Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10th, 1914

- This morning General Plettenberg requests that the attack to be launched by Winckler's Division and 4th Division be delayed by one day - heavy mist over the past twenty-four hours has prevented necessary to plan the operation.  General Linsingen agrees, and the advance of his Army Group is postponed until tomorrow morning.

The delay, however, does not apply to the German 4th Army to the north, and thus today heavy assaults fall on the Entente line from Langemarck northwards.  The most substantial is undertaken by elements of 4th Ersatz Division and 43rd Reserve Division against Dixmude, which had been bitterly fought over in late October.  A heavy German artillery bombardment begins at dawn, and by 740am German infantry are advancing.  There follows a long day of hand-to-hand fighting in which the Belgian and French defenders are slowly but relentlessly forced back.  At 330pm German units enter the town itself, and its defenders withdraw westward over the Yser Canal, the Belgians dynamiting the bridges before the Germans can seize them.  The loss of Dixmude is a setback, but not the disaster that its capture would have been in late October, given the flooding of the Yser to the north.  Moreover, the Belgians and French are able to establish a new defensive position on the west bank of the Yser Canal, and no German breakthrough is achieved.

The Germans achieve other small gains on the front of 4th Army - they occupied a crossroads northwest of Bixschoote, the village of Kortekeer Cabaret, and some trenches west of Langemarck.  However, these attacks have nowhere achieved a decisive breakthrough - everywhere the Entente forces have been able to retreat to new lines of defences - but they have achieved one other indirect objective.  As the attacks develop over the day, General Foch concludes, not entirely unreasonably, that this is the major German push in Flanders designed to cover the redeployment of units to the Eastern Front.  Moreover, the intelligence available today appears to bear this out - the units assigned to 4th Army for today's attacks have all been correctly identified, but the presence of Plettenberg's corps on the Menin road has been missed.  Thus, under the impression that the attacks north of Ypres are the main offensive, the remaining reserves of the French XVI and IX Corps, plus the French 6th Cavalry Division near Zillebeke, are ordered northwards by Foch, reducing the reserves available south of Langemarck.  Further, the British experience only the normal amount of German shelling, and thus have no idea of the storm that is about to break over them tomorrow.

The Western Front in northern France and Belgium, November 10th, 1914.

- The assembly of General Mackensen's 9th Army is completed today, with six corps now concentrated between Thorn and Posen.  The rapid redeployment of 9th Army has once again demonstrated the strength of German logistics - eight hundred trains were used over the past week in the operation.

The redeployment of the German 9th Army, November 3rd to 10th, 1914.  Also note the position
of the Russian armies opposite.

No comments:

Post a Comment