Summary of the War for March, 1915

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

Beginning with this month, your correspondent will provide a summary of the major events for the month.

The month began with the British blockade of German East-Africa. German East Africa included the African Great Lakes region, now comprising Burundi, Rwanda, and the mainland part of present Tanzania (formerly known as Tanganyika).

Britain and France issued a joint declaration designed to prevent trade by or with Germany.

Stanislau (Galicia) recaptured by Russian forces.

The French send forces to the Dardanelles.

The British begin using submarine nets, hoping to entangle U-Boats and then destroy them with depth charges.

Russia informs Britain and France that it will lay claim to Constantinople (now Istanbul), to which the allies eventually agree.

The Battle of Neuve Chapelle begins. The Battle of Neuve Chapelle (10th – 13th March 1915) aimed to capture the high ground of the Aubers Ridge in order to threaten the German occupation of Lille. The British broke through the German lines and captured the village of Neuve Chapelle. However the German Sixth Army carried out counter-attacks and the British attack was halted from advancing any further. During the three day battle, casualties on both sides exceeded 20,000 killed, wounded, and captured.

British Orders in Council, followed shortly by similar decrees by the French greatly expanded the list of contraband.

Swedish S.S. “Hanna” was torpedoed without warning, becoming the first.neutral ship actually sunk by German submarine.

The light cruiser “Dresden”, the last German cruiser left at sea, is sunk by British warships in Chilean waters off Juan Fernandez.

The French Government lodge claim with British Government to Syria.

Allied Naval attack on the Dardanelles forts repulsed. French battleship “Bouvet” and British battleships “Irresistible” and “Ocean” sunk.

Memel (East Prussia) again captured by Russian forces.

British Government conclude agreement with American cotton interests that cotton should be contraband.

Dutch Government protest against blockade policy of the Entente.

Memel (East Prussia) reoccupied by German forces.

First German airship raid on Paris.

Przemysl capitulates to Russian forces.

Dutch S.S. “Medea” captured by German submarine and sunk. (First neutral ship sunk after visit and search).

Bosporus forts bombarded by Russian Black Sea Fleet.

The first passenger ship (British S.S. “Falaba”) sunk by a German submarine.

British Government conclude agreement with American rubber interests that rubber should not be exported except to Great Britain.


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We are devoted to providing information fresh from the Archives, Library and Collections of the Willamette Heritage Center in Salem, Oregon. We specialize in the history of Marion County and the greater Salem area.
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