A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 187

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.

dashing cavalrymen, including the cavalry divison of the Hun- garian Guards—the best horsemen in either Austria or Germany. They had scouts in aeroplanes darting over the frontier. Yet the Russian turning movement in Eastern Galicia was not dis- covered until too late. This was partly due to the fact that the cou)itry through >yhich Brusiloff was working was an ancient Russian duchy that had been tom from the ancestors of the tsar. Eastern Galicia was the Alsace-Lorraine of the Slav empire, peopled by a Slav race, with the same language, religion aaid customs as the men of BrusiloE’s army. At the villages priests and people came out with banners to meet their 'Tittle brothers.^’* In the* towns flowers were thrown from the upper Vindows along the streetsuponthearmedredeemersoftheancientduchy. Andall lhat could be done by silence or pretended ignorance to mislead the Austrians and Hungarians was dbne by the peasajits. It is, moreover, very likely that Russian secret service agents had \v:ell prepared the Little Russians of Galicia for the invasion. But this does not palliate the failure of the Austrian general military stdff. They knew what Eastern Galicia meant to ^ftussia. Why, then, were they not fully forearmed against the inevitable attack? The probable explanation is that they were so obs’essed by the Moltke system of warfare that they were blind to everything except the "scientific” scheme of operations ih(‘y were cariydng out farther to the north-west, in Russian Poland. Theyhadastrongfrontbetw^eeatheVistulaandthe Bug rivers, and by continually moving forward into Russia they thought to force the Russians to concentrate against them. The attackers had merely to advance strongly and conqueringly in order to compel their opponent to attempt to stop them. Nothingelsemattered. CossackactivityinGaliciawasmerely a feint and a vain distraction. Meanwhile, General Brusiloff made the very most of his oppor- tunities. As quietly as possible he moved over the tributoies of the Dniester, in Galicia, and pushed back the Austrian cavalry screenwithoutrevealinghisstrength. OntheversatileCossack fell all this preliminary work. He had to do without infantry support or any considerable show of artillery power. Neither the infanti-yman nor the ordinary field artillery could be brought into action without revealing that which it was necessary to conceal.

← 186   ·   187   ·   188 →
(page index)