There has never been stronger fortress …

I'm flying, flying, poletyval,
The wide world pogulivayut …
I beheld a miracle, a miracle wonderful,
Wonderworks, a wondrous miracle:
As our father Suvorov-graph
With a small force falcons own
Tmuchislennye shelf broke,
Polonil pashas and viziers
He took Ishmael, a strong fortress,
A strong fortress, the sacred.
Many fell there soldatushek
For Holy Russia-country
And for the Christian faith.

(Soldier's Song).

Campaign 1790 (Russian-Turkish War of 1787-1791.) Marked the latest brilliant victory of the Russian army — the siege, assault and capture of Turkish fortresses on the Danube — the fortress of Izmail. Ottoman Sultan Selim III and his generals associated with this strong fortress of great hope, not without reason, considering that Ishmael will suspend the coming of the Russian army and change the unfavorable course of the war in Istanbul. Capture of Izmail given the opportunity to break through the Russian army to the Balkans, Bulgaria. It becomes possible to realize the most daring plans of St. Petersburg — free from the Turks of Constantinople Constantinople (recovery was the thought of the Byzantine Empire at its head was to become one of the members of the Romanov dynasty).

Ishmael was not just a great fortress that stood on the left (north) side of Chilia arm of the Danube. It was "an army fortress" — army gathering strength, that is, it can accommodate the entire army. In 1774 the fortress was modernized under the direction of an experienced French and German Defense Architecture. In the end, Ishmael was the upscale European fortress, which was listed as an impregnable (with the presence of the respective supplies and sufficient garrison). Turkish rock resembles a triangle, who joined the southern side of the river. The top of the "triangle" was lying in the north and the west and north-east wall at a right angle rested on the Danube. Ishmael was placed on the coastal slopes of the heights. A broad trough divided the city into two parts: an old city — the Western, the majority of urban neighborhoods, Bimbo fortress — the eastern part. The total length of the walls along the outer circumference was about 6.5 km west face — about 1.5 km north-east — more than 2.5 km, 2 km south. For the moat width of 12 meters, a depth of 6 — 10 meters and 2 meters filled with water, placed the land shaft with seven bastions defending the city from the land. Before the moat were arranged "pitfalls" and other traps. The bastions were also land, only two had oblitsevat stone. Shaft height is 6.8 meters, it is significantly different slope. The height of the bulwarks reached 20-24 meters. From the north Ishmael was also protected stronghold there at the top of the triangle was placed Bender Bastion, lined with stone. To the west of the stronghold was located lake is remarkable moorland reaches of the ditch. The fortress had some great fortified gates: Brosskie (Tsar grad) and Hotinskaya from the west, KILIYA — from the east, Bendery — from the west. The approaches and the roads to them perfectly sweep artillery.

On the side of the Danube bastion was not. Initially, the Turkish command relied on the power of its own river fleet and shore slope. But after November 20, the Russian is almost one hundred percent of the Danube killed a Turkish flotilla, the Turks began to urgently strengthen the riverside side of Ishmael, which became vulnerable. Turks gave the southern fase defensive zone 10 artillery batteries with large-caliber guns that could shoot through the river and even the position of the enemy on the other side. Right here are equipped with position and infantry.

Together with the stronghold was further strengthened the southwest corner of the fortress bypass. There is about 100 meters from the shaft was completed Tabiey stone tower (also referred to as a bastion or redoubt) with a three-tiered defense gun. Clearance between the tower and the water was covered by a ditch and palisade. Implements with Tabii flanked this site. Also it should be noted that in the town there was a lot of hard stone buildings — mosques, commercial buildings, private houses, some of them have been prepared in advance for the defense in case of street fighting.

The defense of the fortress intensified and natural obstacles. Danube covered the city from the south, Lake Kuchurluy Alapuh and from the west, and Lake Katabuh — from the east. These natural objects have limited maneuver Russian troops suzivali offensive ability. Well, the area in front of Ishmael was to a large extent is swamped in the spring and fall of this fact worsened the constant rains.

The garrison was 35 thousand fighter, almost half of them were Janissaries (17 thousand), an elite part of the Sultan's infantry. Other parts of the garrison — it Sipahi (Turkish cavalry), Crimean Tatars, cannon servants and urban militia. In addition, the garrison joined the fighters defeated the garrison Kilia, Tulcea and Isaccea and crews destroyed the Danube flotilla. Garrison commander of one of the most experienced commanders of the Turkish serasker Aydozly Muhammad Pasha (aidos Mehmed Pasha). One of the main commanders was the brother of the Crimean Khan Kaplan Giray. At the armed fortresses were 265 guns. Of their 85 guns and 15 mortars were placed in the riverine batteries. The Sultan gave the order for the death penalty to those who surrender to the prisoner, which increased persistence of the garrison. In the middle of warriors was a lot of fanatical people who are ready to fight the "infidels" to the last drop of blood.

Ishmael was well prepared for a siege, with large supplies of provisions and ammunition. Deliveries of supplies on the river was stopped only with the beginning of the blockade of the fortress. In addition, in the fortress there were many thousands of stallions Turkish and Crimean cavalry who could score on the meat. The nearby villages rounded up a huge amount of livestock.

There has never been stronger fortress ...

The siege

The siege of the fortress of Izmail was launched in November 1790. After capturing the fortresses of Kealia, Tulcea and Isakcha, commander in chief of the Russian Army, Prince GA Potemkin Tauride gave the order to the troops the generals IVGudovich, P. Potemkin and the fleet of General de Ribas capture Ishmael.

The first came to the fortress river flotilla ships Major General Joseph Mikhailovich de Ribas. He decided to capture the first peninsula of Çatalhöyük, which was placed in front of the fortress, so equip it artillery batteries. The Turks tried to outwit the Russian command to lure the Russian ships under fire fortress batteries. Part of the Turkish-Tatar cavalry marched along the bank of the River Rapid (Rapid), and came up to her mouth 5 Turkish sailing-Lanson. But the ploy failed, the left-saving value of the Danube were landed 200 of 300 Grenadiers and the Black Sea Cossacks with 2 guns. They forced the enemy to withdraw. Against Turkish ships had been sent a detachment of ships under the authority of Colonel de Ribas junior. During the battle, one Turkish ship was destroyed, others retreated under the protection of the artillery fortress.

At Çatalhöyük were planted landing party under the Major-General Nikolai Arsenyev. Began device batteries. Immediately fleet blocked the Danube and began pounding the fortress artillery duel ensued. By the morning of November 20 Chatale was built three positions. They opened fire inside the town and enemy ships. Ribas tried to kill the enemy ships with fire ships, but a str
ong defensive fire prevented the Turkish batteries embody this idea. But part of the Turkish crew fled in panic from ships. Russian eagerness to kill the enemy's ships were so strong that a detachment of Captain 1st Rank F. Akhmatova bravely moved to Tabii under cover of guns which had a lot of Turkish courts, including the 18-gun ship. The battle has begun to Akhmatova joined barges and small craft under the lieutenants Poskochin and Kuznetsova. As a result, the big fight an enemy ship and 7 Lanson were burned.

Immediately following the battle was Ishmael. There are 12 Russian and Lanson Black Sea Cossack oaks (seaworthy boat) under heavy enemy fire approached the fortress and killed 4 and 17 Lanson transport. This success encouraged the Russian soldiers from ships to economize the troops landed in the city. Troopers seized the decisive blow Tabiyu. Turks woke up and went to the counter, but the Russian fire fighters fought off two attacks and bayonets. Ribas realizing that his forces are not sufficient to capture the town, took the vanguard. Turkish commanders, decided to respond and landed on Chatale own troops. But countless Turkish troops was thrown into the water, for all that has been destroyed many enemy ships. As a result, the fight November 20 Turks suffered heavy losses in men, were burned or sunk one large three-masted sailing ship, 12 Lanson, 32 transporter and more than 40 rowing ferries. Turkish river flotilla as a combat unit did not exist. Russian Flotilla lost three Lanson.

After that, the battle of active hostilities was not. On the peninsula Catal to 29 November 8th built battery. Russian artillery at times (ammunition was not enough) shelled the fort and the remains of the enemy fleet. By the end of November, Russian troops stood siege camp under the walls of Ishmael, four miles from the town. Activism they did not decide, except skirmishes patrols. Circumstances inaction of the Russian army were several. The shelves were not prepared to lay siege to the strong fortress of the enemy, they had a heavy siege artillery, while the field-guns had only one ammunition. Almost half of the siege were Cossacks troops, most of them lost their horses and armed with only a shortened version of the main peaks. The weather was cool, fuel, except there was no rush. Purveyance had to drive a distance. Onset of the disease, which caused a huge mortality of these criteria. In addition, there was no unified command. Potemkin not proclaimed commander siege of Ishmael. Neither Lieutenant-General Pavel Potemkin (a cousin of His Serene Highness Prince), no commander in chief Ivan Gudovich nor Major General Mikhail Kutuzov did not depend on the position in the service of one another, as well as the commander of the fleet de Ribas. The commanders are not only not dependent on each other, and did not want to help their neighbors.

There has never been stronger fortress ...

"The Danube hero" Joseph M. de Ribas.

Alexander Suvorov

In the end, the military council has decided to lift the siege and retreat to winter quarters. First regiments began to leave the camp. Alarmed Potemkin and decided that it is time to decide drastic measures. It became clear that the "grand master feat Ishmael" on the shoulder just one single person. Potemkin knew Suvorov and was confident that he will do everything possible to win and unenforceable. Chief of the warrant number 1336 of 25 November 1790 signed in Bender proclaimed chief general Count Suvorov-Rymniksky commander of all troops at Ismail. He got right on the spot to find the need to assault or retreat. Right under the pretext of having the Kuban capable leader, General Potemkin withdrew Gudovich, who presided at the council, who decided to retreat. It should be noted that the direction of Gudovich in the Caucasus, it was very true. Specifically Gudovich summer 1791 took the "Caucasian Ishmael" — a strong fortress Anapa.

In the Army mission Alexander Suvorov met with great joy. It is associated with an ambulance and a spirited victory. November 30 by passing Army Corps of Galati, Suvorov went towards Ishmael. Prior to this, he ordered his own beloved Fanagoriis Grenadier Regiment under the command of Colonel Basil Zolotukhin heading to the Turkish fortress. On the way he met commander of the siege already retreating army and ordered to immediately return back. Of early afternoon on December 2 Suvorov arrived in the siege camp, where he caught 20 thousand troops in the main of the Don Cossacks. Potemkin tried to provide all possible assistance to Suvorov: to Ishmael were returned earlier gone into winter quarters shelves out of the housing in Galati gave all of his infantry and cavalry. She was transported by river.

There has never been stronger fortress ...

Vasily Surikov. Portrait of Marshal Alexander Suvorov. 1907.

Warlord with characteristic impetuosity he had reviewed the troops and reconnaissance of enemy fortifications. Before Alexander was a difficult choice: to besiege the fortress was not real assets (siege artillery, ammunition in an appropriate amount for field guns, difficulties with provisions, fuel), prevented the weather, it was necessary to immediately go on the attack or to leave. Suvorov decided to prepare for the assault for 5 days. During this period of time had to come up reinforcements from Galati squad Fanagoriis Grenadier Regiment, ride ammunition for the field artillery. Preparations have begun for the assault. Everything was done in the frisky pace, because there was no time, no matter what the delay was played into the hands of the enemy. Fascines were preparing for sleep moat, scaling ladders, entrenching tools. Commanders conducted exploration fortifications. Emplacement for field artillery, which should suppress the enemy's batteries, specifically before the storm. Fighter trained in a specially built school town (built out of sight with the enemy's walls), there have been copied to the pit area and the shaft of the Turkish fortress, put stuffed Janissaries. Company by company, weaving for a hundred trained to overcome the fortification practiced bayonet fighting techniques. Suvorov spent mental training of troops, setting them on a decisive battle. Every day he rode troops, disputed with the soldiers, officers, Cossacks, and gunners. A significant part of the work had to be carried at night, so as not to disturb the Turkish fighter, not to be shelled. Great attention is paid to training of engineers (pioneers), from their very nearly everything depended, because they went before the assault columns. Built two more batteries, more massive than of early. One battery is built in front of the gate Brosskih, the other — KILIYA.

Soon the training has been completed, reinforcements arrived, the strength of Suvorov increased to 31 thousand men (28.5 thousand infantry and cavalry 2.5 million). Total Suvorov had 33 infantry battalions constant (14.5 thousand fighter), 8 thousand dismounted Don Cossacks, 4 th Black Sea Cossacks, 2 thousand Arnaut (Moldovans and Vlachs), 11 cavalry squadrons and 4 of the Don Cossack Regiment. The weakness of the infantry was the presence of significant amounts of dismounted Cossacks, armed with the main peaks and shorter swords that do not have guns with bayonets. So makarom storming numerically inferior to the besieged tro
ops. Artillery siege corps was to look strong: up to 560 guns only in the river flotilla. But there was a strong siege artillery, able to punch holes in trees and bastions. Most of naval artillery was small caliber, suitable only for close combat. Besides the limitations of ammunition did not give the ability to conduct proper training for the assault. In the field artillery regiment and Suvorov was about three times less guns than the Turks. He has concentrated her against the eastern and western sides of the fortress, near the banks of the Danube (columns Lassie, Lviv and Kutuzov), there were 20 guns. Other guns were installed on the south side of the peninsula against the fortress siege of the other troops were sufficiently small amount of artillery. As a result, most of the field and the whole naval artillery were concentrated against the southern part of the fortress. So Makarov, Alexander Suvorov carried artillery concentration on the direction of head impact, even before Napoleon, which Western scholars believe the pioneer in this field.

December 7 commander sent to the fortress of truce with 2 letters: from Suvorov and Potemkin, both the messages in the form of ultimaticheskoy Mohammed Pasha offered to surrender in order to prevent "the bloodshed and cruelty." Turkish generals were given the opportunity to save face, the soldiers could leave the fortress with a personal weapon, and citizens with the property. Period of reflection was given one day. Suvorov was succinct: "24 hours to think for zdachi and will, first my shots already captivity, the storm — death." In the evening he gave an extensive seraskir back, requesting a truce of 10 days to ask the majestic Vizier permission to surrender. Turkish commander cunning, playing for time, hoping to get help from the sultan's army from the right bank of the Danube. Suvorov gave more time to think — until the morning. As of December 9 seraskira envoy arrives for subsequent negotiations, Suvorov passed, it was late and everything in Izmail doomed to perdition.

Suvorov Military Council gathered last and turned to colleagues with a short but succinct speech: "Twice the Russian approach to Ishmael, and twice they were retreating. Now, in the third time, it remains only to take us to town or die. It is true that the difficulties are considerable: the garrison — the whole army, but did not stand against the Russian guns. We are strong and believe in yourself. I dared to take possession of strength: this door or perish under its walls. " Looking around the audience, the captain invited to speak, relying on "God and conscience." The decision was a single, "Storm!" His Matvey Platov announced.

The plan assault

Sturm was appointed to the night from 10 to 11 December (21-22 December). Preparations were started in the evening on December 8. Managed by artillery, Major General Peter Rtishchev. Filling against riverine fortress by storm specifically to build four batteries of their structure worked a thousand people working in two shifts. At dawn on December 9, all siege batteries and ships of the Danube flotilla began bombing the fortress. Last shelling fortress scheduled to be held at midnight the other day attack, it had to lead to 6 am, and then shoot blanks, so as not to hit your troops and scare the enemy. Extraordinary puzzle received 8 bombarding ships, they had to come up with the beginning of the coming of the fort as possible and close to fire some basic Turkish fortifications. Other ships in the fleet beginning of the raid were puzzle to get up in two bands at about 20 yards from the shore and conduct fire point-blank range, cleaning is laid up against the Turks. The flotilla was carrying two-thousand. landing party, who was a reserve. In the event of a hostile attacks, double the hourly positions and allocated additional Cossack cavalry pickets. Each battery during the day and NIGHT MODE defending infantry battalion and cavalry reserves.

Suvorov had planned a simultaneous attack on all three fasam fortresses, including the hit the river. The move had to drive 9 assault columns, three on each face of Ishmael. Advent was divided into two steps: first — the seizure of the outer bypass fortifications, the second — destruction of internal support Fri enemy, the elimination of the garrison in street fighting or his captivity. Any group of troops and the convoy had their puzzle.

West face squad stormed 7.5 million (6, 5 thousand infantry and one thousand Arnautov) Lieutenant-General Pavel Potemkin. The 1st column of assault Gen.-Major Sergei Lvov had a puzzle to attack on the left bank of the Danube in the most massive in the firing on the strengthening of Ishmael — Tabiya tower. They had to overcome the mouth Throw break a passage in the Palisades and break into the city. The structure of the shock tower were: Belarus rangers battalion, 4 Fanagoriis Battalion Grenadier Regiment (two battalions in reserve), a company of musketeers-apsherontsev. To crack palisade tower was 50 "working" with axes, crowbars and other implements. 2nd column under the supervision of Major General Lacy was to attack the building of an old fortress Brosskih north gate. The soldiers were carrying 8 assault ladders. It consists of four battalions was Ekaterinoslavskogo Jaeger case (one in reserve) and 128 shooters. Apart from the rangers in the reserve battalion was Belarusian rangers. 3rd Assault column Major-General Fedor Meknoba puzzle had to take Hotinskaya gate and carried 8 assault ladders. It consisted of three battalions of Livonian rangers, 2nd Battalion, Trinity musketeer regiment (in reserve). Apart from the provisions of columns, was the general reserve: Seversky Carabinier, Voronezh Hussars and the Don Cossack colonel Sychev. The cavalry was to develop in the coming of the breakthrough, after taking Brosskih and Hotinskaya gate. In the latter case, the troopers could bring to the aid of the assault columns on the first step of the attack on foot.

North-east face of the fortress stormed the left flank 12 th. detachment (3 thousand permanent infantry, 8 thousand of the Don Cossacks, and 1 thousand Arnautov) under Lieutenant-General Alexander N. Samoilov. 4th column of assault team leader Vasily Orlov dealt a blow in the Bender gate. It consisted of two thousand Cossacks, 500 were in reserve. The 5th Column foreman Matvei Platov had to storm the enemy puzzle in the wide hollow between an old and Contemporary fortresses. The column consisted of five thousand of the Don Cossacks, and two musketeer battalions of Polotsk Regiment (reserve). Overall management of the 4th and 5th columns produced Major-General Ilya Bezborodko. The 6th column under the command of Misha Kutuzov strike at newest fortress near KILIYA gate. In shock tower were three battalions of Chasseurs Bug body and 120 shooters from the same case. Kutuzov had a strong reserve: Kherson 2nd Battalion Grenadier Regiment and one thousand Cossacks. The arrows in each column had a puzzle to lead pure white fire on the ridge of the shaft bastions and battlements, not allowing the enemy to conduct aimed cannon-gun fire on the assault columns. Reserve column followed specifically for her in a square and, when necessary immediately entered the fray.

South, the coastal fortress stormed face 9 th. Team (5 thousand permanent infantry and 4 thousand Cossacks), Major-General Ribas. From the island of Çatalhöyük were landed three columns. 1st column commanded by Major-General Nikolai Arsenyev. The column is cracking down on the hollow, which divided the city in an old fortress and The newest (and column Platov, but on the other hand), assisting the 5th column. In shock tower were Seaside Nicholas Grenadier Regiment, Battalion of Chasseurs Livonian building and 2 thousand Black Sea Cossacks. At the forefront were three hundred square meters of Cossack led by Colonel A. Golovatyi. 2nd column Brigadier Z. Chepiga strike at th
e center of the enemy's position. It included Aleksopolsky Infantry Regiment 200 Grenadier Regiment and the Dnieper Seaside 1 thousand Cossacks. Third column second major of the Life Guards regiment I. Markov puzzle had to support the 1st column that attacked Tabiyu. It consisted of 800 Grenadier Regiment Dnieper, the battalion and two battalions of the Bug Belarusian rangers, one thousand Cossacks.

The fleet maintained its fire 1st and 3rd columns with assault Catal. The ships were built in two military bands. The first was 145 small ships (the main Cossack boats) with troops on board. In the second more than 50 large vessels, she had to perform basic fire support. According to the plan, Suvorov in areas that are attacked columns of Lviv, Kutuzov, Arsenyev and Markov, has focused much of artillery and ground troops river flotilla. These strategies were decisive. It should be noted that the act of attacking almost touched one of the most massive fortified Turkish — a stronghold. The cavalry was in total reserves to support the storming columns in the second step coming, when they captured the gate and you can break into the city.

Suvorov foresaw the case that the first step of one of the columns could break through for the first exterior building and continuing coming is to break into the quarters of the town. In this case, the Turkish command get a chance to concentrate reserves, surround and kill the Russian troops had broken through. Because Suvorov rebuked voluntarily go inside the fortress, to the order of command. At the same time, the commanders of the columns had great autonomy in the utterances, that is, they had the right to bring the reserve to help neighbors. Lookout Suvorov was placed on a small mound around the third column Meknoba.

There has never been stronger fortress ...

To be continued …

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