September 1915

The German offensive in Galicia and Poland caused the Russian army to suffer 1,400,000 casualties on the 6th September 1915. 750,000 troops were captured. Czar Nicholas II took personal command of the Russian army in a bid to rally his faltering troops. Additionally, Russia was weakened economically by losing Poland’s industrial and agricultural industries. The Czar and the Imperial Government were undermined by the mass exodus of Russian troops and civilians from Poland creating dangerous political and social unrest in Russia.


Bulgaria mobilises and got ready to enter the war on Germany’s side on the 5th September 1915. Austria-Hungary had tried three times to conquer neighbouring Serbia in retaliation for the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. Austria-Hungary planned to attack Serbia with the aid of Germany and Bulgaria. Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey joined Germany in an alliance called the Central Powers owing to their central Geographical location in central Europe.


On the 18th September 1915, following protests from the United States regarding American civilian deaths at sea, the Germans announced an end to the U-Boat campaign in the Atlantic. The campaign had begun in February 1915 and targeted ships around the British Isles. The Germans sent their U-Boats to the Mediterranean Sea to wreak havoc well away from the American shipping lanes in the Atlantic.


While the French army focussed their efforts on the heights of Vimy Ridge on the 25th September 1915, the British used poison gas for the first time. They     launch an attack against the German 6th army in Artois on the Western Front. Chlorine gas, released from over 5,000 cylinders, created a poisonous cloud that drifted toward the Germans, opening a gap in their front line. The British advance quickly and seize their objective, the town of Loos, but then failed to capitalise on the four-mile wide breach in the German lines. The Germans regrouped and when the British resumed the attack the next day they were mown down in the by well-placed German machine gunners. By the end of the Battle of Loos in early November 1915, the British had suffered 50,000 casualties, one of whom was Rudyard Kipling’s Son John who had no known grave. He was finally identified in 1991 and his remains are buried in Saint-Mary’s Advance Dressing station Cemetery in Haisnes. There is still some doubt whether the grave is that of John Kipling.


On the 25th September 1915, the French 2nd Army in Champagne attacked the weakest part of the German lines, creating a six-mile wide breach that was three miles deep. The German 3rd Army then rushed in reinforcements, regrouped its defence lines and plugged the gap. Facing strong resistance, the French broke off the attack.


The French, on the 26th September 1915, launched their third attempt to seize Vimy Ridge from the Germans in Artois, and this time they secure the ridge.


Between the 26-28th September 1915, in the Middle East, a British victory occurred in Mesopotamia at the Battle of Kut-al-Amara against the Turkish forces. This resounding victory       spurred an ambitious move by the British to capture Baghdad swiftly. However, this attempt failed and the troops return to Kut-al-Amara and dug in.


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