Lake Naroch Offensive

Lake Naroch Offensive

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict = Lake Naroch Offensive
partof = the Eastern Front during World War I

caption =
date = March 18 – April 1916
place = Lake Narach, present-day Belarus
result = German victory
combatant1 = flagicon|Russian Empire|size=25px Russian Empire
combatant2 = flagicon|German Empire|size=25px German Empire
commander1 = Alexei Kuropatkin Alexei Evert
commander2 = Hermann von Eichhorn
strength1 = Parts of two army groups (350,000 men, 1,000 guns)
strength2 = Tenth Army (75,000 men, 400 guns)
casualties1 = 100,000
casualties2 = 20,000

The Lake Naroch Offensive was a battle mainly fought in March 1916 to relieve the German pressure against the French at Verdun.


As the French situation there was becoming more and more severe, General Joffre appealed to the other Allies for a diversionary action someplace else in order to compel the Germans to withdraw part of their forces from Verdun.

Nicholas II acceded to the French request, choosing the Lake Narach area in Belarus because there 350,000 Russians (parts of two army groups) faced just 75,000 Germans (X Army under General Eichhorn).


The Russian initial artillery bombardment was quite long (it lasted two days), but inaccurate, leaving most of the Geman artillry intact, and the Russian troops, who made the mistake of crossing no man's land in groups rather than scattered about, were easy targets for German machine guns. The attackers gained a few kilometers, but did not inflict any serious damage to the German defenses — which were well organized and fortified — although the Russians greatly outnumbered their adversaries.

The Russian offensive petered out in April 1916. All gained territory by the Russians was lost to subsequent German counterattacks.A secondary attack mounted near Riga on March 21 had no better luck.


The whole operation was an utter failure, as it abated the Russians' morale without providing any help to the French.


* [ The Battle of Lake Naroch, 1916]

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