Thursday, December 11, 2014

December 11th, 1914

- Two days ago the British ambassador in Paris had submitted to the French minister of war a memorandum proposing that the British Expeditionary Force be redeployed to the Entente far left on the Channel coast, so that the Royal Navy could co-operate with BEF operations towards Ostend and Zeebrugge.  As General Sir Henry Wilson notes in his diary today, the reaction of both Joffre and Foch is negative.  First, operations along the coast will do nothing to support the offensives Joffre is planning in Artois and Champagne.  Second, the French fear that the further away the BEF is from the French armies, the more difficult it will be to secure their co-operation in future operations.  Finally, the almost-unspoken fear is that by placing the BEF in Belgium by being on the coast, the British may be seeking an inordinate influence over postwar Belgium - Britain and France may be allies, but France wants to ensure a strong hand in shaping and influencing postwar Europe.

- By today General Roth's group consists of nine infantry and three cavalry divisions, though this was little more than paper strength - his infantry divisions average between two and three thousand, while 3rd Infantry Division can muster only nine hundred soldiers.  Despite this, the Russian VIII Corps opposing them is in hardly better shape, and heavy assaults by the Russians fail to dislodge the Austro-Hungarian defenders east of Limanowa.  For its part General Szurmay's group advances to within sight of Neusandez while parrying an attack on its  by the Russian 48th Division.  The latter formation belongs to XXIV Corps, the second formation sent by General Brusilov to aid his western neighbour.  The rest of the corps, however, is stalled to the east by the northern advance of the Austro-Hungarian III Corps towards the Gorlice-Roba road.  Finally, the weakening of Brusilov's 8th Army to send reinforcements westwards allows the Austro-Hungarian VII Corps to retake the Dukla Pass through the Carpathians.

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