“It begins with the fact that all the failures will be attributed to the government. Legislative institutions will start a fierce campaign against him ... Revolutionary speeches will begin in the country ... The army, deprived of the most reliable personnel, embraced for the most part by a spontaneous common peasant desire for land, will be too demoralized to serve as a bulwark of law and order ... Russia will be plunged into hopeless anarchy, the outcome of which defies even foresight, ”the report emphasized.
MYTH ABOUT BROTHERS
It is believed that by entering the war, we thereby defended the brother-Slavs! Alas, these little brothers were rather scandalous characters and quarreled during the Balkan Wars.
Thus, on the eve of the war, Russia transferred 75 guns to Bulgaria, including eight 11-inch (280-mm) guns. And October 14 1915 Bulgaria entered the war, and the people explained: "The Rasputin clique declared war on us."
28 June 1914, the Serbian terrorist Gavril Princip, killed the heir to the Austrian throne, Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Elizabeth. This was not an action of a lone fanatic. Dozens of people participated in the assassination, including senior Serbian officers, including the Serbian intelligence chief Dragutin Dmitrievich (pseudonym Apis). Austro-Hungarian investigators and a number of foreign historians claimed that Colonel Viktor Alekseevich Artamonov, a military agent (attache) of Russia, and his deputy, Captain Alexander Ivanovich Verkhovsky, were involved in organizing the assassination attempt.
Personally, I have no evidence of the guilt of these officers. Later, Artamonov boasted an alibi - on the day of the attempt he was in Italy, although not far from the Austrian border. Well, Verkhovsky is still that goose! He was a prominent mason of the “Military Lodge”. In August 1917, Kerensky appointed him Minister of War. In December, 1918, he joined the Bolsheviks, and in 1922, at the Genoa Conference, he was the main Soviet military expert. He was shot 19 August 1938 of the year, but 28 October 1956 rehabilitated.
I note that both Artamonov and the Russian ambassador to Serbia, Nikolai Genrikhovich Gartvig, were also masons. At the same time, it is reliably known that Verkhovsky was constantly in contact with Apis. Meanwhile, Apis and three other leaders of the Serbian intelligence service in the spring of 1917, by a Serbian court, were found guilty of organizing an assassination attempt and were sentenced to death.
I personally did not do this business and leave a question mark. However, two days after the assassination attempt, Nicholas II ordered to send X-NUMX thousands of Mosin rifles and a million cartridges to Serbia.
WHO WAS A PROFITABLE WAR
23 August Austria-Hungary presented an ultimatum to Serbia. Austria began mobilization directed against Serbia, and Russia, in response, began a general mobilization. From July 15 to August 1, 1914 almost continuously exchanged telegrams between Kaiser Wilhelm II and Emperor Nicholas II. Kaiser persuaded the king to stop mobilization, but he refused. As a final argument, the Kaiser threatened to declare war and, without receiving a response, declared it. Formally, the Germans were the first to start a war. But, first, Wilhelm did not want war in 1914. Secondly, the German strategists planned an offensive in the west and a defense in the east.
So who benefited from the "Great War"?
After Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Austrian generals and a group of bankers wanted to join Serbia with their patchwork empire. I note that from the southern border of Serbia to the Dardanelles only 300 km, and to the Aegean Sea - only 50 km.
The French have already 40 over the years dreamed of revenge for the 1870 year and was eager to tear away Alsace and Lorraine from Germany.
The British were afraid for their colonies, suffered from the competition of powerful German industry, and most of all they were afraid of the rapid strengthening of the German naval fleet. The German battleships had better artillery, armor and survivability than the British, and in terms of the number of dreadnoughts, both countries should have been equal in 1918–1920.
Germany wanted to curb the French revenge-seekers and with lust looked at the huge British colonies, over which "the sun never set."
Thus, in 1914, the war met the vital interests of all the great European powers. All except Russia.
Having become involved in the war, neither the king, nor his ministers and generals defined the goals of the war. I repeat, we are not talking about the fact that these goals were reactionary or obviously not feasible. The fact is that neither the king nor the ministers were able to formulate the future of "united" Poland after the victory over Germany and Austria-Hungary. There were enough options, including official statements by Nicholas II, the commander of the Russian army of Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich, as well as foreign ministers, but all of them were contradictory and uncertain.
In 1916 – 1917, Russian troops seized a fair amount of Turkish territory, including the cities of Trabzon, Erzurum, Erzijan, Bitlis, and others. Again, the king, ministers and generals did not know what to do with them.
They seized Galicia from Austria temporarily, and again the question: whether to annex it to the future Poland, or to make the Russian province, or to give Little Russia autonomy and include Galicia in it? As they say, "extraordinary ease of thought."
What to do with the Straits after the victory? The still unforgettable Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote: "And once again that Constantinople, it’s too early, too late, and what should be ours."
In November 1914, the vice-director of the Foreign Ministry’s office, Nikolai Alexandrovich Basili, compiled a secret note “On our goals in the Straits.” It said:
"The strategic importance of the Straits is to control the passage of ships from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea and back ... The Straits are an excellent operational base for fleet operations in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea ...
... The complete resolution of the issue of the Straits is possible only by directly asserting our authority on the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles with part of the Aegean Islands and sufficient Hinterland (adjacent areas. - A.Sh.) so that their possession is firm. Only such a decision ... - one thing corresponds to our great power, giving us a new means for expanding the world significance of our fatherland. "
It is curious that already in the course of the war, England and France promised Russia to Constantinople, while they themselves concluded a secret separative agreement under which they mutually promised not to give the Straits to Russia. Moreover, both London and Paris hatched plans for the division of the Russian Empire after the defeat of Germany. The Priislensky Territory, the Baltic States, Finland, and whenever possible both Ukraine and the Caucasus were subject to withdrawal.
THREE LINES OF STRENGTHS
For the Russian Empire, as later for the USSR, the most dangerous, if not the only dangerous, was the western direction. Charles XII and Napoleon marched from the west, Polish gentry in 1603 – 1618 and in 1920, and in 1941, Hitler.
Entering the throne in 1825, Nicholas I decided to cover the western border of the empire, building a number of new fortresses there, which, in combination with the old ones, would form three lines of defense.
Recall that even Napoleon said: “Is it possible to wage war without the assistance of fortresses? Positively no! ”
In the end, the efforts of the three emperors, Nicholas I, Alexander II and Alexander III, created three lines of the most powerful forts at that time. And although our fortresses were built and armed under the strictest secrecy, Western experts rather highly appreciated the state of the engineering defense of the Russian border. Based on the data of the German officers of the General Staff, Friedrich Engels wrote: “The Russians, especially after 1831, did what their predecessors missed. Modlin (Novogeorgievsk), Warsaw, Ivangorod, Brest-Litovsk form a whole system of fortresses, which, by a combination of its strategic capabilities, is the only one in the world. ”
According to the author, here you can believe the classics: firstly, he was well versed in military affairs, and secondly, he fiercely hated Tsarist Russia, and it is difficult to accuse him of embellishment.
Three lines of fortresses allowed Russia to wage both defensive and offensive war. By August, 1914, the number of Russian army was 1 million 423 thousand people, and after mobilization - 5 million 338 thousand people. Taking into account the state of the iron and horse-drawn roads, the bureaucratic apparatus, etc. the time of mobilization of the Russian army was several times greater than the time of mobilization in the armies of Germany and France. Therefore, covering the western borders with the fortresses was extremely important for the Russian Empire.
In 1865 – 1881, there was a revolution in artillery. The smooth-bore guns were replaced with rifled guns of the 1867 model of the year, firing lead shells with shells, and then tools of the 1877 model of the year with a modern type canal that fired shells with copper bands appeared. That is, the guns and shells of the 1877 model of the year are interchangeable with the guns and shells in service in the 2017 year.
The first in the world guns of the 1867 model of the year and the 1877 model of the year were adopted by the Russian and Prussian gunners. We can safely say that Krupp was created by Russian money and the ideas of Russian officers from the Artillery Committee. Krupp engineers provided high technology manufacturing tools, and Krupp factories have become a pilot production for the Russian artillery. Further, the production of 87 – 280 mm caliber artillery systems was introduced at the Obukhov and Perm factories (Marine and Mining departments, that is, state-owned). Thus, by 1894, the Russian army acquired the best (along with Germany) field, fortress and siege (heavy land) artillery in the world.
In the second half of the nineteenth century 80, a new revolution began in artillery and fortification. The transition to smokeless powder allowed to increase the initial speed and firing range of the guns. The creation of powerful new explosives — melinite, liddite, and trotyl — made it possible to significantly increase the high-explosive effect of projectiles. Prior to this, projectiles filled with gunpowder had a weak high-explosive effect, and an increase in caliber had little effect on the explosive action of the projectile. Now all restrictions on the firing range with the introduction of smokeless powder were removed, and already in the middle of the 1890-s guns were able to shoot at a distance of 25 km, and by 1918 year - at 120 km.
In turn, an increase in the caliber of howitzers and mortars led to a fantastic increase in the high-explosive effect. As a result, by the 1914 year, the Germans and Austro-Hungarians had mortars of the caliber 420 mm, and the French in 1915 year created the 520 mm mm mortars. By the way, these French “toys” in 1942 – 1943 were shot at Leningrad.
Finally, in the 1890-ies appeared guns with rollback along the axis of the channel, and not together with the gun carriage, as it was before.
The second revolution in artillery led to a revolution in fortification — concrete structures with multimeter walls and rooftops, as well as armored artillery and machine-gun turrets, appeared in land fortresses.
STRANGE RUSSIAN WAY
At the same time, in Russia, from about 1894, things inexplicable from the point of view of common sense things began to happen. Instead of the best Krupp guns in the world, the Russian army began to focus on the French firm Schneider. That is the manufacturer shamefully bat in 1870 year of the country.
As mentioned above, the revolution in artillery and Russia's access to the 1-th place in the world in terms of its material part was provided by our state-owned factories and arsenals. After the cessation of the production of copper tools at the end of 1880, the arsenals focused on the production of gun carriages, shells, etc. In the 1890-ies for the first time a private Putilov factory received artillery orders. The Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich, who monopolized the leadership of the artillery, together with his metress Matilda Kshesinskaya, entered into an agreement with the leadership of the Schneider company and the leadership of the Putilov factory dependent on him. As a result, only samples of Schneider’s company are accepted into service Moreover, Schneider demanded that all new tools be produced at the Putilov factory and nowhere else.
But the Petersburg Gunnery Plant of the Military Department in 1905 – 1914 eked out a miserable existence. Well, the largest supplier of artillery for ground forces Perm (Motovilihinsky) plant from 1905 to 1914 year did not receive orders for artillery systems. The plant was fed with orders for rough blanks, shells, even began to build river steamers. As a result, the plant, which brought 1905 – 10% profit from the end of the 19th century to 12, in 1906 – 1914 brought losses in 5 million rubles.
And the thing is that the Grand Duke Sergei and his French puppeteers tried to bankrupt the state-owned factory so that he would be sold to Schneider for a pittance. It would have happened, but Sergei was let down by his brother Mikhail, who lived in England and was friends with Albert Vickers. They hunted and fished together and were in high degrees at once in two Masonic lodges. It is not known how the battle of two cannon kings, Vickers and Schneider, would end, but the war began, and the Perm factory remained state-owned. However, Vickers did not turn out to be a blessing. In November 1912, he obtained permission to build a huge artillery factory in Tsaritsyn. At the same time, the Minister of War Vladimir Aleksandrovich Sukhomlinov received a present from the company - 50 thousand rubles.
How many millions of gold rubles the Russian government has invested in this project has not yet been calculated. But the game was worth the candle. Under the contract, Vickers promised to hand over 1-, 1915- and 356-mm guns with 203 September. In the summer of 130, gendarmes came to the factory. They were shaken by the unfinished walls of the workshops, there were no machines at all, the entire management of the Tsaritsyn plant lived in Petrograd ...
I note that since 1925, the Stalingrad plant, called the “Barricades”, was completed by the whole country. Nevertheless, the first guns were handed over in the middle of the 1930-s.
Under pressure from the French, our generals engaged exclusively in field artillery. As a result, by August 1 1914 of the year in Russia was not made a single serial heavy weapons for siege or fortress artillery. In this regard, the Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich in 1910, the king achieved the abolition of siege artillery as such. I note that the siege was then called artillery of great power. However, most of the old siege artillery systems of the 1867 model of the year and 1877 of the year went for scrap, and the rest were sent to the fortress warehouses. The Grand Duke promised the king to revive the siege artillery by the year 1921, and to rearm the serf with new tools by the ... 1930 year!
In February, 1909 of the year, according to a report by the then Chief of the Main Directorate General Staff, V.A. Sukhomlinov, held the highest commandment on the abolition of several fortresses, including the fortress Novogeorgievsk, considered to be first-class, Batum, Ochakov and Ust-Dvinsk; about the speedy reduction of “proper form” of Brest-Litovsk, Kronstadt, Vyborg, Vladivostok, etc., since, according to Sukhomlinov, “keeping the fortresses in that state” in which they were then, would be a betrayal.
A year later, in May 1910, the new Chief of the General Staff, General Yevgeny Alexandrovich Gerngross, asked for another order about the fortresses, according to which the fortresses of Novogeorgievsk, Batum, Ust-Dvinsk and Ochakov were not only abolished, but had to be rearranged to meet modern requirements.
In addition, at different times, the king, without further ado, podmahival mutually exclusive "highest orders". Here, for example, January 1 1910, Nikolai podmahivaивает The highest command about the abolition of the fortress Ivangorod. November 26 The 1913 of the year in Yalta was a parade. The tsar a little bit “in the tent” in the morning with officers, and then went to breakfast, making it difficult for vodka with port wine. Then he accepted the Minister of War Sukhomlinov and pushed the "Highest approval for the preservation and partial reorganization of the fortress Ivangorod."
It is curious that a number of forts and fortresses of the Warsaw Military District (VO) were not blown up due to the lack of funds for explosives and the dismantling of ruins.
PROBLEMS WITH SHELLS
However, strange things were happening not only in the artillery of the fortress. Even in the old guns, they could not make new steel projectiles equipped with TNT or melinite in Russia! It would also be possible to re-equip old shells from black powder with new explosives. Alas, by the 1915, the shells with new explosives ranged from 1 to 5% of the total ammunition of the western forts. But our generals in large quantities prepared shrapnel for 152 – 203-mm guns and mortars. Interestingly, by this time there were no guns of a caliber over 203 mm in the Russian army at all.
Meanwhile, in Austria-Hungary, 1898-mm mortar M.240, 98-mm gun M.240, 16-mm mortar M.305 and M.11, 16-mm howitzer M.380, and finally The 16-mm howitzer L / 420. In Germany, the 15-mm howitzer L / 1912 is adopted for use in 305, in the 17 year - the 1909-mm howitzer L / 420, in the 16 year - 1912-mm mortar IR, etc.
Moreover, by the year 1914, a whole system of mortars had been created and put into mass production in Germany. German mortars, like classical guns, were equipped with anti-recoil systems. The combat weight of a mortar of a 17 caliber cm was 525 kg, and that of a mortar caliber 25 cm - 660 kg. In the stowed position, the mortars weighed 819 kg and 955 kg, respectively, and were easily transported by a pair of horses. A 17 caliber mortar, see a 54 kg missile at a distance of 768 meters, and a 25 mortar cm, fired a 97 kg missile at a distance of 563 meters.
In the 1904 year in Port Arthur, our officers projected several types of mortars on their own initiative. Dozens of them were used in combat conditions and showed excellent results. But 1 August 1914, the Russian army did not have a single mortar. Heavy guns were not only in Russia. Moreover, there were actually more than enough projects of super-powered guns.
It's funny that, in the absence of a better War Department, in April 1915 ordered 50 6-pound Kegorn mortars on wooden machines and 500 pieces of cast-iron spherical grenades for them. The order was executed by the Shkilin Petrograd Plant. (Baron Keghorn designed his mortar in 1674 year!)
DOORED ON FAILED OFFENSION
The French demanded that Russia not engage in fortresses and heavy artillery, while they themselves created a network of modern fortresses and adopted hundreds of large and special-powered guns. As a result, France had 29 fortresses in Europe, Germany had 25, and Russia had 12 obsolete. In France, one fortress fell on the 2900 km of the border, in Germany - on the 3400 km, in Russia - on the 4500 km. Even the new forts of Grodno and Vyborg built 1913 – 1916 were at the level of the fortresses of the XVIII century. Yes, there were barracks, cellars and other concrete structures, which were spent millions. However, in the absence of armor towers and protected casemates, our generals generally removed artillery from the forts and decided to place it somewhere far in the rear.
As a result, the only firepower of the Russian forts to 1917 year created a chain of soldiers with three-line rifles for the concrete parapet. From above, the soldiers were opened to the action of mounted artillery fire, aircraft attacks, etc.
Meanwhile, immediately after the Russian-Japanese war, our engineers and officers proposed connecting the western fortresses with a system of fortified areas. But all their projects went under the shelf.
But the Germans built numerous fortifications. So, in September 1915, the Germans went to the line Naroch - Smorgon - Baranavichy - Pinsk and in a short time created a fortified area there with more than a thousand concrete cannon and machine gun dots. I myself saw a line of such pillboxes on the Pina River. Outwardly, they differ little from the Soviet dots of the 1939 – 1940 Molotov line. There I had a seditious thought to take by the scruff of historians, who were talking about the 1917 coming of the year, to drag them to the pillboxes, and let them explain how to destroy them. Unless having pulled up coastal 120 – 152-mm stationary tools. And then, to compare these same guys, send a stroll through the forts of Grodno and Vyborg, since they are well preserved.
How was it possible to attack the Germans in the spring of 1917? In 1917–1918, on the Western Front, the Allies concentrated several hundred heavy guns on breakthrough sections of several kilometers. And after a long artillery bombardment, hundreds went on the attack tanks. And even then the losses of the allies were huge. I calculated that with the real losses of the Allies in 1918, when moving 1 km deep into the German defense upon reaching the Rhine, they would lose all their troops, including the recently arrived Americans.
Had all the Russian heavy artillery (TAON) been collected and focused on the 1 km of front, its salvo was still much less than on the Western Front’s 1 km breakthrough in 1917 – 1918. I note that TAON was created in 1915 – 1916. For this purpose, stationary or semi-stationary ship and coastal guns were assembled to the heap and 72 guns acquired abroad were added to them.
By the 1914, in the land fortresses of France, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Belgium there were hundreds of armor-mounted artillery installations, and in Russia there was one (!) In the Osovets fortress, bought in France "for experiments". By 1918, the French army had more than 400 heavy implements on railway installations. And in Russia there were two (!), And even then an unsuccessful design.
Nevertheless, our historians still tell tales about the Ilya Muromets bombers, Fedorov rifles, the Lebedenko wheeled tank, etc. Like, all this would have gone on the offensive in the spring of 1917 of the year.
Tank Lebedenko was built in one copy. In the absence of their own powerful engines, two Zeppelin were brought down from it. The tank was stuck in trials near Dmitrov. It was not possible to pull it out, and the tank was dismantled after 1924. No more tanks were produced in Russia until the first series of Russian Renault tanks was built in 1920 – 1921 in Nizhny Novgorod.
In Russia, neither manual nor aviation, no heavy machine guns. Only one plant in Tula made machine guns, and only one type - "Maxim". Most of the machine guns at the front were manufactured abroad.
By 1917, the Germans had an 1604 aircraft, and the Russians had an 360. And all the cars were with low-power engines. The best Russian fighter C-16 (Sikorsky) had a flight weight of 676 kg, a Gnome engine with a power of 80 hp, a maximum speed of 120 km / h, and armament — one machine gun. The German Junkers fighter J-2, created in 1916, had a flight weight of 1160 kg, a maximum speed of 205 km / h, and a weapon - one machine gun. The following year, the 1917 was created J-3, which developed the speed 240 km / h. The C-16 gained 3 km in 40 minutes, and the Fokker D-8 fighter in 4 km in 11 minutes.
The vaunted Ilya Muromets bomber of the last issue (1916 of the year) had a take-off weight of 5500 kg, a bomb load of up to 500 kg. Four “Bedmore” motors with 160 horsepower each allowed him to reach a maximum speed of 130 km / h. At the same time, the overwhelming majority of machines had 100 – 120 HP engines. Flight range was 540 km. The German Linke-Hofmann R1 bomber had a take-off weight of 12 300 kg, a bomb load of 8 tons, four Daimler motors for 260 hp. and developed a maximum speed of 132 km / h.
So, it is not difficult to guess how the spring offensive of 1917 would have ended, even if Nicholas II had remained on the throne.
But the main thing - the Russian people did not want to fight. Yes, a certain part of the population of St. Petersburg and Moscow in the fall of 1914, succumbed to chauvinistic frenzy and believed the promises of the generals that our army would go to Berlin in a couple of months. But the frenzy quickly passed. The war of maneuver has turned into a positional war, with all the ensuing consequences.
The Russian people, not to mention the Little Russians or the Kazakhs, basically did not want to fight either for Alsace and Lorraine, or for the Straits, or for the brother-Slavs, or for the Polish gentry. But for the "top" of the war was the "mother of the native." The king and the ministers believed that they could only sit in their places with the help of war. Recall that in the spring and summer of 1914, a wave of strikes swept across the country and even the official press assessed the situation as pre-revolutionary.
In turn, the Duma members of the liberal bourgeoisie and the masons realized that only war would give them a real opportunity to come to power. I note that their calculation was fully justified. Through the creation of the Zemsky and other unions, they managed to form an administration for the future Provisional Government, both in the capitals and in the provinces. And, the funny thing is to do it at the expense of the government, that is, due to short deliveries weapons front and food rear.
By 1917, there were numerous interruptions in rail transport. Military cargo and food in thousands of tons were stuck in ports and railway junctions. The peasants hid the bread, the industrialists hid coal and oil. Russia did not go to victory, but to catastrophe.