Saturday, September 27, 2014

September 27th, 1914

- The German XIV Reserve Corps comes into the line north of II Bavarian Corps, and begins to advance on Albert.  Opposite them the French XXI and X Corps are arriving north of the Somme River.

- The Belgian army continues to hold the fortifications at Antwerp, the 'national redoubt', but there are growing concerns about the state of its defenses.  There are two rings of forts surrounding Antwerp on the southern bank of the Scheldt River - an outer line of eighteen forts between seven and nine miles from the city, and an inner line of older forts.  However, the forts have not been modernized, and are vulnerable to high-arcing plunging fire, precisely the type the Germans had used at Liège and Namur.  Thus the Belgians realize that to hold Antwerp for a prolonged period of time in the face of a German effort to capture the forts requires that the German siege mortars be kept out of range.  For the past two days, two divisions of the Belgian army have sortied south of the city to push the Germans back, but despite local successes the Belgians have been forced back to the first line of forts south of Antwerp.  Their sortie, at least, has helped convince the besieging Germans that the north bank of the Scheldt to the west of the city is too well-defended to attack, leaving an overland line of communication between Antwerp and Flanders.

The defenses of Antwerp, September 1914.
- After a day spent bombarding Russian positions, elements of the German 8th Army attempt to cross the Niemen River this morning.  However, the pontoon bridges are blasted by Russian artillery, and the crossings fail to secure bridgeheads at great cost.

- Realizing the enemy has abandoned Duala in German Kamerun, the British expedition offshore begin to land 2500 soldiers of the West African Frontier Force and seize the town.

This cover of the satirical magazine Kladderadatsch, published today, reflects the
continuing optimism on the home front.  The caption translates as 'The Traffic in
Foreigners is Picking Up!', and shows representative figures from all of Germany's
enemies touring Berlin as prisoners.  This reflects the suppression of knowledge about
the German defeat at the Marne earlier this month, the army stating publicly that it was
merely a redeployment of forces.  It is also worth noticing in the cartoon how each
figure utilizes stereotypes to represent its nation, including the usage of racial imagery.

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