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Editorial – Forward !

8 July 1916

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 08 July 1916


The Allied offensive on the Western front has opened, and is proceeding steadily; we are told satisfactorily. The thrust which the Anglo-French forces in Picardy are developing, somewhat differs in character from any offensive previously attempted in this ‘war. We have already tried the expedient of intensive assault, at Neuve Chapelle and at Loos.

We have attempted to burst the German line by concentrated fire followed by infantry attack upon a narrow front, and on the whole we found that method did not answer. The forces engaged at Loos suffered, among other disadvantages, that of congestion. The troops had not sufficient room in which to develop methodical pressure. The contemporary effort, of the French in Champagne, more closely resembled the right thing. The arm which struck at the Germans last September is now considerably stronger.

The earth trembled under the artillery preparations which preceded Saturday’s great adventure. The British burst into sixteen miles of German first-line trenches in the opening hour of the battle, and captured a number of valuable positions during the week-end. We have reason to suppose that in some directions the British plans were to sonic extent endangered by the fatal impetuosity and gallantry which cost us a part of the fruits of the Loos victory. However, on the whole the offensive has opened extremely Pressure of the most formidable kind is being applied in exactly the right place, and, we believe, at exactly the right moment. The French, opened on a narrower front, with the, steadiness and caution born of a complete knowledge of the country and the enemy who occupies it, have on the whole done rather better than their Ally, thus far, and they appear to be fighting in less difficult country .

This a sad and anxious hour for the German command. The Allies are attacking with perfect confidence in their strength. At long last they are on something more than even terms with the Germans. Their armies are better manned and munitioned, and with the sudden application of increased economic pressure with this steady push all round, in Picardy, in the Trentino, in Volhynia, and in Galicia , progress toward the: limit of Germany’s mighty endurance is materially accelerated. We believe that the Franco-British stroke from the Albert district was as disconcerting to the Germans as it was severe. They were apparently less prepared to meet an extensive than an intensive attack. They have reeled under the blow, but no one will deny that they have both grit and resource, and they are struggling desperately to stem the besieging tide. They are dipping deep into their reserves on every side, in order particularly to stay the course of the British. The resistance at Montauban and at Gommecourt appears to be particularly formidable. However, the hour has struck, lave has ordered the advance, and the Allied troops must and will go forward until the German line is rolled up and the invaders, after already two weary years, are in full retreat to the Rhine. The Allied nations watch this great effort with intense sympathy and hope. The offensive may not be immediately successful, but it must be ultimately. We can but possess our souls in patience, and do whatever lies to our hand to forward the cause for which so titanic an effort is now being made by the heroic armies of the Entente.