<– Part 34 – March 21, 1915  | Part 35 – March 28, 1915 |  Part 36 – April 4, 1915 –>

Leon Chester Thrasher, who lent his name posthumously to the “Thrasher Incident.”

The Austro-Hungarian garrison at Przemysl surrendered March 22, bringing the 133-day siege to an end. All relief and escape efforts had failed, and Russian artillery and infantry assaults had begun taking the outer defenses. The surrender of 117,000 soldiers, including 9 generals, 93 senior staff, and 2,500 other officers, combined with over 100,000 DEAD, is a crushing blow to the Austro-Hungarian efforts. The Russians, by comparison, lost 115,000, mostly in the first few days of the siege.

SM U-28

In the French-Zaian war, a French offensive earlier this month faced stiff opposition, but inflicted serious losses on the tribesman, losing only 1 killed and 8 wounded.

The British steamship RMS Falaba was torpedoed by German sub SM U-28 March 28, killing 104, including American Leon Chester Thrasher. Due to British orders to all vessels to attack any German vessels on sight, or lacking weapons, to attempt to ram, the German navy issued orders last month declaring all British waters a warzone. Intense pressure in the United States, following the death of an American, has been tempered with a detailed report showing the Falaba, rather than unloading passengers as warned (and given time to) by the Germans, instead radioed its position to nearby British warships. Then, when torpedoed, 13 tons of illegal high explosives – contraband for a passenger ship – detonated in the ship’s hold. US pressure to enter the war has waned.

<– Part 33 – March 14, 1915  | Part 34 – March 21, 1915 |  Part 35 – March 28, 1915 –>

The British Admiralty gave permission to the navy in the Dardanelles to launch a total assault and bombardment of the Ottoman guns. The operation was launched March 18, and met severe setbacks. Failure to properly reconnoiter existing mines lead to severe damage from mines, as well as better-than-expected accuracy from the Ottoman guns. Nearly half the navy was damaged, with three battleships sunk and 3 more seriously damaged, and 700 casualties. The Ottomans suffered only 118 casualties, and dozens of layers of mines are still in place. Further naval attacks have been called off.

French counterattacks at Champagne were called off March 17, ending fighting in the sector. 94,000 French casualties, and 46,000 German, have led to further stalemate.

<– Part 32 – March 7, 1915  | Part 33 – March 14, 1915 |  Part 34 – March 21, 1915 –>


Defenses at the Dardanelles

The Ottoman gendarmerie completed their withdrawal to Qotur March 10, as the Russian advance under Nazarbekov continues in Persia.


In Europe, at Neuve Chapelle, a British assault was launched the same day, having been meticulously planned with aerial reconnaissance, from which maps were created and distributed. Although achieving early successes, poor weather, disrupted communications, and misaligned attacks (one flank attacked a German trench untouched by the initial artillery barrage) caused the offensive to grind to a halt, despite strong efforts by Indian troops, many of whom captured the strongest point of the German line, which included fresh troops, and also had not seen artillery fire. 7,000 British and 4,200 Indian casualties compare to 10,000 German. The battle has been a tactical victory for the British.


On March 13, the British cruiser HMS Amethyst lead a force of six minesweepers into the Dardanelles, but was forced by after taking heavy fire, along with 4 of the minesweepers.


<– Part 31 – February 28, 1915  | Part 32 – March 7, 1915 |  Part 33 – March 14, 1915 –>

British battleships continued their bombardment of Ottoman defenses in the Dardanelles March 1, this time directed at the middle line; however, British minesweepers were unable to clear mines from the strait. An attack by Royal Marines March 4 was repelled, with 23 Marines killed.

A fresh Russian corps has launched an attack on Bitlis, in eastern Asia Minor, as the Russians attempt to take the city once again. In Persia, Nazarbekov’s offensive has forced the gendarmerie of Van province to withdraw from Dilman March 7 towards Qotur.

In Champagne, the stalemate continues at counter-attacks by each side fail to gain any land.