Wednesday, October 28, 2015

October 28th, 1915

- By this evening the Austro-Hungarian VIII and German III Corps are within fifteen miles of Kragujevać, while a break in the weather has allowed for renewed aerial reconnaissance that reveals to Mackensen and Seeckt the disposition of the Serbian forces opposing his armies.  They issue orders for the two corps approaching Kragujevać to not only seize the city but also pin down the Serbian defenders.  Simultaneously, the German XXII Reserve and Austro-Hungarian XIX Corps to the west would push south and seize the bridges over the West Morava River, while to the east the German IV Reserve and X Corps would advance south along the Morava River, where they would link up with the Bulgarian 1st Army advancing from the east.  The Bulgarian 2nd Army, meanwhile is to contain the Entente forces at Salonika and cover the southern exits from the Morava River valley.  If executed successfully, the operation will trap the majority of the Serbian 1st and 3rd Armies between the Morava and West Morava Rivers, leading to their destruction.

- After three days to replace losses and bring up supplies, Cadorna orders a resumption of the 3rd Battle of the Isonzo today.  As the initial plan to push forward north and south of Görz prior to an assault on the city itself has been a spectacular failure, for the second phase of the offensive Cadorna decides to forgo the flank attacks and instructs VI Corps of 2nd Army to move directly on Görz.  On either side, XIV Corps of 3rd Army (to the south) and II Corps (to the north) will capture Mt. San Michele and push east from Plava respectively.

Just north of Görz, the Italian 3rd Division launches repeated assaults against Austro-Hungarian trenches at Zagora, just south of Plava.  This position had been so devastated by artillery fire that the defenders had been instructed to fall back to the second trench line, but repeated counterattacks prevented 3rd Division from holding the old Austro-Hungarian trenches.  On the other side of Plava, 32nd Division had similarly failed to gain any ground.  Opposite Görz itself, Italian artillery unleash a heavy bombardment before the infantry goes forward early this morning.  Elements of the Italian 4th Division reach the first trench line at Oslavija, but is repulsed, while 11th Division cannot even reach the trenches opposite.  The Italian 12th Division, however, is able to take advantage of a degree of cover offered by the broken terrain they advance over, and are able to break into the Austro-Hungarian positions on the heights at Podgora this afternoon.  Several detachments of Italian infantry fight their way to the crest of the heights, from which they can see Görz in the distance.  To the sound of bugles, however, five Austro-Hungarian companies counterattack, and by evening have regained the high ground at Podgora.

The heights at Podgora, west of Görz.

To the south of Görz, Italian artillery spend the morning pounding enemy positions before XIV Corps launched a concentrated assault on Mt. San Michele this afternoon.  After hours of bitter fighting infantry from 28th and 19th Division (the latter from the adjacent X Corps) break into trenches just south of Mt. San Michele held by the Austro-Hungarian 17th Division.  Elsewhere, however, the Italian assaults break down under withering enemy artillery and machine-gun fire.

The northern wing of the Italian 2nd Army is also active today, attacking on both sides of Tolmein, and just north of Dolje Italian infantry manage to reach the enemy trench line where the inner wings of the Austro-Hungarian 3rd and 14th Mountain Brigades meet.  Fierce hand-to-hand combat ensues into the night, with small groups of Austro-Hungarian soldiers rushing up from brigade and division reserves to plug the gap.

- As negotiations between the Persian government and the German ambassador continue, Prime Minister Mustaufi ul-Mamalik informs Ambassador Reuss that as Persia's most valuable provinces would likely be seized by the Russians and British if Persia entered the war on the side of Germany, his government will require a monthly subsidy of at least two million marks, plus a loan of a hundred million marks after the war and the reimbursement of all war costs.  Reuss feels that if Germany desires Persian support, they must agree to whatever terms the Persians request.

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