by Tom B
REFUGEES THREATEN ULSTER
"With much of Leinster and Connaught now plunged into chaos as result of the revolt of the Papist traitors, an ever increasing flow of refugees has been working their way north into Ulster. Many of these are loyal but unarmed Protestants seeking to escape the savage Papist bloodlust who are now flocking into the environs of Belfast. While we welcome these loyal brothers with open arms their presence unfortunately aggravates a serious problem. As we noted in yesterday’s edition food shortages are starting to emerge here in Belfast. The government unconvincingly blames these shortages solely on panic buying and tries to reassure us that they will be short lived. We fear that one thing the government is not taking into consideration is that there are more mouths to feed here on account of the refugees.
There is however another even more disturbing aspect to this situation. A majority of the refugees currently entering are Catholic not Protestant. While some of these are showing up here in Belfast looking for work, most of them are settling in County Cavan and County Monaghan which are already predominantly Catholic. With news of increased rebel activity in County Leitrim we can expect an invasion of County Fermanagh by predominantly Catholic refugees in a day or two. Now most of the Catholics fleeing north are those who are fleeing the mounting brutality of their fellow Papists. However it is extremely likely that there are some provocateurs lurking inside this band of Catholics entering Ulster in the hope that they can stir up Ulster as well. The failed rising of the dastardly O’Duffy proved that there is a very real threat to Ulster, which the government is not addressing.
The Royal Irish Constabulary clearly has too much on its plate right now to handle another round of insurrection in Ulster. We therefore respectfully call on His Majesty’s Government to reconsider their policy towards the Ulster Volunteer Force and allow those companies in Counties Monaghan, Cavan and Fermanagh to arm and assemble to safeguard those critical regions."
----The Belfast News Letter Friday May 14, 1915
------SMS Lothringen heading east 0010 hrs GMT Friday May 14, 1915
"Admiral Maas wants to know what plans you have for rescuing the ocean liner, Amerika, admiral," Admiral von Spee was informed by his chief of staff.
"Tell him not once but twice that I have no plans whatsoever to go back and try to rescue Amerika. He is under no circumstances to head west," ordered von Spee, "Sending that liner was a very risky decision that turned sour. I am not going to compound that mistake by making another."
------Manhattan 0025 hrs GMT
Hauptmann von Papen was on the telephone with Count von Bernstorff again. "There must be something wrong with our brains letting that senile fool, Herr Devoy, talk us into sending the Amerika, yes?" said the ambassador.
The military attaché sighed slightly. The ambassador sounded only half as angry than he had expected. "Yes Your Excellency. You have my word that in the future I will listen to Herr Devoy as little as possible. However I would point out that we have now learned the position of a powerful British warship---information I intend to pass on to Berlin as quickly as possible."
"This battle cruiser was well within 100 miles of the American coast, yes?"
"That is correct, Your Excellency. I find it supremely hypocritical that Secretary Bryan insisted that we remain beyond 100 miles of their precious coast, but this restriction does not apply to the British."
"Secretary Bryan has consented to see me tomorrow morning. I fully intend to rub his nose in that. I also intend to find out if the British have told him what they intend to do with the passengers."
Meanwhile over at the offices of the New York Journal American, William Randolph Hearst reviewed the lead story for tomorrow’s edition of his flagship newspaper. "So what do you think, chief?" asked the editor.
Hearst paused, then grinned mysteriously, "I am impressed, but I am also most shocked by the spelling and wonder if I should fire the proofreaders!"
The editor gave the story another quick scan and gulped, "Is some word misspelled that we did not catch, sir?"
"Why, yes, an extremely important word---America---perhaps you’ve heard of it?"
"Oh, but that happens to be the way the Germans spell it."
"Yes, but you happen to be the editor of the Journal American not the New Yorker Morgan Journal! This is America, my good man. We spell things the American way here."
------Dublin 0030 hrs
Rommel’s grand counterattack began. After much argument with Pearse and Hogan Rommel was able to get one company from the 6th Dublin Battalion to reinforce the 3 companies of the 5th Dublin Battalion which Tom Ashe had readily available. Now that it had more rifles the HQ Battalion would be able to bear the brunt of defending the G.P.O. despite Hogan’s protests. Rommel along with Ashe concentrated this force at Liberty Hall and the Custom House. The Scots had already made one unsuccessful attempt to retake the Custom House across the Butt Bridge. Rommel’s attack began by sending some of his men to make a diversionary attack on Butt Bridge. While this was going on he sent more of men across the Loop-Line Bridge an elevated railway bridge a little downriver from Butt Bridge. There was brief but sharp firefight with a small guard posted near Loop-Line Bridge. After that the rebels split into two groups---the ‘C’ company of 6th Dublin Battalion attacking the flank of those soldiers guarding Butt Bridge while 5th Dublin Battalion streamed east along George’s Quay where they encountered very weak resistance. This group in turn split with a small band heading southeast to try to contact the 3rd Dublin Battalion near Boland’s Mill with orders to join in the fight. The larger portion of the 5th Dublin Battalion hooked around and attacked the British through Townsend St. These had multiple objectives---the Tara St. Railroad Station and the Fire Brigade Station but also to secure key buildings that would let them dominate the streets.
As this was unfolding 3 companies of the 2nd Dublin Battalion as well as most of the Irish Citizen Army began an attack out of St. Stephen’s Green, the Shelbourne Hotel and the Royal College of Surgeons to seize a few key buildings a block to the north and east, esp. those overlooking Merrion Square. The Countess Markievicz personally led the I.C.A. with great ardor. "For a free Socialist Ireland!" she yelled as they charged into the enemy’s position. The Scots had grown to respect the rebels’ defenses in the last two days but did not think them capable of an effective attack. Many of the attackers were armed with shotguns which at close range in the dark proved deadly. So the attackers briefly threw the not fully prepared Scots back. The combined attacks from several directions in the dark led to increasing confusion which effected the rebels less as they were familiar with the city and had a plan.
Meanwhile Rommel was not completely satisfied with the results of his plan. His men had failed in their attempts to take Butt Bridge, the railroad station and the fire station. He summoned one of the messengers. "Go find Commandant Hogan and tell him that I need another company from 6th Battalion as soon as possible. Go now. Hurry!"
------HQ Irland Genkdo Macroom (Cork) 0055 hrs
Gen. Herman von François had not had an easy night. A half hour ago he had received word that British infantry had managed to force their way into the town of Balincollig which posed a serious threat to the city from the west. Gen. von Gyssling had wanted to send entire Bavarian regiment from Coachford to counter that, but Gen. von François was still worried about a renewed enemy attack on Coachford and only permitted a single battalion to be sent. As the two generals argued something happened which completely altered mood von François’ mood. He now lovingly cradled in his hands the deciphered message that had just been delivered to him a few seconds earlier.
SECOND WAVE HAS BEEN DISPATCHED AND WILL BEGIN ARRIVING OFF KINSALE HEAD AT DUSK REPEAT SECOND WAVE HAS BEEN DISPATCHED AND WILL BEGIN ARRIVING OFF KINSALE HEAD AT DUSK STOP ZEPPELIN WILL ARRIVE AT KILLARNEY IN EARLY AFTERNOON STOP INFORM US IMMEDIATELY IF AIRSHIP FACILITY THERE IS READY STOP
For about a minute the general felt intense relief and nearly broke into song. "What is it, general?" asked Major von Rundstedt, his acting chief of staff.
Gen. von François read the message aloud. "That is very good news indeed, general," commented Maj. von Rundstedt with uncharacteristically strong emotion.
The broad grin on Gen. von François’ face was replaced by a more ambiguous expression, "Yes it is but it is most regrettable that they did not give us more time to prepare. There is so much for us to do and precious little time to do it. For one thing the importance of Cork has now more than doubled. In light of that Gen. von Gyssling I have changed my mind. Send all of the 11th Bavarian Brigade to Cork by double march assigning one of its battalions plus the West Limerick Battalion to act as a rear guard. Send the howitzer battalion and pioneer company as well."
"With pleasure, general," replied von Gyssling.
Major von Rundstedt was less pleased, "General, if we completely withdraw from Coachford the enemy may lunge for our own HQ here."
"That is a good point, major. However we will be leaving within the hour for Kinsale which will become our new HQ. We will take the Foot Guard battalion with us. There is much for us to do before we leave. Let us start by sending a telegram to the airship base at Killarney and tell them to be ready for their guest. Order the South Cork Battalion to move to Bandon immediately. Send a telegram to Kinsale and have them ready the Irish Republican Navy and prepare for our arrival.
"Jawohl, Herr General."
We need to figure out what we are going to do about Fort Camden. I am open to---"
Another messenger arrived, "---Ah sorry general might I briefly interrupt. We have received another wireless message."
"Yes, go ahead. Is it from Adm. von Ingenohl as well?"
The messenger made a strange face, "No, sir. It is from Commandant Pearse in Dublin and it is addressed to both you and Captain Plunkett."
"From the look on your face, soldier, something is wrong. Care to tell me."
"Ah, most of it is gibberish, general."
"Can I see the message?"
"Yes, sir. Here it is."
The general took the paper slip and for a few seconds said nothing then waved Plunkett over and handed him the message asking, "Is this what I think it is, Captain?"
Plunkett looked at it and quickly responded with a grin, "Yes, most of it is in Irish, general, if that is what you are asking."
"I am. Could you kindly translate it for us?"
"Uh, it is from Commandant Pearse in Dublin. He says that Major Rommel arrived in Dublin with the 3rd Kerry Battalion Thursday morning and was very, uh, helpful but managed to get himself wounded in the process. The wound is only moderately severe and Rommel is still able to command effectively. Commandant Pearse has delegated to him temporary authority over Dublin Brigade on the firm condition that he does nothing immoral. Oh and Yeats has been released from confinement so we should rescind our offer to exchange Gen. Lindley for him."
Gen. von François had changed several times while listening to Plunkett’s translation. Finally he said, "Well tonight is full of surprises. Most of them pleasant but a few are disturbing and some merely strange in true Irish fashion."
------SMS President Grant heading east 0130 hrs GMT
Aboard the liners carrying the American Volunteer Brigade a regimen had been established that during the day there was 12 hours during which the men who had some military experience attempted to train those who had none. Lt. Fritz Austerlitz had been one of those assigned to lead these sessions.
A phonograph was now set up in the ship’s ballroom. Fred Austerlitz had promised to give James Cagney Jr. some dancing lessons on their voyage. After a day of military training incl. vigorous exercise they were both rather tired and stiff but somehow they managed to do nearly a half hour. Towards the end three more lads showed up and stopped to see what Austerlitz and Cagney were doing. Pretty soon these spectators were taunting the two for their lack of manliness. The taunting grew fiercer. As they did another young man entered the ballroom. He watched what was happening with interest but initially kept himself distant.
"So are you two ladies going to be sleeping together when you’re done?"
That was the last straw for Cagney. He stormed over to his tormenters. "Who said that? Who said that?" he yelled defiantly.
"Jimmy, Jimmy, don’t get in a fight." yelled a deeply worried Austerlitz.
"I said it," replied one of the tormenters.
"He said but I wished I had said it too," said one of the others.
"Me, too," said the third, "If you want a fight you are going to take on all us." The three closed ranks and stared at a red faced Cagney.
Suddenly the youth who had merely watched from a distance walked towards them and spoke up, "Three on one doesn’t seem very fair, boys." The others who had noticed him previously but not paid him much attention now turned to him.
"Ah, maybe his sissy partner will join him."
"Ah, but that would only make it three against two. And his partner looks to be a gentleman and doesn’t want to get his hands dirty with scum like you. I like to think of myself as a gentleman but in your case I think I’d make an exception." At that he began to circle around to join Cagney.
"Who are you calling scum?" asked one bullies. However one of his friends gave the newcomer a long and worried look and asked, "You look like Jack Moran."
"That’s me. Even though I don’t recall your pretty face," said Jack with graceful menace.
"I’ve seen you two times. Both of those times you were with the Hudson Dusters. It looked like you were one of them."
"That is correct. An invigorating band of like minded gentlemen, if I do say so."
Suddenly everyone was looking at Moran. Even Fred had heard of the Hudson Dusters, the most powerful street gang in New York. There was a very awkward uneasy silence. Finally Moran turned to Fred Austerlitz and said, "I think these lads here are merely jealous of your skill as a dancer. I will confess that I am. Is there chance that you might see fit to include me in your lessons as well, Mr. uh, I’m afraid I did not get your name."
"Austerlitz, Fred Austerlitz. Why of course, Mr. Moran. I would be, uh, delighted to give you lessons as well."
"Please call me Jack. I do appreciate it," Moran said making a small bow, "I will try to do my best. I sure hope we don’t have any more distractions." He half turned towards the 3 hecklers, "If I find myself distracted by rudeness I might lose me Irish temper."
"Uh, maybe we should be going," said one of the hecklers. The other two soon agreed and they left, though one of them craned his neck to exchange glares with Cagney. When they were gone, Austerlitz stared at Jack Moran with an ambivalent expression. "Well then Mr.---ah I mean Jack, we thank you for your assistance in resolving this awkward encounter."
"Ah, we could’ve handled those punks by ourselves," remarked Cagney a bit disappointed not to have thrown at least one punch.
Moran arched an eyebrow, "Quite likely. But isn’t better than you didn’t have to find out, eh? And I am afraid I didn’t get your name, my fellow student."
Cagney extended his hand, "I’m Jimmy Cagney. Glad to make your acquaintance, Jack. Welcome to the dance club."
------White House 0140 hrs GMT
Colonel House was meeting with President Wilson. "The Irish are a royal pain in the behind," Wilson told House.
"Well, not all of them, Woodrow," replied House obliquely referring to the President’s own Irish ancestry.
"All of the Catholic ones are! Well maybe Ryan is an exception. Maybe."
"Uh, well if you say so, Mr. President---though I would care to point out that they do tend to vote Democratic by a wide margin."
Wilson gave House a stern look, "So I should be worried? Bah! Come the next election the blasted Irish Catholics will realize that this British warship did them a big favor. If any of those drunken fools actually do make it to Ireland they are likely to get themselves maimed or killed. I am hoping and praying that the Royal Navy can intercept and capture the rest long before they get to Ireland, sinking von Spee’s miserable squadron in the process."
"Hmm. I would point out even if no American blood is spilled in the process the internment of several thousand American citizens---"
"---several thousand hyphenated Americans who voided their citizenship the moment they set foot on those damn Hun troopships."
"Is that what you really intend to say to the American people, Woodrow?"
Wilson reddened and barked, "Why not? It is the damn truth!"
"I would counsel against doing anything rash, sir."
"So telling the truth is a rash political act, colonel?"
"Uh, you know as well as I do, Mr. President, that how things are said are often more important than what is said."
------HMT Helga Liffey River 0155 hrs
The Helga had nearly exhausted its magazine during the day and steamed to Kingstown after dark for more shells. Her return to Dublin was hastened by the news that the rebels had captured the Custom House. As before she anchored downriver of the Loop-Line Bridge. When she did she began firing on the Custom House at close range with HE shells. Before long the building began to burn.
Suddenly an armored car emerged from behind the Custom House and raked the vessel with its machinegun. It managed to wound one of the gunners in the leg. Just as the gun crew managed to bring the gun to bear the armored car ducked behind the burning building. It waited for the Helga to resume shelling the building and appeared once again to rake the vessel. It managed to do this four times. On its fifth attempt it was hit and crippled. The gunboat continued firing and the vehicle was soon ablaze. Then it returned to shelling the Custom House which burned to the ground before dawn.
While this was going on Rommel crossed the Liffey over the Loop-Line Bridge. He wanted to return to the G.P.O. for several reasons, but the one that was foremost in his mind was Commandant Hogan had sent back a reply refusing what he called Rommel’s "request" for another company.
------Phoenix Park (Dublin) 0215 hrs
Rommel had Tom Ashe send word to his other 2 rifle companies that they were to harass the British forces in Phoenix Park which were still trying to retake the Magazine Fort. These consisted of some Royal Irish Rifles who had resumed their envelopment of the fort at dusk, making one unsuccessful assault. After that that setback the British battalion content to cut the communication between the rebels in the fort and those in Kilmainham. The battalion commander then let most of his men get some sleep planning to make another assault at dawn. However the sleep was frequently interrupted as his nighttime patrols had a series of hit and run encounters with the men of 5th Dublin Battalion. The British commander decided to postpone his attack until later in the morning so he would have time to get a better tactical picture once the sun came up.
------SSE of Ventnor (Isle of Wight) 0310 hrs
Star shells and searchlights lit up the night. The local defense flotilla at Portsmouth put out to sea with 3 ‘B’ class, 3 ‘C’ class destroyers and 16 torpedo boats, none of which mounted anything larger than a 12 pounder and usually just one of those. Earlier in the war the Portsmouth forces had been stronger with 2 ‘E’ class destroyers that they eventually lost to Dover Patrol. They were now engaged with the 4th Torpedo Boat Flotilla, which in addition to having superior firepower were better equipped and trained for night fighting. Adm. Von Hipper ordered 4th Scouting Group to reinforce the flotilla with 3 of its 4 small cruisers leaving only Strassburg in the van. When they arrived the German torpedo boats had already forced one British torpedo boat to limp back towards Portsmouth and several others were burning. The German cruisers soon made two of the torpedo boats burn uncontrollably. The 12 pounder magazine exploded on one of them while the other was eventually abandoned and scuttled by what remained of her crew. The cruisers obliterated the bridge of another British torpedo boat.
During the night Adm. von Ingenohl had ordered the 6th Torpedo Boat Flotilla to move forward at 24 knots and reinforce 1st Scouting Group. These caught up with 1st Scouting Group during the early phase of this battle and von Hipper decided to split the flotilla sending one half flotilla to reinforce 4th Torpedo Boat Flotilla while the other half was ordered to screen the left flank of 1st Scouting Group. He also ordered his battle cruisers and troopships to turn 1 point to port and increase their speed to 22 knots. The British light forces had failed to locate the battle cruisers and troopships. After their initial losses to the German screen they pulled back slightly in the darkness and split up trying to outflank the German screen both to the west and to the east. The former ran into the German torpedo boats once again and after coming under a brisk German fire for a few minutes the British disengaged again. The latter group did manage to slip around the German screen but they failed to locate either battle cruisers or transports in the dark. When the sky began to lighten they finally detected the battle cruisers to the SSW. A division started to make a desperate torpedo attack but the position was not favorable and the German screen was returning to the fray engaging them from the west where they enjoyed an advantage in visibility. The secondary guns on the Von der Tann opened fire as well. The lead British destroyer, Brazen was soon holed in several places and lost steam. The British attack was called off and their remaining vessels escaped with light damage and a few casualties while the German torpedo boats finished off Brazen, which in frustration ineffectually fired a single 18" torpedo at long range at Von der Tann. None of the German torpedo boats or cruisers were seriously hurt in this small battle though 3 gun mounts and 2 torpedo tubes were knocked out.
------G.P.O. Dublin 0325 hrs
Maj. Rommel was livid when returned to the General Post Office and sought out the commandant of 6th Dublin Battalion. "Hogan! I could have you shot for disobeying my orders," he hollered while wagging his finger, "but instead I am relieving you of command effective immediately." Rommel’s wound was still causing him considerable pain and making him short tempered.
Hogan stared hard at Rommel. He had already expressed misgivings to both Pearse and his company commandants about taking orders from a German. He was formulating his reply when Pearse came over and asked, "Major Rommel, it is good to see you have returned but what is this all about?"
"I am relieving Commandant Hogan here of command. He has disobeyed my direct orders. If this was the German Army he would be court-martialed and probably executed."
Hogan finally replied, "Your orders were in direct contradiction to Commandant Pearse’s orders that the G.P.O. must be defended at all cost. I needed all of my 3 remaining companies to obey those orders."
"No! The immediate threat to the G.P.O. was over and HQ Battalion is now sufficiently well armed to defend it. But what is most important in this situation is that Commandant Pearse here granted me authority over all of Dublin Brigade. My orders now take precedence over his."
Pearse gently shook his head, "Tsk, tsk. You are overstating the degree of authority I granted you, major. It has limits. And one of them is that you are not to replace any of the battalion commandants without my approval."
"How can I win this war if my subordinates do not obey my orders? There must be discipline even in Ireland! I insist that Commandant Hogan be removed for gross insubordination!"
"Robert here meant well as he did indeed feel he was defending the sacred capitol of the Irish Republic. I am not going to let you replace him willy-nilly."
Rommel’s anger turned from Hogan to Pearse. He muttered some things in German. It was a good thing that Pearse knew very little German. Finally Rommel switched back to English, "If you had not forgotten, Commandant Pearse, British artillery was shelling your precious capitol here. They even set it on fire for a while. They are sure to resume that now that their infantry attack failed. I was trying to do something about that. The odds that it will succeed would be greatly enhanced if I had been reinforced in accord with my orders."
Pearse paused before answering, "I am not questioning your tactical acumen, Major. I would be the first to acknowledge that you’ve done some incredible things both here in Dublin and elsewhere. However the principle remains that your authority is subordinate to my own. You are here as an honored guest of the newborn Irish republic. You should not lose sight of that."
Rommel muttered some more in German.
"I am concerned about your wound, Major. It must be very painful and quite frankly you look weak. I do think it is clouding your judgment."
"No! It is you whose head is in the clouds!"
"Please, Major, try and be reasonable. You badly need more rest. I think we are safe for at least the next few hours. Except for some fighting still going on at South Dublin Union, things have become rather quiet. Why don’t you try and get some sleep before the shelling resumes. We still have a little bit of morphine left if you need it."
"I do not need morphine. I will not deny that I need some sleep, but it must wait a while longer. There is so much for me to do and so little time to do it."
"Oh if that’s the case why are you wasting your time and mine trying to get me to agree to Hogan’s removal?"
Rommel muttered a few more choice phrases in German. He then sighed deeply. His anger was beginning to succumb to exhaustion. "Perhaps we should discuss some other things for a while."
"Excellent! You will be pleased to learn that we have found 11 Irish Volunteers so far with some experience in artillery. That should be enough to man two of the captured 15 pounders."
The anger on Rommel’s face gave way to a faint semblance of a grin.
------near Kovno 0430 hrs
The initial phase of the bombardment of Kovno had relied on the four 30.5 cm howitzers of the Motorized Heavy Artillery Brigade. A 42 cm howitzer had arrived yesterday afternoon to join in the bombardment of Kovno. The gun crew had set it up during the night and it was now ready for action. The huge weapon now barked and an anticoncrete shell hurtled towards one of the Russian forts. The huge shell hurtled through the sky making a noise similar to a freight train. It ended up being long. The German gunners methodically corrected their aim. In the meantime additional siege artillery which had been used to pummel Belgrade in Operation Tourniquet, were on their way with 2 more of the 30.5 cm pieces due to arrive tomorrow and another Big Bertha on Sunday.
------west of Froise (Picardy) 0530 hrs
After midnight a thunderstorm had moved into the area bringing nearly two hours of heavy rain but now it had stopped and the clouds were rapidly breaking up. With news indicating that the situation of the 2nd Infantry Division was deteriorating, Gen. Haig ordered III Army Corps to make another attempt to rescue them. The artillery bombardment was merely 15 minutes long and did little more than warn the Germans that an assault was imminent and dangerously deplete III Army Corps’ remaining stockpile of shells. The infantry assault by 9 battalions, all of which were less than half strength, emerged from their watery trenches and with incredible valor men, most of who had been seriously underfed for nearly 3 weeks tried to make their way through mud and puddles with shrapnel shells and machineguns scything through their ranks and if they somehow they made it through the storm of metal there was the huge mass of enemy wire, barely touched by the preliminary bombardment. The Tommies fought as best they could. Many medals were won that day, most of them awarded posthumously. When it was all over they had failed to capture even a small portion of the trenches of the German 7th Infantry Division.
------HQ Lowland Infantry Division Blackrock 0535 hrs
Gen. Hamilton was on the telephone with Gen. Egerton, the commander of the Lowland Division. "Just how bad is it?" asked Hamilton.
Egerton took a deep breath, "The Irish rebels seized some buildings during the night. What it means is they disrupted the line of communication to all of my artillery and 4 of my battalions in the vicinity of Trinity College. Every street that leads to those units is now dangerously exposed to rifle fire from enemy positions in overlooking buildings. It is particularly bad for the artillery which is now at the mercy of enemy snipers. We had some problems yesterday with snipers on the upper floors of the Shelbourne Hotel taking pot shots at our gun crews but now the problem has been magnified.
"Gen. Egerton, your orders were to crush the Dublin rebellion before noon today not to let them seize the initiative," came Hamilton’s critical voice after a lengthy sigh.
"I understand that, sir, but with all due respect crushing the rebels before noon was not a reasonable objective."
"Hmm. It would seem that the rebels, already stretched painfully thin, have foolishly gone ahead and stretched themselves still thinner. I think your attacks now stand a better chance of succeeding. While a complete enemy collapse by noon now sounds overly optimistic, I am hopeful that the rebellion in Dublin can be terminated by nightfall, if you prosecute your attacks with the proper professional attitude."
"I will do my best, general, but I cannot guarantee success. I would point out that right now I am effectively without artillery except for the gunboat."
"Understood. Your first priority then is to open up the line of communication and remove the sniper threat to your artillery. Do not worry overmuch about casualties. You possess at least a 4 to 1 superiority in numbers---probably considerably more by now-- so if necessary attrition will prove to be an effective tactic."
------Ballincollig (Cork) 0545 hrs
Frustrated in his attempts to penetrate Cork by a relatively direct approach Gen. Friend ordered the Welsh Division to try to envelop it from the west. The 1/7th battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers had managed to overcome a Bavarian strongpoint at Tower then proceeded into the town of Ballincollig to the south. From there the Royal Welsh Fusiliers advanced east towards Cork, leaving only half a rifle company and none of its machineguns behind at Ballincollig. These men who had fought through the night without sleep coming off a hard march were less than fully alert when the 11th Bavarian Brigade crashed into them. Their position was overrun after a few minutes of fierce fighting and the Bavarians then marched on to attack the rest of 1/7th Royal Welsh Fusiliers. They had thought another battalion from their brigade would be following them but the brigade commander had issued orders after midnight for the brigade to get to a few hours sleep in preparation for a renewed attack at dawn---orders which had failed to reach the 1/7th Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The end result was most of the 11th Bavarian Infantry Brigade smashed into the rear of the 1/7th Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Nearly half of that battalion was quickly overrun and one of its 3 machineguns was captured intact without much trouble. The other 2 Vickers machineguns were hastily positioned and it was only their firepower that prevented the remainder of the battalion from being overrun by the Bavarians.
While this was going on the 10.5 cm howitzer battalion was positioning itself near Ballincollig. These along with the light minenwerfers of a pioneer company were soon used to bombard what was left of 1/7th Royal Welsh Fusiliers which not entrenched. It took more than an hour but Welshmen were in the end eliminated.
------Old Admiralty Building 0610 hrs
"So what news do you have for me, distinguished gentlemen?" Sir Edward Carson as he entered the briefing room.
"Do you want to tell him or should I?" Adm. Oliver asked Adm. Callaghan.
"Tell me what?" asked a suddenly worried Carson. He did not like the look on their faces.
"Room 40 deciphered an extremely important message last night, First Lord," said the First Sea Lord, "Perhaps it would be best if you simply read it yourself," Callaghan then handed Carson a slip of paper.
The admirals briefly exchanged glances. Finally Callaghan responded uneasily, "Uh, that was essentially our initial reaction as well, First Lord."
"How is this possible? You have repeatedly reassured me that our strengthened cruiser patrols would detect any German force sweeping around from the north."
"While we cannot completely rule out the possibility that this second wave is coming from the north again, First Lord, we have concluded that it is much more likely that they will be coming through the Channel this time, probably escorted by the High Seas Fleet all the way to Cork. Confirming this hypothesis the local defense flotilla from Portsmouth engaged German cruisers and torpedo boats off the Isle of Wight about 2 hours ago. The German screen proved too strong for them to make an effective torpedo attack but they confirm that German battle cruisers were heading into the western half of the Channel. "
"Can the High Seas Fleet make use of Cork?"
"The army is trying to retake it as we speak, First Lord. If they succeed the answer is obvious."
"Yes it is but what if they fail or for that matter only partially succeed? Can the High Seas Fleet really make effective use of Cork as a base?"
The admirals exchanged nervous glances. "Well, on at least a temporary basis that is distinctly possible, First Lord," answered Adm. Wilson.
The color drained from Carson’s face. "Do you realize the implications of this? There is more at stake here than the reinforcement of their invasion force---it means they that would threaten to dominate the Western Approaches!"
"We are well aware of that, First Lord---" replied Adm. Callaghan stiffly, "We have already issued orders to hold merchantmen in ports on the southwest and west coast as far north as Liverpool."
"How far is the Grand Fleet from the Straits?" asked Carson.
"The battle squadrons should be less than 90 miles from North Foreland at this time, First Lord."
"You must order Adm. Bayly to enter the Channel and pursue the Germans all the way to Ireland. He is not to be reckless but he should seek to engage their fleet and try to destroy their transports if at all possible."
------New Ross (Wexford) 0620 hrs
When they departed for Waterford, the 15th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles had left behind a half company at Enniscorthy to guard against a possible resurgence of Fenian activity there. Yesterday their commander had learned that "a little more than 100" rebels had seized the town of New Ross on the western edge of the county and so he marched out along with 80 constables to smite the Papist traitors. Meanwhile the rebel force at New Ross had absorbed Irish Volunteers companies in the southern half of County Wexford growing to 472 men and 14 women. It was now called the Wexford Battalion. Just before midnight an Irish Brigade Captain arrived along to take command. The convoy of motor vehicles that brought him also bought 300 Moisin-Nagant rifles along with 9,000 rounds of ammo.
The attack of the Royal Irish Riflemen started well. They overran a rebel outpost and only had 2 men wounded. They roughly handled a rebel patrol but could not prevent some members of the patrol reaching New Ross to warn Wexford Battalion, which had been preparing to march out towards Enniscorthy in a few hours. The defenses at New Ross were a mix of breastworks, barricades, a thin shallow trench and 2 very crude strong points. The rebels completely lacked barbed wire. The constables had lagged behind but the commander of the Royal Irish Riflemen decided to attack without waiting for the R.I.C. to arrive. He had been at Vinegar Hill and imagined he could achieve similar results here and it would easier if he did not give the rebels too time to react to their warning. His assault was greeted with a hail of lead. Some of the rebel rifle fire is wildly ineffective but some of it was deadly. The initial attack of the Ulstermen faltered and when the constables arrived they tried again but the enemy’s superiority in number and cover was too much and they were forced to withdraw back towards Enniscorthy.
------Cork city 0630 hrs
The British 15 pounders of the Welsh Division commenced a 15 minute bombardment of the German and Irish positions. The division had received more shells though the 16th Uhlan Regiment which was raiding their line of communication had intercepted and captured more than a quarter of the shipment. The bombardment was strictly shrapnel shells. The German artillery declined to duel with them which the senior British officers hoped was a sign that the intelligence suggesting that the enemy were down to their last few shells might be correct. This hope was quickly dashed when the two battalions of the Welsh Border Brigade who had arrived from Coachford made their assault. These came under heavy shelling from both 7.7cm field guns and 15cm howitzers which inflicted serious losses and broke up the assault.
As this was going on the 261 Cheshires who were holding out inside the heart of Cork surrendered. They had run out of food two days ago and were down to their last hundred bullets. More than 100 of them were wounded in various degrees. Their senior officer had made it clear that he would only surrender to the Germans and not the Irish rebels. Oberst Hell personally negotiated the surrender, making some sentimental concessions to honor like letting the officers keep their swords. This freed up 2 companies of the 2nd Cork City Battalion, a Bavarian company and the notorious Sealgairs to reinforce the perimeter against the attack of the Welsh Division.
------HMS Minotaur north of Belgium 0635 hrs
The cruiser squadrons were out in advance of the Grand Fleet, having rendezvoused with Harwich force a half hour earlier. Rear Admiral Somerset Gough-Calthrope watched the seaplane the lookouts had seen through his binoculars. "It does not look to be one of ours, admiral," remarked the cruiser’s first officer.
"Yes, quite so, it appears that the enemy will soon become aware of our presence."
"Should we notify Adm. Bayly, sir?"
"Yes, by all means, send an encrypted wireless message as quickly as possible."
------Sligo city 0650 hrs
Maj. Schirmer, the commander of the North Ireland Regiment which had sprouted out of the Leitrim Battalion, met with the acting commandant of the Ballyshannon Company of County Donegal which had just arrived in Sligo with 77 men and 2 women. "I have decided to reorganize the North Ireland Regiment forming a 3rd Battalion as the 1st Battalion had grown to more than 1,500 men, even before you had arrived. I am leaning towards incorporating your company into the reorganized 1st Battalion," said Schirmer.
"Uh, wherever you see fit, sir."
"You are the first batch of Irish Volunteers we’ve absorbed from County Donegal. How are things are going there? We’ve heard rumors that tension between Catholics and Protestants are particularly sharp there, but I’ve heard too many wild rumors since coming to Ireland."
"Well, that happens to be one rumor with some basis in fact, major. There was an incident back in April where a drunken Protestant stumbled into a Sunday Mass, waved a pistol around and accused all Catholics of being traitors. There are different versions of the story but all of them agree that he ended up killing the poor priest. That triggered a great deal of outrage amongst the Catholics in Donegal. Some of the louder Prots began saying the drunk had a point. There have been several incidents, mostly fist fights at first but escalating to stabbings and even a few shootings."
"Hmm. That is interesting. We have encountered similar tensions elsewhere but this sounds more intense. I may want to do discuss that situation with you in greater detail later. What does your unit currently possess in the way of firearms?"
"Not much, major, as the constables managed to find and confiscate most of what we had. We now only have two rifles and they’re both .22 caliber which as you probably know already is not much of a weapon. We have 4 shotguns---3 of which have been sawed off---and 9 pistols. We were told you had plenty of rifles here and could arm all of us. "
"Not exactly. Because we are absorbing so many new companies, I currently do have enough rifles to arm everyone. For the time being I will provide you with 40 Russian military grade rifles."
"Uh, did you say Russian or Prussian, sir?"
"Russian---Moisin-Nagant rifles to be exact. We captured a large quantity of them at Tannenberg and Radom. While not as quite good as a German Mauser, it is still a decent weapon."
"If you say so, sir."
"I expect to receive more of them eventually but I have no official word so it could be a while. So in the meantime it is important that you do not discard the weapons you have."
"I understand, sir. Unfortunately this still means some of my men will still have no firearm whatsoever."
"Hmm. There are two things I want to do that will reduce that problem. First is that I want to increase my cyclist unit. Before noon I want you try to identify 4 of your men who are in good physical condition, skilled at riding a bicycle and better than average marksmen to join this unit."
"Hmm. I think I can do that, sir. What is the other item on your list?"
"I am forming a unit here to perform support functions---things like medical, supply, administrative, communications and the guarding of prisoners. We did something similar at Cannon-on-Shannon. I want you to identify 8 of your men whom you feel are the least fit for combat and send them along with the 2 women to the support unit. The rest of your so called company will become a large platoon inside another company. You will be the platoon leader, but if you do not prove up to the job I will not hesitate to replace you."
------north of Compiegne 0700 hrs
The French Second Army had been quiet yesterday. Gen. Noel de Castelnau, its commander had received orders coming directly from Clemenceau, the War Minister, that the offensive must resume this morning. The major French newspapers which were still lauding Clemenceau for his recent stirring speech to the legislature, were beginning to label this the Clemenceau Offensive, much to the annoyance of Gen. Joffre. While all in favor of continuing the offensive de Castelnau had wanted more time for additional ammunition to be delivered. He ignored the vigorous protests coming from Petain whose battered corps was involved in the planned attack.
The bombardment which now commenced lasted an hour but only first half hour only the old slow firing weapons without a modern recoil system participated. The more modern weapons incl. the 75s only fired in the last half hour. The German artillery did not try to duel with them this morning but held back eagerly awaiting the infantry assault. They did not have to wait long. Six French divisions participated in the assault. They found trenches that had been scratched only a little and dense wire barriers which had been cut very little. They came under a barrage of shrapnel from German batteries that had not been suppressed. The French forces in this region continued to outnumber the defenders but not by as wide a margin as Clemenceau, Joffre and de Castelnau believed. What few Frenchmen made it through the shrapnel shells, machineguns and wire were too few in number to capture a significant portion of the German trench line.
The attack was a complete fiasco.
-----Downs (off Kent) 0710 hrs
The mission of the tiny German coastal minelaying submarine, UC.1 was to lay its dozen mines in the Downs, the narrow body of water between Deal and the Goodwin Sands. They had approached the Downs on the surface during the pitch dark night. The small boat slowly made it through the treacherous currents and sandbars. Their skipper, Lt. Egon von Werner had also been worried about the risk of encountering Dover Patrol or colliding with a merchantman. No ships’ lights were spotted though. He had not been told of the High Seas Fleet mission so he did not know that was the reason for the absence of mercantile traffic.
Just before dawn the U-Boat submerged having used the early twilight to better establish its position. Submerging amplified the risks of running aground in these shallow waters. Von Werner decided not to go below periscope depth. The U-Boat was slow on the surface but it was still slower underwater. The currents continued to buffet her mercilessly. She nevertheless laid one row of 4 mines then turned 16 points and began laying another row to the south. After she laid her 7th mine von Werner saw a ship approaching from the north. At first he wasn’t sure it was a warship but after a minute he could make out a light gun mounted forward on a turtle back foredeck. He also made out pennants of a British warship. In less than minute they had laid the next mine. After that he ordered them to turn slowly to lay the next row. "Down periscope," he ordered as he did not want the warship to know he was there. He wondered if the warship would strike one of the mines he had already laid. The mines had been laid in the deepest part of the channel. The warship von Werner had observed had a very shallow draught and might feel comfortable closer to the shore.
"Should we continue laying our mines, kapitan?"
They laid the next mine without much difficulty. The mine after that was a different story.
------Skopje (Macedonia) 0725 hrs
Gen. Todorov, the commander of the Bulgarian Second Army, was conferring with Esat Pasha, the commander of the Ottoman III Corps. "Our initial objectives have been achieved and we both should be proud," said Todorov, "but what we do next is less clear. My men need and deserve a day to rest after the continuous marching and fighting of the last week."
"Yes, my men are tired as well. So are the beasts dragging our wagons and guns. But one day will be enough and I plan to move out before dawn tomorrow. What news do you have of the other elements of this campaign, general? Has Bulgarian First Army taken Nish? That needs to be taken before the rail line to my country can be used."
Todorov’s grin evaporated into a frown, "No, from what I’ve heard First Army can only made slow progress against a determined enemy in a harsh terrain. It looks like it will be a while before Nish is taken. There is also some disturbing news that the German Tenth Army is having some unspecified trouble and has lost the initiative."
"Oh, I wonder what that is all about?"
"I do too. Our communication and coordination with the Germans has been less than perfect. Do not expect them to share much in the way of details esp. if it embarrasses them."
"Interesting but right now I am much more concerned about our own supplies. I know we have been moving rapidly and so it is difficult for your supply wagons to keep up with us."
"Yes, that is starting to become a serious problem. However late this afternoon a large column will arrive here that will take care of your immediate needs as well as our own. I have just received word from Sofia of a surprising development that could make a big difference to our logistics long term. King Constantine has offered to sell us food but not munitions."
"Interesting, but for that to be practical we would need to reach the Greek border."
Gen. Todorov frowned slightly, "Constantine’s offer has some preconditions. One of them is that your forces do not approach his border too closely."
"Does the king really think I pose a threat to his country?"
"On the contrary I believe his demand is motivated by internal politics---he fears your presence could be used for propaganda by his flamboyant prime minister."
Esat Pasha arched an eyebrow then sighed gently, "Ah yes, politics. There is always politics, isn’t there? Well, there is no reason for King Constantine to worry. I mean to follow the rail line but to the north not the south. The quicker I can get supplies the faster I will be able to move north."
------southeast of Start Point (Devonshire) 0735 hrs
The Germans had to their surprise encountered very little merchant shipping as they passed through the eastern portion of the English Channel. Once they passed the Isle of Wight into the western portion of the Channel they began to encounter more shipping. Adm. von Hipper could not spare as much of his warships as he would like for commerce raiding but he did let 4th Scouting Group capture a 2,600 ton collier full of Welsh coal and bound for Rouen. The captured collier could sustain just under 10 knots and so the prize crew was told to head for Cork but to fly British colors when no German warship was in sight. Two other freighters, which had been captured carried less useful cargo (British pig iron headed for France and port wine heading for London from Lisbon) and were promptly scuttled.
-------HMS Mallard in the Downs 0740 hrs
"Is the lookout sure he saw a periscope?" the captain asked his first officer.
"No, sir. He is not at all sure."
The Mallard was a ‘D’ class destroyer of Dover Patrol. When the High Seas Fleet entered the Channel Dover Patrol had laid low in their bases. Admiral Bacon had received intelligence from the Admiralty before dawn that the German battle fleet was now well to the west. He sent out some of his more expendable ships to make cautious patrols. The Mallard was one of them, leaving Sheerness as soon as it raised steam.
"Probably nothing then," said the skipper, "Most periscope sightings turn out to be false in my experience."
"Still it pays to be careful, sir---"
It was not that loud of an explosion and sounded somewhat muffled. Even though they felt no shock for a split second the possibility that their ship had been hit ran through the officers’ minds. "Look there sir," said the first officer pointing vigorously. Off the port bow a column of mist dirty with debris could be seen dissipating.
For a second they gaped with astonishment. "Something very fishy is going on here," remarked the skipper, "We need to compose a wireless message for the Admiralty."
-----Quend (Picardy) 0745 hrs
The German Sixth Army continued to exert pressure on the trapped 2nd Infantry Division. After subjecting the town of Quend to a thorough bombardment by medium and light minenwerfers the infantry of the 53rd Reserve Division made another assault. Those few British machineguns still in action were down to their last belt of ammunition. After an hour of fierce fighting British resistance at Quend suddenly collapsed and more than 1,300 prisoners, incl. a few senior officers were very quickly taken. With the loss of Quend the resistance of the entire division began to crumble though for the rest of the day several stubborn pockets of resistance held out until they exhausted their ammunition. The haul of prisoners grew steadily during the day. The Germans also captured a large amount of artillery---10 batteries of 18 pounders (1 belonging to the 4th Infantry Division ), 3 batteries of 4.5" howitzers, 2 batteries of 4.7" guns (incl. the one captured last night), 1 battery of 60 pounder guns and one battery of 6" howitzers.
------HQ British VI Army Corps Maryborough (Queen’s) 0750 hrs
The staff of VI Army Corps had gotten little sleep last night. Gen. Wilson had arrived like a tornado. After relieving Gen. Stopford, he interviewed all of his staff and arrested one Catholic officer he claimed was sympathizing with the enemy. He then demanded a detailed briefing about everything that was happening. He started with Cork and what was unhappy with what he was hearing, but iIt was not until he was told about what was happening at Athlone, Sligo and Waterford that Wilson exploded. At Cork his men were fighting the Germans whose prowess he had come to appreciate from his time in France. That gave Gen. Friend an excuse and moreover Gen. Wilson was gratified to hear that the Ulstermen of the 108th Brigade had been rescued though shocked to learn how few were left. Up north however it was mostly the rebels with very limited German assistance at Athlone and still less at Sligo. Wilson could not stomach the rebel successes there. He again declared his suspicion that the only possible reason for rebel success was that traitors on his staff and Hamilton’s had been helping them. He then began implementing his plan to send most of West Riding Division around Lough Derg to attack Clare. Elements of that division had begun to move out to the northeast an hour before dawn.
"Gen. Wilson, I have Gen. Hamilton on the telephone. He says it is urgent, sir."
Gen. Wilson answered the telephone, "This is Gen. Wilson speaking."
"Gen. Wilson, this is Gen. Hamilton. We have just received and decoded a very disturbing wireless message from the War Office. This is extremely restricted information I am going to pass on to you now. Is this clear?"
"Very clear, sir. What is it about?"
"There is good intelligence that German reinforcements are now on their way to Cork."
"What? Where is our vaunted navy?"
"London has made it abundantly clear that they are not discussing that topic with us right now. We are to proceed under the assumption that the reinforcement manages to arrive at Cork around dusk tonight.
"Gasp. Do they know how large a force is on its way, sir?"
"No. They want us to assume it is least one division plus replacement drafts and supplies."
"So much for the Germans running out of ammunition anytime soon, sir."
"I’m afraid so. Gen. Braithwaite and I have briefly discussed this and it is now painfully obvious that the Battle of Cork has become more crucial than ever. We want the 10th Infantry Division committed to the attack on Cork. Leave one brigade and a single battery behind at Limerick. Gen. de Lisle will force march the rest of the division south to Cork as soon as possible. What is the latest news from Gen. Friend?"
Gen. Hamilton had already been informed of the rescue of the 108th Brigade so Wilson did not see a reason to repeat that. "Gen. Friend tried to envelop the enemy’s left flank during the night and met with some success. A battalion of the North Wales Brigade was able to reach Ballincollig. From there they were to work their way into the heart of the city and try to rescue the trapped Cheshires. Meanwhile two more battalions of the Welsh Border Brigade have been thrown into the attack. I am awaiting word about how those attacks are progressing. Unfortunately both my telephone and telegraph wires to Welsh Division have been cut again and I forced to rely on motorcyclists. It is an intolerable situation."
"Unfortunately it has become all too frequent, general. If you have a suggestion as to how to stop it we would be happy to hear it."
"Yes, I do have a suggestion. When one of these wire cutters is caught there should be reprisals against the culprit’s families as well. Surely you have not forgotten the lessons of the Boer Wars, Gen. Hamilton?"
Hamilton took his time responding, "There are things about the Boer Wars I would very much like to forget, Gen. Wilson. I suggest that you type up these very bold suggestions of yours and forward them to Gen. Braithwaite for due consideration."
------SSW of Devonport (Devonshire) 0755 hrs
The Zeppelin, L.10 had experienced some bumpy weather during the night as it caught the edge of the thunderstorm which had moved into Picardy. Her mission in the early morning hours was to scout the western portion of the English Channel ahead of 1st Scouting Group. At first she had been greatly hindered by the thick cloud cover but the clouds slowly broke up. Her captain’s orders at this point were to observe and photograph the Royal Navy’s anchorage at Devonport but not to risk being shot down by approaching too closely. The airship now had completed their turn to the northwest and had a clear view of the anchorage. They could see 3 large warships in the harbor. They were still unsure if they were dreadnoughts, predreadnoughts or even just armored cruisers. In a few more minutes the consensus among the observers was that they were very probably predreadnoughts with two of the three belonging to the obsolete Majestic class. There were also 8 or 9 light warships that looked to be destroyers and/or torpedo boats.
The airship continued on its northwesterly course even after it had finished transmitting its report to Adm. von Hipper by wireless.
------10 Downing St. 0805 hrs
"Just what is this disturbing new development you mentioned on the telephone, Sir Edward?" asked an anxious Andrew Bonar Law as Sir Edward Carson arrived at the meeting of the War Committee.
Carson showed Bonar Law the decoded message. Bonar Law’s right eyebrow arched and he sighed deeply then very quickly handed the message to Lloyd-George, who took one look and said, "Oh dear."
"I thought we greatly increased the cruiser patrols so the Germans could not do this again, First Lord," remarked the taciturn Prime Minister.
"That is correct. While we cannot rule out the possibility, the Sea Lords and I agree that it is highly unlikely that the German reinforcements are coming via the northern route. We think they are coming through the Channel escorted by the High Seas Fleet."
"Oh dear," this time the Chancellor said it louder.
"I said something similar when I first saw this, prime minister, but the admirals rightly pointed out that operating so far from Germany poses some risks for the German fleet. We have ordered Adm. Bayly to pursue the High Seas Fleet all the way to Ireland."
"Hmm. This is all based on these bloody wireless intercepts. I still do not completely trust them after all those exaggerated reports about the size of the Fenian forces," said Bonar Law, "maybe this is merely intended to lure the Grand Fleet to battle in the eastern portion of the Channel."
Very quickly Carson and Lloyd-George exchanged looks. Each passing day brought more news from Ireland that made the German estimate of the rebel forces look more and more plausible but Bonar Law stubbornly continued to deny it.
"Let us for the time being let us assume that German reinforcements escorted by the High Seas Fleet are indeed proceeding towards Cork," said Lloyd-George, "do we have any reasonable guess about how large this second wave is?"
"As to size the Admiralty believes it could be anywhere from one division to three, prime minister, if they are indeed coming through the Channel, though the speed at which they are coming makes the possibility of 3 divisions highly unlikely in my estimation. If on the other hand the Huns have somehow managed to sneak through our patrols using the northern route again it is likely to be smaller force, at most a single division plus supplies."
"Assuming that they are coming through the Channel is there no way that Adm. Bayly can overtake them?" asked Lloyd-George.
"The Grand Fleet won’t reach Ireland before the late afternoon tomorrow, prime minister. Now if Gen. Hamilton can deny the Germans the use of Cork the offloading of the German transports will be very slow. Then our naval forces would stand a good chance to destroy most of it," replied Carson.
"But then you’re implying that at least a portion of it could well make it ashore, First Lord," said Bonar Law.
"In that case should we reinforce Ireland still more?" asked Lloyd-George.
"I discussed that option with Lord Kitchener over the telephone just before coming over here," answered Carson, "He is very reluctant to commit any of the three remaining Territorial Force Divisions we have remaining here in Britain as they all have very important counter invasion duties. Instead he believes some of the First New Army divisions are now at the point where they are ready for action. He would prefer that we send one of those to Ireland next. He wants to consult with his staff before deciding which one would be best."
"How soon will this division be ready to leave?" asked Lloyd-George.
"Depends on how soon Lord Kitchener can make up his mind. Hopefully that won’t take as long as usual and a portion of it will be ready to sail before dawn tomorrow. The Sea Lords are already thinking it might be safer to send them to Belfast instead as the Germans may send some cruisers to raid the Irish Sea."
Suddenly the prime minister grinned ironically, "Strange as it may sound, this development actually solves one of our problems. The king wants me to meet with him again. We have been worried about how he would react to sending another division to Ireland. Now we have a wonderful excuse for what we did."
------Roscommon city 0815 hrs
The Germans in charge of the rebels inside Athlone had become comfortable with the tactical situation there over the last two days. The attacks of the British forces on the eastern edge of the city, which lacked any artillery support, were being repulsed with ease. However attempts by the rebels to counterattack there had not done well though even when they had the assistance of the armored train. The Germans decided that the armored train could be spared to support an attack on Roscommon city which the 4th Battalion Connaught Rangers had seized on Monday. After that they were to thrust into County Mayo and stir up rebellion there.
The Marine cavalry squadron participated in this attack. This unit now included 28 Irish auxiliaries with acceptable equestrian skills. Also accompanying them was a small cyclist company recently formed at Athlone and the Roscommon Battalion which had now received 3 days of German training at Athlone. Some of its platoon leaders were more experienced men from the Clare battalions who had been brought north to form the cadre of the Athlone battalions.
The Connaught Rangers had been warned of the armored train and had obstructed the tracks on the outskirts of town. The rebel attack started with the Marine Cavalry Squadron making a diversionary attack to the west of Roscommon. Meanwhile the train approached the obstruction along with the cyclists. In a brief pitched fight the Connaught Rangers guarding the tracks were driven off when the Roscommon Battalion arrived. There was only one obstruction and once it was cleared the armored train was able to enter the city. The commander of the 4th Connaught Rangers then decided his position was untenable and withdrew to the north, along with 90 constables.
------Istanbul 0820 hrs
The chief of staff of the German Military Mission, Oberst Friedrich Bronsart von Schellendorff paid a visit on Enver Pasha. "Have you had a chance to consider OKW’s urgent request for an additional infantry division to serve in the Serbian campaign, Pasha?" asked von Schellendorff. He noticed that Enver had that radiant glow on his face once again. Sometimes that was a bad omen but today the German staff office regarded as a good omen.
"Yes, yes. I have given that matter a great deal of thought. I have learned that you Germans have gotten yourselves in a spot of trouble in Serbia and are now in need of our assistance."
That grated slightly. The Oberst hesitated slightly then he concluded Well as far as I can tell that is essentially true. A little humility is a small price to pay if I can get that division quickly. "Yes, there has been an unfortunate setback, Pasha. It is not a disaster but it is delaying the capture of the vital railroad line."
"Yes, I can see that, Oberst. Feldmarshal von Moltke was very wise to ask for our assistance. It shows he appreciates the strength of my army. I am more than happy to help our ally in this matter. I have not heard from Gen. von Sanders on this matter but I am sure he would voice no opposition to this modest proposal."
"I am sure as well, Pasha." NOT Hopefully I can finalize it before he throws sand into the gears.
"Good. I have given the matter some thought and have selected the 26th Infantry Division for this mission. It will begin its departure before the end of the day," said Enver Pasha making a dramatic gesture.
"That is wonderful, Pasha. Would you mind if I was the one to break this very good news to Gen. von Sanders?"
"Not at all. Be my guest."
------Dublin 0840 hrs
The city of Dublin had become a sniper’s paradise. With the addition of the rifles Rommel had brought to Dublin and those he had captured since he arrived, three fifths of the Dublin Brigade’s men ---and more than a few women---now had a military grade rifle in their hands. Most of the rest were armed with a shotgun and a pistol. The Irish snipers dominated the southwest corner of the city. The Scots tried repeatedly to storm the rebel occupied buildings and usually found death in the streets. If they did break into the building they discovered that the men with shotguns and pistols had a useful role to play. Both sides had a few improvised bombs but neither had a proper grenade. Piles of corpses lying in the street pungently decomposing were starting to form impromptu barricades. Few of the Irish Volunteers had uniforms and some of the British snipers were starting to treat anyone not in a British uniform as a target.
After a taking some casualties from the sniping the Scottish artillerists decided to hunker down in the stout stone buildings of Trinity College, though they were reluctant to abandon their guns. Other than the intermittent shelling of targets on either side of the Liffey there was no sound of artillery in Dublin until now. While Gen. Egerton was concentrating on freeing the hemmed in units in and around Trinity College, he still pressed 4th Dublin Battalion in South Dublin Union. As the latest Scottish assault began a pair of captured 15 pounders were wheeled out in front of the Guinness brewery. It was direct fire at short range and after the first teething round the shrapnel shells landed with just enough accuracy to disrupt the attack.
BRITISH NAVY ATTACKS AMERICA!
"A British battle cruiser blatantly attacked the ocean liner, America yesterday not far from the American coast. The German registered America was carrying more than 600 American passengers at the time, many of whom were on their way to fight for Ireland. What the British intend to do with these AMERICAN passengers is a cause of grave concern for all Americans because of the extremely cruel attitude that the British government has taken towards the Irish Revolution now underway. True Americans can and will express their opinion on this urgent matter."
----New York Journal American Friday May 14, 1915
------Amerika steaming NNE 0905 hrs GMT
When Inflexible captured Amerika an extra large boarding party was sent over. The Royal Navy still remembered how the Fenians aboard Vaterland during the Battle of Utsire had seized control of the liner under the leadership of that notorious thug Harry Calahan. There at least 3 times as many Fenians aboard Amerika as there had been aboard Vaterland and the boarding party was made well aware of that fact before they left Inflexible. The first three hours after the boarding party arrived had been very tense as the bluejackets intensely searched the mighty vessel from stem to stern looking for weapons. They confiscated 98 rifles, 80 shotguns, 204 pistols, 6 sticks of dynamite and 19 swords plus a wide variety of knives. The searchers suspected correctly that did not find all the weapons and that the Fenians were planning to turn on them the first moment they let their guard down. This apprehension only grew worse during the night. The lieutenant in charge of the boarding party decided to move all the passengers in cabins into steerage at nightfall.
A pair of the seamen were posted on guard duty at one of the entrance ways to steerage in the predawn hours. "I tell you, Nigel, they are plotting something inside there. The Lt’s idea of cramming them all together simply makes it easier for them to conspire amongst themselves. Just before dawn is the best time to attack. I tell you that’s when they’re going to jump us."
Nigel had heard variations of this theme for over an hour. At first he was unsure but now he was just as nervous, maybe even a little bit more. "We need to keep on our toes, Zack. That is the only way we’ll nip this thing in the bud."
"If we do not keep alert we’re doomed, that’s f’er bloody certain. But maybe we’re doomed anyway with these bloodthirsty Irish loons. I say that the Old Man should’ve blown this fuckin’ nest of vipers out of the water. That would’ve solved all this right well enough."
"There is something to what you’re saying, Zack, but then again Captain Phillimore must’ve had his reasons. You know---rules of warfare and shite like that."
"Bah, ‘rules of warfare’ as if that weren’t some sort of bloody fuckin’ joke, Nigel."
Suddenly the door to steerage creaked open and then a head peeked out at them. Alarmed Nigel and Zack leveled their carbines. "What do you want?" asked Zack.
The head peeking out at them wobbled and had trouble focusing his eyes. There were traces of vomit visible in the bristles of his unshaven chin.
"Why don’t you go back inside, fellow," said Nigel.
A tall man awkwardly tottered and lurched a few steps outside the door.
"Go back inside! NOW!" ordered Nigel.
"Why should I? It’s a free country ain’t it?" asked the prisoner in a slurring voice with an Irish accent while he swayed.
"I told you to get back inside!" yelled Nigel thrusting with bayonet so it came within inches of the prisoner.
Still swaying the prisoner swatted with his right in the direction of the bayonet as if it was some annoying insect. "And what are you boys goin’ to do if I don’t---are y’a goin’t’er shoot me?"
"Do you want to find out, you moron? Go back inside now!" ordered Nigel.
Suddenly another head poked out from behind the door. "Danny, Danny, just what do you think y’er doing?"
"Oh, I’m taking a piss that’s what I be doin’" At that Danny unbuttoned his trousers and began to urinate in the direction of the British seamen.
"Christ! Stop that you knave!" yelled Zack.
"Oh go fuck the Queen!"
"They don’t have a queen, Danny—they have a king," said the head poking out from behind the door.
"Oh—well in that case go fuck the King. I think he might like it."
That was too much for Nigel who swung his carbine around and smashed Danny twice in the head with it. Danny swayed on his feet for a few seconds muttering incoherently then abruptly crumpled to the urine covered deck.
"Danny!" shrieked the head poking out from behind the door who then sprinted a few steps to where his friend was laying. Meanwhile another head poked out from behind the door and asked, "What the hell is goin’ on here?"
"Nigel! Nigel! Be careful---this could be a trick!" yelled Zack.
"Everyone stay inside steerage!" ordered Nigel who had swung his carbine back around. He tried to gently prod the man hovering over Danny with his bayonet, "That includes you."
It wasn’t that gentle. "Ouch!" shrieked the prisoner, "You tryin’ to kill me too, y’a damn Brits!"
Two more prisoners suddenly stepped through the door. One glared daggers at the British sailors then reached inside a pocket while moving toward them.
------HQ Army Group Kronprinz Rupprecht (Belgrade) 0920 hrs
The telephone lines to XIII Army Corps had been reestablished, and Kronprinz Rupprecht was now conversing with Gen. von Watters, who had been restored as the corps commander. "The British colonial division attacked the Bavarian Cavalry Division this morning, Your Royal Highness. There was a frontal assault by infantry supported by artillery combined with an attempted envelopment by their cavalry. Our cavalry had only limited time to prepare their entrenchments and so their infantry assault pushed us back roughly 2 kilometers but now we are now holding the line. As for their cavalry attack the Bavarian cavalry bent back their right flank and used their interior lines to defend effectively."
"That is sound tactics but I fear that it may not work indefinitely," answered Rupprecht.
"Yes, that is fairly obvious to us as well, Your Royal Highness. A battery of our foot artillery is being repositioned to give the Bavarian Cavalry Division more firepower. Might I ask if the Austrian Third Army has made any progress in closing the gap?"
"They claim to have advanced 3 kilometers. However their latest report speaks of a determined Serbian counterattack. They may lose some of the ground they gained. Have you managed to locate the unusually quiet Gen. Ludendorff yet?"
"Uh, we have in the last hour received some disturbing information about Gen. Ludendorff, Your Royal Highness---"
"----what? Are trying to tell me that Gen. Ludendorff has been killed?"
"We are receiving conflicting information, Your Royal Highness. Some say he was killed but others claim he was captured after being wounded."
"As quickly as possible, confirm one way or the other what really happened to my chief of staff."
------SSE of Przemysl 0930 hrs
In the last half hour the bombardment by the artillery of the Austro-Hungarian Second Army reached a crescendo with their minenwerfers joining in. The infantry assault involved 6 of the army’s 11 divisions. The bombardment had hurt the Russian trenches but the devastation was far from total. Enough strength, esp. machineguns, remained to inflict heavy losses on the attackers. The 2 Austro-Hungarians that were attacking the left wing of Eleventh Army met with some limited success due in part to the fact that Center Army had suppressed nearly of Eleventh Army’s artillery. The assaulting battalions were able to capture only a portion of the Russian forward trench and at a heavy cost. They were unable to advance beyond that and instead were hard pressed to hold on to what they had gained against vigorous Russian counterattacks.
The other 4 divisions attacked the neighboring XXVIII Corps which was on the right wing of Gen. Brusilov’s Eighth Army. The entrenchments here were a notch better than those of Eleventh Army and the wire barriers were thicker. Less than half the Russian batteries here were suppressed and they tore into attackers as did the machineguns. These attacks were complete failures. Meanwhile Center Army continued its prolonged methodical shelling of Eleventh Army.
------HMS Iron Duke heading SW1005 hrs
Adm. Madden handed the slip of paper back to Adm. Bayly. It was a message from the Admiralty.
THERE ARE MINES IN THE DOWNS REPEAT THERE IS MINES IN THE DOWNS STOP DO NOT WAIT FOR THE MINES TO BE SWEPT TO ENTER THE CHANNEL TO PURSUE THE GERMAN FLEET REPEAT DO NOT WAIT FOR THE MINES TO BE SWEPT TO ENTER THE CHANNEL STOP ENTER THE STRAITS EAST OF THE GOODWIN SANDS TO PURSUE THE GERMAN FLEET REPEAT ENTER THE STRAITS EAST OF THE GOODWIN SANDS STOP
"The Admiralty must surely realize we cannot overtake the High Seas Fleet before they reach Ireland," Bayly commented, "nevertheless they insist that we pursue single mindedly like a greyhound chasing a jack rabbit."
"They do not mean for us to be reckless, sir. It is mighty fortunate that they found that German minefield. I wonder how the Germans managed to lay it so close to our shore."
"I am interested in that as well, but I am more interested in what other tricks the Huns might have up their sleeves."
"Like submarines, sir?"
"Or more mines. Let us not hew back towards the coast once we’re past the Goodwin Sands. Instead we’ll use the deep channel between the Varne and Colbart Shoals. Fortunately for us the Germans spared the Varne Light Vessel."
"That channel is too narrow for cruising formation, sir. We will have to shift into a line. Should we form line from the 5th Squadron on the right or the 1st Squadron from the left."
"From the left. If we form from the right we will be heading away from the Straits and will be required to turn around. However let us hold off on that for a little bit longer. Signal all of our cruiser squadrons as well as the 2nd and 4th destroyer flotillas to proceed into the Straits ahead of us. The light cruisers and destroyers will proceed at 25 knots; the armored cruisers at 21 knots.
------Phoenix Park Dublin 1010 hrs
When the company commandant of Irish Volunteers at Dunshauglin in County Meath had learned of the Dublin Rising on Monday he had made plans to assemble his company before dawn on Tuesday and then march on Dublin. Unfortunately he was arrested along with his deputy by the R.I.C. soon afterwards. There was confusion in the unit until yesterday when a new leader emerged and ordered them to assemble at midnight just outside of town. A half dozen members were arrested for violating curfew but 58 and 3 women, armed with only 3 rifles, 5 shotguns, 11 pistols, 2 swords and variety of shovels and improvised pikes managed to make their way to the outskirts of Dublin along the northern edge of Phoenix Park. There they encountered elements of the 5th Dublin Battalion which had conducted a series of hit and run skirmishes with the British forces inside the park, trying to make it difficult for them to focus on the recapture of the Magazine Fort. Dunshauglin Company was quickly absorbed into the 5th Dublin Battalion and provided some firearms, mostly from their riflemen had been wounded.
Meanwhile inside the Magazine Fort, Ziethen and 5 of his pioneers were busy fashioning improvised bombs using the explosives they had captured. Ziethen knew that the British were fond of using jam tins for these sort of weapons and while that was not anywhere as good as German grenades it was had some effectiveness if used with considerable caution. So Ziethen’s first batch emulated the British concept. He also tried to demonstrate to the Irishmen the safe way---or better put the least unsafe way---to use these dangerous contraptions. The British looked to have the fort surrounded and had already made one unsuccessful attempt to retake it. These bombs Ziethen fashioned could well come in handy the next time.
------HQ Ottoman Third Army Erzerum Fortress 1040 hrs
Mirliva Mahmut Kamil Pasha had given command of the Third Army after Hafiz Hakki Bey had died of spotted typhus back in February. He now met with his German chief of staff, Maj. Guse to discuss the Russian offensive that had begun Tuesday morning.
"The main enemy effort continues to be in the Tortum Valley, Paşa” said Guse,” The 29th and 30th Infantry Divisions are fighting fiercely but nevertheless we have lost about 4 kilometers so far."
"Those units have been in the line continuously since Sarikamiş and remain very under strength. Can they hold by themselves?”
"At least for the time being, Paşa. If things get out of hand we can always commit IX Corps."
"So I take it that you remain comfortable with my idea of deploying the V Corps to Malazgirt?"
"Yes, I am, Paşa.”
"I know that 5th Division is due to arrive at Malazgirt tomorrow morning, but I remain less than clear about when 4th Division will arrive."
The major made a slight frown, "That division only just arrived here after its long trip from Thrace just 2 days ago, Paşa. Nearly a quarter of its men are sick, most of the rest are badly fatigued. I therefore think it is ill advised to force march them into battle which means that unit will need 3 full days to arrive at Malazgirt. The 5th Infantry Division, a fresh division close to full strength, along with the 1st and 3rd Cavalry Brigades should be more than enough to prevent the Russians from capturing Malazgirt before then."
"Good. But II Corps should not try to attack before 4th Infantry Division can participate. How long do we have to wait for 6th Infantry Division to join us?"
"At least 3 more weeks, Paşa. Could be four weeks now that V Corps is being deployed to Persia, and is therefore competing with us for the precious trains."
"I know but I am not complaining. In the long run having strong forces to the south of Lake Van will be good, esp. if our problems with Armenians worsen."
------west of Froise (Picardy) 1100 hrs
Off the Picardy coast Dover Patrol had returned with the Endymion, Grafton and 3 ‘E’ class destroyers. The Endymion and Grafton were old Edgar class protected cruisers. They had served in the Northern Patrols and had been the main enforcers of the distant blockade when it first started. The ships had taken a several pounding from the heavy seas while performing blockade duties and were replaced late last year by the AMC’s of the 10th Cruiser Squadron. In February 4 of them had been fitted with antitorpedo bulges and rearmed with additional 6" guns replacing the 9.2" guns with an eye towards using them as shore bombardment craft. The Admiralty was worried that the High Seas Fleet may have detached ships to mine the coast off Picardy during their nighttime transit of the Straits of Dover. Kitchener however was strongly pressing them to do more to help First Army rescue the trapped 2nd Infantry Division so they decided on sending this force. There were no problems with mines except to remember where their own fields were laid. The warships now conducted a brisk 20 minute bombardment of the German 7th Infantry Division along with the few batteries of the British First Army that still had shells.
Meanwhile the German batteries gave Dover Patrol a hot time. They scored 4 hits on Grafton with 15 cm shells. This caused a moderate intensity fire in the cruiser’s superstructure and forced her to leave the engagement. During her withdrawal she was hit once more. Endymion was hit only once without significant damage and fired rapidly into the position of the German 7th Infantry Division, but her fire was low trajectory and not well observed. The casualties suffered by the 7th Infantry Division were relatively small and when 8 already well worn British battalions emerged from their trenches at the insistence of Gen. Haig, they proved totally impotent as had been predicted by the pessimistic Gen Pulteney, who had strongly opposed the assault.
------Dublin 1130 hrs
Before Rommel had managed to get 5 hours of badly needed sleep Rommel had issued instructions to the O’Rahilly for a late morning attack. His target was the1/7th battalion West Yorkshire which was positioned to the north of the G.P.O. and which had already been hurt yesterday afternoon. Rommel’s plan was to hit this battalion from 3 directions. The first attack would be made by the Louth Volunteers who had arrived at Swords late yesterday. Rommel sent the O’Rahilly to take command of those men, bringing along 60 rifles and 100 handguns. This still left more than half of the Louth Volunteers without any firearm but there was still a shortage of weapons for the rebels in Dublin. For that reason the O’Rahilly’s attack was intended mostly as a diversion.
While this was underway a company of the 6th Dublin Battalion would attack the 1/7th West Yorkshire from the east. What Rommel hoped would be the decisive blow though was the attack of the 1st Dublin Battalion coming up from the south. Rommel oversaw this portion of the battle in person conferring with the battalion commandant, Sean Heuston. The 1st Dublin Battalion left 2 of its 5 battalions to defend the Mendicity Institute and the Four Courts, and brought the rest to attack the 1/7th West Yorkshire in the vicinity of the old Linen Hall Barracks. With Rommel’s skilled guidance they were able to exploit the distraction caused by the other two attacks and quickly eliminated more than half of a British rifle company. The battalion commander of the 1/7th West Yorkshire just barely escaped capture and he soon mounted a counterattack with the portion of the company that had escaped reinforced with another of his companies. Rommel was prepared for this counterattack and easily repulsed it. Meanwhile Heuston sent one of 1st Dublin Battalions to the west in an attempt to encircle the 1/7th West Yorkshire, which greatly worried its commander causing him to order a precipitous withdrawal to the west. This let Rommel capture one of the battalion’s Vickers machineguns as well as most of its supplies incl. 2 1/2 tons of food and 13,000 rounds of .303. He had captured 62 British soldiers and 17 constables in this engagement. Together with rifles recovered from the enemy dead he had 98 more Lee-Enfield rifles, most of which Rommel gave to the Louth Volunteers.
As this was going on the Lowland Division was making a series of costly attacks in the southeast corner of Dublin to try to clear its like of communication with its artillery. This resulted in confused urban fighting as the Scots tried to clear out key rebel held buildings. Casualties steadily mounted.
------SMS Pillau southwest of Lands End 1135 hrs
After receiving a wireless message from Flanders that the Grand Fleet was far to the east, Adm. von Hipper was more amenable to having 4th Scouting Group conduct more vigorous commerce raiding. Pillau now found another collier of 3,100 tons full of Welsh coal which could sustain at least 8 ½ knots. Less than an hour earlier Kolberg had captured a 4,200 ton freighter full of Argentine beef. After some discussion among senior officers it was decided to send that one to Cork as well. The first wave alone had just barely managed to live off the land according to von François’ wireless reports so augmenting their supply of food was definitely worthwhile.
------Listowel (Kerry) 1145 hrs
Listowel Company had grown very rapidly since news of MacNeill’s execution had reached their area Wednesday morning, which prompted many wavering Redmondites to finally jump on the bandwagon. The company now numbered 270 men and 61 women with more arriving every hour. Lt. McAndrews, still not fully recovered from his wound, continued to rely very heavily on SSgt. Bridget Donahue, aka Mother Superior, to see to the details of running the company. She had continued her policy of sending the least fit tenth of the men and quarter of the women to the support company at Tralee, in direct contradiction to orders from Kerry Brigade HQ that she was to send nearly all of the women to the support company. She had very deliberately excluded any mention of women in the reports she had sent to Commandant Stack about the company strength.
There was a knock on the door of Mother Superior’s office. "Sgt. Donahue, we just got this telegram from Commandant Stack for Lt. McAndrews," said one of the women who worked in the telegraph room. From her excited voice Mother Superior sensed it contained something unusual. She wondered if it was about some enemy force heading her way. Except for a few encounters with tiny isolated packets of R.I.C. and arresting some criminals her outfit had seen very little action. "Let me see it, private," she ordered with anticipation.
TO LT MCANDREWS AT LISTOWEL STOP ON ACCOUNT OF ITS RAPID GROWTH I HAVE DECIDED TO RENAME LISTOWEL COMPANY AS THE FIFTH KERRY BATTALION EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY STOP CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR EXCELLENT LEADERSHIP IN RUNNING YOUR UNIT STOP EARLY TOMORROW MORNING SPLIT YOUR BATTALION INTO TWO COMPANIES STOP AROUND NOON TOMORROW CAPT SCHULTZ WILL ARRIVE BY MOTORCAR TO TAKE COMMAND OF THE BATTALION STOP YOU WILL THEN COMMAND ONE OF THE COMPANIES STOP
Mother Superior bit her finger then sighed deeply. In a sense this a report of an enemy coming my way she told herself just not the enemy I wanted to fight.
------Deutschland Battery Cape Gris Nez 1150 hrs
The Germans had assembled a wide variety of weapons at Cape Gris Nez. The heaviest weapons were the 30.5 cm 50 cal. guns. For a while they only had 4 of those but a fifth piece had arrived 2 weeks ago along with larger range finders with a sixth weapon due at end of the month. The first of two 38 cm guns was due to arrive in mid June. The mounts for the naval guns could elevate to 40˚. In addition to a large fortified observation tower there was a trio of observation balloons tethered to the ground and electrically connected by cables.
The battery commander had ordered his guns to remain silent when the destroyers and the cruisers had crossed the straight ahead of the battle fleet, even though the armored cruisers were tempting. However the 1st Destroyer Flotilla had turned around and was beginning to lay a smoke screen. The Grand Fleet could now be seen heading into the Channel. In a few minutes it would be masked by the smoke screen. "Commence firing," he now ordered, "Target the lead battleship."
------HMS Iron Duke 1152 hrs
The Iron Duke was the fifth battleship in the German line. Adm. Bayly and Adm. Madden watched with some concern at the 5 waterspouts that erupted to their 1 o’clock from the German second salvo. The first salvo was way long but this one was considerably closer to the Queen Elizabeth, which a few seconds earlier had returned fire.
"Do they really think they can hit us this far out, admiral?" asked Madden, "Or are they merely wasting shells and wearing out barrels?"
Bayly took his time before responding hopefully, "We will be inside the smoke screen soon enough."
------Deutschland Battery Cape Gris Nez 1159 hrs
Even inside their fortified bunkers the sound of the British counter bombardment was deafening as the British 13.5" guns had in the last few minutes begun to fire on Deutschland Battery as well as the Queen Elizabeth.
"Oberst, the observation balloon reports that due to the British smoke screen they will in the next minute be unable to see the lead British battleship. They want to shift our fire up the enemy battle line where the smoke is not yet a problem."
"Ah, the important word in that sentence is ‘yet’. Is not true that the British destroyers laying smoke are still heading north?"
"That is correct, Oberst."
"And we are currently straddling the lead battleship, are we not?"
"That is correct as well, Oberst."
"When that time comes the guns should continue firing blind at the last spot they targeted as fast as they can," replied the battery commander, "The vaunted tight spacing of the British line will help us a little bit, yes?"
------HMS Queen Elizabeth 1201 hrs
The German 30.5cm SAP shell struck the Queen Elizabeth on the forward port side penetrating the upper deck armor then as soon as it pierced the main deck as well it detonated devastating the provisions room below and the cabin above. A large shell fragments penetrated the middle deck, causing damage below and killing a sailor. A small fire started in the provisions room. Other shell fragments disabled the ammo hoist to the #1 port 6" gun.
------HMS Emperor of India 1208 hrs
The Emperor of India was the 6th battleship in the British line. A pentacle of shells exploded now exploded in front of her. One shell was close enough to her bow for splinters to perforate the bow and for the shock wave to cause some small leaks.
------HMS Dreadnought 1212 hrs
Dreadnought was the flagship of the 3rd Battle Squadron, and therefore the 9th battleship in the line. A 30.5 cm SAP now struck the roof of ‘X’ turret just in front on the 3" gun, which it disabled. As it penetrated the armor the shell broke up without exploding. A large fragment deformed the barrel of the right gun in the turret enough to render it unusable. Other fragments instantly killed 3 sailors and wounded 4 more, one which died later. The left gun in the turret was untouched and remained fully operational.
------HMS Hindustan 1219 hrs
A German 30.5 cm SAP shell slammed into Hindustan’s side armor, where it was 8" thick. The shell failed to penetrate bursting outside though it did push in the armor plating and caused some cracks. Meanwhile the German gunners at Deutschland Battery were tiring though and the rate of fire was slackening.
------HMS Vengeance 1226 hrs
A German 30.5cm shell punched through the aft smokestack of Vengeance without exploding.
------HMS Iron Duke 1233 hrs
"It appears that the Germans have ceased fire, sir," Adm. Madden informed Adm. Bayly.
"That is good. Any more of our ships reporting damage?" asked Adm. Bayly.
"No, sir. Only 3 hits reported so far," answered Madden. The damage report from Vengeance had not yet reached them.
"The steep angle of descent of their shells had me worried for a while about out predreadnoughts with their relatively weak deck armor."
"Yes, that is quite true, sir. Furthermore smoke screens place us at the mercy of the winds. If there was a sudden shift now we could find ourselves exposed and under fire again."
"Understood but I am much more worried about other potential dangers right now, admiral. Flags! Signal a 15˚ turn to port in succession."
------U.27 off Dungeness 1245 hrs
Lt. Wegener, the U-Boat’s kapitän ground his teeth in frustration. He had positioned his vessel where he thought he would have an optimal shot at the Grand Fleet as it emerged from the Straits of Dover. He had previously passed up a good firing opportunity on a light cruiser squadron and a little later one nearly as good with a squadron of armored cruisers. At the Battle of North Foreland back in February, the High Seas Fleet had tried to ambush the Grand Fleet with U-Boats. One of the U-Boats in the ambush lines torpedoed the Yarmouth which was part of the scouting forces there by alerting Jellicoe who altered course and declined the late afternoon engagement off Terschelling which Adm. von Ingenohl was seeking. The German Nelson was very upset about he considered to be a serious lapse of judgment and discipline, complaining bitterly to the Fuhrer der Unterseeboote, Korvettenkapitän Hermann Bauer. This resulted in Bauer giving firm instructions to the U-Boat commanders that when they were told that capital ships were expected they should refrain from attacking lesser targets no matter how inviting.
Now through his periscope he could see a line of British battleships but they were considerably further off to the southeast than he had expected. Nor were they showing any signs of turning in his direction---the logical path if they were chasing after the High Seas Fleet. Instead they looked to be on a SSW heading. British destroyers had been roaming over this area for more than an hour. Trying to reposition the U-Boat in order to get a better shot at the rear was the British battle line was suicidal. Even keeping his periscope raised for a long period of time was risky. The U-Boat commander groaned in frustration.
------SMS München 1305 hrs
Once he learned where the Grand Fleet was Adm. von Ingenohl finally felt comfortable enough to permit the cruisers of 5th Scouting Group do some commerce raiding. These picked up some the sea traffic that had escaped Adm. Von Hipper. Two captured freighters deemed not worth keeping were quickly scuttled but now München captured a 2,900 ton collier out of Bristol and it was added to their collection.
------HMS Inflexible 1315 hrs GMT
Captain Sir Richard Fortesque Phillimore, had commanded the Inflexible at Utsire and he still was her skipper when she returned from the docks. He now observed 2 vessels through his binoculars. Off to the port was his prize, the German ocean liner, Amerika which he had captured off Cape Cod. The captain had been informed that his boarding party had shot a prisoner armed only with a small wrench in the stomach. The victim was still alive according to the last report but the physician aboard the liner was certain the end was near. Capt. Phillimore’s orders had stressed that he was to avoid inflicting serious injury on the passengers if at all possible while grimly reminding him of what had happened aboard the Vaterland during Utsire. Now someone was dead and the Germans were sure to try to use it for propaganda purposes in the United States. A court of inquiry would need to be held. Phillimore was worried that the Admiralty might be overly harsh towards his boarding party in order to appease the damn Yanks.
The other ship was the Canadian cruiser, Niobe which was rapidly approaching from the NNW. The Admiralty now wanted the Inflexible back in home waters as soon as possible. Niobe was here to escort Amerika back to Halifax. His boarding party would remain aboard Amerika. Indeed he had already strongly advised the skipper of the Niobe to reinforce it as the shooting had heightened the tensions about the liner. The possibility of a prisoner uprising trying to seize the liner remained very real.
"Niobe is close enough," announced Capt. Phillimore to his bridge crew, "Helm. Turn 50˚ to starboard and tell engineering to make turns for 22 knots. We are going home."
------Ober Ost 1340 hrs
Gen. Hans von Seeckt, Ober Ost chief of staff, had returned from his visit to the Eighth Army HQ. After refreshing himself he conferred with Oberst Hoffman. "Gen. von Below asked me more than once what our plans were after Kovno falls," von Seeckt confessed, "and I was more than a little bit embarrassed that we do not have one yet. Gen. von Beseler confidently believes it could fall as early as a week from now which is earlier than I had expected. This makes working out our subsequent operations all the more urgent."
"A week from now? Well that certainly would be impressive, general," replied Hoffman, "I gave the matter of what we can do next some serious thought while you we’re gone. I must start with pointing out that Gen. von Falkenhayn promised to send us 7 infantry and 2 cavalry divisions for Operation Fulcrum. He started well by sending us 3 of the infantry divisions and both of the cavalry divisions. But the other 4 infantry divisions now look dubious at best. Falkenhayn said he would send us 1 infantry division from France at the beginning of the month, 2 more from the Balkans in the middle of the month and another from France before the end of the month. So far there has been no indication that any of them are on the way---unless you’ve heard something I have not."
"Uh, well what you say is indeed true but I did see some vague mention of a setback in Serbia. That is probably going to delay removing any more divisions. We did at least get the German siege artillery from Operation Tourniquet. That is one big reason why Gen. von Beseler is now feeling so confident about Kovno."
"Yes, that’s a good point, general. Still I am not certain that if and when any divisions are released from Serbia Falkenhayn will be sending them our way. You see, he has this big offensive underway against the British. Some even thought he was going to encircle and destroy their First Army but he apparently failed to completely cut the line of communication. Meanwhile there is a major French offensive underway near Compiegne about which we have been told very little except that the French did capture in fact that city. So I have concluded that whatever we plan it should rest on the assumption that we may not be getting any new divisions in the next 2 weeks."
"And that would greatly limit our ability to conduct any strategic offense at this time."
"Yes, but we have one option. I propose that we move Eleventh Army HQ along with II Bavarian Corps and XXIV Reserve Corps to Insterburg by rail, leaving only the Landwehr Corps."
"Hmm, those 3 divisions could not hold by themselves if pressed by a full fledged attack coming out of Ivanogorod by Fourth Army."
"I am not so sure, Oberst. We thrashed Fourth Army very badly during Operation Whisper back in March---though not quite as badly as OKW claimed, general. It now appears nearly half of Fourth Army escaped---and the only reason we destroyed the Grenadier Corps is because they were so damn resolute--- they waited too long before trying to withdraw. If they had fallen back when the rest of Fourth Army panicked then maybe as much as half of them and most of their artillery would have escaped as well."
"Interesting, but in any case we do know that the Russians rebuilt the Fourth Army. We do not know their exact strength but I doubt that the Landwehr Corps would be enough to stop them."
"If Gen. Woyrsch cannot stop the Russians, general, he can with the correct tactics greatly slow their advance and erode their strength since I plan to leave him some heavy artillery. I would prefer that he delay the loss of Radom as long as possible. This is all hypothetical, of course. While you are quite correct that the Russian Fourth Army has been reconstructed, I think its current commander will tend to be overly cautious after what happened in March. Though if they are not then perhaps we should make some arrangements through OKW for possible assistance from the Austrian First Army to the south."
Gen. von Seeckt gave that some thought before answering, "I am intrigued by this suggestion. What do you want Gen. von Mackensen to do after he assembles?"
Hoffman made a strange smile, "Ah there is so many tantalizing thrust axes for Eleventh Army, general. It could go north and attack Riga, or northeast to attack Dvinsk, or east to take Vilna or southeast along the Niemen towards Olita and from there to either Grodno or Lida. The last of course was a favorite of Ludendorff, though sometimes in his more manic moods he would cast a longing glance at Vilna."
"Ah, but I recall you telling me more than once that a Russian attack against the left flank of such an offensive was nearly inevitable."
"Ah yes, you have an excellent memory, general. But there were always three key questions about the Russian counterattack. The first is how strong. The second is how soon, and the last is how much of a flank guard would we need. Ludendorff would sometimes speculate that a few cavalry and Landwehr divisions would suffice. I was very dubious. Sooner or later Operation Fulcrum will answer those question though"
"Yes, our planes have already noticed a concentration of enemy strength forming south of Riga. The XXV Reserve Corps is now taking up position north of Shavli as we speak. Along with the 11th Landwehr and 3 cavalry divisions I am hopeful that will be sufficient to fend off anything the Russians can hurl at us in the next week."
"I would hope so, general, but I cannot rule out the possibility we may need Eleventh Army to counterattack as soon as it arrives. The Russians sometimes react faster than we anticipate, which was one of the problems we had at Lodz."
"Which will be at least a week once we get Generalfeldmarschal von Hindenburg’s approval."
Hoffman shook his head snorted, "Yes, so I would therefore suggest, general, that we start the ball rolling in the next few hours and merely inform the Old Man at some convenient moment providing only a minimum of details. I have already taken the liberty of contacting Gen. Groener at OKW to let him know we will need priority on rail transport."
------HMS Iron Duke 1350 hrs
The Grand Fleet had continued steaming in line ahead formation on a 195˚ course since it had entered the English Channel even though it was not the most direct route to Ireland. Adm. Bayly now finally ordered an 8 point turn to starboard by division to put the Grand Fleet back into cruising formation.
------Waterville (Kerry) 1355 hrs
After Rommel took the transatlantic cable station at Waterville, the British had made 2 unsuccessful attempts to retake it. After the second failure they had accepted that the 4th Kerry Battalion which had been formed there was too strong to be ejected with the British forces there, which were barely strong enough to prevent the rebels from capturing the cable station at Ballinskelligs. The British had considered destroying the station several times but the cables were a precious resource and the British wanted Waterville back. Believing that the German invasion was about to collapse any day they felt that they could afford to be patient, esp. as a huge backlog on transatlantic cables had arisen when von Spee showed up in America. This morning the news that a German second wave was on the way caused the Admiralty to abruptly reverse their position. An old protected cruiser of the 11th Cruiser Squadron approached and anchored off shore then commenced firing. The 4th Kerry Battalion had on one prior occasion been briefly shelled by a lightly trawler. This was much more intensive and caused more than a few rebels to flee in panic. A half hour later the cable station was reduced to a burning ruin. Rebel casualties amounted to 4 killed and 10 wounded.
------U.S. State Department 1405 hrs GMT
Count von Bernstorff, the German ambassador had come to pay a visit with the Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan. "When you threatened to interfere in the departure of a handful of Irish and German Americans, I very graciously agreed to your arbitrary 100 mile limit, even though it has no foundation whatsoever in international law, Mr. Secretary," chided the Count in a somber voice, "Then less than two days afterwards a British warship pounces on one of our ships well within the 100 mile limit. This completely and utterly demolishes the charade that the United States is even handed in its neutrality."
The Count stared at Bryan and saw that the man looked sad and confused. "The British acted before we had time to explain the change of policy to them, Your Excellency. Before the day is over I meant to speak with Sir Cecil and request that British warships respect the 100 mile limit from now on."
"Request? Not demand?"
Bryan made an embarrassed frown, taking his time before answering, "Let us just say that it will be a strongly worded request, Your Excellency."
"I see or do I--what if Sir Cecil insists on recognizing only the 3 mile limit?"
"Uh, well, uh, I think that is highly unlikely, Your Excellency---"
"---on the contrary we both know what Sir Cecil is like. Would you care to place a friendly wager?"
"Uh, gambling happens to be contrary to my Christian principles, Your Excellency."
"And you most definitely are a man of principle, are you not, Mr. Secretary?"
Bryan look embarrassed. He started to say something then stopped and fidgeted. Finally he said, "Well I do try my best to be one, ambassador."
"Which does not seem to be enough from where I sit, Mr. Secretary."
Bryan was momentarily angry but then he sighed and looked almost sheepish, "Truth be told, I just might have to agree with you about that, Your Excellency."
------House of Commons 1425 hrs
Dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Bonar Law had been steadily rising in Parliament for more than a week. Thursday morning Walter Long had strongly hinted to some Liberal MP’s that a sizable block of Tories incl. himself were now willing to support a vote of no confidence. Long was being completely disingenuous in this. He knew that if Bonar Law fell at this time Balfour would almost certainly emerge as the new prime minister. Long thought Bonar Law was ultimately doomed but held on to some hope that if the downfall were delayed he himself might be considered as the replacement instead of Balfour. He saw the intensified antipathy towards Irish Catholics as an issue he was better suited to exploit than Balfour. Long was already criticizing Balfour for recently equivocating about the Prime Minister’s tough stand towards the Irish rebels. Long went so far to openly proclaim the death of Home Rule---something many Unionists gleefully discussed in private amongst themselves but few as yet dared to utter it in public. Long therefore wanted to prematurely precipitate what he hoped would be an unsuccessful vote of no confidence in the belief that one of the few Unionist-Conservatives to vote for it would be Balfour thereby deeply embarrassing him within his own party.
This devious strategy was further complicated when the government announced this morning that the High Seas Fleet was again in the English Channel. Suddenly some of the Liberals who wanted to get rid of Bonar Law began muttering amongst themselves that this was an extremely bad moment to throw the government into chaos. The most adamant opponents of Bonar Law failed to take this shift into consideration and went ahead and forced the vote anyway. Roughly a third of the Liberals voted for the motion, a quarter voted against it, and the remainder abstained. Only two Unionist-Conservatives voted for the measure and neither of them was Balfour, who was too clever to fall in Long’s trap. The Labour Party and the Irish Nationalists did uniformly vote for the motion. The end result was an embarrassing setback for those who wanted to see Bonar Law removed.
In the afternoon the bill to expand the War Committee by adding Grey and Kitchener was put to a vote in Commons. This time the Liberals closed ranks with only a half dozen incl. Lloyd-George voting against it while it was the Tories who were deeply divided with a quarter voting it for it and a fifth incl. Balfour abstaining. Long was one of those who voted against the measure but he did so only in the vain hope that this gesture might impress Bonar Law with his loyalty. The motion therefore carried by a wide margin.
------Carrigtwohill (Cork) 1435 hrs
The Bavarian 11th Brigade at midday concentrated on eliminating the 1/7th battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers while preventing any Welsh reinforcements from arriving through the town of Tower. The North Wales Brigade and 2 battalions of the Welsh Border Brigade made determined but ultimately unsuccessful attacks aimed at penetrating into the city, further depleting their strength in the process.
Having failed in both his frontal assaults as well his attempt to envelop the enemy’s left, Gen. Friend then ordered an attempt to envelop the right. Two battalions were sent to make a short flanking movement to infiltrate the city through Eastgate. These managed to do this without drawing German artillery fire but when they reached Eastgate they encountered the Bavarians and a spirited firefight ensued. Despite their cumulative losses the attackers had a pronounced numerical superiority. The Bavarians were hard pressed but held on while reinforcements---both German and Irish were brought up.
While this was going on the 2/4th battalion Royal West Kent Regiment was trying to reach Great Island via the Belvelly Bridge. They encountered no resistance until they came to the outskirts of the town of Carrigtwohill where they ran into the East Cork Battalion. This was a recently formed I.R.A. battalion. It had already blossomed to 392 men and 17 women. It had been positioned at Midleton to guard the line of communication to Waterford. Once Oberst Hell had learned that the second wave was on the way he ordered it moved to Carrigtwohill immediately in order to protect Great Island. When they reached the town they had only a few hours to prepare their defenses. A fierce firefight erupted when the Royal West Kents arrived. If the British battalion was even close to full strength it would very probably have prevailed over the rebels. Unfortunately the 2/4th Royal West Kents had suffered grievously since coming to Ireland, esp. at the Battle of Rathmore and now had less than 400 men. It failed to eject the rebels and reach the bridge after which they pulled back to the north as requested new orders.
------Claremorris (Mayo) 1455 hrs
After Roscommon was secured the armored train had continued on to the market town of Claremorris at the border of County Mayo. The train station was guarded only by a small contingent of R.I.C. who were quickly frightened off by the train. The rebels aboard the train seized the station and soon made contact with the local company of Irish Volunteers, who as usual had been disarmed. The armored train had brought only 300 of the Russian rifles with them when they left Athlone as the rebel forces there currently did not have much of a surplus. They had left half of those rifles at Roscommon for arming new recruits. They had more than enough for the 78 men of the local company who had assembled before dark but there was a potential problem down the road if they were to try to arm all the other nearby companies whom they were attempting to contact. They were gratified to find the R.I.C. in the town had hurriedly abandoned their barracks and fled the town. This was one of the towns the constables kept the firearms confiscated from both the Irish Volunteers and the National Volunteers in their station house. The rebels broke in and liberated 34 rifles of varying types incl.10 of .22 caliber, 55 shotguns and 79 pistols which they would need in the interim.
------HQ Gendko Irland Kinsale (Cork) 1510 hrs
Oberst Hell had returned to Gen. von François’ HQ an hour ago to resume his duties as chief of staff much to the relief of the overworked Maj. von Rundstedt. The responsibility for Cork city had been transferred to Gen. von Gyssling.
There was a knock on the door. "General von François! You asked to be notified promptly when we could see the Zeppelin," came the voice of one of the Prussian Guards assigned to defend the general’s HQ.
The general was in a good humor. He had a pair of binoculars on his desk and grabbed them. He went outside with Hell, von Rundstedt and Plunkett. The Prussian Guard Gefreiter who had fetched them pointed towards a gap in the clouds to the SSW. The general raised his binoculars. "This is wonderful," he exulted, "I did not realize that we made them so large---or is it merely an optical illusion? Here take a look yourself, Oberst."
Hell took the binoculars and stared, "It is indeed impressive, general, but I will be even happier when the battle cruisers and troopships arrive."
The airship continued to draw closer to them on its way to Killarney. As it did the Irish population began to take note of it and stared up at it in wide eyed wonder.
------HQ German Sixth Army 1535 hrs
Gen. von Fabeck, the commander of Sixth Army met with Oberst Freiherr von Wenge, his chief of staff to discuss recent developments. "It is now clear that the resistance of the British 2nd Infantry Division is collapsing," declared von Fabeck with immense satisfaction, "Even though it may take another hour or two to capture their divisional HQ. Finishing off this wounded beast took longer than I expected but now it is over. Gen. von Falkenhayn will be pleased. I am esp. impressed by the performance of Herzog Ernst and the 7th Infantry Division. Later we need to discuss appropriate medals and commendations. But first we should discuss what we should do next."
"So are we going to try to take Rue as we discussed earlier."
"Eventually yes but for the time being I am content to let First Army wither on the vine a little longer with their very inadequate flow of supplies, while we regroup and plan for our next attack."
"I see, general. So are we going to be making another attempt to cut First Army’s line of communications at either Nolette or Morlay?"
"That is indeed very tempting but for the time being I believe that the Guard Corps has lost too many men for that to have any real chance of success, esp. as the British Second Army is now very concentrated there. Instead of trying to take either of those hamlets we should intensify the disruption of their vital supply road by our artillery, which I intend to reinforce with a few of the heavy batteries we used in the current operation. However most of the rest I want moved to participate in an enfilading bombardment of that jagged salient we created in Second Army when we made our initial advance after the first gas release. Our current intelligence is that it is occupied by the British IV Army Corps with 2 divisions. We have commented on their vulnerability in the past saying that we should try to exploit it eventually. I think the time has come."
"Yes, I am more than a little surprised, general, that the British have not already abandoned it. Doing so would have freed up more reserves they could have used elsewhere."
"They can be strangely stubborn about surrendering territory without obvious strategic importance sometimes. We are going to start moving the heavy artillery after dark so the British airplanes do not report what we are doing. Exactly which batteries I will leave up to you, except keep the Big Bertha in its present position for the time being. Have it shell Rue a few times tomorrow morning. We should keep up some pressure on the British First Army. I want several trench raids conducted against them every night."
"I will see to it, general. Should I rotate 7th Infantry Division out of the line as we discussed yesterday?"
"No. I have considered the matter further and concluded that for the time being it should be able to perform defensively against the weak remains of British First Army though we should make sure it starts receiving some replacement troops soon. Once XXVII Reserve Corps has finished obliterating the British 2nd Infantry Division it is to methodically rotate into the line held by III Bavarian Corps which in turn will then redeploy to Crecy. I strongly believe that the heroic efforts of the British Second Army to rescue their First Army created some serious weaknesses on its right wing. There is one possibility that particularly interests me. When we began this battle, the Belgian 5th Infantry Division was deployed between the British II Army Corps and IV Army Corps. Then suddenly it appears to the west near Nouvion to cause us immense trouble. The question is who is deployed around Gapennes now? I ordered a trench raid last night as you already know. From the prisoners we took we learned that Gapennes is still being held by the Belgians. So that raises the question of just how much of the Belgian 5th Division was left behind at Gapennes? Our aviators report that most of their artillery was indeed moved to the west. I want at least one more successful trench raid tonight in that sector to improve our intelligence."
------Ass end of Serbia 1525 hrs
The nature of Ludendorff’s wound would become a matter of considerable controversy after the war. It was true that he had been wounded in the right foot but contrary to some scurrilous allegations the round the Australians removed from his foot was not German. Ludendorff was provided a crude crutch to let him keep his weight off his bandaged foot. It hurt nonetheless but it was just one of his many torments. There was of course the humiliation of his capture and concomitant with that the worry that Germany would be unable to win the war without him. Of course none of this was his fault. It was feckless allies and poor leadership skills by certain senior German officers incl. an overrated Bavarian royal that put him in the despicable place.
However still another torment that afflicted poor Ludendorff was the crude nature of his captors. Though they were the enemy Ludendorff had thought the British to be a civilized race. These undisciplined colonials from the infernal nether regions of the planet were another matter. Ludendorff found to be annoying in many ways. In particular they had the most bizarre taste in music. One song was especially irksome and a small group of their cavalrymen were singing the damn ditty yet again:
"Up got the swagman and jumped into the billabong,
The asinine refrain made Ludendorff grind his teeth. The mere name Matilda was already starting to become completely intolerable to his sensitive Prussian ears.
------Kinsale harbor 1530 hrs
A few days ago the Bavarian Jaeger Regiment had captured Charles Fort a star shaped fort with 5 bastions that dated all the way back to the late18th century. It had been manned by a small garrison armed with weak obsolete coastal guns. The Bavarian Jaegers also occupied the still older James Fort which had neither men nor weapons. Here and on Great Island the Irish Republican Navy was being assembled. This consisted of rebels either with naval experience on light warships or what was more common extended experience with coastal trawlers. They had been trained by specially selected members of the Kriegsmarine in performing one very important function---minesweeping. Crews for each trawler selected included 3 German seamen but they would fly a green flag with a gold harp.
------HMS Iron Duke 1605 hrs
"Admiral Bayly, we have just decrypted another wireless message from the Admiralty addressed to you."
Bayly took the message, while Adm. Madden watched with curiosity. It read
WE HAVE REVIEWED YOUR SUMMARY OF THE DAMAGE YOU SUSTAINED IN THE STRAITS AND CONCLUDED THAT IT SHOULD NOT IN ANY WAY ALTER YOUR STRATEGY REPEAT WE HAVE REVIEWED YOUR SUMMARY OF THE DAMAGE YOU SUSTAINED IN THE STRAITS AND CONCLUDED THAT IT SHOULD NOT IN ANY WAY ALTER YOUR STRATEGY STOP YOU ARE TO BE AGGRESSIVE BUT NOT RECKLESS IN SEEKING AN ENGAGEMENT WITH THE ENEMY FLEET AND IF POSSIBLE DISRUPT THE LANDING OF THE SECOND WAVE STOP
------Sligo city 1615 hrs
The fight for the city of Sligo had continued all day long. The Scottish soldiers made several attempts to advance but they were only able to make very small progress at a stiff cost in casualties. In particular their attempts to reach the rail station were costly failures, as Maj. Schirmer had realized this would be their highest priority and saw that it was well protected. The rebels only made one attempt at a counterattack inside and this did not go at all well but mercifully that effort was quickly called off. What was more profitable for the rebels were the attacks on small R.I.C. stations outside the city, which yielded additional rifles and supplies. In the meantime small packets of rebels arrived at Sligo to join the North Ireland Regiment more than offsetting its losses.
------SMS Pillau Celtic Sea 1630 hrs
Pillau had captured a 2,900 ton British freighter full of grain out of Charleston and bound for Liverpool. This prize was deemed worth keeping esp. as they were now less than 70 nm. from Ireland.
------Cork 1635 hrs
After neutralizing the Welsh attempt to envelop Cork from the west the 11th Bavarian Brigade realized the importance of the hamlet of Tower. With the aid of their division’s 10.5 cm howitzers and a pioneer company armed with light minenwerfers plus the fact that the batteries of Welsh Division had fired off all their shells in the early morning, the elite Bavarian infantry now skillfully levered the Welshmen out of Tower. Having now accomplished that, they proceeded to launch their own flanking attack against the right of the Welsh Division.
------HQ French Second Army 1650 hrs
Gen. Henri Petain traveled to Second Army HQ to speak with Gen. Noel de Castelnau, the army commander. Petain got straight to the point, "Today’s attack was the most pointless to date in this campaign, general. We have reverted to disgorging our men from their trenches only to be slaughtered in front of uncut wire by shrapnel and machineguns."
"Our resolve in the face of such losses will unnerve the German soldiers," replied de Castelnau.
Merde! Petain whispered to himself. What he said was, "Au contraire, general, our resolve to continue useless attacks in the face of such losses, will serve to unnerve our soldiers. It already has and it will get worse if we continue."
"If morale is low in your units then it means you have failed as a senior officer."
Petain bit his lip and held his anger in check. Finally he said, "Perhaps but much greater is the failure of those officers who have a morale problem but refuse to admit it."
"Ah, you speak frankly as you almost always do. Let me guess what you are going to propose. You want us to postpone more attacks until we have more shells. As always you prefer artillery to infantry, defense to offense."
"If I have become obvious it is because the facts are painfully obvious, general."
Gen. de Castelnau sighed slightly, "I would like more shells as well. Unfortunately the orders from the highest level are that we are to make do with what we have and that the attacks are to continue."
"So you pass the blame for this insanity on to Gen. Joffre?"
"Watch your tongue, Gen. Petain, it is bordering on disrespectful. Candor is not an excuse for insubordination. However to answer your question---if indeed it was a question---the order came directly from the Minister of War."
"Aha! I now see that our ardent desire to keep military decisions out of the hands of civilian politicians is now shown to be completely justified."
------Mountjoy Prison Dublin 1715 hrs
Rommel had ordered an attack on this prison in the north of Dublin, hoping to turn it into a strongpoint anchoring his gains in that area and releasing more prisoners. This prison was normally used as a temporary holding facility for prisoners en route to other institutions and was not heavily guarded. Nevertheless the attack failed. Rommel ordered another. That failed as well. Angrily Rommel ordered the O’Rahilly to make a third attempt.
"With all due respect, Major, we are wasting men in these attacks. Surely with your cleverness you can come up with something."
"Are you being sarcastic, Lt?" bellowed Rommel so loud that it made the pain in his side worse.
"Not in the slightest, Major. On the contrary I said what I said with total sincerity because I have seen you perform miracles all too often."
For a few seconds Rommel glared harshly at the O’Rahilly. Finally his features softened and he replied, "Perhaps you are right. There is something we can try, but if it does not work, I want another assault. Is that clear?"
The O’Rahilly grinned, "Poifectly clear, Major."
In the next hour Rommel concentrated what forces he could around the prison and moved them around repeatedly making it look to the guards inside that the force was more than double what it was. The Irish Volunteers tried to do this without giving the guards a clean shot. This did not completely work. One of Rommel’s men was killed and another badly wounded. However the end result was the constables and prison guards decided to surrender. The amount of Irish Volunteers inside turned out to be only eight, one of whom was lightly wounded. However five other prisoners asked to join as well. The rebels did capture 10 Lee-Enfield rifles and 14 pistols plus a fair bit of ammunition and a large amount of food. Already Rommel was starting to worry about the food situation inside Dublin. The rebel forces did not have much remaining. By this time more than half the population of Dublin had left the city. This was as much due to a growing food shortage as the fighting. Some of the refugees set up impromptu tent camps on the outskirts of the city while others wandered outside the county. Those who traveled at night were sometimes arrested for violating curfew but sometimes the constables with a mixture of pity and avarice saw fit to let some of the families go ahead if they were adequately bribed.
There was also a motor car and a van for prisoner transport as well as some petrol inside the prison. Rommel promptly added them to his motor pool. Still he was far from happy. "We have used way too much time to take this relatively minor objective," he said rebuking himself as well as the O’Rahilly.
Meanwhile on the south side of Dublin, Gen. Egerton had temporarily called a halt to the attacks they were trying to reopen the line of communication to Trinity College where his artillery was deployed. These had efforts had cost him nearly 600 more casualties and made only slight progress. Despite continuing pressure to show some concrete progress from Gen. Hamilton, Egerton decided to wait for nightfall before trying again.
------Old Admiralty Building 1735 hrs
The First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir Edward Carson had just returned after spending most of the day at the House of Commons on account of the key votes taking place there this day. "What is the most important piece of news while I was away, admirals?" asked Carson with obvious apprehension.
"While transiting the Straits of Dover, the Grand Fleet was shelled by the German artillery positioned at Cape Gris Nez, First Lord," answered Adm. Callaghan, the First Sea Lord.
"Good heavens! How did this happen? We have known about them for some time. Why did the Grand Fleet come in range of them?"
"Admiral decided to use the deep channel between the Varne and Colbart Shoals, First Lord. Apparently he felt that the presence of mines in the Downs might mean additional mines might lay close inshore---a suspicion we have not yet corroborated. He felt that by having one of the flotillas lay a smoke screen where the fleet comes closest to the battery, he would be safe. The German guns however commenced firing with some effectiveness much earlier than he anticipated."
"Were the Germans able to score any hits at that great range?"
"Yes, First Lord, four in fact. Here is a synopsis of all of them," said the First Sea Lord as he pushed a manila folder to Carson, "You will see that the most serious damage was incurred by Dreadnought when one of her 12" guns was rendered inoperable after a turret roof was penetrated."
"The loss of a single 12" gun is significant but just barely. I do not think that this should alter our orders to Adm. Bayly in the slightest."
"Agreed. We will need to worry about these German guns at Cape Gris Nez more in the future, First Lord. Our predreadnoughts are highly vulnerable to plunging fire."
"The Germans may use these guns against large freighters in the Straits as well," added Adm. Jackson, "The deep channel between the shoals is the preferred route for all but the lightest ships."
"So the already restricted flow of coastal traffic through the Straits is going to be reduced still further?" said Carson, "There are already numerous complaints from some important industrialists in London that they cannot get enough raw materials."
"That is unfortunately all too true, First Lord, but right now our coastal traffic has even more serious problems to contend with. Right now we are not letting any of it depart. The same goes for our vessels plying the French trade," answered Callaghan.
"Which will very likely cause Clemenceau to complain soon," added Adm. Wilson.
Carson winced slightly and nodded, "Quite true, though I wish it were not. We all know that France relies heavily on our exports, esp. coal. However a few days interruption should not be critical. Right now I am more interested in our own imports. Immediately after Utsire we were extremely worried about the vulnerability of our sea traffic using the east coast ports. We tried to encourage shippers to use the west coast ports instead wherever possible, working on the assumption that the west coast was largely invulnerable. With the invasion of Ireland that assumption was rudely shattered. We halted departures from the west coast for several days and redirected the minority of inbound traffic equipped with wireless to what we regarded as the safer sea lanes heading to ports in eastern Scotland. This caused more than little bit of confusion and disruption. Goods were being delivered where they were not expected and nearly always had to be shipped again a long way by rail."
"Yes, and when we discovered that most of the German invasion fleet was cowering in the Shannon, we made one unsuccessful attempt to raid it with torpedo craft," Adm. Wilson commented, "after that failure we decided to lay our own minefield off the mouth of the Shannon and watch it with armed trawlers and 2 protected cruisers at all times. They have not spotted anything and neither have the trawlers that watch Tralee Bay. However we are still worried about the troubling possibility that other German warships were set loose raiding our sea lanes in the North Atlantic. Eventually we learned that the most powerful warships were indeed raiding our commerce in the North Atlantic when they turned up off the American coast. These have left the United States and almost certainly heading back to Europe."
"I have said before and will say it again it is highly likely that one of the light cruisers will detach from the main force and operate in the Caribbean," said Adm. Oliver, chief of the naval war staff.
"Possibly but that is still only a hunch, or is there some new intelligence you have been holding back from us, Adm. Oliver?" asked Carson.
"There is no new intelligence, First Lord, so it is a guess, but not a wild one."
"Yes, and I am certainly not dismissing it as a very real possibility, admiral. However the known facts are bad enough. Since the capture of the Lusitania the only merchantmen that have left either U.S. or Canadian ports have been a pair of large grain carriers out of Charleston. In addition to our munitions purchases from the Yanks, Canada is currently providing a goodly fraction of our artillery shells. At a point of time where our valiant army is being hard pressed in France---and Ireland as well---it is desperately short when it comes to ammunition. Furthermore elements of the 2nd Canadian Division are now ready to come over here, but we are too afraid to permit them to depart."
"We have discussed a transatlantic convoy, First Lord, for either the 2nd Canadian Division, freighters or both. We even considered using the 3 old predreadnoughts we currently have in Reserve Fleet for this purpose," said Adm. Jackson.
"And just why have they not been used?"
"The 3 German predreadnoughts with von Spee complicate matters, First Lord," replied Adm. Callaghan, "The predreadnoughts we currently have in Reserve Fleet belong to our oldest classes. We can hope that they are sufficiently strong to deter von Spee from wanting to engage them so far from his home base. But we cannot be sure, esp. since Coronel suggests otherwise."
"Hmm. We have talked about bringing more of our newer predreadnoughts back home from the Mediterranean," said Carson, "Maybe it is time to do more than talk. With the High Seas Fleet heading for Ireland the enemy has his blade at our jugular. Previously we focused our concern on the most important cargoes, such as munitions, petrol, rubber and nitrates. Those freighters we redirected to Invergordon and Inverness as much as possible which since the Irish invasion we now regard as being the least threatened. However we also decided that it is impossible to shift all of our transatlantic traffic---much less the French trade---through those ports. Meanwhile our need for food imports have increased. That is because a hefty portion of Britain’s food imports came from Ireland and despite all our rosy prognostications about a tiny rebellion and a quick end to the invasion, I have was told by Lloyd-George just yesterday that flow has now been cut to less than half of what it should be. Of course we still hope that the disruption will soon be over soon but right now the food situation is starting to become worrisome. Compounding that I must remind you that Belfast is already experiencing food shortages and will need more food brought in by sea."
"As we have told you before, First Lord. We are well aware of the importance of Ulster and fully intend to see that its essential needs are met," replied Admiral Jackson. His tone of voice was somewhat testy. Carson had in the past 3 weeks been very insistent that the goal of reducing sea traffic around Ireland must not cause Ulster to wither. The senior admirals had been reminded ad nauseum that there were important naval shipyards in Ulster.
"Before we get too deeply into the needs of Belfast yet again," commented Adm. Callaghan also with a slight hint of sarcasm, "There is a more serious topic we need to address. We know that the High Seas Fleet is escorting the German second wave all the way to Ireland. What remains unclear is what they intend to do after the second wave is delivered. Will they promptly return to Germany or will they remain in the area trying to use Queenstown as their base?"
"The thought that they might be planning an extended stay in Ireland sends shivers down my spine, admiral," answered Carson who was willing to postpone talking about Ulster’s needs, "Adm. Oliver, do you have any intelligence that might shed some light on this?"
Oliver made a wry face and shrugged, "Uh, not yet, First Lord."
"The possibility exists that the Germans do not have a fixed plan per se but are waiting to see what our response is, First Lord," said Adm. Wilson.
"Our response is forthcoming, Adm. Wilson. It is coming in the form of the Grand Fleet," replied Carson, "Adm. Bayly should be made well aware of what we expect from him."
"Even though it grates to say it, I should make it clear, First Lord, that I am not going to insist that Adm. Bayly must give battle. Another battle even half as bad as Utsire and we will find ourselves at the mercy of the Huns. Instead I am instructing Bayly to seek to gain a tactical advantage over the Germans wherever possible. The Germans are going to need to coal their flotillas very soon. If we can catch them with little or no screen we would have a strong advantage as Jellicoe found out to his sorrow when he let his own screen become too weak at Utsire."
Carson was not completely happy with that response, "I know full well that Adm. Bayly could well lose the war tomorrow afternoon. But I will not suffer the Germans to become the Master of Ireland and dominate our sea lanes! If Adm. Bayly does not give battle tomorrow afternoon then the need to refuel his own screen will compel him to head to a nearby base, giving the Germans still more time."
"What you say is very true, First Lord. Nevertheless better that than another disaster. For that reason I think it most unwise to override Adm. Bayly’s freedom of action. In the history of the Empire never has so great a burden rested on the shoulders of one man. I do not intend to make that burden any heavier. He is already aware of what is at stake."
"I heartily concur with the First Sea Lord," added Adm. Wilson, "even though this does not sound very Nelsonian, now does it? I would therefore point out that even a relatively brief indecisive fleet action will have the beneficial effect of forcing the Germans to return home soon afterwards for ammunition and repairs."
Carson always had great respect for the admirals. "Adm. Jackson, do you concur with these sentiments?" he asked hoping to hear an opinion more to his liking.
"I do indeed, First Lord."
"And you, Adm. Oliver?"
Oliver paused. Carson thought he might want offer at least a slightly different opinion, but finally the chief of the naval staff gave his answer.
"So say we all, First Lord"
------High Seas Fleet (Celtic Sea) 1845 hrs
The High Seas Fleet encountered less sea traffic in the afternoon after passing to the east of the Scilly Islands. The largest prize they took was a 2,800 ton collier on its way back to Wales from St. Nazaire. Since it was empty and in not very condition to boot the Germans decided to sink her. After that their only prizes were a pair of trawlers. The larger of these could make almost 8 knots and her hold was more than three quarters filled with catch. After some spirited debate they decided to take her along but not the smaller one taken earlier.
------HQ Irish Command Curragh (Kildare) 1850 hrs
Gen. Sir Ian Hamilton was on the telephone with Gen. Wilson, the new commander of VI Army Corps. "I am sorry to report sir, that not only has the Welsh Division has failed to take Cork, but I have just received word from Gen. Friend that the Germans have turned his division’s right flank and he feels compelled to withdraw."
"This is indeed most unfortunate. How far back does Gen. Friend feel that he needs to retreat before he has the situation stabilized?"
"Oh, this doesn’t sound good," snarled Gen. Braithwaite in the background.
"He was talking about moving the Welsh Division all the way back to the outskirts of Fermoy, sir, and strongly suggested to me that the 10th Division form up at Mallow on his right flank after which he would then go back on the offensive," came Wilson’s voice over the telephone, "I think he is overreacting and frankly told him so. I also ordered him to retreat no more than 5 miles and then mount a counterattack."
"I shall leave this up to you, Gen. Wilson. In any event it is painfully obvious that we have at least temporarily lost the initiative in the Battle of Cork."
"That is true but it should only be for a few hours, sir."
"Every hour is precious right now. I don’t think I have to spell out why."
"Uh, that is not necessary, sir. I understand all too well. Might I ask if Gen. Egerton has crushed the accursed Papist swine in Dublin?"
"No, he has not. Therefore do not expect the Lowlands Division to be freed up as reinforcements tomorrow."
"That is most disappointing, sir. Are we still expecting to receive an additional division from Britain early tomorrow?"
"Yes, the 11th Infantry Division will be arriving, but there is some uncertainty whether it is safe for any of its components to land at Kingstown or whether it should be sent in its entirety to Belfast."
"In any case will all of the division be arriving tomorrow, sir?"
"No, according to the War Office it will be 2 brigades, 1 artillery brigade, the division staff , 1 engineer company, 2 ambulance companies, 2 supply companies and the signal company. "
"Will the rest of the division be arriving Sunday, sir?"
"That is far from clear right now. It is somewhat contingent on naval concerns. I am not going to be any more specific at this time for reasons which should be obvious."
"While the division is forming I intend to use one of its battalions to clear the rebels out of County Leitrim where the R.I.C. have proven completely ineffective. Gen. Stopford was completely negligent in letting that situation get completely out of hand. The same can be said about Athlone and Waterford. I will once again note that if even half of the U.V.F. were mobilized all of these outbreaks could have been crushed without distracting the Army from its struggle with the Germans."
"The decision to arm the U.V.F. will be made in London, Gen. Wilson---not at my headquarters and definitely not at yours."
------HQ Gendko Irland Kinsale (Cork) 1905 hrs
"General von François, our observation post at Kinsale Head had just reported seeing two German cruisers approaching from the south. It is now trying to communicate with them by searchlight."
"Wonderful!" exclaimed the general, "we will now move to the waterfront to greet our guests."
------Madrid 1935 hrs
Maj. Gen. Miguel Primo de Rivera had been mildly surprised when his octogenarian uncle, Capt. Gen. Don Fernando Primo de Rivera, the Marqués de Estalla, had invited him to accompany him to dinner with the Spanish Prime Minister Eduardo Dato and the War Minister, Capt. Gen. Rámon Echagüe. The four of them dined in a private room of one of Madrid’s finest restaurants. Miguel did not require an introduction to either minister as he had met both in the past, though only briefly. Nevertheless he felt deeply honored to be included and saw it as promising sign that his uncle to finally willing to pass the torch to him and retire.
Miguel decided that it was wiser to listen more than speak---at least initially---as he was the political lightweight in this group. It was also prudent to avoid drunkenness, a lesson some Spanish officers never learned. He therefore slowly sipped a dry oloroso sherry made not far from his hometown of Jerez. The prime minister seemed particularly gleeful, like an adolescent eager to tell his closest friends of a clever prank he had recently perpetrated.
"I saw the king this afternoon," said Dato, "He freely admitted that he had de Valera arrested. Says that he should have done so sooner."
"What does His Majesty intend to do with senor de Valera?" asked Fernando.
"The British government is strongly pressuring us to turn de Valera over to them."
"I take it that you counseled the king very strongly against taking such an unwise course," remarked Echagüe.
Dato grinned impishly, "On the contrary I encouraged him to do so as quickly as possible."
The War Minister choked on his sherry when he heard that. "You did not!" he hissed between anguished gulps.
"Oh yes I did, Rámon"
"But why?" asked Echagüe seconds before Fernando would’ve asked the same thing.
"Isn’t it obvious?"
Echagüe and the elder de Rivera exchanged bewildered glances. Breaking his rule Miguel spoke up, "Perhaps you feel that His Majesty has miscalculated the impact of taking such a step, prime minister, and you feel that you will be able to exploit that somehow."
Dato turned to Miguel and nodded, "Yes, that is the essence of the matter, general. His Majesty did not want to hear anything more about de Valera. He will however be hearing a great deal more about de Valera."
"He certainly will, but I do not see how that helps us," asked Miguel’s uncle.
"The Radical Republicans have begun to take an interest in Ireland. So have some of the Socialists, thanks in part to the late James Connolly and this loudmouthed Russian Jew the French dropped in our laps. Aliadofilisimo is fracturing and weakening, my friends."
"Yes it is, but is it enough to persuade the king to enter the war on the side of Germany?" asked the war minister.
"Persuade is not the right word, general. Drag is more like it. He insists that he is not going to break his promise to President Poincaré under any circumstances. Before the invasion of Ireland he conceded to me that he thought the Germans would probably win the war but it would take them another year to do so. He said that if and when a German victory seemed imminent he would tilt Spanish policy in their direction as well as offer to become their ally after the war."
"Interesting but what exactly does His Majesty mean by tilt in their favor?" asked Fernando.
"He is not sure himself but he did mention possibly assisting German agents in stirring up rebellion amongst the Berbers in French Morocco, even though that could mean more trouble for us in our own piece of Morocco," replied Dato, "However since the Germans invaded Ireland he is much less sure they are going to win after all. He regards the Irish invasion as their first big mistake."
"Yes, we all thought that at first---even though most of us we admired its boldness," said Fernando, "It is after all a strategy our nation tried when the Hidalgo spirit was still very much alive."
"Yes, but it was a strategy that ultimately failed not only for us but also for the French who used it later," commented Echagüe.
"And up until a week ago I too thought it was going to fail for the Germans as well," said the prime minister, "But now I am not so certain. Prime Minister Bonar Law’s famous fortnight came and went Monday and the Germans are still holding on in Ireland. Meanwhile the rebellion of the Irish which the British first said was insignificant steadily grows to what looks to be dangerous levels. Dublin erupted Monday and the British still have not crushed it."
"I agree that the situation in Ireland bears watching," replied Echagüe, "So too does this so called Second Battle of Crecy Forest, which is not well named as that battle has long since moved well south of Crecy Forest. There is also word coming to us that the ‘temporary’ setback the British admitted suffering in Mesopotamia is much more severe than the British are admitting."
"A week ago I was deeply worried that the war would not reach its decisive end phase until after the turno system replaces me with the hopelessly aliadofilisimo Conde de Romanones. Now there appears to be a very pronounced quickening. Where it all leads is not clear but we must be ready to seize the moment when it comes," said Dato.
"Hmm. What do you suggest that we do?" asked Echagüe.
"I have several ideas that we should discuss. However let me start that by saying we need a very visible spokesman. One who can appeal to the peasants more than I ever could," said Dato who then turned to Miguel, "Gen. Primo de Rivera. There is a reason I asked your uncle to bring you along tonight."
-----Teschen 1950 hrs
Conrad now received a telephone call from Archduke Friedrich, "The Kaiser has asked that I brief him on the latest developments tomorrow morning. He is growing worried about the Bukovina, though he also is interested in Serbia and the start of your Galician offensive. Last I heard the Russians were still advancing in the Bukovina. Is that still true?"
Conrad ground his teeth in annoyance then answered, "Yes, Your Royal Highness, they are still advancing over a broad front but not as quickly as previously." This was in accord with what Gen. Pflanzer-Baltin, the commander of the Seventh Army had told him. "Seventh Army believes it can halt their advance tomorrow," added Conrad. And that last bit was not what Pflanzer-Baltin had told him.
"Well then while the Kaiser is not going to like hearing that, it could be worse, I suppose. Perhaps I can offset that with some good news about the start of the Galician offensive."
Conrad scowled. He had received reports on Second Army’s disappointing lack of success in the morning assault. "Uh, unfortunately it is too early to tell, Your Royal Highness. I will know better tomorrow."
"Oh, well, then what about the destruction of Serbia? There seems to be some sort of problem there, but I am very unclear as to the specifics."
"There certainly is a problem, Your Royal Highness. The Germans took the Serbians for granted and failed to coordinate properly with our Third Army. The Serbs exploited a gap which developed between our Third Army and the German Tenth Army. Compounding our troubles there have been some vague and not completely consistent reports indicating that some British units may have been participated in that enemy attack."
"British units that far north?"
"Yes, I find that hard to believe myself, Your Royal Highness. Some silly reports issuing from Kronprinz Rupprecht’s HQ now speak of an entire British division which is simply too incredible to be taken seriously. At most it is a brigade reinforced with a cavalry squadron and one or two batteries of field artillery. Unfortunately there are now reports from our Sixth Army that additional British reinforcements as well as supplies are landing in Albania as we speak."
"I had heard nothing about that! What is Admiral Haus doing to counteract it?"
"Sitting on his hands it would seem according to a telephone conversation I had with him an hour ago. Really, Your Royal Highness, I sometimes wonder why we even have a navy."
"Now, now, Generalfeldmarschal, you know that is uncalled for. Our brave navy has accomplished much in this war, the greatest of which was their dazzling victory over the French at Cattaro Gulf."
"Hah! The French chase our ships out of the Adriatic with their tails between their legs and we call it a great victory because we fantasize that the enemy’s battleships are more heavily damaged than our own. The fact remains that they are completely impotent when it comes to halting the flow of British and French material into Albania."
"Hmm. Frankly I had not thought about it from that angle. Anyway with all their problems in France and Ireland, the British cannot afford to commit much more to Albania, yes?"
"I would like very much to believe that, Your Royal Highness, but I fear that the German expedition to Ireland is likely to collapse in the next week despite the recent intensification of the Irish rebellion. Once that happens the British will reinforce their expedition still more in the first half of June---and once again our overrated navy will be unable to prevent it."
"So we should be hoping that the Germans use that division you sent them to reinforce their invasion force?"
Conrad bit his lip hard to avoid saying something particularly nasty to the Archduke. Finally he composed himself and said, "I uh, haven’t thought of that oreviously, Your Royal Highness. An interesting idea, I must say." Complete waste of an entire division though admittedly one from which I did not expect much.
------U.S. Senate (D.C.) 1955 hrs
Senator O’Gorman from New York had the floor and began his speech. "My fellow senators, as you are all well aware by now, a powerful British warship named the Inflexible brazenly attacked the ocean liner Amerika less than 100 miles off the coast of Massachusetts yesterday. The captain of this unfortunate passenger ship was forced to surrender his vessel. He had more than 600 American citizens aboard his vessel. There are two points about this disturbing incident I feel demand a vigorous discussion. First is that when the German warships were off our coast there were those who said that they must not allowed to attack merchantmen within 100 miles of our coast. Unfortunately President Wilson adopted this position and secured a promise from the German ambassador to respect this policy---which I have been told is contrary to the rules of warfare as commonly understood. Yet scarcely had the Germans left our shores and we see that this new policy does not in any way apply to the British. How can we possibly tell anyone in the world that we are genuinely neutral? The one sidedness of President Wilson’s policies is now painfully evident. Is this hypocrisy what the American people want? I think not. Americans---I guess I should say most Americans as I must sadly admit that there are more than a few exceptions, demand and expect fairness from their government. They are certainly not getting it from this Administration!"
O’Gorman paused to take a drink of water. He briefly scanned the faces of fellow Democrats. He had been warned by his party leadership not to "go too far" in criticizing President Wilson, a fellow Democrat. He in turn informed them he was prepared to call a spade a spade no matter it’s party affiliation. He continued, "How moving beyond the fact that this incident took place within the very zone the President forced upon the Germans, there is something still more chilling. What are the British intentions towards the passengers they have captured, most of who are Irish Americans on their way to fight for Irish liberty. The current British prime minister, the infamous Andrew Bonar Law, has made it abundantly clear that he intends to exterminate any and all Irishmen who dare to oppose British tyranny. Well does that include those Americans aboard the Amerika? There is no doubt in my mind---none whatsoever—that he would love to kill them all, so great is his hate for the Irish people. The unresolved question is whether or not he thinks he could get away with this atrocity. And this will depend in large measure on President Wilson and this frankly worries me greatly. Is the President of our great nation going to act like Pontius Pilate and simply wash his hands of the matter?"
This last comment drew strong murmuring and even a shouts from fellow senators. The president pro tempore of the Senate, Jack Clarke, pounded his gavel, "Order, order! Let the senator finish his speech without interruption!"
O’Gorman continued, "As I was saying, it is imperative that the United States of America, great nation that she is, let perfidious Albion know that we demand in the strongest possible terms that they treat the passengers with proper respect. It is well known that some misguided Americans had gone off and are now fighting for the Entente despite President Wilson’s feckless talk of enforcing neutrality laws. No one is prosecuted for this like poor old John Devoy is. Now if some of these Americans fighting for the Entente were to be captured by the Germans and then executed surely there would be outrage in America. Now shouldn’t we make it clear to the British if they start executing the passengers of the Amerika---who never fired at shot unlike those Americans in British or French uniforms, there will be an even greater outrage? If the administration fails to do so it makes it clear that not only is it biased towards the European war but also towards certain of its own citizens."
After O’Gorman finished Senator Henry Cabot Lodge was allowed to speak. "In all my years in the United States Senate, I have heard a great deal of nonsense. Yet none holds a candle to the complete and utter balderdash I was just forced to endure from Senator O’Gorman. The 100 mile limit was merely a typically halfway measure by President Wilson to limit the damage to our trade and to reassure our citizens who had been fearful of their lives with the Huns off our shores. It was only partially successful. The intervention of the British battle cruiser was completely justified as they were intercepting an enemy troopship, full of hyphenated Americans who were making a mockery of our neutrality laws. John Devoy is not a victim of injustice. Rather he is a scheming snake engaged in the most blatant form of filibuster. He provides us with an excellent example of our pitiful Democratic President wincing and wavering when what our country really needs at this critical juncture in her tumultuous history is decisive action. The situation cannot possibly be any clearer. The Germans pose a clear threat to all civilized nations. At one time we could comfort ourselves with the notion that the Huns would confine their evil to the Eastern Hemisphere, but recent events have demonstrated that their sinister intentions extend here as well. However I will admit that they have become more adept at camouflaging the real nature of their machinations. Their crowning achievement in that regard is to pass off their pillaging of Ireland as assisting the Irish in attaining liberty and justice. That is a subterfuge only the most hopelessly naïve could possibly believe. Unfortunately there are those right here in this chamber that answer to that description."
Lodge paused to direct a hard stare at certain senators incl. O’Gorman. Some of them looked away but O’Gorman returned his stare with one every bit as hard. Lodge continued, "The Germans have unleashed the curse of Fenianism as a way to isolate America from Great Britain as well as stirring up division within our country. They care nothing, absolutely nothing for the Irish! Mark my words we will soon find ourselves at war with Germany! If not now in this epic struggle, then most certainly in the war that will come soon thereafter. The longer we wait to fight them, the more difficult and bloody our struggle will be."
------SMS Moltke off Kinsale Head (Cork) 2010 hrs
A motor launch had ferried Gen. von François to Adm. von Hipper’s flagship. The general brought Maj. Von Rundstedt with him leaving Oberst Hell in charge at HQ. Meanwhile 3 German and 2 Austro-Hungarian companies were being landed at Kinsale from the troopships using lifeboats towed by motor launches. "Welcome to Ireland, Admiral," said the general, "And I heartily welcome the reinforcements you have brought me. Though I must say that I am thoroughly astonished to learn that one of the divisions is Austrian."
"Ah, so Berlin did not see fit to inform you of the substitution? Gen. von Falkenhayn went to Feldmarschal von Moltke and claimed that he had an urgent need for one more division and was granted 52nd Infantry Division. The Austrian Division emerged as an improvised replacement. You have had some success commanding Austrian units back when you ran Center Army, yes?"
"That is true, admiral. With proper leadership they can be good troops. The generalfeldmarschal did not agree with me on this observation, though. What other alterations did they make to the second wave?"
"Here look for yourself, general," said von Hipper handing von François a sheet of paper after which he lit up a cigar.
"Hmm. I see that the 21cm Morser battery got removed---what the Bavarian replacement troops got reduced? That is insane! The rifle battalions of the 6th Bavarian Infantry Division are now below half strength."
The admiral took a few long draws on his cigar as he considered what he should and should not tell the general. Should I mention that for a while OKW felt that Operation Unicorn was doomed? Let’s not go there. He asked himself. Finally he spoke his crafted answer, "The decision to come now was made rather abruptly, general, and that meant we did not have enough time to fetch as much reinforcement troops as we would have liked. On the other hand we included the Musketen battalion which I know was not ready until a few days ago."
Gen. von François nodded and grinned slightly. OKW had continued to be intrigued with the Danish Madsen automatic rifle. Initially its idea was to give 1 company in certain specially selected regiments---such as those in Operation Unicorn---30 of those weapons. The idea arose to create a battalion of 3 automatic rifle companies plus a machinegun company equipped with the new lighter MG08/15 developed for Operation Unicorn. The resulting unit called the Musketen Battalion was reasonably mobile and could bring strong firepower into action quickly. "Yes, I am glad to have that unit, but the fact remains that 6th Bavarian Infantry Division has an urgent need for replacement troops," answered the general.
"There is nothing I can do about that," replied von Hipper, "but the sooner I can bring the troopships inside Cork harbor, the faster I can offload men and material. In light of that I am sorely disappointed to learn that you have not yet taken Ft. Camden. The main reason I brought the faster troopships with me is so they could start offloading properly at a pier before the High Seas Fleet arrives."
"Yes, I understand that, Adm. von Hipper, but I must point out one more time that I was given inadequate advance notice."
"I under but the fact remains that Ft. Camden must be taken as soon as possible, general!"
Gen. von François sighed with some annoyance, "There is no need to shout, admiral. I understand that very well. One of the reason I am here is to work out the important details with you."
The admiral took his time before replying, "I apologize for my unprofessional loudness, general, but there are certain tasks that need to be accomplished quickly for my mission to be successful. One of them is the capture of Ft. Camden."
"I am very aware of that admiral---"
"---good! But before we discuss the assault on Ft. Camden in detail, there is something else we need to talk about. I have two grosser torpedoboot flotillas with me, the 4th and the 5th. It is imperative that the 5th flotilla begin coaling as quickly as possible. The 4th Flotilla will screen the area until the High Seas Fleet arrives."
"I have made arrangements already for a flotilla to coal in Kinsale, admiral, as per the plans of Operation Unicorn. We can handle one flotilla well enough there but we cannot effectively coal much than that at one time."
"I understand. The 5th Flotilla does not need to completely fill its bunkers. Half full will be sufficient for now. In the late morning they will put to sea and the 4th Flotilla will then begin coaling."
------Ashbourne (Meath) 2015 hrs
After taking Mountjoy Prison Rommel had Tom Ashe cram a company of the 5th Dublin Battalion into what motor vehicles they had available and ordered him to attack the medium sized R.I.C. station at Ashbourne to the northwest of Dublin just over the border of County Meath. Rommel had ordered that Commandant Ashe travel with those trucks and vans with either R.I.C. or D.M.P. markings ahead of the rest. He briefly considered suggesting that the men in the lead vehicle wear R.I.C. uniforms but that idea reminded him too much of someone he cared not to remember---ever. The marked vehicles were enough to allow a modest transient measure of surprise and the rebels were able to capture most of a 30 man R.I.C. detachment along with their station suffering only 2 casualties. In addition to the constable’s own weapons and 15,000 rounds of .303 this station stored weapons confiscated from both the Irish Volunteers and Redmond’s National Volunteers. There was also an ample supply of food and a motor car and a van along with some petrol.
Only a quarter of the Ashbourne Company of the Irish Volunteers had made their way to join the Dublin Rising previously due to no one replacing their commandant who had been arrested Monday. When news of the defeat of the R.I.C. detachment spread 46 men and 2 women from the local company decided it was finally time to do something and came forward to join the I.R.A. before midnight.
------Bab al-Mandab 2100 hrs GMT
After consulting with von Mücke and some heated arguments amongst themselves the Ottomans in Yemen decided to try to send 2 more rifle companies plus supplies across Mandab under the new moon in 20 dhows. The Ottomans tried once again to intimidate the British and the French out of the straits during the day with their artillery on Perim Island. The dhows carrying the first company tried to reach a landing zone just south of the Eritrean border. This ran into 2 French gunboats off the coast. Two dhows surrendered with out a fight. Soldiers on a third dhow fired a few shots and the gunboat proceeded to sink the dhow. This firing as well as the searchlights of the gunboats caused 5 more dhows to turn back. Only 2 of the 10 dhows in this group were able to land and one of them did so north of the Eritrean border. It quickly unloaded and hurriedly marched south before dawn to join the other group which had made contact with the Afars. The company commander had been on one of the captured dhows and this caused the troops who managed to make it to remain where they were as thy awaited orders.
The 10 dhows carrying the second company departed Yemen a little later and headed for a landing zone a few miles north of Obock. This group made it across unmolested due in part to British and French attention being drawn further north by the earlier group. However as it was unloading one of these dhows was visited by a British gunboat which opened up with a 6 pounder gun and a machinegun. The dhow was set ablaze. The artillery shells it carried had not yet been offloaded and they eventually detonated. This action caused one of the dhows which had not yet landed to turn back to Yemen. The company commander fortunately had been ferried in one of the other dhows which had landed without trouble. As he supervised the offloading he dispatched messengers to head south to Obock, requesting that the garrison there provide him with horse drawn wagons as soon as possible.
------HQ British III Army Corps near Rue (Picardy) 2105 hrs
Gen. Haig visited Gen. Pulteney, the commander of III Army Corps after he finally acknowledged the annihilation of the 2nd Infantry Division. Haig seldom showed much emotion but at this somber moment he undeniably looked sad. The 2nd Infantry Division had been part of I Army Corps which he had commanded when the BEF had first arrived in France, which made its loss even more poignant. While Haig did not come out and say it, Gen. Pulteney was sure that Haig blamed him for the loss of the division. Pulteney was wondering if Haig intended to relieve him of command. He decided not to let that possibility prevent him from speaking his mind. "General Haig, First Army simply cannot remain in its current location. We must begin a phased withdrawal across the Somme as soon as possible."
"I am considering that option, Gen. Pulteney but I think it would be most unwise to make a hasty decision. Remaining where we are does entail certain risks but so would a precipitous withdrawal. Field Marshal French has promised me that Second Army will make another attempt shortly to relieve the enemy pressure on our line of communication. If they succeed then I can see no reason why our position here cannot be maintained indefinitely."
"Gen. Haig, my effective infantry strength is now less than 20,000 men and that includes the Guard Brigade. My artillery has less than 500 shells. My men and my draught animals continue to be badly undernourished. There are serious problems with morale in my units which grow worse every day."
"I readily admit that all of that is at least partially true, but before I reach a decision I need to take the larger picture into consideration. The British Army is currently handicapped by the need to resolve the situation in Ireland as quickly as possible. The good news in that is once Ireland is resolved in the next few days, Lord Kitchener will be able to amply reinforce both Second Army and ourselves. I dare say we could go be starting a major offensive two months from now and in that case our current position would be much better than one based on the Somme."
"With all due respect, sir, the last thing we should be thinking of now is the remote possibility of going over to the offensive anytime soon. I must reiterate that we need to pull back behind the Somme as quickly as possible."
"Put your concerns into writing and I will give them due consideration, general. I can be persuaded on this matter but you are not going to stampede me into making a hasty decision."
------Gaelic Athletic Association (London) 2130 hrs
The Bobbies charged en masse into the Gaelic Athletic Association. At the first sign of any resistance they did not hesitate to use their batons. They arrested nearly everyone they found in the club for questioning and searched it thoroughly creating a massive mess. Their instructions had been vague in regards to what exactly they are looking for. The police discovered some pamphlets expressing sympathy for the Irish rebels which they seized as being seditious materials. Meanwhile as this was going on a crowd gathered outside. A majority of the crowd were definitely not Irish. Wild rumors began to spread about what was going on. Some drunks in the crowd began to yell things like, "Beat the bloody Irish traitors to death!"
One man who was not in the club that night was Michael Collins, who was glad he had taken a recent warning very seriously.
------Dublin 2150 hrs
The fighting in Phoenix Park continued as Rommel reinforced his commitment there with another rifle company. The confused fighting in the dark did not hurt the Royal Irish Riflemen much---their light casualties were about a third less than their rebel opponents. However the fighting did distract them prevent them from throwing most of their strength into recapturing the Magazine Fort, which continued to hold out.
While this was going on the Lowland Division made another determined drive to restore the line of communication with their divisional artillery at Trinity College. The darkness helped but in storming the key building the Scottish troops found themselves without grenades fighting an enemy, which had a goodly number of shotguns. The casualties of the Lowland Division continued to mount. However since the rebels were distracted a few small carts with supplies incl. ammunition were able to reach Trinity College.
------north of Kovno (Lithuania) 2200 hrs
The addition of the 42cm howitzer to the German siege artillery filled the already pessimistic Gen. Grigoriev with immense alarm. He therefore ordered his fortress garrison to mount a night attack in a desperate attempt to force the German heavy guns out of range. The assault was made by 6 battalions without any preliminary artillery preparation. They achieved some small fleeting measure of surprise but the wire barriers while not as thick as those on the Western Front were enough to hold up the assault while German machineguns tore into the attackers as flares and searchlights lit up the night sky. Some Russians did manage to make through the wire and into the forward German trench. More than a quarter of the attackers lacked a rifle but they did have some grenades and caused casualties but were ultimately unable to take and hold a significant portion of the forward trench much less advance beyond. Two additional Russian battalions that were close reserve were hit hard by German artillery at their assembly point before they could be committed to the battle. In about an hour it was all over and the German VIII Army Corps had held their position.
------SMS Stralsund 2215 hrs GMT
The increased distance from the American coast and some early morning haze had limited the effectiveness of 2nd Scouting Group this day. After wasting time inspecting and ultimately releasing a small Dutch merchantman the Stralsund had just captured her first prize of the day, a 6,800 ton British freighter out of Sao Paulo bound for Montreal with a cargo of coffee. Enough coffee was taken to refurbish the cruiser’s depleted stores of that luxury and then the old merchantman was quickly scuttled.
------Ft. Camden (Cork) 2230 hrs
Light rain was coming down. German spotlights suddenly illuminated Ft. Camden. Seconds later four 17 cm minenwerfers commenced a methodical bombardment of the fort. Their targets were a single caponier which covered a ditch 40’ deep and 28’ wide, which was the main obstacle protecting the fort from landward attack. Outside the ditch was a wire fence but the pioneers had demolished sections of that with explosives the previous night.
------SMS Von der Tann 2240 hrs
The searchlights of Ft. Carlisle now joined in illuminating Ft. Camden. Von der Tann was now anchored south of Roches Point where she had line of sight with Ft. Camden. Her main battery now fired a half salvo. A small German observation post had been established atop Roches Point and it now spotted for the battle cruiser signaling by searchlight. The first half salvo had been short. The next half salvo was closer and the one shell of the third half salvo struck the fort. At that Von der Tann rapidly fired off 96 more rounds. The pair of 9.2" guns at Ft. Carlisle soon joined in the shelling of Ft. Camden as well. The 6" guns of Ft. Carlisle also participated concentrating on neutralizing Ft. Camden’s searchlights. This soon caused Ft. Camden’s 12 pounders to return fire, targeting their own searchlights without much success.
Soon after the battle cruiser ceased firing Ft. Carlisle and the minenwerfers ceased firing as well. The assault by the Bavarian Reserve Jaeger Battalion and a company of Pioneers began. The defenders were mostly Munster Fusiliers and a few dozen Royal Marines. The bombardment had softened up the resistance but it was still tough going for the attackers in the early phase of the assault as they struggled within the deep ditch. Fortunately the caponier had been neutralized by the minenwerfers. In an hour the Jaegers and pioneers clawed their way out of the ditch into the main portion of the fort. The Upper Right Battery was taken intact just before midnight but Lower Left Battery was stubbornly holding out. The Germans moved their minenwerfers in closer.
------Kernanstown (Carlow) 2305 hrs
The lead motor car made its way down the dark road with their headlights off. Following close behind were 3 more motor cars. Sam, the driver of their car claimed to be very familiar with Carlow. The new German commander of Wexford Battalion after defeating the morning attack of Royal Irish Riflemen had collected the 4 working motor cars available to his battalion. His reconnaissance indicated the main enemy forces in County Wexford were concentrated around either Wexford city or Enniscorthy towards which the Royal Irish Riflemen had retired after their defeat. The town of Bunclody which Rommel had briefly occupied on his way to Dublin remained free from enemy forces. The new battalion commander decided to send 16 of his best men in the motor cars with 80 Moisin-Nagant Rifles and 2,400 rounds of ammunition with orders to try to reach the market town of Carlow after dark and arm the local company of Irish Volunteers. They took a route they thought would be the least likely to have roadblocks approaching Carlow through the hamlet of Kernanstown where they intended to dismount to try to contact the local Irish Volunteers on foot. The 3 passengers in the lead car had suddenly decided to sing an appropriate song:
Lift, MacCahir Og, your face,
Curse and swear, Lord Kildare,
See the swords of Glen Imayle,
Fly up and teach him manners.
From Tassagart to Clonmore
Just before they reached Kernanstown the motors cars ran into a roadblock, but one manned by a mere 3 constables. "Halt, halt!" yelled one of the constables, "Stop immediately! Get out of your vehicles with your hands up!"
The 4 men in the lead car were armed with sawed off shotguns and pistols. As they got out of their car they suddenly opened fire on the approaching constable. They hit him with a shotgun blast and he fell to the ground before he could fire and soon died. The other two constables commenced firing and badly wounded one of the rebels. The 11 rebels in the other 3 cars, half of whom had rifles instead of shotguns, had dismounted and engaged in brief furious exchange in the dark. When a second constable was badly wounded the third constable suddenly dropped his rifle and raised his hands yelling "I surrender, I surrender."
The rebels quickly took the rifles, pistols and ammunition from the constables. They decided against trying to drive any further and instead unloaded their boxes of rifles and ammunition and soon found a sympathetic farmer willing to let them turn his sturdy stone farmhouse into a strong point while the local Irish Volunteers started to assemble. Another 10 constables eventually showed up but they were driven off while the local company of Irish Volunteers arrived in dribs and drabs. They told the familiar story of how the R.I.C. and arrested their commandant and seized most of their weapons soon after the Germans landed in Ireland.
------Fethard (Tipperary) 2320 hrs
The 1/4th battalion Duke of Wellington Regiment had unsuccessfully tried to take the walled town of Fethard away from the Tipperary Volunteers and the 16th Uhlan Regiment and lost half its effective strength and one of its machine guns in the process. After that it had been withdrawn to the important town of Cashel for line of communication duties. Its commander was now livid when he learned that the rebels had overwhelmed the weak contingent of R.I.C. left to guard the town after the rebels had left. He did not know the current strength of the rebels at Fethard, though there were no sightings of any German cavalry being present this time around. He decided to leave one rifle company behind at Cashel and try to retake the town by surprise at night before the rebels could receive reinforcements.
He attacked with two companies each assigned a different entrance way. Nearly half of the men of the 3rd Tipperary Battalion, incl. their commandant McElroy, had been involved in the prior occupation of Fethard and remembered well the lessons the Uhlans had told them. The entrances were well guarded night and day with a reserve ready inside in the center of the town and riflemen posted atop the walls. Neither company of the 1/4th Duke of Wellington was able to quickly plough its way into the town. Their battalion commander, seeing that the attack was progressing along the lines of prior frustrations ordered its cessation before the losses became severe. After that he cordoned off the town as best he could while ending messengers off to notify VI Army Corps HQ.
------Barbarossa 2335 hrs GMT
Lt. St. James had initiated a training program for his Buffalo Soldiers as soon as the liner had left New York. The Ghaidars and the Turks decided to participate as well. Some of Garvey’s U.N.I.A. blacks had also agreed to join. There was of course a larger training program for the white folk run by a few German Reservists led by a former German officer. The two programs were of course kept completely separate. This did not strike St. James as surprising but he did find it ironic. He thought that there were at most 3 whites on board who had seen any combat. Including himself there 6 Buffalo Soldiers who had participated in the Spanish American War and 8 more who had fought either the Filipinos, the Indians or both. There was a lot they could teach the untrained whites aboard Barbarossa but that was not going to happen.
Having completed this day’s training St. James sat down to eat with his some of his fellow Buffalo Soldiers in a section of the 3rd class dining room St. James was just beginning to eat when Johnson approached him. Johnson was part of Garvey’s U.N.I.A. contingent. He was not one of those St. James was currently training. "Lt. St. James," Johnson announced stiffly, "Field Marshal von Garvey summons you to speak with him at this time."
One of the Buffalo Soldiers sitting with St. James began to snicker uncontrollably, while another openly howled with laughter. "Well, then you better be running over to see the Field Marshal, Cornel," taunted a third, "Don’t you dare be late to see the Field Marshal, lest he have you executed."
Johnson was one of Garvey’s most devoted followers and he looked on the derision of the Buffalo Soldiers with undisguised disgust. St. James had chuckled only slightly. Shaking his head he replied, "Johnson, kindly tell Mr. Garvey that when I am done eating, I just might find enough time to pay him a short visit."
Johnson gave St. James a hard look while trying to ignore the taunts of the other Buffalo Soldiers. "He will be most displeased if you don’t," he answered sullenly and then quickly walked away.
St. James finished eating then turned to the others, "Well, I reckon I’ll see what that pompous jackass wants now." He walked over to where Garvey was bunked, like the rest of 3rd class in a small partially secluded space. "I was told you wanted to see me, Marcus."
Garvey as usual tried to look important. "Lt. St. James, I have summoned you because I have learned that you have been training some of my men without my approval."
"They are on their way to fight a war in Africa, Marcus. They have no military training and need as much as I can provide. Some of your men some great promise, such as Williams who spent considerable time as a cowboy in the wild west, and claims to be a consummate horseman. I think he’d make a fine cavalryman but he definitely needs training."
Garvey paused to choose his words carefully. Marcus is always vain and very often stubborn thought St. James but he is not completely stupid. It’s likely that he can see what I say makes sense but cannot bring himself to admit it. Oh so typical.
Garvey finally answered, "It is not that I opposed to training, Lt. In and of itself training is a good thing. However I believe you are using this to undermine my authority---to insert a wedge between myself and the brave men of the U.N.I.A. This I will not tolerate."
Was I doing that? Oh probably I am but it was not my primary goal. "I am not trying to undermine you, Marcus. Hasn’t it occurred to you that you are not going to have any followers if they all end up dead or captured because they were never told how to fight?"
Garvey’s eyes suddenly glared daggers at St. James. "Are you saying that I do not care for the lives of my own men? How dare you!"
"I don’t know one way or another, Marcus. If you do care about them, why do you refuse to let me train them?"
Garvey opened his mouth then closed it. Finally he hissed, "You are trying to humiliate me before my own men."
Maybe a little but again it’s not my primary motive. "I am terribly sorry you see it that way, Marcus." Not really.
"It is only because I am so devoted to the U.N.I.A. that I am willing to look past your insults. I grant you, uh, conditional approval to give my men some military training. This permission will be withdrawn instantly if I find that you are in any way trying to undermine my authority. Is that clear?"
St. James ground his teeth but then he grinned ever so slightly. Yes he’s being obnoxious but he is still giving you what you needed he acknowledged to himself. "Yes, it is clear. You won’t regret this, Marcus. You are more than welcome in these training sessions, yourself. If you did then you would see for yourself that I am doing nothing to undermine your, uh, unique status."
"I do not need any of your damn ---" Garvey began to say heatedly. Then he paused. When he resumed he spoke in a more controlled voice, "I may periodically stop by to inspect these training sessions."
St. James’ grin disappeared.