A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 213

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FURTHER AUSTRIAN DEFEATS


Waiting till nightfall, when he knew the roads would be choked with the enemy's heavy artillery, he delivered an attack at midnight. As dawn came the Austrians were in full retreat. They threw out rearguards in the river valley, but the Serbians knew the mountain tracks, and dropped down behind the entrenchments, making continual hauls of guns and prisoners. On December 7 some of Mishich’s men captured the summit of Maljen. Then, linked with the advancing edge of the 4th army that was curling south around Ushitza, they achieved the enveloping operation which the Austrian commander had vainly hoped to accomplish. The three fugitive army corps which had constituted the centre and southern ^ing of the invading force were cut off from the northern wing and shepherded to destruction. There was little fighting. It was merely a race towards the Drina and Save rivers, through the labyrinth of mountains in north-west Serbia. The Austrians kept to the valley roads, and the Serbians cut them off in thousands by using the straighter mountain paths. The fact that these paths were buried in snow did not seriously trouble the mountaineers, whohadpasturedtheirsheeptheresinceboyhood. Theycould work their way across them in the dark. By December 10 Sturm with the 3rd army w^as nearing Obrenovac, on the Save, a few miles below Belgrade. Meanwhile, eastward. General Potiorek was trying to retain Belgradewithhisdetachednorthernwing. Formedofthe8th and a mixed army corps, this force had checked the advance of the 2nd Serbian army, under General Stephanovitch, and had pressed hard against the garrison of Belgrade. This garrison, on the fall of the Serbian capital, had retired to the mountain ofKosmai,northoftheRudnikrange. Hereitwasattackedby part of the Austrian northern wing on December 7, 8 and 9. On tlie last day, however, the complete oveithrow of the main forces of the enemy enabled General Putnik to rearrange his forces. He moved part of his 3rd army towards the Save, some twenty miles south of Belgrade. Another part he attached to his 2nd army, and added his cavalry to it, and also the Belgrade garrison. This combined force was placed under the command of General Stephanovitch, who was famous for his victories in earlier campaigns. By December 10, when Stephanovitch assumed full command of tlie eastern operations, the Austrian forces had been bent back

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