Talk:Brusilov Offensive

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Old talk[edit]

Moved from article by Kosebamse 06:55, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC):

(Instead of editing I would like to make my comments below).

I have heard the "specialized unit" put forth by James L. Stokesbury, but I can find now evidence of this. The reason that Bruisilov was successful was that he attacked along several points on his front so that the Austrians could not bring up reinforcements in advance. The reason he hit the weak points was that he asked each of his army Generals,(those of the 8th, 11th, 9th and 7th armies), to prepare an attack where they thought best. This was much better than just picking a spot on the map like Nivelle would have without knowing the terrain.

Brusilov also realized that the front lines had grown rather far apart so he had his men dig trenches all the way up to with in 75-100 yards of the enemy trenches, this is where the shock came from. He also hid his reinforcements well before the attack so that no one knew where each attack would come from.

General Brusilov also had his artilery preparation conducted sporadically. In other words the artillery would stop firing for a half hour and then start again. This way when they stopped for the last time,(i.e. when the troops where jumping off), the enemy soldiers were slow to get out of their trenches. This accounts partially for the large number of troops taken prisoner.

Thank you,

Norman Stone also made the point that under Brusilov, the artillery cooperated much better with the infantry, rather than each blaming the other for lost battles, or blaming the logisticians for shell shortages, which had been the case up to Lake Naroch. --Wally Tharg (talk) 22:03, 3 January 2018 (UTC)


Battlebox says 1.5 million Russian losses - article says 0.5 million. Which one is it?

--itpastorn 13:26, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Russian casualties during the Brusilov Offensive were around 0.5 million, although some sources list losses up to one million. The latter probably incoroporate the Lake Naroch Offensive as well, because both Russian offensives had the goal of relieving the pressure on Verdun. I am skeptical of the "exactness" of the current Russian casualty figures and the number of Russian divisions given in the battle box exceeds the total amout of Russian divisions the entire Eastern Front at that time. I think I'll just update the whole article. Kazak 07:20, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

On losses

It depends on the definition of what you call "Brusilov offensive". From the German/Austrian point of view there were 3 Brusilov offensives between June and December. Total losses (killed/wounded/missing/captured) were 350,000 for the Germans, 1,000,000 for the Austrians (includes 400,000 POW) and 1,500,000 for the Russians. In fact, the total Russian losses were so severe, that it destabilised Czarist Russia.

If you just focus on the first offensive, the loss ratio is MASSIVELY in favor of the Russians. Within the first three days alone app. 200,000 Austrians (actually Czechs and Ruthenians) surrendered hardly puting up resistance. 01. Feb 06


"Months later the Russian Federation established an order that states whom ever may alter the information stated in web pages regarding the Brusilov Offensive will be subject to severe punishment. Soon afterwards, the United Nations agreed to institute this law around the world, so that it may apply to everyone."

It doesn't matter how you count, you can't loose a million men from only 633.000 (573.000=60.000), let alone win the battle. Either the amount of men involved in the campaign must be higher, or the casualties must be lower. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:32, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

I will remove this cr#p from -enough said.Thanks everybody else for good-will,NPOV and tolerance.And btw,since this IP keeps vandalizing this page for some time,I'm adding this:

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RAbuseHandle: CART-ARIN RAbuseName: Covad abuse reporting team RAbusePhone: +1-703-376-2830 RAbuseEmail:

Someone is trying to prove that Russian losses were upto 1,400,000.... This post is being repeatedly edited by him... I don't understand what's wrong with this person. It's ridiculous to believe that Russians suffered ~1.5 million casualties and still won. SabbirHossen177 (talk) 16:05, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

— Imo this article is in dire need of addressing the shakiness of the numbers aka should probably post more and explain where they come from. E.g. the German wiki has a third the Austrian and half the German losses while having double the Russian casualties. Both articles claim the same time frame as reference. Obviously everything can have a bias and different counting methodologies but this imo makes those numbers needing better context, e.g. what do the Russian archives say exactly, what do the German archives say exactly, are the Austrians different yet again? Possible reasons why? That would allow some objective assessment what has happened (talk) 18:14, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

Guinness Book of Records[edit]

According to the latest edition of the Guiness Book of Records the Brusilov Offensive was the bloodiest battle in world history. Colin4C 17:22, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

Pure nonsense. -- (talk) 06:48, 23 July 2010 (UTC)


Could an editor here check the (very short) summary of this offensive at World War I#Eastern Front and provide some cites? Thank you.LeadSongDog come howl 20:47, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

Metres to yards[edit]

I know that 100m is approx. 91 yards and 75m is approx. 69 yards, but these figures in metres have a very low level of statistical significance. Therefore I suggest using 90 and 70 yards instead. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:42, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

You have the figures backwards. 100 yards is about 91.4 metres. 75 yards is 68.8 metres. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Flanker235 (talkcontribs) 04:19, 30 July 2011 (UTC)


The Oxford Companion to Military History says :

Although the Austrians eventually stopped the offensive, they lost 1.5 million killed and wounded to 0.5 million Russians

Paperspots12 (talk) 23:57, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

To avoid further misunderstanding we must agree on the time limits of Brusilov Offensive. I'll copy here my old comment from WP:MILHIST talk page:
  • "According to definition from Russian sources, Brusilov Offensive took place from 4 June to 13 August 1916, which was a planned operation. However, according to German/Austrian point of view it continued until 20 September or even later.
  • Russian sources place combined German-Austrian losses to 1.5 million (including 400,000-500,000 thousand POW, about 300,000 killed, the rest missing) and give a figure of about 500,000 Russian losses, and this seems to correspond to the June-August period. But German/Austrian sources, likely according to their extended definition of operation, give just about 750,000 German-Austrian losses and 1,000,000 or more Russian ones.

As far as I understand, the German definition includes a period of less successful Russian operations subsequent to the main planned offensive; also, by that later period Austrian-Hungarian army, disorganized by the main offensive, got into a better shape, possibly with some missing soldiers returning to the regular army."

It seems that The Oxford Companion to Military History supports figures related to the shorter period, and this seems to have more logic, since it was one single operation planned and led by Brusilov, rather than several actions. Of course, the subsequent history also should be taken into account in this article, but the infobox and lede section should focus on the primary operation. GreyHood Talk 13:46, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

I just found this page and noticed some glaring inconsistencies immediately. They might be caused by the use of different sources, nevertheless the quality of this page suffers considerably. Somebody else mentioned that you cannot lose 1.5 Mil from 500,000! He/she posted the comment more than two years ago and nothing has happened. Using Russian sources to ascertain the losses of the axis powers is ludicrous. The results of the entire offensive seem to be negligible. I cannot recall it being mentioned nor any trench warfare in the east in the history books I read. It is my understanding that due to the vast distances trench warfare was impractical and the eastern front was far more fluid than the western one. The use of infiltration tactics was developed independently at multiple times on both sides of the war. In the end the Russians did not win but their war effort faltered not at the front but due to massive logistics problems and the rise of the communists. I (and probably most other readers) would appreciate it if this page was cleaned up.[[[Special:Contributions/|]] (talk) 12:02, 8 September 2011 (UTC)]


All those losses numbers are very likely to be massively inflated, as this offensive would be 3 times more bloody than e.g. Verdun. However as there are no better sources available we should use them. Some editors already pointed out, that there are 2 timeframes. The first was until July/August with the first Kerensky offensive. There the Russians had ~550.000 casualties and the central powers about 700,000. Most sources however count the following offensives too, which would make 1-1,5 million casualties for the Russians and up to 1,5 millions for the central powers. I added that. StoneProphet (talk) 16:05, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Is it possible that some historians have added the 80,000 Russian and 16,000 Central Powers losses from the supporting Baranovichi Offensive as well? We also need to be careful that we define our terms ‘casualties’ and ‘losses’ accurately, otherwise we may inadvertently count the PoWs twice. --Wally Tharg (talk) 21:49, 3 January 2018 (UTC)

Interaction between Fronts[edit]

Apologies for slight spamming from the Lake Naroch page - not sure how often these Eastern Front pages get looked at. Do we have any evidence that Brusilov was intended to take the pressure off the British and French as the article currently claims? Haig's Despatches are clear that Brusilov was intended to divert attention from the A-H StrafOffensiv against Italy, which it did.

The Allies (UK, France, Italy & Russia) were committed to simultaneous offensives in the summer of 1916. Verdun kicked off at the end of February (which makes it unlikely that the Russians could have organised lake Naroch on the hoof so quickly), and there is no evidence that the French were asking the British for help until about May, when they finally realised they were in serious trouble, reserves being consumed, "Verdun sera prise" by early July, so the Somme kickoff was brought forward from mid-August. That's human nature for you - when a fire breaks out the panic and screaming doesn't start until it's too late. Before that, to British consternation, the French were talking of diverting resources to Salonika - which Britain had wanted abandoned and everybody had agreed should be wound down - and the British politicians were worried that the Russians would launch their offensive prematurely and require antics in the Balkans to help them when they got into trouble.

The main Russian offensive was supposed to be against the Germans (Brusilov v A-H was not supposed to be the main offensive). Not sure if Lake Naroch was supposed to be the main offensive, or was brought forward because of Verdun (possible but seems unlikely to me).

John Keegan does claim that Lake Naroch was launched to distract attention from Verdun, but doesn't go into it very deeply in a general history of the war, or it may just have been his reasonable but mistaken supposition - I have to say I'm dubious for the reasons listed above, but we have to go with what the books say. Norman Stone in his more detailed book on the Eastern Front doesn't mention it at all. Paulturtle (talk) 09:05, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Keegan is right - I've cross-checked with Doughty "Pyrrhic Victory" on France's role in WW1. However, the Brusilov Offensive was intended to be the prelude to a "main" offensive against the Germans later on - which as far as I'm aware did not take place.Paulturtle (talk) 21:35, 10 June 2012 (UTC)


People, you are all in some debries of unclear informations and some lies, it's absolutely asonishing, how the questions about this offensive and about the Eastern Front could be at all so unprofessional. May be some time I try to add some sources in English (although my English is not perfect), but it is of sense to translate some informations about the happenings on the Eastern Front. It's really funny to see these statements in in the mainstream "something about 1000000 casualities". Are there no any exact informations in English about the Russians in the WWI? I see only proposals - somebody wrote somewhen, but we don't have any concrect informations. Farmount1989 (talk) 16:22, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Russian losses[edit]

Nelipovich researched this battle by the primary documents from Russian archive of First World War. This is the most authoritative expert on the First World War in Russia. All figures are calculated on the Russian archives. More authoritative source on the Russian losses not. I think we should use the losses of the Russian army from Nelipovich's book. This book is in the public domain. Yura2404 (talk) 22:16, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

I have the original of the telegram sent by Nicholas II to the king of Italy announcing the coming offensive. Want to upload the image but don´t know how. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Quique47 (talkcontribs) 20:24, 10 April 2014 (UTC)


Hello Yura,

You deleted the following from the Battle of Smolensk with the comment "Delete soviet propaganda"
Russian sources: 200.000–250.000 casualties[1]

That is not how Wikipedia works. Wikipedia tries for a NPOV, and that usually involves listing the opinions of both sides as long as they are reliable sources. If you believe that Zolatarev is not a reliable source, then you should explain the reasons for that belief.

We do not want to end up with an unbalanced Wikipedia that lists the views of only one side. NPOV is an important goal of Wikipedia, and without it Wikipedia's reputation will suffer. Your edits to Brusilov Offensive have created a rather absurd article that says in the introduction "Brusilov Offensive of 1916 the worst crisis of World War I for Austria-Hungary and the Triple Entente's greatest victory" yet lists Russian casualties as twice of Austria-Hungary and Germany. Numerous edits made by you to articles involving Russia seem to violate NPOV.


JS (talk) 23:47, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

Hello JS,

First, are you read the book: VA Zolotarev and al., Great Patriotic War 1941-1945? I read this book, i have this book in paper version, the figure of 200-250 thousand German causilites - without reference to the German documents. it's just a Soviet estimate without reliable confirmation. we have reliable German documents about German military losses.

Second, I removed the introduction "Brusilov Offensive of 1916 the worst crisis of World War I for Austria-Hungary and the Triple Entente's greatest victory" by mistake. I just do not agree with the figures of losses.

all the best, Yura2404 (talk) 01:41, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Why do you believe that including only German sources and ignoring Soviet sources is NPOV? Also do you understand the absurdity of having "Brusilov Offensive of 1916 the worst crisis of World War I for Austria-Hungary and the Triple Entente's greatest victory" and the casualties figures you have put in the Brusilov article? Depending upon the time period for which an event is assigned and the reliability of the source, you will get many different casualty figures. The goal is to give the reader the best possible NPOV view. Unfortunately your edits have all proceeded in one direction. JS (talk) 17:02, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
I including figures only from German sources? this is a joke? in the article about the battle of Smolensk and offensive of Brusilov: Russian and Soviet losses - according to Soviet sources, the German - from German sources. It is right!Yura2404 (talk) 03:16, 22 October 2014 (UTC)
This is your edit to the Battle of Smolensk [[1]]. After your edits German casualties stand at 70K, and Soviet casualties are 451K. The result of this battle is described as "Soviet Victory". This again makes this article look absurd. The Soviets are victorious and conquer territory but have 6 times as much casualties? This makes this article sound like military propaganda rather than NPOV. You deleted V.A. Zolotarev and al. reference which had German casualties at 200K to 250K calling it "Soviet Propaganda". What is your proof that Zolotarev is not a reliable source? If the Soviets really suffered 6X casualties how did they push the Germans and their allies all the way back to Berlin?
Also what about the Brusilov Offensive? No one can seriously believe that the Russians broke through the Austro-Hungarian lines, overran large amounts of territories creating the "worst crisis of World War I for Austria-Hungary" and yet managed to suffer twice as much casualties!!! These biased edits are really detrimental to Wikipedia's quality. JS (talk) 23:24, 22 October 2014 (UTC)
German losses from the official German military history of World War I, the Austro-Hungarian losses - from the official Austrian military history of the First World War. this is the most reliable sources.Yura2404 (talk) 03:40, 23 October 2014 (UTC)


  1. ^ V.A. Zolotarev and al., Great Patriotic War 1941–1945, Moskva, 1998, p 473.

First use of shock troops/infiltration tactics?[edit]

This article gives the impression that this was the first use of said tactics, that Brusilov inspired the use of small groups of infantry seeking out weak points as opposed to the massed assaults used previously - and that this was the inspiration for similar tactics being used on the western front later on.

However, the germans had been experimenting with the use of these kinds of tactics since 1915 - and had (rather famously) put them to use during the opening attacks at Verdun, 4 months BEFORE the Brusilov offensive began. The tactics can certainly be called innovative at the time, regardless of who used them. But giving the impression that the other parties in the war simply "picked this up" from the Brusilov offensive simply can't be right. (talk) 20:53, 21 March 2016 (UTC)

I've reduced the scope of the claim. Brusilov's actions may have influenced infiltration tactics as they were later used -- hard to tell. I've left the citation needed tag. If no one comes up with anything, this paragraph may be removed. --A D Monroe III(talk) 03:40, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
After more than a year without any cite added, I've removed the questionable statement. (A vague version of this still exists in the Aftermath section.) --A D Monroe III(talk) 14:34, 9 April 2019 (UTC)


I went ahead and added the casualties given by Keegan and Stevenson, which seems more reliable than the numbers given by Mernikov. --Wassersäufer (talk) 09:21, 7 October 2016 (UTC)

I, in turn, added all casualty estimates to the Aftermath section. Albergo Paradiso (talk) 15:55, 24 December 2016 (UTC)


i found this "gem" in aftermath, "This helped to end the era of mass trench warfare in all but a few nations, most of them localized in Africa." Africa?? that is rubbish. north south korea, india pakistan, the wars in the middle east. all feature more and greater trenches than any african nation did in decades, ww2 was essentially entrenched, a lot of the white russian campaign was, even i am breaking my head trying to find a good example of trenchwarfare in africa, probably some of it occured in the states bordering south africa during decolonisation. to this day trenches are everywhere. syria, lebanon, gaza the first irak(-iran) war and more were characteristically trenchwarfare for a greater part than any war (except perhaps the alamein battle) ever was in africa, racist! (talk) 16:46, 16 January 2017 (UTC)

I’m afraid we won’t get very far improving Wikipedia by calling each other racists ... we’ll improve it by making emotionally neutral edits that take information from peer-reviewed sources. --Wally Tharg (talk) 21:58, 3 January 2018 (UTC)

Reference to Platon Lechitsky, and call for a Wiki bio page[edit]

I don’t often do this, but I’ve deliberately added a dead link to General Platon Lechitsky, Russian commander of 9 Army (the southernmost in this offensive, and according to Stone, one of the two most successful). He has dead links on a couple of other pages (on Russian units that he commanded beforehand). But before we do so, we’ll have to agree how we spell his name ...

On the wider point, I think that any general who has risen to command a field army warrants a Wikipedia page. (Discuss: 10 marks.) --Wally Tharg (talk) 22:18, 3 January 2018 (UTC)

Infobox Results BRD[edit]

TL;DR: I'm removing "decisive" from the infobox result per WP infobox battle guidelines. Please skip the rest unless this really interests you somehow.

Sigh. You've been warned.

In the infobox, I changed the result from "Decisive Russian victory" to "Russian victory", with the comment Rm "decisive" from Result, per recent changes to doc of Template:Infobox battle; results are either "victory", unqualified, or "Inconclusive", only. Besides, the only thing it may have actually "decided" is to hasten the Russian Revolution due to severe losses.. An IP editor has reverted this change without comment. So, dutifully following WP:BRD, I'm starting this discussion to reach consensus on this matter.

This exact subject, adding a word or two to the results in battle infoboxes to give a more nuanced qualification the level of victory, has been debated countless times in thousands of articles. It's been realized that this is always subjective, plagued by nationalistic POV, and neither readers nor historians ever seem to agree, and (worst of all) neither do infobox editors. Infoboxes, by their specific purpose and design, will always be poor at nuance. As noted in my comment, it's been decided that qualifying the level of victory in battle infoboxes is not helpful to readers, and especially not helpful to maintaining Wikipedia. There is no reason to start this debate again here for this one article.

And, even without that, this particular battle wouldn't qualify as "decisive" anyway. Yes, Brusilov's significant yet under-appreciated military abilities were most amply demonstrated in this offensive, but that doesn't make it decisive in any way. Its actual goal was to relieve German pressure on the Western Front. In the end, as stated in this article's Aftermath section, the massive Russian losses in this offensive hastened the Russian Revolution and exit of Russia from the war, releasing the majority of German divisions from the Eastern Front to fight in the West in 1918, ultimately achieving the exact opposite of its goals. The long term-result result would better qualify as a "decisive German victory" rather than a Russian one.

So, per my comment, I will soon again remove "decisive" from the result unless someone can pretty quickly come up with any counter-argument for violating Infobox battle guidelines in this article. --A D Monroe III(talk) 15:37, 9 April 2019 (UTC)

Per above, I have removed "Decisive" from results. --A D Monroe III(talk) 00:47, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Ottoman Troops[edit]

Maybe not well known, but famous Ottoman 57. Regiment was sent here after the Gallipoli Campaign. Enver Pasha was eager to appease his German allies. Sources say they engaged Russians around September. About 1/3 perished. I could not find any references in the article.