Wednesday, May 06, 2015

May 6th, 1915

- As the campaign of unrestricted submarine warfare continues, Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg remains concerned at its impact on neutral opinion.  Recalling the torpedoing of the liner Falaba in March and the tanker Gulflight in April, he writes to the Chief of the Naval Staff today, demanding the safety of neutral merchant shipping.  Otherwise, 'the growing number of neutral ships falling victim to submarine warfare [may] drive the neutral powers into the camp of our enemies.'  He has no idea just how prescient he is: out in the Atlantic, the passenger liner Lusitania is approaching the Irish coast and destiny.

- In west Galicia, detachments from the Austro-Hungarian 8th Division, as well as several Landsturm brigades, occupy the badly-damaged city of Tarnow, already evacuated by the retreating Russian IX Corps.  Other elements of the Austro-Hungarian 4th Army reach the west bank of the Wisloka River this evening, but due to exhaustion a crossing is postponed until tomorrow.

To the south, the main advance of the German 11th Army continues apace; Guard Corps captures Jaslo, while XLI Reserve Corps, advancing towards Rymanow, reaches the town of Zrecyn.  X Corps, meanwhile, reorientates itself to face south at Dukla, attempting to capture those Russian forces still south of the pass.  Of the latter, XII Corps, after hard fighting with the Austro-Hungarian 3rd Army, is able to withdraw to the northeast.  The two divisions of the Russian XXIV Corps, however, endure a greater trial: 49th Division is badly decimated before it can reach safety south of Kosno, and 48th Division, commanded by General Lavr Kornilov, is repulsed by 11th Bavarian Division and falls back to Mszana, where it is attacked by the Austro-Hungarian 4th Landwehr Division, and begins to break up.  General Dimitriev, meanwhile, informs General Ivanov that a further retreat of his 3rd Army will almost certainly be necessary.

The German offensive at Gorlice-Tarnow, May 6th to 9th, 1915.

- Off Cephalonia on the Greek west coast the Austro-Hungarian light cruiser Novara, commanded by Captian Miklós Horthy is intercepted by French warships, but is able to use its superior speed to escape back into the Adriatic.  Novara had been towing the German submarine UB8 for deployment in the Aegean, and had cast off the submarine unseen by the French.  Now on its own, UB8 makes its way eastward.

- As soon as the first Entente push to Krithia had failed on April 28th, General Hamilton began planning for another attack, as without occupying Krithia and the high ground to the immediate north the Ottomans would remain in firm control of both Gallipoli and the Dardanelles.  Additional reinforcements have now arrived, with 125th Brigade of 42nd Division, having just landed yesterday, taking up position along the west coast.  In addition, 2nd Australian and the New Zealand Brigades, on loan from ANZAC, were deployed between 87th and 88th Brigades and the French to the east.

Despite the reinforcements, however, the attack is no more successful than the first attempt.  Again and again Entente infantry find their advance held up by well-concealed machine gun nests and the rugged terrain, and at no point are they able to advance more than four hundred metres or gain anything of significance.  Notwithstanding today's failure, Hamilton orders a resumption of the attack tomorrow morning.

- Just before noon today Emden's landing party arrives at El Ula, after a four days' journey from the coast.  After the bitter fight in the desert the caravan entrenched each night, but did not encounter any resistance.  On arrival in the village they are met with a warm reception, as they had been expected by the local Ottoman garrison.  In addition to delicacies of all kind from peaches to Rhenish wine, most importantly of all they find a steam train specially chartered to take them north.  After an abundant meal and the first bath in months, the men of the landing party board the train and begin the rail journey northwards at thirty kilometres an hour.

Emden's landing party arriving at El Ula, May 6th, 1915.

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