Sunday, June 21, 2015

June 21st, 1915

- With French pressure slackening in Artois, Falkenhayn concludes that 6th Army has broken the enemy offensive.  Given that holding the line in Artois has required the deployment of all of OHL's reserves on the Western Front, Falkenhayn today orders that VIII Corps and three divisions prepare to withdraw from the front; after rest and reinforcement, they are to become the new OHL reserve in case the Entente attacks elsewhere on the Western Front.

- The 2nd Austro-Hungarian Army attacks the Russian defensive positions at Lemberg today, but are unable to make more than incremental gains.  To the north, the Beskid Corps and XLI Reserve Corps (the latter of the German 11th Army) attack the Russian line on the high ground west of Zolkiew, and after dark the Russians abandon their positions and retreat through Zolkiew to the east.

- After defeat in the 3rd Battle of Krithia, the British and French forces clinging to Cape Helles on Gallipoli have foresworn major operations, at least until furhter reinforcements arrive.  Nevertheless, the Entente commanders believe that pressure must be maintained on the Ottoman lines to prevent them from further fortifying their positions and keep enemy forces tied down.  To accomplish this, it has been decided to undertake small-scale assaults in which the infantry would seize a small chunk of the line, and then concentrated artillery fire would hold off Ottoman counterattacks.  The first operation is launched today by the French on the eastern end of the line, advancing along a 650-yard stretch of the front. It has been preceded by a massive artillery bombardment, over thirty thousand shells being expended over several days.  At 6am the French 176th and 6th Colonial Regiments attack, and the former is able to not only seize the strong Ottoman defensive position known as the Haricot redoubt but also hold it against determined counterattacks.  Though the French suffer 2500 casualties, the Ottomans have lost 6000 men, and thought there has been nothing like a breakthrough, the attack is a clear, if minor, success.

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