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Battle of Galicia Information

Battle of Galicia

26 August - 11 September 1914
Lemberg, Galicia (modern-day Ukraine)
Decisive Russian victory
Date: 26 August - 11 September 1914
Location: Lemberg, Galicia (modern-day Ukraine)
Result: Decisive Russian victory
: Russian Empire
Commanders and leaders:
: Nikolai Ivanov
Baron Salza
Alexei Evert
Pavel Plehve
Nikolai Ruzsky
Aleksei Brusilov
: 1,200,000
Casualties and losses:
: 225,000

Vistula River - Łxdź - Limanowa - Bolimxw - 2nd Masurian Lakes - Gorlice-Tarnxw - Great Retreat - Sventiany Offensive - Lake Naroch - Brusilov Offensive - Kowel - Kerensky Offensive - Operation Albion

The Battle of Galicia was a major battle between Russia and Austria-Hungary during the early stages of World War I in 1914. In the course of the battle, the Austro-Hungarian armies were severely defeated and forced out of Galicia, while the Russians captured Lemberg and, for approximately nine months, ruled Eastern Galicia.


When war with Russia became apparent in the beginning of August, the Austro-Hungarian chief-of-staff Conrad von Hxtzendorf decided to launch an offensive into Russian Poland with his northern armies (the 1st and 4th). As the Russian army would soon be able to mobilize forces greatly superior in numbers to that of the Central Powers in the East (especially the Austro-Hungarian armies, which were Russia's primary target), von Hxtzendorf saw his only chance in an early victory. He also hoped that Germany would join his offensive into Poland, but that hope was frustrated by the fact that Germany only deployed few troops in East Prussia ordered entirely on the defence. Thus, the 1st and 4th Austro-Hungarian armies started their advance into Poland without definite German support. Initially they were opposed by the Russian 4th and 5th armies respectively. Meanwhile, Nikolai Ivanov, the Russian commander of the Southwest Front, was expecting an Austro-Hungarian offensive from Lemberg in eastern direction. This was to be met by a Russian offensive into eastern Galicia with the Russian 3rd and 8th armies.


The Austro-Hungarian 1st Army under Viktor Dankl was moving in the north towards Lublin. Dankl struck and drove back Baron Salza's Russian Fourth Army in what would be known as the Battle of Kraśnik. Dankl's army was able to capture 6,000 prisoners.

To the right of Dankl the Auffenberg's 4th Army, aiming at Cholm, drove back the Russian Fifth Army under Pavel Plehve in the Battle of Komarxw, capturing 20,000 prisoners and inflicting heavy casualties. However, a planned Austrian enveloping movement around the Russian army failed.

As the Russians were being driven back along the northern front the Austrian Army Group Kovess made a simultaneous advance against Ivanov's left wing. Along the southern front Ivanov had the Russian Third Army under Nikolai Ruzsky and the Russian Eighth Army under the capable Aleksei Brusilov. Brusilov and Ruszky routed the Austro-Hungarians so thoroughly that even though poor roads necessitated that the Russians halt for two days, the Austrians could not regroup to halt the Russian drive. This attack became known as the Battle of Gnila Lipa.

With the entire Kovess Group in full retreat, Conrad pulled forces away from northern front which he believed had been sufficiently defeated. In fact the Russians north of Lemberg were still a potential threat. Ivanov ordered Plehve's Fifth Army to attack and drove the Austrians back as they began to shift forces to the south in an engagement known as the Battle of Rava Ruska. The Austrian Second Army was quickly recalled from Serbia but it was too late and the entire Austrian front collapsed in Galicia and the Russians took control of Lemberg.


As the Austrians retreated many Slavic soldiers in the Austro-Hungarian Army simply surrendered and some even offered to fight for the Russians. A total of some 130,000 prisoners were taken by the Russians by the time the battle subsided on September 11, while they inflicted 324,000 casualties. The Russians suffered 225,000 casualties, including 40,000 captured. The Russians had pushed the front 100 miles into the Carpathian Mountains, completely surrounded the Austrian fortress of Przemyśl and started a Siege of Przemyśl which lasted for over a hundred days. The battle severely damaged the Austro-Hungarian Army, destroyed a large portion of its trained officers, and crippled Austria. Though the Russians had been utterly crushed at the Battle of Tannenberg, their victory at Lemberg prevented that defeat from fully taking its toll on Russian public opinion.

Order of battle

Russian forces

Russian South-Western front. Commander-in-chief - Nikolai Ivanov, Chief of Staff - Mikhail Alekseyev

4th Army Commander - Anton von Saltza (replaced by Alexei Evert after the battle of Krasnik).
Grenadiers Corps
XIV. Corps
XVI. Corps
5th Army, Commander - Pavel Plehve
V. Corps
XVII. Corps
XIX. Corps
XXV. Corps
3rd Army, Commander - Nikolai Ruzsky - Staff officers: Vladimir Mikhailovich Dragomirov, Nikolay Dukhonin, Mikhail Bonch-Bruevich
IX. Corps
X. Corps
XI. Corps
XXI. Corps
8th Army, Commander - Aleksei Brusilov - Staff officers Anton Ivanovich Denikin (Quartermaster)
VII. Corps
VIII. Corps
XII. Corps
XXIV. Corps

Austro-Hungarian forces

Army group Kummer
7. Cavalry Division
Landsturm forces
1st Army. Commander - Viktor Dankl
I. Corps (Cracow) - 5 and 46 Infantry Divisions
V. Corps (Bratislava) - 14., 33. and 37 Infantry Divisions
X. Corps (Przemysl) - 2., 24. and 45. Infantry Divisions
12. Infantry Division
3. Cavalry Division
9. Cavalry Division
4th Army. Commander - Moritz von Auffenberg
II. Corps (Wien) - 4., 13. and 25. Infantry Divisions
VI. Corps (Kaschau) - 15., 27. and 39. Infantry Divisions
IX. Corps (Leitmeritz) - 10. and 26. Infantry Divisions
XVII. Corps (formed on outbreak of war) - 19. Infantry Division
6. Cavalry Division
10. Cavalry Division
3rd Army. Commander - Rudolf Brudermann
XI. Corps (Lemberg) - 30. Infantry Division
XIV. Corps (Innsbruck) - 3., 8. and 44. Infantry Division
23. Infantry Division
41. Infantry Division
2. Cavalry Division
4. Cavalry Division
Army group Kxvess (part of the 2nd Army))
III. Corps (Graz) - 6., 28. and 22. Infantry Divisions
XII. Corps (Hermannstadt) - 16., 35. and 38. Infantry Divisions
11. Infantry Division
43. Infantry Division
20. Infantry Division
1. Cavalry Division
5. Cavalry Division
8. Cavalry Division


Tuchman, Barbara, The Guns of August (1962)
Tucker, Spencer, The Great War: 1914-18 (1998)
Nikolai Golovin. Great battle for Galicia

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Source: WikiPedia

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