Obrázky stránek

to the ground. The German method of vening space is simply wholesale suicide. using it has been to wait for a breeze to The only hope of successful advance is blow from their trenches toward the enemy, under cover of supporting artillery fire and then to release the gas, which rolls in a which, first with a prolonged and conheavy greenish-yellow cloud upon their centrated fury of assault with high exfoes. Its effect may be gathered from plosive shell upon a section of the opposing part of a description of the battle of Ypres, trench, and then with a rain of shrapnel on written by Rev. Owen S. Watkins, a British its surviving occupants, at least partially chaplain and a veteran of the Boer War, protects the company that leaps from its published in the London Methodist trenches and makes the short dash to meet Recorder:

the enemy hand to hand. Here the bay“Our men

were overpowered onet has returned to its own as one of the in hundreds. Those that fell in the bottom most destructive of all weapons ever deof the trench never got up again; scores vised. Its thrust is deadlier than the cut died in the trenches.

At the of the sword or the blow of the axe or club. advanced dressing-station

they And the moral effect of it is incomparably lay to the number of 300, faces purple, greater. The defense against a blow is twisting and writhing in agony, dying by instinctive and effective--the arm upraised long-drawn-out torture, their piteous eyes to break its impact. But there is no asking for help—and there was none we natural defense against the thrust, and, could give.


ghastliest worse still, it comes sickeningly at the wounds were sweet and pleasant beside it." seat of human courage, the pit of the

Concealed by the greenish-yellow cloud, stomach. In euphemistic paraphrase of the Germans followed the gas as it rolled Private Mulvaney's vernacular, it takes down upon their enemies, and finished diaphragm to stand a bayonet charge. with the bayonet what the chemical retort

THE LONGEST AND SHORTEST BAYONETS had begun. They made a breach four miles long in the Allied line which only A glance at the infantryman's arms of seven days of the most desperate fighting the various countries gives a graphic sugsafely closed.

gestion of the courage that is required to

face such a charge. The shortest bayonets THE ULTIMATE BAYONET

in use are those of the Belgians and the The bayonet-that, after all, is the Austrians. They are practically 9-inch ultimate weapon, just as infantry is the bowie knives fastened on the end of a ultimate army.

Cold steel” has one rifle 4 feet 2 inches long. The English virtue; it is decisive. Apply it, and one and the Russian bayonets are nearly twice side or the other yields, and yields beyond as long-a fraction more than 17 inchesquestion. It means die, surrender, or though the former (a knife) is on the run. But tacticians of less than a genera- shortest of all the rifles (3 feet 8] inches tion ago had about concluded that its day long) whereas the latter (an old-style was past. Of what use is the bayonet, triangular bayonet) is on the longest of all they asked, when artillery sweeps a field the rifles (4 feet 31 inches). The German three miles away with a precise rain of shot, bayonet is 3 inches longer, and the French when the hand rifle itself is deadly at half a the fraction of an inch longer still. Countmile, when the machine gun can be revolved ing gun and bayonet both, the French, to send a solid wall of steel against the German, and Russian "weapons of thrust' weak advancing wall of flesh?

are the longest, in that order. Nevertheless, their caution and tra- The Russians have an especial fondness dition outweighed their calculation, and for the bayonet-probably because the the event has proved their provision to be simplest of weapons naturally appeals to wise. Mewed in the trenches, within the simplest of soldiers. The official speaking distance of the enemy, it is almost reports of the Russian War Office are full certain death to expose oneself to view. of references to it. For example, the An unsupported charge across the inter- communique of April 20th: "On the East

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]


The kind of rifle used is indicated under the name of each country

Rozanka range we exploded on Sunday Doubtless our grandfathers, reading (April 18th) a mine under a German “Ivanhoe” or Froissart's “Chronicles, trench. This was immediately followed got from the descriptions of the be-armored by a bayonet attack by our infantry, who knights of the tourney and the battlefield captured the position." And the com- only the pleasant odor of an age gallant munique of April 16th: “In the Carpa- but forever gone. The words tinkled thians our troops noiselessly approached pleasantly in the ear: hauberk, helm, the enemy's barbed wire entanglements and greaves, buckler, sword, and spur; but between the villages of Telepovce and they were the words of an art lost with the Zuella, broke through, and, after a brief

brief advance of “unromantic" gunpowder. bayonet encounter, gained possession of What no one stopped to perceive, save two heights." But the use of the bayonet only some antiquarians and some espeis characteristic of the war on all fronts. cially discerning military experts, was that

So much for infantry's weapons of “the improvement in firearms did not offense. Of the three most effective de- drive out armor, but a change in strategy fensive weapons one is the oldest, the that called for long marches and rapid second had long been accounted obsolete, movements of armies.” In other words, the third had been used in all other modern it became of less moment that a man should wars. They are common earth, medi- be proof against bullets (as armor still eval armor, and barbed wire. Of the made him) than that he should be swifter earth (the intrenchments themselves) and in living up to Napoleon's maxim that the of the wire (the familiar obstacle in front general who had the most troops at the of them) little need be said—though the critical place at the crucial moment won French have devised a hardened steel wire the battle. that they are using in the Vosges But in this war-on the western front, Mountains, wire so tough it cannot be cut. at least-troops are no longer mobile: But few people realize the extent to which they are literally sitting in chairs in the armor of romantic history has returned trenches—most of the time waiting for to the stern reality of war.

something to turn up. High explosive shells and shrapnel are their most danger- ' arms, and saddlery), while the German ous foes when they stay below their ram- Cuirassier horse of 1909 carried 334 parts: rifle bullets when they peer above pounds.” them. Against “H. E.” shells there is no Perhaps of even more value than its use real protection. But shrapnel bullets are for defense, armor is valuable in those vital discharged from their shells at a relatively operations of digging-in and of the brief low velocity; good armor has proved to charges across the open space between the be proof against them. The protection trenches. Imperfect as its protection is, against rifle bullets is a different matter. it is still protection, and its moral value is, Here the velocity is terrific. Strangely therefore, great. Already steel shields are enough, however, the course of a modern used in the trenches to protect the heads rifle bullet is most unstable. The bullet of the men as they dig. The need of someis so delicately balanced, and so carefully thing of the sort under fire is suggested by formed to slip most easily through the the device of the infantrymen, who carry resisting air, that the slightest force against a bag of sand on their backs as they crawl it sideways deflects it hopelessly from its out into the open to begin new trenches: path. Head on, it will go through the the bags are a complete protection against bodies of six men. But let it strike a twig shrapnel. Armor, then, in various forms, ever so little to one side of its case, or is already a potent element in this war, strike its mark a glancing instead of a and likely to increase in importance. direct blow, and it flies off easily. Here In one of his observations on the art of rounded or pointed armor has proved its war, Napoleon remarked that "cavalry great value. French soldiers are being is most useful where the country is open equipped with steel skull caps that are and level. I found it so on the plains of almost indistinguishable from the brim- Poland.” Exactly that phrase may be less helmets of English armor after the repeated as of this war, though it will gain Norman conquest. Enough experience by an addition to make it read: “cavalry has been gained from their use to demon- is most useful where the country is open strate their value in turning rifle bullets and level, and when the armies are unand shrapnel; and French field surgeons evenly matched so that they move too are urging that their use be widely ex- rapidly across the plain to dig themselves tended. Similar experience with fine cui- in.

in. This has been especially so on the rasses has shown similar results: but great plains of Poland.” In the early part of danger lies in the use of chain mail, and the war, when the Russians drove the coats of mail made of steel pieces sewn on Austrians rapidly back on the Carpathians, canvas or leather, because the value of and in the last few months, when the Gerarmor under modern conditions is in its mans drove the Russians rapidly back from property of causing bullets to glance off, Warsaw, cavalry—and especially Russian not in its direct resistance; and where bits cavalry-has had nearly all its value as of of the mail are driven inward they greatly old; its value for scouting, its value for complicate the surgeon's task.

swift manæuvres to press an advantage or

retrieve a defeat, its value for "shock" ARMOR NOT TOO HEAVY

against the enemy's line when its weight The weight of armor is not an objection. and velocity were needed to give impact “A very serviceablehalf-armorweighs about to a decisive blow. 30 pounds, to which may be added another 15 pounds for clothing and arms, making

THE CAVALRY OF THE CLOUDS together 45 pounds. Against this may be But the aeroplanes, clattering through placed the (British) service equipment the clouds, are the real cavalry of this war. (of 1911) totalling 59 pounds i ounces. They are the ideal scouts, for they see the In the case of the cavalry the comparison is whole country they spy out, not merely a still more striking, for the war horse of the detail here and there.

detail here and there. Except when one late fifteenth century carried about 350 side gains "control of the air.” their repounds (horse armor, rider, rider's armor, ports eliminate surprise as a device of victory; sudden flanking movements, dis- istically, a war of artillery. Napoleon is guised by a "diversion with cavalry” at its presiding genius. He first massed guns some other part of the line, have largely to annihilate part of an enemy's line before gone to the rag-bag of tactics. Even Von the charge: the record of this war is Kluck's gigantic drive around Sir John monotonous in the : uniformity of the French's flank owed its failure largely to entries, day after day, describing the the constant watching of British aeroplanes massing of batteries such as: Napoléon which kept the retreat always just a little wanted but could never get. ‘Always ahead of his advance. Aeroplanes are the work the artillery with great rapidity, real protagonists of the prosaic story of the he said: these 41-inch British howitzers trenches. They tell the hidden artillery and French 75-millimetre rifles shoot where to shoot, and that part of the field from five to twenty-five shots a minute. becomes automatically the graveyard of “It is always behind time, and there is any force that seeks to cross it.

never enough of it,” Napoleon added: But it is easy to forget-it has largely a battery of a hundred pieces is a commonbeen forgotten-that the aeroplane is also place in France, and once, in Galicia, at the a weapon. Bombs dropped from a little Battle of the San, last May, the Austrians British Sopwith "tabloid” flier destroyed and Germans concentrated the fire of a new Zeppelin in its shed at Düsseldorf; 1,500 guns upon one short section of the the Kaiser narrowly escaped death from Russian lines. High explosive shells to its missiles at Thielt, in Belgium, where he wreck trenches, Shrapnel to kill their had gone to watch the assault on Ypres, occupants—that is the ceaseless and charand several members of his staff were acteristic note of this war. Artillery killed; aeroplane raids have done real itself is old as history: good big siege damage to the Zeppelin factory at Fried- cannon date from 1453, when the Turks richshafen and to German supply depots besieged Constantinople with guns that at several places in Belgium. Dropping fired a 600-pound stone a mile. Shrapnel steel darts the size of a lead pencil in lots is the better part of a hundred years old. of several hundred at a time has caused the The big novelty in weapons is the aeroconfusion of marching columns of troops plane--it has altered the tactics of all and the instant death of many soldiers. armies and with it the relative value of all

But after all, this is most character- other weapons.







HE president of one of the from now the United States will be involved larger New York trust com- in a universal financial cataclysm because panies, recently returned from of the destruction of European capital Europe, is quoted as having by the war.

said that the war would surely His prediction has made a very definite last until the end of 1916; that it was likely impression and has intensified the appreto last two years more and, if so, two years hension previously felt by many regarding


the financial and commercial conditions them, in fact, appear to have induced or which will prevail here after the war. at least were followed by extraordinary

It is this feeling that is restraining our activity and prosperity. internal trade, despite äbändant crops, This is noticeably true in the case of all plethoric bank : reserves, and an the wars that have occurred since steam, precedented. balance of trade in favor of electricity, and labor-saving machinery the: Vmited States. It is this feeling that have made rapid economic adjustment :Prompts so many men to say “Go slow” possible. when asked to authorize constructive and But it may be said that precedents do wealth-producing work. It is this feel- not apply to an unprecedented situation ing that is responsible for the depression and that the magnitude of the present in the shoe trade, the lumber trade, the struggle is entirely beyond the measurebuilding trade, and many other industries ment of history. not directly stimulated by the "war This is true, and although principles orders,” and it is this feeling which, per- generally apply irrespective of size, it is vading extensive commercial areas of the just as well to scrutinize the facts as well country such as the Pacific Coast and the as the precedents. South Atlantic States, dampens enthusiasm What, then, are the facts? About and checks normal development.

twenty million men are in arms in Europe It is safe to say that were it not for this at an expense to the various governments feeling the superabundant bank credit involved estimated at $40,000,000 a day. now available would have found safe em- How much of this would be spent in luxury ployment long ere this in developing the and extravagance if the belligerent nations marvelous resources of our but partially were at peace, it is hard to say. developed country.

IS ECONOMY OFFSETTING THE WAR WASTE? It may, in fact, be said that almost one side of the body commercial in the United Certainly great economy is now being States is paralyzed by the fear of this post practised throughout Europe. bellum cataclysm, while the other side is Is it the equivalent of ten cents per capita feeling the glow of the hectic activity in- daily? If so, the European population of duced by the demand for military supplies. 450,000,000 is saving $45,000,000 a day,

It becomes, therefore, highly important which is more than the cost of the armies. to know whether the fear is justified. It is guesswork at best, but thus far the

To go slow is wise if a cataclysm is war has not disproved the axiom that really impending, but if not the produc- the whole is equal to the sum of all its tive power of many lives that can never be parts and that it cannot exceed that sum. lived again will be lost and the energy Up to date the war has been fought with of the capital now reposing in our banks money obtained in Europe, and not elsewill remain latent.

where. Whatever may be borrowed in The belief that the waste and disor- America is but a drop in the bucket. ganization of war will bring business de- The belligerent nations are, therefore, pression seems plausible and is fostered by taxing themselves or going in debt to the gloomy exhalations of the battlefield, their own citizens to pay for the war. but it becomes very debatable when ex- This looks like the redistribution, but not amined in the light of the precedents and the destruction, of capital. There is, of the facts.

course, waste. It is represented by the

cost of explosives which are reconverted NO DEPRESSION AFTER OTHER WARS

into gas; of guns that are destroyed; of The precedents are the Napoleonic

the Napoleonic ships that are sunk, and the value of a Wars, the Crimean War, our own War of few, not many, cities that are razed. But the Confederacy, the Franco-Prussian War, is this cost greater than that of automobiles the Boer War, and the Russian-Japanese that are worn out in the pursuit of pleaWar. None of these wars was immediately sure, of superfluous servants, of extravsucceeded by acute depression. Some of agant dressing and eating, and of the

« PředchozíPokračovat »