Military Review

TVD Second Patriotic. 1917 year. Part of 1

18
By the beginning of this campaign, the Russian active army was at the height of organizational and material development, including the 158 infantry and 48 cavalry divisions, the 5 infantry and 4 cavalry brigades and a large number of special and technical units on the Austro-German front.


In technical terms, the troops seriously increased, in particular - the proportion of heavy artillery increased. A TAON corps appears (at the beginning of 1917 - 338 120 units - 305-mm guns), which has become a powerful strike fist in the hands of the command. The troops are saturated with mortars and bombs.

The situation with ammunition in the 1917 campaign in relation to shells of light and medium calibers was satisfactory (see The evolution of ammunition supply to the First World War).

Army has grown significantly aviation (for example, in the Summer Offensive, the South-Western Front was supported by 38 air squads - 226 aircraft).

By the beginning of the campaign, the enemy had 133 infantry and 26,5 cavalry divisions on the Russian front - in addition to the traditionally powerful Austro-Hungarian group, the German contingent had also grown significantly.

But, despite the organizational and technical growth, the Russian troops were in for a heavy blow - after the February Revolution, the moral and ideological state of the army began to fall rapidly. We wrote about the trends of this process (The last spurt. The June offensive of the South-Western Front 1917 r. 2. Russian army: the power of technology and weakness of spirit).

As a result, by the beginning of the summer campaign, Russian troops had largely lost their combat effectiveness and controllability - and this left a significant imprint on the course and outcome of the 1917 campaign.


1. Rally at the front

The strategic campaign plan developed in December by 1916 by the acting chief of staff of the Headquarters General of the Cavalry V. I. Gurko and the Quartermaster General of General Headquarters of General Lieutenant A. S. Lukomski provided for the transfer of the main efforts to the Romanian theater. On the remaining fronts, the Stake refused from large-scale operations. The Supreme Commander and Commander of the Southwestern Front supported the plan, while the commanders of the Western and Northern Fronts opposed it. As a result, the adopted plan was a compromise, and the main blow took place at the Galician theater of war (see The last spurt. The June offensive of the South-Western Front 1917 r. 1. Plans and prospects).

In the 1917 campaign, Russian troops operated on the Baltic-Belarusian, Galician, Romanian, Caucasian, and Persian theaters.

Baltic-Belarusian TVD


This theater, which covered the strategically most important areas, was occupied by troops of the Western and Northern Fronts. Of particular importance were the Dvinsk and Jacobstand bridgeheads - Russian troops on the left bank of the r. The Western Dvina shackled a large number of German troops.

The 5 Army of the Northern Front 8 - 11 July we wrote about the attack on the Yakobshtadsky direction in one of the articles (see Baltic Front of the First World War. Jacobstadt, 1917 year).

The situation was traditional for the 1917 campaign: a perfectly technically prepared offensive was stopped due to a drop in the combat capability of the army infantry. Tactical successes did not develop, and the assault and assault units died without the support of the bulk of the troops. Losses of the 5 Army - up to 13000 people.


1 schema. Dvinsky and Jacobstadski bridgeheads in the summer offensive 1917. Strategic sketch of the war 1914 - 1918. CH 7. M., 1923

As part of the summer offensive on the theater of operations, the 10 Army of the Western Front was active, and on July 9, July 10, advancing on Vilna-Krevo. For the above reasons, it was also not possible to develop the achieved tactical success, and the army lost up to 40000 people.

In the course of the defensive Riga operation 19 - 24 in August, the 12 Army of the Northern Front opposed the German 8 Army attempting to capture Riga and the Baltic coast with the prospect of a further attack on Petrograd. Planned operation on the environment of a large group of Russian troops. Connections 8-th army were to force the river. Western Dvina in the area of ​​Ikskyla and develop an attack on Ikskyul, Rodenpoys, Hinzenberg. The troops of 12, defending the Riga bridgehead, which covered the shortest direction to Petrograd in the theater of operations, were weakened both by the last stage of the disintegration of the troops and by the lack of personnel. During the operation (see Baltic Front of the First World War. Riga operation 1917 g) despite the unprecedented firepower of the enemy, the use of chemical munitions and new tactics by the Germans, the Russian troops (even with the decomposition of a large part of them) fought steadfastly. But, not having exhausted all defensive capabilities, the command of the 12 Army on the night of August 21 ordered to leave the position on the r. M. Egel and retreat.

The enemy acquired the Riga bridgehead, but the 12-I army escaped from the intended environment. The losses of Russians and Germans are 25000 (mainly due to prisoners) and 5000 people, respectively. This ratio of losses was influenced not only by the condition of the Russian army, but also by the fact that the artillery (the type of troops that inflicted the greatest losses on the enemy) of the 12 Army was neutralized by the Germans with chemical munitions before the onset of infantry. Pulling up new fire weapons and maneuvering reserves in an atmosphere of revolutionary chaos was extremely difficult.

TVD Second Patriotic. 1917 year. Part of 1

2 schema. Riga operation 1917, G. Kavtaradze, G. G. Riga operation 1917, // VIZH. 1967. No. 9.


3 schema. Riga bridgehead and Riga operation. Strategic essay. CH 7. M., 1923.

During the last major operation on the Eastern Front of the First World War, the combined ground-sea Moonsund operation September 29 - October October XNUM (held on the right flank of the theater) (See Moonsund. Part of 1 ; Moonsund. Part of 2a) German grouping, much superior to its opponent (more than 300 German ships and ships, including 10 newest battleships against half the size of the Russian ship group, including 2 of old battleships; 102 Germans against 36 Russian planes), managed to force out Russian forces in Finnish bay The resistance of the Russian troops was of a focal nature, and the defensive capabilities of the positions handed over were far from exhausted. The enemy occupied the islands of Dago, Ezel, Mawn, and the German fleet broke into the Gulf of Riga.


4 schema. The general scheme of the right flank of the Baltic-Belarusian theater. Strategic essay. H. 7

Traditionally strategically secondary, during the second half of the 1917 campaign, the Baltic-Belarusian theater was of key importance. The failures of the Russian troops and fleet during the Riga and Moonsund operations, they led to a serious change in the strategic situation on the right flank of the Russian Front, taking the enemy to the starting position for a decisive throw to Petrograd.


2. The battleship "Citizen", a member of the Morund operation

To be continued
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  1. Olgovich
    Olgovich 20 November 2017 06: 59
    +6
    Traditionally strategically secondary, during the second half of the 1917 campaign, the Baltic-Belorussian theater was of key importance. The failures of the Russian troops and fleet during the Riga and Moonsund operations led to a serious change in the strategic situation on the right flank of the Russian front, leading the enemy to the starting positions for a decisive rush to Petrograd.
    The Riga operation is the last and only German offensive operation on the Russian-German front. It has not reached its goals; the territorial losses of Russia are minimal. Germany ran out of steam and no longer advanced. The United States entered the war.
    The Germans were not up to the "decisive cast on Petrograd" until February 1918.
    1. XII Legion
      XII Legion 20 November 2017 07: 15
      18
      Olgovich
      The Riga operation is the last and only German offensive operation on the Russian-German front.

      For the entire war or the campaign of 1917?
      It has not reached its goals; the territorial losses of Russia are minimal. Germany ran out of steam and no longer advanced. The United States entered the war.

      I completely agree with this.
      The Germans were not up to the "decisive cast on Petrograd" until February 1918.

      Of course. But we are talking about a springboard. Who knew whether Russia would be able to get out of the war, even using ideological weapons (the Austro-Germans probably then switched to a hybrid war) - and therefore tried to acquire such a springboard. Just in case
      1. Olgovich
        Olgovich 20 November 2017 07: 38
        +1
        Quote: XII Legion
        For the entire war or the campaign of 1917?

        In the 17th, of course.
        1. XII Legion
          XII Legion 20 November 2017 07: 49
          17
          Operation Albion?
  2. XII Legion
    XII Legion 20 November 2017 07: 11
    19
    Interesting trends in relation to the theater of operations of the Russian Front PMV
    Now in the 1917 campaign
  3. Moore
    Moore 20 November 2017 07: 36
    +2
    By the beginning of this campaign, the Russian army was experiencing a peak in organizational and logistical development

    January 7, 1917 (Nikolai still GK) began the Christmas battles near Riga.
    Alas, by this time, IMHO, not everything was so rosy already.
    6 battalions rebelled and refused to go on the attack. Artillery did not show itself in this operation. The interaction between the parts was essentially absent.
    Now this unsuccessful attack has entered the official mythology of Latvia, as a betrayal of the Russian military leaders "the colors of the Latvian people."
    1. XII Legion
      XII Legion 20 November 2017 07: 55
      20
      At the first stage of the Mitava operation on December 23-26, 1916, the 12th army was waiting for tactical success.
      The operation involved: the 110th Infantry Division, the 6th Special Brigade, the 3rd Siberian Rifle Division, the 1st and 2nd Latvian Brigades, the 14th Siberian and 5th Siberian Rifle Divisions.
      During the ensuing battles, a number of units were not able to break through the enemy’s front and with losses fell back to their original positions. But the 1st, 2nd Latvian brigades, as well as the 56th and 57th Siberian rifle regiments broke through the front of the Germans.
      One of the features of the operation was the difficult terrain in the area of ​​its implementation, reinforced by the Germans. The artillery could not break the German barriers, because they consisted of fallen whole trees, entangled in wire. As a result, in the early days of the offensive, the effect of artillery on the battle was mainly affected only by drawing the enemy’s attention to those areas in which the artillery preparation was conducted. In addition, “the connection between the leading observers and the batteries was constantly interrupted ... The support of the artillery to the infantry was also negatively affected by the unsatisfactory supply of troops with colored missiles”, because “In many cases both ours and German artillery had to shoot at areas, but the latter in much better conditions, for the troops with colored rockets oriented it about the whereabouts of their units. Our infantry did not have color missiles. If it had, then there is very little and poor design, why, treating them with distrust, I did not use them in battle. Thanks to which there were cases of shooting on their own ... ".
      The technical aspects of the operation determined its outcome. As a result, we see the victory of the Russian troops, but the victory is limited, which was due to both the difficult conditions of the terrain and the insufficient funds allocated for the operation. The troops of the 43rd Army, 6th Siberian Army Corps, Latvian brigades fought continuously for 6 days, under extremely difficult climatic and tactical conditions: location under the open sky, maneuvering in slightly frozen peat bogs, dense swampy thickets, irregular food supply. All these points, despite the successes achieved in the early days, reduced the offensive impulse of the troops, which was facilitated by the lack of a visible result.
      During the January counterattack of 1917, the Germans basically returned the lost ground.
      Russian troops: “About 1000 Germans were captured, 2 heavy and 11 light guns, 2 searchlights, 11 charging boxes, and a lot of shells and equipment. Our losses for both operations (our offensive and the German counterattack) reached the total figure of killed, wounded and missing up to 23000, of which 9000 were missing. Despite, however, a comparison of the last figure with the number of captured Germans, which is unfavorable for us, it is necessary emphasize that the Russian troops showed a strong morale under very difficult conditions of a winter battle in a 20 degree frost. The largest number of missing people falls on those cases when we were unable to place troops in the possibly normal conditions of the struggle. ” Another source, with the same number of captured Germans, names 33 guns and 19 enemy machine guns as trophies. The Germans estimated their own losses at 3,5 thousand people.
      Perhaps the author should be recommended in the future to dwell on this operation in more detail - especially since a new technology was used to break through the enemy’s echeloned front.
    2. XII Legion
      XII Legion 20 November 2017 08: 00
      19
      You faithful applied the term -
      Latvian mythology

      And at the heart of any mythology is mythical betrayal
      Nowhere without it
      1. Moore
        Moore 20 November 2017 09: 18
        +2
        Quote: XII legion

        And at the heart of any mythology is mythical betrayal
        Nowhere without it

        Well, that is a given. Tear out a suitable piece from history, modify it with a rasp, cover it with beautiful traditional folk painting and voila: heroic Latvian arrows and initially oppressors of all Latvian oppressors ...
        On the operation itself. A real improvement in supply was no longer able to compensate for the catastrophic nature of the political situation and, accordingly, the mood in the troops. The realities of the summer-autumn of the 17th were still far away, but a breakdown had already occurred, alas ...
        1. XII Legion
          XII Legion 20 November 2017 09: 40
          18
          Dear Moore
          Tear out a suitable piece from history, modify it with a rasp, cover it with beautiful traditional folk painting and voila: heroic Latvian arrows and initially oppressors of all Latvian oppressors

          I completely agree about this
          And about that
          A real improvement in supply was no longer able to compensate for the catastrophic nature of the political situation and, accordingly, the mood in the troops. The realities of the summer-autumn of the 17th were still far away, but a breakdown had already occurred, alas
          not quite
          What kind of break can we talk about? The French in the spring of 17, a quarter of the army rebelled, and nothing - a parade at Versailles. They shot their soldiers in droves.
          And then there are 6 battalions. It is clear that people are tired of the war, especially on the Northern Front - basically a continuous sitting in the trenches without a visible result. There are 2 medicines: a) rotation of parts; b) the speedy end of the war (and for this it was necessary to preserve the Russian Front).
          By the way, an illustration that there was no break was at least the fact that a corps which had fought beautifully was transferred from the 12th army - a figure in the Mitau operation to the South-Western Front.
          1. Moore
            Moore 20 November 2017 09: 52
            +1
            Quote: XII Legion
            What kind of break can we talk about? The French in the spring of 17, a quarter of the army rebelled, and nothing - a parade at Versailles.

            1. The Franks had Senegalese for executions and there were no Guchk with the Rhodes, not to mention Kerensky.
            2. If the revolution did not happen in Germany, I think Entente p.1 could not help. In any case, for the Germans the result would not be so catastrophic.
            1. XII Legion
              XII Legion 20 November 2017 10: 05
              20
              The Franks had Senegalese for executions and there were no Guchkovs with the Rhodes, not to mention Kerensky.

              We also had Cossacks, Tekinites, highlanders, percussionists.
              If the revolution didn’t happen in Germany, I think Entente p.1 could not help. In any case, for the Germans the result would not be so catastrophic.

              Unrest in the French army - spring 1917 Suppressed.
              The revolution in Germany took place in November 1918. The German army on the Western Front broke down on August 9 - 1918. Amiens, Black Day of the German Army, 3 months before the revolution. Nobody canceled the effect of the “big battalions” (what Olgovich wrote about above about the USA) and the fact that the Germans had already squandered the best forces by fighting on 2 fronts.
              Of course, if there hadn’t been a revolution, theoretically Germany could have fought neither shakily nor swiftly (the Allies thought the war would end in 1919).
              Like us, by the way, neither shaky nor roll could - if there were no revolution.
              But the German army was broken: a) On the Russian front in the campaign of 1915 (total loss of a million) and near Verdun in 1916 (total loss of half a million).
              As I think - at the end of 14 years it was necessary to put up. A clear planning ended, a protracted war began. By the way, at the end of this year, the Hungarian count came to Russia (I don’t remember his last name) with a proposal from the Austro-Hungarian separate world. They gave us Galicia.
              So no, loyalty to allied obligations outweighed. Looking now - probably - unfortunately
    3. Lieutenant Teterin
      Lieutenant Teterin 20 November 2017 10: 33
      15
      Quote: Moore
      Alas, by this time, IMHO, not everything was so rosy already.
      6 battalions rebelled and refused to go on the attack.

      It was such a thing. Fatigue from the war affected in all countries. Plus, the intelligence work and socialist traitors should not be discounted. In England, there was an Easter uprising in the rear, a wave of mass riots broke out among the French in April 1917. The British were smarter - they constantly replaced their units, giving rest in the rear. But we and the French - no, which gave fertile ground for anti-war agitation of various kinds - from undercover to treasonous socialist.
  4. Lieutenant Teterin
    Lieutenant Teterin 20 November 2017 10: 24
    17
    An excellent and informative article. Reading is interesting ... and at the same time it hurts. It is painful to see how the body of the Russian army was destroyed, struck by the infection of revolutionary agitation. 1917 was supposed to be the year of our Victory, but, unfortunately, was the year of national disaster. The author - my heartfelt gratitude for the work done!
  5. Some kind of compote
    Some kind of compote 20 November 2017 17: 55
    16
    What a person’s weakness, that someone uses the weakness of the state
    Nemchura knew when to strike
    And ours still held on
    The campaign of the 17th could become the last for the Fourth Bloc, but it became for Russia.
    But the lessons are instructive
  6. Saling
    Saling 21 November 2017 13: 59
    0
    And what is this "Second Patriotic War"? Since when did the imperialist wars become domestic in our country?
    1. Gopnik
      Gopnik 21 November 2017 14: 57
      13
      Who is yours? From the very beginning in 1914, our second domestic war was like this.
  7. Saling
    Saling 21 November 2017 15: 02
    0
    Quote: Gopnik
    Who is yours? From the very beginning in 1914, our second domestic war was like this.

    You can’t see what the Fatherland is like, just write "second Russian" with a small letter.
    And forgive me, "the very beginning" of you, from what moment is it counted? wink