23. Paul von Rennenkampf (1854-1918)
A nobleman, statesman, the General to the Imperial Russian Army in 1882 and promoted to Major-General by 1900, Rennenkampf held an impressive streak of military success prior to the start of World War I.
Following the contested success at the Battle of Gumbinnen against Germany’s Eight Army, the failure at the First Battle of the Masurian Lakes that same month of August forced Russian withdrawal from East Prussia.
Finally, his career met its demise at the Battle of Lodz in November, which led to Rennenkampf’s dismissal amid accusations of incompetence and even treason. As headed to the Black Sea, the Bolsheviks approached him to serve in the Red Army, upon refusing the offer he was shot.