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Oskar Grippenberg

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Title: Oskar Grippenberg  
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Subject: Russo-Japanese War, 1838 births, 1915 deaths
Collection: 1838 Births, 1915 Deaths, Imperial Russian Army Generals, Members of the State Council of the Russian Empire, Officers of the Order of the Crown of Italy, People from Ikaalinen, Recipients of the Gold Sword for Bravery, Recipients of the Order of Saint Stanislaus (Russian), 1St Class, Recipients of the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky, Recipients of the Order of St. Anna, 1St Class, Recipients of the Order of St. George of the Fourth Degree, Recipients of the Order of St. George of the Third Degree, Recipients of the Order of St. Vladimir, 2Nd Class, Recipients of the Order of the Crown (Prussia), Recipients of the Order of the White Eagle (Russian), Russian Military Personnel of the Crimean War, Russian Military Personnel of the Russo-Japanese War, Russian People of Finnish Descent, Russian People of Swedish Descent
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Oskar Grippenberg

Oskar-Ferdinand Kazimirovich Gripenberg
Oskar Ferdinand Gripenberg
General Gripenberg
Born (1838-01-13)January 13, 1838
Ikaalinen (Grand Duchy of Finland)
Died January 7, 1916(1916-01-07) (aged 77)
Saint Petersburg. Russia
Allegiance  Russian Empire
Service/branch Russian Imperial Army
Years of service 1854-1906
Rank General of the Infantry
Commands held 1st Division, Imperial Russian Guard
Russian 2nd Manchurian Army
Battles/wars Russo-Turkestan War
Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878)
Russo-Japanese War

Oskar-Ferdinand Kazimirovich Gripenberg (Swedish: Oskar Ferdinand Gripenberg, Russian: Оскар Казимирович Гриппенберг) (13 January 1838 – 7 January 1916) was commanding general of the Russian Second Manchurian Army during the Russo-Japanese War.


  • Biography 1
    • Early career 1.1
    • Russo-Japanese War 1.2
    • Final career 1.3
  • Honors 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4
  • Notes 5


Oskar-Ferdinand Gripenberg was born in Ikaalinen (Swedish: Ikalis), Grand Duchy of Finland, the son of Uddo Sten Casimir Gripenberg and Maria Wilhelmina Elisabeth Ladau. The family were Swedish-speaking Finns and his father untitled nobility in the Russian Empire. Oskar-Ferdinand Gripenberg married Hedvig Ida Angelique Lundh in 1874. They had four children.

Early career

Gripenberg began his military career in 1854 as a cadet in the ranks of the Russian Crimean Army. His first combat experience in the with the inscription "For Bravery" in 1869. He was made commander of the 17th Infantry Battalion in 1872 and promoted to colonel. In 1877 he became commander of the 2nd Infantry Battalion of the elite Imperial Russian Life-Guards. He saw combat again during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878, where we was awarded the Order of St. Vladimir (3rd degree with Swords), Order of St. Stanislaus (1st degree), and Order of St George (3rd degree) in 1877, and promotion to major general on 22 February 1878.

In 1890 Gripenberg became commander of the prestigious First Division of the Moscow Life Guards and was promoted to lieutenant general. He lost this position in 1898 after criticizing heavy-handed Russian actions in Finland. He was eventually promoted to general of infantry in 1902, reassigned to command the Russian 6th Army Corps in 1900, and in 1904 was honored with the title aide-de-camp to Nicholas II.[1]

Russo-Japanese War

Gripenberg was assigned to command the Russian 2nd Manchurian Army during Russo-Japanese War,[1] arriving at Mukden on 28 November 1904. Gripenberg was extremely critical of the war of attrition tactics adopted by commander-in-chief General Aleksey Kuropatkin, who had hoped to draw the Imperial Japanese Army deep into Manchuria, where its supply lines would be overextended as part of a delaying tactic until the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railway would bring overwhelming Russian reinforcements. On arriving in Mukden, Gripenberg repeatedly told his men that anyone retreating from their position in the upcoming campaign would be shot. During the ensuing Battle of Sandepu in January 1905, Gripenberg perceived a weakness in the Japanese lines and launched a surprise assault that threw the enemy's left flank into disarray. However, Kuropatkin refused to commit troops to support his offensive, directly leading to the Russian defeat. Relations between the two officers had been strained from the beginning and Gripenberg asked to be relieved of his command of the 2nd Manchurian Army on 29 January 1905, only a day after the battle ended.[1] Tsar Nicholas II allowed Gripenberg to return to Saint Petersburg immediately, although he was not formally relieved until March. Gripenberg lost no time in publicly blaming Kuropatkin for Russia's defeats, which sparked a war of words between the two men in the press.

Final career

Nicholas II still thought highly of Gripenberg, and on 30 April 1905 appointed him Inspector General of the Infantry on 28 June 1905, and as a member of the State Council. As Inspector General, he developed a new manual for shooting, but on 23 March 1906, frustrated by health, he resigned from active service, but remained on the State Councilor nominally as General-Adjutant. He spent his final days in continuing his campaign against Kuropatkin in the newspapers, pamphlets and books, blaming him for the Russian defeat at the Battle of Mukden and for the loss of the war in general. He died on December 25, 1915 in Petrograd, was buried in the Tsarskoselsky Cemetery.



  • Connaughton, R.M (1988). The War of the Rising Sun and the Tumbling Bear—A Military History of the Russo-Japanese War 1904–5, London, ISBN 0-415-00906-5.
  • Jukes, Geoffry. The Russo-Japanese War 1904–1905. Osprey Essential Histories. (2002). ISBN 978-1-84176-446-7.
  • Warner, Denis & Peggy. The Tide at Sunrise, A History of the Russo-Japanese War 1904–1905. (1975). ISBN 0-7146-5256-3.

External links

  • The Russo-Japanese War: Primary Causes of Japanese Success
  • Biography of Oskar Ferdinand Gripenberg (in Finnish)
  • Order of St. George (in Finnish)


  1. ^ a b c Kowner, Historical Dictionary of the Russo-Japanese War, p. 135.
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