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The Battle of Lodz

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November 11 to December 6, 1914

Eastern Front

Heading Level Two

The Battle of Ivangorod, the German and Austro-Hungarian advance and retreat in Polish Russia and Galicia, had left the combatants on the same lines they held in later September. On the right wing of the Russian line, the Russian First Army under General Paul von Rennekampf had advanced in conjunction with the Second Army, and was spread on a long line facing East Prussia. The Russians intended to continue their successful counterattack by driving to the west with the Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Armies, taking Germany's mineral-rich and industrial region of Silesia.

As they had since the beginning of the war, the Germans knew of Russian plans from radio transmissions. To counter the Russian offensive, German Generals Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff planned an attack on the northern end of the Russian line, where the Russian First and Second Armies met. From November 4 through 10, the German Ninth Army moved by rail from its position south of the city of Lodz in Polish Russia, facing four Russian armies, to the west and north, into Germany. After redeployment, the Army was positioned along the Russian border northwest of Lodz, and faced the First Russian Army. Austro-Hungarian forces moved into the positions formerly held by the Germans.

On November 11, the German Ninth Army under August von Mackensen attacked. Over the course of five days, they pushed the dispersed Russian First Army back 50 miles, drove between it and the Russian Second Army, and turned the right flank of the Second Army, pressing it back on three sides against the city of Lodz.

The Russians had begun their advance on Silesia on November 14, but by the 16th, the Russian general staff, realizing the dangerous position of the First and Second Armies, halted the offensive, and moved the Fifth Army north to assist the Second Army. As Mackensen began his encirclement of the Russian Second Army, the Fifth arrived on November 19, in time to bolster the defense and disappoint Mackensen. From the north, additional units of the Russian First Army moved south and in turn threatened German units with encirclement on the 23rd.

On December 6, the Russians evacuated Lodz, and much of western Poland. They abandoned their plans for an invasion of Silesia. General Rennenkampf was relieved of his command of the First Army.


In the battle, the Germans took 136,000 prisoners. Russians casualties, 90,000. The Germans lost 35,000 men.



Events contemporaneous with The Battle of Lodz

Start Date End Date View
1914-08-02 1914-11-11 Turkey Enters the War
1914-08-04 1914-11-24 Germany Conquers Belgium
1914-08-11 1914-12-09 Austria-Hungary Invasion of Serbia, 1914
1914-09-18 1914-11-24 Race to the Sea
1914-10-19 1914-11-22 Battle of Flanders (Yser and Ypres)
1914-11-02 1914-11-30 Turkey and Russia Clash
1914-11-11 1914-11-11 Turkey counter-declares war on Russia, Britain, and France