Sergushkin S. —
The State of the Russian Army's Defensive Positions at the Initial Stage of the Trench Warfare Period of the First World War
// History magazine - researches. – 2019. – ¹ 3.
– P. 48 - 54.
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Review: The subject of this study's research is the state of the defensive lines of the Russian army's Western front at the dawn of the trench stage of the First World War on the Eastern front. The article's author examines the reports of General of the Infantry K. A. Kondratovich, which were prepared by him on behalf of the front commander-in-chief A. E. Evert. Having visited all four armies of the front with revisions, the general prepared a rich factual material resource. On the basis of this material, the author describes the fortifications erected by the troops both on the front lines and in the rear, analyzes their main defects and how they came about. The author dedicates particular attention to the organizational component, which includes the interaction between the corps and army engineering control bodies. The study applies the systematic approach and the method of system reconstruction on the primary source material, while the author adheres to the principles of historicism, scientific objectivity, and verifiability. Based on the results of the conducted study, the author concludes that the Russian army at the beginning of 1916 was unable to fully adapt to the realities of the trench war. Despite the long respite that the enemy gave, the troops did not manage to sufficiently strengthen their positions. The location of the defensive positions on the Western Front was accidental, and the troops were strengthened where they stopped after the last battle. The organization of defensive work was also often not up to par. The already scarce resources, primarily human resources, were scattered, and tasks were not ranked in order of importance. The principle of unity of command was not observed, notably, corps and army engineers competed with each other. This situation could not give the command of the Russian army confidence in their own defensive lines, chaining large forces and means, and holding down offensive initiatives.