Transcript

Cadorna's appeal for munitions
Catalogue reference: WO 106/765


Operations.

From:- Colonel Spiers.
July 16th 1917.
Handed in 1.55 p.m.
To:- C.I.G.S.

4103 B.S. 366.

S E C R E T.

The following message is from General Foch.

Following message received from General Cadorna :-

"The successful development of Russian offensive justifies suppositions foreseen by us that in near future a situation similar to that which I foresaw in my telegram No. 2979 GM June 26th, (in which we asked France and England to supply 25 batteries and 132000 rounds) may arise on the front of the Julian Alps. I may state too that from information received and by direct observation of movements behind the lines, the first symptoms of this are already visible. Consequently the necessity of putting forward the date of the offensive as much as possible is evident and on the other hand on account of our munitions crisis which the recent help from France and England reduced but did not solve it seems as if the offensive in question cannot be begun before the end of August. In my telegram quoted above I have already shown you that 100 guns with 1000 rounds each are absolutely necessary to make up deficiency of munitions. But if General Petain cannot spare the batteries which have been asked for and considers they can be better employed on the Franco-British front I must point out the serious consequences which the common cause of the Allies may suffer by not taking advantage of the particularly favourable strategical situation now developing on the front of the Julian Alps and by giving up the advantages of a simultaneous attack with necessary means on both Austrian fronts. In any case if decision of the General Staff is irrevocable kindly communicate above message to General Foch and ask him to use his influence with General Robertson to accept responsibility for finding at least part of batteries which we have asked for and to the supplying of which to my certain knowledge the British Government is in favour of."

          On account of result already obtained by Russian offensive and of declaration of General Brousiloff that this is the only offensive which he is able to make this year, it seems of the highest importance to me that the Italian offensive should take place during first days of August and that General Cadorna should at least receive part of the batteries asked for by him. He must not be given a reason whether real or otherwise not to attack at the right moment.
          This is now agreed to by General Petain who has put at my disposal for immediate conveyance to Italy 6 batteries, 155 C Schneider, 6 mortars calibre 237, 4 mortars calibre 370, total 34 guns.
          It is important, if you approve, that you should send without delay to General Cadorna the batteries asked for by him through my medium, after interview at St. Jean De Maurienne. Ends.



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