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ranted, but it is clear that the roads were in good condition and that the Germans tried to hamper the Allied advance by flooding, wherever possible. The autumn rains were, however, not long delayed. For about a week, following September 8, heavy storms and chilly winds swept the entire battle area, slackening the progress of the Allies but not stopping their steady, although slower, advance. The men were drenched to the skin, and "felt the wind like a knife-blade." Yet there was a blessing in the rain, well recognized by some of the troops, for it laid the dust which was blowing from the battlefields covered with dead bodies of men and of horses, and it prevented the explosion of many shells which struck in pools of water.

As the milder and more peaceful weather of summer on the western front gradually gives way to the stormier and more turbulent autumnal types, it is inevitable that active military operations should be oftener slackened, or even entirely interrupted. The fighting conditions are less favorable. The weather changes are more frequent and violent. The rain is more chilling, and snow and sleet begin to fall. Observation, on the surface or in the air, becomes more difficult, often even impossible, owing to clouds, or mist, or fog. Gunfire becomes inaccurate. Lower temperatures, especially during the autumnal nights, cause discomfort or suffering, and bring calls for warmer clothing and for fires. The traditional mud of Flanders makes the most serious trouble during the autumn rains, which are characteristic of that region. Flanders mud has played its part in every war fought over this same territory throughout history, and has over and over again proved a serious handicap in the present war. This mud is most troublesome in the colder months, for storms are then most, and spells of fine weather then least, frequent. The rains on the western front are not unusually heavy in the sense that they give a large annual rainfall, but they come fairly steadily throughout the year; the country is mostly very flat and poorly drained; the soil is quickly water-logged, and the trenches and shell-craters serve as so many reservoirs for collecting water. "Seas of mud," "quagmires," "morasses," "bogs" are expressions used to describe conditions which have prevailed since the war on the western front began. Incessant labor must be expended to keep the roads in condition for traffic. The rivers are frequently in flood, carrying away bridges and turning the lower lands into temporary shallow lakes. The relation between the weather and military operations, especially in autumn and winter, is like a see-saw. Spells of stormy weather and of deep

mud mean tremendous difficulties of transportation and of troop movements, and hence involve a slackening of operations. Spells of fine weather mean greater aerial activity; more intense artillery action, and more favorable conditions for all movements.

With the progression of the seasons, from summer to fall, it was inevitable that what has happened in the past four years on the western front would happen again in the autumn of 1918. There is no reason to suppose that the months of September, October and November of the present year were any more unfavorable, or brought any more rainfall, than they normally do, although the official despatches, and the war correspondents' cabled letters, lay unusual emphasis upon meteorological handicaps. This fact is, however, doubtless due to the intensity of the fighting, and to the tremendous effort which the Allied forces were making to bring the war to a successful ending before winter set in. It would be a tedious repetition to enumerate here all the many cases in which weather conditions controlled the military operations on the western front during the past autumn. The rains; the chilling winds; the low clouds; the fogs; the cold nights; the mud; the water-filled shellcraters; the flooded rivers; the swamps-all played their part. Sometimes weather conditions favored the enemy; sometimes they favored the Allies. On the whole, every bit of delay resulting from stormy weather and difficulties of transportation worked in favor of the enemy, for it gave him just so much more time to organize his retreat and remove his supplies, and it hampered just so much the Allies' progress in their pursuit of the retiring Germans. The successful elimination of the St. Mihiel salient by French and American troops just before the middle of September, although it occurred early in the autumn, furnished striking illustrations of the meteorological difficulties with which the armies had to contend. The advance was begun early in the morning after a rainy night, in a driving rain and mist which made aerial observation difficult, and was followed by a strong westerly wind which hampered balloon and airplane work. The roads were deep in mud, and the fields soggy. The movement of heavy guns and transports was very difficult, the mud proving too much for many of the tanks, although these were small and relatively light, and had a wide tread. "The infantrymen slipped and waded in pursuit of the retreating enemy." In spite of the bad weather, American bombers did effective work, driving down enemy airplanes and balloons and attacking German supply trains. The main road

of the enemy's retreat became congested because of the mud, and here the American aviators, flying very low, were able to use bombs and machine guns to good effect.

Over and over again, with almost wearisome monotony, the despatches throughout the autumn mention the extraordinary difficulties resulting from the bad weather and the mud. But throughout all the reports there runs the splendid story of the advance of the Allied troops in spite of all obstacles; and of the cheerful endurance, on the part of the men, of discomfort and suffering in the cold and wet. One despatch (September 12) mentioned the pouring rains which forced "the Allied airmen to cease their punishment of the Germans." On September 30 "wintry winds and rains, sweeping in from the North Sea," drenched the men, and chilled them to the bone. Under that date Mr. Philip Gibbs cabled to the New York Times:

There was wild weather last night, with a gale of wind blowing and heavy rainstorms over the battlefields. . . . It was bitter cold for the brave troops, and this morning some of them I met had chattering teeth, after a night without sleep, but they endure these discomforts bravely, and the vision of victory keeps them warm in soul, if not in body.

Advancing autumn brought the more stormy weather which is characteristic of October and November on the western front. Special mention was several times made of the extraordinary difficulties encountered by the American troops in the Argonne forest, where, in addition to the natural handicaps resulting from the terrain, there were the barbed wire, and traps, and machine gun nests, and "mud and rain-everlasting rain" (October 1). Many supplies had to be carried on the backs of the soldiers. "I guess he (the enemy) is as wet as I am, and that helps some" was the statement of an American soldier to a war correspondent. A cable despatch to the New York Times (October 1) contained this significant statement: "The elements continue unfavorable. To say that the continued rain is German weather is no figure of speech, for our supplies and guns and ammunition must be brought up through seas of mud.. That such conditions hampered the Allies was generally recognized, and on one occasion (October 16) the Germans, "favored by the bad weather and bad roads" which slowed up the Allied supply trains, made a temporary stand on a line from the region north of Sissonne to Rethel.

In the Flanders region, as a correspondent cabled on October 15, "the battle may be said to be almost as much against the weather and the mud as against the Germans. But, while this sort of sticky ground hampers the Allied troops, it hinders

even more the enemy, who is trying to move his materials away under a heavy fire and through the mired ground of the Flanders lowlands." That the Allied advance continued in spite of the extraordinary handicaps of weather, and mud, and difficult transport, is remarkable. Mr. Philip Gibbs cabled to the New York Times on October 23:

The British troops slogged through water pools and trudged down rutty roads with the mud splashing them to their neck, while lorries surged along broken tracks, swung around shell craters and skirted deep ditches. Gun teams with all their horses plastered to the ears with mud traveled through the fog to take up new positions beyond the newly captured towns. All this makes war difficult and slow, and what is most amazing is the speed with which the armies are following up the German retreat like a world on the move, with aerodromes and hospitals, telegraph and transport, headquarters staffs and labor companies, all the vast population and mechanism which make up modern armies, across battlefields like the craters of the moon to country forty miles from their old bases.

In the latter part of October the Germans were using a great deal of mustard gas against the American troops. This gas is reported to be especially dangerous in wet weather, because in damp air it remains long in the hollows, where the shells land, and it also burns through wet clothes more easily than through dry.

Two branches of military activity are peculiarly hard hit by stormy weather. Tanks can only be used with difficulty, if at all, in deep mud, and heavy rain and low clouds prevent almost all aerial work. Balloons are not sent up and airplane observers, when they fly at all, can see only when very close to the ground. "German weather" was reported November 4. Heavy rains forced the Allies to advance slowly. The increasing distances from headquarters to the front added daily to the tremendous task of repairing roads, and of maintaining transport. On November 5, because of bad weather, the Allied front line troops lost touch with the main body of the enemy. On the same day Field Marshal Haig reported: "In spite of a heavy and continuous rain our troops have pressed the retiring enemy forces closely throughout the day, driving the rearguards wherever they have sought to oppose our advance and taking a number of prisoners." Persistent and heavy rains, or thick mists, continued along the whole battle-front until hostilities ceased. In spite of "very difficult weather," and of the deep and sticky mud, the Allied troops continued to make remarkable progress. These unfavorable conditions were bad for the Allies, because the pursuit was slackened, as was clearly indicated in the despatches, but, as one correspondent emphatically expressed it,

"the imagination fails to conceive what it must be on the German side of the lines, where the retreating army looks back over its shoulders at the menace in pursuit, and where every block of traffic means terror, or death, or capture, because the British flying men are out, and the British guns are pounding the roads, and British troops are marching on."

Early morning fogs, or "mists," often served as a screen for the attacking troops. Such cases occurred on the British front, in the Douai-Cambrai region, on September 27, where the fog "assisted in bewildering the enemy"; on September 29, on the St. Quentin front, where the fog was so thick that it was impossible to see "the length of a gun-team ahead"; on the American front in the Argonne forest on October 1, when the small tanks came out of the fog, unexpectedly, "like phantoms," and fell on the Germans in the rear; in the sector south of Cambrai on October 8, where British, French and Americans launched an attack in a thick "mist" and fog. Again, on October 9, a fog "proved a big help" to the American attacking troops in the Argonne forest. On October 18, in the Le Cateau sector, "American tanks . . . crossed the Selle River in a dense fog, steering by compass, leading the attack against the Germans. Prisoners said they were overcome by the suddenness of the arrival of the tanks in the fog." Other cases occurred on October 24, on the American front, and also on the British front in Flanders. The "thick wet fog" in the latter case was reported as very much in favor of the attacking troops, for it "blinded" the German machine gunners. November 1 and November 3 furnished further illustrations of similar conditions on the American front. In the advance on Landrecies the tanks had to steer by compass through the dense white fog of early morning. One report (November 8) mentions the fact that, owing to an all-day fog, American aviators were unable to keep watch on the retreating enemy, and this aided the German withdrawal.

The effect of spells of fine weather must not be lost sight of. In the midst of the storms, which are the dominant condition on the western front in the autumn months, the rarer spells of dry, clear weather are peculiarly welcome, and exert marked controls over military activities. Thus, on September 15-16, fine weather, "with just the first touch of autumn in the wind at night" but with warm "perfect" days, was a welcome relief to the men, and a real help in the work of road-mending and of railway and camp construction. Every spell of fine weather brought increased activity, especially in the air. Un

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