Saturday, October 24, 2015

October 24th, 1915

- After a brief stop yesterday to confer with Conrad at Teschen, Falkenhayn arrives at Mackensen's headquarters at Temesvár at 945am.  After discussion it is decided that the German Alpine Corps will be assigned to the Austro-Hungarian 3rd Army to relieve part of the German XXII Reserve Corps, the latter not being well equipped for mountain warfare.  Mackensen and Seeckt also brief the German chief of staff on current operations, and afterwards dine with the Kaiser and his entourage.

At the front, the Austro-Hungarian 3rd and German 11th Armies have advanced relatively unimpeded over the past two days; other than rearguard actions, Serbian forces only put up a sustained defensive effort south of Požarevac, which had covered the main road in the Morava River valley.  Revised orders from Mackensen orders the inner wings of the two armies to seize Kragujevać as quickly as possible, hoping to break the Serbian line into several pockets that could be enveloped.  The weather, however, continues to impede operations; on average, it takes German artillery two hours to move one mile.

The Serbian 1st and 3rd Armies, meanwhile, have taken up defensive positions on high ground running approximately from Larazec through Arangelovac and south of Palanka to Petrovac, hoping to block access to the Morava and Mlava River valleys.

- On the northern wing of the Italian 2nd Army, 8th Division and Alpine Group A launch repeated attacks on Austro-Hungarian positions north of Tolmein, advancing up slopes soon covered in the dead and dying.  In the late afternoon, Italian infantry finally manage to break into the enemy trenches, only to be driven from them by counterattacks by the Austro-Hungarian 3rd and 14th Mountain Brigades.

To the south, overnight the Italian 29th Division, after four earlier attempts failed, finally break into the first Austro-Hungarian trench line before Mt. San Michele just before dawn.  In an attempt to follow up this meagre success, the commander of the Italian 3rd Army commits his final reserve formation - 21st Division - to a general assault by XIV Corps designed to push past Mt. San Michele.  After an intensive artillery bombardment, eight regiments attack opposite Mt. San Michele just after 3pm, but all along the front the waves of infantry are repulsed with heavy losses.

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