<– Part 222 – October 20, 1918 | Part 223 – October 27, 1918 | Part 224 – November 3, 1918

The last German forces in the Caucasus were evacuated October 21, leaving the Ottomans to their own devices.

Italian machine gun nest atop Monte Grappa

Reaching Aleppo on October 23, in their pursuit of the crumbling Ottoman force of 20,000 (though only 4,000 are combat-ready), the combined British and Arab forces encouraged the Ottoman garrison to surrender but were refused. Although plans were drawn up for an attack on the city the morning of the 26, the Arabs attacked the night before, and after hours of intense hand-to-hand fighting in the streets, the garrison surrendered at 10am, just as the British armored cars were arriving for the attack. Elements have managed to evacuate north, including Ottoman general Mustafa Pasha.

North of Baghdad, British forces defeated the Ottomans at Sharqat, also on the 23rd, as their press to capture the key Ottoman oil fields.

The Italian army launched a large offensive on October 24, the one-year anniversary of their humiliating withdrawal following the battle of Caporetto. Nine Italian divisions attacked Monte Grappa to push the nine Austro-Hungarian divisions off; although the defenders were reinforced with an additional six divisions, their withdrawal is expected. Centered around Vittorio Veneto, the front-wide offensive includes nearly 1.5 million Italians and 1.8 million Austro-Hungarians. The Italians have secured a hold across the Piave river, while Austro-Hungarian elements have refused orders to counter-attack, hindering their defensive efforts.

On the Western front, British forces cross the Selle river October 25, following a failed German counter-attack the day before.

In response to crumbling German defenses, Erich Ludendorff was forced to resign October 26 as First Quartermaster-General of the German General Staff, a role which has seen him essentially as a co-dictator with Hindenburg.

On October 27, the United States Army expelled the final German divisions from the Champagne region, ending the 3-week battle at the Blanc Mont Ridge.

<– Part 221 – October 13, 1918 | Part 222 – October 20, 1918 | Part 223 – October 27, 1918

At the Blanc Mont Ridge, American infantry continues to push the Germans out of Champagne and the Argonne Forest.

On October 14, Groupe d’Armées des Flandres, a collection of Belgian, British, and French divisions, attacked the Germans at Courtrai, on the French/Belgian border, and pushed the Germans back to Ghent by the 19th, having met minimal German resistance, taking 12,000 captives and nearly 600 artillery pieces. A follow-up was launched earlier today to cross the Lys and Escaut rivers.

Following the success at Cambrai, the British forces attacked the Germans on the Selle River on October 17; despite facing stiff resistance, the German defense has broken and have withdrawn nearly 5 miles.

The Entente continues its liberation of the Balkans.

Germany announced earlier today that they were suspending their policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.

<– Part 220 – October 6, 1918 | Part 221 – October 13, 1918 | Part 222 – October 20, 1918

On October 7, after six days surrounded by Germans, the “Lost Batallion” was finally rescued. Only 194 of the 500+ Americans are healthy; the rest casualties. In fact, the Allies only knew the Battalion was there when they received a carrier pigeon with the message, “WE ARE ALONG THE ROAD PARALELL [sic] 276.4. OUR ARTILLERY IS DROPPING A BARRAGE DIRECTLY ON US. FOR HEAVENS SAKE STOP IT.”

The Allies have successfully taken the bridge of the St. Quintin Canal, suffering 25,000 casualties to the German’s 36,000 POWs.

At Cambrai, British forces engaged the Germans on October 8, using the new tactics they have developed, including strategic use of tanks. The German forces, weakened as they were by the wide frontal assault across the entire Allied line, nevertheless were crushed in 3 days. Of the 750,000 British forces, 12,000 were killed, while the Germans lost 10,000 of their 180,000. The Allies have now broken through the Hindenburg Line. British General Henry Rawlinson wrote, “Had the Boche [Germans] not shown marked signs of deterioration during the past month, I should never have contemplated attacking the Hindenburg line. Had it been defended by the Germans of two years ago, it would certainly have been impregnable….” The severe hit to German morale indicates to the Allies that the war can be won by year’s end, rather than the original plan of a massive final assault in 1919.

Follow the collapse of enemy power in the Balkans, and the surrender of Bulgaria, Allied forces have begun the liberation of Serbia, Albania, and Montenegro. In Palestine, following the capture of Damascus October 1, the British Desert Mounted Corps of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force are pursuing the remnants of the Ottoman army.

<– Part 219 – September 29, 1918 | Part 220 – October 6, 1918 | Part 221 – October 13, 1918

Ferdinand I of Bulgaria

At Meuse-Argonne, the German counterattack nearly shattered the US 35th Division but was barely halted by an engineer battalion. However, the adjacent French units have advanced nearly 10 miles at Somme-Py and Saint-Thierry, but are awaiting the Americans to catch up from their 2-5 mile penetration.

Following the first phase, the second phase commenced October 4, which saw all of the first phase assault divisions replaced by fresh troops. One American unit, the “Lost Battalion,” has been cut off in the Argonne forest since October 2. Efforts are being made to rescue the 500 Americans.

Boris III of Bulgaria

Fighting at Ypres ended October 2 with stiffening German resistance, with the high ground around the town taken by the Allies. To assist in reinforcements, 80 Belgian and British planes have been dropping supplies to the troops. The Allies lost 9,100 soldiers, fairly evenly-split between Belgian and British, while 10,000 Germans have been taken prisoner, with hundreds of artillery pieces and machine guns.

Following the humiliation of Bulgaria, the Tsar of Bulgaria, Ferdinand I, abdicated October 3 to his 24-year-old son Boris III.

“We were no longer engaged in a maneuver for the pinching out of a salient, but were necessarily committed, generally speaking, to a direct frontal attack against strong, hostile positions fully manned by a determined enemy.”

In Palestine, two cavalry charges, at Kauab and Kiswe, broke entrenched Ottoman positions and opened up Damascus to the British, losing less than a dozen cavalrymen but taking nearly 700 prisoners. With the fall of Damascus on October 1, British cavalry is pursuing the shattered Yildirim Army Group.

On October 2, a British and Italian task force shelled the Austro-Hungarian port of Durazzo, sinking and damaging 8 ships, and forcing the evacuation of the entire port. The Allies had 6 ships damaged.

Fighting in Champagne erupted October 3 at Blanc Mont Ridge, as American forces seek to push the German Army out of the entire region.

Rumors have begun that Germany and Austria-Hungary have opened secret peace negotiations with U.S. President Wilson.