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GERMANY SHORT OF COPPER. BRITISH AVIATORS DROP BOMBS ON LILLE. We have heard much about the bull-dog tenacity of the British soldier under fire, and How testimony of this comes from German sources. In a letter found on a German i" written: "The. sit there in their trenches and bhoot right up to the last minute." Our air- craft have been active. "Eve-Witness," in a message issued by the Press Bureau on lues- day, says that the enemy's aircraft always turn towards home when they sight one of our own. The following is "Eye-Witness's story:— Tuesday, February 2, was marked by no incident of any importance. The Germans did not attempt to drive us from the ground won on the previous day near Cuinchy, and vc strengthened our position undisturbed. Owing to our ability to enfilade a part of their trenches from our forward position on the canal bank, they abandoned a part of their line, leaving quantities of rifles and equipment behind them, a sign that their troops had been considerably shaken by our offensive, and had retired in disorder.. One of our batteries in this quarter succeeded in obtaining two hits on a hostile observation post. On the rest of the front there was nothing beyond the usual tninty and shelling. On Wednesday there was some increase in the hostile artillery fire against our left and centre. In the neighbouriio >d of Messines our trench mortars compelled the enemy to abandon a portion of their front line, and to retire across the open under our rifle-fire, from which they suffered considerably. One of our aviators dropped ten bombs on the aerodrome at Lille, which are believed to have been effective, while a German airman flew over Bailleul and threw two bombs with- out inflicting damage. On Thursday, the 4th, the shelling against the left and centre of our line was severe, and the enemy showed increased activity. Between seven and eight p.m. a local attack was attempted by a small body against us to the south of Armentieres. After a heavy artillery and rifle fire searchlights were (arected on our trenches, and an assault was launched; but it was at once checked and I driven bacjj by our rifle fire. The rest of the bight passed quietly. GERMAN AIRCRAFT ACTION. The enemy's aircraft were very active, espe- cially on the left, where they endeavoured to reconnoitre the positions of our trenches and batteries. As usual, however, their aeroplanes E-eclined to engage ours, and made for their own lines when approached. The ascendancy obtained by our aviators was once again shown by an incident which occurred on this day. One of our machines endeavoured to engage two hostile aeroplanes, which thereupon turned towards home. They descended' to their own lines but their pursuer, determined not to be baulked of his prey, though they had reached their aerodrome, threw two bombs on them, then fired fifty rounds at them, and flew away. A German machine flew over Hazebrouck end dropped bombs, which injured two women. A man who was cleaning a window had an Extraordinary escape, for although the window was shattered, and the interior of the room irrecked, he was untouched. THE PHYSICALLY UNFIT FIGHTING. The past few days have been fine and warm, rond our aircraft have taken every advantage tf the favourable weather. It has also enabled [Jur artillery to obtain especially good results ggainst the hostile batteries. Some of the infantry units opposing us now contain large numbers of Ersatz Reservists. amongst whom are men who were originally put back for some physical defect. Recently these men have been joining after only eight weeks' training. The casualties of one German company in the recent fighting round Cuinchy have been pnormous. In six days it lost from shell fire and bombs 130 men, out of a total strength of 160, and the remaining thirty appear to have all been killed, wounded, or captured on February 1. Two other companies which took part in the attack on January 29 were reduced to twenty men each. It is stated that the German soldiers are not in every case sufficiently fed; that the men have to eke out the Government ration by the gifts of food sent by friends and relatives and that the new "Kriegsbrot" is being issued. The prisoners, however, though not so well fed as our own men, seem fit enough, and certainly do act give the impression of being half-starved. It is reported on reliable authority that on February 10 the German Government will com- mandeer all the copper, tin, nickel, aluminium, antimony and hard lead, both raw and worked material, also alloys of these metals. LETTERS FOUND ON PRISONERS. Of recent documents found on prisoners the following extract from a miller's letter is of interest as throwing some light on economic conditions in Germany The rules regarding flour to come into force on January 15 are as follows White bread to contain 30 per cent. of rye, rye bread to contain 20 per cent. of potato flour, and now war bread is also to be made containing mashed potatoes. Here is a portion of another letter, dated January 19, which tells of the strain on Ger- many's manhood To-day twenty-nine old Landsturm men left, including Police-constable Steiger, old Police-constable Pfaff, and little Hutte. Pfaff. The fanatical hatred against the British ex- pressed by the people is not displayed to the same degree by the soldiers, for both their men and ours have learnt to respect one another. Nevertheless, some of the letters found breathe the same spirit. Witness this extract from one dated January 31;— Last week we again had a heavy scrap with the English. When anything is on I am always in it. They are to blame for everything, the yellow devils. They sit there in their trenches and shoot right up to the last minute. This unconscious testimony of the tenacity of our infantry is borne out by the losses suffered by those regiments which attacked our trenches on January 25, and suffered so heavily that, according to prisoners, they had to be with- drawn from the fighting line. A GERMAN SOLDIER'S DIARY. I One somewhat pathetic diary rctcrds the everyday experiences of a German soldier, from Christmas Eve, when he left his home at Mul- heim, until January 30--two days previous to his being killed at Cuinchy. The first entry Is as follows :— December 24.—At 2.30 p.m. departure frcm Mulheim, and at 5.30 p.m. erose Belgian frontier at Herbesthal. My thoughts arc with my people and my ifancee. On December 28 he is on guard in the trenches. If my love could see what I look like— dirty and in a helmet. Always raining. After this the diary becomes a chronicle of life in the firing-line. "the joy of being relieved after three days in the trenches, the intense satisfaction of getting an occasional hot meai, the trying work on outpost by night—con- tinual shooting at my shield, earth flies in my face; very dangerous situation for one hour." Gradually the entries become more pessi- mistic in tone as the strain becomes more severe. January 24. Rest. Everybody wants it. Then comes an order. The 169th propose to attack the English trenches at Auchv, and, accordingly, we must go into reserve instead of resting." ■ • He is then ordered to the scene of the fighting on the 25th. DESPAIRING OF LIFE. I "I will not trust to writing what I saw, heard, and felt on my arrival. The poor men! How much unhappiness We have losses in our company. Our company leader, our platoon commander, and the commander of the 2nd platoon were wounded. The night passed in the open, freezing and without food. The whole day we had nothing to eat. January 26: Fearful hors past and fearful shellfire just in front of our position. The repair of our trenches cost us heavily" Rest onlv betwen violent bursts of shelling. I never believed I would come out of it alive. When will the relief arrive? Still nothing to eat. We are to be relieved early to-morrow." Apparently, however,, the relief didnot come till the 28th. "In the morning we are relieved. i We go to Auchy. I begin to despair of life. We must still keep this position. I have little hope of seeing my home again. God protect me so that I may withstand all this." The last entry in on January 30: "Feel phy- sically and spiritually better. We are housed in a cellar." Two days later the writer was found dead. I PETROLEUM-DRIVEN TRANSPORT. I The change in warfare generally brought about by the introduction of petrol-driven mechanical transport has been remarked, but its effect on the results attained by artillery is not so obvious and has attracted little atten- tion. So destructive, indeed, have modern high explosive projectiles shown themselves against even the strongest forts constructed of concrete and iron, such as those surrounding Liege, Namur, Maubeuge, and Antwerp, that there has been an inclination to give the credit of the results attained to this agency alone. This is, however, not altogether correct. Permanent works on the perimeter of a fortress have always laboured under one great disadvantage. They are fixed points of known position, which can only fire divergently. The attack, on the other hand. has always enjoyed within limits a choice of artillery positions and the power to bring a converging fire from a number of guns dispersed along a large arc upon the forts of the defence. Hitherto this disadvantage on the part of the defence has to a greft extent been neutra- lised by the resisting power conferred on per- manent works constructed in peace by the protection afforded by masses of earth, con- crete, and armour. It has also been somewhat discounted by the fact that the construction by the attack of siege batteries was a slow process, which could hardly escape the notice of the defence, and could frequently be delayed very seriously by the superior fire brought to bear on the batteries before they were com- pleted. For in all former wars heavy guns were comparatively immobile when off the rail- Tray, and could only be fired from solidly-con- structed wooden or concrete platforms. MOTOR-DRAWN GUNS. I Now, not only is no material of which forts re constructed, however strong, capable of resisting the shell which can be fired against it, but heavy siege artillery has by the intro- duction of motor-traction been rendered mobile wherever good roads exist. Moreover, by mounting guns on carriages with belted wheels even heavy pieces can be fired from their carriages. It is possible, therefore, for the attack to bring up a large siege train under cover of darkness, or by roads secure from observation, and to concentrate an overwhelm- ing bombardment on the defence before the latter has time to locate the attacking guns. Furthermore, these guns can be moved about at will, and their positions can be continually changed, so as to minimise the risk of being located. All the German heavy howitzers, with the exception of those of 42cm., are mounted in this manner. And this accounts both for the Fuccess of the Germans against the Belgian fortresses, and for the great effect gained by them in field operations during the early part of the campaign. They had the advan- tage, both in weight of ordnance and in the power of rapid concentration, and could thus speedily bring a superior weight of metal into action against any portion of the Allied line. What changes the increased power of artil- lery will force on the art of fortification remain to be seen. But they will have been brought about by the mobility conferred on heavy guns by motor-traction, as well as by the destructive properties of high explosives.




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