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In Russia's Last Gasp, Prit Buttar looks at one of the bloodiest campaigns launched in the history of warfare--the Brusilov Offensive, sometimes known as the June Advance. With British, French and German forces locked in a stalemate in the trenches of the Western Front, an attack was launched by the massed Russian armies to the east. The assault was intended to knock Austria-Hungary out of the war and divert German troops from the Western Front, easing the pressure on Russia's allies. Russia's dismal military performance in the preceding years was forgotten, as the Brusilov Offensive was quickly characterized by innovative tactics. Most impressive of all was the Russian use of shock troops, a strategy that German armies would later use to great effect in the final years of the war.
Drawing on first-hand accounts and detailed archival research Buttar gives a dramatic retelling of final years of the war on the Eastern Front, with the Russian Army claiming military success at a cost so high that it was never able to recover.
• Chapter 1: The Fruits of War
- A brief summary of the events of 1914-15, and the expectations and aspirations of the three empires for the coming year
• Chapter 2: The Burden of War
- This chapter will describe the changes in industry and society in the three Great Powers in the face of the continuing war, and the impact that these changes have on their populations
• Chapter 3: Preparing for Another Campaign
- Much of the first half of 1916 was spent in preparation for events in the second half of the year, and this chapter will describe the options that the various General Staffs debated, and what factors influenced their decisions.
• Chapter 4: Brusilov's Offensive Begins
- The Battle of Kostiuchnowka. The critical role of the Polish Legion in the fighting, and the political consequences.
• Chapter 5: The Crisis of Battle
- As the Austro-Hungarian armies disintegrate under the strain of the Brusilov Offensive, German reinforcements are rushed from the west, and Conrad agrees to withdraw troops from the Italian front.
• Chapter 6: The Turn of the Tide
- Evert's failed offensive, and Linsingen's counteroffensive.
• Chapter 7: Exhaustion
- September brings another check in the fighting as all sides run out of energy.
• Chapter 8: Romania
- Romania enters the war, and immediately faces an invasion by the Central Powers, lowing two thirds of its territory.
• Chapter 9: The Cracks in the Edifice
- All three empires begin to show the strain of several years of war. This chapter will describe how these strains had differing effects on the three empires, and the parts played by both internal and external agencies in accelerating Russia's slide towards revolution