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Czarist Army - 1910

The Russian army may be said to to consist of several armies : the European, the Caucasian, the Turkestan, and the Amur force; the first of these organised like other European armies, and the constitution of the others varying in conformity with local requirements. Moreover, the strength of each has varied according to the necessities of the situation, the troops being on the ordinary peace footing, on the peace establishment as in the frontier districts, or on the war footing as in Asiatic Russia. There were 13 greater Military Districts, the Transcaspian District, and the territorial region of the Don Cossacks. There were 26 army corps in Europe and the Caucasus (including the Guard corps) and 2 cavalry corps, 2 in Turkestan, and 3 in Siberia. Large bodies of troops were usually massed on the western frontier; they are rather thinly dispersed in Middle Russia, and they have h:id great strength in Turkestan and Eastern Siberia, but from the latter considerable numbers of troops have returned since the war, and the distribution approaches the normal. There were four classes of obligatory service : (a) for the Russians proper; (b) the Cossack service; (c) special arrangements for Finland; (i/) the service of. native races under Russian rule.

The peace strength has been given as follows :

		Europe		Asiatic 
		and the		Russia 
Infantry		627,000 men	 83,000 men.

Cavalry		116,000		 14,000

Artillery		138,000		 15,000 

Engineers		 34,000		  8,000

Army Services	 34,000		  5,000

Total		949,000		124,000

Including Cossacks and Frontier Guards, some authorities gave the total peace strength as 1,424,000, including 60,000 in Turkestan and Semirietshenk and 280,000 in Siberia. The war strength of the Russian forces consists of about 56,500 officers and 2,855,000 men, including 1,792,000 Infantry and 196,000 Cavalry. These form the Active Army of all classes, but are not available in any one part of the empire. To these figures mustbe added the available Reserve, estimated at 1,064,000; Frontier battalions, 41,000; Cossacks, 142,000. There are besides these the Territorial Reserve, some 2,000,000 men, and the Opoltschenie, 1,300,000. An Austrian staff return, 1907, gave the war strength in trained men as 5,000,000, but not more than two-thirds of these could be put in the field, and mobilisation of such a large lorce would be slow.

The Russian Army Estimates for 1909, as approved by the Duma and the Council of the Empire, amounted to a total of 49,366,000, and in addition an extraordinary charge of 1,661,460 for expenses arising from the Russo-Japanese war.

In the Russian Empire considerably over a million men annually attain the age for joining the army, and in 1909 the Council of the Empire and the Duma fixed the contingent to be embodied at 456,535, excluding about 16,000 Cossacks, and men recruited for ihc Caucasian cavalry, but including 11,000 men for the Navy and 14,000 for the Frontier Guards. Some 37 per cent, of the men were illiterates. Large numbers evaded militaiy service, especially among the Jewish population, and in 1008 the number of men (bund fit for service w:ts 17,926 short of the contingent iixed by the Duma. Nearly cne-half of the Army is recruited from Great Russia. The period of liability to personal service lasts from the zist to the 43rd year of age. Those who join the Standing Army spent 3 years with the colors (4 in the Cavalry), 13 in the Reserve, and the remainder in the Opoltschenie, or Militia. The Opoltschenie embraces: (1) Men, to the number of about 220,000 annually, who cannot be embodied with the active army ; (2) men who have completed service with the colors and in the reserve.

The Finnish Military Service Law, whereby the Finnish army lost the independence guaranteed by treaty, was promulgated on Aug. 1st, 1901, but was repealed in 1905. The Finns are freed from military service by the Grand Duchy paying an annual contribution to the Empire. The Cossack forces had a special constitution. Every Cossack becomes liable to serve as soon as he has completed his eighteenth year. For the first three years his service was purely local; but for the next twelve years he belongs to the "front" category, which consists of three bans, the first of which is formed of men actually serving, and the two others of men who have been granted unlimited leave. The last five years are spent in the Reserve category. All able-bodied Cossacks not otherwise classified were under obligations to supply and maintain their own horses. The peace effective of the Cossacks is stated to be 65,930, with 52,400 horses, but it is probable that not more than 58,000 were permanently with the colors. The war strength is given as about 150,000, including 4000 officers.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 15:47:11 ZULU