Thursday, October 15, 2015

October 15th, 1915

- Field Marshal Sir John French learns that Joffre has called off the French offensives in Artois and Champagne, which invalidates the strategic premise of the British offensive at Loos.  This, in conjunction with the failure of the attack of the 13th to secure significant gains, compels the commander of the BEF to call off the offensive in Flanders.  Henceforth, the British 1st Army will limit itself strictly to those operations essential to seize ground to protect itself from German counterattacks against the ground captured on the 13th.

Since September 25th the British 1st Army has suffered approximately 50 000 casualties, including almost 16 000 dead, while pushing forward between 800 and 2500 yards on a 6000 yard stretch of the German line north and south of the village of Loos.  As with the French in Champagne, most of this ground was seized in the first hours of the attack on the morning of the 25th, and again in common with the French the British proved unable to sustain the initial momentum and subsequent attacks proved increasingly futile.  In the case of Loos, the failures from the afternoon of the 25th onward have been ascribed by Haig and his supporters as primarily the responsibility of Field Marshal's French's mishandling of the reserves, a dispute that continues to fester in the upper ranks of the British army.  The battle has also proven to be a bitter introduction to the divisions of Kitchener's 'New Armies' to combat on the Western Front, the attack of 21st and 24th Divisions, though driven home with great courage, was an abysmal failure, gaining no ground at the cost of several thousand casualties.  They will not be the only divisions of the 'New Armies' to have such a deadly debut on the Western Front.

- With Bulgaria's entry into the war on the side of Germany with its invasion of Serbia, Great Britain and Montenegro formally declare war on Bulgaria today.

- Today Austen Chamberlain, Secretary of State for India, informs Lord Hardinge, Viceroy of India, that the Cabinet is discussing the withdrawal of the two divisions of Indian Expeditionary Force A from France and dispatching them to Mesopotamia.  This redeployment has two purposes: (1) to facilitate the capture of Baghdad; and (2) to secure the region if an Entente withdrawal from the Dardanelles allows the Ottomans to redeploy divisions there to Mesopotamia.

No comments:

Post a Comment