Saturday, August 09, 2014

August 9th, 1914

- Today the Royal Navy sinks its first German U-boat of the war.  As anti-submarine weapons do not exist as of yet, the light cruiser Birmingham attacks the submarine U-15 by ramming it.  Sliced in half, the submarine sinks quickly, and all hands are lost.

- German industrialist Walther Rathenau meets today with War Minister General Erich von Falkenhayn.  Rathenau's initial concern is the exploitation of Belgian industry, but he also has concerns about the German economy as a whole if, as he suspects, the war will be lengthy.  In a memorandum he submits to Falkenhayn, he suggests the creation of an organization to manage to the appropriation and distribution of raw materials, in order to ensure German industry was operating as efficiently as possible, and that factories producing the essentials of war - steel, ammunition, etc. - have priority on the raw materials they need.  Falkenhayn is convinced, and establishes the Kriegsrohstoffsamt (KRA) under Rathenau's leadership.  The KRA will play a vital role in managing the wartime German economy, especially in the face of shortages caused by the Entente naval blockade.

- At dawn, Goeben and Breslau arrive at the harbour of Denusa, meeting their collier.  The two German ships attach themselves to either side of collier, and begin transferring coal as rapidly as possibly, sailors shoveling nonstop throughout the day and into the night.  At 9pm, the wireless room on Goeben report the first faint signals from approaching British warships.

- This morning, German units sent from Strasbourg begin a counterattack against the French force that has occupied Mulhouse.

- The embarkation of the British Expeditionary Force begins at ports in southern England.  Eighty thousand infantrymen and twelve thousand cavalrymen are destined for Le Havre and other nearby French ports.

- Two Krupp 420 mortars have been readied at Essen for use, and tonight are loaded on freight cars for transportation towards Liège.

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