Military Review

Russian commander of the First World War

A commander is a military leader, a military commander who guides a state or large military formations (for example, the front) during a war and is skilled in the preparation and conduct of hostilities. He must have talent, creative thinking, the ability to foresee the development of military events, will and determination. There can be no commander without a rich combat experience, high organizational skills, intuition and other qualities that make it possible to most effectively use the available forces and means to achieve victory.

Russian commander of the First World War

All of the above fully applies to General Alexei Alexeyevich Brusilov (1853-1926).

He graduated from the Corps of Pages, participated in the Russian-Turkish war 1877-1878. on the Caucasian front. It was in the battles of this war that Aleksei Alekseevich learned all his life to value and protect the soldier’s life.

In World War I, the commander of the 8 Army of the Southwestern Front. The commander of the 8 Army was extremely successful - in the Galician battle, in the Warsaw-Ivangorod offensive operation, in the Carpathian offensive operation, it forced the Carpathians. It was the troops of the 8 Army that were closest to the offensive in Hungary. Also 8-I army disrupted enemy attempts to unlock the besieged fortress of Przemysl. From August 1914 to February 1915 only. The 8 Army under the command of A. A. Brusilova captured 113.000 Austrian, Hungarian and German soldiers and officers.

In the spring of 1915 during the Great Retreat, after the Gorlitsky breakthrough, A. A. Brusilov managed to retreat in an organized manner and save the 8 Army from defeat under the constant pressure of the enemy and led the army to the San River. In the course of the battles of Radymno, in the Gorodok positions, he opposed the enemy, who had an absolute advantage in artillery, especially heavy. Brusilov's 8 Army retreated to Volyn, successfully defending the Sokal battle from the troops 1 and 2 of the Austro-Hungarian armies and in the battle on the Goryn River in August 1915. In early September, 1915 of the year in the battle of Vishnevets and Dubno defeated the opposing 1 and 2 Austrian-Hungarian armies. September 10 1915, his troops of the 8 Army under the command of A. A. Brusilov took Lutsk, and October 5 took Chartoryisk. That is, even in the hardest 1915, the track record of A. A. Brusilov remained victorious.

17 March 1916 was appointed commander-in-chief of the Southwestern Front.

A long stay on the post of army commander gave A. A. Brusilov a lot. Battles 1914-1915 they gave him the opportunity to test their strength as a commander in a wide variety of situations - in a victorious offensive, and in the days of forced withdrawal. Already in this period, the commander of the 8 army, unlike most of his fellow generals, is characterized by a desire for a broad maneuver, a detour of the enemy’s flank, persistent movement forward. But one desire, of course, would be small. General A. A. Brusilov in these months discovered an outstanding ability to lead troops, and this, again, set him apart from other military commanders of the Russian Army. The 8 Army under his leadership showed the ability to launch a rapid offensive and stubborn defense, it played a prominent role in the battles of 1914-1915. Brusilov’s authority was already very high both in the army and in the country. Apparently, this prompted the Stake to prepare an order for his new appointment.

The news of his new position Brusilov probably received with joyful excitement. What a hereditary military man, what a natural officer, from a young age, an officer does not dream of finally becoming a major commander, showing himself as a commander ?! After all, now under his command a million armed men and hundreds of generals. Can he lead them? And most importantly - lead them to military success?

With these feelings, he was preparing to say goodbye to his old comrades.

In the last order of the 8 Army from March 24, reporting on his departure, Brusilov wrote: “Dear comrades: generals, officers and lower ranks of the valiant Eighth Army! 20 months of the Great War I was at the head of you, joined Austria-Hungary with you, reached the Hungarian Plain with you ... I became close to you, especially with the 8 Army Corps and the Iron Rifle Division, invariably all 20 months were former under my command ... "

25 March 1916 g. A. A. Brusilov assumed a new position.

The troops of the South-Western Front began to actively prepare for the offensive.

Carefully selected and equipped firing positions and observation points artillery. Detailed plans were developed shooting. For all periods of combat, each battery knew all the targets that it was to fire.

Troops were trained in the rear: police stations were built, similar to Austrian ones, and here the infantry and artillery trained in joint action techniques during the breakthrough. Soldiers were trained to throw hand grenades, to overcome wire barriers, to seize and secure areas of positions.

The Russian military counterintelligence worked well too. It paralyzed the actions of the enemy agents and the command of the enemy were only the most general information about the South-Western Front.

Preparation for the operation was exemplary.

22 May 1916. Began the offensive of the Southwestern Front, which entered into history as Brusilovsky breakthrough.

In the course of the Brusilov offensive, the enemy lost soldiers and officers killed and wounded and 1.500.000, of which the Austro-Hungarian 1.200.000 and the German 200.000 were lost. The 581 guns, 1795 machine guns, 448 bombers and mortars, millions of shells and cartridges, tens of thousands of horses became Russian trophies. The losses of the Russian troops during the victorious offensive amounted to 477.967 soldiers and officers, of whom 62.155 killed, 376.910 wounded and 38.902 prisoners.

To eliminate the Brusilov breakthrough and save Vienna from a military catastrophe that threatened it, the German and Austro-Hungarian commanders withdrew a total of 30,5 infantry and 3,5 cavalry divisions from the Western and Italian fronts. That is, it was about several hundred thousand people. This greatly eased the position of the French near Verdun and the Italians in Trentino: they felt this decline immediately in the forces of the advancing enemy. Moreover, before the troops Brusilov were two Turkish divisions. Austria-Hungary and Germany suffered another heavy defeat in Galicia and Bukovina. The combat capability of the Austrian army was finally undermined, and for the next two years of the war it could no longer undertake any significant offensive, and it held the front only with the help of the German army, which was also heavily inherited.

The front of the enemy was broken through the width of 340 kilometers, the depth of the break reached 120 kilometers. Brusilov's troops advanced at a speed of 6,5 km. per day, and by the autumn of 1916, 25 thousand square meters were occupied. km the territory of Galicia.

Thus, Brusilovsky’s breakthrough was a major turning point in the war, and it became clear that Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria were doomed to defeat. It was only a matter of time.

In the West, there has been a huge interest in Russia. The allies spoke with the inexhaustible power of the Russian hero-nation, who once again (who counted?) Showed the world his mysterious soul. Russia seemed to save Europe and the world again, as it did in 1813-1814. It seemed the war was almost won ...

The martial art of the offensive of the South-Western Front gave a lot. This was the first successful frontal offensive operation conducted in a positional war. Several separate but simultaneous strikes on a broad front, it was a new operational form, which allowed Brusilov to break the enemy's defenses. The enemy rushed from one sector to another, not being able to determine right away where the main attack was being delivered.
A distinctive feature of the offensive of the South-Western Front in comparison with other operations undertaken earlier on the Russian front was a large preparatory work, in which all command instances, from commander in chief to platoon commanders, participated. Brusilov ensured that a thorough search of tactical interaction was carried out at the front, a search and secretly concentrated forces and means in the places of the main attacks. Training infantry in specially created, as enemy types, positions, building initial bridgeheads as close as possible to the enemy, ensured the achievement of a major initial success.

The merits of the operation become even more noticeable if we point out something that Brusilov did not have at his disposal. There is no doubt that for the development of success in the Lutsk sector, as well as on the sections of the main attacks in other armies, he did not have enough reserves. The armies of the Southwestern Front occupied wide sections; lack of reserves led to the need to stop, regroup the troops. And yet the operation, started and developed without reserves, with a lack of ammunition and a slight superiority over the enemy in artillery, brought success. This testified both to the valor and skill of the Russian troops, and to the high qualities of the commanders, first of all Brusilov.

In the offensive operation of the South-Western Front, for the first time, close interaction was conducted between artillery and infantry. Under the leadership of the commander-in-chief, an “artillery attack” was developed and, most importantly, successfully applied: the infantry going on the offensive accompanied not only fire, but also wheels. The combination of tactical infantry techniques with the ability to use artillery made it possible to break through enemy positions.

Immutable fact: the offensive of the South-Western Front in the summer of 1916, undoubtedly, belongs to the most striking and instructive operations of the First World War. After this operation, the commander-in-chief of the South-Western Front stood firmly in line with the outstanding commanders of the Russian Army, and this means something! Brusilov was the last of the generals of the old Russian Army, whose experience enriched the Russian military art. One of the reasons for Brusilov’s success was his faith and the Russian Army, in the Russian soldier, in his excellent fighting qualities and they are frames
gave it confidence. Belief in victory Brusilov managed to impress the majority of his subordinates.

Brusilov was able to find methods of conducting an operation to break through the enemy’s fortified band, which fully corresponded to the task and the specific situation. We should not forget that the famous Marshal Foch used this experience in the operations of 1918, who crushed the German army. In Soviet military science, the experience of the operation of the South-Western Front was carefully studied in the 20-30-s. and served as material for the development of the theory of breakthrough fortified bands. A concrete embodiment and further development of Brusilov’s idea can be found in the study of the largest strategic operations of the Red Army during the Great Patriotic War, for example, in the Belarusian offensive operation Bagration in 1944.

Tribute is due to the art of Brusilov in foreign literature. The success of his troops is all the more dramatic for Western European authors because they were achieved at the time when the well-armed and equipped troops of the opposing sides on the Western Front could not solve the problem of breaking through the front, when seizing several tens of meters of enemy trenches after fierce bombardment and abundant bloodshed signed newspapers as a major, brilliant success. Against this background, the advance of Brusilov’s armies over many tens of kilometers (and in the south, in Bukovina, and hundreds), the capture of 500 thousands of prisoners, undoubtedly, should have been assessed as an amazing achievement. The term "Brusilov offensive" ("Brussilowanqriff", "the Brussilov offensive", "offensive de Broussilov") was included in encyclopedias and scientific works. A. Taylor calls the Brusilov offensive "the only successful operation of the First World War, named after the general."

And in general, A. A. Brusilov throughout the war actively used many of the latest military equipment - Aviation, heavy artillery, chemical weaponarmored cars.

Brusilovsky breakthrough is the forerunner of the remarkable breakthroughs carried out by the Red Army in the Great Patriotic War.
- Lieutenant-General M. Galaktionov Preface to Brusilov's My Memories, 1946

After the revolution, A. A. Brusilov remained not the inheritance, but in 1920, after the beginning of the Soviet-Polish war, he joined the Red Army and served in it until his death in 1926.

17 March 1926, the commander died.

On the same day, the RVS of the Republic decided to accept the funeral expenses at its own expense and apply to the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR for the appointment of a personal pension to Brusilov’s widow.

18 March obituaries about A. A. Brusilov appeared in Pravda, Red Star and other newspapers. Pravda, praising the personality of the deceased, one of the most prominent representatives of the Russian Army, who contributed to the construction of the Soviet Armed Forces, emphasized that the entire Revolutionary Military Council of the republic respected Brusilov, "appreciated his deep intelligence, the directness of his views, his sincere loyalty to to the Soviet government.

At 12 hours of the day 19 March, an honorary escort lined up at the apartment of the deceased: infantry company, cavalry squadron and half-battery of artillery. Among those present were the delegation of the Republican Revolutionary Military Council headed by A.I. Egorov and S.M. Budyonny. They lay on the coffin of A. A. Brusilov a wreath with the inscription: "To the honest representative of the old generation who gave his combat experience to the service of the USSR and the Red Army, A. A. Brusilov from the Revolutionary Military Council."

At noon, the coffin with the body of the deceased is placed on an artillery carriage, as it should be done from old time, and the funeral procession is sent to the Novodevichy Convent. In front of the gate - a mourning rally. A.I. Egorov, on behalf of the Revolutionary Military Council, characterizes the role of A. A. Brusilov in the fight against the Poles. S. Budyonny speaks about the merits of the deceased in the organization of the red cavalry, G. D. Guy, speaking from the Military Academy named after M. Frunze, recalls the role of A. A. Brusilov in the First World War. The coffin with the body of A. A. Brusilov is brought into the territory of the Novodevichy Convent through the gates.

Many graves of former colleagues of A. A. Brusilov, also Russian, but left their homeland, many of these graves — sometimes luxurious, often modest and forgotten — are scattered around the world.

General Alexey Alekseevich Brusilov remained in his homeland after his death. Above his grave, near the Smolensky Cathedral at the Novodevichy Cemetery, Russian birch leans.

Awards A. A. Brusilov:

Order of St. Stanislaus 3 degree with swords and bow (1878);

Order of St. Anne 3 degree with swords and bow (1878);

Order of St. Stanislaus 2 degree with swords (1878);

Order of St. Anne 2 degree (1883);

Order of St. Vladimir 4 degree (1895);

Order of St. Vladimir 3 degree (1898);

Order of St. Stanislaus 1 degree (1903);

Order of St. Anne 1 degree (1909);

Order of St. Vladimir 2 degree (1913);

The Order of St. George of the 4 degree (23.08.1914) - “for fights with the Austrians, the result of which was the capture of the city of Galich by 21 this August”;

Order of St. George 3 degree (18.09.1914) - "for repulsing attacks on the Gorodok position from 24 to 30-e last August";
Georgievskiye weapon (27.10.1915);

St. George weapons with diamonds: a piece with the inscription "For the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian armies in Volyn, in Bukovina and Galicia 22 — 25 of May 1916” (20.07.1916).

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  1. miv110
    miv110 23 August 2014 10: 20
    The memory of the heroes of Russia must be eternal! A.A. Brusilov is the clearest example of military talent by the example of which more than one generation of the military has studied both here and abroad!
    1. igor.oldtiger
      igor.oldtiger 1 September 2014 19: 34
      Yes! There were people in our time, when the first spring thunder,,,,, Not like the current tribe (in the fog of the sea "blue")
  2. igor.oldtiger
    igor.oldtiger 23 August 2014 11: 31
    CAPTAIN with a capital letter!
  3. Cristall
    Cristall 23 August 2014 12: 43
    yes, in fact, in that war the only commander, really with talent.
    The rest are alas and ah ...
    By the way, he actively promoted aviation, used the heavy squadrons of Muromtsev with fighter cover. In many ways, the bombing of bridges, transport hubs and the positions themselves helped to eliminate the Germans' advantage in artillery and in supply ...
    Honors to the hero of that war ....
    1. 24 August 2014 16: 15
      Quote: Cristall
      actually in that war only commander, really with talent. The rest are alas and ah ...

      Only? You can see your memory is "buggy" ... Let me remind you: Nikolai Nikolaevich Yudenich. Under his leadership, the troops of the Caucasian Front defeated Enver Pasha three times. And they even did the impossible during the winter war in the mountains — they took the Turkish fortress of Erzurum on February 3 (16), 1916. During the Erzurum operation during the First World War, Russian troops took the fortress of Erzurum. During the assault, Russian troops lost 2 thousand and 300 people killed and 13 thousand wounded; the enemy 40 thousand wounded and killed, 13 thousand prisoners, as well as 325 guns.
      Thanks to the capture of Erzurum, Turkish advance towards the Suez Canal and Egypt was stopped, and the British expeditionary army in Mesopotamia received greater freedom of action.
    2. Lenivets
      Lenivets 24 August 2014 21: 39
      You have a short memory. Yudenich, Kornilov, Markov, Alekseev, Kaledin ... and this is only a small part.
      1. figter
        figter 25 August 2014 05: 46
        The memory of Brusilov was not erased, because he publicly switched to the side of the Red Army. However, he was lucky that he did not find the end of the 30's. Otherwise, he could not escape the fate of other former generals of the tsarist army, such as Svechin. And then the same Soviet leaders mentioned in the article would leave other comments about him, only in a death sentence.
        However, this applies not only to the tsarist generals, but also to freshly baked "generals" of the Red Army, who did not live to see the victory of Soviet power, for example, to Chapaev.
  4. Lyton
    Lyton 23 August 2014 13: 00
    A true hero of Russia, a talented commander who devoted his life to serving the Fatherland and his homeland, eternal memory.
  5. nnz226
    nnz226 23 August 2014 14: 44
    All the "enlightened and advanced" geyropa stupidly fought against the enemy's trenches, losing crowds of soldiers, but the "success" of such meat grinders was 1 - 5 kilometers of advance, and even then often, then they fought back all by the foe. Only the Russians were able to organize a real breakthrough of the front with a devastating score for the enemy. And the merit in this is Brusilov. His "Brusilov Breakthrough" is still being studied in military schools and academies.
    ODERVIT 23 August 2014 20: 46
    Alexey Alekseevich Brusilov is an outstanding Russian commander. He always leaned against his military genius. One of the components of his talent was incredible performance and the ability to work out all the details of the upcoming military operations to the smallest details and details. The troops led by him knew the order and objectives of the offensive or defense. He devoted a special role to the work of headquarters at all levels and their interaction. He is my idol.
  7. Reserve officer
    Reserve officer 23 August 2014 20: 48
    This is one of the few military leaders of Russia, whose merits and whose memory were not destroyed by Soviet historians. And the phrase "Brusilov breakthrough" is known to all officers of the Soviet Union and Russia. This is a classic of organizing and delivering an attacking blow.
    A worthy memory of a worthy person.
    1. 24 August 2014 16: 27
      Quote: Stock Officer
      This is one of the few Russian commanders whose merits and whose memory not destroyed Soviet historians.

      Yeah, they (Soviet historians) worked day and night over destruction merits and memory of the Russian commanders: Peter Alexandrovich Rumyantsev, Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov, Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov, Pyotr Ivanovich Bagration. Probably cheating ... But the "crap" historians will be able to tell something to the nourished "electorate" at least about Apanasenko Iosif Rodionovich?
      1. figter
        figter 25 August 2014 05: 56
        Commander of the front really undeservedly left in the shadow of the history of the Great Patriotic War. The most powerful Person! His personal contribution to the battle for Moscow is no less than the contribution of Zhukov or Rokossovsky, and even more so than Konev, Timoshenko, Budyonny and Voroshilov combined.
  8. Sasha 19871987
    Sasha 19871987 24 August 2014 11: 18
    a worthy husband of his fatherland, a man of honor, yes, Russia has always been famous for its commanders
    PATTIY 24 August 2014 20: 23
    thanks to the author! It's real color Russia! And then and now!
  10. I think so
    I think so 24 August 2014 23: 42
    Without detracting from the merits of this commander, we can truly say that in terms of the scale of his operations, he REALLY is at the level of an army commander during the Second World War ... Well, that is, a rather small scale ... True, against the background of a complete kagala of mediocrity of the commanders in Russia, he stood out a little. .. But in terms of scale this is the middle peasant like Chuikov, or Beloborodov, or even weaker ...