Key Redoubt Taken.

Cossacks’ 200 Mile Ride.

Linking With British.

OTHER things being equal, there is no strategy to compare with that which embraces surprise tactics, the consummation of the unexpected.

The argument that the Russians in Asia are operating in a theatre where fertility of resource is provided with unequalled opportunities for its display is ungracious for even those pseudo-expert writers whose ideas “soar more easily than any aeroplane over the facts of military geography”.

It is quite safe to say that, although a linking up of Russian and British forces has been regarded as a certainty of the future - opinions only differing as to date - no one outside the inner councils of the men on the spot expected the “picturesque event, so full of promise for the future” recorded in the announcement of the War Office issued last night.

“A force of Russian cavalry has joined General Gorringe, after a bald adventurous ride,” runs the communique, and the description, we may take is, it is thoroughly justified.

A week ago General Baratoff is alleged to have stated that in a month the Russians would be in Baghdad, and, by a route which must have been far from easy going, he has sent some of his gallant Cossacks over certainly a more than 170 miles journey, as an example of the faith that is in him.

It is taken for granted that the cavalry force to which Sir Percy Lake refers is part of the army of the Russian General named, for this is the force which since February 17 (the date of the fall of Erzerum) has been steadily pressing on southwards, principally through Persian territory across mountain passes and a country entirely without railways.

There are, as has already been pointed out, at least five separate Russian forces steadily penetrating into Asiatic Turkey - the army which took Trebizond on the Black Sea coast; the second, fighting it’s way to Erzingan; the third, which captured Bitlis on March 4, and is now preparing for the final movement against Diarbekr: the fourth, which last week reached Revanduza, on the way to Mosul (the site of ancient Nineveh), and the fifth, General Baratoff’s.

It is barely a fortnight ago that this force made a sudden dash from Kerind down the pass on the road to Baghdad, seizing Kasr-i-Shirin near the Turkish frontier.

From Kasr-i-Shirin there is a mountain road or path, which leads down to the Mesopotamian plain a good deal south of the main Teheran - Baghdad route, through Mendeli, and thence to Kut.

It seems more likely, however, that the Russian cavalry in this dashing achievement may have followed another route. From Kermanshah, the town which General Baratoh holds in the rear of Kerind, there is a good road for 50 miles to Chardowar, thence over the Pusht-i-Kih Hills and the Persian border to Bedrai, from which place there is a ride of 40 miles over the desert to the Tigris.

This would be a practicable route for a bold and determined Cavalry leader. In all it is a distance of about 200 miles through a country inhabited by Kurdish hillmen, who would probably be hostile.

The Turks, occupied with the defence of the direct approach to Baghdad via Kasr-i-Shirin have afforded an opportunity to the Russian commander of which he has made the most.