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Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (30 ноя 1874 - 24 янв 1965) Part III 1916–1918 (1923-31)

To All Who Endured

CHAPTER XIII

THE MUNITIONS BUDGET

There must at any rate be one strong power to face Germany in 1918. To strike an average in these matters, to bind oneself in advance to some system of ‘share and share alike,’ and thus to deprive ourselves of all our power of giving when need arises, may be logic—it may even be equity—but it is not the way to win the war.

‘As regards material,’ wrote Sir Douglas Haig in his final despatch in 1919, ‘it was not until midsummer, 1916, that the artillery situation became even approximately adequate to the conduct of major operations. Throughout the Somme battle the expenditure of artillery ammunition had to be watched with the greatest care. During the battles of 1917 ammunition was plentiful, but the gun situation was a source of constant anxiety. Only in 1918 was it possible to conduct artillery operations independently of any limiting consideration other than that of transport.’

CHAPTER XIV

THE AUTUMN STRUGGLE

Apart from the hopes of decisive victory, which grew with every step away from the British front line and reached absolute conviction in the Intelligence Department, two reasons were adduced by General Headquarters to justify the renewed severe demand upon the troops.

It seemed to throw the army into the struggle against the submarines. It confused the issue, it darkened counsel, it numbed misgivings, overpowered the dictates of prudence, and cleared the way for a forlorn expenditure of valour and life without equal in futility.

It is worth also remembering that the best of all feints, and the most deceptive, is a real attack which you subsequently decide not to carry through; the reserves for which are suddenly thrown into quite a different theatre.

On December 8, 1917, the Turks abandoned Jerusalem after 400 years of blighting occupation, and the British Commander-in-Chief entered the city amid the acclamations of the inhabitants. Here he maintained himself in a situation of much delicacy throughout the winter, re-grouping his forces, wisely fostering the Arab revolt which grew around the astonishing personality of Lawrence, and preparing for even larger enterprises in the spring.

wisely fostering the Arab revolt...

It will be incredible to future generations that the strategists of an island people then blessed with the unique and sovereign attribute of Sea Power should, throughout the whole of the Great War, have failed so utterly to turn it to offensive profit.

These are terrible words when used to sustain the sacrifices of nearly four hundred thousand men.

In three days 200,000 men and 1,800 guns were captured, and before the long retreat was finished and the Italian front had been reconstituted 80 miles to the westward along the Piave, upwards of 800,000 soldiers through death, wounds, sickness, capture, desertion, and above all disappearance, had been torn from the Italian standards.

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