3493 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.
aged King Peter showed himself a worthy
descendant of the old Servian Kings.
Mounted on a white charger, he rode in front
of his troops, harangued them in burning
words, and then led them to victory after
victory. Within less than two weeks
Belgrade was recaptured, and not an
Austrian remained on Servian soil except
as a prisoner.
The Servian victories and the failure of
the attempt upon Warsaw greatly lowered
Teutonic prestige, and the Balkan situation became threatening. But again von
Hindenburg evolved a brilliant stroke.
Once again he began desperate assaults
upon the Bzura-Rawka line, and then
suddenly threw two hundred thousand
men by strategic railways and automobiles
into East Prussia and fell like a thunderbolt upon the inferior forces of General
Baron Sievers. The Russians were badly
beaten and suffered losses almost equal
to those of Tannenberg.
East Prussia was again practically freed
of invaders, and von Hindenburg endeavored to follow up his victory by an
invasion of Poland from the north, but
was held up by the obstinate resistance
of the great barrier fortresses of Grodno
and Ossowetz. As a counterstroke the
Russians advanced from Prasnysz upon
Miawa, and as a result a great battle was
fought that lasted through the final week
of February, 1915, and resulted in a
Far to the southward Germans and
Austrians in the same month managed to
redeem a large part of Bukowina. This
success and the victory in East Prussia
restored Teutonic prestige. The likelihood
of Roumania's entering the war on the side
of the Allies became more remote, while
there was talk that Bulgaria might throw
in her lot with the Central Powers. Bulgarian irregulars did, in fact, invade
Servia, but the Bulgarian Government
was not yet ready to drop its neutrality
mask, and the act was disavowed.
Meanwhile the Russians had continued
to press the Austrians and to besiege the
great fortress of Przemysl. The success
of the Austrians in temporarily raising
the siege of this place in October had ultimately resulted to their disadvantage, for,
when the relieving army was again driven
back, many thousands of soldiers from
it took refuge in the fortress, with the
result that it was greatly over-garrisoned.
The Russians again drew their lines about
the fortress, but their investment was in
the nature of a blockade rather than a
siege. So vast was the extent of the
Austrian position that the Russian lines
of circumvallation were about forty miles
The Austrians repeatedly attempted
to drive back the Russians and relieve
their beleaguered comrades, but in vain.
Early in the new year, the Russians had
heavy artillery in readiness to be sent for
use against the fortress, but in view of
the determined German and Austrian
attempts, to pierce the Russian lines in
the Carpathians, it was decided best not
to risk the safety of this siege material.
About the first of March, however, the
guns were brought up and placed in position, and a heavy bombardment was begun.