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Russians in Great Batties
ordinated to a crushing of the Russian army's central mass, because once this were destroyed the Germans would be at perfect liberty to concentrate the major part of their forces against either Russian wing, which would give them an overwhelming superiority. For these reasons a determined attack was launched by the Austrians
against the Russian positions east of the κονες
Bug and Zlota-Lipa rivers during August. The move was successful in driving the Russians back at all points and in capturing the permanent fortresses of Lutzk and Dubno, which, with Rovno, form a triangle of forts for the defense of the approaches to the area around Kiev. The advance was so sudden and so strongly
sustained that the Russians reinforced AUSTRIA HUNGARY
this area with large forces of men and
material, with which they not only brought THE EASTERN THEATRE-SEPTEMBER 9TH
the Austrian offensive to a stop in front of Brest-Litovsk fell to Mackensen's attack on August
their fortress of Dubno and west of Tar27th and Grodno fell on August 30th to an attack in nopol, but by vigorous attacks in many force which it was able to hold off only four days.
areas they also more than held their own All the Russian fortresses in Poland had now passed into the hands of the Teutons, and nothing except
and forced the Austrians back. the obstacles imposed by Nature stood between the Just as these apparent successes were Russian central army and the Teutonic allies. operations of the Germans had been carried on vigore being heralded by the Russians the main ously in Courland while the campaign was developing stroke for a decision against the central in Poland. After much very hard fighting a firm Russian army was launched, by Hindenfooting and bases had been established at the seaports and points in the interior, particularly at Shavli. burg. This took the form, first, of a At this place and in the area around it were assembled movement in force against the Russian about 500,000 men who came from parts of the line bridge heads on the Dvina River at in Poland and from other units brought from the interior. All the railroads were repaired with the
Friedrichstadt, Jacobstadt, and Lindengreatest dispatch by the Germans, and supplies of all burg, where the Russians were driven to sorts brought up. The Russians meanwhile rushed
the north side of the river and German reinforcements to their lines along the Dvina River between Riga and Dvinsk so as to prevent the Ger- columns moved forward from Mitau in the mans from forcing it and menacing the Petrograd direction of Riga and along the railroad railroad. The fall of Kovno practically divided the from Shavli toward Dvinsk. Here, then, Russian army into three parts, the northern wing along the line of the Dvina River between Dvinsk we had all the elements of the characteristic and Riga, the central in the area around and south of German strategy-demonstrations at both Vilna, and the southern south of the Pripet Swamps. Of these three Russian armies the central one was
extremities of the whole strategic front the strongest
(in this case along the Dvina and south of
the Pripet Swamps) to distract attention Odessa and, later, Sevastopol by land at- from the main move in the direction of tack, the Russian navy would have no base Vilna, the centre. When the columns to go to, and would be greatly at the mercy had made sure their ground along the of torpedo craft, and would have no Dvina the forces for the main attack on adequate means of re-supply. In other Vilna were placed north of that city and words, if such an Austro-German move forced crossings over the Vilia River. were successful it would pretty well settle At the same time that these movements any aspirations Russia may have about were taking place—in the second week in Constantinople.
September—the mass of the German From a military standpoint such a move cavalry was launched at the railroad beat this time naturally ought to be sub- tween Vilna and Dvinsk. This cavalry, bout 50,000 strong, advanced on a front had been thrown back with loss. Part of learly 100 miles wide, crossed the railroad its force retired along the railroad toward It many points, and kept on at great speed Lida, but this was crossed and cut by the or the railroad connecting Molodechno German forces advancing from the west. ind Polotsk, 80 miles away. Detachments The key point was Vileika and Molowere also sent to cut the railroad from dechno, and against these places the RusVilna to Molodechno, while infantry col- sians threw their forces with redoubled imns followed them with all speed. These energy. roads were reached and the railroad east As this article is being written the from Vilna was cut by September 18th, battles in the Molodechno-Vileika area with the infantry close behind to keep are of the most stubborn nature. Posithe successes which the cavalry had won. tions pass from the hands of one side to the This was the culmination of the battle for other in some cases several times in the Vilna which may be considered to have same day. The Germans are bringing up been going on for the better part of a all the forces they can possibly transport month.
to that area and hurling them headlong Meanwhile General Mackensen had at the Russians. The Russians have sucpushed on at great speed through the city ceeded in driving the Germans away from of Pripet and on September 18th was only the railroad itself, but its tracks are all twelve miles from the Vilna-Rovno rail- torn up and the German cavalry is meanroad, at which point he was stopped by the while extending its lines further and Russians. In the centre the armies of the further toward Minsk and the railroad Archduke Ferdinand and Prince Leopold running northeast from that place. of Bavaria had crossed the line of the The final issue in this theatre remains Seuzara River and were in some places to be determined and will require days if only twenty miles from this same railroad not weeks in settlement. The Russians on that date. The Russians then found
appear to have few reserves left in the intheir communications cut and were unable terior for use at Minsk or to attack from to hold their foe at any place on this front. Polotsk the rear of the German columns On September 19th the victorious German in this area, partially weakened because army entered Vilna while the Russians, both ends of their strategic front were without railroads and with a very difficult reinforced at the expense of their centre. country at their backs, attempted to cut In order to try to relieve the pressure on their way out between two lines of their the Vilna army the Russians are launching enemies.
against the Austrians south of the PriThe country through which the Ger- pet Swamps determined attacks which man cavalry moved forward between the have had a good deal of success locally Vilna-Dvinsk railroad and the Molo- but have failed to make the Teutons send dechno-Polotsk line is a comparatively many more troops into that territory. high, undulating ridge with good roads Even if the Russians make a great advance checker-boarding a country which abounds in that area they will expose their forces in forage and food. Although the Rus- to a flank attack from the north, in which sians in their retreat attempted to destroy area the Germans hold all the railroads. a great deal of supplies in order to hinder The Russians are attacking strenuously all the advance of their enemy, great stores along the line of the Dvina River between of food and fodder still remained which Dvinsk and Riga. Could they make good enabled the German cavalry to do a in this area, the whole German position remarkably rapid march, the leading in Courland would be turned and the forces making as much as fifty miles a forces in the Vilna area would be taken in day notwithstanding the opposition of the reverse. At the same time the Russians Russian horsemen.
would have their own communications The Russian army now found itself in a straight behind them. This is the reason terrible position. It had attempted to cut why such tremendous battles are taking its way out to the northeast of Vilna but place along the Dvina River and why the
Germans are holding that part of their lines so strongly. From a strategic standpoint the attempt of the Russians to break through in that area is the best thing they can do. The Germans so far have not only thrown them back along the Dvina River but have themselves advanced considerably.
While the Russian central army has been by no means destroyed, it has been thrown back with great loss without much probability of a strong offensive return. If this is so a hole has been blasted in the Russian strategic centre which will have the effect of allowing the Germans to concentrate on either the northern or southern groups of the Russian field army. The supply arrangements for the German army are mammoth in the extreme, because not only do all the railroads have to be rebuilt
but all the ammunition and supplies for AUSTRIA AUNGARYE
the vast armies have to be brought up
from the home countries. Moreover, as THE BATTLE OF VILNA SEPT. 13TH-24TH winter is approaching all the equipment
The German plans aimed to destroy the Russian that will be necessary for that season is central army covering Vilna. To distract Russian being brought up. attention from this place, demonstrations were made at the extreme flanks, that is along the Dvina River A great deal of comment has been inand south of the Pripet Swamps against the fortress dulged in by the lay press on the similarity triangle Lutzk-Dubno-Rovno. Both of these demonstrations were determined moves in great strength
between the present operations and those and gave the impression of main operations. In the of Napoleon over some of the same terrinorth the Russians were pressed back to their outer tory one hundred years ago. The only fortresses of Lutzk and Dubno were taken and Rovno point of similarity is that the operations menaced. These drives caused the Russians to are taking place in the same country. A reinforce both ends of their line which were the most remote points from their central army. On Sep glance at any railroad map of that region tember i2th the great mass of the German cavalry,
will show that as the Germans advance about 60,000 sabres, was launched at the Vilna. they keep the best and most numerous Dvinsk railroad. They reached it on the 13th, and steadily maintained their advance. By the 17th, the
railroads at their backs, which allow them German horsemen appeared on a 100-mile front along to concentrate on threatened points much the Molodechno-Polotsk railroad, seizing the station more easily than the Russians. They are of Molodecheno. The cavalry was followed by light infantry, which by tremendous marches reached the much better equipped with motor transvicinity of Molodechno on the 19th. The main portation than the Russians. When the German armies were launched by Von Hindenburg country freezes, the motors are no longer against the Russian position as indicated on the sketch. The Russians found their communications prevented from crossing the swamps but cut in all directions and the enemy pressing them can go anywhere over the frozen surfaces. on the front and both flanks. At first the Russians attempted to break out to the northeast of Vilna but
A deep thrust into Russia is, of course, a were thrown back on the banks of the Vilia River. very serious operation, but it is by no The only hope, then, for extricating the army lay in a means an insurmountable one with troops retreat to the east through Molodechno toward Minsk. From the 20th to the 24th of September tremendous
that have a very high degree of fightfighting took place on both flanks of this force. It was ing ability. At present, then, there apthe greatest opportunity the Germans had for inflicting a decisive setback to the Russians. They therefore
pears no indication that the German camdid everything in their power to carry their left wing paign into Russia will be relaxed until forward toward the Minsk-Borisof railroad. To re- either they get a decision over the Ruslieve pressure on their central army the Russians attacked in a determined manner along the Dvina front
sians or the Russians administer a severe and south of the Pripet Swamps
repulse or defeat.
HOW THE OLDEST DEVICES OF COMBAT HAVE BEEN BROUGHT BACK INTO PRACTICAL USE BY THE EFFECT OF THE NEWEST DEVICES
UPON THE TACTICS OF THE BATTLEFIELD
HIS war is
well as the most scientific of all modern conflicts. It is a war of one-ton shells and hand grenades, of the most distant artillery duels and hand-to-hand combats, of asphyxiating gases and stinkpots, of airships and shovels, of shrapnel and sling shots. Every device by which man has slain man, from the boulder in the hands of Ab the Cave Dweller to the machine gun in the hands of Albert, don of Oxford, is in deadly use on one or another of the battlefields of Europe. The newspapers have told of
A SKODA HOWITZER READY FOR ACTION One of the great Austrian siege guns. It can be transported in sections on
tractors at twelve miles an hour and set in place in forty minutes
most of these multifarious weapons. Some- and second, by the conditions that actually thing of the tactical exigencies of the war arise on the battlefield. The first of these that have brought them forward again and considerations explains the invention of the something of the historical setting of these "Skoda" howitzer and the German mobile arms may make plainer how and why they siege train; the second explains the reare used.
version to hand grenades and catapults in The weapons that an army uses are the trenches. The General Staff of the determined by two things: the conception German Army was committed to a theory of the tactical problems held by the gen- of strategy by which the enemy should be erals in command before a war begins; immediately defeated by a sudden and