A Pause.

What Are The Enemy Plans?

Russians’ Varying Fortunes.

SOME of the explanation for the failure at Verdun are as strained as much of the comment this side on the continuation on the struggle.

A Manchester writer has partially committed himself to the statement that the German aim is to bleed France white, and the suggestion is, indeed, made that success in this direction is being attained.

The picture is drawn of a constantly increasing demand on the French reserve and its approaching exhaustion; but this view is not supported by accounts of the fighting. The losses of attack, it must be remembered, are always much greater than those of defence, the French adopting methods to ensure a minimum of casualties while imposing the maximum upon their opponents.

The German explanation of their failure are more entertaining. The German Staff make it a boast that their 25 divisions before Verdun have been opposed by 51 French. The “Times” Military Correspondent points out this morning that there have, of course, been 30 divisions of Germans fighting there, “but whichever figure we take, no better proof could be afforded of the miscalculation of the German Command than this instructive comparison.

“For 25 to 30 German divisions to attack an entrenched enemy of divisions at his command is not an act of sanity, and we can be sure that the only reason why Falkenhayn has not piled on more troops is that he has no more to pile.”

“If,” observes the writer, “the Germans are pleased to suffer a quarter of a million casualties in a nervous effort to hide from us the truth is they are wasting their time. They have a floating balance of some 15 divisions which they throw this way and that in the search for a decision, but such strategic reserves are not enough for the war at its present stage, and it is no use to pretend they are.”

It had been anticipated that the failure at Verdun would be succeeded by a great aggressive movement on the Russian northern front, and certain activity a week ago gave colour to the idea, but present appearance suggest that Hindenburg has not the man power with him to bring such operations to a successful conclusion.

The possibility that the enemy are organising a surprise is of course always to be reckoned with. They are, as we know, in considerable strength before the British lines; there is a menace of Russian advance in the Czernowitz area to be countered; and, as a third suggestion, we have the aforetime sinister announcement of continually appearing in German communiques that “there is nothing to report from the Balkans.”

In the meantime we continue to read of fresh successes in Mespotamia. In the direction of Mosul, they have occupied the Revanduza district, whence the enemy made a precipitate retreat, abandoning guns and ammunition.

Great difficulties have been experienced by the forces operating from Erzerum, the Turks, evidently largely reinforced, assuming the offensive, and, after a hard day’s fighting, succeeding in forcing back in places the Russian advanced posts. The Turkish losses were, however, so great that they had to abandon the attack. Elsewhere in the Erzerum and Trebizond neighbourhood Turkish attacks were both costly and ineffective.

On the Western front the weekend communique show no new features in the Verdun fighting but increasing enemy enterprises against the British lines is reported.