Monday, August 10, 2015

August 10th, 1915

- With the new moon overnight, five Zeppelins attempt the first bombing raid on Britain since the restrictions on striking the City were lifted last month.  While L9 dropped bombs on the town of Goole in Yorkshire, mistaking it for the city of Hull, killing sixteen, the four others had intended on striking London.  All, however, lose their way - L13 turns back due to engine trouble, L10 bombs the island of Sheppey, mistaking it for the docks of east London, and L11 drops his payload in the waters off Lowestoft, its captain thinking they were over Harwich.  The captain of L12 is similarly confused, dropping his bombs on Dover thinking he too was over Harwich.  Only three incendiaries fall on land, injuring three, while L12 is struck by antiaircraft fire from a British 3-inch gun.  Two cells of the Zeppelin are ruptured and vent their gas, and the resulting loss of buoyancy causes Z12 to fall into the Channel at 340am.  The crew is rescued by a German torpedo-boat, which drags the wreck to Zeebrugge, arriving at noon.  In the spirit of the night's debacle, three British aircraft attempt to bomb the wreckage of L12 to prevent its salvage, but all miss while one of their number is shot down.

The Zeppelins L10, L11, and L13, as seen from L12, en route to bomb London.
The Zeppelin L12 after crash-landing in the Channel early on the morning of Aug. 10th, 1915.  The collapsed cells at the rear of the
Zeppelin were those struck by antiaircraft fire over Dover.

- Field Marshal Sir John French informs Joffre today of his decision that while the BEF will attack south of La Bassée Canal as the latter desires, it is to take the form of an artillery bombardment as opposed to an infantry assault.  To Joffre such an operation would still be insufficient to provide any significant assistance to the French offensive in Artois, and he asks the minister of war to apply pressure to Kitchener in an effort to convince the latter to overrule the commander of the BEF.

- As part of the redeployment of forces for the French autumn offensive, the stretch of the front held by 2nd Army in Artois has been taken over in part by the BEF and in part by 6th Army, and it has been transferred to Champagne, where it will comprise the right wing of the assault.  General Pétain is also to command 2nd Army, but to mask the French concentration in Champagne he was initially named the assistant to General Castlenau of the Army Group of the Centre, and today is appointed to command what is to be referred to as Pétain Group.

- On the Eastern Front, General Alexeiev orders a further withdrawal of the armies under his command, instructing 12th, 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 3rd Armies to pull back to a line running from Ossoviets in the north to Ciechanowiec on the Bug River, and henceforth southwards along the Bug.  Once the Russian armies have reached this line, the salient in central Poland will have almost ceased to exist.  For the time being, however, 3rd Army is to hold its current line in southern Poland to cover the flank of the retreating armies.

Meanwhile, the Russian evacuation of central Poland continues to open opportunities for the rapid advance of German and Austro-Hungarian forces, and the army group under Prince Leopold and the left wing of the Austro-Hungarian 4th Army make rapid progress today against minimal opposition.  Along the southern face of the salient, Mackensen had expected his 11th Army to launch its assault on the Russian line here today, but unexpected difficulties force him to postpone the advance until tomorrow; the Russians have flooded the valley of the Tysmienica River, necessitating the redeployment of divisions to pass on either side, and great difficulties have been encountered in bringing up sufficient artillery shells.  To the east, the Army of the Bug has ground its way forward, advancing several miles, but is unable to secure a breakthrough.

- Bulgarian Lieutenant-Colonel Petur Ganchev returns to Sofia today where he relays his discussions with Falkenhayn to Minister President Radoslavov.  It is clear to the latter that the Germany are prepared to meet Bulgaria's terms for entry to the war.  Moreover, the events of the past week - the fall of Warsaw and the failure of the British landing at Sulva Bay - provide further evidence that the Germans are winning the war, which appears to minimize the risk to Bulgaria of joining the war on the German side.  With Ferdinand's support, Radoslavov concludes that the time has come to move off the fence.

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