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1914 to 1916
3 Dec 2017
1914 The Russian army entered Prussia and then over ran most of the Austro- Hungarian province of Galicia. This forced Germany to amend their war plan (Shlieffen plan) where their army units destined for France were diverted to the Eastern Front.
At the end of August/start of September the Russian advance was stopped at the battle of Tannenburg, in which German generals Hindenburg and Ludendorf presented a crushing victory over the Russian generals Rennenkampf and Samsonov.
By the time the battle ended 30,000 Russian troops were killed/injured and 95,000 were captured. Only 10,000 managed to escape. Whereas the Germans suffered less than 20,000 casualties and captured over 500 guns.
Samsonov shot himself on August the 29th 1914 rather than report the loss of his army to the Tsar.
At the end of september the Russians surrounded austro-Hungarian fortress town of Przemysl.
After a seige lasting four months, the Russians captured the town and 100,000 prisoners. Military developments had a mixed effect on the population of the war at home.
After the victory at the battle of Tannenburgthe Germans defeated the Russians in theBattle of Lodz in December 1914.
Austro-German forces launch of the Gorlice-Tarnow offensive.
By the end of 1915, Russian forces had been completely driven out out of Russian Poland.
In september 1915, Tsar Nicholas II after the loss of Poland he dismissed his Uncle Nikolai as commander-in-chief of the Russian army and took command himself.
Incase you weren't aware, Nicholas II was terribly unqualified to command a military unit, let alone a literal army of several millions.
Additionally, the Tsar left the running government and the administration to his wife Tsarina Alexandra.
Due to the retreat associated with the Brusilov Offensive, the Russian army was facing major shortages of war material and a fall in morale.
The Russians produced 4.5 million artillery shells compared to the German level of 7 million per month.
Russian artillery units were limited to firing three shells per day because of equipment shortages.
1.6million Russian Soldiers were dead, 3.9 million were wounded and 2.4 million were taken as prisoners.
The country mobilised 5.3 million men (9% of the population) in 1914.
15.3 million men had experienced military service.
The national budget rode between 1913 and 1916 and financed out of higher taxes, loans and borrowing from Britain and France.
The loss of agricultural workers and horses to the army put a great strain on the production of food. This combined with the takeover of railway lines by the army led to food shortages in towns and cities.
Central War Industries Committee was created under the Octobrist Guchkov to help stimulate production of weapons and ammunition.
The Zemstva and town dumas formed ZEMGOR to aid the care of war casualties. But the governement failed to use the organisation effectively and led to liberal disconent
Rasputin, a personal confident in Tsarina Alexandra (a German by birth). Alexandra was accused of being in sympathy with the enemy. A group of nobles murdered Rasputin in hopes of aiding the Russian war effort, which 'surprisingly' it didn't.
From June to August 1916 the Russian forces launched their last major offensive of the war The Brusilov Offensive. initially it was a success, even prompting Romania toenter the war on Russias side, yet by August it had run out of momentum. The Russian forces had to retreat from the Baltic sea to the Black sea.
Why did it fail? Well Nicholas II was a very poor commander-in-chief. Also poor internal communications (mainly with the railways) led to a shortage of military equipment at the front.
In order to pay for the war Russian government printed more money, which led to inflation with prices rising over 200 per cent.
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