In the south of Poland, Austrian Chief-of-Staff Conrad von Hoetzendorf launched his own attack northward toward Warsaw ( marked 4 ). The Russians however, had concentrated four fully supplied armies opposite the 39 Divisions of Austrian troops, and on August 30 they opened their offensive ( marked 5 ). By the third week in September, Hoetzendorf ordered a general retreat. and the province of Galicia was abandoned by the Austrians at a cost of over 130,000 casualties! The year ended with limited attacks toward Warsaw by Mackensen and Russian probing assaults into the Carpathian passes.

In the south of Poland, Austrian Chief-of-Staff Conrad von Hoetzendorf launched his own attack northward toward Warsaw ( marked 4 ). The Russians however, had concentrated four fully supplied armies opposite the 39 Divisions of Austrian troops, and on August 30 they opened their offensive ( marked 5 ). By the third week in September, Hoetzendorf ordered a general retreat. and the province of Galicia was abandoned by the Austrians at a cost of over 130,000 casualties! The year ended with limited attacks toward Warsaw by Mackensen and Russian probing assaults into the Carpathian passes.

27th March 1944: Three German soldiers covered in snow and ice during winter on the Eastern front. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

27th March 1944: Three German soldiers covered in snow and ice during winter on the Eastern front. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

November 1941: A German despatch rider is bogged down in the mud on a Russian battlefield after continuous rainfall. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Following their failure to break through during Operation Citadel at Kursk, the German forces on the Eastern Front found themselves facing new, unexpectedly strong, Soviet attacks. For the most senior commanders this meant carefully marshalling their remaining capabilities so that they could maintain a fighting withdrawal, often responding quickly to events on the battlefield.

For the men on the ground there were new realities to the type of warfare they faced. The long periods of confident advance and success were at an end. Now, not only were they falling back, but they regularly faced the prospect of being encircled.

As fighting units the casualty rate was now beginning to be seriously felt. The experienced men had to adjust to working with replacements and men brought forward from the rear areas. Obergefreiter Walter Berger, was to remember this period in late summer 1943:

In the south of Poland, Austrian Chief-of-Staff Conrad von Hoetzendorf launched his own attack northward toward Warsaw ( marked 4 ). The Russians however, had concentrated four fully supplied armies opposite the 39 Divisions of Austrian troops, and on August 30 they opened their offensive ( marked 5 ). By the third week in September, Hoetzendorf ordered a general retreat. and the province of Galicia was abandoned by the Austrians at a cost of over 130,000 casualties! The year ended with limited attacks toward Warsaw by Mackensen and Russian probing assaults into the Carpathian passes.

27th March 1944: Three German soldiers covered in snow and ice during winter on the Eastern front. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

27th March 1944: Three German soldiers covered in snow and ice during winter on the Eastern front. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

November 1941: A German despatch rider is bogged down in the mud on a Russian battlefield after continuous rainfall. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Following their failure to break through during Operation Citadel at Kursk, the German forces on the Eastern Front found themselves facing new, unexpectedly strong, Soviet attacks. For the most senior commanders this meant carefully marshalling their remaining capabilities so that they could maintain a fighting withdrawal, often responding quickly to events on the battlefield.

For the men on the ground there were new realities to the type of warfare they faced. The long periods of confident advance and success were at an end. Now, not only were they falling back, but they regularly faced the prospect of being encircled.

As fighting units the casualty rate was now beginning to be seriously felt. The experienced men had to adjust to working with replacements and men brought forward from the rear areas. Obergefreiter Walter Berger, was to remember this period in late summer 1943:

…against the Soviet Union, the Germans allotted almost 150 divisions containing a total of about 3,000,000 men. Among these were 19 panzer divisions, and in total the “Barbarossa” force had about 3,000 tanks, 7,000 artillery pieces, and 2,500 aircraft. It was in effect the largest and most powerful invasion force…

…of his German troops from Soviet hands. During the interval of surrender, 1,800,000 German troops (55 percent of the Army of the East) were transferred into the British–U.S. area of control.

In the south of Poland, Austrian Chief-of-Staff Conrad von Hoetzendorf launched his own attack northward toward Warsaw ( marked 4 ). The Russians however, had concentrated four fully supplied armies opposite the 39 Divisions of Austrian troops, and on August 30 they opened their offensive ( marked 5 ). By the third week in September, Hoetzendorf ordered a general retreat. and the province of Galicia was abandoned by the Austrians at a cost of over 130,000 casualties! The year ended with limited attacks toward Warsaw by Mackensen and Russian probing assaults into the Carpathian passes.

27th March 1944: Three German soldiers covered in snow and ice during winter on the Eastern front. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

27th March 1944: Three German soldiers covered in snow and ice during winter on the Eastern front. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

November 1941: A German despatch rider is bogged down in the mud on a Russian battlefield after continuous rainfall. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

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