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The Second Battle of the Masurian lakes - The First World War - 1915

The Second Battle of the Masurian lakes. On the Eastern Front the Germans launched a major offensive in the region north of the Masurian lakes. In a second attempt to defeat the ailing Russian army general Hindenburg launched a major offensive against the Russian lines on the 7th February (an earlier offensive had been launched here in 1914). Hoping that the poor weather, it was snowing heavily, would catch the Russians off their guard, two attacks were mounted. The German Eighth army advancing to the south and the tenth army attacking northwards. The advance was quick and successful with just one Russian corps (battalion) holding up the advance. After two weeks of fierce resistance though the XX corps, in the face of overwhelming force, surrendered. Hindenburg had advanced over 60 miles in this offensive in just two weeks. The advance was halted when the Russian 12th army counterattacked on the 22nd February.

Field Marshall Paul von Hindenburg masterminded the German assault in the Masurian lakes.

The Dardanelles Operation. The Dardanelles operation was an attempt by the allied naval forces to force Turkish withdrawal from the war. A large fleet of British and French ships was sent to the Dardanelles with the intention of rendering bases at the entrance to the narrows unusable. Once this objective had been met the fleet would then enter the narrows and blast it's way through to Constantinople, the Turkish capital. This was a high risk operation. The Dardanelles is a relatively narrow waterway that had many fortifications on both banks. There was also a high risk of the ships hitting mines or being sunk by artillery from the shore.

The Fleet launched it's bombardment of the forts at the entrance to the narrows on February 19th. Upon destroying the forts a detachment of marines went ashore to make certain that the area was safe. The next stage was to bombard the fortifications along the banks of the river whilst also clearing the minefields that the Turks had laid. Resistance from the shore was heavy. During the course of this stage of the operation one of the French vessels hit a mine, resulting in it's sinking. Two British ships were also sunk and several other ships hit by enemy fire. The operation was then cancelled to prevent the loss of any more vessels.

On the Western Front the First Battle of Champagne continued.

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