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Ji ·-… 77-· THE TIDE OF WvAR AGAIN REACHES THE TOWN WHFRE THE BRITISH SAW H,AVY F[GHTITNG BEFOR, i [. r(HYLFT TIE AISNEt: FRENCEI I.A.NTRY HOILrING SOISSONS AG/NST A GERMAN !TTICK.
With this drawing, which he entitles, ” The French Heroic Stand at Soissons: Keeping the Huns Out of the Town,” Mr. Frederic Villiers sends the following note: ” After the French had been compelled to re-cross the Aisne by the overwhelming forces of Von Kluck, they fell back on Soissons and heroically kept the Germans at bay. The sketch shows the French defence of the outskirts of the town, a barricade at the end of a street, under cover of which troops could proceed to their outfying trenches with less exposure to the merciless fire of the Huns a few hundred yards away up the road.” In a detailed account of the fighting north of Soissons which resulted in the French, after a successful advance, being compelled to withdraw to the south of the river, the French Eye-Witness has explained that the retreat was largely due to the breaking-down of the Aisne bridges by the floods, and their consequent inability to bring up sufficient reinforcements in time. ” In spite of this, however,” he writes, ” the retirement was carried out in good order during the night of the i4th.
The shaken enemy did not attempt to interfere with us, and we took up positions in the sweep of the Aisne covering Soissons. We took our troops back to the point where, in any racumstmnes, the destruction of the bridges by the floods would have obliged us to establish ourselves.” It will be remembered that, before the Brthsh Army moved northwards into Flnder, they were engaged in heavy fighting at Soissons and in the surrounding district Refugees from the neighbourhood, who went to Paris, stated :hat the recent Gernul bombardment of the town was very heavy. Many shells struck the Cathedral, and hospitals and ambulances did not escape. In the toreground of the drawing a wounded French soldier is seen receiving attention. The loopholes in the buildings may be noted, while in the background are the German trenches. In a window of the house in the foieground s a I·rnch offices surveying the position through his glasses.-lDri Co~yri in to Uitefd Stas d Caaa.:
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