The Russian Front
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2. The Russian Front, 1914-1917
1914 .. return to top
Russians invade East Prussia to try and relieve German pressure upon their allies the French; German 8th Army (von Prittwitz) opposes Jilinsky's Northwest Army Group composed of the Russian 1st and 2nd Armies driving on Koenigsberg.
Battle of Stallupoenen, a German tactical victory delayed Rennenkampf's 1st Army.
Battle of Gumbinnen, from which the Germans continued to withdraw after briefly checking the Russians once again; led to Prittwitz's replacement
Generals Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff (CinC and C of S respectively) assume command of 8th Army and prepare to meet the Russian advance offensively;
Ludendorff issues his plans, prepared for the most part by 8th Army's chief of operations, LTC Max Hoffmann.
Hindenburg and Ludendorff actually arrive 8th Army HQ in Marienburg;
23 August-2 September
Austrian offensive into Galicia (Southwestern Poland)
Battle of Orlau-Frankenau in which XX Corps checks Russians for 24 hours and retreats to Tannenberg;
Battle of Tannenberg Samsonov's 2nd Russian Army is struck on both flanks by a double envelopment, and in the center nearly simultaneously, leading to progressive disorganization, followed by slaughter of 125,000 men and the loss of 500 guns.
Russian counteroffensive throws the Austrians back to the Carpathian Mountains, a distance of more than 100 miles
First Battle of the Masurian Lakes German 8th Army struck the flank of Russian 1st Army, which escaped a double envelopment and escaped, but having lost 125,000 men and 150 guns.
17 September-31 October
Germans come to the aid of the hard pressed Austrians and in a series of well fought offensive-defensive battles Hindenburg and Ludendorff derail the Russian offensive plans.
Hindenburg becomes CinC of the Austro-German Eastern Front
The Battle of Lodz a German tactical defeat, but a strategic success which finishes the final Russian offensive effort in aid of the French
The crisis in East Prussia and on the Eastern Front was over and fighting would not be renewed for nearly two and a half months.
1915 .. return to top
31 January-22 March
The Germans and Austrians mounted a series of limited, largely unsuccessful offensives which regain some ground, chiefly in Masuria
The besieged city of Przemysl (in Poland) surrenders after 194 days, giving up 110,000 Austrian prisoners to the Russians
Russian counteroffensive makes limited gains in the Carpathian Mts
2 May to 19 September
In a series of highly successful offensive operations Hindenburg clears the Russians from much of Poland, with Warsaw falling on 7 August, Brest-Litovsk on 25 August, and Vilna on 19 September; the Eastern Front now follows a North-South Line from Riga on the Baltic to the eastern end of the Carpathian Mountains in the South
1916 .. return to top
Russian offensive towards East Prussia in support of the French call for help is defeated by a spring thaw and German defensive skill
4 June to 20 September
The famous Brusilov Offensive shatters the Austrian front, and is only checked by German reinforcements drawn from the Verdun sector of the Western Front
Rumania declares war on Germany and Austria, who knock her out of the war in a November-December offensive striking north from Salonika and south from Poland; Rumanian Army virtually destroyed 1-4 December in the Battle of the Arges River; Rumanians retreat into SW Russia holding a sliver of their own territory
1917 .. return to top
Back .. return to top
Russian Revolution; Czar Nicholas II abdicates; Russian civil war soon consumes the attention of the government
Second Brusilov Offensive is wrecked by German counteroffensive against the demoralized Russian armies
Hutier's Riga Offensive institutes new tactics which roll up the Russian 12th Army
Russia in Chaos
The Bolshevik Revolution
Armistice of Brest-Litovsk removes Russia from the war to all intents and purposes, allowing the Germans to concentrate on the Western Front