Monday, July 06, 2015

July 6th, 1915

- Before the Entente conference at Chantilly scheduled for tomorrow, British and French political and military leaders meet at Calais today to discuss strategy.  Joffre calls for another major offensive on the Western Front, and advances two lines of thinking beyond the necessity of liberating occupied French territory.  First, the Entente needs to attack on the Western Front while the German defence has been relatively weakened due to troop transfers to the east.  If they wait instead, it would give the Germans, victorious in the east, the opportunity to shift forces back to the west and themselves go on the offensive.  Second, an attack is necessary to prevent even greater disasters on the Eastern Front should the Germans be able to send further reinforcements east.  Joffre calls on the British to send as many divisions as possible to France and participate in the forthcoming offensive.

Lord Kitchener, however, has his reservations.  He doubts whether a truly decisive victory is possible on the Western Front, as evidenced in his support of the Dardanelles operation.  Further, Kitchener is extremely hesitant to send the 'New Armies', composed of the hundreds of thousands of men who have volunteered since the outbreak of the war, into combat until they are fully trained and equipped.  These are the divisions that Joffre speaks of, and Kitchener is very reluctant to let him have them; the meeting concludes without a firm British commitment.

- In southern Poland the Austro-Hungarian VIII, X, and XVII Corps of 4th Army secure further small gains today.  Given that the fighting of the past week has exhausted the ammunition supply, however, 4th Army headquarters issues orders this evening to suspend offensive operations for two days.  The Austro-Hungarians envision that once the supply issue has been addressed, they will be able to resume the offensive on the 9th.

The Russians, however, have other plans, as the counterattack of yesterday was only the prelude to a much larger operation.  The Russian 3rd Army has concentrated the fresh troops of XXV and VI Siberian Corps on either side of the Bystrzyca River on the front line northeast of Kraśnik opposite the centre of the Austro-Hungarian 4th Army, and the attack is to begin in the predawn hours of tomorrow.

- North of the upper Isonzo three Alpini battalions of the Italian army attempt to advance near Mt. Krn, but are repulsed.  To the south, however, VI and X Corps make only half-hearted efforts to renew the attacks of yesterday.

- Having successfully passed the barrage at Akaika on June 29th, the Indian expedition up the Euphrates River reaches Suk-es-Shuyukh today, which they seize as a base of operations for the advance towards Nasiryeh.

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