IF LAST WEEK there was little to record in the way of military operations, what has happened since surpasses in magnitude and importance nearly every other achievement of our arms. The capture of Messines ridge in one short swift rush, following on a terrific destruction of entrenchments which the enemy believed to be impregnable, makes a story that has thrilled the minds of the Allied nations. After a whole year of laborious industry and carefully organized preparation, the day at last arrived when, at the touching of an electric button, this mighty attack could be launched. Sir Herbert Plumer, the General under whose command the victory was gained, and the Second Army serving under him, have given us reason to be proud of their great performance. Of its importance in relation to the final issue of the war the Commander-in-Chief has spoken with no uncertain voice. In a general order of the day he gives it as his belief that the complete success of General Plumer’s attack is “an earnest of the eventual final victory of the Allied cause”. The enemy, he says, had laboured incessantly for nearly three years on the position we captured in this lightning-like assault. “It affords final and conclusive proof that neither the strength of a position nor the knowledge of and timely preparation to meet an impending assault can save the enemy from complete defeat, and that, brave and tenacious as the German troops are, it is only a question of how much longer they can endure the repetition of such blows.” Field-Marshal Haig, who is not given to boasting, must have satisfied himself that this confident utterance is based on sure grounds.
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