It already has been mentioned that according to information obtained from the enemy fifteen Germans were killed by a bomb dropped upon the ammunition wagon of a cavalry column. It was thought at the time that this might have been the work of one of our airmen, who reported that he had dropped a hand grenade on this convoy, and had then got a bird’s-eye view of the finest display of fireworks he had ever seen. From corroborative evidence it now appears that this was the case; that the grenade thrown by him probably was the cause of the destruction of a small convoy carrying field-gun and howitzer ammunition, which now has been found a total wreck.
Along the road lie fourteen motor lorries, their iron skeletons twisted and broken. Everything inflammable has been burned, as have the stripped trees—some with split trunks—on either side of the road. Of the drivers, nothing remains except tattered boots and charred scraps of clothing, while the ground within a radius of fifty yards of the wagons is littered with pieces of iron, split brass cartridge cases, which have exploded, and some fixed-gun ammunition with live shells.
If it were possible to reconstruct this incident, if it was, in fact, brought about as supposed, the grenade from the aeroplane must have detonated on the leading lorry, on one side of the road, and caused the cartridges carried by it to explode. Three vehicles immediately in the rear must then have been set on fire, with a similar result. Behind these are groups of four and two vehicles so jammed together as to suggest that they must have collided in desperate attempts to stop. On the other side of the road, almost level with the leading wagon, are found more vehicles, which probably were fired by the explosion of the first.
If this appalling destruction was due to one hand grenade, it is an illustration of the potentialities of a small amount of high explosive detonated in the right spot, while the nature of the place where the disaster occurred, a narrow forest road between high trees, is a testimony to the skill of the airmen.
It is only fair to add that some French newspapers claim this damage to the enemy was caused by the action of a detachment of their dragoons.
1,100 Dead in a Single Trench.
[Official Summary, Dated Oct. 27.]
The Official Bureau makes public today the story of an eye-witness, supplementing the account issued on Oct. 24, and bringing the story of the general course of operations in France up to Oct. 20. The arrival of reinforcements, it says, enabled the British troops to assist in the extension of the Allies’ line where the Germans advanced from the northeast and east, holding a front extending from Mont Descats, about ten miles northeast of Hazebrouck, through Meteren, five miles south of that point, and thence to Estaires, thirteen miles west of Lille, on the River Lys. The statement continues: