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even if they were restricted in extent and force. Throughout che months of April and May, 1916, no important changes took place anywhere on the eastern front. A great deal of the fighting, almost all, indeed, was the result of clashes between scouting detachments or else simply a struggle for the possession of the most advantageous points, involving in most instances only a trench here or another trench there, and always comparatively small numbers of soldiers.

Though the story of this series of minor engagements as it can be constructed from official reports and other sources offers few thrills and is lacking entirely in the sensational accomplishments which mark movements of greater extent and importance, this is due chiefly to the fact that few details become known about fighting of only local character. In spite of this it must be borne in mind that all of this fighting was of the most determined kind, was done under conditions requiring the greatest amount of endurance and courage, and resulted in innumerable individual heroic deeds, which, just because they were individual, almost always remained unknown to the outside world.

On April 1, 1916, a German attack against the bridgehead at Uxkull was repulsed by Russian artillery. Farther south, in the Dvinsk sector German positions were subjected to strong artillery bombardment at many points, especially at Mechkele, and just north of Vidzy. On the following day, April 2, 1916, fighting again took place in the Uxkull region. Mines were exploded near Novo Selki, south of Krevo, a town just south of the Viliya River. The Germans launched an attack north of the Baranovitchy railway station. This is the strategically important village through which both the Vilna-Rovno and the Minsk-BrestLitovsk railways pass and around which a great deal of fighting had taken place in the past. Even though this attack was extensively supported by aeroplanes, which bombarded a number of railway stations on that part of the Minsk-Baranovitchy railway which was in the hands of the Russians, it was repulsed by the Russians.

April 3, 1916, brought a renewal of the German attacks against the Uxkull bridgehead. For over an hour and a half artillery of both heavy and light caliber prepared the way for this attack. But again the Russian lines held and the Germans had to desist. Before Dvinsk and to the south of the fortress artillery duels inflicted considerable damage without affecting the positions on either side. Just north of the Oginski Canal German troops crossed the Shara River and attacked the Russian positions west of the Vilna-Rovno railway, without being able to gain ground. All along the line aircraft were busily engaged in reconnoitering and in dropping bombs on railway stations.

The bombardment of the Uxkull region was again taken up on April 4, 1916, by the German artillery. South of Dvinsk, before the village of Malogolska, the German troops had to evacuate their first-line of trenches when the arising floods of neighboring rivers inundated them. German aeroplanes bombarded the town of Luchonitchy on the Vilna-Rovno railway, just southeast of Baranovitchy.

By April 5, 1916, the German artillery fire before Uxkull had spread to Riga and Jacobstadt, as well as to many points in the Dvinsk sector. Floods were still rising everywhere and the ice on the Dvina began to break up.

Again on April 7, 1916, the German guns thundered against the Russian front from Riga down to Dvinsk. Lake Narotch, , where so many battles had already been fought, again was the scene of a Russian attack which resulted in the gain of a few advanced German positions. The next day the Germans promptly replied with a determined artillery attack which regained for their side some of the points lost the previous day. Artillery duels also were staged near Postavy, in the Jacobstadt sector, and at the northernmost end of the line where the German guns bombarded the city of Schlock.

All day on April 9, 1916, the guns of all calibers kept up their death-dealing work along the entire Dvina front, and in the Lake district south of Dvinsk. The railway stations at Remershaf and Dvinsk were bombarded by German aeroplanes, while other units of their aircraft visited the Russian lines along the Oginski Canal. Both on April 11 and 12, 1916, artillery activity

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on the Dvina was maintained. A German infantry attack against the Uxkull bridgehead, launched on the 11th, failed.

By this time the ice had all broken up and the floods had stopped rising. In the Pinsk Marshes considerable activity developed on both sides by means of boats. A vivid picture of conditions as they existed at this time in the Pripet Marshes may be formed from the following description from the pen of a special correspondent on the staff of the Russian paper “Russkoye Slovo”:

“The marshes," he writes, "have awakened from their winter sleep. Even on the paved roads movement is all but impossible; to the right and left everything is submerged. The small river S en has become enormously broad; its shores are lost in the distance.

“The marshes have awakened, and are taking their revenge on man for having disturbed the ordinary life of Poliessie. But however difficult the operation, the war must be continued and material obstacles must be overcome. Owing to the enormous area covered by water the inhabitants have taken to boat building. Sentries and patrols move in boats, reconnoitering parties travel in boats, fire on the enemy from boats, and escape in boats from the attentions of the German heavy guns.

“The great marshy basin of the S- en and the Pis full of new boats, which are called 'baidaka.' These 'baidaka' are small, constructed to hold three or four men. The boats are flat-bottomed and steady. The scouts take the 'baidaka' on their shoulders, and as soon as they come to deep water launch their craft and row to the other side. Small oars or paddles are used, and punting operations are often necessary.

On the s en these boats move with great secrecy in the night; in the daytime they are hidden in rushes and reeds.

"It was a foggy day when we decided on making a voyage in a 'baidaka.' "The Germans came very suddenly to this place, said one of my companions. Our soldiers are concealed every. where.' We decided to row near the forest, so that in case of necessity we might gain the shelter of the trees. The silence was broken by occasional rifle reports from the direction of Pinsk, and a big gun roared now and then. Once a shell flew overhead, hissing as it went. But this was very ordinary music

to us.

"I was more interested in the intense silence of the marsh, for I knew that all this silence was false. Our secret posts abounded, and perhaps German scouts were in the vicinity. The marsh was full of men in hiding, and the waiting for a chance shot was more terrible than a continuous cannonade. Our sentinels fired twice close by; we did not know why. The shots resounded in the forest. We lay down in our boat and hid our heads. It was difficult for us to advance through the undergrowth as the spaces between the bushes were generally very narrow. We could not row, and we had to punt with our oars.

We advanced in this fashion half an hour. Then we reached a lakelike expanse clear of growth. “This is the river S en, I was further informed. "The Germans are on the other side.'

"I could not see where the other side' was. The water spread to the horizon and ended only in the purple border of the forest. 'We must be quiet here,' one whispered. The boat moved along the river without a splash, and strange, unaccustomed outlines grew up as we proceeded. “What place is that yonder ? I asked my neighbor. 'Pinsk,' he replied. I felt excited; we were near a town that was occupied by the Germans, and I wished that boat would turn back.

“We got into the rushes and moved through the jungle as though we were advancing in open water, for the path through the rushes had been prepared in the autumn. We advanced in this manner forty minutes until we could distinctly hear the whistling of steain engines and the bells ringing in the monastery at Pinsk. It was evident that the monks had remained. "The kaiser himself was in Pinsk in November,' said one of my companions, “and we knew it. The Germans blew horns all over the railway line and sang their national hymn. In Pinsk there was much animation.'

“A minute or two later the boat stopped and I was told it was dangerous to go farther. On the right we could see the out

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lines of houses and of the quay at Pinsk, only about a thousand paces distant. The town was covered by a thin mist and a faint fog was rising from the marsh.

“ 'There on your left are their heavy guns.' I could see nothing except some trenches near the quay.

"We took our leave of Pinsk. The twilight had arrived and it was necessary to retire."

Though the ice on the rivers and lakes had well broken up by the middle of April, thaw, of course, steadily increased, and with it the volume of water carried by the creeks and rivers. More and more difficult it became, therefore, to carry out military operations, and, as a result of these conditions, they were especially limited at this period.

In spite of this the Russians attempted local advance on April 13, 1916, in the region of Garbunovka, northwest of Dvinsk and south of Lake Narotch; however, though their losses were quite heavy, they could not gain any ground. This was also true of another local attack made against the army of Prince Leopold of Bavaria near Zirin, on the Servetsch River northeast of Baranovitchy. Similarly unsuccessful were German attacks made the same day between Lakes Sventen and Itzen. German artillery still kept up its work along the entire front, especially at Lake Miadziol, south of Dvinsk at Lake Narotch, and at Smorgon, the little railroad station south of the Viliya River on the Vilna-Minsk railway.

On the following day, April 14, 1916, the Russians repeated their efforts in the Servetsch region. After strong artillery preparation they launched another attack near Zirin, and southeast of Kovelitchy, but were again repulsed. The same fate was suffered by an attack attempted northwest of Dvinsk. South of Garbunovka, however, they registered a slight local success. After cutting down four lines of barbed-wire obstacles that had been erected by the Germans, they stormed and occupied two small hills west and south of this village. This gain was maintained in the face of strongly concentrated artillery and rifle fire, and repeated German counterattacks, which later proved very sanguinary to the German troops. German artillery

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