Wednesday, October 21, 2015

October 21st, 1915

- Despite the failure of the attack by the Guards Division on the 17th, General Haig of the British 1st Army remains confident that a more methodical approach will secure the ground on the northern flank of the Loos salient he deems essential to establish a good defensive position for his forces over the winter.  Among the tactics Haig implements is the digging of approach trenches as close to the German lines as possible, to minimize the time needed for the attacking infantry to cross No Man's Land.  This work cannot be rushed, however, and Haig does not believe his army will be ready to attack until November 7th.  Today Field Marshal French gives his approval to the proposed local attacks.

- Over the past week the remainder of the French 156th Division has arrived at the Strumica rail station, and in cooperation with Serb forces has repulsed an attack by elements of the Bulgarian 2nd Army.

- This morning the 3rd Battle of the Isonzo opens on the Italian Front as infantry assaults are undertaken by the Italian 2nd and 3rd Armies.  Given the lack of both surprise and sufficient munitions, to say nothing of the terrain, the Italian attacks get nowhere.  North of Plava the Italian 27th Division attempts to cross the Isonzo River at Loga and Ajba before dawn, hoping to catch the enemy by surprise.  The intention of the attackers had long since been betrayed by the noise of their assembly, and the crossing runs into a hail of fire and is shattered.  A second attempt after dusk makes use of a more substantial preliminary bombardment, but is no more successful.  South of Görz, 3rd Army assaults the Karst plateau at 10am.  Only along small sections of the front do Italian infantry manage to even reach the first enemy trench line, and these successes are soon erased by fierce Austro-Hungarian counterattacks.  Only on a two hundred yard stretch of the Austro-Hungarian line north of Mt dei sei Busi are the Italian attackers able to hold captured ground against enemy counterattacks.  By nightfall hundreds of Italian dead lay before Austro-Hungarian positions on Mt S Michelle.  After dark the Italian VII Corps attacks up the slope of Heights #121 east of Monfalcone, and after four failed attempts the fifth managed to reach the enemy trenches just before midnight.

The 3rd Battle of the Isonzo, Oct. 19th to Nov. 4th, 1915.

- Today British and French warships bombard the port of Dedeagach and other points on the Aegean coast of Bulgaria.

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