Friday, December 26, 2014

December 26th, 1914

- The British Expeditionary Force implements a reorganization today with the creation of 1st and 2nd Armies, under the command of Generals Haig and Smith-Dorrien respectively.  1st Army includes I, IV, and the Indian Corps, while 2nd Army includes II and III Corps, plus the newly-arrived 27th Division, consisting of regular battalions recalled from overseas.  The BEF's cavalry, consisting now of the Cavalry Corps under General Allenby and the Indian Cavalry Corps, are under the direct control of Field Marshal French, who remains the overall commander of the BEF.

- Many senior commanders on the Western Front are dismayed by yesterday's Christmas Truce, as they fear that soldiers who are friendly with the enemy will be less willing to kill them in battle.  In order to avoid recurrences artillery barrages are ordered by both sides, not only keeping the infantry from fraternizing in No Man's Land but also emphasizing that the soldiers in the other trench are the enemy.

- The Ottoman 29th Division reaches the outskirts of Sarikamish this morning, its march being delayed from Bardiz owing to inaccurate maps.  The previous night had been particularly cold, and by today the division has lost half of its men to frostbite and exposure without having yet attacked the Russian lines.  Given the weakness of 29th Division, Enver decides to delay the assault on Sarikamish until tomorrow, when 17th Division and X Corps should arrive.

The Battle of Sarikamish, December 26th, 1914.

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