Russia on the Eastern Front

Heavy fighting raged between German and Russian forces in March 1916 near Lake Naroch in modern-day Belarus. A Russian offensive, which would last for 12 days, was underway to relieve pressure on French forces on the Western Front. On the night of March 22, German Lieutenant Hans Kondruss of the 75th Reserve Infantry Division was at his place on the front lines when a heavy Russian bombardment began at about 11 pm. A half hour later the fire grew even heavier, made bitterly worse by the inclusion of friendly fire. A German officer mistakenly believed an area still in German hands had been overrun. It was a frightening experience, for the Russian shells were often duds, lessening the impact of the barrage. Yet the incoming German rounds were much more reliable. Their position, the Friemel Heights, shook with the power of the incoming gunfire.

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