Tuesday, September 15, 2015

September 15th, 1915

- On the Western Front the autumn French offensive, originally scheduled for September 8th, has been postponed to the 25th to allow more time to constitute the new 2nd Army under General Pétain on the Champagne front.  Joffre had originally intended for the attack in Artois to be undertaken first, but with the delay, and in accordance with a report by Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Gamelin, head of the Operations Bureau, the French commander-in-chief has decided that the main operation in Champagne and the secondary operation in Artois will be undertaken simultaneously.  Joffre also remains confident in the outcome of the offensive, writing to his army-group commanders today: 'The Germans have only a very few reserves behind their thin line of entrenchments.  The simultaneity of the attacks, their strength, their width, will prevent the enemy from massing his infantry and artillery reserves on a point as he was able to do north of Arras [in the Spring during the 2nd Battle of Artois].'

- The attack of the Russian XXXIX Corps along the Stubiel River on the 13th had been the first phase of Brusilov's offensive, and while its advance had been contained it has succeeded in drawing in the reserves of the Austro-Hungarian 4th Army.  The newly-arrived Russian XXX Corps, meanwhile, has moved north of the Horyn River, and launches the second phase of Brusilov's plan when it descends on the Austro-Hungarian 62nd Division near Derazno this morning.  The Russian 80th Division pushes its swamp through swamp into the gap between 62nd Division and the Austro-Hungarian 4th Cavalry Division to the north.  Despite fierce counterattacks the Russians hold, and by nightfall 62nd Division is forced to fall back to the southwest.  As a result, the Austro-Hungarian X Corps is ordered to pull back to a new defensive line along the Klewan-Karpilowka road, while the cavalry corps under General Otto Berndt to the north also pulls back to remain in touch.  The commander of the Austro-Hungarian 4th Army hopes that X Corps, in its new positions, will be able to hold the army's northern flank and avoid further withdrawals.

The counteroffensive of the Russian 8th Army, Sept. 15th to 18th, 1915.

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