Alexander Suvorov


Alexander Suvorov

Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov ( _ru. Алекса́ндр Васи́льевич Суво́ров) (sometimes transliterated as "Aleksandr", "Aleksander" and "Suvarov"), Count Suvorov of Rymnik, Prince of Italy, Count of Holy Roman Empire ( _ru. граф Рымникский, князь Италийский) (November 24, 1729 – May 18, 1800), was the fourth and last generalissimus of Russian Empire. One of the few great generals in history who never lost a battle, he was famed for his manual "The Science of Victory" and noted for the sayings "Train hard, fight easy", "The bullet is a fool, the bayonet is a fine chap", "Perish yourself but rescue your comrade!". He taught his soldiers to attack instantly and decisively: 'attack with the cold steel - push hard with the bayonet!' His soldiers adored him. He joked with the men, called the common soldiers 'brother', and shrewdly presented the results of detailed planning and careful strategy as the work of inspiration. [J. Goodwin, "Lords of the Horizons", p. 244, 1998, Henry Holt and Company]

Early life and career

Suvorov was born into a noble family of Novgorod descent at the Moscow mansion of his maternal grandfather Fedosey Manukov (a landowner from Oryol gubernia and an official of Peter I).

Suvorov entered the army as a boy, served against the Swedes during the war in Finland and against the Prussians during the Seven Years' War (1756 - 1763). In 1761 he became a freemason in Saint Petersburg's Des Trois Etoiles lodge. After repeatedly distinguishing himself in battle he became a colonel in 1762.

Suvorov next served in Poland during the Confederation of Bar, dispersed the Polish forces under Pułaski, captured Kraków (1768) paving the way for the first partition of Polandcite book
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] and reached the rank of major-general. The Russo-Turkish War of 1768–1774 saw his first campaigns against the Turks in 1773–1774, and particularly in the battle of Kozluca, he laid the foundations of his reputation.

In 1775, Suvorov was dispatched to suppress the rebellion of Pugachev, but arrived at the scene only in time to conduct the first interrogation of the rebel leader, who had been betrayed by his fellow Cossacks and was eventually beheaded in Moscow.

courge of the Poles and the Turks

From 1777 to 1783 Suvorov served in the Crimea and in the Caucasus, becoming a lieutenant-general in 1780, and general of infantry in 1783, upon completion of his tour of duty there. From 1787 to 1791 he again fought the Turks during the Russo-Turkish War of 1787–1792 and won many victories; he was wounded twice at Kinburn (1787), took part in the siege of Ochakov, and in 1788 won two great victories at Focşani and by the river Rimnik.

In both these battles an Austrian corps under Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg participated, but at Rimnik Suvorov was in command of the whole allied forces. For the latter victory, Catherine the Great made Suvorov a count with the name "Rimniksky" in addition to his own name, and the Emperor Joseph II made him a count of the Holy Roman Empire. On 22 December 1790 Suvorov successfully stormed the reputedly impenetrable fortress of Ismail in Bessarabia. Turkish forces inside the fortress had the orders to stand their ground to the end and haughtily declined the Russian ultimatum. Their defeat was seen as a major catastrophe in the Ottoman empire, but in Russia it was glorified in the first national anthem, "Let the thunder of victory sound!"

Suvorov announced the capture of Ismail in 1791 to the Tsarina Catherine in a doggerel couplet, after the assault had been pressed from house to house, room to room, and nearly every Muslim man, woman, and child in the city had been killed in three days of uncontrolled massacre, 40,000 Turks dead, a few hundred taken into captivity. For all his bluffness, Suvorov later told an English traveller that when the massacre was over he went back to his tent and wept. [J. Goodwin, "Lords of the Horizons", p. 244, 1998, Henry Holt and Company, ISBN 0-8050-6342-0]

Immediately after the peace with Turkey was signed, Suvorov was again transferred to Poland, where he assumed the command of one of the corps and took part in the Battle of Maciejowice, in which he captured the Polish commander-in-chief Tadeusz Kościuszko. On November 4, 1794, Suvorov's forces stormed Warsaw and captured Praga, one of its boroughs. The massacre of approximately 20,000 civilians in Praga [: Ledonne, 2003, p.144 [http://books.google.com/books?q=Praga&id=oMpmAjRFh88C&vid=ISBN0195161009&dq=The+Grand+Strategy+of+the+Russian+Empire&ie=UTF-8 Google Print] and Alexander, 1989, p.317 [http://books.google.com/books?ie=UTF-8&vid=ISBN0195061624&id=Wpncp9oZx0AC&pg=PA317&lpg=PA317&dq=Catherine+the+Great:+Life+and+Legend&vq=Praga&sig=Uaqyj6EYQPmyDvbH1_PrAB-jt8Q Google Print] ] broke the spirits of the defenders and soon put an end to the Kościuszko Uprising. According to some sources ru icon Alexander Bushkov [http://libereya.ru/biblus/bushkov/r2/ "Russia that never existed"] , cites Adam Jerzy Czartoryski's memoirs that Suvorov was trying to prevent the massacre] the massacre was the deed of Cossacks who were semi-independent and were not directly subordinated to Suvorov. The Russian general was supposedly trying to stop the massacre and even went as far as to order the destruction of the bridge to Warsaw over the Vistula river ru iconA. F. Petrushevsky. " [http://history.scps.ru/suvorov/pt00.htm "Generalissimo Prince Suvorov"] ", chapter " [http://history.scps.ru/suvorov/pt17.htm Polish war: Praga, 1794] ", originally published 1884, reprinted 2005, ISBN 5-98447-010-1] with the purpose of preventing the spread of violence to Warsaw from its suburb. Other historians dispute thispl icon Janusz Tazbir, "Polacy na Kremlu i inne historyje" (Poles on Kreml and other stories), Iskry, 2005, ISBN 83-207-1795-7, [http://www.iskry.com.pl/fragmenty/polacy-kreml.rtf fragment online] ] , but most sources make no reference to Suvorov either purposely encouraging or attempting to prevent the massacre. [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0195061624&id=Wpncp9oZx0AC&pg=PA317&lpg=PA317&dq=Suvorov+Praga&sig=Uaqyj6EYQPmyDvbH1_PrAB-jt8Q] [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN1842125117&id=OA0yDoVBW0QC&pg=PA446&lpg=PA446&dq=Suvorov+Praga&sig=M6_EI4HdBkQItTFn6wfZkzncUmE] [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0198201710&id=jrVW9W9eiYMC&pg=PA722&lpg=PA722&dq=Suvorov+Praga&sig=BMI8OwNPm4xIZDiZtmfD7EZiHBM] [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN052137961X&id=7SeNvABpQxYC&pg=PA41&lpg=PA41&dq=Suvorov+Praga&sig=8rlAO4rmvMnDIYEAY9ROubRPQ4s] [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0521559170&id=NpMxTvBuWHYC&pg=PA104&lpg=PA104&dq=Suvorov+Praga&sig=h1EalDsgjIsQMt_T7XQFObUf080] [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN1840222034&id=eB16Lty0pMYC&pg=PA430&lpg=PA430&dq=Suvorov+Praga&sig=fonb2NNWVmb4Gc_eb5bjL-usx6U] [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN140101948X&id=cpCIDlVL_ggC&pg=PA26&lpg=PA26&dq=Suvorov+Praga&sig=2RMXkJW0PbKBvxWgy94FBdWbeSE] [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0253216281&id=lPSSMhdW_bQC&pg=PA54&lpg=PA54&dq=Suvorov+Praga&sig=8KxJ83yZE1zdwoDv3b1-reqgaMo] [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0801878748&id=MBVwu0QKjf0C&pg=PA402&lpg=PA402&dq=Suvorov+Praga&sig=2vrWPla37pnlP0VzgZ3OlR34n1c] [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0415254914&id=vdS_WBHGBcYC&pg=PA133&lpg=PA133&dq=Suvorov+Praga&sig=ALoVlkM3-qH3mUm3Q0Q2KaMEMBk] ] . Suvorov nonetheless allowed his troops to loot the city for a much longer period than was usually accepted, which might have been seen by some, particularly the unruly Cossacks, as green light to do whatever they wanted.John Leslie Howard, "Soldiers of the Tsar: Army and Society in Russia, 1462-1874", Keep, Oxford University Press, 1995, ISBN 019822575X, [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN019822575X&id=X7aBrrs4iOMC&pg=PA216&lpg=PA216&dq=Soviet+looting+Poland&sig=4l93Z-mtZ8pueSTnSFE6uzM0k18 Google Print, p.216]

It is said that the Russian commander sent a report to his sovereign consisting of only three words: "Hurrah from Warsaw, Suvorov." The Empress of Russia replied equally briefly: "Congratulations, Field Marshal. Catherine." The newly-appointed field marshal remained in Poland until 1795, when he returned to Saint Petersburg. But his sovereign and friend Catherine died in 1796, and her successor Paul I dismissed the veteran in disgrace.

uvorov's Italian campaign

Suvorov spent the next few years in retirement on his estate Konchanskoe near Borovichi. He criticised the new military tactics and dress introduced by the emperor, and some of his caustic verse reached the ears of Paul. His conduct therefore came under surveillance and his correspondence with his wife, who had remained at Moscow - for his marriage relations had not been happy - was tampered with. On Sundays he tolled the bell for church and sang among the rustics in the village choir. On week days he worked among them in a smock-frock. However, in February 1799 Emperor Paul I summoned him to take the field again, this time against the French Revolutionary armies in Italy.

The campaign opened with a series of Suvorov's victories (Cassano d'Adda, Trebbia, Novi). This reduced the French government to desperate straits and drove every French soldier from Italy, save for the handful under Moreau, which maintained a foothold in the Maritime Alps and around Genoa. Suvorov himself gained the rank of "prince of the House of Savoy" from the king of Sardinia.

But the later events of the eventful year went uniformly against the Russians. General Korsakov's force was defeated by Masséna at Zürich. Betrayed by the Austrians, the old field marshal, seeking to make his way over the Swiss passes to the Upper Rhine, had to retreat to Vorarlberg, where the army, much shattered and almost destitute of horses and artillery, went into winter quarters. When Suvorov battled his way through the snow-capped Alps his army was checked but never defeated. For this marvel of strategic retreat, unheard of since the time of Hannibal, Suvorov became the fourth generalissimo of Russia. He was officially promised to be given the military triumph in Russia but the court intrigues led the Emperor Paul to cancel the ceremony.

Early in 1800 Suvorov returned to Saint Petersburg. Paul refused to give him an audience, and, worn out and ill, the old veteran died a few days afterwards on 18 May 1800, at Saint Petersburg. Lord Whitworth, the English ambassador, and the poet Derzhavin were the only persons of distinction present at the funeral.

Suvorov lies buried in the church of the Annunciation in the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, the simple inscription on his grave stating, according to his own direction, "Here lies Suvorov". But within a year of his death the tsar Alexander I erected a statue to his memory in the Field of Mars.

Progeny and titles

.

Suvorov's son Arkadi (1783 - 1811) served as a general officer in the Russian army during the Napoleonic and Turkish wars of the early 19th century, and drowned in the same river Rimnik that had brought his father so much fame. His grandson Alexander Arkadievich (1804 - 1882) served as Governor General of Riga in 1848-61 and Saint Petersburg in 1861-66.

Assessment

The Russians long cherished the memory of Suvorov. A great captain, viewed from the standpoint of any age of military history, he functions specially as the great captain of the Russian nation, for the character of his leadership responded to the character of the Russian soldier. In an age when war had become an act of diplomacy he restored its true significance as an act of force. He had a great simplicity of manner, and while on a campaign lived as a private soldier, sleeping on straw and contenting himself with the humblest fare. But he had himself passed through all the gradations of military service.

According to D.S. Mirsky, Suvorov "gave much attention to the form of his correspondence, and especially of his orders of the day. These latter are highly original, deliberately aiming at unexpected and striking effects. Their style is a succession of nervous staccato sentences, which produce the effect of blow and flashes. Suvorov's official reports often assume a memorable and striking form. His writings are as different from the common run of classical prose as his tactics were from those of Frederick or Marlborough".cite book
last = Mirsky
first = D.S.
authorlink = D.S. Mirsky
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title = A History of Russian Literature
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year = 1999
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publisher = Northwestern University Press
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]

His gibes procured him many enemies. He had all the contempt of a man of ability and action for ignorant favourites and ornamental carpet-knights. But his drolleries served sometimes to hide, more often to express, a soldierly genius, the effect of which the Russian army did not soon outgrow. If the tactics of the Russians in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 - 1905 reflected too literally some of the maxims of Suvorov's Turkish wars, the spirit of self-sacrifice, resolution and indifference to losses there shown formed a precious legacy from those wars. Mikhail Ivanovich Dragomirov declared that he based his teaching on Suvorov's practice, which he held representative of the fundamental truths of war and of the military qualities of the Russian nation.

The magnificent Suvorov Museum was opened in Saint Petersburg to commemorate the centenary of the general's death, in 1900. Apart from St. Petersburg, other Suvorov monuments have been erected in Focsani, Ochakov (1907), Sevastopol, Izmail, Tulchin, Kobrin, Novaya Ladoga, Kherson, Timanovka, Simferopol, Kaliningrad, Konchanskoye, Rymnik, and in the Swiss Alps. On July 29, 1942 The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR established the Order of Suvorov. It was awarded for successful offensive actions against superior enemy forces. The town of Suvorovo in Varna Province, Bulgaria, was named after Suvorov.

References

*
* cite book
last = Ledonne
first = John P.
title = The Grand Strategy of the Russian Empire
edition =
date =
year = 2003
month =
publisher = Oxford University Press US
location =
language =
id = ISBN 0-19-516100-9
doi =
pages =
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* cite book
last = Alexander
first = John T.
title = Catherine the Great: Life and Legend
edition =
date = 1999
year =
month =
publisher = Oxford University Press US
location =
language =
id = ISBN 0-19-506162-4
doi =
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Further reading

*Anthing, "Versuch einer Kriegsgeschichte des Grafen Suworow" (Gotha, 1796 - 1799)
*F. von Smut, "Suworows Leben und Heerzüge" (Vilna, 1833—1834) and "Suworow and Polens Untergang" (Leipzig, 1858,)
*Von Reding-Biberegg, "Der Zug Suworows durch die Schweiz" (Zürich 1896)
* Lieut.-Colonel Spalding, "Suvorof" (London, 1890)
*G. von Fuchs, "Suworows Korrespondenz, 1799" (Glogau, 1835)
*"Souvorov en Italie" by Gachot, Masséna's biographer (Paris, 1903)
*The standard Russian biographies of Polevoi (1853; Ger. trans., Mitau, 1853); Rybkin (Moscow, 1874), Vasiliev (Vilna, 1899), Meshcheryakov and Beskrovnyi (Moscow, 1946), and Osipov (Moscow, 1955).
*The Russian examinations of his martial art, by Bogolyubov (Moscow, 1939) and Nikolsky (Moscow, 1949).
*"1799 le baionette sagge" by Marco Galandra and Marco Baratto (Pavia, 1999).
*"SUVOROV - La Campagna Italo-Svizzera e la liberazione di Torino nel 1799" by Maria Fedotova ed. [http://www.pintore.com Pintore] (Torino, 2004).

External links

* [http://www.ganesha.org/hall/suvorov.html Alexander V. Suvorov: Russian Field Marshal, 1729-1800]
* [http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/aureview/1986/nov-dec/menning.html Speed, Assessment, and Hitting Power: Suvorov's Art of Victory]
* [http://www.enlight.ru/camera/222/index_e.html Suvorov military museum in Saint Petersburg]
* [http://voyage.home.nov.ru/suvorovskoe.htm Suvorov's home and family]
* [http://napoleonistyka.atspace.com/FIELDMARSHAL_SUVOROV.htm Suvorov - the one man who could have stopped Bonaparte]
* [http://www.historynet.com/magazines/military_history/3036296.html Aleksandr Suvorov: Count of Rymniksky and Prince of Italy]


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