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Reforming of a system of material supplies of the Russian army in the second half of the 19th century

s. V. Gavrilov


Work is presented by department of social sciences and military and humanitarian disciplines of Military academy of the back and transport of A.V. Hrulev.

Article is prepared on the basis of the archive material and various historical sources. The author for the first time made an attempt of the analysis of a system of material supplies of the Russian army in the second half of the 19th century, the interrelation of military reforms and changes in the organization of supply of troops is shown. Short characteristic of the Russian military leaders and statesmen participating in these events is given.

S. Gavrilov


The article is based on the archives and different historical sources. For the first time the author analyses the system of material supply of the Russian army in the second half of the 19th century and shows the interrelation of military reforms and changes in supply organization.

In the appendix the author briefly characterizes the Russian military leaders and statesmen who participated in those events.

Political and military defeat in Vos- stvo to tasks of ensuring sovereignty

exact war of 1853-1856 showed obvious To the Russian Empire. In the country was held

discrepancy of a military system gosudar- enormous army in peace time and together with

the trained reserves on wartime were not that. The device of armed forces and management of them looked outdated, the organizational structure and arms of types of military forces, was felt backwardness of views of the system of material supplies.

Need of comprehensive reforming of armed forces was so obvious that else before the end of war, in 1855 the Commission "For improvement on military unit" which was headed by the commander Gvardeyskim and Grenadierial cases the general aide-de-camp Fedor Vasilyevich Ridiger *, and after his death the general is established

N. F. Plautina. In the work the commission did not concern questions of the device and the organization of army, and was limited only to minor changes in area of training of troops and the organization of regimental economy [8, page 74]. However the situation within the country and beyond its limits demanded radical reforming of army, as was begun after cancellation in 1861 of the serfdom.

The main lack of the existing military system consisted in its excessive centralization which deprived of commanders of any initiative [14, page 20].

The Minister of War, the general aide-de-camp Nikolay Onufriyevich Sukhozanet ** did not like the main idea of reform - decentralization of management. Thereof within five years the management of the Ministry of Defence developed new states, specified charters, did attempts to improve a rekrutsky system and to solve a problem of reserves, but finally all actions came down to reduction of number of troops and holding some organizational and regular actions. Managements of the 2nd army, managements of infantry brigades refused the lodged troops. The staff of supply bodies was considerably cut down, including in 1858 proviantsky districts are abolished. The department of military settlements is disbanded. The carried-out actions allowed to reduce the numerical structure of army three times in comparison with 1856. At the same time reduction of army on martial law required six months. Judging by carried out mero-

priyatiya could assume that with the conclusion of the Parisian world the Armed forces in Russia became unnecessary for future time [7, page 138].

The next stage of reforming of army was connected with a name of Dmitry Alekseyevich Milyutin *** which was appointed by the Minister of War on November 9, 1861. Its activity began with the report to the tsar about a condition of armed forces for the beginning of 1862 where he specified that "though the army totals 800 thousand people and it can be finished in case of war to 1,400 thousand people, however the provided terrible figure is force imaginary, existing only by regular positions, the reality speaks about unavailability of Russia to war and demands radical reforms" [6, l. 6, 7]. From this point also the main fundamental transformations to armies began.

During reforms it was supposed to give such organization which would meet the modern requirements of military art and put armed forces of Russia on one level with armies of the advanced European states.

The following was the main directions of transformations: increase in number of constant tactical units, reduction of number of the troops which did not have direct military purpose, reduction of numerical structure of army in peace time and creation of such reserve and stock which would allow to develop big army in wartime [1, page 39, 40].

Division of functions of military management was begun with the Ministry of Defence, having kept behind it only the general direction and control and having assigned all executive part to special regional bodies - military district administrations. According to "The provision on Military district administrations" [9, page 698-746], the military district had to be a link between the center and troops.

From 1862 to 1868 were created: Warsaw, Vilensky, Kiev, Odessa, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kharkiv, Finnish, Riga, Kazan, Orenburg, West Siberian, East

Siberian and Turkestan military districts. All troops located in the district were subordinated to the top military commander of the district, and all supply bodies were subordinated to it as to the chairman of the Council of War of the district. Thus, in his hands team and military and economic functions were concentrated. Estimating the new system of the military of management, D.A. Milyutin wrote: "Connection acting through the top military commander of the power command and administrative finds favorable results. Being similar to former case commanders, but with wider rights, direct observers of front education of troops. Military discipline and an order, top military commanders of the district received at the same time all means of the next supervision of actions of various administrative agencies on satisfaction of troops with all types of supply" [13, l. 41-111]. It considerably improved supply of troops with all types of an allowance and arms as all supply functions turned into quartermaster, artillery and engineering management of districts.

During reforming of Armed forces the structure of ground forces was specified. They received accurate division into active and irregular armed forces.

Active armed forces consisted of field, rear, spare and auxiliary. Were a part of field army: infantry, cavalry, artillery and engineering troops.

Rear troops were subdivided into serf, reserve and local. Serf troops intended for formation of garrisons of fortresses. Reserve troops were formed only in wartime for the purpose of replenishment of field troops. Local troops served for execution of guard, convoy and internal duty. They consisted of infantry battalions and teams which accommodated in the provincial and district cities.

Substitute troops of all types of weapon were formed for the period of war. Their task included training and departure on the battlefield of again called replenishments from a stock. Parts which had no fighting on -

values, and were used only for service of the acting troops, belonged to troops of auxiliary appointment.

Irregular troops consisted of kazachy parts and also parts created from the people of the Caucasus, Tatars and Bashkirs. The state militia was divided into two categories: in the first persons from 21 year to 25 years, entered the second - from 25 to 40 years [15, page 158, 159]. During reforming, army, case and brigade managements were abolished.


Along with holding the listed above actions improved the central military office. An important milestone in it was the edition in 1869. "Regulations on the Ministry of Defence" [10, page 2-45]. In it the new structure of the ministry was defined. Separate departments were transformed to seven head departments: quartermaster, artillery, engineering, military schools, military-medical, military and judgment and irregular troops. Positions the general-feldtseykhmeystera and general inspectors of an engineering part with their headquarters were abolished, and their functions are transferred Main artillery and Main engineering to managements. Preparation of officer shots was transferred to competence of the Ministry of Defence. Two inspections were a part of the ministry: cavalry and rifle battalions and various committees [8, page 41]. It allowed the Ministry of Defence to concentrate in the hands all team, military and administrative and economic functions on management of all ground armed forces of the country. As a result the central military office became less bulky [3, page 29, 30].

"The radical restructurings in the device of our forces begun since 1862, - Milyutin in 1874 wrote, - were carried out to execution with the persistent sequence for a number of years and gave all our army and all our military system on such step of force of symmetry which quite corresponded to the highest national objectives" [5, l. 1].

In 1868 there was "A provision on field management of armies, cases and groups in wartime". The highest tactical edi-

the division became Nice in infantry and a cavalry. It gave a number of advantages. First, at mobilization of a division could come down to buildings or groups of small force and structure. Secondly, from the beginning of war there was an opportunity to form headquarters of armies, cases and groups of the most capable officers of all army. With elimination of headquarters of armies and cases in peace time the military administrative facilities were considerably reduced. New situation specified functions of the commander-in-chief, exempting it from minor administrative duties, provided coordination of activity of the headquarters of the commander-in-chief with military district administrations.

In 1876 the new "Provision on field management in wartime" [11, page 297-345] was approved in which, in particular, experience of French-Prussian war of 1870 — 1871 was considered. However and in it it was not succeeded to avoid some mistakes. So, presence of several commanders-in-chief possessing according to "Situation..." the identical rights, could not but complicate the leadership in military operations.

Thus, in the 1860-1870th there were serious changes in the system of the military of management: excessive centralization in the management of troops is liquidated, military districts are created, the Defense Ministry was given rather accurate organization, the system of completing of army is changed. Troops are divided into regular and irregular parts. All this promoted the solution of the main objective of reform - to creation of the multimillion modern army capable to prevent the arising military threats.

Big changes happened also in the organization of material supplies of troops. Very necessary connecting link - military district administration with the quartermaster infrastructure was added to two parts of a system of supply divided from each other (means internal and field). The formed indissoluble chain of relationship allowed to build a vertical of subordination and responsibility. It is first of all about a system material snab-

zheniye of army. Schematically this interrelation can be presented as follows: the center (Head Quartermaster department of the Ministry of Defence) - the region (District quartermaster managements) - troops (field and local connections and parts). Further we will consider features of voyennokhozyaystvenny management in more detail.

Centralnoyeupravleniye. Together with introduction of military district administrations, measures for reorganization of central office of the Ministry of Defence were taken. As a part of seven head departments there was also a Head Quartermaster Department (HQD), all obligations for material supplies of troops were assigned to it. The documents "Provision on the Head Quartermaster Department" and "Rules about Transition of Proviantsky and Komissariatsky Parts from Nowadays Existing Device to Again Ustanovlyaemy" were in advance developed for a transition period which lasted five years [9, page 812-817]. According to "Situation." departments of the Ministry of Defence Proviantsky and Komissariatsky connected in one management under the general guide of the General quartermaster, and since 1865. Chief Quartermaster of the Ministry of Defence. Passed all obligations of these departments to the Head Quartermaster department. All offices of the previous institutions were a part of management. The new joint bodies were formed of offices, treasuries and archives. For completion of affairs on a komissariatsky and proviantsky part temporary offices were created. In them officials the reductions of departments which remained later were appointed. At GIU the temporary General Presence for consideration and the solution of affairs, "the actions of the Main thing and District Quartermaster Administrations which arrived from former Komissariatsky and Proviantsky Managements arose before opening", the military districts which did not be a part and also for "the adoption of control audit of shnurovy books, accounts and calculations, until transformation of a control part" was formed [9, page 813].

In "Rules about transition of proviantsky and komissariatsky parts from nowadays being -

the yushchy device to again ustanovlyaemy" four groups of questions which needed to be solved during a transition period were defined:

• Distribution of the sums of money assigned on the estimate of 1864 and drawing up the estimate for 1865

• Preparation of objects of a komissariatsky and proviantsky allowance.

• About transfer of affairs, books and accounts of local komissariatsky and proviantsky institutions to District quartermasters.

• Cash and auditing order.

Were established by the same document

transition terms. Till October 1, 1864 the functional obligations for providing troops were assigned to the existing administration, and further - to the Main thing and District Quartermaster Administrations.

Regional command. In regions were abolished: managements of reserve artillery, headquarters of artillery and engineering districts, komissariatsky commissions and managements of ober-proviantmeyster. Military institutions in the Caucasus, are temporarily left in the Orenburg region and Eastern Siberia in former structure before "application to them the same general provision, in compliance with local needs and conditions" [9, page 699]. Obligations for timely providing troops, fortresses, military institutions and also hospitals and infirmaries by all objects of material supplies were assigned to command of the district. Besides, it was recommended to create and contain stocks quartermaster, artillery and hospital, to watch a condition of fortresses, strengthenings and various buildings of military value. For cut in expenditure on keeping of troops and military institutions the top military commander had to find ways "to favorable keeping of troops and institutions of the District" [9, page 704]. The general management of questions of supply was assigned to the third (economic) office of the district headquarters which was engaged in office-work on "material improvement" of troops and satisfaction them with objects quartermaster, artillery, engineering and medical dovol-

stviye. The District quartermaster administration was direct executive body of material supplies. The satisfaction of troops and institutions of the district with monetary and ware salaries, food supplies and also supply of military hospitals with things and preparation for them of provisions and medicines was under its authority. Quartermaster management consisted of three offices, the general presence, a secretarial part and district treasury. The first office - ware, was engaged in preparation, reception, storage, transportation and supply of troops and hospitals by objects of regimentals and equipment, a wagon train, the camp and hospital property. The second - food - resolved issues of satisfaction of troops with objects of a proviantsky allowance and also their preparation, reception, storage and transportation. The third - monetary - satisfied troops and institutions with monetary salaries and lodging money. In each office for maintaining accounts and the capitals there was an accounts department. The general presence was made the district quartermaster, his assistant and chiefs of offices at meetings questions of the auction, the certificate of sums of money and current affairs were considered. Accounting of staff of Quartermaster management, office-work and also "the maintenance, a remontirovaniye and correction" of quartermaster buildings were under authority of a secretarial part. The district treasury was engaged in reception, storage and a holiday of money for all district administration. Turned all quartermaster and proviantsky subsequent their reorganization warehouses (shop) located in the district into direct submission of District Quartermaster Administration. Creation of new body of quartermaster management allowed to carry out radical restructurings in the system of material supplies of troops. Managements of five field intendantstvo, thirty nine provincial ober-proviantmeyster and ten komissariatsky commissions were reduced. On the basis of komissariatsky and proviantsky shops, district quartermaster warehouses are formed. To district quartermasters it was assigned

all executive part of the former komissariatsky and proviantsky department that significantly improved work on the organization of material supplies of army.

The general leadership in process in supply of troops remained behind the Ministry of Defence. District quartermasters collected data on needs of troops of the district, made estimates and plans of preparations and presented exact data on opportunities of local industrial and agricultural base and also on the prices of allowance objects to GIU. Based on these data the head quartermaster department, distributed preparations so that objects of an allowance were got where they can be bought cheaper and where the quality is better than them. Execution of this plan of distribution was assigned to districts to which attraction to the auction "reliable competitors, in particular manufacturers and manufacturers" was imputed a duty.

Together with transformation of governing bodies was significant changes are made to the organization of work of quartermaster warehouses. The order of reception, storage, survey, transportation and holiday of objects of supply of troops and hospitals was defined by "The provision on quartermaster warehouses" and also the procedure of a statement of warehouses and shops is painted [9, page 746, 747]. Each quartermaster warehouse consisted of several shops and the inspector for the aid to whom supervisors were appointed managed it. The management of these institutions was entrusted to the Chief Inspector of quartermaster warehouses. Food stocks were stored on the former basis in proviantsky shops which were managed by the Inspector. These officials were selected the District quartermaster and were appointed the General quartermaster of the Ministry of Defence.

Troops of the district made field and local connections and parts.

Infantry and cavalry divisions with the parts of artillery, engineer battalions belonging to them with pontoon parks, obsidional parks belonged to field troops: artillery and engineering. Developed

for them "The provision on management of an infantry and cavalry division" [9, page 770-784] quite in detail defined obligations of officials for "material improvement". The chief of a division had to have exact data on a state in the parts of all pieces of state property and sums of money subordinated to it and also to care for replenishment of lacking, doing the orders depending on it. On a proviantsky allowance - to watch correctness of the requirement and expenditure of objects of a proviantsky, fodder allowance and economic harchevy soldier's money, making monthly "attested" sheets about number of the people and horses receiving an allowance for District quartermaster administration. In objects of a ware allowance and a remontirovaniye of a wagon train - to watch the correct and timely reclamation and use of regimentals, equipment and camp property and also a state in parts of a wagon train, lifting horses and other objects on which the repair sums are released. In case of need to appoint in the structure of Selection Committee (to quartermaster warehouses) officers, mainly from among company or eskadronny commanders or the former treasurers. It should be noted that as a part of management of a division positions of quartermaster officials were not provided in peace time, one of the senior aide-de-camps of the headquarters dealt with supply issues at the request of the chief of a division.

Treated to local troops of the district: reserve infantry and rifle battalions; provincial battalions and district teams; serf regiments, battalions and teams; military and prisoner companies and landmark teams. Material supplies of these divisions were also assigned to District quartermaster administration. The chief of local troops had the rights of the chief of a division and was obliged to care for satisfaction of all needs of troops for supply objects. According to states to "The provision on management of local troops of the military district" [9, page 788-802], in management of everyone

battalion subaltern officers - the manager of an economic part, the manager of a weapon part and the battalion armorer from the lower ranks were provided.

Fundamental obligations on material supplies in an army link (field and local troops mean), as before, were assigned to a regimental link. During this period the commander of a regiment was the "an individual manager of the regimental sums" almost unaccountable in the actions [2, page 157]. Main objectives which were pursued during reorganization of regimental economy were the following:

1. To exempt chiefs of separate parts from all petty, sometimes even not corresponding to their rank, details of regimental economy and that to deliver to them more time for occupation military education of subordinated ranks.
2. To discharge them of all monetary calculations and commercial operations on supply of the parts entrusted to them with objects of an allowance and, having protected them this way from any doubts in correctness of distribution and expenditure of the sums of money which arrived from treasury.
3. To reach that the soldier not only received regularly and wholly everything that is defined from the government, but that everything received was good-quality, - a word, to destroy all that system of abuses which was in troops [12, l. 9, 10].

Now direct maintaining regimental economy was assigned to the assistant to the commander of the regiment by an economic part appointed by the chief of a division, the quartermaster and the treasurer elected by society of officers of a regiment [2, page 158].

Thus, in the system of material supplies of the Russian army radical restructurings which affected all levels of its functioning are carried out and significantly improved its work. Management of the Ministry of Defence dealt with the coordinating issues, district administration with preparation, storage and bringing to troops, and army use and reclamation of requirements.

The material considered in the publication allows to draw the generalizing conclusions:

1. Introduction of military district administration created relative unity of military management, liquidated excessive centralization of the separate branches of management (proviantsky, komissariatsky, artillery and engineering) and also promoted purposeful work of bodies of material supplies on satisfaction of needs of troops.
2. The departmental organizations and institutions of material supplies (proviantsky and komissariatsky commissions and field quartermaster managements) are abolished and on their base the unified bodies - district quartermaster administrations and warehouses are created. It allowed to reduce considerably bureaucracy and to bring closer performers to troops.

In general the carried-out reforming ordered the organization of an allowance of troops, created an accurate administrative vertical in the system of material supplies that allowed the Ministry of Defence to transfer executive functions to the regional level. Such structure of providing troops remains viable till present.

* Fedor Vasilyevich Ridiger (1783-1856). Studied in private educational institution in Mitava. Serve in the forces since April 1, 1799 - the subensign in Labe guard Semyonovskom to a regiment. On October 27, 1800 - the ensign. At personal desire, the Hussars are translated by the lieutenant in Sumy. On February 27, 1805 - the shtabs-captain. Was involved in war against France. Ordered a squadron, recaptured the enemy park. For what it was awarded on May 20, 1806 with a gold saber with an inscription "for bravery". On October 23, 1807 - the major. Participated to war with Sweden, ordering a squadron of the Grodno Hussars. On December 19, 1808 - the lieutenant colonel. In 1810 - the top military commander of coastal guards. In Patriotic war of 1812 - the commander of battalion in corps of the count Wittgenstein. Since August 14, 1812 - the colonel, and since October 19 - the major general and the commander of the Grodno Hussars at the head of which made campaigns 1813 and 1814 of on November 27, 1814 on -

znachen the commander of the 2nd crew of a hussar division, and since 1816 - the chief the 1st hussar division. Since September 26, 1823 - the chief of the 3rd hussar division. Since January 1, 1826 - the lieutenant general. Active participant of the Russo-Turkish war. Ordered vanguard of army, the 7th infantry case. On April 18, 1830 it is appointed the commander of the 4th reserve cavalry corps. For the Polish campaign on April 27, 1831 it is granted by the general aide-de-camp's rank. On October 6, 1831 it was made in generals from a cavalry, and then on November 2 it is appointed the commander of the 3rd infantry case. Since 1845 - the chief of Klyastitsky Hussars. On October 3, 1846 it is built in the count dignity of the Russian Empire. On August 25, 1850 it is fired from duties of the commander of the 3rd infantry case, appointed the member of the State Council. Since January 1, 1853 took up a position of the Deputy Tsarstva Polsky, after the conclusion of the Parisian world, it was appointed, the commander-in-chief Guards and grenadierial cases. Died on June 11, 1856

** Nikolay Onufriyevich Sukhozanet, general aide-de-camp (1794-1871). Received house education. Was involved in wars of 1812-1814. During the Polish war of 1831 caused a stir in battle near Ostrolenkaya. Since 1849 held a position of the chief of artillery of field army. In 1855 it is appointed the commander of the infantry case, and next year - the Minister of War. In 1861 Sukhozanet was fired from a position of the Minister of War, with leaving by the member of the State Council.

*** Dmitry Alekseyevich (1816-1912) Milyutin, large statesman, general field marshal (1898). Since 1833 the ensign in Guards artillery. In 1836 brilliantly graduated from Imperial military academy. Since 1855 - the chief of general staff of troops of the Caucasian army. In 1860 it is appointed "Companion" (deputy) Minister of War, and in 1861 - the Minister of War. In 1861-1881 carried out carrying out a system of the transformations to armies which in general were military reform. Introduction of a vsesoslovny compulsory military service in 1874 was the most considerable among them. Since 1881 in resignation, lived in the manor in Simeiz. Was a member of the State Council, the honorary president Imperatorska Nikolayevska military and Aleksandrovsky legal academies, the honorary member of Academy of Sciences, Artillery, Engineering, medico-surgical academies. Buried in Moscow on Novodevichy Cemetery.


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