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White, Cha. (ed.) / The continental times. Supplement: Austro-Hungary and the war.
No. 1125. Vol. XXI. No. 58 (May 19, 1915)

Orchelle, R.L.
The continental times. Supplement: Austro-Hungary and the war [continued]

In vikw of the unfavorable outcome o
the battle at Przemysany, the first duty o
the Chief Command was not to expose th
forces under Brudermann and Bhm-Emoll
to further attack by an overwhelming host
but to endeavor to bring them swift and
efficient help. This was possible only by
halting the victorious march of Auffenberg'
ariny and by bidding it turn and take up
position that would enable it to deliver a
flank attack upon the dangerous foe.
It was no light task that the army o
General Auffenberg hereby assumed. A vas'
army with all its countless supply trains
required for the sustenance of the men and
the  necessities of the  fight, cannot b
reversed as easily as one reverses a glove
Yet this remarkable feat met with complet
success. The problem was solved with th
greatest celerity in spite of the weariness o
the soldiers after their long fighting, and th
miserable roads. Though still struggling on
the Ist of September   with  the  enemy
towards the north, the main masses of thi
army stood two days later east of Tomaszow
with its front reversed towards the south
ready for a march upon Rawaruska. It
rear was protected by a weaker group undei
the Archduke Joseph Ferdinand which had
reached the region of Grubieszow on the
watershed of the Bug-Huczwa angle in
pursuit of the enemy it had defeated a'
Komarow. Tte whole movement was a
masterpiece of military technique which
reflected the highest credit upon the leader
ship as well as upon the men.
In the meantime it had been ascertained
that the Russian flood tide had not been able
to overwhelm the defensive posts at Zloczow
and Przemyslany without suffering a grea
loss of its striking power. The Russian hos
no longer poured westward in an uncontroll-
able tide, but began to push itself slowly
and carefully towards Lemberg from the
WV 'so-ti,-eat-and -Ti0nYtWest.  ?e guk-
portions of the hostile army made their way
towards the northwest from the scene of
action at Przemyslany, obviously giving ear
to the cry of distress which reached it from
the 5th Russian army which had been
besieged at Komarow. Comparatively weaker
forces surrounded the bridge-head at Halncz
on the Dniestr and pressed gradually for-
ward westerly in the space between this
river and Lemberg.
It became clear that the immediate future
would not bring to pass the chief attack
against our Eastern group, or the possibility
of a flank attack by Auffenberg, but that on
the contrary a hot engagement was preparing
for the latter. In accordance with our firm
resolution to conduct the campaign so as to
fetter the Russian hosts as far as possible,
the new situation likewise brought new
resolutions into play, namely to bring about
a reversal of the eastern group in order to
permit it to make a flank onslaught in the
battle which the army of Auffenberg was
now about to wage. This resolve was made
the more easily since our brave troops,
though very weary, nevertheless preserved
their striking power and their eagerness for
the offensive.
Two conditions however, remained to be
fulfilled. It was absolutely necessary to give
the men some brief time for recuperation
and for forming them into close masses for
the purposes of the proposed flank attack.
This forced us to a resolve which was by no
means an easy one: the evacuation of Lemberg.
This, to be sure, would enable the enemy
to boast of a cheap success. But in order
to defend the earth-works with which the
city was surrounded, a whole army would
have been required, and this army would
have been subjected to all the perils of an
attack from three sides. These earth-works
would have sufficed as protection against
hostile cavalry detachments such as were
sent scouring over the country at the
beginnng of the war, but would have been
utterly useless against heavy artillery. The
forced capture of Lemberg would moreover
have permitted the enemy to 'chieve a
certain moral and military prestige in being
able to boast of the capture of a fortress.
But the most serious dsadvantage would
have been the necessity of our troops under
a state of siege of waging a continual
struggle with the enemy, whereas it was
highly important that every available man
should be free for the battle in the open
The Russians were already knocking at
the door of the city at Kulikow on the eve-
ning of the 1st of September.   For this
reason Lemberg was evacuated on the 2nd
of September. The entire eastern group of
our forces withdrew behind the Wereszyca,
which forms an admirable line of defence
with its chains of flooded ponds ner
f  Grodek. Here the troops would be able to
4 recover their strength and fitness until such
e time as the clash of Auffenberg's army with
Itthe enemy moving towards the north, should
call them to fresh feats of arms.
This army turned towards Rawaruska,
Y which it reached on the 5th of September.
s In the course of its advance its right wing
a was supposed to reach the railway fom
a Jaworow  to Lemberg   and  there connect
with the north   wing   of  the front at
This was acomplished on the 7th of Sep-
e tember but not without heavy battles. Every
step towards Lemberg increased the masses
e of the enemy that opposed us. The skirmis-
e hes between patrols swiftly developed into
if pitched battles. which thereby brought about
e the necessity for the Weresyca lines to enter
a the combat. It was the duty of these forces to
y help organize a victorious decision and they
s were fully conscious of the significance of
V the moment.
1, The Russian who underrated the real con-
s dition of these unconquerabe troops and
r imagined them to be at their last resources,
I a belief in which the undisputed evacuaton
e of Lemberg may have confirmed them,-
I were not a little surprised when they became
taware of the mighty onslaught that came
a rolling against them over the lower plains of
I the Wereszyca on the th of September. The
Graz and Lemberg companies, led by General
von Boroevic, took uip their position on the
heights beyond and north of the Grodek
e road and the large forest of Janow. In the
south the Temesvar corps and the Budapest
corps, which had just arrived by rail, pressed
against the Russian lines of fortifications.
*Between these two bodies the commandant
*of the army, von Bbhm-Ermolli, had stationed
the Siebenburg companies.
bitterness on the 9th and 10th. The rmes
of Bhm-Ermolli and Broevic marched from
success to success. The southern wing had
won some 20 kilomeres towards the front,
the (iraz companies fought some 15 kilo-
metres in front of Lemberg. General Auf-
fenbrg's army had so far not only resisted
all the hostile attacks, but its right wing had
also scored several noteable successes.
The character of modern warfare s such
that in place of rapid and decisive victories
there is a slow and laborious wrestling and
process of attrition..  Again and again a
routed enemy is able to occupy new positi-
ons and, thanks to the immense repulsive
power of modern firearms, carry on a stub-
born resistance. Long struggles are necessary
and many heavy blows must be dealt ere
the powers of resistance are broken down
arid a complete victory achieved. Our troops
were on the way to the attainment of this
end, but further time was required and this
unfortunately was not granted them.
At the very moment in which it was de-
cided to the let the two armies cross the
Wereszyca, we became aware of the serious-
ness of the situation in the north. The
mighty pressure that had been exerted by
the armies of Dakl and A~ffenberg during
the last days of August had given the Russian
leaders the bet of reasons for throwing all
their available reinforcements and troops in
transport into the region between the Vistula
and the upper Bug.
When the Russians noticed that the pres-
sure that had been' applied to them so dis-
astrously at Komarow had grown less, they
began to urge forward new  reinforcements
in a southerly direction  The troops under
the Archduke Joseph Ferdinand, threatened
in their front and flank, were forced, step by
step, to leave the angle of the Bug-Huczwa,
and to approach the rear of Auffenberg's
army. This too ad already been attackeds
during the advance upon Rawarnska by hos-t
tile columns which came from the northeast
and the east, so that it became necesary, inc
order to proect the chief battle-front to i
form a sort of hook towards the east.
In the neighborhood of Cholm   betweenv
the Wieprz and the Bu7' the Rusian hordes l
had become steadily more numerous andE
these at the beginning of September beganS
to move against the right flank of Dankso
army, precisely at the same time that the t
Central Galician corps made an attempt to t
carry the enemy's postion at Lublin   byo
making an enve'oping attack towards thed
right along the Wieprz.   This move, of l
course, it was neccessary to abandon as soon a
as the Russians arriving    from  the  directonI
of Cholm made their ap Dearance along the
Wieprz. Likewise we    re forced to give
up the plan of simultan ously attacking the
positions at Lublin by a enveloping move-
ment from the left with the assistance of the
Landwehr corps of Gen ral Woyrsch which
had crossed the Vistula. This corps was in
fact of much more use in strengthening the
heavily-threatened left wng, and so it moved
on towards Tarnawa int6 a position on the
Porbach, behind which he Central-Galician
and the Pozsony corps would have been
forced to take station. I
Dankl's army offered he stoutet resistance
to the overwhelming fo ces that opposed it,
until the 9th of Septem 1er. But when the
left wing the troops u der Kummer lost a
contiderable piece of grpund, and the Rus-
sian onslaught upon the position on the
Porbach bent these liids despite the most
heroic resistance, there was no choice left
us save to rescue the ar my from the clutch
of such overwhelming odds and to withdraw
it first towards the heights of Krasnik-Fram-
pol and then, after the passage of our supply
columns through the difficult region of the
Tanew, to move behind the heights.
The time which was of necessity forced to
elapse ere this plan could be put into exe-
cution, enabled us to continue the great
struggle about Lemberg, during which the
southern  wing   agair,  achieved  several
On the other hand a steadily-growing dan-
ger now resulted through the penetration of
Russian forces from Cholm between the
Wieprz and the Huczwa,-forces composed
of Caucasians, Grenadidrs and Guards. These
approached nearer and nearer to the gaps
between the armies of lank and Auffenberg,
-gaps it was impossil le to fill owing to
the lack of sufficient troops.  Should the
Russians enter this opet gate the road to the
rear of the battle front would have been
open to them. As early as the evening of
the 10th, General Aufenberg had realized
the necessity of withdrawing the centre and
the left wing that was ighting at Rawaruska,
:I GI f- :r         front turned towards
the north in conjuncti on with the troops
under the Archduke Jo eph Ferdinand. This
army on the 11th of September was there-
fore engaged more wit 1 the enemy towards
the north than with its own proper anta-
gonist. Only the cool leadership and the
soundness of the troops enabled the army to
withstand the terrible storms that besieged
it on all sides-like a cliff that jutted out
into a raging sea.
The main purpose of the battles that had
so far been waged bac been fulfilled.  We
had drawn upon us al l those forces which
Russia had been able to bring up since the
opening of the campaign.  Not only in the
east and the north v ere our sorely-tried
troops confronted by a vast superiority in
numbers of the enemy, but the Russians had
also flung great masses of men into the
districts south of the Dniestr and the ad-
vance guards of these had already penetrated
towards Stryi and Dro obycz. The Russian
armies had been thro n into confusion by
our advances and attacis and had also suf-
fered heavy losses. A results proved, se-
veral weeks were required for it to recover
from the distress of thse days of battle snd
to rearrange and re-gr up its forces in order
to prepare it for a new offensive movement.
It was nevertheless a severe blow for us
to surrender the ho e of defeating the
Russians that were co entrated about Lem-
berg-the more so sii ce the victory had
lain so close within our grasp. The time in
which this had still rmained a possibility
had now expired. In crder not to bring this
galantly-fighting army'into a perilous po-
sition and sacrifice its. striking power, we
were reluctantly forced to come to the deci-
sion that a retreat was necessary. This con-
clusion was reached  by the commanding
generals at noon on the 11th of September.
In splendid formation and order, with flags
flying and accompanied by all its war pri-
soners and captured guns, our army began
the retreat over the San.  Even the army of
Auffenberg which found itself in a position
of exceeding difficulty, was able to extricate
itself from the enemy and to effect an un-
disturbed crossing of the San, though not
without some previous pitched battles and
losses of transports. The army under Generali
Dankl was already established behind thet
San and was enabled to procure the advancei
of its food and ammunition-trains througha
the difficult territory of the Tanew.  Thusa
the northern army was able to elude theh
overwhelming Russian masses which it had  f
designedly loosed of its own accord, at thet
last moment and to gather fresh strength  r
and energy after three weeks of uninterrupted
The task which the general condition of
the war had conferred upon our northern
army in the opening campaign had been
carried out in the fullest measure.  The
course of events, as sketched in this general
account, can give no idea of the countless
heroic struggles, the many acts of self-
sacrificial bravery, the endless hardships so
joyfully borne.  It is left for later times to
sing the glories of the many heroes who
fought so bravely for their threatened father-
land amid a clash of never-ceasing battles.
Nor could we carry out our heavy task,
without serious losses-a great many brave
fellows gave up their lives upon the blood-
drenched field of honor. But all losses and
sacrifices were unable to shake the stamina
of the men. In spite of all the unavoidable
changes of fortune that war brings with it,
despite the knowledge of the crushing
numbers and might of a valiant and well-
armed foe, the most precious qualities of
our army emerged as strong and pure as
before.  Its splendid and daring offensive
spirit remained  unbroken,  and  ere the
Russians were aware of it, they found them-
selves threatened anew  by a mighty and
dauntless attack.  What Russia may perhaps
have regarded as the collapse of the power
of resistance of Austro-Hungary, was in re-
ality only the prelude to a long sequence of
great deeds by our army and that of our
ally, their common purpose,-the gradual
disintegration of Russia's numerical superiority
through blows repeated again and again-
was being accomplished step by step.
At the beginning of the war when the
matter of publishing the official communi-
cations from the scene of war came up for
discussion, it was decided that all reports of
events were to be given as simply and tersely
as possibly, limited, of course, by the obvious
necessity of not disclosing strategic situations
or forthcoming operations which might prove
useful to the enemy. For these reasons some
of the important successes gained by our
arms could only be briefly indicated, some-
times only after more or less delay.
The same precautions had to be taken with
regard to articles of a military interest ap-
pearing in the daily press. The press of our
country, we rejoice to say, showed the greatest
compliance with these rules at all times.
The precautions at first so indispensible
have now, in many cases, lost their appli-
cation. It is therefore possible to publish
more detailed accounts of particular events
and separate actions.
The complete facts, however, regarding
certain fixed points, cannot be entirely dis-
closed without some necessary reservation.
Nor should it be forgotten that the material
available in the field of war is by its very
nature limited in quantity. We shall dispense
with diagrams, as these would considerably
increase the difficulties of a general publication.
But the various operations may be followed
by means of the accompanying map.
There are various good reasons for choosing
as our first description the battle which took
place in December in West Galicia in the
neighborhood of Limanowa and Lapanow.
This battle is one of those waged on a
great scale by our troops, and is therefore
still fresh in the memory of the public.
The hurling back of the Russian hordes
which had made their threatening advance
upon eastern Germany and West Galicia, may
be said to have begun with the successes
achieved by the allies at Limanowa-Lapanow
in the south, at Lodz and along the Bzura in
the north. When we consider what hopes
and importance the Triple Entente has placed
upon this Russian offensive which they had
proclaimed in such boastful words, It might
not be too much to say that in this victory
of our arms and those of our German allies,
the crisis of the great world war has been
successfully overcome.
Finally a description of the severe battles
which took place in December in West
Galicia will serve the purpose of making clear
to the peoples of the Dual Monarchy all that
our valiant troops and their faithful German
comrades have been able to accomplish for
the great common cause. It will be inspiringa
to learn how they battled for weeks withouts
intermission, how  they defied all dangerso
and hardships, enduring the greatest privationsE
and efforts without a murmur, how the super-u
human endurance required by modern war-a
fare, an endurance no one had realized erev
this, -  were met by them with the heroica
resolve to conquer or to die.
The following account should be read in
this spirit. It may also serve to enlighten
WA i.
the public with respect to the difficult tasks
and changeable situations that confronted
the leaders.
The events that occurred in November had
brought about a gap of about a hundred
kilometres in the lines of the two opposed
armies. While the 8th Russian army under
General Brusilow had Fent its right wing to
follow up the forces we had drawn over the
crest of the Carpathians in the direction of
Bartfa, the 3rd Russian army under General
Radko Dimitriew, by moving westward and
entering into action in the battle north of the
Vistula, had proceded along with the 9th
and 11th corps along the line Lapanow-
Niepolomice close to the positions we had
prepared at Dobozyce and Wieliczka on the
evening of November 27th. The forces of
Field Marshal of Stores Liubicic, which fighting
step by step, had retreated and were again in
contact with the Russian advance troops, were
confronted with the task of preventing a
farther penetration of the enemy south of the
Vistula. The south wing of this body in
the frontal gap the Field Marshal Lieutenant
protected by strong cavalry and Polish
legionaries under Baron Nagy since he at
once barred the defiles at Dobra against the
hostile horsemen which had been observed
near Limanowa.
In unison with the forces of Liubicic the
main forces of the army under the Archduke
Joseph Ferdinand, which had proceeded from
Cracow in order to relieve our front in
South Poland, had been withdrawn into the
fortified area upon the northern bank of the
Vistula after heavy fighting, with strong
portions of the Russian 3rd and 9th army
which had crossed the river.
This situation brought about the resolve
of the General Command to transport strong
detachments of the archducal army and some
of the advancing German reinforcements by
railway  into the  district  of Chabowka-
Jordanow so that the enemy, who had
advanced  into  West Galicia,  might be
subjected to a surprise attack.
This resolve led up to the battle of
The first transport colums arrived at
Chabowka as early as the 28th of November.
In view of the important ends to be pur-
sued, Field Marshall Lieutenant Roth received
orders at Cracow on the 29th to deliver a
flank attack against the enemy moving upon
Field Marshall Liubicic, with all the forces
that were available to him as well at those
German troops commanded by Lieutenant-
General von Besser.  The line of action was
to extend along Jordanow-Mszana Dolna.
In the meantime the hostile cavalry that
stood  opposed  to the   Austrian  group
under Field Marshall Lieutenant Freiherr
von Nagy, had been considerably reinforced
by infantry. Though Nagy was able to repulse
all attacks at Dobra on the 28th, he was
nevertheless forced on the very next day to
withdraw to a new position at Kasina Wielka,
which he succeeded in holding on the 30th.
The first divisions of the detrained troops
reached Mszana Dolna on ths same day. In
order that an advance might be made with a
strong and extensive right wing in the
approximate direction of Tymbark towards
Bochnia, it was necessy to clear the enemy
from the one road that led from the detraining
station towards Tymbark.
In order to effect this the Lower-Austrian
and Mahrian Landwehr troops attacked the
cavalry at Kasina Wielka from the North on
the Ist of December. This cavalry which was
unmounted, defendeditself gallantly. At noon
on the 2nd the Linz infantry divisions also
came into contact with the enemy west of
Dobra and forced him to beat a retreat to-
wards the naked heights which fall precip'-
tously to the south from this point on the
line of the railway. The road as far as Dobra
was cleared of the enemy by the evening,
though the district of Tymbark was still in
his hands.
In order that this district might be con-
quered and thus assure reinforcements to the
forces that were attacking in a northerly direc-
tion along both sides of the road to Skrzydlna,
and to provide for the detrainments that were
still to be made, certain newly -arrived bodies
of Tyrolese troops were sent on the 3rd of
December to make a simultaneous attack
upon Tymbark from-n Dobra along the road
and further south over Slopnice. The enemy
was driven out by the evening, and the road
as far as the fork northwest of Limanowa
was in our possession.
Thanks to the de'ermined onslaught and
the rapid work of our troops it was possi5le

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