Thursday, January 22, 2015

January 22nd, 1915

- After the German advance towards Le Four de Paris in the Argonne on the 11th, today elements of 34th Division expand the German salient by seizing ground to the northwest of the town.

- The struggle for the summit of Hartmannswillerkopf in the Vosges comes to a close.  Following two days of heavy artillery bombardment and repeated German attacks, the French infantry holding the mountain have been reduced to almost nothing.  The last surviving French infantry, numbering about forty, strap on their skis today and set off down the slopes in an attempt to break out of the German encirclement.  The effort fails, however, as the French are wiped out to a man by small-arms fire.  The Germans now begin to fortify the summit in the expectation of French counterattacks to regain Hartmannswillerkopf.

- Today Conrad issues final orders to the Austro-Hungarian Army for the offensive to be undertaken in the Carpathian Mountains.  This operation is one of the two planned for the Eastern Front, the other being the German offensive out of East Prussia.  The main burden of the attack, with the recapture of the Uszok Pass as a core objective, is to fall on 3rd Army, the east wing especially, and Südarmee, the latter comprised of both German and Austro-Hungarian units.  As these two armies advance through Zmigrod and Dukla they will be joined progressively by the corps of 4th Army to the west, and ultimately push the Germans out of the Carpathians and relieve the beleagured fortress of Przemysl.

The preparation of 3rd Army for the operation has been limited by the poor weather and scarcity of rail lines running up to the front.  This has reduced the amount of reinforcements sent to 3rd Army, leaving the responsibility for the attack primarily on formations already exhausted after months of fighting in the brutal terrain and climate of the Carpathians.

The Austro-Hungarian plan for the January offensive in the Carpathians.

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