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Old 04-30-2012, 06:56 PM   #211
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Originally Posted by palo5 View Post
Led from the front??

It's not their job to lead 'from the front', but it is their job to provide leadership and to be informed about what's happening so they can direct a battle

Here's an example of bad leadership (since you mention the British): A general from the British GHQ visited the front for the first time (in 1917). It was the fourth year of war, and there was a big battle in Belgium. When he heard of men and horses drowning in mud, he said "Good God, did we really send men to fight in that?" - in other words he had no idea, and nor did anyone else where he came from. That really happened, and I can supply the officer's name

No doubt some generals were killed by unexpected artillery. But why would you call that 'leading from the front'?



The radios worked alright. The trouble was keeping them online, and this problem was not properly addressed
The Western Front has been described as a "hotbed of innovation" but we mustn't overlook the fact that much of the technology was in its infancy. Radio wasn't really suited to being on the front line less still with an attacking force, heavy, delicate and unreliable.Communications were primarily via field telephone but wires were easily cut by shellfire so runners and pigeons were held in reserve.
Yes, many high ranking officers were the result of "buggins turn" but not all; Field Marshal Robertson had risen from the ranks which must have been on merit. Also before achieving their red tabs most officers had served time at the sharp end.
Of course the overall commanders had to be some distance back from the lines, usually near a communications centre because if you have 50 miles of fronyt to oversee your options must be kept open.
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:22 PM   #212
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The officer in question Palo was Kiggel, Chief of Staff to Haig and not a man one would follow anywhere except out of curiosity.

General Officer casualties for KIA were if memory serves me right about 18% with the majority being from shellfire. This is what one would expect as the Generals would be far enough forward to exercise control over their troops but not so close as to be involved in the fighting. They were where they should have been.

The radio technology at the time was not good.

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Old 04-30-2012, 11:28 PM   #213
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May 1901
Diplomatic Relations Anglo-German alliance negotiations end, though this is not immediately apparent to Berlin. When warned that Britain will seek to mend relations with France if no alliance is made, the German foreign office scorns the idea that two such hereditary foes could ever reach an accommodation. They continue to expect that they can impose their will on a suppliant Britain.

May 1912
Albania An uprising against Turkish rule begins.
Germany Various nationalist, occult and anti-Semitic groups meet in Leipzig to found the Germanenorden.

May 1915
War at Sea U-Boats sink 120,058 tons of shipping. Two U-Boats are lost, along with an Austrian boat. Noting that Austria’s submarine fleet is too small to make an impact on Mediterranean shipping, the Germans disassemble and transfer several coastal submarines to Pola. These boats will operate under Austrian colors, but with their usual German crews.
Russia A Special Council is convened to direct the war effort, composed of Duma members and industrialists. It is expanded in June to include political representatives and there are hopes for economic and political reform, but the Council is crippled by disputes between the industrialists of Petrograd and those of Moscow, competing for contracts.
Switzerland German agent Alexander Helphand arrives to contact Lenin in attempts to foment unrest in Russia. Lenin, however, distrusts Helphand, fearing the German might try to seize control of the Bolshevik movement from him. Discussions are put on hold.
Turkey A Kurdish rising is crushed in a battle at Shaibah.
Persia The Germans give up their efforts to win over the Shah. Turkish behavior has left him so angry that he even toys with the idea of declaring for the Allies, whom he hates. He opts to remain neutral.

May 1916
War at Sea U-Boats sink 129,175 tons of shipping. Three U-Boats are sunk.
France Noticeable numbers of acts of indiscipline are beginning to afflict the army.
Afghanistan The German mission leaves Kabul empty-handed.

May 1917
War at Sea U-Boats sink 596,629 tons of shipping. Seven U-Boats are sunk. The first convoys are organized, but the system is still haphazard and will take a few months to fully work out. Nevertheless, the results are immediately apparent.
United States The American Protective League is formed and authorized by the Justice Department. Its remit is to identify German sympathizers and counteract the activities of radicals, anti-war activists and left-wing labor and political organizations. Encouraging people to spy on their neighbors, they target those who fail to register for the draft or people of German ancestry. They are frequently little more than vigilantes. They provide an example for fascist paramilitary leaders like Mussolini, as well as Communists like Lenin, in how to intimidate the opposition. It is disbanded a few months after the armistice.
Entry into the war has brought a wave of anti-German sentiment. German books are pulled from libraries, orchestras drop music by German composers from the repertoire, sauerkraut is renamed liberty cabbage, and the use of the German language in public is sometimes banned (ruled unconstitutional in 1923). The response of German-Americans is to “Americanize”, playing down their cultural roots, speaking only English and Anglicizing names. In fact the patriotic wave speeds assimilation of many immigrant groups.
Russia Some conservative elements in the army are tentatively planning a coup. Nothing is firmly decided and nothing comes of it.

May 1918
War at Sea The submarine campaign is at a turning point. U-Boats sink 295,520 tons of shipping, but 13 U-Boats are lost during the month, the highest one month total of the war. The Germans make one effort to muster a group attack to overwhelm the convoy escorts, foreshadowing World War II’s wolfpacks, but communications are poor and the effort is unsuccessful. Sporadic operations begin in American waters by the few large U-Cruisers. Ship production in the USA is now 300,000 tons per month.
War in the Air The Fokker DVII, perhaps the finest fighter of the war enters squadron service.
Russia A poor cotton harvest and the consequent famine, together with Red raids throughout Turkestan, fuel the Basmachi rebellion. The Communists begin a campaign against “Kulaks” (rich peasants), said to be withholding grain. The class struggle is to be carried out without pity or mercy. Peasant revolts spread in resistance to government requisitions.
Italian Planning Diaz refuses several pleas from Foch to launch an offensive.

May 1920
Caribbean The Haitian revolt is all but over. Some 1800 Haitians have been killed.
Persia Soviet troops enter Enzeli; the Jangals proclaim a Republic of Gilan.

May 1924
Russia Lenin’s will is read aloud to the Party Central Committee. Zinoviev points to the smooth operation of the triumvirate as evidence that Lenin’s fears of Stalin were groundless.
At the 13th Party Congress, Zinoviev demands that Trotsky retract his “errors”. Trotsky, declaring that one can only be right within the Party, not against it, submits. This attitude renders Trotsky vulnerable to his opponents, who justify their actions in the name of the Party.
In the fall, Trotsky publishes Lessons of October, restating his theory of “permanent revolution”. Stalin publishes Problems of Leninism setting out his theory of “socialism in one country”, setting Russia in order before vigorously exporting Communism.
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Old 05-01-2012, 12:38 PM   #214
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May 1, 1915
Western Front After four days of shelling, the French at Ypres launch an attack in the late morning with British artillery support. The attack founders amid heavy losses. Apprised of the failure, General French sends orders to General Plumer to begin withdrawing his troops “on the eastern part of the salient”. A German attack on Hill 60 fails.
The St. Mihiel-Les Eparges battle ends; the Germans have taken more territory than they have lost.
DardanellesAt Cape Helles, the Turks unleash their artillery at 10:00 AM, following up with an infantry assault, but the British hold fast. E-14 sinks a gunboat and a transport in the Sea of Marmara.
Southwest Africa Kubas falls to South African troops.
War at Sea The American tanker Gulf-light is torpedoed by a U-Boat. The British resume passages to Holland.
China The Chinese government presses Japan for the return of Tsingtao.

May 1, 1916
Western Front, Verdun General Nivelle arrives at the headquarters in Souilly to take command of the 2nd Army. He declares “We have the formula!” Joffre has now abandoned the system by which French troops have been rapidly replaced at the front through rotation – there will be no more fresh troops for the “meat grinder”.
Western Front, Elsewhere There is fighting near Ypres and Albert.
Germany Spartakist leader Karl Liebknecht is arrested.
German Intelligence A German consul in The Hague recruits Mata Hari (real name Margeretha MacLeod), a Dutch dancer and courtesan who has lived in Paris since 1905, to obtain information for the Germans. Among her lovers are numerous military officers.

May 1, 1917
Western Front There are German attacks at Moronvillers.
Russia Rejecting the plea from the All-Russian Conference of Soviets, Foreign Minister Milyukhov sends a note to the Allied governments supporting the goal of a “decisive victory”, Russia’s commitment to the Allies’ war effort, and postwar guarantees and penalties to prevent the recurrence of war. The note generates a crisis between the Provisional Government and the Petrograd Soviet.
Caucasus The Turks reoccupy Mush.
India Mahsuds attack a British convoy but are beaten off. The British lose over 100 casualties.
Allied Diplomacy Joffre and Viviani are enthusiastically received by the U.S. Senate.
Britain Russian sailors and British socialists march together in the May Day parade in Glasgow. The mood in the country is clearly not suitable for granting asylum to the Tsar, which King George has been considering.

May 1, 1918
German Planning It seems to Ludendorff that the British have been saved twice by French intervention. Considering the British to be temporarily out of the fight, he determines to deal with the French before launching his climactic offensive in Flanders. The attack is to fall on the Chemin des Dames in the Aisne River sector. Ludendorff issues orders to Crown Prince Rupprecht for his army group to begin preparations for the offensive, code named Blücher. The 7th Army, commanded by Hans von Bohn, will carry the right and center of the attack; the 1st Army of Fritz von Below is assigned the left. The attack plan is exceptionally thorough and well-guarded. The Germans step up activity in Flanders to deceive the Allies that the attack will occur there.
Allied Command The Supreme War Council meets, with the foremost question being whether Pershing will allow American troops to be amalgamated into British and French forces and commands as those nations’ leaders wish. Pershing, however, adamantly insists on maintaining the AEF’s independence. The Allies have doubts about the experience of American troops. In fact, the Americans are well-trained, if raw. The main problem with the AEF is the result of rapid expansion. There is a shortage of officers, so a standard number of officers in a division command twice as many enlisted men. The oversized American divisions are thus usable for little but battering frontal attacks. Fortunately, the German army of 1918 is not the German army of 1915. The Allies give in to Pershing.
Belgium King Albert, backed by his premier Baron Charles de Broqueville, has resisted close cooperation with the Allies, insisting that Belgium is properly a neutral that has been forced to fight. He has not placed his army under Allied command and resisted attempts to pressure him into an offensive. Rumors that he is even considering a separate peace lead to the fall of Broqueville, succeeded by Gerard Cooreman. Albert is finally pressured into working with the Allies and is soon rewarded with command of an Army Group.
Eastern Front German troops enter Sevastopol and establish a military government for Ukraine under Marshal von Eichhorn. They now have access to the Caucasus and Georgia and the rail lines to Baku.
Palestine British troops capture Es Salt. A mounted brigade guarding the ford at Jisr ed Damiya is attacked and forced to retire.

May 1, 1919
Hungary The Rumanian Army controls the entire east bank of the Tisza after some heavy fighting near Szolnok. The Kun regime sues for peace the next day, but the Rumanians offer only an armistice, and this only under French pressure.
France Troops break up May Day demonstrations in Paris.
United States May Day parades in New York and Boston lead to riots; other parades are broken up by the police. A letter bomb campaign is planned by radicals, but most of the packages are intercepted.

May 1, 1920
Diplomatic Relations Belgium and Luxembourg establish a Customs Union. Luxembourg had been part of the German customs union until 1919.

May 1, 1921
Palestine A week of anti-Jewish riots begins in Jaffa. 47 Jews are killed and 146 injured. 48 Arabs are killed, with 73 injured.
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Old 05-01-2012, 02:28 PM   #215
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Originally Posted by Ennath View Post
May 1918
War in the Air The Fokker DVII, perhaps the finest fighter of the war enters squadron service.
It's often stated that the D.VII was so good, it was specifically mentioned in the Treaty of Versailles, but that's not quite true.

The reference to the D.VII is in the Conditions of an Armistice With Germany which was signed on 11th November 1918.

http://www.gwpda.org/1918/armistice.html
Note article IV in the Conditions which refers to all D7's (sic)

The actual Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28th June 1919.

Last edited by squigg58; 05-01-2012 at 10:52 PM.. Reason: Corrected date.
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:59 AM   #216
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May 2, 1915
Western Front A German attack near St. Julien is repulsed.
Eastern Front After intermittent firing during the night, the Austro-German artillery opens up at 6:00 AM with a tremendous bombardment along the 19-mile front near Gorlice. It lasts four hours. Under cover of the bombardment, Mackensen’s troops move toward the Russian positions. Gorlice falls and the Austrians cross the Biala. Russian 3rd Army (Radko-Dmitriev) falls back in confusion. A Russian attack near Styrj takes Mount Makovoka but loses it again.
Dardanelles There are back and forth attacks at Gaba Tepe. No gains are made. An Anzac attack toward Quinn’s Post makes few gains.
Black Sea Russian ships shell the Bosporus forts.
Southwest Africa The South Africans occupy Otjimingwe.

May 2, 1916
War in the Air A Zeppelin raid on the east coast and Scotland kills nine.
Macedonia French troops occupy Florina.
Indochina Vietnamese troops mutiny at Hue, but are suppressed by the 4th.

May 2, 1917
French Command Mangin is relieved of command.
Greece Zaimis again becomes Premier.

May 2, 1918
Western Front French attacks in the Avre Valley seize Hill 82.
Russia On orders from Moscow, the ex-Tsar and his family are transferred to Ekaterinburg in the Urals.
Eastern Front German troops occupy Taganrog, on the Sea of Azov.
Palestine Turkish troops cross the Jordan at Jisr ed Damiya and threaten the rear of the British forces at Es Salt.

May 2, 1921
Germany The third, and longest, Silesian uprising breaks out. The insurgents are able to retain much territory as German troops outside Silesia are barred from taking part. The Allies finally impose a truce on July 21.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:14 PM   #217
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May 3, 1915
Western Front The British withdrawal at Ypres is completed. New German attacks make no progress. The preparatory bombardment begins for the French offensive in Artois. The support is up to 293 heavy guns.
Eastern Front The Germans advance toward Mitau. Although the Germans have gained only eight miles, an entire Russian corps has been ruined. The Austro-German drive in the Carpathians and Galicia continues. Sakharov’s Russian X Corps is smashed and 8200 prisoners are reported. Austrian troops cross the Dunajec. A twelve-mile gap has been opened in the Russian lines. Radko-Dmitriev reports that supplies at the front are almost exhausted.
Dardanelles A Turkish attack on the French sector is repelled.
Italy The Italians renounce the Triple Alliance. In the following days, neutralists in parliament fight to keep Italy out of the conflict, while nationalists demonstrate in the squares for war.

May 3, 1916
Western Front, Verdun The Germans unleash a ferocious artillery bombardment of Hill 304 with 500 heavy guns concentrated on a one mile front.
German East Africa A Belgian force occupies Shanzugu on Lake Kivu.
Britain A Military Service Bill is introduced, extending conscription to married men.
Ireland Three of the rebel leaders are shot by firing squad.
Persia Russian troops reach the Mesopotamian border, taking Khanikin.

May 3, 1917
Western Front Convinced that Nivelle’s offensive is ending, Haig has decided that the British offensive’s objectives should be limited to keeping pressure on the Germans and securing a favorable position along the Scarpe River as a preliminary to a larger operation planned for Flanders in the summer. The renewed attack begins at 3:45 AM on a 16-mile front. Once again, Canadian troops achieve the day’s major success, taking Fresnoy at the western end of the front. At the opposite end of the front, Australian troops manage to gain a small salient at Bullecourt, facing repeated counterattacks. But elsewhere along the front, there is little success.
Russia The left in the government has been calling for a peace with no annexations. General Alexeev denounces this as harmful to morale.

May 3, 1918
Finland The surrounded Communist forces near Viborg are forced to surrender.
Palestine The British at Es Salt as threatened with encirclement from three sides and the expected Arab contingent is AWOL. The British command orders a withdrawal. Their forces escape the threat and retire west back over the Jordan.
Mesopotamia British troops take Taza.

May 3, 1919
Afghanistan Afghan troops cross the Indian border, beginning the 3rd Anglo-Afghan War.
Russia The last French troops are evacuated from Ukraine.
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Old 05-04-2012, 12:00 PM   #218
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May 4-16, 1912
Aegean Sea Italian troops seize Rhodes and other islands.

May 4, 1915
Western Front Following the Germans’ second use of gas at Ypres and an attack thwarted by French artillery, General Plumer completes the withdrawal of his troops, ending the fight for St. Julien. The French advance near Lizerne; the Germans capture Zonnebeke and Zevenkote. Describing the effects of the gas, a German officer writes, “The whole countryside is yellow…A curious sour, heavy, penetrating smell strikes me.”
Eastern Front The Russians make a stand on the Visloka River. German 11th Army advances rapidly as the Russian 3rd Army retreats toward the San.
Dardanelles A British attack at Gaba Tepe fails. Another Turkish attack at Cape Helles fails.

May 4, 1916
Macedonia After two earlier Zeppelin raids, the Allies have augmented their air defenses, so that when LZ-85 appears for a third bombing raid, anti-aircraft fire brings it down in ruins. The crew sets it aflame.
Mesopotamia Kalil ships the 420 British officers captured at Kut by steamer to Baghdad, the first stage of their journey to Anatolia. Most of the regular soldiers will march overland. General Townshend alone is destined for Constantinople and relatively comfortable captivity on an island in the Sea of Marmara.

May 4, 1917
Western Front French troops take Craonne.
Allied Panning Allied political and military leaders meet in Paris to confer on strategy. Lloyd George and other British representatives make known their concern over shipping losses and their desire tho drive the Germans out of Belgium, from which U-Boats launch their attacks out of the harbors at Zeebrugge and Ostend.
Mediterranean Two British transports are torpedoed; 690 men are lost.
Russia The government narrowly survives a vote of confidence.

May 4, 1918
Macedonia Serbian troops take and hold advanced Bulgarian positions in the Dobropolje sector.

May 4, 1919
China Student demonstrations in Peking protesting the Peace Conference’s weak response to Japanese bullying in China mark an upsurge in Chinese nationalism and a move toward a populist base rather than intellectual elites.
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Old 05-04-2012, 03:51 PM   #219
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May 4, 1916
Macedonia After two earlier Zeppelin raids, the Allies have augmented their air defenses, so that when LZ-85 appears for a third bombing raid, anti-aircraft fire brings it down in ruins. The crew sets it aflame.
A first-hand account of the incident witten by Sergeant A. Smith of the 78th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps, which appeared in the Mansfield and North Notts Advertiser on 16th June 1916.

The scene is laid in a huge amphitheatre of rocky hills, with the town of Salonica and its bay forming the arena. The time (according to Divisional Headquarters) is 2.15 a.m., and the camps – English, French, and Serbian – lie sleeping quietly under the eastern moon.

Here and there the figures of sentries are seen, sharply silhouetted against the sky, on the summit of some rocky ridge, and then with a glint of steel where the light flashes on the bayonets, they turn and disappear.

On the other side of the bay, forty miles away, the snow-capped peak of Mount Olympus rises from a collar of white, feathery clouds. From the lower slopes of the hills, below the camps, comes the murmurous tinkling of bells, as some sheep move restlessly in the folds. Frogs croak occasionally in the streams which now trickle feebly over the boulders torn down from the hills in the fury of winter storms. All else is silent, and only an occasional flash from the searchlights on hill-top and battleship reveal a never-ceasing state of watchfulness.

Suddenly the roar of an anti-aircraft gun breaks into the calm of the night, and pandemonium is let loose. Other batteries join in the firing, and the bursting shells throw splashes of lurid light against the sky. The searchlights, after sweeping the heavens in search of the foe, rapidly converge as the Zeppelin is sighted, and a moment later, the whirr of her propellers is heard faintly through the clear air. The troops spring forth from tent and bivouac, and prepare to seek the shelter of dugout and trench, that is, those who are lucky enough to possess these shelters. Tonight, however, their precautions are needless, for victory is with the gunners.

Amongst the first half-dozen shells sent heavenwards by the keen-sighted artillerymen, one at least has found its mark, and the monster is evidently not answering properly to her steering gear. She swings slowly over the hills, and drifts over the town, most of whose inhabitants, mindful of the slaughter of former air-raids, have taken refuge in cellars at the first sound of firing. Every moment one expects to hear the crash of falling bombs, but doubtless the airship’s crew are busy trying some measure to repair the damaged portions of their charge, and so the town, with its innocent population, goes scathless, for this time at least. The searchlights reveal the fact that the huge airship is at a lower altitude, and is pursuing an erratic course round the bay. And now the naval gunners have their turn, and their performance justifies our faith in the supremacy of British naval gunnery. With a thunderous roar they open fire from deck guns and fighting tops, and the Zeppelin, like some huge beast, wounded to the death and groping blindly for an avenue of escape, twice makes the circle of the bay, her envelope torn by shell fragments. She makes one futile effort for freedom, and sheers off landward, but her wounds are mortal, and descending at a steep angle, she comes down with a crash into the marshes at the mouth of the River Vardar. In the downward flight her crew throw themselves overboard the stock of bombs to avoid being blown to pieces by their own weapons, and these explode harmlessly on reaching the water.

A torpedo boat destroyer, rushing across the bat at top speed, pours in a volley from quick-firing guns; the escaping gas catches fire, and a burst of yellow flame illumines the dreary waste of marshland, destroying the fabric and inflammable parts in a few minutes. Mounted patrols cut off and surround such of her crew as are still alive, and the pale glimmer of early dawn shows a tangle mass of burnt framework as all that remains of the shapely structure as all that remains of the shapely structure which ten short hours before was just emerging, with a fell intent from the recently constructed hangar at Sofia, one hundred and thirty eight miles away. Such are the fortunes of modern warfare.


Note: It was not unusual for professional writers to assists with "first hand accounts" in order to add drama, and occasionally to give credit to the "right" people or to deliberately overlook any potentially embarrassing incidents. Somewhat "flowery" language is often a bit of a give-away! A number of accounts claim that the crew of LZ-85 set fire to the airship after it landed, but it may have been preferable to tell the public that the Zeppelin had been totally destroyed by Allied action rather than admit that the crew managed to destroy it!

The burnt-out remains of LZ-85
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Old 05-05-2012, 12:03 PM   #220
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May 5, 1915
Western Front Following another gas attack, the Germans take Hill 60. Otherwise, both sides spend their time digging in. In a postscript to the St. Mihiel battle, the French lose all the ground they spent weeks taking in Ailly Wood.
Eastern Front The Germans begin bombarding the defenses of Grodno, but are checked at Mitau.
Southwest Africa Karibib falls to the South Africans.
German East Africa A British scout plane is shot down, but the crew is rescued and they have spotted the Königsberg.

May 5, 1916
Western Front, Verdun After two days and one night of bombardment, the Germans gain a foothold on Hill 304, where the French have been unable to bring up food supplies or evacuate their wounded due to the bombardment’s intensity..
North Sea The British Grand Fleet waits at the entrance to the Skagerrak, hoping to lure out the High Seas Fleet with a seaplane raid on the Zeppelin base at Tondern. But Admiral Scheer does not respond to the provocation.
Persia The Russians defeat Turkish troops at Sermil.
Ireland Four more rebel leaders are shot with another four on the 8th. The executions turn the rebel leaders, originally rejected by Irish men and women, into martyrs

May 5, 1917
Western Front French troops take Craonne ridge, above the town.
Italian Front An Austrian attack on the Carso is repulsed.
Macedonia French and Venizelist Greek troops take Bulgarian positions on the Lyumnitsa River at Gevgeli.
Caucasus Russian troops are pulling back. The Turks follow cautiously.
Russia For two days, demonstrators assembling in the streets have shouted demands for Milyukhov’s resignation. General Kornilov reorganizes the reserves.

May 5, 1918
Portuguese East Africa Northey inflicts a reverse on Lettow-Vorbeck at Nanungu, driving him northeast.
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