Russian prisoners captured during the siege of Przemyśl (© IWM Q 55049)

100 Years Ago Today: Russians ousted from Przemyśl

Posted on on 03 June 2015
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German and Austro-Hungarian forces recaptured the fortress town of Przemyśl in southern Poland on June 3rd 1915.

The armies of the Central Powers had advanced steadily eastwards since surprising the Russians with an offensive between the towns of Gorlice and Tarnów a month earlier.

Their return to Przemyśl marked a dramatic reversal of fortunes on the Eastern Front of the First World War.

The city lay in what was then the Austro-Hungarian province of Galicia.

After a four-month siege, Russia had forced Austria-Hungary into a humiliating surrender of Przemyśl on March 22nd 1915, raising the threat of an advance towards the heartland of the Habsburg Empire.

German troops, moved from the Western Front to reinforce Austria, threw back the Russians with the launch of the Gorlice-Tarnów offensive on May 2nd.

The city of Lemberg (now Lviv in Ukraine) was also back in the hands of the Central Powers by the end of June 1915.

In August, Warsaw fell to the Germans as Tsar Nicholas II's armies prepared for a strategic withdrawal (the 'Great Retreat') from what was then Russian-ruled Poland to avoid the risk of being encircled.

Sources: Wikipedia/various

Images courtesy of the Imperial War Museum © IWM (Q 55049)

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News