World War One – Episode 5. Documentary Film. Historical Reenactment. StarMedia. English Subtitles
The Russian army was retreating Each morning, headlines spelled the names of abandoned cities: Warsaw, Wilno, Grodno, Brest The German army invaded Belorussia… And then the Russian Emperor, Nicholas II decided to personally take command of the army New military plants were already operating at full capacity New soldiers were drafted to the army, and by fall the front stabilized The year was 1915 Russia was preparing to change the course of World War I World War I Episode 5 Army and Navy order dated August 23rd, 1915 As of this day, I herewith take supreme command of all Army and Navy forces that are located in the theatres of war The army trusted its former commander… Well…I wouldn’t be so sure about the whole of the army… Perhaps, among the officers… Semen Andreevich Sukhomlin, Lieutenant General, Chief of Staff of the Eighth Army under General Brusilov Awarded St. George’s Weapon. In 1918 voluntarily joined the Red Army, occupying high positions therein The army’s headquarters clearly lacked order under its former commander Arrival of the Sovereign stabilized the situation Well, thank God for that Now all we need is a stable front We have no trained regular army left In fact, we are in command of militia Yeah… Only five-six professional officers in every regiment, there are still not enough weapons… But at least we got reinforcements Our Sovereign the Emperor is with us Hoorah Hoorah! Hoorah! Hoorah! Hoorah! Of all the years of war, this one was the hardest for Russia Shell and ammunition shortages and the lack of qualified soldiers forced the Russian command to pull back their troops all along the front-line As a result of this Great Retreat, the Russian troops abandoned all territories that had been captured during the first year or war The enemy took over Poland, that was part of the Russian Empire, and continued its onslaught on the Baltic states and Belorussia The country was beginning to show signs of disappointment and despair Even cities like Kiev and Odessa were in panic despite their remoteness from the front In this difficult time for the entire country, the Russian Emperor Nicholas II made an important decision — On August 23rd, 1915 he took supreme command of the Russian army Russia was shifting its manufacturing focus to military production, trying to organize shipments of shells and weapons to the front, forming new military units, and most importantly — doing everything to stop the German offensive and stabilize the front At that time, Austro-German forces began offensive in Galicia The Eighth Army under General Brusilov was under threat of defeat Their right flank was under attack by top Austro-Hungarian military units and its retreat was covered by General Denikin’s division Anton Ivanovich Denikin Lieutenant General Son of an officer, who had been born a serf (peasant under feudalism) Graduated the General Staff Academy Volunteered to the Russo-Japanese War During World War I, he was a major-general, commander of a rifle brigade, called “the Iron Brigade” for their tenacity and bravery After the Russian Revolution, became one of the key leaders of the White movement Died in the USA, in 1947 Denikin’s “Iron” Rifle Division were a sort of elite emergency unit, that was deployed to wherever the fighting was most fierce The defensive position near Lutsk was held by a corps made up of untrained militia,
that had only recently arrived at the front Unable to stand up to the enemy, the newbies began to retreat To prevent breakthrough of the defense line, the Iron Division was sent over to Lutsk Twenty verst (13 miles) Will we make it in time? By morning at best, Your Excellency our advanced column is already marching… Denikin’s fully armed and equipped soldiers managed to cross 20 kilometers (13 miles) of rough terrain in just one night Hoorah!!! The morning after their tiresome journey, Denikin’s division carried out an attack The Germans were thrown back and their breakthrough plan was stopped First company on the right! Gvozdev, take the German gun to position! Samokhin, pick up the bullets. Hurry up, they’ll be attacking any time now Weak and tired after their journey, the Russians couldn’t hold out against the Germans for long And Denikin made an unexpected decision to take the offensive and besiege Lutsk We’ll take the first line and charge forward At once! We must make it through We will They managed to break through two enemy defense lines, but were slowed down upon reaching the third In the name of our faith and our Tsar, attack! By then, the Iron Division got reinforcements — General Zayonchkovski’s Corps came to the rescue Andrei Medardovich Zayonchkovski, Infantry General Military theorist, author of works on military and history After the Russian Revolution, held high positions in the Red Army Zayonchkovski envied Denikin’s soldiers for their fame He announced to his forces that the Iron Division failed to seize Lutsk, and now it was up to his own soldiers to fulfill this task But Zayonchkovski’s attempt to seize the city was unsuccessful as well So he demanded one of Denikin’s units as reinforcement But that didn’t help — heavy artillery fire stopped the attacks Zayonchkovski once again turned to Denikin for help I have barely enough shells for one day! How can I support you with artillery? Yeah… Got it You and your support nothing but problems Despite the shell shortage, Iron Division’s artillery units began bombarding the enemy, to distract the enemy from Zayonchkovski’s troops In return, Austrians began artillery bombardment of Denikin’s positions – Sergey Leonidovich – Yes – We must take Lutsk whatever the cost – I see One of the enemy shells hit the building with Denikin and the Staff inside Division’s commander miraculously survived After night-long bombardement, all the shells were used up, leaving Russian positions unprotected The enemy were expected to make their crushing attack in the morning Gentlemen, the situation is critical They’ll shoot us all like chicken To attack is our only option! The Iron Brigade used grenades against enemy machine guns and charged with bayonets Soon, two telegrams came to Brusilov’s headquarters: “4th Rifle Division seized Lutsk Denikin.” “Lutsk was taken by my forceful siege Zayonchkovski” I bet Zayonchkovski took General Denikin “by forceful siege” as well Your Excellency, there’s also an order from the front’s headquarters Read it! Army and Navy Order dated August 23rd, 1915 The headquarters ordered that Eighth Army move to its original position Zayonchkovski’s and Denikin’s forces were supposed to lie in ambush in the woods and attack the German flank by surprise, as they would be making their offensive Despite all the efforts put into the siege of Lutsk, the city now had to be abandoned They think they’ve seen the last of the Russian army? That’s ok, we’ll come back
These were the hardest times for the Russian army, but the battles of September 1915 had shown that the Russian army was still alive The Great Retreat didn’t undermine its morale At the same time, troops of the Northwestern front secured positions near West Dvina River The Germans were moving to Petrograd They carried out an aerial bombing of Dvinsk (now the city of Daugavpils in Latvia), opening a straight road from there to the Russian capital An eyewitness recalls: “Dvinsk saw its first aerial attack There was a plane very high up, circling above the city Bombs hit the the railway station, the fortress… One fell right on the market square Unspeakable panic and heartbreaking screams Police and paramedics were running all around Five people were killed, forty more were injured, but a great number of people simply fainted from fear” But Dvinsk managed to hold out The enemy was stopped at the Baltics The front, stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea, fell silent We’ll get there soon KAZAN Autumn of 1915 Finally some rest on white bedsheets! I’m sick of sleeping in my overcoat Those who can walk, prepare to exit Whoever can walk, prepare to exit German squadron moving into Gulf of Riga! Heroic victories of the Russian Baltic Fleet! Get your paper here! German squadron moving into Gulf of Riga! And what about you? You’re so young! What is your name? Malinovskiy… Gefreiter Malinovskiy How could you forget this one? He’s with us. Take him Ok, just a moment Kazan was far off from the front lines, still living its quiet and carefree life Trams were running. Theatres, restaurants, markets and expensive shops were open Here, the only reminders about war were the hospitalized soldiers and the news headlines The German fleet tried to break through to the Gulf of Riga a number of times On 4 August 1915, newest German destroyers the “V99” and “V100”, managed to breach the minefields They were intercepted by the Russian destroyer “Novik” German destroyer “V-99” was badly damaged by Novik’s fire, reached the mine field and struck a charge, promptly sinking near the Mikhailovsky lighthouse Four days later, on 8 August, German minesweepers began clearing a path through the minefields in the Irben Straight The Germans were intercepted by two Russian gunboats: “Grozyashiy” and “Khrabry”, and a dreadnought called “Slava” A gunboat is a small naval vessel designed to bombard coastal targets at seas, rivers and lakes “Grozyashiy” and “Khrabry” gunboats were equipped with two 229mm cannons, one 152mm cannon, a few smaller cannons and two torpedo launchers A dreadnought is a type of battleship with a name that means “fearless” The first English ship of this type was called “Dreadnought” A dreadnought’s key feature is its powerful artillery comprising many cannons of heavy calibre: that of 300 mm, 400 mm or even bigger cannons, big enough to fit a grown man inside These ships could be over 200 metres (650 feet) in length They had layers of armour, that in some parts were over 50 centimetres (2 feet) thick A dreadnought’s crew comprised 700 to 1500 people These armoured floating giants became one of the symbols of World War I, but many of them remained in service even after the end of Second World War The Russian gunners Grozyashiy and “Khrabryi” intersected the enemy and opened fire against the German fleet Two German trawlers hit a mine and sank The Germans retreated But in just one week, they made another breakthrough attempt to enter the gulf This time, reinforced by two powerful dreadnoughts, “Nassau” and “Pozen” “Slava” set sail once again, but the German battleships were out of range for the Russian dreadnought Ship’s captain ordered to flood the side compartments to give her a 3° list, thus increasing the dreadnought’s maximum firing range
This increased the firing range of the ship’s main guns to 16.5 kilometres (18,000 yards) The Germans had to withdraw When the Germans returned the next day, “Slava” was hit three times by German shells The first hit penetrated her upper belt armor and exploded in a coal bunker the second hit penetrated her upper deck and hit the supporting tube of the aft port side turret This started a fire in the ammunition hoist and the magazine had to be flooded The third shell hit a pair of the ship’s boats, but exploded in the water off to one side But Slava remained in place The Germans entered the Gulf of Riga, when the British allies came to the Russian rescue First British submarines were deployed to Russia in October 1914 This required making a long and dangerous journey Most submarines successfully reached the Baltic Sea and began shooting at the enemy’s military and transportation vessels Officers in charge of the flotilla were the best submariners in Britain On 19 August, the British submarine “E1” torpedoed one of the most powerful German battleships — battlecruiser “Moltke” Like a giant beast clad in armour, the cruiser sustained serious damage “Moltke” could make it to the base, but had to undergo lengthy repairs The German fleet had to withdraw again Commander of the “Е-1” submarine, Noel Laurence, was granted a personal audience with the Russian emperor and recieved St. George’s Order 4th Calss The Russian papers called Laurence “the saviour of Riga” Submarines were first widely used during the Russo-Japanese War in 1905 Their crews were made up of volunteer units formed among officers and sailors of the regular fleet But it was only during World War I that submarines began to play key roles in naval warfare The submarine’s main weapon is the torpedo — a self-propelled missile with an explosive warhead that explodes upon hitting its target There was only one way for the targeted vessel to escape — the ship had to spot a torpedo in time and make an evasive maneuver There were over 600 submarines engaged in battles during World War I, and more than a half (372) were German The losses sustained from submarines were immense In the course of war, Germany and its allies destroyed with submarines over 5000 ships of the Entente Powers (many of them weren’t even military vessels) at the same time losing 178 submarines By the autumn of 1915, the Eastern front got caught up in positional warfare: deep trenches, dugouts, intricate communications trenches and endless rows of barbed wire The trench system had a number of defense lines Behind front rows of barbed wire began the first line of trenches Battle positions, rifle and machine gun pits were reinforced with bags of sand, serving as cover for the soldiers as they shot through gun slits The foremost pits were occupied by frontline sentry posts, that had to monitor the enemy’s actions All these positions were interconnected by a common communications trench This trench was dug deeper than a man’s height to provide maximum protection for the soldiers from enemy fire These trenches sometimes resembles small streets They were made wide enough to provide comfortable passage for two men carrying a stretcher with an injured soldier without even hindering passage for the soldiers going the other way The frontline trenches were made in two rows meaning, that there was a second line with similar pits for firing position and another trench In about 100 meters (120 yards) behind the front trenches were located the support trenches Further to the rear — the reserve trenches 800 metres behind the front trench were the so-called reduits — a sanctuary for the garrison, which served as the final outpost for retreat if all the outer defences were breached But this hardly ever happened It was next to impossible for either infantry or cavalry forces to breach such a defense line under heavy artillery fire If the front trenches got captured, the defenders would pull back and occupy the second line, then the third and so on until either the reinforcements arrived or the enemy were blown away with heavy artillery fire In 1915 soldiers would sit in trenches for months
All these elaborate trenches and dugouts were connected by communications tunnels, that made the positions look like at intricate maze It was easy to get lost in this system of passageways and soldier even made direction pointers like “to the headquarters”, “telephone point”, “commander’s quarters” Special dugouts were cut into the sides of trench walls that served as bunks for sleep There were also trench shelters big enough to squeeze in a few soldiers, as well as heavily fortified administrative dugouts, dressing stations and artillery positions The field kitchens were located further back and soldiers had to carry soups and stews through the trenches in cooking pans Latrines were constructed in specially allocated corners This was generally a deep hole in the ground over which was mounted a long plank for everyone to sit on In winter and during heavy rainfall, trenches were filled with mud and water Even specially constructed drainage canals weren’t much help Common cold, dysentery, rats and parasites resulted in typhus — such were the permanent conditions of trench life during World War I Soldiers even had no place to shave To solve this problem, they often resorted to various tricks one of the methods for getting rid of unwanted hair was the so-called “pig-style shaving”: stubble was set on fire, and when the flames came close to the skin, they were quickly put out with a wet towel Soldiers found such shaving to be rather painful, but sometimes there was simply no other choice But funny and amusing situations sometimes occured even in such unbearable conditions This is our Ata, Tsar-father Ruler of all that is small, big, white… and you too This is Tsar-father Batyr for Easter he gives an Easter egg, that is our holiday You have Ramadan, we have Easter And this is something like your Quran, our set of military regulations Captain Popov, an officer of the 13th Erivan Life-Grenadier Regiment, recalls: “100 Ufa Tatars were transferred to my regiment Few of them could speak Russian, but these honest and brave people were also loyal and dutiful We would gather them all in one trench and teach how to speak proper Russian It was sheer comedy: “Sovereign the Emperor” and “regiment commander” were too difficult for their comprehension, they would mix everything up, and I laughed myself to tears Once, there was a knock on my door These fellows were standing there, offering money and saying “cigrat” For a minute I stood there, utterly bewildered, trying to understand what they wanted It turned out that they wanted to buy cigarettes, thinking that I had a shop there.” And still, not a single army of the warring parties managed to make a serious breach of these powerful defense lines, and generals began looking for a way out of this dead-end Russian command decided to resort to a method that had proven itself in 1812 — to begin guerrilla warfare In August of 1915, first partisan (guerrilla) units were formed by General Ivanon, commander of the Southwestern front By autumn, they were formed at other fronts These units were small in number: three or four officers at most and no more than 150 soldiers Partisans were active in the immediate battle area: they would attack small enemy units, taking trophies and prisoners Basically, they were doing exactly what the special ops units do today The efficiency of guerrilla warfare was rather disputable Brusilov spoke harshly against it, Wrangel’s opinion was negative as well, but no one could argue the courage and bravery of the partisans in 1915 BELORUSSIA November 1915 S’cuse me, Excellency, here is… His Excellency. As reinforcements Allow me to introduce myself Kindly take off your shoulder marks! This is the front, not a parade You’ll be given out neutral ones tomorrow Yessir Why were you sent to my unit? I was best shooter at my military school Wachtmeister!
Yessir! Give mister praporshchik our trophy sniper rifle Yessir In the morning, we’ll see how good you are You may go Yessir The word “sniper” comes from the name of the common snipe, because hunting for this bird requires accuracy and good aiming The specially trained snipers and special sniper rifles were first used by Germans in 1915 During the First World War the German troops used over 20 thousand sniper rifles with Carl-Zeiss riflescopes They had six rifles per regiment The British had eight snipers in every battalion that were armed with a Lee-Enfield rifle, and had eight more trainees They were trained for 17 days Russian troops got their first riflescopes in 1916, up until then, using either three-line rifles with Finnish scopes or trophy weapons There were no specially trained snipers in the Russian armies On the night of 14th – 15th November 1915, an interservice partisan team of the Orenburg Cossack Host under command of Stepan Georgievich Leontiev made a raid on the town of Nevel in the Pinsk district of the Minsk province, where a large German garrison was stationed They have a machine gun in the attic. See? Yeah As soon as we attack, take out the gunner Don’t wait for him to open fire Hit him at once Got it Partisan troops attacked the town simultaneously from different sides The team under Captain Leontiev’s command took part in this raid as well All clear. No officers. That means, no one to interrogate That’s ok. Others will get someone Collect the trophies and move out The damned gunner was still alive I’m sorry. It’s all my fault If it wasn’t for me… You’ll get better, I’m sure Don’t blame yourself This is war. Your task is together with the wachtmeister… to get the troops out You are to bury me here. Don’t take my body with you. That’s an order The raid of Nevel became one of the largest successful operations of the Russian partisan units Russian troops killed over 20 German officers and 600 soldiers, destroyed 2 cannons, ammunition boxes and a lot of supplies German commander of the 82nd Infantry Division, General Fabarius was taken prisoner Captain Stepan Leontiev was an artilleryman, but when partisan troops were beginning to form, he asked to be transferred specifically to those units For participation in the raid of Nevel, Leontiev was promoted to lieutenant colonel and was awarded posthumously Order of St. George 3rd Class In the autumn of 1915, Guards Colonel Wrangel received a new assignment He was sent to the Southwestern front and took command of the First Nerchinsk Regiment of Zabaikal Cossack Troops After Wrangel’s departure, a recommendation letter was sent to his new place of service: “A man of outstanding bravery Quick to adapt to the surroundings and master any situation, very resourceful in hard conditions” Well, this part of the front is stable for now There is occasional fire, but we have it under control We scouted the area a while back Got reinforcements not long ago Losses among the officers are few Grigoriy Mikhailovich Semyonov. Podyesaul, regiment’s adjutant. Transbaikalian Cossack In the first month of war his heroics earned him St. George’s Cross and St. George’s Weapon Podyesaul von Ungern-Sternberg Was it you that requested transfer to the partisan troops?
– Yessir – Why? I want to be a hero That’s interesting I have blood of Baltic warriors in my veins. I can’t just sit in waiting Do you think that we here are just sitting and waiting? Anyway, this is not my thing I’ll think about it. You may go What a strange man Do you know anything about him? Yes, a little. He’s a baron Legendary personality One year before the war he was travelling Manchuria along the shores of Amur River with only his dog and a hunting rifle He sold the game he killed and lived off that He did all sorts of things He even served in Mongolian cavalry I see. Like “The Pathfinder” Fenimore Cooper – What’s that? – Nevermind Well, then I guess he’s better off being a partisan after all In just a few years all participants of this conversation were scattered first to different parts of Russia, and then all over the world In the Patriotic War, Grigory Semyonov became an active participant of the White movement, military ataman of the Zabaikal Cossack in the rank of lieutenant general After the war he immigrated to China, then to the USA, Canada, Japan and later returned back to China In 1945, after Japan was defeated by the Soviet troops, Semyonov was arrested by NKVD and sentenced to death by hanging Baron Pyotr Wrangel became a leader of the White movement, as a commanding general of the armed forces in Southern Russia After defeat of the White Army, he immigrated to Constantinople, escaped a number of assassination attempts, established the Russian All-Military Union In 1928, while living in Brussels he suddenly died of tuberculosis under unclarified circumstances Baron von Ungern-Sternberg, for his service in the partisan troops under Ataman Punin, received two military decorations A few years later he became a legend of the Patriotic War, after taking over Mongolia with his Asiatic Cavalry Division, with the bold idea of restoring Genghis Khan’s Mongolian Empire For his courage and unbelievable good fortune in battles, many Mongols believed him to be an incarnation of the God of War Interestingly enough, Mongolia has Baron Ungern to thank for its independence from China today In September of 1921, Ungern was arrested by the Bolsheviks and executed by firing squad in Novonikolaevsk. (modern-day Novosibirsk) Among other things, he was rightfully accused of torture and murder of those suspected to be part of the communist movement, including women and children However, as soon as news of his execution reached Mongolia, all of the country’s temples were ordered to host prayer services for Ungern Roman von Ungern-Sternberg quickly became a dark legend Attitudes toward guerrilla warfare and partisans varied among the Russian command There were other guerrilla units that gained wide fame There was the Kuban Special Cavalry Detachment, known as the Wolves’ Hundred They fought under black banners with a wolf’s head on them, and the soldiers wore wolf fur hats Yesaul Andrei Shkuro was their commander German high command offered a huge reward for his head, a fantastic sum of money — equivallent of 60 000 Russian roubles Andrei Grigorevich Shkuro Real name — Shkura. A Kuban Cossack For bravery during combat with the Austrians, he was awarded St. George’s Weapon But many military commanders didn’t always favour guerilla warfare Remoteness of partisan units from the headquarters often resulted in their disorganised actions which made them more of a disadvantage and even damaged the overall military campaign Some partisan troops lost their discipline Baron Wrangel recalls: “I got to know Colonel Shkuro by his work in the Carpathian forests, as commander of a “partisan troop” Aside from a few exceptions, they were joined only by the worst of officers, who felt burdened by their former units Colonel Shkuro’s troop along with their commander spent most of their time hanging in the rear, getting drunk and looting, until finally was withdrawn from the corps’ front sector upon insistence of the corps’ Commander Krymov During the Patriotic War, Shkuro was actively fighting against the Bolsheviks
as part of the White Guard troops He later immigrated to Serbia and France Worked as a circus horseback rider, and acted in silent films In 1944, upon Himmler’s special order Shkuro was appointed as head of the Cossack Reserve, part of the Waffen-SS He was appointed SS Gruppenfuhrer, which corresponds to the rank of lieutenant general In 1945 he was handed over the Soviet authorities by the British forces In 1947, the Supreme Court of the USSR sentenced him to death by hanging He was executed in Moscow Turns out, our Valentina is seeing a praporshchik Fancy dressed fellow belts, hats and all that Rodion was gradually getting better His wounds were healing well But this seventeen year old soldier could think of nothing else but the young nurse Valentina — the one who met him at the train station To him, she was the most beautiful woman in the world Who wants to go to the theater on Saturday? Sign up here Sign up Rodik. He likes that kind of stuff… Books and all that Rodion, do you want to go? I do Malinovsky! You’re a St. George recipient. Why didn’t you say so? You can leave your stilts here I don’t think you need them anymore You think? Or are they for decoration? You rogue! – Let’s go? – Will you help me? It’s time. Let’s go How did you manage to bare it all! War is such a terrible thing And you are so young You know, so many soldiers are becoming officers nowadays And you are educated, well-read, clever You should become a praporshchik Better yet, a general of a field marshal, like Kutuzov. How about that? After the German General Staff failed to knock Russia out of war, it decided to shift its focus to a weaker opponent — Serbia For more than a year, this country was repelling the assaults of Austria-Hungary, whose population was twelve times greater than Serbian Great forces were amassed for this campaign, under command of one of the most talented German military commanders, Field Marshal Mackensen The offensive began on 7 October, 1915 Two days later, Serb resistance in Belgrade was crushed and the army began its retreat, known as the Serbian Golgofa It was winter and the Serbian soldiers were retreating along mountains paths, hoping to break through to the sea Supplies, wounded and sick soldiers had to be carried Hundreds of thousands of refugees were retreating along with the army People were dying of diseases, there was neither food nor warm clothing Walking with peasants side by side was a rheumatic 70-year-old man, wearing an overcoat and straw shoes Exhausted people tried to help him anyway they could, but he wouldn’t accept even a cup of hot tea This old man was King of Serbia, Peter I Karageorgevich When the retreating party reached the Adriatic coast, they looked like living skeletons, but the soldiers still had their weapons in hand The remaining Serbian army sought refuge on the island of Corfu
They marched solemnly to the ships Those, who witnessed this “parade” couldn’t hold back their tears Meanwhile, Serbia was under a reign of terror Countless death penalties were proclaimed as “revenge” for the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand People were gathered in camps, where they died from hunger, disease and hard labour After the Russian troops left Galicia, mass repressions began there as well Thousand of people were arrested and executed for their pro-Russian attitudes People were tried by the tribunal for even having a portrait of Leo Tolstoy Talerhof concentration camp gained tragic notoriety along with the war prison in Terezin, located in Austria-Hungary Twenty thousand people went through the Talerhof camp, some of them were executed or tormented to death Well, Malinovsky, congratulations Your wounds healed perfectly Time to join the ranks. Time to protect our Homeland. Godspeed! Do his paperwork, Valentina In autumn, Austro-Hungarian forces attacked the Southwestern front again They took over the town of Chartoriysk Brusilov’s army received an assignment to win the city back The Steel Division distinguished itself in fighting once again Denikin’s soldiers attacked the city from the rear and seized it in one fell swoop destroying the German grenadier regiment and capturing all their arsenal, machine guns and supply trains German forces pulled in reinforcements and the Steel Division was nearly encircled Commander of the 13th Rifle Regiment, Sergey Markov, reported to Denikin: I’m in a very unusual position, fighting battles from all four directions It’s so challenging, almost fun” Sergey Leonidovich Markov Lieutenant General Lectured at the Nikolaev General Staff Academy For his actions in the Russo-Japanese War, he was awarded five military decorations In February of 1915, he took command of a regiment, and later remained permanent Head of Staff in Denikin’s army Received the Order of St. George, 4th Class Was nicknamed “God of War” for his outstanding bravery and commandership talent All forces of the division had to be urgently united into one But Denikin’s situation was complicated because the battles took place in dense forests, which left the separate regiments and battalions without possibility of any communication – Bondarenko, is that you? – Yes, Your Excellency! Colonel Markov ordered to ask you if we have an orchestra – If we have a what? – An orchestra, Your Excellency! But of course! Why didn’t I think of… Get the regiment’s orchestra here at once! Yessir Your Excellency, the orchestra is here I order you to move to square 25\15 You’ll accompany them personally Yessir Keep playing non-stop, until ordered otherwise. Get on with it! Play what? What do you mean “what”? A march, of course! “Farewell of Slavianka” Forward march! Upon hearing a familiar march coming from the forest, the separated regiments of the Steel Division moved towards the sound When the united forces came out of the forest and attacked, the Austrians surrendered at once Nach Chartoriysk!
Ceremonial march! Well, fellows, fire away! Denikin won Chartoriysk back Patriotic march “Farewell of Slavianka” was written in 1910, or according to other sources — in 1912-1913, by Vasily Agapkin, a trumpeter of the 7th Cavalry Regiment and later finalised by the military musician and chapel master, Yakov Bogorad It was premiered in Tambov, in the autumn of 1912 during a parade of the regiment in which Agapkin served The melody quickly became popular and was eagerly performed by military orchestras in Russia, France and other countries For over a hundred years now, this music piece is perhaps the most famous march of the Russian army In December, the Russian troops under General Shcherbachev began an offensive in Galicia, on the Strypa River In blizzard and freezing cold, the soldiers broke through the enemy’s fortified positions They were barely able to move forward, up to their waists in snow Heavy snow hindered delivery of supplies and the offensive had to be put on hold During this operation, tens of thousands of Russian soldiers were either frostbitten, wounded or killed Unter-officer Shtukaturov wrote in his diary on 15 December: “We woke up around 9 a.m., when junior praporshchik brought the mail There was a letter from my wife, which made me very happy” The next day Shtukaturov was killed during an attack In his pockets, he had his diary and a postcard addressed to his wife The postcard contained only two words: “I’m killed” Those, who found it were supposed to write in the corresponding date and send the tragic message to his family 800 soldiers came out of action that day 18 officers were wounded, 5 were killed One of the aims of the Strypa offensive was to help devastated Serbia But Serbia couldn’t be helped. The enemy moved only one division from the Balkans But what truly mattered in these final days of the horrible year of 1915, was that the Russian army convinced the enemy of it’s fighting ability The German offensive was stopped
The army was alive… Russia was alive GALICIA December 1915 Don’t kill me! Have mercy! We aren’t the enemy, don’t be afraid Mercy. Have mercy We killed all the Russians this summer, but they are alive. Alive Their bayonets… Max, Otto, Heinrich, my whole company… all killed The Russians killed them at night They didn’t even shoot Bayonets, bayonets…They’ll kill me! Get this nutcase The Russians are infinite!… Infinite!