« AnteriorContinuar »
fensive and attacked in massed formations. This resulted in a series of strong counterattacks, which enabled the Russians to maintain their positions.
At many points in the region of Ostoff and Goubine, Russian troops registered local successes by very swiftly executed attacks which threatened to outflank their opponents, who were, therefore, forced to retreat in great haste. As a result of this, the Russians captured one heavy and one light battery as well as numerous cannon which had been installed in isolated locations. Upward of 3,000 prisoners fell into their hands.
In Volhynia, on July 16, 1916, to the east and southeast of Svinisuky village, Russian troops under General Sakharoff broke down the resistance of the Germans. In battles in the region of Pustomyty, more than 1,000 Germans and Austrian prisoners have been taken, together with three machine guns and much other military booty.
In the region of the lower Lipa the successful Russian advance continued. The Germans were making a stubborn resistance. In battles in this region the Russians took many prisoners and guns, as well as fourteen machine guns, a few thousand rifles and other equipment.
The total number of prisoners taken on July 16, 1916, in battles in Volhynia, was claimed to be 314 officers and 12,637 men. The Russians also claimed to have captured thirty guns, of which seventeen were heavy pieces, and a great many machine guns and much other material.
In the direction of Kirliababa, on the frontier of Transylvania, Russians have occupied a set of new positions.
In the region of Riga, skirmishes on both sides have been successful for the Russians, and parts of German trenches have been taken, together with prisoners. Increased fire west and south of Riga and on the Dvina front preceded Russian enterprises. Near Katarinehof, south of Riga, considerable Russian forces attacked. Lively fighting developed here.
On the Riga front artillery engagements continued throughout July 17 and 18, 1916. At Lake Miadziol, Russian infantry and a lake flotilla made a surprise attack on the Germans in the night. German airmen manifested great activity from the regio south of the Dvina to the Pinsk Marshes.
On the Stokhod there was artillery fighting at many places.
Russian troops repulsed by artillery fire an attempt on the part of the Germans to take the offensive north of the Odzer Marsh. Owing to the heavy rains the Dniester rose almost two and one half meters, destroying bridges, buttresses and ferryboats, and considerably curtailing military operations.
On the Russian left flank, in the region of the Rivers Black and White Tscheremosche, southwest of Kuty, Russian infantry were advancing toward the mountain defiles.
Southwest of Delatyn the German troops drove back across the Pruth Russian detachments which had crossed to the western bank. The Germans took 300 prisoners.
On July 19, 1916, General Lechitsky's forces, which were advancing from the Bukowina and southern Galicia toward the passes of the Carpathians leading to the plains of Hungary, met with strong opposition in the region of Jablonica, situated at the northern end of a pass leading through the Carpathians to the important railroad center of Korosmezo, in Hungary.
Jablonica is about thirty-three miles west of Kuty and fifteen miles south of Delatyn. It is on the right of the sixty-mile front occupied by the advancing army of General Lechitsky.
No let-up was noticeable in the battle along the Stokhod, where the combined forces of the Central Powers seemed to be able to withstand all Russian attacks. Along the Lipa increased artillery fire was the order of the day. In Galicia the floods in the Dniester Valley continued to hamper military operations. Many minor engagements were fought both in the northern and central sectors of the front.
INCREASED STRENGTH OF THE RUSSIAN
became more and more violent. Along the entire front the most bitter and sanguinary fighting took place day after day and night after night. Artillery bombardments such as never had been heard before raged at hundreds of places at the same time. Troops in masses that passed all former experience were employed by the Russians to break the resistance of the Teutonic allies.
The latter, however, seemed to have their affairs well in hand. At many points they lost local engagements. At other points advanced positions had to be given up, and at still other points occasional withdrawals of a few miles became inevitable. But, all in all, the Austro-German lines held considerably well.
During the last two or three days of July, 1916, however, the German-Austrian forces suffered some serious reverses. On July 21, 1916, General Sakharoff had succeeded in crossing the Lipa River and in establishing himself firmly on its south bank. This brought him within striking distance of the important railway point of Brody on the Dubno-Lemberg railway, very close to the Russo-Galician border, and only fifty miles northeast of Lemberg.
In spite of the most determined resistance on the part of the Austrian troops, the Russian general was able to push his advantage during the next few days, and on July 27, 1916, Brody fell into his hands.
Less successful was the continued attack on the Stokhod line with the object of reaching Kovel. There the German-Austrian forces repulsed all Russian advances.
In the Bukowina, however, the Russians gradually pushed on. Slowly but surely they approached once more the Carpathian Mountain passes.
N-War St. 5
The same was true in eastern Galicia. After the fall of Kolomea in the early part of the month, the Russian advance had progressed steadily, even if slowly, in the direction of Stanislau and Lemberg. Closer and closer to Stanislau the Russian forces came, until on July 30, 1916, they were well within striking dig. tance.
In the north, too, General Kuropatkin displayed greatly increased activity against Von Hindenburg's front, although as a result he gained only local successes.
Midsummer, 1916, then saw the Russians once more on a strong offensive along their entire front. How far this movement would ultimately carry them, it was hard to tell. Once more the way into the Hungarian plains seemed to be open to the czar's soldiers, and a sufficiently successful campaign in Galicia might easily force back the center of the line to such an extent that they might then have prospects of regaining some of the ground lost during their great retreat.
Interesting details of the terrific struggle which had been going on on the eastern front for many weeks are given in the following letter from an English special correspondent:
“I reached the headquarters of a certain Siberian corps about midnight on July 15, 1916, to find the artillery preparation, which had started at 4 p. m., in full blast. Floundering around through the mud, we came almost on to the positions, which were suddenly illuminated with fires started by Austrian shells in two villages near by, while the jagged flashes of bursting shells ahead caused us to extinguish the lights of the motor and to turn across the fields, ultimately arriving at the headquarters of a corps which I knew well on the Bzura line in Poland.
"Sitting in a tiny room in an unpretentious cottage with the commander, I followed the preparations which were being made for the assault. The ticking of the instruments gave news from the front, the line of which was visible from the windows by flares and rockets and burning villages. By midnight ten breaches had been made in the barbed wire, each approximately twenty paces broad, and the attacks were ordered for three o'clock in the morning.
"Rising at 5 a. m. I accompanied the commander of the corps to his observation point on a ridge. The attacks had already swept away the resistance of the enemy's first line.
“Thousands of prisoners were in our hands, and the enemy was already retiring rapidly. He therefore halted but a few minutes, pushing on to the advanced positions. The commander stopped repeatedly by the roadside tapping the field wires, and giving further instructions as to the disposition of the troops.
“As we moved forward we began to meet the flood from the battle field, first the lightly wounded, and then Austrian prisoners helping our heavily wounded, who were in carts.
"Before we were halfway to the positions a cavalry general splashed with mud met the commander and informed him that six guns were already in our hands. The next report from the field telephone increased the number to ten guns, with 2,000 prisoners, including some Germans.
“At quite an early hour the entire country was alive, and every department of the army beginning to move forward. All the roads were choked with ammunition parks, batteries, and transports following up our advancing troops; while the stream of returning caissons, the wounded, and the prisoners equaled in volume the tide of the advancing columns.
“The commander took up his position on a ridge which but a few hours before had been our advanced line. Thence the country could be observed for miles. Each road was black with moving troops, pushing forward on the heels of the enemy, whose field gun shells were bursting on the ridges just beyond.
"Here I met the commander of the division and his staff. Plans were immediately made for following up our success. Evidently the size of our group was discernible from some distant enemy observation point, for within five minutes came the howl of an approaching projectile and a 6-inch shell burst with a terrific crash in a neighboring field. Its arrival, which was followed at regular intervals by others ranging from 4-inch upward, was apparently unnoticed by the general, whose interest was entirely occupied with pressing his advantage.