Author Topic: The Race To Save the Romanovs  (Read 3458 times)

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Offline JamesAPrattIII

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The Race To Save the Romanovs
« on: August 04, 2018, 02:41:25 PM »
I just finished reading the new book "The Race To Save the Romanovs" by Helen Rappaport I must say it is a a fine well written book on as the subtitle says "The Truth behind the Secret plans to Rescue the Russian Imperial Family". It includes some very impressive research where the author does a good job as a detective tracking down sources and clues. It does a good job at explaining the roles played by King George V and other monarchs in this affair. King Alfonso XIII comes out looking very well. It also provide an update in the roles played by Vasily Yakovlev and others and what they really did. It also deals with the plans of Allied agents and Russian monarchists to rescue the Imperial family some of which can best be described as "hare-brained" as the author would say.

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: The Race To Save the Romanovs
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2018, 03:12:33 PM »
If you go to youtube and look up Helen Rappaport you will find her in presentations discussing this and her other books

Note this is my first book review and now for the errata:

page 57 Louis XVI writing "Rein!" (nothing) in his diary. In a bio of him this was his hunting diary and he didn't go hunting that day

page 93 Norway-Sweden the author says "...must have cross country links.)" and odd statement A 1958 Hammond World Atlas I have shows at least 4 rail lines between the two countries. I would would say all or most were built pre WW I. The Narvik railway was completed in 1903 according to wiki. Some military supplies did get to Russia in WW I via Sweden. Also civilians and some military personel did go through Sweden and Norway during WW I. Note the Duma delagation including Alexander Protopopov went through Sweden in 1916 to England and back.

page 122 1st 3rd and 4th "Rifle Brigade" should be Guards Rifle regiments

page 133 photo th "American Supply Ship" from Janes Fighting Ships of WW I and wiki is the Cruiser Des Moines which left the US for Archangel on 11 April 1919 and returned to the US on 27 October 1919

Page 134 the Sumsky Hussars "an elite Cossack regiment" Hussars are not Cossacks in the Russian Army

page 195 you have Yakovlev being shot in 1928 which looks like a typo for 1938

page 332 the Handley Page V/1500 mentioned was too late for service in WW I see wiki


Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: The Race To Save the Romanovs
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2018, 05:37:45 PM »
On King George V one thing we will not know is what his Prime minister Lloyd George said to him about the Romanovs during their weekly meetings. I understand those two did not get along that well when Lloyd George was Prime Minster. If you look at some of Lloyd George's dealing with Field Marshall Haig the British Expeditionary Force commander in France they make him look like a scheming backstabber. So for him to talk King George V out of letting the IF come to England is possible. I also believe Lloyd George made some anti-monarchist remarks when he was younger. So here is KGV the fall of the Romanovs really shocked him, there is talk of a Republic and trouble at in England, and WW I is not going well. So you can see why he would not want Nicholas and Alexandra coming to live in England.

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: The Race To Save the Romanovs
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2018, 05:42:38 PM »
There were plans to get the IF out of Russia via the artic mentioned in this book. There is a book "Under the Black Ensign" RS Gwatkin-Williams on both archive.org and guttenbergpress.org that deals with the author experiences up in the Artic during the 1916-1917 period. You can say he was also "Caught in the Revolution".  he mentions the ships operating up there
page 91 in the book The old battleship is the Glory and the cruiser ins the Vindictive.
page 160 mentions British submarines the book identifies them as the E39 and E44 and the author sailed with them back to the artic in April 1917 with his ship the crusier Intrepid and 2 trawlers.

There are plans in the book to get the IF out of Russia by submarine. in real life a British E class submarine would have been really cramped to transport NAOTMAA and Dr Botkin and their bags anywhere except for a really short distance. if the IF did get to Murmansk they probably would have been put on a cruiser for England nothing smaller could have taken them and the baggage and their entourage and their bags to England. Also there weren't that many U-boats operating in the Artic in 1917 and the Royal Navy could read the German U-boat codes. So any U-boat could have been aviaded

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: The Race To Save the Romanovs
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2018, 09:55:48 PM »
Kaiser Wilhelm II is brought up in the book. Some more research should have been done on his role. First of all he was very weak politically in 1918. In fact he is spending his time trying to hang on to his throne. The behind the scenes ruler of Germany is General Erich Ludendorff. Wilhelm II and most of the rest of the German leadership didn't like Lenin and Co at all. They did like the treaty of Brest-Litovsk which was very good for Germany which no other Russian would have signed except Lenin and the Bolsheviks. So the Germans supported Lenin enough for him to hold on to power through out 1918. There was even talk of a German-Bolshevik alliance! There were Germans who did want to oust Lenin and Co but someone always found a way to veto their plans. So Lenin was able to survive and consolodate his power. See "The Russian Revolution" Richard Pipes. As for the German home front in WW I the book "Victory Must Be Ours deals with it. There is also the youtube presintation "Total War Comes to the Fatherland"

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: The Race To Save the Romanovs
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2018, 04:43:54 PM »
Aircraft info
The Sopwith 1 1/2 strutter the book has it as "the best aircraft on offer at the time by the RFC. It was this in 1916 but by the spring of 1917 it was in the book "French aircraft of the First World War"  "obsolescent" which is when it was coming into wide use in the French air service. Also note the RFC and RNAS were combined into the RAF on 1 April 1918.

The author is unsure when the RAF first started operating aircraft in North Russia. I posted a question on this on the great war forum and the reply was 19 July 1918 when the first combat mission against the Reds was flown by a Short 184 from the seaplane carrier HMS Nirvana. Source Damon Wright whose book "Churchill's secret war with Lenin" came out last year. See navyhistoy.net for an account of the Royal Navy in North Russia.

Offline Nictionary

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Re: The Race To Save the Romanovs
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2018, 03:31:54 PM »
An addition to the errata: on the map, the capital of Sweden is labeled thus: Christiania (Stockholm).  This was the old name for Oslo, not Stockholm.
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.

Albert Einstein

Offline Nictionary

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Re: The Race To Save the Romanovs
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2018, 01:59:36 AM »
Also it describes Riza Kuli Mirza as a "Caucasian Muslim"; he was actually a prince of the Qajar dynasty.
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.

Albert Einstein

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: The Race To Save the Romanovs
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2019, 10:48:18 PM »
Helen R makes a youtube presentation "The Truth behind the secret plans to Rescue Russia's Imperial Family"

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: The Race To Save the Romanovs
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2019, 03:20:25 PM »
more info
The book "Sweden the Neutral Victor" Steven Koblik is a fine book on Sweden in WW I

RFA/RAF Stephen Berthold Gordon-Smith mentioned in the book on theaerodme.com they have him MC (Military Cross) winner April 1918 Lt in the technical reserve April 1918 temporary Captain and RAF Major

Peregine FM Fellows the book has him being captured this was on 28 May 1918 at 230am  he took off in DH 4 A8065 with Sgt FN Prichard as his observer on a low level 200 feet bombing raid on the lock gates at Zeebrugge and he was shot down and captured most likely by anti-aircraft fire. The lock gates were damaged either by him or another aircraft.

page 44 it should be Northern Front (Russian for Army Group) not Northern Army

page 202 on the RAF in North Russia when the aircrew arrived they discovered there were no maps ! and were given drawings on sheets of paper. A common complaint during WW II by the Germans was how inaccurate the captured Russian maps were.


Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: The Race To Save the Romanovs
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2019, 02:38:43 PM »
As for Grand Duchess Vladimir (Maria p the Elder) and the rest of the "Vlads" all I can say with relatives like this who needs enemies. There are things that should be added not in the book:
The Grand Duchess Vladimir wanted to be Empress and her husband wanted to be Tsar. He dies pre-WW I. At the start of WW I it seems Grand Duchess Vladimir  tried to patch things up with Alexandra. However, when she asked if her son Boris could marry Olga N and Alexandra turned her down she was enraged and turned her gossip machine full force on Alexandra and Rasputin.
 As for Boris in the Russo-Japanese war he comes out as a real "hero". The book "the Tide at Sunrise" has when the battleship Petropavlovsk hit a Japanese mine blew up and sank with his brother Cyril on board who was one of the 80 survivors of a crew of 709. Boris who watched this from ashore burst into tears and fainted later he was found walking the streets of port Arthur wearing a nurses uniform singing loudly. He was most likely drunk. Later at Liaoyang when the Russian Army commander general Kurpatkin rebuked him most likely for being drunk it is said he aimed a blow at the General with his sword. Soon afterwards he was sent back to St Petersburg.
 Grand Duchess Vladimir also never forgot at the start of WW I after sickly Alexei  and Michael A who had married a commoner the next in line to be Tsar was her son Cyril.

See the books "Romanov Autumn" and "Nicholas and Alexandra"

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: The Race To Save the Romanovs
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2019, 04:56:00 PM »
The Murmansk railroad and former Russian PM Alexander Trepov are both in this book. One must point out Trepov had been Minister of Communications before becoming PM and had helped build the Murmansk railroad. Construction was started of the railroad in 1914 with convict labor. In the 1915-197 period 70,000 German and Astro-Hungarian prisoners of war were sent to build the railroad of which 25,000 died do to diseases mostly typus, the cold and overwork made worse by short rations because some corrupt Tsarist officials stole some of the money to buy food. Around 70% of the survivors were in really poor shape when the work was finished. This is sometimes called the "Death railroad of WW I".

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: The Race To Save the Romanovs
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2019, 08:46:43 AM »
 comment:
When the first of the great 1918 Offensives launched by the German Army began on 21 March 1918 that were supposed to win the war for Germany. I would say most of the German and Allied leadership time were spent dealing with these actions. For awhile it looked like the Germans might win the war. So the fate of the Romanov's is way down on everyone's list of thing to do.