Saturday, November 28, 2015

November 28th, 1915

- Falkenhayn meets today with German industrialist Walther Rathenau, former head of the Kriegsrohstoffabteilung (War Materials Section), and the latter argues that the war can only be won through a decisive victory on the Western Front, where Germany's most important enemies are to be found.  Moreover, Rathenau believes that an offensive there can succeed, given what he sees as the deficient national character of the French.  In both sentiments Rathenau's views are in general accord with those of Falkenhayn - the German chief of staff is increasingly convinced that a major offensive should be undertaken on the Western Front in 1916, and that in targeting the French the superior morale and resolve of the German soldier, as compared to his French counterpart, will be of vital importance.

- With the Serbian campaign having been brought to a successful conclusion, Mackensen is once again the man of the hour.  Yesterday, Kaiser Wilhelm II telegrammed Mackensen with his congratulations and appointed him proprietary colonel of 129th (Third West Prussian) Infantry Regiment, an honour usually reserved for members of the royal family.  Today, Emperor Franz Joseph conveyed his deep personal gratitude to the German field marshal for his leadership.

- Today the Serbian government, having crossed northern Albania, reaches the city of Scutari, near the Adriatic coast.

- Along the Isonzo River Italian forces once again launch major attacks on Austro-Hungarian positions west of Görz and on either flank of Mt. San Michele, which achieve no more success than the attacks of prior days.  The constant assaults in terrible weather are wearing on the survivors; Austro-Hungarian defenders note an increased willingness of Italian infantry to surrender when counterattacked.  This only exasperates Cadorna's fear of the breakdown of discipline, and today he issues a circular to the Italian army listing four measures to be used at the first sign of cowardice or indiscipline by Italian infantry in battle, which culminate in firing artillery on 'recalcitrant' soldiers.  These measures are also not mere threats - when a number of soldiers from the Pistoia Brigade attempt to surrender in the face of a harsh Austro-Hungarian counterattack today, other Italian soldiers are ordered to shoot them.

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