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Rusic WZverenz Cormons PS. Marco 7206
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xxx ON AUGUST 12TH MADRIATIQUE
MU END OF AUGUST.
PROGRESS OF ITALIAN DRIVE IN
For several days I visited the conquered positions, and I had an opportunity to watch the fights to the northeast of Oppacchiasella. Between the trenches the corpses are numerous. Some of them have lain there a year, and are only withered skeletons, bleached by the rain and the sun, in the zone of death, which none dared to enter to give them
burial. But others are more recent, and look like mummies. The faces are like parchment, their clothes in rags. Others were killed but yesterday, and on these clouds of black flies rested. They were waiting to be buried by companies of territorials, and sent up a frightful stench.
One is struck by the enormous mass of
material abandoned. The violence of the attack did not allow the Austrians to transport to the rear the stores heaped up during months at San Michele, Monte Sei Busi, Doberdo, Selz, and on the Cosich and Debeli Hills. There are supplies of every kind; explosives in considerable quantities, rifles, munitions, trench-building material, tools of every kind, even machinery for the manufacture of asphyxiating gas.
Not all the weapons taken from the Austrians can be employed by the Italians. Without doubt, they will not use either the famous steel-spiked maces with which the Honveds “finish off” the wounded, nor the explosive bullets. The climax of barbarism was attained by the Honveds. Yesterday, while making my way through trenches still full of debris and corpses, I was witness of an atrocious scene. Detachments of territorials were busy burying the bodies, rapidly decomposed by the torrid heat of this stony desert. Suddenly a detonation was heard, a bomb had just exploded. The gravediggers fell, horribly torn and mutilated.
There was even found in the trenches north of San Michele a brand new gibbet. The Austrians had hoped to erect it in one of the villages of the Isonzo Plain. At Rubbia, Bersaglieri were hanged on trees and mutilated. *
Today we are in a period of calm. Our Italian allies are strengthening the positions which they occupy on the heights to the west of Pecinka. Italian artillery is ceaselessly bombarding the enemy's ways of communication. The enemy is experiencing grave difficulties in renewing his supplies, and particularly in bringing the water necessary for his troops. The water mains which he had established have been destroyed by Italian artillery.
Quite recently, when the Nad Logem was taken, as soon as the 2,000 Honveds who were defending it had fired their last cartridges, the Italian soldiers suddenly saw their adversaries coming out of the trenches on the run, unarmed and waving white handkerchiefs. They easily made 1,500 prisoners, who asked one thing only: water!
At the present moment the Austrian batteries are in position behind the line of hills to the east of Oppacchiasella are furiously bombarding the shores of Lake Doberdo and the few wells which are scattered over the Carso. But our Italians fortunately have a marvelously organized supply. Auto-cisterns, barrels and reservoirs mounted on carts drawn by mules, everything is provided so that the men may not suffer from thirst. “My troops,” a General said to me this morning, “have at their disposal 15,000 gallons of water per day." Here is a great problem solved.
The Austrian prisoners declare that the second system of fortifications, which receives its supplies from the NabresinaComen road, is very well organized. Escaped Russians, who had been captured by the Austrians in Galicia, and who are compelled to work at trench digging on the Carso on pain of being shot, tell that 60,000 of them are at work strengthening the Austrian defenses. Therefore our Italian allies have serious difficulties ahead of them.
His Royal Highness the Duke of Aosta is in command of the army of the Isonzo. This Prince, endowed with excellent qualities, of exceptional energy, heedless of danger, full of solicitude for his men, is adored by them. He is with them always, following the highest example. King Victor Emmanuel III. and Emmanuel-Philibert of Savoy (the Duke of Aosta) are the worthy heads of an army which has just gained its first great success, and which is preparing to cull other laurels.
EDITOR'S NOTE: On Oct. 11, the Italian War Office reported as follows: “ Ort the Carso, after the intricate defenses of the enemy had been destroyed by an intense and accurate artillery and trench mortar fire, our infantry captured almost the whole of the line composed of several successive intrenchments between the Vipacco River and 208-Meter Hill, and advanced beyond it. Novavas and the adjoining strong position around the northern part of 208Meter Hill also fell into our hands after brisk fighting. Prisoners to the number of 5,034, including 164 officers, have been reported, and we also captured a large quantity of arms and ammunition."
HE most terrifying engine of de weight is carried on two chain belts, or struction which the war has de- caterpillars, having corrugated surfaces, veloped so far is the British ar on the inside of which are two lines of
mored motor car, or “tank," as steel rails, jointed in short sections and the soldiers have named it. These for operated by sprocket wheels. As the midable machines were first mentioned endless belt turns, the forward sprocket in the official dispatches of Sept. 16, wheel lays down the track and the rear 1916, and were brought into use with im one picks it up again. On the rails thus portant results in the battle of the laid down roll the wheels of the machine. Somme. Since then they have figured
How the Wheels Work daily in the war news and have become an important factor in the offensive. The pressure on the ground under the The cars are capable of moving in shell caterpillar—the string of steel plates torn areas and can negotiate a roadless seven feet long and two feet wide on wilderness of trenches.
which the entire weight of the machine No official description of the monster is supported—is said to be less than that has been permitted to pass the censor,
caused by the foot of a horse or even of nor have any official photographs been a man. And owing to the construction released. CURRENT HISTORY MAGAZINE
and location of the engines the centre of presents on this page the only picture of gravity of the whole machine is near the the car that has reached this country-a
back of the caterpillar and not more than snapshot of one that has seen service. eighteen inches off the ground. For This land dreadnought is an adapta
this reason the machine can roll along tion of the American caterpillar tractor
without danger of tipping over on an almanufactured at Peoria, Ill., by the Holt
most incredible slope, and it can run Manufacturing Company. Several thou considerably more than half its length sand unarmored cars have been sold to
forward over a chasm without any supthe British Government, which adds the
port at all. armor and armament.
When it moves across a trench the about 23 feet long and 9 feet wide over front wheel, on which normally no all. They weigh, unarmored, from 18, weight rests, crosses first. The front 000 to 25,000 pounds, develop 120 horse end of the caterpillar then moves forpower, and move from 242 to 4 miles an ward over the open part of the trench, hour. Each machine has two fore wheels, and the machine is supported by the used only for guiding purposes. No rear of the caterpillar, where most of the weight rests on these wheels. The main weight is concentrated, while the guide