The invasion of the Swedish army within the Russian country accompanied by widespread looting and violence of the soldiery against the civilian population. Was captured by the Swedes Russian soldiers destroyed the polls. These acts encouraged the Swedish command of the invaders believed that ruthlessness against "heretics and pagans" — is the norm. So, Karl XII in one of the orders instructed fighter: "The people who have at least as much as, or are suspected, that we were wrong, should be hanged immediately, even though the evidence may be incomplete, so that all made sure of horror and fear, that we spare even a child in the cradle … ". It was a war of destruction, and Swedish invaders used it for a long time before Adolf Hitler and his "blond beast."
Naturally, this caused a popular resistance. Farmers were hiding food, fled into the woods, were taken to the shelter animals. Did guerrillas who attacked the foragers, the enemy transports. Reinforce these activities and instructions of the Russian command. The governor ordered to destroy food crops, homes, arrange Zaseki, debris on the roads.
9 (20) 1708 January onwards Swedish army With 3 columns entered in Mazowieckie forest. Quartermaster General Gillenkrok warned Karl that the roads in the forest in a bad condition and there are "a gang of robbers." Karl is not suspended. But as the vanguard entered the forest, he was met by abatis and rifle fire, even threatening the Swedish master — a bullet struck a fighter of his personal security. The search party found no one. Furious, King Charles had spalivat all met the village and kill all the people that were produced.
Great contribution to the defense of the country and brought the inhabitants of Arkhangelsk Holmogor. They helped in the small garrison guarding the border fortifications were built fortifications. At sea patrols went coast-dwellers. Swedish border crossing volunteer scouts. Thanks to the help of the local population Solovetsky monastery was turned into a strong fortress.
In 1708, with the support of the local population was thwarted attempt to kill the brand new St. Petersburg. King Charles had Limbecker General commanding the 14 th Corps and Navy, damaging Russia's new city, while the main Russian forces linked to the actions of the west Swedish army. In late August 1708, General Limbecker moved Neva. But all the food supplies were concentrated in St. Petersburg, where disposed Apraxin. Swedish body was surrounded by aggressive population — any small unit, departed from the main force, here is destroyed. In September, the Swedish army famine. The Swedish fleet was unable to overcome the strengthening Kotlin. Limbecker not dare to storm Petersburg and in October in the Gulf was Koporskiji ship troops on ships. I use it the Russian troops who stormed the Swedes — nine hundred opponents were killed and more than 100 people captured, others were able to escape. As a result, the Swedes plan — damage Petersburg Peter and divert forces from the direction of Smolensk-Moscow failed.
In the western sector, further advanced than the Swedes, the fire raged stronger people's war. Approximately from mid-1708 acts guerrilla groups were coordinated with the operations of the Russian army. The Russian command creates flying groups of irregular cavalry and dragoons. They acted without the help of others, apart from the main force. Flying groups were required to collect information about the enemy, capture "languages" and deal damage to the enemy.
From time to time the guerrillas carried out the whole operation, worthy of a standing army. So Belarusian partisans in the Green Forest (near the town of Smorgon) stopped and defeated the Swedish squad of more than four thousand people. Was captured by Swedish train. Acts of Lithuanian and Belarusian partisans were so successful that way from Grodno to Golovchin Swedes took about 5 months, the enemy army moved 4-6 miles a day. The Swedes responded bloody terror, as noted in the Russian documents, men tortured, hanged and burned, so those shown "grain pits." After Golovchin Swedes took Mogilev, the city was subjected to looting and destruction.
Trying to break the Swedes failed to Smolensk. Swedish vanguard was destroyed in the village of Good — August 30 (September 10), then at Raevka — 9 (20) in September 1708. Flying squad of dragoons, and the guerrillas did not give fodder parts Swedes to move away from the main body, is rapidly destroying the individual units. Swedish commanders decided to withdraw the Seversky ground. The basic premise of this decision, the Swedish dubbed the difficulty in procuring food. Karl admitted that there are shelves that are not beheld bread three weeks. French colonel Bezenvald, last in the Swedish army, wrote that "the famine in the army is growing every day," the Russian burned at the approach of Swedes.
Charles attempted to overtake the Russian troops occupy the city and Starodub — to him in the middle of September 4 th was oriented detachment of General Lagerkrona. But Guides — local residents, brought the Swedes in the dense forest. Swedish squad to get lost and lost time when the Swedes came to town, there has come to the Russian squad. Lagerkron began to depart, September 29 (October 10) the citizens, encouraged by the presence of Russian troops, together with them, and stormed the Swedes defeated the enemy. The remains of the Swedish squad hastily fled to the main forces. It was a serious defeat — Starodub was a strategic city, walked through it the way from Ukraine to Russia. In October, the Swedes have made repeated attempts to capture Starodub, but were repulsed, losing one thousand people. In Starodubskaya same land operated three thousand squad Believers who fled from the persecution of the authorities in the local forests of Central Russia. In October and November 1708 guerrillas Believers well thrashed the enemy, sending the prisoners and trophies to Peter. The ruler of a symbol Awards Believers secured them a number of land and entrusted the management of Old Believer Sloboda special office.
Tried to help the Russian army and in other towns. For example, in the Novgorod-Seversky Hetman Mazepa a traitor prepared for Swedish food and military supplies. Garrison in the town was Serdyukov Regiment (part of the mercenaries, the personal guard of the hetman) and two hundred square meters of ordinary Cossacks. Ordinary Cossacks were tuned to the militant Mazepians and asked for help from Peter. When approached Russian squad, They, along with fighters disarmed Serdyukov themselves killed those who resisted. Novgorod-Seversky became the base for the Russian army Fri. In late October, the garrison repulsed the attack 7 thousand Levengaupt squad.
The population of Ukraine did not support Mazepa, the guerrilla war lasted. October 25 (November 5) in 1708, when Mazepa joined the Swedish camp, squad Menshikov took Buturlin, where they were concentrated food and military supplies. People are not enticed by promises of Mazepa and the Swedes. Cases occupiers were more eloquent than words — the Swedes did not even spare women and children. As a result, Swedish army could not get a warm welcome in the Ukraine and relax on their "winter quarters". The Swedes stamped in Novgorod-Seversky land — Romney and Priluky applicable to relax, have been occupied by Russian troops. Angered troubles Karl in January 1709 decided to storm city Veprik. The siege lasted for about 50 days. Little squad (1100 fighter and a few hundred Cossacks) and the inhabitants of the local villages desperately fought off the enemy attack. 6 (17) January general assault was repulsed, with all th
is killing three Swedish colonel and many other officers wounded Field Marshal Renshild. Swedish artillery could not make a breakthrough in the siege — the inhabitants of tree watered with water, ice armor reflected the enemy core. The fortress surrendered Colonel Fermor — 7 (18) of January. Although you can still hold the line. The Swedes lost during this siege of nearly two thousand people and a significant number of officers. Veprik was looted and burned.
Swedes failed attempt to break through in Sloboda Ukraine. In the Reddish area of Kuta in February 1709 the Swedes were defeated. Russian troops and the local population were holding each locality. Unable to raise and Ukraine to fight the Russian state. When Mazepa soon left to just 7 hundred people.