Monday, November 02, 2015

November 2nd, 1915

- South of Plava, just after dark a counterattack by the Austro-Hungarian 18th Division retakes another portion of the ground at Zagora lost yesterday morning.  To the south, heavy Italian attacks once again are directed to the heights at Podgora just west of Görz, and after several attempts Italian infantry reach the first Austro-Hungarian trench line, rendered unrecognizable by artillery fire.  Into the evening, Italian and Austro-Hungarian infantry engage in desperate combat in the ruined landscape between what once was the first and second trench lines.  After dark, an Austro-Hungarian counterattack by two battalions rushed forward from the divisional reserve manages to regain much of the lost ground.  The 11th Italian Division, meanwhile, is able to push into Oslavija, seizing the enemy trenches anchored by the village church.  On 3rd Army's portion of the line, heavy artillery fire begins at 7am and continues into the late afternoon, after which infantry attacks break to the positions of the Austro-Hungarian 17th Division in three places south of St. Martino.  General Elder von Gelb, the divisional commander, assembles the last available reserves - the remnants of 33rd and 111st Landsturm Brigades - and prevent further Italian advances here.  On either flank, Italian assaults were unable to make any headway.

- Speaking in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Asquith praises the British advance in Mesopotamia by stating that 'I do not think that in the whole war there has been a series of operations more carefully contrived, more brilliantly conducted, and with a better prospect of final success.'  However true this may have been of the campaign to date, the reality is that it is about to go badly off the rails.

- Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, commander of German forces in the colony of German East Africa, receives a message from Berlin, originally dispatched in May, reporting revolution in Sudan.  Given the British commitment to Europe and the likelihood of defeat at Gallipoli, this information reinforces Lettow-Vorbeck's belief that the forces under his command are at least the equal of those in British East Africa to the north.  As such, planning begins for a major offensive aimed at Mombasa.  Lettow-Vorbeck's objective at this stage of the war is not simply survival, but victory, to crush enemy forces in British East Africa in a decisive battle.

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