20th Army Corps (Russian Empire)

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20th Army Corps
Active 1899—1917
Country  Russian Empire
Branch Russian Empire Imperial Russian Army
Garrison/HQ Riga

World War I

Disbanded 1917
See "Commanders" section

The Twentieth Army Corps (Russian: 20-й армейский корпус) was a formation of the Imperial Russian Army that was first raised in 1899, and was most famous for fighting in World War I, on the Eastern theatre of war, during the Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes. Before World War I, the 20th Corps was stationed in the Vilno Military District, with corps headquarters in Riga. At the outbreak of the war, the corps consisted of two infantry divisions and a number of independent battalions and brigades. It was demobilized in April 1917.[1]


Actions during the winter battle at the Masurian Lakes.

The corps was formed in 1899, and was placed under the command of Lieutenant General Richard Troyanovich Meves, originally made up of the 29th and 45th infantry divisions. This unit later fought in World War I, in the Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes, under General Pavel Illyich Bulgakov. On the February 7, in the middle of a snowstorm, Fritz von Below's German Eighth Army had launched a surprise attack, advancing 70 miles (110 km) within one week. Severe casualties were inflicted on the Russians, resulting in a disorderly withdrawal with many Russians taken prisoner. The greatest loss came when the 20th Army Corps was surrounded by the German Tenth Army in the Augustow Forest, although many broke out, the remnants surrendered on February 21 the entire corps surrendered. A large number of Latvian soldiers were killed, wounded or captured during this battle. This influenced the decision of the Imperial Russian Army to establish the Latvian Rifles.[1][2]


Shortly before the outbreak of World War I, on 1 January 1913, the 20th Army Corps comprised the following units:[1]

20th Army Corps order of battle
Division Brigade Regiment Battalion
28th Infantry Division 1st Brigade 109th Infantry Regiment "Volzhsky"
110th Infantry Regiment "Kamsky"
2nd Brigade 111th Infantry Regiment "Donskoi"
112th Infantry Regiment "Urals"
28th Artillery Brigade
29th Infantry Division 1st Brigade 113th Infantry Regiment "Old"
114th Infantry Regiment "Novotorzhsky"
2nd Brigade 115th Infantry Regiment "Vyazemsky
116th Infantry Regiment "Maloyaroslavsky"
29th Artillery Brigade
1st Separate Cavalry Brigade
20th Howitzer Artillery Battalion
1st Heavy Artillery Battalion
20th Sapper Battalion
1st Pontoon Battalion
2nd Pontoon Battalion
2nd Cadre Supply-Train Battalion
1st Siege Engineer Park

At different times during the war, the 20th Corps was part of several different field armies, including the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 10th.[1]


The 20th corps was led by the following commanders throughout its existence:[1]

20th Army Corps commanders
Appointed Commander Dismissed
1899 Lieutenant General Richard Troyanovich Meves 22 February 1901
 ? 1901 Cavalry General Semyon Vasilyevich Kakhanov  ? 1904
12 January 1905 Lieutenant General Vladimir Alexandrovich Bekman 11 June 1906
28 June 1908 Infantry General Vladimir Smirnov December 1914
December 1914 Lieutenant General Pavel Bulgakov February 1915
March 1915 Infantry General Alexander Iosafovich Ievreinov April 1917
April 1917 Lieutenant General Alexander Yakovich Elshin April 1917?

See also[edit]