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100 Years On – Brusilov

On June 4, 1916, the Russian Imperial Army launched a massive attack against Austro-Hungarian forces in Galicia, driving them back to the Carpathian mountains and negating them as a credible force on the Eastern Front for the remainder of the war.  The offensive, named for its designer and leader, General Alexei Brusilov, was designed to draw German and Austrian forces away from the fighting in France and Italy, and to some extent, it did.

However, the costs were staggering.  The Russians lost half a million men, with the Germans and Austrians losing a million and a half.  Austria became useless to her ally, Germany, who began to take on more and more responsibility for fighting the war on all fronts.  Russia, on the other hand, was never able to take the offensive on such a scale again, and the loss of so many of her best soldiers gutted her armies.

Europe was bleeding itself white, and there was no end to the carnage in sight.

2 Comments

  1. An entire generation lost, for all practical purposes…

    • True, and I’m afraid that the lessons are being lost now that the last of the veterans is gone. To a lot of people, those who even know about the war, it’s just an abstract number. I don’t know how our societies would react to the losses from a 1916 skirmish, much less one of these offensives.

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