June 1915

On the 7th June 1915 Reginald (Rex) Warneford was serving in the 1st Squadron of the Royal Naval Air Service based at Veurne on the Belgian coast. He flew a Morane-Saulnier Type L aircraft. Warneford encountered and attacked the German airship LZ37 on the coast near Ostend in Belgium He chased the airship from the coast to Ghent, Belgium. He succeeded in dropping several bombs on it despite the airship’s defensive machine-gun fire. The final bomb exploded and set the airship on fire. The explosion caused his aircraft engine to stop and the aircraft to overturn. He managed to land in enemy territory and after spending some time on repairs he took off and returned to his base. For this action, Warneford was awarded the Victoria Cross.

 

10th June 1915 saw the 5th Nigerian Regiment taking the stronghold of Garua in the German Cameroon in Africa. There had been fighting in the Cameroon since the outbreak of war. Fighting had been between British native forces led by British officers and German troops.

 

The French Army launched a second attempt to seize Vimy Ridge on the 16th June 1915. The improvised German defences began an intensive artillery bombardment but despite this, the French army achieved their initial objective. German forces counter attacked, and just as they did after first Vimy Ridge assault, the French called off the attack. The losses on both sides were huge with the French suffering 100,000 casualties and the Germans suffering 60,000.

 

Once Italy’s entry into the war, the First Battle of Isonzo began on 23rd June 1915. The Italians did not possess a particularly efficient or effective army but it required the Austrian army to oppose them. The alpine border between Italy and Austria favoured the defence by the Austrian army. The Austrians had taken up strong defensive positions on high ground against Italian attack. The initial gains by the Italians were soon repulsed with heavy casualties on both sides. This battle was the first of many Battles of Isonzo before the end of the war.

 

By Italy entering the war, significant Central Power front line troops were redirected to  face the Italians rather than engaging in other theatres of war on the Eastern and Western Front.

 

 

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