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Kelly Miller's History of the World War for Human Rights By Kelly Miller Characters: 38028

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04

Chemistry a Demon of Destruction-Poison Gas Bombs-Gas Masks-Hand Grenades-Mortars-"Tanks"-Feudal "Battering Rams"-Steel Helmets-Strange Bullets-Motor Plows-Real Dogs of War.

Things new and passing strange-thousands of them-have been brought into being by the great world war. Human minds have developed things undreamed of by science or fiction-things that a few years ago would have been considered too strange and fantastic for even the professional romancer to weave into the tissues of his stories.

Every known science has been called upon to produce its quota of new things which might be used for the destruction or the protection of men at war. The wonders of chemistry have always lent descriptive inspiration to the pen of writers, but mankind to get a vivid conception of the horrors of chemistry has had to wait for the great world war.

The conflict which has involved the entire world might almost be termed a warfare of chemists. Without their diabolical products, ranging all the way from high explosives to poison gases, it would have few of the characteristics of ultra-frightfulness that render it unique in the history of international struggles.

But of all the instruments of destruction used in this war, there is none more horrifying than the so-called "incendiary bomb," which sets instant fire to whatever it touches and which spreads flame in a manner so terrific that three or four such gravity-projectiles dropped from an aeroplane burned up the whole of a peaceful Dutch village in a few minutes.

Now, what is the fearsome stuff with which such bombs are loaded? A new chemical compound? Not at all. What they contain is simply the mixture of two of the most harmless things in the world-oxide of iron (which is simply iron rust) and powdered aluminum.

When these two innocent substances are mixed together the result is a compound truly infernal in its potentialities for mischief. It is not an explosive but if set on fire it burns with an intensity that is positively appalling. Nothing will put it out; no quantity of water has any effect upon the raging flames it engenders.

This is the material used for loading incendiary bombs. It is ignited in such projectiles by a mercury-fulminate cap that sets off a fuse containing powdered magnesium-the stuff photographers employ for flashlights.


These bombs are thin shells of steel or iron-mere containers for the mixture before described. They are so contrived that the fuse is instantly ignited when they strike.

Whereupon the shell is melted by the heat generated within it and a flood of fiercely burning metal is scattered in all directions. All of this seems rather extraordinary, and it is worth explaining.

Oxygen has an affinity for iron, readily combining with the latter-which is the reason why iron is liable to rust. This rust is a chemical compound of iron and oxygen; in other words, oxide of iron. But oxygen has a much greater affinity for aluminum. And so, when the two metals are powdered and mixed together and heat is applied the oxygen flies out of the iron rust and combines with the aluminum.

The process is started in the bomb by the burning magnesium. And then the oxygen passes out of the iron and into the aluminum so rapidly that an enormously high temperature is developed. It runs up to 3500 or 4000 degrees Fahrenheit-which means, of course, a tremendous combustion. The mixture of aluminum and iron burns like so much tinder-though such a way of putting it is absurdly feeble.

The present war has been conspicuously marked by reversions to ancient methods of fighting. In this line the incendiary bomb offers an excellent illustration. It is in effect merely an adaptation of an idea utilized by the Saracens-we should call them Turks nowadays-in their warfare with the Crusaders of the Middle Ages.


The instrument of war most dreaded by the Crusaders, as they found it in the hands of the Turks, was the incendiary bomb-a projectile that flew through the air "like a fiery dragon" as they described it, and set fire to whatever it touched. Sometimes it was provided with iron barbs, by which it clung to buildings.

This was one of the ways in which the Saracens employed the celebrated "Greek fire"-an inflammable compound that is understood to have been a mixture of petroleum, saltpeter and pitch. The chief horror of it, from the Crusaders' point of view, was that it was unquenchable. Mere water had no effect upon it. Hence they were sure that it must be of diabolical origin.

But the up-to-date incendiary bomb is a great improvement on its original of the Middle Ages. The modern contrivance is thoroughly scientific, and it does its destructive business with certainty and dispatch.

No less effective are the gas bombs which were introduced by the German soldiers at Rheims, and which when exploding near the trenches occupied by the French and English threw off vapors and poisonous gases which killed or overwhelmed thousands of brave men. These devices used in violation of all rules of civilized warfare sent hundreds to the hospitals. Seventy-five victims were taken at one time from the trenches to the hospital at Zuydcoote, north of Dunkirk, where it was found that some of those who had inhaled the fumes turned a violet tinge.

Altogether it was estimated that from 3000 to 5000 men were affected by the gas fumes in this first onslaught and at least 10 per cent of those who were overcome succumbed to the deadly fumes. Many of those who inhaled the poisons expectorated blood and for days afterward were racked by terrible coughing. In many cases fever developed in a few days ending with pneumonia. When the men were not sufficiently poisoned to cause death they were so affected that their usefulness as soldiers was ended for all time. The poison made them confirmed invalids.


Naturally human ingenuity was called into play to protect men against the poisons and the gas mask came into being. These were of many types. The early creations consisted primarily of a nose and mouth covering with a receptacle for inclosing a sponge or gauze soaked with a chemical which possessed the power to neutralize the gas fumes. Such devices have been used by fire fighters in large cities the world over where the men battling to save buildings have been compelled to enter smoke-filled rooms and cellars. Other types which have proven more effective are designed after the fashion of the diving apparatus, and having a small tank of compressed oxygen with feeding tubes running to the mask. The oxygen combines with the contaminated air breathed through absorbent cotton or sponge and provides the wearer with the proportion of oxygen necessary to existence. And even the horses have been provided with such masks.

But to go back to bombs. All through France and Belgium, and wherever the Prussian soldiers found their way, there was evidence of the use of hand grenades which were thrown against the sides of or into buildings to set them in flames. Some of these devices, made of sheet metal, were in their action similar to the "Fourth of July torpedoes" familiar to every American school boy. When thrown they exploded throwing oil and chemicals over walls and floors. Some of them seem to have been loaded with bullets and were in effect hand shrapnel.

Then there developed from the primary use of these nefarious weapons the recognized hand grenade, which is actually hand-shrapnel, plied by men at close quarters. Thousands of these have been thrown by the armies in their charges on the trenches. And then, to offset the use of these devices in the offensive, there came into being also the smoke bombs. These when exploding throw up great clouds of black smoke which hang over everything.


The use of such bombs has proved effective in a hundred ways. They have been used to create a perfect shield of smoke to conceal the movements of troops, or prevent the enemy from finding the range with their long distance guns. Similarly bombs which contained burning chemicals have been used to hold in check the approaching enemy forces.

Half way between the great gun and the hand grenade stand among war weapons the trench mortars. The first of these were used by the Japanese in their war with Russia. The Japanese mortars were mere logs hollowed out and strengthened by wrappings of bamboo rope. The projectiles fired from these were empty provision tins filled with high explosives, scraps of metal, bits of stone or whatever, in the emergency, could be found to fill them.

The mortars are pitched at an angle and the projectiles are shot with a skyrocket effect, to land in the trenches or camp of the enemy. The Germans developed the idea and the perfected mortars are of steel, and capable of throwing bombs weighing several hundred pounds.

And then the great moving fort which has been called "the tank!" Those snorting, fire-spitting dragons which were depicted for us in childhood can scarcely bring to our mind a greater element of the fanciful, the horrible, and the powerful than the steel hulks which came into being in this war under the name of "tanks."

We see them in our mind's eye spitting fire as they crossed No Man's Land, amid the smoke and dust of bursting shells. Keeping steadily on their courses they dived into huge craters made by exploding shells; stretched themselves across trenches, brushed trees and boulders aside, and kept steadily on their courses. German wire entanglements were as so many pieces of string before their huge frames. Nothing deterred them. They moved forward into the face of the enemy, reaching the first line of German trenches. There the soulless devices sat complacently astride the trenches, and turning their guns along the ditches swept them in both directions.


The tanks which were introduced by the English, move along on revolving platforms, so to speak. These platforms enable the tank to overcome all obstacles as the caterpillar tread is curved up in the arc of a huge circle at the front which gives the vehicle its wonderful tractive powers. This large curvature acts as a huge wheel with a tremendously long leverage equal to the radius of the circlet or the spokes of the imaginary wheel of the same diameter. Only that portion of the assumed wheel which would come in contact with the ground acts as the lever, and it is just this portion that is reproduced in the front end of a caterpillar belt.

Although varying in size and details, all tanks have the common characteristic of being divided into three main compartments between the two side caterpillar frames. The first is the observation compartment in which the driver and his helper are perched high above the ground to direct the movements of the huge steel beast.

In the middle is the ammunition room from which the guns carried in the two side turrets are fed. At the rear is the engine room. From two or four gasoline engines are used-these driving the rear axle and its integral sprockets over which the caterpillars run. The latter run an idler pulley or sprockets at the extreme front ends and are supported by means of rollers attached to the upper portion of the frame on each side when passing over the top. This movement of the caterpillar belts is exactly analogous to that of the ordinary variety of garden insect with the same name which similarly lays down his own track by humping his back continuously and regardless of the land surface.

The tanks are steered by a pair of small ordinary wheels at the rear. These are supported in a pivot on a frame extended from the rear. They are merely for steering, and support none of the weight of the tank except when bridging wide trenches or dips in the surface. Steering can be accomplished by making one caterpillar go faster than the other by manipulating clutches on the driving mechanism.


The "caterpillar" feature of the tank had its origin in the caterpillar belts or shoes which were first used on the great field guns and mortars-those tremendous weapons which shoot bombs and shells weighing tons and containing 500 or more pounds of guncotton or explosive which on contact is discharged, rending everything for yards around.

These guns, as well as the smaller field guns, have had attached to them great shields of steel behind which the gunners stand, so that they are protected against the old-fashioned sharpshooters whose duty it was to pick off the gunners.

The caterpillar or wheel belts on the big guns consist of flat blocks, or shoes, wider than the tires of the wheels. They are hinged and fastened together so as to form a great chain, and when placed on the wheels present broad surfaces to the ground and keep the gun carriages from sinking into the soft earth. With a set of these shoes a heavy gun can be drawn over soft and irregular ground, which would be almost impassable where the gun is mounted on wheels of ordinary width.

Before these belts were devised it was necessary for every gun crew to carry a supply of beams, jackscrews and devices to be used in extricating the heavy guns when they got fast in the mud. Now every gun has these belts which can be put on or detached in a few minutes.

Paradoxically, this is the day of the big gun's greatest effectiveness, and the day of its greatest limitations. The war has taught us more in two years about gunnery and the effect of various types of ordnance under varying conditions than could have been learned in twenty years of theoretical research-for actual experience proves where theoretical research merely gives ground on which to base an opinion.


One of the things that we have learned is that when man takes unto himself the humble pick and shovel and proceeds to dig a hole for himself in the ground, we can get him out of that hole only by drawing on the combined resources of a nation, by constructing one of the most complex and expensive instruments in the world, and with it hurling at man dug-in a projectile weighing a good part of a ton.

The blunder, perhaps unavoidable, which stands out with equal emphasis among the preliminary preparations of all the nations engaged in the struggle was the underestimation of the artillery power required for the conduct of a successful military campaign under modern conditions of warfare. It was an underestimation so great that in the light of developments it will some day prove ridiculous.

At the opening of the war two opposed theories of artillery effectiveness were held by the combatants. The French swore by the medium calibre, rapid-fire, low-trajectory field piece. The Teutons had devoted their best efforts to the development of guns so big that their opponents were tempted, before they learned better, to regard them as too unwieldy for effective field service. Both were right, the French in the full sense and intention of the term, the Teutons by pure accident.

It should be explained here that the word Teuton is used advisedly, for in reality it is to the Austrians before the Germans that the development of the 11-inch and bigger field gun, with its special carriage and caterpillar-tread wheels owes its existence. It was Austrian guns and Austrian gunners that first made the heavy artillery of the Teuton armies famous.

The French field piece performed all that was expected of it, but it was handicapped by unforeseen conditions of warfare. The heavy Teuton guns performed their mission in the very introductory stages of the war, then failed, and later, by the irony of fate, proved to be the very things required when the unforeseen war conditions developed.


The Germans and Austrians believed that they could develop a big gun which could be given sufficient mobility for use in the field, and with commendable and methodical application they proceeded to do so. The theory was, first, that it could batter down any permanent fortifications that man could build, and when it was pitted against the concrete ramparts of Liege and Namur it blew them out of existence in a few hours. The Teutons had scored, and scored so heavily that the Allies barely escaped the fate the Germans had prepared for them in an overwhelming sweep on Paris. That they did escape this fate is no doubt in a large measure due to the fact that the second effectiveness claimed by the Teutons for their heavy ordnance failed in its full accomplishment. Used in open fighting, the great explosive shells hurled by these guns did not do the damage expected to the wide, open firing lines of the Allies, nor did they produce the moral effect expected. The great shells tore tremendous craters in the ground, from which the force of the explosion was expended upward in a sort of cone-shape, shooting above the heads of any troops in the vicinity except those immediately adjacent to the explosion. In the meantime the field pieces of the French, with their extreme mobility and rapidity of fire, were scattering death and destruction with their straight shrapnel fire in the solid formations which were so popular with the Germans in the early stages of the war, and which today they do not seem to be able to drop entirely.

So far the French piece did all expected of it. The German piece had proved its ability only to blow up permanent fortifications, and this was nullified immediately by the action of the French in abandoning the concrete shelters and moving their own guns into newly and quickly-constructed trench forts.


But the thing that neither side had dreamed of was the settling down of the war on the west front into an eternal line of opposing trenches to face each other for years. That it did so was due to the monumental blunders on the part of the German staff in allowing itself to be outmaneuvered and beaten back from the gates of Paris by numerically inferior forces, and still further outmaneuvered in the extension of the lines northward in that famous series of flanking movements which finally reached the sea.

It was their success in driving the German army to earth when it was stronger than they were that saved the Allies, and gave them the breathing time required in which to further their preparations and train new troops, and likewise it is this same mode of trench warfare which has made their task so difficult when they have taken the offensive.

Against ordinary trench lines, as known in the early stages of the war, the French field pieces were more effective than the heavy cannon of the Teutons, just as they had been in the open. Shooting in flat trajectory across the trench, and exploding just above it, the shrapnel scattered more death downward than the heavy projectile could scatter upward after it had buried it

self in the soft earth.

But with the continuous line of trenches stretching from Switzerland to the sea, with consequent impossibility of out-flanking, demonstrated by the Germans to their sorrow in repeated repulses of their drives to cut through to Calais, each side felt justified in replying to the artillery of the other by digging deeper and more permanently, with many feet of shelter overhead. This ended the effectiveness of shrapnel except for the repulse of attacks, and again the heavy guns swung into the position of pre-eminence.


It was at this stage, however, that both sides realized how totally inadequate the supply of these heavy guns and ammunition was to cope with the situation. While the heavy gun was more effective in blasting out the enemy from his dugouts than the field piece, it required many times the artillery power which either side possessed to handle the job.

Then commenced the race of the ammunition and gun factories to turn out their products by the ton where they had been turned out by the pound before; a race in which the Allies took and held the lead.

With the greatly increased number of heavy guns it became possible to develop the famous curtain of barrage fire, also known as drum fire, with this type of ordnance, as well as with shrapnel.

It is with this form of attack that the Allies blasted their way slowly but steadily through the strongest networks of trenches which the Germans were able to build.

Along a given section of the front, or rather just behind it, the guns were placed singly or in pairs, widely scattered, some close to the line and some well back from it, all concealed as far as possible from enemy aviators. There were also many dummy batteries, so that if the enemy air scout saw a gun or group of guns, he had no way of telling whether they were real or imitation.

In such an instance before the actual advance of the troops the fire of all these guns is concentrated along parallel lines to the enemy trenches, first, second and sometimes third. Each gun has its work mapped out for it in advance on a map covered with tiny squares. The actual point may be well beyond view of the gunners. The shell is landed in its appointed square solely on mathematical calculation. The commander of each gun knows, for instance, that he must fire into this, that or the other square for so many minutes or hours, and exactly at a given minute change his fire to another source.


In effect on the enemy a continuous rain of shells, comparable to streams of water from hundreds of hoses is poured in a line right down the trench. At the same time a parallel line of fire is concentrated at a given distance back of the enemy's first trench and in front of the second, or in it. This means that the troops in the first line must not only take their bombardment without hope of retreat or escape, but that it is impossible to get reinforcements to them through the second curtain.

When it is calculated that the first line has been destroyed or demoralized, the troops leap from their trenches and advance strictly according to schedule over the ground between the opposing trenches. Their arrival at the enemy's first trench is timed to the second, and just as they are on the verge of plunging into their own curtain of fire this latter is gradually thrown forward, forming a screen between the newly captured trench and the enemy's second line. This means two curtains of fire through which the enemy would have to advance to counter-attack.

Time is given to rout out what remains of the enemy from the first line dugouts, and then the troops advance again. In the meantime the curtain of fire has preceded them as before, moving up to the line of drum fire which has been playing on the second line of trenches or just in front of it. If any of the enemy have attempted to flee before the attack from the first line they are caught between these two barrages which are gradually brought together.

When the first and second lines of fire have been brought together they are poured with redoubled fury into the second line of the enemy trenches, and then moved forward again just as the advancing troops reach this line.


The performance is made continuous so far as possible under the conditions peculiar to the given section in which the attack is being made. Sometimes it is possible to advance over three, four or five trenches in a single attack. At others it is as much as can be accomplished to capture one, which must be consolidated before further advance is made. It depends on the strength of the trenches, the nature of the ground, the distance apart that they are, and, of course, the amount of artillery fire which the enemy is able to concentrate in return.

When a sufficient advance has been made, it also becomes necessary to suspend operations for a time while the guns behind the lines are moved forward to new positions.

This is always the period of the counter-attack in force by the enemy, who seizes the opportunity when a certain proportion of the artillery is unable to fire because it is being moved. And it is during this period that the infantry have to do their hardest fighting, which consists, not in making the advance over no-man's land to the enemy trench, but in holding that trench afterward when the bringing up of their own artillery behind them to more advanced positions robs them of some of the support of the drum fire.

Still another factor of delay at this period is the time required by the air scouts to find the rearranged positions of the enemy guns after the advance, for these must be taken care of also before a new advance can be made.

An explanation of this form of attack shows why news dispatches have told first of an advance of the British, followed by a period of quiet, during which an attack by the French in some other section of the line was in progress. Then suddenly the scene of action switched back to the British lines again while the French were consolidating their new positions preparatory to pushing the general advance a step farther.


It also explains just what has happened when the Germans state that the "enemy penetrated our first trenches in a small sector, but his attack broke down before our second line." When the next attack is ready, of course, the former second German line is referred to as the "first," and so, on paper, as far as the uninitiated are concerned, the German publicity office is able to build up a continuous series of enemy attacks which "break down," and somehow never, never "penetrate our invincible line." Actually an advance of this nature is extremely slow, but it is sure, and it is made at the expense of tons upon tons of ammunition rather than at the expense of lives, for ammunition can be made faster than soldiers.

Even the old battering ram of feudal times with which the ancestors of Kaiser William used to knock down the castles of the baron robbers has been approximated by his warring tribes. With the retreat of the German troops from Flanders the Allied forces found crude battering rams such as have been shown in the stirring "movies" when the ancient warriors stormed the gates of the city.

One of such devices was in the form of an upright frame made of heavy timbers. An immense log was suspended from the cross-piece by a heavy chain. An iron band circled one end of the log which was used for battering purposes and at the opposite end were handles, used by the operators in their nefarious work. The ram was used to batter in the doors of houses which had been locked or barricaded against the German soldiers. In their most destructive moods, it is charged that they used these devices to destroy the standing walls of houses and cottages after they had been gutted by fire. The Germans would not permit even so much as a wall to stand which might be used by the poor peasant in rehabilitating himself and building a new home.


The new method of warfare, with men working in trenches and dugouts and millions of shells breaking over head, while missiles rain all about, necessitated the development of some device to protect the heads of the fighters. Therefore the steel helmet.

It has been shown that, due to trench warfare, about seventy-five per cent of the wounded on the western front had been hit with shrapnel or pieces of shell traveling at a low velocity and therefore had torn wounds and in many cases smashed bones. About three per cent of the wounds were in the head and about fifteen per cent in the face or neck. This led to the adoption by the French of a steel helmet called after its inventor, Adrian. The helmets were first used in May, 1915. That their use is justified is shown by statistics. Among fifty-five cases of head wounds, forty-two happened to soldiers without helmets.

Twenty-three of these had fractured skulls, while the remaining nineteen had bad scalp wounds. Of the thirteen who wore helmets, not one had a skull fracture. Five had slight wounds only, while none of those who had worn a helmet died. Quite a number of those who had not did.

In the Academy of Medicine Dr. Roussey brought up the point that due to the helmet the number of cases of sudden death from wounds in the head had been so decreased that the number of wounded with head injuries treated in the hospitals had materially increased.

The French helmet proved such a success that Belgium, Serbia, Russia and Roumania equipped their troops with the same model. The French helmet has a bursting bomb as insignia on its front and is light blue or khaki color, depending on whether it is worn by the metropolitan, the French home army or the French colonial army.


The Belgian helmet is khaki-colored, with the Belgian lion on the front; the Italian, greenish blue, with no insignia; the Serbian, khaki-colored, with the Serbian coat of arms; the Russian, khaki-colored, with the Russian coat of arms, and the Roumanian, blue-gray, with the Roumanian coat of arms.

The French have made more than 12,000,000 helmets, using about 12,000 tons of steel. In other words, a ton of steel will make 1,000 helmets. The British also equipped their troops with a steel helmet, which has no ridge running from front to rear, as has the Adrian, no decorations, and a rather wide brim, which runs all the way round. It is of a khaki color.

The Germans issued to a certain number of their men, generally those most exposed in trench fighting, a steel helmet considerably heavier than any of the allied helmets. It has a much higher crown, and comes down more over the eyes and the sides and back of the head.

All these helmets are supported by means of a leather skull cap inside, which fitting closely to the head, distributes the weight over the whole of the skull, instead of simply around the edge of it, as is the case with ordinary headgear.

Of course, these helmets will not protect against high velocity projectiles. However, as they do protect the wearer from low velocity projectiles, and as these are, because of infection, often as fatal as severe wounds, it can easily be seen how much good has been accomplished.

A French writer in La Nature shows that 332 out of 479 abnormal wounds were caused by shrapnel and pieces of shell having a low velocity.

In 13 out of 15 cases of lung wounds, the projectiles did not have velocity enough to completely traverse the body and come out.

In 71 cases of joint wounds, 66 were due to low velocity shrapnel and only 5 to high velocity bullets. Practically every one of these wounds could have been prevented by breast and body pieces and knee and elbow caps of armor.


As for every man who afterward dies from a wound made by a high velocity bullet there are about ten who die from wounds made by the low velocity shrapnel and shell fragments, the importance is seen of protection against these low velocity wounds if it can be had.

The wearing of armor means the lessening of the mobility of the soldier. In the open field lessening of mobility means a decrease in efficiency, which cannot be tolerated. However, in trench warfare the mobility of the individual does not count for so much, as even during an attack he does not have to go far, and generally does it at a walk in the rear of the barrage fire of his own artillery.

Efficiency in warfare, as indicated by the keeping of such records, has set the brains of the world at work, and armor is used to a limited degree for the protection of men in greatly exposed fronts or open positions.

The Japanese in modern times were first to resort to the forerunner of armor. They used shields of steel and in the siege of Port Arthur such shields were strapped to the front of the body. The Germans in the charges have frequently used double shields, advancing in groups of four behind a steel protector carried by two men, leaving the other two free to fire at the enemy through port holes in the armor shields.

None of the armors has, however, proved its resistance to the high velocity bullets which the powerful field guns rain against it. Experiments are being made continuously along these lines, and Guy Otis Brewster, of New Jersey, has developed a bullet-proof jacket and headgear which it is said approximates perfection.

In the presence of ordinance officers from the Picatinny Arsenal he invited an expert military marksman to fire at him from a distance of 60 yards. A Springfield rifle was used, with regulation ammunition. The steel bullet had a velocity of 2740 feet a second. Only one shot was fired, but it failed to penetrate the armor.


The composition of the latter is a secret, beyond the fact that it consists in part of steel. Jacket and headgear weigh 30 pounds; but the material is so flexible that the soldier wearing such an outfit can kneel, lie down, rise and run, charge from the trenches, use the bayonet, or throw hand grenades, without impediment to his movements.

It has been denied that dum-dum bullets, placed under ban by all civilized nations, have been used by the Germans, but there is no doubt that explosive bullets have been used. The report of the Belgian Commission, which investigated the horrors when the Germans first invaded King Albert's country, contains testimony which proves conclusively that such missiles were used. These bullets were, in effect, small shells containing an explosive chemical which was set off by contact. Photographs taken of wounds show the effect which these bullets produced.

More than that, the Russians charged that along the northern frontier the Germans fired glass bullets, although there is nothing to sustain the belief that such missiles were generally used. The dum-dum bullet is a soft-nosed missile which, when it strikes a bone, flattens out and splatters, creating a jagged wound which it is almost impossible to treat or heal. The Germans, in ordinary, use a steel jacketed bullet which possesses high penetrative powers, while the French at the beginning of the war were using the ordinary lead bullet.


Among the recent developments is a bullet which had its origin in one of the United States arsenals for manufacturing ammunition. This is a steel bullet covered with lead. The effect of such a combination on the penetrating quality of the bullet may be readily understood by anyone who has ever tried the experiment of driving an ordinary needle into a board through a cork. If the cork is placed on the board and the needle pressed down through the cork until it touches the board, a powerful blow from a hammer will force the needle into the board without breaking. In the application of this principle to the manufacture of the bullet, experiments proved that the soft lead acted as a guide or sustainer which permitted the inner steel to penetrate without deviation.

And just as these oddities of warfare have been created to meet arising situations, others have been created to care for the sick and injured-those who have fallen victims of the agencies of destruction. Who ever heard of a sand sled?

Such sleds have been used effectively on the Eastern fronts to carry wounded soldiers to the hospitals. They are long, staunchly constructed sleds similar to those used on the farms in America for hauling plows, cultivators and other agricultural implements across the fields which have been furrowed.

The sleds have broad runners which do not sink into the sands and can be drawn easily. In winter these same sleds have served to haul the wounded and sick over miles of snow and ice on the Russian frontier.

Then, though it is not a weapon of offense, there is the tractor plow which works at night. It is a war device to the extent that as England's need for food has been great and constant the tractor plow has been used to solve the problem of working the ground. On the estate of Sir Arthur Lee, the director-general of food production in England, great agricultural motors equipped with acetylene searchlights were kept at work in the fields day and night.

Dogs too have been ushered into the arena. No longer may the old English expression, "Let Slip the Dogs of War," be regarded as a mere figure of speech. The war dogs, and particularly the animals used by the Red Cross on the battlefields, have assumed a regular status in the armies of the world. In the European armies are thousands of dogs which have been trained to act as messengers or spies, or to seek out on the battlefields the wounded. The Germans use a canine commonly known as "Boxers." These animals are a cross between the German mastiff and the English bulldog, and on the fields of Europe they have proved to be "kings" among the Red Cross dogs. The animals are first taught to distinguish between the uniforms of the soldiers of their own country and those of the enemy. Then they learn that the principal business in life for them is to find and aid wounded soldiers.

The animals are trained to search without barking and to return to headquarters and urge their trainers to follow them with stretcher bearers. Sometimes the dogs bring back such an article as a cap, tobacco pouch or handkerchief. The dogs of the Red Cross carry on their collars a pouch containing a first aid kit, by means of which a wounded soldier may staunch the flow of blood or help himself until assistance arrives.

It is reported that one of these dogs rescued fifty men on the Somme battlefield in France. The animal known as Filax of Lewanno, is a typical German sheepdog. Such dogs weigh from 50 to 65 pounds and are very powerful, but the Irish terriers and Airedales have also been trained to do effective work, as have the Great Danes and St. Bernards.

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