Gambar halaman

Jacob I looated presently at foot, stands another higher hill, the head of the jam, qaiet as obristened Flathead Right, and ever, and bade him get his between the two is a steep men across the Sarwek nullab drop into a nallah, of whose on the left to strengthen existence you have no olue Cookie's picquets in oase of antil you tumble down its trouble that side, for although convex sides. there was so far no movement, We had no maps of Mahsud. there was muob noise, and the land other than the rough little pioquets on the bank fired small - soale sketohes made incessantly in reply to a dig. presumably on the previous persed cloud of snipers who expeditions of the 'sixties and shot methodioally at every. 'nineties — the sort of maps thing appearing above the General d'Audel in his classio bank,

work on the art of war advises Then I pushed forward in every pushful young officer to searoh of news to where the keep by him to impress inspectgans spat cheerfully in the ing Generals- & general-service open river-bed, 300 yards be- olass of map which, with the hind the advanoe-guard. Be- alteration of a few names, will yond Flathead Left, and hidden do equally well for Waziristan by it antil you reaoh its very or the Sahara.

= North (I think)

n = Bill (or valley YORK (8) dm - House (perhaps ) Scale = 1 inch = 5.2932 miles (or yards 1r preferred)

Nowadays we have excellent to farl the umbrella while at maps, for a keen survey party work. oame with us and produced at This, however, is a digres. lightning speed quite 2000- sion. To revert to Flathead, rate contoured sketoh - maps, of which we had no maps, followed by more detailed when the advance - guard of surveys. The trade-mark of Cookie's reached the foot of the Survey of India is a large the far end of Flathead Left, white plane table surmounted they came upon the deep by a still larger white brolly nullah opening to their right rampant. I speak bat sober between the two bills, and truth when I say that with further found it full of Mahmine own astonished eyes have gads. So Cookie's (with their I seen this amazing target attachés, the South Wazir. proceeding into the very firing istan Militia) and the Mahsud line of the covering troops and Wana Wazir smote each during a rather messy pioquet other good and proper, killing show, in order to sketoh the at point-blank range round the enemy's side of the ridge. rooks and boulders that cluster They had, however, the sense the precipitous foot of Flathead. From Marble Aroh, 800 Left--for the Mahsud, as ever, yards farther on, an enormous emboldened by 8000e8s, had limestone half-moon - shaped leapt into the counter-attack, oliff with a base of hollowed while the gans olamoured away oaves, Mahsud dwellings, the in the vicinity of the tower enemy showered them with and villagelet of Aga Khan, lead, and the red-and-white which stood on a tiny kach in rooks of Cooksoomb, nearer a nullah running out at right still, seethed with angry angles opposite to Flathead, snipers. So there the ad. that I came upon Shortleigh vanoe-gaard stuok, soross the talking to a Q. staff officer. river from the foot of Flathead A staff officer's duty is to ap on to the right bank, for on keep ap the moral of the their right the special flank troops when things go wrong, guard, found as you may re- and some gobiove it by an member by the 2/5th Gurkhas, optimistio . cheerfulness that was held and forood baok. beoomes the cheerier the worse

These latter had made their things really are. But this Q. way over the brow of Flathead officer, being gifted by natare Left and started down the dip with & visage of preternatural into the nullah between the gloominess, had devised another Flatheads. Then the Mahsud plan of raising people's spirits, fell upon them in force, and one of distinot originality. It they fought hand to hand, is noteworthy that if you apbayonet and kukri and knife, pear as reasonably downoast ay, and jagged stone as well, as the situation demands, you as happens when men get down immediately depress all those to really primeval killing with whom you oome into con

But the odds were too heavy, taot; whereas, if you can only even apart from the faot that muster & fotitious look of the 2/5th had been dropping exaggerated depression, you at pioquets all the way along onoe raise their spirits by makfrom Ahnai Right; so the two ing them feel that bad as shattered companies of the things may be they can't speoial flank guard had to possibly be as bad as you rally and oling to tbe orest look. of Flathead Left, whenoe they Seven Dials was, as I have had started down, with their already mentioned, a bad camp, C.O., Crowdy, and their lead. anipeable and epiped, rush. ing oompany commander dead. able though — Dieu merci lI think this was the one who never rushed, badly lacking in was picked up later with seven wire, and commanded from knife-thrusts in his body, evi- most points of the compass. dence of the bitterness of the When we first entered it and fighting.

sat on our kit waiting for the It was at this stage of the mess mules, we looked at the proceedings, when the remnants oamp, and smelt it, and tasted of the 2/5th) were fighting it, for the air was solid oamel, about the knoll of Flathead and thereafter felt depressed

beyond words. Then there realised that further advance happened on the scene this was impossible until the peak Q. bird with his detached air of Flathead Left was made of Stygian gloom, and con- good beyond danger of loss, versed in despondent funereal and 80 sent ap the seoond tones, his mated manner im- in command of the 2/76th plying that if by any extra. Panjabis with a company to ordinary chance we were not take charge of the remains souppered before nightfall, we of the 2/5th Gurkbas and certainly would be by mid. command the Flathead battle. night. I'm not sure if he Up the hill he shinned with offered to take oharge of our his following, 800 feet of wills and post farewell letters slithery rook, and arrived at for us from Ahnai Camp, but the knoll where now stands he probably did. Any way, Flathead picquet. It took when he left us we were him about half a minute to positively hilariously cheerful size up the situation, and, instead of being somewhat dis- paraphrasing Cæsar, he sigmal, as he had found us. nalled down “Veni, Vidi,

On this pocasion he was N.B.G.," or words to that direoting Shortleigh, and any effeot, planted his company other British officers he could round about him under what find, to colleot every single cover he could find, and, man with a rifle that they squatting ander a rook in oould lay hands on, form them the midst of & hai of snipinto groups, and oram them ing, sucked his pipe philoso into the months of the two phically, waiting, Mioawberbig nallahs on the right bank like, for something to turn up. southward of Aga Khan, where, It turned up eventually in as I have said, sniping was the shape of H.Q. and the assiduous. It was a sound remaining three oompanies of taotioal move, for an attack his regiment under the C.O., on our rear was quite likely, Lieat.-Col. Chamberlayne, all since the Mahsud had us that column H.Q. had now bottled up in & distinotly got left unemployed in the stioky place. Somehow or main body. They arrived other, he handled this rather shortly after midday, and tiok lish business 80 skilfully deployed themselves into atin his dry despondent way taoking formation to go down that no one took alarm, and into the dip wbioh the Gurkhas there was not the least sus- bad failed to olear. They had pioion of panio—which is no to do it entirely on their own, mean feat, as any one oan for Flathead Left, rising sheer realise who has endeavoured above the guns in the river, to oollect debris to deal with precluded any covering artiltrouble behind what time the lery fire being brought to bear main body is oatohing it hot on Flathead Right, and there in front.

were no maohine - guns or Column H.Q. had by now trenoh-mortars on this show. VOL, CCVIII.—NO. MCCLXI.

2 Q

inga be out uporammed withe growing Sikh, Jat, ino sunlit

It was a projeot conceived and folds leading anseen to in high soldierly spirit, stand- the very orest-line. ing about a 1 per cent chance Bat they stuok grimly to of being successful. They their ground the whole of that made 150 yards out of the weary hard-fought day, doing 1200 they had to go for & all that men could do—just matter of sixty casualties. sticking it, and dying in the This was the first easy 150 process. yards prior to the descent That intrepid fighter their down the convex slope into C.O., who made them the fine the nullah, where the serious battalion they are, lay dead work began. The nullah ander the little thorn - bush swarmed with Mahsuds wait. below the crest; Riddell, ing for them to come down mortally wounded, lay dying and be out ap, and the op- on the kaoh below; and minute posite hill was orammed with after minute added to the marksmen slating them where growing roll of dead and they lay.

So they wisely decided to give jabi Mussalman on the sunlit ap the advance, and settled hill-top. The second in comdown on the edge of the dip to mand was slid a way down the hold Flathead, and there they hillside, & keyholed ballot lay all day into the dark, until through his thigh; and the Gurkhas behind them, re- O'Leary, hit three times in inforoed later by a company of France, was wounded yet the 2/9th Gurkhas, olinging to again ere later in the day the knoll and sniped without a final ballet killed him. respite, fashioned themselves The little rook-strewn hollow the ghost of a picquet.

between the forward orest and It is a little epio, that day the knoll where the Gurkhas of the 2/76th Punjabis on Flat- were trying to make their head, They were a very very pioquet was ohoked with dead young second - line battalion, and dying, and all the while and they bumped into a fight the pitiless bullets from Flatsuch as the oldest of veteran head Right spat down on frontier - force battalions had wounded and unwounded never even dreamt of.

alike, and the air was heavy Nevertheless, they attacked with reek of blood and aorid with go, when bidden, and bomb-fumes. Five separate when told to hang on, hung on times did the Mahead oounterto what they had got, exposed attaok, and five separate times hour after hour to incessant with bullet and butt, bayonet torment of snipers' bullets ; and bomb, did the 2/76th, while from time to time the and later the Gurkha reinprone line of men huddled forcements for the pioquet, behind rocks and stones would hurl him back down the swirl into sudden movement, as slopes. & rash of Mahsuds oame ap As the column oommander one or other of the nullahs wired that day, “the safety of

the column depends on the company ap to Flathead and staanohness of the troops,” of establish two picquets. Shortthe P.B.I. on Flathead and leigh's Dekhanis having been elsewhere. Staunch indeed seized by Column Headquarters they proved, but none more so to hold the Aga Khan nallah, than those ohildren of the I went in searoh of Jacob and 2/76th. Evidently they have his Rajputanas, and loading up a tradition of “sticking it” in with bombs and tools and the 76th, for their first bat- pioquet stores we scaled our talion was part of the immortal laborious way to the rook garrison of Kat.

pinnacle at the top of Duke's My two baggage-gaard oom- Nose. There the two of us panies sat, one across the Asa argued mightily as to whether Khan nallah, and one over the the pioquet should be on the ridge by the Sarwek nullabs. top of the rook pinnacle or Presently came & young staff. round its base, and finally, oaptain seeking the C.O. With compromising, put a bit in some diffioulty he was extri- each place. Then leaving the oated from the seething mass resouroeful Jacob with two of restless camels, where he platoons to establish himself, and his two companies had the rest of us departed in just come in after handing searoh of another pioquet site over roargaard to the 57th. somewhere between Duke's

General Skeen himself,stand- Nose and the knoll on the far ing by Aga Khan tower, pointed orest of Flathead. out the objeotive, “Dazzle It is one of those bad. Hill,” what seemed from the stepped hills 80 common on river bat a low hillook a few the frontier, where each bump hundred yards off, from which is overlooked by the next, and incessant bullets swept down you go olimbing on and on in the banks of the Aga Khan & vain search for a spot that nullah, where the perimeter isn't commanded at short would have to be that night, range. Eventually I selected rondering serious work im. & poorish enough spot where possible.

& Garkha pioquet was lying, “Two companies ?” queried and called up Birmingham, the C.O. as he got his orders. Jacob's company officer, This Two companies it was, and so double appearance evidently away they went diagonally up annoyed & party of enemy the bank, Hodkin's Konkani concealed in the bushes fringMahrattas leading with the ing a nullah 600 yards away, Babe in the front line, pink for they commenoed to snipe of cheek under his high-tied exceedingly vioiously, and we pagri, among his dark-faced understood why the Gurkhas men.

Hardly had the rest of the Birmingham spent & heotio battalion started off for the afternoon there, trying to build attaok on Dazzle Hill than I that piequet, his mon pushing was sent for and told to take & up stones in front of them

attack on Tarted off of the ho so flat.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »