Siege of Saisi | 25 July 1915


The Ottomans are falling back on Kut-al-Amara, home to a major garrison, as the more mobile ships of the British Empire flotilla head up the River Euphrates to watch them go, and to reconnoitre. Meanwhile, General Nixon is ordering yet another advance; this one up the River Tigris from Amara to Ali-al-Garbi. That would put the furthest line of advance some 80 miles past Amara, and 180 miles from Basra.

Siege of Saisi

Last month, on the 28th of June, the German Empire Schutztruppe attacked Saisi in Northern Rhodesia, but were beaten back easily. However, now they’re back, and they’re back in force. There’s about 300 British Empire men and 200 more from the Belgian Congo’s murderous Force Publique (boo, hiss) under Major O’Sullevan.

They’re opposed by 1,500 German-commanded men, led by a mildly insane old buffer, General Kurt Wahle. Wahle had travelled to German East Africa before the war to visit his son, a colonial administrator. When war broke out, Wahle immediately offered his services to Colonel von Lettow-Vorbeck. He’s approaching his 65th birthday, but he’s still full of beans and is more than prepared to lead men into battle.

Today, he settles for leading men to battle. They surround Saisi and begin bombarding it with some light guns that they’ve brought up. They also take particular care to ensure the route from Saisi to the local river is covered. More to follow.

Battle of Malazgirt

General Charpentier’s cavalry division arrives at Malazgirt to find that the Ottomans have got there first, to the tune of at least five infantry divisions and another cavalry division. Charpentier doesn’t much like those odds, so he bravely runs away towards Adilcevaz. Even if they had arrived a day or so earlier, they still wouldn’t have been nearly enough to outnumber the Ottoman Third Army.

General Oganovski sees that he can’t fight with the men available to him, and the only thing he can do now is get out of it as soon as possible. The entire Russian position in Van Province is coming undone. Armenian refugees begin taking to the roads, among them many who had escaped the deportation caravans of the Armenian Genocide and made their way to Russian-held Armenia.

Kenneth Best

In Alexandria, Kenneth Best is feeling well enough to take himself off for his first church service in an actual church for a long time. He’s also feeling well enough to be grumpy about it.

How often have I longed for the peace and quiet of Church, and in beautiful inspiring services? I am grievously disappointed. A fair congregation, partly military, all very finely dressed. The services intoned by one who could not intone. The congregation for the most part did not sing. The sermon had a pseudo-historical and apologetic theme, based on the continuity of the Church.

How different from our little services in the trenches! God seemed to have nothing to do with this morning’s service.

Actions in Progress

Armenian Genocide
Battle of Malazgirt
Battle of the Isonzo (Second Isonzo)
Siege of Saisi

Further Reading

I have a Twitter account, @makersley, which you can follow to be notified of updates and get all my retweets of weird and wonderful First World War things. If you prefer Tumblr, I’m also on Tumblr.

The Daily Telegraph is republishing its archives from the war day-by-day. Worth a look. I’m reading the paper every day, and it’s where the content for Our Advertising Feature comes from.

(If you find the olde-tyme style difficult to get along with, have a look at this reading guide.)

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