Tsar Nicholas II and Grand Duke Nicholas, the Supreme Commander of the Russian Army, in the field (Image © IWM Q 53743)

Centenary Anniversary: Tsar Nicholas takes Russian supreme command

Date of Anniversary: 01 September 2015
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Russia entered September 1915 with Tsar Nicholas II as the new commander-in-chief of his armies.

Grand Duke Nicholas, a royal cousin, was dismissed from the job and sent as Viceroy to the Caucasus after a series of  spring and summer defeats on the Eastern Front. 

Following the German capture of Warsaw in August, the Russians withdrew from the remaining part of Poland under their rule to avoid the risk of encirclement.

The Polish salient was exposed to attacks from East Prussia, the Baltic region and the Austro-Hungarian province of Galicia.

Russian troops fell back to a straightened line running from the Baltic to the Romanian border, in what became known as the Great Retreat. 

The following year, 1916, was to be the last of full Russian involvement in the First World War before the upheavals of revolution.

In the war against Turkey, Russia's Caucasus army captured Erzurum and Trebizond in February and April.

The Eastern Front saw a disastrous offensive at Lake Naroch (in present-day Belarus) in March 1916, launched to help take German pressure off France at Verdun.

It was followed by the summer victories of the Brusilov offensive in Galicia (western Ukraine).

Sources: Wikipedia/various

Images courtesy of the Imperial War Museum © IWM (Q 53743)

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News

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