Invasion of Serbia begins

The Three Rivers crossed

Germans join hands with Turks

COUPLED with a disappointing report from Sir Ian Hamilton as to our progress during the past four weeks in Gallipoli comes the intelligence (from an enemy source) that the Austro-German offensive against Serbia has begun.

It is claimed that the Drina, the Save, and the Danube have been crossed at a number of points and that a secure footing has been obtained on the eastern bank of the Drina and the southern sides of the other two rivers.

These three rivers constitute the northern and north-western boundaries of Serbia.

The Drina, running northward into the Save, divides Serbia from Bosnia; the Save runs eastward to Belgrade where it joins the Danube, the two forming the boundary with Hungary.

From Orsova the Danube runs between Serbia and Romania.

The enemy have thus lost no time in essaying their task of joining hands with their appropriate partners the Turks.

The assassination which devastated Belgium and the foul race which has just completed its bloody work of exterminating the Armenian people are to scale a new unholy alliance by the Germans hacking their way through to a closer communion.

The enterprise is only in its preliminary stage, but there can be no doubt that the effort will be on a huge scale and that the Allied Powers are called upon to expend their utmost exertions to avert something perilously like disaster.

If the enemy succeed in smashing their way through the north-eastern corner of Serbia and capturing the line to Constantinople, we may make up our minds to a prolongation of the war far beyond the period at which many of us had hoped to see its practical termination.

Once in the possession of enemy forces, this railway line, with its wonderful natural defences, could be held against bigger forces than we are likely to be able to throw against it, and our counter-effect must, therefore, be engineered with the utmost celerity.

There are indications that Russian strategy has latterly been designed with a view to counteracting or minimising the new menace and we may hope that a resounding blow will be struck from the Bukowina as well as from Salonika.

It is, however, a gigantic task with which we are faced, and, though even the complete realisation of the enemy plans in this new theatre will not mean ultimate defeat of the Allied Powers, its effect will be to put new life into an enemy who was losing heart and treble the sacrifice we are called upon to make.

At present the enemy are a long way from the realisation of their hopes and it is hardly likely that the crossing of the rivers met with any serious resistance, for in the mountains beyond the Danube lies Serbia’s line of defence.

Meanwhile, the landing of Anglo-French troops at Salonika is evidently preceding without or little hindrance, and we may take it for granted that the greatest expedition will be shown in the despatch of all available reinforcements.