World War One – Episode 4. Documentary Film. Historical Reenactment. StarMedia. English Subtitles


With financial support of the Ministry of
Culture of the Russian Federation With financial support of the
Russian Military Historical Society Year of Culture 2014 Star Media Babich design The war brought Russia
much grief and suffering. The Empire drowned in hundreds
of thousands funerals. Obituary section were filled with
death notices for the perished officers. Death had mercy on neither
sons of old aristocratic families, nor Cossacks, nor simple peasants
from remote parts of the vast Empire. But the biggest challenges for the country
and its people were yet ahead. FIRST WORLD WAR
Part 4 KRASNOPOL. POLAND. REAR CAMP OF THE 256th
ELISAVETGRADSKY REGIMENT Spring 1915 How do you play this game,
Master-at-Arms, Sir? – It’s too complicated for you!
– This is chess, my friend. A special game. It requires thought. You’re better off
at the kitchens, go help peel potatoes! Fine. Don’t tell if you don’t want to. Got it in the neck from our “rear”
intellectuals? Nevermind him. I’ll teach you how to play chess myself. I’d like that. Everyone in Longeron is
probably at the beach now… That’s ok. War will soon be over. We’ll head home after we finish
off the Germans this summer… That tune seems familiar. What is it? “Dark clouds cover the skies, Strong wind stirs up the garden leaves”. It’s the “Autumn Dream” waltz.
Was very popular before the war. The “Autumn Dream” waltz was written
in 1908 by the English composer Archibald Joyce. When Joyce was on tour in Russia,
waltz’s popularity skyrocketed and his gramophone records
were sold by the millions. The waltz was translated into
Russian a number of times. Soon everyone forgot its
original English compser, but the waltz outlived two wars,
remaining popular for decades. It was performed by Lidiya Ruslanova,
Klavdiya Shulzhenko, Peter Leschenko, Ludmila Zykina. In the spring of 1915, the situation
at the Western front was so favourable for Russia, that many were certain of close victory
and a quick ending of the war. Onslaught of the German troops
from the Northwest was stopped. At the Southwestern front,
one of the largest European fortresses, the Austrian fortress of Przemysl,
was seized after months of fighting. Russian troops in the Carpathians
changed over to the offensive. Austrian command planned
to outflank and surround them. It was up to the Third Cavalry Corps
under General Keller to stop the Austrians. Count Fedor Arturovich Keller,
Cavalry General. Stood out with his towering height
and strong build. Began his career in 1877, running off in secret from his
parents to the Russo-Turkish front, and was awarded for bravery
two Soldier’s Crosses of St. George. Since 1906 — Commander of
the Imperial Guard Dragoons Regiment. He was called the first Russian sabre.
Keller was taken as a prototype for one of the characters in Bulgakov’s
novel “The White Guard” — Colonel Nai-Turs, the very embodiment
of a Russian officer at his best. In March of 1915, Keller took
under his command two more units, besides his own division,
already seasoned in combat and called “Immortal”. The new formation was called
the Third Cavalry Corps and sent to the battlefield at once —
without any joint exercise, with no preparations for the Corps’ staff. Hey you, hold it! What do you think you’re doing?
Get off the horse! – He hurt the horse’s back.
– Unsaddle! What is this? I have no idea, Your Excellency. You don’t know that the saddle blanket
has to be cleaned? – Why, for that we would get….
– Silence! – There, there, take it easy…
– Give me the saddlecloth! Why, this is… How do even fight in these rags? These are old uniforms, Your Excellency. Back from the war with Japan? Yes, from back then. Ok then. Take the horse to the vet.
And this one to detention quarters. We must get fur jackets by tomorrow. But Your Excellency! He won’t
give them out! Won’t even listen! Fyodor Arturovich, what happened? Got your gloves smeared?.. Fur jackets. For the whole division.
By tomorrow. Fyodor Arturovich, that’s impossible. I’ll only have the
supply schedule tomorrow. Perhaps in three days or so…
But I doubt it. I don’t even have that many.
Where would I get them from? Where? How about form
that detached train car? You get the idea? How dare You? I won’t… I’ll send a complaint at once to the…
to the Front’s headquarters… to the high command… To His Royal… Go ahead, go on. But if i don’t get those
fur jackets by tomorrow, I’ll personally send you this. Get on with it… It was my pleasure… It took at least one month
to coordinate the cavalry units. Keller had only four days.
And he managed to do the impossible. Hoorah! Hoorah! Hoorah! He managed to revive the
disorganized divisions and counter attacked the Austrians
with two powerful blows. Over three thousand enemy soldiers and
fifty officers were taken prisoner. Keller’s Corps saved the Ninth Army
preventing its encirclement. This heroic deed received acknowledgement
from Commander-in-Chief, Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich: “Long live our brave cavalry! Extend my cordial gratitude to all
those, who had part in this noble battle. May God bless you with new heroic deeds!” Cavalry, as a military unit of great
significance on the battlefield, will practically cease to exist
after the end of World War I. With machine guns and other
rapid-firing weapons taking the arena battle tactics drastically change. Infantry columns and cavalry foragers
were becoming a thing of the past. Full-scale cavalry attacks were successful only if the enemy
didn’t use machine guns in time. German, Austrian and French
armies were restricting the use of cavalry to intelligence missions
and pursuit of the enemy. Only Russian mounted troops managed to adapt to the new
tactics of warfare. In 1904 there were over 75 million
horses in the world. Out of this number, 21 million
(almost a third) were in Russia. 60% of Russian peasant farms
had three horses or more. Russia had a bigger cavalry than all the
other warring countries put together — 1500 squadrons. German and Austrian cavalry units
were always trying to avoid hand-to-hand combat and pulled back under
cover of their infantry and artillery. The only exception were the
Hungarian Hussars — but even they were no match
for the Russian cavalry. No infantry division could
change their position so fast or enter a combat formation so quickly. Cavalry forces could adapt to any
conditions, even in the mountains. The very sight of the
renowned Savage Division struck terror into the
hearts of their enemy. Savage Division was the unofficial name of
the Caucasian Native Mounted Division, 90% of it was composed of Muslim
highlanders of the North Caucasus. Soldiers from Dagestan, Chechnya,
Ingushetia, Kabarda and Circassia were not subject to military service
and joined the Division as volunteers. Highlanders were usually multilingual
and considered to be ideal scouts. They were great
instinctive shooters (quick to raise their weapon
and fire without aiming), and could shoot from the hip without
aiming or even raising their weapon. They could accurately shoot an enemy
with a lit cigarette who happened to carelessly enjoy a midnight smoke. The Savage Division was under command
of the Emperor’s younger brother, Grand Duke Mikhail
Alexandrovich, and the officers were representatives
of high aristocracy: a Persian prince
Faizullah Qajar, a descendant of Georgian
monarchs, Dmitry Bagration, Duke Alexander Svyatopolk-Mirsky
and many others. Caucasians deemed it an honour
to serve in the Savage Division and spoke of their commander with pride: “Grand Duke Michael, the Tsar’s brother!” – What do they want?
– No idea. Who are they anyway? – Russ, don’t shoot! Don’t shoot! At the beginning of April, 1915 two
companies of the 28-th Austrian regiment voluntarily surrendered to the Russians. It mostly consisted of Czechs, whose country was at that time
part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Among Czechs and Slovaks,
many were favouring the Russians. When the Austrian emperor found out about
Czechs switching sides, he was furious: “With bitter disappointment,
I hereby order to disband the Imperial and Royal
28th Infantry Regiment from the list of my troops
for cowardice and treason…” Franz Joseph I. But the Emperor’s decree had no
desired effect. On the contrary. On the Galician front, this only
fueled mass voluntary surrenders of Czechs to the Russians. Among those, who put down their arms
was the future famous writer-to-be Jaroslav Hašek along with his friend,
František Strašlipka, prototype for the main character
of the book “Good Soldier Švejk”. I’m Jaroslav. And I am Petro. This is Ivan.
And what’s your name? František. Surname? Strašlipka. And what is that? Oh… that’s our “cow”, Mathilda,
and now we are going to milk her. Hand me your glass. C’mon, C’mon. What is that? – We’ll know in a second.
– Where’s your cup? Here. – Pass it.
– These Czechs are jolly fellows. Tell them about how you managed
to get drunk without any booze. No, I can’t. – Oh, c’mon. Sure you can.
– He took… what’s the name? Baker’s yeast. Yeast. Yes, yeast. Bit off a whole chunk
and washed it down with water. Then he lay on his belly
on top of a radiator… And all this in the
General’s office… Many of Czech and Slovak
nationals were fighting under the Russian colours
for their own freedom. The Czech National Council
was established in Kiev, and first volunteer troops
were beginning to form. In autumn, a Czech
volunteer unit of over a thousand soldiers left
Kiev for the front. In spring of 1915, the Russian command
decided to let those soldiers and officers that have surrendered voluntarily
join the Czech volunteer unit as well. First they formed a
regiment, then a brigade. And so began the complicated path
of Czechoslovak legionaries in Russia. In April of 1915, Russian troops
were already in the Transcarpathia. They had to move just a little further before beginning an offensive at
the Hungarian capital, Budapest… Russ, Russ, Come on out! Russ, Russ, Come on out! Just look at him! Yelling his lungs out!
I’ll give him a taste of my rifle. No shooting! We were told not to
waste bullets. Then I’ll throw something at him. Throw your boot. If you can throw that far. What am I going to wear then?
– There’s no getting new ones. No boots, no bread, no bullets. How are we going to fight,
Unter-officer, Sir? Cut the nonsense. We’ll fight
when we are ordered to. In spring of 1915 it became apparent
the the Russian General Staff made a miscalculation in
ammunition provisions. The Russian army was suffering
from severe shortage of artillery shells and ammunition rounds. Af first everyone believed that
the war would be quick. No one expected such protracted battles. Supply and ammunition shortages
became a problem for all warring parties: none of the countries expected to be
dragged into exhausting trench warfare. “We won’t be able to provide sufficient
military supplies before autumn this year… Reinforcements are not to be expected,
you are to rely on the forces at hand…” A telegram from the front’s headquarters. On the forces at hand. We have less than two hundred
shots per weapon. Artillerymen are counting every shell. “You should take bold and decisive action
to defeat the enemy.” Now, Really! It’s hard
enough to hold our ground. At the beginning of 1915, Russian army
had following monthly supply needs: 200 thousand rifles,
2 thousand machine guns, 400 canons,
200 million ammo rounds and 1,5 million shells. While Russia’s monthly manufacturing
capacity could provide them with only 30-32 thousand rifles,
216 machine guns, 115-120 canons,
50 million ammo rounds and 403 thousand shells,
satisfying only 15-30% of the requirements. Of all Allied countries, Russia’s supply
crisis was the most severe, because Russia was last to shift
its manufacturing focus to military production. Such measures required substantial expenses and were
deemed unnecessary at first. The much expected weapons shipments
from Europe didn’t come: weapons ordered by Russia
were manufactured but confiscated by the Allies
for their own needs. And it was very
problematic to deliver shipments that were sent
to Russia after all. Europe was torn apart by front lines, The Baltic and Mediterranean Sea
were engulfed by combat, Only two ports were left available
for the Allied ships: northernmost Arkhangelsk
and remote Vladivostok. Emperor Nicholas II ordered to set up
an emergency governmental body — Special Council of Defence that comprised
government officials, community spokesmen and
private entrepreneurs. Their task was to promptly mobilize the nation’s war economy
and military production. Machinery and equipment were bought
instead of finished goods. Russia urgently built new arms factories and constructed in the Barents Sea
a completely new ice-free port, Romanov-on-Murman (present-day Murmansk). Russia was undergoing full-scale
military-oriented industrialization. Within months, production of weapons
and ammunition increased tenfold. In the August of 1916, production
of rifles was 1100% higher than in the August of 1914. Canon production (76 mm mountain gun)
from January 1916 until January 1917
increased by over 1000%, and that of 76-mm shells — by 2000%. Gunpowder and explosives
manufacture rose by 250-300%. This transfer of capitals
into the defence industry had its effect on the
whole country’s economy. There was a cutback in iron ore production,
output of cast iron and steel was reduced. Crisis swept over the
construction industry. In 1915 Russia was the only warring country
that didn’t buy bread from abroad, fully capable of providing itself
with foodstuffs. Now the prices for bread
gradually began to grow. Due to transportation difficulties
there were delivery interruptions. For the first time, the country
had to stand in line to buy bread. When the war began, Russia
introduced the “dry law” (prohibition). This lead to rapid development
of bootlegging in the villages and mass consumption of varnish
and other surrogates in the cities. Peasants and workers were
drinking themselves to death. Contrary to the set stereotype about
Russia’s heavy drinking problems, before the revolution, the Russian Empire
was the most sober nation in Europe. Only Norwegians drank less. Interestingly enough, for three centuries
(from the 17th till the 20th century) Russia was world’s second to last country
in alcohol consumption per capita. Light industry lost its production volumes, there was a reduction in quality and
assortment of goods. Textile factories stopped
making cotton prints — the front required a supply
of military apparel. Factories fiercely competed for the
right to manufacture it — such shipments of military apparel were a
quick and sure way to fortune. Big-city restaurants and clubs were
filled with wives of rich entrepreneurs who made their fortunes on war. They were extravagantly dressed in
gorgeous furs and diamonds, with an unnatural sparkle in their eyes. In Petrograd and Moscow
the “dry law” was compensated by unprecedented massive
consumption of cocaine. It was openly available in any pharmacy, sold in plump brown packages. The best cocaine was German “Mark”
and cost 50 kopeeks per gram. Even wartimes didn’t hinder
drug trafficking, cocaine contraband was delivered
to the Russian capital without fail. Mobilization of the economy
for war required some time, regardless of the efforts. But Russia didn’t have that time. The German command decided
to take advantage of the situation, and get rid of the Eastern front by taking Russia out of the war with
one heavy decisive blow. Your Excellency, the German troops
are growing in numbers, they are getting reinforcements… In April 1915, Commander of Third Russian
Army, General Radko-Dimitriev, reported that the German forces were growing
in numbers, gathering reinforcements and pulling in heavy artillery. Clearly, they were preparing offensive
near the town of Gorlice. Radko-Dimitriev asked the high command
to let his army withdraw and regroup. Radko-Dimitriev. Distinguished
Bulgarian commander, a hero of liberation wars
with Turkey. Strong supporter of union with Russia. In 1914 — Bulgarian ambassador
to St. Petersburg. With the beginning of First World War
(a unique case in history) resigned from his diplomatic position
in order to serve in the Russian army. As of September 1914, was in
command of the Third Army. Russian high command refused to
take the offensive seriously. But Radko-Dimitriev had
serious grounds for concern. The Germans transferred a whole army
to Gorlice from the Western front. Germans were outnumbering
the Russians threefold and had five times
more artillery. On the evening of May 1st, Germans
began a 13-hour artillery bombardment. It seemed impossible for anyone to
survive such heavy fire in the trenches. But when the German infantry
began its offensive they were greeted with
rifles and bayonets. Third Russian Army put
up a desperate fight. The headquarters ordered “Not a step back!”
There were no reinforcements. Each artillery battery had
only 10 shells a day. While the Germans spared no shells and were
bombarding the Russians at full throttle. To save his men from total annihilation,
Radko-Dimitriev gave the order to retreat. The high command ordered to save
the situation by counterattacking and sent an army corps to the rescue. But it was too late. Forty thousand men of Third
Russian Army were either killed, wounded or taken prisoner. The Germans kept moving forward,
now posing a threat to the Russian rears. The Russians lost everything they
gained with so much blood in 1914. Galicia was taken by the enemy. Przemysl fortress, seized with such
tremendous efforts, had to be given up. Soon the Germans reached Lviv… Russian armies has to pull back
or they would be surrounded. Retreat of Brusilov’s Eighth Army
from the Carpathians was covered by the famous “Steel Division”
under General Kornilov. The Steel Division saved Third army from
utter defeat, but got surrounded itself. Kornilov realised that
help won’t be coming. The orders are to breakout! A battalion of the Rymnikskiy
Regiment will be covering. I will command it personally. And remember: our regiments are named after great Suvorov victories. We’ve no right to let these names perish! This means defending our
banners at any cost! So long as we have our banners —
the Steel Division lives on! Shoulder arms! Turn right! Forward march! Only seven men survived
out of the whole battalion. Wounded twice after bayonet fighting, General Kornilov was taken
prisoner by the Austrians. The other survivors reached
their army in four days. The Steel Division will be formed
again under it’s salvaged banners. After escaping from prison to Petrograd,
General Kornilov will learn that he was awarded
St. George’s Order 3rd Class… At the time of onslaught in Carpathians,
the German troops began offensive in Poland, trying to push Russia out of the
war by all means. Here, among the
forests of Poland, Germans resorted to the
deadliest weapon in this war. At the end of April near
the village of Bolimów there was a strange lull in fighting. With only occasional fire and no attempts
of breakthrough from the Germans no one could understand
what they were waiting for. But the Germans were waiting
for the right weather. Literally. They were planning a gas attack and needed the wind to blow
towards the Russian troops. Early morning of May 2nd, over a
12-kilometer stretch of the front line the Germans let out 264 tons of chlorine. The yellow-greenish clowd slowly
drifted towards the Russian trenches. The command had no idea about
chemical weapons, and thinking that it was a smoke screen
prior to the enemy attack sent reinforcements to the trenches. Within one hour, 8 thousand
men were poisoned. Over a thousand died right on spot.
But the front remained in position. Unaware of the the terrible reality,
choking on chlorine gas, Russian soldiers nevertheless
kept holding the line. Survivors of the gas poisoning
defeated the enemy attack. Russia became furious when learned
about this terrible tragedy. An urgent search for
possible antidotes began. The first countermeasure for chemical
weapons was a cotton face mask. By January 1916, chemist
and professor Zelinsky together with technical
engineer Kummant created the first gas mask: Zelinsky’s filter (a tin can with
layers of activated charcoal and cotton gauze lining) connected by
a nozzle with Kumman’s rubber mask. Millions of Zelinsky-Kummant gas masks
were shipped to the front lines, which lead to a substantial reduction in
casualties from gas poisoning. Disappointed by the efficiency
of chemical weapons, Germans resorted to
their former tactic: massive bombardments and
attacks, attacks, attacks… Day after day. Non-stop. Over here! Run here, faster! Go, go, go, go! C’mon, my dear! Stop the bleeding! Stay with us. Apply pressure higher, higher! Wait, darling. Or you’ll bleed to death. C’mon. Don’t be afraid. A shell doesn’t
hit the same spot twice. – Yeah, you’re sure?
– It’ll be fine. Hold this. Peter, Peter! Peter, wait! Don’t even think about it!
Peter, Peter! Peter, please! Who’s machine gun was it, who’s the gunner? Gunner Rodion Malinovsky, 17 years old,
singlehandedly saved an artillery battery. For that, he was awarded St. George’s
Cross 4th Class and promoted to Gefreiter. But that hardly made him happy.
He was exhausted and despaired: there would be no going home
any time soon. Not for him, not for thousands
of other soldiers. Amidst fierce combat, breaking
news came from Europe: Italy declared war on
Austria-Hungary and Germany. Italians decided to go against their
former partners from the Triple Alliance. “Italian soldiers are expected
to revive the fame of Roman legionaries. We must take revenge on Austria
for its century-old wrongdoings… Let us show the entire world
that Italians aren’t made of straw!” Words of a popular political journalist. He personally went to war, not afraid
to answer for his words with blood. He was certain that war
would bring him to power. In seven years, Benito
Amilcare Andrea Mussolini will become Head of the Italian
Government, founder of Fascism and one of those responsible
for the next war — World War II. But while the new front was only forming, German Field Marshal
Paul von Hindenburg decided to carry out a plan that
he’d been plotting for quite a while: to hit the Russian troops in Poland from
south and north and surround them. This plan was no big secret
to the Russian command. But shell and ammunition shortage
reached its peak by summer. New defense plants
weren’t put into service yet. Generals were bitterly joking: “Gentlemen! The enemy knows that
we have neither bullets nor shells. And we know that we won’t get any soon”. And the high command made
a strategic decision to leave Poland. It was the only possible option:
to retreat and save the army, win some time until reinforcements
and shipments would arrive. For half a year now you’ve
been withstanding our siege. We admire your bravery,
but there’s a limit to everything. You can’t even imagine the force
that will descend upon you. Take half a million German marks. It’s not a bribe. Just payment
for the shells that we won’t have to waste on the fortress. Germany doesn’t want to waste them. If you refuse, rest assured that within 48 hours
Osowiec will cease to exist! How about a wager!
Stay here with us. If Osowiec falls in the next 48 hours,
you can hang me. If the fortress withstands, I’ll hang you. That’ll be all. I take it, you refuse my wager? We shall see. Nikolay Alexandrovich Brzozowski,
Lieutenant General. Took action in the Bulgarian liberation war
and Russo-Japanese War. As of April 1915 — Commander
of the Osowiec Fortress. Awarded Order of St. George 4th Class
and St. George’s Weapon. Take cover! Take cover! Faster! Faster! At 4 a.m. August 6, 1915 the Germans
opened artillery fire on the fortress. At the same time using
poison gas against those inside. There is an order to begin gas attack. Follow through. – Yessir.
– Officer! Take the men away. Prepare to release gas.
Put on the gas masks. Open valves. Open the valves. Thinking that the garrison was annihilated,
German troops began their attack. Nearly seven thousand infantrymen
went on the offensive. There’s no one left alive inside. All the Russians are dead. They were counter-attacked by what
was left of the first line defenders. A little over 60 soldiers. The surprise attack and the very
sight of those men terrified the Germans. A few dozens of barely alive Russian
soldiers sent the Germans flying. Later, the Germans who were there
and the European press called this “attack of the living dead”. The enemy failed to seize
Osowiec after all. But since the Russians
pulled back from Poland, there was no point in
defending the fortress. Russians cleared the fortress of all
remaining supplies and blew out the forts. Brzozovsky personally destroyed
all of the fortifications. Nine years later, when Osowiec
became part of Poland, soldiers were conducting
excavations on the fortress’ ruins. There was supposed to be a supply
storage buried under the rubbles. The Poles went into the basement, when
suddenly a voice came from the darkness: Hold it! Who goes there? It was a Russian soldier, who was
assigned duty to guard the storage and somehow got left behind. For nine
years he hadn’t abandoned his post. He survived on can food. The guard
refused to leave his post without orders. After the soldiers persuaded him
to come out of the dungeons, the sunlight made him blind. The German offensive continued. They captured Mitawa and Libava —
key military bases of the Baltic fleet. Now Riga was under threat. The powerful Russian fortress
of Novogeorgievsk was under siege. The siege required substantial forces
and took up much of the enemy troops, and so the Germans failed to surround
the Russian army in Poland. But the fortress itself
lasted for only a week. Kaunas Fortress fell on the same day. These losses were hard to accept
for the Russian people. Rumours of treason swept the country. Each morning, headlines spelled
the names of abandoned cities: Warsaw, Wilno, Grodno, Brest… In September, the Germans broke through
the front line and entered Belorussia, heading towards Polotsk and Minks.
The situation was catastrophic. – Go faster! Faster, to the trenches.
– Run. They got the second line!
This is sheer hell! Why won’t the artillery blow them back?
Why are they silent? Silent… They have no shells left,
used up all of them. How could the generals
miscalculate like that? Were they hoping to win
the war in three months? It’s fine to hope, but
better safe than sorry. Well…maybe the French will help us out,
give us some shells and ammo, huh? That’s all we need to beat the hell
out of these damned Germans. Yeah, unless we all get killed
before the French aid arrives. Regiment’s commander said: “Be strong,
brothers! Reserves will arrive soon!” Brothers, attack! Attack! Attack! Hoorah! Hoorah!!! Hold the ammo. Bring it here, quick. Faster, load it. Watch that it doesn’t get jammed. Rodik! Rodik! Rodik! Rodik! Rodik! They killed Rodik!!!! How are you feeling? Stay strong,
it’ll all be fine. – Where’s the pain?
– In my leg. – Does your back hurt?
– No. Don’t you know how you should
reply to an officer? “No, Sir!”. Where would you rather
go: Simbirsk or Kazan? Kazan… I’ll get to see the
Tatar capital at least. – This one can go.
– You’ll be fine. The Red Cross — international
voluntary humanitarian organisation to help the wounded was founded in Switzerland in 1863. That’s why an inverted Swiss
flag became it’s emblem: instead of a white cross on red
background — there was the Red Cross. Red Cross Societies were established
in all European countries, Russia being among the first. During the First World War,
the Russian Red Cross prepared 11 thousand nurses,
created 150 food stations, equipped 360 hospital trains, formed 65 anti-epidemic teams. Red Cross military hospitals had a
capacity of 300 thousand beds. The overall number of medical personnel
exceeded 100 thousand workers including staff of stationary hospitals —
2700 doctors and 20 thousand nurses. The Russian Red Cross was
under the high patronage of Her Supreme majesty
Empress Maria Feodorovna. All women of the royal family,
including the young grand duchesses, worked as nurses in hospitals and
infirmaries in the town of Tsar’s Village, looked after the badly wounded
and assisted during surgeries. Women were not allowed on the battlefield. The exception was a 20 year old
sister of mercy, Rimma Ivanova who disguised herself as a man
and volunteered to the front where she later became a hospital
nurse under her own name. For her great kindness, she was
called Saint Rimma by the wounded. For her bravery she was awarded
with two Medals of St. George. During combat near Pinsk, all officers
of Ivanova’s company were killed. Attack! Captain is dead! Company began to retreat. Rimma, who was bandaging the wounded,
lead the soldiers into attack. Brothers, what are you doing?
Come back! Get back here! Attack! Attack! Attack! Attack! Attack! The enemy was defeated, their positions
were seized, but Rimma got killed. The German Red Cross strongly protested: “In view of the Convention on the
neutrality of medical personnel, sisters of mercy should not
take action on the battlefield”. But Nicholas II by personal assent posthumously awarded Rimma Ivanova with
the Order of St. George 4th Class. She became the only woman in Russian
history to receive this prestigious award. Despite heavy casualties,
Russian troops survived the attack and remained in fighting condition. Hindenburg’s plan failed. “Russians escaped our clutches”, —
he was forced to admit. But the retreat to the east, called
the Great Retreat, continued. General Anton Ivanovich Denikin
recalls: “I shall never forget
the spring of 1915. A great tragedy for the Russian army.
No ammunition, no shells. Bloody combat from day to day,
exhausting movement each day, endless exhaustion —
both physical and mental; glimmers of hope lined
with pitch-black horror…” Russia was on the verge
of a military catastrophe. Drastic measures had to be taken.
So in order to boost the army’s morale, Emperor Nicholas II decided to
personally become Commander-in-Chief after dismissing Grand Duke
Nicholas Nikolaevich. It was a very risky move:
since the times of Peter the Great not a single Emperor dared
to take command of the Army. Many government
officials and those, close to the Emperor believed
this to be a mistake. Only the Empress Alexandra Fedorovna
supported her husband. The rest of Romanov family members,
especially his mother, Empress Maria Feodorovna, were
absolutely against his decision. On August 23rd, 1915
Emperor Nicholas II assumed the role of
Commander-in-Chief. Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich
took command of the Caucasus front. Your Highness, we are happy
to welcome you in the headquarters. General Alekseyev was
appointed Chief of Staff. Mikhail Vasilyevich Alekseyev,
Infantry General. Awarded St. George’s Weapon for distinguishing himself
in the Russo-Japanese War. At the beginning of World War I — Chief
of Staff of the Southwestern Front, later — appointed as commander
of the Northwestern Front. It was Alekseyev who saved the
Russian army from the trap set by Hindenburg in Poland. Grand Duke Alexander
Michaelovitch recalls: “No one but the Sovereign himself
could inspire and breathe the life back into our army and
dismiss from the headquarters all the worthless generals and
politicians that clung on to it. General Alexeyev was a good strategist. The Sovereign together
with General Alekseyev would have made a
perfect combination, if only Nikki had kept his eyes on
the schemers plotting in St. Petersburg, and if Alekseyev would have
sworn to stay out of politics”. Army and Navy order
dated August 23rd, 1915. As of this day, I herewith take
supreme command of all Army and Navy… Arrival of the Emperor
at Stavka (headquarters) immediately uplifted the spirits
of lost and dismayed generals. Telegrams went flying to the front:
“Emperor is with us! Not a step back!” Soldiers cheered up. Indeed, in just a few months
things began to change for the better. By autumn, Russian army’s front line
stabilized along Riga — Pinsk — Chernivtsi. By then, new military plants
started operating at full capacity. Over a million shells
were produced monthly. New soldiers were drafted to war. But in place of military professionals this mobilization brought
completely unskilled peasants. And where are the horses? I don’t get it, guys. Weren’t we supposed
to serve in the cavalry? Huh? Hey listen, do you know how to fight?
Like shooting and whatnot? No. I’m just a furrier. And can read a bit. Read! Reading is a good thing. Ok, then.
What’s your name? I’m Kolya Sivtsov. – I’m Georgiy Zhukov.
– Nice to meet you. The 19-year old Georgiy Zhukov
had only two years of school at a municipal college and was hoping
to continue studies after the war. He had 4 wars ahead of him and a career
path from a non-commissioned officer to Marshal of the Soviet Union. But right now it was 1915, Russia was
recovering from heavy losses and preparing to change the
course of the First World War.

18 Replies to “World War One – Episode 4. Documentary Film. Historical Reenactment. StarMedia. English Subtitles”

  1. Its fasinating learning about the First World War from the Russian side. Everyone knows the great battles on the eastern front during the Second World war, but the not so much of those faught byopur Russian allies in the First

  2. 39:43 не верное расположение города Полоцк относительно Минска. печаль.. после этого уже с долей недоверия смотрится…

  3. Μπήκαν στον πόλεμο για ηλίθιους λόγους, κατάφεραν να χάσουν όσα είχαν κερδίσει πολεμώντας χωρίς όπλα και εξοπλισμό, με ένα στρατό από ανεκπαίδευτους χωριάτες και στρατηγούς που οι μισοί είχαν Γερμανικά ονόματα. Και μετά παραπονιούνται γιατί η Επανάσταση τους κεραυνοβόλησε σαν τιμωρία εξ' ουρανού. Η Επανάσταση ήταν γι' αυτούς η Θεία Δίκη

  4. This documentaries are not objective. For example: It does not say anything about deportation of people from Caucasus which were 2 million people during movement towards Iran and Ottoman Empire. There were ethnical cleansing. My Grand grand father was was one of them who rescued himself

  5. Takoye oshusheniye kak budto voyevala tolko rossiya i ona je viiqrivala voynu tolko nemcam povezlo xaxaxa

  6. Вижу тут некоторые издеваются на счет России. Но даже западные цифры однозначны – вклад России огромный. На западном фронте воевали два союзника против одной Германии и едва удержали тот единственный фронт. При этом за Англичан воевали войска всей империи, от Канады, через Индию до Новой Зеландии, а за Французов вся Африка. Имели нормальный подвоз чего угодно морем.
    Россия воевала одна, только с небольшой помощю Сербии и Черногории, протов Немцев, Австро-Венгров и Турок на трех фронтах. Сама логистика чудовищная, при чем на двух фронтах Россия одержала победу.
    На западном фронте усилиями всех союзников Центральные силы потеряли 5,5 миллионов солдат, а на востоке Россия вывела из строя 5,9 миллионов солдат Центральных сил, при чем война там была на 6 месяцев короче.

    Не следует недооценивать союзников Германии. Англичане потерпели два крупных поражения от Турок, на Галиполи и под Багдадом, а в самом конце войны и от Болгар. Французы идущие на помощ сербам были отброшены Болгарамы до Салоник и там просидели до 1918-го. И лишь тогда фронт в Греции был прорван, но усилиями сербской армии.
    Западные союзники как правило терпели поражения против тех кого Россия побеждала на другой стороне.
    У России кончились боеприпасы и император Николай, плохо подготовивший страну, поплатился жизню за свои просчеты.
    У западных союзников кончились солдаты, несмотря на усилия двух империи и огромную промышленность. Их спасли Американцы, а России помочь не захотели.
    Интересный вопрос – если бы те почты 6 миллионов солдат (из этого 1,5 миллионов немцев) не остались на полях России, смогли бы на западе удержать фронт до подхода Американцев?
    Например, на западе в 1915-м почты не было боев, а все свои боеприпасы немцы истратили на русских.
    А что если бы немцы в 1915-м сначала обрушились на запад?
    Не говорю что в 1914-м в бытве на Марне победа была непредсказуема и как раз этих двух корпусов что были срочно отправлены против России немцам жутко не хватало чтобы разбить французов. Отсуствие этих корпусов и вызвало знаменитий разрыв между немецкимы 1-й и 2-й армиями которым союзники воспользовались. Россия войну для западных союзников выиграла в 1914-м. И это факт о котором не любят вспоминать.

  7. То что Ленин денег не взял это бред,конечно не так все безграмотно выглядело,но то,что такую революцию без больших денег не провести это факт!

  8. Цинизм владельцев промышленности и фабрикантов не перестаёт удивлять…люди гибнут, а они капиталы свои наращивают, в мехах ходят и под кайфом…ну твари! Правильно, что их большевики раскулачили, жалко что половина сбежать успела за кардон….

  9. На востоке гром
    План Вильгельма обречён
    Опьянённые войной
    Решив, что будет лёгкий бой Немцы выпустили газ Сотни душ прибрав за раз
    И вдруг увидели бойцы
    Как снова встали мертвецы!

    Их всех рвёт, знав исход, они шли вперёд!

    Осовец, смерть, трупы, яд.
    В атаку шёл мёртвый отряд
    Они шли, чтоб победить
    Что мертво, то уже не убить!

    Мёртвые поля
    Гинденбург против Царя
    И атака мертвецов
    Ввергла в панику врагов

    Кашляв кровью, сплюнув с губ
    Каждый знал, что уже труп
    Маршируя на врага
    В штыки шли русские войска!

    Осовец, смерть, трупы, яд.

    В атаку шёл мёртвый отряд

    Они шли, чтоб победить

    Что мертво, то уже не убить!

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