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guard. Warriors of a type not unlike the American Indians,
they were not effective when pitted against the civilized
troops of western Europe, but were superior to the poorly
organized Tatars.



The Russian Army 323

When Peter, afterwards "the Great," at the age of six-
teen, terminated the regency of his sister Sophia and
assumed the reins of government, he found an army of 40
regiments of infantry, 25 regiments of cavalry, and some
Cossack troops. The dominating factor was the Strelitz, a
corrupt body capable of any crime and a ready tool in the
hands of any leader whose power seemed to offer the
greatest compensation. The Cossacks, if less dangerous,
were more reactionary, and were becoming relatively of
less value with every improvement introduced in the army
from the west. He who would form a dependable army
must first deal with the Strelitz and the Cossacks. That
this was to be the task of the young tsar must have been
foreseen by Lefort, the Genevese, who, more than any
other man, was responsible for his early training. Though
himself not a soldier, he lost no opportunity to develop the
boy monarch in all things military. Two companies of
young Russians were organized and trained by the Ger-
man, Simon Sommer. In one of these companies Peter
began his military education as a simple drummer boy, and
took part in their maneuvers one against the other, which
simulated actual war so nearly that dead and wounded
were sometimes left on the field. These two companies
became afterwards the two regiments "Preobraghenski"
and "Semenovski" of the Guard, and in 1689 reached a
strength of 4,000. The same year Lefort created two
other regiments formed into a brigade, which gave the
young tsar an army of about 15,000 men, exclusive of
the forces inherited from Feodor. From the French
immigrants, who left France as a result of a revocation
of the Edict of Nantes, another regiment 5,000 strong
was formed. Thus Lefort quickly surrounded the tsar
with a new force which could be relied on to support
him if the hostility of the Strelitz and the Cossacks to



324 The Great War

the reforms he introduced from the west should lead to
disaffection.

Peter found many foreigners already installed in the public
service of Russia and his early training under foreign masters
filled his young mind with schemes for the development of
his country by the introduction of western progress. His
desire to gain a first hand knowledge of European methods
led him in 1697 to undertake a period of travel and study
in the principal states of Europe; but his studies were
interrupted by a revolt of the Strelitz. On his return he
found that the revolt had been put down, four regiments
disbanded, many of the mutineers hanged and the others
put in prison. Not content with the measures already
taken, Peter caused the prisoners to be produced and more
than 2,00Q were put to death — some, it is said, by the hand
of the tsar himself. This was the beginning of the end of
the Strelitz, and on the revolt of the Strelitz of Astrakhan
in 1705 the entire force was abolished.

A system of conscription was instituted in 1699 which
produced a levy of 32,000 men organized into twenty-seven
regiments of infantry and two of dragoons. Here was the
foundation of a national army, but the regiments were
almost without exception commanded by Germans. Before
this force was well organized the Russian army met the
Swedes under Charles XH at Narva and was completely
routed. The tsar was, however, far from being discour-
aged, and remarked that his troops would learn from the
enemy how to beat him.

The new regime in Russia was bound to find opposition
among the Cossacks, who belonged to a different order
and whose prestige must suffer. The Cossacks of the Don
revolted in 1706, but were promptly brought to submis-
sion. Those of the Dnieper vmder Mazeppa joined the
enemy in the next war with the Swedes, but the Russian



The Russian Army 325

victory at Poltava in 1709 brought to an abrupt close the
career of Mazeppa, and taught his Cossacks a bitter but
well-deserved lesson. At Poltava the Russian forces num-
bered 55 regiments of infantry, 72 pieces of artillery, and
32 regiments of cavalry. Only the infantry, however,
was an effective force; the artillery was poorly served, the
cavalry badly mounted and insufficiently trained.

The wisdom of recreating the army along European
lines was now demonstrated; the Russians had overthrown
their masters in the art of war. But the commanders were
still chiefly foreigners, among whom the Germans pre-
dominated, and opposition to foreign innovations had in no
way abated. The tsar was, however, not to be discouraged
in his reforms. He sought his officers among those best
qualified to command, and answered the reactionary oppo-
sition of the nobility by ennobling all officers. He trained
his young officers in the regiments of the guard under
foreign instructors, or sent them to Germany, Austria, and
France to learn the art of war. In 1715 he established the
Russian war college after the German model in order to
educate his officers and provide uniformity of instruction
throughout the army. The foreign regiments had disap-
peared; the Cossacks were held in subjection; the new
army, fashioned after the European model and trained by
European officers, proved a power in the hands of its chief.
With it and the navy, created also by him. Tsar Peter
became master of Finland in 1714, overran Sweden in
1719-1720, adding to his empire Livonia, Esthonia, and
Ingria; and as a result of the war with Persia, 1722-1724,
annexed the provinces of Ghilan, Mazandaran, and Astra-
bad. The army which under the wise and courageous
leadership of Peter raised Russia to the grade of a first
class power in the concert of nations numbered at his
death, in 1725, about 180,000 regular troops.



326 The Great War

The character of the armies of Europe up to the nine-
teenth century depended almost entirely on the personality
of the king or emperor to whom they owed allegiance.
There was no conception of a national army; it was the
monarch's army, maintained by him to keep his people in
subjection, to secure them against foreign aggression, or to
extend his domains and maintain his throne. This was
particularly true in Russia where the whole machinery of
government was centered in the tsar. With the death of
Peter the Great, the army lost its chief. It was frequently,
in the next hundred years, used by powerful and unscrupu-
lous men to secure their own ends. It fought, too, in
many wars; sometimes with credit, but seldom, if ever,
with brilliancy. During the Seven Years' War the Rus-
sian army met the troops of Frederick the Great at Jiigern-
dorf, at Zorndorf, at Kunersdorf ; it occupied Berlin for a
time during the period of six years that Frederick the
Great never saw his capital. But Frederick was fighting
the whole of Europe. The Russian soldier, and particu-
larly the Russian commander, was no match for the Prus-
sian under Frederick the Great. The Russian cavalry,
poorly mounted and with little real training, was notably
inferior to the cavalry of Seidlitz.

During the reign of Katherine II the wars in the Crimea,
with Turkey, and with Poland, developed some able leaders,
notably Dolgoruki, the conqueror of the Crimea, and Suva-
roff. Paul I joined the second coalition against France, and
SuvarofF further distinguished himself as an able leader; but
he was recalled and disgraced by Paul. During the third
coalition Russia put 400,000 men in the field, but they were
badly organized, poorly trained, and their commanders
were far inferior to the experienced leaders of Napoleon.
The battles of Austerlitz, Eylau, and Friedland practically
destroyed the Russian army.



The Russian Army 327

With the experience of these disasters to guide him the
tsar began the reconstruction of his army which in 1812
numbered 300,000 infantry, 70 regiments of cavalry, 100,000
Cossacks, and 1,000 field guns. The Army Corps appeared
in the Russian army for the first time. These field armies
opposed Napoleon's march to Moscow in 1812. The
French army perished but was not defeated. Neither in
the campaign of Moscow, nor in the battles of Gross-
gorschen, Liitzen, and Dresden the following summer,
nor in the Battle of the Nations at Leipsic, did the Russian
armies attain the standard of the French. After the battle
of Waterloo a period of comparative quiet reigned in
Europe. It was a time when the bitter experiences of
Napoleon's conquests should have taught the lesson of
national preparedness. Prussia, at least, learned the lesson,
and the advantage thus gained created the German empire.
In Russia the time was not yet ripe for even the concep-
tion of a national army. The masses had not learned to
think, the governing classes had shown little progress in
constructive statesmanship, and Tsar Alexander no longer
enjoyed the full mental vigor of the earHer part of his
reign. But some improvements in organization were made
and the ranks were filled. On the death of Alexander the
infantry numbered 30 divisions and the cavalry 77 regi-
ments. Fifty brigades of artillery provided a brigade of
field artillery for each infantry division and 2 batteries of
horse artillery for each cavalry division. The army was
divided into 11 arniy corps. The corps was made up of 2
or 3 infantry divisions and a cavalry division, each with its
proper complement of artillery. The new army was im-
pressive in numbers, but in spirit it was the same old army.
The only radical departure from the methods of the old
regime for the development of the military strength of the
empire was the visionary scheme of General Araktcheieff



328 The Great War

for the establishment of military colonies. Such colonies
were established in the provinces of Novgorod, Mohileff,
Kharkoff, Kieff, Podolia, and Kherson. The crown-peasants
in these colonies were relieved from their customary obli-
gations to the crown and assumed the new burden of
quartering troops. Every colonist more than fifty years
old received forty acres of land. In return he had to
maintain a soldier, and also his horse if he were a mounted
man. The soldier was designated as a military peasant and
had to assist in the farm work when not occupied with
military duties. The entire male population found places
in this military-agricultural organization. The first son of
the master-colonist became his assistant, the second was a
reserve man to fill the place of the military peasant in case of
disability, the other boys under seventeen were classed as
pupils and received military instruction. Colonists could
not pass from one colony to another nor go beyond the
limits of their own colonies without passes from the proper
military authority. The entire administration was military;
there was neither relaxation nor escape from the rigid
rules of military life. The discipline and supervision,
accepted as necessary by soldiers living in barracks, became
intolerable when it penetrated the privacy of the home.
This attempt to create an army was soon abandoned, but
not before some of the colonies broke into rebellion. The
experiment added another bitter chapter to the history of
the already desolate life of the crown-peasants, without
exerting the slightest influence on the army which it was
designed to revolutionize.

The army of Nicholas I, inherited from Alexander on
his death in 1825, which marched the same year against
Persia, met an enemy so inferior in strength that the
results justify no estimate of its efficiency, but the cam-
paign of 1828 against Turkey failed to mobilize more than



The Russian Army 329

a fraction of its paper strengtli. Supplies were scanty and
of poor tiuality; sanitation was un unknown art. The army
under Paskiewitch directed against Asia Minor achieved
some substantial results, but the campaign of 1828 by the
army of the Pruth was a dismal failure. The Russian
commander Wittgenstein was a veteran of 1812 who had
outlived his usefulness. The interference of the tsar did
not improve matters. The Russian army, after some initial
successes, found itself divided into three parts standing
before as many Turkish strongholds, unable to produce
decisive results at any point. The impatience of the tsar
brought severe defeat on the troops of the Prince of
Wurttemberg. The campaign closed with the advantage
decidedly in favor of the Turks, who from the beginning
had stood on the defensive. Wittgenstein was removed
from command and Diebitsch, a Prussian, began to pre-
pare the army for the campaign of 1829. Diebitsch crossed
the Balkans and captured Adrianople, but his army had
dwindled away until he had only a handful of men left.
The conclusion of peace extricated the army from a very
critical situation. Europe expected much from the Rus-
sian army, but it failed to demonstrate that it had made any
progress since the Napoleonic wars. Had it met the forces
of a first class European state, however, instead of the
Turks, the demoralization could scarcely have been more
complete than that due to its own inefficiency in organiza-
tion, sanitation, and supply. The reorganization of 1833-
1834 resulted in an army of 27 divisions of infantry, 66
regiments of cavalry, and 234 batteries of artillery — an
organization which should have been able to put 1,000,000
first-line troops in the field. This was the organization
which, in the Crimea, in 1854, lost the battles of Alma and
Inkerman to the wretchedly mismanaged expeditionary
forces of France, England, and Turkey, and allowed its



330 The Great War

army to be besieged at Sebastopol, which was abandoned
after a siege of three hundred and fifty days. The diffi-
culties of the campaign in the Crimea should not, however,
be underestimated. It cost the allies a hundred thousand
men, and the losses to Russia have been estimated at three
times that number. The tremendous distance which sepa-
rated Sebastopol from its base of supplies made the main-
tenance of the garrison a stupendous undertaking. Russia
was so crushed by the Crimean War that no recruits were
called to the colors for several years.

In the Russo-Turkish War in 1877-1878, after a few
preliminary successes in Asia and in Europe, the Russian
military system showed its traditional weaknesses. The
European campaign had hardly begun when the Russians
in Armenia were everywhere in retreat followed by the
Turks under Mukhtar Pasha. Three successive and costly
defeats of the Russian forces at Plevna discredited the mili-
tary administration in spite of the able leadership of some
of the divisional generals and the stubborn fighting quali-
ties of the Russian soldier. However, some changes in the
direction of the campaign and the appointment of Todleben,
the defender of Sebastopol, to command before Plevna,
together with the assistance of the Bulgarian army and the
heroic resistance of General Gourko's forces at Shipka
Pass, turned the tide in favor of the Russians, who pushed
the campaign with great energy. Two columns crossed
the Balkans, surrounded and captured the Turkish army
before Shipka Pass, defeated the only other force which
barred the road to Constantinople, and entered Adrianople
on January 20, 1878. The Russian forces showed an en-
ergy, a tenacity and unity in the severe winter campaign of
1877-1878 which established for the Russian General Staff
an easy superiority over that of Turkey, in spite of its
failure in the beginning of the war.



The Russian Army 331

The events of the Russo-Japanese war are too fresh in
men's minds to require repetition. The Japanese forces
opened the campaign in a brilliant offensive which they
maintained until the close of the war. The Russians
yielded point after point; sometimes offering stubborn
resistance but always yielding to their adversaries. The
difficulty of maintaining an army several thousand miles
from its base over a single line of railroad are great, but as
the Russian armies withdrew Japan found the problem of
maintaining her armies advancing through a country with
neither roads nor railroads equally great. The progress of
the Japanese army became very slow; for weeks at a time
it was unable to move while supplies were being accumu-
lated, but the Russian commander was never able to take
the offensive. The army of 1904 was a great surprise and
disappointment to the Russian people. Many needed re-
forms were undertaken, which resulted in the army of 1914.

The present army law dates from 1912. Service for the
active army is for the infantry and foot artillery three years
with the colors and fifteen in the reserve. In all other
branches the color service is four years and the reserve ser-
vice thirteen years. The reserve furnishes seven year-classes
to complete the field troops, and the rest forms the second
category. By special authority of the crown the transfer
of the year class which completes its service may be delayed
for six months, thus extending the color service for that
period.

Service is universal and compulsory, but there are many
exemptions which exclude the inhabitants of larger prov-
inces from service. In other provinces foreigners only are
exempt. Throughout Russia immigrants who come to the
country after they are fifteen years old are excused. The
favored classes included the Russian Orthodox, dissent-
ing and Mohammedan clergy, professors and lecturers in



332 The Great War

the universities and certain classes of art students. All for-
feit their exemptions if they give up their professions
before they reach the age of thirty. The exemptions for
family reasons are liberal, and reduction of service on edu-
cational grounds is general. Students of schools of the
first and second classes serve three years with the colors
and fifteen in the reserve; those of schools of the first class,
if they quahfy as officers of the reserve, serve two years
with the colors and sixteen in the reserve. Enrollment
may be delayed for educational reasons, or high school
students may volunteer at the age of seventeen, serving two
years with the colors and sixteen in the reserve. Service
with the colors for students who pass the officers' examina-
tion is reduced to one and one half years, and for students
of medicine, veterinary medicine, or pharmacy, to one year
and eight months All men between the ages of twenty-
one and forty-three who do not belong to the active army,
either with the colors or in the first or second category of
the reserve, form a sort of territorial militia or reserve.
Men who have passed out of the active army and the four
youngest classes of those who pass directly into the re-
serve receive two periods of field training each of six
weeks' duration.

The Cossacks form a special corps in the Russian army,
a class of troops which are not found in any other army of
the world. Every Cossack is liable to serve from twenty
to thirty-eight years of age. He has one year's preparatory
service with four weeks in camp. His service is then
divided into three categories each of four years' duration.
The first period is color service; during the second period
he is on furlough but must maintain his horse and arms.
He may be called out at any time and has four weeks'
training annually. For the third period he is not required
to maintain his horse and has no training. Finally, he



The Russian Army 333

passes into the general reserve where he remains during
fitness, without age Hniit.

The numher of recruits enrolled in the Russian army in
1912 was 455,100. This number is fixed annually by the
Duma, but in case of failure the number for the preced-
ing year is drafted. The enrolhnent of Cossacks numbered
19,000. The peace strength of the army was about 1,200,000,
of which there were in Europe 850,000, in the Caucasus
70,000, in Turkistan 30.000, and in East Asia 250,000. To
these numbers should be added the peace strength of the
Cossacks, 60,000. The war strength of the first and second \
line formations is estimated at from 5,500,000 to 6,500,000. 7
The territorial reserve amounted to probably 1,500,000. /

The non-commissioned officers of the army come directly
from the ranks. They receive merely nominal pay during
the period of compulsory service, with substantial increases
on reenlistment. After eighteen or twenty years' service
they are transferred to the territorial force with pension or
are appointed to a civil position.

The active officers come almost entirely from the Cadet
Corps and military schools. The course in the Cadet Corps
is for seven years. The last four years include six weeks'
field training annually. The cadets then pass into the mili-
tary schools, of which there are twenty, eleven for the infan-
try, three for the cavalry, two for the Cossacks, two for the
artillery, and one for the engineers. The corps of pages
for the tsar is a training school for officers of the Guard.

The special schools for the higher training of officers
correspond in general to those of the other modern armies.
There are schools of fire for small arms and for artillery, a
cavalry school, a technical school for railroad and engineer
officers, a fencing school, a school of law, a supply school,
a school of fiying, and a superior school of war for the
higher scientific training of officers for the General Staffs.



334 The Great War

Promotion for officers in the lower grades was by seni-
ority. To the grade of colonel a fixed proportion was
by seniority, the remainder being reserved for the pro-
motion of graduates of the superior schools and for distin-
guished service. There was also a graded age retirement.
Subalterns and captains retired at fifty-five, regimental
commanders at fifty-eight, brigade commanders at sixty,
division commanders at sixty-two, and corps commanders
at sixty-three. In the cavalry, commanders retired some-
what younger than the corresponding officers of the
other arms.

The Russian infantry was divided into Guard, Grenadier,
Line, Rifle, and Cossack regiments, and included one regi-
ment which was the tsar's bodyguard. The 12 guard, 16
grenadier, and 208 line regiments had each 4 battalions of 4
companies. The 110 rifle regiments included 4 guard and
20 army or line regiments, while the remaining regiments
had territorial designations: 12 Finland, 8 Caucasian, 44
Siberian, and 22 Turkistan regiments. To these are to be
added 6 Cossack regiments, making a total of 352 regiments
of infantry which made up the peace establishment. The
guard regiments were designated by name ; the grenadier
and line regiments by number. The rifle regiments were
also designated by number, with a separate series for each
territorial group. The infantry of the peace establishment,
as enumerated above, with the Frontier Guards, — 72 com-
panies in Europe and 96 in Asia, — formed the first line in
war. The second line was made up from those reserves
who were not required to complete the first line and 12
battalions of Cossacks of 4 companies each. The third line
in war was composed of 704 battalions formed from the
territorial forces. This does not take into account the great
reserve of men of military age who were without training,
organization, arms, or equipment. On mobilization, every



The Russian Army 335

infantry regiment formed one or more reserve battalions
whose function was to train men to fill up losses in the
regiments at the front. The infantry regiments were of
4 battalions, while the rifle regiments had in peace only 2
battalions

The infantry was armed throughout with the model
1891 repeating rifle, caliber 7.6 millimeters, with a bayonet
which was carried fixed in campaign. The guards carried
a knapsack of sail cloth, while other regiments carried a
bag slung over the right shoulder. Each man carried 120
rounds of ammunition and a shelter tent. In addition a
certain number of light intrenching tools were carried.
The average load carried by the infantry soldier was fifty-
/six pounds. The regiments were provided with 8 machine-
-guns taking the same ammunition as the infantry rifle.
They were mounted on wheels but could be dismounted
and carried by hand for short distances.

The Russian cavalry is made up of the same classes of
I -regiments as are found in the other armies of Europe,
with the Cossacks forming an important additional element
peculiar to the Russian army. The guard is composed of
4 cuirassier, 1 dragoon, 1 grenadier, 2 uhlan, 2 hussar, 3
Cossack regiments, and the tsar's bodyguard. The line
includes 20 dragoon, 17 uhlan, and 18 hussar regiments, 5



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