Tuesday, October 20, 2015

October 20th, 1915

- At OHL Falkenhayn has been observing the progress of the Serbian campaign with apprehension, as he views the progress to date, especially over the past week as the Kossava raged, as insufficient to secure the desired rapid victory.  The German chief of staff decides today to commit the German Alpine Corps, currently in the Tyrol, to the Serbian campaign, and decides to visit Mackensen's headquarters in three days' time.

- Four days ago, the British government offered to cede the island of Cyprus, acquired from the Ottoman Empire in the 19th-century, to Greece in exchange for Greek entry into the war on the side of the Entente.  The inducement is not sufficient to move King Constantine off of his policy of neutrality, and today the Greek government declines the British offer.

- In southern Serbia, Bulgarian forces attack and capture Veleš on the Salonika-Skopje railway forty kilometres north of Krivolak.  The Serbs appeal to General Sarrail to advance further north to maintain the line of communications with Skopje, but he refuses to move beyond Krivolak.  Between Krivolak and the Strumica rail station, he has already committed most of the forces at his disposal - the last elements of the French 57th Division are still disembarking at Salonika even as its lead elements are arriving at Krivolak today, and a third French division is still en route to the port.  Moreover, French forces at the Strumica rail station continue to engage Bulgarian forces, and defeat here would isolate the French forces moving to Krivolak, and reports from Krivolak itself indicate that the railway has already been cut just north of the town.

- As the Italian preliminary artillery bombardment continues, Italian prisoners captured by the Austro-Hungarians indicate that the anticipated infantry assault is to begin tomorrow morning.  Not only the timing but the location of the attack has been ascertained - the pattern of bombardment clearly shows that a major effort will be made against the Austro-Hungarian VII Corps south of Görz, and reserves of the adjacent III Corps are ordered to prepare to move north to aid their neighbour once the enemy attack begins.  Though outnumbered, the Austro-Hungarians are thoroughly prepared to meet the Italian offensive.

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