The Great War Part 181, February 2nd 1918

gags i f v S 8 5 a E S l l '^Che Great War EDITORS H. W. WILSON J. A. HAMMERTON EDITORIAL m i i P^OM L TINGE the account of the victory at Lange- m arck Mr. Wrights story proceeds in this Part with the story of the advance on Zonnebeke and the capture of Polygon Wood and Veldhoek and first with the operations around Inverness Copse and the Bremen Redoubt. The second chapter of the story of this phase of the offensive also begins in this present Part and will be continued in the next issue of The Great War .Sir Douglas Haigs Despatch CIR DOUG LASH A IG S despatch relating the general ^British operations between April and November, 1917 has now been published. The report begins with the Battle of Arras which opened on April 9th and in its intensive character ended on May 5th. Activity continued on that front for reasons connected with the French operations on the Aisne until the middle of June when the spring campaign maybe said to have terminated. Meanwhile preparations were being made for the attack on theM essines-W ytschaete Ridge the possession of which was essential to the later prosecution of an inoffensive Flanders. This offensive which has been called officially, the Third Battle of Ypres began on July 31st and was con­tinued in successive phases on August 16th and September 20th and— with intermediate advances on September 26th and 27th October 4th 9th 12th and 26th— on November 6th to 10th when the final stages brought the capture of Passchendaele. The offensive had thus covered a period of about three and a half months and it is the story of the battles fought in its course that Mr. Wright has been telling in recent chapters of our History. SUBSCRIBERS to The Great War should make a point of perusing Sir Douglas H aigs despatch, among other reasons in order to observe with what penetrating understanding and fidelity to fact Mr. Wright has accomplished his task. Mr. Wrights chapters were, of course completed and in type some weeks ago so that he had no opportunity of reconsidering them in the light of the despatch which was only made public on January 9th. It is a gratification to the Editors that it reveals no fact in respect of which alteration has had to be made in their pages and justifies them once more in declaring The Great War to bean absolutely accurate History that may remain the standard one for years to come. A Proud Record APART altogether from this relatively minor con­sideration Sir Douglas H aigs despatch should be procured and studied because of the inspiriting effect it cannot fail to have on any mind. The Comtnander-in- Chief insists that the results which were achieved in 1917 justify a feeling of complete satisfaction and he declares that the ultimate destruction of the enem ys field forces* has been brought appreciably nearer.” In the period covered b they despatch the enem ys effectives were actually reduced b y casualties far in excess of those suffered b they British Army band they very considerable number of 57696 prisoners including 1290 officers while in addition the British captured 393 guns of which 100 were heavy 561 trench-m ortars and 1976 machine-guns. “Most important of all our new and hastily-trained armies have shown once again that they are capable of meeting and beating the enem ys best troops.” Readers of The Great War have been enabled to visualise many of the thrilling situations in which the British troops manifested that capability. History in Mosaic Work 'T'HE mere fact that modern conditions of warfare require a Comm ander-in-Chief to comprise in the heading of a single “battle ”operations which have overextended a period of three and a half months is some measure of the difficulty that attends the task of the contemporary historian. In addition to the knowledge of both strategy and tactics which is the first essential qualification for his work he must have an eye quick to perceive the salient facts in the enormous mass of material provided for him b they daily communiques band they despatches from the war correspondents attached to the daily Press. These able men describe for their newspapers the operations and feats which come within the range of their own vision but vivid and valuable as they are they nevertheless are but detached pieces of brilliant material. Arbitrary selection from them would have no real value for a permanent History which Could possibly be comprised within reasonable limits. The selection must be made with knowledge of relative values and with “vision.” Then only can it result in a mosaic picture at once brilliant and of permanent value. That— to come from the general to the particular— is the distinguishing merit of the records of the great battles of this world-wide conflict as presented in The Great War.- PHISH has been said byway of reply to friendly critics who urge sometimes that greater space might be given to the heroic achievements of particular regiments and individual soldiers. Gladly as the Editors would consent to the appeal they are bound b y rigid rules of proportion in the development of their work. With regard to the individual men who have distinguished themselves above their fellows b they splendour of their valour and devotion to duty band they fullness of their sacrifice something has been done and will be done again, b they inclusion in the History of chapters narrating the actions which have won the Victoria Cross and giving all too brief memorial notice of outstanding names upon the Empires Roll of Honour. A s has been notified already the final chapter in the present volume will be devoted to the men who won the Victoria Cross in the third year of the war. Binding Cases for Previous Volumes I T is timely to remind subscribers that the date is approaching when the price of the binding cases of The Great War will be raised in accordance with announcements already made. The present volume, Vol. X .concludes with Part 186 which will be dated for March 9th and published on March 4th when the binding cases will be on sale. The present prices for binding cases for Volumes I.to IX .will remain in force until that date but thereafter they will cost the same as the cases for Volum eX.— nam ely 3s. in cloth and 5s. 6d. in the scarlet leather with full gilt backs. Subscribers who still have previous Parts unbound should now lose no time in having them bound while the original price still remains in force and so avoid the necessity of paying on any of these the increased charge which circumstances have compelled the publishers to make with the completion of Volume X .The Great War—P a r t 181.
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