Monday, January 05, 2015

January 5th, 1915

- Joffre today formalizes the place of General Foch in the command structure of the French army when the latter is appointed to lead the Provisional Group of the North, with responsibility for French armies in northern France and Belgium.  Similarly, General Yvon Dubail, who had commanded 1st Army in the Battle of the Frontiers, now heads the Provisional Group of the East, covering the front in Alsace and Lorraine.  Joffre reserves for himself direct control over the armies in the centre of the line, consisting of 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th Armies.  The French Commander-in-Chief also specifics that Foch and Dubail are responsible for operations in their regions, but that he retains control over administration, personnel, and strategy, leaving Joffre still firmly in control of the French army.

- Bad weather has continued to plague the offensive of the French 10th Army in Artois, with almost no gains secured while suffering heavy casualties.  Today Joffre informs Foch that he intends to transfer fifteen battalions from 10th Army to the Vosges, which severely curtails the former's offensive capability.

- In the Argonne west of Verdun, the French undertake a heavy assault on the lines held by the German 33rd Division, but are repulsed.

- From the eastern Mediterranean Admiral Carden replies today to Churchill's message of the 3rd regarding an attack on the Dardanelles.  Carden states that while he does not believe that the straits can be rushed, it might be possible to force a large British squadron through after a prolonged operation.  Churchill naturally focuses on the 'possible' and ignores the Admiral's reservations.

The French government, while also open to an operation against the Dardanelles, is also suspicious of British motives.  As the minster of war writes the minister of foreign affairs today, it is essential that the British do not land in Asia Minor by themselves.  Instead, a French presence is necessary to ensure that ongoing French interests in the region are protected.

- In fighting near the Rawa River the German 9th Army wins an unexpected victory over the Russians.  In order to be able to take advantage of any opportunity to exploit the success, Ludendorff informs Conrad that he is now only willing to transfer two and a half infantry and one cavalry division from 9th Army to support Austro-Hungarian operations in Galicia.

- In German Kamerun German forces attack the French Senegalese infantry defending Edea.  Though the determined assault is unsuccessful, it does accomplish its main objective - the British, fearing further German attacks, restrict themselves to the defensive perimeter around Duala, thus posing no risk to the German-held interior.

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