Sunday, November 02, 2014

November 2nd, 1914

- At Ypres there is further hard fighting today as Army Group Fabeck continues to push into the Entente lines.  Its most notable success today is retaking the village of Wytschaete, which had been gained and lost the day before, while they also manage to nearly annihilate a British battalion near Gheluvelt.  Still, however, there is no breakthrough, and the ground gained is merely of tactical, not strategic, advantage.

The French, meanwhile, continue to take over more responsibility for the Entente line at Ypres.  By today, in addition to the northeastern portion of the Ypres salient, they hold five miles of the front to the southeast between I Corps to the north and the Cavalry Corps to the south.  Once again a series of French attacks are ordered by Foch for today, including to regain Messines, and once again they are unsuccessful, and indeed it was the French who were pushed out of Wytschaete today - generally, the German attacks were launched before the French, so the latter never got the opportunity to advance.

- At dawn the ships of the German East Asiatic Squadron find themselves alone, the surviving British warships having fled the scene and only the distant shore of Chile on the horizon.  Meanwhile, the British consul at Valparaíso learns today of the presence of the German squadron, though not of the naval battle, and sends a telegram to the Admiralty informing them of the enemy ships nearby.

- Indian Expeditionary Force B arrives off the port of Tanga in German East Africa this morning, and at 705am the captain of the light cruiser Fox lands in the town to inform the German district officer that the British no longer consider the prior agreement on neutralization regarding Tanga and Dar es Salaam to be in effect.  The hope is that the German official will surrender Tanga rather than face a British invasion.  Instead, the district officer gives no response, and after waiting for three and a half hours Fox signals the convoy carrying IEF B to begin landing.  The operation, however, is already a debacle - the pre-dreadnought Goliath, which was supposed to provide fire support, broke down in Mombasa and was left behind, while the captain of Fox refuses to sail into the harbour at Tanga for fear of mines.  Thus instead of landing at Tanga itself, IEF B is landed on an unfamiliar beach sufficiently far away from the town to be undefended.  The soldiers of IEF B, moreover, have been aboard their ships for almost a month, and as a result are in no shape to conduct a landing with any speed or discipline.  Thus the first battalions only begin landing at nightfall, and as the operation continues the landing area is a scene of confusion and delay.

When the British first arrived this morning, there was only a single company, composed mainly of ex-police officers, at Tanga for its defence.  The district officer, however, immediately informed Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, commander of the Schütztruppen, or colonial infantry, of German East Africa.  He is with the bulk of his Schütztruppen companies to the northwest at Moshi near Mount Kilimanjaro, expecting the main British attack to be overland.  The railway connecting Moshi and Tanga, however, makes the rapid redeployment of his forces possible, and three companies are immediately sent to reinforce Tanga.

The frontier between British Kenya in the north and German East Africa in the south, including the
port of Tanga and the town of Moshi.

- In light of the increasing likelihood of war with the Ottoman Empire, British officials in Egypt today declare martial law, so as to maintain public order once the conflict begins.

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