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New-York tribune. (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, April 14, 1918, Image 2

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T ti e Great War ? 1353d JD ay
here and captured the village, but a;
"counter attack early to-day brought it
-back into British hands. A heavy en?
gagement was in progress here this
?forenoon and at least four German
attacks wore repulsed.
The northern end of the battlefront
naturally continued to be the centre of
interest, but on the south the com?
bined British and French operations
last night gave the enemy a hard
knock. Itangard was recaptured in a
dashing drive by the Allied troops and
_ a. footing was gained in a copse just
"north of this place.
In the north the enemy is making
' desperate efforts to get the domination
of the railway, so that troops, guns
&nd supplies can be rushed forward.
The whole trend of the operations
' yesterday and last night was aimed at
the capture of Bailleul, Hazebrouck,
; Morbecqu?, Steenbecque and Aire, all
, of them important railway towns. The
ground east of this sector is very low
and wet and is unfavorable for the
rapid movement of heavy guns. Work
. on the Armentieres-Bailleul railway
has been rushed furiously by the en?
emy since the occupation of the for?
mer town and artillery is being moved
? forward as rapidly as possible
In the meantime the enemy has been
having a hard time with his transport.
British aviators yesterday dropped
? many tons of bombs on the packed
; roads leading from Estaires to Mer
villc, causing heavy casualties and
much confusion.
Hostile pilots who attempted to drive
. the British fliers back along this front
' fared badly. Official figures are not
'. available, but the correspondent is con
? fident in stating that not less than
forty-nine German 'planes were shot
: out of the air and crashed to the
I ground yesterday along the sector
! lying roughly between Wytschaete and
? a little south of Armentieres. ,
The German casualties yesterday
and last night were very heavy. They
can hardly he avoided in following out
the method of massed attack heir.?;
? employed by the enemy, who must bo
; given the credit for showing great
', discipline and sticking powers in tho
? face of terrific punishment from ma?
chine guns and artillery.
Yesterday afternoon a heavy attack
north of Locon forced the British to
, give some ground. Again last night
at S o'clock the Germans surged for?
ward east of Locon and succeeded in
penetrating the British lines. Hard
fighting followed and the enemy was
finally driven back.
The enemy made a fresh assault
early last night with the intention of
occupying the great forest of Nieppe,
but he gained only a few hundred
yards at the expense of heavy casual?
ties, and the British front this morn?
ing lies in front of the forest.
Further attacks on the British right
wing between Givenchy and Robeco,,
on La Bass?e Canal, yesterday wholly
failed. Two attempts made late in
the afternoon to capturo Locon were
repulsed. The British also counter?
attacked around Givenchy and took an
important German post.
, Tho lighting to-day evidently is in?
tended to give the Germans nn oppor
tunity of getting around the British
positions in the Ypres salient, which
' ?till is strongly held.
Neuve Eglise was the scene of a
hand-to-hand struggle, which resulted
in the Germans getting a foothold in
the village, but enemy frontal attacks
on the Messines ridge were beaten off.
By a counter attack the British and
French south of the River Somme yes?
terday afternoon recaptured Hangard,
which the Germans had strongly forti
fied. The Entente Allied forces also
took tho copse adjoining the village,
which was full of machine guns. Some
prisoners were taken.
Not. satisfied with this, the German--,
attacked again in the same place, and
once more the assault was smashed.
Another attack southwest of Le Sart
also was repulsed. Robccq, southwest
of Merville, was the scene of heavy
lighting last night, and this morning
the place appeared to be still a battle?
ground which neither side could claim.
North of here the British had clung to
St. Floris, to which the Germans were
trying to drive in order to reach Aire.
Merville was strongly held by the en?
emy this morning.
In the fighting about Bailleul last
night the Germans succeeded in pene?
trating Merris, and here a hot fight
was staged at close quarters, with th-j
result that the enemy was pushed nut
and held o?' in the outskirts of the
place.
Bailleul in Flames
The whole southern part of Bailleul
broke into flames last night and burned
fiercely, the glow of the lire being visi?
ble against the clouds for miles around
the low-lying country. Le Creche was
again in British hands this morning,
this place representing a part of the
result of last night's counter attacks
between Bailleul and Neuve Eglise.
North of Eglise there is no change re?
ported in the situation.
German Masses Shattered Against
British Stone Wall at Givenchy
(By The Associated l'.-e.-sl I
i WITH THE BRITISH ARMY IN ;
FRANCE, April 12. -With the excep- j
tion of Merville, the Germans thus far j
have not reached their objectives in I
part for the present drive north and
south of Armentieres, but to-day's de?
velopments indicate that the enemy !
had no intention of abandoning the ;
assault immediately. A captured '
German document reveals that there ,
were to he three smashes on the front
north and south of Armentieres. One
had Bailleul as its main objective, the I
ether Merville and Aire, and the third i
Bethune.
);? Not less than twenty-eight divisions j
had been employed' by the enemy in '
this pretentious programme, which has
tneant that at some places the British ;
have been very heavily outnumbered. '
A German division aggregates 13,000 j
to 14,000 men, including 7.500 rifles.
St. Venant, between Merville and i
Aire, was being heavily attacked to- :
day by strong forces of Germans, after
their success of last night, which
gave them possession of Merville.
The enemy seems desirous of reach?
ing Aire, a railway centre, and is
throwing large numbers of troops into ?
? he conflict, in an attempt to drive the ;
British back. The German threat in ,
this direction undoubtedly is. of con?
siderable importance.
- The iignting to-day continued to be
of {he bitterest nature, not only in '
The Merville neighborhood, where the '
?main assault was made, but also north- :
?ward from Givenchy.
Ye?terduy and last niprht the enemy ,
continued his pressure from Wytschaete
southward, and gradually forced the ,
British to fall back from Pioegsteert
tfpd Pioegsteert Wood, until the bat?
tle was being staged to-day near Neuve
Eglise, to the west.
In the meantime, steady pressure
was maintained in the Estai res sector,
beyond which lay Merville and Aire. '
During the night the enemy pushed '
back the defences at Lestrem and capt?
ured Calonne-sur-Lys, just southwest
of Merville.
At the same time, they pressed down
through Neuf Berquin, a little above
Merville, and these two converging
forces hurled themselves on the town.
Giving way before greater numbers,
the British fell hack toward St. Venant,
fighting doggedly all the way against
the closely pressing Germans. A san?
guinary battle was proceeding to-day
east of St. Venant, with the British
making :i determined stand. During
the night the British counter attacked
west of Steemverck, west of Armen
tieres. and reoccupied La Bacque after
hard fighting.
The German attack about Givenchy,
on the southern end of the battle line,
.was'! Being-pressed to-day by some nine
divisions. There has been virtually no
cessation in the fighting here since the
beginning of the battle, Tuesday. Thus
far tho British have maintained a
stone wall defence, against which the
Germans have flung themselves with
heavy losses. To-day the casualty list
of the attacking troops was swelled
appallingly as the British artillery and
machine guns pounded concentration
points and troops advancing in close
formation.
The work of the British gunners at
Givenchy has been noteworthy. On the
first day, when the Germans swept for?
ward in masses and the situation was
very grave, many artillerymen worked
for hours, shooting point-blank at
close range. One gunnery sergeant
stood by his piece, firing with open
sights at a range of 20? yards, and held
the enemy off for a considerable time
before he was compelled to fall back.
The British troops who have been
making such a gallant stand just above
Givenchv also distinguished themselves
by holding the Germans up for hours
at a certain point in the battle before
Cambrai o:, November 30 when the en?
emy counter attacked.
It became known to-day that of 'the
750 Germans captured near Givenchy
last Tuesday 300 were rounded up
while devoting their energies to loot?
ing a British cantees.
Germans Seek to Force
Dislocation of British Army
WITH THE FRENCH ARMY INI
[FRANCE, April 18.?All efforts of the
[ German high command for the present
i* are directed toward the systematic dis
* location of the British armies. Having
'. failed to break the communications be
* tween the British and French, the en
1 pijiy has turned his sole attention
' northward, and it appears likely that
* th : Germans will continue to throw all
' ?heir available strength in that direc
? lion.
*? The enemy's plan seems to be to de
^ liver a succession of hammering blows
S at different points between the Somme
and the sea. and with the desire of
' bringing about a British evacuation of
j the entire northern district of France.
Six German armies arc- participating
I in the battle raging along the front.
J They are as follows: Von Arnim's, von
| CJuast's, Otto von Below's, von Mar
*? ?tftz's, von Hutier's and von Boehm's,
' on the east of the Oise.
The Germans, owing to their posses
?? sion of interior lines of communication
I inside the semicircle formed by the
I front, are able to move their strategic
* r?serves with greater facility than the
I Allies, and thus by surprise attacks
i -with rapidly concentrated superior
* forces can compel the retirement of the
j Allies at any point. Hitherto, owing to
'?the great tenacity of the Allies, the ort
I pray has been unable to carry out his
t ?ilan;? of advance according to his pre
* arranged programme.
* Ordern captured on prisoners who
have fallen into Allied hands in con- ;
siderable numbers these latter days |
during close fighting foresaw the capt?
ure of the line along the Lys River on
April ?), while Bethune should have ;
been taken on April 10, but it was saved ?
by.the wonderful defence of the Brit-j
ish at Givenchy.
There is a remarkable parallel be- |
tween the present battle and the oper- |
ations after the battle of the Marne, |
when there was a race toward th? sea
between the Germans, who wore en?
deavoring to reach and seize the Chan
nel ports, and the Allies,, who suc- j
cceded in preventing them. The Brit?
ish on this occasion have the task of
stopping the German push, and, al?
though forced under overwhelming
strength of the German armies to re?
cede some distance, they are present
1 ing a stern resistance to a further ad?
vance.
On the French portion of the battle
; line the principal fighting is progress
i ing on the sectors toward Amiens,
i where the Germans persist in trying
i to pierce the line in order to obtain
i the moral victory of taking Aliens? but
'? they are unable to overcome the oppo
! sition of the French. During last night
? the battle here never ceased a moment,
! en ??my assaults being immediately fol
j lowed by French counter attacks, which
resulted in the recapture of the im
i portant village of Hangard, with a
number of prisoners.
menea
Next
Your country, your ?city, your family are
in danger. Don't wait till the Prussians
are at your door. Fight NOW !
Our Boys
are not afraid to give their lives. You
should not be afraid to lend your money .
Space donated by
Thrift Stampt .25 _^ _ ,_?,,-- .
?Z,"$ZZ*"*"'?' Park & Tilrord
WHERE THE BRITISH LINE STIFFENED
The broken line shows the front on which the British beat off the Ger-:
; man assaults yesterday, while the arrow heads indicate the points of suc
ful British counter attacks. This line was practically unchanged last night,
from the night before. The solid line is the front before the offensive.
The small insert map shows a rough sketch of what most observers
believe is the German plan of campaign, which Haig described as an effort
to reach the sea, cut the British off from the French and then destroy the ;
British army. The enemy first drove g, great salient to beyond Montdidier.
Now he has made a smaller dent further north. His final grandiose scheme i
is to combine these two salients into one great spearpoint, which shall be;
driven west until it reaches the Atlantic, probably in the vicinity of Abbe- :
ville, near the mouth of the Somme River.
Military Comment
THE German offensive in Flanders slowed down yesterday. It came,
in fact, almost to a dead stop. That is not in itself surprising.
Yesterday was the fifth day of the German push west on the
twenty-mile line between Hollebeke, on the north, and La Bass?e Canal,
on the south. Few operations of this sort on the Western front, where
highly organized opposition is to be expected, have retained much driving
power after the third or fourth day.
The explanation of this loss of momentum is obvious. The artillery
cannot keep up with the infantry if the initial progress is rapid. Trans-1
port begins to get entangled. The troops get fatigued. On the other hand,
the defence rapidly stiffens as its reserves flow in.
The offensive has always all the initial advantages?in preparation,
massed gun power and superiority in men at the point of attack. The de?
fence cannot concentrate until after the blow falls. If there is also an
element of surprise, the strain on the armies attacked is aggravated.
Two or three days must elapse before conditions in the area of the offen?
sive can be equalized. During that time the attacking forces register
their maximum gains.
The maximum gain in the Flanders operation has been a penetration
of the British-Portuguese centre of about nine miles. A blunted salient
has been driven into the British positions. Its tip is now a little north of
Merville. From the apex the sides run back irregularly, northeast to the
Messines and Wytchaete ridges and to Hollebeke, and southeast to Given
chy and La Bass?e.
The German straightaway advance to the apex of the salient has
been over flat, open ground. On the northern leg of the triangle the.
Messines ridges have proved a formidable obstacle. The British still hold?
them. They also hold the positions running northwest from Givenchy.
The German forward movement has thus been cramped and German effort!
on Friday and yesterday has aimed chiefly at bulging out the apex on !
both sides.
The Germans have had little success on the southern leg and seem
how to be making their major effort on the northern leg, to the southwest;
of Messines. They have turned away from Bethune and are trying to;
reach Hazebrouck and Bailleul.
The inflow of Allied reinforcements has temporarily checked Hin-,
denburg's progress. It is a question now which side will be able to make
the more effective use of its reserves.
As General Maurice has pointed out, the German advance over the!,
low, open country west of Armentieres would not be a serious menace, ex- '?
cept for the fact that in this section the British armies are so close to
the sea. They cannot conveniently retire and yield their advanced bases,1
as they did two weeks or more ago on the Somme. They are impelled to
hold on to Givenchy and the commanding heights south of Ypres. That;
its what Field Marshal Haig meant when he said that the British armies
were now fighting with their "backs to the wall."
With sufficient reinforcements they can fight where they are as well
?as anywhere else; for at Messines and Wytschaete they hold the strongest!
positions in Flanders, and the extreme German advance west from Annen-1
ti?res has now brought up in the neighborhood of the strong defensive!
position of the Forest of Nieppe.
The battle on the West front is only secondarily a battle for positions.
Essentially, it is a terrific struggle to determine the survival of the fittest- |
to prove which side has the greater capacity to suffer and endure.
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The Official Statements
LONDON, April 13.?The official reports from Field Marshal Haig's
headquarters given out to-day follow:
NIGHT?As a result of the fighting last night in the neighborhood of
Meuve PJgliso the enemy succeeded, after a prolonged struggle, in forcin?
his way into the village. This morning he was vigorously counter at?
tacked by our troops and driven out, leaving a number of prisoners, in?
cluding a battalion commander, in our hands.
A further attack made by the enemy later in the morning was success?
fully repulsed. In the course of tho morning a number of other attacks
were made by the enemy unsuccessfully at different points along the
battlcfront north of La Bassee Canal. Throe separate attacks against
our line southwest and west and north of Merville were in each case re?
pulsed after heavy fighting.
An-attack attempted by the enemy south of Mcteren wa3 sucessfully
driven back and four attacks launched against our positions southeast of
Bailleul were beaten off.
Heavy casualties were indicted on the enemy in these several unsuc?
cessful attacks.
This afternoon another hostile attack in strength has developed be?
tween the Metcron-Becque River, southwest of Meieren, and Wulvcrghcm.
Severe fighting has taken place on the whole of this front. On/ other
parts of the British front the day passed without any incident of im?
portance.
DAY?-Heavy fighting developed yesterday evening in the neighbor?
hood of Neuve Eglise and Wulverghem and at a late hour last night was
still continuing.
We advanced our lines slightly in the neighborhood of Fcstubert and
secured a few prisoners.
Early in the night a strong hostile attack, preceded by a heavy bom?
bardment, was launched against our positions east of Locon. The enemy
succeeded in entering our lines at certain points, but" was driven out again
by counter attack, and a second attack attempted later in the night in the
same locality was successfully beaten off. During the early part of the
night the enemy also attacked west of Merville and was repulsed. On the
remainder of the northern battlefront the situation is unchanged.
Sharp local fighting took place yesterday south of the Somme, in the
neighborhood of Hangard, and positions into which the enemy had forced
his way were regained by counter attacks delivered by British and French
troops. North of the Somme the enemy's artillery has been more active.
Advance Near Orvillers, Says Paris
PARIS, April 13.?-The French War Office to-day gave out the fol?
lowing :
NIGHT.?There were artillery duels at various points north of Mont
didier, notably in the region of Cantigny and Grivesncs.
West of Lassigny our troops delivered an attack against the wood
northwest of Orvillers-Sorel. On a front of about 1,200 metres we made
an advance several hundred metres in depth and took a number of pris?
oners.
In the Noyon sector special storming troops who launched an attack
against our positions were caught under our fire before being able to
reach our lines and suffered a sanguinary check. There was quite heavy
artillery activity at Hill 304, Epnrges nnd in the Parroy Forest.
DAY'?Counter attacks delivered during the night by French troops
in the region of Hangard-en-SanKterre resulted in the enemy being thrown
back completely. The French again hold the entire village, as well as the
cemetery. The Germans suffered losses without obtaining any result, and
also left in our hands seventy prisoners, of whom three are officers. Ar?
tillery fighting continues with violence in this region.
Between Mohtdidler and Noyon thero was an active bombardment,
together with unusually great patrolling activity. The French took ten
prisoners north of Orvillers-Sorel. Between the Miette and the Aisno
German raids were repulsed by the French fire. The French tcok prison?
ers in the sectors of St. Hilaire and Souain.
The Germans continue to bombard Rheims. One part of the city is
in flames. We are making energetic efforts to restrict the fire to this
area, notwithstanding the very heavy bombardment of the enemy.
In Lorraine the French made a raid in the region of Eply. There is
nothing to report on the remainder of the front.
A Belgian communication says:
During the last two days.the activity of the artilleries has been intense
at times. We have bombarded Westende, I.eke, Slype, Schoorbakke and
installations and communications east of Dixmude. The enemy has con?
fined his bombardments to Adinkerke, Wulpen, Furnes and Wessendamme.
Made Good Progress, Berlin Reports
BERLIN, April LI.?The following iras received from general head?
quarters to-day:
NIGHT.?Wc- gained ground on the battlefrcnt on the Lys all the way.
Otherwise there is nothing new.
DAY?On the battlefield of the Lys our attacks against English
divisions, which had been brought up as quickly as possible in motor cars
and by railway, made good progress. From the heights of Messines we
pushed forward across the Steenbeek River and reached the eastern border
of Wulvcrghem.
Troops which had advanced to the south of Ploegsteert Wood swung
around toward the north in a rapid and independent action under Regi?
mental Commander Lieutenant Colonel Polman nnd took the fortified
height of Rossignol by storm and joined hands with a detachment which
had advanced to the north along the wood.
The strongly wired wood, which would have been difficult to capture
by means of a frontal attack, fell through being surrounded.
Between the railways leading from Armentiercs to Railleul and Mer
ville we carried our attack forward as far a? the railway leading from
Baillcul to Merris and as far as the eastern border of Nieppe Wood.
To the south of Merville our troops advanced to the Clarence River,
and after having taken Locon by storm reached La Bassee Canal, to the
northwest of Bethunc.
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Foch and Hindenburg in Duel to
Shape World's Fate, Paris Vim
WASHlJNliTON, April 13.?A duel,
whose re*-ult.; involve the fate of the
world, is he;!-'; fought on the Western
front between General Foch and Gen?
eral Hindenburg, according to the
I opinion of Paris, contained in official
' dispatches received here to-day. 1*'ranee
is confident that the strategist of the
Mazurian Lakes will fail, and that his
failure will mean the overwhelming
collapse of the German power. The
dispatch follows:
''The newspapers comment soberly
and calmly upon the vicissitudes of the
, battle taking place in Flanders. They
: state that the German attack is of the
' utmost violence, but express the con
1 iidence that the Allied high command,
! now unified under the direction of
i Foch, ?;i!l be able ta stem the enemV
tide.
"M. Clemenceau, who left Thursday
for the front, returned last evening, af?
ter having visited Generals Foch and
l'?tain, as well as the British troops.
"The military critic Bidou in the
'Temps' develops the following views
from a study of the situation, whici
are of more interest than detailed ok
?-erv.itions subject to hourly change;
" 'Two adversaries, possessing abot
the same number of forces, fact tie
other. The;-,.* forces on both sides ??
comjvosed approximately of 200 dir:
??ion?. Both adversaries are equal!
determined to make an end of ft
other. It is the hope of final detir?i
and each aims at the vital point
"'It is no longer a question of pr<
pressing 'or gaining an advantage c
shortening the line. The enemy am
must be destroyed. In face of ti
strategist of the Mazurian Lakes
French general of marvellous intt?
gence and activity parries the rettrrti
He economizes his forces and I
awaits his hour. The duel of thets
men will decide the fate of the mk
" 'The enemy failed at Atniei?s t
March "??3. In a struggle of this etai
acter a blow missed can become tingi
lar'y dangerous fcr the one who i
tempted it. We have the feeling tb
the success obtained up till now by f:
adversary is of doubtful result.
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