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wheel on each side in front acts as a which had been turned on them from a stabilizer. Then by the time the rear trench previously reported as part of the caterpillar has reached the pied. Calmly hoisting itself astride the edge of the trench the forward part trench, the tank' took a hand in the will already be across and there will be firing, knocking out one machine gun very little displacement of the machine. after the other until the trench was unIn this way the machine can cross a occupied-save by bodies. trench almost as wide as the ground
A Desperate Encounter length of the caterpillar, and by length
“Unfortunately, the tank' became ening these for war purposes the British
wedged in an unusually deep crater, and are able to get across almost any trench
the crew could not extricate it, even or shell crater with little difficulty.
though they emerged and tried to dig The Monsters in Action
it out with the enemy firing at them Vivid stories come from the front of from another trench seventy yards away. the “ tanks " in action, and from the Then the fun really started. Parties of mass of material it is clear that the cars German bombers worked around to one strike terror into the hearts of the enemy side of the car, while British bombers and accomplish useful and important re from the infantry took cover on the opsults. The London Times correspondent posite side. The ensuing duel lasted an describes the exploits in one day's fight hour and a half. The Germans tried to ing near Combles as follows:
drop their bombs on the roof of the “ The pilot, whose steering gear went • tank' without success. A Corporal of wrong, found himself astride a German the "tank's'
seized German trench on the outskirts of Combles-a bomb which fell among his companions, little out of his reckoning.
Here he and tried to fling it back, but it exhalted, enfilading the trench repeatedly, ploded, blowing him to pieces. Eventuuntil a chance shell of large dimensions' ally the German bombers were driven hit the car, making it impossible to move off, and the crew returned to the British forward or back. For five hours the lines. crew of the tank' worked their guns In one group of advancing 'tanks' while parties of German and British eight out of ten reached the point to bombers lobbed their missiles
which they were directed at the beginfrom opposite sides. Eventually the Ger
ning of the offensive. Northwest of the mans were killed or driven off, and the Ginchy Telegraph one of this group crew of the tank' returned safely silenced a group of six machine guns in through a deadly enemy barrage.
a redoubt, concentrating its fire on one " A second 'tank' traveled about half after another. All of them did useful way up Bouleux Wood until in a posi work in clearing other machine-gun partion enabling it to enfilade the enemy's ties out of craters. The enemy had trenches. Then the commander discov poised his guns on the far lip of the ered that the infantry were not coming crater, and it was extremely difficult to up behind him, so he went back for them. spot them in the tumbled earth. AnAgain he went forward, with the infan other 'tank' in this group captured a try following, passing over enemy trench full of Germans just east of Deltrenches and continuing his journey to ville Wood. The pilot saw a white flag the outskirts of Morval. Subsequently waving violently and advancing toward the commander found that he was again him as he was about to halt his tank' alone. Not wishing to keep all the fruits on the trench and sweep it from both of victory for himself, he again turned sides. Behind the white flag streamed and went back to find the infantry for a long procession of unarmed Germans whom he was acting as a kind of chape with their hands in the air. The tank' run. He made a return journey of more than 1,500 yards in their direction, and
accepted their surrender, and told them then discovered that the infantry had
to pass back to the British lines. Early
in been held up by a group of machine guns
the fighting a 'tank! 'steamed' into a redoubt where a strong detach
ment of German machine gunners were holding up one part of the British advance, and calmly cruised about, firing in every direction. The enemy took cover, and, being unable to capture the entire position alone, the tank' finally came back.
Carrying Off Wounded “ One "tank' cleared a trench near Delville Wood, and then started on another mission in a northeasterly direction. This accomplished, it halted in a region thickly strewn with British wounded. The crew alighted, and for three hours worked under heavy shellfire tending the fallen men and helping carry them into shell craters. The 'tank' that silenced a battery outside Gueudecourt had first made a lonely tour through that enemy-held village, advancing from the direction of Flers. No Germans were found in the village—they must have fled to their dugouts when the monster hove in sight—so it came back again, and on the return journey found the field guns referred to. The guns were silenced, but a shell, which must have been aimed pointblank from another hidden battery, knocked the ' tank' out of action. • When the commander was last seen,' continued my informant, he was standing beside the wrecked car dressing his wound, and a machine gun was playing on the group.'
“A curious experience befell the crew of a 'tank' that helped to clear the Germans out of Foureaux (High) Wood. It climbed into the enemy trenches in the wood and did terrible execution with its guns, when the occupants tried to bolt to their support trenches. After raking the ground for half an hour, the commander found that the infantry had not arrived in accordance with his plan. He and the crew got out to reconnoitre, and while in the German trench some of the enemy reappeared. The commander made them surrender at the point of the revolver, and just then the infantry arrived to take charge of the prisoners. 'It was an awkward moment,' said my informant, 'for otherwise he could not have taken them back in the car, and they might have realized that these few men were absolutely alone.' Another
'tank' engaged in the clearance of Foureaux Wood was told to silence the machine guns in a great crater on the eastern edge of the wood. When it rolled into the crater the gunners fled in terror, leaving their twenty-five guns. Foureaux Wood was quite free of the anemy in an hour from the time the 'tanks' began to work."
Another Description Philip Gibbs, in describing the operations of the “ tanks” in the Somme region, proceeds as follows:
“A 'tank' had been coming along slowly in a lumbering way, crawling over the interminable succession of shell craters, lurching over and down and into and out of old German trenches, nosing heavily into soft earth, and grunting up again, and sitting poised on broken parapets as though quite winded by this exercise, and then waddling forward in the wake of the infantry.
“ Then it faced the ruins of the château, and stared at them very steadily for quite a long time, as though wondering whether it should eat them or crush them. Our men were hiding behind ridges of shell craters, keeping low from the swish of machine gun bullets, and imploring the 'tank' to 'get on with it.' Then it moved forward in a monstrous way, not swerving much to the left or right, but heaving itself on jerkily, like a dragon with indigestion, but very fierce. Fire leaped from its nostrils. The German machine guns splashed its sides with bullets, which ricochetted off. Not all those bullets kept it back. It got on top of the enemy's trench, trudged down the length of it, laying its sandbags flat and sweeping it with fire.
“ The German machine guns were silent, and when our men followed the "tank,' shouting and cheering, they found a few German gunners standing with their hands up as a sign of surrender to the monster who had come upon them.
“ One of the most remarkable 'tank' adventures
in the direction of Gueudecourt, where our troops were held up yesterday in the usual way, that is to say, by the raking fire of machine guns. They made two attacks,
but could not get beyond that screen of bullets.
" Then a 'tank’ strolled along, rolled over the trench, with fire flashing from its flanks, and delivered it into the hands of the infantry with nearly 400 prisoners, who waved white flags above the parapet. That was not all. The "tank,' exhilarated by this success, went lolloping along the way in search of new adventures. It went quite alone, and only stopped for minor repairs when it was surrounded by a horde of German soldiers. These closed upon it with great pluck, for it was firing in a most deadly way, and tried to kill it. They flung bombs at it, clambered on to its back, and tried to smash it with the butt-ends of rifles, jabbed it with bayonets, fired revolvers and rifles at
it, and made a wild pandemonium about it.
“ Then our infantry arrived, attracted by the tumult of the scene, and drove the enemy back. But the tank' had done deadly work, and between 200 and 300 killed and wounded Germans lay about its ungainly carcase. For a little while it seemed that the 'tank' also was out of action, but after a little attention and a good deal of grinding and grunting it heaved itself up and waddled away.
These things sound incredible. * They are true; and though I write them in fantastic style, because that is really the nature of the thing, it must not be forgotten that these “tanks' are terrible engines of war, doing most grim work, and that the men inside are taking high risks with astonishing courage."
The Capture of Stanislavoff
By a Russian Correspondent
Stanislau, or Stanislavoff, in the Austrian Province of Galicia, was captured by the Rus. sians on Aug. 11, 1916. The appended sketch of the historic episode has been translated from the Russian for CURRENT HISTORY MAGAZINE.
HAVE just spent a week in the house of one of the Polish inhabitants of Stanislavoff, (Stanislau,) a certain
Pan Michael, a worthy man and an excellent talker. His talk was interesting and valuable, not only because he had closely observed Austrian military developments, but even more because he was on the friendliest terms with many of the Austrian officers with whom Stanislavoff had been filled for months before we captured the city.
Pan Michael hates the Germans and everything German, and rejoices boisterously over the coming liberation of Poland. My knowledge of the Polish tongue completely secured his good graces. So Pan Michael told me about what had happened in Stanislavoff immediately before it fell.
Story of an Austrian Pole « We who live here,” he said, “had known for a long time that things would
go badly with Stanislavoff. The Germans were issuing their orders, the Austrians were issuing theirs. Not that the German orders were bad: quite the contrary; but the vanity of our Austrians was touched. • We are not their lackeys,' I heard them say, “that they should order us about at their own sweet wills!' Relations between the German and Austrian officers were very strained. During the last week, the two camps would not even go to the same cafés. But not all our officers hated the Germans as badly as that. Some admitted that but for German help there would have been nothing left of Austria long ago.
• Let us put our pride in our pockets for the present!' I heard them say. • This is not the time to settle personal grudges. We have our country to save!'
“The bitterest feeling against the Germans was among the very youngest, the newly gazetted, or the elderly Generals. The latter were the worst of all. I know
for a certainty that, when your Russian armies took Tlumach, a number of superior German officers were sent to Stanislavoff to direct the defense. But nearly all their orders were counterordered or canceled by the Austrian General in command. The Germans began to send frequent telegrams to some of their authorities. The Austrian General did likewise, but, all the same, he was removed. He went, however, on the very eve of your arrival—too late. How could things have gone well under such conditions?
“ Later on, when your armies were approaching, our officers lost their heads altogether. No one knew what to expect on the morrow. Many of the inhabitants wanted to leave, but they were not allowed. “Be quite easy in your minds,' they were told; the Russians will never take Stanislavoff!' When at last they were allowed to go, it was too late.” Thus spoke Pan Michael.
Austrians Were Confident
they were met by a staff officer, who gave them quite different directions; they were to go to Mariampol, not to Tiezmenitsa; that is, north instead of south. But as there was no official cancellation of the first order accompanying the new order, the misunderstanding had first to be cleared up. This took five days. The two battalions went into battle only on Aug. 10, when the Russians were closing in on Stanislavoff. Without doubt, this confusion in the minds of the Austrian Generals (and perhaps of their German mentors, also) made it possible for the Russians to take Stanislavoff with such unexpected speed.
After the capture of Tlumach on Aug. 8, General Letchitsky's army was sent straight to Tiezmenitsa. At dawn on Aug. 9 the same army, having been allowed no breathing space, began to cross the Vorona. It is not a wide river, nor very deep; but the crossing was greatly hindered by the enemy's wonderfully energetic resistance. Several fresh German battalions were hurried to the assistance of the worn-out Austrians. Without losing a minute, they undertook a series of desperate counterattacks.
Five of our companies had just begun to cross the river at the village of Gorodistche, over a newly built bridge, the enemy artillery doing its best to prevent their passage. But the shells flew considerably above the bridge, so that our crossing proceeded more or less unimpeded.
Meeting an Emergency Further along the bank there was a narrow strip of meadow; still further, a thick copse. The Austrians had hurriedly dug trenches on the edge of the copse. One of our companies got safely across; then another. We began to attack the Austrians in short runs. Rifle fire had been going on for a half hour. Then suddenly the landing Russians saw thick lines of German troops emerging on their right from the copse. Our position became difficult. We could not cross the narrow bridge rapidly enough. Yet the companies who were
must be helped immediately; otherwise the Germans, by a quick flank attack, would
Incredible as it may seem, the Austrians were quite convinced that Stanislavoff was in no danger. The admirable condition of the town proves it. Czernowitz, Snyatin, Kolomea, Zaleschiki, and every other town we took from the retreating Austrians had suffered severely at their hands before falling into ours. But as to Stanislavoff-nothing of the
Before they went the Austrians tried to damage the railroad station; a few switches were pulled up, windows were broken in the waiting rooms, a wall was badly damaged by an explosion. Also a few freight sheds about the station had been blown up. But in the city itself neither fire nor explosion had done the least damage.
A captured Austrian officer, angry and embittered to such a degree that for a few minutes he forgot to whom he was speaking, told enough to give me an idea of the anarchy that reigned in Stanislavoff on the eve of its fall. On Aug. 5, early in the morning, two battaljons, to one of which he belonged, came by rail from Halicz to Vladislavoff. According to their orders they were to go, immediately on their arrival, to a post in Tiezmenitsa. But at the railroad station
crumple them up and force them back maining railroad from the town, that to into the river.
Halicz, is less than three miles from Without losing moment, two of our Poberejie. companies, who were waiting on the fur
On the morning of Aug. 10 the battle their bank of the river, jumped into the blazed up again. The Austro-Germans water and, some wading and some swim centred their attention on the region of ming, intercepted the German blow. A
the Bystritsa River, which covered the terrible bayonet fight ensued. The Ger railroad from Stanislavoff to Halicz. It mans fought desperately. The Austrians
was of paramount importance for them to in the trenches on the edge of the copse hold the railroad, if only for a few hours, attempted several sorties in aid of the so that the staffs could escape from StanGermans, but were driven back into the islavoff. trenches by our fire. At last the Ger
Austrian prisoners later told us that mans could stand it no longer. They be
the scene at the railway station baffled gan to fall back.
description. Fifty cars were alloted to When they were thus thrown back from
every engine, so that the trains moved the Vorona River, the Austro-Germans
like tortoises. The least incline stopped retreated northwest, toward the Khriplin
them, or sent them sliding backward. station. But in their retreat they clung Among them was a hospital train overliterally to every hillock, to every group loaded with wounded. In sliding downof trees, to every crease in the soil, in
grade, this train ran into one loaded with order to check our advance. Our regi
pontoons. Two hospital cars ments, sometimes by frontal attacks, smashed and their wounded killed. In sometimes by encircling movements, as other cars the wounded were thrown out persistently forced the Austro-Germans of their cots. The sight was terrible. backward.
The train carrying the Austrian staff By noon we were directly in front of
was caught by our artillery fire. One of the Khriplin station. The Austro-Ger
our shells smashed the car carrying the mans, drawing their troops to this centre
staff attendants to tinder, killing fourfrom considerable distances, opened a
teen men. A flood in the Bystritsa from furious rifle and machine-gun fire. Our
recent rains greatly helped the Austroadvance on the east and southeast slack
Germans by hindering us. ened. At this moment a battalion of infantry, coming south across the railroad
Our pontoon section, working under from Tiezmenitsa to Stanislavoff, forded
the enemy's concentrated fire, succeeded the river between the Russian and the
in bridging the Bystritsa at two points enemy lines and occupied the high further
west of Khriplin later in the day; meanbank, thence directing an attack on the
while the Austro-Germans had moved enemy position south of the railroad.
their last supports to positions immediThis successful move broke the Austro
ately south of Stanislavoff. A fierce German resistance. They began to re
artillery battle ensued. treat, after blowing up the station build The decisive stroke came from the ings, which vanished in clouds of black east. Six companies of one of our insinoke, earth, and stones.
fantry regiments, pressing forward irreThe taking of Khriplin station decided sistibly, broke into the village of Miketthe fate of Stanislavoff, which was cov inze. A hand-to-hand fight began. Our ered by our artillery fire from that men did not give the Austro-Germans point. On the same day, Aug. 9, our time to get away. Quickly crossing the troops captured the village of Poberejie, Bystritsa, they reached the outskirts of south of Mariampol. This finally settled Stanislavoff from the southeast. That the fate of Stanislavoff, for the one re
evening Stanislavoff was in our hands.