Friday, July 03, 2015

July 3rd, 1915

- This afternoon the centre of the Austro-Hungarian 4th Army launches a major attack in southern Poland, with IX and XIV Corps (the latter brought up from reserve) seizing a 14km stretch of the Russian trecnch line.  To the west 24th Division of X Corps seizes and holds Kraśnik.  Greater Russian resistance is encountered by the left and right wings of 4th Army, limiting gains to the centre.  To the east reports reach Mackensen of Russian reserves assembling along the eastern flank of the German 11th Army.  Given ongoing concern over the exposure of this flank, Mackensen issues orders to 11th Army as well as 4th Army to halt further attacks until the Austro-Hungarian 1st Army arrives northeast of Lemberg to hold the flank.

- In German South-West Africa the colonial governor Theodor Seitz and the military commander Colonel Victor Franke meet today to discuss the defence of the colony.  The remaining German forces have been pushed into the northeast of the colony and are increasingly under-supplied, the South African advance will shortly push the Germans off of the last remaining rail line under German control.  Moreover, the rapid defeat at Otavi on the 1st shows that morale among the askaris has collapsed.  Seitz insists that resistance should continue to maintain a German claim to the colony, and suggested the defenders scatter into the jungle.  Franke, however, is more realistic.  He understands that further resistance will result in additional casualties without materially effecting the outcome of the campaign, and that the fate of South-West Africa will ultimately hinge on the war in Europe: if Germany wins, the colony may be restored, whereas if Germany loses, holding out longer will make no difference.  Franke is able to impose his views on his civilian counterpart, and a message is sent to Louis Botha today asks for terms.

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