The War Illustrated No 9 Vol 1 November 11th 1939

258 The War Illustrated November 1 ItA, 1939 In Fifty Days They Didn’t Drop a Bomb! Seven weeks had passed and still the great offensive had not come. Indeed, there were some in Paris who went so far as to say that the war on the Western Front had resolved itself into a stalemate. German soil, but the fighting had been entirely a matter of outpost engagements, of patrol fighting patrol in“ No-man’s land,” and of long-range artillery duels between the guns in the Maginot and Siegfried Lines. Considerable progress had been made and that the menace of the attack was fully realized by the Nazis was evidenced by the fact that many of the towns in the war zone had been eleared of their civilian population. It had been said in the newspapers, though not in the official communiques, that Saarbruecken was practically surrounded and could be captured at any moment, and the same fate was believed to be threatening several other of the Rhineland towns. When the Germans delivered their long-expected counter-attack it was re­vealed that the French had retired from their advanced positions a fortnight before. In the French War Communique No. 87, issued on the night of October 17, it was stated that :“Towards the end of yesterday afternoon the Germans, supported by heavy artillery fire, launched a second attack over a front of 18 miles in the region east of the Saar. Our light advance elements withdrew gradually as planned, but our fire upheld the enemy on the pre-arranged Inline. anticipation of this resumption of the German offensive the French command a fortnight ago decided to withdraw to other positions those French divisions which had taken the offensive on German territory in order indirectly to assist the Polish armies. The whole of the necessary movements were completed by October 3. After that date we had only light advance elements and a few supporting units in contact with the enemy.” The communique issued by the German High Command on the same day con­firmed the retirement: “French troops yesterday evacuated the greater part of the German territory occupied by them in front of our fortifications. They retreated to and over the frontier.” In readiness for the attack the Germans had massed avery large number of troops, after the first fifty days of war no/\ fighting on the grand scale had been seen on the Western Front. As one of the great Paris newspapers put it, a “kind of half truce ”was in opera­tion, thanks to which civilian life and railway and road traffic had been able to continue almost normally on both sides of the frontier. For a few weeks the French had en­gaged inoffensive operations. Their line had been carried over the frontier onto The soldiers of 1939, like those of 1914, some times tra v line goods wagons .They are e q u ally ready with apiece of chalk ,and“ V iv e la France ,”“V iv e la England ”and“ G o tt Strafe H itle r”are some of the inscriptions that they have chalked up. Photo, Sport and General After a discuss ion of plans, Viscount G o r t ,British C .-in-C .,and General Game lin ,French C.-in -C.,are seen above taking a stroll near head q u a rte rs. B e lo ware British howitzers in Eng landon their way to embarkation for the front. For easy tran sport the barrels are detached from the breech and carrie don apse rate limb e rs. Photos, Associated Press,
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