Sunday, June 28, 2015

June 28th, 1915

- Overnight the Russian forces north of the German 11th Army pull back again, allowing the Germans an uncontested advance that sees them reach their objectives for the day by noon.  The rapid march to the northwest, however, serves to further draw 11th Army away from the Austro-Hungarian 2nd Army on its southern flank, and the German 119th Division has to be sent into the line between the Beskid Corps and 11th Bavarian Division to avoid a dangerous gap opening.

- In the Balkans, the First World War is in many ways merely an extensive of conflicts between the various states and ethnic groups of the region stretching back decades.  Thus the focus of Serbia and its neighbouring ally Montenegro is not simply on defeating Austria-Hungary, but their attention is also directed towards the south.  The state of Albania had only come into existence in the aftermath of the Balkan Wars, and has become a failed state 'governed' by various tribal groups.  Already both Italy and Greece have taken advantage of the distraction of the Great Powers to occupy portions of Albania, and both Serbia and Montenegro are loath to the let what they perceive to be their rightful share slip away.  As a result, even as Russia is begging Serbia to attack Austria-Hungary, both Serbia and Montenegro this month have sent forces to secure a portion of northern Albania, the latter occupying Scutari today.  The Balkan states have no intention of allowing the greatest conflict in the history of mankind to distract them from settling scores with their neighbours.

- After the minor French success on the 21st, today it is the turn of the British on Cape Helles to launch a small-scale attack with overwhelming artillery concentration.  Their objective are trenches along Gully Spur and the adjacent Gully Ravine, and by the time the main attack is launched at 11am just over 16 000 shells, constituting almost half the entire British supply on Cape Helles, have been fired at the Ottoman lines.  When the infantry goes in, 29th Indian Brigade is able to make progress up the coastal side of Gully Spur while 1st Dublin Fusiliers fights its way up a portion of Gully Ravine.  As with the French attack of a week prior, the British operation is a success, though not one of sufficient scope to be of great significance to the wider campaign on Gallipoli.  By nightfall, the Ottomans begin launching what will be a series of mass counterattacks to retake the lost positions.

- In German Kamerun the Anglo-French column that had attempted to advance on Jaunde from the west, only to retreat in the face of German pressure and casualties, returns to Ngwe today.  The two Nigerian battalions of the column have lost half their strength, and the sickness of many of the survivors combined with the scarcity of supplies, combined with the imminent rainy season, rules out any resumption of the offensive in the near future.  To the British and French, therefore, it appears that their effort to seize the heart of the German defense in Kamerun has failed.  In practice, of course, the attack was aimed in the wrong direction; Ngaundere to the north, not Jaunde in the south, has been the focal point for the Germans.

Ironically, today a British column moving southward after the capture of Garua earlier this month occupies Ngaundere; without intending to, and without being aware of it, the Entente have actually won a significant success.  The Germans have been counting on the food and resources of the northern plateau of Kamerun to sustain their forces, and now that they have been deprived of the region the only alternative is to focus on the south and the trade link with the neutral Spanish colony of Muni.

- In German East Africa the force assembled in May under the retired major-general Kurt Wahle has crossed over the southwest frontier of the colony to enter British Rhodesia, and today attacks the post of Saisi, east-south-east of the town of Abercorn.  The defenders, consisting of Rhodesian police and Belgian soldiers, hold off the Germans, and the latter fall back.

The frontier between German East Africa and British Rhodesia.

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