from ‘the Great War’, edited by H.W. Wilson, vol. 7, chapter 137
'Russia Resurgent'
by Robert Machray

The Summer Offensive of 1916 to the Fall of Stanislau

How Russia Astonished the World in General and Germany in Particular—Vain Boasts of the German Chancellor—Russia's Great Spirit— Her Lack of Munitions Remedied—Positions of the Russian and Austro-German Armies in June,- 191C— The Rival Generals— How Brussiloff Prepared his Offensive—Attack Along the Whole Southern Front—Smashing In of the Enemy's Lines—Capture of Lutsk— Inspiring Message from the Tsar—Kaledin's Wonderful Fighting Advance—Fall of Dubno—Lutsk Salient Formed— Enemy Counter-Offensive—Its Success and Failure—Sudden Appearance of Lesh's Army—Decisive Effect-—The "Iron " and " Steel" Divisions—Sakharoff s Splendid Victories and Triumphant March—The Taking of Brody—Pressure on Bothmer from the North and South—Collapse of the Austro- German Line—Shcherbacheff's Advance—Fresh Austro-German Efforts—How Lechitsky Contributed to the Russian Triumph—Penetration and Conquest of Bukovina—Capture of Czernovitz—Fall of Kolomea—Weather Interferes with Operations—Advance Resumed—Retreat of Bothmer—Capture of Stanislau— Colossal Number of Prisoners Taken __Russia's Asiatic Front—Fall of Trebizond and Erzingan—The Situation in Armenia and Persia—A Turkish Counter-Offensive.



Among the great surprises in which the war abounded none was more unexpected in its occurrence or astonishing in its result than the resurgence of the armies of Russia that was manifested, to the delight of her friends and the confusion of her foes, in the summer of 1916. Even those of the Allies who were acquainted with her vast resources in men, and understood something of her infinite capacity for sustained effort and Ungrudging self-sacrifice, were amazed. The well-informed correspondent in Petrograd of a London journal stated, when in England on a holiday in January of that year, that no movement of vital importance could be looked for from Russia for at least the next twelve months. Similar pessimistic views were general, because of the grave losses which she had undergone in 1915, and of her tragical deficiencies in munitions. But to the Central Powers the resilience and the recovery of Russia were a staggering blow.

Germany had declared, and apparently with conviction, that Russia was so completely defeated as to be practically negligible. As narrated in Chapter CIX., entitled "The Renewed Russian Offensive and The Fall of Erzerum," there were signs that the German estimate that Russia had been reduced to a condition of collapse was another of the fond delusions to which the enemy was a prey. Yet Germany still retained her belief in the impotence of her big neighbour; though she ought, it might have been supposed, to have known better.

Two months after the capture of Erzerum by the Russians, Bethmann-Hollweg, the Imperial German Chancellor, said, when addressing the Reichstag, that the fortress had been taken because of the numerical superiority of Russia's forces in that area, but that Turkish reinforcements would speedily give a different complexion to the situation in Armenia and Persia. He then went on to boast that the Central Powers would find no difficulty in keeping all the territory of Russia which they occupied. Never again, said he, was she to be permitted to rule over the Poles, Lithuanians, Baits, and Letts who had been set free by Germany and her allies, nor ever again would the land of the Vistula be used for an assault on "unprotected Germany." He spoke with derision of the attempts of Russian storming columns to drive "Hindenburg and his brave men" from their trenches.

Such was the attitude of official Germany to Russia, and it also was that of the German people. Bethmann-Hollweg's speech was delivered early in April, and it might have seemed a warning to German arrogance when the Russians, of whom he had spoken so contemptuously, took Trebizond a few days later. On the other hand, the position on nearly all fronts, as late as the beginning of June, appeared to be so favourable to Germany that there was some excuse for the complacency with which she regarded the outlook. Nowhere were the Entente Powers genuinely forging ahead. At Verdun the French, in spite of almost unimaginable heroism, were scarcely holding their ground, and the brave Italians had been compelled to retire for several miles in the Trentino. The Austrian offensive against Italy in itself indicated how scanty was the regard paid to Russia. In Armenia the Russians had been thrown back by the Turks, though they had made some progress in Persia, and in Europe their success had not been conspicuous.

Along her European front Russia had gained little or nothing positively by the battles that had taken place during the winter. In some of these the fighting was of the most desperate description. After the spring thaw had passed, and the terrain had become practicable for the marching of armies, the struggle was resumed about the beginning of May, when, in the district around Lake Naroch, east of Vilna, the Russians, who had made a slight advance in this quarter, were heavily checked by the Germans, who claimed to have captured upwards of 5,000 men and four guns. About this time experts in Petrograd expected that the enemy would make a powerful attack on the Russian positions in the north. Artillery actions were incessant on the Riga-Dvinsk line, and in the second week of the month a violent contest developed in the vicinity of Jacobstadt on the Dwina, but with indecisive results. And whatever was the plan that had been evolved by Hindenburg, who was in chief command of the German operations in this region, it was paralysed by the need of reinforcements at Verdun by his compatriots, which deprived him of several divisions, weakening him materially. During May artillery duels were almost continuous on the Oginski Canal, north of Pinsk, and south of the marshes there was considerable cannonading. But nothing in this period even faintly suggested the prodigious change that so soon, and with such dramatic suddenness, was to come over the scene. Surprise, with the success attending it, was the chief note of the great Russian offensive that began in June.

Germany and Austria, stultified by their overweening pride and their confidence in their power easily to hold and deal with Russia, were fooled to the top of their bent. They had thought that Russia was finished. Their mistake was to cost them dear. Nothing in the whole war, with the exception of the splendid way in which the civil population of the British Empire rallied to the Flag, was more remarkable than the recovery of Russia, as shown by the formation of immense new armies during the months that had elapsed since the preceding October.

The heart, the spirit, the soul of Russia were in the business, and this national feeling made tremendous and terrible her inexhaustible strength in men, to which a German statesman had referred, not without foreboding, shortly before the war broke out. Not even in the dark days when Napoleon strode on to Moscow was Russia so united, so inflexibly determined. Throughout all the vastness of the Russian land no one talked of anything but the war. Every town, village, and hamlet had its wounded back from the front, and everyone knew that a part of the soil of Holy Russia was in the remorseless grasp of the most brutal of invaders. Horrible, true stories of the hideous treatment meted out by the Germans to Russian prisoners circulated from mouth to mouth. Russia was thoroughly roused from one end to the other. Therefore, willingly and gladly did the Russians in their millions drill continually all these months, inexorably resolved to defeat and conquer their enemy.

The man is more than the machine. It was this marvellous outflow of national feeling, with all its quickening and vitalising influence, that accounted for the extraordinary resurgence of the Russian armies, and explained the magnificent, unquestioning heroism which they displayed when the offensive started. Naturally, there were other factors that made for success. The retreat of the preceding year had not been brought about by any wonderful generalship on the part of the Germans or by lack of courage on the side of the Russians—when it became known, the story of the unfaltering bravery shown in the retirement of the Russian armies thrilled the world. The retreat was caused solely by the shortage of guns, rifles, and other munitions. When the Russian people understood that this was the case, they threw themselves into munition-making with a perfect frenzy of enthusiasm.

Russia, however, was unfortunately but poorly equipped from the industrial point of view, yet she mobilised all her mills, factories, and everything that could be pressed into service. More than that, she called on Japan—lately her foe, but now her friend—-to assist her, and that strong, young-old giant of the Far East wrought mightily on her behalf, sending to her millions of rifles and bayonets, besides large numbers of guns of all calibres with the proper ammunition, to say nothing of clothing and boots in prodigious quantities. Her other allies also helped her in various ways; among them, Belgium supplied her with a fleet of armoured cars.


illustration and photo of general Brussilov


Russia, when the brilliant Brusiloff commenced operations against the Austro- Germans, was stronger than she had ever been in all her history. And she had learned much, taken it to heart and profited by it. If she was terrible in man-power, she was truly formidable in all the grim machinery of war, and she was great in hardly-won knowledge. She was fortunate, too, in her generals, who, at any rate in Alexeieff and Brussiloff, already had proved themselves to be soldiers of the highest class, and as her offensive progressed other names sprang into fame.

As June opened the Russian armies in Europe were disposed in three groups, strung along a front of about eight hundred miles in length from north to south. The northern Russian armies, composing the first group, and temporarily under General Kuropatkin, well known from his connection with the Russo-Japanese War, stretched along the Riga-Dvinsk line. The central Russian armies, forming the second group, were under General Evert, who had shown distinguished ability in the great retreat, and they took up the drive from Dvinsk to the Marshes of the Pripet.

The southern Russian armies, the remaining group, stood on the front from the marshes to the Rumanian frontier, and they were led by General Brusiloff, a man of exceptional capacity, as was evinced—even when he was retreating, under General Ivanoff, in Galicia the previous year— by the defeat she inflicted on the enemy. All three groups were under the command of General Alexeieff, who was subordinate only to the Tsar himself. In the preceding October the total strength of Russia on her whole European front was perhaps a million men; by June, 1916, it had probably been nearly tripled, with plenty of reserves at the depots in the background.

Over against the northern and central Russian armies lay the eastern German armies, including one Austrian army corps, led by various generals, but all under the supreme command of Marshal Hindenburg, whom Germany still regarded as her best soldier. Opposite the southern Russian armies five Austro-Hungarian armies, with which were incorporated several German divisions, stretched down from the Pripet Marshes through Volhynia, Galicia, and the duchy of Bukovina to Hungary and Rumania. These armies were commanded by the Archduke Frederick, the one member of the House of Hapsburg who was a professional soldier, but of no particular distinction in that role. His headquarters were at Lemberg—or Lvoff, as the Russians called it—and he held a Royal court in that ancient city, which, after its occupation for nine months by Russia, had resumed its old life as if there had been no interruption.

Though the fact was not known till the middle of June, the chief command in Volhynia was in reality in the more efficient hands of General Linsingen, a German officer with headquarters at Kovel, a railway centre and strategically important as the point of junction between Hindenburg and the Austrians. But whether the Austrian prince or the German soldier were in charge, both firmly believed that their line was impregnable and absolutely secure against the assaults of Brussiloff.

. From the Pripet to the Pruth, the boundaries north and south of the area in which Brussiloff was about to spring his offensive on the enemy, the battle-front was nearly two hundred and seventy miles in length, over a country that did not rise into considerable hills or steep eminences till the Carpathians were reached, but was rendered difficult by its being broken by rivers and streams with lake-like expansions and marshy tracts, as well as

by broad belts of forest. Below the Pripet it passed through Volhynia along the Styr to Chartorisk, thence over open, undulating ground to Olika, to the west of the fortress of Rovno, struck south to the east of the fortress of Dubno, on the Ikva, into Galicia, where it lay on the Strypa, west of Tarnopol and east of Buczacz, and crossing the Dniester at Uscieczko, which the Russians had retaken in the winter, swung eastwards to the Dniester again, and, lower down, to the Pruth in Bukovina, with Czemovitz well to the south-west of it. Both combatants had strongly fortified it. With communication trenches in between, trench succeeded trench, the first in each case being protected by row after row of savage wire entanglements; mortars were abundant; field and heavy guns and howitzers, with vast stores of shells and bombs, had been accumulated at the best points; machine-guns bristled everywhere. Probably the Austro-Germans possessed the stronger " machinery," and they certainly enjoyed superior facilities as regarded railways. From Kovel they had constructed a new line which ran through Vladimir Volynsk and Sokal to Rawaruska, where it linked up with the line from Lemberg, itself a great railway junction, and this gave them the enormous advantage of a line of communication laterally behind their whole front.

On the Russian side of the front the four armies of General Brussiloff's command were, from north to south, respectively, the Eighth Russian Army under General Kaledin, in Volhynia; the Eleventh Russian Army under General Sakharoff, in Volhynia and Galicia; the Seventh Russian Army under General Shcherbacheff, in Galicia; and the Ninth Russian Army under General Lechitsky, in the region of the Dniester. Of these armies Kaledin's had been Brussiloff's own before his appointment two months previously to the leadership of the whole southern group, in succession to General Ivanoff, who had gone to the Imperial Headquarters to act as military adviser to the Tsar. A German estimate, published a few weeks prior to the start of Brussiloff's offensive, put the total strength of the forces at his disposition at forty-one infantry and fourteen cavalry divisions, or not far short of a million men, if the divisions were at full strength. A very large proportion of them were, however, young, untried troops, whose training had begun in the preceding winter, but all were animated with the same sublime spirit of devotion.

On the German side of the front two Austro-Hungarian armies held the part of it which lay in Volhynia and bent down some distance into Galicia. The Fourth Austro- Hungarian Army, under the Archduke Joseph Ferdinand, stood on the line from the Pripet to about Chartorisk on the Styr. Next came the First Austro-Hungarian Army, under General Pulhallo von Brlog, with Lutsk and Dubno in its possession, and facing Rovno, held by the Russians—t h e three fortresses formerly termed the Volhynian Triangle. South of Pulhallo lay the Second Austro-Hungarian Army, under General Bohm Ermolli, with its right northwest of Tarnopol. Below Bohm Ermolli, the German General Count Bothmer, with forces predominantly Austrian, held the west bank of the Strypa and the line to a point north of Buczacz, where he connected up with the Austro-Hungarian army of General Pflanzer-Baltin, whose troops occupied the remainder of the front to the Dniester and Bukovina The total strength of these five armies was about forty-one divisions, including three German divisions, and about ten divisions of cavalry, or very much the same number of men as Brussiloff had. The enemy would have been far stronger in this whole area but for the requirements of the German offensive at Verdun and of the Austrian in the Trentino. Just as Hindenburg had been weakened in the north by the one, so were the Austrians in the south by the other.

These armies were composed mainly of Austrians and Hungarians, most of the Slav elements of the Dual Monarchy having been stationed on the Italian front.

These two opposing groups of armies were so nearly balanced as regarded their numerical strength that there was little or nothing to choose between them. Among their leaders, however, Brussiloff was the general who had most distinguished himself in previous operations in the war, but then only in the subordinate capacity of an army commander, and it remained to be seen what figure he would present as the commander of a group of armies. Unlike Ivanoff, who was of peasant descent, Alexei Brussiloff came of noble stock. Slim, of medium height, with a clear-cut, aristocratic face, Brussiloff was now sixty-three years of age, but had lost none of his early vigour. He said himself that he abhorred "lulls," and an aggressive energy was characteristic of him. His appearance indicated the cavalry soldier. Ten years before he had been appointed to the command of the 2nd Cavalry Division of the Guard, and in 1911 was placed at the head of the army corps stationed in the district bordering on Galicia. When the war broke out he was selected, as was natural, to lead the army which invaded that Austrian province, and during the first months of the struggle his achievements were most remarkable.

Forced to retire from the Carpathians in May, 1915, along with the other" commanders under Ivanoff, Brussiloff made every toot ot tmitorj \\e. \rL<d<k<l \yp extremely expensive to the enemy, whom he more than once turned on and severely defeated. It was he who, as the great retreat came to a close, retook Lutsk in September, 1915, though lack of munitions prevented him from holding it. His fine counter-offensive at that time helped, however, to retain Rovno for Russia. Meanwhile, he had perfected his knowledge of the country, and obtained as thorough a knowledge of Linsingen, Both-mer, and the Austrian generals against whom he later was to pit himself. General Lechitsky, too, knew the terrain well, and, besides, had taken the measure of Pflanzer-Baltin, before whom he had been compelled to withdraw during the general retreat, but whom he was now about to engage on more equal terms.

On the Austro-German side Marshal Mackensen, the leader of the tremendous offensive of 1915, and to whose ability much of its success was due, had disappeared from this theatre, and none of the subordinate commanders he had left behind him was of outstanding merit. Man for man the Russian generals in this portion of the field were superior to, or quite as good as, those of the enemy. And it was doubtful whether Germany possessed in her High Command a strategist or a tactician of the genius of Alexeieff, whose was the brain that worked behind that of Brussiloff.

Extensive and careful preparation was made for the new offensive. The Staff organisation had been greatly improved; weak elements were weeded out; better men with better methods supervised and worked out details. For months munitions had been pouring in; there was no shortage of guns or ammunition, and every soldier had a rifle—in 1915, when not more than half of the men in the firing-line had rifles, all had been very different. Transport and the means of communication had been seen to, speeded up, and rendered efficient as never before. Every feature of the attack had been studied. The Russian guns by their fire had learned the ranges on the enemy's front to a nicety.

One of the open secrets of the success of the Germans had been their power to move forces swiftly from one point where nothing was doing to another which was being heavily assaulted. Seeing this, the Russians determined to deprive the enemy of this advantage by taking the offensive over so long a front that it would be excessively difficult, if not impossible, for him to work on his old plan. So Brussiloff attacked the Austro-Germans not at one point, or at several points, but at every point of his two-hundred-and-seventy-mile line. He applied on his whole front that unity of attack which the Allies, only in May, 1916, came to understand and agree was absolutely essential on all fronts for the triumphant prosecution of the war. On Sunday, June 4th, an official Austrian communiqué gave the first news of Brussiloff's offensive to the world, which little suspected

how important was the information. This statement said that in the morning the Russians brought their artillery into play against the whole of the Austrian north- eastern front, and that their fire was especially violent on the Dniester, on the Lower Strypa, in the region north-west of Tarnopol, and in Volhynia, where the army of the Archduke Joseph Ferdinand near Olika, covering a front of seventeen miles, was being subjected to a severe bombardment. After mentioning that a Russian gas attack on the Dniester had failed to do the Austrians any harm, it concluded with the remark that everywhere there were indications that assaults by infantry were imminent. Next day the Russian Chief Headquarters reported in somewhat laconic sentences that fighting had begun the previous morning from the Pripet River front to the Rumanian frontier," and that the Russians had won considerable successes in many sectors, capturing 13,000 prisoners, besides guns and machine-guns. It was added, however, that the struggle was developing further, and the manner in which it was developing was shown by the significant words, "Our artillery is progressively demolishing the enemy's works and shelters, and as the success of the artillery preparation becomes evident, our infantry advances and captures the enemy positions." These despatches but dimly suggested what was happening and was about to happen. Later on June 4th, in a second communiqué, the Austrians claimed that Brussiloff's offensive had been expected foi a long time by them, but in reality they looked for nothing so tremendous as actually occurred, or they never would have started their drive against Italy. Towards the end of May, Vienna had announced some attacks by the Russians on the Bukovina frontier, and bombardments of the Volhynian front; it noted what it called arv artillery battle along the whole line on June 1st. These operations may have prepared them to a certain extent, but certainly gave them no uneasiness. In the west it was almost universally believed that Russia was only making a gallant attempt to relieve the pressure, then very formidable, on the Italians in the Trentino, but it soon was apparent that it was ever so much more than that. When on June 7th Petrograd stated that the Russian operations' had resulted, up to noon on the preceding day, in the taking of upwards of 40,000 prisoners and nearly eighty guns, with fifty trench-mortars and over one hundred and thirty machine-guns, it was everywhere seen that Brussiloff must be moving on a very large scale, and that great events were in the wind.



Early in the morning of June 4th the deep roar of the Russian guns was heard all along that southern front. Particularly heavy fire was directed on selected strategic points, where the ranges had been got, the heaviest being poured on the Olika- Dubno sector in Volhynia and the Okna positions in the Bukovina, but it was heavy everywhere. This intense bombardment lasted for twelve to thirty hours on the various parts of the Austrian line, according to circumstances. Here and there the trenches of the enemy were completely flattened out, as at Okna, but the general effect of the Russian artillery preparation was to cut great openings in his barrier wire entanglements, and provide avenues for the advance of the Russian infantry and, where possible, cavalry.

As these big breaches in the ramparts of wire were disclosed, the Russian foot, regardless of the storm of bullets from the hostile rifles and machine-guns, swarmed up to and through them, and with their bayonets made short work of their adversaries, who, deprived of support from their second line, and unable to retire on it, owing to the curtain of shrapnel interposed by the guns in the Russian rear, had no choice but death or surrender. Then the Russian cavalry pushed forward, and rode on through the gaps.

By this action of the Russians numerous enemy first-line trenches and deep dug- outs, all of which had been constructed with the most sedulous care, and fortified with sand-bags, large beams of wood, and cement, were turned into so many prisons. The Austrians were trapped, but during the first hours, at least, of the offensive they fought with furious courage and the utmost determination, the bravery of the Hungarians being especially noticeable. In and about a front of trenches only a very few miles long the Russians buried 4,000 of their foes—a fact which clearly told of the strong resistance they met and overcame. The second communiqué, issued by the Austrians on June 4th, spoke of a bitter struggle at Okna, and mentioned that stubborn fights were continuing around Olika, but even on that day Russian infantry and cavalry had swept beyond the latter town and were miles on their westward march, carrying all before them. Here not only was the enemy's first line shattered, but all his lines were destroyed; his front was completely broken.

It so happened that, by one of the many minor ironies of the war, June 4th was the birthday of the Archduke Frederick, the Austrian Generalissimo, and celebrations of the event were being held at his headquarters and elsewhere. The Russian offensive, with its deep smashing in of his front, was Brussiloff's present to him. Tidings of what was going on, particularly at Olika, in which they were vitally interested, broke in on the Archduke's commanders at Lutsk as they were feasting in his honour, and before they realised it, their fortress was in dire peril. They could not at first believe that their heavily-fortified entrenchments had been destroyed, and though they made a belated effort to stem the Russian flood, it was of no avail. In this sector Lutsk was the immediate objective of the Russians, and they were not to be denied.

On June 5th and 6th Brussiloff's offensive began really to develop amazingly. On the former day the Austrians were forced to withdraw for three miles from their first-line trenches at Okna, on their extreme right flank, thus preparing the way for the triumphs of Lechitsky in Bukovina. But also on that day and on the next the Russians under Kaledin's leadership made even more sensational progress in their advance from Olika towards Lutsk. Here the assaults of the Russian troops proceeded in waves of thousands of men, fresh forces being thrown into the fighting masses as opportunity offered. A few miles lower down in the same district they were marching victoriously upon the same goal from the direction of Mylnoff, All this region was of extreme significance strategically, as the Austro-German bases and railways lay behind it. No great distance away, west of Lutsk, was the Vladimir Volynsk base on the railway from Kovel to Rawaruska, and north-west of the fortress was Kovel itself, where the railways from Rovno and Samy met and joined up with other important lines. Vladimir Volynsk and Kovel were the obvious Russian objectives, with Kovel much the more valuable of the two. Rushing on rapidly and irresistibly, and corralling thousands of prisoners as his main columns converged on Lutsk from the east and south-east, Kaledin captured the stronghold in the evening of June 6th without having to beat down any serious resistance there, so demoralised had the enemy become.

Lutsk was once more in Russian hands. It had powerful defence works, and its capture should have given Kaledin much trouble, but practically it was taken by surprise, owing to the panic caused by the impetuous energy of the Russian advance. So great were the dismay and confusion of the enemy that in his wild retreat he left intact a considerable number of 4 in. and other heavypieces with their charges still in them, and in many instances cases of shells newly opened were discovered beside the guns. In Lutsk the Russians found large quantities of military stores in excellent condition, besides hundreds of wounded, as the Austrians had not had time to clear their hospitals.

Within little more than sixty hours of the initiation of his offensive, Brussiloff was able to report to the Tsar and Alexieff, both anxiously awaiting news at the Imperial Headquarters, this very substantial success, together with other, if less striking, gains on his whole front. Late that evening the Tsar telegraphed to Brussiloff in reply to tell his beloved troops that he was watching their bold deeds with pride and satisfaction, and, appreciating their dash, to express to them his heartfelt gratitude for their splendid achievements. This inspiring message from their "Little Father" kindled fresh flames of devotion in the breasts of the Russian soldiers. The taking of Lutsk was an encouragement to all the Allies, and a correspondingly heavy blow to the Central Powers.

From his starting-point Kaledin had advanced no fewer than twenty-five miles in about two and a half days, and he had been fighting all the way. On June 7th and 8th his forces were crossing the Styr and its tributary the Ikva at many points, and hotly pursuing the beaten Austrians, who, however, made an attempt to check him at some places. By this time German detachments, sent in great haste by Linsingen or Hin-denburg from the German front above the Pripet, had begun to come upon the scene and stiffen the Austrian resistance. On the 8th and 9th a sanguinary battle raged at Rojishche, thirteen miles north of Lutsk, and the town at which was the chief passage over the Styr.

In this desperate affair the youngest Russian soldiers, who had been with the Colours only two or three months, greatly distinguished themselves, their deeds of valour vying with those of men belonging to war-seasoned regiments. Russian Territorials drove the Austro-Germans, by dint of sheer hard fighting, from the strong bridge-head at Rojishche, captured the town, and took about 2,000 prisoners, most of whom were Germans, besides two guns, several machine-guns, and much other booty. It was a wonderful feat of arms on the part of Russia's young troops, and the place was important both as a military base of the enemy, and from its position on the Rovno-Kovel railway, the light railways from Lutsk on the south and Kolki on the north joining the main line there.

Of even greater importance than Rojishche, and equally important with Lutsk, was Dubno, the southernmost fortress of the Volhynian Triangle, and there also the Austrians, with German supports, made a determined stand in order to prevent the Russians from crossing the Ikva; but they failed utterly, though not without first exacting a heavy penalty from their conquerors. This region was one of oak forests, and easily capable of the most formidable defence; the enemy took every advantage of the natural difficulties of the position, but was unable in the end to withstand the fierce and prolonged Russian assaults, and the fort and town of Dubno fell on the same day as Rojishche. The Russians had never relinquished Rovno, and now they had regained possession of the two other fortresses of the Volhynian group— Lutsk and Dubno. Westward of Dubno they marched on, forcing the enemy back continually, and occupied Demidovka. Southward, on June 13th, they had got as far as Kozin, nearly twenty miles from Dubno, in the direction of Brody on the Rovno-Lemberg railway, and on the 16th entered Radzivilov, some miles closer to Lemberg. In this region, where Kaledin's army joined up with that of Sakharoff, the front of the Austro-Germans had first been deeply pierced and then rent to pieces, while Lemberg though still some distance off, was threatened.

Those swift and crashing successes of Brussiloff's offensive, with the menace they necessarily implied to vital Austro-German centres, could not but attract the must earnest attention of the German High Command, and several German divisions were railed down from the north and thrown into the conflict. But in spite of the increasing numbers of Germans hurried forward to the assistance of the discomfited Austrians, Kaledin for some days longer continued his advance towards Vladimir Volynsk and Kovel after the capture of Lutsk and Rojishche.

On June 12th he took Torchin, on the high-road from Lutsk to Vladimir Volynsk, and rather more than half-way between the latter centre and Olika, where he had first broken through the enemy's front. On the following day he was fighting at Zaturtsy, still nearer Vladimir Volynsk. He had advanced nearly forty-five miles due west, and the Austrians had retired from the Styr to the Stokhod. With another column he struck up from Rojishche along the Rovno-Kovel railway towards the latter river, but some miles lower down that stream, the course of which flowed to the north, and on June 16th he reached Svidniki, some twenty-one miles from Kovel. It was obvious that Germany would have to make very great efforts if Kovel and Vladimir Volynsk were to be saved, and from her point of view it was essential to retain them.

What was known as the Lutsk Salient had now been formed. On the north it began at Kolki in a tract of marshy land, on the east side of the Styr. In this district fighting had been desperate. On June 10th the Austrians, who were in superior numerical strength, attacked the Russians as the day dawned at Semki, east of Kolki, and under cover of a concentrated fire forced Kaledin's troops across the Styr, but there the enemy was held up. Three days later Kaledin took Kolki, and afterwards advanced to Godomichi. From Kolki the salient ran along the Styr, through Sokul to Svidniki on the Stokhod, and thence went on to Zaturtsy, on the road from Lutsk to Vladimir Volynsk, where it reached what might be called its apex. South of Zaturtsy it was bounded by the line Lokachi-Svinyukhi, whence, bending eastward to the Styr again, it crossed that river and travelled along the Plashchevka, an eastern affluent of the Styr to Kozin. Roughly speaking, it was a semicircle, of which Olika was the centre, its radius being about forty-five miles.

The Austrian positions on the Plashchevka had been stormed by Sakharoff on June 15th, after a terrible battle, in which, according to the Russian communiqué, a young Russian regiment, led by Colonel Tatarnoff, after a fierce fight, forded the deep river, with its waters rising to the chins of its men. "One company was engulfed, and died an heroic death, but the valour of their comrades and their officers resulted in the disorderly flight of the enemy, of whom seventy officers and 5,000 men were taken prisoners. Two guns, a great many machine-guns, thousands of rifles and cartridges, and enormous reserves of barbed-wire were captured."

It was chiefly against the Lutsk Salient that the Germans, under Linsingen, who relegated their defeated Austrian and Hungarian friends to an entirely subordinate position, now proceeded to start a powerful and for a while not unsuccessful counter- offensive, beginning about June 16th. It was certainly high time for the Germans to bestir themselves. Kaledin was only some twenty miles from Kovel and Vladimir Volynsk, and Sakharoff about sixty miles from Lemberg. In the course of the twelve days of his advance Kaledin had taken nearly 72,000 prisoners including over 1,300 officers, eighty-three guns, two hundred and thirty-six machine-guns, and a vast quantity of all kinds of material. These large figures pointed to the thorough beating he had given his opponents, and were eloquent of the condition to which he had reduced them. To restore the situation, which was equally bad for their ally on two other parts of the front, and promised well nowhere, the Germans now brought reinforcements from France, amounting to four divisions, with all possible speed. According to a memorandum found by the Russians in the note-book of a dead Austrian officer, a whole German army corps was transferred from Verdun to Kovel in six days. At the same time the Austrians withdrew all their reserve?, from t\\e Tientino, thus weakening their offensive against Italy. They even brought up troops from Serbia and Albania. . Taking full advantage of his superior railway facilities, the enemy in one way or another succeeded in concentrating forces to attack the Russians and, with his heavier artillery, to check them.



Severe fighting developed on the whole of the Lutsk Salient during the next week, slackened off for a few days, and then broke out with fresh fury towards the end of the month. It was reported that Hindenburg, alarmed by the Russian victories, had sent General Ludendorff, his Chief of Staff, and generally believed to be due the credit for most of his triumphs, to Kovel to superintend the counter-offensive of Linsingen, but his name did not appear in the despatches. Two or three days earlier the old Field-Marshal had tried to relieve the pressure on the Austrians by launching a series of local assaults on the Russian front from the Baltic to the Pripet, but four of these completely failed, and only the fifth made slight temporary progress. On June 16th Vienna, however, plucked up a little heart, announced that in Volhynia " new fighting " was developing along the entire front, and asserted that the Russians had been repulsed with severe losses. What had happened was that at Sokal, north of Rojishche, the Austro-Germans were on that day defeated, with a loss of nearly two thousand prisoners, and were equally unsuccessful at other points on the salient. But it was the case that Kaledin had to slow down his advance in presence of the vastly augmented numbers and better fighting quality of the German element of the enemy forces.

Godomichi village, near Kolki, on the northern flank of the salient, was the scene of violent encounters, in which the Russians broke the enemy's front and took hundreds of Germans prisoners. But for several days the chief centre of the struggle, brought about by Linsingen'* counter-offensive, was Svidniki, which had just been captured by Siberian troops, assisted by the famous Hussars of White Russia, who charged through three extended German lines and sabred two companies. On June 17th and 18th the Germans made furious attacks on the town, being greatly helped by fire from an armoured train, but the Russians defeated them, sotnias of Cossacks making a flank assault that threw the hostile ranks into great disorder.

The most that the official German communiqué asserted was that Russian attacks in this district were " partially repulsed." But in the region of Lokachi the Germans on the 19th scored a success, asserting that they took 3,500 Russian prisoners there. The result was the other way in a sanguinary battle between Vorontchin and Kiselin, which occurred on that day, and on the 22nd German attacks on Vorontchin were overwhelmed, the enemy being put to flight. Some miles farther south the Austro- Germans were routed near Sviniuky. Meanwhile, stubborn fighting continued near Godomichi, the village of Gruziatin, two miles north of the former place, changing hands several times. But in all this area the Russians found the general pressure of Linsingen so heavy that they could not advance, and deemed it wise to retire from some of the positions on the Stokhod and make a fresh alignment on the Styr. They also withdrew from Lokachi for a distance of four to six miles in an easterly direction on the Zaturtsy-Shklin-Lipaline. The Germans had succeeded, at least for the time, in forcing Kaledin back from both Kovel and Vladimir Volynsk.

For the next few days there was something in the nature of a lull in this part of the salient, now somewhat flattened out by the German counter-offensive. Then the enemy attacked again, and with redoubled fury. He had now railed up many heavy guns of various calibre, including 8-in. cannon, and large quantities of explosive shells. On June 28th Berlin announced that the Germans had stormed and captured the village of Linievka, which lay west of Sokal and about three miles from Svidniki. In the first days of July there were violent battles, fought with great fury on both sides. From Linievka the Germans, under cover of an extremely heavy fire, started an offensive movement, but it was held up, with a loss to them in prisoners alone of over eight hundred, besides nine machine - guns. Near Zaturtsy the Austrians, in massed formations, delivered a powerful assault on the Russians along the Lutsk- Vladimir Volynsk road, but they were checked and thrown back.

In the neighbourhood of Ugrinov, between Shklin and the Styr, the Austro-Germans, who had been reinforced, pressed the Russians closely, but at a critical stage of the encounter relief came to Sakharoff's troops from a flanking charge of Cossacks led by their colonel, Kortchenoff. The enemy immediately gave ground, and the Russian infantry advanced, capturing nearly a thousand prisoners. The contest throughout this portion of the salient was of the most savage character. The usually merciful Russians had been infuriated by the German use of explosive bullets, and were not disposed to be easy with their foes. Fresh troops were now arriving to reinforce them. Or July 6th the Petrograd communiqué spoke of the "most desperate battles" between the Stokhod and the Styr, and of the "extreme tenacity" of the enemy on the Lipa, another of the Styr's tributaries. Germany was, in fact, making a supreme effort in this area, and the result seemed to hang in the balance.

But in the meantime fresh features had developed, both above the Pripet on the main battle-front and on the northern flank of the salient. More influential still, through its effect on the whole war, the Franco-British offensive, which had begun on July 1st, was progressing favourably on the Somme in France. These three new factors, together with what had gone or was going on on Brussiloff's front below the Lutsk Salient (about to be recorded), finally prevented Germany from sending further formidable reinforcements to Linsingen and the other commanders opposed to the Russians in the south, or to anyone on any front whatsoever. She no longer was in a position to do anything to help her allies with large masses of troops swung from one front to another, and, indeed, from this time onward practically her sole preoccupation was to defend herself. She strove to mend matters, as against Brussiloff, by putting Hindenburg in command of all the Austro-German forces, with the exception of a small part which, to save the face of Austria, remained ostensibly under the control of the Dual Monarchy. Moreover, she ordered the Turks to despatch assistance to the Austrians in Galicia and the Carpathians, and they complied by transferring three divisions from Thrace, but their appearance in the Russian theatre could have no decisive effect. The tide had turned definitely—away from Germany. In that first week of July, 1916, the aspect of the entire colossal conflict, east and west, was changing completely.

The first of these fresh features was a strong offensive on the front above the Pripet by the Russians in the neighbourhood of Baranovichi, a great railway junction and a place of cardinal importance to the Germans. With a view to relieve the pressure on the Lutsk Salient, General Alexeieff instructed General Evert, in command of the central Russian armies, to attack in force on July 3rd the enemy south of Tsirin, some miles north of Baranovichi. At the same time the Russians attacked Hindenburg at other points farther north. At Tsirin, Evert broke through two lines of the German defensive organisation, capturing eleven guns and nearly 3,000 prisoners. Severe fighting took place near Smorgon, on the Minsk-Vilna railway, and at Tcherneshki the Russians carried part of a German position. South of Lake Naroch a portion of the enemy's first-line trenches was stormed with the bayonet. It looked as if Evert were making a great bid for both Baranovichi and Vilna; in reality, he was keeping Hindenburg too busy to dream of sending many fresh troops to the aid of Linsingen. For about a week a series of extraordinarily violent and sanguinary battles raged in this area, with daily offensive and counter-offensive movements of extreme ferocity. Evert was at pains to maintain the illusion he had created; then, when Alexeieff was satisfied with affairs below the Pripet, the Russians withdrew to their original front, and the struggle in these sectors died away.

Kaledin, although holding the Austro-Germans well on the line to which he had retired on the Lutsk Salient, required reinforcements in order to resume his advance towards Kovel and Vladimir Volynsk. The sudden appearance of a large army on his northern flank, on and above the Sarny-Kovel railway, was the second of the new features alluded to above. This was the Third Russian Army, under General Lesh, which had been stationed above the Pripet. Lesh had won distinction in the Russo- Japanese War, and had been in command of the Russian forces opposing Mackensen on the Lublin-Cholm line in August, 1915. He was regarded as one of the ablest of the generals of Russia, and events soon proved the accuracy of this estimate. He took the field above Kaledin, first in the region of the Lower Styr, between the Pripet and the Sarny-Kovel railway, and struck shrewdly and swiftly towards the Stokhod. In this area the enemy's troops were partly German, belonging to the command of Prince Leopold of Bavaria. Lesh had not been expected by the Germans, perhaps on account of the difficult swampy country, which in anything but a very dry season made military operations on a large scale well-nigh impossible. The weather, however, had been hot, and the small streams, lakelets, and marshes in which the district abounded had become negotiable.

It was on July 7th that a Petrograd communiqué first gave news of the activities of Lesh and his army, by remarking that the battles to the west of the Lower Styr continued with much success for the Russian arms. In the region of Volchetsk, Lesh drove the Germans and the Austrians from their fortified positions, and put them to flight. In the course of the fighting the Russians took a battery of six Krupp guns, which, in the words of the communiqué, " had hardly time enough to fire a few shots." By that date Lesh had advanced from his starting-point a distance of eleven miles, driving the enemy out of Manevichi, a station on the Sarny-Kovel railway, and capturing in the pursuit seven guns, four of which were heavy pieces. Immediately to the south of the railway the troops, after a sharp fight, occupied the village at Kamaroff.

After dislodging the Austro-Germans from many points south of Nobel on the Pripet, Lesh marched on towards the Lower Stokhod, and on July 8th reached Leshnevka, a few miles from that river. On the same day, another column gained possession of the enemy's well-organised entrenchments east of the small towns of Ugly and Navoz, and pressing on the heels of the retreating foe crossed the Stokhod near the former place.

Up to this date Lesh had "bagged" upwards of 12,000 unwounded prisoners, forty- five guns, big and little, as many machine-guns, and huge quantities of munitions and supplies, including forage. ' His soldiers fought with wonderful dash. The speedy capture of the passage of the river near Ugly was due to the courage of Colonel Kaut-seroff, of the 283rd Pavlograd Regiment, who, rushing to the head of his men, and calling on them to follow him, crossed the bridge, which was in flames, and got to the other side safely, in spite of heavy artillery and rifle fire.

Presently the Russians were lined all along the Lower Stokhod, which was Lesh's immediate objective, with Kovel behind it. On the nth and for some days afterwards there was heavy fighting on the river, as the Germans had brought up some troops and many big guns, but the Russians maintained themselves in the positions they had conquered. Once the enemy succeeded in getting to the right-hand bank near Gulevichi, but was repulsed, with a loss in prisoners of eight hundred men.

Not only was Lesh successful in this local offensive, but his action, by indicating an enveloping movement from the north on Linsingen's forces who were attacking Kaledin, had at once a beneficial effect on the struggle of the Russians on the Lutsk Salient. It speedily was clear that the German counter-offensive was able to make no farther progress, and for a little time, along portions of this area, the fighting took on the character of trench warfare.

The great fact remained that Linsingen had failed, although for his effort, which was very determined, he had had the support of very many heavy guns and of the famous 20th Braunschweig Division, dubbed by the German Kaiser the "Steel Division," on account of its exploits in France. By a coincidence, this division was confronted by a Russian force known as the "Iron Division," which for four days withstood all the attacks of the Braunschweigers, finally repulsing them. It was stated that during a pause in the contests between the two the Germans put up a placard on which was inscribed: "Your Russian iron is not worse than our German steel, but for all that we shall smash you." In reply the Russians exhibited a rival bill, having written on it: "Well, then, German sausage, just try! " But the trench warfare did not last long, for on July 8th Kaledin broke through his opponents' line, and two days later was fighting with success a pitched battle on the Rovno-Kovel railway at Svidniki. At Kiselin he put the enemy to flight by a sudden blow. A week later, near Svinyukhi, he thrust back by a vigorous counter-offensive a German attack in massed formation. On the 20th Lesh defeated a formidable assault on his lines near Ugly. The middle of the month was marked by heavy rain, which flooded the marshy reaches of the Stokhod, prevented movements in force, and gave the enemy an opportunity of strengthening his defensive works in the region of that river.

Towards the end of the month, however, Kaledin once more advanced and was not to be gainsaid. Fighting with great energy, he pushed Linsingen out of his heavily fortified entrenchments at Trysten, a pivotal point about four miles from the Stokhod, and forced him to the opposite side of the stream. It was a serious defeat for the Germans, who admitted it in an official communiqué by stating, "North-west of Lutsk, after severe unsuccessful attacks, the enemy succeeded in penetrating our lines at Trysten, and obliged us to evacuate the positions we still held in front of the Stokhod." Not often was Berlin so truthful.

At the beginning of August there was tremendous and widespread fighting, particularly strenuous at Stobikhva and Lyubashevo, north of the Sarni-Kovel railway, in all this part of Volhynia, but in the upshot the Germans, under the unrelaxing pressure of Kaledin and Lesh, were compelled to retire from most of their ground on the left bank of the Stokhod, including the bend formed by that river where it approaches the Styr. At that time the Russians were about twenty miles from Kovel, north, east, and south of it, the point they held nearest it being Vitonesh, eighteen miles south-east, this town also being about the same distance from Vladimir Volynsk. On August 3rd they were on the Stavok, a western tributary of the Stokhod. The general position a week later in this northerly part of the Lutsk Salient—to reta'n that name, though there was no longer really a salient—was that the Russians, having driven the Austro-Germans from the western bank of the Stokhod, after overcom ng as stubborn a resistance as any seen in the war, had no great natural obstacle to surmount in their advance on Kovel or Vladimir Volynsk, to both of which their menace was now very direct.

On the southerly face of the Lutsk Salient the Russians, under General Sakharoff, did even greater things. In the first week of July the counter-offensive of Linsingen was directed in this area from Shklin, almost due south of Torchin, Ugrinov, and the little River Lipa flowing into the Upper Styr. For it he had concentrated strong forces in the neighbourhood of Stojanow, the terminus of a railway from Lemberg, and Gorokhov, a few miles east of Sokal on the railway from Kovel to Rawaru^ka. His intention was to strike up at Lutsk from the south-west, and he hoped that under cover of his attacks west and north of that fortress he would be able to distract the attention of the Russians from this sector, but in this he was wrong, for Sakharoff, who opposed him here, showed himself far more than equal to him. Sakharoff, Chief of Staff to Kuropatkin during the Russo-Japanese War, proved both a strategist and a tactician of the highest order. Guessing what was the German plan, he anticipated and absolutely thwarted it, with disastrous consequences to the enemy. Sakharoff's front in July extended from about Svinyukhi, south-west of Lutsk, across to the Lipa, along which it lay, thence passed over the Upper Styr, and continued along the Plashchevka to Kozin, on the Rovno-Dubno-Brody-Lemberg railway. The part of it north of the Lipa was heavily bombarded by Linsingen on July 14th. Two days later, with a fine prescience of the scheme of the enemy, which was on the very eve of maturing, and knowing that the best way to defeat it was to forestall it, Sakharoff suddenly attacked him. The Russian general struck unexpectedly at both of Linsingen's flanks, drove them in and crumpled them up. The Russian Main Headquarters afterwards characterised Sakharoff's action as a "clever manoeuvre"; and so it was. East and south-east of Svinyukhi his "brave troops," in the words of the Petrograd communiqué of the 17th, "broke the resistance of the enemy," taking at Pustomity, near Svinyukhi, many guns and prisoners—this was on Linsingen's left wing. He also advanced, notwithstanding desperate opposition, near the mouth of the Lipa, cleared the Austro-Germans from his side of that stream, and in places drove them in confusion and rout across it—this was on Linsingen's right wing.

Berlin's singular comment on this battle, which the Russians denominated the Battle of Mikhailovka, was: "South-west of Lutsk the Russian attack was arrested by a German counter-attack, and thereupon, in order to strengthen our defence line, our troops were withdrawn behind the Lipa without being molested by the enemy." Fighting continued next day, with the advantage to the Russians. Linsingen's counter-offensive was not only foiled, but smashed up. He S now had to stand on the defensive. In these two days Sakharoff captured about 13,000 men, thirty guns, of which seventeen were heavies, thousands of rifles and shells, and an abundance of other war material.

On July 18th Sakharoff was bombarding the new German line on the Lipa with some of the big guns he had taken on the 16th, and was using the German shells. Having recovered somewhat, Linsingen, two days afterwards, attempted to advance on the line Zviniany-Elizaroff, but was quickly checked by Sakharoff, who on that same day and the following fought and won a great battle termed by the Russians the Battle of Berestechko, in this area. While making a feint on his left against the strong Austrian position at Ostrov, he delivered a powerful and successful assault from Novoselki on the flank of Linsingen, many of whose troops fled in disorder. In the vicinity of Verben the 13th Austrian Landwehr Regiment surrendered in a body.

Consequent on the success of the 20th, the Russians advanced from Ostrov, and next day took by storm the town of Berestechko. While this operation was proceeding Colonel Tataroff, who was leading his men, was hit by a shell and fell from his horse, exclaiming that he was dying, but, raising himself by a supreme effort, he shouted to his troops to advance, and then expired. A splendid soldierly end in the midst of victory. In this battle Sakharoff added to his list of captures 15,000 men and ten guns. Berlin explained away this defeat by the statement that "after Russian attacks between Verben and Korsov (about twelve miles north of Brody) had been brought to a standstill, our salient jutting out towards Verben was withdrawn in view of enveloping attacks."

With scarcely a halt, Sakharoff continued to make marked progress. On July 23rd, after fierce, sanguinary encounters in the streets, he dislodged the Germans from the village of Galichanie, on the south bank of the Lipa. He began on the night of the 24th the third of the series of his great operations by breaking through the Austrian front, which was protected by rows of wire entanglements, on the River Slonuvka, an eastern tributary of the Upper Styr, in the Galician part of its course. To cover his real attack, which was directed towards Brody, Sakharoff attacked fiercely at Leszniow, farther west, and there the Austrians claimed some success, but it was only in appearance. All day long on the 25th the Russians in vast numbers pressed on across the Slonuvka, driving the routed foe before them and inflicting heavy losses. Next day they were fighting for the possession of the fords of the Boldurka, a more southern affluent of the Upper Styr, which it joined about nine miles north of Brody.

Vienna spoke of Russian repulses between Radzivilov and the Styr, but Sakharoff went on gaining ground. On the 27th the Russians were well on their way to Brody, and as they approached the town they heard explosions and saw fires breaking out in it. Their aeroplanes reported that processions of goods trains were leaving the place. The enemy was, in fact, preparing to evacuate Brody, and was destroying such of his stores as he could not save. Early in the morning of July 28th Sakharoff captured the town. At the end of the month he had reached the Upper Sereth and its tributary the Graberko, from ten to sixteen miles south of Brody.

Sakharoff's magnificent contribution to Brussiloff's offensive, which in the north now embraced the entire area between the Sarni-Kovel railway and the Rovno-Lemberg railway, as well as the district above the former to the Pripet, was of the greatest tactical and strategical importance. The German troops under Linsingen and the Austrians under Bohm Ermolli had been thoroughly thrashed, with a loss to them, from July 16th to 28th, of upwards of 40,000 prisoners, fifty guns, more than double that number of machine-guns and an enormous quantity of booty of all kinds. Sakharoff had victoriously advanced from forty to fifty miles, and his line of march south and south-westward menaced both the Rovno-Lemberg railway, with Lemberg itself, and the Austro-German army of General Bothmer, on the Strypa, west of Tarnopol. His successful offensive on the Sereth, which was beginning as July closed, continued into August, and threatened Bothmer with envelopment from the north.

In the first week of August the Austrians fiercely resisted his progress, which, in any case, was impeded by the marshy nature of the terrain, made all the more difficult by reason of heavy rains at the time. The enemy counter-attacked him many times on August 4th as he was crossing to the right bank of the Upper Sereth, but his efforts were of no avail, as the Russians occupied Zalose on August 6th, and moved on, though slowly, taking numerous prisoners, nearly 9,000 men being captured between August 4th and 6th. In this region the gallant troops of General Ekk, one of Sakharoff's army commanders, took between August 4th and 10th upwards of 14,000 prisoners, 5,000 of them being captured on August 10th. As the result of the victories of the Russians, the enemy was compelled to retreat from his fortified positions at Gliadki and Worohijowka, and on the 12th had to retire from a string of other villages, which he tried with extreme desperation to hold, only three or four miles from the railway.

Sakharoffs enveloping movement now was of material assistance to General Shcherbacheff, who had been standing for about two months—or from the commencement of Brussiloff's offensive on June 4th—over against Bothmer, on the Strypa. On August 12th the Russian High Command issued a statement, which announced that the celebration by the valiant soldiers of Russia of the birthday of the Tsarevitch Alexis, who was sojourning in the theatre of war, happily coincided with the fall of the last sector of the powerfully-fortified rampart which the enemy had erected from the Pripet as far as the Rumanian frontier during the preceding winter. "To-day," it added, "as the result of seven weeks of persistent effort on the part of the glorious troops of General Sakharoff and Shcherbacheff, under the direction of General Brussiloff. the fortified villages of Gliadki, Worohijowka, Cebrow, Jezierna, Pokropiwna, and Kozlow, the powerfully-organised wood of Burkanow, and the whole line of the River Strypa fell into our hands. The whole sector of the winter base position established by the enemy in front of Tarnopol and Buczacz is in our possession."

Naturally this great event, which was the completion of the first stage of Brussiloff's campaign, was the occasion of much rejoicing to Russia and the Allies. It, however, had been brought about not only by Sakharoff and Shcherbacheff, but also by the astonishingly brilliant offensive of General Lechitsky in Bukovina and in the whole region of the Dniester and the Pruth, which more than once held for a time the attention of the world and extorted its admiration.

Shcherbacheff's share in driving the Austro-Germans from their winter front was for several weeks somewhat negative, but in the start of the general offensive he was successful in the sector of which Buczacz was the centre; opposite Tarnopol he failed to make any considerable impression. On his part of the line, as on every other part of it, the Russians, after an intense artillery preparation, attacked the enemy on June 4th in force. Their main assaults were in the direction of the three railways leaving Tarnopol for the west. These were the Tarnopol-Lemberg railway, which joined the line to Lemberg from Rovno, via Dubno, at Krasne; the Tarnopol-Lemberg railway running through Brzezany to Chodorow, where it linked up with the line from Stanislau and Halicz to Lemberg; and a third railway that went due south from Tarnopol on the east side of the Sereth to Czortkow, whence it turned west through Buczacz and Nizniow, reached Stanislau, and connected with the system from Lemberg.

Of these railways the first, which was part of the Berlin-Odessa line, was the most important. That the Germans attached special significance to it and the district was evident from the fact that the Austro-German forces had as their leader the German soldier Bothmer, supported by two German divisions, one of which was probably the 3rd Division of the Prussian Guard. Immediately west of Tarnopol the Austrian positions had been made exceedingly strong, and the country north of it to the head- waters of the Sereth and the Strypa, well-wooded and marshy, lent itself readily to defensive measures. From Zalose southward the line of the Strypa formed the front between the Russians and the enemy.

The struggle between Shcherbacheff and Bothmer fell into two sectors, the Forest of Burkanow lying in the middle. On June 4th the Russians penetrated the Austro- German trenches north-west of Tarnopol at various points, but were unable to maintain their ground, and at Kozlow their attacks broke down in front of the wire entanglements under withering Austrian fire. Their assaults, which for a time were incessant, were carried out with the most reckless courage, but in this region did not prevail, though they were supported by some of the Belgian armoured cars. South of Burkanow the Russians were much more successful. On June 8th the Petrograd communiqué announced that on the Trybukowce-Jaslowiec front, which lay a little north of the Dniester, Russian infantry, under cover of artillery, carried by a vigorous blow several strong positions and had got quite close to the Strypa. They crossed the river on that day, entering Buczacz at dawn, and developing an offensive along the Dniester, carried after bitter fighting the village of Scianka, and in a battle of equal intensity took the village of Potok Zloty, both of these places being on the west side of the Strypa, the one eight and the other four miles beyond the stream.

Among the many captures they made was an artillery park with great quantities of shells at Potok Zloty, a battery of 4 in. howitzers at Ossowice, north of Buczacz, and a large number of prisoners, with the Staff of an Austrian battalion. Of the struggle in this sector Vienna admitted in its communiqué of June 10th that on the Lower Strypa strong Russian forces " drove our troops from the eastern to the western bank." Higher up, near Tarnopol, Bothmer held firm, though his front from Buczacz to the Dniester had been completely broken. On the nth, near Bobulince, north of Buczacz, the Austrians, assisted by German troops which'- had been brought into the district, forced the Russians back in a contest of the most terrific kind, nor were the latter able to regain the line which they had attained. By an heroic effort Shcherbacheff overthrew the enemy on the 15th at Hajworonka, on the west bank of the Strypa, but the Austrians rallied and put up a determined resistance, which was not ineffective. Nor was there much change during the rest of the month.

Fighting of an indecisive character continued throughout July on this part of the front, the Russians attacking near Gliadki in the northern sector, and lower down on the Strypa; in the second week of the month stubborn combats took place at various points, in the course of which the Russians captured several thousand Austrians and Germans, besides guns and machine-guns. As the month drew to its end the Russians were on the Koropiec, south of Buczacz, but their gains had been small, and Bothmer maintained himself in what practically was his old position west of Tarnopol. He had, however, increasing reasons for uneasiness, for Sakharoff, to the north of him, had routed his friends, taken Brody, and was pressing downwards on his left flank, while on his right the progress of Lechitsky upwards was not less dangerous. As August began, Germany showed the apprehension with which she viewed the general situation by placing the whole eastern front under Hindenburg, with the exception of that portion of it on which Bothmer still stood, and also that which had been commanded by Pflanzer-Baltin. The part excepted was left in charge of Austria in the person of the Archduke Charles, heir-presumptive to the Emperor Francis Joseph, but Bothmer was responsible for it in reality.

Things grew worse and worse for the German general. In the second week of the month of a desperate resistance on the part of the enemy, a violent flanking fire, and even curtain fire, and the explosions of whole sets of mines, General Lechitsky's troops took the enemy's position south of Dobronowce, fourteen miles north-east of Czernovitz." It added that in the region of this struggle the Russians captured 18,000 men, of whom three hundred and forty-seven were officers, and ten guns, while more prisoners were " still streaming in in large parties." Lechitsky had driven a wedge deep into the Austrian front.



In their retreat the Austrians blew up the railway bridge at Jurkowce, and by June 10th had been driven out of Zaleszczyki, the most important bridge-head on the Dniester, where both a road and a railway crossed the river, and which had been the theatre of the most sanguinary and even ferocious fighting in previous phases of the war.

By the same date, or a day later, Lechitsky had entered Horodenka, the meeting- place of several roads, and all Bukovina was open to him. Pflanzer-Baltin's beaten and disorganised forces fled partly up the Pruth, and partly towards Tysmienica and Stanislau. Advancing with great rapidity, Lechitsky was in Sniatyn on June 13th—this was the third time the Russians had occupied it since the war began—and was marching along the railway in the direction of Kolomea.

To the east he was fighting his way across the Pruth to Czernovitz.. the doom of which was already sealed. He was held up for a while south of Bojan, and the strong line of the Pruth gave him a good deal of trouble; but at four o'clock in the afternoon of June 17th he captured the Czernovitz bridge-head on the left bank of the river by assault, and after bitter fighting at the fords—the bridges having been blown up by the Austrians—occupied the city, which now changed hands for the fifth time, the first being as far back as September, 1914. During these fluctuations most of the cosmopolitan people of the capital of Bukovina had adapted themselves with apparent aplomb to the changes which took place, and no later than a fortnight previously the town had been gay with flags in satirical commemoration of the time of its Russian occupation; it received the returning Russians with expressions of joy.

One of the curious things about the struggle for Czernovitz was that the city itself was only slightly damaged, and not' more than six civilians were wounded. Sensational tales of the unnecessary, not to say reckless, destruction wrought by the Russian guns on the town were spread by Austrian and German journalists, but these stories were contradicted by one of its most prominent citizens in a Vienna paper. The main railway-station had been shelled and ruined, but otherwise the damage, which was not considerable, was confined to some streets near the river. The Russians had brought with them a Rumanian barrister, who had been mayor of Czernovitz during their second occupation of the place, and he was again installed in that office by the conquerors, now come to stay so far as could be foreseen.

With the capture of Czernovitz that portion of Pflanzer-Baltin's army which had been on the Pruth was thrown back upon the Carpathians, and Lechitsky lost no time in pursuing it and completing its defeat. Crossing the Bukovinian Sereth, one of his columns took Radautz on June 21st, having marched thirty miles south, and less than twenty-four hours later was in Gora Humora, twenty miles farther in the same direction. By the night of June 23rd it was in Kimpolung, but not till after a fierce struggle in which it captured over 2,000 Austrians. This movement, taken in connection with other of Lechitsky's movements in the same area north-westward, made him master of Bukovina, a land more than half the size of Wales, in nineteen days. It was the largest conquest of enemy territory the Allies had had to their credit for a long time in Europe.

Meanwhile other portions of Lechitsky's army were advancing westward. The town of Kuty, on the borders of Bukovina and Galicia, lying on the Czeremosz, a southern tributary of the Pruth, was taken after a fight on June 23rd, and the Russians advanced from it along the road to Pistyn, a few miles south of Kolomea, on which more of his columns were converging from the east and the north-e^st. Pressing on from Sniatyn, the Russians stormed the heights overlooking the Rybnica, another affluent of the Pruth, and on June 28th fought a great pitched battle on the ground lying between the Dniester and the Pruth, on a front bounded on the north by the Czortowiec, a southern tributary of the former river, and on the south by the Czerniawa, a northern tributary of the latter. Victory once more crowned the Russian banners, and in the course of this fighting about 10,500. Austrians were taken prisoners, as well as a battery of four heavy guns intact, horses and all, besides other guns. The enemy fled panic-stricken, abandoning large quantities of war material, and Kolomea, the -centre of four railways, fell to Lechitsky on the last day of the month. Obertyn, thirteen miles north-east of Kolomea, was occupied, after an engagement, about the same date.

As July opened, Lechitsky pushed on westward. The Austrians, who had received reinforcements from the Italian front, made a stand seven miles beyond Kolomea, but were defeated with a loss of over 2,000 prisoners, most of whom, according to the Petrograd communiqué of July 2nd, were drunk. Here the Russians took seven guns. At Tlumacz, twelve miles to the east of Stanislau, Bothmer, now in command of the enemy's troops in this sector, checked Lechitsky and threw him back for some distance. This, however, did not interfere with the main movement of the Russian general, and on the 4th he captured Potok Czarny, only six miles from Delatyn, and fifteen from Kolomea. Bothmer was again tackled both north and south of the Dniester, and this time with success, his forces in this region being overwhelmed and put to flight. Lechitsky's cavalry made a dash for the railway running from Delatyn south through the Jablonica Pass into Hungary, and on the 4th seized the small town of Mikuliczyn and cut the line, thus making it impossible for Austria to transfer forces from the south to this area. On the 5th a score of Cossacks swam the Dniester, took the village of Dolina, and captured over a hundred of the enemy and a gun. A terrific combat took place on the right bank of the big river near Zuyaczow on the same day, and after yet another desperate contest, in which Russian heroism and contempt for death were characteristically displayed, Lechitsky on the 8th occupied Delatyn, an important road centre and railway junction.

This marked an advance of nearly seventy miles from his starting-point five weeks before, and during that period he had fought and won many an engagement, and at least three really great battles. The name of Pflanzer-Baltin now disappeared from the story, its place being filled by that of General Kovess, who with Mackensen had been in charge of the Austro-German campaign against Serbia and Montenegro during the preceding autumn and winter. Bothmer remained in command of such of Pflanzer-Baltin's troops as had escaped westward from Lechitsky, and Kovess was at the head of the rest of the defeated Austrians in the Carpathians and Southern Galicia, who had been reinforced with drafts from the Trentino and Isonzo fronts, as well as part of some Turkish divisions, the balance going to Bothmer. Having compelled Bothmer to fall back at Nizniow to the north side of the Dniester, Lechitsky, with that river on his right and the mountains on his left, was secure on both flanks. In the far south of Bukovina his cavalry were scouting near the Kirlibaba Pass and striking into Hungary in the third week of the month, while fighting for the crests of the Carpathians was going on in other districts. As the situation stood, Bothmer, thus deeply outflanked on his right, hunted off the Koropiec, and hearing of the victorious march of Sakharoff and his soldiers on his left, must have withdrawn from the Strypa, on which he still held a front of about twenty-five miles, had it not been the case that Lechitsky was unable to move. For days rain fell in torrents in this region, as in that of the Lutsk Salient, and snowstorms swept the Carpathians, jeopardising his communications and for bidding advance. Both the Dniester and the Pruth were flooded, the former rising ten, and the latter sixteen feet. For two or three weeks Lechitsky was condemned to inaction, but on July 28th he threw the enemy back by a dashing coup in the direction of Stanislau, while the division of natives of the Caucasus charged and captured Jezierzany on the Tlumacz road, eighteen miles east of that city. In the beginning of August Berlin announced some successes for the enemy south of Jablonica in the mountains, an area in which German troops had made a reappearance. The Russians admitted that their advanced cavalry patrols had retired a short distance there. But for the moment the Carpathians interested Lechitsky very little, as his objective lay elsewhere. Following up his attack along the Tlumacz road and to the north and south of it, he successfully advanced, in spite of the fiercest opposition, on a front of sixteen miles, on August 7th, stormed his way through Tlumacz to Tysmienica, took Nizniow on the Dniester, and entered Ottynia, farther south on one of its tributaries. The ground he gained was about seventy-four square miles in extent, and in these operations and in those of the next day, which gave him Tysmienica, he captured 7,500 men, nearly half of whom were Germans, five guns, and 63 machine-guns. More than that, Stanislau was appreciably nearer. On the 9th his troops occupied the right bank of the Bystrzyca, and took the joint railway-station at Chryplin, only two miles from Stanislau, which held the same position in the south with respect to Lemberg that Kovel did in the north; in other words, it was of immense strategical significance in that area of the war.

The Bystrzyca alone stood between, Lechitsky and the town. The enemy had blown up all the bridges, and was arrayed on the opposite bank. There was an obstinate fight, but the Russians triumphed, and on the 10th Stanislau fell into Lechitsky's hands, the Austro-Germans making off northwards in the direction of Halicz in full flight. No fighting actually occurred! in Stanislau itself, for the enemy, seeing that the game was up in this quarter, had evacuated the town, which the Russians reported " untouched and in good order," with the exception of some parts of the railway. So, for the third time- since the outbreak of the war, Russia held this extremely important Galician town. Fourteen months had elapsed since Lechitsky had yielded it up to Pflanzer-Baltin; that Austrian general was now in deep disgrace and a broken man, while his rival was in possession of it again. In the first ten days of August, Lechitsky's " bag" was over 10,600 Austro-German officers and men, with nine guns, many machine-guns, and other plunder. Lechitsky next turned his attention to the Carpathians.and on August 12th was pushing Kovess back at Jablonica once more.

With the retirement of Bothmer from the Strypa, as the result of pressure from Sakharoff and Lechitsky on his wings and Shcherbacheff on the centre, Brussiloff's marvellous offensive, as conducted by these three generals and Lesh and Kaledin, reached a definite stage. In seventy days the Russians had advanced on their whole southern front from ten miles in the middle to sixty and eighty miles respectively on the flanks, and, including Bukovina, had reconquered several thousand square miles of territory. Their capture of prisoners was simply colossal, and it was difficult to understand how Austria-Hungary could long survive such losses. According to an official Petrograd statement, which gave the figures up to August 12th, Kaledin and Lesh took 2,384 officers, 107,225 rank and file, 147 guns, 459 machine-guns, and 146 bomb and mine throwers.; Sakharoff took 1,967 officers, 87,248 rank and file, 76 guns, 232 machine-guns, 119 bomb and mine throwers, and 128 powder-carts; Shcherbacheff took 1,267 officers, 55,794 rank and file, 55 guns, 211 machine-guns, 29 mine and bomb throwers, and 129 powder-carts; and Lechitsky took 2,139 officers, 100,578 rank and file, 127 guns, 424 machine-guns, 44 bomb and mine throwers and 35 powder-carts. The total of prisoners was nearly 360,000 men, and of guns over four hundred, in addition to vast quantities of every description of war material, including twenty miles of light railways. The moral of the enemy was thoroughly shaken, while that of the Russians continued superb, though their wonderful victories were not achieved without commensurate sacrifices. It was estimated that the total losses of the enemy were not far short of a million men. One very great result of Brussiloff's success, coupled with other factors all making in favour of the Entente Powers, was that Rumania, towards the end of that August, threw in her lot with the Allies, declared war on Austria-Hungary, and forthwith invaded Transylvania.

While Russia was achieving so much in Europe, she also was active in Armenia and Persia, where the Grand Duke Nicholas conducted her operations, his chief executants being General Yudenitch in the one area and General Baratoff in the other. In Asia the struggle was chequered. Russia's conquest of Erzerum and her march west of that stronghold aroused Enver Pasha and the Turkish governing clique to fresh efforts, and in April and May the Grand Duke was confronted by greatly augmented Turkish forces. But he captured Trebizond on April 18th, after winning a two-days' battle on the Kara Dere, in which the Russian Black Sea Fleet gave material assistance.

During May, however, the Turks were strong enough to take the offensive against him, and in the course of that month drove him back at Askala and Mamakhatun. Throughout most of June the Russians stood on the defensive, retiring in some cases from positions they had conquered, and the Turks pressed on towards Erzerum. It was not till July that Yudenitch was in a position to renew the attack. The first intimation of the progress he was making was given on the 12th of that month, when it was announced from Petrograd that he had recaptured Mamakhatun, taken nearly 2,000 prisoners, and was marching on to Erzingan, while the Turks were repulsed in the mountainous region of the Chorokh. A further success was chronicled on the 15th in the capture of Baiburt, midway on the Erzerum-Trebizond road, and ten days later all Russia rejoiced over a more important and striking triumph in the fall of Erzingan itself, a considerable military station and otherwise of strategic value. With the taking of this centre the conquest of Armenia was practically complete, and the Tsar sent a telegram in which he congratulated "with all his heart " his brave Army of the Caucasus on the victory.

But the Turkish offensive was not thoroughly overcome, for on other parts of Russia's long Asiatic front it was continuing and even making headway. The Turks, in their general plan of campaign, which had been brilliantly worked out for them by a young German officer of talent, struck along the whole of the Russian line. After some success they failed, as was seen, on the Grand Duke's front from the Black Sea to Erzerum, but in the south-east, in the district of Lake Van, they took from him the towns of Bitlis and Mush in the second week in August, and for some time the aspect of affairs in this region was unpromising for the Russians, who also had been forced to retreat from Mesopotamia into Persia. In May it had been thought among the Allies that the Grand Duke, through Baratoff, was in a position to attack Mosul, and perhaps cut off the Turks at Bagdad.

Events utterly belied these anticipations. On June 8th the Russians were defeated at Khanikin, less than a hundred miles from Bagdad, on the Teheran-Hamadan-Bagdad road, and driven across the mountains into Persia. In July they lost Kermanshah, and about August 12th had to evacuate Hamadan. Farther north, on the Teheran-Lake Urmia-Mosul road, they had to abandon Rowanduz, only eighty miles from Mosul, retire across the passes, which were infested with hostile tribesmen, and withdraw to the south of Lake Urmia. These successes of the Turks were somewhat alarming, especially in such a distracted country as Persia, many of whose people were pro- German in their sympathies. But as August went on the situation was once more got in hand by the Grand Duke, who had been reinforced. Mush and Bitlis were captured again, and the Turks checked and caused to turn westward on both of the Persian caravan roads mentioned above. It was to the last degree unlikely that the Turks, in these circumstances, could have anything but the most fleeting success in all this area.


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