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3592 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

At the opportune moment, a large

force of British infantry charged and

captured Neuve Chapelle and carried

works about a mile in depth along a front

of over three miles. They found many of

the Germans dazed by the bombardment,

and captured about seventeen hundred

prisoners. In places, however, the Germans made a strong defense, and with

the help of skillfully placed machine guns,

inflicted great losses upon the British.

Some of the British officers failed to bring

up the reserves in time, while through a

mistake, the British artillery shelled some

of their own men. The British buried

almost 3,000 Germans, many of them

killed in futile counter-attacks, and they

estimated the whole German loss at 20,000.

The British press hailed the victory as

a "greater battle than Waterloo," but

the gain in ground was small, and the

British losses were almost 13,000, including

over 2,500 killed. It was a heavy price

to pay for four square miles of territory,

and the British hope of being able to turn

the Germans out of La Bassee had not

been realized. Furthermore, the British

failure to push on condemned a French

offensive about Arras, in the same period,

to comparatively small gains. Both operations helped, however, toward wearing

down the Germans and also served to

prevent the sending of troops to the aid

of beleaguered Przemysl.

One condition which enormously increased the difficulties which either

side must overcome in order to break

through the opposing line, was the

preparation that had been made

quickly to reinforce any threatened

point. Not only were local reserves

always held in readiness to push to

the assistance of endangered comrades, but a system of railroads had

been constructed just behind the

lines by which tens of thousands of

men and great numbers of cannons

could quickly be concentrated to

oppose an offensive. These roads

were also used to supply the troops

with food and munitions. Furthermore, the ordinary roads were kept

in the best possible state of repair,

and great numbers of automobiles

were always in readiness to transport troops. It was this condition,

in fact, much more than the strength

of the fortifications that made possible the long deadlock. That so extended a front could be held in such

a manner had not been thought of

before the war began.

Of fortifications there was certainly

no lack. Each army had three or more

trenches, one behind the other, with positions in the rear to which a retirement

could be made in case of need.

War seemed, in fact, to have been

revolutionized. The open field battle, in

which armies maneuvered and attacked in

the old fashioned way, seemed a thing of the

past. In the west the last such battle until

1918 was that of the Marne. The change

had been foreshadowed by the nature

of the fighting in Virginia in the last

year of the American Civil War, but the