Page 3495

3495 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

had been rendered unserviceable by the

garrison before surrendering.

The capture of Przemysl released the

army that had been besieging it to reinforce the Russian armies operating in the

region of the Carpathians. Stupendous

efforts were now made by the Grand Duke's

forces to capture this great natural barrier and overrun the plains of Hungary,

into which raids had already more than

once been made by Cossacks.

The fighting in the Carpathians was

done under the most adverse conditions,

at high altitudes, amid snow, and the

Russian attacks were directed against

strong natural positions. The chief efforts,

of course, were directed against the various passes, and the fighting consisted,

therefore, of numerous local but correlated

engagements, in which the Russians suffered immense losses but gradually pushed

their enemies back. By the middle of

April, they had managed to capture the

principal chain of the Carpathians on the

front Reghetoff-Volosate, a distance of

about seventy miles, and had taken upwards of seventy thousand prisoners. At

one point the Austrians made sixteen desperate attempts to recover a commanding

height but failed.

The Allied cause at this moment seemed

more in the ascendant than at any time

since the beginning of the war. The

French and British public were looking

forward to the "spring drive," which they

hoped would result in the expulsion of

the Germans from France and Belgium.

The naval attempt upon the Dardanelles,

it is true, had been checked, but it was

generally supposed, even in neutral countries, that the Straits would be forced in

a few months at most. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was hard pressed,

and the Russians seemed upon the point

of sweeping over the Hungarian plains

to join hands with the Servians and perhaps

with the Italians, who were on the eve of

entering the conflict. Some observers

thought that by autumn it would all be

over with the Central Powers.

Quietly, however, these Powers, and

particularly Germany, had been making

stupendous preparations. Vast new forces

had been raised and equipped. New methods of warfare had been evolved. And

movements were in readiness that were to

shatter all the Allies' hopes for speedy

victory and were to result in their discomfiture in almost every theater of action.

Before we follow the course of the campaigns on land, however, it is desirable

that we should describe the early events of

the war upon the seas.