Aleksei Alekseyevich Brusilov (Russian: Алексе́й Алексе́евич Бруси́лов; 1 September [O.S. 19 August] 1853 – 17 March 1926) was a Russian general most noted for the development of new offensive tactics used in the 1916 Brusilov Offensive, which was his greatest achievement. The innovative and relatively successful tactics used were later copied by the Germans. Born into the aristocracy to a father who was also a general, Brusilov trained as a cavalry officer, but by 1914 he realized that cavalry was obsolete in the new style of warfare because of its vulnerability to machine gun and artillery. Historians portray him as the only First World War Russian general capable of winning major battles. However, his heavy casualties seriously weakened the Russian army, which was unable to replace its losses. During the offensive, he had a small numerical advantage (600,000 to 500,000), but in 72 hours advanced 50 miles, took 200,000 prisoners, and seized 700 heavy guns.
Despite his prominent role in the Imperial Russian Army, he ultimately joined with the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War and aided in the early organization of the Red Army, which had ruined his good reputation among the west and the Tsarist Russians.
Aleksei Alekseyevich Brusilov
Aleksei Brusilov in 1914.
|Nickname(s)||'The Iron General'|
|Born||1 September 1853|
Tiflis, Caucasus Viceroyalty, Russian Empire (now Tbilisi, Georgia)
|Died||17 March 1926 (aged 72)|
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
|Allegiance|| Russian Empire|
|Service/|| Imperial Russian Army|
|Years of service||1872–1924|
|Rank||General of the Cavalry|
World War I
Brusilov was born in Tiflis (now Tbilisi, Georgia). His father was Russian, his mother, Anna Luiza Niestojemska, was Polish. Three generations of Brusilovs had served as officers in the tsar's army, his grandfather fighting in the defence against Napoleon's invasion of 1812. His father rose to the rank of Lieutenant General before dying of tuberculosis in 1856. Brusilov's mother died shortly afterwards, and the young orphan was raised by relatives in Kutaisi.
He was educated at home until at the age of 14. He joined the Imperial Corps of Pages in Saint Petersburg in 1867. At the end of his first year, a tutor remarked of Brusilov, "his nature is brisk and even playful, but he is good, straight-forward and clean-living. Of high ability, but inclined to be lazy."
In 1872, on completion of the Corps' programme, he sought admission to the advanced class for top ranking students, but was unsuccessful, and instead was posted as an ensign (Praporshchik) to the 15th (Tver) Dragoon Regiment. Usually, graduates from the Corps of Pages sought admission to one of the Guards regiments, but the Tver Dragoons were at that time stationed near Kutaisi, so the posting suited Brusilov on the basis of being near his family and being less financially draining than service in the Guards.
Brusilov joined the Tver Dragoons in August 1872 and was given command of a troop, but it was not long before his aptitude resulted in the appointment as regimental adjutant. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1874.
He served with distinction in the Russo–Turkish War, 1877–78, being mentioned in despatches on three occasions. His unit operated on the Southern Front in the Caucasus, and took part in the assault of the fortress of Ardagan (now Ardahan, Turkey), for which Brusilov was awarded the Order of Saint Stanislav, 3rd Class. Later in the war, he also received the Order of Saint Anne, 3rd Class, and was promoted to the rank of Stabskapitän. Towards the end of the war, he led successful attacks on Turkish positions around Kars, and his membership of the Order of Saint Stanislav was elevated to 2nd Class.
In 1881, Brusilov became a student at the Cavalry Officer School in St Petersburg and two years later was appointed as a riding instructor there. He spent the next thirteen years in a succession of posts at the school – Adjutant, Senior Teacher of Riding and Breaking Horses, Section Commander, Troop Commander, Squadron Commander and Assistant Chief of the School. On promotion to Major General in 1900, Brusilov was added to the list of Household Troops (officers who might be retained on official business by the Tsar). During this time, Brusilov married (1884), and the union produced a son in 1887.
In 1902, as a Lieutenant General, he took command of the school, and under his leadership, the "Horse Academy" became an acknowledged centre of excellence in preparing staff officers for the cavalry. Brusilov published papers on the use of cavalry and visited France, Austria-Hungary and Germany to study riding tuition and stud management.
Brusilov was appointed to command the 2nd Guards Cavalry Division in 1906, but this was not a happy posting for him. The Revolution of 1905 had left St Petersburg in turmoil, and after his wife's death, he sought a posting away from the Guards and the capital.
In 1908, he was appointed to command the XIV Corps in the Warsaw Military District, where his tenure was notable for the improvements in combat training he implemented. He also remarried at this time, to Nadejda ("Hope") Jelihovski. Promoted to General of Cavalry in 1912, he became Deputy Commander-in-Chief of forces in the Warsaw Military District. The failures of the Russo-Japanese War had led to allegations that Generals from immigrant families, who made a significant fraction of the Russian Army's senior ranks, were less patriotic than those who traced their origins to within Russia's borders, and Brusilov would come into conflict with the Governor-General in Warsaw, Georgi Skalon, and other "Russian-German" generals in that District. Brusilov was soon seeking another post.
In 1913, Brusilov was posted to command the XII Corps in the Kiev Military District, remarking on his departure, "I do not doubt, that my departure will produce a sensation in the troops of Warsaw region... Well! What’s done is done, and I am glad, that I have escaped cesspool of Skalon’s court atmosphere."
In July 1914, with the Russian army expanding during mobilisation, Brusilov was promoted to command the 8th Army, part of the Southwest Front operating in Galicia. The 8th Army crushed the Austro-Hungarian forces before it, and rapidly advanced nearly 150 kilometers (93 mi). Reverses elsewhere along the Front, including the great defeat at Tannenberg, forced the 8th Army to retire in conformance with the general Russian withdrawal. For his victories, Brusilov was awarded the Order of Saint George 4th, and then 3rd Class. By a quirk of fate, several future White Army commanders held senior posts in 8th Army at this time—Brusilov's Quartermaster general was Anton Denikin, while Alexey Kaledin commanded the 12th Cavalry Division and Lavr Kornilov was in command of 48th Infantry Division.
In the early part of 1915, Brusilov again advanced, penetrating the Carpathian passes and entering the Hungarian plain. At this time, Nikolai II visited the 8th Army and Brusilov was promoted to the rank of General-Adjutant (in the Imperial Russian Army this was a "four-star" General rank).
Once again, fortunes on other fronts would determine his actions, and the Austrian-German breakthrough at Gorlice-Tarnów forced Brusilov to conform to the general retirement. By September, the 8th Army had withdrawn 180 kilometers (110 mi) to the Tarnopol region.
On 29 March 1916, Brusilov was given command of Southwest Front and managed to secure a certain degree of freedom of action. Previous Russian offensives demonstrated a tendency to assault smaller and smaller sections of the front with increasing density of artillery and manpower to achieve a breakthrough. The narrow frontage of these attacks made counterattacks straightforward for German forces, and this approach met with repeated failure for the Russians.
Brusilov decided to distribute his attack over the entirety of Southwest Front. He hoped to disorganise the enemy over such a large area that some point would fatally give way. He decided not to waste resources by saturation bombardment of worthless areas, but to use interdiction fire against command posts, road networks, and other critically important targets to degrade German command and control over the whole front. The noted German artillery commander, Georg Bruchmüller, having served opposite Brusilov's Front at this time, would learn from and adapt these tactics when planning the preparatory bombardment for Operation Michael on the Western Front in 1918. Brusilov was not even concerned with securing a tremendous local advantage in manpower, permitting Divisions under his command to be transferred to other Fronts (so long as they attacked in support of his offensive).
Brusilov's new techniques were, by First World War standards, highly successful and over the next 3 months, Southwest Front advanced an average of more than 30 kilometres along a front of more than 400 kilometres (250 mi), taking 400,000 Austro-Hungarian prisoners in the process. However, the planned supporting attack from West Front (the Army group to Brusilov's north) was not delivered, and Germany was able to transfer 17 divisions from France and Belgium to halt the Russian advance.
Brusilov would be awarded the Sword of Saint George with Diamonds for his greatest victory, one of only 8 Russian commanders to receive this rare award during the First World War.
With the onset of revolution in Russia, Brusilov argued for the Tsar's abdication. When approached by Stavka for his opinion on the need for the abdication he replied, "... For the moment the only thing that matters is to stabilise our position to allow the continuation of the war with the external enemy... to abdicate in favour of Grand Duke Mikhail and a council of regents... It is necessary to hurry, the faster to extinguish the flames [of revolution], otherwise we face innumerable catastrophic consequences."
That same year in May, Brusilov was appointed Commander in Chief of the Russian Army.
Throughout this period, Brusilov proved sympathetic to revolutionary aspirations, though his primary concern was that the war needed to be won first. In particular, he asserted that until peace was achieved, the full authority of the central government must be respected and that the army should maintain the full rigour of its disciplinary code. In a telegram to the Minister of War, Alexander Kerensky, he wrote, "... only the application of capital punishment will stop the decomposition of army and will save freedom and our homeland".
This politically unpopular stand, together with the failure of the Kerensky Offensive in July 1917, led to Brusilov's replacement as Commander in Chief by his former deputy, Lavr Kornilov. Brusilov moved to Moscow and remained there at the disposal of the Provisional Government. When fighting broke out in Moscow following the October Revolution, he was severely wounded in the foot by a fragment of a shell that hit his bathroom.
Conflicting loyalties tore Brusilov in the Revolution and the Civil War that followed. His former soldiers were largely serving in the newly formed Red Army, and he concurred with the need for radical change, but as a conservative, patriot and monarchist his values were more in tune with those of the White faction. On 30 May 1920, during the Polish Eastern offensive of the Polish-Soviet War Brusilov published in Pravda an appeal entitled “To All Former Officers, Wherever They Might Be”, encouraging them to forgive past grievances and to join the Red Army. Brusilov considered it as a patriotic duty of all Russian officers to join hands with the Bolshevik government, which in his opinion was defending Russia against foreign invaders.
Initially, Brusilov served on a special commission to determine the size and structure of the Red Army. Later, he led cavalry recruit training and became Inspector of Cavalry. He retired in 1924 but continued to carry out commissions for the Revolutionary Military Council.
Aged seventy upon his retirement, he lived in his shared apartment with his sickly wife and another couple. He died in Moscow from congestive heart failure, and was given an honourable state funeral, buried in the Novodevichy Convent, by representatives from the 'new Russia' (the Bolsheviks), and the 'old Russia' (the clergy, the middle and upper class). His second wife Nadezhda Brusilova-Zhelikhova (1864–1938) is buried in the Orthodox section of the Olšany Cemetery in Prague, along with a number of other members of the Russian emigration.
His war memoirs were translated into English and published in 1930 as A Soldier's Notebook, 1914–1918. Following the October Revolution, he served the Bolsheviks and joined the Red Army. Many tsarist historians avoid praising or even mentioning his historical role, because of his role in the Red Army.
According to the assessment of British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, Brusilov was one of the seven outstanding fighting commanders of World War I, the others being Falkenhayn (later replaced by Hindenburg), Ludendorff, Mustafa Kemal, Plumer, Monash and Allenby.
The 12th Army Corps was an Army corps in the Imperial Russian Army.2nd Guards Cavalry Division (Russian Empire)
The 2nd Guards Cavalry Division was a Guards light cavalry division of the Imperial Russian Army.4th Infantry Division (Russian Empire)
The 4th Infantry Division (Russian: 4-я пехотная дивизия, 4-ya Pekhotnaya Diviziya) was an infantry formation of the Russian Imperial Army that existed in various formations from 1806 until the end of World War I and the Russian Revolution. When the war broke out in 1914 it was based in Łomża. In June 1917, it was designated as the 4th Infantry Shock Division (4-я пехотная ударная дивизия) upon being reformed as a shock troop unit and the following month it became known as the 4th Infantry Shock Division of Death (4-я пехотная ударная дивизия смерти).8th Army (Russian Empire)
The Russian Eight Army (8-я армия, 8А) was a World War I Russian field army that fought on the Eastern theatre of war.
Field management was established in July 1914 at the headquarters of the Kiev Military District. The unit was disbanded in the beginning of 1918. At the beginning of the war the 8th Army was composed of the VII, VIII, XII, XXIV Army Corps.Battle of Galicia
The Battle of Galicia, also known as the Battle of Lemberg, was a major battle between Russia and Austria-Hungary during the early stages of World War I in 1914. In the course of the battle, the Austro-Hungarian armies were severely defeated and forced out of Galicia, while the Russians captured Lemberg and, for approximately nine months, ruled Eastern Galicia until their defeat at Gorlice and Tarnów.Battle of Gnila Lipa
The Battle of Gnila Lipa took place early in the World War I on 29–30 August 1914, when the Imperial Russian Army invaded Galicia and engaged the defending Austro-Hungarian Army. It was part of a larger series of battles known collectively as the Battle of Galicia. The battle ended in a defeat of the Austro-Hungarian forces.Battle of Łowczówek
Battle of Łowczówek was a battle during World War I, fought on 22–25 December 1914 at Łowczówek, between the First Brigade of the Polish Legions, fighting for Austria-Hungary, and troops of Imperial Russia. The First Brigade was supported by some units of Hungarian infantry and Austrian artillery. The Austro-Hungarian-Polish forces held back the developing Russian offensive in the region, which allowed the bulk of the Austrian army to avoid being surrounded and to withdraw, but had to yield their positions in the face of continued Russian attacks and the danger of being encircled itself.Brusilov
Brusilov (Russian: Брусилов) or Brusilova (feminine; Брусилова) is a Russian surname originating from the verb brusit meaning mumble. Notable people with the surname include:
Aleksei Brusilov (1853–1926), Russian cavalry general
Brusilov Offensive, Russian offensive during World War I
Georgy Brusilov (1884–c.1914), Russian naval officer and Arctic explorer
Brusilov Expedition in 1912–1914
Brusilov Nunataks in Antarctica
Lev Brusilov (1857–1909), Russian vice admiral and brother of AlekseiBrusilov Offensive
The Brusilov Offensive (Russian: Брусиловский прорыв Brusilovskiĭ proryv, literally: "Brusilov's breakthrough"), also known as the "June Advance", of June to September 1916 was the Russian Empire's greatest feat of arms during World War I, and among the most lethal offensives in world history. Historian Graydon Tunstall called the Brusilov Offensive the worst crisis of World War I for Austria-Hungary and the Triple Entente's greatest victory, but it came at a tremendous loss of life.The offensive involved a major Russian attack against the armies of the Central Powers on the Eastern Front. Launched on 4 June 1916, it lasted until late September. It took place in an area of present-day western Ukraine, in the general vicinity of the towns of Lviv, Kovel, and Lutsk. The offensive takes its name after the commander in charge of the Southwestern Front of the Imperial Russian Army, General Aleksei Brusilov.Eastern Front (World War I)
The Eastern Front or Eastern Theater of World War I (German: Ostfront, Russian: Восточный фронт, Vostochnıy front) was a theatre of operations that encompassed at its greatest extent the entire frontier between the Russian Empire and Romania on one side and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire and the German Empire on the other. It stretched from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south, included most of Eastern Europe and stretched deep into Central Europe as well. The term contrasts with "Western Front", which was being fought in Belgium and France.
During 1910, Russian General Yuri Danilov developed "Plan 19" under which four armies would invade East Prussia. This plan was criticised as Austria-Hungary could be a greater threat than the German Empire. So instead of four armies invading East Prussia, the Russians planned to send two armies to East Prussia, and two Armies to defend against Austro-Hungarian forces invading from Galicia. In the opening months of the war, the Imperial Russian Army attempted an invasion of eastern Prussia in the northwestern theater, only to be beaten back by the Germans after some initial success. At the same time, in the south, they successfully invaded Galicia, defeating the Austro-Hungarian forces there. In Russian Poland, the Germans failed to take Warsaw. But by 1915, the German and Austro-Hungarian armies were on the advance, dealing the Russians heavy casualties in Galicia and in Poland, forcing it to retreat. Grand Duke Nicholas was sacked from his position as the commander-in-chief and replaced by the Tsar himself. Several offensives against the Germans in 1916 failed, including Lake Naroch Offensive and the Baranovichi Offensive. However, General Aleksei Brusilov oversaw a highly successful operation against Austria-Hungary that became known as the Brusilov Offensive, which saw the Russian Army make large gains.The Kingdom of Romania entered the war in August 1916. The Entente promised the region of Transylvania (which was part of Austria-Hungary) in return for Romanian support. The Romanian Army invaded Transylvania and had initial successes, but was forced to stop and was pushed back by the Germans and Austro-Hungarians when Bulgaria attacked them in the south. Meanwhile, a revolution occurred in Russia in February 1917 (one of the several causes being the hardships of the war). Tsar Nicholas II was forced to abdicate and a Russian Provisional Government was founded, with Georgy Lvov as its first leader, who was eventually replaced by Alexander Kerensky.
The newly formed Russian Republic continued to fight the war alongside Romania and the rest of the Entente until it was overthrown by the Bolsheviks in October 1917. Kerensky oversaw the July Offensive, which was largely a failure and caused a collapse in the Russian Army. The new government established by the Bolsheviks signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with the Central Powers, taking it out of the war and making large territorial concessions. Romania was also forced to surrender and signed a similar treaty, though both of the treaties were nullified with the surrender of the Central Powers in November 1918.Let the Thunder of Victory Rumble! (novel)
Let the Thunder of Victory Rumble! (Russian: Гром победы, раздавайся!, translit. Grom pobedy, razdavaysya!) is a novel by Boris Akunin, the second part of the third book on the adventures of Russian and German spies during the First World War. It describes the military adventures of Aleksei Romanov in the spring of 1916 in Galicia.List of cultural icons of Russia
This is a list of cultural icons of Russia. It contains the most important symbols of Russia, including its national symbols and symbols associated with various aspects of the Russian culture.List of people from Tbilisi
This is a list of famous people who have lived in Tbilisi, including both natives and residents. Some figures in the list may be included in several of the categories simultaneously, but are only included in the sections which pertain to their achievements or occupations the most.Louis Grondijs
Lodewijk Hermen Grondijs (25 September 1878, Pamekasan – 17 March 1961 The Hague) was a Dutch war correspondent and byzantinist.
Grondijs was born in the Dutch East-Indies, now known as Indonesia, and via his mother was one eighth Indonesian. He spent most of his youth in the East Indies and graduated in 1896 from grammar school in Surabaya. A gifted academic, he graduated in mathematics and physics at Utrecht University in 1905 and continued his studies in philosophy and mathematics at Leiden University. In 1907 with J.D. Bierens de Haan he founded the Journal of Philosophy Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte and in the 1930s he became a leading expert in Byzantology.
Working as a teacher at the Dordrecht Technical Institute in 1914, he quit his post when the Great War broke out and secured a position as war-correspondent for the Dutch newspaper Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant. He went into neighboring Belgium where he covered the early events of the war in Aerschot, the German war crimes at Leuven as well as the siege of Antwerp. He published a book on his experiences in Belgium, The Germans in Belgium - Notes by a Dutch Eye-Witness and afterwards traveled to France, working as a war-correspondent for various international newspapers and news-magazines. For saving fifty Belgian clergymen from German execution during the Rape of Belgium period, including the rector magnificus of the famous Catholic University of Leuven, he was decorated officer in the Belgian Order of the Crown.
Later in September 1915, he left for Russia at the invitation of general Aleksei Brusilov where he was allowed to accompany the Russian 8th Army as a correspondent of The Daily Telegraph. Many of his vividly written articles on warfare on the Eastern Front were published in the prestigious French newsweekly l'Illustration. He apparently respected the fighting qualities of the common Russian soldier and expressed his admiration numerous times in his articles. And although an academic by profession, he seemed to relish the adventure and excitement of war-time journalism and of warfare itself; he is said to have taken active part in combat along with his Russian hosts on many occasions. For this, he was decorated with the Imperial Russian Order of St. George, Order of St. Stanislaus, Order of St. Anna and Order of St. Vladimir.
He was present in Petrograd during the initial February Revolution in 1917, but after the Bolshevist take-over, he left for White controlled territory where he joined counter-revolutionary armies of generals Lavr Kornilov and Mikhail Alekseev and reported on the Russian Civil War. In June 1918 he was the only western war correspondent to join the Volunteer Army in the Kuban Campaign. Oddly he appears to have found the time to obtain a doctor's degree in physics at the university of Charkov in 1917 on the thesis Elektromagnetische Feldgleichungen bewegter Systeme. In 1918 he became an accredited war-correspondent to the French government, for which later that year he travelled to the USA, Japan and the Russian Far East. In the US he met former president Teddy Roosevelt and Tomáš Masaryk who became in 1920 president of Czechoslovakia. From Japan he returned to Russia, holding the honorary rank of captain in the French Army and following and reporting on events with the French Military Mission in Siberia during the years 1918-1920. For this, he was decorated with the French Légion d'Honneur á titre militaire and the Order of the Rising Sun of Japan. He married Antonie Therese Marie Thekla van Embden in 1908, and divorced her in the late 1910s. During the Russian Civil War, he married Valentine de Gontjarenko Petrenko, a concert pianist. After the definitive Bolshevist victory he returned to Europe, openly professing his anti-Bolshevist views in articles and lectures.
In the early 1920s he settled in Paris working for the Laboratoire des Recherches Physiques of the Sorbonne and studying history of arts and Byzantology. In 1928 he returned with his wife Valentine to The Netherlands. He once again took up the profession of academic lecturer and in 1935 became a full professor of Byzantine history and art at Utrecht University. In the 1930s he made several academic research travels to Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and was involved in archaeological excavations. Love of adventure and war must have been irresistible, for he later went to Manchuria to report on the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. He met with Chiang Kai-shek, Puyi and Thubten Chökyi Nyima the Panchen Lama. In 1936-37 he was in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, afterwards in 1939 accompanying the Hungarian army as it occupied Ruthenia, as a result of the Munich Agreement.
In 1941 he obtained his second doctor's degree at the Sorbonne with the thesis L'iconographie byzantine du Crucifié mort sur la croix. During World War II German occupation of The Netherlands, by virtue of his anti-Bolshevist sympathies, he appears to have been asked to publish articles and give lectures praising National Socialist policies. His openly expressed appreciation of the bravery of Russian fighting-men, based upon his first-hand experiences during the Great War, did little to endear him to the occupying German and collaborating Netherlands authorities and he was dropped from favor, apparently narrowly missing incarceration because of these views.
Still, his contacts with right-wing, authoritarian political movements before and during the Second World War, were well-known and as a result he experienced minor troubles after the war ended. In the end he was absolved and returned to his academic post, retiring in 1949. He passed on in 1961, at the age of 81 while practising the sport of fencing, one of his favorite pastimes.Radymno
Radymno [raˈdɨmnɔ] (Ukrainian: Ради́мно Radymno, Yiddish: רעדעם Redem) is a town in south-eastern Poland with 5,543 inhabitants (02.06.2009). It has been part of the Podkarpackie Voivodeship since its creation in 1999. Radymno was previously in the Przemyśl Voivodeship from 1975–1998.Russian Naval General Staff
The Russian Naval General Staff (Russian: Morskoi generalnyi shtab, Морской генеральный штаб) was created on 7 May 1906 by Tsar Nicholai II from the existing Research Unit of the Main Naval Staff after the Russo-Japanese War. Its mission was to formulate war plans and to decide the characteristics of new ships as the Main Naval Staff was too occupied with day-to-day matters. Its first head was Captain 1st Rank L. A. Brusilov, brother of General Aleksei Brusilov, and it initially was composed of only 15 officers. By the beginning of World War I it had expanded to 40 officers. It was disbanded by the Bolsheviks when they seized power in 1917.Russian occupation of Eastern Galicia, 1914–15
On August 18, 1914, the Imperial Russian Army invaded the Austrian Crownland of Galicia. On August 19, Russian troops defeated the Austro-Hungarian Army, advanced 280–300 kilometers into Austrian territory and captured most of eastern Galicia. The principal city, Lemberg, fell into Russian hands on September 3. Eastern Galicia had a population of approximately 4.8 million peopleGreek Catholic Ukrainians made up approximately 65% of the population of Eastern Galicia while Poles made up 22% of the population. It was the last large Eastern Slavic territory and the last historic part of the medieval state of Kievan Rus to fall under Romanov rule. The Russian Empire controlled and administered this territory from September 1914 until June 1915. Throughout the occupation, the Tsarist officials pursued a policy of integrating Galicia with the Russian Empire, forcibly Russifying local Ukrainians, and persecuting both Jews and Byzantine Catholics.Shock troops
Shock troops or assault troops are formations created to lead an attack. They are often better trained and equipped than other infantry, and expected to take heavy casualties even in successful operations.
"Shock troop" is a calque, a loose translation of the German word Stoßtrupp. Military units which contain assault troops are typically organized for mobility with the intention that they will penetrate enemy defences and attack into the enemy's vulnerable rear areas. Any specialized, elite unit formed to fight an engagement via overwhelming assault (usually) would be considered shock troops, as opposed to a "special forces" or commando style units (intended mostly for covert operations). Both types of units could fight behind enemy lines, by surprise if required, however.
Although the term "shock troop" became popular in the 20th century, the concept is not a new one, such as the utilization by Western European armies of the forlorn hope. Presently, the term is rarely used as the strategic concepts behind it have become standard contemporary military thinking.Southwestern Front (Russian Empire)
The Southwestern Front (Russian: Юго-Западный фронт) was an army group of the Imperial Russian Army during World War I. During the conflict it was responsible for managing operations along a front line that stretched 615 kilometers, from what is now southern Belarus to northern Romania, and took part in such operations as the Battle of Galicia and the Brusilov Offensive. It was established in August 1914 and lasted throughout the war until the unrest caused by the Russian Revolution, at which point it was demobilized along with the rest of the Russian Army in early 1918. In total some two million troops had been under its command.