Thursday, November 13, 2014

November 13th, 1914

- At Ypres the Germans launch several attacks today.  In the morning an attack by elements of XXVI and XXVII Reserve Corps assault the French 18th Division of IX Corps, and though they are able to gain a portion of the French trench they are halted.  After a heavy bombardment during the morning the German 4th Division advances against a portion of the British line south of the Menin Road, but are repulsed with heavy losses.

Meanwhile an agreement is reached today between General Foch and Field Marshal French to reorganize the units on the front line at Ypres.  The fighting of the last month has resulted in French units being interspersed among British units, and the desire is to consolidate the BEF so that it holds just one stretch of the front line.  To do so the northernmost units of the BEF are to move southwards towards the line already held by Indian Corps, while the French take over most of the Ypres salient.   For his part General Joffre approves of such a reorganization as he believes that the German offensive in Flanders has run its course.

The strength of the BEF is also reinforced today with the arrival of 8th Division from England, it being composed of Regular Army battalions that had been in India and elsewhere in the Empire on the outbreak of war.

- Denmark, Norway, and Sweden today issue a joint protest against the blockade policy of Britain, and in particular the recent declaration of the North Sea as a war zone.  They assert that this has impacted their overseas trade, and violates their rights as neutrals.  The protest demonstrates how Britain's blockade of Germany, and the means by which they enforce it, inevitably impacts neutral states.  The Foreign Office is concerned not only to avoid pushing the neutrals into a more pro-Germany stance, but also to ensure that the substantial British trade with these neutrals can continue unimpeded.  To this end, the Foreign Office is continuing negotiations with the Scandinavian neutrals to find means by which neutral trade can continue but Germany remains blockaded.

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