World War One Diary for Wednesday, July 31, 1918:
Italian Front: Austrian ace Oblt F Linke-Crawford (c.30 victories) killed, his Phoenix fighter shot down at Montello by Cuttle of No 43 Squadron RAF in Sopwith Camel.
Germany: 12 DH9s (7 lost) of No 99 Squadron (Taylor) dispatched to Mainz (alternate Saarbruecken); 5 aircraft bomb Saarbruecken, attacks by 3 fighter waves (total 40) decimate formation; 2 fighters damaged, No 99 non-operational until August 20. IAF’s July losses 15 bombers.
Western Front: German night bombing of Allied troops south of Aisne. Allies have lost 200 aircraft and balloons over German Seventh Army alone since July 15. French July loss of 67 aircraft worst month in 1918. During July Germans claim 505 Allied aircraft for loss of 129. Record 1,478 German aircraft delivered in July.
Meuse: German gas shell French Neuilly sector with 340,000 rounds (850t) mustard gas; 3,400 gassed (68 deaths).
Marne and Champagne: French now control main east rail line between Chateau-Thierry and Epernay. Severe fighting round Seringes. The 4 British divisions return to BEF zone (until August 7).
France: During July Record 313,410 US troops land in Europe including 6 divisions and 34 aircraft (total now 1,210,703 men).
Northern Russia: Allies seize Archangel (until August 1) with little shooting (2 casualties) thanks to Russian Navy officers’ help. Some of the 1,500 British Elope Force also take Onega on White Sea.
North Sea: Flight Sub-Lieutenant Culley successfully takes off in Sopwith Camel from a lighter towed by destroyer Truculent.
Allied and neutral shipping losses July 1918: 95 ships (37 British with 202 lives) worth 259,901t (British 165,449t); U-boat figure 113 ships worth 280,820t including 39 ships of 76,864t in Mediterranean (10 ships with 235t to Austrians); 6 U-boats sunk.
Britain: Month’s coal output record lowest at 15,760,000t due to flu epidemic. Sir Charles Fielding new Director-General Food Production (Lord Lee resigned July 22).