Primary Documents - Alexander von Krobatin on the Opening of the Battle of Gorlice-Tarnow, 2 May 1915

Alexander von Krobatin Reproduced below is the reaction of the Austro-Hungarian Minister of War Alexander von Krobatin to the sweeping success of Austro-German troops at the start of the Gorlice-Tarnow Offensive which began on 2 May 1915, commanded by August von Mackensen.

Click here to read von Mackensen's account of the opening of the offensive.  Click here to read the German press statement issued in the offensive's aftermath.  Click here to read the view of Russian Army Commander-in-Chief Grand Duke Nikolai Click here to read the view of the British military observer assigned to the Russian Army, Stanley Washburn.

The Opening of the Gorlice-Tarnow Offensive by Austro-Hungarian Minister of War Alexander von Krobatin, 13 May 1915

Vienna, May 13th

From January to the middle of April the Russians vainly exerted themselves to break through to Hungary, but they completely failed with heavy losses.  Thereupon the time had come to crush the enemy in a common attack with a full force of the combined troops of both empires.

A victory at Tarnow and Gorlice freed West Galicia from the enemy and caused the Russian fronts on the Nida and in the Carpathians to give way.

In a ten days' battle the victorious troops beat the Russian Third and Eighth Armies to annihilation, and quickly covered the ground from the Dunajec and Beskids to the San River - 130 kilometres of territory.

From May 2nd to 12th the prisoners taken numbered 143,500, while 100 guns and 350 machine guns were captured, besides the booty already mentioned.  We suppressed small detachments of the enemy scattered in the woods in the Carpathians.

Near Odvzechowa the entire staff of the Russian Forty-eighth Division of Infantry, including General Kornilov, surrendered.  The best indication of the confusion of the Russian Army is the fact that our Ninth Corps captured in the last few days Russians of fifty-one various regiments.

The quantity of captured Russian war material is piled up and has not yet been enumerated.

North of the Vistula the Austro-Hungarian troops are advancing across Stopnica.  The German troops have captured Kielce.

East of Uzsok Pass the German and Hungarian troops took several Russian positions on the heights and advanced to the south of Turka, capturing 4,000 prisoners.  An attack is proceeding here and in the direction of Skole.

In southeast Galicia strong hostile troops are attacking across Horodenka.

Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. III, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923

A "box barrage" was an artillery bombardment centred upon a small area.

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