Lake Naroch Offensive: March 18 – April 1916
The Lake Naroch Offensive was fought between March and April 1916. The Russian army had numerical superiority, but they lost. They had severe losses. The Russian army was led by Alexei Kuropatkin and Alexei Evert. They had at their disposal: 480.000 soldiers and 1.000 guns. On the other side, the German army was led by Hermann von Eichhorn. He had at his disposal: Tenth Army, 57 battalions and 400 guns. However, the Russians lost 122.000 soldiers. According to some sources, the number may be up to 150.000 soldiers. The Germans lost 20.000 soldiers.
The Lake Naroch Offensive was launched because French General Joffre requested. He hoped that the Germans will transfer more soldiers to the East, after the attack on Verdun. Nicholas II chose this place because there 50.000 Germans faced 480.000 Russians.
At the beginning, the Russians 2nd Army had 8 army corps. Later, they received two more corps. They also received several cavalry divisions. All of them faced 4 German Infantry divisions and 2 Landwehr Infantry divisions. However, the Germans had several divisions in their second line.
The artillery bombardment, by the Russians lasted 2 days. But, the artillery wasn’t precise, so the biggest part of Germans artillery stayed intact. Later, the Russian’s attack included crossing the river in groups, so they were easy targets for German machine guns. They had minor advance, but they didn’t cause any serious damage to the German defense. The German defenses were well-organized and fortified. In April 1916, the Russian offensive petered. The territory they won was lost by the German counterattacks. On March 21, there was the second attack, but it was also unsuccessful.