Thursday, April 16, 2015

April 16th, 1915

- Today the Belgian army passes on to the French intelligence that a German unit in the Ypres salient having received special training in the use of gas.  Despite this report and that of the deserter of the 14th, the French army does not believe the Germans will launch an attack using chemical weapons, believing the deserter to have been a plant and that the Germans would not so brazenly violate the Hague Conventions outlawing the use of asphyxiating gases.

- Shortages of artillery shells are not the only problem plaguing the major combatants; artillery pieces themselves are often in short supply.  As of today, the French army has lost 805 more of the vital 75-mm cannon than have been produced.

- As preparations continue for the major offensive to be launched in the Gorlice-Tarnow region, Falkenhayn orders Hindenburg at OberOst to plan a series of diversionary attacks, to launched on the Eastern Front north of central Poland, designed to confuse the Russians as to German intentions and tie down Russian reserves.

- Today Count Burián, the Austro-Hungarian foreign minister, formally rejects the territorial demands made by Italy on the 10th, and states that the most the Dual Monarchy is willing to cede above its initial offer of South Tyrol is perhaps a portion of Trentino.  This 'concession' does not come close to meeting the terms required by Italy in exchange for continued neutrality.

- Simultaneously, Austro-Hungarian army headquarters instructs General Franz Rohr, commander of garrison units along the Italian border, to concentrate resistance along the Isonzo River should the Italians attempt to invade.  It is not the last time this river shall figure in the war . . .

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