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0100_005E The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

The Path Of Conquest

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Before the walls of Munich it had effected a junction with the Italian army, consisting of ten army corps, numbering two million men. The ancient capital of Bavaria fell in three days under the assault of the aerial fleet and the overwhelming numbers of the attacking force. Then the Franco-Italian armies advanced down the valley of the Danube and invested Vienna, which, in spite of the heroic efforts of what had been left of the Austrian army after the disastrous conflicts on the Eastern frontier, was stormed and sacked after three days and nights of almost continuous fighting, and the most appalling scenes of bloodshed and destruction, four days after the surrender of the German Emperor to the Tsar had announced the collapse of what had once been the Triple Alliance.

From Vienna the Franco-Italian armies continued their way down the valley of the Danube, and at Budapest was joined by the northern division of the Russian Army of the South, and from there the mighty flood of destruction rolled south-eastward until it overflowed the Balkan peninsula, sweeping everything before it as it went, until it joined the force investing Constantinople.

The Turkish army, which had retreated before it, had concentrated upon Gallipoli, where, in conjunction with the allied British and Turkish Squadrons holding the Dardanelles, it prepared to advance to the relief of Constantinople.

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The final attack upon the Turkish capital had been purposely delayed until the arrival of the French war-balloons, and as soon as these appeared upon the scene the work of destruction instantly recommenced. After four days of bombardment by sea and land, and from the air, and a rapid series of what can only be described as wholesale butcheries, the ancient capital of the Sultan shared the fate of Berlin and Vienna, and after four centuries and a half the Turkish dominion in Europe died in its first stronghold.

Meanwhile one of the wings of the Franco-Italian army had made a descent upon Gallipoli, and after forty-eight hours' incessant fighting had compelled the remnant of the Turkish army, which it thus cut off from Constantinople, to take refuge on the Turkish and British men-of-war under the protection of the guns of the fleet. In view of the overwhelming numbers of the enemy, and the terrible effectiveness of the war-balloons, it was decided that any attempt to retake Constantinople, or even to continue to hold the Dardanelles, could only result in further disaster.

The forts of the Dardanelles were therefore evacuated and blown up, and the British and Turkish fleet, with the remains of the Turkish army on board, steamed southward to Alexandria to join forces with the British Squadron that was holding the northern approaches to the Suez Canal. There the Turkish troops were landed, and the Allied fleets prepared for the naval battle which the release of the Russian Black Sea Squadron, through the opening of the Dardanelles, was considered to have rendered inevitable.

Five days later was fought a second battle of the Nile, a battle compared with which the former conflict, momentous as it had been, would have seemed but child's play. On the one side Admiral Beresford, in command of the Mediterranean Squadron, had collected every available ship and torpedo-boat to do battle for the defence of the all-important Suez Canal, and opposed to him was an immense armament formed by the junction of the Russian Black Sea Squadron with the Franco-Italian fleet, or rather those portions of it which had survived the attacks, or eluded the vigilance of the British Admiral.

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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