2/5/1915 Gorlice-Tarnów: Mackensen smashes the Russians

German forces are still attacking at Ypres, but the fighting there is a diversion. Falkenhayn has been persuaded to send Germany’s mobile reserve east. It has been decided to attack the Russians between Gorlice and Tarnów in Galicia. Germany’s Mackensen is to lead the attack, commanding German and Austro-Hungarian armies.

The attack begins with a devastating artillery bombardment: some 700,000 shells fired in just a few hours. Then the Germans and Austro-Hungarians surge forwards. In some sectors the artillery bombardment has so shaken the Russians that the attackers find them to have already fled. In others they put up more resistance but are thrown by the strength of Mackensen’s assault. Either way the Russian defenders collapse. This is already looking like another striking victory for German arms on the Eastern Front.

image sources:

August von Mackensen (Wikipedia)

Gorlice-Tarnów map (from a Polish language website which I think is for First World War cemetaries in Poland)

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