Diary August 15, 1914

42cm howitzer Big Bertha
The German secret weapon of WW I was the 42cm howitzer Big Bertha. Their combat debut was against the world’s strongest fortress of Liege on August 12. To the relief of the Germans and to the shock of their opponents, a dozen Gammas and Berthas reduced the impregnable concrete-and-steel fortresses to a rubble in a mere 4 days.
Diary for Saturday, August 15, 1914:

Belgium: FALL OF LIEGE. Garrison Commander General Leman taken PoW in ruins of Fort Loncin.
D’esperey’s I Corps (1,000 casualties) with Petain’s 4th Brigade repulses Richthofen’s I Cavalry Corps crossing attempt of river Meuse, south of Dinant.
Lorraine: French First Army drives I Bavarian Corps from two villages inside French frontier.

10 Austrian cavalry divisions rides over Russian frontier on 250-mile front but only on far flanks pierces on Russian screen.

Herzegovina: Montenegrins begin blockade of Bilek (until August 25-26).
Serbia: Austrian VII Corps continues Cer Ridge advance; XIII Corps reaches Krupanj 15 miles (ca. 24 km) east of Drina as Serb Second Army forced marches but its 1st Combined Division begins night attack on Cer Ridge, driving off Austrian 21st Division next day.

Dardanelles: Germans mine Dardanelles from a merchant ship.
Adriatic: Anglo-French main fleet and Troubridge’s squadron rendezvous off Straits of Ortanto for 10-day sweep into Adriatic. Cattaro bombarded (August 24), Austrian lighthouse destroyed, small cruiser ‘Tenta’ sunk by French battleship on August 16 near Antivari, Montenegro.
Pacific: NZ Samoa force sails with 2 transports from Wellington.

Western Front: Garaix, pioneer French aviator and de Taizieuz (his observer) shot down and killed by anti-aircraft fire.
Germany: Boelcke gains Pilot’s Certificate at Halberstadt Flying School and posted to ‘Feldfliegerabteilung’ No 13 in September.

East Africa: 300 Germans invade British East Africa, capture Taveta on border at southeast food of Mt Kilimanjaro.
Togo: British (45 casualties) win action at Agbelouve station. 158 French soldiers join on August 18.

Japan: The government demand that the Germans evacuate their colony based at the port of Tsingtao in China.

Panama: Canal officially open.
USA: Secretary of State Bryan declares war loans to belligerents inconsistent with neutrality.

Britain: Bertrand Russell protests against the war in ‘The Times’.
Germany: ‘Landsturm’ called up.
France: 2,887,000 reservists mobilized since August 1.

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