7 MARCH 1896, Page 1

The Italians, of coarse, explain their defeat by the presence

of French and Russian officers with Menelek, but it may be ques. tioned if any Anglo-Indian General accustomed to mountain warfare would agree with them. Drill does not improve Oriental soldiers like the Abyssinians. They are Semites in blood, of exceptional courage, men who did not hesitate to charge into the centre of Italian regiments ; they have been accustomed to defend their hills for a thousand years; and they have Generals accustomed to utilise masses of men who recently destroyed an army from Khartoum at Kassala. They had good rifles, they were on the higher ridges when they started, and their King, Menelek, is obviously a soldier of the Hyder All type,—that is, a man who can induce his soldiery to die. To beat such men they must either be decoyed out of the hills or attacked from above, and the Italians were still mounting when a kind of avalanche of riflemen swept down on them. The number of the dead suggests that the Italians fought well, but the frightful proportion of officers killed, two-thirds of the whole number, tells a different tale. The officers, we fear, exposed themselves to arrest a panic, which may, how- ever, have broken out at first only among the native troops.