by Tom B
GERMANS OFFER TO EXCHANGE GENERAL FOR IRISH POET
"In a surprise move yesterday the commander of the German forces in Ireland, General Hermann von François offered to exchange a captured British Maj. General for the poet, William Butler Yeats, who is being held by the British in Dublin on charges of murder stemming from the death of 4 constables sent to arrest the Countess Markievicz. In a bizarre twist to an already bizarre story an American poet, Mr. Ezra Pound, who is an associate of Mr. Yeats, is also wanted in connection with the same incident, which occurred on April 24 when the Germans landed in Ireland."
------NY Herald Saturday May 8, 1915
------US Dept. of Navy Washington D.C. 0050 hrs (GMT) Saturday May 8, 1915
There were two admirals in the office. One was Rear Admiral Bradley Fiske, the current Aide for Operations, a position that would expire next Tuesday. The other was Rear Admiral William Benson who had been picked for the newly created post of Chief of Operations which would supersede the aide for Operations. Fiske had campaigned a long time for both an expansion of the naval staff and the creation of a Chief of Naval Operations, despite the opposition of the current Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniels. He was now doing some last minute grooming of Benson, who was still a bit shocked at his selection.
"We are not adequately prepared for war," Benson now heard Fiske lament for the ninth time that day, "It is not just a matter of a fleet that does not have the right mix of warships. I can—and dammit now that I am the way out I think I will—place a good chunk of the blame for that on those feckless fools in Congress. But there are other things contributing to our lack of readiness which are not their fault. Things like the lack of exercises and contingency planning. I blame the secretary for that."
Benson was about to agree with that opinion but was glad he did not as the door suddenly swung open and Secretary Daniels poked his head in. "Oh good, you’re both still here," he declared, "I just got the telephone with Capt. Gaunt, the British Naval Attache. He thinks it is highly likely that we are going to have some unwanted visitors tomorrow. Looks like we will have a busy weekend ahead of us."
------Manhattan 0130 hrs
"I have a telephone call for you, Captain."
It had been a busy day for Capt. Guy Gaunt RAN. News of Lusitania’s capture by a German cruiser had sparked the proverbial firestorm, esp. as it was widely believed that the cruiser would likely try to coal in New York. Cables from the Admiralty and the Foreign Office kept pouring in. Contributing to the problem the Foreign Office was deeply worried that Ambassador Spring-Rice would again do something rash. Much that should have been addressed to the ambassador was being routed to Gaunt instead.
"Who is it?" asked Gaunt.
"Uh, he claims to be a Mr. Aleister Crawley. Says you know who he is."
Mr. Crawley was a strange energetic Irishmen who had offered his services to Gaunt to infiltrate the Clan na Gael and the Fenian Brotherhood. Crawley wrote articles advocating extreme versions of the Fenian position in an attempt to discredit Fenianism in the public mind. In addition to this variant of propaganda Crawley did sometimes provide some useful information about what was going on in those organizations. Gaunt however did not completely trust Crawley who was known to be deeply involved in an elaborate occultism. There were rumors that some of Crawley’s rituals involved unspeakable homosexual practices. Making things even more disagreeable was Crawley apparently expected Gaunt to shield him from any legal consequences in exchange for his services to the British government.
"Yes, I know him. Put the call through."
"This Captain Guy Gaunt speaking. What news do you have for me today, Mr. Crawley? Keep it brief as I am dreadfully short on time right now." Among Crawley’s shortcomings in Gaunt’s opinion was a very bad case of the Irish love for words.
"Good day to you as well, Captain. I think you will want to hear what I have to say. This is news that is very important indeed. Intelligence of the very finest sort I am offering you now. Without any prior warning I was summoned to a meeting of the Clan na Gael this evening. Tom Clarke was there and he said that we should immediately spread the word that if any of our organization’s members wants to fight for Ireland they should come forward and assemble in New York. I am sure this must come as a complete surprise to you."
"Yes and no," replied Gaunt, who had already learned about the Germans and Austrians gathering former officers, "There are reasons this is not a complete surprise."
"That is not for you to know. Did they give you any other details? Did they mention arms or specific ships?"
"No, well actually yes. We were reminded of the Sullivan Law and warned that it might be used to arrest Fenians with unlicensed pistols. As far as ships we were told only that more details would be revealed tomorrow."
"When they are make sure we are notified immediately. I am going to set up a duty officer to act in my absence. If I am not readily available ask for the duty officer and provide him with the relevant information. Is that understood?"
------NW of Macroom (Cork) 0305 hrs
With the aid of some moonlight Brigade Hell and the Bavarian Jaeger Regiment resumed infiltrating of the positions of the British 16th Division. Some of their companies were accompanied by IRA guides familiar with the local area which showed paths which small bands of men might use to wend their way through hills and bogs. Their opponents were Irishmen but it only had 2 battalions of the Munster Fusiliers which would include men from this area. Of those two battalions one had been sent to Limerick instead and nearly destroyed when Kaiser Wilhelm II had shelled the train station. The other was wiped out in the Battle of Killarney.
More half of these German attacks found a well prepared enemy that put up a stiff fight. A few got bogged down in the terrain—sometimes literally. However some of these attacks succeeded in attacking the defending Irishmen from unexpected directions. Already nearly 150 prisoners had been taken during the night of which less than half were wounded. The experienced Bavarian veterans were beginning the telltale signs of shaky morale and even some panic. They had not yet been able to reach the enemy’s artillery but a platoon of Bavarian Jaegers had succeeded in taking a pair of Vickers machineguns from behind and two important observation posts had been overrun.
------south of the Authie River (Picardy) 0530 hrs
The Germans opened fire on the British 4th and 6th Infantry Divisions with over 300 pieces of heavy artillery targeting an arc that ran from the south bank of the river down to the northern outskirts of Arry. These 2 British divisions had been heavily involved in the Battle of the Somme and thought they knew what German artillery was capable but this was more intense than anything they had encountered previously. They British initially tried to duel with their 4.5" howitzers, 4.7" ex-naval guns and 60 pounders but these were soon completely suppressed by German counterbattery fire while high trajectory German HE shells descended on the British first and second line of trenches which in accordance with Gen. Haig’s orders were very densely packed. In some places west of Villers the forward trenches had only been dug in the pouring rain of the last two days to replace sections that had fallen to the Germans in Wednesday’s attack. .The German bombardment went on and on and on.
------Midleton (Cork) 0605 hrs
Just before midnight Rommel had sent the armored cars and Tatra trucks back to Cork again swinging around the mass of the British forces in the northern part of Cork city. They eventually returned to him with another company of 3rd Kerry Battalion plus 300 more Moisin-Nagant rifles and 24,000 rounds of ammunition. Rommel decided not to remain on Great Island once his men had made contact with the Irish Volunteers at the Cobh. He left firm instructions with his company commandant to arm the local company then cordon off Belvelly Bridge, but to hold off on assaulting the Martello Tower which guarded the bridge.
Rommel managed to get some sleep and then proceeded to Midleton to meet with the O’Duibhir, the leader of the Tipperary Volunteers. Rommel had heard vague rumors of a cavalry raid deep into County Tipperary often with speculation that the German cavalry had been destroyed there. Rommel now learned what had happened. It was an interesting set of adventures the 16th Uhlan Regiment had shared with O’Duibhir’s men. What bothered Rommel though was the recent falling between the Uhlans and the Tipperary Volunteers. It reminded him too much of his own problems with another stubborn Irish commandant who refused to take German orders. Still he was glad he now had over 1,000 more men---most of whom now had some combat experience under their belt—as reinforcements.
The Uhlans had told O’Duibhir about the IRA and the Irish Brigade officers, but Major Rommel was the first one actually met wearing a bright green uniform and a steel helmet, which struck him as being much more useful than the German leather helmet with the silly pickelhaube. He kept telling himself that despite the golden harps on his uniform Rommel was another bossy German and he did not completely trust Germans. Still Rommel had his own exciting exploits to tell and most of the men the major led were in fact Irishmen And O’Duibhir found himself more than a wee bit embarrassed to learn that Rommel knew more Irish Gaelic than he did. He was also impressed that the O’Rahilly had chosen to follow Rommel.
"So where do you want my men to go next, Major?" O’Duibhir finally asked, "Cross over to Great Island or would you be likin’ us to we help you eject them fuckin’ Orangemen from the northern part of Cork?"
"Neither, commandant. There is something much more important to do."
------Curragh (Kildare) 0615 hrs
"The telegraph and telephone lines to VI Corps are still down, sir," Braithwaite remarked to Gen. Hamilton, "Each night it seems that more and more wires are cut. It is nearly impossible to prevent and the decreasing moonlight in the coming days will only make it worse."
"Thank the Almighty we still have the option of wireless. We need to know what is happening at Limerick, Athlone, Monaghan and Tullamore. But what has me most worried right now is the wireless we received from VII Army Corps. General Keir is now seriously worried that the Germans might be able to destroy 16th Division. He believes the remnants of 53rd Division must be reinforced immediately and then committed to a counterattack."
"We can temporarily transfer what’s left of the 53rd Division to the operational command of VI Army Corps and then order Gen. Stopford to reinforce it with an infantry brigade and an artillery brigade detached from 10th Division. That should give Gen Friend enough strength to rescue 16th Division."
"That is our most obvious course of action, sir, but I predict that Gen. Stopford will seize on this as yet another excuse for making little or no progress at Limerick."
"Yes, I am starting to form a negative opinion of him as well," Hamilton replied, "The main reason he was selected for this command in the first place was that we needed someone senior to Gen. Mahon. If this was going to be a longer campaign I would already be looking for a suitable replacement."
------between Nolette and Nouvion (Picardy) 0700 hrs
Under pressure from Sir John French to persevere with its offensive the Second Army began the preliminary bombardment for its early morning attack. Gen. D’Oissel had agreed to participate in the attack now that the weather had improved and was contributing what he could to the bombardment. The French still only had 75s and obsolete deBange 90mm pieces. Neither the British Second army nor the French had many shells and only a quarter of them were HE. Plumer was forced to limit the bombardment to 30 minutes. He was pleased to see that the Germans were not in the mood to duel. The preliminary reports from the dawn air patrols indicated that the Germans had thinned their artillery in this sector during the wet days, esp. the heavy pieces.
. At the end of the half hour the shelling of the enemy trenches stopped though suppressive fire against the enemy’s known artillery and minenwerfer positions continued. At this point 13 British battalions—6 from the 1st Division, 4 from the 50th (Northumberland) Division and 3 from the 48th (North Midland) Division as well as 4 battalions of the French 28th Division went over the top. No man’s land was much drier than yesterday and the German remained silent, but the attackers still faced the problems of machineguns and thick wire barriers which the artillery had done little to clear. Some managed to find their way into the trenches and in some areas there was a fierce melee that lasted more than an hour. Contrary to what many of the British and French colonels and majors were telling their men there still enough able bodied Prussian Guards left to hold their trenches. The 1st Division did the best succeed in capturing a section of the forward trench which was already being counterattacked by the Germans, but all the attacking battalions suffered horrific losses in the assault.
------Old Admiralty Building 0730 hrs
The First Lord was meeting yet again with Admirals Callaghan, Jackson, Wilson and Oliver. Carson addressed Oliver, "I have been told that you have gathered some important information overnight, Admiral Oliver."
"Well several bits of information, but the most important is we received some intelligence that the Clan na Gael issued a call last night to round up able bodied volunteers to fight in Ireland."
"Hmm. And who is behind this—other the German rogues like Papen? I thought the Yanks had arrested Devoy and were holding him without bail."
"For the time being, yes, First Lord, though Mr. Devoy’s attorney, a Mr. Clarence Darrow, has a bail hearing scheduled for Monday. Tom Clarke appears to be running things in Devoy’s absence."
"Gadzooks--out of the frying pan into the fire! So it is more than former officers that the scheming Germans are looking for. How many Harry Calahans are they going to be able to rustle up this time do you suppose?"
Oliver sighed and shrugged, "That is a very difficult question, First Lord. If I had to guess I would say several hundred. Now it will depend somewhat on how long the Germans plan on staying around."
"If the Germans want to take several days to assemble as many Fenians as possible then there is a good chance that they will still be at port when Inflexible arrives," Admiral Wilson speculated.
"It is more likely that the Germans will take as many as they can get and leave quickly," countered Admiral Callaghan who continued to doubt the wisdom of sending Inflexible to new York.
"Tine is one restraint, but so is space. This means the enemy won’t be able to cram them aboard one small cruiser. Even if all 3 cruisers are involved they may not be able to fit them all," Jackson reasoned.
"Might they try to use Lusitania as a troopship after disembarking its passengers?" asked Carson.
"Yes, but clearly the capture of Lusitania was an unexpected blessing, First lord," said Oliver, "Certainly it was not in their plans."
"Perhaps the former officers were all that was involved in the original plan but now with Lusitania in their possession they have expanded their operation," said Wilson.
"That is one possibility but it has problems. They cannot sail Lusitania into New York because under the Hague the Yanks would be compelled to seize her. So if the accursed Fenains are to go aboard Lustiania they would have to be ferried out to her, which will take some time," stated Callaghan.
"Admiral von Spee did leave without the slower liners back in January. Maybe their original plan was for one of those to serve as the troopship," said Wilson.
"Admiral Oliver do you have any intelligence suggesting that the Germans were preparing one of their remaining liners for departure?" asked Carson.
"No, First Lord. Well not at least so far."
"Send a cable to Captain Gaunt as soon as this meeting is over that his agents should be on the lookout for that." Carson ordered Oliver then turned to the First Sea Lord, "I understand full well your concern that we may well be sending Inflexible off on a wild goose chance when her true role is to remain behind with the Grand Fleet---which is as we all know too well the learned opinion of Admiral Bayly on this matter. Yet this latest bit of intelligence from Gaunt leads me to believe that the Germans intend to stay a while in American waters. If we receive some compelling evidence indicating otherwise I would then recall Inflexible in a blink of an eye but until then I feel we are warranted in continuing her mission."
------Teschen 0755 hrs
General Count Franz Conrad von Hotzendorf was on the telephone with the commander of the Seventh Army, Gen. Karl von Pflanzer-Baltin. "I have intelligence indicating that the Russian Ninth Army is preparing a new offensive, generalfeldmarschal," stated an anxious Gen. Pflanzer-Baltin, "The 6th Bavarian Reserve Division was abruptly transferred away. That German unit was occupying a key sector of my defenses creating a hole I was justly barely able to fill with a badly understrength Honved brigade. My forces are already badly stretched covering a very wide front. It is imperative that my army receive reinforcements very quickly."
"Now, now, let us not reach hasty conclusions. That Bavarian division had been badly mauled in earlier fighting, when it had let an entire regiment become encircled. I cannot believe it is as essential as you say. As for the Russians resuming offensive operations in the Bukovina any time soon, I find the intelligence to be inconclusive. What I do know is that the Russians were badly hurt at the Battle of Radom and are experiencing very serious shortages of not only artillery shells but even rifles right now. I cannot believe that they pose a serious threat to your army. A small localized attack is possible but that is all. You have proven yourself to be very adept with the use of strongpoints. You should have no trouble constraining that."
"I deeply appreciate your confidence in my skill, general. Nevertheless I feel that you are seriously underestimating both the enemy’s strength and the scope of their offensive. I do feel that there is a serious risk to Seventh Army and the entire Bukovina if I am not reinforced quickly."
"You have not persuaded me. The mighty Galician offensive I have so painstakingly labored over for nearly two months is due to start next Thursday. With the Serbian offensive going slower than the haughty Germans predicted, I cannot spare significant strength—neither men nor materials--elsewhere at this time. Oh there was one division of the most dubious quality I may have been able to spare but the Kaiser decided to offer it to the Germans for political reasons I will not discuss over the telephone. Quite frankly you are better off without it."
"Then other reinforcements must be found. I learned yesterday that Ottoman troops are participating in the invasion of Serbia---"
"No, no, no! This is outrageous. I will not even begin to contemplate what you have the insufferable temerity to suggest! There is no need for further discussion! You have sufficient strength to hold your current line. I am terminating this call soon and you would be wise not to trouble me further."
------Army Group Crown Prince Rupprecht HQ Belgrade 0815 hrs
"The so called 90th Infantry Division is finally arriving at Orosova this morning, Your Royal Highness," Gen. Ludendorff informed Crown prince Rupprecht, "It will attempt to cross the Danube tonight."
"Why are disparaging them as being ‘so called’ division?" replied Rupprecht testily, "Is this another of your deprecation of Bavarian prowess? That ‘so called’ division contains the famed Leib Regiment, the most elite of all Bavarian regiments."
Ludendorff rolled his eyes, "Oh no, Your Royal Highness. Nothing could be further from my mind. I would merely point out that this division has only one other regiment, one of those pitifully low quality marine regiments composed of erstwhile sailors which OKW made available when 2nd Naval Division was disbanded. Their artillery consists solely of 4 batteries each armed with 6 Russian Putilov guns and 2 batteries each armed with 4 Russian 122mm howitzers. These are all weapons captured during the Battle of Radom. The cavalry squadron they were supposed to have as their reconnaissance element as well as their pioneer company will not arrive for several more days. Furthermore---"
"----Yes, yes. You have made your point, General Ludendorff," interrupted Rupprecht with a wave of his hand, "however as this division’s mission is primarily a diversion, its limitations are not crippling. The former sailors should prove adept in crossing the Danube tonight and once the bridgehead is established the ferocity of the Leib Regiment will make the Serbs think it is a full strength division!"
Ludendorff rolled his eyes some more. This time Rupprecht noticed and complained, "Stop giving me that look! I know part of the reason you are so negative is that this division was another idea of OKW, which I know you despise."
"This division was merely another way to make Operation Whisper appear to be a bigger triumph than Tannenberg which is an appalling distortion and only goes to show how desperate that bunch of knaves who run it are."
"If it wasn’t for OKW you wouldn’t be here with me now would you, yes?"
There were several things that Ludendorff wanted to say in reply to that. He realized that any of them would rile the prince further and so he bit his tongue and remained silent.
"Nothing to say? If only that would happen more often!" Rupprecht, taunted, "Anyway one thing that makes the 90th Infantry Division such an optimal choice for its assignment is its Russian artillery. It should be able to make contact with the Bulgarians before too long and as they use Russian artillery as well they will be able to provide the division with ammunition."
"A division with only 6 battalions will certainly impress the Bulgarians whose own divisions have 22 battalions!"
"Perhaps. But when they see the prowess of the Leib Regiment with their own eyes they cannot help but be impressed!"
Ludendorff rolled his eyes some more and tried not to groan.
------Cork City Jail 0850 hrs
"Major von Thoma, German soldiers on bicycles are heading this way!" one of the corporals of the West Limerick Battalion reported in an excited voice, "Should we let them through, sir?"
"By all means, corporal. At last we have some German reinforcements!" Thoma then went outside to greet the new arrivals. They turned out to be one of the Jaeger cyclist companies belonging to the Bavarian Jaeger Regiment. The company commander evidently spoke little or no English and let an unteroffizier speak for him, "We are looking for Major Erwin Rommel IRA, is he here?"
Thoma decided to answer in German, "No he is not. He left to lead a mission east of the city. I am in command in his absence. I am IRA Major Ritter von Thoma, commander of the west Limerick Battalion"
The young Hauptman in command of the Jaeger cyclists approached von Thoma, "That is most unexpected, Major." he said with the usual sarcastic sneer in his voice when he said ‘Major’, "Oberst Hell informed me that he ordered Rommel to remain in Cork and take command until a superior officer arrived. Oberst Hell had expected that to the Chevauleger regiment but they are tied down at Bandon right now, so he sent me instead. I am Hauptman Emil Dorfman."
"I have found that Major Rommel has a marked tendency to interpret orders as he sees fit, Hauptman. Shall we go inside? I am sure you can use some refreshment."
"Thank you, Major. In the meantime my men will begin unloading the 400 Russian rifles we brought along."
Once inside the conversation continued. "When I first tasted this Guinness beer I did not care for it," commented Dorfman with a grin, "but it does sort of grow on you, yes? I think there is going to be a market for it in Germany after the war. Most of those who make it back will be singing its praises."
"Were you at Berehaven? I heard things were very awful there."
Dorfman’s grin disappeared, "Yes, it was very bad. All those poor Jaegers killed. It was so obvious that we had lost the element of surprise we were counting on. Fortunately for me my bicycle company was not part of the assault group. We only took a single casualty that horrible night. Let’s change the subject to something hopefully less unpleasant. Please give me a brief overview of your current situation."
"The strongest enemy force is to the north of North Channel. It is at least 2 battalions maybe more. They are Ulstermen who seem to have an incredibly intense hatred of the Catholic rebels. That makes them very fierce but it sometimes makes them attempt brash attacks that suffer heavy losses. This morning they made another assault trying to reach Patrick’s Bridge. This time I let loose with my infantry guns which I had been holding back. They were not expecting artillery and it shook them up but I think they will soon recover from their shock and try again. Another benefit we get from fighting them is that many of the Redmondites detest the Ulstermen and that causes some of them to join to us. However despite those advantages I am most worried there because Rommel took not only most of 3rd Kerry Battalion with him but all of the working armored cars which have proven to be very useful as mobile strongpoints."
"I see. Oberst Hell said there was a fairly large IRA battalion at Mallow. Have they been able to help?"
"No there is a British force, a mixture of infantry and cavalry which have blocked all their attempts to move here."
"And in the heart of the city between the channels?"
"We were making steady progress there against what we know believe is at most a battalion of Welshmen plus some constables. The tactic of tunnelling through buildings has some merit even though it is very slow. Yesterday they made a series of counterattacks and initially had some success regaining what they had lost. However they persisted too long in their attacks and badly weakened themselves. Last night we were able to regain the initiative there but progress remains painstakingly slow. House to house combat can be as brutal as trench fighting."
"Yes, we were told that many times in preparing for Operation Unicorn."
"And it is likely to get even more brutal. There is this Irishman named Flynn and he’s formed what he calls the Sealgair Battalion—that word happens to mean Jaeger in that cackling Irish language--"
At that Dorfman choked and sprayed von Thoma with some dark droplets. "---you don’t say! The arrogance of these people! How could the battalion’s Irish Brigade officer dare to approve this blasphemy?"
"You see that’s the problem. Commandant Flynn refuses to allow an Irish Brigade officer to take command of his unit. He insists on leading his battalion by himself. His methods are most unorthodox. From what I hear sometimes he can be clever, but he is devoid of discipline and morals. We have been trying to get the Irish not to retaliate against Prime Minister Law’s threats by murdering prisoners, but Flynn has already killed some prisoners, and beaten severely some others."
"Might life be simpler if we shot this Herr Flynn?"
"If only it was that simple. He has attained a certain popularity amongst the Irish Volunteers. They might fight to protect him and rebel against us if we succeeded in killing him. For the time being we cannot risk it. Once additional German reinforcements arrive and Cork is secure, we can then find a way to take of the situation."
"Hmm. What a mess Hell has seen fit to give me, yes? So what is the situation south of South Channel?"
"There is a force of several hundred Irish soldiers serving the British. We believe that issued from the two forts on the western side of the harbor entrance. Flynn’s Sealgairs apparently did some serious hurt to them but they are remain a menace tying down most of 2nd Cork City Battalion. However I have received some encouraging news this morning. One of the Chevauleger squadrons which had been there previously to deliver weapons and ammunition then departed has now returned and intends to stay and fight."
------Bucharest (Romania) 0905 hrs
King Ferdinand invited Romanian premier, Ion IC Bratianu to share some pastry and coffee while they discussed the latest developments. "The invasion of Ireland was a major mistake on the part of the Germans, Your Majesty,:" said the prime minister, "It demonstrates that they realize that their current advantage over the Royal Navy will not last long. They were counting on a more favorable reception by the Catholics in Ireland and are now in grave trouble."
"Hmm. I wish I could be as sure as you, Ion. I read just yesterday that there is now mounting criticism of Prime Minister Law alleging that he is seriously underestimating the size of the rebels."
. Bratianu was about to bite a tempting pastry. He put it down for a second, frowned slightly then shrugged, "Uh, yes, I have read that as well, Your Majesty. It is now obvious that Mr. Law did make some overly optimistic statements early on, such as his assertion that there were less than 1,000 rebels. This was unfortunately an honest error on his part. Every ruler likes to imagine the extreme malcontents in his country are most only a handful. Sometimes they are two or three handfuls. That is what is happening in Ireland. So maybe there are 3,000 or 4,000 rebels in Ireland. That is still too small to make a significant difference militarily—even though it may have some political significance. So it is clear that the German expedition to Ireland is doomed."
"In the long run that is most certainly true. If nothing else it is much easier for the British to reinforce their forces. In the short run though the Germans may hold out longer than Mr. Law is expecting."
"Perhaps but I do not see it making a difference, Your Majesty."
"Let us assume that is true. There is more to this war than Ireland. The Germans seemed to be having some success for a while against the British in France."
"They did, Your Majesty, but that was only temporary and was sue to their use of a completely barbaric weapon—poison gas. From what we’ve been told the Germans have lost the initiative against the British while meanwhile a new French counterattack has liberated the city of Compiegne. The new French premier, Clemenceau, is confident that this great victory demonstrates that his army is now beginning to overwhelm the German entrenchments and with relentless pressure he believes a complete rupture will ensue in the next month allowing for the resumption of open warfare."
"Impressive. But I have heard overly optimistic Entente predictions before. I am more interested in events closer to home. The Russians have been passive since they lost more than half of Fourth Army back in March. The Germans have thrust into Lithuania without encountering much resistance and all the Russians do is make lame excuses for their vulnerability by telling us it is an unimportant sector. But most troubling of all is the Serbian campaign with Bulgaria joining the Central Powers."
"The Bulgarian entry is not exactly a shocking surprise, Your Majesty and we both agree that their army is overrated."
"Overrated? Well, perhaps I did express that opinion on occasion. But hardly ineffective as we both should well know and as the Serbs are once again discovering to their displeasure. Latest reports indicate Serbian resistance is crumbling."
"I would not dismiss the possibility of a Serbian counterstroke, Your Majesty, they’ve done it before. Furthermore I have received assurances from both the British and the Russians that they willing taking measures soon to assist their troubled ally."
"Hmm. Did either the British or the Russians go into any detail?"
"The British said they would reinforce their Albanian expedition very soon. They did not go into details for reasons of security. All the Russians would say is that their effort would also amply demonstrate their power to us."
King Ferdinand pondered that for a few moments then said, "Oh, the attaches think they are being obscure, but it seems highly probable to me that they plan to renew their offensive in the Bukovina. Is that your intuition as well?"
"Yes, that seems like the most likely prospect to me, Your Majesty. I am very hopeful and believe that it could completely change the entire war. The Russians were on the verge of a major victory there when the unfortunate Battle of Radom distracted Southwestern Front."
"Hmm. Well that is what they tell us. I do not accept their explanations as readily as you do. We shall wait and see what happens in the Bukovina and elsewhere."
Bratianu was by now well acquainted with his monarch’s cautiousness. "I did not come here to persuade you that now is the time to join the Entente, Your Majesty. I am merely saying that the opportunity we have been waiting for is closer than you think. You must be ready to seize it when it comes."
Ferdinand wagged a finger in the premier’s face, "Have no fear, my dear minister. If the Entente victories you are predicting come to pass, I will be prepared. But if they do not I will be prepared as well."
Bratianu paled at the last sentence, "I am not sure that I follow, Your Majesty. Surely you are not suggesting…." His voice trailed off as he found himself unable to complete the sentence.
"Are you worried that this Hohenzollern might at some point contemplate joining the Central Powers?"
Bratianu began to perspire. "I would counsel you not do anything hasty, Your Majesty."
"Strange words coming from someone trying constantly to join the Entente! Let me reassure that we are a long way from joining the Central Powers outright. However their recent successes leads us to believe that we need to proffer them some token of appeasement."
"Just what are considering, Your Majesty? Letting them ship munitions through our country to the Turks?"
"That had been my first thought as well. But does it not send a signal to the Serbs that we think their situation is hopeless? If there is indeed the turning of the tide you anticipate we would find it hard to go back to the old prohibition and in the meantime have gained ourselves nothing but embarrassment. So we looked to other options and considered our restricted trade with the Central Powers. They have made it abundantly clear that they would like to buy more food and much more petroleum that we are currently willing to allow. We could loosen those restrictions. If later the great Entente victories you envision do in fact materialize then we can find an excuse to terminate those contracts, while in the meantime we have been richly rewarded."
While the premier did not like the direction of King Ferdinand’s thoughts this particular course of action did not strike him as being all that bad. There were a lot worse things His Majesty might be contemplating. Believing that the resurgence of the Entente was only a week away a temporary increase of trade was hardly worth fighting over.
"As always you are most prudent and wise, Your Majesty."
------Killarney (Kerry) 0920 hrs
Austin Stack and Bishop John Morgan were sitting in the waiting room of Gen. von François’ HQ. "The stereotype of Germans being devoid of a sense of humor is not completely true," Austen Stack remarked to the anxious prelate, "but it applies in spades to Maj. von Rundstedt. He comes across as stiff and cold though he does try to be courteous in his thick Prussian way."
"Hmm. Prussian not Bavarian," mused the bishop, "so it is unlikely that he is a Catholic, eh?"
"Yes, I am pretty sure he is some form of Protestant, probably a Lutheran. His command of English though is not too---"
At this a German soldier approached and interrupted, "Commandant Stack. The major will see you and the bishop now. He asks that you be brief as he is filling in for Oberst Hell right now and is extremely busy."
The bishop helped Stack who was still recovering from his leg wound get up. He let the commandant lean on his shoulder. Stack also had a cane to lean. Together the two of them hobbled their way into Maj. von Rundstedt’s office. "It is very kind of you to meet with us on such short notice, Maj. Von Rundstedt. I realize your time is precious and therefore I will be direct. This here is Bishop John Morgan, who is in charge of the local diocese. He has an idea I think you should hear about."
"Your Excellency on behalf of Kaiser Wilhelm and Gen. François I bid you welcome. I would like very much to hear this proposal of yours," answered von Rundstedt stiffly.
"Ahem, well then I have been told that you have taken several thousand prisoners and most of them are being kept here at Killarney."
Rundstedt nodded, "That is correct, Your Excellency."
"It must be a great burden to have to care for so many prisoners, esp. with all the fighting going on as well."
Rundstedt eyed the bishop warily as if uncomfortable with where he thought this conversation was headed. He took his time before answering slowly, "Yes, you are quite right, Your Excellency. We are doing the best that we can under these trying circumstances."
"I am here to ease your burden, major."
Rundstedt was a bit surprised. He had been worrying that the bishop was going to rebuke him for the condition of the POW camps. During his experience with the administration of occupied Belgium there had been a steady stream of complains from a Belgian cardinal named Mercier. He now wondered if the bishop merely wanted to visit the prisoners more. Within limits that would be acceptable. "What do you propose, Your Excellency?"
"There are many people in Ireland right now who really do not want to take sides in this conflict."
Rundstedt became even more confused. "I do not doubt that what you say is true, Your Excellency, but I fail to see the relevance."
"What I am driving at, Major, is that some of these people who do want to take sides are nevertheless deeply religious Catholics with charity in their hearts. What I propose—indeed yesterday I began to approach a few prominent figures locally with encouraging results—is to ask those who can in Ireland to help ease the plight of the prisoners, esp. once they learn that a majority of the prisoners are Irishmen like themselves."
"Hmm. I begin to see where are you are going, Your Excellency, but it is still a bit vague. Could you please be more specific?"
"Well, major, I guess it is vague because I haven’t worked out all the details myself but what it boils down to is the organization, which I have tentatively decided to call Irish Mercy, will funnel contributions towards the camps both in the form of materials—such as food and medicine—and labor."
Rundstedt thought this over. He did not see any immediate problem with this and the more he thought about it the more he liked it. "I have no objection to this. By labor you mean physicians would treat the prisoners while others would in the construction and maintenance of barracks?"
The bishop nodded but before he could speak Stack jumped in, "I was even wondering if we could make use of these Irish Mercy lads to help guard the prisoners. That chore is tying down one of my battalions right now."
That idea did not sit well with Rundstedt, "Only Irishmen who join the Irish Republican Army will be allowed to bear arms—that includes pistols."
"Well in that case, how about arming them with clubs—a good shillelagh should be sufficient, esp. if we give them a few dogs as well. They would not be able to completely replace my own men who have firearms but would free up half of my men on guard duty."
"Hmm. I will need to give this more thought. For the time being you have my permission, Bishop Morgan, to start organizing this Irish Mercy and begin collecting donations. We can discuss guard duty again at a latter date."
------Ballyvaughan (Clare) 0930 hrs
Men armed with rifles ride into this coastal village in northwest Clare on bicycles. They consisted of two groups—one German and the other Irish. The former was a platoon of German Marine cyclists. The Irishmen were part of the newly formed Clare Cyclist Company, comprised of 86 men picked from the West Clare and Central Clare Battalions on the basis of their cycling skills, marksmanship and discipline. They were now out on their first patrol. Since the British 109th Brigade had withdrawn to Gort the Germans now dominated northwest Clare, but the Ulstermen of 109th Brigade were sending out patrols from Gort sometimes accompanied by the R.I.C so there was some possibility of combat.
Late yesterday the Clare Cyclist Company arrived in the section of northwest Clare called the Burren which possessed a highly unusual terrain of karstic limestone. At dawn they learned of a band of 65 men, mostly disenchanted Redmondites, who had assembled at Ballyvaughan and wanted to join the IRA but lacked any form of firearm. Arming rebels was part of their mission and they had brought 100 extra Moisin-Nagant rifles with them for that purpose. While the cyclist company’s commander made contact a few of his men wandered over to a small hill overlooking a portion of Galway Bay. They could see 3 warships out in the bay. One was an armed trawler making a patrol. A torpedo boat and another trawler were at anchor.
"I heard the commandant say that they will be creating a similar cyclist company in Kerry soon, possibly as early as today."
"Yes, I heard that, too. Look at those warships in the bay. Those are cruisers aren’t they? Too small to be battleships, right?"
"Nah, they’re not even cruisers. Gunboats I say."
"Or destroyers perhaps. Definitely not cruisers."
"Do you think they can see us? Could they start firing on us?"
"Now remember what the commandant told us. It is important for us to remain dispersed when we’re near the coast during the day. Concentration draws their attention and maybe even a few shells."
------Scariff Bay (Clare) 0955 hrs
The winds had attenuated during the night and the German commander of the flotilla of river boats at Athlone decided after midnight that it was now sufficiently safe to try to return to Clare to fetch more rifles and ammunition. Lough Derg was still a bit choppy and two of the boats struggled for a while but now they were already pulling into the bay. The boats that had arrived ahead of them were already reporting the good news about the capture of Custume Barracks and most of the city to the anxious Germans who had heard nothing since the armored train left for Athenry on its way to Ballinasloe.
CATHOLIC TRAITORS NOW THREATEN ULSTER
"The revolt in Cork city has garnered most of the attention in Ireland the last few days. This is in many ways understandable as Cork is Ireland’s third largest city and a port of great importance. Nevertheless we feel that the situation in Cork city has been allowed to deprive other very alarming developments of the attention they deserve. One example is in the western part of County Cork where there are hordes of bloodthirsty Catholic jackals seeking to take advantage of the breakdown of order and some German supplied weapons to brazenly attack Protestant communities which are unarmed and therefore utterly defenseless.
Another example is the city of Athlone at the heart of our country where bands of Catholic traitors egged on by German agitators have caused chaos. Lastly and most disturbing of all is the revolt in Monaghan which is inside the borders of Ulster itself---which the government had assured the Ulster Volunteer Force was not in the slightest danger when the UVF were asked to demobilize. Now that this promise has been proven false the security needs of the loyal citizens of Ulster need to be revaluated."
----Belfast News Letter Saturday May 8, 1915 .
------Killarney (Kerry) 1005 hrs
After giving his conditional blessing to the organization proposed by the bishop, Major von Rundstedt turned his attention to the more pressing items on his schedule. He was now meeting with Gen. von François to deliver the report on their supply situation the general had demanded. He handed the general a typed 8 page report. "I regret that I can not provide you a completely accurate report on our current situation, general. The numbers you see in this report at best reflect our supply situation as of noon yesterday"
The general impatiently looked at the report. "I understand that. I am most interested in munitions at this time. What is our situation there in round numbers? " von François asked.
"In regard to artillery shells, not counting the naval vessels in the Shannon, we have expended a little more than half of our stockpile as of noon yesterday. Roughly the same situation for grenades and minenwerfer shells. In regard to bullets we have used up 48%."
"By bullets you mean the German 7.92 rounds? There is also the Russian ammunition we brought for the Irish Republican Army. Surely we have not used much of that on account of the disappointing turnout to date."
"That is correct, general, I was only referring to the German ammunition. The exact number is in the report but of the 6 million rounds of 7.62 we brought to Ireland we still have slightly more than 5 million left. Are you thinking about rearming some of our own soldiers with Moisin-Nagant rifles?"
"Hmm. I would like to postpone that for the time being. While we have not captured rather meagre amounts of British artillery rounds we have done better with their rifle rounds."
"Yes, that number is in the report, general. To date we have captured over two million rounds of .303 and that does not include any ammunition we may have captured at either Althlone or Cork."
"With some possibility of capturing still more when the British 16th Division is eliminated, yes? Let us start then rearming one battalion of 6th Bavarian Division with Lee-Enfield rifles. I will leave it up to Gen. von Gyssling to decide which one. Unfortunately we do not have that option with artillery. We have captured several British guns, but not much in the way of ammunition. That one battery we formed with a mixture of Germans and Irish will soon be out of shells, yes?"
"That is correct, general. When 16th Division collapses we will likely capture still more British artillery but very few shells."
"Yes but we should not complain too much, yes? It has been very fortunate for us so far that the British have been so niggardly in doling out shells for their forces in Ireland."
"It seems then that we must rely on Berlin to send us more artillery shells, general. I know that OKW had some contingency plans in Operation Unicorn for sending us small amounts of ammunition if the second wave was delayed. I would recommend that we advise Berlin of our situation so that can begin putting those plans into operation. Unless of course they have decided to send the second wave after all."
"Ah, we can only hope. But I agree that we must inform Berlin immediately of our situation. Send the following message to OKW by wireless. WE HAVE EXPENDED MORE THAN THREE QUARTER OF OUR ARTILLERY SHELLS STOP IT IS URGENT THAT WE BE RESUPPLIED QUICKLY
Rundstedt momentarily wondered if the general had misheard him previously. "But general we---" he began then stopped short upon seeing the look in von François’ eyes. There had been no misperception on the general’s part.
"Yes, general. As you wish."
------Togochale (Abyssinia/Somaliland border) 1020 hrs
Sheik Mohammed Abdullah Hassan got off his white ass. Tafari strode forward to greet him. The Sheik eyed him warily. Tafari had brought 3,000 soldiers with him from Harar. The Sheik was ambivalent about those as well. They exchanged courtesies then got down to business.
"I had been told that you had declared yourself to be an enemy of Iyasu," Hassan noted dryly, "Now you show up on my border and claim you wish to fight with me against the British."
"There was some ah, misunderstanding between Iyasu and myself," Tafari said with a forced smile Hassan found unconvincing, "Through the wise intercession of my dear wife who happens to be his niece we have been reconciled—at least for the time being. What is important now is that Abyssinia be united so we can defeat the British invaders. Iyasu believes that the British forces you have been fighting intend to cross the border to seize the holy city of Harer and then proceed on to attack Addis Ababa It will be easier to fight them while they are still in the mountains. That is the reason we cross the border. Let me assure you in the strongest possible terms that we have no designs on your land."
"Hmm. I have been told that you are a Copt yet you speak of Harer as a holy city."
"As governor ruling over that wonderful city I have come to respect the traditions of my subjects, many of whom are Muslin."
Hassan shook his head slightly. He had also heard that this Tafari who had controversially assumed the title of Ras, was a clever schemer and manipulator. "We can—and will—discuss religion later, Ras Tafari," answered the Sheik who could play the manipulation game as well when he needed, "I place my trust in your word that you have not come here to conquer but to join us in a our struggle against a common foe. We can certainly use your men at this time as we are being hard pressed in a key mountain pass at this time. . If the enemy breaks through there I may be forced to disperse my forces."
"My men here are devout Muslims. Even though it the harsh midday sun they would march at fierce pace to rescue you followers if that is was is required."
"If you did that the sun would suck the life out of them and make them useless as soldiers. No, my situation is very serious but not to the point that you should contemplate foolishness, Ras Tafari. But I am curious are these devout Muslims?"
"Oh, yes, Sheik. They all admire you greatly."
"That is most unusual. Here in my own country there are many Somalis calling themselves Muslim who do not, esp. in Berbera. So are all the soldiers under your command Muslim or just those you have brought with you?"
Tafari frowned slightly and took his time replying, "I have some Christian soldiers as well, but I did not take them here with me. Uh, I thought you would feel, uh, less threatened if the relief force was completely Muslim."
:"I would feel less threatened if the accursed British were thrown into the sea with their tails between their legs! I have accepted aid from both the Ottomans and Germans, neither of whom I trust very far. I would welcome Coptic Abyssinians willing to fight. Perhaps now that you know that you will now send word back to Harer for them to join us as well."
Tafari’s frowns deepened, "Uh, it is vital that a strong garrison be maintained within the walls of the holy city."
"I am not suggesting leaving the holy city naked, but with an able commander a walled city like that can be held effectively by a small number of men—unless of course your enemy has heavy artillery with them."
Again Tafari took his time replying. Finally he answered, "I will give that some consideration, Sheik. If need be I can always request additional reinforcements later."
It is clear now what is going on thought Hassan the men he has brought here are those he fears might try to overthrow him in Harar. His loyal followers, mostly Shoan Copts, he will keep in Harer. Let me confirm that suspicion by asking "So do you plan to stay with your troops in Somaliland fighting the British?"
Tafari shook his head, "I have brought them here so I could have the immense honor of meeting such a legendary person as yourself. I would like very much for us to feast together for a few hours discussing strategy. After I must be returning to the holy city. The gerazmach in charge of this contingent, whom I will introduce to you shortly, has very strict orders to follow your orders to the letter. You will find him to be zealous and effective."
And most likely he is one of those you suspected of plotting against you but whom you could not execute without proof. It is also explains why I none of your men here has a decent rifle. What good rifles you do have are with the garrison back at Harer. Yes the rumors about this sly fox are all too true.
------south of the Authie River (Picardy) 1030 hrs
In the last hour light the German minenwerfers had joined in the bombardment of the British forward trench line. Suddenly they went silent and the artillery stopped shelling the forward trench though some guns continue to pound the enemy’s rear area, esp. suspected artillery emplacements including those on the flanks. It was now time for the infantry assault. Each of the 5 German divisions in the assault had 2 regiments forward and sent 1 battalion from each regiment over the top. These tried to make their way through the pock marked moonscape of no man’s land.
Of the 8,200 British soldiers crammed into the forward trench more than 2,000 were already dead, many literally blown to tiny pieces. Most of the rest were either wounded or badly dazed and were quickly captured by the Germans. But enough remained alert enough to put up a stiff resistance. This was most acute near Arry where the 10th Bavarian Infantry Division was attacking the 18th Brigade belonging to the 6th Infantry Division, which had been able to reinforce the heavily bombarded section with additional men moved laterally from a section which had received very little shelling. In this sector they were able to call upon some unsuppressed artillery support including some batteries of the Indian Corps. As a result the 10th Bavarian Division was only able to capture one small portion of the trench line and after 15 more minutes of savage melee were rudely ejected
First Army’s supply difficulties had limited the amount of barbed wire it had available and in the early stages of the battle most of the wire that was available went to the Indian Corps which was being hard pressed. In the vicinity of the German salient at Villers the wire had been thickened somewhat and this now caused the 3 German divisions of IV Army Corps considerable difficulty. Eventually with some skilled use of their grenades they were able to secure most of the forward trench though there remained 2 stiff pockets of resistance stubbornly holding out.
The Germans had their greatest success just south of the Authie, where the 53rd Reserve Division found relatively thin wire barriers and the enemy was exposed to enfilading fire from the 7.7cm guns, minenwerfers and machineguns of the 54th Reserve Division across the river. Resistance here crumbled relatively quickly with the Germans taking nearly 900 prisoners in the first trench line. Connected to the forward trench there was a roughly perpendicular trench that ran along the riverbank and then connected to the second trench line. This trench had also been hard hit in the German shelling. After securing the forward trench the Saxon infantry of the 241st Reserve Infantry Regiment began to slither their way into the riverbank trench which soon produced the usual brutal clubbing and stabbing. Meanwhile the 242nd Reserve Infantry Regiment on their left after achieving their initial objective began to assist the efforts of the 8th Infantry Division to their own left.
------northwest of Macroom (Cork) 1100 hrs
After all the night fighting Oberst Hell had decided against a massive dawn assault. Instead he tried to let most of his own men get some sleep while trying to prevent the enemy from doing likewise with very sporadic harassment shelling by both minenwerfers and a few 7.7cm guns. There were also repeated attempts by small groups of infantry to infiltrate the rugged terrain with the help of some local Irishmen. At this elevation there was some patchy early morning fog that hampered artillery but made the infiltration easier. There were a series of small encounters, with the Germans taking 61 more prisoners. During that period the Germans were able to position a light minenwerfer behind the small hill overlooking a British battery armed with three 15 pounders. There was also a Maxim hidden the hill’s reverse slope as well as 11 riflemen and there was not that much space to hide many more on the fill itself but there was an entire squad of Bavarian infantry at the base of the hill trying to keep as quiet as possible.
The Bavarians now made a brief bombardment of the British positions. The minute it began the minwerfer behind the hill began lobbing shrapnel shells on the British battery. The riflemen then poked their heads over the top of the hill and fired on a clip each as rapidly as possible with the intent of causing confusion rather than casualties. Meanwhile the machinegun team rapidly hoisted their Maxim into a firing position they had prepared that peered over the top of the hill and then let looses with a torrent of hot lead just as a few of the artillerists who were armed rifles began to fire towards the hill. The machinegun fire combined with the mortar shells created pandemonium amidst the gun crew, though there was a heroic effort by one crew to point their cannon towards the hill. This drew the attention of first the machinegun and then the minenwerfer. The British gun crew managed to fire two rounds at the hill before they collapsed from their wounds. The Bavarian riflemen who observed this were in awe of their bravery, even most of them had fought the British in France and had seen many instances of bravery before.
The machinegun which momentarily dropped back down behind the crest of the hill remerged once the threat had passed. Covered by the machinegun the infantry now quickly sprung up from behind the hill and pressed home their assault on the British guns.
------Gort (Galway) 1245 hrs
A local restaurant was being used as a mess for NCO’s of the British 109th Brigade. The bomb went off while more than 80 of them were eating lunch. For a long while this was thought to be the first bomb to be used in this fashion during the invasion of Ireland but it is now known to be more accurately described as the first bomb to detonate. It was not the last. Four men died instantaneously and another 19 were wounded of which 2 more died before midnight.
------south of the Authie River (Picardy) 1300 hrs
In accord with Gen. Haig’s orders the III Army Corps launched a vigorous counterattack out of their second trench to secure the threatened portion of the front trench. Believing that there were still friendly forces holding out in forward trench the counterattack was launched without a preliminary bombardment of the trench but instead British artillery began shelling the rear areas at the same time as infantry arose from their trenches. The second trench line had suffered in the German bombardment though not as not as severely as the forward trench.
In the vicinity of Villers the counterattack consisted of 7 battalions, but most of these were battalions of the 4th and 6th Divisions what had suffered heavily in the hard fighting of the last 3 days and had suffered still more in the morning bombardment. They now amounted to only 2,500 able bodied men. None of them came under artillery fire as they advanced. The German 8th Infantry Division had overcome all remaining resistance in its sector and was able to bring up and site 5 Maxims. These tore into the 1st Somerset Light Infantry and 1/5th London along with the massed rifle fire of 2 German regiments. These two British battalions were badly mauled and the survivors were forced to retreat back to the second trench line as best they could. The other 5 battalions involved in the British attack were spared machinegun fire and only came under some modest last minute rifle fire as they approached the forward trench. This was because there were still 2 isolated pockets of British troops holding out though these pockets now were down to a combined strength of 1,400 men of which roughly half were wounded. The new arrivals gave the Germans a very hard in the close fighting but lacked sufficient numbers to turn the tide. As a result of being underfed for a fortnight the stamina of the Tommies was seriously impaired. And the Germans still possessed superior grenades to the British who only had some crude jam tin bombs.
The counterattack on the left against the 54th Reserve Division was conducted by the 2nd battalion Seaforth Highlanders and the 3rd battalion Coldstream Guards, which had been moved out of the 2nd Infantry Division last night. These two 2 battalions suffered the worse as they came under heavy enfilading fire from the artillery of 53rd Reserve Division across the river as well the rifle fire of 241st Reserve Infantry Regiment in the river bank trench Furthermore their destination, the captured forward trench line was solidly in the possession of the 54th Reserve Division which had brought up 2 machinegun companies. The Seaforth Highlanders and Coldstream Guards quickly suffered serious losses and could only slowly crawl their way towards the forward trench line. In this sector of the German line General von Schubert, the commander of XXVII Reserve Corps, was not that far back from the action still had some telephone lines working and was therefore being provided with relatively timely information. He decided to take advantage of the situation. He ordered his heavy batteries to make an intense 15 minute barrage of the British second trench line after which the 241st and 242nd Reserve Infantry Regiments would emerge from the captured forward trench and counterattack the pinned down British attackers and then proceed onwards to assault the second trench line.
When these two German regiments emerged they took some casualties from the prone British riflemen. The Seaforth Highlanders quickly realized they were badly outnumbered and were soon retreating. The elite Coldstream Guards fought a few minutes longer delaying the enemy but then they too were overwhelmed and compelled to beat an undignified retreat. Under these conditions the British artillery dared not open fire and with the Saxons closely pursuing the retreating Anglosaxons the machineguns remaining in the second trench line struggled to get a clean field of fire. There was only a double strand of wire in front of the second trench with prominent paths opened in it through which the counterattacking battalions had debouched and other gaps created by the morning bombardment. Only the 2nd battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers was guarding this kilometer long section of the second trench line and their effective strength was down to less than 300 men. They cut down many of the attackers but soon found German grenades bursting in their midst. This section of the second trench line was just past the bend in the river and extended to the northwest as the forward trench line guarding the river there. .General von Schubert had ordered the artillery of XXVII Reserve Corps to make a continuous bombardment of the portion northwest of the bend to try to hinder reinforcements moving laterally in the trench.
The result was that in a less than a half hour of brutal combat the German 241st Reserve Infantry Regiment had killed, captured or ejected the enemy from a rough 400 meter stretch of the second trench. They had also cleaned out British resistance in the perpendicular connecting trench. On the left though the 242nd Reserve Infantry Regiment was still struggling inside the trenches with a mixture of Coldstream Guards and Dublin Fusiliers, now starting to receive some reinforcement from their right which unlike the left was not currently being shelled.
------HQ British VII Army Corps southeast of Ballyvourney (Cork) 1315 hrs
News of renewed German attacks now supported by artillery against what was left of the 16th Infantry Division were filtering their way back to Gen. Keir’s HQ. That was bad enough but there was now news which in some ways was even more disturbing. German artillery had smashed beyond repair the wireless station which was his sole remaining communication link beyond the collapsing perimeter of 16th Division.
------USS Chester 1340 hrs GMT
This light cruiser had been participating in an exercise off Block Island when it received encrypted wireless orders to steam towards New York. Its lookouts had spotted large smoke plumage to the east. Soon the lookouts were able to discern 3 ships. One was obviously a large ocean liner. The other two were soon identified as warships with one much larger than the other. The Chester’s captain wanted to approach the Germans, but not to charge them so once his cruiser had assumed an intercept course he ordered speed reduced to 12 knots, which looked to be a little less than the liner and German warships were making.
"Have the gunners ready but not too ready," the skipper told the first officer, "The last thing I want now is for some nervous seaman to start firing."
"Yes, sir. I understand perfectly. I for one would not want to get into a fight with what now appears to be Blucher."
"Have the lookouts keep sharp. The British seem to think there is another one lurking around here somewhere."
------SMS Blucher 1345 hrs
Admiral Maas had let Rostock pursue an outbound 3,300 ton British freighter earlier this morning. The freighter turned out to be carrying a strange mix of Borden canned condensed milk and Edison phonographic cylinders. The freighter was apparently capable of a sustained speed of 9 ½ knots and for that reason might prove useful as a collier so for the time being she was not sunk.
"We are going to be spending the next few hours chatting with our American friends," Admiral Maas said to the 3 man negotiating team he had prepared for this occasion, "Rostock is going to spend the rest of the day hunting. This close to the port of New York that should prove very fruitful for at least one more day, yes? So let us postpone telling the Americans about her for the time being. However it is even more important that they are not even given a hint about the 3 battleships. Be very careful in that regard. Do not so much as make passing mention of Admiral von Spee because that will provoke questions we do not want. Understood?"
"Jawohl, Admiral," the three replied in unison.
"And we have been over and over our negotiating strategy in regards to our civilian prisoners aboard Lusitania so I trust that no one is going to slip up there either."
------west of Rue (Picardy) 1400 hrs
The sole Big Bertha involved in the battle had been assigned a new target after the initial bombardment was over—the town of Rue which Sixth Army was fairly sure served a key First Army depot and communication center. The first 42cm shell went long and exploded not far from Gen. Haig’s HQ. The general was not hurt in the explosion but it was enough to inspire him to immediately move his HQ west to St. Quentin-en-Tourmount.
------Ober Ost 1410 hrs
Generalfeldmarschal von Hindenburg, Oberst.von Seeckt and Oberst Hoffman were meeting. "Falkenhayn had promised us at least 2 more divisions as reinforcements by now," grumbled Hindenburg.
:"But he is sending us the 10th Jaeger Battalion today," Hoffman commented sarcastically, which Hindenburg chose to ignore.
Seeeckt was more serious in his response, "General von Falkenhayn has communicated to us that his attempt to destroy the British First Army in Picardy has reached a critical juncture, Generalfeldmarschal. He believes he will be able to send us the two divisions he promised in about a week."
"He is underestimating the British once again," commented Hoffman, "Their soldiers are veritable lions even if their most of their generals are donkeys."
"Can we proceed with the next phase of Operation Fulcrum without the additional divisions?" asked Hindenburg.
"Yes, I believe we can, Feldmarschal. The cut back in our deliveries of munitions is in some ways an even greater concern to me than the two divisions. That of course is also due to the fighting in France and to a lesser degree, Serbia. That is one reason I have ordered Gen. von Below to hold off on his next attack until Tuesday."
"What are the other reasons?" asked Hindenburg.
"Well, one reason is additional reason is that the 4th Guard Division is being formed today. By Tuesday it should arrive at the front and can be used in the attack as part of Guard Reserve Corps. Lastly the weather is quite unfavorable for an attack at this time."
"Hmm. Perhaps bad weather is the best time to attack. Ludendorff had wanted to attack the enemy’s Tenth Army back in February using a snow storm as a cover so as to take them by surprise but we could not get enough divisions at that time."
"Ah yes. Well that does sound most unconventional, Feldmarschal. Perhaps it might have worked."
"Ludendorff thought it would work. Hoffman you were in on the planning as well as I recall. Surely you must have thought it would work."
"Yes, I did, Feldmarschal. But that is water under the bridge right now," replied Hoffman.
"Yes, I understand that. But Ludendorff believed we could completely encircle Tenth army back in February. This Operation Fulcrum makes no attempt to encircle Tenth Army, am I correct?"
"You are correct, Feldmarschal. We are going to be making a straightforward breakthrough attack starting on Tuesday. Oh, if we have some luck and the enemy’s morale is shattered then perhaps an opportunity will arise to encircle an entire division during the pursuit," Seeckt stated calmly.
"Erich would not like this plan," muttered Hindenburg shaking his head.
"The simple fact is that we do not have enough divisions to attempt a double envelopment, Feldmarschal," remarked Seeckt trying to hide his annoyance, "we are stretching our forces thin as it is."
"Yes, yes, I am all too aware of that. Remind me again--what is the strength of this Army Detachment Scholtz we have just formed between Eighth and Ninth Armies?"
"XX Army Corps, the 3rd Reserve Division, 8th Landwehr Division and Division Wernitz, Feldmarschal"
"And these will guarding a line extending from all the way from Reczanny to Grunflies, am I correct"?"
"Yes, that is correct, Feldmarschal."
"Which is to say that they will be all that is standing between the innocent women and children of East Prussia and the Eurasian hordes of Russian Twelfth Army! Have we forgotten how worried we were when Twelfth Army attacked in February?"
"I remember it very well, Feldmarschal," answered Hoffman, "that was a tense time all around."
"Well, I obviously wasn’t here then, Feldmarschal, but let me reassure you that we have taken every possible step to improve our defenses in that area," replied the chief of staff, " We have no less than 3 trench lines with 12 strands of barbed wire group in 3 belts---"
"---you can spare me the details, von Seeckt! I still do not like it. Understand?"
Seeckt was getting used to hearing, "spare me the details." "I understand, Generalfeldmarschal," he answered.
"Good. So with the Russian spear aimed at the heart of East Prussia, you are still sending reinforcements to Gen. von Marwitz’s detachment, yes?"
"Yes, Feldmarschal, the XXV Reserve Corps is entraining as we speak heading for Tilsit. Monday we will be sending Division Menges as well."
Hoffman decided to come to Seeckt’s defense, "General Ludendorff often took some risks when he was here, Feldmarschal. Remember when he left a weak Eighth Army to guard Augustowo—and forgot to tell them to entrench?"
"Yes, yes, I remember, Hoffman, I am not senile," groused Hindenburg, who wasn’t feeling as grandfatherly as usual this morning, "but I sometimes thought Erich was being too rash as well so I am not sure you have proven anything."
"I am thinking of asking Conrad if the Austrians can take over 10 or more kilometres of Eleventh Army’s front on its right wing. If they consent to this it can free up at least another division," said Seeckt.
"That is a good suggestion," Hoffman seconded.
"In that case I hope you haven’t waited for my approval to go ahead and do it. Ludendorff would certainly have gone ahead and done it without bothering me."
"I will see it as soon as this meeting is over, Feldmarschal."
"And it is wise to building up Army Detachment Marwitz so quickly when you told me just yesterday that keeping that unit adequately supplied is already proving difficult?"
"Ah, well I had an interesting idea late last night while you were asleep, Feldmarschal. We captured a working Russian locomotive and some box cars at Shavli. I made some inquiries with OKW this morning as to whether it might be possible to have coasters bring supplies to Libau which the train can carry to the front. It is not a complete solution but---"
"---I do not place much value on anything coming out of that silly HQ—you already know that," interrupted von Hindenburg, "but if you and Hoffman feel it is worthwhile just go ahead and do it."
And don’t bother me with the details! thought Seeckt with weary anticipation.
"And don’t bother me with the details!"
------Tullamore (King’s County) 1430 hrs
The 15th battalion Royal Irish Rifles had been moved by train from Dublin to Maryborough in the early hours. Up detraining it received strict orders from Gen. Stopford that it was to leave one rifle company behind to help guard VI army Corps HQ. The rest of the battalion then went off at a forced march to the mow down the latest upcropping of Irish rebellion at Tullamore. They had been warned about an armored train at Tullamore and were given instructions on how best to work around that contraption.
Approaching the town the Ulsterman quickly eliminated two rebel outposts but when they reached the town there was no sign of either the armored train or the rest of the Fenians. The disappointed battalion commander sent off several patrols to scour the area while letting the rest of his men get some rest. Eventually a sergeant approached and brought some local civilians with him. They told the colonel that there had indeed been a force of rebels in the town. As usual the accounts differed wildly in the estimate of the rebel’s numbers, some claiming it was 500 while others were saying it was much less. What the civilian witnesses did agree on was that about an hour before the Ulstermen arrived, the rebels had all hopped aboard the armored train. There were apparently too many to fit inside and quite a few had to sit on the roof of the box cars. The train then backed up and headed back towards Athlone.
------London 1455 hrs
Sir John Redmond had informed David Lloyd-George Friday that it was very important that they talk in private. Despite a busy schedule Lloyd-George was interested in what Redmond had to say and so made time to meet him.
"I take it that this is about Ireland, Sir John," Lloyd-George stated the obvious.
"Yes, David, of course it is. What else could it possibly be about?" replied an agitated Redmond.
"Well, there do happen to be some other things going on besides Ireland, but in your case I can understand why it would take priority. So what is it about the Irish situation do you feel requires a private discussion?"
"The Prime Minister is making many mistakes there. Letting the Ulster Volunteers keep their many weapons while insisting on disarming my own National Volunteers was one. But the biggest mistake of all is this bloodthirsty notion that he is going to execute every Irish rebel for treason."
Lloyd-George as always measured the man he was dealing with. The supremely confident Sir John Redmond of a year ago had metamorphosed into a frantic and haggard remnant of his former self. Lloyd-George strove to choose his words carefully, "Since it is only the fraction of MacNeil’s Irish Volunteers who are in open revolt and not your National Volunteers who are being threatened why do you so strongly about this? You surely must know that there is great support for the prime minister’s toughness in Parliament right now."
"He’s pandering to the bloodlust of the lower classes and you know it!"
"Hmm. Harshly phrased and dreadfully simplistic but for the sake of argument let me concede that there might well be some truth to that. Still I must point out that you haven’t answered my question about why you feel so strongly."
"The policy is meant to discourage Irishmen from joining the revolt and working with the Germans. It is having the exact opposite effect."
"Ah, do you know that to be a fact or is it mere conjecture on your part?"
Redmond leaned forward. Lloyd-George could smell brandy on his breath. "I need your word as a gentleman that what I am about to tell you remains between you and me. You are not to share this with anyone, not even members of your own Party, much less the filthy Unionists. Do I have your word?"
"Why of course, Sir John. You have my solemn word of honor as gentleman. I will not breathe so much as a word of what you tell me here to anyone."
"Dillon went over to Ireland a week ago and talked to many of the National Volunteer commandants. From what they told him it appears that roughly half of the Irish Volunteers are joining this so called Irish Republican Army as soon as the Germans show up with weapons. We estimate there were roughly 30,000 men on the roster of the Irish Volunteers when the Germans landed, and we think half of them were in Munster. Now from what I’ve been able to put together from the censored newspaper accounts it looks like the Germans have at one time or another been in nearly all of Munster, with the possible exception of Waterford. And if that isn’t bad enough, Dillon believes that two maybe three percent of my National Volunteers are joining as well. So that means there were easily 7,000 Fenian rebels in Munster alone. Add in what has happened in Galway, Enniscorthy, Athone and Monaghan, it becomes painfully obvious that the rebels are much larger than what the War Committee is admitting, even though it pains me deeply to be saying this. And they are growing. Dillon believes the other half of the Irish Volunteers and another ten percent of the National Volunteers could end up joining the rebellion before too long."
Lloyd-George let that sink in before he replied, "I am going to confess that I not entirely surprised by this. The War Committee has received recently some intelligence from an extremely secret source that also indicates that we may be seriously underestimating the size of the Irish rebel forces."
"I take it that you are not going to tell me what this source is."
"That is correct. Very hush- hush. However it does corroborate your point. What exactly do you suggest we do? Issue a statement that we do not intend to execute all rebels but only their leaders?"
"At a minimum, yes. However I would strongly advise you to hold off any further executions until the Germans have been completely eliminated, which from what I read in the papers will not be finished come Tuesday morning, eh?"
"Hmm. You suffer from a common misunderstanding. That speech was merely intended to set an ambitious goal for our generals. It was not intended to establish a hard and fast deadline. It is now beginning to look like it is going to take a day or two more than we had hoped, but we still have vastly superior forces to the Germans and the Irish rebels even if they are as in fact as numerous as you suggest still are of little consequence. The rebellion in Cork is on its last legs and Gen. Hamilton still has high hopes of taking Limerick in the next 48 hours."
"Maybe then again maybe not. I have been reading in the newspapers that Limerick would fall in the next 48 hours for at least a week."
"The Germans resorted to using poison gas in an obvious act of desperation. We are told that is the main reason Limerick has not fallen already. This is not Cinderella. This government is not going to fall if there are still German forces operating in Ireland Tuesday morning."
"No, not immediately, but if you do not change the policy on executions I will vote for a motion of no confidence the very first chance I get. After the debacle at Utsire there were some talk about rallying around Balfour, esp. after Henderson made it abundantly clear he could serve in a Balfour Cabinet but not under Bonar Law. It was only your support for Bonar Law that made it possible for that devil to become Prime Minister and that still worse demon Carson to become First Lord. There was a time I thought I understood you, David, but apparently I was very, very wrong. I wonder if anyone really understands. I seriously doubt that your new Unionist pals do."
Lloyd-George took his time replying, "Have you been drinking, Sir John? The reason I ask is that you are saying things a completely sober person would not say. A completely sober would be aware that he was very close to the line separating frank discussion from outright insult."
"Oh, stuck a nerve, now did I? Oh I’m sober, well sober enough to know what I’m saying."
"In that case perhaps it is best if I leave," said Lloyd-George, but Redmond noticed he did not appear to be in any hurry to leave.
"Go if you must, but aren’t you the wee bit interested in the motions before Commons to expand the War Committee? If Bonar Law’s government doesn’t collapse altogether this coming week, those who wish it would are going to be backing that motion. I know that I sure the hell will."
"And just what do you hope to accomplish with that? There are several versions of that foolish motion floating around. The one that is most likely to pass would add Kitchener and Grey to the War Committee. Kitchener supports the Prime Minister’s tough policy."
"That’s because he’s thinking like an AngloIrish Protestants and not as a general otherwise he’d be the first to acknowledge that killing prisoners only serves to prolong the struggle. My hope though is that with Grey on the War Committee you might remember what it is like to be a Liberal. Moreover I am sure he realizes how much this fool policy is hurting Britain with the neutrals, most particularly the United States which has a large Irish population."
"We already have access to the Foreign Office! Increasing the size of the War Committee will only mean a return to the paralysis we had under Asquith."
"Struck another nerve, I see. You sure do like that nice cosy little triumvirate you’ve got going now don’t you?"
With that Lloyd-George’s tolerance was exhausted and he departed.
------Cork city 1505 hrs
The situation of the Cheshires and R.I.C. inside the heart of Cork city was steadily deteriorating. The Irish rebels were steadily taking the city away from them one building at a time. The dirty tricks of Flynn and his Sealgairs were working more often than not in the confusion which is urban warfare. The Ulstermen of 108th Brigade continued to be frustrated by von Thoma’s me in all of their attempts to take Patrick’s Bridge and come to the Cheshire’s assistance.
Three large boats now made their way up South Channel. Two of docked and discharged some reinforcements ferried from Fort Westmoreland and Fort Carlisle. The third boat was an armed trawler and it shelled what it thought was a rebel stronghold north of the channel. Actually it was working on stale intelligence and the rebel forces had advanced some blocks to the east by this time.
------Dublin Castle 1520 hrs
Yeats had been astounded when he learned that the prosecutor at his court martial was to be the no less than the British Attorney General, Frederick Edwin Smith. With macabre irony Yeats considered this to be a great honor. It of course made the outcome of the trial all the more inevitable. At the end of the trial Yeats was permitted to make a statement Part of him wanted to cry and beg for mercy and another part of him wanted to be strident and defiant but yet another still stronger part wanted him to be himself up until the very end for it is a best that a man should die the same as he lived.
"If the court would indulge me I would like to read a short poem I composed in the last week. I had hoped to make it longer but this is all I have so far."
"By all means Mr. Yeats. The court would be delighted to hear your poem."
"Thank you very much, Your Honor. It goes like this," replied a misty eyed Yeats.
I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club;
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
After a dramatic pause Yeats said in a softer, "That is all, Your Honor. As I said it is incomplete. I would like very much to finish it someday but I don’t think I am going to have enough time to that."
The 3 judges turned to each other briefly and exchanged bewildered glances. Yeats glanced at Smith but the attorney general looked down refusing to make eye contact. "Uh, we thank you for your poem. Mr. Yeats. It was us, rather interesting," Gen. Blackadder said in an awkward voice. He then paused a few seconds and took a deep breath and pronounced sentence, "Mr. William Butler Yeats, this court has found you guilty of murder and treason. It is the sentence of this court that you be executed by firing squad. Said sentence to be carried---"
"---Might I approach the bench, Your Honor" FE Smith interrupted.
"Uh, why b all means, Mr. Smith." The elderly officers on the court had been as amazed as Yeats that the attorney general had come all to the way from London to try a court martial. It had meant that the proceedings were conducted more formally than the prior trials. A meticulous court record was being kept for a change.
Yeats wondered what this latest development was all about. Maybe the British government wanted him hung, drawn and quartered to set an example. He shuddered at that thought. Smith and Blackadder exchanged whispers that Yeats could not make out. It did not take long. Smith returned to his seat. Blackadder cleared his throat then said, "Date of execution to be set later," he announced.
------south of the Authie (Picardy) 1530 hrs
General Sixtus von Arnim, the commander of IV Army Corps also had some of his telephone and telegraph lines working on account of the German artillery concentration being able to suppress the British artillery during the day, though III Bavarian Corps on his left had lost nearly all their lines contributing to their ineffectiveness so far. There was one telephone lines that Gen. von Arnim wished had been cut and that was the one connecting him with Gen. von Fabeck at Sixth Army HQ who had been very frank in expressing his displeasure that the IV Army Corps had not yet been able to advance beyond the forward trench and that in places the British counterattack had apparently managed to retake portions of their forward trench line. However Gen. von Arnim did learn of the success of XXVII Reserve Corps on his right and that along with Gen. von Fabeck’s prodding caused him to hope that 8th Infantry Division could grab an adjacent section of the second trench as well while his other 2 divisions ejected the British from the forward trench.
So the massive heavy artillery available to von Arnim began an intense bombardment with HE shells of a 2 kilometer wide stretch of the enemy’s second trench. The British 4th Infantry Division at this time was trying to move reinforcements laterally in this trench to counterattack the German 54th Reserve Division and this concentration suffered grievously in the shelling. Unfortunately some of the shells landed close enough to where a portion of the German 242nd Infantry Regiment was still stuck in no man’s land causing over 200 friendly fire casualties.
------Perim Island 1540 hrs GMT
The British cruiser had left the area. The mountain howitzers on Perim, which were manned by a mixture of Ottomans and sailors from the Emden now commenced firing on a French gunboat out in the Mandab. The gunboat returned fire as best it could but it also steamed away from Perim towards the coast of French Somaliland and soon the artillery on Perim ceased firing having scored only one hit which did little damage. However as it drew close to the Somali coast the gunboat to its surprise came under renewed fire by light artillery—this time coming from Somaliland. It was only a single piece firing from the shore but the range was short so it soon scored another hit which exploded near the bridge wounding 2 sailors and starting a fire. This persuaded the gunboat’s captain to head south. He took a third hit near the stern which caused a small amount of seawater to gradually seep into the hull.
------White House 1600 hrs GMT
President Wilson had decided to call a Cabinet meeting to discuss the latest developments. Secretary Daniels decided to bring Admiral Fiske with him instead of Admiral Benson. "One of our cruisers, the USS Chester, has intercepted two German cruisers about 60 miles east of New York, Mr. President," reported Admiral Fiske, "along with the Lusitania which they have indeed taken as a prize. We have identified the German cruisers as being the Regensburg and the Blucher. The latter is a rather unique and powerful vessel."
"Have you passed on this information to the British yet?" asked an unhappy Wilson.
"Not yet, Mr. President, I thought it best---"
"What in tarnation is there to think about, Admiral? The Huns have taken a British passenger ship and are threatening our shores. The British have a right to know!"
Daniels decided to intercede on Fiske’s behalf, "If there is any blame to be apportioned, Mr. President, then it is my fault. I told the admiral to hold off on informing Capt. Gaunt until after this Cabinet meeting."
Wilson gave Daniels a withering look, "For the life of me I fail to understand why this is not a matter of common sense—and common courtesy as well. But I guess it can wait until this meeting is over. What else can you tell us at this time, Admiral? Is there casualties aboard the ocean liner. Is she damaged?"
"The German commanding officer, Rear Admiral Leberecht Maas, claims not. The lookouts aboard our cruiser have a clear view of the liner and they are not seeing any visible signs of any damage to her."
"Oh? Well that is of course reassuring," answered Wilson whose tone voice strangely sounded a tad disappointed, "Has this Admiral Maas stated his intentions? We have been assuming that he is going to New York to coal but it would be nice if we could get some confirmation."
Fiske looked a bit awkward and glanced towards Daniels. Clearing his throat briefly he replied, "You must remember Mr. President that we are receiving this information from the Chester via wireless which under the best of circumstances takes a while to transmit. However since the Chester is sending everything in code it takes much longer."
"Oh, let me get this straight, admiral. The Germans tell our officers something. They then feel required to encrypt the message which relates this because we are worried the Germans might intercept the message and learn what they just told us. Is that’s what happening?"
Fiske and Daniels both looked deeply embarrassed. Daniels finally answered, "Yes I know it sounds a bit strange, Mr. President but the men are following standard procedures."
"Oh pardon me I forgot, there is the right way, the wrong way and the Navy way. Is that how it goes?"
"I am afraid that is the truth of the matter, Mr. President," answered Daniels sheepishly.
"If I might interject, Mr. President," said Treasury Secretary William McAdoo, "we now have some pretty good clues as to what the Germans are up to. They are rounding up their reservists and the radical Fenians. The Germans must be here to escort them all to Ireland."
"It galls me no end that American citizens would choose to fight for the despicable Germans," Wilson ranted, "I won’t stand for it. It is a blatant violation of our neutrality laws!"
"I feel compelled to point out that we have been turning something of a blind eye towards American citizens who go up to Canada to enlist in the British Army, Mr. President," Secretary of State Bryan protested.
"That is not the same," Wilson retorted, "Don’t ask me why—it’s just not the same and we are not going to discuss it any further."
------Monaghan 1615 hrs
While Eion O’Duffy continued to make brave speeches, he acknowledged to himself that the end was near for his forces at Monaghan. The Ulstermen slowly whittled them down and had him well surrounded so he could not get any more reinforcements. O’Duffy realized with some irony that the only reason his men was still fighting at all was Bonar Law’s promise to execute all rebels. But for that he was sure the bulk of his men would’ve surrendered this morning no matter what he said. Some of them had surrendered anyway. Some others had tried to run away but the cordon was too tight to do that by day. When night fell they would try again but O"Duffy doubted their odds even then. The Ulstermen had been hurt in three previous attempts to charge his position. He was sure they would wait until after dark to try again. This time O’Duffy thought they would succeed. He wondered if it was worth trying to break out. His thoughts grew very dark. He knew when it was all over the British would discover how he had tortured the Ulster Volunteers. O"Duffy had seen what severe pain can do to a man’s dignity.
He resolved that they would not take him alive.
------south of the Authie (Picardy) 1630 hrs
The German 8th Infantry Division had managed to bring forward a dozen light minenwerfers and these participated as well in the last 15 minutes of the hour long bombardment of the British second trench line. When it ceased the 2 forward regiments of 8th Infantry Division cautiously advanced one battalion at a time. Some of the German batteries continued suppressing known British artillery positions. The second trench had been severely damaged and the 2 strands of wire in front of it were cut in several places. Two batteries of 18 pounders a little more than a kilometer behind the second trench opened fire for a few minutes but were soon silenced by German counter-battery fire. There were still some British soldiers in the attacked sector capable of putting up a good fight but not enough and in less than an hour the 8th Infantry Division had captured it objective along with 400 mostly wounded prisoners and 5 machineguns.
The 8th Infantry Division now looked to expand laterally. The pocket of Coldstream Guards and Royal Dublin Fusiliers that had been holding on against the 242nd Infantry Regiment were now squeezed out. The Germans now controlled roughly 1,700 continuous meters of the British second trench line. South of the river bend there was no continuous trench line behind it---only a few strongpoints and some disconnected trenches for artillery.
------northwest of Macroom (Cork) 1645 hrs
The British 16th (Irish) Division fought for bravely for most of the day as Hell Brigade slowly and steadily chipped away at them. Gen. Parsons realized the end was not far off. He still had 7 batteries of 15 pounder guns and 3 batteries of 5" BL howitzers left. He ordered them to fire off their remaining shells in one final desperate bombardment and then wreck the guns as completely as possible. Gen. Parsons then led personally led the remaining able bodied infantry and engineers in one final desperate lunge at the German lines The goal this time was not to seize territory but to merely to escape. It was in a sense a mass prison break. Many perished in the attempt including Gen. Parsons. Others upon finding their way blocked gave up and surrendered. Yet the sheer frantic desperation of the attack allowed it some measure as nearly 900 of the soldiers, including some lightly wounded ones, barrelled their way through the German positions. Those that did make it through were more like small bands of desperados than a military unit and wandered the Irish countryside in confusion not know where to go nor what to do. This first was followed by a second composed mostly of the artillerists who had finished destroying their weapons and equipment plus men of the signal and supply companies. Of this wave nearly 700 men seeped their way through the hills.
The men of the medical and ambulance companies made no attempt to escape. There were thousands of British wounded that needed them. In fact their orders were to seek out the Germans and surrender as quickly as possible after the breakout attempt was done.
------Old Admiralty Building 1755 hrs
"We now have some additional intelligence from Capt. Gaunt in the United States, First Lord," Admiral Oliver informed Carson, "an American cruiser, the Chester, has intercepted Regensburg and Blucher heading towards New York accompanied by Lusitania which has indeed been taken as a prize."
"Hmm. Well that’s two of them. What about Rostock?"
"Nothing to report about Rostock so far, First Lord. We still feel that she is likely to be in American waters as well, though there are, of course, other possibilities to consider."
"For one her heading for the Caribbean is a distinct possibility. Or she could still be in the Western Approaches. Or trying to make it back to Germany for that matter."
"And Room 40 is not shedding any light on this?"
"Uh, not so far, First Lord," replied Oliver. One of the things he did not want to mention is some of the German transmissions they had intercepted were apparently transmitted in an unfamiliar code.
"For the time being let us assume that Rostock is off the
American coast, possibly delayed slightly. It seems that sending Inflexible
to New York was a wise decision after all, despite the continuous stream of
abuse we have been receiving from Adm. Bayly."
Adm. Callaghan was also present and said, "I am still not completely convinced on that score, First Lord. While we all find the tone of Adm. Bayly’s telegrams fractious and disagreeable, he is raising some valid points."
"I for one am encouraged by the latest news," remarked Admiral Jackson, "If the Americans can draw out the coaling process I would view Inflexible’s prospects as being excellent. If they only permit one warship a day to coal that should be enough."
"The Hague permits three at one time," Callaghan noted.
"President Wilson surely can find some excuse to limit it to only one," replied Admiral Jackson, "and besides the Germans themselves may not want all three coaling at once in case one of our local AMC’s arrives and liberates Lusitania."
"I concur," Carson decided, "Based on the information we currently have available Inflexible should continue heading towards New York at high speed."
------northeast of Quend (Picardy) 1805 hrs
The 1st battalion Royal Berkshire belonging to the British 2nd Infantry Division had received orders to reinforce the 4th Infantry Division to the south. When these men approached the sector of the second trench line of 4th Division which they had been told was their destination the came under heavy machinegun and rifle fire from elements of the 53rd Reserve Division which had been trying to advance further attacking those British artillery positions that were still east of the canal and were now in the process of trying to withdraw to the west behind the GHQ Line based on the Canal du Marquenterre and Canal Neuf. The Germans were already encountering a crisscrossing array of minor canals and wetlands which hindered their further advance. So far they had managed to capture only a single 6" howitzer of an obsolete model and were struggling to eliminate 2 nettlesome strongpoints.
The arrival of the Royal Berkshires diverted the attention of much of the 53rd Reserve Division and allowed the rest of the threatened British artillery to withdraw across the canal based GHQ Line without much trouble. The Royal Berkshires however soon found themselves in a crossfire from a foe with better cover and superior numbers. Their commander quickly ordered them to fall back to the town of Quend which had some good defensive potential.
Meanwhile the German 243rd Reserve Infantry Regiment had begun to come into action methodically thrusting to the northwest along the bank of the Authie rolling up the British trench line there. This took it to the boundary of 2nd Infantry Division, which was guarding both the Bay and the portion of the river near the mouth. After some initial progress the German advance in this direction stalled at dusk with the bloody back and forth trench melee continuing well into the night.
------Cloyne (Cork) 1820 hrs
The company of Irish Volunteers centered on the village of Cloyne was a small one recently formed. It only had 62 men and a lone woman on its rolls. Rommel knew this when he arrived. However he was very interested in this company because most of its members were very familiar with the land to the south. As its members came forward Rommel screened each of them personally. He eventually found one of them to be very interesting.
------White House 1830 hrs GMT
"The leader of the German expedition, Rear Admiral Leberecht Maas, has made it clear that he intends to coal his two cruisers in New York as soon as possible. He knows very full the terms of the Hague about the obligation of neutral nations to seize captured prizes in their waters. His intent with regard to Lusitania is to bring her just outside the territorial limit. Once there he will let all passengers who are citizen of neutral nations leave. As a humanitarian gesture he is also willing to let all women and children under the age of 12 leave as well," Secretary Daniels informed President Wilson.
"But that means he intends to keep the adult male citizens of the Entente as hostages?" asked the President, "Oh, what typically Teutonic barbarism!"
"Hum. Yes and no, Mr. President. Admiral Maas says that the release of the remaining passengers is open to negotiation."
"Oh, negotiation over what? Oh, I guess he might be worried that I would refuse them permission to coal. Well to be candid that thought did cross my mind."
"Yes and that is certainly one of his demands but there are others. For one he wants impartial inspectors, including journalists, brought aboard the Lusitania."
"Good Heaven, what is that all about?"
Col House cleared his throat, "Ahem. Capt. Gaunt has informed me that Lusitania was carrying a small amount of munitions, Mr. President."
Wilson slammed his fist down on the Presidential desk, "Oh, that’s just wonderful! I can see that those devious scoundrels intend to make full use of this for propaganda."
"I have not the slightest doubt about that, Mr. President," replied House.
"Well then---is that the full extent of their insufferable demands or are their still more? Does Adm. von Mephistopheles want my immortal soul as well?"
"Yes, I am afraid that the devil does indeed have some other demands," answered Daniels, "He apparently knows that German and Austrian reservists as well as Fenians are being assembled. He does not want us creating any legal roadblocks to their departure."
------Great Island (Cork) 1850 hrs
The ammunition and other supplies for the 108th Brigade was being landed at the docks at the Cobh and from there was transported by a hastily organized platoon sized supply detachment. In the afternoon one of their wagon convoys was ambushed by the Irish Volunteers Great Island Company which had been provided Moisin-Nagant rifles and ammunition by Rommel before dawn. The rebels had captured 45,000 rounds of .303 ammunition. This was useless in their own rifles but Rommel had told them that his Kerrymen could make good use of those rounds. They also captured nearly a ton of food which was appreciated, even though more than half of it was bully beef.
. This band of rebels now cautiously approached Belvelly Bridge which together with the rail bridge was the only connection between Great Island and the mainland. There was a Martello Tower guarding the bridge. The tower had like much of Ireland’s fortifications dated back to the invasion scare of the Napoleonic Wars. None of Ireland’s Martello Towers had been fully maintained since the turn of the century but some were better shape than others. This was one was at least still safe to inhabit and when the Germans land it was decided to provide it with a small garrison, which was now 8 constables and 6 Royal Marines. The garrison was now worried when it saw more than 100 armed men wearing armbands approaching from the south. The rebels were knocking down telephone poles. The garrison inside the Martello decided that the rebels were too numerous to risk leaving the tower to engage them. The rebels approached the tower but made no attempt to storm the tower. Some of them approached too close and one was shot and fatally wounded by a keen eyed Royal Marine. The remainder of the rebels took heed and stayed further away. After a while at the direction of someone wearing the IRA uniform they began digging trenches.
------Perim Island 1905 hrs
Nine dhows emerged from behind the northern tip of Perim Island. They carried an Ottoman rifle company and some ammunition. The French gunboat which had been driven south by the shore based guns slowly returned to patrol the coast. The dhows meanwhile headed towards a spot just south of the border of Eritrea and pair of them went a bit astray during the dark crossing and made landfall north of the border. Waiting for them on the shore was some of Yemeni agents who had purchased draught animals, cart and some supplies amongst friendly elements in Eritrea. To the south a light was just visible, probably coming from a vessel with a searchlight. This caused the Ottoman officers aboard the dhows to urge their men, sometimes with some physical encouragement, to land as quickly as possible. Once a dhow was unloaded it immediately put out to sea. While there had been some attempt at sailing in formation on the trip west, their seamen were instructed to return individually hoping that would reduce the likelihood of attracting Entente attention. Likewise the Ottoman troops marched out to the south by platoons trying to hide themselves from the sea behind dunes whenever possible.
------Dublin 1915 hrs
Padraig Pearse had again summoned the battalion commandants to an emergency meeting. "After much deliberation I have decided to go ahead with a rising to start just before the curfew is lifted Monday morning."
This provoked some murmuring and one of the battalion commandants asked, "This is very short notice, Padriag. Why the sudden change of heart?"
"Aye, what happened to that great moral stand you said we was all taking? Like we was all supposed to be as pure as Caesar’s wife or something?"
Pearse’s countenance was not as effusive as usual this morning. "Let’s just say I felt compelled to revaluate my position and leave it at that, eh?" he responded, "We have to concentrate on finalizing our plans—both political and military. And since you want to be home before curfew let us get down to business, shall we?"
Meanwhile in another section of Dublin Attorney General FE Smith was having dinner with Lord Curzon. Smith related what had happened at happened at Yeats’ trial. "Yeats may find himself having enough time to finish that pretentious little poem of his," said Smith after finishing his wine and indicating to the servant he wanted more, "Gen. Hamilton is in favor of accepting Gen. von François’ offer but the War Committee will have the final say on that. Of course this may well prove to be something of a charade. If the German invasion does collapse completely this coming week as everyone expects we would very likely recapture Mr. Yeats. And if the War Committee declines the offer we would like to get Gen. Lindley back in one piece."
"Neither Gen. Hamilton nor the War Committee has seen fit to ask my opinion about the German offer," sniffed Curzon, "it is as if I were completely irrelevant. You have no idea has grotesquely humiliating this is."
"Now, now, old boy, I am sure you’ve been told many times that the position of Viceroy has become largely ceremonial is recent years and that the real decision making is now done by secretary."
"But Birrell has given no more of a role in this situation that I have! I now find myself have some measure of sympathy for that poor man "
"Gasp! Now we both know very well that Birrell is completely washed up politically when this is over. Your own situation is much more complicated. If you play your cards right, George, you could well emerge from this awful mess as a national hero."
"Do you really think so?" said Curzon brightening but then with a glum afterthought his smile disappeared, "Or did either Gen. Hamilton or the Prime Minister instruct you to tell me that in order to get me to behave?"
"Hmm. If you don’t mind me saying you are starting to sound a bit paranoid, old chap."
"Oh I suppose so but if you were going through what I’ve been going through you’d be paranoid too."
"Yes I can imagine this is a most difficult situation. So I tell you what---tell me your opinion about whether we should swap the killer poet for the general and I will make sure both Hamilton and the Prime Minister learn of it."
"I think we should accept the German offer, even though we all know it is obviously a fiendishly clever propaganda ploy. It would provide us an excuse to put off the execution of Mr. Yeats who is exceedingly popular. While I agree in substance with the Prime Minister’s hard line, there are a few prominent figures whose execution would provoke a reaction. Mr. Yeats is one of them."
"I see. And would MacNeill happen to be another?"
Curzon put down his fork as he suddenly had a knot in his stomach. He had wondered why the British Attorney General had travelled all the way to Dublin to try the case of Yeats where the evidence was overwhelming. "Why yes, that would be the worst of all. Is this the real reason you are here--to try MacNeill on capital charges?"
Smith nodded vigorously as he gulped down more wine. After swallowing he answered, "You have that right, Your Excellency! I am more than a little surprised that London has not seen fit to inform you in advance."
"London tells me nothing of late! My understanding has been that there is insufficient evidence for a capital charge against MacNeill."
"On the contrary, the circumstantial evidence against MacNeill is overwhelming. First off he sends Plunkett to Berlin and we now know that Plunkett helped plan the German invasion."
"Do you have evidence that MacNeill personally ordered Plunkett to do that?"
"Well, not exactly, I will admit that Mr. MacNeill has been very careful in covering his tracks. But really Plunkett worked for MacNeill. Does it make any sense that he would go running off to Germany without MacNeill’s blessing? Bloody unlikely if you ask me! But what is even more compelling is MacNeill sending O’Rahilly to Tralee to meet with Stack just as the Germans were landing. In this case we do have evidence he ordered O’Rahilly to go--Hobson is willing to testify to it. I have not the slightest doubt that John MacNeill is a traitor and fully deserves to pay the ultimate penalty."
"Perhaps but consider this. Dublin has been on the edge of a rising ever since the Germans landed. We had something of a scare in the last few days based on what some of our informants have been telling us. There are persistent rumors that both Pearse and the Countess Markievicz are now back in Dublin. Executing MacNeill could well be the final straw that pushes Dublin over the edge."
"Gen. Hamilton views it differently. He has no problem has MacNeill being executed Tuesday morning. He merely requests that the public announcement be postponed until Wednesday around noon. Evidently the endgame with the Germans is not turning out to be quite as simple as everyone had expected but by Tuesday afternoon he is confident that he can massive reinforce the garrison here in Dublin. The show of force combined with news of the German collapse should be enough to discourage the damn Fenians from doing something dumber than usual. The general is a most persuasive gentleman. Given his avid intellect and far ranging experience including the Far East I am more than a little bit surprised that two of you have not hit it off better."
"Uh, well we did at first but it lasted all of two days."
------HQ British First Army St. Quentin-en-Tourmount (Picardy) 1930 hrs
In times of stress Gen. Haig found riding a horse concentrated his thoughts and calmed his nerves. So when Haig abruptly moved his HQ his staff was sure to quickly set up a horse track at the new location. The general was now riding a tall horse collecting his thoughts. It was abundantly clear that God was testing him. As he was riding his aides informed him that Gen. Pulteney had arrived and wished to speak with him. Haig decided that Pulteney could wait while he completed one more lap.
General Haig got off his high horse. Gen. Pulteney was anxiously pacing back and forth. "Well then, how did the counterattack go?" Gen. Haig asked straight away as neither was in the mood to begin their conversation with small talk.
"Not well, sir. According to my latest reports a two mile stretch of the forward trench has been lost and nothing we can do will recover it. What is even more disturbing are reports that the Germans have taken a portion of 4th Division’s second trench line to the northeast of Quend. Preliminary casualty figures indicate we suffered grievously in the intense morning bombardment, esp. 4th Division which had already lost nearly half its effective infantry strength in the previous 3 days of fighting. Based on preliminary casualty figures, Gen. Snow now fears that today’s attack has reduced his effective infantry strength to less than 2,000 men."
"Oh dear, that is very severe. Well then when Second Army fully opens the line of communication we must quickly pull 4th Division out of line so it can recuperate."
"I agree wholeheartedly with that, sir. But I happen to be thinking of the next few hours. The center of my corps is disintegrating! I intend to order III Corps to pull back to the GHQ Line tonight. I have already ordered all artillery batteries so moved."
Haig paused. He was clearly thinking things over but as usual gave no hint of where his thoughts were leading. Finally he shook his head, "You still have more than ample strength still available to you in the 2nd and 6th Divisions. I am disturbed that the enemy was able to take—and hold the forward trench so easily despite my orders. I categorically forbid you from falling back behind the GHQ Line—except for the artillery which I shall leave to your judgment. Is that clear?"
"---but nothing! I asked if you were clear as to my orders?"
Pulteney was flummoxed but not to the point of insubordination, "Yes, general, I understand your orders."
"Good. I know very well that you have a cautious steak, William, but I am not being unreasonable in my demands. Within the next 24 hours Second Army will have advanced far enough that we should be out of danger. In the meantime we will be receiving an increased flow of supplies tonight. This is not the time to lose heart. You must hold the second trench and look for an opportunity to reclaim the forward trench as soon as possible. Pull battalions from both the 2nd and 6th Divisions to fill the void in 4th Division and counterattack in the morning. The enemy squandered a huge stockpile of artillery shells this day. He must have next to nothing left. This is good news for both us and Gen. Plumer."
------north of Cork city 1955 hrs
Having learned that the Cheshire half battalion inside the heart of Cork were under heavy pressure, the British 108th Brigade on the northeast corner of the city had made a maximum effort in the late afternoon to seize control of Patrick’s Bridge. These result in fierce street fighting and once again they found themselves halted by the Irish defenders, who contrary to the hope of the Ulstermen were lacking in neither determination nor ammunition.
While this fearsome struggle was underway Oberst von Frauenau finally arrived with the remaining 3 squadrons of 2nd Chevaulegers. Maj. von Thoma pleaded with von Frauenau to commit the Chevaulegers to the heart of the battle but Frauenau demurred saying that it was not an effective use of cavalry. Instead he circled around to the north of the enemy positions to attack their right flank and rear. One troop of Chevaulegers was able to charge down an urban street and run down a small column of Ulstermen from the rear. The rest of the Chevaulegers were forced to attack dismounted.
Despite some anxious moments for von Toma, the defenders had held once again in the north of Cork. When news of the Chevauleger attack arrived at 108th Brigade’s HQ the brigadier was forced to call off the attack to free up units to deal with the serious threat to his flank.
------Glaunthane Barracks (Cork) 2010 hrs
At Rommel’s behest sent the 2nd Tipperary Battalion to attack the barracks at Glaunthane accompanied by an armored car. The barracks was currently occupied by 16 constables and a 12 man squad sent out on patrol from 108th Brigade. As suggested by Rommel the Tipperary Volunteers did not assault the barracks head on in strength. Instead they sent out their own advance force of 20 men and kept the rest of the battalion back. The advance force drew the attention of the garrison who left only 3 constables behind to guard the barrack. The IRA advance force skirmished briefly with the enemy than ran off. The soldiers and constables pursued. While they did so the armored car and 2 trucks rolled up to the barracks and with a stream of hot lead the constables inside were intimidated into surrendering. Soon afterwards the portion of the garrison which had left stumbled into the rest of the battalion. They then beat a hasty retreat back towards the barracks, only to find the enemy was waiting for them there as well.
------Athlone (Roscommon/Westmeath) 2035 hrs
The river boats returned to Athlone. The 4 boats carrying 600 Russian rifles, 75.000 rounds of ammunition plus 24 HE shells for the armored train were already beginning to unload. But two more boats with 300 rifles and 24,000 rounds plus some carts and mules continued north into Lough Ree. The 2 combat battalions of Athlone Brigade, which had absorbed Tullamore Company when the armored train returned, had been seriously short on rifles so their commandants were ecstatic when the boats arrived. They were still fighting two bands of Ulstermen. To the southwest of the town in Roscommon there were the remnants of the 13th battalion Royal Irish Rifles which now barely had the strength of a company. To the east of the city in Westmeath there was the much more serious threat of the16th Royal Irish Rifles which was still well over half strength and supported by more than 100 constables. It continued to make periodic attacks in the easternmost portion of town with mixed results.
------Manhattan 2045 hrs GMT
The small impromptu convention of former Buffalo Soldiers organized by Cornelius St. James had begun the night before with an initial contingent of three dozen and that number had more than doubled with new arrivals in the morning. While there was ample partying, it was more than socializing and entertainment. Cornelius hammered home the importance of Abyssinia and what Schnee and Lettow-Vorbeck had done for the Negro race in East Africa. In the afternoon he had been called away for a while and when he returned he had some interesting news. "For those of you who like me served in the 10th Cavalry Regiment, you might be interested in a telegram I received this afternoon from a former commander of mine, Brigadier General John Pershing. It reads as follows
DEAR SGT ST JAMES I REMEMBER YOUR DEDICATED SERVICE UNDER MY COMMAND WITH GREAT FONDNESS STOP YOU WERE ALWAYS AN EXEMPLARY SOLDIER STOP I AM GLAD THAT YOU HAVE ACHIEVED SOME MEASURE OF FAME THOUGH I CANNOT SAY THAT I AGREE WITH SOME OF YOUR NOTIONS STOP I HAVE HEARD THAT YOU ARE HOLDING A CONVENTION OF FORMER BUFFALO SOLDIERS STOP I WISH TO EXTEND MY APPRECIATION TO ALL FORMER MEMBERS OF THE TENTH CAVALRY STOP IT WAS A GREAT HONOR TO HAVE LED THEM STOP RESPECTFULLY YOURS GENERAL JOHN PERSHING
"I remember Capt. Pershing very well. He was strict but in a way that meant he felt we were capable of doing great things if we applied ourselves," said one of the veterans, "I wish I could say the same thing of the other officers we had, but Black Jack as the other officers like to call him because of us--he was in the minority that was fair."
"Hmm. And how do you think you would behave if you were an officer, Zeke?" asked St. James.
"Fat chance of that ever happening!"
"Oh, I would not so sure of that."
"And just what are driving at Cornelius?"
St. James grinned, "A little more than an hour ago I had this very interesting conversation with Capt. von Papen, the German military attaché. What the good captain told me is that the Germans are very interested in having former Buffalo Soldiers assist either the Abyssinians or Col. Lettow-Vorbeck in German East Afrika. The Germans anticipate some changes in the map of Afrika once the war is over. They are so impressed by the Buffalo Soldiers that they say that they are willing to offer a commission to those of us who distinguish ourselves in the war and have us serve in army guarding their expanded African empire."
This revelation provoked a great deal of murmuring. Finally a doubting Thomas spoke up, "Promises, promises, promises. If you hadn’t noticed Cornelius the damn German happen to be white. They ain’t goin’ to offer none of us here colored folk a damned commission. You are so gullible!"
"Oh no, I’m not! To prove their sincerity von Papen has already offered me a commission," said Cornelius and 2 tears rolled down his dark cheeks, "You may now address me as Leutnant St. James."
------Monaghan city 2215 hrs
The Ulstermen of the 3rd battalion Royal Irish assisted by over 100 constables had at long last finally crushed the rebel insurrection at Monaghan. At last light many of the Fenians, realizing that their situation was hopeless, had tried to escape Some in fact did make it through the cordon in the dark, but many were captured and more than a few killed. The Ulstermen made their final assault on those that remained and this time the defenders were too few. Despite the Prime Minister’s pledge to execute all rebels some of the Fenians tried to surrender at the last minute. Some were killed anyway but others were merely severely beaten. When it was all over Eion O’Duffy’s body was found. He had shot himself rather than being taken.
The Ulster Volunteers O’Duffy had captured at the arsenal were also dead. An examination of their remains soon revealed that they had been tortured before they died. When the Ulstermen learned that they beat the prisoners still more—some until they died.
------USS Chester off NY harbor 2205 hrs
After communicating back and forth with the Navy Department via wireless the captain of the Chester finally received firm instructions which he passed on Adm. von Maas by searchlight. Permission was granted for one and only one warship to begin coaling at New York. The American crew had placed sizable bets on which German cruiser would go first. Those who bet on Regensburg won.
------Ballyvourney (Cork) 2245 hrs
For nearly three hours after Gen. Parsons’ breakout attack began the Germans were seriously confused about the situation. Initially Oberst Hell had been deeply worried that the British had made an effective counterattack. In the final stage of the demise of the British 16th Division, its rearguard which had been doing a heroic job of holding off the Bavarians to the north ended up being taken in its own rear along with the British VII Army HQ incl. Gen. Keir. Gen. von François and Gen. von Gyssling came down by motorcar to Ballyvourney where they met with Oberst Hell. Together they would assess the situation and decide what to do next.
"I had thought that the enemy might do something like this, general," remarked Hell a bit apologetically referring to the breakout, "but I expected them to wait until nightfall. When they hit us we were not fully prepared. My battalion commanders wrongly interpreted as an ordinary attack not a break out attempt."
"A breakout attempt this determined would have caused me a great deal of trouble at Tannenberg," von François ruefully mused, "It is only men that escaped, yes? No horses, no wagons, no artillery or machineguns, yes?"
"That is correct, general. In addition to destroying weapons and equipment at the end they began to kill their draught animals but did not have time to do a thorough enough job. We captured over 700 horses in acceptable condition and nearly 200 mules. As for dead horses our men will be sick of horsemeat for the next 3 days."
"Since my division’s food situation has been somewhat tight the last two days I am sure my men will not complain too loud about the horsemeat," remarked Gen. von Gyssling.
"Even though Munster is agricultural living off the land has not proved as easy as we had hoped," remarked Hell, "I need to discuss this in detail with Major von Rundstedt."
General von François shook his head vigorously, "I left Major Rundstedt back in Killarney. Write him a small letter with your recommendations. That will have to suffice. I am not disbanding your brigade this night if that is what you are thinking, yes? I have a new mission for you."
"Do you want me to go to Cork, general? Our Irish allies seem to be holding their own there right now as far as I can tell."
"No, not the city. We need to take the harbor forts as quickly as possible. I know that your men are tired from the fighting. Let most of them get a good sleep but an hour before first light take the 11th Bavarian Regiment, the Bavarian Jaeger Regiment, the pioneer battalion and the two foot artillery batteries and head for Fort Templebreedy as quickly as possible. It is the most vulnerable of the 4 harbor forts to a landward attack. When news of our latest victory gets out the British will realize the vulnerability of these forts and try to reinforce them. We need to act quickly."
"I would point out that Fort Westmoreland is not all that vulnerable, being situated on an island without a bridge," grumbled von Gyssling.
"I am well aware of that fact. Once the other forts have been captured we will try to find a way to neutralize it," answered von François with some annoyance, "In the meantime we will start with Fort Templebreedy. Try to capture its 9.2" guns intact. That way we can use them to drive off British vessels near the harbor mouth. Unfortunately there is another development that will make our life difficult in the coming days. One of our seaplanes out of Foynes spotted a column of infantry followed by artillery heading south in the vicinity of Croom this afternoon.. It is distinctly possible that this could be the vanguard of a fresh division brought over from England. I cling to the less dreadful possibility that it is most of their 10th Division removed from the siege of Limerick in an attempt to rescue 16th Division which they do not yet know is essentially destroyed. Lending some credence to this hypothesis Gen. von Jacobsen reports that except for the Shannon area the enemy attacks at Limerick today went into a pronounced lull."
"How do you suggest we counter this, general?" asked von Gyssling, "The 11th Bavarian Infantry Brigade finally succeeded in turning the flank of the Welsh Division at Kanturk today."
"Unfortunately there is a definite need for caution on the part of the 11th Bavarian Brigade tomorrow. Having fought hard to take Kanturk, they must now be prepared to give it up."
"It is hardly the first time in this war that they have had to relinquish an objective as soon it was taken. But what do you suggest?"
"The 11th Bavarian Brigade needs to be ready to make a fighting withdrawal all the way back to Rathmore again. Let the British head for Macroom though Milstreet, then make your stand in the gap between the two mountain ranges with the 6th Bavarian Infantry Regiment and a mix of field guns and light howitzers."
Gyssling frowned deeply, "They could take the old traders road down from Banteer to Coachford instead—or most likely of all do both."
"In that case 6th Bavarian Regiment does not need to stop them, only fight a delaying action, falling back on Macroom if necessary. What is most important is that Oberst Hell have sufficient time to take Templebreedy and hopefully Camden as well."
"Meanwhile we trust that arrogant wunderkind Rommel to take care of Cork?"
"Ah but Rommel is not in Cork. In defiance of my explicit orders he is off gallivanting on some wild mission he feels is necessary," Oberst Hell complained, "I intend to take disciplinary action against him when this is over!"
General von François shook his head and then grinned impishly, "On the contrary, if Rommel is doing what I think he’s doing---and by some miracle succeeds—we will be awarding him yet another medal."
------Ft. Carlisle (Cork) 2310 hrs
Fort Carlisle guarded the eastern side of the entrance to Cork Harbor. It had originally been built as a Napoleonic fort, then another section was built to its south in the Victorian period. Most recently another additional called South Battery was added still further south housing what was currently the fort’s most potent armament, a pair of modern 9.2" guns. Nearly all of the landward perimeter was protected by a dry moat that was 30’ deep and 40’ wide in most places. However just south of South battery there lay a narrow craggy strip which extended as a very narrow treacherous ledge around to the seaward side. Much of it was covered with moss and it was still a bit wet from yesterday’s heavy rains.
There were now some people perched on this ledge. In the lead was one Gavan Hughes, a 19 year old Irish Volunteer, who belonged to the Cloyne Company. He was armed with a double barrelled shotgun and a pistol and wore the IRA steel helmet. He seemed at ease on the ledge even though there was steep slope down the face of the promontory below him. To his immediate right was Major Rommel who was having much more trouble with his footing. Rommel fell off the ledge once and now he started to loose his footing again. Jaeger Gefreiter Julius Gaulart to Rommel’s immediate right reached out again and grabbed him.
"Danke," Rommel said to Julius in a soft voice just barely above a whisper, "You seem to be doing much better than I am."
"I was always scampering around the mountains like a goat back in Bavaria, Major," answered Julius, "My skills in mountain climbing was along with my knowledge of English was why I was selected to assist Ballyvourney Company."
"Yes, that makes sense. Oh I how I wish I was skilled as you are."
"You learn quickly, Major. Given some time and some training I could see you becoming a formidable mountain fighter."
Behind Julius there lay a meter wide gap in the ledge. Beyond the gap the ledge was a little wider. Huddled in a row were 8 more Jaegers. There had been one more Jaeger when they started out but he slipped and twisted his ankle and was sent back. Still further back lined up on the ledge there were 21 members of 3rd Kerry Battalion led by Lt. Cummins. This group had been hand picked based on demonstrated skill in combat and some experience in mountain climbing. Despite the later quite a few of them were struggling on the steep slope.
Moonrise was several hours away. Besides the few stars visible through partially cloudy skies their other source of illumination came from a pair of strong searchlights crisscrossing the entrance to Cork Harbor emanating from the fort. The searchlight platform was quite close in fact and if they moved any closer they stood a fair chance of being spotted by its operators. In the distance they could barely make out the searchlights of Fort Camden on the other side doing the same thing. Light patchy fog had already formed. Rommel had considered postponing the attack in the hope it would thicken but decided against it because he wanted the attack over well before moonrise.
Or maybe it was because he was impatient. He was still impatient. "Damn it Ziethen!" he hissed, "What the hell is taking you so long?"
The dry moat that Rommel’s band had skirted around terminated in flanking gallery, in which riflemen covered the ditch. Unteroffizier Ziethen led a squad of 11 Pioneers. He carefully and quietly worked his way in the dark to the corner of moat’s terminus and secured his rope and slipped it over the edge of the moat. From this corner it would not be visible to the soldiers inside the flanking gallery. He then took a deep breath slid down the rope. Before he reached the ground he leaned forward and he carefully lobbed a grenade into one of the gun ports.
When he landed Ziethen left his Mauser carbine on his shoulder but drew his Lugar. He positioned himself in the nearby corner once again invisible to the gun ports. Ziethen had learned the hard way that grenades were not always 100% effective in these situations. With a rapid motion he peered into one of the gun ports. He could see only two riflemen. This in itself was reassuring as it lent support to Rommel’s guess that a good portion of the fort’s garrison had been sent to Cork and so it was now rather weakly guarded. One of the British soldiers looked only dazed and slightly wounded. He was definitely a threat. Ziethen quickly fired three rounds. The other soldier was on the ground in a spreading pool of blood. He was stirring and moaning in great pain. Ziethen did enjoy doing it but he shot him as well just to be sure. He tried to ease his conscience by telling himself that he had spared the poor soldier a great deal of pain. Meanwhile more pioneers were descending in the moat on their ropes. He had given them orders in advance. Four of them were assigned to force their way into the gallery using explosives if necessary. Inside the gallery there would be a passageway leading into the bowels of South Battery.
The rest of the pioneers had already moved down the moat to the end of corridor then stopped. One of them quickly and cautiously peered around the corner. The corridor beyond was covered by a musketry caponier, which was equipped with a small weak searchlight. The pioneer could see the searchlight on the caponier wandering then it was turned down into the moat. He yanked his head back behind the corner before the spotlight reached him. Light reached the corner and paused then after a few seconds went away. The pioneers heard voices shouting in the distance but were unable to make out the words though it sounded like English.
The sound of the grenade exploding was Rommel’s signal to attack. "Now! Up the cliff. Attack!" he yelled. His men emerged from their partially concealed position and struggled their way up the cliff. Gavan and Julius made it look easy but Rommel struggled and nearly fell. One of Cummins’ Irishmen did fall down the cliff and broke his neck. The 4 man searchlight crew had been distracted by the sound of the explosion which came from above them. None of them were carrying rifles but two of them had revolvers drawn and one of them heard something and turned around. He fired a hurried shot with his revolver which missed and was rewarded with a shotgun blast in the stomach. The searchlight platform was quickly taken and the attackers moved on to the 9.2" gun emplacements and the fort’s command post, which was situated behind an embankment to the rear of the guns. The guns were taken quickly in short order but there was more of a fight at the command post when the 4 Royal Marines who had been manning the nearby caponier arrived.
Back in the ditch Ziethen kept popping his head around the corner. He also paid attention to the sounds coming from above. Finally he told his pioneers, "I think the caponier is now either neutralized or at least sorely distracted. I am going to go on ahead. If I am proven wrong and they open fire do not try to come to my assistance, but if I make it to the side ditch then follow me quickly." Ziethen still had his carbine on his shoulder. He slammed a fresh clip into his Lugar then poked his head around the corner. Not only was the searchlight not pointing in his direction but it appeared to be completely still. Taking that as positive sign Ziethen took a deep breath and dashed down the corridor ahead. Flares had been shot into the air in the last few minutes. As he came close to where the caponier overlooked the ditch he was horrified to see a soldier peering down at him. He quickly raised his Lugar.
"Hey, is that you Ziethen?" said the soldier looking down at him in German, "The Major wants to know if you have assaulted Rupert’s Tower yet. He will be very disappointed to learn that you have not but he will be even less happy if you shoot me."
Ziethen lowered his Lugar, "I am on my way now, Gaulart," he shouted back with irritation. Julius Gaulart sometimes exhibited a sardonic streak—some speculated that this was on account of his time spent with Flynn—but unfortunately there was some truth in what the Jaeger was saying. Rommel probably would be displeased as the IRA major was usually a demanding taskmaster. Ziethen peered back to where his pioneers were. Two of them were peeking around the corner. Now that it was clear that the caponier was not a menace, Ziethen gestured with his right arm for them to follow him. He then turned around and continued forward. He soon reached a point in the moat where another narrower ditch branched off to his left. This ditch had been dug by the British to internally isolate South Battery from the rest of Fort Carlisle.
Ziethen pointed demonstratively to the side ditch so he men knew that was where they should go then head into it himself. He did not have to go far before he came upon a set of stairs on his right which led up into Rupert’s Tower. Just as he stepped on the stairs a Royal Marine came into view. Ziethen quickly shot the Marine as he raised his Lee-Enfield to fire. The Marine crumpled and fell forward Ziethen reflexively tried to get out of the way but the body struck him on his left shoulder knocking him to the ground. Muttering an oath Ziethen pushed the dying soldier off him and sprinted up the stairs. A British seaman with a revolver came into view just as Ziethen reached the top. Ziethen shot him in the forehead. In front of him were a pair of modern 6" Mk VII naval guns overlooking the sea along with their gun crews. "Get your hands up! Now!" the unteroffizier yelled in English. In the background he could hear his pioneers coming up the stairs. The gun crew quickly surrendered. Ziethen had taken the Rupert Tower Battery. Maybe that would make even Rommel happy!
------northwest of Bernay-en-Ponthenieu 2335 hrs
Gen. von Gebsattel, commander of the III Bavarian Corps had received a harvest of scorn from Gen. von Fabeck all day over the failure of the 10th Bavarian Infantry Division Gebsattel wished he still had the 6th Bavarian Infantry Division in his corps as he had found he could usually rely on its men to achieve great things. However that division had on account of its prior success in fighting against the British had been selected to go to Ireland. Fabeck had at one time ordered III Bavarian Corps to make a major night assault with the 10th Bavarian Infantry Division again, but Gebsattel managed to persuade Sixth Sarmy’s chief of staff to greatly revise those orders so he was merely required to exert some degree of offensive pressure during the night.
Gebsattel ordered 8th Bavarian Reserve Division to make 2 trench raids with its best raiders an hour after last light to probe the boundary between the British 6th Infantry Division and its neighbor, Lahore Division which was part of Indian Corps. His hope that when the British 6th Division had shifted to its left to repel 10th Bavarian’s attack, it may have created a gap not adequately filled by the Indians. One of the trench raids did discover a section a trench weakly held by Indian troops without a machinegun. The raiders sent a messenger back to 21st Bavarian Reserve Regiment HQ which then began to infiltrate the weak sector one company at time. When they first arrived in France back in October the Indian troops had been fierce fighters, but unlike the British line battalions their morale suffered during the winter as neither the nature of the war nor the weather were what they were accustomed to. Their morale declined still further after being on half rations for 2 weeks during this battle.
Their morale had declined but not anywhere close to zero. When the first company of Bavarians hit the weakly held gap the outnumbered and surprised Indians fought hard in the trenches. The weakened morale demonstrated itself instead in a sluggish almost diffident response from adjacent units in the trench. This gave the 21st Bavarian Reserve Regiment time to consolidate its gain and concentrate on fending off the counterattack of 6th Infantry Division on its right. Trying to advance further under these circumstances was too dangerous and the 21st Bavarian Reserve Regiment spent the rest of the night just trying to hold on to its limited breach.
-----Aghada (Cork) 2330 hrs
There was a British barracks of some size at Aghda which controlled the main road which led to Fort Carlisle. Most of the troops stationed at this barracks had been committed to helping in the fight at Cork and Great Island. The small residual garrison there had received word that Fort Carlisle was under attack and had detached a platoon to reinforce the fort. Soon after that it came under attack itself by the 1st Tipperary Battalion supported by 3 armored cars and small contingent of Rommel’s 3rd Kerry Battalion in motor vehicles. Intimidated by armored cars some of the defenders fled into the countryside while the rest fought it out with the Tipperary Volunteers from a single building.
. With that the armored cars followed by the motor vehicles continued on to attack the entrance of Fort Carlisle on its north side where the old Napoleonic fort was. Their first attempt to seize the gate by coup de main failed but it also drew a good portion of the fort’s limited garrison to the north.
------Hackensack NJ 2340 hrs
The Romantic Egoist was again visiting Fr. Fay. Once again Shane Leslie was there. This time the heavy priest did not take them to a restaurant but prepared something for his guests himself. He felt that he did not want anyone to overhear what they were going to discuss. Shane in particular had little appetite.
"For the life of me I cannot believe what I am about to say," Shane Leslie announced to the other two, "But I have decided that the political hopes of Sir John Redmond for the Irish people are proven themselves to be a mere mirage or perhaps the famed chimera of antiquity is a better metaphor. The struggle has now been reduced to its harshest lines and there are no pretty choices. It is an ugly world in which we now live. The only choice we have remaining is between two hags. One is Unionism and the other Fenianism with their fiendish German sponsors, quite literally Scylla and Charybdis. And now we must choose and I," at this Leslie paused and looked deathly pale as if his lungs were refusing to draw the breath which would permit him to speak the words gestating on his tongue.
"If you cannot bring yourself to say it, then let me do it for you," said Fr. Fay, "You have decided to go to Ireland with the Germans and fight against the Unionists. I am pleased to hear you that even if I had to say it for you because I can sure use your delightful company on the sea voyage."
"What? What exactly are you saying, Father?"
"I intend to go along as sort of a chaplain. I just hope I don’t capsize the poor ship!" Fay replied making fun of his own weight.
The Romantic Egoist’s jaw plummeted, "What am I ever going to do without you, Father?" he whined.
"Now, now, Francis. It is not as if I were going in combat. I do not expect this war to last too much. You will be seeing me again soon enough."
"No! If you and Shane are going off to Ireland then I am going!"
"What about your education, Francis? If you came along it would mean dropping out of Princeton," asked the priest.
"To be honest, Father, I am not doing all that well at Princeton and have serious doubts that I’d been able to finish and get my degree anyway. I think my time would be much better spent by fighting for the cause of the Irish people."
"The German navy returned in strength to US coastal waters yesterday afternoon. According to US Navy spokesmen the USS Chester, an American cruiser, fortuitously intercepted 2 German cruisers which were heading straight for New York harbor. Accompanying them was the British ocean liner Lusitania which they had recently captured. There is no word yet about what the Germans intend to do with the passengers aboard the Lustiania. It is very likely that the German warships intend to coal in New York. This comes at a time when the Clan na Gael, the Fenian Brotherhood and German American organizations such as the Bund are calling for volunteers to fight in Ireland---a development which has sharply divided America. Here in New York City vibrant Irish and German immigrant populations are very often side by side in adjourning city blocks and there are signs that they are finding a common cause that appals the upper crust of society."
----NY World Sunday May 9, 1915
------southeast of Quend (Picardy) 0010 hrs May 9, 1915
General Sixtus von Arnim, the commander of IV Army Corps, had been pressured by Gen. von Fabeck in the last 12 hours to advance further. With a steadily mounting casualty figure coming into his HQ von Arnim had been cautious. At dusk a particularly annoying British strongpoint which was making it difficult for the 8th Infantry Division to advance much further was finally obliterated by medium minenwerfers. The section of the enemy’s second trench line 8th Infantry Division controlled had very slowly expanded 200 meters more to the left during the late afternoon. This allowed the adjacent 52nd Infantry Division, which had finally eliminated the British presence on its section of the forward trench line to advance 2 of its battalions forward into what had been the British second trench at dusk despite some intermittent harassment by enemy artillery.
Gen. von Arnim ordered 8th Infantry Division to let 4 of its strongest battalions try to get some sleep once it was dark and then rouse them at midnight for a an assault, while the 52nd Infantry Division took over the burden for the trench fighting on its left flank. The general worried that the British might attempt to dig a new trench line during the night forward of the defensive line they were known to have constructed based on the north south line of canals. After the massive expenditure of shells during the day, von Arnim told his Arco to refrain from using their guns during the night unless there was an obvious large scale enemy attack underway and even then to use them sparingly. Gen. von Fabeck was becoming worried about the British Second Army and had ordered the transfer of 3 batteries of 15cm howitzers from IV Army Corps to the Guard Corps during the night. Fabeck initially had wanted to transfer a battery of 21cm Morser as well but Arnim had just barely managed to dissuade him. Fabeck did agree with von Arnim that tomorrow’s main attack would be more effective if it was made later in the morning and not soon after dawn. The situation on the battlefield was now in a state of flux and it would take a few hours after sunrise to accurately assess the situation and determine the next set of objectives.
These 4 battalions now made their midnight assault. They encountered weaker than anticipated resistance from shattered remnants of the devastated British 4th Infantry Division at first and quickly reached the north south railroad line—their first objective. Each battalion had a squad of pioneers with them and explosions soon cut the line in several places, even though the British First Army was not able to use the line at all at this time. After that the 2 battalions on the left stumbled into 3 battalions of the British 19th Brigade that were preparing their assembly positions for the morning assault ordered by Gen. Haig. A confused night battle ensued for several hours..
The other 2 battalions continued to fight remnants of the battered British 4th Infantry Division. There were two more strongpoints to overcome and there were also the narrow secondary canals and some wetlands complicating matters. The moonrise was still hours away and the Saxons sloshed their way ahead—or what hey though was ahead-- in the darkness. The enemy here had clearly not dug a new trench line but he fought from some shallow slit trenches in some places. British morale was not what it once was an the attackers took prisoners more easily than they usually did when fighting the Tommies. The attackers began to get lost in the dark.
------HQ British Second Army (Picardy) 0015
"The 1st Infantry Division advanced only 500 yards yesterday and is still fighting to hold onto that," Plumer reported to Sir John French, "and that is just about our only gain for the day of any significance."
"Only 500 yards? Did the French corps make any progress?"
"Not a bloody yard as far as I can tell, sir, though to be fair fighting is still going on with them."
"So have you ruled out a major night attack? Haig has always been pessimistic about those."
"I thought about that but I want our men rested in the morning, sir. There is some trench raids underway but otherwise nothing. Maybe tomorrow night. We did seem to dominate their artillery most of yesterday. As long as we are doing so I think daytime attacks are preferable though day or night those damn thick German wire barriers are just as much of a problem."
. "You were able to dominate their artillery because their Sixth Army moved most or all of their heavy artillery to plaster III Army Corps yesterday morning. It caused immense damage The only plus I can to see to that is Gen. Haig believes Sixth army must have used up nearly all of their heavy shells yesterday. They bet everything on one roll of the dice so to speak and failed to completely break III Army Corps."
"Does that mean First Army is out of danger for the time being, sir? If Second Army can go one whole day without mounting an assault we accomplish some badly needed reorganization. We could rest the men for a night assault and then follow up it up with--- "
"---don’t put words in my mouth, Plumer!" French raged over the telephone line, "You do not get Sunday off, do you hear me?"
Unfortunately yes. "Loud and clear, Field Marshal. Our planned morning assault will go forward on schedule."
"Does it include the Belgians? Or is King Albert still pouting?"
"Not this morning, sir. He has expressed a willingness to discuss their involvement with me this afternoon."
"I wish you luck then. Both with the Germans and their infernal trenches and that overrated Boy Scout of a monarch."
------Longford city 0025 hrs
The local Irish Volunteers company was roused from their sleep. A handful of their members had gone off to join the rebels massing at Athlone, but most had remained in the vicinity of Longford. The constables had hauled off nearly all their firearms the day after the Germans had landed along with their commandant. All they had left was 2 pistols and a sawed off shotgun—until now.
------off Fort-Mahon-Plage (Picardy) 0215 hrs
A dozen French tugs worked their way slowly up the coast of Picardy. Each of them towed a river barge loaded with supplies. There was destination was the beaches on either side of Fort-Mahon-Plage where they were to deposit the river barges where they would hopefully stay beached in the falling tide. The beaches at Fort-Mahon-Plage had been used previously to deposit small amounts of supplies on the beach at night to be recovered by the 2nd Infantry Division. Even in the best of weather this was only a small fraction of what was arriving at la Crotoy. The possibility of using barges had been examined by both the French and British naval authorities. The idea had a great many potential problems. One of them was the barges had a serious risk of foundering if the sea state was even a little bit rough.
Another concern was the German torpedo boats in the Channel Ports might make another night time sortie. They were being escorted on this mission by 3 Tribal class destroyers, 2 monitors and 2 French Intepide class destroyers. The tugboat captains worried that this might not be enough esp. if the Germans attacked from 2 different directions. Still another concern was German coastal artillery on the north shore of the Baie D’Authie. The tugboats had been ordered a half hour ago to extinguish their lights for fear of those batteries as well as German torpedoboats. The moon would soon rise. It was supposed to provide enough illumination for the tricky final maneuvering but not enough for German coastal guns. In the meantime in the near total darkness the tugs worried about colliding with each other. There was one other worry in their minds as well.
"Mine! Mine! To the left!" shouted a crew member of one tug. The tugboat pilot tried to turn sharply to the right. On each tug there was a sailor armed with a carbine. But the turn was sluggish with a heavy barge being hauled behind them and the sailors watched in horror as the mine which was bobbing on the surface of the sea bumped up against the side of their small vessel before the carbine could be shouldered and fired.
The mine bounced off their hull and moved away from the tug as she turned. Even though it had failed to explode the mine was still a menace to the barge and another tug behind them. A lantern was lit to so the rifleman could get a good shot. He fired once. He fired again. He fired a third time.
As the mine was on the surface the shockwave was not too intense and while it jolted the tug’s hull it did not cause a leak. One of French destroyers soon approached within yelling distance and asked what had happened. "There was a mine! We are in a minefield! We must turn back!" yelled the tug’s first mate. The destroyer turned on a searchlight scanning first the tug and then the sea around it. A voice cried through a megaphone, "The British laid a minefield to the west after the Germans shell their army. Maybe one came loose in the recent storm."
"How do we know that others have not come loose as well?" cried out one of the tug’s crewmen. ""Or maybe the Germans laid some mines of their own here," yelled another, "Either way it is too dangerous—we must go back."
There was a prolonged pause during which there was a discussion aboard the destroyer then the spokesman officer announced, "No, no. We all must go on! Stay on course and follow direction---"
"No, no, NO! We must turn around. We will turn around now---"
"---No, no, we forbid you. Stop!" Disregarding that the helmsman on the tug put the rudder over. Suddenly there was a burst of machinegun firing directed by searchlight splashing the water.
With a string of curses the tug continued on its designated course.
------Froise (Picardy) 0225 hrs
One company of the German 2nd battalion 153rd Infantry Regiment had gotten separated from the rest of a battalion in a series of off and on firefights with some Royal Engineers. The country was not quite as wet here and was more of a classic French bocage. The moon was just starting to rise peering through the thin cloud cover. Another source of illumination came from some flares lighting up the night sky from fighting to their right and left. The fighting to the north occasionally involved artillery and some star shells. They believed that to be XXVII Reserve Corps’ artillery as they had been told that their own corps would not be firing during the night. The men could make out another canal ahead of them. It was clearly wider than the secondary canals they had struggled with earlier in the evening. One of their patrols described a strand of barbed wire was in place on the opposite bank. The company commander had been told of yet another British defensive line based on a major north south canal. Was this it? Had they managed to get that far west?
Now another patrol returned. "Hauptman, there is a crossing of the canal a little to the north. It appears stout. Maybe the British used it to withdraw their artillery yesterday. It appears weakly guarded at this time with no sign of a machinegun nest nearby. We should be able to take it with a sudden attack," reported the unteroffizier in charge, "We should do so before the moon rises much further. Or those engineers show up again."
"Perhaps we should notify battalion HQ first?" asked the company’s first sergeant.
"We are still trying to find out just where they are!" countered Hauptmann Strader, "We will take the bridge and then make another effort to find battalion HQ."
------Rue (Picardy) 0330 hrs
The heavy artillery of III Bavarian Corps commenced a vigorous 20 minute shelling of the area around Rue, which remained an obvious target as a key enemy communication center. With pale moonlight and star shells for illumination it was lacking in accuracy. It did cause some temporary disruption of the nightly flow of supplies. It also knocked several of III Army Corps’ telephone and telegraph lines
------Boston MA 0355 hrs GMT
Joseph Kennedy lay down in bed beside his pregnant wife Rose who could see there was something bothering her husband. "There is something botherin’ you, Joe," she declared, "do you feel like talking about it?’
Joe Kennedy sighed as deeply as she ever heard a man sigh. That did not reassure her. Finally her husband told her, "As I mentioned before there was a rally this afternoon trying to get Irish Americans to volunteer to go fight in Ireland."
"Yes, you told me. You said it was a big success. Are you now trying to tell me it wasn’t?"
"Uh, no. I still think it went over well, but there is something that happened I didn’t tell you that’s botherin’ me a lot."
"And just what is that, my dearest?" asked Rose. She was more than a little worried now because Joe would completely turn to her to answer but merely jerked his head in her direction
"Well, uh, well there were two hecklers in the crowd. And they kept asking me if I was willing to go—I avoided answering them and they kept asking. They soon started saying that I was a hypocrite to be asking others to do something I wasn’t willing to do myself."
Suddenly Rose felt cold—and afraid, very afraid. "Look at me, Joe. Just what are you trying to tell me? Please don’t tell me you’re considering going with the Germans and the Clan na Gael to fight in Ireland? Not with a baby on the way! Oh please, Joe."
"The war is not going to last much longer, my dearest. I think most who go are coming back—coming back as heroes!"
"I want a husband not a hero! Tell me that you are not serious. Say it ain’t so, Joe!"
"I haven’t decided yet, Rose. Can we please get some sleep, dear?. We can discuss this more in the morning."
"We will discuss this now. How can I sleep knowing that you have this fool notion that you must go running off to fight in a war! Have you thought about the bank? Who will take care of the bank if you go running off to war?"
"Da can take care of the bank while I’m gone. Now if you’re done pestering me---"
Rose began to blubber and wail. Being pregnant certainly didn’t help things. It ended up being a long night for both of them.
------Perrim Island 0405 hrs
The British and the French weren’t completely sure what was going with the Ottomans on Perrim Island but whatever it was they were sure they did not like it. There was once again a cruiser off the island expressing their displeasure. This time it was the French armored cruiser, Desaix firing away at the anything she believed to be an Ottoman position with her 6.4" guns. She also lobbed some shells on the Somaliland coast. The Ottomans did not try to return fire but merely hunkered down and waited her out.
------Carrick-on-Shannon (Leitrim) 0420 hrs
The remaining riverboat made contact with the local company of Irish Volunteers. By sunrise there would be more 80 of them assembled and armed with more would arrive each hour.
------Glaunthane Barracks (Cork) 0450 hrs
Learning that the key barracks on its left flank was under attack by rebels the British 108th Brigade dispatched a rifle company to deal with the threat. When the company arrived it found itself outnumbered more than two to one and that the barracks already been lost. Undaunted by this the Ulstermen launched an attack. It was repelled with substantial losses. They should be used to this by now.
------south of the Authie (Picardy) 0500 hrs
Believing that the German Sixth Army was nearly out of shells—and the very limited use of artillery by the Germans during the night lent some credence to that hypothesis—the British First Army unleashed its own early morning barrage. The hypothesis was quickly laid to rest when the German artillery accepted the invitation to duel. While Fabeck had removed some heavy batteries to buttress Guard Corps and XIV Reserve Corps against the attacks of Plumer’s Second Army they still remained potent. The bombardment was supposed to last 30 minutes but many British batteries were silenced by the German counter-battery fire.
------near Froise (Picardy) 0505 hrs
Hauptmann Strader had eventually made contact with battalion HQ which in turned dispatched messengers to the regimental HQ. The entire battalion had crossed Canal Neuf and then attacked and quickly overran a battery of 18 pounders to the north. A band of British infantry—a little more than 100 men—counterattacked them from the south. They were driven off just before the great bombardment erupted. There was one British battery to the north participating but most of the British gun flashes came from some copses composed largely of willows to the west. These batteries were now drawing the wrath of the German batteries. So far the return fire was not targeting the battery they had captured. Still as a precaution most of the battalion remained some distance from the 6 captured guns. The British had dug a narrow and shallow trench line roughly 100 yards west of the canal. Some of the more nervous stayed close to that trench in case enemy artillery opened up on them.
"A messenger returned from regimental HQ," the battalion commander told Strader, "They are sending another battalion which should arrive in less than a half hour. They are also requesting additional reinforcements from division HQ."
"That is good, Major," answered Strader, "but it would be best if we take action before they return. The enemy is sorely distracted by the ferocious artillery duel. While that is going on we can infiltrate further west behind the hedgerows. Reports from my scouts cause me to believe that much of the enemy artillery is sited in the woodlands to the west. We can swing around and take the artillery from behind after they have been softened up by our own artillery."
"I cannot take the battalion forward! I need to guard the prisoners, the captured guns and the canal crossing. The enemy has already made one counterattack—another stronger one will probably be coming soon."
"I was not suggesting sending the entire battalion, Major. Let me got ahead now with my company. As soon as the next battalion arrives you can advance with the rest of our battalion."
"Nein!" snarled the Major but then after a few seconds later he softened a little, "Oh go ahead."
------HQ German IV Army Corps (Picardy) 0515 hrs
Gen. Sixtus von Arnim, the corps commander, was on the telephone with a duke---Ernst Bernhard Georg Johann Karl Friedrich Peter Albert von Sachsen-Altenburg to be exact. In addition to being the governing duke of Sachsen-Altenburg he was also the commanding officer of the 8th Infantry Division. "I am only now starting to get a clear picture of what has occurred during the night attack you ordered, general, and there seems to be a very promising development," came the duke’s excited voice over the telephone, "The 153rd Infantry Regiment reports that one of its battalions was able to reach the canal that we expect will be the enemy’s next major line of defense and easily captured a bridge capable of supporting heavy artillery in the vicinity of Froise."
Arnim was now excited as well, "Do you know if they can hold? You must reinforce them immediately!"
"Unfortunately I am forced to rely on messengers as I have lost telegraph and telephone communication with all my regimental HQ’s due to the shelling, general. This is some risk that we may lose this line as well. However the shelling does seem to be decreasing in intensity."
"The worst should be over, Your Grace. Our ARCO believes with great confidence that he is getting the better of the British guns."
"Give him my thanks, general. I do know that the 153rd Infantry Regiment has already gone ahead and committed one more battalion to Froise. However I need to be very careful in shifting battalions at this time as I strongly suspect that this shelling is the overture to a strong counterattack against my left flank. Have the morning air patrols reported anything?"
"It is too early. They are still up in the air flying around, Your Grace. Some of them should be landing very soon though. I will let you know what they find immediately as I agree that it is likely the British are planning to a major counterattack against you very soon. Nevertheless we must try to exploit the breach at Froise!"
"Hmm. One of my Hussar squadrons was only a stone’s throw from here. I sent them galloping off to Froise just before I called."
"Yes, that is good thinking. You should send your other squadron as well. Up until now our cavalry squadrons have been useless in this battle but they could prove effective today. When this call is over I am going to immediately order 7th and 52nd Division to send you their squadrons as well."
------south of the Authie (Picardy) 0530 hrs
The few British guns that were still firing on the enemy held trenches now fell silent. The British infantry assault commenced and it had two distinct components. One consisted of 3 battalions of the 4th (Guards) Brigade which was part of the 2nd Infantry Division emerging from the vicinity of Quend to attack the section of what had been the British second trench line yesterday morning and was now occupied by the 53rd Reserve Division. These battalions emerged had suffered some significant losses from German shelling during the night and early morning. The German artillery esp. the 7.7 cm guns which had been held back previously, stepped up their shelling as soon as they emerged. The British artillery bombardment disrupted as it was by German counterfire, had done insufficient harm to the defenders who had ample machine guns in place hitting the attackers as soon as the emerged from the top of their parapets, causing them to fall back into the trenches. The Tommies of this elite unit tried to continue the attack but the Germans had positioned 2 strands of barbed wire to their front during the night and the defenders were clearly stronger than expected. Whistles soon blew and the surviving attackers scrambled and crawled their way back to their jumping off point. .
Meanwhile the other portion of the British counterattack consisted of 3 battalions of the 19th Brigade belonging to the 6th Infantry Division. Initially it was planned to send all 3 of these battalions, which had not been involved in the recent heavy fighting and were therefore close to full strength, to recapture the stretch of the second trench line captured by the German 8th Infantry Division yesterday. After midnight though, after they moved into their designated jumping off position, they had engaged a significant German force that had managed to move well beyond the second trench line. Reports filtering back to 19th Brigade HQ indicated that the heavily battered 4th Infantry Division may have collapsed in this sector, exposing the GHQ Line to attack The brigadier modified the attack plan to send the 1/5th Cameronians to attack in a northwest direction while the other 2 battalions would advance due north as originally planned..
Where 1/5th Cameronians attacked there was no barbed wire and no real trench line, only a few shallow slit trenches here and there. There were a few German machineguns in placed to tear into the advancing Cameronians but nevertheless they bravely advanced. They were taking on 2 Saxon battalions of the 8th Division but these battalions had been reduced to roughly half strength in the prior fighting. So in hard fighting the Cameronians were able to push the Saxons back and even rescued a strongpoint manned by 4th Division that had held out during the night This limited success had not come easy and when the battalion had advanced 400 hard fought yards it had been ordered.
The other 2 attacking battalions of 19th Brigade did not even attain that limited success. They came under some 7.7cm before they reached the second trench as well as heavy machinegun and rifle fire from the defenders who came from both the 8th and 52nd Infantry Divisions. The Germans had moved 2 strands of wire into place and the limited British bombardment had not managed to do much cutting. The handful of the attacking infantry worked their way close to the trench on their bellies had at best jam tin bombs as an inadequate substitute foe a decent grenade.
------west of Froise (Picardy) 0545 hrs
Hauptmann Strader’s rifle company had circled around to the rear of one of the larger copses more towards the rear. He reasoned that the shorter ranged 18 pounders and 4.5" howitzers would likely be in the easternmost woods and the longer range guns further back. His company ended up attacking a RGA battery of 60 pounder guns which had been hard hit by German counter-battery fire and was now trying to relocate. The Saxon infantry quickly overran the battery. They even managed to captured two guns in working condition.
In the meantime a messenger from battalion HQ arrived. The rest of their battalion had been heading their way but had come under attack by a dismounted squadron of British cavalry.
------Castletownbere (Cork) 0610 hrs
In response to Gen. Hamilton’s request for more cavalry, Lord Kitchener decided to send the 1st South Western Mounted Brigade to Berehaven. This mounted brigade only had 2 regiments of yeomanry at this time---the 1/1st Hampshire Yeomanry and the 1/1st Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry, but it did have an attached battery of horse artillery. It was now beginning to land at Berehaven naval base. It was hoped that its horses would be sufficiently recovered from their sea voyage by noon for the brigade to saddle up. In the meantime there was considerable uncertainty about just what there mission was. There was some discussion of attacking a known rebel concentration known to be in the vicinity of Bantry but there was increasing concern about the 16th Division and VII Army Corps HQ so it was decided that they would head to Macroom first to lend assistance.
------Shavli (Lithuania) 0615 hrs
The vanguard of the German Reserve Cavalry Division trotted on horseback into Shavli. In late Sept. then General von Moltke decided to form a German Reserve Cavalry Division. At that time the Moltke realized that the war would not be over in1914 and it would be necessary to make a major Eastern Front offensive beginning in the May of 1915 to finish off the Entente. He ordered the formation of a reserve cavalry division because he believed warfare in the East would remain fairly mobile. Falkenhayn was unimpressed by this idea because he felt that the war would be won in France where cavalry would likely be of little value. Falkenhayn also pointed out that unlike reserve infantry divisions it would take a minimum of 6 months to properly train a new cavalry division even if new recruits were limited to those with prior equestrian skills. Moltke had replied that this was no a problem because unlike both Falkenhayn and Hindenburg he wanted Germany to remain on the defensive on all fronts during the winter. When Falkenhayn succeeded in replacing Moltke at OHL in mid Dec the Reserve Cavalry Division had already been training for 10 weeks and with many in the Heer still enthusiastic about cavalry he was unable to make a compelling reason to disband it. He did however slow its development somewhat and when it came time to move new units into OKW Reserve after the Battle of Dogger Bank he made sure Reserve Cavalry Division was one of those moved.
So while OKW had hoped the Reserve Cavalry Division would be available for Operation Fulcrum at the outset a pessimistic OHL evaluation report dated 2 April announced that the division needed a minimum of 4 more weeks of intensive training before being fit for combat. The division was now finally joining Army Detachment Marwitz.
------HQ British III Army Corps northwest of Rue (Picardy) 0620 hrs
Gen. Pulteney, the commander of III Army Corps, finally received word from Gen Snow, the commander of the 4th Infantry Division, that the GHQ Line had been penetrated near Froise. Gen. Pulteney had found no source of encouragement in any bit of news that managed to reach his HQ this morning despite most of his telegraph and telephone lines being down. The casualty figures from the 4th Infantry Division as suspected proved to be horrific. The able bodied infantry strength of that division was below 1,800 and those numbers as of nightfall yesterday and there were now reports of some significant action occurring during the night. As usual night combat was even more confused than day combat but the preliminary reports indicated that where it involved 4th Infantry Division it had gone badly.
News from the 2nd Division to the north along the Bay and the 6th Division to the south bordering Indian Corps were not nearly as bad but they were still nothing to cheer about. The German intrusion between 6th Division and Indian Corps had been contained but not removed. Meanwhile 2nd Division has slowly being peeled away from the bank of the Authie. His corps’ artillery had been overpowered by the Germans in the early morning duel—so much for Haig’s suspicion that the enemy was out of shells. Reports on the infantry assaults had not yet filtered their way up to Corps’ HQ but Pulteney was not at all optimistic.
He reached one conclusion quickly and told his staff, "It no longer makes any sense for the 6th Division to try to hold on to any portion of the forward trench line. Send the following telegram to Gen. Congreve:
MAKE ORDERLY BUT RAPID WITHDRAWAL FROM ALL SECTIONS OF FORWARD TRENCH LINE STOP TERMINATE ATTACK BY NINETEENTH BRIGADE STOP RELEASE THE TWO BATTALIONS HELD IN RESERVE AT RUE TO FOURTH DIVISION FOR USE AGAINST ENEMY PENETRATTION OF GHQ LINE NEAR FROISE STOP PREPARE YOUR ENTIRE DIVISION FOR WITHDRAWAL TO GHQ LINE STOP
:"We still do not have telegraph nor telephone communications working with 2nd Division, right?"
"That is correct, general."
In that case have a motorcyclist standing by and I shall compose orders for Gen. Horne in a few minutes after I collect my thoughts. However before I do that I need to worry about Gen Haig. Our telephone lines are still down but we still have a telegraph connection to First Army working, yes?"
"Yes, that is correct, sir. Signal teams are working on the telephone lines---"
"--yes, yes, that’s all well and good but I do not think we can afford to wait in our present set of circumstances. Send the following telegram to Gen. Haig:
ENEMY HAS PENETRATED GHQ LINE NEAR FROISE STOP GERMAN ARTILLERY CONTINUES TO OVERHELM MY BATTERIES STOP IMPERATIVE THAT THIS CORPS WITHDRAW TO GHQ LINE IMMEDIATELY REPEAT IMPERATIVE THAT THIS CORPS WITHDRAW TO GHQ LINE IMMEDIATELY STOP REQUEST THAT THE THREE BATTALIONS TRANSFERRED TO INDIAN CORPS BE RETURNED TODAY STOP
------west of Froise (Picardy) 0625 hrs
The 2nd Battalion 153rd Infantry Regiment had driven off the British cavalry with the aid of one of their division’s Hussar squadrons which had arrived as reinforcements. After that the battalion had caught up with Hauptmann Strader and resumed their attack on British artillery batteries in the woods. Their next victim was an RGA battery armed with obsolescent ex-naval 4.7" guns. However word was spreading amongst the British artillery batteries in the area that there was fox loose in the hen house and they were starting to hurriedly relocate both to the north and the south As it was the RGA battery they were attacking put up a brave resistance with some help from artillerists in the neighboring batteries. This merely delayed the inevitable. In the meantime the other Hussar squadron assigned to their division arrived as well. .
------Newmarket (Cork) 0630 hrs
The 13th Bavarian Infantry Regiment had been ordered not to press the North Wales Brigade too hard when it withdrew to the vicinity of Newmarket. The 11th Bavarian Brigade had concentrated its efforts instead on the turning the flank of the more depleted Welsh Border Brigade at Kanturk. Now that word had filtered down that the 53rd (Welsh) Division was being reinforced and would almost certainly initiate an attack in the morning. The 13th Bavarian Infantry Regiment was now reinforced with 1st Seebattalion. In addition the artillery it had available was increased to 3 field artillery batteries of 7.7cm guns and 1 foot artillery battery of 15cm howitzers. Gen von Gyssling made it that 11th Bavarian Brigade was to make a defensive pivot this morning. Initially the brigade needed to hold firm at Newmarket but would be allowed to withdraw was well in the afternoon.
The Welsh Division now began its attack with a bombardment by 2 batteries of 15 pounder guns. The Germans were prepared to duel and their 15cm howitzers proved very effective. Neither side had shells to waste though, and the artillery exchange soon gave way to an infantry attack by 3 Welsh battalions. Two of them attacked frontally and after some tense moments were finally driven off. The third attacking battalion tried to turn the German right flank but was having a difficult time maneuvering quickly in the mountain foothills. Once the Welsh frontal attack had failed the 11th Bavarian Brigade therefore had ample time to reinforce its left. flank.
------telegram received at British III Army Corps from First Army HQ 0637 hrs
PERMISSION TO WITHDRAW BEHIND GHQ LINE PERMISSION IS CATEGORICALLY DENIED REPEAT PERMISSION TO WITHDRAW BEHIND GHQ LINE IS CATEGORICALLY DENIED STOP PROVIDE DETAILS ON ENEMY PENETRATION OF GHQ LINE STOP WHAT IS PROGRESS OF MORNING COUNTERATTACKS STOP WILL COORDINATE WITH GEN WILLCOCKS THIS MORNING TO DETERMINE IF INDIAN CORPS CAN RETURN ONE OF YOUR BATTALIONS TODAY STOP
------telegram received at British First Army HQ from III Army Corps HQ at 0649 hrs
ENEMY HAS SEIZED PONTOON BRIDGE OVER CANAL NEAR FROISE AND ATTACKED ARTILLERY TO THE WEST STOP OUR COUNTERATTACKS FAILED TO RETAKE THE SECOND TRENCH LINE AND HAVE BEEN TERMIANTED STOP MUST RESPECTFULLY REQUEST RECONSIDERATION OF WITHDRAWAL TO GHQ LINE STOP
------telegram received at British III Army Corps from First Army HQ at 0708 hrs
PERMISSION TO WITHDRAW IS STILL DENIED REPEAT PERMISSION TO WITHDRAW IS STILL DENIED STOP YOU WILL LAUNCH IMMEDIATE COUNTERATTACK AGAINST ENEMY FORCES WHICH HAVE PENETRATED WEST OF FROISE STOP BEFORE NOON YOUR CORPS WILL RENEW ATTEMPT TO RETAKE SECOND TRENCH LINE REPEAT BEFORE NOON YOUR CORPS WILL RENEW ATTEMPT TO RETAKE SECOND TRENCH LINE STOP
------German IV Army Corps HQ 0715 hrs
Gen. von Arnim was again on the telephone with the duke of Sachsen-Altenburg. "The enemy counterattack has been defeated, general," said the duke, "They did have some initial success against my left flank but we were finally able to stop them. We have moved some minenwerfers into place and hope to be able to eject them before long. Unfortunately until we accomplish that it will be difficult for me to send additional men beyond the canal as the enemy has line of sight on the only road leading to Froise now."
"Just what is your current strength across the canal, Your Grace?"
"Two rifle battalions and both of my Hussar squadrons, general. The cavalry you provided from the other divisions is among the reinforcements currently being blocked."
"That is too weak to hold against a determined British counterattack which is only a mater of time. I am going to order 52nd Division to takeover as much as possible your division’s left flank as quickly as possible. When they do that you can concentrate on exploiting the gap in the enemy line."
------HQ British VI Army Corps Maryborough (Queen’s) 0720 hrs
Gen. Hamilton and Gen. Braithwaite came by motorcar to pay Gen. Stopford a visit. There were many items they felt needed a face to face discussion. When they arrived they were told that Gen. Stopford was not feeling well and was still in bed. They demanded that he get out of bed and meet with them immediately.
"Gen. Stopford, we realize that you have several medical problems are making a heroic effort to command in spite of them," Gen Hamilton, "however if they continue to interfere with the performance of your duties I will reluctantly find it necessary to relieve you of your command. Is that clear?"
"Perfectly clear, sir. Well I am a little unclear about the nature of your disappointment in my performance. Is it that we have we have failed to make better progress at Limerick?"
"That is one, but there are others as well. My headquarters did not receive an accurate report on just how badly the 53rd Welsh Division had been hurt until well after midnight last night---by which time Gen. Braithwaite and myself had retired for the evening. It was only upon arising that we learned to our horror that the Welsh Division had lost 8 of its 11 batteries plus much of its support elements."
"But begging your pardon, General Hamilton, I do not see why that is in anyway my fault. The Welsh Division was a part of VII Army Corps up until yesterday when I was given temporary operational command over it. I had assumed you already had been briefed by Gen. Keir and all I was doing was providing an update."
"Those were unwarranted assumptions! You should have been more alert to the fact that VII Corps is in a difficult tactical situation at this time and provided us with this disturbing information in a more expeditious manner," remarked Braithwaite very critically with a harsh expression.
Hamilton raised his right hand and turned his head to his chief of staff, "Now, now I will confess that we did not inform this HQ sufficiently of the problems Gen. Keir was experiencing at VII Corps. That was because our information from VII Corps has been so limited and confusing these last few days."
"Thank you, sir," mumbled Stopford, not looking particularly thankful.
"No, don’t thank me just yet, Gen. Stopford," replied Hamilton, "There are other topics we need to discuss."
"Like Cork. From what Chamberlain is telling us, the rebels are running rampant through most of County Cork. Apparently that includes Youghal on the Waterford border according to what we were told before we left the Curragh this morning.," said Braithwaite.
"But again I must point out that County Cork is a responsibility of VII Army Corps---"
"—it was up until yesterday, when we ordered you to take charge," said Braithwaite.
"As far as Cork is concerned I was led to believe that rescuing 16th Division was my primary mission and have taken firm action to that end! Reinforced with the 29th Brigade and LV Artillery Brigade it is launching a counterattack against the 6th Bavarian Division that will rescue 16th Division. After that the two divisions will combine to finish off the Bavarians."
"Yes, I am well aware of our own plan," said Braithwaite caustically, "So please do not make it sound like it was your own inspiration. What about Cork city? Or Great Island for that matter?"
"Uh, what about Great Island?"
"There is now an active rebel force on Great Island which has cut off the main port there from the mainland."
"But I was not informed of this. As I said before my understanding has been what little responsibility I have for Cork is limited to rescuing 16th Division."
"I agree that is your primary mission, General Stopford, but until we have re-established communication with Gen. Keir, the responsibility for County Cork rests on your shoulders as well."
"But I have no direct communication with our forces in Cork. In fact I have only the vaguest idea of what they are—some mix of Ulster battalions and 2 very understrength reserve battalions, yes? Am I correct in my understanding that the enemy there is almost entirely rebels? If so I fail to see how they can pose much of a threat. In fact I am surprised the insurrection there is not yet been quelled."
Before Briathwaite could reply Hamilton spoke, "So are we Gen. Stopford. But let us leave Cork aside for a moment, because it is an additional responsibility we suddenly dropped on your shoulders yesterday. Let us instead turn to Athlone, which clearly falls within the responsibilities of VI Corps. There too the enemy was thought to predominantly the rebels and so we were confident of a crushing victory. Yet according to your latest report the rebels control most of the town. Have you had any success in re-establishing communication with Gen. Powell at Custume Barracks?"
"Not yet, sir. We believe that the rebels are besieging Custume Barracks where Gen. Powell is holding out with his staff, the barracks garrison and a portion of the 13th Royal Irish Rifles."
"Uh, and do you know that to be a fact, General Stopford? When was the last time you had any communication with Gen. Powell?"
"What? Well, uh, I guess that must’ve been—not let me try to remember---was it Thursday---hmm no I guess it must have been sometime Wednesday afternoon."
"Today happens to be Sunday," remarked Hamilton in a droll voice.
"Yes I know very well what day this is, sir," groused Stopford
"Have you considered the possibility that the reason you have not heard from him in more than three days is that just maybe the enemy might have captured Custume Barracks and the general as well."
"Not bloody likely I must say, sir. The enemy at Athlone is nearly all Irish rebels. Do you really think they could take the barracks even with only a smattering of Germans helping them?"
"No one here enjoys contemplating that unpleasant thought, Gen. Stopford," said Braithwaite, "but the lack of communication from Gen. Powell is now leading us to consider that to be a very real possibility."
"Is the 15th Royal Irish Rifles still at Tullamore?" asked Hamilton.
"Except for one company here to guard my headquarters, that is correct, sir."
"Send them to Athlone by forced march to reinforce our attack there," ordered Hamilton, "You have the 4th Connaught Rangers at Boyle. You can use them to smash the rebels at Roscommon city. Even though they are an extra reserve battalion they should be more than sufficient."
------east of Froise (Picardy) 0725 hrs
While Gen Haig and Gen. Pulteney were exchanging telegrams, Gen. Congreve, the commander of the British 6th Infantry Division was proceeding with his orders. He ordered the 17th and 18th Brigades to abandon the forward trench and fall back to the second trench line.. This was a bit tricky for the 19th Brigade because it was still involved in lateral fighting inside its trench with elements of the 8th Bavarian Reserve Division. .Gen. Congreve also temporarily transferred the 8th battalion Bedfordshire and the 1st battalion Royal Fusiliers to Gen Snow’s 4th Division. Both of these battalions were below half strength having suffered grievously in the counterattacks undertaken Thursday and Friday and had been relegated to the division reserve.
Lastly Gen. Congreve ordered 19th Brigade to desist in their attack. The most important impact of this was that the 1/5th Cameronians were ordered to carefully withdrew from the land they had fought so hard to take earlier in the morning. Their withdrawal began on a few minutes before the Saxons were going to make their attack. This resulted in some of the Cameronians coming under fire from both light minenwerfers and 7.7 cm field guns during their withdrawal. Once it was clear that the enemy was falling back the German 8th Infantry Division both reclaimed the lost territory to the southeast and resumed the flow of reinforcements to the west starting with the cavalry. Messengers on horseback were dispatched to notify Herzog Ernst.
------Castleisland (Kerry) 0810 hrs
While the 6th Bavarian Division had won several impressive victories since coming to Ireland it’s cumulative casualty count had become a source of concern to both Gem von Gyssling its commander and Gen. von François, esp. with the second wave being postponed. As a stopgap measure they formed 2 platoons with the very best soldiers of the 1st Kerry Battalion and 2 more platoons with the best of the 2nd Kerry Battalion and combined them into a single company at Castleisland late last night. The platoon leaders were all Irish Volunteers with prior military experience. This new company was given the unimaginatively drab name of the Kerry Ersatz Company and placed directly under the command of 11th Bavarian Infantry Brigade.
This morning they attended an early Mass celebrated by a Bavarian chaplain followed by a quick light breakfast They now marched out to join the rest of the brigade.
------Vatican 0830 hrs
Contrary to what some people in Ireland were saying, Pope Benedict XV had not committed suicide. The former Giacoma della Chiesa had been focused on finding a way to end the dreadful European war since it started. For this he was criticized some key prelates who thought it was inappropriate for a pope to involve himself so deeply with what was after all a political issue. They thought his time and energy would be better spent confirming new Mariological doctrines or ferreting out the infernal Modernists like his predecessor had. They whispered in private that della Chiese had always been the fair haired boy of Cardinal Rampolla whose election as Pope had been vetoed by the Austrians, who claimed Rampolla was a Freemason. The influential Austrian Cardinals who wanted to see the Central Powers victorious disliked the Pontiff’s pursuit of peace which to their minds meant at best an ante bellum negotiated settlement of the war.
After saying a morning Solemn Mass he addressed the crowd in St. Peters. It was a medium long speech and was mostly about what a tragedy the war was. Much of it was what the crowd had heard before. However at one point the Pontiff said, "It pains us immensely great war has resulted in the most heinous barbarism even in nations which previously had prided themselves on their morality. We feel compelled to take notice of how the British Empire, a nation that many regard as the exemplar of civility and nobility, has now become so bloodthirsty in its attitude towards the Catholics in Ireland who have now chosen to fight for their liberty. We further notice than when any dare to criticize them on this account their government bristles with indignation. Like the Pharaoh in the time of Moses they choose to harden their hearts. The magnitude of this awful injustice has reached the point We can no longer remain silent. We took must condemn this abominable policy and pray that Our Lord opens their eyes so that they might see the horrible error of their ways."
------west of Froise (Picardy) 0840 hrs
Herzog Ernst II von Saschen-Altenburg had arrived by motor car to take personal charge of the battle at what he hoped would be the decisive moment. Gunners who had some idea how to use the British 18 pounder weapon had been brought forward to man the guns captured at dawn. These were now being fired at very close range against the units of the British 4th Division being hurled against them in a series of desperate counterattacks. The machinegun company of the 153rd Infantry Regiment had been able to reach Froise once the Cameronians had withdrawn. These were now being put to good use as well. The latest British counterattack numbered barely 1,900 riflemen against slight more than 2,600 defenders with better cover including the cavalrymen (but not the horse holders).
"The enemy has had enough, Your Grace," remarked the commander of the 153rd Infantry Regiment with obvious relief, "It is over."
Herzog Ernst shook his head, "No, you are wrong! It is far from being over. Now we must resume the attack. Your second battalion and the Hussar squadrons are only two kilometers from the coast, yes?"
"-Uh, two and a half kilometers, Your Grace."
The duke frowned then sighed, "Yes, yes, I appreciate your precision--but the extra half kilometer does not change my mind. We are advancing to the Channel!"
------Charles XII North Channel 0905 hrs
There was in Sweden an element of the populace who yearned for their country to join the Central Powers, seeing this as providing the opportunity to liberate Finnland and the Aland Islands. They felt with partial justification that King Gustav was on their side but he was being hamstrung by the Socialists who dominated Sweden’s government. While most in this group were content to merely gripe, a minority was more active. Some participated in war demonstrations which had swelled in numbers since the German naval victory at Utsire. There was a small but well financed subgroup that decided that they were not willing to wait for the Socialists to wake up. Some of them had undertaken operations to smuggle arms and propaganda pamphlets into Finland hoping to stir up a rebellion there. Hammarskjold’s government had learned of these operations and in mid April quickly took stern measures to stop them. This further upset the more vociferous elements within the Swedish War Movement.
When the Germans landed in Ireland the Swedish War Movement eagerly accepted the German propaganda that in a few days there would be a massive Irish uprising that would spell the doom of the British. This inspired one small fringe group in the War Movement to undertake a bold mission. They bought an old but seaworthy schooner with both sail and steam propulsion. Through a Swedish company run by an individual favorable to their aims the ship was provided a cargo of matches, which somehow seemed appropriate for her mission, as well as the appropriate documents indicating that Charles XII was to deliver them to Dublin, with a clause to deliver them to Sligo if Dublin was unavailable for "military: reasons. The crew of the Charles XII was 74 members of the paramilitary group which had originally been formed to fight besides Finnish rebels. The crew was more than the boat required but not too large as to be suspicious as any ship with sails had an excuse for a substantial complement. The mission leader, a wealthy eccentric named Rasmus Norling realized that they would be inspected before they could reach Ireland and did not think he could hide a large quantity of weapons. If they were allowed to reach Dublin they expected the Germans to provide them with rifles. However if the Royal Navy forced them to Sligo instead that was less likely. So Rasmus Norling decided that each man would bring a pistol and a small amount of ammunition. In addition he brought 10 Krag-Jorgensen rifles and 5 sawed off shotguns buried with ammunition in an airtight box at the bottom of their coal bunker.
The Charles XII made it through the main British blockade line without being stopped but once it reached North Channel it was intercepted by a British torpedo boat, which sent over a small boarding party to inspect her. The Charles XII lacked a wireless so her crew had not been provided with any news since they had departed. "How are things in Ireland? We had heard about the invasion before we left but nothing since then," Norling asked the Lt. in charge of the boarding party, "Is Dublin safe for us to land or should we make for Sligo?" Norling had spent the sea voyage brushing up on his limited knowledge of English.
"Oh, Dublin is safe. There is some trouble is Cork right now so if that was your destination we would have to reroute you, even though I expect to hear that the Cork rebellion has been crushed when I return to the Larne. Frankly I cannot figure why it has lasted as long as it has."
Norling was surprised bordering on shocked. He tried not to show it in his face, "Was there a rebellion in Dublin that has put down?" he finally asked.
"No, not at all. Where did you hear that one? Dublin has been behaving itself. I don’t know what you were reading in the Swedish newspapers but the Irish rebellion has been very small—albeit not quite as tiny as our government first thought. The Catholic rebels have caused some mischief here and there but when they do they get slapped down hard which is why the latest batch of trouble at Cork, Athlone and Monaghan should be over soon."
"Well that is certainly good to hear," Norling muttered unconvincingly, "And so the Germans are not threatening Dublin either?"
"No need for you to be worried, they are not anywhere near Dublin. The Germans are on their last legs in Ireland though many now think that finishing them off is going to take a day or two more than the Prime Minister promised Parliament----"
"---Lt., Lt. I found this," one of the British seamen interrupted the conversation. He was dangling a pistol in his left hand.
The Lt. turned to Norling, "Do you know about this? Are any other weapons aboard your ship?"
Norling took a deep breath and tried to make his face look sincere, "No, no. I know nothing of any weapons. Where did you find this weapon? One of my men must have thought he needed it for protection. I will discipline him after you leave."
"Is this all you found, Denton?" the Lt. asked the seaman, "None of the others have found anything."
"No, sir. This is the only suspicious item I found."
Turning back to Norling the officer said, "It is only one pistol and I can appreciate how one of your men might feel a need for some protection visiting Ireland at this time. We will confiscate the weapon, of course, but you are free to complete your voyage. Be careful with that cargo of yours---don’t want you starting any fires, now do we?"
------HQ Army Detachment Marwitz northwest of Kovno 0920 hrs
Gen. Georg von Marwitz had a visitor. "For multiple reasons the planned reduction of Novogeorgievsk has been pushed back by three weeks," Gen. Hans von Beseler informed von Marwitz, "so Oberst Seeckt thought it best if I came here for a while in an advisory role."
Marwitz regarded this development with some ambivalence. Part of him wondered if this was a sign that either Hindenburg or Seeckt were doubting his ability to take Kovno. However a larger part of him was glad to have the man who performed masterfully at Antwerp assist in him in tackling a fortress as powerful as Kovno. Marwitz put aside the slight bruise to his ego. Professional German officers were not too proud to collaborate with experts.
"Your advice would be most welcome. The weather has improved this morning and in the last two days I have increased my stockpile of shells. The enemy made a weak counterattack at dawn, and I wish to resume the bombardment soon. I will have our latest intelligence and battle maps provided to you immediately."
------Picardy 0930 hrs
Having had time to digest the reports of the aviators and a dawn infantry patrols, Gen. Plumer, the commander of the British Second Army, commenced his morning attack with his own artillery bombardment. After the first 15 minutes the French and Belgian batteries joined in as well.. Again the Germans decided not to duel with Plumer, which he regarded as a favorable omen but not an invitation to recklessness. The British aviators upon landing had reported some signs of enemy artillery building up in his sector
Meanwhile further north, Gen. von Schubert, the commander of XXVII Reserve Corps, had waited until after he had a chance to absorb the early morning reports before planning his attack. The picture that was emerging from prisoners was that the British 2nd Infantry Division had replaced the battered 4th Division as the main opposition in this sector of the battle. The fierce but ultimately unsuccessful British counterattack in the early morning had emerged from the town of Quend. Von Schubert decided to direct his own effort to taking Quend. His heavy batteries commenced their own bombardment of Quend as well as any nearby British batteries at this time.
------Madrid 0940 hrs
When Eamon de Valera returned from Mass to his hotel room, there were 3 men waiting for him there. Two of them were prominent Spanish Socialists he had frequently encountered since coming to Spain. He did not recognize the third though he had a wild intensity to his eyes that made de Valera suspect it was yet another Socialist though he did not look Spanish. De Valera was having problems recently with the Socialists who complained that he was extolling the nationalist cause in Ireland too much and no longer glorifying Connolly. There were also unhappy that in the last two days de Valera had been talking in private with prominent clerics and senior military officers.
"Ah, Senor de Valera, this here is Senor Leon Trotsky. I do not believe that you too have ever met," said Miguel in Spanish, "though you both knew the late James Connolly."
"Mr. Trotsky is a Russian Socialist of great prominence, perhaps you have heard of him, yes?" added Pedro, "Because he supported the Paris strikes, he earned the wrath of M. Clemenceau who without any legal justification had him arrested and then unjustly expelled to Spain. He arrived here by train early this morning."
"No we have not met," said de Valera, "and unfortunately I do not speak Russian."
"That will not be necessary, Mr. De Valera," Trotsky said in English with a pronounced Russian accent as extended his hand, "I can get by in English. In fact my command of English is better than my Spanish though not as good as my German."
De Valera could not recall of ever hearing of this Trotsky fellow before. While Eamon also spoke German with some fluency he did not feel like suggesting that they switch to that language. "I am glad to make your acquaintance, Mr. Trotsky," he said politely while shaking hands, "I hope your train trip was pleasant, even though it occurred under disagreeable circumstances."
Trotsky made a sour grimace and winced, "It was at least more pleasant than my stay in their jail. The French wanted to make a lasting impression on me—and they certainly succeeded. It is not something I intend to ever forget."
------west of Froise (Picardy) 1005 hrs
The British made another counterattack on the German salient piercing their GHQ Line. This time it came from the northwest in the form of 2 battalions of the 2nd Infantry Division which had some brief support from a 6 gun battery of 18 pounders. In the meantime the duke had reinforced his position with another battalion and some additional machine guns. He had also moved forward with an entire battalion of the 7.7cm field guns which now had a good line over the area, which proved very useful as his gunners did not have time to turn the captured 18 pounders to face the new threat. This British counterattack was repulsed after some tense minutes but it made it difficult for the Saxons to push on towards the sea in strength. The two Hussar squadrons did manage to advance another kilometer then came under fire from a dismounted British cavalry squadron positioned in the dunes ahead of them.
Neither side had a clear picture of the others strength and so fought this battle with great caution while they waited for reinforcements to arrive. The German cavalry did intercept and kill a dispatch rider carrying messages from III Army Corps HQ to the 2nd Infantry Division to the north.
------Kanturk (Cork) 1020 hrs
Three batteries of British 18 pounder guns briefly bombarded the German positions around the market town of Kanturk. This was followed by an infantry attack by the 10th battalion Hampshire Regiment and the 6th battalion Royal Irish Rifles. The commander of the 29th Brigade had been warned by the commander of the 160th (Welsh Border) Brigade to expect a stiff fight, but instead enemy resistance was quite weak. The truth was that the 11th Bavarian Infantry Brigade had been fearing an attack by most of the British 10th Infantry Division and had been prepared to withdraw. What was running from the British attackers now was little more than a weak stop line and outposts. The Germans had also been decided that it was too risky to leave the North Cork Battalion at Mallow and ordered that unit to withdrawn to Banteer during the night. There had been nearly 100 former Redmondites who had come forward at Newmarket, Rathmore, Millstreet, Banteer and Kanturk to join the IRA since Saturday morning and these were now hurriedly incorporated into the North Cork Battalion.
------near Nouvion (Picardy) 1030 hrs
The British artillery ceased firing on the trenches but continued suppressive fire against suspected German batteries. The infantry assault now consisted of 4 battalions of the 1st Infantry Division, 4 battalions of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division and 3 battalions of the French 28th Division. No man’s land was short and the attackers were spared the attention of the enemy’s artillery. But they came under machinegun fire as soon as they arose from their trenches, which was soon supplemented by rifle fire. The attackers struggled to reach the enemy trenches.
The German ground forces guarding the Flanders coast had at the start of the Second Battle of Crecy Forest consisted of only the XXVI Reserve Corps plus 2 independent regiments---one of German Marines and the other Landsturm as well as the coastal batteries. Falkenhayn in the last few days decided that the current naval situation made it highly unlikely that the British would attempt anything more daring than a minor hit and run raid. He therefore concluded that it was an acceptable risk to temporarily remove the 51st Reserve Division from the Flanders Defense Group replacing it with the 7th Cavalry Division which had been only briefly useful to the Sixth Army and the beginning of the battle. Fabeck assigned this division to XIV Reserve Corps and it arrived at the front late yesterday and took up position the boundary between XIV Reserve Corps and the Guard Corps reducing the length of front that the depleted Guard Corps controlled.
Most of the British portion of the infantry assault fell on the 51st Reserve Division. That division had not seen combat since the Battle of Ostend, but it had given supplemental training since then, including a familiarization with the current tactical doctrines regarding trench warfare. Its men were fresh and accept for the limited casualties caused by the British bombardment its battalions were at full strength. The attackers possessed only a modest superiority in numbers over the defenders in the front trench. The thick wire barriers had been insufficiently cut by the Entente artillery. All attacks were completely repulsed with heavy losses. .
------SMS Stralsund 1040 hrs GMT
On its way to NY harbor Stralsund chanced upon another victim. This one was an inbound British freighter called the Dark Beauty with a cargo of wood products, mostly furniture. She also possessed a wireless of moderate strength and the cruiser was only partially successful in jamming its transmissions.
------near Quend (Picardy) 1100 hrs
In the last 30 minutes of the bombardment by XXVII Reserve Corps its minenwerfers joined in as well. Two battalions of the 53rd Reserve Division made the infantry assault. The bombardment had hurt the British defenders in and around Quend but not enough. The assaulting battalions very quickly came under heavy rifle and machinegun fire as well as some airburst shrapnel shells. One of the painful lessons the officers of the German Army had learned since the war began was how to recognize when an attack was utterly hopeless. This was one of those instances and the attack was quickly aborted.
------HQ German IV Army Corps (Picardy) 1125 hrs
Reports had filtered their way back to Gen. von Arnim’s HQ. The latest news from the 7th Infantry Division was that the enemy’s enclave in their forward trench line which had so
tenaciously held out since yesterday had finally retreated back to their second trench line. The 52nd Infantry Division reported that was able to protect the left flank of 8th Infantry Division without much trouble. Of course the most important news of all was coming from Herzog Ernst who was not only holding open the breach in the enemy line but had been able to advance further west against weak resistance and felt he had a good chance of reaching the Channel in a few hours.
Gen. von Arnim called up his corps Arco, "Make sporadic harassing fire of the enemy’s positions in the vicinity of Rue with the howitzers for the rest of the day. Continue to suppress enemy artillery fire as much as possible. We will continue to let the division commanders decide how to best us the 7.7cm guns."
------telegram received at British First Army HQ from III Army Corps HQ at 1136 hrs
COUNTERATTACKS AGAINST ENEMY PENETRATION OF GHQ LINE NEAR FROISE HAVE FAILED AND THE ENEMY HAS ADVANCED AT LEAST A MILE FURTHER AND NOW THREATENS TO REACH THE SEA STOP IF THIS HAPPENS IT WOULD SEVER ALL COMMUNICATION WITH SECOND DIVISION STOP AGAIN REQUEST PERMISSION TO WITHDRAW ENTIRE CORPS BEHIND GHQ LINE STOP
------telegram received at British III Army Corps from First Army HQ 1149 hrs
PERMISSION TO WITHDRAW BEHIND GHQ LINE AGAIN DENIED REPEAT PERMISSION TO WITHDRAW BEHIND GHQ LINE AGAIN DENIED STOP CONTINUE COUNTERATTACKS AGAINST ENEMY AT FROISE BUT ALSO CONTINUE EFFORTS TO REGAIN AT LEAST SECOND TRENCH LINE STOP
------northwest of Bernay-en-Ponthenieu (Picardy) 1155 hrs
For some reason the III Bavarian Corps was not quite as sharp as usual this morning and so the men of the 8th Bavarian Reserve Division only now discovered that the British 6th Division had completed abandoned the forward trench line. Messengers were quickly sent off to relay the news up the chain of command.
------USS Wyoming off New York 1225 hrs
Additional ships had joined Chester, Blucher and Lusitania. About 3 hours ago the battleship Wyoming with a screen of 3 destroyers arrived from Newport News, carrying the commander of the Atlantic Fleet, Admiral Frank F. Fletcher. Before he set sail Adm. Fletcher had been thoroughly briefed by Secretary Daniels and Admiral Fiske on how to conduct his negotiations with Admiral Maas. He had received an encrypted wireless message about the attack on the Dark Beauty less an half ago. That confirmed the suspicions of the Royal Navy that the third German cruiser, Stralsund, was off the American coast as well. However minutes after receiving that message a ship with a German flag turned up that was definitely not the Stralsund.
The admiral was on the deck of the battleship as the boarding party returned from the latest German ship, an ocean liner called the Victoria Luise. Alongside him was his aide and flag lieutenant who also happened to named Frank Fletcher. The admiral had ordered a boarding party sent over to see if the liner had been turned into an AMC. "She is very dirty right now, admiral," reported the head of the boarding party, "Definitely has not been a luxury liner of late. We could make a case for her being a collier and therefore an auxiliary."
"But you found no weapons, right?" asked the admiral.
"That is correct, sir. She is unarmed. We searched her thoroughly."
"I see no reason to split hairs about whether or not she’s being used as a collier. She is unarmed so she is not a warship in my books," replied the admiral who then turned to his nephew, "Notify her captain and Admiral Maas as well that we are treating her as civilian vessel and she can now enter New York harbor and stay as long as she likes. Also tell Admiral Maas that we are ready to take off passengers from Lusitania."
------Madrid 1240 hrs
There was a demonstration underway in Madrid. Eamon de Valera watched it from the balcony of his hotel. The march was about Ireland but de Valera noticed that the demonstrators were in two clumps. One clump was carried banners saying things like, "Connolly was the Martyr of Labor" or "James Connolly Died for the Working Man". The other group carried placards, "Britain Suppresses Irish Catholics" and "End the British Executions of Irish Patriots." In the second group some priests could be seen. The two groups marched down the same route but maintained an uneasy distance from each other and tried to pretend that the other group did not exist. De Valera was glad to see that the second group was the larger of the two.
Standing next to de Valera was Trotsky. The Spanish Socialists were expecting the two of them to become good friends but de Valera was already taking a strong dislike to Mr. Trotsky. He tried not to be obviously disrespectful because he thought Trotsky like the Spanish Socialists might prove to be a useful idiot. Supposedly there was another Russian Socialist named Martov who was due be to expelled from France on Monday and would be joining them.
"I am supposed to address the marchers later this afternoon," de Valera told Trotsky in English.
"As I said before, Mr. De Valera, my Spanish is not all that good," Trotsky answered, "But it is good enough for me to understand those signs and what I am seeing is that some bourgeois manipulation is trying to confuse the Spanish proletariat as to the true dialectics of the situation in Ireland. Together you and I will put them back on road to revolution—not only in Ireland but here in Spain and all over Europe."
These Socialists really do like to believe that cow manure de Valera told himself with stoic resignation. "I already have a good idea of what I am going to say," he answered.
"Yes, but my understanding of Marx is much better than yours and---"
Trotsky was interrupted by a young Spaniard who ran up to the balcony and shouted"---Senor de Valera, senor de Valera--- there is exciting news! Pope Benedict has publicly denounced the British for executing the Irish rebels!"
"What is the youth saying? As I said my Spanish is not too good. Something about Pope Benedict?" Trotsky asked in English.
"He claims that Pope Benedict has publicly denounced the British government for executing captured rebels."
Trotsky took his time replying. Finally he made an insolent smirk and said, "Well isn’t that special?"
------Basra 1305 hrs GMT
Kemal had received additional ammunition in the early morning along with some encouraging news from von der Goltz. He mounted another attack. This time he was aided by enfilading fire from Col Al-Askari’s artillery on the east bank of the Shatt al-Arab waterway. There were some of the local marsh Arabs inside the British compound. Word had reached them that Khaz’al Khan had decided to switch sides. When Kemal’s infantry assault began some of them began to attack the Indian troops inside the compound. In his memoirs Kemal has insisted that the attack would have prevailed without their intervention but grudgingly conceded that they did make things easier. The AngloIndian defenders had nearly exhausted their artillery ammunition though they still had ample .303. With their handful of Vickers machineguns they did make the attackers pay a price but the Ottomans pressed on and soon breached the British defenses. The morale of the Indian units soon crumbled and they began to surrender in the large numbers. The British companies bravely held out longer but they were eventually overwhelmed by vastly superior numbers.
------Curragh (Kildare) 1350 hrs
Gen. Hamilton and Gen Braithwaite had returned to their HQ in the last hour. Chamberlain and Major Vane now approached them. "General Hamilton, two of our informants are again claiming that the Dublin Brigade of the Irish Volunteers tomorrow morning," announced Vane, "One informant says the rising will begin before dawn while the other says it is scheduled for the late morning."
This was not what either general wanted to hear at this time. "There have been rumors of a Dublin rising every day since we’ve arrived here," snarled Braithwaite.
"And we already had one false warning earlier this week from our overrated informants," Hamilton noted.
"And this time they are inconsistent as to the time," added Braithwaite.
Chamberlain was not surprised by the scepticism. "I remember very well that the last time we were told about a rising it did not materialize," he admitted, "The major and myself have concluded that one had indeed been scheduled but was postponed at the last minute for reasons as yet unknown."
"And do we still believe that Pearse is directing this?" asked Hamilton, "And what about the Transport Union---which we all know is really the outlawed Citizen’s Army?"
"Yes to the first question, general," Vane answered, "We do believe Mr. Pearse is running Dublin Brigade at the moment. As to the Citizen’s Army our informants in that organization have heard nothing specific about a rebellion though there as usual there are wild rumors aplenty circulating in that strange bunch."
"You will not—under any circumstances---inform the Viceroy or Birrell about this, either of you," ordered Braithwaite sternly.
"Try to get as much detail as possible from the informants." Hamilton commanded, "In the meantime he need to take sensible precautions without overreacting. Make sure that key areas—Dublin Castle, the barracks, train stations and the docks are strongly guarded before dusk. It is possible that both informants are mistaken about the time and the rebels mean to strike before midnight."
------USS Cassin off New York 1410 hrs
President Wilson had decided it would be best if the passengers released by the Germans from Lusitania were ferried to New York in American warships. Admiral Fletcher decided that it would be best if this chore was performed by destroyers and that was one reason he had brought destroyers with him. He ordered that the captain of each destroyer welcome the passengers in the person as they arrived. In this case the impact was not what Admiral Fletcher had intended. As the lifeboat was brought on board the destroyer 2 women fainted and several children screamed as they gazed in unspeakable horror at the saturnine visage of Lt. Cmdr Ernest King.
------HQ German Sixth Army 1430 hrs
Gen. von Fabeck was deeply encouraged by the reports coming IV Army Corps but disappointed with what was coming out of XXVII Reserve Corps and III Bavarian Corps. "The penetration by 8th Infantry Division is our key opportunity," he told his chief of staff, "If they can reach the sea and hold we will isolate the British 2nd Division from the rest of First Army. We can then eliminate that unit and then turn our fury on the rest of First Army."
"I am sure that Gen. von Arnim is well aware of that, general."
"Yes, I realize that but he must receive our full support. XXVII Reserve Corps must do its utmost to pin the front of 2nd Infantry Division. Likewise III Bavarian Corps must pin the 6th Infantry Division to prevent it from making an effective counterattack."
"I would point out that III Bavarian Corps now has an opportunity to roll up the forward trench of Indian Corps."
"That is a lesser objective at this point and should be pursued only if it does not take away from the main objective of pinning the British 6th Infantry Division."
"Understood, Her General. Do you still intend to move more foot artillery tonight to counter the British Second Army?"
Fabeck hesitated in answering that, "Hmm that is a difficult question. XIV Reserve Corps and the Guard Corps were able to hold on today despite the British superiority in artillery in that sector of the battle. It would be intolerable if we fail to destroy the 2nd Infantry Division because of lack of heavy artillery tomorrow. Let us hold on that redeployment for one more day."
------HMS Victorian south of the Faeoes 1455 hrs
The U-Boat attacks which had plagued the 10th Cruiser Squadron since the beginning of the year had suddenly ceased in late April. This was not immediately obvious and false periscope sightings persisted for a long while but now the AMC crews were beginning to have some hope that the Germans had given up on trying to break the blockade by attacking them. It was taking time for the Royal Navy to bring replacements into service and the Admiralty was assigning a higher priority to several other matters at this time. The 10th Cruiser Squadron went on trying to perform its mission to the best of its ability but they acknowledged that their de facto blockade which had been less that airtight when the U-Boat attacks began was now letting too many blockade runners slip through. There were way too many enterprising neutral captains, mostly Yanks but some Norwegians and Dutchmen as well, who now regarded the risks worth taking in light of the potential profits. It was now necessary to send regular patrols to the Denmark Strait as well. Merchantmen using that out of the way route were almost always up to something.
That meant still less AMC’s were available to patrol off the Faeroes. The 10,600 tom Virginian, formerly of the Allan Line, had stopped another suspicious American freighter. The torpedo struck the Victorian’s bow. It had run shallow and exploded with less than full force. The AMC’s crew was able to control the flooding and limp her back to Kirkwall but they knew she was going to be out of action for more than a month.
------Sallybrook (Cork) 1510 hrs
After completing the capture of Fort Carlisle Major Rommel decided it was time to take decisive action in the Battle of Cork. Rommel left the O’Rahilly behind with the 1st Tipperary Battalion to guard Ft. Carlisle, emphasizing that there was a good chance that a company of Royal Marines might try to retake it in a coup de main. Rommel gathered up most of 3rd Kerry Battalion in trucks, cars and buses and with 3 armored cars in the vanguard he struck at what he had determined was the most vulnerable spot in the rear of the British 108th Brigade. By now the Kerrymen, many of whom had participated in the Battle of Killarney were getting used to Rommel’s favourite tactics and knew how to disembark from the motor vehicles and attack under the cover of the armored cars’ machine guns. Rommel was becoming fast impressed with how quickly they learned, though admittedly their discipline still left a lot to be desired. These men were in the vanguard of Rommel’s attack. The men from the Carrigtowhill and Clone companies he had only just absorbed Rommel kept in the rear to mop up. He intended to get them up to speed as quickly as possible and today’s action would serve as a training exercise.
The 108th Brigade was still focused on trying to retake Patrick’s Bridge to enter the heart of Cork. Its right flank was already under heavy pressure from the Chevaulegers who were threatening the Ulstermen’s rear as well. The only real flank guard that the Ulstermen had on their left was the lone company they had sent to retake Glaunthane Barracks. The combined assault of the Chevaulegers and Rommel’s Irishmen caused havoc in the enemy’s rear. The HQ of 108th Brigade just barely escaped capture and was forced to make a hurried relocation. The Chevaulegers took 140 prisoners and Rommel captured another 170 plus an intact Vickers machinegun. Five supply wagons were captured with 90,000 rounds of .303 as well as food, fodder and medical supplies. What was left of 108th Brigade was penned up in a cluster of buildings north of North Channel, now completely isolated in terms of supplies and communications.
------Picardy 1530 hrs
Gen. Pulteney’s first priority in the afternoon was trying to expel the German penetration of the GHQ Line at Froise. This task was complicated by the fact that he was having great difficulty communicating with 2nd Infantry Division to the north. That and the extreme casualties the 4th Infantry Division had suffered meant that he was relying solely on the 6th Infantry Division for infantry. Reports coming back from there were not encouraging---the Germans had advanced more than a mile from Froise and were threatening to reach the sea. If they succeed in doing that the 2nd Infantry Division and roughly a third of what was left of 4th Infantry plus 4 RGA batteries would be cut off from the rest of First Army. The sporadic German shelling was making it difficult to shift the 6th Division with any speed.
However Gen. Haig had ordered another attempt be made to retake as much as possible of the second trench line. Pulteney had sent orders for the 2nd Infantry Division to participate as well but h was deeply worried that none of the messengers were getting through. The artillery of the 6th Infantry Division and the 7 batteries south of the German salient commenced a 15 minute bombardment. It soon drew a spirited response from the German batteries despite Haig’s assurances that the German artillery were scraping the bottom of their ammunition barrel and some of the British batteries were silenced. When the bombardment was done 3 battalions of 6th Infantry Division made the assault from the north edge of Rue. One of them had been sent by Gen Haig to assist Indian Corps when the Prussian Guards were trying to take Morlay. Today he finally let it return. Like the other two battalions it was only a little more than half strength now. All of the attacking battalions were frustrated by the German artillery, machineguns and wire. When the survivors retreated to their jumping off points they barely had the effective strength of companies.
------SMS Stralsund off New York 1535 hrs GMT
The cruiser Stralsund had rendezvoused with Blucher and Lusitania. They also found a larger than expected USN welcoming committee. Upon arrival Admiral Maas almost immediately requested from Admiral Fletcher permission for Stralsund to coal in New York as soon as possible. After some waiting she now received permission from the Americans.
------London 1625 hrs
Michael Collins was meeting again with Clara Benedix to brief her on what he had learned in the last week. "I am very disappointed that I did not find out very much about what the dastardly British are up to in Ireland this week," Collins confessed, ‘though I did find out that they are sending the 1st South Western Mounted Brigade to Berehaven."
"Hmm. A cavalry brigade. Is that the only reinforcements?" asked Benedix who now conducted this briefing on a strictly professional basis with not even a hint of flirtation.
"I didn’t say that with anything even close to certainty. I said it is the only one I know about," replied Collins a bit testily.
Benedix made a slight frown, "Yes, I appreciate the distinction. Is there anything new you’ve learned about the British fleet? Anything new about the mysterious Blinker Hall?"
"Uh, nothing to report on Blinker Hall so far, Clara. In fact there is nothing naval to report---no wait there is one thing. I stumbled on a passing reference to there being a high proportion of duds in German shells at Utsire. I am finding that hard to believe considering what went down there."
"Hmm That makes two of us. Was any specific numbers mentioned?"
"No as I said it was a passing reference."
"Berlin might be more inclined to believe that assertion if we could provide some specific number. People are more likely to believe incredible assertions when numbers are provided. Still I will pass it along even though I think it is merely some wishful thinking on the part of some moron in the Admiralty. Do you have anything else for me today?"
Collins nodded enthusiastically then handed the spy a small sheet of paper, "This happens to be a breakdown of the current British strength in Egypt. One thing that Berlin might find interesting is it shows that an entire division, the 42nd is being sent somewhere else---haven’t been able to find out where so far."
------Northwestern Front HQ 1625 hrs
The commander of Northwestern Front, Gen. Alexeev had requested that Gen. Wenzel von Plehve, the commander of Twelfth Army, meet with him and sent a motor car to fetch him. When von Plehve arrived Alexeev was cordial and had dinner served.
"I first thought that the German advance into Lithuania was merely a diversion," Alexeev confided to von Plehve, "but now they have managed to bring some heavy artillery within range of Kovno. To counter this I am moving Fifth Army HQ and XIX Corps to Dvinsk. Combined with forces at Riga---some of which are already assembled—a counterattack will be launched against the weakly protected left flank of the German forces attacking Kovno."
"Are you thinking about returning me to Fifth Army, general?" asked von Plehve.
"Yes, but not immediately, it will be two more weeks before the forces are in place," Alexeev replied. One reason he wanted to Gen. von Plehve in person was to get a good look at the man because Plehve’s health was a cause for deep concern.
"In the meantime I am to remain with Twelfth Army then? Is that because you are planning an offensive that will precede the flank attack?"
"Yes, you are to remain with Twelfth army, but the flank attack by Fifth Army is the only major attack Stavka wishes us to undertake in the near future. Instead Southwestern Front is to begin an offensive campaign of some size possibly as early as tomorrow. I was not told where but I am guessing the Bukovina again."
"Why do they place so much importance on the Bukovina? I recall it being considered unimportant in prewar battle plans."
"There is some hope that it will encourage the Romanians to join us. Yet even if they do I doubt that it will do any good. The Romanians are such a hapless lot that they could soon need us to come to their rescue."
Plehve nodded, "I am bothered by what I perceive as a prevailing attitude that thinks we are capable of attacking only the Austrians and Turks but not the fearsome Germans. I do not feel that way. I felt that I was on the verge of a great victory against the Germans back in February. It is now popular to blame to the railroads for our disappointment back then. People are in awe of the German railroads in East Prussia and claim that it is impossible for us to attack there. This perception is at best a half truth. Yes the German railroads present a major offensive there with great problems. But there were other things at work back in March as well. Most noticeably I was given no support whatsoever from either Tenth Army on my right nor First Army on my left. I blame your predecessor for not properly coordinating the armies under his command. I now know for a fact that Gen. von Below pulled troops from left flank which faced Tenth Division to counter my attack against his right. He would not have been able to do that if Tenth Army had attacked as well."
"They may be something to that. Do your believe that a renewed East Prussian offensive has some realistic chance of success? It is not what the Grand Duke believes."
"Yes, I do, general. The German Army is badly stretched right now. They have a major offensive underway against the British in France. They are involved in the invasion of Serbia. Yesterday I finally learn that they are being strongly pressured by the French around Compiegne. They even invaded Ireland which I thought was a hoax when I first heard it! And still they have found the strength to attack Tenth Army and Kovno. Now where did they get the troops and guns to do this? The answer is obvious---they have badly weakened their positions against not only against my army but First and Second Armies as well. My airplanes report a steady decrease in the number of German guns they see in my sector. What are you hearing from First and Second Armies?"
Alexeev frowned slightly, "I have not heard anything, but based on what you have just told me I will make inquiries. Not all my generals trust the reports of aviators. They still believe the only reliable reconnaissance is performed on horseback."
"The aviators make mistakes sometimes and have some obvious limitations in terms of weather and terrain—but in our current static situation they are the best source of information we have readily available. Do you have some other source of intelligence I do not know about that tells a different story?"
"No, I have nothing that refutes your assertion but very little that confirms it. Let us say that I do receive some confirmation, what is it that you suggest?"
"The Germans have strengthened their fortifications, which is another reason I think they are weakly manned. If I concentrate against the sector between Ortelsburg and Allenstein I believe I can achieve a local breakthrough though I concede that my casualties will likely be heavy at first. I suggest that this be coordinated with First Army which should try to advance up the Vistula towards Plock and Second Army which should advance towards Lodz. If we attack at multiple places together the Germans simply do not have the necessary reserves and will be overloaded. With the other armies attacking as I can firmly believe that I can take Allenstein which will cut one of their dreaded rail lines. Of course this will all go more easily if I can get more shells for my guns."
"That unfortunately remains a serious problem. Stavka is going to be giving Southwestern Front priority while their approved offensive is underway."
"I have been able to build up a small stockpile by insisting that my batteries refrain from unnecessary artillery duels. I have also been able to get some shells by intimidating the commanders of the minor forts in my rear. It is my understanding that the major fortresses are hoarding large amounts of ammunition. In act we should consider removing some of their artillery."
Alexeev frowned, "That sounds appealing but your recommendation goes against some established policies. I will look into the matter. It will take some time. Is it necessary for the first phase of your proposed offensive?"
"Desirable but not necessary—at least for my army."
"How much time would you need to plan and prepare?"
"I have already done much in the way of planning and preparing. Two days notice should be sufficient. First and Second Army will need more time, esp. with Second Army taking over Fifth Army’s section of the front. They do not need to start the same day I do. The next day or the day after that will do."
Alexeev took his time thinking this over. "I am going to order Gen. Litvinov and Gen. Smirnov to draw up plans and begin preliminary preparations. However let me make it clear that I am far from being convinced. Furthermore Stavka is unlikely to change their priorities at this time."
"You have authority to make purely tactical attacks on your own initiative, yes? If tactical attacks achieve success Stavka can be persuaded to expand them. If I am correct, the German attacks on Tenth Army will intensify soon—perhaps they have already done so, yes?"
"No. There has actually been something of lull the last few days."
"Hmm. That may be due to the weather. Or maybe I am wrong---but if I am right about their attack then I am probably right about their line being weak and vulnerable further west. You can tell the Grand Duke your attacks were intended to take pressure off of Tenth Army and maybe Kovno as well. Once our attacks crack open the German defenses, Stavka will grant you more leeway—and hopefully more ammunition. They will also take credit for the idea."
"Tsk, tsk. How cynical you’ve become, Wenzel. I recall you being more of an optimist back when we were both with Southwestern Front trouncing the Austrians"
"That is true, general, but even then I wasn’t sure if I could count on Gen. Ruszki and Third Army! Then I come up here and he’s my superior. He let First Army become strategically isolated and that caused near disaster leading to the Battle of Lodz. It was my timely intervention that prevented disaster and nearly gave us victory---which I feel is not fully appreciated. Then he repeats the same mistake when I invaded East Prussia and compounding things I was saddled having that cretin Bezabrazov running the Guards."
"In all fairness to Ruszki," replied Alexeev in a subtly condescending voice, "The decision to assign the Guard Corps to Bezabrazov came from higher up---much higher up."
Plehve realized that Alexeez was discretely referring to the Tsar, "So I’ve been told," he grumbled, "But the ‘higher up’ did not tell him to panic during the Battle of Radom---now did he? All he needed to do was to order Fifth Army’s to pivot its left flank back a few versts. But no—Gen. Ruszki feels compelled to withdraw Fifth and Second Armies all the way back to the Vistula! Then he goes ahead and has his nervous breakdown. Well, if you accept my suggestion we can recover more than half of what was so needlessly relinquished back then."
Alexeev nodded but in a cautious pensive manner. Alexeev had felt that Stavka was too pessimistic about what Northwestern Front could accomplish against the Germans, whom he thought were overstretched. Alexeev deeply respected von Plehve whom he considered along with Brusilov to be the two finest army commanders the Russians had. Perhaps even better than Brusilov who had let a corps get encircled at the Battle of Sambor, while von Plehve had done a masterful job of rapidly manuevering Fifth Army during the Battle of Lodz. However Alexeev saw certain faults as well in von Plehve. One was the man’s health. Another was that he was overly aggressive at times. Finally there was the obvious fact that he was a German. There was an increasingly vocal group of Russian politicians who liked to blame all of Russian misfortunes in the war to date on an alleged disloyal ‘German clique’ then felt was betraying Imperial secrets and deliberately making tactical mistakes. This group had wanted Gen. von Rennenkampf tried for treason for his failure to support Samsonov during Tannenberg. They viewed all the Germans in the military or the bureaucracy with the deepest suspicion and von Plehve was no exception. War was always intertwined with politics.
There were several reasons for caution. "Continue making your preparations but take no offensive action without my express approval," he ordered.
------west of Froise (Picardy) 1630 hrs
There had been a steady build up of forces on both sides in vicinity of the dunes along the coast. The duke had advanced to within a kilometer of the Channel. He had moved all of his division’s artillery forward as well as a dozen light minenwerfers. After coordinating with the Corps Arco, these now thundered into action. The British were not yet entrenched so even the 7.7cm field guns firing shrapnel shells proved useful in this situation. The bombardment lasted 15 minutes and included 15cm tasked to suppress known British artillery locations. With the British First Army cramped into an increasingly constricted corner of Picardy the places available for them to hide artillery was becoming very limited. There was some concern about British or French warships out in the Channel participating in the battle but only 3 ‘old C’ class destroyers of Dover Patrol were visible so far and they were not firing at anyone. Duke Ernst worried that more serious firepower could be arriving soon and felt that was another good reason not to wait any longer.
When the 15 minutes was up the Saxon infantry charged forward not in one huge wave---they were long past that stupidity—but in small groups that hugged what cover could be found. Ther defenders had been badly hurt by the German artillery but there were 2 British machineguns causing trouble. .Eventually one was overrun at a stiff cost while the other was temporarily bypassed and eventually taken out by minenwerfers. The attacking infantry had been able to smell the sea when they began their attack. Within a half hour some of them could hear the waves crashing on the beach---though some of them would never again hear anything.
------Cork city 1655 hrs
The defenses of the Welsh soldiers and R.I.C. inside of the heart of Cork were starting to unravel. Flynn’s Sealgair Battalion now managed to break through into the commercial docks along South Channel. They took some prisoners. Flynn was fond of playing a variation of Russian roulette with prisoners in which only one chamber of the revolver was empty. Those who lived through this were beaten so badly they usually wished they hadn’t. Some of his men had taken to putting severed heads on poles. The R.I.C. were now so terrified of the Sealgairs that the constables were sending messengers to the 1st Cork City Battalion offering to surrender to them to escape the Sealgairs.
At the docks the Sealgairs captured two harbor boats. Flynn thought the owner of one looked like a rich AngloIrish prot so he shot him twice in the stomach then urinated on the man as he lay dying in agony, laughing in glee.
------Millstreet (Cork) 1710 hrs
The withdrawal of the 11th Bavarian Brigade now reached a tricky point. The 13th Bavarian Infantry Regiment and 1st Seebattalion which had fought hard to hold Newmarket in the morning withdrew along with their supporting artillery and the Kerry Ersatz Company to Ballydesmond and Rathmore. More difficult was the current tactical situation of the 10th Bavarian Infantry Regiment and the North Cork Battalion. These were called on to administer a check to the vanguard of the stream of British forces coming though Kanturk, delaying the fall of Millstreet.
The British 29th Brigade had long since outrun its supporting artillery. The ease with which Kanturk and later Banteer had fallen had contributed to their sense of chasing a weak demoralized enemy. After more than a weak of frustrating trench fight at Limerick this operation had been a refreshing change. Their men had been told that 16th Division—which they viewed as something of a kid brother---was in serious danger and there easy success so far was seen as confirming the belief of their intelligence officers that the victories of the 6th Bavarian Infantry Division had come at such a deep cost in casualties that it barely had the effective infantry strength of a regiment.
The British officers were also heartened to learn from their scouts that Millstreet was held by mostly Irish rebels seasoned with only a sprinkling of Bavarians. The commander of the 6th battalion Royal Irish Rifles in the vanguard thought they could seize the town in one swift bayonet charge. Just before his men could reach the town their ranks were thinned by a 2 batteries of 7.7cm guns firing shrapnel shells. Those that made it to the town discovered that Irish rebels were far from being spooked and poured rifle along with the Bavarians. The quality of rebel marksmanship varied over a wide range. Most of those had participated in the fighting at Mallow and this experience raised the proficiency of all but the most hopelessly inept. There were also 3 well camouflaged machine gun nests in Millstreet—two manned by Bavarians and the third by newly trained Irish rebels. When the 6th Royal Irish Rifles lost half of its effective strength, its battalion commander, himself wounded in the left forearm ordered a hurried retreat.
Meanwhile the 10th Hampshire which had been immediately behind the 6th Royal Irish Rifles in column had tried to come to their assistance. They came under fire from the German field guns further out than the Royal Irish Rifles had and this forced them to disperse and seek cover. The commander of the 29th Brigade decided against continuing the attack and waited for his supporting artillery to be brought into action.
------HQ French Second Army HQ Compiegne 1715 hrs
Gen. Henri-Philippe Petain, the commander of XXXIII Corps had come to speak with his superior officer, Gen. Noel de Castelnau, commander of the Second Army. Like many in the upper ranks of the French Army De Castelnau had a decidedly mixed opinion of Petain. He was unhappy with Petain’s heretical belief that defending was easier than attacking in this current war, yet he was forced to concede that it all too often seemed that way. Moreover Petain had repeatedly demonstrated considerable skill as an organizer, leader and tactician. So de Castelnau thought it prudent to hear what Petain had to say.
"I feel compelled to be blunt about our planned attack for tomorrow, sir," Petain declared, "Yesterday’s attacks were disastrous for my corps. I see no reason to believe tomorrow will be any better."
"I do not deny that France have lost many brave souls yesterday. We can only hope that they were free from sin," answered de Castelnau, who unlike Petain was very devoutly Catholic, "But the Germans are losing heavily as well. They have very thin reserves which are rapidly being exhausted, I have received two new divisions which will be used as forward reserves for tomorrow’s attack. If we persist we shall prevail."
"The Germans losses are less than we like to believe, general. esp. now that we no longer possess the huge stockpile of shells we had at the beginning of this battle. Our lengthy bombardment was what allowed us to attain a modest victory at Compiegne. Since then it has been our mounting toll in casualties produces steadily diminishing return."
"So what is your recommendation—is it that we should call a halt to the entire offensive?"
"Yes, precisely. Later when we have more artillery and more ammunition he can reconsider a resumption. In the meantime GQG can pursue operations in other sectors where they might at least have some measure of surprise---something we lost a long time ago."
"This however happens to be the sector where the Boche are closed to Paris. The premier paid me a visit last week and he most emphatically emphasized that point. He insists that this offensive continue until we have liberated Noyon."
"Noyon? At the rate we are currently going that should be the middle of next year."
De Castelnau shook his head, "There are times I think you might make an effective army commander, Petain, but when you talk like that I have second thoughts—and I am not the only one!"
"Then perhaps I should refrain from mentioning the million casualties we would incur in attaining that goal. Of course, the Germans would suffer more. The Germans always suffer heavier casualties. That is because they do not have élan."
"Sometimes you are your own worst enemy, Petain. Dispense with the sarcasm and provide me with some concrete recommendations!"
"I will reiterate what I said earlier. Postpone further attacks for the rest of the month Wait until Gen. Joffre has attacked elsewhere for a few days. Our intelligence is that the infamously aggressive von Kluck still commands First Army. If we call off our offensive he is likely to waste his strength trying to regain his lost territory. In the meantime strengthen the quantity and quality of both our artillery and its ammunition. When the enemy has siphoned off his strength to deal with the new attacks in other sectors and we have enough firepower then we resume our attack here."
"I agree with some of that, but I must reiterate that the premier is adamant about pushing the Germans as far from Paris as possible. I am allowed to make brief pauses to regroup and consolidate but that is all."
------Victoria Barracks (Cork) 1735 hrs
With the armored cars in the van the motor vehicles carrying the 3rd Kerry Battalion roared up the steep road through the hills leading to Victoria Barracks. They quickly overpowered a guardhouse when they arrived at the front gate they found then closed. Rommel was in a truck behind the armored cars, which were laying down covering fire from their machineguns. "Mach schenll. Ziethen, schenll!" Rommel yelled to the Pioneer Unteroffizier.
It was a pioneers’ favorite task—using explosive charges. Unteroffizier Ziethen did not need Rommel to tell him that speed was of the essence---though Rommel continued to yell at him anyway. With four of his pioneers he sprinted to the gates and laid charges. Suddenly a bullet ricocheted at the cobble stones near Ziethen’s boots. Whang! Earlier in the war he would have looked up out of reflex but he did not waste a few precious seconds to do that---he knew that British soldiers were shooting at him from the upper stories---and not just him. More bullets struck the cobblestones.
"Ziethen, I am hit!" one of his pioneers cried out in pain.
Ziethen suppressed the urge to look at the wounded man until he was done with his charges.
"What is taking so long?" yelled Rommel impatiently as he laid cover fire along with Gaulart and a squad of Jaegers and most of an Irish platoon led by Lt. Cummins. Close to the building Ziethen realized it would be difficult from the defenders to get a good aim without exposing themselves. Confirming this hypothesis a wounded British soldier fell to the ground not far from them.
The charges were now set. Ziethen now went over to the wounded Pioneer whom was saw had been badly in his right calf. "Here lean on my shoulders."
The pioneers with hugging the sides of the building to continue to deprive the defenders above of an easy aim. This included Ziethen with the wounded soldier.
The charges blew the gate open. One of the armored cars rolled into the courtyard. Rommel led his men , the handful of Jaegers and the rest Irish inside. The barracks had only a threadbare garrison and it took less for an hour for the rebels to take it.
------Foynes (Limerick) 1800 hrs
The commander of the 16th Uhlan Regiment was also the ranking officer at Foynes and he instituted some changes this afternoon. First he assigned 2 more specially qualified Irishmen as auxiliaries, the so called ‘Irish Uhlans’ to each of squadron. More importantly he combined the East Limerick and West Limerick battalions into the Foynes Battalion, but he also implemented an idea strongly recommended by Gen. von Jacobsen in Limerick, and separated his women and least fit decile of men from the combat battalion placing them in a separate company to perform support functions. He was also provided with some sailors from the warships in the Shannon who had experience in gunnery. Along with an Irishmen who had served in British artillery they would try to figure out how to use the 2 recently captured 18 pounders. Gen. von Jacobsen had promised to dispatch a few spare artillerists from Limerick by boat to help patch together a skeletal artillery platoon but they had yet to arrive.
------Basra 1855 hrs
There were still pockets of British resistance in Basra, but Generalfeldmarschal von der Goltz was now feeling comfortable that the battle had been won. He now took Mustafa Kemal aside and offered his congratulations. Col. Al-Askari was still not feeling well so der Goltz did not bring him. In point of fact the feldmarschal did not feel all that well himself but he was determined that not to let it ruin his victory.
Even Kemal noticed it, "I do not mean to be impolite, fedlmarschal but you do not appear to be in good health. You should get some rest and have a physician examine you in the morning."
"I admit that I had better days in that regard. So please do not think me rude if I make this as short as possible."
"I understand. You are here to decide what is our next objective. I know you have ambitions in Persia but we should eliminate the British presence here completely before we head east."
Der Goltz nodded, "I agree with that logic."
"So we attack Fao next? And what about Abadan Island?"
"I am willing to wait an little on Fao. It has very limited capacity as a port but the British warships in the gulf make attacking it risky. As for Abadan, I have asked our new friend, Khaz’al Khan to take Abadan. The British are used to the Marsh Arabs being near the refinery. They stand a good chance of taking the refinery without much resistance."
"That is Khaz’al Khan proves trustworthy. I have very serious doubts about his shift in loyalty."
"Oh I have not the slightest doubt that his sudden shift in allegiance is flimsy and shallow. But the man respects power so our victory here today should reaffirm the point we already established with him. I am therefore hopeful about what he can accomplish at Abadan. There is however another nearby potentate who is to my thinking cut from the same clothe as Khaz’al Khan and is in a position to provide the British with a very good jumping off point for a counterstroke is he so chooses."
Kemal realized what von der Goltz was referring to, "Ah, yes. You are of course, referring to Mubarak, are you not?"
"Yes you are most perceptive. In the morning take 19th Division and pay him a courtesy call in force and dazzle him with your great charm."
------Millstreet (Cork) 1900 hrs
Two batteries of British 18 pounders commenced firing on the town of Millstreet. A third battery targeted what was thought to be a German battery. The German guns made no effort to return fire. After 10 minutes the 29th Brigade commenced its infantry assault with the 10th Hampshire Regiment and 5th Connaught Rangers. There was still no German artillery fire. When they reached the edge of the town the attackers found that only a single company of the North Cork Battalion remained there and it was now trying to make a fighting withdrawal to the south. That is almost always a difficult maneuver for even the most seasoned troops and while this IRA unit had learned some good lessons in combat of the last week it still had a lot to learn. Not quite a third of the company managed to get away. Indeed most of the defenders would’ve likely surrendered en masse when the attackers arrived except the Prime Minister’s stated policy reduced their incentive to surrender. So they fought on for more than on an hour and inflicted significant losses on the attackers
Eventually some did surrender from the desire to live at least a few more days. In the meantime the 29th Brigade discovered that the German artillery position they had shelled was only wooden dummy guns. There were very little in the way of supplies left in the town, only a modest amount of food and fodder. The officers of the 29th Brigade were heartened to see that the Germans were relying upon the rebels to form stop lines, seeing this as a clear sign of weakness. They continued south with great enthusiasm. .
------Manhattan 1920 hrs GMT
Sandeep Singh Puri had just addressed a modest crowd about his pet theme of the similarities between Ireland and India. Towards the end of the speech a man in a German military uniform joined the crowd. When it was over he came forward and introduced himself to the Sikh, "I am Hauptmann von Papen, the German military attaché. Let me start by commending you on a most excellent speech."
Sandeep could see that while von Papen seemed sincere in his praise he also had something else he wished to discuss with him. The German attaché leaned closer and spoke in a softer almost hushed voice, "Could we move away from the crowd for a few minutes, Herr Puri?"
Sandeep nodded and told the others, "I am going to take a brief stroll, but then I’m coming back."
The German took the Sikh down a side street and soon got to his main point, "My government has been trying to help your organization for some time."
"Yes, we know that and most grateful, Captain von Papen," replied Sandeep guardedly, "even though we have only encountered failure so far."
"Yes, and Berlin believes that part of the problem has been that every attempt to send members of your organization to India through the Pacific has been intercepted either at sea or immediately upon arrival."
"Yes that does appear to be what is happening. How are you proposing to get around that? Our plan had been merely to keep on trying."
"You have heard about the current invasion of Serbia, yes?"
"Uh well yes I have, but I have not been following it in much detail I’m afraid to say. How does that connect with us in the Ghaidar Party?"
"The rail link to the Ottoman Empire should be open before the end of the month. We have our eyes fastened on Persia and beyond Persia on the jewel in Britain’s crown. We want some of your men to come along on with the other volunteers we are gathering. Once we get you to Europe we will send you on into Persia as part of our expedition. This will take some time but we believe it has much better chances of succeeding that trying to infiltrate via the Pacific."
Singh Puri took his time absorbing this, "This is indeed a bold offer, Captain. However many of the Fenians seem to believe that they are going to Ireland. Does that present a problem?"
"As you can imagine, I am not at liberty to confirm or deny that, Herr Puri. But if indeed turns out to be true we can get your party from Ireland to Germany. It would only be a short stop on your very long journey."
"Yes, I see. I will give this intriguing offer some very serious consideration and discuss it with the others."
------Buckingham Palace 1925 hrs
Prime Minister Andrew Bonar Law had been summoned to dine with King George again. "Well, Andrew, are we going to annihilate the German invaders in Ireland come tomorrow?" the monarch asked.
Law knew that question was coming, "Uh probably not, Your Majesty but it is still possible. The enemy resistance at Limerick could collapse at any time and once it does it will free up forces to concentrate on the Germans in Kerry. But it is more likely to take a day or too longer."
"And just what did happen in Kerry? For a while I was hearing all these exciting reports of how the 6th Bavarian Division was on the run and how Tralee would be liberated soon. Then it was that Killarney would be liberated instead—and then suddenly there was some vague mention of a daring German counterattack and afterwards our VII Corps needs to regroup. We hear tell that the Germans claim to have destroyed most of the Welsh Division near Rathmore and furthermore assert that four battalions of Irish rebels participated in the victory. We would like very much to believe that this is all desperate propaganda on the part of the Germans with not the slightest basis in fact. Can you reassure us on this matter?"
"Well the left wing of the Welsh Division was in fact hit very hard in the vicinity of Rathmore Tuesday, Your Majesty. However that division has managed to regroup. The Germans are exaggerating the magnitude of their victory."
"We are not reassured," King George replied tersely in a voice that sounded vaguely like his grandmother.
"But Welsh Division has regained the initiative against the Germans this morning, Your Majesty. Lord Kitchener informed me of this just before I came here. Together with the 16th Division it is only a matter of time before they finish off the 6th Bavarian Division. The main cause of our problems with the Germans is artillery. The Germans have used their artillery lavishly while we have been forced to be niggardly when it comes to artillery shells in Ireland on account of the situation in France. However we now have good information that the Germans in Ireland are very close to exhausting their stockpile. As long as they do not receive any more from Germany than their sole advantage disappears and we will have the whip hand."
"Ah well that does indeed reassure u! But pray tell, what is this source of intelligence that you regard with so much trust? Is it a well placed spy? My understanding is they need to be regarded with a measure of caution."
The Prime Minister paused and frowned. Finally he pursed his lips and said, "There is something that I believe has not been told to you previously, Your Majesty. The Admiralty developed the capability to read most of the Germans’ encrypted wireless messages. In this particular instance we intercepted a transmission to Berlin by Gen von François stating the urgency of his artillery ordnance. It must be understood how important that this knowledge of this priceless advantage we have over the Huns be kept to an absolute minimum."
"Which is why no one has seen fit to tell me previously?" huffed the monarch.
The Prime Minister was in an awkward situation. Finally he said, "You have my deepest apology---"
"---accepted. It does no good to belabor the matter and I will concede that telling a sovereign every state secret is probably not the wisest of policies---though don’t you dare quote me as saying that! Now getting back to Ireland what about the allegation that 4 battalions of Irishmen contributed to their success at Rathmore? Do they really have as many as 4 battalions of the rebels?"
"On this aspect of the situation the clever German propagandists are being disingenuous to an extreme. When it comes to the traitors what the Germans have been calling battalions have barely the strength of a company. They may well have had 4 of these badly understrength units somewhere near the scene of the battle but no one really believes they did any serious fighting."
"But what about Cork, Athlone and Monaghan? Isn’t the fighting in all of those places being done by the rebels? Doesn’t that tell us that in certain circumstances the rebels can put up a stiff fight?"
Bonar Law could not suppress his scowl, "The rebellion was eliminated in Monaghan last night, Your Majesty. It will be in tomorrow’s newspapers. The Germans concocted an armored train—that is the main reason why the rebels are holding on for so long in Athlone."
"I am glad to hear about Monaghan, esp. as I know the rebellion there was riling the Ulster Volunteer Force. But what about Cork, Andrew? Why is it taking so long to eradicate the rebellion there?"
"The rebellion there was larger than expected, Your Majesty. Moreover there are reports that some German artillery and armored cars are in Cork. Also house to house combat is proving rather difficult."
"In that case we should be grateful that Dublin has remained quiescent." replied King George, who after a few seconds added, "You said the rebellion in Cork was larger than expected. That has become something of a recurring theme in the last week it seems to me---that despite our stern policies the size of the rebel forces has been more than we want to believe. What is our best estimate right now?"
Bonar Law hesitated then with an uncomfortable expression answered, "We have some extremely good intelligence indicating that as of Thursday rebel strength peaked at somewhere around 8,000 men. Since then the rebels have suffered crippling losses at Cork, Athlone and Monaghan."
King George raised an eyebrow, "So 8,000 of our Irish subjects have seen fit to take up arms against us serving our enemy. It turns my stomach. Oh but wait a minute. You said extremely good intelligence. By any chance does this mean this number also comes from intercepted German wireless messages?"
Bonar Law did not like the tone of the king’s voice but he cautiously nodded hi head, "That is correct, Your Majesty. You will understand that is one reason we have avoided releasing that number to the public is that it might alert the Huns as to the vulnerability of their encrypted wireless traffic."
"Which sounds to me like another good excuse for continuing to release those low estimates of which we have become so frightfully enamored! So what you are telling me, Prime Minister, is that our best source of information on the strength of the rebels is coming from the Germans?"
"Yes, your intuition is on target, Your Majesty. I can see where that does not sound very good, but please look at this way. Since the rebels are with only a few odd exceptions, under the command of the Germans, then who would know better?"
As he reflected on that the scowl on King George’s face faded but did not completely, "By Jove, that does indeed make some perverted sense but nevertheless it continues to irk me. I am also starting to worry that if the rebels are that numerous there could be a protracted guerrilla war after the Germans are eliminated. Kerry and western Cork seem tailor made for that."
"Others have begun to speculate along those lines as well, Your Majesty. I am not all that worried. The defeat of their German allies will demoralize the rebels. I expect most of the Papist traitors will run off and try to sneak their way back to their homes and pretend that nothing ever happened. Only the most fanatical—a very small fraction in my estimation--will have the courage to try to fight a guerrilla war. They will cause some mischief for a month or two but once they discover that the vast majority of their countrymen do not support their efforts they too will wither away. The War Committee has discussed this point with the War Office. The consensus at this time is that Kerry, Limerick, Cork, Clare and Galway will each require a battalion of infantry plus a squadron of yeomanry to conduct vigorous patrols for three or four months--that in addition to an increased presence by the Royal Irish Constabulary."
"We would like very much to believe that. So let us say that it does work as you describe. When you first announced your intention to execute all the traitors I was firmly behind you. But back then we believed the number of rebels to be much smaller. The thought of mass execution is beginning to trouble me. Shouldn’t we proceed with only the leaders and then once the Germans have gone show our great mercy and merely impose lengthy prison sentences on the rest? Executing thousands will have a serious negative impact on some important neutrals such as the United States and in the long term it may sour things in Ireland."
------Rathmore (Cork/Kerry) 1935 hrs
The Germans were more than a little worried that a portion of the newest enemy offensive branch off to seize Killarney where there was most of the British prisoners. During the afternoon withdrawal from Newmarket the 1st Seebattalion along with the Kerry Ersatz Company and a 7.7cm gun battery was sent on ahead to establish defenses at Rathmore in order to prevent---or at least delay---and enemy thrust towards Killarney. The British 160th (Welsh Border) was now probing in this direction with the Kent Composite Battalion in the vanguard. The German Marines of 1st Seebattalion permitted the Kerrymen to fight alongside them. Like the rest of the Welsh Border Brigade the Kent Composite Battalion had suffered heavy casualties since coming to Ireland and they were now below half strength. The defenders at Rathmore were therefore able to drive them off without too much difficulty.
The brigadier was reluctant to hurl the rest of his depleted brigade against this objective for multiple reasons not the least of which was Rathmore had only a few days been where the Welsh Division had encountered a disastrous defeat. The main mission of the 53rd (Welsh) Division at this time was the relief of 16th (Irish) Division near Macroom. The best news this day was coming out of 29th Brigade and so he awaited fresh orders from Gen. Friend as to how best to support their advance towards Macroom.
-----USS Wyoming off NYC 1950 hrs
Thick clouds had rolled in during the afternoon. These made a large plumage to the ENE less noticeable. As New York was a very important hub for international commerce when the USN lookouts did begin to spot it there was only moderate interest. That changed when the ships themselves came into view. Two men now looking at them through binoculars were named Frank Fletcher.
"These two are definitely not cruisers, "pronounced Admiral Fletcher, "Cannot make out much in the way of details yet in this light."
"Oh, I think I can see a third ship behind them now, admiral," said his nephew.
"Hmm. Uh, still don’t see that but then these old eyes are not as sharp as they used to be Oh, wait, yes, now I think I see something. So it now looks like the Germans have brought a small fleet with them this time. I wonder how the President is going to view this. Not well I would think given his well known dislike of the Germans."
"Do you think he will pass this information on to the British, sir?" asked the nephew.
"Oh you can bet money that."
------Carrick-on-Shannon (Leitrim) 2005 hrs
Two river boats arrived at Carrick-on-Shannon bringing 300 more Moisin-Nagant rifles and 12,000 rounds of ammunition. This was greatly appreciated as Carrick-on-Shannon company had been joined by 6 more small Irish Volunteer companies and now called itself Leitrim Battalion even though counties Sligo, Roscommon and Cavan each contributed a single company. It now numbered 478 men and 15 women and expected yet another small company as well as more than a dozen stragglers to arrive before midnight. In addition to more guns the acting commandant of the battalion requested an Irish Brigade officer be dispatched immediately. They had already had a skirmish where they drove off 10 constables and expected more serious opposition to arrive before long.
------Victoria Barracks (Cork) 2045 hrs
Rommel’s steel IRA helmet was bothering him and he took it off to look at it. For some reason it had started to feel too snug. He could not figure out why. It was the same helmet he wore since landing in Ireland. He wondered if he should get a new one, perhaps in a slightly larger size.
Oberstleutnant von Frauenau, the commander of the 2nd Chevauleger Regiment had just arrived, "So you are the controversial Major Rommel. Is it true that you captured Fort Carlisle last night?"
"Yes, I did, Oberst. Clearly I deserve a Blue Max for that alone, but add to that the fact that I defeated the main British force at Cork this afternoon---"
"----the decisive action which resulted in the enemy’s defeat was the attack of my cavalry against their flank!" von Frauenau contradicted Rommel angrily, "Your bad of Irish brigands only arrived to mop up in the final stage of the battle."
"With all due respect, Oberst, it was my battalion that captured these barracks. The remnants of the 108th Brigade could have rallied around this a veritable fort if it weren’t for the timely action of my battalion. Now what little is left of 108th Brigade is trapped in an indefensible position and should be easily eliminated."
"On the contrary, what remains of the 108th Brigade looks to be at least 1,000 men strong and they are now demonstrating very determined resistance, having turned some buildings into strong points. Their position is far from hopeless. And there are still two other pockets of resistance in Cork—one in the heart of the city consisting of some soldiers of the Cheshire Regiment and another below South Channel."
"They all are cut off from supplies and reinforcements as well as each other, Oberst. This includes those in the heart of the city because as soon as naval gunners are brought to Fort Carlisle we can bar any reinforcements or supplies reaching Cork by sea."
"It does not prevent the British from landing a relief expedition on the coast."
"We have captured more motor vehicles here in Cork, Oberst. What I propose if to take the 3rd Kerry Battalion including the 2 local companies I have recently absorbed and along with the armored cars make a rapid thrust into Country Waterford. I have already ordered the 3rd Tipperary Battalion to proceed to Dungarvan. They will join with my battalion and the local Waterford companies which we will arm, in an attack on Waterford city."
"Waterford has only a limited strategic value."
"By itself that is true, Oberst. It is however a stepping stone to two other objectives that could prove critical. The first will be to send out small raiding parties into County Tipperary to interfere with the British supply lines. O’Duibhir believes that once he returns to Tipperary he can drum up several hundred new recruits, maybe as much as a thousand. More importantly though id that I believe that jumping off from Waterford I can reach Dublin. I am sure that once I reach Dublin bringing weapons in quantity I can trigger a revolt similar to what happened at Cork."
"I have some doubts about this undertaking but I also have orders coming directly from Gen. von François that I am to respect you initiative and lend support where I can. For the time bring let us assume I let you go ahead with this wild scheme of yours, how soon can you leave. If there anything you need?"
"I believe that I can be ready to leave early tomorrow morning, Oberst. I want to take the machinegun and infantry gun sections of West Limerick Battalion as well as the 3 armored cars in good running condition at this time."
"I do not think Major von Thoma is going to appreciate that. He has been hard pressed since your took it into your head to run off with your battalion."
"But that is no longer the case—due to the success of my attack the 108th Brigade is no longer a threat so he no longer needs his machineguns and infantry guns .And I would point out that it is unfair to say that I ‘ran off’ with my battalion. I was personally instructed by Gen. von François to take the key harbor forts wherever I saw an opportunity."
"Hmm. It seems to me then that would be an argument for you to remain here. There are three forts left."
"Once naval gunners arrive at Ft. Carlisle, it will difficult for British vessels to enter the harbor. Ft. Templebreedy has the weakest defenses from the landward side and so hould be relatively easy for the general to take when the Bavarians here arrive in force. Once its 9.2" guns are manned with naval gunners it be even more difficult to for the British to use the harbor. Capturing Ft. Camden could take some time but its guns are rather weak and once we control both Carlisle and Templebreedy it will be isolated, cut off from any help from the sea."
"Ah, but what about Ft. Westmoreland? That strikes me as being the most difficult of them all, yes? . It will be next to impossible to secure Haulbowline until Spike Island is neutralized. Do you have any bright ideas about that one?"
Rommel bit his lip and shook his head, "No, Obesrt. I have thought long and hard about that one and nothing has occurred to me?"
"What? Do you mean to tell me that the great Major Erwin Rommel is stumped?"
Why are so many senior officers so jealous of my talent? Rommel wondered wearily with a sigh, "No and I doubt anyone else has either, Oberst."
"Ah, but there is someone who does have a plan! And even if it should fail it would rid us of another problem."
------USS Wyoming 2040 hrs
Wyoming and Lothringen had been exchanging messages by searchlight with Fletcher soon learning that Spee not Maas was the ranking German Admiral on the scene. Another merchantman that was a German prize had also shown up.
"We received very ambiguous guidelines from Secretary Daniels before we left. He sort of implied that Washington preferred that there were never more than two German warships coaling in our ports at one time, even though the Hague and our own laws permits three. Since I was told that there was only three of them at most and they would want one at sea to guard Lusitania I did not think it would become an issue," Admiral Fletcher told his staff including his nephew, "but now these 3 battleships show up and Admiral von Spee has requested that Schlesien enter NY harbor now to begin coaling followed by his flagship when Regensburg finishes roughly 2 hours from now."
"We could stall, Admiral, while we await wireless instructions," suggested one of his staff.
Adm. Fletcher paused before answering, "I am feeling bold today. Lets give Adm. von Spee what he is entitled to right now. Right now we will signal that Schlesien can enter the harbor to begin coaling immediately. If the Secretary or even the President for that matter does not want more than two coaling at one time they come out and tell me outright. I for one do not see an advantage to delaying things. The sooner the Germans coal the sooner they will leave our waters. That should be something we want. However after we let Schlesien enter we will notify the Navy Dept. and they will have ample time to make their policy explicit before Regensburg is finished"
------German IV Army Corps HQ (Picardy) 2055 hrs
Encouraged by the latest reports Gen. von Fabeck, the commander of Sixth Army, paid a visit to Gen. Sixtus von Arnim. "What are the latest developments with 8th Infantry Division? Are they able to hold their position on the coast?" Fabeck asked eagerly.
"There have been 2 more enemy counterattacks---one from the south and one from the north. If they had been simultaneous they might have caused the duke some serious problems but they were not and both were repelled without too much difficulty."
"The enemy forces in the north may be out of communication with their higher headquarters making effective coordination impossible. Do we still believe it is most or all of the British 2nd Division?"
"That is correct, general. There are also some heavy artillery batteries."
"Yesterday evening I was very worried that none of my corps commanders were being aggressive enough in the current attack. I see now I was being somewhat hasty in my judgment. You have done very well here today. Even more impressive is that you accomplished all thus with a restrained use of your artillery."
"Things were in flux in a complex situation during the critical hours today. Under those circumstances the clever exercise of initiative by enterprising infantry officers to exploit opportunities becomes very important. Tomorrow though we could well see a renewed emphasis on firepower when the British increase their efforts to rescue their trapped division."
"I agree with that sentiment. The shells we did not expend today would be well be deeply appreciated tomorrow. For the rime being what is most important is that 8th Infantry Division hold its salient against what is likely to bcomee near continuous counterattacks from both north and south. Your other divisions must pin the British 6th Infantry Division so it can not reinforce those counterattacks. I am going to order III Bavarian Corps to pressure both 6th Division and the Indian Corps as well. Likewise I will order XXVI I Reserve Corps to pressure the trapped division. We have learned the hard way that the British are usually very stubborn. We should anticipate their 2nd Division will hold out for some time and seek ways to escape. We must also worry about the British and French increasing their naval presence off the coast very soon."
"So far there have been only 2 monitors in the Baie D’Authie and few very old destroyers with light guns, general."
"That may change, soon. We need to be careful."
"Can our own navy lend us any assistance, general?"
"That is a very good question. I must make inquiries."
------Dublin 2130 hrs
The Countess Markievicz and Ezra Pound were being housed in the attic of a well to do widow who belonged to the Transport Union, aka the Citizen Army. There had been provided cots separated by a screen. Never of them was feeling sleepy yet. They had been provided stools. Markievicz sat on one while Pound paced furiously. Because of the low ceiling in the attic the tall poet was forced to stoop as he did this but still he paced with nervous energy that the Countess found both admirable and frightening.
Pearse had not informed the Countess of the planned rising. Many of the Irish Volunteers looked down on the Citizen Army as a bunch of hapless Socialist dilettantes and persuaded Pearse not to inform the Countess in advance. "I am not bluffing, Mr. Pound," she said, still ignoring his repeated pleas to call him by his Christian name, "If the Irish Volunteers do not rise up before dusk tomorrow, I will call on the Citizen Army to rise up Tuesday."
"I did not think you were bluffing at all, Constance, but are you sure that the Citizen Army will obey?"
"Are you implyin’ they won’t follow my orders because I’m a woman?"
"I did not say that---"
"---but you did think it and truth be told I have wondered the very same thing myself."
"On the contrary I was thinking no such thing but merely wondered if they might be afraid to rise up all by themselves without the Irish Volunteers joining in. They are still only about 300 altogether with very little in the way of firearms."
"Aye, and I have wondered about that as well. Still part of me thinks that if either Larkin or Connolly was here they would do it no matter what. "
Pound stopped pacing and leaned down and down and peered deep into her eyes, "You are underestimating yourself, Countess. You have no idea how utterly exceptional you are!"
"That is kind of you to---" began Markievicz only to be interrupted when Pound kissed her.
"Mr. Pound! Behave yourself!"
He kissed her again. She slapped him. He kissed her harder. She slapped him harder. He rubbed his stinging cheek and pleated, "Oh, why do you protest, my dearest Constance? Is it Casimir? You have told me yourself that you stopped loving him long ago. He may not even be alive as the Germans have been slaughtering Russian cavalry with wild abandon."
"No, I was thinking of Dorothy, your wife."
"Oh." Suddenly Ezra’s eyes were less intense and he sighed deeply.
"Is that all you have to say for yourself? You are married a little more than a year and already you are making advances towards another woman."
"Dorothy is very charming. I thought that was the reason I married her but in the last few days I have wondered if there was something else at work in my psyche. You see Mr. Yeats was—"
"---a former lover of her mother, yes I knew that. What exactly is the relevance of that? Are you saying that you wanted so much to emulate him so much that you lusted for the daughter of his lover?"
"Yes, something like that. I idolize that man so much! I do hope and pray that Gen. Hamilton accepts Gen. von François’ bold offer."
"So do I, so do I. Pearse of course prefers that he become a martyr. But getting back to your wife---this theory of yours sounds downright bizarre—almost incestuous if you will pardon my bluntness."
The poet from Idaho who had demonstrated incredible violence the previous month could seem also downright innocent to the Countess at times. He now blushed deep red and had trouble replying. Finally he haltingly spoke in a feeble voice, "Perhaps it does a little at that. The fact is that while Dorothy is a sweet woman what I thought was merely a mere semblance of real love. Now that I have met you, I am experiencing the real thing. Something like Plato’s myth of the cave, I suppose."
I should have seen this coming Markievicz rebuked herself in fact I think I did but refused to admit it. He is such a strange man, even for a poet! "I am still immensely grateful for you rescuing me back in Sligo, Mr. Pound," she said, "but there are some very important things I need to be doing in the days ahead. The fate of Ireland may well ride on what I decide---though I realize how arrogant and presumptuous that must sound. I cannot afford to have my mind clouded by passion at this time. Despite my title I am not all that good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problem of 3 little people doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that."
"No I do not understand, Countess. You are most definitely not a ‘little person’. That is one reason I love you so much."
"Please, Mr. Pound, hear me out. I am not rebuffing you completely. For the time being my heart belongs to the men and women of Ireland and it must remain that way. When this is all over then I will give you opportunity to press your suit. So I must ask that you remain on your side of the screen tonight."
She thought he would protest vigorously. Indeed he opened his mouth to do so but then the words did not come out and suddenly he eyes changed from passion to meekness. "As you wish my dearest, because I love you so much I obey your wishes."
Meanwhile in another section of Dublin, the Charles XII was berthed at Kingstown harbor. There had been another inspection when they had arrived. The inspector worried that that the Swedish schooner with its cargo of matches was potential fire hazard. It was Sunday afternoon and Norling told the inspector that it was hard to arrange for cargo handling on the Sabbath but he would unload quickly in the morning. The inspector found it hard to argue with this line of reasoning. He warned Norling that the curfews in Dublin might complicate his business dealings.
Norling had now returned to the schooner after trying to get some leads on the Irish Volunteers while arranging for cargo handling. He realized any significant stalling in unloading the cargo would draw more attention from the authorities. Back at the schooner he briefed first and second mates. "I could find out very little. Oh the bewildered Irishmen seem very fond of rumors, and some of them claim that an uprising will happen any day now. But some of them will admit that this rumor is more than a week old. The rebellion is not as popular as we were led to believe before we set sail from Sweden. There are many here who disapprove of it, though in the same breath they tell you they disapprove of executed captured rebels and wish it would stop."
"So are you saying that we came all this way for nothing, Rasmus?" asked the first mate.
"Aye, many of the men are already saying that," added the second mate, "and what are we going to do once we unloaded the matches. We made no arrangements for an outbound cargo."
"That might work in our favor," replied Norling, "We could tell the authorities that we are negotiating for an outbound contract. That might give us another day to see if something develops."
"What are we going to do if nothing happens?" asked the first mate, "Find a cargo and sail back to Sweden like we really were a mercantile crew."
"We just might have to do that," sighed a confused Norling, "this war has turned out to be even stranger than we thought."
------USS Wyoming 2135 hrs
"Admiral, we just finished decrypting this message from Secretary Daniels."
"Is it good news or bad news?"
"Uh, I think it best if you interpret yourself, Admiral."
POLICY GOING FORWARD WILL BE TO PERMIT AT MOST TWO GERMAN WARSHIPS TO COAL AT ONE TIME REPEAT POLICY GOING FORWARD WILL BE TO PERMIT ONLY AT MOST GERMAN WARSHIPS TO COAL AT ONE TIME STOP THIS DECISION COMES FROM THE HIGHEST LEVEL
"They do not sound happy but it could be worse. I expect I will find out when I return to port, eh?"
------Carriganimmy (Cork) 2145 hrs
An odd mix of the 10th Bavarian Infantry Regiment, 2nd Seebattalion, 3rd Battalion 4th Foot Guards, North Cork Battalion, a battalion of 7.7cm field guns, a 10.5 cm howitzer battalion and a pioneer company with light minenwerfers waited for the 29th Brigade at Carriganimmy. In the late afternoon German intelligence had become less worried about the possibility of an entirely new division being involved with the British counteroffensive and were now sure that the reinforcements to the Welsh Division had come from the 10th Division around Limerick. They were still worried though that most of the 10th Division had been committed to the attack.
The 29th Brigade had marched hard since leaving Limerick. Its brigadier thought it likely that there would be another stop line in this area where there was a valley running between two mountain ranges. He was determined to save 16th Division and he viewed the action of the enemy during the days---incl. the antics at Millstreet---as signs of weakness. He did not wish to wait until dawn when he could use his artillery esp. because there was a weather forecast that said that rain, possibly heavy, was likely tomorrow morning. The brigadier therefore decided it was a worthwhile risk to try to smash his way through in a night attack.
The leading battalions were still the 10th Hampshires and 6th Connaught Rangers. These made their way forward in the darkness which was suddenly lit up with flares and even two field searchlights. The machineguns of 10th Bavarian Infantry Regiment almost immediately commenced firing soon augmented by the lone Maxim of North Cork Battalion and the automatic rifles of 10th Bavarian Infantry Regiment and 2nd Seebattalion. There was rifle fire as well and two of the minenwerfers were used as well. The attackers tried to press forward and found wire barriers. These were not thick---only 2 strands near the road and a single strand elsewhere but this was enough to cause problems.
The initial attack failed but the brigadier still underestimated the enemy strength and so added the 6th battalion Leinster Regiment to the attack, encouraged by reports that a sizable fraction of the defenders were Irish rebels. These reports were in fact true but there were also ample Bavarians, German Marines and even some Prussian Guards lumped together in a bizarre Mulligan stew that outnumbered the attacking battalions by a more than a third.
------HQ British Second Army 2235 hrs
Once again Gen. Plumer had Sir John French on the telephone. Once again French was deeply agitated. "I have just learned from Gen. Haig via wireless that the Germans managed to advance all the way to coast. This means that all of 2nd Infantry Division and some RGA batteries are now cut off from the rest of First Army and in the most serious peril!"
"I take it then that he was failed to break the German position and extricate 2nd Division with his own forces, sir?"
"We are transmitting a wireless message asking that very same question, but for the time being we must assume that Haig cannot rescue 2nd Division."
Lets cut to the chase shall we thought a weary Plumer who thought he now knew where this was all going, "So I take it that you want Second Army to increase the pace of its advance. Am I correct, sir?"
"Of course, isn’t it bloody obvious? You essentially got nowhere today as far as I can tell."
"Well that is correct, sir. We now believe that the Germans have reinforced Sixth Army with another division. To make better progress I am going to need further reinforcements as well---whether it is British or French—or even Belgian for that matter."
"No, no, no! That is not the proper attitude! Oh, I will make inquiries with Lord Kitchener and we’ll send Gen. Wilson to go begging to the Frenchies again, but in the meantime you must do better with what you already have."
"I will no what I can, sir, but I must point out---"
"---Not tonight you will. We have a very serious situation and what I need to hear right now that you are going to do everything in your power to solve it."
"Yes, I most certainly do understand the seriousness of the situation but---"
"But, nothing general! I am starting to worry that you are bad as Horace if not worse! Your orders are to complete the rescue of First Army so together you and Haig can rescue 2nd Division. Is that clear?"
"Yes, sir. Perfectly clear."
------Old Admiralty Building 2320 hrs
"As both of you are well aware I was never enthusiastic about sending Inflexible off on this expedition," moaned Admiral Callaghan told Admirals Oliver and Wilson. The news that German predreadnoughts had arrived off New York as well had worked its way from Admiral Fletcher to Secretary Daniels and then on to Capt. Gaunt. The urgent cable had arrived at the Admiralty only a few minutes ago.
"Admiral Bayly is going to bleat and whine about this for several days," remarked Admiral Wilson.
"Several days?" snorted Admiral Oliver, "More like several months."
"Well Bayly certainly has a right to be upset this time," said Callaghan, "Inflexible will need to coal at Halifax before she can return home. A week from now he still won’t have her back with him."
"This may not be completely bad news for the Grand Fleet," Admiral Oliver protested, "we had been worried for some time that these three battleships might have found a way to rejoin the High Seas Fleet. It is now obvious that they will be tied down to escorting this ridiculous German convoy. Their eventual destruction has now been greatly simplified."
------midtown Manhattan 2345 hrs GMT
Fritz Austerlitz took his family to dinner at Keen’s Chophouse in midtown Manhattan to celebrate his son’s birthday a day in advance. The establishment only admitted women since 1905 when Lili Langtry had sued them. "So when are you and the other lunatics leaving?" his wife Ann formerly known as Joanna finally asked him.
"We were told that we should be at the docks by noon tomorrow, my dearest," he said easting a hardboiled egg and washing it down with some beer as they waited for the main course to arrive, "There we will be assigned to one of the German passenger ships. That is why I insisted we celebrate Fred’s birthday today."
"How soon will you be sailing, dear?"
"We were not told, honey. There is another and more powerful German cruiser off the coast. She will probably be part of our escort but will probably need to coal as well so we may not be leaving until after that is completed."
Ann shook her head. "And just how long do you think that will take?"
"I read in the newspapers that the German warships have only one day to complete their coaling," volunteered Adele, "something to do with some treaty. I think that will mean they will be going soon."
Fritz wiped the foam from his mouth and smiled at his daughter, "Oh, you are such a smart one, Adele. Yes, that makes a great deal of sense, doesn’t it Joanna?"
"No dear, none of this makes any sense whatsoever to me—but as I said before if this is what you feel you must do, then by all means don’t let me stop you. And stop calling me by that name. I do not use it anymore."
Fritz turned to his son, "And what about you, Frederick---my wonderfully talented son who is nearly a man---you are being even quieter than usual tonight like you are deep in thought.. So what do you think? Has your father finally lost his mind wanting to go off on this adventure?"
"Stop trying to manipulate the children into feeling sorry for you," his wife scolded.
"Mother, please," Fred awkwardly answered as if struggling with sharply mixed emotions, "I find father’s motivations to be perfectly noble. In fact I find them so laudable that I have decided to go with him."
Fritz Austerlitz choked on his beer. Adele gaped. Ann went from being catty to downright red with livid rage, "WHAT! This is utterly insane! If your father wants to get his head blown off in Ireland or wherever the Germans plan to take him—it could be Timbuktu for all we know---that is fine by me. But you, my precious little boy, are too young and your career is only beginning. There is no way in Hell that I am going to let you---"
"---Mother please, I do not wish to be disrespectful but I am going to be sixteen years old tomorrow so it is time you stopped treating me as a child."
"Completely and utterly irrelevant! No way! I forbid it categorically---"
Fred was beginning to speak but instead his father did, "Fred, my dear boy. I am flattered that you want to do this, but maybe your mother is right. Are you sure you want to go off to war with me? War is not very pleasant sometimes."
"Of course, he’s not and that’s the end to all this silly talk. You always were trouble, Fritz! Always! There are some things I could say but I won’t do so in front of the children---"
Fred Austerlitz was in fact far from being sure but it was precisely this domineering mother’s berating of his father that decided him, "No, I am most serious about this. I am going with father."