World War One - Other Fronts

Italian Front

The Italian Front was the border between Austria-Hungary and Italy. The majority of battles on the Italian Front were along the Isonzo River. Most were Italian Offensives but one notable exception was the Battle of Caporetto that started on October 24 1917. The Battle of Caporetto was a German / Austro-Hungarian offensive that achieved notable success, albeit unexpected. The intention of the attack was to give the Austro-Hungarian army a chance to recuperate but a decisive breakthrough saw the Central Powers advance 25km (15 miles) in one day. The result came as a shock and the supply lines couldn't keep up with the advancing troops forcing them to retire back to within 5km of the original start line.

Constant pressure by the Italians along the Isonzo led to a fatal weakening of the Austro-Hungarian Army. At the Battle of the Paive River, between June 15 to June 22 1918, and at the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, that started on October 23 1918, the Austro-Hungarian Army disintegrated and forced the Austro-Hungarians to accept an armistice that began on November 4 1918. Hostilities were formally ended on November 4 1918.

Gallipoli

The actions at Gallipoli were an attempt by the Allies to secure a passage through the Dardanelles from the Aegean to the Black Sea and capture Constantinople, the Turkish capital. The campaign was a disaster for the Allies, who were overconfident, poorly equipped and poorly trained for the operation. Initial landings took place on April 25 1915 on the Gallipoli peninsular. Allied troops were to remain at Gallipoli until their evacuation, completed on January 8 1916.

Palestine

In February 1915 Turkish forces made an unsuccessful attempt to take the Suez Canal, a vital strategic element that allowed rapid passage between Britain and its empire in the east, most notably India. The British under Murray followed this up with an attack towards Gaza during March and April 1917, the advance being held twice during attacks on Gaza itself.

Murray was replaced by Edmund Allenby who chose to attack the relatively weakly defended Beersheba during October 1917, following this up by outflanking the Turkish forces at Gaza forcing them to retire to Jaffa. Allenby continued his offensive and captured Jerusalem in December 1917, inflicting a serious loss of face to the Turkish command. The transfer of troops to the Western front during early 1918 meant that Allenby was unable to resume his offensive until September 1918 when he captured Damascus and forced the Turkish empire to agree to the Armistice of Murdos on October 30 1918.

Mesopotamia

The British were heavily dependent on oil to keep the fleet operational. Early in the war they had decided to protect the oil supplies from the Middle East, specifically around Basra near the Persian Gulf. In 1915 the British advanced on Baghdad suffering a series of defeats into 1916. The British recovered after Major-General Stanley Maude was appointed as commander of the British Army in the area, Maude's forces capturing Baghdad in March 1917. The British continued their advances during 1918, pushing the Turkish forces back until, on October 30 1918, the Armistice of Murdos was agreed ending hostilities in the area.

Africa

The Germans had several colonies in Africa. Togoland surrendered on August 26 1914. British and French troops invaded Cameroon during August 1914 and by mid March had secured the colony for the Entente. In German South West Africa, after a bad start in September 1914, the South Africans forced the Germans to surrender on July 9 1915. The story in German East Africa was rather different. The German commander, von Lettow Vorbeck, was a skilled and tenacious opponent. von Lettow Vorbeck consistently fended off Allied attempts to take German East Africa and undertook offensive raids into adjacent allied territory. von Lettow Vorbeck held out until two weeks after the Armistice had been signed, having not heard of the German surrender.

Far East

Japan was an ally of Britain and was asked on several occasions to provide assistance to the British. Japan in return was allowed to expand its influence by acquiring German Pacific colonies and by extending its presence in China, in particular Manchuria and Mongolia.