2.3

A Soldier's Notebook

Alexei Brusilov

On September 14, if I remember rightly, orders were received to the effect that General Radko-Dmitriev should at once proceed to take over the command of the Third Army, General Ruzski having been appointed Commander of the North-West Front, in place of General Jilinski, who had been relieved of his command in consequence of the heavy defeat sustained by the Second Army under General Samsonov in East Prussia, and the disorderly and costly retreat of the First Army under General Rennenkampf. I had to appoint a successor to Radko-Dmitriev in command of the VIII Corps. The senior Divisional Commander in my army was Lieut.-General Orlov, an officer with a curious reputation dating perhaps from the Chinese campaign, or more probably from the Russo-Japanese War. During the Chinese campaign he had attempted to break loose from his Chief and win himself some easy laurels; in the Japanese War he had been held responsible for Kuropatkin's reverses, and it was believed that he had been made the scapegoat after our loss of the battle of Liao-Yang. Just before the War he had been in charge of the 12th Division in the XII Army Corps under my own command. I had observed his work in the grand manœuvres, and it had been admirable. His division had been in every respect capably handled and well trained. In several of the early battles won by the Eighth Army the operations conducted by Orlov had been above criticism. For these various reasons, I requested that he might be posted as Commander of the VIII Army Corps, in spite of the fact that in peace-time his name had most consistently been struck out of the list of candidates for promotion to the command of an Army Corps. My suggestion was considered favourably, and Orlov was appointed to the post.

In conformity with the instructions of the Commander-in-Chief, all the armies of the South-West Front continued to move westward, my army keeping to the south of the Lemberg-Gorodok-Przemysl line. Since we formed the extreme left of our whole Western Front, my duty, in general terms, was as before, to screen our left against any attacks which might threaten, whether from the south or the west. My task became more and more complicated the further we advanced, for our lines of communication grew longer and it became increasingly difficult to safeguard our left and rear from enemy assaults. It seemed to me that for this purpose my army should have received periodical reinforcements, all the more because in the course of the battle of Gorodok I had been forced to call up the solitary infantry brigade which was guarding the rear of our left flank. At the conclusion of the battle my army, in the absence of reinforce

-109-

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