French Firm

Heavy German Sacrifices For Gains of Yards

Pinch in Germany

IT has already been shown that the German attempt to advance from Cumieres (or rather the ruins of that once pretty hamlet) failed, and that the French counter-attack cleared the region north of Chattancourt Railway Station.

In other words the enemy made a huge effort, lost thousands of men, took the few remaining heaps of masonry not already in their possession at Cumieres, and then found themselves against a deadly and impenetrable curtain of shells, having achieved no great strategical end nor secured the vantage ground to promise them success later.

They will try again (for the reasons advanced in this column yesterday) and will pay a big price, whether they succeed or not. The threat is of course a serious one – the effect of a considerable German advance in this direction must not be minimised – but what the defensive forces have done before they will be able to do it again.

The results of the fighting on the other bank, – (this convenient method of dividing the sectors will not be confusing to any reader who had even the roughest and least detailed of maps) – is at present slightly more obscure.

It was pointed out on Thursday that the French, tempted by the German Staff's lack of foresight and judgement, departed from the plan hitherto followed and, seeing the opportunity for a spectacular success, took it, scoring, if we so call it, a “political” triumph.

It was evident, however, that the French – (they as good said so) – would not seek to hold it with forces sufficient to make its recovery costly to the enemy without a corresponding fort to its new defenders.

This corner of ground, situated as it is at present, could only be of use to the French if they intended, and could almost simultaneously bring about, an extension of their lines alongside it.

In good time, but not yet, French offensive plans may develop in this direction and as they still hold the more sheltered positions on the western slopes, despite the efforts of the Bavarians out in behind the fort and envelope the whole hill, they remain near enough to carry through, with large promises of success, any great effort decided upon.

The German flank attacks indeed failed so signally that the French still occupy positions which mark an advance since Monday, and when we place this against the slight German advance on the other bank of the Meuse we realise how extremely little the enemy have gained as a result of their four of five days of desperate endeavour.

Is anything more needed to demonstrate the solidity of the French defence, the valour of the troops and the skill of the staff?

One wonders what the long battle of Verdun has really cost the Central Empires, and how many more efforts of a similar kind they are capable of making without their man power giving out and the people’s at home discerning the writing on the wall.

The German Press denies Sir Edward Grey’s statement that their populace are fed with lies, but an examination of numbers of articles which have appeared in the Teutonic prints during the last few weeks reveals only too plainly that the writers, either because they know no better or because they act in compliance with orders, keep a long way from the truth.