Monday, January 12, 2015

January 12th, 1915

- Admiral Carden submits his plan for the attack on the Dardanelles this morning.  He suggests a slow and methodical approach, knocking out the Ottoman forts one-by-one while minesweepers clears the Straits, in order to minimize losses.  He estimates the operation will take one month, and should be undertaken by a force of twelve pre-dreadnoughts, three battlecruisers (to deal with Goeben), three light cruisers, sixteen destroyers, six submarines and twelve minesweepers.

Carden's plan is discussed at the Admiralty by Churchill and his senior admirals, including the First Sea Lord.  No one objects to Churchill's strong endorsement of the proposal, and crucially Fisher suggests adding to the force the newly-commissioned dreadnought Queen Elizabeth.  It was scheduled to undertake gunnery training off Gibraltar in February, but if it is going to be lobbing 15-inch shells in practice, they might as well be aimed at Ottoman forts instead of the open sea.

- Falkenhayn travels to the headquarters of OberOst at Posen today, where he discusses the general situation on the Eastern Front with Hindenburg and also receives a briefing from Colonel Max Hoffman regarding ongoing planning for an offensive from East Prussia.  Falkenhayn, however, refuses to commit to deploying the four new reserve corps to the Eastern Front before his departure back to Berlin.

- At 11am this morning, the German counterattack north of Soissons is launched on the heights east of Crouy, home to vital French artillery observation posts.  The attack catches the French completely by surprise and the Germans capture the heights, resulting in a noticeable slackening of French artillery fire.  At noon, two regiments of 9th Infantry Brigade takes the trenches north and northwest of Crouy which, in combination with an attack of 7th Reserve Division to the west, undoes the French success achieved over the past few days.  This convinces General Lochow of III Corps to launch the previously-planned offensive tomorrow.

The Battle of Soissons, January 12th to 14th, 1915.

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