<– Part 74 – December 19, 1915  | Part 75 – December 26, 1915 |  Part 76 – January 2, 1916 –>

The sun rose December 20 above Anzac cove and Suvla and shone upon empty trenches; it would appear that the Allied troops in the area have effected their withdrawal. Several ingenious devices were rigged to trick the Ottomans into thinking the trenches were still manned. One of them was a rifle whose trigger was tied to a bowl into which water dripped, causing it to fire at various intervals.

Geoffrey Spicer-Simson, commander of the British forces on Lake Tanganyika, shortly after the victory over the Kingani. He is on the far left, wearing a kilt.

In Africa, the fighting on Lake Tanganyika has scored another Allied victory December 26, when the British motor boats Mimi and Toutou (“Meow” and “Fido” in Parisian slang) captured the German ship Kingani after an 11 minute fight. The Kingani, having only a fore-mounted gun, was unable to target the more agile motor boats, who scored a direct hit on the single German gun, killing her captain and two officers. Additionally, two sailors were killed in the fighting. The British have renamed her Fifi.


Christmas Day in Senussi saw two British columns marching, one of which was sighted before sunrise by the tribal forces. Fighting raged all day, before the Senussi were repelled by artillery and machine fire. Delays in communication with the other column allowed the Senussi to escape at sunset.

<– Part 73 – December 12, 1915  | Part 74 – December 19, 1915 |  Part 75 – December 26, 1915 –>

As the winter approaches in the northern hemisphere – the location of much of the fighting, especially in Europe – the fighting is winding down as the troops prepare for another winter spent in the trenches. Douglas Haig has been named Commander-in-Chief of British troops in France, replacing Field Marshal Sir John French. With this position, he also commands Canadian forces in Europe.

Great Britain has also announced the formation of the “South Persia Rifles” to help defend against the German troops in the area.

In the Adriatic, the Austro-Hungarian sorties against the Otranto Barrage have sunk additional vessels.


<– Part 72 – December 5, 1915  | Part 73 – December 12, 1915 |  Part 74 – December 19, 1915 –>

Serbian campaign, 1915. This week’s fighting took place in the far southern part of Serbia.

A close-up of the southern region, marking Skopje, Krivolak, and Kosturino.

This week saw fighting between the Bulgarians and British at Kosturino in Serbia, where they engaged December 6 after several days of skirmishing, and a full push was made by Bulgaria two days later, outnumbering the small British division 4 to 1. Fighting finished today with the British withdrawal into Greece towards Saloniki. With this, the last of the Allied troops have left Serbia. The German High Command has ordered Bulgaria not to enter Greece, as there are still hopes among the Central Powers that Greece will join them. The Allies are using this opportunity to reinforce and dig in. All told, the Serbian campaign cost Serbia 90,000 casualties (plus 174,000 captured), against merely 67,000 Central Powered casualties.

The British and Indian forces retreating from their defeat at the hands of the Ottomans at Ctesiphon have withdrawn to a defense of Kut, a city set in a loop of the Tigris River – an area easy to defend, but difficult to supply. 31,000 British and allied troops face off against an Ottoman force of 41,000, who have surrounded Kut since December 7. The British general, Charles Vere Ferrers Townshend (great-great-grandson of the famous Field Marshall George Townshend), has ordered the cavalry to retreat farther south after seeing the greater Ottoman numbers.


There have been reports since December 7 that veterans of Gallipoli have been arriving in other theaters; is a full draw-down and evacuation beginning?

A B.E.2, like those used in North Africa (and elsewhere) for reconnaissance and communications.

In North Africa, a British column of infantry, artillery, and armored cars was attacked by 300 Senussi December 11 but repelled at a cost of 90 Senussi to 35 British, although one of those was the commander of the coast guard in that area, a Lieutenant-Colonel C.L. Snow. Snow had been involved in the (ultimately) failed attempts to maintain peace. Reinforcements were called for via message dropped from aeroplane. Having reconnoitered the following day, a larger British force was attacked by between 1,000 and 1,500 Senussi, 250 of whom became casualties to the British’s 75. There are reports that the British regulars feel that under-trained and under-experienced local and colonial troops cost them a great victory.

<– Part 71 – November 29, 1915  | Part 72 – December 5, 1915 |  Part 73 – December 12, 1915 –>

In German East Afrika, the month of December began with the Kingani, a German ship commander by Lt. Job Rosenthal scouting British positions at the harbor near Kalemie, though he was driven off by shore batteries. The following night he swam ashore, became lost in the dark, and was captured by the Belgians. Meanwhile, across the continent in German Kamerun, the French, British, and Belgian forces have met up and are preparing an assault on the new capital Jaunde.

December 2 saw the end of the fourth battle at the Isonzo, with a cold snap hitting the region and the fighting winding down (although minor skirmishing has continued). There are reports that the Austrians have requested assistance from Germany. This battle saw 50,000 Italian casualties to the Austro-Hungarians’ 32,000.

In Mesopotamia, after the mutual retreat from Ctesiphon by the British and Ottomans, the Ottoman commander Nurredin has turned about and, following a pursuit of the British forces, has surrounded them at Amara on December 3.

The Serbian army retreating through mountainous Albania for evacuation by the French and Italian navies.

Postcard celebrating the fall of Serbia to the Germans, Austro-Hungarians, and Bulgarians.

Serbia’s army has been in full retreat since December 4, with the end of the offensive in Kosovo at the capture of Debar. The entire campaign saw minimal casualties for the Central powers, but 30,000 for the Serbs plus much heavy artillery. Additionally, the French (and their British allies) have been driven back towards Thessaloniki. The Serbian campaign has been an overwhelming success for the Central powers.

In the East, Russia continues her retreat although it is much more orderly than earlier. In Gallipoli, the mass flooding and rain has given way to snow, bringing more misery to the Allied powers. Their positions seems more untenable daily. In Persia, the Shah has appointed a Pro-Ally cabinet, following the capture and occupation of Tehran by the Russians.) In the Caucasus, the Ottomans seem to have begun a withdrawal following massive casualties to the Russians with minimal support of reinforcements coming. This has become a secondary front for them.

Finally, earlier today, December 5, in the Adriatic sea, after attempting blockade duty, the French sub Fresnel was pursued by the Austro-Hungarian SMS Warasdner and run aground. Her crew has been captured.