Russian Force, 50,000
German Forces, 100,000
While the Russians were being driven out of East Prussia, a German Army, commanded by General Gallwitz, had invaded Russia and aimed a sudden blow at Przasnysz, a town lying some 50 miles north of Warsaw. If this position could be taken, the Germans would have no difficulty in cutting the railway between Warsaw and Petrograd.
On February 24, 1915, the Germans stormed the town, which was garrisoned by a force of 40,000 infantry, with some cavalry in support. Przasnysz was evacuated the next day, the Russians making an orderly retreat and contesting every foot of the ground.
One Russian division held a ridge southwest of the town for 36 hours against the attacks of four German divisions. Apprised of the danger, Grand Duke Nicholas dispatched a body of Russian raw recruits to the scene.
Lacking rifles, and armed only with bayonets and hand grenades, these raw recruits heroically charged the German columns. A desperate hand-to-hand combat followed. In the end, the Russians triumphed.
The seasoned German troops fled in headlong retreat before those raw recruits, never stopping until after they had reached the German border. The Russians claimed 11,000 prisoners in this engagement.
General Gallwitz, having meanwhile strengthened his army, on March 8th advanced again in the direction of Przasnysz, but only to be repulsed. For ten days, from March 13, 1915 to March 23, 1915, a determined battle raged round about Jednovozez, no fewer than 46 assaults taking place. The casualties on both sides were heavy, but in the end the Germans were driven back.
German Retreat from Ossowietz
After his defeat in the winter battles along the Mazurian Lakes, General Sievers had
been deposed from his command and three new Russian corps, 150,000 strong, had been brought to the defense of Fort Grodno. The ranks of Sievers' decimated corps had also been filled up. T...