SERIOUS SITUATION CONTINUES
BY MAJOR ROBERT MATTESON JOHNSTON, A. M., ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF MODERN HISTORY.
The military situation on the Western Front is grave and is likely to continue grave for some weeks to come. The German attack in France aims at cutting the British lines of communication and thereby isolating Haig's army, by breaking the line Amiens-Havre, and perhaps subsequently the line Abbeville-Havre. The operations on both sides raise many questions that it is not advisable to debate at the present juncture. There are two minor points, however, that I will venture to indicate.
The first of these is the supercession of the famous War Council of Versailles by the single commander, General Foch. The general is well known to students of military questions through courses he has given at the French War College. It is safe to say that the appointment of a supreme commander is a step in the right direction; the next thing will be to equip him with a general staff capable of handling the combined armies.
Must Advance in Straight Line.
The other point is that, should the German army, in its next effort towards the west, succeed in breaking the line south or southwest of Amiens, it will then be faced by a problem which its method of advance renders especially difficult. The Germans, since 1870, have consistently employed the methods of what are known as linear strategy; that is, each group of the army advances along its own line of communication, along closely delimited and parallel battle strips. This virtually compels the army to advance in a straight line. And, if a change of direction, as is indicated in the present case, be made to the extent of a half-turn, then to fix the lines of communication so as not to cross and run smoothly is a matter of immense difficulty.
These are minor points of interest. As to the upshot, we can only hope that General Foch will be successful and that our troops will get the full share of the fighting we know they are thirsting for.