The World Wars

Battle of Rawa Battle of Rava Ruska Battle Komarow Battle of Krasnik Battle of Galcia



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During late 1914 the Russians defeated the Austro-Hungarian forces at Lemberg after several weeks of heavy fighting in a series of battles, known collectively as the Battle of Galacia (now found in the modern day country of the Ukraine.) There were four main Battles in this offensive; The Battle of Krasnik, the Battle of Komarow, the Battle of Gnila Lipa, the Battle of Rawa.

During the months proceeding August of 1914, war with Russian forces had become apparent for the Austro-Hungarian forces. Chief-of-Staff Conrad Von Hotzendorf decided to launch an offensive into the Russian held Poland with his northern armies (the 1st and 4th battalions). Hotzendorf knew if he delayedmuch longer, he would be facing a Russian army with vastly superior numbers who would like nothing better then to invade and attack Austro-Hungry. Hotzendorf stratedgized that the only real chance for an Austro-Hungarian victory lay in attacking early.

Part of Hotzendorf's strategy was to also have the aid of Germany in his offensive against Poland, but this was not to be as the only forces the Germans had in East Prussia were small and their sole purpose was defence. During August 1914, the 1st and 4th Austro-Hungarian armies (Commanded by Viktor Dankl and Mortiz Von Auffenberg respectively), recieved the order to begin their advance into Poland with no German support. Initially the two armies met the resistance of the Russian 4th and 5th armies (commanded by Baron Anton Von Saltza and Pavel von Plehve respectively).

Meanwhile, Nikolai Ivanov; the Russian Commander of the Southwest front had already anticipated an invasion from the Austro-Hungarian front heading for Lemberg in an eastern direction. Ivanov's plan was to counter attack via a Russian offensive into eastern Galicia with the Russian 3rd and 8th armies (led by commanders Nikolai Ruzsky and Aleksei Brusilov respectively).

The four battles that make up the Battle of Galicia are the clashing of both forces in the various stages of either side strategies.

The Battle of Krasnik: The 1st Austro-Hungarian army under the command of Viktor Dankl was steadily moving north towards the city Lublin and Brest-Litovsk. Dankl's forces consisting of the I. corps, V. corps and the X. corps. This meant that the size of the Austrian forces in the !st army was 144 Infantry battalions, 71 calvary squadroons and approxiamtely 354 guns. This was opposed to the Russian 4th Army under the Command of Baron Saltza consisting of the grenadier corps, the XIV. corps and the XVI corps. The size of this Russian force was 104 Infantry battlaions, 100 calvary squadroons and approximately 350 guns. On the 23rd of August the two forces met in Krasnik. Dankl had superior numbers and a superior strategic position on the battlefield of Krasnik and he managed to push back the Russian 4th Army towards Lublin. According to reports, the Austrians suffered 40,000 casualties; the Russians suffered 60,000 casualties and 6,000 of their forces were taken prisoner, as well as losing approxiamtely 28 guns. The Battle of Krasnik is known as the first real victory for the Austro-hungarian forces in World war I. Dankl was a national hero, but it was short lived as the Russians pushed back.

The Battle of Komarow: To the right of Dankl, the momentum of the Battle of Komarow passed to Moritz Von Auffenberg and the 4th Austrian army. This consisted of II. corps, VI. Corps, IX. corps and XVII corps, or 12 infantry divisions and 3 calvary squadroons. On the 26th of August they encountered the 5th Russian army under the command of Pavel von Plehve. The 5th consisted of the V. corps, the XVII. corps, the X corps and the XI corps; these were mainly made of the Russian Cossacks and the infantry. The Russians had the superior numbers but the weaker infantry. Plehve already had a weakened right flank by the defeat at Krasnik and by the 31st of August, 20,000 Russians had been taken prisoner and they had lost approxiamtely 150 guns. The ammount of casualties was heavy, the exact figure is unknown. This was the second victory for Austro-Hungry.

The Battle of Gnila Lipa: As the Russian 4th and 5th armies were being forced to retreat along the northern front, the Austrian army group Kovess, made up of 7 calvary divisions and the landstrum forces, made a simutaneous advance against Ivanov's left flank. Along the southern front, Ivanov had the 3rd army under Nikolai Ruzsky; which was made up of the IX. corps, the X. corps, the XI corps and the XXI corps; as well as the 8th army under the command of Aleksei Brusilov, made up of the VII. corps, the VIII corps, the XII. corps and the XXIV corps, pushed against the Austro-Hungarian forces so hard that the Austrian's were unable to regroup and reinforce themselves in time to stop the advancement of Russian forces.

The Battle of Rawa (also known as the Battle of Rawa Ruska): By the 2nd of September, with the entire Kovess group in full retreat, Hotzendorf pulled forces away from the northern front, which he believed to have been taken and the Russians defeated. However the Russians to the north of Lemberg were still a threat. Ivanov ordered Plehve's 5th army to attack the Austrian 3rd army. Hotzendorf sent the 4th Austrian army to aid the 3rd in repelling Plehve's forces. This created a gap in bewteen Dankl's 1st Army and the 4th army commanded by Auffenberg. The gap was exploited by the 3rd Russian army under the command of Ruzsky and the Austro- Hungarian armies were forced to retreat with their front breached. Hotzendorf tried to recalled the 2nd Austrian army from Siberia, but it was already too late and the entire Austrian front collapsed in Galacia and the Russians took control of Lemberg. The Austrians suffered an estimated 350,000 casualties and equipment in this battle. The Russian casualty numbers are unknown. The Russian forces then pressed onto Przemysl in the Carpathian Mountains and lay siege to the fortress at Przemysl- the only Austrian post that held out against the Russian forces. The siege lasted 133 days.

 

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