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World's War Events $v Volume 3 Beginning with the departure of the first American destroyers for service abroad in April, 1917, and closing with the treaties of peace in 1919 online

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[Illustration: IN FRONT IS GENERAL PETAIN ABOUT TO BE MADE A MARSHAL.
BEHIND HIM, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, ARE MARSHAL JOFFRE AND MARSHAL FOCH
(FRENCH), FIELD MARSHAL HAIG (BRITISH), GENERAL PERSHING (AMERICAN),
GENERAL GILLAIN (BELGIAN), GENERAL ALBRICCI (ITALIAN), GENERAL HALLER
(POLISH)]





WORLD'S WAR
EVENTS

RECORDED BY STATESMEN - COMMANDERS
HISTORIANS AND BY MEN WHO FOUGHT OR SAW
THE GREAT CAMPAIGNS

COMPILED AND EDITED BY

FRANCIS J. REYNOLDS

FORMER REFERENCE LIBRARIAN - LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

AND

ALLEN L. CHURCHILL

ASSOCIATE EDITOR "THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR"
ASSOCIATE EDITOR "THE NEW INTERNATIONAL
ENCYCLOPEDIA"

VOLUME III

[Illustration]

PF COLLIER & SON COMPANY
NEW YORK

Copyright 1919

BY P.F. COLLIER & SON COMPANY




WORLD'S WAR EVENTS

VOLUME III

BEGINNING WITH THE DEPARTURE OF THE FIRST
AMERICAN DESTROYERS FOR SERVICE ABROAD
IN APRIL, 1917, AND CLOSING
WITH THE TREATIES
OF PEACE IN
1919


CONTENTS

ARTICLE PAGE

I. A DESTROYER IN ACTIVE SERVICE 7
_An American Officer_

II. EAST AFRICA 32
_Jan Christiaan Smuts_

III. GREECE'S ATONEMENT 54
_Lewis R. Freeman_

IV. THE ITALIANS AT BAY 69
_G. Ward Price_

V. BOTTLING UP ZEEBRUGGE AND OSTEND 101
_Official Narrative_

VI. WITH THE AMERICAN SUBMARINES 119
_Henry B. Beston_

VII. WOUNDED HEROES OF FRANCE 138
_Abbé Felix Klein_

VIII. THE BATTLE OF PICARDY 153
_J.B.W. Gardiner_

IX. BULGARIA QUITS 170
_Lothrop Stoddard_

X. THE FIGHTING CZECHO-SLOVAKS 183
_Maynard Owen Williams_

XI. SIX DAYS ON THE AMERICAN FIRING LINE 200
_Corporal H.J. Burbach_

XII. AN AMERICAN BATTLEFIELD 210
_Raoul Blanchard_

XIII. NIGHT RAIDS FROM THE AIR 229
_Mary Helen Fee_

XIV. THE AMERICAN ARMY IN EUROPE 242
_General John J. Pershing_

XV. THE AMERICAN NAVY IN EUROPE 271
_Admiral H.T. Mayo_

XVI. ARMISTICE TERMS SIGNED BY GERMANY 297

XVII. COVENANT OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS 306

XVIII. TREATY OF PEACE WITH GERMANY 318

XIX. TREATY OF PEACE WITH AUSTRIA 365

INDEX 375




A DESTROYER IN ACTIVE SERVICE

BY AN AMERICAN OFFICER



APRIL 7.

[Sidenote: War accepted with equanimity.]

[Sidenote: Life on a destroyer is simple.]

Well, I must confess that, even after war has been declared, the skies
haven't fallen and oysters taste just the same. I never would have
dreamed that so big a step would be accepted with so much equanimity. It
is due to two causes, I think. First, because we have trembled on the
verge so long and sort of dabbled our toes in the water, that our minds
have grown gradually accustomed to what under other circumstances would
be a violent shock. Second, because the individual units of the Navy are
so well prepared that there is little to do. We made a few minor changes
in the routine and slipped the war-heads on to the torpedoes, and
presto, we were ready for war. One beauty of a destroyer is that, life
on board being reduced to its simplest terms anyhow, there is little to
change. We may be ordered to "strip," that is, go to our Navy yard and
land all combustibles, paints, oils, surplus woodwork, etc.; but we have
not done so yet.

We were holding drill yesterday when the signal was made from the
flagship, "War is declared." I translated it to my crew, who received
the news with much gayety but hardly a trace of excitement.


APRIL 13.

[Sidenote: Anxiety to get into the big game.]

There is absolutely no news. We are standing by for what may betide,
with not the faintest idea of what it may be. Of course, we are
drilling all the time, and perfecting our readiness for action in every
way, but there is a total absence of that excitement and sense of
something impending that one usually associates with the beginning of
war. Indeed, I think that the only real anxiety is lest we may not get
into the big game at all. I do not think any of us are bloodthirsty or
desirous of either glory or advancement, but we have the wish to justify
our existence. With me it takes this form - by being in the service I
have sacrificed my chance to make good as husband, father, citizen, son,
in fact, in every human relationship, in order to be, as I trust, one of
the Nation's high-grade fighting instruments. Now, if fate never uses me
for the purpose to which I have been fashioned, then much time, labor,
and material have been wasted, and I had better have been made into a
good clerk, farmer, or business man.

[Sidenote: The desire to be put to the test.]

I do so want to be put to the test and not found wanting. Of course, I
know that the higher courage is to do your duty from day to day no
matter in how small a line, but all of us conceal a sneaking desire to
attempt the higher hurdles and sail over grandly.

You need not be proud of me, for there is no intrinsic virtue in being
in the Navy when war is declared; but I hope fate will give me the
chance to make you proud.


APRIL 21.

[Sidenote: A chance to command.]

[Sidenote: Bringing a ship to dock.]

I have been having lots of fun in command myself, and good experience. I
have taken her out on patrol up to Norfolk twice, where the channel is
as thin and crooked as a corkscrew, then into dry dock. Later, escorted
a submarine down, then docked the ship alongside of a collier, and have
established, to my own satisfaction at least, that I know how to handle
a ship. All this may not convey much, but you remember how you felt
when you first handled your father's car. Well, the car weighs about two
tons and the W - - a thousand, and she goes nearly as fast. You have to
bring your own mass up against another dock or oilship as gently as
dropping an egg in an egg-cup, and you can imagine what the battleship
skipper is up against, with 30,000 tons to handle. Only he generally has
tugs to help him, whereas we do it all by ourselves.

[Sidenote: Justifying one's existence as an officer.]

This war is far harder on you than on me. The drill, the work of
preparing for grim reality, all of it is what I am trained for. The very
thought of getting into the game gives me a sense of calmness and
contentment I have never before known. I suppose it is because
subconsciously I feel that I am justifying my existence now more than
ever before. And that feeling brings anybody peace.


MAY 1.

Back in harness again and thankful for the press of work that keeps me
from thinking about you all at home.

[Sidenote: Orders to sail.]

Well, we are going across all right, exactly where and for how long I do
not know. Our present orders are to sail to-morrow night, but there
seems to be wild uncertainty about whether we will go out then. In the
meantime, we are frantically taking on mountains of stores, ammunition,
provisions, etc., trying to fill our vacancies with new men from the
Reserve Ship, and hurrying everything up at high pressure.

Well, I am glad it has come. It is what I wanted and what I think you
wanted for me. It is useless to discuss all the possibilities of where
we are going and what we are going to do. From the look of things, I
think we are going to help the British. I hope so. Of course, we are a
mere drop in the bucket.


MAY 5.

[Sidenote: Happier always for having taken the chance.]

As I start off now, my only real big regret is that through
circumstances so much of my responsibility has been taken by
others - you, my brother, and your father. I don't know that I am really
to blame. At least, I am very sure that never in all my life did I
intentionally try to shift any load of mine onto another. But in any
case, it makes me all the more glad that I am where I am, going where I
am to go - to have my chance, in other words. I once said in jest that
all naval officers ought really to get killed, to justify their
existence. I don't exactly advocate that extreme. But I shall all my
life be happier for having at least taken my chance. It will increase my
self-respect, which in turn increases my usefulness in life. So can you
get my point of view, and be glad with me?

[Sidenote: The best things of life.]

Now I am to a great extent a fatalist, though I hope it really is
something higher than that. Call it what you will, I have always
believed that if we go ahead and do our duty, counting not the cost,
then the outcome will be in the hands of a power way beyond our own. But
if it be fated that I don't come back, let no one ever say, "Poor
_R - - _." I have had all the best things of life given me in full
measure - the happiest childhood and boyhood, health, the love of family
and friends, the profession I love, marriage to the girl I wanted, and
my son. If I go now, it will be as one who quits the game while the blue
chips are all in his own pile.


GENERAL POST OFFICE, LONDON

MAY 19.

[Sidenote: Rescuing a sailor.]

On the trip over, we were steaming behind the _R - - _, when all at once
she steered out and backed, amid much running around on board. At first
we thought she saw a submarine and stood by our guns. Then we saw she
had a man overboard. We immediately dropped our lifeboat, and I went in
charge for the fun of it. Beat the _R - - 's_ boat to him. He had no
life-preserver, but the wool-lined jacket he wore kept him high out of
water, and he was floating around as comfortably as you please, barring
the fact that his fall had knocked him unconscious. So we not only took
him back to his ship, but picked up the _R - - 's_ boat-hook, which the
clumsy lubbers had dropped - and kept it as a reward for our trouble.

[Sidenote: Very little known about the U-boat situation.]

We are being somewhat overhauled, refitted, etc., in the British
dock-yard here. Navy yards are much the same the world over, I guess. I
will say, however, that they have dealt with us quickly and efficiently,
with the minimum of red tape and correspondence. We have become in fact
an integral part of the British Navy. Admiral Sims is in general
supervision of us, but we are directly in command of the British Admiral
commanding the station. Of the U-boat situation, I may say little. There
is nothing about which so much is imagined, rumored and reported, and so
little known for certain. Five times, when coming through the danger
zone, we manned all guns, thinking we saw something. Once in my watch I
put the helm hard over to dodge a torpedo - which proved to be a
porpoise! And I'll do the same thing again, too. We are in this war up
to the neck, there is no doubt about that - and thank Heaven for it!

Kiss our son for me and make up your mind that you would rather have his
father over here on the job than sitting in a swivel-chair at home doing
nothing.


MAY 26.

I never seem to get time to write a real letter. All hands, including
your husband, are so dead tired when off watch that there is nothing to
do but flop down on your bunk - or on the deck sometimes - and sleep. The
captain and I take watch on the bridge day and night, and outside of
this I do my own navigating and other duties, so time does not go
a-begging with me. However, we are still unsunk, for which we should be
properly grateful.

[Sidenote: War has become matter-of-fact.]

I have seen a little of Ireland and like New York State better than
ever. It is difficult to realize how matter-of-fact the war has become
with every one over here. You meet some mild mannered gentleman and talk
about the weather, and then find later that he is a survivor from some
desperate episode that makes your blood tingle. I would that we were
over on the North Sea side, where Providence might lay us alongside a
German destroyer some gray dawn. This submarine-chasing business is much
like the proverbial skinning of a skunk - useful, but not especially
pleasant or glorious.


JUNE 1.

[Sidenote: Glad to be in the big game.]

When I said good-bye to you at home, I don't think that either of us
realized that I was coming over here to stay. Perhaps it was just as
well. Human nature is such that we subconsciously refuse to accept an
idea, even when we know it to be a true one, because it is totally
new - beyond our experience. Pursuant to which, I could not believe that
my fondest hopes were to be realized, and that not only I, but the whole
of America, would really get into the big game. Oh, it is big all right,
and it grows on you the more you get into it.

Now, I realize that it is asking too much of you or of any woman to view
with perfect complacency having a husband suddenly injected into war.
But just consider - suppose I was a prosperous dentist or produce
merchant on shore, instead of in the Navy. By now you and I would be
undergoing all the agonies of indecision as to whether I should enlist
or no; it would darken our lives for weeks or months, and in the end I
should go anyhow, letting my means of livelihood and yours go hang, and
be away just as long and stand as good a chance of being blown up as I
do now. So I am very thankful that things have worked out as they have
for us.

[Sidenote: Little one is permitted to tell.]

There is very little to tell that I am allowed to tell you. The
technique of submarine-chasing and dodging would be dry reading to a
landsman. It is a very curious duty in that it would be positively
monotonous, were it not for the possibility of being hurled into
eternity the next minute. I am in very good health and wholly free from
nervous tension.

P.S. When despondent, pull some Nathan Hale "stuff," and regret that you
have but one husband to give to your country.


JUNE 8.

[Sidenote: Sleep, warmth and fresh food become ideals.]

Once more I get the chance to write. We are in port for three days, and
that three days looks as big as a month's leave would have a month ago.
Everything in life is comparative, I guess. When we live a comfortable,
civilized, highly complex life, our longings and desires are many and
far-reaching. Now and here such things as sleep, warmth, and fresh food
become almost the limit of one's imagination. Just like the sailor of
the old Navy, whose idea of perfect contentment was "Two watches below
and beans for dinner."

[Sidenote: Nothing causes excitement.]

You get awfully blasé on this duty - things which should excite you don't
at all. For instance, out of the air come messages like the following:
"Am being chased and delayed by submarine." "Torpedoed and sinking
fast." And you merely look at the chart and decide whether to go to the
rescue full speed, or let some boat nearer to the scene look after it.
Or, if the alarm is given on your own ship, you grab mechanically for
life-jacket, binoculars, pistol, and wool coat, and jump to your
station, not knowing whether it is really a periscope or a stick
floating along out of water.

JUNE 20.

Well, we got mail when we came into port this time, your letter of May
28 being the last one. I don't mind the frequent pot-shots the U-boats
take at us, but doggone their hides if they sink any of our mail! We
won't forgive them that.

[Sidenote: No joy-of-battle to be found.]

My health is excellent, better than my temper, in fact. I am beginning
to think that we are not getting our money's worth in this war. I want
to have my blood stirred and do something heroic - _à la_
moving-pictures. Instead of which it much resembles a campaign against
cholera-germs or anything else which is deadly but difficult to get any
joy-of-battle out of.

Do tell me everything you are doing, for it is up to you to make
conversation, since there is so little of affairs at this end that I can
talk about. It is a shame, for you always claimed that I never spoke
unless you said something first; and now I am doing the same thing under
cover of the letter.


JULY 2.

[Sidenote: Life so gray that shock of danger is beneficial.]

The other day, half-way out on the Atlantic, we sighted a periscope, and
some one at the gun sent a shell skimming over the _C - - _, who was in
the way, and then the periscope turned out to be a ventilator sticking
up over some wreckage. However, the incident was welcome. You have no
conception of how gray life can get to be on this job, and the shock of
danger, real or imaginary, is really beneficial, I think. All hands seem
to be more cheerful under its influence.


JULY 4.

I was so glad to get your letters. A man who has a brave woman behind
him will do his duty far better and, incidentally, stand more chance of
coming back, than one who feels a drag instead of a push.

I am glad son had his first fight. You were perfectly right to make him
go on. Mother used to tell how, when brother was a wee boy, he came home
almost weeping, and said, "Mother, a boy hit me." Instead of comforting
him, she said, "Did you hit him back?" It almost killed her, he was so
utterly dumbfounded and hurt; but next time he hit back and licked.

[Sidenote: The life wears nerves and temper.]

I am well but get rather jumpy at times. Strangely enough, it is always
over more or less trivial matters. Every time we have a submarine scare,
I feel markedly better for a while - it seems to reëstablish my sense of
proportion.

It is a mighty nerve- and temper-wearing life - at sea nearly all the time
and with the boat rolling and bucking like a broncho, you can't
exercise. You can hardly do any work, but only hold on tight and wipe
the salt spray from your eyes. Sometimes I have started to shave and
found the salt so thick on my face that soap would not lather.


JULY 16.

[Sidenote: Time is passed navigating, standing watch, sleeping.]

Things are the same as before with us. Time passes quickly, with
navigating, standing watch and sleeping when you get a chance. One day
or two passes all too quickly. I wish there were more to do in the shape
of relaxation when we do get ashore. The people here are cordial enough,
according to their lights, but those that we meet are practically all
Army and Navy people, who have no abode here themselves and are almost
as much strangers as we are; and there is no resident population of
that caste that would ordinarily open its doors to foreign naval
officers.

[Sidenote: Little for diversion in Ireland.]

Ireland is a poor country comparatively. A town of 50,000 here shows
less in the way of facilities for diversion than the average town of
10,000 in the States.

[Sidenote: Mental privations hurt more than physical ones.]

Don't worry about my privations - "which mostly there ain't none." Such
as they are, they are necessary and unavoidable; and, above all, we are
fitted for them. You can't well sympathize with a man who is doing the
thing he has longed for and trained for all his life. Besides, physical
privations are nothing; it is the mental ones that hurt. A soldier in
the trenches, with little to eat and nothing but a hole to sleep in, can
feel happy all the same - particularly if life has something in prospect
for him if he lives. But a man out of work at home, sleeping in the park
and panhandling for food, is much more to be pitied, though his
immediate hardships may be no greater.

The weather over here is very passable at present, but they say it is
simply hell off the coast in winter. However, somebody said the war will
be over in November. I hope the Kaiser and Hindenburg know it, too!


JULY 26.

[Sidenote: Anxious to be in action.]

I haven't done anything heroic, which irks me. We would like to get in
on the ground floor, while all hands are in a receptive mood, and before
the Plattsburgers and other such death-defying supermen make it too
common.


JULY 22.

[Sidenote: A cheerful letter from home.]

Your two letters of July 7 and 8 came this afternoon, but I got the
latter first and expected from what you said in contrition that there
was hot stuff - gas-attack followed by bayonet-work - in the former;
therefore I was all the more ashamed to find you had dealt so leniently
and squarely with me. Why didn't you come back with a long invoice of
troubles of your own, as 99 per cent of women would? Evidently you are
the one-per-cent woman. I bitterly regretted my whines after having
written them, for their very untruth. Alas, how many people think the
world is drab-colored and life a failure, and so have done or said
something they regret all their lives, when a vegetable pill or a brisk
walk would have changed their vision completely! Why is it that people
sometimes deliberately hurt those they have loved most in the world? I
suppose it is because we are all really children at heart and want some
one else to cry too. The other day Smith shamefacedly abstracted from
the mail-box a letter to his wife, and tore it up, and I know - oh, I
know!

At a husbands' meeting on the ship the other day, we all agreed that the
heavy hand was the only way to deal with women; but it seemed on
investigation that no one had actually tried it the reason being
apparently a well-grounded fear that our wives wouldn't like it.

[Sidenote: Danger, but little action or variety.]

This war hasn't had as much action, variety, and stimulation for us as I
would like. Danger there always is, but being little in evidence, you
have to prod your nerves to realize it rather than soothe them down.
Lately, however, things have changed in a manner which, though involving
no more danger, furnishes a somewhat greater mental stimulation, and
thence is better for everybody. I regret to say that I am gaining in
weight. It was my hope to come back thin and gaunt and
interesting-looking. Instead of which, you will likely be mad as a
hornet to find me so sleek, while you at home have done all the thinning
down. Truth to tell, if you compare our relative peace and war status,
you are much more at war than I am.

[Sidenote: The highest form of courage.]

If you find son timid in some things, just remember that I was, too.
Lots of things he will change about automatically. At his age I had
small love for fire-crackers or explosives of any kind, but in two or
three years, and without any prompting, I became really expert in guns
and gunpowder. Try to get him to realize that the very highest form of
courage is to be afraid to do a thing - and do it!


AUGUST 3.

[Sidenote: U-boat score against destroyers is zero.]

Once in a while some one of us gets a torpedo fired at him, and only
luck or quick seamanship saves him from destruction. Some day the
torpedo will hit, and then the Navy Department will "regret to report."
But the laws of probability and chance cannot lie, and as the total
U-boat score against our destroyers so far is zero, you can figure for
yourself that they will have to improve somewhat before the Kaiser can
hand out many iron crosses at our expense.

[Sidenote: Picking up survivors.]

We had a new experience the other day when we picked up two boatloads of
survivors from the - - , torpedoed without warning. I will say they were
pretty glad to see us when we bore down on them. As we neared, they
began to paddle frantically, as though fearful we should be snatched
away from them at the last moment. The crew were mostly Arabs and
Lascars, and the first mate, a typical comic-magazine Irishman,
delivered himself of the following: "Sure, toward the last, some o' thim
haythen gits down on their knees and starts calling on Allah; but I sez,
sez I, 'Git up afore I swat ye wid the axe-handle, ye benighted haythen;
sure if this boat gits saved 't will be the Holy Virgin does it or none
at all, at all! Git up,' sez I."

[Sidenote: The deep sea breeds a certain fineness of character.]

The officers were taken care of in the ward-room - rough unlettered old
sailormen, who possessed a certain fineness of character which I
believe the deep sea tends to breed in those who follow it long enough.
I have known some old Tartars greatly hated by those under them, but to
whom a woman or child would take naturally.

What you say about my possibly being taken prisoner both amuses and



Online LibraryVariousWorld's War Events $v Volume 3 Beginning with the departure of the first American destroyers for service abroad in April, 1917, and closing with the treaties of peace in 1919 → online text (page 1 of 30)