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uable assistance to the Central Powers; (7) Champagne country, northeast of Reims, and, finally, that the superior strategic situa- through Perthes across the forested ridge of tion of the Teutonic Powers, with their ability Argonne to the Meuse River, just west and to transfer troops quickly from point to point north of Verdun; (c) the eastern sector, swing. on the battle-line, thanks to a wonderful system ing around the great fortifications of Verdun, of railway communications, would contribute to bending back sharply to the Meuse again at St. the ultimate achievement of victory.
Mihiel (about 10 miles south of Verdun), turn
ing east again from St. Mihiel to strike the V. MILITARY OPERATIONS
Moselle River at a point near the Lorraine (1) The Allied Offensive in France: January, border, and crossing over the crest of the Yosges
frontier, extending southeast along the Lorraine April.
into Upper Alsace, where Thann was still reThe first great German offensive in the West tained by the French. It will be observed that had been repulsed at the battle of the Marne the Belgians held only 18 miles and the British (Sept. 6–10, 1914); the second serious German only 31 miles of the front, while the French offensive in the West, the “drive to Calais,” had army, about two and a half millions strong, debeen stopped in October and November by the fended the remaining 543 miles. valiant resistance of the Belgians on the Yser, (a) The fighting on the northern sector, the British colonials and French troops before from January 1st to April 21st, effected little Ypres, and the Anglo-French line in Artois. By change in the line. On the extreme north, the the beginning of January, 1915, the 600-mile Allies captured a sand dune of some strategie battle line in Belgium and France, extending importance just east of Nieuport, January 28th, from the coast of the Channel to the border of repelled German attacks at Ypres and west of Switzerland, had become almost stationary, and La Bassée, January 25th-February 5th, and capwas so formidably intrenched and fortified that tured a brickfield east of Cuinchy, February 6th. it could not possibly be broken except at a ter. The first ambitious offensive in this sector was rible cost of life and with an enormous expendi- undertaken on March 10th by the British, who ture of shells. Notwithstanding the difficulty, by this time numbered well-nigh 500,000 men. the Allies confidently planned to undertake à Early in the morning a terrific bombardment of general offensive movement during the spring the German trenches west of Neuve Chapelle
(about two-thirds the distance from Arras to Armentières) and of the village itself prepared the way for an infantry attack. Before noon
the village of Neuve Chapelle, now a smolderBRUSSELS MASSAICNI
ing heap of ruins, was completely in British possession. The attacking forces north of the village, where the artillery preparation had not
been so effective in demolishing the German deAcyaAN
fenses, were caught in barbed wire entangle. Aleron yg less
ments and cruelly decimated by German ma
chine-gun fire; but in spite of losses the attack Motorte Noron 20
succeeded. On the afternoon of March 10th, however, and on the two succeeding days, the British failed to push their advantage with energy;
the Germans were allowed to recover PARIS
from the surprise and demoralization of the
sudden bombardment; the British artillery was SCALE: STAT. MILES
poorly aimed during the cloudy weather of the second and third days' fighting, and as a result of the destruction of telephonic communications orders were imperfectly obeyed. Consequently
the British failed to gain the commanding ridge TEBE
east of Neuve Chapelle. At the cost of 13,000
men Sir John French had advanced his line a ALLIES' LINE, JANUARY, 1915
mile or so, on a front of three miles. Three
days after the British offensive had come to a months of 1915. The progress made up to the standstill
, the British minister of war, Lord fourth week of April, when the Allied offensive Kitchener, told the House of Lords that the was interrupted by a German counter-attack at supply of war munitions was causing him "very Ypres, will be more easily evaluated if the Al- serious anxiety.” Sir John French's dispatch lied front is considered as three sectors: (a) the describing the battle of Neuve Chapelle, pubnorthern sector, extending in a line over a lished on April 14th, likewise referred to the hundred miles long from the Belgian town of pressing need of "an almost unlimited supply Nieuport east of Ypres and Armentières, west of ammunition." Hence it may be concluded of Lille, east of Arras, west of Péronne, east of that one very potent factor in the British failRoye, and through Noyon to a point on the Oise ure to make Neuve Chapelle a great victory was River a few miles north of Compiègne, and held the lack of artillery support after the initial by Belgian and French troops from Nieuport to bombardment. This first move in the Allied ofYpres, by British from Ypres to Béthune, and fensive on the northern sector met with ill sucby French alone from Béthune to the Oise; (b) cess; Lille had been its final objective, and Lille the central sector, exclusively French, from the had not even been seriously menaced. For over Oise to Soissons on the Aisne, following the
a month no important action was fought on northern bank of the Aisne for perhaps twenty the northern sector, until the capture of a miles, then swinging southeast through the hill near Ypres (Hill 60) by the British, April
AIX-LA-CHAPELLA HAZEBROUCK B E LIGT UM
& SIVET ALBERT BAPAUME
Photographs by Paul Thompsun
THE WAR IN EUROPE
17th, precipitated a violent German counter-at- which developed shortly after the capture of tack.
Hill 60, near Ypres, by the British. The battle (b) Meanwhile in the central sector a lucky of Ypres will be described in a subsequent paraFrench attack had won Hill 132 north of Sois- graph; for the present the situation in the Russons, January 8th, but General von Kluck had sian theatre of war commands attention. quickly returned the attack with two German army corps, and not only had forced the French (2) Winter Campaigns in Poland and East back to their old position across the Aisne
Prussia: January-February. River, but for a time had seriously threatened to capture Soissons. Further east, in Cham- At the beginning of the year the Russian pagne, the French during the month of January armies were strung out in a battle line almost captured Perthes and a near-by hill of some 900 miles long. The centre of the Russian line, strategic importance; the attack was renewed under General Ruzsky, was strongly entrenched in February with strong artillery support; but in Russian Poland, behind the Rawka and Bzura only painfully slow progress was made towards rivers, with the strong fortresses of Novo the east-and-west railway which General Joffre Georgievsk, Warsaw, and Ivangorod along the hoped to cut. On the Argonne ridge the French. Vistula River, forming an almost impregnable aimed chiefly to cut the railway to Apremont, line of defense upon which the Russians might but the fighting was indecisive.
fall back if hard pressed. The right or northern (c) On the eastern sector, on the extreme wing of the Russian army, likewise under Ruzright wing, the French Alpine Chasseurs de sky's general command, stretched northeastscended from the Vosges heights into the Thur wards to the north of the Narew River, and Valley and captured the Alsatian town of Stein- through the Masurian Lake region of East Prusbach, January 3rd. Other French forces men- sia, to the Niemen River. The left or southern aced Muelhaugen. The Germans, however, re. wing of the Russian army, under General Ivanov, taliated by expelling the French from their included General Ewarts's army on the Nida advantageous position on a shoulder of Hart- River, west of Kielce, Gen. Radko Dmitriev's mannsweilerkopf, January 19th. In the last army in Galicia holding Tarnow behind the week of March the French regained a foothold Donajetz and Biala rivers, General Brussilov's on Hartmannsweilerkopf, and throughout April army holding the northern approaches to the and May the mountain was alternately claimed Carpathian Mountain passes, General Seliby French and by Germans. The fighting on the vanov's 'army besieging the isolated Austrian snow-clad slopes of the Vosges was picturesque; fortress of Przemysl (on the San), and General but the really important efforts of the French in Alexeiev's army operating in Bukovina. Opposthe eastern sector were directed against the ing the Russian right wing were four German wedge which the Crown Prince had thrust into army corps in East Prussia; the Russian centre the French line at St. Mihiel, not far south of was confronted by strong German forces under Verdun. As there was no possibility of break- Von Mackensen; on the left wing was General ing the strong apex of the wedge by frontal at Dankl's depleted army west of the Nida River; tacks on St. Mihiel and Camp des Romains, the south of that, General Woyrsch's army west of French endeavored to press the sides of the the Donajetz; and the extreme Russian left wedge together, with the hope that if the wedge flank in the Carpathians was harried by the could be considerably compressed, the German Austrian Archduke Eugene from the south. forces at the apex, finding their communications Since their disastrous defeat in East Prussia imperiled, would be compelled to withdraw from (see YEAR Book for 1914), the Russians had deSt. Mihiel. The French position at Verdun voted their attention chiefly to General Ivanov's would thereby be immensely strengthened. In campaign in Galicia, which constituted a threeFebruary, therefore, the French began their at- fold menace: (1) to the invaluable grain-growtack by capturing the village of Les Eparges on ing plains of Hungary, across the Carpathians; the northern side and the Bois le Prêtre on the (2) to the important Galician city of Cracow; southern side of the wedge. On April 5th the and (3) to the strategically and industrially imattack was resumed against the strongly forti- portant German province of Silesia. The Rusfied German position on the heights behind Les sian centre meanwhile rested on the defensive Eparges. During four days attack and counter in Poland, and the right wing, during January, attack left the result in doubt, but finally the contented itself with cavalry attacks upon the French victory was assured, February 9th, and railway communications north of Tilsit. The the heights of Les Eparges remained in French Teutonic plan of campaign was to deliver frontal possession. About the same time, General Du- attacks on Ruzsky's army before Warsaw, in bail brought heavy pressure to bear against the order to compel the Russian generalissimo, southern side of the wedge. Small advances Grand Duke Nicholas, to reënforce his Polish were made, but the main object, to destroy the line at the expense of his Galician forces. The wedge, was not achieved.
plan had been successfully put into operation in To sum up, by the middle of April the Allied October, 1914, when the Russian armies were apoffensive in the West had made small local proaching Cracow, and it forced the Russians gains “nibbling" at the German lines, but had to retire to the San River. It had been tried failed to accomplish any strategically important at the close of November and early in Decemobject, either in the movement toward Lille, in ber, to check the renewed Russian advance on the advance against the Champagne railway, or Cracow. Again, in the third week of December, in the attack on the St. Mihiel salient. In the 1914, General von Mackensen had furiously asfourth week of April "the war of attrition" in sailed the Russian centre just at the time when the West, that is, the gradual "nibbling" at the the Russian campaign in Galicia seemed to be German lines and the gradual depletion of the developing favorably. For a fourth time the German forces, was suddenly interrupted by a plan was put into execution in February, 1915, spectacular German counter-offensive at Ypres, in the hope that a strong German attack in Poland would compel the Russians to retire in Niemen and on the Bobr rivers had expelled the Galicia and to abandon the siege of Przemysl. Russians from the Kaiser's "beloved” province Having prepared the attack by a terrific bom- of East Prussia; it had furthermore drawn Genbardment of the Russian lines west of Warsaw, eral Ruzsky's attention to his extreme right. In General von Mackensen launched his attack, the hope that the Russian forces west and north with 140,000 men, on a seven-mile front opposite of Warsaw had been depleted to reënforce the Bolimov, 40 miles west of Warsaw. On Feb- Bobr and Niemen lines, von Hindenburg now ruary 1st, under cover of artillery fire, and in swiftly struck at Przasnysz, between Ostrolenka the face of a blinding snow-storm, the German and Mlawa, 50 or 60 miles north of Warsaw, infantry masses recklessly rushed the first-line The admirably laid-out strategic railways of trenches east of the Rawka River. On February East Prussia would enable him suddenly to shift 2nd the Russian second- and third-line trenches the weight of the East Prussian attack from the were taken. On February 3rd and 4th the Ger- east to the west. By an unexpected stroke he man troops advanced five miles along the rail. would cross the Narew River southeast of way towards Warsaw. The attempt to pierce Przasnysz and cut the Warsaw-Bielostock-Petrothe Russian line seemed to have met with bril- grad Railway to the south of the Narew. Warliant success, well worth the heavy cost in casu- saw could then be encircled and invested. The alties. Russian reënforcements, hastily rushed Russian army which in January had moved to the front by rail from Warsaw, arrived on northwestward along the Vistula to within 40 the spot towards the evening of February 4th, miles of Thorn, and had been pushed back in just in time to save the Russian line. Mile by February to Plock and Raciaz, 60 miles northmile the German assailants were forced back west of Warsaw, would be compelled by this over their newly-gained territory, until by Feb- flanking movement to retreat in hot haste; if ruary 8th the Germans had been pushed back on von Hindenburg moved swiftly enough the the Rawka.
Plock-Raciaz army might be enveloped and deTHE GEBMAN ATTACK FROM EAST PRUSSIA. stroyed. On February 22nd, just as the attack While von Mackensen was attacking west of on the Niemen and on the Bobr was expiring, Warsaw, von Hindenburg was preparing a sur- two German army corps from the direction of prise for the Russians in East Prussia. During Soldau and Willenburg (on the southern border the first week of February he concentrated nine of East Prussia) began their march southward army corps in East Prussia to hurl against the on Przasnysz. At first things went splendidly. Russian Tenth Army, which consisted of four Przasnysz was captured on February 24th toarmy corps under Baron Sievers. On February gether with about half of the brigade which had 7th von Hindenburg delivered the first blow: à been left to defend the town; Krasnosielce was German army advancing eastward from Tilsit occupied on the way from Przasnysz to the along the southern bank of the Niemen, thrust fortress of Ostrolenka; the only real resistance itself between the two northernmost Russian was encountered at the hands of a single Rusarmy corps. The 20th Russian corps, consist- sian division which stubbornly held its ground ing of 30,000 men under General Bulgakov, on the ridge southwest of Przasnysz. But on which had been holding the line of the Angerap the evening of February 24th Russian reënforceRiver, was thus exposed to a fatal flank attack ments began to arrive from Ostrolenka, Rozan, from the north. General Bulgakov's retreat and Pultusk. The gallant defenders of the speedily became a rout, and the 20th was an- ridge, after battling for almost two days against nihilated in the forest-belt north of Suwalki. overwhelming odds, were now relieved. PrzaThe northernmost Russian corps having, con- snysz and Krasnosielce were recovered on Febtinued its retreat towards Kovno, General von ruary 27th. Ten thousand Germans were capEichorn, commanding the extreme right wing of tured, according to the Russian statement. By von Hindenburg's line, crossed_the Russian February 28th the Germans were in full retreat frontier and occupied Mariampol, February 12th. towards the East Prussian frontier. The three Meanwhile von Buelow, directing the German phases of the German winter campaign in Poattack on the two remaining Russian corps in the land and East Prussia may now be summed up: Masurian Lake region, completely cleared East von Mackensen's desperate frontal attack on Prussia and pressed forward against the Rus- Warsaw had been thwarted; East Prussia had sian fortresses of Grodno and Ossowietz. By been cleared of invaders; and a brilliantly conFebruary 20th, however, the remnant of the Rus- ceived flank attack on the Russian centre had sian forces—the Germans claimed to have cap- met with disaster. tured 75,000 men and 300 guns—had entrenched itself along a line running southward from (3) The Russians in Galicia and Bukovina: Kovno parallel to the Niemen, well in front of
January-April. Olita, Miroslav, Drusskeniki, and Grodno, and bending southwest along the northern bank of It has already been explained that one of the the river Bobr, north of Ossowietz, and continu- principal motives for the German offensives in ing to the north of the Narew. General von Poland and East Prussia was to relieve the presEichorn, continuing to press forward in the sure on Austria-Hungary. At the beginning of north, won on February 20th a foothold on the January General Brussilov's Russian army on eastern bank of the Niemen north of Grodno and the northern side of the Carpathian ridge was reached a point only 10 miles from the Warsaw. threatening to penetrate through the central CarPetrograd Railway. Simultaneously von Bue- pathian passes (Dukla Pass, Lupkow Pass, and low began to bombard Ossowietz. Both on the Uzsok Pass), south of Przemysl and to pour down Niemen and on the Bobr (at Ossowietz) the Ger- the converging valleys of the mountain streams mans encountered such stubborn resistance that into the valley of the Theiss and the Hungarian they fell back, in March, towards their own plain.* Simultaneously Russian troops were frontier.
overrunning Bukovina, which commanded the THE BATTLE OF PRZASNYSZ. The attack on the
* See sketch map on p. 715.