The visitors to the chateau and environs afterward joined their comrades in firing the town. Night had come. Also across the bridge waited the hundred and fifty thousand reinforcements come from Luneville. The five hundred of the two thousand inhabitants who remained were herded to the upper end of the town near the station. That portion was not to be destroyed because the German General would make his headquarters there.
The inhabitants were to be given a treat. They were to witness the entrance of the hundred and fifty thousand—the power and might of Germany was to be exhibited to them. So while the flames leaped high from the burning city, reddening the sky for miles, while old men prayed, while women wept, while little children whimpered, the sound of martial music was heard down the street near the bridge. The infantry packed in close formation, the red light from the fire shining on their helmets, were doing the goose step up the main street to the station—the great German army had entered the city of Gerbeviller with the honors of war.
An Account of France’s New Master of War
[From THE NEW YORK TIMES, April, 1915.]
“Find out the weak point of your enemy and deliver your blow there,” said the Commander of the Twentieth French Army Corps at Nancy at a staff banquet in 1913.
“But suppose, General,” said an artillery officer, “that the enemy has no weak point?”
“If the enemy has no weak point,” returned the commander, with a gleam of the eye and an aggressive tilt of the chin, “make one.”
The commander was Foch—Ferdinand Foch—who has suddenly flashed before the world as the greatest leader in the French Army after Joffre, and who in that remark at Nancy gave the index to the basic quality of his character as a General. General Foch is today in command of the northern armies of France, besides being the chief Lieutenant and confidant of Joffre. Joffre conceives; Foch, master tactician, executes. He finds the weak point; if there is no weak point, he creates or seeks to create one.
When King George of England was at the front in France recently he conferred the Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath—the highest military distinction in the form of an order within the gift of the British Crown—on two Frenchmen. Joffre was one. The other was Foch.
“Foch? Foch? Who is Foch?” asked the British public, perplexed, when the newspapers printed the news of the granting of this signal honor.
“Foch is the General who was at the head of the French military mission which followed our army manoeuvres three years ago,” replied a few men who happened to have been intimately acquainted with those manoeuvres.
“But what has that to do with the Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath?” asked John Bull. And the manoeuvre experts not being able to reply, the English newspapers demanded from their correspondents in France an answer to the query, “Who is Foch? Why the Grand Cross?”