Sunday, October 11, 2015

October 11th, 1915

- Overnight the British 2nd Battalion of the Grenadier Guards assault a German trench south of the Hohenzollern Redoubt known as the Loop, and after successfully capturing the position repulse a determined German counterattack.  Subsequently the battalion endured heavy German shell fire, one of which killed the commander of 1/Grenadier Guards.  Command of the latter is temporarily assumed by Major Harold Alexander of 2nd Battalion, who will rise to the rank of Field Marshal in the next great war and retire with an earldom.

- At 2pm French artillery fire in Artois intensifies prior to the infantry advance scheduled for 415pm.  Poor visibility, however, prevents accurate targeting of German positions while providing ample warning of the impending attack - by 4pm, the German IV, Guard, and Bavarian I Corps opposite the French lines report that their trenches are about to be assaulted.  When the French infantry go over the top, the Germans opposite fire flares into the air, the signal to their artillery batteries in the rear to shell No Man's Land.  The soldiers of the French XXI, XXXIII, and XII Corps suffer heavy casualties, and only between Givenchy and a point known as the Five Crossroads south of Giesler Hill do the French gain any ground whatsoever, and even here there is no possibility of a breakthrough.  After four hours General d'Urbal orders the attacks to cease, though he intends to resume the offensive once his infantry has had a chance to rest and when the Germans are less vigilant.

- South of Belgrade a planned attack by the German XXII Reserve Corps and Austro-Hungarian VIII Corps is postponed due to delays in getting heavy artillery across the Save and Danube Rivers and into position to provide supporting fire.  In Belgrade itself, Mackensen and Seeckt make a public visit to General Kövess of the Austro-Hungarian 3rd Army to offer congratulations on the capture of the city.  The visit is typical of Mackensen's management of coalition warfare - he suppressese his annoyance at the dual communiques yesterday and makes a public show of amity with his Austro-Hungarian allies.  To the east, 168th Regiment captures the medieval Ottoman fortress at Semendria, while the rest of the German III Corps crosses the swollen Jezava River and fight their way into the nearby town of the same name as well as Lipe.

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