суббота, 17 мая 2014 г.

Russian officer corps in the beginning of the Great Northern war

(Below is a short resume of my thesis on the last conference at the Artillery museum in S-Peterburg. Полный текст на русском языке я выложу чуть позже)

Russian field army was of 28 Reitar & 57 Foot regiments of the "New model" in the end of XVII c. (see details, link). A regiment was of 33 officers: a colonel, a lieutenant-colonel, a major, 7 captains or rittmeisters, 1 captain-lieutenant, 9 lieutenants (poruchik), 10 ensigns (praporshik), a quartiermeister, an adjutant, a train-meister (obozniy). It gives 2.805 officers (on paper)
There were 2.250 officers on service in 1696 (80% of required 2.805). It was an excess among high officers & a shortage on a company level (27%). 947 of officers were foreigners (42%). They were the most among high officers. Their average lifetime on Russian service was about 20 years! The average for colonels was 32 years, lieutenant-colonels - 24, etc. It means that they wittingly cast in their lot with Russia & became its residents.
Table 1. Russian Officer Corps in 1696 & 1701.

CLICK TO ENLARGE
Russian officers were lieutenants or ensigns in general. It's important that 99% of them were from provincial gentry. Moscow nobility didn't serve in "New model" troops in XVII c. Also it's important that Russia didn't have any system of officer's training (academy, courses, training/cadet schools, etc.). So, nobody knows what did Russian officers know.
In spring of 1700 Peter I decided to raise new 29 Foot & 2 Dragoon regiments for the forthcoming war with Sweden. They required about 1.170-1.180 officers, or 52% of available in 1696. At the same time Peter I made a revision of the Russian officer Corps & turned adrift all old or poor-trained officers. It resulted in a huge shortage on a company level (up to 70%). To fulfill the vacancies Peter I conscripted 985 young Moscow nobles on a military service as junior officers in new regiments (not all of them became officers, some served as NCOs & privates). It's very interesting, that their salaries were reduced on incomes from their estates.
In result there were only 1.638 officers on service in the beginning of 1701. It's 73% of the 1696 number. Narva losses among officers were not high - 120-150 killed, wounded & PoWs.    

14 комментариев:

  1. Speaking about officiers and the GNW. What do you think about Tsar Peter? And what do you say about his leadership? Do you think he was more brutal or normally brutal according to leader standards for that time. Since both here by Swedish historians and between hisotians overral there have been a discussion about if Tsar Peter was more or normally cruel for that time. What do you say? Since I recently read in the book page 192 in "Katastrofen vid Poltava-KarlXII:s Ryska Fälttåg 1707-1709" by Peter From that after the Holowczyn disaster he did following in the camp of Gorkij:
    *Made a lottery among every 6th of the woundeds, the person who "won" was shoot
    *Others were hunged, or sent east-wards for working camps.
    *"Cowardly traitors" had a rocket placed in their mouth and fired off.

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    1. The story about Holowczyn is a fake to show Peter the Great's savagery. He punished only high officers, Repnin & Chambers. And he did it not on his own, but after a legal procedure of a military court. Russia in many sources, even modern, is still a wild Asian country with bears on the streets -)

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    2. I know for sure that Tsar Peter degraded Chambers and Repnin, but so those stories of punishments of privates are false? I asked you guys since the author of the book was Swedish, even though he mostly in the book have both sides of view of the war. But he didn't in this case. Though he's fairly known for having as Bengt says down below he had strong emotions and the fact that he drank a lot didn't help exactly.

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    3. The punishment of soldiers was used when an action was lost because of their cowardice. Meanwhile Holowczyn was lost because of Repnin's & Chamber's poor leadership. Other officers & soldiers had nothing to do with it. And Peter the Great agreed with the result of the military courts (one court was for infantry & one for cavalry).

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  2. Well, these stories from Holowczyn sounds like Fryxell, who most likely found them in some contemporary propaganda version. As for someone's brutality it's difficult to judge people from an entirely different time with different values, but Czar Peter was at the very least quite ruthless (for example the treatment of his first wife and his eldest son and the events in Polotsk in July 1705).He appears to have been a man of strong emotions and that did perhsp not always combine well with the heavy drinking which was common at that time.

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    1. As well as (almost) any other European sovereign...

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    2. Examples of "almost any other European sovereign" who put his wife in a convent, jailed his son and (whatever the exact circumstances) had the sort of "violent encounter" with monks the Czar had in Polotsk? I believe you will find few similar cases in Europe around 1700 (Frederick William I comes to mind).

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    3. Peter the Great was a person with unbalanced mind because of troubles in childhood, drinking in his youth & continuous stressed situations in 1700s. But he was not a monster. And in general he was a very pragmatic person. Stories with his wife & son were concourses of many circumstances. Story with Polotck monks was a result of their provocation against Russians & Orthodox faith.

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    4. Канешно! Как предавать всех направо и налево, или Паткуля колесовать и четвертовать, либо русских пленных массово перебить, - так это только благородным европейцам можно. Зато про русских варваров всякую чепуху придумывают и, как вижу, верят до сих пор.

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    5. Didn't Tsar Peter torture his first son to death?

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    6. Well, there is a difference between someone's personal behaviour towards his immediate circle of associates, family etc. and his actions as head of state. Patkul was born a Swedish citizen, had served in the Swedish army and subsequently got involved in the struggle of the Livonian nobility versus Charles XI. För his actions during that period he was sentenced to death. He then escaped and got involved in intrigues against Sweden, which of course was a very serious crime for a Swedish citizen. Patkul then proceeded to actually bear arms against Sweden, which was even more serious. So the fact that Patkul got executed was not so strange. It would have been the same result in every other European country for that sort of actions. As for mass killings of Russian soldiers there is to my knowledge one instance (Fraustadt) and the circumstances as well as the scale is quite unclear just as the motives are. But then again, one has to separate political and military actions from the actions of the monarch in a personal sense. I have no doubt the Czar would have treated Mazepa much like Charles XII treated Patkul if he had managed to catch him, but it would still have been a political issue. The monarch's personal actions aginst family, associates or people he encounters is a different thing and in that particular case I think it can safely be said that the Czar on occasions showed a bad temper, which wasn't helped by drinking. Very successful persons does not necessarily have to be extremely pleasant and unsuccessful persons does not necessarily have to be unpleasant.

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  3. At this time, the kings of Europe playing with kittens;))

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