The Battle of Galicia was a World War I military engagement between the Imperial Russian Army and the Austro-Hungarian forces. It was fought from August 23 to September 10, 1914, in Galicia, present Ukraine, during the first month of the war. It was the first major battle of the Eastern Front.
To protect Serbia, Russia had declared war on Austria-Hungary on August 1, 1914. Fearing a Russian attack, the Austro-Hungarian Army invaded Polish territory under Russian control. To counteract this offensive, the Russian Army launched an assault on the Habsburg kingdom of Galicia, which was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This Russian move forced the Austrians to divert their forces in Poland and to head south to face the Russians.
Led by General Nikolai J Ivanov, the Russian forces consisted of the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 8th Armies, totalling 1.200 million men. The Austrain commander-in-chief, Conrad von Hötzendorf, had 960,000 soldiers at his disposal, organized into three armies: 1st, 3rd, and 4th, reinforced by seven cavalry divisions.
Although the Austrian 1st Army, commanded by Viktor Dankl, attacked and defeated the Russian 4th Army, the Russians forces managed to drive the Austro-Hungarians out of Galicia after eighteen days of fierce fighting. Thus, the Russian Army occupied Eastern Galicia until 1915, when they were beaten and forced to retreat by the Imperial German Army.