War without boots

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War without boots
War without boots
War without boots
War without boots

What are windings and why the Russian army had to change shoes on the roads of the Great War

"The boot of a Russian soldier" - over the centuries of Russian history, this expression has become almost an idiom. At different times, these boots trampled the streets of Paris, Berlin, Beijing and many other capitals. But for the First World War, the words about the "soldier's boot" became an obvious exaggeration - in 1915-1917. most of the soldiers of the Russian Imperial Army no longer wore boots.

Even people who are far from military history, from old photographs and newsreels - and not only the First World War, but also the Great Patriotic War - remember the outlandish for the 21st century "bandages" on the feet of soldiers. More advanced ones remember that such "bandages" are called windings. But few people know how and why this strange and long-disappeared item of army shoes appeared. And almost no one knows how they were worn and why they were needed.

Boot sample 1908

The army of the Russian Empire went to the world war in the so-called "boots for the lower ranks of the model of 1908". Its standard was approved by the General Staff Circular No. 103 of May 6, 1909. In fact, this document approved the type and cut of a soldier's boot, which existed throughout the 20th century and to this day, for the second century it is still "in service" with the Russian army.

Only if during the Great Patriotic, Afghan or Chechen wars this boot was sewn mainly from artificial leather - "kirza", then at the time of its birth it was made exclusively of cowhide leather or yuft. On the eve of the First World War, chemical science and industry had not yet created synthetic materials from which a significant part of today's clothing and footwear is made.

The term "barnyard", which came from ancient times, in the Slavic languages meant animals that did not give birth or that have not yet given birth. "Cowhide" for soldiers' boots was made from the skins of one-year-old gobies or cows that had not yet given birth. Such leather was optimal for durable and comfortable footwear. Older or younger animals were not suitable - the delicate skin of the calves was still not strong enough, and the thick skins of old cows and bulls, on the contrary, were too tough.

Well-processed - with seal fat (blubber) and birch tar - a variety of "cowhide" was called "yuft". It is curious that this medieval Russian word passed into all major European languages. French youfte, English yuft, Dutch. jucht, German juchten comes precisely from the Russian term "yuft", borrowed by the East Slavic tribes, in turn, from the ancient Bulgars. In Europe, "yuft" was often referred to simply as "Russian leather" - since the days of the Novgorod Republic, it was the Russian lands that were the main exporter of finished leather.

By the beginning of the 20th century, the Russian Empire, despite all the successes of industrial development, remained primarily an agricultural country. According to statistics from 1913, 52 million head of cattle grazed in the empire and about 9 million calves were born annually. This made it possible to fully provide leather boots for all the soldiers and officers of the Russian army, which on the eve of the Great War, according to peacetime states, numbered 1 million 423 thousand people.

The Russian soldier's leather boot, model 1908, had a top 10 inches high (about 45 centimeters), counting from the upper edge of the heel. For the Guards regiments, the bootlegs were 1 vershok (4.45 cm) longer.

The cuff was sewn with one seam at the back. This was a new design for that time - the former soldier's boot was sewn on the model of the boots of the Russian Middle Ages and was noticeably different from the modern one. For example, the bootlegs of such a boot were thinner, sewn with two seams on the sides and gathered in an accordion along the entire bootleg. It was these boots, reminiscent of the footwear of archers of the pre-Petrine era, that were popular with wealthy peasants and artisans in Russia at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The soldier's boot of the new model, while observing all the technologies, was slightly more durable than the previous one. It is no coincidence that this design, replacing only materials with more modern ones, has been preserved almost to the present day.

Circular of the General Staff No. 103 of May 6, 1909 strictly regulated the manufacture and all materials of a soldier's boot, up to the weight of leather insoles - "at 13% moisture", depending on the size, they had to weigh from 5 to 11 spools (from 21, 33 to 46, 93 gr.). The leather sole of the soldier's boot was fastened with two rows of wooden studs - their length, location and method of fastening were also regulated by the points in Circular No. 103.


Soldiers of the Russian army in leather boots (left) and canvas boots (right). Summer 1917. Photo: 1914.borda.ru

The heel was straight, 2 cm high, it was fastened with iron studs - from 50 to 65 pieces - depending on the size. In total, 10 sizes of soldiers' boots were installed along the length of the foot and three sizes (A, B, C) in width. It is curious that the smallest size of the soldier's boot of the 1908 model corresponded to the modern size 42 - the boots were worn not on a thin toe, but on a footcloth that had almost disappeared from our everyday life.

In peacetime, a private soldier was given a pair of boots and three pairs of footcloths for a year. Since the soles and soles are worn out in the boot, they were supposed to be in two sets per year, and the tops were changed only once a year.

In the warm season, the soldier's footcloths were "canvas" - from linen or hemp canvas, and from September to February, the soldier was issued "woolen" - from woolen or half-woolen fabric.

Half a million for shoe polish

On the eve of 1914, the tsarist treasury spent 1 ruble 15 kopecks on wholesale for the purchase of leather raw materials and sewing one pair of soldiers' boots. According to the regulations, boots were supposed to be black, in addition, natural boot leather, during intensive use, required regular lubrication. Therefore, the treasury allocated 10 kopecks for blackening and primary lubrication of boots. In total, at the wholesale price, soldier's boots cost the Russian Empire 1 ruble 25 kopecks a pair - about 2 times cheaper than a pair of simple leather boots at retail on the market.

Officers 'boots were almost 10 times more expensive than soldiers' boots, differing in style and material. They were sewn individually, usually from a more expensive and high quality goat "chrome" (that is, specially dressed) leather. Such "chrome boots", in fact, were the development of the "morocco boots" famous in the Russian Middle Ages. On the eve of 1914, simple officer's "chrome" boots cost from 10 rubles per pair, ceremonial boots - about 20 rubles.

Leather boots were then treated with wax or shoe polish - a mixture of soot, wax, vegetable and animal oils and fats. For example, each soldier and non-commissioned officer was entitled to 20 kopecks a year "for greasing and blackening boots." Therefore, the Russian Empire spent almost 500 thousand rubles annually on lubricating the boots of the "lower ranks" of the army.

It is curious that, according to the General Staff Circular No. 51 of 1905, wax was recommended for lubricating army boots, produced in Russia at the factories of the German company Friedrich Baer, a chemical and pharmaceutical company and is now well known under the Bayer AG logo. Let us recall that until 1914, almost all chemical plants and factories in the Russian Empire belonged to German capital.

All in all, on the eve of the war, the tsarist treasury spent about 3 million rubles annually on soldiers' boots. For comparison, the budget of the entire Ministry of Foreign Affairs was only 4 times larger.

They will discuss the situation in the country and demand a constitution

Until the middle of the 20th century, any war was a matter of armies, moving, basically, "on foot." The art of the march on foot was the most important component of the victory. And, of course, the main burden fell on the feet of the soldiers.

To this day, footwear in war is one of the most consumable items along with weapons, ammunition and human lives. Even when a soldier does not participate in battles, in various jobs and simply in the field, he first of all "wastes" shoes.


Chairman of the IV State Duma M. V. Rodzianko. Photo: RIA Novosti

The issue of supplying footwear was especially acute in the era of the emergence of massive conscription armies. Already in the Russian-Japanese war of 1904-05, when Russia for the first time in its history concentrated half a million soldiers on one of the distant fronts, the army quartermasters suspected that if the war dragged out, the army was threatened with a shortage of boots. Therefore, on the eve of 1914, the logisticians collected 1.5 million pairs of new boots in warehouses. Together with 3 million pairs of boots that were stored and used directly in the army units, this gave an impressive figure that reassured the command. No one in the world then assumed that a future war would drag on for years and upset all calculations on the consumption of ammunition, weapons, human lives and boots, in particular.

By the end of August 1914, 3 million 115 thousand "lower ranks" were called up from the reserve in Russia, and another 2 million people had been mobilized by the end of the year. Those who went to the front were supposed to have two pairs of boots - one directly on their feet and the second spare. As a result, by the end of 1914, stocks of boots dried up not only in warehouses, but also in the domestic market of the country. According to the forecasts of the command, in the new conditions for 1915, taking into account losses and expenses, at least 10 million pairs of boots were required, which were nowhere to be taken.

Before the war, footwear production in Russia was exclusively a handicraft industry, thousands of small craft factories and individual shoemakers scattered throughout the country. In peacetime, they coped with army orders, but the system for mobilizing shoemakers to fulfill new huge army orders in wartime was not even in the plans.

Major General Alexander Lukomsky, head of the mobilization department of the General Staff of the Russian army, later recalled these problems: “The impossibility of satisfying the needs of the army by means of domestic industry was somehow unexpected for everyone, not excluding the quartermaster department. There was a lack of leather, a lack of tannins for their manufacture, a lack of workshops, a lack of working hands of shoemakers. But all this came from a lack of proper organization. There was not enough leather on the market, and at the front, hundreds of thousands of leathers were rotted, removed from livestock, which was used as food for the army … Factories for the preparation of tannins, if they thought about it in a timely manner, would not be difficult to set up; in any case, it was not difficult to get ready-made tannins from abroad in a timely manner. There were also enough working hands, but again they did not think in time about the correct organization and development of workshops and handicraft artels."

They tried to involve "zemstvos", that is, local self-government, which worked throughout the country and theoretically could organize cooperation of shoemakers throughout Russia. But here, as one of his contemporaries wrote, "no matter how strange it may seem at first glance, even politics was mixed with the issue of supplying the army with boots."

In his memoirs, Chairman of the State Duma Mikhail Rodzianko described his visit to the Headquarters of the Russian Army at the end of 1914 at the invitation of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, who was then the uncle of the last Tsar, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich: “The Grand Duke said that he was forced to temporarily stop hostilities by the absence of shells and also the lack of boots in the army."

The commander-in-chief asked the chairman of the State Duma to work with the local government to organize the production of boots and other footwear for the army. Rodzianko, realizing the scale of the problem, reasonably suggested that an all-Russian congress of zemstvos be convened in Petrograd to discuss it. But then the Minister of Internal Affairs Maklakov spoke out against him, who said: "According to intelligence reports, under the guise of a congress for the needs of the army, they will discuss the political situation in the country and demand a constitution."

As a result, the Council of Ministers decided not to convene any congresses of local authorities, and to entrust the chief intendant of the Russian army Dmitry Shuvaev with work with the zemstvos on the production of boots, although he, as an experienced business executive, immediately stated that the military authorities had “never dealt with the zemstvos before.”And therefore will not be able to quickly establish common work.

As a result, the work on the production of footwear was carried out haphazardly for a long time, the unregulated market for the mass purchases of leather and boots responded with a deficit and a rise in prices. In the first year of the war, the prices of boots quadrupled - if in the summer of 1914 simple officer boots in the capital could be sewn for 10 rubles, then a year later their price had already exceeded 40, although inflation was still minimal.

Almost the entire population wore soldiers' boots

The problems were aggravated by complete mismanagement, since for a long time the skins of the cattle slaughtered to feed the army were not used. The refrigeration and canning industry was just in its infancy, and tens of thousands of animals were driven in huge herds straight to the front. Their skins would provide enough raw material for shoe making, but they were usually just thrown away.

The soldiers themselves did not take care of the boots. Each mobilized person was given two pairs of boots, and soldiers often sold or changed them on their way to the front. Later, General Brusilov wrote in his memoirs: “Almost the entire population wore soldiers' boots, and most of the people who arrived at the front sold their boots on the way to the townsfolk, often for a pittance and received new ones at the front. Some artisans managed to do such a monetary transaction two or three times."


Lapti. Photo: V. Lepekhin / RIA Novosti

The general thickened the colors a little, but approximate calculations show that, indeed, about 10% of state army boots during the war years ended up not at the front, but on the domestic market. The army command tried to fight this. So, on February 14, 1916, an order was issued for the VIII Army of the Southwestern Front: "The lower ranks who squandered things on the way, as well as those who arrived at the stage in torn boots, should be arrested and put on trial, subject to preliminary punishment with rods." Soldiers who were fined usually received 50 blows. But all these completely medieval measures did not solve the problem.

The first attempts to organize a mass tailoring of boots in the rear turned out to be no less bungling. In some counties, local police officials, having received an order from the governors to attract shoemakers from areas not employed for the army to work in zemstvo and military workshops, solved the issue simply - they ordered to collect all shoemakers in the villages and, as arrested, to be escorted to the county towns … In a number of places, this turned into riots and fights between the population and the police.

In some military districts, boots and shoe material were requisitioned. Also, all handicraftsmen-shoemakers were forced to make at least two pairs of boots per week for payment for the army. But in the end, according to the Ministry of War, in 1915 the troops received only 64.7% of the required number of boots. A third of the army was barefoot.

An army in bast shoes

Lieutenant General Nikolai Golovin describes the situation with shoes when he was chief of staff of the VII Army on the Southwestern Front in the fall of 1915 in Galicia: front of the seat. This marching movement coincided with an autumn thaw, and the infantry lost their boots. This is where our suffering began. Despite the most desperate requests for the expulsion of the boots, we received them in such insignificant portions that the infantry of the army walked barefoot. This catastrophic situation lasted for almost two months."

Let us note the indication in these words not only of the shortage, but also of the poor quality of army boots. Already in exile in Paris, General Golovin recalled: "Such an acute crisis, as in the supply of shoes, in other types of supplies did not have to go through."

In 1916, the commander of the Kazan military district, General Sandetsky, reported to Petrograd that 32,240 soldiers of the reserve battalions of the district to be sent to the front did not have shoes, and since they were not in the warehouses, the district was forced to send the replenishment shod to the villages bought bast shoes.

The letters of the soldiers of the First World War also tell about the glaring problems with shoes at the front. In one of these letters, preserved in the archives of the city of Vyatka, one can read: “They do not put shoes on us, but give us out boots, and give us out to infantry sandals”; “We walk half in bast shoes, a German and an Austrian laugh at us - they will take someone in bast shoes prisoner, they will take off his bast shoes and hang him on the trench and shout - do not shoot your bast shoes”; "The soldiers are sitting without boots, their legs are wrapped in bags"; "They brought two carts of bast shoes, until such a disgrace - an army in bast shoes - how much they fought …"

Trying to somehow deal with the "shoe" crisis, already on January 13, 1915, the command of the imperial army allowed to sew boots for soldiers with tops shortened by 2 inches (almost 9 cm), and then an order followed to issue to soldiers, instead of the leather boots prescribed by the charter, boots with windings and "canvas boots", that is, boots with tarpaulin tops.

Before the war, the rank and file of the Russian army was always supposed to wear boots, but now for work “out of order” they were allowed to issue any other available footwear. In many parts, at last, they began to use the skins of the slaughtered for meat of the day of making leather bast shoes.

Our soldier first got acquainted with such shoes during the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-78. In Bulgaria. Among the Bulgarians, leather bast shoes were called "opanks", and that is how they are called, for example, in the order for the 48th Infantry Division of December 28, 1914. At the beginning of the war, this division from the Volga region was transferred to Galicia, and after a few months, faced with a shortage of boots, it was forced to make "opankas" for the soldiers.

In other parts, such footwear was called in the Caucasian manner "Kalamans" or in Siberian - "cats" (emphasis on "o"), as women’s ankle boots were called beyond the Urals. In 1915, such homemade leather bast shoes were already common along the entire front.

Also, the soldiers weaved ordinary bast shoes for themselves, and in the rear units they made and wore boots with wooden soles. Soon, the army even began a centralized purchase of bast shoes. For example, in 1916, from the city of Bugulma, Simbirsk province, the zemstvo supplied the army with 24 thousand pairs of sandals worth 13,740 rubles. - each pair of bast shoes cost the army treasury 57 kopecks.

Realizing that it was impossible to cope with the shortage of army footwear on its own, the tsarist government already in 1915 turned to the Allies in the "Entente" for boots. In the autumn of that year, the Russian military mission of Admiral Alexander Rusin sailed to London from Arkhangelsk with the aim of placing Russian military orders in France and England. One of the first, in addition to requests for rifles, was a request for the sale of 3 million pairs of boots and 3,600 poods of plantar leather.

Boots and shoes in 1915, regardless of expenses, tried to urgently buy all over the world. They even tried to adapt a batch of rubber boots purchased in the United States for the needs of the soldiers, but they nevertheless refused for their hygienic properties.

“Already in 1915 we had to make very large orders for footwear - mainly in England and in America,” General Lukomsky, the head of the mobilization department of the Russian General Staff, later recalled.- These orders were very expensive for the treasury; there were cases of extremely unscrupulous implementation of them, and they took up a very significant percentage of the tonnage of ships, so precious for the supply of ammunition."

German Knobelbecher and English Puttee

Difficulties with shoes, albeit not on such a scale, were experienced by almost all allies and opponents of Russia in the Great War.

Of all the countries that entered the massacre in 1914, only the armies of Russia and Germany were completely shod in leather boots. The soldiers of the "Second Reich" started the war wearing boots of the 1866 model, introduced by the Prussian army. Like the Russians, the Germans then preferred to wear a soldier's boot not with socks, but with footcloths - Fußlappen in German. But, unlike the Russians, the boots of the German soldier had tops 5 cm shorter, which were sewn with two seams on the sides. If all Russian boots were necessarily black, then in the German army some units wore brown boots.


Soldier's boots with windings. Photo: 1914.borda.ru

The sole was reinforced with 35-45 iron nails with wide heads and metal horseshoes with heels - thus, the metal covered almost the entire surface of the sole, which gave it durability and a characteristic clang when columns of German soldiers walked along the pavement. The mass of metal on the sole kept it during the marches, but in winter this iron froze through and could chill the feet.

The leather was also somewhat stiffer than that of Russian boots, it is no coincidence that German soldiers jokingly nicknamed their official shoes Knobelbecher - "a glass for dice." The soldier's humor implied that the leg dangled in a sturdy boot, like bones in a glass.

As a result, the lower and tougher German soldier's boot was slightly stronger than the Russian: if in peacetime in Russia a pair of boots relied on a soldier for a year, then in economical Germany - for a year and a half. In the cold, the boots forged by the mass of metal were more inconvenient than the Russian ones, but when it was created, the General Staff of the Prussian Kingdom planned to fight only against France or Austria, where there are no 20-degree frosts.

The French infantry began the war not only in blue greatcoats and red trousers, noticeable from afar, but also in very curious shoes. The infantryman of the "Third Republic" wore leather boots "of the 1912 model" - in the shape of exactly the modern model men's shoes, only the entire sole was riveted with 88 iron nails with a wide head.

From the ankle to the middle of the shin, the French soldier's leg was protected by overhead leather "gaiters of the 1913 model", fixed with a leather cord. The outbreak of war quickly showed the shortcomings of such shoes - the army boot "model 1912" had an unsuccessful cut in the lacing area, which easily let water through, and the "leggings" not only wasted leather expensive in war conditions, but it was inconvenient to put them on and when walking they rubbed their calves …

It is curious that Austria-Hungary started the war simply in boots, abandoning boots, short leather Halbsteifel, in which the soldiers of the "two-pronged monarchy" fought the entire 19th century. The trousers of the Austrian soldiers tapered to the bottom and buttoned up at the boot. But even this solution turned out to be not convenient - the leg in a low boot got wet easily, and unprotected trousers quickly tore to shreds in the field.

As a result, by 1916, most of the soldiers of all countries participating in the war wore military shoes that were optimal for those conditions - leather boots with cloth windings. It was in such shoes that the army of the British Empire entered the war in August 1914.

The rich "factory of the world", as England was then called, could afford to dress the entire army in boots, but its soldiers also had to fight in Sudan, South Africa and India. And in the heat you are not particularly like wearing leather boots, and the practical British adapted an element of the footwear of the mountaineers in the Himalayas for their needs - they tightly wrapped a long narrow piece of fabric around their legs from ankle to knee.

In Sanskrit, it was called "patta", that is, tape. Soon after the suppression of the Sipai uprising, these "ribbons" were adopted in the uniforms of the soldiers of the "British Indian Army". By the beginning of the 20th century, the entire army of the British Empire wore windings in the field, and the word "puttee" had passed into English from Hindi, with which these "ribbons" were designated.

Secrets of windings and leather lace

It is curious that at the beginning of the 20th century, windings were also a generally accepted element of clothing for European athletes in the winter - runners, skiers, skaters. They were often used by hunters as well. Elastic synthetics did not exist at that time, and a dense fabric "bandage" around the leg not only fixed and protected it, but also had a number of advantages over the skin.

The winding is lighter than any leather gaiters and bootlegs, the leg under it “breathes” better, therefore, it gets less tired, and, what is most important in war, it reliably protected the leg from dust, dirt or snow. Crawling on his bellies, a soldier in boots will, one way or another, rake them with his bootlegs, but the windings will not. At the same time, the leg, wrapped in several layers of fabric, is also well protected from moisture - walking in dew, wet soil or snow does not lead to getting wet through.

In muddy roads, in a field or in trenches flooded with water, the boots got stuck in the mud and slipped, while the boot with a well-tied winding held on tight. In the heat, the legs in the windings do not shrink, unlike the legs in the boot, and in cold weather, an additional layer of fabric warms up quite well.

But the main thing for the big war turned out to be another property of the windings - their tremendous cheapness and simplicity. That is why, by 1916, soldiers of all belligerent countries fought, mainly in wraps.


An advertisement for British Fox windings. 1915 year. Photo: tommyspackfillers.com

The production of this simple object then reached fantastic volumes. For example, only one British company Fox Brothers & Co Ltd during the First World War produced 12 million pairs of windings, in the unfolded state it is a tape 66 thousand km long - enough to wrap the entire coast of Great Britain twice.

Despite all the simplicity, the windings had their own characteristics and required skills to wear them. There were several types of windings. The most common were windings that were fixed with strings, but there were also varieties that were fastened with small hooks and buckles.

In the Russian army, the simplest windings with strings 2.5 m long and 10 cm wide were usually used. In the “removed” position, they were wound into a roll, with the laces inside, being a kind of “axis”. Taking such a roll, the soldier began to wind the winding around his leg from the bottom up. The first turns should be tightest, carefully covering the top of the boot from the front and back. Then the tape was wrapped around the leg, the last turns did not reach the knee a little. The end of the winding was usually a triangle with two laces sewn into the top. These laces were wrapped around the last loop and tied, the resulting bow was hidden behind the upper edge of the winding.

As a result, wearing the windings required a certain skill, as did the comfortable wearing of footcloths. In the German army, cloth winding 180 cm long and 12 cm wide was hooked to the edge of the boot and wound tightly from bottom to top, fixing under the knee with strings or a special buckle. The British had the most difficult method of tying the winding - first from the middle of the lower leg, then down, then up again.

By the way, the method of tying army boots during the First World War was noticeably different from the modern one. Firstly, then leather lace was most often used - synthetic ones were not yet available, and cloth laces quickly wore out. Secondly, it was usually not tied in knots or bows. The so-called “one-end lacing” was used - a knot was tied at the end of the lace, the lace was threaded into the lower lacing hole so that the knot was inside the boot leather, and the other end of the lace was sequentially passed through all the holes.

With this method, the soldier, putting on the boot, tightened the entire lacing in one motion, wrapped the end of the lace around the top of the boot and simply plugged it over the edge or by the lacing. Due to the stiffness and friction of the leather lace, this “construction” was securely fixed, allowing you to put on and tie a boot in just a second.

Cloth protective bandages on the shins

In Russia, windings appeared in service in the spring of 1915. At first they were called "cloth protective bandages on the shins", and the command planned to use them only in the summer, returning from autumn to spring thaw to the old boots. But the shortage of boots and the rise in leather prices forced the use of windings at any time of the year.

Boots for the windings were used in a variety of ways, from sturdy leather, a sample of which was approved by the command on February 23, 1916, to various handicrafts of front-line workshops. For example, on March 2, 1916, by order of the command of the Southwestern Front No. 330, the manufacture of a soldier's canvas shoe with a wooden sole and a wooden heel was started.

It is significant that the Russian Empire was forced to purchase from the West not only complex weapons like machine guns and aircraft engines, but also such primitive things as windings - by the beginning of 1917 in England, along with brown boots, they bought such a large batch of mustard-colored woolen windings that they were widely used in the infantry all the years of the civil war.

It was the boots with windings and the gigantic purchases of footwear abroad that allowed the Russian army by 1917 to slightly relieve the severity of the "boot" crisis. In just a year and a half of the war, from January 1916 to July 1, 1917, the army needed 6 million 310 thousand pairs of boots, of which 5 million 800 thousand were ordered abroad. million pairs of shoes (of which only about 5 million pairs of boots), and for all the years of the Great War in Russia, among other uniforms, 65 million pairs of leather and "canvas" canvas boots and boots were sent to the front.

At the same time, over the entire war, the Russian Empire called up over 15 million people "under arms". According to statistics, during the year of hostilities, 2.5 pairs of shoes were spent on one soldier, and in 1917 alone, the army worn out almost 30 million pairs of shoes - until the very end of the war, the shoe crisis was never completely overcome.

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