A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 184

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RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE IN GALICIA


and failed. The force that was masking the eastern forts of Konigsbergwasorderedtowithdraw. Acolumnthathadbeen moving towards Danzig and the Vistula delta received similar orders. NearInsterbergRennenkampffoughtarearguardaction, whichHindenbiurgclaimedasasecondvictory. ButtheRussians foughtonlyinordertemporarilytocheckthepursuit. Afterthe battle Rennenkampf fell back by Gumbinnen, where he fought a rearguard action, after which he recrossed the frontier and retreated to the line of the river Niemen. There considerable reinforcements were awaiting him, but it was some time before Russia was able to renew the offensive in this region.


CHAPTER 10
Russian Offensive in Galicia


GALICIA, the scene of Russia's successful campaign in 1914, was then a province of the Austro-Hungarian empire, ^ but it formed part of the great Polish plain, and was separated from Hungary by the Carpathian mountains. Com- pared with the giant mountains of Switzerland the Carpathians arehillsratherthanmountains. AlongthisGalicianLorderthey form a broad belt of forest-clad sandstone ridges, mostly under 5.000 feet high, traversed by a number of passes and hill roads, forming an admirable natural defence for Hungary. The province of Galicia is thus a terraced slope descending to the northern plain which stretches from its margin to the shores of the Baltic. Behind the Galician frontier the Austrians had con- structed, as the Germans had done in Prussia, railways which were primarily planned for the purposes of war. To the north of the Carpathians in Galicia were two important cities, Cracow, in the west, and Lemberg, in the east, about two hundred miles distant from one another, while almost midway between them was Przeinysl, one of the most modern Austrian fortresses, completed just before the war. The Central Powers held prepared a combined plan for the conquest of Russian Poland. An Austrian army was to advance

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