Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December 30th, 1914

- In Champagne a sudden German counterattack against the flank of the French II Corps captures three lines of trenches, inflicts heavy casualties on the defenders, and threatens to disrupt the ongoing French offensive.

- With the Ottoman assault on Sarikamish having stalled, General Yudenich, Chief of Staff of the Russian Caucasus Army, senses an opportunity to deliver a devastating counterattack.  The Ottoman IX and X Corps at Sarikamish are dependent on a single line of communication back to Ottoman territory running through Bardiz, and Yudenich concludes that if the bulk of I Caucasian and II Turkestan Corps can hold the line against the Ottoman XI Corps, IX and X Corps can be encircled and annihilated.  To this end, he has ordered two regiments from II Turkestan Corps at Yeniköy to move north towards Bardiz, and today they are able to bring the town under artillery fire.

The Battle of Sarikamish, December 30th, 1914.

- Though the Ottoman effort to capture Sarikamish has stalled, the turn in fortunes is not immediately apparent to the Russian army leadership.  Faced with the prospect of potential defeat in the Caucasus, two important decisions are taken.  First, all Russian forces in Tabriz and northern Persia are ordered to withdraw northwards - now is no time for quasi-colonial adventures if the Turks are advancing into Russia.  Second, Grand Duke Nicholas has a conversation with the British military attache at his headquarters.  He remarks on the implications of a defeat at Sarikamish, and inquires whether the British would be able to mount an expedition against the Ottoman Empire in order to force them to withdraw forces from the Caucasus.  The British attache writes up a report of the request, which is dispatched to London.  The second link in the chain leading to the end of the British Liberal government is forged.

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