1914: August 17
While the Germans and the French fought in the Battle of the Frontiers the conflict on the Eastern Front was also beginning in earnest.
On August 17 the first encounter between the Russian and German armies at the Battle of Stalluponen was won by the outnumbered but aggressive German troops, led by General Hermann von Francois. Francois led a bold and unauthorised frontal attack which brought the Germans 3,000 prisoners and forced the Russians back to the frontier.
Despite an initial defensive strategy the German leaders were urged on by Francois’s success and authorised a much larger attack three days later.