The general course campaign

The short description of operations in territory of East Prussia in I-й world war 1914-1918

In August, 1914 1st and 2nd Russian armies under command of generals P.K.Rennenkampfa and A.V.Samsonov have intruded in limits of East Prussia with a problem of drawing of defeat of 8th German army of the general of M.Pritvitsa and mastering by East Prussia by blows of two armies in converging directions with the further purpose of development of approach is direct deep into territories of Germany.
The main idea of operation consisted in coverage of German grouping from both flanks: 1st Russian army should come bypassing Masurian lakes from the north, cutting off German forces from Konigsberg, 2nd army should conduct approach bypassing lakes from the West.


Consideration subject will be actions of 1st Russian army in territory of northern part of East Prussia, i.e. the present Kaliningrad region. In structure of 1st army (the commander - general P.K.Rennenkampf (a photo 1), the chief of a staff lieutenant general G.G.Mileant.) 3rd army case (general N.A.Epanchin), 4th army case (general E.S.Bek-Aliev) and 20th army case (general V.V.Smirnov), 5th shooting brigade (major general P.D.Schneider), 1st and 2nd Guards, 1st (general A.V.Gurko), 2nd and 3rd cavalry divisions, 1st separate cavalry brigade (only 6,5 infantry and 5,5 cavalry divisions entered at 402 tools). From the north the army was covered with 1 horse case of the general of the khan of G.Nahichevanskogo, for cover of southern front there was a cavalry division and a shooting brigade.


In structure of 8th German army (the commander - the general M.Pritvits, with 23 августа* - the general P.Gindenburg (Photos 2), the chief of a staff - E.Ljudendorf) entered 1st (the general of infantry François's background), 17th (the general of cavalry fon of А. Makenzen), 20th (the general of artillery F a background of Sholts) army cases, 1 reserve case (the general of infantry of the Island a background Bjulov), 3rd reserve division, three landveri brigades, 1st cavalry division (general Brecht) (only 14,5 infantry 4,5 landvers and one cavalry division or 173 thousand fighters, number of tools - 1044, 54 airplanes 2 dirigible balloons).

The first collisions of Russian cavalry with German armies have begun already in the beginning of August. So, small town Eydtkuhnen (settlement Chernyshevsky) on August, 3rd has been grasped.

On August, 17th, 1914 1st Russian army under command of general P.K.Rennenkampfa of the basic forces has entered on territory of East Prussia and began to move ahead with fights in a direction to Gumbinnen (Gusev). This day there was a collision with 1st German case of the general of G.Fransua around Stalluponen (Nesterov). The Main blow has had on 3rd army case

* Hereinafter dating on new style.

General N.A.Epanchina, pushed forward slightly further, than other forces. 27th infantry division of general A.K.M. Adaridi it has appeared it is taken by surprise and has been compelled to depart. But 25th division of general Bulgakov has compelled the opponent to recede to river Angerapp.

Despite this, Shtallupenensky battle became tactical success of German armies as approach of 1st Russian army has been suspended to the middle of day on August, 18th.


On August, 18th Rennenkampf, carrying out the instruction of a staff of Northwest front, has moved the main forces on the north from Romintensky wood on a boundary of river Angerapp, having sent a cavalry of the Khan Nakhichevan in a direction on Insterburg (Chernyakhovsk) (the Photo 3).

The commander of 8th army general Pritvits expected to surround the basic forces of Russian on the way to river Angerapp. Counter battle Was necessary, therefore Rennenkampf has made decision on August, 20th to give to the armies «dnjevku» as armies, it is continuous with fights moving ahead during several days, rest was required. (A photo 4).


On August, 19th the cavalry case of the khan Nakhichevan has engaged with German 2nd landver a brigade around Kraupischken (settlement Uljanovo) – Kauschen (settlement Kashino) which outcome in favour of Russian was solved by attack of a squadron of lejb-guards of a horse regiment of the captain of a baron of P.Vrangelja.

On August, 20th under Gumbinnen (Gusev) one of the largest battles of world war was fastened. At a dawn on August, 20th to the north Gumbinnen two divisions of 1st German army case of the general François's background suddenly attacked right-flank Russian 28th division (general N.A.Lashkevich) from structure of 20th case, and 1st German cavalry division has bypassed its flank which has remained opened after withdrawal of the case of the Khan Nakhichevan, and has struck from back. As a result 28th division, being sustained by heavy losses, has been rejected on the east. Supporting blow of Germans landver the division attacked Russian 29th division of 20th case, but attack has been beaten off also to it it was necessary to recede.

To the south Gumbinnen 35th and 36th divisions of 17th case of general Makenzena attacked the centre of 1st army at four o'clock later. They have encountered resistance of three Russian divisions and have got under flank fire of artillery of 27th division. As a result 35th division has suffered bad losses and has receded on 20 km, 36th division also has been compelled to recede. 27th Russian division of general Adaridi has finished prosecution of the opponent. (A photo 5).

Consequences of Gumbinnensky battle have influenced all course of campaign: the German command has been compelled to remove from the French front the most resolute minute two cases and one cavalry division from shock grouping and urgently to send them on Russian front. Besides on August, 20th 2nd Russian army of general Samsonov has crossed border of East Prussia.
General Pritvits has given the order on the general deviation of 8th army (on August, 23rd it has been replaced on a post of the commander by army the general P.Gindenburgom).


Favorable conditions for the organisation of prosecution and defeat of parts of 8th army were created, however immediately pursue the opponent 1st Russian army could not owing to a number of the objective and subjective reasons.

Having taken advantage of it, German command, having suspended deviation, has made a regrouping of armies and, having left against 1st army a barrier from two divisions, has concentrated almost all forces against Samsonov's army.

On August, 22nd in second half of day 1st Russian army has renewed movement and began to move ahead not on connection with 2nd army, and aside Konigsberg.


On 26th of August Rennenkampfom had been received the instruction of a staff of the Northwest front, setting as 1st army by the further purpose taxation Konigsberg «approximately two cases», and the others «to pursue that part of the opponent that has not receded to Konigsberg». By an outcome on August, 27th parts and connections of 1st army left to river Daime. Cavalry divisions have occupied cities Fridland (Pravdinsk) and Muhlhausen (settlement Guards, Bagrationovsky GO). The army staff has settled down in Insterburg. (The Photo 5).
In the meantime, having crushed 2nd Russian army of general A.V.Samsonov in fight under Tannenberg on August, 26-30th, Germen, having filled up 8th army at the expense of a transfer from the West of Guards reserve and 11th army case, have begun a concentration of forces against army Rennenkampfa. Having left against 2nd army four divisions landver a background fon der Goltsa, German command has developed against 1st Russian army (having 11,5 infantry divisions) 16 infantry divisions at double overweight in artillery. (A photo 6).


Approach of Germans has begun on September, 7th. Germen planned to inflict defeat of 1st Russian army, holding down ten divisions from front and having crushed its left flank forces of six divisions, and fast approach to cut off P.K.Rennenkampfu's withdrawal for average Memel, having pressed it to marshland bottom Memel, and then – to destroy. The plan of Germans has been in due time solved, and Rennenkampf has made decision to take away army back.

Seeing that the opponent bypasses its left flank, P.K.Rennenkampf diagonal maneuver has thrown from the right flank on the left 20th case, than has rescued the army from full defeat. Command of Northwest front had been organised attempt of rendering assistance of 1st army by approach of the broken rests by 2nd (the commander – general Shejdeman) and again generated (as a part of one 22nd army case) 10th armies (ordering general V.E.Flug) for strengthening of the right flank to Kenigsbergu again generated 26th case of general Gerngrossa (53rd and 56th infantry divisions) has been directed.

Coming Russian parts soon have been stopped and on September, 22nd parts departing with fights and connections of Russian have been squeezed out from limits East Prus-these and have returned on initial positions for Memel (the river Neman).

On October, 5th conditionally named second approach of Russian armies to terri-thorium of East Prussia has begun. 10th Russian army already under command of general F.V.Siversa into which cases of 1st army have entered, is again cunning to line Goldap (Goldap) — Gumbinnen and by November, 28th occupied following position: V.I.Gurko's horse case - in area to the west Mallwischken (settlement May), group N.A. Epachina – between Gumbinnen and Stalluponen, 20th case was reached by rouble Angerapp, other connections were in territory of present Poland.

The front was rather stabilised, and fights of local value without special success for both parties went till the end of January — the beginnings of February, 1915.

German command planned to crush the right flank of Russian front joint approach of 8th and 10th armies. While there was a concentration of parts, Russian command has performed so-called Lazdenensky operation for the purpose of improvement of position of the right flank of the front – Verzhbolovsky group of 10th army under command of general N.A.Epanchina, the taken position at Lasdehnen (Krasnoznamensk), behind the basic grouping, i.e. actually bypassed by the opponent.

Having found out preparation of Russian armies for approach in direction Lasdehnen—Insterburg, the German command has managed to organise powerful counterattack. The further events were developed not in favour of the Russian army still lacking shells and cartridges. On an outcome of February, 1915 general N.A.Epanchin has begun tap of group from Lasdehnen to Schirwindt (settlement Kutuzovo, Krasnoznamensky GO), having left Stalluponen. 8th German army of general  background of  fon O. Bjulova left on border with Russia. It were last battles of the First World War in territory of East Prussia.