Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/718

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Cutting Barbed Wire in the Single-Man Tank

In this steel tank resembling a broken and discarded can- non a scout can creep over the ground unsuspected

���The wire-cutter in the one-man tank creeping cautiously to his task of destroying the wire entanglements set up by the enemy

��WE hear comparatively little of the work done by the scouts of the army. And yet they are called upon to take risks which the rank and file seldom dream of, acting often on their own initia- tive and unprotected in exposed territory.

They have well been called the "nerves" of the army, and it is high time that the genius of the inventors should be directed toward them. In the illustration above is shown a device which has been employed by the French to enable the individual scout to make his way over exposed coun- try and to find out the lay of the land under cover, to a certain extent.

The device is made to resemble a cannon which it is hoped will be considered by the enemy to be broken and discarded. It is provided with slits and larger openings through which the scout may see and get air. The wheels, though apparently rusty and old, are smooth-running and noiseless, and the legs of the scout, moving cautiously

��at the rate of perhaps one-half inch per minute during critical times, resemble the drooping muzzle of the gun — or it is hoped that they will.

It is also considered among the possi- bilities that the device will be of service when it is necessary for a bold and death- defying dash to be made through showers of shrapnel into the teeth of the foe. But this is problematical since the device is not made for rapidity of movement.

The chief advantage to which it has been put thus far is to protect the soldiers whose duty it is to cut down the wire entangle- ments set up by the enemy. Heretofore the wire-cutter's life has been a poor risk for the insurance companies. Even under such protection as this tank-shield affords, his is not the easiest of tasks. His one chance lies in concealment, therefore such a device as this, in which he may creep forward or backward, slowly but surely, may prove to be his salvation.

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