Hello to all
; an interesting point in this war.......................
The Russian intelligence service prior to the Gorlice breakthrough!
The Russian intelligence service before and during the War was considered extremely efficient and it was a known fact that she paid great sums to maintain her numerous agents in Germany during the War. For this reason it seemed almost unbelievable that she was unaware of the concentration of General Mackensen's Eleventh Army in the vicinity of Gorlice.
The author was the former head of the intelligence service of the Southwestern front with General Iwanov, who commanded the Russian Third Army, which was Mackensen's objective. Although he left that detail one month before the attack, the author states that the Third Army had no Russian agents behind the hostile front but depended on St. Petersburg for all its intelligence information from agent sources. General Iwanov, was not satisfied with this method of securing his information.
Efforts were made by the Third Army to organize intelligence agents for this purpose and large sums of money were allocated but agents were scarce and hard to find.
Efforts to determine whether the Germans intended to invade the Carpathian area to assist the Austrians resulted in information which arrived too late to be of value since General Linsingen had already arrived in the Carpathians. The German intelligence bureau in Bucharest permitted erroneous and misleading information to be spread with the result that information received by the Russians was worthless.
Both the local and army intelligence service failed prior to the Gorlice drive. Information was received of alleged German advances from so many divergent areas that a true picture became impossible. The Russians were aware of the threat against their Third Army but the fault of their actions to meet this threat lay with the command higher than that of the Third Army.
The breakthrough offensive at Gorlice!
During the spring of 1915 after the loss of Przemysl, the high command of the German and Austrian forces feared another strong Russian attempt to break through the Carpathian front and invade Hungary. This fear caused the Austro-German commanders to agree on an offensive south of the Vistula between Gorlice and Tarnow to force the Russians from the Carpathian front as far as the Lupkow Pass and thereby also relive pressure on the Eastern Front. The final objective of this offensive was to paralyze the Russian offensive power for a long time. General Mackensen was assigned the command for this offensive.
Concentration of the forces was rapidly carried out so that by 2 April the troops were ready in the vicinity of Krakow. Surprise was desired. To assure surprise the German officers making the reconnaissance wore Austrian caps. The Russians were organized in several lines in depth, the trenches were visible from a distance and the obstacles were not as strong as those on the Western Front. Air reconnaissance revealed a second defense system about 4 miles east of the first line.
The attack started on 2 May after intensive artillery preparation. The author lists the units participating in the offensive and describes the attack which progressed rapidly resulting in a complete victory and a breakthrough along the entire front of the German Eleventh Army. Pursuit was started to prevent a closing of the broken front.
On 3 May General Mackensen, anticipating resistance in the Russian rear areas ordered his attack along the entire front. To reach the Russian Carpathian rear by the shortest route he made his main effort on the south by reinforcing that flank and assigning General Emmich to command same. The maneuver was successful, the German and Austro-Hungarian forces reaching the Wisloka River and making the Lupkow Pass untenable for the Russians. The breakthrough went beyond the Russian third line defense and the German advance continued until it ran into the defensive position of Przemysl. This offensive represented one of the greatest demonstrations of cooperation between infantry and artillery, not only in the initial attack but also in the pursuit.
Sources: DER RUSSISCHE NACHRICHTENDIENST VOR DEM GORLICE-DURCHBRUCH. [The Russian intelligence service prior to the Gorlice breakthrough.] General Noskoff.
AUS GROSZER ZEIT VOR ZWANZIG JAHREN. DIE DURCHBRUCHSSCHLACHT VON GORLICE. [Twenty years ago. The breakthrough offensive at Gorlice.] Lieut. General Ziethen, Retired.
Periodical Articles – Catalog. RML Nº 59. Dec 1935.
Cheers. Raúl M
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.