Diary for Thursday, February 24, 1916:
Verdun: French artillery counter-bombard. Germans take Samogneux (fighting all day), Hill 344, Beaumont Fosses wood and Chaume with 10,000 PoWs (now total including among 16,224 casualties to French 72nd and 51st Divisions). They capture whole of French 2nd line between Samogroeux and Bezonvaux in total advance so far of 3 1/2 miles. French withdrawal from Woevre Plain to Meuse Heights ordered (begins following day). Verdun’s one full-gauge rail link severed by 2 German rail-mounted 15-inch-naval guns. Joffre’s deputy Castelnau sent on fact-finding mission. Petain in command of Second Army summoned to Chantilly.
Russia: STAVKA conference on offensive to help French; 1.5 million men with 6,585 guns against 940,000 Austro-Germans.
Albania: Essad Pasha‘s troops and 8,500 Italians (after over 800 casualties) with 16 guns evacuate Durazzo and he leaves for Italy. Italians slaughter 900 draught and pack animals and destroy stores.
Mesopotamia – Kut: Indian troops ration nearly halved to 14oz per day.
Armenia: Beaten Turks cross upper Euphrates at Kotur.
Western Front: Germans attack Royal Flying Corps Bailleul airfields; 5 RFC aircraft bomb Lille airfield.
Albania: Essad Pasha’s provisional Government leaves Albania, arrives at Naples on February 28.