Sunday, September 28, 2014

September 28th, 1914

- After initial setbacks, the French XXI and X corps have solidified a defensive line east of Albert along a line Maricourt-Fricourt-Thiepval.  Realizing that 6th Army has been checked before Amiens, Falkenhayn today orders Rupprecht to attack to the north towards Arras in another effort to get around the flank of the Entente line.

- The siege of Antwerp begins in earnest today with the first major bombardment of its forts by the Germans.  Falkenhayn has decided that Antwerp must be captured to ensure the security of the German right wing as it extends northwards into Flanders.  Commanding the besiegers is General Hans von Beseler, whose III Reserve Corps consists of second-rate divisions and brigades, and is deemed insufficient to cross the Scheldt River to the west of the city to invest it completely.  However, von Beseler also has at his disposal 173 heavy guns, and it is expected that the artillery will repeat its performances at Liège and Namur and crush the fortifications from long-range.  Specifically, the first to be targeted are the forts of Wavre and Waelham to the south of Antwerp, to breach the outer defense line and allow the infantry to advance.  The German bombardment is able to proceed entirely unmolested, as the Belgian artillery pieces lack the range to hit the German mortars.  The attack is thus little more than target practice.

- Having failed to cross the Niemen River, the German 8th Army begins a withdrawal back towards the German border, as maintaining their current position would leave them in an exposed salient while not diverting Russian forces from Poland and Galicia.  The Russian 1st and 10th armies begin a pursuit of the retreating Germans, and General Rennenkampf of the former shows energy that had been lacking in August.

- Having completed its assembly north of Krakow, the German 9th Army begins its advance northeast today in the direction of Ivangorod and Moscow.  As of yet Ludendorff has no idea that the Russians are redeploying four armies to precisely the same place.

The Eastern Front, September 28th to November 1st, 1914.
- In a speech today South African Prime Minister Louis Botha declares that if South African forces do not attack and occupy German South-West Africa, then the British will bring in other Imperial forces, such as the Australians or Indians, to undertake the operation.  The statement is aimed at Boers uneasy with the invasion, suggesting that since it is going to happen it might as well be done to the benefit of South Africa directly.

- As they approach Tsingtao, Japanese forces seize today the first defensive line.  They had been thinly held, however, and the Germans conduct an orderly retreat to the second defensive line in the Hai Po valley.

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