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The Russian artillery in the Prutian campaign (1711)

yu. E. Manoylenko


Work is presented by department of the Russian history.

The research supervisor - the doctor of historical sciences, professor I.V. Alekseeva

In article the review of actions of the Russian artillery at all stages of the Prutian campaign of 1711 is carried out. On the example of the Prutian operation, features of fighting application of artillery in field battles of the first quarter of the 18th century are considered, detailed characteristic of interaction it with other types of military forces is given.

Basing on the example of the Pruth campaign, author considers features of artillery tactical employment in field battles of the first quarter of the 18 century and characterizes in details its interaction with other arms.

Participation of the Russian artillery in the Prutian campaign represents one of the brightest episodes of its fighting history.

In a domestic historiography this subject was practically not investigated, and was only mentioned within the general works on history of the Russian-Turkish relations, the history of artillery and military history of the 18th century [2; 4; 7; 8; 9; 10]. In these works the role of artillery in the Prutian campaign in detail was not considered or considered with attraction of a small amount of sources.

The exception is made by N.E. Brandenburg article the "Russian artillery in the Prutian campaign" published in 1897 in "The artillery magazine" [3]. However the contemporary records provided in article cannot almost be identified in view of changes of an order of metering of materials of archive of the Military and historical museum of artillery, engineering troops and troops of communication.

Proceeding from it, it is advisable to address a problem of participation of the Russian artillery in the Prutian campaign again and in more detail to light its actions in 1711

On November 20 (on December 1), 1710 the Ottoman Empire announced a termination of the Constantinople peace treaty signed between Russia and Turkey in 1700

At the end of December in St. Petersburg the sheet was received from the ambassador P.A. Tolstoy in which it was reported about military preparations of the Turkish troops and intentions of the Turkish command of spring of the next year to start active fighting [13, page 24].

Having received these data, Peter I sends to the commander of the Russian troops to Lif-lyandii to the general field marshal B.P. Sheremetev the order about preparation of military units and also field and regimental artillery, to transfer through "Lithuania and Poland to the Tours borders" [11, page 449-450].

By this time in the field artillery reduced in the separate artillery regiment which was under command of the major general I.Ya. Ginter there were 53 tools, including 28 copper guns (18 3-pound, 8 8-pound, 2 12 pound), 2 copper howitzers (1 0.5-ludo-

Wai and 1 pood), 2 pood copper mortars and 21 6-pound mortirka (12 copper and 9 pig-iron) [1, 7, l. 292].

The regimental artillery which was a part of the dragoon and infantry regiments going for actions against the Turkish army contained 61 tools. This artillery was distributed as follows: in 24 infantry regiments was

48 3-pound guns; in Guards Preobrazhensky and Semenovsk regiments there were 6 3-pound guns; in artillery of 10 dragoon regiments 7 guns (6 2-pound and 1 3-pound) [1, 7, l consisted. 319-320].
1 the Council of War on which the strategic plan of a campaign against Turkey providing expansion of offensive of the main forces of the Russian army at Danube to provide transition to the side of the principalities of Moldova and Walachia which were under the power of the Ottoman Empire was adopted took place on January (12), 1711. It would allow the Russian troops of a message fighting in more favorable conditions.

According to this plan Peter I demands from B.P. Sheremetev within January to organize a performance of troops and artillery in a campaign [12, page 32; 15, page 5-6], however owing to the arisen difficulties with gathering of horses for transportation of tools and ammunition the field artillery acted from Riga only at the beginning of February, 1711, under cover of the Siberian battalion and the 200th grenadier from a division of the lieutenant general L. Allart [16, page 6].

The movement of artillery was at a loss the shortage of provisions and fodder, big losses of horses, an impassability of roads and off road terrain [1, 131, l. 282]. On April 30 (on May 11) the commander of an artillery regiment I.Ya. Ginter informed Peter I: "... beginning from Righi I lost more than 90 artillery horses... because of a lack of provisions..." [12, page 474].

On April 12-13 (23-24) in Lutsk where at this time there was Peter I, the Council of War on which the decision on gathering of troops near Breslavl (Bratslava) not later 20 on May (31) [1, by 131, l was made took place. 114-115], aiming to approach Danube before Turks.

However owing to the reasons stated above the artillery could not arrive in Breslavl to the appointed date, and it became one of the reasons that the Russian army did not manage to move forward to Danube while that is

retsky troops were transported through it and on June 29 (on July 10) moved towards to Russians along the left bank of the Prut River.

At the same time the Russian field artillery together with the main forces of army also moved to the Prut and, having made a crossing through it on the pontoon bridge, by June 30 (on July 11) was concentrated around Yass [1, 131, l. 266].

4 on July (15) the Russian command received data that the Turkish army is in the town of Trayan and is preparing for a crossing on the right bank of the Prut where the Russian troops settled down [10, page 112]. The decision to direct towards to Turks group under command of the general Ja. von Eberstedt with the purpose to prevent a crossing of the Turkish troops through the Prut was made. To group 12 3-pound guns and 20 6-pound mortirok [1 were given, to 7, l. 104].
7 on July (18) group Ya. of von Eberstedt, following along the Prut ahead of the main forces of the Russian army, found the vanguard of the Turkish army transported on the right bank and, contrary to the order, made the decision on retreat, however it was attacked by the Turkish and Tatar cavalry.

According to the foreman Zh.N. Moro de Braze who was in the Russian group on attacking the volley by a case-shot from the artillery pieces located in a rear guard and on flanks of the group constructed in a caret that allowed to come off prosecution was made and by the morning 8 on July (19) to connect to the main forces [6, page 310-311].

Pursuing Ja. von Eberstedt, the Turkish vanguard occupied the natural boundary Falchi then on the Council of War the Russian command made the decision "... to retire from the enemy... and in the convenient location with it to give a fight" [5, page 338].

With nightfall the Russian army, having constructed in a caret, began retreat on the North along the right bank of the Prut; at the same time, covering field artillery in case of attack of the opponent, its tool

placed in the center. The regimental artillery moved as a part of the regiments [14, page 70].

Before retreat for simplification of a wagon train from among artillery ammunition 28 pood bombs, 119 case-shots (3- and 8-pound), 4923 grenades were left (2- and 6-pound), 140 poods of gunpowder are drowned and blown up [3, page 14-15].

Several hours prior to dawn 9 on July (20) the Turkish troops, having found retreat, began prosecution of the Russian army on a march "and repaired fight prezhestoky". The attacks of the opponent beat off fire of regimental tools [14, page 71].

Having passed about 7 km, the Russian army stopped in the valley near the natural boundary New Stanileshti. From the back the Russian troops were covered with a bend of the Prut River; from the right flank there was a swamp; on the left flank where the Turkish army was located, the line of trenches was arranged. For protection against a cavalry on all perimeter of the camp slingshots were put (the crossed bars up to 3 m long with needles).

The field artillery was established in the center of the camp; regimental tools was in fighting orders of the dragoon and infantry regiments developed to the line on camp perimeter and "in all day" beat off the attacks of the Turkish and Tatar cavalry [14, page 71].

By the evening 9 on July (20) the Russian camp was surrounded with the main forces of the Turkish army which were located below on the Prut Current and on the high opposite coast, and the groups of Tatars which took positions is higher on a current.

Shortly before nightfall the southern part of the left flank of Russians was attacked by the Turkish infantry (Janissars) in number of about 20 thousand people [10, page 122].

The attack met by "fast firing" from 10 3-pound regimental tools charged at the same time with kernels and a case-shot was beaten off. After that on the attacked site 8 more 8-pound tools of field artillery and several 3-pound guns from the neighboring sites by means of which were otra-were thrown

wives all subsequent attacks, at the same time Turks lost up to 7 thousand people [5, page 340-341].

Along with actions of infantry the Turkish and Tatar cavalry undertook the constant attacks on all perimeter of the Russian camp: ". Turki, both Tatars and Spagi to our slingshots with which of all guns .prikhodit... fought back..." [14, page 71].

In the night of 9 (20) on 10 on July (21) to Turks the artillery in number of 444 tools [5, page 345] which began to establish on batteries against both flanks of the Russian camp and on the opposite coast of the Prut was brought.

During the whole night the intensive gun-fire on both sides was conducted [16, page 53]. According to the eyewitness of battle French traveler A. de la Motrey who was in the Turkish camp, accurate shooting of the Russian gunners forced the Grand Visier to transfer the rate to the distance inaccessible to gun-fire [17, river 11].

In two days of fights on the Prut the Russian field artillery spent 1694 shells (1014 kernels, 198 bombs, 200 6-pound grenades, 282 case-shots); the regimental artillery spent 1406 shells (1101 3-pound kernels and 305 case-shots) [1, 7, l. ZbZ-ZbZob].

10 the Council of War on which the decision to offer Turks the world was made, and in case of refusal to attack the opponent and to break along the Prut on the North took place on July (21).

The answer from the Turkish command to twice made offers on the world did not follow then "... ordered to act to regiments and when our several dozen sazhen acted... from Turks sent... that they accept the world" [5, page 342].

Combat operations in coast of the Prut became the most large-scale on application of artillery in field battle after Poltava.

During the heavy 5-month campaign connected with long transitions it is frequent in cross-country conditions, with need of speeding up of the rivers and also operativ-

a leg of movement of tools during battle, rows of dragoon and infantry regiments were

the expediency of acceptance was confirmed tools are strengthened by regimental tools, and

on arms field and regimental artil- field artillery, located in the prices -

leriya of maneuverable tools small- a camp Torah, played a role of a reserve and in a case

libr with the facilitated design. need was used for podder-

During battle 9 (20) and 10 (21) July zhka of the attacked sites.

to human resources of the Turkish army, an okra- About intensity of fire of the Russian artil-

living the Russian camp (up to 135 thousand Turks leriya the big expense fights of Tatars against 38 thousand Russians testifies) [10, page 123 — epripas. The Russian gunners conducted

124], the power in- fire from the tools charged odnovre-was opposed

tensivny gun-fire, pozvo- Menno kernels and a case-shot that put

pouring successfully to reflect all attacks about- considerable losses to the Turkish infantry, dey-

tivnik. stvovavshy massively on one direction.

Experience of joint actions with infantry and Actions of artillery in battle on

a cavalry, saved up by Russians artille- The rod showed unsuccessfulness

rist in battles of Northern war, on- attempts of the Turkish command to break

zvolit correctly to organize defense with resistance of the Russian troops with the help

accounting of conditions of the area and numerical military force that became one of the reasons

superiority of the Turkish army. Fighting on- adoptions by Turks of the offer on the world.


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Joseph Schmidt
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