Aleksandr Vasilevich Samsonov
Samsonov, Aleksandr Vasil’evich
Born Nov. 2 (14), 1859; died Aug. 17 (30), 1914, near Willenberg, present-day Wielbark, Olsztyn Województwo, Polish People’s Republic. Russian general of the cavalry (1910).
Samsonov graduated from the Nicholas Cavalry School in 1877 and from the Academy of the General Staff in 1884. He saw service in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05 as commander of the Ussuri Cavalry Brigade and the Siberian Cossack Division. He was made chief of staff of the Warsaw Military District in 1906. Samsonov became the nakaznoi (appointed) ataman of the Don Host in 1907 and governor-general of Turkestan and commander of the forces of the Turkestan Military District in 1909.
Samsonov was commander of the Second Army at the beginning of World War I. In the East Prussian Operation of 1914, because of the inaction of General la. G. Zhilinskii, commander of the Northwestern Front, and the treasonable actions of General P. K. Rennenkampf, commander of the First Army, the Second Army was defeated, and part of it was encircled. Samsonov died breaking out of the encirclement. (He apparently shot himself.)