Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/162

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

the German methods of "frightfulness" by means of their submarines and aircraft. Of the latter, it would seem, we are justified in speaking with absolute contempt. Three attempts at air raids on our shores have been made, and though, unhappily, some innocent lives were lost through the enemy's indiscriminate bomb-dropping, the military effect up to the day I pen these lines has been absolutely nil, except to assist us in bringing more recruits to the colours. Several of the vast, unwieldy Zeppelins, of which the Germans boasted so loudly, have been lost either through gunfire or in gales, while we have official authority for saying that our own air-service is so incomparably superior to that of the enemy that the German aviators, like the baby-killers of Scarborough, seek safety in retreat directly they are confronted by the British fliers. No doubt the German airmen have their value as scouts and observers, but it is abundantly clear that, as a striking unit, they are hopelessly outclassed. They have done nothing to compare with the daring raids on Friedrichshafen and Düsseldorf, to say nothing of the magnificent and devastating attack by the British and French airmen on Zeebrugge, Ostend, and Antwerp.

The submarine menace stands on another and very different footing, for the simple reason that luck, pure and simple, enters very largely into the operations of the underwater craft. It is quite conceivable that, favoured by fortune and with a conveniently hidden base of supplies—one of which, a petrol-base, I indicated to the authorities on March 15th—either afloat or ashore, submarines might do an enormous amount of damage on our trade routes.

A few dramatic successes may, of course, pro-