Thursday, October 29, 2015

October 29th, 1915

- Since the vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies on the 12th, Prime Minister René Viviani has been attempting to reconstruct his cabinet to shore up political support.  The tide has turned against Viviani, however, and many leading politicians refuse to join a government led by him.  Abandoning the attempt, he accepts the position of Vice-President of the Council of Ministers (analogous to a Deputy Prime Minister) in a new government led by Aristide Briand.  The minister of war, Alexandre Millerand, is also dismissed, replaced by General Joseph Gallieni, who had played an important part in the Entente victory at the Battle of the Marne.

- North of Kragujevać, the Austro-Hungarian VIII Corps makes little headway today against stiff Serbian resistance, the latter supported by artillery fire.  Seeing the inability of his western neighbour to make progress, General Lochow of the German III Corps believes that the two forces face extensive fixed fortifications, and orders his own corps to advance cautiously.  To the west, the advance of the Austro-Hungarian XIX Corps and the German XXII Reserve Corps is slowed primarily by poor weather, slowing in particular the movement of artillery.  The latter, after hard fighting yesterday, takes Gornji Milanovac today.  On the other side of Kragujevać, the German IV Reserve Corps successfully attacks across the Lepenica River, taking 750 Serbian prisoners.  Nevertheless, the corps is behind schedule - the attack had been originally scheduled for yesterday before swamped roads and high water had delayed the operation.  Also today, patrols from the German X Reserve Corps make contact with elements of the Bulgarian 1st Army, thus linking up the two fronts under Mackensen's overall direction.

The Serbian campaign, Oct. 29th, 1915.

- Though yesterday's attacks around Görz on the Isonzo River failed to achieve any major breakthrough, Cadorna orders further energetic attacks today.  After the exertions of the previous day, however, some of the Italian formations are simply incapable of similar assaults today - opposite Zagora, for instance, a counterattack by the Austro-Hungarian 1st Mountain Brigade throws back the Italian 3rd Division and takes two hundred prisoners, after which Italian activity in the sector noticeably declines.  Opposite Görz only 11th and 12th Divisions of VI Corps attack today, which allows the defenders to concentrate their artillery fire on a narrower length of the front.  Elements of the later again break into the Austro-Hungarian lines on the Podgora Heights, but in hand-to-hand combat lasting into the evening are unable to secure the position.

South of Görz, the Italian XIV Corps launches another effort to seize Mt. San Michele this morning.  Elements of 30th Division manage to fight their way to the northern summit, but a well-timed counterattack by 39th Honved Brigade drives them off the high ground.  To the south of Mt. San Michelle, 28th and 19th Divisions attempt to expand the ground seized yesterday; not only do they fail to do so, but after dark a counterattack by the Austro-Hungarian 17th Division regains the lost ground.

North of Tolmein, after a night of bitter fighting, Austro-Hungarian reserves retake the trenches lost yesterday on the inner wings of 3rd and 14th Mountain Brigades.  Further south, at noon the Italian VIII Corps attempts a crossing of the Isonzo River at Canale using boats and pontoons, but the engineers and their equipment make for obvious targets, and Austro-Hungarian artillery and machine-gun fire rapidly break up the attempt.

- In light of the presence of the German mission in Kabul, the government of British India informs the Emir of Afghanistan that they will increase their subsidy as a sign of their continued friendship and to dissuade any thoughts of siding with the Germans.  Emir Habibullah, however, continues to play the British and Germans off of each other, and decides to send no formal acknowledgement of the increased subsidy, lest the British conclude that his loyalty can be bought so cheaply.

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