The War Illustrated, The Story of the Great European War, Volume VIII, Ending The First Three Years

© irtto rS ^lo tc to'o Iu m r F H 54% TRONGER than ever in pictorial and literary impressiveness our present volume covers a most thrilling and from the Allies point of view a most hopeful period of the Great War. Events by land, sea and air between the autumn of 1916 and the early days of August 1917 were full of significance as to the futurc and replete with episodes that will live forever In the history of the world. In the light afforded by the events referred to and by the brilliantly written con­tributions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Mr. Lovat Fraser surveying the whole of the first three years of the conflict we are enabled to see even more clearly than in the seventh volume of The War Album the deepening shadow of defeat enveloping the decivilised race whose rulers set the world ablaze. V" theN main the events on the western front recorded in the following pages maybe" described as the sequel to the “Great Push ”on the Somme that formed a leading topic of Volume VII. After the dramatic victory of Beaumont-Hamel came the winter raids which played no small part in undermining the moral of the enemy. Next occurred the capture of Bapaume and the taking of Peronne. Then followed the memorable Battle of Arras which started 011 April 9th on a twelve-mile front between the vicinity 'of the old capital of Artois and the formidably fortified pit-head villages (or cites) of equally war-scarred Lens. Vimy Monchy-le-Preux Wancourt Ileninel Gavrclle and Guemappe fell to the prowess of British arms and the battle reached its epic consummation in the capture of Bullecourt 011 May 17th. OLLOWING the victory at Messines Ridge on June 7th there opened on July 31st the Third Battle of Ypres the history of which is carried down to August 3rd when St. Julien was occupied by the British. Meanwhile our gallant French Allies, who shared the honours of the Ypres offensive had occupied Roye Noyon and Jussy. Their valour in the hitter lighting for Craonnc Ridge and the Chemin dcs Dames in Champagne and on the Aisne is vividly reflected in our pages in accord with the effort that has been made consistently throughout all the volumes of The Wak Ai.U U toM set forth in picture and story as chronologically and as lucidly as possible the sequence of events. Historically important and full of tragic human appeal areas the battles on the western front, the progress of the titanic struggle on other fronts was of only less dramatic significance. For example British prestige in the Fast which received so lamentable a blow by the fall of Kut-el-Arnara was more than restored by the brilliant victories of the Anglo-Indian army under Sir Stanley Maude. OT only was Kut-el-Amara recaptured but Bagdad was taken and the Turks were pursued beyond the confines of that classic city of old romance. In the Sinai Peninsula also the enemy was driven back and with Sir Edmund Allenby in supreme command of the British forces in Egypt and the Holy Land it seemed as the third year was ending that highly important happenings might be looked for in that part of the world. One deplorable event is recorded in the military collapse which followed the revolution in Russia. This was not immediate. After the abdication of the Tsar in March there was a brilliant Russian inoffensive East Galicia in the opening of July but this was doomed to early failure. j*« H E chaos in Petrograd spread to the troops in the firing-line. Defection and mutiny led to inglorious retreat and once more the Austrian command was allowed to taste the rare fruits of victory. Against the Russian debacle however compensation came in the whole-hearted enthusiasm with which the United States after they had thrown in their lot with the Allies in April entered the field to champion the cause of liberty against the foes of civilisation. Further­more in the Balkans though little alteration took place in the situation around Monastir there came at last an end to the long-drawn-out triumph of Teutonic intrigue in Athens. V " N June King Constantine was compelled to abdicate his second son Prince Alexander, ascended the throne under the aegis of the Allies, anew Cabinet was formed by M. Venizelos and Greece, no longer under thinly-disguised German vassalage, formally entered the war against the Central Powers, much as several of the South American States followed the example of their northern neighbours while China also declared war 011 the universal enemy. In the south of Europe Britains long arm was outstretched in aid to the great new effort made by the heroic Italian army, under General Cadorna to capture Trieste. British guns echoed on the Isoiwo and British monitors putin an appearance in the Gulf of Trieste. On the Italian front as elsewhere more and more importance began to be attached to the new arm—the aeroplane. Italy as well as France adopted the policy of air-reprisals. Great Britain 011 the other hand apart from strengthen­ing her airmen in France and Flanders confined her aerial offensive to attacking the enemy submarine base at Zeebrugge and his aerodromes and ammunition centres near the Belgian coast. HERE was a renewal of the aerial invasion of England raids taking place 011 Folkestone in May and on London in June and July. Meanwhile enemy submarine activity continued to make serious inroads on British and allied shipping but not to the extent anticipated by its instigators. The out­standing event at sea was the historic destroyer fight in the English Channel 011 the night of April 20-21, when the Swift and Broke 011 patrol duty defeated a German flotilla of six destroyers. It will be realised by every reader who has scanned these brief notes on a few of the special features of the epoch-making events described by pen and camera in our present volume that the claim made in our opening paragraph is amply justified. J. A.H.
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