The chimera of encirclement remained a powerful influence in some circles of the German high command.
The ensuing campaign in Galicia conducted by the German and Austro-Hungarian forces under Colonel General (later Field Marshal) August von Mackensen (1849-1945) and his chief of staff, Major General Hans von Seeckt (1866-1936), and the following drive into Russian Poland, brought about an interesting argument over encirclement.
Alive to the danger of encirclement, the Russian forces were able to evade the grasping pincers, scorching the earth as they retreated.
Although Serbia had been defeated and occupied, the encirclement and complete destruction of the Serbian army eluded the best efforts of Mackensen and Seeckt.
The third attempt at encirclement would have to be done with fewer forces.
The final attempt at encirclement again aimed for concentric advances.
On less well-equipped fronts in terms of technology and logistics, the problems in achieving the encirclement of enemy forces were magnified and Serbia in particular presents an excellent illustration of this.
An encirclement in World War I required an enemy that allowed himself to be encircled.
The topography played a role as well in frustrating the plans of encirclement hatched by the Germans and Austro-Hungarians.
The forbidding topography and worsening weather served to highlight another reason as to why the Serbians escaped encirclement, namely that all of the armies relied on the same mode of transport once away from their railheads, namely horse and foot.
Finally, the attempt at encirclement also fell victim to the vagaries of coalition warfare.