Who's Who - Alexei Kuropatkin

Alexei Kuropatkin Alexei Nikolaevich Kuropatkin (1848-1925) was brought back from effective retirement in 1915 to serve as an entirely unsuccessful field commander in the Russian army.

Born in the Pskov province of Russia Kuropatkin's military career prior to World War One was extensive and included service in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78.  He served as Russian Minister of War in 1898 and opposed the course of policy that actually led to the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, in which he served to disastrous effect in command of troops in Manchuria (the events of which he published in an unusually frank memoir in 1909).

Towards the close of 1915 Kuropatkin was recalled to active duty as a corps commander.  In February 1916 he was handed charge of the Northern Army Group in a surprise appointment with consequent responsibility for the front north of Poland, replacing the indecisive Nikolai Ruzsky.

A timid and remarkably cautious commander (much like his predecessor), Kuropatkin was an advocate of outdated breakthrough tactics.  Perhaps just as seriously he was inclined to hoard resources that could have been placed to better use elsewhere by Generals Brusilov and Evert.

He was relieved of his command in July 1916 and Ruzsky reinstated.  Kuropatkin himself was given the governorship of Turkestan in compensation.

With the February Revolution of 1917 Kuropatkin was briefly arrested and sent to Petrograd but subsequently permitted to retire to his home by the Provisional Government where he sought employment as a clerk.  He died in 1925.

Panzer was a term used to describe a German tank.

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