Memoirs & Diaries - Hungarian Account of the Brusilov Offensive, June 1916

Alexei Brusilov An anonymous account of Russian incursions into Hungarian territory during the June 1916 Brusilov Offensive led by Alexei Brusilov

In the Bukovina the fighting continues to be very stubborn, especially on the western bank of the Moldava and between the Rumanian and Hungarian frontiers.  The Russian objective in fighting these battles is to establish a line which will enable them to proceed against Hungary.

The Russians are only employing their Caucasian divisions, and these are divided into small reconnoitring units, sometimes three hundred and sometimes a thousand strong.  The smaller ones, under N.C.O.'s, advance along the narrow mountain passes and paths, and when they encounter enemy detachments, whatever their strength, they attack them, thus drawing as many troops as possible from the other sectors to these wild regions.

One of these Russian units succeeded in crossing the Hungarian frontier and in penetrating into the country for about twenty miles.  They encountered, however, a superior force, and after a regular battle lasting for many hours withdrew, only to appear at another point the next day.

This seemingly unimportant incursion into Hungarian territory by a small band of Russian cavalrymen set many thousands of people on the move, and the refugees are still pouring southwards.  Since then similar raids have taken place every day, and now the Russians appear sometimes in three different places simultaneously.

It was noticed that in these minor engagements the Cossacks put their wounded comrades on their horses and took them away with them.  In some cases they even carried off their dead.

The assault on the Kapul heights in this region was conducted in a novel manner.  On one side of the heights the infantry attacked in columns, and on the other the cavalry dashed up.  These attacks were particularly fierce.

The infantry were almost as quick in gaining the summits as the cavalry, the latter having at times to climb steep places, and offering naturally a much better target than the infantry.  In fact, Russian cavalrymen have shown marvellous aptitude in the fighting in this most difficult region.

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

An "incendiary shell" is an artillery shell packed with highly flammable material, such as magnesium and phosphorous, intended to start and spread fire when detonated.

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