Part 6 out of 6
Austrian Crown Prince Ferdinand in 1914, and the subsequent
invasion of Servia by the armies of Austria.
We have here spoken of the stages by which Servia gradually won
its independence from Turkey and its recognition as a
full-fledged member of the European family of nations. There are
several others of the Balkan group which similarly won
independence from Turkey and to the story of which some passing
allusion is desirable.
How Greece won its independence has been already told. Another of
the group, the diminutive mountain state of Montenegro, much the
smallest of them all, has the honor of being the only section of
that region of Europe that maintained its independence during the
long centuries of Turkish domination. Its mountainous character
enabled its hardy inhabitants to hold their own against the Turks
in a series of deadly struggles. In 1876-78 its ruler, Prince
Nicholas, joined in the war of Servia and Russia against Turkey,
the result being that 1,900 square miles was changed from a
principality into a kingdom, Prince Nicholas gaining the title of
King Nicholas. A second acquisition of territory succeeded the
Balkan War of 1913, the adjoining Turkish province of Novibazar
being divided between it and Servia.
TURKEY IN EUROPE
With this summary of the story of the Balkans we shall proceed to
give in more detail its recent history, comprising the wars of
1876-78 and of 1912-13. As for the relations between Turkey and
the Balkan peninsula, it is well known how the Asiatic conquerors
known as Turks, having subdued Asia Minor, invaded Europe in
1355, overran most of the Balkan country, and attacked and took
Constantinople in 1453. Servia, Bosnia, Albania, and Greece were
added to the Ottoman Empire, which subdued half of Hungary and
received its first check on land before the walls of Vienna in
1529, and on the ocean at the battle of Lepanto in 1571. Vienna
was again besieged by the Turks in 1683, and was then saved from
capture by Sobieski of Poland and Charles of Lorraine.
This was the end of Turkish advance in Europe. Since that date it
has been gradually yielding to European assault, Russia beginning
its persistent attacks upon Turkey about the middle of the
eighteenth century. At that time Turkey occupied a considerable
section of Southern Russia, but by the end of the century much of
this had been regained. In 1812 Russia won that part of Moldavia
and Bessarabia which lies beyond the Pruth, in 1828 it gained the
principal mouth of the Danube, and in 1829 it crossed the Balkans
and took Adrianople. The independence of Greece was acknowledged
the same year.
The next important event in the history of Turkey in Europe was
the Crimean War, the story of which has been told in an earlier
chapter. The chief results of it were a weakening of Russian
influence in Turkey, the abolition of the Russian protectorate
over Moldavia and Wallachia (united in 1861 as the principality
of Roumania), and the cession to Turkey of part of Bessarabia.
Turkey also came out of the Crimean War weakened and shorn of
territory. But the Turkish idea of government remained unchanged,
and in twenty years' time Russia was fairly goaded into another
war. In 1875 Bosnia rebelled in consequence of the insufferable
oppression of the Turkish tax-collectors. The brave Bosnians
maintained themselves so sturdily in their mountain fastnesses
that the Turks almost despaired of subduing them, and the
Christian subjects of the Sultan in all quarters became so
stirred up that a general revolt was threatened.
THE BULGARIAN HORRORS
The Turks undertook to prevent this in their usual fashion.
Irregular troops were sent into Christian Bulgaria with orders to
kill all they met. It was an order to the Mohammedan taste. The
defenseless villages of Bulgaria were entered and their
inhabitants slaughtered in cold blood, till thousands of men,
women, and children had been slain.
When tidings of these atrocities reached Europe the nations were
filled with horror. The Sultan made smooth excuses, and diplomacy
sought to settle the affair, but it became evident that a
massacre so terrible as this could not be condoned so easily.
Disraeli, then prime minister of Great Britain, sought to
minimize these reports so as to avert a great war in which
England might be plunged. But Gladstone, at that time in
retirement, arose, and by his pamphlet on the "Bulgarian Horrors"
aroused a fierce public sentiment in England. His denunciation
rang out like a trumpet-call. "Let the Turks now carry away their
abuses in the only possible manner - by carrying off themselves,"
he wrote. "Their Zaptiehs and their Mudirs, their Bimbashis and
their Yuzbachis, shall, I hope, clear out from the province they
have desolated and profaned."
He followed up this pamphlet by a series of speeches, delivered
to great meetings and to the House of Commons, with which for
four years he sought, as he expressed it, "night and day to
counterwork the purpose of Lord Beaconsfield." He succeeded;
England was prevented by his eloquence from actively resisting
Russia; and he excited the fury of the war party to such an
extent that at one time it was not safe for him to appear in the
streets of London.
Hostilities were soon proclaimed. The Russians, of the same race
and religious sect as the Bulgarians, were excited beyond
control, and in April 1877, Alexander II declared war against
Turkey. The outrages of the Turks had been so flagrant that no
allies came to their aid, while the rottenness of their empire
was shown by the rapid advance of the Russian armies. They
crossed the Danube in June. In a month later, they had occupied
the principal passes of the Balkan mountains and were in position
to descend on the broad plain that led to Constantinople. But at
this point in their career they met with a serious check. Osman
Pasha, the single Turkish commander of ability that the war
developed, occupied the town of Plevna with such forces as he
could gather, fortified it as strongly as possible, and from its
walls defied the Russians.
THE DEFENSE OF PLEVNA
The invaders dared not advance and leave this stronghold in their
rear. For five months all the power of Russia and the skill of
its generals were held in check by this brave man and his
followers, until Europe and America alike looked on with
admiration at his remarkable defense, in view of which the cause
of the war was almost forgotten. The Russian general Kudener was
repulsed with the loss of 8,000 men. The daring Skobeleff strove
in vain to launch his troops over Osman's walls. At length
General Todleben undertook the siege, adopting the slow but safe
method of starving out the defenders. Osman Pasha now showed his
courage, as he had already shown his endurance. When hunger and
disease began to reduce the strength of his men, he resolved on a
final desperate effort. At the head of his brave garrison the
"Lion of Plevna" sallied from the city, and fought with desperate
courage to break through the circle of his foes. He was finally
driven back into the city and compelled to surrender.
Osman had won glory, and his fall was the fall of the Turkish
cause. The Russians crossed the Balkans, capturing in the Schipka
Pass a Turkish army of 30,000 men. Adrianople was taken, and the
Turkish line of retreat cut off. The Russians marched to the
Bosporus, and the Sultan was compelled to sue for peace to save
his capital from falling into the hands of the Christians, as it
had fallen into those of the Turks four centuries before.
Russia had won the game for which she had made so long a
struggle. The treaty of San Stefano practically decreed the
dissolution of the Turkish Empire. But at this juncture the other
nations of Europe took part. They were not content to see the
balance of power destroyed by Russia becoming master of
Constantinople, and England demanded that the treaty should be
revised by the European Powers in order to guard her own route to
India. Russia protested, but Beaconsfield threatened war, and the
Czar gave way.
THE CONGRESS OF BERLIN
The Congress of Berlin, to which the treaty was referred, settled
the question in the following manner: Montenegro, Roumania, and
Servia were declared independent, and Bulgaria became free,
except that it had to pay an annual tribute to the Sultan. The
part of old Bulgaria that lay south of the Balkan Mountains was
named Eastern Roumelia and given its own civil government, but
was left under the military control of Turkey. Bosnia and
Herzegovina were placed under the control of Austria. All that
Russia obtained for her victories were some provinces in Asia
Minor. Turkey was terribly shorn, and since then her power has
been further reduced, for Eastern Roumelia has broken loose from
her control and united itself again to Bulgaria.
Another twenty years passed, and Turkey found itself at war
again. It was the old story, the oppression of the Christians.
This time the trouble began in Armenia, a part of Turkey in Asia,
where in 1895 and 1896 terrible massacres took place. Indignation
reigned in Europe, but fears of a general war kept the Powers
from using force, and the Sultan paid no heed to the reforms he
had promised to make.
In 1896 the Christians (Greeks) of the island of Crete broke out
in revolt against the oppression and tyranny of Turkish rule. Of
all the Powers of Europe little Greece was the only one that came
to their aid, and the great nations, still inspired with the fear
of a general war, sent their fleets and threatened Greece with
blockade unless she would withdraw her troops.
The result was one scarcely expected. Greece was persistent, and
gathered a threatening army on the frontier of Turkey, and war
broke out in 1897 between the two states. The Turks now, under an
able commander, showed much of their ancient valor and
intrepidity, crossing the frontier, defeating the Greeks in a
rapid series of engagements, and occupying Thessaly, while the
Greek army was driven back in a state of utter demoralization. At
this juncture, when Greece lay at the mercy of Turkey, as Turkey
had lain at that of Russia twenty years before, the Powers, which
had refused to aid Greece in her generous but hopeless effort,
stepped in to save her from ruin. Turkey was bidden to call a
halt, and the Sultan reluctantly stopped the march of his army.
He demanded the whole of Thessaly and a large indemnity in money.
The former the Powers refused to grant, and reduced the indemnity
to a sum within the power of Greece to pay. Thus the affair
ended, and such was the status of the Eastern Question until the
hatred of the Balkan States again leaped into flame in the
memorable Balkan War of 1912.
HOSTILE SENTIMENTS OF THE BALKANS
As may be seen from what has been said, the sentiment of
hostility between the Christian States of the Balkan region and
the Mohammedan empire of Turkey was not likely to be easily
allayed. The atrocities of persecution which the Christians had
suffered at the hands of the Turks were unforgotten and
unavenged, and to them was added an ambitious desire to widen
their dominions at the expense of Turkey, if possible to drive
Turkey completely out of Europe and extend their areas of control
to the Mediterranean and the Bosporus. These states consisted of
Servia, made an autonomous principality in 1830, an independent
principality in 1878, and a kingdom in 1882; Bulgaria, an
autonomous principality in 1878, an independent kingdom in 1908;
Roumania, an autonomous principality in 1802, an independent
principality in 1878, a kingdom in 1881; Montenegro, an
independent principality in 1878, a kingdom in 1910; Eastern
Roumelia, autonomous in 1878, annexed to Bulgaria in 1885.
Adjoining these on the south was Greece, an independent kingdom
since 1830. The former provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina had
been assigned to Austrian administrative control in 1878, and
annexed by Austria-Hungary in 1908, an act which added to the
feeling of unrest in the Balkan States.
The relations existing between the Balkan States and their
neighbors was one of dissatisfaction and hostility which might at
any time break into war, this being especially the case with
those which bordered directly upon Turkey - Servia, Bulgaria,
Montenegro and Greece. Roumania, being removed from contact, had
less occasion to entertain warlike sentiments.
INCITEMENT TO WAR
A fitting time for this indignation and hostile feeling to break
out into war came in 1912, as a result of the invasion and
conquest of Tripoli by Italy in 1911-12. This war, settled by a
protocol in favor of Italy on October 15, 1912, had caused
financial losses and political unrest in Turkey which offered a
promising opportunity for the states to carry into effect their
long-cherished design. They did not act as a unit, the smallest
of them, Montenegro,, declaring war on Turkey on October 8th, and
Greece, on October 17th. In regard to Servia and Bulgaria, Turkey
took the initiative, declaring war on them October 17, 1912.
But acts of war did not wait for a formal declaration. On October
5th, King Peter of Servia thus explained to the National Assembly
of that state his reasons for mobilizing his troops:
"I have applied with friendly counsels to Constantinople
regarding the misery which the Christian nationalities, including
ours, are suffering in Turkey, and it is to be regretted that all
this was of no avail. Instead of the expected reforms we were
surprised a few days ago by the mobilization of the Turkish army
near our frontiers. To this act, by which our safety was
endangered, Servia had only one reply. By my decree our army was
put into a mobile state.
"Our position is clear. Our duty is to undertake measures
insuring our safety. It is our duty, in conformity with other
Christian Balkan states, to do everything in our power to insure
proper conditions for a real and permanent peace in the Balkans."
The first raid into Turkish territory was made by the Bulgarian
bandit Sandansky, who in 1902 had kidnapped Miss Ellen M. Stone,
an American missionary, and held her for a ransom of $65,000 to
procure funds for his campaign. At the head of a band of 2,500
Bulgarians he crossed the frontier and burned the Turkish
blockhouse at Oschumava, afterwards occupying a strategic
position above the Struma River.
The Montenegro army opened the war on October 9th, by attacking a
strong Turkish position opposite Podgoritza, Franz Peter, the
youngest son of King Nicholas, firing the first shot. Bulgaria,
without waiting to declare war, crossed the frontier on October
14th and made a sharp attack on the railway patrols between Sofia
and Uskut. Sharp fighting at the same time took place on the
Greek frontier, the Greeks capturing Malurica Pass, the chief
mountain pass leading from Greece to Turkey on the northern
frontier. As regards the reasons impelling Greece to take an
active part in the war, it must be remembered that the great
majority of Greeks still lived under the Turkish flag, while the
twelve islands in the Aegean Sea seized by Italy during its war
with Turkey were clamoring to be annexed to Greece instead of
being returned to Turkey by the treaty of peace between Italy and
Such were the conditions and events existing at the opening of
the war. It developed with great rapidity, a number of important
battles being fought, in which the Turks were defeated. The
military strength of the combined states exceeded that of Turkey,
and within a month's time they made rapid advances, the goals
sought by them being Constantinople, Adrianople, Salonica and
THE ADVANCE ON ADRIANOPLE
The most important of the Balkan movements was that of the
Bulgarian army upon Adrianople, the second to Constantinople in
importance of Turkish cities. By October 20th the Bulgarian main
army had forced the Turks back upon the outward forts of this
stronghold, while the left wing threatened the important post of
Kirk-Kilisseh, in Thrace, about thirty miles northeast of
Adrianople. This place, regarded as "the Key to Adrianople," was
take on the 24th, after a three days' fight, the Turkish forces,
said to be 150,000 strong, retiring in disorder.
The Bulgarians continued their advance, fighting over a wide
semicircular area before Adrianople, upon which city they
gradually closed, taking some of the outer forts and making their
bombardment felt within the city itself.
SERVIAN AND GREEK VICTORIES
While the Bulgarians were making such vigorous advances towards
the capital of the Turkish empire, their allies were winning
victories in other quarters. Novibazar, capital of the sanjak of
the same name, was taken by the Servians on October 23rd.
Prishtina and other towns and villages of Old Servia were also
taken, the victors being received by the citizens with open arms
of welcome and other demonstrations of joy. Tobacco and
refreshments were pressed upon the soldiers, while the people put
all their possessions at the disposal of the military
The Greeks were also successful, an army under the Crown Prince
capturing the town of Monastir, which was garrisoned by a Turkish
force estimated at 40,000. The Montenegrin forces were regarded
as of high importance as a means of widening the area of their
narrow kingdom. Other important towns or Old Servia were taken,
including Kumanova, captured on the 25th, Uskab, captured on the
26th, and Istib, 45 miles to the southwest, occupied without
opposition on the following day. This place, a very strong
natural position in the mountains, was known as the Adrianople of
THE BULGARIAN SUCCESSES
While these movements were taking place in the west, the siege of
Adrianople was vigorously pushed. It was completely surrounded
by Bulgarian troops by the 29th, and its commander formally
summoned to surrender the city. The besiegers, however, had
great difficulties to overcome, the country around being
inundated by the rivers Maretza and Arda in consequence of heavy
rains. These floods at the same time impeded the movements of
On October 31st, after another three-day fight, the Bulgarians
achieved the great success of the war, defeating a Turkish army
of 200,000 men. Only a fortnight had passed since Turkey
declared war. The first week of the campaign closed with the
dramatic fall of Kirk-Kilesseh, fully revealing for the first
time the disorganization, bad morale and inefficient commissariat
of the Turkish army. Ten days later that army was defeated and
routed, within fifty miles from Constantinople, forcing it to
retreat within the capital's line of defenses.
Apparently Nazim Pasha had been completely outmaneuvered by
Savoff's generalship. The Bulgarian turning movement along the
Black Sea coast appears to have been a feint, which induced the
Turkish commander to throw his main army to the eastward, to such
effect that the Bulgarian force on this side had the greatest
difficulty in holding the Turks in check.
In fact, the Bulgarians gave way, and thus enabled Nazim Pasha to
report to Constantinople some success in this direction. In the
meantime, however, General Savoff hurled his great strength
against the Turks' weakened left wing, which he crushed in at
Lule Burgas. The fighting along the whole front, which evidently
was of the most stubborn and determined character, was carried on
day and night without intermission, and both sides lost heavily.
The final result was to force the Turks within the defensive
lines of Tchatalja, the only remaining fortified position
protecting Constantinople. These lines lie twenty-five miles to
the northwest of the capital.
The seat of war between Bulgaria and Turkey, aside from the
continued siege of Adrianople, was by this success transferred to
the Tchatalja lines, along which the opposing armies lay
stretched during the week succeeding the Lule Burgas victory.
Here siege operations were vigorously prosecuted, but the Turks,
though weakened by an outbreak of cholera in their ranks,
succeeded in maintaining their position.
STEPS TOWARD PEACE
Elsewhere victory followed the banners of the allies. On
November 8th the important port of Salonica was taken by the
Greeks, and on the 18th the Servians captured Monastir, the
remaining Turkish stronghold in Macedonia. The fighting here was
desperate, lasting three days, the Turkish losses amounting to
about 20,000 men. In Albania the Montenegrin siege of Scutari
continued, though so far without success.
Turkey had now enough of the war. On November 3d she had asked a
mediation of the Powers, but these replied that she must treat
directly with the Balkan nations. This caused delay until the
end of the month, the protocol of an armistice being approved by
the Turkish cabinet on November 30th, and signed by
representatives of Turkey, Bulgaria, Servia and Montenegro on
December 3d. Greece refused to sign, but at a later date agreed
to take part in a conference to meet in London on December 16th.
This peace conference continued in session until January 6, 1913,
without reaching any conclusions, Turkey refusing to accept the
Balkan demands that she should yield practically the whole of her
territory in Europe. At the final session of the conference she
renounced her claim to the island of Crete, and promised to
rectify her Thracian frontier, but insisted upon the retention of
Adrianople. This place, the original capital of the Ottoman
Empire in Europe, and containing the splendid mosque of Sultan
Selim, was highly esteemed by the Mohammedans, who clung to it as
a sacred city.
War seemed likely to be resumed, though the European Powers
strongly suggested to Turkey the advisability of yielding on this
point, and leaving the question of the fate of the Aegean Islands
to the Powers, which promised also to guard Mussulman interests
in Adrianople. Finally, on January 22d, the Porte consented to
this request of the Powers, a decision which was vigorously
resented by the warlike party known as Young Turks.
Demonstrations at once broke out in Constantinople, leading to
the overthrow of the cabinet and the murder of Nazim Pasha,
former minister of war and commander-in-chief of the Turkish
army. He was succeeded by Enver Bey, the most spirited leader of
the Young Turks, who became chief of staff of the army.
On January 30th the Balkan allies denounced their armistice and a
renewed war seemed imminent. On the same day the Ottoman
government offered a compromise, agreeing to divide Adrianople
between the contestants in such a way that they might retain the
mosques and the historic monuments. As for the Aegean Islands,
they would leave these to the disposition of the Powers.
THE WAR RESUMED
To this compromise the Balkan allies refused to agree and on
February 3d hostile operations were resumed. The investment of
Adrianople had remained intact during the interval, and on the
4th a vigorous bombardment took place, the Turkish response being
weak. Forty Servian seven-inch guns had been mounted, their
shells falling into the town, part of which again broke into
flames. At points the lines of besiegers and besieged were only
200 yards apart. An attempt was made also to capture the
peninsula of Gallipoli, which commands the Dardanelles, and thus
take the Turkish force in the rear. Fifty thousand Bulgarians
had been landed on this coast in November, and the Greek fleet in
the Gulf of Saros supported the attack. If successful, there
would be nothing to prevent this fleet from passing the straits,
defeating the inferior Turkish war vessels and attacking
Constantinople from the rear. Fighting in this region continued
for several days, the Turkish forces being driven back, but still
holding their forts.
SIEGE OF SCUTARI
In the west the most important operation at this period was that
of the Montenegrins, led by King Nicholas in person, against
Scutari, an Albanian stronghold which they were eager to possess.
Servian artillery aided in the assault, and on February 8th the
important outwork on Muselim Hill was taken by an impulsive
bayonet charge. The city was not captured, however, until April
23d, when an entire day's ceaseless fighting ended in the
yielding of the garrison, the climax of a six-month siege.
An energetic attack had been made by the Bulgarians and Serbs on
Adrianople on March 14th, ending in a repulse, and on the 22d
another vigorous assault was begun, continuing with terrific
fighting for four days. It ended in a surrender of the city on
the 26th. The siege had continued for 152 days. Before
yielding, the Turks blew up the arsenal and set fire to the city
at several points. At the same time Tchatalja, which had been
actively assailed, fell into the hands of the allies and
Constantinople lay open to assault.
Meanwhile the Powers of Europe had again offered their good
services to mediate between the warring forces, and a conditional
mediation was agreed to by the Balkan allies. Movements towards
peace, however, proceeded slowly, the most interesting event of
the period being a demand by Austria, backed by Italy, that
Montenegro should give up the city of Scutari. Earnest protests
were made against this by King Nicholas, but the despatch of an
Austrian naval division on April 27th to occupy his ports and
march upon Cettinje, his capital, obliged him reluctantly to
yield and on May 5th Scutari was given up to Austria, to form
part of a projected Albanian kingdom.
TREATY OF PEACE
Peace between the warring nations was finally concluded on May
30, 1913, the treaty providing that Turkey should cede to her
allied foes all territory west of a line drawn from Enos on the
Aegean coast to Media on the coast of the Black Sea. This left
Adrianople in the hands of the Bulgarians and gave Turkey only a
narrow strip of territory west of Constantinople, the meager
remnant of her once great holdings upon the continent of Europe.
The victors desired to divide the conquered territory upon a plan
arranged between them before the war, but the purposes of Austria
and Italy were out of agreement with this design and the Powers
insisted in forming out of the districts assigned to Servia and
Greece a new principality to be named Albania, embracing the
region occupied by the unruly Albanian tribes.
This plan gave intense dissatisfaction to the allies. It seemed
designed to cut off Servia from an opening upon the
Mediterranean, which that inland state ardently desired and
Austria strongly opposed. Montenegro was also deprived of the
warmly craved city of Scutari, which she had won after so
vigorous a strife. Bulgaria also was dissatisfied with this new
project and opposed the demands of Servia and Greece for
compensation in land for the loss of Albania or for their support
of the Bulgarian operations.
WAR BETWEEN THE ALLIES
Thus the result of this creation of a new and needless state out
of the conquered territory by the peace-making Powers roused
hostilities among the allies which speedily flung them into a new
war. Bulgaria refused to yield any of the territory held by it
to the Servians and Greeks, and Greece in consequence made a
secret league with Servia against Bulgaria.
It was the old story of a fight over the division of the spoils.
It is doubtful which of the contestants began hostile operations,
but Bulgaria lost no time in marching upon Salonica, held by
Greece, and in attacking the Greek and Servian outposts in
Macedonia. The plans of General Savoff, who had led the
Bulgarians to victory in the late war and who commanded in this
new outbreak, in some way fell into the hands of the Greeks and
gave them an important advantage. They at once, in junction with
the Servians, attacked the Bulgarians and drove them back. From
the accounts of the war, probably exaggerated, this struggle was
accompanied by revolting barbarities upon the inhabitants of the
country invaded, each country accusing the other of shameful
What would have been the result of the war, if fought out between
the original contestants, it is impossible to say, for at this
juncture a new Balkan State, which had taken no part in the
Turkish war, came into the field. This was Roumania, lying north
of Bulgaria and removed from any contact with Turkey. It had had
a quarrel with Bulgaria, dating back to 1878, concerning certain
territory to which it laid claim. This was a strip of land on
the south side of the Danube near its mouth and containing
Silistria and some other cities.
THE FINAL SETTLEMENT
King Charles of Roumania now took the opportunity to demand this
territory, and when his demand was refused by Ferdinand of
Bulgaria he marched an army across the Danube and took the
Bulgarians, exhausted by their recent struggle, in the rear. No
battles were fought. The Roumanian army advanced until within
thirty miles of Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, and Ferdinand was
obliged to appeal for peace, and in the subsequent treaty yielded
to Roumania the tract desired, which served to round out the
frontier on the Black Sea.
Another unexpected event took place. While her late foes were
struggling in a war of their own, Turkey quietly stepped into the
arena, and on July 20th retook possession, without opposition, of
Adrianople, Bulgaria's great prize in the late war.
A peace conference was held at Bukarest, capital of Roumania,
beginning July 30th, and framing a treaty, signed on August 10th.
This provided for the evacuation of Bulgaria by the invading
armies, and also for a division of the conquered territory.
Bulgaria gained the largest amount of territory, though less than
she had claimed. Greece retained the important seaport of
Salonica, the possession of which had been hotly disputed, and
gained the largest sea front. Montenegro, though deprived of the
much-coveted Scutari, was assigned part of northern Albania and
the Turkish sanjak of Novibazar, adjoining on the east,
considerably increasing her diminutive territory.
Servia had most reason to be dissatisfied with the result, in
view of her craving for an opening to the sea. Cut off by
Albania on the west, it sought an opening on the south, demanding
the city of Kavala, on the Aegean Sea. But to this Greece
strongly objected, as that city, one of the great tobacco marts
of the world, was inhabited almost wholly by Greeks. Servia,
however, extended southward far over its old territory, gaining
Uskub, its old capital. And the Powers also agreed that it
should have commercial rights on the Mediterranean, thorough
railroad connection with Salonica.
As regards Turkey's shrewd advantage of the opportunity to retake
Adrianople, it proved a successful move. The Russian press
strongly advocated that the Turks should be ejected, but the
jealousy of the Powers prevented any agreement as to who should
do this and in the end the Turks remained, with a considerable
widening of the tract of land before assigned to them.
In these wars it is estimated that 358,000 persons died, and that
the cost of the two wars, to the several nations involved,
reached a total of $1,200,000,000. Its general result was almost
to complete the work of expelling the Turks from Europe, the
territory lost by them being divided up between the several
Chapter XIX. METHODS IN MODERN WARFARE
Ancient and Modern Weapons - New Types of Weapons - The Ironclad
Warship - The Balloon in War - Tennyson's Foresight - Gunning for
Airships - The Submarine - Under-Water Warfare - The New Type of
Battleship - Mobilization - The Waste of War
One hundred years ago the Battle of Waterloo had just been fought
and Napoleon's star had set never to rise again. For years he
had swept Europe with his armies, rending the nations into
fragments, and winning world-famous victories with weapons that
no one would look for today except in a military museum, weapons
antiquated beyond all possible utility on a modern field of
ANCIENT AND MODERN WEAPONS
Every fresh modern war has been fought with new weapons, and
during the past century there have been countless inventions for
the carrying on of warfare in a more destructive manner,
apparently on the philanthropic theory that war should be made so
terrible that it must quickly pass away.
But it has happened that as soon as a particularly horrible
contrivance was invented and introduced into armies and navies,
other inventors immediately set themselves to offset and discount
its probable effect. Consequently war not only has not passed
away, but we have it with us in more frightful form that ever
before. Thus it is that each big war, after being heralded as
the world's last conflagration, has proved but the herald of
another war, bigger and more death-dealing still.
Since the Civil War in the United States, in which probably more
new features in modes of fighting were introduced than in any
conflict that had preceded it, there have been immense
improvements in arms, in armament and in general efficiency of
both armies and navies. It was the Civil War that brought into
being the turreted MONITOR, one of the greatest contributions to
naval architecture the navies of the world had then known. While
the turrets on the modern battleship are very different in
design, in armor and in arrangement from those on the old
monitors, they are nothing more than an adaptation of the
The same is the case with the small arms and the field guns of
the modern armies, these having been greatly improved since the
period of the Civil war. The breech-loading and even the
magazine rifle are now in use in every army, while the smallest
field piece of today is almost as efficient as the most powerful
gun in use fifty years ago.
The first attempt to use a torpedo boat dates back to the Civil
War. A primitive contrivance it was, but it showed a possibility
in naval warfare which speedily led to the general building of
torpedo boats, and to the invention of the highly efficient
THE IRONCLAD WARSHIP
Another lesson in warfare was taught when the ironclad MERRIMAC
and MONITOR met and fought for mastery in Hampton Roads. The
ironclad vessel was not then a new idea in naval architecture,
but its efficiency as a fighting machine was then first
demonstrated. Iron for armor soon gave way to thick and tough
steel, while each improvement in armor led to a corresponding
improvement in guns and projectiles, until now a battle at sea
has grown to be a remarkably different affair from the great
ocean combats of Nelson's time.
But development in the art of war has not ceased with the
improvement in older types of weapons. New devices, scarcely
thought of in former wars, have been introduced. These include
the use of the balloon and aeroplane as scouting devices, of the
bomb filled with explosives of frightful rending power, and of
the submarine naval shark, designed to attack the mighty
battleships from under water.
THE BALLOON IN WAR
Of recent years the balloon has been developed into the
dirigible, the flying machine that can be steered and directed.
Made effective by Count Zeppelin and others, its possibilities as
an aid in war were quickly perceived. Then came the notable
invention of the Wright Brothers, and after 1904 the aeroplane
quickly expanded into an effective aerial instrument, the
probably serviceableness of which in war was evident to all.
Here we are tempted to stop and quote the remarkable prediction
from Tennyson's "Locksley Hall," the truth of which is now being
so strikingly verified:
"For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the vision of the world and all the wonder that would be;
Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales;
Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rained a ghastly
From the nations' airy navies grappling in the central blue;
Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind rushing warm,
With the standards of the peoples plunging through the thunder
Till the war drum throbbed no longer, and the battle flags were
In the parliament of man, the federation of the world."
GUNNING FOR AIRSHIPS
The airship does not float safely in the cental blue, aside from
attacks by flying foes. Guns pointing upward have been devised
to attack the daring aviator from the ground and flying machines
can thus be swiftly brought down, like war eagles shot in the
sky. Several types of guns for this purpose are in use, some to
be employed on warships or fortifications, others, mounted on
automobile trucks, for use in the field.
The Ehrhardt gun, a German weapon, which is designed to be
mounted on an auto-truck, weighs nearly 1700 pounds. The car
carries 140 rounds of ammunition and the whole equipment in
service condition weighs more than six tons. The gun has an
extreme range at 45 degrees elevation of 12,029 yards, or more
than six miles. The sights are telescopic, a moving object can
be followed with ease, and the gun is capable of being fired very
rapidly. The British are provided with the Vickers gun, which is
mainly intended for naval use, but the military arm is also
provided with anti-balloon guns, which have great range and can
throw a three-pound shell at any high angle. Some of these guns
use incendiary shells, intended to ignite the gas in dirigibles.
There is another type that explodes shrapnel. In addition to
these, rifle fire is apt to be effective, in case of airships
coming within its range.
Jules Vedrines, a well-known French aviator, tells this story of
his experience while doing scout duty for the French army:
"Those German gunners surely have tried their best to get me," he
wrote. "Each night when I come back to headquarters my machine
looks more and more like a sieve because of the numerous bullet
holes in the wings.
"I have been keeping tab on the number of new bullet holes in my
machine each day, marking each with red chalk, so that I won't
include any of the old ones in the next day's count. My best
record so far for one day is thirty-seven holes. That shows how
close the enemy has come to hitting me. My duties as scout
require me to cover various distances each day. The best record
so far in one day is 600 miles."
The submarine is another type of war apparatus, one the utility
of which promises to be very great. It is of recent origin. At
the time of the Spanish-American War there were only five
submarines in all the navies of the world, and of this number
three were in the French navy, one in Italy and one in Portugal.
The United States was building its first one, and had not decided
what type to select. At the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War
Great Britain had nine of the American (Holland) type of
submarines and was building twenty more, while France had
accumulated thirty-six of various types and of various grades of
reported efficiency, while Germany had none. In 1914 there were
nearly four hundred vessels of this type in the world's navies,
France standing first with 173.
It was believed that the moral effect of the submarine would be
almost as important as its physical effect in dealing with an
enemy's warship, and this idea has been justified. Some persons
maintained that fights of submarines with each other might take
place, each, like the Kilkenny cats, devouring the other. But
the fact is that when submerged the submarine is as blind as the
traditional bat. Its crew cannot see any object under water, and
is compelled to resort to the use of the periscope, which emerges
unostentatiously above the water, in order to see its own course.
It is known that the periscope is the eye of the submarine, and
naturally attention has been paid to the best way of destroying
this vital part of such boats. Recently, grappling irons have
been devised for use from dirigibles, which are expected to drag
out the periscope as the dirigible flies above it. Careful plans
for torpedoing submarines also have been made, but their
effectiveness likewise remains to be demonstrated.
Submarine builders have naturally held the view that the
submerged boat could not be seen. But it has been discovered
that from a certain height an observer may trace the course of a
submerged submarine with as great accuracy as if it were running
on the surface. It is found that the submerged boat can readily
be seen from the dirigible and the aeroplane. On the other hand
an anti-balloon gun has been devised which can be raised from the
submarine when it comes to the surface, and used against the
The submarine is supposed to have its most important field of
operation against a fleet of battleships and cruisers besieging a
seaport city. These great war craft, covered above the water-
line with thick steel armor, are vulnerable below, and a torpedo
discharged from a torpedo boat or an explosive bomb attached to
the lower hull by a submarine may send the largest and mightiest
ship to the bottom, stung to death from below.
With this idea in view torpedo boars, destroyers designed to
attack torpedo boats and submarines have been multiplied in
modern navies. We have just begun to appreciate the
effectiveness of this type of vessels. Their possibilities are
enormous and their latent power renders the bombardment from sea
of town or fort a far more perilous operation than of old. Fired
at by the great guns of the fort capable of effective work at
eight or ten miles distance, exposed to explosive bombs dropped
from soaring airships, made a target for the deadly weapon of the
torpedo boat, and in constant risk of being stung by the
submarine wasp, these great war ships, built at a cost of ten or
more millions and peopled by hundreds of mariners, are in
constant danger of being sent to the bottom with all on board a
contingency likely to shake the nerves of the steadiest Jack Tar
or admiral on board.
A typical submarine has a length of about 150 feet and diameter
of 15 feet, with a speed of eleven knots on the surface and five
knots when submerged. Some of the more recent have a radius of
navigation of 4,500 miles without need of a new supply of stores
and fuel. On the surface they are propelled by gasoline engines,
but when submerged they use electric motors driven by storage
batteries. If the weather should grow too rough they can sink
below the waves.
THE NEW TYPE OF BATTLESHIP
While the peril of the big ship has thus been increased, the size
and fighting capacity of those ships have steadily grown and at
the same time their cost, which is becoming almost prohibitive.
Taking the British navy, the leader in this field, the size of
battleships was yearly augmented until in 1907 the famous
Dreadnought appeared, looked upon at the time as the last word in
naval architecture. This great ship was of 17,900 tons
displacement and 23,000 horse-power, its armor belt eleven inches
thick, its major armament composed of ten twelve-inch guns.
There are now twenty British battleships of larger size, some
On shore a similar increase may be seen in the size and
effectiveness of armies and the strength of fortifications. In
all the larger nations of Europe except Great Britain the whole
able-bodied male population are now obliged to spend several
years in the army, and to be ready at a moment's notice to drop
all the avocations of peace and march to the front, ready to risk
their lives in their country's service or at the command of the
autocrat under whom they live.
Mobilization is a word with strenuous significance. When it is
put into effect every able-bodied man must report without delay
for service. His name is on the army lists; if he fails to
report he is branded as a deserter. In Germany, the order to
mobilize is issued by the Emperor and is immediately sent out by
all military and civil authorities, at home or abroad. Every
person knows at once what he is required to do. Skeleton
regiments are filled out and additional regiments formed.
Simultaneously there is a levy of horses. The order reaches into
every household; into the factories, the shipyards, the hotels,
the farms, river boats, everywhere. Almost instantly the male
individuals within the prescribed ages must at once report to the
barracks to come under military discipline. Infantry, cavalry
and artillery units double and triple at once.
This is the first step in mobilization. The second is the
transportation and concentration of forces. The railways are
seized, the telegraph and telephone systems. Mail, military,
aerial and railway services are assigned. The commissary lines
are laid and transportation provided for. With marvelous
efficiency the full fighting strength, in front and rear, is made
ready and co-ordinated.
The psychological effect of mobilization is tremendous. In every
household home-ties are broken. The fields are stripped of men.
Industry stops. Artillery rolls through the streets, bands play.
An atmosphere of apprehension settles down on the country.
THE WASTE OF WAR
And the waste of it all; the criminal, unbelievable waste!
Consider the vast loss of products that is due, not only to
actual war, but to unceasing and universal preparation for war.
It has been stated on the highest authority that during the last
decade forty per cent of the total outlay of European states has
been absorbed by the armies and navies which, when war arises,
seek in every way to destroy as much as they can of the
remainder. Commenting on this state of affairs, Count Sergius
Witte, the ablest of Russian statesmen and financiers, said in
London not long ago:
"Sketch a picture in your mind's eye of all that those sums, if
properly spent, could effect for the nations who now waste them
on heavy guns, rifles, dreadnaughts, fortresses and barracks. If
this money were laid out on improving the material lot of the
people, in housing them hygienically, in procuring for them
healthier air, medical aid and needful periodical rest, they
would live longer and work to better purpose, and enjoy some of
the happiness or contentment which at present is the prerogative
of the few.
"Again, all the best brain work of the most eminent men is
focused on efforts to create new lethal weapons, or to make the
old ones more deadly. For one of the arts in which cultured
nations have made most progress is warfare. The noblest efforts
of the greatest thinkers are wasted on inventions to destroy
"When I call to mind the gold and the work thus dissipated in
smoke and sound and compare that picture with this other
villagers with drawn, sallow faces, men and women and dimly
conscious children perishing slowly and painfully of hunger I
begin to ask myself whether human culture and the white man who
personifies it are not wending toward the abyss."
In "War and Waste" Dr. David Starr Jordan quotes the table of
Richet to show the cost of a general European war.
Per day the French statistician figures the war's cost thus:
Feed of men ........................................ $12,600,000
Feed of horses ...................................... 1,000,000
Pay (European rates) ................................ 4,250,000
Pay of workmen in arsenals and ports ................ 1,000.000
Transportation (sixty miles, ten days) .............. 2,100,000
Transportation of provisions ........................ 4,200,000
Infantry, ten cartridges a day ................. 4,200,000
Artillery, ten shots per day ................... 1,200,000
Marine, two shots per day ...................... 400,000
Equipment ........................................... 4,200,000
Ambulances, 500,000 wounded or ill ($1 per day) ..... 500,000
Armature ............................................ 500,000
Reduction of imports ................................ 5,000,000
Help to the poor (20 cents per day to one in ten) ... 6,800,000
Destruction of towns, etc ........................... 2,000,000
TOTAL PER DAY ................. $49,950,000
Chapter XX. CANADA'S PART IN THE WORLD WAR
New Relations Toward the Empire - Military Preparations - The
Great camp at Valcartier - The Canadian Expeditionary Force -
Political Effect of Canada's Action on Future of the Dominion
The sailing of the First Canadian Contingent on October 2, 1914,
for England, en route to the theater of war, marked a noteworthy
epoch in Canadian history. For the first time the Dominion took
her place, not as a British colony, but as a component part of
the British Empire. This position was established by the
voluntary offer of expeditionary troops to be raised, equipped,
and paid by Canada for the defense of the British empire.
For many years a movement had been on foot to bring about this
attitude on the part of the Dominion by His Majesty's government.
No such action was taken by the Dominion in the South African
War, though a Canadian regiment was raised for the guarding of
Halifax so that the regiment of British soldiers doing garrison
duty there might be released for service at the front, and all
other troops who left Canada went simply as volunteers to join
the British army, though raised by the Dominion government.
When the situation in South Africa reached a critical stage and
there were fears of German interference on behalf of the Boers it
became clear that the British government strongly desired a
helping hand from Canada for political reasons. It seemed a good
time to show a solid front and a united Empire. Later, on
October 3d, there came a request for 500 men from the British
Colonial Secretary. No immediate action was taken on this, but
on October 13th, the government passed an Order-in-Council for
the raising of 1,000 volunteers and providing for their equipment
and transportation. But these men were really British
volunteers, not Canadian troops, as once at the front they became
British soldiers under British pay. This contingent was known as
a "Special Service Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment of
Infantry," and did not belong in any sense to the organized
troops of the Dominion, either regular or militia, although they
approached more nearly to that status than in any previous case
of assistance given by the Dominion to the Empire.
In the Indian Mutiny in 1857 a regiment was raised in Canada by
the British government known as the 100th Prince of Wales Royal
Canadian Regiment" and in the Empire's other wars, such as the
Crimean and the Soudanese, there were always Canadian volunteers
in the British forces.
The declaration of war by Great Britain on Germany made on the
night of August 4, 1914, found the people of the Dominion not
wholly unprepared for the situation. For some time ways of
helping the mother country had been the chief topic both in
government circles and among the people at large. This is best
instanced by the following telegram sent by His Royal Highness,
the governor-General, to the Secretary of State for the colonies,
Rt. Hon. Lewis Harcourt.
"Ottawa, August 1, 1914
In view of the impending danger of war involving the Empire my
advisers are anxiously considering the most effective means of
rendering every possible aid, and will welcome any suggestions
and advice which Imperial naval and military authorities may deem
it expedient to offer. They are confident that a considerable
force would be available for service abroad, as under section
sixty-nine of Canadian Militia Act the active militia can only be
placed on active service beyond Canada for the defense thereof.
It has been suggested that regiments might enlist as Imperial
troops for a stated period, Canadian Government undertaking to
pay all necessary financial provisions for their equipment, pay
and maintenance. This proposal has not yet been maturely
considered here and my advisers would be glad to have views of
Imperial Government thereon. Arthur"
This offer from Canada preceded similar offers from Australia,
India, South Africa and Egypt.
The response to this came in the following cable from His
"London, August 4, 1914
Please communicate to your ministers following message from His
Majesty the king and publish:
'I desire to express to my people of the Overseas Dominions with
what appreciation and pride I have received the messages from
their respective governments during the last few days. These
spontaneous assurances of their fullest support recalled to me
the generous self-sacrificing help given by them in the past to
the Mother country. I shall be strengthened in the discharge of
the great responsibilities which rest upon me by the confident
belief that in this time of trial my Empire will stand united,
calm, resolute, and trusting in God. George R.I. Harcourt"
Mr. Harcourt also cabled advising that although there was not
immediately need for an expeditionary force it would be advisable
to take all legislative and other steps necessary to the
providing of such a force in case it should be required later.
The declaration of the war by Great Britain was officially
recognized in Canada on August 5th, in a message from the
"Whereas a state of war now exists between this country and
On the following day came a call to the militia for active
service and Canada had gone on record as having accepted her
responsibilities as an integral part of the Empire. She was
sending troops to help England not as volunteers who were to
become British soldiers, but as Canadian soldiers, enlisted,
clothed, armed, equipped and paid by Canadian dollars.
Shortly after this came another cablegram from Mr. Harcourt
gratefully accepting the offer of the expeditionary force and
requesting that it be sent forward as quickly as possible. This
cablegram was supplemented by another suggesting one army
division as a suitable composition for this expeditionary force.
The terms of enlistment were to be as follows:
"(a) For a term of one year unless war lasts longer than one
year, in which case they will be retained until war is over. If
employed with hospitals, depots of mounted units, and as clerks,
et cetera, they may be retained after termination of hostilities
until services can be dispensed with, but such retention shall in
no case exceed six months.
"(b) To be attached to any arm of service should it be required
An army division of war strength consists of about 22,500 men
composing all branches of the service.
While the call to arms found Canada prepared morally and
financially, it found the country sadly unprepared from the
standpoint of equipment. It was necessary to buy or make rifles,
uniforms, guns and equipment of every description to increase the
limited supply on hand to the necessary point. The quantity and
variety of supplies required by an army division seems
mountainous to the civilian. They ran the entire gamut from shoe
laces to motor trucks, and these had to be purchased at the high
prices caused by sudden demand wherever it was possible to obtain
them in quantities with the greatest speed.
In this great work of mobilization Canada's fine railway
organizations played a great and necessary part. With their aid
and that of many prominent men in Canadian affairs the question
of the gathering of materials at selected points went ahead
The matter of enlistments held equally important sway. An order
in council authorized an army of 22,218 officers and men and the
recruiting officers wasted no time in setting about their work.
All over the Dominion men had been drilling ever since the danger
of war became acute. The organized militia was hard at work.
Volunteers were being rapidly gathered and after a thorough
medical examination were put in charge of a drill sergeant.
There was no difficulty in getting men and the recruiting
officers from the first were overwhelmed with applications.
Canada was going to the aid of the mother country, not
unwillingly, not with hesitancy, not with parsimony, but with a
great rush of enthusiasm to save the Empire, Our Empire!
THE GREAT CAMP AT VALCARTIER
The problem of concentrating this huge body of men soon became a
real one. A great mobilization camp was needed. A place not too
far from the Atlantic, with ample railroad facilities, large and
roomy enough for the maneuvering of large bodies of men as well
as their housing in tents, must be found. A further
qualification was that this great camp should be located in a
position of strategic importance and one which could be defended
should the necessity arise.
Such a place was found at Valcartier, a small village some
sixteen miles from the City of Quebec on the line of the Canadian
When the war was declared the government did not own Valcartier
and few people had ever heard of it. Soon, however, the name
began to grow more familiar with the newspapers and in a day or
two the place became government property. For the purpose it
Great expanse of level country provided an ideal maneuvering
ground. The site of the camp itself was high enough for good
drainage and the Jacques Cartier River provided an abundance of
But with the acquisition of the ground the work had just begun.
It was necessary to erect tents for the housing of 30,000 men. A
commissary for their subsistence must be provided. Stores and
storehouses had to be rushed to the spot and there was a huge
amount of work of a more or less permanent character in the shape
of water works with many miles of piping, shower baths, drinking
troughs, an electric light plant and the like. The engineers
were called upon immediately to lay out the camp and its many
auxiliary features. A rifle range, the largest in the world, was
immediately planned and put in operation for the training of the
soldiers, for few men unacquainted with military life are able to
handle modern high-powered military rifles with any degree of
success, although the average man, under capable instructors,
rapidly becomes proficient. Artillery ranges in the Laurentian
Hills were established for the training of the field artillery.
Here the big sixty-pounders, which throw a shell for nearly five
miles, first woke the echoes.
A great bridge-building record was made by the men of the Royal
Canadian Engineers under the direction of Major W. Bethune
Lindsay of Winnipeg. The Jacques Cartier River separates the
main camp from the artillery practice grounds at the base of
Mounts Ileene and Irene. Across this 350 feet of waterway the
Royal Canadian Engineers built within four hours a barrel-pier
pontoon bridge capable of carrying heavy batteries. The Major
and his three hundred men worked with that well-ordered
efficiency which characterizes the efforts of the British bred.
The race for the record started with the Canadian Northern
Railway. The materials barrels, planking, etc. were
freighted on to the ground with remarkable dispatch. The casks
were made watertight, the timber was made ready, the twenty-foot
bank cut down to provide an easy grade for traffic, and the
actual test was on.
There was never a hitch. One party of men lashed the barrels to
the heavy planks, and, as soon as that operation was complete,
another party lifted the pier and carried it down the bank.
Another squad of men conveyed it on to the water, where it was
taken in charge by still another party and floated out to the
front line. The pier was drawn quickly into position, and as
many men as could work with freedom soon had the flooring spiked
down. The actual bridging commenced at eight o'clock; the span
was complete at ten minutes after twelve. The extra ten minutes
were accounted for by the fact that on one or two occasions
passing bodies of other troops necessitated a temporary cessation
of carrying operations.
Col. Burstall, Director of Artillery at the Camp, visited the
work during the morning and expressed his astonishment at the
progress effected. Ordinarily it is a good day's work to throw a
bridge of this class across a three-hundred foot stream. Col. G.
F. Maunsell, Director General of Engineering Service in Canada,
who is attached to headquarters at Ottawa, also paid close
attention to the task and was vastly pleased with the result.
Col. Morrison, Ottawa, of the Artillery Service, hurried a gun
across the bridge when completed, establishing its efficiency at
once. Without doubt the brother officers of Major Lindsay, in
all branches of the service, were extremely gratified at the
efficiency and despatch of the men making up the Royal Canadian
Engineers at the big camp.
Of course, the railway problem of moving the thousand or more
troop trains which were rushing from all parts of Canada to
Valcartier was a huge one. In this they had to cope with the
great quantity of supplies and equipment which was daily
forwarded. At Valcartier it was necessary for the Canadian
Northern to form a loop for the rapid handling of these trains so
that a constant stream of trains was kept continually moving in
both directions without interruption.
Great hardships and inconveniences resulted in many cases from
the lack of proper equipment. It was colder down in Quebec than
in many other parts of the Dominion and a great many men were
without sufficient blankets to keep them warm. Uniforms were
scarce and army shoes fit for the work of drills and maneuvers
even scarcer. Gradually, however, these deficiencies were
supplied, recruits began to show amazing progress in the art of
soldiering and little by little the great camp lost its motley
appearance and became an efficient military organization in which
rigid discipline and high efficiency prevailed. In six weeks
Valcartier's 30,000 were ready, ready for England and the final
polish which was to fit them for the test of battle. They could
even have been sent to the front. It seemed that this was not
THE CANADIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE
But it was decided that the time had come for this great body of
troops to leave. The original plan of sending a division of
22,500 men was supplemented by the dispatch of the remaining
7,500 as a reserve to prevent the delay in getting them to the
front should the necessity arise suddenly. Members of the
government spoke of a possible second or third contingent, as
experience had taught them that it would be as easy to raise
100,000 men as it had been to raise 30,000. At a given time the
evacuation of Valcartier began. Thirty-two transports lay in the
St. Lawrence prepared to take the division to England, and soon
the first contingent began to move toward the sea. The British
fleet had cleared the ocean of all but a few scattered German
cruisers, and these were amply guarded against by the warships
which acted as escorts. And so, on the second day of October
Canada's first great pledge of loyalty left the shores of the
Dominion to go to the defense of the Empire.
On October 15th the transports reached Plymouth, England, and
were received with greatest enthusiasm. An English newspaper,
The Western Morning News, spoke of the arrival the next morning
in the following terms:
"The arrival of the fleet of transports with the first contingent
of Canadian forces on board was an event of good augury for the
future of the war. These splendid men have come, some of them
nearly 6,000 miles, to testify to the unity of the Empire and
take their share of the burden which rests upon Britons the world
over of being the stoutest champions of justice and liberty.
Even if their numbers were smaller we should hail their arrival
as a symbol of the solidarity of the British race, but they come
a large number in themselves, yet only the earnest of many more
to come if they are needed to help in defeating the imposition of
German tyranny and militancy on the world. The cheers they
raised for the old country as they steamed into the harbor
yesterday, and the splendid vigor and spirit they displayed,
showed they have both the will and the power to give a good
account of themselves at the front and prove worthy comrades of
the dauntless band of heroes who, under Sir John French, have won
the unstinted admiration of our French and Russian and Belgian
allies and, indeed of the whole world."
Then followed long weeks of hard training on Salisbury Plains.
At last they were considered fit for the front and the contingent
was transported to France. Of their conduct there, under the
baptism of fire, the following letter from General French at
Headquarters of the British Army, dated March 3d, to His Royal
Highness the Duke of Connaught, is an ample testimonial.
"The Canadian troops having arrived at the front, I am anxious to
tell your Royal Highness that they have made the best impression
on all of us.
"I made a careful inspection of the division a week after they
came to the country, and I was very much struck by the excellent
physique which was apparent throughout the ranks. The soldierly
bearing and the steadiness with which the men stood in the ranks
(on a bleak cold snowy day) was most remarkable.
"After two or three weeks preliminary education in the trenches,
attached by unit to the Third corps, they have now taken their
own line on the right of that corps as a complete division
and I have the utmost confidence in their capability to do
valuable and efficient service.
"The Princess Patricia's Regiment arrived with the 27th Division
a month earlier and since then they have performed splendid
service in the trenches.
"When I inspected them (although in pouring rain), it seemed to
me I had never seen a more magnificent looking battalion Guards
"Two or three days ago they captured a German trench with great
dash and energy and excellent results.
"I am writing these few lines because I know how deeply we are
all indebted to the untiring and devoted efforts your Royal
Highness has personally made to ensure the despatch in the most
efficient condition of this valuable contingent."
The first contingent had evacuated Valcartier only a short time
when the second contingent began to move toward the great
mobilization camp, for a similar process of training to that
followed in the first case.
When the second contingent sailed away from Canada to take its
place with the allies on the battlefields of Europe, it was
accompanied by a battery of the most complete and efficient
armored motor car rapid-fire machine guns ever devised. Indeed,
they are, so far as is known, the first motor car machine guns in
the ranks of the allies in any way comparing in point of up-to-
dateness and efficiency with those now being employed by the
German army. For up till recently Germany was the only power
which had given any attention to armored motor car machine guns.
The Germans had been experimenting for several years upon this
latest development in field weapons, and when the present war
broke out they had a type of armored motor car rapid-fire gun
that has enabled them to do a kind of work that would not be done
by any other sort of artillery. Great Britain, France and
Belgium began hurriedly experimenting, and hastily put together a
number of machine guns mounted on armored motor cars. These were
but tentative weapons, however, quickly designed to meet an
exigency for which the allies had not, like the Germans, already
prepared. It has remained for Canada to evolve a type of armored
motor car battery that is said to be the most perfect and
effective that has ever been constructed.
This ultra-modern battery of forty guns was a part of Canada's
contribution to the Empire at war. Fifteen of the guns were made
possible by the patriotic generosity of Mr. J. C. Eaton,
Toronto's well known millionaire department store owner, and were
designated as the Eaton Battery. They were completed right in
Toronto, where both the experimenting and designing were carried
on, and the cars and guns put together, under the supervision of
Mr. W. K. McNaught, C.M.G., who undertook the task of directing
the work for the government. The corps of officers and men who
man the battery had a special course of training under Capt. W.
J. Morrison at Exhibition Camp.
It is only necessary to recall to mind certain pictures that have
appeared recently of motor car machine guns in action to realize
with what deadly effectiveness these weapons may be employed in
present-day warfare. They combine all the terrific killing power
of the rapid-fire machine gun with the swift mobility and
tirelessness of the gasoline-driven motor car. Protected behind
almost impregnable steel armor plate, the driver may dash ahead
of the advancing lines and enable the gunner, almost completely
protected, to mow down the ranks of the enemy with a sweeping
stream of rifle bullets, played along a line of men much as one
would play a stream of water from a fire hose. The car may be in
motion all this time, or may stop only for an instant, so that
the enemy has no time to train its artillery upon it. It may
dash into what would be for infantry or cavalry or ordinary
gunners the jaws of death, distribute its deadly sting, and then
dash out again unscathed. Thus it may be of incalculable service
in the field. Or it may be used in a town where whole masses of
defenders may be driven back, and the streets completely cleared
by the rapid sweep of its bullets.
The armored motor car guns which were constructed in Toronto are
built on a motor truck chassis. The wheels are made of pressed
steel, and have heavy tires of solid rubber. All the rest of the
car is effectively covered with Harveyized steel plates, which
were severely tested. This armorplate was rolled in Canada by
Canadian workmen, and was made from iron ore mined in Nova
The distinctive fighting feature of the car is the revolving
turret of this armor-plate in which the offensive apparatus is
situated. This turret rises above the four-foot armored body at
about the center of the car. In it is the new model Maxim rapid-
fire gun, mounted very strongly on an apparatus of steel and
phosphor bronze, the invention of Canadian engineers. This gun
mount really carries the revolving turret which surrounds it, and
which revolves so easily on ball bearings that a mere touch of
the hand will move it. It can make a complete revolution, so
that the gun has a clear sweep. It can be locked by means of a
lever operated by the gunner. The gunner sits on a seat fastened
to the frame which supports the turret. The running machinery of
the car which comes below the floor, is, of course, protected by
a steel skirt, which extends around the car. The machine gun is
aimed through a loop-hole in the steel turret. It can fire from
300 to 600 rifle bullets a minute, and has an effective range of
a mile and a half. The bullets are held in a belt which runs
through the gun automatically. The armor-plate on the rear of
the car is loop-holed so that rifles can be used. Each of the
machine guns has two extra barrels, the reason for this being
that with the bullets passing through the barrel so rapidly it
naturally becomes very hot, and so must be changed frequently.
Another feature of the car is that it is protected overhead as
well as around the sides and front, and rendered immune from
shrapnel fire, missiles from aeroplanes, and dropping bullets, by
the same kind of armor-plate that is used on the sides. Thus the
drivers and all the fighting men are completely protected by
Each car, in addition to its fighting equipment, carries picks,
shovels, wire rope, repair tools and provisions. Attached to the
battery are two workshop cars, with turning lathes and repair
machines driven by motor spare parts, etc. These stay behind the
firing line. Each car carries a complement of five men,
including the two men who drive and the gunner who operates the
machine gun. The extra two ride in the rear and may use rifles
through the loop-holes. But there is no real specialization, for
each man must be competent not only as a soldier but as a
chauffeur, machinist and gunner. If there is only one man left
in the car, he must be able to operate the machine gun, run the
car, and make repairs if necessary. And he must be a man who can
keep his head, observe intelligently, and plan for himself and
his regiment. Those in charge of the recruiting for the Eaton
Battery expressed themselves as well pleased with the type of men
secured. Many had seen service before; there were several expert
telegraphers, several expert signalers, and one an ex-lieutenant
in the British navy.
POLITICAL EFFECT OF CANADA'S ACTION ON FUTURE OF DOMINION
As had been outlined in the early portion of this chapter, the
World War produced a result in the Dominion long sought by the
British government. From the position of a British Colony
independent in all but name and free to send or withhold military
aid, Canada has voluntarily advanced step by step in the
direction of stronger unification of the British Empire. In each
of the wars fought by Great Britain the part to be taken by
Canadian soldiers has received more and more formal recognition
from the Dominion government, advancing from a mere permission to
volunteer, through various stages to the actual enlistment,
equipment and dispatch of a purely Canadian Contingent under
Canadian officers and Canadian pay to the support of the British
Though each step had been in this direction few thought that
Canada would ever take such action. It has been admitted that if
Canada herself was attacked Canadians would, of course, defend
themselves to the last. It was even admitted that aid might be
sent in case of an attack on the British Isles, as a part of the
Empire, but so far as to raise an army to take part in a campaign
in Europe seemed far beyond the range of imagination.
Notwithstanding this, however, the Dominion has made the move
without hesitation and in so doing has established a precedent
which is apt to prove of huge importance in the future history of
Great Britain's enemies must consider not merely a war on Great
Britain but a war on the British Empire, for Canada as well as
Australia, India, South Africa and Egypt, having once sent aid
could not again refuse it and make their position tenable. The
Empire now presents a solid front to the world and her strength
is vastly increased hy the loyalty and devotion of the Overseas
This military unity must also produce results in other directions
tending toward a closer union between the Dominion and the Mother
country. We venture to predict that the future will witness a
strengthening of the bonds of loyalty, of commercial and
educational ties without the least abatement of the complete
autonomy enjoyed by the great Dominion.