Page 3485

3485 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

Galicia was generally well received by

the Slavic inhabitants, many of whom

greeted the Czar's troops as deliverers

and gave them food and drink.

The period which in the west witnessed

the battles of Mons and Charleroi and

the retreat of the British and French

toward the Marne saw a vast and complicated conflict in Galicia in the region

of Lemberg. The Austrian forces, though

enormous, were outnumbered by the combined hosts of Russky and Brussilov,

and were defeated in stubborn and bloody

battles at Tarnopol, Halish, and other

places. Eleven times a Russian corps

commanded by the Bulgarian General

Radko Dimitrieff captured a mountain

that was the key to the Austrian position,

and eleven times the Austrians took it

back. But the twelfth time the Russians

held the hill. The Austrian right and

left wings were forced back until their

center in front of Lemberg was threatened

with envelopment; and, early in September,

what remained of this Austrian army

retired westward in disorder, followed by

the victorious Russians. The great city

of Lemberg was taken, and all of eastern

Galicia bowed to the invaders.

Meanwhile, the first Austrian army,

which was endeavoring to invade Poland,

suffered a bloody repulse in the region

of Lublin. The rout of the second army

uncovered the flank of the first, and the

Austrian commander was forced to fall

back and attempt to stem the Russian

tide. A new and desperate battle took

place at Rawa Ruska in the neighborhood

of Tomasov, and again the Russians were

victorious. Other defeats followed, and

soon what remained of the Austrian armies

were in full retreat westward and southward

toward the great fortresses of Przemysl

and Cracow. Their retirement was harassed

by great numbers of Cossacks, and prisoners were gathered in on a scale hitherto

unknown in warfare. By September 16,

the Russians were able to announce the capture of 250,000 Austrians, almost a third of

their original number, while tens of thousands of others had been killed or wounded.

Vast quantities of supplies, innumerable

rifles, great numbers of cannons and machine guns were also captured. Siege

was laid to Przemysl, and soon swarms

of Cossacks were climbing the passes of

the Carpathians and threatening to descend

into the rich plains of Hungary.

As we have already stated, Russia,

like Germany, threw her main strength

at the outset into one effort, namely against

the Austrians in Galicia; but, by way of

a diversion in favor of her hard-pressed

Gallic ally and for other purposes, she

also made a raid into East Prussia. The

forces which undertook this task numbered

over two hundred and fifty thousand

men, and were divided into two armies,

one of which crossed the frontier from the

region of the Niemen and the other from

that of the Narew. The southern army

consisted of nearly four army corps under

General Samsonoff; the northern army of

three corps and one division under General

Rennenkampf. The two armies planned

to form a junction at Hilsburg for mutual

support.

The German forces in readiness to oppose them were comparatively weak in

numbers, nor were they, for the most

part, first line troops. The German task

was, however, lightened by the fact that

their fleet controlled the Baltic and

afforded protection to the northern border,

and also by the fact that East Prussia

was not only well fortified but possessed

many natural advantages in the way of

defense, while the German strategic railways and highways enabled them to

transport their troops from one point to

another with great rapidity. The region

in which the main battle was to be fought

was a network of small lakes and slimy

swamps, covered in part by pine and

birch woods. The highways through this

region were few, and an invading army

would be compelled to move slowly along

these highways, and, if attacked at one

point, would be unable to send reinforcements thither with any ease or dispatch. If defeated, the invaders would be

likely to fall into disorder in the labyrinth,

to lose guns and men and horses in unexpected depths-in short, to be annihilated.