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A Force with a War Strength of Some Five Millions: The Russian Army-Types of the Soldiery

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As we note elsewhere in this issue, the recent decision to provide a contingent of 585,ooo recruits for 1914 brings Russia’s first line of defence up to about 1,8noo,oo; and the war-strength woulh be somewhere about 5,000,000, including garrison troops and the Opolcheniye, now numbering about a million. The weapon of the Russian infantry is a ” 3-line ” rifle, 1891 model, magazine, calibre 299 M, muzzle velocity 2035 f.s., sighted to 3000 paces. The magazine holds five cartridges. The artillery weapon is a q.s. shielded gun, 1902 model, firing a shell of 131 lb., with a muzzle velocity of 1950 f.s. To quote the ” Russian Year-Book ” : ” Conscription obtains throughout the Empire, the period during which each man is liable being from 21 to 44. Generally speaking, he serves for four years in the cavalry or three years in the infantry or artillery, and then is relegated to the Reserve (Zapas) for fourteen or fifteen years, during which period he undergoes two trainings of six weeks each. Service in the Opolcheniye (Territorial Army) for five years follows till the soldier has completed his forty-third year.

The Opolcheniye is formed of two classes : (I) those who are exempted from ac.ve service, only sons, weaklings, etc., etc. ; and (2) men who have passed through the first line and reserve, and also recruits. The entire system which governs the construction of the Opolcheniye is being (it is said) reorganised with a view to making the latter a much more powerful, numerous[ and serviceable unit. A modified system of one – year Volunteers furnishes most of the reserve officers. The Cossack, in that he holds his lands by military tenure, is liable to service for life.” The system of training in the Russian Army has been altered since the Russo-Japanese War, in accordance with the experience therein gained.

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Issue 3924. - Vol CXLV

Jul, 04 1914

Illustrated London News