Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

lines, capturing two guns, eight ammunition wagons, and 200 boxes of ammunition.

Near Boritin, four miles southeast of Lutsk, Russian scouts captured two 4-inch guns, with four officers and 160 men. A 4-inch gun and thirty-five ammunition wagons were captured, near Dobriatin on the Ikva below Mlynow, fourteen miles southeast of Lutsk.

Young troops, just arrived at the front, vied with seasoned Russian regiments in deeds of valor. Some regiments formed of Territorial elements by an impetuous attack drove back the Austrians on the Styr, and pressing close on their heels forced the bridgehead near Rozhishche, thirteen miles north of Lutsk, at the same time taking about 2,500 German and Austrian prisoners, as well as machine guns and much other booty. Other regiments forced a crossing over the Strypa and some advanced detachments even reached the next river, the Zlota Potok, about five miles to the west.

The number of prisoners captured by the Russians continually increased. Exclusive of those already reported—namely, 958 officers, and more than 51,000 Austrian and German soldiers, they captured in the course of the fighting on June 8, 1916, 185 officers and 13,714 men, making the totals so far registered in the present operations 1,143 officers and 64,714 men.

The next day, June 9, 1916, the troops under General Brussilov continued the offensive and the pursuit of the retreating Austrians. Fighting with the latter's rear guards, they crossed the river Styr above and below Lutsk.

In Galicia, northwest of Tarnopol, in the regions of Gliadki and Cebrow, heavy fighting developed for the possession of heights, which changed hands several times. During that day's fighting the Russians captured again large numbers of Austrians, consisting of ninety-seven officers and 5,500 men and eleven guns, making a total up to the present of 1,240 officers and about 71,000 men, ninety-four guns, 167 machine guns, fifty-three mortars, and a large quantity of other war material.

At dawn of June 10, 1916, Russian troops entered Buczacz on the west bank of the Strypa and, developing the offensive along the Dniester, carried the village of Scianka, eight miles west of the Strypa. In the village of Potok Zloty, four miles west of the Strypa, they seized a large artillery park and large quantities of shells.

In the north the Germans again attempted to relieve the pressure on their allies by attacking in force at many points. Artillery duels were fought along the Dvina front and on the Oginski Canal.

Without let up, however, the Russian advance continued. So furious and swift was the onslaught of the czar's armies that the Austrians lost thousands upon thousands of prisoners and vast masses of war material of every kind. For instance, in one sector alone the Austrians were forced to retreat so rapidly that the Russians were able to gather in, according to official reports, twenty-one searchlights, two supply trains, twentynine field kitchens, forty-seven machine guns, 193 tons of barbed wire, 1,000 concrete girders, 7,000,000 concrete cubes, 160 tons of coal, enormous stores of ammunition, and a great quantity of arms and other war material. In another sector they captured 30,000 rounds of rifle ammunition, 300 boxes of machine gun ammunition, 200 boxes of hand grenades, 1,000 rifles in good condition, four machine guns, two optical range finders, and even a brand-new Norton well, a portable con. trivance for the supply of drinking water.

The prisoners captured during June 10, 1916, comprised one general, 409 officers, and 35,100 soldiers. The material booty included thirty guns, thirteen machine guns, and five trench mortars. The total Russian captures in the course of about a week thus amount to one general, 1,649 officers, more than 106,000 soldiers, 124 guns of all sorts, 180 machine guns, and fiftyeight trench mortars.

This was now the seventh day of the new Russian offensive, and on it another valuable prize fell into the hands of General Brussilov, the town and fortress of Dubno. This brought his forces within twenty-five miles of the Galician border and put the czar's forces again in the possession of the Volhynian fora tress triangle, consisting of Lutsk, Dubno, and Rovno.

Dubno, which had been in the hands of the Austrians since September 7, 1916, lies on the Rovno-Brody-Lemberg railway, and is about eighty-two miles from the Galician capital, Lemberg. The town has about 14,000 inhabitants, mostly Jews, engaged in the grain, tobacco, and brickmaking industry. It was in existence as early as the eleventh century.

So powerful was the Russian onrush on Dubno that the attackers swept westward apparently without meeting any resistance, for on the same day on which the fortress fell, some detachments crossed the Ikva. One part of these forces even swept as far westward as the region of the village of Demidovka, on the Mlynow-Berestetchko road, thirteen miles southwest of the Styr at Mlynow, compelling the enemy garrison of the Mlynow to surrender. Demidovka is twenty-five miles due west of Dubno. Thus the Russians have in Volhynia alone pushed the Austro-Hungarian linės back thirty-two miles.

CHAPTER XXI

THE RUSSIAN RECONQUEST OF THE

BUKOWINA

SIMULTANEOUSLY with the drive in Volhynia, the extreme

left wing of the Russian southern army under General Le. chitsky forced the Austro-Hungarians to withdraw their whole line in the northeastern Bukowina, invaded the crownland with strong forces and advanced to within fourteen miles of the capital, Czernowitz. On the Strypa the Austrians had to fall back from their principal position north of Buczacz. In spite of the most desperate resistance and in the face of a violent flanking fire, and even curtain fire, and the explosions of whole sets of mines, General Lechitsky's troops captured the Austrian positions south of Dobronowce, fourteen miles northeast of Czernowitz. In that region alone the Russians claimed to have captured 18,000 soldiers, one general, 347 officers, and ten guns. Southeast of Zaleszcyki on the Dniester the Russians again were victorious and forced the withdrawal of the Austrian lines. Fourteen miles north of Czernowitz the Austrian troops tried to stem the tide by blowing up the railroad station of Jurkoutz. At the same time they made their first imporant counterattack in the Lutsk region. Making a sudden stand, after being driven over the river Styr, north of Lutsk, they turned on the Russians with the aid of German detachments rushed to them by General von Hindenburg, drove the Muscovite troops back over the Styr and took 1,508 prisoners, including eight officers. At other points, too, the Austrian resistance stiffened perceptibly, especially in the region of Torgovitsa, and on the Styr below Lutsk.

Dubno, a modern fortress, built, like Lutsk, mainly in support of Rovno, to ward off possible aggression, now supplied an excellent starting point for a Russian drive into the heart of Galicia. Proceeding on both sides of the Rovno-Dubno-Brody Lemberg railway the Russians should be able to cover the eightytwo miles which still separates them from the Galician capital within a comparatively short time, provided that Austrian resistance in this region continues as weak as it has been up to date.

A greater danger than the capture of Lemberg was, however, presented by the Russian advance into the Bukowina. If these two Russian drives — to Lemberg and to Czernowitz - would prove successful the whole southeastern Austro-Hungarian army would find itself squeezed between two Russian armies, and its only escape would be into the difficult Carpathian Mountain passes, where the Russians, this time well equipped and greatly superior in numbers, could be expected to be more successful than in their first Carpathian campaign.

Still the Russian advance continued, although on June 11, 1916, there was a slight slowing down on account of extensive storms that prevailed along the southern part of the front.

In Galicia, in the region of the villages of Gliadki and Verobieyka, north of Tarnopol, the Austrians attacked repeatedly and furiously, but were repulsed on the morning of the 11th. Farther south, however, near the town of Bobulintze, on the Strypa, fifteen miles north of Buczacz, the Austro-Hungarians, strongly reenforced by Germans, scored a substantial success. They launched a furious counterattack, bringing the Russian assaults to a standstill and even forcing the Muscovite troops to retreat a short distance. According to the German War Office more than 1,300 Russian prisoners were taken.

Simultaneously with this partial relief in the south Field Marshal von Hindenburg began an attack at several points against the Russian right wing and part of the center. He penetrated the czar's lines at two points near Jacobstadt, halfway between Riga and Dvinsk, and at Kochany between Lake Narotch and Dvinsk. At the three other points, in the Riga zone, south of Lake Drisviaty and on the Lassjolda, his attacks broke down under the Russian fire.

Lemberg, Galicia's capital, was now threatened from three sides. Czernowitz, the capital of the Bukowina, was even in a more precarious position. It had been masked by the extreme left wing of the Russian armies and, unless some unexpected turn came to the assistance of the Austrians, its fall was sure to be only a matter of days, or possibly even of hours. All of southern Volhynia had been overrun by the Russians who were then, on the ninth day of their offensive, forty-two miles west of the point from where it had begun in that province.

Northwest of Rojitche, in northwestern Volhynia, after dislodging the Germans, General Brussilov on June 12, 1916, approached the river Stokhod. West of Lutsk he occupied Torchin and continued to press the enemy back.

On the Dniester sector and farther General Lechitsky's troops, having crossed the river after fighting, captured many fortified points and also the town of Zaleszcyky, twenty-five miles northwest of Czernowitz. The village of Jorodenka, ten miles farther, northwest of Zaleszcyky, also was captured.

On the Pruth sector, between Doyan and Niepokoloutz, the Russian troops approached the left bank of the river, near the bridgehead of Czernowitz.

The only point at which the Austrian line held was near Kolki in northern Volhynia, south of the Styr. There attempts by the Russians to cross that river failed and some 2,000 men were

« AnteriorContinuar »