Military Review

1914. Fight at Yaroslavitsy


(The article was published in the German version of the Croatian military history magazine “Husar“ N2-2016)
1914. Fight at Yaroslavitsy

At the beginning of the First World War, all countries counted on a quick victory and applied various approaches to this.

Historians disagree on the role of cavalry in World War I, especially on the Western Front. On the contrary, in the vast expanses of Eastern Europe, where there was no dense network of good roads, cavalry played an important role even in World War II. This photo, taken in 1914-15, is a perfect example: Austro-Hungarian cavalry in the southern Russian steppes, turning into a sea of ​​mud during the spring thaw. 30 years later, it became impassable even for German tank divisions.

Austro-Hungarian aggression against Serbia began 12 August 1914 forcing the rivers Sava and Drina. The leadership of the empire hoped to defeat the small Balkan state within a few weeks, then to turn all its forces against a powerful enemy - the Russian Empire. Germany had similar plans: first defeat of France in the west, then the offensive of all forces in the east. France, which held most of the forces on the border with Germany, was taken by surprise by the German offensive through Belgium and Luxembourg (the Schlieffen Plan). This led Britain, the guarantor of Belgium's neutrality, to the camp of France and Russia. The Russian plans included a decisive offensive against Germany in East Prussia and against Austria-Hungary in Galicia. Russia wanted to defeat both opponents as quickly as possible, since it was not ready for a protracted war.

In Galicia there were three Austro-Hungarian corps: I - in Western Galicia, X - in the central and XI - in Eastern Galicia and Bukovina. Already on July 31 they were brought on high alert. The transfer of additional troops by rail was also started. Since the trains could not reach speeds above 15 km / h, the transfer was delayed.

6 August Austria-Hungary declared war on Russia, and 15 began to nominate large cavalry formations with a view to "strategic intelligence." The High Command (AOK- Armeeoberkommando) did not expect the Russians to counter-attack until August 26 due to the long mobilization period. This was true in principle, but the Russians launched the offensive without waiting for the completion of the mobilization. Already on August 18 they crossed the border of Galicia. This was followed by several oncoming fights in the territory between the Vistula and the Dniester. This period of war, which lasted until September 21, is called the “Battle of Galicia”. Characteristic of that time was the "Cossack-fearing", generated by the true or fictional reports about the attack of the Cossacks on the villages, small detachments and high-ranking commanders. The Russian 3 Army units crossed the August 19 border to occupy Krakow. In the vanguard of their columns, advancing along the line Lviv-Tarnopol, defended by the XI Corps of the Austro-Hungarian Army, the 9-th and 10-th cavalry divisions moved with the task of reconnaissance and cover of the main forces. Here, near the village of Yaroslavl, on August 21, the 10 Division clashed with the 4 of the Austro-Hungarian Cavalry Division, which became the first major battle on this sector of the front and the last cavalry battle in stories.

Austro-Hungarian cavalry.

Lancer 12 of the Ulan regiment.
By 1914, the Ulans retained their traditional headdress “cap”, but parted ways with peaks, unlike the Russians. Only hats had a distinctive regimental color. The 1 (yellow) and 13 (blue) shelves took part in the battle near Yaroslavitsy.

Before the start of the First World Cavalry, it was an important component of all the armies of the world and enjoyed respect in society. Austria-Hungary was no exception. Never had her cavalry been so numerous, had such good horses and beautiful form, as in the period preceding the war. Cavalry was the elite, but also the most expensive part of the kuk- army. The Armed Forces of the Dual Monarchy consisted practically of three different armies: the General Imperial Army (kuk Gemeinsame Armee), Landwehr (kk-Landwehr) and the Hungarian Honvedseg (md) (mk Honvedseg). The all-imperial army was subordinate to the Imperial War Ministry, and both Landwehr were under their own ministries. The Imperial General Staff was responsible for the defense of the Dual Monarchy, but each of the three armies had its own inspection, headquarters, budget, command personnel, organization and recruitment system.

The all-imperial army included 49 infantry and 8 cavalry divisions, Austrian Landwehr - 35 infantry, 2 mountain infantry, 3 Tyrolean rifle and 6 Uhlan regiments and 2 equestrian rifle divisions (battalion). Honved had 32 infantry and 10 hussar regiments. They were divided into 18 corps, comprising six armies. In peacetime, 450 served thousands of people in all three armies, and if mobilized, their numbers increased to 3 350 000. Before the war, the General Imperial Army had 15 Dragoons, 16 Hussars and 10 Uhlan regiments. In the Austrian Landwehr, there were 6 Uhlan regiments and 2 cavalry rifle divisions (battalions), staffed by immigrants from Dalmatia and Tyrol. Hungarian Honved had 10 hussar regiments. There were a total of 50 cavalry regiments with about fifty thousand troops.

Trotting Austro-Hungarian horsemen. Judging by the trimmed horse tails and bare trees, it happens in the spring. Moving in such a gait, the cavalry could cover great distances. At least ten times more than the infantry, sometimes becoming the only mobile reserve.

The cavalry was traditionally divided into dragoons, lances and hussars, although the only difference between them was the form. Armament and tactics were identical. The lancers abandoned their peak even at the beginning of the 20 of the 20th century and, like the dragoons and hussars, were armed with carbines, pistols, sabers or broadswords. Each cavalry regiment consisted of a headquarters, two divisions (half-regiments), similar to the battalions in the infantry, which included three squadrons (an analogue of an infantry company), a machine-gun and engineer company, and a telegraph command. In peacetime, the squadron consisted of 5 officers and 166 non-commissioned officers and soldiers. Only 156 of them were fighters, the rest - non-combatant (train and other services). Each squadron consisted of a spare — an officer, 18 non-commissioned officers and soldiers, and 5 horses. The machine-gun company was divided into two platoons and had eight Schwarzlose machine guns (8-mm-Schwarzlose-MG05). Unlike the picturesque uniforms of cavalry, machine gunners wore a simple gray-blue uniform.

By wartime states, each cavalry regiment consisted of an 41 officer, 1093 non-commissioned officers and soldiers, and had 1105 horses. Two regiments formed a brigade, and two brigades formed a cavalry division. The cavalry division also included a horse artillery division consisting of three batteries of four 75-millimeter cannons of the 1905 model of the year in each.

For service in cavalry, horses were selected from four to seven years old and growing in withers from 158 to 165 centimeters, and in horse artillery from 150 to 160, see. Their service life was 8 years in cavalry and 10 in artillery.

The composition of the 4 Cavalry Division under the command of Major General Edmund Ritter von Zaremb, who participated in the battle of Yaroslavits, was:
-18 Brigade (commander - General Eugen Ritter von Ruiz de Roxas - 9 th Dragoon Regiment "Archduke Albrecht" and 13-th Ulan Regiment "Böhm-Ermolli";
-21 Brigade (commander - Colonel Count Otto Uin-15 Dragoon Regiment "Archduke Joseph" and 1-th Uhlan Regiment "Ritter von Brodermann";
-division of horse artillery - three batteries (total 12 guns).
The division’s task was initially to protect the border, and then to cover the advance of the 3 Army under the command of the cavalry general Brudermann and reconnaissance.

Russian cavalry

This authentic drawing speaks for itself - the Cossacks were born horsemen, and such tricks were not something special for them. They were able to do all this before being called up for military service.

The Russian Empire, a huge power with 170 millions of people, possessed the most numerous armed forces in the world, but they were poorly armed and trained. Already in peacetime, the size of the army was 1,43 million people, and after mobilization was supposed to increase to 5,5 million. The country was divided into 208 districts, in each of which an infantry regiment was formed.

Handing military banner Russian hussars. It is noteworthy that the first rows are armed with spikes.

By 1914, there were 236 regiments divided into Guards, Grenadiers and 37 army corps. Also, the cavalry of Russia was the most numerous of the cavalry of all the warring countries. The cavalry was of four types: Guards, linear, Cossack and irregular. The Guard included 12 cavalry regiments in two separate divisions. Linear - 20 Dragoon, 16 Uhlan, and 17 Hussar Regiments. The Don Cossack Host displayed a 54 regiment, the Kuban — 33, and the Orenburg — 16. Irregular cavalry consisted of immigrants from the Caucasus and Turkmenistan. In total, the Russian cavalry included 24 cavalry divisions and 11 individual Cossack brigades. Each division was divided into two brigades: the first included the dragoon and lancer regiments, the second - hussars and cossacks. The divisions also included batteries of horse artillery with six 76,2-mm guns of the 1902 model of the year each. The cavalry regiment included 6 squadrons (total 850 cavalrymen), a machine-gun company with an 8 machine gun, and a sapper company. Unlike the Austro-Hungarian, the Russian lancers, who formed the first ranks of the squadrons, had peaks.

Private 10 th Novgorod Dragoon Regiment.
The regiments of the Russian cavalry differed from each other in the identifying color of the narrow stripes and the number of the regiment on the epaulets. There were only five distinctive regimental colors: red, blue, yellow, green, and pink.

The soldier in the illustration is dressed in a protective color 1907 model shirt-shirt of the year and a cap arr. 1914. Armed with a three-line dragoon rifle of the 1891 model of the year (on the 8, see shorter infantry) and a sword arr. 1887 with a bayonet attached to it.

Russian dragoon piece of the 1887 model of the year with a bayonet.

The 10 Cavalry Division, commanded by General Count Fyodor Arturovich Keller, fought at Yaroslavl. Its composition was as follows:
- 1 Brigade - 10-th Novgorod Dragoon and 10-th Odessa Uhlansky regiments;
-2 Brigade - 10-th Ingermanland Hussars and 10-th Orenburg Cossack regiments;
-3-th Don Cossack artillery division, consisting of three batteries (total 18 guns).


20 August, near 21.00, Corporal Habermüller delivered to the headquarters of the 4 Cavalry Division, located in the town of Suchowola, the message that the Russian 9-Cavalry Division, reinforced by infantry and artillery, passed the town of Zaloshche and two columns of columns. Oleyov. The latter was located approximately 40 kilometers from the 4 headquarters. divisions. The nearest Austro-Hungarian forces were dispersed over a large area: the 11-I infantry division was located in 70 kilometers to the south of Brzezane, and the 8-I cav. division in Tarnopol, about the same distance to the south-east. The Russians passed at the junction between the three Austro-Hungarian divisions, and it became clear that they would try to cut the railway communication from Zborov. In order to surround them, all three Austro-Hungarian divisions had to act together.

Gunsmith master of the 2nd class of Austro-Hungarian equestrian artillery in full dress. Armed with a pistol Steyr arr. 1912 and saber arr. 1869.

August 21, in the morning 3, 4-I kav. the division was alarmed and received orders to speak. Two battalions of the 35-th Landvehr Regiment, subordinated to the division, were to take up a position at the height of 388 south of Lopushan and cover the cavalry from this direction. The infantry departed around midnight, and three hours later the cavalry followed. At dawn 4-I kav. the division was moving in a marching column south of Nushche. Its goal was to occupy the height of 418 northeast of Volchkivtsi. The 15 th Dragoon Regiment headed by the second squadron was at the forefront. Lagging behind by about twenty minutes, the main forces of the 15 th dragoon were followed by the 3 squadron of the 13 th Uhlan, followed by the machine gun company of the 1 Uhl and 1 th and 3 of the 11 th cavalry artillery division. They were followed by the main forces of the division: headquarters, wagon train and sanitary services, the 13 and 1 and the four squadrons of the 9 dragoon. Two battalions of the 35 th Landveren Infantry Regiment advanced in the height direction of 396 to cover the left flank. There were no Russians near, and around 6.30, exhausted infantrymen entered Lopushany. Local residents told the regimental commander, Lieutenant Colonel Reichelt, that they had seen Cossack patrols the previous day. Reichelt led his men to the height of Zhamny (height 416), where there was a convenient position to cover the flank of the division. Oleiov was not visible from this height, Yaroslavitsa was approximately in 3000 steps to the south-east, and Volchkovitsy - in the west, in the low of the river Strips.

Austro-Hungarian 8-centimeter rapid-fire field gun "Skoda" arr. 1905.
Tool caliber: 76,5 mm.
Combat weight: 1020 kg.
Projectile weight: 6,6 kg.
Firing range: 7000 m.
Rate of Fire: 12 shots per minute.
Three batteries of four guns each, and a detachment of four shell wagons were the cavalry-artillery division of the cavalry division. In total, as of 1914, the year was 11 of horse-rifle divisions - by the number of cavalry divisions.

Simultaneously with the arrival of infantry at a height of 396, near 5.00, 4-I kav. the division reached the height of 418 southeast of Hukalovits, where it stopped. The height provided a good overview, but the Russians were not visible. The deported patrols also returned with nothing. For greater security, one company was sent to the height of Zhamny with orders to take it to 5.45. A cannonade was heard near 6.00. General Zaremba decided that 8-I kav. the division entered into battle with the Russians and, without waiting for the results of intelligence, in 6.30 ordered the division to come south to Yaroslavitsa. He was confident that the 11 Infantry Division would soon arrive from this direction. Two regiments, the 9 of the dragoon and the 13 of the Ulan, moved ahead in battle formation, the 15 of the dragoon ledge to the left, and the 1 of the ulansky to the right. Artillery and wagon train moved to the center. The 1 Squadron of the 9 Dragoon was to occupy the height of Zhamny with the 35 Infantry Regiment. However, what was taken for the cannonade was the sound of explosions with which the Orenburg Cossacks destroyed the railway.

In 7.30, the avant-garde reached the height of 401 southeast of Kabarovts, where it stopped. There was still no sign of the approach of the 11 Infantry. Meanwhile, General Zaremba’s headquarters returned to the lumbering horses, a journey of Lieutenant Count Ressenhauer, sent back in the morning to Oleiov, with a report on the large forces of the Russian cavalry northeast of Oleyov. Soon, Lieutenant Gyrosh arrived from 9 Dragoon with the news of the numerous Russian cavalry with artillery at Berimovka height (height 427). The position of General Zaremba became difficult: on the one hand, the Russian cavalry with artillery on the heights, on the other - the town of Zborov, where three small rivers converge. The last message that Lieutenant Count Sizzo-Norris delivered that the Russians were installing eighteen guns forced Zaremb to take immediate action. He ordered the division to retreat to the height of 418 northeast of Yaroslavitsa - the best position to repel the enemy. The regiments turned in series and galloped at maximum speed towards Yaroslavitsa. Two horse-drawn batteries took up a position in the 500 steps southeast of Yaroslavitsa to cover the waste.

Russian 76,2-mm guns model 1902 of the year.
Combat weight: 1040 kg.
Projectile weight: 6,5 kg.
Firing range: 8000 m.
Rate of Fire: 12 shots per minute.
The batteries had 6 guns. Two or three batteries made up the division. Each cavalry division had one artillery division. The photograph shows the location of the guns in a position typical of all the warring parties. Gunners are on their knees under the cover of shields, behind the teams are visible.

Near 9.15, the Russian artillery fired four sighting shots and covered the sanitary convoy and machine-gun company, which fled. The carts of refugees from Yaroslavl and the collapsed wooden bridges made it difficult for Austrian-Hungarian forces to retreat. The fire of eight Austro-Hungarian guns (against eighteen Russians) silenced them for a time, which allowed the dragoons and ulans to gallop down through the village to the height of 411. Part of the Russian guns moved the fire on the Austro-Hungarian batteries, and some - on Yaroslavitsa, where they engaged in fires. The Austro-Hungarian artillery was forced to retreat, losing part of the personnel, ammunition carts and horses. One of the commanders, Major Lauer-Schmittenfels, was badly wounded. At the height of 411, they stopped and fired several volleys at Russian artillery. Their further departure to the height of 418 was accompanied by the fire of the Russians from Makova Gora (height of 401), but it was ineffective.

When the first Russian shells began to burst over the 1-m of Ulansky, other guns from the height of the 396 occupied by that time opened fire at the positions of the infantry and the 1-th squadron of 9-th dragoon at the height of Zhamny. When dragoons and foot soldiers saw that 4-I kav. the division retreats, they also began to retreat. By 9.00, the entire division assembled east of Volchkowitz, on the bank of the river, not viewed by the Russians, and re-formed. Only by a miracle, the losses were less than expected: around 20 man and 50 horses.

Attack of the 13 Uhlan regiment.

General Zaremba ordered to sit behind the heights of 418 and 419. He assumed that he was opposed by as many as two cavalry divisions and wanted to build a reliable defensive position. He continued to hope for the approach of the 11th Infantry and 8th Cavalry Divisions. The machine gun company of the 15 Dragoon was sent to the height of 419 to cover the flank. In five hundred meters, in the rear, under the cover of heights, he arranged in two lines one after another 1-th Uhlan (commander - Colonel Weiss-Schleissenburg) and 9-th dragoon (Col. Kopeček) regiments. Directly behind the height 419 took the position 13-th Uhlan (Colonel Count Spanochchi) and 15-th Dragoon. Machine-gun companies and artillery are located directly on the heights. Zaremba also sent a courier to the 35 Infantry Regiment, which had just crossed the river, with the order to take the Volchkovitsy and cover the flank of the division. The courier managed to find only two companies of the 2 battalion, which managed to take a position in time and prevent the crossing of one hundred Orenburg Cossacks.

The first position was taken by 1-th Uhlan and 9-th dragoon. They were followed by an 15 th Dragoon, moving to the heights along the road along the river. Colonel Count Spanocci led his 13-th Uhlansky bypass through the height of 418. They should have been followed by two batteries, but for some strange reason they were stuck on the bank of the Strypy. Perhaps they were delayed by the appearance of the Orenburg Cossacks. At the forefront of the 13-th Uhlan, the first division of three squadrons, half of the 3-th squadron and machine-gun company rode. At a distance of several hundred meters, the second division, commanded by Major Vidal, consisting of the 1 and the second half of the 3 squadrons, rode behind them. One squadron remained to cover the 3 battery.

Kazak 8-th Don Cossack Regiment with the Order of St. George.
Thanks to their peaks, Russian cavalrymen had an advantage over Austro-Hungarian. A great disadvantage of the Cossacks was their unreliability. Faced with a staunch opponent, they fled at the first sign of failure.

At that moment, when the 1 division disappeared behind the height of 418, and the 15 dragoon division was only approaching it, to the right of Lipnik, a column of Russian troops appeared at a distance of about 1000 meters from the 2 division of the 13-uhlans. It was the 10 Cavalry Division. Two squadrons of the Novgorod dragoons galloped in the vanguard, followed by three squadrons of the Odessa Ulan, and in the rear guard — a horse-sapper and machine-gun companies. Vidal immediately made a decision with his one and a half squadrons to detain the Russians until the main forces of the division took up their positions. He trotted onto the Russians.

The Ulans, as in a parade, turned from column to line, and at a signal the pipes rushed to the attack. The Russians were stunned, but quickly recovered. From the column, their squadrons, left in the direction of travel, turned into a line, and went into a counter attack. In a swift head-on collision, the Russians, whose riders of the first rank were armed with spikes, had an advantage, and many Austrians were knocked out of their saddles. Among the first casualties were squadron commanders Kitsinski (wounded) and Michel, as well as about a dozen lancers. In the subsequent dump, when opponents literally touched the stirrups, the ulan sabers were more effective, and more and more Russians began to fly out of the saddle. The general chaos, dust, pistol shots, the wailing of people and the neighing of horses lasted for several minutes, after which the lancers, under pressure from a superior enemy, were forced to withdraw. Most of them managed to retreat to meet 15-th dragoon, who was just approaching the battlefield. The small group led by Major Vidal, who was the last to break away from the enemy, departed in the same way that she came, but was intercepted by the Cossacks on the way and taken prisoner after a short bout. The Russian dragoons attempted to pursue the retreating lancers, but were repelled by 15's dragoon machine guns from 419 heights. Thus, the fight ended in a draw.

The attack of Ulan Vidal was not part of Zaremba’s plans, hoping to take up positions before the Russians approached. Instead, he was forced to send the 15 of Dragoon to the rescue of the lancers.

Attack of the 15 th Dragoons.

Soldier of the Austro-Hungarian 15 th Dragoon Regiment.
Regimental color - white.
By the beginning of the war, the Austro-Hungarian cavalry, like the French, remained faithful to tradition. These traditions, like the elite status of cavalry, did not allow to adapt to the realities of the twentieth century, like the Russians, the Germans, the Italians.
The cavalry remained faithful to its red and blue uniforms, while the infantry and artillery changed their clothes in accordance with the requirements of the time. Distinctive regimental color had collars and cuffs of uniforms. The 15 “white” and 9 “green” dragoon regiments took part in the battle near Yaroslavitsy.
The rider in the illustration is armed with Monnlicher carabiner M1895 and a saber arr. 1865. His inlaid helmet arr. 1905, the year leads the history since Napoleonic times. Every second rider in the campaign carried a barrel with water for horses, and every seventh rider.

The “white” dragoons of Colonel Uin rose to the height, having 1, 4 and 6 squadrons in the first line, covered from the flanks of 2 and 5. Une decided to adopt such a structure, since he did not know the size of the enemy and, in the event of his superiority, wanted to have protection from the flanks. When he saw that two Russian squadrons were threatening him from the right wing, he ordered Major Malburg's 2 squadron to attack them, and he rushed to the attack with the remaining four. The attack was joined by the lancers of the 13 regiment, who managed to recover and form into battle order. General Zaremba and both brigade commanders, von Ruiz and Oine, with the staff officers, galloped at the head of the regiment. The Russians were again stunned for a short time, but quickly restructured and launched a counterattack, and it all happened again. Russian peaks knocked out the first Austrians from their saddles, then they broke into the ranks of fighters in khaki, round caps and with peaks and began to cut them with sabers.

Russian 7,62-mm Nagan revolver system model 1895 of the year.

Pistol Steyer M1912.
His 9-mm bullets were heavier and more penetrating than the more widespread “Parabellum”.
Weight: 1,03 kg.
Initial bullet speed: 340 m / s.
Length: 233 mm.
Magazine capacity: 8 cartridges.

There are some written memories of the fight, which tells about the numerical superiority of the Russians, fierce battles and clouds of dust. One of the Russian officers held the reins in his teeth and fired from both hands with revolvers. Vakhmistr Polachek snatched a gun from another Russian officer and shot nine Russian horsemen. One of the officers, supposedly the chief lieutenant of Count Rössegauer, broke his sword, and he continued to fight with the pistol until a horse was killed under him. Even after that, he continued to shoot from the ground, was wounded by a whip, but managed to escape on foot. Dragoon Knoll was rewarded for having managed to save his wounded commander, Colonel Oine, from a group of Russians. And there were many such scenes during the battle.

Sich lasted about 20 minutes, when the trumpeters gave a signal to depart. Almost at the same time, the shells of the Russian artillery, which fired without regard for their own, began to burst. Shrapnel killed both Russians and Austrians. The dragoons retreated in the same way as they came through the village of Volchkowice. The Russians did not pursue them, and in turn went to Lipnik. Some Russians shot in pursuit of the trees, others dismounted and lay down on the field among the wounded and the dead.

Kazak 10-th Orenburg Cossack regiment.
Cossacks were semi-regular cavalry. For their twenty-year service, the Cossacks received land plots as a reward.
The Cossack in the illustration, like all Russian cavalrymen, is armed with a rifle and sword. A leather cartridge belt on 30 cartridges is put over the shoulder. He also has a whip (the Cossacks did not use spurs).
The distinctive color of the Orenburg and Terek Cossacks was blue. This can be seen on the stripes and the number on the shoulder straps. The color of the Don Cossacks was red, the Urals corals were purple, the Astrakhan coats were yellow, etc.

While the battle was still going on, three hundred Orenburg Cossacks suddenly attacked the third battery of Captain Taufar, which “bit by bit” stuck on the marshy shore of the Strypa. The calculations quickly straightened the horses and managed to escape, leaving the guns and wagons. Noticing this, 1-nd battery of captain von Stepsky deployed guns and opened fire on the Cossacks, but she herself could not leave the sea of ​​mud. The retreat of the 15 th dragoon and the appearance of the Russian dragoons, in addition to the Cossacks, made the gunners of the 1 battery throw the cannon and retreat.

9-th dragoon and 1-th Uhlan did not take part in the battle, as they stood in the depths and did not orientate in time in the situation. They also did not receive orders, as the division commander, both brigade commanders and headquarters themselves rushed to the attack. General Keller and his fighters also left the battlefield, but upon learning of the seizure of the guns, he returned to collect trophies. Then he returned to Lipik. Austro-Hungarian horsemen stopped and took up a position behind Volchkowitz.

Non-commissioned officer 9 th Dragoon Regiment "Archduke Albert"
He is armed with a Steyer M1911 pistol. Steyer's pistols were a great weapon. They had an almost doubled firing range, a large magazine capacity and a more powerful cartridge. Thanks to them, the Austro-Hungarian horsemen had an advantage over the Russian armed revolvers Nagan.


Until the end of the day, the 11 Infantry and 8 Infantry Divisions did not appear. The losses of the 4 division were great. 15 Dragoon lost about 150 man and even more horses. 13-th Uhlan Major Vidal, declaring the 34 killed and injured 113 people, were captured. Total Austro-Hungarian casualties, along with infantry, accounted for 350 people. Russian losses, too, numbered in the hundreds. Thanks to better intelligence, they managed to take Zaremba by surprise. Until the end of the battle, he had no idea about the forces of the enemy. The Russians owned the initiative during the whole battle and constantly attacked decisively. The triple advantage of the Russian artillery made me suppose that the 9-I division was also involved in the case. On the other hand, Zaremba had 64 machine guns, but they were very limited. The machine guns in the Austro-Hungarian Army in 1914 were still a novelty, and they lacked experience in their use. The cavalry was no exception.
Many historians consider the battle at Yaroslavitsy to be the last case of the use of cavalry in the style of the Napoleonic wars. She did not bring any results, except fame for participants from both sides. General Keller himself admired the bravery of the Austro-Hungarian riders, with just one and a half squadrons attacking the whole division. He thought he was facing a whole 4 division and therefore left the battlefield.


Translator's Note

If you are interested in the topic, I advise you to read the essay by A. Slivinsky - a participant in the battle, an officer of the headquarters of the 10 division. (
If we compare these descriptions, it seems that we are talking about different events. Judging by them, each side considered itself caught off guard and said that it had no idea about the opposing forces. If Slivinsky writes that they were attacked by an enemy ready for battle, attacking squadrons with a wide 6-8 system, followed by two more cavalry trains, the author of the above article claims that the attack of one and a half squadrons of the 13 Uhlansky was spontaneous to oppose gain time by giving his division the opportunity to line up. Equally forced and spontaneous was Zaremba’s decision to throw 15 dragoon to the rescue of the lancers into battle. In addition, the Croatian author does not mention an episode so advantageous for the Austrians, when they (according to Slivinsky) broke through the Russian front and went to the rear of battle formation. And only the decision of General Keller to throw into battle the only reserve — staff officers, orderlies, and Cossack platoon guards — saved the division from defeat.
Husar “N2-2016 Magazine
Photos used:
Husar Magazine
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  1. parusnik
    parusnik 10 May 2016 07: 42
    There are some written recollections of the battle, which tells about the numerical superiority of Russians, a fierce cross-section and dust clubs. One of the Russian officers held the reins in his teeth and fired revolvers from both hands. Wahmister Polachek snatched a pistol from another Russian officer and shot dead nine Russian horsemen... For example, Jaroslav Hasek, such written evidence did not believe .. What was reflected in the novel "The Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk"
    1. Ingvar 72
      Ingvar 72 10 May 2016 11: 04
      Quote: parusnik
      Vakhmister Polachek pulled out a gun from another Russian officer and shot nine Russian horsemen ..

      Also drew attention to this. The Nagan drum has 7 rounds. hi
      1. reservist
        reservist 10 May 2016 19: 40
        And with one bullet, he killed both (s).
        and the last one was struck by throwing a discharged gun
  2. baudolino
    baudolino 10 May 2016 07: 46
    It's funny - "Vakhmister Polachek snatched a pistol from another Russian officer and shot nine Russian horsemen." Did he reload someone else's weapon on the go?)
    1. Slug_BDMP
      10 May 2016 07: 51
      Quote: baudolino
      He reloaded he other people's weapons on the go?

      Mauser С96 with 20-charging shop?
      1. tacet
        tacet 10 May 2016 13: 50
        Mauser was not a regular weapon (and did not enjoy popularity at the time the war started), of course there is a possibility that he pulled out personal weapons, but, apparently, it was a very wealthy officer.
        1. Verdun
          Verdun 10 May 2016 16: 09
          Mauser was not a regular weapon (and did not enjoy popularity at the time the war started)
          Mauser was on the list of weapons recommended for purchase by officers of the Russian army.
          but apparently it was a very wealthy officer.
          Not so wealthy. The salary of the ensign of the tsarist army in peacetime was about 300 rubles. At the same time, the cost of the Mauser, depending on the embodiment, ranged from 38 to 45 rubles.
          1. tacet
            tacet 10 May 2016 20: 29
            I know about the highest order No. 74 of 1907. However, the Mauser gained popularity among the officers of the army of His Imperial Majesty in the second half of the year 15.
            1. Verdun
              Verdun 11 May 2016 10: 04
              Well, maybe this Russian officer was a nonconformist?))
  3. Verdun
    Verdun 10 May 2016 14: 06
    The problem is that at the beginning of World War I, the Russian command squandered the forces of well-trained military units in order to achieve victories in operations of dubious significance. When it came to serious battles, the tasks had to be solved for the most part by the troops of the new draft.
    1. Uncle Murzik
      Uncle Murzik 10 May 2016 14: 39
      the problem is in the command of the Russian army itself; no conclusions were drawn from the Russo-Japanese war!
      1. Verdun
        Verdun 10 May 2016 15: 49
        no conclusions were drawn from the Russo-Japanese War!
        Conclusions have been made. But they all turned out to be different. Someone hastily tried to develop new equipment and tried to organize its production. And someone thought that tradition and faith would save the country. Otherwise, how to explain the fact that the same General Kuropatkin was appointed commander of the grenadier corps, and then commander in chief of the armies of the Northern Front? Immediately felt the talented hand of Emperor Nicholas II!
        1. alexej123
          alexej123 10 May 2016 16: 14
          The previous one is right. That is, full conclusions were not made.
          1. Morrrow
            Morrrow 10 May 2016 19: 11
            Normally fought - in the boilers did not die.
        2. The comment was deleted.
  4. Mikado
    Mikado 10 May 2016 14: 47
    Sorry, the article is from a foreign magazine. Now it is clear why the author is "playing" for the Austrians, I almost spat. It seems that Wikipedia describes this fight a little differently.
    1. Slug_BDMP
      10 May 2016 15: 37
      And I in the note gave a link to the essay of a participant in the battle from the Russian side. The total in the descriptions is very small.
      And, which is typical, no one is lying. It just looked like this from "his" point of view.
      1. Mikado
        Mikado 10 May 2016 19: 45
        How many people - so many opinions, objective and subjective. But I don’t want to comment on some points of foreign authors (nine killed Russians are just some kind of Rambo). Naturally, both sides tried to put themselves in the best light. Thank you for the article that was translated and posted! And especially for the notes!
  5. Kenneth
    Kenneth 10 May 2016 16: 23
    Everything would be fine, but the Yegorlyk battle where Budeny’s cavalry marked Denikin’s cavalry was the last and largest cavalry battle of the 20th century
    1. Sergey Eremin_2
      Sergey Eremin_2 12 October 2020 00: 47
      No. An even later and larger cavalry battle of the 20th century was the battle to Komarov - Zamostya, where the Polish cavalry (and many in it in the Yegorlyk battle fought in Denikin's cavalry - Yakovlev's brigade) swept away Budyonny's cavalry
  6. bbss
    bbss 10 May 2016 16: 31
    This is a vivid example of "wit on the stairs." The losers in bright colors painted their heroism in the face of the superior forces of the Cossacks. And sabers are more effective and pistols are more pistol ...
    1. Sergey Eremin_2
      Sergey Eremin_2 12 October 2020 00: 48
      Well, their heroism was genuine. And they are not losers: for those who, in one and a half squadrons, fought against five, they fought well.
  7. Robert Nevsky
    Robert Nevsky 10 May 2016 17: 59
    A very cool article - cavalry! In my opinion, the victory for the Russians in this battle.
    The battle with drafts, peaks, that is, the clash of two archaic empires at the beginning of the twentieth century. soldier
    1. The centurion
      The centurion 10 May 2016 19: 51
      Quote: Robert Nevsky
      The battle with drafts, peaks, that is, the clash of two archaic empires at the beginning of the twentieth century

      The First World War, which became a struggle between technology and economy, began almost as in the days of Attila and Genghis Khan - with cavalry raids, raids on the rear, saber fights and theft of livestock from the enemy. In August 1914, the first to go into battle were huge masses of cavalry, tens of thousands of cavalrymen, whose sabers, checkers, broadswords and even lances were still considered the main weapon. The great cavalry powers started the war. The most numerous cavalry was possessed by Russia - almost 100 thousand horsemen in peacetime. After mobilization, mainly at the expense of the Cossacks, the number of Russian cavalry could be increased significantly. The second largest cavalry in Europe was the German one - almost 90 thousand horsemen. Even in industrial Germany, where half of the population already lived in cities, the generals still found it impossible to do without cavalry with sabers and pikes. The third in Europe was the French cavalry, numbering 60 thousand horsemen. By inheritance from Napoleon, cuirassier regiments still existed, and the analogue of the Russian Cossacks was the "Spagi" - light cavalry from the nomads of North Africa. By 1914, the field uniform of the French cuirassier included scarlet pants and gloves, a gleaming gilded cuirass, and an equally flamboyant helmet embellished with a ponytail. Already all the armies of the world were armed with machine guns, the first bombers and automatic cannons appeared, chemical weapons were being prepared, and the cavalry of the European powers was still preparing to attack with medieval spears. The French dragoons armed themselves with pikes on a three-meter bamboo pole. In industrial Germany, advanced technologies resulted in the fact that all the Kaiser's cavalrymen wore pikes on hollow all-metal shafts almost three and a half meters long. The newest pike for the Russian cavalry was approved in 1901, almost simultaneously with the official adoption of the Maxim machine gun. The regular cavalry of Austria-Hungary numbered almost 50 thousand horsemen, half of whom were Hungarian hussar regiments. The Hungarians led their ancestry from the nomadic peoples of Asia - the Ugrians. The Hungarian steppe - "Pashta" between the Danube and the Tisza at the beginning of the 4th century fed almost 1914 million horses. Local breeds were considered among the best in Europe. The combination of the Austro-German military school and the Hungarian horsemen produced one of the best cavalry of the time. The numerous cavalry of the great cavalry powers from the rear were reinforced by a huge horse population. The total number of horses in 35 is presented in the following approximate figures: Russia - almost 000, USA - 000, Germany - 25, Austria-Hungary - over 000, France - over 000, Great Britain - 6 500 000.
    2. ZIS
      ZIS 10 May 2016 20: 09
      I am ready to agree with you, given that the Austrians were left practically without artillery, having "presented" two of the three batteries.
    3. Nagaibak
      Nagaibak 10 May 2016 21: 09
      Robert Nevsky "A very cool article - cavalry! In my opinion, the victory for the Russians in this battle."
      Our victory was unconditional. The Austrians were defeated. Given that ours were fewer and they attacked from the bottom up. The Austrians advanced respectively from the mountain. The training of our troops was higher. Most of the 1st Orenburg Cossack Regiment was sent to knock out the Austrian infantry from a neighboring village and practically did not participate in the battle except Keller's convoy and one (in my opinion ... I don’t remember exactly) hundreds at the final stage of the battle.
  8. Nagaibak
    Nagaibak 10 May 2016 21: 29
    Here's more about the participation of the Orenburg Cossacks in the battle at Yaroslavitsa precisely against the cavalry of the enemy. I already laid out this text.
    The 1st Orenburg Cossack Regiment was sent to the village of Volczkowice to knock out the Austrian infantry. Result: 400 prisoners of Austrian infantry from the total number of prisoners taken during the battle of Yaroslavitsa. In the cavalry battle participated from the Cossacks those who were in the convoy of Keller and hundreds of Esaul Polozov. This is what Slivinsky, a participant in this event, writes.
    "The 10th Hussar regiment, having dealt with the enemy batteries, pursued the enemy, who was fleeing westward to the ferry near the Bezodny farm.
    When the running mass began to descend into the Strypa valley, it was met by the attack of the 1st Orenburg Hundred Yesaul Polozov, which by this time had taken the river crossing and was hurrying to the battlefield.
    It turned out that Yesaul Polozov, who commanded the right-flank hundred of the Orenburg Cossack regiment, which had taken possession of the village of Volchkovets, heard gunshots and noise, still continuing to the north-east of this village of battle, and on his own initiative decided to go to the aid of the division, heading for the Strypa valley. One hundred approached the field of equestrian battle at a time when the Austrians faltered and their flight began.
    Cut off from the crossing, the Austrians rushed in different directions. ... ... A terrible beating began ... Who could be saved by horse or foot across the river ford; ammunition boxes and gun limbs rushed there and between the grove and the crossing, got stuck in the swamp and remained there among the victor's trophies. Piles of corpses lay at the very crossing occupied by the Cossacks; everything that jumped to the crossing died under the blows of checkers or a peak, or hit by a bullet. "