Przasnysz Operations of 1915

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Przasnysz Operations of 1915


(1) An offensive operation by the forces of the Russian Northwestern Front against a grouping of German forces between February 7 (20) and March 17 (30) near the city of Przasnysz during World War I.

Planning to encircle the Russian armies in Poland and Galicia, the German command assigned General M. von Gallwitz’ army group (the Eighth and Tenth armies) the mission of (1) delivering a strike on Przasnysz to cripple the Russian First Army, (2) preventing the Russian Twelfth Army from assembling to the northeast of Warsaw, and (3) taking up an advantageous position for a subsequent strike to encircle the Russian forces in Poland. The Russian command was preparing to invade East Prussia from the Warsaw region and assigned the First Army the mission of initiating aggressive operations on the Warsaw axis without waiting for the Twelfth Army to assemble. On February 7 (20) the enemy went over to the attack and on February 11 (24), after bitter fighting, took Przasnysz. On February 12 (25) the I and II Siberian corps delivered powerful counterstrikes against the flank of the German forces and on February 14 (27) drove the enemy out of Przasnysz. On February 17 (March 2) the Russian First, Twelfth, and Tenth armies undertook a general offensive and drove the enemy into East Prussia. As a result of the Przasnysz Operation, the German plan to crush the Russian armies in Poland was thwarted; however, the planned invasion of East Prussia by the Russian armies did not take place.

(2) A defensive operation by the forces of the Russian Northwestern Front (First and Twelfth armies, a total of about 141,000 men and 377 guns) against the German Twelfth Army (177,000 men and 1,256 guns) between June 30 (July 13) and July 4 (17) near the city of Przasnysz.

The German command planned to break through the front of the Russian First Army in the Przasnysz region with an assault by the German First Army and then, advancing on Roóżan, Pułtusk, and Siedlce in cooperation with the Austrian Fourth and German Eleventh, which would attack from the south, to encircle the Russian forces in Poland. On June 30 (July 13), after a powerful artillery preparation by 800 guns, the enemy attacked Przasnysz. By the close of the day, the enemy had advanced 5–6 km and taken the main defense zone. By July 4 (17) the enemy, with heavy losses, had managed to push the Russian forces back 30–35 km but was forced to halt the offensive without reaching the Narew River. The German plan to encircle the Russian armies in Poland was thwarted by the stubborn Russian defense.


Verzhkovskii, D. V., and V. R. Liakhov. Pervaia mirovaia voina, 1914–1918 gg. Moscow, 1964.
Korol’kov, G. K. Prasnyshskoe srazhenie, Iiul’ 1915 g. Moscow-Leningrad, 1928.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.