protection against the wet. These precautions enable .a 
good deal of damp and cold to be endured, and the proof of 
their success is the small amount of sickness even in such 
weather as we have recently experienced. 

The country immediately in rear of the fighting line has 
a strange life of its own. In the low-lying district south of 
the Lys there is an extraordinary number of isolated farm- 
houses and small clusters of cottages, rather than villages, 
dotted thickly all over the flat expanse of ploughed fields. 
Except where the shelling has been very severe the inhabi- 
tants remain, till the soil, and live side by side with our 
soldiers, who take up every yard of spare space in all the 
buildings, leaving the inhabitants just so much accommoda- 
tion as they absolutely require. 

The large square farmhouses are most useful for billeting 
purposes. These are generally built round a courtyard, in the 
centre of which, in defiance of all laws of sanitation, is a 
square pit for the midden. On this the windows of the 
living rooms look out. The first thing our men do on taking 
over is to start ' swabbing ' to use a barrack-room term ; 
and they then settle down to a life of comparative ease amid 
the pigs, the chickens, and the children, until their turn comes 
154 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

again to man the trenches. When they come off duty again 
a hot meal is ready for them, dry blankets are served out, 
and they settle down to sleep round the stoves in the houses. 

An incident occurred on December 24 which was not men- 
tioned in the last Summary of Events. It resulted in a slight 
loss of ground to us, but was the cause of heavy casualties on 
the enemy. A mine was exploded by the Germans under- 
neath one of our trenches on the right of the line, and several 
yards of the trench were blown in. Under cover of this the 
German snipers advanced, occupied the part of our line that 
had been destroyed and enfiladed the rest. When this party 
of the enemy had established itself, a larger body advanced 
to the attack. Meanwhile our guns had been notified and 
opened with deadly effect, scattering the enemy and killing 
a large number. They then proceeded to bombard the part 
of the trench that had been captured, and are believed to have 
killed all those that had got into it. 

The following letter from Germany is of some interest 
as showing the economic conditions prevailing in one part 
of that country. It is from Lintfort, and is dated 
November 16 : 

'Flour is fearfully expensive, and potatoes also. Everything is 
dear in Lintfort ; one can hardly buy anything. Petroleum is also 
very scarce, every week only one litre, and then people must stand all 
along the street with jugs, and the last ones don't get any/ 

December 28-31 

. Monday, the 28th, was a day of pelting rain. Towards 
evening this gave place to a hurricane of wind, followed, 
during the night, by a violent thunderstorm. No incident 
worth chronicling occurred along our line, neither the weather 
nor the waterlogged condition of the ground favouring military 
operations in the low-lying areas ; but the French continued 
to make progress in other quarters, and, among other suc- 
cesses, captured the village of St. Georges, east of Nieuport, 
and inflicted great loss on the enemy. 

On Tuesday, the 29th, our troops on the right recovered 
by a gradual advance much of the ground that had been 
occupied by the enemy the week before. 

On Wednesday, the 30th, the gradual progress on our 

i55 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

right was maintained. The Germans again bombarded 
Armentieres and shelled our front line on the left. To our 
north, their airmen displayed more activity than they had 
lately shown, dropping bombs on Dunkirk and Furnes. The 
day was bright and frosty, favouring aerial reconnaissance. 

The last day of 1914 passed equally uneventfully all along 
our front. 

The fighting is now taking place over ground where both 
sides have for weeks past been excavating in all directions, 
until it has become a perfect labyrinth. A trench runs 
straight for a considerable distance, then it suddenly forks 
in three or four directions. One branch merely leads into a 
ditch full of water, used in drier weather as a means of com- 
munication ; another ends abruptly in a cul-de-sac, probably 
an abandoned sap-head ; the third winds on, leading into 
galleries and passages farther forward. 

Sometimes, where new ground is broken, the spade turns up 
the long buried dead, ghastly relics of former fights, and on all 
sides the surface of the earth is ploughed and furrowed by 
fragments of shell and bombs and distorted by mines. Seen 
from a distance, this apparently confused mass of passages 
crossing and recrossing one another resembles a huge irregular 
gridiron. 

The life led by the infantry of both sides at close quarters 
is a strange, cramped existence, with death always near, 
either by means of some missile from above or some mine 
exploded from beneath ; a life which has one dull, monotonous 
background of mud and water. 

Even when there is but little fighting, the troops are kept 
hard at work strengthening the existing defences and con- 
structing others, improvising the shelter which is imperative 
in such weather, and improvising the sanitary conditions and 
communications of the trenches. 

Many of the roads leading up, and parallel to, the Allied 
front present a kaleidoscope of the strangest contrasts. Several 
types of humanity can be seen, from the wild Arab horseman 
of the North African deserts, clothed in flowing robes of blue 
and scarlet, to the tribesman from the mountains of the North- 
West Frontier of India. And there is something grotesquely 
incongruous in the appearance of the dusky faces and Oriental 
garments such as those worn by the Algerian cavalry amidst 
156 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

the surroundings of driving sleet, seas of mud, and long squalid 
rows of brick cottages, such as those in the small industrial 
towns where many of these troops are billeted. 

French Cuirassiers on the march, looking as if they had 
stepped straight out of one of Meissonier's pictures, their 
cuirasses red with rust, give an old-world touch to the scene 
and an impression of a time when war still had the glamour of 
romance. But the impression is quickly shattered by the 
drab reality of a convoy of motor-lorries, lumbering and snort- 
ing along beside little mule-drawn Indian ammunition carts 
bumping along, with the native drivers huddled up to the 
eyes in greatcoats. 

A British Territorial battalion just out from home swings 
through a village, where it is surveyed by a mixed contingent 
of Gurkhas, Sikhs, and Baluchis, whose heads, as is the way 
with the native of India in cold weather, are wrapped in every 
conceivable form of headgear, even newspapers. 

In some of the villages there is a Red Cross flag, marking 
the dressing station of a unit, to which at times the wounded 
may be seen being brought, and from which the motor-ambu- 
lances move away in the evening with their daily toil of 
sufferers. As it grows darker there is more visible activity in 
the area near the front : the regimental transport moves up, 
batteries change position, and the roads become crowded with 
troops and vehicles. And threading their way through the 
throng come the columns of men from the trenches, men 
covered with mud, cold, wet, and very weary, but still cheerful, 
talking and smoking as they march by. 

That the German sniper, however bold and enterprising in 
picking off individuals who may come within range, does not 
always come off best when confronted by the British soldier 
at close quarters is proved by the following incident which 
occurred a few days ago. One of our men had gone at night 
into some farm buildings to get some straw for a dug-out, 
when a shot was fired at him and two German soldiers sud- 
denly appeared out of the darkness. He was unarmed, but 
at once produced a pair of wire-cutters, took aim as if with a 
revolver, and shouted to the Germans to put up their hands. 
This they did, and were then marched off as prisoners. 

The employment of grenades is no new feature of field 
operations, as witness the name ' Grenadiers ' ; and grenade- 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

throwing as a drill was regularly practised in our Army until 
less than thirty years ago, when it was abandoned. It was 
revived, however, during the recent Balkan War, when the 
Komitadji bands habitually made use of this weapon. For 
siege warfare, of course, the employment of hand-grenades 
has never been abandoned, and at Port Arthur the Russians 
and Japanese expended thousands of these missiles, mostly 
improvised. 

Some of those now being used by the Germans are of 
1 sealed pattern/ made in an arsenal probably before the war, 
whilst others have been manufactured in the field. 

One pattern of the factory-made article consists of a cast- 
iron globe of about four inches in diameter and ij Ib. weight 
when loaded. Its external surface is scored by deep lati- 
tudinal and longitudinal grooves, which form lines of cleavage 
for the metal to fly into a number of fragments of a size 
likely to cause damage. It is loaded with powder, which is 
exploded by slow-burning compound, fired by a friction tube 
before the bomb is thrown. Of the improvised type two 
patterns consist of differing amounts of high explosive, wired 
or otherwise made fast to a rough wooden throwing-handle, 
shaped something like a lady's hand-mirror. These are also 
fired by detonator and fuse, the latter being ignited by a 
percussion lighter before the grenade is thrown. 

Of the smaller trench-mortars the bombs are thin metal 
cylinders weighing from about four to eighteen pounds when 
loaded with high explosive and a charge of scrap-iron. These, 
again, are fired by fuse and detonator. 

That we have effective means of replying to these missiles 
goes without saying. 

Some of the prisoners we have captured lately have taken 
a gloomy view of the situation, have criticised their leaders, 
and appear utterly sick of the life they have been leading in 
the trenches. But this probably is not a fair indication of 
the sentiments of the enemy's fighting troops. They are 
conscious that the war will last much longer than was at 
first expected, but the fact that it is being waged almost 
entirely in the enemy's country prevents them realising that 
they are fighting in what must eventually prove a losing 
cause. 

They believe firmly that Russia has suffered a decisive 
158 



DESPATCHES FROM BRITISH EYE-WITNESS 

defeat indeed, it is reported that on December 18 in Ghent 
all the bells were pealed to celebrate a victory over the 
Russians and the capture of 50o>ooo Russian prisoners ; that 
France is exhausted and ready to make peace ; that England 
is decadent, and that her people are engrossed in football 
matches. This idea is due, apparently, to the fact that we 
are still relying on what appears to them a half-measure, 
such as voluntary service, and are not, like other nations, 
enrolling the whole of our manhood for the prosecution of 
the war. 

Their view is further distorted by lies circulated as to the 
attitude of neutrals, who are said to have declared war on the 
Allies. Neither the pinch of real want nor lack of men and 
material of war has yet been felt by the Germans, nor has 
the consciousness of defeat yet been brought home to them, 
while their Press is doing its best to inspire them with a 
fanatical hatred against us, born of the conviction that it is 
we, inspired by jealousy, who have by intrigue and treachery 
raised a host of enemies against them. 



FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL 

REPORTS 

THE BATTLE OF FLANDERS 

Now that definite results have been obtained, the time has 
come for preparing a balance-sheet of the last six weeks. 

It can be summed up as follows. The formidable effort 
attempted by the Germans during that period, first to turn 
our left, then to pierce it completely, has failed. 

By this effort, the enemy tried to retrieve his defeat of the 
Marne ; he only succeeded in adding a fresh failure to that 
of September. 

To turn our flank, in their old-established way, the 
German General Staff had, however, neglected nothing; on 
the part of the front extending from the Lys to the sea, 
it had massed, between the beginning of October and the 
beginning of November, four cavalry corps, and two armies, 
comprising altogether close on fifteen army corps. 

The chiefs, the Crown Prince of Bavaria, General von 
Fabeck, General von Deimling, the Duke of Wurtemberg, in 
order to raise the morale of the troops, multiplied their appeals 
and exhortations. 

We found their orders on dead officers and prisoners. 
All agree. The purpose was a decisive action against the 
French left ; to pierce through towards Dunkirk or Ypres, 
for, as one of these orders stated, the decisive blow still remains 
to be struck, and it must be the drive through. 

At all costs and in all haste they wish to obtain a decision 
on the Western theatre, before turning against the enemy on 
the East. 

Moreover, the Emperor is there, to cheer his soldiers by his 
presence. He has announced that he wishes to enter Ypres 
on November i, and all is prepared to proclaim the annexa- 
160 



4 ] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

tion of Belgium on that date ; briefly, everything has been 
foreseen, except the victorious resistance of the Allied armies. 

To make this resistance possible, we have had to oppose 
to the enemy sufficient, if not equal forces. What, then, was 
the situation at the beginning of October ? 

The Belgian Army, though it had left Antwerp intact, had 
been too sorely tried to take part in a movement ; the English 
Army was leaving its front on the Aisne to go and operate in 
the North ; but transports and detrainings necessitated long 
delays ; the Army of General de Castelnau did not extend 
beyond the south of Arras, on his left ; the Army of General 
de Maud'huy stretched from that point to the south of Lille ; 
farther on we had some cavalry, some terrritorials, some 
marine fusiliers. 

This was not sufficient to enable General Foch, who had 
been appointed by General Joffre to the command of the 
Northern Armies, to break the enemy's purpose. Reinforce- 
ments were therefore sent to him. For three weeks the rail- 
way and motor car reigned supreme. Night and day troops 
were rolling up. They came in time. Divisions and army 
corps, less numerous than those of the enemy, but inspired 
with an admirable spirit, were engaged almost as soon as they 
arrived. During a whole month they were at the front. 

Towards October 20 this front was shaped as follows : 
From Nieuport to Dixmude, one of our divisions of infantry 
and our marines were holding the railway line, while the 
Belgian Army at the rear was being reorganised ; to the south 
of Dixmude we were established on the 'canal ; our line then 
stretched away towards the east, forming before Ypres a vast 
semicircle occupied by four French and one English army 
corps. 

The line then descended towards the south, from Messines 
to Armentieres, forming two sectors held, one by the remainder 
of the English Army and the other by ourselves. 

The German attack, in the first instance, aimed at taking 
Dunkirk, reaching Calais and Boulogne, moving round us, 
cutting the direct communications of the British Army from 
the sea. The whole of the heavy artillery brought from 
Antwerp was there, ready to be used again. 

MILITARY 2 L l6l 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

As early as November 3 the attack was repulsed. From 
the railway we marched towards the Yser, throwing back the 
enemy, who had succeeded in crossing to the left bank, and 
drowning their rearguard in the inundation. Near Rams- 
capelle the German guns sank in the mud, and half-submerged 
corpses can still be seen there. 

The enemy then, finding it impossible to turn us, attempted 
to pierce through, and this was the battle of Ypres, a furious 
and stubborn battle, where the German Army, regardless of 
losses, hurled its units forward in deep masses, sacrificing 
everything to the end, provided that end was attained. 

Their end was not attained. For nearly three weeks we 
sustained repeated, hurried, and frenzied assaults ; they were 
all repulsed. 

Our front, with its curved form, was not easy to hold ; 
nevertheless we held it. 

On October 30 the English troops, particularly the cavalry, 
had been compelled to withdraw some hundreds of metres 
before the powerful effort of the enemy ; our troops, counter- 
attacking at the same time as those of our Allies, set up again 
the inviolable barrier which closed the approaches to Ypres. 

The deeds performed there by our army corps, in close con- 
junction with the English corps which they encompassed, are 
worthy of the finest pages in military history. 

On November 12 the enemy had succeeded in crossing 
the canal at two points to the north of Ypres ; on the I3th he 
was already thrown back to the other bank. On November 12 
he had also gained some ground in the region south of Ypres ; 
this ground was also retaken from him. 

On the I5th his attacks diminished and our position, 
already strong before, became unassailable. 

* 

This result was obtained by the army in Belgium, under 
the orders of General d'Urbal, in conjunction with the armies 
of General de Maud'huy and General de Castelnau, these three 
armies constituting the group of armies under General Foch. 

The two last-mentioned brilliantly contributed to our 
success by repulsing all attacks directed against them, and by 
carrying several important positions between the Oise and 
the Lys. 

The decisive help we brought to the English troops on this 
162 



FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

occasion has firmly sealed the fraternity of arms between the 
Allies. Finally, the energy of our resistance has restored 
confidence to the Belgian Army, which, reorganised on its 
own soil, is now ready for the fighting of to-morrow. 

The losses of the Germans have been considerable ; they 
certainly exceed 120,000 men. In some of the trenches, 
1200 metres long, there were found over 2000 corpses, though 
it is well known that, whenever they can do so, the Germans 
remove their dead from the battle-field. 

These great losses are, however, explained by a peculiar 
circumstance. If during three weeks the Germans attacked 
in deep formations, it was the necessary consequence of the 
recent constitution of several of their army corps. 

The numerous artillery we had assembled on the south 
of Ypres opened bloody breaches in those masses. 

All this goes to emphasise the importance of our success ; 
its extent assumes a particularly striking significance when 
one bears in mind that the Germans themselves have always 
looked upon the breaking through at Ypres as decisive. 

In breaking their offensive, we have inflicted upon them 
the most humiliating of disillusionments. On the other hand, 
we have obtained results, the importance of which it would 
be well to point out. 

They are as follows. Had the Army of Belgium been thrown 
out of its territory, William n. would not only have realised 
his plan of proclaiming in Ypres the annexation of this valiant 
nation, but he would have been justified in boasting that he 
had annihilated at least one of his adversaries. He was 
denied this twofold satisfaction. 

If Dunkirk, Calais, and Boulogne had been taken, England 
would have found her communications hampered with her 
Continental Army. 

Lastly, France, in maintaining unbroken the front of her 
armies from the sea to Arras, secured the best and most 
effective safeguard against an offensive return of the enemy 
towards Paris. 

The extent of our success is thus made]clear. 

To gauge it exactly, one need only consider the general 
plan of the campaign and compare the fronts occupied by 

163 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

our left and the German right, first at the beginning of 
September and then in the middle of November. 

The result obtained and this also is noteworthy comes as 
a result, not of momentary successes but of steady progress, 
which has nullified the enemy's equally uninterrupted effort. 

After our victory of the Marne had, in the middle of 
September, compelled the German armies to beat a hurried 
retreat, they at once tried to regain the advantage by still 
turning our left. In this they were nowhere successful. 

Meanwhile we, on the other hand, contrived to extend our 
left into Belgium and to carry it as far as the sea. We kept 
it then unbroken on the line to which we had brought it. 

The success gained in Flanders, of which the French troops 
bore the heaviest burden, is therefore the continuation, the pro- 
longation, and the consecration of the victory of the 
Marne. 

The glory of this success is due to our chiefs and to our 
soldiers. Henceforth it is proved by facts that our command 
is able to read the plan of the German command, and that it 
is ready, everywhere and at all times, not only for the parry, 
but also for the thrust. 

As to the troops, they have found qualities they were 
perhaps lacking in at the beginning of the operations, princi- 
pally as regards quick practice in defensive organisation ; the 
trenches that they build are now equal to those of the enemy. 

Highly satisfactory as may be the recognition of these 
facts, they do not exhaust the reasons for our confidence ; for 
to this progress of our armies there corresponds the progress 
of the Russian armies which, from November 3 onwards, has 
become more marked. 

At the gates of Cracow and Kalisch, our allies are begin- 
ning to weigh heavily in the scale of forces. 

Thus the failure of the German plan stands clearly revealed 
in broad daylight. 

This plan, as often mentioned, which was that of von der 
Goltz, of Bernhardi, and of Falkenhayn, was to crush France 
in three weeks, and then to turn against Russia. 

And now we are approaching the end of the fourth month 
of the war, and France is not crushed. 

She has, on the contrary, only successes to show since 
164 



FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

September 6, in spite of the gathering against her of masses 
of troops representing upwards of fifty army corps. 

It must be said and repeated for it is the truth, and a 
truth all to our honour that these fifty army corps are all 
still facing us ; fifteen German army corps added to practically 
the entire Austrian forces, are facing Russia. 

It cannot be too often repeated, that since September 6 
the formidable masses that assail us have been unable to 
make us bend anywhere, in spite of their valour ; on the 
contrary, they have on many points retreated under the 
pressure of our efforts. 



DESPATCHES FROM FRENCH EYE-WITNESS 

THE FOLLOWING NARRATIVE OF EVENTS WAS COMPILED BY [Alltak 
A MILITARY EYE-WITNESS AT THE HEADQUARTERS ? m T} 
OF THE FRENCH ARMY IN THE FIELD 

November 15-21 

The last few days have been marked, except at certain 
points, by an appreciable slackening of the German activity. 
On the other hand, our artillery and our infantry have secured 
a marked advantage over the enemy in what, owing to the 
form and position of the opposing fronts, is really siege 
warfare. 

From the sea to the river Lys our artillery, perfecting its 
aim as the result of information from our airmen, has on 
several occasions silenced the enemy artillery. On November 
17, in the Ypres region, we destroyed several of the enemy's 
guns. On the igth and 2Oth we achieved a similar result at 
Nieuport. Our artillery by its sharp reply on the igth 
stopped the enemy's fire directed at the station of Ypres and 
the road from Poperinghe to Ypres. On several occasions 
it has seemed as if the enemy's artillery were short of am- 
munition. Several German shells did not burst, and it was 
ascertained that they were practice projectiles. Our infantry 
during the last five days has lost none of its positions in this 
sector, and it has often gained ground. The partial attacks 
of the enemy have always been repulsed, while our offensives 

165 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [i 

have almost always succeeded in consolidating the gains 
achieved by them. 

Farther to the south, on the I7th, the British found in 
another trench 1200 German dead. The losses of the enemy 
have therefore continued to be very high. It may be pointed 
out that when our infantry wavers under the violence of an 
attack, it is the first to demand permission to make a counter- 
attack. Thus the troops of General Vidal in the Ypres region 
recovered on the night of the I7th a wood which they had 
lost during the day. They made it a point of honour not to 
postpone the recovery of this position. 

From the Oise to the west of the Argonne there have 
been somewhat sharp engagements, and our guns have in- 
flicted serious loss on the enemy. On the i6th, to the east 
of Reims, they blew up an ammunition depot, and on the 
I7th our heavy artillery near Vieil-Arcy demolished three 
German 77 mm. guns and blew up an ammunition wagon. 
On the same day, to the north of Craonne, it silenced several 
enemy batteries. On the following day, near Amifontaine, 
a German camp was discovered by our batteries and had 
to be moved. On the igth, near Rouge-Maison, we damaged 
a section of 105 of the enemy, and destroyed a large work 
near the farm of Hurtebise. On the 2Oth we prevented the 
Germans from continuing trenches which they had begun 
to dig near Vailly. All these successes justify the confidence 
of our gunners in the efficacy of their fire. 

On the I7th the affair of Tracy-le-Val marked a brilliant 
success for our infantry. It was about n o'clock that the 
Germans attacked. They bombarded the village with g-inch 
mortars and then launched two battalions against the northern 
end of the village. Their sudden and mass attack led them 
first of all to cross-roads and then to a church, and enabled 
them to capture a mitrailleuse. But this success so quickly 
obtained was as quickly nullified. A section of Zouaves 
charged. They began by capturing the mitrailleuse, and 
then, having been reinforced, they dashed forward, passed 
the church and the cross-roads, and forced the Germans 
back to their starting-point. The enemy then tried to break 
our line on the east, but were again defeated. In this vain 
attack the Germans left behind several hundred dead and 
wounded. We lost less than a hundred men. 
166 



FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

There was another instance on the same day of the keen- 
ness of our infantry. In the neighbourhood of St. Hubert 
and the Four-de-Paris two of our companies were suddenly 
attacked by two battalions and driven back from their 
trenches. The next morning they recovered all the lost 
ground and took eighty prisoners. 

On the front from the Oise to the Argonne our aeroplanes, 
in spite of rain followed by keen cold, have done very good 
work. The services which they have rendered our artillery 
by enabling it to regulate its fire have been already mentioned. 
They have also on two occasions, on the Aisne and to the east 
of Reims, compelled the enemy aeroplanes to interrupt their 
mission and return to the German lines. 

From the Argonne to the Vosges there have been numerous 
actions, in which our troops have proved their powers of 
endurance. Every day and every night round Verdun and 
on the heights of the Meuse they have had to repel attacks, 
some of which have been particularly violent. On the I5th 
in the Vosges the Germans, having suffered losses amounting 
to 2500 men, dismissed General Eberhards, one of their divi- 
sional commanders. Lieutenant Mandel, son of a former 
Secretary of State of Alsace-Lorraine/ was killed in the 
course of the fighting here. On the I7th two German 
battalions which engaged us at Ste. Marie had to be 
sent back to the rear, having lost more than half of their 
effectives. 

Special mention must be made of the Chauvoncourt affair, 
which did not succeed, and of that of Senones, which, on the 
contrary, was a success. Our men by a bold attack set 
foot in two barracks to the west of Chauvoncourt, a suburb 
of St. Mihiel. Twice they were driven back and twice they 
retook the position. They were holding the greater portion 
of it when on the i8th a violent fire from n-inch mortars 
compelled the leading company to shelter in the cellars of 
the first barracks. At that moment the Germans blew up the 
building, which they had mined. We lost there in killed, 
wounded, and prisoners about 200 men. The effort of these 
gallant fellows, however, had not been in vain, since we had 
destroyed defensive works which had served as a base for the 
enemy's counter-attacks. The Germans, who had tried to 
cross the Meuse in order to support their forces at Chauvon- 

167 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

court, had, on the other hand, suffered very great losses, 
infinitely greater than ours. 

At Senones, or, to be more exact, to the north-west of 
that place, a detachment supported by artillery had received 
orders to carry enemy trenches which threatened ours. At 
daybreak on the igth a breach was made in the first wire 
entanglement by melinite, and our infantry in one rush 
gained 250 yards. Here our men found themselves con- 
fronted by another wire entanglement, and taken in flank 
on the right and left by enemy machine-guns. They held 
their ground, however, and dug themselves in under fire, 
maintaining all the ground they had won. In this brilliant 
affair we lost only sixty men. 

In the eastern sector our resistance and our progress 
at the Epargne, near Verdun, must also be noted. The 
Germans during the last few days have made no change in their 
customary methods. They have again bombarded Reims 
Cathedral and have also bombarded the hospital at Bethune, 
which they made a special target. We succeeded in re- 
moving all our wounded safely from the hospital. The 
mentality thus manifested and known to us from the 
beginning of the war also finds expression in instructions 
to the enemy's reserve troops which were found in the pocket 
of a dead officer. Here it is set forth that every French 
civilian found on the battlefield is to be shot. 

It is also to be noted that the German Government has 
not altered its methods of bluff and falsehood. On the igth 
German communiques referred to a violent French attack 
which had been repulsed in the Argonne. Inquiry into our 
' violent attack ' on that day and at that point shows that 
it was confined to some rounds of artillery, and that the 
Germans had nothing to repulse because they were not 
attacked. One may judge from this instance the credit 
which must be attached to German communiques. 

November 2j-December 5 

The above period has not been marked by operations of 
great extent, but it may be said that along the whole front 
the ascendancy both of our artillery and our infantry over 
the enemy has been established. Our artillery, without 
168 



FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

suffering seriously from the enemy's fire, at several points 
silenced his batteries and destroyed some of them. The 
infantry, showing a spirit of sustained dash, has advanced 
everywhere, and never has progress been followed by a with- 
drawal. 

FROM THE SEA TO THE OISE 

On December i at Bixschoote and Merkem our heavy 
artillery seriously damaged five German batteries and exploded 
several ammunition wagons. On the same day at Wydendreft 
we destroyed a machine-gun section, while on the 4th inst. our 
big guns silenced the heavy German artillery. Earlier, on 
November 28, our heavy ordnance in the Knocke district 
demolished the bridges which the enemy had built for his 
supplies. The same thing happened at Bixschoote on 
December 2. Near Lens we had bombarded, five days earlier, 
to good purpose German supply columns, and on the 
5th of this month we demolished the enemy's works near 
Roclincourt. The attacks which our infantry have repulsed 
are too numerous to mention in detail, but the following is 
a list of the principal attacks, with the plaCe and the date : 

Passchendaele, November 27. 

Bixschoote, November 30. 

Passchendaele, December 3. 

Wydendreft, December 5. 

Broodseinde (to the east of Ypres), November 27. 
In this last attack the Germans showed great courage, 
and some of them were killed on the very parapet of our 
trenches ; 150 bodies were found in front of a single trench. 
From one end to the other of the north sector our infantry 
has gained ground. 

Several infantry actions deserve special mention. The 
action which gave us Ferryman's House was particularly 
brilliant. Several German trenches were carried in succes- 
sion. The object was to drive from the left bank of the Yser 
the Germans, who had succeeded in establishing themselves 
there for a length of over a mile. 

The difficulty in the attack lay in the fact that the canal 
was bordered by marshes which could not be crossed, and the 
only way of approach was along the bank and on a very 
narrow front. Moreover, the right bank, where the enemy 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

had taken up his position, dominated the left bank, which 
was exposed to a machine-gun fire. The assault on Ferry- 
man's House was delivered by a detachment of 100 volunteers 
from the African battalions. Our men fought knee-deep in 
the water in a downpour of rain. 

The Germans displayed the greatest courage, and our men 
had to kill i officer and 15 men who refused to surrender. 
In Ferryman's House itself, which had been turned into a 
little fort, there were 53 lying dead, two of whom were 
officers. They had been killed by our 8*6 shells. Close 
by was the wreckage of their searchlight and their machine- 
guns. 

Not less remarkable was the attack on the park and the 
Chateau of Vermelles. Two platoons of dismounted Spahis, 
with rifle and bayonet, and three companies of infantry were 
entrusted with the duty. On the morning of December i 
the Germans, attacked on every side, fled and tried vainly to 
entrench themselves in the chateau buildings. On the follow- 
ing day and later all counter-attacks of the enemy were 
repelled, and one of our guns, boldly pushed forward, demo- 
lished in turn several blocks of buildings which the enemy 
had turned into supporting-points. Our infantry captured 
several machine-guns, rifles, and war material of every 
description. 

Farther south the attack on Fey gave our men occasion 
to show their dash on the offensive. They had pushed for- 
ward by November 28 as far as the first line of the enemy's 
wire entanglements, which they severed with wire-cutters 
and promptly entrenched themselves on the ground which 
they had gained. Throughout the whole night the enemy kept 
up a continuous fire, but meanwhile our sharpshooters 
with their wire-cutters and our sappers with their melinite 
were not less active in destroying the wire entangle- 
ments. 

On November 30, after getting through one line of barbed 
wire, they found themselves confronted with yet another 
line. They suffered considerable losses from the heavy fire 
from machine-guns and from hand grenades throughout the 
day, but they succeeded all the same in establishing them- 
selves on the ground which they had taken a gain of 
between 400 and 500 yards. 
170 



H4] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

FROM THE OlSE TO THE ARGONNE 

The western portion of this sector during the period 
under review was comparatively quiet. On November 30 
our artillery scattered German infantry columns north of Fort 
Cond. The German artillery showed little activity, and our 
troops had leisure to complete their arrangements. 

In the Champagne region our artillery achieved appre- 
ciable success. On November 27, to the west of Presles, 
one of our batteries of 75*5 destroyed a German 4-inch gun, 
while our heavy guns silenced the enemy's fire near Rouge- 
Maison. It is interesting to note that the growing activity 
of our artillery upon this part of the front reduced our daily 
average of infantry casualties from 100 to 20. Shortly after- 
wards we destroyed an ammunition wagon, six machine-guns, 
and a heavy battery. 

On November 29 we reduced the German artillery to 
silence at Blanc-Chateau, and we were equally successful 
in silencing his guns which were firing on Taissy, while 
on the Craonne Plateau we destroyed a field battery. A 
German machine-gun shelter was destroyed near Vauclerc on 
December 2, and on that and in the succeeding days we 
exploded several powder magazines. The German guns which 
were bombarding Reims were silenced on December 4 and 
December 5. 

The Germans tried to blow up the bridge at Berry-au-Bac, 
but the barge, with explosives to be set off by a time- 
machine, was stopped and sunk. The sole success which 
the German artillery has obtained in this region has been 
the bombardment on two or three occasions of Reims. The 
most violent bombardment took place on the day when the 
journalists representing neutral countries were visiting the 
town. 

FROM THE ARGONNE TO THE HEIGHTS OF THE MEUSE 
In this section the enemy has shown more activity, 
especially north of the Four-de-Paris, in the Grurie Wood, 
and at Fontaine-Madame. All their attacks were repelled 
with the utmost vigour, and our infantry were not content 
to remain on the defensive. In the region of the Grurie 
Wood and of the Bollante Wood and Fontaine-Madame 

171 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

they have attacked daily and have made progress. On 
December i, near St. Hubert, we blew up a German field- 
work, which we afterwards occupied, and three days later we 
carried several trenches, captured prisoners, and pushed 
forward nearly 200 yards. 

The German General Staff has boasted of a great success 
on December i in the Grurie Wood, but this success was 
nothing more than the blowing up of a trench which had 
been mined. The company which occupied it was almost 
annihilated, but the men in the adjoining trenches held 
their ground after a furious hand-to-hand struggle, and a 
new line was established through a fresh trench exactly 
thirty-two yards behind the one which had been blown up. 

FROM THE MEUSE TO THE Swiss FRONTIER 

On the heights of the Meuse thick fog and much rain 
stopped all fighting for several days. On the days when the 
atmosphere cleared our artillery repeatedly silenced the 
enemy. A machine-gun section was destroyed on December 
5, while supply columns were bombarded and a heavy 
battery was put out of action. The infrequent infantry 
attacks of the enemy were all repulsed, and at several points 
we made appreciable progress. We also advanced on the 
4th inst. on the left bank of the Moselle, and on the following 
day in the Le Pretre wood. 

The German artillery devoted its attentions mainly to 
Saint Remy and Les Eparges. 

In the Vosges and Upper Alsace our offensive has made 
us masters of important positions. On December 2 we 
seized to the south of the Col Bonhomme the Tete-de-Faux, 
a crest where the enemy had an artillery observation station 
and whence he dominated the valley of the Meurthe. Our 
Chasseurs carried the crest in two hours. They suffered con- 
siderable loss, but their dash was magnificent. The trumpets 
sounded the charge, and the Chasseurs advanced singing the 
' Marseillaise/ One of them had brought with him a flag 
which he planted on the summit of the crest. 

South of the Tete-de-Faux we progressed on the Grimande 
slope, and north-west of Senones near Signal-de-Mere-Henri 
all the counter-attacks were repulsed, while we were even 
172 



FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

able to hold a blockhouse which was only about ten yards 
distant from the enemy's trenches. A sergeant and four 
men constituted the garrison, and they were supplied with 
food in a very ingenious fashion. Loaves of bread were 
hollowed out, and inside were placed portions of meat and 
flasks of water. These welcome and nourishing projectiles 
were then thrown into the blockhouse. The spirit of our 
troops in the Vosges is admirable. 

December 7-15 

In the course of this period the ascendancy of our infantry 
has permitted us to make on several parts of the front pro- 
gress which appears to have made the enemy anxious. The 
German infantry is everywhere more careful. Continual 
irregular firing reveals a certain nervousness in their ranks. 
The more and more frequent use of light-rockets also reveals 
the fear of an attack. After the costly and vain experi- 
ences of the last month, our adversaries appear everywhere 
to be reduced to the defensive, and it is we who on all the 
front have taken an aggressive attitude. In the artillery 
duels also our batteries have more and more confirmed their 
superiority. 

Between the sea and the Lys the enemy, who contented 
himself during the period from the 6th to the gth inst. with 
bombarding our lines, and in particular the town of Ypres, 
delivered on the loth inst. to the south of this village three 
infantry attacks against our trenches. The first two were 
repulsed. The third reached our first line trenches, but 
during the night we retook our positions. A fresh attack 
made by the enemy on the I2th was stopped. 

On the I4th our infantry in its turn assumed the offensive. 
Despite the wet nature of the ground and the fire from the 
machine-guns, it succeeded in capturing the enemy's trenches 
on a front of several hundred metres and in maintaining itself 
there in face of violent counter-attacks. On the following 
day, with the co-operation of the Belgian troops, we succeeded 
in debouching from Nieuport and in taking a position on the 
western outskirts of the villages of Lombaertzyde and St. 
Georges. In the course of these different actions the German 
artillery gave its infantry only very inefficacious help. 

Between the Lys and the Oise our progress has not been 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

less marked. The occupation of Vermelles by our troops 
compelled the enemy to retreat three kilometres. On the 
same day we carried some trenches to the south of Carency, 
and in the region of Quesnoy we made an advance varying 
from 550 to 900 metres. 

On the 8th bloody contests took place on the road from 
Lille to the north of Roclincourt around a barricade which 
finally remained in our hands. On the gth, before Parvillers 
and Fouquescourt, further progress was made. We are no 
longer more than a hundred metres from the German trenches. 
Before Andechy we gained from 300 to 600 metres. We are 
at the same time progressing by sapping. 

On the nth, to the east of the Lille road, we blew up a 
German mine. Zouaves and sappers quickly rushed into 
the hole made by the explosion, and from it threw melinite 
bombs into the enemy's trenches. 

The activity of the enemy has only been manifested by 
his attacks delivered in the region of Fouquescourt and by 
an attack near Ovillers. They were both easily checked. Our 
batteries maintain their superiority. In spite of the rigours 
of December and the rains which make the trenches a quag- 
mire, the morale and the health of our troops remain perfect. 
Our troops, well fed and warmly clothed, are full of con- 
fidence. There has been an artillery duel almost daily without 
any infantry action, except during the night of the 7th-8th, 
when a German attack on Tracy-le-Val was easily repulsed. 

The German artillery has been directed on towns or 
villages. On the 6th it bombarded Soissons, on the loth and 
I5th Tracy, on the loth the suburbs of Reims, on the I2th 
the town of Reims, and on the I4th the village of Grouy. 
Our artillery replied, and with good results. On the gth it 
destroyed four machine-guns and an observation post ; on 
the loth it destroyed a battery ; and on the nth our heavy 
artillery silenced some quick-firing guns. 

It is in the Argonne that the enemy continues to show 
most activity. We are making progress in the Bois de 
Rolande. Our works at Haute Chevanche*e were attacked 
violently, but unsuccessfully, by fire from the enemy, who 
succeeded in blowing up a mine in one of our trenches. On 
the I2th the enemy's mines caused us to lose more trenches 
at Haute Chevanche*e. At the Bois de Grurie we gained 



FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

250 metres on the I2th, and on the I5th we blew up a German 
mine there. 

In the region of Varennes and in the heights of the Meuse 
the artillery alone has been active. In the Bois de la Pretre 
we have, from the 7th to the nth, gained ground each day, 
taking machine-guns and making numerous prisoners. These 
men were very depressed. They said they had received orders 
from their officers not to fire so as to avoid provoking our fire. 

In the Vosges the positions gained have been solidly main- 
tained, despite German attacks. On the loth our troops 
got possession of the station of Aspach, .to the south-east of 
Thann. On the I3th we occupied the heights north-west of 
Cernay and the village of Steinbach. The enemy's resumed 
offensive was repulsed with heavy losses to himself. On the 
I4th the Germans again attacked, and succeeded at the price 
of heavy sacrifices in occupying Steinbach. They could not 
debouch from there, and the heights which dominate Cernay 
remain in our hands. 

To sum up, at a large number of points we have made 
attacks which have been crowned with success. At no point 
have we abandoned what we have gained. Everywhere the 
enemy opposed to us has been compelled to take up a defensive 
attitude, which confirms the superiority of our troops. 



December 16-24 

The period from December 16 to 24 has defined and 
accentuated the results obtained during the preceding period. 
Our aggressive attitude was manifested with more energy, 
whilst the enemy was everywhere reduced to a defensive 
attitude. The violence of his counter-attacks has shown 
that he only accepted this attitude because he was forced to 
do so, whilst the failure of everything he has attempted in 
order to recover the ground he has lost only goes to confirm 
our advantage. Finally, it should be remarked that in many 
parts along the front, notably near Arras, at the edge of the 
wood to the west of the Argonne, and near Verdun, we have 
rendered ourselves masters of important points of vantage. 

The operations to the north of the Lys have become 
terribly difficult owing to the bad weather. The liquid and 
cold mud from which the men suffered invaded the breeches 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

of their rifles, so that they could no longer fire, and had to fight 
with the butt end of their rifles and with their fists. Our 
soldiers, according to the expression of one of their leaders, 
have become blocks of mud. The attempt has been successful 
to provide for them, when they leave the trenches, proper 
baths and a complete change of linen, which they appreciate 
very much. Their unalterable good humour, however, en- 
ables them to endure with the best possible grace the rough 
life which is imposed upon them by this severe winter. 

The operations of the last period in this part of the front 
may be divided into three regions namely, the region 
above Nieuport, to the north of Ypres, and that to the 
south of Ypres. Above Nieuport there are on the one 
hand the floods and on the other' the sea. Between the 
floods there are the dunes, and it is there where we have 
progressed. On the evening of the I5th we had debouched 
from Nieuport as far as the border of the woods to the west of 
Lombaertzyde. On the i6th we pushed as far as the sea, 
occupied the lighthouse, and made over a hundred prisoners. 
On the i yth we reached the crossing on the road from Lorn- 
baertzyde, and from the dunes we also made progress more to 
the south in front of St. Georges. On the igth there was a 
fresh advance of 200 metres gained along the whole front. On 
the 2Oth a trench was taken, and on the 2ist a fresh move 
forward of 150 metres was made in the direction of Westende. 
The enemy counter-attacked on the 22nd, but was repulsed. 
All we have gained remains in our hands. The German 
division of marines on the coast is unable to retake what it 
has lost. 

To the north of Ypres the struggle is concentrated near 
Steenstraate and Bixschoote, around the Korteker Inn. On 
the iyth we carried at one rush 500 metres of ground, taking 
several trenches, capturing four machine-guns, and making 
150 prisoners. On the i8th we took one by one the houses 
near our lines, and on the iyth the inn to the east of us, and 
swept the neighbourhood clear of the enemy, taking a wood, 
some houses, and a redoubt. On the 22nd a further 100 
metres were gained. The enemy counter-attacked, but in 
vain. The operations on the I7th and i8th represent together 
a further gain of over 700 metres. 

First, between the Oise and the Aisne our artillery obtained 
176 



FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

an appreciable success, comprising the destruction of a machine- 
gun and a look-out station near Tracy-le-Val on the i6th, a 
barricade in the region of Vailly on the igth, a howitzer on the 
2Oth, a machine-gun on the 2ist, the bringing down of a 
captive balloon on the 22nd, and the destruction on the 24th 
of the enemy's trenches at the Plateau of Nouvron. Our 
infantry made important progress in the region of Nampcel 
and Puisaleine. On the 2ist they carried the enemy's first 
line of trenches along a front of 500 metres and took a machine- 
gun. We lost on the 22nd, and retook on the 23rd, portions 
of the ground gained. On the 23rd all the enemy's counter- 
attacks were brilliantly repulsed at the point of the bayonet. 
On the 24th we were masters of the whole line carried on the 
2ist, save a few metres at the eastern extremity, which the 
enemy still holds. 

Secondly, to the south of Laon and Craonne and in the 
Reims district, the last week has been more especially taken 
up with artillery duels. The enemy has fired nearly twice as 
many projectiles as during the week before, but without suc- 
ceeding in depriving our heavy artillery of the superiority 
it has clearly attained. The destruction of machine-guns, 
shelters, and redoubts on the i6th near the Troyon sugar 
refinery and the Beaulieu quarries, the destruction of a lunette 
on the Plateau of Vauclerc on the i8th, and in the same 
neighbourhood two machine-gun shelters on the igth, the 
dispersion of groups of the enemy in the Suippe Valley on 
the igth, 2oth, and 23rd, the destruction of German trenches 
on the I7th, and again near Bourtaut Farm, in the same 
region, on the 22nd. 

Thirdly, to the south of Ypres near Veldhoek and near 
Zwartelem we gained 400 metres on December 16. On the 
1 7th and subsequent days we continued our progress, taking 
two machine-guns, ammunition, and several groups of houses 
(December 21, 22, and 23). In this region also the diffi- 
culties of the ground were extreme, but although the men 
had to fight in the water and slush, there are nothing but 
gains to record, and there was no flinching anywhere. 

Between Reims and the Argonne our attacks were well 
followed up, and with such continuity that, despite lively 
counter-attacks, the enemy was unable to reconquer the 
positions lost by him from the isth to the 24th. His attacks 

MILITARY 2 M 177 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

have more particularly developed between St. Hilaire-le-Grand 
and Beausejour, to the west of Ville-sur-Tourbe. They may 
be summarised by saying that all the points of vantage which 
they sought to capture are now in our possession. In the 
neighbourhood of Perthes we gained 200 metres on the 2Oth, 
as many more on the 2ist, and 800 metres on the 22nd. 
This gain extends along a front of a kilometre and a half, and 
represents the whole of the enemy's line of trenches. 

In the Argonne Wood the war has been a harder and more 
thankless task still, the difficulties of the wooded and muddy 
ground making our continuous progress the more appreciable. 
Four times we exploded German mines, demolished machine- 
guns and protected shelters, besides taking material of war. 

From the west of the Argonne to the heights of the 
Meuse, from the i6th to the 24th, we have displayed activity, 
often crowned with success, in spite of the state of the 
ground, which is more adapted to defensive than to offensive 
operations. Our artillery, and especially our heavy artillery, 
inflicted severe damage on the enemy's artillery. On 
December 17 we destroyed two pieces ; on December 18 two 
batteries were demolished and a third reduced to silence ; 
on December 20 a sheltered machine-gun destroyed one of 
the enemy's ; on the 22nd a battery of 15-centimetre 
guns was damaged north-east of St. Mihiel, and tWo bat- 
teries of 77-mm. guns were destroyed near Bethincourt. 

We have likewise made progress in the Malancourt Wood 
on December 20, and in the Bethincourt region on the 2ist, 
and in the Wood of Forges on December 21, 22, and 23, 
our gain being from 200 to 300 metres for three days. One 
hundred and fifty metres more were gained on December 24 
in the Wood of Consenvoye, where we held ground gained in 
spite of a violent bombardment and several counter-attacks. 
In the Bois des Chevaliers we gained 100 metres and took 
prisoners. The condition of these men was indescribable. 
They were filthy, being a mass of vermin from head to foot. 

Between the Meuse and the Moselle the fighting has been 
less lively than on the rest of the front, but we can record 
continuous, if slow, progress in the forest of Apremont and in 
Le Pretre wood, besides several artillery successes. In the 
Woevre and in the forest of Apremont we either destroyed or 
silenced hostile batteries on December 20, and rushed several 
178 



FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

trenches on the 23rd and 24th. The railway station of 
Arnaville was effectively bombarded on the i8th and 22nd. 

In the Vosges we won some 250 metres of ground in the 
Ban de Sapt, and also held the ground gained the preceding 
week. Near Cirey our advanced posts were pushed to within 
a distance of 1500 metres from the town. 

As regards aerial warfare, in spite of the greatest difficulties 
resulting from clouds, rain, fog, and wind, our aeroplane 
squadrons and dirigibles have done excellent work. On the 
night of the I7th one of our dirigibles dropped fifteen bombs 
on the Saarburg railway station and six on that of Petit Eich, 
five bombs and a thousand steel darts on a train in the 
station at Heiming. The damage done was important, and 
the German papers recognised that fact. 

In several encounters on the I3th, 20th, 2ist, and 22nd 
our airmen chased German machines and obliged them to 
come to ground. On the i8th one of our airmen shot with his 
rifle a German pilot, whose machine he saw dashed to pieces 
on impact with the ground, besides killing another near Arras 
and putting to flight a third with some twenty shots from his 
carbine. On the 22nd another of our officers, pursued by an 
Albatross machine, succeeded in bringing back into our lines 
his machine, which had been seriously damaged by the bursting 
of a shell. Several of our airmen have dropped bombs and 
arrows successfully on the German trenches. The air squadron 
which has been in operation on the Belgian coast in con- 
junction with the British warships has been thanked from the 
British Headquarters. Our squadron, indeed, has rendered 
most useful assistance in the work of directing the fire of the 
ships and watching the movements of the enemy's submarines. 



FOUR MONTHS OF WAR 

(REPORT ON THE OPERATIONS AS A WHOLE, FROM AUGUST 2 
TO DECEMBER 2, 1914) 

Four months have elapsed since the beginning of the war. B. des A 
The conceit of the Germans did not think this possible. Dec - 5, 

They flattered themselves, that in three weeks they would 

have beaten us to the ground. 

A mere statement of this fact is, however, not sufficient 

179 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG.- 

to show the importance of the result we have obtained. To 
make it clearer, one must follow without restriction or reserve 
the sequence of events from August 2 to December 2. 

Let us, in the first instance, note the strength of the 
adversary who confronts us. 

We knew him to be powerful and minutely prepared for 
this war, premeditated and let loose by his diplomacy ; his 
effort against us has even exceeded all that was foreseen. 

The forces mobilised by Germany on her western frontier 
from August to November comprised, in fact, 52 army corps, 1 
composed as follows : 

1. 2 August 21 active corps, 13 reserve corps ; 

2. End of August 4 corps, made up of 17 mixed brigades 

of Ersatz ; 

3. September 8 corps, composed of 33 brigades of Land- 

wehr ; 

4. October 5 half corps of reserves, of recent formation, 

i division of marine fusiliers. 

To these 52 corps must be added 10 divisions of cavalry. 

At the moment when the war started, Germany is in hopes 
of a successful stroke against Nancy. But she dares not take 
the risk in view of the strength of our covering force, 
powerfully reinforced at the end of 1913, as is well known. 

So our concentration proceeds freely, without mishap, 
and all attempts at interference prepared by the enemy are 
frustrated. The regularity of our transport service proves 
from this moment the fine organisation of our army. 

Our Failures in August 

Our concentration had to be sufficiently elastic to enable 
us to bring our principal effort to bear on the ground where 
the enemy might prove most active. 

The violation of Belgian neutrality reveals to us the in- 
tentions of the German General Staff ; the north is the direc- 
tion where the principal part will be played. 

Before commencing the engagement, we are compelled to 
await the coming into line of the English Army, which 
cannot take place till August 20, so we at once take steps 

1 [This is as in the French original, but the details given only total 49 
army corps.] 
180 



FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

to retain in Alsace and in Lorraine the largest possible number 
of German corps. 

In Alsace, our first attack, badly led, takes us to Mulhouse, 
but it cannot be maintained there. (August 7.) 

A second attack, directed by General Pau, takes us back 
there. On August 20 we hold the approaches to Colmar 
through the Vosges and the plain. The enemy has suffered 
heavy losses. 

But from this moment the unfortunate events in Lorraine 
and in Belgium compel us to restrict the extent and intensity 
of our effort in Alsace. (August 26.) 

In Lorraine, our offensive had begun brilliantly. On 
August 19 we had reached Sarrebourg, Les Etangs, Dieuze, 
Delme, Chateau-Salins. 

But from the 2Oth the enemy, strongly entrenched on 
well-prepared ground, regains the advantage. 

On the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th we are compelled to fall back 
upon the Grand Couronne de Nancy and to the south of 
Luneville. 

On the 25th, a simultaneous counter-attack by the armies 
of Dubail and de Castelnau definitely consolidates our position. 

What had, in the meanwhile, taken place in Belgium ? 
Seven to eight German army corps and four divisions of 
cavalry, overcoming the magnificent resistance of Liege, 
were attempting to advance between Givet and Brussels and 
to extend their movement farther west. 

As soon as the English Army was ready in the region of 
Mons, we took the offensive in Belgian Luxemburg with the 
armies of Generals Ruffey and de Langle de Cary. This 
offensive was immediately checked, with heavy losses for us. 

Here again, the ground had been strongly prepared by 
the enemy. In some of our corps there was also lack of 
instruction and of execution. (August 21-23.) 

On the left of these two armies, and in conjunction with 
the English Army, the army of General Lanrezac, anxious 
for its right, withdraws then (August 24) to the line Beaii- 
mont-Givet. 

On the 25th and 26th the English Army, checked at Land- 
recies and Le Cateau, retreats towards the Marne. 

Sanguinary fights take place on those days. The enemy 
sustains heavy losses but steadily gains ground. 

181 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG.-E 

The situation now is as follows. We had either to fight it 
out on the spot under conditions rendered perilous owing to 
the withdrawal of our left, or we had to retreat on the whole 
of our front until it became possible to resume the offensive 
under favourable conditions. 

The second plan is the one adopted by the General-in- 
Chief. 

Preparing the Offensive 

The first condition to fulfil is to retire in good order, 
attacking in the meanwhile to weaken and delay the enemy. 

Several of these attacks, brilliantly carried out, inflict 
heavy blows on our adversaries. For instance, those by the 
army of Lanrezac at St. Quentin and at Guise on August 29, 
those of de Langle's army on the Meuse on the 27th and 28th, 
those of Ruffey's army farther to the east, brilliantly sup- 
ported from Nancy to the Vosges by the armies of de Castelnau 
and Dubail, whose inflexible firmness will enable us to resume 
our offensive movement. 

To prepare this offensive, we formed on August 26, on our 
left, a fresh army under the command of General Maunoury. 
This army is intended to concentrate during the following 
days in the region of Amiens. 

But the enemy's progress, in stages of 45 kilometres a day, 
is so rapid that in order to make the realisation of the offensive 
plan possible, General J off re has to order the continuation of 
the retreat. 

We shall retire as far as the Aube, if necessary as far as 
the Seine. Everything is to be subordinated to the prepara- 
tion for the success of the offensive. 

On September 5 the conditions looked for by the General- 
in-Chief are fulfilled. Our left (army of Maunoury, English 
Army, army of Lanrezac, now become that of d'Esperey) has 
no longer the apprehension of being cut off. 

On the contrary, the German Army of the right (General 
von Kluck), in marching south towards Meaux and Coulom- 
miers, exposes its right flank to Maunoury's army. 

On the 5th, in the evening, the General-in-Chief orders a 
general offensive, and adds : ' The hour has come to advance 
at any cost, and to die rather than retire/ 
182 



FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

The Victory of the Marne 

As early as September 8 the threatened movement by 
General Maunoury against the German right produces its 
effect. The enemy brings back from the south to the north 
two army corps, and carries out a change of front to the west. 

He thus offers a weak point to the English Army, which, 
having left the Rozoy-Lagny line on the 6th, immediately 
straightens itself out towards the north and crosses the 
Marne on the gth, catching on the flank the German Army 
which has been engaged with General Maunoury since the 6th. 

On the right of the English, d'Esperey's army, has also 
been waiting ; it crosses the Marne, driving before it with 
energy everything in its way, and doing even more, supporting 
the action of its neighbours, the English Army on the left and 
Foch's army on the right. 

It is in fact upon our centre, formed by the army of Foch, 
constituted on August 20, that the Germans will seek revenge 
for the failure of their right ; for, should they succeed in 
piercing our line between Sezanne and Mailly, the situation 
will turn to their advantage. 

From September 6 to 9, Foch's army sustains repeated 
assaults ; but on the gth, in the evening, the left of this army, 
proceeding from the west to the east towards Fere-Champe- 
noise, attacks the flank of the Prussian Guard and the Saxon 
corps who were attacking on the south-east of that locality. 

This daring stroke assures the success. The Germans 
retreat hurriedly, and on the morning of the nth, General 
Foch enters Chalons-sur-Marne. 

On his right, the army of Langle de Cary has also made a 
move forward. On the I2th, after some sharp encounters, it 
firmly prolongs General Foch's army. 

Simultaneously, Ruffey's army (since become the army 
of Sarrail) has been able to draw up towards the north 
and hasten the German retreat, though not without violent 
fights ; this retreat is accelerated, from Nancy to the Vosges, 
by the offensive operations of de Castelnau's and Dubail's 
armies. 

By the strategical re-formation which we have accom- 
plished, we have thus regained the advantage over the enemy. 
We have been able to hold it ever since. 

183 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG.-D 

The Race for the Sea 

From September 13, the German resistance, based on 
strongly organised defences prepared beforehand, precluded ' 
any hope that the pursuit could continue without a check. A 
fresh battle was commencing. 

In this battle the German General Staff entertains the 
hope of turning our left, while we are hoping to turn its right. 

The development of this twofold effort characterises this 
stage of the war. 

The result is a contest of speed, which, by the end of 
October prolongs the opposing fronts as far as the North Sea ; 
it is, in truth, the ' race to the sea/ 

In this race the Germans have one advantage over us 
in the concave shape of their front, which shortens their 
transport service. 

In spite of this advantage, the enveloping movement of 
their right, carried out by 12 active and 6 reserve corps and 
4 corps of cavalry, was a total failure. This failure came as 
a confirmation of the victory of the Marne. 

From September n, General Joffre has directed the effort 
of Maunoury's army against the German right. But this 
army, with the numbers at its disposal, is insufficient for 
the purpose. 

Towards September 20, a fresh army is therefore formed 
on the left of Maunoury's army and entrusted to General de 
Castelnau. 

This army takes up a strong position in the region of 
Lassigny-Roye-Peronne, supported on its left by the Terri- 
torial divisions of General Brugere. (September 21-26.) 

But to attain our object, even this is not sufficient, and 
on September 30 de Maud'huy's army is brought into line 
beyond de Castelnau's army, occupying the regions of Arras 
and Lens, and extending towards the north to join hands with 
the divisions from Dunkirk. 

This formed, however, too thin and strained a line of 
troops, in view of the enemy's tremendous efforts. 

At that juncture, the transfer of the English Army from 
the region of the Aisne to that of the Lys is decided on, at the 
request of Field-Marshal French. 

In the same way, the gallant Belgian Army, which left 
184 



FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

Antwerp on October 9, covered by English and French 
marines, will proceed to the region of the Yser, to strengthen 
the barrier which must be erected and held. 

These movements, however, take time. The English 
Army will not be able to begin operations in its new theatre 
before October 20 ; while the Belgian Army, which has been 
fighting for three months, for the moment lacks munitions. 

The General-in-Chief does not hesitate, and orders a fresh 
effort. As early at October 4, he has ordered General Foch to 
go and co-ordinate on the spot the operations of the Northern 
Armies. 

On the 1 8th he places at his disposal reinforcements, which, 
constantly increasing until November 12, go to form the 
French Army in Belgium, under the command of General 
d'Urbal. This army, in conjunction with the Belgians and 
an English corps, will henceforth operate between the sea 
and the Lys. 

The Journal de Geneve, in commenting on this period of 
the war, wrote that the French command, by the rapidity and 
abundance of its transport service, had displayed an ' incom- 
parable leadership/ 

As a result of this effort, the German attack in Flanders 
has completely failed. 

The German failure in Flanders 

This German attack, as already outlined in the issue of the 
Bulletin des Armees for November 25, 1 is to be of unheard of 
violence. 

Twelve army corps and four corps of cavalry are massed 
between the Lys and the sea. The Emperor has arrived on 
the spot to direct operations. Proclamations addressed to the 
troops remind them that the time has now come to strike the 
* decisive blow/ 

This decisive blow is to be either a piercing of the line by 
following the seacoast to reach Dunkirk, Calais, and Boulogne, 
or a piercing at Ypres so as to proclaim from there the annexa- 
tion of Belgium. 

To succeed in this, the German General Staff proceeds 
during three weeks to attack repeatedly and furiously in 
dense masses, which are decimated by the Allies' artillery. 

185 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG.-DI 

As early as November 12 we are in a position to establish 
a balance-sheet of these assaults, confirmed during the subse- 
quent weeks, and for us this balance-sheet amounts to a 
victory. 

From the sea to Dixmude, the Belgian Army, General 
Grossetti and Admiral Ronarc'h have held, in the first place, 
the railway line from Nieuport to Dixmude, afterwards the 
left bank of the Yser. 

The enemy, who had thrown an army corps on to the left 
bank, was compelled to retire. He was never able to debouch 
from Dixmude. 

Farther south, from Dixmude to the north of Ypres, the 
situation is the same. 

The Germans, who on November 10 crossed the river at 
two points, were driven back to the other side, and the bridge- 
heads on the right bank are now held by General Humbert. 

To the east of Ypres, Generals Dubois, Balfourier, and 
Douglas Haig have not yielded an inch of ground in three 
weeks. 

In the south, where the German attack was particularly 
fierce, for it was aiming at our communications, our troops 
and the English troops regained all the ground they had 
momentarily lost, and re-established themselves on it in an 
unassailable manner. 

During the second fortnight in November the German 
attack, now broken, slowed down. The infantry gradually 
became less engaged. Even the artillery showed less and 
less activity. 

In the battle of Ypres alone, the enemy lost at least 
120,000 men. 

Never has a more carefully prepared and furiously carried 
out offensive met with such complete failure. 

The Siege Warfare from the Lys to the Vosges 

While this great battle was being fought in Belgium, the 
war was being carried on along the remainder of the front, 
assuming the character of siege warfare, from trench to 
trench, the two sides opposing each other with equally for- 
midable defensive organisations. 

It is superfluous to insist on the merit of our troops in 
186 



FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

carrying on this hand-to-hand war, never yielding, and often 
making progress, in spite of the burden laid upon them by 
the transport of considerable numbers of French and English 
troops to the north. 

In close touch with the Northern armies, the armies of 
General de Maud'huy and General de Castelnau hold the front 
from the Lys to Noyon, from the middle of October to the 
end of November, without yielding at any point. 

From the end of October their progress is continuous ; 
strengthening of our positions at Arras and La Bassee ; 
capture of Le Quesnoy-en-Santerre ; constant advantage 
gained by our artillery and infantry in every encounter with 
the enemy. 

Between the Oise and the Argonne, the armies of 
Maunoury, d'Esperey, and de Langle de Gary find themselves 
confronted by very strong positions in the Heights of the 
Aisne, of Berru, Nogent-L'Abbesse, Moronvilliers, and the 
wooded elevations of the Western Argonne. 

In September they have to sustain a general attack, very 
strongly led. This attack is repulsed, notably on the east of 
Reims, on September 26. 

The Emperor was a witness of this failure of his troops, as 
again, eight days later, of the failure at Ypres. 

On our side, in place of violent attacks, which threatened 
to be more burdensome than productive, we substituted opera- 
tions on a smaller scale that often enabled us to gain ground. 

The same state of things prevails from the Argonne to the 
Vosges. 

Our armies there those of Sarrail and Dubail fulfil 
methodically and successfully the task assigned to them ; 
protecting our right flank against any attack proceeding from 
Metz-Thionville ; holding in front of them by means of a con- 
tinuous offensive the largest possible number of German corps ; 
liberating as far as is possible the national soil occupied by 
the enemy, principally in the Woevre and round Verdun. 

In an early period (September 13-29) the enemy gets the 
upper hand, settles in St. Mihiel, penetrates to the Heights 
of the Meuse, and presses closely on Verdun. 

In a second period (October i-November 30) we regain the 
advantage ; we give a certain relief to Verdun. We close to 
the enemy the outlet of St. Mihiel. We make progress on the 

187 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG.-DE 

east of Nancy, now definitely immune from German shells, 
on the north of Luneville, on the north-east and east of 
Saint-Di6. 

In November we have reconquered almost the whole of 
the invaded territory between Belfort and the Moselle. 

Our Position on December i 

Such are the essential features of the campaign in their 
true sequence. One knows what opportunity for heroic 
deeds they have afforded to our troops. In conclusion, we 
will confine ourselves to stating the position of our armies at 
the beginning of December. 

As regards numbers, the French Army to-day is equal to 
what it was on August 2, all units having once more been 
brought up to strength. 

The quality of the troops has infinitely improved. Our 
men now wage war like veterans. They are all deeply im- 
bued with their superiority, and have absolute faith in victory. 

The command, renewed by necessary measures of disci- 
pline, has committed during the last three months none of the 
errors discovered and punished in August. 

Our stock of munitions for artillery has been largely 
increased. The heavy artillery which we lacked has been 
created and tested in the field. 

The English Army received very numerous reinforcements 
in November. It is numerically stronger than when it 
entered on the campaign. The Indian divisions have served 
their apprenticeship in European warfare. 

The Belgian Army has been reconstituted in six divisions, 
ready and determined to reconquer the national soil. 

The German plan has a record of seven failures of a far- 
reaching nature : 

Failure of the sudden attack planned against Nancy ; 

Failure of the rapid march on Paris ; 

Failure to turn our left in August ; 

Failure of a similar envelopment in November ; 

Failure to pierce our centre in September ; 

Failure of the attack along the coast on Dunkirk and 
Calais ; 

Failure of the attack on Ypres. 
188 



FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

In this fruitless effort, Germany has exhausted her reserves. 
The troops she is forming now are badly assorted and badly 
trained. 

And again, Russia proves more and more her superiority 
as against both Germany and Austria. 

The check to the German armies is thus fatally condemned 
to be turned into a retreat. 

This is the work accomplished during the last four months. 
It was opportune to present it as a whole, leaving it to the 
European press to comment on it and to judge it. 



FRENCH OFFICIAL. RE VIEW OF THE FIRST SIX 
MONTHS OF THE WAR 1 

I. THE FRENCH SET-BACKS IN AUGUST 

The first month of the campaign began with successes 
and finished with defeats for the French troops. In what 
circumstances did these come about ? 

Our plan of concentration had foreseen the possibility of 
two principal actions, the one on the right between the Vosges 
and the Moselle, the other on the left to the north of the 
Verdun-Toul line, this double possibility involving the 
eventual variation of our transport. On August 2, owing to 
the Germans passing through Belgium, our concentration 
was substantially modified by General J off re, in order that 
our principal effort might be directed to the north. 

Awaiting the moment when the operations in the north 
could begin, and to prepare for it by retaining in Alsace the 
greatest possible number of German forces, the General-in- 
Chief ordered our troops to occupy Mulhouse, to cut the 

1 [This historical review ' emanating from the most competent French 
official source/ of the operations In the western theatre of war, from their 
beginning up to the end of January 1915, was issued by Renter's Agency, 
and appeared in The Times of March 22-April i, 1915. ' It should be 
understood that the narrative is made purely from the French standpoint. 
In some portions, on account of length or for other reasons, it has not been 
possible to quote textually/] 

189 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. 19: 

bridges of the Rhine at Huningue and below, and then to 
protect the flank of our troops operating in Lorraine. This 
operation was badly carried out by a leader who was at once 
relieved of his command. Our troops, after having carried 
Mulhouse, lost it and were thrown back on Belfort. The 
work had, therefore, to be recommenced afresh, and this was 
done from August 14 under a new commander. 

Mulhouse was taken on the igth, after a brilliant fight at 
Dornach. Twenty-four guns were captured from the enemy. 
On the 20th we held the approaches to Colmar, both by the 
plain and by the Vosges. The enemy had undergone enormous 
losses and abandoned great stores of shells and forage, but, 
from this moment, what was happening in Lorraine and on 
our left prevented us from carrying our successes further, 
for our troops in Alsace were needed elsewhere. On August 28 
the Alsace army was broken up, only a small part remaining 
to hold the region of Thann and the Vosges. 

The purpose of the operations in Alsace namely, to 
retain a large part of the enemy's forces far from the northern 
theatre of operations it was for our offensive in Lorraine 
to pursue still more directly by holding before it the German 
army corps operating to the south of Metz. This offensive 
began brilliantly on August 14. On the igth we had reached 
the region of Sarrebourg and that of the Etangs (Lakes) ; 
we held Dieuze, Morhange, Delme, and Chateau-Salins. On 
the 2oth our success was stopped. The cause is to be found 
in the strong organisation of the region, in the power of the 
enemy's artillery, operating over ground which had been 
minutely surveyed, and finally in the default of certain units. 
On the 22nd, in spite of the splendid behaviour of several of 
our army corps, and notably that of Nancy, our troops were 
brought back on to the Grand Couronne, while on the 23rd 
and 24th the Germans concentrated reinforcements three 
army corps at least in the region of Luneville, and forced 
us to retire to the south. This retreat, however, was only 
momentary. On the 25th, after two vigorous counter- 
attacks, one from south to north and the other from west 
to east, the enemy had to fall back. From that time between 
the Germans and ourselves a sort of balance was established 
on this terrain. Maintained for fifteen days, it was after- 
wards, as will be seen, modified to our advantage. 
190 



1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

There remained the principal business, the Battle of the 
North, postponed owing to the desirability of waiting for 
the British Army. On August 20 the concentration of our 
lines was finished, and the General-in-Chief gave orders for 
our centre and our left to take the offensive. Our centre 
comprised two armies, our left consisted of a third army 
reinforced to the extent of two army corps, a corps of cavalry, 
the reserve divisions, the British Army, and the Belgian 
Army, which had already been engaged for the previous three 
weeks at Liege, Namur, and Louvain. 

The German plan on that date was as follows. Seven to 
eight army corps and four cavalry divisions were endeavour- 
ing to pass between Givet and Brussels, and even to prolong 
their movements more to the west. Our object was, there- 
fore, in the first place, to hold and dispose of the enemy's 
centre, afterwards to throw ourselves with all available forces 
on the .left flank of the German grouping of troops^in the 
north. On August 21 our offensive in the centre began with 
ten army corps. On August 22 it failed, and this reverse 
appeared serious. 

The reasons for it are complex. There were in this affair 
individual and collective failures, imprudences committed 
under the fire of the enemy, divisions ill-engaged, rash deploy- 
ments, and precipitate retreats, a premature waste of men, 
and, finally, the inadequacy of certain of our troops and their 
leaders, both as regards the use of infantry and artillery. 
In consequence of these lapses the enemy, turning to account 
the difficult terrain, was able to secure the maximum of profit 
from the advantages which the superiority of his subaltern 
cadres gave him. 

In spite of this defeat, our manoeuvre had still a chance of 
success if our left and the British Army secured a decisive 
result. This was, unfortunately, not attained. On August 22, 
at the cost of great losses, the enemy succeeded in crossing 
the Sambre, and our Left Army fell back on the 24th upon 
Beaumont-Givet, being perturbed by the belief that the 
enemy was threatening its right. At the same time the 
British Army retreated, and the enemy was enabled to cross 
the Meuse and, by fortifying it, to accelerate the action of 
his right. The situation at this moment may be thus summed 
up. Either our frontier had to be defended on the spot, 

191 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. 19 

under conditions which had been rendered extremely perilous, 
or we had to execute a strategic retirement, which, while 
delivering up to the enemy a part of the national soil, would 
permit us on the other hand to resume the offensive at our 
own time, with a favourable disposition of troops, still intact, 
which we had at our command. The General-in-Chief deter- 
mined on the second alternative. 

II. THE RETREAT AND THE PREPARATION 
OF THE OFFENSIVE 

Henceforward the French Command devoted its efforts 
to preparing the offensive. To this end three conditions had 
to be fulfilled : 

1. The retreat had to be carried out in order, under a 
succession of counter-attacks which would keep the enemy 
busy. 

2. The extreme point of this retreat must be fixed in such 
a way that the different armies should reach it simultaneously, 
ready at the moment of occupying to resume the offensive 
all together. 

3. Every circumstance permitting of a resumption of the 
offensive before this point should be reached must be utilised 
by the whole of our forces and the British forces. 

The counter-attacks executed during the retreat were 
brilliant and often fruitful. 

On August 29 we successfully attacked St. Quentin to 
relieve the pressure on the British Army. Two other corps 
and a reserve division engaged the Prussian Guard and the 
loth German Army Corps, which was debouching from Guise. 
By the end of the day, after various fluctuations, the enemy 
was thrown back on the Oise, and the British front was freed. 
On August 27 we had also succeeded in throwing back upon 
the Meuse the enemy, who was endeavouring to gain a 
foothold on the left bank. Our successes continued on the 
28th in the woods of Marfee and of Jaulnay. Thanks to 
them we were able, in accordance with the orders of the 
General-in-Chief, to fall back on the line Buzenoy-le-Chesne- 
Bouvellemont. Farther to the right another Army took part 
in the same movement, and carried out successful attacks on 
August 24 on the Othain and in the region of Spincourt. 
192 



. 1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

On the 26th these different units recrossed the Meuse without 
being disturbed, and were able to join in the action of our 
centre. Our armies were therefore again intact and available 
for the offensive. On August 26 a new Army, composed of 
two army corps, five reserve divisions, and a Moorish brigade, 
was constituted. This Army was to assemble in the region 
of Amiens between August 27 and September i and take 
the offensive against the German right, uniting its action 
with that of the British Army operating on the line Ham- 
Bray-sur-Somme. 

The hope of resuming the offensive was, at this moment, 
rendered vain by the rapidity of the march of the German 
right wing. This rapidity had two consequences, which we 
had to parry before thinking of advancing. On the one 
part, our new Army had not time to complete its detraining, 
and, on the other hand, our left flank on August 31 was too 
exposed to the enemy's attack. Our line, thus modified, con- 
tained waves which had to be redressed before we could pass 
to the offensive. To understand this it is sufficient to con- 
sider th situation created by the quick advance of the 
enemy on the evening of September 2. A corps of cavalry 
had crossed the Oise, and it advanced as far as Chateau- 
Thierry. The ist Army (General von Kluck), comprising 
four active army corps and a reserve corps, had passed 
Compiegne. The 2nd Army (General von Billow) three 
active army corps and two reserve corps was reaching the 
Laon region. The 3rd Army (General von Hausen) two 
active army corps and a reserve corps had crossed the 
Aisne between the Chateau-Porcien and Attigny. More to 
the east, the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th Armies namely, twelve 
army corps, four reserve corps, and numerous Ersatz forma- 
tions were in contact with our troops, the 4th and 5th Armies 
between Vouziers and Verdun, and the others in the position 
which has been indicated above from Verdun to the Vosges. 

It will, therefore, be seen that our left, if we accepted 
battle, might be in great peril. A defeat in these conditions 
would have cut off our armies from Paris and from the 
British forces, and, at the same time, from the new Army 
which had been constituted to the left of the English. We 
should thus be running the risk of losing by a single stroke 
the advantage of the assistance which Russia later on was 

MILITARY 2 N IQ3 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. i< 

to furnish. General J off re elected resolutely for the solution 
which disposed of these risks that is to say, for postponing 
the offensive and the continuance of the retreat. In this 
way he would stand on ground which he had chosen. He 
waited only until he could engage under better conditions. 

In consequence, on September i, he fixed as an extreme 
limit for the movement of retreat which was still going on, 
the line Bray-sur- Seine, Nogent-sur- Seine, Arcis-sur-Aube, 
Vitry-le-Frangois the region to the north of Bar-le-Duc. 
This line was to be reached if the troops were compelled to go 
back so far. They would attack before reaching it as soon 
as there was a possibility of bringing about an offensive 
disposition permitting the co-operation of the whole of our 
forces. 

On September 5 it appeared that this desired situation 
was reached. The ist German Army, carrying audacity to 
temerity, had continued to endeavour to envelop our left, 
had crossed the Grand Morin and reached the region ' of 
Chauffry to the south of Rebais and of Esternay. It aimed, 
then, at cutting our Armies off from Paris, in order to begin 
the investment of the capital. The 2nd Army had its head 
on the line Champaubert-Etoges-Bergeres-Vertus. The 3rd 
and 4th reached to Chalons-sur-Marne and Bussy-le-Repos. 
The 5th was advancing on one side and the other from the 
Argonne as far as Posesse to Triaucourt-les-Islettes and 
Julvecourt. The 6th and 7th Armies were attacking more 
to the east. But, and here is a capital difference between 
the situation of September 5 and that of September 2, the 
envelopment of our left was no longer possible. In the first 
place, our Left Army had been able to occupy the line 
Sezanne-Villers-St. Georges-Courchamps. Furthermore, the 
British forces gathered between the Seine and the Marne, 
flanked on their left by the newly-created Army, were closely 
connected with the rest of our forces. . 

This was precisely the disposition which the General-in- 
Chief had wished to see achieved. On the 4th he decided to 
take advantage of it, and ordered all the Armies to hold them- 
selves ready. He had taken from his right two new army 
corps, two divisions of infantry, and two divisions of cavalry, 
which were distributed between his left and his centre. On 
the evening of the 5th he addressed to all the commanders 
194 



LN. 1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

of Armies a message ordering them to attack. ' The hour has 
come/ he wrote, 'to advance at all costs, and to die where 
you stand rather than give way/ 

III. VICTORY OF THE MARNE 

September 6-13 

If one examines on the map the respective positions of the 
German and French Armies on September 6 as previously 
described, it will be seen that by turning off towards Meaux 
and Coulommiers, General von Kluck was exposing his right 
to the offensive action of our left. This is the starting-point 
of the victory of the Marne. 

On the evening of September 5 our Left Army had reached 
the front Penchard- Saint Souflet-Ver. On the 6th and 7th 
it continued its attacks vigorously with the Ourcq as objec- 
tive. On the evening of the 7th it ws some kilometres from 
the Ourcq, on the front Chambry-Marcilly-Lisieux-Acy-en- 
Multien. On the 8th the Germans, who had in great haste 
reinforced their right by bringing their 2nd and 4th Army 
Corps back to the north, obtained some successes by attacks 
of extreme violence. They occupied Betz, Thury-en-Valois, 
and Nanteuil-le-Haudouin. But in spite of this pressure our 
troops held their ground well. In a brilliant action they 
took three standards, and, being reinforced, prepared a new 
attack for the loth. At the moment that this attack was 
about to begin the enemy was already in retreat towards 
the north. The attack became a pursuit, and on the I2th 
we established ourselves on the Aisne. 

Why did the German forces which were confronting us, 
and on the evening before attacking so furiously, retreat on 
the morning of the loth ? Because in bringing back, on the 
6th, several army corps from the south to the north to face 
our left the enemy had exposed its left to the attacks of the 
British Army, which had immediately faced round towards 
the north, and of that of our Armies which were prolonging 
the English lines to the right. 

This is what the French Command had sought to bring 
about. The events of September 8 which allowed of the de- 
velopment and rehabilitation were as follows. On the 6th the 
British Army had set out from the line Rozoy-Lagny, and 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. ic 

had that evening reached the southward bank of the Grand 
Morin. On the 7th and 8th it continued its march, and on 
the gth had debouched to the north of the Marne below 
Chateau-Thierry, taking in flank the German forces which, 
on that day, were opposing, on the Ourcq, our Left Army. 
Then it was that these forces began to retreat, while the 
British Army, going in pursuit and capturing seven guns and 
many prisoners, reached the Aisne between Soissons and 
Longueval. The role of the French Army, which was operat- 
ing to the right of the British Army, was threefold. It had 
to support the British attacking on its left ; it had on its 
right to support our centre, which from September 7 had been 
subjected to a German attack of great violence ; and finally, 
its mission was to throw back the three active army corps 
and the reserve corps which faced it. On the 7th it made a 
leap forward, and on the following days reached and crossed 
the Marne, seizing, after desperate fighting, guns, howitzers, 
machine-guns, and 1,300,000 cartridges. On the I2th it estab- 
lished itself on the north edge of the Montagne-de- Reims, in 
contact with our centre, which for its part had just forced the 
enemy to retreat in haste. 

Our centre consisted of a new Army * created on August 29 
and of one of those which at the beginning of the campaign 
had been engaged in Belgian Luxemburg. The first had 
retreated on August 29 to September 5 from the Aisne to the 
north of the Marne and occupied the general front Sezanne- 
Mailly. The second, more to the east, had drawn back to 
the south of the line Humbauville-Chateau Beauchamp- 
Bignicourt-Blesmes-Maurupt-le-Montoy. 

The enemy, in view of his right being arrested and the 
defeat of his enveloping movement, made a desperate effort 
from the 7th to the loth to pierce our centre to the west and 
to the east of Fere-Champenoise. On the 8th he succeeded 
in forcing back the right of our new Army, which retired as 
far as Gourgan9on. On the 9th, at six o'clock in the morning, 
there was a further retreat to the south of that village, while 
on the left the other army corps also had to go back to the 
line Allemant-Connantre. Despite this retreat, the General 
commanding the Army ordered a general offensive for the 
same day. With the Morocco Division, whose behaviour was 

1 [The Qth Army under General Foch.] 
196 



1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

heroic, he met a furious assault of the Germans on his left 
towards the marshes of Saint-Gond. Then, with the division 
which had just victoriously overcome the attacks of the 
enemy to the north of Sezanne and with the whole of his left 
army corps, he made a flanking attack in the evening of the 
gth upon the German forces, and notably the Guard, which 
had thrown back his right army corps. The enemy, taken 
by surprise by this bold manoeuvre, did not resist, and beat 
a hasty retreat. On the nth we crossed the Marne between 
Tours-sur-Marne and Sarry, driving the Germans in front of 
us in disorder. On the I2th we were in contact with the 
enemy to the north of the Camp de Chalons. Our other 
army of the centre, acting on the right of the one just referred 
to, had been entrusted with the mission during the 7th, 8th, 
and gth of disengaging its neighbour, and it was only on the 
loth that, being reinforced by an army corps from the east, 
it was able to make its action effectively felt. On the nth 
the Germans retired. But, perceiving their danger, they 
fought desperately, with enormous expenditure of projectiles, 
behind strong entrenchments. On the I2th the result had 
none the less been attained, and our two central Armies were 
solidly established on the ground gained. 

To the right of these two Armies were three others. They 
had orders to cover themselves to the north and to debouch 
towards the west on the flank of the enemy which was 
operating to the west of the Argonne. But a wide interval 
in which the Germans were in force separated them from 
our centre. The attack took place nevertheless, with very 
brilliant success for our artillery, which destroyed eleven 
batteries of the i6th German Army Corps. On the loth, the 
8th and i6th German Army Corps counter-attacked, but 
were repulsed. On the nth our progress continued with new 
successes, and on the I2th we were able to face round towards 
the north in expectation of the near and inevitable retreat of 
the enemy, which, in fact, took place from the I3th. The 
withdrawal of the mass of the German force involved also 
that of the left. From the I2th onwards the forces of the 
enemy operating between Nancy and the Vosges retreated 
in a hurry before our two Armies of the east, which immedi- 
ately occupied the positions which the enemy had evacuated. 
The offensive of our right had thus prepared and consolidated 

197 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. 191 

in the most useful way the result secured by our left and our 
centre. 

Such was this seven days' battle, in which more than 
two millions of men were engaged. Each army gained ground 
step by step, opening the road to its neighbour, supported 
at once by it, taking in flank the adversary which the day 
before it had attacked in front, the efforts of one articulating 
closely with those of the other, perfect unity of intention and 
method animating the Supreme Command. 

To give this victory all its meaning it is necessary to add 
that it was gained by troops who for two weeks had been 
retreating, and who, when the order for the offensive was 
given, were found to be as ardent as on the first day. It 
must also be said that these troops had to meet the whole 
German Army, and that from the time they marched forward 
they never again fell back. Under their pressure the German 
retreat at certain times had the appearance of a rout. In 
spite of the fatigue of our men, in spite of the power of the 
German heavy artillery, we took colours, guns, machine-guns, 
shells, more than a million of cartridges, and thousands of 
prisoners. A German corps lost almost the whole of its 
artillery, which, from information brought by our airmen, 
was destroyed by our guns. 

[The next portion of the French narrative is here omitted. 
It deals with the siege war from the Oise to the Vosges, 
which lasted from September 13 to November 30, and most 
of the incidents of which have been recorded in the daily 
bulletins. The operations were of secondary importance, and 
were conducted on both sides with the same idea of wearing 
down the troops and the artillery of the enemy with the view 
of influencing the decisive result in the great theatre of war 
in the north. During the first part of this period until 
October 15 the British Army remained on the Aisne, and a 
high tribute is paid, in the French review, to the tenacity and 
brilliance with which the British troops maintained their 
positions.] 

IV. THE RUSH FOR THE SEA 

From September 13 to October 23 the opposing armies 
were engaged in the ' Rush to the Sea/ As early as Sep- 
198 






IN. 1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

tember n the Commander-in-Chief had directed our Left 
Army to put as many troops as possible on the right bank 
of the Oise. On September 17 he made that instruction 
more precise by ordering ' a mass to be constituted on the 
left wing of our forces, capable of coping with the out- 
flanking movement of the enemy/ Everything led us to 
expect that flanking movement, for the Germans are lack- 
ing in invention. Indeed, their efforts at this time were 
a renewal of their manoeuvre of August. In this parallel 
race the opponents were bound in the end to be stopped only 
by the sea ; that is what happened about October 20. 

The Germans had an advantage over us which is obvious 
from a glance at the map the concave form of their front, 
which shortened the length of their communications. In spite 
of this initial inferiority we arrived in time. From the middle 
of September to the last week in October fighting went on 
continually to the north of the Oise, but all the time we were 
fighting we were slipping northward. On the German side 
this movement brought into line more than eighteen new 
army corps (twelve active army corps, six reserve corps, 
four cavalry corps). On our side it ended in the constitu- 
tion of three fresh Armies on our left, and in the transport 
into the same district of the British Army and the Belgian 
Army from Antwerp. For the conception and realisation of 
this fresh and extended disposition the French Command 
had, in the first place, to reduce to a minimum the needs for 
effectives of our armies to the east of the Oise and afterwards 
to utilise to the utmost our means of transport. It succeeded 
in this, and when at the end of October the Battle of Flanders 
opened, when the Germans, having completed the concen- 
tration of their forces, attempted with fierce energy to turn 
or to pierce our left, they flung themselves upon a resistance 
which inflicted upon them a complete defeat. 

The movement began on our side only with the resources 
of the Army which had held the left of our front during the 
Battle of the Marne, reinforced on September 15 by one army 
corps. 

This reinforcement, not being sufficient to hold the 
enemy's offensive (district of Vaudelincourt-Mouchy-Baugy), 
a fresh Army was transported more to the left with the task 
' of acting against the German right wing in order to dis- 

199 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. 191 

engage its neighbour while preserving an outflanking direction 
in its march in relation to the fresh units that the enemy 
might be able to put into line/ To cover the detrainments 
of this fresh Army in the district Clermont-Beauvais-Boix, a 
cavalry corps and four Territorial divisions were ordered to 
establish themselves on both banks of the Somme. In the 
wooded hills, however, which extend between the Oise and 
Lassigny, the enemy displayed increasing activity. Never- 
theless the order still further to broaden the movement 
towards the left was maintained while the Territorial divisions 
were to move towards Bethune and Aubigny. 

The march to the sea went on. From the 2ist to the 
26th all our forces were engaged in the district Lassigny- 
Roye-Peronne, with alternations of reverse and success. It 
was the first act of the great struggle, which was to spread 
as it went on. On the 26th the whole of the 6th German 
Army was deployed against us. We retained all our positions. 
But we could do no more. Consequently there was still the 
risk that the enemy, by means of a fresh influx of forces, 
might succeed in turning us. 

Once more reinforcements two army corps were directed, 
no longer on Beauvais, but towards Amiens. The front was 
then again extended. A fresh Army was constituted more 
to the north. 

From September 30 onwards we could not but observe that 
the enemy, already strongly posted on the plateau of Thiepval, 
was continually slipping his forces from south to north, and 
everywhere confronting us with remarkable energy. 

Accordingly on October i, two cavalry corps were directed 
to make a leap forward, and, operating on both banks of the 
Scarpe, to put themselves in touch with the garrison of Dun- 
kirk, which, on its side, had pushed forward as far as Douai. 
But on October 2 and 3 the bulk -of our fresh Army was very 
strongly attacked in the district of Arras and Lens. Con- 
fronting it were two corps of cavalry, the Guards, four active 
army corps, and two reserve corps. A fresh French Army 
Corps was immediately transported and detrained in the 
Lille district. 

But, once more, the attacks became more pressing, and on 
October 4 it was a question whether, in view of the enemy's 
activity both west of the Oise and south of the Somme, and 
200 



N. 1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

also farther to the north, a retreat would not have to be 
made. General Joffre resolutely put this hypothesis aside, 
and ordered the offensive to be resumed with the reinforce- 
ments that had arrived. It was, however, clear that, despite 
the efforts of all, our front, extended to the sea, as it was, by 
a mere ribbon of troops, did not yet possess the solidity to 
enable it to resist with complete safety a German attack the 
violence of which could well be foreseen. 

In the Arras district the position was fairly good. But 
between the Oise and Arras we were holding our own only 
with difficulty. Finally to the north on the Lille-Estaires- 
Merville-Hazebrouck-Cassel front, our cavalry and our terri- 
torials had their work cut out against eight divisions of German 
cavalry, with very strong infantry supports. It was at this 
moment that the transport of the British Army to the northern 
theatre of operations began. 

Field- Marshal French had, as early as the end of September, 
expressed the wish to see his army resume its initial place on 
the left of the Allied Armies. He explained this wish on the 
ground of the greater facility of communications that he 
would have in this new position, and also of the impending 
arrival of reinforcements from Great Britain and from India, 
which would be able to deploy more easily on that terrain. 
In spite of the difficulties which such a removal involved 
owing to the intensive use of the railways by our own units, 
General Joffre decided at the beginning of October to meet 
Sir John French's wishes, and to have the British Army 
removed from the Aisne. 

It was clearly specified that on the northern terrain the 
British Army should co-operate to the same end as ourselves, 
the stopping of the German right. In other terms, the British 
Army was to prolong the front of the general disposition 
without a break, attacking as soon as possible, and at the 
same time seeking touch with the Belgian Army. But the 
detraining took longer than had been expected, and it was 
not possible to attack the Germans during the time when 
they had only cavalry in the Lille district and farther to the 
north. 

There remained the Belgian Army. On leaving Antwerp 
on October 9 the Belgian Army, which was covered by eight 
thousand men of the British Naval Brigade and six thousand 

201 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. 19: 

French bluejackets, at first intended to retire as far as to the 
north of Calais, but afterwards determined to. make a stand in 
Belgian territory. Unfortunately the condition of the Belgian 
troops, exhausted by a struggle of more than three months, 
did not allow any immediate hopes to be based upon them. 
This situation weighed on our plans and delayed their execu- 
tion. 

On October 14 we reached the front Ypres-Messines-Neuve 
Eglise-Merville-Lestrem-Richebourg- Saint- Vaast. On the i6th 
we made progress to the .east of Ypres. On the i8th our 
cavalry even reached Roulers and Cortemarck. But it was 
now evident that, in view of the continual reinforcing of the 
German right, our left was not capable of maintaining the 
advantages obtained during the previous few days. To 
attain our end and make our front inviolable a fresh effort 
was necessary. That effort was immediately made by the 
despatch to the north of the Lys of considerable French forces, 
which formed the French Army of Belgium. 

The French Army of Belgium consisted, to begin with, of 
two Territorial divisions, four divisions of cavalry, and a 
naval brigade. Directly after its constitution it was strength- 
ened by elements from other points on the front, whose 
arrival extended from October 27 to November n. These 
reinforcements were equivalent altogether in value to five 
army corps, a division of cavalry, a Territorial division, and 
sixteen regiments of cavalry, plus sixty pieces of heavy 
artillery. 

Thus was completed the strategic manoeuvre defined by 
the instructions of the General-in-Chief on September n, 
and developed completely during the five following weeks 
as we have just seen. The movements of troops carried 
out during this period were methodically combined with the 
pursuit of operations, both defensive and offensive, from the 
Oise to the North Sea. 

On October 22 our left, bounded six weeks earlier by the 
Noyon district, rested on Nieuport, thanks to the successive 
deployment of five fresh Armies three French Armies, the 
British Army, and the Belgian Army. 

Thus the co-ordination decided upon by the General-in- 
Chief attained its end. The barrier was established. It re- 
mained to maintain it against the enemy's offensive. That 
202 



N. 1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

was the object and the result of the Battle of Flanders, 
October 22 to November 15. 

V. THE GERMAN DEFEAT AT YPRES 

The German attack in the two Flanders was conducted 
strategically and tactically with remarkable energy. The 
complete and indisputable defeat in which it resulted is, 
therefore, significant. 

The forces which the enemy disposed of for this operation 
between the sea and the Lys comprised : 

1. The entire 4th Army, commanded by the Duke of 
Wurtemberg, consisting of one naval division, one division 
of Ersatz reserve (men who had received no training before 
the war) which was liberated by the fall of Antwerp, the 
22nd, 23rd, 26th, and 27th Reserve Corps, and the 48th 
Division belonging to the 24th Reserve Corps. 

2. A portion of another army under General von Fabeck, 
consisting of the 15th Corps, two Bavarian Corps, and three 
(unspecified) divisions. 

3. Part of the 6th Army under the command of the 
Crown Prince of Bavaria. This Army, more than a third of 
which took part in the Battle of Flanders, comprised the 
igth Army Corps, portions of the I3th Corps, and the i8th 
Reserve Corps, the 7th and I4th Corps, the ist Bavarian 
Reserve Corps, the Guards, and the 4th Army Corps. 

4. Four highly mobile cavalry corps prepared and sup- 
ported the action of the troops enumerated above. 

Everything possible had been done to fortify the morale 
of the troops. At the beginning of October the Crown Prince 
of Bavaria in a proclamation had exhorted his soldiers ' to 
make the decisive effort against the French left wing/ and 
' to settle thus the fate of the great battle which has lasted 
for weeks/ On October 26 Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria 
declared in an Army Order that his troops ' had just been 
fighting under very difficult conditions/ and he added : ' It 
is our business now not to let the struggle with our most 
detested enemy drag on longer . . . the decisive blow is still 
to be struck/ 

On October 30 General von Deimling, commanding the 
I5th Army Corps (belonging to General von Fabeck's com- 

203 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. 19 

mand), issued an order declaring that ' the thrust against 
Ypres will be of decisive importance/ 

It should be noted, also, that the Emperor proceeded in 
person to Thielt and Courtrai to exalt by his presence the 
ardour of his troops. Finally, at the close of October, the 
entire German Press incessantly proclaimed the importance 
of the 'Battle of Calais/ It is superfluous to add that 
events in Poland explain, in large measure, the passionate 
resolve of the German General Staff to obtain a decision in 
the Western theatre of operations at all costs. This decision 
would be obtained if our left were pierced or driven in. To 
reach Calais, that is, to break our left ; to carry Ypres, that 
is, to cut it in half ; through both points to menace the 
communications and supplies of the British Expeditionary 
Corps, perhaps even to threaten Britain in her island such 
was the German plan in the Battfe of Flanders. It was a 
plan that could not be executed. 

The enemy, who had at his disposal a considerable quantity 
of heavy artillery, directed his effort at first upon the coast 
and the country to the north of Dixmude. His objective 
was, manifestly, the capture of Dunkirk, then of Calais and 
Boulogne, and this objective he pursued until November i. 

On October 23 the Belgians along the railway line from 
Nieuport to Dixmude were strengthened by a French division. 
Dixmude was occupied by our marines (fusiliers marins). 
During the subsequent days our forces along the railway 
developed a magnificent resistance against an enemy superior 
in number and powerfully backed by heavy artillery. On 
the 2Qth the inundations effected between the canal and the 
railway line spread along our front. On the soth we re- 
captured Ramscappelle, the only point on the railway which 
the Belgians had lost. On November i and 2 the enemy 
bombarded Furnes, but began to show signs of weariness. 
On the 2nd he evacuated the ground between the Yser and 
the railway, abandoning cannon, dead, and wounded. On 
the 3rd our troops were able to re-enter the Dixmude district. 
The success achieved by the enemy at Dixmude at this 
juncture was without fruit. They succeeded in taking the 
town. They could not debouch from it. 

The coastal attack had thus proved a total failure. Since 
then it has never been renewed. The Battle of Calais, so 
204 



LN . 1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

noisily announced by the German Press, amounted to a 
decided reverse for the Germans. 

The enemy had now begun an attack more important 
than its predecessor, in view of the numbers engaged in it. 
This attack was intended as a renewal to the south of the 
effort which had just been shattered in the north. Instead 
of turning our flank on the coast, it was now sought to drive 
in the right of our northern army under the shock of powerful 
masses. This was the Battle of Ypres. 

In order to understand this long, desperate, and furious 
battle, we must hark back a few days in point of time. At 
the moment when our cavalry reached Roulers and Corte- 
marck (October 18), our Territorial divisions from Dunkirk 
under General Bidon had occupied and organised a defensive 
position at Ypres. It was a point d'appui enabling us to 
prepare and maintain our connections with the Belgian Army. 
From October 23 two British and French Army Corps were 
in occupation of this position, which was to be the base of 
their forward march in the direction of Roulers-Menin. The 
delays already explained, and the strength of the forces 
brought up by the enemy, soon brought to a standstill our 
progress along the line Poelcappelle-Passchendaele-Zand- 
voorde-Gheluvelt. But, in spite of the stoppage here, Ypres 
was solidly covered, and the connections of all the Allied 
forces were established. Against the line thus formed the 
German attack was hurled from October 25 to November 13, 
to the north, the east, and the south of Ypres. From 
October 26 onward the attacks were renewed daily with great 
violence, obliging us to employ our reinforcements at the 
most threatened points as soon as they came up. Thus, on 
October 31, we were obliged to send supports to the British 
cavalry, then to the two British corps between which the 
cavalry formed the connecting link, and, finally, to inter- 
calate between these two corps a force equivalent to two 
army corps. Between October 30 and November 6 Ypres 
was several times in danger. The British lost Zandvoorde. 
Gheluvelt, Messines, and Wytschaete. The front of the 
Allies, thus contracted, was all the more difficult to defend ; 
but defended it was without a recoil. The arrival of three 
French divisions in our line enabled us to resume from the 
4th to the 8th a vigorous offensive. On the loth and the 

205 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. 191 

nth this offensive, brought up against fresh and sharper 
German attacks, was checked. Before it could be renewed 
the arrival of fresh reinforcements had to be awaited, which 
were despatched to the north on November 12. 

By the I4th our troops had again begun to progress, barring 
the road to Ypres against the German attacks, and inflicting 
on the enemy, who advanced in massed formations, losses 
which were specially terrible in consequence of the fact that 
the French and British artillery had crowded nearly three 
hundred guns on to these few kilometres of front. Thus the 
main mass of the Germans sustained the same defeat as the 
detachments operating farther to the north along the coast. 
The support which, according to the idea of the German 
General Staff, the attack on Ypres was to render to the coastal 
attack was as futile as that attack itself had been. 

During the second half of November the enemy, exhausted, 
and having lost in the Battle of Ypres alone more than 
150,000 men, did not attempt to renew his effort, but con- 
fined himself to an intermittent cannonade. We, on the 
contrary, achieved appreciable progress to the north and 
south of Ypres, and ensured definitively, by a powerful 
defensive organisation of the position, the inviolability of 
our front. 

[The compiler of the report here adds a footnote stating 
that over forty thousand German corpses were found on the 
battle-field during these three weeks of battle.] 

VI. OPERATIONS FROM NOVEMBER 30 TO FEBRUARY i 

During the period November 30 to February i, the French 
Supreme Command has not thought it advisable to embark 
upon important offensive operations. It has confined itself 
to local attacks, the main object of which was to hold in 
front of us as large a number of German corps as possible, 
and thus to hinder the withdrawal of the troops which, to 
our knowledge, the German General Staff was anxious to 
despatch to Russia. 

As a matter of fact, the numbers transported to the 
Eastern front have been very moderate. Of the 52 army corps 
which faced us on the Western front, Germany has only 
been able to take 4! corps for the Eastern front. On the 
206 



N. 1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

other hand, climatic conditions the rain, mud, and mist 
were such as to diminish the effectiveness of offensive 
operations and to add to the costliness of any undertaking, 
which was another reason for postponing them. Still another 
reason lies in the fact that, from now on, the Allied forces 
can count upon a steadily expanding growth, equally in 
point of numbers and units as of material, while the German 
forces have attained the maximum of their power and can 
only diminish now, both in numbers and in value. 

These considerations explain the character of the siege 
warfare which the operations have assumed during the period 
under review. Meanwhile it is by no means the case that 
the siege warfare has had the same results for the Germans 
as for us. From November 15 to February i our opponents, 
in spite of very numerous attacks, did not succeed in taking 
anything from us, except a few hundred metres of ground 
to the north of Soissons. We, on the contrary, have obtained 
numerous and appreciable results. 

[The French writer here proceeds to strike a balance of 
gains and losses between the Allied and the German forces 
in France during the winter campaign. The result he sums 
up as follows : ] 

1. A general progress of our troops, very marked at 
certain points. 

2. A general falling-back of the enemy except to the 
north-east of Soissons. 

To complete the balance, he says, it must be added that : 

1. The German offensive in Poland was checked a month 
ago. 

2. The Russian offensive continues in Galicia and the 
Carpathians. 

3. A large part of the Turkish Caucasian Army has been 
annihilated. 

4. Germany has exhausted her resources of officers (there 
are now on an average 12 professional officers to a regiment), 
and henceforth will only be able to develop her resources in 
men to the detriment of the existing units. 

5. The Allied Armies, on the contrary, possess the power 
of reinforcing themselves in a very considerable degree. 

It may therefore be declared that, in order to obtain com- 

207 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. 191 

plete success, it is sufficient for France and her Allies to know 
how to wait, and to prepare victory with indefatigable patience. 
The German offensive is broken. The German defensive 
will be broken in its turn. 

VII. THE FRENCH ARMY AS IT is: OFFICERS AND MEN 

The compiler of the report, beginning his review on February 
i, states that on that date the condition of the French Army 
was excellent and appreciably superior to what it was at the 
beginning of the war from the three points of view of numbers, 
quality, and equipment. In the higher command important 
changes have been made. It has in fact been rejuvenated 
by the promotion of young commanders of proved quality 
to high rank. All the old generals who at the beginning of 
August were at the head of large commands have been gradually 
eliminated, some as the result of the physical strain of war, 
others by appointment to territorial commands. This re- 
juvenation of the higher ranks of the Army has been carried 
out in a far-reaching manner, and it may be said that it has 
embraced all the grades of the military hierarchy from com- 
manders of brigades to commanders of armies. The result 
has been to lower the average age of general officers by ten 
years. To-day more than three-fourths of the officers com- 
manding armies and army corps are less than sixty years of 
age. Some are considerably younger. A number of the 
army corps commanders are from forty-six to fifty-four years 
of age, and the brigade commanders are usually under fifty. 
There are, in fact, at the front extremely few general officers 
over sixty, and these are men who are in full possession of 
their physical and intellectual powers. This rejuvenation of 
the High Command was facilitated by a number of circum- 
stances, notable among which were the strengthening of the 
higher regimental ranks carried out during the three years 
preceding the war, as a result of which, at the outset of the 
campaign each infantry regiment had two lieutenant-colonels 
and each cavalry and artillery regiment a colonel and a lieu- 
tenant-colonel, and also the system of promotion for the 
duration of the war. Many officers who began the war as 
colonels now command brigades, some are even at the head 
of divisions or army corps. Ability proved on the field of 
208 



1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

battle is now immediately recognised and utilised, and in this 
way it has been possible to provide in the most favourable 
manner for the vacancies created by the changes in command 
which were considered necessary in the first weeks of the 
war. The higher grades of the French Army are inspired 
by a remarkable unity in the matter of military theory, and 
by a solidarity of spirit which has found striking expression 
in the course of the numerous moves of army corps from one 
part of the theatre of operations to another which have been 
carried out since the beginning of the war. 

The cavalry after six months of war still possess an excess 
of officers. There are on an average thirty-six officers to a 
regiment instead of the thirty-one considered to be the neces- 
sary minimum. The artillery, which has suffered relatively 
little, has also an excess of officers, and is further able to count 
upon a large number of captains and other officers who before 
the war were employed in the arsenals or in technical research. 
Finally, the reserve artillery officers have nearly all proved 
to be excellent battery commanders. 

The losses in the junior commissioned ranks have naturally 
been highest in the infantry. There is, however, nothing like 
a want of officers in this arm. Many captains and lieu- 
tenants who have been wounded by machine-gun fire (such 
wounds are usually slight and quickly healed), have been 
able to return speedily to the front. The reserve officers have 
in general done remarkably well, and in many cases have 
shown quite exceptional aptitude for the rank of company 
commanders. The non-commissioned officers promoted to 
sub-lieutenants make excellent section leaders, and even show 
themselves very clever and energetic company commanders 
in the field. 

It must be remembered also that, thanks to the intel- 
lectual and physical development of the generation now 
serving with the colours, and thanks, above .all, to the war- 
like qualities of the race and the democratic spirit of our 
Army, we have been able to draw upon the lower grades 
and even upon the rank and file for officers. Many men 
who began the war on August 2 as privates now wear the 
officer's epaulettes. The elasticity of our regulations regard- 
ing promotion in war time, the absence of the spirit of caste, 
and the friendly welcome extended by all officers to those of 

MILITARY 2 O 20Q 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. ic 

their military inferiors who have shown under fire their 
fitness to command have enabled us to meet all requirements. 

The state of our infantry cadres on January 15 was very 
satisfactory, and much superior to that of the German 
infantry. On an average each of our regiments has 48 officers, 
including 18 Regular officers, 15 Reserve officers, and 15 non- 
commissioned officers. In each regiment six of the twelve 
companies are commanded by captains who are Regular 
officers, three by captains of the Reserve, and three by 
lieutenants. Each company has at least three officers. In 
sum, the state of the Army as regards the commissioned 
ranks from the highest to the lowest is declared to be excep- 
tionally brilliant. The Army is led by young, well-trained, 
and daring chiefs, and the lower commissioned ranks have 
acquired the art of war by experience. 

Finally a warm tribute must be paid to the work of the 
Staffs of the Armies and of the army corps, which were 
formed three years ago and have thrown themselves into 
their work in entire agreement both of views and methods. 

Including all ranks, France now has more than 2,500,000 
men at the front, and every unit is, or was on January 15, 
at war strength. The infantry companies are at least 200 
strong. In many regiments the companies have a strength 
of 250 or more. 

In the other arms, which have suffered less than the 
infantry, the units are all up to, or above, regulation strength. 

This fact constitutes one of the most important advan- 
tages of the French Army over the German. While Germany 
has created a great number of new units, army corps, or 
divisions, which absorbed at a blow all of her available 
resources in officers and men, the French Supreme Command 
has avoided the formation of new units, except in limited 
number. It has only admitted exceptions to this rule when 
it was able to count with certainty on being able to provide 
amply for both the present and future requirements of the 
new units, as regards all ranks, without encroaching upon 
the reserves needed for the existing units. At the same time, 
thanks to the depots in the interior of the country, the 
effectives at the front have been maintained at full strength. 
The sources of supply for this purpose were the remainder of 
the eleven classes of the Reserve, the younger classes of the 

210 



1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

Territorial Army, and the new class of 1914. A large number 
of the men wounded in the earlier engagements of the war 
have been able to return to the front, and these have been 
incorporated in the new drafts, thus providing them with a 
useful stiffening of war-tried men. 

With regard to the supplies of men upon which the Army 
can draw to repair the wastage at the front, we learn that 
there are practically half as many men in the depots as at 
the front, in other words about 1,250,000. Further supplies 
of men are provided by the class of 1915, which has already 
proved to be more than a fifth more numerous than the 
official estimate and the ' revision/ in consequence of Minis- 
terial decree, of the various categories of men of military 
age exempted on grounds of health or for other reasons from 
the duty of bearing arms. As a result of this measure nearly 
half a million men have been claimed for the Army, almost 
all of whom, after rigorous physical tests, have been declared 
fit for military service. 

In the depots in which the new soldiers are being trained, 
the services of many officers and non-commissioned officers, 
discharged as convalescents after being wounded, are utilised 
in order to give a practical turn to the instruction. There 
are still many voluntary enlistments, and, with all these 
resources of men, the Army can count upon reinforcements 
soon to be available, which will considerably augment its 
offensive power. 

The quality of the troops has improved perceptibly since 
the beginning of the war. The men have become hardened 
and used to war, and their health largely owing to the 
excellence of the commissariat is extremely satisfactory. In 
spite of the severity of the winter, hardly any cases of disease 
of the respiratory organs have occurred, and the sanitary 
returns of the Army show an appreciable improvement on 
those of the preceding winter. 

With regard to the reserves, experience has verified the 
dictum of the Serbian and Bulgarian generals in the war of 
1913, namely, that ' two months in the field are necessary in 
order to get at the full value of reserves/ Our infantry is 
now accustomed to the rapid and thorough organisation of 
the defensive. In August it neither liked, nor had the habit, 
of using the spade. To-day those who see our trenches are 

211 






DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. 191 

astounded. They are veritable improvised fortresses, proof 
against the 77 millimetre gun and often against artillery of 
higher calibre. 

During the past five months not a single encounter can be 
cited in which our infantry did not have the advantage over 
the German infantry. All the enemy's attacks have been 
repulsed, except to the north of Soissons, where their success 
was due to the flooded state of the Aisne and the carrying 
away of our bridges. Our attacks, on the other hand, have 
yielded important results and have been carried out with 
plenty of spirit, although without the imprudence which cost 
us such heavy losses in August. 

The cavalry has made remarkable progress. Throughout 
October the cavalry was called on to eke out the inadequate 
numbers of the infantry, and showed itself perfectly adapted 
to the necessities of fighting on foot. Several regiments of 
cavalry have been used as infantry, and, armed with rifles, 
have rendered the most valuable services. 

The artillery has displayed a superiority in the use of its 
admirable equipment, which is recognised by the Germans 
themselves. 

[This chapter of the report concludes with a tribute to 
the work of the airmen and to the less brilliant but not less 
useful work of the engineers, who in the trench warfare which 
we are now waging have naturally been called upon to display 
intense activity.] 

VIII. THE FRENCH ARMY AS IT is : MATERIAL, 
ARTILLERY, SUPPLIES, TRANSPORT 

[Beginning with the famous ' 75 ' gun, the compiler of the 
French official report dwells on its power, rapidity of action, 
and its incomparable precision, which make it an implement 
of war of the first order.] It may be stated without hesita- 
tion, that our ' 75 ' guns are in as perfect condition to-day 
as they were on the first day of the war, although the use 
made of them has exceeded all calculations. The consump- 
tion of projectiles was, in fact, so enormous as to cause for a 
moment an ammunition crisis, which, however, was com- 
pletely overcome several weeks ago. 

The methodical and complete exploitation of all the 
212 



1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

resources of the country, organised since the beginning of 
the war, has enabled us to accumulate a considerable stock 
of fresh munitions, and an increasing rate of production is 
henceforth assured. We are thus sure of being able to 
provide without particular effort for all the needs of the 
campaign, present and future, however long the war may 
last, and it is this certainty which has enabled us to supply 
projectiles to several of the Allied Armies, among others to 
the Serbian and Belgian Armies. From the statements of 
German prisoners we have learnt that the effectiveness of 
our new projectiles is superior to that of the old ones. 

Our heavy artillery was in process of reorganisation when 
the war broke out, with the result that we were indisputably 
in a position of inferiority in respect of this arm during the 
first battles. But to-day the parts have been changed, and 
our adversaries themselves acknowledge the superiority of our 
heavy artillery by reason of its abundance, its power, its range, 
and precision. The change has been brought about partly 
by the intense activity of the gun factories in new pro- 
duction, partly by the employment at the front of the enor- 
mous reserves of artillery preserved in the fortresses. This 
source of supply is by no means exhausted. The large 
number of heavy guns at the front represents only a part of 
the total number available for use. These guns have been 
altered and brought up to date in such a way as to give them 
the qualities of the most modern artillery, and such a variety 
of models are available that the French artillerists can adapt 
their fire to all the necessities of war as practised to-day. 

There is an abundant stock of projectiles for the heavy 
artillery, which, as in the case of the field-gun ammunition, 
is daily growing in importance. The same is true of the 
reserves of powder and other explosives, and of all materials 
needed for the manufacture of shells. The powerful industrial 
equipment of France and Great Britain, constantly fed from 
abroad, thanks to the freedom of the seas, gives us full security 
in this respect. 

Dealing with the effects of the French artillery fire, the 
report quotes the statements of prisoners. Captives who 
have been exposed to a battering by the French gunners 
always remain in a sort of stupor for several hours. One 
prisoner said : ' I have served through the whole campaign. 

213 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. 19: 

I was at the battle of the Maine, where our losses were terrible. 
But its terror was nothing compared to the artillery fire which 
we have had to endure these last few days, with its accuracy 
of aim and the destructive effect of its shells. I am glad to 
have escaped from that hell, and I do not think myself a bad 
German for saying so. I believe I have paid my debt to 
the Fatherland by the mere fact of having been exposed to 
such a fire. I wonder that my reason did not give way. It 
was an accursed day/ 

A German lieutenant of engineers said he could not under- 
stand the violence and the extraordinary accuracy of our 
fire. He said : ' As long as the artillery fire lasts there is no 
use in thinking about making a move to bring up the re- 
serves, and the last shot has hardly been fired at the trench 
when your infantry are there/ 

A German non-commissioned officer thus described what 
he had seen : ' You could see rifles and men hurtling through 
the air. All the defenders were blown to pieces or buried 
alive/ 

% Those who seek safety in flight are no better off. Said 
another prisoner : ' The shells pursue the fugitives. The 
best thing to do is to fling oneself on the ground and leave 
the rest to God/ 

The Germans have nicknamed our artillerymen ' the 
black butchers/ With regard to small arms, hand-grenades, 
bombs, and all the devices for life-taking which the short- 
range trench warfare has brought into use, the position of 
the French troops is in every way favourable. Thanks 
to the ingenuity of the officers and engineers, and the 
resources of the national industry, the army in the field 
is now equipped with an entire arsenal of new weapons of 
this kind, perfected by experience in action and varied in 
type so as to be able to meet all the exigencies of the new 
mode of fighting. The superiority which the Germans enjoyed 
at the beginning in virtue of their bomb-throwers and similar 
engines has disappeared. 

Owing to the extended use of machine-guns the number 
of them supplied to the various units has been increased. 
Not only is each unit in possession of its full regulation com- 
plement of machine-guns, but the number of these guns 
attached to each unit has been increased since February i 
314 



1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

by one-third. On March 15 this number will be doubled. 
The efforts of the national industry supplemented by foreign 
aid make it possible to keep up a constant flow of thoroughly 
trained machine-gun detachments to the front. The supply 
of rifles, carbines, and other firearms has been and will be 
equal to all demands. 

The report next passes to the transport service, which has 
worked with remarkable precision since the beginning of 
the war. Its first great task was the transport of the cover- 
ing troops that is, the troops sent to the frontier to 
meet the first shock of the enemy and enable the mobilisa- 
tion of the main armies to be carried out undisturbed and 
then the mobilisation and concentration of transports. The 
transport of the covering troops began on the day of the 
German proclamation of ' the state of danger of war/ that 
is July 31, at 9 P.M., and was completed on August 3 at 
noon without any delay either in the departure or arrival 
of trains, and before any of the ordinary train services had 
been suspended. Nearly six hundred trains were required to 
carry out the operation on the Eastern system alone. 

The transport of troops, etc., in connection with the general 
mobilisation began on August 2, concurrently with the move- 
ment of the covering troops. On August 3 and 4 nearly six 
hundred more trains were despatched on the Eastern system 
alone. The transportation needed for the concentration of the 
armies began at midday on August 5, and the first period, 
during which the most urgent transportation was effected, 
ended on August 12 at the same hour. The second period 
of less urgent movements extended from 4 A.M. on August 12 
to midnight on August 18. During the first period, out of 
2500 trains despatched about twenty were subjected to slight 
delays, which were made good in the second period. During 
the fourteen days nearly 4500 trains were despatched, without 
counting 250 trains which carried siege supplies to the for- 
tresses. It is noteworthy that these excellent results were 
obtained in "spite of the fact that the original destination of 
four army corps was changed after mobilisation had begun. 
With regard to the ordinary supply movements, it may be 
remarked that this service, directed from the ' control stations ' 
on the railways, has worked with perfect regularity since the 
beginning of the war. During the retreat in August the 

215 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. 

control stations had to provide for all sorts of unforeseen 
needs, such as the removal of military and other stores, and 
often of the inhabitants from abandoned towns, and the 
withdrawal of French and Belgian rolling stock, in spite of 
which not a single supply train or troop train was ever stopped. 

In the way of the transport of troops from one part of the 
theatre of operations to another, some remarkable feats have 
been performed. During the French offensives in Lorraine 
and Belgium in August, during the retreat beyond the Marne, 
during the subsequent advance, and again during the exten- 
sion of our left to the North Sea, over seventy divisions were 
moved by railway from one point to another, the journeys 
varying from sixty to 360 miles, and necessitating the 
employment of over 6000 trains. To the accurate work- 
ing of the transport service we owe a large part of our success. 
In particular we owe to it the impassable barrier against 
which the enemy's desperate offensive hurled itself in vain 
in Flanders. 

The automobile transport has been correspondingly active. 
It has been freely drawn upon for the transport of troops, 
at least 250,000 men having been moved by automobile 
distances of from twelve to seventy miles during September, 
October, and November. On the automobile transport falls 
the duty of carrying material and supplies of certain sorts, 
notably fresh meat, and the removal of wounded to hospital. 
The service at present comprises over 10,000 motor vehicles, 
driven and kept in repair by 2500 chauffeurs and mechanics. 

Of the work of the commissariat department some idea 
is gathered when it is remembered that each of the 2,500,000 
men at the front daily receives the following campaign ration : 
bread 750 grammes, meat 500 grammes, bacon 30 grammes, 
sugar 32 grammes, coffee 30 grammes, tobacco 100 grammes 
(per week). Each man now receives a double ration of sugar 
and coffee, and, in addition, 2 grammes of tea and a third 
of a litre of wine a day. The menu is further enriched by 
joint purchases through the ' ordinaires/ In addition to his 
ration of food each soldier receives a certain allowance of 
money, which he pays into the ' ordinaire ' of his company, 
which then buys for joint use such things as the Government 
does not supply, notably potatoes, fresh vegetables, sardines, 
and chocolate, of which the commissariat has accumulated 
216 



1. 1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

large stocks, so that the troops can always obtain them even 
if they cannot be bought or requisitioned in the country 
where operations are being conducted. What the com- 
missariat and the transport service can do is shown by the 
following details. On ist January, every one of the 2,500,000 
men at the front received the following ration of luxuries to 
celebrate the New Year : 100 grammes of ham, an orange, 
two apples, a handful of nuts, a cigar, half a litre of good 
wine, and a quarter of a litre of champagne. This good 
feeding has its natural results upon the physical and moral 
health of the troops. The men put on .flesh on active 
service. 

The stocks of wheat and oats are so large that, in 
the zone of the armies, the crop of last year has not yet 
been threshed. For the meat ration, beef alternates with 
mutton and pork, and fresh meat with frozen. Endless 
stocks exist. Of the home supply of thirteen million head 
of cattle, sheep, and pigs, only 800,000 head have been 
slaughtered. 

The summary of the Army supply service gives an idea 
of the commercial prosperity of the country. The transport 
of goods by railway and sea proceeds with an activity un- 
known in the most prosperous times. The ports are crowded 
with shipping and merchandise. Everywhere it has been 
necessary to build new docks to deal with the flood of imports 
of all kinds from abroad. Ports which in time of peace 
are the least busy are now crammed, and at the great ports, 
like Havre, ships are obliged to wait for days to unload their 
cargoes for lack of quay space. Finally, the presence of the 
British Army in the North of France has brought about an 
intense activity of trade and an abundant circulation of gold 
in this part of the country. 

IX. THE GERMAN ARMY AND ITS LOSSES IN MEN 

The military effort of Germany at the outset of the 
campaign exceeded all anticipations. Her design was to 
crush the French Army in a few weeks under a tremendous 
mass of troops. Nothing was neglected to bring that mass 
together. 

The number of German army corps in time of peace is 

217 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. 191, 

twenty-five. When war began the German General Staff put 
in the field on. the two theatres of operations : 

1. As fighting troops (Active, Reserve, Ersatz, or Land- 
wehr), 6 1 army corps. 

2. As troops to guard communications and territory, 
formations of the Landsturm. 

In October 6J- new army corps made their appearance, 
plus a division of sailors, in all 7 corps. From the end 
of November to the end of December there was only an 
insignificant increase, consisting of one division of sailors. 
In January 1915, the number of fighting formations put 
into line by the Germany Army was therefore 69 army corps, 
divided as follows : 

Active corps, 25^. 

Reserve corps, 2iJ. 

Ersatz brigades, 6J. 

Reserve corps of new formation, 7^. 

Corps of Landwehr, 8J. 

Total, 6gJ. 

It is easy to understand the immense effort thus made 
by Germany if, having regard to the position of Germany at 
the opening of the war, one considers that of the Allies. 
Germany desired to take advantage of the circumstances 
which enabled her to make a simultaneous mobilisation of all 
her forces, a mobilisation which the three Allied Armies could 
not carry out as rapidly. Germany wished with the mass 
of troops to crush first of all the adversary who appeared to 
her the most immediately dangerous. This effort, broken for 
the first time on the Marne, attained its maximum at the 
moment of the Battle of Flanders, in which more than 50 
army corps out of 69 were pitted against the French, British, 
and Belgian Armies. Here also the method followed by 
Germany is easily comprehensible. At the end of October 
the Russian danger was beginning to become pressing, and 
it was necessary to win a decisive victory on the Western 
theatre of war. It was imperative to give international 
opinion the impression that Germany remained in that 
quarter mistress of the operations. Finally, it behoved her 
by this victory to render possible the transport of a large 
number of army corps to Poland. We have seen that the 
218 



N. 1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

Battle of Flanders, instead of being a success for Germany, 
was a marked defeat. This defeat was fraught with great 
results, and it dominates the present position of the German 
Army. 

The plans above described of the German mobilisation, 
which had their justification in view of a prompt victory, 
were calculated to become extremely perilous from the 
moment that that victory failed to be gained. From that 
moment, in fact, Germany lost the initiative and the direction 
of the war. And furthermore, she was condemned to suffer 
the counter-effects of the enormous and precipitate effort 
which she had made in vain. From the point of view of her 
effectives and her regimental cadres she had undergone a 
wastage from which her adversaries, on the other hand, had 
been able to save themselves. 

She had, in the words of the proverb, put all her eggs in 
one basket, and in spite of her large population she could 
no longer, owing to the immediate and sterile abuse which 
she had made of her resources, pretend to regain the superi- 
ority of numbers. She was reduced to facing as best she 
could on both war fronts the unceasingly increasing forces of 
the Allies. She had attained the maximum of effort and 
had secured a minimum of results. She has thus landed 
herself in a difficulty which will henceforward go on increasing, 
and which is made clear when the wastage which her Army 
has suffered is closely studied. 

The wastage of German effectives is easy to establish. We 
have for the purpose two sources, the official lists of losses 
published by the German General Staff, and the note-books, 
letters, and documents of soldiers and officers killed and taken 
prisoners. These different documents show that by the 
middle of January the German losses on the two fronts were 
1,800,000 men. These figures are certainly less than the 
reality because, for one thing, the sick are not comprised, 
and, for another, the losses in the last battle in Poland are 
not included. 

Let us accept them, however : let us accept also that out 
of these 1,800,000 men 500,000 this is the normal propor- 
tion have been able to rejoin after being cured. Thus the 
final loss for five months of the campaign has been 1,300,000 
men, or 260,000 men per month. These figures agree exactly 

219 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. 

with what can be ascertained when the variations of effectives 
in certain regiments are examined. 

Here also the documents seized permit of the lists of losses 
being controlled. To cite some examples : 

The I3th Bavarian Regiment, in a month and a half 
(August-September), lost 3250 men. 

The zyist Regiment, from the middle of August to the 
middle of November, lost 2500 men and 60 officers. 

The Qgth Regiment in the same period had equal losses. 

The I5th Regiment of Infantry on the i8th of October 
alone lost 1786 men and 37 officers. 

The I32nd Regiment lost on November 16, near Ypres, 
1390 men. 

The losses were still higher in the new formations. 

The 205th Regiment had 2400 men put out of action in 
the one battle of the Yser. 

The 235th Regiment lost 1320. 

The 244th Regiment, 2150. 

The 247th Regiment in that same battle, 1900. 

The 248th Regiment, 1800. 

The I7th Bavarian Reserve Regiment lost at Messines and 
Wytschaete 30 officers and 2171 men. 

[There follows in the Official Report a very detailed table 
showing the German losses in a very exact manner as learned 
from notebooks, letters, statements of prisoners, and official 
lists, and the conclusion arrived at is as follows : ] 

It is, therefore, certain that the majority of the German 
regiments have had to be completely renewed. What, then, 
is the situation created by these enormous losses. 

The total of German formations known, at the beginning 
of January represented in round numbers four million men. 
According to the official reports on German recruiting, the 
entire resources of Germany in men amount to nine millions. 
But from these nine millions have to be deducted men employed 
on railways, in the police, and in certain administrations 
and industries, altogether 500,000 men. The total resources 
available for the war were therefore 8,500,000. Out of these 
nearly one-half, say 4,000,000, are now at the front. The 
definitive losses represent at least 1,300,000 men. The 
220 



1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

available resources amounted, then, at the beginning of 
January to 3,200,000 men. 

Of what are these resources composed? Chiefly of men 
who were untrained in time of peace, the trained reservists 
having almost all left the depots for the front. It has, more- 
over, to be noted that out of these 3,200,000 men there are, 
according to the statistics, 800,000 who are more than thirty- 
nine years of age, and are therefore of only mediocre military 
value. Thus there remain 2,400,000. Finally, the category 
6f those untrained in peace comprises, according to the esti- 
mates of German military authorities themselves, one-quarter 
of inefficients. The really available resources capable of 
campaigning are therefore just two millions. These men, 
comprising the 1915, 1916, and 1917 classes, called out in 
anticipation, constitute and this point cannot be too strongly 
insisted upon the total of available resources for the opera- 
tions during the twelve months of 1915. 

As to what the military value of these troops will be, con- 
sidering the haste with which they have been trained, the 
formidable losses sustained in the Battle of Flanders by the 
newly-formed corps show very clearly. Their military value 
will be limited. 

These resources available in the course of 1915 may be 
divided into three categories, the first available at present, 
the second to be available in April, and the third between 
April and December. The resources at present available 
represent a maximum of 800,000 men, those for April 500,000 
men, and the ultimate resources (classes 1916 and 1917 and 
untrained men of the Landsturm between 30 and 40 years 
of age) represent 700,000 to 800,000 men. When it is re- 
membered that, according to the German documents them- 
selves, the definitive loss each month is 260,000 men, it is 
manifest that the available resources for the year 1915 will 
not suffice to fill the gaps of a war of ten months. 

It is, then, superabundantly established that in the matter 
of effectives Germany has reached the maximum of possible 
effort. If with the 800,000 men at present available she 
creates, as it is certain that she is preparing to do at this 
moment, fresh formations, she will be preventing herself, if 
the war lasts another ten months, as is possible, from being 
able to complete afresh her old formations. If she creates 

221 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. 191 

no new formations she will have in 1915 exactly what is 
necessary, and no more to complete the existing units afresh. 
Bearing in mind the ways of the German General Staff, one 
may suppose that, disregarding the eventual impossibility 
of completing, it is still addressing itself to creating new 
formations. The weakness to which Germany will expose 
herself in the matter of effectives has just been set forth, 
and it is easy to show that this weakness will be still further 
aggravated by the wastage in the regimental cadres. 

X. THE GERMAN LOSSES IN OFFICERS, MATERIAL AND 

MORALE 

Beyond all dispute the condition of the cadres in the 
German Army is bad. The proportion of officers, and notably 
of officers by profession, has been enormously reduced, and a 
report made in December showed that in a total of 124 com- 
panies, active or reserve, there were only forty-nine officers of 
the active Army. The active regiments have at the present 
time an average of twelve professional officers, the reserve 
regiments nine to ten, the reserve regiments of new forma- 
tion six to seven, and it is to be remembered that these officers 
have to be drawn upon afresh for the creation of new units. 
If Germany creates new army corps, and if the war lasts ten 
months, she will have to reduce almost to nothing the number 
of professional officers in each regiment, a number which 
already is insufficient. 

[The French report points out that, on the other hand, all 
the French regiments have been constantly kept at a minimum 
figure of eighteen professional officers per regiment. At the 
same time, it admits that the commanders of German corps, 
commanders of active battalions, and the officers attached 
to the commanders of army corps are officers by profession.] 

It is easy to ascertain the German losses in artillery. On 
December 28 the 66th Regiment of artillery entrained at 
Courtrai for Germany 22 guns, of which 18 were used up. 
This figure is extremely high for a single regiment. The 
same facts have been ascertained as regards heavy artillery. 
On December 21 and 22, 77 guns of heavy artillery, which 
were no longer serviceable, were sent to Cologne. These 
movements, which are not isolated facts, show how ill the 
222 



1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

German artillery has resisted the ordeal of the campaign. 
Other proofs, moreover, are decisive. For some weeks we 
have noted the very peculiar appearance of the marking on 
the bands of a great number of shells of the ' 77 ' gun. When 
these markings are compared with those of shells fired three 
months ago, it is plain beyond all question that the barrels 
are worn and that many of them require to be renewed. 

This loss in guns is aggravated by the necessity which has 
arisen of drawing upon the original army corps for the guns 
assigned to the recently formed corps or those in course of 
formation. Several regiments of field artillery have, in fact, 
had to give up two batteries. These two facts wearing 
out of material and drafts upon batteries will inevitably 
lead either to the reduction of batteries from six to four 
guns, or to a reduction of the number of batteries in the army 
corps, or to the partial substitution for ' 77 ' guns of nine 
centimetre cannon of the old pattern, the presence of which 
has been many times observed at the front. 

Furthermore, the German artillery lacks, and has lacked, 
munitions for a very long time. It has been obliged to 
reduce its consumption of shells in a notable degree. No 
doubt is possible in this respect. The statements of prisoners 
since the Battle of the Marne, and still more since the Battle 
of the Yser, make it clear that the number of shots allowed 
to the batteries for each action is strictly limited. We have 
found on officers killed or taken prisoners the actual orders 
prescribing positively a strict economy of munitions. 

For the last three months, too, we notice that the quality 
of the projectiles is mediocre. Many of them do not burst. 
On January 7, in the course of a bombardment of Laventie, 
scarcely any of the German shells burst. The proportion of 
shells failing to burst was estimated at two-fifths by the 
British on December 14 ; two-thirds by the Belgians at 
Furnes in January ; and at two-thirds by ourselves in the 
same month. On January 3 at Bourg-et-Comin, shrapnel 
fell, of which the explosion scarcely broke the envelope, the 
bullets being projected without any force. The same thing 
has occurred since then in other places. About the same 
time our I4th Army Corps was fired at with shrapnel loaded 
with fragments of glass, and on several points of our front 
shell casings or shells of very bad quality have been found, 

223 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. 19 

denoting hasty manufacture and the use of material taken 
at hazard. 

From numerous indications it appears that the Germans 
are beginning to run short of their 1898 pattern rifle. A 
certain number of the last reinforcements (January) are 
armed with carbines or rifles of a poor sort without bayonets. 
Others have not even rifles. Prisoners taken in the Woevre 
had old-pattern weapons. 

The upshot of these observations|is that Germany, despite 
her large stores at the beginning and the great resources of 
her industrial production, presents manifest signs of wear, 
and that the official optimism which she displays does not 
correspond with the reality of the facts. 

The material wastage of the German Army has corre- 
sponded with a decline in the morale, which it is possible to 
follow both through the interrogation of prisoners and the 
pocket-books and letters seized upon them or on the killed. 

At the beginning of the war the entire German Army, as 
was natural, was animated by an unshakable faith in the 
military superiority of the Empire. It lived on the recol- 
lections of 1870 and on those of the long years of peace, 
during which all the Powers which had to do with Germany 
displayed towards her a spirit of conciliation and patience 
which might pass for weakness. The first prisoners we took 
in August showed themselves wholly indifferent to the 
reverses of the German Army. They were sincerely and 
profoundly convinced that if the German Army retired it 
was in virtue of a preconceived plan, and that our successes 
would lead to nothing. 

The events at the end of August were calculated to 
strengthen this conviction in the mind of the German soldiers. 
The strategic retreat of the French Army, the facility with 
which the German Armies were able to advance from 
August 24 to September 5, gave our adversaries a feeling of 
absolute and final superiority, which manifested itself at that 
time in all the statements obtained and all the documents 
seized. 

At the moment of the Battle of the Marne, the first im- 
pression was one of failure of comprehension and of stupor. 
A great number of German soldiers, especially those who fell 
into our hands during the first days of that battle, believed 
224 



1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

fully, as at the end of August, that the retreat which they 
were ordered to make was only a means of luring us into a 
trap. German military opinion was suddenly converted 
when the soldiers saw that this retreat continued and that 
it was being carried out in disorder, under conditions which 
left no doubt as to its cause and to its extent. This really 
spelled defeat, and a defeat aggravated by the absence of 
regular supplies and by the physical and moral depression 
which was the result. 

The severity of the losses sustained and the overpowering 
effects of the French artillery began from this moment to 
be noted in German pocket-books with veritable terror. 
Hope revived, however, at the end of some weeks, and there 
is to be found in the letters of soldiers and officers at that 
date the announcement of ' a great movement ' which is 
being prepared, and which is to lead the German Armies 
anew as far as Paris. This is the great ' Battle of Calais/ 
which, contrary to anticipations of the enemy, was in reality 
fought to the east of the Yser. 

The losses of the Germans, which during those ten days 
exceeded 150,000 men, and may perhaps have reached 
200,000, produced a terrifying impression on the troops. 
From that moment prisoners no longer declared themselves 
sure of success. For a certain time they had been consoled 
by -the announcement of the capture of Warsaw. This pre- 
tended success having proved to be fictitious, incredulity 
became general. During the last two months the most 
intelligent of the prisoners have all admitted that no one 
could any longer say on which side victory would rest. 
If we think of the absolute confidence with which the 
German people had been sustained, this avowal is of great 
importance. 

Letters found on a d.ead officer speak of the imminence of 
a military and economic hemming-in of Germany. It dis- 
cusses the possibility of Germany finding herself after the 
war with * empty hands and pockets turned inside out/ 
There is no longer any question of imposing the conqueror's 
law upon adversaries at his mercy, but of fighting with the 
energy of despair to secure an honourable peace. An officer 
of the General Staff, who was made prisoner on January 18, 
said : ' Perhaps this struggle of despair has already begun/ 

MILITARY 2 p 22$ 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. ig 

This change of feeling is all the more remarkable inasmuch 
as the German Government from the beginning of the war 
made a sustained effort to create in 'the Army an artificial 
state of mind based entirely upon lies. We have often found, 
either by the interrogation of prisoners or the examination 
of papers found on the dead, that a scientific system of fables 
for the use of soldiers was in use for the six months in the 
ranks of the German Army. Whenever the Germans were 
beaten, their soldiers were induced to believe that it was 
because they wished to be so. As regards the Battle of 
Flanders, the orders of the commanders and the articles of 
German newspapers leave no doubt about the importance of 
the offensive plan which broke itself against our resistance. 
But the thing went further. We frequently had the oppor- 
tunity of ascertaining how the German commanding officers 
applied themselves to deceiving their men even in matters 
of detail. The prisoners whom we captured to the north, to 
the east, and to the south of Ypres, often declared with 
evident good faith that Paris was a few kilometres behind the 
hills which bounded the horizon. Others, better instructed 
in geography, told us with perfect seriousness that the German 
Army had vacated Paris because cholera and plague had 
broken out there, and the doctors had ordered this hotbed 
of contagion to be avoided. We have found prisoners in 
possession of postcards in German entitled, ' Souvenir of the 
capture of Warsaw/ On the other hand, the Russians 
found postcards entitled, ' Souvenir of the capture of 
Calais/ 

Thus an artificial opinion was kept up which is beginning 
to be shaken. However docile and disciplined the Germans 
may be, one cannot help thinking that on the day when they 
perceive that they have been systematically and abominably 
deceived, a reaction will set in, of which the victims will be 
those very men who organised this attempt to dupe several 
millions of men. 



XL GERMAN LACK OF SUPPLIES 

The chief explanation of the imperfections noted in the 
German projectiles is to be found in the bad quality of the 
primary material. In spite of her enormous supplies, Ger- 
226 



1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

many has already suffered, and will suffer more and more, 
from the impossibility of replenishing by sea. Th'is impos- 
sibility weighs heavily on military manufacture. On this 
point, an extract from the following report, made at the 
beginning of December, by a high American official, will be 
read with interest : 

Everybody recognises that there is in Germany a terrible scarcity 
of rubber. It cannot be procured, and there was no great provision 
of it in the country when war broke out. There were scarcely any 
private motor-cars running in Berlin when I left that city. The 
owners of cars who had not supplied themselves with rubber before 
the war can scarcely get any now. The sale of rubber has been pro- 
hibited in every form. Even india-rubber balls such as children play 
with have been withdrawn from sale. Still more serious is the scarcity 
of copper, which is indispensable for the manufacture of shells and 
munitions. The Germans are greatly alarmed by the fact that it is 
impossible for them to replenish their supply of this precious material. 
They really do not know how things will turn out for them. I have 
also every reason to believe that the question of powder is causing the 
General Staff the gravest anxiety. There is a want of saltpetre and 
of the nitrates necessary for its manufacture. Direct answers to all 
questions on this subject are carefully avoided, and people prefer to 
get round them by an evasive phrase. When you ask them why they 
are employing old munitions they answer, ' We want to get rid of them/ 

It is in no way my intention to deny the existence of reserves, 
which are still immense, of munitions in the country. I only wish 
to say that my personal inquiries have convinced me that it is impossible 
for Germany, on the ground alone of the munitions, even if the con- 
sumption is far below the present consumption, to continue the war 
beyond June next. I am convinced that the most vital considerations 
of the present conflict relate to the scarcity of copper and gunpowder 
in Germany, as well as of the different materials required for the 
manufacture of the diverse explosives now in use. At the bottom of 
their hearts German official circles fully understand that there can be 
only one issue of the present struggle in Europe. They know in 
reality that they are beaten. They are fighting to obtain the best 
conditions possible. 

The lack of food is also beginning to make itself felt, as 
is shown by the creation of a monopoly and distribution 
by rations of cereals, ordered by the Federal Council on 
January 27. This is a measure without precedent, except 
in the history of besieged places. It is, moreover, easy to 

227 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. ic 

show by some figures what effects the war is having upon 
German supplies : 





German 


Consumption 




Production. 


before the War. 




Tons. 


Tons. 


Saltpetre . 


Nil 


785,000 


Rubber 


Nil 


224,000 


Petroleum . 


125,000 


1,000,000 


Copper 


37ooo 


224,000 



If one takes the figures of German imports in 1912 it is 
observed that they amounted to loj milliards of marks 
(750,000,000), of which less than 2j milliards (125,000,000) 
came from countries with which Germany can still trade. 
Thus Germany is deprived by the war of four-fifths of her 
imports. 

German economists have always pointed out this peril, 
and certain of them recognise it to-day. Below are some 
quotations from the German Press, made both before and 
after the outbreak of war : 

In the hypothesis of a war in which the importation of articles of 
food to Germany is cut off, our position would be critical. The success 
of our arms, even great successes, would be of no avail, or could only 
be inadequately turned to account, if the enemy succeeds in imposing 
upon us new tactics : the tactics of hunger. (Schmoller's Jahrbiicher, 
1912, pp. 590-591.) 

If the war lasts more than eight months we shall have no more 
corn. (Georg Helm, Frankfurter Zeitung, October 20, 1914.) 

The stock of articles of food is less this year, the year of war, than 
the stock in time of peace. If we preserve the habits of peace time this 
stock may be insufficient to allow us to wait for the harvest. (Professor 
Schumacher, Bonn, Cologne Gazette, November 3, 1914.) 

If the war last for a long time, and that is now certain, our situa- 
tion will become difficult and very critical. We must make up our 
mind before it is too late to take measures. (Deutsche Tageszeitung, 
organ of the League of Farmers, quoted by the Frankfurter Zeitung, 
October 17, 1914.) 

Better to be hungry than to die of hunger. (Professor Levy, 
Berliner Tageblatt, quoted by Frankfurter Zeitung, September 20, 1914.) 
228 



1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

It has, furthermore, been observed on several occasions 
since the outbreak of hostilities that the revictualling of the 
German Army has not been as regular as that of the French. 
In the course of the Battle of the Marne and in the weeks 
which followed our victory the German prisoners were 
famished. They threw themselves voraciously on the bread 
which was given them, and all declared that they had eaten 
nothing for several days. It seems that the German supply 
service was not capable of coping with the consequences, 
which, nevertheless, could easily have been foreseen, of the 
destruction of railways by the French military authorities. 
Owing to this destruction, which was methodically planned 
and carried out, the bulk, one may even say the whole, of the 
German forces operating in France was, except on the two 
wings, deprived of all supplies by railway. The insufficiency 
of motor transport aggravated this condition of things, and 
for a fortnight the troops were in want of everything. The 
same irregularity in the matter of reprovisioning was observed 
during the Battle of Flanders. Moreover, the loaves which 
we often find in the German trenches are of a more than 
mediocre quality. The prisoners consider the white bread of 
the French troops a treat. The German Army in the field 
lives chiefly on preserved food. It lacks both wine and beer. 
The situation of the country explains this state of affairs. 
The hour of famine will sound for Germany before the end 
of 1915. We have already seen that the Government has 
taken the first measures by which an unequal contest against 
scarcity is proclaimed. 

Comparable with the methods above recounted are the 
official communiques with which the German General Staff 
endeavours to extend to neutral Powers the illusion which it 
endeavours to create in the ranks of its own Army. As 
events have proved many times, there is ground for dis- 
believing these communiques. A recent example is to be 
found in the affair of Soissons. This local success, which 
was due to the rise of the Aisne and the breaking down of 
bridges, was officially announced as a decisive victory, whereas 
since January 15, the Germans at this point have not even 
dared to attack. 



229 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. ig 

XII. CONCLUSIONS AND THE FUTURE 

[Having finished his survey of the operations from the 
beginning of August to the end of January, having described 
in detail the present splendid condition of the French Army, 
and having criticised the conditions in the German Army, 
the writer of the Official Review proceeds in conclusion to 
consider : 

1. The significance of the German defeat ; 

2. The significance of the French success; 

3. The three points of French superiority ; and 

4. Trie offensive faith of the French Army.] 

i. The Significance of the German Failure 

Of the events of which an abridged recital has now been 
completed, it remains to draw the conclusion, to appraise the 
results of these six months of war and to define the possibilities 
which those results have in store for us in the further 
operations. 

It may first of all be affirmed that the fundamental plan 
of the German General Staff has completely failed. This 
plan has been superabundantly set forth by German military 
writers, as also in the Reichstag by the Ministers of War. It 
aimed at crushing France by an overwhelming attack, and 
at reducing her to a condition of helplessness in less than a 
month. Germany has not succeeded in this. Our Army is, 
as we have seen, not only intact, but strengthened, full of 
trust in its leaders, and profoundly penetrated with the 
certainty of final success. Germany has not attained, then, 
the essential object which is publicly set before it. But the 
defeat which she has sustained does not apply only to her 
fundamental plan. It extends also to the various operations 
which she has essayed to secure partial advantages over us 
in default of the decisive advantage in which she had failed. 
In the three days which followed the declaration of war the 
German General Staff massed great forces in front of Nancy. 
With what purpose ? A sudden attack which from its very 
beginning should break our lines. This attack did not -take 
place, because the reinforcements of our frontier force at the 
end of 1913 and the defensive organisation established on the 
230 



r. 1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

Grand Couronne discouraged the enemy from an enterprise 
which, though possible a year sooner, had become full of risk. 

Being unable to strike at Nancy, the German Command 
directed all its resources to the outflanking manoeuvre which, 
by enveloping our left, would permit of the investment of 
Paris. Our left was not enveloped. Paris was not invested. 
And the German Army was obliged in the second week of 
September to save its own threatened communications by a 
precipitate retreat. 

With a desperate effort the General Staff of the enemy 
attempted to off-set the effect "of this retreat by piercing 
our centre in Champagne. There, as elsewhere, he failed, 
and had to withdraw in great haste. In the month of 
October, with more extended lines, he endeavoured to repeat 
his enveloping manoeuvre and to turn our left ; but right up 
to the North Sea we built up an impassable barrier for him. 
He accumulated his forces in Belgium to outflank us by the 
coast and reach our maritime bases. His attack was broken. 
With desperation he sought to cut our forces to the south of 
Ypres ; we maintained all our positions. 

To sum up, the German General Staff has placed upon 
its record since the beginning of the campaign, apart from 
the failure of its general plan, which aimed at the crushing of 
France in a few weeks, seven defeats of high significance 
namely, defeat of the sudden attack on Nancy, defeat of the 
rapid march on Paris, defeat of the envelopment of our left 
in August, defeat of the same envelopment in November, 
defeat of the attempt to break through our centre in Sep- 
tember, defeat of the coast attack on Dunkirk and Calais, and 
the defeat of the attack on Ypres. 

The German Army, powerful and courageous as it may 
be, has therefore not succeeded in gaining the advantage at 
any single point, and its forced halt after six months of war 
condemns it to a retreat the pace of which may be accelerated 
by the Russian successes, but the necessity of which is now 
a foregone conclusion independently of those successes. 

2. The Significance of the French Success 

Against the extent of the German failure has to be placed 
that of the French success. All that our enemies have failed 

231 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. 19 

to gain we have gained, and first and foremost confidence in 
ourselves. It is certain, and it could not be otherwise, that 
at the outset our troops and the country itself still remained 
under the impression of the defeats of 1870. The victory of 
the Marne, confirmed by the victory of Flanders, the im- 
passable barrier set up against the most formidable effort 
which has ever been attempted in the military history of the 
world, have created a feeling of security which grows stronger 
every day. Every one is aware, in fact, that, in order to 
gain the day against the coalition which encloses her, Germany 
needed a rapid success. Lacking this rapid success, her 
defeat is certain. For three months the German Press has 
been seeking to find favourable arguments, out of the small 
amount of change that the western front has undergone, on 
which to base the statement that the situation is finally 
crystallised. This is merely a sophism, which it is easy to 
expose. In the first place, even admitting the German 
thesis, Germany would none "the less be condemned con- 
demned to die of hunger. But this thesis cannot be admitted 
because, if for the last three months the French Command has 
not engaged in a general offensive, it has had three decisive 
reasons for this. The first is that, having time on its side, 
it intends to make its effort only after it has assembled all 
the means upon which it can, in the near future, rely with 
absolute certainty. The second is that, taught by the 
example of the Germans at Ypres, it has realised what may 
be the price of an offensive, vigorous indeed, but insufficiently 
prepared. The third is that the weather has been almost 
incessantly bad, and that it is useless to engage in great 
operations in water, mud, and fog, and in a season of short 
days. 

We have seen that the French Army is strengthening itself 
every day in heavy artillery, in explosive weapons for the 
trenches, and in projectiles. It is known that the British 
Army in France, which at first consisted of four divisions, 
has been heavily reinforced. It is known also that the 
number of troops now with the colours and being trained in 
England is very large. It is known that the Belgian Army, 
which is reconstituting itself, will shortly have six divisions 
of infantry and two divisions of cavalry. It is known that 
the Serbian Army, supplied afresh with material and muni- 
232 



1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

tions, is once again prepared to show its splendid qualities. 
It is known, finally, that Russia continues to draw upon the 
immense reservoir of her recruits, having up to the present 
utilised only the twentieth part. 

These are the reasons why the French Command has not 
hurried and awaits the hour which it considers favourable, 
and these reasons, being based on precise and easily tested 
motives, are irrefutable. 



3. The Three Points of French Superiority 

If, then, we turn to the future we note that : 

(1) The wastage of the German Army is in all respects 
greater than that of the French Army. The principal cause of 
this is the superiority of our artillery and the fighting methods 
of the German infantry, which attacks in closer formation 
than does ours. It is now certain that the losses of our 
adversaries are double ours. 

(2) The possibilities of the German Army from the point 
of view of effectives will go on decreasing more and more. 
The German population capable of bearing arms is, in com- 
parison with the French population; in the proportion of 
three to two. Now at the present time, Landsturm included, 
Germany is employing on the French front a number of men 
representing two-thirds of her resources against one-third on 
the Russian front. On account of the Austrian defeats 
Germany will be obliged to strengthen her forces against 
Russia more and more. The number of troops opposed to 
France will therefore continually decrease. Our position 
will be improved by this circumstance, as also by the number 
of German losses, which will always remain larger than ours, 
and finally, by the large reinforcements which the British 
will send to the Continent. 

(3) The capacities of the German Army in the matter of 
regimental organisation, already inferior to ours, are becoming 
so still more. Granted that our adversaries at the beginning 
of the war had more cadres than ourselves. The text-books 
show that their superiority in this respect was considerably 
less than their superiority in men. It was not as much as 
three to two. Now it is an established fact that the German 
losses in officers are greater than ours. We shall therefore 

233 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [AUG. 

certainly gain the advantage from this point of view, if, 
indeed, we have not got it already. 

4. The Offensive Faith of the French Army 

Out of all these elements has been born the offensive faith 
of the French Army and its leaders. We have before us two 
systems. The one, the German system, demanded a rapid 
success at the opening of the campaign, a success against 
France before the Russians could come upon the field, before 
the British reserves could intervene, before the economic 
trouble could make itself felt. Hence the creation in all 
haste of new corps, whether or not they could be kept up for 
a long time. It was an article of faith that -the victory was 
to be immediate. This immediate victory the Germans did 
not win. 

The other system, the French system, consists, with the 
advantage of the freedom of the seas, in maintaining in good 
and complete form a number of sufficient formations, and in 
creating new ones only in the measure in which they can with 
certainty be kept up and suitably and durably equipped with 
regimental organisation. This system is established with a 
view to a prolonged war. 

Of these two systems, which, after six months of trial, shall 
triumph ? To put the question is to answer it. The Germans 
can no longer oppose us with forces superior to ours. They 
will therefore not be able to do in the future what they could 
not do in the past when they were one-third more numerous 
than ourselves. 

Consequently our final victory must follow by the imperious 
necessity of the concordant force of facts and figures. Our 
effort, too, is from now onwards directed towards that offen- 
sive which we shall take at our own good time, and the issue 
of which cannot be doubtful. Our reinforcements are being 
trained in the instruction camps with a view to that offen- 
sive. It is in view of the offensive that, from day to day, 
our stores of munitions, food, and transport are being in- 
creased. It is in view of the offensive that important reserves 
of telegraphic, telephonic, railway, and shipping material 
have been constituted. It is in view of the offensive that 
preparation has been made for the reoccupation of the 
234 



1915] FRENCH OFFICIAL AND SEMI-OFFICIAL REPORTS 

railway systems of Belgium, Luxemburg, and Alsace-Lor- 
raine, and that a military commission, English, French, and 
Belgian, is preparing to work them. It is in view of the 
offensive that, to our ten thousand heavy lorries, we have 
added, with the powerful aid of our automobile industry, 
more than four thousand new transport wagons since the 
beginning of the war. Against all this, which on our side is 
sure and available, Germany can offer nothing either equiva- 
lent or analogous. 

The large resources in men, officers, material, and muni- 
tions which she had at her disposal six months ago have 
been largely expended in the hope of crushing, under the 
effort of mass and the effect of surprise, the forces opposed 
to them. 

To-day they are scarcely sufficient, after the defeat of 
that attempt, to offer even defensive resistance. The military 
wastage goes on progressively at the same time as the economic 
wastage, and the moral wastage which is the consequence of 
both. The creation of new units can have no other object 
than to re-establish the equilibrium of the balance of numbers 
which leans more and more to the side of the Allies. Every 
further development given to the order of battle will result 
in a diminution of the general value of the German Armies 
and accelerate their wastage. It will also bring nearer the 
moment when Germany will be at the end of her military 
resources and incapable of ever again regaining her numerical 
superiority. 

At that moment France, taken by surprise in August by 
a premeditated act of aggression, will begin the war in very 
truth and in the fulness of her strength. 



235 



[JULY-DE 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

THE MILITARY OPERATIONS OF BELGIUM IN DE- 
FENCE OF THE COUNTRY AND TO UPHOLD HER 
NEUTRALITY 

REPORT COMPILED BY THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE 
BELGIAN ARMY FOR THE PERIOD JULY 31 TO DECEM- 
BER 31, 1914 * 

PRELIMINARIES 

The first military measure adopted by Belgium in conse- 
quence of the diplomatic conflict which divided Europe in 
July 1914, was to place her army on a reinforced peace 
footing, by calling up three classes of the men liable to 
military service. This was merely a measure of precaution. 
Owing to the neutrality of Belgium, the dispositions which 
she might be called on to adopt were essentially protective, 
and only intended to meet possible eventualities. 

The Belgian Army, on its ordinary peace footing, consisted 
of only one class with the colours. Such a force was obviously 
inadequate at a moment of international political tension. 
Belgium, owing to its small area, is in reality nothing more, 
in a military sense, than a frontier zone, and the covering 
troops which the neighbouring Great Powers had assembled 
in their frontier zones had a considerably higher peace 
strength. The raising of the Belgian Army Divisions to the 
reinforced peace strength only placed her on an equality, in 
this respect, with her neighbours. 

But the Belgian forces fell far short, both in men and in 
guns, of the figures contemplated in the recent reorganisation 
of the Army, which had only just been commenced, and 
which had been intended to provide a total of 350,000 men. 
As this figure would only be reached in 1918, the Belgian 

1 [Published in 1915 : Paris, Librairie Chapelot ; London, W. H. and L. 
Collingridge.] 
236 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

Government had so arranged its scheme that, even during 
the transition period, the Army could at any moment be 
mobilised and assembled without difficulty. As regards 
equipment, heavy artillery was entirely lacking ; the country 
was at the moment in the throes of far-reaching military 
changes. 

Two days later, on the 3ist July, at 7 P.M., owing to the 
exceptional gravity which the situation had assumed, mobili- 
sation was ordered by Royal Decree. 

In time of peace the headquarters and garrisons of the six 
Army Divisions and of the Cavalry Division, of which the 
Field Army was composed, were distributed as follows : 

ist Division : Ghent (garrisons of Ghent, Bruges, Ostend, 

and Ypres). 

2nd Division : Antwerp (garrison of Antwerp). 
3rd Division : Liege (garrisons of Liege, Hasselt, and 

Venders). 

4th Division : Namur (garrisons of Namur and Charleroi). 
5th Division : Mons (garrisons of Mons, Tournai, and Ath). 
6th Division : Brussels (garrison of Brussels). 
The Cavalry Division had its headquarters at Brussels. 

The concentration areas had been selected in accordance 
with defensive requirements, and with a strict observance of 
the obligations imposed on Belgium by her neutrality, as 
defined by the treaties of 1839. 

The ist, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Divisions acted as advanced- 
guard divisions, and were stationed respectively in each of the 
regions through which danger might threaten Belgium, thus : 
the ist, or Flanders, Division faced England ; the 3rd, or 
Liege, Division faced Germany ; the 4th and 5th Divisions 
faced France ; the 4th being placed so as to meet a possible 
attack on Namur, the 5th to oppose an advance from the 
direction of Maubeuge-Lille. Each of these advanced-guard 
divisions was intended to offer the first resistance to attack, 
and thus to gain time for the transfer of the five other divisions 
to the threatened portion of the territory. 

The defensive system of Belgium further included three 
fortified places : Antwerp, forming an entrenched camp and 
place of refuge ; Liege and Namur, designed to oppose the 
enemy's advance, and to act as bridge-heads and points of 

237 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-DE 

support. It was thus necessary to divide the army into 
fortress troops and field army ; of the fifteen classes called to 
the colours, the seven oldest were allotted to the service of the 
fortresses, while the eight youngest were assigned to the field 
army. 

The sole object of all these measures, as the Minister for 
Foreign Affairs on the ist August informed the King's repre- 
sentatives at the foreign capitals, was ' to enable Belgium to 
fulfil her international obligations ; they could not possibly 
have been inspired by a feeling of defiance towards any of the 
Powers/ 

On the 2nd August, at 7 P.M., while mobilisation was in 
progress, the German Minister at Brussels handed to the 
Belgian Government a note, 1 which the latter was given twelve 
hours to answer. From the military point of view, this 
document contained two noteworthy paragraphs : i. The 
German Government was stated to have received reliable 
information to the effect that French troops intended to march 
on the Meuse by Givet and Namur. 2. In order to forestall 
this expected attack which threatened the safety of the Empire, 
the German Government proposed to send its troops across 
Belgian territory, and requested Belgium not to oppose their 
passage, and especially to refrain from organising resistance 
at the Meuse fortresses, and from destroying the roads, 
railways, tunnels or bridges. 

It must be remarked that the Note had no immediate 
influence on the concentration of the Army, which remained 
distributed in accordance with the military exigencies dictated 
by the neutrality of the country. The troops occupying posts 
on all the frontiers received orders to open fire on any foreign 
detachment which might set foot on Belgian soil. 

This attitude on the part of the military authorities 
faithfully reflected the political attitude taken up by the 
King's Government, which had replied to the German Note 2 
that, on the one hand, ' it would oppose with all the means at 
its disposal any attempt made by Germany to infringe the 
rights of Belgium ' ; and that, on the other hand, ' if, contrary 
to all expectations, a violation of Belgian neutrality were 
committed by France, Belgium would fulfil all her international 
obligations, and her Army would oppose the most vigorous 
resistance to the invader/ At the same time, Belgium had 
238 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

declined the military aid which the Minister of France had 
offered, on the grounds that the Government had not yet 
appealed to the guarantee of the Powers, and reserved to itself 
the right to decide on its course of action later. 

During the night of 3rd to 4th August it became certain 
that the German troops intended to force a passage through 
Belgium. Measures were promptly taken at Headquarters 
to deal with the new situation. Orders were issued for the 
destruction of the railways, tunnels, bridges, etc., on the lines 
of approach likely to be used by the German troops'. The 
Military Governors of the several provinces were instructed 
no longer to consider any movements of French troops on 
Belgian soil as acts of violation of neutrality. 

In accordance with the scheme of defence, the 3rd Division 
was to resist the enemy, supported by the fortified position 
of Liege ; covered by it, the remaining Divisions were to 
advance against the invader, with the exception, however, of 
the 4th Division, whose task was to defend Namur. The ist 
Division was sent from Ghent to Tirlemont, the 2nd from 
Antwerp to Louvain, the 5th from Mons to Perwez, and the 
6th from Brussels to Wavre. These movements were to be 
covered : firstly, by the Cavalry Division which, after con- 
centrating at Gembloux, was ordered to Waremme ; secondly, 
by a mixed brigade of the 3rd Division sent to Tongres, and 
thirdly, by a mixed brigade of the 4th Division which was 
moved to Huy. 

The movements of concentration, begun on the 4th August, 
were completed next day ; they were carried out with rapidity 
and regularity, partly by road, partly by rail. The King, in 
virtue of the Constitution, assumed the supreme command of 
the Army. 

On the morning of August 6 the Army was ready to move. 
Each of the Field Army Divisions at that moment consti- 
tuted a complete unit, provided with all its administrative 
services, and comprising either three or four mixed brigades, 
one regiment of divisional cavalry, one regiment of divisional 
artillery, one battalion of engineers (two companies), one 
section of field telegraphists, and one divisional transport 
corps. Each mixed brigade consisted of two regiments of 
three battalions, one group of three field batteries, one machine- 
gun company and a detachment of gendarmerie. Finally, the 

239 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-DE 

Cavalry Division had two brigades, one cyclist battalion, one 
artillery group of three batteries, one cyclist pioneer and 
pontoon company, and one divisional transport corps. The 
total strength of the Field Army amounted to 117,000 men. 
It was subsequently increased by 18,500 volunteers posted to 
the Field Army. 

As soon as the concentration had taken place it was possible 
to organise the defence of the territory. 

In the appeal addressed by Belgium on the 4th August, 1 
after the violation of her frontier, to the Powers- which had 
guaranteed her neutrality, she had declared in what manner 
she intended to defend her territory. * There should be/ said 
the Government of the King in this appeal, ' operations in 
combination and in junction with the armies of the Guarantee- 
ing Powers designed to resist the forcible measures employed 
by Germany against Belgium, and at the same time to 
guarantee the maintenance of Belgian independence and 
integrity in the future. Belgium is glad to be able to declare 
that she will provide for the defence of her fortified places.' 

From the German Note of August 2 it was easy to infer 
that if the German armies passed through the country, the 
Meuse would be, not the northern limit, but the axis, of their 
offensive movement towards France, so that evidently forces 
very superior in numbers to the Belgian Army were about to 
cross Belgium. 

Hence the following principles were laid down for the 
conduct of operations : 

/. In case the Army should be faced by very superior forces : 

1. To remain as far forward as possible on good defensive 
positions, barring the passage of the invaders, so as to protect 
as much as possible of the country from invasion. 

2. The Army thus forming the advanced guard of the 
French and British Armies, was to wait in these positions till 
the junction with those Armies could be effected. 

3. Should this junction not have been effected before the 
arrival of the enemy 's main bodies, the Army was not to be 
exposed to certain defeat, which would necessarily involve 
the occupation of the territory, and therefore : 

(a) The Army unsupported was not to engage the mass of 
the enemy's troops in battle ; 
240 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

(b) The Army was not to allow itself to be surrounded, but 
was, on the contrary, to manoeuvre in such a manner as to 
keep a line of retreat open with a view to an ultimate junction 
with the French and British forces, for joint action with these 
latter. 

//. In case the Army be faced by forces no more than equal 
to its own : 

The enemy was to be attacked at the most favourable 
moment, either if his positions were too extended and not 
sufficiently prepared for defence, or if his strength had been 
reduced momentarily. 

. Further, the fortified positions of Liege and Namur, as 
well as the entrenched camp of Antwerp, were to be defended 
in any case. 

When, on the 6th August, the Field Army had been con- 
centrated, and the Headquarters Staff was in a position to 
apply the above principles, the general situation had already 
been seriously affected by military events which had occurred 
on the Meuse and in front of Liege. 

DEFENCE OF LIEGE 

On the morning of the 4th August, two divisions of 
German cavalry (2nd and 4th Divisions, consisting of about 
twelve regiments) had crossed the frontier and invaded the 
district of Herve. Passing to the north of the fortified 
position of Liege, they pushed on towards the Meuse. At 
Vise they found the bridge destroyed and the passages of the 
river guarded by the 2nd battalion of the I2th Regiment of 
the Line. This battalion resisted attacks made by very 
superior forces, supported by artillery fire and by infantry 
transported in motor cars. But the enemy extended his 
movement towards the north ; two Hussar regiments crossed 
the Meuse at the Lixhe ford. The Belgian forces, their left 
wing having been turned, retired on to the line of the Liege 
forts. 

Behind the cavalry, German troops of all arms, belonging 
to the 7th, 8th, gth, loth, and nth Army Corps, entered 
Belgium ; the heads of their columns reached the line 
Bombaye-Herve-Remouchamps on the afternoon of the 4th ; 

MILITARY 2 Q 24! 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-D 

while still farther in rear the concentration of the 3rd and 
4th Army Corps was reported at St. Vith and to the north 
of that place (nine miles south of Malmedy). At that 
moment seven army corps, or about 300,000 men, were 
collecting thus on the invasion roads, which were blocked by 
the fortified position of Liege. 

On the 5th August a bridge was thrown over the river at 
Lixhe, and advanced cavalry units began to appear at 
Tongres. At the same time a German cavalry regiment 
came in contact at Plainevaux, south of Liege, with a squadron 
of the 2nd Lancers, which charged it, and lost three-quarters 
of its strength in the unequal encounter. In the course of 
the morning the bearer of a flag of truce appeared before the 
Governor of Liege, and summoned him to allow the German 
Army to pass. On the peremptory refusal of the Governor, 
the German corps proceeded to assault Forts Chaudfontaine, 
Fleron, Evegnee, Barchon, and Pontisse. Although the 
attack was supported by powerful heavy artillery, it was 
everywhere repulsed with great loss. The fiercest fighting 
took place between Fort Barchon and the Meuse. At this 
point the enemy had succeeded in penetrating the line ; a 
vigorous counter-attack by the nth Brigade checked his 
advance and threw him back in disorder beyond his original 
positions. The attack on the section of the Meuse below its 
junction with the Vesdre had failed. 

The section Ourthe-Meuse was then violently attacked by 
fresh troops during the night of the 5th to 6th August. At 
the same time a small party of the enemy's cavalry, consisting 
of two officers and eight men, made a desperate attempt in 
Liege itself against the person of the Governor of the fortress ; 
the plot failed, and all who took part in it were killed. 

Between the Ourthe and the Meuse, the attacks of the 
loth German Corps forced the defenders of the intervals 
between the forts to retire. The available troops of the I2th, 
gth, and I5th Brigades (the latter belonging to the 4th Army 
Division and sent from Huy) checked these attacks by means 
of counter-attacks. 

Since the 4th August the troops of the 3rd Division had 
been engaged at all the points, successively, of a very extended 
front, repelling the desperate onslaughts of an enemy four 
times their superior in numbers, and they were in danger of 
242 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

being surrounded. They had, therefore, to be withdrawn to 
join the main body of the Army, which by that time had 
completed its concentration. The forts continued to be held 
by their garrisons, but the Governor of Liege considered 
that they could now only play the part of isolated forts. 
He retained the general military command, and established 
himself at Fort Loncin at noon on the 6th August. The 
field troops assembled between Forts Loncin and Hollogne, 
and reached the Geer on the same evening ; they then joined 
the main army on the Gette, the operation being uninterfered 
with by the enemy, of whom only a few Lancer patrols were 
encountered. 

On the occasion of the arrival of the Liege troops on the 
main position of defence, the King issued a General Order, 
in which he said : 

' In the name of the Nation, I salute you, officers and 
soldiers of the 3rd Division and of the I5th mixed Brigade ! 
You have performed your duty, and you have done honour 
to our Army, and have shown the enemy what it costs 
to attack unjustly a people which, though peace-loving, 
draws from the justice of its cause an invincible strength. 
Your country has reason to be proud of you ! 

' Soldiers of the Belgian Army, do not forget that you 
are the advanced guard of huge armies which are taking 
part in this gigantic struggle, and that we are only waiting 
for the arrival of our brothers-in-arms to march to victory. 

' ALBERT/ 

For several days after the departure of the 3rd Division, 
the forts continued to fire on any German troops who came 
within their radius of action. On the izth August, however, 
at about noon, the bombardment by artillery of large calibre 
began against the defences, those on the right bank being the 
first to receive attention. The last of the forts fell on the 
i6th and I7th August. 

OPERATIONS IN COMBINATION WITH THE ARMIES OF THE 
GUARANTEEING POWERS, 6ra TO 20TH AUGUST 

Let us glance at the general situation at the moment 
when, on the 6th August, the concentration of the Army 

243 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-E 

in the quadrilateral Tirlemont-Louvain-Wavre-Perwez, two 
marches distant from Liege, enabled the Army Command to 
decide on the plan of defence. 

The 3rd Division, after defending Liege, was retreating on 
to the main body. The enemy had crossed the Meuse to the 
north of Vise, and had attacked the Liege position with 
three army corps ; other corps were assembling to the east 
and south-east of Liege. Thus the enemy was in possession 
of the line of the Meuse towards Liege, and he had, in the 
immediate vicinity, forces greatly superior to those which 
could be brought against him. Behind Liege, the first natural 
defensive line which the Belgian Army could occupy was 
that of the Gette, prolonged by the course of the Meuse 
between Namur and Givet. This line of defence, with its 
left resting upon the Dmer, protects a great portion of the 
Belgian territory, and bars the road to a German offensive 
such as that which seemed to be taking shape. 

The Belgian Army was not strong enough numerically to 
occupy the whole of this line, and it was decided to hold only 
the course of the Gette and Namur. In this position it would 
be able to wait for the arrival of the French and British 
Armies, if they could arrive in time, to occupy the space 
between the Gette and Namur and also the line of the Meuse 
above Namur. Lastly, massed along the line of the Gette, 
the Army, while covering the capital of the country Brussels 
was not threatened with being cut off from Antwerp, its 
base of operations. This latter circumstance was of vital 
importance, since the Belgian Army could on no account 
risk being cut off from its base, where all its resources in 
provisions, munitions, and supplies of all kinds were collected, 
and where the Government would have to retire to in case 
of need. All these reasons decided the Army Command to 
keep the Army in observation on the Gette, to entrench there, 
and to wait on that line until the junction with the French 
and British forces should ultimately be effected. 

The left of the Army was to the north-west of Tirlemont, 
the right at Jodoigne. In first line were the ist and 5th Army 
Divisions, and in second line the 2nd Division, at Louvain, 
and the 6th at Hamme-Mille. When the 3rd Division joined 
the main body from Liege, it was placed in the first line 
between the ist and 5th Divisions. The front of these forces 
244 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

was covered by the Cavalry Division, which, originally at 
Waremme, had been moved first to St. Trond, and then to 
the left of the Army prolonging the line of the latter from 
north of Tirlemont nearly to Diest. The 4th Division 
remained in the fortified position of Namur, not only with a 
view to the defence of that place, but to hold it as a point 
of support for the line Gette-Meuse. Lastly, the Liege forts 
were still occupied by their garrisons, while at Huy there 
was the 8th mixed Brigade, detached from the 4th Division 
to replace the I5th Brigade, which had been sent to Liege. 

About the loth August, there were in front of the Belgian 
lines bodies of German cavalry supported by battalions of 
rifles. Skirmishes took place daily with the Belgian advanced 
parties, and when the enemy became particularly active 
towards Hasselt and towards Diest, the Belgian Cavalry 
Division came in contact with these troops near Budingen 
and Haelen. 

On the I2th August, the enemy's cavalry tried to force 
the passage of the Gette at Haelen. Six regiments belonging 
to the 2nd and 4th Cavalry Divisions, supported by the 
7th and Qth Rifle Battalions and by three batteries, took 
part in this operation. Against these 4000 sabres, 2000 rifles, 
and 18 guns, the Belgian Cavalry Division could only oppose 
2400 sabres, 410 cyclists, and 12 guns. 

The enemy attacked at about 8.30 A.M., employing dis- 
mounted cavalry in some force, as well as riflemen. For 
nearly two hours the 3rd company of Carbineer Cyclists held 
them in check, supported at about 9.30 by the ist company 
posted to the south of the village. But at about ten o'clock 
the German artillery came into action, and its fire soon 
rendered the outskirts of Haelen untenable, while the enemy 
was continually reinforced. The Carbineer Cyclists, after 
blowing up the bridge, retired on to the railway line, where 
they continued the action until noon. At that moment four 
squadrons (two of the 4th Regiment of Lancers and two of 
the 5th) were deployed, in rear of the ist and 3rd companies 
of Carbineer Cyclists, about the farm of Yserbeek ; on their 
left was the ist Horse Artillery battery, escorted by two 
squadrons of the 5th Lancers, the two other batteries being 
in echelon north-east of Houtsem. The flanks were protected 
at Zelck by a squadron of the 4th Lancers and two platoons 

245 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-I 

of cyclists, and at Velpen by two squadrons of the 2nd 
Guides ; three squadrons of the ist Guides were in reserve 
at the edge of the Blekkom woods. 

At noon the enemy attacked simultaneously Zelck and the 
railway station at Haelen. He was driven back at Zelck, and 
came under artillery and machine-gun fire at Haelen. He 
then brought up fresh troops and threatened to turn the 
cyclists, who thereupon retired slowly towards the farm of 
Yserbeek. It was about i P.M. when an attack was launched 
against the cyclists ; dense lines of riflemen debouched from 
Haelen ; the cyclists, who had been fighting for nearly five 
hours, fell back. Immediately a squadron of dragoons 
appeared and charged them ; it was destroyed by rifle fire. 
The charge was repeated twice, and each time met with the 
same fate. The enemy then put in his reserves, which deployed 
on the front Velpen to Liebroeck, supporting his riflemen every- 
where by numerous machine-guns, while his artillery engaged 
the ist Horse Battery energetically. 

The farm of Yserbeek was attacked and taken, and the 
enemy's success seemed to be assured, when, at about 3 P.M., 
the 4th mixed Brigade (four battalions of the 4th and 24th 
Line Regiments) arrived on the battle-field, having left 
Haekendover at 9.30 A.M., and marched 16 miles under a very 
hot sun. The brigade reached Loxbergen during the fighting ; 
six companies covered the movement on the right, a battalion 
attacked the farm of Yserbeek, and the last was held in reserve. 
In spite of their fatigue these troops soon reached the farm of 
Yserbeek and the hamlet of Velpen, round which severe 
fighting took place. With great dash they penetrated into 
Velpen, where they found themselves under the fire of machine- 
guns hidden in the houses. The enemy's artillery energetically 
supported several counter-attacks, but the three batteries of 
the 4th Brigade, which came into action at 3.30, silenced them. 
In the end, at 6 P.M., the enemy gave way, and retired on 
Haelen, leaving his dead and his wounded behind him. 

The engagement at Haelen, favourable as it had been for 
the Belgians, was but an episode in the total of the German 
movements. The Army Command watched these movements 
carefully by means of its Intelligence Department. From 
reports received up to the iyth it appeared that : 

In front of the left of the Army the enemy was reported in 
246 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

the directions of Wilderen, St. Trond, Tongres, Hasselt, Herck 
St. Lambert, Lummen, Kermpt, Stockroy, Genck, Asch, 
Beeringen, Tessenderloo, Bourg-Leopold, and Moll, while very 
large numbers of troops had crossed by the bridges at Lixhe. 

In front of the Belgian centre, strong bodies of the enemy 
were announced in most of the villages round Esemael, Landen, 
Waremme, and Hannut. 

On the Belgian right flank the enemy had considerable 
bodies of troops about Huppaye, Jauchelette, and Pietrebais ; 
German troops were crossing the Meuse at Ampsin, while others 
repaired the bridge at Huy and passed over the river at that 
place. 

By the morning of the i8th August the situation had 
become extremely critical. The day began with an engage- 
ment on the Belgian left. The Cavalry Division was attacked 
all along the front which it was holding, from Budingen to 
Diest, but resisted vigorously, especially at Diest. At 7 P.M., 
Budingen and Geet-Betz, defended by two squadrons of the 
ist Regiment of Guides, were attacked by a strong detach- 
ment of infantry, which crossed the Gette at 10 A.M. Haelen, 
where there were two platoons of Carbineer Cyclists and a 
squadron of the 5th Lancers, was shelled from 7.30 A.M. At 
9.15 A.M. the enemy's infantry reached the Gette and threw 
bridges over it, while at Diest two platoons of cyclists and the 
company of pioneers held their own for an hour and a half 
against a brigade of all arms. The Belgian Cavalry Division 
was then forced to retire north of Winghe St. Georges, to which 
place the 2nd Army Division had been sent to prolong the 
left of the Army. Further to the south, a German corps was 
advancing against the ist Army Division. After driving in 
the Belgian outposts, the enemy occupied Tirlemont and 
attacked the positions of Hautem St. Marguerite, both in front 
and in flank. The 2nd Brigade offered a stubborn resistance 
till late in the evening, and enabled the rest of the division to 
disengage itself, but suffered heavily in this severe engagement. 

By this time the presence of masses of the enemy's infantry 
on the Belgian left flank and front, the violence of their attacks, 
the new information received in the course of the day 
especially with regard to the constant crossing from the south 
to the north bank of the Meuse by fresh masses of infantry, 
by the bridges at Huy, Ampsin, and Flone all combined to 

247 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-DE 

remove any possible doubt from the Headquarters Staff as 
to the imminent approach of vastly superior hostile forces 
advancing against the front and flanks of the Army. The 
enveloping movement commenced towards Diest and Aerschot 
proved, moreover, that the Army was threatened with having 
its left flank turned, and with being cut off from the Antwerp 
base. 

As it turned out, the events which occurred in rapid suc- 
cession on the following days were to confirm these views. 
There were actually, about the i8th, to the north of the 
Meuse : 

First, the 2nd, 4th, and gth Corps, which were making for 
the left wing of the Belgian Army bet ween Diest and Tirlemont ; 
they were supported on the flank by the 2nd German Cavalry 
Division, which was advancing between the Grande Nethe and 
the Demer. 

Secondly, the 3rd, 7th, and loth Corps, which, after passing 
between Liege and Huy from the south to the north bank of 
the Meuse, were marching towards the front Jodoigne-Namur ; 
these were preceded by the 4th and gth Cavalry Divisions, 
which were moving on Wavre and Gembloux. 

Lastly, the six first-line corps were followed by five reserve 
corps. 

Thus, without counting those German forces which were 
moving towards France across the Belgian provinces of 
Luxemburg and Namur, there were at that moment about 
500,000 men advancing on the left bank of the Meuse. 

Now what was the situation of the French and British 
Armies in Belgium, on the afternoon of the i8th August, at 
the moment when the Belgian Army thu,s found itself in actual 
contact with immensely superior German forces ? According 
to information furnished by the French General Staff, the 
5th French Army had (see Map on p. 251) one corps holding 
the bridges on the Meuse from Hastiere to the fortified position 
of Namur, and the bridges over the Sambre from Floreffe to 
Tamines ; the three other corps forming this Army were to 
arrive on the igth in the region of Philippeville. It was 
threatened by a hostile group reported to be four army corps 
strong, stretching from Yvoir to Beauraing, and which had 
attacked Dinant on the evening of the lyth. The British 
Army was at that moment detraining south of the Sambre 
248 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

about Maubeuge ; only its Cavalry Division had actually 
detrained ; the Army was to be ready to move, possibly on 
the 22nd, certainly on the 23rd. 

Thus the Belgian Army, about two army corps strong, 
remained alone in actual contact with eleven of the German 
army corps, belonging to the ist and 2nd Armies, so that 
joint action in line with the French and British Armies was 
impossible of realisation on the position taken up. It was 
necessary to come to an immediate decision. If the Belgian 
Army remained stationary it would have, at daybreak on the 
igth, to fight a battle the disastrous result of which was not for 
a moment in doubt ; attacked in front and on both flanks by 
greatly superior forces, what was left of it would be cut off 
from Antwerp, where, vide p. 244, all its supplies and munitions 
had been collected. 

The Belgian Army had maintained itself in its position of 
observation from the 5th to the i8th August that is, during 
thirteen days. It had resisted the attacks of the enemy's 
cavalry and light troops, and had forced him to carry out the 
concentration of his right in the frontier region, and to lose 
valuable time in deploying his main body in a wide enveloping 
movement. When the latter was on the point of taking effect, 
the only course open to the Belgian Army was to retreat, so as 
to avoid destruction. On the i8th August, in the afternoon, 
the King decided on the retreat of the Army towards the 
north-west. At 7.30 P.M. orders were issued that at dawn the 
Army was to proceed to the left bank of the Dyle, and to halt 
on the front Neeryssche-Louvain-Rotselaer. At daybreak a 
sharp rearguard action commenced between the 2nd German 
Army Corps and the brigade of the 3rd Division stationed near 
Aerschot. It then became evident that the enemy's right 
outflanked the Belgian left, and that the front previously 
decided on had become untenable. The retirement on to the 
line of forts of the Antwerp position was then carried out as 
rapidly as possible. 

On the 2Oth the Army reached the entrenched camp of 
Antwerp without having been seriously molested. It was 
ready to play a further part in the operations agreed on with 
the armies of the Guaranteeing Powers by detaining in its 
front forces at least equal in numbers to its own. The enemy, 
closely following up the Belgian Army, entered Louvain on the 

249 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-D] 

igth, and Brussels on the 2Oth. It was not till the 24th 
August, however, that the French frontier was crossed, or in 
other words, on the 23rd day of the French mobilisation. Such 
was the result of the operations of the Belgian Army in this 
first phase of the campaign. 

THE DEFENCE OF NAMUR 

We have seen (p. 244) that after the loss of the line of the 
Meuse near Liege, the first natural line of defence which the 
Belgian Army could occupy was formed by the Gette, pro- 
longed by the course of the Meuse between Namur and Givet. 
Now Namur with its nine forts constituted one of the strong 
points of this line. Moreover, Belgium had undertaken to 
provide for the defence of her fortified places (see p. 240). For 
these two reasons the 4th Division had been allotted to the 
defence of the fortified position of Namur. 

As early as the 5th August in Condroz, and the 7th in 
Hesbaye, German cavalry patrols came into collision with 
the Belgian cavalry. The most serious engagement took 
place on the I3th at Boneffe, when a German detachment, 
consisting of 300 sabres, 400 cyclists, and some machine-guns, 
had established itself to the north of that village, and was 
surprised and dispersed by two Belgian squadrons and two 
cyclist companies. On the I5th a German detachment 
attempted to force a crossing of the Meuse at Dinant, but a 
French force which was defending the valley repulsed the 
attack. At this moment the 8th Brigade was moved up 
towards Namur, from Huy, which it was occupying, as it 
ran the risk of being cut off by the German masses which 
were advancing westwards on both banks of the Meuse. 
Before moving it had destroyed the crossings of the river. 
On the igth the 8th Brigade retired from Andenne on to the 
fortified position, after having destroyed the bridges and 
blocked the tunnel of Seilles. From that day enemy troops 
of all men were reported within the zone of the fortress, in 
the direction of Faulx, as well as in that of Ramillies-Ofrus, 
where several regiments of German infantry and artillery 
were concentrated. Guns of very large calibre accompanied 
them. 

Early on the 2Oth, the enemy began to drive in the main 
250 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-DE< 

guards of the north-eastern sector of the fortress. In front 
of Forts Maizeret, Andoy, and Dave, German batteries were 
located and shelled. During the night three attacks were 
attempted by the enemy's infantry in the intervals of the 
fort of Marchovelette. 

The bombardment of Namur commenced on the 2ist 
August, at 10 A.M. It took place simultaneously against 
Forts Andoy, Maizeret, Marchovelette, and Cognelee, as well 
as against the intervals and the ground in rear ; from the 
first it was of an extremely violent character. Howitzers 
and mortars fired on the forts, while the heavy artiUery of the 
army troops took as its objective the trenches and the sup- 
porting points of the intervals ; some guns opened fire on the 
town itself, and bombarded it during four hours. Towards 
evening Fort Maizeret had received a great many shells, but 
its cupolas were still in working order. At Fort Andoy the 
damage was very serious ; several cupolas were jammed by 
fragments of concrete, and the magazines had been partly 
destroyed. Fort Marchovelette had also suffered consider- 
ably ; only one cupola of 12 centimetre guns and two of 
5.7 centimetres remained serviceable. Fort Cognelee, on the 
other hand, had received only slight damage. But in the 
three first-named forts the telephonic apparatus had been 
rendered unserviceable. The bombardment continued during 
the night. 

On the 22nd August, in the course of the morning, the 
garrison pushed out reconnaissances towards the besieging 
lines. They were everywhere met by heavy rifle and machine- 
gun fire. The bombardment was as severe as on the previous 
day, and was extended to include Fort Dave. Towards 
10 A.M. the garrison was reinforced by three French battalions 
(two of the 45th and one of the I48th Regiment), which were 
utilised in an attempted attack on enemy artillery reported 
near Wartet. The field artillery which was to support the 
attack was compelled to cease fire and the troops had 
to be withdrawn. Meanwhile the town had again been 
shelled. 

By evening Fort Dave had only been slightly damaged. 
Forts Andoy and Cognelee continued to fire. 'Fort Maizeret 
had been completely destroyed and was evacuated. Fort 
Marchovelette had been the object of systematic destruction, 
252 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

and its last cupola had been rendered unserviceable. The 
bombardment continued all through the night. 

At dawn on the 23rd August the fire of the heavy artillery 
increased against Fort Cognelee ; an infantry attack was 
repulsed, but towards noon the fort was in the enemy's 
hands. By this time the main structure of Fort Marchove- 
lette was full of cracks, and the fire of the German heavy 
pieces was directed against Forts Emines and Suarlee. All 
along the portion of the front attacked, both the permanent 
works and the field works in the intervals had been damaged. 
From Cognelee to Andoy only the field batteries were able 
still to reply to the fire of the assailants, and soon they too 
were reduced to silence. The troops of the north-east and 
south-east sectors then withdrew towards Namur. 

By this time the situation of the 4th Division had become 
untenable. As the enemy had advanced in force north of 
the Meuse, and had forced the passages over the Sambre 
between Charleroi and Namur, as well as those over the 
Meuse towards Dinant, the retreat of the division was cut 
off in every direction, except between the Sambre and Meuse. 
It was decided on the 23rd that the retirement should take 
place on that side. At about midnight the Belgian column 
bivouacked between Bioul and Arbre, threatened by the 
enemy in rear, and especially on the flank ; it succeeded, 
however, in extricating itself, except the rearguard, which 
was surrounded at Ermeton-sur-Biert ; 12,000 men thus 
reached Mariembourg and France. They arrived at Antwerp 
about ten days later. In spite of the difficulties of the 
retreat, and of the return to Antwerp, the evacuation of the 
division had been effected with a minimum of loss, and the 
Army was once more complete in all its units, in the entrenched 
camp of Antwerp. 

Fort Suarlee fell on the 25th August, after sustaining a 
severe bombardment. 

OPERATIONS IN COMBINATION WITH THE ARMIES OF THE 
GUARANTEEING POWERS, 20TH AUGUST TO 27 
SEPTEMBER 

From August 20 (see page 249 and Map on p. 251) the 
Belgian Army was on the Rupel and the Nethe, with a 

253 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-DEC 

detachment at Termonde, and was close to its Antwerp base 
and to the line of forts defending that place. In this position 
it, in the first place, saved from invasion a considerable part 
of the province of Antwerp, and of Flanders. But the 
Belgian Army was, in addition, in a position to subordinate 
all its undertakings to the operations which were to be carried 
out in combination with the French and British forces. Its 
function was to, be to attract and to keep in front of it the 
greatest possible number of the enemy forces. The oppor- 
tunities for taking the offensive would be, on the one hand, 
when the Franco-British Army was engaged in battles on a 
large scale, and when it would be of great importance to 
detain German forces, and on the other hand, when the 
proportion of the Belgian to the German strength at any 
time enabled the offensive to be assumed under favourable 
circumstances. 

Up to the 25th September the German forces opposed to 
the Belgian Army were not superior to the latter in numbers, 
and, generally speaking, there was equilibrium of forces. 
When this equilibrium was upset in favour of the Belgian 
Army, the Army Command decided to take the offensive, 
to oblige the enemy to obtain reinforcements, so as to re- 
establish the equilibrium. After the 25th September, the 
enemy was considerably reinforced, and the situation was 
completely changed. 

Besides these operations on a large scale, the Belgian 
operations undertaken in combination with those of the 
Franco-British forces aimed, on the one hand, at the retention 
at all costs of a line of retreat for the Army towards the 
west, so as to ensure an ultimate junction, and, on the other, 
at the destruction of the lines of communication of the 
German Army. 

Commencing on the 2ist August, the bulk of the German 
Armies disappeared from the front of the Belgian Army and 
turned towards the Sambre and Hainaut. Before Antwerp 
an Army of observation was installed, consisting of the 3rd 
and gth Reserve Corps, whilst the I3th Reserve Division and 
one or two Landwehr Divisions established themselves about 
Liege. These corps had just arrived at the moment when the 
Belgium Headquarters, on the 24th August, learnt that the 
opposing forces on the Sambre and at Mons were engaged in 
254 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

violent battles. The bulk of the enemy's forces appeared ,to 
be sufficiently distant for their intervention to be out of the 
question. Circumstances were very favourable for making a 
sortie from the entrenched camp before the German Army of 
observation had time to fortify its positions strongly. The 
sortie took place on the 25th and 26th August. 

The sector selected for the operation was chosen with a 
view to threatening the German communications and to 
piercing the lines of the 3rd and gth Reserve Corps, which 
seemed to extend on a very wide front, from Wolverthem by 
Elewyt to Aerschot and even Diest. The following dispositions 
were made for the sortie. 

The 6th Division was to make the central attack on 
Hofstade and Elewyt ; the ist and 5th Divisions were to 
operate on its right between the canal of Willebroeck and the 
Senne ; the 2nd Division was to come into action on its left, 
towards Boortmeerbeek ; the 3rd Division was to be in reserve 
in rear of the 6th, while the Cavalry Division was also to be in 
reserve, near Putte. 

The attack encountered defensive dispositions on the part 
of the enemy, which had already been strongly organised. 
The 6th Division gained possession of Hofstade and of the 
Schiplaeken woods, the ist and 5th Divisions took Sempst, 
Weerde and Eppeghem, but on the left wing the 2nd Division 
was unable to debouch on the west bank of the Louvain Canal, 
and was even forced to retire. In the centre the 6th Division 
failed to capture Elewyt. The battles of the Sambre and 
of Mons being over, the operation could not be continued 
with advantage, and the Army returned to the entrenched 
camp. 

On the 4th September, German troops marched on 
Termonde, drove back the detachment which was guarding 
that town, crossed the Scheldt, and threatened the line of 
retreat towards the west. The ist and 6th Divisions were 
ordered to cross to the left bank of the river in order to keep 
open the Belgian communications in that direction. The enemy 
withdrew to the right bank and Termonde was reoccupied. 
After this, the enemy was always checked in his attempts to 
cross the river, and the line of retreat to the west was always 
kept open. 

On the. yth and 8th September the Belgian Headquarters 

255 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-DI 

learnt that the German forces in front of Antwerp had been 
reduced. Three divisions of the Army of observation were on 
the march to France in order to reinforce the troops retreating 
from the Marne on to the Aisne. These units had been replaced 
by a division of Marines and by the 26th and 37th Landwehr 
Brigades. The Army Command considered the moment 
favourable for the execution, by the whole of the Field Army, 
of a sortie intended either to oblige the enemy to recall towards 
Antwerp some of the forces despatched to France, or, should he 
not do this, to inflict a defeat on the inferior German forces in 
front of Antwerp. 

The sortie began on the gth September. The German 
position, very strongly entrenched, had its right extended as 
far as Over de Vaart. it was necessary to avoid a frontal 
attack on these strong fieldworks, while the Antwerp position 
had to remain covered. The operation was conducted with a 
view to turning the German right. The 3rd Division was 
directed against the end of the position at Over de Vaart, 
while the 6th moving on Thildonck, and the 2nd on Wygmael 
and Lou vain, were to outflank it. The Cavalry Division, 
forming the extreme left, was to debouch on the left bank of 
the Dyle. In front the ist Division was to attack Hofstade 
and Elewyt, while the 5th Division was to operate on its right, 
west of the Senne. A detachment of all arms guarding 
Termonde was to safeguard the communications. 

The sortie began successfully ; on the gth the crossings 
over the Demer and over the Dyle were captured ; Aerschot 
was taken. On the loth, the offensive was continued, the 
Belgian left wing advancing towards Louvain, a troop of the 
4th Regiment of Chasseurs-a-cheval even entered the town, 
but the 2nd Division was checked before Wygmael and 
Putkapel. The enemy then recalled the 6th Reserve Infantry 
Division which was on its way to France, to meet this attack. 
On the nth, the 3rd Division succeeded in an attack on Over 
de Vaart, the enemy being driven back, and the 6th Division 
got as far as the Malines-Louvain railway line. On the I2th, 
the 6th German Division, which had been brought back, came 
into action near Wespelaer, and the ^nemy now took the 
offensive, driving back the 2nd Belgian Division to Rotselaer 
and Wesemael. This retreat of the left wing necessitated the 
withdrawal of the 6th Division, and later on that of the 3rd 
256 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

Division. On the I3th, the whole Army retired to the en- 
trenched camp. 

The principal object was attained. The operation had 
obliged the enemy not only definitely to recall the 6th Division 
of the 3rd Reserve Corps on to the Belgian front, but also, as 
was learnt soon afterwards, it had delayed for two days the 
gth Reserve Corps on its inarch southwards, just at a moment 
when the German Armies, retreating from the Marne, stood in 
urgent need of reinforcements, The sortie, moreover, had 
seriously alarmed the enemy even in Brussels itself. 

It was about this time that the first measures weoe taken 
by the Germans with a view to the siege of Antwerp, and that 
heavy artillery equipment and more numerous forces were 
brought up in front of that fortress. 

After the isth September equilibrium was once more 
established between the opposing forces ; the German troops 
established before Antwerp were not again reduced in strength. 
They completed their defences on a position extending by 
Haecht, Elewyt, and Wolverthem, and prolonged towards the 
south as far as Grand-Bigard. 

The railways system of the country provided the enemy 
with great facilities for supplying and transporting his troops. 
The Belgian Army Command wished to interfere with this, 
and accordingly ordered the formation of seven detachments, 
each consisting of 100 cyclist volunteers, intended to carry out 
demolitions of the railway lines in the region occupied by the 
enemy. On the 22nd September these parties left Antwerp, 
each having a special zone of operations assigned to it. The 
greater part succeeded in getting through the German lines and 
in reaching the selected points, where they cut the principal 
railway lines of Limburg, Brabant, and Hainaut, causing 
considerable disturbance to the enemy's transport. Most of 
these detachments were able to rejoin the Army, but some 
came in contact with the German troops, and were surrounded 
or surprised. 

On the 25th September the French Headquarters Staff 
notified that, as a violent engagement was in progress on the 
left of the Franco-British front, the moment was opportune for 
the Belgian Army to attack the German lines of communica- 
tions. In the course of the movements preparatory to the 
attack, it was ascertained that the strength of the German 

MILITARY 2 R 257 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-D: 

forces before Antwerp had been increased, and that the enemy 
was making his dispositions for a siege of that place. 

The more ambitious operation which had been agreed on in 
consultation with the French Commander had therefore to be 
reduced to a threatening movement of the main body of the 
Army towards the south-west. An actual attack was not 
ordered. Nevertheless, in the course of this operation, ad- 
vantage was taken by the Commander-in-Chief of a favourable 
opportunity presenting itself to attack an isolated detachment 
of the enemy. The 37th Landwehr Brigade was engaged in 
front of Termonde, and orders were issued for the 4th Belgian 
Division to make a frontal attack on it from that place, while 
the 5th Division was to attack its right flank, and the Cavalry 
Division, which had been moved from Ghent towards Alost, 
was to make a flank attack on its left. The 4th Division, 
advancing on both banks of the Dendre, found itself violently 
engaged ; the 5th Division, fearing an attack on its left flank, 
only sent weak detachments against the enemy, so that the 
latter was able to extricate his troops under cover of the 
darkness. 

DEFENCE OF ANTWERP 

At the end of September the enemy had received rein- 
forcements in troops of all arms, and especially in siege 
artillery and pioneers. The besieging army consisted of 
the 3rd Reserve Army Corps, the 26th and 37th Brigades of 
Landwehr, a division of Marines, the 4th Ersatz Division, 
the ist Ersatz Reserve Division, a Bavarian Division (pro- 
bably), a brigade of foot artillery, and a brigade of siege 
pioneers. The siege operations began on the 28th September, 
at which moment the main body of the Army was located 
in the 4th sector. In order to oppose a possible attack on 
the 3rd sector, the 3rd, 2nd, and 6th Divisions had each left 
there a detachment consisting of a regiment of infantry, a 
regiment of cavalry, a cyclist company, and a group of 
batteries. The 2nd Division had been placed so as to form 
a reserve for the 3rd and 4th sectors. 

The enemy drove back the detachment of the ist Division, 
which, posted in the south, was holding the outskirts of 
Malines. He bombarded Forts Waelhem and Wavre St. 
Catherine with heavy artillery. The resistance of the latter 
258 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

was soon seriously reduced by the fire of the 42-centimetre 
howitzers. The ist and 2nd Divisions were then hurriedly 
ordered into the 3rd sector (Waelhem-Lierre) ; the 3rd and 
6th Divisions remained in the 4th sector (Waelhem to the 
Scheldt) ; the 4th Division was at Termonde, and the 5th 
constituted the general reserve. 

On the 2gth September the enemy attacked the 4th sector 
and drove back the advanced troops of the 3rd and 6th 
Divisions. The bombardment of the 3rd sector was con- 
tinued, and obliged the Belgian outposts to retire on to the 
line of the forts. Soon all the works on the left bank of the 
Nethe were being shelled. Forts Wavre St. Catherine and 
Waelhem suffered the most on that day ; an ammunition 
store exploded in the former fort, and the successive destruc- 
tion of the casemates forced the garrison to evacuate the 
work at 6 P.M. 

The effect of the German heavy artillery, as experienced 
already at Liege, at Namur, at Maubeuge, and, on the 
29th September, at Forts Wavre St. Catherine and Waelhem, 
left no possible doubt as to the fate in store for the Antwerp 
fortifications. Contrary to what had previously been uni- 
versally believed, the entrenched camp could not long afford 
a safe refuge for the field troops. Hence from that day 
Army Headquarters had to keep in view the moment when 
the Army would be compelled to abandon the fortress in 
order to avoid having, at no distant date, to lay down their 
arms. 

The first thing to do, with a view to preparing for the 
retreat of the Army, was to transfer the base to the west, 
and Ostend was selected as the most suitable place. Arrange- 
ments were accordingly made at once for the removal to the 
new base of the wounded, the prisoners, stores of every 
kind (munitions, provisions, medical equipment, etc.), the 
depots of the various units, the recruits of the new levy, the 
untrained volunteers, the manufacturing establishments, etc., 
etc. When the base was cleared out of Antwerp the Army 
would regain its freedom of action, and would continue to 
live its own life, in Antwerp or outside, and it would be able 
to evacuate the fortress the moment its investment became 
imminent. 

From Antwerp to Ostend the only line of railway then 

259 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-DE 

available started from the left bank of the river and passed 
through St. Nicolas and Ghent. Now the city was on the right 
bank and was not connected with the left bank by rail. The 
first railway bridge up stream was at Tamise, and in order to 
reach it the bridge of Willebroeck, which was exposed to the 
fire of the enemy's guns, had to be passed. Precautions 
were taken so successfully that trains were able to pass every 
night, with lights extinguished, from the zgth September to the 
7th October, without attracting the enemy's attention and 
without being molested. 

Thus the movement was prepared for ; but to enable it 
to be carried out later on, it was necessary to make the lines 
of retreat secure. At the same time the Antwerp position 
had to be held up to the last possible moment, since by doing 
so the invasion of the country would be impeded, and a 
junction with the French and British forces would be rendered 
possible, it was hoped, in time to enable the latter to prolong 
the Belgian line southwards, along the Dendre. The situa- 
tion was similar, it will be seen, to that in which the Army 
had found itself when it was in position on the Gette (p. 244) ; 
there also it had to hold on as long as possible with a view 
to a junction with the Franco-British forces, and there also 
it had in the end to retreat owing to the junction not having 
been effected up to the moment -when the danger became 
imminent. 

In view of the above, the Belgian forces were disposed as 
follows : the ist, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th Divisions were 
posted in front of the Rupel and of the Nethe, to defend the 
line of the threatened forts ; the 4th Division, by holding 
the line of the Scheldt at Baesrode, Termonde, and Schoon- 
aerde, covered the lines of retreat towards the west ; the 
Cavalry Division, with Headquarters at Wetteren, observed 
all the left bank of the Dendre, and co-operated with the 
4th Division. 

So long as the Dendre was not crossed by the enemy the 
position of the Army was not compromised, and even after 
crossing the Dendre he would run up against the 4th Division 
and the Cavalry Division on the Scheldt. 

On the 30th September, two very severe attacks were 
made against the bridge-head of Blaesveld, which was defended 
by the 3rd Division. They were driven back with heavy 
260 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

loss. The 6th Division similarly repulsed an attack made 
on its outposts. The permanent works of the 4th sector 
were shelled without success. In the 3rd sector, the situation 
soon became very grave owing to a heavy bombardment of 
the whole front. The forts were shelled uninterruptedly for 
five hours, and the intervals between them were also heavily 
bombarded. The troops of the ist Division gave way before 
this fire, which destroyed all the works, shelter-trenches, and 
refuges. At Fort Lierre, the explosion of a shell projected 
the cupola of a 5.7 centimetre gun out of its pit. At Fort 
Koningshoyckt most of the guns were out of action and 
part of the work was destroyed. The redoubts of Dorpveld 
and Boschbeek were full of cracks ; the concrete masses, 
when struck by the projectiles, seemed to be forced into the 
ground ; the shock was so great that the gun detachments 
could only with difficulty keep on their feet in the cupolas. 
At nightfall the enemy ceased fire. No infantry whatever 
had as yet shown itself. 

On the ist October, from 2 to 4 A.M., all the artillery of 
the defence which was still capable of action proceeded to 
shell all the enemy's batteries within their field of fire. The 
enemy bombarded Fort Breendonck, but without much effect. 
The bombardment of the 3rd sector was resumed towards 
8 A.M., and was extended. to the Works and intervals of Fort 
Kessel. Under cover of this bombardment and of a con- 
tinuous curtain of shell-fire, the infantry then made an 
attack, and succeeded in occupying the defensive works to 
the west of the village of Wavre St. Catherine. The ist 
Division, in trying to reoccupy its trenches, met with a 
resistance which it was unable to overcome. The 2nd Division, 
on the left of the ist, was shaken by the fire of the enemy's 
guns and driven back on to the Nethe. Fort Koningshoyckt 
still held out, but the Boschbeek Redoubt had to be evacuated, 
while that of Dorpveld was stormed by the enemy. During 
this time the ist Brigade (5th Division), which had been 
sent to Lierre on the 30th to reinforce the ist Fortress 
Regiment of Carbineers, succeeded in holding its ground 
there. 

The Military Governor then ordered the occupation of the 
supporting position prepared between Fort Koningshoyckt 
and the Duffel Redoubt. During the night the enemy 

261 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-DEC 

attempted to pierce the interval between the Tallaert Re- 
doubt and Fort Lierre, but again met with a check. 

In the course of the 2nd October, the ist and 2nd Divisions 
counter-attacked in order to retake the positions lost on the 
line of forts. On the left bank of the Nethe, Fort Duffel 
alone still held out. The garrison of the Dorpveld Redoubt 
had been shut up in its shelters since 5 A.M. on the previous 
day, the enemy having occupied the main structure and 
blocked the ventilation holes and having commenced to mine 
the casemates. The commander and the last of the defenders 
were still at their posts when a mine completed the destruc- 
tion of the work. Fort Koningshoyckt had been surrounded 
by the enemy's riflemen since the attack made on the ist 
October ; the machinery vault, the machine-gun casemates, 
and the front face of the gorge had all collapsed. At noon a 
magazine blew up ; at 2.30 P.M. an explosion rendered the fort 
untenable. The Tallaert Redoubt had also been destroyed. 
Fort Lierre had been subjected to a methodical destruction 
by a bombardment which was continued during several hours. 
At about noon only the entrance postern remained intact ; 
the cupolas were destroyed or inaccessible ; most of the pals- 
sages were blocked ; the garrison left the fort at 6 P.M. The 
Military Governor then decided to withdraw the line of resist- 
ance across the Nethe, the south bank of which was flooded. 

X)n the 3rd October, from 6 A.M., the fire of the German 
heavy batteries was directed on Fort Kessel, on the north 
bank of the Nethe, and also on the approaches leading to it 
from the rear. From this moment the only artillery of which 
the defence was able to dispose consisted of field artillery 
(7.5 centimetre guns and 15 centimetre howitzers) and of 
two armoured trains carrying 12 centimetre guns. The 
Duffel Redoubt, having exhausted its ammunition, fell on 
that day. Fort Kessel was shelled by batteries of large 
calibre ; its front face and gorge were enfiladed. The capon- 
niere was struck and blocked by some of the first shells ; 
a casemate fell in ; at 7 A.M the fire-commander's station 
was destroyed ; the right-hand flanking battery was out of 
action ; the cupola containing the 15 centimetre guns, and 
two cupolas for 5.7 centimetre guns were jammed. At 
8.30 A.M., the right half of the fort was in ruins. It was 
abandoned in the course of the day. 
262 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

On the previous evening, a brigade of British Marine Light 
Infantry, 2200 strong, had arrived at Antwerp. 1 On the 4th it l [Se< 
relieved the ist mixed Brigade before Lierre. On the same Milit 
day the bombardment was extended to the whole north bank pp< 4 
of the Nethe, and the enemy forced the troops defending the 
ground lying between the Great and the Little Nethe to retire. 
At the same time German troops crossed the Dendre, and at- 
tempted to cross the Scheldt at Schoonaerde and at Termonde. 

On the 5th, the enemy occupied Lierre, but was unable to 
debouch from it ; he also succeeded in effecting a crossing 
farther down stream. In addition, fresh attacks were made on 
the troops guarding the lines of retreat, notably towards 
Schoonaerde ; they were everywhere repulsed, but the position 
of the 4th Division began to be critical. 

On the 6th October, the besieging force made a general 
attack on the position which had been placed in a state of 
defence on the north bank of the Nethe. The line formed by 
the ist, 2nd, and 5th Divisions, reinforced by the reserves of 
the 3rd and 6th Divisions and by the brigade of British 
Marines, gave way under the violent German artillery fire. 
Several counter-attacks were attempted, of which some got as ' 
far as the river bank of the Nethe, but did not succeed in arrest- 
ing the enemy's advance. On this day several attempts were 
made to force the passage of the Scheldt at Baesrode, Termonde, 
and Schoonaerde, but were stopped by the 4th Division and the 
Cavalry Division. But, as the Commander of the 4th Division 
reported that the situation was becoming more and more 
serious, and as it was indispensable to secure communication 
with the west, the 6th Division was ordered, at about 10 A.M., 
to cross the Scheldt at Tamise and to go to the support of the 
4th. 

Altogether, at this moment, the enemy having forced the 
line of the Nethe, and having crossed the Dendre, the situation 
of the Army was completely changed. Events affecting it had 
also taken place elsewhere, as will be seen. 

OPERATIONS IN COMBINATION WITH THE ARMIES OF THE 
GUARANTEEING POWERS, 6ra TO 15 OCTOBER 

Up to the beginning of October, the chief danger which the 
Belgian Army had to face was that of being surrounded by the 

263 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY 

German forces which were before Antwerp. A new danger was 
about to threaten it. The retreat from the Marne had, by the 
I3th September, brought the mass of the German Armies on 
to the line of the Aisne, with its right about Lassigny. From 
that moment the opposing forces had constantly tried to turn 
each other's flank on the western wing. The German flank 
was thus successively prolonged from Lassigny towards the 
north, and had reached the neighbourhood of Lille by the 
beginning of October. 

The effect of this was that the Belgian Army would be in 
danger of being cut off from the Franco-British Armies if the 
German front were prolonged still farther towards the north, 
the distance from Lille to the sea at Nieuport being only 38 
miles, whereas from the Nethe to Nieuport is no less than 88 
miles. Thus at the beginning of October the Belgian Army 
found its retreat threatened not only by the besieging Army, 
but also by the right wing of the German Armies operating in 
France. 

It therefore became necessary, if the Army was to continue 
to hold Antwerp, that its line of retreat should be covered 
farther to the west than before. Beyond Termonde, 
Schoonaerde and Wetteren, Ghent had to be occupied, owing 
to its being the junction of communications in that region and 
equidistant from Lille, where the German right wing already 
rested, and from the Nethe, on which the Belgian Army was 
still drawn up. Under these circumstances, on the 4th 
October the Belgian Commander-in-Chief, convinced that 
Ghent must be held at all costs, and not having any troops 
available for the purpose, sent an urgent message to the 
British military authorities, who had shown themselves 
disposed to provide help for the defence of Antwerp, pointing 
out the necessity for the occupation of Ghent. The co-opera- 
tion of the British 7th Division, 1 which was landing on the 
Belgian coast, had been promised, and some French troops 
were also to take part in the movement. 

On the evening of the 6th October the following was the 
situation. 

The line of the Nethe had been pierced, and the Dendre 
had been crossed by the enemy. The line of the Scheldt was 
being violently attacked by ever-increasing German forces, 
which threatened to cut off the Belgian Army, so that all 
264 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

hopes of a junction under the guns of Antwerp with the main 
body of the Franco-British forces had vanished. The occupa- 
tion of Ghent was provided for, and the last military trains 
conveying the base supplies from Antwerp towards Ostend 
were to leave on the night of the 6th/yth. Retreat was still 
possible, but it was becoming urgent to execute it. 

The King issued orders for the passage of the Field Army 
on to the left bank of the Scheldt during the night of the 
6th/7th. It was to utilise the bridges of Tamise, Hoboken, 
and Burght, and was then to retreat westwards. The fortress 
of Antwerp was to continue to be defended by the garrisons of 
the forts, some regiments of Fortress Infantry, the 2nd Army 
Division and three British Naval Brigades, the two last of 
which had arrived at Antwerp on the 5th October. 

The retreat began on the evening of the 6th, and by the 
morning of the 7th the whole force was on the left bank of the 
Scheldt. The King left Antwerp at 3 P.M. on the 7th to 
accompany the Army in its movement, and spent the succeed- 
ing nights at St. Nicolas, Selzaete, and Eecloo respectively. 
It was high time. On the same day the Scheldt was forced at 
Schoonaerde. The 6th Division, which had been sent in 
support to the left bank on the 6th October, was holding the 
enemy in check at Berlaere. In the Ghent neighbourhood a 
mixed detachment of the enemy was already reported at 
Cruyshautem, with advanced parties at Nazareth. As the 
Franco-British forces had not yet arrived at Ghent, the 4th 
Brigade was at once transported there to oppose any attempts 
on that place which might be made by the enemy. Up to this 
time the protection of the roads and railways which converge 
on this point had been entrusted to bodies of the civic guard, 
a squadron of mounted gendarmerie, and four battalions of 
volunteers. 

On the 8th October the enemy advanced on Lokeren, 
where he came up against the 3rd Division. That evening the 
ist Division was moved by rail from St. Nicolas to Ostend, 
while the other divisions marched towards the Terneuzen 
Canal. On the gth, the 37th Landwehr Brigade was operating 
north of the Scheldt near Lokeren, and was followed by the 
4th Ersatz Division, which had crossed the river at Schoonaerde. 
The ist Ersatz Reserve Division and a Division of Bavarian 
Landwehr advanced on Ghent by Quatrecht, Gontrode, and 

265 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-DI 

Lemberge, but meanwhile reinforcements had reached Ghent ; 
a brigade of French Marine Fusiliers had taken up its quarters 
there on the previous evening, and a considerable portion of 
the British yth Division arrived during the day. Ghent and 
its approaches from the east and south-east were occupied by 
25,000 to 30,000 men. 

Thus threatened on their left flank, the German forces 
which had crossed the Scheldt were unable to advance north- 
wards to the Dutch frontier, and had to look on powerless to 
interfere while the Belgian Army carried out its retreat without 
being seriously molested. On the gth, at Melle, they came in 
contact with the French Marine Fusiliers supported by two 
groups of Belgian Artillery, and next day again, the front 
Melle-Meirelbeke was subjected to a violent attack, which, 
however, was repulsed by the French Marine Fusiliers. While 
the retreat of the Army was being successfully conducted, the 
attacks on the fortress of Antwerp had redoubled in intensity. 

On the yth October Fort Broechem having been destroyed, 
the enemy established himself north of the Nethe, and began 
the attack of the second line of defence. Fort i was the first 
to be bombarded. In the 4th sector, Forts Liezele and 
Breendonck still kept the besiegers in check. The bombard- 
ment of the city itself began at midnight. 

The following was the disposition of the German forces 
before Antwerp on the 8th October. The 3rd Reserve Corps, 
reinforced by the 26th Landwehr Brigade, occupied the ground 
opposite Forts I to 6 ; the Marine Infantry Brigade was in the 
rear of the left of the 3rd Corps ; between the Dyle and the 
Scheldt were the Marine Artillery Brigade and the 4th Ersatz 
Division. 

The bombardment of the supporting points of the second 
line was continued without a pause. In view of the situation 
the Governor decided at 5 P.M. that the 2nd Army Division 
and the British troops, except the Anglo-Belgian garrison 
of Fort No. 4, should be made to join the Field Army ; accord- 
ingly in the evening the above-mentioned troops began to 
cross the Scheldt by the Burght and Steen bridges. The 
crossing was completed at about 2 A.M. 

During the day on the gth, Fort Merxem capitulated, as 
well as the Dryhoek Redoubt, and Forts Brasschaet and the 
Audaen Redoubt were evacuated after their electric plant and 
266 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

their guns had been put out of action ; the garrison of Fort No. 
4 left that work, crossed the Scheldt and destroyed the bridges. 
By about 10 A.M. the Governor had retired to Fort Sainte 
Marie, and at about noon the bombardment of the city ceased. 
The Military Governor capitulated on the loth October. 

The main body of the Army, on the morning of the gth 
October, was behind the canal from Ghent to Terneuzen, with 
rearguards east of that canal, towards Loochristy, Lokeren, 
Wachtebeke, and Moerbeke, which were left there in order to 
cover the retreat of the 2nd Division and of the British con- 
tingent, which had left Antwerp on the evening of the 8th 
October. 

Two lines of defence were available for the retreating 
Army, one the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal, prolonged by the 
Scheldt, the other the Schipdonck Canal continued by the Lys. 
The intention was to resist on one or the other of these lines, 
and thus to save from invasion a considerable portion of 
Flanders, if a junction could be effected with the Franco- 
British forces. But at that moment the French left wing was 
near Arras, and the British Army was only beginning to detrain 
in the region of St. Omer. 1 Under these circumstances, by J [See 
stopping on the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal, or on the Schipdonck Military, 
Canal, the Belgian Army would have run the risk of having its Ij p * 4 2 -i 
right turned, and of being driven on to the Dutch frontier or 
into the sea by the very superior German forces which were 
already assembled in Belgium. These forces included the 
Antwerp siege Army, now available, several divisions of which 
were already on the march westwards, as well as the 22nd, 
23rd, 26th, and 27th Reserve Army Corps recently formed, 
which had just arrived in Belgium. 

There was therefore no choice but to retire farther, until a 
line should be reached which would allow of a junction with the 
Franco-British forces, and should at the same time, constitute 
a strong defensive position. The Army accordingly retired as 
far as the Yser. 

The line of the Yser presented considerable advantages. 
Looked upon from the point of view of its general relation to 
the Franco-British front, which at that moment extended from 
Lassigny towards Arras, it was in prolongation of that line and 
constituted an excellent defensive position, securing the junc- 
tion with that front. As regards its own merits, the position 

267 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-DI 

was tactically a strong one, the left flank resting on the sea, 
the command of which was in friendly hands, the front being 
covered by the river, and the right flank being protected by the 
river higher up, which from the old fort at Knocke bends 
westwards by Elsendamme and Rousbrugge. The extent of 
the line, moreover, was not disproportionate to the strength 
of the Army. Finally, and this was a considerable moral 
advantage, it offered to the Army a last refuge on Belgian soil. 
The King, judging that no other line offered as great 
advantages, decided to establish the Army on the Yser, 
and to place this line in a state of defence. 

We have seen (p. 257) how the forces which held Ghent had 
successfully barred the road to the attempts which were made 
to envelop the Belgian Army. On the nth October the latter 
had completed its movement, and the troops holding Ghent 
were at once ordered to retire. A fresh effort on the part of the 
enemy on that evening was arrested by the British 7th Division, 
which, in spite of it, succeeded in retiring under artillery and 
infantry fire. The Belgian cavalry covered its retreat and 
kept in touch with the enemy's forces, fighting rearguard 
actions on the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal, and on the Scheldt, 
as well as on the Schipdonck Canal, and on the Lys. The ist 
Cavalry Division then retired, fighting, by Lootenhulle, onto 
the right wing of the Army. The 2nd Cavalry Division (which 
had recently been formed, mainly out of the divisional cavalry 
regiments) withdrew on Ursel, Bruges, and the front of the 
Army. 

By the i2th, the transport of the troops and of their 
convoys was secured, in spite of the danger of the situation 
and of the technical difficulties, the railways Selzaete-Eecloo- 
Bruges and Bruges-Thourout being single lines. On the I5th 
October the Belgian Army was on the Yser. 



JOINT OPERATIONS WITH THE ARMIES OF THE GUARAN- 
TEEING POWERS : THE BATTLE OF THE YSER 

At the moment when the Belgian Army, reduced as it was 
to 82,000 men, including 48,000 rifles, had arrived in the 
selected position on the Yser, the King addressed a proclama- 
tion to the troops. 
268 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

These words did not conceal from the Army the supreme 
effort which was to be demanded of it. Its task had assumed 
a special importance in view of the situation of the opposing 
forces in the north of France. 

About the I5th October the French front was strongly 
prepared for defence as far as La Bassee. Since the end of 
September the German force, replying to the enveloping 
movement of the Franco-British Armies, was in its turn trying 
to turn the left wing of the latter. The German forces thus 
employed in the principal theatre of war were shortly to be 
joined, on the one hand, by the besieging army from Antwerp 
which was now available for other operations, and on the other, 
by the four newly-formed corps of which the arrival in Belgium 
has already been mentioned (p. 267.) To oppose these power- 
ful German forces and to counter the vast movement which 
they were about to undertake northwards between La Bassee 
and Dunkerque, there were in Flanders only the Belgian Army, 
the 7th British Infantry and the 3rd British Cavalry Divisions, 
the French Marine Fusilier Brigade, and two French Terri- 
torial Divisions. 

The Belgian Army, to which had been attached the French 
Marine Fusiliers Brigade, took up its position on the Yser, 
between the sea and Zuydschoote. The British 7th Infantry 
and 3rd Cavalry Divisions were posted in front of Ypres. 
The occupation of these positions was soon completed by the 
detraining of a British Cavalry Corps and of the British 2nd 
and 3rd Army Corps at St. Omer, and by the advance on 
Ypres of the two French Territorial Divisions, whilst bodies 
of cavalry were directed on Staden and others were operating 
in the direction of Lille. 

The result of these combined movements was apparent 
about the I7th, by which date, while the British ist Army 
Corps was detraining at St. Omer, the British Cavalry Corps 
and 2nd and 3rd Army Corps occupied a line extending 
from near La Bassee up to the positions of the 7th British 
Division, which was holding the line Zandvoorde-Gheluvelt- 
Zonnebeke. To the north of this latter line bodies of French 
and of British cavalry connected the front with the Belgian 
line. Thus the line had been closed and a continuous front 
had been established. The joint operations were now to 
commence. 

269 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-D: 

In truth, this continuous front was but slenderly held in 
view of the great strength of the German forces which were 
concentrating between the Lys and the sea in order to try to 
pierce the line held by their adversaries, but reinforcements 
were being prepared to * strengthen the portion of the line 
situated to the north of the Lys. These were : 

The ist British Corps, which was, on the 2ist October, to 
operate on the left of the British 7th Division on the 
front Zonnebeke-Langemarck ; 

The 42nd French Division, which was to come into action 
on the 23rd October on the Belgian front ; 

The Qth French Army Corps, which was to fight to the 
east of Ypres, commencing on the 24th October ; 

And the i6th French Corps, which was to come into 
action south of Ypres on the 3ist October. 

But several days had to pass before these reinforcements 
could arrive, and it was necessary at all costs to gain time. 
The enemy's plan was soon revealed ; it was to seize the line 
of the Yser, from the sea to Dixmude, and to hurl back the 
Belgian Army which was defending it, so as to turn the 
Franco-British left. Thus it was the Belgian Army which 
had to break the first shock of the enemy, and the French 
Headquarters Staff asked that it should resist during forty- 
eight hours. 

The front occupied by the Belgian Army was formed, from 
the sea to the place called the ' Fort of Knocke/ by the Yser 
River, which on that stretch is deepened and revetted to form 
a canal, and thence to Zuydschoote and Boesinghe by the 
Yser Canal to Ypres. From Nieuport-Bains to Dixmude is 
eleven miles, and it is another eleven from Dixmude to 
Boesinghe, so that the total front was twenty-two miles in 
extent. The Yser, about 65 feet wide, has dykes on both 
banks, that on the western bank commanding the one on the 
eastern by 6J feet. About halfway between Nieuport and 
Dixmude the river forms a bend, the concavity of which is 
turned towards the west. This bend, called the' ' bend of 
Tervaete/ constituted a weak point in the line of defence. 
The whole region is intersected by ditches, canals, and streams, 
the most important of the latter being the Beverdyk, which 
is continued by the Noord-Vaart. Its course is nearly parallel 
to that of the Yser, and it attains to a width of about 32 feet 
270 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

up stream from Nieuport. The Beverdyk flows in almost its 
entire course between the Yser and the railway line from Nieu- 
port to Dixmude, which. has an embankment three to six feet 
high commanding the plain. The permanent crossings over 
the river and canal in the portion under consideration are : 
the Nieuport bridges, the Union bridge near St. Georges, that 
of Schoorbakke, that of Tervaete, the two Dixmude bridges, 
the Driegrachten, and the Steenstraate bridges. At Nieuport 
six canals and water-courses converge : the Furnes Canal, the 
Noord-Vaart, the canalised Yser, the Nieuwendamme brook, 
or Old Yser, the Plasschendaele Canal, and the evacuation 
canal. There are sluices which enable water to be let in 
from the sea at high tide. These few data will enable an idea 
to be formed of the ground to be defended. 

At the beginning of the battle the Belgian forces were 
disposed as follows, in the position : 

The 2nd Division had to defend the ground from the sea 
to a point some distance beyond the Union bridge, occupying 
Lombaertzyde and Mannekensvere, and holding the bridge- 
head in front of Nieuport so as to retain possession of the 
bridges and sluices. 

The ist Division had to defend the ground on the right 
of the 2nd Division as far as Mark 10 of the Yser, and to hold 
a bridge-head in advance of the Schoorbakke front, and 
further to occupy Schoore as an advanced post. 

The 4th Division came next, from Mark 10 to Mark 14, 
with advanced posts at Keyem and at Beerst. 

The French Marine Fusiliers, the nth and I2th Line Regi- 
ments, with two artillery groups from the 3rd Division, pro- 
longed the front of the 4th Division and occupied, in advance 
of Dixmude, a bridge-head which covered the railway lines 
from Dixmude to Nieuport and to Furnes, by which the 
transport of the Ostend base towards France was still being 
completed. 

The 5th Division was in the neighbourhood of Noordschoote. 

The 6th Division, south of the last named, connected the 
line with that of the French Territorials towards Boesinghe. 

The 3rd Division had two brigades in reserve near Lam- 
pernisse. 

The ist Cavalry Division covered the right flank of the 
army, and co-operated with the French cavalry in the direction 

271 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-D] 

of Roulers ; the 2nd was in reserve between Nieuport and 
Furnes. 

Thus, on a front of twenty-two miles, two infantry brigades 
and one cavalry division were the only reserves at the disposal 
of the commander. 

By the afternoon of the I5th, it had already become 
apparent that the Germans were preparing an attack on the 
front Nieuport-Dixmude. On the i6th, contact was estab- 
lished east of the Yser, towards St. Pierre Capelle, and a 
reconnaissance in force was made by the enemy on Dixmude. 
On the iyth, German columns were reported : In the north, 
along the Plasschendaele Canal, from Leffinghe on Slype, and 
from Ghistelles on Zevecote ; in the south, from Staden on 
Zarren, which indicated an advance of the enemy's forces 
towards the front Nieuport-Dixmude. The German artillery 
was in action at Slype, and was shelling Rattevalle. 

In order to reinforce the front Nieuport-Dixmude, the 
5th Division was brought back into the second line near 
Lampernisse, thus bringing up the number of divisions in 
reserve to two ; the 3rd Division was placed near Avecapelle. 
The gap left open by the departure of the 5th Division was 
closed by a brigade detached from the 6th Division and 
posted near Noordschoote. 

The attack on the outposts began on the i8th. Before 
Nieuport the German troops took Mannekensvere, which was 
afterwards partially recaptured. Lombaertzyde, defended by 
the 5th Regiment of the Line, held its own, supported by a 
British flotilla, which was soon increased by the arrival of 
some French ships ; these warships shelled the German 
troops along the coast as far as Middelkerke, and subse- 
quently, during the whole battle, furnished valuable support 
to the defence. The two advanced posts of Schoore and 
Keyem fell into the hands of the enemy, but that of Beerst 
was successfully held. 

Fresh dispositions were made to reinforce the line ; the 
presence of large bodies of Franco-British cavalry in the 
neighbourhood of Roulers was considered a sufficient safe- 
guard for the right wing of the Army, and the 6th Division 
was accordingly withdrawn, being replaced by French Terri- 
torials. At that moment the reserves were posted as follows : 
the 3rd Division near Wulpen, the 5th near Oostkerke, and 
272 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

the 6th near Lampernisse. The ist Cavalry Division, while 
co-operating with the French cavalry, was ordered to keep 
in close touch with the right of the Army. On the igth, 
the German attacks were aimed against the left and the 
centre of the Army, from Lombaertzyde to Beerst, which 
latter place fell into the enemy's hands. 

Owing to the imminence of a determined attack. on the 
centre, the 6th Division was ordered to establish itself at 
Pervyse. At the same time, to relieve the pressure on the 
left and centre, a counter-attack was decided on against the 
enemy's left flank ; the 5th Division was ordered to attack 
Vladsloo, and the Marine Fusiliers were to move against 
Beerst. The nth and I2th Regiments of the Line were 
ordered to occupy the bridge-head of Dixmude. This offen- 
sive movement was at first successful ; Beerst and Vladsloo 
were occupied, when information was received to the effect 
that strong German columns of all arms had debouched to 
the north and to the south of Roulers, and that the Franco- 
British cavalry which was operating in that region was 
retreating. This was judged to render the position of the 
Marine Fusiliers and of the 5th Division, on the right bank, 
too exposed, and these troops were accordingly recalled to 
'the left bank of the Yser. 

Except for a violent bombardment of the whole front, 
the only important incident on the 20th was a double attack 
carried out at the two extremities of the line. The most 
determined attack was that which was directed, from 6 A.M. 
onwards, against Lombaertzyde and the farm of Bamburgh, 
east of Nieuport. By evening these two posts had been lost, 
but the enemy had been unable to debouch from them. The 
situation had, however, become serious on account of the 
very heavy artillery and infantry fire. At the other end of 
the line, near Dixmude, an attack which had taken place in 
the afternoon was repulsed. 

During this time the concentration of the enemy's forces 
was completed. They were thus echeloned in front of the 
Belgian Army : the 4th Ersatz Division was opposite Nieu- 
port ; the 3rd Reserve Corps, from Nieuport to Keyem ; 
the 22nd Reserve Corps, north of Dixmude ; lastly, the 
23rd Reserve Corps at Dixmude and to the south making in 
all a total of seven divisions opposed to the Belgian Army. 

MILITARY 2 S 273 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-I 

In presence of such a gathering of forces it became necessary 
that the exact front to be held should be clearly defined. 
The Belgian and French Headquarters Staffs agreed that the 
defence by the Belgian Army of the line of the Yser should not 
go beyond St. Jacques Capelle, which meant holding a front of 
I2j miles. At the same time steps were taken to complete 
the defence of the line towards the south by French troops, to 
prevent the flank of the Army being turned on its right. 

During the night of the 20th/2ist, and all day on the 
2ist, the whole front was subjected to an extremely violent 
bombardment. The German artillery fire was directed now 
against the first lines, now against the ground in rear of 
these, so as to make it impossible for reserves to be moved 
up into the firing line ; certain trenches were entirely destroyed. 
There was little infantry fighting. Near Dixmude, however, 
violent night attacks were launched from Beerst on the 
I2th Regiment of the Line. Alternating with heavy shell- 
fire, the assaults were continued in the afternoon, and were 
so persistent that two battalions of the 5th Division had to 
be called up to support the defence of this point. At one 
moment the trenches of the bridge-head, south of Dixmude, 
were lost, but a counter-attack recovered them. 

At the end of the day, on the 2ist, the general situation* 
of the Army was critical, since it had had to put in the greater 
part of its reserves in order to hold its positions. Towards 
the end of the night of the 2ist/22nd the first serious incident 
of the battle occurred. Under cover of the darkness the 
enemy gained possession of a temporary bridge thrown near 
Tervaete, and got across to the left bank. A series of counter- 
attacks failed to drive back the enemy on to the right bank ; 
they were carried out in the afternoon by the 2nd and 4th 
Regiments of the Line, belonging to the ist Division, and 
by the 8th Line Regiment of the 4th Division, supported by 
the Grenadiers and the Carbineers. A battalion of Grenadiers, 
however, succeeded in reaching the Yser dyke, but, being 
insufficiently supported, had to retire during the following 
night. These offensive actions were very costly in lives, and 
greatly used up the troops taking part in them. The enemy 
succeeded in consolidating his positions on the west bank of 
the river, and in deploying infantry there, supported by 
numerous machine-guns. 
274 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

However, the Belgian Artillery never ceased shelling the 
bend of the river in order to render the position untenable 
for the enemy, and to prevent him from throwing foot- 
bridges across. All attempts made by the enemy to cross 
the river elsewhere failed signally. A determined attack on 
the Schoorbakke bridge-head was repulsed during the morning, 
and violent assaults were unable to dislodge the 4th Line 
Regiment, which was holding this position. On both ends 
of the front the bombardment was continuous. Before 
Nieuport, a withdrawal of the German troops was taken 
advantage of for an advance towards Lombaertzyde and the 
farm of Bamburgh ; the ist Regiment of Rifles and the 
gth Line Regiment carried this operation out successfully. At 
Dixmude it was apparent that the desperate fighting of the 
previous day, which, moreover, had been resumed during part 
of the night, had weakened the enemy. On the 23rd a French 
reinforcement, the 42nd Division, arrived on the scene, but 
was directed on Nieuport to assume the offensive in that sector. 

The centre of the front, about the bend of Tervaete, where 
the enemy was concentrating all his efforts, remained without 
succour, and the situation there soon became critical. During 
the night the bridge-head of Schoorbakke had had to be 
abandoned, the battalion which was holding it having been 
enfiladed. The bridge was blown up just as German troops 
were approaching it to cross. The Headquarters Staff 
ordered the chord of the arc to be held at all costs by clinging 
to every inch of the ground. In the whole extent of the 
bend the troops, supported by all the Belgian reserves avail- 
able, resisted the artillery and machine-gun fire. Whenever 
they fell back their leaders took them forward again. In 
the evening the supporting positions which had been prepared 
along the chord of the bend were still occupied, but it was 
reported that * the troops are exhausted and shaken in moral, 
so that the slightest incident may cause them to be seized 
with panic/ The various corps were considerably reduced in 
strength ; the ist Regiment of Carbineers, for instance, only 
numbered six officers and 325 men. At Dixmude the com- 
mander of the brigade also reported that his men were very 
fatigued. Before St. Georges, the 7th Line Regiment, which 
occupied trenches at that place which had been continuously 
attacked since the battle began, was relieved by the I4th 

275 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-E 

Line Regiment. At the end of the day, the Army Command, 
considering the situation opposite the bend to be grave, 
addressed to the French Army Command a definite request 
for intervention in the centre of the Belgian front. ' Energetic 
action on the part of as great a number as possible, of the 
troops of the 42nd Division (engaged on the Nieuport side) 
can/ it was stated, 'still save the situation/ In the night 
the commander of the French troops in Belgium decided to 
comply, in part, with this request, and sent a brigade of the 
42nd Division to operate in the bend. It was to come into 
action on the 24th, at dawn. 

While on the 24th efforts were being made to restore order 
amongst the units which had become mixed up in the course 
of the numerous attacks, the centre was ordered to hold 
out to the last extremity, so as to give time for the French 
intervention to take effect. The enemy, however, displayed 
extraordinary activity in this region, so that the Belgian 
troops were forced to retire and to defend the line of the 
Beverdyk. A French counter-attack failed to throw the 
enemy back. Before St. Georges, the I4th Line Regiment, 
subjected to an extremely violent bombardment, and having 
had its right flank turned, was obliged to retire behind the . 
Noord-Vaart, after having repulsed numerous attacks. 

At the southern end the enemy attempted a supreme 
effort on Dixmude. During the night he made furious 
attacks against the defenders of the town ; fifteen assaults 
were delivered, and all were repulsed by the Belgian troops 
and by the French Marine Fusiliers. During the day the 
attacks were renewed, and the trenches south of the bridge- 
head had to be given up, but soon the Belgian troops were 
brought back to their positions and the enemy 's offensive 
was broken. Here also the troops were completely exhausted 
and not a man was left available in reserve, so that reliefs 
could no longer be organised ; one Belgian battalion was 
seventy-two hours in the trenches, two others forty-three 
hours. In view of all these circumstances the Belgian Army 
Command insisted that French reinforcements should be sent 
to remedy the situation in the centre of the Belgian line, and 
it was decided that this should be done next day, when 
almost the whole 42nd Division was ordered from the left 
wing to support the centre. 
276 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

The 25th October was marked by a distinct pause in the 
enemy's onslaught. The bombardment was less violent, and 
the few infantry attacks which were undertaken were feebly 
conducted ; thus there were evident signs of the enemy's 
exhaustion. At the same time the German forces successfully 
resisted an attack from Oud-Stuyvekenskerke on their left 
flank by a French brigade and the 5th Belgian Division. 
That evening the Army had maintained its positions on the 
Noord-Vaart and the Beverdyk, while beyond it still held 
Oud-Stuyvekenskerke and the Yser dyke from kilometre 15, 
and retained the Nieuport and Dixmude bridge-heads. The 
comparative calm allowed units to be reconstituted and order 
restored in them. The number of men disabled was con- 
siderable. 'By 6 P.M./ says a report, '9145 wounded had 
been evacuated by rail ; the number of wounded in hospital 
on the spot, increased by the number of deaths during transit 
from the battle-field to the evacuating railway stations, is 
estimated at 1000. To these figures must be added the 
number of dead on the battle-field, of the wounded not 
recovered, and of the missing/ 

In the course of the day the Headquarters Staff went into 
the question of a retirement to the line of the Nieuport- 
Dixmude railway embankment, arid considered the necessity of 
constructing an important obstacle in the front of this line of 
defence. A plan was worked out for inundating the area lying 
between the above embankment and the Yser dyke, and, with 
a view to this, dams were ordered to be constructed across 
the aqueducts which pass under the embankment. All that 
then remained necessary was to open, at Nieuport, the 
sluices giving access towards the Beverdyk, and to shut them 
at low tide, in order to submerge successively all the ground 
on which the German lines were being developed. 

On the 26th a new factor began to aggravate the situation. 
Since the beginning of the battle of the Yser the Belgian 
guns and howitzers had been continuously in action, trying 
by their constant fire to make up for the weakness of the 
Army in men, and to counterbalance the superiority of the 
enemy in heavy artillery. The strenuous use made of the 
artillery rendered many pieces unserviceable, and reduced 
the available ammunition to such a point that the batteries 
now had only one hundred rounds per gun left. 

277 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-C 

In the early hours of the morning, on the left as well 
as in the centre of the front, the line of the Beverdyk had 
to be abandoned under the violent pressure of the enemy, 
who was able to enfilade the positions of the defence. The 
line of the railway was ordered to be held at all costs. At 
various points the exhausted troops could only resist the 
attacks, which were made by night and by day, at the cost 
of considerable losses ; here and there they gave way and 
abandoned the line, but were able to regain it and to cling 
to it afterwards. On the right wing, round Dixmude, the 
troops, kept on the alert by continual attacks, reached the 
extreme limit of their physical and moral resistance ; two 
battalions of Senegalese arrived in time to relieve the most 
worn-out of the defenders. That evening the bridge-head of 
Nieuport was still successfully held, as well as the railway 
from Nieuport to Mark 4 ; the line then passed towards 
Oud-Stuyvekenskerke arid joined the Yser dyke near Mark 16, 
following it as far as the Dixmude bridge-head. The Army 
Command, in order to meet every eventuality, disposed the 
two Cavalry Divisions at the various bridges over the canal, 
from Fumes to Loo. 

In contrast to the 26th, the 27th and 28th October passed 
in comparative calm. There was a violent but intermittent 
cannonade, directed partly against the positions, partly 
against the ground in rear of the railway, and the few attacks 
which were made were repulsed successfully. The enemy's 
activity was more apparent than real. The respite was taken 
advantage of to withdraw the second line units ferd and 
6th Divisions) which had become merged in the firing line, 
and thus to reconstitute reserves. The preparatory work on 
the inundations having been completed, the sluices of the 
Beverdyk were opened at Nieuport, and from the 28th the 
waters began to rise opposite the front of the 2nd Division. 

The enemy's activity was renewed on the 29th. A heavy 
bombardment and violent attacks were directed against the 
ist, 2nd, and 4th Divisions. The inundations spread all 
along the front of the 2nd Division and gained ground towards 
the south. The attacks became more persistent on the 30th, 
both on the left and on the centre of the line, but were 
everywhere repulsed, except opposite Ramscapelle, where the 
enemy, throwing bombs into the trenches, gained a footing 
378 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

on the railway, and pushed forward to the village. This was 
the only point at which the line was pierced. A counter- 
attack, preceded by violent preparatory artillery fire, was 
made against Ramscapelle, in the afternoon and during the 
following night, by the 6th Line Regiment, a battalion of 
the yth, a battalion of the I4th, and two French battalions. 
It was entirely successful, the Ramscapelle wayside station 
being reoccupied by the Belgian and French troops, so that 
the line of defence was reconstituted as before. 4 

On the other parts of the front the enemy showed no 
more activity whatever, and the bombardment diminished in 
intensity. Everywhere the inundations continued to pro- 
gress, and already made the trenches between the railway 
embankment and the Yser dyke untenable by the enemy in 
many places. The Battle of the Yser was over. The enemy's 
advance had been stopped, and soon he only held a few 
centres of resistance on the left bank of the Yser. He retired, 
abandoning wounded, arms, and ammunition. 

But the losses of the Belgian Army had been very serious, 
amounting to 14,000 men killed and wounded. The infantry 
was reduced from 48,000 to 32,000 rifles, and more than half 
the guns of the artillery were temporarily unserviceable. 
This long and heroic resistance broke the onslaught of seven 
German Divisions, inflicting considerable losses on them, and 
rendering them incapable of further action for a long while, 
and time was thus gained which allowed of the Franco-British 
front being strongly established to the south, and of a barrier 
being set up against which all the German attacks were 
to come to nothing during the great battles round Ypres 
at the end of October and during the first fortnight in 
November. 

During the two succeeding months the operations on the 
Yser front were confined to slow gains or losses of ground. 
On the 3rd November, Belgian reconnaissances advanced as 
far as Lombaertzyde ; one of them crossed the Yser south of 
St. Georges and reached the outskirts of Mannekensvere on 
the right bank. On the other wing the French tried to 
enlarge the Dixmude bridge-head. On the 4th November, 
Belgian forces attacked Lombaertzyde and occupied it, but 
a violent counter-attack, made at nightfall, drove them back 
to the .Nieuport bridge-head, where the assailants, however, 

279 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-D 

were unable to gain a footing. On the 8th and loth November, 
the attempt was renewed by the 8ist French Territorial 
Division, which got up to within 200 metres of the German 
trenches and there established itself. Attacks made simul- 
taneously on St. Georges, Schoorbakke, and Tervaete were 
not productive of substantial gain, the approaches to the 
enemy's positions having to be made by the existing narrow 
passages through the inundations. Commencing on the gth 
a new attempt was made by the enemy against Dixmude. 
The ruins of the town and its approaches towards Caeskerke 
were first subjected to an uninterrupted shell-fire. On the 
loth at noon, after a bombardment of the trenches, an 
assault succeeded in breaking through the line. The ist Line 
Regiment and the French Marine Fusiliers defended them- 
selves most stubbornly. At 6.15 P.M. the enemy reached 
the Yser, but he was unable to get any farther. The capture 
of the ruins of Dixmude marked the end of the enemy's 
offensive operations, and he thereafter confined himself to 
an intermittent bombardment of the ground adjoining the 
Yser. This cannonade was sometimes extended as far as 
Furnes, which is 7^ miles in rear of the river. 

The activity of the Belgian Army during this period was 
principally manifested by reconnaissances and by pushing 
forward small bodies of infantry across the inundations to the 
little islands formed by isolated farms. Towards the middle 
of December a more serious operation resulted in the occu- 
pation of St. Georges, which had remained in the enemy's 
hands. A French mixed force, supported by portions of the 
Belgian 2nd and 4th Divisions, began the attack on the 
Lombaertzyde side. At the same time the other Belgian 
divisions in first line pushed reconnaissances in force towards 
the various points occupied by the enemy. The attack pro- 
gressed slowly under a continuous bombardment. On the 
left, ground was gained step by step, till on the i6th the front 
of attack extended to the sea. During the night of the i6th- 
I7th, the French troops repulsed, at Lombaertzyde, seven 
determined attacks of the enemy, and on the i8th they were 
able to establish themselves definitively at 100 metres from 
the German positions. They also gradually approached 
St. Georges, which they captured on the 28th December. At 
the end of 1914, the enemy held on the left bank of the Yser 
280 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

only a few listening and observation posts, scattered in the 
flooded plain. 

GENERAL SUMMARY 

Up to the moment when, on the night of the 3rd to the 
4th August, more than twenty-four hours after the receipt of 
the German threatening Note, Belgium had become certain 
that Germany was about to violate her frontiers, the Belgian 
Army remained distributed in the country in accordance with 
the military exigencies dictated by the neutrality of Belgium ; 
one advanced guard division faced towards England, two 
others towards France, and a fourth towards Germany. 

The violation of Belgian neutrality imposed on Belgium 
certain obligations ; the corresponding measures were decreed 
immediately. The plan of defence, the realisation of which 
was pursued throughout by the Army Command with reso- 
lution and consistency, was in strict accord with the under- 
taking which Belgium had on the 4th August assumed towards 
the guaranteeing Powers, namely, to organise with the forces 
of these latter, 'both concerted action and joint operations, 
with a view to safeguarding the independence and the integrity 
of the country/ This plan consisted, in the face of the very 
superior hostile forces, in denying, at all times, as great a 
portion as possible of Belgian territory to the invader, and in 
establishing the Army, for this purpose, on such defensive lines 
as would enable resistance to be offered under favourable 
conditions, in concert with the forces of the guaranteeing 
Powers. At the same time the plan aimed at avoiding the 
exposure of the Army, guardian of the Nation, to certain loss, 
if the junction with those forces should not have been effected 
before the arrival of the enemy's masses. It was only on the 
Yser that the junction with the Armies of the guaranteeing 
Powers was able to be effected, and that a continuous line of 
defence was constituted. By that time almost the whole 
territory was in the hands of the invaders, but the Field Army 
had remained intact and was ready for a stubborn resistance 
in joint operations. At the critical moment of the campaign, 
on the i8th August, when it became necessary to abandon 
the position on the Gette, as on the 6th October when the 
retreat towards Flanders had to be undertaken, and similarly 
during the retreat itself, the decisions arrived at were in all 

281 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [JULY-DE 

cases inspired by these leading principles of the plan of 
defence. 

The Field Army was at all times confronted by hostile 
forces considerably superior both in numbers and in armament, 
except before Antwerp from the 22nd August to the 25th 
September, and yet, on the Gette, about the middle of August, 
as at Antwerp in the beginning of October, it held on to its 
positions up to the extreme limit compatible with its preser- 
vation, thus affording to the Armies of the guaranteeing 
Powers the maximum of time in which to come to its aid. 
When the Belgian Field Army took up its position on the line 
of the Yser, the only diminution its fighting strength had 
suffered after two and a half months of war, was due to the 
losses incurred on the battle-field ; no single formed unit had 
been captured by the enemy. 

Before Antwerp, from the 22nd August to the 25th Sep- 
tember, the Belgian Army devoted itself to lightening the task 
of the Armies of the guaranteeing Powers. During that 
period it took advantage of every favourable opportunity 
to attack the army of observation which was opposed to it. 
It constantly detained in its front hostile forces at least its 
equal in strength, and often its superior, at moments when their 
support was urgently required in the principal theatre of war. 

After a retreat of nearly ninety miles, when the junction 
had been effected on the Yser, the Belgian Army, with the 
support of a French brigade, subsequently reinforced by a 
division, was able to break the violent efforts of an army of 
150,000 men on a defensive front, which, by this decisive 
resistance, it has rendered safe from further attack. 

Lastly, the Army Command, also in accordance with the 
engagements assumed by Belgium, organised the defence of 
the fortresses of Liege, Namur, and Antwerp. But the 
besiegers, owing to the power of their artillery, possessed so 
great a superiority that the fortified positions were unable to 
offer a prolonged resistance. 

Thus, from whatever point of view the operations of the 
Belgian Army, during the period under review, are considered, 
it may be claimed that Belgium as scrupulously fulfilled the 
obligations imposed by her neutrality, when once it had been 
trampled on, as she had adhered to them while still sheltered 
under the guarantee of the Treaties. 
282 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

SECOND BELGIAN GREY BOOK 1 
SECOND PART SECTION I. 

GERMAN ACCUSATIONS IN REGARD TO THE ATTITUDE OF THE 
BELGIAN CIVIL POPULATION 

No. 68 

M. Davignon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to the Belgian 
Ministers at The Hague, London, Paris, and Madrid 

Brussels, August 12, 1914. 

Please inform the Minister oi Foreign Affairs and the 
press that the Belgian Government indignantly protests 
against the assertion of the Wolff Bureau that the inhabitants 
of the district of Liege have taken part in the fighting, that 
others have lain in ambush and shot German doctors who 
were attending to wounded men, and that wounded men 
have been cruelly treated. 

Belgium is scrupulously observing The Hague Convention 
on the Laws and Customs of War, of which she was a signatory. 
The Government has reminded the population that civilians 
must abstain absolutely from the use of their arms against 
the invaders, and that only the army and militia forces which 
fulfil the necessary conditions have that right and duty. 

(Signed) DAVIGNON. 



No. 69 

M . Davignon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Baron Grenier, 
Belgian Minister at Madrid 

Antwerp, August 18, 1914. 

SIR, Be so good as to request the Minister of Foreign 
Affairs kindly to communicate the enclosed protest from the 
Belgian Government to the Imperial German Government. 

(Signed) DAVIGNON. 

1 [Translated from the Belgian Government's Correspoydance Diplomatique 
relative a la Guerre de 1914-1915, Part 2. The First Belgian Grey Book 
appears in Diplomatic, 2. The Second Grey Book is given in Diplomatic, 3. 
Only those sections of the second part of this which have a military 
character are given here; sections vii. and xvi. have already appeared 
in Military, i.] 

283 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 



ENCLOSURE TO No. 69 
Note 

Belgium, which desired peace, has been compelled by 
Germany to take up arms and legitimately to defend herself 
against an attack that was unjustifiable and contrary to the 
solemn engagements of treaties. She considers it a point of 
honour to carry on the struggle loyally and to observe all the 
Laws and Customs of War. From the moment of the entry 
of German troops into her territory the Belgian Government 
has had posted in every commune, and the newspapers have 
published every day, orders forbidding non-combatant civilians 
to commit any act of warfare against the troops and the 
military invading the country. The information on which 
the German Government believes it can rely to justify its 
assertion that the Belgian population is contravening the laws 
of nations and is quite unworthy of respect, is certainly 
false. The Government enters the most earnest protest 
against the truth of the allegations which have been advanced, 
and against the odious threats of reprisals. 

If some particular act which is contrary to the laws of 
war were to be ultimately established, it would be proper in 
order to appreciate it justly to make allowance for the legiti- 
mate state of nervousness which the cruelties committed by 
the German soldiers have provoked among the Belgian people, 
a people which is thoroughly honourable, but vigorous in 
the defence of its rights and in its respect for humanity. 
Long indeed would already be the list of these atrocities, of 
which we are collecting the first, were we now to publish it. 

Whole regions have been ravaged, and abominable crimes 
committed in their villages. 

A Committee appointed by the Ministry of Justice is 
drawing up a catalogue of these horrors with scrupulous 
impartiality. 

The following may be quoted as examples illustrating the 
state of mind and the conduct of various German troops : 

(i) A troop of Uhlans occupying Linsmeau was attacked 
by some infantry and by two policemen employed as sharp- 
shooters. A German officer was killed. The German soldiers 
thought that the officer had been attacked by civilians. This 
284 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

is absolutely incorrect ; the Belgian officers knew that the 
German officer had been killed by their men, and they had given 
the burgomaster of Linsmeau the order to bury the German 
officer. This point was specially investigated at the inquiry, 
and it was established beyond all possible doubt that the 
inhabitants of Linsmeau scrupulously abstained from any 
act of hostility. The burgomaster of Linsmeau vouched for 
this over and over again to the officer in command of the 
German troops. 

But in vain. The village was invaded in the evening 
of Monday, August loth, by a great number of Uhlans, 
followed by artillery, and machine-guns. They opened fire 
on two farms and six or seven houses, and destroyed and 
burnt them down. 

They forced all the male inhabitants of the village to leave 
their houses and give up their arms. They did not find one 
that had recently been fired. Nevertheless, they divided the 
men into three groups. The men of one of these groups were 
tied with ropes. Eleven of these peasants were placed in a 
ditch, where they were found with their heads battered in by 
the butt ends of rifles. All of them were dead. The others 
were made to walk between horses into the country under 
the constant threat of being shot. They were finally released 
with the threat that the village would be completely destroyed 
if any of them left his house at night. 

(2) During the night of Monday, August loth, great 
numbers of Uhlans went to Velm. The inhabitants were 
asleep. The Germans, without any provocation whatever, 
fired on the house of M. Deglimme-Gevers, then broke in 
and destroyed the furniture, and stole what money they could 
find. 

They set fire to the barn, the crops, the agricultural 
implements ; six oxen and the poultry were burnt to death. 
They took away M. Deglimme-Gevers' wife half naked to a 
distance of over a mile from the house, let her go, and then 
fired on her but did not hit her. They took the husband in 
another direction and put three bullets into him. He is now 
in a dying condition. 

The same Uhlans also sacked and burnt the house of the 
level-crossing watchman. 

(3) At the agency of the National Bank at Liege, German 

285 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

troops have seized 400,000 francs' worth of unstamped five- 
franc notes which ought not to have been stamped except by 
order of the Directors of the Bank in Brussels. The die was 
at the printer's. The German authorities ordered the notes 
to be stamped, and they are now using them. 

(4) The following communication was received from 
Haekendevez, on August the I4th, 1914, by the officer in com- 
mand of the ist D.A. at Cumptich : 

Record of information which has been collected in regard 
to the conduct of German cavalry at Orsmael and Neerhespen 
on the loth, nth, and I2th of August : 

(i) Facts sworn to by the farmer Jef Dierickx of Neer- 
hespen. 

An old man of the district has had his arm cut into 
three parts longitudinally, and was then hung up by the feet 
and burnt alive. 

Certain persons in Orsmael have had their sexual organs 
removed ; young girls and children have been violated. 

A wounded rifleman-cyclist who had been made 'prisoner 
was hanged, and the Belgian soldier who was looking after him 
was put up against a telegraph-post along the road to Saint- 
Trond and shot. 



No. 70 

From the Belgian Minister at Madrid to M. Davignon, Minister 

of Foreign Affairs 

Madrid, October 6, 1914. 

SIR, I have duly executed the instructions contained in 
your letter of August 18, and have requested the Minister 
of State to communicate to the German Government the 
protest of the Belgian Government against the inhuman 
behaviour of the German troops. His Excellency has just 
told me that the Spanish Ambassador in Berlin had informed 
him that immediately after receiving this communication he 
had forwarded it to the German Minister of Foreign Affairs. 

(Signed) BARON GRENIER. 



286 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 



No. 71 

M. Davignon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to all the Diplomatic 
Representatives abroad 

Havre, December 30, 1914. 

SIR, The German authorities have repeatedly accused 
the Belgian civil population of having everywhere organised 
in a systematic and odious way armed resistance to all the 
operations of the German troops in Belgium. The Com- 
mittee of Inquiry, in several of their reports, entirely de- 
molished the fantastic stories which the Germans have 
tried to make foreign countries believe, with the object of 
justifying their own misdeeds. But the German Govern- 
ment has gone further ; it has had the effrontery to maintain 
that the Belgian Government itself had organised this resist- 
ance on the part of the civilian population. 

The Emperor of Germany declared this urbi et orbi in 
his telegram to President Wilson x : ' They (the Allies) have J [Cf . 
not only made use of abominable weapons of war (dum- Military , i 
dum bullets) but the Belgian Government have openly stirred P- 201 ] 
up the whole civilian population which had been long pre- 
paring for the struggle, and in which even women and priests 
took part/ 

Afterwards details were supplied. The German Lega- 
tion at Bukarest sent to the press in August last a communi- 
cation relative to the destruction of the town of Louvain, 
which says : ' The Belgian Government had long ago or- 
ganised a rising against any enemy that might invade their 
territory. They had arranged stores of arms, where each 
rifle bore the name of the citizen for whom it was destined. . 
. . . This attack (at Louvain) was all the more odious since 
it had clearly been prepared beforehand and took place at 
the same time as the sortie from Antwerp. . . .' 

Not long ago the German press raised this question again. 
These accusations must not remain unanswered, however 
absurd they may seem, at first sight, to any impartial person. 

As early as August 18 I requested the Spanish Govern- 
ment to protest against them in Berlin. I sent you a copy, 
on August the 2ist, of the Note sent to the German Govern- 
ment. I called attention to the circulars and placards which 

287 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

had been posted in all the communes of Belgium at the 
beginning of hostilities in order to deter the inhabitants from 
any act of hostility against the enemy. The reproduction 
of these circulars and posters issued by our Ministry of the 
Interior and by our communal authorities might still at this 
moment be useful in certain countries. 

The Minister of the Interior has on this subject sent the 
Note of which I enclose herewith a copy. 

In it you will find all the information necessary for giving 
a formal denial to the German accusations. I le$,ve it to 
you to decide when to publish such denials. Circumstances 
will guide you as to the best use you can make of the informa- 
tion contained in the note transmitted to me by M. Berryer. 

I should be obliged to you if you would inform me what 
action you decide to take. (Signed) DAVIGNON. 

ENCLOSURE TO No. 71 

Note 

To justify their misdeeds in Belgium, and to excuse in 
the eyes of the civilised world their infamous attack on a 
Power so manifestly peace-loving as Belgium, Germany is now 
seeking by every means to spread abroad the vilest calumnies 
against our country. After having violated our neutrality 
with the most brazen cynicism, she is now trying to send down 
to history the absurd fable that our country had already 
taken sides against Germany before the beginning of the war. 

The whole of the diplomatic history of our country is an 
answer to this calumny. 

It may nevertheless serve a useful purpose to recall what 
care the Government devoted to the maintenance of the 
strictest neutrality down to the very eve of war, even to the 
moment when that neutrality was about to be violated by 
one of the Powers that had formally guaranteed it. 

On Saturday, August i, 1914, M. Berryer, Minister of the 
Interior, addressed the following telegram to the Governors 
of the Provinces : 

In the midst of the events that are developing, Belgium 
is determined to defend her neutrality ; it ought to be 
respected, but it is the duty of the nation to take what- 
ever measures to that end the situation may require. It is 

288 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

therefore important that the population should co-operate 
with the Government by avoiding any manifestation that 
might be of a nature to bring the country into difficulties with 
one or other of its neighbours ; thus the Burgomasters should 
at once take steps to forbid all meetings that might have the 
object of showing sympathy or antipathy for one country 
or another. It is also important that, in accordance with 
Article 97 of trie municipal law, the Burgomaster and alder- 
men should prohibit any cinematograph, exhibition which 
represents military scenes likely to arouse passion and to 
provoke popular excitement dangerous to the public order. 
Please take immediate steps to have these instructions carried 
out without delay. PAUL BERRYER, 

Minister of the Interior. 

Effect was at once given to the appeal of the Minister of 
the Interior. The Burgomasters hastened to take measures 
in accordance with the instructions contained in his circular. 
On Sunday, August 2, some hours before the ultimatum, 
M. Carton de Wiart, Minister of Justice, the King's Attorney 
in Brussels, had the newspaper Le Petit Bleu confiscated for 
definitely taking sides with one of the belligerents, in this 
case France. All the laws of warfare have been violated by 
Germany. She does not now even seek to excuse herself, 
but, realising that certain laws of humanity cannot be broken 
without incurring universal reprobation, she is again having 
recourse to calumny. Vaguely, and without any shadow of 
proof, she declares that the murder, pillage, and incendiarism 
of which she has been guilty are justified by the participation 
of the Belgian civilian population in acts of hostility. 

And to make such a general statement credible without 
proofs, she alleges the existence of a regular system, organised 
by her adversaries, and in so many words accuses the Belgian 
Government of having armed the civilian population and 
of having incited them to take part in the struggle. In order 
to refute this facile allegation, which, if only superficial minds 
would accept it as true, would have the advantage of relieving 
the accusers of all necessity to produce specific proof, it suffices 
to give the real facts. On August 4, when war had been 
declared on us, and the enemy had already set foot on our 
soil, the Minister of the Interior, M. Berryer, sent an explicit 

MILITARY 2 T 289 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

circular to the 2600 communes of the country concerning 
the duties of the authorities and the attitude of the civilian 
population. The following is an extract : 

' According to the laws of war, acts of hostility, that is, any 
resistance and attack by arms, or the use of arms against 
isolated soldiers of the enemy, or direct intervention in fights 
or skirmishes, are never permitted to those who do not belong 
to the army or the Garde Civique, or to volunteer corps under 
military law, obeying a recognised head and wearing a visible 
distinctive badge. 

'If the population of a territory that has not yet been 
occupied by the enemy spontaneously takes arms on the 
approach of the invader without having had time to provide 
itself with a military organisation, it will be deemed a 
belligerent body if it carries arms openly and conforms to 
the laws of war. Isolated individuals who do not belong to 
any of these categories, and who commit an act of hostility, 
would not be considered belligerents. If made prisoners, they 
are liable to be treated more severely than a prisoner of war, 
and might even be put to death. 

' The inhabitants are still more earnestly enjoined to abstain 
from ' acts that are prohibited even to soldiers : these acts 
are more particularly the use of poison or poisoned arms, 
the treacherous killing or wounding of individuals belonging to 
the army or nation of the invader, the killing or wounding of 
an enemy who, after giving up his arms and depriving himself 
of the means of self-defence, has surrendered unconditionally.' 

The first German authorities to penetrate into the town 
of Liege must certainly have read the notices which had already 
been posted by the Burgomaster of that city, M. Kleyer, on 
August the 5th, which are identical in terms with the circular 
of the Minister of the Interior. 

The text of a poster which the Burgomaster of Brussels, 
M. Max, had posted on the walls of the city is subjoined as 
an example. 

CITY OF BRUSSELS 
Fire- Arms 

The laws of war forbid the civil population to take part 
in hostilities, and as any infringement of this rule may 
290 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

be the cause of reprisals, many of my fellow-citizens have 
expressed a desire to get rid of the fire-arms in their posses- 
sion. These arms may be deposited at the police stations, 
where a receipt for them will be given. They will be placed 
in safe custody at the central Arsenal at Antwerp, and will be 
returned to their owners at the end of the war. 

ADOLPHE MAX, 
Burgomaster. 

Everywhere communal authorities took the same precau- 
tions, either by proclamations addressed to the population 
or, what was even better, by providing that all arms should 
be deposited at the town halls or police stations. 

Moreover, one of the first measures taken by the Germans 
in the occupied regions was to repeat this same order with the 
addition of threats of capital punishment. 

Nevertheless, this measure of extreme prudence, which 
exposed defenceless victims to the rage of the invaders, has 
with incredible bad faith been itself used as a weapon against 
us. Ignominy cannot reach greater depths than this. A com- 
muniqufr from the German Legation at Bukarest, which was 
published in the Ind&pendance Roumaine of the 2ist August 
(5th September) 1914, charges the Belgian Government not only 
with having given the civilian population instructions with 
a view to resistance and with having organised beforehand 
a rising against any enemy that invaded our territory, ' but 
especially with having organised depots of arms where every 
rifle bore the name of the citizen for whom it was intended/ 
Does not this last detail prove to demonstration that the arms 
referred to were those which had been collected from private 
individuals and were intended to be returned to them ? In 
arsenals it is not usual to mark the arms beforehand with 
the names of the soldiers who are to bear them. . . . 

By such contradictions and absurdities falsehood stands 
unmistakably revealed. 

While the Belgian communal authorities were thus, in 
accordance with the instructions of their Government, taking 
the most efficacious measures for preventing the civilian 
population from giving way to their instinct to repel by 
any means a powerful and ferocious enemy who was threaten- 
ing their homes, the Minister of the Interior was at pains 

291 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

daily to repeat semi-officially through the channel of the 
press of all parties throughout the country, in large type 
in a conspicuous position, the following recommendations : 



To THE CIVIL POPULATION 

The Minister of the Interior recommends all civilians 
inhabiting a district in which the enemy makes his 
appearance : 
Not to fight : 

Not to use insulting language or threats : 
To stay indoors and to shut the windows so that it 
cannot be said that there has been any provocation. 
If the soldiers occupy a house or isolated hamlet for 
the purpose of defence, to evacuate it, so that it 
cannot be said that shots were fired by civilians. 
Any act of violence committed by a single jcivilian 
would be a veritable crime contrary to the law and punish- 
able by imprisonment, because it might serve as a pretext 
for sanguinary repression, pillage, and the massacre of 
innocent persons and of women and children. 

Finally, shortly before the capture of Antwerp on September 
30, 1914, when that part of the country which had not yet 
been invaded seemed to be in danger, the Minister of the 
Interior once more sent out a circular in French, Flemish, and 
German to all the communes, so that nobody should be 
ignorant of, and that the German authorities themselves 
might know, the recommendations which had been issued 
by the Government to the communal authorities and to the 
civil population. 

This has not prevented the German papers from saying 
again quite recently that everywhere and always in Belgium 
(the definiteness of this statement should be noted) the civilian 
population have borne arms against German soldiers, and 
that, since the beginning of the war, the Government has done 
nothing to prevent them. 



292 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

SECTION IV 

BOMBARDMENT BY ZEPPELINS 
No. 75 

M. Davignon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to the Belgian 
Ministers in Paris, London, St. Petersburg, The Hague, 
Rome, and Washington 

(Telegraphic.) Antwerp, August 25, 1914. 

During the night of the 24th-25th, a dirigible balloon of 
the Zeppelin type flew at a low altitude over the town of 
Antwerp and dropped in succession eight bombs of great 
explosive force. The Police inquiry showed that there were 
ten killed, all innocent civilians, of whom four were women, 
and eight wounded, some of them mortally. The material 
damage is considerable. This bombardment constitutes a 
violation of Article 26 of the Fourth Hague Convention of 1907. 

(Signed) .DAVIGNON. 



No. 76 

M. Davignon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to the Diplomatic 
Representatives of Foreign Powers in Belgium 

Antwerp, August 26, 1914. 

The Belgian Government has the honour of acquainting 
the Legations of the Foreign Powers in Belgium with the facts 
set forth in the enclosed note, which constitute on the part 
of the German authorities a violation of Article 26 of the 
Fourth Hague Convention of 1907. 

ENCLOSURE TO No. 76 

Antwerp, August 25, 1914. 
The Court of First Instance, 
sitting at Antwerp. 

To the Procurator-General. 

SIR, I have the honour to submit a report on the grave 
events of last night. 

M. Baucarne, advocate, M. de Duve, of 65 rue du Peage, 

293 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

and my colleague, M. Michielsen, agree in declaring that a 
Zeppelin airship came over the town from the direction of the 
manoeuvre ground. It dropped successively bombs of great 
explosive force : (i) on a glass house belonging to the 
Minerva factory ; (2) on a house in the rue Lozane ; (3) 
rue Verdussen ; (4) rue de la Justice ; (5) rue des Escrimeurs ; 
(6) rue Leopold ; (7) rue des Douze-Mois ; (8) rue du Poids 
Public. 

The evidence above mentioned shows that this itinerary 
is probably correct. M. Michielsen declares that, after having 
reached a certain point, the airship returned in the same 
direction whence it came. 

The damage done is of two kinds. 

Several people were killed and wounded. The material 
damage done is considerable. In the 8th section, M. Leon Peeters 
and his wife, Sylvie Hurnaux, living at 29 rue Verbissem (sic) 
were slightly wounded. At 40 rue des Escrimeurs, a servant 
was killed and another one dangerously wounded. In the 
2nd section (Poids Public), the number of victims is very 
large. This is the list : 

(1) Van Catthem, Jean-Jaques, policeman, dead, 112 

Marche aux Chevaux. 

(2) Jensen, Jean-Frangois, .dead, 20 Poids Public. 

(3) De Bruyn, Jeanne-Marie, innkeeper, 4 Poids Public, 

dead. 

(4) Van Ecke, Arthur, dock labourer, 4 Poids Public, 

dead. 

(5) De Backer, Pierre, dock labourer, 20 Canal Falcon, 

dead. 

(6) Ramaekers, Hubertine - Edouard - Marie, 13 Poids 

Public, dead. 

(7) Van Vooren, Josephe-Marie, 69 Marche aux Chevaux, 

mortally wounded. 

(8) Gaethof, Pierre-Jean, policeman, 36 rue du Jardinier, 

wounded. 

(9) Devos, Marie-Threse, housewife, 20 Poids Public, 

wounded. 

[10) Coeymans, Leon, innkeeper, i Poids Public, wounded, 
[n) Peynenberg, Jacques-Germain, printer, 38 Canal 

Falcon, wounded. 
294 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

(12) De Poeter, Georges, I Poids Public, wounded in the 

right foot. 

(13) Wilsenen, Sophie, 4 Poids Public, slightly wounded 

in the hip. 

(14) Windey, Auguste, 4 Poids Public, loss of right eye. 

(15) Luyckx, Eulalie, 6 Poids Public, wounded. 

(16) Roulandts, Julia, 24 rue du Bassin, wounded. 

The material damage in the 8th section is : 

38 and 40 rue des Escrimeurs : the entire roof and the 
attics destroyed, windows broken, furniture and household 
utensils damaged. 34 and 36 rue des Escrimeurs, windows 
broken. 

Palais de Justice : numbers of windows broken. 

Rue de la Justice : at no. 13, a lower room damaged ; no. 15 
etc., doors and windows broken; at nos. 15 and 8 the lower 
rooms have been damaged ; rue Mertens, no. 14 etc., windows 
broken ; rue Willems, no. 9 etc., windows broken ; rue Torf, 
rue de Mey, rue Montebello, rue de FHarmonie, windows 
broken ; rue Verdussen, no. 20 etc., windows broken, doors 
and windows damaged ; rue Albert von Bary, no. I etc., 
windows broken ; rue Longue, rue Lausanne, no. 242 etc., 
windows broken, doors and windows damaged ; avenue du 
Marcgrave, no. 188, three blocks damaged ; rue Karel Ooms, 
no. 40, windows broken and walls cracked ; rue Karel Ooms, 
no. 45, windows broken (Minerva). 

The damage done by the airship in the 3rd section can 
be summed up as follows : 

A bomb exploded in the rue Leopold, close to the rue Guil- 
laume Tell, breaking all the windows of the china shop at the 
corner of the rue Guillaume Tell, all the windows of the second 
floor, and destroying a large quantity of goods in the shop, 
the windows of the caf6 Shakespeare, at present occupied by 
refugees from the province. Nobody was wounded. 

Another bomb exploded in the rue des Douze-Mois, partly 
demolishing no. n, where one person was slightly wounded, and 
whence at about 4.45 A.M., a woman was rescued, who com- 
plained of internal pain and was sent to the Institute Saint- 
Jean-Berchmanns, Place de Meir. 

Damage was also done to nos. 19, 7, 28 of the same street. 

The Botanical Garden was found to have suffered im- 

295 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

portant material damage, notably among the glass houses 
and frames of the Botanical Museum ; this damage was 
caused by the bomb dropped near the rue Guillaume Tell, 
or perhaps by another bomb which, according to certain 
witnesses, was dropped in the Botanical Garden itself, quite 
near to the wall of the Sainte-Elizabeth hospital. 
(Signed) ANGENOT, 

Deputy Procurator-General. 



SECTION VIII 

EMPLOYMENT OF NATIVES WHO HAVE NO REGULAR 
MILITARY ORGANIZATION 

No. 90 

M . Davignon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Baron Grenier, 
Belgian Minister at Madrid 

(Telegram.) Ostend, October 12, 1914. 

The Vice-Governor of Katanga telegraphs that the Germans 
are employing against the troops of the Belgian Congo natives 
led by their chiefs and entirely uninstructed in the Laws 
and Customs of War. As black troops which have not been 
properly trained and are not under the command of white 
officers are capable of committing the worst excesses, the 
Belgian Government protests against their employment. 

Please bring this protest to the knowledge of the Spanish 
Government, and request that the German Government may 
be informed that the Belgian Government, in accordance 
with the rules of international law, refuses to treat as belli- 
gerents hordes of negroes led by native chiefs. 

(Signed) DAVIGNON. 

No. 91 

The Belgian Minister at Madrid to M. Davignon, Minister 
of Foreign Affairs 

Madrid, October 1 (sic) 13, 1914. 

SIR, I have duly carried out the instructions contained 
in your telegram of the I2th of October last concerning the 

1 [Presumably an error for ' November/ see date of the enclosure.] 
296 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

protest of the Belgian Government against the employment 
by the Germans in the Congo of undisciplined black troops 
which have received no military training and are not under 
the command of white officers. The Minister of State has 
just sent me, and I have the honour to transmit to you here- 
with, a copy of the answer of the Minister of Foreign Affairs 
at Berlin to the verbal note by which the Spanish Ambassador 
was instructed to notify our refusal to treat as belligerents 
hordes of negroes led by native chiefs. On the pretext that 
communications with countries beyond the seas are inter- 
rupted, the Foreign Office declares that it is unable to give 
any information on the subject. 

(Signed) BARON GRENIER. 

ENCLOSURE TO No. 91 

Auswdrtiges Ami to the Spanish Embassy. Reply to the Verbal 
Note of October 14, 1914, concerning the alleged employ- 
ment of natives by Germany against the Belgian Congo. 

The Imperial Department of Foreign Affairs regrets not 
to be in a position to give any information concerning the 
alleged employment of natives against the Belgian Congo, as 
the authorities within whose purview the matter lies have no 
news in regard to it. Moreover, there is no possibility of 
obtaining any information on the subject, since the Powers 
actually at war with Germany have interrupted all communi- 
cations with countries beyond the seas. 

Berlin , November 8, 1914. 



SECTION XI 

AUSTRIA-HUNGARY SENT BATTERIES OF ARTILLERY TO 
BELGIUM BEFORE THE DECLARATION OF WAR 

No. 104 

M. Davignon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Baron Fallon, 
Belgian Minister at The Hague 

Havre, October 20, 1914. 

SIR, Be so kind as to send the following declaration to 
the Government of His Apostolic Majesty through the inter- 
mediary of the Spanish Legation : ' When the Belgian Govern- 

297 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

ment replied to the declaration of war by Austria-Hungary, 
they were unaware of certain facts that would have modified 
their answer, or rather that would have made them take the 
initiative in a rupture of diplomatic relations. For according 
to a proclamation by the German Lieutenant-General who 
styles himself Governor of the Fortress of Liege, 'the big 
motor batteries sent by Austria have proved their excellence 
in the fighting round Namur/ These fights took place before 
the declaration of war by Austria-Hungary on Belgium, which 
was based primarily on the military co-operation of Belgium 
with France and Great Britain. If the Belgian Government 
had had knowledge at that date of Austro-Hungarian partici- 
pation in the attack on Belgium, they would immediately 
have recalled the Belgian Minister accredited to Vienna. 
The Austrian declaration of the 28th of August declared that 
Austria-Hungary had been compelled to break off diplomatic 
relations and considered herself from that moment in a state 
of war with Belgium. 

' It was thus while peace was still undisturbed, and the two 
countries were still maintaining diplomatic relations, that 
Austrian artillery attacked and destroyed the forts of Namur/ 

(Signed) DAVIGNON. 

1 [Diplo- (See First Grey Book, Nos. 77 and 78. x ) 

matic, 2, 

pp. 67-70] 

No. 105 

The Belgian Minister at Madrid to M. Davignon, Minister 
of Foreign Affairs 

Madrid, April 5, 1915. 

SIR, The Minister of State has just sent me, and I have 
the honour to transmit to you, a note addressed on the 6th 
of February last by the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister to 
the Spanish Embassy at Vienna, in reply to a communica- 
tion from M. Polo de Bernabe concerning the Austro-Hungarian 
batteries which were put at the disposal of the German army 
at the siege of Namur. 

The Marquis of Lema adds that this document, which 
accompanied a letter from the Ambassador dated the nth 
February, reached him after a delay that he is unable to 
explain. (Signed) BARON GRENIER. 

298 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

ENCLOSURE TO No. 105 
Note 

The Belgian Government having pointed out that, when 
they replied to the declaration of war by Austria-Hungary, 
certain facts were unknown to them, and that in particular they 
were unaware that previous to the declaration of war by the 
Monarchy on Belgium Austro-Hungarian batteries had taken 
part in fighting around Namur, the Imperial and Royal 
Government desire to point out that at the moment of declar- 
ing war on Belgium they were themselves in an analogous 
position. 

Thus the Imperial and Royal Government had not at 
that moment been informed authoritatively that, already, 
long before the beginning of the present war and unknown 
to Austria-Hungary, which was one of the States which 
guaranteed the neutrality of Belgium, Belgium had entered 
into negotiations with other of the guaranteeing Powers with 
a view to military co-operation of Belgium with Great Britain 
and France, negotiations which, as is shown by documents 
recently discovered by the German authorities in the Belgian 
archives, finally resulted in the conclusion of arrangements 
of a military nature directed against Germany. It was un- 
doubtedly these tendencies, absolutely contrary to the spirit 
and tenor of the treaties of April 10, 1839, which led the 
Belgian Government to decline the proposals which Germany 
had made to them in order to obtain free passage through 
Belgian territory for German troops proposals which were 
provoked by the hostile attitude of Belgium and dictated 
by the urgent necessity for the German Empire's self- 
preservation and thus to force Germany to make war on 
Belgium. It is precisely by proceeding in this manner that the 
Belgian Government gave ground for the use in the opera- 
tions against the Belgian fortresses of the Austro-Hungarian 
batteries, which from the beginning of the complications 
that led to the war had been placed at the disposal of 
Germany by the Monarchy. 

It is apparent from the above that the Belgian Govern- 
ment themselves provoked the act for which they now 
endeavour to place responsibility on the shoulders of the 

299 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

Imperial and Royal Government. This Government is accord- 
ingly entitled to repudiate this unfounded reproach and to 
state, in its turn, that Belgium acted in a manner contrary to 
the duties devolving on her in her capacity of a permanently 
neutral State. 



No. 106 

M. Davignon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Baron Grenier, 
Belgian Minister at Madrid 

Havre, April 20, 1915. 

SIR, I have the honour to send you herewith the reply of 
the Belgian Government to the note of the Imperial and 
Royal Government which you sent to me in your report of 
April 5. I should be glad if it could be sent to its destina- 
tion through the good offices of the Spanish Government. 

(Signed) DAVIGNON. 

ENCLOSURE TO No. 106 

Note 

By a note bearing the date February n, the Imperial and 
Royal Government pleads the discovery in the Belgian archives 
of documents revealing an alleged Anglo-Belgian military 
understanding directed against Germany, in order to justify the 
participation of the Austro-Hungarian artillery in the destruc- 
tion of the forts of Namur at a time when Belgium and 
Austria-Hungary were at peace. It declares that it was these 
tendencies, contrary to the spirit and tenor of the treaties of 
1839, which led Belgium to decline the German proposals, 
which were provoked by the hostile attitude of Belgium and 
dictated to Germany by the care for her own safety. It 
adds, finally, that the use of the Austrian guns, which from 
the beginning of the hostilities had been placed at the disposal 
of Germany, against the fortresses of Namur, was due to 
this hostile attitude of the Belgian Government, and that the 
Imperial and Royal Government is entitled to point out that 
Belgium has acted in a manner contrary to the duties devolv- 
ing on her in her capacity of a permanently neutral State. 

The Imperial and Royal Government therefore endeavours 
to justify its having engaged in hostilities against us in time 
300 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

of peace by asserting that we had failed to carry out the 
duties of neutrality by negotiating with England a military 
agreement aimed against Germany. This calumnious accusa- 
tion, which the Belgian Government deeply resents, had no 
influence whatever on the declaration of war which Austria- 
Hungary addressed to Belgium on August the 28th, 1914. 
Indeed, even if the culpability of the Belgian Government 
had been proved, it would still be pertinent to ask how that 
would justify an attack which was made two months before 
the discovery of the incriminating documents. 

But the Belgian Government, which for more than eighty- 
four years has scrupulously observed its international obliga- 
tions, emphatically denies the accusation of the German 
chancellery that it has betrayed them. If the Imperial and 
Royal Government had read the documents found in the 
archives of Brussels, it would have convinced itself that 
these documents did not prove the crime of which the 
Belgian Government is accused. 

These documents are two in number. 1 i [For their 

The first is a report addressed by General Ducarne, chief text, see 
of the Belgian General Staff, to the Minister of War on the 
conversations he had had in the beginning of the year 1906 
with Colonel Barnardiston, British Military Attache. These 
conversations dealt with the pledge of England to guarantee 
Belgium's neutrality. At the beginning of their conversa- 
tion General Ducarne mentions the hypothesis assumed by 
Colonel Barnardiston. ' The entry of English troops into 
Belgium would take place only after the violation of Belgian 
neutrality by Germany \ ' 

This hypothesis, namely, the previous violation of Belgian 
neutrality, is sufficient in itself to exonerate the Belgian 
Government from the wrongful act imputed to it by Germany, 
on the assumption, of course, that the documents are not 
mutilated, and that they are not made to say what they do 
not contain, as has been done in the translation published by 
the North German Gazette. 

The violation of the neutrality of Belgium on the eastern 
frontier being a contingency which numerous signs showed 
to be threatening as far back as 1906, the elementary duty of 
the 'Belgian General Staff was to study a scheme of help to 
be sent by England to Belgium as guaranteeing Power, under 

301 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

this hypothesis, to repel an attack by Germany. The fact 
that this contingency has occurred, with a brutality which no 
one could have conceived, shows that these preoccupations were 
justified. Moreover, Colonel Barnardiston, who was merely 
Military Attache, had not the authority necessary to contract 
an engagement, any more than General Ducarne, an official of 
the War Office, was qualified to take official cognisance of a 
promise of help. It lay with the Government alone to con- 
clude a convention with a view to fulfilling the promised 
guarantees. Not only has no such convention ever been con- 
cluded, but the conversations on which the accusation is 
based have never been made the subject of deliberation by 
the Government. 

The second document relates to a conversation on the 
same subject, which took place in April 1912, between Military 
Attache Bridges and Lieutenant-General Jungbluth. In the 
course of this conversation General Jungbluth observed to 
Colonel Bridges that an English intervention on behalf of 
Belgium would be possible only with the consent of the latter. 
The British Military Attache objected that England would 
perhaps be led to exercise her rights and her duties as one 
of the guaranteeing Powers of Belgium, without waiting for 
the latter to call in her aid. That was a personal opinion of 
Colonel Bridges; it was never shared by his Government, 
and this conversation clearly shows that the intervention of 
England could not have taken place before the violation of 
Belgian neutrality by Germany. This second document would 
in itself destroy any suspicion that a convention had been 
concluded in 1906, as a result of a conversation between 
Ducarne and Barnardiston. As a matter of fact Colonel 
Bridges did not in 1912 even make any allusion to the con- 
versation of Colonel Barnardiston in 1906, and it is evident 
that if a convention had been concluded six years before, 
the speakers, in broaching this subject, could not have failed 
to refer to it. 

The Imperial and Royal Government is clearly wrong in 
ascribing the German aggression to the hostile attitude of 
Belgium. Until August 2, 1914, the date of the ultimatum, 
no difference had arisen between the two countries, their 
relations had not ceased to be cordial, and Germany had 
alleged no grievance against us. It is clear, from the evidence 
302 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

of the official documents already published and from the 
speech delivered by the Imperial Chancellor on August the 
4th, 1 that Germany had nothing with which to reproach l [See 
Belgium, and if their troops have attacked her, it is for the D *P!~ 
purpose of reaching France by the quickest and easiest road, J^ 
so as to strike a decisive blow as soon as possible. ' We 
were forced/ the Chancellor said in his speech on August 
the 4th, ' to ignore the rightful protests of the Governments 
of Luxemburg and Belgium. The wrong I speak openly 
the wrong we thereby commit we will make good as soon as 
our military aims have been attained/ 

To declare war on Belgium, the Imperial and Royal 
Government have invoked every kind of pretext except failure 
to fulfil the duties of neutrality, and they cannot deny that 
while we were entertaining friendly relations with them, and 
were trying to comply with the demands of their representative 
at Brussels, they gave the order to their troops to destroy 
our forts at Namur. 



SECTION XII 

LEGEND OF THE PUTTING OUT OF EYES 
No. 107 

M . Davignon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to all Diplomatic 
Representatives Abroad 

Havre, November 25, 1914. 

SIR, I request you to be good enough to have the 
enclosed communique published in a paper of the country to 
which you are accredited. 

I should like it to be published as soon as possible. 

(Signed) DAVIGNON. 

ENCLOSURE TO No. 107 

Note 

We have heard from Berlin through an excellent source 
that two official commissions have been appointed, one of 
them civil and the other military, acting independently, to 
inquire into all acts of cruelty attributed to belligerents. The 
Civil Commission has reported that 

303 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

' In regard to the matter of the putting out of eyes, when- 
ever a case of this kind has been referred to in the newspapers, 
or has been reported from private sources, the Commission has 
sought out witnesses and taken their evidence : in many 
cases, not to say in nearly all, the witnesses admitted that 
they knew the facts only by hearsay ; others either refused 
to come forward or did not put in an appearance. 

' The Commission arrived at the conclusion that no formal 
proofs of wounded men or prisoners having had their eyes 
put out by Belgian women were produced, and that in no 
case is there any official record of this having taken place. 

' Doctors and the Members of the Commission of Inquiry 
stated that, when people's minds are over-excited as they 
now are, it was quite natural that acts of brutality and cruelty 
should be committed by either side, but that generally speak- 
ing these acts had been greatly exaggerated. 

' The stories about the putting out of eyes must have 
arisen from the fact that a large number of wounded men 
have had their eyes put out by fragments of shrapnel which, 
bursting at the height of a man, very often cause wounds in 
the eyes. 

' French and English illustrated papers confirm this. 
You there constantly see, in places where shells are bursting, 
men being wounded in the face, and instinctively protecting 
their faces with their arms or their hands. 

' It seems that thousands of rooks and crows swoop down 
into all the battlefields, and they always attack the eyes of 
the dead and wounded. This may have helped to give rise 
to the story, which medical investigations have in every case 
proved to be untrue. 

' In a Frankfort hospital twenty-nine severely wounded 
men lay, it seems, side by side, all with their eyes put out. 
In not a single case could their wounds be attributed to any 
other cause than that of fragments of shrapnel. In spite of 
this the legend still survives ; but we have been assured that 
in official circles the acts of cruelty with which the Belgians 
have been reproached are formally denied/ 

The Civil Commission is quite definite on this subject. 

The Military Commission is still pursuing its inquiry, 
but it has reached the same conclusions. It has not yet 
304 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

announced officially its findings, and for that reason the con- 
clusions it has reached are subject to reserve, and should only 
be considered as provisional and of a purely private character. 
We are glad to note that the acts of abominable cruelty 
of which Belgian women were so unjustly accused by the 
most authoritative organs of the Imperial Government have 
been formally denied by the two Commissions appointed by 
that same Government. 



No. 108 

M . Davignon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to all Diplomatic 
Representatives Abroad 

Havre, December 18, 1914. 

SIR, In continuation of my letter of November 25th last, 
I have the honour to call your attention to an article which 
appeared in the Temps of the 1 5th of this month under the 
heading 'La 16gende des yeux creves/ It quotes, from the 
Kolnische Volkszeitung and the Vorwdrts, two notes contra- 
dicting the calumnious accusations of the German semi-official 
press on the subject of the alleged mutilation of the wounded 
by the Belgian civil population. (Signed) DAVIGNON. 

ENCLOSURE TO No. 108 

Berne, December 12. 

The important Catholic paper, the Kolnische Volkszeitung, 
published the following letter in one of its recent issues : 

TO THE EDITOR 

Aix-la-Chapelle, November 26. 

SIR, One of the most ungrateful tasks at the present 
time is to defend the truth against the absurd rumours which 
are circulating in the country. The Kolnische Volkszeitung 
has already on September 30, 1914, published a letter from 
me in which I stated that after inquiry I had not found in 
the thirty-five hospitals in Aix-la-Chapelle a single German 
wounded soldier who had had his eyes put out. Since then 
you have informed me that my letter had by no means put 
an end to these reports, and you sent me an article from 
the Kolnische Zeitung of the 3rd October calculated to 

MILITARY 2 U 3O5 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

revive belief in these fantastic stories. It is stated in that 
article in the Kolnische Zeitung that a doctor, named 
Saethre, has visited the hospitals of Cologne, and the follow- 
ing passage occurs in the translation of his report : ' There 
cannot be any doubt as to the cruelties committed by francs- 
tireurs. I have myself seen at Aix-la-Chapelle a Red Cross 
sister who had one of her breasts cut off by them, and a 
squadron commander who had his eyes put out while he was 
lying on the field of battle/ 

You have asked me to write to you what I think of this 
report. I have accordingly approached the official autho- 
rities with a view to ascertaining if the facts mentioned by 
Dr. Saethre were correct. I have received the following 
letter, dated November 25, from the Director of the hospital : 
'The atrocities you mention have not been committed, at 
least in so far as Aix-la-Chapelle is concerned. We have 
never seen the Red Cross sister referred to, nor the squadron 
commander either/ 

I do not know where the doctor mentioned in the Kolnische 
Zeitung obtained his information. I think it necessary to 
state once more that there is not in the hospitals in Aix-la- 
Chapelle any wounded man who has had his eyes put out, or 
any Red Cross sister who has been mutilated in the manner 
named above. FR. KAUFMANN, Archpriest. 

Moreover the Vorwdrts publishes on December 6 the 
results of an inquiry addressed to the management of the 
hospitals of Hanover and of the big hospital de la Charite 
in Berlin. The authorities in charge of the Hanover hospitals 
sent the following reply to the Socialist paper : 

' After making inquiries among the doctors of the different 
sections of No. 3 Hospital, we are able to inform you that we 
have not at this moment any wounded men whose eyes have 
been put out. We have never had any/ 

Similarly the authorities in charge of the hospital de la 
Charite in Berlin sent the following note to the Vorwdrts : 

1 The hospital de la Charit has never had any wounded 
men who have had their eyes put out/ 



306 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 



SECTION XV 

THE TOWN OF COURTRAI FINED 10,000,000 MARKS FOR 
HAVING OBEYED TWO GERMAN COMMANDANTS 

No. 115 

M. Davignon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Baron Grenier, 
Belgian Minister at Madrid 

(Telegraphic.) Havre, January 10, 1915. 

The town of Courtrai has just been punished by a fine of 
ten million marks for an alleged hidden depot of arms. The 
municipal authorities are in no way to blame, for they only 
called in the arms and had them deposited in the Broel tower, 
in accordance with two proclamations, issued in succession, 
the first by order of Commandant Maxeman, and the second 
by order of Commandant Pschors. 

Be good enough to request the Spanish Government to 
bring to the knowledge of the German Governmen ^ the facts 
which prove the unjustifiable character of this punfshment. 

(Signed) DAVIGNON. 



SECTION XIX 

THE GERMAN OFFICERS AND MEN TAKEN PRISONERS BY THE 
BELGIAN ARMY HAVE BEEN TREATED ACCORDING TO 
THE REGULATIONS OF THE HAGUE CONVENTION 

No. 122 

M . Davignon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Baron 
Grenier, Belgian Minister at Madrid 

Havre, February 18, 1915. 

SIR, In the course of the months of November and 
December, my colleague, the Minister of War, and various 
other Belgian persons received numerous letters from officers, 
prisoners in Germany, making it known that the military 
authorities of that country believed, on the strength of reports 
sent in by, amongst others, a German doctor named Weinstein, 

307 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

that the prisoners who had fallen into the hands of the Belgians 
and French were being ill-treated. The writers of the letters 
in question had been informed that reprisals would be taken 
against them if the treatment of the Germans were not 
promptly improved. 

Identical complaints having reached the French Govern- 
ment, the latter on I5th December addressed a note to the 
Spanish Ambassador at Berlin, a note which he was requested 
to transmit to the Imperial Government, concerning the 
prisoners of war in France and in Germany ; in this particulars 
are given of the treatment to which the German prisoners 
in France are subjected. The German combatants captured 
by the Belgian Army are subjected to the same treatment, 
because as they come in they are sent on to the French 
military authorities, and kept in France under the same con- 
ditions as the Germans taken by the French troops. 

Certain allegations, however, of the German doctor Wein- 
stein had special reference to the period during which the 
German officers by whom the complaints were made had been 
kept prisoner in Belgium, and particularly at Bruges. 

The enclosed copy of a report by Lieutenant-General 
Thieman, ex-Inspector-General of the internment depots of 
prisoners of war in Belgium, shows the inaccuracy of the 
allegations in question. 

The French note on the prisoners of war in France and in 
Germany, to which reference has been made above, enumerates, 
on the other hand, many grave matters of complaint as to 
the way in which French prisoners are treated in Germany. 
The Belgian Government have on their side received written 
evidence proving that the treatment given to Belgian prisoners 
in certain German camps is not such as Chapter II. of the 
regulations forming part of the Hague Convention concerning 
the Laws and Customs of War on land ought to secure to 
those within the jurisdiction of the Powers who signed the 
Convention. They reserve to themselves the right to return 
to the subject later on. 

You will be good enough to ask the Spanish Government 
to transmit to Berlin, in the form of a note, the text of the 
present letter. You will find enclosed a copy ad hoc which 
you can hand to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. 

(Signed) DAVIGNON. 
308 



BELGIAN OFFICIAL REPORTS 

ENCLOSURE TO No. 122 

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERNMENT DEPOTS OF PRISONERS 

OF WAR 

Declaration 

In my capacity as Inspector-General of the Internment 
Depots for PrisoneH of War, I visited on the nth and i8th 
of August the depot established and occupied at Bruges. 

On my first visit, I ascertained that Major-General Stienon, 
commanding the Province of West Flanders, assisted by 
Lieutenant-Colonel Capoen and Major Lambert, had decided 
upon and put in force an organisation in which I had only 
to make some modifications of trifling importance. The 
measures prescribed were embodied in an order which ensured 
a most generous interpretation of the Belgian regulations, 
the humanitarian rules of which allow the suffering of 
prisoners of war to be reduced to a minimum, alike from the 
moral and from the physical point of view. A copy of this 
order should form part of a dossier to be found at the War 
Office. On August 18 I had only congratulations to offer ; 
all the rules were observed. 

Officer Prisoners 

On August the nth I visited each prisoner in the room 
which had been allotted him, and I had a private conversa- 
tion with the occupant, in the course of which I bade 'him 
make any request he wished, and I assured him that I would 
do my best to grant it so far as I was able. 

The requests addressed to me may be summed up as 
follows : 

(1) To be prisoner on parole ; 

(2) To be united in groups ; 

(3) To improve the diet ; 

(4) To increase the lighting and ventilation of the rooms ; 

(5) To increase the time devoted to walks. 

Except as concerns the requests under (i) and (2), satis- 
faction was given immediately to those concerned. In- 
structions received from the War Office prevented me from 
granting the wishes expressed in Nos. i and 2. 

The cost of the daily board was increased from two to three 

309 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

francs, and that with the consent of those concerned, who had 
been consulted by myself. 

At the time of my visit on August the i8th I again saw 
the officer prisoners. To those whom I had seen on the nth 
others had been added, amongst whom were some medical 
officers. I talked to every one of them : I asked each one 
his opinion about the diet, and they all declared themselves 
satisfied. No more wishes were expressed to me. One of 
them thanked me in the name of all for what I had done on 
their behalf. 

Prisoners of the Rank and File 

The rules to which prisoners of the rank and file had to 
submit were nearly the same as those to which our soldiers 
have to submit in peace time. 

As early as the nth of August, the rank and file (like the 
officers) were supplied with postcards ; between August 
the nth and igth a canteen was established, which is no 
doubt still in working order. 

During my visit on August the igth, I was told, by those 
concerned, that they had no complaint to make. Everything 
was in fact carried out in accordance with the instructions 
in force. 

The Minister of State, M. Vandervelde, was able to ascer- 
tain by personal inspection, during his visit on August 
the nth to. the depot at Brussels, that all the efforts of the 
military authorities were directed to a mitigation in the 
fullest possible measure of the unhappy condition of prisoners 
of war. The Consul of the United States of America, who 
visited the depot during the first ten days of October last 
in company with Captain Vermeire of the General Staff, who 
had been sent by Major-General Bihin, and whom I saw in 
the offices of the ' Place ' at Bruges, assured me that he 
carried away with him an excellent impression, of which he 
would inform his Government. 

From the above, it follows that the German assertions are 
categorically refuted, so far as concerns the rules to which the 
prisoners of war (officers and men) have been subjected at the 
internment depot of Bruges. THIEMAN, 

Lieutenant-General, retired. 
January 21, 1915. 
310 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

CORRESPONDENCE RESPECTING EVENTS LEADING 
TO RUPTURE OF RELATIONS WITH TURKEY * 

No. 44 
Mr. Cheetham to Sir Edward Grey. (Received August 28) [Cd. 7628 

(Telegraphic.) Cairo, August 28, 1914. 

Ottoman forces are being mobilised in Hedjaz and farther 
south, and existing military activity in Red Sea may thus be 
explained. About sixty Turkish officers arrived at Alexandria 
recently and passed through Egypt down Red Sea. Their 
destination was the Yemen. 

Twelve thousand Turkish troops are reported in Jeddah 
region. 

Signs are not lacking that, in case of war, an attack on 
Egypt is contemplated by Turkey. A few Turkish officers 
are now in the Delta. Steps have been taken to watch 
all those that are known. I learn from a good source that 
all information of Turkish mobilisation reported from 
Constantinople is correct. Meanwhile emissaries are being 
sent to India, the Yemen, Senoussi, and Egypt, to stir up 
feeling against Great Britain. Activity at Gaza is reported, 
but it is uncertain whether this is more than raising of levies 
to replace regulars withdrawn from the north by mobilisation. 



No. 52 
Sir Edward Grey to Sir L. Mallet 

(Telegraphic.) Foreign Office, September i, 1914. 

In order that there may be no room for misconception, 
you should inform Turkish Government that Egyptian 

1 [Extracts. The complete papers will be found in Naval, 2, pp. 34-158.] 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

Government are taking measures to patrol Suez Canal on 
both banks, and that this step is necessary to protect the safe 
and proper working of the Canal. You should add that no 
advance into Sinai, nor military operations in that region, 
are under contemplation. 



No. 72 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received September n) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, September 10, 1914. 

Consignments of warlike material from Germany traced 
up to date amount to 3000 rounds of projectiles for Goeben, 
battery of field-guns with ammunition, several batteries 
of heavy howitzers, probably for field army use, and some 
thousands of rifles. More consignments are on the way. 
All German reservists who have not been able to leave 
Turkish Empire have been instructed to report for enrol- 
ment with Turkish troops. 



No. 74 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received September 14) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, September 13, 1914. 

I hear that Germans are now dominant at Alexandretta, 
and secretly suggest and control everything. From September 
7 to morning of September 12, 24 mountain guns, 400 horses 
and mules, 500 artillery troops belonging to service of 6th 
Army Corps, and large quantity of ammunition passed 
through Alexandretta, proceeding by railway to Constanti- 
nople. 

No. 85 
Mr. Cheetham to Sir Edward Grey. (Received September 22) 

(Telegraphic.) Cairo, September 21, 1914. 

Information respecting Turkish preparations against Egypt 
receives fresh corroboration. There has been no slackening of 
military preparation in Palestine and in Syria. 
312 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

If Turkish preparations continue, it may become necessary 
to put patrols into Sinai and to support our posts in the 
peninsula. Action of forces in Egypt has been hitherto 
confined, as you are aware, to patrol of Suez Canal, but I think 
that Turkish Government should be warned that measures 
for the protection of the Egyptian frontier may become 
necessary. 

No. 89 
Sir Edward Grey to Sir L. Mallet 

(Telegraphic.) Foreign Office, September 24, 1914. 

I hear that Egyptian frontier has been violated by armed 
mounted Arabs said to be encouraged by Turkish troops, 
and also that Hedjaz line is being reserved for troops. British 
military authorities consider that breach of the peace on 
Egyptian frontier is imminent, whether with or without 
sanction of Turkish Government. You should bring these 
facts to the knowledge of the Grand Vizier and of the Khedive, 
who is at present at Constantinople. 



No. 90 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received September 25) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, September 24, 1914. 

Turkish preparations against Egypt. 

I have addressed a note to the Grand Vizier recapitulating 
information recently received on this subject. I reminded 
His Highness of the assurances which I had several times 
given him, based upon your telegram of 7th August, 1 and I 
specially pointed out their conditional nature. Finally I 
warned him that the information respecting Turkish pre- 
parations against Egypt would infallibly produce a most 
serious impression upon His Majesty's Government. 

I later communicated the contents of my note to President 
of the Council, Minister of Finance, and Minister of Interior, 
and asked them what explanations they could give, where- 

1 [See No. 5, Naval, 2, p. 35.] 

313 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

upon they inquired why so many thousand Indian troops 
were being sent to Egypt by His Majesty's Government. To 
this I answered that it was essential to ensure the safety of 
Egypt and the protection of the Suez Canal, and that as the 
British garrison of Egypt had been sent to France, it was 
necessary to replace it by British Indian troops. This seemed 
to satisfy them. 

I cannot believe that they are not alive to the disastrous 
consequences of going to war with us, or that they seriously 
can contemplate an expedition against Egypt. They have 
undoubtedly been strongly urged to send such an expedition 
by the Germans, and I think that they have allowed pre- 
parations to be made, partly to profit as much as possible 
by German connection and by allowing the Germans to 
think that they will act, and partly in order to be ready, if 
Great Britain sustains a serious defeat by land or sea. 

Danger of the present situation is obvious, and develop- 
ments are not improbable, and I shall see the Grand Vizier 
this morning and endeavour to bring him to book. There 
is a circumstantial report that the Germans are now making 
desperate efforts to force the Turks' hands and to compel 
them to fulfil their part of the bargain, but that at the same 
time their efforts are meeting with considerable resistance. 



No. 91 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received September 25) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, September 24, 1914. 

I have informed the Grand Vizier . that Austro-German 
intrigues to involve Turkey in an expedition against Egypt 
are within my knowledge. Grand Vizier denied that such 
intrigues existed, but he finally admitted that pressure was 
being exerted. He declared that he was firmly resolved to 
keep out of any such intrigue, any complicity in which he 
disclaimed with emphasis. I strongly urged His Highness 
to make his position clearer, for preparations at the Dar- 
danelles showed that he was either guilty of complicity or 
that he was not master in his own house. He answered 
that his intentions were entirely pacific, and that he did not 
mean to engage in any quarrel with Great Britain. 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

His Highness seemed more preoccupied with the Balkan 
situation at the moment than with anything else. He said 
that Turkish Government would be unable to refrain from 
an attempt to get back what they had lost in Balkan wars 
if Balkan complications ensued. No arguments of mine 
would induce him to change his attitude in this respect. 
He said he would be powerless to prevent it. 



No. 92 
Mr. Cheetham to Sir Edward Grey. (Received September 25) 

(Telegraphic.) Cairo, September 25, 1914. 

Turkish preparations on Sinai frontier. 

Two thousand men with stores passed Gaza on night of 
September 18, following coast towards frontier. Six more 
battalions are expected at Gaza. In that neighbourhood 
very strong and secret military preparations are being made 
on the frontier. Three battalions of Redif completely 
mobilised have marched to a place one day south of Jaffa on 
their way to the frontier. 



No. 95 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received September 26) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, September 25, 1914. 

On September 22 and 23, 183 horses, 112 nizam, 2 officers, 
and 88 carts and carriages, all from Aintab, were entrained 
at Aleppo for Damascus. 

Secret notice was given that in six days' time 120 rail- 
way wagons were to be in readiness to convey to Damascus 
troops arriving from Mosul via Tel Abiyat, and that in all 
from 25,000 to 30,000 troops were to be drafted from Mosul 
to Aleppo, of which at least half are destined for Kama or 
Damascus. 

Two Germans connected with Bagdad Railway, one of 
whom is an expert in blasting operations and mine-laying, 
left Aleppo this morning for Damascus, the other telling his 
servant that they were going to Akaba. They had with 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

them 1600 dynamite cartridges and 1500 metres of detonating 
wires. They may, perhaps, be commissioned to lay mines 
in Red Sea as there has been talk of Turkish military designs 
regarding Akaba recently. 



No. 96 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received September 27) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, September 26, 1914. 

Grand Vizier has been informed of the information re- 
ported by Mr. Cheetham in his telegram of 25th September, 1 
and in my telegram of the same date. 2 I warned His High- 
ness that if these preparations against Egypt were allowed 
to continue, serious consequences would ensue. Minister of 
War was with Grand Vizier when I made these representa- 
tions, and His Highness informed me that he fully realised 
the importance of the question, with which he was occupy- 
ing himself. I have taken steps to enlighten influential 
people with what is being done as regards Egypt, and I have 
seen Minister of Interior and left a memorandum with him 
on the subject ; I have also put the facts before other pro- 
minent members of the Cabinet. 



No. 100 
Sir Edward Grey to Sir L. Mallet 

(Telegraphic.) Foreign Office, September 29, 1914. 

Information has reached His Majesty's Government that 
Turkish Minister of War telegraphed to Bin Saud, Emir of 
Nejd, several times towards the end of July that, owing to the 
imminence of war in Europe, arms, ammunition, and officers 
for training his Arabs were being sent to him. 

Vali of Basra has been informed by Turkish Minister of 
War that thirty-two secret emissaries, including German 
officers, are on their way to preach a ' jehad ' in India, 
Afghanistan, and Baluchistan ; that arms and ammunition 
are being sent to Basra under German flag, and that Turkish 

1 See No. 92. 2 See No. 95. 

316 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

Government are prepared to help Germany in return for 
assistance received during Balkan war. 



No. 104 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 3) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 2, 1914. 

Information continues to reach me corroborating reports 
of Turkish preparations against Egypt. Large transport 
camel corps arrived at Jerusalem yesterday, and I hear of 
transport of warlike materials, food-stuffs, and military 
stores on line Jenin-Nablus- Jerusalem, and also to Maan. 
Seven German military officers have been sent to Damascus 
and neighbourhood. This has stimulated preparations, and 
it is believed in Syria that Turkish Government has decided 
upon a movement against Egypt, Damascus division being 
assembled for advance by Akaba, Jerusalem division for 
that by Rafa. Inhabitants at Beirout and Haifa are being 
removed inland as a precautionary measure against any 
action which may be taken by British fleet when the advance 
on Egypt begins. It is reported from Haifa that localities 
along the coast are being garrisoned by newly arrived troops. 
I have brought the gravity of the existing situation to the 
notice of the Grand Vizier in the strongest terms in a further 
note, though I do not view any actual movement against 
Egypt as imminent at the moment. In my note I have 
informed His Highness that the measures now undertaken 
can have no reason except as a threat against Egypt, and 
that they can no longer be regarded as incidental to an 
ordinary mobilisation of troops in their peace stations, and 
I have stated that His Majesty's Government can only view 
any further preparations at Jerusalem or at Maan in a serious 
light. 

In addition to above-mentioned military measures, move- 
ments of suspicious individuals have now been supplemented 
by those of a German naval officer named Hilgendorff, who 
is at present on his way from Damascus to Petra with a 
party of eight Germans. It is understood that they will be 
joined by a smaller party from Haifa via Amman, and that 
they are conveying a large supply of explosives. I have 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

made representations to the Grand Vizier explaining that 
such hostile enterprises against Great Britain cannot be 
allowed in a neutral country, and that these people must be 
arrested. 

Speaking generally, I am inclined to think that both in 
the neighbourhood of Constantinople, on the Black Sea, 
the Egyptian frontier, and 'elsewhere, the Turks intend to 
have their troops all ready for action at a favourable point 
should the general European situation afford a good oppor- 
tunity. Should the German admiral take the Goeben into 
the Black Sea and attack the Russian fleet, or should things 
take an unfavourable turn for the Allies, Turkish troops 
would be in a position to cross the Egyptian frontier without 
much further delay. His Majesty's Government will doubt- 
less consider what, if any, military measures are necessary 
for the strengthening of strategical points in the Sinai 
peninsula. 



No. 109 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 6) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 6, 1914. 

Military attache had a long interview with Minister of 
War yesterday, from which he- derived the impression that 
His Excellency had ambitious schemes in the Arab world 
and in Egypt. These may perhaps refer more to the future, 
and possibly measures are now being taken so as to prepare 
for the eventuality of Great Britain being worsted in war 
with Germany ; meanwhile the way is being paved indirectly 
for present or future action. During the conversation, 
Minister of War disclaimed any intention on the part of the 
Turks of initiating, themselves, any offensive movements 
against Egypt, and pointed out that ordinary Syrian garrison 
had not been reinforced. He said that, as in the case of other 
troops within the Empire, Syrian garrison had been fully 
mobilised. It was being equipped with necessary transport 
animals, etc., on a war scale, and it was being carefully trained 
with the help of the officers of the German mission as else- 
where throughout Turkey. Everything, he said, depended 
on the political situation, for which he was not responsible 
318 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

individually ; and it was quite possible that the Syrian 
army corps might finally be moved in another direction, 
even, perhaps, to Constantinople. He scouted the idea of 
individual Germans undertaking enterprises against the Suez 
Canal or elsewhere, but he admitted that proposals had 
certainly been made to the Bedouin tribes to enlist their 
sympathies as supporters of the Empire in all eventualities. 
He defended the concentration of stores at Maan, Nablus, 
and Jerusalem, and he added that no troops, but only gen- 
darmes, had been moved in the direction of Gaza. Never- 
theless, he could not deny that some of the measures taken 
were certainly precautionary against Great Britain, and in 
justification of this he pointed to the entrance of British 
men-of-war into the Shatt-el-Arab, to the arrival of Indian 
troops in Egypt, and to the presence of the British fleet in 
Turkish territorial waters outside the Dardanelles. Military 
attache said that, as far as the action of the fleet and of His 
Majesty's Government were concerned, this was due to 
infringement of neutrality by Turks, and Great Britain cer- 
tainly had not the slightest intention of making any attack 
upon Turkey. It was quite ridiculous to suppose that the 
arrival of Indian troops in Egypt had anything to do with 
hostility to Turkey. Minister of War at once advanced 
such arguments as that Turkey had maintained her neutrality ; 
that German officers and men on auxiliary ships were entirely 
under Turkish control, indeed they were in the Turkish service. 
Military attache said that Turks could not be surprised that 
Great Britain should be preoccupied if Turkish troops were 
assembled farther south than Jerusalem or Beersheba on 
the one side, or Maan on the other. 



No. 114 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 8) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 7, 1914. 

There has been fighting during the last few days on 
frontier between Russian troops and Kurds supported by 
Turkish troops. Last night Russian Ambassador made 
strong representations to the Grand Vizier, and said that 

319 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

the Turkish Government must restrain the activities of their 
troops on the frontier. Furthermore, Russian consul had 
been arrested. Replying to these representations, Grand 
Vizier assured Russian Ambassador, in writing, that the 
consul should be released at once and that the fighting should 
cease. Russian Ambassador has certain information that 
Turks are being incited to fight by Germans and Austrians. 
His Excellency agrees with me that Grand Vizier is honestly 
exercising what influence he has in favour of peace, but it is 
doubtful if he has the power to restrain the military party 
under Enver Pasha. 



No. 115 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October n) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 10, 1914. 

It is highly probable that for some time past money has 
been sent to Syria mainly with the object of subsidising the 
Bedouins. It is also supposed that the Germans in Syria have 
had sums of money with them. The following is the number 
of German military officers known to be in Syria at present : 
Seven who went there some time ago, of whom Colonel 
Kress von Kressenstein is one, four who arrived October 2 
at Damascus, and five more who arrived there on October 6. 
My information is to the effect that seven more may since 
have arrived at Alexandretta. Meanwhile, another party of 
Turkish sailors is leaving Constantinople overland for Bagdad 
and the Tigris. Information has just reached me from 
Damascus to the effect that Colonel von Kressenstein had 
gone to Maan to inspect, but only two military trains with 
details and stores had left in the last two days. West of 
the Jordan no movements had taken place. Two railway 
vans of dynamite had left Damascus for Beirout ; four 
thousand Mosul troops had reached Aleppo, but were waiting 
there for the present. 



320 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

No. 118 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 12) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 12, 1914. 

My despatch of October 4. 1 

I have received note from the Porte in reply to my note 
of 2nd October respecting Turkish preparations against Egypt. 

It says that military activity in Syria is common to all 
provinces of the Empire, and is natural consequence of 
mobilisation, having no other object than to put Turkey on a 
footing to defend her neutrality. Turkey's position being 
one of simple and legitimate precautions, it will be readily 
recognised that it would not be conceivable that she should 
change it in order to attack Egypt, which is one of her own 
provinces. 

The Porte goes on to observe that, although I have on 
several occasions assured Grand Vizier that His Majesty's 
Government have no intention of altering status of Egypt, 
yet declaration that Egypt is in a state of war, dismissal of 
German and Austrian agents, who receive their exequaturs 
from the Porte, and above all arrival in Egypt of important 
contingents from India as well as other acts, have attracted 
serious attention of Imperial Government and have created 
real anxiety. 

Note concludes by reiterating to me assurance that Turkey 
has no hostile intention towards any Power whatever, and 
that military preparations have purely and exclusively 
defensive character. 

I think that it would be right to remind Grand Vizier 
that I have always made it perfectly clear that undertaking 
not to change the status of Egypt was conditional on Turkey 
maintaining strict neutrality. 



No. 124 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 14) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 14, 1914. 

Moslems in Aleppo district are reported to have been 
so inveigled and incited by German and Turkish deliberate 
1 Received on October 19. See No, 143. 

MILITARY 2 X 321 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

official misrepresentations and falsehoods of every kind that 
masses seem to believe German Emperor has embraced Islamic 
faith, and that Germans are fighting for Islam against Russia. 



No. 127 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 15) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 14, 1914. 

About 600 Moslem ' fedahis/ dressed in various guises, 
have arrived at Aleppo in batches during past fortnight, 
their head being an officer related to Ottoman Minister of War ; 
400 of these came from Smyrna, where they had incited 
Moslems against Greeks. At Aleppo they intrigued, with 
the aid of Committee of Union and Progress, with sheikhs 
against Great Britain. Discourses of a guarded anti-British 
tendency were pronounced in mosques. The last batch left 
Aleppo October 12 by rail. Parties of them have proceeded 
to Kama, Horns, Baalbek, Damascus, the Hauran, to incite 
sheikhs against Great Britain, and they are to continue their 
journey south by Hedjaz Railway, and to find their way into 
Egypt to incite Moslems there. Many of the principal sheikhs 
of Aleppo seem now gained over to side of Germany. 



No. 129 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 16) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 15, 1914. 

Son of Kurdish chief Issa, who is stated to have influence 
in Mesopotamia, and who has been in Constantinople for 
instructions, is said to have left for Basra to work anti-English 
propaganda, and other agents, including Germans, are said 
to be on their way to Afghanistan on similar errand. 

I learn that Zekki Pasha, commander of 8th Corps, has 
lately received 5000 to distribute amongst Bedouins, and 
that as much as 35,000 in gold left here by train on I2th 
for Syria. Senator Abdurrahman is working among Bedouins 
at Maan and Muntaz Bey on the west by Beersheba and 
Jerusalem. 

Party of Turkish sailors mentioned as having left here by 
322 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

train for Basra are now stated to be on the way to Akaba 
with consignment of metal boats. Another lot of boats is at 
Rayak, possibly on the way to Beirout. Quantities of 
dynamite have been sent to the coast towns of Syria, probably 
to serve for mining purposes of land defence. This is in 
addition to sea mines which have been also forwarded. 
Numbers of ' working battalions ' (soldiers as yet untrained) 
are road constructing in southern Syria. 

All above and previous reports in a similar sense show 
that there is very considerable activity being directed in a 
sense hostile to us, and this activity is being worked by German 
influence and agents in every conceivable direction. Probably 
Government, as a whole, have little control over these 
activities, but do not disapprove of them. As regards actual 
military preparations, German element has sufficient power 
to persuade the authorities on certain points. German press 
is directing movement, and has obtained despatch of numbers 
of German officers to Syria to superintend preparations and 
training of corps there for war, concentration of stores and 
supplies at suitable spots, preparation of lines of communica- 
tion and defence of coast. 



No. 130 

Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 16) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 16, 1914. 

German plots have been so extensive that it is conceiv- 
able that they may introduce individuals into Egypt who, 
impersonating Indian soldiers, may cause mischief. 

In substantiation of this I have to state that His Majesty's 
Consul at Aleppo has learnt that a tailor in that town has 
been commissioned to make a variety of Indian costumes and 
head-dresses on design and measurements supplied by German 
officers there. 

No. 131 
Sir H. Bax-Ironside to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 16) 

(Telegraphic.) Sophia, October 16, 1914. 

Ninety-seven cases of bullion passed through Rustchuk 
yesterday for Constantinople, accompanied by six Germans. 

323 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

This consignment was preceded by two hundred other cases. 
In the last three weeks many heavy cases and stores have 
passed through same town. 

Armaments are believed to be sent through in the night. 



No. 132 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 16) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 16, 1914. 

Local authorities at Jaffa have distributed 10,000 rifles 
amongst Bedouins, each with 100 cartridges, 5000 ten-shot 
to owners of horses and riding camels, and 5000 single-shot 
to owners of baggage camels. Bedouins have been employed 
to dig wells, and Germans to fit them with motor pumps ; 
ovens have been built near frontier. 

It is believed that Bedouins' next move is to be towards 
Akaba. 

Horses and mules throughout the whole district are being 
requisitioned most energetically. 



No. 133 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 17) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 16, 1914. 

Major Omar Fevzi Bey, son of Arimm Effendi, ex-Governor- 
General of Damascus, accompanied by five German officers, 
arrived at Aleppo October 14 from Constantinople bringing 
25,000 liras. The officers passed for engineers, and are buy- 
ing saddle horses to proceed to Bagdad via Ana.. From Ana 
they are to take two batteries of guns, which, together with 
money and loads of rifles and ammunition taken from Aleppo, 
they are to deliver to Ibn-el-Reshid. 

Railway trucks full of dynamite for Alexandretta and 
Damascus are expected to arrive from Constantinople. 
German officers of Breslau have already laid thirteen mines 
at Alexandretta according to report that has now reached me. 



324 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

No. 136 
Sir F. Elliot to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 17) 

(Telegraphic.) Athens, October 17, 1914. 

One Bouhadi Sadil has been discovered buying arms for 
importation into Egypt. He had already bought 700 
Gras rifles and ammunition. I understand that two of this 
man's accomplices were recently convicted in Egypt. 



No. 138 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 18) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 17, 1914. 

Since end of September following have reached Con- 
stantinople : 

Six thousand nine hundred cases of Mauser ammunition, 
540 cases of Mauser rifles, 13 trucks of war material, and 
about 8oo,ooo/. in bar gold. 

Arrival of a submarine in sections is expected shortly, 
and I am informed that such a consignment, together with 
two aeroplanes, left Rustchuk on October 8. 

Two German ships were recently escorted from Sulina by 
Breslau, and are reported to have brought submarine. But 
there is no evidence at present to prove this. 



No. 139 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 18) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 18, 1914. 

Aeroplane, three airmen, and several mechanics left 
Beersheba yesterday. 

Governor left Jaffa with a view to allaying panic. 

Following is resume of a telegram from Minister of War 
to commandant at Jaffa which has come to my knowledge : 

' On the approach of enemy warships destroy boats and 
lighters, kill horses, break carriages, and destroy railway. 
Strictly guard telegraph. When surrender of town is 
demanded ask for time to consult Jerusalem. If Jerusalem 

325 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

instructs you not to surrender, oppose landing of the enemy 
by force of arms. See no looting of town takes place, and 
find suitable place to shelter your archives. Explain above 
to the population and arm them, taking oath from them. At 
signal not to surrender send away women and children. 
Hoist flag on konak and barracks so as not to have other 
places bombarded. Break enemy's flagstaff and remove 
insignia from the door of his consulate/ 



No. 143 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 19) 

Constantinople, October 4, 1914. 

SIR, I have the honour to forward herewith copy of a 
note which I addressed to the Grand Vizier protesting against 
certain military preparations in Syria. 

On October 2 I addressed a further note, copy of which is 
also enclosed, pointing out that no answer had been received 
either to my previous note or to two letters of the 25th and 
26th on the same subject. I have, etc. 

Louis MALLET. 

ENCLOSURE i IN No. 143 
Sir L. Mallet to Grand Vizier 

(TRANSLATION) 

Constantinople, September 23, 1914. 

YOUR HIGHNESS, In the course of our interview of 
yesterday morning, I had the honour to inform your High- 
ness of the anxiety that the news which reached me from 
Syria in regard to the military preparations and plots against 
Egypt now going on in that province, was causing me. So 
long as it was a question of preparations similar to those made 
in other parts of the Empire, as a consequence of the general 
mobilisation, I did not mention the matter to your Highness, 
although special importance might attach to all such doings 
in the neighbourhood of the Egyptian frontier. Similarly, I 
have been able up to the present to reject, as improbable 
tales, the rumours which have reached me from more than 
326 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

one source, according to which a sudden blow directed against 
the Suez Canal was being planned with the object of render- 
ing it impassable, although I am aware that the enemies of 
Great Britain are intriguing with the object of leading your 
Highness's Government into adventures as insensate, and 
even more insensate, than this. I should, however, fail in 
my duty towards my Government, and I may add also towards 
the Government of your Highness, if I did not bring to your 
Highness's knowledge the latest reports which have reached 
me. It appears from these reports that the minds of the 
Bedouins are being excited by professional agitators, who, 
encouraged by the Ottoman Government, are desirous of 
inflaming them against England. The military preparations 
which up to a certain moment bore a similar character to 
those in the other provinces of the Empire, have lately changed 
into a converging movement towards the south. Troops 
are being brought from such distant centres as Mosul. General 
activity reigns everywhere from Damascus to Maan, and 
cumulative evidence leads my Consul at Jerusalem to the 
belief that an organised expedition against Egypt is in project 
for the next few days. 

I trust that the reports, the contents of which I have 
just summed up to your Highness, put a wrong interpreta- 
tion on facts which, as such, cannot be discussed. But I 
repeat that I should fail in my duty if I did not bring to your 
Highness's knowledge the grave preoccupation which they 
cause me, and the impression which they make upon His 
Britannic Majesty's Government, and if I did not place you 
on your guard against the disastrous consequences, which 
would ensue for your Highness's Government, if they were to 
follow a course so contrary to their own interests as that of 
becoming the accomplice of Germany in an attack upon 
Egypt. 

Your Highness will remember that at the beginning of the 
present war, Sir E. Grey instructed Mr. Beaumont to give 
you the assurance that, provided that Turkey maintained 
strict and absolute neutrality during the war, and so long as 
unforeseen circumstances did not arise, His Britannic Majesty's 
Government had no desire to, nor intention of annexing 
Egypt, nor of modifying her regime in any way whatsoever. 
I had the honour to confirm this assurance to your High- 

327 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

ness shortly after my return to Constantinople. Since then, 
being desirous of avoiding any possibility of misunderstanding 
with the Imperial Government, I have repeatedly called your 
Highnesses attention to the conditional character of the 
assurances given by Sir E. Grey. Now, I hold it to be my 
duty to declare once more to your Highness that my Govern- 
ment take the most serious view of the unprecedented viola- 
tions of neutrality already committed by the Turkish Govern- 
ment in retaining German officers and men on board the 
German warships, and by subsequently taking into their 
service numerous other Germans in a similar military capacity. 

It does not seem to me necessary at this moment to re- 
capitulate the details of still further departures from neutrality 
committed by Turkey in favour of the enemies of Great 
Britain. Nor need I insist on the consequences which might 
ensue if, to add the last touch to so grave a situation, my 
Government were to become convinced that the Imperial 
Government were seriously meditating an attack against 
Egypt, or that they were a party to disloyal intrigues against 
the security of the Suez Canal, or against the present regime 
in Egypt. Your Highness can judge of the whole import- 
ance and possible extent of these consequences. 

I enclose in this note a Memorandum, enumerating in 
detail the facts which can be considered as indications of a 
forthcoming attack upon Egypt. I avail, etc. 

Louis MALLET. 



MEMORANDUM 

(TRANSLATION) 

From a report dated the i8th instant, it appears that the 
authorities were using all their efforts in order to excite the 
Bedouin tribes against England by representing her as the 
enemy of Islam, and that 30,000 men belonging to these 
tribes were ready to rise. A supplementary report states 
that the instigators of this movement are Muntaz Bey, an 
officer of the army, Essad Shoucair, deputy or former deputy, 
and a certain Beheddine Bey, aided by several other persons, 
and with the support of the local, civil, and military autho- 
rities. The report adds categorically that, according to 
328 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

current rumour, these tribes were to arm immediately in 
order to march on Egypt. 

From a further report dated the i8th instant, it appears 
that a military movement from Damascus towards the south 
was expected about 2Oth September ; that the Mosul troops 
were on their way to Damascus ; that large stores of food- 
stuffs were being prepared ; that 3000 camels had been 
collected at Maan ; and that two staff officers had returned 
from Akaba after studying the possibility of a movement 
across the desert. This report was supplemented by another 
of the same date to the effect that it was intended to 
send a large number of men from Horns to Damascus by 
rail, between September 20 and 23, and that a great con- 
centration converging towards the south was expected. 
From a third report, which was received subsequently, it 
appears that another 5000 camels had been requisitioned 
at Maan ; that all the rolling-stock of the southern section 
of the Hedjaz Railway was being concentrated at Deraa; 
and that the Mosul troops had reached Tel-Abiad, near 
Aleppo. 

A report, dated the 2ist instant, stated that there was 
cumulative evidence to show almost certainly that an attack 
against Egypt on a large scale would take place in the very 
near future ; that the troops would advance on both sides 
by way of Akaba and by way of El Arish ; and that a large 
provision of things necessary for their transport across the 
desert was being prepared. A further report of the same 
date stated that camels and men had arrived at Damascus 
from Horns ; that thirty battalions were expected to arrive 
during the week ; that the chief staff officer from Damascus 
had proceeded to Maan ; and that the chiefs of the Bedouin 
tribes had left for the south after a conference with the Vali. 
Constantinople, September 23, 1914. 



ENCLOSURE 2 IN No. 143 
Sir L. Mallet to Grand Vizier 

Constantinople, October 2, 1914. 

YOUR HIGHNESS, In my communication of September 
23 and subsequent letters of the 25th and 26th, various 

329 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

military and other preparations in Syria, initiated by the 
Ottoman Government, were brought to the notice of your 
Highness, as likely to cause apprehensions to His Majesty's 
Government. 

To the representations made in these communications, no 
written reply has yet been received, and it appears that not 
only has the verification of the details already given been 
confirmed, but further news of a disquieting nature has now 
arrived. For instance, the transport of food-stuffs, military 
stores, and material of war to Maan continues. As this place 
is in nowise a Turkish military centre in peace, and has no 
connection with a mobilisation of the Syrian divisions in their 
ordinary stations, but is, on the other hand, in proximity 
to the Egyptian frontier. His Majesty's Government would 
desire to be informed why it is considered necessary to make 
the preparations in question, which are evidently for the 
maintenance of a considerable body of troops or for their 
transit farther in the direction of Akaba. 

2. Similar preparations are also apparently being made 
on the road Jenin-Nablus- Jerusalem, and the collection of 
a camel corps at the latter place was announced yesterday. 
These measures tend to show a projected concentration of 
troops on the limits of Syria to the west, and again in proximity 
to the Egyptian frontier. 

3. The above steps have latterly coincided with the 
sudden arrival of Colonel Kress von Kressenstein and six 
other German officers, with the result that it is openly 
rumoured in Syria that the Jerusalem division is preparing 
to move towards Rafa and that of Damascus towards 
Akaba. 

4. From Beirout arrive reports that the inhabitants are 
retiring inland, and from Haifa that the customs and railway 
staff have also been transferred from the coast. These 
measures are stated to be taken as precautionary steps against 
the hostile action of the British fleet, which is expected to 
ensue on the movement of Turkish forces against Egypt. 

5. In view of all these circumstances, it is undoubtedly 
the case that it is fully believed in Syria that an offensive 
movement against Egypt is contemplated by the Ottoman 
authorities, and, although His Majesty's Government do not 
necessarily share this view, they cannot but regard any 
330 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

continuance of the military movement in anything but the 
most serious light. 

6. Apart from recognised military measures, the move- 
ments of a German engineer belonging to the Bagdad Railway 
with a large consignment of explosives destined for an attempt 
on the Suez Canal has already been brought to your High- 
ness's notice in my letter of the 25th ultimo. 

Not only have the movements of this individual been 
confirmed, but the departure of a German naval officer 
named Hilgendorff is now also announced with the same 
purpose. This individual has left Petra with a party of eight 
Germans, ostensibly on a shooting expedition, but with a 
large amount of stores, including explosives, and intending 
to meet another similar party journeying via Haifa- Amman. 

As both these parties are acting from neutral territory 
with the avowed intention of committing acts hostile to Great 
Britain, it is incumbent on the Porte to secure their appre- 
hension, coupled with an assurance that all necessary steps 
will be taken to put an end to any enterprise of this nature. 

I have been repeatedly assured by your Highness and 
by other members of the Ottoman Government that Turkey 
is firmly determined to maintain an attitude of strict neutrality 
during the European war. To these assurances I have been 
unfortunately obliged to reply that the Ottoman Government 
have failed in several most essential particulars to maintain 
their neutrality, and I would now desire to point out, with 
all the emphasis at my command, that, if these preparations 
continue, only one conclusion can be deduced namely, that 
the Ottoman Government are taking preliminary steps to 
send an expedition against Egypt and that they are conniving 
at the preparation of a plot against the Suez Canal on the 
part of German subjects, who are either in the Ottoman 
service or are acting independently. 

I cannot too earnestly impress upon your Highness the 
absolute necessity of putting an end to this situation of 
uncertainty at the earliest moment possible, in order that 
those relations of confidence and sincerity may be restored 
between the two Governments which it has constantly been 
my object to foster. I avail, etc. 

Louis MALLET. 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

No. 148 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 19) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 19, 1914. 

New Governor-General of Basra with six army officers, 
including two German officers, also six naval officers, includ- 
ing two Germans, and 150 Turkish sailors with three columns 
of ammunition, arrived at Alexandretta on morning of Octo- 
ber 18 by railway from Constantinople. Their final destina- 
tion is believed to be Basra. I am also informed that Maan 
is their true destination. 



No. 149 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 19) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 19, 1914. 

Within last few days following have passed through 
Adana in direction of Syria : 450 gendarmes with 600 sailors, 
of whom 200 were German, 52 German naval and military 
officers, a commandant of police, 45 civilian officials, of whom 
two were German, 10 engines, and 3 or four automobiles, 
said to contain German officers. 



No. 150 
Mr. Cheetham to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 19) 

(Telegraphic.) Cairo, October 19, 1914. 

I am informed that Bimbashi Gamil, staff officer in 
Turkish army, Khoga (Imam) Ali Haider, Khoga (Imam) 
Amin, and Khoga (Imam) Rustom, have left Smyrna in 
order to carry on a Turcophile propaganda in India. 



No. 152 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 22) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 21, 1914. 

Battery of six guns which left Constantinople on nth 
instant, and which I think were heavy guns, have, together 
332 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

with aeroplane, arrived at Alexandretta and left for the 
south. 

Since October 18 there have been no movements of 
troops to or from Damascus. Some trucks of ammunition 
went round by rail to Nablus Sidi, and cases of rifles arrived 
from Aleppo. 

No. 154 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 22) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 22, 1914. 

A manifesto, the authorship of which is attributed to 
Sheikh Aziz Shawish, is being secretly circulated at Beirout. 
Manifesto bears alleged signatures of ten representatives of 
Moslem countries under foreign rule. It incites Moslem 
soldiers to mutiny in their respective countries in defence of 
Islam, and bids them desert the Allies and join Germany. 
Whole tenor is fanatical and inflammatory. 



No. 155 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 22) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 22, 1914. 

My immediately preceding telegram. 

I understand that several thousand copies of manifesto 
are to be smuggled into Egypt and India and other Moslem 
countries through Syria. 



No. 156 
Sir Edward Grey to Sir L. Mallet 

(Telegraphic.) Foreign Office, October 22, 1914. 

German officers now on frontier seem bent on forcing 
matters. General Officer Commanding Egypt anticipates 
Arab raid at any moment at their instigation. 



333 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

No. 161 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 24) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 23, 1914. 

Twenty projectors, 10 electric mines, 4 electric motors, 
500 cases of Mauser ammunition have arrived via Rustchuk 
in addition to arrivals already reported previously. 



No. 162 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 24) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 23, 1914. 

Very large quantities of bar gold have recently arrived. 
Nearly a million's worth was taken to Deutsche Bank three 
nights ago under escort, and there is information that pre- 
vious consignments have been similarly conveyed. It is 
probable that between two and three millions have arrived 
altogether. 

No. 163 

Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 24) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 23, 1914. 

German named Kellerman has just left Aleppo for Haifa 
or the south. Two thousand camels, 1500 water-skins, 
400 bicycles, all canvas and canvas bags, together with 
food-stuffs, are being requisitioned in Aleppo. 

Information goes to show that an Arab raid has been 
possible during last few weeks, and contingency has certainly 
to be watched. 

No. 166 
Sir Edward Grey to Sir L. Mallet 

(Telegraphic.) Foreign Office, October 24, 1914. 

Your telegram of October 23 1 gives the impression that 
Turkey considers sending an armed force over the frontier 
of Egypt as being in some way different from acts of war 

1 [See No. 164, Naval, 2, p. 143.] 
534 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

against Russia. You should disabuse the Turkish Govern- 
ment of any such idea, and inform them that a military 
violation of frontier of Egypt will place them in a state of 
war with three allied Powers. 

I think you should enumerate to Grand Vizier the hostile 
acts of which we complain, and warn him that, if German 
influences succeed in pushing Turkey to cross the frontiers 
of Egypt and threaten the international Suez Canal, which 
we are bound to preserve, it will not be we, but Turkey, that 
will have aggressively disturbed the status quo. 

The following is a convenient summary of Turkish acts 
of which we complain, and which, combined, produce a most 
unfavourable impression. You might send it to Grand 
Vizier : 

' The Mosul and Damascus Army Corps have, since their 
mobilisation, been constantly sending troops south prepara- 
tory to an invasion of Egypt and the Suez Canal from Akaba 
and Gaza. A large body of Bedouin Arabs has been called 
out and armed to assist in this venture. Transport has been 
collected and roads have been prepared up to the frontier 
of Egypt. Mines have been despatched to be laid in the 
Gulf of Akaba to protect the force from naval attack, and 
the notorious Sheikh Aziz Shawish, who has been so well 
known as a firebrand in raising Moslem feeling against 
Christians, has published and disseminated through Syria 
and probably India, an inflammatory document urging 
Mohammedans to fight against Great Britain. Dr. Priiffer, 
who was so long engaged in intrigues in Cairo against the 
British occupation, and is now attached to the German 
Embassy in Constantinople, has been busily occupied in 
Syria trying to incite the people to take part in this conflict/ 



No. 168 
Sir G. Buchanan to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 27) 

(Telegraphic.) Petrograd, October 26, 1914. 

Forty-two Germans, disguised as tourists, are said to 
have arrived at Aleppo. They are members of General 
Staff and of crews of Goeben and Breslau. It is believed 

335 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

that they have 150 mines with them. Some of the officers 
are bound for Bagdad and Basra, others for Beirout and 
Tripoli. 

No. 169 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 27) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 27, 1914. 

Enver Pasha, Jemel, and Talaat Bey, are making every 
preparation for an expedition against Egypt, which is evi- 
dently now their uppermost thought. A majority of the 
Committee are, however, said to be against war, and are 
showing considerable opposition to the scheme. I am unable 
to vouch for this, but the news appears to be fairly well 
authenticated. Halill Bey started for Berlin this morning, 
and he is said to be about to negotiate with the German 
Government. It seems difficult to explain his journey on 
any other hypothesis than that the Turks wish to post- 
pone any decisive action. 



No. 172 
Mr. Cheetham to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 28) 

(Telegraphic.) Cairo, October 28, 1914. 

I have received reliable information that some German 
officers unsuccessfully endeavoured to persuade commandant 
of Turk post to attack our post at Kossaimo, and that, on 
making further efforts with this object, they were arrested 
and sent to Beersheba. If true, story shows desire of Germans 
to precipitate matters. 



No. 173 
Mr. Cheetham to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 28) 

(Telegraphic.) Cairo, October 28, 1914. 

Two thousand armed Bedouins are advancing to attack 
the Canal, and have watered at Magdaba, which is twenty 
miles inside Egyptian frontier, October 26. 

336 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

No. 176 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 29) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 29, 1914. 

I have seen the Grand Vizier and informed him that, 
in spite of his assurances, the Bedouins had crossed the 
frontier and were in occupation of wells of Magdaba, twenty 
miles within Egyptian territory. I reminded him of the 
warning which 1 had addressed to him on account of instruc- 
tions contained in your telegram of October 24, l and asked 
him for explanation. His Highness replied that he had 
instructed Minister of War, after representations which I 
had made to him, on no account to allow movement of any 
force across the frontier. If it were true, he would give 
immediate orders for recall of Bedouins, but he did not 
believe accuracy of the information. 

I replied that it was necessary at such a crisis that I should 
speak quite frankly, that it was a matter for public notoriety 
that there were divisions of opinion in the Cabinet, that His 
Highness was not master of the situation, and that, if Minister 
of War and extremists had decided upon an expedition against 
Egypt, His Highness could not prevent it. Grand Vizier 
replied that I was absolutely mistaken, and that, if it came 
to that, military party would not act without full assent 
of the Government. I said that in that case the time had 
come to put them to the test, and that unless expedition 
were immediately recalled, I could not answer for the con- 
sequences. As it was, I might at any moment receive 
instructions to ask for my passports, in which case Turkish 
Government would be at war with the Triple Entente at a 
time when German official communiques admitted defeat on 
the Vistula. 

No. 180 
Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey. (Received October 31) 

(Telegraphic.) Constantinople, October 30, 1914. 

Russian Ambassador asked for his passports this after- 
noon, and I and my French colleague have followed suit. 

1 See No. 166. 

MILITARY 2 Y 337 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

Minister of the Interior, in conversation with a neutral 
colleague this afternoon, practically admitted that Turkey 
had thrown in her lot with Germany. 

I have had a very painful interview with the Grand Vizier, 
who had been kept in the dark as to his colleagues' intentions, 
and who will doubtless be set aside to-night. 



DESPATCH FROM HIS MAJESTY'S AMBASSADOR AT 
CONSTANTINOPLE SUMMARISING EVENTS 
LEADING UP TO RUPTURE OF RELATIONS 
WITH TURKEY, AND REPLY THERETO * 

MISCELLANEOUS, No. 14 (1914) [Cd. 7716]. 
[In continuation of ' Miscellaneous, No. 13 (1914) ' : Cd. 7628.] 

Q London, November 20, 1914. 

On land, the officers of the German military mission dis- 
played a ubiquitous activity. Their supremacy at the 
Ministry of War, combined with the close co-operation 
which existed between them and the Militarist party, made 
it easy to fortify an already strong position. Acting in con- 
junction with other less accredited agents of their own nation- 
ality, they were the main organisers of those military prepara- 
tions in Syria which so directly menaced Egypt, and which 
became a serious source of preoccupation and a constant 
theme of my remonstrances. 

The evidence of these preparations became daily more 
convincing. Emissaries of Enver Pasha were present on the 
frontier, bribing and organising the Bedouins. Warlike 
stores were despatched south, and battalions of regular troops 
were posted at Rafah, whilst the Syrian and Mosul army 
corps were held in readiness to move south at short notice. 
The Syrian towns were full of German officers, who were 

1 [Extract. The complete despatch will be found in Naval, 2, pp. 
158-171.] 
338 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

provided with large sums of money for suborning the local 
chiefs. As an illustration of the thoroughness of the German 
preparations, I was credibly informed that orders were given 
to obtain estimates for the making of Indian military costumes 
at Aleppo in order to simulate the appearance of British Indian 
troops. Under directions from the Central Government the 
civil authorities of the Syrian coast towns removed all their 
archives and ready money to the interior, and Moslem families 
were warned to leave to avoid the consequences of bombard- 
ment by the British fleet. The Khedive himself was a party 
to the conspiracy, and arrangements were actually made 
with the German Embassy for his presence with a military 
expedition across the frontier. 

However difficult it would have been for the Ottoman 
Government to regain their control over the armed forces 
of the State after the arrival of the Goeben and Breslau, the 
insidious campaign carried on with their encouragement by 
means of the press, the preachers in the mosques, and the 
pamphleteers, is evidence that its most powerful members 
were in sympathy with the anti-British movement. I had, 
indeed, actual proof of the inspiration by Talaat Bey and 
Djemal Pasha of articles directed against Great Britain. 
Every agency which could be used to stimulate public opinion 
in favour of Germany and to inflame it against the Allies was 
set at work with the connivance, and often with the co-opera- 
tion, of the Turkish authorities. All the Turkish news- 
papers in Constantinople became German organs; they 
glorified every real or imaginary success of Germany or 
Austria ; they minimised everything favourable to the Allies. 

The enclosures in an earlier despatch will have shown 
to what depths of scurrility some of the more corrupt and 
unbridled of them descended in their onslaughts on Great 
Britain, and how unequally the censors of the press held 
the balance when exercising their practically unlimited powers. 
The provincial papers were no less enthusiastically pro- 
German ; the semi-official telegraphic agency, which is 
practically worked by the Ministry of the Interior, was placed 
at the disposal of German propaganda. Through these 
agencies unlimited use was made of Turkey's one concrete 
and substantial grievance against Great Britain as distin- 
guished from other European Powers, that is, the detention 

339 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

of the Sultan Osman and the Reshadie at the beginning of the 
European war. Other grievances, older and less substantial, 
were raked out of the past ; and the indictment of Great 
Britain and her allies was completed by a series of inventions 
and distortions of the truth designed to represent them as 
the enemy, not merely of Turkey, but of the whole of Islam. 
Attacks of the latter kind became especially frequent in the 
latter half of October, and were undoubtedly directly inspired 
by Germany. My urgent representations to the Grand 
Vizier and to Talaat Bey, both verbal and written, had 
hardly even a temporary effect in checking this campaign. 

It may seem strange that, thus equipped and thus abetted, 
those who sought to involve Turkey in the European war 
failed so long to achieve their object. The reasons were 
manifold. As I have already indicated, the party which 
stood for neutrality contained men who, lacking though they 
were in any material means of enforcing their views, could 
not easily be ignored. By whatever various routes they 
may have been arrived at, the ideas of these men coincided 
with a body of less sophisticated and hardly articulate opinion 
which, however wounded by England's action in preventing 
delivery of the Sultan Osman and the Reshadie, could still 
not reconcile itself to a war with England and France. In 
my despatch of 22nd September I had the honour to report 
how frankly and how emphatically the Sultan himself voiced 
this feeling in conversation with me. There can be little 
doubt that the Grand Vizier exercised what influence he had 
in favour of neutrality. Djavid Bey, the Minister of Finance, 
whose influence in favour of neutrality was of weight as 
representing the Jewish element, and whose arguments in 
favour of peace were supported by the fact that Turkey was 
already absolutely bankrupt, and not in a position to embark 
upon war with the Allies, became towards the end so formid- 
able an obstacle to the fulfilment of the German plan that 
instructions were sent from Berlin to force his resignation. 

Again, seriously convinced as most prominent Turks 
appear to have been of the ultimate success f Germany, 
their confidence could not but be a little dashed by the actual 
course of events in the two main theatres of war ; and the 
more thoughtful realised that even in the event of Germany 
being victorious, the fact of Turkey having fought by her 
340 



k] WAR WITH TURKEY 

side would not necessarily ensure any advantage to the 
Ottoman Empire. As for the Germans themselves, it was 
true, as I have said, that they could at any moment force 
Turkey to march with them, but to do so before every means 
of suasion had proved useless would obviously not have been 
politic. It was clearly only in the last resort that the Monarch 
whom Pan-Islamic pro-Germans acclaimed as the hope of 
Islam, and whom the devout in some places had been taught 
to regard as hardly distinguishable from a true believer, would 
run the risk of scandalising the Moslem world, whom he hoped 
to set ablaze to the undoing of England, Russia, and France, 
by using the guns of the Goeben to force the hands of the 
Sultan-Caliph. But the factor which more than any other 
delayed the realisation of the German plans, and which enabled 
me and my French and Russian colleagues to protract the 
crisis until they could only be realised in such a way as to 
open the eyes of the Moslem world to the real nature of the 
conspiracy, was the inherent tendency of Turkish states- 
men to procrastinate, in the hope that by playing off one 
side against the other they might gain more in the long 
run. 

However slender the chances in our favour, it was obviously 
my duty, in conjunction with my French and Russian col- 
leagues, to support and encourage by all possible means those 
forces which were obscurely striving for the preservation of 
peace. 

If this policy necessarily involved the acceptance of acts 
on the part of the Ottoman Government which, in ordinary 
circumstances, would have called for more than remonstrance 
and the reservation of our rights, and which it would have 
been easy to make the occasion of a rupture of relations, the 
patience displayed by the Allies was justified by the results 
achieved. 

Although unsuccessful in averting war, two objects of 
main importance were gained by delaying its commencement. 
On the one hand, the Allied Powers are now in a position to 
deal with the problem with a freer hand, and, on the other, 
Germany has been forced to show her cards and to act inde- 
pendently of a majority of the Turkish Cabinet. 

Under the stress of events in the main theatre of the war, 
and owing to the vital necessity of providing a diversion in 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

the Near East, Germany was constrained to intensify still 
further their pressure on the Turks. During the first three 
weeks of October their pressure took yet another form, and 
a new weight was cast into the scale by the importation into 
Constantinople, with every circumstance of secrecy, of large 
quantities of bullion consigned to the German Ambassador 
and delivered under military guard at the Deutsche Bank. 
The total amount was estimated at some 4,000,000. This 
sum was far more than was necessary for the maintenance of 
the German military and naval establishments, and I have 
every reason to believe that a definite arrangement was 
arrived at between the Germans and a group of Ministers, 
including Enver Pasha, Talaat Bey, and Djemal Pasha, that 
Turkey should declare war as soon as the financial provision 
should have attained a stated figure. My information estab- 
lishes the fact that a climax was reached about the middle 
of the third week in October, when it had been decided to 
confront the Grand Vizier with the alternative of complicity 
or resignation, and that only the Russian successes on the 
Vistula, or some other more obscure cause, prevented this 
plan from being carried out. 

Whatever the exact history of the first three weeks of 
October, it is certain that on or about the 26th of that month 
the German conspirators realised that the pace must be 
forced by still more drastic measures than they had yet used, 
and that any further attempts to win over the Grand Vizier 
and the Turkish Government as a whole to their ideas and 
to induce them to declare war would be useless. On that 
afternoon an important meeting of Committee leaders was 
held, at which Enver Pasha was present, but which only 
decided to send Halil Bey, the President of the Chamber, 
on a mission to Berlin. In the circles in which this decision 
became known it was regarded as a partial triumph for the 
Peace party, and as a fresh attempt to gain time for the sake 
either of mere procrastination or of securing more concrete 
offers from Germany. Be that as it may, Halil Bey never 
left on his mission, and it is believed that its abandonment 
was due to a more than usually blunt hint from the German 
representative in Constantinople. Whilst Constantinople gene- 
rally was comforting itself with the reflection that nothing 
could well happen until after the four days' Bairam festival, 
342 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

beginning on October 30, two events of capital importance 
occurred. 

On the morning of the 2gth I received intelligence from 
Egypt of the incursion into the Sinai peninsula of an armed 
body of 2000 Bedouins, who had occupied the wells of 
Magdaba, and whose objective was an attack upon the 
Suez Canal. On learning this news I at once proceeded 
to the Yali of the Grand Vizier, to acquaint him of the 
serious consequences which must ensue if the expedition 
were not at once recalled. His Highness received the intel- 
ligence with every appearance of surprise. He emphatically 
disclaimed all knowledge of it, and gave me the most solemn 
assurance that if- the facts were as stated he would at once 
issue orders for the withdrawal of the invading party. He 
assured me once more that nothing was further from the 
intention of the Government than war with Great Britain. 
It was unthinkable, he said, that an expedition of this kind 
could have been organised by any member of the Government ; 
and he felt certain that if anything of the kind had occurred, 
it could only have been a raid by irresponsible Bedouins. 
I told His Highness that I feared that he deceived himself. 
I reminded him of the various occasions on which he had 
given me similar assurances, and of the negative results of 
the instructions which he had given on previous occasions. 
I warned him of the disastrous consequences to the Ottoman 
Empire of a crisis which could not now be long postponed 
unless he and the friends of peace were prepared to take some 
serious stand against the conspiracy of which I was fully 
cognisant, to involve it irretrievably in the general war. 
On this, as on every occasion of my interviews with the 
Grand Vizier, I was impressed with his inability to realise 
the facts or to disabuse himself of the conviction, in spite 
of his many unfortunate experiences, that he would be able 
in a really serious crisis, to exert his authority with effect. 

The second event of capital importance was the attack 
on Odessa and other Russian ports in the Black Sea on the 
morning of the same day, October 29. It is now certain 
that the actual orders for these attacks were given by the 
German admiral on the evening of October 27, but it was 
not until after they had actually taken place, that is, on the 
afternoon of October 29, when news of the raid on Odessa 

343 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

was telegraphed to me direct by Mr. Consul-General Roberts, 
that my Russian and French colleagues and myself realised 
that the die had actually been cast and the crisis that we had 
so long feared and striven to avert had occurred. Imme- 
diately on receiving the news M. Bompard and I called on 
M. de Giers and decided to ask for authority from our respec- 
tive Governments to confront the Porte with the alternative 
of rupture or dismissal of the German naval and military 
missions. On the morning of the 3oth, however, I learnt 
from my Russian colleague that he had received instructions 
from his Government immediately to ask for his passports. 
He had written to the Grand Vizier to ask for an interview, 
which His Highness had begged him to postpone until the 
following day owing to indisposition. The instructions of 
my Russian colleague being in a categorical form, he had 
therefore been constrained to address a note to the Grand 
Vizier demanding his passports, and I and my French col- 
league, acting on the instructions with which the Ambassadors 
of the Allied Powers had at my suggestion already been fur- 
nished to leave Constantinople simultaneously, should any 
one of them be compelled to ask for his passports, owing 
either to a Turkish declaration of war or to some intolerable 
act of hostility, decided without further delay to write to the 
Grand Vizier and ask in our turn for interviews to enable us 
to carry out these instructions. In view of His Highness's 
indisposition we had not expected to be received that day, 
but a few hours later the Grand Vizier sent us word that he 
would, nevertheless, be glad to see us, and notwithstanding 
the excuse which he had made earlier in the day he received 
the Russian Ambassador also in the course of the afternoon. 
My interview with the Grand Vizier partly coincided with 
that of M. de Giers, and preceded that of M. Bompard. It was 
of a painful description. His Highness convinced me of his 
sincerity in disclaiming all knowledge of or participation in 
the events which had led to the rupture, and entreated me 
to believe that the situation was even now not irretrievable. 
I replied that the time had passed for assurances. The crisis 
which I had predicted to His Highness at almost every inter- 
view which I had had with him since my return had actually 
occurred, and unless some adequate satisfaction were imme- 
diately given by the dismissal of the German missions, which 
344 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

could alone prevent the recurrence of attempts upon Egyptian 
territory and attacks on Russia, war with the Allies was 
inevitable. My Russian colleague had already demanded 
his passports, and I must, in pursuance of the instructions I 
had received, follow the same course. The Grand Vizier 
again protested that even now he could undo what the War 
party had done without his knowledge or consent. In reply 
to the doubt which I expressed as to the means at his dis- 
posal, he said that he had on his side moral forces which could 
not but triumph, and that he meant to fight on to the end. 
He did not, indeed, hint at a possibility of immediately dis- 
missing the German mission, but he informed me that there 
was to be a meeting of the Council at his house that evening, 
when he would call upon his colleagues to support him in his 
determination to avert war with the Allied Powers. 

The Council was duly held, and, as he had predicted, the 
majority of the Ministers supported the Grand Vizier, who 
made a strong appeal in favour of peace, and was seconded by 
Djavid Bey. But the powerlessness of the Sultan's Ministers 
to do more than vote in the Council Chamber was evident. 
The question of dismissing the German naval officers was 
discussed, but no decision to do so was taken, and no Minister 
ventured to propose the expulsion of the military mission. 
In the interval the War party had sealed their resolution to 
go forward, by publishing a communique in which it was 
stated that the first acts of hostility in the Black Sea had 
come from the Russian side. Untrue and grotesque as it 
was, this invention succeeded in deceiving many of the public. 



TURKISH MOBILISATION 

Reuter's Agency has received the following : 

' The Ottoman Consulate-General beg to inform the Times, 
Ottoman Reservists living in Great Britain that the general Au g- 5. 
mobilisation of the Imperial Ottoman Army and Navy having I9I 4 
been ordered (with the exception of 7th Army Corps and the 
independent 22 and 23 Divisions), the Ottoman Reservists 
can apply to the Turkish Consulate-General, 7 Union Court, 
Old Broad Street, London, E.C., for full particulars/ 

345 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

Renter's Agency learns from a well-informed diplomatic 
source that the Turkish Army will be under the command of 
General Liman von Sanders, the chief of the German Military 
Mission in Turkey. 

Constantinople, August 8. 

Mobilisation began to-day. All men under 45 years of 
age were called out in Constantinople district and probably 
in other commands. The first and second corps are to be 
employed upon defence in Thrace. The third, fourth, and 
fifth will probably be divided between Thrace, the Bosporus, 
and the Dardanelles forts. Adrianople and Dimotika are 
spoken of as probable points of concentration. The view is 
expressed in some quarters that Turkey may attempt a dash 
into Western Thrace and Macedonia should the attention of 
Bulgaria be diverted north. 

Beirut, August 15. 

The order for the mobilisation of the Turkish Army 
caused a general exodus of refugees for the Lebanon. Martial 
law was proclaimed and the town surrounded by troops to 
prevent any further escapes. All the horses, mules, and 
camels in the district, as also provisions and clothing, are 
being requisitioned by the Government, who are issuing bonds 
on Constantinople in payment. The troops are concentrating 
at Damascus, to be at the head of the Hedjaz Railway. 

Several incidents have occurred which clearly show the 
sympathy of the Government for Germany. This feeling is 
shared by the Moslem element, though the Christians are all 
in favour of the Entente. Last week the German steamship 
Peter Rickmers, with a cargo, which included about 500 tons 
of dynamite, supposed to be destined for the Far East, was 
allowed by the Governor to enter the harbour and discharge 
the dynamite on the quay, in spite of the protests of the Port 
Company. This cargo is being sent up to Damascus by the 
French Railway. 

A strict censorship is being exercised on all news bearing 
on the war, more especially on any successes by the Allies. 
Details of the latter, based on postal intelligence from Egypt, 
are promptly denied in the local newspapers by statements 
issued by the German Consulate, declared to have been 
received from the Embassy in Constantinople. 

346 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

NOTICE TO GERMAN AND AUSTRIAN SUBJECTS 

IN EGYPT 

I, John Grenfell Maxwell, Lieut. -General, Commanding Journal 
the British Forces in Egypt, require that all German and Offidel 

Austro-Hunerarian subjects, born of German or Austro- du Gou ~ 
TT -j- T- j t. r\ i. u vernement 

Hungarian parents, now residing in Egypt, do, before October Egy uien 

the loth next, register themselves at the Governorate or N OV . 2, 
Mudiria-Headquarters of the town or province in which they 1914 
reside. 

Non-compliance with these orders will render such German 
and Austro-Hungarian subjects liable to arrest by the Military 
Authorities. J. G. MAXWELL, 

Lieut. -General. 

Cairo, October i, 1914. 



MARTIAL LAW IN EGYPT : PROCLAMATION 

By the General Officer Commanding His Britannic Majesty's 

Forces in Egypt 

Notice is hereby given that I have been directed by His 
Britannic Majesty's Government to assume military control 
of Egypt in order to secure its protection. The country is 
therefore placed under Martial Law from this date. 

(Signed) J. G. MAXWELL, 

Lieutenant-General, 
Commanding His Britannic Majesty's Forces in Egypt. 

Cairo, November 2, 1914. 



PROCLAMATION 

I, John Grenfell Maxwell, Lieut enant-General Command- 
ing His Britannic Majesty's Forces in Egypt, entrusted with 
the application of Martial Law, hereby give notice as follows : 

(i) The powers to be exercised under my authority by 
the Military Authorities are intended to supplement and not 
to supersede the Civil Administration, and all civil officials 
in the service of the Egyptian Government are hereby re- 

347 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

quired to continue the punctual discharge of their respective 
duties. 

(2) Private citizens will best serve the common end by 
abstaining from all action of a nature to disturb the public 
peace, to stir up disaffection, or to aid the enemies of His 
Britannic Majesty and his Allies, and by conforming promptly 
and cheerfully to all orders given under my authority for the 
maintenance of public peace and good order ; and so long 
as they do so, they will be subject to no interference from 
the Military Authorities. 

(3) All requisitions of services or of property which may 
be necessitated by military exigencies will be the subject of 
full compensation, to be assessed, in default of agreement, 
by an independent authority. 

(Signed) J. G. MAXWELL, 

Lieutenant-General 
Commanding His Britannic Majesty's Forces in Egypt. 

Cairo, November 2, 1914. 

Cairo, November 2. 

Martial law has been proclaimed here. 

On account of their suspicious activities a wholesale arrest 
of Turkish emissaries has been effected. The Germans and 
Austrians were recently placed in a concentration camp, and 
the crews of enemy ships now at Alexandria have been 
deported to Malta. 

Cairo, November 3. 

The Government is taking precautions to prevent certain 
Egyptians from causing trouble. These individuals are being 
deprived of any chance of spreading discord. 

A large number of Bedouin Sheikhs were summoned 
yesterday to the British Agency, where Lieutenant-General 
Sir John Maxwell addressed them, saying, ' Germany has been 
able by persistent efforts to induce certain men in power in 
Turkey to enter into Germany's views. Germany endeavours 
by pursuing the work of division and ruin to make Turkey 
quarrel with the Allies. The Government has therefore con- 
voked the Arab Notables, enjoining them that, if such is 
Germany's project, their duty is to remain calm and enjoy 
the peace and tranquillity on Egyptian soil which the British 
forces ensure. - If the Government finds it necessary to appeal 
348 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

to their devotion to serve the country the Government is fully 
confident of their reply to its appeal/ 

The Notables thanked the Government for the confidence 
placed in them and assured Sir John Maxwell of their loyalty. 
Renter. 

RAIDS ON EGYPTIAN FRONTIER 

Constantinople, October 31. 

It has been ascertained, though not absolutely confirmed, Times, 
that an armed party of Bedouins, 2000 strong, have invaded Nov - 2 > 
Egyptian territory and reached a point over 20 miles inside I914 
the frontier. 

Many British subjects left yesterday, and others were 
preparing to follow. Russian and French subjects were also 
leaving. Yesterday the police prevented a number of British 
subj ects from leaving. These now pass under the protection of 
the American Embassy. 

The Turkish acts of war in the Black Sea, although feared 
for some time past, nevertheless came as a thunderbolt, and 
produced the utmost consternation in all circles, including 
the peace party in the Cabinet and all sane-thinking Turks, 
who are profoundly grieved at the catastrophe which has 
befallen the country. Renter. 

Cairo, November i. 

Bedouin chiefs came to Cairo from all parts of Egypt to-day 
to assure the Government and the British Agency of their 
loyalty. Quiet reigns everywhere, but as a precautionary 
measure a Press censorship has been established. A declaration 
of martial law is momentarily expected. 

Constantinople. 

General Headquarters states : With God's help the K. V., 
Egyptian frontier was yesterday crossed by our troops. Nov. 8, 
Since the Russian fleet has withdrawn to its war harbours, I 9 I 4 
our Fleet has bombarded Poti, one of the most important ports 
of the Caucasus, and has inflicted all kinds of damage. Our 
gendarmes and the tribes taking our side have annihilated the 
English troops which had landed at Akaba. Four English 
ironclads which were there have now withdrawn, and only a 
single cruiser remains. 

349 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

Berlin, November 12, 1914. 

The Turkish troops which crossed the Egyptian frontier 
now occupy El Arish and Sheikazar, and have captured four 
British field-guns. German Wireless. 



PROCLAMATION TO THE TURKISH ARMY 

Amsterdam, November 14, 1914. 

Enver Pasha, the Ottoman Minister of War, has, according 
to a telegram received from Berlin, made the following 
proclamation to the Turkish Army : 

' Comrades ! I am honoured to announce to you the 
noble Irade of the Caliph. Our Army will destroy our 
enemies with the help of Allah and with the assistance of the 
Prophet and the pious prayers of our Sovereign. (Deletion 
by Censor.) Forward always to victory ! Glory and Paradise 
are before us : Death and disgrace behind us ! Long live our 
Padishah. ' Renter. 



RAIDS INTO EGYPT 

Cairo, November 21, 1914. 

Turkish Bedouin have made another raid into Egyptian 
territory, by crossing the Eastern frontier of the Sinai 
Peninsula, running from El Arish on the Mediterranean to 
Akaba on the eastern branch of the Red Sea. Renter. 

The Press Bureau issues the following : 

A small affair of outposts has taken place between the 
enemy and the Bikanir Camel Corps in Egypt. The latter 
fought well and killed a number of the enemy ; their own losses 
amounting to thirteeri missing. 

Cairo, November 21. 

Local interest is naturally centred on the Eastern frontier, 
but so far little of importance appears to have taken place 
east of the Suez Canal. Scouting parties are on the look-out, 
and to-day the military authorities announce that hostile 
cavalry and armed Bedouin have been encountered on the 
El Arish road near Bir Elabd, but that there is no sign any- 
where of any movement of formed bodies of troops. 
35o 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

Cairo, November 23. 

An official statement issued here says that on Friday Times, 
(November 20) Captain Chope, of the Bikanir Camel Corps, Nov. 25, 
and Lieutenant Mohamed Anis, with twenty of the Bikanir I 9 I 4 
Camel Corps and twenty camelmen of the Coast Guard, were 
patrolling between Bir-el-Nuss and Katia. At seven in the 
morning Captain Chope, with the Bikanirs, pushed on in 
order to gain touch with the Coast Guard, who had camped 
half a mile ahead of him, but on arrival at their camp he found 
nothing except the traces of a fairly large number of tracks. 

He proceeded east, and an hour later saw ahead of him a 
party of about twenty men, mounted on white camels, waving 
white flags. Thinking they were the Camel Corps he allowed 
them to approach. When within 30 yards the enemy raised 
their rifles, whereupon Captain Chope gave the order to fire, 
and nearly all of them were killed. Another party of the 
enemy who attacked were similarly disposed of. Captain 
Chope, thinking all was over, advanced towards Katia, when 
suddenly about 150 horsemen were observed trying to move 
round his right flank, while a like number were working round 
the left flank. He therefore retired, dismounting his men, 
who fired as opportunity offered, while the enemy were firing 
from horseback. Lieutenant Mohamed Anis was shot during 
this period, but one of the Bikanirs took him up and carried 
him behind him on his camel, but, unhappily, both were shot. 

Captain Chope succeeded in getting back to his supports, 
after beating off the enemy, with the loss of Lieutenant Anis, 
Subadar Abdu Khan, 12 men killed, and 3 men wounded. 
Nothing further was seen or heard of the Coast Guard patrols. 

Cairo, November 26, 1914. 

In the action fought between the Bikanir Camel Corps Times, 
and Bedouin on November 20, 70 of the latter were killed, Nov. 27, 
among them being three important sheikhs, one of them a I 9 I 4 
brother of the Turkish commandant, Sinfi Pasha. Renter. 

Cairo, November 27, 1914. 

The enemy has a small camp at Katia, but nowhere else Times, 
in the Peninsula have his troops been encountered. Regard- Nov. 28, 
ing the allegation of the Turks that they have captured guns 
at El Arish, the authorities state that these are antiquated 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

muzzle-loaders which -were not considered worth moving, as 
they were quite useless. 



REPORTED ATTACKS ON SUEZ CANAL 

Constantinople. 

Headquarters officially report : Turkish troops have 
reached the Suez Canal. In an encounter near Kantara 
the English were beaten and took to flight with heavy losses. 

Constantinople. 

Further information from Headquarters states : With 
God's help our troops have occupied the Suez Canal. In 
the action which took place near Kataba and Kertebe, both 
30 kilometres east of the Canal and near Kantara on the 
Canal itself, the English losses included Captain Wilson, 
one lieutenant, and many men killed, and a large number 
wounded. We have taken a fair number of prisoners. The 
English troops withdrew in disorderly flight. Men of the 
English camel corps who were stationed at the outposts 
and gendarmes in the English service surrendered to us. 

London, December 6. 

It is reported from Cairo, by Renter, that the military 
authorities have flooded the desert to the east of Port Said 
in order to isolate the town. 

. (From our Special Correspondent.} 

Cairo, December n, 1914. 

According to the latest available information no Turks or 
armed Bedouin, with the possible exception of stray scouts, 
are anywhere near the Suez Canal. Persons who have arrived 
at Suez from Hedjaz say that there is a Turkish force on holy 
territory, but it is not large. The stock of provisions there is 
decidedly low. 



352 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

THE TURKISH COMMANDER TO HIS TROOPS 

IN SYRIA 

Constantinople. 

Arab papers publish the following Army Order issued by K. V., 
the Commander to the troops of the Syrian Army told off Dec. 26, 
for the attack on Egypt : ' Warriors ! Behind you lie the X 9 X 4 
vast deserts, before you is the craven enemy, behind him the 
rich land of Egypt which is waiting impatiently for your 
coming. If you falter death will overtake you, before you 
Paradise lies/ 

VON DER GOLTZ ON THE NEW TURKISH ARMY 

(From our Special Correspondent.) 

Amsterdam, December 29, 1914. 

An interview with Marshal von der Goltz is quoted by the Times, 
Telesraaf from the Berlin Lokalanzeiger. The Field-Marshal Dec - 
said:- 

' A successful Turkish attack in Egypt would be a stab in 
England's heart. With the preparation of an army for this 
object Turkey has done her full share as regards collaboration 
with her allies, and she can rest assured of a full share in the 
gains in the event of victory. The undertaking, however, 
is even less easy than an advance in the Caucasus, where the 
raw season and the small number of the roads offer the 
greatest difficulties. But the beginning made was good, and 
from the energy of the leading statesmen and soldiers of Turkey, 
it may be expected that they will accomplish all that is in any 
way possible. The extraordinary moderation of the Turkish 
soldier and his never-failing goodwill will render easy even the 
hardest campaign. I have seen but little of the troops yet, 
but what I have seen has pleased me exceedingly ; since I 
crossed the frontier I have been heartily received and feted 
by the soldiers and the authorities. The people have welcomed 
me as an old and faithful friend of the country. The guards 
of honour at the stations created the best impression. They 
were numerous, well clothed, and equipped/ 



MILITARY 2 Z 353 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

OPERATIONS IN THE PERSIAN GULF AND IN 
MESOPOTAMIA 

FIELD OPERATIONS 

No. 205. The Governor-General [of India] in Council has 
much pleasure in directing the publication of the following letter 
from the Chief of the General Staff, dated the 2nd February, 
1915, submitting despatches from Brigadier-General W. S. 
Delamain, C.B., D.S.O., and Lieutenant-General Sir A. A. 
Barrett, K.C.B., K.C.V.O., describing the operations of 
I.E.F. ' D ' at the head of the Persian Gulf up to the 28th 
November 1914. The Governor-General in Council concurs 
in the opinion expressed by His Excellency the Commander- 
in-Chief regarding the manner in which the operations were 
conducted and the behaviour of the troops engaged. His 
Excellency in Council also shares the Commander-in-Chief's 
appreciation of the support rendered by the Royal Navy, 
which conduced so materially to the success of the operations. 



From the Chief of the General Staff to the Secretary to the Govern- 
ment of India, Army Department, dated Delhi, February 2, 

19*5- 

I am directed by His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief 
in India to submit for the information of the Government of 
India the under-mentioned reports on the operations of Indian 
Expeditionary Force ' D ' up to the 28th November 1914 : 

(i) Report by Brigadier-General W. S. Delamain, 
C.B., D.S.O., on the operations of I.E.F. ' D,' up to the 
1 4th November 1914 ; and 

(ii.) Report by Lieutenant-General Sir A. A. Barrett, 

K.C.B., K.C.V.O., Commanding I.E.F. ' D/ on the 

operations of his force at the head of the Persian Gulf, 

from the I4th to the 28th November 1914. 

2. His Excellency considers that the operations were 

conducted with skill and energy, and that the discipline and 

steadiness of the troops reflect the greatest credit on all ranks. 

He desires to commend to the favourable consideration of 

Government the officers, non-commissioned officers, and 

354 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

men whose services are brought to notice in the reports, and 
wishes specially to invite attention to Lieutenant-General 
Sir Arthur Barrett's remarks in regard to the very valuable 
assistance rendered by the Royal Navy, which he cordially 
endorses. 

3. His Excellency recommends that the reports be treated 
as despatches and published in the Gazette of India. 



From Brigadier-General W. S. Delamain, C.B., D.S.O., Com- 
manding i6th Brigade, I.E.F. ' D,' to the Chief of the 
General Staff, Simla, dated Camp Saniyeh, November 
16, 1914. 

On the arrival of Lieutenant-General Sir A. A. Barrett at 
this camp, and on conclusion of my period of independent 
command, I have the honour to report as follows : 

2. The force under my command, known as I.E.F. ' D,' 
left Bombay on the i6th October in four transports, part of 
a large convoy. On igth October we parted company and 
steered for Bahrain Islands, under escort of H.M.S. Ocean. 
No. i Brigade, Indian Mountain Artillery, joined the force 
off Jask on the 2ist. We arrived on the 23rd and anchored 
off Manama. Here we remained until the 2nd of November. 

3. On .that date the Force sailed for the mouth of the 
Shatt-el-Arab in compliance with instructions contained in 
your radio-telegram No. 6571. Pilots were taken on board 
off Bushire, and the Force arrived at the outer bar of the 
river on the evening of the 3rd November. 

4. The 4th and 5th November were occupied with naval 
preparations, and the transports themselves were prepared 
with bullet-proof cover on the upper decks for the use of 
parties detailed for covering fire. 

Major Radcliffe, 2nd Dorset Regiment, returned from 
Kuweit on 5th with information that the Fort was in ruins, 
but that guns were in position. A landing force was detailed 
for the capture of Fao, under Lieutenant-Colonel H. L. 
Rosher, 2nd Dorset Regiment, and orders issued. On the 
5th the transports crossed the outer bar of the Shatt-el-Arab 
and anchored just outside the inner bar. 

355 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

5. At 6 A.M. on 6th November H.M.S. Odin, preceded by 
launches Sweeping for mines, stood in and bombarded the 
Turkish guns outside the Fort, three miles south-east of the 
telegraph station at Fao. The hostile guns were soon silenced ; 
they were well served for a time and hit the Odin twice. On 
the signal being made that the guns were silenced, the trans- 
ports Umaria and Varela advanced in that order, each towing 
eight boats full of troops alongside ; the Mashona (armed 
launch) towed seven boats full of troops, and the Royal Navy 
steam launches towed the detachment of Marines from H.M.S. 
Ocean. Off the telegraph station the boats were cast off and 
made for the shore. Some six hundred Infantry landed with 
one section Mountain Artillery, complete with mules, and one 
squad Sappers and Miners. There was no opposition. When 
the first and second reinforcements had also landed, Colonel 
Rosher assembled his force and marched south-eastwards to 
occupy the Fort. This was accomplished during the night 
of the 6th-7th, the guns were dismounted and thrown into 
the river, and Colonel Rosher's command returned to Fao. 

6. While the troops who had landed were being re-embarked 
on the yth November, the General Officer Commanding with 
remaining transports proceeded up the river till within 
sight of the Oil Refinery on Abadan Island. On the 8th 
of November the river was reconnoitred for a suitable land- 
ing place. A firm, high bank with deep water close up to 
it was found at Saniyeh ; the transports were called up and 
troops began to disembark. The disembarkation continued 
during gth and loth November, being practically complete 
by evening of latter date. 

7. It was proposed to advance from this camp and attack 
the Turks at Shamshumiya by land, but the reported advance 
of Turkish troops from Basra and the necessity of safe- 
guarding the Oil Works, combined with the absence of news 
from India regarding the arrival of reinforcements, decided 
me to remain at Saniyeh. With the intention of an early 
forward movement, as little baggage and supplies as possible 
were landed at this camp. Reconnaissances both up and 
down stream on the gth and loth failed to discover any enemy. 

8. On the evening of the loth reliable news was received 
from the Sheikh of Mohammerah that Sami Bey, with a 
strong combined force of Turks and Arabs, had arrived from 
356 



WAR WITH TURKEY - 

Basra at a point opposite Mohammerah with the intention 
of attacking our camp. At 3 A.M. on the nth the Sheikh 
reported that Sami Bey had started to make the attack. 
Troops were turned out and outposts strengthened. The 
Turkish force, of whom over three hundred were actually seen, 
delivered a determined attack at 5.30 A.M. on an advanced 
post held by one double company ii7th Mahrattas with two 
machine-guns. They advanced to within fifty yards of the 
post, but were driven off by a dashing counter-attack delivered 
by the 20th Duke of Cambridge's Own Infantry, with the 
assistance of the 23rd Peshawar Mountain Battery. The 
enemy lost heavily in their retirement across the desert, 
nineteen dead were counted, fourteen wounded were brought 
in by us and six prisoners were taken. Abandoned rifles and 
equipment were found. The Turks officially acknowledged 
a loss of eighty men. 

9. The defences of the camp were further strengthened 
and daily reconnaissances made. On the I4th November, 
Lieutenant-General Sir A. Barrett, with the i8th Brigade and 
Divisional Troops, arrived at this camp. 

10. I would invite attention to the difficulties of com- 
munication in the Persian Gulf during the period covered by 
this report. Constant thunderstorms interrupted the wire- 
less system. The installation on R.I. M.S. Dalhousie is appa- 
rently of poor quality, and the operators not very experi- 
enced. This ship had to be stationed at Bushire to connect 
with the cable there. The wireless station at Jask was 
frequently in communication with H.M.S. Ocean, in the sense 
that the station would answer the call of the warship, but it 
would not take in any message for transmission. No night 
watch is kept at Jask. 

11. Several points to which I would earnestly invite 
attention are mentioned in the ' Notes ' made at intervals 
in the ' War Diary ' which is forwarded by the same mail 
as this report. 

12. I would mention that the stay of the Force at Bahrain 
was of advantage, as it enabled me to have British and Indian 
Corps instructed in rowing and handling of boats and to 
rehearse the operation of a landing in force. 

13. All ranks have performed their duties in a most 
zealous and creditable manner. 

357 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

14. I would bring to notice the great assistance given me 
by the following officers in planning and carrying out the 
operations for the occupation of Fao and the landing at this 
camp : 

Captain Hayes-Sadler, R.N., Senior Naval Officer, 
H.M.S. Ocean. 

Commander Hamilton, Royal Indian Marine, Prin- 
cipal Marine Transport Officer. 

15. I would also report that the masters of the various 
transports x gave all the assistance in their power. I would 
specially bring to notice the name of Mr. T. L. Mills, R.N.R., 
Master of the s.s. Varela, British India Steam Navigation 
Company, who displayed great zeal and willingness to perform 
operations beyond those usually required of a master of a 
merchant vessel. I trust that it will be found possible to 
recognise his services. 

16. In connection with the Turkish night attack on the 
nth November, I would report that the counter-attack I 
ordered on the attacking force was carried out in a most 
dashing and skilful manner by the 2oth Duke of Cambridge's 
Own Infantry and the 23rd Peshawar Mountain Battery 
under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel C. Rattray, 2Oth 
Infantry. 

REPORT OF OPERATIONS OF INDIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 
' D ' FROM NOVEMBER 14 TO 28, 1914 

From Lieutenant-General Sir A. A. Barrett, K.C.B., K.C.V.O., 
Commanding Indian Expeditionary Force ' D,' to the 
Chief of the General Staff, Army Headquarters, Delhi. 
No. ioi-G, dated Basra, December 7, 1914. 

I have the honour to submit for the information of His 
Excellency the Commander-in-Chief, the following report 
of the operations of the troops under my command from the 
I4th to the 28th November 1914. 

2. On the morning of the I4th November, the s.s. Elephanta 
with my Headquarters, and four other transports anchored 
in the river opposite Saniyeh, where Brigadier-General Dela- 

1 Varela, Umaria, Umta, Berbera (British India Steam Navigation 
Company), Masunda. 
358 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

main's force was already bivouacked. The disembarkation of 
the troops was commenced at once. Infantry used the ships' 
boats, and experienced no difficulty in getting ashore. The 
landing of the guns, wagons and horses of the Field Artillery 
and of the cavalry horses in lighters and dhows was greatly 
delayed by the strong tide and current, the want of proper 
landing places, and by the shortage of lighters and steam 
craft for towing purposes. Every possible use was made of 
all the craft available, and with the hearty co-operation of the 
officers and men of the Royal Navy, the Indian Marine and 
the transports, considerable progress was made. The hatch 
covers of the transports were utilised as ramps for horses and 
guns, while excellent work was done by the Sapper com- 
panies. 

3. In the course of the day I learnt from General Delamain 
of the presence of a hostile force at Saihan, four miles distant, 
and I ordered him to attack it the following morning. A full 
account of the action which ensued will be found in the 
attached report from General Delamain. I have already 
mentioned, in my telegraphic report of this action, my appre- 
ciation of the skilful and spirited manner in which this attack 
was carried out, and of the credit due to all who were engaged. 
The result was entirely satisfactory, as it enabled our advance 
on the I7th November to take place without our right flank 
being harassed. 

4. Our information on the evening of the i6th was to the 
effect that a force of the enemy would probably be met with 
about Sahil and Zain, while his main body was believed to be 
in position at Balyaniyeh. At that time the whole of the 
cavalry, sappers, and the infantry of the i8th Brigade had 
been landed, but only one battery of the loth Brigade, Royal 
Field Artillery. I was informed that the Sheikh of Moham- 
merah was apprehensive of an attack on Failieh from the 
enemy's forces on the left bank, and also that the attitude 
of the neighbouring Arabs would depend, to a great extent, 
upon our ability to make headway against the Turks without 
undue delay. I therefore decided that it would be in our 
best interests to advance at once, with the whole of the force 
then at my disposal, leaving the remaining field batteries to 
be disembarked as rapidly as possible and to follow us as soon 
as circumstances would permit. 

359 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

5. A copy of operation orders issued for Tuesday the I7th 
November will be found attached. 1 My intention was to 
turn the enemy's right flank, and drive him through the palm 
groves on to the river, so that the two sloops, Odin and Espiegle, 
which moved up the river on a level with our advance, might 
be able to co-operate. 

6. After leaving the bivouac we moved across the open 
desert, the surface of which, owing to recent rain, was still 
very muddy in places, though fortunately free from creeks 
or other obstructions. 

At 8.50 A.M. a report was received from the advanced guard 
to the effect that the enemy's position extended from a ruined 
mud fort, which was plainly visible, somewhat to the right of 
our line of advance, north-westwards through Hassanain to 
Zain. 2 At 10 A.M. the enemy's guns opened fire. I then 
ordered the noth Mahratta L.I. to reinforce the advanced 
guard and moved up the i6th Brigade on its right, leaving a 
space between the two brigades for the artillery to come into 
action, and retaining as reserves the 48th Pioneers and the 
i2Oth Infantry. Each of the two Brigade commanders had 
then at his disposal three battalions of infantry and a com- 
pany of sappers, with the cavalry covering the left flank of 
the whole force, and the two sloops on the river to our right, 
though at some distance, with only the tops of their masts 
appearing above the belt of palm trees. The whole of the 
artillery, consisting of the 23rd and 3oth Mountain Batteries, 
and the 63rd Battery, Royal Field Artillery, subsequently 
joined by three guns of the 76th Battery, which were hurried 
up during the action from the landing place, were placed 
under the Commander, Royal Artillery. 

7. While these dispositions were being made, a heavy 
downpour lasting for half an hour came on. The front was 
entirely obscured, while the surface of the ground was con- 
verted into a quagmire ankle deep over which guns and 
horses could only move at a walk. The enemy's guns ceased 
firing, and I was in some doubt as to whether he intended 
to maintain his position. Our troops continued to advance 
steadily until 11.45 A.M., when the enemy simultaneously 

1 Appendix II. 

2 This report proved substantially correct, except that their position 
extended about mile to the south of Old Fort along the date-palm belt. 
360 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

opened a heavy gun, rifle, and machine-gun fire along his 
whole front. Our artillery and infantry also came into 
action. After watching the course of the engagement for 
some time, I came to the conclusion that it would be advisable 
to abandon my original intention of turning the enemy's 
right, which extended some distance, and was echeloned 
back into broken ground and palm groves. The key of his 
position appeared to be the old mud fort. I therefore sent 
word to General Fry with the i8th Brigade to engage the 
enemy's right and centre with a frontal attack, while General 
Delamain with the i6th Brigade turned his left flank and 
captured the fort. At the same time I reinforced General 
Delamain with a battalion from the reserve. General Dela- 
main had meanwhile anticipated my intentions, and had 
already commenced the turning movement. It was at this 
stage that a large number of casualties occurred on our right, 
especially in the 2nd Dorset Regiment, which had been the 
first to come into action, and had met with heavy fire in an 
exposed position, not only from the mud fort and trenches 
in front of it, but also from a body of the enemy entrenched 
on the edge of the palm groves behind and to the south of it. 
These Turkish regulars were using smokeless powder and 
were invisible from the point where the guns were in action, 
the latter being fully engaged with the enemy's artillery and 
with the long line of entrenchments on the main front Hassa- 
nain-Zain. The sloops on the river managed to put a few 
shells into the mud fort, but were soon obliged to desist owing 
to their view being obstructed by the belt of palm trees. The 
turning movement was very skilfully carried out by portions 
of the iO4th Infantry, the nyth Mahrattas, and the 22nd 
Company Sappers and Miners, and was directed by General 
Delamain himself. The i8th Brigade and the main body of 
the i6th Brigade also pressed on steadily, supported by very 
efficient fire from our artillery. At 1.15 P.M. the whole of 
the enemy's line quitted its entrenchments, and fled rapidly 
to the right rear into the broken ground and palm trees, 
his guns covering the retirement, and finally being skilfully 
withdrawn from successive positions in the same direction 
under cover of long earthen embankments, which concealed 
them from view. The whole of our force advanced firing 
heavily and doing considerable execution, but the enemy's 

361 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

losses would have been much greater if the state of the ground 
had not precluded rapid movement, more especially on the 
part of the cavalry and artillery. 

Two abandoned mountain guns fell into the hands of the 
7th Rajputs, who were on the left of the line, and numerous 
prisoners were captured. 

At 2.50 P.M. I thought it advisable to issue orders for the 
pursuit to be stopped. The enemy were then retiring through 
the palm groves, with banks and mud walls affording facilities 
for defence, and their retirement was covered by distant fire 
from their guns. I had to form an entrenched camp before 
nightfall, and to bring in a large number of wounded, who 
were scattered over a considerable extent of country. 

The enemy's losses have been variously estimated, and 
probably amounted to about 2000. Two days after the 
action sixty-nine dead bodies were found lying in one portion 
of the position. His total strength is estimated at 3000 
Turks and 1500 Arabs, with twelve guns. 

The troops bivouacked at Sahil on the banks of the river, 
with outposts on the line Sahil-Old Fort-to river bank. 

The conduct of the troops throughout this engagement 
excited my warmest admiration. A very large majority of 
the men had never been under fire before, yet they behaved 
as steadily as if at an ordinary field-day, all the details of 
their training, as inculcated in peace time, being carried out 
automatically. The behaviour of the 'Dorset Regiment, when 
exposed to both frontal and enfilade fire, is especially to be 
commended. General Delamain has also brought to notice 
the 22nd Company Sappers and Miners, who were on the 
right of the Dorsets. 

The enemy's guns were well served and cleverly handled, 
but fortunately the fusing of the shells was indifferent and 
the elevation generally too great. Their rifle fire was also 
too high, and not very effective at close quarters, otherwise 
our losses would have been much heavier. Our artillery 
suffered for want of observation posts, but in spite of this 
their fire was highly effective, and, as was afterwards ascer- 
tained, produced a demoralising effect on the enemy. 

As may be gathered from the above report, the duties of 
the commanders of brigades and of other units, as also of the 
staff were carried out most efficiently. I propose to defer 
362 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

bringing the names of individual officers to notice until the 
operations of this Force as a whole are finally recorded. At 
this stage I need only mention those who were especially 
conspicuous during the actions of the I5th and I7th, as set 
forth in the brigade commanders' reports attached. 

The work of bringing in the wounded continued far into 
the night, and one ambulance party actually remained out 
all night, in spite of the fact that the enemy were firing on our 
piquets at intervals. I desire to pay a very high tribute to 
the personnel of the medical services, both for efficiency of 
organisation, and for devotion to duty. In addition to our 
own men, a large number of wounded Turks and Arabs had 
to be cared for and conveyed on board the transports, at a 
spot where shelving mud flats and a strong current made 
boating operations extremely troublesome and at times even 
hazardous. 

On the afternoon of the I7th, it was blowing a hurricane 
for several hours, in the course of which three large dhows 
lying alongside the transports, laden with stores ready to 
disembark, were wrecked, and ten sepoys and two lascars 
were drowned. 

On the 1 8th, igth, and 2Oth we were employed in landing 
supplies and blankets for the troops, and in reconnoitring 
the enemy's position at Balyanieh, which was found to be at 
right angles to the river, with four guns in position on the 
bank, commanding the north end of Dabba Island, where the 
s.s. Ekbatana and two smaller craft had been sunk to block 
the ship channel. The naval sloops engaged these guns from 
below the obstruction, and, as was discovered afterwards, 
placed a shell inside the battery. 

I formed a plan of attack to be carried out on the 22nd 
in which naval and military forces were to co-operate, but on 
the 2 ist I received trustworthy information, confirmed by 
our cavalry, that the enemy had vacated his position. The 
report stated that the Turks had quitted Basra and retired 
northward in boats to Baghdad, that numbers of armed 
Arabs had deserted, and that the town of Basra was in danger 
of being looted. 

Accordingly, I ordered a forced march for 8 P.M. that 
evening, while the naval sloops were to proceed by river to 
Basra, and two battalions were hastily got on board shallow 

363 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

draft steamers to foHow them. We started across the desert 
at 8 o'clock, and at 12 noon the next day we reached the 
outskirts of Basra, after a march that was extremely trying 
to the troops. Frequent delays were caused by the high 
banks of water channels, which had to be levelled, and in some 
cases bridged to admit the passage of field-guns. 

On arrival at Basra, we learned that the two sloops had 
got in at 9 P.M. the previous evening, and had succeeded in 
protecting the buildings on the river bank, to which no damage 
had been done, except the partial burning of the Custom 
House and destruction of its contents. 

The two battalions had arrived at 9 A.M. on the 22nd, 
and were then patrolling the town, which was perfectly orderly. 

I therefore decided to defer making a formal entry into 
the town until the next morning, as the troops were badly in 
need of food and rest, and it would have been difficult to 
arrange quarters for them until the place had been more 
fully examined. 

On the 23rd the troops made a ceremonial march through 
the town to a selected spot near the mouth of the Ashar 
Creek, where the foreign Consuls and notables were assembled 
to meet us, and were presented to me by Mr. Bullard, our late 
Consul. A proclamation prepared by Sir Percy Cox was 
then read, the Union Jack was hoisted on a prominent build- 
ing, a salute was fired from the sloops, the troops presented 
arms, and three cheers were given for His Majesty the King- 
Emperor. The German Consul and five other Germans 
were placed on board transports for conveyance to India. 

We were cordially welcomed by the inhabitants, who 
appeared eager to transfer their allegiance to the British 
Government. 

In concluding this report, I wish to lay stress upon the 
very great assistance that I have received throughout from 
Captain Hayes-Sadler, R.N., the Senior Naval Officer in the 
Persian Gulf, and the officers and men serving under him, 
without which it would have been quite impossible to bring 
these operations to a successful issue. 

I am also much indebted to Sir Percy Cox for his advice 
and help on all occasions, and for the valuable and accurate 
information that he was able to procure for me, chiefly through 
the Sheikh of Mohammerah, who, at the risk of drawing upon 
364 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

himself the hostility of the Turks, has spared no pains to 
prove himself our true friend and ally. 

I reserve for a future report an acknowledgment of the 
good services done by the officers of the Royal Indian Marine, 
whose duties in connection with naval transport work have 
been most onerous. 

We have also received very ready help throughout from 
the officers and men of the transports belonging to the British 
India Steam Navigation and other companies. 

The following is a list of documents that accompany the 
report : 

(1) Extract from Brigadier-General Delamain's report. 

(2) Operation Order No. I. 

(3) Details regarding enemy engaged I7th November 



, 

4) Commendations for conspicuous conduct. 

5) Maps 1 4 miles to i inch. 

6) Sketch l map of action. 



APPENDIX I 

Extract from a Report by Brigadier-General W. S. Delamain, 
D.S.O., on the Operations of November 14, 1914 

Information from various sources went to show that 
Turkish troops were concentrating near Saihan only four 
miles west of our camp at Saniyeh ; and on the I4th November 
I received the Force Commander's instructions to recon- 
noitre and dislodge this hostile gathering without involving 
my own force too seriously. I thereupon issued Operation 
Order No. i. 

The force under my command consisted of the 3Oth Moun- 
tain Battery, the 2nd Battalion Dorset Regiment, and the 
iO4th Rifles, with 23rd Mountain Battery and the 2oth 
Infantry in camp held ready to reinforce if we became engaged. 

The force marched at 6 A.M. from Camp Saniyeh, and on 
reaching the southern edge of the date palms turned west- 
wards, the Advanced Guard (Major Clarkson, i Section 

1 Not reproduced. 

365 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

Mountain Battery, 4 Companies 2nd Dorsets) keeping 1200 
yards from the edge of the date groves and followed by the 
Main Body at approximately the same distance. 

The march was continued in this order till the Advanced 
Guard was approximately south of Saihan village and creek 
at 7 A.M. At 7.10 A.M. the enemy opened fire on the Advanced 
Guard from two positions on the edge of the date groves 
with rifles and machine-guns and on the Main Body with 
artillery. The iO4th Rifles were sent immediately to turn 
and capture the enemy's first position, and then to work 
through the date groves from the east. The Mountain 
Battery (2 Sections) assisted the iO4th Rifles and i Section 
kept the hostile guns in the Turkish second position in check. 
The iO4th took the first Turkish position in capital style 
about 8.30 A.M. At the same hour the reinforcements arrived 
from camp. 

The Advanced Guard was then reinforced by the remaining 
half-battalion of the 2nd Battalion Dorset Regiment, and 
extended to their left so as to outflank the second Turkish 
position from the desert side. The 3oth Mountain Battery 
was put under the orders of the Officer Commanding 2nd 
Battalion Dorset Regiment, who now commanded the 
Advanced Guard. The 2Oth Infantry (less 4 Companies) 
filled the gap between the Advanced Guard and the iO4th 
Rifles on our right, leaving the 4 Companies of the 20th 
Infantry and 23rd Peshawar Mountain Battery in general 
reserve under my own hand. A general advance was then 
made on the second Turkish position, assisted by the admir- 
ably directed fire of both the Mountain Batteries, from which 
the enemy suffered severely. The position was entrenched 
and held by the Turks with determination. It was gallantly 
rushed by the 2nd Battalion Dorset Regiment, about 9.30 A.M. 
The enemy made off northwards through the date palms. 

In the meanwhile, the iO4th Rifles on our right found the 
ground inside the wood very difficult owing to the numerous 
irrigation cuts. They pushed forward slowly till they reached 
the line held by the 2nd Dorsets and the 20th Infantry, 
meeting with strong opposition at a fortified village, where 
there were posted one gun and one machine-gun. 

The arrival of Turkish reinforcements from their force 
near Umm-ur-Rowais might now be expected at any minute. 
366 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

In view, therefore, of my instructions not to get too 
seriously engaged, I ordered a withdrawal to camp, after 
doing considerable damage to the Turkish camp. The retire- 
ment was unmolested. 

H.M.S. Odin co-operated in the action by steaming up 
the river parallel with the troops, but owing to the impossi- 
bility of observing fire through and over the belt of date 
palms, her fire was necessarily restricted to a minimum. 

I estimated the enemy's strength at 1200, with four 
mountain guns and three machine-guns. From information 
given by prisoners the force appears to have been con- 
siderably stronger. I put their losses at 160 dead and 
wounded unable to move. We took prisoners six un wounded 
and nineteen wounded, including a battalion commander. 

Our casualties came to : 

Captain Maclean, i(>4th Rifles. ] Qpverelv 

Lieutenant Yeatman, 2nd Battalion i v ^ 
Dorset Regiment. J wounded - 



Rank and File. 


Killed. 


Wounded. 


Missing. 


2nd Battalion Dorset Regiment 


5 


38 


Nil. 


iO4th Rifles 


3 


14 




2oth Infantry 




2 




No. i Brigade, Indian Mountain Artillery 





I 






The behaviour of all the troops was admirable. The 
co-operation between artillery and infantry was good. 

I would mention that the information regarding the enemy 
obtained by Major H. Smyth, Special Service Officer, proved 
to be absolutely correct. 

I bring to notice the good work done by the following : 

(a) Lieutenant-Colonel H. L. Rosher, 2nd Battalion 
Dorset Regiment, who commanded the main attack on 
the enemy's position in an able manner. 

(b) Major H. A. Holdich, Brigade Major, i6th Brigade. 
An able Staff Officer who gave me the greatest assistance 
during the engagement. 

(c) Lieutenant E. B. Allnutt, R.A.M.C., in medical 
charge of the 2nd Battalion Dorset Regiment, reported 

367 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

as having displayed great gallantry in attending the 
wounded on the open plain. 

(d) Bugler Surain Singh, 2oth Duke of Cambridge's 
Own Infantry, reported by the Officer Commanding 
lo/jih Wellesley's Rifles, as having very bravely set fire 
to a village held by the enemy. 



APPENDIX II 

Operation Order No. i by Lieutenant-General Sir A. A. Barrett, 
K.C.B., K.C.V.O., Commanding Force ' D/ dated 
Force Headquarters, Camp Saniyeh, November 16, 
1914. 

(Reference 4 miles to I inch map. 1 ) 

1. Information. A considerable body of the enemy was 
driven out of their camp at Saihan yesterday with severe loss. 
Opposition may be expected from other bodies here and 
farther north-west. 

2. Intention. To march as light as possible to new camp 
on Turkish bank of river, all baggage, etc., being carried on 
ships. The Naval forces will co-operate under the orders 
of the Senior Naval Officer. 

3. Ammunition. Infantry must carry 200 rounds per 
rifle on person and other arms as much as possible. 

4. Starting point. The starting points are the three 
bridges south-west of the i6th Brigade camp ; they will be 
marked by red lamps and flags by the i6th Brigade. 

Head of Main Body to pass at 6 A.M. 

Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General will control traffic. 

5. Advanced Guard. Officer Commanding Major-General 
C. I. Fry. Guide Captain Cochran. 

* Troops : 

i Squadron 33rd Light Cavalry. 

1 Mountain Battery. 

1 7th Company Sappers and Miners. 

2 Battalions i8th Brigade. 

1 Not reproduced. 

368 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

6. Main Body in order of march : 

Cavalry less I squadron. 

Force Headquarters. 

Headquarters and Divisional Signal Section, No. 34 

Divisional Signal Company. 
Divisional Engineers less i Company Sappers and 

Miners. 

Remainder i8th Infantry Brigade. 
48th Pioneers. 

Divisional Artillery, less I Mountain Battery. 
i6th Infantry Brigade, less ij Battalions. 
Field Ambulances (Bearer Sub-Divisions only) less 

those allotted to Brigades. 
2nd Line Transport. 

7. Flank Guards. Right Flank Guard, Officer Command- 
ing Lieutenant-Colonel M'George, H7th Mahrattas. 

Troops. | Battalion i6th Brigade. 
Left Flank Guard, Officer Commanding Major Scott. 

Troops. i Double Company i6th Brigade. 
The Right Flank Guard to march 1000 yards west of 
date palms. 

8. Rear Guard. Officer Commanding, Major Robinson, 
ii7th Mahrattas. 

Troops. i Double Company i6th Brigade. 

9. Medical. Field Ambulances are allotted as follows : 

i6th Brigade f B.F. A. 
i8th Brigade f B.F. A. 



Unallotted B.F. A. and ^ 5 andf I.F.A. 

Sick and wounded will be carried with the force by these 
medical units. 

10. Transport. Pack transport will be allotted as follows 
at 4 P.M. to-day : 

British Infantry . . .50 pack mules per Battalion. 

Indian Infantry . . .38 

Mountain Artillery Brigade . 18 

Royal Field Artillery Brigade Nil. 

Divisional Engineers . . 70 

Pioneer Regiment . . -53 

Cavalry . . . .50 

MILITARY 2 2 A 369 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

Field Ambulances . . .48 pack and 80 riding mules. 
Divisional Signal Company . \ 
Headquarters and Divisional I 

Section and each Brigade j ^ 

Section . . . . J 

Reports to Force Headquarters at head of main body. 

R. N. GAMBLE, Colonel, 
General Staff Force ' D.' 



APPENDIX III 

ENEMY ENGAGED IN THE BATTLE OF SAHIL, 
NOVEMBER 17, 1914 

Estimated Strength 

4 Q.F. Field-guns (3.25 in.). 

8 Mountain guns. 

3 Machine-guns. 

3500 Regular Infantry. 

200 Gunners. 

350 Gendarmes. 

Probably another 1000 armed Arabs in the palm belt. 

They belonged to the following Regiments : 

ist Battalion H3th Regiment. 

2nd Battalion H3th Regiment. 

2nd Battalion ii2th Regiment. 

160 men of ist Battalion 26th Regiment, European 

Turks. 

Gendarmes of Halim Bey. 

Part of the ist Battalion H4th Regiment was probably 
present. 

The enemy were commanded by Bimbashi Adie Bey. 

Enemy taken Prisoners 

Major Mahomed Ali "j 

Captain Raouf V of ist Battalion H3th Regiment. 

Lieutenant Mahhi J 

47 men (excluding those severely wounded). 
37 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

Estimated Enemy's Casualties 

About 800 killed and severely wounded, and a considerable 
number of slightly wounded. 

Captured 
Two mountain guns and a large number of rifles. 



APPENDIX IV 

Extract from the Report of the General Officer Commanding 
ibth Infantry Brigade, on the Operations of his Brigade 
up to November 20, 1914 

I recommend for reward the following officers, non-com- 
missioned -officers, and men from those favourably brought 
to notice by Commanding Officers : 

2nd Dorset Regiment 

Major H. St. J. Clarkson, for gallantry. 

Lieutenant and Adjutant F. G. Powell, for general assist- 
ance and conveying messages under heavy fire. 

Second Lieutenant E. L. Stephenson, for commanding his 
company with conspicuous coolness and dash after his Major 
and Captain had been killed. 

Lieutenant E. B. Allnutt, R.A.M.C., in medical charge, for 
again displaying conspicuous bravery in attending the wounded 
under heavy fire in the open. Many men owe their lives to 
this officer. 

No. 3865 Colour-Sergeant and Acting Sergeant-Ma j or 
Delara, for coolness and gallantry. 

No. 8558 Private Moores, who showed great courage in 
bringing up ammunition under heavy fire. 

No. 7712 Private Hughes, who, when the machine-gun 
officer was wounded, took command of the one uninjured gun, 
and, under heavy fire, brought it to close range, where it was 
of much use. 

No. 6591 Sergeant Drew, who, though wounded, continued 
to lead his men with coolness and bravery. 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

$rd Sappers and Miners 

Lieutenant Matthews, R.E., for gallantry in leading a 
mixed party of Sappers and I04th Rifles and establishing the 
flank attack on the edge of the date groves. 

Jemadar Feroze Ali. After Captain Twiss and the Subadar 
were wounded, this Indian officer was in command of about 
100 men, who did excellent work in spite of heavy casualties. 

No. 2855 Naik Dalip Singh, No. 22 Company 3rd Sappers 
and Miners, behaved with conspicuous gallantry in the action 
at Sahil on the I7th November 1914, when, with a party of 
Sappers under Lieutenant Matthews, R.E., he showed himself 
very forward in action and led his squad with great deter- 
mination into Turkish trenches. 

104^ Wellesley's Rifles 

Captain Chadwick, for gallantry. 

Subadar Sabal Singh (first in \ for gallantry with Lieu- 
grove), . . . . V tenant Matthews' 
No. 2336 Lance-Naik Net Singh, ) party. 

lijth Mahrattas 

Captain and Adjutant E. G. Hall, for gallantry. This 
officer was severely wounded. 

I regret that I omitted to bring to favourable notice the 
services of Mr. Bryant, the Marconi operator on board s.s. 
Varda, of the British India Steam Navigation Company. 
Mr. Bryant was untiring in his efforts to secure communica- 
tion, and when the apparatus on the Dalhousie broke down, 
he volunteered instantly to go across from Bahrain to Bushire 
to set matters right. The force owed much to his skill and 
devotion to duty, and I trust that it may be found possible to 
recognise his services. 



Extract from the Report of the General Officer Commanding 
iSth Infantry Brigade, on the operations of his Brigade 
up to November 20, 1914 

When all did well and where there was no opportunity for 
372 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

conspicuous individual action, I have no special recommen- 
dations to make. 



Extract from the Report of the Officer Commanding Royal 
Artillery, I.E.F. ' D ' on the operations of the Artillery 
under his command up to November 20, 1914 

All ranks behaved with exceptional coolness and steadi- 
ness, and I wish to bring to notice the good work done by 
Lieutenant-Colonel Greer and Major Broke Smith throughout 
the action. 



Extracts from Reports of the Assistant Director, Medical Services, 
Indian Expeditionary Force ' D,' in connection with 
the Service under his command up to November 20, 
1914 

I wish to bring to notice the especially excellent work done 
by the following Medical Officers during the engagement of 
the I7th instant : 

Captain Wright, I. M.S., I26th Indian Field Ambulance. 

Captain Hislop, I. M.S., I26th Indian Field Ambulance. 

Captain Lambert, R.A.M.C., iyth British Field Ambulance. 

Lieutenant Allnutt, R.A.M.C., Medical Officer, Dorset 
Regiment. 

The under-mentioned Assistant Surgeons and Sub-assistant 
Surgeons did conspicuously good work in attending the 
wounded under heavy fire on the iyth November 1914, and 
are recommended for promotion as stated opposite their 
names : 

3rd Class Assistant Surgeon J. H. S. Huffton, to ist Class 
Assistant Surgeon. 

4th Class Assistant Surgeon J. H. T. Pacheco (wounded), 
to 3rd Class Assistant Surgeon of three years' standing. 

No. 282 ist Class Sub-Assistant Surgeon V. U. R. Pandit, 
I04th Rifles, to 2nd Class Senior Sub-Assistant Surgeon. 

No. 318 2nd Class Sub-Assistant Surgeon Shaikh Azimud- 
din-Shaik Ismail, to 2nd Class Senior Sub- Assist ant Surgeon. 

373 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

SUPPLEMENTARY REPORTS CONCERNING 
FOREGOING OPERATIONS 

The Secretary of the Admiralty announces that a success- 
ful operation against Fao, at the mouth of the Shatt-el-Arab, 
Persian Gulf, has been conducted by a military force from 
India covered by H.M.S. Odin (Commander Cathcart R. 
Wason), the armed launch Sirdar, a force of Marines with a 
Maxim-gun party, and a boat from the Ocean. 

The enemy's guns were silenced after an hour's resistance, 
and the town was occupied by the troops and the Naval 
Brigade. There were no naval casualties. 

It is expected that no further opposition will be met with 
below Fao. 

The Secretary of State for India communicates the 
following announcement regarding the military operations 
now in progress at the head of the Persian Gulf : 

Since the outbreak of war with Turkey a brigade from 
India, under the command of Brigadier-General W. S. Delamain, 
which was present in the Persian Gulf for the protection of 
British interests, has been engaged in operations against the 
Turks at the head of the Gulf, on the right bank of 
Shatt-el-Arab. 

As was announced on November 8, the Turkish fort at 
Fao was silenced by fire from the ships accompanying the 
expedition, a portion of the force was landed, and the town 
was occupied by our troops. Since that date two actions, on 
November u and 15, have been fought with the Turkish 
forces, who on both occasions were very severely handled 
and defeated after a stubborn resistance. On the nth inst., 
at 5.30 A.M., the Turks made a determined attack on our 
outposts, but were held in check by the H7th Mahrattas and 
finally routed by a counter-attack made by the 2Oth Infantry, 
supported by fire from a mountain battery. Our casualties 
were few ; those of the enemy at least eighty. 

On the I4th further troops arrived from India under the 
command of Lieutenant-General Sir A. Barrett. On the ifjth 
the latter, hearing that a strong force of the enemy with 
mountain artillery were occupying a post about four miles 
374 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

distant, sent General Delamain with three battalions and 
two mountain batteries to evict them. After a sharp action, 
in which His Majesty's ships EspUgle and Odin co-operated, 
this was successfully accomplished. The enemy's entrenched 
camp was captured and his losses were very heavy. 

Several prisoners, including a Turkish major, were captured 
and two of the enemy's machine-guns were destroyed. Our 
casualties were two officers wounded ; rank and file, eight 
killed and fifty-one wounded. 

The Secretary of State for India has received a report from Times, 
the General in Command of the force operating on the Shatt- Nov. 20, 
el- Arab (Persian Gulf), stating that an advance was made on I9I 4 
November 17 for nine miles up the right bank of the river. 

Our troops encountered a force of about 4500 of the enemy 
in a strong entrenched position with twelve guns, and, after 
overcoming a determined resistance and turning his left flank, 
carried the entrenchments. The enemy retired, losing two 
guns and many prisoners, including three officers ; and his 
camp, containing his animal transport and reserve ammunition, 
was captured. 

Our advance over open level plain, affording no cover, 
necessarily caused heavy losses ; rapid movement of men 
and horses was impossible owing to the state of ground after 
heavy rain. 

Our casualties were : Killed officers, three ; rank and 
file, about 35. Wounded officers, about 15 ; rank and file, 
about 300. 

Troops behaved splendidly and are proud of their success. 
Medical officers did splendidly under heavy fire. 

The Secretary of State for India communicates the follow- Times, 
ing regarding the military operations at the head of the Nov - 2 4 
Persian Gulf. ^4 

The recent .operations in the Persian Gulf have been 
crowned with even greater and more rapid success than was 
anticipated. After the signal defeat inflicted upon the 
Turkish forces on the I5th and I7th, the latter, abandoning 
all further resistance here, fled, leaving eight guns and many 
wounded in our hands. The Valis of Basra and Bagdad 
accompanied the defeated Turkish forces in their flight up 

375 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

the Tigris. Basra was occupied on 2ist instant by both 
our naval and land forces. All the British in Basra are 
reported safe. 



TURKISH CLAIMS 

Constantinople, November 16, 1914. 

K. D., Official report from Turkish Headquarters. Yesterday 

Nov. 16, we attacked the English at Fao. They lost many killed, the 
1914 number of which we estimate at 1000. Abdurrezak Beder- 

khani, who is held in abhorrence by the whole Mussulman 
community on account of the revolutionary intrigues to 
which he has devoted himself for a long time, had crossed 
the frontier with 300 men in the neighbourhood of Maku 
to assist the Russians, but he was at once driven back by 
our troops. A large number of his followers was killed. A 
Russian flag which they had hoisted in a neighbouring village 
was captured by our troops. Abdurrezak is a Kurd, and 
belongs to the tribe of the Bederkhani. 

Constantinople. 

K.V., An official report from Headquarters says : The cruiser 

Nov. 21, Hamidieh yesterday bombarded and destroyed the Russian 
oil depots and the wireless station at Tuapfe in the neigh- 
bourhood of Novorossiisk. On November 18 a sharp action 
which lasted for nine hours took place between the English 
and our troops at Shatt-el-Arab. The enemy's losses were 
considerable. English prisoners declared that the Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the English troops was among the wounded. 
One shot fired by our gunboat Marmariss hit an English 
gunboat and caused an explosion on board. 

Constantinople. 

K. V., Headquarters report that according to information re- 

Nov. 22, ceived after the action at Shatt-el-Arab .the ascertained 
English losses amounted to 750 dead and 1000 wounded. 

Constantinople, December 25. 

K. V., An official report from Headquarters says : After the 

Nov. 22, action at Basra on November 19, which ended with 

heavy losses in killed and wounded on the English side, 

376 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

the enemy received reinforcements and advanced slowly 
along the river under cover of the fire of his gunboats. Our 
troops awaited the enemy in a new position where his guns 
and his ships could not help him. The ship Nilufer has been 
sunk off Kilia as the result of an accident. 



OCCUPATION OF BASRA 

The Secretary of State for India has received reports from Times, 
General Barrett, in command of the forces operating at the Nov. 25 
head of the Persian Gulf, and Sir P. Cox, the Political Officer X 9 T 4 
accompanying the troops, to the following effect : 

On the morning of the 23rd November a ceremonial march 
was made by the troops through the streets of Basra to a 
central point at which the notables of the town were assembled, 
and the Union Jack was hoisted on the prominent buildings ; 
naval salutes were fired, the troops presented arms and gave 
three cheers for the King-Emperor ; a suitable proclamation x 
was issued, and received with acclamation by the inhabitants. 

The remnants of the Turkish forces which were at Basra 
have evaporated, leaving their guns and rifles. Zobeir, which 
had been held by the Turks, has submitted. 

All the Europeans at Basra have been found safe and well, 
and we have received fresh news of the safety of those who are 
at Bagdad. 

It is estimated by British merchants at Basra that the 

1 [The following is an extract from this proclamation : ' The British 
Government has now occupied Basra, but though a state of war with the 
Ottoman Government still prevails, we have no enmity or ill-will against 
the populace, to whom we hope to prove good friends and protectors. No 
remnant of Turkish administration now remains in this region. In place 
thereof the British flag has been established under which you will enjoy 
the benefits of liberty and justice, both in regard to your religious and 
your secular affairs. 

' I have given strict orders to my victorious troops that in the execution 
of the duties entrusted to them they are to deal with the populace generally 
with complete consideration and friendliness. It remains with yourselves to 
treat them in the same way. 

' In conclusion, you are at full liberty to pursue your vocations as usual, 
and your business as before, and it is my confident hope that the commerce 
of Basra will resume its course and prosper even more than in the past.'] 

377 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

Turkish wounded brought in after the action of the I7th 
November numbered 2000. The Arab soldiery who were 
recently mobilised by the Turks were left behind when the 
latter fled from Basra, and many of them, before going to 
their homes, discarded their arms and uniforms and resumed 
their civil dress. It is reported that they are very dissatisfied 
with the manner in which they were treated by the Turks. 



DESPATCHES REGARDING OPERATIONS IN THE 
PERSIAN GULF AND IN MESOPOTAMIA 

FIELD OPERATIONS 

No. 597. The Governor-General in Council has much plea- 
sure in directing the publication of the following letter from the 
Chief of the General Staff, dated June 8, 1915, submitting 
despatches from Lieutenant-General Sir A. A. Barrett, K.C.B., 
K.C.V.O., describing certain operations of Indian Expedi- 
tionary Force *D' up to March 31, 1915. The Governor- 
General in Council concurs in the opinion of His Excellency 
the Commander-in-Chief regarding the manner in which 
the operations were carried out and the conduct of the troops 
engaged. His Excellency in Council also shares the Com- 
mander-in-Chief s appreciation of the valuable assistance 
rendered by the Royal Navy and the Royal Indian Marine. 



From the Chief of the General Staff to the Secretary to the 
Government of India, Army Department, No. 11854-1, 
dated Simla, June 18, 1915 

I am directed by His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief 
in India to submit for the information of the Government of 
India the under-mentioned reports on the operations of 
Indian Expeditionary Force ' D/ up to 3ist March 1915 * : 
(i) Report by Lieutenant-General Sir A. A. Barrett, 
K.C.B., K.C.V.O., on the operations resulting 
in the capture of Qurnah, December 9, 1914 : 

1 [Only reports covering operations in 1914 are printed here; later 
reports will be given in a subsequent volume.] 

378 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

(ii) Report by Lieutenant-General Sir A. A. Barrett, 
K.C.B., K.C.V.O., on an engagement north 
of Qurnah on January 20, 1915 : 

(iii) Officers, warrant officers, and non-commissioned 
officers brought to notice by Lieutenant- 
General Sir A. A. Barrett, K.C.B., K.C.V.O., 
for good services rendered during the opera- 
tions from November 1914 to March 31, 1915. 

2. His Excellency considers that the operations in ques- 
tion were skilfully carried out, and that the conduct of the 
troops reflects credit on all ranks. He desires to commend 
to the favourable consideration of Government the officers, 
non-commissioned officers, and men whose services are brought 
to notice in the reports, and wishes to invite attention to 
the valuable assistance rendered by the Royal Navy and 
Royal Indian Marine. 

3. His Excellency recommends that these reports be treated 
as despatches and published in the Gazette of India. 



From Lieutenant-General Sir A. A. Barrett, K.C.B., K.C.V.O., 
Commanding Indian Expeditionary Force ' D,' to 
the Chief of the General Staff, Army Headquarters, 
Delhi. Headquarters, Basra, No. 174-6, dated Decem- 
ber 29, 1914 

I have the honour to submit, for the information of His 
Excellency the Commander-in-Chief , the accompanying reports 
by Major-General C. I. Fry, Lieutenant-Colonel G. S. Frazer, 
and Commander W. Nunn, R.N., on the operations which 
resulted in the capture of Qurnah, and the surrender of the 
Turkish garrison with its commander, the late Vali of Basra. 

The force originally despatched from Basra on the 
evening of December 3 for this purpose consisted of two 
guns of the 82nd Battery Royal Field Artillery, one company 
of Norfolks, half company 3rd Sappers and Miners, the iO4th 
Rifles, and the noth Mahrattas under command of Colonel 
G. S. Frazer. Two of the transports containing these troops 
were armed with two field-guns each, to be placed at the 

379 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

disposal of the Senior Naval Officer as soon as the landing 
of the troops had been completed. 

Colonel Frazer's orders were to land at a spot, selected 
by Captain Hayes-Sadler, R.N., on the left bank of the river 
a few miles below Qurnah, and, acting in concert with the 
Naval force, to clear bank of the enemy up to and beyond 
Qurnah, after which he had a free hand to decide whether 
to cross the river and attack the village of Qurnah, or to hold 
on and await reinforcements. 

It will be seen from Colonel Frazer's report that the 
clearing of the left bank was carried out most success- 
fully. 

The enemy on this bank, after being driven from his en- 
trenchments and from the village of Muzaira'ah, fell back to 
the north, while our leading troops got engaged with those 
holding the village of Qurnah on the right bank. Owing to 
the thick groves of palm trees at this spot, intersected as 
usual by numerous creeks, touch was lost with the retreating 
Turks, who were thus enabled to cross the river unmolested 
higher up stream ; while Colonel Frazer, being unable to 
cross the river under a heavy fire, withdrew for the night. 
It will be seen from the report of Captain Nunn, R.N., that 
although the naval guns and the field-guns on the transports 
were able to afford most efficient support during the first 
part of the action, the ships and armed launches, one of 
which was disabled, could not, owing to being exposed to 
heavy shell fire, go far enough up stream to bring an effective 
fire to bear upon the enemy holding this village. 

I consider that Colonel Frazer accomplished all that 
could have been expected of him, having regard to the limited 
number of troops under his command. The Turks had been 
reinforced before the action commenced, and were in greater 
strength than was expected. 

As soon as the transports containing wounded and prisoners 
returned to Basra, I ordered General Fry to take up rein- 
forcements consisting of four more field-guns, the remaining 
three companies of the Norfolk Regiment, the 7th Rajputs, 
and a half battalion of the izoth Infantry. 

His orders were to reconnoitre the ground thoroughly 
before renewing the engagement, and to let me know if he 
considered more troops would be required. He asked for a 
380 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

Mountain Battery and some transport mules, which were 
despatched as quickly as possible. 

The further course of the action is fully described in General 
Fry's report, and it only remains for me to express my high 
appreciation of the skilful manner in which they were carried 
out, and of the excellent behaviour of the troops engaged. I 
consider that the crossing of the river was a most creditable 
performance, and I trust that the gallant conduct of Lieu- 
tenant Campbell and the non-commissioned officers and men 
of the 3rd Sappers and Miners, who swam the river, will meet 
with due recognition. 

I also wish to endorse General Fry's commendations of 
other officers and men who distinguished themselves during 
this engagement, although, as I have already mentioned in 
a previous report, I propose to defer bringing the names of 
individual officers to notice until the operations as a whole 
have been concluded. I much regret that the force has now 
lost the services of Captain Hayes-Sadler, R.N., and the 
officers and men of H.M.S. Ocean, who have now rejoined 
their ship and quitted the Gulf. 



List of accompaniments to Despatch 

I. Report on the operations of General Fry's column 

on December 6, 7, 8, and 9, 1914. 
Appendix ' A/ Report on transport arrangements. 
Appendix ' B.' Order of battle for operations, 

December 7. 

Appendix ' C.' Detail of ordnance and prisoners 
taken at Qurnah on December 9. 

II. Report on the operations of Lieutenant-Colonel 

Frazer's column on December 4, 1914. 
Appendix ' D/ Report by Lieutenant-Colonel 
Clery, iO4th Rifles, on operations 
December 4. 
Appendix ' E.' List of casualties December 4. 

III. Report by Commander W. Nunn, Senior Naval 
Officer, Persian Gulf Division, on the operations 
December 4 to 9, 1914. 

381 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

Maps and Sketches : 

Sketch map of Camp Shaib. 
Sketch map of action of December 7. 
Sketch map of Muzaira'ah. 
Sketch of crossing of River Tigris. 



Sketch showing operations of Decem- 
ber 4. 

Map of country round Qurnah, scale 
4 inches to I inch. 

Sketches illustrating the Senior Naval 
Officer's Report (Part III.) 



Not 



reproduced. 



ENCLOSURE No. i 

Report on the Operations of General Fry's Column on December 
6, 7, and 8, 1914, culminating in the Surrender of 
Qurnah 

The troops despatched from Basra on December 5 to 
reinforce Lieutenant-Colonel Frazer's Column (iO4th Rifles, 
noth Mahratta Light Infantry and section 82nd Battery) 
arrived at Camp Shaib at 5 A.M. on December 6 and dis- 
embarked, extending the existing perimeter camp to the 
north. Colonel Frazer had arranged for a reconnaissance 
of the enemy's position by three companies under Major 
Hill at 8 A.M., and during this, I and one of my staff went 
on board H.M.S. Lawrence to confer with Sir P. Cox and 
Captain Hayes-Sadler, Senior Naval Officer. 

The enemy had reoccupied Muzaira'ah after Colonel 
Frazer's operation of December 4, and appeared to be 
actively engaged in entrenching the position. 

At 10.30 A.M. the enemy opened fire with two guns from 
the southern end of Muzaira'ah on Major Hill's reconnaissance, 
firing about six groups of two shots of well-timed shrapnel, 
and at n A.M. opened on the Lawrence, firing six groups of 
two shots. They appeared to be ranging new guns. 

The reconnaissance returned to camp, while the Lawrence 
withdrew a short distance down stream. 

At 2.30 P.M. the Senior Naval officer reported that about 
500 enemy with two guns were advancing from Muzaira'ah 
382 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

across the plain. The noth were sent forward to reinforce 
the outposts with two sections 76th Battery, Royal Field 
Artillery. After some brief long-range fire the enemy retired, 
and beyond a small affair of outposts just before dusk, when 
the enemy advanced too close, necessitating the reinforce- 
ment of the outposts by one double company, there was no 
sniping or other disturbing element during the ensuing night. 

From my intelligence it appeared that the enemy had 
been considerably reinforced since Colonel Frazer's action 
on 4th, and were now estimated at 1200 to 1500 about 
Muzaira'ah with six guns, and about 800 in Qurnah with four 
guns. 

As any forward movement from Muzaira'ah would enable 
the enemy to shell the camp (though the danger was a night 
one only), and to prevent any further reinforcement, to the 
enemy, I decided that an early attack on Muzaira'ah, with 
the clearing of the left bank of the Tigris River, was essential 
to further operations. This, however, would have been 
ineffectual unless I was prepared to remain in possession of 
captured ground. The opening of a short line of communica- 
tion to Shaib Camp would be essential, and consequently 320 
mules were wired for, being the minimum estimated require- 
ment. (For the working of this line see Appendix ' A.') 

On December 7 the force (Appendix ' B '), less one half- 
double company per battalion and details of other units 
left in camp, assembled on the farther side of the creek just 
north of the camp at 9 A.M. Considerable delay occurred 
owing to difficulties experienced by the field artillery, in 
crossing this shallow creek, filled by an exceptionally high 
tide. 

My plan of attack was for the 2nd Norfolk Regiment and 
the i2Oth Infantry to attack the village of Muzaira'ah and 
the trenches south of that place, while the noth Light 
Infantry, echeloned back on the right of the 2nd Norfolk 
Regiment, was to carry out a turning movement against the 
north of the village, the 7th Rajputs and I04th Rifles being 
held in reserve. The section 82nd Battery was directed 
to support the left attack, the two sections 76th Battery, 
Royal Field Artillery, the right attack. The Mountain 
Battery and transport mules asked for had arrived at camp, 
and I must here express my thanks for the prompt despatch 

383 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

of these, the latter being specially necessary for my plans. 
The 3oth Mountain Battery at once joined the force for the 
action, and was placed between the field batteries to support 
either flank as required. 

Close co-operation had been arranged for with the Senior 
Naval Officer. (For the distribution of troops and subsequent 
movements, see Sketch Map of action of December 7.) 1 

The advance commenced at n A.M. over an absolutely 
level and bare open plain without a vestige of cover, and at 
11.15 A.M. 82nd Battery opened fire on Muzaira'ah at a range 
of 2750 yards. 

Ten minutes later the enemy opened rifle fire from the 
village and trenches covering it, and at 11.45 A.M. the 76th 
Battery, Royal Field Artillery, came into action at 3800 yards 
range. Two of the enemy's guns then opened fire on the 
76th Battery from the north end of Muzaira'ah, the flashes 
being visible, but they were silenced in ten rounds and did 
not re-open fire, being subsequently captured intact. 

The infantry were meanwhile steadily advancing, and all 
artillery advanced to closer ranges. As the infantry came 
into action each line successively dropped their blankets to 
facilitate movement and these were collected after the action. 

The 2nd Norfolk Regiment and I20th Infantry came under 
some enfilade fire from trenches on the enemy's right, but the 
prompt switching of fire on to that flank by the 82nd Battery 
and guns from the ships, combined with vigorous action on 
the part of the i2Oth Infantry, reinforced by a double company 
7th Rajputs with Maxim guns, effectually checked any danger 
from that direction. 

Meanwhile the noth Light Infantry executed their turn- 
ing movement against trenches on the north of Muzaira'ah, 
till at 12.50 P.M., the whole of the 2nd Norfolk Regiment 
being now merged in the firing line, the village was stormed 
at the point of the bayonet, the enemy not waiting to receive 
the charge. 

The pursuit through the palm groves was vigorously 
carried out by the i2Oth Infantry and 2nd Norfolk Regiment, 
while the nbth Light Infantry cleared the trenches imme- 
diately north of Muzaira'ah. The iO4th Rifles followed 
closely after the noth Light Infantry, and, as the latter 

1 Not reproduced. 
384 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

regiment swung towards the river, moved northwards, clear- 
ing further trenches occupied by the enemy in their retire- 
ment. All the artillery moved round the north of Muzaira'ah 
and shelled the enemy. 

At 2 P.M. two hostile guns opened fire from the north- 
north-east, the flashes only being visible. These were silenced 
in seven minutes by searching fire from 76th Battery at 
4100 yards range, and teams were seen galloping away, 
leaving the guns. A squadron of cavalry or even a troop 
during this pursuit would have been invaluable, for the two 
guns could undoubtedly have been captured and probably 
a large body of the enemy (estimated from 1000 to 1500) 
could have been rounded up, with their line of retreat up the 
river bank cut. 

Major Maule, Sand Battery, had meanwhile placed one 
of his guns in position on the left bank of the Tigris at the 
northern edge of the palm groves and effectually raked the 
river front of Qurnah at a range of 2300 yards. 

The yth Rajputs, except for one double company rein- 
forcement to the i2Oth, were in reserve throughout the action. 

Through the palm groves the fighting continued till nearly 
dusk, the enemy bringing a heavy fire to bear from Qurnah 
and along the river bank. 

Camp was arranged for the force in some gardens between 
Muzaira'ah and the palm groves, where, though within shell 
fire from Qurnah, it was hidden from view and covered by 
the glare of the burning village. By 5 P.M. all units were 
settling into camp except the noth Light Infantry, who 
were covering the operation from the north-west and who 
came in after dark. About this time two enemy's shell were 
burst outside the north-west corner of camp, and at 9.30 P.M. 
five shells were fired over the glowing village : no damage 
was done, and the ensuing night was devoid of incident. 

The captures this day included 3 field-guns, about 130 
. prisoners, and a large number of rifles, which were destroyed. 

The enemy are estimated to have had about 2000 troops 
on the left bank, and subsequent information places their 
casualties at about 200 killed and 300 wounded, but the 
latter is probably underestimated. Our casualties were 
British officers wounded, 5 ; Indian officers wounded, 3 ; rank 
and file killed, 8 ; wounded, 112, of whom 2 have since died. 

MILITARY 2 2 B 385 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

I must acknowledge the admirable support extended by 
the Artillery and the Navy, which seems to have paralysed all 
artillery resistance. 

From my intelligence this evening it appeared that about 
1500 of the enemy escaped northwards up the left bank 
of the Tigris, and that the majority had embarked and fled 
north, while in Qurnah itself were some 800 regulars with 
4 guns. 

I decided to attempt a crossing of the Tigris without delay. 

Early on the morning of December 8 the half company 
(No. 17) Sappers and Miners were despatched to the northern 
edge of the palm groves to get a line across the river. The 
iO4th Rifles were to reconnoitre and cover the operations 
from the north ; the noth Light Infantry and 2nd Norfolk 
Regiment were moved to the edge of the palm groves, the 
former to cross and the latter to cover the crossing, while 
the artillery moved to positions in support, and the I20th 
Infantry and 7th Rajputs were to distract attention opposite 
Qurnah itself in combination with the naval force. 

The dispositions of the crossing are shown in sketch of 
crossing of river Tigris. 1 

At 11.30 A.M. Havildar Ghulam Nabi swam across the 
Tigris with a log line accompanied by Lance-Naik Nur Dad 
and Sapper Ghulam Haidar, and, in spite of a strong current 
and the possibility of a heavy fire being brought on them 
at any moment, they succeeded in swimming the 130 yards 
of river and landing on the right bank. Lieutenant Campbell, 
R.E., then went across, and the ij inch wire cable, especially 
brought up for the purpose, was hauled over and made fast ; 
a difficult feat in the strong current on an ebb tide. 

A dhow was secured with the assistance of two or three 
friendly Arabs, and, being brought across, the first party of 
some 70 men, noth Light Infantry, under Lieutenant- 
Colonel Frazer and Captain Cochran, General Staff Officer, 
3rd grade for Intelligence, successfully landed on the right 
bank at 1.20 P.M. under some rifle fire from dhows down 
stream. Though the operation was tedious, the rest of the 
battalion was gradually pushed over. 

Meanwhile the Navy and a double company of each of 
the I20th Infantry and 7th Rajputs were distracting the 

1 Not reproduced. 
386 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

enemy's attention in front of Qurnah successfully ; for the 
crossing did not appear to have been realised by the enemy 
till too late, though some rifle and ineffectual shell fire was 
experienced. 

The I04th Rifles had earlier reported that they could cross 
about I miles up stream by three dhows, the crews of which 
were friendly. They were directed to cross and come up on 
the right of the noth Light Infantry for the advance on 
Qurnah, while the 2nd Norfolk Regiment detached half a 
battalion to replace them. 

The single gun, 82nd Battery, only returned the enemy's 
fire, and it was not found necessary for the other guns to 
disclose themselves. One Section 3oth Mountain Battery, 
without mules, followed the noth Light Infantry across the 
river, but were not employed, as Lieutenant-Colonel Frazer, 
meeting with some opposition north of Qurnah, decided it 
was too late in the day to storm the town with the probability 
of street fighting. 

The iO4th Rifles, noth Light Infantry, and Section 3Oth 
Mountain Battery accordingly went into camp on the right 
bank near the flying bridge. One double company noth 
Light Infantry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Britten, however, 
moving down the right bank, did not get the order to retire, 
and, entering the enemy's position on their right, enfiladed 
their northern defence and occupied three towers in this 
part of their position. This double company, being isolated, 
later withdrew to camp without casualty for the night. 

To support this force on the right bank, the 2nd Norfolk 
Regiment were left to camp at the end of the palm groves on 
the left bank, other units resuming their camp at Muzaira'ah. 

The ensuing night was devoid of incident. 

Our casualties this day were 23 rank and file wounded. 

At 5 A.M. on December 9, as I was about to resume 
operations, I received intimation from the Senior Naval 
Officer that a deputation of officers from Subhi Bey, the late 
Vali of Basrah and Turkish Commander, had boarded H.M.S. 
Espiegle about midnight, stating that the Vali was prepared 
to surrender unconditionally. 

I met a deputation, consisting of the Chief Staff Officer 
and two Lieutenants on board at 8.30 A.M., when arrangements 
for surrender were made and all movements of troops stopped. 

387 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

At 1.30 P.M., accompanied by Sir Percy Cox, Captain 
Hayes-Sadler (Senior Naval Officer) and Staffs, I landed at 
the Vali's house and received his surrender, returning to him 
his sword in recognition of his able defence. 

Meanwhile the iO4th Rifles and noth Light Infantry 
had moved into Qurnah, and piquets were posted round the 
town, the remainder of the battalions being drawn up round 
the Turkish force, which had fallen in with piled arms on the 
open square at the south corner of the town. 

At 2.30 P.M. the Union Jack was formally hoisted, and 
the transference of the prisoners to the paddle steamer Blosse 
Lynch was proceeded with. The details of ordnance and 
prisoners taken at Qurnah are shown in Appendix ' C/ 

General Remarks and Recommendations. I cannot speak 
too highly of the conduct of the troops throughout these 
operations and their steadiness under heavy fire. Their 
tactical formations were admirably adapted to the ground, 
which afforded no cover, and the units were handled with 
marked ability. 

My thanks are due to Captain Hayes-Sadler, R.N., for his 
very close co-operation with his naval force throughout these 
operations, which was of invaluable assistance. 

The fact that there were so few casualties was due to the 
splendid co-operation of the Field and Mountain Artillery. 
Their fire was rendered very difficult owing to mirage, but 
in spite of this they maintained an accurate fire on the 
enemy's trenches right up to the moment of assault. They 
also immediately silenced any of the enemy's guns which 
opened fire. Major St. T. B. Nevinson, 76th Battery, Royal 
Field Artillery, acted as Commander Royal Artillery, and 
directed this co-operation with great skill and ability. Major 
St. J. Maule, 82nd Battery, Royal Field Artillery, throughout 
showed great initiative, and his action in bringing a gun to 
bear on the river front of Qurnah on December 7 and 8 had 
much to do with the decisive issues of the operations. 

Major H. J. Cotter, 3oth Mountain Battery, and Captain 
E. V. Sarson, 76th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, gave 
valuable services. 

No. 98166 Battery Sergeant-Major H. E. Haggett, 76th 
Battery, Royal Field Artillery, is noted for exceptionally 
able and energetic assistance. 
388 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

No. 17 Company, 3rd Sappers and Miners. I cannot 
speak too highly of the services rendered by this half company 
throughout, under the command of Lieutenant R. C. Lord, 
R.E. They have had very hard work, and their devotion 
to it has been of incalculable assistance. 

Major H. E. Winsloe, R.E., acted as my A.C.R.E., and 
ably directed the operation of bridging the river Tigris. 

Havildar Ghulam Nabi, No. 2632, swam across the Tigris 
with a log line accompanied by Lance-Naik Nur Dad, No. 
3742, and No. 3898 Sapper Ghulam Haidar. There was a 
strong current in the river, which was about 130 yards wide, 
and the enemy were occupying the opposite bank only a 
short distance down stream. Although they were not fired 
on, there was every reason to expect they would be, as the 
ground on the opposite bank was densely wooded and favoured 
the approach of an enemy. It was owing to their gallant 
action that the steel cable was got across and the flying 
bridge constructed. I recommend Havildar Ghulam Nabi 
for the ' Order of Merit ' and Lance-Naik Nur Dud and Sapper 
Ghulam Haidar for the ' Distinguished Conduct Medal/ 

Lieutenant M. G. G. Campbell, R.E., deserves special 
recognition for his 'gallant crossing over the Tigris, holding 
on to the log line only, when a strong current was running, 
to superintend the hauling over the steel hawser and fix the 
running tackle for the flying bridge he was for some time 
under fire while performing this difficult operation. 

2nd Battalion Norfolk Regiment. This fine Regiment 
has throughout been an example to others, both in the field 
and in camp. Their cohesion and the precision in their 
movements showed that they have attained a very high 
standard of efficiency in their peace training, the credit for 
which is due to Lieutenant-Colonel E. C. Peebles, D.S.O., 
who has commanded the Regiment with marked ability and 
energy. 

Captain W. J. O'B. Daunt (severely wounded) proved 
himself a gallant leader. 

Captain and Adjutant' G. de Grey was particularly con- 
spicuous in taking messages to the firing line, and conveying 
ammunition to it when it was running short. 

Lieutenant H. S. Farebrother for bold handling of his 
machine-gun section over absolutely open ground. 

389 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

No. 5008 Sergeant W. Bailey (twice wounded) for work 
with machine-guns. 

No. 5223 Lance-Sergeant L. Snell 



No. 5973 Sergeant A. Cornwall 
No. 7226 Lance-Sergeant Leveridge 
No. 7345 Corporal W. Fristin 
No. 7545 Musician Mullinger 
No. 7784 Musician Sharpe 



for exceptionally 
gallant and useful 
work during the 
attack on Muz- 
aira'ah. 



No. 8049 Private A. Dawson 
No. 8365 Private F. Pryor / did Particularly well, attend- 
No. 86 3 i Private A. George { ^^^ DaUnt when 

Captain D. Arthur, I. M.S., was particularly conspicuous 
in attending Captain Daunt and other wounded when exposed 
to heavy fire, and throughout the action. 

7th Rajputs. This Regiment was held in reserve through- 
out, but one double company under Lieutenant-Colonel Parr 
did well when it reinforced the i2Oth Infantry. 

Lieutenant W. L. Harvey. For the very efficient manner 
in which he brought up his machine-gun section in support 
of the I20th Infantry ; he was wounded just after adjusting 
a jam in one of his guns. 

Subadar Brijmohan Singh handled his company in a very 
efficient manner when brought up in support of the i2Oth 
Infantry, and acted throughout with conspicuous bravery and 
coolness. 

iO4th Rifles. This Regiment has been engaged in every 
action which has taken place during this campaign, and has 
met with very heavy casualties. Their work under my 
command during these operations has throughout been 
excellent and quite up to the fine traditions of the Regiment. 
During the action of the 7th they were in reserve, but were 
thrown in towards the end of the action and carried out the 
pursuit well. On the 8th Lieutenant-Colonel C. B. Clery 
showed great initiative in securing the three dhows up stream, 
and his action greatly facilitated the rapidity of crossing. 

Captain H. M. Butler (severely wounded) for exceptional 
skill and gallant leading of his double company in the attack 
on Muzaira'ah. 

Sub-Assistant Surgeon Pundit, I.S.M.D. During the 
attack on Muzaira'ah on December 7, 1914, Rifleman Ghos 
390 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

Mahammad was shot by an Arab, who was hiding in one of 
the huts. Sub- Assist ant Surgeon Pundit called on a sepoy 
of another regiment to enter the hut and clear it. The sepoy 
seemed reluctant to do so, and this Sub-Assistant Surgeon 
took his rifle and bayonet, entered the house, and closed with 
the Arab. The sepoy followed, and between them they killed 
him. He has also shown exceptional bravery in attending 
wounded under fire. 

noth Mahratta Light Infantry. This Regiment carried 
out the turning movement on the enemy's left flank on the 7th 
with great intelligence and dash, and worked well on the 8th. 

Lieutenant-Colonel T. X. Britten. His action on December 
8, 1914, in capturing three towers on the right of the enemy's 
position at Qurnah shows him to be a resourceful and dashing 
leader. 

Captain K. E. Cooper showed great dash and bravery 
attacking through the north end of Muzaira'ah. He 
approached one small house from which fire was being kept 
up, climbed a wall at the back and shot four Turks, who were 
occupying it, with his revolver. 

Subadar Hari Savant and Jemadar Vishun Ghone for 
conspicuous coolness and ability in handling their half 
double companies on December 7 and 8, 1914. 

No. 2089 Lance-Naik Bhan Sawant (since killed), a young 
soldier who showed much dash and spirit in command of the 
scouts of his company. 

No. 1148 Lance-Naik Haider Beg, a signaller, who on 
two occasions signalled an important message from the 
firing line to the artillery, standing up fearlessly in the open 
under heavy fire, doing so, as he could not see properly in 
any other position. 

i2Oth Rajputana Infantry. This Regiment, consisting of 
only Headquarters and 2 double companies, acted with great 
boldness and spirit on our left flank, and ably supported the 
2nd Norfolk Regiment when the latter came under enfilade 
fire from the enemy's right. 

Lieutenant and Adjutant W. L. Miskin showed great 
dash and capacity. After Captain Macready was wounded he 
took command of that officer's double company and handled 
it well, having twice to change direction to meet enfilade fire, 
and on each occasion succeeded in turning out the enemy. 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

Subadar Dunga Rawat for conspicuous bravery and 
coolness in handling his half double company. 

No. 978 Havildar Gunesh for marked capacity as a leader. 

Medical Services. The Field Ambulances under Major 
E. Bennett, R.A.M.C., worked with great devotion on the 
7th, and were under shell fire for a short time that night. 

Transport. I must recognise the good work done by the 
portion of the loth Mule Corps under Jemadar Allah Din, 
and endorse the recommendations to notice of individuals 
mentioned in paragraph 12 of Appendix ' A/ 

Headquarters. Finally, I would bring forward the names 
of Captain E. G. Dunn, Royal Irish Rifles, my Brigade 
Major, who again gave most valuable and energetic assistance 
in the working out of the details of the operations. His 
clear conveyance of my orders materially assisted in the 
successful issue of the operations. Also Captain W. F. C. 
Gilchrist, 52nd Sikhs (F. F.), my Staff Captain, who again 
proved himself an able, energetic, and resourceful Staff Officer; 
he, in the absence of either a Supply or Transport Officer, 
organised and maintained an unfailing supply to the troops 
from my original camp at Shaib. 

Captain H. G. Morrell, ngth Infantry, in command of 
the 1 8th Brigade Section of the 34th Divisional Signal Com- 
pany, carried out his duties under difficult circumstances 
very ably and with untiring energy. 

Captain G. W. Cochran, 8ist Pioneers, General Staff 
Officer, 3rd Grade for Intelligence, worked unsparingly and 
the information he collected turned out to be very accurate. 
He a] so gave me much assistance in other ways. 



APPENDIX A 

Report on the Working of the Transport between Shaib Camp 

and Muzaira'ah 

i. On arrival at Shaib on the morning of December 5, 
1914, General Fry decided to get up three hundred mules, 
his intention being, when the village of Muzaira'ah was 
captured and the troops reached the left bank of the Tigris, 
to maintain himself there and attempt to cross above Qurnah. 
392 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

2. A demand for 320 mules was therefore sent to Basra 
at I P.M. on December 5. 

3. These mules (320) arrived on the morning of the 7th 
at 7 A.M. They were disembarked by 9 A.M. 

4. I ordered them to feed and saddle up at 12 noon. 
Captain Lanyon, of the Norfolk Regiment, was put in charge 
of the mules to distribute them. I gave him a distribution 
list showing how mules were to be allotted. 

5. At i P.M. orders were telephoned to camp to load 
up the mules as it was seen that Muzaira'ah would soon be in 
our possession. 

6. About 4.30 P.M. the mules began to arrive in Camp 
Muzaira'ah. As it was getting dark and spasmodic firing 
was going on, the confusion was considerable. 

All the mules were unloaded, however, and in the dark 
assembled by the duffadars and taken back to camp. 
This evening the Regiments got each : 
16 loads rations, 
8 loads ammunition, 
8 loads tools, 
8 loads cooking pots, 
some kits, 
and so were amply provided for. 

7. The orders for the 8th, gth, and loth were to send up 
one day's rations each day. 

8. As it was feared that the horses might not be able 
to get full forage rations on 8th, 190 loads of forage were sent 
for and arrived after dark on 8th. 

With them came 48 mules for duty in Muzaira'ah as ist 
line mules in case of a further advance across the river. The 
mules this day therefore did a double trip. 

9. There being ample forage in camp, the mules on gth 
and loth only brought up men's rations from Shaib, while 
48 mules assisted in carrying up kits of units as they were 
sent across the Tigris. 

10. Eventually all the mules were taken to the right bank 
of Tigris on the I2th, having been used to ration the troops 
left on the left bank and to bring up the remains of kits left 
in camp. 

11. On the 8th, when two units were passed over to the 
right bank, all available mules and the 30th Mountain Battery 

393 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

baggage were used to send up their kits, so that by the evening 
the troops across the river were rationed and had their 
blankets that night. 

12. Captain Lanyon speaks very highly of the work done 
by Jemadar Allah Din, who commanded the mules. His 
work was of the greatest help. 

The Kote Duffadars : 
2193 Busaki Ram, 
6417 Jamal Din, 

205 Mir Dad, 

were of the greatest help to me in collecting their mules in 
the dark and in constantly moving backwards and forwards. 

The men, of whom I saw a certain amount, were cheery 
and worked well, and though they were under spasmodic 
shell fire on yth and 8th and had to cross the plain where 
bullets, though spent, were falling, behaved very well indeed. 



APPENDIX B 

ORDER OF BATTLE 

Major-General C. I. Fry's Column on December 7, 1914 

Commanding, Major-General C. I. Fry, Indian Army. 
Staff: 

Brigade Major, Captain E. G. Dunn, Royal Irish Rifles. 

Staff Captain, Captain W. F. C. Gilchrist, 52nd Sikhs. 
Attached : 

G.S.O., 3rd grade (Intelligence), Captain G. W. Cochran, 
8ist Pioneers. 

A.C.R.E., Major H. E. Winsloe, R.E. 

O. C. Brigade Section, 34th Divisional Signal Company, 
Captain H. G. Morrell, ngth Infantry. 

TROOPS 
Artillery : 

76th Battery R.F.A. (less i Section), Major St. T. B. 

Nevinson. 
82nd Battery R.F.A., one section on each of Medijieh 

and Blosse Lynch, Major H. St. J. Maule. 
3Oth Indian Mountain Battery, Major H. J. Cotter. 
394 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

Engineers : 

I7th Company 3rd Sappers and Miners (less 2 Sections), 
Lieutenant R. C. Lord. 

Infantry : 

i8th Brigade : 

2nd Battalion Norfolk Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel 
E C Peebles D S O 

7th D.C.O. Rajputs (less i B.C.), Lieutenant-Colonel 
N. E. Robin. 

I20th Rajputana Infantry (less 2 D.C.), Lieutenant- 
Colonel E. Codrington. 

noth Mahratta Light Infantry, Lieutenant-Colonel 
G. S. Frazer. 

I04th Rifles, Lieutenant-Colonel C. B. Clery. 



APPROXIMATE STRENGTH. 


NAVAL FORCE. 

H.M. Ships: 
EspUgle, Odin, 
Lawrence. 


Unit. 


B.O. 


1.0. 


Br. 
R. &F. 


Ind. 
R. &F. 


Guns. 














H.M. Gunboats : 












Miner, Lewis Petty, 


76th Battery Royal 




^ 




Shaitan. 


Field Artillery, . 


4 


60 


4 i8-pr. 


s.s. Medijieh, Blosse 


82nd Battery Royal 








Lynch. 


Field Artillery, . 


5 


62 


6 


2 guns on 


3oth Mountain Battery, 


5 


3 277 


6 lo-pr. s.s. Medijieh. 


i yth Company Sap- 






2 guns on 


pers and Miners, 


3 


i 


75 





Blosse Lynch. 


2nd Norfolk Regiment, 


23 


- 845 


2 m.g. 




7th Rajputs, . 


10 


13 479 


2 m.g. 


N.B.One D.C. 


noth Mahratta Light 




i 




each unit (i2oth 


Infantry, . 


10 


1 7 675 


i m.g. 


details only) and 


1 20th Infantry, 


9 


10 404 


2 m.g. : details from other 


1 04th Rifles, . 


12 


16 670 


2 m.g. units were left in 


Brigade Signal Section, 


I 


ii 1 8 Camp Shaib as 


Staff and Attached, 


5 


3 


guard out of these 












numbers. 


Total, . 


87 


60 


981 


2598 


10 i8-pr. 




1 






6 lo-pr. 




1 






9 m.g. 



395 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 



APPENDIX C 

Detail of Ordnance and Prisoners taken at Qurnah on 

December 9, 1914 
Ordnance : 

2 Krupp Field-guns. 
12 Mountain guns. 

.303 Maxim-gun (recovered after its loss December 4, 

1914). 

22 Officers' swords. 
776 Rifles (of which some 250 were handed over to Navy 

at their request). 
N.B. Large quantities of ammunition were destroyed. 

Prisoners of War 
Subhi Bey, late Vali of Basra and Turkish Commander. 





Officers. 


Rank and File. 


ist Battalion 26th Regiment (Anatolia) 


12 


353 


2nd Battalion Murrattab Regiment 






(Bagdad) (Amara) . 


... 


13 


345 


ist Company ist Battalion 28th Regi- 






ment Artillery 




2 


63 


Turkish Navy . 




I 


3 


Basra Battalion Gendarmerie 


7 


177 


Medical . 


. 


4 


ii 


Supply, etc. 
Vali's Staff 





3 

i 


ii 
5 


Wounded in hospital . 





2 

h 


21 




Total . 


45 


989 



ENCLOSURE No. 2 

Copy of Report by Lieutenant-Colonel G. S. Frazer, noth 
Mahratta Light Infantry, Commanding Qurnah Column, 
on the operations of December 4, 1914, dated Camp 
Um Rash, December 5, 1914 

I have the honour to report as follows on the operations 
yesterday : 
396 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

1. My Staff Officer, Captain Branson, who was wounded, 
has already taken to you most of the details, and I sent you 
a wireless in code last night. 

2. The disembarkation yesterday morning was carried 
out quickly and without confusion. 

Two small creeks delayed the advance of the column till 
they could be rendered passable. 

My Advanced Guard was, in the first instance, directed 
so as to pass well to the east of Muzaira'ah. 

As all the scouting had to be done with Infantry, the 
advance was not very quick. 

It was first reported that there was no enemy in Muzaira'ah, 
and I then changed the direction of the Advanced Guard 
so that their right passed to the east of Muzaira'ah. 

It was then discovered beyond a doubt that the enemy 
were in position along the edge of the date palms between 
Muzaira'ah and Qurnah. 

I directed the Advanced Guard to clear the village and 
brought up the other half Battalion of the noth on their 
left, and attacked the enemy on their left flank. 

It then became known that Muzaira'ah was occupied 
by the enemy. 

I sent the Norfolks, i D.C., to support the half Battalion 
noth attacking the village. 

Eventually the Sappers and Miners also joined the right 
attack. 

The village was cleared and also the trenches in front of 
the date trees, where the noth captured 69 prisoners and 
2 abandoned field-guns (g-prs.). 

In the meantime, the ships had been shelling Qurnah and 
the date groves, and the Royal Field Artillery Muzaira'ah, 
and the practice of all guns seemed to be excellent. 

The troops after this did not come under shell fire, but the 
rifle fire opposed to them was considerable. 

When the troops entered the date grove I reinforced the 
left half of the noth by half the Battalion of I04th, and 
the enemy was driven back to the Tigris River, where they 
quickly effected a crossing by means of boats arranged as 
flying bridges. 

At 2.10 P.M. I ordered a retirement to the place near where 
we disembarked, and there formed camp. 

397 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

After my Infantry entered the date grove my Field 
Artillery was unable to render any further assistance. 

The Tigris east of Qurnah is from 200 to 300 yards wide, 
and field-guns cannot operate against Qurnah owing to the 
date trees. 

My retirement to camp was well and steadily carried out. 

I am of opinion that until guns can be brought up to 
demolish the houses of Qurnah, the only way to effect a 
landing would be to do so with country boats north of Qurnah. 

All the troops under my command performed their duty 
most thoroughly. 

Captain Branson, uoth Mahratta Light Infantry, my 
Staff Officer, afforded me the greatest assistance, and was 
wounded shortly after I had decided to retire, while I was 
issuing the orders. 

I attach a report from Officer Commanding I04th. 

The Officer Commanding uoth reports as follows : 

' Of the officers who came under my observation I 
should like to particularly mention Major Hill and Lieu- 
tenant Hind in the Company firing line, and Lieutenant 
Ball who handled the machine-guns most efficiently/ 

No. 959 Lance-Naik Apa Bagive displayed great bravery 
during the attack on the enemy's position in the date groves, 
and in the subsequent advance towards Qurnah. He was 
carrying the flag on the left of the line in order to indicate 
the position of the line to the warships. The flag was a very 
conspicuous mark, and drew a heavy fire from the enemy. 
Lance-Naik Apa Bagive carried the flag absolutely in the open. 
Had he taken cover, the flag might not have been visible. 

I am sending down all prisoners on Blosse Lynch, Malomir, 
and Medijieh under command of Captain Bayley, Royal 
Field Artillery. 

APPENDIX D 

Report by Lieutenant-Colonel C. Clery, Commanding 104^ 
Rifles, to the Staff Officer, Qurnah Column, dated 
December 5, 1914 

As requested, I have the honour to forward the names 
of the following officers and men of the regiment under my 
398 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

cpmmand, who were conspicuous for their gallant conduct 
during the action of the 4th instant opposite Qurnah : 

Captain E. G. J. Byrne. This officer in the face of a heavy 
and accurate fire brought his machine-guns right up to the 
firing line on the river bank opposite Qurnah. From here 
his fire was so galling to the Turks that they brought up 
a field-gun and endeavoured to silence the machine-guns. 
Several of the shells hit the parapet where the machine- 
guns were ; notwithstanding this, Captain Byrne kept his 
guns in action, and did not retire irom his position until 
ordered to retire. This officer, on two previous occasions on 
which the Regiment has been in action, has brought his 
detachments forward most intelligently and gallantly. On 
this occasion he received one bullet through his helmet 
and one cut his puttee. 

2. Subadar Ghulam Rasul. This Indian officer was 
conspicuous for the gallant manner in which he led his men 
forward in the face of a heavy accurate and short range fire 
from the Turks. 

This officer was subsequently killed. 

3. Jemadar Kishna Ram. Conspicuous pluck under fire, 
and assisted a wounded man to rear under heavy fire during 
the retirement. 

4. No. 2317 Lance-Naik Guman Singh. 

5. No. 2866 Rm. Khota Ram. 

6. No. 2578 Rm. Dhanna Ram. 

7. No. 2090 Rm. Maula Dad. 

8. When ordered to retire, the two machine-guns had to 
be carried by hand some 250 yards back to the mules under 
heavy fire. Not having enough men to take away all the 
ammunition boxes as well as guns, the machine-gun officer 
asked four men to return to the position and recover the 
ammunition boxes. They did so under a heavy gun and 
rifle fire and brought back all the boxes to the mules, although 
the troops had left the trench. 

9. No. 2435 Havildar Mohru Ram, when left in command 
of a long mixed firing line, performed meritorious service 
in controlling this line and opening very heavy, accurate 
fire on the Qurnah position, thus keeping the enemy's fire 
down while other parts of the firing line retired. 

10. No. 1615 Reservist Jhonta Singh, * B ' Coy. Meri- 

399 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

torious conduct during the retirement from the river, ia 
carrying Rm. Jai Singh, who was severely wounded through 
the chest, on his shoulders for 600 yards under heavy fire, 
over a number of water nullahs, finally handing him over 
to some dhoolie bearers. 

Reservist Jhonta Singh was previously recommended by 
his Double Company Commander for good work during 
the action of November 15, when he carried ammunition 
forward to the firing line from mules that had fallen into a 
canal. 

11. No. 2263 Bugler Narsu Singh, ' A ' Coy. For meri- 
torious conduct in taking written orders regarding the retire- 
ment under a heavy fire along the firing line on two occasions 
once to extreme right and again later on to the machine- 
guns on the left. 

12. No. 3241 Rm. Sobh Singh, ' A ' Coy., and No. 2981 
Rm. Kan Singh, ' A ' Coy. For meritorious conduct in 
carrying between them Rm. Jat Singh, ' A/ who was 
severely wounded in the head, under a heavy fire during the 
retirement for some 300 yards to the dhoolie. 

14. No. 3195 Rm. Ratna Ram. 

15. No. 2112 Rm. Dunga Ram. 

16. No. 2670 Rm. Kheta Ram. 

17. No. 3143 Rm. Koema Ram. 

18. No. 2422 Rm. Jowana Ram. 

The above men for meritorious conduct, who, in the 
absence of Indian officers and non-commissioned officers, 
were conspicuous in taking the place of non-commissioned 
officers in leading their commands forward under a heavy 
and accurate fire. 

19. No. 2463 Bugler Kala Khan, for meritorious conduct. 
On November 15 this man with another during retirement 
from Saihan carried Captain Maclean out of action. On 
November 17 and December 4 he again performed meri- 
torious work in carrying messages backwards and forwards 
from the Officer Commanding to the officers in the firing line. 



400 



WAR WITH TURKEY 



APPENDIX E 
Casualties on December 4 



Units. 


Killed. 


Wounded. 


Missing. 


2nd Norfolks .... 


. _ 


3 


__ 


3rd Sappers and Miners 





2 


2 


noth Mahratta Light Infantry 


5 


16 


3 


1 04th Rifles .... 


[ i I. O. 
I 13 


28 


2 W. M. 
8M. 


No casualties, Royal Field Artillery 








2 mules killed . 








2 mules wounded 








i machine-gun missing, noth 









i B. O. wounded ; i I. O. killed. 

Indians 18 killed. 

British 3 wounded. 

Indians 46 wounded. 

Indians 15 missing. 

Enemy reported in Qurnah, 600 and 4 guns ; outside, 

700 and 2 guns. 
Captured : 

Gunner officer. 

Infantry Captain, 2nd in command. 
Another officer. 
75 prisoners, 
i gun captured, 
i gun destroyed. 

[Enclosure No. 3 from Commander W. Nunn, Senior Naval 
Officer, Persian Gulf Division, to the General Officer Commanding 
i8th Brigade, dated H.M.S. Espitgle, Qurnah, I5th December 1914, 
is here omitted. It will be found in Naval, 2, pp. 384-8.] 



From the General Officer Commanding i&th Brigade, to the 
General Staff, Indian Expeditionary Force ' D, 9 dated 
Qurnah, December 15, 1914 

Forwarded. In my report on these operations I have 
already mentioned the great assistance and co-operation 

MILITARY 2 2 C 4OI 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

extended by the Naval Force under Captain Hayes-Sadler, 
R.N. I much admired the intrepidity shown by the Com- 
manders of the armed launches in ascending the Shatt-el- 
Arab River under shell fire each day, and sincerely regret 
the death of one of these, Lieutenant Elkes, R.N. 



SUPPLEMENTARY REPORTS CONNECTED WITH 
FOREGOING OPERATIONS 

The Secretary of State for India communicates the 
following regarding the progress of the Indian Expeditionary 
Force to the Persian Gulf : 

A reconnaissance of the enemy's position at Kurna was 
made on the 5th instant by Lieutenant-Colonel Frazer with 
the noth Mahrattas. The enemy were encountered on the 
left bank of the Tigris opposite Kurna. They were promptly 
attacked and driven across the river, losing heavily ; two 
guns and 70 prisoners, including three Turkish officers, were 
captured. Kurna was found to be strongly held by guns and 
infantry, and, our troops having no means of crossing the 
Tigris, withdrew to their original bivouac four miles south 
of Kurna. Great assistance was given by the Navy from 
armed steamers which accompanied the reconnaissance. Our 
casualties were one British officer and three British rank and 
file wounded, one Indian officer and 19 rank and file killed, 
and about 60 wounded. Steamers Miner and Lawrence were 
hit by shells. 

On the following day reinforcements were sent from Basra, 
under Brigadier-General Fry, by steamers and flats. On his 
arrival he reported the Turks in occupation of Masera, on the 
left bank of the Tigris immediately opposite Kurna. They 
attacked his outposts, but were repulsed with some loss. 
On the 7th instant General Fry captured Masera and cleared 
the left bank of the Tigris, bivouacking on the captured position. 
In this affair three guns were taken and two disabled, as well 
as 100 prisoners, including three officers. 

On the 8th the iO4th Rifles and noth Mahrattas and two 
mountain guns crossed the Tigris by a flying bridge and 
dhows, and occupied the northern approaches of Kurna, and 
on the early morning of yesterday (gth December) Subhi Bey, 
402 



WAR WITH TURKEY 

the late Governor of Basra and commanding the Turkish 
forces at Kurna, surrendered unconditionally with his troops. 
The town of Kurna was subsequently occupied. Our casualties 
during the whole of these operations amounted to one British 
officer killed and three wounded, about forty Indian rank and 
file killed, and 120 wounded. 

This smart little affair has given us complete control of 
the country from the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates to 
the sea, and the richest of the fertile delta. 



The Secretary of State for India communicates that on Times, 
the capture of Kurna (on the Tigris), reported yesterday, Dec. n 
noo prisoners, exclusive of wounded, and nine guns fell I 9 I 4- 
into our hands. The late Vali of Basra only surrendered 
after a plucky resistance. Press Bureau. 



RED SEA FORT CAPTURED 

The Secretary of the Admiralty makes the following Times, 
announcement : Nov. i 

Successful operations against the Turkish garrison at I 9 I 4- 
Sheik Seyd have been carried out by Indian troops, assisted 
by His Majesty's ship Duke of Edinburgh. 

The Turkish fort (Turba) is situated on the rocky heights 
to the eastward of Cape Bab-el-Mandeb, at the southern 
entrance to the Red Sea, and is close to the boundary line 
between Turkish territory and the Aden Protectorate. 

The Sheik Seyd Peninsula consists of a group of rocky 
heights joined to the mainland by a low sandy plain, the 
greater portion of which is covered at high water by a shallow 
lagoon. The guns of the fort command the isthmus connecting 
the peninsula to the mainland. 

Three battalions of troops were landed in face of opposition, 
but under cover of fire from His Majesty's ship Duke of 
Edinburgh, which had previously disabled Turba Fort, and 
which assisted during the operations. 

After landing, one and a half battalions of infantry 
attacked the enemy positions, and were opposed by well- 
concealed artillery and infantry fire. When the hills com- 

403 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY [> 

manding Manheli were occupied, opposition weakened, and 
about 200 of the enemy escaped by the isthmus on camels or 
in boats by sea. Six of the enemy were reported killed, and 
the majority of the remainer wounded and prisoners. The 
forts were occupied by us, and large amounts of munitions of 
war and six field-guns captured. Heavy guns were probably 
put out of action by Duke of Edinburgh. 

Our casualties amongst the troops : One officer and fifteen 
men wounded ; four men killed. No naval casualties. 



404 



WAR IN THE FAR EAST 

GERMANY'S REPLY TO THE JAPANESE 
ULTIMATUM 

Berlin, August 24. 

The following verbal reply to the Japanese ultimatum was K. D. 
given yesterday morning to the Japanese Charge d' Affaires : 
The German Government does not intend to make any reply 
to the Japanese requests. She proposes to recall her Am- 
bassador from Tokyo, and to hand the Japanese Charg 
d' Affaires in Berlin his passports. 



Berlin, August 25. 

The Austro-Hungarian Ambassador informed the Ministry K. D. 
for Foreign Affairs that, in accordance with the Emperor's 
orders, the commander of R.M.S. Kaiserin Elisabeth in Tsingtau, 
and the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador in Tokyo have been 
informed by telegraph that this ship is to take the German 
side in any hostilities. 

OPERATIONS AT KIAO-CHAU 

Tokyo, September 15. 

The Ministry of War announces that Japanese cavalry Times, 
captured Tsimo, ten miles outside the Kiao-chau zone, on the Se P t I( 
I2th instant. There was no trace of the enemy north of the 
River Pi-sha, but their aeroplanes were occasionally sighted. 
From other telegrams it would appear that the first encounter 
between the Japanese and German land forces took place on 
Sunday [September 13] near Tsimo, where there were a number 
of sharp skirmishes between patrols. A German aeroplane 
flew over the district, and was fired upon by the Japanese, 
but without success. Reuter. 



405 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

Tokyo, September 16. 

It is officially announced that Japanese scouts captured 
the railway station at Kiao-chau on the I3th inst. 

A Japanese aeroplane dropped bombs on the barracks at 
Tsingtau, returning to safety. 

A Japanese destroyer flotilla operating in Laoshan Bay 
has driven in the enemy's patrols. Renter. 



Tokyo, September 20. 

The landing of the Japanese at Laoshan Bay is officially 
announced. The Japanese attacked the Germans on Thursday 
[September 17] at Wangkohuang, thirteen miles east of 
Tsimo. The enemy were in a fortified position, and used 
machine-guns in their defence, but by sunset they abandoned 
their position, leaving supplies, equipment, and personal 
apparel. Renter. 

Tokyo, September 24. 

It is officially announced that a British force, under 
Brigadier-General Barnardiston, commanding the British 
forces in North China (including Wei-hai-wei), landed yester- 
day in the neighbourhood of Laoshan Bay, so as to participate 
in the movements against the Germans at Tsingtau. Renter. 



(Press Bureau Statement communicated by Japanese 
Military Attache) 

September 28. 

On the afternoon of the 26th our troops attacked the 
enemy, who were in occupation of advanced positions on the 
high ground between the Rivers Pai-sha and Li-tsun ; after 
a slight engagement the enemy were put to flight. 

On the 27th our troops occupied the line along the right 
banks of the Li-tsun and Chang-tsun Rivers, about seven 
miles north-east of Tsingtau. 



September 29. 

It is officially announced that at dawn, on the 28th inst., 
the Allied Forces operating against Tsingtau began an attack 
on the advanced positions distant about 4 kilometres (2^ 
miles) from the enemy's main line of defence. In spite of a 
fierce fire from the enemy from both sea and land, the Allies, 
406 



WAR IN THE FAR EAST 

by noon on the 28th inst., had driven the enemy from his 
positions, and had occupied all the high ground overlooking 
the enemy's main line of defence. 



Tokyo, September 29. 

It is officially announced that the Japanese, in a day and Times, 
night attack last Sunday, drove the Germans towards Tsingtau. Sept. 3< 
The Japanese casualties were 150. The German losses are I 9 I 4 
not known, but 50 Germans and four machine-guns were 
captured. 

The action developed more speedily than was anticipated, 
and in view of its success the general attack is likely to be 
delivered at an earlier date than was at first thought possible. 

The German gunboat Iltis, which was rendering effective 
assistance to the German land forces, was attacked by the 
Japanese Fleet. 

The Japanese Fleet bombarded two Tsingtau forts yester- 
day. A British warship took part in the bombardment. 
One fort replied, but its fire was ineffective. The results of 
the bombardment are not known, but buildings were 
demolished, and it is believed that the barracks and defence 
works were damaged. 

The work of mine-sweeping continues with success, 
despite the fire of the defenders ashore. One boat engaged 
in the work was hit, and two men were wounded. Renter. 



Tokyo, September 30. 

It is officially announced that a portion of the Japanese Times, 
Fleet has landed a force which has occupied Laoshan Harbour, Oct. i, 
in the vicinity of Tsingtau. I 9 I 4 

The Japanese captured four field-guns which had been 
abandoned by the Germans, and afterwards held the place 
with a small force. 

The pilots of two Japanese biplanes and of one monoplane 
report that they have dropped bombs on German vessels 
from a height of 700 metres. 

Although the wings of the machines were riddled with 
bullets and the stem of one was broken, all returned safely. 
Renter. 

407 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

Tokyo, October 3. 

An official report says : A German aeroplane at Tsingtau 
twice attempted to attack the Japanese vessels, but without 
result. A Japanese aeroplane pursuing it attacked with 
bombs a captive balloon just being hauled back to Tsingtau. 
It is not known what damage was inflicted. 

The German forts and ships are constantly shelling the 
Japanese Army, which is slowly preparing for a big assault on 
Tsingtau. 

Tokyo, October 5. 

An official communique says : German forces to the 
number of 350 at Tsingtau delivered a night attack, but 
were defeated with a loss of 47 men killed. The Japanese 
casualties amounted to five killed and eight injured. 

The Japanese heavy guns hit the gunboat Iltis, which 
retired after an exchange of shots. 



Berlin, October 6. 

It is reported from Rotterdam that in their first assault 
on the lines held by our troops at Tsingtau the Japanese 
and English allies were repulsed with a loss of 2500 men. 
The effect of the German mines, artillery, and machine-guns 
was annihilating. The right wing of the Allies was heavily 
bombarded by the Austro-Hungarian cruiser Kaiserin 
Elisabeth and the German gunboat Jaguar. The German 
losses are reported to be slight. The Japanese are awaiting 
reinforcements from Japan. 



Tokyo, October 7. 

It is officially announced that the Japanese arrived at 
Tsinanfu yesterday, and took over the control of engines and 
cars on the Shantung line. The Germans have destroyed 
several collieries. Reuter. 



Tokyo, October 8. 

An official message states that the German fire at Tsingtau 
is slackening. 

During the fighting the rope which held a German captive 
balloon was severed, and the balloon floated away. Reuter. 

408 



WAR IN THE FAR EAST 

The Japanese Commander of the besieging troops and P. B., 
the Japanese Commander of the blockading squadron con- Oct. 14. 
jointly communicated to the Governor of Tsingtau at i P.M. 
on October 12, by means of wireless telegraphy, an Imperial 
Message desiring to succour non-combatants and individuals 
of neutral Powers in Tsingtau. 

The Governor expressed his wish to agree with this, and 
at 10 A.M. on October 13 parlementaires from each side met 
to discuss details ; as a result of this conference it has been 
settled to escort to Tientsin on the I5th instant the American 
Consul and a certain number of Chinese subjects, and German 

women and children. 

Tokyo, October 16. 

An official statement says that in the forenoon of the Times, 
I4th instant, a section of the naval squadron outside Tsingtau Oct. 17, 
destroyed portions of the Iltis and Kaiser forts, while simul- 
taneously aeroplanes dropped bombs. During the attack one 
British bluejacket was killed, and two were wounded. The 
Japanese suffered no loss. Reuter. 



The War Office makes the following announcement : 
' His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince of Japan has, Times, 
through an aide-de-camp, delivered a most gracious message Oct. 21, 
to the British troops operating with the Japanese forces I 9 I 4 
before Tsingtau, and has presented them with a gift of refined 
sake (rice- wine). 

Tientsin, October 24. 

It is officially announced that the Japanese naval heavy Times, 

artillery is co-operating with the land forces in the bombard- Oct. 26, 

ment of Tsingtau. Exchange Telegraph Company. I9I 4 

It is officially announced that an Indian contingent has Times, 
joined the Anglo- Japanese forces before Tsingtau. Oct. 31, 

1914 

November i. 

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has received P. B. 
the following cablegram from the British Ambassador in 
Japan : 

The Japanese War Department announces that the 
general bombardment of Tsingtau began at dawn to-day 

(October 31). 

409 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

Tokyo. 

It is officially announced that the bombardment of Tsingtau 
continues. Most of the German forts have been silenced. 
Only two of them reply without intermission to the attacks 
of the Allies by sea and land. The bombardment caused 
an outbreak of fire near the harbour and the explosion of an 
oil tank. The fort Siaochausan is in flames. A German 
gunboat which lost its funnel is no longer to be seen. 



Tokyo, November 5. 

The following official announcement has been issued here : 

The bombardment of Tsingtau is being vigorously con- 
tinued. 

On the night of November 3 the Germans made a counter- 
attack in order to hinder our operations. 

The power house has been destroyed. The attacking 
forces are gradually closing in, and our shells are now falling 
in the streets. 

Tokyo, November 6. 

An official casualty list issued here states that the British 
have so far had two killed and eight wounded, including two 
majors. The Japanese have had 200 killed, and 878 wounded. 
The bombardment of Tsingtau continues. Aeroplanes are 
dropping bombs and circulars, warning the inhabitants not 
to participate in the military operations. Renter. 



Tokyo, November 7. 

It is officially announced that Tsingtau has surrendered. 

The Germans hoisted the white flag at seven o'clock in 
the morning on the Observatory. Two companies of infantry 
with a squad of sappers captured the central fort of the main 
line of defence at midnight, and took 200 prisoners. The 
charge was led by General Yoshimi Yamada. 

The Germans made desperate efforts to repair the damage 
done to their batteries, but the Japanese shells killed the men 
at work and demolished the batteries anew. It is thought 
that the capitulation of the port was hastened by stopping 
the smuggling of provisions from the Ling Chan coast. 

The Vice-Minister of the Navy, Baron Suzuki, speaking 
410 



WAR IN THE FAR EAST 

on the future of Tsingtau, said : ' Whilst this war lasts 
Tsingtau will be adminsistered by Japan. On its conclusion 
Japan will open negotiations with China/ 

There are general rejoicings throughout Japan. Tokyo is 
decked out with flags, among which the Union Jack is pro- 
minent. A lantern procession is being arranged to celebrate 
the occasion. 

An official report says that after the capture of the Central 
Fort the left wing of the attacking force advanced and 
occupied Chan Shan at ten minutes past five yesterday 
morning. Chan Shan formed the base of the right wing of 
the German line of defence. Meanwhile other forces captured 
the forts of the first line at the point of the bayonet and the 
dangerous defence works connecting the forts. Other forces 
advanced on the main line of the Iltis, Bismarck, and Moltke 
Forts. Suddenly the flag of surrender was run up in the 
breeze on the Observatory, which stands on a hill. 

The Japanese casualties in the final action were 36 killed 
and 182 wounded. Two British officers were wounded. 
Renter. 

The War Office announces that the following telegram Times, 
has been sent to the Japanese Minister of War, Tokyo, by Nov. 10, 
the Secretary of State for War : I 9 I 4 

Please accept my warmest congratulations on the success 
of the operations against Tsingtau. Will you be so kind 
as to express my felicitations to the Japanese Forces engaged ? 
The British Army is proud to have been associated with its 
gallant Japanese comrades in this enterprise, rr 



November 8. 

According to an official report from Renter's Agency K.D., 
in Tokyo, Tsingtau fell on the morning of November 7, Nov. 8, 
after a heroic defence. Fuller details are still lacking. 19*4 

The Deputy Chief of the Admiral Staff, 
BEHNCKE. 



Tokyo, November 10. 

It is officially stated that the Japanese losses during the Times, 
final assault on the fortress from the evening of Friday to Nov - 
the morning of Saturday amounted to 14 officers wounded 

411 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

and 426 men killed and wounded. The British casualties 
were I man killed and i man wounded. Two thousand 
three hundred prisoners were taken. Renter. 



Amsterdam, November 12. 

A Berlin telegram states that the Governor of Tsingtau, 
through the Japanese Legation at Peking, sent the following 
telegram to the German Emperor : 

Tsingtau, November 9. 

After exhausting all its means of defence, the fortress, 
which was stormed and broken through in the centre, fell. 
The fortress and the town were badly damaged by 28-centi- 
metre howitzer fire and a strong bombardment from the sea. 
The force of our artillery was completely overcome. 

Our losses have not yet been ascertained, but in spite of 
the heavy fire they are less than we expected. 

MEYER-WALDECK. 



November 25. 

According to the news available up till to-day the number 
of prisoners belonging to the garrison taken during the 
fights at Tsingtau and at the fall of the fortress amounts 
to about 4250, including 600 wounded. The number of 
killed is said to be about 170, among whom are 6 officers. 
On board the Austro-Hungarian cruiser Kaiserin Elisabeth, 
i lieutenant and 8 men are wounded, and 8 men killed. 

The treatment of the prisoners in Japan is said to be good. 

The Japanese Government expects to supply lists of names 
of the dead, wounded, and prisoners at an early date. 



STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE JAPANESE GOVERN- 
MENT FOR THE TIMES 

Notwithstanding the Japanese Ultimatum to Germany of 
See August 15, 1914, * warlike preparations were pursued steadily 

tilitary.i, anc [ rapidly at Kiao-Chau, while all Japanese subjects resid- 
2 9 2 i n g i n that port were ordered to leave it. Furthermore, no 
imes reply was forthcoming from Germany at the expiration of 
u P ppiement the J a P an ^se Ultimatum. On and from that moment the 



WAR IN THE FAR EAST 

diplomatic relations of Germany and Japan ceased, and on 
the afternoon of that day the Japanese Declaration of War 
was issued by the Mikado against Germany. 

Thereupon the Emperor, the Great Field-Marshal of the 
Japanese Army, solemnly promulgated the following Order for 
warlike operations with the purpose of capturing Kiao-Chau : 
To the Commander-in-Chief of the i8th Independent Division, 
The Lieutenant-General Kamio ; Chief of the Staff, 
Major-General Yamanasi. 

The i8th Division : 

The 23rd Infantry Brigade, under Major-General Horiuchi ; 
the 24th Infantry Brigade, led by Major-General Yamada ; the 
22nd Cavalry Regiment ; the 24th Field Artillery Regiment ; 
the i8th Battalion of Engineers ; the Independent Battalion 
of Engineers ; the Divisional Commissariat ; the Siege Battery 
Corps, led by Major-General Watanabe ; the Railway Regi- 
ment ; the Aeronautical Corps, and the Canteen Department. 

The main force of the i8th Independent Division was 
composed of men of the island of Kiushu, famed for their 
traditional 'dauntless and deathless deeds in ancient times. 
These forces assembled in the neighbourhood of Nagasaki and 
Hirosima, and on and after August 28, 1914, they started 
from Nagasaki and Ujima for their memorable campaign. 

On September 2 the first corps arrived, in conjunction 
with the Japanese Navy, in the vicinity of Ryuhkau, a small 
port on the northern coast of the Shantung Peninsula, where 
the first landing took place. Owing to terrible storms 
the further landing of the troops had to be postponed to 
September 4. 

Major-General Yamada, whose section was the first to be 
landed, advanced on September 2 with a detachment far 
ahead of the main force with the definite object of occupying 
the neighbourhood of Heitaku, in the pass of the same name. 
The incessant rain for days and days had, however, flooded 
the rivers and streams of Shantung, converting all the roads 
into temporary ma*shes in which the mud was knee-deep. 
It was found almost impossible to carry forward not only 
the guns, but also the baggage and the commissariat wagons. 
At last, on September n, the foremost detachment managed 
to reach Heitaku, and were followed in succession by the 
whole of the forces three days later. 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

The Cavalry Regiment had occupied Sokuboku on 
September 14, and on the i8th exchanged fire with the 
Germans garrisoned on the left bank of Hakushaka River. 
It was then discovered as a result of this encounter that a 
hostile Cavalry force was stationed at Jokosan, on the left 
bank of the river, and that a certain number of the German 
Infantry and Cavalry Forces, supplied with guns, were occupy- 
ing Kutauho and Senkasai. Captain Sakuma was killed at 
the head of his Company in this encounter. 

Meanwhile the Division continued to disembark. But, 
owing to the stormy weather and other considerations, a 
certain detachment was ordered to land near Rohsan Bay, 
north-east of the Tsingtau Forts. Major-General Horiuchi, 
commanding half of his brigade, steered as far as the Rohsan 
Bay from Ryuhkau, while the remainder of his force con- 
tinued to disembark at Ryuhkau. These started from their 
respective quarters for Sokuboku. 

The Horiuchi Detachment reached the port of Rohsan on 
September 18. Helped by the Navy, it commenced the land- 
ing on that day and completed it on the same evening. 

Subsequently the detachment successfully dispersed an 
enemy force occupying camps in the neighbourhood of Seki- 
jinka and Ohkashoh. On the same day the German Main 
Force concentrated at Ohkashoh, and on the' following day, 
September 19, our men again drove off the enemy garrisoned 
near Ryuhjudai and occupied the position on the same 
evening. On September 20 the Japanese Force remained in 
the vicinity of the same position and prepared for its next 
move. 

The Yamada detachment had triumphantly arrived at 
Sokuboku on September 19, and on the following day it again 
occupied the lines of Ranka-Kohfun and Nakamura, two 
miles and a half from Sokuboku. Our main force which 
marched from Ryuhkau against Sokuboku reached its neigh- 
bourhood, courageously surmounting all sorts of difficulties 
and impediments, and there completed its concentration. 
By that time various reports from the Air Corps and other 
sources confirmed the fact that the first German outpost was 
stationed along extensive lines from Rohsango and neigh- 
bourhood as far as the vicinity of Ryuhkau through Kokken 
on the east. 
414 



WAR IN THE FAR EAST 

In the place occupied by the Horiuchi Brigade a German 
force some 300 strong, provided with machine-guns, had, 
on the morning of the 23rd, attacked our position on the 
height east of Hokka, which is a point two miles and a half 
north-west of Ryuhkau, and was effectively repulsed. 

On the 25th the Japanese Forces reconnoitred the posi- 
tions of the enemy, and prepared for the attack upon him, 
which began at 3 P.M. on the following day. The fighting 
lasted for three hours and a half, and at 6.30 on the same 
day a hostile company stationed in the neighbourhood 
of Anbu, south of Kokken, was routed from its positions. 
Simultaneously the Germans in front of the Horiuchi Brigade 
retired from their post. Nevertheless, the enemy stationed 
on the heights south of Rohsango offered us a stubborn re- 
sistance, and did not retreat that day. Before the dawn 
of the following day, however, he was forced reluctantly to 
retreat. Thus the invading Japanese Division had, by the 
morning of the 27th, occupied the whole lines extending from 
the mouth of Rison River to the neighbourhood of Kinkarei, 
east of Fuzan, via the heights south of Risonshu. During 
this severe fight three of the German warships vehemently 
bombarded the right flank of our Division, while the utmost 
possible efforts were made to impede the onward move of 
our Army by a cannonade with shrapnel shells from the 
outposts at Fuzan and Kozan. 

With the object of capturing the advanced hostile camps 
along the lines of Fuzan and Kozan, the Japanese Division 
marched all night, thus coming close up to the German 
positions on September 27. The force of the Yamada Brigade 
and that of Horiuchi formed the right and left flanks respec- 
tively, while our field artillery occupied the heights south of 
Nansheh. It was a lovely moonlight night. Fuzan Hill is 
a steep precipice of rock, occupied by a very strong German 
detachment. On our left wing our commander first tried to 
gain the heights by despatching a portion of the force a 
company chosen from among the 46th Infantry Regiment, led 
by Captain Satow, which advanced under exceptionally 
violent rifle and gun fire. It was here that our brave soldier, 
Captain Satow, fell, to be followed by his lieutenant, while 
the whole of the little company were within an inch of anni- 
hilation, from which it was only saved by its superhuman 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

valour. But nothing daunted it. The enemy's forts and posi- 
tions were triumphantly carried at last. More than thirty 
courageous Germans were here captured as prisoners of war. 

On the morning of September 28, 1914, the left wing of 
the Japanese Army began the advance to assume a fresh 
offensive, followed almost immediately by the right wing. 
The Army successfully occupied the whole of the frontal lines 
of Fuzan and Kozan by noon of the same day. 

Before this the British Government despatched the British 
garrison stationed in Tientsin to join the Japanese besieging 
Army of Tsingtau, the Commander-in-Chief being Major- 
General Barnardiston, who led his troops, landing in the 
neighbourhood of Rohsan Bay and Ohkashoh on September 
23. On the very day (September 28) when the Japanese 
Army occupied the front of Fuzan and Kozan he reached 
Yohkagun, where his troops served as a reserve for our forces. 

Since September 28 both the Japanese and British Forces, 
occupying almost all the frontal lines extending from Fuzan 
to Kozan regions, made various preparations to attack and 
capture the main defence of the Tsingtau Forts. 

The Japanese Army, face to face with the German forces 
along the left bank of the river Kaihaku, endeavoured to 
concentrate heavy guns, and to advance for the offensive. 
Through repeated reconnoitring it was found that the enemy's 
main defensive lines extended from the heights on the left 
bank of the river Kaihaku to Tausan through the tablelands 
east of Daitau. The whole lines were found to be strongly 
fortified, with several hundreds of guns behind them all. 
Even after the battle of September 28 the Germans did not 
cease, day or night, to bombard our lines from the various 
forts along the left bank of the river Kaihaku as well as from 
within Tsingtau Bay. 

At 9.30 P.M. on October 2, the enemy infantry, 
350 strong, with half a dozen machine-guns, led by the 
former Commander-in-Chief of the German Garrison in 
Tientsin, Colonel Kuhlau, made a night attack upon a small 
outpost patrol stationed at Sihohsan in the right front of 
our right wing. Helped by two machine-guns, our men 
successfully repulsed the enemy at last by 10.30 P.M. The 
enemy left behind him one officer and forty-seven men killed, 
while six were made prisoners. 
416 



WAR IN THE FAR EAST 

The 3rd Japanese Heavy Siege Artillery Regiment, 
occupying the camps near Kozan, lay in wait for the approach 
of the enemy gunboat Iltis at 10.30 A.M. on October 4, and 
drove her off by a concentrated cannonade. This made it 
difficult for the hostile warships to approach again the right 
wing of our Army. Before this the 2Qth Infantry Brigade 
which left Sizuoka and Hamamatsu in the Main Island of 
Japan in order to join the Tsingtau fight, had reached its 
destination and begun to land at Rohsan Bay on October 10. 
Next day it advanced against Kiao-Chau Bay, where a portion 
of the brigade joined the right wing of the besieging army, 
while its main force was stationed at Iken and its neighbour- 
hood in a westerly direction. 

During the three days beginning October 10, hostile 
aeroplanes hovered above our Army, while the Japanese 
airmen hindered the movements of the enemy's aircraft. 
Especially on the I3th an interesting and thrilling aerial 
fight was fought between the German and Japanese flying 
machines, which resulted in the former's airmen hurriedly 
retreating towards the Tsingtau town. 

For fifteen days beginning September 29, the Germans 
continued a fierce and incessant artillery fire against our 
Army, after which the cannonade became intermittent and 
slow. 

On October 16 an extraordinarily violent rain storm 
hindered the movement of both contending forces. On the 
morning of the 2ist a hostile infantry patrol, some thirty 
strong, endeavoured to attack a small Japanese patrol, 
stationed at the height north of Fuzansho, which the latter 
repulsed. Meanwhile on the 22nd half an Indian Battalion 
belonging to the 36th Sikh Regiment landed at Rohsan 
Bay. 

Thus the i8th Japanese Independent Division, which 
had Been preparing with patient perseverance for the great 
attack on Tsingtau Fortress,- having been exposed to the 
daily bombardment of the hostile forces, had, on October 
29, advanced its besieging lines from 1500 to 2000 metres 
nearer to the enemy's front. The main force of the 2gth 
Infantry Brigade, under the command of Major-General 
Johohji, was added to the extreme right flank of the first 
front line. 

MILITARY 2 2 D 417 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

The distribution and formation of the invading army was 
as follows : 

The Right Wing, the main force of which was composed 
of the Johohji Brigade ; the First Central Force (the British 
Force) ; the Second Central Force (the Yamada Brigade). 

The Left Wing (the Horiuchi Brigade) ; while the Heavy 
Siege Artillery Regiment was distributed at the foot of Shoh- 
Kozan, Suiseikoh and neighbourhood, Hokuson, as well as 
Kabaseki and neighbourhood. 

The preparations of the invading army having been thor- 
oughly completed, the most auspicious day was chosen- 
October 31 in honour of the celebration of the Mikado's 
birthday, to commence the bombardment by the siege artillery. 
At the hour when the summit of Mount Fusan was just dimly 
tinged with the first pale light of the dawn our siege artillery 
gunners began their simultaneous cannonade. Hundreds of 
thousands of deafening thunderbolts seemed simultaneously 
to shake the earth* amidst the glare of terrific lightning flashes. 
Volume after volume of the darkening shell-smoke spread 
densely over each of the enemy forts, a deadly pall which 
was wellnigh heartrending even for mere spectators. Indeed, 
the intensity of horror that formed the atmosphere of the 
whole scene of tremendous and destructive violence baffles 
expression. 

Suddenly at 7 A.M. an immensely thick column of black 
smoke rose like a huge tower into the mid-sky from the great 
port of Tsingtau. The enormous oil stores of the German 
dockyard had exploded ! On the Iltis Fortress not only the 
heavy guns of our army, but also the severe cannonade from 
the Japanese Fleet concentrated their combined fire, so that 
by noon of the same day it was irretrievably damaged, as was 
also the Tohsan Fortress. The enemy fire in response to 
ours was quite feeble. 

The first day of November opened with the steady main- 
tenance of our terrific bombardment. The fire concentrated 
both on the Fort of Daitohchin and the Central Fortress 
proved exceptionally effective. On the same evening an 
Austrian warship emerged at a point some 7000 metres off 
the west of the huge mole of Tsingtau and bombarded our 
right flank, only to be driven off by the Japanese Heavy 
Artillery Regiment. The whole day of November 2 saw 
418 



WAR IN THE FAR EAST 

again the continuation of severe bombardment by our Army, 
which succeeded in occupying almost all the front lines 
extending from the neighbourhood of Sihoh to that of Fusansho. 

There was again a tremendous storm on November 3, with 
the resultant inundation of all the attacking camps. Many 
landslips occurred, causing great difficulties to the offensive 
operations. To make the matter worse, moreover, the lower- 
ing dense clouds completely overshadowed the whole of the 
forts in Tsingtau. The bombardment was seriously hampered. 
On the same night one of our lines approached close to the 
enemy, and succeeded, by dawn of the following day, in occupy- 
ing the German positions for a length of 500 metres, west 
of Fusansho, after carrying the heights from Pompusho as 
far as those east of Yuhkasho. On November 5, the enemy's 
resistance grew extremely active ; but all the forces of our 
first line pressed the enemy more and more, so that the same 
night saw nearly all the offensive camps of our army advanced 
to the wire entanglements, right before his outer trenches in 
front of the forts. There we entrenched. 

On November 6 our first line increased the pressure against 
the enemy camps. The following shows how the fighting 
developed along the whole line. 

The right front of the Second Central Force, which was 
commissioned to attack the enemy Central Fort, found that, 
on the night of November 6, his defensive fighting was not 
as energetic as it used to be. Especially his outposts had 
shown perceptible weakness. Our Brigade started at once 
for the destruction of the first German trench before the 
Central Fortress. Without meeting any particular resist- 
ance on the part of the enemy, we succeeded in destroying 
three lines of barbed wire entanglement one after another ; 
and at half-past i in the morning of November 7 the Japanese 
Army captured the fort, together with 200 prisoners. 

The moment the German Central Fortress was captured 
by the Japanese all other forts, which hitherto maintained 
strict silence, opened fire simultaneously, concentrating their 
bombardment upon the newly captured fort. The Japanese 
detachment which occupied it had therefore sustained a loss 
of a few dozen men killed and wounded. The right wing 
of our Second Central Force advanced furiously against the 
eastern Fortress of Dpitohchin amid the showers of shells and 

419 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

bullets from the enemy, and thus sustained a number of 
losses in killed and wounded. Nothing could, however, stop 
the onrush of our men, nor daunt their reckless valour. The 
fortress fell into our hands at 5 o'clock on the morning of 
the 7th. "Z* 

Before this our left wing under General Horiuchi, whose 
task was to capture the Northern Fort of Shoh-Tohsan, seized 
the well-timed opportunity as the fight of our Second Central 
Force developed ; and carried out the onrush at about 5 A.M. 
on the 7th and captured it at once. 

Our right wing, which advanced against the Coastal 
Fortress of the enemy's extreme left flank, met with a most 
stubborn resistance from the Germans, sustaining serious 
losses. Assisted by our Artillery Regiment, it was just about 
to commence its well-known charge against the enemy when, 
at 7 A.M., the Germans hoisted a white flag and surrendered. 

The British force continued its attack. A section of its 
troops rushed into the Fort of Daitohchin at about 6.30 A.M., 
and was followed by its main force soon afterwards. 

The Japanese Heavy Siege Artillery, Field Artillery, and 
the Naval Heavy Artillery Regiments continued for some days 
a violent and effective bombardment against the enemy's 
forts, seriously damaging or completely destroying them, 
and thus rendered effective assistance to the attack of our 
Infantry and Engineer Forces. Meanwhile our Aerial Corps 
incessantly sent out the flying machines, and did invaluable 
reconnoitring work, as well as participating in the fight from 
mid air. 

Such was the progress of the Tsingtau battles ; during 
half an hour from 7 o'clock in the morning of November 7 
all the forts of Kiao-Chau fell one after the other in quick 
succession, and we saw a white flag flying high above the 
Observation Tower. Subsequently the enemy's military envoy 
appeared with his suite at the north-eastern end of Tsingtau 
town. The Japanese envoy, Major Kashii, interviewed him 
at Toh-Gogason at 9.20 A.M., when he received a letter of sur- 
render from the German Governor-General, Waldeck. 

On the evening of the same day Major-General Yamanashi 
and Commander Takahashi, the Japanese Envoys Plenipo- 
tentiary, proceeded to the Moltke Barrack and interviewed 
the German Envoy Plenipotentiary, Colonel Zacksell. At 7 
420 



WAR IN THE FAR EAST 

P.M. the capitulation of Tsingtau was signed and sealed 
between them. Before the bombardment, however, a special 
message was sent through the wireless to the German Head- 
quarters in Tsingtau conveying the Mikado's will to save 
and succour non-combatants. Hence, all the women and 
children were transferred from the seat of war as far as to 
Tientsin. 

The following shows the number of casualties on both 
sides, together with the number of prisoners of war, guns, 
rifles, and other munitions captured by the Japanese Army : 

THE JAPANESE ARMY 

Killed and died of wounds (officers and men) . . 416 
Wounded ....... ,V^; 1542 

THE GERMAN ARMY 

Killed (officers and men) . . .> . n.^o v - 210 

Wounded . . . . . . . -.. 550 

Died of illness . . . . . . 150 
Prisoners of War : 

Officers l . r : . . . 201 

Non-commissioned officers and men . ^ ,. ,., ^4366 

Others 122 



Total German Prisoners . . '^ . 4689 

Spoils of War : 
Rifles. 30,000. 

Ammunition. 5,000,000 rounds. 
Machine-guns. 45 . 
Guns of varying calibre. 150. 
Ammunition for same. 55,400 rounds. 
Explosives. 120 cases. 
Motor-cars. 76. 
Horses. 500. 

On the occasion of the fall of Tsingtau, the Great Field- 
Marshal His Majesty the Mikado of Japan issued the following 
Message to his Army and Navy who had participated in the 
campaign : 

' Tsingtau was the military base of the enemy in East 

421 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

Asia, whose defensive works on land and water were not at 
all to be despised. 

' Our Army and Navy which participated in the siege 
courageously co-operated with each other from the first with 
admirable discipline, and succeeded in capturing the German 
forts and sinking their warships. The object of the war is 
attained with the fall of the enemy's stronghold. We hereby 
express our satisfaction with the manner in which you all, 
officers and men, have ably fulfilled the heavy task imposed 
upon you and achieved great and meritorious deeds.' 

General Kamio replied : 

' For the fall of Tsingtau forts achieved by our Division 
through your Majesty's illustrious dignity, we now are 
favoured with the gracious Imperial Message and are thereby 
filled with gratitude to your Imperial Majesty. 

' I, Mitsuomi, your Majesty's humble servant, represent- 
ing all our Division, beg herewith tremblingly to tender our 
most sincere thanks to your Imperial Majesty.' 



THE BRITISH AT TSINGTAU 
DESPATCHES FROM BRIGADIER-GENERAL. IN COMMAND 

No. i 

Brigadier-General N. W. Barnardiston, M.V.O., 
to the War Office. 

Investing Line before Tsingtau, 
October 9, 1914. 

SIR, I have the honour to report that the force under 
my command embarked at Tientsin on the I9th September in 
the hired transports Kwang Ping, Shao Shing, and Shuntien, 
and, escorted from Taku Bar by H.M.S. Triumph and the 
torpedo-boat destroyer Usk, arrived at Wei-hai-wei at 2.15 
P.M. on 2oth September. 

The number of mules necessary to complete our require- 
ments in transport, which had been purchased by Captain 
Knaggs, Indian Army, were there embarked, that officer 
offering valuable assistance both there and also on disem- 
barkation at Lao Shan Bay. 
422 



WAR IN THE FAR EAST 

The s.s. Shenking, chartered by the Naval authorities as 
a hospital carrier, for conveyance of sick and wounded to 
Wei-hai-wei, joined us, and the whole left at 4 P.M. on 
2ist September. 

Before leaving, I inspected the arrangements made by 
Captain House, R.N., and Fleet-Surgeon Clarke, on the 
hospital carrier, and also on shore for the reception of the sick 
and wounded. These two officers, especially the last named, 
deserve the greatest credit for the excellent arrangements 
made to meet all our requirements. 

Lao Shan Bay was reached at 2 P.M. on 22nd September, and 
arrangements were made with H.M.S. Triumph, the Japanese 
Navy, and the Military Disembarkation Authorities for the 
disembarkation of the Force on the following day. 

Accordingly on 23rd September, the 2nd Bn. South Wales 
Borderers disembarked at 8 A.M., followed by stores, ponies, 
mules and carts, etc. The men worked hard and cheerfully 
at landing and stacking stores, etc., and the entire disem- 
barkation was accomplished by 6 A.M. on 24th September, 
with the exception of Base stores not immediately required, 
which were left on board the s.s. Kwang Ping in anticipation 
of a change of Base to Shatzukou Bay, within about ten miles 
of the lines of investment. 

The 24th September was spent in transferring stores from 
landing place to Base Supply Depot. 

I sent Major H. G. Pringle, General Staff, to Chimo, to 
ascertain the wishes of the Japanese Commander-in-Chief, 
who, I was informed, had just arrived at that place. 

I despatched Captain C. D. Hamilton Moore, D.A.A. and 
Q.M.G., to reconnoitre two roads over the Lao Shan Range, 
by which I thought I could move the force towards the left 
of the line of investment, which would be the most convenient 
position for purposes of supply, as my transport was only 
sufficient to carry four days' rations. 

One of these roads was found to be quite unsuitable and 
the other only possible with a complete reorganisation of the 
transport, using pack mules or coolies over the worst parts of 
the Pass, and man-handling such carts as were necessary for 
use on the farther side. 

I was prepared to make this reorganisation if necessary. 

On arrival, however, on the 25th, at Pu-li, about six miles 

423 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

from Lao Shan Bay, I learned that the Japanese Commander 
wished to use the Force under my command in the centre of 
the line, and he desired me, therefore, to march via Chimo 
and Liuting towards Litsun. 

I also gathered that the Japanese plan of operations was 
to advance south from Chimo on 27th and 28th, and to attack 
on 2Qth and 3Oth the German advanced line, extending from 
Prince Henry Hill to Ka Shan, in order that siege material 
might be brought up to bombard the main position in front 
of Tsingtau. 

To comply with the wishes of the Japanese Commander 
implied a very heavy strain on my transport, and probably 
very short rations, as it implied a line of communications 
nearly forty miles in length, over a single, bad, narrow and 
congested road, or rather track. 

It was essential, however, to make the effort, and I 
decided to do so, even if we had to exist on half rations. 

On the 26th September the Force marched to Chimo, 
about thirteen miles, where it arrived at 11.30 A.M., the trans- 
port arriving later in the afternoon, and a convoy of supplies 
from the Base about n P.M., after experiencing the greatest 
difficulties, owing to the blocked roads. 

I consider that the officers and others concerned deserve 
the greatest credit for accomplishing what seemed an almost 
insuperable task, and I desire specially to bring to notice the 
excellent services rendered by Captain Don, Indian Supply 
and Transport Corps. 

To the men, the marches, although not long, were very 
trying, owing to the constant halts and checks owing to the 
road being blocked by Japanese artillery and transport, but, 
with the exception of a few cases of fever, no men fell out. 

On arrival at Chimo my supply difficulties were greatly 
lessened by the offer of the Japanese military authorities to 
use their transport for the purpose of establishing an advanced 
supply depot at Chimo, from which point our own transport 
would be able to work forward to the refilling point. 

On the 27th the force moved on about nine miles to Liuting 
and halted. I rode on to Divisional Headquarters, where I 
was received very cordially by Lieut. -General Kamio, the 
Japanese Commander-in-Chief, who gave me an outline of the 
following day's operations, in which we were to take part. 
424 



WAR IN THE FAR EAST 

On the 28th, in accordance with his orders, the force pro- 
ceeded towards Litsun with a view of participating in the 
attack on the German advanced position, which was then 
being reconnoitred by the Japanese troops. 

The Germans holding the position retired, however, before 
the Japanese advanced troops, who occupied the position 
which it was General Kamio's intention to have assaulted on 
the following night and morning. 

The force under my command was therefore not engaged, 
and marched on to a village about two and a half miles in 
rear of the Japanese line, where it bivouacked. 

This position, however, proved to be unsuitable, as we 
were exposed to the enemy's artillery fire, luckily without 
suffering any casualties ; but on the 3oth September I moved 
the force to the reverse slopes of a hill about one mile to the 
eastward of our former position, where the men were under 
cover, and were able to make splinter-proof shelters. I 
have, etc., 

N. W. BARNARDISTON, Brigadier-General, 
Commanding Tsingtau Expeditionary Force. 



No. 2 

Brigadier-General N. W. Barnardiston, M.V.O., 
to the War Office. 

Investing Lines before Tsingtau, 
October 29, 1914. 

SIR, In continuation of my despatch dated gth instant, I 
have the honour to report that on the loth instant I received 
orders from the Japanese Commander to the effect that the 
Force under my command was to take its place in the front 
line of the investing force, a front of about 600 yards being 
assigned to us. 

Accordingly, on the nth instant I directed the Officer 
Commanding 2nd Bn. South Wales Borderers to take up, 
with two companies, a line running approximately north- 
west and south-west through a point a little north of Point 
177 on Shuang Shan, furnishing two piquets with their 
supports and a local reserve. The remaining companies of 
the 2nd Bn. South Wales Borderers were distributed in such 

425 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

nullahs, south of Huang-Chia-Ving, as afforded the best 
cover from shell fire. 

2. The range of heights forming the position of the line 
of investment, south of that village, with their under-features, 
is intersected by numerous deep ravines of clay, excellent 
for protection and accommodation in dry weather. In wet 
weather, however, such as we have been unfortunately ex- 
periencing, the loose soil is washed away, the sides of the 
nullahs fall in, carrying with them the shelters for the troops ; 
every valley becomes a torrent and every road or track a mass 
of deep mud. Cover for the men both from fire and weather 
becomes impossible. The men have been soaked through 
and through for as much as forty-eight hours, and equipment 
has been buried by falls of earth, and ammunition has rusted, 
but in spite of all hardships and privations the spirits and 
health of the troops have been excellent, and they have 
worked continuously at digging and at the heavy fatigue 
work of carrying rations and ammunition and heavy beams 
for head cover one and a half miles to the front where wheeled 
traffic has been impossible often in liquid mud halfway up 
to the knees. 

3. By degrees, and as I can obtain space, I am moving the 
rear companies up towards the front line preparatory to the 
attack on the fortress. Considerable delay has taken place in 
the preparations of the Japanese owing to the heavy rains, 
but I learned yesterday that the bombardment will com- 
mence on the 3ist instant. 

The health of the troops, notwithstanding the hard work 
and trying weather, is most satisfactory. 

5. The line of investment we now hold extends from Kiao- 
Chau Bay to the sea, running approximately through Kushan, 
119 degrees 21 minutes, 36 degrees 8 minutes (Lat. 36 deg. 
8 min. N., Long. 119 deg. 21 min. E.), the high ground south 
of Chia-Lien-Kow, to Foushan (Prince Henry's Hill). 

The following is a summary of the order for the attack on 
the fortress, so far as concerns the British Force : 

The whole of the enemy's main line of defence will con- 
stitute the front of attack. All arrangements are calculated 
for a deliberate advance, but any opportunity of attacking 
which presents itself will be seized upon. 

The front of attack is divided into four sections, the right 
426 



WAR IN THE FAR EAST 

central section being assigned to the force under my com- 
mand. One front of about 600 yards is roughly bounded by 
two parallel lines running north-east and south-west the 
right flank line passing through Tashan, 119 degrees 22 minutes, 
36 degrees 7 minutes (36 deg. 7 min. N., 119 deg. 22 min. E.), 
village and Point 375, 372 ? the left, the north-west corner of 
Ho-Hsi and the eastern corner of Tiu-Tung-Chien (Tai- 
Tung-Chen ?). 

To-morrow the line of investment will be advanced to a 
line running through Kushan, Shvang-Shan, 119 degrees 6 
minutes, 36 degrees 6 minutes (36 deg. 6 min. N., 119 deg. 
6 min. E.), Tung-Wu-Chia-Tsun, Tien-Chia-Tsun, Hsin-Chia- 
Chuang, in the construction of which working parties from 
each section are employed daily and nightly. 

When the bombardment begins, the Infantry and Engineers 
of the front line will prepare for the subsequent advance, 
and during the night of the ist November will occupy a line 
through the high ground west of Han-Chla-Chuang, and 
south of Tang-Wu-Chia-Tsun, and north of Fou-Shan-So 
also that village. 

The first position of attack will be prepared on this line, 
and during the first two or three nights will be strengthened, 
communicating trenches completed, and preparations made 
for the next advance. 

The second position of attack will be strongly constructed, 
approximately on the line Pump Station, Hsi-Wu-Chla- 
Tsun, the high ground east of Kang-Chla-Chuang and the 
ridge west of Fou-Shan-So, and in this position preparations 
will be made for the destruction of obstacles and the subse- 
quent approach. 

The main portion of the siege artillery will first fire on 
the enemy's forts and the remainder against his war vessels. 
Subsequently, as the first line advances, this portion of the 
artillery will fire on the enemy's redoubts. 

Co-operation with the Navy is arranged for. 

6. I am collecting twelve days' supplies at a suitable place 
in rear of the advanced position to provide against the even- 
tuality of its being found impossible, in this very difficult 
country, to bring them up during the bombardment. A 
suitable place for my Brigade Ammunition Reserve, about 
two miles in rear of the first position of attack, has been selected. 

427 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

The Field Hospital has been established at Che-Chla- 
Hsia-Chuang, about half-way between Litsun-Erh-Shan and 
Prince Henry Hill, and dressing stations have been arranged 
for in nullahs in rear of the front line. 

7. The half battalion of the 36th Sikhs, under command of 
Lieut.-Colonel E. L. Sullivan, disembarked at Lao-Shan Bay 
on the 22nd instant, and arrived yesterday at the front. I 
have, etc. N. W. BARNARDISTON, 

Brigadier-General. 

No. 3 

Brigadier-General N. W. Barnardiston, M.V.O., 
to the War Office. 

Tsingtau, November 10, 1914. 

SIR, I have the honour to report the successful conclu- 
sion of this Expedition in the surrender of Tsingtau on the 
7th instant. 

The operations in which the force under my command 
have taken part proceeded as outlined in my Despatch No. 2, 
dated 2Qth October. 

The advanced position indicated in that despatch was 
occupied on the 3oth October. The bombardment commenced 
on the 3ist, the enemy not replying to any great extent. 
During the first day some oil tanks and coal stores near the 
dockyard were burnt, and the forts and redoubts suffered 
severely. Throughout the bombardment the practice of the 
Japanese Artillery was surprisingly good, and the accuracy 
of their fire and their numerical superiority in guns no doubt 
proved the principal factor in compelling the enemy's surrender. 
It is stated that the Germans expended all their gun ammuni- 
tion. The bombardment continued with slight intermissions 
until the fall of the place. 

On the 1st November the first position of attack (see my 
Despatch No. 2) was occupied, and the preparation of the 
second position commenced. This position was ready for 
occupation on the 3rd instant, but, owing to its location in 
the immediate vicinity of the bed of the river, it was impos- 
sible to drain it or to occupy it permanently, and as it was 
everywhere under close infantry fire from the first position, 
I merely held it during the night with piquets. 
428 



WAR IN THE FAR EAST 

On the night of the 4th November somewhat heavy artillery 
fire was directed on our trenches, the 36th Sikhs losing 2 
Sepoys killed and 2 officers wounded, while the 2nd Bn. 
South Wales Borderers had also several casualties. 

On the 5th November I was ordered to prepare a third 
position of attack on the left bank of the river. This line 
was to a great extent enfiladed on both flanks by Nos. I and 
2 redoubts, especially the latter, from which annoying machine- 
gun fire was experienced. 

The bed of the river (a small stream running over a broad 
bed of sand) had also to be crossed, and in doing so the working 
parties of the 2nd Bn. South Wales Borderers suffered some- 
what severely, losing 8 non-commissioned officers and men 
killed and 24 wounded. The 36th Sikhs had only slight losses. 
Notwithstanding this a good deal of work was done, especially 
on the right flank. 

I considered it my duty to represent to the Japanese 
Commander-in-Chief the untenable nature, for permanent 
occupation, of the portion of the third position in my front, 
but received a reply that it was necessary for it to be held 
in order to fit in with the general scheme of assault. 

On the evening of the 6th, accordingly, I occupied it with 
piquets, and the working parties continued to improve it. 

During the night, on hearing rumours of the evacuation 
of one or more of the redoubts, I sent out officers' patrols to 
ascertain if the enemy were still holding the trenches in front 
of us, and prepared to advance should the front be clear. 
They were met, however, with rifles and machine-gun fire, 
and reported that No. 2 redoubt, on our left, was still 
held. 

Between 5 and 6 A.M. on the morning of the yth the enemy 
started a further cannonade for field artillery and an occa- 
sional shot from their heavy guns, and I issued preparatory 
orders for an advance as soon as I knew the redoubts were 
captured. At 7 A.M. all firing ceased, and I was informed 
that the enemy had sent out a flag of truce. About 7.30 
A.M. I received orders to advance, and, the enemy along 
the whole of our front having then retired, I marched into 
Tsingtau. 

The troops under my command have behaved extremely 
well under trying conditions of weather and those inseparable 

429 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

from siege warfare, and all ranks have worked loyally and 
hard. I have, etc. 

N. W. BARNARDISTON, 
Brigadier-General. 



No. 4 

Brigadier-General N. W. Barnardiston, M.V.O., 
to the War Office. 

Tsingtau, November 13, 1914. 

SIR, In continuation of my Despatch No. 3, dated loth 
instant, I have the honour to forward the names of the follow- 
ing officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the force 
under my command whom I consider deserving of special 
notice for their services. 

These names are in addition to those mentioned in my 
despatch dated gth October. 

STAFF 

Major H. G. Pringle, Royal Artillery. 

GENERAL STAFF 

Captain C. D. H. Moore, R. Warwick Regt., D.A.A. and Q.M.G. 

Captain J. Gray, 36th Sikhs (attached). 

Captain J. A. Hamilton, A.S.C., Base Commandant. 

Major J. A. Hartigan, M.B., R.A.M.C., Senior Medical Officer. 

2ND SOUTH WALES BORDERERS 

Lieut.-Col. H. G. Casson, Commanding. 

Major E. C. Margasson. 

Captain J. Bradstock. 

Captain and Adjutant G. H. Birkett. 

Captain D. G. Johnson. 

Lieutenant R. L. Petre. 

Lieut. H. J. Simson, R. Scots (Japanese interpreter), attached. 

Captain G. H. Dive, R.A.M.C., attached. 

2/10423 Sgt. J. J. Ward (killed), 2/9972 Pte. G. E. Snow, 
2/9004 Pte. A. Green, 2/9980 Pte. T. Jenkinson, 10171 Drmr. 
430 



WAR IN THE FAR EAST 

W. I. Jones (killed), 10634 Pte. (Lce.-Cpl.) C. J. Foley, 10614 
Pte. H. Evans (killed), 2/9952 Pte. J. West (died of wounds), 
2/4528 Drmr. C. W. Lewis, 2/9244 Co. Sgt.-Maj. G. A. Davies, 
7309 Sgt. H. Leach (died of wounds), 3/10249 Cpl. (Act. Sgt.) 
W. S. Rosier. 

ARMY SERVICE CORPS 

ist Cl. Staff-Sgt.-Maj. S. E. Warner (now Qrmr. and Hon. 
Lieut.), ist Cl. Staff-Sgt.-Maj. A. Goodwin (now Qrmr. and 
Hon. Lieut.). 

ROYAL ARMY MEDICAL CORPS 

17933 Qrmr.-Sgt. D. E. Dean (now Sgt.-Maj.), 11313 Cpl. 
A. Bateman (now Sgt.), 19823 Cpl. T. J. Kilyon, 1884 Cpl. 
E. S. Gaughan (now Sgt.). 

3&TH SIKHS 

Lieut.-Col. E. L. Sullivan, Commanding. 

Major E. F. Knox. 

Captain A. D. Martin. 

Lieutenant and Adjutant S. des Vceux. 

Subadar Gurmukh Singh, I.O.M. 

Jemadar Sundar Singh. 

Jemadar Jamal Singh. 

1707 Havildar Massa Singh, 2711 Lance-Naik Bhagat 
Sing;n, 2757 Lance-Naik Harman Singh, 2829 Lance-Naik 
Hari Singh, 3126 Sepoy Fakir Singh, 3785 Sepoy Ram Singh, 
3782 Sepoy Bant Singh. I have, etc. 

N. W. BARNARDISTON, 
Brigadier-General. 



* 43i 



WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

CORRESPONDENCE RELATING TO THE OCCUPATION 
OF GERMAN SAMOA BY AN EXPEDITIONARY 
EORCE FROM NEW ZEALAND. 1 

Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of His 

Majesty 

September 1915. 

No. i 
The Secretary of State to the Governor of New Zealand 

August 6, 1914. 

If your Ministers desire and feel themselves able to seize 
German wireless station at Samoa, we should feel that this 
was a great and urgent Imperial service. You will realise, 
however, that any territory now occupied must at the con- 
clusion of the war be at the disposal of Imperial Govern- 
ment for purposes of an ultimate settlement. Other Dominions 
are acting on the same understanding in a similar way, and, 
in particular, Commonwealth is being consulted as to wireless 
stations at New Guinea, Yap, Marshall Islands, and Nauru 
or Pleasant Island. HARCOURT. 



No. 2 
The Governor of New Zealand to the Secretary of State 

(Telegram.) Received 12.38 P.M., August 7, 1914. . 

Your telegram 6th August. My Government agree to 
seizure of Samoa. In view of possibility of presence of German 

1 [Extracts dealing with military matters. The whole correspondence 
is given in Naval, I, pp. 135-160.] 
432 



WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

cruiser please telegraph at once what escort can be provided 
and when. LIVERPOOL. 



No. 3 
The Governor of New Zealand to the Secretary of State 

August 8, 1914. 

I am desired by my Government to inform you that pro- 
vided that escort can be furnished, arrangements have now 
been made to despatch to Samoa an expeditionary force 
on Tuesday, August n. I have to ask for an immediate 
reply. LIVERPOOL. 

No. 4 

The Secretary of State to the Governor of New Zealand 

August 8, 1914. 

Your telegram August 8. Admiralty see no objection 
to departure expedition to Samoa about nth instant when 
ready, provided latest local information at disposal Senior 
Naval Officer, New Zealand, does not render departure in- 
expedient and provided he has been consulted 'and concurs 
in naval arrangements. They consider that, if guns be avail- 
able and time permits, transports may with advantage be 
lightly armed. Escort of one cruiser at least will be detailed. 
Instructions will be sent to Senior Naval Officer accordingly. 
Please inform me of composition and strength force and sea 
transport. HARCOURT. 

No. 5 

The Governor of New Zealand to the Secretary of State 

August 9, 1914. 

August 9. Your telegram of August 8 ; one battalion 
of infantry, one company engineers, two fifteen-pounders, 
two six-pounders, with signal, medical, and army service 
corps details, two transports. Total force, 1383. 

LIVERPOOL. 

MILITARY 2 2 E 433 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

No. 6 

The Secretary of State to the Governor of New Zealand 

(Telegram). Sent 6.35 P.M., August 18, 1914. 

In connection with expedition against Samoa, British flag 
should be hoisted in all territories successfully occupied by His 
Majesty's forces and suitable arrangements made for temporary 
administration ; but no proclamation formally annexing any 
such territory should be made without previous communica- 
tion with His Majesty's Government. HARCOURT. 



No. 7 
Admiralty to Colonial Office 

Admiralty, August 36, 1914. 

SIR, I am commanded by my Lords Commissioners of 
the Admiralty to transmit herewith, for your information, 
copy of telegram of this date received from the Rear- Admiral 
Commanding Australian Squadron, respecting the occupa- 
tion of Apia. I am, etc. 

W. GRAHAM GREENE. 



ENCLOSURE IN No. 7 

Telegram from Rear-Admiral Commanding Australian 
Squadron, Suva, to Admiralty 

Took possession of Apia (Samoa Islands) to-day, August 30 
(Eastern time). 

In reply to my summons to surrender, Acting Governor, 
in absence of Governor, stated that he submitted to the 
occupation of the island. 

I carried out extensive sweeping operations before enter- 
ing harbour, but found no mines. No resistance was offered. 
There have been no enemy ships in harbour for some time. 
Landing of troops was commenced during this afternoon. 
British flag hoisted. Officer commanding troops took over 
control from Lieu tenant-Governor at 2 P.M. to-day. 

Will leave with Australia, Melbourne, and Montcalm for 
Suva as soon as disembarkation is complete, probably to- 
morrow. 

434 



4] WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

No. 8 
The Governor of New Zealand to the Secretary of State 

(Telegram.) Received 6.0 P.M., August 30, 1914. 

3Oth August. I have received the following telegram 

from Admiral, Australia : 

' Apia surrendered at 10.0 A.M., 3oth August, Eastern 
time. Military expedition landed in afternoon without 
opposition/ LIVERPOOL. 

No. 9 
The Secretary of State to the Governor of New Zealand 

(Telegram.) Sent 2.10 P.M., August 31, 1914. 

Your telegram 3oth August. Please convey to your 
Ministers heartiest congratulations of His Majesty's Govern- 
ment on successful occupation of Samoa by expeditionary 
force. HARCOURT. 

No. 10 
The Governor of New Zealand to the Secretary of State 

(Extract.) September 2, 1914. 

Officer Commanding the Troops, Samoa, has sent me the 
following message : 

' Expedition under my command, with the assistance 
of the allied fleet, occupied town of Apia, August 31 
(Eastern time). Governor of Samoa, who surrendered 
to me, is being sent with the prisoners to Fiji. I am 
glad to report that there was no opposition, that the 
health of the troops is excellent, and that there have 
been no serious casualties since the expedition started. 
LOGAN/ LIVERPOOL. 

ENCLOSURE i IN No. 12 

(Despatch No. i.) 

Government House, Apia, Samoa, 

September 2, 1914. 
YOUR EXCELLENCY, 

I have the honour to report that the forces under my 
command, having embarked on H.M. Transports No. i 

435 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

(Moeraki) and No. 2 (Monowai) on August 14, 1914, at 
Wellington, sailed from that port at daybreak on the follow- 
ing morning. 

We were met at the previously arranged rendezvous by 
H.M. Ships Psyche, Philomel, and Pyramus at 4 P.M. on 
August 16. On this and the following nights no lights 
were shown. 

Throughout the voyage musketry and other exercises 
were carried out by the troops. 

On August 20 the convoy arrived at Noumea, New Cale- 
donia, at ii A.M., and there met the French cruiser Montcalm. 
During the day I, with my Staff Officer, attended a joint naval 
and military conference on board H.M.S. Philomel. 

On August 21 H.M. A. Ships Australia and Melbourne, 
with Rear-Admiral Sir George E. Patey in command, arrived 
in port, and, under instructions from the Rear-Admiral, I 
attended on board the flagship and received operation orders 
(provisional) for the attack upon Samoa. In the afternoon 
I paid an official visit to His Excellency the Governor of New 
Caledonia. The troops were, with the permission of His 
Excellency, exercised on shore, and everywhere met with a 
most cordial reception. 

On the morning of August 22, while the transports 
were moving out into the stream, Transport No. 2 drifted 
on to a sandbank, from which she was only refloated at 
8.30 P.M., after her cargo had been lightened and the troops 
temporarily disembarked. 

On August 23 the allied fleets and transports sailed for 
Suva, Fiji, arriving at that port during the morning of August 
26, on which date I accompanied the Rear-Admiral on an 
official visit to His Excellency the Governor of Fiji, later 
attending a conference on board H.M.A.S. Australia. 

At the request of His Excellency the Governor of Fiji, 
I enrolled one officer of the Fiji Constabulary as German 
Interpreter, and also four members of the Fiji Rifle Associa- 
tion and six members of the Legion of Frontiersmen as privates 
in the 3rd Auckland Regiment. There were also embarked 
one officer and nineteen men from H.M.S. Sealark, one naval 
signaller Royal Naval Reserve, one nursing sister, and fourteen 
natives of Samoa these latter to be dispersed throughout 
the island in order to explain our intentions. I am much 
436 



WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

indebted to the Rev. Father Fox, of Suva, for bringing me 
into touch with the Samoans above referred to. 

On August 27, the allied fleets and transports sailed from 
Suva, Fiji, in the afternoon, and arrived at Apia at day- 
break on the 3Oth (Eastern time). In response to an ulti- 
matum conveyed under a flag of truce from H.M.S. Psyche, 
the Deputy-Governor replied that although, in the temporary 
absence of His Excellency the Governor of Samoa, he would 
not accept the responsibility of surrendering, no opposition 
would be offered to the landing of the armed forces. 

The troops were thereupon disembarked under cover of 
the guns of the allied fleets in manner previously detailed in 
orders ; the disembarkation was carried out without casualty. 
All Government buildings were immediately seized and 
Government officials and police placed under arrest. 

I established my headquarters at the Government build- 
ings at 4 P.M., received His Excellency the Governor of Samoa, 
and informed him that I regretted that I must place him under 
arrest. On this date I received from the European residents 
in Samoa the attached memorial (Sub-enclosure i). 1 

On the following day, August 31 (Eastern time), at 8 
A.M., the British flag was formally hoisted on the Govern- 
ment buildings in the presence of the officers of the New 
Zealand Division, Royal Navy, the troops, and the leading 
native chiefs. At this ceremony I read a Proclamation, 
copies of which, in English, German, and Samoan, I enclose 
herewith for Your Excellency's perusal (Sub-enclosure 2). 

I conferred with the native chiefs, whose attitude towards 
us is extremely friendly, and I am informed from reliable 
sources that the vast majority of the natives are in sympathy 
with the British occupation of Samoa. 

I also conferred with the German heads of department 
and their subordinates, and, as they have given their parole 
to do nothing inimical to British interests and to carry out 
their duties loyally, I have retained them, with two excep- 
tions, in their respective offices at the same salaries as they 
were previously receiving. 

I am of opinion that the various departments are largely 
overstaffed and should be reduced as opportunity occurs to 
do so with the minimum of friction. 

His Excellency the Governor of Samoa. After having, as 

437 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

already stated, informed His Excellency the Governor of 
Samoa that I placed him under arrest, I permitted him to 
return to his residence under escort of an officer of my staff, 
in order to obtain such wearing apparel and effects as he 
might require, and then caused him to be placed on board 
Transport No. I until the following morning, when he was 
again permitted to land under escort and attend further 
to his affairs, subsequently proceeding to Transport No. 2, 
in which ship he is now being conveyed to Suva, under escort 
of an officer of the 5th Regiment. I ordered that both on 
Transport No. i and Transport No. 2 His Excellency should be 
treated as an honoured guest and accorded every consideration. 

Wireless. I am informed by the Senior Naval Officer, 
New Zealand Division, that the wireless station at Apia 
could be heard tuning up after H.M.S. Psyche had sent in a 
flag of truce about 9.30 A.M., and only desisted on being 
ordered by the Rear- Admiral to do so. On my troops reach- 
ing the wireless station it was found that some essential parts 
of the engine which drives the dynamo had been removed 
and that some of the aerials had been tampered with. The 
aerials were immediately repaired, and we have been capable 
of receiving messages since August 30, but we have been 
unable to repair the engine, or, up to the present, discover 
the missing parts. The engine which was brought by the 
Expeditionary Force has, however, to-day been installed, 
and I hope to-night to be able to obtain communication with 
Your Excellency either through Suva or Pago Pago. I 
enclose for Your Excellency's perusal a Proclamation (No. 2) 
(Sub-enclosure 3) which deals with the above subject, and 
which I deemed it necessary to issue. I should add that 
investigation disclosed the fact that preparations had been 
made for the destruction of the wireless station by dynamite. 

Section D Battery. As explained later in this despatch, 
it became necessary to send Transport No. 2 to Suva with the 
least possible delay, and in the hurry of so doing a misunder- 
standing resulted in Transport No. 2 putting to sea while still 
having on board a section of D Battery, which had been brought 
to Apia in her. The two guns of this section had, however, 
been brought ashore, and part of the section of D Battery, 
which arrived in Transport No. i, will be quite able to serve 
these two guns. I keenly regret the temporary loss of the 
438 



WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

services of the section which arrived in Transport No. 2. I 
only became aware of the fact that these men were still on 
board after Transport No. 2 had proceeded some twenty 
miles to sea, and the necessities of the situation did not permit 
me at that stage to take steps to have Transport No. 2 recalled. 

Troops of the Garrison. With reference to the section of 
D Battery now on board Transport No. 2, if that vessel pro- 
ceed to New Zealand I have to ask that this section be ordered 
to rejoin its headquarters in Apia. With regard to the escort 
on board Transport No. 2, I have to ask that these be dis- 
charged in New Zealand, with the exception of Lieutenant 
D. A. Kenny, the officer commanding, who would rejoin his 
regiment here. 

I propose to return to New Zealand, as opportunity offers, 
all men who may prove medically unsuitable. I also propose 
to discharge, when opportunity to return them to Fiji offers, 
those men of the 3rd Auckland Regiment who were attested 
in Samoa as already mentioned. 

I hope to be permitted to retain the remainder of the force 
so long as German cruisers remain in the Pacific, but when 
these have been disposed of I see no reason why the garrison 
should remain at its present strength, as I anticipate no 
trouble whatever from the Samoan natives. 

On the whole, the discipline of the troops has been good, 
and has improved considerably since the expedition started. 

I have, etc., 

ROBERT LOGAN, Colonel, 

Administrator of Samoa. 
To His Excellency The Right Honourable 
The Earl of Liverpool, G.C.M.G., M.V.O., 
Governor of New Zealand. 



SUB-ENCLOSURE 2 TO DESPATCH No. i 
PROCLAMATION 

I. The New Zealand Government of His Britannic Majesty 
King George v. now occupy for His Majesty all the German 
territories situated in the islands of the Samoan group. 

439 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

2. All inhabitants of the occupied territories are com- 
manded to submit to all such directions as may be given by 
any officer of the occupying force. 

3. Every inhabitant of the occupied territories is forbidden 
to assist or to communicate directly or indirectly with the 
German Government or the German forces, or to resist 
directly or indirectly the occupying forces or any member 
thereof. 

4. All public property of the German Government must 
be delivered forthwith by those responsible for its safety to 
the possession of the occupying force. 

5. Private property of individuals will only be taken if 
required for the purposes of the occupying force, and if so 
taken will be paid for at a reasonable price at the termina- 
tion of the war. 

6. No person shall, except with the written permission of 
an authorised officer of the occupying force, be out of doors 
on any night between the hours of 10 P.M. and 6 A.M., nor 
change his or her present place of residence, nor use any boat 
or canoe. 

7. All public meetings are prohibited. 

8. No circular or newspaper or printed matter of any 
description shall be circulated, printed, or issued, without the 
written permission of an authorised officer of the occupying 
force. 

9. No spirituous or intoxicating liquor shall be manufac- 
tured or sold without the written permission of an authorised 
officer of the occupying force, nor shall liquor be supplied to 
any Samoan native. 

10. All officials of the German Government who desire 
to continue to carry out their functions under the present 
Military Government must report themselves forthwith to 
the Commander of the Occupying Force, and such as may be 
retained in their employment will receive the same rate of 
remuneration as was received by them prior to the occupa- 
tion. 

11. All inhabitants having in their possession any motor- 
cars, horses, carts, or other means of transport must forth- 
with report the description of the same to the Provost-Marshal 
of the Occupying Force. 

12. All arms of every description, whether the property 
440 



WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

of the German Government or of private persons, must 
forthwith be delivered at the office of the Provost-Marshal of 
the Occupying Force. 

13. All persons who quietly submit to the administration 
of affairs by the occupying force will be protected in their 
occupations except in the case of such occupations as may 
be contrary to the best interests of the occupying force. 

14. All persons who in any manner resist the occupying 
force or attempt by violence or otherwise to interfere with or 
overthrow the Military Government now established for His 
Majesty King George Fifth, or who fail to obey the above- 
written or any subsequent commands of any officer of the 
occupying force, will be punished according to the laws of 
war. 

Given at Apia this twenty-ninth day of August in the 
year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fourteen. 

ROBERT LOGAN, Colonel, 
Commanding the Occupying Forces. 

God Save the King. 



SUB-ENCLOSURE 3 TO DESPATCH No. i 

PROCLAMATION No. 2 

1. Every person having possession of any machinery or 
material formerly used in or in connection with the wireless 
installation at Apia, or the railway leading thereto, is required 
to deliver the same immediately to the Provost-Marshal. 

2. If the above requisition is not complied with before 
midnight on September 2, 1914, all houses and grounds in 
Apia will be searched, and any person found to be harbour- 
ing any of the above-mentioned machinery or materials will 
be dealt with according to the laws of war, and will receive 
the extreme penalty. 

Given at Apia this first day of September 1914. 

ROBERT LOGAN, Colonel, 
Administrator of Samoa. 

God Save the King. 

441 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

ENCLOSURE 2 IN No. 12. 

(Despatch No. 2.) 

Government House, Apia, Samoa, September 5, 1914. 

YOUR EXCELLENCY, I am pleased to be able to inform 
Your Excellency that, since the date of despatch No. i, matters 
in connection with the occupation of Samoa have progressed 
as smoothly as could be expected. The troops under my com- 
mand have now moved into two camps on sound ground 
conveniently situated for the defence of Apia, and measures 
have been taken for the safeguarding of the port. 

Wireless. I accidentally omitted to state in despatch 
No. i that a light petrol railway, leading from the harbour 
to the wireless station, was found to be unworkable, owing 
to parts of the engine having been removed. I am glad to be 
able to state, however, that the engine has now been repaired, 
and in a very few days the engine should be again running 
right out to the wireless station, and already the railway has 
been of considerable service. 

The wireless installation is now working satisfactorily, and, 
as Your Excellency is aware, we are now able to send messages. 
Our power to do so, however, is necessarily limited, owing to 
our inability to use the engines properly belonging to the 
installation. 

Expeditions. Since my last despatch a troop of mounted 
rifles was despatched to Falealeli, being away from Apia for 
three days and returning with Herr Osbahr, the local Adminis- 
trator of South Upolu. I have conferred with Herr Osbahr, 
and have decided to retain him in office, and he has to-day 
returned to his district. I have made Herr Osbahr fully 
understand the point, already referred to, which was raised 
by the other officials. 

A patrol has visited Safatu. 

Troops. H.M. Transport Monowai, which is due to leave 
Apia to-morrow morning, will carry with her about seventy- 
five of all ranks. Embarkation states for these officers and 
men will be forwarded to headquarters. This number in- 
cludes all the men (with one exception) who were enlisted at 
Fiji in the 3rd (Auckland) Regiment. These should be re- 
turned to Fiji and discharged there. 
442 



WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

In H.M. Transport Monowai there returned to Apia the 
fifty officers and men of D Battery, and also Lieutenant Kenny, 
of the 5th (Wellington) Regiment. These details have now 
been disembarked. I have, etc., 

ROBERT LOGAN, Colonel, 

Administrator of Samoa. 
To His Excellency the Right Honourable 
The Earl of Liverpool, G.C.M.G., M.V.O., 
Governor of New Zealand. 



CORRESPONDENCE RESPECTING MILITARY OPERA- 
TIONS AGAINST GERMAN POSSESSIONS IN THE 
WESTERN PACIFIC. 1 

Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command 
of His Majesty, November 1915. 

No. i 
The Secretary of State to the Governor-General of 

Australia 

(Extract.) August 6, 1914. 

If your Ministers desire and feel themselves able to seize [Cd. 7< 
German wireless stations at New Guinea, Yap in Marshall 
Islands, and Nauru or Pleasant Island, we should feel that 
this was a great and urgent Imperial service. You will 
realise, however, that any territory now occupied must at 
conclusion of war be at the disposal of Imperial Government 
for purposes of an ultimate settlement. Other Dominions 
are acting on the same understanding in similar way, and, 
in particular, suggestion to New Zealand is being made 
with regard to Samoa. HARCOURT, 



No. 2 
The Governor-General of Australia to the Secretary of State 

(Telegram.) Received 8.10 A.M., August 10, 1914. 

Expeditionary force of 1500 men being organised by 
Government for action suggested in your telegram 6th August. 

1 [Extract. The complete correspondence will be found in Naval, I, pp. 
219-267.] 

443 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

Despatching on merchant cruiser carrying four 4.7 guns. 
Departure subject to reports from Patey. Will communicate 
date of despatch later. FERGUSON. 



No. 3 
The Secretary of State to the Governor-General of Australia 

(Telegram.) Sent 6.35 P.M., August 18, 1914. 

In connection with expedition against German possessions 
in Pacific, British flag should be hoisted in all territories 
successfully occupied by His Majesty's forces, and suitable 
arrangements made for temporary administration ; but no 
proclamation formally annexing any such territory should be 
made without previous communication with His Majesty's 
Government. HARCOURT. 

No. 6 
The Governor-General of Australia to the Secretary of State 

September 13, 1914.. 

Following telegram has been received from Rear-Admiral 
Patey this day : 

' Australian Naval Reserve captured wireless station 
Herbertshohe i A.M., September 12, after eighteen hours' 
bush fighting over about six miles. Herbertshohe and Rabaul 
garrisoned and base established Simpsonhafen. Our total 
casualties : two officers killed, one officer wounded, names 
already reported. Reserve seamen : four killed, three 
wounded. Have prisoners : German officers two, including 
commandant ; German non-commissioned officers fifteen ; 
and native police fifty-six. German casualties, about twenty 
to thirty killed/ FERGUSON. 

No. 14 

The Governor-General of Australia to the Secretary of State 

November 19, 1914. 

Administrator of Rabaul reports Australian troops took 
possession of Nauru November 6 ; British flag hoisted, 
occupation proclaimed, garrison posted ; German Commis- 
444 



WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

sioner, twenty-five others, taken prisoners and sent to Sydney 
by Messina, which left Nauru November 15 ; thirty-seven 
British employes Pacific Phosphate Company repatriated, 
seven British employes Pacific Phosphate Company deported 
two months ago by Britishers to Ocean Island ; wireless 
station not damaged. . . . 

FERGUSON. 



No. 16 
The Governor-General of Australia to the Secretary of State 

Governor-General's Office, Melbourne, 

October 29, 1914. 

SIR, I have the honour to transmit herewith, for the 
information of His Majesty's Government, copies of despatches 
received from Colonel W. Holmes, D.S.O., V.D., Commanding 
Naval and Military Expedition. 

The Commonwealth Attorney-General has been asked 
to advise with regard to the actual terms of surrender agreed 
upon, and on receipt of his reply I shall have the honour to 
further communicate with you in the matter. I have, etc. 

R. M. FERGUSON, Governor-General. 



ENCLOSURE i IN No. 16 

H.M.A.S. ' Berrima,' Rabaul, New Britain, 

September 13, 1914. 

SIR, The expedition under my command reached Blanche 
Bay on the nth instant. At daylight on that day an advance 
party of thirty-five Naval Reserves, under the command of 
Lieutenant Bowen, and accompanied by Captain Pockley, 
Army Medical Corps, was sent ashore. Half of the party 
was landed at Kabakaul and the other at Herbertshohe, 
with instructions to push on rapidly and seize the wireless 
stations believed to exist in this vicinity. It was soon dis- 
covered that these places were defended, and the enemy did 
not intend to give them up without a fight. Finding that 
these parties were met with opposition, I reinforced them 
with two more companies of the Naval Reserves, two machine- 

445 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

gun sections, and a detachment of the Army Medical Corps, 
under Commander Elwell, at Kabakaul. Commander Beres- 
ford also accompanied this party. About 11.15 A.M. a request 
was received from the shore for a medical officer to be sent 
from this ship to attend to a wounded German, and soon 
afterwards I received information that Captain Pockley and 
Able Seaman Williams had been seriously wounded and were 
being sent back to the ship. I then determined to put on 
shore at Herbertshohe four companies of infantry, under 
Lieutenant-Colonel Watson, to co-operate in the attack. It 
was necessary to land this latter force in boats, which naturally 
occupied some time. In the meanwhile the naval force had 
pushed on in the direction of the wireless station. 

The force which they had to meet consisted of German 
reservists and the native armed constabulary, all led by 
German officers. The arms carried by the natives were all 
up-to-date German weapons. 

The line of attack was, owing to the very heavy timber 
on either side, practically confined to the road, across which 
at several points trenches had been placed, and a good deal 
of trouble was caused the attacking force by natives posted 
high up in coco-nut trees, armed with rifles. 

As it did not appear that the operation would be successful 
before dark, instructions were given to Commander Beresford 
and Lieutenant-Colonel Watson to retire to the beach before 
dark, and I arranged with the Adjniral that, on the follow- 
ing morning, if the resistance still continued, the fleet would 
shell with shrapnel the high ridge between Kabakaul and 
Herbertshohe at daylight, and that immediately thereafter 
the attack should be resumed with vigour and the places 
carried. However, at nightfall the wireless station was 
surrendered to the force attacking from Kabakaul. I may 
state that this force was also accompanied by Captain Travers, 
my Intelligence Officer, who was present at the surrender. 
It was found that the wireless station was complete and well 
equipped, and working almost up to the last moment ; but 
prior to surrender the iron supports of the towers had been 
cut through and the station thereby rendered inoperative. 
A party under Lieutenant Bond, and accompanied by Cap- 
tain Travers, remained in possession of the wireless station 
during the night. As the wireless station had been rendered 
446 



WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

useless, and there was little hope of repairs being effected for 
some time, I directed that it be abandoned the instruments 
being first removed and that the party there should retire 
to the coast. Commander Beresford was instructed to move 
his force to Herbertshohe and remain there for the present 
as garrison. 

Commander Beresford was directed yesterday to furnish 
full report ori the day's operations, together with list of 
casualties, but this has not yet been received, but as far as 
I am aware they are as follows : 

Killed. Captain Pockley, Army Medical Corps ; Com- 
mander Elwell, Royal Australian Navy ; Able Seamen 
Williams, Courtney, Moffat, Street. 

Wounded. Lieutenant Bowen, Royal Australian Navy ; 
Able Seamen T. SuUivan, J. Tonks, A. P. W. Skillen. 

From information received by me up to the present, in 
the absence of Commander Beresford's report, the three 
officers referred to, also Lieutenant Bond, who accepted the 
surrender of the wireless station, and Captain Travers (In- 
telligence Officer), who accompanied him, acted in a very 
gallant way. 1 Captain Pockley removed the Red Cross badge 
from his arm and handed it over to one of his men who was 
without one, and paid the penalty with his life. 

I have no information as to the total casualties on the 
enemy's side, but know there were quite a number. Amongst 
the prisoners taken by my force were three German officers, 
Captain Wuchert (Commanding the Native Armed Con- 
stabulary), Lieutenant Mayer, and Lieutenant Kemf, about 
sixteen white non-commissioned officers and men, and some 
fifty-six natives. The officers will probably be forwarded 
to Sydney by the fleet, when leaving here in a few days. 

Yesterday afternoon the Berrima proceeded from Herberts- 
hohe to Rabaul and made fast to the pier at about six o'clock. 
Immediately afterwards the garrison for this place, con- 
sisting of four companies infantry, one section machine-guns, 
and one company Naval Reserves, were put ashore, and 
occupied the town without opposition. All Government 
offices, including Post Office, were seized and German flags 
flying removed. 

1 I wish to specially mention these five officers. W. H. 

447 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

At the present time my dispositions are as follows : 

Garrison at Herbertshohe under Commander Beresford : 
four naval companies, two companies infantry, one 12- 
pounder field-gun from His Majesty's Australian Ship Sydney, 
one machine-gun section, detachment Army Medical Corps. 

Garrison at Rabaul under Lieutenant-Colonel Paton : 
one company Naval Reserves, four companies infantry, one 
machine-gun section, detachment Army Medical Corps. 

The balance of my troops will be held in reserve on board 
this ship in Simpsonhafen. 

The flag will be hoisted at Rabaul this afternoon at three 
o'clock and my Proclamation read with as much ceremony 
as possible. The whole of the troops available will parade, 
march past, and salute the flag, while the warships in 
Simpsonhafen will co-operate by firing a royal salute. I have 
appointed an officer to organise native police, and have made 
necessary arrangements for proper administration of the 
territory. 

I propose for the present to make my headquarters at 
Herbertshohe, and probably later on at Rabaul. 

Yesterday I forwarded by motor cycle orderly to the 
Acting Governor of German New Guinea a formal demand 
for surrender. He is not either at Herbertshohe or Rabaul, 
but has retired inland about ten miles, to a place called 
Toma. About 8 P.M. my messenger returned with a letter 
from a Government official stating that the Acting Governor 
would reply to my communication at 4.30 P.M. to-day. In 
the event of his reply not being satisfactory, or his not calling 
upon me in response to my request, it is my intention to 
despatch a force to effect his arrest. 

I understand from the Admiral that he intends leaving, 
with the warships Australia, Melbourne, and Sydney, for 
Sydney, for the purpose of escorting the Australian Expedi- 
tionary Force to Europe, leaving at Simpsonhafen the 
destroyers and submarines for our protection. It seems 
likely, therefore, that my force will be in this locality for 
some considerable time. I therefore ask, seeing that I am 
supplied with provisions for only sixty days, that the neces- 
sary steps be taken in sufficient time to replenish. I will 
have an estimate of requirements prepared and forward 
to you. 
448 



WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

The health of the troops is excellent, there not being a 
single case of sickness in the hospital. 

WILLIAM HOLMES, Colonel, 

Brigadier Commanding. 
To the Chief of the General Staff, 
Melbourne. 



ENCLOSURE 2 IN No. 16 

Government House, Rabaul, New Britain, 
September 14, 1914. 

SIR, As the warships are not leaving here for Sydney 
until to-morrow, I take the opportunity of forwarding you 
some further information as to our doings yesterday. 

The flag was duly hoisted yesterday (Sunday afternoon) 
at three o'clock, the warships in the harbour co-operating 
by firing a salute. 

The ceremony was held on a small park in the town close 
to the wharf, where I erected a temporary flagstaff. I 
paraded all available troops, and also men whom I have 
engaged for the native police force, on three sides of a square 
facing the flag. The Admiral and all officers of the fleet 
were present at the ceremony, which I studied to make as 
impressive as possible, both for the benefit of the European 
residents and the natives. Immediately upon the flag being 
broken the troops gave a royal salute, after which the National 
Anthem was sung by all present. Three cheers were then 
given for His Majesty the King. After this the Proclama- 
tion, of which I forward you herewith a copy, was read by 
the Brigade Major, and the whole of the troops Navy and 
Army native police, and a large number of friendly natives, 
marched past the flag in column of route and saluted it. 
Flagship's band attended. 

A great number of copies of Proclamation in English and 
in German have been posted in conspicuous places throughout 
the town, and copies have also been forwarded to Herbertshohe. 

Immediately after the dismissal of the parade I received 
a message from the Protector, lying off Herbertshohe, that 
the German troops were again advancing to attack that place, 
which was garrisoned by four companies Naval Reserves and 

MILITARY 2 2 F 449 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

two companies infantry under Commander Beresford. I im- 
mediately gave orders for two companies infantry to stand 
by, and soon afterwards sent them on board the Encounter 
to reinforce Herbertshohe garrison, Colonel Watson being 
sent in command. From reports received, however, I find 
that the attack was not of a very serious character. 

About five o'clock my cyclist orderly returned with a 
letter from the Acting Governor of German New Guinea 
Haber by name reiterating his previous statement that no 
resistance would be offered to the occupation, but that he 
had no power to surrender New Britain or any other part 
of the German possessions. He stated he had no objection 
to meeting me and discussing the situation. From his letter 
I find that he has retired still farther into the mountain 
country to a place called Baining. I regarded his reply as 
unsatisfactory, and concluded that he was merely temporising 
in order to facilitate his escape. I therefore determined, 
after consulting with the Admiral, to instruct Colonel Watson 
to march at 5 A.M. on the I4th (to-day) with four companies 
infantry and two machine-gun sections towards Toma 
about ten miles from Herbertshohe and endeavour to clear 
up the situation and effect the arrest of the Governor. 

At six o'clock this morning I received a wireless message 
from Watson, through the Encounter, which was standing 
at Herbertshohe, that he had arranged with the Commander 
of that ship to shell a position which he had received informa- 
tion was occupied in some strength between Herbertshohe 
and Toma, and that immediately upon the cessation of the 
shelling he would proceed to carry out my orders to march 
on Toma. 

The shelling by the ship was distinctly heard here and 
continued for about one hour, which should certainly have 
a great moral effect upon the enemy's troops. I have, of 
course, received no further information from Colonel Watson. 

About ii A.M. an English Methodist Missionary stationed 
on the north coast at Kabakada, near Talili Bay, reported 
that a new road had lately been completed from Toma westerly, 
a distance of about ninety miles, to the port of Pondo, and 
that he had reliable information that the Governor and the 
troops with him, who had been stationed at Toma for a month 
past, were marching to the coast with a view of embarking 



WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

on board the German ship Komet for conveyance to Friedrich 
Wilhelmshafen, in German New Guinea. This information 
I conveyed to the Admiral, and steps are being taken to at 
once search this locality by means of destroyers. 

This morning I arrested twenty officials of the late German 
Government ; men who have no other interests here, and 
whom I consider an element of danger, as I have strong suspi- 
cion that they are in communication with the Governor and 
the German troops still in the field. These, together with 
seventeen other Germans now on board the Berrima and 
about thirteen sent up from Herbertshohe yesterday, will be 
sent to the fleet to-day and taken to Sydney. Many of these 
prisoners aver that they are non-combatants, but merely 
planters ; but they are German reservists, and, I have every 
reason to believe, were engaged fighting against us, and to 
allow them to remain would only hamper my administration. 
All the native prisoners who have been taken I am making 
use of for working purposes. 

The Admiral has just called to see me, and states that 
he intends leaving for Sydney early to-morrow morning with 
the Australia, Melbourne, and Sydney, and will leave here 
at my disposal the Encounter, the destroyers, and two sub- 
marines, also the Protector, and that probably the French 
warship Montcalm will arrive from Noumea and co-operate. 

After consultation with the Admiral it has been decided 
not to move my force from this place until matters are more 
settled, and that an expedition will then be undertaken for 
the capture and occupation of Friedrich Wilhelmshafen, in 
German New Guinea, but this move will not be made until 
after consultation with Captain Lewin, of the Encounter, 
and the French Admiral. 

Colonel Paton is doing good work as Officer Commanding 
Garrison at Rabaul. Captain Twynam is organising the 
native police satisfactorily, Lieutenant Ravenscroft is acting 
as Provost -Marshal, and Lieutenant Manning (a Sydney 
barrister) is carrying out the duties of Assistant Judge 
Advocate. 

The water supply at Rabaul is fairly satisfactory, but 
precaution is taken to boil the water before use. 

I have just received information from Colonel Paton 
that, before the seat of government was removed from here 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

to Toma, a large amount of cash was deposited by Treasury 
officials for safe keeping at the offices of some German com- 
panies. This is being investigated, and Paton states that 
he believes he is now in fair way to recover about 3000. 

I have not yet received report as to supplies required 
for the population here, but, as soon as I ascertain what is 
necessary, I propose to get the fleet to wire for same to be 
forwarded to merchants or storekeepers here under my 
guarantee for payment. 

The health of the troops still continues satisfactory, and 
I do not anticipate any difficulty in carrying on efficiently 
the administration of this territory. I will take every oppor- 
tunity of keeping you informed from time to time of the 
progress of events. 

A German Imperial flag, which I removed from the 
Government Administrative Buildings here, is being despatched 
to the Lord Mayor of Sydney, with a suggestion that he might 
make use of it in any way he thinks best for the purpose of 
stimulating recruiting for the additional forces which I have 
no doubt Australia will be despatching. 

WILLIAM HOLMES, Colonel, 
Commanding Australian Naval and Military 
Expedition. 

To the Chief of the General Staff, 
Melbourne. 



PROCLAMATION 

PROCLAMATION ON BEHALF OF His MAJESTY GEORGE THE 
FIFTH, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, OF THE UNITED 
KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND, AND OF 
THE DOMINIONS OVERSEAS, KING, DEFENDER OF THE 
FAITH, EMPEROR OF INDIA : 

BY COLONEL WILLIAM HOLMES, D.S.O., V.D., BRIGADIER 
COMMANDING His MAJESTY'S AUSTRALIAN NAVAL AND 
MILITARY EXPEDITIONARY FORCE. 

Whereas the forces under my command have occupied 
the Island of New Britain : 
452 



WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

And whereas upon such occupation the authority of the 
German Government has ceased to exist therein : 

And whereas it has become essential to provide for 
proper government of the said Colony, and for the protec- 
tion of the lives and property of the peaceful inhabitants 
thereof : 

Now I, WILLIAM HOLMES, Companion of the Distinguished 
Service Order, Colonel in His Majesty's Forces, Brigadier 
Commanding the aforesaid Expeditionary Force, do hereby 
declare and proclaim as follows : 

(1) From and after the date of these presents the Island 
of New Britain and its dependencies are held by me in military 
occupation in the name of His Majesty the King. 

(2) War will be waged only against the armed forces of 
the German Empire and its Allies in the present war. 

(3) The lives and private property of peaceful inhabitants 
will be protected, and the laws and customs of the Colony 
will remain in force so far as is consistent with the military 
situation. 

(4) If the needs of the troops demand it, private property 
may be requisitioned. Such property will be paid for at its 
fair value. 

(5) Certain officials of the late Government may be re- 
tained, if they so desire, at their usual salaries. 

(6) In return for such protection it is the duty of all 
inhabitants to behave in an absolutely peaceful manner, to 
carry on their ordinary pursuits so far as is possible, to take 
no part directly or indirectly in any hostilities, to abstain 
from communication with His Majesty's enemies, and to 
render obedience to such orders as may be promulgated. 

(7) All male inhabitants of European origin are required 
to take the oath of neutrality prescribed, at the garrison 
headquarters ; and all firearms, ammunition, and war 
material in the possession or control of inhabitants are to 
be surrendered forthwith, as is also all public property of 
the late Government. 

(8) Non-compliance with the terms of this Proclama- 
tion, and disobedience of such orders as from time to time 
may be promulgated, will be dealt with according to military 
law. 

(9) It is hereby notified that this Proclamation takes 

453 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

effect in the whole Island of New Britain and its dependencies 
from this date. 

Given at Government House, Rabaul, this twelfth day of 
September, 1914. 

WILLIAM HOLMES, Brigadier Commanding. 
Witness : 

FRANCIS HERITAGE, Major, 
Brigade Major. 



ENCLOSURE 3 IN No. 16 

Government House, Rabaul, New Britain, 
September 19, 1914. 

SIR, In my letter to you, dated September 14, I men- 
tioned that I had instructed Colonel Watson to march with 
four companies of infantry and two machine-gun sections 
towards Toma, with instructions to effect the arrest of the 
Governor. Watson's advance from Herbertshohe was pre- 
ceded by the shelling of the ridge with the guns of the Encounter. 
This shelling evidently had a very good effect, as before Watson 
reached Toma he was met by a flag of truce from the Governor, 
who offered to come in and confer with me, and requested 
in the meantime an armistice for four hours. This conces- 
sion was at first refused by Watson, but afterwards arrange- 
ments were made by him for the Governor to meet me at 
Herbertshohe on the following morning at n o'clock. 

At 9.30 A.M. on the I5th instant I proceeded to Herberts- 
hohe from here, being accompanied by Major Heritage, 
Commander Stevenson, Royal Navy, and the other members 
of my staff. The interview with the Governor, whose name 
is Dr. Haber, continued until 3 P.M., when certain conditions 
of surrender were tentatively agreed to, the Governor stating 
that he preferred to consult his military officers before actually 
executing any agreement. I therefore gave him a typewritten 
copy of the conditions we had verbally agreed to, and arranged 
to meet him again at the same place at 12 noon on Thursday, 
1 7th instant. 

It is interesting to note that, while I was parleying with 
the Governor as to terms of surrender, the French warship 
Montcalm, with the French Admiral on board, passed in full 
454 



WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

view from our meeting place at Herbertshohe, and I had 
great pleasure in drawing the Governor's attention to her 
presence, at which he seemed rather disturbed. I may state 
that the Governor was received at Herbertshohe by a guard 
of honour of 100, which remained in attendance throughout 
the interview and saluted him on his departure. 

In accordance with the arrangements above referred to, 
I again met the Governor at Herbertshohe on the I7th instant, 
when terms of capitulation were discussed and, in a few minor 
points, amended. They were then signed by the Governor 
and myself, the former's signature being witnessed by the 
German Military Commandant (Von Klewitz) and mine by 
Commander Stevenson, Royal Navy. 

Upon my return to Simpsonhafen at about 7 P.M., I 
arranged with Captain Lewin, of the Encounter, to despatch 
to you, through the flagship Australia, the following wire- 
less message : 

' Have met Governor, who states has no power formally 
surrender any portion German territory; has agreed in 
writing cease further resistance and transfer administration 
of whole German New Guinea to me on following terms : 

' " Armed forces now in field surrender at once with 
military honours ; Governor leaves here on parole, no 
obstacle return Germany ; officers of regular Army 
remain prisoners of war ; all others on taking oath of 
neutrality allowed return their plantations ; black troops 
join native Constabulary now being organised ; all moneys 
and property late Administration transferred to me ; 
civil officials not required by me, or who will not take 
oath neutrality, deported to Australia, but no obstacle 
returning Germany ; any British subjects now prisoners 
be released forthwith." 

' Governor's undertaking does not cover any offensive 
action by German cruisers, with which communication 
destroyed ; am now administering from Rabaul ; will visit 
Wilhelmshafen and other parts first opportunity ; every- 
thing satisfactory, health of troops excellent ; supplies for 
population ordered through Admiral urgently required ; 
additional rations, boots and lightest clothing for troops, 
also 5000 for pay, necessary ; civil officials deported to be 

455 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

paid three months' salary from October i, also travelling 
expenses to Europe for selves and families, to be refunded 
from German Colonial subsidy by Governor/ 

Attached hereto I am forwarding you a copy of the com- 
plete agreement arrived at. I intend to retain possession of 
the original until after I take possession of Friedrich Wilhelms- 
hafen and other places which I may find it necessary to visit. 

I have taken possession of Government House at this 
place, and propose to carry out the administration of the 
Possessions from this point, and, in order to enable me to 
devote all my attention to this duty, I propose to leave the 
command of the troops to Watson. 

I mentioned that I was sending a large number of prisoners 
to Sydney by the fleet, but last night I received a message 
from the Admiral, who was on his way from here to Australia, 
that he was returning to this place and would arrive this day 
about 4 P.M., so that I shall now have the prisoners who were 
sent away back again on my hands. In view of the agree- 
ment arrived at I shall probably be able to release some 
of these to-morrow if they are prepared to take the oath of 
neutrality. The Governor himself will probably arrive in 
Rabaul on Monday next, and I have arranged to afford him 
accommodation in the Deputy Governor's quarters until a 
ship is available for sending him to Australia. 

I understand that the sudden change of plans on the 
part of the fleet in returning here was due to information 
that a couple of days ago the German cruisers Scharnhorst 
and Gneisenau had passed Apia and were steaming in a north- 
westerly direction. No doubt it is the intention of the fleet 
to follow up these ships, but this will not be confirmed until 
I see the Admiral. 

I do not know yet what amount of money will be trans- 
ferred to me by the Governor when the surrender of troops 
takes place, but, so far, I have managed to get possession 
in the town of 45,000 marks, all of which is believed to be 
German Government money. This, and a great deal more, 
will be required for carrying on the Government of the place. 

You will remember the only money I took with me for 
pay of the men was 5000, and as there are good stores here 
the men are applying for advances on their pay, principally 
in order to purchase thinner shirts and other clothing, as 
456 



WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

i 

that issued them by the Government is absolutely unfitted 
for wear within the tropics, so that the money I now have 
with me will soon be exhausted ; I shall be glad, therefore, 
if you will see that my request for further funds is attended 
to without delay. 

Another most important matter is the question of supplies, 
particularly for the population. The Admiral will, no doubt, 
long ere this have despatched to you the wire I suggested 
being sent ordering these goods, and I trust that they may 
now be on the water, as there are so many natives, consisting 
principally of Kanakas, Chinamen, and Japanese, whose 
staple food is rice, of which this town is almost cleared out ; 
and unless food supplies are replenished at once there is 
certain trouble in store for me at the hands of the native 
population. 

To fill the vacancy caused by the death of Captain B. C. A. 
Pockley, killed in action, I applied for and obtained the 
consent of the Admiral for him to transfer the services of 
Dr. G. C. Byrne, who has been engaged on the Encounter at 
intelligence duties. I have appointed Dr. Byrne a Captain 
in the force at the usual rate of pay. 

I have made a complete inspection of the whole of the 
garrison, including the barracks, hospitals (European and 
native), headquarters, native constabulary, administrative 
buildings, post office, customs house, legal departments, and 
all other places, and am gradually getting everything reduced 
to order. I propose to appoint Lieutenant Fry, whom I 
attached as Adjutant to the ' Kanowma ' contingent, and 
who will return here, I hope, in a day or two, Treasurer 
under the Administration, and it will be his duty to receive 
money, property, and documents to be surrendered by 'the 
Governor on Monday next. 

September 21, 1914. 

I have just received information from the Admiral that 
an opportunity for despatching a mail by the Murex will 
occur this afternoon, so I shall complete your letter. 

Yesterday I received from the Admiral your inquiry as 
to supplies required for the troops here, and immediately 
afterwards requested the Admiral to despatch the following 
reply to you on my behalf : 

457 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

' Recommend in addition to supplies already ordered 
through Admiral for population, that supplies for troops 
similar in quantities to those originally placed on Berrima 
be forwarded, but preserved meats substituted for frozen. 
Also four hundredweight malt, and fifty-six pounds hops, 
kerosene instead of candles. More clothing of lightest possible 
kind required, previous supply unbearable in tropics ; one pair 
of boots per man needed. Merchants here propose ordering 
goods through Justus Scharff, York Street, Sydney, who 
should be encouraged to supply, and thus restore normal 
conditions. Return freights copra assured if .market not 
seriously dislocated. Require also five thousand pounds for 
pay for troops/ 

I have suggested preserved meats because there are very 
poor facilities on shore here for storing frozen meat. At 
present we are depending almost entirely on the ship's re- 
frigerating chamber, but as the Berrima may be ordered 
back at anv time, and we will have to depend entirely on 
our shore provisions, then preserved meats will be the best. 

The malt and hops are required for making yeast for 
baking bread. I have already erected on shore bread-baking 
plant, in order to afford the garrisons a change of food from 
the hard biscuits. Candles are of no use whatever on account of 
the high temperature. Kerosene is best for lighting purposes. 

I wish again to impress upon you the fact that the thick 
clothing in use in Australia, which was issued to the troops 
for this expedition, is absolutely unbearable in this climate, 
and most of the men have, therefore, been compelled to buy 
lighter clothing from the stores here, out of their private 
purses, so please arrange that only the very lightest possible 
clothing be sent. One thousand five hundred pairs boots, 
of sizes similar to those previously issued, should also be 
despatched. 

I am endeavouring to restore, as soon as possible, normal 
conditions of affairs as regards supplies for the population, 
and I have induced the principal merchants to despatch 
orders for goods to Messrs. Justus Scharff & Company, York 
Street, Sydney, 1 assuring them that there was very little 
risk, as the trade routes to these parts were quite open. I 
have also written myself to Justus Scharff, urging them to 

1 I believe these people are British. This might be ascertained. W. H. 
458 



WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

comply with these orders, and I would be glad if you also 
would communicate with that firm and encourage them to 
do all they can to open up trade with these islands. The 
merchants inform me that there is a large quantity of copra 
to be shipped away to market, and opportunity of so doing 
could be taken when the ship by which my provisions are 
conveyed is returning. 

Five thousand pounds (5000) additional will, I estimate, 
be required for pay of the troops at the different garrisons. 
I shall continue to pay them in British coin, and shall reserve 
the moneys which I am to take over from the late German 
Administration for carrying on the government of this place. 

Yesterday I received through the Admiral a notification 
from the Naval Board that the Government had appointed 
me Administrator. This fact has been publicly announced 
here, and I have entered upon the duties. 

As far as I am aware at present, there are only about 
50 worth of postage stamps of the late German Adminis- 
tration available. These I am having marked ' G. R. I./ 
by means of printing press which I have discovered here, 
but I would suggest that steps be at once taken to furnish 
me with Australian postage stamps, say, 300 worth, at the 
earliest opportunity. 

Yesterday I dealt with about fifty-five prisoners in terms 
of the agreement of capitulation. Many of them have taken 
the oath of neutrality and returned to their farms. Others, 
particularly officials of the late German Administration, are 
prisoners on parole, whom I shall despatch to Sydney at the 
earliest opportunity, as keeping them here, where they 
can get into touch with natives, is not conducive to good 
administration . 

The formal surrender of the German troops is taking 
place to-day at Herbertshohe, and I am expecting the Governor 
and a large number of prisoners to arrive here this evening. 
I have arranged for quarters for the Governor until he can 
be shipped away, and the prisoners will be dealt with in terms 
of the agreement. Until this evening I shall not know what 
amount of money will be handed over by the Governor, and 
this mail closes at 4 P.M. to-day. The information must 
be deferred until my next letter to you, or possibly I may 
advise you by wireless. 

459 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

Early to-morrow morning I am leaving here for Friedrich 
Wilhelmshafen, escorted by the Australia, Encounter, French 
flagship Montcalm, and possibly a destroyer. I am taking 
with me four companies of infantry, under Colonel Watson, 
and will probably detach two companies as garrison at that 
place, and return here in about a week to resume my adminis- 
trative duties. 

After conference with the Admiral, it has been decided, 
on arrival at Friedrich Wilhelmshafen, to send Captain 
Travers (my Intelligence Officer), accompanied by Lieutenant 
Mayer (a German regular officer, who was taken prisoner), 
ashore with a copy of the terms of surrender in English and 
another in German, for presentation to the head official 
there, with an intimation that I have come to take possession 
and occupy the place in terms of the agreement, and also 
secure an assurance from him that there will be no resistance 
to such occupation, and that the harbour is not mined or 
defended. In this matter I do not anticipate that there will 
be any difficulties, as the Governor's surrender included the 
whole of the German possessions lately under his administra- 
tion, including the mainland of New Guinea. 

The health of the troops, and also the population, con- 
tinues good. The European hospital at the top of the hill, 
near Government House, has only just been opened, and is 
most complete in all its fittings and appointments. At the 
present time it is occupied by seven German sailors from 
the Planet, who are, of course, prisoners, and another German 
prisoner, whose right hand was shot off in the engagement 
at Herbertshohe on the nth instant. There are no men of 
our own inmates of that institution. In the native hospital 
there are 131 cases, and I understand this is about the usual 
number. This place is controlled by two German doctors, 
who are, I understand, very clever at treating native diseases, 
and, indeed, tropical diseases of all kinds, and I propose, if 
they will remain, to retain them in their positions. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Paton is still commanding the garrison 
at Rabaul, and Commander Beresford, R.A.N., is in charge at 
Herbertshohe, and I shall probably leave Major Martin, of the 
infantry battalion, in command at Friedrich Wilhelmshafen. 

As my duties as Administrator increase, I may possibly 
find it necessary to place Lieutenant-Colonel Watson in 
460 



WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

military command, so as to afford me full opportunity of 
attending to the other work, but I will keep you fully advised 
from time to time, as opportunity offers, of any such changes. 

WILLIAM HOLMES, Colonel, 

Administrator. 

To the Chief of the General Staff, 
Melbourne. 



TERMS OF CAPITULATION 

Made this iyth day of September 1914 between Colonel 
William Holmes, D.S.O., V.D., Brigadier Commanding the 
Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, on 
behalf of His Most Gracious Majesty George the Fifth, of 
the first part, and Herr E. Haber, Acting Governor of the 
German Possessions known as Deutsch Neu Guinea, on 
behalf of the Imperial German Government, of the second 
part. 

Whereas the principal centres of Deutsch Neu Guinea 
have been occupied by an overwhelming force under the 
command of the said Colonel Holmes : 

And whereas the said Acting Governor has no authority 
to surrender any portion of the German Possessions under 
his administration, but, in view of the said occupation by 
the said overwhelming force, the said Acting Governor is 
prepared to give an assurance that all military resistance 
to such occupation in Deutsch Neu Guinea shall cease forth- 
with: 

Now, the following terms and conditions are solemnly 
agreed upon between the said contracting parties : 

(1) The name Deutsch Neu Guinea (German New Guinea) 
includes the whole of the German Possessions in the Pacific 
Ocean lately administered from Rabaul by the said Acting 
Governor, on behalf of the German Imperial Government, 
and the said Possessions are hereafter referred to as ' The 
Colony/ 

(2) All military resistance to the said military occupation 
of the Colony shall ceaser forthwith. 

(3) The armed German and native forces now in the field 

461 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

are to be surrendered at Herbertshohe on the 2ist day of 
September at ten o'clock in the forenoon. 
Military honours will be granted. 

(4) Upon the said Acting Governor giving his parole to 
take no further part directly or indirectly in the present 
war, no obstacle will be placed in the way of his returning 
to Germany. Such parole shall not prevent the said Acting 
Governor from tendering to the Imperial Government at 
Berlin such advice as he may deem proper with regard to 
terms of peace. 

(5) Such of the officers of the said forces in the field as 
are officers of the German regular forces will be treated as 
prisoners of war in the usual manner. Such of the officers 
of the said forces as are not officers of the German regular 
forces, but whose usual occupation is civil, on taking an 
oath of neutrality for the duration of the present war, will 
be released and permitted to return to their homes and ordi- 
nary avocations, except where such avocations are official, 
in which case the paragraphs 10 and n hereof will apply. 

(6) As the said Acting Governor gives his assurance that 
none of the white non-commissioned officers and men now 
in the field belong to the regular forces of the German Empire, 
such white non-commissioned officers and men, upon taking 
the said oath of neutrality, will be released and permitted to 
resume their ordinary avocations, except where such avoca- 
tions are official, in which case the terms of paragraphs 10 
and ii hereof will apply. 

(7) As it is understood that the safety of the white popu- 
lation depends to an extent on the existence of a native 
constabulary, that portion of the armed native constabulary 
which now forms part of the German forces in the field, 
if found satisfactory, will be transferred to the Military 
Administration . 

(8) As the administration of the Colony during the military 
occupation will be conducted by the British military com- 
mander, all moneys and properties of the late Administration 
are to be handed over to the said Colonel Holmes, Brigadier 
Commanding. 

(9) During the said military occupation the local laws 
and customs will remain in force so far as is consistent with 
the military situation. 

462 



WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

(10) As it is intended that administration shall be carried 
on under the control of British officers, subject to the suc- 
ceeding paragraph, such only of the civil officials of the late 
German Administration as it may be considered necessary 
to retain in an advisory capacity will be continued in their 
offices. Officials so retained will be required to take the oath 
of neutrality and their former salaries will be continued. 
Officials not so retained, and those who refuse to take the 
said oath, will be deported to Australia, but will have no 
obstacle placed in the way of their returning thence to Germany 
as soon as possible. 

(n) For the protection of the white population against 
the natives, the German officials now in charge of outlying 
portions of the Colony will continue in their official capacities 
until relieved by the Military Administration. 

(12) Any British subjects at present imprisoned or held 
in duress in the said Colony are to be released and returned 
to their homes and former positions forthwith. This does 
not apply to such persons (if any) who may be serving a 
sentence imposed by a criminal court of competent jurisdiction. 

In witness thereof the said contracting parties .of this 
first and second parts have hereunto set their hands this 
I7th day of September 1914. 
Witness to signature of E. Haber, HABER. 

VON KLEWITZ. 

Witnesses to signature of W. Holmes, WILLIAM HOLMES. 
J. B. STEVENSON. 
FRANCIS HERITAGE, 
Brigade Major. 

Addendum. 

The contracting parties further agree that all civil officials, 
whether they take the oath of neutrality or not, be entitled 
to receive at least their three months' pay from October i, 
1914, out of the funds of the Colony, and also an advance 
on travelling expenses for returning home according to the 
regulations in force under German rule. It is further agreed 
that they shall have proper facilities for arranging their 
personal affairs in the Colony. 

The Governor promises that the amounts expended 

463 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

under this head will be refunded by the German Imperial 
Government, out of the yearly Colonial subsidy. 

The Brigadier, promises that proper care be taken in 
order to conduct women and children of deported officials 
to the place where their men are. 

All claims due against the German Administration are 
to be paid for out of the funds of the Colony. 

It is expressly understood that the papers relating to 
the personal status of the officials of the Colony shafl. be 
handed over to a German official designated by the Governor. 

E. HABER. 
WILLIAM HOLMES. 



No. 19 

The Governor-General of Australia to the Secretary 

of State 

Governor-General's Office, Melbourne, 

November n, 1914. 

SIR, I have the honour to forward herewith, for your in- 
formation, copies of a despatch, dated Rabaul, September 26, 
1914, received from Colonel W. Holmes, D.S.O., V.D., Com- 
manding Naval and Military Expedition. I have, etc. 

R. M. FERGUSON, Governor-General. 



ENCLOSURE IN No. 19 

Government House, Rabaul, New Britain, 
September 26, 1914. 

SIR, I have just returned from Kaiser Wilhelmsland, and 
beg to confirm the wireless message despatched by me to 
you from Friedrich Wilhelmshafen, on 24th instant, which 
ran as follows : 

' Troops under my command occupied Kaiser Wilhelms- 
land to-day without opposition. Flag hoisted, Proclamation 
issued ; principal official absent. Four officials and thirteen 
other Germans surrendered. All subscribed oath neutrality. 
The officials will be temporarily engaged assist Administra- 
tion ; others are planters, missionaries, business men. Forty 
fighting men left Wilhelmshafen fortnight ago reinforce 
464 



WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

German troops, New Britain, but arrived after capitulation 
now prisoners at Rabaul. Found private stores well stocked. 
Health troops excellent. Returning Rabaul. HOLMES/ 

At Wilhelmshafen I left as garrison one and a half company 
infantry and half company naval reserves, with 500 rounds 
ammunition per rifle and two months' supplies. I secured 
the commodious stores of the New Guinea Company as barracks 
for the troops, and also suitable premises for a hospital. Every- 
thing was quiet, and I do not anticipate that any trouble 
will arise there, but the Officer Commanding the garrison 
(Major Martin) has been instructed to construct defences 
against boat landings and take all possible precautions. 

The whole of the European residents, who were Germans, 
surrendered immediately, and, as stated in my telegraphic 
message, the oath of neutrality was administered to each. 
The principal official was not available ; I was informed 
that he had two days previously proceeded into the country 
on a punitive expedition against some natives who had been 
giving trouble, but of this I am in doubt. However, Major 
Martin has instructions to send for him or secure him as 
soon as he comes in. Amongst the German residents was 
a medical man who has charge of both European and native 
hospitals, and I have instructed Captain Byrne the Medical 
Officer whom I left there with the garrison to use his own 
judgment as to whether it will be necessary to continue the 
services temporarily of the German officer or to dispense with 
them. 

The ships did not arrive at Wilhelmshafen until 11.15 A.M., 
and the whole of the business of hoisting flag, issuing Pro- 
clamation, landing and posting garrison and landing stores, 
was completed in six hours, and the Berrima left this place 
at 5.15 P.M., reaching Rabaul about 2 P.M. to-day. 

For your information, I recapitulate hereunder my dis- 
positions of the troops under command : 

Garrison at Rabaul 

Officer Commanding, Lieutenant-Colonel Paton. 

Four companies infantry. 

One machine-gun section. 

Detachment Army Medical Corps (Captain Maguire). 

MILITARY 2 2 G 465 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

Garrison at Herbertshohe 

Officer Commanding, Commander Beresford, R.A.N. 

Four companies naval reserves. 

One machine-gun section. 

Detachment Army Medical Corps (Captain Donaldson). 

Garrison at Friedrich Wilhelmshafen 
Officer Commanding, Major Martin. 
Half company naval reserves. 
One and a half company infantry. 
Detachment Army Medical Corps (Captain G. C. 
Byrne). 

Reserve on Board ' Berrima ' 

Officer Commanding, Lieutenant-Colonel W. W. Russell 

Watson. 

Infantry regimental staff. 
Two and a half companies infantry. 
One and a half company naval reserves. 
Detachment Army Medical Corps. 

I find on my return to-day that, during my absence, the 
oil ship Murex had left for Sydney, having on board two 
German officials and thirty prisoners, under a guard con- 
sisting of one officer (Lieutenant Partridge), one sergeant, 
one corporal, eighteen privates, and one private of the Army 
Medical Corps. The Officer Commanding the garrison here 
(Lieutenant-Colonel Paton) furnished Lieutenant Partridge 
with a letter to the District Commandant at Sydney, con- 
taining a complete list of the prisoners in question. 

The amount of money handed over by the German 
Governor up to the present is, I find to-day, about 400,000 
marks 20,000. I have appointed an officer Treasurer, 
and he is engaged making up the books, which, as far as 
I can ascertain, have not been balanced for about two years. 

The officers I have placed in charge of the legal work, 
customs, police, and postal services are hard at work restor- 
ing order out of chaos, and I will keep you supplied from time 
to time with progress reports of the whole administration. 

The ex-Governor, whom I have permitted to remain at 
Herbertshohe, is to confer with me on the 28th instant, when 
466 



WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

I hope to gain from him a clear insight into the whole of the 
business transactions of his Administration. 

The health of the whole of the troops under my command 
continues extraordinarily good, not a single case being in 
hospital at the present time. 

Although the weather is hot here, there is generally a strong 
south-east trade wind blowing, which tends to reduce the 
temperature and make the conditions bearable. 

The work of the troops is being done principally in the 
early morning and again late in the afternoon, while during 
the hotter part of the day, from u A.M. until 4 P.M., they 
are resting. 

After the occupation of this place I was fortunate in secur- 
ing possession of two modern Krupp field-guns on carriages, 
one carriage being in good order, the other broken. I propose 
sending these to Sydney on the first opportunity, and it has 
occurred to me that it might stimulate recruiting for future 
Australian contingent if one gun was exhibited at the Town 
Hall, Melbourne, and the other at the Town Hall, Sydney. 

A wireless station has been erected at the top of the hill 
overlooking Rabaul alongside Government House, and should 
prove of inestimable advantage in keeping up communication 
with the fleet. I have, etc. 

WILLIAM HOLMES, Colonel, 

Administrator. 

The Hon. the Minister for Defence, 
Melbourne. 



No. 23 
The Governor-General of Australia to the Secretary of State 

Governor-General's Office, 
Melbourne, February 16, 1915. 

SIR, I have the honour to transmit herewith copy of a 
report from the Administrator, Rabaul, New Britain. I 
have, etc. 

R. M. FERGUSON, Governor-General. 



467 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 

ENCLOSURE IN No. 23 
The Administrator to the Minister of Defence, Melbourne 

(Extract.) 

Rabaul, New Britain, December u, 1914. 

In my despatch of November 28 I mentioned the fact 
that I had sent an expedition to the Admiralty Islands. 
This force left Rabaul on November 19, under the command 
of Major Heritage, on board the s.s. Siar, and visited the 
Admiralty and Hermit Islands. The flag was hoisted at 
both places, Proclamation read, and garrisons posted ; the 
Siar returned to Rabaul on the 28th idem. Opportunity was 
taken at the same time to despatch a general cargo to these 
islands on behalf of the merchants here, and bring back return 
shipments of copra. The commercial earnings of the vessel 
on this expedition amounted to 356, I2s. 6d., and, as the 
debits totalled 200, the expedition, in addition to achieving 
its object of military occupation, resulted in a sound profit 
as a commercial venture. 

The same course is being followed in connection with the 
trip of the Meklong to Bougainville, the net results of which 
I will advise you in next despatch. 

The places which have now been satisfactorily occupied 
and flag hoisted by the forces under my command are : 

NHWE { 

? Kaweing. 
NEW IRELAND x Namatanai. 

[ Muliama. 

KAISER WILHELMSLAND Friedrich Wilhelmshafen. 
NEW HANOVER. 



BOUGAINVILLE { ]gj 

{Komuli St. Andrew's Group. 
Lorengau. 
Nares Hafen. 

HERMIT'S GROUP Maron. 
DUKE OF YORK GROUP Mioko. 
NAURU. 

The whole of the late German possessions south of the 
468 



314] WAR IN THE PACIFIC 

Equator may now therefore, I think, be considered to have 
been satisfactorily dealt with by my force. Other stations 
will be visited as opportunity offers, such as Eitape and 
Morobe in Kaiser Wilhelmsland, but there is no immediate 
hurry, as there is a strong garrison posted at Friedrich 
Wilhelmshafen. I have, etc. 

WILLIAM HOLMES, Colonel, 
Administrator. 



JAPANESE OPERATIONS 

Berlin, October 8. 

Renter's agency in London reports from Peking that the K.V. 
Japanese have occupied the Island of Yap. 1 



Tokyo, October 20. 

The Navy Department has announced the occupation for Times, 
military purposes of the Marianne and Marshall Islands and Oct 2I 
the East and West Caroline Archipelagos. 

1 [Yap is one of the Caroline Islands where the Germans had established 
a wireless station.] 



469 



INDEX 



Abdu Khan, Subadar, Bikanir Camel 
Corps, killed in action with Bedouins, 

35i. 

Abdurrahman, Senator, anti-British pro- 
paganda among Bedouins, 322. 
Abdurrezak Bederkhani, alleged Turkish 

defeat of, 376. 
Adie Bey, Bimbashi, battle of Sahil, 

37<>. 

Admiralty Islands, expedition to, 468. 
Aerial Navigation : 
British : 
Activity, in. 
Air mileage made up to Sept. 21, 1914, 

and time spent in air, 37-8. 
Aviator wounded in air, 30. 
Duel with German, 48-9. 
German machines driven down, 150. 
Raids : 

on Ammunition wagon, 9, 52-3. 
over Enemy lines, 21. 
on Lille, 84, 107. 
on Railway near Laon, 37. 
Suspension of bomb on string below 

aeroplane, 156. 
French : 

Attack on station and troops near, 

37- 
Captive balloon, German attempt to 

explode, 58-9. 
Raids : 

on Belgian coast, 179. 

on Cambrai, 103. 

on German cavalry and field 

howitzers, 49. 
on Heiming, 179. 
on Lille, 84. * 
on Petit Eich, 179. 
on Saarburg, 179. 
Successful work, 167, 179. 
French airmen, German officer on, 24. 
French and German duels, 40. 
German : 

Aeroplanes captured, 32-3, 81. 
Anti-aircraft guns, 49. 



Aerial Navigation (continued) : 
German (continued) : 
Captive balloons : 
France, 32. 
Tsingtau, loss, 408. 
Leaflets dropped over French lines, 

59-60. 
Iron Cross to first airman to bomb 

Antwerp, 58. 

Machines brought down, 21, 107. 
Proclamations in Hindi recommend- 
ing native troops to desert, 107. 
Raids : 

on Antwerp, 293-6. 
on Bailleul, 107. 
on Dunkirk, 156.' 
on Furnes, 156. 
on Hazebrouck, 132. 
on St. Omer, 58. 
Sausage balloons, 42. 
at Tsingtau, 408. 
Japanese : 

Bombs and circulars over Tsingtau, 

410. 

Fight with German, 417. 
German vessels at Kiao-chau bombed, 

407. 

at Tsingtau, 408, 409. 
Tsingtau barracks bombed, 406. 
and Weather conditions, 139. 
Aerschot, see under Belgium. 
Afghanistan : 

Anti-British propaganda in, 322. 
' Jehad ' to be preached in, 316. 
Aisne, see under France. 
Aix-la-Chapelle, see under Germany. 
Akaba, see under Arabia. 
Akaba, Gulf of, mines for, 335. 
Albert, King of the Belgians : 
General order, 243. 
Proclamation to the troops on the Yser, 

268-9. 
Albrecht, Duke of Wurtemberg, see 

Wurtemberg. 
Aleppo, see under Syria. 

471 



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY MILITARY 



Alexandretta, see under Syria. 

Alexandria, see under Egypt. 

All Haider, Khoga (Imam), to carry on 

Turcophile propaganda in India, 332. 
Allah Din, Jemadar, loth Mule Corps, 

specially mentioned, 392, 394. 
Allnutt, Lieut. E. B., R.A.M.C., specially 

mentioned and recommended for re- 
ward, 367-8, 371, 373. 
Alsace-Lorraine : 

Aspach, capture by French, 175. 

Cernay heights, French progress, 175. 

Chateau-Salins, French at, 181, 190. 

Colmar, approach to, held by French, 
181. 

Delme, French at, 181, 190. 

Dieuze, French at, 181, 190. 

Dornach, fighting at, 190. 

Les Etangs, French at, 181. 

Morhange, French at, 190. 

Mulhouse, French at, and withdrawal, 
181, 189-90. 

Operations in, 172, 181, 189-90. 

Saarburg (Sarrebourg) : 

Bombed by French dirigible, 179. 
French at, i8i, 190. 

Steinbach, fighting at, 175. 
Amifontaine, see under France. 
Amin, Khoga (Imam), to carry on Tur- 
cophile propaganda in India, 332. 
Ampsin, see under Belgium. 
Andechy, see under France. 
Angenot, M., Deputy Procurator-General, 

report on Antwerp Zeppelin raid, 293-6. 
Antwerp, see under Belgium. 
Apa Bagive, Lce.-Naik, noth M.L.I., 

specially mentioned, 398. 
Apia, see under Samoa Islands. 
Apremont, see under France. 
Arabia : 

Akaba : 

English troops landed at, alleged 

annihilation of, 349. 
Germans at, 315. 
Turkish sailors proceeding to, 322-3. 

Hedjaz : 

Mobilisation of Turkish forces in, 

311- 

Turkish force on holy territory, 352. 
Jeddah region, Turkish troops in, 311. 
Maan, military preparations at, 317, 

329, 330. 332. 
The Yemen : 

Turkish emissaries sent to, 311 
Turkish officers proceeding to, 311. 
472 



Arabs : 

See also Bedouins. 

Raid into Egypt anticipated, 333, 334. 
Violation of Egyptian frontier, 313. 
Argonne, see under France. 
Arimm Effendi, ex-Governor-General of 

Damascus, 324. 
Armentieres, see under France. 
Arnaville, see under France. 
Arras, see under France. 
Arthur, Capt. D., I. M.S., specially men- 
tioned, 390. 

Aspach, see under Alsace-Lorraine. 
Australia : 

Occupation of Apia, 434, 435. 
Operations against German possessions 

in Western Pacific, 443-69. 
Australia, H.M.A.S., 434, 435, 436, 448, 

45i. 455* 460. 
Austria-Hungary : 

Artillery batteries in Belgium before 

declaration of war, 297-300, 303. 
Note re Anglo-Belgian military ar- 
rangements before the war, 299-300 ; 
reply by Belgian Government, 300-3. 
Subjects in Egypt : 

Notice to, re registration, 347. 
Placed in concentration camp, 348. 
Ultimatum to Serbia : 

Discussion at Potsdam meeting, 

July 5, 1914. i. 
German connection with, 2-3. 
Azimud-din-Shaik Ismail, Sub-Asst. Surg. 
Shaikh, recommended for promotion, 

373- 

Aziz Shawish, Sheikh, manifesto inciting 
Moslem soldiers to mutiny and join 
Germany, 333, 335. 



Baesrode, see under Belgium. 

Bagdad, see under Mesopotamia and dis- 
trict at head of Persian Gulf. 

Bailey, Sergt. W., specially mentioned, 
390. 

Bailleul, see under France. 

Balfourier, General, 186. 

Ball, Lieut., noth Mahratta Light Inf., 
specially mentioned, 398. 

Baluchistan, ' Jehad ' to be preached in, 
316. 

Balyanieh, see under Mesopotamia and 
district at head of Persian Gulf. 

Bamburgh, see under Belgium. 

Ban de Sapt, see under France. 



INDEX 



Barnardiston, Brig.-Gen. N. W., M.V.O. : 

Conversations with Chief of the Belgian 

General Staff, 1906. 301-2. 
Despatches on operations in China, 

422-31. 
Landing of force under, near Laoshan 

Bay, 406, 416, 423. 
Barrett, Lieut.-Gen. Sir A. A., K.C.B., 

K.C.V.O. : 337. 355. 357. 374- 
Despatch, Dec. 7, 1914, describing 
operations at head of the Persian 
Gulf, 358-73. 

Despatches describing operations of 
I.E.F. 'D 1 up to March 31, 1915. 
378-402. 

Operation Order, Nov. 16, 1914. 368-70. 
Basra, see under Mesopotamia and dis- 
trict at head of Persian Gulf. 
Baucarne, M., Antwerp, 293-4. 
Bavaria, Rupprecht, Crown Prince of, 160, 

203. 
Bax-Ironside, Sir H., Sophia, telegram to 

Sir E. Grey, 323-4. 
Bayley, Capt., R.F.A., 398. 
Beaulieu, see under France. 
Beausejour, see under France. 
Becelaere, see under Belgium. 
Bedouins : 

See also Arabs, 349. 

Action between Bikanir Camel Corps 

and, 350, 351. 
Advancing to attack Suez Canal, 336, 

337. 343- 
Anti-British propaganda among, 322, 

327, 328, 338. 
Distribution of rifles, etc., to, and prob- ' 

able move towards Akaba, 324. 
Money for, 320, 322. 
Proposals made to, by Turks, 319. 
Raids into Egypt, 349, 350. 
Sheikhs : 

Address by Lieut.-Gen. Sir J. 

Maxwell, 348-9. 
Assurances of loyalty to British 

Government, 349. 
Beerst, see under Belgium. 
Beheddine Bey, anti-British propaganda 

by