Friday, October 02, 2015

October 2nd, 1915

- After meeting Foch today, Joffre orders Castlenau to make another major push in Champagne and assigns artillery shells sufficient for the necessary preliminary bombardment, though he emphasizes to Castlenau that 'these munitions represent the totality of what I have at my disposal.'  Given the losses of the past week and the expenditure of ammunition, Joffre is well aware that the French army has sufficient strength for only one more significant attack.

The ruins of a church in the village of Perthes, on the front line during the 2nd Battle of Champagne, Oct. 1915.

- General Sarrail dispatches his assessment of operations in the Near East to the French government today.  He begins by opposing a withdrawal from the Dardanelles, believing that it would raise doubts about the military capability of the Entente, but that the British should take over sole responsibility for the operation - since it was their mess in conception and execution, let them deal with the aftermath.  Turning to the Balkans, he argues that the three brigades currently en route to Salonika would only be sufficient to protect the railway running from Salonika into Serbia, and little influence could be exerted on events north of Skopje with such a force.  Instead, Sarrail calls for a much broader campaign in the Balkans, one that aims not just to aid Serbia but knock Bulgaria out of the war entirely.  To accomplish this, he suggests 30 000 British soldiers could defend Salonika while three or four high-quality and well-supplied Frenc corps drive towards Sofia.  Sarrail's proposal goes beyond the initial aims of the expedition, and the French government refers the note to Joffre for comment.

Meanwhile, as per the request of Venizelos, the British and French governments formally serve notice to the Greek government that they will be landing forces at Salonika.

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