26 Haziran 2010 Cumartesi


"...There lean, wily Ras Nassibu had stationed legions of his best men, entrenched in an elaborate series of fortifications dug under direction of the onetime Turkish General Wehib Pasha. Four columns under General Graziani were attempting to surround the town, batter it to submission. Charging again & again through thorn bushes and over huge boulders, men from Brooklyn, Chicago, San Francisco fell never to rise again, for leading the central column under a General Frusci was a regiment composed largely of Italian-American volunteers."


"...Glad to see you here in Harar. If you visit me later at advance headquarters, bring plenty of medicine for yourself. You will have fever." Thus the New York Times's Laurence Stallings was greeted by His Excellency Wehib Pasha ("Old Eagle Beak"), the big-boned Turkish General (retired) whom small-boned Emperor Haile Selassie has hired as Chief-of-Staff on Ethiopia's southeastern front.

Old Eagle Beak, styling himself "the Hero of Gallipoli," though his role in that British shambles was hardly stellar, pointed out over Harar Province and said portentously, "Out there will be the grave of Italian Fascism. When the Italian native troops hear of ME they will desert."

Definitely Ethiopia cannot be conquered without Italian thrusts up from the south through Harar and in from the east, complementing the thrust down from the north which last week won Aduwa (see p. 19). With 150,000 Ethiopian troops under his command, Old Eagle Beak must try to defend Ethiopia's only railway. To Correspondent Stallings, after boasting through an old soldier's repertoire of battles, Wehib Pasha finally worked up to 1935 and boomed: "The English might conquer Ethiopia or even the French, never the Italians! "It is an axiom that even water will follow the English. They move slowly, never outrunning their communications. They bring water for their troops, as well as victuals. At Gallipoli they suffered horribly at first for water; when they withdrew I myself saw that they had installed running pipes, with hydrants, in their trenches. Yes, with 250,000 men the English could conquer Ethiopia slowly but absolutely. "With 500,000 men Italy could walk into Addis Ababa, into Harar, even into Jimma [Province]. But these men would walk there to starve. Even now they bring water from Italy to the men of Eritrea, and this after a year's preparation. I can assure you that the English would have had condensers in Eritrea after the first underofficer reported a great thirst. "Yes, the men from the battleships would all have been there with condensers. A great staff would have been formed, with new badges and regimentals-'His Majesty's Royal Condenser Corps.' And they would have boasted that there was more water, better water, than in London. "Why do you ask me such things as details of Ethiopian defense? Water will defeat the Italians for me. I have to do nothing." Meanwhile Italy's engineer corps worked their well-digging gear furiously last week on all fronts, had exactly 96 new wells supplying water at latest reports."


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