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Bitka na rijeci Visli, 28. rujna-30. listopada 1914

Bitka na rijeci Visli, 28. rujna-30. listopada 1914



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Bitka na rijeci Visli, 28. rujna-30. listopada 1914

Bitka na rijeci Visli (28. rujna-30. listopada 1914.) bila je njemačka invazija na Poljsku pokrenuta radi ublažavanja pritiska na Austro-Ugarsku nakon ruskih pobjeda tijekom bitaka kod Lemberga.

Njemački plan uključivao je premještanje četiri korpusa iz Istočne Pruske u Šlesku, zapadnu granicu ruske Poljske. Odatle će ta nova Deveta armija pokrenuti invaziju na jugozapadnu Poljsku, usmjerenu na Varšavu, za koju se vjerovalo da se lagano brani. Glavne ruske vojske još su bile raspoređene uz liniju Karpata na jugu ili oko Istočne Pruske na sjeveru.

Nova njemačka vojska počela je stizati do Šleske tijekom trećeg tjedna rujna, formirajući jednu frontu udaljenu 100 milja između Posena i Krakova. Deveta armija, jaka 250.000, 28. rujna počela je napredovati sjeveroistočno prema Varšavi i liniji Visle.

U ovom trenutku zaista je postojao jaz u ruskim linijama, između Druge armije u Varšavi i Devete armije na rijeci San. Međutim, Rusi su također planirali preraspodjelu svoje vojske. Bili su pod pritiskom Francuza da pokrenu invaziju na njemačku Šlesku, jako industrijalizirano područje, te su odlučili povući tri vojske iz Karpata kako bi se pripremili za kretanje na zapad. Deseta, Prva i Druga armija trebale su čuvati desni bok napredovanja, Treća i Osma ostati u Karpatima, a Peta, Četvrta i Deveta krenuti prema zapadu. Odluka o formiranju na liniji Visle donesena je 22. rujna.

Rusi su ubrzo otkrili da u Šleskoj postoje njemačke trupe. Dana 28. rujna započelo je njemačko napredovanje, koje je brzo napredovalo prema Visli. Plan je bio zauzeti sve mostove preko rijeke između Varšave i San, kako bi se zaštitila vojska koja napreduje prema Varšavi.

Kako su Nijemci napredovali prema Visli, ruske su vojske počele pristizati iza rijeke. Peta armija pridružila se Drugoj armiji u Varšavi, a Četvrta armija na njihovom jugu. Deveta armija krenula je sjeverno od San -a prema Visli.

Krajem prvog tjedna u listopadu Nijemci su bili blizu Visle, ali nisu uspjeli iskoristiti svoje blago vodstvo. Umjesto toga našli su se u borbi protiv ruskih pokušaja zauzimanja i održavanja mostobrana na zapadnoj obali rijeke.

Nijemci su otkrili pravo stanje 9. listopada, kada su pronašli skup ruskih naredbi. Osamnaest njemačkih divizija suočilo se sa šezdeset ruskih divizija. Ruski plan je bio da njihove južne vojske zadrže njemačku vojsku na Visli, dok su dvije vojske iz Varšave napale oko njemačkog lijevog boka. Da je plan uspio, Rusi bi možda mogli zarobiti čitavu njemačku Devetu protiv Visle.

Njemačko napredovanje nastavilo se još nekoliko dana. Dana 12. listopada četiri divizije generala Mackensena bile su unutar dvanaest milja od Varšave, ali njemačko napredovanje sada je bilo pomiješano s pripremama za povlačenje.

Ubrzo su te pripreme stavljene na kušnju. Kad su dvije ruske vojske u Varšavi krenule u protunapad, druga ruska armija lako je nadmašila njemačke linije. Južnije, četvrta i deveta ruska vojska krenule su u vlastiti napad na austrijsku prvu armiju uz Vislu. 17. listopada Hindenburg i Ludendorff bili su prisiljeni narediti naredbu o povlačenju.

Njemačko povlačenje počelo je ozbiljno 18. listopada, a ruska potjera sljedećeg dana. Nijemci su izveli vješto borbeno povlačenje koje je prevalilo šezdeset milja u šest dana. Pripreme koje su izvršili tijekom kretanja naprijed sada su im omogućile da miniraju mostove i blokiraju ceste ispred ruskih trupa. Krajem listopada Nijemci su se uspješno vratili na početnu liniju, po cijeni od 40.000 ljudi, angažiranih 16% ukupnih snaga.

Bitka na Visli ponekad je poznata i kao prva bitka za Varšavu. Međutim, ovaj se naziv često koristi za opisivanje druge polovice bitke, kada su ruske vojske u Varšavi krenule u protunapad i potisnule Nijemce natrag prema Šleziji.

Bitka je završila velikom ruskom pobjedom. Nijemci su pobjegli s većinom svoje vojske, ali nisu uspjeli pružiti značajnu pomoć Austrijancima, koji su uskoro morali napustiti napredak koji su postigli na istoku, dok su Rusi bili rastreseni. Početkom studenog Nijemci su se suočili sa stvarnom opasnošću od invazije moćne ruske vojske koja se okuplja oko Varšave. Jedina raspoloživa vojska koja je mogla odgovoriti na ovu prijetnju bila je Deveta, pa je u sljedećih deset dana ta vojska jurila željeznicom sa svoje linije jugoistočno od Posena na novu liniju koja je išla sjeveroistočno od Posena do Thorna. Potom bi pokrenuli drugu invaziju na Poljsku (Druga bitka za Varšavu) koja bi bila prilično učinkovitija.

Knjige o Prvom svjetskom ratu | Predmetni indeks: Prvi svjetski rat


28. studenog 1914. – Karpati

Kasna jesen ustupila je mjesto padu temperatura i ranim zimskim olujama, ali kampanja ovdje nije zaglavila u nastalom blatu. Za razliku od Zapadne fronte, koja se ustalila u statičkom uništenju, Istočna fronta je još uvijek fluidna i kaotična scena, niz oseka i tokova i marša-kontarma koja prkosi lakom mapiranju i bilježenju. To se posebno odnosi na Galiciju, gdje je Austro-Ugarska od sredine kolovoza činila dva koraka unatrag za svaki korak naprijed.

Na sjeveru, general August von Mackensen i njegov nevjerojatni šešir povlače se u nove redove nakon neuspjele ofenzive na Varšavu. Na istoku se nalazi grad-tvrđava Przemysl, sada okružen i ponovno odsječen nakon što su operacije pomoći završile poraznim porazom uz rijeku San. Na jugu se nalazi prijevoj Dukla, najširi procjep u Karpatskom planinskom lancu i prirodna invazijska ruta prema srcu Mađarske.

Dukla Pass je cilj ruske vojske koja već više od tjedan dana napada u Galiciji na trideset milja jugoistočno od Krakova, tražeći još jedan veliki ulov od 7000 austrijskih zarobljenika, 30 topničkih topova i dvadeset strojnica, ako su vjerovati njihovim agentima za tisak. Danas sjeveroistočno od grada počinje austrijska protuofenziva, usmjerena prema jugu uz rijeku Vistu u pokušaju da zaprijeti ruskom krilu. Postići će još jedan ograničeni taktički uspjeh sve dok ih drugi ruski protuudar ne vrati nazad.

I tako se nastavlja na ovom najmračnijem i najmračnijem dijelu Istočnog fronta.

Borbe u mađarskom planinskom prijevoju kako je prikazano 18. studenog Ilustrirane ratne vijesti, produkcija Biroa za propagandu koja je neprocjenjiva i za njegove povijesne fotografije i za obrazovne primjere propagande

Karpatsko gorje zapravo nije jedan lanac, već niz od tri različite planinske formacije koje leže u potkovu oko Transilvanije i Transcarpathije, teritorija za kojima potajno žudi Rumunjska. Ležeći između Galicije i Mađarske, oni nisu toliko prepreka koliko prepreka koja se nalazi između Carstva, gladnog europskih osvajanja i srca Austro-Ugarske dvojne monarhije.

Premda ti vrhovi nisu ni blizu visoki kao Alpe, koje su samo europski planinski lanac veći od Karpata, ovdje borbe podliježu granicama ratovanja na planinskim terenima. Topništvo ne može djelovati na strmim padinama i obično mora ostati u dolinama, što stvara sekundarni problem austrijskim časnicima za oružje koji ne znaju ništa o balistici: vrlo je teško iskrcati granate na suprotnu stranu planine. Austrijskog izviđanja ima malo, jer je habsburških zrakoplova premalo, a konjički korpus slomljen je iz njihovih sukoba s ruskom hordom. Kozaci već ispituju propusnice zbog slabosti, često smatraju da će se napadi po snazi ​​nastaviti do travnja.

Tuče su brutalne i bliske. Nije lako kopati, osobito u susnježici i snijegu, a trupe iscrpljene od kopanja bore se da ostanu budne na hladnoći. Vojska koja je probila San nije se oporavila na tako ograničenim linijama opskrbe i komunikacija. Ipak, od sada do svibnja poliglotska vojska kaisera Franza Josepha pokušat će tri puta izbiti iz ovog pričvršćenja u nizu zimskih ofenziva tako smrtonosnih da će malo ljudi iz KUK -a preživjeti da ih se prisjeti povijesti.

Osmatračnica u Karpatskim planinama. Imajte na umu da bežični operater koji nosi slušalice s telefonom pri ruci vjerojatno dolazi iz kasnog proljeća ili ljeta 1915., kada su njemačka komanda i podrška posvuda

Ove planine sinonim su za tajanstvenu, mračnu prošlost istočne Europe. Vlad Impaler i narodni mit o vampirizmu koji je pomiješan s njegovim imenom zahvaljujući zapadnim autorima, prenijeli su krvavu povijest ovih zemalja kao vjersko i kulturno raskrižje našoj generaciji u nadnaravnoj priči. Doista, noći ovdje mogu sadržavati zavijajuće vjetrove i tajanstvene zvukove koji hlade krv sve dok kosti ne puknu.

No u prosincu 1914. Karpati postaju mjesto užasne kampanje vrijedne najmračnije mašte. Popularni ili profesionalni pisci to su uvelike ispričali jer malo ljudi koji se bore u tim bitkama zapisuju povijest smrzotina, tifusa, gladi, izloženosti i beskrajne hladnoće koji karakteriziraju najsmrtonosniju kampanju zime. Možda se ne žele prisjetiti svojih brojnih njemačkih nadglednika, koji su uspostavili oštru disciplinu koja je KUK -u ranije bila strana čak i kad donose pojačanje i ponovno naoružavanje. Možda se mrze sjećati svojih prijatelja koji su sjeli od iscrpljenosti i više nikada nisu ustali.

Nema sumnje da je ruska vojska bolje vođena i opremljena. Koristeći tisuće vagona i desetke lokomotiva koje su Austrijanci uslužno ostavili za vrijeme napuštanja Lemberga, uživaju u boljoj opskrbi i rjeđe gladuju. Dok njihov neprijatelj odbija zbog nedostatka pričuvne vojske, ruska horda je u stanju izbaciti jedinice s crte i vratiti im snagu. Njihovo je topništvo nedvojbeno puno bolje.

U međuvremenu je već započela rusnizacija osvojenog galicijskog teritorija. Građanske i obrazovne vlasti već se organiziraju kako bi nametnule carski jezik novoj pokrajini, gdje se šokirani i izgladnjeli ljudi ostavljeni nakon austrijskog kolapsa uzalud mole za pomoć. Vojske su već pojele ono malo viška hrane koji je Galicija imala, a bolest je u porastu jer su se javni zdravstveni sustavi pokvarili. Jedan od razloga zašto je ova kampanja ostala neosvijetljena je iskreni strah koji ovakvo ponašanje izaziva u narodima središnjih sila, koji sebe vide kao borbu za očuvanje kultur od bezkulturnih barbara.

“Austrijanci su glasno psovali u blizini Karpatskih planina. Progonili su ih po cijeloj Galiciji, bandi glupih lica. ” Propagandu Vladimira Mayakovskog, koji je kasnije podržao Rusku revoluciju kao otvor umjetničkoj i intelektualnoj slobodi

Bitka kod Lodža danas je vrlo blizu jer general August von Mackensen povlači svoj desni bok na vrijeme kako ne bi bio okružen i potpuno uništen od strane jedne ruske vojske u svom pokušaju da opkoli i uništi drugu & hellip

Gore: Fort IV torunskog kompleksa Izgrađene tijekom tridesetogodišnjeg razdoblja počevši 1872. godine, pruske utvrde u Thornu, sada poljskom gradu koji dominira rijekom Drwęca, bile su među najstrašnijim u tadašnjoj Europi. Već zastario, dva & hellip

Na papiru, grad-tvrđava Przemysl (viđen gore 1915.) izgleda strašan. Unutar područja od jedanaest četvornih milja, Hapsburško je carstvo izgradilo šezdeset milja natkrivenih rovova, dvjesto položaja topničkih baterija, sedam baza, depoa, skladišnih zgrada, staja, povezalo ga & hellip


Rujan 1914: Royalty i Prvi svjetski rat

U kolovozu 1914. i rujnu 1914. u borbi protiv belgijske vojske poginuo je član Kuće Ligne: Georges Alexandre Lamoral, princ de Ligne koji je bio unuk Eugènea, 8. princa od Lignea i Henri Baudouin Lamoral, princ de Ligne koji je bio sin Ernesta, desetog princa de Lignea. Kuća Ligne jedna je od najstarijih Belgijanaca
plemićke obitelji. Datira iz 11. stoljeća, a ime Ligne potječe od sela koje je danas dio Ath -a u Belgiji. Godine 1601. Lamoral, grof od Lignea, dobio je nasljednu titulu princa de Lignea od Rudolfa II, cara Svetog Rima. Od tada je bilo 14 prinčeva de Ligne. Sadašnji princ de Ligne, princ Michel, prvi je rođak velikog vojvode Henrija od Luksemburga. Château de Belœil u Belœilu u Hainautu u Belgiji rezidencija je princa de Lignea od 1394.

Château de Belœil Photo Credit – Wikipedia


Vremenska crta: 1. rujna 1914. – 30. rujna 1914. godine

  • 1. rujna – Akcija u Neryju (Francuska)
  • 2. rujna - 11. rujna – Bitka za Ravu Russka (Austrijska Poljska, danas Ukrajina) faza bitke za Lemberg
  • 4. rujna-13. rujna – Bitka za Grand Couronne (Meurthe-et-Moselle, Francuska), faza bitke na granicama
  • 5. rujna - 12. rujna – Prva bitka kod Marne (rijeka Marne u blizini Pariza, Francuska), njemačko napredovanje prema Parizu je zaustavljeno, označavajući neuspjeh Schlieffen plana
  • 6. rujna-4. listopada – Bitka kod Drine (rijeka Drina, srpska granica)
  • 7. rujna - 14. rujna – Prva bitka za Mazurska jezera (Istočna Pruska, Njemačka, današnja Poljska), ruska vojska se povlači iz Istočne Pruske s velikim žrtvama
  • 11. rujna – Australske snage okupirale su Njemačku Novu Gvineju (danas Nova Gvineja)
  • 13. rujna – Južnoafričke snage počinju invaziju na njemačku jugozapadnu Afriku (danas dio Namibije)
  • 13. rujna - 28. rujna – Prva bitka kod Aisne (rijeka Aisne, Francuska) Počinje Utrka prema moru (Francuska i sjeverozapadna Belgija)
  • 19. rujna-11. listopada – Bitka kod Flireya (Francuska)
  • 20. rujna – Bitka kod Zanzibara (kod Zanzibara, luka Zanzibar, Indijski ocean) rezultira njemačkom pomorskom pobjedom
  • 22. rujna-26. rujna – Prva bitka kod Pikardije (Francuska)
  • 24. rujna – Počinje opsada Przemyśla (Austro-Ugarska, današnja Poljska)
  • 25. rujna-29. rujna – Prva bitka kod Alberta (Somme, Picardy, Francuska)
  • 28. rujna - 10. listopada – Nijemci opsjedaju i zauzimaju Antwerpen u Belgiji
  • 29. rujna - 31. listopada – Bitka na rijeci Visli (Varšava, današnja Poljska), poznata i kao Varšavska bitka


Napomena o njemačkim naslovima

Većina kraljevske obitelji koja je poginula u akciji tijekom Prvog svjetskog rata bili su Nijemci. Njemačko Carstvo se sastojalo od 27 konstitutivnih država, većinom njima su vladale kraljevske obitelji. Pomaknite se dolje do Njemačkog Carstva da vidite koje su sastavne države činile Njemačko Carstvo. Konstitutivne države zadržale su vlastite vlade, ali su imale ograničen suverenitet. Neki su imali vlastite vojske, ali su manje snage bile stavljene pod prusku kontrolu. U ratno vrijeme, vojske svih konstitutivnih država bile bi pod kontrolom pruske vojske, a združene snage bile su poznate kao njemačka carska vojska. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_German_Army Njemački naslovi mogu se koristiti u Royals Who Died In Action u nastavku. Pogledajte naš Rječnik njemačkih plemićkih i kraljevskih titula.

U Prvom svjetskom ratu ubijena su i 24 britanska vršnjaka koji će biti uključeni u popis poginulih u akciji. Osim toga, više od 100 sinova vršnjaka također je izgubilo živote, a bit će uključeni i oni koji se mogu provjeriti.


Rujna 1914. – Royals koji su umrli na djelu

Popis je kronološkim redoslijedom i sadrži neke koji bi se smatrali plemićkim umjesto kraljevskim. Linkovi u zadnjem točku za svaku osobu su genealoški podaci te osobe s web stranice Leoa#8217s Genealogics ili s The Peerage. Ako osoba ima stranicu Wikipedije, njezino ime bit će povezano s tom stranicom.


Mirovni ugovor u Rigi ↑

Mirovni pregovori vođeni su u glavnom gradu Latvije, Rigi. Budući da su Poljaci pobijedili, imali bi pravo zahtijevati granični bunar istočno od rijeke Bug. Članovi poljskog izaslanstva, međutim, nisu bili voljni uključiti previše teritorija na kojem bi Poljaci bili manjina. Stoga je Minsk prepušten boljševicima, a nova granica povučena je zapadno od linije primirja. Nova granica jako je nalikovala staroj iz 1793-1795, naravno s nekim ispravkama u korist Poljske.


Jarosław Centek, Sveučilište Nicolaus Copernicus, Poljska


Opsada Przemysla Informacije


Datum: Datum
24. rujna 1914. - 22. ožujka 1915
Mjesto
Przemysl, današnja Poljska
Proizlaziti
Ruska pobjeda
Datum: 24. rujna 1914. - 22. ožujka 1915
Mjesto: Przemysl, današnja Poljska
Rezultat: Ruska pobjeda
Ratujući:
: Rusko carstvo
Zapovjednici i vođe:
: Radko Dimitriev
Andrei N. Selivanov
Snaga:
: 300,000
Žrtve i gubici:
: 115.000 ukupnih žrtava (40.000 žrtava pretrpjelo je u prvih nekoliko dana opsade)

Rijeka Visla - Limanowa - Bolimx w - 2. Mazurska jezera - Gorlice -Tarnx w - Veliko povlačenje - Ofenziva Sventiany - Jezero Naroch - Brusilovska ofenziva - Kowel - Kerenska ofenziva - Operacija Albion

Opsada Przemysla bila je jedna od najvećih opsada Prvog svjetskog rata i teški poraz Austro-Ugarske. Ulaganje u Przemysl započelo je 24. rujna 1914., a nakratko je obustavljeno 11. listopada zbog austrougarske ofenzive. Opsada je ponovno nastavljena 9. studenog, a austrougarski garnizon se predao 22. ožujka 1915. nakon što je izdržao ukupno 133 dana.

Slika - Przemysl i okolne utvrde

Tijekom ruske ofenzive iz Galicije u Lemberg 1914. godine, general Nikolaj Ivanov je tijekom bitke za Galiciju nadvladao austrougarske snage pod Conradom von Hxttzendorfom, a cijeli austrijski front pao je više od 160 kilometara do Karpata . Tvrđava u Przemyslu bila je jedina austrijska postaja koja je izdržala i do 28. rujna bila je potpuno iza ruskih linija. Rusi su sada mogli ugroziti njemačku industrijsku regiju Šlesku, čineći obranu Przemysla važnom za Austro-Ugarske kao i Nijemce.

Dana 24. rujna, general Radko Dimitriev, zapovjednik ruske Treće armije, započeo je opsadu tvrđave. Dimitriev nije imao dovoljno opsadnog topništva kad je započeo s ulaganjem i umjesto da je čekao da mu rusko vrhovno zapovjedništvo pošalje artiljerijske komade, Dimitriev je naredio opsežan napad na tvrđavu prije nego što se pošalje austrijska snaga za pomoć. Tri dana Rusi su napadali i ništa nisu postigli po cijeni od 40.000 žrtava. Dok je to bilo u tijeku, general Paul von Hindenburg pokrenuo je ofenzivu protiv Varšave na sjeveru. Zajedno s njemačkim napadom na Varšavu, general Svetozar Boroevic von Bojna predvodio je snage za pomoć prema Przemyslu. Dana 11. listopada Dimitriev je ukinuo opsadu i povukao se preko rijeke San. Conrad von Hx tzendorf nadao se da će kombinirani napad Boroevićeve vojske i garnizona Przemysl nanijeti težak udarac Rusima.

Do 31. listopada Hindenburg je poražen u bitci na rijeci Visli i povukao se iz napada na Varšavu. Zbog toga se Boroevic povukao s linije rijeke San i odustao od von Hxtzendorfove ofenzive protiv Rusije. Dana 9. studenog Rusi su nastavili opsadu Przemysla. Snage Radka Dimitrieva povučene su iz sektora Przemysl i premještene na sjever. Ruska jedanaesta armija pod vodstvom generala Andreja Nikolajeviča Selivanova preuzela je opsadne operacije. Selivanov nije naredio nikakve frontalne napade kao što je to učinio Dimitriev, već se umjesto toga odlučio izgladniti garnizon u pokornosti. U veljači 1915. Boroevic je poveo još jednu pomoć prema Przemyslu.

Do kraja veljače svi napori za pomoć bili su poraženi i von Hx tzendorf je obavijestio Hermanna Kusmaneka von Burgneustxdtena da se neće poduzeti daljnji napori. Selivanov je dobio dovoljno topništva da smanji tvrđavu. Rusi su 13. ožujka zauzeli sjevernu obranu. Improvizirana linija obrane zadržala je ruske napade dovoljno dugo da Kusmanek uništi sve što je ostalo u gradu i što bi moglo biti od koristi Rusima nakon što su zarobljeni. 19. ožujka Kusmanek je naredio pokušaj bijega, ali su mu napadači odbijeni i bio je prisiljen povući se natrag u grad. Budući da u gradu nije ostalo ništa korisno, Kusmanek nije imao drugog izbora nego se predati. 22. ožujka preostali garnizon od 117.000 predao se Rusima. Među zarobljenim je bilo devet generala, devedeset i tri viša stožerna časnika i 2500 drugih časnika.

Prvi svjetski letovi zračnom poštom iz Przemysla tijekom obje opsade kada su razglednice zračne pošte, uglavnom vojne pošte, dopremljene iz opkoljenog grada na dvadeset sedam letova. Nakon prisilnog slijetanja, Rusi su zaplijenili poštu s jednog leta i poslali je u Petrograd radi poštanske cenzure i daljnjeg prijenosa. Pošta s balonima, na papirnatim balonima s ljudskom posadom, također je iznošena iz grada. Golubova pošta korištena je i za slanje poruka izvan grada.

Slika - Kip u spomen na opsadu Przemysla u Budimpešti, Mađarska

Pad Przemysla naveo je mnoge da vjeruju da će Rusija sada pokrenuti veliku ofenzivu na Mađarsku. Do ove očekivane ofenzive nikada nije došlo, ali je gubitak Przemysla bio ozbiljan udarac za austrougarski moral. Dodatni udar na Austro-Ugarsku bila je činjenica da je Przemysl trebao imati samo 50 000 vojnika, no ipak se više od 110 000 Austrijanaca predalo s tvrđavom, što je znatno značajniji gubitak. Rusi su držali Przemysl do ljeta 1915. kada je austrougarska i njemačka ofenziva potisnula ruski front u Galiciji.


Bitka kod Ivangoroda 1914

Jučer sam sudjelovao u ponovnoj borbi bitke za Ivangorod 1914. godine. Izvorna bitka dogodila se nakon bitke kod Tannenberga, a Rusi su je vodili protiv uglavnom austrougarskih snaga koje su zauzele dio bojišnice koju su Nijemci prethodno okupirali. U bitci je sudjelovalo nekoliko njemačkih vojnika, ali većinu borbi vodila je austrougarska vojska.

Wargame je koristio taktička pravila OP14 Richarda Brooksa i strateški sustav kretanja Iana Druryja 'pin-board and map', a organizirao ga je Ian Drury. Sudjelovali su brojni pripadnici 'Jockey's Field Irregulars', a ja sam preuzeo ulogu generala Everta, zapovjednika ruske 4. armije.

Kad sam stigao, Ian me je obavijestio i dao mi tablu i kartu s prikazom položaja triju korpusa koji su bili pod mojim zapovjedništvom (XVI, III (Kavkaski) i XVII korpus).

Znao sam da se dva moja korpusa (XVI. I III. (Kavkaski)) suočavaju s nizom rovova koje su zauzele austrougarske trupe, te da je moj treći korpus (XVII. Korpus) spreman prijeći rijeku Vislu u sljedeća 24 sata.

Bitka je počela u 7.00 sati 22. listopada 1914., a moje prve zapovijedi zapovjednicima XVII i III (kavkaskog) korpusa bile su da napadnu rovove neposredno ispred njih. To je trebalo učiniti bez otvaranja topničke vatre jer sam se nadao da će to iznenaditi Austrijance. Ta su naređenja proslijeđena sucu, koji ih je zatim odveo na stolno bojište koje je bilo postavljeno u drugoj prostoriji. (Obično bi naredbe bile prenesene igraču ili igračima koji su preuzimali uloge zapovjednika korpusa, ali nedostatak igrača značilo je da je ovom prilikom moje naredbe donio jedan od sudija.)

22. u 15:00 sati zatražio sam od svakog od svojih zapovjednika korpusa ažuriranje podataka o njihovim trenutnim položajima i razini žrtava koje je njihov korpus pretrpio. Također sam komunicirao sa zapovjednikom 9. armije (koja se nalazila na mom lijevom krilu) i obavijestio ga da razumijem da se gardijski zbor kreće u smjeru položaja koji sam dodijelio za zauzimanje napredujućeg XVII korpusa. Slijedio sam ovo s prijedlogom da postavimo granicu između naše dvije vojske kako bismo osigurali da se naše postrojbe neće međusobno miješati, a to se složio i zapovjednik 9. armije.

Do večeri 22. listopada počeo sam dobivati ​​izvještaje da napadi koje su izveli XVI i III (kavkaski) korpus nisu uspjeli probiti neprijateljski rov, a ja sam im naredio da se povuku u svoje rovove i čekaju neizbježni protunapad. Ispostavilo se da je jedna brigada iz svakog korpusa zapravo uspjela napredovati na svojim položajima u ničiju kopnu između dva sustava rovova, pa sam izmijenio svoju zapovijed da to uzmem u obzir. Dok se to događalo, XVII korpus prešao je rijeku Vislu i zauzeo položaj s kojega su mogli pojačati bilo kakav uspjeh koji je postigao Zbor garde ili se pomaknuti na potporu XVI i III (Kavkaskom) korpusu.

Ujutro 23. listopada primio sam vijest da je III (kavkaski) korpus pred kolapsom, a u 13,00 sati naredio sam XVII korpusu da krene naprijed i rastereti ih. Obavijestio sam zapovjednika 9. armije o ovom potezu, ali kako nisam dobio odgovor, pretpostavio sam da i on ima poteškoća.

U ovom trenutku suci su odlučili da mogu preuzeti izravno zapovjedništvo 4. armije, pa sam se preselio u prostoriju u kojoj se nalazilo stolno bojište. Situacija koju sam zatekao izgledala je ovako:

Pomaknuo sam svoj pričuvni korpus (XVII korpus) naprijed kako bih rasteretio III (kavkaski) korpus.

. ali to je bilo gotovo prekasno jer je njemački korpus počeo obilaziti liniju rova ​​koju je zauzimao III (kavkaski) korpus.

Pala je noć prije nego što su Nijemci uspjeli napasti. što je jednako dobro kao što je popustio III (kavkaski) korpus. Uspio sam pomaknuti XVII korpus naprijed da pokrije ovaj kolaps i da formiram obrambenu liniju s kojom se mogu suprotstaviti njemačkom napadu.

Njemački napad izveden je rano ujutro 24. listopada.

. ali je u početku odbijen, iako su obje strane pretrpjele žrtve tijekom borbi.

U ovom trenutku suci su prekinuli bitku i svatko od nas dobio je priliku ispričati svoju verziju događaja. Moj njemački protivnik bio je prilično uvjeren da ima moju vojsku u bijegu, što na prvi pogled nije bila nerazumna procjena situacije, ali nije bio svjestan da će daljnji korpus i grenadirski korpus. 8211 je trebao prijeći rijeku Vislu iza sebe i bit će u mogućnosti napasti 25. listopada.

Ovo je bila vrlo ugodna ratna igra za sudjelovanje, koja je pružila još više dokaza – je li bilo potrebno – da taktička pravila OP14 Richarda Brooksa i strateški sustav kretanja Iana Druryja "pin-board and map" reproduciraju "osjećaj" 'o tome kako se vodila bitka u Prvom svjetskom ratu. Ovom prilikom rezultat ove bitke nije bio isti kao onaj iz 1914. godine, ali to je bilo zbog propusta ruskih igrača, a ne pravila!


Bitka na rijeci Visli, 28. rujna - 30. listopada 1914. - Povijest

Kao što sam raspravljao u dva Putevi do Velikog rata objave prošlog mjeseca [14. i 15. kolovoza 2013.], vjerujem da bi Poljska trebala dati povijesne oznake ili spomenike za identifikaciju mjesta velikih bitaka u Prvom svjetskom ratu, poput Tannenberga, i priznati njihovu povijesnu važnost. Danas i sutra predložit ću još nekoliko, a svi se oni nalaze u Galiciji, krajnje južno od bojišta Tannenberg. Na početku Velikog rata nekoliko ključnih bitki vodilo se u Galiciji, istočno od Cracówa, koje se često zanemaruju u povijestima rata.

Bitka za Limanowa-Lapanów, 1.-13. Prosinca 1914

U Galiciji: Austrougarsko pješaštvo napreduje, ruska konjica se povlači

Lapanów je stajao kao sjeverni bok bitke. Ova fotografija snimljena u malom selu Lapanów gleda južno u općem smjeru Limanowe (koja je predaleko da bi se mogla vidjeti). Craców leži mnogo kilometara iza desnog fotografovog ramena. Austro-Ugarski napad bi bio s desna na lijevo. (Fotografija REW)

Limanowa je stajala u južnom sektoru bitke između Austro-Ugara i Rusa u prosincu 1914. godine. Ova slika gleda istočno prema gradu. Austrougarski bi napadali općenito u smjeru istoka. Ista cesta nastavlja prema istoku izvan grada i u smjeru Gorlica, što je bilo važno za njemački proboj na Istočnom frontu sredinom 1915. godine. (Fotografija REW)

Ofenziva Gorlice -Tarnow, 1. svibnja - 19. rujna 1915

Sličan nedostatak memorijalizacije postoji samo istočno u Tarnowu. Nakon Limanowe-Lapanowa, njemačka vojska, a ne habsburška, kontrolirala je sve vojne operacije Središnje sile u Poljskoj (Keegan, 2000.). Pokupivši u uskom procjepu (između Karpata i rijeke Visle), gdje je stala pobjeda Limanowa-Lapanow, Nijemci su započeli ofenzivu 2. svibnja 1915. (Keegan, 2000.). Ova ofenziva Gorlice-Tarnow istjerala je Ruse ne samo iz nedavno okupirane austrijske Poljske, već i iz Varšave i ostatka ruske Poljske (koju su okupirali stoljeće). Njemački udar potisnuo je Ruse čak četiri njihove tradicionalne pogranične tvrđave (uključujući uskoro i slavni ugovorni grad Brest-Litovsk). Unatoč dramatičnom utjecaju ovog događaja, moderni posjetitelj koji se vozi kroz središte Tarnowa cestom između Cracówa i grada tvrđave Przemsyl [predstavljeno u sutrašnjoj objavi] ne vidi podsjetnike na ove velike događaje.

Tarnow je bio u sjevernom sektoru ove bitke, dok su Gorlice bile u južnom. Ova fotografija gleda istočno u Tarnow u općem smjeru njemačkog napredovanja. (Fotografija REW)

Rodney Earl Walton

10 komentara:

Mislim da nakon užasa Drugog svjetskog rata u Poljskoj ne bi htjeli ni pomisliti što se dogodilo u prvom ratu. Moji unuci nisu mogli dovoljno brzo izaći iz Poljske prije 1914.

Krv na snijegu je užasna knjiga o kojoj nema uređivanja. Proboj je izvrstan, kao i "njemačka strategija i put do Verduna" Roberta T. Foleyja. Ovo je uglavnom vojna biografija Falkenhayna i načina na koji je došao do svoje odluke o napadu na Verdun, ali sadrži odličan materijal o operaciji Gorlice Tarnow za koju je bio zadužen kao CnC Ost vojske. Čak i sve ove knjige ostavljaju mnogo željenog, jer sve karte ili ne postoje (Krv na snijegu) ili su samo skice. Ni blizu količini materijala dostupnog na Sommi ili 1914. na Zapadu.

Lijepe slike terena Rodney. Mislio sam da bi Poljska jednostavno htjela zaboraviti sve razne & kvotirane okupacije koje su preživjeli kroz stoljeća.

Predavao sam engleski jezik u Limanowi od rujna 1992. do siječnja 1993. i od rujna 1994. do siječnja 1995. godine. Bio sam na parastosu 80. godišnjice na ratnom groblju u Jabloniecu samo 2 km istočno od Limanowe. I have photos of this event - there are memorials there and there is a smaller WWII cemetery the Soviets created across the lane - apparently they didn't want the Soviet dead buried in the same area as the Tzarist dead. please contact [email protected] is you want more information.

I have just come home after passing the Easter with my girlfriend´s family near Limanowa. We have been in a small cemetery with tombstones of Austrian and Russian soldiers, in the same cemetery, grave besides grave. In each tomb there were 10-20 soldiers buried. In total, around 400 between the two armies.
Well, she just has found the wikipedia page for this cemetery:
http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cmentarz_wojenny_nr_303_-_Rajbrot

Unfortunatelly, it is in Polish and I still do not speak it. :( But you can keep digging into the history of that battle from there.

In "Western Galicia" which was the theater of the two major WW I operations described, there are many war cemeteries -- several hundred of them, actually. But, if you want to visit some them, it definitely helps if you speak Polish. There are few road signs at major highways. In fact, most of those cemeteries are located at spots "deep in the countryside", one has to take secondary roads or "country roads" to reach them. A good idea is to find the locations beforehand, and then to plan the trip. There is much info about the cemeteries, e.g., in the Web -- but most of such Web sites are in Polish. I happen to be a Polish native speaker, so it's not a big problem for me, but I can imagine how difficult it may be for a foreign tourist who has only a vague info that "there are many WW I cemeteries in the area". Local people seldom speak English. A good idea may be to write on a piece of paper, with big letters: "KTÓRĘDY DO CMENTARZA Z PIERWSZEJ WOJNY?" ("How can I get to the WW I cementary?") -- local folks will start talking fast in Polish, which may not be of great help, but, most probabl they will also show you the direction using the "sign language".

By the way, my Mom's stepfather served in 1915 in an Austrian military unit whose task was to exhume the fallen soldiers from the "ad hoc" small graves at former battlefields and re-bury them at larger cemeteries. In the 1960s and early 1970s, we often toured the countryside in the Tarnów and Nowy Sącz together, on foot or by bus -- and quite often, when we entered a village, he exclaimed: "Oh! I do remember this church! Not far from here, we were re-burying the dead brought here from the battlefields!". Why the churches were so important to him, no other landmarks? Well, he was an architect by profession, he had a fantastic memory. Usually, the church in a given village was the only "object of interest" for an architect, all other building were non-distinct huts.


A Century On: A Diary of the Great War

- In the first months of the war the French government had imposed a number of what it had described as temporary moratoriums on a range of financial transactions in order to avoid panicked withdrawals of bank deposits and conserve funds for the war effort. Today, however, the French government announces that the moratoriums will last for the duration of the war. While the measures allow for a greater government influence over economic activity, they also deaden commerce and economic activity in the private sector, and measures such as the moratorium on the collection of rents result in the accumulation of large amounts of debts by some.

- East of Lodz the decisive moment arrives for the German XXV Reserve Corps and Guards Division as they attempt to escape encirclement, as the Russian Lovitch detachment of 1st Army stands between them and the rest of the German 9th Army. The Lovitch detachment, however, is handled with about the same level of professionalism as the other Russian formations that had encircled the two German units. One of the detachment's two divisions moves too far west and gets tangled up with the Russian defenders of Lodz, and by the time it gets itself sorted out the German Guards Division has broken through and rejoined 9th Army. Meanwhile, the other Russian division has entrenched behind a railway embankment astride the line of retreat of XXV Reserve Corps, the latter of which consist of second-line soldiers exhausted from days of marching and fighting. Naturally, the strong Russian defensive position promptly disintegrates, the divisional commander suffers a nervous breakdown, and only 1600 Russian soldiers escape capture as XXV Reserve Corps breaks through, bringing back with them 16 000 Russian prisoners.

The survival of Guards Division and especially of XXV Reserve Corps is a testimony to the prowess of the German army. Most commanders in such situations would have simply surrendered, but General Reinhard von Scheffer-Boyadel remained awake for seventy-two hours directing the retreat, and the German infantry demonstrated its endurance and resolution. On the Russian side, the episode serves to reinforce a sense of inherent inferiority vis-a-vis their German counterparts, which seeps into the mindset of Russian commanders, leaving them unwilling to stand against the enemy even when circumstances favour them.

- While the Russians feel themselves inferior to the Germans, they certainly don't harbour any such concerns about the Austro-Hungarians. Today Conrad calls off the attempted offensive near Krakow by 4th and 1st Army. Both have failed to make any significant gains, and by today indications are growing that the Russians, far from being about to break, are about to go over to the attack. Both 4th and 1st Army are ordered to stand on the defensive, and at places along the front pull back to more defensible positions. The Austro-Hungarians have lost tens of thousands of men for no gain whatsoever, and the only redeeming aspect of the defeat is that the Russians have suffered as well - the regiments of III Caucasian Corps are down to three to four hundred soldiers each. The failure also means that alternate means will have to be found to save the deteriorating situation in the Carpathians, where the Russian 8th Army continues to push back the weakening Austro-Hungarian 3rd Army.

- After three days of heavy fighting between the Austro-Hungarian 6th Army and the Serbian 1st Army, the latter has been forced to retreat again today. Potiorek does not order 6th Army to pursue the foe, as the fierce engagements of the past week have disorganized and fatigued his units and he has determined that they require rest. He remains convinced that he has won a crushing victory - that with the Serbian 1st Army retreating he will be able to turn the flank of the Serbian armies to the north and envelop them. Reflecting the optimism of his commanders, Emperor Franz Joseph today appoints General Stefan Sarkotic governor of Serbia.


The Battle of Tannenberg

STAVKA (the Russian High Command) had prepared two plans for the eventuality of war against the Central Powers, Plan G for Germany and A for Austria-Hungary. Although the mobilization of the troops stationed in Russia was somewhat delayed by G and A’s colliding railway schedules, the Russian army eventually appeared in its deployment areas faster than anticipated by the enemy.

STAVKA had established two Army Group commands for her western forces, north respectively south of the Bug – Vistula line. Army Group “Northwest” was in charge of First and Second Armies, earmarked to deploy against Germany while Army Group “Southwest” commanded Third, Fifth and Eight Armies, sharing the task of invading Galicia, the Austrian part of former Poland.

Fourth Army was the Russian version of a “swing option”: much like Joffre had originally intended for Lanrezac‘s Fifth Army in France, Fourth Army could be sent into action either at the Austrian front south of Lublin, or back up, “en echelon”, First and Second Armies on their way into Germany.

The Russian post-1905 modernization program had suffered much due to arthritic Russian bureaucracy improvements were delayed, never implemented or simply ignored in some respects the Russian army could not meet international standards.

[First and Second Armies deployed] … nine corps to Prittwitz‘ [the German C-in-C] four, and seven cavalry divisions, including two of the Imperial Guard, to his one. Rennenkampf, commanding First Army, and Samsonov, commanding Second, were moreover both veterans of the Russo-Japanese War, in which each had commanded a division, while Prittwitz had no experience of war at all. [Not true, see link above]

Their formations were very big, [Russian] divisions having sixteen instead of twelve battalions, with large masses of – admittedly often untrained – men to make up losses. Though they were weaker in artillery, particularly heavy artillery, than their German equivalents, it is untrue that they were much less well provided with shells all armies had grossly underestimated the expenditure that modern battle would demand and, at an allowance of 700 shells per gun, the Russians were not much worse off than the French, fighting at the Marne. Moreover, the Russian munitions industry would respond to the requirements of war with remarkable success.

Nevertheless, Russia’s forces were beset by serious defects. The proportion of cavalry, so much greater than that in any other army, laid a burden of need for fodder on the transport service, itself inferior to the German, which the value given by mounted troops could not justify forty trains were needed to supply both the four thousand men of a cavalry division and the sixteen thousand of an infantry division.

There were human defects as well. Russian regimental officers were unmonied by definition and often poorly educated any aspiring young officer whose parents could support the cost went to the staff academy and was lost to regimental duty, without necessarily becoming thereby efficient at staff work. As Tolstoy so memorably depicts in his account of Borodino, the Russian officer corps united two classes which scarcely knew each other, a broad mass of company and battalion commanders that took orders from a narrow upper crust of aristocratic placemen. The qualities of the peasant soldier – brave, loyal and obedient – had traditionally compensated for the mistakes and omissions of his superiors but, face to face with the armies of countries from which illiteracy had disappeared, as in Russia it was far from doing, the Russian infantryman was at an increasing disadvantage. He was easily disheartened by setback, particularly in the face of superior artillery, and would surrender easily and without shame, en masse, if he felt abandoned or betrayed. The trinity of Tsar, Church, and Country still had power to evoke unthinking courage but defeat, and drink, could rapidly rot devotion to the regiment’s colours and icons. (1)

To this litany a failed artillery policy and communication problems might be added. Russian artillery officers tended to view the main task of heavy guns in defending the chain of fortresses which secured the Russian border perimeter and were very much averse of schlepping big guns over a battlefield. Thus, Russian armies were chiefly equipped with small and medium calibre guns, of lesser firepower and diminished range. As in the naval gun race, lighter guns became the victims of the enemy’s heavier ones for lack of range unable to return the fire. Radio communications suffered from a lack of trained cipher clerks, which forced the radiomen to transmit many message en clair, especially in the heat of battle.

In the event of August 1914, Fourth Army marched south, to the Austrian border, and Army Group Northwest dispatched First and Second Armies to East Prussia. The plan envisioned a two-pronged manoeuvre of enveloping 8th Army. STAVKA directed Rennenkampf to attack north of the lakes and the Angerapp River east of Königsberg and to proceed along the Baltic Sea Coast in westerly direction. Samsonov was ordered to invade from the south-east – from the direction of Warsaw – and to march in north-westerly direction until he would meet Rennenkampf, coming from the other direction, somewhere on the Vistula, perhaps in the vicinity of Marienwerder or Marienburg. The defenders would be surrounded and once the Vistula was gained, the way into West Prussia and Silesia lay open.

The plan had two weaknesses: it was obvious, as a tarantula on the cheesecake, and it depended upon close cooperation and communication of the two armies, conduct neither Rennenkampf nor Samsonov were renowned for. The German General Staff had actually based pre-war games upon the premise of such a two-pronged attack and had established that the correct counter-strategy was to delay one prong while attacking the other. Such a strategy necessitated rapid troop movements between the two sides of the Lakeland, the north-eastern part around Insterburg and Gumbinnen, and the south-western side from Allenstein in the centre of the province to Thorn on the Vistula. A direct railway was built traversing the Lakeland for this exact purpose, running along a line Gumbinnen – Insterburg – Allenstein – Osterode – Deutsch-Eylau – Thorn.

The map below shows the early stage of the East Prussian campaign. The Russians appeared three weeks earlier than anticipated, Rennenkampf’s vanguard crossing the border and reconnoitring in westerly direction on August 15. Two days later, his III, IV and XX Corps marched on Gumbinnen, eighty miles east of Königsberg. They were screened by his 1st Cavalry Division on their southern flank and the Guards Cavalry Corps on the northern one. Their counting on strategic surprise, however, was nullified as early as August 9 on account of the German 2nd Aircraft Observer Battalion and the services of two dirigibles stationed at Königsberg and Posen. They informed Prittwitz of the Russian presence, but what worked for the Germans failed, inexplicably, for the Russians: their cavalry could not find any trace of the enemy, and Rennenkampf’s aerial reconnaissance unit, consisting of a fleet of 244 aircraft, mysteriously failed to spot a single German unit.

Early Deployment and Russian Plan

The most important information for Prittwitz was that Second Army seemed to be late. The German staff began to believe that they might have a shot at Rennenkampf first and Samsonov later.

Geography was to disrupt the smooth onset of the Russian combined offensive in space. Less excusably, timidity and incompetence were to disjoint it in time. In short, the Russians repeated the mistake, so often made before by armies apparently enjoying an incontestable superiority in numbers, the mistake made by the Spartans at Leuctra, by Darius at Gaugamela, by Hooker at Chancellorsville, of exposing themselves to defeat in detail: that is, of allowing a weaker enemy to concentrate at first against one part of the army, then against the other, and so beat both.

The way in which geography worked to favour the Germans’ detailed achievement is the more easily explained. Though eastern East Prussia does indeed offer a relatively level path of advance to an invader from Russia, the chain of lakes that feeds the River Angerapp also poses a significant barrier. There are ways through, particularly at Lötzen, but that place was fortified in 1914.

As a result, a water barrier nearly fifty miles long from north to south confronted the inner wings of First and Second Army, so tending to drive them apart. Strategically, the easier option was to pass north and south of the Angerapp position rather than to force it frontally, and that was what the commander of the North-Western Front, General Yakov Zhilinsky, decided to direct Rennenkampf and Samsonov to do.

He was aware of the opportunity such a separation offered to the Germans and accordingly took care to provide for the protection of his two armies’ flanks. However, the measures taken enlargened the danger, since he allowed Rennenkampf to strengthen his flank on the Baltic coast, which was not at risk, and Samsonov to detach troops to protect his connection with Warsaw, equally not threatened, while arranging for one corps of Second Army [II Corps] to stand immobile in the gap separating it from First. The result of these dispositions was a diversion of effort which left both armies considerably weakened to undertake the main task. Having commenced the deployment with a superiority of nineteen divisions against nine, Rennenkampf and Samsonov actually marched to the attack with only sixteen between them.

Worse, critically worse, the two armies arrived at their start lines five days apart in time. First Army crossed the East Prussian frontier on 15 August, a very creditable achievement given that the French and Germans were then still completing their concentration in the west, but Second not until 20 August. As the two were separated in space by fifty miles of Lakeland, three days in marching time, neither would be able to come rapidly to the other’s assistance if it ran into trouble which, unbeknownst either to Rennenkampf or Samsonov, was the way they were heading. (2)

The aviators’ intelligence initially paid off for Prittwitz. When Rennenkampf began offensive operations on August 17, Prittwitz knew that Samsonov was late and thus could momentarily afford to keep most of 8th Army in the north-east. A Russian probe which showed up at the small town of Stallupoenen, ten miles east of Gumbinnen, was quickly checked, but when Prittwitz ordered a counter-attack of General Herrmann von François‘ I Corps on August 20, the Russians had already prepared an entrenched position near Gumbinnen. I Corps was, as was the whole 8th Army, composed of East Prussian men defending their homeland, and their aggressiveness in assaulting a fortified Russian position cost them dearly.

By mid-afternoon, I Corps had come to a halt. Its neighbouring corps, XVII, commanded by the famous Life Guard Hussar, von Mackensen, who was encouraged by early reports of its success, was meanwhile attacking north-eastwards into the Russians’ flank.

It did so without reconnaissance which would have revealed that, on its front as on that of von François, the Russians were entrenched. From their positions they poured a devastating fire into the advancing German infantry who, when also bombarded in error by their own artillery, broke and ran to the rear. By late afternoon the situation on the front of XVII Corps was even worse than that on the front of I Corps and the Battle of Gumbinnen was threatening to turn from a tactical reverse to a strategic catastrophe.

To the right of XVII Corps, I Reserve, under von Bülow, counter-attacked to protect Mackensen’s flank against a Russian advance. At Eight Army headquarters, however, even the news of that success could not stay the onset of panic. There Prittwitz was yielding to the belief that East Prussia must be abandoned and the whole of his army retreat beyond the Vistula. (3)

The big red arrow on the map above shows the intended retirement to the west, beyond the Vistula, that Prittwitz thought unavoidable. The bold blue arrows in squares DE 3-4 symbolize Rennenkampf’s III, IV and XX Corps, moving westward, into the direction of the fortified zone of Königsberg. At its southern flank, First Army is protected by 1st Cavalry Division and in the north by the Guard Cavalry Corps. Squares BCD 1-2 show Second Army, composed of I, XXIII, XV, XIII and VI Corps, plus 15th, 6th and 4th Cavalry Divisions. Samsonov’s II Corps is located in the geographical middle of the Lakeland, square DE 2, in the act of being transferred to Rennenkampf on August 21. It is on the way north-west, to join First Army at Angerburg.

At OHL [Supreme Command] Moltke balked at the very thought of withdrawing 8th Army behind the Vistula. But for the margins of the operational plan being too narrow, Moltke had no troops available for an immediate reinforcement. To make the situation worse, the men of 8th Army had their roots and families in East Prussia an order to retreat might cause a revolt. Moltke decided that a new broom was needed on the Eastern front. Two brooms, actually.

Moltke decided first that a director of operations of the first quality must be sent instantly to the east to take charge. He chose Ludendorff, who had twice so brilliantly resolved crises in Belgium. He next determined to dispose of Prittwitz altogether, judging his declared intention to retire behind the Vistula, even if subsequently reconsidered, to be evidence of broken will.

In his place he promoted Paul von Beneckendorff and Hindenburg, a retired officer noted for his steadiness of character if not brilliance of mind. As a lieutenant in the 3rd Foot Guards, Hindenburg had been wounded at Königgrätz in 1866 and fought in the Franco-Prussian War. He claimed kinsmen among the Teutonic Knights who had won East Prussia from the heathen in the northern crusades, had served on the Great General Staff and eventually commanded a corps.

He had left the army in 1911, aged sixty-four, but applied for reappointment at the war’s outbreak. When the call from Moltke came, he had been out of service so long that he was obliged to report for duty in the old blue uniform that had preceded the issue of field-grey. He and Ludendorff, unalike as they were, the one a backwoods worthy, the other a bourgeois technocrat, were to unite from the start in what Hindenburg himself called “a happy marriage.” Their qualities, natural authority in Hindenburg, ruthless intellect in Ludendorff, complemented each other’s perfectly and were to make them one of the most effective military partnerships in history. (4)

  • Hindenburg
  • Ludendorff

On August 23, Hindenburg and Ludendorff arrived at Rastenburg whither the HQ of 8th Army had been moved, and summoned the staff for a conference the very next day. The discussion began with an analysis of the situation by General Scholtz, commander of XX Corps which was, at the moment, the sole German unit opposing the slowly advancing Samsonov in the south. Strategically, the newcomers in command were much aided by a resolution Prittwitz had enacted
just before he was relieved of duty. During his years at the Staff Academy, Prittwitz had participated in the aforementioned war games and hence was familiar with the East Prussian counter-strategy, which called to defeat the Russians “in detail”. Prittwitz had decided that, after the tie at Gumbinnen, as he saw it, Rennenkampf could be counted as checked, and that First Army would typically need a few days to regroup and redeploy. If he acted fast, he might beat Samsonov in the south before Rennenkampf, in the east, resumed the offensive. Ably assisted by his Chief of Staff, Colonel Max Hoffmann, he ordered von François’s I Corps from Königsberg whither it had retired, and von Mackensen’s XVII Corps, at the moment south-west of Gumbinnen, to entrain southward to meet Samsonov.

  • Rennenkampf
  • Samsonow

These movements are indicated on the map below by the thin dashed lines and bold red arrows, showing the early stages of the German movements. I Corps retired to Königsberg in order to board the coastal railway line while XVII and I Reserve traversed first westward, then south-west, into the direction of Allenstein. Scholtz’s II Corps was already in the vicinity, around the small towns of Hohenstein and Tannenberg.

Thus, Hindenburg and Ludendorff did not have to design a new plan, whose development might have cost precious time but were able to adopt Prittwitz’s strategy, which they pursued at best speed. To their aid came a few monumental errors in the Russian dispositions, chiefly by Rennenkampf. When First Army’s forward reconnaissance units, after the four days of the Battle of Gumbinnen, reported that the presence of German troops facing them was thinning out, Rennenkampf assumed that 8th Army had retreated to the fortified zone of Königsberg. Such a move might be reasonable, at some level, since it would compel First Army to a lengthy siege, which might give the Germans time enough to send reinforcements from the Western Front. Thus, Rennenkampf stopped the pursuit of I and XVII Corps, consolidated his territorial gains, and initiated preparations for the upcoming siege.

He reported his decision to STAVKA and asked for assistance with the investment of Königsberg, for which his troops, lacking heavy artillery, were ill prepared. But since the delay meant that he was, for the time being, incapable of keeping touch with the rest of the German army, he proposed to Zhilinsky to send Samsonov in the direction of the Vistula, i.e. north-west. Once First Army had reduced Königsberg, the planned envelopment of 8th Army could be reactivated. Army Group Northwest followed Rennenkampf’s suggestion and Samsonov was ordered to proceed in north-western direction, to the Vistula, but away from First Army.

Rennenkampf’s proposition was risky in itself – what if the siege failed? But what transpired in the event was worse. On the morning of August 25, First Army’s radio traffic with STAVKA and Army Group Northwest, which included the siege plan, was intercepted and deciphered by Ludendorff’s radio monitors. Moreover, the messages yielded the priceless information that First Army would halt and thus be unable to support Second Army in case it headed into trouble.

Rennenkampf’s decision to halt allowed Hindenburg and Ludendorff to concentrate against Second Army. They could afford to leave Königsberg essentially unprotected except for its entrenched garrison and a weak screen of 1st Cavalry Division [see map above, the red dots, C 3-4, west of Rennenkampf]. Now the railways came into play. The existence of two lines allowed 8th Army to route parts of XVII and I Reserve Corps southward, via the Insterburg-Allenstein line traversing East Prussia, and to convey I Corps by the coastal railway to Elbing, and then route them via Marienburg and Deutsch-Eylau to Seeben, into a position opposite the left flank of Samsonov’s I Corps which stood between Soldau and Usdau. Ludendorff even ordered the small Vistula garrison from Thorn to meet François’s I Corps near Lautenburg [Map above, square B 1]. By August 26, XVII Corps stood at Bischofstein [Map above, C 3], and I Reserve between Allenstein and Seeburg [Map above, C 2-3], opposing Samsonov’s northernmost unit, VI Corps at Bartelsdorf. The main body of Second Army still stood south of Allenstein [XIII, XV and XXIII Corps, Map above, BC 1-2].

The tactical situation on the map above depicts the advantage the Germans earned by the flexibility of their troop movements, which, in addition, almost completely evaded Russian detection. There were hardly any German troops left in the north-east, vis-a-vis Rennenkampf – except for the very light screen of 1st Cavalry – and the Russian II Corps, now detached to First Army’s southern flank, lingers in a completely uncontested area. Except for her cavalry, First Army remained almost stationary by August 26 it had moved barely ten miles west – cautiously – through empty land. Second Army was still moving north-west but was spreading all over the Lakeland, from Zielun, 15th Cavalry in the south-west, to Sensburg, 4th Cavalry, in the north-east. This was when Hindenburg …

… was passed the transcript of a complete Russian First Army order for an advance to the siege of Königsberg which revealed that it would halt some distance from the city on 26 August, well short of any position from which it could come to Second Army’s assistance in the battle he planned to unleash.

Furnished with this assurance, he met von François, whose corps was just beginning to arrive at Samsonov’s flank, in confident mood. Distance was working for him, the distance separating Samsonov and Rennenkampf’s armies, and so now too was time, the self-imposed delay in Rennenkampf’s advance which, had it been pressed, would have put the First Army well behind the Lakeland zone in positions from which it could have marched south to Samsonov’s assistance. (5)

Hindenburg and Ludendorff’s plan were successive attacks into Second Army’s right flank, that is, to attack from Allenstein in south-western direction. François’s I Corps was to begin the offensive on August 25.

  • Hermann von François
  • Max Hoffmann, Chief of Staff

Then François, whose stubborn aggressiveness could take a wilfully uncooperative form, interrupted the smooth unrolling of a plan that should have brought his I Corps, XVII and XX successively into action against Samsonov’s flanks. Claiming that he was awaiting the arrival of his artillery by train, he was slow off the mark to attack on 25 August, and slow again the next day.

Ludendorff arrived to energize the offensive, with characteristic effect, but François’s hesitation had meanwhile had a desirable if unintended result. Unopposed in force to his front, Samsonov had thrust his centre forward, towards the Vistula against which he hoped to pin the Germans, thus exposing lengthening flanks both to François, now to his south, and to Mackensen and Scholtz, who were marching XVII and XX Corps down from the north. On 27 August François rediscovered his bite, and pushed his men on. Samsonov, disregarding the danger to his rear, pressed on as well. On 28 August his leading troops savaged a miscellaneous collection of German troops they found in their path and broke through almost to open country, with the Vistula beyond.

Ludendorff, seized by a fit of his nerves his stolid appearance belied, ordered François to detach a division to the broken units’ assistance. François, creatively uncooperative on this occasion, did not obey but drove every battalion he had eastward at best speed. With the weight of Samsonov’s army moving westward by different routes, there was little to oppose them. On the morning of 29 August, his leading infantry reached Willenberg, just inside East Prussia from Russian territory, and met German troops coming the other way [see map below]. They belonged to Mackensen’s XVII Corps, veterans of the fighting south of the Masurian Lakes, who had been attacking southward since the previous day. Contact between the claws of the two pincers – the units were the 151st Ermland Infantry of I Corps and the 5th Blucher Hussars of XVII – announced that Samsonov was surrounded. (6)

The map above portrays the situation on August 30. I Corps had begun its move at Seeben and marched east via Niedenburg, to Willenburg. Since Samsonov was marching in the opposite direction, north-west, none of his units encountered I Corps, and Second Army remained oblivious of the Germans’ presence in their rear. After I and XVII Corps had met at Willenburg, Scholtz’s XX Corps closed the trap on the western side. Except for VI Corps which escaped by retiring in south-eastern direction over the Russian border, the whole of Second Army was caught in a huge pocket east of the towns of Hohenstein and Tannenberg.

Situation August 30, 1914

The bag amounted to approximately 50,000 Russian casualties and 92,000 prisoners, compared with losses of about 30,000 killed, wounded or missed on the German side. These numbers made the Battle of Tannenberg, as it was named according to Hindenburg’s wishes, a most particular event compared to the battles on the Western front which frequently caused wholesale destruction but so far had rarely yielded significant numbers of prisoners. For the moment, the danger to East Prussia and Silesia was averted, and Hindenburg and Ludendorff hailed as the saviours of the nation.

Russische Gefangene und Beute
The Generals of 8th Army

Rennenkampf, however, proved a tougher customer than Samsonov. When the Germans, now reinforced by the arrival of IX and the Guard Reserve Corps from France, attempted to repeat the encircling manoeuvre against First Army, Rennenkampf managed to evade the German pincers adroitly in what was called the First Battle of the Masurian Lakes. On 13 September he was safely back in Russian territory, regrouped, and, reinforced by a new Russian army, the Tenth, conducted a counteroffensive which succeeded in re-establishing a Russian line near the Angerapp River, which was held until February 1915.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] Keegan, John, Prvi svjetski rat, Vintage Books 2000, ISBN 0-375-40052-4361, pp. 140-41, 142-44, 145, 145-46, 148, 148-49


Mackensen’s counterstrike

The Romanian advance was slow, and the Austro-Hungarian–German concentration on the Mureş was completed without interference. Meanwhile, Mackensen had achieved an outcome of far-reaching importance. He stormed the strongly fortified bridgehead of Turtucaia (Tutrakan) on September 5, capturing almost the whole of two Romanian divisions, while a third Romanian division was defeated and driven northward. Silistra fell on September 9. The Russian forces which now came up succeeded in saving, for the time being, the Constanța-Cernavodă railway. A Romanian counterattack in the Dobruja and an attempt to cross the Danube at Oryahovo in Mackensen’s rear were badly combined and executed and failed completely.

Operations in the Dobruja came to a temporary standstill early in October. Mackensen’s intervention had had the desired effect of halting the main Romanian offensive and drawing the available reserves southward. A counteroffensive in Transylvania was now launched. The Romanian First Army was beaten at the Battle of Sibiu (September 26–28), and their Second Army was decimated at Brașov on October 8. The Romanians were driven out of Transylvania and thrown on the defensive all along their frontier. Relations between the Russians and Romanians, already strained, were not improved by Mackensen’s defeat on October 19 of the Russo-Romanian Dobruja Army and occupation of the port of Constanța and the railway to Cernavodă.


30 September 1914 – The September Stalemate

German trenches appear on the Eastern Front today along the banks of the Neman River, where the Eighth Army has been unable to budge the Russian Tenth and First Armies all month.

Like the Western Front, the Eastern Front has seen great, moving masses of men line up to blast each other to pieces, then march in pursuit of one another, then settle into a phase of stagnant entrenchment by shocked and exhausted armies. After sixty days of marching, fighting, missed meals, and lost sleep, men are taking cover from the massed shellfire that kills them with greater efficiency than any weapon in history.

In 1914, every combatant command treats the offensive as the only decisive form of action. Yet trenches are a key part of German defensive doctrine, and Russia’s peasant soldiers have never been afraid to dig, either. The war of movement is not over yet on either Front, for generals on both sides are still trying to outflank the enemy, but the iconic phase of this war is settling in on the Western Front and beginning to happen on the Eastern Front now, too.

A bridge over the Neman River in the town of Kowno, destroyed by Gen. Rennenkampf’s retreating Russians

Armies have always fought to dominate high ground, so we should not be surprised by the rapid evolution of the air battle on both fronts, either. The war in the skies develops in synchronicity with the trenches now worming their way through the fall landscape. Along with rapid-firing artillery and machine guns, airplanes are a new military technology that unexpectedly supports defenders better than attackers.

The first documented hostile aerial encounter happened three weeks ago in the East. The frequency of these incidents has been increasing on all fronts, and in fact the Central Powers have just started painting large insignia on their airplanes to stop a spate of friendly fire incidents by nervous soldiers on the ground — and aggressive friends in the air.

A German machine gun battery being used for anti-aircraft duties on the Eastern Front in early 1915

In France, one battle is petering out near Albert while another is being joined further north near Arras. From Albert to the Swiss border, the French and German armies have already settled into nearly-continuous lines of opposing trenches separated by ‘no man’s land’ — a term that is invented and popularized during this war. By the end of October, the Germans and the allies will be fighting along a completely-closed front from Switzerland to the English Channel.

But not all armies dig their trenches the same way. The Russian army tends to dig a single line of trenches rather than two or three to form a defense in depth, then puts as many men as possible up front to stop the enemy attack. France refuses to improve her trenches for fear that men will lose their offensive spirit. German troops constantly improve and maintain their complex trench lines throughout the war.

Along the Western Front, the armies are already using whatever lengths of barbed wire they can find in fields and barns to erect obstacles. Urgent appeals for more wire reach national capitals by November, with the first bales arriving in mid-Winter. By the Spring of 1915, ‘no man’s land’ is absolutely lousy with wire mantraps along the entire length of the Western Front, with the Eastern Front not far behind.

A view of the French trench line leading right up to the Swiss border crossing

The big differences between the Eastern and Western Fronts are size and troop density: even with the five million-man Russian army, the Eastern Front is much longer, and has one-third the number of soldiers per mile of front. Ironically, Germany started the war attacking France in a bid to knock them out of the war before the Russian reserves could reach the Polish frontier, but now that the Western Front is locking down for the long term, the Kaiser will look East for his breakthrough.

A rare color photo of a third-line German trench shows extensive improvements to deal with drainage and erosion. Small firing ports herald the arrival of interlocking defensive fire zones

Airmen flying for all powers have already started shooting at one another with pistols, rifles, and a few machine guns, but the biggest hostile threat is coming from the ground, where for weeks now, nervous troops of all armies have been shooting at&hellip

For the last three days, French and British divisions have been throwing themselves at German trenches, gaining no ground at great cost. French troops have been trying to outflank the Imperial German Army above the Oise and Somme rivers in the Paris Basin, resulting in&hellip

The Battle of the Masurian Lakes ends today near the place where the disastrous Russian offensive opened near Stallupönen 24 days ago. Having annihilated one of the two Russian armies attacking East Prussia, the Imperial German Army has now finished soundly defeating the second, losing&hellip


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