Russian Expeditionary Force In France
The Russian Expeditionary Force was a World War I military force sent to France by the Russian Empire. In 1915 the French requested that Russian troops be sent to fight alongside their own army on the Western Front. Initially they asked for 300,000 men, an absurdly high figure, probably based on their assumptions about Russia's 'unlimited' reserves. General Mikhail Alekseev, the Imperial Chief of Staff, was opposed to sending any, though Nicholas II finally agreed to send a unit of brigade strength. The First Russian Special Brigade finally landed at Marseille in April 1916. A Second Special Brigade was also sent to serve alongside other Allied formations on the Salonika Front in northern Greece. In France, the First Brigade served with distinction until the outbreak of the Russian Revolution of 1917. With Brigade morale being sapped by political agitation, it was finally disbanded before the end of the year. However, some of the more determined formed the Légion Russe (French for Russian Legion), and continued to preserve a Russian presence in the west and, indeed, in the Great War itself, right up until the Armistice in November, 1918.
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—Reginald Berkeley (18901935)
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—F. Scott Fitzgerald (18961940)