Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes


Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict = Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes
partof = the Eastern Front during World War I


caption = Eastern Front, September 7–18, 1915
date = 7–22 February, 1915
place = East Prussia, present-day Poland
result = Pyrrhic Russian victory
combatant1 = flag|Russian Empire|size=25px
combatant2 = flag|German Empire|size=25px
commander1 = Thadeus von Sievers
Pavel Plehve
commander2 = Paul von Hindenburg
strength1 = Russian Tenth Army
Russian Twelfth Army
strength2 = German Eighth Army
German Tenth Army
casualties1 = 56,000 killed, wounded and missing
100,000 captured
casualties2 = "unknown"

The Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes, also known as the Winter Battle of the Masurian Lakes, was the northern part of the Central Powers' offensive on the Eastern Front in the winter of 1915. The offensive was intended to advance beyond the Vistula River and perhaps knock Russia out of the war.

Background

German Chief of Staff Erich von Falkenhayn strongly believed that the war was going to be won on the Western Front and was hesitant to lend support to Paul von Hindenburg, commander of the Eastern Front. However Falkenhayn did eventually sanction Hindenburg's planned offensive. Hindenburg would personally lead the northern offensive in the area of the Masurian Lakes (site of the 1914 Battle of the Masurian Lakes). General Alexander von Linsingen would lead an attack against the Russians in the Carpathians aimed at Lemberg, and further south General Borojevic von Bojna would attempt to relieve the besieged fortress at Przemysl.

Forces

Hindenburg had available for the northern offensive the German Eighth Army, commanded by Fritz von Below. A newly created force, the German Tenth Army was also being sent to the east. Facing Hindenburg was General Sievers' Russian Tenth Army in the area of the Masurian Lakes. To the south along the Russian line near the Masurian Lakes was the Russian Twelfth Army under Pavel Plehve.

Battle

On the February 7, in the middle of a snowstorm, Below's Eighth Army launched a surprise attack against Sievers and advanced 70 miles within the week, inflicting severe casualties on the Russians. The Russian withdrawal was disorderly and many of them were taken prisoner. The greatest loss came when the Russian XX Corps, under General Bulgakov, had become surrounded by the German Tenth Army in the Augustow Forest; on February 21 the entire corps surrendered. Yet even though the Russians had lost an entire corps, its heroic stand had enabled the rest of the Russian Tenth Army to form a new defensive position. On February 22, the next day, Plehve's Russian Twelfth Army counterattacked and checked the German advance. The counterattack ended any further German advances and brought the battle to an end.

Results

The Second Battle of Masurian Lakes ended the German offensive in the north. The Russians had suffered severe losses of soldiers and ground, but they had prevented the Germans from advancing far into Russia. Germany had also failed to come close to knocking Russia out of the war. Further south, von Lisingen's offensive had failed with the severe losses and the fortress at Przemysl had been forced to surrender to the Russians. Overall the Austro-Hungarian/German offensive of 1915 had failed in its major objectives. The German high command ended operations in which Germans operated as an independent force, supporting Austrian campaigns in the south. From this point on in the war, Germany and Austria-Hungary functioned under joint operations on the Eastern Front.

Sources

*Tucker, Spencer C. "The Great War: 1914-18" (1998)
* [http://www.firstworldwar.com/battles/masurian2.htm The Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes, 1915]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Battle of the Masurian Lakes — During World War I, there was:* First Battle of the Masurian Lakes, September 1914 * Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes, February 1915 …   Wikipedia

  • First Battle of the Masurian Lakes — Infobox Military Conflict conflict = First Battle of the Masurian Lakes partof = the Eastern Front during World War I caption = Eastern Front to September 26, 1914. date = September 9 ndash;14, 1914 place = East Prussia, present day Poland result …   Wikipedia

  • First Battle of the Marne — Part of the Western Front of the First World War French soldiers waiting for …   Wikipedia

  • Masurian Lake District — Location of Masurian Lake District, Poland Sa …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Bolimov — Infobox Military Conflict conflict = Battle of Bolimov partof = the Eastern Front during World War I caption = Eastern Front, 1915. date = January 31, 1915 place = near Bolimów, Poland result = Inconclusive combatant1 = flag|German Empire… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Mont Sorrel — Part of the Ypres Salient along the Western Front of World War I …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Cer — Part of the Serbian Campaign of the Balkans Theatre (World War I) …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Tannenberg (1914) — Infobox Military Conflict conflict = Battle of Tannenberg partof = the Eastern Front of World War I caption = date = 23 August 1914 ndash; 2 September 1914 place = near Allenstein, East Prussia result = Decisive German victory combatant1 =… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Passchendaele — For other uses, see Passchendaele (disambiguation). Battle of Passchendaele Third Battle of Ypres Part of the Western Front of the First World War …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Gumbinnen — The Battle of Gumbinnen, initiated by the Germany on August 20, 1914, was the first major German offensive on the Eastern Front during the First World War. Due to the hastiness of the German attack, however, the Russian army emerged victorious.… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.