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Forum LockedThe Imperial Russian Soldier

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Apr-2009 at 21:45
technically the Guard was the Elite of the Army. Grenadiers were some sort of Elite Infantry.

Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:


In fact, Cossacks did performed many military task that are done by special forces/commano units in Russo-Turkish war, Crimean war, Caucasian war etc. There is even an expression in Russian "polzti po plastunski" which can be translated as "commando crawl" into English. "Plastuny"  - "[commando] crawlers" was a nick name for Black Sea and Kuban Cossacks which crawled to the enemy trenches and blockposts and beyond and attacked them suddenly by surprise, destroyed small units of the enemy, distrupted their communications and captured prisoners. 
 
Plastuns units in the Russian Army, especially, during the Crimean war were meant to perform commando/special forces functions.


yeah but they were not trained as Commandos, they were simply Cossacks without horse. they were given those duties due to their lifestyle which includes banditry so they are naturally more inclined to perform such tasks. this also happened in other armies by soldiers of the regular army, it is not accurate to speak of Commandos (Special Forces) before Commandos existed. the word Commando itself can be applied to any small unit technically.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Apr-2009 at 02:03
I do not think the term "special forces" translates well into 19th century troops.  Elite troops, or "light" troops such as irregular cavalry (such as Croats), or infantry Grenzer may be more like Cossacks, but that is due more to their cultural background and to their environment than to any elite training. 
 
They were not trained for it, they were born to it. 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Apr-2009 at 04:43
Well, I, certainly, don't claim that Cossacks were 100% similar to commandos in modern armies, but, for sure, they performed many tasks that are performed by commandos in modern armies.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Apr-2009 at 06:52
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

I don't recall any specific measures aimed at the execution as many officers as possible during WWII.
 


Correct me if i am wrong, but i think that does reflect more upon the mindset of Stalin the dictator and less on the Russian army? Besides the widely reported executions and exiles ordered by Stalin upon the officer corps. in the lead up to world war 2, i believe once the Soviet Union got involved, the preferred method of dealing with officers who failed, were less easily controlled or feared by Stalin, was to send them into exile in the Gulag rather then too shoot them outright. IIRC... Marshal Zhukov was one of those gulag officers who redeemed themselves in the eyes of Stalin during the winter of 41' in Moscow?
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Apr-2009 at 13:32
Yes, as soon as the war started a lot of officers were actually released from Gulag by Stalin orders; a special commission was also sent there to look for the officers that survived Stalin repressions.
 
Zhukov, however, was never in Gulag. It's true that there was a period of uneasy relations between him and Stalin; but after the war had started Stalin prefered to disregard that and also sent him to the front.
 
It's also true, though, that in the beginning of the war a number of officers were court marshalled and executed for failures to stop Germans for various reasons, though, of course, it was another way of Stalin's paranoia who looked for some scape goats to blame for his own bitter mistakes.


Edited by Sarmat - 22-Apr-2009 at 13:34
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Apr-2009 at 14:12
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

Yes, as soon as the war started a lot of officers were actually released from Gulag by Stalin orders; a special commission was also sent there to look for the officers that survived Stalin repressions.
 
Zhukov, however, was never in Gulag. It's true that there was a period of uneasy relations between him and Stalin; but after the war had started Stalin prefered to disregard that and also sent him to the front.


From what I have gathered Stalin was originally intended to ride the white horse in the victory parade in Moscow, however Stalin could not manage to stay in the saddle and his role was taken by Zhukov, who was an experienced cavalryman. Zhukov pulled it off to perfection, and Stalin never forgave him. As a result Zhukov suffered a period of disfavour where he was degraded to serve in inconsequential offices. Only after Stalin's death was he returned to favour and installed as Defense Minister.
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hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Apr-2009 at 14:55
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

Originally posted by Temujin Temujin wrote:

  however they were not comparable to commandos (unless Sarmat means Boer commandos) but more like guerrillas.
 
In fact, Cossacks did performed many military task that are done by special forces/commano units in Russo-Turkish war, Crimean war, Caucasian war etc. There is even an expression in Russian "polzti po plastunski" which can be translated as "commando crawl" into English. "Plastuny"  - "[commando] crawlers" was a nick name for Black Sea and Kuban Cossacks which crawled to the enemy trenches and blockposts and beyond and attacked them suddenly by surprise, destroyed small units of the enemy, distrupted their communications and captured prisoners. 
 
Plastuns units in the Russian Army, especially, during the Crimean war were meant to perform commando/special forces functions.
'Commandos' in English usually refers to marines, not land soldiers, which is what I took Temujin's point to be. They took their name from the Boer units but they weren't and aren't the same things. During ww2 some Army units were organised as 'commandos', but shortly after the term was restricted to Marines.
 
I guess the term has different meanings in different languages.
 
 


Edited by gcle2003 - 22-Apr-2009 at 14:58
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Apr-2009 at 22:49
As for the warlike nomad tribesmen, they were called "irregular troops" and were not considered very reliable and disciplined. However, if employed under right conditions, they could produce very good results as shock troops like during the Napoleonic wars. By the time of the Crimean war, however, irregular troops mostly seized to exist.
 
It is curious as to why the Russian Empire (and the USSR), with so many distinct nationalities in its soil, did not raise any permanent professional military units out of volunteers from the warlike tribesmen such as Chechens, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and Mongols;  in a  manner similar to the Roman Auxilaries; or what the British and French empires did in their colonies in Africa and Asia.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Apr-2009 at 03:38
Well, in fact it did. When I was writing about the nomad tribesmen, I meant those irregular troops from the time of Napoleonic wars, that didn't belong to the actual imperial army structure.
 
Later, however, some division were created from native volunteers, particularly from Caucasus that received regular training and weapons from the Russian military.
 
Those units were extremely effective. Particularly famous is for example the Wild Cavalry division (Dikaya Divizia) that was comprised exclusively of Caucasian native warriors and fought on the Eastern front of WWI. That division was very famous and feared by the Austrian and German troops.
 
In the Soviet times a lot of native Caucasians had very succesful military career in the Soviet Army.
 
Even the "president" of the separatist government of Chechnia, Dudaev had a distinguished career in the Soviet Army and fought in Afghanistan.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Apr-2009 at 22:46
Here is a short wiki English language article about the Wild (Savage) Division.
 
 
A much more complete Russian language version of the article which I translated for you guys using the google translation tool (the translation is far from perfect, but it gives the basic idea about the content of the article).
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Apr-2009 at 12:34
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

Here is a short wiki English language article about the Wild (Savage) Division.
 
 
A much more complete Russian language version of the article which I translated for you guys using the google translation tool (the translation is far from perfect, but it gives the basic idea about the content of the article).
 
 
The translation could more or less be understood. It's amazing how at Tsarist times Azeris were referred to as "Tatars" when they have almost no relation to the Crimean and Volga Tatars; so the "Tatar horse division" was actually recruited from Azeris.
In Tolstoy's book "The Cossacks" the Chechens were also referred to as "Tatars".
 
Many Caucasian nationalities have a long history of warrior tradition. The Georgians were also known for their fighting skills.
 
Regarding Central Asians, did the Russians not raise any units out of Kyrgyz and Kazakhs because they were too hard to discipline?
I could imagine that the plundering lifestyle would have made them excellent material as shock cavalry.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Apr-2009 at 16:05
Well. These units were formed from volunteers. Kazakhs and Kyrgyzs didn't volunteer. Also, the most warlike tribe in the Central Asia were Turkmens. The only people that Russian Empire had more or less serious difficulties during the conquest of the Central Asia.
 
Many warlike Turkmens volunteered to serve in the Russian Army during WWI. There was a Turkmen cavalry regiment which later was renamed into Tekin cavalry regiment which by the end of the war also merged with the Wild Division.
 
Turkmens also served with distinctions and had a very good military reputation.
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