10 APRIL 1936, Page 1

Marshal Badoglio's Conquests In northern Abyssinia the territorial gains of

the Italian forces are easier to assess than is the stability of their military position. They now dominate, with vary- ing degrees of completeness, an area some 52,000 square miles in extent and roughly one-sixth of the Emperor's dominion.- On the line of their main advance through Makalle to Kworam road-construction has followed the advance closely, and comparatively little leeway remains to be made up. West of the Takazze their progress, made simultaneously by several columns, has necessarily far outstripped all roads and has left immense areas of mountainous country to be made good by subsequent " combing " operations. To what extent the main Abyssinian armies have been shattered, and the dispersed elements in the mountains cowed, by their experience of Italian ground and air supremacy no one, not even Marshal Badoglio, can yet say. The lightning advance to Gondar and Lake Tana was a bold and successful move, admirably designed to Create an atmosphere favourable to Italy at any conference on peace terms. It has, how- ever, left two dangers in its rear, that of guerilla action against long and vulnerable lines of communication and the inevitable mud which comes with the rains. It would be a mistake to conclude without further evidence that the whole of the area now invaded is effectively subdued, and it is quite possible that Marshal Badoglio will have some uncomfortable moments before his gains are con- solidated and penetration is replaced by effective con- quest. * *