After a series of Russian defeats, General Alexei Brusilov launched an offensive to reclaim territory lost to the Austro-Hungarians and restore Russian military prestige. Despite the reservations of his fellow generals and Tsar Nicholas II, the Russian 8th Army advanced on Lutsk, 4 June 1916. An artillery bombardment was launched from the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains to the Pripet marshes in Poland. Although the Russians were massively outnumbered, their barrage was successful and their southwestern front line moved forward 47 miles (75 km) in two days. German reinforcements sent from Verdun on 23 June 1916 used mustard gas to halt General Alexei Evert’s western offensive, but failed to stop the advance of the remaining divisions into Austro-Hungarian territory. By mid-September the Russians were too depleted to continue the offensive. Having crippled the Austro-Hungarian Army and inflicted over 840,000 casualties, the Russians, although the victors, had lost 1.5 million soldiers to death or injury.
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