Wednesday, February 11, 2015

February 11th, 1915

- In the Winter Battle of the Masurian Lakes the advance of the German 10th Army continues unabated.  A Russian corps, holding the northern flank of the Russian 10th Army and consisting of three second-line divisions, has disintegrated under the relentless German assaults.  The corps commander, who had been instructed that the defence of the fortress of Kovno is a priority, withdraws the remnants of his force in that direction, which also happens to remove them from the German line of advance to the southeast.  The German 10th Army is now in a position to advance to the Augustow Forest and thereby sweep around the rear of the rest of the Russian 10th Army.

The Russian leadership, meanwhile, still does not understand the nature of the German offensive; General Ruszkii of North-West Front believes the main German attack is being undertaken by the German 8th Army and is aimed towards Osowiec.  As such, he orders the still-assembling 12th Army to prepare a counter-offensive designed to hit the flank of the perceived main axis of the German advance.  For this attack to succeed, Ruszkii orders 10th Army to remain in its positions, to act as the anvil to 12th Army's hammer blow against the German 8th Army.  Such orders, of course, are the worst possible, given that it is 10th Army itself that is the target of the German offensive, and is in growing danger of being enveloped.

- Over the past few weeks several reports have reached the commander of Indian Expeditionary Force D of the potential for Arab unrest along the eastern frontier of Persia, inspired by the Ottoman call to jihad and German intrigues.  Today it is decided to dispatch a force to the city of Ahwaz on the Karun River and adjacent to the pipeline of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, whose preservation had ostensibly been a key motivation for the initial landing in lower Mesopotamia.  The force sent, however, is too small - thirty cavalry, two Indian battalions, thirty soldiers from the Dorsetshire Regiment, and a handful of guns - to be of any value in intimidating the Arab tribes or demonstrating British strength in the region.

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