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Battle of Borynya
Battle of Borynya
Conflict: World War I
Date: 1 September 1914
Place: Borynya, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine
Outcome: Russian victory
Combatants

Flag of Russia.png Russian Empire

Flag of Austria-Hungary.png Austria-Hungary

Commanders

Imperial Russian Army.jpg Alexei Brusilov
Imperial Russian Army.jpg Nikolay Ruzsky

Flag of Austria-Hungary.png Hermann Kovess
Flag of Austria-Hungary.png Rudolf von Brudermann
Flag of Austria-Hungary.png Eduard von Bohm-Ermolli

Strength

Imperial Russian Army.jpg 3rd Army
Imperial Russian Army.jpg 8th Army

Flag of Austria-Hungary.png 3rd Army
Flag of Austria-Hungary.png 2nd Army

Casualties

5,000+ losses

6,000+ losses

The Battle of Borynya was a battle between the Russian Empire and Austria-Hungary which was fought in the Carpathian town of Borynya (in present-day Lviv Oblast, Ukraine, 5.5 miles east of the Polish border, 100 miles southwest of Lviv, and 95 miles west of Ivano-Frankivsk).

The Battle of Galicia saw the Imperial Russian Army launch an offensive against the Austro-Hungarian army along the Eastern Galician front, with Alexei Brusilov's 8th Army and Nikolay Ruzsky's 3rd Army spearheading the assaults on the southern front. They faced Herman Kovess' army group, consisting of Rudolf von Brudermann's 3rd Army and Eduard von Bohm-Ermolli's 2nd Army, who formed a defensive line from Lemberg (Lviv) in the northwest to Halicz (Halych) in the southwest. In late August, the Russians attacked the Austro-Hungarians along the front in the Battle of Gnila Lipa, driving the Austro-Hungarians back from this position. On 1 September, the pursuing Russians attacked 24 resting Austro-Hungarian regiments at the village of Borynya in the Carpathians, bringing up 24 of their own regiments to attack the Austro-Hungarians.

The first Russian regiments deployed were the 221st Roslav Infantry Regiment, the 95th Krasnoyarsk Infantry Regiment, the 24th Simbirsk Infantry Regiment, the 15th Schusselburg Infantry Regiment, the 26th Moghilev Infantry Regiment, the 88th Petrov Infantry Regiment, and the 2nd Volga Regiment. These first regiments assaulted the Austro-Hungarian forces in the town, but the Austro-Hungarians put up stiff resistance in Borynya, holding back several Russian attacks. The 2nd Volga Regiment secured the key heights to the south of the town, using the defensive works and machine-guns to attack the Austro-Hungarians from the flank and inflict severe casualties on their advancing foes. The Austro-Hungarians responded with several costly counterattacks targeting the hill, which became the site of much fierce fighting as the Austro-Hungarians repeatedly came close to taking the hill, only to then disengage once the defenders were suppressed and redeploy to the embattled center of town. After a long period of intense fighting, both sides withdrew their regiments and sent in fresh troops to take their places.

Several Austro-Hungarian soldiers after being killed in a grenade blast

The next wave consisted of the 159th Guria Infantry Regiment, the 55th Podolia Infantry Regiment, the 125th Kursk Infantry Regiment, the 141st Mozhaisk Infantry Regiment, the 30th Poltava Infantry Regiment, the 37th Ekaterinburg Infantry Regiment, the 112th Ural Infantry Regiment, and the 106th Ufa Infantry Regiment. These regiments were also met with heavy resistance, and the 106th Ufa replaced the 2nd Volga as the defenders of the vital hill. The Russians began to launch futile charges down the hill and into the town, where the Austro-Hungarian troops had taken shelter from the cold and the Russians in wooden cabins, where they acquired cover, yet were also ripe targets for Russian grenadiers who lobbed grenades into the over-packed, small rooms of the cabins.

Russian troops attacking Borynya

With the Russian assaults unsuccessful, but Austro-Hungarian losses mounting, both sides again substituted their embattled regiments, this time for the last time. The Russians deployed the 14th Olonetz Infantry Regiment, 109th Volga Infantry Regiment, 53rd Volhynia Infantry Regiment, 159th Guria Infantry Regiment, 142nd Zvenigorod Infantry Regiment, 19th Kostroma Infantry Regiment, 64th Kazan Infantry Regiment, and the 62nd Suzdal Infantry Regiment, and the 14th Olonetz captured the vital heights. This time, the tired Austro-Hungarian troops were unable to defend the church from Russian attacks, and the Russians soon acquired a foothold in the village itself. Russian troops charging down from the heights also pushed into the village, and the Austo-Hungarians were forced back to their artillery positions deeper in the village. Ultimately, with casualties rising to unacceptable levels, the Austro-Hungarian regiments were forced to withdraw, and the Russians were victorious, although they had suffered heavy losses of their own.

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