Monday, June 22, 2015

June 22nd, 1915

- The French Council of Ministers meets today in Paris amidst widespread shock and dismay at the failed offensive in Artois.  For the first time in the war, Joffre comes in for sustained criticism, not only for raising expectations for the operation and subsequently not delivering, but also because the French failure stands in stark contrast to the dramatic German victory in Galicia, where they have advanced a hundred kilometres.  No longer are French politicians willing to automatically defer to the 'wisdom' of the generals.

- As elsewhere on the Western Front, French forces have been undertaking diversionary attacks in Lorraine and Alsace, in support of the main offensive in Artois.  In one attack launched today, the Army Detachment of Lorraine advances two kilometres along an eight kilometre stretch of the line, while in Alsace an advance by 7th Army forces the Germans to abandon the west bank of the Fecht River and the high ground at Metzeral.  While successful, these attacks are of no greater strategic significance; indeed, over the past month the Germans have moved several brigades from this sector to reinforce 6th Army in Artois.  Further, the French have suffered heavier losses; 7th Army has lost 6500 in its attacks, while German casualties number just over 3500.

- Overnight Russian forces evacuated the heights west of Zolkiew and abandoned the town in their retreat to the east, with the German XLI Reserve Corps and the Austro-Hungarian VI Corps in close pursuit.  With the defensive line north of Lemberg turned, General Brusilov of 8th Army orders the evacuation of Lemberg this morning, and hours later Austro-Hungarian cavalry sweep through the city.  Its liberation is an important victory for the Dual Monarchy, and in honour of the triumph Conrad is promoted to full general.  However, yet again an Austro-Hungarian achievement has only been accomplished due to the actions of the German army; Mackensen for his part is promoted to Field Marshal.

With Lemberg lost, General Ivanov of South-West Front orders 3rd and 4th Armies to retreat northwards to a line Lublin-Cholm-Vladimir Volynsky, in order to cover the roads leading to Brest-Litovsk.  8th and 11th Armies, meanwhile, are to fall back to the east and northeast towards the pre-war border and prepare new defences.

The Eastern Front after the fall of Lemberg, June 22nd, 1915.

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