The First World War: the situation on the border with Austria-Hungary and the Black Sea. Mayhem Belgium

The Russian command was not going to defend the western part of the Kingdom of Poland. This area is deeply wedged between Germany and Austria-Hungary, it was difficult to defend, the enemy could surround our troops. Because the deployment of the main forces went on the strip of the river Neman, Brest, Rivne, Proskurov. The area of the Vistula with the beginning of the "Great War" took the part of the German Landwehr.

They behaved aggressively, although the horror of times the second world war was still far away. Imposed an indemnity, took hostages, the men sent out to the camps. It should be noted that while many Poles sympathized with the Russian — the Germans were commonplace old adversary, the feud is forgotten. Also part of the Polish intelligentsia wished that after the war and the defeat of Germany and Austria-Hungary would be released ancient Polish lands to be included in the Kingdom of Poland. Poland will enjoy large autonomy under the supreme authority of the Russian ruler (for example majestically Duchy of Finland). In the Russian cavalry, who were moving towards the Germans, swelled by volunteers. Among them was another hero of the future stateliness Russian war — the 17-year-old Konstantin Rokossovsky, who, gaining for himself two years, August 2, joined the 5th Kargopolsky Dragoon Regiment of the 5th Cavalry Division. Already on August 8 Rokossovskii distinguished himself during a reconnaissance near the village Yastrzhem. He dressed in civilian clothes, went to the village, but returned and reported that it houses the cavalry regiment and a company of cyclists. When the enemy marched across the river Pilica, they met with fire and sent to flee. Rokossovsky was awarded the George Cross 4th degree and in the corporals.

Dragun KK Rokossovskii in 1916.

The border with Austria-Hungary

On the border of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was quiet. Vienna has concentrated troops and declared war on the Russian Federation only the 6th, although Germany had entered the war on August 1. In Berlin, even began to worry. Our homeland and waited and did not declare war on the Austrians. France and Britain went to war with Austria-Hungary on 11, August 12, just after the diplomatic pressure Petersburg.

The first troops violated the municipal border of Austria-Hungary — they run across the border river Zbruch in the band of the 8th Army Cavalry General Alexei Brusilov. The defense then held the 2nd consolidated and Cossack Division. Austrians knocked posts, and the division commander lost his head, but the initiative has shown Brigade Commander Pavlov. It is located 4 companies of infantry divisions in the town of attached town, has strengthened its machine guns and artillery battalion, brigade was posted on the flanks. Austrian cavalry, without intelligence, rushed into the town. Her first series were simply destroyed by fire, the flank knocked Cossacks. The enemy retreated back across the river Zbruch.

Russian Cossacks enter the village. Galicia.

The situation in the Black Sea

The Black Sea fleet was obliged to take precautions. Russian Foreign Ministry and intelligence closely watched political events in the Ottoman Empire, reported on the status of the Turkish navy, the army, that the commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Admiral Andrew Avgustovich Eberhard was able to correctly respond to the actions of the probable enemy.

1 August Eberhard Petersburg was instructed to avoid the brutal action that could cause a war. The Navy could launch military actions only by order of the Supreme Commander majestically Duke Nicholas, or messages of the Russian ambassador in Istanbul to war.

The Black Sea fleet had an advantage over the full Turkish Navy is capable of and combat training, in its composition was 6 ships of the line of an old type (dodrednouty), 2 cruisers of "Hercules", 17 destroyers, 12 destroyers, 4 submarines. Built 4 more massive battleship of modern standard (Dreadnought). The Turks were only two battleships, two protected cruisers, eight destroyers. The situation is worsened by the fact that the Turkish Navy is actually a hundred percent there was no combat training, the ships were not in a good condition. First, in 1914 the output of the Bosphorus Turkish naval forces to fight the Russian fleet seemed a fantasy.

The flagship of the Black Sea Fleet battleship "Eustace" on the roads of Sevastopol, 1914.

Aug. 2 admiral Eberhard reported to St. Petersburg on intercepted radio reports in which it was suggested that signed the German-Turkish alliance contract. August 3rd diplomatic mission and intelligence reported on early mobilization of the Ottoman Empire. August 5th head of the German military mission in Turkey Otto Liman von Sanders visited the fortress of Erzerum. Aug. 10 from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea straits included two German cruisers — heavy "Goeben" and easy "Breslau". Cruisers and their team joined the Turkish Navy. This has changed the balance of forces in the Black Sea. Istanbul had the opportunity to conduct combat actions in the sea. The commander of the German Mediterranean Division Rear Admiral Wilhelm Souchon headed the joint German-Turkish Navy. "Goeben" was stronger and faster at least some of the Russian battleship of an old type, but together Russian battleships could kill him.

Istanbul at that time tried to cheat, to fool Russia, concealing his plans for a war with it. August 5, the Minister of War Enver Pasha offered Russian military agent Leontiev an alliance of Turkey and Russia. He said that the Istanbul Tipo not bound by any military agreements, and spoke about the ability of the creation of the bloc directed against Austria-Hungary and the Balkan states that were opposed to the policy of. He promised to withdraw troops from the Russian-Turkish border, as soon as the ability to send German officers. During that Turks want to get Aegean, Western Thrace. Our homeland was to assist in the lifting of "capitulation mode (benefits for foreigners). The negotiations lasted until August 15, Russian salting M. Gears and military agent M. Leontiev even offered to Foreign Minister Sergei Sazonov accept the proposals of the Turks.

Istanbul, playing this game, wanted to drive a wedge between the allies: the capitulations concerning the interests of Britain and France in the Ottoman Empire. Aegean and Western Thrace belonged to Greece and Bulgaria. So Makar, Greeks and Bulgarians were pushing into the enemy camp of, provided the measured rear Turks in the Balkans and could concentrate all forces in the Caucasus. Sazonov because the bait is not pecked, also in St. Petersburg knew about the conclusion of the German-Turkish contract.

Turks immediately traded to Berlin. Enver was negotiating with the German Ambassador Hans Vangengeim. Turks in Germany were asked to acknowledge receipt of the Aegean islands after the war, parts of Thrace, Kars, Ardahan, Batum (owned by the Russian Federation). Germany Istanbul assured that its eastern boundary will be fixed so that was a "possibility of contact with the Muslim elements of Russia." German salting Enver said that after receiving the Caucasus, Turkey would "open the road to Turan." To encourage the Turks, Istanbul August 10 given credit for 100 million gold francs. On the same day, Enver ordered miss the Dardanelles German cruisers, which pursued the English squadron. At the same time solved the problem of what to do with the German ships. According to international agreements, the Turks had to intern (
forcibly detained, deprived of freedom of movement), the German cruiser. After consultation with Berlin Istanbul "bought" ships.

August 15 Leontiev from its agent received information that, of Smyrna, Anatolia, Syria Turkish troops began to flip in the Caucasus. Petersburg is trying to prevent the entry of Turkey into the war — Sazonov offers Paris and London to make a joint statement. It said that the Turkish attack on one of the three majestic powers would mean that all the Entente declared war, to provide security guarantees to the Porte Istanbul while maintaining neutrality and claim the demobilization of the army. And for neutrality, after the war, to Istanbul all German concessions and businesses in its area. On the same day the Turks gave their navy under the command of the Germans, the English naval mission was obliged to leave the Ottoman Empire, the British took the place of German officers. September 9th Istanbul in one-sided manner abolished the capitulations, it caused a protest of European states.

Battlecruiser "Goeben".

The outbreak of hostilities on the Western Front

The mood in Germany reigned victorious. Were going to win the war "autumn leaf fall" to the active entry into the war of Russia and Britain. Similar to the situation began majestically Russian war, which is better known in Russia, the plan "lightning war."

Against France unfolded 7th Army. 1st, 2nd, 3rd Army (16 buildings, about 700 million people) had to knock through Belgium. 4th and 5th Army (the central group of 11 buildings, about 400 million people) is ready to punch through the Ardennes, to support the Northern Army Group. Left-flank the 6th and 7th Army (8 blocks, 320 thousand people) should tie them to the opposing forces of the French (1st and 2nd Army) fight, so as not to transfer them to the north.

French 1st and 2nd Army (10 cases, more than 600 thousand people) were preparing to attack through Alsace and Lorraine. 3rd and 5th Army (8 blocks, 450 thousand) were to attack through the Ardennes, the 4th French Army (3 cases, 125 thousand) was in the second lane.

On the strength of Maubeuge to the sea border of France was virtually no covered. True, there had to be British troops, but the question was not about to end resolved. Part of the English military and political administration believed that in this case the British army will be the "appendage" of the French armed forces, which is unacceptable. Offered another option — to put troops in East Prussia, having a landing operation, joint action or Russian armies in Belgium, to wage war, coupled with the Belgian army. The debate allowed Winston Churchill, saying that the English fleet will be able to reliably cover only transport the army through the Pas-de-Calais (Dover Strait, the narrow part of the English Channel). In the end, decided to wage war in France, but initially very limited powers — four infantry divisions and one cavalry division. British command did not want to strip the country before the arrival of troops from the colonies. In addition, British War Minister Kitchener guessed the direction of the head and hitting the Germans did not want to ruin troops, that fail to withstand the blow such power. He believed that in order to keep the main thing the British army. He insisted that the British Expeditionary Force retained independence, did not submit to the French. Chief of the English expeditionary force (BES) in France, Field Marshal John French was instructed to exercise "extreme caution with regard to the loss." On 4 August 1914 the concentration was on BES at British ports, on August 9, they began landing in the French ports, to the 20th British were in Maubeuge, Le Canto. BES had with the 5th French Army to go to Xuan, ensuring the left flank coming 3rd and 4th French armies.


Belgians at that time were already in the war. Fri chief of border defense was listed fortress of Liege. Its fortifications were built in the 1880s and were considered very strong. According to the experience of Port Arthur, spices believed that the fortress stand very long or at all would be unassailable. It was a real fortified — the length of bypass fortress reached 50 km, in the defense system consisted of 12 main forts and 12 of the perineum, which was armed with 400 guns, including a massive 210-mm machine guns. Each fort was on my strength for themselves, with reinforced concrete fortifications and underground casemates, with its garrison of 100-400 people. The intervals between the forts were to cover the units of the 3rd Infantry Division and the infantry brigade from the 4th Division. Part of the fortifications was placed on the right bank of the Meuse, and the other on the left. The commander of the 3rd Division and the garrison was appointed teacher of military science Belgian King Albert I — Lieutenant-General Gerard Leman. Total fortified garrison consisted of 36 thousand people.

Gerard Leman

Other compounds of the Belgian army did not have time to turn on the Meuse. It was decided to make another defensive limit on the River Jet, 40 kilometers east of Brussels.

The problem was that the Belgians were late with war preparations. After the war Belgium declared its neutrality (it was a neutral state, as confirmed by the European agreement). But the August 2, 1914, the German government issued an ultimatum demanding Belgium passed through the area of the country, German troops (they promised to withdraw after the end of the war), the answer was given to a total of 12 hours. It was a shock for the Belgian government. The next day the Belgian administration said the refusal, after which the German Empire declared war. In Belgium, the mobilization. Work on digging trenches between the forts of Liège only began on August 2, so as not to give the Germans a pretext for war. On the same day began to demolish the house and cut down trees for the best view of the weapon.

Berlin plans to Liege occupied a special place. Then placed through the main mota Maas, principal railway junction. Not capturing the fortress, it was impossible to move on and absolutely deploy missile base. August 4, German troops crossed the German-Belgian border and invaded the country, began a first skirmishes. In the coming participated composite detachment of General Otto von Emmiha within six infantry brigades of the 2nd Army and the 2nd Cavalry Corps (3 cavalry divisions) Georg von Marvitsa. This grouping dubbed Maaskoy army, it was initially about 60 thousand people and 124 guns.

German cavalry, infantry and cyclists hit by cars border posts and rushed to occupy the bridges — Liege was 30 km from the border. Belgians fought off the first attempt to capture the crossing, but in the evening the German cavalry crossed the river at Wiese. The German command made a mistake and decided to take the fortress surprise attack on August 5. Aug. 5 after the artillery barrage, which did not harm the Belgian fortifications, the Germans stormed and were repulsed with the loss bolshennymi. Fire batteries and advanced connectivity guns were simply destroyed, in a number of places where the Germans, despite the terrible loss, were able to break through the fortifications, they dare to fire from machine guns and rifles. Only at the Fort Barshoni the Germans were able to make bayonet fighting, but the Belgians fought off here and head.

Storm of Liege.

In Belgium, the jubilant first fight was behind them, and there were proposals to move in coming, but eventually wisely refused. Germans rescued a professional representative of the General Staff Erich Ludendorff.
On the night of the 6th the Germans decided to repeat the attack. Ludendorff led the 14th Infantry Brigade brigade commander who was killed instead Vyussova background. The brigade broke through between the forts Fleron and Evens, the Belgian forts, afraid to cover his troops did not open fire. The Germans came to town and the river. Ludendorff sent envoys to Lehman, demanding surrender of Liege. Belgian General confused about not thought to counterattack and, as the German troops were already in the ring of fortifications, decided to bring division to another store, so it is not cut off from the main force. The Germans followed suit retreating Belgians went to Liege, and Ludendorff himself almost died (or was captured.) He went to the central stronghold of the town, thinking she was captured. When he saw there Belgians Ludendorff simultaneously orient and took unceremoniously — claimed immediate delivery. Fallen into a panic Belgians surrendered. So the Germans took Liege and several ferries across the river. But the main crossings were under fire from the forts, who continued to hold the line. And forward the main forces on the other Preserving the ability was not.

Erich Ludendorff.

Ludendorff did not attack them and called the siege artillery. The Germans offered the Belgian king to agree, but he refused and asked for help from allies. But the French command blindly continued to operate under an old plan — preparing the cast of the Rhine. Numerous warnings, including the commandant of the French fortress of Maubeuge — Fournier (it eventually was accused of panic and removed from office), about the threat on the left ignored. French General Staff expressed the view that the "main coming through Belgium will not." August 5 Frenchmen held various operations in Alsace, it began well, but in the end the French were repulsed.

German cavalry corps Marvitsa tried to break through the limit of the River Jet, but was repulsed with the loss bolshennymi. Belgians cheered again, he says, there was a "decisive battle of the war," the Germans will not go further. In their opinion, "forts will keep forever." Number Maaskoy army was brought to 100 thousand, and 10 th infantry took the fort Barshoni. 12th came siege artillery: 420 -, 380 -, 210-mm guns. 420-mm "Big Bertha" (or "Fatty Bertha") lupila at 9-13 km (depending on the kind of projectile) 810-kg projectile. On the western front they dubbed as "murderers of the forts," armor-piercing projectiles penetrated two-meter slab of steel and concrete — any building ever since. These guns buried all hopes of the Belgians on the might of the fortifications. Before blown up, the shells "Big Bertha" penetrated deep into the earth, and the shock wave shook the building to the ground. The shells destroyed not only the forts and fortifications, and even undermine the morale of the garrison, which are of constant shelling reached the state of shock. 13-14 August fell northern and eastern forts. By the 16th all the forts were captured, the same day last fall — Lonsen, when the capture was captured and wounded, General Leman.

August 17, German troops started coming general, it was planned to start on the 15th. Because Liege detained Germans only day or two.

The fighting in Belgium and on the German-French border

1st army background Klyuka went to Brussels, 2 Army von Bulow and 3rd Army von Hausen — to the French border. The coming of the Germans was quick, small Belgian army could not stop the German case. By August 18 between the advancing German troops and Belgian forces engaged the enemy, as a result of which the Belgians retreated across the river Dyle. 20 August retreating Belgian Connection, headed by King Albert came to Antwerp. The French offered to Albert divert troops to Namur, but he decided that it was his army will be cut off from the north of Belgium and expelled to France. Part of the German forces from the 1st Army background Klyuka allocated for blocking and following the siege of Antwerp. The city was protected on all sides by several dozens of small forts and 2 defensive lines, he stood up to October 9. August 20 units of the 1st German Army occupied Brussels (Belgian government fled to the French Le Havre), and several divisions of the 2nd Army blocked Namur. At Brussels and the province of Brabant Germans imposed a contribution of 500 million francs.

Namur was considered a strong fortress, about the same rank as Liege, believed that there may be maintained until the arrival of the French. The Siege of Namur lasted only a few days. The German army reached the line Brussels — Namur — Dinant.

August 14 the French army began its chief coming in Lorraine. It was for the French tremendous symbolic importance — local provinces of Alsace and Lorraine were captured by the Germans in France in 1871, after the defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. French troops initially failed to go deep in the countryside of Germany, and discourage Saarburg Mulhaus. 6th and 7th German Army had orders to retreat, luring large French forces in the "bag", which should close the Army right wing. The Germans did this order without hunting, frustrated that they have to retreat, not to thrash the French. Capturing August 18 Saarburg caused jubilation in France, talking about winning.

But at this time the Germans invaded Belgium, Border battle began, the French command had to move troops rapidly toward a breakthrough, to the north. Ultimately, by the end of August, the French troops retreated to their former positions, leaving the Germans small part of the area of France.

The strategy of the French high command was failed …

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