Diary February 1, 1916

'Big Bertha' at the Werstern Front
A monstrous 42-cm M-Gerät Big Bertha at Verdun.
Diary for Tuesday, February 1, 1916:

Western Front

Verdun: Major-General Beeg, commander of the artillery of the German Fifth Army, informs Falkenhayn that all 1,220 additional guns (including 13 Big Berthas) for prelim ‘hurricane’ bombardment now in concealed emplacements in woods north and east of Verdun; 1,300 trains have delivered 2.5 million shells.
Verdun fortified zone put under French Central Army Group (Langle).
In February BEF passes million men strength (1,037,600 soldiers). 121 German divisions in the West.

Secret War

In February French produce field telephone cipher notebook at General Dubail’s request.

Eastern Front

Baltic Provinces: Violent shelling southeast of Riga (and on February 7).

Southern Fronts

Albania: Serbs repulse Austrians near river Ishmi, but latter occupy Kroja 25 miles north of Durazzo on February 4.

African Fronts

Italian Somaliland: Buloburti garrison disperse Dervishes.

Sea War

First merchant ship sunk by air attack: Zeppelin bombs 970t British Franz Fischer (13 crew members lost) 2 miles south of Kentish Knock. Only 3 other British ships so lost (all 1917).
Britain: In February ‘Shipping Control Committee’ formed under Lord Curzon. Fisher writes to Asquith: ‘There is grave anxiety and serious misgivings in the Fleet …’.
Russia: In February an independent Arctic Flotilla is established.


USA: Möwe prize crew brings British liner Appam into Newport News, Virginia; denied asylum (March 2).

Home Fronts

Russia: Prime Minister Goremikin re­signs, pro-German Stürmer succeeds. In February Tsarina at opening of 200-bed Anglo-Russian hospital at Petrograd.
Britain: Retail Food Prices (RFP) up 3% to 47%. In February War Office forms propaganda department; War Propaganda Bureau reports 7 million publications distributed. Novelist Sir H Rider Haggard sent to Dominions to arrange postwar settlement of ex-servicemen.

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