Diary for Tuesday, February 22, 1916:
Verdun: Despite French counter-attacks (2,350 casualties), Germans develop gains of February 21 to win Brabant-sur-Meuse woods, all Caures wood (Colonel Driant killed, only 118 men of his 1,300 Chasseurs escape) and Haumont village. French stand at Wavrille and counter-attack south of Caures wood (until following day).
Creation of the La Voie Sacree ‘Sacred Road’: since mid-February French have repaired and reserved for continuous military motor traffic the 21-feet wide 2nd class road from Bar-le-Duc to Verdun.
French introduce phosgene gas shell.
Russia: Kuropatkin (aged 68) made C-in-C Northern Front, retired since 1905, replaces Ruzski (sick leave) and ill Plehve (Fifth Army) whom Gourko (aged 53) succeeds. General Novitski (73rd Division) comments: ‘It is as if the French were to recall Bazaine from the grave, or the Austrians Benedek’. Northern Front has 500,000 rifles for 750,000 men.
Mesopotamia: British Kut garrison hears relief guns as Gorringe (wounded following day) recces in force on south bank (until February 24). 3 Turk planes bomb Aylmer’s Wadi relief camp.
Persia: Baratov beats c.2,000 Turks at Sinna northwest of Hamadan.
Cameroons: King George V telegram congratulates General Dobell for conquering the German colony. Naval blockade lifted on February 29.
USA: Memo from US ‘colonel’ House and British foreign minister Grey on US mediation appeals to President Wilson.
Russia: Duma reopens, Tsar greets them in person for first time at Rasputin’s suggestion.
Britain: War Savings Certificates on sale.