Augustów Operation of 1915

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Augustów Operation of 1915

 

(also known as the East Prussian Operation of 1915; in German literature, the Winter Battle of Masuria), an offensive operation of the German Tenth and Eighth armies (15 infantry and 2.5 cavalry divisions) in East Prussia against the Russian Tenth Army (11.5 infantry and 2.5 cavalry divisions) during World War I. By attacking the flanks of the Russian Tenth Army, the German Command expected to surround and destroy it. Owing to poor military intelligence, the Russian Army commander, General F. V. Sivers, had no knowledge of the appearance of the German Tenth Army in his sector. On February 7 the German Eighth Army launched an offensive in the direction of Augustów, and the next day the German Tenth Army struck in the direction of Wierzbolow (Virbalis) and Suwalki. The Germans failed, however, to surround the Russian Tenth Army. This was because of the heroic resistance of General Bulgakov’s Russian XX Corps (four undermanned infantry divisions), which was engaged in rearguard action and was surrounded by nine German divisions (seven infantry and two cavalry) in the Augustów Forest between Augustów and Grodno. At the cost of nearly total annihilation, the corps held up the advance of the German Tenth Army for ten days. This enabled the bulk of the Russian Tenth Army to withdraw by February 26 to the Kovno-Osovets line.

REFERENCES

Kolenkovskii, A. Zimniaia operatsiia v Vostochnoi Prussii v 1915. Moscow-Leningrad, 1927.
Zaionchkovskii, A. M. Mirovaia voina 1914–1918 gg., 3rd ed., vol. 1. Moscow, 1938.