by Tom B
BELGIAN QUEEN WOUNDED IN FIGHTING
In a shocking development spokesmen for the Belgian government announced yesterday that a German artillery barrage had seriously wounded their beloved Queen Elisabeth Wednesday. At the time the queen was part of an ambulance party evacuating Belgian wounded in the heavy fighting now occurring in and around Crecy Forest. The spokesmen declined to elaborate as to the extent of the queen’s injuries except to say that her condition was stable and that she was receiving the best of care. The heroic Queen Elisabeth has worked diligently as a nurse in Belgian field hospital since the beginning of the war."
------The Daily Mail Friday April 30, 1915
------ Carriganimmy (Cork) 0025 hrs
Ballyvoureny Company had 8 men killed and 15 men wounded in the attack on the British artillery battery. Before the sun rose one of the wounded would die in agony. Except for two whose injuries were fairly light the Germans sent the Irish wounded along with their own back to their field hospital at Millstreet. The adjutant of the 11th Bavarian Infantry Brigade arrived around midnight and asked to speak with both Flynn and Gaulart about the actions of Ballyvourney Company. He also asked several questions about how the Jaeger came to be with the Irish Volunteers. Eventually he remarked that Gaulart looked exhausted and ordered Julius to get some sleep.
When Julius had gone the adjutant asked Flynn a series of questions that dealt mostly with how Julius had come to join them. Eventually it dawned on Flynn that the Germans he was now dealing with thought Julius might be a deserter.
"I find it very hard to believe the mountains could be crossed as rapidly you claimed, esp. with people carrying two rifles and extra ammunition," remarked the adjutant.
"Are you calling me a liar? I know roughly when that party left and I know exactly they came back and Julius was with them. What the hell more do you need to know?"
The adjutant winced and frowned. One of the thing he did not like about Flynn was that he sometimes referred to Gefreiter Gaulart by his Christian name. "I am not calling you a liar, Herr Flynn," he said in a voice that made it sound like he was not completely sure, "I am merely saying there are elements of your story I find very difficult to believe."
Flynn felt like making some very nasty comments but he reminded himself that this was a man who had some things he wanted badly. "Some of my men are extremely good mountain climbers. I sent them to see if they could get weapons from you Germans. Bavaria is somewhat like Kerry and the Jaegers sent along one of their men who could climb almost as well as my fellows and happened to speak decent English. He has been very helpful. What more do you need to know? Didn’t we help you a great victory here this evening? Just what is y’er fuckin’ problem?"
By Flynn’s usual standards he thought he was being restrained. The adjutant did not look pleased. After thinking things over he sighed and said, "Yes, yes the attack was a success. It is just this situation has certain oddities. This man of yours Kerns who led the party. You say he speaks German well. We would like to question him as well."
"I have no problem with that. But why can’t you confirm Jul—er, Corporal Gaulart’s story with his own unit?"
"I wish I could. Unfortunately the Jaeger Regiment is no longer nearby and cannot be contacted at this time."
"Hmm. In that case you won’t be able to send Gaulart back to his unit right? If that’s true can he remain with us? As I said he’s been very helpful. Just don’t tell him I said that. He can get a big head sometimes."
The adjutant frowned some more then shrugged, "We are not sure yet what we are doing with him. When he has finished sleeping we intend to ask him some more questions. After that we probably will send him to your camp to help you—at least until we can get you an Irish Brigade commander to take charge. Uh. are you feeling ill, Mr. Flynn?"
Julius had told Flynn about the commanders the Germans assigned to Irish Volunteer units. "Uh, no I was just suppressing the urge to yawn. I could use some sleep myself.. Uh, how soon can I expect this Irish Brigade commander to arrive?"
"I am hoping to get you one in the early afternoon. Maybe even a training sergeant as well. Yours is one of the more promising Volunteers units. With only a few days of intensive instruction we will make something out of you!"
We already are something you pompous Kraut jackass! Flynn gnashed his teeth but his scheming mind decided it would be pointless to argue, "To reach our full potential we need more rifles. I know you capture several hundred Lee-Enfield rifles here.. Could you see fit to give us oh say 200 of them?"
The adjutant scratched his head and frowned so more. "Why so many? You have what, about 140 men now, right? And that’s counting wounded, yes? And you already have been furnished some of the Russian rifles."
"Only half of my men have one of those Russian rifles. We are absorbing another nearby company today. It has about 90 men and I am confident some Redmondites will join as well," answered Flynn more than doubling the number of men he knew O’Shea to have.
"Hmm. I will give you 100 not 200 of the captured rifles. If you really get as many new men as you project, your commander will arrange to get you more Moisin-Nagant’s. Oh, and sometime before noon some of my men will pick up that British machinegun you captured."
NO!!!! Not my machinegun! Not my baby! Flynn inwardly wailed. I helped them capture 3 intact cannon and the German bastards turn around and steal my precious. He wanted to shoot the damn Kraut. He felt like saying something really nasty but merely gasped and groaned.
"And while we’re at it we’ll take those rifle grenades you captured. They are much too dangerous for untrained troops to be using," added the adjutant.
------Castlelyons (Cork) 0410 hrs
A band of constables sloshed their way through the puddles and mud as quietly as possible trying to sneak up on Bawnawd House, the home of the 4 Kent brothers whom possessed a sizable stockpile of weapons according to their latest intelligence. The Kent family had a rebellious history dating back to the Land League. As the head constable tried to signal his men 3 shots came from the hours and one of them killed the head constable.
After that the other constables surrounded the house. A troop of yeomanry was summoned from nearby Fermoy. For more than 3 hours a gun battle ensued. Inside the house the 83 year old mother gleefully loaded the rifles and shotguns of her sons. With their ammunition was exhausted and their house in ruins 3 of the brothers surrendered but the fourth, Richard tried to make a break and was shot in the back. He died later that day.
------Mallow (Cork) 0515 hrs
The sun had just risen but even the clouds hid it though the rain had finally ended. A rifle company of the 3rd battalion 13th Bavarian Infantry Regiment together with Kanturk Company of the Irish Volunteers cautiously eased their way into the important crossroads town of Mallow. Some of the Volunteers had gone on ahead during the night to make contact with the local company. Approaching the town they had quickly captured a tiny RIC station. The Bavarian company commander was more than a little bit anxious about this assignment. He had been warned that strong enemy forces could already be in Mallow or else on their way. The mission was more a reconnaissance in force than an attempt to seize and hold Mallow.
The British had concentrated nearly 50 constables in Mallow itself and reinforced them with a squadron of the 1/1st Berkshire Yeomanry out of nearby Fermoy. Like the Germans the British defenders thought a powerful enemy force was approaching. The ‘battle’ which ensued was really just a sputtering skirmish. The Germans and Kanturk Company found the railroad station and the other key points in town too well defended, but in turn the defenders did little to prevent 105 men and 2 women of the local company of Irish Volunteers from linking up with the Germans on the outskirts of Mallow. The Germans had only brought rifles for half of them. Some shots were exchanged at long range but both sides were apprehensive and so the Germans took the Irish Volunteers under their wings and withdrew back towards Banteer. The defenders breathed a sigh of relief and waited a while before some of the yeomen mounted up to scout the area.
------Old Admiralty Building 0605 hrs
Once again Sir Edward Carson had spent the night at the Admiralty Building. He had expected to hear of the German attack on Berehaven naval base, but nothing had happened. He now met with Admirals Callaghan, Wilson and Oliver..."What’s the latest from Berehaven?" he asked after finishing his tea.
The First Sea Lord answered, "Nothing, First Lord. The base commander reports all quiet. No signs of the Germans."
Carson turned a withering gaze on Oliver, "Are you absolutely sure of this latest bit of intelligence, Admiral Oliver? The Prime Minister thought it was too wild to be credible but I defended you. Was I wrong to do so?"
Oliver squirmed. Incomplete and flawed intelligence had been considered by some to have played a role at both Dogger Bank and Utsire. There were those who thought Oliver should be relieved of his position. If there had been an obvious replacement this might have happened already. Oliver knew very well that he was on thin ice. He hoped this latest intelligence would redeem his tarnished reputation.
"The weather in western Ireland was rather wet last night, First Lord, it probably slowed the German advance. Both planes and trawlers have reported seeing sizable forces in the Beara Peninsula."
"And we think they would not dare to attack during the day?"
"I would say that is a safe assumption, First Lord," Callaghan answered.
Carson remained silent for a while then said, "If Berehaven is indeed their target, it would confirm that the Germans are very serious about trying to use Ireland as a base for cruiser warfare."
"Yes, First Lord, that is the obvious conclusion. Though attacking the 10th Cruiser Squadron is still a possibility"
"Well then. foiling their attack on Berehaven will certainly put a crimp in the German plans, but it is not an immediate solution to the forces we believe are at sea."
"We have redirected our inbound sea traffic, First Lord, but those lacking wireless remain at risk. We have curtailed outbound international traffic at certain key ports such as Liverpool. I would like to avoid shutting down the entire Atlantic."
"I concur with that as the Chancellor has informed me that even the limited measures we’ve taken are already causing production problems—not severe but significant nonetheless."
"We should soon have some more clues about what the Germans are up to. We have agents in all the neutral ports interrogating passengers and crew of arriving ships. We are also checking for any inbound merchantmen that fail to arrive on schedule. We can increase our Atlantic patrols using our older cruisers. However if Blucher is part of the raiding force it could make short work of them even if deployed in pairs."
"With so much else going on, I see little reason to reach a decision on this topic this morning. Have some recommendations ready by the end of the day so we can tackle this issue afresh tomorrow. Hopefully we will have more information by then."
------Enniscorthy (Wexford) 0655 hrs
Nearly 400 men and 11 women belonging to the northern companies of Wexford Brigade had assembled at the edge of town before dawn. They had between 37 rifles including a dozen .22 ‘s as well 58 shotguns and 89 pistols. Those without firearms carried pitchforks and improvised pikes. They took the local constables by surprise and occupied most of the town but failed to take the main police station. They had already cut the local wires and proceeded to damage to train track as well. Meanwhile Seamus Doyle set us his main camp at Vinegar Hill, the site of the last major battle of the 1798 rebellion.
------HQ British 16th Division Macroom (Cork) 0710 hrs
You have no reason to panic General Parsons kept telling himself There are plenty of good reasons to be worried but no reason to panic. He had not really expected his units at Carriganimmy to hold during the night, but had expected them to be able to make an orderly withdrawal. He certainly did not to expect to have them obliterated before midnight. He had not expected to lose his guns. When he first heard that news the general was deeply shocked and briefly considered retreating all the way to Blarney on the outskirts of Cork. These thoughts did not last. He was not going to flee with his tail between his legs like a frightened puppy. He had forces ready midway between Carriganimmy and Macroom. They were well supported by his artillery which so far this morning was proving decisive in holding the enemy at bay. . The Bavarians had learned to respect shrapnel shells in France, a lesson his own men were now learning the hard way.
The Germans had obviously not set repositioned their own artillery. When they did General Parson’s big test would come. Perhaps they would still lack enough shells for another artillery duel. That would be nice, but he dared not count on it, and for the time being he was holding back on using his old 5" howitzers. What he did believe he could count on was the arrival of the first elements of the 53rd (Welsh) Division at the Cobh in a little more than an hour. Once the first transports docked a train would leave Cork on the narrow gauge line carrying half of the 8th Royal Irish Fusiliers, which had been temporarily removed from his division to guard against an uprising in Cork. The rest of the battalion would depart when the Welshmen were present inside Cork city. As far as General Parsons was concerned there was too much worry in London and Dublin about a Fenian uprising. Most of the men in his division fighting and dying for King and Country came from the Redmondite companies. Yes, he reluctantly admitted that there was a deluded extremist element willing to fight with the Germans not against them, but he thought they must be tiny. The official estimate he had been hearing recently was that rebels numbered around 2,000 of which more than a third had been eliminated in Galway. He was sure that the rebels were only a small faction within MacNeuill’s Irish Volunteers. Parsons was more than a little upset with the Viceroy’s handling of the National Volunteers, which to his thinking showed a distinct lack of trust. With their pathetic weaponry and limited training Parsons was glad they had not been sent to fight the Germans, but he did feel that the government had been insensitive and rude in their handling of the situation. .
And at least twice a day Dublin pestered him with inquiries about whether he had detected any signs of Fenian activity. There had been only incident to date. Wednesday morning a small band of constables had skirmished with rebels north of Ballyvourney. The rebels had the advantage in the fire fight and the RIC were forced to withdraw. They summoned reinforcements, then returned to scour the area. They found the rebels camp but not the rebels.
They believed the rebel leader to Joseph Flynn, a suspected member of the outlawed Irish Republican Brotherhood. The RIC thought he led at most 60 men. The RIC were still looking for him. General Parsons believed it likely that Flynn and his band of traitors were now hiding behind the Germans’ skirts, esp. as one of the German columns advancing on Macroom had reached Ballyvourney before dawn.
Other than this one minor incident the local civilian population did not appear to pose any threat. Parsons had more than enough to worry about with 6th Bavarian Division. His major source of hope was the arrival of 53rd Division. If he could just hold on for the next 36 hours then things would become much better. Coming through Banteer the Welshmen would take the damn Bavarians in the flank and destroy them. .
------Nenagh (Tipperary) 0735 hrs
CP woke up in a jail cell. There were 6 other men crammed into the same cell with him. They had been there when he had gone to sleep. All of them had been arrested for violating curfew but two of them had also been charged with larceny. What was new were the occupants of the cell across from him. It still held a pair of captured German cavalrymen, one of whom had apparently hurt his right calf. But together with them was a pair of ladies of the evening that had not been there earlier. Apparently the jailors thought the women would be safer in the same cell with German soldiers than Irish civilians.
The Germans apparently did not speak English. The Uhlan with a sore calf had taken to staring at the younger and prettier of the two women. The object of his affection was tickled pink and would trade flirtatious glances at him. The older prostitute did not like this and whispered some things to the younger one who ignored her. Finally the younger one went so far as to wink at the German. At this the older woman boxed her ear and hissed, "He’s the enemy!"
"But he’s so cute. You’re just jealous he likes me not you." At that the other hit her again.
"Hey, stop hitting me," and the younger woman shoved the older. After that the two of them exchanged a flurry of shoves which escalated into slaps and punches.. The two Uhlans exchanged glances with wry grins and shakes of the head. Some of the Irishmen in the cell with CP regarded the cat fight as entertainment and hooted loudly. CP merely snorted in disgust.
"What’s going in there!" came the voice of the jailer who strode in. Following behind him was a senior constable accompanied by Murdoch.
"We was having a little disagreement, that’s all," muttered the older woman.
Murdoch approached Connolly’s cell and said with a trace of smirk, "Well, well, CP it looks like you got more than wet last night."
"I cannot believe your constables would arrest a reporter doing his job for violating curfew."
"No? Did I ever tell you that being a journalist put you above the law? If anything a reporter in time of war is even more under the law than a normal civilian," countered Murdoch, "But I talked with the authorities and explained as how you are a Yank and all, and in the interest of good relations they are willing to drop the charges this time."
CP found Murdoch a bit smug but he was glad to get out of jail. Once he was released he walked with Murdoch back to their hotel. "German cavalry tried to raid here last night," Murdoch summarized, "but General Mahon wisely kept sufficient forces here to guard the supply centre and they drove the Huns off. It is victory. Small but a victory nonetheless."
"Where did you get this information, Mr. Murdoch? Did you happen to see any of it yourself by any chance?"
The Australian chafed at Connolly’s sarcasm, "No. A captain briefed me on what I needed to know early this morning. He also helped me get your sorry arse out of jail."
"And what did he happen to tell you about the Irish Volunteers the Germans armed?"
Murdoch looked a little surprised. After a pensive pause he rubbed his chin and replied, "No. He did not mention that. I have heard some rumors from the local civilians about a large concentration of Irish Volunteers in the center of the county. I heard nothing about any being here."
"I think some of the men in the cell with me were Irish Volunteers arrested on the way to assembling with their fellows."
"Hmm. Did you tell the constables this?"
"No. I have no proof, it’s only a hunch. However I did tell them I saw civilians receiving arms from the Germans. I would be surprised if I were the only one and they already knew this. Yet they make no mention of that fact to you. It would seem to be something important that should in both our stories."
Murdoch stopped walking altogether to ponder that remark. When he finally spoke it was in a quieter voice as if he only wanted CP to hear, "I have received the distinct impression that the government wants to downplay whenever possible the activity of Irish rebels."
CP allowed himself a small smile. Apparently Mr. Murdoch was not completely hopeless after all.
------Bantry (Cork) 0755 hrs
During the night Major von Frauenau, the commander of the 2nd Chevauleger Regiment, sent one of his squadrons on ahead to scout the coastal town of Bantry, while keeping the rest of the regiment in the eastern portion of the Beara Peninsula, isolating it from the rest of Ireland. Once it was light the troops were spaced out to become less conspicuous from either the air or Bantry Bay. In Bantry the cavalrymen encountered an unusually stubborn contingent of RIC. The Chevaulegers were content to merely isolate the constables, while they made contact with yet another company of Irish Volunteers. Once again they suggested those familiar with boats join the IRN and a few came forward.
------Ballynagree (Cork) 0810 hrs
Julius was strolling up to where Ballyvourney Company was camped. Flynn caught sight of him and approached him. "So glad you decided to show up finally, Julius. We need to get going soon."
"The questioning took nearly and an hour," replied Julius. He did not sound like he found it a pleasant experience.
"While you were gone Kerns talked to some of the Bavarian infantry men that were here. There were two of them that seemed to know a great deal about the Vickers machinegun, having captured one before. For instance, remember the tubing that we couldn’t figure out? It is connected to the water jacket and lets you reclaim water from the steam. Pretty clever don’t you think? Peter took some notes to help you out."
"I have told you many times, Mr. Flynn, I am not a trained machine gunner. And where are we going?"
"To Coachford. It is east of Macroom. There is a smallish company of Volunteers there that I intend to absorb."
------SMS Lothringen 0845 hrs
The weather had improved greatly during the night and under a nearly full moon and a clear sky Blucher had captured a 5,100 ton British freighter out of New Orleans with a cargo of cotton. After dawn Blucher soon took another prize, a 3,000 ton British steamer out of Jamaica with a cargo of produce, half of it bananas. Soon after that Regensburg swooped down on a 3,900 ton French freighter out of Brest bound for Philadelphia carrying fancy drapes and still fancier lingerie. Von Spee had no need for corsets and brassieres but the French merchantman could make a steady 9 knots and being outbound still had most of her coal so decided to make her a collier.
Meanwhile the trailing Victoria Luise now signaled that her lookouts had spotted smoke to the east. Spee considered his options. He could send either Hessen or Schlesien back to investigate, but he was reluctant to use battleships for prize taking. What if it was a neutral or still worse an enemy ocean liner that could outrun them and would probably have a powerful wireless. Spee knew the Royal Navy would have a very good idea that the cruisers were out in the Atlantic raiding. What he was hoping to keep hidden was the 3 predreadnoughts accompanying them.
"The British banana boat, what is her speed?" Spee asked.
"About 7 knots, Admiral."
Spee combined two decisions, "Good. Not too fast, no wireless and she is already well provisioned. Just the right type of vessel to set our merchant marine prisoners loose in. I hope they like bananas, yes?"
That evinced the briefest of chuckles from his officers. "While we do then we will send Victoria Luise back to investigate the smoke. Hessen will follow at a distance. Tell her not to wander too far off. We can afford a delay while transferring the prisoners but not too big a delay. Victoria Luise has dummy guns. If possible she should try to bluff the prize into surrendering, but I will emphasize that I am willing—very willing-- to let this one get away if it is not worthwhile or causes us too much trouble. Is that understood?"
Von Spee was pleased with his decision. It broke back memories of his long adventure with the Asiatic Squadron. This suddenly made him think of Kapitan Muller and the Emden, which had been part of his command but had gone separate ways. Spee had sadly learned that after some months of glory Emden had been destroyed. He sometimes found himself wondering what had happened to the crew. Were they all dead? Were some of them prisoners of the British?
------Sheik Seyd (Yemen) 0855 hrs
The Ottomans had resurrected the fortifications overlooking the Bab al Mandab that the British had raided in November. The artillery in the fort now included a single long barreled 5" gun. On the beach the former XO of the Emden. Kapitanleutnant Helmuth von Mucke along with some German sailors trained a select group of Ottoman soldiers. Mucke had led a landing party to attack Direction Island back in November. While they were doing so the HMS Sydney discovered Emden and reduced her to a burnt out hulk.
After that Mucke had managed to reach Padang with the landing party in the schooner Ayesha to Padang where they were able to rendezvous with the Choising, which had been Emden’s collier. They then proceeded to the Yemeni port of Hodeida which was being watched by a French armored cruiser, which fortunately for them had its lights on, letting them avoid it and come ashore. Von Mucke had been getting ready to head out for the Persian Gulf when Abyssinia decided to enter the war and attack Djibouti. The local Ottoman commanding officer persuaded Mucke that he could be of great service with an important assignment.
The required training was taking some time but overall von Mucke was satisfied with the results. In a week they would be ready.
------Thurles (Tipperary) 0900 hrs
A British warplane flew overhead. The Irish Volunteers who recalled the German airplane which had assisted them at Dundrum did not recognize the markings and waved at it. The Uhlans knew better and some of them fired at the plane without success. As the plane flew off the adjutant of the 16th Uhlan Regiment met with O’Duibhir to discuss the night’s developments. "We sent 2 squadrons together with the automatic rifle and pioneer sections to raid Nenagh last night. We have some intelligence that it has become a supply centre of some importance for the British forces outside Limerick. We had hoped to take the supply dumps by coup de main but we found the defenders too strong. We did pin them down for a while allowing us to rouse and arm the local Irish Volunteers while pioneers destroyed a portion of the rail."
"Do you know how many of Nenagh Company assembled? How soon will they arrive here?"
"A little more than a hundred. Some of them should be arriving here in another hour. It’s a long hard march and there are stragglers though. I’ve been told most of the Roscrea and Urlingford companies have arrived."
"Yes, most but not all. Both of them also have men who could not keep up the pace of the march and fell behind. So it appears that you failed to capture any supplies?"
"Oh no, we did capture two of their supply wagons which had 9,000 rifle rounds plus some food. We also raided some small RIC stations which yielded nearly 4,000 rounds plus food, fodder and a few rifles, some horse drawn wagons and a single motor car."
"Hmm, so we now have enough .303 ammunition that I should not hesitate to start arming some of my buys with Lee-Enfield rifles? Once Nenagh Company gets here I will have more than 800 able bodied men."
"Yes, by all means—but do it quickly. It is too dangerous for us to remain here. I want you to get everyone but the new arrivals ready to pull out in two hours. The new arrivals will be tired and so we will give them 3 more hours to rest but then they must depart as well. And once they have departed my regiment will follow."
O’Duibbir brightened and rubbed his hands together, "Well then where are we going? Keep on heading west to Kilkenny or is it time we head south and liberate Cork?"
"Neither. We need to return to where we have communication with friendly forces. So we head either south or southwest so we can circle around. I would like to go to Cashel but we have intelligence that the enemy is there in strength," the adjutant answered pointing to Cashel on the map on his desk.
"The high ground at Cashel would be easy for them to defend."
"Yes, precisely. Can you suggest a good alternative?"
"O’Duibhir thought it over, but not too long. With a grin he leaned over the map and pointed, "I think I can.. Right here on the map. It’s called Fethard."
------northwest of Limerick 0915 hrs
The commander of the Limerick City Battalion, Maj. Jack White, watched with deep interest as 2 select groups of his men got to practise with their new weapons. One small section was working with a pair of Russian Maxim’s captured during Operation Whisper. Their Irish Brigade instructors now actually let one of the gunners fire a burst. White could sense the gunner’s excitement. From one perspective a machinegun was indubitably an exhilarating experience. The other section worked with a pair of what the Germans called ‘infantry guns’. The were Russian Pultilov 76.2mm field guns—also captured during Operation Whisper—with much of their barrel cut off and their sights removed. They did retain the shield though. The Germans thought Irish gunners would only be able to hit something at short range with a clear line of sight and so the long range of the Pulitov would be wasted on them. While the deprecation of Irish capabilities grated on White, he did acknowledge there was something to their logic. As compensation for their reduced range these infantry guns were fairly light and easily deployed.
There were 3 members of the Irish Brigade in the infantry gun section. One was a German NCO and the other two Fenian Irish Americans brought back by Admiral von Spee who had received intensive instruction before the Sonderverband departed. The rest of the crew was taken from Limerick City Battalion. So far they were learning how to properly move and position the weapon. At White’s insistence they would be permitted to fire a few practise rounds before sunset.
Major White had impressed on the adjutant of the 1st Naval Division the importance of getting these two sections started as soon as possible. There was more involved than their combat potential. White wanted to demonstrate to the local Irish population that the Germans trusted them with machineguns and artillery. He had heard about the mixed German and Irish unit armed with captured British 15 pounders now deployed in the defence of the important rail station at Rathkeale. That unit had created a stir amongst the nearby Irish Volunteer companies. White hoped to create a bigger stir locally with an overwhelmingly Irish ‘infantry gun’ section. Limerick City Battalion was steadily growing. Before leaving the city the current able bodied strength of the battalion was reported as being 502 men and 19 women. White was sure when he returned to the city for lunch there would be at least a few more.
------Siauliai (Courland) 0935 hrs
German artillery shells were detonating throughout the city which was already in a state of chaos. The Russian defenders were withdrawing towards Jelgarva. Soon afterwards elements of the 8th Cavalry Division accompanied by 9 armored cars entered the small city. Parts of the city were burning. Looting had already begun and steadily intensified. Columns of refuges streamed out of the city in panic.
The Germans occupied the city and tried to restore order. By midday some of the motorized heavy artillery regiment began to arrive, though a few were delayed by breakdowns. Meanwhile there was some attempts by the cavalry to harass the Russian withdrawal during the morning but by noon the pursuit was called off.
------Paris 1005 hrs
Premier Clemenceau had summoned Malvy’s replacement as Interior Minister, Theodore Steeg to meet with him. When Steeg arrived he noticed a British general waiting impatiently. Clemenceau immediately got to the point, "There is a strike on! Just yesterday you assured me that there would be no strike!"
Steeg more than half expected this. "There was a shift of opinion yesterday afternoon. The majority caved in and decided to compromise. The strike is only one day and limited to Paris."
"Which happens to be our capital and greatest city!"
"I have received word that some Paris unions have decided against participating in the strike."
"But most are—am I right? Have they forgotten that the Boche are less than 50 miles from Paris?"
"Of course not, premier. But the Boche had not been able to advance any closer since last September. The front now barely moves at all and what little change that has occurred usually moves the front away from us."
"That is what General Joffre wants people to think! On the Wovre Plain and in the Argonne he has lost ground and nearly half of what little he liberated in Champagne has been lost to German counterattacks. And don’t get me started on the large amount of French soil that the British have surrendered of late. So this sense of complacency you describe is not completely warranted. This strike is outrageous. I had expected only some of their usual pathetic marches carrying banners on Saturday. All of this form a man who was either a German instrument or an outright madman—quite possibly both."
"We both know premier that today’s strikes are about much more than this man, Connolly"
"Yes, yes, I am well aware that there are those are most displeased that I replaced that defeatist traitor, Malvy with yourself. And I also recall promising to find a new post for General Sarrail. Joffre has dragged his feet about that. I admit I have not pushed him hard on that issue. Sarrail is at best a mediocre general. I cannot believe this has come to a head so quickly! What other countries are involved in this nonsense?"
"There are general strikes underway in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Norway, Sweden and even parts of Austria. Except for Austria, all of these strikes are nationwide. The Spanish Socialists seem to have the greatest ferocity. They want their strike to last four days. In the other countries the strike is only for a single day."
"Spain—what a cesspool of backwardness and anarchy! I have little use for monarchs of any sort but in this case I will make an exception if King Alphonso clamps down as hard as he should."
"Premier, in our situation I would counsel you to do nothing hasty. It is not well organized and will end at midnight. Your support in Chamber of Deputies is fragile enough as it is. Making an issue of this could be dangerous."
"A show of strength against the trade unions could serve to solidify my support from the Right, even amongst those who are mindless slaves to the Catholic Church."
"I would not be so sure of that. It is dangerous to underestimate the Papacy’s malevolence, esp. with a Pope who appears to be dominated by the Austrian cardinals."
"Ah, spoken like a true Protestant! Perhaps you are right to advise against overreacting. But if I let this disgraceful event go unpunished I must make it absolutely clear that there will be no more. To balance this I will find a post for Sarrail."
"Yes, a post for Sarrail will help immensely."
"But there is something even more important. There is a major offensive underway right now under my personal guidance. It will push back the German dagger pointed at the heart of France. In a few days my position in the Chamber of Deputies will be solid. As for those who pine for that dog, Malvy, I plan to reveal to all his perfidy. People will clamor for his execution!"
"Hmm. Perhaps we should also consider bringing Vilian to trial."
"To trial? Oh, no, that man is a hero for what he did! I wish I could give him a medal."
Steeg frowned slightly and bit his lip. Sometimes Clemenceau goes too far. "Do you plan to visit Queen Elisabeth in the hospital?." he asked.
"I have contempt for monarchs and hatred for Germans. She happens to be both."
"Well, yes she is, but there is wonderful propaganda to be made of this situation, you know."
"Bah, I do not carry on the pathetic charade that the British do. France is in this war for France not Belgium, but I cannot deny that there is some merit in what you say. I understand her French is very good, but yes? I will think at length on this matter. But it will not be today. Oh, the sacrifices I am compelled to make in our great struggle."
Soon afterwards Steeg departed and General Henry Wilson was finally permitted to speak with Clemenceau, his appointment having been delayed by the premier’s insistence on speaking with the Interior Minister first. Neither man was in the mood for lengthy opening pleasantries and Wilson soon stated his case, "Premier, the situation of the British First Army remains grave even though there have been some progress evacuating parts of it south---"
"---Progress? An army moving backwards is your definition of progress. I have seen the maps and seen how much sacred French soil you have surrendered to the Boche and I am not pleased."
"We had not choice, Premier. The German advance through Crecy Forest has made the position of First Army too precarious."
"So you have come here to beg for French divisions?. I presume you already talked to General Joffre and were refused."
"Well, he gave us a single weak cavalry unit which is of little use in this situation. We need at least 2 infantry divisions and we need them very quickly. As the Minister of War you can order General Joffre to do this."
"Yes, I can. I am in charge. General Joffre answers to me. Did he tell you that I ordered him to liberate Compiegne?"
"He vaguely mentioned an imminent offensive of grave importance. But surely the commitment of a mere 2 divisions would not upset your plans."
"Let me ask you this. Why has Britain not sent more divisions herself? I know you have been holding back some of your Territorial Force divisions."
"Those divisions are needed to protect England from invasion, premier."
"So you are not sending any of them to Ireland."
"Uh, well yes we are, but that’s—"
"How many are you sending to Ireland? Tell me the truth."
"We are in the process of sending 2 divisions to Ireland."
"So you can reinforce Ireland but not France. Irish soil is worth more to you than French soill, but yes?"
General Henry Wilson of County Longford was usually rather fond of the French but their premier had just stepped over the line. "I must protest! That is most unfair, premier! Britain has come to your aid in this war and you have no right to deny us the right to criticize us for doing what is necessary to resist German aggression."
"I have no time for a shouting match with you, General Wilson. Let me make it simple for you. You want two French infantry divisions to assist in driving the Germans away from Nolette, I will give you them but two conditions must be met. My first condition is that you must commit one more of your divisions to France. My second condition is that you must refrain from surrender anymore sacred French soil. Is that clear?"
"---But nothing, General Wilson! Those are my terms. Do not try my patience by trying to persuade me to change my mind."
------Dublin Castle 1030 hrs
The packet boat ferrying General Hamilton was due to arrive at Kingstown in less than hour. When he awoke this morning Lord Curzon had wanted to wait until Hamilton arrived for his formal briefing. But when Under Secretary Nathan informed him of certain unsettling developments Curzon decided that he could not afford to wait.
The Viceroy began with the topic which worried him most, "There is a rising underway in Enniscorthy as we speak! There is also that bizarre incident this morning in County Cork. Major Vane, have you reached any conclusions about what is happening in Tipperary?"
"Yes, Your Excellency. We now believe there is a concentration of rebels in and around Thurles and they appear to be working with the German cavalry raiding northern Tipperary. We learned this morning that a company of the 12th Royal Irish Rifles had been nearly destroyed by the rebels together with the enemy cavalry. The commander of 12th Royal Irish Rifles was killed in that engagement, but the rest of the battalion remains intact."
"Any idea as to size of the rebel force?"
"Not a good one, Your Excellency. It could be merely a few hundred or more than 2,000. We should know better by nightfall."
"Another reason why I was correct not to send troop trains into Tipperary," General Stopford gloated.
"Yes, that now appears to have been a wise decision, General. However it is only a passive measure. We need to take clear offensive action to counter this threat."
"Already done, Your Excellency. I have ordered one battalion from 49th Division to
proceed to Thurles and have sent another to protect Kilkenny in case they continue to head east. And I am sending 12th Royal Irish Rifles to Cashel and the 6th Connaught Rangers to Tipperary to cut them off if they should try to retreat to the west."
"And what about the rebels at Enniscorthy?"
General Stopford looked a little less smug and took his time before replying, "That is a wholly new situation, Your Excellency. It may not be all that severe. Perhaps we should wait until the constabulary has a better idea of just---"
"No, no, no! Waiting is far too dangerous. Previously everything has been somewhere where the Germans were able to arm the rebels. Have they managed to get arms all the way to County Wexford? If not then our efforts to disarm have not been completely successful. This rising must be suppressed immediately. You still have two battalions from the 36th Division as a reserve at the Curragh, do you not?"
Stopford hesitated before replying, "I believe so, Your Excellency."
"What’s that? You don’t know for certain, General?"
Taking a visual cue from Major Vane, Stopford answered more vigorously, "Yes, I am sure, Your Excellency. There are two battalions still at the Curragh. Are you proposing sending one of them to Enniscorthy? "
"I most certainly am. See to it immediately. We must nip this in the bud. Furthermore I am ordering the resumption of curfews for all of Ireland—that includes Ulster. Mr. Birrell, Mr. Nathan did you hear that."
"Yes, Your Excellency," both replied in unison. Birrell decided not to protest this decision. It did not make much difference. Lord Curzon’s near dictatorial reign would end when General Hamilton arrived. London hade already it abundantly clear that General Hamilton would have the authority to override any decision of the Lord Lieutenant. Birrell was well aware of the enmity between Curzon and Kitchener and did not think that boded well for the days ahead.
------BEF HQ Abbeville 1145 hrs
Field Marshal French’s mood had oscillated during the last week. He had felt deep despair when the High Seas Fleet entered the Channel and bombarded I Army Corps. When they left the Channel sooner than expected, so he could again receive supplies from England, his mood lightened. He had accepted that a withdrawal of First Army was necessary, despite the wails of protest issuing from Paris. For a while the evacuation looked to be going well as a result of simultaneous counterattacks by First Army, Second Army and the Belgians against the German salient though it t was French’s opinion that First Army’s attack was the more important one.
After that came a flurry of events. The Prussian Guards had overwhelmed a portion of Cavalry and leveraged their way into Nolette. By the time that bit of devastating news had reached BEF HQ, the situation had changed once again. Counterattacks by 28th and 48th Divisions had ejected the Prussians from Nolette. At first French thought everything had been restored but now it appeared that the Germans remained dangerously close to the critical road. Even by night it was dangerous to use. Haig had tried to worm 9 batteries of heavy artillery through during the night. In the process one battery of 60 pounders had suffered heavy losses to men and horses from shrapnel shells and had only made it through by abandoning some supply wagons and using their horses to transport the guns, none of which were damaged. The seventh battery attempting transit was armed with 6" 30cwt howitzers. It was hit by a mix of shrapnel and HE shells. This caused severe confusion. Most of this battery was still in the danger zone when the sun rose and 3 howitzers ended up being destroyed. Furthermore it had clogged the road preventing the other two batteries from making their transit.
These losses were hardly catastrophic but they demonstrated that the Germans needed to be pushed back further. Despite the using of fishing boats the First Army was not receiving adequate supplies and had begun slaughtering horses for food. For nearly any general this situation was a cause for serious concern. For Sir John French it was a cause for depression. Finally he decided to stop blaming himself. So who was to blame? He decided it must be Kitchener’s fault for not sending him enough artillery shells and Smith-Dorrien as well for too many reasons to enumerate. He expressed his ire at Kitchener first by sending a stinging cable to the War Office insisting that all artillery shells being produced be delivered to France because the critical situation of First Army was more important than the Balkans or even Ireland. Then a half hour ago General Wilson called from Paris and relayed Clemenceau’s terms for rendering assistance. .Henry was very upset at Clemenceau’s attitude but Sir John French thought it presented a glimmer of hope despite the premier’s arrogance. He sent another cable to the War Office stating the now strengthened case for sending another Territorial division from Britain as reinforcement.
He was beginning to feel better, much better, when he received a telephone call from Second Army HQ. General Horace Smith-Dorrien was on the line.
"The German advance has turned the position of IV Army Corps into exposed salient subject to enfilading fire. Since yesterday morning the German artillery fire has slackened off on the Belgian 5th Division and instead they are concentrating more and more on exploiting the vulnerability of IV Army Corps. This morning it has gotten worse with a near constant barrage. General Rawlinson is outgunned and his howitzer and 60 pounder batteries have run out of ammunition."
"I know, I know. I concede that we are not getting enough shells. I am working on that."
"The shortage of shells merely aggravates the problem, Marshal. The real problem is that the position of IV Army Corps is too exposed and they need to withdraw---"
Talking to Smith-Dorrien almost always made French angry but now it was reaching a higher level. Looking closely at his map he asked pointedly, "Withdraw? Just how much of a withdrawal are you suggesting?"
"To a line running through Canchy and Agenvillers, sir"
"Hmm, let’s see. Here’s Canchy---why that is well over three miles!"
"It is necessary, sir. Not only will it solve the vulnerability of IV Army Corps but it will shorten our lines enough so we can use most of 7th Division to counterattack at Nouvion "
When the Great War began a tactical withdrawal of 3 or 4 miles was considered to be fairly small. With the transition into positional warfare that was now considered quite large. If Horace wished to withdraw only one mile, he could probably obscure it so Clemenceau didn’t realize it. French’s anger became a furnace.
"The problems of IV Army Corps pale in comparison to those of First Army. You do not need 7th Division. You now have 1st Division and 6 more batteries of heavy artillery. I forbid any withdrawal on the part of IV Army Corps. Instead I hereby order you to launch a counterattack on the German salient before dark. Get the Belgies to help you. Am I clear?"
French now heard strange muffled noises coming over the telephone. He had a hunch that Smith-Dorrien had covered the mouthpiece with his hand and was cursing up a blue blizzard.
"Hello! General Smith-Dorrien, are you still there? Hello!"
Smith-Dorrien’s voice finally came back over the line. The voice sounded raspy and hoarse. "Marshal French, I must protest in the strongest possible terms. The Belgians and ourselves just barely held off a powerful German attack. We lack the strength to launch a major attack. The RGA batteries cannot be properly readied before nightfall---"
"---ENOUGH! I have had it with you, Horace. Had it, had it, had it! This is the final straw. I am hereby relieving you of command. General Plumer is to take over command of Second Army effective immediately. Locate him and tell him to call me immediately."
"WHAT THE BLOODY FUCKIN" HELL!!!!!"
"Curb your insolent tongue, general! One more foul word out of you and I will have you arrested. Get me General Plumer immediately! After that pack your bags. I am sending you back to England."
"Death grins at my elbow. I cannot get him out of my thoughts. He is fed up with the old and sick—only the flower of the flock will serve him now, for God has started a celestial spring cleaning, and our star is to be scrubbed bright with the blood of our bravest and best."
----Ireland Diary, General Sir Ian Hamilton
------HQ Guard Corps northeast of Nolette 1205 hrs
About 3 hours earlier the commander of the Guard Corps, General Karl Freiherr von Plettenberg upon learning that his overnight attacks had achieved negligible success at a stiff cost in casualties, ordered his corps to cease their attacks and merely hold their ground. When General von Fabeck, the commander of Sixth Army, learned of this he was displeased and decided to pay a visit.
Plettenberg tried hard to explain. "The British are difficult opponents. Our early morning attacks were merely wasting the lives of my men, general. Our total casualties in this battle now exceed 9,000 men. We are close enough to these towns that the key road that our artillery makes it dangerous for the British to use even by night. It is better to let the British bleed themselves dry trying to push us back."
"The British First Army is slipping out of our grasp! We need to shut the door on them! Simply hunkering in your trenches in not enough."
"I have an alternative plan I’d like to suggest. We have good reason to believe that Meerut Division has been badly weakened in the fighting so far. It is now the weakest link in the enemy defenses. Around dusk I expect the British artillery will try to suppress our batteries and thereby facilitate their use of the road during the night. This is what they’ve done in the past. In the twilight remaining after the sun has set I want to concentrate my artillery plus as much as is available from III Bavarian Corps to a brief but rapid bombardment of the vicinity of Ponthoile. My latest intelligence is that this is where the boundary of the Meerut and 28th Divisions lies. In the brief interval between last light and moonrise the 1st Guard Division will assault that sector while 5th Bavarian Infantry Division attacks to the north. I believe we can capture Ponthoile quickly with acceptable casualties. For one thing the British wire barriers in that sector are much thinner than they are around Nolette."
Fabeck looked hard at the tactical map. His immediate reaction was negative, "But even if the attack goes as well as you predict, what does that give us? Yes, I can see how it gives us some advantage against the left wing of the British 28th Division, but exploiting that advantage to roll up their trench line will take time and most likely all we end up with is another small salient. It is not the decisive blow I am looking for."
"If the Indians are hit hard enough by my men and the Bavarians, I think they will crack very badly, general. I know they were very fierce soldiers when we first encountered them last year, but there have been signs that they are experiencing morale problems. We have been getting some deserters from Meerut Division in the last few days. Not a huge number but we so seldom get any deserters from the British Army that this number is significant. They tell us the winter was esp. hard on them and that morale was already sagging when our gas cloud wafted into their midst. They are now badly shaken troops who have been on half rations for nearly a week."
"Again, I find no flaw with your intelligence, but fail to see how this attack will prove decisive."
"If the breakthrough is quick and complete we can continue forward and with a bright moon our attack should be able to retain cohesion, general. If they can continue west for 3 more kilometres before dawn they will reach Morlay."
Suddenly Fabeck was more enthusiastic, "That would slam the door shut on First Army as much just as effectively as capturing Noyelles would."
"Yes, and it is more likely in my professional opinion. I have already taken the liberty of begin preparation, but III Bavarian Corps must be brought into the plan quickly if it is to work."
------Teschen 1215 hrs
"Feldmarschal, I have an urgent telephone call for you from Grossadmiral von Tirpitz in Berlin. Shall I put it through?"
Tirpitz? Conrad had talked at some length with Moltke less than two hours ago. He wondered if he should accept this call. Moltke had not been too bad. "Put him through," Conrad ordered.
"This is Generalfeldmarschal Conrad von Hoetzendorf speaking."
"This is Grossadmiral von Tirpitz. I understand that you spoke with Generalfeldmarschal von Moltke about sending Division Prague to Cuxhaven. He has just told me that the earliest you can send the division is Monday."
"That is correct, Admiral. He had originally asked that it leave tomorrow afternoon but I told him it would take heroic action just to have it ready by Monday."
"Monday is completely unacceptable! I will concede that tomorrow may not be realistic but there is no good reason why it can ready to leave Sunday morning."
"It is not for you to tell what is and is not acceptable. Von Moltke was very reasonable about this. You are his subordinate in that fancy new combined HQ, yes?"
"He has not fully considered the naval aspects of this situation. It is vital that the division be ready to depart Prague on Sunday. Is the issue the availability of trains? We can provided German trains—they come under this office. I will have General Groener—"
"---I am sick of you Germans denigrating the efficiency of our train system! The trains are not the issue. There are other things such as getting the division a cavalry component." Actually scheduling an available train was a problem but Conrad was not going to admit to Tirpitz.
"Waiting for the cavalry should not delay the division’s departure. Cavalry is more useful in Ireland than it is on the Western Front but it is far from critical."
It is if getting Count Tisza out of your hair is a key objective. in this undertaking thought Conrad, who answered, "There are other things as well and I’m not going to enumerate them over the telephone." For instance, that we still haven’t decided on a replacement for the pathetic drunkard currently in command.
"You must resolve those problems as quickly as possible!"
Conrad was annoyed by Tirpitz’s attitude but he was also deeply confused. He still found it strange that the Germans had accepted Kaiser Franz Josef’s bold offer. Surely they must have their own plans that did not in any way anticipate this offer. Compounding the confusion was the impatience on the part of Tirpitz, very much the opposite of Moltke. There were those on Conrad’s staff who had speculated that despite some apparent victories at Limerick and Killarney, the German invasion was encountering some serious difficulty. Part of it was probably that they did not get the huge uprising by the Irish Catholics that they had expected.
"And I must insist that you show some gratitude!"
"I will gladly compose a ten page poem expressing my gratitude to your Emperor and yourself if you get that division on the train before dark on Sunday."
Conrad repressed a chuckle, "Poetry is nice but unfortunately reality remains reality. Sunday is out of the question."
"I fail to see why---"
"--As someone with no experience whatsoever of commanding Army units, that does not surprise me."
Conrad thought he could hear a growling noise emanating from the telephone. Tirpitz’s voice returned, "I did not call to be insulted. I insist in the strongest possible terms that the division be ready for entraining Sunday. If the cavalry element is not available it can be sent later. We will provide the troop trains because I suspect that it is one of real issues despite your denials."
"No, no, no. I am not spending all afternoon arguing with you! That division will not be ready for departure before Monday afternoon. It is simply impossible."
"This is unacceptable! I will speak directly with Archduke Friedrich."
Conrad again wondered at the enormously different attitude of Tirpitz and Moltke. It was now obvious that this German innovation of combining Army and Navy in a single HQ was one of their many ideas which sound good in theory but prove to be bad in practise. He was not at all happy with the idea of this arrogant admiral pestering Archduke Friedrich.. "Listen, Grossadmiral. I have had it with your German arrogance. Preparing the division for Monday was taking heroic efforts on my part which I see now are completely unappreciated. It is not worth the effort. So the division will not depart Prague before Tuesday morning. Contact the Archduke if you must but I am warning you now that if you upset him the departure will be pushed back to Wednesday."
------Madrid 1240 hrs
King Alphonso XIII was eating with his queen, Victoria Eugenie, popularly known as Ena. Their marriage had been a very warm and loving one at first but it had deteriorated in recent years. Ena was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and of her 4 surviving sons 2 were afflicted with the family curse of hemophilia and another became a deaf-mute as the result of a childhood operation. Alphonso seemed to blame his queen for the defects of his offspring and she suspected that he was having affairs.
. Another problem that had arisen between them stemmed from the war. As soon as it was clear that Britain would enter the war Ena began pleading with her husband for Spain to join the Entente was well. His answer to her was that Spain should remain neutral as a war of any duration could bankrupt their government. She did not like this answer but she also learned that some Spanish generals were counselling the King to enter the war on the side of Germany. She was more than a little relieved when her husband gave President Poincare his personal assurance that Spain would not attack France.
When Ena first heard of the British disaster at Dogger Bank, she fainted and when she regained consciousness began again to plead with renewed vigor for Spain to join the Entente. He told her bluntly that if Spain was to enter the losing side of the war it would probably spell the end of the monarchy. Then there had come news of the Battle of Utsire. Ena did not faint this time but she cried for two days afterwards. Again she begged her spouse to join the Entente. When he refused she demanded that at the very he make the dreadnought Espana a gift to the Royal Navy. He answered her by coldly spouting clauses from some obscure treaty. "How dare you quote a mere treaty to me when the very survival of Britain is at stake!" she had railed against husband. He tried in vain to remind her that Spain was now her country.
That was February. Just as Ena was becoming less hysterical, the Connolly Affair began. The Spanish Socialists had seized on it as a pet cause. At first Alphonso thought it was better than they get worked up over a silly Irish fanatic than anything relevant to Spain. Too late he realized that underneath their concern for Connolly lay some domestic discontent. While Spain was enjoying a boom in exports on account of the war, it had resulted in rising prices.
The Spanish government had let the situation get out of control. This morning there were strikes in all the cities. In the rural areas there was less support for the unions. Still the strikes had hurt. This morning King Alphonso had met with the leaders behind the strike. He tried to talk tough but he knew he needed some carrot to augment the stick. He finally agreed to issue a public statement condemning the British government for the unjust execution of James Connolly. In return the leaders agreed to end the general strike at midnight.
Alphonso decided it would be best if the queen heard this from his own lips. This was one of those occasions where "best" means "least unpleasant." He had wanted to wait though until desert, but his queen brought up the topic first, "Is anything being done to end that abominable strike, my dear? For the life of me, these Socialist are so disgusting. The British government suppressed a treasonous rebellion and after due process executed its ring leader. Then as wonderful confirmation of the true nature of the villainy, the Germans invade Ireland. Yet the local rascals ignore the German onslaught and go ahead with a strike which idolizes a pawn of German aggression!"
Alphonso took two gulps of wine then with a deep breath answered, "I met with the union leaders this morning. I got them to end the strike at midnight."
"Oh, wonderful! Did you threaten to have them arrested and shot? What’s wrong? I know that look? I hope you didn’t give into any of their demands."
"Well there was something. A small item of no importance. It only goes to show how silly these people can be."
Ena still did not like the look on Alphonso’s face. With some alarm she asked, "What? What bone did you throw these dogs?"
Alphonso took another gulp of wine then answered, :"I agreed to issue a royal statement, uh, criticizing the British government for the execution of Senor Connoly."
"WHAT! Criticizing the British government. For what? I hope it is for taking too long to do kill the rabid beast. Otherwise there is nothing wrong with Connolly’s execution. Nothing! Have you forgotten how evil these Socialists and anarchists are? Have you forgotten our wedding?"
An anarchist had hurled a bomb at their wedding, killing several bystanders. If Ena had not been looking away she might have been killed as well, and ended up with the blood of the victims splattered on her wedding dress. "Of course not!" Alphonso retorted, "how could I ever forget that!"
"Then why are you criticizing the British government for clamping down on these vermin?"
Alphonso did not have a ready answer to that—he did not want to admit the truth that he was doing what was being expedient--and so he remained silent.
Sensing a small victory Ena continued her attack, "I know who is responsible for this strike. There is an Irishman with a Spanish name going around making speeches that have stirred everyone up. He is obviously a German agent as well as a Socialist."
"His name is de Valera. Apparently his father was a Spaniard. He is probably a German agent as you say. We believe the German embassy is paying his hotel bills. However you are exaggerating his importance. The fire was burning before he came to our country."
"He fanned the flames, which otherwise would have died out! You should arrest him and hand him over to the custody of the British government."
Alphonso’s first reaction was to dismiss this suggestion as silly spite on his wife’s part. But then he began to see some possible merit in it. The British legation had yesterday expressed an interest on getting their hands on Senor de Valera. While they did not appreciate what he was doing in Spain they were much more concerned about what he might do if he returned to Dublin. The British government would not like the declaration on Connolly. They would be even more upset if they learned that Alphonso had made sure the German destroyer was refuelled as quickly as possible. And they would be even more upset if they knew about the 3 man team the destroyer left behind. The king had agreed to do a very small favour for the Germans and to listen to their proposals, but it is very possible that Entente may see that in a different light. Despite giving his word of honor to Poincare the Entente still did not completely trust him. Giving them Connolly might serve to appease them.
------Ahwaz (Persia) 1320 hrs
With the arrival of additional artillery shells the Ottoman forces in Ahwaz expelled the proBritish Marsh Arabs and Persians holding the east bank of the city. Meanwhile Major Katz led a small contingent of Ottoman engineers escorted by half a battalion to attack the pipeline. There was a small contingent of Persian mounted infantry guarding the pipeline. After a brief exchange of gunfire they realized they were badly outnumbered, mounted their horses and rode off to the northeast. Soon afterwards charges detonated and the flow of oil was stopped.
------Dublin Castle 1345 hrs
General Sir Ian Hamilton and his staff had arrived. The general hadn’t eaten and asked Lord Curzon to talk with him in private while he ate. They started out by talking about their respective experiences in India. .That portion of the conversation was an utter delight to the Viceroy. General Hamilton’s intellect and breadth of experience impressed him deeply. In turn the general seemed to want to establish a good rapport with Curzon. However their budding mutual affection was haunted by the distant shadow of Lord Kitchener acting as an unwanted chaperon.
Eventually the topic shifted to the current situation. "I considered setting up my headquarters in the Curragh, but decided it would be best if I remain in Dublin," Hamilton commented.
There was nothing the least bit hostile in either the general’s expression or tone as he said that. Indeed he was still acting as the epitome of a good houseguest. Still Curzon found it threatening. Was Sir Ian staying in Dublin because London wanted him to overrule Curzon’s own authority?
"Hmm. I would think there would be advantages to being closer to the front," he replied cautiously.
"That is more important for the corps and still more the division commanders. If I was to get too close they might feel I was breathing down their necks. Very unprofessional. One should always show courtesy and respect to fellow officers."
Hamilton sounded very sincere. but nevertheless Curzon still felt he was about to be emasculated. He decided upon a test, "Before you arrived I decided to reimpose curfews in all of Ireland. This uprising in County Wesford has me most disturbed. London has tried to downplay the insurrection element to our situation and I have done everything in my power to prevent one, but I worry that London is being too sanguine."
"Major Vane has already told me about the curfews," General Hamilton replied tersely.
Curzon waited for a second part to that reply indicating the general was going to countermand his orders, but nothing further came and the expression on his face remained warm. "London may not be happy I included Ulster," he said.
"In that case we will need to review the curfew policy again tomorrow. By then we will have a better handle on just what’s going on in Tipperary and Wexford. For the time being I am more worried about the Germans at Macroom."
Aha! He said ‘we’ thought George Curzon that means he does intend to interfere with matters that are not purely military.
------HQ Belgian 5th Division (near Forest l’Abbaye) 1435 hrs
King Albert was starting to feel a little less angry towards the British. He forced himself to acknowledge that it was incorrect to blame General Smith-Dorrien for his wife’s injury. He recalled how impressed he was when Smith-Dorrien had personally led an infantry assault, even though it seemed to his mind as if that event had been many years ago. The British did not properly appreciate the Belgian situation but it was unfair to berate General Smith-Dorrien. King Albert was even starting to contemplate the possibility of making a limited counterattack in conjunction with the British—but only if Smith-Dorrien convinced him of its soundness.
One of his aides now approached. "Your Majesty, we have received telegrams from the British Second Army---"
Albert cut him off, "---Let me guess. General Smith-Dorrien is requesting that we make another attack? Am I right?"
"Yes and no, Your Majesty. General Smith-Dorrien is no longer in command of Second Army. General Plumer is now in command and it is he who requests that we make a major attack during the night."
For a few seconds King Albert felt a touch of vertigo. "Were you informed as to why General Smith-Dorrien is no longer in command?" he asked .worriedly.
"We have not informed as to why General Smith-Dorrien has been relieved of command, Your Majesty."
Albert did not know General Plumer personally as he did Smith-Dorrien. "I know my response now with consulting with my own generals. Send a telegram to General Plumer that we will strive to hold our current position but are unable to mount an attack of any size."
------Macroom (Cork) 1500 hrs
With more artillery shells beginning to arrive from Foynes, General von Gyssling now decided to renew his artillery duel with the British 16th Division. This time he found that the British no longer wished to dominate but merely survive. They held back some of the remaining 15 pounders for defending against German infantry attacks. So while German batteries inflicted considerably more harm than they suffered their infantry were not able to capitalize on it esp. as they had only 2 real axes of attack—from Millsteet to the north and Ballyvourney to the northwest.
------War Office 1605 hrs
The War Committee had now become greatly worried about the plight of First Army as well as the situation in Ireland and so they decided to pay Lord Kitchener a visit.
"Is the transport of the Welsh and West Riding Divisions to Ireland proceeding according to plan, Lord Kitchener?" asked Bonar Law, "Will it be completed before noon tomorrow?"
"Yes, they are on schedule, Prime Minister."
"Splendid! With the addition of both West Riding and the Welsh Division I am confident that the Germans will soon be overwhelmed in Ireland. However in our great concern for Ireland, I worry that we may have been neglecting the plight of First Army. Once the High Seas Fleet left the Channel and we could resume the transport of supplies by sea we assumed the worst over. There was also a report from you that a counterattack had driven the Germans back from a key junction. However it now appears that at least a portion of First Army remains in some peril. Am I correct in that assessment?"
As usual a steely hardness issued from Lord Kitchener’s eyes, "There have been some recent developments in France what would support that conclusion, Prime Minister."
"But there is one development that is a cause for hope," said Carson, "after being frustrated by Joffre’s intransigence, General Wilson boldly decided to take our case directly to premier Clemenceau, who is the Minister of War as well, and negotiated a deal whereupon the French will provide two infantry divisions as long as we send one more division to France. This should be the answer to our problems."
"Correct me if I am wrong, Lord Kitchener, but as I understand it, the Northumbrian Division is currently stationed right outside London as a reserve that can rapidly be rushed to counterattack an enemy beachhead by rail," Lloyd-George added.
"Your understanding is correct, Chancellor."
"Is there a suitable division that can replace it in that role speedily?" asked Bonar Law.
"The Highland division would be the best replacement, Prime Minister."
"I know His Majesty will be furious if he learns that after counselling us on the dire threat of a German invasion of England we promptly removed 3 divisions from our home defense but I see no practical alternative. How soon can Northumbrian Division arrive in France?"
Kitchener thought it over, "Most if not all of the division can be at a south coast port ready for embarkation by noon tomorrow if a decision is reached within the next hour."
"Why take a bloody hour. I am all for doing it now," Bonar Law announced, "what say you, Chancellor, First Lord?"
Carson did not hesitate, "I concur, Prime Minister."
Lloyd-George did hesitate. Once again he found himself speculating about whether the British government had gone from making wartime decisions way too slowly under Asquith to too quickly in the current War Committee.
Surprised at the lack of a quick response, Bonar Law asked, "Is there something you feel needs further clarification or discussion, David?"
"I am merely worried about King George’s reaction ere he learns of this. But as you say I must agree with you that the situation compels us to act and act quickly."
------Washington D.C. 1630 hrs (GMT)
Count von Bernstorff, the German ambassador had received some instructions from Berlin via the transatlantic ratio station at Sayville last night. There were several tasks he needed to do quickly. One of the more disagreeable involved a hastily arranged meeting with the Austro-Hungarian ambassador, Dr. Constantin Theodor Dumba.
"What is the matter, Count?" asked a concerned Dumba, "Is there indication that the United States is moving towards entering the war against us? I do not wish to sound critical but your invasion of Ireland is being used by the Entente’s propagandists."
Bernstorff shook his and tried to be reassuring, "There is nothing to be worried about on that score. Even amongst the Republicans Taft for instance is still calling for neutrality." The Count had some doubts of his own about what he had said, but outwardly exuded the utmost confidence, "No, I came here bring good news. In the next two weeks an opportunity may arise allowing some of our men to return directly to Europe. As discreetly as possible I want you to identify any former officers and senior NCO’s currently living in the United States who would be willing to return to Europe to fight for their homeland.. Did you just hear me just say discreetly? We cannot afford to have a repetition of your blatant recruitment effort. This time we are looking for quality more than quantity."
"Hmm. This is all very sudden, Count. Could you share any details about how this is going to happen and how soon?"
"So far I have been told next to nothing, other that they should be readily available on the northeast coast," von Bernstoff replied. This was not completely honest either. He knew a few details but he was not going to share them with Dumba, "But I get the distinct impression the sooner the better. You have at least some worthy individuals ready by the end of next week."
"The end of next week! God in Heaven! I don’t know how many we can get by then."
"Get as many as you can. But I must again emphasize the need for discretion. We are soon going to test some of the limits of this masterpiece of hypocrisy which President Wilson calls his neutrality policy."
------Boston 1715 hrs
The former major of Boston, John Francis Fitzgerald, popularly called ‘Honey Fitz’ was having lunch with a former political rival, Patrick Kennedy, who had since become a close personal. "Well my daughter doing?" he asked, "Hope your boy’s been treating her right. Is he all anxious? The first child is always the hardest."
"Rose if doing well enough. Doctors still think it will be in July. Joe is holding up. I’m real proud of him. He’s got a lot of gumption going for him."
"You can sure say that again. What with being the youngest bank president in the country and still finding time for my daughter."
Kennedy paused to take two more spoonfuls of clam chowder. Fitzgerald was having the same it being Friday. He had something else to talk about besides his coming grandchild, "Curley called me this morning," he said referring to the current mayor of Boston. Fitzgerald had multiple reasons for not liking Curley, many of them dealing with the political tricks he used to become mayor. Kennedy did not care much for Curley but needed to deal with him from time to time. And Curley for all his faults was an Irishman, not one of those insufferable Brahmins.
"Oh, and what did the our great and might mayor want?" asked Honey Fitz guardedly.
"He is upset over the heated exchange in the Senate yesterday between our very own Henry Cabot Lodge and Senator O’Gorman about the German invasion. He wants the Irish voters in Massachusetts to show that they do not agree with the England loving bilge pouring out of our senior senator. He’s considering staging a public rally in Boston Sunday afternoon to denounce Lodge and support O’Gorman."
"Well this is something of a turnabout considering that he gave that speech last year saying he wanted the English to achieve victory in this war."
"I think that was one of those rare occasions where his political instincts weren’t working. I don’t think he expected the hornet’s nest he stirred up."
. "And ever since Bonar Law became Prime Minister he has tried to avoid the subject and when he cannot he gives an ambiguous comment. It now looks like his position is shifting again. Was he using you as a sounding board to see how far he can go?"
Kennedy nodded "That’s pretty much the long and short of it. He doesn’t consider me a friend by a long shot but at least a fellow Irish politician who has a sense of what Irish Americans feel."
"And just how do they feel about the invasion? I am sensing more confusion that anything else."
Kennedy stopped grinning and looked pensive, "Aye, when I first heard about the Germans landing in Ireland, I didn’t know what to think. Part of me was worried that the damn Huns were going to do to Ireland what they did to Belgium. But another part of me wondered if this was the opportunity the Irish Catholics have wanted for so many centuries. I guess down deep I’m one of those lapsed Fenians."
"Me too, Pat. I thought we had put Fenianism behind us, locked it up in the attic along with all the other old junk we’re never going to use but can’t bear to throw away. To the tell the plain truth, Part of me is more than a little disappointed more that Irishmen are not rising up. "
"The British keep saying it’s at most 2,000 Fenians. Something did happen in County Galway and the Brits smashed it as quickly possible, while they are not doing so well the Germans. . Curley’s parents came from Galway. That’s probably one thing goading him in all of this."
"Well the one breed of Irishmen who think they’ve figured out the invasion and what it means for Ireland are the pox ridden Orangemen. It’s all the fault of the Catholics as far as they are concerned and since 2,000 or so Catholics are aiding the Germans it means none of them deserves Home Rule. They give speeches saying that and so stupid are they that they don’t realize that when a real Irishmen hears that sort of crap he starts to wonder if there might be something to Fenianism after all. Speaking of which, did the mayor happen to say whether he’s goin’ to invite John Devoy, Tom Clarke or Jim Larkin."
Kennedy shook his head, "He made it clear he’s not ready to embrace that group. He is thinking of asking Senator O’Gorman to come but doesn’t know if he can make it on short notice."
"And did the weasel ask you to talk to me into giving my support and making an appearance? Probably figures he has a better chance if you did the askin’."
Kennedy shrugged then nodded, "That precisely what he did. Well are you going? I am Corley is one mean son of a bitch but at least he’s an Irish son of bitch. Lodge on the other hand is one of those Brahmin Republican devils from the pit of hell. I still haven’t made up my mind on this invasion and what it means for the Irish people."
"Me too, Pat. Me too."
------Killorglin (Kerry) 1815 hrs
As part of his battalion’s training Major Rommel sent the 1st company of his battalion out on a march that went first to Castlemaine and then on to Killorglin. In addition to training Rommel had another purpose. His company #1 came from this area and he was hoping to rustle up some recruits. Rommel sent the O’Rahilly along with them to give a vivid account of the Battle of Killarney to the local townspeople, inflating just a wee bit the role of the Irish Volunteers in that epic struggle. Some of the local Redmondites loudly denounced them all as traitors and few found it hard to believe that a German officer could speak Irish but others were clearly enthralled. The O’Rahilly made it a point to mention the support detachment in Killarney where men not healthy enough for combat could still serve an important role. Rommel had enjoyed some modest success so far with this idea in Killarney where a dozen elderly men not previously part of the Volunteers had come forward to join this unit.
Originally it had been planned for the company to spend the night at Killorglin. Just before he left Rommel revised those instructions. He wanted #1 company to return after dark as he was considering taking two other companies out on a combat mission. So they would be marching out soon. It had been a productive excursion. The O’Rahilly had gained 52 men for Rommel this day—17 Irish Volunteers who had previously failed to muster, 21 converted Redmondites, 5 young lads and 9 elderly men willing to join his support unit, including a physician. . Two women also joined but this no longer bothered him.
------Manhattan 1935 hrs
The German military attaché, Hauptmann von Papen had arranged for the prominent banker, Paul Warburg to meet with him in an inconspicuous location on short notice. Papen was relieved to be able to talk with Warburg before Sabbath began. After a brief exchange of civilities, von Papen got to the point, "We received some important wireless communication from Berlin late last night. They want us to make large purchases of certain key materials such as copper, rubber and gasoline that the British have treated as contraband."
"And so you want Kuhn, Loeb to extend you more credit? How soon?"
"Yes, we would like more credit and very soon. Berlin wants ships to begin departing Thursday."
Warburg arched an eyebrow and scowled, "It would be better if we had more time. I will see what can be done. Getting other banks to assist will be nearly impossible. The voices in favour of America entering the war on the side of the Entente have become more intense since Ireland was invaded."
"Berlin apparently thought it would have the opposite effect. The count is blaming Devoy and Casement for misleading us. Still there is little sign that Roosevelt and Lodge are persuading people not already persuaded."
"Perhaps that is true but it is enough to scare the other banks. They will not want to extend credit because they think there is too much risk now that America might declare war on Germany. And as we will be taking up all the risk ourselves! Our firm could be in jeopardy if we extend too much and America declares war."
Papen shook his head in disgust, "You Jews that is all you ever think about."
Warburg was outraged. "Hauptmann von Papen, that was uncalled for! My devotion to Germany has been amply demonstrated on numerous occasions.
Papen bit his lip and sighed. Bernstorff will boil me in oil if Kuhn, Loeb failed to extend any credit on account of my candor. "I spoke hastily, Herr Warburg. Please accept my sincerest apology. I am certain that your esteemed firm extend what credit it can. I am just as certain that it will do your firm great good. . When this war is over you will be so rich the silly Americans will be calling you Warbucks."
------Ponthoilte (Picardy) 2105 hrs
The attack suggested by Freiherr von Plattenberg had gone forward. The British batteries had made a furious bombardment at 1900 hrs to suppress the German batteries, which waited 15 minutes before replying. Then they did some batteries had a counterbattery mission while others concentrated on the portion of Meerut Division’s trenches designated for the infantry assault by the 1st Guard and 5th Bavarian Divisions. This assault began at 1945 hrs.
The resistance was not as intense as if was in the vicinity of Nolette. The wire was not as thick and the defenders had been seriously weakened from the beginning of Second Crecy Forest when they had suffered in the initial gas cloud. Their resistance of the defenders varied. In some portions there was fierce hand to hand fighting but in others the Germans captured a substantial number and in still others the defenders quickly retreated.
With the news of Clemenceau’s encouraging offer, Sir John French and General Haig decided to concentrate on using the key road to bring supplies to First Army and not to withdraw any more units. With last twinge of twilight a stream of more than 300 motor trucks sped up the road to First Army. Half of what they carried was fodder as Haig wanted not to slay any more horses. The Germans had expected another attempt to use the road by night and suspected the period before moonrise would have the heaviest traffic. They had set aside 2 batteries of 77mm guns previously registered on the road for harassment. They alternated in a sporadic bombardment of the road using a mix of shrapnel and HE. When the moon rose it only got worse. The brave men of the ASC units involved continued on despite the shelling. Nearly a quarter of them were injured and 47 trucks were disabled
------northeast of Cahersiveen (Kerry) 2135 hrs
The 2nd battalion 11th Bavarian Infantry Regiment continued their advance along the Ring of Kerry. It was hoped that they could get some light fishing boats near Portmagee with the help of the Irish Volunteers so they could raid Valentia Island with its cable station. First though they were to make contact with the small company of Irish Volunteers at Cahersiveen. During the day they had worried about being shelled by British gunboats in nearby Kenmare Bay and had marched in small groups. The Irish Volunteers they had sent on ahead to make contact wither comrades at Cahersiveen had failed to return. Their lead company was in a dispersed formation when it suddenly shrapnel shells rained down on them. It was not warships that were shelling them but 13 pounders from the Horse Artillery training range at Glenbeigh they had had captured yesterday. Being trainers the gunners were very good but they were firing by moonlight and their shells were fairly small. Casualties were not huge but they were enough to cause the battalion to make a prompt retreat.
------Eyeries (Cork) 2150 hrs
The coastal road along Kenmare Bay had gradually dried out during the afternoon. The Bavarian Jaeger Regiment had made better progress. The regiment now turned to the southeast following the narrow road that that wormed its way through the Slieve Mirkish Mountains towards Castletown Bere. The attack on Berehaven naval base was two days behind schedule. The regimental commander was well aware of just how important this assault was to the success of Operation Unicorn. He was determined that it would be postponed any further, but he was also deeply worried.
------Waterville (Kerry) 2205 hrs
Rommel had an interesting assortment of captured motor vehicles available to him in Killarney. The roads had dried out during the day and he secured General von Gyssling’s reluctant approval to give his ideas on motorized warfare another test. Rommel decided to take his 2nd (Killarney) and 4th (Millstreet) companies to try to capture the cable stations at Waterville and Ballinskelligs. It would be the baptism of fire for the Cork men in #4 company. German intelligence was very spotty about enemy strength in the Ring of Kerry and so this mission was as much a reconnaissance as a coup de main.
Gyssling had put a team of 9 Bavarian pioneers under Rommel’s command and he decided to take them along. He also had the temporary use of an English speaking gunner from one of the Bavarian machine gun companies who was helping to train the Irish machine gun section. Rommel decided to take him along with one of his two Vickers machine guns. He was also provided with a pair of Bavarian telegraph specialists. One of the men in 2nd company had also had some experience as a telegraph operator. There was a small ‘company’ of Irish Volunteer near Waterville. Jim Stack knew two of its members and so Rommel took him along as well. He would not take any of the 7 Irishmen who joined 2nd Company this day as they not had enough time to assimilate. Rommel’s motor transport consisted of 3 buses, 11 trucks and 9 cars. There were a few more cars and trucks he could have taken but decided to take only those that looked to be in good running condition.
The Irishmen knew of a road in acceptable condition that ran down the axis of the Ring of Kerry, going through a valley in the western portion of the MacGillycuddy Reeks. When they set out there was only starlight but the moon rose before they reached Lissatinning Bridges. Soon afterwards one of the trucks broke down and when Rommel decided it could not be quickly repaired he squeezed its crew onto other vehicles and reluctantly abandoned it and pressed on. Soon afterwards there was another delay as a flock of sheep blocked the road for a while.
As they neared Waterville Rommel ordered all headlights extinguished. At the outskirts of the town they encountered a roadblock with 3 constables. Rommel was driving the lead car, a Cadillac. Two of the Irishmen in the car were armed with automatic shotguns. One of the constables was waving for them to stop while the other two had readied their rifles. Approaching the roadblock first slowed and then accelerated switching on the electric headlamps which temporarily dazzled the constables. One managed to fire a single round which missed. The head constable at the last second jumped out the path of the speeding Cadillac which crashed through the roadblock. Meanwhile Irish Volunteers jumped out from the cars and trucks behind him. One constable had been killed by a shotgun blast and the other two captured.
Wasting no time Rommel lead his band into Waterville, which before the advent of the transatlantic cable was only a tiny fishing village. Two days ago a platoon of Royal Marines had landed there to reinforce the RIC and handful of poorly armed militia. At this hour only a pair of Marines guarded the gate to the cable station. Rommel repeated his trick with the headlights and took the gate so he did need the pioneers to blast it open. . Approaching the building itself there were two more Marines on guard outside. While overcoming these guards that Rommel suffered his first casualty when one of the men in the car with him took a bullet in the windpipe.
Rommel’s men quickly secured the building. They brought the machinegun inside and waited for counterattack. Rommel placed 4th company inside the building and hid 2nd company behind the motor vehicles which he parked to the side. The rest of the Royal Marines plus a few constables arrived and promptly charged the building. The defenders were told to hold their fire until the machinegun erupted. When it did it a storm of lead tore into the attackers. The fire coming from the building was soon augmented by the men of the 2nd company emerging from behind the vehicles. More than half of the attackers were quickly mowed down. As the rest tried to retreat Rommel ordered the 2nd company to charge.
------Coachford (Cork) 2250 hrs
It was clear night sky for a change. The nearly full moon had risen giving Julius a good view of the RIC station. He was beginning to get the hang of the Vickers machinegun and quickly guided the stream of lead to its target. Meanwhile the Irish Volunteers practised with their rifle grenades. One of them was complaining quite loudly that the recoil had injured his elbow. As before the combination of machinegun fire and rifle grenades soon persuaded the defenders to surrender. This time there were four of them. One appeared to be wounded in the lower right leg, probably from a ricochet.
Ballyvourney Company had already cut the communication wires linking Coachford with Cork and Macroom. They had also made contact with the local company of Irish Volunteers. Thirteen of the 55 men on their roster had already showed up. Meanwhile the rest of the company had seized control of the town including the train station. Ballyvourney Company had some dynamite and Flynn planned to blow up a section of the narrow gauge rail track before midnight.
There was something that was more important for the immediate moment. A pair of brothers named Hanrahan from Macroom Company had joined Ballyvourney Company. Flynn had been worried that they might be informants, even though two members of his own company recalled meeting them on at least one occasion. He now had them brought to him. One brother was in his mid 20’s the other merely in his teens. Flynn addressed the elder brother, "You think you can sneak into Macroom tonight and bring back most of your company by dawn?"
The elder brother nodded eagerly, "I think we can do it, but we needst to be leaving as quickly as possible." The younger brother looked even more enthusiastic.
"No, I just want you to go. Your brother stays here with us."
"I would like very much to take me previous little brother with me."
"No. The patrols are more likely to catch you if both of you go, esp. with the bright moon."
"Nah, I think we will be able avoid getting caught. We both know this area real well."
Flynn suddenly took out his sidearm and pointed it menacingly at the younger brother who whitened. "Your brother will stay here with us. If you bring back constables or British soldiers so help me God I’ll put three bullets in his belly. Are we clear?
------Blarney (Cork) 2310 hrs
Maj. Gen Lindley, the commander of the 53rd (Welsh) Division had set up his temporary HQ in Blarney. Castle to the west of Cork city. This morning he had landed at the Cobh with his staff, the 158th (North Wales) Brigade, 159th (Cheshire) Brigade, the CCLXVII (Cheshire) Artillery Brigade, the 53rd Signal Company and the 2nd Welsh field ambulance company. The rest of his division was due to arrive in Cork tomorrow. There was however some potential for problems with his third infantry brigade, the 160th (Welsh Border) Brigade. Last Saturday while the Germans were landing in Ireland, the Welsh Division was undergoing a major reorganization and it was most severe in the Welsh Border Brigade which essentially rebuilt with 4 new battalions—one of which, the Kent Composite Battalion had been recently patched together from companies drawn from different battalions.
It was therefore came as something of a shock when Lindley learned that his division had been selected to go to Ireland to help destroy the Germans before the deadline set by the Prime Minister’s so called Fortnight Speech. There had been other deficiencies as well. His division lacked either a cavalry squadron or a cyclist company for reconnaissance. Kitchener told him that the VII Army Corps also included an entire brigade of yeomanry so that should not present a problem but since arriving in Ireland none of its squadrons were made available to him. He also had a problem in that 2 of his artillery brigades were still armed with 15 pounders and 2 of his howitzer batteries still used obsolete 5" howitzers. His battalion machine gun sections still only had 2 machineguns—more often Maxim’s than Vickers—instead of the 4 weapons they were now supposed to have.
Defending Cork from insurrection was a responsibility he took over from the 16th Division and so he was forced to keep the 1/4th battalion Cheshires inside Cork city. Another problem was his chain of command. General Keir would not arrive until tomorrow so for the time being he was reporting directly to General Hamilton in Dublin. His communication with 16th Division had originally been good and it appeared that General Parsons was fending off the German wolves but now the lines to Maroom had gone ominously silent. Lindley now considered make a dash to rescue 16th Division by the most direct roué—due west along the north bank of the Lee. However his instructions from Hamilton were to bring most of his division north to Banteer and then make a devastating flank attack on the Bavarians through Millstreet.
Lindley also wanted to give his men some rest as what was required of them in the next few days was likely to most taxing on their stamina. There could be several reasons for the current communications problem. He decided for the time being to go ahead with the original plan while sending a messenger by motorcycle to Macroom.
------Fayal (Azores) 2350 hrs (GMT)
"What do you think boss? Mighty strange, eh?"
The question was addressed to George Ward Gray, the Vice President and General Manager of the Commercial Cable Company. Since last August he had been the acting superintendent of that company’s station in the Azores. He had been summoned to the station this night with reports that the company’s station at Waterville had reported being under attack. This was a shock but not a surprise as they had worried about just this possibility since learning that the Germans had landed in nearby Tralee Bay. They had thought—perhaps hoped is the better word--that the Germans would attack the larger and closer Valentia Island station first and there had been no word of an attack there so far.
After the ominous message the cable had gone dead. They had transmitted their own inquiries and nothing came back. Then in the last few minutes they had begun to receive messages from Waterville. They were not what had been expected.
Finally with an ambivalent sigh followed by a curious grin Gray replied, "We were expecting disaster but perhaps and I will emphasize perhaps we have been presented with a tantalizing opportunity."
"What are you going to do, boss?"
"It’s not really my call to make. I am merely going to take some preliminary steps. I am going to send a telegram to Mr. Bennett in Paris routed through Portugal once I figure exactly what to say. He always did like to have an exclusive."
"You are not going to pass this on to Nova Scotia?"
"Heck no, that would cause way too many problems if we decide to go ahead. If Mr. Bennett decides to pass then we will tell them. Understood?"
"Good. Now while I’m working on the correct phrasing of my telegram you go over and talk to our friends at German Atlantic. Have their head man come pay me a visit. Tell him that they may soon find themselves back in business."
REBELLION IN COUNTY WEXFORD
"The government announced late yesterday that rebellion has erupted in the vicinity of Enniscorthy.. It has provided very little details about this event. It also confirmed that Irish rebels have been assisting German cavalry in County Tipperary. In this last traumatic week His Majesty’s Government has persistently tried to minimize the number of Irish traitors aiding the enemy. For several days we have been told that the rebels consist of a small splinter group of the Irish Volunteers and number at most 2,000 of which more than a third had been eliminated to date. We would have liked very much to believe this was true, but recent developments have raised serious concern that the number is actually much higher and we therefore call upon the government to come forward with an accurate assessment. Making a telephone call to Leinster or Connaught has become an adventure strongly suggesting that the treason is widespread and pervasive. We also wonder about the status of the head of the Irish Volunteers, John MacNeill, but the government refused to comment. If the rebellion is the work of a renegade splinter, then why has MacNeill not denounced them as has Redmond? If instead MacNeill is connected with the rebellion and has been arrested then why has he not been charged?
The Lord-Lieutenant reinstated curfews in all of Ireland yesterday must be seen as demonstrating an obvious concern about still further outbreaks of rebellion. It is necessary for us to point out there is no credible threat of rebellion here in Ulster so this allegedly even handed policy of the Viceroy is not at all justified by the facts of the situation. It is not the Ulster Volunteer Force which had been fighting alongside the invaders. No it is the Catholic population of the South that allies itself with Huns. This is the same group Parliament wished to grant dominion over Ireland. Clearly this naïve policy must be revisited once the Germans have been dealt with. "
------The Belfast News-Letter, Saturday May 1, 1915
------BEF HQ Abbeville 0025 hrs
The new commander of British Second Army, Lt. Gen. Sir Herbert Plumer was on the telephone with Sir John French. He gave his frank assessment, "I can make an attack using 1st Division but not much more, sir. King Albert refuses to commit his forces to an offensive action at this time--"
"He is sulking and pouting because his precious queen did a stupid thing and got herself hurt. What sort of a bloody fool lets his wife go running around in ambulances? And because of his stupidity he’s now refusing to help us. Heaven help us."
"I would point out, sir, that Belgian losses in the course of this battle have much more than his consort’s tragic injury. And since it is difficult for him to replace losses there is ample reason---"
"Stop trying to justify that royal dilettante! And don’t you dare try to tell me the Belgian attack was what allowed us to extricate I Army Corps. Despite what Smith-Dorrien probably told you, they played only a very minor role in that, your hear me?"
"Yes, sir. Might I suggest that we focus on the current situation? Our chances of success would be much enhanced if we shorten our lines esp. with regards to IV Army Corps. That will free up additional forces for the point of attack."
"What!? That is the same load of bilge useless Horace tried to feed me. IV Army Corps stays where it is."
"It is too exposed to enfilading fire where it is, esp. as it is receiving inadequate ammunition for proper counter-battery work."
"No, no, no! I did not put you in command of Second Army to hear that Smith-Dorrien was right after all. I expect a major attack by Second Army before 0900."
"I must respectfully protest those orders, sir. If this attack is to have any chance of success I must have more time to prepare. It must wait until at least mid-afternoon."
"Why is it that my orders always being challenged? I am not going to discuss this any further. You have your orders, general. Second Army will begin its attack no later than 0900 hrs."
------Coolbawn Quay (Tipperary) 0205 hrs
A squadron of 7 boats left Scariff Bay just before moonrise and sailed up Lough Derg. They carried a small raiding party of 15 German Marines plus the 86 men of 2nd company East Clare Battalion. The two largest boats each had one of the Russian maxim machineguns installed as armament. The vessels passed to the east of More Island and came ashore to the south of Coolbawn Quay. The Marines landed first. Their objective was to seize the small marina at Coolbawn Quay. There were only 2 guards on duty—a constable and a member of the militia. The latter carried an old Martini-Henry rifle instead of a Lee-Enfield. The marina lacked telephone lines. The Marines quickly eliminated the guards. Alerted by the gunfire an additional party of 2 more constables, 4 militiamen and a single member of 10th Division’s signal company arrived but were promptly dealt with by the Marines and one platoon of 2nd East Clare Company.. The more desirable boats in the marina were seized. The German Marines departed with the captured boats. One of the Marines had been badly wounded and died on the return trip.
The 2nd company East Clare company remained behind. Its members each carried not one but two Moisin-Nagant rifles. Instead of wagons they had 4 carts drawn by mules carrying ammunition. Their mission was to make contact with the company of Tipperary Volunteers at Bossiokane to the northeast. One of the members of 2nd Company East Clare had some acquaintance with the volunteers of Bossikone company. The Irish Brigade Captain now leading 2nd Company East Clare Battalion would assume command of the Bossikone Company and arm them. The combined unit was to refrain from trying to attack Nenagh but instead head north with the hope of stirring up insurrection in King’s County. This mission had developed from the suggestions of Plunkett, Colivet and White about using Lough Derg. This was only the first of several missions being considered.
When they made contact with a local Tipperary Volunteer they learned the British 10th Division had established a small observation post on More Island which used semaphores and heliographs to communicate. One of the smaller boats was sent back to Scariff Bay with that potentially useful though not particularly surprising bit of news.
------Berehaven Naval Base (Cork) 0245 hrs
The Bavarian Jaegers skirted around the outskirts of the town of Castletown Bere because they that attacking the town would give warning to the naval base. Once the Jaegers and pioneers were ashore on Bere Island Castletown Bere would be seized. They had brought folding boats with them for travelling the approx 2 kilometers between the peninsula and the south end of Bere Island. Their minenwerfers could not reach that far but the Jaegers also had a special artillery platoon attached with a pair of 15cm howitzers. These were now in place so as to provide suppressive fire against either of the forts on Bere Island. They were not be used before the first assault wave which consisted of the 2nd Bavarian Jaeger Battalion and a platoon of pioneers had reached the island.
The Jaegers would have preferred some heavy clouds to blot out the bright moon this night, but the sky was clear. The boats slipped into waters of Bantry Bay and proceeded to the island. When they got within 300 yards of the beach they could see dug in British soldiers dug in on the beach waiting for them. Flares were fired into the night sky and a searchlight from the fort lathed the waters. First one then another machinegun began firing which was soon accompanied by rapid rifle fire. Armed trawlers out so sea approached and opened fire with light cannons and machineguns. Many of the attacking Germans were killed in the water and the few that made it to Bere Island did not last long. .Two things prevented complete destruction of the 1st Bavarian Jaeger Battalion. The first and most important was that the battalion commander realized the hopelessness of his situation and called a retreat shortly before he perished. Secondly the regimental commander also quickly realized what was happening and ordered the howitzer platoon to commence fire which caused the British some distraction and a handful of casualties. The battalion’s machinegun and cyclist companies had yet to board their boats and were spared. Over 500 of the attacking Jaegers disappeared, either dead or captured. Of those the Jaegers that made it back to the Beara Peninsula, 91 were wounded. The accompanying pioneers fared even worse. Only 5 returned and 3 of them were wounded.
The ordeal of the Bavarian Jaeger Regiment was not completely over as British warships in Bantry Bay began firing on their positions on the Beara Peninsula. Even with a bright moon the effectiveness of this bombardment was moderate. It caused massive disruption amongst the Jaegers and caused 250 more casualties and demolished a light minenwerfer and 2 machineguns. .
------Ballinskelligs (Kerry) 0425 hrs
Leaving his 4th company to mop up resistance in Waterville, Rommel rashly decided to try to seize the cable station at Ballinskelligs with his 2nd company. There he discovered the defenders had received ample warning via their cables that Waterville had been attacked. A hasty assault had nearly cost Rommel his life. The Cadillac he was driving was disabled by enemy fire. The vehicle caught fire and was destroyed by a violent gas tank explosion. He also had 5 men killed, 7 men wounded (incl. one of the German pioneers) and a pair captured. In frustration he packed his men back into their motor vehicles and sped back to Waterville. There he found a small local company of Irish Volunteers had been contacted and were beginning to assemble. There was a small batch of Royal Marines and RIC holed up in a house. Rommel assigned half of 4th company to encircle them and sent 5 men from 2nd company to try to fix the stalled truck he had abandoned on the way to Waterville. He let the rest of his men get some rest and pondered what his next move should be.
------Fethard (Tipperary) 0505 hrs
The lead squadron of the 16th Ulhan Regiment reached the town of Fethard. The Irish Uhlans had been expanded yesterday so that each squadron now had a section of four, the leader of which spoke fluent German. The others were merely required to be good horsemen. The squadron had quickly overpowered am RIC manned roadblock as they approached the town which still had the wall that had been built around it as a defense. They galloped on to storm one on the entranceways through the walls and found a very light guard, which they quickly overpowered. One of the Irish Uhlans was familiar with the local Irish Volunteers and soon made contact. The local company was small, with only 53 men on the roster, most from well outside the town. Having taken their objective the Uhlans rested their mounts and waited for the others to arrive.
------HQ British 16th Division, Macroom (Cork) 0545 hrs
The news filtering back to the divisional headquarters from the night fighting was sketchy and confusing. It appeared to General Parsons that despite some setbacks his forces were holding. There was however items however that made the general both furious and sad. It was now clear that a band of Irish rebels was causing trouble at the town of Coachford well to his rear. The reports from the constables sent to investigate varied as to the rebel strength from one estimate of 50 to another of more than 100. General Parsons wanted very much to believe the lower figure. As he was still being hard pressed by the Bavarians and because he wanted a rapid resolution of the problem he sent the ‘C’ Squadron South Irish Horse, which was his division cavalry squadron.
------Old Admiralty Building 0605 hrs
The atmosphere had become downright festive with news that the German attack on Berehaven had been bloodily repulsed. Admiral Henry Oliver felt his Naval Intelligence Division and himself at long last vindicated. "Yes, the Naval Intelligence Division has done well with Berehaven, but I wish it could it help us with locating the German cruisers. Has there been anything?"
"Oh yes, indeed, First Lord. An American freighter arrived at Liverpool yesterday evening with a cargo of cigarettes. Our men interviewed its crew last night and some of them claimed to have seen a German cruiser on a westerly course about 500-600 nm WSW of Kerry Tuesday morning."
"Excellent news, admiral! Now we are getting somewhere. What type of cruiser? Could they be mistaking that German destroyer sighted of La Coruna for a cruiser?"
"We worried about that as well, First Lord. From the descriptions we now think it is most likely one of the newer light cruisers. Two of the American seamen also claimed to have seen a considerable amount on smoke further east around the same time. There is a good chance that could be Blucher."
"Now that Inflexible is back from the yards is it worthwhile sending her and a pair of our better light cruisers to patrol that area?"
Admiral Callghan answered, "Admiral Bayly is adamantly opposed to that idea, First Lord. He regards Inflexible as the most important element in his scouting forces and does want it sent off on what he fells would be a wild goose chase in the Atlantic. He reminds me constantly that the failure of the scouting forces was a major cause of the disaster at Utsire."
"Then I take it that he is not eager to part with 3 of his best armoured cruisers as part of an alternative hunting force."
That produced a small chuckle from the First Sea Lord, "That is most correct, First Lord. In truth I can understand Bayly’s reasoning though I not appreciate the manner in which he expresses it."
"The inbound freighters with wireless, which is usually those with the most important cargos, have already been rerouted as have all British merchantmen which departed after Ireland was invaded. If the German cruisers remain in the general vicinity of where they were sighted by the Yanks, then they will be finding fewer and fewer prizes," surmised Admiral Wilson.
"I understand this logic very well, but still I do not like it. For one thing the cruisers may shift either to the north where they will begin to find the rerouted freighters or to south where they will interdict France’s sea lanes. There is also the possibility that they will split up and go widely separate ways."
"That is a distinct possibility, First Lord."
Carson was weary. So much had happened in the last week. With the invasion of Ireland and the threat to First Army things like Mesopotamia and East Africa were receiving less attention than they deserved. There was one more topic he felt that he needed to bring up. Lord Kitchener had informed him that the CANZAC was nearly out of artillery shells. "Is the next supply convoy to Albania still scheduled to leave Malta this afternoon, Admiral Callaghan?"
"That is correct, First Lord. One thing worth noting is that the French Fleet now has the Jean Bart back. We are very seriously considering reducing our forces in the Mediterranean once this convoy is has returned to Malta."
------Castleisland (Kerry) 0615 hrs
A messenger with news of the disastrous failure at Berehaven had been dispatched by the Bavarian Jaeger Regiment to Kenmare where the Germans had set up a telegraph station. From there the news was transmitted to General von François at Castleisland. He had been fearful about the prospects of this attack. In the planning for Operation Unicorn the hope had been that by partially motorizing the reinforced Jaeger Regiment they could reach Berehaven faster than the British could anticipate and therefore have a good chance to take it by surprise. The delays they had encountered after the landing had apparently worked against them.
"What orders shall we give the Jaegers, General?" asked Oberst Hell, his chief of staff.
"Order them to withdraw to the eastern portion of the peninsula and make contact with the Chevaulegers. Remind them of the danger posed by British warships not only in Bantry Bay but Kenmare Bay as well."
. Von François shook his head wearily and there was gloom in his eyes, "We have won several impressive tactical victories, but this expedition is failing at the strategic level," von François confessed to Oberst Hell, his chief of staff, "First the absence of a general Irish rebellion and now failure to capture our most important objective."
"Berehaven was our preferred objective, General, but we have alternatives."
"All of the so called alternatives have serious problems, esp. if there is not widespread Irish rebellion. We need to send a wireless message to Berlin in the next hour. This setback could have serious consequences. In the long term this entire expedition could be doomed."
------east of Morlay (Picardy) 0650 hrs
When Lt. Gen Wilcocks, the commander of Indian Corps, learned the full extent of the German attack he hurriedly removed the 1st battalion Highland Light Infantry from Lahore Division to help shore up Meerut Division. Meanwhile word had reached Gen. Munro at I Army Corps and he promptly ordered the 28th Division to exert pressure on the left flank of 1st Guards Division as it advanced. The end result of this was that the westward advance of the Prussian Guards was now stopped roughly a kilometer from Morlay.
The retreat of Meerut Division had clogged the key road which the BEF was using for supply trains. The horse drawn wagons that followed the initial convoy of motor trucks had a difficult time getting through. In turn the motor trucks were unable to return to Abbeville.
------Mt. Hillary (Cork) 0710 hrs
The 13th Bavarian Infantry Regiment had set up an observation post on this mountain peak to the southeast of Banteer. One of the Irish Volunteers of from Kanturk company was knew a good route up the mountain and spoke passable German. He was allowed to stay with the Germans. He was very fond of the binoculars they sometimes permitted to us. He saw something a few seconds before the Germans did." "Something British this way comes," he shouted to the Germans.
------Nairobi 0805 hrs Iyar 17, 5675
The morning Shabbat service had just concluded at the Nairobi Hebrew Congregation. Since the Germans had captured Nairobi the 20 Jewish families which lived here had found themselves at an advantage as nearly half of them spoke at least some passing German. This made them very useful for coordinating local activity. Benjamin addressed the congregation, "Yesterday morning I had a very interesting talk with the Oberst Lettow-Vorbeck."
"What did he want?" someone asked.
"He wanted to know why we are here. I told him about Herzl and his Uganda Plan and the controversy that it caused which led to the split."
"Did he care at all?"
"He found it very interesting. He said the prospects of an autonomous Jewish homeland in Palestine did not look good if the Central Powers won the war."
"We already figured that out ourselves."
"Please don’t interrupt. He said it would be good if Zionists reviewed all their options. He did not claim he could predict what sort of peace treaty will come out of this war but he said that he wouldn’t be surprised if we find ourselves to be the vanguard of a much larger community."
------west of Coachford 0840 hrs
‘C’ Squadron South Irish Horse had lost more than a quarter of its strength during 16th Division’s struggle with the 6th Bavarian Infantry Division. Hearing that the enemy this morning was rebel traitors its riders were in a bloodthirsty moon. Their lead troop came upon a few stragglers from the Macroom company trying to join Ballycoureny Company at Coachford. Because they were not absolutely sure these civilians were indeed Irish rebels even though they were acting suspiciously, the cavalrymen refrained from killing and captured them—except for one man carrying a pistol whom they decapitated with a sabre.
Now a little more than mile from Coachford they increased their pace hoping to find poorly trained inadequately armed civilians that they could slay the old fashioned way.. Flynn however was with 22 of his own troops handing out Lee-Enfield rifles and ammunition to 38 members of Macroom Company along with some cursory instructions. Hearing that British cavalry was approaching he ordered everyone behind cover. As they were doing so the lead troop of ‘C’ Squadron soon came into view and immediately tried to charge. The Irish Volunteers began firing furiously and the cavalrymen had second thoughts about the charge after taking 9 casualties.
The Irish Volunteers began to cheer wildly at their victory. Except Flynn who yelled at them, "This is only beginning. They are come to fetch others and come back on foot. Kerns you round up the rest of our men. In particular tell our German friend that we need his machinegun right now."
"Yes, Joe, I’ll see---" Kerns answered but was cut off.
"---Stay there! I ain’t done giving order f’r Chris’ake. Do not bring everyone here. I want you to take your 3rd platoon and circle around to the north. They are going to have some of their men holding their horses. I want your platoon to attack these horse handlers from behind. They may hesitate defending themselves as it will mean letting their precious horses run off on them. I don’t want these fuckin’ bastards trailing us on horseback afterwards"
The South Irish Horse returned on foot while Julius was setting up his Vickers with the help of 3 Irishmen. The Irish Volunteers had superior numbers which grew with each minute and were able to make use of cover. Still having a low regard for their opponents’ combat abilities the cavalrymen tried to advance while firing. They were falling in numbers when the Vickers erupted with a roar. After that they quickly fell back. In the meantime Kerns had taken his platoon and began to attack the horse handlers. Some of these were soon forced to let go of their horses to defend themselves. In the meantime Flynn had ordered the rest of his men to counterattack. Only a few members of ‘C’ Squadron managed to mount up. The rest of the survivors retreated on foot. Flynn decided against a continued pursuit. He had captured 2 more wagons with supplies and released 3 members of Macroom Company captured by the cavalrymen.
"They will come back in greater strength. We can’t afford to stay here," Flynn said.
"You should return to Ballynagree, where the Irish Brigade officer is waiting," advised Gaulart.
"Where do you intend to go, Joe?" asked Kerns, "Surely not east towards Cork. Our scouts saw a large mass of troops to the northeast heading towards Banteer this morning. He can’t take on that sort of strength."
"Agreed," answered Flynn looking at Kerns while ignoring Julius, "And the next round of attackers will come from the west. So that means we head south and cross the Lee River. Then we’ll hideout in Farran Forest for the rest of the day."
"You never meant to go back," Julius accused Flynn, "You don’t want someone giving you orders. You don’t want to give up that machinegun. You plan to wander around Ireland as you see fit. Well if you are not planning to go back I will."
Gaulart glared at Flynn who finally paid him some attention, "If you try to leave me now, Julius, I’ll shoot you in the back. And if you sneak away somehow the next time I run into Germans the very first thing I will them was how you deserted your unit in the heat of battle."
------HQ British 16th Division Macroom (Cork) 0855 hrs
The most direct lines between Macroom and Cork had been cut but an alternative dog leg route going through Bandon had been set up some clever Signal officers. Gen. Parsons now received his first telegram from Gen. Keir, the commander of VII Army Corps, who had arrived with his staff early this morning at Queenstown.
MAKE IMMEDIATE COUNTEATTACK ON ENEMY FORCES REPEAT MAKE IMMEDIATE COUNTERATTACK ON ENEMY FORCES STOP
Parsons was flabbergasted. His severely weakened division had been frantically trying to hold on at Macroon against an obvious elite unit. He also had a force of Irish rebels idisrupting his line of communication. So now he was expected to switch over to the offensive?
------Enniscorthy (Wexford) 0915 hrs
While the Irish Volunteers had failed to capture the rail station at Enniscorthy the British felt it was unsafe to detrain their men so the 15th battalion Royal Irish Rifles detrained at Gorey to the north yesterday afternoon and marched hard all through the night. Their men were tired but not exhausted and even though their wagons including their machine gun section had lagged behind their zeal to smite the traitors suppressed an inclination to yawn. They charged into the town like a pride of lions descending on a herd of goats. The Irish Volunteers now numbered a little over 500 men plus 17 women. The Royal Irish Rifles began by liberating the small RIC contingent pinned down by rebel fire. Despite their hard march through the night they were galvanized by a ferocious urge to annihilate the Papist rebels. With their small arsenal of mostly obsolete rifles the rebels inflicted on a handful of casualties on their attackers who rolled up their positions in the town itself and then continued on to Vinegar Hill.
The attackers were greatly ambivalent about taking prisoners. From the beginning of their attack some Irish Volunteers who tried to surrender were quickly and sometimes brutally slain anyway. Others though were spared and taken prisoner. When the Ulstermen reached Vinegar Hill panic had set in amongst the Irish Volunteers and many were fleeing. Those that remained resisted as best they could and at short range a few made good use of their shotguns, pistols and improvised pikes. When it was over the 15th Royal Irish Rifles had taken a total of 57 casualties which was somewhat more than expected but they were more than willing to suffer in order to obliterate their enemies. As in Galway there were initially reluctant to take prisoners but at the insistence of some of their officers captured 96 men and 11 women.
------Sailly Flibeaucourt (Picardy) 0930 hrs
The British Second Army began its attack with a 30 minute preliminary bombardment. Initially the 60 pounder guns fired shrapnel while the 4.5" howitzers and heavy artillery fired HE shells. In the last 5 minutes the 18 pounders switched to HE as well and the rate of fire intensified. Some of the shells of the RGA heavy batteries, esp. those armed with 4.7" guns, are falling well short of their targets due to a combination of worn barrels and defective ammunition. The infantry assault by 1st Brigade and 2nd Brigade of 1st Division began. The no man’s land was very narrow in this sector and murderous machinegun fire immediately tears into the attacking formation while they are still on their own parapet strips with wounded men falling back into their own trenches. Still the Tommies press on. Their orders are to take up positions 80 yards from the German trenches and wait for their own artillery to lift and move back 600 yards at 0940. In no man’s land they find largely untouched wire before them and suffer grievously from the crossfire of German machineguns as well as some of their own shells which are still falling short. When their own artillery lifted the attackers were still pinned down in no man’s land unable to either advance or retreat
------OKW Berlin 0940 hrs
Generalfedlmarschal Helmuth von Moltke was not feeling well. His pulse was quite irregular and he felt short of breath. And that was before Grossadmiral von Tirpitz entered his office. "Were you able to contact Archduke Friedrich yesterday?" Molte asked.
"Yes, but it was a waste of time. He was polite but it is clear that he lets that braying jackass Conrad do whatever he wants. I still cannot believe how insufferable Conrad is."
"You are taking this situation much too lightly. Delaying the second wave jeopardizes the success of Operation Unicorn."
"It may make little difference, I’m afraid. We received a wireless message from General von François. The Bavarian Jaegers finally made their assault on Brehaven last night. It was a complete failure. Casualties were heavy."
Tirpitz made a very loud sigh. He glared angrily at Moltke as if to say it was all his fault, "They must try again. It is vital to the entire mission."
"Yes, it is vital, but no they will not try again. It is pointless. When a coup de main fails because the enemy is too well prepared it is futile to repeat the effort. General von François has given the British a bloody nose in Ireland but he’s failed to take the most important objective. In the long term Operation Unicorn appears to be doomed. So the timetable for Division Prague is irrelevant. We will end up sending them back in a few weeks."
"Berehaven was our best option but we have alternatives. The 6th Bavarian Division should .bypass the British at Macroom and make a quick dash for Cork."
"General von François was aware of his options before he left Germany. I see no reason to interfere with his freedom of action. He is beginning to see indications of British reinforcements in Ireland. Despite some tactical successes in the last few days it looks grim for Operation Unicorn. I hope you are holding back on implementing the third wave."
Tirpitz scowled some more, "We sent some of the preliminary messages Thursday night in accord with our schedule."
Moltke was now roundly annoyed, "You should not have done that, Admiral. Surely you must realize by now that schedule is no longer valid. Several key milestones have yet to be met. Consult me before taking any further steps."
------Paris 1005 hrs
Elderly James Gordon Bennett Jr read and reread the amazing set of cables coming out of Azores station. Bennett had inherited ownership of the NY Herald, a prestigious but struggling newspaper, that had been steadily losing readership to Hearst’s NY Journal and the late Pullitzer’s World. Bennett had tried to attract readers with various stunts such financing Henry Stanley’s expedition to find David Livingston as well as de Long’s arctic expedition. He also awarded trophy cups for yacht and auto racing. He had been educated in French schools and after he disgraced himself by urinating in either a fireplace or a grand piano at an 1877 New Year’s Eve Party he had had moved to Paris. Bennett was also partner with John Mackay in the Commercial Cable Company.
The cables he had received from the acting manager of his Azores station related that Irish rebels led by a German officer had captured their Waterville station. The destruction of this facility by the Germans had been a contingency he had fretted about much the last few days. However for the time being the station remained intact, but in the hands of enemy forces, which had transmitted an interesting proposal via his company’s Azores station. The German Atlantic Telegraph company also had a station at the Azores, not far from theirs. This station had been set up to repeat signals coming from Emden and pass them on to New York. Early in the war the British had cut the cable out of Emden. What was being proposed was that telegrams coming out of Waterville intended for New York be manually delivered to the DAT station. The Commercial Cable Company would be compensated by the Germans at triple its usual rate per word.
However what was really intriguing was that part of the traffic the Irish rebels wanted to send on to New York was an account of their exploits for exclusive publication in the NY World. Bennett knew that there a great many Irish American readers who would be greatly interested in learning about the Irish rebels, there being several articles of late suggesting that they were both more numerous and more competent than the British government was admitting. The exchange between Senators Lodge and O’Gorman had also raised the interest level still higher. Bennett realized full well that what would be coming out of Waterville would be heavily tainted by German and Fenian propaganda. It would merely be a stream of dots and dashes. But wasn’t that what this young century promised to be—reality broken down into dots and dashes transmitted faster and faster until man’s mind lost all ability to comprehend? Being an American he savored this philosophical speculation for less than a minute then his thoughts returned to money.
------10 Downing St. 1015 hrs
The morning had started off well for Prime Minister Andrew Bonar Law with the Admiralty reporting that the anticipated German attack on Berehaven naval base had been thoroughly smashed. Still there remained a great deal to fret over. The results of the attack on the rebels at Enniscorthy had not filtered back so he worried about what was happening there. On the other hand he had learned of the loss of the cable station at Waterville. There were other developments that annoyed Bonar Law and he summoned Sir Edward Grey to discuss them.
Topping the list was what was now being called Connolly Day on the Continent. Bonar Law was furious that such a fuss had been made over a pathetic Socialist traitor. "One of the few good things about the German invasion is it caused Ramsey MacDonald to decide to unequivocally oppose strikes here in Britain, saying that it would send the wrong signal to the Irish Volunteers. Proving that once in a blue moon even MacDonald can be blessed with a clear thought," said Bonar Law.
Grey made a brief artificial chuckle at this attempt at humor, "The fact that those in Germany advocating strikes were not making much progress also factored into his decision."
"No surprise. Was a little surprised to learn there were strikes in Austria-Hungary, though."
"In many countries, Prime Minister, the cause of Connolly was conflated with other purely local grievances. The strike in Paris was a good example. I am told by nearly everyone that it had to do more with Sarrail than Connolly. In the case of Austria and Hungary there are several other issues at work as well. The strikes there were in part intended to pressure the Constitutional Commission that Kaiser Franz Josef formed."
"I find that country so utterly baffling. Have some of your experts prepare a report on what that commission is likely to do and whether it will have any bearing on the war."
"As you wish, Prime Minister."
"I read the formal condemnations of Connolly’s execution both King Constantine of Greece and King Gustav of Sweden. I cannot say that either is a complete surprise. Gustav is esp. galling in his hypocrisy. Everyone knows he has little sympathy for Socialists! He is only doing this as a ploy to get the Socialists to stop opposing his efforts to bring Sweden into the war on the Central Powers. Is there any chance this atrocious farce might accomplish that?"
"Uh, my staff agrees it was a clever move on King Gustav’s part, but while it is impossible for leading Socialists to publicly criticize the declaration, many privately see through the charade."
"The Greek and Swedish statements were issued yesterday morning. I heard two more of these statements condemning Connolly’s execution were issued later in the day."
"Yes, Premier Giolitti of Italy and King Alphonso of Spain issued similar statements late in the afternoon. I have copies here with me." replied Grey who produced two manila folders from a valise and handed them to the Prime Minister."
Bonar Law briefly looked at both declarations. Both annoyed him greatly, "So Giolitti and not King Vittorio Emanuele issued the Italian version of this farce."
"That is correct, Prime Minister. We believe that Giolitti waited to see if the Italian strikes would pressure King Vittorio Emanuele into signing. It did not, perhaps because the strike was largely ignored in southern Italy and so Giolitti issued it on his authority."
"The biggest surprise is the one from King Alphonso. Haven’t we assumed Spain was a friendly neutral? Is this declaration a cause for concern?"
"We think not, Prime Minister. The Spanish Socialists were the most virulent and were threatening to extend their strike all the way to Monday. When King Alphonso agreed to sign the statement, they terminated the strike at midnight. Unlike Constantine and Gustav we think King Alphonso was acting contrary to his own inclination."
"You make the man’s lack of courage and integrity sound like a virtue. These people have no right to condemn us. Connolly’s execution was more than amply justified. We need to respond to these insufferable declaration."
Grey frowned, "I think it would be preferable to simply let this incident simply fade away. In another week or two the Socialists will turn to other issues and James Connolly will be forgotten."
"I for one am not going to forget him! He was a threat to the Empire and dealt with in an appropriate manner. I am not backing down from that position."
"I was not suggesting backing down, sir. I was merely suggesting that saying as little as possible would serve us best at this moment."
"Not to refute the calumnies of our enemies is a tacit admission of wrongdoing. I won’t take this lying down. His Majesty has asked to see me tomorrow evening to go over recent developments. I know he is going to be upset about removing 3 divisions from England but I am sure we will be in agreement about responding to these vile declarations. The Empire will not become a punching bag for frustrated Socialists. We shall stridently defend the righteousness of our actions"
Grey’s reaction was mixed. Part of him applauded the Prime Minister’s zeal, but the cold professional diplomat within him favored a quiet closure to this matter.. "We should wait then until after your meeting with the King before issuing any statement," he equivocated. The diplomatic part of him hoped the delay might serve to cool Law’s temper.
Bonar Law thought that over, "You’re right Sir Edward. It can wait until Monday. One aspect of this is that there are going to be a great many executions in Ireland in the weeks ahead. Several hundred, quite possibly more than a thousand. We received some intelligence from a very hush hush source a few days ago indicating that the Irish rebels serving the Germans are somewhat larger than we’ve acknowledged so far in public. Recent events in Tipperary and Wexford strongly suggest that number has grown some. My intent is to execute every single traitor we capture. I have said so already and in the days ahead I plan to say it again and again. I do not want our judicial proceedings .to become a continuing topic of international debate. For once thing we are strongly considering trying MacNeill on capital charges soon—quite possibly before the end of next week."
Again Grey’s own internal reaction was ambivalent. Part of him agreed with the need for stern measures but another part was anticipating problems. "Executions on that scale will cause us some trouble, Prime Minister. I am particularly worried about the United States. As you know we had hoped the German invasion might persuade the Americans to enter the war on our side. Then the other day there was a heated exchange in the US Senate between the very sensible Henry Cabot Lodge and James O’Gorman---"
"---yes, and I am glad you brought that up. I read that exchange in detail and while I understood perfectly well what the eloquent Senator Lodge was saying, I had difficulty fathoming just what exactly this demagogue O’Gorman was trying to say. Is he supporting Fenianism? Is he saying the Irish Catholics should side with the Germans?"
"You are not the only one confused by that speech, Prime Minister,"
-------Fethard (Tipperary) 1045 hrs
The Tipperary Volunteers were just beginning to enter Fethard after a gruelling trek. Lagging behind were the exhausted men of Nenagh, Roscrea and Urlingford companies, who had already been tired when they arrived at Thurles. The overloaded wagons carrying the wounded were also lagging.
The ‘C’ squadron of the 1/1st Yorkshire Hussars was the divisional cavalry of the 49th (West Riding) Division. They had been dispatched to track the enemy’s movements. They now skirmished with the Irish Volunteers and a squadron of the 16th Uhlan Regiment. They found the Irish rebels well armed and better marksmen then expected despite their fatigue. The mission of the British cavalry was to scout and harass. They were well aware that they were not strong enough to destroy the enemy. That task was assigned to the 1/4th battalion Duke of Wellington’s Regiment which had been detached from the division and was marching hard from the north.
------Pasvitinys (Courland) 1055 hrs
The weather had improved and the German airship that was assigned to Operation Fulcrum was now proving very useful. Elements of the 8th Cavalry Division had advanced to Pasvitinys late yesterday and came under attack by superior Russian forces in the early morning. Two motorized batteries of the converted naval 15cm guns were quickly deployed Using its wireless the airship now spotted for them so they could target enemy concentrates while they were assembling.. Expecting only cavalry and encountering heavy firepower the Russian formations were easily broken up. Once it was clear that the Russians were disrupted and retreating the German cavalry mounted up and harassed them.
------HQ German IV Reserve Corps Compiegne 1105 hrs
"The French bombardment just keeps on going, General," the corps commander, Gen. Hans von Gronau complained to his visitor, Gen. Alexander von Kluck, the commander of First Army. This statement was almost redundant as French shells could be heard detonating as he spoke.
"It appears that the French munitions shortage has eased," answered an unhappy Kluck, "How bad are the casualties?"
"It is over 8,000 by the most current count which has made it way back to this headquarters, General. It would be worse if we had not improved our trenches in the last few weeks. It also helps that you permitted me to hold back more strength from the front trench than is standard procedure."
Kluck made a wry face. He had granted von Gronau that permission after much heated discussion. They did not have much space in front of the city so if the front trench was overwhelmed they would be fighting inside the city. "Yes, you were right all along," he reluctantly conceded," But surely the French must run out of shells soon. If that is true do you think you can hold?"
Gronau shook his head glumly, "Our airplanes have not garnered an accurate impression of the enemy strength on account of the forestation, general. I ordered extensive trench raids last night. My staff will work up a detailed report for you in two hours but in essence what it will say is that the enemy is very strong. Even if the bombardment ends within the hour I do not expect to hold Compiegne. I have already made contingency plans to withdraw across the Aisne"
Von Kluck was upset. With most officers he would be furious but he respected von Gronau too much. "By all means I want to see your report. This war has taught me to appreciate caution and prudence more than I had, but I still think you are too disheartened. I do not deny that our enemy is stronger than OHL believes and that we will face a stiff test in the days ahead, but I remain confident that we will prevail."
------HQ British 1st Division 1125 hrs
Gen. Plumer paid a visit to Maj. Gen. Henderson commanding 1st Division, who briefed him on the progress (or more accurately the lack thereof) so far. "Should I commit the 1st Guards Brigade," Henderson asked. The stout Plumer did not know whether to laugh or cry, "Hell no. We’ll cover their withdrawal with artillery as best we can."
------HQ British VI Army Corps Maryborough (Queen’s County) 1140 hrs
"I left Wales with only 60 rounds of 18 pounder shells per battery," Maj. General Baldock, the commander of the 49th (West Riding) Division declared in disgust, "at first I thought I would be allowed at least 100, but at the last minute it was pared back. Something to do with the critical situation of First Army," Lt. Gen Frederick Stopford had summoned all 3 of his divisional commanders to discuss the planned assault on Limerick.
"You think that’s bad? I have a grand total of 84 shells remaining for my 18 pounders," groused Lt. Gen. Mahon.
"The need to rescue First Army means that for the next few days our artillery batteries will be receiving very little ammunition," Stopford chided, "VII Corps has the same problem as ourselves. What we now have is an overwhelming superiority in infantry which I intend to use.. We will not need much artillery support. What are the latest developments at Limerick, General Mahon?"
"There continues to be small spasms of fighting in the trenches south of Limerick. Generally what happens is our boys try to expand their section. If they succeed the German Marines counterattack immediately. To be honest we are not making much progress. Meanwhile snipers are being used more by both us and the Germans."
"Now that the 109th Brigade has all four of its battalions it will attack the Germans at Crusheen again tomorrow afternoon."
"It may have another battalion but it still completely lacks artillery, sir," protested Gen. Powell.
"Yes, yes, I a perfectly well aware of that, General," pouted an irritated Stopford, "Let me point out that I am not expecting them to take Crusheen. All that I am asking is that they pin down the German marines in the western portion of Clare, so they cannot come to the assistance of those at Limerick. Likewise 10th Division will in the late afternoon make one attack straight into Limerick and another sweeping around the enemy right flank to the south."
"Given my paucity of artillery shells any daylight attack is sure to suffer serious casualties, sir," replied Mahon.
"Is no one listening to me?" Stopford retorted angrily, "Your attack is intended as merely as a feint. It is meant to draw the German strength away from is to be our main attack. General Baldock, you will concentrate your division near Birdhill in the afternoon, taking care to remain out of range of the German guns in the Slieve Branagh Mountains. Come nightfall you will attack O’Briensbridge with one brigade and Ballina with another. After seizing the bridges the northern brigade will quickly advance against the German artillery, while the brigade at O’Briensbridge will swing south to attack the Newton Perry section of Limerick."
SETBACKS IN FRANCE AND IRELAND POSE THREAT TO ENGLAND
"The recent reverses suffered by the British Army in both Ireland and France will certainly cause increased pressure on His Majesty’s Government to reinforce both of those theatres. This would weaken England’s own defenses at time when it lay under the shadow of invasion. Military experts warn that the diversion of strength away from England may well be the primary objective of the German invasion of Ireland. It could also be one function of the current German offensive in France."
------Daily Mail, Saturday May 1, 1915
------HQ German Eighth Army 1210 hrs
In early March the Russian Twelfth Army had invaded East Prussia. The defending German Eighth Army commanded by Gen. Otto von Below had initially been forced to retreat but once reinforced by rail it managed to force the Russians to give up much but not all of what they had gained. When Operation Whisper effectively destroyed most of the Russian Fourth Army Stavka removed 2 divisions from Twelfth Army to use in the reconstruction of the Fourth Army. This lessened the treat of a resumption of the Russian East Prussian offensive. However when von Below launched small probing attacks he founded the Russian defenses sufficiently sound that he bluntly told Ober-Ost that he did not think he could expel the Russians from their slice of East Prussia without strong additional reinforcements. This prompted an exchange of heated telegrams and telephone calls with Ludendorff.
Then out of the blue there was a new chief of staff at Ober-Ost, Gen, Seeckt. Along with a new chief of staff came a new plan, called Operation Fulcrum. Eighth Army had a role to play in that operation. Today’s question was when they were to make their entrance. "There have been some delays, general," Gen Seeckt told von Below over the telephone, "so the next phase of Operation Fulcrum including your attack on the Russian Tenth Army will begin Monday morning not tomorrow."
"Does this mean I will receiving more shells today?" asked von Below, "I have only received three fourth of what I was promised in the last week. Will tomorrow’s shipment make up the shortfall?"
"Not completely, General. There are major operations in other theatres that have for the time being assumed a greater importance."
------Banteer (Cork) 1255 hrs
The Welshmen poured down the main road. They had been provided only 4 hours sleep during the night. In the lead was the 1/7th battalion Cheshire Regiment. The flank guard of the 6th Bavarian Infantry Division consisted of 2 battalions and the machinegun company of the 13th Bavarian Infantry Regiment plus a single battery of 7.7cm guns. They also had in reserve the 420 man North Cork Battalion they had formed from the Irish Volunteers. The Bavarians had dug a rudimentary trench line starting on the foothills of Mt. Hillary to the southeast of Banteer and curving up north to Kanturk. The defenders near Banteer were the 2nd battalion of the 13th Bavarian Brigade plus 3 machineguns.
The Welshman had hoped that the German defenses were even weaker than they were. They made an immediate assault. They did not see the German artillery, which was held back until they were well within range. The 7.7 cm guns had registered in advance and now tore into the closely packed British column with shrapnel shells. This was the Cheshire’s first experience of combat and they bravely kept on coming. The were soon subjected to machinegun fire supplemented by rapid rifle fire. More than half the lead battalion had become casualties before the brigade commander realized that the defenders were too strong.
-----Addis Ababa 1325 hrs
"This letter arrived less than an hour ago from my niece. The one who I mistakenly thought would keep that ambitious scoundrel, Tafari under control," Iyasu told his father, "would you care to have a look?"
Ras Mikael took the letter and read it twice. He was smiling when he finished. "Obviously much of this letter was directed by her husband. It means he is willing to end his rebellion."
"Yes, but his fidelity comes with conditions I find disagreeable. Part of me still longs to see his head on a stick for all the trouble he has caused."
"He is not unreasonable, Your Majesty. He wants us to publicly acknowledge him as a Ras. His other conditions are rather vague. He clearly wants a role in our government when the war is over."
"Fine! He can be our ambassador to Honduras."
"Be serious, Your Majesty. The struggle against Britain and France is just starting. We need our people united if we are to prevail."
"We needed weapons which the Germans sent us with some Italian assistance. I do not need Tafari," replied Iyasu curtly, "and certainly do not trust him."
"Sheik Hassan has warned that the Indian forces in Somaliland may soon overpower him and take the key mountain passes and says that he will now permit Abyssinian reinforcements. He would not admit this if his situation was desperate. I suggest we demand that Tafari prove his loyalty by personally leading his army to Somaliland as our condition for making him a Ras. As for granting him a postwar position of prominence we should make equally vague commitments. Despite his arrogance Tafari is bright and capable. I ask you to consider the possibility that we could find an important role for him where he would do more good than harm."
Father and son argued at some length but in the end Iyasu reluctantly gave his assent.
------Castleisland (Kerry) 1340 hrs
"Plunkett!" General von François bellowed. Captain Joseph Plunkett IRA had returned from his trip to Limerick. He still found himself being continually abused by von François on account of the lack of a widespread Irish insurrection. According to Plunkett’s latest information the number of able bodied Irish Volunteers under German control had risen to over 5,600 men and nearly 200 women. This did not include the unknown number in County Tipperary with which they did not have direct communication. It was also an incomplete picture of what was going on in County Cork.
"Yes, Herr General. How may I serve you?"
"What is the current strength of 1st Kerry Battalion and West Limerick Battalion?"
Plunkett consulted his notes. "Including its machinegun section, 1st Kerry Battalion has a strength of 561 men, while the West Limerick Battalion has a strength of 526 men, including its machinegun section and infantry gun sections," Plunkett answered. He did not include the women in either unit as the Germans did not like to talk about those.
The general drummed his fingers on his desk pensively. He finally said, "I will be leaving by motor car to meet with General von Gyssling soon."
------Yautepec (Mexico) 1355 hrs (GMT)
Emiliano Zapata had agreed to let Kurt Jahnke visit him at this town north of his headquarters at Tlatizapán. Zapata did not trust Jahnke very much and had him searched for weapons when he arrived in a motor car. "What is the purpose of this visit?" Zapata asked warily while the German agent was searched.
"Do you know that Pancho Villa’s Division of the North has been decisively defeated?" Jahnke asked.
Zapata both nodded and shrugged, "I have heard something to that effect, yes. I do not think it is as bad as people say. He will regroup and try again."
"If he does he will be destroyed completely. His losses at Celaya were severe," replied Jahnke.
"So you would like me to believe? Why, German? Is it that because your fat stupid pig, Kaiser Wilhelm, still thinks Huerta is the legitimate ruler of Mexico and you want my support. If that if why you are here, I suggest you leave before I have you killed."
Jahnke by now had learned that there many in the world outside Germany that was very contemptuous of Kaiser Wilhelm and that it was unwise to waste breathe defending the honor of his sovereign. "Huerta remains in Spain drinking copiously, Senor Zapata."
"So then why are you here, German?"
"There is another possibility my government is exploring. We begin to think it would be best if Mexico were ruled by General Obregon and yourself in coalition."
Zapata did not expect this, "General Obregon is now serving President Carranza."
"I have talked with him and found that he is not completely happy with the President, who is corrupt and only pretending to make needed reforms. Obregon despises Pancho Villa but believes he can overthrow Carranza and rule Mexico if you would be willing to support him."
Zapata arched an eyebrow and stroked his chin. He took his time before responding, "I will join with him only if he endorses the Plan de Ayala."
"The only problem is the clause that used to say that Orozco was the leader of the revolution and now says you are. He insists that he must be in charge but wants you to be his partner. In all other aspects he supports the Plan," replied Jahnke. The answer was not completely accurate. Obregon’s vision of agrarian reform was not quite as sweeping as Zapata’s, but Jahnke was not going to mention that.
"I need to give this some thought. I admit it is tempting."
"I would imagine so. Carranza has placed a bounty on your head."
Zapata raised his right hand and made a show of touching his own face, "Ah but my head is still there, is it not, senor?"
"Yes it is. We would like it to stay that way."
"And why is it that the German government so suddenly cares about poor Emiliano Zapata, eh?"
"We wish only the best for Mexico. This internal power struggle is devastating your country. It is best that it end as quickly as possible."
Zapata mused this over and then made a sardonic grin, "There is some truth in what you say but still I do not believe you. Have you told Obregon what you really want? Is that why he is the one you want?"
Jahnke tried to keep his sigh inaudible. He personally did not care for either Zapata or his politics, but he needed to persuade him to be part of the cabal. He knew he could not away with more vacuous platitudes. "The British Empire exploits Mexico, senor Zapata," he acknowledged, "It is in the best of Germany as well as Mexico that this exploitation stop. As for why we picked General Obregon—while he wants to work with you, he insists that he must be the leader." This was correct but what Jahnke did not reveal is that the German government found Obregon’s politics and personality more to their liking."
"That is better. If we are to work together, we must be honest, yes," replied Zapata, "Would you care for some coffee?"
"Why yes I would if it is not too much bother."
Zapata chortled briefly, "I am bothered but not about making coffee."
------middle of nowhere Herzegovina 1405 hrs
The Canadian and Australian Divisions had nearly exhausted their stockpile of artillery shells. The commander of the KuK XIV Army Corps, Feldmarshalleutnant Josf von Roth, had guessed the weakness of their enemy. Austrian spies in Malta reported that another Entente convoy to Albania was imminent and this information had been passed on to Gen. Sarkotic. Last evening he conferred with von Roth, and they agreed that they should not waste this opportunity.. Once the early morning fog had lifted today the XIV Army Corps which had been reinforced with additional heavy artillery began to bombard the trenches of the 1st Australian Division. In its last phase minenwerfers joined in. The bombardment now lifted and moved on and the Kiaserjaeger stormed the battered enemy defenses. Many of the Australians in the front trench had been killed or wounded. Those that remained tried intact tried their very best to shrug off the bizarre stupor a protracted heavy bombardment induces. Enough of them succeeded to make the enemy pay a heavy price, but not enough to prevent the Kiaserjaegers from reaching the trench line through gaps in their rather thin wire barrier in numbers that proved too large for the survivors to hold off.
In an hour of desperate struggle with grenades, bayonets, pistols, shovels and all manner of improvised trench weapons 3 regiments of Kaiserjaegers finished the obliteration of 3 battalions of the 2nd Australian Brigade which their artillery and minenwerfers had started. They had taken a kilometer long stretch of the forward trench. The heroic defense of the Australian 2nd Brigade was not in vain for the casualty and delay they had inflicted on their attackers caused the Austrians’ attempt to continue their advance on to the next trench line to fail. After that General Bridges permitted one of his artillery brigades to fire off their few remaining shells in support a counterattack by the Australian 1st Brigade but that ended up being a costly failure. After that the intensity of the fighting faded as the Austrians were content to hold what they had take while the Australians reinforced their second trench line and began digging another.
------Greenwich Park London 1430 hrs
Prime Minister Andrew Bonar Law had announced in advance that he was giving a public speech this afternoon. It drew a large crowd. He had outlined his speech the night before but in the morning had made some alterations. The main topic was the German invasion of Ireland. He had written a draft of the speech last night, but revised it after his meeting with Grey.
"I told Parliament I would destroy the German utterly within a fortnight and I stand by that pledge without the slightest hesitation. The Germans have in the last few days had some success if Kerry—but Kerry is of little importance. They are isolated in a portion of Munster and soon our great might will smash them completely and this whole undertaking shall be seen as yet another of German hubris. It remains obvious that they have completely failed in their efforts to stir up a general uprising in Ireland. I can state that without any equivocation even there are those who here in England who accuse me of seriously underestimating the number of Irish traitors aiding the Germans. Perhaps I was a wee bit optimistic when I spoke earlier this week. But the point remains that the number of Irish rebels is not enough to serve the Kaiser’s evil purpose. It does not matter if they are more than 2,000. Perhaps there are 5,000 but even if there are 10,000 it does not matter. The Germans are invaders but they are soldiers and we will deal with them according to the rules of war, even though they flout many of those rules—the use of poison gases being only the most recent and egregious. Those German soldiers in Ireland that surrender to us---and there will be many before this week is over—will be treated humanely because we abide by the same treaty that our enemy so wantonly violates. But the treacherous Irish traitors who have dared to spit on King and Country must know that we will show none of them any mercy. Liam Mellowes. Tom MacDonagh, Eamon Kent and most esp. James Connolly have been executed without the slightest hesitation. I offer no apologies. I have not the slightest regret. These despicable fiends were not in any way soldiers. They are vermin. They are contemptible rodents of no account and no worth. We will eradicate them! We will exterminate them!"
"Kill the bastards!" some in the crowd suddenly yelled, while others yelled, "Exterminate! Exterminate!" There were some in the crowd who were uncomfortable with this bloodthirstiness and began to murmur amongst themselves. One of the least happy people in the crowd of listeners was George Bernard Shaw. He in the last few days been giving speeches condemning the execution of James Connolly, whom he had now regarded as a martyr saint of Socialism. While giving his passionate speech after Connolly was hanged there was something that bothered him. There were other Irishmen being executed the same day—Kent and MacDonagh and he wilfully avoided mentioning them. Afterwards he felt very guilty about that. Now listening to this paragon of all he found contemptible he felt ashamed to the core of his soul. He had made a mistake. He would now correct it.
------HQ 6th Bavarian Infantry Division Millstreet (Cork) 1500 hrs
"My flank guard held off the first British attack, which had no artillery support, General," Gen. Von Gyssling told Gen. Von François, "We know they have artillery coming. Once it is sited they will attack again. It will be much harder to hold the next time. It is highly probable that we will lose Banteer before nightfall."
‘Banteer is of small importance. What is important is delaying the British advance until you have time to shift your division, esp. your artillery. You said the 16th Division is attacking as well?"
"Yes, which is making the withdrawal much more difficult. However it could be worse. For one thing they used only a pattering of artillery, suggesting they are nearly out of shells."
"That could change quickly."
"Agreed. However it is one sign that there attack is impromptu. Another is that they are striking simultaneously north towards Millstreet and northwest towards Ballyvourney. It is the former attack that presents the real immediate threat. Lastly both attacks have been fairly weak."
"If need be do not hesitate to commit North Cork Battalion."
"I am trying to avoid that but if necessary I will use them, general."
"They are expendable. Even if they merely halt the enemy advance for two hours or so. Assuming that you make it through the immediate crisis, what are your plans?"
"Essentially my plan is to fight the 16th Division with 12th Bavarian Brigade supported by a battalion of field guns and the new division with 11th Bavarian Brigade and the other 3 artillery battalions. If the foot artillery and pioneer battalions are brought forward to add their firepower I think I can hold but it will not be easy."
"You will have a dangerously open flank to the north. Infantry and even cavalry will count for more here than they do in France."
"I am well aware of that, General. For that reason I would recommend bringing the Prussian Guard battalion down from Tarbert as reinforcements but I do not see any decent alternative to my basic plan."
"Did I ever tell you what really happened at Tanenberg?"
"Only a hundred times, general."
------Teschen 1500 hrs
Archduke Friedrich was on the telephone with Conrad von Hoetzendorf. "We have an emergency," said the archduke.
"What sort of emergency, Your Royal Highness," replied Conrad.
"It’s Karl! He’s went to Prague and---"
Suddenly Conrad felt cold. He recalled something tragic which had happened not all that long ago. "---has something happened to Erzherzog?" he interrupted.
"Huh? Uh, oh no, not that, Heaven bless. No, our problem is that he paid a visit to the division there and he he’s been telling some of their officers that he expects to be chosen as their commander."
"What? Haven’t you explained to him that it is completely out of the question? Really the Erzherzog’s naivety worries me sometimes."
"Hmm. You see, His Majesty was overjoyed with Karl’s enthusiasm and did not want to smash it. He didn’t really expect the Germans to accept, an entire division so what he told me was to say that we were very seriously considering appointing him. If Kaiser Wilhelm did accept we would then tell the Erzherzog that we had selected another only after careful consideration. We were panning to do that after you made your selection"
"I have narrowed my list down to three possibilities. Damn it all. I should never have permitted the creation of Division Prague in the first place. It has proven to be a source of great aggravation for me. I had an extremely unpleasant with Admiral Tirpitz about Division Prague yesterday."
"Yes, I know. He called me afterwards. I very politely but firmly told him I had no intention of interfering with decisions. He was most unhappy."
"Ah, so the scoundrel did go ahead to pester you after all. I told him I push back the departure one day if he did so. By Heaven, that’s just what I’m going to do! It will give us another day to straighten out this mess with the Erzherzog."
------Kanturk (Cork) 1510 hrs
Upon learning that the Cheshire Brigade had been repelled by stronger than expected resistance in front of Banteer, Gen. Lindley ordered the North Wales Brigade which was proceeding west along the north bank of the Blackwater to move more to the north and attack Kanturk which he though would be beyond the range of the German artillery. The 3rd battalion of the 13th Bavarian Regiment plus 4 machineguns and the North Cork Battalion of Irish Volunteers awaited them having turned several buildings into strongpoints. The attack of the 1/5th and 1/6th battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers faltered in a storm of lead. The 1/7th battalion then looked to outflank the defenders to the north but ran into 2 more machineguns and a portion of North Cork Battalion.
------Coachford (Cork) 1520 hrs
News of the defeat of ‘C’ Squadron South Irish Horse by Irish rebels has filtered its back to Gen. Parsons at Macroom where it caused considerable alarm. He issued orders the entire 1/1st Yorkshire Yeomanry Regiment to proceed at once to Coachford. When their lead troop reached the RIC station they found a single constable.
The regimental commander dismounted and asked the constable what had happened.
"I was coming back from patrol when a heavily armed group of Irish rebels plus a few German soldiers attack this station, Major. After a fierce fight the other 3 constables were overwhelmed. None was killed but they were captured and at least one was badly wounded."
"And you were unable to help your fellow constables?" asked the regimental commander in a tone that implied doubts about the constable’s courage.
The constable looked a bit sheepish and answered, "I was too far. It was over fairly quickly. I would not have made a difference. There were too many of them."
"And just how many is that, constable? How many Germans? How many rebels?"
"Over a hundred rebels and 8 or 9 Germans, including an officer who appeared to be leading them. And they were well armed with good rifles. Some of the Germans appeared by firing explosive shells using their rifles. Oh and they had a machinegun with them which the Germans used. Terrified me bloody shitless---if you pardon my French, sir."
"Did you see them engage British cavalry?"
"I didn’t see it per se but I heard a great deal of shooting off to the west. Including the roar of the machinegun. Very distinctive that be. It sounds like a Banshee!"
"So you only heard and didn’t see anything?" again the major spoke with an implication that the constable was lacking in bravery.
"That is correct, major."
"So you didn’t see which way they went?"
"Oh, yes, I did. They came back here when it was over and dressed the wounded for a bit—both their own and some captured cavalrymen. That lasted about an hour they hightailed it to the north. I reckon they mean to join the Germans."
The squadron leader raised and eyebrow and tapped his lips with a forefinger. The troop commander was still mounted and leaned forward to ask, "Are you sure that they went north, constable? We have encountered some other witnesses who said they saw them heading east."
"I am certain that I saw them—at least most of them—heading north. As I said they came here first. That is what your other witness observed. There were also some people fleeing and some of those were armed with either a pistol of sawed off shotgun for the protection of their family. That may also have caused some confusion."
The squadron commander took a minute to think things over. While he did not like the constable he had no reason to doubt his testimony. He turned back and yelled to his batman, "Jenkins. Stay here with this constable and take his statement. Meanwhile we will head north."
The batman dismounted and led his horse into the stations stable. The regiment rode off to the north. Once his mount was secure the batman entered the station. Flynn wanted so very much to kill him but a voice in the back of his head kept telling that it was too risky. Still it was very tempting to Flynn. So far he had been killing other Irishmen. This did not bother him in the slightest as they were either Protestant devils or Redmondite imbeciles but he had yet to slake his thirst for English blood. Now here there was an English soldier within arms reach. He did not need his sidearm. Flynn had a stiletto and was sure he could take the batman by surprise and slit his throat. That thought was so incredibly tempting though it was likely he would stain his uniform in the process. With the constables he had recently captured Flynn now had an assortment of clean RIC uniform items to choose from. What he was wearing now fit rather well. It would be a shame to get blood on them.
So he fed the English yeoman a tasty pudding concocted from truth, half-truths and blatant lies about the fighting at Coachford. He mentioned more than once the towering figure who led Irish with great bravado and charisma. Flynn was himself wiry and bit short but no one who knew him ever dared call him short to his face.
"I am a bit confused about this Irish commandant, constable," confessed the innocent batman, "if there were several Germans present why would they allow an Irish amateur to command?"
Flynn almost killed him right then and there as the he word ‘amateur’ made his blood boil. He decided on a simple test. He would ask the batman for some of his ammunition cartridges. If the batman gave him at least 4 cartridges Flynn would let him live. "Before I forget," Flynn asked, "I could sure use some more ammo. Could you please spare me some of you ammunition?"
The batman had a bandolier with 90 rounds of ammunition. He removed 3 cartridges from his bandolier and handed them to Flynn. After a few seconds he reconsidered and gave him another saying, "I can always get more when I return to the regiment so here’s another."
They finished soon after. As the batman mounted off and rode north, Flynn ground his teeth in frustration. Be patient, be patient he told himself He’s not the only English soldier in Ireland. Bide your time. Gather your strength. Soon you will bathe in their blood.
------Fethard (Tipeerary) 1615 hrs
A company from Callan in County Kilkenny had joined the Tipperary Volunteers in Fethard in the last half hour. The Irish Volunteers in Fethard had now grown to over 1,100 able bodied men plus 38 women. The 16th Uhlan Regiment had taken 3 more of the tiny RIC stations in the area, netting 10 Lee-Enfield rifles and what was more important nearly 2,000 rounds of .303. There was also a small cache of confiscated weapons at one of the stations. The Uhlans and their Irish allies had in the last 2 days acquired a small pool of motor vehicles—3 trucks and 7 cars. They also scrounged up as mach fodder as possible for the cavalry. Telegraph and telephone wires were cure through much of central Tipperary.
O’Dubihir again met with the Uhlan adjutant. "My men are tired from all the marching. The overloaded wagons carrying the wounded are slowing us down. Many of the wounded would fare better if they could go en entire day without being moved. With its walls this town is a good defensive position. This is a good place to make a stand."
The adjutant knew what O’Duibhir was worried about. He was afraid that the Uhlans might decide to leave them behind and make a dash back to the west through Cahir.
"It is an excellent defensive position if you’re enemy lacks artillery but it is also a good place to get trapped. Mobility is the essence of cavalry operations."
O’Duibhir did not like the sound of that, "Mobility let’s you run away."
The adjutant’s nostrils flared and he glared harshly at O’Duibhir, "We did not run away when the Ulstermen were getting the better of you!"
O’Duibhir was torn inside. The Germans had saved them from one devastating defeat but he was not about to say that gave them the right to abandon him now. "Just what are your plans?"
The adjutant sniffed as if he had expected an apology, "We have already dispatched one company to Carrick-on-Suir where you tell us you have a large company not yet assembled. We will bring 100 captured British rifles and 3,000 rounds of ammunition. Once they are armed we will send them here. In about an hour two more squadrons will also depart. One will raid Clonmel accompanied by the pioneer section. It will do destroy a section of railroad track there. The other will raid and reconnoitre Cahir. We will keep one squadron here in Fethard along with the automatic rifle section to help with your defenses."
This was neither what O’Duibhir wanted nor what he had feared. He didn’t particularly like it, "Isn’t a unit stronger if it’s kept together. I can under stand sending a squadron to Carrick-on-Suir but otherwise---"
"---we have much more experience in military matters than you do," retorted the adjutant huffily. Before this meeting he had advocated completely abandoning the Irish Volunteers and making a dash to the west and supposed safety. The regimental commander had decided on the current strategy in part because he feared the direct route through Cahir and Mitchelstown might not be that easy. The raid on Carrick-on-Suir might mislead the British into thinking Waterford was their next objective and Clonmel was an alternative route west if Cahir was blocked. In the meantime letting the Irish Volunteers distract the British made some sense. The regimental commander had become rather pessimistic and was willing to sacrifice a portion of his regiment if it would allow the rest to escape.
------Banteer (Cork) 1730 hrs
The 3 batteries of 15 pounder guns of the Cheshire Artillery Brigade commenced firing on the German positions. One battery targeted the trench the prior position of the German field guns and the other targeted the trenches. Gen. Lindley was anxious to break through the German defenses at Banteer, believing it would let him trap the 6th Bavarian Infantry Division and so he let the brigade fire off all its modest stockpile of shells, which was completely shrapnel shells. The Cheshire Brigade mounted another infantry assault. The German casualties had been very light and their wire barely touched. The 7.7cm gun battery had moved to a different location and waited for the attackers to get well within range. The casualties were not as bad this time because the attackers advanced in a more open formation and the battalion commanders were more cautious and less persistent.
However at Kanturk to the north the efforts of the North Wales Brigade to turn the German flank were starting to pay off. The Bavarians had limbered up their machineguns and with the Irish rebels under their wings were pulling back to the east.
------Viller-sur-Authie (Picardy) 1845 hrs
The British 6th Division was part of Gen. Pulteney’s III Army Corps when the Battle of Second Crecy Forest began. It was unusual that since October it had 4 infantry brigades instead of 3 under its command. It had seen surprisingly little action in the battle so far. Unlike Indian Corps on it s right which had been hit hard with the initial German attack on I Army Corps on its left which had hurriedly withdrawn from positions north of the Authie, III Army Corps had largely shifted its boundaries somewhat but experienced on some sporadic shelling and a few trench raids.
At 1830 the Germans commenced a very determined bombardment of 6th Division. A pale green cloud wafted its deadly way west on the wind. The 18th Brigade took the worst of it. The countermeasure of wrapping handkerchiefs soaked in urine around one’s nose and mouth again proved only partially effective. The subsequent infantry attack elements of both the 8th and 52nd Infantry Divisions was cautious bordering on hesitant as the officers involved in the attack were unfamiliar with the new weapon. They feared that they might run into the gas cloud or that it had been ineffective and the defenders would slaughter them. This hesitancy combined with a heroic defense put up by the 2nd battalion Durham Light Infantry despite having more than a third of is men incapacitated by the chlorine cloud, caused the German advance to halt after taking two small disconnected sections of the British front trench.
------GQG Chantilly 2010 hrs
When notified that Premier Clemenceau was coming to pay him another visit, Joffre once again thought about threatening to resign. He figured that Clemenceau would likely call his bluff. Joffre liked to believe that his resignation would cause Clemenceau’s government to collapse but he could not completely dismiss the horrid possibility that Foch or still worse Gallieni might take his place. Joffre made sure his dinner and desert were properly finished before his tormentor arrived.
Clemenceau was in no mood for pleasantries. "Is the Compiegne battle proceeding according to plan?" he asked.
"Yes, Premier. We have bombarded the German defenses with heavy artillery since Thursday. Tomorrow our wonderful 75s will join in the storm of fire. Out gallant infantrymen will find only some dazed wounded men opposing them in the front trench. The next line of defense for the Germans lies in the city itself. House to house fighting can be tricky but over superiority of numbers makes our victory only a matter of time."
"You have faith in General de Castelnau? He is annoyingly Catholic but seems to be a competent general. And you have given Petain command of the most important despite his defeatist tendencies."
"De Castelnau is a fighter! That is what is needed most of all. Now there are some who say that Petain is not a fighter. I once thought so myself but have been persuaded otherwise by his performance so far."
"If Petain’s defeatism causes failure I will hold you responsible!" said Clemenceau angrily. He then softened a bit and added, "However I believe with increasing certainty that my plan of attack is fundamentally sound. In fact I do not what to think this offensive is over once the Boche have been removed from Compiegne. Cross the Aisne promptly. Do not give them a chance to regroup."
‘My plan’? Where does he get off taking credit for this offensive? Joffre wondered, He is still only a politician just a particularly obnoxious one. "I fully intend to do just that, Premier," he replied.
"I will return to this topic before I leave. There are two other things I need to discuss. First is that I promised Gen. Wilson that we would commit 2 infantry divisions to help the beleaguered British First Army if they would agree to two conditions. First, they must give no more territory. Secondly, they must send one of the divisions they are hoarding in England to France. He, of course, agreed to my terms. He told me that he had discussed this with you previously and was merely granted a weak force of cavalry. Why did you fail to negotiate with him along similar lines? We could have prevented the hasty British withdrawal in Picardy."
Joffre sighed deeply, "Premier, I do not have two divisions to spare! Not even two worn down Territorial divisions. The concentration we need for the Battle of Compiegne---"
"Oh, so you are blaming me for this situation? I am responsible for the British withdrawal because I gave you, the Great General Joffre, an order? Huh? Is this what all this is about?"
Joffre bit his tongue. The urge to resign this instant was very powerful. He glared daggers at Clemenceau. Finally he said, "That is unfair and inaccurate. I will send our a detailed report in the morning and you can see for yourself—"
"No, I am not interested in some report you’ve fabricated to justify yourself. What you are going to do before you go to bed tonight is find me two reserve divisions, not worn down to impotence but not full strength either. When the British make good on their promise, we will send them these two divisions. Make sure trains are available for a quick departure."
"But, but, premier as I said---"
"---but nothing. General! I am your superior and I have just given you a direct order. You will carry it out! Is that clear?"
Grinding his teeth, Joffre replied, "Yes, it is clear."
"Good. The other thing I need to discuss with you, general, is the position I have decided on for General Sarrail."
What? That is not his decision to make! "Premier, I am still reviewing our options and will have a recommendation for you before the end of next week."
"I am not sure if I believe that. You have stalled too long and the result is yesterday’s disgraceful strike pretending to be about an Irish lunatic but was really about Sarrail. I have taken firm control of that disgusting situation. I have sternly warned the unions about any new strikes, esp. those with a political intent. That is the stick but I must have a carrot as well. Monday I will announce that Gen. Sarrail is taking over Seventh Army."
"Seventh Army is too important for that clown, premier. The Vosges are very important."
"We keep saying that. Hasn’t our experience to date suggested that the defenders always enjoy a great advantage in that rough terrain?"
"It is not that simple! We cannot afford to let the Germans control the key mountain peaks. For that reason there is a series of important attacks being planned for the Vosges in July."
"With everything that has been happening of late, July strikes me as being a long way off. If the current offensive by Second Army goes as well as I hope, the attitude of people will shift and we should be able to find an excuse to remove Sarrail before the Vosges attacks begin. In the meantime Seventh Army is where he can do the least harm."
------Farran Forest (Cork) 2035 hrs
Despite Flynn’s threats Julius had thought about trying to slip away while he was gone. The combined formation of Irish Volunteers under Kerns’ direction had crossed the Lee River and slipped into a preserve on the south bank of the river. Flynn had ordered that Julius try to instruct his men while he was gone but not to fire any weapons.
When he rejoined them Flynn immediately set about making changes. The 3 ‘companies’ he had absorbed in the last day became separate platoons in the combined company which now had 247 able bodied men and 8 women. The 3 platoons of Ballyvourney Company were reworked into 2 large platoons. "You know it doesn’t make any sense calling it Ballyvourney Company any more, seeing that so many are from other areas," Flynn announced in English,. "So this afternoon I came up with a splendid new name for our outfit. From now on we shall be known as the Sealgair Company."
Julius could not resist asking an obvious question, "Just what is this Sealgair? Is this the name of the local district or something? I’ve never seen it on a map."
That provoked some laughing from the Irish Volunteers. "Just what is so funny?" Julius asked heatedly.
------Castleisland (Kerry) 2105 hrs
Major Gerd von Runstedt watched as Oberst Hell and Captain Plunkett IRA left the HQ. for their waiting motor car. Back in December von Runstedt had been assigned to Antwerp as part of the staff of Military Government. He had performed well in that role and in March OKW approached him about participating in Operation Unicorn to run the interim military government in occupied Ireland. It had proven to be a most unusual assignment to say the least. He knew that despite some early successes Gen. von François had become very apprehensive about Operation Unicorn’s long term prospects.
It had been an extremely business afternoon at von François’ HQ as a desperate plan had been quickly hammered out. One result of it was Hell was given an improvised temporary operational command and would not be able to serve as chief of staff for at least a few days. So in addition to his other duties von Runstedt would take over as chief of staff. .
------HQ British VII Army Corps Mallow (Cork) 2125 hrs
Lt. Gen. Sir John Keir, the commander of VII Army Corps had moved his HQ to Mallow. Gen. Lindley, the commander of the 53rd (Welsh) Division had his own HQ there as well but now getting ready to move it forward. The frustration earlier in the day had been superseded by encouraging reports at dusk that the Germans had withdrawn from Kanturk followed by those after dark that Mt. Hillary and Banteer had been abandoned as well.
"You need to pursue vigorously," Gen Keir ordered, "The enemy is on the run. If we can reach Millstret quickly we should be able to destroy most of the Bavarian division. Do not give the enemy a chance to regroup."
"I understand that very well, sir. However I must point out that my barely got four hours sleep last night."
"They can sleep tomorrow night."
"We will lose our cohesion during the night. And come dawn we will have no artillery support as we fired off all our shells today and none of the other artillery brigades will make it to Banteer before noon."
"Despite some clouds it looks like we have good moonlight tonight. That should help in retaining cohesion. If all goes well we may not need artillery tomorrow. If we do your other brigades will be available at midday. The northern portion of the Bavarian division is collapsing. General Parsons is reporting the same thing, though he is still having trouble with the enemy’s southern brigade. Our intelligence is that the Bavarian Division has most of its artillery near Millstreet. If we can crush the enemy forces there then destroying the southern portion afterwards will be simple and straightforward. How many prisoners have you taken so far?"
"Ten German and 13 of the despicable Irish traitors, sir. We hope to take more of each before the night is over."
"Make sure your men do not kill the Fenians if they try to surrender. General Hamilton is distressed that many Irishmen trying to surrender were killed out of hand in County Galway. I know that the Prime Minister has stated that he intends to execute every single one of them so it might appear to some minds as an administrative simplification to get it over with, but that is presumptuous and contrary to good discipline. The ultimate fate of these men is not to be decided by the soldiers or even their officers. Furthermore General Hamilton fears it may lead some to think they should kill German prisoners as well. Parsons if sure that well over 1,000 of his men were captured near Killarney. In the next few days I expect to liberate them. I would not want us to give the Germans an excuse to kill them."
------HQ British First Army Rue 2215 hrs
It was the type of day that would make many a general panic. First there was the threat that the Prussian Guards might reach the key juncture of Morlay. Then there was another unsuccessful morning attack by the 48th (South Midland) Division near Noyelles. Lastly there was another gas attack which might have ruptured his perimeter. The gas alone had caused over 2,000 casualties. Through it all Gen. Haig remained calm. He firmly believed that God had a very special mission. He saw the day’s tribulations as vindicating that hypothesis. He had been tested and had risen to the occasion. Sir John French had informed him that one British and two French infantry divisions were on their way. He was now sure he could hold on until they arrived. The Germans had done their worst today but had failed to destroy him. He ordered the key road this night be used again as a conduit for badly needed supplies and not as an avenue of escape.
------SMS B.98 English Channel 2300 hrs
Since leaving La Coruna the German destroyer had sunk two merchantmen. The more important was bringing a cargo of coal from Wales to France. It was tempting to try to take this vessel as a prize but the captain decided the odds were not good to get her home and sank her. Meanwhile the destroyer’s wireless listened patiently for a certain wireless signal. They never received it. They had waited long enough. It was try to go home—or more accurately put, to try to return home.
After a hazy sunset the B.98 had increased its speed to 30 knots and ploughed into the Channel heading ENE. Now that the moon had risen the captain ordered a reduction to 27 knots. A few minutes earlier captain had ignored what looked like another tempting prize in the moonlight. He believed himself to past what he thought has the most likely area from patrols at the western end of the Channel but he was far from being home free. Ahead lay other danger zones—the lane between Cherbourg and the Isle of Wight and then worse of all the eastern end of the Channel.