Fighting in the Carpathians
As Seen With The Austrian Army

By James F. J. Archibald

[Scribner's Magazine, April 1915]

The war in the Carpathians is more like war as I have always known it. It still has an element of the sporting chance about it. In Germany it has long ceased to be a sporting proposition—it is simply a mechanical, card-index affair, where one becomes absolutely bored after the first few weeks by the monotonous perfection of the relentless arrangement. But in the Carpathians it still has an element of uncertainty. Galloping aides still carry messages, balloons are still used for artillery-fire control, and the cavalry is still a factor in the fight. The organization is exceedingly good, and the condition and the spirit of the troops I found excellent, but the problem which Austria is facing is a gigantic one, for it is the problem of bad roads and open country. The only satisfaction the supporters of the Austrian cause can derive out of the very difficult situation which they now face is that it is even a little more difficult for the advancing enemy.

The Carpathian Mountains have been the great natural barrier which has made it possible for Austria to hold back the Russian horde, just as the Danube and the Save Rivers have prevented any possible invasion from the south. The fighting in the Carpathians has been the fiercest of any during the entire war, but it has been so far removed from wire head, and there have been so few correspondents who have been able to get near the front, that the public is as little informed regarding events in that portion of the theatre of war as they are of the conditions around the Persian Gulf, where Russia is establishing herself firmly in the portion of the territory which England has denied her for many years. I did not see the preliminary fighting in Galicia or beyond the Carpathians. Lemberg had fallen and Przemysl (pronounced Chem-e-zel) was besieged, and the Austrian armies were slowly falling back on the Carpathian passes when I applied in Vienna for permission to go to the front. I was late in my arrival in the fighting zone because I went to the German front first, and also because I have learned after many campaigns that it is worse than useless for correspondents to demand permission to accompany any belligerent army during the first month of any war. There is nothing that will worry and annoy a commanding officer during the trying hours of mobilization quite as much as the demand of a war correspondent to be allowed to report on the conditions then existing.

It must be remembered that even the most highly educated military genius is invariably as nervous at the beginning of a campaign as a temperamental actress on a first night. Very few commanders have ever seen any actual warfare, and therefore the last person in the world whom they care to have about at the beginning of the campaign is a foreign correspondent. Before I left America I had made my application through the proper diplomatic channels; therefore, when I arrived at Vienna, there was no necessity of delay. I immediately presented myself to Count Forgach, who was formerly Austrian minister in Belgrade, where I had visited him, and who is now next to the head of the foreign office in Vienna. I presented my papers and was given the opportunity to make my request personally to the foreign minister, Count Berchtold.

I told him that I desired to go immediately to the front, and was informed that I could start the following day, which pleased me very much indeed, until Count Berchtold added: "You may go directly to the Servian front." This was exactly what I did not want to do, and I told him that I had been given letters to Archduke Frederick, who commanded the Austrian army, and that I was especially desirous of going to Galicia. The foreign minister told me that the day before all foreign attachés and correspondents had been transferred to the Servian front, and that it would be necessary for me to go there also. At that moment there was absolutely nothing of interest on the Servian front, and it was well known that the Russians were making great advances into the Carpathians and, being particularly desirous of seeing this big movement I explained to Count Berchtold that, unless the Austrian army was in a complete rout and was fleeing before the Russians, it would be far better to let me proceed to Galicia than to send me out with an army where there was nothing of importance going on. I explained to him that I had retreated with the Russian army for a year and four months in Manchuria, and that I still considered that retreat one of the greatest military achievements of modern military warfare—I pointed out that any one can command an advance but that it takes a master mind to conduct an orderly retreat before a powerful enemy. I explained that to me a retreat did not mean disaster, and that if the conditions were not absolutely hopeless I still wanted to go to Galicia. He evidently saw my point, for he telephoned the war ministry, and the following day I received my permission and was told to report at Archduke Frederick's headquarters.

Preferring to have company, I asked Captain Graham, our naval attaché to the American embassy, if he would accompany me, but he told me that it would be impossible to get permission. Ambassador Penfield, who has so ably filled the most difficult post in our diplomatic service, gave Captain Graham the necessary leave, and armed with this I made an application through the press department of the war ministry, completely ignoring the regular channels, and asked that Captain Graham be allowed to accompany me as a guest. Much to his surprise the permission was granted, and he was afforded his first opportunity to get nearer the war than a bulletin-board. An officer of the general staff met us at the railway station, and we were taken on a long railway journey to the field-marshal’s headquarters, which were then at Teschen, a very old and picturesque town in Silesia, about ten or fifteen miles from the Russian border and about sixty miles from Cracow. Although there was no fighting in the immediate vicinity, the several days which I spent at the great headquarters of the Austrian forces were to me the most interesting part of the war thus far, for it gave me an opportunity to study the workings of a great staff in the field, and to meet the men upon whose shoulders falls the great task. I was fortunate enough to have been personally presented to his Royal Highness Archduke Frederick by his son-in-law, Prince Hohenlohe, and was therefore invited to join the headquarters' mess. I have had the pleasure of visiting Austria and Hungary nearly every year for some years past, and I have always said that the friendliness and hospitality of the Austrians and Hungarians as I have known them in times of peace could not be improved upon, but I find that I was wrong. In war they can even be more thoughtful and courteous than in peace. War has that effect on some men always, but here it seemed to have that effect on the whole army. I have never experienced such a spontaneous hearty friendliness as I met with the Austrian army in the field. I do not merely mean the officers with whom I came in contact officially, but also the many I met in railway-carriages, on troop trains, in restaurants and cafes, or elsewhere, who offered their hospitality and assistance to men whom they had never before seen and who were to them simply strangers in their land. I mention .this at some length because it is a rare case; men at war sometimes become nervous and irritable, and the spirit which was shown in the Austrian army means so much toward the success in battle and in campaign that it is worthy of note. It shows that the men of the Austrian army have strong hearts and clear minds, not easily disturbed by trifles, as is too often the case. It showed to me that temporary disaster or local reverses will not have a depressing effect upon them, a fact that I later found to be true. My few days at the great headquarters proved to be intensely interesting and very instructive, as there has been a great change in methods and distances since the advent of motor-driven vehicles and wireless telegraphy. There is a gigantic task before these few officers at the great headquarters, and I do not believe that we ever give them sufficient credit; in their hands rest the lives of many men and the fate of the nation, and they do not take their task lightly. Each one of the headquarters staff has a task far more difficult than the man in the trenches, who is in closer contact with the enemy. I found an energetic working staff from H. R. H. Archduke Frederick down to the lowest ranking officer.

I was received by H. R. H. Archduke Frederick on the same day of my arrival at the great headquarters, and he did Captain Graham and myself the honor of inviting us to dinner the same evening. It is rather a curious turn of military events which made it possible for Archduke Frederick to occupy his own castle at Teschen while the operations were in this vicinity (as, among other titles, he is also the Duke of Teschen), and he pointed out that fact by saying that it gave him pleasure to receive us not only at his headquarters but in his own home.

I have met the commanders of many armies, but never have I been more impressed than by the simple, kindly forcefulness of Archduke Frederick, a man whose many years of military service give him many advantages over most other men in experience of military affairs. He is a man slightly below the average height (which seems to be the rule with so many of the great military leaders of the world), of a particularly cordial and sympathetic manner. His resemblance to Emperor Franz Josef is quite remarkable, both in manner, personality, and appearance. I felt instantly that the mothers of Austria and Hungary must feel that their sons are in good keeping in his hands and that not an unnecessary life will be lost. I had an exceptional opportunity, as I had the honor of sitting on his left at the mess table. On the other side was the crown prince.

Before dinner on that first evening the crown prince, H. R. H. Archduke Carl Franz Josef, received Captain Graham and myself privately and talked with us some time before dinner. Archduke Carl has, without exception, the most wonderfully sympathetic charm of any man I have ever met in public life. He has what not one man in ten thousand possesses, and that is an enormous personal magnetism. A man may have genius, talent, birth, or riches—he may be a great soldier, prince, or statesman; but if he does not possess that rare gift of magnetism he will have a hard struggle to reach the height of popularity. Archduke Carl talked to me in English as though he spoke no other language; he talked of the world's affairs with an obvious knowledge beyond the ordinary mind, and asked a great number of questions, which is, after all, the way that men of affairs who are more or less limited in their travels, owing to their duties at home, keep in touch with the world.

He is undeniably a born leader whose following, small or great, will be bound to his standard by ties of love. He is a man all classes will adore, and a man, curiously enough, whose personality is little known even to his own people. At the present time he is a hard-working officer with the rank of colonel on Archduke Frederick's staff.

On the right of the crown prince sat another man, of an entirely different type, and whose head is crowned with the gray hairs of experience—Conrad von Hotzendorf, a soldier every inch. He tasted the cup of sorrow early in this war, when he lost his only son during the first week of the conflict, but his work has not halted. He is the chief of staff under Archduke Frederick, and upon his shoulders falls a large portion of the planning and execution of Austria's great campaign. He reminded me of an eagle, grimly silent, watchfully alert, a man of war if there ever was one.

While at the great headquarters I was asked by Archduke Frederick what part of the line I would like to visit, and I answered that, as Alexander, Count von Kolowrat, who is one of my best friends, was on the headquarters staff at the Third Army, and as the Third Army occupied two of the most important passes through the Carpathians, I should like to go there. It was therefore arranged that I should start the next morning for the headquarters of General Boaowic, who commanded the Third Army. It was a three day’s trip by railroad and automobile, but it afforded an excellent opportunity of studying the military preparations along the entire line.

I noticed throughout the entire country that the most minute precaution is being taken against disease and contagion of various sorts. Disinfectant covers the railroad lines in all directions, as disease is one of the greatest problems with which the Russian and Austrian armies must contend. A night ride by automobile to a little town in Dukla Pass in the Carpathians ended the journey, and we finally pulled up at a schoolhouse which Boaowic occupied as his headquarters.

I was told that the commanding general was busy for a moment, and so we were shown into a class-room by an ordnance officer named Theodore Stenberz. His English was so perfect that it was noticeable even where all of the officers spoke it so well. Later, when I took a picture of him hammering away at an American typewriter, I asked him to give me a permanent address to which I could send the photograph; and was rather surprised when he gave me his office address at a number on Union Square, in New York.

In a few moments an aide came and told us that the commanding general wished to be excused from any formal greetings at the moment, as there was something of great importance which had just come to his attention, but that he would like simply to bid us welcome and would see us later at mess. We went to his room, and, as the door opened, a muddy, field-stained general of cavalry came hurriedly out. An orderly brushed in with an armful of maps and dropped them on the floor beside the general, who stood bending intently over a great chart which was spread out on a school-table.

I wondered if a more important lesson in geography had ever been studied in that class-room. As we entered the general arose and came to the door to greet us. Again I marvelled at the character of the Austrian officers. We had interrupted him in the midst of what I afterward found to be an important movement of troops, and yet he had time to devote to the moment of bidding us welcome. As he came forward in the dim light of the schoolroom, I felt that I had chosen well for my first field experience when I chose the command of General Boaowic.

While at the front I was impressed by two things in the Austrian soldier: his absolute cheerfulness under all circumstances, and his respect for the enemy. There could not be two more admirable traits in the men of a well-ordered military force. His cheerfulness shows a spirit that is most valuable to a commander, for it will guard off sickness as well as win battles. If the men are growling and grumbling at everything that goes wrong, then everything does seem to go wrong; but the note of cheerfulness which I found throughout the entire Austrian army does much toward starting things on the right road to success.

To belittle and underestimate the enemy is undoubtedly the greatest military sin, but every officer and man with whom I talked on the subject had nothing but praise for the Russian force in every particular. I was told that their artillery was excellent and that their infantry was as brave as any in the world—and that the dread Cossack was a good sportsman in the game. That is the proper spirit and one that will be of the greatest value to the commanding general.

The first action which I saw was the defense of Dukla Pass through the Carpathians, at the time when Russia drove the Austrian army back into Hungary as far as Bartfeld, which their cavalry occupied eight days before they were driven out again. This was a retreat which was heralded throughout the world as a complete rout of the Austrians, and I have since seen despatches telling of the wild disorder of the retreat—how men had refused to fight and had thrown down their arms in terror; of the great friction between the Hungarians and the Austrians. As a matter of fact, I have never seen a more orderly and well-organized withdrawal of forces. There was not the slightest excitement, and the rear-guard actions kept the advancing enemy at a sufficient distance and sufficiently in check to allow the Austrians to withdraw every gun and wagon in perfect order. In fact, I have seen many advances which were far more, disorganized than was this retreat.

When I first rode into Dukla Pass in the Carpathians I felt that I had been terribly cheated—I had in my mind a rugged, rocky, narrow pass through great gorges in the mountains and pictured how easy it would be to defend such a pass; but, as a matter of fact, the passes through the Carpathians are wide, rolling table-lands. It is exactly the same as though we had to repel an army advancing through the Rocky Mountains at the heights near Cheyenne. There is a gradual rise into the mountain passes, but the passes themselves are broad, open rolling country, exceedingly difficult to defend. In most instances they are heavily wooded, which gives the advancing enemy much opportunity to take valuable cover. The Austrian forces were compelled to build earthworks and defenses of a very permanent character to defend themselves against the greater odds. Their trench-work is exceedingly interesting and very well done, as they use timber for the foundation, so that their men have complete cover from the opposing fire and are able to return it through openings built between the timbers of the works, which are covered with earth.

The great silken gas balloons played an important part in the campaign in the Carpathians, and they have been used to a great extent. In an article in this magazine last November on "Aviation," I wrote of Count Edmund de Sigmundt, who was to have been Austria's representative in the international balloon contest at Saint Louis this year. I found that my friend had already distinguished himself before the war had been in progress a month. He has been using his balloon at the front, and has been acting as a lookout for the advance lines, and has twice been brought down by Russian artillery shells. Once the rope which held his balloon captive was cut by shrapnel-fire, and a strong wind carried him directly over the Russian lines. He landed in some wood, abandoned his outfit the moment he came to earth, and succeeded, although wounded, in working his way back through the Russian lines to the Austrian side. It took him three days to accomplish this feat, and in a week he was in the air again. Count de Sigmundt is one of the few aviators who have stuck faithfully to their lighter-than-air apparatus, and he has done splendid work and has received three wounds in the doing.

Aviation in the Carpathians has been beset with many difficulties. Lieutenant Felix Franke, who has flown in and out of besieged Przemysl on several occasions, told me that it was most difficult to attain any altitude in the Carpathians, for the purpose of scouting or artillery-control, because of the rare mountain air of these already high ranges. Both balloons and planes have, however, done most valuable scouting work during the campaign in these picturesque mountain ranges.

I doubt if there has ever been a more exciting and daring adventure in time of war than the aeroplane flights in and out of besieged Przemysl. As the Austrian fortress has been entirely surrounded by the Russian army, and as it is a long flight to the nearest Austrian base, the first danger that confronts the daring aviator is that of the hazardous journey to the besieged fortress. It is particularly hazardous as the entire flight is over the enemy's lines, and any motor trouble or difficulty of any sort would compel a landing and immediate capture. This aerial scout must fly at a very great altitude, and advance until he is practically over the fortress, then he must plane down in a very narrow spiral into the town, and during this descent he is certain to be under fire a very considerable length of time. Again, when he leaves Przemysl, he must ascend by the same spiral route in a very small space, for to take a wide circle in the ascent would mean instant death, as it would bring him too close under the range of the Russian guns. During several months of the siege of Przemysl aviators have flown in and out of the fortress time after time, and I do not think one of them as yet failed in the attempt, although several have been severely wounded on the hazardous journey.

The campaign in the Carpathians is much more like the old-fashioned war than anything I saw with the German army. The roads are so bad during the winter months that the motor does not play the great part in this campaign that it does in Germany and France. In fact, I had great difficulty in getting through with the motor, which had been detailed to me for my use at the front, and it got into serious trouble on several occasions. The lovers of horses and the exponents of the cavalry arm of the service would have found this campaign much more to their liking than the "gasolene war" being waged in France.

Motor-scouting has proved to be one of the most dangerous forms of duty in the present war, and it is especially so in the Carpathians, either on the Galician or the Russian side.

Count Kolowrat shows his friends with a great deal of pride the one-hundred horse-power automobile which he is now driving for his own personal use in the field, which he captured from the Russians. One of my Vienna friends, Baron Constantine Economo, had a very exciting experience in the Carpathians a short time ago. While at headquarters Baron Economo came in with his car so riddled with bullets that it was necessary for him to put it in for repairs. It seems that he had been sent out by his commanding officer to attempt to discover the enemy, and, after having gone forward what he considered a surprisingly long time be- fore seeing any of the Russian force, he decided to change and go in another direction. Just as he turned his car he saw a gathering of Cossacks some distance off in the road to the right. Thus having accomplished his purpose, he made his way back toward his own lines. Coming to a small village, he was surprised to see the streets of the village which he had just left with Cossacks. He ordered the men with him to get down out of sight, then opened up his throttle and gave them frantic signals with his horn. The Cossacks, not believing it could possibly be the enemy's automobile, as it came from the direction of their own advance, opened up a lane, and he dashed through the squadron of Cossacks and was well on the opposite side of the village before they realized he was of the enemy. They opened fire on him, but fortunately he escaped with a few honorable scars on his automobile.

The winter has been exceedingly mild—in fact, the mildest that has been known for years; the soft ground has made the movement of troops, artillery, and transport exceedingly difficult. The Austrians use thousands of native farm, wagons for their transportation, each in charge of a peasant driver, and naturally the congestion of transport and troops on the narrow roads makes the problem far more difficult in the Carpathians than at other portions of the German and Austrian line.

One day while at the front I was exceedingly puzzled when I saw a non-commissioned officer teaching a squad of men to figure in Chinese.

On an improvised board he had written the various Chinese numeral characters, and their equivalent in Roman numbers. Before the board sat a class of a score of soldiers working on the Chinese characters. I was frankly amazed, but, upon inquiry to a staff-officer who accompanied me, found that it was not exactly an educational outburst in the army, but rather a school of necessity. I learned that at the outbreak of the war an Austrian firm had just finished a large order of field-artillery and its supply of ammunition for the Chinese Government. As it is the custom to carry a condition in all contracts of this character that if the government in whose territory the arms are manufactured so directs, it may purchase them at any time before the shipment is made. The Chinese guns and ammunition were just ready for shipment when the war started, and therefore the entire lot was taken over by the Austrian Government. All of the range numbers on the sights, for distance and elevation, and all of the fuse marks on the shrapnel and shell were in Chinese characters, so it was necessary to give the Austrian artillerists a lesson in the Oriental language to enable them to use the batteries then turned over to the defense of Austria.

The greatest danger lies in the information system, which has evidently been cleverly prepared by the Russians in Galicia and Hungary. It has been suspected that the priests of the Greek Church have organized the peasants of their various districts into corps of spies, and, in consequence of the perfection of that organization, there is scarcely a move of the Austro-Hungarian army made that is not immediately communicated to the enemy. It is a difficult system to break up and a most dangerous one with which to cope.

It has been discovered that bands of smugglers who operate in time of peace in the Carpathians have secret trails across the mountains, and now in war they double their ill-gotten gains by guiding parties of the Russians across these secret trails to attack the Austrians in the rear. The unity of the many different factions under the dual monarchy is very remarkable, and I found a perfectly good spirit among the people throughout the war zone, and the corps of spies are simply made up of a portion of the peasants who are open to bribery and have no real relation to the national spirit of the people. The Red Cross division of the Austrian army has received the same splendid support from the women of Hungary and Austria that has been shown by the women of all nations at war. American women have done their full share, and the appreciation of the Austrian Government has already been expressed to Mrs. Penfield, the wife of the American ambassador, who has been the untiring leader in the work of relieving suffering and providing supplies. Another American, Mrs. Cardeza, has maintained a perfectly equipped field-motor surgical hospital at the extreme front, and has served with it during the entire campaign. Mrs. Nelson O'Shaughnessy has also worked day and night in the hospitals in and around Vienna. I have received the English and American newspapers regularly during the time I have been with the German and Austro-Hungarian forces, and have been surprised at the misconception which seems to prevail regarding the determination on the part of the Austrian and Hungarian people. In nearly every paper I read despatches telling of the discontent among the people, of riots and famine, but I have yet to find a single one of these stories that proved to be true. It has been the habit in this war to fasten unfounded stories of cruelty and savagery upon the Germans, and stories of dissatisfaction and unrest upon the Austrians and Hungarians. It has been reported time after time that Hungary was about to make a separate peace, and that there was much friction between the two peoples. I personally know many influential men of both Austria and Hungary, and I have friendships among them that inspire confidence, and I believe that I do not exaggerate in the least when I say that the dual monarchy is an absolute unit for the continuance of the war.

The daily press now points to the resignation of Count von Berchtold as foreign minister and the appointment of Baron Burian as proving that there is antagonism between Austria and Hungary. I have had the honor of a personal acquaintance with Baron Burian for several years, and l can say truthfully that no man lives under the dual monarchy more sincerely for a greater Austria and a continuance of the present form of government than he does. He is a man of great strength and of many followers. He is a brilliant statesman and diplomat, and it was his hand that steered Austria-Hungary's cruise through the crisis of the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. His personality is austere and cold, although not unapproachable. Like all Austrians and Hungarians he was strongly for peace, but now that the war has commenced he is for a vigorous policy to meet the Russian move.

Whatever happens in the future, the Austro-Hungarian armies should be given the highest credit for their magnificent work during the first five months of this titanic struggle in holding back the great hordes of Russian regiments pouring through every roadway and mountain pass into their territory. It has been a struggle against overwhelming odds, a struggle that has tested the mind and muscle of every man from the aged Emperor down to the last recruit. That portion of the public in foreign lands which has criticised the operations of the Austrian forces, or which has gained an idea that their armies were weak and demoralized, that their commanders have not been sufficient, and that their retreats have meant disaster, has not realized in the slightest degree the immensity of the problem which has confronted the Austrian army from the very beginning of the war. The Austrian people are a happy, care-free, peace-loving people, and they had great difficulty in bringing to themselves the reality of the horrors of war. It must also be remembered that there does not seem to be the slightest animosity or hatred between the Austrians and the Russians. They both go about the business of killing each other as a disagreeable, temporary incident that must be attended to for the good of their respective countries, but they go about it with no rancor whatever in their minds. There has always been diplomatic rivalry, and many incidents have brought the two countries to the verge of hostilities, but with it all there is always a good word for the Russians from, every Austrian.

It was the obvious plan of Russia and Servia to crush Austria and Hungary at the outset and then deal with Germany later by an invasion through the conquered Austrian territory. The result of the first six months' campaign should speak for itself. During this time Austria has held out against the force which has outnumbered her three, five, and at times ten to one. Up to this time she has been waging a defensive campaign, although it must be remembered that that does not necessarily mean a stationary defense, for the first principle of defense is to attack and advance whenever it is possible.

Austria has been beset on every side by enemies actual and by enemies who are steadily preparing and each day threatening more openly. At the commencement of the campaign the Servian armies were undoubtedly the most dangerous part of the entire line arrayed against Germany and Austria, for the Servian army was made up of more than four hundred thousand veterans of three years' hard fighting. Their leaders had mastered the game and the men had learned all of the smaller detail of war which can only be learned by experience in the field. The Servian armies commenced their operations at a state of efficiency which is just now being attained by most of the other countries after several months' continual fighting. I except the German armies, because their organization has proved to be such a marvellous thing even from the very beginning that it was in a class by itself. But all of the rest, from France to Montenegro, had to learn their lesson from the beginning. In this respect I am inclined to believe Austria was the least prepared of any of the belligerent nations. Her naval defense, although small, was of the first order, but the trend of events has proved it to be useless up to the present time. Russia had learned many lessons in Manchuria and thousands of her soldiers to-day wear the yellow-and-black campaign ribbon of the struggle against Japan; the British had recently been schooled in South Africa, and the French in Morocco; but of the present generations of Austrians and Hungarians but few knew anything of actual warfare. I do not mean that they, were unprepared for war, for they had a truly splendid force, but there is only one place to learn actual warfare in all its hideous branches, and that is in the field in time of war; and that is why I say that Austria was the least prepared of any nation. Her strength is growing each day, and early in the year she will have almost a million new men in the field; and I am inclined to think she will acquit herself well with the opening of the spring campaign.

There has been so much said regarding the suffering of the inhabitants of Belgium that we have almost lost sight of the terrible destruction and devastation in Poland and Galicia. On both sides of the fighting line the refugees fleeing from the war zone are in a state of terrible suffering. The sights I saw along the line of march would be unbelievable in time of peace, but in time of war one becomes accustomed both to suffering, and seeing others suffer. There has been little said regarding the suffering because there is really no opportunity for its relief from the outer world, and because Austria and Germany are doing everything in their power to alleviate that suffering. I have no doubt that Russia is also doing her share with the refugees fleeing toward Russia, but it all seems so much worse here because the condition of these peasants even at best is much worse than anything in Belgium. Tens of thousands of Jews are making their way into Austria and Hungary, and their sufferings, as they trudge along the troop-congested, muddy roads, is most heart-rending. Actually many die on the road, and many is the hasty grave dug beside the Carpathian roads, where the strain has been too great and the life was snuffed out. Somehow, these few deaths seem even more pitiful than the thousands who fall in battle.

© J. Fred MacDonald, 2013



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