Saturday, June 20, 2015

June 20th, 1915

- Another diversionary attack is launched today by the French army, this time against the northern flank of the St.-Mihiel salient, where repeated attacks by II and VI Corps manage to seize the first trench line held by the German 9th Division.  The French, however, are not the only ones capable of such secondary operations: today 9th Landwehr and 27th Württemberg Division attack on the western edge of the Argonne, and with the aid of flamethrowers seize a strech of the French line.

- With the German breakthrough of the Russian position at Horodysko and the subsequent advance to the Rawa Ruska-Lemberg road yesterday, General Brusilov of 8th Army realizes that the rest of the Russian line running south along the Wereszyca is now in danger of being outflanked from the north.  As a result, he issues orders this morning for 8th Army to fall back on Lemberg to the east, occupying the trenches protecting the city.  On the German side, General Mackensen directs the bulk of 11th Army to pivot to the north; while the advance eastward has lengthened the northern flank of 11th Army, it has also stretched the Russian 3rd Army opposite, and opened an opportunity to strike against the exposed flank of the Russian armies holding central Poland.  The Austro-Hungarian 2nd Army, meanwhile, was assigned responsibility for the recapture of Lemberg.

As the Russian corps south of Zotkiew pull back this morning, the southern wing of the German 11th Army and the Austro-Hungarian 2nd Army spend today in pursuit, and by evening IV, XIX, and XVIII Corps of the latter had closed up to the Russian defences at Lemberg.  To the north, while the German Guard Corps holds its position along the Rawa Ruska-Lemberg road, advance elements of XXII Reserve Corps enter Rawa Ruska itself.

- At the beginning of the month, the Russian government had appointed a special commission to supervise the supply of the war, mainly to head off criticism of their management of the war.  Reflective of the administrative chaos endemic within the Russian government, today that commission is replaced by a new council that does essentially the same thing, and has the authority to compel private industry to accept government orders for munitions.  The primary purpose of this new council, however, remains to counter political criticism; hence the inclusion among its membership the president and four other members of the Duma.

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