The Strategic Plan of the Russian Federation and the deployment of troops on the eve of the War of 1812

On the development of the Russian plan of war with the French empire affected fluctuations diplomats. The period of preparation for the war with France quite clearly be divided into two steps: the first — from the end of 1809 until the beginning of 1811, the second — from mid-1811 to early 1812.

After the meeting in Erfurt (it was held from 27 September to 14 October 1808) military government of the Russian Federation resulted in the situation as unfavorable. There was a need to have a plan in case of war with the French Empire. 2 (14) March 1810 Minister of War Mikhail Bogdanovich Barclay de Tolly is Alexander I memorandum — "On Protection of the western reaches of Russia." The report said the preparation of the western regions of the empire to the war. Our home was not going to go to war first. The defensive line was to pass along the rivers Dniester and Western Dvina. On this line had planned to do a series of fortifications and focus food and other needed supplies to the army. The plan foresaw two steps of the war. In the first step of going to conduct border fight to exhaustion of all available means to fight (without entering into a decisive battle with the main forces of the enemy). After the exhaustion of all abilities troops retreated to the main line of defense. Provided for the use of "scorched earth" — the French, away from their own warehouses were going to throw the devastated area — without food, livestock, tf. In the second step going to continue to adhere to a defensive strategy, but with the inclusion as necessary offensive action. The plan noted that the victory needs skillful deployment of troops (in order to be able to focus maximum effort) and perfectly cooked rear base.

Mikhail Bogdanovich Barclay de Tolly.

In terms of the Minister of War Three variants of the acts of the Russian armed forces regardless of the direction of the head hitting the opponent. In the case of the coming of Napoleon's army ruler of the Ukraine left flank of the Russian army retreated to Zhitomir, which is to be built a fortified camp. Immediately forces of the Russian right wing had to knock through East Prussia enemy in the flank. In this case, if Napoleon Bonaparte take importantly coming to Petersburg, on the north, the right flank of the Russian troops had to retreat to a fortified camp near Friedrichstadt — Yakobshtadt. And the troops of the left flank to attack the flank of the enemy, advancing in the Warsaw area. With the coming of the French band on Smolensk — Moscow Russian troops in the central direction was delayed to the Dnieper River, once the troops left and the right wing struck the flanks and rear of the enemy.

To fight the French army was supposed to form the three armies. 1st Army, consisting of four divisions was to cover the border from Polangena to Kovno. 2nd Army, consisting of seven divisions concentrated in Volhynia and Podolia. 3rd Army (spare), composed of four divisions, had to turn around between Vilnius and Minsk and assist of the army, which would be attacked. Such a disposition of forces and means implied a commitment to meaningful maneuver area bounded by the Dvina, Dnieper and woodland.

Offers Barclay de Tolly was approved. Reporting on measures provided by the Ministry of War, Barclay de Tolly stressed that his defensive strategy and provides for offensive operations. The War Office has started preliminary work in a fortress located on the Western Dvina and Berezina River Dnieper. A process of filling the bases different stocks for the war effort. The Ministry has conducted a number of rekognostsirovok forces officers Quartermaster. The acquired data were collated and the middle of September 1810 Saxon Baron Ludwig von Wolzogen (In 1807, he was admitted to the Russian service by major Quartermaster) presented on the basis of their judgments Barclay de Tolly. Wolzogen offered in case of an invasion of the enemy to retreat from the battle into the country and rely on a line of fortifications made by the Western Dvina and Dnepr. Army opposes the main forces of the enemy, was to wear down the enemy fights, with an emphasis on strengthening. Another army was to strike at the enemy's flanks, to act in his rear by guerrilla groups. As a result, proposals Wolzogen reinforced the judgments of Barclay de Tolly.

At the end of 1811 came the principal foreign policy event — Prussia proposed alliance, and the Russian government has taken it. Signed a convention that anticipate the joint conduct of the war with the French Empire. In St. Petersburg, a thought offensive, preemptive war. Proponents of an offensive war believed that it is necessary to prevent the introduction of Napoleon Bonaparte forces and resources of Central Europe against Russia. By the use of force Prussia and Sweden in the fight against the enemy. Offensive plan foresaw the deployment of Russian armies, particularly at the borders and energetic coming towards the Oder, which was to become the demarcation lines between Russia and France. But this plan was not approved. It should be noted that Napoleon foresaw a similar course of events — a long time it was believed that the Russian army itself will move in coming and will destroy it in a few oncoming battle.

The plan of preventive war was dropped after it became quite clear that neither Prussia nor Austria, nor much less Duchy of Warsaw did not perceive the role in the war against the French Empire on the side of Russia. Besides not been removed from the agenda of day or the question of the war with the Ottoman Empire — a peace treaty signed only May 22, 1812. Therefore it was decided to continue the development of the defensive plan. But the development has met so many problems that prior to the start of the war failed to produce this operational plan and bring it to the generals.

I must say that almost immediately adopted the setting for uncompromising nature of war. Back in May 1811 the Russian Emperor Alexander I explained his attitude to the impending war to the French ambassador in Russia Armand de Caulaincourt (he was an opponent of the war with Russia): "If a ruler Napoleon start a war against me, and it may even be possible that he Us beat, if we take the fight, but it still will not give him peace. For us … — neohvatnoe place and we keep well-organized army. If guns … lots will decide the case against me, I quickly turn back to Kamchatka than yield to their province and sign contracts in their own capital, which are the only respite. The Frenchman is brave, but many hardships and bad climate weary and discouraged him. For us to fight the battle of our climate and our winter. "

The difficulties of the Russian command. Until March 1812 it was not clear how to behave Austria and Prussia in the war with France, the Russian Federation. By acts of these powers depended deployment of troops on the western border and in the Balkan area. Disturbing information Misha Kutuzov, and then Admiral Paul Chichagova about focusing Austrian troops led Petersburg hold significant power on the Danube and allocate troops to cover the areas of Kiev. In addition, prior to the signing of peace with Turkey had to hold significant reserves on the Dniester.

Russian commanders had to deal with the problem of choosing the head of operational areas. Of the three areas in which the French troops could start coming — North (St. Petersburg), central (Moscow) and the south (Kiev), there were more fundamental first. Many believed that the coming of Napoleon deploy the capital of Russian Empire. Because a lot of attention was paid to strengthening the forts on the Western Dvina, Riga. Considerable attention is paid, and the southern direction: measures were taken to the reconstruction of Kiev's fortifications were engineering works in Bobruisk, M
ozyr. The central direction of the least-unsafe: work to strengthen Smolensk and Borisov were insignificant. Only 8 April 1812 received an order to strengthen urgently Borisov to cover running through it and communicate it to protect the created store.

In the development of the war plan envisaged that the retreat of Russian troops should not be on the turn of the Western Dvina and Dnepr. Their proposed to give a decisive battle and defeat the enemy.

"The plan Pfuel"

Immediately with the developments of Barclay de Tolly and Wolzogen with June 1811 to the headquarters of Alexander was the development of so-called plan Pfuel (from time to time write Fulya). Wurtemburg Baron Karl Ludwig von Pfuhl served in Prussia, the Prussian general staff. After the battle of Jena Baron left Prussia, and was adopted by the Russian service in the rank of Major General. Pfuhl was considered a great military theorist, has gained the trust of Emperor Alexander I, who commissioned him to make a plan of hostilities with France.

Pfuel judgments are often repeated development of Barclay de Tolly, but there were differences. It is also meant to fight acts with 3 armies of the armies had to hold back the French forces from the front, and the other to act on the flank and rear. Active defensive actions of the 1st and 2nd Army on the lines of communications of the French forces had prinevolit the enemy to retreat, because, according to the views of Pfuel, he could not long remain on the devastated land. However, Pfuhl proposed to begin active offensive acts at the first step of hostilities. A Barclay de Tolly believed that the offensive act to do the second step, when the enemy will come off on your own database and face a stubborn resistance to Russian troops, the lack of funds for the devastated areas. The plan Pfuel the brunt of fighting the enemy had to endure two armies: the 1st in Lithuania (120 thousand soldiers and officers) and 2nd in Belarus (80 thousand people). Under this plan, it was assumed that Napoleon blow through Kovno to Vilna, and then moves on to Moscow or St. Petersburg. More possible number of the Petersburg area. The invasion of a weak opponent, the 2nd Army had to retreat deep into the theater of operations, and the 1st Army to occupy a fortified position on the flank Drissa. Drissa fortified camp was built on the left bank of the Western Dvina izluke, between the borough Driss (now Verhnedvinsk) and country Shatrovo. 1st Army Barclay de Tolly, emphasizing the fortified camp of Drissa, was to strike a decisive blow against the flank and rear of the advancing enemy, moving through Memel at Tilsit and further Insterburg. The key to victory Pfuhl beheld a strong flanking position.

Alexander did not consider proposals Pfuel conflicts with an earlier plan Barclay de Tolly and approved them. It is clear that the proposals Pfuel can only conditionally be called the war plan. Proposals have not been furnished in the form of an operational plan, and the Russian generals before the start of the war had on them rather weak performance.

Other proposals

Not counting the plan Barclay de Tolly and development of Baron Pfuel had other offers. Thus, the participant Swiss campaign Suvorov, anti-French campaign in 1805, Turkish campaigns in 1806 and 1809's Karl F. Toll (In 1812 he was appointed Quartermaster-General of the 1st Army) presented their opinions through Prince Pyotr Mikhailovich Volkonskogo. P. Volkonskiy was managing his retinue pravitelskogo Majesty by Quartermaster, Prince can be regarded as the founder of the Russian General Staff. Carl Toll pointed out that the time to move to the coming of the lost, because you need to adhere to a defensive strategy.

Unlike other analysts, Toll correctly guessed the main line of attack the French army — Metropolitan. Kiev area, in his opinion, was a subsidiary. Toll proposed to place the forces of the 1st Army between Bialystok and Grodno, and 2nd — between Semyatichami and Brest. Riga direction to cover one body, placing it in Kovno. As a result, the main forces were placed at the front of 170-180 miles and are able to operate more smoothly. In his view, the key to victory was the concentration of power.

Own plan and proposed Prince Peter Volkonskiy. He presented it to the Emperor April 7, 1812. The prince felt very unsafe extended position of the 1st and 2nd Russian armies. Volkonskiy proposed to focus first army in the Bialystok region, the second — in Kovel, supporting — the Pruzany. The main forces behind Volkonskiy offered are two spare army at Borisov and Mozyr. Strengthen the flanks of a body in Kovno and third alternate army at Tarnopol. He also suggested that after the war with Turkey to use the Danube army to attack the flank of the French through Bukovina.

Another plan proposed June 3, 1812, Colonel Gaverdovsky. The colonel, like Carl Toll, correctly guessing the main line of the enemy's attack — to Moscow. Because all of the major powers and the means proposed to focus on this area for his defense.

Had his own plan for the war and the commander of the 2nd Army, Prince Pyotr Bagration. His plan was different from most other offensive strategy. Bagration believed that it is possible to install the Napoleonic demarcation line of the Oder. With all of this our homeland should be ready for an offensive war. Unexpected and frisky coming Russian troops (Suvorov School) allowed to take a different position on the Vistula River and remove the theater of war from Russia. To conduct an offensive war Bagration suggested forming an army of one hundred thousandth of Bialystok, 2nd Army such as the number was due to hit through Eastern Prussia. Acts 2-the advancing armies was to support the 50 th. reserve army. Army, advancing through Prussia, had to contribute to the Baltic Fleet. In May Bialystok army was hit by an enemy and forced march to occupy Prague (a suburb of the Polish capital) and then Warsaw. 2nd Army was to cross the Vistula and the siege of Danzig. Danzig immediately blocked from the sea the ships of the Baltic Fleet. At this time in the Duchy of Warsaw was to enter reserve army. So Makar, the Duchy of Warsaw was deduced from the ranks of opponents of the empire and could become a base for the invasion of Russia, a provider of significant military contingents. In addition, active offensive actions of the Russian army were forced to take the side of the Russian Federation Prussia and Austria remain neutral. During the offensive nature of actions of the Russian army advocated and Belarusian military governor, Prince Alexander of Württemberg. He also proposed to conduct active operations in the Duchy of Warsaw.

Pyotr Bagration.

But all offensive plans submitted by Alexander ignored. It should be noted that the government acted against army commanders surprising: no Bagration, neither the commander of the 3rd Army, Alexander Petrovich Tormasov were not made aware of the decisions taken. Well, Barclay de Tolly was not one hundred percent dedicated to the plans of the ruler and maintained a belief that everything is going according to plan in 1810. April 10, 1812 received from Bagration, Barclay de Tolly letter in which it was reported that the governor Alexander took the acts preparatory plan in case of a defensive war. 1st and 2nd Army in front of him with a superior force of the enemy (once on the direction of head impact), had to retreat to avoid decisive battle. The army, which is not subjected to an impact of the main forces of the enemy, received a puzzle start coming, destroying the enemy is common, threaten the flank and rear of the main French forces. 2nd army of Bagration when coming of the main forces of the enemy on the south had to retreat through Zhitomi
r to Kiev. In Kiev, the 2nd Army could choose a place for a decisive battle.

After a number of days Bagration received a new letter from Barclay de Tolly. It pointed out that the need to bring together the two main army. Bagration had come to the conclusion that the main apartment has a war plan and asked him to send "detailed observations". But the commander of the 1st Army was able to give him only general advice: stick to the defensive plan to give instructions to attack.

June 6, 1812 Bagration again tried to change the war plan and suggested Alexander "did not expect an attack, protivustat enemy within it." After a day or two in a new letter to the Emperor, he again points to the need for an offensive strategy. "What we fear and methodical maneuvers to exhaust the army?" — Asks the captain. In response, he received a letter from Barclay de Tolly, who said that the left flank of the 2nd Western army provided the location of the 3rd Army Tormasov. Alarmed by reports of threats Bagration location of troops in defensive strategy — Napoleon is a good opportunity to cut off all the armies from each other and try to kill them individually.

At the same time insists on the offensive Leonti L. Benningsen (Commander of the Russian army in 1807). April 27, 1812 Bennigsen was returned to service (he was in the doghouse) with the mission to consist in the person of Emperor Alexander I, without specific orders. An experienced general (he began his military service 14-year old boy in Hanover infantry and took part in the last campaign, the Seven Years' War) believed mistake waiver of pre-emptive war. He believed that our homeland, referring to the first echelon of 160-thousand. army, totally can "keep certain game." Under this scenario, Prussia could take the side of Russia. Even in the event of disaster that could befall Russian army between the Vistula and the Oder, Our home was in a more fortunate position than the invasion of the French army in Russia. With the invasion of the enemy in Russia, Command, with dispersion of forces and means had to retreat to concentrate troops and avoid destruction of large parts of the individual troops. In fact, the way it came out.

Ideas Pfuel Benningsen considered quite satisfactory. They did not answer "no liking of the people or the mood of the army, nor the localities and still less by accident and the circumstances in which there were two sides." He, like Bagration, thought it necessary to forestall the enemy and knock on the hull Oudinot, who came forward and was in a relatively isolated position.

Petersburg has received several offers from foreign military and political figures. They offered a defensive war. So, at the request of the Neapolitan ambassador in Russian Empire Baron Serra Kapriona, own plan was d'Alonvil. The plan was passed by the Emperor Admiral Mordvinova. D'Alonvil recommended the Emperor to lure the enemy deep into the Russian Federation: "We need to engage in a war of Napoleon leisurely and ruinous."

Fascinating that such a war — "slow and ruinous" was profitable London. Even if he wins the France of Napoleon emerged from the war a very weakened. A counter at the war on the ground in Poland and Germany and France Our home could stay at her, which was not included in the plans of the UK.

Such advice given and the last Marshal of France, Crown Prince of Sweden, the de facto ruler of the Swedish kingdom, Jean Baptiste Bernadotte (Bernadotte). He believed that the Russian army can move beyond the Dvina and beyond. Bernadotte recommended wage a long war. In case of success the Russian army offered to put the brunt of the northern sector — through Konigsberg at Danzig. In the war in the north of Germany, the Russian army was to assist the Swedish army.

On the defensive actions of the Russian and Prussian army insisted representative Baron Karl Friedrich Knesebeck, who was in the capital of Russia first of 1812. Handed a note to strengthen the western border and the French nobleman-immigrant, Adjutant General Emmanuel Franzevich Saint-Prix.

To be continued …

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