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STRUGGLE IN POLAND., Issue 15656, 21 November 1914
STRUGGLE IN POLAND.
i THE POSITIONS f)F THE TSAR'S ARMIES AT A GLANCE. THREE CHIEF PHASES TO DATE. OUTLINE OF NEW PLAN OF RUSSIAN GENERAL STAFF. [By A. Sr-EXCE.]
Throe maps, stripped to issential*. mai help to lift the fog of war off Poland The maze of difficult Polish names whicl we rec.ive- is confusing, and, wh Je a I points have been wuofuliy considered, th« ' EvcnitiK Star's' draughtsman has dropped detail and featured the three cardinal phases of 'Russia's fiont of war during the past 61 days. The iiiet jimp <-how« how the armies were placed on September 20, when tht (Irand Duke Nicholas had hopes of reachinir the fortress of Cracow hy coup-de-main. The second n:ap <iif(!<»( tlv dislocation :if the p!ans of t'te RtHfiititi (knetal Sta.lV wh:ch c-n.-utd. on Octob; r 11. wlier. tho Germans came boldly forward to the Vistula and offered general battle. The
In moving into such a dangeious- angle the first step which would suggest ite-elf to tho intelligence of an ordinary strategist would bo ro provide wh«it are known as grand flank guards ior tho central armies. These centnil armies—Russia has font central armies on the march—must not be struck on the flank whatever else happens, and provision has been made by the Ktissia.ii Stall that such a contingency shall not ariso. This provision for tlie flanks is t>hown as clearly a.s it can be put. The northern mand flank puard is tho Vilna army, commanded by General Rennenkampf, of whom ?o much has been said in the cables. .All three plans show his command as practically stationary. It fronts the East Prussian fakes. It has fought several general actions in the region
PHASE 1: SEPTEMBER 20. On September 20 the Vilna army was standing fast as northern flank guard. The main Russian armies were enly approaching the Vistula. The two southern armies were marching on Cracow.
third shows the restored po-ition, the new battle line from Thorn to Cracow, and the new advance by the Kioff and Odessa armies on that iinpoitant point. There are seven Russian armies, aggregating, it i<; paid. 5.500.000. These armies will be mentioned in detail later, but the broad point is that they ate advancing on a most extraotdinary frontier—perhaps the mo6t extraordinary military fiontier in the
lK?tween Suwalk ; end Lomzhn, sometimes i w inning, sometimes i\ss surcessl'ul. These I temporary vic'.o'ie.-. and defeat* do not i matter much. ReimeiikampfV superiors do not a«k him to do more than maintain his front, holding off any irruption from I the north aimed at the think of the four I central Russian armies who are now endeavoring to move forward into the nook I between Breslau ami Thorn.
PHASE 2: OCTOBER 11. This map shows the dislocation of the Russian plans caused by the battle of the Vistula. The two southern armies had to retrace their steps.
world. They aro moving into the reentrant angle formed by the chain of fortresses extending southward from Konigeberg th.'oiuh Thorn, Poeen, Cracow, and ro'ind to Przemysi. Never in tho history of w.-.t hae a Oeneial Stall been called on to attack sueh a problem on such a scale. The proposition bet'oie the Oraud Duke Nicholas and his right-hand man. Lieutenant -general .Tdinski. i.- how U\ cet tin armies through to Biotdau, for Breslan in the stepping-stone to Berlin.
I The stationing of the Viina army, as | shown in th.- three map.-', is therefoio I mainly defensive. No staff, however, be. I licves in a pa-ss-ive defence, and Rennen- , kanipf is doublles* expected to endeavor to work 5-ome sort of pas.aa.gfl into the I fortified labyrinth of the East, Prussian lakes ;f he can. Tiiat is what, he is endeavoring to do. Facing him is (Jenoral | Von Hiiulonbttrg, tho Crown Prince's, left ; wing commander. It may Im> mi id in pa«=- \ ingthat no Russian general is likely to
PHASE 3: TO-DAY. To-day the main Russian advance is far over the Vistula, and the march to Cracow has been resumed by the southern armies. There are no exposed flanks now. ,
commit his troops in a Ink© region against Germans more deeply than ho can. The Germans liave practiced manoeuvres in. lake regions for years. The Russians have had no peace practice in this intricate kind of warfare at all.
Having noted the buttr«s6 and shield [ which the Vilna army :« furnishing in the north, it is convergent now to turn to the southern grand flank guard in Galicia. As far as we lcr.ow, this foroe is the Kieff and Odessa armies, struggling to cut down the salient by marching on Gracow. On September 20 they were •within 45 miles of the' fortress, arid l the first of the three maps shows where they were, how they were marching, and how they were heading. About this date tho "four central Russian armies could only have been approaching Warsaw, Ivangorod, and other points on the Vistula, as shown in the same map. The march of the Kieff and Odessa armies seemed at that time to promise j great result, but .there came a quietness iu the cables, and the easy inference was that something serious had taken place. We learned how serious it- was 21 days later, when the battle of the Vistula began. If tlw first map and the .second one are compared, it will be seen that l'ot only was the march on Cracow arrested, hut tho new German line of battle actimUv turned tho flank of the Kieff and Odessa." armies m a very bold way. They had to come back to the gloomy, fir-clad Vistula and the shoal but broad &ui River. The fcccond map discloses the general huddle on the Vistula which took place about October 11. Tho northern flank guard, th* Vilna army, still held its -round, hut the two southern armies were well withdrawn, and Cracow was * - olf' j fi.-r the time being.
The third sketch ir.dioa.tes the position las it appears to bo now. Rermenkampf still holds his old place facing tho lakes [ in the north, but the two Russian armies in Galicia are once more released for the dash r.n Cracow. What is more important, is that their flank is not now in tho danger rr; which it was in September, for tho main R-uesian armies are now further forward, although <o be suro they are far from the frontier still. It ™M be noticed that oath of the seven Russian armies now mutually covers the flanks of the others. It will not, however, be possible for the four main armies to do much ujit-il Cracow is hemmed in or masked by detachments from tho two Russian armies operating in Galicia. Meantime, by way of interrupting tho movement, the Crown Princo is beginning a counter-stroke from the vicinity of Thorn. Thoin, as wo .we. is quit-a on the flank of the main central move on Rreslau, so the strategy is good both ways. ' 1/a-st week the cable gue.sser told us that the Russian vans havi* entered places near Kalifz. If that had been so the problem of tho Polish salient would have been ended, but it can perhaps lie seen nw how false that news was.
A word on the composition of these seven armies tuny be of interesi at- present. It is rather regrettable chat the tables do not occasionally give ns th<» names of the commanders, for that- would make the position in .Poland clearer. Re-nienknmpf's army we, know. It- consists of soldiers drawn from tho conscription areas of Vilna. SuwaJki. Vitebsk, Meiisk, Kovno, etc., and includes the 6th, 14th, 15tb. 19ih. and 23rd Army Corps. Those soldiers are fighting on a t-eiTain which ought to he familiar to them, for it is the district in which many of them were born and bred.
Of the southern prand flankers, ilic Kioff army i» always tho readiest Russian army to ni.Mve. At (he outbreak of hostilities the oftror designated for this command w.is the artillery general Ivanoff. It is, howovor. now commanded by its iormer adjutant-general—General Rouski. The troops are men from Poltava., Kharkoff. and adjoining districts, and the corps are. the 9th', 10th, and 21st. .Matching in conjunction with this army is (ieneral XikiJin's South Russian army, comprising the 7th and Bth Corps fiom Odessa and the Crimea.
The central armies are the puzzle at present, hut one of them is snre to he tho Moscow army under the cavalry general IMavH. Like the Kicff command, it is a fast-moving concern. The men aro Central Russians, the corps being tTi'o sth, loth, 15th, and 17th. Another of th-j central armies is the Y'nrsovie comman.i. It is at once tho largest, ur.wieldiesl., and slowest command in the- J.'iifsian ar ny. When war broke out tho post of officer co.nmand ing was vacant, '>ut it is now in charge of Lieutenant-genenl broussilofi. This army probably bore the brunt of (he battle of tho Vistula Tho remaining central Russian hosts have nowr I eon specified, but the St. T'etoi-shmj.'. Kazan, and Caucasus troops are the likely ones.
STRUGGLE IN POLAND., Issue 15656, 21 November 1914
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