Saturday, March 28, 2015

March 28th, 1915

- In the first month of the German campaign of unrestricted submarine warfare, twenty-five merchant ships have been sunk, sixteen of which had been torpedoed without warning.  These numbers, however, have to be placed in the context of the overall flow of merchant traffic - over the same month over four thousand vessels had sailed into and out of British ports.

Today a twenty-sixth vessel is sunk, the 5000-ton British cargo and passenger liner Falaba.  In the St. George's Channel off the Irish coast, it is halted by U-28, and its captain is given ten minutes to abandon ship.  During this period, extended on request to twenty-three minutes, Falaba's wireless continued to broadcast signals requesting assistance.  When an armed British trawler appears, U-28 puts a torpedo into Falaba, which rapidly sinks.  One hundred and four lives are lost, including an American passenger, who becomes the first American citizen to die at sea as the result of the attack of a German submarine.  The response of the American government is to ask the German ambassador for clarification regarding details of the sinking; a muted reaction reflecting that only a single American life was lost.  The Germans, however, can hardly count on such forbearance in the future.

- The situation of the Austro-Hungarian 2nd Army continues to deteriorate in the Carpathians, as on its left wing 32nd and 13th Landwehr Division are forced to retreat when the Russians seize the Manilow Heights.

- Today the Russian Black Sea Squadron, consisting of five pre-dreadnoughts, two cruisers, and ten destroyers, appears off the mouth of the Bosphorus and ineffectively bombards the Ottoman forts guarding the strait.  The attack is little more than a token gesture, and naturally comes too late for the British and French on the other side of the Dardanelles, who have already decided to abandon a purely naval operation in favour of a combined assault.

- After a visit to the Sheikh of Leet, First Officer Mücke has been able to collect ninety camels for his party, and this evening depart Leet for Djidda.  The camels are used mainly to carry supplies, especially water, given the desert through which they will travel.

Emden's landing party moving through the Arabian desert.

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