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WarChron - August 1914 - East Prussia - Galicia



The Year 1914

On 6 August, Serbia declared war on Germany. Turkey closed the Dardanelles Straits to the Allies. The Turkish move stopped any possible Allied supply effort to Russia by way of the Black Sea.

On 7 August, Russia declared war on Germany. The Russian 1st Army, with III, XX, IV, I and II Guard Corps, led by General P.K. Rennenkampf, HQ at Vilna, crossed the East Prussian frontier at Suwalki and Wirballen. The Russian 9th Army began assembling at Warsaw. It was to operate in the Posen (Poznan) region on the flank of the 2nd Army. To facilitate inter-allied cooperation, the Russian government created the Diplomatic Chancery and attached it to Stavka.

Austro-Hungarian forces moved from Lemberg (Lvov) toward Lublin and Cholm in an effort to cut the Warsaw railway.

On 8 August, the Tsar addressed the Russian State Duma, which was allowed to sit only one day. Declaring a “Sacred Union” all parties (except for the Trudovik (Labor) and Social Democratic deputies (who abstained) approved funding for the war and passed a military budget without a dissenting vote. Polish Duma deputies declared their support for Russia's war effort.

Austrian police arrested an exiled Russian, Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov (Lenin), in Neumarkt in western Galicia. He was later released and allowed to travel to Switzerland, where he organized a propaganda campaign urging workers in Russia to oppose the war.

On the Southwest Front, General Ruzskiy's Russian 3rd Army, with HQ at Rovno, composed of the XXI, XI, IX and X Corps, crossed the Styr River in Galicia, engaging in skirmishing with Austro-Hungarian troops near Brody.

On 9 August, General Rennenkampf's Russian 1st Army troops came in contact with the Germans at Biala and Neidenburg. The Russian 9th Army, led by General P.A. Lechitskiy, was still forming with the Guard, I, XVIII, III Caucasian Corps, plus the XXII Corps from Finland. The newly forming Russian 10th Army, headed by General V.E. Flug, was ordered to eventually move west toward Warsaw, but it would only reach the front in mid-October.

The Russian government halted the exchange of paper money for gold. The State Duma passed a law that abolished the sale of alcoholic beverages (largely ignored by the people) which deprived the government of much needed tax revenue.


The Year 1914

On 9 August, the Austro-Hungarian 2nd Army, commanded by General Bohm-Ermolli, received orders to withdraw from the Serbian campaign and collect at Stanislau on the Dniester River, then link with the Austro-Hungarian Light Kovess Group. The Austro- Hungarian 3rd Army, led by General von Bruderman, was moving towards Lemberg.

On 10 August, advancing troops of the Russian 1st Army reached Tilsit in East Prussia. There were skirmishes at Stalluponen. German airship Z.IV carried out a bombing attack on Mlava.

On the Southwest Front, the Austro-Hungarian 1st Army, under General Dankl, with I, V, and X Corps crossed the San River in Galicia, with its objective being Krasnik. The Austro-Hungarian 4th Army, commanded by General Auffenberg, was advancing north on Komarov. Both armies were supported by Army Group Kummer and a German Corps under von Woyrsch.

France and Austria-Hungary declared war on each other. The German battle cruiser Goeben and light cruiser Breslau entered the Dardanelles and became part of the Turkish Fleet, under the command of German Admiral Wilhelm Souchon. The Turks renamed them Yawuz Sultan Selim and Midilli, but they will be called by their German names throughout the text.

On 11 August, airmen of the German 8th Army reported seeing no heavy concentrations of Russian troops near Warsaw. German airship Z.V carried out a bombing attack on Lodz.

In Galicia, the Austro-Hungarian 1st Army defeated General A.E.Zaltsa's Russian 4th Army near Krasnik. During early August, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich appointed Grand Duke Aleksandr Mikhailovich to the 4th Army Staff, with headquarters at Lublin. Aleksandr Mikhailovich would soon be appointed a commander of the Military Air Fleet.

The Russian government established the “Special Administrative Committee for Wartime Transport” which was attached to the Railways Administration.

On 12 August, cavalry of the Russian 1st Army moving west from Suvalki, crossed the East Prussian border between Goldap and Maggrabowa. The Russian 2nd Army, HQ at Mlava, had the I, XXIII, XV, XIII and VI Corps holding positions along line Lomzha – Ostrolenka – Pultusk. Neither army was as yet fully concentrated.



The Year 1914

On 12 August, Great Britain declared war on Austria-Hungary.

On 12/13 August, Austro-Hungarian forces launched their first invasion of Serbia, crossing the Drina and Sava Rivers.

On 13 August, the Romanian Government declined Russian proposals to enter the war on the side of the Allies.

On 14 August, on the Southwest Front, the Austro-Hungarian 4th Army halted the advance of the Russian 4th Army near Tomashov. The Russian 8th Army, led by General A.A. Brusilov, opened a westerly drive towards Lemberg (Lvov), while the 3rd Army cracked through enemy defenses at Sokal.

The Russian Army allowed the formation of the Czechoslovak Druzhina (Brigade) at Kiev. It was nominally led by Kapitan Lotoki, with three companies of volunteer troops, with a fourth soon to be added, all being led by Russian officers.

Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich issued a proclamation to the Poles, seeking to win their support with the promise of Polish reunification under the Russian Tsar after an Allied victory.

On 15 August, the Bulgarian King Ferdinand replied to a note from the Central Powers urging him to join their alliance, saying he wanted a precise idea of the prizes Bulgaria could expect to gain. Romanian King Carol declared that should Russia make a move through Moldavia it would provoke his action against the Entente (a collective term for the Allies).

In St. Petersburg, General M.A. Belyaev replaced General N.N. Yanushkevich as Chief of the Russian General Staff.

In Tiflis, Russian Viceroy I.I. Vorontsov-Dashkov, recognizing the danger of war with Turkey, ordered the creation of a “Staff of the Commander-in-Chief of the Troops of the Caucasian Army.”

On 16 August, the Supreme Commander of all Russian forces, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich, finally arrived at GHQ (Stavka) at Baranovichi. Austro-Hungarian CIC Feldmarschal Archduke Ferdinand and his Chief of Staff, Conrad von Hoetzendorf, left Vienna for their HQ at Przemysl. General Samsonov finally arrived at Russian 2nd Army HQ at Mlava.

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