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New-York tribune. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, May 31, 1918, Image 2

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The Great War?1397th Day
enemy claims to have taken 35,000
prisoners and a tremendous amount
of booty in cannon and material.
The indications from official and
unofficial reports are that, while con
! inning his efforts to widen his sa?
lient, the enemy appears to be turn
ingvtho main direction of his move?
ment westward, doubtless with the
intention of capturing the railroads
connecting with Paris. The push
southward to the Marne is an at?
tempt to cut the Paris-Chaion.? line,
in the opinion of military critics
There is still some disagreement
HS to whether the German High
Command is likely to make a bigger
main attack elsewhere, but the move?
ment for Paris seems to square with
the idea of the German press that
political motives call for a blow at
the French armies, and this is of
equal importance with a strategic
effort to reach the sea either through
Amiens or further north, with the
intention of dividing the Allied
Criticisms are beginning to be
heard here whether the Allies' air
supremacy was employed to the liest.
advantage, since the Germans have
been able for a second time to as?
semble huge forces for a surprise
attack on a thinly held section of
the Allied line.
A dispatch from Reuter's cor?
respondent at French headquarters
says that, being held on the flanks
at Soissons and Rheims, the Ger?
mans are throwing their entire
strength southward, obviously with
the Marne for their goal. It is pos?
sible that the Germans hope- to es?
tablish themselves on the Marne,
with a view to turning the direction
cf their main effort westward, trust?
ing to the river to protect their left
The hottest fighting is proceeding
rlong the whole southern front of
the advance. The report, which was
sent at noon, said that this morning
it had been learned for the first time
that reserve units were engaged in l
the support of divisions which had
borne the whole weight of the on?
slaught since Monday.
Enemy Again Surges
Forward, but Allied
Resistance Stiffens
( By The Associated Press )
FRANCE, May 30.?The Germans
in the Champagne pushed farther
toward the River Marne to-day.
The intention of the Teutons prob?
ably is to secure a position enabling
them to turn to the westward with
the bulk of their attacking armies.
Although the Germans entered
Soissons yesterday, it was only af?
ter some of the most severe in?
fantry fighting in the present battle.
The Allied reserves are gradually
reaching the scene of the struggle
below the Aisne, and the resistance
opposed to the German push is be?
coming more obstinate minute'by
Yesterday's struggle for Soissons
began early in the morning, when
large numbers of German troops
.obtained a footing in the eastern
suburbs of the town. Shortly af?
terward they were ejected, and the
Allied troops hung on in the /out?
skirts for some time, confronting
with cold steel the desperate enemy
efforts to drive in.
Fresh Troops Hurled In
The valor of the defenders, how?
ever, was greater than their
strength, and when fresh German
troops launched a new assault the
line of combat receded into the town
and there was fighting in the streets
from house to house. The small
body of French troops holding the
place finally gave way, but only
after dozens of individual duels
with bayonets, revolvers and rifle
A hail of heavy German incen?
diary shells had fallen in the town
throughout the night, firing num
|k bers of houses and filling the air
y with smoke. Poison gas shells had
r impregnated the atmosphere with
dangerous fumes.
French Forced Back
The French, under the fierce
onslaught, gradually retired to the
western outskirts of the city, where
there is cover.
The efforts of the Germans since
their first rapid advance appear to
take a fan-like movement. The
principal column of the Teuton di?
visions seems to be thrustin in the
direction of Fare-en- Tar .enois,
which now is under a heavy fire.
On both flanks also strong forces
are engaged. The first of these cap?
tured Soissons, while on the eastern
flank they threaten Rheims. In the
latter region, however, they are
meeting the sternest defence from
the Franco-British forces, which,
cevertheless, have been obliged to
realign in order to keep the front
French Confident
Foch's Reserves
Will Halt Flood
PARIS, May SO.?The German flood
wil! soon be dammed, e.ijn. a ?emi-offi
eial note issued to-day summarizinp
tho situation between Rheims and Sois?
sons. It says:
u73u* -garman? ?*_____. fiogmstcd
yesterday, but while, on one hand,
they failed te pierce our lines, on the
other it is comforting to observe that
their march war. slackened considera?
bly by the arrival of our reserves.
"As these come into play the bal?
ance will gradually be restored, and
soon the German flood will be
"The French command retains un
diminished confidence, based as it is
or. the power of our resources and
the incomparable valor of our sol?
French Are Confident
In competent circles there is quiet
confidence in the outcome, and si?ns
arc not lacking that the advancing
waves shortly will be stemmed. Unity
of command puts the Allies in a bet-ter
position than .tbey were in the March
offensive. On that occasion French re?
inforcements cam? into action on the
third day, and on the eighth the Ger?
mans were stopped (?.finitely. Now
things should go more c.uickly.
The Germans have been obliged to
leave their gtm. on the northern side
of the original line, which can be
crossed only at a certain number of
points which are highly vulnerable to
Allied airplane attacks.
The enemy is thus prevented from
reaping the full benefits of his rapid
Meanwhile, the. Allied reserves are
massing at certain points without any
of the confusion that attended the sim?
ilar movement in March. So well per?
fected ?re the arrangements that an
entire divisipn can be moved by motor
truck from the Somme to Kheims in
forty-eight hours and arrive without a
button missing.
Strike for Marne Valley
As the battle proceeds, the enemy's
. purpose becomes plain. It is twofold.
First of all, eighteen miles south of
the Vesle flows the Marne, which
: forms, with the Oise, one of the great
| aveitues of approach to Paris. Along
! its course runs the Chalons railroad,
i the main eastern artery. To gain a
j footing in the Marne valley, or even
I to approach within artillery range of
! it, would be an appreciable result. That
j is sufficient to show why the German-??
I continue to push southward so vigor?
ously. Their advance there yesterday,
I however, amounted to only three and
one-half miles, as against five and one
! half miles on the first day of the at
| tack, and seven on the second. This
indicates the growing force of the op?
position which the enemy is en?
The second objective, which the Ger?
man staff considers even more im?
portant, judging by the efforts made
at Soissons, is to broaden the salient
to the westward. Ry enlarging the ac?
tion there the German Crown Prince
intends to approach nearer to Paris on
the direct route. The French com?
mand is fully aware of the importance
of this movement. Although Soissons
was evacuated to prevent needless sac?
rifice of men, the French hold all the
roads leading out of the town.
Heavy Fighting Ahead
Heavy fighting still lies ahead for
the Allies, but those most competent
to express an opinion are now satisfied
that the German drive will be stopped
in the near future.
The Havas correspondent at the
French front, under yesterday's date,
states that the position at present, as
compared with March, is more advan?
tageous to the Allies. In March the in
dispensability of unity of action had
been realized in the midst of a battle
which was the most dangerous menace
yet endured. Roads were blocked, ham- j
pering arrival of reinforcements. It was
only a week after the begming of the
battle that the enemy was definitely
To-day, he points out, the Anglo
French forces, submerged by assail?
ants six, or even eight, times their
number, have given ground, but in per?
fect, order and with methodical slow?
ness, and without losing contact for a
moment. There were never gaps be?
tween the British and French like those
of March, when the gaps absorbed all
the first reinforcements to arrive. To?
day the masses of man?uvre are ar?
riving over open roads and are already
in action.
Perfect Unity Prevails
There is a perfect comradeship of
arms between the French and British.
At Fismes a British cyclist battalion
spontaneously helped the French de?
fending the village. At Craonne a
British battalion which had already
suffered heavily, carried away by the
gallantry of a French colonial division
which was charging the hills in furious
counter attacks against four German
divisions, rushed into the assault
alongside the colonials.
British and French soldiers along
the roads help each other in a spirit of
comradeship, and the collaboration of
the staffs is as close and cordial.
Thin Allied Line
Fought Desperately
To Regain Craonne
LONDON, May 30.?In their initial
| onslaught Monday the Germans are be
I lieved to have used more tanks than
? ever before, says Reuter's correspond?
ent with the British forces on the
French front, writing Wednesday.
The 50th British Division, near
Craonne, withstood a gas attack of
| three hours and held the Germans in
the attempt to reach the Aisne until
"the men were drowned under the Ger
! man combers." The same fate over
| took the French division to the right
of the 50th.
After falling back thc 50th made a
gallant attempt to recapture Craonne,
but was defeated by machine gun fire
from the enemy tanks. In the end the
50th was obliged to fall back toward
the rivev.
The correspondent continues:
"On the right sector our 21st Di?
vision and a French division stood the
assault like rocks. The Germans made
the mistake of attacking in proportion
of only two to one- four German di?
visions against one British and one
French and consequently they made
? no progress in Gernicourt Wood, south
of the Aisne and between Pontavert
and Berry-au-Bac.
"Detachments of a brigade of one of
our divisions were swept in retreat
with part of a French territorial regi?
ment composed of men verging on fifty
years. The young Britishers and the
elderly Frenchmen together fought the
Germans to the very last. Of the Brit?
ish practically none escaped.
"The roads leading from villages
captured or endangered are filled with
wounded and refugees seeking shelter
and reserves marching to the front
lines. Preceding the reserves are the
French cavalry and behind them are
the guns. There is no panic among
the refugees."
London Thinks Aisne
Losses Are Less Vital
Than Amiens Reverse
LONDON, May 80.?The morning
newspaper commentators take the view
that the situation on the Weatern
front is very serious, even critical, but
there is no note of despondency in
their reviews. The arrival of reserves,
reported by the French press, is noted
with ?atisftiction and hope, although
it is not known whether the reserves
are sufficient in number to establish
sn approximate numerical equilibrium
of the opposing forces, whose p.opor
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The German drive slackened its pace yesterday, taking Ludendorff's
armies a maximum of less than three miles beyond the points won on
Wednesday. The extensions of the line southeast of Soissons, along the
Crise River and south of Fismes, toward Ville-en-Tardenois, are in?
dicated on the map.
tions are generally stated to have been
from four or five to one in the Ger?
mans' favor since the beginning of the
Confidence is expressed that General
Foch, the Allied commander in chief,
will make the best of the difficult situ?
ation, and it is urged that he should
be trusted implicitly. With regard to
the use of the reserves, however, it is
remarked that General Foch may be
handicapped by ignorance as to where
the Germans will strike next.
Can Conceal Objective
In this connection "The Chronicle'1
remarks that, owing to the geographi?
cal advantages the Germans possess, it
is possible for them to conceal to the
very last moment the direction of then
blows. General Foch must, therefore
hold reserves to meet either of severa!
different contingencies. It may be an?
ticipated, adds "The Chronicle," that
in his use of his reserves he will b(
severely economical, and that a certair
amount of territory will be abandonee
which a freer use of the reserves wouh
"As it is possible to give ground 01
the Aisne front with less serious con
sequences than on the front, towan
Amiens," "The Chronicle" continues
"it should not be surprising or undul;
discountenanced if that alternativ
were followed."
A similar point is made by the criti
of "The Daily News," who says tha
I General Foch must postpone as long a
possible any wholesale call on his r(
Fear Amiens Blow
? "It is by no means certain,?' saj
| "The Daily News," "that the preser
j offensive is the only, even the mo
j menacing, attack in contemplation. V.
hear of heavy shelling around Amier
and of abnormal aircraft activity
Flanders. Immediate and important d
velopments in both those sectors ar
others are practical possibilities, ar
until it is known where the Germai
will strike the necessary counter mea
ures cannot be taken."
"The Times" refers to the Germj
offensive as increasingly formidab!
and after discussing the seriousne
of the menace it points to the fi
spirit in which the French are meetii
the enemy's blows. They recall, sa
the newspaper, that they have In
through far darker days, and? in t
end have invariably defeated the i
The loss of Soissons was announc
at too late an hour to develop mu
comment in the morning newspapers
"The loss in itself," says "T
Times," "is not of military importan
but the enemy is now on the high re
whi h passes through Villers-Cottere
about 45 miles from Paris."
Soissons Loss Important
On the other hand, in an article wi
ten before the abandonment of So
sens was announced, "The Chronic
"The loss of Soissons would hav(
strategic consequence, as its transf
ence to the Germans would incre;
the advantage they enjoy over Gene
Foch in respect of facilities for sh
ing the weight of their blow from <
side to the other."
The commentators point to the p
sibility of the loss or Rheims also,
the unofficial reports, at least, sh
that it was half surrounded by G
mans, who are firing at its defend
from three sides.
"The further retention of the tow
says "The Chronicle," "will be diffic
and it may have to be abndoned."
Field Marshal Haig'a silence rega
ing the operations on the Aisne fr<
which has been remarked in some qi
ters as strange reticence, is expiai
by "The Daily Mail" as in line v
the precedent established by
French command. As the French Si
the newspaper points out, did
record the events in the recent Flanc
fighting, where the French troops w
fewer than the British, so the Bri
now refrain similarly from touching
the present operation in the Aisne a
ss the British troops are in the mit
ity on this front.
Allies Have the Power
Discussing the outlook as the re
o? the German offensive ou the Ch
"Superb!" French Colonel
Calls American Attack
By Wilbur Forrest
(Special Cable to The Tribune)
IN PICARDY, May 30.?A French
colonel said to me after the little
battle in which Pershing's men took
"It was splendid! Suberb! Mag?
Although small in comparison, this
battle on a two and a half kilo?
metre front proved to the French
that we have the punch. This I
gathered from a dozen Frenchmen,
who answered me with jerky sen?
tences of enthusiasm when I asked f
their comment.
pagne battlefront the military critic of
"The Daily Telegraph" writes:
"The present is a critical period for
the fate of France and with France is
bound up the fate of the Entente. The
British and French still have very val?
uable assets if they know how best to
use them.
"We possess numerical superiority of
, soldiers, the ocean routes are at the
I Allies' disposal and all the world's
? wealth for the fetching. The Allies
! possess the means of concentrating
j more men, guns and ah-planes in the
i decisive theatre than the Germans.
"It is unnecessary to repeat the
cause which hitherto has nullified these
inestimable advantages. It is high time
our war cabinet and War Office found
! out how to bring this superiority of re?
sources to bear upon the field of ac?
"An administration of the highest
order is needed to turn the tide. The
military situation also demands a mas?
ter of strategy and tactics to change
the face of affairs in France."
Gen. Sibert Becomes
Gas Director of Army
(Special Dispatch to The Tribune)
WASHINGTON, May 30- Major Gen?
eral William L. Sibert was named to?
day by Secretary of War Baker as di?
rector of gas service for the American
army. The creation of this new de?
partment was r,.ade necessary because
of the very important part that gas is
playing in the present war. General
Sibert, who served under General
Pershing for several months, mado. a
special study of offensive and defen?
sive gases. He has been selected by
Secretary Baker to have complete con?
trol of all the government agencies
that have to do with providing gas for
use by the fighting forces.
It is the intention of the War De?
partment to have one central organiza?
tion to which the branches of the gov?
ernment involved in making gas and
providing defensive measures will be
responsible. Some of these are the
engineer, ordnance and medical corps.
It is expected that under General Si?
bert the army's gas service will be
made more cooperative, in order to
obtain the maximum production.
Unrest in Ireland
Fast Disappearing
LONDON, May 30.?With the recent
changes in the government in Ireland
and the arrest of Sinn Fein leaders, the
parliamentary correspondent of "The
Daily Telegraph" says he understands,
the British government considers it de?
sirable to refrain from pressing for?
ward at this time anything calculated
to produce a disturbance. A more set?
tled feeling prevails in Ireland, and it
is hoped the improvement will grow in
every direction.
The Irish Home Rule bill is not ex?
pected to be ready for introduction for
a few weeks, and until then conscrip?
tion will remain in abeyance. This is
believed to be the policy in which the
Lord Lieutenant and 'the Chief Secre?
tary are in agreement with Walter
Hume Long, Secretary fo.* the Colonies,
and the War Cabinet.
Ire.and seems to be settling down in
a wonderful manner, despite the short
time the new regime has been in exist?
ence, continues the conrespondent, who
has just returned from Dublin. The
Nationalists and even some Sinn Fein
ers accept the coming of Lord French
as Lord Lieutenant with relief. Ed?
ward Shortt, the new Chief Secretary,
also has made an excellent impression.
FocKs Reserves
In Action; Enemy
Using Fresh Troops
(By The Associated Press)
FRANCE, Wednesday evening, May
29.?Allied reserves are now taking up !
positions in the battle line. They are I
being thrown in to strengthen the de-1
fending forces where they are weak- I
est, in preparation for the placing of a
barrier to a further German advance.
Fresh enemy divisions have been
brought forward hastily to take the
places of those exhausted by the ad?
vance of the last three days and con?
tinue the pressure on the Allies.
The territory south of the Vesle
River, which the Germans have crossed
at several points, is more difficult for
the attack.
Now that the Allied command has
reached the conclusion that the enemy
intends this rush to be his chief at?
tack, prompt measures are being taken
to stay the movement.
Allied Line Unbroken
The enemy is still pushing on with
every atom of strength to obtain pos?
session of as much territory as possible
before the Allied reserves come up in
full force and stay the advance.
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Military Comment
By William L. McPherson
THE German offensive ?in Cham?
pagne slowed down yester?
day. German* progress was
confined within narrow limits. The
only advance made was in the middle
of the line. The apex of the Ger?
man wedge was pushed about two
and a half miles further south. This
gain was in sham contrast with the
big gains?lateral as well as straight
ahead?made in the first three days
of the. offensive.
The fourth day is a day of great
strain on a huge movement of this
sort. The tanks have been left far
behind. So have the heavier guns.
The infantry, in spite of replace?
ments, becomes battle weary. Trans?
port service is irregular. The ad?
vance automatically slackens. In ad?
dition, it encounters the 3teady in?
flow of enemy reserves. The propor?
tion ?f five to one or four to one in
favor of the offence is reduced to
three to one and then to two to one.
Suddenly something like an equilib?
rium of forces is_re?stablished.
We are now apparently approach
j ing that equilibrium on the Cham
j pagne front. The German advance
; due south yesterday covered betweer
! two ; nd three miles. This contrast;
! with nearly five miles the first dav
! ?.bout seven miles the second day anc
? about seven miles the third. Ai
! Vezilly, the southernmost poin
? reached so far, the Crown Prince':
armies are about twenty-one mile:
j from the starting line below Laon
I In the fourth day of the Somme of
fensive two miles were gained. Oi
| the fourth day of the Lys Valley of
j fensive three miles were gained
j Thereafter progress in Flanders die
?down to nothing. But on the _lomme
| owing to the grave dislocation of th
: British line on the first and secom
? days and necessary delays in bring
i ing large enough reserves into ac
; tion, the German advance was subsc
quently carried ten miles further.
The reinforced Allied armies heb
, yesterday on the two sides of the bij
\ bulge, extending in thp form of ?
; semi-ellipse from Soi^sons to Rheims
? General Foch's first object is to pre
I vent a further spreading of the side
I of the bulge. This he was able t
j do, in the main. The French nigh
' communique said that no ground wa
j lost yesterday on either wing.
It is not so important for the mc
I ment to check further German prog
I ress in the centre. Here the Frene
yielded again somewhat to nort
and south pressure. On Wednesda
they stood in the western half of thi
sector at Loupeigne, about thre
miles north of F?re-en-Tardenoi
In the eastern half of the sector the
stood at Brouillet, about five mil.
! northwest of Ville-en-Tardenois. Ye
! terday's French communiqu?s admi
ted a retirement to the neighborhood
of F?re-en-Tardeiiois on the west,
and to Vezilly on the east. Vezilly
is about three miles south of Brouil
let, and lies west-smith west of Ville
en-Tardenois. It is about seven
miles north of the Marne.
Foch can afford to wait in this
region until he is entirely ready. The
country below F'-re-en-Tardenois
and Ville-en-Tardenois (between
them and the Marne) is heavily
wooded. South ,>f the first named
town is the Forest of F?re, after
which it is named. Further east is
the Forest of Riz. Still further
east, beyond Ville-en-Tardenois, is
the much larger Forest de la Mon?
tagne de Rheims.
Another thing. The Marne i_ pa?
ralleled in this section by one of the
main trunk lines, running from
Paris to the eastern border. It
passes through Chateau Thierry,
which was one of the big concentra?
tion camps in 191-4, and then strikes
east through Epernay to Chalons
sur-Marne. The latter is a famous
French fortified camp and military
centre. Reinforcements can be
brought on this railroad from the
east as well as from the west and
fed into a line of defence established
north of the Marne. To cut this
important transportation artery is.
of course, one of the aims of the
German offensive south from the
What is the ultimate German ob?
jective in this last drive? Nol
Paris, apparently; or the Mame, o?
any particular city or strategica
centre. It is first to destroy the co
hesion and fighting power of the Al
lied armies?to separate them, i:
possible, but, at any rate, to weai
down their resistance before th<
American inflow can turn the scale
Incidentally, perhaps, the driving o
a salient into the Champagne fron
may be regarded by the Germai
High Command as a necessary pre
liminary to a broadening out of th<
Somme salient. It creates a counte:
Allied salient, pronounced in form
northwest of Soissons, in the regioi
between Soisscrtis and Montdidier.
The easier route to Paris is fron
that direction. Also east fron
Amiens lies the alternative route fe
the Channel coast. The most dan
gerous blow that Hindenburg coul
strike in France just now would be
blow loosening the hold of the Britis
armies on their bases at the easter
end of the Channel and on thei
short lines of communication wit
England. The excursion into Chair
pagne has a certain theatrical erTec
But in attempting it the German
have turned away from their fund
mental strategical conception. The
won a surprise victory, which the
may consider worth to them what
cost. But they have only indirectl
furthered the essential aim whic
they set themselves in the more log
cal Somme Valley and Lys Valle
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Important Notice
To all Telephone Users
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In New York City alone, 250,000 of such requests are
made daily. The answering of these calls requires
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We have gladly furnished this special service in
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The present supply of transportation, labor, raw
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the demands of the Government and of industries
either directly or indirectly connected with the
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more and more necessary to reduce non-essential
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The telephone service is necessarily affected by this
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Beginning June 3rd
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