World War 1: A Short Timeline 1915

British Gas Casualties 10 April 1918
British Gas Casualties 10 April 1918. Imperial War Museum via Wikimedia Commons

Germany now plotted a change of tactic, fighting defensively in the West and trying to defeat Russia in the east quickly by attacking, while the Allies aimed to break through on their respective fronts. Meanwhile, Serbia came under increased pressure and Britain planned to attack Turkey.

• January 8: Germany forms a southern army to support the faltering Austrians. Germany would have to send ever more troops to prop up what became a puppet regime.
• January 19: First German Zeppelin raid on British mainland.
• January 31: The first use of poison gas in WW1, by Germany at Bolimow in Poland. This ushers in a terrible new era in warfare, and soon the allied nations join in with their own gas.
• February 4: Germany declares submarine blockade of Britain, with all approaching ships considered targets. This is the start of Unrestricted Submarine Warfare. When this is restarted later in the war it causes Germany to lose.
• February 7 - 21: Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes, no gains. (EF)
• March 11: The Reprisals Order, in which Britain banned all 'neutral' parties from trading with Germany. As Germany was suffering a naval blockade by Britain this became a serious issue. The US was supposedly neutral, but couldn't get supplies to Germany if it had wanted to. (It didn't.)
• March 11 - 13: Battle of Neuve-Chapelle. (WF)
• March 18: Allied ships attempt to bombard areas of the Dardanelles, but their failure causes the development of an invasion plan.
• April 22 - May 25: Second Battle of Ypres (WF); BEF casualties are triple those of Germans.
• April 25: The Allied ground assault begins in Gallipoli. (SF) The plan has been rushed, the equipment is poor, commanders who would later prove themselves act badly. It is a colossal mistake.
• April 26: The Treaty of London is signed, in which Italy joins the Entente. They have a secret agreement which gives them land in a victory.
• April 22: Poison Gas is first used on the Western Front, in a German attack on Canadian troops at Ypres.
• May 2-13: Battle of Gorlice-Tarnow, in which the Germans push Russia back.
• May 7: The Lusitania is sunk by a German submarine; casualties include 124 Americans passengers. This inflames US opinion against Germany and submarine warfare.
• June 23 - July 8: First Battle of Isonzo, an Italian offensive against fortified Austrian positions along a 50-mile front. Italy makes ten more attacks between 1915 and 1917 in the same place (The Second - Eleventh Battles of Isonzo) for no real gains. (IF)
• July 13-15: The German 'Triple Offensive' begins, aiming to destroy the Russian army.
• July 22: 'The Great Retreat' (2) is ordered - Russian forces pull back out of Poland (currently part of Russia), taking machinery and equipment with them.
• September 1: After American outrage, Germany officially stops sinking passenger vessels without warning.
• September 5: Tsar Nicholas II makes himself Russian Commander-in-Chief. This directly leads to him being blamed for failure and the collapse of the Russian monarchy.
• September 12: After the failure of the Austrian 'Black Yellow' offensive (EF), Germany takes over ultimate control of Austro-Hungarian forces.
• September 21 - November 6: Allied offensive leads to Battles of Champagne, Second Artois and Loos; no gains. (WF)
• November 23: German, Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian forces push the Serbian army into exile; Serbia falls.
• December 10: The Allies begin slowly withdrawing from Gallipoli; they complete by January 9 1916. The landing has been a total failure, costing a huge number of lives.
• December 18: Douglas Haig appointed British Commander-in-Chief; he replaces John French.
• December 20th: In 'The Falkenhayn Memorandum', the Central Powers propose to 'bleed the French White' through a war of attrition. The key is using Verdun Fortress as a French meat grinder.

Despite attacking on the Western Front, Britain and France make few gains; they also incur hundreds of thousands more casualties than their enemy. The Gallipoli landings also fail, causing the resignation of a certain Winston Churchill from British government. Meanwhile, the Central Powers achieve what looks like success in the East, pushing the Russians back into Belorussia...but this had happened before - against Napoleon - and would happen again, against Hitler. Russia's manpower, manufacturing and army remained strong, but casualties had been huge.

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Wilde, Robert. "World War 1: A Short Timeline 1915." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Wilde, Robert. (2020, August 26). World War 1: A Short Timeline 1915. Retrieved from Wilde, Robert. "World War 1: A Short Timeline 1915." ThoughtCo. (accessed February 2, 2023).