Friday, August 08, 2014

August 8th, 1914

- The economic impact of the outbreak of war has reached the neutral United States, as Europeans withdraw funds from American banks.  As a result, by today the gold reserves of the New York banks have declined by $43 million.

- Two British cruisers appear off Dar es Salaam in German East Africa, and proceed to bombard the harbour.  The governor, Heinrich Schnee, proclams Dar es Salaam an open city, knowing it cannot be defended.  The tiny German garrison destroys the wireless station and retreat inland.

- Mulhouse is captured by elements of the French VII Corps at 3pm, the French force having encountered no strong German resistance.  Thousands of Alsatians greet VII Corps with cheers of 'Vive la France!', while the news is met with joyous celebration in France.

- As Goeben and Breslau sail among the Greek islands, Admiral Souchon orders his collier to meet him at Denusa, a remote island on the far side of the Aegean.  Meanwhile, the British battlecruisers finally leave Malta and begin to sail eastwards after the German pair.  Admiral Sir Archibald Berkeley Milne, commander of the British Mediterranean Fleet, still believes that the ultimate intention of the Germans is to double back and attack the conveys, so he is in no rush to catch up to Goeben and Breslau.  He has no idea that the Dardanelles is a possible destination for the ships.

- French General Joffre issues his General Instructions No. 1 today, outlining his plan for the campaign.  In line with Plan XVII, 1st and 2nd Armies will attack into Lorraine south of the Metz-Thionville fortified zone, while 3rd and 4th Armies will attack through the Ardennes north of Metz-Thionville.  The objective of the offensive is the destruction of the German armies.  The plan rests on the assumption that the German army is concentrated in Luxembourg and Metz-Thionville.  The German invasion of Belgium, meanwhile, is dismissed as a comparatively secondary operation.

- The French 1st Army seizes several passes in the Vosges, in order to protect its flank for its imminent offensive under General Instructions No. 1.

- Ludendorff returns from Liège to 2nd Army headquarters, reporting on the seizure of the town.  As the surrounding forts continue to resist, he argues that special siege artillery will be needed to ensure their destruction.  The Germans have two types of such guns - several Skoda 305 mortars are on loan from Austria-Hungary, and Krupp is frantically finishing construction of its Krupp 420 mortars at its factory in Essen.  These mortars are the largest land guns in history, and only they can fire shells of sufficient size (12-inch for the Skodas and 16.5 inch for the Krupps) to penetrate the thick concrete of the Belgian forts at Liège.

No comments:

Post a Comment