2/7/1916 Baranovichi: a Russian attempt to smash the Germans

In Galicia Brusilov’s offensive has been smashing the Austro-Hungarians for the last month. Brusilov’s onslaught there was always intended as a prelude to an attack against the Germans further north. The idea was to keep hitting the Austro-Hungarians and Germans in different locations, preventing them from concentrating their reserves against any one thrust. With the Germans now facing an Anglo-French offensive on the Somme, a combination of Allied offensives could overwhelm the enemy and bring the war to a victorious end.

Russia’s General Evert is to command the Russian offensive against the Germans. But he has no great enthusiasm for the battle, perhaps fearing that the Germans will be a tougher adversary than the Austro-Hungarians Brusilov faces. He has postponed his attack and has even sought to cancel it altogether, but now he is obliged to finally send his men to attack the Germans near Baranovichi in Byelorussia.

Evert has an enormous advantage in manpower, perhaps outnumbering the Germans by almost six to one. But the attack is a fiasco. Evert does not apply the kind of innovative tactics that led to Brusilov’s successes. Instead the Russian infantry make old-style human wave assaults on the enemy. Russian gains are minimal, paid for in a heavy price of blood.

image source:

Alexei Evert (Wikipedia)

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