[PART 26]

THE FALEMAUGA CAVES

In August of 1914 the Samoan area in the Pacific was occupied by the New Zealand Expeditionary Force as they readied themselves for active duty in Europe. This ‘visit’ to Upolu Island, Samoa, turned out to be most fortunate for the Committee. This area had not been on the original list of cave search areas. While the force was there the young son of the German owner of a large plantation Harold Ludwig Schroeder decided to go exploring around the Force’s new camp. While exploring young Harold discovered the opening to the Falemauga Cave system. His discovery would led to the decision to use the well developed Falemauga Caves as the fourth, and as it would turn out, vital underground facilities being developed as Martian defense centers on Earth.

This cave system, located six miles west of Samoa’s capital of Apia, is only five miles inland of Malie, a large coastal village. Therefore, a tunnel would need to be blasted into the rock leading to the cave, but as it turned out not all the way to the cave complex. Further investigations unveiled seven smaller tunnel segments which generally ran in the direction of the Falemauga Caves. In all only 1-1/2 miles would need to be dug in order to connect the shoreline to the caves. A small port would eventually be built at the opening.

The caves themselves are part of an ancient series of lava tubes found near the now extinct volcano known as Sigaele by the locals. The South Cave system had a natural entrance of 30 feet wide and 20 feet high. It was easy to enter and easily camouflaged as it opened into a rock overhang, which hung heavy with tropical vegetation. The South Cave was some 5130 feet long with an average height and width of some 50 feet. The North Complex was truly huge inside, but fronted a very small entrance of three by four and a half feet (soon enlarged) which then opened up underground to an average diameter of around 60 feet wide by 45 feet high. Splitting off in three northern directions designated as North A, B and C the caves were 14,080, 12,200 and 7,200 feet long respectively. Each of the three northern branches had four large natural amphitheatres towering over 80 feet above the cave floor with the largest measuring 150 feet by 110 feet. For the most part the only work needed in this massive cave system to prepare it for use other than connecting the tunnels would be to clear away any debris putting in massive supporting structure and then build up the underground facilities needed for defense of planet Earth.

As an underground out of the way facility the Falemauga Caves were thought to be an ideal backup facility for manufacturing, storage and defense. Before long the Lower-Upola (yellow) project was in work.

OTHER WORLD EVENTS

Work had continued on the Panama Canal from 1904 until the middle of 1914. The project was now months ahead of its scheduled 1 July 1914 completion date. With members of the Committee on board a small cargo ship, the SS Ancon, they made their way along the canal completing the first official passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific on 15 August 1914. The Great Panama Canal was finally open for business, but it had been a very costly affair. The final work had cost another 5,609 workers their lives from 1904-14. This had been the greatest engineering endeavor on Earth at the time. At its completion the United States was now clearly the most powerful nation in the world. Unfortunately, the celebration of its completion would be short lived.

Within days humans began the Great Earth War. Apparently mankind had not experienced enough death and destruction from the Martian War – “we” now began to kill each other. When viewed from the perspective of a united planet ready to do battle to save the Earth, clearly advanced civilization had not yet returned to planet Earth. In fact, we were taking a step backwards. Mankind now took four years off to murder each other as the Martians, for the most part, stood by to watch the carnage!

August of 1914 we heard about a device Dr. Tesla had been working on for some time in what he laughingly referred to as his “free time.” With a group of 30 other Committee scientists this team had developed an “electromagnetic sensing device” which could theoretically detect the presence of a Martian Flying Machine up to an incredible 50 miles distance. It had been suggested that some reports of glowing craft could in fact be the magnetic field of the Earth being distorted by craft and as such could possibly be detected by such a device if it were sensitive enough. Central to this small hand held device is a very sensitive magnetometer known as an induction-coil magnetometer with its coils arranged in a row along a permeability metal rod. Dr. Tesla had also found a method to amplify the signal and screen out most if not all of the electronic noise generated by the device and the surrounding area. With several of these devices in sets of three it should be possible to triangulate any signal and track it as one would by powerful radars. According to Tesla the next step would be to further amplify the strength of the coils field and test the possibilities of tuning the device into a new weapon’s system. He also said he is not months but years away from this possible application. Tesla has a way of giving one the bad news at the last possible moment – and then showing us his well-developed smile.

It was also at this time the Committee established a formal world-wide network of agents to infiltrate and counter hostile hybrid activities which included sabotage and propaganda. Little did we know some of the first work of these Committee agents would be directed not at Martian hybrids but at our own people fighting each other across the bloody fields of Western Europe. Knowing who to trust was becoming a very vexing problem.

Towards the end of 1914 Committee member Herbert Wells would publish The World Set Free in which he described the use of atomic bombs in a future world war. This was the first work to describe for the general public the massive destructive power of such super weapons. In a way, through his work, the Committee was informing the public about the Tunguska Bomb Project without actually identifying any work being done to develop such a super weapon. Naturally, Mr. Wells revealed no secrets even though as a member of the Committee he was fully briefed on the project and was in fact a party to the original discussions about developing such a powerful weapon. Nevertheless, Committee censors did make a few “mild suggestions” to Mr. Wells of which he was more than happy to accept. This would not be the last time the Committee would use fictional prose to inject advanced ideas into the general public in order to inform as well as gauge reactions from the general public with new ideas and progress. We wanted an informed public ready to accept new ideas which were coming fast without alarming the people. Fiction, well written and largely discussed, seemed to be one of the better methods to be used.

Later, radio would also serve the same need. It was to be a life line for the people. Radio plays would show their worth in the future well beyond simple entertainment. They could also be used as a damned effective propaganda tool. Writing some of those broadcasts would later become part of my work for the Committee. I also took note that many of the people who were working in the new ‘movie business,’ mostly independent studios, were moving out of Upper-New York City to a place called ‘Hollywoodland’ in the southern California area. Both coasts would now be in the movie business.

Also in the United States Henry Ford would report to the Committee that at least 75% of his New Detroit workforce (non-Committee related) was recent immigrants to America, now the fastest recovering nation on Earth. People were moving at an alarming rate out of Europe and towards North America. With this in mind the Americans began to place a few restrictions on immigration even as new people would continue becoming a valuable resource to the nation. At the same time the national government established the Federal Trade Commission (FCC) to regulate the growing interstate commerce. FCC rules and regulations, with some minor changes, were soon adapted by the Committee to insure development of world trade and general commerce. However, these world trade advances needed to be partially put on hold as the guns of the Great Earth War prepared for their bloody work for the most part on the European mainland.

On 21 August 1914 a total solar eclipse was predicted to occur which would provide the opportunity for an expedition to test the theory by Dr. Einstein that a massive object such as the Sun would bend light waves according to his relativity theory. The outbreak of the Great Earth War would end that hope until peace could once again come back to the people of Earth. One of my many jobs would now involve supervising a Committee staff dedicated to recording this wars’ ‘progress’ along with my other Committee duties.

Also in August of 1914 Committee member David Lloyd George placed Charles Masterman to head up the Propaganda Operations Agency housed at Wellington House north of Upper-London. On staff were G. K. Chesterton, Arthur Conan Doyle (of Sherlock Holmes fame), F. Madux Ford, Thomas Hardy, Runyard Kipling and from time to time when events allowed one H. G. Wells. During Great Earth War operations this small group would develop some 1,160 different pamphlets and flyers dropped on Axis troops in Europe. One of the most effective programs was postcards dropped on German trenches comparing German atrocities with the brutal attacks on our people by the Martians.

THE BLOODY WAR IN EUROPE BEGINS

“War on Serbia is declared by Austria. Enemy is notified force must decide: Steamers captured.”

Chicago Daily News

War came at a time when the general world economy had sufficiently recovered from the 1901 war to be called thriving especially trade between Europe and the Americas. Telegraphic traffic was never greater and the sea lanes never busier as products, people and ideas freely flowed across the Atlantic. The end of this particular madness would eventually find some 13 million tons of re-established shipping lying at the bottom of the Atlantic. International trade was about to come almost to a standstill.

As with most wars fought on Earth there were many causes for the Great Earth War. Old scores to settle and a new nationalism would be blamed for this one as recovering nations began to once again separate themselves from other nations and focus on internal success to the determent of others. Some would point to the First Martian War and claim one nation or another had not suffered as much or had perhaps not fought as well as others may have wished they had. The ongoing German-Anglo rivalry certainly did not help increasing tensions in Europe (the Triple Entente vs. the Triple Alliance). There was also the fact that many new leaders in Europe had begun to feel they were superior to their neighbors and “their people” no matter where they were now (separated due to the Martian War) should still be unified into a single nation. This would be the last war fought on Earth where kings and queens were able to convince “their subjects” to fight and die for nothing more than the greater glory of their kings and queens. The Americans would have no part in it – yet. President Wilson would remark, ‘The people of the United States are drawn chiefly from the nations now at war. We shall remain impartial in thought as well as in action and will meet our duty as the one great nation at peace.”

Prior to 1914, even as the rubble from the First Martian War was still greatly evident, some national newspapers began publishing chauvinistic propaganda attacks in stories which were either inaccurate or out-and-out lies concerning other nations which created an atmosphere of mistrust. These inflammatory “news reports” caused a good deal of fear about national security in populations still on edge after the Martian surprise attack of 1901. Concern about possible future Martian attacks were being replaced with “saber rattling” against each other based upon old histories and past wars which should have been left in the dust of the First Martian War. Even during Committee meetings old animosities were being brought to the table with greater and greater frequency. The nations of Europe were fast driving themselves into two heavily armed camps ready to do battle against themselves and not the off-planet threat known to be standing just in the wings. So even as we had barely begun to recover from a space borne catastrophe mankind was about to unleash the dogs of war upon ourselves. The problem for the Committee was, just how do we heavily arm the nations of the world for a fight many felt would eventually encompass the entire world and still hold back conflicts in regions on Earth with nations focusing not on world issues, but local animosities?

As war in Europe became inevitable a most-secret meeting was held by the Magic Twelve to discuss the situation and prepare a response. The possibility of targeted assassinations at the highest levels of national governments against national leaders determined to start a war was discussed at length. It soon became clear that if Committee forces were used for “executive actions” or were to be deployed against one side or the other these types of events would certainly end the effectiveness of the Committee. With this in mind the Magic Twelve made the critical decision not to interfere with military operations in Europe against nations and stay well focused on continuing their preparations for possible war with Mars. To that end the Magic Twelve issued a statement of neutrality as it pertained to the war in Europe and began moving its headquarters from Lower-London to Lower-New York City as the Committee strongly called for “cooler heads to prevail”. The Committee also stated that any nation not actively engaged in this conflict could expect increased aid at all levels in their continuing efforts to recover and their efforts to build up their military forces. The Twelve decided to fund (out of their own private accounts) a ‘most-secret’ group of historians and retired military officers whose task it would be to monitor and track all military operations during this new conflict in order that any lessons which came from the war could be employed in the future against off-world attacks. Other than the 24 individuals assigned to this group, myself included, no one outside of the Magic Twelve would learn of our activities until mid-1918 when the war was in its closing months.

At the conclusion of the meeting one of the Magic Twelve remarked, “We will now take time out from our usual anti-Martian activities to kill one another for nothing more than petty national pride! Mankind has learned nothing since the War. We must find a way to curb our seemingly natural tendencies to seek self destruction.” In the end this new war would be fought on two oceans, six seas and three continents costing the lives of millions of people we could ill afford to lose. It was perhaps best expressed by an exile from Russia, Leon Trotsky. “Now comes a war and shows that we still haven’t crawled out on all fours from the barbaric stage of our history. We have learned to wear suspenders, to write clever editorials, and to make chocolate milk, but when we have to decide seriously a question of the coexistence of a few tribes on a rich peninsula of Europe, we are helpless to find a way other than mutual mass slaughter.”

Even as the Great Earth War was struggling to begin national and Committee governments were reporting an increased number of unidentified flying craft in and around the soon to be warring nations. In 1914 the newly formed Home Divisions of the British Secret Service was tasked with taking these reports and investigating whether or not they were related to Martian activity or German oversights of British targets. It was felt that we could not do much to avoid Martian snooping eyes, but for the British any German spies along the coastline could be used to direct German Zeppelin crews to potential targets in the island nation.

This would prove to be a well worn two-sided coin as the Committee needed to play down any possible Martian involvement and yet at the same time the British needed to move with caution as to lower the fear and tension being built up by the very real possibility of German attacks from the air. This would need to be a tight-wire act for the British members of the Committee and one which would cause much debate during the entire war. This was a no win situation. In the end it was decided to down play both aspects and focus on developing as many air defense capabilities as possible while at the same time strengthening both British and Committee intelligence forces directed at UFO and hybrid activities.

On 5 August the British, over strenuous objections by the Magic Twelve, sent out the Royal Navy to cut all of Germany’s international telegraph cables! These critical cables linked France, Spain, Portugal, and much of North Africa as well as the main line to the United States. This severing of cables caused a great deal of anger within the Committee and nearly caused several members to come to blows. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed when the British members were able to show a relatively quick fix could be made after hostilities had ended. This would not be the last time when tempers, brought on by this madness, would reach the boiling point.

Editor’s Note: Mars Prime deployed extended resources at and above Earth to closely monitor  this war on Earth – No major operations would be planned during this time.

THE BATTLE OF THE FRONTIERS

7-24 August 1914

“Jus in bello, Jus ad bellum”

Despite the devastation of much of Germany during the First Martian War, by 1905 a re-grouped German military had developed a strategy for Earth warfare designed to fight a two-front war called the von Schlieffen Plan. What had been a plan to supply and defend an attack from the east as well as the west by an interplanetary foe could now be used against both Russia on the east and France on the west. Putting the plan into eventual operation found an American reporter named Richard Harding Davis sending wire reports not only to his paper but to our Committee. (Davis was a very valuable Committee operative using the Press as a cover.) “The German army moved into Brussels as smoothly and as compactly as the Empire State Express. There were no halts, no open spaces, no stragglers.” Reporting on the quick success of his armies found General von Moltke, German Chief-of-Staff declaring, “In six weeks it will be over.”

Battle of the Frontiers
Battle of the Frontiers

While the French were still completing their mobilization plans the First French Army attacked the Germans at Alsace on 7-8 August. (The fact the French were first to attack would not be forgotten by the Germans in later negotiations.) Their success was short-lived as the Germans counter attacked on 9 August which drove the French back to their starting point. This first defeat caused the French to regroup their forces and prepare for a second attack along a wider front. On 14 August the next French offensive began. The attack appeared to go well for four days as the Germans slowly fell back, all the while inflicting heavy casualties on the French with rear guard attacks supported by massed artillery fire. The Germans had wanted the French to push to their well-defended internal lines before stopping the French drive. On 20 August the Germans counterattacked as once again the French fell back to their original lines behind the Meurthe River after heavy fighting and heavy losses.

15 August saw the Germans attack in force along a tight front in an attempt to take the bridges at Dinant. Slowly the Germans pushed the French back along the line, but the German gains caused heavy casualties on both sides. At this time the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), under the Director of Military Operations of the British General Staff Major General Sir Frederick Barton Maurice, rushed to the aid of the Belgians, but they were met with German determination and forced to retreat by a strong German First Army at Mons. The British had made the decision to enter the war when the Germans attacked across the border of neutral Belgian in violation of Committee and national treaties. This latest back and forth struggle continued until 24 August with both sides for the most part back to where they had begun operations. Both sides had also taken heavy losses in men, equipment and infrastructure foreshadowing future engagements of this bloody war.

It was during the bloody battle of the Mons that an aerial event occurred that really defied explanation occurred. On 22 August while the German forces were moving through Belgium towards France the so-called “Angels of Mons” appeared. As a force of 80,000 well-trained British troops facing 160,000 Germans came into contact near the western Belgium village of Mons the event unfolded. Witnesses on both sides reported that just as the Germans were about to overwhelm the British forces “an army were soon sending wave after wave of arrows at the Germans cutting down hundreds of the solders as they advanced.” These ‘forces’ managed to stop the German advance and after two full days of fighting the Germans declared a temporary cease-fire. This halt in the fighting allowed the smaller British force to withdraw to stronger positions and would count as a great early victory in the war. In the end, thousands of Germans had been killed by ‘enemy arrows,” as several reports came in of unidentified aerial craft seen moving slowly over the battle area. To this day no-one has been able to explain exactly where these Angels of Mons came from. One thing we were sure of however, the Martians could not have had anything to do with this event.

Nevertheless, it would be well documented throughout this conflict that close monitoring by unidentified aerial craft of every major battle would occur. Non-Earth craft were keeping close observation of this war and not all of them were of Martian origin. Whether or not they would continue to interfere was anyone’s guess at the time. Our response was to put together a separate office in the Martian Watch Program to track and record any event which could be placed in the ‘others’ column.

Now working behind the scenes the Magic Twelve sent personal envoys to each of the warring nations in what was now thought to be a last-ditch-effort to end the fighting while it was confined to a relatively small area of Western Europe. The combatant leaders were reminded that despite their present differences these differences were minor when compared to the much graver threat still very evident by the martial forces of Mars. With that in mind a suggestion was made in closed session to the effect that perhaps the Committee could stage one or more attacks on some of our own national forces (Germany and France) and blame them on the Martians thus re-focusing the warring parties on enemies off world. However, with captured Martian Walkers not yet capable of use by our people and with the failure to so far safely fly any of the Martian Flyers it was decided that such an attempt would eventually fail and with such a failure surely doom any future efforts the Committee could attempt. In effect it would doom the Committee. The war would be allowed to run its bloody course at least for the time being.

Even so it did not take long for reports to come into our Lower-London Headquarters of hundreds of unidentified aerial craft apparently observing the general destruction now ongoing across the bloody fields of Western Europe.

More and more as the war became a part of our lives I found myself remembering past encounters with our enemies on Mars. No matter how much we tried to escape their mental grasp they were always just below the surface of our lives even as we fought with ourselves in the bloody mud of Europe.

And very faint now, but very distinct through the hot, quiet air, one heard the whirr of a machine-gun that was presently stilled, and an intermittent cracking of rifles. Apparently the Martians were setting fire to everything within range of their Heat-Ray. Quickly, one after the other, one, two, three, four of the armored Martians appeared, far away over the little trees, across the flat meadows that stretched towards Chertsey, and striking hurriedly towards the river. Little cowed figures they seemed at first going with a rolling motion and as fast flying birds. Then, advancing obliquely towards us came a fifth. Their armored bodies glittered in the Sun as they swept swiftly forward upon the guns, growing rapidly larger as they drew nearer. One on the extreme left, the remotest that is, flourished a huge case high in the air, and the ghostly, terrible Heat-Ray I had already seen on Friday night smote towards Chertsey, and struck the town…

By now both sides were becoming well aware that traditional cavalry forces could no longer provide adequate reconnaissance for their vast armies. Events were moving too fast. Aircraft would be needed as airborne reconnaissance soon became the norm. This was first brought to the attention of the British High Command when on 22 August Captain L. E. O. Charlton flew over German lines spotting a large infantry force unknown to the British. German General Alexander von Kluck was forming a major force to cut off and surround the British. This eyewitness report was in direct contrast to all other intelligence information held by the British at the time. With this new direct information the British began in earnest their withdrawal towards Mons saving as many as 100,000 British troops from death or capture.

This was also the first time aerial bombardment of civilian targets occurred during The Great Earth War. The Germans had sent several Zeppelins to bomb Antwerp, Warsaw and Liege as well as Paris coming dangerously close to a prime entrance to Lower-Paris and our Committee liaison office. The next week they began bombing Bucharest and New London. These attacks were most disturbing not only for the destruction brought to non-combatant civilians, but to resources directly related to Committee operations! That was unacceptable.

THE BATTLE OF THE MARNE

5-9 September 1914

After the Battle of the Frontiers the regrouped German forces continued to advance across the fields of France towards Paris. A counter attack by French and British forces at Guise slowed the German advance for 36 hours causing the Germans to shift stronger forces to that area. This gave the French valuable time to shift their forces in defense of Paris.

Battle of the Marne aftermath
Battle of the Marne aftermath

Noticing Paris was now very heavily defended by mobile forces the attacking Germans shifted once again to the south of Paris attacking across the Marne River. The Germans realized all capital cities on Earth including Paris were now being retrofitted with massive defensive structures in anticipation of possible Martian attack. But this did not stop them from concerning a full-frontal attack on Paris.

With the withdrawal of German forces across the Marne a wide gap was created in the German lines held only weakly by cavalry and rear guard forces. This was the gap that British and French forces would eventually pour into in an attempt to dislodge the Germans. However, the local French commanders were convinced their units needed “a period of undisturbed rest and complete replacement” before they would be ready to take decided action. The French sent a message to the British of their concerns. “We have no definite idea of General Joffre’s general plan; its general result in the advance of the Germans and the retreat of the Allies.” The French being very close to their supply bases allowed them to replenish their forces with good speed.

The French were soon on the way moving their armies to attack on 5 September. General Joffre had issued a note to his forces. “As we engage in battle upon which the safety of our country depends, all must remember that the time for looking backward has passed.” The battle was soon joined as the Germans took the full brunt of Allied attacks across a wide front. As before the French and British made advances before the Germans re-enforced and gained the upper hand. Before long it was the Germans who were advancing finally meeting stiff French resistance as darkness fell. The turn came the next day when a copy of Joffre’s attack order was found on the battlefield by the Germans. Having originally felt this was a minor attack they now realized these attacks were part of a major new offensive. With that two German reserve corps were ordered to attack the French on the Marne north of the Oureq.

With the German armies a mere ten miles from Paris the French rushed every reinforcement they could deploy to stop the massive push on Paris by the Germans. French General Gallient even moved two regiments of infantry from Paris to the ever nearing front out of Paris in taxicabs! There were no more reserves left to send. Still the Germans pressed their advantage and by 8 September a step-by-step retreat to the outskirts of Paris was underway. However, that night General Franchst decided upon a risky night attack. The surprise night attack took the Germans by surprise and forced them to retreat six miles to the north. This caused a gap into which the British forces attacked but due to the skill of the small German cavalry forces it would take three days for the British to fight their way forward some 25 miles. This gave the Germans the time they would need to rush enough forces to stop the British. Casualties were mounting all along the line.

This time it would be the Germans who would attack at night. On the morning of 8 September General Hausen pushed his forces forward at 3 a.m. with fixed bayonets and unloaded rifles. The attack was a complete success moving three miles forward causing three French divisions a great deal of confusion. Despite the general confusion the French ordered an attack at all points to stave off any thoughts of retreat they could ill afford. General Foch sent his now famous dispatch to the French Chief-of-Staff. “Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I am attacking!”

Again the Germans were stopped just short of victory. The fighting had been nearly continuous from the first opening salvos of the Battle of the Frontiers until the end of the Battle of the Marne. Due to the utter exhaustion of both sides the German withdrawal to more defensible lines was unimpeded. The battle had cost the French and English 80,000 dead. If the French had been able to develop a determined attack on the retiring Germans they may have been able to gain a good deal of ground, but both sides were now engaged in strengthening their positions for defense and not preparing for a another major attack, at least not for a while. Within two months the death toll would reach a staggering two million dead!

By now the Russian army had been defeated by the Germans at Tannenburg. The Russians had suffered seven million troop casualties added to some two million civilians. They would be out of the fighting for some time as the Germans pressed forward on the Western Front. Even so the Germans were never able to fully recover from the terrible losses they had sustained in the battle with the Russians.

THE FIRST BATTLES OF YPRES

12-28 October 1914

The last major engagement of the Great Earth War in 1914 was fought west of Brussels between the English Channel and the Lys River. During the month long series of battles both sides attempted to envelop each other’s primary force in an effort to circle around and capture large numbers of prisoners as well as penetrate deeply into enemy territory. What made this battle of particular interest to the Committee was that each and every day this battle was fought “saw unidentified flying craft hovering over both sides of the conflict.” Non-human eyes were keeping a very close watch on events down below, and not all of them had a Martian perspective. We were able to note a great increase in the number of unidentified aircraft sightings over and around areas of conflict.

Editor’s Note: Martian Prime Sky Craft were closely monitoring military activities on the surface of Earth in order to better understand how humans fought wars – The sheer brutality of humans on their own species was a great shock to the Martians and caused them to greatly increase their studies of human behavior – These events also caused the Martians to increase the number of human abductions for close study.

On 12 October German General Falkenhayn attacked with his full strength upon the Allied positions at Ypres with the objective of pushing along the coast through to the Allied controlled ports on the English Channel. The attacks continued for nine days as Allied positions weakened but did not break. Even though the Germans had superior numbers locally in both men and artillery they were eventually stopped with great loss of life on both sides.

Battle of Ypres aftermath
Battle of Ypres aftermath

Helping to hold the line on the left flank of the battle the Belgians opened the sluice gates around Ypres causing an area two miles wide from Diksmuide to the Channel to flood to a depth of four feet. This flood halted the Germans on the left, but cost the Belgians some 35 percent of their force in close combat even as the water poured into the area. The determined Belgians had fought with such ferocity the Germans reported in their dispatches they had never faced such “a single minded force of arms” in their entire history – “including the Martians!”

20 October saw the end of German operations for the moment, but this did not stop the Allies from attacking until 28 October when French General Foch halted his attacks fearing even more massive losses for absolutely no gain. Even with this, active fighting along the entire front did not fully end until 11 November when snow and heavy freezing rains made movement impossible over the devastated terrain.

The world had also seen Turkey enter the war on 29 October on the side of Germany as trench warfare began to dominate battles on the Western Front. On the seas the Germans had deployed 33 of their new underwater boats (U-boats) many of which had been used in previous Committee operations. From this point on all shipping would be in the gun sights of war.

Due to the desperate nature of the battles heavy losses in men and equipment were sustained by both sides. The bitter fighting, conducted at times in hand-to-hand combat, was very bloody and caused a fundamental change in the war as the exhausted combatants began what became known as trench warfare along the entire battle line which would eventually reach nearly 500 miles from Switzerland to Belgium and the English Channel with thousands of miles of actual trenches. In the end gains by either side were insignificant especially when compared to the massive losses of life on both sides. The mud, rain and cold would prove a great hardship to both sides as men began to learn how to live in filthy rat and lice infested trenches. Not to mention the rotting corpses of their dead comrades. To add to the disaster the winter of 1914/15 saw some units losing 1/3rd of their fighting strength along the front to frostbite. Having established long trenches on both sides it would later be shown that battle lines drawn by these trenches would not move in either direction for most of the next three years by more than ten miles!

Keeping track of the useless slaughter found me going over reports at the end of 1914. One such report from the French was particularly illuminating. They were reporting the loss of some 265,000 dead with total casualties of 385,000. The report also mentioned the loss of 500,000 rifles and fully ten percent of their field artillery. Similar numbers were being reported by the Germans and Russians. Clearly these insane numbers could not be sustained indefinitely. Insanity had taken over a large area of Earth.

To say the very least the Committee had lost control of much of Europe and were now required to split their attention between Earth based problems with the expanded European war and possible attacks from Mars. This new man-made war would greatly diminish our ability to build our Martian defenses. Nevertheless, man still held the ground of Earth, bloody as it was, even as the Martians controlled the skies above.

 “An unstable peace is always preferable to a certain war.”

Letter sent to Committee Headquarters – London

[END PART 26]

Copyright © R. Michael Gordon, 2020

[NEXT WEEK: PART 27: CHAPTER 5: THE GREAT EARTH WAR.]