A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 177

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A GERMAN DISASTER


his panic evacuation of a great tract of fortressed couiitiy was somewhat of a surprise even to the Russians. There seemed nothing in their victory that should have led to so far-reaching and astounding a disaster to Prussia. But General Rennenkampf understood what had happened.

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His raid was only one part of an enveloping movement. While his men held the German army at the frontier, and then broke it, another Russian force from Poland, under General Samonsoff, was striking up to the west of the marsh country, taking the beaten German troops in the rear. As a result most of them turned again, and fled towards the coast of the Baltic Sea and the fortress town of Konigsberg. Caught between two powerful Russian forces, their entrenchments and blockhouses round the Masurian Lakes had become traps. An almost im- pregnable system of frontier defence was thus overthrown in a day by cavalry raiders supported by a distant second army. By Wednesday, August 26, ail the difficulties that Nature, assisted by nnlitary engineers, had placed in the way of a

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