After the disastrous failure of Austria-Hungary’s Galician campaign in the autumn of 1915, the Austrian fortress of Przemysl was left isolated and defiant as the Russians occupied all the surrounding territory in the wake of the Austro-Hungarian retreat. From 9 November–22 March Russian forces trapped 130,000 Habsburg troops. By 19 March, the Habsburg troops were starving and attempted to break out. They were thwarted by 30 miles (48 km) of trenches and 650 miles (1,046 km) of barbed wire. The fortress commander, General von Kusmanek continued to make a series of futile attempts to breach the Russian lines, despite being bombarded by Russian shells. Recognizing the situation was hopeless, Kusmanek surrendered on 22 March with the whole of his garrison including nine generals and 2,500 officers. By the end of March 1915, the Russians were ready to move into Hungary.
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