Although the Russian government manged to mobilise around 15 million men by 1914 and 1917, mainly conscripts peasants, it proved unable to provide for them. The problems of the early years grew steadily worse so that soldiers were sent to fight not only without suitable weaponry, but also lacking basic warm clothing and properly fitting waterproof footwear. In 1914, the infantry had only two rifles for every three soldiers and it 1915, it was not unusual for Russian artillery to be limited to two to three shells per day. In these early years , the soldiers had to rely on the weapons of fallen comrades in order to fight at all.
By 1916, most glaring deficiencies in equipment had gone. The winter months of 1915-1916 had been relatively quiet for the Russians so the time had been spent ensuring that soldiers were better trained and rifles were being produced at the rate of 10,000 a month. By the time the Brusilov offensive was launched in June 1916, most front-line units had a reasonable complement of machine-guns and artillery shells. However, the army had a serious lack of experienced officers since most been killed in the early stages of war.
The Brusilov offence secured some advances but the armies soon experienced communication problems as they advanced west. The Germans with their superior railway network, were able to move men forward more quickly than the Russians and by August the Russian advance had come to a halt.
Morale in the army had plummeted and soldiers had lost faith in the their Tsar and their declared goal of annexing more land/ territory for Russia.
From October 1916, the effectiveness of the Russian army started to decline, partly because of the deteriorating economic and political situation within Russia itself and partly because of the heavy casualties it suffered. That year thousands of soldiers deserted the army and many more in the…