The Battle of Gumbinnen on 20 August 1914 saw the Russian 1st Army under General Paul von Rennenkampf force the withdrawal of German forces in East Prussia. However, the victory at Tannenberg (17 August – 2 September 1914) gave the Germans a viable chance of taking Warsaw. Already by mid October 1914 they had advanced to the Błonie-Pruszków-Piaseczno line (just a few kilometres from Warsaw), but were later pushed back as far as Włocławek. As they retreated bridges, railway tracks and stations were destroyed, which greatly hindered the Russian capacity for resupply and ultimately stalled the counterattack. In November the German Army, reinforced with troops from the French and Belgian front, began its advance towards Łódź. What followed was a bloody, offensive campaign which has been described as ‘the largest manoeuvre battle’ on the Eastern Front (Daszyńska 2011). The Łódź offensive ended in German defeat, as the Russians forced them into a trap and almost completely surrounded the massive German force in the area between Łódź, Koluszki and Brzeziny. However, because of General Rennenkampf’s indecisiveness and lack of military expertise, the German troops escaped, and Rennenkampf and General Scheidemann, commander of the 2nd Army, were subsequently both dismissed (Zalewska et al. 2014: 3-5).