Saturday, June 27, 2015

June 27th, 1915

- With the end of the 2nd Battle of Artois, Joffre has already begun to turn his attention towards the next major French offensive, in which he aims to take advantage of the German redeployment of forces to the Eastern Front to 'rupture' their defences and force the enemy to fight in the open.  Soliciting the opinions of his key subordinates, Joffre asks Foch today for his comments on a possible offensive undertaken by his Northern Army Group with thirty-five divisions and five hundred artillery pieces.  Similarly, the French commander-in-chief asks Castlenau for an assessment of an attack by thirty divisions and three to four hundred artillery in the sector of his Central Army Group.  Given his reputation as a rising star and the success of his corps on the first day of the most recent offensive in Artois, Joffre also asks Pétain for his views regarding the suggestion made to Foch.

- Overnight the Russian forces opposite the left wing of the German 11th Army withdraw to a new defensive line running through Ruda Rozaniecka and Plazow, but this evening the Austro-Hungarian 11th Division, on 11th Army's western flank, seizes the latter village this evening.

- After the capture of Amara on the Tigris River earlier this month, the Indian corps in lower Mesopotamia has turned its attention to the Euphrates, as 12th Indian Division has been ordered to advance upriver and seize Nasiriyeh.  Hammar Lake, en route to Nasiriyeh, is notoriously shallow, and to traverse it has required the assembly of a curious flotilla of shallow-draught stern-wheelers and tugs, and in a neat bit of imperial symmetry the former had been originally constructed in 1884 for service on the Nile with the Gordon relief expedition.  After numerous groundings the vessels reach the western exit of the lake at Akaika today, only to find it blocked by a barrier of vessels sunk by the Ottomans.  The expedition halts as dynamite is brought up from Basra to blast their way through.

The British advance towards Nasiriyeh, June and July, 1915.

- In German South-West Africa, the main German force falls back along the railway to the northeast to Otavi today, fearing that otherwise the South Africans will outflank them.  Here the Germans intend to make a stand, forcing the enemy to fight their way through and hopefully buying time to erect further defensive positions to the rear.

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