General Alexey Brusilov - a patriot or a traitor?
In St. Petersburg 14 in November 2007 in the public garden at the intersection of Shpalernaya and Tavricheskaya streets, a monument to General Alexey Brusilov was opened. His military achievements are well known. AT stories Wars There are not many strategic operations, named after the commander, one of them - Brusilovsky breakthrough. But the activities of Brusilov after October 1917 of the year still causes heated debate. After all, he was the most authoritative of the royal generals who had switched to the service of Soviet power. So who was Brusilov during this period - a patriot or a traitor? To understand this, you need to look at how the general’s life path was shaped.
Alexey Brusilov was born on August 19 1853 in the family of a hereditary military. He was barely 6 years old when his father died - Lieutenant-General, head of the military judicial service in the Caucasus. Alexei and his two brothers were taken up by an uncle - military engineer Gagemeister, who served in Kutaisi. "The most vivid impressions of my youth were, undoubtedly, stories about the heroes of the Caucasian War. Many of them at that time still lived and visited my relatives," - later recalled Brusilov.
In the 1867 year, having successfully passed the exams, Alexey was immediately enrolled in the fourth grade of the Page Corps - the most privileged military educational institution in Russia. At the end of the corps, he did not dare to go to the Guard due to lack of funds, but was assigned to the 15 th Tver Dragoon Regiment.
From August 1872, the military service began for Brusilov's Cornet. The first serious test of officer maturity was for him the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-78, at which the Tver dragoons were in the vanguard of Russian troops. The future commander fully recognized the heavy fighting in defense and the fierce assault of the fortresses, the swift cavalry attacks and the pressing bitterness of farewell with their dead friends. During the seven months of the war, he earned three military orders and was promoted to staff captain.
In 1881, Brusilov came to Petersburg again. As one of the best riders in the regiment, he won the right to enter the St. Petersburg officer's cavalry school. Two years of intensive study flew by unnoticed, and another record appeared in the record: “He graduated from the science course of the squadron and centurion commanders department for the“ excellent ”class. In August 1883, he was enlisted as adjutant and tied up his fate with her for a quarter of a century. During these years he became a major general, the head of the school, created his own cavalry training system, won wide acclaim and appreciation in the army. His school became a recognized center for training senior officers for cavalry.
In 1906, there was an unexpected and honorable appointment as the commander of the 2 Guards Cavalry Division, which included regiments famous in the battles with Napoleon. Old glory is good for parades. Given the sad outcome of the war in the Far East, Brusilov seriously engaged in combat training of subordinates. Concluding that “modern combat requires every officer a broad outlook and the ability to independently, without prompting, make his own decision,” he paid special attention to the training of commanders.
Analyzing the results of the war, he put forward a bold idea of creating cavalry corps and armies. But his thoughts were fully embodied only in the years of the civil war, having been tested in the swift raids of the mounted armies of Budyonny and Dumenko.
By the secular standards of a career, Brusilov developed successfully: he was promoted to lieutenant-general, entering the palace. But Aleksei Alekseevich’s service in the sweltering atmosphere of the capital’s intrigues, he leaves the guard (the case at that time is infrequent) and in 1909 was transferred to the Warsaw District by the commander of the 14 Army Corps. The corps was stationed near Lublin near the border with Austria-Hungary, but was ready for hostilities very poorly. “I was sadly convinced,” wrote Brusilov, “that many gentlemen officers are technically extremely insufficiently prepared. In infantry units, tactical exercises were conducted briefly, and partly ineptly.” Strengthened combat training, organized and tightly controlled by Brusilov, gave its fruits. A year later, the corps stood out noticeably in the level of combat readiness among the district troops.
In the spring of 1912, Brusilov was appointed Assistant Commander of the Warsaw District. Governor General Skalon and his entourage met Alexey Alekseevich’s appointment very wary. And he, a delicate and discreet person, did not hide his attitude towards the wealthy prosperity in the district and even wrote about this to the war minister. Brusilov, who had been promoted to the rank of full general, was a prominent figure in the Russian army, did not quarrel with him, but simply satisfied his request for transfer to the Kiev district corps commander. It was a fall, but Alexey Alekseevich accepted it with joy. He again plunged into the usual commander concerns. And he got a big “economy”: the 12 Army Corps consisted of 4 divisions, a brigade, several separate units.
Widespread fame Brusilov brought 1-I World War. Taking command of the 8-th army, which is located on the left flank of the Russian front, he launched an offensive into the depth of Galicia on August 7. The battle rush of the 8 Army was supported by the entire South-Western Front. Began one of the largest strategic operations of the war - the Battle of Galicia.
For two months of hostilities, Russian troops liberated vast territory, took Lviv, Galich, Nikolaev and went to the Carpathians. The Austro-Hungarian army lost more than 400 thousand people. The main contribution to this success was made by the 8 Army. The official recognition of the merits of the army commander was the awarding of General Brusilov to the most revered military orders — St. George 4 and 3 degrees. During these months, Brusilov was finally formed as a commander, he developed his own style of leadership by large masses of troops.
At the end of September, for the development of an offensive on the left flank of the front and the capture of the strong fortress of Przemysl, a Galician group consisting of three armies was created under the command of Brusilov. A descent to take the fortress failed, but, having securely blocked it, the troops of Brusilov reached the Carpathians in the winter and knocked the enemy out of the passes.
Winter 1914-15 passed in continuous battles. The enemy sought to oust the Russian troops from the Carpathians and unlock Przemysl. Brusilov, despite the lack of reserves and an acute shortage of ammunition, constantly counterattacked on all fronts. It was in these battles that he began to mature the basic principles of offensive actions, brilliantly embodied by him subsequently in the famous breakthrough.
By spring, the situation at the front has changed. Austro-Hungarian troops, reinforced by German divisions, bypassed the left flank of the Russian troops, Brusilov’s army was forced to leave the foothills of the Carpathians and withdraw to the Dniester. In heavy fighting, she stopped all enemy attempts to break through to Przemysl, and on March 9 the fortress surrendered. It was a major success, which the troops of the Entente did not yet know. 9 generals surrendered, 2500 officers, 120 thousands of soldiers, more than 900 guns were taken.
Unfortunately, the Russian army had no more major successes in 1915, and by the summer the troops were retreating along the whole front. Army Brusilova left Galicia. By the autumn of 1915, the front stabilized, and the army spent the winter in positional defense, preparing for new battles. In March 1916, Adjutant General Brusilov was appointed commander-in-chief of the Southwestern Front.
The Stake plan for 1916 year provided for the main attack by the forces of the Western front on the Berlin strategic direction, the armies of the Northern and South-Western fronts were to deliver private chisel attacks.
The role of the extra in the general offensive of Brusilov did not suit him, and he began to prepare the front troops for decisive battles. Not having superiority in forces, the commander-in-chief decided to succeed at the expense of deviating from the templates and thoroughly preparing the offensive.
The main blow was delivered by the 8th army in the direction of Lutsk, for this almost all reserves and artillery were involved. Each army and many corps also identified breakthrough areas. Brusilov assigned a special role in breaking through the enemy’s defense. He subordinated part of the light batteries to the commanders of the infantry regiments of the first line. When conducting artillery training, instead of firing at areas, he introduced fire at specific targets. He planned to carry out an infantry attack in waves of chains, reinforcing them with machine guns with artillery escort. For gaining dominance in the air formed a frontline fighter aviation group.
22 May Brusilov began a powerful artillery training, followed by the infantry went on the attack. During the first three days, the front on the Lutsk direction was broken through over the 80 versts, there was a success in the breakthrough areas of a number of armies and corps. It would Seem, the Rate should support the outlined operational success. But the inexplicable happens. The beginning of the offensive of the Western Front is postponed until June 4, while simultaneously refusing to allocate reserves to Brusilov and ordering him to continue to shackle the enemy with demonstrative battles. Only ten days later, the Headquarters began to transfer reserves to the South-Western Front, giving it the right to deliver the main attack. But time has already been lost. Heavy fighting, then fading, then heating up again, continued until September. Without the support of the neighbors of the army, Brusilov defeated the Austro-Hungarian and German troops in Galicia and Bukovina, inflicting huge losses on them - up to 1,5 million people, captured about 600 guns, 1800 machine guns, big trophies.
Analyzing the Brusilov breakthrough, military historians often use the word “for the first time”: for the first time a strategic offensive operation was conducted in a positional war; for the first time, defense in depth erupted by simultaneous crushing blows on a number of sectors of the front; For the first time, infantry support batteries were allocated and sequential concentration of fire was applied to support the attack — such an enumeration can be continued for a long time.
The war continued, but significant changes were brewing in the country. Following the fall of the autocracy, the process of decomposition of the army promptly began. From the end of May, Brusilov served for two months as the Supreme Commander, but he could no longer stop the collapse of the army.
Leaving the army, Brusilov settled in Moscow. In November, he was seriously wounded by fragments of a shell that had accidentally entered the house and was treated in hospital by July 1918. During this period, he was visited by representatives of the White movement, trying to attract to his side. This did not go unnoticed, and Brusilov was arrested. For two months he was in the Kremlin guardhouse, but was released due to lack of evidence of links with the anti-Soviet movement. At the same time, his brother, who died in custody, and his son, the former captain Alexei, were arrested. The son was soon released, and in 1919 he voluntarily joined the Red Army, commanded a cavalry regiment. In one of the battles he was captured. According to one version, he was shot; according to another, he joined the Volunteer Army and died of typhoid.
Before 1920, Brusilov avoided active cooperation with the Bolsheviks. But with the beginning of the war with Poland, he made a proposal to organize a "meeting of people of military and life experience for a detailed discussion of the current situation in Russia and the most appropriate measures to get rid of foreign invasion." Within a few days, by order of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic, a Special Meeting was created under the Commander-in-Chief, and Brusilov was appointed as chairman. Soon, Pravda published an appeal "To all former officers, wherever they are." The first under the appeal was the signature of A.A. Brusilov, then other former generals - members of the meeting. Several thousand former generals and officers responded to the appeal, who joined the Red Army and were sent to the Polish front.
During the fighting for the Crimea, Brusilov was asked to write an appeal to the Wrangel members to stop the resistance. Trusting assurances that all voluntarily formed weapon will be sent home, he wrote such an appeal. Many white officers, believing the general, laid down their arms. A significant part of them was shot. Brusilov very hard experienced his involvement in their deaths, but continued service in the Red Army. He was appointed a member of the Military Legislative Conference under the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic, as well as the Chief Inspector of the General Department of Breeding and Horse Breeding of the RSFSR. Due to the enormous authority of Brusilov in the military environment, he was willingly appointed to other positions related to cavalry, attracted to lecturing at the Academy of the Red Army. And when Brusilov retired, he was left at the disposal of the RVS of the USSR "for especially important assignments."
Alexey Brusilov died on March 17 1926 in Moscow at the 73 year of life. He was buried with all military honors in the territory of the Novodevichy Monastery.
Time puts everything in its place. The memory of General Brusilov continues to live. And it was not his fault, but the trouble that he was accustomed to living by the laws of honor, he could not understand in time that in new Russia, with which he tried to serve honestly, these laws are not available to everyone.