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A Weapon of the Protector of the Slavs: The Russian Army Preparing for War in Time of Peace

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The Austro-Hungarian Note to Servia, with regard to the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife, the Duchess of Hohenberg, brought home once more to the general Russia’s pronounced and unquestionable interest in the Slavs, whose great Protector she is, and behind Russia’s protection is much power. To deal with land forces alone : The recent decision to provide a contingent of 585,000 recruits for 1914 brings Russia’s first line of defence up to about 1,800,000; and the war-strength would be somewhere about 5,0000,000, including garrison troops and the Opolchenie. To quote the “Statesman’s Year-Book ” : ” Military service in Russia is universal and compulsory. Service begins at the age of twenty, and extends to completion of the forty-third year.

Owing to the extent of the Empire, there are three armies in Russia, known as the Army of European Russia, the Army of the Caucasus, and the Asiatic Army.These armies are practically distinct from each other, and the terms of service in each are slightly different. Speaking generally, service in the first line, or active army, is for 3 years in the infantry, field, and foot artillery, and for four years in the other arms. The soldier is then transferred to the reserve (Zapas), in which he serves for 15 or 14 years, undergoing during this period 2 trainings of 6 weeks each. Having completed 18 years in the first line and its reserve, the soldier passes to the Opolchdnid. Service in the Opolchenie is for 5 years ; that is, to the completion of the forty-third year of the soldier’s age. The Cossacks, occupying the South-West portion of European Russia, hold their land by military tenure, and are liable to service for life.”


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