Category: world war 1

Whites Resume Offensive in the Kuban

June 22, 1918, Salsk–The Volunteer Army had successfully regrouped and recuperated after the Ice March of the late winter and Kornilov’s death in battle in April.  On June 22, Denikin’s 9000-man force once again began attacking the Soviets, striking at a rail junction just south of the Don.  Although Soviet forces in the larger Kuban and north Caucasus area outnumbered the Volunteer Army more than ten-to-one, the Whites had some distinct advantages.  The Cossack population of the area had largely turned against the Soviets; many Kuban Cossacks joined the Volunteer Army, while the Don Cossacks under General Krasnov had recovered after Kaledin’s suicide and retaken Novocherkassk.  The Germans had also entered the area, having occupied Rostov in early May, and were on friendly terms with Krasnov’s Cossacks.  This cut off Soviet forces from the most direct routes to the rest of Russia, and in their first few weeks of operations in late June and early July, the Volunteer Army was able to cut off the rest as well; the Soviets in the north Caucasus would be on their own until after the armistice.

Today in 1917: German U-Boats Attack US Troop Transports

Today in 1916: Greek Government Resigns After Allied Demands
Today in 1915:  Austrians Recapture Lviv

Cheerful French gunners by their 90 mm artil…

Cheerful French gunners by their 90 mm artillery gun near Martigny (Meurthe-et-Moselle), 18 November 1916.

A French soldier displaying a regulation inf…

A French soldier displaying a regulation infantry dress at the Army Clothing Department at Vanves, 28 December 1916.

The moustache isn’t regulation but definitely encouraged.

An aerial oblique view of the messenger dog …

An aerial oblique view of the messenger dog kennels of the French Sixth Army at Gournay, 20 September 1915.

French infantry manning a forward line of tr…

French infantry manning a forward line of trenches in Lorraine, January 1915.

One of the lessons learnt in 1915 and 1916 was that holding forward trenches like this. Packing the firing trench with men was a sure way to get men killed during the artillery barrage that preceded an attack. Doctrine took time to catch up to the reality of war and none of the armies on the Western Front in 1915 knew what would work.
Some German generals would continue to attempt to hold the front line in strength well into 1917, despite official orders stating otherwise. Goes to show that personal tendencies of local commanders sometimes mattered more than doctrine.

A French war dog wearing a gas mask and anti…

A French war dog wearing a gas mask and anti-gas goggles at the military kennels at Roesbrugge, 16 May 1916.

British Drop Plans for Conscription in Ireland

Arthur Griffith (1871-1922), a Sinn Féin politician who won a by-election in County Cavan on June 20, in part due to the party’s strong stance on conscription.  Like all Sinn Féin MPs, he would not take his seat in Westminster.

June 21 1918, Dublin–Two months after Lloyd George announced his plan to enact both conscription and Home Rule in Ireland, it was clear that the plan had failed.  Almost every segment of Irish society, from its politicians to its churchmen, had rejected conscription, and saw the offer of Home Rule for the tactic it was.  Irish republican nationalists had been emboldened by the effort, and Sinn Féin had won two by-elections in the last month.  The German offensives that had driven far into British lines in March and April had passed, and their attacks on the French had stalled as well.  The necessity for conscription in Ireland was also fading as more American soldiers crossed the Atlantic every week.  On June 21, Lloyd George abandoned the dual effort for conscription and Home Rule.  Subtler efforts to encourage Irish participation for the war effort continued, including a plan to appeal to Irish Catholic leaders to encourage men to join the French army to help defend their fellow Catholics on the continent.

Today in 1917: Kerensky Inspects “Women’s Battalion of Death”

Today in 1916: Battle of Carrizal
Today in 1915: French Make Successful, if Limited, Advance at Gallipoli

Men of the French aeronautical service holding…

Men of the French aeronautical service holding message balloons 10 April 1917. These balloons were sent out when the wind favoured with messages of hope and encouragement to the French population behind German lines.

Exchanging addresses during the relief. 1/6t…

Exchanging addresses during the relief. 1/6th North Staffs and 50th French Infantry, Neuville St Vaast, February 1916.

French soldier wearing gas mask, Neuville St…

French soldier wearing gas mask, Neuville St Vaast, January 1916.