Thursday, 9 August 2018
The Advance Continues
Friday 9th August 1918
Today the great advance of yesterday has been continued, wider and deeper. The forward movement has not been so dashing as yesterday but has been solid, across the whole front of the attack. The French to the south have launched a full-scale attack of their own after taking a limited part in yesterday's fighting. Thus the enemy have been hit, in boxing terms, with a left hook followed by a right cross. Let us hope for the sake of humanity that it proves a knockout blow!
In the following days the advance will likely pause because the infantry have now moved forward beyond the range of the supporting artillery and it will be necessary to bring up the guns and register them on the enemy's rear positions before another push can be made. In the offensive at Ypres last year this was a problem because of the sodden state of the ground. In the morass which the battlefield quickly became it was almost impossible to walk, let alone to drag heavy ordnance. Now, however, the ground is dry and firm and it should prove easy enough to bring up the guns and for them to begin their work.
Another issue forcing a brief pause is that most of the tanks are now unusable. Some have been destroyed by enemy gunfire but the majority have broken down and need repair. This is a technology still in its infancy, not yet two years in action, and a battlefield puts huge stresses on engines, bearings, tracks, wheels and every part of these titanic machines. It is also hugely demanding of crews who have to work in temperatures resembling the proximity of a blast furnace and breathing noxious fumes from the exhaust of the engine in a confined space for hours on end.
We must all be patient. Victory will not come overnight and a lot of hard fighting lays ahead along, inevitably, with necessary pauses which may leave those of us not engaged in this life-and-death struggle champing at the bit. Let us have confidence that a formula has, at last been found to overcome well-made German defences and tenacious German defenders and let us look forward with cautious hope.
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