Friday, August 14, 2015

August 14th, 1915

- In Poland the army group under Prince Leopold is approaching the line of advance of Mackensen's 11th Army attacking from the south, so the former reorientates 9th Army and Woyrsch's command towards the northeast to fall in line with the northern flank of Mackensen's forces.  Though Prince Leopold believes his forces ware facing only Russian rear guards, the latter remain capable of frustrating hopes for a rapid advance: Russian defenders hold the town of Miedzyrzecze against heavy attacks by the Austro-Hungarian 16th and 37th Honved Divisions (the latter on the far left of the Austro-Hungarian 4th Army).  Similarly, the German 11th Army runs into a prepared Russian defensive line along the Slawatycze-Polubicze road, and is able to make only minor progress.

As the Russian salient in Poland is now almost completely flattened, Conrad's attention turns to future operations, and informs Falkenhayn today that he intends launch an offensive north of Vladimir-Volynsky in the direction of Kowel by forces drawn from 1st and 4th Armies.  His intention is to drive a wedge between the Russian North-West and South-West Fronts, and subsequently envelop the Russian 8th Army from the north while 2nd Army and Südarmee attack to the south.  The operation aims to clear the Russians from the last portion of Austro-Hungarian Galicia they still hold, and is a typically Conrad-style offensive, with its broad sweeping envelopments.  Quite understandably, Falkenhayn is skeptical of the ability of the Austro-Hungarian army to pull off such an ambitious operation 'without the aid of German troops in very difficult terrain.'  Still, Falkenhayn does not object to what is a secondary offensive, and notes 'even a partially successful operation would substantially boost the self-confidence and combat potential of our allies.'

- In British Kenya Governor Sir Charles Belfield has been ambivalent about the war, seeing the conflict as undermining the colonial administration - over half of his officials are now in the army - and distracting from civilian priorities.  However, the realization that German East Africa will not be easily subjugated has drawn the attention of the War Office, which has compelled the Colonial Office to accept the subordination of civilian administration to the military, and the latter instructs Belfield today that he is to cooperate with the army in eastern Africa.

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