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THE EASTERN THEATRE OF THE WAR—JULY 28TH By July 28th the great battles on Field Marshal extreme left in front of Ivangorod. The Russians ron Mackensen's front along the line of the Ivango- were now attacked with determination from the od-Lublin-Kholm-Kiev railroad had been determined north, south, and west by the Austro-Germans. n favor of the Germans, and the Russians had begun About 1,500,000 Germans and Austrians plunged heir retreat across and east of that railroad. This through the morasses, rivers, and forests of Poland was the signal for the launching of a general attack at an equal number of Russians supported by insy Field Marshal von Hindenberg from East Prussia trenchments and permanent works of all kinds. against the river lines opposite that front and the As the Germanic allies' forces flanked the Russians Russian barrier forts of Pultusk, Rozan, Ostrolenka, in the "salient” formed by their lines toward Warsaw Lomza, and Ossowiec. To the west of the Vistula the Russians were in great danger of having the the armies of Prince Leopold of Bavaria attacked the railroads cut behind them unless they could defeat

Blonie" line of defenses protecting Warsaw. These their opponents decisively on each one of their three forces joined the forces operating on Mackensen's fronts.

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Lublin-Kholm railroad was decided. He held off until this time so as to try to make the Russians send all the reserve troops possible to their southern lines on Mackensen's front, thereby making it impossible to bring them back again in time to the north.

Due to Mackensen's victory, also, the Russians were definitely thrown on the strategic defensive with no hope of retaking the strategic offensive anywhere on their whole line. Furthermore, their armies in Poland and those south of the Pripet Swamps, in Volhynia and Galicia, were definitely separated by this great morass. Those in Poland were jammed between the Pripet Swamps and the East Prussian frontier. In this area, bounded

roughly by lines joining Kovno-OssowiecAUSTRIA HUNGARY

Novo Georgievsk-Ivangorod to south of

Brest-Litovsk, lay three fourths of the THE EASTERN THEATRE-AUGUST 6TH

Czar's active forces, their power of During the week preceding the 6th of August the

offense on a large scale gone, their comGermanic allies had broken down the resistance of mand of the air taken from them by the the Russians at all places. On the north the barrier

more numerous and efficient German airforts between Novo Georgievsk and Ossowiec were falling at an alarming rate. The Germans west of craft, and their principal railroad lines the Vistula had broken through the strong lines running parallel to their adversaries' front. covering Warsaw, and Field Marshal von Mackensen had crossed the Lublin-Kholm railroad in the south.

Their greatest assets were the difficult The Russian army had been definitely divided into two country over which the enemy had to parts, one south of the Pripet Swamps and the other advance to get at them and the incomparnorth of them. The northern part contained about

able fortitude of their troops in adversity. three fourths of the whole mobile force, the great quadrilateral of permanent forts, and the large ad- The battle for the possession of the Lublinvance base situated at the fortress of Brest-Litovsk. Kholm railroad, then, may be considered as At this time the Russians decided that to attempt to hold the Polish" salient" any longer meant the destruc

the end of the first strategic operations by tion of their field army with little hope of ever re- the Austro-Germans in this campaign. newing it. They therefore decided to evacuate the whole Polish salient and fall back to the line of the

THE POLISH QUADRILATERAL Bug River, with its fortresses of Kovno, Grodno, and Brest-Litovsk. Warsaw was evacuated by the Rus- As a result of these operations the Russians on August 5th and immediately occupied by the army of Prince Leopold, who was on their heels.

sian army was thrust into the worst posiThe line of the Vistula was forced at many points tion, strategically, which it had occupied and the fortress of Ivangorod captured on the 6th. since the beginning of the war. This, The Russian army was now in full retreat and the pursuit was rushed with all possible speed by the

therefore, was the time chosen for HindenAustro-Germans.

burg's stroke from the north. A simul

taneous advance was begun all along the They found expression in the English and front of East Prussia by the German French press, to the effect that the Kaiser armies with forces totalling about 900,000 had displaced him because he had stated men, whose equipment in all respects was that, as no more could be done by the complete to the last detail. Of transport, German armies, peace should be sought. both animal and motor, they had a vast All these tales were spread for the purpose accumulation. Railroad material stood of concealing, as much as possible, what ready to repair the captured roads, and was actually taking place along the East great trains of siege guns had been prePrussian frontier. The signal for Hinden- pared for the attack against each fort. burg's advance came when Mackensen's Of a sudden, then, the major operation great battle for the possession of the shifted from southern to northern Poland.

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The object, as ever, was to get behind the Russian army in the vicinity of Bielostok, or west of it, before the Russians could withdraw from the end of the salient toward Warsaw. To accomplish completely this maneuvre the river lines of the Narew, Bobr, and Niemen had to be forced, the great fortresses of Novo Georgievsk, Grodno, and Kovno had to be taken, and the lesser fortresses of Przasnysz, Serock, Pultusk, Rozan, Ostrolenka, Lomza, Ossowiec, and Olita barred the

WARSAW way as advanced positions. The greatest pressure was applied at first by the Ger

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R mans in the Ossowiec region because it afforded the shortest route to Bielostok.

This gallant little fortress, which had been under constant attack since the 21st

AUSTRIA HUNGARY of March, guarded the way. Situated in the midst of swamps and river courses, astride the railroad from Lyck to Bielostok,

THE EASTERN THEATRE-AUGUST 18TH it formed the great barrier to a quick

As soon as the Russians began falling back with German advance. Try as they did to re

such great rapidity and when the Germans could not duce it, the German heavy guns sank promptly reduce the fort of Ossowiec, due to its down in the swamps even after their

excellent position in a swampy country, an immediate

strike into the Russian line of retreat around Bieloemplacements had been strengthened by stok was avoided. Instead a great attack was piles driven deep into the mire. The launched against the main Russian fortress of Kovno, infantry literally had to swim to approach,

The smaller forts along the line of the Narew and

Bobr rivers had now practically all been taken, and while the Russians had behind them a as the advance was pushed the gallant fort of Osmodest fort, a railroad, and a well organized

sowiec became surrounded. Within five days after defense.

the great Krupp siege guns began to hammer the

works of Kovno that fortress fell and was occupied Let all who have the impression that on the 18th of August. Novo Georgievsk fell on modern fortresses are worthless look at

the 20th with great stores of guns and ammunition the example of Ossowiec. It was not

and 90,000 prisoners. This fortress controlled the

line of the Vistula River. While it held out, no rivertaken until the Germans had "turned" its borne traffic could be sent from the Vistula's lower

waters in Germany to Warsaw and above. It also fortifications and got behind it. What

controlled the railroad from Mlawa to Warsaw. ever parts of the Russian main force escaped For the first time in history the Vistula was completely must thank Ossowiec for playing the prin- dominated by the Germans. Mackensen's army had

pushed up to the outer works of Brest-Litovsk.' The cipal part in their salvation.

Russians now, although losing heavily in personnel The first operation which confronted and material, were falling back with great rapidity Hindenburg in his offensive move was to

and saving most of their field artillery. As only two

fortresses remained in the hands of the Russians, defeat the Russian field forces guarding i. e., Grodno and Brest-Litovsk, both of which the the river lines and extending between the Germans were perfectly confident of taking in short

order, they began a redistribution of their forces for secondary forts such as Przasnysz, Pul

future operations, which were to take the form of a tusk, Ostrolenka, Lomza, Ossowiec, and

main attack on the Russian central army at Vilna. Olita, next to capture these works in order that the road centres and communications badly broken despite their most vigorous which they controlled could be made avail- resistance. able for supplying the German armies in Next the line of the secondary fortresses their further advance. The work of de- was attacked. The German move had seating the field forces in the intervals be- been so organized that the attack took tween the forts was the work of a com- place against almost all of them simultanparatively short time, and by the first eously. They began falling with such week in August these Russian forces were suddenness that the Russian forces on the

lines west of Warsaw were forced into a strategic position in Poland. One reason precipitate retreat in an attempt to extri- that such a store of munitions of all sorts cate whatever they could of their armies. remained there was that when the Russians

The instant that this move became ap- were attempting to withdraw some of their parent to the Germans—an easy matter heavy artillery a bridge across the river for them, as they had practically complete gave way, leaving no main avenue of egress. control of the air, enabling them to fly The fall of this great work opened up the at will over the Russian lines and observe railroad from Mlawa to the Vistula and whatever they wanted to the forces which also opened up the whole line of the Vistula stood along the old Bzura-Rawka lines River for the water-borne traffic of the in Poland were launched into the Russian allied army. This great artery, from its centre west of the Vistula River. Imme- source in Silesia to its mouth in the Baltic, diately the Russian front was pierced at a was now for the first time completely in dozen points and the broken brigades and the hands of the Austro-Germans. All divisions retired and were driven across permanent bridges across its broad waters the Vistula with the Germans and Aus- had been destroyed by the fleeing Rustrians close on their heels. The Bavarian sians, but these were quickly supplanted army of Prince Leopold entered Warsaw by ferries and pontoon and spar bridges, on August 5th with insignificant loss. while repairs to the demolished structures

So rapid had been the German advance went on. Kovno was captured on August that the great fortress and intrenched 18th and Grodno on September 4th. camp of Novo Georgievsk was completely Nothing now remained of the Russian cut off with its garrison of 90,000 troops, main line of defense on their Polish frontier, 1,200 cannon of all calibres, and vast and nothing but the difficult country was accumulations of stores. The Russian left between the units of the Russian army armies were now in full retreat in all parts and the Germans in the area north of the of Poland, and their great fortresses of Pripet Swamps. This ended the second the famous quadrilateral were exposed to strategic phase of

strategic phase of the campaign, the the Teuton attack. These were Novo breaking up and destruction of the Polish Georgievsk and Ivangorod (which fell on “quadrilateral.” August 6th), Grodno and Kovno in the

ESTABLISHING A RUSSIAN BASE north, while the way to Brest-Litovsk, the largest supply point of them all, had been The way had now been paved for a furcleared by Mackensen and the Austrian ther advance, and a rearrangement of the Archduke Ferdinand in the south.

Teutonic forces was at once begun. The The Russians attempted to rally on Germans announced at the conclusion of the line Kovno-Niemen River-Grodno-Bug this phase of the operations that, since the River-Brest-Litovsk, but the Teuton on- 2d of May, 1,100,000 Russians had been slaught was so determined and vigorously taken prisoners. During August alone sustained that wherever the Russians at- 1,500 cannon and 560 machine guns were tempted to stand they were either imme- captured. diately defeated, enveloped, or turned out While these principal operations were of their positions by the Teutonic forces taking place in central Poland operations operating elsewhere. As the Allies had were being carried on in Courland and the initiative they could hit anywhere, eastern Galicia, the two secondary theaat the most important or weakest point of tres of the campaign. the Russian line, and, once having made a Of these the more important for the hole, the rest of the Russian line had to fall time being was the one in Courland, back in order to maintain their alignment or the area between the East Prussian and to prevent whole armies from being frontier and the Dvina River with its two captured.

fortresses of Riga and Dvinsk (Dunaberg). On August 20th the great fortress of It will be remembered that coincident Novo Georgievsk fell, enriching its captors with Mackensen's drive through Galicia with vast stores and establishing their in the first part of May the mass of the German cavalry had been hurled into the Vilna-Minsk-Baranovichi, and the southRussian Baltic provinces. The cavalry ern group, which extended from south of was closely followed by heavy columns of the Pripet Swamps to the Roumanian infantry and artillery, which captured the frontier. seaports and began extending eastward. These great scattered army groups, in This particular part of the campaign took so far as their immediate coöperation was on the character of a combined land and concerned, depended on very precarious sea operation, in which the German navy and roundabout means of communications. guarded the coasts, brought up supplies. The whole Russian field army, therefore, and eventually obtained control of the had been split into three parts which could Gulf of Riga. Now the purpose of this not coöperate effectively. The Germans campaign into Courland was, of course, had continuous railroad communication first to protect the left flank of Hinden- behind them, and as they had seized the burg's army in its dash for the fortress of best net of railroads possessed by Russia Kovno, but in addition it had a deeper they had even a greater amount of rail significance. This was nothing short of

power, comparatively, than they had on the establishing a great base in all of Cour- first of May. The railroads were repaired land, from which the offensive could be with all the celerity possible in the months taken further into Russia.

of July, August, and early September. Could this objective be accomplished, Of the three principal Russian army the Germans would control all the country groups the central one was by far the most from the Niemen to the Dvina. For numerous and important. Sound strategy, operations from anywhere in Courland therefore, dictated that this should be southwest toward Minsk their left would attacked.

attacked. While the Germans were rerest securely on the line of the River Dvina, arranging their forces and bringing great their right on the Niemen, and their rear masses of troops and material into Kovno on the Baltic, controlled by their navy. Province and Courland for their further The possession of this territory not only attack on the Russian central army, the would give them ample room to reorganize Russians on their side were doing their their forces for offensive operations under utmost to bring up all the men and material the cover of these great natural obstacles, at their command. At this time, late in and give them a wide base to retreat on in August and early in September, it appeared case of defeat, but also, from its position to many that the German offensive in the on the flank, would protect the railroads north had come to a standstill. To further in the area from Pinsk to Vilna and west of strengthen this feeling in their enemies' those places. Should the central mass of minds, the allies launched a local offensive the Russian army be destroyed completely, against the Russian army group in the and the line of the Dvina River conquered south, the idea of which was to make it in its entirety, this area would form an appear as much as possible like a main excellent base for further operations into operation so as to cause the Russians to the interior of Russia (toward Petrograd bring up whatever they could in the way of or Moscow), or on the other hand form an men and material from the interior to excellent line of defense should the invad- strengthen this area. Whatever Russians ing armies be defeated or be compelled were sent into that part then would be no to assume the defensive.

longer available at the extreme northern Then again, this expedition forced the end of their line, that is, in the Dvina Russians to provide another army group River area. The strategic threat in a for the defense of the Dvina River, so that southern campaign is the possibility of an at the conclusion of the operations which advance to Kiev, the Black Sea, and an resulted in the reduction of all the Russian eventual joining of hands with the Turks. second line fortresses in Poland the Rus- Should success attend such an effort sian army was distributed in three prin- the Balkan question would be pretty well cipal groups, i. e., one on the line Riga- settled and the control of the Black Sea by Dvinsk, the central mass in the triangle the Turks assured, because, with the fall of

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