Pavel Rennenkampf

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rennenkampf, Pavel Karlovich


Born Apr. 17 (29), 1854; died March 1918. Russian general of the cavalry (1910).

Rennenkampf graduated from the Helsingfors Infantry Junkers School in 1873 and from the Academy of the General Staff in 1882. In 1900 he commanded a cavalry brigade in the suppression of the Boxer (I Ho T’uan) Rebellion in China. In the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05, Rennenkampf commanded the Transbaikal Cossack Division and a detachment. As commander of a punitive detachment, he brutally suppressed the Revolution of 1905–07 in Eastern Siberia. He took command of the forces of the Vilnius Military District in 1913. He commanded the First Army at the beginning of World War

During the East Prussian Operation of 1914, Rennenkampf was guilty of criminal negligence in failing to aid the Second Army, and he was the chief cause of the Second Army’s defeat and the subsequent defeat of the First Army in September 1914. In the Łódź Operation of 1914, Rennenkampf’s ineptitude enabled General Schäffer’s German group to break out of an encirclement. As a result, Rennenkampf was relieved of his command. Although an investigation revealed that Rennenkampf had been guilty of criminal acts and had systematically embezzled government funds, he was merely placed in retirement because of support from the tsar. After the October Revolution of 1917, Rennenkampf was arrested by organs of Soviet power and shot in accordance with the sentence of a revolutionary tribunal in Taganrog.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.