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THE FARMER AND MECHANIC.
11 HOW A MODERN BATH AS VIEWEDJA BYSTANDER m'wiA neral ?af ' Ay Gi Out Interview "What does a real battle Kiok like to the bystander these days?" This ijuestion, homely and ungrammati ral. yet persistently insistent, the ma jority of America's 100,000,000 are asking themselves each day. For the dispatches from Kuro though they fill columns of the dailies, are held down, by reason of disjointed censorship, to more or less disjointed items from a battleline 200 miles long sprinkled through with poetic metaphors of how a division was "mowed down" or some fort was "a veritable hell," or some brigade was surrounded and "swept away"; all which take the reader back to youthful Friday afternoons at school, when in fear and trembling he recited The Charge of the Light Brigade" and "Hohenlinden," but doesn't get him very far in forming an idea of what a real battle looks like." Nowhere, indeed, thanks to this same censorship, has the public been aMe to get a clear and coherent ac count of the actual details as con trasted with the battlefields of half a century ago. If dodging bullets . on the firing line were an ev.y-day oc currence to the every-day man, like dodging automobiles on the street crossings, the dispatches would con vey some idea. Hut unfortunately, not one man in 10,000 has any data or experience from which to visualize the things that actually occur when thousands of men, armed with mod ern arms, clash upon the lattlefield :ti article in the Washington Star cays. The pictures and accounts f the battles in our civil war are worse than useless as guides, or even aids, to an understanding of the modern con- llict. for conditions have been so rad ically changed by the marvelous ad vance made in both offensive and de lensive armaments in the last fifty years that any conclusions drawn from the battles of a generation ago are as worthless as those drawn from the battles around Troy a thousand years lore Christ. The censorship, with lines drawn to a lightness unknown in all previous wars, renders it impossible for the most enterprising war correspondent to obtain the facts and details if the i. hial battlefields that he would eag rly write, could they be gotten at. -Vnil the survivors of the civil war can iily emphasize the fact that battles today are mighty different frcm what they were in their fighting days, with out being able clearly to set forth the difference. Vet. through all these recent and radical changes in the form of battle, wrought by the tremendous revolution in firearms. Uncle Sam has been able to obtain, for his own private use, a pretty clean-cut conception of yst how a modern battle is fought today. Jn his army he has an organization, known as the general staff, composed of hi best soldiers, whose business is to keep abreast of all thii.gs martial the world over. And not only abreast are they; if it funics to actual fighting, this general staff will probably be found ahead of the line in up-to-date tactics and strategy. Officer (lives Interview. A Star representative, therefore, fought out and obtained an interview w ilh an ofTicer of this body, who, while Mndly consenting to give all necessary infoi ination, for obvious reasons with holds his name. "The changes in the actual opera tions of battle made in the last fifty years are most radical," said this of ficer. "Indeed, they are almost revo lutionary. The direct cause of this the marvelous advance made in of fensive weapons. There is almost as much difference between the modern Hick-firing field gun, as compared to the cannon of 1861, or the modern rifle, as compared to the old muzzle loader of the same period, as dere J1'" between those weapons and the bow and spear of medieval days, therefore, upon their introduction into practical war, the methods of at tack and defense had to undergo changes equally radical; for a field 'Miration that, in the civil war, would have been perfectly feasible, would, in the face of n.odern guns be sui cide." "What are the most 'marked changes in the actual conduct of a battle?" was asked the officer. "I think that the infantry attack hii an intrenched position has prob ably undergone more radical changes III?" anything vse," was the reply. I hat, by the -way, is the most im iH.rtant of all movements in battle, indeed, it is upon such infantry at tacks that pitched battles generally turn. The raids and reconnoissances f the cavalry, the shelling; of the nemy's positions by the artillery .are tl mere preliminaries to the heart of the battle the attack of infantry in T,rce upon the main body of the ncmy. So matter how successful the Rivalry and artillery may be, if the infantry attack fails the battle is lost. -Now. the introduction of lo-ng-??iKj ;n1 rapid-ftre jruns has com piled the total abandonment of the -fashioned methods of inCant y .at tack. The day of the specta ular martial themselves in the open in close-drawn lines in full view oT the enemy-hut out of range T M n , in preparation for an aslau It and nn, ; the d . vr;! tranche, v ver the "y' 2Lx y' sIjread ut in full view strike terror to the foe bv a show of numbers. Such movements as these common enough a half eentuk ago SyJntf;,tter destruction "today idea of a modern infantry charge i to compare it to or rather contrail it with similar movements in the civil war, and note the differences Compared With Our Var. In those days the cannon wt had were not effective at a distance great better Tn V00 yards 2rf mU8kets rifles used ere, for the most part, muzzle-load- ISo onr lre eeetive "o re than Port w yds- lf- nded. that, lurthermor , it took from three to four minutes to load .and fire a can non. After firing in had to le swab- ?rUV uh lack into position from where the recoil had flung it loaded, primed and aimed The muskets and rifles could not be fired oftener than once a minute, and owing to the lack of uniformity in the am munition the matter of sighting at anything more than 100 yardj was a matter of guesswork. "Under these conditions an infantry attack upon the enemy's lines was a simple thing, com oared to m.i.-., tack. Take, for instance, the most ccieoiuioa enarge in the civil war ine enarge of Pickett' Gettysburg. Here 14, C00 Confederates lormeu tnemselves in three battle lines at a distance of about a mile from the reueral lines and marrhpri Tit front a mile in extent m-p non ii... that afforded no kind of cover rr nrr. tection, straight up to the trenches of me union soldiers. Here, after re maining for fifteen minutes, thev were driven back. Their loss was but five or six thousand. The whole battle was over in less than an hour. I do not mean to detract from tho bravery of those daring men, whose fame has gone down in historv hut merely to note that, compared to what such a body of attacking troops would have to encounter todav undev the same conditions, their work wa? at least possible, as the result shuwod ine enemy s cannon could not play upon them with effect until thev were well on their march, and the rifles of the Union infantry could not rem-h tnem until they were within or 400 yards of the trench e n nr H irt it become highly effective until they were well Within 300 yards. Moreover the defending riflemen could only load ana nre two or three times before the attacking troops were upon them." "How would a commander ,attacl reply. "Such an order would be in was asked the officer. "He would not attack it," was the such a position with infantry today?'' slant murder of every soldier in the attacking force. While such an act is without precedent, I should say that the subordinate. comma nrlers would, in all likelihood, refuse to obey sucn a command on the ground of the insanity of the commanding officer w mi me rapiu-nrmg cannon and rifles of today everv man of the 14. 00.0 would be killed half a dozen times before he had gone 100 yards across those open fields. Attacking Kntrenehed Positions. "Hut battles are foueht and in fantry do attack intrenched positions today, do they not?" was queried. "Yes." replied the officer, "but in vastly different manner. Iiet us sup pose a modern campaign, such as is tatting place m France. The con frontinsr lines, with their hosts o men, stretch for countless miles and the battle is really made up of a serie. of battles along these lines. The out come of the lattle is the net result o all these smaller conflicts. "Let us take a section of five mile in this battle line and see how a bat tie is conducted. Both sides are en trenched, their trenches beiner severa miles apart probably, so as to be out of range of cannon. The general of one side commanding the troops along this front, on determining to make an assault, first endeavors bv -everv oos- aihle iriAans "tx fin.fi out the Btrnpth and disposition of the enemy's forces along tnis iive-miie line, lor it must Itf borne in mind that trooos are not placed shoulder to shoulder, like posts an a row, aiong xre wnoie ime. 'Ilather, they it re concentrated at favorable positions at intervals Along the line with artillery -and horse -and foot soldiers so disponed as to guard and protect the intervals. J nus, there - may oe a space or a mue or more i be tween two of these fortified positions in -which there is not a single soldier stationed. JUit investigation would show that this interna! was swept by the artiHery of both positions and the inlantry stationed o that they could make a -deadly flank attack on any force of the enemy darinr rn.jrh o try ti treak thrcush .hr.- Tin-t the whfle line is 'controlled. 15ut sonie places are. of n,tir- more weakly defendfd than eihets! And the attacking ccnerl fns.t tnri to di5ci,ver the weakest point f all In's he d'tes by scuts. both iti !h air and in the cavalry service, by fruit a i lack.. I'V stues in vh.,rt .-- - ..... . UE method that will disci e- the weak ness of the line. "There are many factor th.it p., ir. letermine the weakness ,f a position. oi niy is the number r it irr.i.n. and cannon to le considered, but aiso me number that can be brought up to reinforce it when the that it is tfi te made the point of at- n r. Ana what has become in mH. em warfare . a determining fucim eqiuil in weight to any other cnd emtifn is the nature of the cunT-x- in front of the tosition This, as comTvared t4 jf imnmt. ance a half century ago, has become iJiuiucaiiy a new tactor. hN.r. if the grounci ior one or two miles in front of the objective position does not of fer some de-ree of shelter and pro- hpi me attacking f c rce. that position may le COnsirtererl sailable. even though held bv a com paratively weak force. lTsin; the Artillery. We Will SUPnoSe. then thit rmr commanding general, after a careful examination, has learned that a cer tain mile of the line is held by 4.000 men, supported by thirty guns that is, the guns are placed in position in the rear of the defending trenches in such way as to fire upon the ground is tmiaea here and there bv stone fences, strewn with boulders," gullies zigzagging through it, hillocks and rock ridges traversing it in rtifr. directions in short, offering many smau sneiters for advancing troops. And he determines that this offers the most favorable point for attack. And his determination is reached on account of the favorable shelter that the ground offers' his attacking troops. "He now-brings up sufficient artillery- to give him a superiority of tire. This is absolutely essential; it is laid down in all books on modern tactics as the first rule of attack, to obtain a distinct superiority of fire over the enemy at the point of attack. Of course, the enemy is not aware of this concentration of artillery, for every move is hidden from his prving eyes. "This artillery he places within close range if possible that is, within 2,500 or 3,500 yards of the enemy's trenches. This is considered the ideal distance for field guns, for with mod- -m kuiis amiierymen can nit a sentry box at that distance, wliile still being out of range of the enemies' rifles. His artillery in place, the general now brings up his attacking infantry. Here, too, he must have a superiority of fire, for these men have a double duty to perform; they must not only use their rifles against the enemy, but they must advance upon him over more than a mile swent. as fui as possible, by that enemy's fire of neict gun and rifle. "As an assaulting column, then he brings, let us say. 10.000 trooos. These he didives into three bodies; the first the firing line, the second the sup ports and the third the reserves. These troops are formed in the three lines behind one another in some po sition well screened from the enemy's view. "At the word the first line moves forward. Not. as at Gettysburg or at Fredericksburg, shoulder to shoulder, keeping step in martial array with gleaming arms and blazing uniforms in full view of the foe, but by small squads, by twos and threes, by indi viduals, perhaps, clothed in dull Khaki that melts into the landscape. Stealing along in this manner, crouch ing to the better escape obesrvation, they make their way forward, taking advantage of every means to shelter and concealment to prevent their dis covery' by the enemy's gunners. "J-ong lines of them creep in single file up the gullies or behind fences, or moving diagonally to get the protec tion of some ridge or hillock, make their way cautiously forward. Over a front of perhaps a mile these little parties creep forth, apparently in aimless disorder, but, in fact, dom inated by one master mind and one mastering idea. Defending- Artillery ItcVios. "Meantime their artillery behind them has opened upon the enemy's trenches. Over their heads the shells fly screaming, and. after a few trial shots, hurst squarely upon or in front of the enemy's trenches. This can nonading pounds away, not at a single point of the enemy's line, but over a. space of perhaps xl mile or more; for it is a serious blunder to disclose thus early to the foe the exact point of rttack and thus give him time to hurry up reinforcements before the -attacking troops can Assault it. "'And now the artillery of the de fenders commence to reply to the cannon of the attacking army. Their heavy ?runs train upon the cannon; their stwall rapid-firers sweep the ground in front, searching out every spot where the advancing infantry may find concealment. Tins, how ever, is liable to prove ineffectual, for the commanding general of the at tacking force has een to it that he has superior w-eight vf artillery, and so. in a short tne. he has proband y silenced most of the -de fetid ing guns. Mean4rroe the firing line has con tinued to creep forward and now. r-t'T-d in -nui Kr-up lrhtnd hiU ai d boulder and fncr and crouching in ditchc and cul'.o they ha"r come within runs; (f the rifl in the d fn:Jj.g trt-nehm Krcm !on; the remy's poMticn th re v..ur -i Mady tr :n t.f fire, ytrsvinc t halt the cr,j.srg croups of khki. Thereupon the artillery !upp.rtng the .tttaV k rd-ube it. cf!rt the trenchr. "Th-y with hrapteS, th.it deudheM f iiunsiI.-s Ttt ttilert. f-'hrapne! he!j ntairs tw. hundred and .uci fifty -two bullets. It ran thrown with fatal accuracy l a point a hunritd yards m trtul .f tt trenche-, where, striking the gnu.v it bursts ami erul it ddi 1 of lead in a .thowcr of leaden mm full against tr-ncli. Nothing car. liv in that hail "'prradirc tait f.nwi tte irt.t f lead sw eet s clem i, .t?H f.ftv v . wide an 1 six hundred v.rfiw lnagine what a v ritable" hell ti - T., have forty guns, each firm mi time minute. lammir sh runnel ,1..ua. ... a trench half a mile long. I nuir the deadly fi re 111' rtlr-n in the trenches h:ive "vm-.n raise themselves above the brt t works and fire with any ucwrat ul the approaching en inv Tl.v the first attack hnve ".-., t along the trenches at the kiou-c of a man to a yard. liunnin biick from the front trenches are hitorui t-.n.,- es trending diagonally tt protect them om ironuil fire. These lend t.. ti.e protected ptitions in tle ivar where tne supports and res-rvcs are iyiig. FtHtling In Hie 1 1 mini u tJrisi. "As the im-ii in the trenches fi)l the supports are fed up through the lateral trenches and take the of the killed un.i u.. nim.i r.. ti,. line must be kept at its nuuitmitn strength. And er thev Mnve, in siite of tne hail of hail" from "the shrapnel, to lift above the breast works arui pour their fire into the advancing infantry. It i. tnnwt try ing position, that of these defendes. thus rootci in tinir truieho, ikuIm' to go either forward or UrkuHnl, while the flying death goes hurtling just overhead; to U- waiting there by inches, as it were, for that nipr me moment when it shall come to a hand-to-hand struggle with that slow ly creeping foe out there in front. To a nervous man it is much more trying than that of the assailants; thy at least have some outlet for their nerv ous tension. "Hut though the defenders' state be an evil one, it is not all rakes and ale with that advancing line of at tack. The enemy's guns, lately si lenced by superior weight of met;,!, hae been hurriedly reinforced, and the new gunners. having swift I v found the range, are pouring in a withering fire upon the assailants. The commanding olticer has n Kbo. down, whether fatally or not i not known, and none is curious enough to risk his own life for the ascertain ing just now. "And now. out there on the flanks, as the biie has thrust fotward far in advance of its most advanced later al defenses, the .enemy's cavalry has driven in the cavalry supporting ibe attack and planted several rapid-fir-.; guns in position to take the advanc ing infantry in the flanks. "In the center, too, seyetal f-quads of soldiers sheltered behind a friendly mound of boulders have lost all their oflieers and more thun half their number in vain attempts to dash across an open and fire-swept rpacj of fifty yards to a gully that beckons protection and offers advance. "Hut go forward they must. Seiz ing their intrenching tools .they fever ishly attack the ground, seeking to run a trench to the gully. Commenc ing well back in the shelter of the boulders, they push the work out ahead, throwing the dirt up as addi tional protection. It is a back-breaking, heart-breaking task: but H'O men working for their lives' can doubly discount what the unions might reckon as a man's labor, and the trench advances with astonishing rapidity. In half an hour they aie all safely rn the gully, creeping slow ly forward, while others behind, tak ing advantage of their work, are mak ing their way crouching through tht-new-dug ditch. Hcscrves Cumo Creeping l'p. "Meantime, behind the attacking firing line, there cr-ep the su imports at a distance of 1 ('( or 200 yardt. And at a distance i-ehind tlem comes creeping the reserves, every nun seeking cover like those, ahead .f him. These, however, are not ex posed to such fire as the first line, and hence can ins-.kc their way for ward more rapidly. 'The Attacking line has now reach ed a position within ."l0 yards of the enemies' trenches. To the casual ob server, who has tt-u picture t( lit tle charges, n janoramic view of the field would be disappointing. He would see no b-ng lines rushing for ward, closely ranked, with banners waving. He would see no men stand ing upon breastworks defying the enemy nor cannoneer with artillery perched mi bitterest, ramming Khot home or sending .an explosive kIw U into the middle .f the "ke-rai-.J enemy. "AH he -would ee wouki e scattered gxotiiis of ien lying lhutd fences ind bowlders, or eepiog tit ti-run gullies and dib tics, while tie re wl there -a stuad rf nvei ruki iush t from hiding fr few mom.! a to run f4rw4irl 4tnd leop beMl i Continue! oti I'ae Twei. 1 1 t . i 5 5 f .... -:: T J : i - : - . s - '. - f t 1 f . t f i I. f