January
  • 11. Greek island of Corfu occupied by French.
  • 13. Cettinje, capital of Montenegro, occupied by Austrians.
  • 27. Wilson launches nationwide whistle-stop campaign to generate support for Preparedness and the Continental Army with three speeches in New York.
  • 29-31. German Zeppelins bomb Paris and towns in England.
  • 31. War College Division warns its civilian employees "to engage in no discussion whatever concerning the progress of the European War".
February
  • 3. Wilson delivers final speech of Preparedness campaign in Saint Louis.
  • 10. British conscription law goes into effect.
  • 19. Kamerun, German colony in Africa, conquered by British forces.
  • 21. Beginning of the ten month Battle of Verdun. Germans take Haumont.
  • 24. Acting Secretary of War Hugh L. Scott asks United States War College Division if any plans exist in the event "of a complete rupture" with Germany.
  • 25. Fort Douaumont falls to Germans in Verdun battle.
March
  • 9. Germany declares war on Portugal on the latter's refusal to give up seized ships.
  • 9. Pancho Villa's raid on Columbus, New Mexico.
  • 15. First U.S. tactical air unit in the field, the 1st Aero Squadron commanded by Capt. B. D. Foulois, began operations with General Pershing's expedition into Mexico.
  • 15. Austria-Hungary at war with Portugal.
  • 24. Sussex, French cross-channel steamer, with many Americans aboard, sunk by submarine off Dieppe. No Americans lost.
  • 31. Melancourt taken by Germans in Verdun Battle.
April

French employed first air-to-air combat rockets, four Le Prieur rockets attached to each strut of Nieuport fighter, credited with downing of German hydrogen-inflated Zeppelin LC-77. The Belgian, Willy Coppens, and Briton, Albert Ball, reportedly used rockets effectively against German balloons until incendiary bullets were developed.

  • 4. American naval and military attaches in Paris and London draft plan for mobilizing US shipping to carry an American army to Europe, but their plan is ignored (this plan did not survive, but is referred to in a memorandum of 14 November 1916, Record of the Joint Army and Navy Board)
  • 19. President Wilson publicly warns Germany not to pursue submarine policy.
  • 20. Russian troops landed at Marseilles for service on Frenchfront.
  • 24. Irish rebellion begins in Dublin. Republic declared. Patrick Pearse announced as first President.
  • 27. Marshal Lord Kitchener, British Secretary of State for War, asking for American military participation in Europe.
  • 29. British force of 9000 men, under Gen. Townshend, besieged in Kut-el-Amara, surrenders to Turks.
  • 30. Irish rebellion ends with unconditional surrender of Pearse and other leaders, who are tried by court-martial and executed.
May
  • 4. Germany renounces submarine policyÑ"Sussex Pledge"
  • 8. Cymrio, White Star liner, torpedoed off Irish coast.
  • 14. Italian positions penetrated by Austrians.
  • 15. Vimy Ridge gained by British.
  • 19. Britain and France conclude the Sykes-Picot Agreement
  • 22. French airmen successfully destroyed five of six German balloons using Le Prieur rockets on their Nieuport fighters.
  • 26. Bulgarians invade Greece and occupy forts on the Struma.
  • 31. Jutland naval battle; British and German fleets engaged;heavy losses on both sides.
June
  • 3. National Defense Act authorizes five-year expansion of US Army, but at the same time drastically limits size and authority of US War Department General Staff
  • 4. Beginning of the Brusilov offensive against Austria-Hungary
  • 5. Kitchener, British Secretary of War, loses his life when the cruiser Hampshire, on which he was voyaging to Russia, is sunk off the Orkney Islands, Scotland.
  • 6. Germans capture Fort Vaux in Verdun attack.
  • 21. Allies demand Greek demobilization.
  • 27. King Constantine orders demobilization of Greek army.
July
  • 1. Battle of the Somme opens; British suffer approximately 60,000 casualties on the first day
  • 14. British penetrate German second line, using cavalry.
  • 15. Longueval captured by British.
  • 22. US Navy requested Aluminum Co. of America to develop a suitable alloy for fabrication into Zeppelin-type girders.
  • 25. Pozieres occupied by British.
  • 29. US Marines land in Haiti
  • 30. Black Tom Island munitions plant destroyed; German sabotage suspected
  • 30. British and French advance between Delville Wood and the Somme.
August
  • 3. French recapture Fleury.
  • 22. President Wilson signed Navy appropriation bill, which included $3,500,000 for naval aviation.
  • 27. Roumania declares war on Austria-Hungary.
  • 28. Italy at war with Germany.
  • 28. Germany at war with Roumania.
  • 31. Germany suspends submarine assaults
  • 31. Bulgaria at war with Roumania. Turkey at war with Roumania.
September

AC Wright-Martin Aircraft Corp. contracted with French company to manufacture the Hispano-Suiza engine in the United States

  • 2. Bulgarian forces invade Roumania along the Dobrudja frontier.
  • 2-3. First German Zeppelin shot down by RFC aircraft over Britain; five Zeppelins were brought down over Britain during 1916.
  • 13. Italians defeat Austrians on the Carso.
  • 15. Tanks introduced on the Somme battlefield by the British capturing Flers, Courcelette, and other Germans positions on Western front.
  • 26. Combles and Thiepval captured by British and French.
  • 29. Roumanians begin retreat from Transylvania.
October
  • 15. Germany resumes U-boat attacks under search and destroy rules
  • 24. Fort Douaumont recaptured by French.
November

"Design Requirements for Airplanes" (A.P. 970), a basic six-page pamphlet, was issued by the British Royal Aircraft Factory of Farnborough.

  • 2. Fort Vaux evacuated by Germans.
  • 7-9. Wilson wins reelection, which was in doubt until the California returns
  • 13. British advance along the Ancre.
  • 21. Britannic, mammoth British hospital ship, sunk by mine in Aegean Sea.
  • 22. Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary, dies. Succeeded by Charles I.
  • 23. German warships bombard English coast.
  • 28. Roumanian government is transferred to Jassy.
  • 28. First airplane raid on London, by a German seaplane.
  • 29, US occupation of Santa Domingo proclaimed
December
  • 1. Allied troops enter Athens to insist upon surrender of Greek arms and munitions.
  • 5. Asquith resigns as Prime Minister; replaced by Lloyd George
  • 6. Bucharest, capital of Roumania, captured by Austro-Germans.
  • 7. David Lloyd George succeeds Asquith as Prime Minister.
  • 12. Germans issue peace note suggesting compromise peace
  • 15. French complete recapture of ground taken by Germans in Verdun battle.
  • 18. Wilson requests statement of war objectives from warring nations in peace note; British offended by implication that their war aims are no more moral than Germany's
  • 20. US Army Balloon School established at Fort Omaha, Nebraska.
  • 26. Germany replies to President's note and suggests a peace conference.
  • 30. French government on behalf of Entente Allies replies to President Wilson's note and refuses to discuss peace till Germany agrees to give restitution, reparation and guarantees.