A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 178

The home of the Lonsdale Battalion 1914-1918
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Not Proofread. The contents of this page needs to be proofread. Currently, there are multiple typos / OCR errors that require attention.
CAMPAIGN IN EAST PRUSSIA


Cossack advance in East Prussia were behind the battle front of the Russian armies. General Samsonoff, in the south, moved towards the railway centre at Osterode; in the north. General Rennenkampf rode in pursuit of the main body of 120,000 German troops; So swift were the Russians that they almost arrived at KOnigsberg with their fleeing foes. Advance guards of the garrison had to take the field and fight a rearguard action to save their comrades. Being without heavy guns, siege engineers and infantry force, RennenkampfcouldnotendangerKonigsberg. Yethecouldnot leave it. He drew his army across its eastern lines of commuui- cafion, and ^made what preparations he could for a masking operation. InthemeantimeswarmsofhisCossackswentabout theseriousbusinessofthecampaign. FromthefieldsofEastern Prussia ^he people of Berlin obtained the larger part of their food supplies. The region whs one of the four great granaries of Germany, and the crops were ripening for the harvest on which Berlin expected to live for another twelve months, in spite of the blockade of the British fleet. But the Russians destroyed the crops, captured Tilsit with its immense stores and emptied it. ^The occupation of Tilsit and Insterberg gave Rennenkampf the command of a second line of supply by the railway running northwards from Insterberg Junction. No such serious opposition was offered by the Germans to the southerncolumn. Therewereanumberofsmallengagements, in none of which the Germans made any obstinate defence. They were mostly intended to be mere delaying actions. Lotzen was occupied by the invaders, and the little Fort Boyeii, on a neighbouring hillock, barring the pass by which the railway line runs between two lakes, was forced to surrender after a brief bombardment. There was a more serious fight at Frankenau, where Samsonoff defeated a considerable German force, captur- ing some guns. This success brought the Russian left column safely to the north of the difficult lake region along the frontier, and it was able to get in touch with the right or main column under Rennenkampf. After the battle of Gumbinnen, the Germans in the north of East Prussia had fallen back on Kdnigsberg without again risk- ing a serious engagement. By the end of August they were under the cover of its advanced forts. Rennenkampf was content with -the steps he had- taken to mask the fortress, and the rest of

← 177   ·   178   ·   179 →
(page index)