The Great War Part 178, January 12th 1918

410 The Great War TROOPS FOR WEST AFR IC A.Men of the Portuguese artil­lery about to embark at Lisbon for Angola. Portuguese Aerial Com­mission too was sent to the School of Aero­nautics a t Lausanne, in Switzerland. The first three pilot certifi­cates were granted to Portuguese officers in March 1916 and before the close of 1917 the Portuguese military school probably pos­sessed at least a dozen hangars. Once established in the trenches the Portu­guese lost no time in upbringing their num­bers to a formidable basis. B they autumn of 1917 according to a conservative estimate there were about 50000 troops stationed on the western front in the neighbourhood of Ypres some 20000 more being stationed in readiness in Portugal while more than 2000 men of the Portuguese heavy artillery were in training in England'. The Portuguese rank and file have always shown great resolution when ably led and on the western front these qualities were very freely displayed. This is not to be wondered bat y those who have studied the records of the British officers who served in the Peninsular War in the early days of the nineteenth century—- Portuguese troops records which frequently bear striking near Ypres testimony to the qualities of the Iberian troops which these officers had to lead. The bravery shown b they Portuguese troops on the western front moreover was doubly notable since it frequently shone in somewhat depressing circumstances. Owing to the enthusiasm and the haste with which a number of these troops were despatched to the area of conflict their equipment had b y no means kept pace with their spirit and but for the assistance of the Allies there is no doubt that many of these fine P oitu gu ese soldiers in France and Flanders would have suffered severely in the Portuguese ojjlciul photograph. PORTUGUESE INFANT R YON PAR A DE.On a peace footing the Portuguese Army consisted of about 32000 men but it was estimated that its war strength could be brought up to more than three times that number. course of the winter seeing that they were inadequately prepared in the way of clothing for the severities of the climate. In the neighbourhood of Ypres the Portuguese bore themselves manfully and did their share of raiding and of resisting attacks. Yet even here they did not seem to be altogether free from the machinations of the Germans, who realising the very important strategic position of the western republic would have given much to conciliate its Government. A remarkable instance of this was testified toby a Portuguese officer in July 1917 when on the. occasion of a Portuguese attack, the 14th Regiment of the Line penetrated as far as the second line of the hostile trenches. The Germans apparently had made no attempt to wait to meet them in the first and in this a placard had been left bearing the words, live“Long the 14th Regiment! "Such amenities when arising from a Prussian source were notoriously dangerous. This specious attempt, however utterly' failed, if as is probable such results had been hoped for as at an earlier date were tragically achieved on the Russian frontier The efforts of the Portuguese arms was e have seen were not confined to Europe and we may now turn again to the African theatre of war where continuous and bitter fighting had been proceeding, although until the sum­mer of 1917 no very de­finite decisions had been brought about notwithstanding the fact that the German colonial forces were becoming more and more penned in. A t the beginning of 1916 the East African campaign, after suffering many vicissitudes was progressing favour­ ably and the value of the Portuguese assistance to the Allies was increasingly Progress in East evident. It is certain that but for the Africa Portuguese garrisons established to the south of German East Africa the war in this part of the con­tinent would have been far more prolonged for it was the situation of the Portuguese troops that made it possible for the combined forces to effect the complete surrounding of the German columns and to overcome little b y little a resistance which was rendered the more effective owing to the very difficult nature of the country. A sit was the presence of the Portuguese made a con­tinuous retreat impossible for the Germans and on the East Coast of Africa these were steadily driven farther south towards the Portuguese border or else in the direction of the coast. As the area of hostilities lessened, collisions between the hostile forces increased in number, and the excesses of the Germans frequently resulted in a condition of no quarter on either side.
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