Central Powers Turn
The bottom inning of September 1915 became an unexpectedly busy moment in the war, with everything rare happening again, another first, and an unjustifiably belligerent Entente military pressing for action. Part of the reason for the urgency was the weather, which threatened to turn muddy with the arrival October (it did not; the sun will shine). A larger part of the reason was that after suffering a range of results from abject failure to middling commonality earlier in the month, the Entente continued to quest urgently for some path to victory.
Even the initial phase of the turn witnessed considerable activity. While many German and Austro-Hungarian units changed organizational structures late in September, the news was that the backlog of planned changes is finally in the low single digits. Bavarian recruits fleshed out a 16-18-5 mtn rfl XX with which to threaten the Italians, whose manpower flowed to rejuvenate their lone 7-10-6 lt XX. On the main front, Prussian men and Rhineland guns repaired 13-16-5, 2x 13-15-5, and 8-11-5 rfl XX’s, besides replacing 2-4-7 mtn MG [III], and replacing a 7*-8-5 rfl cdr. Fresh pilots joined ground crews for an Alb C1, as the air replacement point system finally began to get a sustained workout. On the French side of the line, 2x 13*-16-7 and 3x 8*-11-5 divisions absorbed hordes of conscripts into their depleted infantry battalions.
In the far south, along the Adriatic Sea coast, a variety of Austo-Hungarian Army formations followed the combined Entente fleet’s move to bring all British landing craft, various naval transports, and plenty of gunfire vessels to bear against the Dual Monarchy. The French admiral in charge will find no easy targets across the sea of grief east of Italy. Austrian submarines, one captained by a future singing refugee, engaged that Entente fleet near Venice and sank several French destroyers by confusing them with gunfire and getting them rammed and shot-up by a squadron of confused British armored cruisers (danger zone hit against DD-1).
In the air, nothing good happened for the Central Powers. Three zeppelins missed Milan, one by navigation and two by bombing, while two zeppelins hit only the Thames River in London. Austro-Hungarian and German fixed-wing aircraft missed several Entente ammunition dumps. An MS-3 escort sent a bypassing group of Alb’s scurrying in a first for the war before two Cau bombers destroyed a German ammunition dump. Another group of MS-3’s demonstrated their superiority by killing, in another first for the war, an entire group of bypassing LVG’s while escorting recon aircraft attempting to bomb another German ammunition dump. In a rarity, flak smashed half a group of MF-11’s, the pilots of which were busily missing the zeppelin base in Koln. Only Italian pilots failed utterly, their Ca2 bomber group not regretting the absence of interceptors and dodging flak successfully only to miss the Austro-Hungarian fleet in Trieste.
On the ground in France and Belgium, German forces massively restructured their defenses after the long series of bloody battles throughout the month.
In response, while several French generals pulled units out of the front line, including an entirely overstacked corps of heavy guns, one British general sent a couple of divisions south toward the Mediterranean Sea and waiting transport vessels.
Another British general was more direct in his irritation about the failure of his ongoing offensive near the Netherlands border and he continued to push his units into the fire. After British pilots successfully spied out the reorganized defense, a brigade of siege engineers committed suicide by giving their friends a slightly better chance of success. British morale cancelled German trenches as 2.1:1 rolled downward and yet another Both Exchange poured names onto casualty lists.
British losses: 2x RP and 1-4-5 sg eng X eliminated; 11-14-5 and 3x 10-13-5 rfl XX’s to cadre (one Indian)
German losses: RP and 2-3-7 jgr III eliminated; 2x 13-15-5 rfl and 8-11-4 nvl XX’s to cadre
German forces exploited to cover the new weakness near the Dutch border.