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Imperial Russian soldiers on parade in France.
Message and postmark Marseille, April 22, 1916.

Imperial Russian soldiers on parade in France.
Message and postmark Marseille, April 22, 1916.

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Sunday, September 16, 1917

"Comby looked at his watch, looked down again at the camp. And at precisely 10 A.M. from a hill to the west, there came the flat reports of four spaced shots from the battery of 75s. The battle for La Courtine had begun.

The first artillery shot had been a blank, but the next three were exercise projectiles, nonexplosive metal slugs, 'less deadly than regular field projectiles but dangerous nevertheless,' observed Comby. The three shells landed against a hill flanking the rows of barracks and sent up warning plumes of dirt.

There was a period of silence to let the threat implied by these warning shots sink in upon the rebels. Then from the barracks the watchers heard a strange sound. The rebels were singing 'The Marseillaise'—followed by Chopin's 'Funeral March.'"

Quotation Context

Four brigades of Russian soldiers were sent too France in the spring of 1916, two of them immediately being sent to the Salonika Front. The Russian Revolution of March and the French army mutinies of May and June played out in the Russian units on both fronts. On September 16, 1917, the two brigades that remained in France were isolated in La Courtine, 450 kilometers south of Paris, where they had entrenched, refusing to submit to French or Russian authorities. French General Louis Comby led the siege of the camp to compel the Russians' surrender.


Dare Call it Treason by Richard M. Watt, page 273, copyright © 1963 by Richard M. Watt, publisher: Simon and Schuster, publication date: 1963


1917-09-16, September, 1917, mutiny, La Courtine, Russian mutiny, Russian soldiers in France