In the first engagement of what will become World War One, Austro-Hungarian warships on the Danube River bombard Belgrade, the Serbian capital. Serbian artillery replies from Topcider heights. Serbs demolish river Saba trestle bridge at Zemun.
AIR WAR: BALKANS
Austria’s military and naval air arms ‘KuK Luftfahrtuppen’ (Army Air Service) has 13 flying companies with 48 first line and 27 training planes, 1 airship and 10 kite balloons. ‘KuK Kriegsmarine’ (Navy) has 5 first line and 17 training flying boats (Lohners) and float planes.
Serbia has a few French Bleriots and Farmans and a cadre of French-trained pilots.
The Balkan state declares its neutrality.
German fleet mobilizing This includes the main force, the High Seas Fleet, which begins to assemble along the Jade River. German battlecruiser ‘Goeben’ leaves Pola for Trieste for some coal.
Germany informs Russia that latter’s partial mobilization must trigger a wider war. Chancellor Bethmann also makes ‘infamous offer’ to Britain, stay neutral and Germany will not annex French mainland territory.
Czar Nicholas II puts his signature to a partial mobilization order, which comes into force on August 4. (other sources: War Minister General Sukhomlinov decides on general mobilization without Tsar’s knowledge, who tries to stop it.)
Russia has only 72 military pilots available at the moment.
General Leman allowed to start 3 lines of trenches at Liege.
New Italian CoS Cardona envisages Triple Alliance war against France including removing fortress artillery facing Austria. King approves on August 2, despite diplomatic Cabinet policy of neutrality from July 31.
500 Turkish sailors arrive on the Tyne to fetch new battleship ‘Sultan Osman I’. But British Admiralty discuss takeover.
British Fleets sails from Portland to Scapa Flow at 07:00, including Admiral Beatty‘s 4 battlecruisers which arrive at July 31.
British Cabinet again presses Germany for mediation, but warns it cannot stay out in all circumstances.
Admiralty sends warning telegram. War Office sends out ‘precautionary period’ telegrams. CID War Book opened. Churchill sees Kitchener on military measures. Colonial Office cables Governor Belfield of British East Africa to take precautionary measures.
The day before, Sqdn Cdr Longmore makes first practice drop of air torpedo from Short float plane.
President Poincare and Prime Minister Viviani reach Paris from Russia.
Governor-General Merlin of French Equatorial Africa sanctions defense measures.