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continue to repulse the German assaults as they have been doing, they will be able, sooner or later, to place a large army in the neighborhood of the Oise-a movement similar in intention and execution to the actions on the Ourcq which turned the tide in the Battle of the Marne. If the Allies can get to the east of Oise, north of Laon, in sufficient force, the Germans will have to retire again.

There are endless possibilities as to the outcome of this Battle of the Aisne. Let us consider four.

First, the Germans may be badly defeated. The Allies may break through their line by a frontal attack near Rheims or may develop their flanking campaign on the Oise quickly enough to envelop and crush the German right wing. What was left of the German army would be in a very precarious position, and probably large sections would be detached for desperate, forlorn-hope rearguard actions-sacrificed in order to gain time for the rest to escape to their own territory.

That might be the end of the war, if the Allies have self-control enough to demand moderate terms which Germany could accept without too great humiliation. But the defeat of her offensive in France would by no means mean that Germany was helpless. She could on her own natural defenses organize a stubborn resistance, and would undoubtedly do so rather than consent to the terms which the London and Petrograd newspapers suggest. After beating against the Germans' hastily constructed lines along the Aisne, the French will probably have little enthusiasm for the task offered by the Rhine fortresses. The Russians have not yet encountered a German army behind defenses. Long before they cross the Oder they will probably be tired enough to consider more reasonable terms.

But it is to the interest of English business to continue the war as long as possible. Compared with the other combatants, Great Britain is risking very few of her men, and she is at least as well able to bear the financial strain. Every day that war gives her fleet excuse to harry the German merchant marine is fine for her commerce-and business is business. So, with even a crushing German defeat on the Aisne, there is little hope for immediate peace. A great section of British

opinion will hold out-even when the French and Russians have had enough-for terms which Germany could not accept.

The second possibility is that the Germans

will be forced to retreat from their present line, but in an orderly way, without any marked demoralization.

It is certain that with the same foresight which they used in preparing their position north of the Aisne they have prepared others farther back. The present situation may be repeated again and again. repeated again and again. But once the Germans get their own soil under foot, they will fight better-men always do. When the army begins singing "Die Wacht am Rhein " instead of "Deutschland, Deutschland über Alles," it will be a very much more dangerous organization.

But the Germans may win this Battle of the Aisne; there is nothing in the despatches -even the French despatches-up to the time we go to press, to show any material advantage on one side or the other.

The third possibility is that the Allies will be forced into a new retreat, such as that of the first weeks of the war. But back once more on the Marne, they would be stronger than they were when they first checked the Germans and began to drive them back. fact, they would probably recover after a defeat on the Aisne before they were pushed back to the Marne. It is a safe guess that they also have been intrenching their rear. The tide of battle might flow back and forth this way, each alternate advance a bit shorter than the preceding one, like the dying of a pendulum when the clock has run down.

And, fourthly, the Germans may crush the French at Rheims or Craonne, where they appear to be attacking in force. It is more probable that they are planning their real offensive elsewhere. I can see no reason, for instance, why they may not, any day now, launch a new army of fresh men from Metz to strike the French between Verdun and Nancy. If they broke through here, they would be inside the French triangle, to the rear of the Center Army, and also to the rear of the line of frontier forts. They would probably give their attention to the Center. The Allied Left would have to retreat to the Seine, and things would be much darker for the Allies than at any time since the war began.



But even if the outcome of this battle of the Aisne is as favorable to Germany as it is permitted for her most ardent sympathizers to hope, I cannot see that there is any chance of Germany's winning in the long run.


of cannon. To any who care to visualize what the oft-repeated phrase " artillery duel" means in human terms, I recommend the closing chapters of Frederick Palmer's "The Last Shot." I do not suppose there is any non-combatant alive, and very few army officers, who have so often watched artillery in action and its murderous effect as this veteran war correspondent.

But it is typical of war that very few non-combatants know anything about it. It would be a surprise to most of us, as it was to me, to find out how much has been printed about artillery. And most of the people to whom the phrase "artillery duel" pictures anything at all, who know the meaning of a "flat trajectory" or the difference between "drift" and "deflection," between a "clinometer" and a "differential recoil gear," or the significance of such mystic symbols as "T. N. T." and "M. V.," when they write on artillery do not seem to realize that the subject has any human significance.

And these technicians who deal in " muzzle velocity" and the like are now watching this stupendous conflict in France with an unholy glee, as you or I might watch a fencing bout between two men, one trained in the French school and the other in the Italian. The opponents are pretty evenly matched; it is a conflict between two theories.

In these modern days it is much too expensive to waste one solid cannon ball on one man. The projectiles now in vogue are explosive, the idea being that they shall break up into many fragments, and so endanger scores, where the old-fashioned solid shot threatened one or two. But it would still be wasteful if the fragments blew haphazard in all directions; those that went straight up would not hurt any one. So the modern shrapnel-and an immense amount of ingenuity has been spent on it-is contrived to hurl its fragments in a precise and more deadly way. The shell used by all civilized armies is practically a cartridge within a cartridge. Instead of the old-fashioned solid bullet, there is a hollow steel projectile containing a charge of explosive and a nest of bullets or spikes. By a carefully timed fuse arrangement the projectile explodes in the face of the enemy, driving its fragments forward.

The French field gun, the famous 75, after which our American field gun is patterned, shoots very hard, and the projectile goes on a nearly straight line. It has been estimated

that the fall of shrapnel is so slight that if it explodes at the level of the eyes of infantry advancing in close formation the fragments which fail to find a billet in the front rank will be at the height of the stomach twenty-five feet beyond, and, striking the ground at fifty feet, will still be dangerous. They are deadly in the open field.

But the fact that they go so nearly straight is a grave disadvantage if the enemy is behind breastworks or any sort of shelter. To meet this situation the modern howitzer was developed. Its projectile is, with slight modifications, the same as that of the field gun, but, instead of shooting straight at the target, it is aimed high in the air and does not explode till it is over the enemy. It has by this time followed a wide curve, and is now coming almost straight down. When it explodes, it also throws its fragments in a sort of sheaf, straight ahead. They strike the ground at an angle of forty-five degrees or steeper. It is evident that breastworks or stone walls are no protection from a howitzer. To be safe from them one needs a bullet-proof roof. Between these two types of guns there is chance for an infinite variety. As a general proposition, the howitzer is much heavier than a field gun, because its projectile must be thrown over a wide curve to reach an enemy which the field gun reaches by a straighter line. For every possible situation in war there is one type of cannon which is theoretically the best. But this type may be of little or no good in another situation.

The French theory of artillery is to pick out the best all-round gun and make that the principal weapon. With more active fighting in the last few years than any other European army, they have had much chance to experiment, and they have worked out their present 755-a caliber of about three inches. Our army has accepted their model. The English, dissatisfied with their guns in the Boer War, reorganized their artillery on very nearly the same lines as the French. In the Balkan War the field artillery of the Allies which proved most effective was of the French type.

Of course the French have also some howitzers and siege guns of large caliber, but their main reliance is on the 75.

The German army artillerists and the experts of the Krupp works have gone in for a large variety of guns-field guns of half a dozen calibers, and howitzers for shelling troops in trenches and for firing high explosive shells against permanent fortifications.

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I recall some artillery maneuvers in the Forest of Fontainebleau. I sat on the grass by the roadside for an hour or more and watched the interminable string of 75's go by. There seemed to be just as many coming, so I tired and went away. It was my imprèssion that ninety per cent of the guns in a French artillery division are of this one type. The Germany army maneuvers give quite the opposite impression-as though there were hardly two guns alike.

And, of course, as is always the case when two theories have not been put to the test, there is a great deal to say on both sides.

The Germans have much heavier guns, which means longer range, to bring into the field. The French 75, for instance, would have been powerless against such forts as Liège and Namur. The German siege guns were not at the front in time at Liège, but they were at Namur. And as long as they could bring up their heavier guns the Allies were forced to retreat.

But against these obvious advantages the French make two claims. First, superior

mobility. They can take their 75's anywhere. They are not dependent on rail, nor even on roads. In their Morocco campaigns they have taken their 75's into hill country where the German General Staff would have thought that special" mountain batteries" were necessary. And they can be moved much more quickly. Some of the big German guns require a concrete platform. To be sure, the Germans have developed a concrete which hardens quickly, but still it takes time to get such guns in place. The advantage is largely with the French when they are retreating. The longer-ranged German guns begin to drop shells in among their batteries.

In two

minutes they have limbered up and retreated to a new position and fire busily, with amazing accuracy, till the Germans have laboriously uprooted their heavy guns and have brought them forward again. In a rear-guard action, such as the long retreat from the Belgian frontier to the Marne, the French claim that their guns were shelling the enemy sixty per cent of the time, to less than thirty per cent for the Germans. It is probably true that the Germans lost a great many more men from artillery wounds in that part of the campaign than the French.

But the moment the Germans take the defensive the situation is reversed. Once they get their heavy guns in place, it is perilous business for the light 75's to get within



striking distance. The French have probably by now been able to bring their heavy guns up to the Aisne.

The French claim another advantage for their system-much greater simplicity. All parts are interchangeable. A broken wheel can be replaced more easily when all guns in the battery are of the same type. Of greater importance is the simplification of ammunition. No stupid mistake can result in a battery of 75's being supplied with shells of another caliber. Part of every German field army includes some of these specialized guns which may not be used at all, but ammunition for them has to be carried. The folly of giving different caliber rifles to the infantry is evident, and the French maintain that the same applies to artillery. There are persistent rumors that the Germans on the Marne sometimes ran out of ammunition. The problem is simpler for the uniform French guns.

For years and years this discussion has gone on. But in times of peace there was no sure way of deciding it. Now the two theories of artillery are being experimentally demonstrated on the young men of Europe.


During this seventh week of the war there has been no news of any value from East Prussia, and less-if that were possible-from Poland.

The despatches in regard to the campaign in Galicia, of which each day we get a column or so, are conflicting. Evidently the Russian claim that they had annihilated the Austrian army was premature. The statement that they had crossed the river San seems to have been true of a few small detachments at most. Galicia is divided into two sections by this river. It is, from the point of view of military geography, a serious obstacle. In some places it is narrow and swift between abrupt banks, again it runs wide and shallow with marshes and bayous. The principal railway bridges are at Przemysl and Jaroslav, both fortified cities.

The Russians seem to have occupied all of Galicia to the east of the San and to have driven the Austrians across it. But the transport service of the Russian army is notoriously faulty, and apparently they were not able to follow up their victories with sufficient rapidity to keep their enemies on the run. At some stage in the pursuit the victorious Russians slowed up and gave the Austrians time to cross the river and organize their de


fense. The technical difficulties of "following up victories" have always been great. A month elapsed sometimes in the RussoJapanese War after the Japanese had scored a decisive victory before they were ready to strike again. In the first Balkan War it was more than three weeks after Lule-Burgas before the Bulgars began their attack on Tchataldja. The most remarkable thing about the rush of the German right wing from Belgium to the walls of Paris was that their daily victories did not interrupt their steam-roller advance. We have not yet enough details of the German retreat to the Aisne to be sure of what happened, but it looks as if the Allies had not been able to keep up with their retreating enemy. Undoubtedly the German engineers had made some defensive preparations along the present line of battle, but Sir John French admits that they had two days-the 12th and 13thto rest and strengthen their lines before the Allies were able to attack in force.

The recent news from Galicia points to similar circumstances. After several smashing victories, the Russians allowed the Austrians to retire and reform on the western bank of the San.

On three different days in the last week the Russians have announced the fall of Jaroslav. The despatches of the 23d, as they are confirmed from London and Paris, are probably true. This assures the Russians an easy passage of the river, and is another blow to the military prestige of Austria-Hungary.

The fate of General Dankl and his army, the Austrian left wing, is still in doubt. The Russians claim to have him surrounded at a point near the juncture of the San and Vistula. But as they have reported that his surrender was imminent for more than a week, it begins to look as if he had slipped between their fingers.

That the Russians will waste much time or many men on the fortresses of Przemysl is doubtful. They will probably detach a small army to keep the Austro-German forces there bottled up in their walls and press westward. If Russia keeps faith with her Allies, she will not squander time nor soldiers over completing the conquest of Galicia; she will not even be tempted by BudaPest nor Vienna; she will, with the greatest possible speed, strike at the heart of the Teutonic power-Berlin.

All of her Galician army, beyond what she

must leave behind for safety, she will probably move towards Cracow. The capture of Jaroslav gives her command of the main railway line west towards Cracow.

But the real menace to this city, the ancient capital of the Polish kings, is not from this direction. It is a hundred miles by rail from the San to Cracow. It is less than ten from the Russian-Polish border due south.

Every consideration of strategy points to the probability that a great Russian army of which we have as yet heard only the vaguest rumors is gathering in Poland. It should by now be ready to begin its advance by way of Cracow and Breslau.


A very marked dissatisfaction with the work of the British fleet has been noticeable in the recent English papers. Apparently a great many people have been asking, "Why don't they do something?"

The British navy, even if it never meets the German war-ships, has already rendered great service to the Allies, and especially to England. The marine insurance rates are gradually becoming normal. English commerce is almost as prosperous as ever, and soon because of the crippling of her most dangerous rival-will be exceptionally pros


Also the British navy has been quietly but busily at work, reinforced by colonial troops, chasing this dangerous commercial rival from his every foothold in the Pacific. During this week the last German wireless station in the South Pacific was destroyed.

But such achievements figure in ledgers and account books-not in headlines. The demand for some "action" from the fleet had grown stronger and stronger.

On the evening of the 22d news came that three British cruisers of the 1898 type had been sunk by German submarines. The loss of life is still uncertain, but probably was about the same as that in the Titanic disaster, which shocked the world not so very long ago. It is much easier to censor news of a sea action than of a land battle. But the indications are that the British Admiralty, in response to popular clamor, sent these three almost obsolete boats into danger-apparently in the hope that some of the German ships would give chase and be led into trouble. The Germans responded to the challenge by submarines, and did so most effectively.

New York, September 23.

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