<– Part 4 – August 23, 1914  | Part 5 – August 30, 1914 |  Part 6 – September 6, 1914 –>

August 24 brought victory to Serbia, as the finally succeeded in repelling the Austro-Hungarian invasion at Cer, and returned to their starting position before the battle. On the Western Front, the Allies seem to have begun a withdrawal from the Frontiers towards the River Marne, though some unit are still fighting rearguard, delaying actions, such as the one at Elouges. The Germans have begun sieging the Maubeuge Fortress, while in the south the Germans have repelled the French offensive at Mortagne and seem to have one the battle in Lorraine.


German Kamerun has been invaded by the British, who began a three-pronged  advance in the north, center, and south on August 25, with the British securing a minor victory at Tepe. German spirits were raised

British dead at Le Cateaua, a rearguard action during the Allied retreat.

slightly with dual victories in Europe at Le Cateau and Le Grand Fayt, where British forces were attacked and ambushed with thousands of casualties, both part of the withdrawal in the West and from Mons.

To the East, the Battle of Kraśnik has ended, at Lemburg, with a defeat for the Russians at the hands of the Austro-Hungarian Army. However, Austrian spirits were tempered by a declaration of war from Japan, the most powerful naval force in that hemisphere.

Army dispositions of the Western Front, one month ago.

August 26 dawned as a day that would bring a dizzying number of both failures and successes to the German, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian Empires. The capture of Longwy, called the “iron gate to Paris”, near the Luxembourg border, after a nearly month-long siege, was offset by the SMS Magdeburg bringing shame on the Germans, having run aground in the Gulf of Finland. The Entente forces have searched her, and there are reports that something has been recovered and taken to safety from on-board. There are rumors that her codebook has been captured by the Russians. However, this was far, far outweighed several days later at the Battle of Tanneberg, where the Russian army of 150,000 was obliterated by the Germans, with only 10,000 escaping an encirclement. So great was the defeat the Russian general, Alexander Samsonov, was found dead by his own hand, still clutching a revolver. Russian spirits were raised through the invasion of Galicia at the Battle of Gnila Lipa, a defeat FOR Austria-Hungary, but softened at Komarow, a VICTORY for Austria-Hungary. This war seems destined to be drawn out as a horrific quid pro quo.



On August 27, the Allied retreat continued with a brave action by the Munster Fusilliers of the British Army at Étreux, where, although surrounded and outnumbered 6:1, there were able to delay the Germans long enough to secure the retreat they were rear-guarding, so much so that the Germans congratulated them for their defeat.

However, German fears have been realized in Tsingtao, were the Japanese have formed a naval blockade of the German port.

The Germans suffered a defeat on August 28 at the hands of the Royal Navy at Heligoland Bight, in the North Sea. An ambush of a German fleet resulted in significant casualties for them, while the British victory came relatively unscathed.


On August 29, a delaying action at St. Quentin by the French was successful, although French losses exceeded German by 2:1.


New Zealand moved to occupy German Samoa on August 30.

Sinking of the German light cruiser Mainz, from the deck of a British warship. Battle of Heligoland Bight, 1914 August 24.

<– Part 3 – August 16, 1914  | Part 4 – August 23, 1914 |  Part 5 – August 30, 1914 –>


On August 17, Russian invaded East Prussia. The Germans met them at Stalluponen, and despite being outnumbered 5:1 were able to repel the advance, before retreating westward to set up new defensive positions. The German Empire appears still to be the preeminent military force of the day – the Prussian heritage, no doubt.

August 18 saw the United States declaring her neutrality, while Canada authorized the formation of an expeditionary force to fight in Europe.

The following day met the Austro-Hungarians fleeing in a near-rout from Cer, where they had been fighting for several days in mountainous terrain wholly unsuited for battle. Serbia continued her advance and counter-attack to the prior borders.

On August 20, German hopes suffered a setback after a defeat at Gumbinnen. It msut be noted that this attack by Germany was counter both to the orders of the General Staff under von Moltke, as well as the Schlieffen plan as a whole, which both mandated no German attacks on Russia before France was defeated. The attack was poorly-planned, and was repelled at some causalities by both. However, the same French front saw the Germans occupy Brussels, as well as begin sieging Namur, also in Belgium – this siege ending on the 23 with a German victory. To the south, the battle of Lorraine continues, with the opposing sides fighting over Morhange and Sarrebourg.

The following day saw two more battles ending in victory for Germany – one at Charleroi, a German offensive, and the other in Ardennes, a failed French offensive. Nearly 100,000 men fell in the two battles, followed by nearly 30,000 French soldiers alone in another failed attack by the French. Also on the 22, Austria-Hungary finally declared war on (collapsing) Belgium and Germany suffered a minor setback in Togoland at the battle of Chra.


On August 23, the British Expeditionary Force began a retreat from Mons, after being outgunned by Germany. Farther east, Austria-Hungary launched a counter-invasion of Russian Poland, while Germany attacked Russia near Tannenberg (early reports indicating a German victory). At Lemberg, Russia captured Lviv, while Austria-Hungary defeated Russia elsewhere at Krasnik.
Finally, Japan has declared war on Germany and attack the German colony in China, Tsingtau..

<– Part 2 – August 9, 1914  | Part 3 – August 16, 1914 |  Part 4 – August 23, 1914 –>


The fighting continues around the world. To the east, the German East Asia Squadron was sighted sailing individually towards the Northern Mariana Islands (presumably Pagan island), being caught off guard and scattered among German island colonies on routine business. To the west, German ground forces continue their advance towards France – on the 10th, German took Mulhouse in the eponymous battle and perhaps the first true battle of the war – 75,000 men total involved, with approximately 10% casualties.

Casualties after the Battle of Haelen. From Wikipedia

The following day, France declared war on Austria-Hungary, followed the next by the United Kingdom declaring war on the Austrians as well. At Haelen, the Belgium Army, including rifleman riding bicycles, were able to blunt a German cavalry attack. Dozens of horses were killed.

Towards the North, of the 10 U-boats who sailed from their base in Heligoland, 7 returned. One had returned earlier due to mechanical issues, one is missing (presumed sunk), and one was sighted by a British warship sitting on the surface, without lookouts, and the sounds of hammering coming from within – undoubtedly undergoing repairs. The warship promptly rammed the submarine, cut it in two, and sunk it.

On the 14th, the French army executed Plan XVII, an offensive into Germany in Lorraine, directed at Saarburg (French: Sarrebourg) and Morhange. With nominal success, the French have come under intense artillery fire from dug-in German defenders; oddly, the French general has spread his forces out across the front, which would seem to weaken the offensive. Time will tell of the success of Plan XVII.

Grand Duke Nicholas, the Russian Commander-in-Chief, has promised autonomy to Poland after the war. Poland was partitioned between Prussia (now Germany), Austria, and Russia three times between 1764 and 1795, when it ceased to exist.


On the 15th, the Japanese government ordered the German evacuation of Tsingtau, as Japan has plans to occupy the entire region herself. In Africa, German troops have entered the British East Africa colony and occupied Taveta. Oddly, this area has traditionally been an area of British-German friendship – in 1881, British Queen Victoria gave Mount Kilimanjaro away as a wedding present to her grandson, then-Crown Prince and now Emperor of Germany Kaiser Wilhelm II, defining the very border Germany has now attacked.

A combined force of British and French warships has formed a blockade at the mouth of the Adriatic Sea to the east of Italy, and will presumably begin raiding operations against Austro-Hungarian ports in the region. Austria suffered another setback when Serbian scouts discovered Austrian outposts near the mountain Cer; clashes have erupted and as of a little while ago, the Serbians have succeeded in pushing the Austrians back. Earlier today, just off the coast of Antivari, a naval engagement resulted in the Austrian light cruiser Zenta sinking.

To the west, the siege of the fortresses at Liege came to an end as the last fortress surrendered, and the Germans now continue their advance. This delaying action has brought the Entente nearly a week to prepare defenses. Curiously, this siege included Germans dropping bombs from zeppelins – will this indicate the future of warfare?

<– Part 1 – August 2, 1914  | Part 2 – August 9, 1914 |  Part 3 – August 16, 1914 –>

The War Explodes

The last week has been a flurry of declarations of war, general mobilizations, and military actions around the world. Germany invaded Luxembourg on August 2, and has begun a siege of Longwy, which, should it fall, will open the way into France for the German Empire. Further to the south, the French town of Joncherey, just across the border from German Elsaß-Lothringen, saw the first shots fired in the west when a French soldier attempted to place an invading German squad under arrest. He was shot and later died of his injuries, one of two deaths. Perhaps this war will wind down soon and see a minimum of deaths. Reports from the German Empire indicate that Helmuth von Moltke has been appointed Chief of the General Staff of the German Field Armies, following in the footsteps of his uncle, victor of the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian wars.

Battle of the Frontiers. German moves in red, Entente in Blue. From Wikipedia.

The next day, German declared war on France, and demanded military access from Belgium. Britain began general mobilization of her armies. With the demand refused, Germany declared war on Belgium on the 4th, in order to flank the French army (as the Schlieffen plan dictates). However, according to the Treaty of London of 1839 (75 years ago), the Great Powers of Europe – including Prussia, leading the German Confederation (the precursor to the modern German Empire), have guaranteed the sovereign independence of Belgium. The German chancellor has dismissed this as a “scrap of paper.” However, Britain disagreed, and declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary. Canada and the members of the British Empire have followed suit.

The President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, has declared a policy of neutrality.

On the 5th, the German army reached Liège; however, while the Schlieffen plan called for a swift advance up the Meuse valley into France, it has been held up and is now laying siege to the extensive fortifications in the region. Across the world, the Germans met another obstacle in Fort Nepean, just south of Melbourne, Australia. It opened fire upon the SS Pfalz, which surrendered. Perhaps German naval forces in the Pacific may not be as strong as previously thought. Montenegro declared war on Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire closed the Dardanelles. The following day, declarations of war continued: Austria-Hungary declared war on Russia, and Serbia on Germany.

On the 7th, in France, the British Expeditionary Force landed to render aid to France and Belgium, beginning the “Battle of the Frontiers”, which currently includes nearly 1.5 million Entente troops against 1.3 million Germans. The primary French offensive is at Mulhouse, where 45,000 French troops face 30,000 Germans.

On the 9th, Montenegro declared war on Germany, and British troops entered German Togoland in Africa and occupied Lome. In the north sea, HMS Birmingham sank the German sub U-15.


Part 1 – August 2, 1914 |  Part 2 – August 9, 1914 –>

A Prelude to War

What a flurry of portentous events this last week and month have been. Just five weeks ago, on June 28, the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir presumptive of the Austro-Hungarian empire, was assassinated by

European alliances, 1914. From wikipedia.

Serbian nationalists. This prompted weeks of riots in the respective countries. Austria-Hungary, aware of the implications of war against Serbia, asked for and obtained promises on July 5 of German support against Russia, should Russia come to the aid of her ally Serbia.

On the 23, Austria-Hungary sent an ultimatum to Serbia – an ultimatum that was destined to be refused, as it would have meant the complete subjugation and vassalage of Serbia.

Serbia responded the following day by mobilizing her army, which was coupled with Austria-Hungary’s breaking off of all communications. This July is one of crisis…

On the 25, Austria-Hungary’s emperor, Franz Joseph, ordered his own mobilization of 8 corps. Britain responded by incessant offers of negotiation – war was clearly looming.

On the 28 of July, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Russia began mobilizing -gathering and calling up the troops – against the Austrians, while the Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, and his cousin the German emperor Wilhelm II, spoke back and forth to avoid war.

This was not successful. On the 30th, Russia appeared to have mobilized against Germany. The following day, July 31, German issued her own ultimatum to Russia: cease mobilization, or Germany would attack France. Russia responded that the mobilization was only against Austria-Hungary.

Today, August 1, we have received word that Germany has declared war on Russia. Germany has mobilized her forces. According to the Schlieffen Plan – her plan for war on two fronts against France and Russia – forces will immediately invade Belgium and Luxembourg without any orders. England, aware of this, has warned Germany that violation of Belgium’s sovereignty will be met by war. Italy has declared itself neutral. And there are rumors that Germany and the Ottoman Empire have signed an alliance, although this cannot be verified.

The world is at war.