Saturday, September 05, 2015

September 5th, 1915

- For weeks the French army have been preparing for their fall offensive in Champagne, digging both new trenches behind the front to conceal the attacking forces as well as new trenches into No Man's Land to minimize the time the infantry must spend exposed before reaching the German trenches.  In addition, substantial additional forces have been assembled behind French lines as well as the massive supplies and munitions necessary for the offensive; indeed, an entirely new rail line has been constructed solely to bring supplies up to the front as efficiently as possible.  Given the scale of the preparations, it has naturally been impossible to hide them from the Germans.  Aerial reconnaissance has clearly indicated the assembly of French reserves, and in the chalk earth of the region new trenches are visible over large distances.  There have even been several French deserters, who have arrived in German lines reporting of an offensive planned for September.  In light of these signs, General Karl von Einem, commander of the German 3rd Army opposite the French buildup in Champagne, reports to OHL today that 'it is no longer possible but rather probable that a carefully and long-planned attack is imminent.'  Forewarned, the Germans naturally improve their own defensive positions even as the French prepare to attack them.

- An Ottoman convoy of three steamers, sailing from the Black Sea port of Zonguldak to the Bosphorus and escorted by the armoured cruiser Hamidieh and two torpedo boats, is intercepted today by the Russian destroyers Buistri and Pronziteini, and the resulting debacle reemphasizes the hopeless state of the Ottoman navy.  Not only do the two destroyers outduel Hamidieh, but the latter's main guns break down and is forced to drop out of the action, after which the Russian destroyers force the three steamers to run aground.  Afterwards, German officers with the Ottoman navy concede that the steamers carrying coal on the convoy route to the Bosphorus would be better off without Ottoman 'escorts'.

Though the battle reinforces the superiority of the Russian Black Sea Fleet over the Ottomans, another element is added to the balance when the German submarine UB-7 begins its first patrol in the Black Sea today.  The first deployment of a German Uboat north of Constantinople, Russian operations will henceforth need to be cognizant of the potential threat from beneath the waves.

No comments:

Post a Comment