The Spectator

The Spectator at war: A treat from a German private

From The Spectator, 26 September 1914:

Excellent use is made of captured documents, and we are treated to excerpts from a letter by a German private which deals with the fighting capacity of the British soldier:— “With the English troops we have great difficulties. They have a queer way of causing losses to the enemy. They make good trenches, in which they wait patiently. They carefully measure the ranges for their rifle fire, and they then open a truly hellish fire on the unsuspecting cavalry. This was the reason that we had such heavy losses. . . . According to our officers, the English striking forces are exhausted. The English people never really wanted war.”

Here is a striking tribute to the good training of the British troops, taken from a letter written by a German major: ” The English are marvellously trained in making use of the ground. One never sees them, and one is constantly under fire.” His final conclusion is: “If we first beat the English, the French resistance will soon be broken.” We would not be too sure if we were the Germans. Our gallant allies will, we believe, if compelled, prove excellent “stickers.”

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