<– Part 30 – February 21, 1915  | Part 31 – February 28, 1915 |  Part 32 – March 7, 1915 –>

Dague’s sister ship Bouclier

Fighting has officially ended for the second time at the Masurian Lakes February 22 with a solid German victory. Despite being outnumbered over 2:1, the Germans lost just 16,000 men, compared to the Russian 200,000 – nearly 90% of their army.

British marines damaged forts 3 and 6 on this map

The French destroyer Dague hit a mine February 24, sinking with the loss of 38 of her 80 crew. The following day, British naval forces attempted a second forcing of the Dardanelles strait. The Ottomans evacuated the outer forts, allowing the British Royal Marines to raid and set demolition charges on several forts.

On the Western Front, counter-attacks at Champagne fail to achieve any significant goals.



I’ve been fascinated for the last few months by Disney’s Frozen – more specifically, by the music of it. Yes, having children I know many of the words (though not as well as my three-year-old, who corrects me from time to time. At some point I’d like to look at it more in-depth, but in the interest of shipping, I’ll share my thoughts here.

There’s a pretty good selection for most people – “Frozen Heart” for a men’s chorus; the duets between Anna & Elsa, and Anna & Hans; ‘fun’ solos from Kristoff, Olaf; a ‘fun’ chorus for the Trolls, and, of course, Elsa’s blockbuster “Let It Go.” That last one, in particular, I really like, though I have mixed feelings about the lyrics – while “A kingdom of isolation,” is brilliant in its garden-path syllables (“kingdom of ice…”), I wish “Let it go, let it go, Turn my back and slam the door” at least attempted a slant-rhyme (“slam the do-oar” etc.)

But my overall favorite moment, and the one that sparked this post, is the final, climactic scene.  Anna and Elsa are wandering through the mist and blizzard, while Kristoff rushes to rescue Anna. The music is in the background, but it so perfectly matches the action and emotion of the scene that I find myself rewinding just to rewatch it. While Anna wanders, the music is slow, plodding, and mournful – she’s dying and she knows it. It pans over to Kristoff, and immediately picks up in time and mood with the galloping of his steed’s hooves. It’s a great scene, and a rare moment of true musical, sound, and visual harmony that I don’t see much in film anymore.

<– Part 29 – February 14, 1915  | Part 30 – February 21, 1915 |  Part 31 – February 28, 1915 –>

British ships began a bombardment of Turkish forts in the Dardanelles February 19, testing out defenses and attempting to “force” the straits and reach the Black Sea. Across Europe, the German sub U-28 sunk the neutral tanker Belridge, carrying out the German Empire’s policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.

At the Masurian Lakes, the Russian 20th Corps, left behind to cover the Russian withdrawal, was surrounded February 18 and surrendered February 21, having allowed the remainder of the Russian army to reach defensive positions following their second defeat there.

At Champagne, the French Army continues suicidal counter-attacks.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I just wanted to reiterate: I’ve been much more productive with the pomodoro technique the last few weeks. I use kanbanflow.com to manage it – the combination Kanban board and pomodoro timer works great for me. In the past, by todo list has been pretty random, ad-hoc, and subject to constant changes.

Saturday, I set up my board – my todo tasks for the following week. This will range from “Exercise like this” to “Read this” to “Update that.” Each morning, I make sure my hard-copy planner matches up with what’s on the board, and also do a review of the previous day to see how I did. I DO NOT add anything to the new day’s list that morning – any additions were done on previous days. This means that my list is feature-locked each morning. I feel like this is a little bit of Scrum – Sunday I review my previous week, check to see what I need to do this week, have daily standups to see how I’m going, and check my progress at the same time.

The pomodoro advantage increases productivity first by keeping me focused (“I can focus on this huge task for just 25 minutes”), removing guilt over relaxing (“I’ll check that email in 7 more minutes” [yes, I feel guilty for taking breaks]), and also letting me keep track of my time (“Ugh, I spent 45 minutes reading email? That’s awful!”). I’m still crunching numbers on my productivity last year and so far this year, but when I get to a good point (perhaps end of this quarter) I’ll take a close look at how it’s been.

<– Part 28 – February 7, 1915  | Part 29 – February 14, 1915 |  Part 30 – February 21, 1915 –>

On February 11, Louis Botha took direct command of South Africa’s northern force in its attack against German South-West Africa.

The second battle at the Masurian Lakes continues to rage, with the Russians caught completely off-guard, allowing the Germans to 75 miles in the last week, despite snow drifts 6 feet high. In fact, due to the rapid advance, disordered Russian retreat, and large numbers of Russians taken prisoner, the Germans are able to live off of the abandoned Russian supplies, carrying only ammunition for the guns.

<– Part 27 – January 31, 1915  | Part 28 – February 7, 1915 |  Part 29 – February 14, 1915 –>

Controversy erupted February 1 when the German submarine U-20 fired a torpedo at the hospital ship Asturias, which was clearly marked as such, in violation of international law. Three days later, the German government issued a warning declaring all waters around England and Ireland, including the English Channel, a war zone, and reminding all vessels of the inherent dangers of travel in such a war zone. Additionally, with the use of false flags of neutrality being used by the British, the Germans warned all neutral nations that their ships are at risk when approaching England and may be viewed as an enemy vessel.

On February 3, with the Ottoman attempt to take the Suez canal faltering, they withdraw to prior positions. The 15-20,000 Ottoman force was opposed by nearly 30,000 British defenders; despite several Ottoman brigades successfully crossing the canal, the rest were unable to make any other headway.

In Nyasaland, the British colony in Africa, the Chilembwe rebels have been attacked, Chilembwe himself found dead, by the militia. 300 rebels have been captured, and 40 executed. An additional 30 are thought to have escaped into the neighboring Portuguese colony. The British colonial government, worried about further rebellions, have ordered various punitive measures including mass hut burnings, gun confiscations, and a levy on every African within the troubled areas.

In Persia, Russian General Nazarbekov has launched a counteroffensive against the Ottomans, who successfully are holding Linwe against him.

February 4 saw the Battle of Kakamas, in South Africa. A prominent crossing point on the Orange River, the area is needed by both the Germans and the South Africans to invade the others’ territory. Approximately 1,500 invading Germans were repelled by 6,000 South Africans. The Germans lost 7 dead, 16 wounded, and 16 captured.

The Second Battle of Masurian Lakes began February 7 when the Central Powers launched assaults into northern Poland from East Prussia, surprising the poorly-entrenched and unprepared Russian forces. 100,000 German soldiers, representing nearly 1/3 of the German army, are facing the 220,000 Russians.

Operations on the Western Front in Belgium and Flanders have wound down inconclusively. At Champagne, the back & forth fighting continues.