Tuesday, September 01, 2015

September 1st, 1915

- Kitchener issues orders today for the Indian Corps in France to remain part of the British Expeditionary Force through the next winter.  Though concerns have been expressed in some quarters regarding the ability of the Indian soldier to cope with the cold and miserable conditions of a Flemish winter, Kitchener understands that the Indian Corps have shown themselves capable of operating under such conditions just as well as the British divisions they fight alongside. There were also worries about the losses suffered by the Indian Corps since its arrival in France in October 1914 could be adequately replaced, but since the summer a steady stream of recruits had replenished the Meerut and Lahore Divisions.  Of the three thousand replacements who arrived in July, General James Willcocks, the commander of the Indian Corps, wrote that they were 'very good . . . some of them quite exceptionally so, and I feel years younger now as I see these fine fellows joining the ranks.'

- Upon the instructions of Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg, the German ambassador to the United States delivers a note containing what becomes known as the Arabic Pledge to Secretary of State Robert Lansing.  Based on the decision of the conference at Pless on August 26th in response to the sinking of Arabic, the Germans pledge that no passenger ship of any nationality will be attacked without warning, and that adequate provisions will be made for the survival of passengers and crew.

- Joffre remains under pressure from government ministers to dispatch several divisions from the Western Front to the Near East, and seizes on a staff study suggesting that the operations proposed by General Sarrail would require eight divisions.  He writes today that such a substantial reduction in French strength on the Western Front would have 'disastrous consequences.'  Moreover, he questions the entire premise of undertaking operations to relieve the British position on Gallipoli:
It is the British who have led us to the Dardanelles.  In reality halting the offensive will be a British defeat.  Tomorrow, if we send reinforcements and assume command, we will find ourselves, in case of failure, facing a French disaster.
- For several days the Austro-Hungarian 2nd and 7th Armies, as well as Südarmee, have launched assault after assault on the Russian lines along the Strypa River.  Though in places they have managed to win some ground, it has come at great cost - the Austro-Hungarian Corps, for instance, has lost over five thousand men in just two days of fighting.  Today the Russian 11th and 9th Armies pull back from their lines along the Strypa River, though this is not due to any defeat they have suffered but rather due to the threat of envelopment from the north due to the advance of the north wing of the Austro-Hungarian 4th Army through Lutsk.  Brussilov's 8th Army, meanwhile, takes up its new defensive line today along the Putilowka, covering Rovno, and south to the hills west of Dubno.

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