Table of contents:
- The first successes of the Russian army
- Mistakes of Russian generals
- Bogged down army
- Despair and suicide of Samsonov
Video: Could a quarrel between two generals affect the defeat of an entire army: the Russian tragedy of the First World War
2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 05:58
In August 1914, Russian troops attacked on a large scale in East Prussia. The mistakes of the command and the fragmentation of the actions of the generals led to a disaster. Samsonov's 2nd army was destroyed, and the commander himself committed suicide. This was a serious defeat for Russia in the First World War. However, it was this tragedy that saved the western front and France.
The first successes of the Russian army
By advancing on France, Germany hoped to occupy Paris as soon as possible. German troops advanced successfully and swiftly. The French were unable to restrain the enemy and suffered defeats one after another. Realizing their own desperate situation, the French command turned to the Russian Empire for help. If the Russians began to advance in the east, it would be possible to draw back the German forces from the west and avoid a complete defeat at the very start of the war.
Nicholas II yielded to the insistent request of the allies, and on August 17, the commander-in-chief of the northwestern armies, General Zhilinsky, ordered an offensive in East Prussia, despite the fact that Russia was not sufficiently prepared for a large-scale war. The first attack of the 8th German army of General Pritwitz was successful, and after a couple of days the 1st Russian army of General Rennenkampf defeated the strongest corps of the Germans. Panicked, Pritwitz asked the General Staff for permission to retreat, fearing the loss of all of East Prussia. The command's response was to replace him with General Hindenburg, and General Ludendorff was appointed to the place of the chief of staff of the eastern front. Subsequently, this duo will go down in the history of the First World War as the main strategists of the war.
Mistakes of Russian generals
Military observer Hoffmann, who represented German interests in 1914, argued that even in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. witnessed serious disagreements between the current commanders of the 1st and 2nd armies, Generals Samsonov and Rennenkampf. Allegedly, the German rate was made, among other things, on the likelihood of uncoordinated actions of the two commanders who were extremely hostile to each other. However, many military experts are skeptical about such assumptions, blaming the incident solely on the laxity and incompetence of the Russian generals.
The memoirs of the participants in the events testify to a chain of miscalculations both by Samsonov himself and by the leadership of his headquarters. Inspired by victories and front-line prospects, the commanders of the 2nd Army took the maneuver of the 8th enemy army for a retreat. Samsonov decided to pursue the Germans, anticipating their approaching defeat. The Samsonians and the 1st Army of Rennenkampf rushed after the "retreating" enemy in diverging directions, without considering the trap. As a result, a huge gap of more than 100 km was formed between the Russian armies, excluding an operational connection if necessary.
Such imprudence and arrogance turned out to be unacceptably tragic for the Russian generals. Samsonov, moving more and more away from Rennenkampf, led the 2nd Army into a gigantic trap that the Germans arranged for him. And the experienced strategists Hindenburg and Ludendorff saw in the disordered actions of the Russian commanders a unique opportunity to inflict flank attacks and surround the Samsonites with a dense ring.
Bogged down army
The orders of the commander-in-chief Zhilinsky, who, according to some historians, are the main blame for what happened, also played a destructive role. After complex attacks, Russian troops were exhausted, there was no proper supply of the army and strategically important intelligence information. Samsonov appealed to the headquarters in order to stop the movement in order to complete the right flank with the necessary. General Zhilinsky accused Samsonov of cowardice, demanding to continue the offensive.
The position of the troops of the 1st Army, which had no connection with Rennenkampf and were deepening to the west, became more and more tense every day. And the Germans had only to intercept unencrypted radio telegrams, possessing all the operational information. The German command got everything in order to defeat Samsonov's army, which was bogged down in an unfamiliar area.
When Germany began to inflict fatal blows in a circle, the confused Russians had time to only unsuccessfully resist along the flanks. Samson's army, squeezed into a ring, fought its last battle near the village of Tannenberg. General Samsonov could only watch in despair as the selected units of the Russian army suffered a crushing defeat. By August 30, 1914, the 2nd Army was completely defeated. On account of the Germans were thousands of killed soldiers, tens of thousands of prisoners and wagons with trophies.
Despair and suicide of Samsonov
General Samsonov, making his own decisions and carrying out the orders of Commander Zhilinsky, rescued the Entente by sacrificing his one hundred thousandth army. Pulling off impressive German forces, he made it possible for the Allies to win the Battle of the Marne in September 1914 and save Paris. But, apparently, Samsonov could not forgive such a sacrifice to himself.
Realizing the tragic outcome of his own front-line manipulations, the general, accompanied by several subordinate horsemen, tried once again to break through to his own. Although there is information that he was not going to leave the encirclement, intending only to help the personnel to escape. At night, he broke away from his colleagues and disappeared into the forest thicket. Soon the officers heard the sound of a shot, guessing that the commander took his own life. The corpse of General Samsonov was found and buried by random local peasants. Relatives of the commander found his grave only a year later.
The remains of the ex-commander of the 2nd Army were exhumed and transported to the Elisavetgrad family estate. A funeral ceremony took place there and the general was interred in the family tomb. At the end of the revolution, the Samsonovs' crypt was destroyed, razed to the ground.
Despite the glorious military history of the Russian people, it still contains rare pages of defeat. They also need to be known and studied. But for some reason and 100 years later they did not declassify the battle of "Varyag" and "Koreyets" with the Japanese squadron.
Mikhail Derzhavin did not have very many roles in cinema, only about 60 over his entire 65-year creative activity. But the whole country recognized him as the host of the "Zucchini" 13 Chairs "and a member of an incredible duet with Alexander Shirvindt. Hereditary theater actor for more than half a century served in the Theater of Satire, and before that there were "Lenkom" and the Theater on Malaya Bronnaya. Those who were lucky enough to know Mikhail Mikhailovich personally did not get tired of being surprised at the human qualities of the great artist
The First World War fell on a pivotal time in itself: women began to drive cars, conquer the sky on still imperfect planes, got involved in political struggle, and conquered science long ago. It is not surprising that many women showed themselves very actively during the war, and some even became legends
The First World War became a terrible test for Russian soldiers. In addition to the enemies behind the front line, there were others, closer ones: hunger, poor weapons, crumbling uniforms and lack of confidence in their commanders and comrades. According to rough estimates, about two million people fled home from the trenches in different ways and ways. Most, of course, after February 1917, but the desertion process began much earlier
On June 21, Valery Zolotukhin would have turned 75 years old, but three years ago he passed away. The difficult character of the actor often became the cause of conflicts with friends and colleagues, and even after his death, many could not forgive him for long-standing grievances. After the release of E. Ryazanov's documentary about Vysotsky, everyone started talking about the fact that Zolotukhin "sat down" on his friend and was preparing to play Hamlet instead. The actor himself was outraged by this interpretation of their disagreement and gave his own commentary on what happened. Ochevi
Where the treasury of the Russian army was hidden: Secrets of the treasure of General Samsonov, who have been looking for since the First World War
The First World War was a difficult period, which brought a lot of troubles and fraught with many mysteries. Until now, people are trying to find the missing treasury of the Russian army, which was commanded by General Samsonov. A large box storing three hundred thousand rubles in gold and other valuables haunts treasure seekers. Every year in the summer, in August, people inspired by the legend gather near Velbark, who dream of finding the general's treasures. Read about the journey of Samsonov's treasury, how they tried to find it, but to no avail