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42. The frontlines in 1921: the Eastern Front -2-

Petrograd, winter of 1921

42. The frontlines in 1921: the Eastern Front -2-

As It had happened in 1905, Russia was again the scene of protests against the war. They were originated by unresolved social conflicts of an intensity unparalleled in Russia's history. The dissent caused by the policy of civilian rationing, the industrial mobilization, the press censorship, the demands for land and work, etc, were there, and many feared, as the former Minister of Interior, prince Georgy Lvov, that they were the annoucement of a new Smutnoe vremya (Time of Troubles), as the one that followed the death of Feodor I in 1598. Nevertheless, the protesters were unable to unite politically. They were unaware not only of their own power, but also of the fragility of the ruling elite. From then on, the involvement of the people in the life of the nation would become an essential feature of the post-war and in the changes that Czarist Russia would suffer in the next three decades.

Nevertheless, up to 1921, the anti-war demonstrations were entirely reduced to writing on walls, improvised demonstrations and leafletting, as well as collecting signatures for petitions to the administration. There were some work stoppages and political meetings, and some demonstrations for bread, land, work and peace. The protests were only to take a new and more intense surge after the following winter and the summer of 1922, when the German offensive of that year shocked the Empire.

The first actions against the war took place soon after the Russian intervention, in the spring of 1920, and were soon silenced and punished with exemplary harshness. The repression struck newspapers, members of the Socialist Revolutionary and the Social Democratic Labour Parties, anarchist circles, and trade unions. Therefore, from then on, dissent was only expressed through individual actions, leaflets, and anonymous letters; for many months, since the summer of 1920, the prevailing feeling was resignation.

As It has been already mentioned, 1922 would be the critical year, with the most marked explosions of unrest taking place between the spring and the summer of that year, as we shall see, with strikes and clashes which culminated in the August Kiev riots. After this, socialists, anarchists, revolutionary leaders as well as reformists were silenced or sent to the front.

The front went back to life in September. It began with a short, sharp encounter fought from 14-17 September 1921, the Russian Chief of Staff, Alexei Brusilov, concentrated the attacks into tightly focused initiatives directed at single targets.This battle saw the Russian Third Army, with a large amount of artillery, attacking toward Lutsk. The offensive began with a massive, accurate but brief artillery barrage against the Hungarian lines. After a very successful first day, Lutsk was assaulted on the second day and conquered Without finding too many enemy resistance.

Brusilov's offensive did succeed in wearing away at Hungarian resources, both in terms of manpower and in crucial artillery availability. It seemed as if the Russians' war of attrition seemed ever more likely to wear the Hungarians into defeat, short of assistance from their German allies.

On October 10, General Alexei Evert, commander of the Russian Western Army Group, favored a defensive strategy and was opposed to Brusilov's offensive. However, pressed by the Czar himself, Evert attacked on October 10. The objectives were to be the cities of Kovel and Lviv. But due to a lack of scouting and artillery support and a too wide front, Russian artillery was unable to destroy the well-fortified German defenses causing the offensive to fail. It was over two days later.

Brusilov, incensed, wanted to remove Evert on the spot, but fate struck on October 15, when Evert died from a heart attack and was replaced by General Mikhail Alekseyev. Brusilov was determined to continue attacking towards Kovel, a policy that led to the next offensive (November 4-14) with an equal lack of success and heavy casualties. Thus, all offensives were called off pending the army's recuperation.

From September to November, the Russians suffered 185,000 casualties and the Germans and Hungarians 153,000.
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43. The frontlines in 1921: the Western Front -1-

Heavy guns of a German battery preparing to give a rude awakening to the enemy
43. The frontlines in 1921: the Western Front -1-

General Wood found himself in a difficult situation. He was to act as an independent commander only accountable to Washington whilst being as cooperative with the French as much as possible. Thus he began to plan with Sarrail an offensive in early 1921 with a some unwanted confusion. Wood favoured an attack around the Ypres salient. Politically, this would please the Belgians, and from a practical standpoint, a victory there would not only sever the German Army’s railway communications in Flanders but also threaten the Uboats bases there. However, the realities of coalition warfare ensured that the main thrust would not be at Ypres, but where the French and US Armies met on the front line, between the Rivers Somme and Avre. However, Wood did not hesitate to stress the importance of an attack at Ypres to Sarrail, who was happy to acquiesce in an offensive there on condition that it was coordinated with the main thrust at the Somme-Avre.​

The two commanders tasked with spearheading the US part of the offensive, General George W. Read, commanding Fourth Army, and General Hunter Liggett, commanding Third Army, were ordered by study the ground in the area north and south of the River Somme in preparation for the attack. He gave them a strategic objective, but would leave the tactical planning to them and their staff officers, with amendments and approval coming from the GHQ. The initiative, therefore, lay with Read and Liggett. In Read’s opinion, victory was dependent upon the weight of artillery, and on being able to totally dominate the enemy from before the battle had even begun. Both Wood and Read agreed that the offensive should be a set piece engagement involving the extensive cooperation of infantry and artillery, yet between GHQ and Fourth Army HQ, disagreement existed over the proposed extent, width and penetration of the British advance. Wood wanted a breakthrough in the truest sense, involving the deployment of cavalry and a restoration of open warfare while Read favoured a cautious approach to the battle called ‘bite and hold’ in which the attacking units would be given limited objectives to achieve. Captured positions would be held against counterattack before heavy guns could be pulled forward to cover the next phase of the advance. Then, the Germans caught the Entente by surprise.

After being delayed for a week by, fog, heavy rain and high winds, the German offensive (codename Gericht, "Judgement") began on 20 January 1921 at 7:15 am with a ten-hour artillery bombardment by 808 guns, that fired close to 1,000,000 shells along a front about 30kms long by 5kms wide. Twenty six super heavy long range guns, up to 420mm, were aimed at some of the forts. This incessant pounding or "Trommelfeuer" ("drum fire" - a barrage fired not as salvos but rather by each gun in random succession) was the heaviest and longest artillery preparation since the beginning of the war. The bombardment was paused at midday, as a ruse to prompt French survivors to reveal themselves and German observation aircrafts were able to fly over the battlefield unmolested by the French fighters. This massive preparation was followed by an attack by four armies at 16:00 pm. The bombardment completely pulverized the French trenches, phone lines, and artillery. French forces took massive losses during this bombardment while the Germans suffered about 600 casualties.

In the second day of the offensive the French defenders had fell back from their second line of defenses, but the arrival of reinforcements avoided the disaster. By January 25 the French resistance stiffened under its new commander, General Paul Maistre. The German advance began to loose momentum on February 10th, when the German soldiers lost effective artillery cover by advancing too fast in the early stages of the attack. With the battlefield turned into a sea of mud through continual shelling, it was more and more difficult for German artillery to follow forward in this very hilly terrain. German infantry's southward advance also brought it into range of French field artillery massed on the opposite bank of the Meuse river.

By then the Germans had taken Le Mort Homme and Forts Douaumont and Vaux. Their advanced trenches were at just three miles of Verdun, but they could advance no further. This was largely accomplished by the resistance of the French soldiers and the uninterrupted, night-and-day trucking along a narrow road: the so-called "Voie Sacrée" which kept the defenders of Verdun alive. Also, von Falkenhayn had exhausted the magre resource he could use for an offensive in the West. Then the second part of the offensive began: to "bleed white" the French army. During March 1921 the French attempted and failed to reoccupy Fort Douaumont (March 6 - April 15). The assault had been planned by recently promoted General Antoine de Mitry, who had replaced General Maistre, whose health had failed him, under the watchful eye of General Phillipe Petain, the commander of the Center Army Group, which included the Verdun sector. In spite of using massive artillery preparations, it failed. Then, the Germans pressed westwards in the Dijon area (May 4-24), but just as a distraction for a renewed onslaught against Verdun. This time, however, the French were ready and the attack came to a bloody end and von Falkenhayn retook his defensive strategy with gusto. Furthermore, he had additional reasons to stop attacking, as it was obvious that the British were preparing themselves for a big operation somewhere.

The front was to remain relatively calm while the big Allied offensive took place, further west. On 1 August a German surprise-attack advanced 800–900 m towards Fort Souville, which prompted French counter-attacks for the next two weeks, which were only able to retake a small amount of the captured ground. In September French counter-attacks went on and on and recovered much of the ground lost in August. Then, in October 15, the French launched a major counter-offensive to recapture Douaumont, which was finally taken on November 4. Thus the battle of Verdun came to an end. After almost nine months of battle, the two armies were almost back to their initial positions. French military casualties at Verdun are recorded as 200,000 men, including 40,000 killed, 123,000 wounded and 37,000 missing. Total German casualties were 160,000 men, including 30,000 killed, 107,000 wounded and 23,000 missing.

The Battle of Verdun —also known as the Mincing Machine of Verdun or Meuse Mill— became a symbol of French determination to hold the ground and then roll back the enemy at any human cost. The fact that the French High Command had been caught unprepared by the assault in February 1921 and that, in some examples, had stuck to useless onslaughts unsoported by less guns than needed, was overlooked by the joyful France. Furthermore, von Falkenhayn had failed. He had not bleeded white the French army, even he had caused more casualties than he had suffered and the French army was still capable of fighting.
So Verdun in TTL is less a meat-grinder than OTL?
Yes, quite a bit less. Von Falkenhayen wanted just to bleed the enemy, not to conquer Verdun, and when the Russians attacked him on the east and he smelled some American-French offensive in the west, decided to play even more safe and cut losses.
44. The frontlines in 1921: the Western Front -2-

44. The frontlines in 1921: the Western Front -2-

The Somme offensive was the baptism of fire to the Citizen Army created by Roosevelt. Thus, June 1st, 1921 was to become a crucial day in the history of the United States.

The American Third Army of General Ligget occupied the frontline to the north of Read 's Fourth Army and their lines armies met just south of Foncquevillers and Gommecourt. Ligget had to mount a diversion in order to attract German attention away from the main attack. The plan called for a pincer movement, taking the salient and capturing the garrison in a pocket. The northern pincer was the 81st Division and the southern pincer was the 93rd Division. As soon as the barrage moved from the German position, on 7.30am, a storm of enemy machine gunfire fell over No Man's Land, making impossible to the soldiers to go over the top. In fact, only Major General Charles J. Badley's 81th Division made a token effort with two companies. In the end, only one platoon went over with only one man surviving unscathed before the attack was cancelled. All in all, 68 men became casualties for nothing in exchange, as the German had answered to Ligget's effort by moving an extra division but not a single gun.

The northern flank of the Fourth Army's sector was held by General Roy Hoffman 's X Corps. Three divisions would attack on the first day to establish a strong defensive flank to secure the advance of the cavalry further south from any counterattack. However, they faced a formidable German position with excellent fields of fire. The attack began at 7.30 am. The men moved quickly to No Man's Land just to discover that the bombardment, according to the plan, had moved away and that the German machine gunners and riflemen were lining the parapet. Thus, under heavy enemy fire the attack collapsed before zero hour. By 7.35 am the Germans dropped a heavy barrage on the enemy front and the assembly trenches. In such conditions, the attack was cancelled, but by then 2,700 men had become casualties.

On the southern section the story was pretty the same as in the northern section, but with a slight twist. The wire had not been cut, the enemy machine guns were not subdued and the Germany artillery was not quite destroyed or neutralised. A German redobut called Hawthorn Ridge located to the west of Beaumont Hamel dominated the ground and made impossible any advance. Read's solution to this problem was to place 40,000 pounds of explosive under the ridge and detonate it before the attack. However, at 7.20 am the mine did not explode. Then the attack began. Massed German machine-gunners wiped out entire companies in a few minutes. Then, as the US soldiers were slaughtered, fate intervened. At 8.37 am, the Hawthorne mine exploded and confusion spread all around the front, having the positive effect of reducing the Germany fire for some time. Further attacks were planned, but the trenches were so full of corpses that the reserve batallions could not move forward and the attack was cancelled at 13:50 pm. In the center, the attack between the Serre and Beaumont Hamel managed to capture the German strongpoint known as Quadrilateral Redoubt by 7.50 am. However, the rest of the attacking units suffered horrible casualties without being able to cross No Man’s Land. All in all, the VIII Corps suffered 3,300 casualties.


A French railway gun about to go into action on the Somme front during
the preeliminary bombardment. The French army had a high proportion of
heavy-calibre weapons and used a great number of guns than the US Army
during the bombardment.

In Thiepval and Mouqet Farm the defences were formidable, too. To make it worse, the results of the preliminary bombarment in this sector proved extremely variable. Thus when the solders advanced at 7.30 am and they were inmediately hit by concentrated machine gun fire and pinend down in No Man’s Land. Even then, new attacks were ordered at 10 am and at 11 am. A third attack was ordered for 12.30 pm but by then the casualties were so high that the attack was called off. Thus the defending Germans were able to turn their guns against the main assault south of the Ancre. In spite of this, the US soldiers captured the Schwaben Redoubt, but they were being fired from all sides. By afternoon, heavy German counterattacks stormed Schwaben. The defenders, with heavy casualties and short of ammunition and supplies as well, held until darkness came and then withdrew back to their lines. On the right, two battallions attacked Thiepval frontally and their were wiped out in a few minutes. Thankfully, the artillery re-bombarded the village, allowing the withdrawal of the remnants of the first wave and of the support battalions that came forward. So, the attack had been a complete failure, stopped dead by the unsubdued machine guns. At the end of the day, XIV Corps had suffered 6,800 casualties, and hardly taken an inch of ground.

The villages of Ovillers and La Boisselle flanked the Albert-Bapaume road and marked the centre of the Fourth Army's front. It was here that the Reserve Army cavalry would advance if a breakthrough was to be achieved by the attack. Thus, this attack was also central to Wood's plan. However, there was a problem with this plan. Major General Henry C. Hodges, Jr, commander of the XV Corps, planned the attack according to Wood's set of assumptions but employing an artillery plan based on a Read's different set. To make it worse, the Germans defences in this area were also of great strenght. Two of the US divisions were two regular formations but the third one was entirely made of volunteers. The Regular's attack followed the usual pattern already seen: the troops were hit by a hail of enemy fire as they attempted to cross No Man’s Land. As the German began to bomb the trench lines, the attack was cancelled. The attack of the XV Corps ended with over 4,700 casualties for a derisory amount of ground gained and lost a few minutes later.

The attack against Fricourt, Mamez and Motauban was more lucky than skilfull. Just as the heavy guns of the XVII Corps were firing against the enemy dug-outs and machine gun posts, but not to the German batteries could wreak havoc on the attack, the French, more lavishly supplied with heavy guns than the US AEF, directed many of their heavy guns into the general Mametz-Montauban area to avoid the German batteries here hingering heir efforts further south. Thus, on the day of the attack, the AEF units faced far less artillery fire than the other corps. Even then success, did not came cheaply. North of Fricourt the bombardment had not been very accurate, so the attacking batallions were met with heavy machine gun fire as they went ove the top. Nevertheless, a force managed to take the first German system and the following wave reached the first objective (Crucifix Trench-Round Wood) by marching close behind the artillery barrage. To the south, the other assaulting brigade were met with such a vicious enemy fire that significant process was impossible, so the survivors dug in just behind the German second trench and waited for the night. East of Fricourt, the attack against Mametz was a complete success. Greatly assisted by the creeping barrage, the assaulting battalions crossed No Man’s Land close behind the barrage without suffering a single casuality. Nowhere the enemy resistance was enought to stop the attack and, by 16.00 pm Mametz was finally taken and 600 enemy soldiers surrendered. At the cost of 3,100 soldiers, most of the objectives of the XVII Corps had been seized.

On the right of the attack, the XVIII Corps, made up by two volunteers divisions, had two obstacles on the way: Montauban and Pommiers Redoubt, lavisly equipped with machine guns, barbed wire and dugouts but the bombardment, with French help, was devastating there. The enemy batteries were obliterated and the trenches also suffered heavily. Thus, following a primitive creeping barrage, the XVIII Corps went forward. The German front line was taken shortly after 7.30 am. and, by 9.30 am, the formidable Pommiers Redoubt was in American hands, and the final objective (Mountauban Alley, to the north-west of the village was taken without further problems. All objectives on the front of 18th Division had been taken. Montauban proved a hard nut to cruck, though. Some of the attacking units suffered much slaughter and little progress, but some others, the 30th Brigade, covered by a dense smoke screen, managed to reach the south of the village by 9.30 am. Then, at 10.30 the barrage moved on and the Brigade entered the village ten minutes later with hardly a casualty. From this position, the British could see the Germans flooding back towards the second line. At the cost of 1,600 trops, all the objectives of the XVIII Corps had been seized.

The French XX Corps moved off at zero hour against an enemy whose trenches had been obliterated. Just a few defenders were capable of organizsing something resemblant to a resistance as the French infantry attacked. By 12.30 pm the XX Corps had reched their final objectives without having to call their reserves. Apparently, the Germans were in complete disarray. However, the troubles north to their flank forced the French to stop their advance and to dig in. South of the Somme, two French corps advanced two hours after the XX Coprs and found that the bombardment had been more efective in this area that in any other part of the Allied front. The experienced French infantry made use of every crater to conceal their movements, supported by a variety of light automatic weapons to provide support. By the end of the day, the German second line was taken and 3,000 prisoners were making their way to the rear.

Thus ended the first day of the battle of the Somme.
45. The frontlines in 1921: the Western Front -3-

The Somme front after June 1st.
The green dots mark the ground won by the Allied offensive.

45. The frontlines in 1921: the Western Front -3-

It took a few days for Wood and Read to realise that their offensive at the Somme had cost so many casualties for so little result in exchange, and a few more until the White House discovered what had happened. Mistakes had been made in both planning and execution, yet it was unclear why some divisions had suffered so terribly whilst others fought with success. Eventually, Read and Wood recognised that the artillery was the key to success or failure of any attack. Despite the failure, there was no chance of cancelling the offensive. Wood was bound to continue, due to the Chantilly Agreement, wheter he liked it or not. The problem was what to do next. Would the American forces attack all along, just as Read had proposed? Or, as Wood favoured, would confine themselves to further advances in the south, the only area in which gains had been made? Or would they try to make a second attempt to obtain the commanding heights of the Thiepval Ridge? In the end, the second option prevailed.

The operations began promisingly well. On June 2, the Germans evacuated the Fricourt Salient. In short order, two of the divisions newly introduced to replace the ones which had been badly trashed on June 1, linked up behind the village and wood, shortening considerably the British line. The success however, ended there. Fragmented attempts to capture, Ovilliers, La Boiselle, Contalmaison and Mametz Wood procedeed from 3 to 8 June. In those days, the fighting wrecked the attackers, who suffered 3,900 casualties for no ground gained. In Washington, Roosevelt was shocked by the list of casualties and felt even worse when news kept comming from France about the renewal of the offensive. And as he saw that the figthing was to keep going under the same doomed tactics, the president decided to restrict, somehow, Wood's actions. Several strong worded messages crossed the Atlantic Ocean but by the time that they had an effect on Wood, Read had been attacking. From 9 to 15 of June, the Fourth Army launched thirty attacks against the German positions. These actions were costly. Overall, Read's forces suffered 9,615 casualties, which, added to the 19,568 from the first day, took the total of fifteen days of operations to 29,183. In exchange, the Americans had gained nearly 10 square milles (26 km).

New methods were applied in the new attack, which was scheduled for June 17. It aimed at capturing the German second defensive position which ran along the crest of the ridge from Pozières, on the Albert–Bapaume road. Following a surprise five-minute artillery bombardment, four divisions were to attack on a front of 5.5 kms at 3:25 a.m. The artillery was to lay down a creeping barrag, and the attacking waves were to push up close behind it in no man's land, leaving them only a short distance to cross when the barrage lifted from the German front trench. It was a complete success. The entire German front system fell shortly after zero hour and by midday Read's troops had secured the German second line and captured the villages of Bazentin le Petit, Longueval and Trônes Wood, but were stopped in front of Waterlot Farm. Finally, the attacked had achieved a moderate success.

After the events of June 17, spirits were pretty high in Read's HQ. However, the Germans were still at Pozières and the Switch Line was also there, as a formidable obstacle. After four days of bad weather (June 18-22) that made impossible any aerial observation, the offensive resumed. The target was Pozières, which meant chance to take the German northern defences in the flank. But before taking Pozières, Read had to capture Ovilliers and La Boiselle, the fortified villages whose machine guns decimated entire battalions on June 1. In spite of the time devoted to study the attack, the operation, intended as a concerted major attack, degenerated into a series of distinct and uncoordinated attacks when they began in June 21. Soon No Man's Land was deluged by a storm of shells and machine gun fire and the attack was called off. The next try was prepared with meticulous detail and an enormous amount of artillery was assembled for the occasion (the entire guns of two US corps and a French one). The attack went in on June 27 after a furious bombardment during which 125,000 shells were fired. Trones Wood, Mametz Wood, Ovillers and La Boiselle were taken without too much problems.

After these attacks Wood and Read meet again. After much talking, they admited that there was a problem they could not solve: the limitations to the American equipment at the moment (worn guns and difficulties in ammunition supply). Thus, the large-scale attacks required to keep pressuring the German army was not possible as Wood did not possess neither the guns nor the ammunition to fire the sort of barrage which alone might fulfil his purpose. Wood recognised that the Germans were "too formidable to be rushed without careful and methodical preparation". The Germans, he opined, might even be capable of mounting strong and well organised counter-attacks. However, as they had already done at Fricourt, when the Germans realized about Read's offensive preparations against Countalmaison, they simply withdrew from the Salient to the high ground north of the village. Then Read began to mass his forces against Thiepval while preparing a secondary attack against Pozières, which was finally taken by July 5th. Taking Pozières had caused 12,000 casualties to the AEF.

Thus, after a month of attacks and 75,000 casualties, the offensive in the Somme was postponed until a new weapon arrived to the battlefield: the tank.
46. The frontlines in 1921: the Italian and Balkan Fronts

Hungarian troops resting after a long march towards the Tagliamento River

46. The frontlines in 1921: the Italian and Balkan Fronts

When the German offensive started in Romania, the defender forces were woefully unprepared. From the seventy FT tanks bought to France, only 12 had arrrived -8 "males" (armed with the 37 mm Puteaux gun) and 4 "females" (Hotchkiss 8 mm machine-gun)-. Even worse, the stocks of ammunitions had not been totally refilled and the army was outnumbered and outgunned. Still, it took the Germans one whole week (1-7 July) to break through the mountains. As the Romanian forces fought to keep the Germans at bay, the Bulgarian army began to cross the Danube on July 10. It was not until two days later that the first Romanian counterattack against the bridgehead took place. German artillery easily dispersed the attacking infantry. Two days later, the two pinces of the offensive marched towards Bucharest, which fell on German hands on July 15. The Romanian army withdew then towards Moldavia, but the fast pace of the German-Bulgarian forces caught them by suprise and, nine days later, the enemy vanguards were in Fossani. Only 65,000 Romanian soldiers with 85 gun managed to reach the Russian lines at Moldavia. The Russian XXIV Corps, that fought alongside the Romanian army, suffered heavy losses, too. Two of its divisions lost half of their men and of the equipment during the fight and the third was decimated; only 1,500 of its soldiers made it back to Mother Russia. King Ferdinand I of Romania, utterly demoralized by the speedy defeat., remained in Bucharest. "The war is lost", he said, before being captured by the forces of general von Mackensen. The Romanian goverment in exile, located in Petrograd, would continue the struggle from there.

After this quick victory, Germany redeployed his forces and reinforced the Venetian front, where the next German attack was to fall. The Bulgarian armies returned to Greece, ready to finish the fight there. However, it would prove a vain attempt. The Hungarian-Bulgarian offensive in Greece began on September 10 and, after making small initial gains, was stopped by the determined defense of Entente defenders. Four days later, the stalemate returned to the front. Sofia then attempted to break it by an amphibious landing at Katerini did not materialize due to bad weather and most of the units slated for it were used to reinforce the main offensive than was launched on September 15 against Veroia. Six days later, the Bulgarians began withdrawing and assuming defensive positions until the arrival of reinforcements even if in the coastal front they had managed to break the defensive line. However, they were stuck there. The Entente counterattack (October 8 - November 12) managed to push the enemy back until the stiffening Bulgarian resistance, the worsening supply situation and the bad weather forced to end all the large-scale offensive operations. Thus, until spring, all was quiet on the Greek front.


The Neapolitean revolution on the move!​

In the southern front of the Italian peninsula, guns had been firing since January 1921 as a fast reaction to the German onslaught in Verdun (Fifth Battle of the Garigliano, from January 24 to February 15- ; Sixth Battle of the Garigliano, from March 21 to April 3 -; Seventh Battle of the Garigliano, from May 8 to 23), but, other than exhausting both sides and causing huges casualties to both armies (35,000 Piamontese and 15,000 Neapolitean killed and wounded), it proved a tactic failure and a strategic absolute victory for the Entente, as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was racked by riots and protests against the war that erupted on May 12 and lasted until June 3, that led to the fall of the government of Luigi Sturzo four days later and the return of Antonio Salandra at the head of a National Government that began at once to draft a new Constitution. However, it engaged in large scale illegal repressions. The economy continued in bad condition, with the poor especially hurt by the high cost of food. State finances were in total disarray.

Less than a month later a royalist coup d'etat was suppressed (July 15), which led to a purge of the parliament and the arrest of 42 of its members. The next attempt (August 2) led to a brief military government that caused an inmediate reaction: From August 28 to September 10, there were mutinies in twelve Neapolitiean divisions on the front and 15,000 soldiers deserted. Then, on September 26, a strike paralized Naples and Giovanni Bacci, the leader of the Socialist Party since he had fled from Piamont in 1912, called for an an armed uprising. In Naples itself, Bacci created and led a revolutionary military committee, which began plan to occupy strategic locations through the city, almost without concealing their preparations. Salandra, aware of the them, remained strangely passive. Fourteen days later, on October 10, a revolution toppled its government. Salandra and king Filippo I escaped to Sicily. There, the reconstituted Salandra cabinet, with the Royal Family safe in the islands and with the remnants of the army still loyal to the king, asked help to Berlin while stating their firm compromise to fight the Entente just as Bacci created the Revolutionary government in Naples and decided to immediately make peace with their enemies. Thus started the Neapolitean civil war.

The Piamontese army was unable to take profit form the sudden chaos that left its southern enemy almost helpless: on 15 May 1921, 2,000 German, Hungarian and Crotian guns opened a heavy barrage mixing high explosives and poison gas against the Piamontese lines, setting Trentino afire. The defenders fled in panic, as they knew that their gas masks could protect them only for two hours or less. The attackers marched almost unopposed, covering 25 kilometres on the first day. Cadorna hastily sent reinforcements to the front. On May 21, the defenders had to withdraw to the other side of the Tagliamento. The situation was critical, but the commitment of reserves and the replacement of several unfit commanders gradually improved the situation. The new defensive line held and repelled repeated German-Hungarian attacks. In spite of this, the German pressure was maintained until June 10, when the offensive came to an end. By then, the German-Hungarian-Croatian forces had lost 8,000 dead, 48,000 wounded and 30,000 missing and taken prisoners, while the casualties of the battered Piamontese army were 14,000 dead, 55,000 wounded, 140,000 prisoners and 25,000 deserters, along with 1,000 guns, and 1,500 machine guns. It was the end of Cadorna, that was sacked and replaced by the Commander of the Southern Army Group, General Enrico Caviglia, who marched north leaving General Emilio de Bono as his replacement in the south. If the Piamontese forces were to held, a lot of help would be needed at once.
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47. The frontlines in 1921: the Western Front (4)

Temporary Colonel Patton in France, 1921 alongside a M1917 light tank of the 304th Tank Brigade
47. The frontlines in 1921: the Western Front (4)

Too happy to leave the Somme battlefield for a while, Wood turned his attention to Flanders, where only minor operations took place since 1920. Admiral Robert E. Coontz, Chief of Naval Operations of the US Navy, had remarked the importance of obtaining control of the Belgian coast, to end the threat posed by German U-boats as the enemy submrines were breaking havoc in the sea lines and in the Entente merchant navies. Wood was sceptical of a coastal operation so he preferred an advance from Ypres, to bypass the flooded area around the Yser and the coast, to clear the coast to the Dutch border before attempting a coastal attack. The Flanders front was covered by the Second Army, led by General John Pershing, which held the Western Front in Flanders from Laventie to Boesinghe, with eleven divisions in the front line and to two in reserve. Thus, in early 1921, while the preparations for the Somme went on, some minor battles took place at Boesinghe, Hooge, Sanctuary Wood .St Eloi, (February 10-15) and Mont Sorrel (June 5-18). This "light" actions, the trench mortaring, mining and raiding by both sides from January to May had caused 10,000 casualties to the AEF.

Thus, Pershing began to plan his offensive in July and soon came into troubles when he could persuade Pershing to give him neither the guns nor the ammunition needed for the planned attack against Messines Ridge. Thus, he went for a bit and hold strategy that was put into motion on August 1st against St. Eloi. However, Pershing's planning had to be rewritten when the Germans blew two mines under the American lines about 140 m north of the Ypres–Comines Canal on June 3. A bigger mine was detonated on the night of 21/22June but all this achieved was a crater about 100 m wide, which the US soldiers occupied and made into another defensive position. Apparently, the German commander of the area, Generalobest Albrecht, Duke of Württemberg, was suspicious about the preparations that were taking place behind the enemy lines and prepared an offensive of its own. and his troops raided the AEF lines during eleven days, starting on July 8.

However, the AEF offensive went on as planned on August 1st. Two brigades assaulted the Bluff, a mound near St. Eloi, south-east of Ypres, in Belgium., created from a spoil heap during the digging of the Ypres–Comines Canal before the war. The attackers conquered their goals without too much trouble, as the German soldiers waiting for a longer preparation bombardment and most were still in their bunkers when the assaulting units jumped into their trenches. The AEF casualties were 1,622 while the Germans had 908, plus 321 missing and 433 prisoners of war.

The next attack was aimed at the Hohenzollern Redoubt, a German defensive position north of Loos-en-Gohelle, a mining town north-west of Lens, in France.. The redoubt was fought over by the American and German armies during the Battle of Loos (25 September – 8 October 1920), which had left the AEF holding the west side and the east side was occupied by the Germans, On August 8, two brigades attacked the redoubt. After a long and protracted battle, the AEF soldiers managed to occupy their target two days later, but the Germans launched daily counterattacks from August 11 to August 15, recovering the redoubt. From then on, the area was to be an endless mine warfare battlefield as, from August 19 to September 23, the Germans detonated eight mines and the AEF ten. Each explosion was followed by infantry attacks and consolidation of the mine lips, which were costly to both sides and turned more areas of no man's land into crater fields. Then, the German launched a gas attack at Hulluch, which began on September 26. The gas cloud and artillery bombardment were followed by raiding parties, which made temporary lodgements in the AEF lines. Two days later the Germans began another gas attack but the wind turned and blew the gas back over the German lines. The front would remain calm until October 30, when the Germans launched another gas attack, this time against Wulverghem, and took the King Salient (November 18). Those were the last battles in Flanders in 1921.


Wood saw himself compelled to attack again in the Somme. As the Piamontese front hang on a thread after the battle of Trentino (May 15 - June 10), he attacked on August 1st to fix the German forces and to thus avoid reinforcemetns being sent France to support another offensive against the belaguered Piamontese army, as its new commander, General Caviglia, feared. For this attack, Wood made use of all the armoured support he had at hand. However, the two first weeks of August did not improve his mood. The area selected for the attack was the German second trench line that ran from Bazentin le Petit to Longueval. For one week the AEF infantry struggled against the German barrage with dissapointing results.

Then, two brigades of tanks (one with M1917 light tanks (1) and one with M1919 (2) medium tanks) joined the efforts of the Third Army. On August 15, the Quadrilateral Redoubt, which had proved unasailable on June 1st and July 15th, was attacked. At least the AEF artillery had bombed it with some accuracy and continuously from August 10 onwards. It fell after a brief fight, the new defenders had to face several heavy German counterattacks during the rest of the day. Thus by those means (and 4,500 casualties) the AEF gained its start line for the big attack. The main attack against the central and western part of the front was carried out by twelve divisions and all the tank units, after two days of bombins that saw approximately 400,000 shells raining against a front of 18,000 yards protected by rudimentary trenches. Thus, this bombing, which prevented the Germans from reinforcing their line, along with supporting fire from the tank, helped the IX US Corps to take Martinpuich and Courcelette suffering acceptable casualties (2,600). For their part, the men from the VII Corps, executed a textbook "bit and hold" attack. The three attacking divisions assaulted the main defences of the second line and, again thanks to the creeping barrage and the tanks, managed to take Flers on the second day and to hold it against the enemy counterattacks. II Corps was less successful, and it only advanced a thousand yards into enemy territory while a number of battalions sustained grievous losses in the process. The artillery achieved poor results and the battallions found their objectives strongly manned with machine guns and with the belt of wire almost untouched. In spite of this, the infantry advanced from shell hole to shell hole and took Mouqet Farm. However, by then the AEF soldiers were exhausted and depleted by the huge amount of casualties: 9,600.

Further attacks against the the Schwaben and Zollern Redoubts took place only after two days of the most heavy bombardment seen so far and then the redoubts were drenched with gas just before zero hour in order to incapacitate the dug-out defenders. The early objectives were taken with light losses, but it proved hard to progress further. It was not until September 4th when the Germans withdrew to the northeastern corner of the Redoubt. By then the AEF troops had suffered 2,000 casualties. The Zollern Redoubt was less hard to take. After the customary shelling and of the defences, the infantry crossed No Man's Land following the creeping barrage and by nightfall the Redoubt had fallen. However, any further advance was precluded by concealed enemy machine guns, that swept the battlefield so nothing could move on it and had to be silenced one by one by the artillery. All in all, this lucky advance was achieved at a moderate cost: 1,300 casualties Then took place the attack against Thiepval itself. Surrounded from all sides and with their line of retreat reduced to a tiny gap between Schwaben and Stuff redoubts, the German garrison fought with desesperate valour but, when dark fell, the last German defenders abandoned the village and ran towards their lines. Thiepval had been finally taken, almost three months behind schedule.

On their part of the front, the French Army attacked Maurepas with an overawing display of firepower, which, however, did not avoid a huge number of casualties and couldn't secure the seizure of their main objective due to the lack of surprise. Over the following seven days, the Fifth and Ninth French armies kept making small advances at a heavy cost (35,000 killed and wounded).

Despite their limitations, these operations were the most successful carried so far by the AEF army on the Somme and the creeping barrage had emerged as the best method to protect the infantry and was used as a matter of course by all divisions. However, Wood was quite dissapointed by the perfomance of the tanks, as we shall see. Furthermoe, as autumn was ending and winter promised its quote of rain and mud, the commander of the AEF put and end to the Somme push and began to plan the next offensive.


The Somme front at the end of September 1921.

(1) The US version of the Renault FT.
(2) A US "re-enginereed" version of the British Mk III tank ITTL. It is armed only with Lewis machine guns and it's going to be replaced after the lessons learnt in the Somme by the M1921
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48. The frontlines in 1921: North Africa and the Middle East -1-

Senussi cavalry charging
48. The frontlines in 1921: North Africa and the Middle East -1-

As Spain was mustering and organizing the units that were to fight in France as part of the Cuerpo Expedicionario Español (CEE - Spanish Expeditionary Corps) two rebellions burst out, one in Morocco and the other one in Libya. It happened in avery delicate moment, as the attention of the government was fixed in Europe and the transition form the premiership of Canalejas to Romamones was in full swing. Furthermore, the two uprisings took the government and the military completely by surprise. By then the Spanish army of Africa was made up by 24,776 soldiers: 19,756 were Spaniards and 5,020 were local troops.

On July 22, 1921, the Riff tribes of Beni Ulixek, Beni Said and Temsaman, whose loyalty had been bought during the creation of the Spanish Protectorate in Morocco, rose in arms against the colonial rule. Soon the situation spiralled out of control when, three days later, Abd-el-Krim led a general uprising in the Protectorate. The 3,000 strong garrison of Annual, led by Colonel Morales Reinoso , saw itself isolated when the fortified post of Ben Tieb was overwhelmed by 2,500 Riffian fighters, thus cutting the supply line between the Spanish positions of Annual and Melilla. However, this dangerous situation was aborted when forces of the Tercio (1) retook Ben Tieb on July 24. Then Abd-el-Krim began harassing the Spanish positions around Annual with ambushes. The Spaniards responded by dismantling their isolated small posts of Monte Abarrán, Sidi Dris, Abarran, Igueriben, Azru, Cheif and Buhafora to concentrating the forces present in the area in the fortified positions of Annual and Dar Drius. This move proved to be a mistake as it reinforced the morale of the Riffians and more tribes joined Abd-el-Krim. By August 2, 5,000 Spanish soldiers were trapped in Annual. Then, on August 6, 15,000 Riffians attacked Dar Drius, defended by 3,000 men led by Colonel Enrique Salcedo. After two days of heavy fighting, the fort was overrun, and only 120 survivors escaped to the nearby post at Dar Azugaj. 1,500 soldiers were taken prisoner, the remainder killed or missing.

The garrison of Tistulin, at the very end of the railwaythat departed from Melilla, was reinforced with an infantry batallion, while a relief force assembled at Monte Arruit under the command of General Felipe Navarro. It was made up by an infantry regiment and two Moroccan tabores (2). This task force launched an intelligence raid, capturing prisoners who said a massive Riffian offensive was planned. Thus, General Manuel Fernandez Silvestre, in command of the Command of Melilla, ordered Reinoso at Annual to destroy his heavy equipment and evacuate towards Dar Drius. The plan was that Navarro would fight its way north from Titstulin to Dar Drius, to retake and hold it long enough to link up with the Annual garrison. On August 16, the Navarro task force set out from Monte Arruit. However, Abd-el-Krim had concentrated ten thousand men and several machine guns and guns around Dar Drius and rebuffed Navarro, who had to pull back and wait for rinforcements. Then Navarro renewed the attack on August 18, pushing soouthwest to baypass Dar Drius as the enemy numbers were overwhelming.

Meanwhile, Colonel Reinoso's group began to march in column from the Annual encampmentg on August 17; contrary to orders he took with him his heavy equipment. The group's movement was slowed by Riffian ambushes. After bitter fighting, they finally abandoned their heavy equipment and linked up with Navarro in the hills around Dar Azugaj on August 20. The only cavalry unit, the Cazadores de Alcántara, conducted a fighting retreat to protect the rearguard. At Afrau, on the coast, Spanish warships were able to evacuate the garrison. At Zoco el Telata de Mtalsa in the south, Spanish troops and civilians were able to retreat to the French Zone. Under constant pressure from the enmy, the Spamish column retreated some 80 km to the fortified encampment of Monte Arruit, located south of Melilla. Here General Navarro made a stand even if he was surrounded and cut off from supplies. However, the Riffian forces had largely dispersed following the capture of Annual, leaving Abd-el-Krim with insufficient men to lay siege to Monte Arruit. In addition, citizens of other European nations were living in Melilla, and he did not wish to risk international intervention. It was too late, as Spain quickly assembled about 14,000 reinforcements from elite units of the Army of Africa and transferred to Melilla by sea, these reinforcements enabled the city to be held and Monte Arruit to be rescued by early September.

By then, Spain had lost 4,800 soldiers killed and wounded, 2,000 missing or captured and 1,000 Moroccan soldiers killed, wounded or captured. Rif casualties were reportedly 1,400. Materiel lost by the Spanish, in the summer of 1921 and especially in the Battle of Annual, included 5,000 rifles, 1,600 carbines, 20 machine guns, 200 horses, 150 mules, 50 cannons, and a large quantity of ammunition. Abd el Krim remarked later: "In just one night, Spain supplied us with all the equipment which we needed to carry on a big war." Some sources state that Germany had supplied the Riffians with 20,000 Mauser rifles and 100 MG08 machine guns.


Retreat of the Spanish troops to Melilla after the battle of Annual

Meawnhile, in Libya, the Ottoman Empire decided to take revenge from the humilliation suffered in 1916 and, with German support, Turkish and German offciers made their way to at Siwa Oasis to met a Senussi force of 5,000 combatants, supported by mountain guns and machine-guns, led by the Grand Senussi Ahmed Sharif as-Senussi himself. They were to attack Tobruk. Thus, on 15 August, just as Annual was close to be abandoned, the Senussi opened fire against Sollum with artillery and machine-guns. Suddenly, as the first shells rained against the defences of Tobruk, several Spanish patrols were ambushed outside of Badia, Tripoli and Bengazhi in the following days. The worst was to come on August 30, when a reconnoisance force from the Tripoli garrison was caught by surprise by the Senussi and defeated. Even if their losses were light, their disorganized withdrawal let much weaponry and ammunition in enemy hands. Then, on September 5, a German submarine torpedoed the British steamer Moorina and handed over the crews to the Senussi at Port Suleiman in Cyrenaica. When the British complained about it, the Grand Sennussi feigned ignorance, but the crews were returned, two weeks later, with any explanation about its whereabouts during those days.

Then, on September 17, just as the Senussi fired into the Spanish camp at Tobruk, civil unrest began at Tripoli. By then, there were 40,000 Spanish troops in Libya. The garrison of Derna repulsed an attack late on September 22 November but then retreated before dawn, arriving at Badiah on the 24 and 125 soldiers of the colonial corps deserted to the Senussi with their equipment and 176 camels. As soon as Derna was evacuated, Ottoman ships arrived full of munitions for the Senussi , By October 3, a Spanish brigade landed in Tripoli as reinforcement with two artillery batteries and two Lohner Pfeilflieger aircraft from the 4 Squadron, which began operations two days later.

Thus, from October 11 onwards Spanish flying columns, made up with infantry, artillery and armoured and light cars plus cavalry forces, began to move to secure the west part of the Libyan coast. One of those columns was received with small-arms fire at Sirte, but with the support of the artillery the Senussi were driven back and the armoured cars cut their withdrawal and massacred them. From a force of about 300 Senussi only seven prisoners were taken and the rest killed during the fight or when they fled, as the Spanish soldiers were in a quite sanguine mood after hearing what had happened in Morocco. Their losses were 16 killed and 17 wounded. By October 30, the Spanish columns were at Marsa Breda. They had suffered 9 killed and 65 wounded , along the way, for 250 Senussi prisoners and unknown number of enemy losses. Bad weather would prevent operations from September 6-17, time used to reorganize the columns and to bring reinforcements and supplies

The Senussi could not stand their ground and apart from a small Ottoman contingent, fled into the desert. The Ottomans were overrun and killed, thirty prisoners were taken along with three field guns, nine machine-guns and 250,000 rounds of ammunition, for no Spanish casualties. The armored cars pursued the enemy for 20 km, shooting down the Senussi as they ran. Meanwhile, the British army reinforced his position at Sidi Barrani with two battalions at Bardia in case that the Senussi crossed the Egyptian border. Thus the operations came to and end in Lybia, as the Spanish command decided to carefully study the situation. Ironically, a seemingly unrelated event in Arabia was to modify their plans.

(1) The Spanish Foreign Legion.
(2) A tabor (battalion) was made up with 3 to 4 Goums (companies).
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49. The frontlines in 1921: North Africa and the Middle East -2-

49. The frontlines in 1921: North Africa and the Middle East -2-

The Young Turk revolution of 1908 and its mixture of pan-Islamism, Ottomanism, and pan-Turkicism did nothing to endear the minorities of the Empire to the new regmen. This led to the countercoup of 1909, which aimed to dismantle the constitutional system and restore the absolute monarchy of Sultan Abdul Hamid I, which was supported by the Arab members of the parliament. However, the Young Turks defeated the countercoup and replaced the dethroned Sultan with his brother Mehmed V Reşad. In 1913, Arab intellectuals and politicians met in Paris at the First Arab Congress. They produced a set of demands for greater autonomy within the Ottoman Empire. However, there were no reforms that fulfilled the Arab demands. On the contrary, the Ottoman authorities in Syria cracked down on the Arab nationalist organisations al-‘Ahd and al-Fatat in August 1915, and executed its leaders. Even worse, the policy of Turkification theatened the Arab way of life in Hehaz and, by July 1919, Hussein, the Sharif of Mecca, saw that revolting against the Ottomans – siding with the Allies –was to be his only viable course of action.

The British government had been in contact with the Arab leaders since 1914. When the Ottoman Empire entered the war in the German side in August 5, 1921, the Arab leaders decided to accept the British offers of help and revolted in September. Lead by Hussein, Arab guerillas captured Medina and Mecca, and Tabuk in October, bringing the whole of the Hejaz under their control jsut as the Armenian Uprising brought more chaos to the Ottoman Empire. However, appart from the Armenians, no other Arab leader supported Hussein’s revolt – most notably, Ibn Saud of Nejd, the King of Hejaz’s biggest rival, remained silent. Even the promised uprisings in Syria did not materialise. The Arab Revolt was lacking momentum so further outside help was required. While this was happening, British money was secretly funneled to support the Arab rebellion. The Ottomans, of course, were almost certain that London was behind these events but Germany, unwilling to have Britain joining the war in Europe in the Entente side.

In any case, the new demands of the Arab front and the increasing French and Spanish naval patrols along the Libyan coast was making quite difficult to keep smuggling weapons to the Senussi rebels, even more now that the Neapolitean fleet was hardly in a situation to support its allies as its remnats were either blocked by the French navy or in the hands of the revolutionaries. Some attempts were done by using submarines, but it was too little, too few. By the end 1921, the Sennussi were on their own.

Then, on September 15, 1921, the White Star ocean liner RMS Titanic was torpedoed by the German U-boat U-20 and sank in 18 minutes. The vessel went down 11 miles (18 km) off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland, killing 1,356 and leaving 867 survivors.
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50. The First Spanish War Cabinet (1921)

The new goverment,
The earl of Romanones (2) with Antonio Maura (1),
Manuel Garcia Prieto (3) and Francesc Cambó (4)
50. The First Spanish War Cabinet (1921)

The events leading to the creation of the War Cabinet led by Romanones began with a small political storm in late July, when the Minister of the Treasury, Miguel de Villanueva, presented to the Cortes a minor bill that put into effect superficial changes to the running of the Board of Customs. Antonio Maura saw it as an opportunity to strike a blow at the government and led a large number of disgruntled Conservatives in opposition to the bill, which passed with relative ease, but the opposition of so many Conservative backbenchers was alarming as it threatened the general consensus in such a delicate moment, just as Spain had joined the most brutal war in world’s history. Even worse, some voices seemed to suggest that Romanones was perceived as an unsatisfactory war leader. Maura appealed then to Romanones to invite the opposition into a coalition, but the Prime Minister was not keen, as it deemed the idea as "quite unwieldy and awkward given the past hostility of the opposition towards us". Romanones certainly looked upon the prospect of a coalition with distaste. Thus, he therefore stalled and decided to bide his time. Unknown to him, Maura was playing exactly the same game.

Then the revolts in Libya and Morocco fell as a bomb in the Spanish political arena and the attacks againt Romamones took new highs of criticism. However, much to Maura dissapointment, the public was not outraged, as the events were downplayed by the press and transformed into valiant and gallant stands of the army. Bearing in mind the attitude of the Spanish public opinion towards the African wars in the past, it was quite surprising when a wave of enthusiasm travelled through the whole country, resulting in thousands of Spaniards volunteering to join the army. Perhaps the recruiting campaign was favoured by the participation of such a figures as Luis Araquistáin, Melquíades Álvarez, Miguel de Unamuno and Alejandro Lerroux. Maura convened a meeting with Joaquin Sánchez de Toca and José Sánchez Guerra to put aside their differences and to open a series of debates would be initiated, and that the government’s handling of the war would be severely criticised. By the time Maura had decided to break off the unofficial truce that began with the war, Romanones had changed his mind and was on the verge of inviting the Conservatives into a coalition anyway: it was increasingly clear that the support of the Conervatives was crucial to his premiership, so he announced to the cabinet his intention to form a coalition with the Conservatives, before Maura could be given the opportunity to attack the government. It was impossible for Romanones to do anything else. Thus, the Liberal Prime Minister invited Maura for negotiations over the formation of a National Government.

One of the Conservative Party’s targets was Niceto Alcalá-Zamora. Maura distrusted him because of the events in Africa made him an easy target. However, Romanones was willing to protect Alcalá-Zamora. Thus, the solution was to keep him at the Ministry of War and to establish a separate Ministry of Munitions could be established under José Sánchez Guerra. Maura, having waited for his hand to strengthen, now set out a number of preconditions for the creation of a National Government. Firstly, he demanded that the Lord Chancellor, Santiago Alba, be removed from government, as Maura disliked Alba for being too "leftish". Too willing to get rid of him for that very reason, Romanones accepted and Alba was replaced by the leader of the Catalan Lliga Regionalista, Francesc Cambó, as the prime minister wanted to include the Catalan parties in the new government and thus made them to put aside their Nationalists demands. Perhaps the most important of Maura’s demands to be accepted by Romanones was an agreement to pass a bill implementing conscription. On September 20, 1921, the National Government was officially formed, and the Conservatives had got a good deal. Mariano Ordóñez García and Manuel de Flórez replaced José Roig at the the Ministry of Justice and Joaquín Fernández Prida at the Admiralty, while Maura replaced Sánchez Guerra and he himself set up the Ministry of Munitions. Thus two antagonistic groups were now compelled to work together for the good of the country.

One of the effects of having Maura in the government was his determination to take the war through to a completely successful conclusion was soon to spread to the rest of the government. This was demonstrated by Romanones' first public speech after the creation of the National Government in Barcelona on October 4, when he declared that it would be "a betrayal to this country and to mankind to accept any peace except the peace based on the complete overthrow of the Prussianised Germany of the Hohenzollerns.” The speech was made to foster national unity and to mobilise the populace for the war effort, and it included a number of subtle warnings to the pacifists and some more direct threats to any German sympathisers, who he declared to be traitors.

In relation with its Moroccan Protectorate and Lybia, the National Government took a hard decision. Both General Dámaso Berenguer, who commanded the troops in the Protectorate, and General Ricardo Burguete, commander of the Spanish forces in Lybia, received orders from Madrid on 28 October requesting the dispatch of all available troops to Spain to be sent to France and the withdrawal of their remaining forces to more defensible coastal enclaves. The Spanish government justified this stance by stating that the "fate of Morocco and Lybia will be determined in Flanders". However, neither Berenguer nor Burguete did not wish to abandon the inland territory his men had fought so hard for, as it would lead to "a general revolt would arise under our feet, on all our points". Both Generals switched from the offensive to a long-term strategy of "active defence". Some trobules arose, however, when reservists from Spain were sent to Morocco and Libya, which caused some riots in the Peninsula. Mewanhile, Berenguer and Burgete began to build line of outposts around the main cities of the areas under their control to hold the rebels in their current positions until they had sufficient resources to return to the offensive. The French, who had just crushed the Zaian Revolt, began to establish a line of out-posts north of the Oureghla River in disputed tribal territory in February 1922. This line was to be the turning point of the Third Moroccan War, as we shall see.
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