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Frīdrihs Briedis
Born (1888-06-23)June 23, 1888
Died August 28, 1918(1918-08-28) (aged 30)
Place of birth Klenoviki, Vitebsk Governorate, Russian Empire
Place of death Moscow, Soviet Russia
Allegiance Russian Empire
White movement
Service/branch Army
Years of service 1906 — 1918
Rank Colonel
Battles/wars World War I
Russian Civil War
Awards Order of Lāčplēsis (I, II, III clases), Cross of St. George, Sword of St. George, Order of St. Vladimir (IV class), Order of St. Anna (II, III and IV classes), Order of Saint Stanislaus (II and III classes)[1]

Frīdrihs Briedis (June 23, 1888 – August 28, 1918) was a Latvian colonel and one of the most famous Latvian Riflemen commanders. He was posthumously the recipient of all classes of the Order of Lāčplēsis.[2]

Early life

To escape dishonest and harsh baronial treatment, Briedis' father moved the family from Vidzeme to Vitebsk Governorate (today's Shumilina Raion in Belarus), where he obtained forest land, cleared it for growing corn, and built the house where Briedis was born, the youngest of three children.[3]

Briedis' upbringing, particularly his mother's influence, engendered in him a devout nature. He graduated with distinction from the local rural district (pagasts[4]) and local congregational church schools.[3]

He left his family home in 1902, traveling to Daugavpils, where he moved in with relatives and entered the six-year city school. A consistently excellent student, he devoted his spare time furthering his religious studies, tutoring to buy books, hoping one day to become a minister—his goal to battle the moral decay which deeply affected him at the time of the Russo-Japanese War. By his own admission, he had time for few, if any, friends.[3]

Finished with school, Briedis determined to enter the Monastery at Belye Berega. Having arrived at the rail station, nearly at his destination, he encountered two inebriated monks. A shocked Briedis renounced any thought of entering the priesthood—he held boozing to be the most vile immorality and would have no truck with any who engaged in it. To fill the void, in 1905, Briedis found a new calling—the military.[3]

Military service

Russian Army units

In 1906 he was accepted into the St.Petersburg's Vladimir War School. Due to his excellent tactical knowledge he reached the rank of Senior sergeant by his last year at the school.[1] Briedis graduated from the war school with the rank of Podporuchik, and afterwards he served in the 99th Ivangorod infantry regiment, which was deployed in Daugavpils. In 1912 he attained the rank of Poruchik and was appointed the company's Commander.

He participated in World War I, initially serving in East Prussia, where he successfully led reconnaissance patrols and received numerous awards for valor and his accomplishments.

Fridrihs Briedis presents awards to his soldiers. (1916)

Latvian Riflemen

When the formation of the Latvian Riflemen battalions begun in 1915 he was appointed to command the 1st Daugavgrīva battalion. He and his men participated in battles near the Misa River, and near Ķekava. In March 1916 Briedis was severely wounded in the jaw, but he recovered and participated in the Christmas Battles as commander of a battalion. During the Christmas Battles he fought in Tīreļpurvs, where he was wounded for a second time.

Briedis was in hospital when the February Revolution broke out, triggering the collapse of the army. Many riflemen joined the Red Army, but Briedis was among those who refused to do so.[1] When he recovered from his injury he was arrested, but managed to escape, going into the inner Russia where he joined the White movement. He worked in intelligence and was responsible for anti-bolshevik propaganda for the Red Latvian Riflemen.[Clarification needed][citation needed] He also commanded an anti-bolshevik uprising near the Volga River in the Rybinsk district.

On July 23, 1918, he was arrested by the Bolsheviks, and on August 27, 1918, he was executed in Moscow by firing squad. He received all classes of the Order of Lāčplēsis for his valor in the Christmas Battles, and for participation in almost all the rifleman's operations on the Riga front.[1] In Riga there is also street named in his name

References in popular culture

Latvian pagan metal band Skyforger has a song Pulkvedis Briedis (Colonel Briedis) dedicated to Frīdrihs Briedis. It is included in the Latvian rifleman album.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Biography in Order of Lāčplēsis home page (Latvian)
  2. Priedītis, Ērichs Ēriks (1996) (in Latvian). Latvijas Valsts apbalvojumi un Lāčplēši.. Riga: Junda. ISBN 9984-01-020-1. OCLC 38884671. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 M. Akmenājs, ed. Briedis, A Concise Biography with 12 Illustrations Based on a Manuscript by Aleksandrs Plensners. M. Goppers, Sweden. 1963.
  4. When translated as "parish" in English, "pagasts" refers to local rural organization as found in England by that name, unrelated to religion.

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