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WarChron - August 1914 - Tannenberg - Zamosc-Komarov

 

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The Year 1914

On 24 August, in Southwest Poland, Austro-Hungarian units advanced, moving beyond Kielce.

The Russian government established the Supreme Council, headed by the Empress, for the care of soldiers' families of wounded and war dead. The sale of War Charity Labels helped provide funds for these purposes.

On 25 August, on the Northwest Front, an airman of the Russian 1st Army observed strong German troop movements in the direction of Samsonov's 2nd Army, but his reports were sadly ignored by army commanders. Samsonov's forces took Allenstein, and moved on Rastenburg. Many Germans were left homeless.

On 25 August, in Poland, after three days of heavy fighting, the Austro-Hungarian 1st Army defeated the Russian 4th Army at Krasnik, and continued their advance toward Lublin. The Russians lost over 60,000 men.

On 26 August, in East Prussia, the German 8th Army retook Soldau, thus forcing an ever widening gap between the Russian 1st and 2nd Armies. This set the stage for the Battle of Tannenberg, 40 km southwest of Allenstein. Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich visited General Zhilinskiy's NW Front HQ at Bialystok.

In the Baltic Sea, the German cruiser Magdeburg ran aground in heavy fog on Odensholm island at the entrance to the Gulf of Finland. Unable to re-float her, the German Captain was forced to abandon ship. Russian destroyers soon found the ship, captured the commander and 56 crew. The boarding party discovered an invaluable German naval signal code book and cipher table, which were quickly copied and sent to the British.

On 26-28 August, on the Southwest Front, General Brudermann's 3rd Austro-Hungarian Army, although badly outnumbered, attacked General Ruzskiy's 3rd Russian Army on the Zlota Lipa to the east and southeast of Lemberg, suffering a disastrous defeat and losing two thirds of his forces.

On 26-30 August, due to poor intelligence the Russian Northwest Front HQ believed the Germans were retreating and ordered Samsonov's 2nd Army to resume its advance and intercept them.

On 27 August, the Battle of Tannenberg opened in East Prussia. The German I Reserve, XX, I and XVII Corps were closing a ring around Samsonov's XIII, XV and half of the XXII Corps. In China, the Germans were defending Tsingtao.


 
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The Year 1914

On 27 August, on the Southwest Front, there was heavy fighting in Galicia at the Battle of Zamosc-Komarov, as the Russian 5th Army drove back the Austro-Hungarian 4th Army near Tarnawka, threatening the line of an Austro-Hungarian withdrawal. During the Battle of the Gnila-Lipa River, the Austro-Hungarian 3rd Army was thrown back on Lemberg by the Russian 3rd and 8th Armies. The Austro-Hungarians began a general retreat across the San River. The Russian 8th Army took Tarnopol, 120 km southeast of Lemberg, taking 20,000 prisoners and 70 guns.

On 28 August, on the Northwest Front, the Germans halted the Russian 1st Army advance on Koenigsberg. The left wing of the Russian 2nd Army had fallen back 21 km without informing General Samsonov. In a disastrous defeat, the 2nd Army lost over 92,000 prisoners with over 30,000 killed, wounded or drowned at the Battle of Tannenberg. The Germans captured over 500 guns and 400,000 artillery shells. Germans losses were put at between 10-15,000 men.

German Zeppelin Z V, flying in heavy rain during a bombing raid on Mlava, was shot down by Russian ground fire, the entire crew was captured, while Z.V commander Hauptman Ernst Gruener was killed.

On 29 August, on the Southwest Front, Ruzskiy's Russian 3rd Army defeated the Austro-Hungarian 3rd Army at Lutzow on the Zlota Lipa River, and continued their advance on Lemberg.

On the Southwest Front, Russian forces repulsed an Austro-Hungarian 2nd Army counter-offensive on the Gnila Lipa River in Galicia. The Austro-Hungarians lost 20,000 prisoners, with many killed in action. The Russian 8th Army captured Halicz, on the Dniester River.

Tsar Nicholas II approved a decision to establish the All-Russian Union of Towns and Cities, limiting its existence to the duration of the war.

On 30 August, in East Prussia, Francois's German Corps took Neidenburg. The Russians began retreating to Ortelsburg. The Germans completed their rout of Samsonov's forces at Tannenberg. Samsonov's flanks had collapsed, his center had been surrounded, and his 2nd Army was almost completely destroyed at the Battle of Tannenberg, with the XIII, XV and XVIII Corps being literally wiped out. The badly mauled I and VI Corps managed to retreat south through Mlava and Mychinets. Over 70,000 Russians were killed, another 100,000 were made prisoner. General Samsonov committed suicide with his revolver in the woods. The Russian 1st Army was forced to retreat to the frontier. Russia's hope for a quick victory in East Prussia was dashed. It would not be a short war as many had hoped.

 
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The Year 1914

On 30 August, the first Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia was soundly defeated with heavy losses. Not to be denied, Austria-Hungary immediately began plans for a second invasion. A tenuous supply route existed through Serbia to Russia that enabled some limited military goods to flow both ways along the Danube River.

On the Southwest Front, the Austro-Hungarian 1st Army had penetrated 100 kilometers into Southern Poland. In Galicia, the Russian 8th Army broke through Austro-Hungarian lines near Halicz (Galich).

On 31 August, Tsar Nicholas II ordered St. Petersburg be officially renamed Petrograd to confirm its Russian identity.

During August, German Airship Z IV flew a number of valuable reconnaissance missions over Mlava, Gumbinnen, Insterburg, and Tilsit. The Germans used reconnaissance by their aircraft and airships in East Prussia to good advantage, while the Russian commanders largely ignored the reports of their airmen.

At the beginning of September 1914, the disposition of German forces on the Russian Front consisted of seven Corps, two Landwehr Divisions, two Cavalry Divisions, one Cavalry Brigade, and reserves at Koenigsberg and Posen. German Armeeflugparks (air parks) were located at Posen and Graudenz.

In early September, the Germans had seven Feldfliegerabteilung (FFA) (flying sections) serving on the Northwest Front, while the Austro-Hungarians had seven Fliegerkompagnie (Fliks) on the Southwest Front.

The Russians had nine KAO's (Corps flying detachments) on the Northwest Front, plus another five on the Southwest Front. There were also Fortress AO's (flying detachments) at Kovno, Grodno, Osovets, Novogeorgievsk and Brest Litovsk.

On 1 September, on the Southwest Front, the Russian 4th Army checked the Austro-Hungarian 1st Army's drive before it could reach Lublin. The Austro-Hungarian 3rd and 2nd Armies were retiring west of Lemberg along the line of the Wereszyca River.

In Galicia, the Austro-Hungarian 4th Army briefly occupied Komarov and drove southeast towards Rava Russka to do battle with Ruzskiy's 3rd Russian Army, which was already closing in on Lemberg (Lvov).


 
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