THE CAPTURE OF HALICZ AND KALUSZ
The surmise that Halicz, the important railroad point on the Dniester, was soon to fall into the hands of the Russians, provided they were able to keep up the strength and swiftness of their offensive, was proved correct on July 10, 1917. Late that day the news that Halicz had fallen on July 9, 1917, into Russian hands came from Petrograd. The Russians were fighting (p. 437) under General Kornilov and their attacks were so strong that the Austrians under General Kirchbach were unable to resist. In two days Austro-German positions seven miles deep and strongly fortified during a period of two years were overrun by the victorious Russians. More than 1,000 prisoners, seven guns, many trench mortars and machine guns, and a large booty of engineering materials and other military stores fell into the hands of the victors. The Austro-Hungarians were forced to retire behind the lower course of the Lomnitza River, and at the end of the day the road to Lemberg, only sixty-three miles northwest of Halicz, seemed seriously threatened from the south.
Earlier in the day sanguinary battles occurred on the road to Halicz in the region of the villages of Huciska, Pacykov, and Pavelone. In the streets of Pavelone there was bayonet fighting, which ended in a complete rout of the Austrians. Toward evening the Russian troops reached the village of Bukovica, having occupied the villages of Viktarov, Majdan, Huciska, and Pacykov.
South of Brzezany there was intense artillery fighting. In the direction of Dolina the army of General Kornilov continued its offensive in the region west of Stanislau. The Austro-Germans displayed energetic resistance which developed into stubborn counterattacks. Farther north, too, near Riga, Dvinsk, and Smorgon, the fighting activity increased.
The Russians maintained their successes on the following day, July 10, 1917. In the direction of Dolina they continued the pursuit northwestward toward Lemberg of the retreating enemy, who had been broken by General Kornilov's army on the Jezupol-Stanislau-Borgordchan front—a front of almost twenty miles.
At midday troops led by General Tcheremisoff, who had accomplished the capture of Halicz, were thrown across to the left bank of the Dniester. Toward evening they reached the valley of the river Lomnitza on the front from the mouth of the river to Dobrovlany, and advance detachments, crossing over after a short engagement to the left bank of the river, occupied the villages of Bludniki and Babin. Russian troops advancing on (p. 438) the Borgordchan-Zolotvin front, having broken down the resistance of the enemy, reached the line of Posiecz-Lesiuvka-Kosmocz. This was a success in a new sector south of Halicz and threatened the approaches to the northern Carpathians.
In the course of the day the Russians captured more than 2,000 prisoners and about thirty guns. Altogether in the three days' battle from the 8th to the 10th in the direction of Dolina they took more than 150 officers and 10,000 men. Their captures also included about eighty guns, twelve of them of heavy caliber, and a large number of trench mortars and machine guns and a large quantity of engineering material and military stores. On the remainder of the front there was artillery firing, which was more intense in the direction of Zlochoff and south of Brzezany.
These various operations continued to develop on July 11, 1917, especially among the rivers Dniester and Lomnitza. After a stubborn and sanguinary battle the Austrians were forced out of the town of Kalusz, which was occupied by the Russians. Kalusz, a town of about 8,000 population previous to the war, is on the west bank of the Lomnitza and on the important railroad that runs from Stanislau to Lemberg south of the Dniester. Until the development of the Russian offensive it served as Austrian headquarters in this sector. To the west of Bohorodszany, on the Grabovka-Rosolna-Krivicz front, the Austrians taking advantage of the extremely intricate terrain, succeeded in holding back the Russian advance. Near Riga, Smorgon and Baranovitchy the artillery fighting was again spirited. Near Lutsk and in the East Galicia fighting area the firing also reached a point of considerable intensity at times. On the Ochtschara Russian chasseur troops were repulsed, as were local Russian attacks on the Stokhod.
On July 12, 1917, the firing activity between the Zlota Lipa and the Narayuvka increased. Engagements developed also on the Honika River, northwest of Halicz. Russian troops crossed to the left bank of the river confluence and captured heights on the line of the river Dniester-Bukazowice-Bludniki. After a stubborn battle the Austrians were driven back from the heights (p. 439) to the northeast of Ehilus. The Russians occupied the villages of Studzianka and Podhorki.
In the region of Kalusz a Bohemian regiment by means of a daring cavalry attack captured four heavy guns. Southeast of Kalusz, on the Landstru-Lazianya-Kraisne front, Russian troops engaged in battle with Austrian detachments who were protecting the crossings of the river Lomnitza on the road to Kornistov and Dolina. The crossings of the river at Perehinsko west of Bohorodszany were captured.
In the region of Vladimir Volynski (Volhynia) southeast of Kiselin German detachments under cover of artillery fire attacked Russian positions and entered Russian trenches, but were expelled by reserves which came forward, immediately restoring the situation. On the Dvina near Smorgon and on the Shara there was spirited fighting, and also west of Lutsk there was a temporary revival of activity in consequence of reconnoitering thrusts.
In describing the capture of Kalusz the "Russky Slovo" says that the Russian cavalry entered the town at noon and found it abandoned by the garrison. The Russians were soon attacked, however, by fresh enemy forces, which were rushed from the fortress. After a stiff fight the Russians were compelled to fall back. Reenforced, they returned and drove the Germans out. At 2 o'clock in the afternoon the Germans, supported by an armored train, counterattacked and again occupied Kalusz. But they were once more expelled with heavy losses. Sanguinary house-to-house fighting, mostly with the bayonet, ensued until 6 o'clock in the evening.
On July 13, 1917, it was reported that there was considerable rifle firing on the lower Lomnitza, between the confluence with the Dniester River and Kalusz. In the neighborhood of the town of Kalusz the Austrians made two attacks from the direction of Mosciska and near Gartenel and attempted to dislodge the Russian troops occupying Kalusz, but were repulsed. The Russians occupied, after fighting, the village of Novica, southwest of Kalusz. Heavy rains prevented extensive fighting at other points south of the Dniester. Near Dvinsk and Smorgon lively (p. 440) fighting activity continued. In eastern Galicia the gunfire was lively only in the Brzezany sector.
Heavy rains continued and swelled the rivers Lomnitza and Dniester and the small streams running into them. Naturally this also affected the condition of the roads. In spite of the unfavorable weather there was considerable fighting on July 14, 1917. Southwest of Kalusz the Austrians several times attacked troops which were occupying the Dobrovdiany-Novica front. All the attacks were repulsed. As a result of the battles in this region the Russians captured sixteen officers and more than 600 of the rank and file. In the region of Lodziany (eighteen miles southwest of Kalusz) as the final result of a series of stubborn attacks Russian troops drove the Austrians from their positions and took more than 1,000 prisoners and a number of guns. At the crossing of the river Lomnitza, near Perehinsko, the Austrians launched an offensive with the object of throwing Russian detachments back to the right bank of the Lomnitza. The Russian offensive on the Slivkiasen front met with stubborn resistance.