Official casualty lists of recent date which have been captured show that the losses of the Germans continue to be heavy. One single list shows that a company of German infantry had 139 men killed and wounded, or more than half of its war establishment. Other companies suffered almost as heavily. It further appears that the number of men reported missing—that is, those who have fallen into the hands of the enemy or who have become marauders—is much greater in the reserve battalions than in the first line units. This is evidence of the inferior quality of some of the reserves now being brought up to reinforce the enemy field army, and it is all the more encouraging, since every day adds to our first line strength.
The arrival of the Indian contingents caused every one to realize that while the enemy was filling his depleted ranks with immature levies, we have large reserves of perfectly fresh and thoroughly trained troops to draw upon.
Nature of Fighting Changes.
[Dated Oct. 26.]
Before the narrative [Transcriber: original ‘narative’] of the progress of the fighting near the Franco-Belgian frontier subsequent to Oct. 20 is continued a brief description will be given of the movement of a certain fraction of our troops from its former line facing north, on the east of Paris, to its present position facing east, in the northwest corner of France, by which a portion of the British Army has been enabled to join hands with the incoming and growing stream of reinforcements.
This is now an accomplished fact, as is generally known, and can therefore be explained in some detail without detriment. Mention will also be made of the gradual development up to Oct. 20 in the nature of the operations in this quarter of the theatre of war, which has recently come into such prominence.
In its broad lines the transfer of strength by one combatant during the course of a great battle which has just been accomplished is somewhat remarkable. It can best be compared with the action of the Japanese during the battle of Mukden, when Gen. Oku withdrew a portion of his force from his front, moved it northward behind the line, and threw it into the fight again near the extreme left of the Japanese armies.
In general direction, though not in scope or possible results, owing to the coast line being reached by the Allies, the parallel [Transcriber: original ‘parellel’] is complete. The Japanese force concerned, however, was much smaller than ours and the distance covered by it was less than that from the Aisne to the Franco-Belgian frontier. Gen. Oku’s troops, moreover, marched, whereas ours were moved by march, rail, and motor.
What was implied in the actual withdrawal from contact with the enemy along the Aisne will be appreciated when the conditions under which we were then situated are recalled.