Friday, August 07, 2015

August 7th, 1915

- Realizing that efforts to dissuade the French from insisting that the British Expeditionary Force attack south of La Bassée Canal are futile, Field Marshal Sir John French is now willing to accept a British attack in the sector desired by the French.  The commander of the BEF, however, is still unwilling to order an assault on the scale desired by the French; in his instructions to General Haig of 1st Army, Sir John French informs his subordinate that 'the attack of the First Army is to be made chiefly with artillery, and a large force of infantry is not to be launched to the attack of objectives which are so strongly held as to be liable to result in the sacrifice of many lives.'

- Though from April 1st to June 18th the Royal Flying Corps dropped 4062 bombs on enemy targets on the Western Front during 483 operations, dissatisfaction is expressed at what is perceived to be inadequate results at a meeting of British and French aviation representatives today.  Numerous obstacles remain to more effective aerial bombing, including the heavy maintenance needs of existing aircraft, high casualties among aircrew, and continuing suspicion of the value of airpower by the army (artillery battery commanders, for example, still have a tendency to ignore air reports of potential targets or damage inflicted that do not correspond to what they think should be/is happening).  In an effort to address the shortcoming, RFC headquarters has instructed its squadrons to only strike targets in the immediate vicinity of the front lines, where it is easier to confirm potential targets and damage inflicted.

- In southern Poland several divisions of the Austro-Hungarian 4th Army break through the Russian line west of Lubartow, and the town itself is captured early this afternoon.  By evening lead elements of the Austro-Hungarian XVII Corps have advanced fifteen kilometres through a twenty kilometre gap in the Russian front.  On paper the advance looks quite impressive; in practice, it is less so.  As the Russians pull back from central Poland, their forces in southern Poland will peal back west to east to keep in line with the general retreat.  Thus the enemy in front of 4th Army, western-most of Mackensen's army, is precisely those most willing to give ground, in contrast to those to the east who need to hold off the Germans to allow time for the withdrawal from central Poland.  The Austro-Hungarians are thus pushing on an open door.

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