WWII Account of the Battle of Narvik. Written by unknown Serviceman on board H.M.S Hero.

‘Reprinted from “ The ‘Doily Mail” of March 4, 1915. THE SPLENDID STORY OF THE BATTLE OF YPRES. By W ILL IRWIN. “ The 31st of October was the decisive point of the action before Ypres; but no one knew it then.........................The American Civil War has been called the most terrible in modern history. In this one battle Europe lost as many men as the North lost in the whole Civil W a r .....................Yet the real news—the news that the battle of Ypres was decisive, on the Western front, that it may rank with Waterloo and Blenheim for glory and for effect—that news is coming out only now, months after the event.” A lth ou gh the battle o f Y p res has already been briefly sketched in F ield'M arsh al Sir John F rench’s despatches, this is the first time that the story o f the G erm an s’ vast and unsuccessful attem pt to break through to C alais has been told in the form o f a graphic narrative intelligible to others than m ilitary students. F rom the pen o f M r. W ill Irwin, a w ell-k n ow n A m erican journalist w h o is n o w in this coun try, w e are able to give to the public the first com plete account o f a battle w hich w ill live as on e o f the greatest in history. M r. Irwin is exceptionally w ell in form ed concerning the events w h ich he describes b e lo w . H e is w ell k n o w n as a contributor to “ C ollier’s W e e k ly ” and the “ Saturday E vening P ost,” and w ill be rem em bered as the author o f the charm ing article o n 4 4 British C a lm ” published in “ T h e D a ily M a il" o f January 2 5 . N a parliamentary debate held during February the Opposition expressed a strong hope that members of the Press might have access to the British lines in order that the public might know about the “ Battle of Ypres ” and the glorious feats of British arms thereat per­ formed. To many, to most, of the English this was the first news that any part of the great, continuous battle along the French border had been divided by anyone into battles or minor en­ gagements. They knew, this British public, that there had been great feats of arms in and about the old capital of French Flanders; they knew that England had become dark with mourning for the men lost in those trying days; they knew that somehow since November Germany was a nation besieged by land and water, a nation fighting a defensive battle; they did not know, the cause. The confused im­ mensity of this war; the^veil drawn by military censorship; the very novelty of military science brought about by new servants of death, such as the aeroplane, have so confused the situation, so muddled the public mind, that even the Copyright in U .S.A . by the “ New York Tribune.” military experts at home have only begun to realise that a great, decisive action, separate from the rest of the war in its character and consequences, occurred on the line between La Bassee and the sea in October and November of 1911. A decisive action—perhaps the really decisive action of the war. Indeed, when history runs a thread through the confusions and obscurities of Armageddon, historians may call it the most vital battle in the annals of the island people. Not Crecy nor Blenheim nor Waterloo seems now more important. For it closed the last gap in the combined defensive-offensive operations of the Western Allies. It made impossible—short of an utter collapse of the Allied Armies — any further German move on Paris or any move to take the French in the rear. Most importantly to England, it sealed the road to Calais, that vital, critical port within eyesight of the English coast. Further, more English troops were engaged here than in any previous battle of the Empire, more Germans than in the whole Franco-Prussian War— a hundred and twenty thousand English against six hundred thousand Germans. Yet one thinks of the English force, and rightly, as a “ little ” army in this war of unprecedented numbers; it seems, in its relation to the whole picture, like one of those brigades which won immortal glory in old wars by holding a crucial point on a battle-line. TH E ONLY VETERAN ARM Y. Up to that brief breathing-spell when the British Army shifted from its position on the Aisne to its new fighting-ground on the Western front, it had been engaged every day for seven weeks. There had been the attack at Mons, when its force, equivalent in numbers to two army corps, found themselves attacked by four German corps and outflanked on the left by another. There followed four days of a backward fight which every surviving Tommy of the British Expeditionary Force remembers only as a confused kind of Hell. By night they dropped on their faces to wake to the sound of guns, to the bursting of shells, to more marching, more action. By day the massed German lines poured
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