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the river militated against this amazing victory for the comwork to great degree. bined British and Russian Finally, it became necessary to arms. evolve a very extensive plan for evacuation, the first move of which came into operation on August the tenth.

us.

It was vital to strike a blow at the enemy's forces opposing There was much comment and oriticism in the English press as to whether that blow was or was not offensive action and nothing else. In order to obtain freedom of movement for an operation so delicate as a complete evacuation, it was necessary seriously to cripple the enemy's fighting force. That was done.

The mining of the river, in order to obstruct and delay appreciably the inevitable subsequent advance of the Bolshevik flotilla, was necessary, as it would enable many ships of the British naval force engaged to get down river as as the depth of water

soon

permitted.

The question of the Russian troops who would remain and, it was hoped, safeguard Archangel-was not lost sight of. Elaborate plans for the holding of successive lines were drawn up. These lines were held, and to-day the Russian troops have advanced in front of them.

These, therefore, were the problems confronting us at the commencement of August. The plans for a complete evacuation having been adopted, the details were carefully worked out, and the first stage, that of an offensive, culminated on August the tenth in a most

The enemy at this time, with a strength of approximately 6000 men, eighteen guns, and hundreds of machine-guns and trench mortars, was holding a series of defences astride the Dvina river. His positions were strongly entrenched and wired, and his strong points consisted of log blockhouses, which proved to be considerable obstacles. On the right bank, his front line ran along the south bank of the Selmenga river, and on the left bank, in front of Nijni Seltso. The flanks stretched into the forest about two miles on either side of the Dvina. Another mile farther each way and all human habitation disappeared. Swamps, deep and impassable, took the place of the solid earth, and all operations in that area were out of the question. The depth of the position to be attacked was from eight to ten miles, and at this period the enemy's morale was good.

There was 8 remarkable disparity in the numbers on the opposing sides. General Sadleir-Jackson had but two battalions of infantry, neither of them at full strength, two companies of machine-guns, one company of Royal Engineers, and a brigade of Russian troops less one battalion. The actual fighting strength of a Russian battalion was about three hundred bayonets. Our past experiences with the Russians hardly justified a great degree of trust

to prepare for the arrival of the Bolshevik, and the manner of ingratiating themselves with the enemy was obviously to supply information as to the British plans and movements.

being reposed in the brigade, attended by grave dangers yet, contrary to expectations, of espionage. While the those employed in the battle Russians were apparently well on the right bank performed disposed towards us, at the amazing feats of valour. same time they were aware A frontal attack on the of our coming withdrawal. position was unthinkable. It behoved them, therefore, The Bolshevik was too alert and his defences too strong. The plan of attack, therefore, resolved itself into a complete enveloping movement of the whole of the defences of each bank, supported by a direct attack on the minefields by the naval mineclearance service. Elaborate reconnaissance of the flanks was conducted. Incredible as it may seem, the enemy did not suspect an intention to outflank him. Scouts led by Russian wood-trackers aotually traversed his flanks, and entered the villages miles behind his line. So poor was his observation on the right flank of his position that one British sergeant penetrated to within one hundred yards of his line, and observed humorously in his report that the sentry on duty was a Chinaman, who seemed to be asleep.

The whole success of the operation depended on the absolute accuracy of these patrol reports. From their observations, and the result of aerial reconnaissance, forest maps were compiled-maps that eventually were issued to all junior commandersand upon these data the battle was fought.

Applications to pass through the lines into "No Man's Land" were made daily. Their cows had strayed, they wanted to pick berries, or to gather mushrooms, or to out wood for the winter. Stern prohibitions brought floods of tears. They would most assuredly perish in the bitter winter unless they had wood, hunger would overtake them if they had no berries, cows were not easily purchased. On the rare occasions that peasants were allowed to go, care was taken to thoroughly frighten them before they left. Whether the Bolshevik gleaned much information from those particular sources is difficult to say, but the fact remains that he did possess a very intimate knowledge of the actual organisation of the forces opposing him, though he was strangely ignorant of the plans of attack.

That was undoubtedly due to the measures taken to mystify the enemy and the local peasantry. Troops were sent nine and ten miles away Preparing for an attack in to work on forest roads that the midst of 8 peasantry would never have been used in frankly pro-Bolshevik, was any event. The British soldiery

It

was hardly pleased at this a vast area on both sides of development of events. They the river. Two or three mornwere vaguely aware of the ings before the attack the impending attack, and to be carts began to gather. marched out into the forest was a tremendous concourse. and ordered to lay logs on Men and women and chilmuddy tracks was considered dren, uncles and aunts, cousins a orowning insult. The fall and nephews and nieces, all of every log was accompanied driving their own droshkies, by appalling language, but swarmed round the habitation they did their work well, and of the Service Corps officer the Bolshevik was completely responsible. puzzled as to why we were repairing a road ten miles in the opposite direction to the front.

Bombing and shelling of the enemy's positions practically ceased a fortnight before the attack. A desultory shell was seut over from day to day, and the obvious conclusion that the Bolo jumped to was that we were too busy packing up to go home to bother about shooting at him. Alas! he was the more deceived.

The greatest need in the preparations, and the greatest trial, was transport. Country carts were the only vehicles available. A ukase went forth for a compulsory hiring from

They lived in

huge marquees specially erected for them. Eleven hundred drivers, with eleven hundred horses and eleven hundred carts, were finally collected. No payment in money was made for all this transport; but they were paid in sugar, tea, and flour-at the rate of a pound of flour, a seventh of a pound of sugar, and a twenty-eighth of a pound of tea for every day that they worked with the force, the period reckoning from the day they left their native village till the day of their return.

And as these commodities were rare treasures, they considered themselves well recompensed.

(To be continued.)

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THE first level rays of the sun had scarcely touched the highest peaks of the distant ranges when from the tall millet crop in the foreground there emerged the figure of a man. Slowly and cautiously he came out of the covert, and carefully he scanned the surrounding country before he advanced. Behind him lay the border-land, ridge after ridge of harsh inhospitable hills, devoid of trees, and, as regards the lower ones, redeemed from complete sterility only by scattered tufts of dried-up grass. The rising sun lit up, in the far distance, one great peak which, even now in the autumn, glistened whitely in its mantle of snow, but failed to disclose the forests which relieved its lower slopes, and the great ridge to the right and left of it, from the barrenness of the hills along the border itself. From the foot-hills the plain stretched away to the dim horizon, dotted with infrequent treeclumps, and marked here and there with patches of ripening crops.

served the Border, ran, and turning towards the distant cantonment, which goal, commenced the long walk in, secure in the knowledge that the Government had no knowledge of such of his misdeeds as would make it unsafe for him to put himself within its power.

His movements were not, however, those of a man with an easy conscience. Without putting himself in the wrong by actually hiding, it was noticeable that he, as much as possible, avoided coming face to face with the few people who were using the road; and when he approached the cantonment and wayfarers became numerous, he betook himself to one of the many paths and made his way in, for the last mile or two, across country. On the road he would meet men of his own tribe coming and going; in the fields he would only meet the tillers of the soil, dwellers in British territory, which suited his plans.

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In a shady corner of the little frontier station lay the Faiz Ullah, the Wazir, had Deputy Commissioner's bunorossed the border-line during galow, situated in a pleasant the night, and had lain till garden laid out with lawns and dawn in the millet field. He flowering shrubs. Close by, satisfied himself that no one well separated but conveniently was watching him a8 he at hand, was the Kacheri, where emerged into the open, and he saw those, whether British quickly made his way to where subjects or trans - frontier the unmetalled road, which tribesmen, who had business

with him. It would have been a much more ignorant man than Faiz Ullah who did not know that it was to the Kacheri that he should go rather than to the private house; but if any one had been watching him, he would have noticed that he twice passed the gate of the court-house on the other side of the road, taking no interest in what was going on within, whereas, when he came to the gate of the bungalow, he looked keenly towards the house as if seeking an opportunity to enter. The chance presented itself as he turned in the road for the third time. A red-coated chaprassi, whose gold-lacing proclaimed him to be in the service of the lord of the district, was coming slowly up the drive with a bundle of papers under his arm. To him the Wazir quickly turned.

"I wish to see the Sahib," he said.

"Doubtless," came the reply. "Many wish to see the Sahib. Go to the Kacheri and in your turn you will see him. Here you may not come."

"Fool! Do you think that I do not know how to make a report in the ordinary way. Be quick and take me where I can speak quietly to him, for I have news for his ear alone, which he will be glad to know. I may not be seen at the Kacheri, where many Wazirs come. At least, if I cannot see him at once, take me where I can sit quietly in a corner until he comes. Nay, I have nothing for you, but you will be sorry if you do not let him know that I am here. Tell him it is

Faiz Ullah of Raghza: he knows my name and has spoken with me before."

The man was so obviously in earnest, so urgent in his rough appeal, that the chaprassi decided to report his wish for a private interview, well knowing that many a man came to see his master whose presence it would be unwise to advertise. He therefore called to a fellow orderly, and leaving him to look after the Wazir in a secluded part of the garden, he himself went to take the Deputy-Commissioner's orders on the subject. The directions that he received were that the applicant, if he urgently needed a private interview, might wait until the morning's work was ended; and Faiz Ullah, well satisfied with gaining his point, sat down contentedly where he was in the garden.

Presently, as he waited and watched, the figure of an Englishman appeared from the direction of the bungalow, and made its way towards him at a leisurely pace. It was that of a youngish man, with a well-knit figure, dressed in an old tweed coat and a pair of grey flannels, with an alert sunburnt face and dark-grey eyes, that looked lighter than they really were against the tan of his skin. He walked forward slowly, with his hands deep in his coat pockets, talking to an Indian dressed in semi- European clothes. He took no notice whatever of the Wazir until, when quite close to him, the latter, who had risen to his feet, gave him the somewhat cavalier salutation

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