DISPOSITION OF THE RUSSIAN ARMY.
Mataura Ensign, Volume 10, Issue 694, 12 August 1887, Page 2
DISPOSITION OF THE RUSSIAN ARMY.
In connection with the present political crisis, it is interesting t ) note the ordinary territorial desposition of the seventeen army corps in European Russia. The Guard Corps, which is considerably stronger than any of the others, is concentrated in St Petersburg and its immediate neighbourhood — twoiufantry, one cavalry, and one artillery brigades being, however, detached to Warsaw. The 13th Army Corps has its headquarters at Moscow, and so has the Grenadier Corps ; but it must be noted that thelatter has no cavalry division attached. Of the remaining thirteen army corps, seven are on the western frontier, with two more in almost immediate reserve at Minsk aud Riga.
Prince Bismarck produced some years ago quite a sensation in Berlin by distributing to the Reichsrath. deputies a map showing the disposition of the Russian troops ; but though they appear to be always threatening near the frontier, the Russians can explain with truth that their soldiers are naturally quartered in the most thickly populated districts, and where supplies, and particularly forage, are most abundantly to be procured. If Russia should intend an attack on either Germany or Austria, she need not— and in all probability would not — move a man until at least a general mobilisation had been ordered, the reserves called out, and active operations within comparatively few days decided upon. For this reason all wild stories about concentration on the Austrian frontier may be disregarded. If the situation is considered threatening, no doubt the Russian War Minister will show special activity in the collection of material and supplies , but such minor preparations are very difficult to follow, and, on the other hand, orders for mobilisation would necessarily be known throughout Europe within a few hours of their decree. The case is somewhat different if an invasion of the Balkan Peninsula is intended, and any serious movement of troops towards the south-west frontier of Russia would give reasonable cause for alarm ; but even then there would probably be fair warning, for it is not likely that any army corps would leave the headquarters, where all its stores and material are collected, until by special notice all men on furlough, or profiting by the various privileges for shortening service with the colours had been called in.
So far the distribution of troops in European Russia only has been accounted for. There is a general impression even among ordinarily well-informed people that Russia now maintains imposing forces in Central Asia ; but a few rough details will soon show how false is this idea. In the Caucasus proper, south of the Caucasian range, from which the Transcaspian region can be more readily reinforced, there is only one army corps with its headquarters at Tiilia. this corps has, however, three infantry and and two cavalry divisions, instead of two Infantry and one cavalry — the ordinary strength ; and there are also four surplus rifle battalions quartered about Tiflis. in the Transcaspian region, as far as known, there are only twelve battalions of infantry, a Cossack brigade, four battalions of artillery, and minor detachments; whilst the army of Turkestan, with its headquarters at Tashkend, consists of twenty-five battalions of infantry, six Cossack regiments, nine battalions of artillery, and sundry details. Considering the enormous tracts of country which these troops guard, the forces above enumerated cannot be considered as much in excess of ordinary garrison
requiremeuta ; and before any serious aggressive operation could be undertaken there must be great movements in troops, which cannot be made in absolute secrecy. — From Russian Soldiers and Russian Armaments, in Blackwood's Magazine.