June 2

This Day in History

World War I

Jun 2, 1915:

Austro-German forces attack Russians at Przemysl

On June 2, 1915, Austro-Hungarian and German troops continue their attacks on the Russian soldiers holding Przemysl (now in Poland), the citadel guarding the northeastern-most point of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Used as the Austrian army headquarters during the first months of World War I, Przemysl was ordered to hold out until the end in the face of the surprisingly effective Russian advance into Austria-Hungary in the fall of 1914. After six months under siege, facing severe food shortages and heavy casualties, the last Austro-Hungarian troops at Przemysl finally relinquished control of the citadel on March 22, 1915.

With their hard-fought victory, Russia's troops had gained a certain measure of control in the much-contested Galician region of Austria and were poised to move into Hungary. This was not to be, however, as the powerful German army stepped in to offer more help to their faltering ally. Over the course of the next several months, Austro-German forces began moving swiftly and aggressively on the Eastern Front, recapturing the passes of the Carpathian Mountains and moving steadily forward into Galicia. On May 25, the Germans announced they had taken some 21,000 Russian prisoners east of the San River; the Russians were soon pushed back toward Przemysl, and battle began there once again.

On June 2, 1915, Austro-German forces were nearing victory against the exhausted Russians at Przemysl; the citadel fell back into the hands of the Central Powers the following day. The recapture of Przemysl effectively marked the end of Russian control in Galicia. As a British observer wrote dismissively of the Russian troops, This army is now a harmless mob.

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