The end of the 31st week of the war, and the first signs of better weather conditions after a hard winter, find the Allied armies in the Western Theater nearing readiness for a further concerted onslaught on the Germans. From the sea, through the dunes of Flanders to Arras in France, the British and the Belgian armies appear to have withstood successfully all the attempts of the Germans to break through their lines, while the French continue to win slowly forward, although the skillful German commanders exact a heavy price for every step gained by the French.
Unqualified optimism with which the approaching gigantic struggle is regarded in Great Britain, France and Russia can be attributed largely to the remarkable recuperative powers shown by the troops of Emperor Nicholas. These soldiers, in spite of the fierce blows of the German armies under von Hindenburg, have been able not only to bring German progress to a standstill, but to push the invaders back on virtually the whole front.
The Russians assert that the recent retirement of the Germans in the north is more disorderly than any previous retreat. They state that the Germans abandoned large numbers of heavy and light guns, and had even left behind slightly wounded soldiers in an effort to execute a hasty retreat.
A few weeks ago Field Marshal von Hindenburg was sweeping victoriously through Northern Poland, while in the south the Austrians were pressing forward in Galicia. Today these roles appear to be reversed. Russian troops are attacking all along the German line and although the Germans are clinging to their positions, their thrust towards Warsaw has been brought to a standstill.
The Russian offensive in the Carpathians continues with successes. Even if no decisive battle develops for the present Russian offensive on the Eastern Front, the Allies today are advancing the claim that the Austria-German plans for the spring campaign in the east has been measurably interfered with.
Another event which is aiding to the certainty with which the allies today regard the future, is the picture of British, French and Russian warships hammering at the gates of the capital of Turkey, with such success apparently, that Turkey already has decided she has had enough of the Egyptian venture, and is now rushing her troops back to defend Constantinople.
Nine battleships took part in this week’s bombardment of the forts in the Dardanelles. A detachment of Allied troops, which were dispatched on the Asian side, met with Turkish garrisons, which they easily scattered. The Allies have disembarked artillery near the destroyed Dardanelles’ forts and British and French flags are now flying over them.
While the Allied fleet continues to pound away at the Dardanelles’ fortifications, the panic and the general exodus in Constantinople shows no sign of abatement. Turkish officials, however, believe that the fleet can never penetrate the inner line of fortifications, they declared they always expected that the forts guarding the outer entrance of the Dardanelles would be easy to reduce.
The real defenses, according to the Turks, lies further up the straits, where their inner forts are considered impregnable. Due to the narrowness of the channel at those points Allied ships will be oblige to move in narrow shoals which are commanded by artillery and have been heavily mined by the Turks.
Notwithstanding this profession of security, Austria has been asked to send her warships to the Turk’s aid and for Germany to send artillery officers to assist in resisting the Allied onslaught.
The Russian Black Sea Fleet is steaming toward the Bosporus. The Bosporus is about 18 miles long and from on one half to one and a half miles wide. It is defended with modern fortifications, which guard the northern approach to Constantinople.
In the Western Theater of the war interest is centering on the fighting in the Champagne district, where fierce attacks and counterattacks have marked the operations of the last week. Berlin claims to have repulsed the continued French advances in this region, while Paris asserts that French troops have been successful in making progress.
– The German Army air service now had 72 Feldfliegerabteilungen, two Fortress Fliegerabteilungen and sixteen Armee Flug Parks. Aircraft were now being equipped with Mauser automatic rifles.
Die internationalen Frachtpreise und Versicherungsprämien, besonders für Schiffsfrachten in das Kriegsgebiet rund um Großbritannien, sind nach Beginn des deutschen U-Boot-Krieges deutlich angestiegen.
There were signs of a German retreat. Heavy fighting continued between Grodno and Osovets.
On the Caucasian Front, Russian troops moving down the Black Sea coast captured the small Turkish port at Hopa.