Tuesday, December 02, 2014

December 2nd, 1914

- Falkenhayn, Hindenburg, and Ludendorff meet at Breslau today with Conrad and other military officials from both countries, with the Kaiser also in attendance.  In discussing future operations on the Eastern Front, Falkenhayn informs Conrad that the Germans aim to push the Russians over the Vistula and San Rivers, with the principal role being played by the German 9th Army, for which reinforcements are still arriving.  The German Chief of Staff expects the Austro-Hungarians to pin down Russian forces opposite their lines to prevent them from redeploying northwards to meet the main German thrust.  Falkenhayn also states categorically that no further reinforcements will come from the Western Front.

This news is disappointing to Conrad, who hoped for more significant German redeployments to the East, specifically to aid the Austro-Hungarians.  While not arguing with the overall premise of German strategy, Conrad does inform his German counterparts that his armies are about to undertake their own offensive actions south of the Vistula River.

- Southeast of Krakow, three Austro-Hungarian cavalry divisions under General Julius Nagy begin their advance today.  Situated on the right of XIV Corps, they are to cover the southern flank of 4th Army as it advances to meet the Russian 3rd Army.  One division heads towards Neusandez, a key town through which the Russian 8th Army can most easily send reinforcements to the Russian 3rd Army once the main battle begins.

- In the early hours of this morning, elements of the Austro-Hungarian 5th Army occupy Belgrade, encountering no opposition from the Serbian army.  The news of the capture of the Serbian capital is greeted with widespread celebrations in Vienna, and is applauded by its German ally.

There are storm clouds on the horizon, however.  For the past several days, soldiers of the Serbian 1st Army have been able to rest while being resupplied, and their morale has recovered from the November retreat.  Fresh shipments of artillery shells have also reached 1st Army's artillery batteries.  The commander of 1st Army orders a counterattack for tomorrow, and inspires General Putnik to instruct the entire Serbian army to go over onto the offensive.

- In South Africa, Christian De Wet's commando, one of the leading forces in the Boer Rebellion, has been decimated by desertion over the past few weeks since its defeat at Mushroom Valley, many being enticed by a promise of a government pardon.  Today its disintegration is completed when De Wet himself is captured by government soldiers.  At the same time, another of the rebel leaders, J. C. G. Kemp, and five hundred Boer rebels join forces with S. G. Maritz's force just inside the frontier of German South-West Africa, where the latter retreated after its defeat at Kakamas on October 24th.

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