Lapas attēli
PDF
ePub
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]

MAP SHOWING GAINS OF THE FRENCH NEAR VERDUN, IN THE DIRECTION OF THE

GERMAN BASE AT METZ

cavalry outposts on the Tirul Marsh, severe losses on the enemy; the breaking and bombarded the Russian positions on of the front, the report said, was due to the right bank of the Dvina north of the overwhelming superiority of the GerDvinsk. On Sept. 2 they crossed the man artillery fire, which dominated and Dvina near Uxkul, sixteen miles south- put out of action the Russian batteries, east of the city, and advanced up the annihilated the Russian trenches, and Mitau-Riga causeway. The advance compelled the troops of the Guard, who guard entered Riga that night.

were half decimated, to fall back. After On the same day, Sunday, Letchitzky the great German assault of November, ordered the army to withdraw to the for- 1915, which almost captured the city, tified line east of Lake Stint and up the practically all the factories were removed Jaegel, and then, on the 13th, to the line to the centre of Russia. In the last week River Nitzcope-Zegenhoff - Paush - Zege- of August nearly all the heavy guns were volt-Lupsala, further east.

dismounted and sent to the rear. According to the report of the As- Apparently Letchitzky gave up Riga sistant Commissioner to the Council of because he found it impossible of proWorkmen's and Soldiers' Delegates, the longed defense with the means at hand. troops withdrew fighting and inflicting His retreat, however, has made the Ger

mans

stretch their line fifty miles. Already the Russians have begun to dent in its thin places, and up to Sept. 18 had advanced over a sector of seven miles.

French Success at Verdun On Aug. 20, after a silence of nine months, the magic word “ Verdun” again thrilled the heart of France. On that date, after a bombardment of three days, the French went forward astride of the Meuse, taking, on an eleven-mile front, at a penetration of one and a quarter miles, all the fortifications between Avocourt and Bezonvaux, including the Avocourt Wood, Le Mort Homme, the Corbeaux and Cumières Woods, and Côte de Talou, Champneuville, Mormont Farm, and Hill 240, and over 4,000 prison

The next day, on a three-mile front and a penetration of one mile, they took the trenches between Cumières and Hill 240, with Regnéville on the left bank and Samogneux on the right, and the famous Côte de l'Oie, and over 5,000 prisoners.

On the 23d, 24th, and 26th other smashing blows were delivered and 10,000 more prisoners brought in from Hill 304, Camard Wood, the Fosses and Beaumont Woods, and the southern outskirts of Béthincourt. On Sept. 8 a movement was begun which was completed on the 9th to reduce the German isolated units in the sector of the Fosses and Caurières Woods.

A year ago the German maximum gain at Verdun was 120 square miles and the two permanent forts, Douaumont and

Vaux; these were recovered respectively on Oct. 24 and Nov. 1, 1916; then on Dec. 15, 16, 17, and 18 Pétain, on the eve of his departure to take supreme command, developed a sudden offensive from west of Vacherauville east to the town of Vaux and north as far as Louvemont, which enveloped forty-five square miles of territory and 20,000 prisoners.

Nearly 100 square miles of the lost 120 have now been recovered. But that is not the point. The point is that the part recovered includes strategic positions which may have a bearing on another terrain which has been long silent -the front before Metz from St. Mihiel to the north of Nancy.

Between Verdun and Metz is the watershed of the Meuse-Moselle, part of which is called Plain of the Woevre. From the Plain of the Woevre Germany dominates the iron mines of the Basin de Briey, which, according to Herr Schrödter, the ironmaster of Düsseldorf, supply 80 per cent. of the steel for her armaments, and without which, still according to the same authority in a paper read to the Verein Deutscher Eisenhuttenlente, she could not carry on the war three months.

While this fact certainly illuminates the German offensive of a year ago, it may still be found useful in watching the progress of the French front on the western side of the Plain of the Woevre and its relation to the valley beyond.

ers.

300,000 Automobiles in Use in the War

There were approximately 300,000 automobiles in use on all the war fronts at the beginning of September, 1917, according to a compilation issued by the Japanese Government. This number did not include any of the motor transports about to be put in the field by the United States. The principal Entente belligerents had about 160,000 automobiles in use and the Central Powers 130,000. Those of the Entente were distributed as follows: England, 30,000, including 15,000 for the conveyance of supplies; France, 80,000, including 25,000 for carrying supplies; Russia, 40,000, including 20,000 for carrying supplies; Italy, 10,000, including 5,000 for carrying supplies; Belgium, 10,300; Rumania, 1,700, and Serbia, 125.

The numbers of automobiles used for war service by the Central Powers were: Germany, 100,000, including 25,000 for conveyance of supplies; AustriaHungary, 30,000, including 3,000 for carrying goods; Turkey, 750, including 50 for conveying goods, and Bulgaria, 300.

Vivid Description of the Greatest Italian
Offensive Since the Beginning of the War

[Special Cable. Copyrighted)
By a Staff Correspondent of THE NEW YORK TIMES

[See Map on Page 32]

[ocr errors]

The enormous offensive began Aug. 18, 1917, by the Italian Army for possession of San Gabriele peak was still raging at the middle of September, with undiminished energy on the Italian side and desperate resistance on the Austrian side. Hardly any other battle of the war has been so costly on both sides. By Sept. 18 General Cadorna's forces had made a decisive conquest of the northwestern crest of San Gabriele and dominated the whole region from the Dol Hill and Gargaro basin. Wave after wave of Italian infantry swept up the slopes of San Gabriele, and mountain was drenched in human blood; but victory remained with the Italians. The following description of an eyewitness was written on Sept. 13-15, and gives a wonderful panoramic view of the battle on the whole forty-mile front from Tolmino to Trieste:

!

T"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

*

*

HE Italian front in Austria is the because they could not believe the Ital

place of all places where war re- ians would have the courage to try it.
mains a dramatic spectacle. Here Plateau is another misnomer for Bain-

it can be followed by the eye even sizza; there is nothing of a tableland in through a thousand cloud banks of break

its composition. It is a vast, terribly ing shrapnel. The artillery can actually rocky ground, with hills at least a thoulook upon the objective for its shells.

sand feet high and corresponding valThe observer can really gaze down into

leys. It is a plateau only in comparison the trench lines, watch troops on the

to the peaks surrounding. move, and catch the glimmer of sunshine

I will not follow in chronological order on the bayonets in the Austrian posts

my witnessing of the battle of the Julian many miles distant.

Alps, but rather I will show the progresHere one really sees the war.

sion of the line from the northern point It is a real battle. I doubt if it is yet

of the offensive opposite Tolmino, to the realized that it is now the biggest battle that has got into full swing upon any

Isonzo and Bainsizza, over Mount Santo front during the entire war.

and Mount St. Gabriele, across the Carso,

in front of Hermada, and to the Adriatic. Up to now it has always been referred

In seeing this battle the correspondent is to as the battle of the Isonzo, but that

free to choose his seats from the top galname has become a misnomer because the Isonzo, excepting one little portion

lery down to the reserved boxes beside opposite Tolmino at the northern ex

the proscenium arch. Let us first go to tremity of the offensive line, is now well

the alley entrance and climb many flights within Italian possession. It might bet

to the second balcony, where I managed ter be called the battle of the Julian

to find a seat in the middle of the front Alps, for one by one the peaks, valleys, and tablelands of this gigantic range are From there, especially with good coming behind the Italian lines.

glasses, the view is splendid. It is the The concept of the battle is Napoleonic very top of Mount Zagradan-many -even more than that. The sheer au- thousands of feet above the sea, but not dacity of it is what contributed to its so high as the gigantic snow peaks beinitial success a few weeks ago. The yond. On those snow peaks trenches are retreat of the Austrians across the Bain- cut in the solid glacier. On Zagradan sizza Plateau was almost a flight, partly they are cut in the rock, but are always

[ocr errors]

row.

66

provided with coverings to prevent their heing filled with snow. It is not a tremendously difficult climb; in fact, we went four-fifths of the way in an autismobile, so wonderful and enduring are the Italian mountain roads.

In all that land there was no water when the Italians arrived. It is there nov-everywhere. It is there because the Italians are the best engineers in the world. They have run pipe lines from. the valleys up to every mountain crest.

View of Conquered Mount Nero I slipped into my seat in the middle front row and unhooked my glasses. The curtain had risen. The morning fogs had all gone and the midday sun made the air as clear as crystal. I have seen many things that are wonderful and beautiful, but I have never in my life seen such an amazing, breath-taking panorama as that spread before me. Drink it in," my officer said, “and then I will tell you where we are." I drank it in, and then, following instructions, I fixed my glasses on a high peak far over to the left. The air was so clear that through the glasses it didn't seem more than half a mile away. It was Mount Nero. Its front, where I looked, seemed a sheer precipice of bare rock 8,000 feet from the valley to the cone-shaped summit, but out beyond toward higher snow peaks I could see a thin ridge connecting it, which proved that there was not so straight a drop on the other side. As I looked, my officer explained how Mount Nero was captured by the Alpini.

“ You can't see our trenches there," he said, “because we hold the summit, and the trenches are on the other side. You see that sheer wall of rock facing us? Well, it was by going up that that our soldiers took Mount Nero. We had to have it. It is an important observatory -better than this one-for the Isonzo Valley. From there one can see almost to the Dolomites on the one side and almost to Laibach on the other.

“You see that long ridge connecting the peak with the mountains beyond ? That is where we made a strong feint attack. We sent two columns along that ridge so that the Austrians thought that

was all we intended to do. But the third and principal column went up the precipice. They did it during one dark night. It was important that they should do it without a sound, as they were to take the summit from the rear by surprise. So they climbed up without rifles, which might have knocked against things and sent stones crashing down, and they went up in bare feet to avoid slipping and also to avoid sound. They carried only revolvers and hand grenades.

“ They jumped on the Austrians just at dawn. But the Austrians, though surprised, were very strong. We quickly used up our revolvers and bombs and we took Mount Nero with our hands. I mean that the fight became so desperate that our Alpini literally conquered by fighting hand to hand, so that hundreds of Austrians were hurled bodily down that cliff to the valley over a mile below.”

I meditated upon what I had been hearing. As I looked at that appalling cliff it seemed as though I had been reading some ghastly fiction. Then he told me to shift my glasses to the right along the ridge connecting Mount Nero with the Marnick-a lower peak, almost due north of Tolmino.

Tolmino Spared by the Guns “ Going up the sides,” he said, "you can see lines. Those are our roads. And down some distance from the summit you can see our trenches--a long, zigzag line in the white rock. Just under the crest runs another line. That is the Austrian trench."

My guide told me to keep following the trench lines with my glasses down far into the valley, where they disappeared under hills in the foreground. Then I studied the Isonzo as it wound its way about Tolmino.

That Austrian town was basking in an afternoon siesta. There wasn't a shot fired to disturb its tranquillity. I could see Austrian soldiers lounging in front of the barracks. I could horses hitched to wagons standing in the village square and pedestrians moving slowly in and out of the shops. It was all within easy striking distance of hundreds of Italian guns, but an Italian shell has

see

never yet been fired into Tolmino. Perhaps that will never happen. The Italians hope it will not be necessary and that Tolmino will fall in another way. They don't want to wipe it out in such a fashion as Gorizia.

I swept the glasses past the town, and further down the Isonzo on the far bank arose a sheer cliff, the top of which is the famous Bainsizza Plateau-the land of the Holy Ghost. The sun had shifted so that the entire Austrian side was bathed in brilliant light, while the Italian mountains were in the shade. This made everything still more visible, and far to the south I could see Mount Santo —the Holy Mountain—taken in this offensive. I could make out the crumbled remains of the shrine on its summit where at the beginning of the war Emperor Francis Joseph went to pray for the success of the Austrian arms. When the Italians took the mountain their regimental bands played in the ruins of that shrine, and the conductor was Toscanini.

Beyond Santo there seemed to be a volcano of smoke and fire, and above it all I could actually count the white puff balls in the sky that meant that shrapnel was exploding over Mount St. Gabriele, thirty miles away.

On Bainsizza Plateau The entire front of the present battle, which I call the battle of the Julian Alps, stretching from Tolmino to the Adriatic, is nearly forty miles greater distance than any other continuous offensive of the war. In that sector there

are now grouped more soldiers of actual fighting units than have ever before comprised an “army of shock."

I crossed the land of the Holy Ghost (Bainsizza Plateau) on a road now being built by the Italians under Austrian shell fire. I don't know why they call it Holy Ghost Land. The Austrians named it that, and I didn't meet those Austrians to ask the reason.

I saw

some dead ones and prisoners, but I was too busy listening for that dread whine nouncing the arrival of Austrian shells to waste time with questions.

I could actually look into the

trenches of Volnik, which is the furthest eastward point of the Italian lines in Austria, through glasses. I could see Italian soldiers in a trench shooting at Austrians in the trench beyond, which I could also see plainly. I always desire in following war operations to get to the interesting places first, wherever the going is possible; so I asked a General who was there to tell me the name of another person who, I learned, had preceded me. It was the inevitable Tos. canini.

I began my ride over Holy Ghost Land by crossing the Isonzo at one of the famous fourteen bridges where the Italian attack began. The Isonzo, which is glacier water, and therefore always a most sinister green, is a torrent that runs through mountain gorges its entire length until it comes out into the plain at Gorizia. At some points this gorge rises sheer for thousands of feet, as between Santo and Sabotino, where it is so deep, dark, and narrow that one gets a deluded idea he can jump across, although the distance between crests is about half a mile.

Barrier of Isonzo Gorges As we approached the river coming down from Mount Zagradan in the north we could see it while we were miles away and far above it. The stream writhed along at a tremendous rate, exactly like a beautiful green snake, sometimes dark and dangerous, at other times a beautiful shimmer where a sun ray penetrated between the mountain peaks and crept into the valley. Through its entire course, except in the Gorizia plain, the gorge is so steep that at no point can one ever go down to the actual level of the water. Even where pontoons

flung across in a single night, to permit the passage of the Italian Army, the river ba are perpendicular granite cliffs quite forty feet high. Then there comes a thin ledge where infantry can find safe footing and where the straight line from the water's edge changes to an incline leading to Bainsizza, another thousand

а

were

feet up.

an

Months ago the Italians attempted to cross the river at some of these places, but were stopped by the Austrian fire. The troops who managed to climb that

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »