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were employed in the hope of destroying these microbes. At first, antiseptics such as carbolic acid and iodine were used, but they were found to be ineffective in preventing the spread of the infection. Then antiseptics of the chlorine group which were derived from bleaching powder came into vogue, and these were found to be much more useful, although their exact value was obscured by the great advances made in the surgery of the wounds at the same time. These chlorine antiseptics act very quickly on the microbes, but at the same time they are very rapidly destroyed in the wound, so that after about 10 minutes they have lost their antiseptic value. It was the common practice to instil these antiseptics into a septic wound every two hours in the hope of keeping up a constant supply of the antiseptic, but as the active agent is destroyed in about 5 or 10 minutes it follows that for the greater part of the time there was no antiseptic in the wound. Fleming has shown that in all probability the beneficial action of these so—called antiseptics was not in their power of destroying microbes but in their power of aiding the natural antiseptic defences of the body.

In the simplest form these chlorine antiseptics were solutions of hypochlorous acid (ensol) or sodium hypochlorite (Dal-1in’s fluid), but later Dakin introduced more complicated organic preparations, such as chloramine T. and dichloramine T., which were more stable and contained a greater percentage of the active agent. These later applications have never attained the popularity of the simpler compounds.

Morison introduced into war surgery a procedure in which the wound, after being thoroughly cleansed, was rubbed over with a paste consisting of bismuth, iodoform and paraffin (Bipp). This obtained a considerable popularity, and it was supposed to act by virtue of the iodoform, which is not in itself an antiseptic, being broken down in contact with the blood fluids with the liberation of iodine. Experiments showed, however, that there was not suflicient iodine liberated to act as a lethal agent for bacteria in the body fluids, and it is probable that, like the chlorine antiseptics, this depended largely for its beneficial action on its power of aiding and conserving the natural defences of the body.

_ The last types of antiseptics to be introduced into war surgery were the aniline dyes. The power of some of these dyes as anti‘,bacterial substances had been previously investigated. Church.man had shown that gentian violet would kill many varieties of bacteria (those which stain with Gram’s method) in a dilution of 1 in 1,000,000, or less, while it had little lethal action on other varieties which did not stain by Gram's method. Another dye, brilliant green, had been used in bacteriological technique for the isolation of typhoid bacilli, owing to its having a less lethal action on these than it had on the other and more common bacteria. Browning introduced into surgical practice another dye of the acridine series, called by him flavine or acriflavine, which had been originally prepared by Benda at Ehrlich’s vsuggestion for the destruction of trypanosomes (the parasites of sleeping-sickness). Flavine differed from all the other antiseptics in that it acted more powerfully in the presence of blood serum than it did in water. Great hopes were therefore entertained that ‘kt would be able to deal effectively with the bacteria in an nfected wound. It was found, however, that it was rapidly fired by the body tissues and by the dressing of the wound, and in practice it was not found to have advantages over the other antiseptics in common use. 7 Towards the end of the war all the chemical antiseptic solutions fell more or less into disuse and more reliance was placed on efficient surgery and the natural antiseptics of the body. The greatest advance in the treatment of infected wounds was the efficient Cleansing of the wound, the removal of all dead tissues, and the immediate closing of the wound so that the natural antiseptic defences could exercise their functions to the greatest advantage. It was found that when physiological salt solution was used the results of this procedure were as good as when chemical antiseptics were employed.

Since the war conditions have been removed antiseptics have

largely disappeared from surgical practice, and a. return has

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been made to ‘ aseptic” methods, in which microbes are, as far as possible, excluded from the wound and the natural defences of the body are left to deal with the few microbes which may gain access. (A. FL.)

ANTOINE, ANDRE (1858— ), French actor-manager (sec 2.148), opened in 1897 his Théatre Antoine in Paris, which for 10 years he made famous as a home of modern realistic drama, playing in particular the works of Brieux, Hauptmann and Sudermann, and staging a French version of King Lear. He returned to the management of the Odéon in 1906 and there produced Julius Caesar, Coriolanus and a large number of classical and modern dramas, but he retired in Feb. 1914. He was subsequently engaged in writing his memoirs.

ANTWERP, Belgium (see 2.155).-—— Pop. (1914) 313,833; but, including Borgerhout (52,126) and Berchem (32,257), total pop. 398,216. The projected grands coupure, or cutting through the neck of the loop in the river Scheldt immediately below Antwerp, was abandoned, and, in place of this scheme, three extensive wet-docks were constructed between 1903-14. In 1913, 7,142 vessels of aggregate tonnage 28,270,000 entered the port as compared with 6,095 of 19,662,000 tons in 1905. The decision, taken in 1878, to change Antwerp from a fortress to a fortified position by the construction of an outer line of 15 forts and batteries at a distance varying from 6—9 m. from the enceinte was nearly completed at the outbreak of the World War in 1914. A proposal to connect the two banks of the river by a tunnel under the Scheldt was about to be taken in hand in 1921.

On Aug. 17 1914 the Belgian Government left Brussels for Antwerp, and the Belgian army withdrew before the advance of von Beseler’s army behind the fortified lines. , The bombardment of Antwerp began on Sept. 28 and lastedun'til Oct. 9, when the city surrendered. Nine-tenths of the population fled, mostly to Holland. Some 300 houses (especially in the Marcheaux-Souliers, the Avenue d’Amérique and the suburbs near the forts) were destroyed, but the older and more important public buildings (the positions of which were known to the Germans) escaped damage. Under the harsh occupation of the Germans, Antwerp remained practically a dead city. On Nov. 19 1918, the King and Queen of the Belgians entered the city in state and attended a Te Deum in the cathedral. In Aug-Sept. 1920, the Olympic Games (7th Olympiad) were held in a newly constructed stadium at Beerschot just outside the city.

T111: 511101: or 1914

In the middle of the 19th century, the steady development of the city and its naval installations had made it necessary to enlarge the fortress, and so disquieting were the ambitions of the new French Empire that it was decided to erect a national keep for the defence of Belgium at Antwerp. The new fortress was accordingly built between 1859 and 1870 under the direction and after the plans of the celebrated Belgian engineer, Gen. Brialmont.l

It comprised: (1) A line of detached forts (forts No. 1 to No. 8 and Fort Merxern on the right bank; Forts Cruybeke, Zw ndrecht and Ste. Marie on the left) placed at a distance of about 2 t0 3 m. from the agglomeration of buildings, so as to protect these against bombardment. These forts, about 2,200 yd. apart, built both in masonry and in earth, were big batteries which embodied the lessons of the sic of Sevastopol. (2) A polygonal enceinte carried round the edge 0 the city.

With over 1,000 guns the entrenched camp of Antwerp was considered the most powerful fortress in the world. After the lessons of the sieges of 1870-1 and 1877, however, it was con‘ sidered necessary to extend the fortress’s sphere of influence still further, in order to facilitate the operations of the Belgian army when manoeuvring under its protection, and especially to enable it to make sorties in the direction of Brussels or in that of Louvain without being cut off. As the water-line formed by the rivers Nethe and Rupel considerably impeded such operations between Lierre and the Scheldt (that is to say, on that part of the front which was most convenient for them), the forts of

1 A general plan of Brialmont's fortress and details of its enceintfi will be found in 10.693-694.

Waelhem and Lierre and the Chemin de Fer redoubt were constructed S. of the Nethe as a sort of bridgehead. Meanwhile the demands of the port were growing, and the city was becoming cramped within its enceinte. It was therefore decided about [900 to extend the defensive system still further.

{ The scheme adopted by the legislative chambers in 1906 provided or :—

(I) The creation of a principal line of defence, composed of detached forts about 5 to II m. from the limits of the Antwerp agglomeration, to shelter the city from bombardment by the artillery of that epoch. This line was, on an average, about 2 m. in front of the Rupel~ Nethe water-line, thus lacing the crossing points of this line out of reach of heavy field artillery. Its total perimeter was 59 m., 46 m. on the ri ht bank and [3 m. on the left, of which 6 m. were protected by inun ations.

The forts, 17 in number, were disposed about 3 m. apart, and, in rinciple, permanent redoubts were to be built in the intervals. he forts were armed with one or two cupolas for twin I5-cm. guns,

two cupolas for single rz-cm. houvitzers, and four or six cupolas for single 7-5-cm. guns. The redoubts ha1l only one J-s-cm. cupola. Ports and redoubts were constructed entirely of or inary concrete, with vaults 2-50 metres thick at the crown and surrounded by wet ditches, 3 ft. wide. They all had traditores or“ Bourges casemates " flanking the intervals with 7-5-cm. Q.F. guns. The garrisons varied from too to 500 men.

(2) The creation of an enceinte de rflreté on the old fort line, the forts being organized for small weapons. Concrete redoubts were built at intervals of about 500 yd. and all these points d'appui were connected by a grille. This line of defence was to be 20 m. long and 5 to 7% m. removed from the first line of defence.

(3) The demolition of the elaborate enceinte built in 1859 in the immediate vicinity of the town.

(4) Additional defences on the Lower Scheldt, including several coast batteries level with Doel to sweep the reaches of the river up to the Dutch frontier.

These very extensive works had necessarily to be spread over several years, and in 1914, on the outbreak of hostilities, the transformation of the fortress had not been completed.

(I) Even if the organization had been carried through according to plan, the fortress would not have come up to the standards established by the siege of Port Arthur. The two positions of defence were too shallow in themselves and also too far apart to support one another. The points d'appui of these positions, in which the elements of permanent defence were concentrated on a small ground surface, very easy to locate, were conceived on a vicious principle. Monolithic concrete is not invulnerable to present-day sie e artillery; the 0 ns of defence should therefore be protected a ve all by their rssemination, by camoufi e and b their irregular dispersion overa lar e surface on the princip e of the inlet: Fesle.

The su structures and the armouring, constructed to resist the 21cm. mortar. were not calculated to face 28-cm., still less 30-5 and 42cm. rojectiles.l

(2 In uly 191 not one of the forts lanned in 1906 was finished. Some lac ed cupo as. Others had cupo as without concrete at rons, and these had to be improvised by pouring gravel, iron r s and cement round the cupolas. In some cases sacks of cement soaked with water, or even simple sandbags, had to suffice.

The transmissions and canalizations were not established either inside or outside the forts, neither was the machinery in place.

(a) For reasons of economy the I5-cm. cupolas had been provided wit old guns, formerly on wheeled carriages, which had a range of not more than 8,800 id. and used black wder. The most recent guns, amongst them t ose of the traditore atteries, hastil installed, were for the most part without laying instru nents. O the other guns available the most powerful was the 1889 model 15-cm. which

ad a range of 11,000 yards.’ Older gunsor howitzers, of 12 or 15cm. were also available, all using black owder. England sent SIX 4-7 .F. guns, mounted on armoured railway trucks. and, in the last ays of the siege, six 6-in. guns. No equipment for observation of fire and no observation posts existed. and the necessary survey work for firing by the_map was incomplete. There were ten aero— planes and one balloon for the fortress and the field army together.

The suppl of ammunition was extremely modest, the l5-cm. guns being provi ed with 800 rounds, the others with only us. Some French ammunition was hurriedly obtained, but, not being designed for the uns, it speedily put them out of action.

(4) he fort garrisons were chiefly of the oldest classes. The Lebel rifle with which they were armed was stran e to them and they were entirely ignorant of the machine-gun. ' he men of the fortress battalions which garrisoned the intervals had had no military

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service for 10 years or more and their fighting value was very lowThe cadres were entirely inadequate.

Unfinished works, conspicuous and concentrated, proof only against projectiles of 21 cm.; obsolete artillery, lacking in observation-posts and in munitions; a garrison full of goodwill but with inadequate cadres and untrained in the handling of modern weapons—such were the real means of defence of the legendary fortress of Antwerp in 19r4.

None the less the Belgians displayed, from the moment when their territory was invaded, the utmost activity in preparing it. The unfinished forts were put in a state of defence by any means that came to hand. The aprons for the cupolas were banked up as best they could be. Distribution systems were created for motive power, lighting and telephones. The immediate foreground was cleared, though this did more harm than good, as it made the works very visible. The inundations were prepared. Forts and redoubts were united by continuous wire. In the rear infantry trenches were constructed, but these inevitably showed well above ground on account of the waterlevel in the soil, and the shelters, which were none too numerous, were made merely with logs. The reserve artillery of the fortress was established in battery positions, which gave an average of five old-pattern guns, firing black powder, per km. of front.l A supporting position along the whole length of the Nethe was put in hand. The old fort line, and even the enceinte (which had been only partially demolished), were also organized as far as possible.

The unfinished state of the fortress and the mediocrity of its armament formed a serious handicap to the important part which AntwerX was destined to take in the operations.

(I) s a great commercial metropolis, always abundantly supplied with products of all kinds, Antwerp was an obvious centre for military depots and stores. Containing all the army's arsenals and supply magazines, it was a base of operations from which the army cou d under no circumstances allow itself to be cut off.

(2) By reason of its situation Antwer ofiered to the Belgian field army a stronghold from which it cou d sally forth at any time it chose, to threaten the lines of communication of the German armies ogerating in the north of France.

(3) T rough Ostend and Zeebrugge Antwerp had easy means of communication with England. Under the shelter of the fortress and the Scheldt English troops could safely land in Flanders, act in liaison with the Belgian army, operate against the German lines of communication, protect the as de Calais coast with its sea traffic, vital to England, and prevent the Allied left wing from being turned and enveloped.

To fulfil these important missions the fortress should have been complete and well manned. Failing these two conditions, it was of no importance save for the presence of the Belgian field army within its walls.

The Belgian army had fallen back in the direction of Antwerp when, to avoid envelopmcnt by the German I. and II. Armies, the Nethe position had to be evacuated (Aug. 18—20). Hence, too, after the sortie battles of Aug. 2 5 (Eppeghem, Hofstade, \Verchter) and Sept. g—rz (Aerschot, Haecht, Louvain) undertaken for the purpose of cooperating in the battle of the Frontiers and that of the Marne, the army returned in each case to the fortress, resolved to stay there as long as its communications with the sea were not in danger.

When the German I. Army wheeled through and past Brussels on its way to France, it dropped the III. Res. Corps (v. Beselcr) to face northward as a flank-guard against the Belgian field army at Antwerp. With some additions and changes, Beseler’s force2 remained on the defensive, fulfilling this duty on the line Grimberghen-Over de Vaert-Aerschot.

On Aug. 25 and again on Sept. 9 it had to meet serious sorties of the field army in Antwerp, and on the second of these occasions its situation was at one time critical. After this, for a few days, the front was quiet. But towards Sept. 20 reports began to come in of important German transport moves and of a quantity of very heavy artillery moving on the roads leading

‘ The artillery of the field army of course excluded.

' Till Sept. 8 Beseler remained under command of I. Army. From Sept. 8 to Sept. 10 his force was under the Vll. Army headgrarters. Finally on Sept. 17 the force was designated "Armeegnr

eseler." > i . (C. F. A5

,-snllsi/'. lipid": 1:91 mll .onm 31oEl-uoll-lp-lr

from Maubeuge'to the ‘region N; of Brussels. 'The powerful op-den-Berg.1 The- heaviest ordnance, 3o-5-cm. and 42-cm. materiel which had laid in ruins the forts of Liége, Namur and howitzers, had not only demolishing but also ranging power. Maubeuge in succession was in fact now on its way to Antwerp. They could install themselves in perfect safety beyond the exSoon it was established in position in all the region, between treme range of the Belgian, guns, and regulate theirJfire asuif the Dyle and the Grande Nethe, from Boortmeerbeek to Heyst- on the experimental range.‘ . Wm M Hm ,lb

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' l The total artillery strength of the Germans before Antwerp was: Howitzers 15 em. 18 batteries 72 pieces ' Field Artillery . F. Gun 25 batteries 150 pieces 21 cm- 12 “ _4_8 “ .-' F. How. 6 “ “ Howitzers 120 pieces ,, . . . Total 136 Pieces Super-heavy Howitzer: Heavy .Fwld and Swdilfsmae'y 10 cm. 6 batteries - 24 Pieces ‘ german and Austria" 32'5 g batllaries 9 pieges ' J. 13 cm_ 4 l‘ 16 u erman 4 c . i _ . . ,-15cm. 2 “ , 8 “- t i ,- 3],. :. .. (~ I - lipleces. in l ‘l ' Long guns 4§pieces ' 5- -7 t l .' - (C-F-A~).s

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On Sept. 27 the German operations assumed the character of the beginning of a siege. The town of Malines received a violent bombardment and was evacuated. The artillery deployment of the attack was completed, and fire opened on the 28th.

The Army Group Beseler comprised at that time the 37th Landwehr Bde. between Alost and Termonde, where it had served in flank guard since Sept. 14; the 4th Ersatz Div. (arrived from Lorraine on the 26-27) between Termonde and the Wille— broeck canal; the Marine Div. between this canal and the Dyle about Malines; the III. Res. Corps from the Dyle to the Antwerp-Aerschot railway (5th R. Div. on left, 6th R. Div. on right), and the 26th Landwehr Bde. N. of Aerschot, with a group furnished by the III. Res. C. further to the right front at Westerloo.

The specialist troops, besides the medium and heavy artillery already alluded to, were two regiments and some additional units of pioneers, four railway companies, three kite balloons and a flight of aeroplanes, a survey section and two Searchlight sections. General von Beseler himself was an engineer general and had been inspector-general of pioneers.

Field-Marshal von der Goltz, Govemor-General of Occupied Belgium, had at his disposal some brigades, of which the ISl'. Reserve Ersatz Bde. and the rst Bavarian Landwehr Bde. joined the Beseler Group directly, while the 4rst Landwehr Bde. watched the left rear between Alost and Ninove, and the 38th Landwehr Bde. the right front near Beverloo Camp.

Siege Operations—It at once became clear that the attack was being concentrated on the south front of the fortress. The attack project elaborated by the Germans in peace-time had made the east front the objective. On the other hand, an attack against the west front would have had the advantage of isolating the Belgians from Allied support. But von Beseler had not the necessary forces to prosecute a siege on this side while still covering the communications through Brussels against a sortie. In spite, therefore, of the fact that the Nethe and its inundations lay behind the fort line, he had decided to attack the south front.l Trusting in the thrice-proved powers of his weapons of attack, he set out to spare his infantry, to crush and throw into confusion the lines of defence by gunfire, ruin the mechanism of the organs of defence in the forts by methodic hammering, controlled by aircraft, destroy the guns in their cupolas and the garrison in their shelters—more certainly than would have been possible if they had been dispersed—before giving them a chance of fighting. These results attained, he would then cautiously advance his infantry and gain a footing in the shattered forts and pulverized lines of defence.

The Belgian troops were thus faced with the prospect of waiting stoically and in obscurity, without hope of riposte, under the fracas of a cyclopean bombardment, till the moment when they should be blown up or crushed at their posts.

Under such conditions they could not hold out very long. It was essentially a question of the number of mortars and the quantity of munitions possessed by the assailant and of the destructive power of each separate projectile. Actually this unequal struggle lasted IO days and nights without truce, and this time was infinitely precious in retarding the moment when the Germans—rid at last of the menace of the Belgian army on their right rear—could freely and with better chances renew their great effort to reach and envelop the left flank of the Franco-British armies.

On Sept. 27 the Belgian field army was distributed on the most dangerous sectors as follows: The 1st and 2nd Divs. between the Senne and the Nethe from Willebroeck to Lierre with the 5th Div. in reserve N. of the Nethe; the 6th and 3rd Divs. between the Senne and the Scheldt; the 4th Div. at Termonde and the cavalry division about Alost-Wetteren to cover the communication between Antwerp and the sea.

On the morning of the 28th the German cannonade was let 1009: along the whole front between Termonde and Lierre. Under

,His request for additional forces wherewith simultaneously to cou-ate west of the Scheldt was refused by headquarters.

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cover of this the infantry got into contact with the outposts of the fortress. The Belgian guns replied with vigour.

Between the Scheldt and the Senne Belgian detachments energetically repulsed their assailants (4th Ers. Div. and Mar. Div.), notably 0n the outskirts of Blaesveld (SE. of Fort Breendonck). But E. of the Senne towards noon, the superheavy artillery came into action and began by engaging Forts Waclhem and'Wavre Ste. Catherine.’ At Fort Wavre Ste. Catherine the first 42-cm. shell pierced ‘a concrete vault 2% metres thick. At 1 PM. the gallery of the gorge front was demolished. Other vaults, including those of the fire-control room, suffered the same fate; a cupola was jammed, and the left traditore battery crumbled into the ditch. The other forts suffered less. The firing, after a pause in the evening, continued with intensity all through the night on most of the forts. On the 29th, W. of the Senne renewed attacks, especially heavy about Blaesfeld, were repulsed. Between the Senne and the Nethe the cannonade was even more violent than on the previous day, both the trenches in the intervals and the permanent works being engaged. From 5 A.M. Fort Wavre Ste. Catherine (which in fact was the point selected by von Beseler for the break-through) received 42-cm. projectiles at reguhr intervals of seven minutes, not counting those of 21 and 30- 5 cm.

[subsumed][subsumed][graphic][merged small]

. It is difiicult to imagine the terrible situation of a garrison subJected to such a bombardment. The arrival of a 42-cm. projectile is announced by a deafening roar. When it bursts in the masonry the whole mass of the fort shakes violently and seems to sink in the earth and to oscillate back to its original level. The blast throws men against the walls. Poisonous fumes and clouds of cement dust cause violent sickness and sometimes suffocation. Under such condi‘ tions, and in close confinement, it is easy to see wh the men lost not only their powers of action but even, it seemed, t eir reason.

The men's cwarters were destroyed, fires broke out, the air became unbreat able and the greater part of the garrison took refuge on the berm of the ditch. A 42—cm. projectile went through the dome of one I5-cm. cupola, exriloded, and tossed the voussoirs to a distance of about 30 feet. he second 15-cm. cupola was put out of action by a 30-5. The other cu las were either destroyed by being laid bare or made inaccessible ii; the obstruction of their galleries. One magazine was hit by a shell and blew up. The double eaponier of the capital was completely ruined.

By 11 AM. the fort had all its guns out of action and all means of defence destroyed. The survivors of the garrison were authorized to evacuate it as fire rendered it untenable. Forts

' The artillery of medium and heavy calibre was deployed mostly along the Malines—Heyst-op-dcn-Berg road, the rest behind Malines, at ranges of 3, 00 to 7,000 yd. from the two first and 5,000 to 9.000 from t e two ast-named forts. Of the super-heavy artille two

, flog-cm. batteries (range 9,500 and 10,500 yd.) enga ed Fort Vael

em and Chemin de Fer or Duffel redoubt; a 30- ttery (8.500 yd.) and a 42-cm. battery (n,300 yd.) attacked ort Wavre Ste. Catherine: an Austrian o~5-battery (range 8,800 yd.) ‘Fort Konin hoyckt, and a 42-cm. attery (range 9,000 yd.) Fort Lierre. fill these were two-gun batteries except the Austrian. which had four. The ranges here given are approximate. For positions see map.

to F. A.)

.Waelhem and Koningshoyckt, less heavily bombarded, continued to reply vigorously.

_ On the 30th the situation grew worse. The 1st Div. deployed between the Heyndonck inundation and Fort Wavre Ste. Catherine was worn out by three days of bombardment and had to abandon its mined entrenchments and transfer the defence to the N. bank of the Nethe, leaving Fort Waelhem to defend itself in isolation. The right of the 2nd Div., affected by the retreat of neighbouring troops, and itself heavily engaged, gave way at one time.

The German infantry had not yet attacked1 at any point, but all the works had suffered terribly except Fort Lierre. The artillery both of the forts and of the intervals maintained the struggle all day against the German gunners. Between the Senne and the Scheldt two powerful attacks on Blaesveld and on the sector of the 6th Div. were repulsed.

The Germans, expecting that by this time Fort Waelhem, Fort Wavre Ste. Catherine, and the defences to the N13. would be “ ripe for storming," had fixed Oct. 1 as the day for their break-through. Accordingly the Marine Div. was to attack Fort Waelhem, the trenches adjacent, and Chemin de Fer redoubt, and the 5th Res. Div. to storm Fort Wavre Ste. Catherine and the Dorpveld redoubt. The attack of the Marine Div. failed to reach Fort Waelhem (the Belgian rst Div. having largely reoccupied the trenches evacuated the day before), but its right captured Elsestraat, and after a sharp initial repulse the 5th Res. Div. reached its objectives, while the Belgian 2nd Div., after prolonged resistance under bombardment, began retreating to the Nethe.

Meantime the works of the Senne-Nethe sector had been subjected to a final and terrible hammering. Fort Waelhem had been mortally wounded. A 3c-5 projectile blew up a magazine killing or grievously burning a hundred men who were sheltering in the adjacent postern. But the fort still claimed to be in a condition to' fire, and, in fact, the assault on this fort was a definite failure, as also was an attempt made in the night of the rst—znd. Fort Wavre Ste. Catherine was carried by the German infantry in the evening of the Ist.2

The Dorpveld redoubt had been bombarded intermittently on the 29th and 30th, and on Oct. 1 from 8:30 A.M. Towards 5 P.IL an assault was delivered. The only 7-5-cm. cupola being out of action, the survivors of the garrison held the rampart for half an hour, then abandoned the firing crest and took refuge underground; a company of the enemy’s infantry installed itself in the mass of the cupola and the craters of the earthwork, but the garrison kept up rifle-fire from the barrack windows.

The commandant of the work managed to get a friendly field battery outside to sweep with shrapnel the enemy installed over his head; reciprocally, his own traditore battery came into action about rrz3o PM. to defend the interval. On the 2nd, towards 3:30 A.M., on their side, the Germans attacked the roof of the fort by mining, and the concrete, which was of poor quality, began to yield in the right-hand part of the work. From this point the artillerymen could be of no use, and they were withdrawn under cover of darkness one by one, under the fire of a German machine -gun on the redoubt. Towards 5 A.M. a second mine, still more powerful, breached the vaulting, and the enemy took possession of the deserted floor. After defending for some time an improvised barricade which limited the assailants’ progress, the commandant and 12 men, the sole survivors, were forced to surrender about 6 A.M. Fort Koningshoyckt, though violently attacked by 3o-5’s, took a vigorous

‘ In its methodical advance it had reached the line of the Vrouwenvliet (Marine Div.); a line 700 d. from Fort Wavre Ste. Catherine (5th Res. Div.); Wavre Notre ame and Koningshoyckt (6th Res. Div.); Berlaef (37th Lw. Bde.). On the 30th the Germans were vu'y anxious about their right flank, owing to Belgian activity in the region E. of Fort Kessel. (C. F. A.)

* According to the German account the light flanking guns were still in action when the fort was stormed. Authority had however been given to the commandant (see above) to evacuate it. The fort received hitsflgzut of 500 rounds fired) from super-heavy calibres. Observation d1 ulties. due to the country, seem to have made control of fire unsatisfactory. (C. F. A.)

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part in the evening in repulsing the attack on the intervals.‘ Fort Lierre, after six hours’ uninterrupted bombardment from the 42’s, repulsed an attempted assault early in the evening. The same night (rst—znd) the Germans tried in vain to pierce the interval between Fort Lierre and the Tallaert redoubt.‘

Between the Scheldt and the Senne the German infantry made no move onthis day. The artillery, however, kept up a. continuous hammering on the front of the Belgian 3rd and 5th Divs., and especially on Fort Breendonck.

On Oct. 2 the Belgian Ist and 2nd Divs. crossed the Nethe and pushed forward to regain the intervals lost during the night, but were checked by violent artillery fire, and King Albert therefore decided to transfer the defence to the north of the Nethe, and had all crossings destroyed.

The evening was marked by the death~struggle of Fort Waelhem. Here the recent strengthening of the structure had consisted chiefly in overlaying one metre of concrete on the old brickwork of 1881, and, according to the Germans, the zr-cm. shell falling in large numbers on the fort contributed as much to its ruin as the 30- 5’s of which calibre the fort received 30 effective hits out of 556 fired. The Tallaert redoubt and Fort Koningshoyckt were evacuated, being in ruins, the first-named owing to the explosion of a magazine, the second owing to the havoc of the shells. On the fall of Fort Wavre Ste. Catherine the 42-cm. battery hitherto engaged against that fort was turned on to Fort Koningshoyckt, superposing its effect on that of four Austrian 30-5’5. At Fort Lierre, after the fruitless attack of the previous day, the German artillery opened fire at 7:30 A.M. and battered successively all the organs of the fort. Several aeroplanes aided in directing the fire, and here the single 42cm. battery engaged obtained a higher percentage of hits than elsewhere (32 out of i7 5 rounds). All the cupolas where put out of action, and all the chambers had to be evacuated in turn. By 5:15 P.Il. the fort was practically destroyed and shortly afterwards it was evacuated. The Germans did not occupy it till next day.

On the 3rd the small Duffel (Chemin de Fer) fort, armed with six 5-7-cm. cupolas, on which the German artillerymen no doubt disdained to waste a 42,5 held the enemy engaged the whole day until its munitions were exhausted. The command ant then blew up his defences and brought back his gunners and his wounded to the N. bank of the Nethe. The German infantry of the Marine Div., which advanced during the day and the night, occupied the mined redoubt early on Oct. 4.

The Belgian troops now began to be seriously disheartened. The forts, in which their confidence—though misplaced—had been supreme, had in a few days been shattered under their eyes by the blows of a monstrous artillery, and they knew that their field artillery had nothing6 but its own brave audacity with which to carry on the struggle. All its efforts were concentrated on thwarting the enemy’s active preparations for crossing the Nethe, where the infantry hastily erected new lines of defence.

The events of these days had left no illusions as to the fate in store for Antwerp’s fortified positions. It had been proved that the 42-cm. or even the 3o-5-cm. shell would pierce a non.reinforced concrete vault of 2% meters or the 24-Cm- (9% in.) chrome-nickel-steel domes of the cupolas. Once fire had been opened on a fort it was a question not of days but of hours to put it completely out of action. This being so, the idea that the entrenched camp of Antwerp could constitute a definite place of refuge for the army and the Government had to be abandoned once for all, on pain of involving the army in the surrender of the fortress. But another and a. far more serious

3 According to the German account, the defenders were even able to counter-attack on this part of the line.

‘ Tschischwitz sa '5 that the existence of the Tallaert redoubt came as a surprise to t e Germans. (C. F. A.)

‘After the ruin of Fort Waelhem, however, a 3o-5-cm. battery was switched on to the redoubt, against which it fired 137 rounds.

‘ Ammunition supply had become a matter of anxiety by the evening of Oct. 3. _

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