Military Review

Galician battle. Part of 2. Lublin-Kholm operation

5 Army Offensive

Due to the retreat of the 4 of the Russian army, the neighboring 5 was also in a difficult situation. It was led by a cavalry general, Paul Adamovich Plehve. It was a strong-willed and energetic person. Pavel graduated from the Academy of General Staff in 1877 year. As a young officer, he participated in the Russian-Turkish war 1877 — 1878, then served in military units and headquarters. Since 1909, he commanded the troops of the Moscow Military District. When mobilized on the basis of the management of the Moscow Military District, the command of the 5 Army was created, which was headed by Plehve.

The 4 army consisted of 4 corps: 25, 19, 5, and 17. The cavalry forces of the army made up the 1-I Don Cossack, Consolidated Cavalry and 7-I cavalry divisions. All in all, the army had 8 infantry and 2 1 / 2 cavalry divisions (147 thousand people with 456 guns). Army 21 August was deployed on the front Izbits - Hrubieshov - Vladimir - Volyn.

5 Army Plehve opposed the 4-I Austrian army under the command of Moritz Auffenberg as part of the 12 infantry and 3 cavalry divisions, 438 guns. The four corps of the Austrian army completed their concentration between Peremyshl and Yaroslav. Army Auffenberg more than 1 / 3 superior forces of the Russian army, with a relative equality of forces in cavalry and artillery.

After identifying the threat of the 4 Army Salz, the command of the South-Western Front on August 25 ordered the 5 Army to strike the flank and rear of the enemy who attacked the 4 Army. The left-handed 17 corps was supposed to cover the Rava-Russian direction. In turn, the Russian high command, concerned about the plight of the 4 Army, 25 from Ivangorod in August sent the 18 corps to this army. He began unloading 27 August and began to occupy positions between the Vistula and the right flank of the 14 Corps. In addition, the 3 Caucasian Corps began to deploy to Ivangorod, the 1 Guards Division to the Lublin. In addition, the 4 Army was reinforced by three divisional divisions.

Taking into account the fact that the transfer of troops required a certain amount of time during which the situation at the front could deteriorate significantly, the Russian command outlined measures in case of a withdrawal of Russian troops on the Veprezh river. A plan was drawn up in case of negative developments. In such a situation, the 18 Corps, relying on the Ivangorod Fortress, was supposed to cover the direction to Warsaw and Sedlec. Other corps of the 4 Army should hit take positions on the river Veprezh and cover the way to the Western Bug. The 5 army received the task of covering the Brest direction, continuing active operations with the left wing, so as not to worsen the position of the 3 army. 3-I army was to send part of the forces in the area of ​​Kamenka, Rawa-Russkaya.

By the evening of August 25, while Evert's 4 Army defended itself on the approaches to Lublin, the 5 Army entered the line of Mashov-Zamost-Sokal. At this time, the Austro-Hungarian troops reached the line Bodachev - Tarnovatka - Vershitsa, having the task of reaching the flank of the Russian 5-th army. The convergence of the two armies led to the so-called. Tomash battle.

Galician battle. Part of 2. Lublin-Kholm operation

Commander of the 5 Army Pavel Adamovich Pleve (1850 - 1916)

Tomash battle

The army of Plehve joined the battle in obviously unfavorable conditions. The front of the 5 Army was greatly extended: the right-flank corps was sent to assist the 4 Army, and the left flank was forced to maintain contact with the 3 Army.

26 August. The right-flank 25 Army Corps advanced along the front of Turobyn, Shchebreshin to reach the left flank of the grenadier corps of the 4 Army and support it. However, executing this maneuver, the Russian corps received a blow to the left flank from the side of the 2 Austrian corps (13-I and 25-I infantry divisions). The Russian troops retreated to the line of the evil one, Sedliska. The Russian 19 body collided with the Austrian 6 body at Tarnovatka. In the evening, the resistance of the Austro-Hungarian troops at Tarnovatka was broken, but at Rakhan the left-flank division was pressed. Therefore, the 5 corps was ordered to turn to Tarnovatka in order to strike the rear of the Austrian corps 6.

Meanwhile, the 4 Army continued to fight with the enemy. Austro-Hungarian troops tried to cover the right flank of the Russian army, while simultaneously striking the left flank in the area of ​​Turobyn. However, on the left flank of the 4 Army, Austrians were detained at Kowlai. Thus, the Evert army as a whole retained its position on this day.

Source: Kolenkovsky A. The Maneuverable Period of the First World Imperialist War 1914

27 August. The 25 Corps launched an offensive on the right flank of Turobyn. Initially, the offensive developed successfully, the 45-I Austrian division of the 10 corps was defeated and retreated. But Russian troops did not develop this success. This was due to the fact that the grenadier corps of the 4 Army began to retreat to Zholkivka. The right wing of the 25 Corps was opened to the Austrians. In addition, the Austro-Hungarian troops launched an offensive in the center and on the left flank of the corps. The Austrian 4 and 13 divisions delivered a powerful blow to the Russian troops. Parts of the 25 Corps came under heavy shelling, and were attacked to cover the flank with excellent Austrian forces. The 2 Brigade of the 46 Division and the 3 Grenadier Division did not stand up and retreated in disarray. As a result, the 25 body was forced to retreat to Krasnostava.

All day long a hard battle led 19-corps. He was attacked from the front and right flank of the Austrian 9 and 2 cases. In addition, parts of the 6 corps were advancing southward. Thus, the Russian corps conducted battles in three directions, holding back the superior forces of the Austrians. Russian soldiers repulsed all enemy attacks and captured about 1 thousand prisoners. Only in the evening the corps moved a little back to the Komarov area. The success of the corps was caused by the skillful maneuvering of reserves and the excellent training of artillerymen.

At this time, the 5 corps attacked the rear of the enemy, who tried to surround the 19 corps. Upon arrival at Lashv, the avant-garde of the 10 Division (38-th regiment with two batteries) crossed the heavily swampy valley of the r. Guchvy was hit by the 15 of the Austrian division of the 6 Corps. Other units could not support the Russian regiment. So, the rest of the 10 division did not yet reach the river. And parts of the 7 division were moving in a different direction. 15-I Austrian division, using superiority in artillery, pushed the Russian regiment to the river. With the onset of the evening the battle stopped. 17-th corps on this day went to the area Zherniki, Ulgovek, Novoselki.

Thus, the situation in the 5 Army in the afternoon of August 27 was difficult. The 25 and 19 corps were engaged in heavy fighting with superior enemy forces and retreated to Krasnostav and Komarov. The 5 body was unable to communicate with the 19 body. For the 17 Corps, there was a threat of a strike from the south. Most of the mistakes were made due to the poor organization of long-range intelligence. The cavalry was not used properly, and the Russian command did not know where the enemy was and what he was doing. The enemy groped literally blindly.

At this time, 4-I Russian army fought in the same positions. The new army commander, General Evert, took measures to strengthen the right flank of the army, sending in arriving reinforcements. The new units occupied defenses in the area of ​​the settlements of Koval, Korchmysk, Kazimezh and Wojciechow.

The Austrian General Staff, believing that the Russian 4 army was defeated, and the 5 army was in a difficult situation (the outlined success in battles with the 25-m 19-th corps) continuously move forward to achieve a decisive victory. In connection with this order, the Austro-Hungarian forces increased the pressure of the center and left flank of the Russian 1 army. Russian troops were forced to move somewhat. The withdrawal of the left flank of the army Everta increased the gap between the two Russian armies. However, by the end of the day, the offensive capabilities of the Austrian 4 were exhausted, especially on its left flank. Therefore, the Austrians decided to wait for the approach of the Kummer corps, which was supposed to appear on August 4.

28 August. The commander of the 5 Russian army of Plehve still tried to assist the 4 army. The 25 Corps was supposed to hold positions at Krasnostava and cover the road to the Hill. The 19, 5 and 17 corps were united under the overall command of the commander of the 17 corps, General Yakovlev. The grouping was to go on the offensive in the western direction. Grenadier and 16 corps, the commander of the 4 army, Evert ordered to stand in the same positions. The right wing of the army - the 14 corps and new units received the task of launching a counteroffensive.

On this day, the 25 body withstood the weak pressure of the connections of the Austrian 10 and 2 bodies. The 19 Corps still fought stubbornly against superior enemy forces. From the side of the villages of Labun and Volya Labunsky, Russian troops fought off the attacks of the divisions of the 9 Austrian corps, from the side of Tarnovatka and Pidgirts the 6 Austrian corps advanced. All Austrian attacks were repulsed with heavy losses for the enemy.

The 5 Corps continued to move to Pukarjev, Rakhan in order to reach the flank and rear of the Austrian 6 Corps. As a result, the Austrian 15-division fell under the powerful blow of the advancing Russian troops. Her vanguard was attacked by a regiment of the 7 division, and part of the 10 division was hit on the flag and rear. Under the destruction of Russian artillery fire, a brigade of the Austrian 15 division with three batteries and all rear institutions, surrendered, other units were also broken up and scattered. The division commander shot himself. It was a complete rout. About 4 thousand soldiers were taken prisoner. Russian trophies were 2 regimental banner and 22 guns. It should be noted that the main reason for the death of the Austrian division was poor intelligence and complete disregard of security (with intelligence, both Russians and Austrians were bad).

In the morning, 17 Russian Corps spoke in the general direction to Yarchov. The right-flank 3 Division, reflecting the attacks of the Austrian 19 Division of the Austrian 17 Division, reached the left flank of the 5 Corps on the front of Sovinets and Gubinek. The Russian 35 division was to go to the flank and rear of the Austrian 19 division. The 137 th regiment moving in the vanguard went south of Tarnoshin in a large forest. At the same time, Russian troops moved without the necessary intelligence and security. In the afternoon, when the regiment stopped at rest, it was attacked by the Austrian 41-division from the 14 corps. In part, a panic began. Attempts by individual commanders of battalions and companies to deploy subunits and counterattack the enemy ended in failure. Kompolka died, trying in vain to restore order. The regiment fled to Tarnoshin, throwing 16 guns that were in the forefront. Lost to 85% regimental personnel.

In the same irresponsible style, the Russian 1 division of the 17 corps in the Vasilov area suffered defeat. Intelligence and escorts were not established. The left flank of the Russian division was dealt a powerful blow by units of the Austrian 41 and 3 divisions. In this mess, the Russian troops lost their 40 divisions. Only by the morning of August 29 in parts of the 17 Corps was it possible to restore order. The hull should have been pulled back.

At the front of the Evert 4 Army, the overall situation was stable. Only the left flank of the army, due to the coverage of the Austrians, moved back somewhat. On the same day, they found a crossing at Yuzefov and a movement of parts of the Austrian corps of Kummer on Opole. Therefore, Evert on this day decides to confine defensive actions. The 18 Corps received the task of detaining the Austro-Hungarian troops moving on Opole.

29 - 30 August. 29 August The Russian 25 Corps regrouped its forces for better defense of the Kholm region and successfully fought off the attacks of the Austrian 4 and 13 divisions on the Mashov-Vislovets front. 30 August, when the corps troops were preparing for a counterattack, the Austrians dealt a heavy blow to the 70 division. The Russian division, due to the lack of long-range security, was not ready to attack and began to retreat in the direction of the Hill. Austro-Hungarian troops occupied Krasnostav. The commander of the 5 Army, Plehve, who did not agree with the withdrawal of forces from the 25 Corps to Hill, ordered on August 31 to launch a counterattack and knock the enemy out of Krasnostav.

August 29 The 19 Corps in the Komarov area waged heavy battles against the superior forces of the enemy - the Austrian 9 and 2. Thanks to the skillful actions of the corps commander of General Gorbatovsky, Russian troops repulsed enemy attacks, more than once turning into counterattacks. The energetic corps leadership and skillfully located reserves did their work, the Austro-Hungarian troops could not turn the tide of battle in their favor.

30 August fights flared up with a new force. The Austrian command attracted the 13 division from the Krasnostava direction, which was moved around the right flank of the 19 corps. However, on this day all enemy attacks were repelled. The Combined Cossack Division (parts of the 1 and 5 of the Don divisions) took an active part in the battles of Komarov. By evening, the Austrians retreated in all directions.

During the day, the 5 Corps also successfully opposed the troops of the Austrian 6 Corps at the Yanovka-Podledov sector. On August 30, Russian troops began to crowd the enemy, but after the Austrians brought in reinforcements, the 5 Army Corps retired to the Krachev-Pukarzhev line. As a result, the insulation of the 19 body was interrupted; it received a connection to the 5 body. The 17 Corps, after the failures of 28 in August, was being restored in the area of ​​Dobuzhek, Dutrov, Old Village. The corps received the task of defending in a busy area.

Thus, an attempt with the help of the forces of the 5 Army to assist the 4 Army failed. The army of Plehve herself got into heavy fighting and got into a difficult situation. However, a positive result was still. The front command managed to transfer reserves to the aid of the army of Evert, which strengthened the position of the 4 army. Everta army was able to recover and soon will go into a decisive counterattack against the 1 of the Austrian army. Austrian troops were exhausted by heavy fighting and lost their offensive outburst.

In addition, the Austrians were not doing well in another area, in Galicia. 3-I and 8-I armies were moving deeper, approaching Lviv. The commander of the 3 of the Austrian army, Commander Bruderman, gave the order to retreat to the line of Lviv, Krasov, where the troops had to restrain the enemy until September 2, and then retreat to the Gorodok position. As a result, the right flank and rear of the Austrian 4 were under threat. The Austrian command was nervous, began to prepare for the withdrawal. Also, there was a need for the transfer of troops 4-th army of Lviv.

Position on the front of the 4-th army. 29 August 1-I Austrian army was on the defensive, waiting for the arrival of the Kummer group. All fights were private. In the evening, Kummer's troops arrived on the left flank of the Austrian army. However, the time factor has already played against the Austro-Hungarian army. The Austrian command missed a favorable moment for the development of the offensive. Everta's 4 Army has already strengthened in new positions, restored morale, the right flank was strengthened, new reserves arrived. Thus, parts of the 18 corps (near the division) arrived on the right wing, they were reinforced by the cavalry — the 13 division and the Guards cavalry brigade. The Guards Corps moved to the Lublin area, the 3 Caucasian Corps to Ivangorod, from where it was sent partly to Lublin, partly to the Travniki station. Army Evert received a strong second echelon. The Austro-Hungarian troops were exhausted and lost their strike force. Since that time, the center of gravity in the Lublin-Kholm operation again moved to the site of the 4 Army.

30 August Austrians attacked the Russian right flank. However, the battle at Opole ended with the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian troops. The Kummer group suffered a serious defeat. The Austrians lost only 1 thousand people by prisoners.

However, at the junction of the 4 and 5 of the Russian armies, the Austrians continued the offensive. After the departure of the 25 Corps of the 5 Army in the direction of the Hill, the 24-I Austrian division entered Krasnostav. Then she developed an attack on the village of Lopennik-Rus. Part of the newly arrived secondary 82 Infantry Division could not hold the enemy. Austro-Hungarian troops captured the Travniki station. Thus, they temporarily cut the strategic railway Lublin - Hill. The Austrian cavalry advanced even further. As a result, the right flank of Dunkl's army penetrated deeply between the two Russian armies.

But this success was temporary. The Russian command has already deployed this area of ​​the Guards and 3 of the Caucasian corps. On the left wing of the army Everta was formed shock group. She defeated the Austro-Hungarian troops in the area of ​​the village of Sukhodoly. As a result, Dunkl's army was unable to make roundabout maneuvers on its flanks, the advanced strike groups were defeated. September 2 Austro-Hungarian troops moved to the defense.

The departure of the army Plehve

On August 31, in spite of the order received to counterattack and repel Krasnostav, the troops of the 25 Corps continued to withdraw to Hill. This made it easier for the enemy to bypass the 19 corps from the north.

From the very morning of August 31, the Austrians attacked the 19 corps again. From the north after noon, the Russian corps began to bypass the divisions of the Austrian 2 corps. Taking into account the threat of complete encirclement, the 19 corps moved to the line Oak, Snyatyche, Mosquitoes and further south to Sejerj. The army commander Plehve, in order to eliminate the threat of the encirclement of the 19 corps, sent the 2 and 1 divisions of the Don Cossack divisions to the rear of the 5 Austrian corps. The Austrians did not take into account the mistakes that led to the tragedy of the 15 division. The sudden appearance of the Cossacks behind the lines caused panic in the Austrian reserves and rear areas, the artillery opened "friendly fire" on its own. Both Austrian divisions ran back to Zamost in disarray. As trophies 10 shells were captured. Unfortunately, the cavalry did not develop success, having missed the opportunity to disorganize the rear of the Austrian 9 Corps, which would have led the Austrians to withdraw throughout the sector.

In other areas, the Austrians were also reflected. As a result, despite the heavy fighting and a series of offensive blunders, the spirit of the army of Pleva was high. 1 September, the army planned to launch a counterattack. However, after assessing the situation, Plehve decided to withdraw and re-establish contact with the 4 army. The withdrawal was due to the fact that the 3-I army of Ruzsky, who wanted to take Lviv, instead of sending his flank north of Lvov, bypassing the army of Auffenberg, was slow with this decision. In addition, the corps suffered heavy losses, the rear could not supply the army with everything necessary. Three corps moved to the line Wojsławice - Hrubieshov - Vladimir-Volynsky, and the 25 corps still had to prepare an attack on Krasnostav. 3 September the army completed a regrouping of forces. The 25 Corps took possession of Krasnostav.

For the Austrians, this retreat of the Russian army was unexpected. The 3 th cavalry of the Russian army has already appeared at Unuwa. The Austrian high command decided that the further movement of the 4 Army was dangerous, and therefore ordered, with a serious threat from the right flank, to retreat to the Rav-Russian direction. On the evening of September 1, a new decision was made - the Russian troops were to be pursued by the group of Joseph-Ferdinand (3 infantry and 1 cavalry divisions). She was to advance in the general direction of Hrubieshov and at the same time cover the rear of the 4 Army, which was deployed in the Lviv direction, to support the 3 Army. In addition, the group of Joseph-Ferdinand was supposed to cover the right wing of the 1 of the Austrian army. On September 3, the three corps of the 4 Army (9, 6 and 17) turned south. As a result, only the weak Joseph-Ferdinand group remained in front of the front of the Plehwe army.

Attack of the Don Cossacks on the Austrian artillery positions. Artist A. Schelumov. 1922

Results of the Lublin-Holm operation

The counter battle of the Austrian 1 and 4 army with the Russian 4 and 5 armies ended with the withdrawal of Russian troops to the Lyublin-Vladimir-Volynsky line. The situation was especially difficult on the front of the 4 Army. Poor organization of intelligence did not allow to identify the advance of the enemy. Russian troops were moving almost blindly. In addition, the Russian army was significantly inferior in forces, which allowed the Austrians to create a decisive superiority on their left flank. Salz army was put on the brink of defeat.

In order to save the 4 th army from complete defeat, the supreme Russian command was forced to take several drastic measures. The headquarters changed the command of the army - Zaltsa was replaced by Evert. Readiness was expressed to withdraw the army on the Vepř river. Began to transfer reserves to restore the shock force 4-th army. The 4, Guards and 18 Caucasian Corps were transferred to the 3 Army. This led to the dissolution of the Warsaw Army Group, which, if the 1 and 2 Russian armies succeeded in East Prussia (East Prussian operation) planned to use for offensive operations in the Berlin area. Initially, the 4 corps (from Finland) was sent to strengthen the 22 army, but after stabilization of the front it was used to form the 10 army, which was created after the defeat of the 2 army (Death of 13 and 15 cases).

In turn, the 5 Army was also unable to perform either the initial task (to advance on Lviv), or the subsequent one — to support the 4 Army by attacking the flank and rear of Dunkl's army. The army put its left flank under attack by the Austrian 4, was divided into two groups, the corps were not interconnected, they fought on their own. As a result, the army, instead of attacking, led heavy battles of predominantly defensive nature with the enemy. True, due to more skillful and decisive leadership from the command, the army Plehve was not put on the brink of defeat. On the contrary, she delivered a series of sensitive blows to the enemy, although she was forced to withdraw.

The reasons for the failure and withdrawal of the Russian troops were: 1) with the rush caused by the need to launch an offensive as quickly as possible and to assist France. Thus, both armies launched an offensive in incomplete composition and with unsettled rears; 2) the general disadvantage of the disposition of the 4 and 5 forces of the Russian armies, when the Russian command was mistaken with the deployment of the enemy forces; 3) failures in the organization of long-range intelligence; 4) mistakes command 4 Army (Salz); 5) by turning the Russian 5 army to the aid of the 4, without additional long-range reconnaissance. As a result, the army of Plehve "framed" under the flank attack by the 4 of the Austrian army. In the frontal battle, the Austrians could not succeed, given the overall good training of the commanders of the army and the highest morale of the Russian soldiers, who put up stubborn resistance in the most unfavorable conditions, restraining the superior forces of the enemy.

It should be noted one characteristic feature of the Russian troops, which showed the soldiers of the 19-th, 5-th and 17-th corps. If the Austro-Hungarian troops, despite the visible successes, the morale quickly fell, the Russians, on the contrary, the resistance force from the first failures only increased. Russian troops were eager to attack and beat the enemy.

The main mistake of the Austrian armies was slowness. The Austrian command unacceptably delayed the offensive between the Bug and the Vistula. The Austrians were carried away by the "maneuver", losing the opportunities that were created by the original extremely favorable location. This made it possible for the Russian armies to either retreat in an organized way, or to put themselves in order in their previous positions. And given the superiority of the Russian reserves, not to mention the Russian offensive 3 and 8 armies, which uncontrollably broke into the rear of the Austrian armies and 1, the Galician battle was to end with the victory of the Russians, which happened.

To be continued ...

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  1. Karlsonn
    Karlsonn 12 September 2014 12: 03
    Thank you, I look forward to continuing.

  2. xan
    xan 12 September 2014 15: 24
    This is so far the personnel fought, that ours, that the Austrians.
    That's when the secondary ones go, then the problems with fighting efficiency will begin.
    Somewhere there was data that the Germans had about 300 killed soldiers per one killed officer, and ours had about 150. It turned out that, given the better officer corps (due to less attrition), German secondary units were more combat-ready, not to mention more complete logistical support. True, this did not apply to the Austrians. Already in the first battles, it became clear that the Austro-Hungarians would merge without the support of the Germans.
    I watched a film about the gunsmith Fedorov. He was on a business trip in France in the 16th year and was struck by a simple fact - in the defense in the first line of trenches there were always machine-gun calculations to reduce losses from artillery fire. And this is already 2 years of war. Why tsarist Russia did not protect the soldiers? Nothing affects the combat effectiveness so much as the inability or unwillingness (this is a crime) of the command to avoid meaningless losses.
    1. Sergey Eremin_2
      Sergey Eremin_2 7 October 2020 17: 40
      In fact, the Austro-Hungarians in these battles did not have the support of the Germans and did not merge))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
      Especially with Krasnik and Tomashev.
      PS In fact, until the end of 1914 the Austro-Hungarians supported the Germans, and not vice versa.