CHRONICLE OF THE WEEK
WAR ON THE WESTERN ONTINUOUS rain has lately been
FRONT : THE a heavy handicap to the BRITISH LINE. ifritish troops, and made anything like a general offensive impossible. Nevertheless on Saturday Sir Douglas Haig was able to report the capture of a German trench east of Gueudecourt, and a successful raid near Arras. This was followed by the usual counter-attack, with the usual result. The enemy was beaten back, leaving Too dead on the field, as well as four machine-guns and thirty prisoners. Monday's report told of " some progress " in spite of the rain, and the capture of more prisoners. " On our extreme right we cleared a pocket of Germans, and in our centre we made progress on a front of more than r,000 yards, and secured the high ground in the neighbourhood of NEW SERIES. VOL. ?CCVI. No. 3,391.
the Butte de Warlencourt." Then the unusual hap-pened, and the' Germans, counter-attacking, won back a part of the ground they had lost. " During the night a strong enemy counter-attack forced us to relinquish a portion of the ground we had won in the neighbour-hood of the Butte de Warlencourt. East of Lesbceufs we have secured the gains of yesterday. We conducted three successful raids on, the trenches in the Armen-tieres and Ypres areas." Commenting on the German
success, the Westminster Gazette says We may see how the weather operates in the record of the last two days. Both the French and the English have lost some portions of the trenches they had seized at the week-end. The reason may be' imagined. These trenches, first smashed to pieces by our artillery, would be almost incapable of effective repair in the wet and slimy condition of the ground, and when counter-attacks were launched they would be impossible for defence. The loss is of small importance. It will almost certainly be more than made good. within a day or two."
Our Allies, in spite of the same -WITH THE FRENCH hampering conditions, managed to ON THE SOMME.
make a considerable advance during the week-end between Lesbceufs and Sailly-Saillisel, and also to the south of Transloy. On Monday the communiqué said :—" North of the Somme the Germans this morning attempted to drive us from the trenches which we had occupied on November i on the western edge of the St. Pierre Vaast Wood. The attack, which was preceded by a violent bombardment, was shattered by our curtain fire and machine-gun fire. Some enemy forces, which had succeeded in penetrating our lines, were driven out immediately or made prisoners. All the ground gained by us was completely held." This advance was brilliantly followed up by the capture of the greater part of the village of Saillisel and a portion of the St. Pierre Vaast Wood. The German counter-attack followed a few hours later, and was repulsed with loss—the French taking over Soo prisoners. The report published on Tuesday showed that the enemy had come on again, and this time suc-ceeded in " gaining a little ground " south-west of the wood and in the village of Saillisel. In other parts of
the line we are told the attack " withered under our machine-gun and artillery fire, which inflicted heavy losses on the assailants."
On the Meuse 'our splendid Allies - BEFORE VERDUN. have had another, and this time an almost bloodless,.,triumph. Fol-lowing up their successes in the early part of last week, the French brought their guns to play upon the Fort of Vaux with such effect that the German garrison suddenly evacuated the place without waiting for the assault of the infantry. The French troops then occu-pied the place without losing a man, and, as the com-muniqué proudly notes :—" The belt of the exterior forts of Verdun is now re-established in its entirety, and is firmly held by our troops." Since then the defenders of Verdun have advanced east of Vaux Fort, and occu-pied the village of Damloup. The failure of the Crown Prince may now be regarded as complete and final, and all Germany knows that under his leadership her sons have died there in vain by tens of thousands.
The only notable feature of the later -LATER rims. British reports from the Somme are the constant references to the bad weather and the increasing activity of the German artillery. An attempt to raid the British line west of Beaumont Hamel was beaten back; and the position east of the Butte de Warlencourt has been improved. The enemy's trenches between Gommecourt and Serre were also successfully raided by our troops. South of the river, the French have made another brilliant advance. The communiqué of Wednesday said :—" South of the Somme an attack by our troops, launched in' the morn-ing and conducted with dash, notwithstanding violent rain which hampered the operations, resulted in our securing important gains. On a front of over two miles we carried the enemy positions extending from' the Chaulnes Wood to the south-east of the Ablaincourt sugar refinery. The whole of the villages of Ablaincourt and Pressoir were brilliantly conquered by our infantry. Pushing our lines east of Ablaincourt, we also captured the cemetery of that village, which had been strongly organized by the enemy, and we carried our positions to the south of the sugar refinery as far as the outskirts of Gomiecourt." In this operation over 600 prisoners were taken. The next day the FrenCh artillery caught with their fire a column of troops advancing north and north-east of Chaulnes.
The French War Office has issued the following statement :—" From July I to November I the Franco-British troops in the course of the fighting on the Somme have taken prisoners 71,532 German soldiers and 1,449 officers. The material taken by the Allies during the same period includes 173 field guns, 13o heavy guns, 215 trench-mortars, and 981 machine-guns. The share of the French troops in this total includes 40,796 soldiers and 8o9 officers, 77 field guns, 'cm heavy guns, 1o4 trench-mortars, and 535 machine-guns."
Again the activity of the week has been chiefly confined to the southern half of the Russian front. There has been fighting on the Stokhod just below the Pinsk marshes, in which the Russians, after repulsing the first attacks, were beaten out of their advanced trenches by a renewed offensive near Vitoniz. These, however, were regained next day. On the Bystritsa artillery work was hindered by dense fogs. The fight-ing in this quarter, which is part of the Russian attempt on Kovel, is rendered violent by the determined resist-ance which the Germans are offering to General Brus-siloff's endeavours to gain possession of that important position. At the week-end heavy fighting was reported from Galicia. A strong German attack north of Schelow was repulsed and some prisoners captured. Especially violent was the struggle south of the village of Lipnitsa-Delna, where an enemy attack, prepared by an intense fire from heavy artillery, was driven back by a Russian counter-attack in some places, but on the heights east of the village a part of the advanced Russian trenches was occupied. The dominating heights were, however, in the hands of the Russians, who stubbornly held them in the face of repeated attacks, which were repulsed with rifle and artillery fire.
Generally speaking, the improve-ment in the position of the Allies on the Rumanian frontier has been well maintained. It is no derogation from the bravery of the Russo-Rumanian forces to say that they have received welcome support from the heavy rains, which have made it more and more difficult for the enemy to bring his heavy artillery to bear at the decisive points in the struggle. Heavy fighting has been proceeding in the Prahova Valley below the Predeal Pass, where von FaIkenhayn is making one of his greatest efforts. In the region of Dragoslavele the Rumanians repelled a strong attack, and in the Jiu Valley continued their pursuit of the retreating enemy, capturing a large amount of war material. In the Buzau Valley they turned to the offensive, and with encouraging results. Two mountains were stormed and occupied, one of which is on the Transylvanian side'of the frontier, which was also crossed by our Allies at Tabla Butii, a little to the south. East of Aluta the fighting has also been violent, and the capture of guns and war material was continuing in the Jiu Valley : " four field guns, more than twenty machine-guns, 435 men, a considerable quantity of war material, and much ammunition." The following from the Petrograd communiqué is of import-ance, as it refers to the district where the Russian and Rumanian lines join up :—" South of Dorna Watra our troops made some progress, and occupied a series-of heights between Mount La Muntelu and the villa Hollo, as well as south-east of Putua." Tueg brought further news from the wooded Carpathi where some heavy fighting had gone in favour of f Russians, who,, south of La Muntelu, stormed and occupied a series of heights and captured nearly 400 prisoners. Meanwhile the Rumanians, finding that the retreating enemy in the Jiu Valley had received re-inforcements, discontinued the pursuit which they had for some days vigorously pressed. Wednesday's news was satisfactory, for whilst noting that the desperate struggle in the Prahova and Aluta Valleys continued unabated, it told of a Roumanian offensive in the Buzau Valley, which succeeded in making an advance. Even more encouraging is the result of the Russian offensive in the Carpathians east of Kirlibaba, and south of Dorna Watra nearly a thousand prisoners have been captured, together with a number of machine-guns. The details are given in the admissions made by Vienna :—" Near Tolgyes the Russians, after stubborn fighting lasting several days, pressed our front on the frontier moun-tains back some kilometres. We evacuated Mount' Bedul, east of Kirlibaba, before the concentrated fire of the Russian artillery." The two most important points in Thursday's news were an advance by our Allies and a new offensive by the enemy. North-west of the Tolgyes Pass, and south of Dorno Watra, the Russo-Rumanian forces made such progress that they reached the Bistritza Valley on a line extending from Belbor to Hollo. East of the Jiu Valley the enemy, who had been reinforced in this quarter, has returned to the offensive.
For some days comparative quiet -IN THE DOBRUDJA. reigned on this front, broken only by bursts of artillery firing, or little affairs of outposts., At the week-end it became known that General Sakharoff had been sent to take over the command. It would seem that the new commander soon made his presence -felt, for in Tuesday's papers there were signs that " a certain amount of liveliness " was developing. Artillery activity was reported all along the Danube, and in the Dobrudja proper the advanced detachments of the Allies forced the enemy to retire. During his retreat he set fire to the villages of Daeni, Garlici, Rosman, and Gaidar. From the report in Wednesday's papers, brief as it was, it would -ON THE EASTERN' FRONT.
-72,000 GERMANS TAKEN PRISONERS ON THE SOMME.
-IN THE CARPATHIANS.
seem clear that the Russo-Rumanian forces are now turning to the offensive. It was stated that progress had been made along the whole of the front, and that the enemy was systematically destroying Rumanian villages and hamlets as they retired.
The capture by the Serbians of the -ROUND SALONIKA. summit of Kajmakcalan, a position deemed impregnable, has shown its results in the fighting which has since taken place on the Allied left round the Salonika position. On the Cerna their progress has been steady, if small, and enemy attacks have been regularly repelled. In other parts of the front at the week-end there were artillery duels, whilst on the Struma sectors the British were consolidating their new position at Barakli Dzuma. The enemy's position at Neohovi was bombarded by our artillery, in co-operation with the Navy. After that the British carried the village of Alepsa by assault, and so made progress towards the Rupel Pass and Bulgarian territory. A report in. Monday's papers announced that the Serbians had learned that during the fighting of the previous days on the left bank of the Cerna the losses suffered by the Germans had been enormous. It would seem, too, that the Bulgarians are losing heavily under the artillery activity of the Allies.
Meanwhile General Cadorna had been preparing a new stroke against the Austrians on the Isonzo and Carso fronts, which proved so successful that it has already done something to relieve the pressure on Rumania. The news came on Friday in last week that on the day before the Italians had struck hard. East of Gorizia the enemy's lines were breached at several points, and in the ensuing attack trenches on the eastern slopes of Tivoli and San Marco and the heights east of Sober were carried and occupied. On the Carso, heights were stormed and the line pushed forward. The .day's fighting yielded to the Italians 4,731 prisoners, including 132 officers; also two io5mm. three-gun batteries, many machine-guns, transport Animals, and material. Continuing to press his advan-tage, General Cadorna next day repulsed- all counter-attacks, captured strong enemy positions east of Veliki Kribach and Monte Pecinka, and •added a further batch of over 3,00o prisoners, guns, and war material. The success of the stroke is attributed largely to the excel-lence of the artillery, and it was estimated that the enemy's total casualties must number 25,000. The advance from the Vallone was made over a depth of three and a half miles. It has now reached the third Austrian line, which passes through Castagnevizza, and it has given valuable observation posts, rising 5o ft. to 6o ft. higher than those of the line from which the attack started. In front of Monte Faiti the Italians captured a brigade staff, with its plans and papers. According to the latest available report, the enemy's artillery is battering in vain against the new Italian positions on the Carso, especially those round Monte Faiti and in the direction of Hudi Log, where the Italian batteries were replying effectively. The report adds :—" We are continuing to find large quantities of arms and other war material abandoned on the battlefield by the enemy. Yesterday a whole mountain battery of four guns and a 37 mm. gun fell into our hands." In the Trentino, the observatory position on the Cima Bocche in the Travignolo Valley was evacuated by the Italians, in order to avoid useless loss, as the position had been utterly destroyed by the enemy's fire.
On Wednesday morning the Times announced -that Mr. Hughes had been elected President of the United States. The news caused no surprise in this country, as earlier telegrams had announced that the Republicans had carried the State of New York by a large majority. Some hours later, however, it was known that what the Democrats had lost in the East they were winning back in the West, and up to the hour at which we go to press the result was quite uncertain. Thus Reuter's corres-pondent, who had been sure of a Republican victory, now readjusts his opinion, and tells us that President Wilson's supporters are gaining encouragement, as there are indications pointing to the probability of his securing the electoral votes of the following States :—Kansas, Idaho, Washington, Wyoming, and New Mexico. The Republicans, however, lay claim to all the remaining States where the results are seriously in doubt, namely :—California, Oregon, Minnesota, Indiana, West Virginia, New Hampshire. If these claims are borne out, Mr. Hughes could win by a narrow margin. President Wilson, ,however, is still leading in Minnesota, but by reduced majorities compared with earlier returns. Without Minnesota, Mr. Hughes' chances are very insecure. The vote of California is also a very close thing, both sides claiming it, as indeed they do that of the other States on the Pacific slope above mentioned. The Democratic leaders in New Hampshire have given notice that they will demand a recount. Probably in various other States a similar course will be found necessary. Far Western returns indicate a decided drift in favour of President Wilson, who is now leading in California, Idaho, Washington, and Minne-sota.
The Admiralty issued the following on Wednesday :—" The home-ward-bound P. and 0. mail steamer ' Arabia ' was torpedoed without warning and sunk in the Mediterranean about noon on November 6. The vessel had '437 passengers, including 169 women and children. All the passengers have been saved by various vessels which were diverted to the scene of the disaster. Two of the engineers are missing, believed killed by the explosion; all the rest of the crew saved." The fact that only two lives were lost in the disaster described in the above communication may be considered as a tribute both to the passengers and crew on board the ill-fated vessel. Mails from Australia, China, , East Africa, and Mauritius were lost. It will be noted that the Germans have now treated as " a scrap of paper " their pledge to President Wilson not to sink passenger vessels, or any vessel, without warning. The President has many other things to think of at the present moment, 4ut he is not likely to let this last outrage pass without notice.
In Wednesday's Times a number of KULTUR IN BELGIUM : facts were set out, for the trust-SLAVE RAIDS.
worthiness of which our contem-porary vouched, as to the treatment of Belgian civilians in the army zone by the Germans. The towns and villages were placarded on October 3 with a decree giving the military authorities power to compel, by force if necessary, all non-invalids dependent for their liveli-hood upon others to undertake work away from their homes. The decree was directed against the unemployed of all classes, and especially against the men thrown out of work by the closing of factories after the German seizures of all raw materials. These men, deprived of means of subsistence, became dependent for their food upon the local municipal authorities. This was followed up by a notice bidding all persons concerned to present themselves on a given day furnished with such articles - of kit as were specified, whilst the municipal authorities were obliged to hand over their lists of the unemployed. On their refusal, they were replaced by the German military representatives. The men were then rounded up and sent off to places where military work was to be done. Refusal to do the work was punished with imprisonment and starvation. In one place 2,040 men were segregated and sent off to Germany in open trucks. " The exact number of men thus raided," says the Times, " is not known. The most trustworthy estimates put it at 15,00o at least. The raiding has gone on throughout the whole military zone, and particularly at Bruges, Ghent, Courtrai, Alost (in Flanders), and at Tournai. The whole able-bodied male population, rich and poor, employed or not, has been affected. The action of the Germans is a direct violation of engage-ments entered into and of the laws of war. There is reason to fear that it may be extended to the whole of Belgian territory under German occupa!ion."
-AN ITALIAN SUCCESS. •
THE LOSS OF THE " ARABIA."