A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 185

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THE AUSTRIAN ARMY IN MOTION


fromGalicia,betweenCracowandLemberg. Atthesametime a German force, of about equal numerical strength but inferior quality, was to strike at Warsaw from Eastern Prussia and German Poland. The defending Russian army would then be assailed on three sides, and either routed or driven back from its railway centre at Brest-Litovsk. LikeallGermanwarplans,thiswasexcellentonpaper. Had the Russians also done the obvious thing in reply to the obvious movements of the enemy forces, the grand duke Nicholas and his chief of staff. General Sukhomlinoff, might have been out- generalled. Unfortunately for the Austrians, the Russian military staff was well aware of the German war plan aud engineered a series of surprises that completely disarfanged from the beginning the programme of the Central Powers. The German forces were violently wrenched from all cooyeratioii with the Austrian armies by General Rennenkampf's sudden raid into East Prussia, His immediate menace to Konigsberg, his destruction of the food resources of Berlin, and his threat at Thorn and Danzig aroused the German instinct for self-preserva- tion. Alarmed for their own fields and cities, ihey withdrew from Russian Poland, where their advanced guard had reached Lodz on the way to Warsaw, and hastily concentrated in Prussia against the Cossack invaders. This left the Austrian armies in the west of Russian Poland at the mercy of the Russian military staff. The Austrian com- manders—General Dankl, General Aufftnberg and several arch- dukes—did not lose confidence. Possessing 2,500 guns and 1,000,000 young men of the regular army, with large militia supports in Galicia, they regarded Russia as a sleepy giant who could be stabbed to death before he was half awake. Speeding up their mobilisation, they launched two great armies over the frontier. Thefirstarmy,commandedbyDankl,wasbasedupon Przemysl, and the second army, commanded by Auffenberg, was based upon Lemberg and placed at riglit angles to DankTs army to guard against a flanking movement by Russia from the east. On August 10 the ist Austrian army crossed the frontier and advancedtowardsKrasnik. Themovementwasslowbecause Austria was hoping for German reinforcements, but the Russian advance into East Prussia had made it necessary for Germany to send all the forces she could spare from the western front to reinforce Hindenburg.

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