7 FEBRUARY 1936, Page 1

Makalle and Ogaden The nature of the Italian success in

Southern Abyssinia is becoming clearer. Ras Desta's men, half starved in the barren scrub between the Ganale Doria and the Dawa, with their commissariat service—such as it was— paralysed by constant bombing, had already begun to disperse when "the Italian thrust sent their remnant scuttling like rabbits to the hills. Now they are back in their fastnesses, where they arc daily being reinforced, while it is the Italians at Negelli who risk finding them- selves in the air. The thrust, excellent in design and execution, has done its work and relieved the Southern Ogaden from any immediate menace from the West. It is not likely to, be pushed much further, and the next probable move, a resumption of the advance on Harrar, cannot long be delayed if it is to bear fruit before the rains. In the North the Abyssinians have so far failed to isolate Makalle and the Italians to crush the threat of isolation. Casualties, although obscured by conflicting and improbable reports, seem to have been heavy on both sides,. That a pitched battle should have ended so inconclusively suggests that there may be grounds for questioning the assumption, which hitherto has been almost axiomatic, that in an encounter of this sort the Italians' superiority of armament would assure them of concl 'sive victory.