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By H. H. von Mellenthin
[See Map of Balkan Front, Page 39]
HE principal event of the period rated when estimated at 400,000 men. which forms the subject of this As for its equipment, the infantry is review-up to the middle of Sep- armed with Mannlicher rifles dating from
tember—was the intervention of 1893, 6.5 millimeter calibre; the artillery Rumania on the side of the Allies. with Krupp guns, model 1908, 7.5 centiRumania's declaration of war against meter calibre, and 12-centimeter howitAustria-Hungary, with a statement of
The machine guns are constructed the reasons for her action, came on Aug.
after the Maxim type. 28. Germany promptly declared war on On the opposing side considerable Rumania; Bulgaria and Turkey followed Turkish forces are at hand for the new suit a few days later.
campaign. Since the conclusion of the Rumania's entrance into the war has, Dardanelles enterprise of the Allies the besides its military importance, an eco
Turkish main forces which had been nomic significance. Economically Ru
massed partly at Constantinople and mania is the loser. Through her commer partly in the new big military camp at cial agreement with the Central Powers Tchatalja, west-northwest of the capital, she had garnered in enormous profits.
have not been heard from. It was said Naturally the Central Powers on their that they were being kept in readiness for part, cut off as they are from the outside the event of an allied attempt to break world by the British blockade, had gained
through from Saloniki in order to cut the advantages from the possibility of receiv communication between the Central Powing goods from Rumania-advantages
ers and Turkey,established by the Serbian which are not to be underestimated. How campaign. Such, too, would be the ultiever, the abundance of this year's Ger mate aim of a Bulgarian invasion by the man harvest more than counterbalances Russians and Rumanians. The realizathe stopping of the Rumanian source. tion of this aim, however, would for
The military significance of Rumania's Turkey be the gravest blow, and the action lies primarily in the intention of
Turks may be expected to exert their the Allies to extend still further the gen
entire available strength to avert it. eral offensive on all theatres of war. The
The Rumanian Attack Rumanian offensive has two possibilities: The Rumanians opened attack even
1. The forcing of the Transylvanian before the declaration of war by proceedAlps, which form the continuation of ing against Rotenturm Pass, Toerzburg the Carpathians, and the invasion of Pass, and Toemoes Pass, in the TransylHungary either from the southeast or vanian Alps. At the same time a Russosouth.
Rumanian army attacked the front of 2. An invasion of Bulgaria from the the Austro-Hungarian Archduke Heir north, in conjunction with the Russian Apparent, Karl Franz Josef, in the forces for whom the Rumanian border Southeastern Carpathians, at Toelgyes was opened with the declaration of war. Pass and Bekas Pass. The result was
For both cases the condition and the the withdrawal of the forces of the Censtrength of the Rumanian Army consti tral Powers, in accordance with the gentute the decisive factor. The numerical eral basic idea of the whole war-to rest strength of that army is hardly under on the defensive at certain points and to
take the offensive on other fronts desig although Rumanian troops had had no nated therefor.
actual part in that conflict. The Rumanins advanced at three The border was crossed by three points: Far to the west, near the “ Iron columns—in the east, in the centre, and Gate," where the Czerna empties into the in the west. Danube, Orsova was occupied. In the
1. The western column of invasion adcentre they pushed through the Transyl vanced against the Danube bridgehead vanian Alps from the south in the direc Turtukan. German troops took a part tion of Kronstadt and Hermannstadt. in this advance. The bridgehead was The open Hungarian city of Kronstadt constructed to defend the crossing of the (Brasso) fell into their hands. They ad Danube to Oltenita, on the left bank. vanced as far as the Gyorgyo Mountains From Oltenita a railway runs directly to north of the town. Kronstadt is of mili- Bucharest. The distance between Oltenita tary importance as an intersection, being and the Rumanian capital is sixty kilothe converging point of several lines lead meters as the crow flies. ing across the mountains into Rumania.
2. The advance of the central column The city had, erefore, been fortified in
was directed against the fortress of former times, but is today completely Silistria. This stronghold, too, was taken. open.
3. The advance of the easternmost col- Thirdly, there was the Rumanian ad
umn was aimed primarily against the vance from the east, across the wooded
fortress of Dobritsch, (Hadshi-OgluCarpathians against the Ersik heights, Basadshik.) the Rumanians being aided here by Rus
On the left wing and in the centre the sian forces.
Bulgarian troops are strengthened by The withdrawal of the Austro-Hunga Germans, on the right by Turks. Rusrian lines to previously selected positions sian forces, on the other hand, are aiding was based upon the military advisability the Rumanian right flank. of shortening the front. A front running
On Sept. 3 Dobritsch fell. Three days along the whole frontier, from Dorna
later the Danube bridgehead Turtukan Watra before the Borgo Pass of the
had fallen, and on Sept. 9 the fortress of wooded Carpathians to Orsova, at the
Silistria was stormed. On Sept. 7 the “ Iron Gate,” would have been 600 kilo
Rumanian Black Sea ports of Baltchik, meters long. The defense of all frontier
Kowarra, and Kali-Akra were occupied. passes in south and east was hardly pos
Turtukan is to be regarded as an adsible; to hold the entire 600-kilometer front would have presented enormous
vanced position of the Rumanian capital numerical difficulties. The present plan
and principal fortress, Bucharest. It is
at this point that the great Moltke conof the Austro-Hungarian high command
sidered that the Danube could best be is to oppose a further advance of the
crossed. enemy on the line that has been reduced to less than half its original length.
With the occupation of Turtukan and
Silistria, the crossing of the Danube at The Austro-Hungarian troops also have
two important points of the Dobrudja is taken up new positions in the Csik Moun
within reach of the attackers' guns. tains, withdrawing to the heights west of
Oltenita, on the northern bank of the the Csik Szerada.
river opposite Turtukan, already is under The Teutonic Offensive
bombardment. And from Oltenita a railOn Sept. 2 the Central Powers and way leads directly to Bucharest. The their allies opened the offensive against Rumanians only have left the second Rumania from the south. Bulgarian, Danube bridgehead, Czernavoda, east of German, and Turkish troops crossed the Silistria. This bridgehead is connected Dobrudja frontier and entered Rumania. by rail with the principal Rumanian port, The Southern Dobrudja forms the ter Constanza, on the Black Sea. ritory which Bulgaria had to cede to The entire land defense of Rumania is Rumania at the peace of Bucharest, Aug. organized after the so-called central sys10, 1913, after the second Balkan war tem. Bucharest is the principal fortress,
find.. Rokitnya Swamp <Lubiezof
dagora Larga Oknitza
Piatra & Roman
POSITION BEFORE THE PRESENT DRIVE, AND DOTTED LINE THAT ON SEPT. 15
the pulse of that system; and, as its
werp. The present war, however, has considerably reduced the value of fortresses.
The Russo-Rumanian troops have begun to retreat northward, and thus have opened for the attackers the cross
ing of the Danube. At this writing
an official statement from the Berlin War Office reporting Field Marshal Mackensen's right the line from Rasova across the Southern Dobrudja through Cobadin to Tuzla, a line about twelve miles from the Czernawoda-Constanza stretch protected by the historic rampart, Trajan's Wall.
The development up to date of the offensive by the combined Bulgarian, German, and Turkish forces under the chief command of Field Marshal von Mackensen against Rumania from the south already has had its effects upon the military situation on the northern front. The Rumanian advance in Transylvania, after first slackening, has now
to a standstill at Sepsi-SzentGyorgy, slightly to the north of Kronstadt. The shortening of the AustroHungarian line has been carried into effect.
The military expert of The London Times already has asserted that Rumania must be “ saved." The rescue, he emphasizes, must be effected upon the main theatres of war, for a rambling about in the whole world would be folly for the Allies. Rumania will remain an incidental theatre of war, even though the campaign in that country is in close military connection with the great Russian offensive.
Russian Offensive Fails The grand offensive ” of the Russians has meanwhile resolved itself to two operations on separate fronts.
When on June 5, in accordance with the allied military conference in Paris, the great general offensive began on the eastern front, ushering in the united attack on all main theatres of war, the task mapped out for the Russians was the “ rolling up” of the entire Teuton front through a break in its southern line, from Baronovitchi, north of the Pripet Swamps, down to the Rumanian border of the Bukowina. This general strategic idea of the Russian drive was analogous to that of the Anglo-French offensive on the western front, which also was aimed at the “rolling up” of the entire German front,
But the Russians have progressed
neither from the lower Stokhod north of the Sarny-Kovel railway, nor against this line from the south, from the Lutsk region. The new Russian attacks on the lower Stokhod thus far can be regarded only as demonstrations. Nor has the advance from Brody in a westerly direction even begun.
Thus, all that is left at present of the “grand offensive" in the east is the fighting in the region between the Zlota Lipa and the Dniester and the advance across the Carpathians. The battles on these two theatres of war are extremely violent and in themselves of great strategical importance, but they are in no inner military connection whatsoever with the task originally set to the “grand offensive."
The battles in the Carpathians have completely lost their original tendency. They gravitate toward the Northern Rumanian front, which stretches from the wooded Carpathians down to the “ Iron Gate." The result of the Carpathian battles, too, is influenced by the course of the campaign in Rumania.
Thus we have left of the “grand offensive” really only the developments between the Dniester and the Zlota Lipa. These are described by Russian military experts as a “ Russian general attack." The general attack is aimed at Lemberg from the south. After crossing the River Koropiec and occupying positions in the terrain of that river, the Zlota Lipa and the Khowanka, the Russians reached Podhajze and occupied Maryampol, on the Dniester. By this operation the Russian left wing (army group of General Letchitsky) had effected a junction with the centre (army group of General Schterbatscheff) on the comparatively short front Stanislau-Maryampol.
From this line the advance on Lemberg was continued. It was aimed primarily against Halicz, the important railhead of the communication with Lemberg.
On Sept. 6 the Russians had won some ground in the direction of Halicz. In the battle of Sept. 7 and 8, between the Zlota Lipa and Dniester, they attempted to seize Halicz by means of swift successive
attacks against Buraztyn, (about seventeen kilometers northwest of
Halicz, not far from the railway to Lem
Fighting on the Somme berg.)
The break which was to usher in the Had the Russians succeeded in break
rolling up” process on the western ing through there they would have
front was to be effected on the line gained, with the possession of the city, Peronne-Combles-Bapaume. The stormthe control of the railway as well. The
ing columns of the Allies have in the attempt was frustrated " by a cleverly
course of the period under discussion remapped out and as cleverly executed
gained their unity of action in the vaplan of defense on the part of General
rious sectors of the 45-kilometer front Count von Bothmer," in the words of the
extending from north of Thiepval down official German War Office statement.
to Vermandovillers. The German firstIn the same report the highest praise line positions were battered to pieces, the was expressed for the Turks' fighting second lines were stormed, and even secon Count Bothmer's front.
tions of the third-line system were conSince them the Russian
advance quered. against Lemberg has been-temporarily,
The British are operating north of the at least_discontinued.
Somme; in the centre, at the point of Field Marshal General von Hindenburg their junction, French and British cohas been called from the east front to operate, and the allied right wing, south become Chief of the German General of the Somme, is held by the French. Staff of the Army in the Field, succeed After careful artillery preparation the ing General von Falkenhayn.
Allies are attacking alternately on the Simultaneously came the appointment left, in the centre, and on the right. of General Ludendorff, Hindenburg's Thus, on Sept. 2 the centre advanced to former Chief of Staff, as Quartermaster the line Ginchy-Guillemont-Combles-Le General. This post once before received Forest-Clery, and on Sept. 4 the French a significance quite out of proportion on their right wing pushed from the line with its usual functions. In peace time, . running from Barleux to south of Chaulfrom 1881 until 1888, a Quartermaster nes as far as Soyécourt, the outskirts of General was the "right-hand man
Berny, the northern edge of Deniecourt, Field Marshal Count Moltke, then Chief and into Vermandovillers and Chilly. At of the General Staff of the Army, and the moment of writing the abandonment was in the absence of the latter Acting of Deniecourt is admitted by the Berlin Chief of the General Staff. General War Office. Ludendorff will be Hindenburg's right Sept. 4 saw the beginning of the battle hand.
for Ginchy, on the Anglo-German front. The fact that these two men have been On the following day the French adsimultaneously taken from the immedi vanced their lines north of the Somme to ate command on the front and intrusted the region east of Le Forest. With the with the chief direction of the whole
occupation of the village of Ommiecourt war, as far as the German arms and op the French lines on both sides of the erations are concerned, indicates the
river were straightened out. On Sept. 9 seriousness of the entire war situation. the British attacked on a front of 6,000
The new army chief, after personally meters from Foureaux Wood to Leuze inspecting the military situation in the Wood; all of Ginchy was taken by them. West, has effected a regrouping of that Two days later the French progressed front. The front as a whole has been as far as the Béthune-Peronne highway. divided into three main sections, com On Sept. 15 the British took part of the manded, respectively, by Field Marshal Bouleaux Wood, High Wood, (Foureaux General Duke Albrecht von Württemberg, Wood,) Flers, and Martinpuich, (on the Field Marshal General Crown Prince Rup
Albert-Pozières-Bapaume) thus precht of Bavaria, and the German Crown seizing all the ground between the region Prince. The regrouping is analogous to northwest of Combles and the Béthune the changes made on the eastern front. road as far as Courcelette.