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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Russian Rifle Brigades?


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In looking at the Russian orders of battle, I've seen several "rifle brigades" attached at the army level. I was struck by this, and wondered just what these units were and what they did. What was it that made "rifle" troops? Were they similar to jägers or other light troops?

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  • 3 weeks later...

A Russian rifle brigade was a economy of force unit for tasks that did not require a division.  The Brigade consisted of 4 regiments each with two battalions and a artillery battalion

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  • 1 year later...

The Russian infantry consisted of guards, grenadiers, infantry and rifle regiments, of which infantry regiments were the main type of formations. By July 1914, the Russian army had 12 guards infantry, 4 guards rifle, 16 grenadier, 208 infantry, 44 Siberian rifle, 20 army rifle, 16 Finnish rifle, 8 Caucasian rifle and 22 Turkestan rifle regiments.

The historical division of the army infantry into grenadier, infantry and rifle regiments, which had in the XVIII - XIX centuries, meaning due to their different weapons, equipment and training, and, consequently, different combat training, from the end of the 19th century completely lost its combat significance and was preserved solely for the sake of historical tradition. Neither in armament, nor in the combat training program, nor in the tactics of warfare, they differed in any way. Some difference remained in the method of recruitment and the features of the place and order of service.

Army rifle units were considered as rapid reaction troops (expeditionary); other rifle units served in those areas of the empire, the name of which was carried (Siberian, Finnish, Caucasian, Turkestan) and were a kind of analogue of the "European" parts of the colonial troops of the Western European armies.
In accordance with the organization adopted in the Russian army, 4 companies were reduced to a battalion, 4 battalions to a regiment, and 4 regiments to an infantry or rifle division.

The intermediate structure was a brigade, consisting of 2 regiments. Separate rifle brigades also consisted of 4 regiments, but unlike the infantry, there were 2 battalions in the rifle regiments of these brigades. The only exceptions were the regiments of the Siberian rifle divisions, which each had 4 battalions.

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This may given you a clue

39th Alexandropol Infantry Division

153rd Baku Infantry Regiment (4 bns)

154th Derbent Infantry Regiment (4 bns)

155th Kubinsk Infantry Regiment (4 bns)

156th Elisaetopol Infantry Regiment (4 bns)


1st Caucasian (Tiflis) Rifle Brigade

1st Caucasian Rifle Regiment (2 bns)

2nd Caucasian Rifle Regiment (2 bns)

3rd Caucasian Rifle Regiment (2 bns)

4th Caucasian Rifle Regiment (2 bns)

3 Batteries (8 76.2mm guns ea)

Then there were these

2nd Caucasian Militia Bde     Gen Chikovani    542nd 545th 583rd 588th 589 and 592nd druzhinas (Militia Bns)

These Rifles Bdes Regts were increased from 2Bns to 4Bns later in the war.

There were so many of these types of units it hard to account for all.


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