Original WWI Imperial Russian Officer’s Private Purchase Balkan-Style Winter Cap

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a unique piece of Imperial Russian Kit, with was likely worn by a Russian Officer serving along the Carpathian Front during WWI. Imperial Russian items are incredibly hard to find, and we rarely encounter them on the market.

The cap features a body made of heavyweight khaki brushed cotton/wool flannel with the exterior shaped similar to a Balkan’s Sajkaca Cap, made of reddish fur. The interior of the cap is lined with a black polished cotton. On the front of the cap is an original cockade, one of the many variations worn by the Czar’s Army during WWI. The cockade appears to have been repainted at one time, unfortunately.

This is a great opportunity to obtain a scarce piece of WWI Headgear!

Having repulsed the counteroffensive of the Austro-Hungarian troops in late December 1914 - early January 1915, the Russian armies of the left flank of the Southwestern Front (8th and 11th) went on the offensive and again reached the Beskids, part of the passes of the main Carpathian ridge and captured almost throughout Bukovina. At the same time, the armies of the Northwestern Front, although they firmly occupied the positions to which they were withdrawn in early December (the lines of the Bzura, Pilica and Rawka rivers), they could not seize the initiative and go on the offensive against the German troops of the 9th Army.

The headquarters of the Supreme Commander Cavalry General Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich (Chief Infantry General N. Yanushkevich, Quartermaster General Infantry General Yuri Danilov) did not abandon the plan of a new invasion of Germany and the capture of East Prussia. But the commander-in-chief of the armies of the Southwestern Front, General of Artillery N. Ivanov and his chief of staff, General of Infantry Mikhail Alekseyev, proposed to shift the direction of the main attack to the Carpathians, overcome the mountain barrier and reach the Hungarian Plain, which would open the way to Budapest and Vienna, and consequently led to the withdrawal of Austria-Hungary from the war.

To discuss the campaign plan for 1915 at Headquarters on January 17, 1915 meeting was held. Yuri Danilov believed that the active army would be ready for a major offensive only by April 1915, since it was then that the training of the 1915 call-up and the replenishment of artillery shells were expected to be completed. However, he also counted on some strengthening of the troops by February, and the only place where one could count on a quick and stunning success for the enemy was East Prussia - when it was invaded from the south. This opinion was supported by the Commander-in-Chief of the armies of the North-Western Front, Infantry General Nikolai Ruzsky, who arrived at the meeting. It was approved by the Supreme Commander.

However, M. Alekseyev, who was absent at the meeting, in his report on January 20, emphasized that the Austro-Hungarian troops should not be neglected, they are replenished much faster and receive help from Germany, so we should expect their new offensive from the Carpathians as early as mid-January. He proposed to strengthen the armies of the South-Western Front, but for now there is a concentration of troops for the main attack on Germany, to strike at Austria-Hungary in order to push its troops back from Przemysl, to take a more advantageous line outside the Carpathian Mountains, to bring the cavalry into operational space and create threat to Krakow from the southeast.

In a directive dated January 20, 1915 the headquarters of the armies of the Southwestern Front clearly indicated the goal and means of further actions: “It is necessary to use [with] possible energy our means of the right bank of the Vistula, inflict at least a partial defeat on the Austrians, put [in] a threatened position Hungary, occupy a more advantageous position than now, position without stretching the common strategic front. For the offensive, it was planned to use reinforced troops of the 3rd, 8th and 11th armies.

Thus, the offensive operation of the armies of the Southwestern Front received the task of reaching the Hungarian plain and moving to Budapest, with the fall of which the hope for the collapse of the alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary and the collapse of the Habsburg monarchy was associated. The actions of the troops were subordinated to the main goal - the greatest weakening of Germany by a blow to the weakest link, as the Russian Headquarters believed.

The Carpathian Front of World War I was a theater of conflict, part of the greater Eastern Front, centered on the Carpathian Mountains in which Austro-Hungary faced Russian forces. More than half of the 1.1 million Austro-Hungarian troops deployed on the Carpathian Front in the first four months of 1915 were killed, injured, captured, or incapacitated by disease, however, casualties became so high that the Austro-Hungarian army eventually lost detailed track of losses.

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