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Weight of cartridge. .


6C8 grains.


841 grains.


636 grains.


70S grains.


Initial velocitj-


1450 feet per
second


1082 feet per
second.


l.'?49 feet per
second.


1163 feet per
second.


Dangerous spaces for

infantry.
At WlO paces


170 paces.
46 paces.
25 paces.


75 paces.

28 paces.

Disappears.


135 paces.
45 paces.
20 paces.


100 paces.

36 paces.

Disappears.


At 1200 paces

At 1600 pacts



In coiiiiection with fit-Id entrenchriients which wo have
discussed above and which' have gained greatly in import-
ajice, and more particularly in connection with entrench-
ments thrown up in the course of the action, the entrenching
tool comes to the fore as a point in the infantry equipment.

In the actions here described one becomes painfully
aware of the frequent lack of entrenching tools on the part
of the Russians; it is partially explained by the fact that in
many cases the Russian foot soldier threw away his entrench-
ing tool as a troublesome burden,* — ^but, leaving this out of
consideration, the equipment of the Russian Army with en-
trenching tools seems to have been too small to satisfy the
requirements of modern combat.

-'After the bitter lessons of Plevna, the throwing away of entrenching tools
by the Russian soldiers seems to have ceased. Referring to the march of Skobe-
leff's division from Plevna to Constantinople, Greene says: "Every man carried
an implement of some kind, about 85 per cent being spades or shovels, 10 per cent
picks, and the rest axes, etc. His division marched with these on their backs from
Plevna to Constantinople: they were slung over the back, the handle projecting
above the left shoulder and the spade below the right hip, and were attached to the
shoulder with a piece of string, a strap, a piece of old tent, or anything else that
was available; they were heavy (weigiiing over 5 pounds), they were uncomforta-
ble, they were in every way inconvenient, l)ut each man had learned by hard expe-
rience to feel that his individual life depended upon his musket and'his spade —
and he took good care to lose neither the one nor the other." — A. L. W.



Comments. 213

Several means are available fur baviiij; the requisite
entrenebing tools on hand at the decisive moment: by an
addition of special troops; by atrrying the tools on wagons
and issuing them to the troops as required; and lastly, by
maldng the entrenching tool a permanent part of the in-
fantry equipment.

The detail of special troops for thi' const ruelion of sueh
works would seem to be inadequate on account of the great
extent to which hasty entrenchments have been and will be
employed in modern war, and on account of the intimate
connection of tliese works with the tactical action of in-
fantry, ir^ome one in the Russian Army has proposed to
equip a company of each regiment with entrenching tools
and to compensate the company for the extra weight by re-
duction in another direction — in other words, to give each
regiment a. pioneer company and to enornionsly increase the
special troops. Aside from many disadvantages entailed,
this plan would still fall short of its aim.

It is wholly impracticable to carry the tools on wagons,
issue them to the infantry before the action, and to have
them turned in afterwtyd — so that nothing remains but 1o
permanent!}' equip the infantry with such a supply of en-
trenching tools as to enable it to meet any demands of bat-
tle; a supply of entrenching tools would of course have to
be carried on wagons as a reserve and for the construction of
extensive works. The infantry should be wholly independ-
ent of the assistance of special troo]»s in the execution of all
purely tactical trench work; and the Tmkisli infantry, in



2 1 4 Tactical Studies on the Battles Around Plevna.

spite of its defective training, has shown that this is
feasible.

Some voices in the Kussian Army oppose the permanent
equipment of infantry with entrenching tools, on the ground
that they are too heavy and are sure to be thrown away.
Yet, a tool, suitably contrived and carried, aided by proper
instruction of the men in the great value of the tool, supple-
mented by historical examples, would for the most part de-
prive these objections of their force.

It is a fact that the Russians were deficient in entrench-
ing tools before Plevna.

Unfortunately, the author has no means for ascertain-
ing what the supply of entrenching tools in the hands of the
troops was, but the number must have been very small.

At the beginning of the great artillery attack in the early
days of September, when emplacements for more than 100
guns had to be constructed, as well as advanced rifle-trenches
and other trenches in rear as cover for 6 divisions, there
were issued to the troops from the field engineer park 1,600
small spades, and several hundred large spades and picks.
But the tools issued from the field engineer park formed the
bulk of the tools on hand, for Skobeleflf's three brigades,
which received none of these tools, were almost completely
destitute of entrenching tools.

As a matter of comparison, we will state here that in ad-
dition to the tools carried by the cavalry, ai'tillery, and
trains, the Gennan arm}' corps of 25 battalions has imme-
diately on hand for entrenching purposes 5,000 small spades,
3,000 large spades, 1,000 picks and pickaxes, and 2,500



Oomments. 2 1 5

hatchets and axes; the 5,000 small spades and part of the
liatchets are permanently carried by the infantry.

Jf. The Cavalry.

Some adverse criticisms, commenting with some justifi-
cation on the defective work of the cavalry in the first part
of the campaign, remark that the work of the cavalry was all
the more unintelligible, since the Russian cavalrj' was not
only proportionately strong, but also superior to the weak
Turkish cavali*y. Both of these assumptions are wrong.

At the beginning of the war the proportion of cavalry to
infantry in the army of operation was 1 to 6, which is about
the normal proportion in the Grerman Army and may be
deemed sufficient, and not unusually large. The reinforce-
ments brought to the theater of war in the course of the cam-
paign amounted to 10 infantry divisions, numbering at least
100,000 men. The chivalry of the Guard and Cossacks —
numbering not more than 8,000 men — changed the above
I)roportion very much in favor of the infantry.

It is wrong to speak of a great numerical superiority
of the Russian over the Turkish cavalry. The so-called regu-
lar Turkish cavalry, to be sure, was not more tluui 8,000
strong, but 20,000 Tcherkesses formed not only the most
numerous, but also decidedly the best portion of the Turkisli
cavalry. The relative strength of the Russian and Turkish
cavalry is therefore approximately the same, and at first
slightly in favor of the Turks, subsequently slightly in favor
of the Russians.

Aside from the cavalrv of tlie Guard, which had a special



2 1 6 Tactical Studies on the Battles Around Plevna.

formation, the entire Russian ciivalrv of tlie line and the 20
Don Cossack regiments in service were, under the most re-
cent organization, formed in 15 permanent divisions: 14
divisions were composed each of one Dragoon, one Lancer^
one Hussar, and one Cossack regiment. Two Cossack regi-
ments did not form part of the divisions. In view of the ex-
perieuces of the German Army in 1866 and 1870, it was
deemed advisable not to organize larger bodies. The divis-
ions were to be used independently and closed in one body,
and their tactical training corresponded thereto. The ser-
vice with the infantry divisions was to be performed by Don
Cossack regiments, which did not belong to any cavalry
division.

These principles were, however, soon deviated from.
At the beginning of hostilities the 15 cavalry divisions were
distributed among the fifteen corps, so that each cavalry
division became an integral par-t of an army corps to the ex-
clusion of all independence and the strategic usefulness
of the cavalry divisions.

At the beginning of hostilities the army of operation
numbered seven army corps and as many cavalry divisions,
besides a Caucasian Cossack brigade and 10 Don Cossack
regiments, which latter, not belonging to any higher unit,
were intended to perform the service of divisional cavalry.

Immediately upon the passage of the Danube the divis-
ional organization was wantonly destroyed for the purpose
of forming a new and* larger unit for General Gourko's ad-
vance across the Balkans.

The Caucasian Brigade and 3 combined brigades formed



Oomments. 217

this corps: the Dragoon Brigade, composed of the 2 Dragoon
regiments of the 8th and 9th Divisions; the so-called com-
bined brigade, consisting of the Hussar regiment of the 9th
Division and a Don regiment ; lastly, the Don Brigade, con-
sisting of 2 regiments.

Three of the 10 Don regiments were thus taken up; and
but 7 Cossack regiments remained for the 14 infantry divis-
ions. This number of course proved inadequate at once; a
large number of regiments belonging to cavalry di\lsions
were thereupon taken from their divisions and attached to
individual infantrj^ divisions and brigades.

The cavalry divisions soon disappeared in name also and
their commanders were assigned according to rank to the
command of mixed bodies of troops.

On the other hand, a large cavalry corps imder Krylotf
was formed at the beginning of September for the pnr]»(»se of
investing Plevna from the west.

The strategic task of this corps was manifold: it was to
observe the army of Plevna, reconnoiter the country to the
west and south, and oppose any relief coming from these
directions as far away from Plevna as possible.

The task necessitated a repeated division of I lie corps
and proved that this clumsy mass-forniation would have
entailed difficulties of leading, even had tlic hmcr bct'u
more vigorous and appropriate than it was.

Two or three independent cavalry divisiiuis willi special
instructions directly from the comuuuider-in-chief of the
West Army might perhaps have been bctici- able n> accoiii-
plish the object contemplated by the supreme ciinniaiul.



i^l8 Tactical Studies on the Battles Around Plevna.

The idea of repulsing by cavalry alone any relief coming
from the south or west implies an overestimation of the
fighting capacity of the cavalry unsupported by infantry,
and although in our above discussion we were bound to find
fault with Kryloflf's retreat with so little fighting, it is doubt-
ful whether the cavalry could have succeeded in keeping an
infantry corps of 10,000 men permanently from Plevna.
None of the faces or statements point to any plan of giving
Krylofi"s cavalry timely support by infantry. The tasks
imposed on the German cavalry in 1870-71 never implied
the carrying through of a decisive action against large
bodies of the enemy's infantry.

At this point the following reflection is, perhaps, not
out of place:

The attitude of Osman Pasha at Plevna in July and
August may have convinced the Russian leaders that Os-
man's army was incapable of a sustained vigorous offensive;
it was therefore desirable for the Russians to entice the
Turks in some way to leave the entrenchments of Plevna and
fight the Russians in the open field

Supposing the Russian West Army took post in Septem-
ber, not to the east, but to the west of Plevna, with two strong
bridge-heads on the right bank above and below Plevna,
perhaps at Medivan and Riben, while 1,000 or 5,000 cavalry
were watching the east side, the fi)llowing would have been
the situation :

No relief army, coming either from the west (Widdin)
or from the south (Orkhanie), could join hands with the army



Comments. 219

ill Plevna without first defeating the Russian Army ; but the
latter, wholly aside from proper entrenchments and a far
superior artillery, was strong enough to repulse a simultane-
ous attack by the relief army and the army inside Plevna-
Should Osman turn this position of the Russian West Army
to account in order to march suddenly eastward and threaten
the line of the Jantra, there was the greatest probability that
he would be overtaken by the main body of the Russian West
Army before reaching the Osma and forced to give battle in
the open field under very unfavorable conditions.

Returning to the actual conditions before IMevna, we
find that the investment on the west side did not become
effective until General Gourko took command and consid-
erable forces of infantry had reinforced the cavalry.

Lastly, in casting a glance over the tactical employment
of cavalry, we notice the exaggerated us^ of dismounted
fighting. Its modern role will certainly place cavalry often
in positions where it must fight dismounted, and on that
account it should be trained correspondingly; still dis-
mounted fighting will and must be an unwelcome expedient
and more or less opposed to the nature of the arm.

Not so in the Russian cavalry: dismouulcd tighiiiig
there has become a perfect mania; it is used on almost every
occasion and even without cogent reasons. This is no doubt
due to the peace training of the Russian cavalry, in whicli an
exaggerated value seems to be i)laced on dismounted tjgli ting;
for exaggerated it must be called considering tliat in liie



220 Tactical Studies on the Battles Around Plevna.

grand maneuvers of 1876 more than once entire cavalry regi
ments dismounted for village fighting, and that cavalry
assaulted considerable towns held by strong infantry
garrisons.

The Dragoons are still looked ujjon in Russia as real
"double fighters" as in the days of Emperor ^'icholas, who
sought to realize the "centaur combination" of infantry and
cavalry in the creation of his "Dragoon Corps." Although
this creation of the Dragoon Corps failed completely at the
first test — in the Oriental War — still the underlying idea
has, within narrower limits, been preserved in the Russian
Army up to this day.

The Dragoon regiment of each normal Russian cavalry
division is to represent in a certain sense the infantry ele-
ment of that division.

Dismounted fighting of the Russian cavalry is an essen-
tial factor of its action; the dismounted fighting of the Ger-
man cavalry is never more than an expedient. The Russian
cavalry division — viewed from the ideal standpoint — is in-
tended to be a combination of all three arms, capable of any

>

kind of action and equipped for the greatest possible celer-
ity of movement; the German cavalry is meant to accomplish
all that is possible for cavalrj- proper, while as a single arm
it must renounce complete independence in battle.

These latter requirements are decidedly more in keep-
ing witli tlie law of the equal division of labor, which is be-
coming more and more predominant in every sphere, and
which results in an increased efficiency of the whole. Many



Comments. 221

features of war which according to our ideas are surprising
and bewildering may be exphiined by the difference in prin-
ciple just stated, between the Russian and German cavalry.

5. The Artillenj.

The Russian field artillery was armed with breech-load-
ing guns of two calibers: the so-called four-pounder had a
caliber of 3.4 inches and fired a projectile of 11 pounds, the
barrel weighed G14 pounds, the limber contained 18 rounds,
and there were 2 ammunition-wagons for every gun; the so-
called nine-pounder bad a caliber of 4 2 inches, the projectile
weighed 22 pounds, the barrel weighed 1,260 pounds, the
limber contained 12 rounds, and there were 3 ammunition-
wagons for ever^' gun. Both these Russian guns surpassed
the corresponding calibers of the German field artillery as re-
gards weight of projectile and barrel; as regards weight of
projectile, the nine-pounder was but little inferior to the Ger-
man 4.7-inch gun. The entire field artillery was provided
with wrought-iron carriages.

A gun was drawn by 6 horses ; the batteries of
the foot artillery consisted of 8 giins, half of them four-, the
other half nine-pounders; the horse artillery had four-
pounders only and 6 guns to the battery.

A brigade of 6 batteries with 48 guns was permanently
attached to each infantry division; there were 4 guns for
each infantry battalion, slightly more than provided in the
normal strength of the German army corps. Each cavalry
division had 2 horse batteries with 12 guns.



222 Tactical Studies on the Battles Around Plevna.

In view of the great numerical superiority of the Rus-
sian over the Turkish artilleiy, it was to be expected that
its influence in action, would be dominant and that its effect
would vigorously prepare and support the attack of the in-
fantry, but we find little of the sort; most actions give the
impression that the cooperation of the artillery' had no in-
fluence on their course worth mentioning.

There are two reasons for this: first, the method of its
tactical employment; second, the tasks devolving upon it in
this wai' as compared with its inadequate effect.

In glancing back over the tactical employment of the
artillery in the actions described, we find the following:

1. The available batteries were mostly, from the very
beginning, evenly distributed over the line of battle; part
of the artillery was not held back for the purpose of using it
en masse at a certain point of the line of battle in the sense
of a corps artillery.

2. Fire was opened on the enemy's position at very
long ranges and was almost invai'iably frontal; seldom do
we find an endeavor to flank a position. An exception is the
position of the artillery taken by Skobeleff.'s orders on the
east side of the Tutchenitza ravine for the purpose of enfilad-
ing the Turkish position on the "third knoll."

3. In most cases the numerically inferior Turkish artil-
lery soon gave up the fight against the Russian artillery
and withdrew to cover, only to reappear in efficient condi-
tion the moment the Russian infantry moved to the attack.



Comments. ' 223

4. The frontal position of the artillei'}' compelled it to
cease firing as soon as the infantry attack began.

5. Those cases are exceptions where batteries followed
the attacking infantry and endeavored to support it from
positions in front; the artillery remained for the most part
in its original position and played an inferior role in the sec-
ond phase of the action, while, on the other hand, the in-
ferior Turkish artillery was very much in evidence in that
second phase. A vigorous advance of the artillery to sup-
port the infantry attack is seldom found except under Sko-
beleff's direction; the battery attached to the Kostroma
Regiment on July 20th furnishes an example of that kind, and
so do some batteries of the Russian left under Shakofskoi on
July 30th.

The batteries which advanced with the infantry under
the enemy's infantry fire suffered such losses in men and
horses as to be put, entirely or in part, out of action in a
short space of time.

If we investigate the material effect of the Russian ar-
tillery, we fail to find any thorough and successful effect in
any of the actions excepting that of Telis on October 28th.

The Russian artillery seldom found an opportunity to
fire on troops not under cover; the fire was mostly directed
against lines of infantry under natural cover, against rifle-
trenches or more or less regular entrenchments, and the fir«
had hardly any effect. Despite its preparation, continued
for hours, by the fire of a formidable mass of artillery, the in
fantry attack invariably encountered an unshaken opponent.



224 Tactical Studies on the Battles Around Plevna.

It is a fact that the small effect of the Russian field artil-
lery in the actions of July and August, against the sheltered
and entrenched Turkish position, shook the confidence of the
troops in their field artillery so severely that 20 twenty-four-
pounders from the siege park were used in the preparation
of the great attack on Plevna in September ; but the latter
were likewise unable to produce a result in any way satis-
factory.

The first fire was opened at an average range of 2,500
yards, at which distance the four-pounders were deemed in-
efficient and nine-pounders alone were used by the side of the
heavy guns. Upon approaching to within 1,600 yards of the
enemy's position some of the four-pounder batteries took
part in the firing. The result of the bombardment of the
Turkish position, which was carried on for several days with
great energy, was almost nd, unless the fact of the Kus-
sian gun carriages becoming unserviceable is considered a
negative and doubtful result.

The effect produced October 24th by the concentric fire
of 60 guns on the redoubt of Gorni Dubnik can not be con-
sidered satisfactory; one would have thought that such an
overwhelming fire — 60 guns against 4 — would speedily
break any resistance. Having withstood this seemingly
terrible fire for several hours, the garrison of the redoubt
was still able to repulse several assaults made by superior
numbers.

The surrender of the redoubt of Telis is the one success
that is to be credited to the artillery alone.



Comments. 2 25

Presuming- that in the future extensive field entrench-
ments will pla}' the same role as in the Kusso-Turkish War,
the following demands may be made on the artillery:

First: An appreciable portion of the field artillery must
consist of considerably heavier calibers than are at present
numbered among the field artillery, in order to sufficiently
destroy the enemy's cover at greater ranges.

Second: The light calibers of the field artillery will be
employed not so much in rearward positions as in direct
connection with the attacking infantry. The task of the
light artillery is partly to accompany the assaulting infantry
in small bodies, partly by skillful and bold nianeuv(n-ing in
larger bodies to take important points of the enemy's position
under a massed fire during a brief space of time.

In fulfilling these tasks great losses in men and horses,
perhaps even of guns, become unavoidable, but the responsi-
ble leader, if aiming at decisive results, will not shrink from
such losses.

A battery which fires at the decisive point with destruc-
tive effect for five minutes — or even for one minute — and is
then lost, has done better service to the whole command
than ten batteries which from well-chosen rearward posi-
tions have maintained a well-aimed, but in the end rather
useless, fire.

6. Fortresses and Field Entrrnrhinnifs.
Ardalian, Nikopolis, and Kars, all ainuMl wiili nuiucroMs
guns of the heaviest caliber, succumbed te the open at-
tack; the field entrenchments of Plevna, built in the fac<' of



226 Tactk'ul Stiuhcs un the Battles Around rienia.

the enemy and partly under his fire, armed witli compara-
tively few guns of small caliber, held out for five months and
ultimately succumbed to hunger alone. That contrast is
naturally the first thought engendered by this war relative
to fortifications.

To be sure, Ardahan, Nikopolis, and Kars did not fall so
quickly because they were real fortresses, but in spite of that
fact; Plevna did not offer such protracted resistance because
its works were field entrenchments, but notwithstanding
that fact; and lastly, these instances but serve to furnish
additional proof of the old established fact, that a fortifica-
tion receives its importance and value from its defenders
alone. It cannot be denied that, as compared with for-
tresses, field entrenchments played a more important role in
this war than formerly, and that the same condition will
probably obtain in the next few wars. The principle of for-
tresses and entrenchments is the same — that is, to form a
battle-ground strengthened by all available means; the dif-
ference lies in the means available in each case.

In the construction of fortresses the limits of these
means are fixed by considerations of finance; in the con-
struction of field entrenchments circumstances vary each
case, the amount of available time being a very important
item.

It is, of course, impracticable to convert into fortresses
all points of a country which under certain circumstances
may become decisive in the conduct of a war; that is ren-
dered impossible not only by financial considerations, but by



Comments. 22 7

many other conditions, military and non-military. Such
places alone as possess a permanent strategic value under all
circumstances can be taken into account, and it is left to
field fortification to supplement this skeleton of defense
formed by the fortresses, by additional fortifications closely


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