Opposite the German and Austro-Hungarians, the Russian defensive positions are held by 4th Army to the west straddling the Vistula, 3rd Army in the centre, and 13th Army to the east, with the Guard and II Siberian Corps, recently pulled from northwestern Poland, in reserve. Overall the Russians number 33 1/2 infantry and 6 1/2 cavalry divisions, most of which are deployed between the Vistula and the Bug Rivers. Here it is vital that the Russian forces hold, as losing control of the Ivangorod-Lublin-Cholm rail line in particular would inhibit the evacuation of Russian forces still west of the Vistula.
After a preliminary artillery bombardment made marginally less effective by morning haze preventing accurate targetting, the Guard and XXII Reserve Corps launch the primary assault west of the Wieprz River near Krasnostaw. Here the entirely of the first Russian line is captured along with six thousand prisoners, and by nightfall the Germans have penetrated to the reserve Russian trenches. East of the Wieprz, parts of the Austro-Hungarian VI Corps cross the swamps of the Wolica river and come up against the main Russian positions. To the west, the Austro-Hungarian 4th Army attacks at 11am, but are largely held up in bitter fighting.
|The German offensive in southern Poland, July 16th to 31st, 1915.|