Friday, March 20, 2015

March 20th, 1915

- After giving his approval on the 11th for army Zeppelins to bombard London, the Kaiser has been typically plagued by second thoughts, and rescinded his order.  Deprived of their primary target, three Zeppelins instead bombard Paris today.

- The French 4th Army calls a halt today to major offensive operations, bringing an end to the 1st Battle of Champagne.  Over the past two months of fighting, 4th Army has suffered over 93 000 casualties, while advancing an average of one kilometre over a three kilometre stretch of the front.  On the other side, German casualties were only half those of the French.  Among the lessons the French take from the campaign, which Joffre deems to have been a success, is the vital importance of heavy artillery to smash the way through enemy defenses and the need for better offensive tactics.

- After painstaking preparations, today the Bavarian 8th Reserve Division recaptures the summit of Reichsackerkopf, west of Munster in the Vosges.

The front line in the Vosges, March 1915.

- With the last breakout attempt defeated and food stocks exhausted, the fate of the Przemsyl garrison has been sealed, and today Emperor Franz Joseph sends a validictory message to the fortress commander:
It saddens me greatly that the bold breakout attempt by the Przemysl garrison was shattered yesterday by the enemy's larger force.  Yet I gaze with a sad pride upon the incomparable self-sacrifice of the brave men whose efforts weren't crowned with success.  I wholeheartedly thank everyone who fought for their heroic deed.  I make the sign of the cross over every one of them who gave their lives on the field of honor.  Even in the distant future, history will record what Austria-Hungary's warriors achieved during the stubborn defense of Przemysl.  They were unflinching and brave until the end.

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