Battle of Galicia: description, history, results
The battle of Galicia was one of the key battles of the early stage of the war. It influenced the geopolitical situation in the warring Europe and in many respects predetermined the course of the First World War.The results of the battle allowed the Russian Empire to gain a foothold on the western front and shake the might of Austria-Hungary. One of the most successful offensive operations of the Russian army during the entire war.
Background and location of hostilities
The battle of Galicia began on the fifth of August, that is, just a week after the start of the war. The battlefield was the historical region of Galicia, or Galicia. It includes the western part of modern Ukraine and the eastern part of the Przemysl Voivodeship of Poland. Until 1914, this territory belonged to Austria-Hungary. Galicia was inhabited by Poles, Ruthenians and Jews. For a long time, the territories of Russophile organizations and figures were present on this territory, but all of them were repressed at the very beginning of the war.
Even in the nine hundred and twelfth year, Russian intelligence collected information about the disposition of Austrian troops in Galicia. This was connected with the directive of the army headquarters on Austria-Hungary as a possible adversary. According to these data, the Austrian headquarters deployed its troops east of Sana. From there they were to attack the territory of Russia. However, in two years, these plans have undergone significant changes.
The German leadership saw the greatest threat in France and the UK. The Austrian army was assigned the role of deterring Russia on the eastern front. Archduke Frederick personally developed a plan for an offensive operation.According to him, the Austrian troops had to strike along the Vistula and inflict a quick defeat on the Russians.
The Russian military leadership in the development of a plan for the conduct of hostilities was repelled by data for 1912. General Ivanov planned to make a large-scale coverage of the enemy troops and further encirclement. For this, an attack on Lviv from four sides was being prepared. One of the armies commanded by the legendary Brusilov.
Beginning of the war
Formally, the war was declared August 6th by Austria-Hungary.And the first shots in this war were on the same day. Small gun battles lasted several days in Galicia. The Austrians pushed for advanced reserves and blew up bridges to prevent the Russians from counterattacking. The Galician Battle of 1914 began the very next day. The cavalry division of the Austrians went on the offensive and with a quick blow to the forehead threw the border garrison.After that, with the support of artillery, they captured the city of Kamyanets-Podilsky practically without a fight. The Archduke decided to continue the offensive, and his division proceeded further to the city of Dunaevtsy. However, in the middle of the road they were blocked by the Kuban Cossacks. As a result, the Austrians had to retreat to Zbruch.
By the end of August, World War I was already raging all over Europe. Galician battle was in full swing. On August 23, Russian troops marched on a huge front on a hike. Before the commander of the troops Baron Salz was tasked to defeat the enemy at Tanevsk. The Austrians, waiting for the arrival of Salz, themselves also marched. General Dunkl planned to cover the Russians from the left flank and then smash the Fourth Army.
The advanced parts of Austro-Hungarians outnumbered. The soldiers of the fourteenth corps had to quickly retreat after clashes with them. Over the next few days, there were stubborn battles all along the front line. The Austrians advanced towards Krasnik, pushing the Russians further and further away. Baron Salz tried to stop the attack by striking the front and right flank, but to no avail. By the evening of August twenty-fifth, the coverage continued, but the front was relatively stabilized. Russian troops continued to retreat, but in some places achieved tactical successes. Dunkle did not manage to surround the Fourth Army, and the powerful onslaught of his soldiers began to gradually choke on defensive redoubts.
Transition to defense
By the twenty-seventh of August the Russians had already reached Lublin. There was a defensive line.For several days the Hungarian divisions tried to break through it unsuccessfully. After this, General Auffenberg ordered his troops to withdraw. The preparation of a new attack has begun. The Hungarians were going to strike from two sides on the flanks of the fifth Russian army. At the same time, a further bypass and closure of the ring behind Tomashov was planned.And on the first day of the offensive, the Austrians achieved great success. The twenty-fifth corps of the Russian army faltered and retreated along the river. The next day, Plehve decided to launch a counteroffensive, despite the depth of the defense of the left flank. The fierce battles lasted the whole day. The battle of Galicia focused on the attention of the headquarters of both empires.
Twenty-fifth Corps Plehve did not manage to move forward. The soldiers continued to retreat and clung to Krasnov. At this point, an army group commanded by the archduke struck the flank of the seventeenth corps. This was a complete surprise to the command.As a result, the first weeks of the war were extremely unfortunate for the Russian army. The soldiers of the 5th Army, pushed back by the Austro-Hungarians, retreated farther and eastward. The General Command decided to withdraw the army to Lublin and prepare a retaliatory offensive there. The battle of Galicia in 1914 was approaching its climax.
While Zelts was losing his soldiers near Lublin, a retaliatory offensive of the Russian troops began in the south-west. General Brusilov commanded the Eighth Army, and Nikolai Ruzsky - the third.These two units launched an offensive on the entire front of the nineteenth of August.The soldiers almost did not meet resistance - the main Austrian forces were thrown to the north. The offensive lasted a week and almost did not meet much resistance. The advance units of the Eighth Army advanced almost 100 kilometers. That is how the Battle of Galicia began for Brusilov. Briefly, he recalled her in his letter to the emperor, shortly before abdication.
State border crossing
On the twenty-first of August, the Russians met the enemy's army at Yaroslavitsy. A fierce cavalry battle broke out - one of the last cars and guns in the new war. The Kuban Cossacks beat an Austrian, and they fled. After this, Brusilov continued the march. Up until the twenty-fifth of August, the Austrians had practically no resistance. Ferdinand did not count on this development. The Austro-Hungarian headquarters believed that the Russians would not be able to assemble a large group east of Lviv in a short time. Therefore, the Battle of Galicia began at Ljubljana. At the Golden Lipa River, the Austrians decided to stop the Brusilov offensive.The battle began, in which the numerical superiority was on the side of the Russians.
The eighth army spent the first two days on the defensive. After that, she herself went on the attack. During the night the troops broke through the front, and the left flank of the Austro-Hungarians fell. Already on the first of September, the soldiers of Bruderman fled in complete disarray. The next attempt of the Austrian leadership to stop the offensive was made already near the Rotten Linden.The twelfth corps was supposed to support the main blow from Galich. However, General Brusilov managed to defeat the Austrians at the junction of the two armies. This created a threat to the operational environment of the entire group of enemy troops. The Austrians ran, the East Prussian operation began. The Battle of Galicia was won by the Russians.
While the fourth army defended, the eighth and third went on the offensive. This made it possible to level the numerical superiority of the Austro-Hungarians and defeat them. Already on the third of September, the Stake gave the order to launch a general offensive. East of Lviv, everything went perfectly. In the north, the Austrians continually counterattacked and threw the Russians.Nevertheless, in a short time it was possible to capture almost the whole of Galicia. The advance units reached Przemysl, and its long siege began.
On September 26, the Battle of Galicia ended (1914). Mayakovsky wrote briefly about the results of the battle: "They persecuted the whole of Galicia, a gang of fools." As a result, the offensive managed to capture vast territories and prepare the invasion of East Prussia. The battle claimed the lives of more than 300 thousand soldiers on both sides.