Then there were fixed points for hiding letters for other spies to find. Here are some of the most frequently used:
[Illustration: This little mark, scratched on the ground or on a tree trunk or gate-post, was used by one scout for the information of another. It means: “A letter is hidden four paces in this direction."
[Illustration: A sign used to warn another scout that he is following a wrong direction. It means: “Not this way."]
[Illustration: This is another sign from one scout to another and means: “I have returned home."]
[Illustration: The “blaze” on the tree trunk and the two stones, one on the other, are simply to show that the scout is on the right trail.
The other three sketches are to show the direction in which the scout should go. The arrow is marked on the ground. The upper part of the sapling or bush is bent over in the direction which the scout should take, and the same is the case with the bunch of grass, which is first of all knotted and then bent.]
The Japanese, of course, in their war with Russia in Manchuria made extensive use of spies, and Port Arthur, with all its defects of fortification and equipment, was known thoroughly inside and out to the Japanese general staff before they ever fired a shot at it.
In the field service regulations of the German army a paragraph directed that the service of protection in the field—that is to say, outposts, advanced guards, and reconnaissances—should always be assisted by a system of spying, and although this paragraph no longer stands in the book, the spirit of it is none the less carried out.
The field spies are a recognised and efficient arm.
Frederick the Great is recorded to have said: “When Marshal Subise goes to war, he is followed by a hundred cooks, but when I take the field I am preceded by a hundred spies.”
The present leader of the German army might well say the same, though probably his “hundred” would amount to thousands.
We hear of them dressed in plain clothes as peasants, and signalling with coloured lights, with puffs of smoke from chimneys, and by using the church clock hands as semaphores.
Very frequently a priest was arrested and found to be a spy disguised, and as such he was shot. Also a German chauffeur in a French uniform, who had for some time been driving French staff officers about, was found to be a spy, and so met his death.
Early in the present war the German field spies had their secret code of signs, so that by drawing sketches of cattle of different colours and sizes on gates, etc., they conveyed information to each other of the strength and direction of different bodies of hostile troops in the neighbourhood.