by Tom B
POPE INTERFERES IN IRELAND
"Yesterday morning Pope Benedict addressing crowds at the Vatican blatantly interfered in Irish politics by condemning Prime Minister Bonar Lawís appropriate and just policies towards the traitors in Ireland. It should now be clear beyond the slightest doubt where the interests of the Vatican lie in regards to Ireland."
----The Belfast News Letter Monday 10 May, 1915
------The Curragh (Kildare) 0020 hrs Monday 10 May, 1915
Major Price was briefing Gen. Hamilton and his chief of staff, Gen. Braithwaite on the latest intelligence. "Have any more of our informants confirmed that there is going to be a rising in Dublin today?" Braithwaite asked the intelligence officer.
"No, sir. We only have the two so far, sir"
"If there was an uprising planned you would think we would be hearing it from a lot more," groused the chief of staff.
"We have heard that there is some confusion and disagreement within the Irish Volunteers which has been compounded by our arrest of their leaders, sir," Price speculated, "Chamberlain and myself have speculated that maybe there is a splinter group that is contemplating open rebellion in the hope that the others will be forced to support them once the shooting starts. In that case only our informants within the splinter group would know of it.
"Do you have anything to confirm this speculation?"
Price paused, "Well, uh, nothing terribly specific, Iím afraid, sir."
"Nothing at all is what you mean," snorted Braithwaite derisively.
Price did not answer this and it was Hamilton who spoke next, "This is all so frightfully ambiguous. We have been on pins and needles about a rising in Dublin ever since the Germans landed. Let us now assume the worst---that rebellion does indeed break out in Dublin a few hours from now. How bad can it be?"
"We think the Irish Volunteers in Dublin Brigade numbered close to 5,000 men when the Germans landed, sir. After that we received reports that several hundred of the Irish Volunteers left and joined Redmondís National Volunteers but there are also reports of some movement in the opposite direction, Redmondites joining the Irish Volunteers."
"And do we have any idea as to why?" asked Hamilton, "I mean the latter phenomenon of some Redmondites becoming Irish Volunteers after the invasion began."
"And more importantly which trend is stronger," added Braithwaite.
"It is hard to answer either question. We are much more uncertain now about just who belongs to what paramilitary organization than we were two weeks ago. However there are some indications that most of the Irish Volunteers who left did so in the few days. In the last week the change has been almost entirely in the opposite direction. As to why I have heard that there is building anger over the executions. The recent successes that the Germans claimed that they pulled off with Irish assistance in Kerry, also seems to be convincing some that Home Rule is dead but total revolution has some chance of success."
"Some people will believe anything, esp. here in Ireland," remarked the chief of staff shaking his head, "But surely these Redmondites now defecting to the Irish Volunteers are only a handful."
"Hmm. I really wish I could say that is so, general. There are so many conflicting rumors floating around. What firm evidence we do have indicates that the defection of Redmondís followers to the Irish Volunteers could be close to the number of Irish Volunteers who left."
"So what you are saying is that the Irish Volunteers in Dublin is somewhere between 4,500 and 5,000 men?" asked Hamilton.
"Yes, that is our best guess at this time."
"And how many of those do we think would actually answer a call to arms?" asked Braithwaite.
"That is an even more difficult question. We believe that in the occupied counties, a little more than half of the Irish Volunteers are joining this Irish Republican Army commanded by German officers. However if Pearse is indeed in Dublin the turnout may be even higher."
"Hmm. Iím afraid I do not share that logic. In Munster the Germans are present in strength. In Dublin that will not be the case," mused Braithwaite, "Are even half of them so blinkiní stupid to think they can capture the city without substantial German aid?"
"The Irish in their long and confused history have done many stupid things, general," replied Price.
"Let us leave aside the ticklish question of how many men might decide to participate in this doomed undertaking," remarked Hamilton, "and focus instead on the question of weaponry. As I recall we have confiscated nearly 600 rifles and over 800 shotguns plus 300 homemade bombs from the Irish Volunteers in Dublin since the Germans landed. So the question is whether they have enough firearms left to cause us serious trouble or we worrying ourselves sick over a bunch of deranged fanatics armed mostly with improvised pikes?"
"This could end up being a reprise of the Enniscorthy farce only on a bigger scale," added Braithwaite.
"Again it is hard to give a definitive answer to that question, general. We know that a significant arsenal of firearms, esp. pistols, remain in the rebelsí possession. In urban fighting a handgun should not be dismissed as useless. It was for that reason we issued revolvers to the most of the D.M.P which had seldom been armed previously."
"So we are uncertain about whether it is going to happen at all, and if it does happen we are frightfully unclear about many will participate and how well armed they will be. Would you say that is a fair summation?" asked Hamilton pointedly.
"Unfortunately it is, general."
"You did mention before that there is some new information about Athlone," inquired Braithwaite, "Is it good news or bad?"
"I am afraid itís not very pleasant, sir. Wee now have some reliable intelligence coming from friendly civilians inside the city that the enemy has indeed captured Custume Barracks. A portion of the building was apparently destroyed in a large explosion."
"Any word on the fate of General Powell?" asked Hamilton, his frown deepening.
"Many rumors, sir, but nothing even remotely conclusive so far."
"I know the armored train does present us with some difficulties," remarked Braithwaite, "but I am still disappointed and puzzled to the point of bewilderment that the battalions we have there have been frustrated to date."
"Uh, well for one thing VII Army Corps finally got around to providing us with some numbers about our forces there. It turns out that the 13th Royal Irish Rifles has been reduced to an effective strength of only 211 men."
Braithwaite and Hamilton exchanged glances and sighs. "Well the arrival of most of the 10th Royal Irish Rifles should finally turn things around there," Hamilton commented, "I still see some reason for optimism about our overall situation. We took Kanturk, Newmarket, Mallow, Banteer and Millstreet yesterday which I find very encouraging. The 10th Division also made a small advance into edges of Limerick despite having to detach 29th Brigade. We also have this promising intelligence coming from London that the Germans will be running out of shells very soon."
"That is all true, sir, but Cork remains an embarrassment," noted Braithwaite, "And now there are some additional problems in the north---Roscommon, Longford and now Carrick-on-Shannon."
"Yes, but what are we talking about in each of those places--- a little more than a hundred rebels, am I correct, Maj. Price?"
"Hmm. Our current estimates is that in each of those towns the rebels now number somewhere around 200 men, sir. That is too much for the local R.I.C. to handle."
"The rebel group at Carrick-on-Shannon could pose a threat to Sligo," noted Braithwaite, "we now know that the rebels with German assistance are using the Shannon to transport arms by boat."
"These areas are important but not vital. Retaking Athlone will cut the rebelsí use of the Shannon to the north, which should solve much of the problem," answered Hamilton, "For the time being I am much more concerned with what is happening in Munster and Dublin. Well, it is getting late and we should try to get some sleep. If there is trouble in Dublin we will all need to get up early---even poor old Gen. Stopford."
-----SMS Regensburg off NY 0105 hrs GMT
Having completed its one permitted day of coaling in New York the German light cruiser had resumed commerce raiding off the American coast. British and French merchantmen at Philadelphia, New York and Boston had been firmly ordered to remain in port, but there was still inbound traffic. She now happened to find a 2,600 ton freighter out of Glasgow carrying a cargo of blended Scotch whiskies.
"Are you sure none of it is Dimple?" the leutnant in command of the boarding party asked his men, "Iíve had it on occasion and it is wonderful. Comes in a very odd looking bottle. I know some of the other officers would appreciate it. If we could take a case or two back with us before we scuttle this vessel we would become very popular, yes?"
"Here is the inventory, leutnant," said one of the sailors as he had the officer a handwritten list, I too have heard of Dimple even though whiskey is not my poison. You will see it is nowhere on the list."
"Hmm. Well now judging by the quantity they are carrying the Yanks apparently like something called Dewars. Never heard of it. There is some Chivas Brothers on the list. Though. I have at least heard of that and it has a decent reputation so I suppose we shall----"
"---begging your pardon, Leutnat, but my older brother likes Dimple and I now recall him saying it is called something else when it is sold in the United States, something like Hague if I am remembering correctly?" interrupted another of his sailors.
"Hmm. Let me see. Oh yes I see something called Haig & Haig on the list We should go fetch two cases and open one up. We will know from the shape of the bottle if this information is correct---though probably we should taste it as well to make sure, yes?"
------Carrick-on-Shannon (Leitrim/Roscommon) 0120 hrs
Two more river boats arrived. In addition to 400 rifles and 90,000 rounds they brought an Irish Brigade major to command Leitrim Battalion plus 2 commandants to command companies. The IRA major was pleasantly surprised to find that his battalion had now grown to 736 men and 23 women, despite a some loses in several fights with the R.I.C including two assaults on R.I.C. stations, one successful and the other an embarrassing failures. There was word that all least one more small company from County Roscommon would be joining them in the morning. For most of the day he planned to concentrate on reconnaissance, organization, logistics (eg. food) and training.
------Dublin 0400 hrs
The city of Dublin is roughly oval in shape. Running though the middle of it is the Liffey River, splitting the city into Northside and Southside. There are two canals---the Royal Canal on Dublinís Northside and the Grand Canal on Dublinís Southside with the North Circular Road and South Circular Road following the contours of the canals. It was still dark as dense clouds obscured the moon and would make the imminent twilight far less noticeable. In the predawn darkness with drizzle coming down the 6 battalions of Dublin Brigade began their attack.
Pearseís orders were for each of the 6 battalion commandants to select a group of no more than 80 men they trusted the most. Only these men were to know of the rising. These would gather at this hour to secure most of the weapon caches while sending out word for the other members of the battalions to assemble. In this way he hoped to have a chance of neutralizing informants. Each of the battalions had a designated assembly point. Pearse had wanted to make Liberty Hall, which was north of the Liffey River, one of the assembly areas but he learned that it was occupied by a large contingent of the Dublin Metropolitan Police armed with revolvers supplemented by some members of the Royal Irish Constabulary armed with rifles. Pearse had decided that he wanted the General Post Office to be his main HQ and decided that it would serve as the assembly area for the 6th Battalion. Once it was secured and most the battalion assembled they would proceed to liberate Liberty Hall.
Perched atop a 135í tall pillar Admiral Nelson gazed down with his one good eye on the running battle now being waged in OíConnell St between the night time curfew patrols and small bands of rebels. Under these conditions pistols were nearly as good as rifles and shotguns markedly superior. The rebels outnumbered the constables who were forced to withdraw to Liberty Hall. Some of the rebels wore the dark green uniform of the Irish Volunteers. Pearse had lost his when he had fled to the Connemara, but when he returned to Dublin one of the Irish Volunteers who was a similar size donated his. Pearse was slightly paunchy and the borrowed uniform fit a bit snugly. He was not able to move as quickly as he hoped and become involved in one of the street fights with the curfew patrols using a repeating pistol He was exhilarated to find himself involved in combat but was disappointed that others reached the GPO well before Pearse did. They fatally wounded one DMP officer standing guard and caused his partner to flee. Some of these rebels carried sledgehammers with which to bash their way into the building but found a British soldier poking his head out the door and managed to fill it full of shotgun pellets before he could take aim with his Lee-Enfield. They burst through the open door into the post office. As they did another British soldier inside the building fired and hit one of the rebels in the stomach, but the rest slew him in a hail of short range gunfire before he could get off a second round. A third British soldier sprinted into view and managed to hurry one round which missed before he too was fatally wounded.
Pearse arrived soon after. He looked at the statue of Nelson and with a wry grin looked forward to toppling it someday soon. The ground floor of the 3 story building had been secured.
Meanwhile the other battalions of Dublin Brigade were busy. Two Capuchin Fathers had secretly agreed to let the 1st Battalion use a hall of theirs on Church St. to assemble. This location was just north of the river to the west of the GPO. The battalion commandant was Sean Heuston, who originally came from Limerick. His mission was to guard the GPO from expected British counterattack that was expected to emanate from the Royal Barracks to the west as well as reinforcements brought by rail to Kingsbridge station. He was also the expected to take the cityís judicial building known was the Four Courts to the east just north of the river.
Sean McAntee, the commandant of 2nd Battalion chose St. Stephens Green, a prominent park south of the river to be his assembly area. There was a series of skirmishes at the edge of the park with the DMP and RIC. When enough of his men arrived he split them into three groups. One party was to complete the removal of constables from the park and then begin digging trenches. Another party was to head west and try to capture Jacobís Biscuit Factory. The third party would try to seize the Shelbourne Hotel on the northeast corner of Stephens Green.
The assigned mission of the 3rd Battalion was to pin down Beggarís Bush Barracks and interdict British reinforcements coming via either the railways to the south or the harbor at Kingstown. They assembled at Bolandís Mill and Bakery on Grand Canal Street, which the advance party quickly captured.
The 4th Battalion assembled at Emerald Square south of the Liffey near the Dolphin Barn section of Dublin. Their current acting commandant was a short fellow once known as Charles William Burgess but with his great love of the Irish language and culture now called himself Cathal Brugha. Once enough of the battalion had assembled Brugha concentrated on taking the South Dublin Union and the nearby Jameson distillery.
------HQ Irish Command Curragh (Kildare) 0420 hrs
Gen. Hamilton was on the telephone with Col. Kennard at Parkgate, which was the military HQ for Dublin. "It has started, general," said Kennard, "the Dublin Rising has definitely started."
"Is there any indication of how large it is?" asked Hamilton, "Where have they assembled?"
"It is still rather dark here, general, so it is very difficult to say. The rebels are not all in one area. There is one small concentration to the east of Royal Barracks."
"What about Dublin Castle? Is there any chance they could take the castle?"
"We have an entire platoon stationed there in addition, general, in addition to some DMP and RIC. I believe they can fend off any attack, but I intend to reinforce them as soon as I get a clearer idea of the overall tactical situation. For the time being there are so many important places for my men to defend it makes effective concentration very difficult. Might I ask, sir, how long will it be before I can expect reinforcements and how much?"
"As soon as this call is over I am going to order Gen. Stopford to release one battalion from 49th (West Rising) Division at Limerick and send it to you as soon as possible via rail.. An additional 300 R.I.C will arrive from Ulster before that. The R.I.C is already badly overstretched as you well know. We had thought at least Ulster was safe and then came the shocking incident at Monaghan, which even though it is now done and finished has caused mighty Belfast to quiver and shake. I am unwilling to make a larger commitment until we have a better knowledge of the size of the rising."
------Froise Salient (Picardy) 0430 hrs
Having received supplies during the night the British 6th Infantry Division and some remnants of the 4th Infantry Division made another effort to tear their way through the mass of Saxons that had penetrated GHQ Line to reach the coast cutting off the 2nd Infantry Division plus a piece of the 4th Infantry Division. Neither side had done much fighting during the night. General Sixtus von Arnim thought his IV Army Corps badly needed some sleep, though he did shift his artillery and minenwerfers to take advantage of yesterdayís gains. Likewise Gen. von Schubert also wanted to rest the 54th Reserve Division but he too moved his artillery around to exploit the opportunity to bombard the tapped British 2nd Infantry Division from 3 sides while he brought the 53rd Reserve Division more into the action.
The III Bavarian Corps did make a night infantry attack with the 10th Bavarian Infantry Division mostly to appease Gen. von Fabeck who was repeatedly telling Gen. von Gebsattel that III Bavarian Corps was not doing enough to support IV Army Corps. This attack had some modest success advancing almost a kilometer in some places after some very intense trench fighting, though counterattacks by the British 6th Infantry Division were now threatening to retake that territory. However these determined British counterattacks were precisely what Gen. von Fabeck wanted as it siphoned away forces from the more important British counterattack on the key salient formed by the 8th Infantry Division which now extended to the Channel.
During the night Dover Patrol had increased its presence off the coast. There were now 8 British and 2 French destroyers there as well as the protected cruiser, Arrogant. Since dawn these had been duelling with the German artillery trying to assist the trapped 2nd Infantry Division but marginal early morning visibility greatly hindered the gunners on both sides. The warships now moved closer to short to add their firepower to the batteries of III Army Corps. Arrogant suffered some light damage to her superstructure which badly wounded 2 seamen while Viking took a hit close enough to the waterline to eventually permit seawater to leak into her boiler room. The German artillery also duelled mightily with the British batteries and was able to suppress most but by no means all of them.
------Dublin Castle 0435 hrs
Augustine Birrell was sleeping when the sounds of gunfire intruded into his consciousness. He had been having a very unpleasant dream, almost a nightmare. In this awful dream the insufferable Lord Curzon had been made Lord Lieutenant of Ireland which caused events to spiral out of control and as a result an uprising had started in Dublin. He forced himself to wake up but then realized that Curzon was indeed Lord Lieutenant and what was worse there definitely was some shooting going on outside the castle. Maybe I am still dreaming? The chief secretary wondered wearily will this nightmare never end?
Under Secretary Nathan looking hurriedly dressed burst into the secretaryís small room. Before he could speak Birrell said, "Let me take a wild guess, Nathan---there is an insurrection underway in Dublin. Did I get it right?"
"Yes, Mr. Birrell, it is rather obvious is it not?"
"Very. Though I am surprised I am not hearing the Viceroy screaming. Is one of the things you are so eager to tell me that he is on the tele right now asking for me?"
"Actually we have lost most of our telephone communication with the rest of Dublin."
"Oh dear, that doesnít sound all that wonderful now does it? You donít think we could be in any real danger here, do you?"
"Not all the telephone lines were cut. Maj. Lewis was able to reach State Street Barracks. They are sending over most of the platoon they have on the double to reinforce us."
"Oh, so some of our telephone lines are cut and some are not. By any chance do you know if the lines to the Viceregal Lodge are working?"
"We have already checked and those are not working, sir."
"Well thank God for small favors."
"Uh, I am afraid Iím not following, sir."
"Oh, nothing. Nothing at all."
Meanwhile over the Vicregal Lodge, Lord Curzon had been awakened. A squad of soldiers and another squad of R.I.C had been assigned to guard the lodge after the Germans landed. There was now a ditch around the building with guard posts. In the last week when there was heightened concern about rising in Dublin, the guard had been doubled. "We cannot get through to Dublin Castle, Your Excellency." Curzon was told.
"Good heavens, does that mean that the rebels have seized the castle?" thundered Curzon, "That would be catastrophic! See if you can reach the military HQ at Parkgate?"
"Yes, Your Excellency." That line was working at Curzon was soon speaking with Col. Kennard, "Col. Kennard! I cannot reach Dublin Castle. I fear that it may have fallen."
"The rebels have indeed managed to cut the telephone lines and so we cannot reach them as well but I do not believe the castle is in any immanent danger, Your Excellency. We have it well guarded."
"Do you know that for sure? And more to the point, how could this rising have taken us so completely by surprise, colonel?"
There was a very long silence at the other end of the line. "Col. Kennard are you still there? Answer me!" Curzon yelled excitedly.
"Yes, yes, I am here, Your Excellency. We have already sent out a patrol to make sure the castle is safe and secure. They should be returning shortly. Uh, I regret that I must inform you that I have urgent matters that require my immediate attention---"
"---What? Donít you dare hang up this line, colonel! I happen to be the Viceroy and I insist on a complete and thorough explanation!"
"And I happen to be in the midst of a battle, Your Excellency! In an hour or so when we have a better picture of just whatís going on I will send over one of my officers to brief you. Now if youíll pardon me---"
"If you dare hang up this telephone I will see that you are----"
------Shelbourne Hotel (Dublin) 0440 hrs
Nils and Viveka were the Swedish married couple that had come from the Charles XII. Along with the other members of the Swedish volunteer expedition they had been perplexed that Dublin had not risen up yet. They did not think Charles XII could find a way to delay her departure past Tuesday afternoon and they did not know what they would do if there was no uprising before then. They suspected that the local police were likely keeping on eye on them and so like Norling they were felt it was dangerous to make inquiries about the Irish Volunteers. They were able to learn that there were rebels fightingósometimes alongside the Germans---in Munster but that seemed awfully far away. The local newspapers all made it seem that the Germans and the rebels were on their last legs. They secretly wondered if their whole mission was one big quixotic failure.
Then this morning Viveka was awakened early what sounded like gunfire She quickly woke up Nils as well. "Like good hosts they waited for us to arrive before starting the party," she told her husband half seriously in Swedish.
"What are we going to do? We are the only ones with firearms inside the hotel. We need to get word to Norling!"
"Why donít you go round up the others and bring them here? Leave your pistol here with me. We shouldnít take any action until weíre all together."
"Good idea, honey! Iíll go now."
"Lailaís room is on this floor. Go fetch her first then go get Bjorn and Carl."
Nils kissed his wife and left. Soon Laila arrived at the suite. The sounds of gunfire were more becoming frequent and some to seemed to be coming from the direction of St. Stephenís Green. Nervous guests were congregating in the hallways. Soon afterwards they could hear a D.M.P. officer shouting in the halfway, "Everyone please remain calm! We have everything under control! We must insist that everyone stay in their rooms for the time being. Please go back to your rooms now. Keep your curtains drawn and stay away from the windows and you should be safe."
Viveka had poked her head out of her door to see what was going on. Her English was fairly good so she could comprehend most of what was being said. She wore a very fluffy bathrobe with her pistol tucked in a pocket. The policeman was carrying a revolver. She bit her lip. This might make it difficult for the men to get back to her. Lailaís English was very spotty and she asked, "What was that all about?"
"We may have a small problem."
"Oh, and what does that mean?"
Viveka did not immediately answer. Suddenly her eyes lit up. "Next time there is a rifle shot that sounds close, let out a shriek, then collapse on the floor like youíve been shot."
"Just do it!"
Seconds later there was such a shot. "Now!" hissed Viveka gesturing with her right hand.
"AA-AY-YYYY!" shrieked Laila convincingly though with a puzzled look on her face. She then laid down on the Persian rug and curled up in a fetal position.
Viveka ran to the door and opened it again and yelled, "Police officer! Please help! My sister has been shot! Come quickly! She is badly injured!"
The policeman came rushing down the hallway. Other heads were poking out of their doors. "Stay inside! Stay inside your rooms! Iíll take care of this."
He ran into Vivekaís suite. She pointed to where Laila was groaning on the floor As the police officer trotted over to Laila and leaned over to examine her.. "Where were you hit, Maíam?" he asked, "I donít see any---"
Viveka had almost completely closed the door. She then sprinted up behind the policeman and clubbed the back of his skull as hard as she could with the hand grip of her pistol. Kathump! He crumpled forward unconscious.
"Viveka! What are your doing?" asked Laila who was not her sister and did not look anything like her.
"Get his pistol out of his holster!" Viveka ordered, "Now we have three. I do not know how long he will be out so we will have to tie and gag him."
"What will we tie him up with?"
"Uh, good question. Hmm. Let me see. I have some silk stockings perhaps they will do?".
Viveka went over to her luggage and looked for her stockings. Just as she found them a man suddenly burst into the room. In a reflex she turn and pointed her pistol. She nearly shot her husband!
"Viveka, Viveka! What is going on? Coming back here a guest told me that a woman in this room had been shot!" said Nils in Swedish. He was flustered and breathing hard having sprinted down the hallway.
"This policeman was going to be a problem. I fixed it. Give us girls a hand, dear. We need to tie him up."
Carl then entered the room followed a few seconds later by Bjorn. Nils suddenly noticed the unconscious policeman. "What did you do, dearest? On second thought, donít answer that. You and Laila will have to take care of him. Carlís room has a view of the park and we could see that the Irish rebels are now trying to storm this building. A few men with rifles firing from windows are holding them off so far I think we can take them out because we are inside but we must act quickly before the defenders are reinforced."
"Well now each of you will have a pistol."
"Oh. what would I ever do without you, my love."
------Bukovina 0500 hrs
The attack by Russian Ninth Army commenced with their artillery trying to draw those of the Hungarian defenders into a duel. It was mostly of 75mm Pulitov guns, but there were also 9 batteries of 122 mm howitzers and 2 batteries of 155 howitzers. .The Ninth Army in the back and forth campaign waged earlier in the year had held on to its positions along the Pruth River including Kolomea and Czernowitz. While Gen Lechitski, the commander of Ninth Army, was going to attack in several places, his initial attack would be most intense southwest of Czernowitz and south of Kolomea. Gen. Pflanzer-Baltin, the commander of the AustroHungarian Seventh Army had very limited artillery at his disposal and with some intelligence pointing towards a new enemy offensive ordered his subordinate commanders to avoid artillery duels and save their ammunition for the Russian infantry. A corps of Eighth Army was to participate in the offensive as well but Gen. Brusilov would not begin his attack for several hours.
From Kolomea Gen Lechitskiís attack consisted of XI Corps and XXX Corps against only a single Hungarian infantry division plus an independent Honved brigade and a cavalry division. From Czernowitz the Russian attack consisted of the III Caucasian Corps and XXXII Corps with the defenders being only a Honved infantry division and another independent brigade. In the Bukovina the Austro-Hungarian divisional fronts were considerably wider than elsewhere on the Eastern Front (and therefore were much wider than they were on the Western Front) so Pflanzer-Baltin tended to rely on well placed strong points more than continuous trench lines. The Hungarian batteries which had kept themselves well hidden when challenged by the Russian batteries made their presence known when the Russian infantry emerged. The Russian masses suffered serious losses from the shrapnel shells but bravely kept coming Soon machineguns tore into the charging Russian infantry inflicting additional losses but the defenders were too stretched to completely stop the Russian advance. In the Russian battalions chosen to lead the assault nearly all the men had a rifle---very unlike most of the Russian army at that time. In some places the Hungarian strong points drove off the attackers but in others they were eventually overwhelmed by the sheer weight of numbers though it took the Russians several hours to do so. In those sectors where the attack had been repelled the defenders now found themselves in danger of being outflanked and possibly encircled---or at least thought that to be the case. After several hours of heavy fighting the Seventh Army found itself in a broad retreat.
------General Post Office Dublin 0505 hrs
The 6th Battalion had grown to nearly 150 men with still more arriving almost continuously. "We need to take control of the Central Telegraph Office upstairs before we can go ahead with our planned attacks on Liberty Hall and the Amiens St. Train Station," Pearse decided, "but be extremely careful there may be more soldiers on guard up there."
So 8 Irish Volunteers tiptoed their war up the stairs with another 7 gathered to follow them if trouble ensued. The door to telegraph office was closed. The largest of the Fenians was assigned the task of kicking in the door. Before they could so they heard voices from inside saying, "We surrender!"
The rebels the looked at each other nervously.. "Go ahead, kick it!" one of them hissed. And so the large rebel did but the door did not yield. "Kick it again!" This time the door gave way and the rebels burst into the room to find 4 rifles pointing straight at them!
"Donít shoot! We surrender! We surrender!" shouted a corporal and the 4 soldiers then quickly laid down their rifles and raised their hands. It turned out that the men guarding the telegraph office had not been provided any ammunition whatsoever for a long while but earlier in the week the leader of a passing patrol on impulse decided to provide them with 3 clips "just in case.". The soldiers the rebels fought on entering the building were the three who had the clips including the sergeant in charge of the detachment.
Just as this was concluding the Countess Markievicz arrived with the lanky American poet at her side, demanding to see Pearse immediately. "Why did you not tell me in advance, Padraig?" she demanded to know, "Is your trust of the Citizen Army that low that you think you cannot afford to share your plans with us?
That was very close to being an accurate surmise on the part of the Countess but Pearse did not want to admit it. "Uh, we werenít completely sure that we were going through with this attack," he responded, "And if called it off at the last minute there was too much risk word would not reach you in time, Constance."
The Countess gave Pearse a stern look but after a minute her features softened and she sighed deeply, "I am not sure I believe that, Padraig, but I am not going to waste any more time right now arguiní with ya. I am glad that you finally took this momentous step forward. Word is now going out to the Citizen Army. I told them to assemble at Parnell Square. Do you think they will be safe there? My men have---I mean my men and women---have little in the way of firearms. Can you spare some weapons for them?"
Pearse forced a reassuring smile on his face, "Parnell Square should be safe. We happen to be short on weapons ourselves, Constance, but I will try to find something for your men."
"I will appreciate whatever you can do, Padraig." After the Countess said that she noticed a strange look in his eyes. "And just do you be thinkiní right now, Padraig?" she asked.
Even though it was already muggy May day Pearse was wearing a greatcoat. He reached into one of its pockets and extracted a folded parchment and waved it at Markievicz. "I have composed this document and together with five others I have chosen I have signed it. In a few minutes from now after our two flags are raised I intend to go out into O"Connell St. and read this document. However as the acting leader of Irish Citizen Army I think it would be fitting to have your signature on this document as well."
OBLACHT NA H EIREANN
IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.
Having organized and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organization, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organizations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment. She does not do this as lackey of her brave ally, the German Empire, which boldly made a perilous journey on her behalf but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory.
We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the last three hundred years they have asserted it to arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades-in-arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.
The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and all of its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past. The Republic welcomes the Germans as allies but not as a new set of masters. Let no one in Ireland had the slightest doubts on this matter! From now on our destiny is in our own hands.
Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent National, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provisional Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.
We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God. Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonor it by cowardice, in humanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valor and discipline and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.
Signed on Behalf of the Provisional Government
"You would let a woman be part of your provisional government?" she asked with wet eyes when had finished reading it, even though she immediately began reading it a second time this time slowly and reverentially as if it were a sacred scripture. .
"Yes, I think you have more than earned that right, Your Excellency."
The Countess leaned forward and gave him a brief kiss on his cheek. Even in the dim early morning light she could see him blush. From the corner of her eyes she could see Pound scowl jealously. Men could be so silly at times. "And if James Connolly were still here to lead the Citizen Army would you still be letting me do this?" she asked.
Pearse paused. "Well maybe not," he finally admitted sheepishly blushing still more.
Meanwhile the fighting in Dublin intensified. Dublin Brigadeís 4th Battalion had taken control of the South Dublin Union, a workhouse for the poor that lay to their west without too much difficulty but had failed miserably in an attack on the well defended rail station at Kingsbridge. Some of the Irish Volunteers of the 1st Battalion had crossed the Liffey and succeeded in breaking into the Mendicity Institute, which they quickly secured. They soon observed a company of Royal Irish Riflemen issuing out the Royal Barracks to their west. The Irish Volunteers waited until they had a good line of fire and opened up and soon sent the Ulstermen scurrying for cover.
The 2nd Battalion had broken into Jacobs Biscuit Factory and posted riflemen in its two towers which would serve as excellent sniper positions. They had a more difficult time at first in their attack on the Shelbourne Hotel but now the rifle fire coming from the hotel had suddenly ceased and a man waived a white flag out one of the windows. "Irishmen, Irishmen! Do not shoot!" yelled a voice with a thick Scandinavian accent, "We are friends from Sweden! Come quickly! The hotel is yours the taking for." At this the Irish Volunteers scrambled forward. The Swedes had not eliminated all resistanceóthere were still a pair of DMP in the lobby armed with revolvers but they had been issued too little ammunition and very quickly surrendered. Meanwhile to their south another company of Royal Irish Rifles had begun an attack out of Portobello Barracks. The weak outposts that the McAntee had set up were able to delay the enemy advance for a few minutes but were now forced to retreat back to the edge of St. Stephenís Green., where they had established barricades in the road and were digging trenches in the park.
------Froise Salient (Picardy) 0515 hrs
Despite the best efforts of the batteries of IV Army Corps the German 8th Infantry Division had suffered some additional casualties from both the British batteries and Dover Patrol. It was now attacked by 4 battalions of the British 6th Infantry Division. These had already been subjected to howitzer fire in their assembly areas and came under intense fire from 7.7 cm field guns as well as howitzers when they emerged. These inflicted losses which were soon compounded by the German machineguns. The Saxons were defended by hurriedly dug trenches and thin wire barriersóoften only a single strand. Despite serious losses some of the Tommies reached the Saxon trenches and a fierce melee ensued. For nearly an hour Duke Ernst had some cause for concern but in the end the enemyís gains were minimal and what little territory had been lost was recaptured within an hour with the help of minenwerfers.
------Carriganimmy (Cork) 0530 hrs
Light rain started after midnight in County Cork which had now tapered off to a cold dreary drizzle. The 53rd (Welsh) Division commenced its morning attack on the German and rebel Irish defenses at Carriganimmy with an artillery bombardment by 3 batteries of 18 pounder and 2 batteries of 15 pounder guns. They only fired shrapnel shells as that was all they had. The bombardment lasted only 15 minutes and consumed nearly all their shells. Visibility was less than ideal under current conditions so postponing the attack by at least an hour had been vigorously discussed. Gen Friend was extremely anxious to rescue the 16th Infantry Division and vetoed any postponement. The German batteries did not attempt to return fire and this was viewed as a positive omen.
When the shelling stopped, the infantry assault began. It consisted of 2 battalions from the North Wales Brigade and 2 more battalions from the 29th Brigade with a combined strength just under 3,000 men. These almost immediately came under fire from 7.7 guns. More seriously they had to contend with machineguns soon supplemented by rifles, including some of the Danish automatic rifles, from the trenches and strong points which the Germans had reinforced during the night. These defenses had suffered minimally from the British shelling. General Friend thought his attacking infantry would outnumber the Germans by more than 2 to 1 and that any rebel Irishmen alongside the Germans in the crude trenches would prove inconsequential. In reality there were nearly 2,200 Germans and more than 500 Irishmen in the forward position (only a dozen had bolted in panic during the shelling) with another Bavarian battalion and a pioneer company with light minenwerfers in reserve. So the attackers had only a slight numerical edge against an entrenched enemy of whom many were seasoned veterans. The wire barriers were thin but they were not insignificant since the British artillery had only cut it a little. Those attackers that made it through the wire were once again handicapped by the lack of a serious grenade. All they had were a few crude improvised bombs. More often they tried to clear the trench by bayonet but found the defenders too numerous. Even the Irish rebels were not easily dislodged as they often had quite a few shotguns at their disposal.
Eventually the 29th Brigade committed another battalion to the battle but by this time the attacking infantry had suffered heavy losses and it ended up making little difference. Soon afterwards word arrived from Gen. Friend to halt the frontal attack and try to find a way to outflank the German defenses through the steep foothills on either side of the valley. In a similar vein he also ordered the Welsh Border Brigade to detach one of its battalion and send it east to Banteer and then south towards Coachford.
------north of Compiegne 0600 hrs
The attack of the French Second Army went ahead as scheduled and essentially confirmed Petainís misgivings. The bombardment was insufficient to devastate the forward trench line of the German First Army nor were they able to dominate the German artillery as thoroughly as they had at the beginning of the offensive. The infantry battalions assigned to the assault were attacking uphill and suffered appalling casualties from shrapnel shells and artillery before it reached the largest uncut wire barriers. One of the two divisions participating in the assault was stopped completely. The other managed to advance 600 meters but reports come back to Petainís HQ led him to believe that they had lost so heavily in the assault they would soon give up most of their gain to the inevitable German counterattacks. Petain did not regard this as altogether bad as he usually found that he did more harm to the Germans during their counterattacks that he did in his own attacks, but he doubted that de Castelnau would share that viewpoint.
------near Nouvion (Picardy) 0630 hrs
Gen. Plumer had seriously considered askingóperhaps the more appropriate word is Ďbeggingí--- Field Marshal French to call off this morningís attack. If he could postpone the attack until Tuesday he could detach an entire brigade from II Army Corps, which had so far seen little action in the Second Battle of Crecy Forest and use them for his infantry assault. However this needed to be done carefully as the frontage of II Army Corps had been expanded when most of the Belgian 5th Division had been suddenly shifted at Smith-Dorrienís behest. It would also give him another day for more artillery shells to be delivered. His current stockpile of shells was adequate for defensive purposes but almost ridiculous for mounting an attack. Compounding his problem was the fact that an increasing proportion of those shells that did arrive from England were now going to First Army, ironically on account of Second Armyís partial success in reducing the ability of the Germans to interfere with the nocturnal supply shipments to the First Army. The end result was this morningís bombardment could only last 30 minutes and some batteries would not be participating until the last 15 minutes. Once again the Germans declined to duel with him, which was a sign confirming the reports of the aviators that Sixth Army still had most of its heavy artillery concentrated again First Army.
Only an eighth of the shells Second Army had available this morning were HE the rest were shrapnel. The Belgian batteries also participated for the entire half hour but their generals had warned Plumer that their stockpile was now getting dangerously close to exhaustion so this was really the last time they could lend assistance. The French XXXVI Corps was in worse shape and Gen. díOisselís guns would only participate in the last 15 minutes of the bombardment.
------Eskisehir (Anatolia) 0655 hrs
A small bus arrived at this very ancient city. Its passengers were 3 German officers, 4 German senior NCOís and 2 Bulgarian NCOís. Though all of them spoke Turkish when they stepped off the bus they were greeted by an Ottoman officer who spoke German fluently. "We are so glad you are here. Some of your pupils have already made it here and are most eager to begin their training."
"That is good to hear, but could you be more precise?" asked the senior German officer.
"Two battalions are here already. The third should be here in two more days. I understand another group of instructors is on its way---am I correct?"
"Yes, the rest of the instructors should be here by Thursday morning."
The concept behind this training facility had come from OKW and it was similar to the school they had opened in Bulgaria a few days ago. Once Bulgaria had committed itself to joining the Central Powers it had permitted small groups of German officers and NCOs to transit through their country. Some were staff officers sent to Istanbul but others were part of this mission and the Bulgarians added 2 sergeants fluent in both German and Turkish to assist. A new Ottoman regiment had been formed from specially selected volunteers. The Germans had wanted some dry prosaic name assigned to the unit but Enver Pasha had warmed immensely to the idea and so decided it should be called the Yldirim (Thunderbolt) Regiment
------near Nouvion (Picardy) 0700 hrs
The Second Army Ďs infantry assault this morning consisted of 4 battalions from the 1st Infantry Division, 3 from the 50th (Northumberland) Infantry Division, 4 from the 28th Infantry Division and 3 from the 48th (North Midland) Division. The French contribution was 5 battalions of the 67th Territorial Division. Two of the French battalions involved in the attack were close to full strength but the rest than only a little more than half strength so great had been the losses in the battle so far. Plumer doubted if any of the attacking divisions could can as much as 200 yards this day. He was only a tad too pessimistic. Both the 1st and 28th Divisions gained about 400 yards, largely because the Guard Corps which they had attacked was itself badly depleted by cumulative casualties and were relying more on firepower and manpower to defend their forward trench. The other 3 divisions made no gains that were able to hold for more than hour. Every single one of the attacking battalions this morning suffered massive casualties.
------Victoria Barracks (Cork) 0720 hrs
With the 3 armored cars in the van the procession of cars, trucks and buses which was now called the 3rd Kerry Battalion Motorized departed Victoria Barracks heading east. It had been drizzling since dawn in Cork, and Rommel was eager to get the 3rd Kerry Battalion on the road, in case the rain intensified. He had decided last night that he wanted to rename the battalion to be the 3rd Kerry Battalion Motorized. He wanted to do this because he felt he was blazing a path of innovation with his use of motor vehicles. With the addition of 2 small Irish Volunteers companies and the weapons sections from West Limerick Battalion barely half of his men came from Kerry but the OíRahilly had told him that the reputation of his battalion had already become so great that the men from the other counties were proud to consider themselves honorary Kerrymen.
Rommel had acquired more many vehicles since arriving in Cork, which was a good thing because some of the vehicles were no longer in working condition. Even at the level of an understrength battalion effective motorized warfare was much more than simply piling people into cars and buses. Motor vehicles were not extremely reliable at this time so it was necessary to anticipate breakdowns. Mechanics in this unit were in some ways more important than the machine gunners and pioneers. When a vehicle broke down it was highly desirable to have mechanics who could quickly determine if the problem could be fixed and how long it was likely to take. In his current circumstances it had necessary to leave disabled vehicles behind sometimes and Rommel was sure that he would need to abandon at least two more vehicles before this day was over. The O"Rahilly being the proud owner of a fancy automobile had been assigned the task of supervising the mechanics. Some of the other Irishmen, incl. Lt. Cummins, were demonstrating some knack at that function.
There were other considerations to this process as well, such as bringing along additional petrol in containers in designated trucks so the outfit would not be completely dependent on pilfering fuel at their destination. Given time Rommel was certain he could master all of them.
His helmet still felt snug.
------The Curragh (Kildare) 0725 hrs Monday 10 May, 1915
Gen. Hamilton just got off the telephone with Col. Kennard in Dublin. "That didnít sound good," remarked his chief of staff.
"It could be worse. There appears to no real threat that the rebels can take the major train stations, Kingstown harbor, the most important barracks, Dublin Castle, the Magazine Fort or the Viceregal Lodge."
"Shame about the last one, sir. Maybe if they concentrate all their forces they can take it. Make our life a lot easier if they did," remarked Braithwaite caustically. The Lord Lieutenant had been relentless in his demands and complaints all morning.
"Now, now we must show some proper respect to at least the office Curzon holds," chided Hamilton, "There was actually some threat for a while that the rebels might capture the main telephone exchange which wouldíve been very bad, but that situation has been rectified."
"So what exactly is the bad side of all this?"
"The rebels are holed up in some prominent buildings, St. Stephens Green and a portion of Trinity College. So far our efforts to dislodge them have largely failed. There are at least 1,000 of them so far and they seem to be growing. So unless the Germans completely collapse today I think weíre going to need a bigger army."
-------Ft. Westmoreland Spike Island (Cork) 0740 hrs
The six Royal Marines on sentry duty watched cautiously as a harbor boat crowded with men approached the landing dock on the northwest corner of Spike Island. An armed trawler had approached the harbor boat and let it pass. There were 2 constables on the foredeck of the harbor boat armed with rifles. There were a large number of men on deck with shackles on their arms and legs. A third of them were bandaged as well. "Looks like another haul of those despicable traitors," the sergeant told his men, "I hope the prime minister carries out his promise and hangs every last one of the filthy swine." The sergeant then took two Marines down to the landing dock
Approaching the boast one of the two constables, obviously the senior, stepped forward to greet him. "How many of these rodents are you bringing us this time?" asked the sergeant, "Your boat looks very crowded."
"There are exactly 77 prisoners on board," replied the constable, "because of the lack of space we left the more badly wounded ones back in Cork."
"Oh excellent! This is the largest haul to date. It must be a sign that the rebels are spent. Quite frankly I cannot understand why it is taking so bleediní long to pacify Cork. For a while it actually seemed like they were getting the better of our boys."
"You donít think the Prime Minister promise to kill them all has anything to do with it?"
"Hell now. As far as I am concerned the prime minister is absolutely one hundred and ten percent correct in what heís been saying. Treason is treason. And Iím sure it is scaring away the weakest of the malcontents. But it now seems that insanity runs rampant in Ireland, esp. here in Cork. Just look at that lot you got on that boat. They are insane buggers, every last bleediní one of them."
"Well ainít that the bleediní truth! But Iíll let you in on a little secret," said the constable with an odd smirk on his face that suddenly gave the constable a chill, "There happen to be some who are even more insane!"
"Well that is most certainly not a cheery thought. This bunch you brought looks crazy enough if you ask me. Though I think I know what youíre referring toósomething called the Sealgair Battalion. Not sure if I am pronouncing it right. I have heard some stories about those savages that will curdle your stomach, not that I am believing half of what I be hearing about that bunch. Uh, do you happen to know if any of your prisoners belong to these Sealgairs?" There was a small trace of nervousness in the sergeantís voice.
"Oh, no.. I donít think any Sealgair will ever surrender. If the prime minister wants to wage war with no holds barred that is just what theyíre going to give him until their very last breath! If they are down to their last bullet they will use it on themselves."
"That would make things simpler now wouldnít it?" replied the sergeant, still a tad uneasy, "though it does sound like you sort of admire these Sealgairs---whatever that silly name means."
"Perhaps I do admire them a little. Sealgair means Ďhunterí in Irish. Sort of like the German Jaeger or the French chasseur."
"Harrumph. I wonder what our German guests think of that!" remarked the sergeant, who then changed the subject before the constable could answer, "Well even if these prisoners arenít fanatics with delusions of being Jaegers we still need to escort them to their cells. My men here will take charge of them now."
The senior constable turned to the young constable still on the boat, "Barry! Go help these two Marines escort the prisoners to the fort then bring back the shackles."
The two Royal Marines and constable Barry led the prisoners off the boat, leaving only 2 sailors aboard the vessel. The seamen looked decidedly nervous. The fort was a six-sided bastioned structure built on top of a pronounced hill towards the southern portion of the island. The prisoners marched up the lone narrow access road. Men in leg irons do not move quickly.
After watching the column of prisoners for a while the sergeant resumed his talk with the senior constable, "You seem to have your ear to the ground over there. What have you been hearing about this young German officer who is leading all the rebels in Cork? I think his name is Rommel. Some claim his leadership is the main reason that the Cork Rising has lasted so long."
The constable hissed as his face scowled and darkened, "Oh there is indeed a pompous little piece of German snot named Rommel who tries to order the Irish around in Cork, but I also know for a fact that there are some rebel leaders who dunna put up with his shit. This Rommelís reputation is greatly exaggerated. Why when he was in Bandon he let himself get captured and it was the Sealgairs who had to go rescue him. Later they wished they hadnít."
"Hmm. Odd. So did you hear anything about this here Rommel bloke being involved in an attack on Fort Carlisle? That story has made some people pretty nervous around here."
"Worried about what? The rebels cannot possibly be a threat to any of the forts and here all by yourselves on your own little island, there surely is no risk at all."
"Thatís what I keep telling my men. Sometimes I have to tell myself as well. This fort is badly under manned at this time. Much of the garrison we had not too long ago has been sent to Cork City and Queenstown. They even took both of our machineguns with them."
"Aye, that certainly is a shame. We sure could use some more machineguns right now, eh?" replied the constable again with a bit of smirk that the sergeant found irritating. Suddenly the sergeant saw a large black bird fly over the island. "Look there, constable, isnít that a crow?" he asked the constable while pointing, "We donít usually see them out here in the harbor."
Meanwhile the column of Irish prisoners was entering Fort Westmoreland. Guarding the gate were two more Royal Marines armed with rifles who casually gazed at the prisoners with more contempt than concern. On entering the fort the column turned left towards the detention barracks which had been constructed out of what had previously been part of the casemates on the north wall of the fort. As they approached 2 more Royal Marines approached, a first sergeant armed only with a sidearm and another guard armed with a rifle.
"Oh this is very encouraging. Hopefully there will a lot more before the day is over," said the first sergeant rubbing his hands eagerly as he addressed the young constable, "We thank you very much for your assistance, constable. Will you be needing to take the shackles back to Cork?"
"We are short on restraints back in Cork right now, sergeant," answered the young constable, " so yes I need to bring the shackles back ."
The first sergeant turned to one of the Royal Marines, "Parker. Go fetch a cart and a pony for the constable to carry all the shackles."
The young constable began unlocking the shackles on the prisoners, putting the handcuffs in one pile and the leg irons in another. After they were freed the men either sat on the ground or squatted, except those with large bandages remained standing. They all looked expectantly at the constable. When Parker arrived with the cart more than half the prisoners had been unshackled. Parker began loading the shackles on the cart.
When he has down to the last 10 prisoners, all of the prisoners seemed to be watching the young constable very anxiously. Suddenly the constable stopped and looked around. He liked what he saw and winked at the prisoner he had just unshackled. He suddenly drew his revolver and shot the Royal Marine closest to him then yelled, "Sealgairs attack!"
At that the men who had been unshackled either drew pistols from their bandages or snub nosed revolvers taped to their calves. After shooting the guard Barry turned to the first sergeant and shot him in the lower jaw as he was reaching for his own sidearm. One of the Royal Marines aimed his rifle at Barry but was shot by one of the unshackled Sealgairs before he could fire. The Sealgairs who were still shackled all had keys on them and began to free themselves. Some of the Sealgairs stormed into the detention barracks where they killed two jailers. Once they found the keys to the cells they began to free the prisoners who joined them in the battle.
Back at the dock the moment Joe Flynn heard the sounds of gunfire he removed his sidearm and shot the sergeant with him. The man died quickly which disappointed Flynn who preferred to see him suffer greatly not just for being a damn Brit but for mentioning Rommel. The two Ďsailorsí that were visible topside on the harbor boat were Sealgairs as well and had pistols hidden on their person. One of them immediately ran towards where Flynn was to lend assistance. The other went below to summon 11 more Sealgairs armed with rifles and sawed off shotguns. Flynn had hoped the element of surprise would let him handle the other guards. He managed to wound one but the other two reacted quicker than expected and one of them hit him in the abdomen.
Flynn had never been very religious. He was more of a Roman Antiprotestant than a devout Catholic. When it came to pain though he did believe it was better to give than receive. When he felt the .303 tear into his intestines the pain and shock that would have disabled many a soldier mere doubled and then redoubled his hate. His already excellent marksmanship became almost preternatural. He wanted to shoot the balls off the Royal Marine who shot him and so he did. "You cannot kill me you motherfuckiní Prot!" he roared even though doing so intensified his own agony, "I am Joseph Aloysius Flynn anointed by the Blessed Mother Herself to be the bane of all Prots in Ireland.. ĎVengeance is Mineí sayeth Our Lady." By this time the Sealgairs from the boat arrived and the dock was secured. Despite his wound he led them personally to join in the fighting at the fort. There he took charge shrieking like a Banshee. Yelling "I am Death the Destroyer of Worlds!" at the top of his lungs he led the charge that took the casemated bastion with the 6" naval guns on the south side of the fort. As he did he took a second bullet but continued fighting. But when he took a third he immediately collapsed to the floor and passed out.
Later he awoke in a pool of blood and shit, mostly but not completely his own. He still felt pain but his rage remained infinitely stronger. He felt that if he could only hate enough he would survive his wounds. Tom Barry was leaning over him still in a constableís uniform. Barry had tears running down his face. "Joe, Joe, wake up, wake up, oh please donít die."
"News of my death is greatly exaggerated, Tom."
"Youíre alive! Youíre alive! We won, Joe, we won! We lost a lot of good men but have taken Fort Westmoreland. The men want to rename it Fort Flynn!"
"Fuck you, Rommel, you German wanker!" wheezed Flynn spitting up blood. Hate! I must hate more! Embrace the darkness. That will be my salvation. Our Lady of the Perpetual Hatred of Protestants will save me. Suddenly Flynn realized two incredibly sad facts of life. The first was that even hate had a limit. The second was that he was not immortal.
"It looks like the news was only a wee bit premature after all. Listen to me, Thomas me lad. Listen closely to what I am now goiní to tell you. St. Patrick chased the snakes out of Ireland so now you must remove the Protestant vipers out as well. Strangle as many of them as you can with yíer rosaries in honor of the Blessed Mother, whom we hold in such high esteem precisely because they hate her so. Remember your Irish and go to Church often, if you catch my drift"
Barry now could see that Flynn was plainly dying but refused to accept it. "Save your strength and stop talkiní, Joe. You must get better. You must! We need you to lead us."
Flynn coughed, wheezed and groaned. The searing fire in eyes was finally ebbing. There was only one more breath left in him.
"Darkness, more darkness."
I AM LEAVING
"As my readers know by now I have been positively overjoyed that the German Navy has returned to our shores and I had given the strongest possible support to the spontaneous popular movement that wishes to use this blessed opportunity to send American volunteers to Europe to fight for the just cause of the Central Powers, presumably in Ireland. It should come as no surprise to anyone with half a brain---or even a tenth of a brain---that President Wilson is beside himself with anger at this. He regards this development as a gross violation of American neutrality while he has consistently done an imitation of Admiral Nelson at Copenhagen when it comes to Americans running off to Canada to go fight for the Entente.
In advocating that as many American males as possible should join the volunteer brigade being assembled there is one argument that I will now admit has given me some pause. It is the argument that goes, ĎIf this is such a good idea why arenít you going, Henry?" I have in fact been hard pressed to find a sufficient answer to this and keep seeing myself as being akin to the rabid Prohibitionist who keeps his own pint of Bourbon hidden away in his desk drawer. After considerable cogitation I have concluded that there is one and only one solution to my conundrum.
I am going as well."
----"The Long Lance" H.:L. Mencken Baltimore Sun Monday 10 May 1915
------OKW Berlin 0805 hrs May 10, 1915
Before coming to OKW to replace Gen. von FranÁois, Gen. Konrad Krafft von Delmensingen had been Prince Rupprechtís chief of staff at Sixth Army. The intelligence section of Sixth Army had been experiencing some success in breaking some low level British codes. Upon coming to OKW he had been able to slowly expand that operation. This had been moderately useful in organizing the U-Boats which were trying to disrupt the BEFís line of communication to England. This morning one intercepted wireless transmission had him particularly intrigued so much so he ended up being slightly late for a meeting with Moltke and Tirpitz.
"I am sorry that I am late, Feldmarschal," Krafft said apologetically but I just learned some very important intelligence bearing on Operation Unicorn, "It appears that the Irish rebels in Dublin have finally begun their long awaited insurrection. Here is a copy of the intercepted and decoded wireless transmissions." He handed a copy of the decoded message to von Moltke, who looked haggard with a sickly complexion.
"Well finally it is happening," said von Moltke with tepid enthusiasm before passing the message over to von Tirpitz, "but I wonder if it is now too late for it to do any good."
"It is not too late!" von Tirpitz replied, "Instead it comes at a very good time. There were two other developments of great importance that Gen. von FranÁois reported to this HQ after midnight---the destruction of the British 16th Infantry Division and the capture of Ft. Carlisle. Together with the Dublin rising these demonstrate that a turning point has been reached in Operation Unicorn."
"I became quite fond of Hermann when he was here, grossadmiral, but he does exaggerate his own accomplishments sometimes---though admittedly there are some other German generals who are just as bad if not worse."
"Your melancholy is clouding your judgment, Feldmarschal! Operation Unicorn can still succeed, but we must act quickly. Now is the time to send the second wave! Otherwise what Admiral von Spee is undertaking in New York will end in a mixture of tragedy and farce while von FranÁois runs out of ammunition. "
"I admit Speeís situation is problematic, but we have some stopgap alternatives to sending the second wave as far as the ammunition problem is concerned."
"All of which are risky and inadequate!".
Moltke took his time replying. His face went through a variety of different frowns and grimaces. Finally he shrugged then sighed deeply, "Look here, Alfred, I can still be persuaded about the second wave, but I will require more information. For one thing, we have no idea of the how big this revolt at Dublin is. Even more important we are still very unclear about the situation at Cork and the just as importantly the harbor at Queenstown. Carlisle is one of four forts, we need to know is there is any hope of taking some or all of the rest before we send the second wave. When von FranÁois gives us answers to these questions ---and an update on the size of the Irish Republican Army, then I will reach a decision."
"It will take several hours to get that information."
"Yes, I imagine it will. So be it. You are not going to intimidate into making a hasty decision on this matter, Alfred! There are certain preliminary steps you can take to prepare the second phase. Summon von Ingenohl and von Hipper; redeploy the U-Boats; begin the minesweeping. As long as they are not of an irreversible nature you get them started. We will reconvene in the evening to further discuss developments and maybe---I repeat maybeóreach a decision."
------GPO Dublin 0820 hrs
Elements of the 6th Battalion had been able to take a portion of Trinity College capturing 60 rifles used by the cadets of the University Officer Training Corps there Pearse now decided he give half of those rifles to the Citizen Army, which were desperately in need of firearms. The Countess again gave him a quick peck on the cheek which provoked another series of fierce scowls from Ezra Pound. Pearse was pleased with the turnout so far. Despite some casualties the 6th Battalion now had an effective strength of 360 men while the recent reports indicated that more than 400 men had mustered in both the 1st and 4th Battalions and nearly 500 in 2nd Battalion. Markievicz had reported that roughly 150 members of the Citizen army had assembled so far as well despite being brough late into the game. There was some discussion with her of where best to deploy the Citizen Army and they eventually decided on St. Stephenís Green and the Shelbourne Hotel which was currently held by a portion of 2nd Battalion, but was under pressure by British troops moving north out of Portobello Barracks.
There was one development that greatly saddened Pearse. Believing that the police had been removed from the streets many of Dublinís residents had begun to take advantage. Children of all ages descended on the candy shops such as Norbettís and Lemonís filling their faces until they were sick. Even though it was the wee hours pubs and liquor stores were quickly plundered as well. Looters emerged from clothing stores wearing 2 more layers of clothes than they entered despite it already being a muggy day. ."We cannot tolerate lawlessness. We are revolutionaries not a bund of petty thieves," Pearse told the battalion commander, who in turn ordered his men to fire over the heads of the looters. This caused the looters to scurry for cover but eventually the bolder of them decided to call the rebelsí bluff.
"We will make them stop! They are shaming Ireland!" yelled Pearse, "We are the government of free Ireland. We will have order not anarchy! Do not shrink from doing what is necessary."
At this time Markievicz approached and remonstrated with Pearse, "What are you sayiní Padraig? Have you forgotten how the working men and women of Dublin were treated two years ago? Dunna you think they have earned a right to some just compensation? I am part of your government as well you know. You tell us we need to conserve our ammunition and now you tell us to use our precious bullets to slay our own countrymen. Where is the sense in that?"
Pearse thought it over and decided for the time being not to shoot the looters, but ordered posters put up ordering the citizens of Dublin to respect private property. Nevertheless two looters were shot---one fatally--by some of the Irish Volunteers of 1st Battalion. Elsewhere in portions of Dublin safe from the rebels constables shot 4 more and arrested others, often beating them mercilessly with their batons in the process.
Much of the city descended into chaos. .
------southeast of Glengariff (Cork) 0830 hrs
Until this morning West Cork Battalion of the Irish Republican Army had seen only limited action so far. While the Bavarian Jaeger Regiment tried to disengage from the Beara Peninsula after the debacle at Berehaven it was called in to divert the attention of the 1/5th battalion York and Lancaster Regiment which had been pursuing the Jaegers. This took the form of a series of skirmishes in the vicinity of Glengariff and not a full scale battle. The 1/5th York and Lancaster had been ordered to make the protection of Berehaven naval base their highest priority so they made no serious effort to leave the Beara Peninsula. Meanwhile lightly armed trawlers in Bantry Bay would sporadically shell rebel concentrations causing a very limited number of casualties.
The West Cork Battalion currently consisted of 4 rifle companies, a small cyclist platoon and a newly formed machinegun section with a pair of formerly Russian Maxims. The 1st and 2nd rifle companies had 3 platoons each and were concentrated in an entrenched defensive position of the Glengariff Road at a spot out of sight from Bantry Bay. The 3rd company had only 2 platoons and was assigned to guard the Pass of Keimaneigh further east on the Glengariff Road. The 4th battalion was stationed at Bantry further to the south and had only 2 platoons as well. Men who joined the company were initially assigned to the 3rd platoon of the 4th company for 2 days of intensive training if they had been in either the Irish Volunteers or National Volunteers and 3 days if not. After that they were evaluated. The least fit for combat were assigned to the support company at Bantry where the women were automatically assigned as well. The rest were then reassigned to the either the 1st platoon or 2nd platoon in the 4th company for more training then eventually moved to one of the other 3 companies in the battalion. The support company at Bantry also included the women and least qualified men from the newly formed South Cork Battalion at Dunmanaway to the east.
The West Cork Battalion now had its biggest test to date because
they were blocking the key road leading to Macroom and so were being attacked by
the 1st South Western Mounted Brigade. There had been probes by the
vanguard yeomanry since dawn. The British decided it was necessary to use their
horse artillery battery and so all four of the 13 pounders now commenced a 10
minute bombardment. The shrapnel shells did little harm to defendersí trenches
and none at all to the 2 strong points. The single strand of barbed wire was cut
in a few places. The Irish troopsómost of whom had experienced shelling by the
British trawlers previously did not bolt in panic. The dismounted cavalry of the
1/1st Royal Wiltshire Regiment, a quarter of whom had to remain
behind to hold the horses, were roughly equal in numbers to the defenders. The
rifle fire coming from the trenches was more rapid and more accurate than
expected and as a further shock it was joined by a pair of machineguns.
When the Bavarian Jaegers withdrew from this area they had left a platoon behind at Bantry. Learning of the British attack these had hurried north to reinforce the Irishmen but by the time they got there the British assault had been repelled without much trouble and all they ended up doing was patting their Irish allies on the back and reminded them that enemies did not always give up when their first attack fails.
------10 Downing St. London 0835 hrs
Lord Kitchener had been summoned to brief the War Committee. "Two weeks ago I stood before Commons and promised them that the German invasion would be completely eliminated by today. Now not only are the Germans still hanging on but there comes word of an insurrection in Dublin! Can you please shed some light on the situation there, Lord Kitchener," railed an irate Bonar Law.
Kitchener returned an equally hard state, "I have on prior occasion, Prime Minister, made it abundantly clear that Lord Curzon is dangerously insane and you should ship him off to an asylum and throw away the key for the good of the Empire. I have also stated categorically that Secretary Birrell is grossly negligent so much so that he should tried and sternly punished, possibly executed. Those two knaves are directly responsible for the revolt in Dublin."
"And so Gen. Hamilton is completely blameless in this matter?" asked Lloyd-George, who was not as visibly angry as the Prime Minister but far from being happy.
"Yes, Chancellor I would say so. We do have a problem with Gen. Stopford though. It now turns out that he might have been a poor choice for VII Army Corps and are seriously considering replacing him in the next day or two. However I would point out that Gen. Stopfordís supposed incompetence relates only to the problems we are having at Limerick and Athlone and not to what is happening in Dublin."
"And just what is happening in Dublin, Lord Kitchener?" asked Bonar Law.
"Some poorly armed rebels attacked at first light and have managed to seize some prominent buildings in the heart of Dublin, but we retain control of the major barracks and rail stations."
"You said Ďsomeí rebels. Is it at all possible for you to be more specific as to their number, Lord Kitchener?" asked Lloyd-George.
Kitchener paused a few seconds before responding, "General Hamiltonís preliminary estimate is that the rebels in Dublin probably number more than 1,000 men but definitely less than 2,000 men, prime minister"
"If that is all there is, it shouldnít be too bad," remarked Carson, "So at worst twice is twice the size of the rebel band we eliminated without much difficulty in Galway. Do we have any sense how well armed the rebels are in Dublin, Lord Kitchener?"
"And for that matter why do they have any arms at all?" added Bonar Law, "I thought we had disarmed both the Irish Volunteers and the National Volunteers."
Kitchener took his time replying, "What I have been told so far is that some of the rebels are armed with rifles, but the overwhelming majority do not. Some of those without rifles have shotguns. The majority are armed only with pistols and pikes."
"This may not be all that serious then," Carson speculated, "in fact in light of what youíve said so far I think the situation at Cork remains a graver concern at this time. We have been telling ourselves repeatedly that the rebels at Cork were on the verge of collapse. Instead it appears that they have seized the initiative, and have even penetrated Great Island with fighting occurring on the outskirts of Queenstown. And what is even more disturbing is that I learned this morning just before coming here that they have apparently taken Fort Carlisle, one of the key harbor defense forts---and that fort is on the eastern side which makes it all the more incomprehensible."
"There must be a greater German presence in Cork than we thought," Bonar Law speculated.
"There are some reports coming from Gen. Hamilton of German cavalry in Cork, prime minister." Kitchener responded.
"Hmm. Saturday morning we thought our only problem was not being able to finish off the Germans by the end of today, our self imposed deadline. I had supper at Buckingham Palace last night at told the king with what I thought was the utmost sincerity that victory in Ireland was only a matter of time and we did not need to send any further reinforcements," said Bonar Law, "But the rebellion persists against all expectations at Cork and Athlone and now there are some additional fires to put out, Lord Kitchener, and I must wonder if Gen. Hamilton has enough strength to quickly extinguish them all."
"Gen. Hamilton is still optimistic that once the reinforced 53rd Infantry Division joins with 16th Infantry Division they can finish off the 6th Bavarian Division. However he now worries that the rebellion is intensifying and his reserves are now stretched. He anticipates that he will be forced to further weaken his forces besieging Limerick just at the point they are starting to make some progress. For that reason he feels obliged to request further reinforcements."
"And do you concur with this request, Lord Kitchener?"
"Yes, I most certainly do, prime minister. In my estimation part of Gen. Hamiltonís problems is that he has overestimated the effectiveness of both 10th and 16th Division, esp. the latter. In both those divisions I am convinced that some of the men and even some of the officers secretly harbor some measure of sympathy for the rebellion and this makes the whole division unreliable."
"That is a rather bold assertion, Lord Kitchener," Lloyd-George remarked, "Do you have any concrete evidence supporting it?"
Kitchener answered with a hard state then answered, "The results speak for themselves, Chancellor. I might add that Gen. Hamilton is now seriously considering sacking Gen. Mahon as well. He is also very much dissatisfied with Gen. Stopford but I do wonder if Gen. Hamilton is blaming him too much for problems stemming from the shortcomings of the 10th and 16th Divisions and have instructed him to hold off on Stopfordís removal."
"But the bottom line is that you do see a need to send additional reinforcements to Ireland, Lord Kitchener?"
"Yes, I do, prime minister. At least another brigade plus a battery in case it becomes necessary to use artillery in Dublin."
"What units do you suggest?"
"One of the brigades belonging to the 52nd (Lowland) Division along with the field battery from the same division, prime minister."
"I feel in our current situation we need to send them as quickly as possible," Bonar Law decided, "How long do you expect that to take Lord Kitchener?"
"They should be arriving at Kingstown in the early afternoon tomorrow, prime minister."
"If His Majesty becomes greatly upset over this weakening of our home defenses we can blame the uprising in Dublin," said Carson, "even though I think the revolt there will not amount to much. The use of artillery may not prove necessary there."
"The revolt in Dublin has political ramifications nevertheless and for that reason needs to be crushed as rapidly as possible. I am not in the least bit squeamish about using artillery in Dublin. If Cork continues to be a problem we should commit field artillery there as well," said Bonar Law.
"Perhaps the Attorney General should hold off on trying MacNeill until the rising is eradicated," Lloyd-George remarked, "MacNeillís execution would only serve to make things worse."
"On the contrary, Chancellor, it would serve to remove any remaining doubts about the seriousness of our intent to punish the rebels with the maximum severity!" answered the prime minister.
Lloyd-George hesitated then said in a cautious tone, "I must point out that the growing chorus of voices here in London which have been criticizing our policy are going to point to the Dublin rising as label it as proof that our policy is not working. If we execute MacNeill and the revolt subsequently intensifies they will view that as additional confirmation."
Bonar Law gave Lloyd-George a stern look, "I starting to pick up some hints that you are starting to have some doubts of your own about our policy, Chancellor."
Lloyd-George attempted a disarming grin, "The policy that was intended to sharply discourage further growth of the rebellion has failed to achieve the desired results. At Cork and Athlone the rebels defy us and even achieve some measure of success which we still refuse to acknowledge. Meanwhile in Commons many have started to ask if the Empire really intends to execute what some now believe could end up being as many as 10,000 rebels."
"Reverting to your old sentimental affectations, eh, Chancellor?" Kitchener mocked, "War was never your cup of tea, now was it?"
Bonar Law was angry with Lloyd-George but he now turned some of his wrath on Kitchener as well pointing his finger sternly at him, "There shall be no more of that, Lord Kitchener!"
"How many we end up executing is one matter," interjected Carson, "Given the numbers we are now talking about my own position has begun to soften somewhat. Once the Germans have been eliminated I can see us letting off most of the rebels with long prison sentences, but those who served as leaders must be executed for treason. Furthermore we cannot afford to show any measure of mercy as long as the Germans remain a threat in Ireland. So we have not one but two very strong reasons which justify the prompt execution of MacNeill."
"Even you, Sir Edward? Does the Ulster Volunteer Force know how you feel about the traitors?"" jibed Kitchener, "They will be very happy to know how you now heed the counsel of Pope Benedict."
"Lord Kitchener, I have warned you already!" thundered Bonar Law.
Andrew is in a foul mood today Lloyd-George observed and Kitchener of course is doing his best to make things worse. Part of me feels that executing MacNeill will likely be a mistake but how big a mistake? If his martyrdom merely inspires a few hundred more poorly armed Dubliners to join the pathetic farce of a rebellion it is of scant consequence. What would be far worse would be to let this session dissolve any further into rancor. I worked damn hard to create this government and know bloody well how much my own fate is now riveted to it. "Prime Minister, the situation is Ireland has understandably made us all very tense," he said, "but please I ask that we not take our frustrations out on each other. The fate of Great Britain rides on what we decide in these sessions. In regards to our general long term policy towards the rebels, that discussion can and should wait for a latter day. As for MacNeill I have raised the possibility that we should consider instructing Smith to postpone MacNeillís trial for a few days but do not wish to see our internal harmony sundered and am more than willing to yield to my colleaguesí superior understanding of the nuances of Ireland."
Bonar Law was moved the Chancellorís attitude and his expression softened, "Oh, I greatly appreciate those words, Chancellor and on further reflection maybe moving MacNeillís trial to tomorrow morning and his execution to Wednesday at dawn would be best. The revolt in Dublin could well be over by then and even if some dying embers of it are still burning our reinforcements would have arrived. Do you have any objections, First Lord?"
"If the First Lord doesnít I certainly do, Prime Minister---" said Kitchener.
The hardness returned to Bonar Lawís features, Ď---you are not a formal member of this committee, Lord Kitchener. I was addressing Sir Edward and it is his response that concerns me at this moment!"
Kitchener reverted to being sullen and Carson cleared his throat, "Ahem, on further thought I do not see where a delay of a single day would make an appreciable difference either way, Andrew. So I have no objection to your suggestion. As the Chancellor says we need to maintain our unity and composure at this trying time."
------Kingstown (Dublin) 0850 hrs
Pearse had sent orders for the companies of Irish Volunteers at Blackrock and Kingstown to assemble and unite then attempt to take Kingstown and its small naval base. It took some time for these orders to be transmitted through 3rd Battalion and then implemented. When they were the united the two companies advanced on Kingstown only to find it more than adequately defended by a mixture of Royal Irish Riflemen, Royal Marines and R.I.C. A series of small fire fights ensued on the outskirts of the harbor along the road leading to Dublin. The Volunteers lacked the strength to take the port but they were for the time being isolating it.
The men on the Charles XII had been unloading their cargo of matches when they thought they could hear the sounds of gun fire in the distance. Finally a foreman approached Dr. Norling and told him, "I am sorry to report that there is going to be some delay in completing the delivery of your cargo, Dr. Norling. Some of those damn Sinn Feiners have decided to do the Hunsí bidding and are causing some problems. The army will of course crush that sorry lot but it is going to take some time, doctor."
"How many rebels are there and where are they?" asked Norling excitedly.
"I havenít been told how many, but they are not strong enough to take the harbor if thatís what youíre worried about. Theyíre blocking the road to Dublin and have torn up a section of the railroad"
"Is there anything more you can tell me about the rebels?"
"Uh, stay on your ship and you should be safe," replied the foreman now with a trace of irritation, "Donít get it into your heads that it might be fun to watch some fighting and wander off. Stay on your ship. The constables may arrest you if they find you in certain areas. You wouldnít want that, now would you?"
It dawned on Norling that his inquisitive attitude was starting to make the foreman suspicious. "You are right, sir. We did not come all the way to Ireland to get arrested."
"Good, I will come back when I know more. Good day to you, sir."
As soon as the foreman and his workers departed, Norling assembled his crew below deck. They brought out the box of rifles and shotguns out from the coal, but most of the men only had pistols. Dr. Norling half emerged and took a quick look around.
"No one is watching us now," he told his men, "Letís go!"
With Dr. Norling leading the platoon of Swedish volunteers stormed out onto the deck and then down on to docks. Soon some of the civilians took note of them and realized something was very seriously amiss. There werenít too many women hanging around the docks but soon one of the few who were screamed. Norling didnít have a real plan and he now alternated between the idea of linking up with the rebels outside and fantasies of capturing the entire port themselves. They ran around in some confusion drawing the attention of a first a few constables and then some Royal Marines. Two of Norlingís men were killed and two more wounded. After that they managed to break into a pub not far from the docks. They were disappointed when the pub owner expressed nothing but contempt for the cause of Irish independence and so they ordered him out of his own establishment. As he left an over eager Royal Marine sniper fired a round that shattered his right kneecap. The owner lay screaming in the street while the British who now realized their mistake were unable to come to his aid. Eventually the pub owner crawled his agonized way to safety and snatched by a medic.
The port of Kingstown had been the main supply line to Britain for their forces in Ireland and for the time being the rebels had rendered it temporarily inoperative.
------GQG Chantilly 0900 hrs
Clemenceau had returned to pay Gen. Joffre another visit. Mercifully the general managed to finish breakfast before the bane of his existence arrived. "Second Army has made very little progress in the last few days," Clemenceau griped, "even though Gen. de Castelnau assured me that the attacks would continue with the utmost determination Has he gone back on his word?"
"No, premier, he has not. There was a major attack Saturday and another is underway as we speak."
"But none yesterday? Did Friar de Castelnau feel obliged to observe the Sabbath? I have an overall favorable opinion of Gen. de Castelnau but I am frankly troubled by his disgustingly intense Catholicism."
"I do not think that was the reason for the pause. There are some perfectly valid reasons for taking a break during an offensive, such as regrouping, reconnaissance, bringing forward supplies and reinforcements---if you had attended a senior officers training school you would understand what I am talking about."
After a few seconds Clemenceau exploded, pointing his finger at Joffre, "How dare you insinuate that I know nothing about military operations!"
As that was precisely the impression he wanted to give, Joffre decided to remain silent and not reply to that. Clemenceau glared daggers at him for nearly a minute his nostrils flaring, then in a slightly softer voice asked, "How is this morningís attack progressing?"
"It takes a while for reports to work their way up the chain of command, premier. Some preliminary reports from Second Army should reach us about two hours from now."
"I expect to be notified immediately when this happens. I am beginning to wonder if part of Second Armyís problems is Petain. I know he has performed well in some battles but he has a markedly defeatist attitude and I regard defeatism as Franceís greatest problem at this critical juncture in the war."
"I too have mixed opinions about Gen. Petain, who seldom shows true French ťlan," Joffre conceded, "But I think it would be less than fair to blame him for Second Armyís difficulties. The main problem is that the Germans have reinforced their First Army, mostly by rail."
"But how can they afford to do that? They have a major attack underway against the British First Army. They committed several divisions to the invasion of Serbia And they are not completely passive against the Russians right now either, with some fighting going on around Kovno. They have even invaded Ireland! All of this from an army that has suffered huge casualties in the war to date. How is this possible?"
"But yes, it is a bit of a mystery, premier."
"Ah, but on the contrary it is no mystery at all! They must be manning the front line in France with badly understength units. When we attack in one sector they rush some so called firemen units there, and yes I agree that the accursed Boche are very good at using their railroads. This explains why they think they can away with 3 regiment divisions! There is no other explanation."
Joffre took his time before saying, "It is I admit a partial explanation, premier but---"
"---but what, general?" Clemenceau interrupted, "What else is there that only someone who has attended senior officers school would know?"
Joffre took his time replying, "The Germans try to compensate for their serious shortage in manpower by relying heavily on equipment---artillery, mortars, machine guns, barbed wire and field fortifications."
"As for their heavy artillery and mortars they only have so much and we know it is being used heavily in Picardy, Serbia and Lithuania It is another reason that we should expand our attacks to other sectors of the front. I have already decided upon a new attack out of Verdun. I now think we should mount one more attack as well---perhaps the Montagne de Reims with an eye to liberating Reims soon.."
"I must point out once again, premier, that we simply do have enough artillery shells to support multiple simultaneous offensives at this time. Second Army expended a great many shells in the beginning of the Compiegne attack, which contributed to our success there."
"Yes, I realize that the initial phase of secondary offensives will suffer. But once they have broken the hard crust of the German forward trenches the Boche will have too few reserves to counter every penetration. In at least one sector there will be complete rupture we need."
Papa Joffre paused again. He too had been wondering about the same sort of ideas Clemenceau was proposing, but his conclusions were more ambivalent. The one reason that tipped the scales against the idea was that he knew Gallieni would likely oppose the idea and stood a good chance to replace him if all of the multiple attacks failed badly. However if there were a plausible scapegoat available then it might be worth a try he thought if it succeeds France wins but even if it fails then the Tiger is destroyed and Gallieni remains a mere gadfly.
Hmm. Cannot make this too obvious though so I must put up some resistance. So what he said was, "I must object strongly, premier. It is already a strain to mount the offensive out of Verdun on the 22nd as you have ordered. Launching an attack in the Montagne de Reims this month will make things even worse."
"No, we must strike while the Falkenhayn is still preoccupied with the British and that battle is likely to be winding down soon. So I want the Verdun offensive and the Montagne de Rheims offensive to both begin on the 17th, a week from today. With two other simultaneous offensives the attack in Montagne de Rheims should not need that much strength---though I do not want it to be considered as a mere feint. This coming week is going to be very busy for both of us. I am not planning on getting much sleep this week and neither should you."
This is too much! This monster is doing this deliberately to aggravate me! "One week is not possible, premier for several reasons. Let me start by bringing up the shell situation one more time," replied an incensed Joffre.
"It is a problem but I have a solution! We have too many shells lying around in the inactive sectors---including the forts. I view this as a sign that despite all your bluster, Gen Joffre, the French Army has lost its offensive sprit. It is doubly ridiculous right because the Germans are incapable of attacking us at this time. If we transfer half of those shells to the attacking armies we will have enough. We should move some of the guns as well."
Before Joffre could respond there was a knock on the door. "Gen. Joffre I am sorry to disturb you," came the voice of a major in the intelligence section, "But we have just received some intelligence you and the premier may want to see. May I come in, general?
"No, wait until this meeting is over," yelled Joffre, "and do not disturb us again."
Eager to show that he outranked Joffre, Clemenceau yelled, "If this is news about Second Armyís attack come in immediately."
"Uh, no, it is not, premier. It is about Ireland."
"Oh, that," replied Clemenceau, "I am not interested in details concerning Ireland at this time but could you just tell us in a sentence or two what happened?"
"Uh, but of course, premier. The British have just informed us that a rebellion has started in Dublin."
Wishing to reassert his authority, a livid Joffre yelled, "Thank you for giving us that information, Major. You may leave now. Do not disturb us again."
"Unless there is news about Second Army, in which case I expected to be notified immediately.," commanded Clemenceau still trying to demonstrate his authority..
"Uh, but of course, premier."
Turning back to Joffre Clemenceau remarked, "Ireland again! When I first heard about the invasion of Ireland I was happy for two very different reasons. First because I thought it was a big mistake on the part of the Boche but also because it would make the insensitive British finally understand what it is like to have oneís sacred soil violated. But I no longer like hearing about Ireland. I thought M. Bonar Law promised everyone that it would be all over by today. I do wish that would come to pass but it is now clear that he is going to be very tardy on delivering that promise of his/"
"Yes, it would seem so. My staff has had increasingly strong doubts the last few days that the campaign would be over so soon. Still I remain confident that the British will ultimately prevail; it is only a matter of how soon. I am sort of baffled by why the revolutionary element in Dublin waited until now to rise up. My staff thought that if they were going to do so at all they would have done it a lot sooner."
"Ah, so you think it is only a coincidence, general?"
Huh! "Uh, I am afraid I do not follow, premier. Just what is this coincidence!"
"Oh, the pope gives a speech defending the Irish traitors yesterday and this morning there is a revolt in Dublin."
------Athlone (Westmeath) 0915 hrs
The 16th battalion Royal Irish Rifles which had been fighting the rebels in the eastern portion of Athlone was now reinforced with the 10th Royal Irish Rifles. The 16th Royal Irish Rifles had in the last day experienced a problem in that a band of the rebels had intercepted two supply wagons bringing it food and ammunition. The 10th battalion when it arrived shared some of its ammunition with the 16th battalion. They now attacked together taking care to stay away from the train tracks and therefore the armored train which had caused them considerable grief in the past. They ejected the rebels from two key buildings on the edge of the town, took a few prisoners and removed one of the rebel barricades.
River boats had brought the 1st Athlone Battalion a pair of former Russian Maxims and an instructor a few hours earlier. The instructor was giving the men selected for the machinegun detachment some lessons when the Royal Irish Riflemen launched their latest attack. When he learned of the attack he took one of the crew and set them up in a brick building with a good line of fire. In the meantime the 8.8 cm guns on the armored train came into action while a company of reinforcements arrived from the 2nd Athlone Battalion to the west. The attack of the Royal Irish Rifles soon stalled out though rifle fire was exchanged well into the afternoon.
------Gondar (Abyssinia) 0920 hrs
There had been a heavy rainstorm at Gondar which had abruptly cleared. Except for a few overloaded wagons of their supply column which where still struggling their way up the mountain roads all of the British expedition had arrived at Gondar. Gen. Noel Lee had just emerged from a meeting between his staff and their Abyssinian allies and was briefing Sir Ronald Graham on what had transpired.
"Was either Empress Zauditu or her husband present?" Graham wanted to know.
"No. Hapte Giorgos was there and pretty much ran the whole show on their side," replied the general, "I take it that her absence continues to worry you?"
"Yes it does as it remains painfully obvious that Hapte Giorgos does not want her communicating with us even indirectly. So what was decided? How soon do we march out?"
"Our plan turns out to be refreshingly simple and straightforward. Hapte Giorgos has some reliable intelligence that more than half of Iyasuís army is currently encamped in the vicinity of Dessie. Our combined force will march on Dessie and engage the enemy there. Our battalions are being readied now and we should start leaving in less than two hours."
"Do we know why Iyasuís army is at Dessie? Is he planning to come here to attack?"
"Hmm. Iyasuís initial aims appears to be to receive an arms shipment coming south from Eritrea. He may intend to come here afterwards."
"Wouldnít it be easier if we stayed here and awaited his attack? I can see advantages to being on the defensive in this rugged terrain."
The general frowned, "Well yes that is partially true, but we cannot blithely assume that Iyasu will oblige and come here forthwith, Sir Ronald. Our orders from Gen. Maxwell are to defeat Iyasuís army and take Addis Ababa."
"I am well aware of those orders. I also now that there were to be two other expeditionary forces converging on the Abyssinian capital, We now know that the southern force has turned back and so far the eastern force has been bottled up in Somaliland on account of the Mad Mullah. Lastly there is word that Tafari may have decided to back Iyasu after all."
"Yes, but we have now secured a treaty of alliance with Zauditu, whose army is larger than Tafariís and had broader support. I have the utmost confidence in our plans. There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that we can and will prevail over Iyasu at Dessie, which is preferable to having to lay siege to a partially fortified Addis Ababa. In fact my greatest concern at this time is the possibility that Iyasu---or what is more likely his more prudent father---will make a rapid retreat to Addis Ababa when we approach."
"I wish I was as sure as you are, General Lee. I have heard some word that our cavalry have already been involved in some fighting with the enemy. What do you make of that?"
"Oh it confirmed our suspicion that Iyasu was some supporters willing to fight even out here. It was merely some skirmishing with the enemy scampering away into the mountains. But we did manage to capture a few prisoners. Now guess what religion they were?"
"I would imagine that they would be Mohammedans if theyíre supporting Iyasu."
"No, sir they are not Muslims. Care to make another guess, sir?"
"Well, it should come as no surprise that some of the Ethiopian Copts support Iyasu, whom they view as Menelikís chosen successor."
"No they are not Copts either."
"Well then what? Some form of pagan? I would be shocked to learn they are Methodists"
"They claim to be Jews, Sir Ronald. Can you beat that? And it is certainly not a joke, They honestly do believe they are Jewish.""
"Oh, now that I think about I do recall reading a few sentences in a briefing paper about some Abyssinians who regard themselves as Jewish. I must say that I find it very odd that they of all people are siding with Iyasu. Back in March two intensively motivated Jews, Jabotinsky and Trumpledor, approached me and saying they would be able to form a Jewish Legion to fight against the Turks. They seemed to think that doing so would facilitate the formation of Jewish homeland in Palestine after the war. Gen. Maxwell and I worked with these so called Zionists and we agreed to permit the formation of a unit called the Zion Mule Corps---I am not making this up so donít smirk at me! Though the Jews wanted very much to be part of a combat unit we were only willing to let them serve as a supply transport unit. Col. John Patterson was selected to be their commander and intensive training quickly instituted. There was even some discussion of them participating in this expedition but their leaders were adamant that they were to be used only against the Turks."
"I am not smirking do not doubt your word in the slightest, Sir Ronald. Here in Africa I find myself confronting the unbelievable nearly every day. Still I can appreciate the irony. If these Zionists had come with us I wonder how they would feel about fighting these here Abyssinian Jews, eh?"
------Fort Carlisle (Cork) 0955 hrs
Three motorcars and a bus approached the entrance to the fort. The guards at the gate wore IRA armbands and belonged to the.1st Tipperary Volunteers Battalion. Commandant O"Duibhir was in the lead car. The other men in the motor vehicles all wore German naval uniforms. Originally they had been intended to man the forts guarding Berehaven naval base, but with that the German assault on Berehaven being a costly failure they would be now used to man the weapons at the captured Cork harbor forts Other KM shore personnel would be arriving later in the day but the time being the Tipperary Volunteers had organized two special sections led by someone at least moderately fluent in German to assist the German gun crews..
------Roscommon city 1005 hrs
The 4th Connaught Rangers was an extra reserve battle that had been based in Boyle. It was intended to supply replacement troops to other battalions of the same regiment, not to conduct combat on its own. It currently had less than 500 men and like all the other reserve and extra reserve battalions in Ireland lacked machine guns. It only had two small wagons for carrying supplies. Despite these shortcomings its men enthusiastically marched hard to Roscommon to attack the rebel concentration there which they were told numbered less than 200. On the way there they came upon an. R.I.C. station under attack by the rebels. The Connaught Rangers went into an immediate attack out of its marching columns and drove off the rebels.
This engagement was the overture to a chaotic engagement with the rebels scurrying all the way back to Roscommon. The rebels of Roscommon Battalion numbered just over 400 men and we supported by the German Marine Cavalry Squadron. More than a third of them still not have a decent military rifle but had to make do with shotguns and pistols. After an hour of fighting at Roscommon the I.R.A battalion commander, having received an exaggerated estimate of the size of the enemy began to fear that they might be able to encircle his entire battalion despite the assistance of the German cavalry and so issued orders for his men to pull back to Athlone.
The Connaught Rangers after eliminating 2 weak outposts marched in Roscommon unopposed. Some of the local civilians cheered them loudly as rescuers but more watched them with that confused ambivalent facial expression they were seeing all too often in Ireland. The battalion commander had received some disturbing reports from the R.I.C. about a rebel concentration at Carrick-on-Shannon which was not that far from their home camp at Boyle. Soon after taking Roscommon more messages came in indicating that the enemy presence at Carrick-on-Shannon had grown substantially. This dissuaded him from trying to pursue the rebel battalion he had flushed out of Roscommon.
------HQ Army Group Crown Prince Rupprecht Belgrade 1040 hrs
"How is the 90th Infantry Division doing?" Prince Rupprecht asked Gen. Ludendorff.
"Oh, it is finding only token resistance from the Serbs since it crossed the Danube, Your Highness. It could link with the Bulgarians as early as Thursday, but I have much more promising news to report. Gen. von Watter reports that the orderly withdrawal of the Serbs that has slowed us so much since we took Belgrade is breaking down and so the advance of XIII Army Corps is picking up momentum."
Since surrendering Belgrade the Serbian Army had been fighting an annoyingly effective fighting withdrawal aided by the rugged terrain of most of their country. The progress of the German Tenth and Austro-Hungarian Third Armies had been particularly slow. For a while the Bulgarians and the Ottoman III Corps were doing considerably better but the latest news indicated that the Serbs were slowing them down as well. The progress of the Central Powers had been dependent on their overwhelming superiority in artillery but despite the howls of protests coming from Ludendorff the delivery of shells to Operation Tourniquet had been cut sharply after the fall of Belgrade. Falkenhayn had other operations he now considered more important and Conrad was fixating on his Galician offensive. As long as there was some progress being made in Serbia Berlin and Vienna were happy. Prince Rupprecht was far from happy but he had tempered his disappointment with a measure of stoicism. Ludendorff was simply livid with outrage. Even the relative success of the Bulgarians and Ottomans irritated him as he thought it was important that the German army demonstrate its superiority over its allies.
There had been some signs that the Serbs were at the breaking point. One thing which struck the Germans as a clear sign of Serbian desperation was the use of women in combat units. Now this morning there was a sign of a crack in the damn and Rupprecht beamed with satisfaction. He prided himself on having learned the value of patience in this difficult war---a lesson his chief of staff had yet to learn---perhaps was incapable of learning. "Are the Austrians are on the right flank of XIII Army Corps reporting the same thing?"
"No, Your Highness, on the contrary they report dogged resistance by the Serbs and have made no progress whatsoever today. It is further proof of their ineptitude."
"Always with the sweeping judgment my Prussian friend, though admittedly I am unhappy as well. Still if XIII Army Corps is now free to advance quickly our next objective is fairly obvious---"
An excited Ludendorff did not let the crown prince finish his sentence, "---the main Serbian arsenal. When we take that this campaign is effectively over, Your Highness! It is time for Prussianóuh I mean German boldness to carry the day."
Rupprecht almost always found his chief of staff crass and annoying but there were times they did see eye to eye and today the prince was infected by Ludendorffís enthusiasm. "We have been prudent so far in this campaign but I agree that it is time to once again demonstrate boldness."
------Limerick city 1100 hrs
Strongly pressured by Gen. Stopford to produce results the commander of the British 10th (Irish) Infantry Division had made a maximum assault yesterday on the defenders at Limerick---mostly German Marines but some Fenians as well. He had made some progress there advancing into some built areas while the attacks of the 47th (West Riding) Infantry Division north of the city along the Shannon were again dismal failures. The casualty count for the 10th Infantry Division though was again very high---just under 1,000 men and he had used up nearly all his artillery shells in the process. Since then Gen. Stopford kept nagging him to continue the advance but had not seen fit to send him a single shell. Part of it was that the 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division was getting priority but this morning the fighting at Kingstown was interfering with the flow of supplies from England.
This morningís follow on attacks had proven utterly futile. The fighting was now more house to house than trench warfare but in some ways that was worse. What was particularly galling to Gen. Mahon, an ardent support of Redmond, was that the Fenian traitors in their steel helmets and dark green uniforms were proving as deadly as the Germans in this environment. The only hopeful sign was they had captured some Germans belonging to a poorly trained Landsturm company formed from some of the sailors aboard the German transports anchored in the Shannon. This along with the increased role of the Fenians at Limerick did strongly suggest the Germans were scrapping the bottom of their barrel.
------Dungarvan (Waterford) 1125 hrs
Rommelís motorized battalion had made a brief stop at Midleton, where he picked up the OíRahilly, and then headed north to Tallow and then on to Lismore where there were 2 brief stops---the first to overpower a R.I.C. roadblock with the help of the armored cars. Now Rommel had reached the large coastal town of Dungarvan. The 3rd Tipperary Battalion had arrived in Dungarvan during the night capturing a fairly small R.I.C station before midnight while making contact with the local company of Irish Volunteers which they quickly assembled armed. Another small Waterford company had arrived as well just before Rommel did.
The acting commandant of the 3rd Tipperary Volunteers came forward to greet Rommel, "You must be the famous Major Erwin Rommel that all of Ireland is talking about! I am the battalion Commandant Andrew McElroy. I cannot begin to tell you how great an honor it is to meet you."
Ugh! What is wrong with this helmet? Why is it pinching my poor head so? I must get a new one soon! thought Rommel as he shook hands with McElroy, "I am pleased to meet you as well. Has everything gone well here?"
"Yes, I can say it has. We took one R.I.C. soon after we got here and found another abandoned on the outskirts of town this morning. We have absorbed 2 companies of the local Irish Volunteers as well as getting a few recently converted Redmondites."
"That is good. What did you capture in the R.I.C. stations?"
"Oh, 6 Lee-Enfield rifles and 7 revolvers, plus more than a 1,000 rounds of ammunition. Oh and a small motor car in working condition and several gallons of petrol. I know you will appreciate that."
"Uh, yes, thanks. Did you take any prisoners?"
"Oh, no. We buried six constables when it was over."
Rommel was now having decidedly mixed feelings about Commandant McElroy. The man had some charm but OíDuibhir had warned Rommel that McElroy like Flynn thought prisoners should be killed on account of the prime ministerís announced policy towards captured Fenians. Rommel thought it unlikely---but far from impossible---that no constable was captured during the assault on their station.
"In the coming assault on Waterford we should anticipate taking some prisoners, perhaps a large number. Our own losses will be less if we can persuade the enemy to surrender."
McElroy did not immediately respond but Rommel could see from the manís eyes he was not accepting Rommelís argument. Finally McElroy changed the topic, "We have some word from Irish Volunteers in the middle of the county that a large body of British soldiers is headed in our general direction, probably coming out of Waterford city."
"How large is large? More than a thousand?"
"The reports vary wildly. Some claim it is over a thousand but others speak of only several hundred."
"Just infantry? No artillery?"
"That is correct, Major."
"Where is most of your battalion? Are they all here in Dungarvan?"
"No, I sent about half the battalion out towards Lemybrien with orders to prepare a defensive position there but with orders to fall back here if the enemy proves too strong. They should be arriving at Lemybrien in about a half an hour."
Rommel tapped his lip pensively. "What are you thinking, Major?" asked McElroy, "I am sure you can offer us some suggestions on how to prepare our defenses as well as providing us some badly needed firepower.."
Rommel took his time before answering, "There is going to be a change in plans. Fetch me your most detailed maps." Rommel turned to the O"Rahilly, "We may be moving on quicker than planned. Donít let the men wander off and have your mechanics make try to fix whatever can be fixed quickly."
------Carriganimmy (Cork) 1230 hrs
The attempt by the 53rd (Welsh) Division to outflank the German defenses here by infiltrating through the mountains turned out to be tedious and time consuming with the Bavarians having established outposts, strong points and sniper nests in commanding positions there that pinned down the attackers and forced them to seek paths still further away from the road. A series of brief fire fights erupted and the German 10.5 cm howitzers even came into action to break up once concentration.
In the meantime Gen. Friend was receiving disturbing intelligence from several sources. Even in Cork a majority of the local citizenry still felt some loyalty to the crown though many now expressed it with a flagging enthusiasm and openly criticized the prime ministerís attitude. From the friendly local citizens came word of the 16th Division being in very bad shape. The other source of intelligence was a warplane sent to reconnoitre the area between Ballyvourney and Macroom where the division and VI Army Corps HQ were supposed to be. The airplane could not find them though admittedly the weather with low clouds and intermittent drizzle was not the best for flying. Gen. Friend believed he could not afford to waste time. Believing his attempts to envelop the German position had forced them to seriously weaken their main position on the road he ordered another frontal attack. He ordered his batteries to fire off all of their remaining shells and for 4 battalions to follow with an assault.
The German strength in the center had been weakened in response to the threat to their flanks but ample strength remained to counter the attack esp. as they had spent most of the morning strengthening their entrenchments. The end result was that while attackers made it into German trenches in a few places they lacked the superiority in numbers to prevail.
------Old Admiralty Building 1305 hrs
After the War Committee adjourned Sir Edward Carson spent most of the morning in the House of Commons, where the Prime Minister acknowledged that a rebellion had flared up in Dublin and removing the Germans from Ireland was going to take a little longer than expected but was still inevitable. There produced a little grumbling from a handful of MPís but less than Carson had expected. Instead there was a deluge of outrage expressed over the backstabbing perfidy of the Sinn Fein Irishmen. Sir John Redmond was present but remained silent looking dejected and despondent.
With the political situation at least looking brighter Sir Edward now arrived at the Admiralty to be briefed by Admirals Callaghan, Jackson, Wilson and Oliver. "Capt. Gaunt has informed us that President Wilson is going to restrict the Germans to coaling only 2 warships simultaneously but his admirals have ruled that Victoria Luise is a not a warship and he is not going to overrule them," said Adm. Callaghan.
"And do we have any better information about German intentions?" asked Carson.
"It is now clear they hope to take the Grosser Kurfurst, Barbarosssa, Hamburg, Prinzess Irene, Friedrich der Grosse, President Grant and President Lincoln from New York. In addition to the American volunteers they are brazenly recruiting, copper and other contraband material is being delivered to these ships," replied Oliver.
"Does contraband material include weapons?"
"Definitely not in any quantity, though it is quite possible a small number of pistols, shotguns and even some hunting rifles will make it aboard the ships. We do know that at least 3,000 more of those steel helmets the Irish rebels are wearing have been fabricated but so far Secretary Bryan has stubbornly refused to classify those as weapons. Same goes for at least 15 trucks that have been purchased by the Clan na Gael," answered Oliver.
"An organization obviously awash in German money at this time."
"The Germans are being clever, First Lord. As best we can tell so far their money is being laundered through Kuhn & Loeb into a small American bank owned by a prominent Boston Irish family named Kennedy."
"Hmm. Do we have any idea yet as to how many of our wonderful American Ďfriendsí are going to actually go running off to get themselves killed for the Kaiser, Admiral Oliver?"
Oliver frowned deeply, "That is a tough one, First Lord. Gaunt says it is likely going to be at least 1,000 men. We should have a better idea in a few hours as they begin assemble near the docks in New York."
"Hmm. I am trying to get a handle on what the Germansí primary intent is in this situation. Let us assume they get as many as 2,000 men including some former officers. Now let us consider two possible missionsóone is to send 2,000 mostly untrained Yanks to fight in Ireland and the other is to mount another major blockade run all the way back to Germany using the seven liners."
"I would through in commerce raiding in the Atlantic sea lanes as a third option," added Admiral Wilson.
"By all means, Admiral Wilson, let us add that as well. Now you officers know much more about naval strategy than I do, but to my civilian eye transporting 2,000 Yanks to fight in Ireland is not in the same league with the other two possibilities. Or am I missing something?"
"I donít think so, First Lord," answered Callaghan, "though I might add a fourth--- that sending even 2,000 Yanks to fight in Ireland might be intended as a propaganda blow meant to humiliate President Wilson."
"Perhaps but isnít that just the sort of thing that could easily blow up in their faces? For one thing it will make President Wilson even more hostile to the Germans. As a start it could lead him to replace Secretary Bryan with someone more to our liking such as Lansing."
"This is all rather moot," speculated Jackson, "Our army has overwhelming superiority in numbers in Ireland and will put a harsh end to this German misadventure long before these Americans can possibly arrive---not that will let them mind you."
"Or so we are being led to believe by the War Office," said Callaghan more guardedly, "What did Lord Kitchener have to say this morning, First Lord? Does he still believe that the total defeat of the Germans in Ireland is only a few days away? Is the rising in Dublin a cause for concern? We have already been told about the reinforcements being sent."
"Lord Kitchener remains optimistic. Cork worries me more than Dublin right now. Once the 53rd Division rescues the 16th Division I strongly suggested to Lord Kitchener that Cork should---"
"---uh, the Germans have already destroyed the 16th Division, First Lord. Or at least thatís what von FranÁois told Berlin last night," interrupted Admiral Oliver.
"What? How do---is this from Room 40? Why wasnít Lord Kitchener aware of this?"
"Yes, it is from Room 40, First Lord. I thought that the War Office would know if one of their divisions was in fact destroyed and saw no reason to forward the information to them. Now I am confused. Perhaps Gen. von FranÁois was exaggerating, eh?"
"Or perhaps our army has been some communication problems in Ireland, Admiral Oliver," replied Carson heatedly, "This is yet another instance of you withholding Room 40 intelligence about which I have admonished more than once you in the past. If the 16th Division has in fact been completely destroyed the strategic situation in Ireland has been seriously altered. The War Office should have been informed of this immediately."
"If every bit of Room 40 intelligence is disseminated widely it is inevitable that the Germans will realize what has happened and replace their compromised codes, thereby ending our one great advantage," Oliver defended himself.
This was Oliverís favorite argument for his tightfisted hoarding of intelligence and sometimes the Sea Lords agreed with him but not today. "We will forward this information to the War Office as soon as this meeting is over, First Lord," announced Callaghan.
"Have there been any other intercepts we should know about, Admiral Oliver?" asked Carson pointedly.
"Uh, well yes there is, First Lord. OKW has ordered FranÁois to update them on the strength of the Irish Republican Army. He has yet to do so and when he does I will of course pass on the information immediately."
------White House 1335 hrs GMT
Unexpectedly President Woodrow Wilson opened the Cabinet meeting by turning to Vice Adm. Rupert Blue, the Surgeon General, and asking, "What do you propose we do about the epidemic, Rupert?"
"Huh? Pardon me, Mr. President but you have me at a loss. I do not understand what epidemic you are referring to."
"Why the epidemic of mass insanity, of course. Thousands of American citizens, though I am using that term very loosely, are demonstrating their support for the abominable Germans and a handful of Catholic fanatics in Ireland. What could possibly be causing this? Is it some ferocious bacteria that rots the brain like syphilis only worse? It must be something like that because there are reports that at least a thousand soon to be former US citizens are getting to ready to go running off to help the Germans destroy civilization."
"Your point is well taken, of course, Mr. President," remarked Treasury Secretary MacAdoo, "but if you might permit me to defend the sanity of the American people, I should like to point out that many of our citizens are most unhappy to see the Germans return to our shores. It is virtually certain that the New York Exchange will open sharply lower this morning."
"The stock exchange merely expresses the opinion of the rich," noted Secretary Bryan, "It should never be taken to reflect the interests of the people."
Wilson turned a withering gaze on Bryan, "What are you trying to say, William? When I was half joking about mass insanity striking the American people I was still referring to what is a small minority of or population---though still way too large in my estimation."
"The American people are deeply split at this time, Mr. President. While I too believe that those who now root for the Germans some of which is motivated by a wave of support for the rebels in Ireland, are not in the majority still they are a force to be reckoned with. Furthermore I object at the notion that the wishes of the American people can be discerned by watching the flutters of certain financial markets. We would do better to try to discern the feelings of the people in the entrails of a goat then by paying attention to stock exchanges."
Bryanís argument annoyed the President but before he could say something, Attorney General Gregory commented, "The division in the American people is not a healthy phenomenon. There was been reports reaching my office of a wave of incidents where political arguments have turned violent, esp. in Boston, New York and Chicago. At least two people are known to have died as a result of these altercations."
"The core problem is that many Irish Catholics have rallied to the cause of the Fenians in the last week and formed a loose alliance with those German-Americans who have favored the Central Powers since the start of the war. Americans who are Irish and Protestants are outraged by the German invasion. Other Americans are deeply concerned about the German cruisers raiding commerce off our coast, esp. those who see it having a negative economic impact." remarked Col. House, "while still others are concerned that this time the Germans sent battleships and this could mean they have some ominous plans in this hemisphere."
"I too find the German presence here to be divisive and disruptive. It is clear to me that the sooner the Germans leave the better," said Bryan, "In this regard I some encouraging news to report. Just before coming here I met with Count Bernstorff who told me that the primary purpose of the German presence here is to liberate some more of their merchantmen trapped in our ports. He does not deny that the German cruisers are raiding Entente commerce but reassured me that the Germans have no intent of remaining off our coast once the coaling of their warships is completed. He shared with me the fact that the six German warships we have encountered so far is the full extent of their naval presence ---though he made me give my word of honor as a Christian gentleman that we would not share this information with the British. He made a persuasive argument that it is in the interest of the United States as well as Germany to let them coal 3 warships at once as permitted by the Hague Treaty and not to interfere with the loading of their liners."
Wilson turned to House, "Ed, pass this on to Capt. Gaunt as soon as this meeting is over."
"---But, but, Mr. President I gave my word!" protested Bryan.
"To a honey tongued scoundrel and a rogue as far as I am concerned," retorted Wilson testily, "but if it is any consolation I think you may have a point about letting the German warships three at a time. What say you, Josephus?"
"Hmm. Now that we know there are indeed only 6 warships, it means we can be rid of the lot of them late tomorrow," answered Secretary Daniels, " That is provided of course that the ambassador was telling the truth."
"Then we must make it abundantly clear to him that there will be the most serious consequences if he is not," declared Wilson.
------HQ British Second Army (Picardy) 1350 hrs
Upset with the morningís developments, Sir John French paid a personal visit to Gen. Plumer. "I know you have been abruptly thrust into a most difficult situation," French said with a small hint of some empathy, "But First Army has been in dire straits for two weeks now. Your irascible predecessor had an occasion to demonstrate his mettle and failed miserably. My only regret is that I did not remove him sooner. First Army remains in deep trouble. The Germans have isolated 2nd Division and will try to eliminate that unit completely. That must not be allowed to happen. I hope that point is completely clear."
"Yes, sir, completely clear, sir," replied Plumer nervously wondering if French was already considering removing himself from command as well.
"Then why are there no further attacks underway today?"
"I have detached the entire 9th Brigade from the 3rd Infantry Division, sir. It has 5 battalions at very close to full strength. They will be in position with V Army Corps in another three hours. I hope to make them the spear point of a night attack. I now feel that until my artillery situation improves dramatically further daylight attacks should be avoided."
"With regard to artillery there will be some improvement but in the next two days it will be incremental."
"I would think that we should be anticipating further reinforcements from Britain very soon, sir; what with the imminent defeat of the Germans in Ireland."
French scowled fiercely, "Things are apparently not as rosy in Ireland as we had been led to believe. It is apparently going to take considerably longer than had been expecting to wrap things up over there. I donít know if word has reached you yet, but a revolt of some size erupted in Dublin this morning."
"Oh dear, no it hasnít, sir. I could see how that would complicate things. So we wonít be receiving any reinforcements in the next few days?"
"That conclusion is inescapable. The public and the press have focused on Ireland to the exclusion of all other facets of the war so what the BEF and I am going through now is greatly underappreciated."
"Well then what about asking for increased French assistance?"
"What about it? Gen. Wilson tells me that there is something of a power struggle going on right now in the French Army between General Joffre and Premier Clemenceau, who is all the War Minister. Clemenceau wants to reassert civilian control over the military and is obsessed with driving the Boche as far away from Paris as quickly as possible. I have already requested that Henry try to ask for more French troops but he is pessimistic about the prospects. So we must make our plans to rescue 2nd Division on the basis of what we currently have available. Which leads me to ask an important question---why is 29th Infantry Division being kept in reserve except for its howitzer brigade."
"That is because its effective infantry strength had been reduced to about 3,000 men."
"Yes, that was true at one time but we did send them some replacement troops in the last week and together with some of their lightly wounded men returning to duty their infantry strength is now well over 4,000 men "
"Which I will point out is still way too weak for effective offensive action, sir."
"But not if we add 9th Brigade to it. Our immediate crisis is to rescue 2nd Infantry Division. We made some small progress in loosening the German pressure on First Armyís line of communication the last few days. While you should continue your assault which will make further improvements we need to take more decisive action to save 2nd Division. I am therefore going to send 29th Division reinforced with 9th Brigade to First Army."
Oh wonderful, there goes my planned night attack! thought Plumer who said, "I would point out that the line of communication to First Army still can only be used at night and even then the ASC continues to suffer losses from the German artillery."
"Yes, I am well aware of that," replied French testily, "But it has been very light the last two nights which gives me good reason to hope that the 29th Infantry Division can make it through tonight with insignificant losses."
"I must point out that t sending an entire division through in one night will clog the supply route to First Army, sir."
"You apparently didnít hear what I just said, general! The A.S.C. companies have been very productive over the last two nights so First Army now needs reinforcements more then supplies. And besides the fact that 29th Division is quite lean shall we say at this moment so it should not be all that bad."
Now, We, George Curxon, Marquess Curzon of Kedleston, Lord-Lieutenant General and Governor-General of Ireland, do hereby warn all His Majestyís subjects that the sternest measures are being, and will be taken for the prompt suppression of the existing disturbances, and for the restoration of order. Given under our Seal, on the 10th day of May, 1915, CURZON
------Madrid 1405 hrs
Eamon de Valera and his new amigo, Leon Trotsky was watching as the last of this dayís demonstrations of support for the Irish rebels were finishing up and the marchers dispersing when one of the young Spanish anarchists ran up to their balcony. "Senor de Valera, senor de Valera have you heard the latest news from Ireland?" he yelled.
Depending on what newspapers you were reading in Spain these days the British were either on the verge of a huge victory against the Germans and a tiny cadre of Irish traitors or the peopleís rebellion with a small measure of German help were bravely holding their own against the forces of British tyranny either out of working class solidarity or devotion to the Virgin Mary depending on the newspaper. De Valera liked to believe the later was closer to the truth but what he wouldíve liked most of all was an accurate account with some details.
"No, I have not heard anything," he shouted back in Spanish.
"Revolt erupted in Dublin this morning!"
De Valeraís face was distorted with a terribly mixed expression. "Thank you very much for providing me that information, senor," he answered stiffly.
"I was able to understand that," Trotsky said in English, "I would think that would make you very happy but you do not look all that happy to me, Eamon. Is there some problem?"
"I happen to be the commandant of the 3rd Dublin Battalion, Mr. Trotsky. I am overjoyed that Dublin Brigade has finally risen up, but I feel guiltyóextremely guilty, right now that I am not there to lead my men."
"Ah yes, that is a great shame. I am sure you would make an excellent leader in battle. It is also a pity that the late great James Connolly is not there as well. In addition to being a capable strategist he could give your revolution the firm grip on class consciousness and dialectics that it needs desperately right now lest it be usurped by the reactionary interests of German capitalists."
De Valera clenched his fists and tried to control his rage. I must not pummel this Socialist twerp into dog food he told himself. "I need to get back to Dublin somehow," he confessed to Trotsky.
------RMS Lusitania off New York 1420 hrs
There had been some hours of choppy weather but around dawn that had subsided and now a team of inspectors boarded the ocean liner. There were 4 reporters and 4 photographers in the party, one reporter and one photographer each from the NY Journal American, Chicago Tribune, NY Times and NY Herald. The first two papers were regarded as sympathetic by the Germans and they had reason to believe that with Mr. Bennettís new working relationship with them the NY Herald might be unexpectedly fair. The Germans were most worried about the Times but Bernstorff told them that paperís biases were usually quite subtle and their reporter would not do anything obviously stupid. In addition to sending one of his reporters, William Randolph Hearst came in person. Besides Hearst and the reporters there were six others in the party---a senior customs inspector named Tobias Snodgrass, an Army Major who was an expert in Ordnance, Lt. Cmdr. Frank Fletcher, the admiralís aide and nephew, John Purroy Mitchel, the current mayor of New York City, Alfred E. Smith, the minority leader of the State Assembly, and finally the Asst. Secretary of State, Dr. John E. Osborne, MD.
Mayor Mitchel was the grandson of John Mitchel, who had been a famous leader in the Irish independence movement. In the last week the mayor found himself embracing his grandfatherís cause issuing increasingly bold expressions of support for the Irish rebels. Al Smith was only a quarter Irish but had already found it politically expedient to identify himself as Irish. Perhaps because another quarter of him was German Smith had decided late Friday to take the advice of his top political aide Bella Moskowotz, the daughter of Prussian Jewish immigrants, as well as Hearst and Charles F. Murphy, the current leader of Tammany Hall, to reinvent himself as an ardent Fenian. Smith was already involved in a campaign for the patronage rich job of New York County sheriff which he hoped would be a stepping stone to becoming governor in 1916.
Dr. Osborne had come from the state that Adm. Fletcherís flagship was named afteróWyoming. Osborne had been governor of Wyoming from 1893 to 1895. Back in 1881 he had been one of three physicians to perform an autopsy on convicted murderer, Big Nose George Abbott, after he was lynched. When the autopsy was finished Osborne had some of Abbottís skin tanned and turned into a medical bag and a pair of shoes. Another of the doctors, Lillian Nelson, the first woman physician in Wyoming, used a portion of Big Noseís skull as an ashtray and a doorstop. At this point in time the Asst. Secretary of State was not the second most important position at the State Department but the third in line, with Counselor being the second most important position. The current Counselor was Robert Lansing. Wilson was adamantly opposed to Secretary Bryan going. Neither Bryan, Bernstorff nor Lansing himself were keen on Lansing going and so Dr. Osborne ended up being sent to participate in the inspection.
The visitors did not all come together. The journalists and Al Smith all came with Hearst in the Chiefís personal yacht. Dr. Osborne and the major had come aboard another yet American destroyer dispatched from Norfolk. Once they were all aboard Lusitania they were greeted by a German Fregattenkapitan and 3 others, one of them in a purserís uniform and the other two wearing very fine linen suits. After introducing himself in fluent but heavily accented English the Fregattenkapitan introduced the two civilians, "This is Mr. Frederico Padilla, Mexicoís Consul General to Great Britain. His Excellency has kindly agreed to serve as a witness today after which he will be leaving this vessel to make other travel arrangements." Dr. Osborne had been warned before leaving Washington that Padilla was on board the Lustiania and that the scheming Huns might try to exploit him. Looking out of the corner of his eye Osborne noticed a pronounced frown on Hearstís face, almost certainly because Hearstís strongly interventionist views about Mexico would make for some awkwardness here.
"And this gentleman here," continued the Fregattenkapitan, "is Mr. Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, a very distinguished and prominent American citizen." Gesturing towards the purser the German officer added, "When we are done appetizers and champagne will be served. This is a luxury liner after all, yes?"
The reporter from the NY Herald raised his hand, "Pardon me, Herr frigginí Captain, but would it be possible for us to interview some of the British prisoners?"
The German officer started to say ĎNo,í hut instead said, "Uh, well perhaps but not now. Maybe later."
"Do you know if Admiral von Spee has reached a decision about releasing the British and French men aboard this ship?" asked the reporter for the NY Times with more panache than his counterpart from the Herald.
"I have not been informed of any such decision. I am led to believe that negotiations are currently underway. I will let you know as soon as I hear something definite. We should proceed now to the main cargo hold."
The German officer led the party below deck. The two American officers and the customs inspector remained at Osborneís side. The Asst. Secretary noticed Smith and Mayor Mitchel trying to make some polite perfunctory conversation. Smith was beholden to Tammany Hall while Mitchel was their scourge. Osborne did overhear the mayor say, "You know, Al, if it wasnít for my tough policies towards police corruption, Harry Calahan might still be on the police force and so might not have gone running off when Admiral Spee arrived here back in January. Utsire would have ended very differently and the Germans would not be in Ireland right now."
"What the heck are you trying to say, John?" replied Smith who was not famous for his imagination, "Are you trying to take credit for all of this?"
"Oh, no, nothing like that, Al. I was just marvelling how everything is connected and actions can have decidedly unexpected consequences, thatís all."
"You think too much, John."
"Yes and you should thank God that you donít suffer from that dread affliction."
"You can say that again," replied Smith half seriously.
"Well then you are offering your heartfelt thanks to the Almighty you can thank him for something else as well."
"Robert Moses resigned He says he wants to go off on this expedition. Can you believe that? That decision resulted in a decidedly awkward conversation. I tried to talk him out of it but he told me that it was my advocacy of the cause that had ultimately persuaded him. I had never imagined that he would be one of those who would want to go but I think it appeals to his idealistic streak. This news will be well received at Tammany Hall which hated his recommendations for reforming civil service."
Smithís face took on an odd expression and after looking over his shoulders, he spoke in a hushed voice, "There are reporters around so I cannot tell you half of what I would like to. Still you might find it interesting that Bella sort of likes Moses and keeps telling me heís someone to keep an eye on and I donít think itís just because heís another German Jewóat least not completely."
"Oh really? So maybe there is some hope for Bella after all."
When the party reached the forward cargo hold, the German officer put on a big show. He had certain crates opened and had Vanderbilt and Padilla testify that they had been shown those crates soon after the German boarding party arrived so there was no possibility that the Germans had planted them there. The Germans then had the American officers and the customs inspector examine the contents, while the newspaper photographers took pictures.
"So the three of you all agree that these are in fact munitions, British artillery shells?" asked the German officer.
There were nods and mumbled expressions of consent.
"Can you speak a little louder, gentlemen so that our distinguished guests can hear you?"
"Yes these crates hold ammunition for British artillery," said Snodgrass in a loud but irritated voice and the two officers confirmed that as well.
"Dr. Osborne did you hear that?"
Osborne suddenly remembered the lynching of Big Nose George Abbott. The victim had managed to swing around as he fell and grab a pipe. "Somebody please shoot me!" yelled Big Nose George, but no one would shoot him and when he grew tired he lost his grip on the pipe and slowly strangled. Come on Doc Osborne told himself this might be unpleasant but it is not that bad.
"Yes, I heard that, Herr Kapitan."
------HQ British VII Army Corps Maryborough (Queenís) 1425 hrs
Gen. Stopford was on the telephone with Gen. Hamilton again. "We have in the last few minutes received some intelligence from London strongly suggesting that the Germans have eliminated most or all of the 16th Infantry Division," said Hamilton.
"What? I donít believe that not for an instant, sir. You say from London, sir? How could they possibly know better than we do? Just what sort of intelligence is this?"
"They did not say and yes it does seem rather nebulous to Gen. Braithwaite and myself, however the War Office says we should treat its reliability as being very high. And to turn your question around, Gen. Stopford, how could they know any worse than we do seeing that we know so little as of this moment relating to either 16 Division or VI Corps HQ. Quite frankly I am deeply worried that what little we do know suggests that Londonís mysterious intelligence may be spot on."
"With all due respect, Gen. Hamilton, I think you and London are being much too pessimistic. I admit that the 16th Division has been something of a disappointment---though truth be told none of my divisions has been stellar in their performance to date---but I find it hard to believe that the 6th Bavarian Division could destroy it completely, esp. as we know the Bavarians suffered huge casualties during their fight with 53rd Division."
"I share some of your puzzlement, Gen. Stopford, but nevertheless feel compelled to accept the accuracy of what London is telling us. Gen. Braithwaite and myself have talked this over and weíve arrived at the following conclusions. First is that we are sending Brigadier Lowe to take command of the situation in Dublin and he will report directly to this HQ. In our current situation with Gen Keir out of communication---if not dead or captured--we have effectively thrust responsibility for all of Ireland on your shoulders. It is clear to us that your HQ can barely cope with the responsibilities it already has and so will not be able to give the needed attention to Dublin so we are not going to saddle you with the Dublin situation as well."
"Uh, I thank you, sir, for being so considerate," replied Stopford, who half wondered if there was some rebuke implied in what Gen. Hamilton had just said.
"Now while eliminating the rebellion in Dublin is of obvious importance Gen. Braithwaite and I agree that the battle for County Cork remains our number one priority at this time. If the 6th Bavarian Division has indeed eliminated the 16th Infantry Division, the enemy will almost certainly try to extend their grasp all the way to Cork city. We must not let that happen! That means the attack of the 53rd Infantry Division on the 6th Bavarian Division must continue with the most resolute determination."
"I understand that sir, but I must point out that Gen. Friend has informed this HQ just a few minutes ago that he has fired off the last of his artillery shells and still has not broken the main German defenses between him and Macroom. He asks when he can expect more shells. What should I tell him?"
Hamilton took his time before responding, "Be patient is all we can tell him right now. At this moment the rebels are interfering with our use of the rail line out of Kingstown but we should be able to rectify that before the day is over."
----Old Admiralty Building 1440 hrs
Lt. Erskine Childers VC was again being baited by other officers in the Naval Intelligence Division over an intercepted wireless coming from the Germans in Ireland which Room 40 had finished deciphering. "Well I bet you must be overjoyed at how numerous the Irish traitors have become. After all youíve been telling us dumb Tories how the prime ministerís policies were going to backfire. So why donít you go ahead and say, ĎI told you soí. We all know that is what your Irish mouth is just aching to say," one of his fellow officers taunted Childers as he read the following:
EFFECTIVE REBEL IRISH STRENGTH IN KERRY, LIMERICK, CLARE AND CORK ARE ROUGHLY TEN THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED MEN STOP THERE IS ALSO EXPEDITION INTO WATERFORD OF CLOSE TO ONE THOUSAND MEN AND CLOSE TO TWO THOUSAND MEN IN THE NORTHERN COUNTIES STOP UNFORTUNATELY WE HAVE NO ESTIMATE ON SIZE OF REVOLT IN DUBLIN AS YET STOP THERE IS NEWS OF THE ENEMY WEAKENING WITHIN CORK CITY STOP
Part of Childers did indeed want so very much to say, "I told you so." What he was holding in his hands was indeed the proof of what he had been saying the last week. He wisely decided this was a temptation he had better not succumb to. Trying to maintain his professional dignity while repressing his ire he managed to ask, "Has anyone taken this to Capt. Hall yet?"
"We decided to let you have the privilege this time, Lt. Childers, what with you being the great hero and everything," said one of his tormenters.
"Aye! But before you go could you please spare us some more of your great wisdom, your great Irish wisdom," added another.
Childers ground his teeth and tried to ignore the louts. With the help of his cane he hobbled his slow way to Hallís office where he delivered the message. Capt. Hall blinked more intensely than usual as read it. "Good heavens, what is this bleeding world coming to!" he exclaimed shaking his head once he was done reading, "I am sure this news is going to floor many in the government once the admiral decides to release it. We have been telling ourselves that the Irish rebels peaked around 8,000 men several days ago and have been whittled down very badly since then. I feel certain that some in the government are going to seriously question this latest intelligence."
"Yes, I can imagine so, Captain. This is most disturbing news, that it most certainly is, sir" replied Childers who then started to leave. He found this all so incredibly sad there was a tear starting to roll down his cheek which he preferred the captain did not see.
"Uh, donít you go just yet, Childers. While I have you here there is something you and I need to discuss," ordered Hall, "Could you please close the door."
When the door was closed Hall took a folder on his desk and opened it. "There has been growing concern in the last few days within the government that there could be a disloyal faction of some size within the local Irish Catholic community residing here in London. There are certain locations where this disloyal element has been observed congregating in order to organize and proselytize. The government now has these places under surveillance. One of those happens to be the Gaelic Athletic Association. According to this report you have seen hanging out there on several occasions recently."
"That is correct, sir. I mostly go there to watch the fights. I know there is some political debating there of late where seditious views sometimes get expressed but I do not let myself get drawn in. It is mostly that some people are in the habit of shooting their mouth off when theyíve had too much to drink."
"So you know nothing of any subversive activities being run from there?"
Childers paused slightly before answering, "Oh no, nothing like that, captain. There are some drunks there who sometimes say things they shouldnít be sayiní. Thatís all it is."
"Hmm. I think I see what youíre saying. If on further thought you recall something suspicious going on there you think we should know about you will let me know and I will forward that information through the appropriate channels."
"I will do so immediately, captain. In fact I think I might be going there again tonight and if I see anything that looks---"
"----Oh, no, youíre not, Childers. From here on forward that establishment is strictly off limits to all members of this organization. There are some other places are well mostly pubs. I am going to be circulating a comprehensive list amongst all N.I.D personnel later today. There is a very real possibility that the government will decide to close most of these places in the next few days."
------Kilmacthomas (Waterford) 1450 hrs
The 15th battalion Royal Irish Rifles had been the unit which had crushed the rebellion at Enniscorthy. Last Thursday the battalion had been hurriedly moved by rail to Waterford city leaving behind only half a company at Enniscorthy. This morning the battalion commander marched out with 2 rifle companies and his machinegun section---which only had a single machinegun-- to deal with rebels reported to be in strength at Dungarvan. His immediate goal was to set up an entrenched camp at the town of Kilmacthomas a little more than midway between Waterford and the rebels at Dungarvan. From there he could either intercept an enemy advance on Waterford city or launch an attack against them at Dungarvan early tomorrow. It had been drizzling in the morning but just before noon the precipitation had ceased and the clouds slowly parted.
In the last half hour his patrols had reported that a rebel force of several hundred men was approaching from WSW. The colonel decided to take this opportunity to rapidly resolve the situation in County Waterford. His moved his men forward to engage the rebels who were advancing in a ragged formation. Though most of the rebels were armed with rifles the marksmanship of the Ulstermen proved superior and the enemy soon began to withdraw, first with some order and then in utter panic. The Royal Irish Riflemen enthusiastically pursued.
While this was going on another batch of rebels rapidly descended upon the hamlet of Kilmacthomas in motor vehicles coming from the south and assisted by the 3 armored cars. These rapidly overpowered the tiny contingent of R.I.C. left behind to watch the village. Learning of this development the Royal Irish Riflemen gave up the pursuit of the first enemy force and turned back to deal with the second. They found the prominent hill that dominated the town had been taken along with most of the defensive works they had previously erected. Rommel had combined his infantry gun section along with his two machine gun sections into a small weapons company with one of his German Irish Brigade captains in command. This company quickly deployed its weapons.
The British battalion commander was determined to attack believing at first that he faced yet another batch of incompetent Fenian amateurs. He then found out that this bunch of rebels had 5 machine guns and even a pair of odd looking cannons with shortened barrels which they were able to bring into action with amazing quickness. Once his attack was in full swing one of the armored cars appeared near the crest of the high ground as well to add its machineguns to the enemyís torrent of lead. Despite this the colonel continued his attack until he learned another piece of disturbing news---the Tipperary Volunteers had rallied and were now attacking the rear of his formation. Crushed between the two forces the morale of his forces quivered and then shattered.
To Rommelís disappointment nearly a third of the Royal Irish Riflemen manage to fight there way out and escape, including some lightly wounded. He ended taking nearly 200 prisoners, including the wounded battalion commander, along with all of their supply wagons and their sole machinegun. Rommel was very upset though when he saw several instances where the enemy was very obviously trying to surrender and some of the Tipperary Volunteers killed them anyway. He definitely needed to spell out policy with McElroy when this was over.
------Le Cleon (Argonne) 1500 hrs
Gen. von Mudra watched with cold professionalism as his 15 cm howitzers and 21 cm Morsers began their bombardment. Gen. von Falkenhayn did not have the resources for another offensive of any great size on the Western Front but he had given von Mudra permission to make one quick strike at the moderately important town of Le Cleon which was the crossroads of the main north south road and another which branched southwest towards Ste. Menehould. It therefore had value in its own right and would serve to divert French attention from where von Mudraís main objective would be later in the month.
The concentration of heavy artillery fired for 90 minutes. In the last half hour they were joined by the 10.5 cm howitzers and minenwerfers, while nearly half of the 15cm howitzers would switch to firing the improved T-shells to blind the French artillery. Von Mudra had been very pleased to hear that von FranÁois had experienced some success with the T-Shell in Ireland following his own recommendations. So yet another reason for todayís attack was to further test the tactics he would use later. Gen. von Falkenhayn had instructed him to prepare a preliminary evaluation report within 24 hours on the effective of the weapon and to dispatch by motor car a copy of the report directly to Gen. von Fabeck at Sixth Army as well as OHL in the hope this might prove helpful to him in his battle with the BEF. The use of T-shell was one reason von Mudraís attack was happening so late in the day as a sizable shipment of those weapons only arrived at the designated batteries only 2 hours ago. The 7.7 field guns were not participating in the bombardment at all and were being held back to be used against the highly probable French counterattacks.
The assault was made by the 27th Infantry Division over a front of about 2 kilometers. The enemyís forward trench was largely devastated and there were gaps where the barbed wire had been cut. The enemy artillery remained impotent largely due to the T-Shells. Most of defenders who were still alive were dazed and easily captured, though there was one stubborn pocket of resistance as well as some fire from the flanks. The attackers were able to consolidate the section of the forward trench they had captured while sending 2 battalions to proceed on ahead to assault the second trench line which was at the very edge of the hamlet with some stone buildings being used as strong points. The phase of the German attack proved more difficult and lasted well into the evening with nearby French reserves being hurled in to make fierce but largely ineffective counterattacks.
------USS Wyoming off NYC 1505 hrs
Adm. von Spee had agreed to come aboard Adm. Fletcherís flagship to conduct face to face negotiations. Von Spee was now sufficiently fluent in English that he felt he could decline the service of interpreters. Fletcher had been told by the Navy Dept. that von Spee was almost certainly the naval commander of the German expedition to Ireland. So in addition to their negotiations the two admirals tried to elicit information from each other. Fletcher was deeply interested in how the invasion had been organized and conducted, and more importantly what was its ultimate objectives. Von Spee in turn wanted desperately to learn how things had unfolded in Ireland since he had left. However knowing that American neutrality under Wilson had a proBritish tilt von Spee had be very careful not to reveal too much and that included how he phrased his questions. Fletcher was constrained as well. There were several different versions of what was going on in Ireland. There was the official British version. There were bits and pieces of German version which made its way across the Atlantic from a combination of the Waterville cable station and their transatlantic wireless transmitter. There was a third version as well, which was the classified evaluation of US military intelligence analysts. Mostly Fletcher fed von Spee the British version of the story though he let on a few hints from the other two.
It was soon very obvious to Fletcher that the German admiral was not happy with what he was hearing. "Has there been any fighting in the vicinity of Bantry Bay?" von Spee asked rather anxiously.
"None that we have been told about. The British did concede that you Germans defeated them in the vicinity of Rathmore early last week, though they say their defeat was not as bad as your side is claiming. I looked it up on a map itís on the border between Kerry and Cork. This morning the British claimed they have retaken the initiative in County Cork with your units retreating across a broad front."
"Does that mean that the British crushed the rebellion in Cork that you mentioned?"
"We havenít been told that per se. In fact they are being rather evasive what is happening in Cork city which leads us to suspect they are having some problems---"
They were interrupted by a knock on the door. "Pardon to interrupt, admiral, but this wireless message just came through and we think you would like to see it quickly."
Admiral Fletcher took the message which had a coversheet. On looking at it he whistled then arched and eyebrow and turned to von Spee, "Remember how I told you a few minutes ago that there has been no rebellion in Dublin so far, well that was based on stale information. I have now been informed that a rebellion erupted there before dawn today. The rebels have seized a few buildings in the center of Dublin but are now contained. As far as we can tell your forces in Ireland are too far removed from Dublin to be able to lend any effective assistance."
Spee continued to look puzzled. He shrugged slightly then said, "Well at least this is something, yes? And nothing new in that message of yours about Cork?"
Hmm Cork is more important to him than Dublin it seems. "Are you referring to the county or the city?" Fletcher responded.
"Uh, well the city is part of the county, yes?"
"Fighting is apparently continuing both in the city and outside it. I am afraid we really are not being given much in the way of details."
"Yes, but of course," answered von Spee who still looked deeply apprehensive, "I thank you for sharing what little youíve been told."
------Nenagh train station (Tipperary) 1510 hrs
"Just what the heck are we doing here, Keith?" CP Connolly wearily asked Keith Murdoch as the two of them watched soldiers of the 1/7th battalion West Yorkshire boarding a train that would take them to Dublin.
"Why we are here to cover the liberation of Limerick, CP," answered Murdoch.
"Which is going to happen any minute now," answered Connolly sarcastically, "Meanwhile the real story is in Dublin. We should be on that train as well."
"You may have a point there, CP."
The British military had informed the trio of reporters in Nenagh about the Dublin Rising just before noon and had so far had provided tantalizingly few details to the reporters. "The big story for the last three days has been the insurrection in Cork," sighed Connolly, "but do they let us go to Cork? Oh no, we have to stay here because Limerick was the important story and Cork only a minor disturbance---not much worse than what happened at Enniscorthy they kept telling us.. But last we heard that rebellion was still going on. Or have they told you something they are not sharing with me?"
"No, what is going on in Cork is a complete mystery to me as well. Same might be said about Athlone."
"I concur wholeheartedly about Athlone. There seems to a common element in all this and it is that the Irish rebellion is being badly underappreciated by your government in both its quantity and quality. We are here to cover the story that they want told---how the Germans were soundly defeated after some hard fighting at Limerick while the real story is being ignored."
"The real story being the Irish rebellion?"
"The growing Irish rebellion, Keith. Yes, that is the real story and itís painfully obvious that your government does not want us to cover it?"
"Maybe but perhaps things are moving too fast for them right now?"
"Oh there is some truth to that as well, but when the next train for Dublin arrives would you care to make a friendly wager about whether any of us will be going on it?"
Murdoch frowned then shook his head.
------Victoria Barracks (Cork) 1535 hrs
Hell arrived to claim Cork. He soon met with Oblt. von Frauenau, the commanding officer of the 2nd Chevauleger Regiment and Maj. Ritter von Thoma, commander of the West Limerick Battalion, who briefed him on the current situation in Cork and its suburbs. "When this is over I am going to meet with Commandant MacCurtain," Hell informed them, "for one thing I want to form a support company in the city taking the women and least fit men from the two city battalions. We have done this elsewhere and it seems to work well. It will be particularly useful here as Cork looks to become our new main base. Do we have the situation well enough in hand here to do this reorganization without causing serious tactical problems?"
"I believe so, Oberst," replied von Frauenau, "The remaining British forces here are in three isolated pockets. The largest is north of North Channel and is mostly what is left of what we believe to be 3 battalions of the 108th Brigade plus maybe 200 R.I.C." Most of my regiment, together with a Jaeger bicycle company, West Limerick Battalion and another I.R.A battalion, the 2nd Tipperary have them surrounded. In the heart of the city there is another pocket consisting of a battalion of the Cheshire Regiment plus some more R.I..C. and a few Cork policemen. The 1st Cork City battalion and Herr Flynnís infamous battalion have them bottled up. Lastly there is a pocket of some Munster Fusiliers below South Channel, which are cut off by 2nd Cork City Battalion and one of my squadrons."
"And what about Queenstown?"
"There is a fairly strong company of Irish Volunteers on Great Island which now all have rifles, Oberst. They have cut the main road leading to the two bridges connecting Great Island to the mainland, but are unable to capture the Martello Tower which dominates the bridges, though in our current situation that has become less important. Meanwhile they are fighting what they believe to be a relatively small contingent of Royal Marines and constables near the civilian docks."
"But big enough to keep them from capturing the docks, yes?"
"The information is very sketchy but Rommel felt that now that once German naval gunners man Ft. Carlisle it will be very difficult for the British to reinforce Queenstown by sea and its fall is merely a matter of time. I have some doubts about that. Rommel can be overly optimistic at times."
:"And who is guarding Fort Carlisle?"
"The 1st Tipperary Battalion, Oberst. Major Rommel felt they would be sufficient to defeat any British attempt to retake the fort by landing some of their Royal Marines nearby."
"This is all very promising. The Bavarian Jaegers along with the pioneer battalion will try to take Fort Templebreedy tonight. If all goes well there we will hold off on assaulting Fort Camden and proceed with eradicating the enemy pockets inside Cork starting with the southern one tomorrow morning."
"There is even some chance that we will take Ft. Westmoreland today, Oberst."
"What? How in heaven do you hope to accomplish that feat?"
"Herr Flynn said he had a brilliant idea. I told him to go ahead and try it. Even if he failed we would then have a dangerous thorn removed from our side."
"Let me know what happened there as soon as possible. In the meantime it is extremely important that we counter the new enemy offensive northwest of here. Therefore Major von Thoma, you will proceed with your battalion to Coachford to act as a close reserve to the 6th Bavarian Infantry Regiment. Of the Irish battalions still in Cork yours is the one that has already demonstrated that it can fight effectively alongside the Bavarians. What is your current effective strength?"
"Even with the local company we absorbed, it is only 362 able bodied men including myself, Oberst, and if case you didnít know already, Maj. Rommel took my machine gun and infantry gun sections with him to County Waterford," von Thoma lamented with some bitterness in his voice.
"Yes, I know full well that your men have fought hard and suffered serious losses but I would also point out that right now some of the battalions in the 6th Bavarian Division have fewer men than that," said Hell, "and it is imperative that we stop the current enemy offensive. As for Rommel he sent me a letter spelling out his intentions. Waterford is a port of considerable significance, and when he is done there he says he intends to make a dash for Dublin to stir up a rising there. Well he is going to be a little bit late but it is still worthwhile for him to go there if he can."
"I donít understand, Oberst," said von Frauenau, "Just what are you saying? Has Dublin finally risen up?"
"Yes, havenít you heard?"
"No we have not, Oberst."
"Our wireless intercept stations intercepted some wireless transmissions in the clear several hours ago. At first it was sort of fragmentary warnings, but it is now clear that a rebellion started in Dublin early this morning."
------USS Wyoming off NYC 1540 hrs
Another wireless message had just been delivered to Adm. Frank Fletcher. "It appears there has been another change of heart in Washington, my German friend," he told von Spee after he read it twice, "It seems to that what they want most now of all is for you Germans to vamoose as quickly as possible. On the one hand they want me to rattle my saber at you and make threatening noises," he said and light heartedly drew his sword and histrionically brandished it in von Speeís direction.
The German admiral made a wry grin, "I get the picture, Adm. Fletcher. What else did they tell you?"
"They now think it is a good idea to permit you to coal three warships at a time. Which one are you going to send next?"
"Excellent! I am going to take my flagship, Lothringen, to New York, which means I must be leaving you in the next few minutes. Admiral Maas will negotiate with you on my behalf while I am in New York."
------Poundridge NY 1550 hrs
Prof. Goddard had agreed to meet with Lt. St. James to test fire some3 of their rockets with the Fenian Fire warheads attached. They met in a rural section of Westchester county called Poundridge where a German born landowner was willing to let them use his estate. Goddard and St. James did the arming together inserting the small bottles of Fenian fire into the cavity in the nose of the rockets then sealing them. The professor then set up the rockets on the launcher. He fired on down into a field. When it landed nothing happened immediately. The bottle inside was shattered. It contained white phosphorous in a solution of carbon disulfide which now evaporated rapidly. Suddenly air reached the white phosphorus which burst into flames the highly volatile carbon disulfide fumes as well. A fairly large cloud of white smoke resulted. The grass was still wet from an overnight thunderstorm and so it was scorched but did not catch fire. "A most impressive quantity of smoke coming from rather small bottle," noted an impressed Goddard.
"Devoy in one of his more civil moods told me about this here Fenian tire. The Irish Republican henchmen used it for its incendiary properties to set fires after a small delay for the arsonists to escape but the main reason I am interested in it is by using it in rockets I can lay down a smokescreen quickly. To accomplish that I do not need the accuracy of cannons," St. James replied, "instead I want something that can be moved and prepared quickly behind reserve slopes."
"Reverse slopes?" asked Goddard wondering if it was a mathematical term he should know.
"A military term. It means the side of a hill away from the enemyís line of sight."
"Oh OK, I get it now. Even though you say you donít need pinpoint accuracy you still donít want it landing within a certain area and the rocket we launched wobbled more than I expected."
"Hmm. Is there anything you suggest we do to rectify it that can be done quickly? We are supposed to be delivering the whole shipment today."
"I am wondering if the bottle in the warhead might be shifting around as it flew."
"Maybe if we put some stuffing inside to hold it in place that would help?"
"It is worth a try, sergeant."
"Uh, I sort of got a promotion, professor. The Germans have made me a Leutnant."
Goddardís jaw dropped, "Leutnant, whatís that? Oh wait, is that German for lieutenant? Well I must say I certainly didnít expect that! Well then let me extend my congratulations. Lt. St. James."
He sounds like he thinks I might be making this up surmised St. James sometimes I wonder myself if von Papen is pulling my leg. The two of them together fiddled with using rags or even straw to hold the Fenian fire bottle in place and it made some improvement though Dr. Goddard remained dissatisfied. "I am feeling guilty about how the test rockets are performing," he confessed to Cornelius.
Hmm that is a pretty good segue might as well run it by the prof here now "Huh, there is something I would like you to consider, Dr. Goddard," said St. James.
"Oh, and what is that, Lt.? Do you need more rockets? I thought you were going to be shipping out soon with the Germans?"
"What I am worried about, Professor, is that there is no way I am going to be able to learn everything I need to from you today. Making matters worse I donít think I will be staying that long in Ireland---yes that is where these are going if you hadnít guessed already---and so it means what I have picked up will need to be passed on to some white boy. Even if he is willing to listen at all to what colored man has to say it wonít be easy for me to train him."
"I am confused, Cornelius. So what is it you are suggesting?"
Cornelius took a deep breath then said, "Iíve been able to persuade Capt. von Papen to offer you some serious money to come along with the other volunteers so we can learn how to use these things properly and not blow ourselves up like what happened with that Hearst fireworks show fiasco Furthermore if your weapon pans out they will be willing to hire you work on other projects after the war---not all of them military either." For the time being letís not tell the Doc that von Papen and I did not agree on exactly how much money the Germans would be willing to pay him for his services.
Dr. Goddard scratched his chin ruefully.
------OKW Berlin 1600 hrs
Vizadmiral Franz von Hipper and Grossadmiral Friedrich von Ingenohl had arrived at OKW for their meeting with Grossadmiral Alfred von Tirpitz. "There is some very good news coming out of Ireland," von Tirpitz informed them, "And because of that the Generalfeldmarschal is very seriously considering authorizing the second phase of Operation Unicorn."
"The second phase of Operation Unicorn is more insane than ever!" protested von Ingenohl, "It was supposed to happen within a week of the initial landing. We had been told that the attack on Berehaven was a complete failure and the Irish rebellion was only a small fraction of what Casement and Plunkett had predicted."
"The I.R.A. is steadily growing at a remarkable rate. Now there comes word that Dublin has finally erupted."
"And what about Berehaven? Have we finally taken that key base, grossadmiral?" asked Hipper in a more ambivalent tone than von Ingenohl.
"No, but we are in the process of taking Queenstown which we can use as a substitute for Bantry Bay."
"There are four forts defending Cork harbor---have we taken any of them?" asked von Ingenohl.
"Yes, the most powerful of them, Fort Carlisle, has been captured, apparently with its weapons operational."
Hipper arched an eyebrow but Adm. von Ingenohl merely scowled, We will need all four either captured or neutralized to utilize the base."
"Gen. von FranÁois is well aware of that," replied von Tirpitz frostily.
"How soon would we be leaving, grossadmiral?" asked Hipper. Since the Battle of Utsire his relationship with Grossadmiral von Ingenohl had been tinged with some animosity. Von Ingenohl, who strongly opposed Operation Unicorn from its very inception, had tried to limit Hipperís role in its planning as much as possible. Hipper was sharply divided in his own opinion about Operation Unicorn. He fully appreciated the opportunity it presented to outflank Britianís geographical advantage, but he also acknowledged the risks it entailed. When it looked like the second wave had been cancelled one part of him was relieved but another deeply disappointed.
"If the Feldmarschal gives his approval later this evening, I want both of you prepared to leave Jade Bay tomorrow night."
"What? You know very well that the plans for Operation Unicorn clearly state that the High Seas Fleet would have three full days to make the necessary preparations once the second wave was approved," complained Ingenohl.
"Yes, I am well aware that was considered the optimal amount of times when we drew up those plans. However it can be done in less time and it will be done in less time. I have already instructed Admiral von Bachmann to begin redeploying the U-Boat stations, which really is the most consuming element to the process."
"Is it really that imperative that we leave tomorrow night, grossadmiral?" asked Hipper worriedly, "For one thing I really do not think that is enough time for the U-Boats to reach the designated ambush lines, but what is of even greater concern to me is that repairs are not scheduled to be completed on Von der Tann before Wednesday afternoon. The dockyard crews are already working around the clock on both her and Seydlitz so no amount of bluster on our part can make her ready tomorrow."
"If we really must go at all we should at least wait until Seydlitz is ready as well," added
"Alas repairs on Seydlitz will not be finished before Saturday at the earliest," Hipper answered with a small sigh. .
"Good! In that case at least we will have enough time to prepare properly. It will also give von Moltke more time to finally accept how utterly foolish this whole project is!" replied Ingenohl.
"Do your new friends in the Reichstag know what a defeatist coward you really are?" von Tirpitz taunted von Ingenohl
"How can you possibly say that after what I have accomplished at Dogger Bank and Utsire? Is this really another way for you to get back at me for my speech before the Reichstag? Is that what this is all about?"
"No, no, no it is not though that nauseating speech was yet another illustration of your defeatism."
Hipper shook his head though not so much the other would notice. He had not cared for the tone of von Ingenohlís now infamous speech before the Reichstag, but he also thought those who condemned it as unpatriotic were going too far. He now wondered if this meeting would end with one of the grossadmirals challenging the other to a duel. It was almost an amusing thought esp. if they chose swords though a duel did not strike him as being in accord with either manís personality, and in any event the Kaiser would definitely not permit it.
------Liberty Hall Dublin 1610 hrs
The Irish Volunteers of Dublin Brigade had fashioned some homemade bombs. Sometimes they worked like they were supposed and some sometimes they did not. The first bomb they threw into Liberty Hall was a dud but the second exploded quite nicely except it exploded too soon and badly wounded the Volunteer who hurled it. The R.I.C. in Liberty Hall had taken heavy casualties in trying to retake the G.P.O. during the morning. After that they were hard pressed just to hold on to Liberty Hall. The D.M.P. with them had only revolvers and a still shakier morale had retreated to the Custom House to the east. The R.I.C. held out for a while then in the early afternoon some of them withdrew to the Custom House as well. This bomb took care of all but one constable who promptly surrendered when the rebels burst into the building.
Pearse was ecstatic when he learned of the capture of Liberty Hall. It was the first real offensive success that the rebels had within Dublin since the early morning and it possessed great symbolic value for the Irish Volunteers and the Citizen Army. It also made communication with the 3rd Battalion HQ at Bolandís Mill a little easier though there was an increasing problem with British snipers at the Custom House and the nearby Fire Brigade Station. Several other rebel attacks had failed though on defense they were for the time being performing rather well having repelled British attacks on the Mendicity Institute, St. Stephens Green and the portion of Trinity College they controlled. The later success though generated mixed feelings in Pearse who was deeply saddened to see such a noble center for higher learning turned into a battleground.
Stragglers had arrived in dribs and drabs throughout the afternoon so despite some casualties the 6th Battalion had now grown to just over 700. Reports from the other battalions in Dublin and the Citizen Army indicated they had grown as well. Furthermore additional reinforcements had arrived. One of the them were 58 men and one woman belonging to a company from Maynooth in the eastern corner of County Kildare Another contingent was 43 men of the Hibernian Rifles, which was an offshoot of the American Clan na Gael. Pearse had decided not to inform them in advance of the rising but was glad to see they were now willing to participate. Lastly a dozen Redmondites had spontaneously come forward to join the rebellion. Pearse decided to remove one of the companies of the 6th Battalion and combine it with these disparate newcomers and form what he called the HQ Battalion which he would keep at the GPO both to guard his HQ and to act as a general reserve. .
So while there was reason to be optimistic about manpower Pearse was worried about weapons. Of the Irish Volunteers who had shown up, barely a fifth were armed with a rifle and roughly the same number were armed with shotguns, most of which were the sawed off version useful only at point blank ranges. A little more than a third of the Irish Volunteers were armed only with a pistol. That left more than a quarter of the Irish Volunteers bereft of any sort of firearm. These carried swords, machetes, improvised pikes and even sledgehammers as weapons. The situation was much worse with the Citizen Army and the new arrivals Pearse threw into the HQ Battalion. The Maynooth company, for example had reached Dublin armed only with one Remington hunting rifle, 3 sawed of shotguns and 8 pistols.
------NYC harbor 1655 hrs
Fritz Austerlitz and his son Fred had spent the night fighting his Joanna over her son going with him to fight in Ireland. Fritz actually had mixed feelings about his son going with him but the more Joanna insisted that her baby boy not go off to war, the stronger was Fredís resolve and his father saw in this as a sign of loyalty that moved his heart. Neither of them had gotten much sleep and this morning they took a tram to the dockyards where they were supposed to be assigned billeting aboard one of the seven German ocean liners being prepared for departure. There was an odd mix of people assembling around the docks. Some were clearly the mixture of mostly German and Irish Americans will to participate in the expedition. Others though were there to jeer at the volunteers some of which carried signs with messages like "KAISER WILHELM KILLS BELGIAN BABIES" and "GO TO IRELAND AND GO TO HELL YOU KAISER LOVERS!"
"I can see that not everyone loves us, Fred," Fritz remarked to his son, "Keep your wits about you. We may see some violence long before we make it to Europe." The two passed where Stralsund and Schlesien were being coaled furiously despite another contingent of hecklers and protestors. Not far from there the volunteers were assembling. They were mostly a mix of German Americans and Irish Americans. Representatives of the Clan na Gael were trying to organize the Irish while the Bund was trying to organize the German reservists. What was not immediately obvious to Fritz was who was responsible for organizing those volunteers of AustroHungarian origin.
"Look at that priest over there, Fred," Fritz told his son, "I donít think Iíve ever seen a priest that fat. I am wondering if he is coming along on this expedition."
Soon after that they finally found some officious twit in charge of the Austro-Hungarian volunteers. He even had Fritzís name on a list of former officers. "Things are not going as smoothly as we had been told," he told Fritz.
"I can see that. How long are we going to have to wait around here toting our luggage?"
"To be honest, several hours I am afraid. However there are some establishments with owners sympathetic to our common cause. Those owners claim that they are very willing to give free food and drinks to certified members of this expedition."
"Uh, now thatís interesting. Just what do you mean by certified though?"
"I have been provided slips that will vouch for your status. As you are a former officer I would be happy to give you one. I also have a list of establishments. Most of them happen to be saloons I am afraid."
"There is nothing wrong with a saloon, esp. when a man happens to be thirsty."
Fritz and Fred ended up in bar on the Lower Eastside owned by a man named James Cagney, who came from County Leitrim. Most of the patrons were Irish but when Cagney saw the certificate and learned that Fritz had been an Austrian officer he treated him as a distinguished guest and when told that Fred was going along as well offered him a beer as well.
. . After w while Fritz left Fred to go to the bathroom. While he was gone a short young lad came over to the table and sat down. "So you and your father are going to go running off to fight for Ireland. You donít strike me as being Irish. Are you Germans?"
"Uh, I am half German, that is my mother is German. My father though is from Austria, where he served as an officer," replied Fred not sure to make of the earnest adolescent.
"Austrian well you donít say. I bet you must be pretty ticked off what with that Archduke of yours getting bumped off like that?"
Fred did not know how to answer that. He did think the assassination was shocking but only in an abstract way. America was his country not Austria. "Well yes of course it was, Mr. uh---" Fred finally answered awkwardly.
"Cagney, James Cagney. Junior that is---though donít you dare call me that or Iíll knock your socks off."
"Oh, so you must be the ownerís son."
"That I is," young Cagney answered eagerly extending his hand, "Iím happy to make your acquaintance, uh Mr?"
"Ast---uh, I mean Austerlitz, Fred Austerlitz. I am very glad to make your acquaintance as well, Mr. Cagney."
"Oh please call me Jimmy. If you donít mind me sayiní you look to be about my age, Fred. I am going to turn sixteen in July. Am I right?"
"Uh today in fact happens to be my sixteenth birthday," replied Fred, who then moved his beer away somewhat guiltily Even though New York didnít have minimum drinking age at that some establishments made it a policy to serve youths.
"Offering me a slug now are you? Well donít mind if I do," said young Cagney who rapidly downed two large slugs, then as he wiped the foam off his chin, "So your father is willing to take you off to war with him?"
"Well, yes, though I had to do some persuading."
"And your ma? What does she have to say?"
"Uh, she thinks it is a stupid idea---a very stupid idea. For one thing she thinks Iím too young."
"Ah mothers are all the same---afraid to let their children grow up. My mother doesnít want me to go either. Sheíd say I was too young even if I was thirty."
"Oh, so are you planning on coming along with us, Jimmy?"
"To be frank---even though Iím a James not a Frank," Cagney quipped with a wicked grin, "I havenít made up my mind. Da claims he supports the cause but he ainít goiní. Says the bar wonít survive without him. Or so he tells me, but letís not be gettingí into that. So what it all boils down to is Iíd be going all by myself."
"Well are you going, Mr, uh, I mean Jimmy?"
Young Cagney took another slurp of beer then leaned forward, "Between you and me I was not too comfy with the notion of going off all by myself. But I like you Fred, and what with your father being an officer and all that, Iíd feel a lot better going if I can hang around you two even though youíre not Irish. Does that make any sense?"
Fred nodded, "Yes I too am worried about not knowing anyone but my father and you are certainly a most engaging young man and---"
"----engaging? Holy shit, Fred, you make it sound like we were getting married or something?"
Fred blushed, "Oh no, no, you completely misunderstand me."
Cagney then chugged the rest of Fredís beer then belched all the while looking sternly at Fred, then he suddenly grinned and playfully punched Fred in the arm, "Yeah, I know what you meant, I was just fooliní you thatís all."
Before Fred could reply his father returned. "Well then who is your new friend, Fred?" he asked.
Fred turned to his father but before he could speak Cagney jumped and saluted, "Private James Cagney Jr., reporting for duty, sir!"
------coast west of Froise (Picardy) 1720 hrs
Assisted by the old warships of Dover Patrol the British First Army continued its efforts to pry the German 7th Infantry Division away from the coast and rescue the trapped 2nd Infantry Division. The First Army was very low on shells and so a heavy load was placed on Dover Patrol. This had resulted in several duels with the German artillery throughout most of the day. Damage slowly but steadily accumulated to the warships including some casualties, more often from the splinters of near misses as well as direct hits. Some of the old warships had been forced to leave the engagement due to damage but none had been close to sinking. A few periscopes had been sighted but no torpedoes materialized and it was suspected that in these shallow waters the sightings were all false alarms. German airplanes had attacked the warships in two small waves, but only managed to score a single hit with a small bomb and temporarily distracted a few of the warships. The German artillery remained the only serious threat to Dover Patrol. Now the HMS Cherwell, a River class destroyer which already had a furious fire burning in its bow was hit again in the vicinity of the fire and seconds later its bow exploded. The aft half of the ship remained afloat for nearly two minutes and 11 sailors somehow managed to make it off. After that Admiral Bacon ordered the other vessels not to engage so close to shore and to zigzag more.
The Saxons of the 7th Infantry Division had been under pressure for most of the day and it was all they could do to hold their strip of sand that extended to Channel. The rest of IV Army Corps tried to help them by making a series of pinning attacks on the British 6th Infantry Division, while the XXVII Reserve Corps continued to enfilade the British 2nd Infantry Division and made further assaults on the town of Quend. The III Bavarian Corps likewise made a series of small pinning attacks on Indian Corps in order to prevent if from assisting III Army Corps. Though the day was one of near continuous action in no place did the front line move much more than 100 meters in either direction.
------Carrick-on-Shannon (Leitrim) 1845 hrs
Another pair of river boats had recently arrived at Carrick-on-Shannon bringing 600 more Moisin-Nagant rifles and 36,000 rounds of ammunition. These also brought 4 German Pioneers with explosives plus an Irish Volunteer who had some experience with dynamite and spoke passable German and would serve as their apprentice. Leitrim Battalion had now grown to 807 men and 26 women. After a day of organizing and training the disparate pieces that formed his battalion Major Otto Schirmer, their new Irish Brigade commandant, summoned his company commandants and sergeant major to discuss his plans.
"A messenger has returned from Longford Battalion---yes I said battalion. That unit now has over 300 members---considerably more than our superiors were expecting which is why they only provided them an Irish Brigade captain to be their commandant. I have sent him orders to march here at first light tomorrow. More river boats with additional rifles and ammunition will arrive here tomorrow around noon. While we wait for Longford Battalion and the riverboats we will send out the bicycle platoon we formed today to conduct a thorough reconnaissance of the surrounding areas. The rest of the platoon should spend the morning in intensive training. At midday we will form a detachment to perform support roles with our women and the least fit of the men. This is something that has been done in other parts of Ireland and is now a policy recommended by Maj. von Rundstedt the acting chief of staff. We will filter the Longford Battalion as well when it arrives here, but we are not going to absorb that unit. Instead I want them to remain here to guard our line of communication, when we advance on Sligo."
"What is our going to be our route to Sligo, major? Are we going through Boyle?" asked one of company commanders.
"The British have an army camp at Boyle with a reserve battalion training there. Yes those are usually not close to full strength but with these half trained at best Irishmen we have we cannot afford to do battle with them unless we have established a good defensive position."
"But some of men come from that area and they tell us that the reserve battalion was seen marching south, major. They believe that the camp may be occupied by a minimal force."
. "Yes, I have heard those reports. But did they really see the entire reserve battalion or merely a portion of it? If half of them remain to guard the camp and take measures to fortify it they could easily inflict crippling losses on us. And even if all of them left how do we know that they have not returned. No that is far too risky. We will proceed instead into the northern part of Country Leitrim tomorrow and then come at Sligo from the east."
------Waterford city 1855 hrs
After Rommelís victory at Kilmacthomas he ordered 3rd Tipperary to advance on Waterford by foot while he loaded the 3rd Kerry Battalion Motorized back into the cars, trucks and buses and proceeded to the small town of Tramore along the coast. There he failed to take the coast guard station by coup de main though he did succeed in taking the small train station. Dense clouds were moving in from the northeast which made Rommel worry that a thunderstorm could quickly deny his 2 wheeled vehicles use of the roads, esp. as this section of County Waterford was marshy. He chewed out those subordinates he thought had botched the attack on the coast guard station, including poor Ziethen, then decided that the coast guard station could wait and it was much more important to continue on to Waterford while he still could use the roads. Rommel left a dozen men behind at Tramore with 60 rifles and 24,000 rounds of ammunition with orders to contact and arm the small local company of Irish Volunteers while keeping the coast guardsmen pinned down inside their station.
Rommel expected the cityís defenses would be oriented towards countering an attack coming from the west. He had also been told that the main military barracks in Waterford was located in the western portion. So he sent the weapons company and one of his rifle companies along with the weapons company with one armored car to attack it from the south on Tramore Road. These seized positions from which the weapons company could interdict with fire any move to the east from the barracks. Meanwhile Rommel took the rest of his battalion and first swung sharply to the east on the Outer Ring Road and then turned again to attack the city from the east via Dunmore Road. He encountered a roadblock manned by a half dozen R.I.C who fled from the two armored cars. At that point Rommel ordered another one of his companies to dismount and advance on foot then boldly led the rest still in their motor vehicles to the main quay of Waterford harbor.
In the luxury motorcar with Rommel right behind the two armored cars was unteroffizier Ziethen and 2 more Pioneers. "You were too slow again back at Tramore, Ziethen, that was the main reason our attack failed," Rommel rebuked Ziethen as they neared their destination, Reginaldís Tower, "I want to see some speed this time."
Vikings had created Waterford and Reginaldís Tower was named after the Danish governor of Waterford, Reginal MacIvor who had it constructed in 1003. With some modification the circular stone tower had survived have served in different periods as a fortification, mint and prison. A cannonball from one siege remained conspicuously lodged in wall. It was now being use has the head quarters of the chief constable of Waterford. It still had some tactical value for observation and posting snipers though it would be vulnerable to modern artillery.
The two armored cars had stopped and one of them briefly fired at the tower. "Now, now! Ziethen!" Rommel yelled as he suddenly braked his automobile. Ziethen followed the other two pioneers jumped out of the motor car and sprinted towards the locked door of the tower. Ziethen quickly laid a small explosive charge on the door. He and the other two pioneers then moved away the door. There was a small explosion which blew the door off its hinges. . The other two pioneers then edged closer to the open and after exchanging glances and a nod, they each hurled a grenade inside the opening. Two more explosions followed.
Meanwhile Jaegers and some of the Irish Volunteers had dismounted and approached the tower despite some rifle fire which was starting to come from the top of the tower. Ziethen and his pioneers now charged into the tower. There were six constables in the entrance, of which four appeared to have been killed by the grenades. One of the survivors looked only partially stunned and was slowly raising his rifle. Ziethen reacted quickly and killed him with his pistol. There was one other survivor of the grenades, holding his face in hands soaked in blood groaning and sobbing, "Iím blind, Iím blind, I surrender, donít shoot, I surrender." One of Ziethenís pioneers started to go help the suffering constable, but Ziethen ordered him, "No, let the Jaegers take care of him. We must go upstairs before those up there can react."
The three pioneers proceeded upstairs. A constable with a Lee-Enfield suddenly emerged and fired a round that whizzed passed Ziethenís right ear and then noisily ricocheted off the stone walls, fortunately hitting no one. All three pioneers returned fire and one wounded the constable in the right elbow after which he let out a brief scream and dropped his rifle. He made no attempt to reach for his sidearm but let himself be taken prisoner. Ziethen then proceeded upstairs yet another constable was firing from a narrow window and shot him in the chest as well as he tried to being his weapon to bear. There was one more constable firing from the top of the tower but when the pioneers approached he yelled out, "Donít shoot! I surrender, I surrender!". The Royal Irish Constabulary was at best an over armed police force and often it was easy to get them to surrender.
Major Rommel approached, "Well this time you didnít do too bad, Ziethen, but donít sit around here loafing, we need to prepare for the enemyís counterattack." Some of the Jaegers were soon posted atop the tower as snipers. The portion of the 15th Royal Irish Rifles that had remained in Waterford were already pouring out of the barracks to the west to counterattack. .The fighting in Enniscorthy around Vinegar Hill had given the Ulstermen of this battalion a low opinion of the capability of the rebel forces. The fighting in Cork had given the men of the 3rd Kerry Battalion (Mot.) an opportunity to learn some lesson about fighting in an urban environment and they now put those lessons to good use. They dominated the street with rifle fire from well chosen positions with good cover and fields of fire. Assisting them was the IRA weapons company to the south which was able to enfilade of portion of the enemyís attack with machine guns and even one of its infantry guns. The end result was a slaughter in the streets and ultimately the somewhat ragged withdrawal of the Royal Irish Riflemen back to the vicinity of the barracks.
As they were doing so Rommel was already sending his men to scout and infiltrate. There were two companies of Irish Volunteers in Waterford and some of Rommelís Irishmen were sent to contact them. Rommel watched the battle progress from Reginaldís Tower. The OíRahilly had told him that after the Battle of the Boyne James II had retired to Waterford and took one last look at Ireland from the top of this tower before departing for France. It still provided a good view. Rommel noticed a flash of lightning in the distance and could feel the temperature starting to drop. It would start raining soon, probably hard.
Reports made their way back to the tower. Despite their loses the 15th Royal Irish Rifles still remained a threat and were blocking the efforts of the 3rd Kerry Battalion to work their way west barring them from the only bridge spanning the Suir River here. The city jail was also well guarded. There would certainly be some local Irish Volunteer leaders imprisoned there and releasing them wouldíve made it easier to mobilize the local companies as had happened when Rommel took the Cork city jail. Rommel put the OíRahilly in charge of contacting the local Irish Volunteers. The OíRahilly now returned to tower sooner than Rommel had expected. There was another flash of lightning. This time thunder could be heard.
"What is wrong, Michael? Why are you back so soon?" asked Rommel who had come to regard the O"Rahilly as a friend. Erwin dismissed from his mind the disturbing possibility that the informality might be a sign he was going native.
"Oh, nothing is wrong, Major. In fact there is something of a most pleasant surprise I had to come tell you forthwith. When I made contact with some of the local Volunteers they told me that rebellion had broken out in Dublin this morning."
Rommel notched an eyebrow then answered suspiciously, "Is this information reliable? Is there any chance this could be another of those wild rumors your fellow Irishmen are so fond of spreading?"
The OíRahilly shook his head, "I do not think so, Major, though I concede it is a possibility. I think in the morning we will know for sure."
Maj. Rommel scratched his chin ruefully.
------USS Wyoming off New York 1905 hrs
Adm. Maas had so far remained aboard BlŁcher. Meanwhile Adm. Fletcher had been informed a half hour earlier that Stralsund had finished coaling and had departed NY harbor. He then asked Adm. Maas via searchlight which ship would coal next. The searchlight on BlŁcher now came back with Maasí response.
"They want Hessen to go next, Admiral," Frank Fletcher informed Frank Fletcher. The flag lieutenant had told his uncle that the Germans had become quite obnoxious in belaboring the ordnance in Lusitaniaís cargo hold, but the champagne, caviar and pate afterwards had more than made up for it.
"I sort of had a hunch they would. Inform Admiral Maas by searchlight that permission is granted for Hessen to coal in New York harbor for up to 24 hours," replied the uncle.
------SMS Lothringen docked NY harbor 1910 hrs GMT
The German naval attachť Kapitan zur See Karl Boy-Ed had arrived to brief Admiral Graf von Spee on developments both in the United States and Ireland. The admiral was not at all happy with what he was being told about what had occurred in Ireland since he left. "This is not what we had planned at all," said von Spee, "we had assumed that close to 80,000 Irishmen would rise in rebellion all over Ireland within 60 hours of our landing. Even before we left I had been told by Gen. von FranÁois was not manifesting as intensely as expected but things apparently are worse than I thought."
"Well the revolt in Dublin has finally started. Surely that must count for something, admiral, even if it is two weeks late," Boy-Ed replied trying to sound positive.
"The rebellion is only part of the problem. A second wave of 2 divisions was supposed to land in Bantry Bay a week after I left Ireland. Together with the rebellion these reinforcements were thought to be essential to defeat the British in Ireland. I am gravely worried that OKW may have given up on Operation Unicorn. What has Berlin told you via the transatlantic wireless?"
"In the last week communication has been mostly about the diplomatic situation in the United States and the preparations for the third wave, admiral."
"So they have not transmitted any modification to my orders?"
"We did inform them of your arrival, admiral. They confirmed that and said that they would be sending additional instructions soon, but nothing of any substance has arrived so far."
"Things are going badly astray in Ireland and yet my orders have not been amended? I find that very strange and most disturbing. You must inform Berlin immediately that I will be sailing out once my allotted time in New York has expired and need to be clear about exactly what my orders are in this changed situation."
"Jawohl, Admiral. Before I forget there is to be a gala celebration this evening in your honor jointly sponsored by the Bund and Clan na Gael. Count von Bernstorff strongly suggests that you attend and be prepared to deliver at least a short speech in English."
------Cork city 1915 hrs
The harbor boat returned to Cork with only one man wearing an R.I.C uniform aboard it. They were met at the docks by some of the Sealgairs who had remained behind. Liam Kerns, the commandant of the battalionís first company, which was considered to be its elite company because it consisted mostly of those who had come from the vicinity of Ballyvourney like Flynn. Kerns was sometimes regarded as Flynnís deputy, but it was common knowledge the two of them had argued a lot in the last few days mostly about Flynnís policy of torturing and killing prisoners. "What happened at Fort Westmoreland?" Kerns asked Barry excitedly, "Where is Joe?"
"Joe is dead, Liam. We did manage to take the bleediní fort though."
"Joe is dead? What did you do with his body?"
"We decided it would be best to bury him there. It seemed fitting because he paid his life taking the thing," said Barry with moist eyes.
"Yes, and a great triumph it is. We must notify Commandant MacCurtain immediately."
"Huh? The commandant and the Germans need to know this as soon as possible?"
"Why what, Tom? The answer should be freakiní obvious. The capture of the fort greatly increases our control of the harbor."
"Yes, I guess it does. But why tell MacCurtain? Heís just a lapdog for the damn Germans thatís all. He does whatever they tell him to. You know very well Joe held him in contempt."
"Huh, well they had some differences but thatís putting it too strongly---"
"---ah youíre so full of shit, Liam. Down deep youíre more like MacCurtain than you are like Joe--perfectly content to do whatever the Germans tell ya."
"Youíre way out of line, Tom."
"Oh, and just what are you goiní to do about it, Liam? Oh, I mean Liam, sir."
"Thatís enough of that, Tom. If this is going to be a real army, we are going to need to have some discipline."
"What Ireland really needs now is for some more of the Sealgairs to come back with me to Fort Flynn, once known as Fort Westmoreland. Unfortunately most of you will have to go in shackles pretending to be prisoners in case one of those damn British armed trawlers stop us. Who is with me?"
"Iím with you, Tom!" yelled one of the Sealgairs who stepped forward.
"Aye, ne too, Tom, go ahead and chain me!" yelled another.
"No, no! Wait! I am not done yet!" yelled Liam Kerns. At that his wife Una approached with her Lee-Enfield on her shoulders and whispered in his husbandís ear, "Let them go, Liam."
"But Tom is directly challenging my authority, Una."
"I know but taking over the battalion and restoring some sanity is not going to be easy, darliní. We have some enemies in the battalion, some very dangerous enemies. It is best if you donít make a scene now."
------Perim Island 1920 hrs GMT
Eight dhows emerged from behind the eastern side of Perim Island. These split up into 4 pairs that headed west but towards different designated landing areas. Aboard each of the dhows was a well hidden cache of supplies incl. a few artillery shells plus a band of 4 trusted Yemeni irregulars who had received some special training in the last 2 weeks. It was felt that even if stopped by a French or British gunboat these vessels travelling in pairs without obvious soldiers aboard would not arouse enough suspicion to be boarded and searched. One pair proceeded towards Arheita in Eritrea. This group was selected from the Yemenis considered the most trustworthy and they brought some gold with them. The other 3 pairs made their way further south including one that was to try and land a few miles northeast of Obock. None of the dhows was intercepted. When the supplies were unloaded each of the Yemeni teams sent one man scampering off to make contact with the local friendly forces while the others guarded the haul and the dhows departed individually to return to Yemen after appearing to do some fishing.
------Viceregal Lodge (Dublin) 1935 hrs
Lord Curzon and Mary Spring Rice were having supper. There was a storm approaching and thunder could be heard. Mary was glad to hear thunder as it temporarily drowned out the sounds of gunfire in the distance.
"You are barely touching your food, my dear," Curzon noted with concern, "Are you feeling ill? Should I instruct one of the physicians to attend to you? Or perhaps I should order the cook to prepare something more to your taste?"
"Oh, no, my love, that will not be necessary," said Mary who forced herself to eat a portion of her rack of lamb, "Iím just a wee bit distracted that is all."
"As I have said before as long as you remain inside and stay away from the windows you have nothing to fear. We are well protected here. The last I heard the rebels were completely hemmed in and so they shanít be mounting any more attacks neither here nor elsewhere."
"Yes, that is most reassuring," she answered with only partial sincerity. What was really bothering Mary was not the threat to her own safety but the fact that she had helped fetch the rifles provided by the Germans which were now being used in the uprising. So she felt partially responsible for what was happening outside for that reason, but there was another. "You mentioned that Maj. Price believes that Pearse is behind this, darling?" she asked.
"Yes, we are almost certain now that he is their ring leader. It is a shame that we were not able to capture him before. If we had this may very well have been averted."
So my guilt in all this is twofold Mary chastised herself First I help Childers fetch the guns that are being used right now and it was I who warned Pearse and prevented him from being captured
"Was MacNeill brought before a court martial today?" asked Mary.
"No, London decided to postpone that one day on account of the uprising. They didnít even ask me my opinion on the matter. Of course, that is not at all unusual--they really do not care one iota what I think about anything anymore."
"Only one day? So Smith will go ahead with the trial tomorrow? Will he still seek the death penalty?"
"Yes, that is my understanding of their intentions, my love."
"But doesnít that strike you as rash?"
"Actually now that the dreaded Dublin rising has finally materialized, my worries about the impact of the court martial have diminished. It is a bit like fretting about the chastity of a young maiden and then finding out that she is with child."
Mary blushed slightly at her loverís analogy. "But arenít you the least bit concerned that executing MacNeill might make matters worse. There are some of Redmondís National Volunteers that hold him in high regard and may join the rebellion if he is executed."
"MacNeill will not be executed until Wednesday morning. By then there shouldnít be much a rebellion left here in Dublin for them to join. Realizing that the impudent Col. Kennard was unsatisfactory, Gen. Hamilton had the good sense to appoint Brig. Lowe to take command of Dublin. This has proven to be a modest improvement as I am now receiving more information though it is still considerably less than the Lord-Lieutenant is rightfully entitled to. The good news is that while the number of the rebels looks to be more than we first thought---roughly 3,000 in Dublin proper with some smaller groups fighting in Fingal and the outskirts of Kingstown---they are not well armed on account of our raids on their caches. We have taken the initiative away from them in Dublin though they are proving tenacious in defense in some places. Tomorrow afternoon substantial reinforcements will arrive from England, including some artillery. I expect then end of the revolt will come quickly once they arrive here."
"Gen. Hamilton is willing to use artillery inside Dublin?" asked a shocked Mary.
"If it is necessary, yes. Tomorrow morning a small gunboat will sail up the Liffey to shell the traitorsí positions long before the field artillery arrives."
"Wonít that destroy most of the city?"
"There will be some localized damage that is unavoidable. We hope that by demonstrating our artillery it will scare most of the rebels into surrendering."
"Which they are bloody unlikely to do on account of the prime ministerís pledge to execute every last one of them!"
Curzon sighed deeply once again. Mary had been appalled by the prime ministerís public policy towards the rebels. Curzon had supported the policy of the War Committee but conceded to Mary that it was likely that once the fighting was over, most of the death sentences would be commuted. In the meantime it was necessary to show unwavering resolve. Or so he thought when the rebellion was no closer than Athlone and Cork. Now that armed rebels were less than 2 miles away the situation took on a different perspective
"The prime ministerís policy will serve to keep the rebellion from spreading," answered Curzon but there was little conviction in his voice.
"No it wonít, George. Isnít it painfully obvious by now that it is having the exact opposite effect. Of course you wonít listen to me. Iím just a silly little woman. What do I know?"
"Please donít talk like that, Mary."
"Are you telling me to be quiet? Sometimes I wonder why I talk to you at all. You donít listen to a single word I say."
"That is most unfair! I listen to every word you utter with every fiber of my being, my love."
"Bah! More pious affectations, George. If you really listened to me with even half your vaunted brain, youíd know that executing MacNeill would be a huge mistake."
------10 Downing St 2030 hrs
"Surely this cannot be right!" thundered Bonar Law as he read the decoded German transmission Carson had brought with him. The War Committee had reconvened but without Kitchener being invited.
"I find it very hard to believe as well and asked Admiral Oliver to have the code breakers recheck their work. When they finished they confirmed that this is the content of the message."
"Might I see it as well, Prime Minister?" asked Lloyd-George greatly disturbed by what he read in the Lawís face.
Taking one last look at it Bonar Law disgustedly thrust the paper at Lloyd-George while telling Carson, "Is there any chance, First Lord, that the Germans suspect that we have broken their codes and this was sent deliberately to deceive us?"
"That disturbing possibility has occurred to me as well, Andrew. Admiral Oliver has repeatedly warned that if he shares this intelligence too widely it is inevitable that the Germans would catch wind. I have chastised him on more than one occasion for hoarding intelligence but maybe he has a point after all."
Lloyd-George had now read the document and with a deep frown asked, "The question about whether we can rely on this source of intelligence is a valid concern, but I must also warn that it would be frightfully unwise for us to use it as an excuse to dismiss the possibility that this report is indeed accurate."
"There is no way it can be accurate! If it is not intended as a ruse to deceive then Gen. von FranÁois is either receiving inaccurate reports or is deliberately trying to hoodwink Berlin in the hope of receiving supplies and reinforcements which we know he needs desperately."
"Yes, both of those are very real possibilities, Prime Minister," replied Lloyd-George, "but I must reiterate that it would be foolish to dismiss this report as completely impossible. It would for one thing help explain why we are having so much trouble with Cork and Athlone."
Carson made a wry half frown, "I am afraid I must agree with David. While I think it is highly likely that there is some measure of distortion in von FranÁoisí communiquť we must consider the possibility that it is only slightly exaggerated and act accordingly."
"No, no, no! It is a pack of lies. There is no way that it can true!" roared the prime minister.
Lloyd-George waited a few seconds for the prime ministerís stubborn anger to become less intense, "If this intercepted wireless is even close to being true we should give serious consideration to sending all of the 52nd Division and not just a brigade with a battery to Ireland."
Bonar Law gave the Chancellor a hard look, "How many times do I have to say that this intercepted message is utterly and completely false!"
"Hmm, might I suggest that it would be best if we were to reconvene with Lord Kitchener in the morning to see what his current estimate is?" suggested Carson.
"While I would be interested in hearing in what Lord Kitchener has to say," remarked Lloyd-George, "I feel obliged to remind everyone that our own estimates of the rebel strength have been consistently low by an embarrassingly wide margin throughout this campaign."
"Hmm, maybe not as much as we have been thinking, Chancellor. We came to that conclusion, because we accepted what the two prior German wireless intercepts were telling us. Now I am beginning to wonder if they might have been inflated as well," replied the prime minister.
Christ! Andrew has become borderline delusional about facing up to the growing rebellion in Ireland. Lloyd-George decided glumly Is this a good time to tell him the execute all traitors policy is clearly counterproductive? I donít think so.
Carson answered Lawís question, "Perhaps prime minister, but what is going on at Cork and Athlone strongly suggest our previous estimates were too low."
"Suggests but does not prove conclusively."
"If Lord Kitchener tells us tomorrow morning that the enemy continues to thwart us in both Cork and Athlone, Prime Minister, then we will have no choice but to admit that we have badly underestimated either their quantity or their quality," said Lloyd-George still hoping to force some logic into the Canadianís thick skull.
The prime minister gave Carson and Lloyd-George a fierce glare and pounded his fist on the desk, "This campaign is between the Germans and our army. The Irish count for next to nothing in Ireland!"
------OKW Berlin 2100 hrs
Generalfeldmarschal von Moltke was meeting with Grossadmiral von Tirpitz and Gen. Kraft von Delmensingen. "We have in the last half hour intercepted British wireless messages warning their merchantmen against using Waterford on account of rebel activity there, Feldmarschal."
"Well that is news of some interest, but Waterford is a port of secondary significance," replied von Moltke almost diffidently.
"But it demonstrates that the rebellion is spreading, Feldmarschal," said von Tirpitz, "and we have seized the initiative."
"Perhaps. Have you received the latest estimate from von FranÁois about the size of the I.R.A?"
"Yes, here it is, Feldmarschal."
"Hmm. The rebel army is obviously growing but it is still a long way from what Casement and Plunkett had predicted."
Tirpitz ground his teeth, "You and I always suspected that those projections were somewhat optimistic."
"Yes, yes, I recall saying something along those lines, grossadmiral but I did not think we would end with less than a quarter. That is still not good. Not good at all."
"We do not know how many are involved in Dublin, Feldmarschal. It must be several thousand and it could soon trigger revolt all over Leinster."
"Well it does appear from this message that whatever is happening in Dublin is spontaneous. I do wonder why they waited so long."
"We donít know, Feldmarschal, but the important thing is that they have finally taken firm action, yes?"
"We shall see," said von Moltke with tepid enthusiasm, "Has there been any further word about the harbor forts?"
"Uh, none so far but we should assume---"
"---nothing! We should assume nothing but instead try to learn as much as possible. Send a wireless inquiry."
Tirpitz did not like the implications of that request. "We should not postpone our decision waiting on a reply."
"I would like to know the answer to that question before I reach a decision. I would also like to speak with Adm. von Ingenohl."
"Uh, Adm. von Ingenohlís personal attention is needed to ensure that the fleet is at the necessary state of readiness for its mission. I can make Adm. von Hipper available if need be."
"Oh, so I take that to mean that Adm. von Ingenohl remains strongly opposed to the mission? I know very well that he was never enthusiastic about the whole plan, even though you limited his access to me. Yes, I would like to see Adm. von Hipper if he is not too busy, but alone not with you trying to intimidate him every two seconds, Alfred."
"That is a most unfair insinuation, Feldmarschal. I would never resort to intimidation, but if it makes you happy then by all means confer with him in private. He is in Berlin now and can be summoned in less than an hour. Should I do so?"
"Uh, I would prefer to speak with him in the morning if that is possible. So far what you have presented to me tonight does at first glance looks encouraging but it is far from being compelling. I want to think this over and sleep on it before reconsidering it in the morning when we will have a clearer picture."
"Clearer picture? We have a perfectly clear picture right now. We cannot afford to delay any further. If the second wave is to leave tomorrow night, you must reach a decision now!"
"Oh? What was it you just said about never resorting to intimidation, Alfred? No I am not approving it tonight. If that means the second wave cannot leave tomorrow night then it will have to wait until Wednesday night. If the situation in Ireland is really as rosy as you are painting it then waiting one more day will not derail our plans."
"Gen. von FranÁois is rapidly running out of ammunition. We must act promptly!"
"Hermann is a resourceful general. He can easily hold on until the end of the week if the Irish are finally creating a full scale diversion."
"Every day is precious!"
"Yes they certainly are even in times of peace, Alfred."
"Argh! You are hiding behind cute philosophical platitudes once again, Helmuth! You were always a thinker pretending to be a man of action."
Moltke was only momentarily annoyed with that then shrugged stoically, "Perhaps you are you are right, Alfred but even if that is the case I am not going to change this evening no matter how much you huff and puff. We will discuss this again in the morning."
"But you cannot---"
"But yes I can! Good night grossadmiral!"
------HQ Irish Command Curragh (Kildare) 2135 hrs
Before the call went through to Gen. Stopford, Gen. Hamilton wondered how long it would take the War Office to find a suitable replacement. Hamilton prayed that it would not take too long. "This morning you mentioned there was a rebel concentration in Dungarvan, in the west portion of County Waterford, which was a cause for some concern," noted Hamilton, "and you further told us that the 15th Royal Irish Rifles would take care of the situation in short order. Now there comes word that the rebels are in Waterford city and may have taken the main dock."
"I am well aware that there is a problem is Waterford city, sir. While most of the 15th Royal Irish Rifles were on their way to smite the rebels in Dungarvan some of the rebels managed to infiltrate Waterford city in motor vehicles."
"Hmm. And did the 15th Royal Irish Rifles succeed in eliminating the enemy presence at Dungarvan?"
"Uh, we have lost all telegraph and telephone communication with Waterford so I donít know that to be a fact, sir, but I remain optimistic. The 15th Royal Irish Rifles easily put down the revolt at Enniscorthy."
"Yes it did but the rebels there were very poorly armed, which may not be true for the bunch in County Waterford. Is the 1/4th Duke of Wellington still at Cashel and Fethard? They can be used to reinforce Waterford."
"Uh, after our conversation this afternoon where you emphasized the importance of Cork city, I dispatched orders to that unit to proceed there by forced march, sir. Should I recall them and order them to Waterford instead, sir?"
Hmm in all honesty that is not the dumbest thing Gen. Stopford has done Hamilton admitted to himself as he tapped his lips pensively, "No, your decision is sound as Cork is more important than Waterford at this time," he answered over the telephone..
"I could move all or part of the battalion at Kilkenny south to Waterford, sir."
"I am reluctant to weaken our presence in Kilkenny much. If the rebellion were to take hold in Kilkenny they may be able to find a way to get arms to the rebels in Dublin. For that reason I would hold off on that until we have a clearer picture of just what is going on at Waterford."
------Waterford harbor 2150 hrs
The storm had arrived at Waterford and it was now pouring rain, which helped muffle the sounds of gunfire being exchanged in the streets. Rommel remained inside Reginaldís Tower for the time being. The OíRahilly returned again and reported on the progress on organizing the local Irish Volunteers. "We now have assembled only 76 men and 2 women nearly all from the 2nd Waterford city company, Major. We have yet to make contact with any Irish Volunteers from the 1st city company which was mostly from the western part of the city. The rain is slowing the process of assimilation."
"This rain is slowing everything!" snarled Rommel in frustration, "McElroy was supposed to join us early tomorrow but now the arrival of his battalion is set back several hours."
"There may be a small silver lining to that dark cloud, Major. It will give us more time to set up a separate Waterford Battalion with someone who will abide by our policies towards taking prisoners. That would be preferable to letting McElroy absorb them into 3rd Tipperary."
Rommel scowled but then his features softened, "There is some merit to your suggestion, Michael, but I cannot bring myself to applaud this storm on account of it. We need to wrap up things here before we can proceed on to Dublin. My idea of advancing in a street fight by tunnelling between buildings demonstrated some effectiveness but it takes a long time to implement properly."
"Pardon me, Major, but that was the idea of the late James Connolly."
Rommel waved his hand dismissively, "Oh, no, while poor Mr. Connolly might have made some very abstract comments along roughly similar lines, but it really was my idea all the way."
The OíRahilly did not agree with this but decided it would be pointless to pursue the debate. "It looks it will be at least a day then before we can proceed on to Dublin. Iíd like to believe that the Volunteers in Dublin can manage for one day maybe even two without our assistance."
"Hmm. Perhaps. Who do you think is running things in Dublin? You were an important member of that organization."
"If I had to guess the likeliest candidate is Padraig Pearse, who was in hiding when you Germans landed. Maybe he managed to reach Dublin in the last few days which is why it took so long for the rising to happen. But as I just stipulated thatís only a wild guess."
"Plunkett told me something about Pearse. He seems to be something of a romantic idealist. Is that your impression as well?"
"Oh yes, quite so, major. A most noble figure, but a more than little bit naÔve in my estimation. MacNeill had the same worries about him as well and suspected Pearse was cooking up a rebellion without his approval. Thatís the main reason he sent me to Tralee."
"Hmm. While he sounds like a remarkable man but I am beginning to worry that he might cause us some problems once we reach Dublin. Sometimes angels are as much of a problem as devils like Flynn."
"I agree, but as I said before this is all speculation, major. For all I know someone could be leading the rebellion in Dublin."
"You are quite right, Michael. I need to concentrate on finishing up here as quickly as possible and then work out how best to get to Dublin."
------------Carriganimmy (Cork) 2200 hrs
The reinforced 53rd (Welsh) Division launched another series of attacks in the dark, both frontally on the main enemy and by trying to infiltrate through the mountains. Night assaults present their own set of problems and the attackers had much less experience at it than the German defenders. The Germans had erected searchlights and their artillery was sometimes firing star shells, which permitted them some effectiveness. It was raining heavily which added to the confusion. Gen. Friend, the acting commander of the 53rd Division, was not optimistic about the chances of these attacks. He only committed a fraction of his available infantry and told the rest of his men to get a good nightís sleep after the exhausting day. Hopefully the attackers would keep all of the Germans awake which would enhance the prospects of the planned early morning attack which would include the attack on the enemyís flank at Coachford.
While this was going on roughly 60 men of the destroyed Cheshire Brigade and the batteries which had been lost in the battle last week near Rathmore emerged from the mountains where they had taken refuge. Of these 17 were wounded from combat and many of the rest had sustained injuries ranging from cuts and bruisers to sprains and fractures wandering in the mountains. All of them had been without food for more than two days. The few that still had any ammunition were down to their last clip. They did manage to bring 2 prisoners with them, both members of the 1st Kerry Battalion who had been captured in an ambush on an IRA patrol.
Ironically other small groups of survivors also began to emerge from the mountains a little later. These were a portion of the remnant of 16th (Irish) Division. Tragically one member of this group was mortally wounded when startled Welsh sentries opened fire on these Irish soldiers approaching in the dark. The rest of this group gave the intelligence officers of the 53rd Division a much better picture of what had befallen their poor division.
------Morlay (Picardy) 2215 hrs
The men in the vanguard of the 29th Infantry Division marched up the main road leading to Rue and First Army. They had passed through the area of Nolette without any trouble With more apprehension they approached the next choke point in a dark night with thickening clouds and the moon not yet risen. The vanguard belonging to the 87th Brigade made it through without harm but then the following elements of the division came under sporadic fire from a mix of 7.7 cm field guns and 10.5 cm howitzers. This as usual quickly drew brisk British counterbattery fire. Since it was night neither side was particularly accurate though the German guns had registered on the road at dusk. The shrapnel shells inflicted some casualties on the densely packed formation of soldiers plus their draught animals. It also caused confusion and mayhem, stalling the progress of the division. The off and on shelling of the road continued for most of the night. The 29th Infantry Division made it through but it suffered nearly 600 casualties in the process. Once again the draught animals suffered. The ASC companies which paraded through there nightly suffering casualties in the process had taken to calling the area the Vale of Dead Horses.
-----New York harbor 2235 hrs GMT
Sandeep Singh Puri led 16 other members of the Ghaidar Party who had volunteered to go with him to India though Europe as the Germans had suggested. He had hoped that there would be more. That was one disappointment. Another was that Agnes Smedley had insisted on going as well. He tried not to look at her but could feel were wicked eyes staring at him wantonly. There were several thousands of men milling about. Most were those volunteering to go but some had come to protest carrying placards and shouting vile things at the volunteers.
A German in charge had told Singh Puri that his men would be assigned 3rd class cabin rooms near the former Buffalo Soldiers who had volunteered to go on to Africa. He realized one reason for this is that neither the Irish Americans nor the German Americans would want to be near the dark skinned contingents during the voyage. From a distance Sandeep could see a black man in a very elaborate uniform with somewhere between 70 and 80 Negroes clustered around him. Sandeep at first thought this must be St. James, but when we drew closer he realized it was someone else. Still he thought this man must know where St. James was.
"I am Field Marshal Marcus Garvey, leader of the mighty army of the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Captain von Papen told me that if my organization fights well in Africa, the Germans may let it settle a portion of that continent after the war. When we get to Abyssinia I will lead them to victory over all the Entente and then march south and rescue poor Col. Lettow-Vorbeck who desperately needs our aid. Then the Germans will realize what a great ally they have in U.N.I.A!"
"Uh, that is all very good, Mr. Garvey but I am looking for Lt. St. James---"
"You should address me as Field Marshal Garvey! And I do not know where Lt. St. James is but really what does it matter, for a field marshal outranks a mere lieutenant."
"Oh, then why donít you tell him yourself," answered Sandeep pointing to where he could now see Cornelius approaching with an entourage of about 50 former Buffalo Soldiers.
Garvey turned and his smug smile of self satisfaction momentarily flickered. "Just what is that outfit you are wearing, Marcus?" asked St. James when he drew close.
"It is my uniform, Lt. St. James. Do you like it? I am now Field Marshal Marcus Garvey---no, make that Field Marshal Marcus von Garvey."
"What the fuck---have you been drinking, Marcus?"
"Lt. St. James you will show the proper respect to a superior officer!"
"Simply dressing up in fancy clothes and giving yourself a fancy title does not make you an officer, Marcus!"
"I am the leader of Universal Negro Improvement Association. That makes me the greatest Negro in the entire world!"
As they were arguing a middle aged man of dark complexion approached accompanied by an auburn haired woman slightly younger than himself. "Pardon me, but I am looking for Lt. Cornelius St. James," he asked in a strong voice with a pronounced Hungarian accent.
"I am Lt. Cornelius St. James."
The newcomer extended his hand, "My name is Attila Toth. I was once a sergeant in the Hussars when I was back in Hungary before coming to America."
"Come on, man, youíre name is not really Attila now is it? Itís a nickname, right?" asked one of the former Buffalo Soldiers who accompanied St. James.
"It is indeed my first name! Amongst the Magyar people the name of Attila is still associated with greatness."
"Is that in Europe?" asked another former Buffalo Solider, "because you look awfully dark for someone coming from Europe."
Attila ground his teeth and scowled before answering, "I get my complexion from my Romani mother."
"I donít understand, Sgt. Toth," said Garvey, "are you telling us that your mother was a Roman?"
"Romani not Roman!. They are sometimes called gypsies."
"Gypsies! They let you into the Hussars even though they knew you were half gypsy?" asked St. James with some surprise.
"I was accepted into the Hussars, but in another sense I really never was accepted by them, if you know what I mean. It is the main reason I decided to leave."
"I see--let me take a wild guess---some bureaucrat in charge of the Austro-Hungarian volunteers suggested you might be better off with us than with your countrymen."
Attila nodded grimly, "They were particularly concerned because I am bringing my wife, Eva along with me. The sight of a light skinned woman with a dark skinned man causes some Americans to go crazy."
"You can say that again," commented Agnes Smedley.
"Yes, I have encountered that phenomenon myself on one unpleasant occasion," said St. James with a trace of a frown, "but perhaps it would be best if you did not bring your wife along."
"We have no children. I will go fight with my husbandójust like the old days," Eva announced defiantly.
"What?" asked Lt. St. James.
"Eva was in the Hussars as well. That is where I met her," replied Attila.
"Shit man, you must be pulling our legs or something, Mr. gypsy fella," spoke one of the other former Buffalo soldiers.
"No, it is true. Sometimes some Austro-Hungarian units let women join."
"Huh? Well donít that beat all."
"Uh, even if she was a Hussar at one thing, you, might want to reconsider letting her come along," said St. James, unsure of what to make of all this, "this is a bit of a rough bunch weíre assembling here." He cast a worried glance in the direction of Agnes as well when he said that.
Attila turned to Eva and saw icy determination in her eyes, after which he answered St. James, "Do not be fooled by my wifeís looks. Eva is a tough woman and can take care of herself."
"So can I," added Agnes Smedley, which prompted Sandeep to roll his eyes and shake his head.
"Between Sheriff von Garvey here, the Ghaidars, this Gypsy prince and his mad wife," this is some collection of odd balls we have here Cornelius," remarked one of the former Buffalo Soldiers, "I half wonder who is the hell is going to show up next?"
"I am not a sheriff!" protested Garvey, "I am a Field Marshal! You will show me the proper respect."
"There is one more ethnic group that has been overlooked so far which may show up before we leave," mused St. James trying his best to ignore Garvey, "I stumbled on them the last time I visited the Professor at Worcester, where many of them work at the nearby wire factories. I was able to talk with some of them at a coffee house they run, though it appears some have only a very limited knowledge of English. They afforded me a fair measure of respect, more than I usually get from a white audience. Some said they were seriously considering joining our expedition. If they do come along in any numbers I think the white boys will not want to be close to them either so they will likely end up billeted alongside us as well."
While this was going on, not from them Fr. Sigourney Fay approached by another Catholic priest. "Good afternoon Fr.Duffy, what holy mission brings you here?"
"Good afternoon to you as well, Fr. Fay," replied Fr. Francis Duffy, "I hear a rumor that that you are fixing to run off with these crazed Fenians who want to fight for Irish freedom."
"Iím afraid you heard right, Father. I hope you havenít come here to talk me out of it."
"No, Father. Far from it. You see Iím going as well."
"Oh, you are? That be grand, but if you donít mind me askiní does Cardinal Farley know about this?"
"Oh, yes in fact he encouraged me to go. He figures this bunch will need to have the best possible chaplain and since I already some experience as the chaplain of an Irish regiment, I would be the perfect choice."
"Do you know if the cardinal is planning to announce his support for this expedition in clear and unambiguous terms? So far all heís done is to make a few very guarded statements criticizing the British."
"I might ask you the same thing about Cardinal Gibbons."
"You have been listening to gossip, I see. Shame on you, Fr. Duffy, for setting such a poor example!" jibed Fr. Fay good naturedly.
Duffy chuckled then he came closer and leaned forward so he could whisper to Fr. Fay, "Cardinal Farley told me this morning that he received a call from Archbishop Bonzano in reference to the controversy surrounding the Holy Fatherís brief criticism of Bonar Lawís policy in Ireland."
"Please tell me that the pope is going to dig in his heels and repeat that statement at least three times a day."
"On the contrary, Pope Benedict feels that the statement is being blown out of proportion. He attributes this to reporters not fully appreciating some subtle nuances of the Latin language. The Vatican does not want to get into a spat with the British government as Pope Benedict feels that would undermine his peace initiatives. There is apparently some optimism in Rome lately on account of Adm. von Ingenohlís speech before the Reichstag."
"I donít like where this is leading, but please go on anyway. What else did the Apostolic Delegate tell Cardinal Farley?"
"The short version of it is that the Vatican has made it abundantly clear that it does not want any American prelate jumping on the Fenian bandwagon. It will permit some mild tilting in that direction, though. Do you know if Cardinal Gibbons has been told the same thing?"
"I have had some communication with Cardinal Gibbons, but not as often as those fish wives with a Roman collar youíve been listening to would have you believe. So I havenít heard yet. . But I would be willing to wager money that he has."
Duffy shook his head, "Shame on you, this time for trying to lure me into a sucker bet! Donít you remember from your days as a Protestant minister what an awful sin gambling is?"
------Dublin 2250 hrs
Rain was coming down heavy in Dublin now. In the darkness the Irish Volunteers armed only with shotguns and pistols had more effectiveness than they had during the day. There were a series of small battles being fought across the city. One of them was at Trinity College where a British attack failed but a subsequent rebel counterattack failed as well, though they did manage to grab a dozen Lee-Enfield from the fallen Royal Irish Riflemen. To the west the 4th Dublin Battalion under Cathal Brughaís capable leadership bloodily repelled a determined British attack on South Dublin Union. The biggest rebel offensive success was the capture of the Royal College of Surgeons building which lay between Jacobs Biscuit Factory occupied by a company of the 2nd Dublin Battalion and St. Stephens Green occupied by the Irish Citizen Army and 2 more companies of the 2nd Dublin Battalion. The Countess Markievicz personally led the eastern portion of the assault that quickly captured the key building which turned out to be held by a surprisingly weak force.
------USS Wyoming off NYC 2310 hrs
Adm. Maas continued to decline invitations by Adm. Fletcher to negotiate the release of Lusitaniaís remaining Entente passengers face to face. Schlesien now arrived after coaling in New York. Adm. Maas transferred his flag to the battleship, as soon as Adm. Fletcher granted BlŁcher, the last of the German warships, permission to coal next.
------Ft Templebreedy (Cork) 2330 hrs
Oberst Hell had originally planned for the assault on Ft. Templebreedy to begin well after midnight. The storm changed his mind and he ordered the Bavarian Jaegers not to wait for the foot artillery and medium minenwerfers to get into position but to make their attack in the rain, briefly supported only by what was supposed to be half dozen light minenwerfers. However when the designated time had arrived to begin the attack only 4 light minenwerfers were in position and ready for action.
An understrength company of Royal Marines had arrived at the western entrance to the harbor during the day. Half of the company was assigned to reinforce the garrison at Ft. Camden and the other half to reinforce Ft. Templebreedy. Unlike Ft. Camden, Ft. Templebreedy was not protected by a dry moat. Its defenders had spent most of the afternoon digging a trench line around the fort. The only had enough barbed fire to put up a single strand. A lightly armed trawler and a ĎBí class destroyer were anchored offshore but they were unable to provide effective fire support on account of the storm. Both fired only briefly in a desperate and unsuccessful attempt to intimidate and disrupt. The German minenwerfers had in their bombardment done some harm to the shallow British trench line. The defenders took a serious toll on the Bavarian Jaegers but with only a single machinegun were unable to hold them off too long. The attackers thinned the trench line and neutralized the machinegun nest with their grenades then eliminated the remaining resistance in the half flooded trench, often drowning the defenders in the brutal and chaotic melee. By midnight some Jaegers and pioneers were beginning to work their way into the fort proper.
------midtown Manhattan 2340 hrs
He came from the Russia Empire where he had been christened with a different name, which he had abandoned a long time ago. "My name is Reilly, Sidney Reilly. I am here to see Capt. Gaunt, please," he told the receptionist.
"Yes, the captain is expecting you, Mr. Reilly. Please follow me."
Reilly normally worked for Section 6 of the Directorate of Military Intelligence which was part of S.I.S (Special Intelligence Service). The current head of MI6 was Captain Sir George Mansfield Smith-Cummings, who initialled all official documents with a ĎCí written in green ink. Reilly had already established himself as a master spy. Among his exploits he stole the plans to the harbor defenses of Port Arthur which greatly aided the Japanese in planning their attack there.
Reilly had come to New York after the Battle of Tannenberg convinced him that it would be a long war and that American arms manufacturers would become extremely wealthy before it was all over. He therefore became the managing officer of the Allied Machinery Company on Broadway. Back in February he had married his long time lover the beautiful Nadine Zalessky, who did not know that Sidney was still legally married to another woman.
After his honeymoon, Reilly as approached by MI6 with some vague orders to spy on some suspicious German activities in the United States esp. those involving the Clan na Gael. Reilly was fond of passing himself off as being half Irish, including one version where he was the son of a Catholic priest. This proved to be something of a benefit to Reilly in his new assignment. However Reilly was in this operation forced to work with an extremely eccentric individual named Aleister Crawley, who was even more of a sexually dissolute megalomaniac than he was. The two of them had an uneasy working relationship and Reilly still wanted to concentrate on his new wife and becoming wealthy. He did eventually pass on some interesting clues to ĎCí but unfortunately there was intense rivalry at that time between MI6 and the N.I.D. with Admiral Oliver viewing ĎCí as something of a pompous dilettante and so the intelligence was not shared.
With the return of German warships to the American coast and the capture of Lusitania, ĎCí finally overcame his bitterness to Adm. Oliver and so he ordered Reilly to report to Capt. Gaunt, who in turn reported to Capt. Hall. Gaunt was not sure what to make of the mysterious Sidney Reilly whose past was so permeated with legend and clearly had some major defects in character. "Well, Mr. Reilly, what did you find out in Westchester?" the Australian asked.
"Dr. Goddard and Sgt. St. James met on an estate in a small rural town called Poundridge. There they fired off some of the rockets. I was able to observe the testing from a distance using binoculars."
"Oh, splendid. Did you by any chance observe any explosions? Col. House is still trying without much success to persuade President Wilson that these rockets are in fact a serious weapon and should therefore be confiscated."
Reilly shook his head, "I did not see any explosions, sir. Instead the rockets produce a bright white cloud when they land. Looks like they are meant for signalling. Is that enough justification to have them confiscated?"
Gaunt shook his head slightly, "I donít think so. The enemyís apologists claim the rockets are intended merely for the victory celebration of the Fenians. A bright white cloud would actually support that argument."
"Not that there is any chance that poppycock argument has any truth to it. No, I think they are intended to function as a military signal rocket."
"Unfortunately for us this Dr. Goddardís reputation as being something of a crackpot works against us. Is there anything else you have uncovered? You said you were looking into some American merchantmen who may be accepting German contracts to try to run the blockade and deliver contraband"
"I did. The Germans are taking steps to hide things, but I did found out that in two instances the cargo is going to be high grade American coal."
"Hmm. So the Germans are hiring colliers. That is interesting. I will pass it on."