Diary for Thursday, August 31, 1916:
Allied shipping losses 205,000t (British 23 ships worth 43,354t with 8 lives lost). Total including 77 ships (129,368t) to U-boats in Mediterranean. 2 U-boats lost.
At Pless Hindenburg and Ludendorff press for unrestricted U-boat war without delay, Bethmann’s opposition now confined to timing and fear of breach with Scandinavia. Fronts must be stabilized lest Holland or Denmark declare war while Germany has no reserves.
Battle of the Somme: 4 German counter-attacks fail at Delville Wood; British XV Corps suffers heavy casualties. Fierce German counter-attacks between Ginchy and High Wood. By this time BEF has consulting psychiatrist and neurologist for ‘shell shock’ cases.
Artois/Flanders: British gas attacks at Arras and Armentieres.
Verdun: French defensive Battle of Verdun ends.
Austrian losses since 4 June 614,000, German 150,000 including 15,000 today.
East Africa: Smuts’ advance split by Uluguru Mountains; 600 South African mounted troops go round west side, 1,900 British march on Dar-es-Salaam.
Western Desert: British armoured cars capture Senussi convoy northwest of Jaghbub
West Africa: Slavery abolished in Nigeria.
Germany: Hindenburg letter to War Minister demands doubled munitions, trebled artillery and machine-gun production by May 1917.