Page 3493

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

Russian victory.

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

in length.

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.