The Great War
James Mowbray

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The Russian Front

1914 | 1915 | 1916 | 1917
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2. The Russian Front, 1914-1917

1914 .. return to top

    17-19 August
    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.

    17 August
    Battle of Stallupoenen, a German tactical victory delayed Rennenkampf's 1st Army.

    20 August
    Battle of Gumbinnen, from which the Germans continued to withdraw after briefly checking the Russians once again; led to Prittwitz's replacement

    20 August
    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;

    22 August
    Ludendorff issues his plans, prepared for the most part by 8th Army's chief of operations, LTC Max Hoffmann.

    23 August
    Hindenburg and Ludendorff actually arrive 8th Army HQ in Marienburg;

    23 August-2 September
    Austrian offensive into Galicia (Southwestern Poland)

    24 August
    Battle of Orlau-Frankenau in which XX Corps checks Russians for 24 hours and retreats to Tannenberg;

    26-31 August
    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.

    3-11 September
    Russian counteroffensive throws the Austrians back to the Carpathian Mountains, a distance of more than 100 miles

    9-14 September
    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.

      1 November
      Hindenburg becomes CinC of the Austro-German Eastern Front

      11-25 November
      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

    22 March
    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

    18 March
    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

    27 August
    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

    12 March
    Russian Revolution; Czar Nicholas II abdicates; Russian civil war soon consumes the attention of the government

    1-19 July
    Second Brusilov Offensive is wrecked by German counteroffensive against the demoralized Russian armies

    1 September
    Hutier's Riga Offensive institutes new tactics which roll up the Russian 12th Army

    Russia in Chaos

    7 November
    The Bolshevik Revolution

    15 December
    Armistice of Brest-Litovsk removes Russia from the war to all intents and purposes, allowing the Germans to concentrate on the Western Front

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