6 FEBRUARY 1942, Page 1

ON ALL FRONTS I N all the main battle-zones the time-factor

has become a matter I of vital importance. In Russia its urgency lies in the need to drive the enemy back from the strong advance-points from which they hope to launch-their offensive in the spring. In the south the thaws come early, and there the time for the German offensive will be late March or more probably early April. Can they before then be driven off the coasts of the Sea of Azov and out of the Crimea? It is this consideration which gives the greatest interest to the Russian advances south of Kharkov towards Dniepropetrovsk and through the town of Gavrilovka. The latter is a deep penetration into the German lines which, if continued, will threaten all the German forces in the Donetz basin and _west of Rostov with envelopment. In Libya time counts scarcely less. Fresh German forces had already reached Rommel before he began his counter-thrust, and there can be little doubt that the enemy hope to pour in still stronger reinforcements with the hope. of achieving decisive results in Africa. General Auchinleck's task is to hold Rommel and reverse the position by inflicting on him a decisive defeat before he accumulates greater strength for a more formidable offensive. lip to the present the first task, that of stopping his progress, has not yet been performed. The 7th Indian Infantry Brigade successfully cut its way out of Benghazi, and the rxth Brigade checked the enemy by counter-attacks, while mobile forces have been harassing the enemy's flanks ; but the British are still retiring, presumably to some battlefield of their own choice. But of all the fighting areas there is none in which the time-factor counts for so much as at Singapore. The major Japanese attack on the island at the moment of writing had not yet developed. When it does. it will be a question of holding on against terrific odds till the promised reinforcements stream in. An amazing indication of Japanese preparedness is that they are able to maintain strong pressure on so many, fronts—Malaya, the Philippines, Burma and the islands, as well as keeping their front in China.