Military Review

Victoria in the August woods. Part of 3

The failure of the First August Operation was the first defeat of the German troops on the Russian front on an army scale - it befell the 8 Army, the recent winner in the East Prussian operation.

The success was all the more important in that it happened in East Prussia, where the failures of August lowered the spirit of the Russian troops. As a contemporary noted, in battles at Mariampol-Avgustov many regiments fought, who had recently fought with the Germans in East Prussia. In both cases there was the same adversary - but what was the difference both in the situation of the battle and in the sensations of its participants! As noted by Y. Danilov, the 10 Army’s attack was supposed to have a healing effect on the psyche of units of the 1 Army, which had recently undergone a heavy retreat.

19. Great struggle of nations. Issue 5. M., 1915.

The September victory had a special meaning. When the 20 of September 10-I army took Suwalki, the enemy was again thrown back to the border - wrote A. Spiridovich - and this was our big victory.

B. N. Sergeevsky noted that the western group of the 10 Army captured the Avgustov area, having created a serious threat to the enemy’s communications - which led to bloody and very stubborn battles in the Augustów forests and in Augustów-Suwalki-Rachki district. These battles, largely bayonet, gave the Russian army success and awareness of their strength, and the Germans - “huge losses and panic in front of the Russian bayonet.” As a result, the enemy retired to the border, abandoned activity on the entire front north of the Vistula - the latter circumstance later led to the loss of part of East Prussia by the Germans.

M. N. Arkhipov wrote that the situation in the north-western direction was altered by the offensive of the 10 Army - the so-called. The "August operation" freed the August forests from the Germans, and the enemy began a further withdrawal.

20. Russian artillery park in the August forests. Chronicle of the war 1914 of the year. - 1914. - No. 17.

The operation is important not only because, being a tactical and operational Russian victory, it largely smoothed the failure of the East Prussian operation. The operation with limited goals unexpectedly acquired a strategic coloring. Influenced by the success of the Russian troops (once again, the East Prussian theater of war played a fatal role for the German strategy) the Germans transferred another corps to the 8 army - the 25 reserve. The separation of the headquarters of the 10 Army established in time a transfer of a fresh corps to the enemy - it arrived, since the “situation became serious” as a result of the new Russian invasion of Germany.

21. Russian cavalry in Augustow. Chronicle of the war 1914 of the year. - 1914. - No. 17.

Yu. N. Danilov, citing these rates, wrote that the 25-th reserve corps was intended to be sent to the French front. The German military historian O. Schwink, listing the corps sent to Isere and Ypres, with annoyance states that the 25 reserve was very necessary in East Prussia.

And M. Hoffman specifically noted the fact that the corps showed itself well in battle.

The operation is unique in that, despite its local character, it influenced the strategic situation on both main fronts of world war: 1) the Germans did not manage to transfer additional troops to Poland, where the Warsaw-Ivangorod operation, which was successful for the Russian army; 2) a strategic reserve was pulled from Germany (2 divisions - 49 and 50) 25 reserve corps, which did not fall on the French front, which was of paramount importance during the fighting on Ysera. During this period, in the battle of Ypres, the forces of the opponents balanced themselves, and the whole corps could tip the balance in the direction of the German weapons - but he departed on the Russian front.

Victoria in the August woods. Part of 3

22. German infantry in East Prussia, autumn 1914

A. P. Budberg called the First August Operation an operation that finally broke the stubborn and long resistance of the German 8 Army, forcing the latter to retreat to the Letzen and retreat beyond. Angerapp, and bringing German reserves to the Russian front — which made it easier for the Allies, who at that time were exhausted in the fierce battles of Ypres.

Evaluating the actions of the leadership of the opposing sides, it should be noted first of all that the commander of the 10-th army, VE Flug. The commander competently controlled the troops in the forest area, applied a bypass maneuver - which brought victory.

V.E. Flug, who fell into disgrace, belonged to the category of Russian generals who understood the significance of the moral factor in a modern war. In particular, he wrote that by some officials, our active enterprises are recognized as “dangerous”, “risky”, despite the fact that the Germans daily (including for psychological purposes) allowed themselves to be much more audacious enterprises. As a result, a pernicious awareness of the superiority of the enemy creeped in — and this is a guarantee of future defeats. And so that such a mental state was not transferred to the troops arriving at the East Prussian theater of operations, it was necessary to give their actions (of course, within the framework of a strategic task to be resolved) as active as possible - including using the “sassy” Germans in order to gain they initially (at least) and small successes.

He understood the enormous psychological significance, albeit strategically and modest, but the victories of the Russian weapon — and victories precisely at the borders of East Prussia. Incidentally, the enemy shared this approach by transferring another building to the East Prussian theater of operations.

And, as the commander of the army rightly believed, he managed to change the moral situation - including in relation to the commanding staff. VE Flug noted that the 22 Army Corps, which was “upset by the August failures” in the second half of September, was already brilliantly attacking and famously attacking the enemy, leading heavy battles with unrelenting energy. He recalled - as a commander of the 3 Siberian Corps, 18 of September, receiving an inappropriate (as he thought) order to suspend the offensive, declared the order fraudulent and continued the offensive at his own risk, and the head of the 1 th cavalry division in the battle of the village. Kuryanki selflessly rescued his infantry. The commander noted how his commander 2-Caucasian, after taking Suvalki, did not consider his task fulfilled - and, finding a position to strengthen the enemy’s position, attacked him, temporarily subjugating the corps of the neighboring army that had approached the battlefield. VE Flug noted the merits of the commandant Osovets - who, not yielding to the effect of the formidable artillery of the enemy, who covered the fortress of 50000 shells for a short time, valiantly led an unequal battle with the Germans on the front lines - and the enemy was beaten off. And the commander of the Turkestan Corps, on his own initiative, attacked and, skillfully maneuvering, took the fortified city of Lyk, sending half of his unit to help its neighbor. The army headquarters, as VE Flug noted, despite recent information about the fall of the strongholds of the French front (Liege, Namur and Maubezh), did not succumb to a powerful demonstration of the enemy near Osovets - the Beaver line that threatened to break through and the left flank of the operational merger collapsed without hesitation and aggressively concentrating the forces of the army to the right flank. The positive personal qualities of the commanders of the 10 army, as VE Flug believed, revived the offensive impetus and success given to the army. Under these conditions, as the commander-in-chief rightly pointed out, if the maneuverability and technical equipment of the Russian troops were at the same level as the Germans, the size of the enemy’s defeat and the strategic result of the Russian September offensive would be much more significant.

Yu. N. Danilov also noted the great moral and political significance of the August victory.

At the same time, the German commanders, R. Schubert, then G. von François, the “hero” Gumbinnen who replaced him, acted unsatisfactorily.

In October - November 1914, the Russian troops pursued the Germans, leading local battles, and, capturing Stallupen and Goldap, reached the Masurian lakes and by the end of the year again captured most of East Prussia. The calculations of E. von Ludendorff that: “Only a small force had to remain to secure East Prussia in case the Russians with fresh forces would again invade this unfortunate country” did not materialize.

The first August operation is a vivid example of how, in a coalition war, operational and tactical success can be transformed into a strategic one. The crucial importance of this operation in this context was that a strategic reserve of the enemy was drawn to the secondary theater of operations. And this happened in an exceptionally important from a strategic point of view, the period of the Allied battles of Russia against the Entente in Flanders.

The operation affected the stabilization of the Western (French) front. And this had extremely negative consequences for the German strategy, which once again (now in the series of operations “Running to the sea”) failed to achieve a decisive result.

Sources of

RGVIA. F. 2007. Op.1. D. 38;
Year of war from 19 July 1914 to 19 July 1915. The highest manifestos. Appeals of the Supreme Commander. Reports: from the Headquarters of the Supreme Commander, from the Headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the Caucasian Army, from the Naval Headquarters. M., 1915;
Chronicle of the war 1914 of the year. No. 10;
Reichsarchiv. Der Weltkrieg 1914 - 1918. Bd 5. Berlin, 1929;
Flug V.Ye. X Army in September 1914. Memoirs of a participant // Military collection. Belgrade. 1924. Prince 5;
Spiridovich A.I. The Great War and the February Revolution (1914 - 1917). T. 1. New York, 1960;
Demyanenko J. Fight of the Finnish shooters 19 September 1914 in the August forests // Military profit. 1960. No. 40;
Hoffman M. The war of missed opportunities. M. - L., 1925;
Ludendorff E. background. My memories of the war 1914 - 1918 years. M. - Mn., 2005;
Littuer V. Russian Hussars. Memoirs of an officer of the imperial cavalry 1911 - 1920. M., 2006;
Gurko V.I. War and revolution in Russia. Memoirs of the commander of the Western Front 1914 - 1917. M., 2007;
Popov KS. Memoirs of the Caucasian Grenadier 1914 - 1920. M., 2007;
Sergeevsky B. N. Experienced. 1914. M., 2009.

Fighting on the Neman and in the August forests. Odessa, 1914;
The Great War in 1914. Sketch of the main operations. Russian Western Front. Pg., 1916;
A brief strategic outline of the 1914 war - 1918. // Warfare. 1918. No. 28;
A brief strategic outline of the 1914-1918 war. Russian front. CH 2. M., 1919;
Shvink O. Fights on the river. Ysera and Ypres in the fall of 1914, Pb., 1922;
Strategic sketch of the 1914-1918 war. Part two. Period with 1 (14). 09. on 15 (28). 11. 1914, M., 1923;
Yu. N. Danilov. Russia in World War 1914 - 1915 Berlin, 1924;
Popov K. Temple of Glory. CH 1. Paris, 1931;
Sumy Hussars 1651 - 1951. Buenos Aires, 1954;
Leib Erivan in the Great War. Materials for stories shelf. Paris, 1959;
Colonel Arkhipov. Memories of the First World War // Military Story. 1968. No. 93.
Kersnovsky A. A. History of the Russian army. T. 3. M., 1994;
Yu. N. Danilov. Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich. M., 2006;
Oleynikov A.V. General of the First World V.Ye. Flug // Military History Journal. 2010. No. 4;
Participate in the War (1914-1918). Washington, 1920.
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  1. Adjutant
    Adjutant 16 February 2018 06: 25
    The Germans valued their 25th reserve corps as evidenced by the fact that later, having included it in the German 9th Army, they entrusted him with the most crucial task in the зódз operation - the corps became the core of the strike group, to which apart from his 49 50rd and 3th reserve divisions included 2rd Guards and 25 Cavalry Divisions. And the commander of the XNUMXth reserve Sheffer-Boyadel led the entire strike group of five divisions.
    The group was not lucky; it could not surround the Russian 2nd Army - it itself was surrounded. And although the Germans left the encirclement, there were 500 people left in the shelves. So the first composition of the 25th reserve corps (the strategic reserve of Germany on September 14th) lay down on the fields near Lodz and Brezin.
    1. kipage
      kipage 16 February 2018 06: 47
      His commander
      Infantry General Baron Reinhard von Schaeffer-Boyadel

      Incidentally, the son of an adviser to the government of Prussia and a participant in the Franco-Prussian war.
      In September 1916, he will head the registered army group "SHEFFER Army Group".
      He will die on his estate in 1925
      1. Adjutant
        Adjutant 16 February 2018 07: 28
        The Germans wanted to arrange the second army of the second Tannenberg, but enough of it and one
        "Ticks in ticks"
        There was a fashionable poster of the second world)
        They made a bowler, but sorry they didn’t
        1. kipage
          kipage 16 February 2018 07: 43
          The 49th and 50th reserve, according to the allies, were considered excellent, they fought on both fronts.
          By the way, if at first the 50th division was equipped with Silesians and Saxons, then from the end of the 15th year it was manned by the Hanoverians and Braunschweig.
          And about the losses in the Lodz operation and the "boiler" - yes, I got it. As of November 9, the 49th and 50th reserve divisions had only 1,2 thousand and 3,5 thousand people, respectively. This is before the breakthrough.
          1. Streletskos
            Streletskos 16 February 2018 10: 04
            The whole building was thrown due to entoy operation
            1. Bouncer
              Bouncer 16 February 2018 11: 39
              The Germans didn’t lead either in August or September 14 - for the first time 1 buildings, for the 2nd time they were forced to transfer to the East Prussian theater.
              Running to the sea oiled. Running to the sea was practically the last chance to try to maneuver to solve strategic tasks on the Western Front. And how unlucky. Again.
              And then - only positional swotting.
  2. XII Legion
    XII Legion 16 February 2018 07: 06
    A series of articles reconstructs an operation undeservedly ignored by attention, the glory page of Russian weapons.
    Victory over the heaviest opponent - the Germans.
    Thank you!
    1. Streletskos
      Streletskos 16 February 2018 10: 05
      How much more to find out
      The mind is incomprehensible
      1. Bouncer
        Bouncer 16 February 2018 11: 40
        Yes, a lot of white spots.
        Even with large operations
  3. parusnik
    parusnik 16 February 2018 08: 03
    A.P. Budberg - In mid-November 1917, having left the corps command, he moved to Petersburg, and requested a mission to Japan through acquaintances in the General Staff Building. In February-April 1918 he lived in Japan, then until March 1919 in Harbin. 29.03.1919/27.08.1919/20.10.1919 was appointed to the post of Chief Supply Officer of the Siberian Army. From August 1919, 1920 to October 1939, 1 he was the Minister of War of the Kolchak government. Due to his illness, he was dismissed from his post, with the appointment of the Supreme Commander. Exported to Harbin for treatment. Since November XNUMX he lived in Manchuria. In April XNUMX, Ataman Semenov appointed him commander of the Vladivostok fortress. Subsequently in exile. He actively participated in the activities of emigrant organizations. Until XNUMX he was the head of the XNUMXst North American Department of the EMRO. Died in the USA.
  4. Black joe
    Black joe 16 February 2018 08: 25
    Interesting cycle
    Informative, interesting
    Rich literature
    I would also like to know about other operations on our front of the First World War - detailed and professionally presented.
    Thanks in advance hi
    1. Bouncer
      Bouncer 16 February 2018 11: 41
      I fully support
      1. OAV09081974
        16 February 2018 20: 48
        Thank you for your appreciation!
        Requests and wishes considered hi
        Guide to Action drinks
  5. Lieutenant Teterin
    Lieutenant Teterin 16 February 2018 08: 59
    Great article! The first August operation is convincing evidence that the Russian command of the WWI, despite all the shortcomings, had worthy generals and staff officers who were not inferior to their German opponents. The author - my heartfelt gratitude for the work done!
  6. Olgovich
    Olgovich 16 February 2018 09: 00
    The first August operation is a vivid example of how, in a coalition war, operational and tactical success can be transformed into a strategic one. The crucial importance of this operation in this context was that a strategic reserve of the enemy was drawn to the secondary theater of operations. And this happened in an exceptionally important from a strategic point of view, the period of the Allied battles of Russia against the Entente in Flanders.

    Saving the allies, saving YOURSELF
    1. Streletskos
      Streletskos 16 February 2018 10: 06
      Olgovich and Poruchik Teterin as always - in the bullseye good
      Intelligence and wisdom are terrible power hi
      1. Lieutenant Teterin
        Lieutenant Teterin 16 February 2018 13: 59
        Thank you for rating my comments so highly! hi
        1. Streletskos
          Streletskos 16 February 2018 15: 47
          I always read your comments with pleasure hi
          1. Cheburator
            Cheburator 18 February 2018 10: 15
            And me too. Very erudite and balanced
    BRONEVIK 16 February 2018 10: 47
    The value of the moral factor in war cannot be overestimated
    And right Floh
    I understood the enormous psychological significance, albeit strategically and modest, but of the victory of Russian weapons - and of victory precisely at the borders of East Prussia.

    Giving impulse, breathing faith - this is often more important than kilometers traveled and captured guns.
    After this operation, the NWF troops stopped backing away and again went forward - again reaching the Masurian Lakes. They decapitated the 10th army - and again in February 15, the NWF began to move back.
    Until the 12th Pleve army in the Second Prasny operation again broke off the Germans. And for a while, the situation at the NWF again became solid.
    That's how much a person means! The personality of the commander, the commander, the selection of personnel is a matter of national importance.
    1. Bouncer
      Bouncer 16 February 2018 11: 43
      You are absolutely right
      The personality of the commander, the commander, the selection of personnel is a matter of national importance.

      And considering that in Russia the main troubles are fools and roads (fools who indicate which way to go - I do not take into account), for her it is especially important
  8. soldier
    soldier 16 February 2018 12: 37
    How Germans are sensitive to hostilities on their territory
    And then an instinctive reaction led them to the transfer of troops - regardless of strategic considerations.
    No wonder that
    The operation affected the stabilization of the Western (French) front.

    Another merit of the Russian army in front of the bloc
    1. Lieutenant Teterin
      Lieutenant Teterin 16 February 2018 14: 02
      As far as I understand, the Germans' sensitivity to the vulnerability of East Prussia was aggravated by the demands of Wilhelm, who perceived any threat to the generic possession of the Hohenzollerns and the core of Prussian statehood especially painfully. Disciplined Germans from the General Staff could not ignore his demands. They swore to themselves, but the orders of Kaiser, fortunately for us, were fulfilled ...
      1. soldier
        soldier 16 February 2018 14: 34
        Totally agree with you.
        The nest of German militarism - and under direct attack.
        And Silesia - a powerful industrial unit - is also under the influence of the Russian army. You won’t fight without Silesia.
        And the Rhine-Westphalian region - under the blow of the French.
        The theory of fleeting war on foreign territory is not accidental ...
        1. Cartalon
          Cartalon 16 February 2018 19: 01
          Silesia is perhaps the only direction that was sensitive to both the Germans and the Austrians, but there was no real opportunity to invade there
          1. soldier
            soldier 16 February 2018 19: 24
            Economically - I agree.
            But strategically and politically - East Prussia. Otherwise, the Germans would not have reacted so painfully.
            About a real opportunity. Ludendorff planned a preemptive strike (the beginning of the Lodz operation) - in order to thwart the Russian invasion of Silesia.
            E. Falkengine wrote (the remarks in brackets in the quote are mine):
            In mid-September (1914, new style) in the German main apartment, the conviction was ripe that, in view of the weakness and general condition of the allied forces (i.e. Austro-German), solving the question of where and when this retreat will stop (Austrians after the battle of Galicia), depends solely on the will of the enemy. If he used the situation and continued to move forward in spite of everything, then there would have been a serious threat to the province of Silesia. But the capture, at least temporary, by the Russians of Upper Silesia was unacceptable. He would rob Germany of its powerful sources of food for industry and very soon make warfare unthinkable.
            1. Cheburator
              Cheburator 17 February 2018 15: 50
              In principle, East Prussia is a real bear angle (as in 1945), designed only to pull back to pull and grind troops. The main value (as in the 45th) is the covering of the flank in Poland for an attack on Berlin.
              But in 1914, increased importance - the empire in the yard)
              Silesia is also very interesting, but getting harder. Although it is possible - the Germans themselves recognized
  9. Albatroz
    Albatroz 16 February 2018 13: 27
    Imagine how hard it is to act in the forests
    That’s how the orientation gets confused, and here you’re neither reconnecting to normal, nor fully communicating with your neighbors
    Our turns out best acted in conditions of increased complexity
    What is good for a Russian, death for a German laughing
    1. soldier
      soldier 16 February 2018 14: 35
      Our turns out best acted in conditions of increased complexity

      Subtly noticed
      And as you know, we love to create difficulties - so that later they can be overcome heroically
      1. Cheburator
        Cheburator 17 February 2018 15: 50
        Well this is - as usual
        1. Albatroz
          Albatroz 18 February 2018 17: 47
          They say a lot of genes in common - the Russians and Germans, but such a difference)
  10. Some kind of compote
    Some kind of compote 16 February 2018 15: 52
    You whose wide overcoats
    Reminded sails
    Whose spurs rang merrily and voices
    And whose eyes are like diamonds
    They left a mark on my heart
    Charming dandies
    Past years

    When you hear such songs, you read such articles
    As if plunging into the past
    Fine good
    1. Serge72
      Serge72 16 February 2018 18: 30
      Romance Nastenka
      About Russian officers
  11. soldier
    soldier 16 February 2018 17: 30
    The calculations of E. von Ludendorff that: “Only small forces should remain to provide East Prussia in case the Russians with fresh forces again begin the invasion of this unfortunate country” did not materialize.

    The Germans continued to pump up the Eastern Front with their troops
    There was no other way
    And this was an extremely favorable factor for the Entente
    1. Cheburator
      Cheburator 17 February 2018 15: 52
      Entente is lucky
      Wise men turned out to be in power
      And in 1939-40. - comrades with liquefied brains, different Chamberlains there
  12. Square
    Square 16 February 2018 17: 49
    Interesting cycle
    Photos are still atmospheric
    Thank you
    1. Serge72
      Serge72 16 February 2018 18: 31
      Yes, the photos are super.
      Where are our fighters in the August forest - generally stunned
      1. Black joe
        Black joe 18 February 2018 09: 11
        As if everything was yesterday
  13. Rotmistr
    Rotmistr 16 February 2018 18: 24
    By the way, in the new leadership of the 10th Army (the commander is Sivers, the chief of staff is Budberg) it is A.P. Budberg unraveled the scheme of German army coverage in the Second August Operation and demanded a regrouping of troops and the abandonment of bad positions.
    But Budberg and Sivers were not heard by the front command (Ruzsky-Bonch-Bruevich). Certificate A.P. Budberg - information of a person who knew the theater and took part in hostilities, a source of increased value
  14. Horseman without a head
    Horseman without a head 16 February 2018 19: 51
    It’s a pity that the First World War was not the only one
    They did not repulse the aggressor’s hunt
    I had to finish the second
    I hope there will not be a third
  15. Grandfather Barsik
    Grandfather Barsik 16 February 2018 20: 55
    All the same, Russia is a huge force
    And the adversaries will throw on four dice
    If you do not interfere
    1. Cheburator
      Cheburator 17 February 2018 15: 53
      That's yes grandpa
      That's all they try to stop her
      What is inside, what is outside
      The cat you have is cool)
  16. Blue cop
    Blue cop 17 February 2018 08: 08
    Visual, informative and interesting series
    God help you!
  17. sib.ataman
    sib.ataman 17 February 2018 09: 05
    A. Oleinikov in the article clearly and convincingly showed that false myths about the “lack of talent” of the high command of the Russian army during the PMA are dirty ideological sabotage, designed to undermine the national morale, faith in the talent of the Russian people and their representatives in the person of high command, the ability to armed resistance to any enemy, the ability of the Russian army to fight in any conditions!
  18. Head Physician
    Head Physician 17 February 2018 18: 45
    It is when the mind
    Thats gorgeous
    God grant
  19. Mamka pula
    Mamka pula 18 February 2018 19: 10
    Oh how much literature is used
    Still to read such wonderful articles entirely
    To see the big picture
  20. Brutan
    Brutan 2 March 2018 18: 15

    In the winning topic