How did Alexander Suvorov take Ishmael by storm? Part 1

In 1787, Turkey, supported by Britain and France, demanded a revision of the treaty from Russia: the return of the Crimea and the Caucasus, the recognition of subsequent agreements invalid. Having been refused, she began hostilities. Turkey planned to capture Kinburn and Kherson, land a large landing force in the Crimea and defeat the base of the Russian fleet Sevastopol. For the deployment of military operations on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus and the Kuban significant Turkish forces were sent to Sukhum and Anapa. To support its plans, Turkey prepared a 200,000-strong army and a strong fleet of 19 battleships, 16 frigates, 5 bombing corvettes and a large number of ships and support ships.

Russia deployed two armies: Yekaterinoslav General Field Marshal Grigory Potemkin (82 thousand people) and Ukrainian Field Marshal Peter Rumyantsev (37 thousand people). Two strong military corps isolated from the Yekaterinoslav army were in the Kuban and in the Crimea.

The Russian Black Sea Fleet was based in two points: the main forces were in Sevastopol (23 warships with 864 guns) under the command of Admiral M. I. Voinovich, the future great naval commander Fyodor Ushakov served here, and the rowing flotilla in the Dneprovsko-Bugsky Liman (20 light-tonnage ships and ships, partly not yet armed). On the side of Russia was a large European country - Austria, which sought to expand its holdings at the expense of the Balkan states under Turkish rule.

The action plan of the Allies (Russia and Austria) was offensive in nature. It was to invade Turkey from two sides: the Austrian army had to launch an offensive from the west and capture Hawthyn; The Yekaterinoslav Army was to deploy military operations on the Black Sea coast, capture Ochakovo, then cross the Dnieper, clear the area between the Dniester and Prut from the Turks, and take Bendery for that. The Russian fleet was to be active in the Black Sea to pin down the enemy’s fleet and prevent Turkey from conducting amphibious operations.

Military operations developed successfully for Russia. The capture of Ochakov, the victories of Alexander Suvorov at Focsani and Rymnika created the prerequisites for ending the war and signing a world advantageous for Russia. Turkey did not have the forces at this time to seriously resist the allied armies. However, politicians could not use the favorable moment. Turkey was able to collect new troops, get help from Western countries, and the war dragged on.

In the campaign of 1790, the Russian command planned to take the Turkish fortresses on the left bank of the Danube, and then to transfer military operations for the Danube.

During this period, brilliant successes were won by Russian sailors under the command of Fyodor Ushakov. The Turkish fleet suffered major defeats in the Kerch Strait and off Tendra Island. The Russian fleet captured lasting supremacy on the Black Sea, providing conditions for active offensive actions of the Russian army and rowing fleet on the Danube. Soon, having mastered the fortresses of Kiliya, Tulcha and Isakcha, the Russian troops approached Ishmael.

The fortress of Ishmael was considered impregnable. Before the war, it was rebuilt under the leadership of French and German engineers, who greatly strengthened its fortifications. On three sides (northern, western and eastern) the fortress was surrounded by a 6-km-long rampart, up to 8 meters high with earth and stone bastions. In front of the shaft a ditch 12 meters wide and up to 10 meters deep was dug, which in some places was filled with water. On the south side, Ishmael hid behind the Danube. Inside the city there were many stone buildings that could be actively used for defense. The garrison of the fortress numbered 35 thousand people with 265 serf guns.

In November, the Russian army of 31,000 men (including 28,500 infantry and 2,500 cavalry troops), with 500 guns, besieged Ishmael from land. The river flotilla under the command of General Horace de Ribas, having destroyed almost the entire Turkish river flotilla, blocked the fortress from the Danube.

Two attacks on Ishmael ended in failure and the troops proceeded to a planned siege and shelling of the fortress. With the beginning of the autumn weather in the army, located in an open area, began massive disease. Having lost faith in the possibility of taking Ishmael by storm, the generals who led the siege decided to withdraw the troops to the winter quarters.

On November 25, command of the troops near Izmail was entrusted to Suvorov. Potemkin gave him the right to act at his discretion: "whether by continuing enterprises to Ishmael or by leaving it." In his letter to Alexander Vasilyevich, he noted: “My hope for God and for your courage, hurry my gracious friend ...”.

Arriving at Ishmael on December 2, Suvorov stopped the withdrawal of troops from under the fortress. Assessing the situation, he decided to immediately prepare the assault. Having examined the enemy’s fortifications, he noted in a report to Potemkin that they were “without weak points”.

Preparation for the assault was carried out for nine days. Suvorov sought to maximize the use of the element of surprise, for which he conducted the preparation for the offensive covertly. Special attention was paid to the training of troops for assault operations. At the village of Broska, ramparts and walls similar to those of Izmail were built. For six days and nights, the soldiers worked on them to overcome ditches, ramparts and fortress walls. Suvorov encouraged the soldiers with the words: “More sweat - less blood!” Simultaneously, to deceive the enemy, preparation for a long siege was simulated, batteries were laid, fortification works were carried out.

Suvorov took the time to develop special instructions for officers and soldiers, which contained the rules of engagement during the storming of the fortress. On the Trubaevsky Kurgan, where a small obelisk stands today, there was a commander’s tent. It was a painstaking preparation for the assault, it was thought out and provided for all the details. “At such an assault,” Alexander Vasilyevich later admitted, “one could venture only once in one's life.”

The second part of the article

Watch the video: Суворов (November 2019).

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