• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every person's position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

The First World War. Оборона Осовец.


Jul 6, 2013
Reaction score
Political Leaning
The First World War. Оборона Осовец.


My friends, today I want to tell you about a little-known military battles during the First World War, between the Russian and German soldiers.
In 1915, the world looked on with admiration defense Osovets, a small Russian fortress at 23.5 km from the then East Prussia. The main objective of the fortress was, as he wrote part in defense Osovets S. Hmelkov, "to block the opponent nearest and most convenient way to Bialystok ... make the enemy lose time or to conduct a long siege, or to find detours." Bialystok - transport hub, the taking of which paved the way to Vilna (Vilnius), Grodno, Minsk and Brest. So the Germans through Osovets lay the shortest route to Russia. It was impossible to get around the fortress: it was located on the banks of the River Beavers, controlling the whole district. In the vicinity - swamps.
The first onslaught of the Germans launched in September 1914: taken from the Konigsberg large-caliber guns, they bombarded the fort for six days. A Osovets siege began in January 1915 and lasted 190 days.
Germans used against the fortress of all their latest achievements. Delivered the famous "Big Bertha" - siege weapons caliber 420-mm, 800-pound shells which breaks through the two-meter high steel and concrete floors. Funnel from such an explosion was five feet deep and fifteen in diameter.
The Germans calculated that would force the surrender of the fortress with a garrison of a thousand men, necessary with only two of these guns and 24 hours a methodical bombardment - 360 shells, every four minutes - volley. Under Osovets brought four "Big Bertha" and 64 other powerful siege guns, a total of 17 batteries.
The most terrible fire was at the beginning of the siege. "The enemy opened fire at the fortress, February 25 , drove him on 27 and 28 February to the hurricane, and so continued to destroy the fortress until March 3" - recalled S. Hmelkov. According to his calculations, this week the horrific fire on the fortress was released only 200-250 thousand heavy projectiles. And all for the siege - up to 400 thousand. "The brick buildings collapsed, wood burning, wire connection was interrupted, highway spoiled craters, trenches and shafts for all the improvements, such as: canopies, machine gun nests, light bunkers, were erased from the face of the earth" . The fortress hovering clouds of smoke and dust. Together with artillery fort was bombed by German airplanes.
"Was terrible view of the fortress, the whole castle was shrouded in smoke, through which in one and then in another place huge tongues of fire erupted from the explosion of shells, pillars of earth, water and whole trees were flying up, the earth trembled, and it seemed that nothing could withstand such a hurricane of fire. The experience was such that no one will come out of this storm of fire and iron "- so wrote foreign correspondents.
Command, believing that requires almost impossible, asked the defenders to hold out at least 48 hours. The fortress was still half a year. And Russian artillery during the terrible bombings even managed to knock out two "Big Bertha", poorly disguised enemy. Along the way, blew up the ammunition dump.
August 6, 1915 was for the defenders Osovets black day: for the destruction of the garrison of Germans used poison gas. Gas attack they prepared carefully, patiently waiting for the right wind. Launched 30 gas cells, several thousand bottles. August 6 at 4 am on the Russian position flowed dark green mist mixture of chlorine with bromine, which reached them for 5-10 minutes. Gas wave of 12-15 meters in height and width of 8 km penetrated to a depth of 20 km. Gas mask at the defenders of the fortress was not.
"All living outdoors in the bridgehead of the fortress was poisoned to death - recalled party defense. - All the greens in the fort and in the immediate area for the movement of gas has been destroyed, the leaves on the trees turned yellow, curled up and fell off, the grass turned black and fell to the ground, flower petals circled. All copper objects in the bridgehead of the fortress - of guns and ammunition, sinks, tubs and so on - were covered with a thick green layer of chlorine monoxide, food items stored without hermetic sealing - meat, butter, lard, vegetable, were poisoned and unfit for consumption. "" Half-dead trudged back - that's a different author - to quench their thirst, bending over to water, but here in the low places gases were delayed, and secondary poisoning led to the death."
The German artillery reopened massive fire, following the shelling and the gas cloud to storm the Russian front lines have moved 14 battalions of Landwehr - and it is not less than seven thousand foot soldiers. At the forefront after the gas attack remained alive scarcely more than a hundred defenders. Doomed fort seemed to have been in German hands. But when the German chain approached the trenches, of the dark-green mist of chlorine collapsed on them ... counter-attacking Russian infantry. The sight was horrifying: the men walked into the bayonet charge, of faces swathed in rags, shaking with a terrible cough, literally spitting out pieces of lung on the bloody shirt. These were the remains of the 13th Company 226th Infantry Regiment Zemlyanskii, a little more than 60 people. But they plunged the enemy in such terror that the German infantrymen, not accepting the fight, rushed back, trampling each other and hung on their own barbed wire. And by him, shrouded in clouds of chlorine Russian battery, began firing seemed to have the lost artillery Russian. Several dozen half-dead Russian soldiers to flight three German infantry regiment! Nothing like the world did not know the . This battle will go down in history as the "attack dead."
(I think that, the Germans are not afraid evil people- of would rancor in the war - business as usual. And the Germans do not run like cowards, but as people, seeing ahead, that a living person is not allowed to see. Dead people. Dozens dead people who were going to kill them, in full growth, across a bullet in the face. The plod, falling, still crawling, and it was evident that they were very happy to see you and really want to kill you. And really began to kill. And when the Germans fled, - they died …)
Osovets Russian troops still left, but later on the orders of command, when his defense lost its meaning. The evacuation of the fortress - is also an example of heroism. Because remove all of the fortress had at night, in the afternoon on the highway was impassable : it constantly bombed by German airplanes. But the enemy has no cartridge or projectile, or even cans of canned food. On the night of August 24, 1915 Russian sappers blew up all that remained of the German fire, and a few days later, the Germans decided to take the ruins.
So fought Russian soldiers. They kept a terrible blow to the German war machine, while maintaining the possibility of the existence of the country. And not just his. "If France had not been erased from the face of Europe, it first of all we owe Russia", - said later Supreme Allied Commander Marshal Foch.
Photo 1 - The commandant of the fortress "Osovets," Gen. artillery Nikolai Brzhozovsky
Photo 2 - "Big Bertha" (420 mm) at the position

Photo 3 - Defender fortress near unexploded ordnance

Photo 4 - The shells used by the Germans during the assault. Left - 420 mm, 305 mm, 210 mm, 150 mm, 107 mm and 100 mm

Photo 5 - Diagram defense of a Fortress

Top Bottom