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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 XX

THE UNFOUGHT CAMPAIGN

The God of the Bees is the future.’

MAETERLINCK.

I found myself strong enough in July to negotiate the placing of a block order for 10,000 cross-country caterpillar vehicles in the United States. Mr. Henry Ford's vast organization was capable, with other important American firms, of executing this contract without detriment to their other obligations. Mr. Perry, one of Mr. Ford's most trusted assistants, who had for some time been serving in the Ministry of Munitions, was sent on a special mission to Washington to unfold by word of mouth to Mr. Baruch alone the full scheme and purpose of our request. Mr. Baruch, having consulted the President, swiftly cleared all obstacles from the path. No questions were asked by subordinates, and full delivery of the whole 10,000 was guaranteed by the spring.

Although around us great battles raged and the thunder of the guns was unceasing, my mind amid a vivid life of movement and activity always rested on one picture of the future: 10,000 fighting tanks, large and small, specially adapted to the ground they had to traverse, moving forward simultaneously behind the artillery barrage on fronts of assault aggregating 300 or 400 kilometres; behind them, working with them, British, French and American infantry; and behind these again, 10,000 caterpillar vehicles unarmed and unarmoured, but each carrying forward across country, over fields and trenches, all the food, ammunition, kit and supplies of every kind which one platoon would require, while the roads remained clear and free for the advance of artillery and reserves.

But fortune had earlier and happier solutions in store.

CHAPTER XXI

THE TURN OF THE TIDE

And now the valiant German Army itself, the foundation and life of the whole Teutonic Powers, showed disquieting symptoms. The German nation had begun to despair, and the soldiers became conscious of their mood. Ugly incidents occurred. Desertion increased, and the leave men were reluctant to return. The German prisoners liberated from Russia by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk returned infected with the Lenin virus. In large numbers they refused to go again to the front.

A campaign of unmerited reproach was set on foot against the German officer class. Their painstaking and thorough routine, which had enabled them on all the fronts to exact two Ally lives for every German, was no protection from the charge that they did not share the privations of the troops.

During these tremendous days the British, French, American and Italian Munitions authorities had been in continuous conference in Paris. The distant rumble of the cannonade and the dull crash of the half-hourly Bertha shells reminded us that the campaign of 1918 was going on. But all our work was concerned with 1919. The provision and division of steel, of coal, of nitrate; the manufacture of artillery, shells, machine-guns, tanks, aeroplanes, poison gas, upon the greatest possible scale and under the most harmonious arrangements kept us, and the enormous technical staffs we directed, at the Conference table every day and all day.

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