Wednesday, July 22, 2015

July 22nd, 1915

- Since the beginning of the war, Joffre has dismissed 138 generals whom he feels have not performed up to his expectations, and today General Maurice Sarrail of 3rd Army becomes yet another 'casualty,' and is replaced by General Georges Humbert.  Over the past six weeks German forces opposite 3rd Army have been able to launch successful small-scale assaults in the Argonne, and Joffre has concluded that Sarrail has 'yielded the initiative to the enemy.'

- In receipt of Conrad's memorandum of yesterday, Falkenhayn replies today that he is in complete agreement regarding overtures to Russia regarding a separate peace, and has forwarded the memorandum to Bethmann-Hollweg.  Unlike Hindenburg and Ludendorff, the German chief of staff has long believed that a truly decisive victory over Russia is impossible, given the vast expanse of the country.  Instead, convincing Russia to exit the war is the most reasonable and realistic course of action, in order that German forces can be redeployed to the Western Front to battle Germany's most irreconcilable foes.

- In southern Poland, General Mackensen issues orders today for his 11th Army to hold in its present positions, to give time to resupply and recuperate, as well as reorganize formations that had become mixed together in the advance since the breakthrough at Krasnostaw.  However, Mackensen allows the Army of the Bug and the Austro-Hungarian 4th Army to continue their attacks, as their advance has been slower than 11th Army in the centre.

- On the Russian side, the advance of the German force under General Gallwitz to the Narew River, coupled with the seemingly unstoppable momentum of General Mackensen's army group, convinces General Alexeiev that the time has come to commence the evacuation of Russian Poland.  The Russian 12th, 1st, and 2nd Armies, covering the front north and west of Warsaw, are instructed to fall back, effectively pivoting on the fortress of Osowiec in the north until they reach a line running from Lomza to northeast of Ivangorod.  In southern Poland, 4th, 3rd, and 13th Armies will retreat north of Lublin and Cholm to a line stretching through Opalin and Kowel towards Ivangorod in the west.  This withdrawal, however, is to be gradual rather than precipitate, in order to slow the enemy advance without risking destruction.  Of the major forts in the area to be abandoned only Novogeorgievsk is to be held indefinitely.

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