Wednesday, July 01, 2015

July 1st, 1915

- Foch responds today to Joffre's inquiry regarding the next major offensive operation to be undertaken by the French army, and the commander of Army Group North calls for another operation in Artois aimed at Vimy Ridge, the seizure of which Foch believes would force the Germans to evacuate the Noyon salient.  In contrast, he argues that no comparable success in Champagne could force a similar German withdrawal.  To support another offensive directed at Vimy Ridge, Foch suggests major attacks by the French 2nd Army south of Arras and by the British to the north.

- In southern Poland the Austro-Hungarian 4th Army closes up to the lines of the Russian 3rd Army along the Wyznica and Por River by this evening.   Efforts of VIII and X Corps to cross the former are thwarted by heavy Russian fire from the northern bank, while three companies of X Corps that had occupied Kraśnik during the day were forced to withdraw by nightfall under pressure from larger Russian forces.  Despite the Russian resistance encountered today, the commander of 4th Army believes the Russians opposite are still retreating, and orders the entire army to attack tomorrow.

- In German South-West Africa two South African mounted brigades, numbering about 3500 men, approach Otavi today.  Opposite them are about a thousand German soldiers, but because of fears of a South African enveloping maneouver they have been deployed in depth, leaving the hills protecting Otavi and Otavifontein only thinly held.  Botha pushes his South Africans forward on the left, and the thin German line is quickly forced back.  By early afternoon the Germans are withdrawing to the northeast towards Gaub, and the speed at which the German defensive position collapsed is reflected in German casualties numbering only thirty-one.  If the Germans had held the line at Otavi for just two days, the South Africans would have been forced to retreat due to a lack of water.  Instead, the ease of the South African success suggests that morale among the German Schutztruppe has collapsed.

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