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“We retreated for a long time, silently...?” The Great Retreat of 1915 on the combat records of the units of the 7th Infantry Division of the 5th Army Corps

Annotation

We consider one of the most difficult periods of the First World War for the Russian army – the “Great Retreat” of 1915. The behavior of the officer corps and soldiers of four regiments of the 7th Infantry Division of the Imperial Army in the conditions of a large-scale retreat in June–September 1915 is studied. In the course of the study, it is found that the events of those days are covered in regimental records very subjectively. Their compilers entered data with varying degrees of completeness and accuracy, and sometimes left serious gaps in the chronology of events. Nevertheless, the obtained facts allowed us to draw ambiguous conclusions about this event in our history. There is a place for the manifestation of all the human traits that can be revealed in war. Soldiers and officers, finding themselves in different situations, could show courage and bravery, cowardice and weakness, determination and uncertainty. However, the general description of what is happening convinces us that the people who found themselves in these conditions remained faithful to the oath and fulfilled the tasks assigned to them. The Great retreat “did not bury” the Russian imperial army, which continued the struggle and only the circumstances that occurred within the state in two years will put an end to the history of its existence.

Keywords

World War I, Russian army, the Great Retreat, losses, officers

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DOI

10.20310/1810-0201-2021-26-193-189-201

UDC

94(47).083

Pages

189-201

References

1. Zayonchkovskiy A.M. Pervaya mirovaya voyna [World War I]. St. Petersburg, LLC “Poligon” Publ., 2002, 878 p. (In Russian). 2. Neznamov A. (compiler). Strategicheskiy ocherk voyny 1914–1918 gg.: v 7 t. Ch. IV [Strategic Sketch of the War of 1914–1918: in 7 vols. Pt 4]. Moscow, Higher Military Editorial Council Publ., 1922, 135 p. (In Russian). 3. Gorkiy M. Istoriya grazhdanskoy voyny v SSSR: v 5 t. T. 1. Podgotovka velikoy proletarskoy revolyutsii. (Ot nachala voyny do nachala oktyabrya 1917 g.) [The History of the Civil War in the USSR: in 5 vols. Vol. 1. Preparation of the Great Proletarian Revolution. (From the Beginning of the War to the Beginning of October 1917)]. Moscow, Ogiz Publ., 1938, 420 p. (In Russian). 4. Mints I.I. Istoriya Velikogo Oktyabrya: v 3 t. [History of the Great October: in 3 vols.]. Moscow, Nauka Publ., 1977, vol. 1, 361 p. (In Russian). 5. Denikin A.I. Ocherki russkoy smuty: v 5 t. T. 1. Krusheniye vlasti i armii (Fevral’–sentyabr’ 1917 g.). Vyp. 1 [Essays on Russian Turmoil: in 5 vols. Vol. 1. The Collapse of the Government and the Army (February–September 1917). Issue 1]. Paris, Povolotskogo Publ., 1921, 200 p. (In Russian).

Received

2021-05-11

Section of issue

National history

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