The reorganization of the armed forces of the Russian Empire was led by Minister of War Dmitry Alekseevich Milyutin, who took the post of Minister of War in 1861 and was there for twenty years, speaking from the very beginning of his work as a supporter of reforms. Milyutin achieved a reduction in military service from 25 years to 16 and other changes. At the same time, they took a number of measures to improve the life of the soldiers - their food, housing, uniforms, began teaching soldiers to read and write, mitigated corporal punishment, etc.
Milyutin believed that the corps needed to be abolished, as the experience of the last corps wars showed because of its cumbersomeness (3 divisions) was still not used in full force, and the troops had to make up troops whose strength corresponded to the task. In the year 1862 began to gradually disband all existing corps - Guards, Grenadiers, 1-4 infantry, Caucasian and 1-2 cavalry. Simultaneously with the corps in the infantry brigade abolished. The highest administrative unit of peacetime, Milyutin planned to have a division. The Ministry of War has lost some of its functions. Executive power was assigned to special local bodies - the military districts. The military district was the link between the center and the troops. Then they created four military districts - Vilna, Warsaw, Kiev and Odessa. The Polish insurgency 1863 of the year suspended the reform, but in 1864, the districts of Finland, Petersburg, Riga, Moscow, Kazan and Kharkov were established. In 1865, the Caucasus, Orenburg, West Siberian and East Siberian districts were established, and in the 1867 year - Turkestan. Riga district was soon annexed to Vilnius and Petersburg.
With the formation of military districts, and then the provincial and district military administrations, the practice of drawing up mobilization plans began, which ensured a relatively quick mobilization and deployment of the army in case of war. Now mobilization could be carried out in 30-40 days, earlier it was required from 3 to 6 months. It was also positive that in wartime the district administrations could be turned into army headquarters or select personnel for their formation.
On the other hand, the Milyutin decentralization soon began to have a negative effect. The district headquarters, which were often in charge of 8-10 infantry and 2-4 cavalry divisions, were overloaded with work. The position of brigadier was also not superfluous, as they thought it was restored in 1873, too. In 1874, the Guards Corps was restored. In November, the 1876 of the year with the partial mobilization of the army formed the 7 corps (from 7 to 12 and the Caucasus) to the 2 infantry and 1 cavalry divisions in each. The corps were not called “infantry”, as before, but “army”. All in all, the army corps had 24 battalions, 18 squadrons and hundreds and 108 guns. In February 1877 of the year, on the eve of the war, 9 bodies were formed (Grenadiers, from 1 to 6, 13 and 14). During the war, 18 reserve infantry divisions and 2 serfs were formed. In total, during the war, more than 39 thousand officers were mobilized, more than 13 thousand officials and 1,6 million lower ranks. In 1878, the 2 Caucasian Corps was formed, and in 1879, the 15 Army Corps was formed, and all reserve divisions were abolished.
Count D. A. Milutin, Minister of War, Chief Architect of Military Reform
The education reform that Milutin conducted in 1863 cannot be called successful. Of the 17 cadet corps left only two - Page and Finland. The rest were transformed into military schools and infantry schools (Pavlovskoye, Konstantinovskoye in St. Petersburg and Aleksandrovskoye in Moscow). Military gymnasiums were institutions with a purely civil lifestyle, the officers were mainly replaced by civilian ones. As a result, the excellent Nikolaev cadet corps were defeated, although they were taught no worse and were raised better than in civilian educational institutions. In military schools, students were drawn to the university. But military schools covered with their issues no more than a third of the annual army need for officers. In 1864, district junker schools with a one-year course were established, releasing ensigns into the army. The graduates of these cadet schools became the main body of military army officers, and usually did not go far in the service. A total of 16 cadet schools (11 infantry, 2 cavalry, 2 mixed and 1 Cossack) were established. Artillery and engineering troops were replenished from schools.
As a result, a significant part of the officers, for all their loyalty to duty and courage, as noted by military historian A. A. Kersnovsky, “could not, due to lack of preparation, be up to the mark of new tactics characterized by actions of rifle chains on broad fronts, fire of a rapid-fire rifle and demanding quick use of the situation and the constant manifestation of private initiative. "
12 January 1866, by merging the Inspectorate Department with the General Directorate General Directorate, formed the Main Headquarters in charge of the management of the armed forces, mobilization, personnel and manning cases for troops and military institutions, their arrangement, service, deployment, combat training and management. . However, the Main Headquarters was placed by Milyutin in complete subordination to the Military Ministry, therefore, in fact, he became one of the ministry’s offices. That is, the General Staff did not have the importance of the German General Staff, where Moltke carried out reforms from the point of view of the General Staff.
The culmination of all changes was the introduction of universal military service in 1874, instead of recruiting. The prerequisite for this reform was the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871, which showed the advantage of the Prussian army. Under the new law, all young people over the age of 21 were called up, but the authorities determined the required number of new recruits every year, and they took only this number from the recruits. As a result, usually no more than 20-25% of recruits were called up for service. The charter on universal military service provided for wide benefits in marital status and educational qualifications. The only son of his parents, the only breadwinner in the family, and also if the older brother of the conscript is serving or has left the service, were not subject to draft. Those taken to the service were listed in it: in the ground forces 15 years - 6 years in the ranks and 9 years in reserve, in navy - 7 years of active service and 3 years in reserve. For those who received primary education, the term of active service was reduced to 4 years, who graduated from the city school - to 3 years, the gymnasium - to one and a half years, and those who had higher education - to six months. As a result, Milyutin pursued a good goal - to help public education. However, it turned out that the most intellectually most valuable element was worst used (it served only 6 months), which affected the army not in the best way. At the same time, the peoples of entire regions — the Caucasus, Turkestan, and the north of Russia — were exempted from military service. The clergy was freed from service.
The 1874 reform of the year is generally rated positively by military researchers. She allowed to quickly create reserves to increase the number of troops and replenish the army during the war. Unfortunately, its results did not have time to affect at the time of the outbreak of war with Turkey. Introduced three years before the start of the war, universal military conscription could not fully provide the armed forces with the necessary trained reserve. November 1 1876 of the year when announcing mobilization in the army there were 722 thousand lower ranks, in stock - only 752 thousand. States of wartime provided for the army 1 million 474 thousand people. Incomplete to the wartime states reached 480 thousand people (30%), and it was not completely possible to close it with the call of the year 1877 and the Cossacks.
All infantry in the army were reduced to 48 divisions, 8 rifle brigades and 34 battalion battalions. The infantry division consisted of 2 infantry brigades, a brigade of 2 infantry regiments of 3-battalion personnel. The battalion had a 5 mouth - 1 Rifle, 4 linear. The company shared half-beats on 2, half-beats - on a 2 platoon, a platoon - on the 4 branches. The rifle brigade had a 4 rifle battalion. In the linear battalion was 4-5 mouth, 1 of them rifle.
Russian infantry did not learn modern tactics. Infantry statutes 1860 and 1874. They could not eradicate linear traditions that ignored shooting fire. The new statutes underestimated him, considering firefighting to be the fate of only a small part of the infantry — the shooters. In the event of an offensive, only rifle companies of infantry battalions were deployed. The main mass of infantry - linear companies - followed in close formation, being an excellent target for the enemy. A quick fire led only one weak rifle chain, and only one type of fire knew a close formation - a volley. Obsolete views also prevailed when infantry was trained in defense operations. Infantry was not trained to dig. Most of the forces of the battalion were located in a closed ranks, in reserve and only a small part in the rifle chain. The enemy’s infantry was planned to be allowed closer - to 300-500 meters, then volley fire came off, and when the enemy approached closely (50 meters), our soldiers threw in bayonets.
In cavalry, the situation was even worse. The combat training of the cavalry was weak. After the Eastern (Crimean) War, a false conclusion was made about “reducing” the role of cavalry in the modern war and that it should abandon the attack on the enemy’s infantry (as the experience of the First World, Civil and World War II showed, it was still too early to abandon cavalry). The cavalry was planned to be used only for strategic maneuvers in the theater of military operations, for strikes against enemy communications, reconnaissance, etc. As a result, the regular cavalry was halved, but the role of the Cossacks increased. Regular and Cossack regiments joined in one division. The Cossacks were unhappy with this reform, believing that they were placed "on the outskirts of the Russian cavalry" (their regiments were fourth in the division). In 1875, the six-divisional divisions were disbanded, instead they created the 14 army cavalry divisions in the 4 regiment (1-th dragoon, 2-th Ulansky, 3-th Hussar, 4-th Cossack). The new cavalry division had 12 squadrons and 6 hundreds with 2 horse-drawn (or Cossack) batteries (12 guns). In addition, they established the 1-th Don Division, also in the 4 regiment. In 1860, the Black Sea and Caucasian troops were merged into one Kuban army. In the same year established the Amur army, in 1867 year - Semirechenskoe.
Field artillery was divided into foot and horse. Foot artillery was consolidated into 48 artillery brigades, according to the number of infantry divisions to which they were attached. The artillery brigade had six 8-gun batteries. The artillery was doubled: throughout 12 years (from 1862 to 1874), the number of foot batteries increased from 138 to 299, and the number of guns from 1104 to 2392. Horse artillery consisted of 66 batteries with 416 guns. In all, the field artillery had 365 batteries with 2808 guns. In the 1872 year, all the artillery brigades were brought from the 4-battery to the 6-battery composition, they still had 8 guns in the battery. In 1866, armament for field artillery was approved, according to which all the walking and horse artillery batteries must have rifled, charging from the breech of the gun. The 1 / 3 foot batteries must be armed with 9-pound (42-linear) guns, and all other pedestrian and horse-drawn artillery batteries - 4-pound (34,2 linear). In the Guards artillery, all foot batteries were 9-pounder, in field brigades, 3 battery batteries and 3 light 4 pounds. In the Caucasus, the sixth batteries were 3-pound (3-inch) mountain. Horse batteries were 6-guns and had 4-pound guns. By 1870, the rearmament of the field artillery was completed. From 1872 to 1876, the sixth field brigade batteries were adopted by the fast-firing 10-barrel Gatling racks (they were then handed over to the fortress) and the 6-stem Baranowski with a rate of 200 rounds per minute. In general, the Russian artillery was at a high level, the artillerymen showed themselves well, both in Bulgaria and in the Caucasus.
Russian artillery entered the war, having armed with bronze rifled breech-loading guns. The shells were of three types: a grenade with a shock tube, shrapnel with a distance tube and a canister. The grenade gave a good result when firing at light ground fortifications, but was ineffective against earthworks and entrenched infantry. Shrapnel and canister gave a good result only in manpower outside the fortifications.
The engineers, back in 1857, were brought together in 3 brigades. They numbered the 15,5 battalion (5 mouth in the battalion). In 1864, 6 pontoon half battalions were formed, deployed in 1877-1878. in the 8 battalions. Mobilization of 1876-1877 led to the creation of the 4, then the 5 railway battalions. The sapper units were mainly prepared for the provision of troops in engineering and generally coped well with the tasks they faced. The pontoon units were also well prepared: at the heart of their preparation lay the rich experience of the Russian army in ferries across major rivers, including the experience of multiple ferries across the Danube. The units of the engineering troops that were engaged in the setting of minefields were well prepared. He headed this case M. M. Boreskov, a participant in the war 1853-1856.
The Austro-Prussian 1866 war of the year showed the importance of the breech-loading rifle. In 1867, Karl’s needle rifles of the 6 th linear caliber with a slide gate and a paper cartridge were introduced. But it soon became clear that the advantage of the metal sleeve and 1869 was re-equipped by a large part of the army with the Krnka (Krynka) rifle with a folding bolt. Both guns beat on 2000 steps, but this range was not used, since the sights were only on 600 steps in linear companies and on 1200 in non-commissioned officers and rifle companies. As a result, our troops still did not know how to shoot at long distances. In 1868, the army adopted excellent 4-linear (10,6 mm) Berdan rifles for a unitary cartridge, and in 1870, its modified version (No. 2). Rifle Berdan № 2 different simplicity of design, accuracy and rate of fire. For her, the tetrahedral bayonet was first adopted instead of the previously existing triangular. The rifle No. 1 had a sight on 2100 steps, No. 2 - on 2400 steps. The problem was that by the beginning of the war with Turkey, only a third of the troops had received these excellent rifles, while divisions that were not assigned to the army had received them. As a result, the range of useful fire of our infantry in the 1877 campaign of the year was the same as under Sevastopol during the Crimean War. From the 48 infantry divisions, the guns of Berdan had 16, Krnka - 26, Karl - 6. Guns of Berdan had guards, grenadiers, rifle brigades and 9 infantry divisions. Karl - divisions of the Caucasian Military District and all the linear battalions. The rest of the troops had Krnk. In cavalry, both ranks of dragoons had Krnke's carbines, the hussars and uhlan had only the second rank (the first had spikes). In the period 1878-1879. All troops received rifle Berdan number 2.
Rifle Berdan № 2
Thus, Milutin was unable to fully implement the program of rearmament of the army. The desire to establish their own production of all kinds weapons, doing without foreign orders was broken due to the lack of capabilities of the military-industrial complex of Russia. The disadvantage was the variety of small arms, while the current troops did not re-equip the most modern rifles of Berdan; the absence of field-range artillery of steel long-range cannons and mounted fire guns (mortars), as well as shells with a high-explosive impact.
Russian military thought continued to be under the influence of Prussian-German doctrines. Methods Moltke, the largest military-scientific value of the second half of the XIX century, fully possessed the minds in Russia. The Prussian army achieved excellent results in the 1866 and 1870-1871 wars. As a result, Moltke was unequivocally recognized in Russia as "world authority". Although at the same time, the French carefully studied the experience of Napoleon, of which Moltke was a student. And here, instead of studying the national commanders of Rumyantsev and Suvorov, who demonstrated the superiority of the Russian army under the conditions of the domination of the Russian methods, which allowed to create an army of “miracle heroes”, they studied Moltke. As a result, the traditional for Russia fatal mistake was made - the Russian military thought found itself in a foreign captivity, like the entire Russian top of the Romanovs. In general, it was the conceptual and cultural Westernization of the social elite of the Russian Empire that led to the 1917 disaster of the year.
The methods of the Russian strategy became dependent and, as a result, mediocre, repetitive. As A. Kersnovsky noted: "The consequences of the monstrous underestimation of the national nature of military art and the prevailing importance of the national element in military science then affected the fields of Bulgaria, Manchuria, Prussia and Galicia ...".
Thus, the positive merits of Milyutin’s reforms were immediate: it was the humanization of the army, the abolition of cruel corporal punishments, the improvement of the life of the soldiers, the beginning of their training, the creation of public and competitive military courts, military prosecutor's offices, etc. A trained reserve appeared in the army. However, there were also negative elements that affected the long term. As the military historian Kersnovsky wrote, “Milutin bureaucratized the entire Russian army from top to bottom. In all statutes and regulations, he held the predominance of staff (with a clerical bias) element over the front line, the subordination of the front-line chiefs of staffs and departments. ... The military organism was grafted with a non-military spirit ... This is a catastrophic decline in spirit, the moral impoverishment of the bureaucratic army did not have time to be felt to an appreciable degree in 1877-1878 years, but it took on formidable dimensions in 1904-1905 years, catastrophic - in 1914-1917 years. ”
Already in that era, the danger of the bureaucratization of the army was seen by an old warrior who crushed the highlanders, Field Marshal Prince Alexander Ivanovich Baryatinsky. "The morale of the army," he wrote to the tsar, must disappear if the administrative element, only facilitating, begins to prevail over the beginning, constituting the honor and glory of military service. " The Russian field marshal criticized the Milyutin Regulations on field troop control, pointing to its bureaucratic nature. “Why do the institutions of wartime expire here from peaceful institutions?” - asked Prince Baryatinsky. - Since the army exists for war, the conclusions should be reversed. Meanwhile, the new martial law came out of the current peace, giving it the basis, the frame. Nobody complained about the military charter of 46, on the contrary, he was called up by the military people of the whole world for perfection ”. Field Marshal saw in the new position “humiliation of the military principle in front of the administrative one, based now on our dual semi-subordination and on the offensive feeling of mutual distrust that is not peculiar to the military spirit ... There are no fighting qualities from the minister of war; he must be a good administrator. That is why we are more often appointed from people who are not known to the army, who have little or no experience in military affairs ... The leader of the army is elected by another start. He should be known to the army and the Fatherland for his valor and experience ... The new situation diminishes the power and position of the commander-in-chief, completely dependent on the central military administration, which received the importance of a corrugated fighter ... The command of the army is reduced in importance, the chief of staff is dependent on the harmful and unprecedented military minister ... "However, the Milyutin position of 1868 of the year was abandoned.
To be continued ...