A day of endings. The hardest fighting is about to move away from Albert and towards Lille.
Like Picardy before it, the Battle of Albert (During the war!) peters out into stalemate as the participants flow north in search of that elusive flanking battle. The line of the Somme will probably elude the Germans now, but they can still take the Channel ports and greatly impede British efforts to continue the fight. To the south, French attacks against the St Mihiel salient reach their peak. The line continues to hold.
Both sides are now heading towards the area of Lille and Arras. A vitally important north-south rail line runs through this area. Whichever side takes control of it will have a major advantage in Belgium and the northernmost areas of France.
In the East, the Battle of the Vistula judders into an uncertain start. This will be a joint operation between German and Austrian troops, and the opposing Russians are obliged to fall back from their advanced positions near the German frontier. They retire so quickly that the attackers aren’t really sure how many men they’re facing, or what the composition of the Russian forces is.
It’s also becoming obvious to the Serbian commanders that they can’t afford to keep fighting static warfare; the sheer weight of ammunition and guns to fire it on the Austrian side is beginning to tell. Serbia can only manufacture about 100 shells a day, and her artillery is horrendously out of date.
Actions in Progress
The Daily Telegraph is republishing its archives from the war day-by-day. In today’s paper: a lot more old news, reflective of the iron grip that was maintained on information. Also, it’s Ulster Day in Ireland, and the Telegraph takes the chance to sing the praises of the Ulster Unionists.