<– Part 105 – July 23, 1916  | Part 106 – July 30, 1916 |  Part 107 – August 6, 1916 –>

The road to Pozieres

Taif has fallen to the allied British & Hejaz forces, as the Arab Revolt in the Ottoman Empire continues.

The Somme offensive near the village of Pozieres continues, as the British have taken the village, resisting brutal German assaults and artillery bombardments. One Australian division has suffered 5,300 casualties, its men describing as looking like they have visited hell, and are marked by a glassy gaze, and seem to be walking in a dream. The British have launched further assaults to the north but, like they Germans, they have been repulsed.

On July 24, an Austro-Hungarian assault south of Kowel has begun, in an attempt to halt the Russian Brusilov offensive. 12 Austro-Hungarian divisions face 29 Russian infantry divisions and 12 cavalry divisions. The Russian strategy of massed artillery bombardment followed by waves of infantry assaults has proven ineffective, as the combatants gain more experience in defensive trench use. Hundreds of thousands of Russian casualties are beginning to wear down the Russian offensive, which was halted for several days before resuming July 28.

Black Tom pier, following the explosion

The Battle of Erzincan, in Turkey, ended July 25 with a victory for the Russians. 17,000 Turks have been killed, with another 17,000 prisoners.

The Black Tom Island munitions plant, in the American state of New Jersey, was completely destroyed in an enormous explosion, killing 7, destroying windows in Times Square and Manhattan, 25 miles away, and embedding debris in the Statue of Liberty. Although the investigation is ongoing, signs point to an act of German sabotage.

The last German holdout in East Africa, at Tanganyika, was captured by the Allies, who found the German warship gone and her weaponry hauled away.


<– Part 104 – July 16, 1916  | Part 105 – July 23, 1916 |  Part 106 – July 30, 1916 –>

Delville Wood, 17 July 1916, showing the British salient

Fighting ended at the Bazentin Ridge July 17, with Allied units completely intermixed in the woods, as fighting at the Sommes continues. In one instance, a British pilot spotted Germans hiding to ambush British cavalry, so he opened fire on them and flew low overhead both to distract them and to alert the cavalry, sketched a layout of their positions, and then dropped it to the cavalry below. With fighting ended overall, the British are skirmishing to straighten their lines around the wooded salient, while the Germans attempt to cut it off.

Fromelles Ridge

A British distracting attack was launched at Fromelles on July 19-20, also at the Sommes offensive, but it was unprepared, undertrained, unsupported, unmotivated, and exhausted, and was launched in broad daylight against entrenched men while overlooked by hostile artillery on ridges surrounding it – and outnumbered 3:1. As expected, the 10,000 British lost 7,100 men, while the 30,000 Germans lost only 1,800. A defending German commander called the attack “operationally and tactically senseless,” and captured Australian troops showed no desire to fight at all, as well as a severe lack of understanding of how trench warfare is carried out.

Captured German bunker “Gibraltar”, with a sandbag team moving into position

Following the failure, 12 British divisions launched an attack July 23 at

Site of fighting between the Russians & Germans

Pozieres, taking several trenches during the day, and repelling 3 German counterattacks thanks to well-placed artillery and “rolling attacks,” wherein the advancing infantry divisions are right behind the artillery detonations. However, due to the well-planned artillery, it has been difficult for the attackers to determine where trench lines are, due to the severe cratering of the landscape. However, Australian units did succeed in taking a German bunker nicknamed “Gibraltar,” on the flank of the fighting.

Finally, also on the Western front, at Verdun, both sides seem to be catching their breath. To the East, a Russian assault at Baranovichi has devolved into a back & forth with well-entrenched and fortified German defenders, as 410,000 Russians vs 70,000 Germans have been unable to breach the German lines. 80,000 Russians have fallen, with 13,000 German casualties – this despite the Russians having a 6:1 advantage in men, guns, and equipment.

<– Part 103 – July 9, 1916  | Part 104 – July 16, 1916 |  Part 105 – July 23, 1916 –>

Battle of the Somme, 1916

Fighting at the Bazentin Ridge, July 1916

Fighting at the Somme continues, with the British capturing the village of Contalmaison July 10. In the fighting, the Germans were tied down, achieving both the British primary and secondary objectives; however, the loss of 12,000 British to only 4,000 Germans has resulted in the commander of the 17th Division being removed from his command. British objectives were also achieved July 13 at the Trones Woods, with confused back and forth fighting in the forest undergrowth. Fighting near Albert is winding down as the offensive shifts eastward & southward, especially at the Bazentin Ridge, which has achieved some success despite German reinforcements slowing the advance. Fighting is ongoing in and around the Delville Wood.


At Verdun, the Germans launched an assault on Fort Souville July 11, but were pushed back and ordered to go on the defensive (though some units did reach the fort, gazing at the highest points of Verdun, including the cathedral). A French counter-attack July 15 gained no ground.

Delville Wood, 14 July 1916

Delville Wood, 15 July 1916

Delville Wood, 16 July 1916


<– Part 102 – July 2, 1916  | Part 103 – July 9, 1916 |  Part 104 – July 16, 1916 –>

Mecca, one of the holiest cities of Islam, was captured by the Arab rebellion on July 4 from the Ottoman Empire. Undoubtedly, this insurgency in the heart of the empire will draw attention away from the Russian front. The Russian advance towards Erzincan continues, as the Ottomans face offensives on multiple fronts.

The Battle of Kostiuchnowka. The Polish Legion is blue (in multiple lines), the Russian Army is red, and the Hungarian forces are green. The black line is a railroad.

The Allied offensive at the Somme, a shifted focus from Verdun, has been gaining ground in several places near Albert. The village of La Boiselle was captured June 7 following fighting since the 3rd, and thrusts towards Mametz Woods and Ovilers seem poised for success as well. Allied prongs also shifted towards Contalmaison and the Trones Woods on the 7th and 8th, respectively.

Due to this shift of focus to the Somme, fighting at Verdun has simmered down somewhat, although a German artillery barrage earlier today on the French defenders of Fort Souville – a key position and high ground – indicates a renewed focus by the Central Powers.


The Russian Brusilov offensive was delayed at Kostiuchnowka by the Polish Legions, an element of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Fierce fighting July 4-6 by the Legions delayed the Russian sufficiently that the remainder of the Austro-Hungarian army was able to withdraw orderly. However, the legions suffered serious losses, as 2,000 of the 5,500 (or 7,300, due to differing reports) were lost to the 13,000+ Russians, who lost the same.




<– Part 101 – June 25, 1916  | Part 102 – July 2, 1916 |  Part 103 – July 9, 1916 –>

The detonation of the Hawthorn Ridge mine, under German lines.

British aerial recon of the German trenches on May 10, 1916.

On June 30, in an attempt to distract the Germans from the pending offensive at the Somme, three battalions from the Royal Sussex Regiment, following an intense artillery bombardment, succeeded in capturing the first two lines at the German defensive position at the “Boar’s Head” before running out of ammunition, halting before the German supply trench. 1,400 British soldiers were casualties, all from Sussex, England – dozens of brothers dead together.

The following day, July 1, an assault by was launched at Albert by 19 Allied divisions, opposed by 6 German divisions. The enormous artillery bombardment preceding the attack was by 60-pounders firing over 1.5 million shells, and was heard in London. Mines were detonated under German strongpoints, and the town of Fricourt – a German salient – was captured. The British military has suffered its greatest number of casualties in a single day – 60,000, nearly 20,000 of them killed. The French lost 7,000, and the Germans 8,000 and 4,200 prisoners. German forces have been withdrawn from Verdun, which has seen over 200,000 casualties on each side so far.

Fighting at the Somme, July 1

British plan of attack on the first day of the Somme offensive. 60,000 soldiers fell, the greatest casualty rate for the British army at the time.

The Russian Caucasus army attacked the Ottomans at Erzincan earlier today as their offensive continues.

Bey and his men

The Turk general Ali İhsan Bey captured Kermanshah, in Iran, later that day. Meanwhile, the joint British-Arab forces are advancing on the Ottoman garrison at Taif.

A 60-pounder battery. They were heard in London, 165 miles away