Russian Army History
The Ground Forces of the armed forces of Russia date their history from the princely guards of Kiev Russia. In the battles with khazarami and Polovetss, Tatar- Mongolian, German, Swedish and many other conquerors, the chronicle of the fight of state for its independence was written with the blood of Russian warriors. The brightest page of military history is the crushing defeat of the Livonskogo order Prince Aleksandr Nevskiy's guards on the ice of the Chudskyyo Lake. This was the large victory of Russian people and its soldiers, who rose to the defense of the independence of Russia.
The models of military skill and military valor showed Russian troops under the command of the great prince of moskow Dmitriy Donskoy in the fight against the Tatar- Mongolian conquerors. Its apogee was reached in the last quarter of the XIVth Century, and was completed on 8 September 1380, in Kulikovom field by the utter defeat of the 150,000 Mamaya horde. Russian regiments pursued the enemy for a distance of 50 versts after they ran away in panic.
The fight for overcoming of feudal fragmentation, the formation of the centralized state and the liquidation of foreign oppression involved an increase in the number of army, and strengthening the domestic-economic structure of life which created conditions for the first military reforms in Russia. These were actively carried out by Ivan IV (Groznyy). As a result artillery, mine-explosives, and manual firearms were developed, and the ordering of the system of staffing and military service into positional troops was carried out, along with the organization of the centralized management of army supply. At the same time the constant watch service was created, and the "detail" of artillery was isolated in an independent branch of service. These measures for strengthening of army allowed Russian troops to successfully defend the interests of Russia in the fight with numerous enemies.
Significant conversions in the Russian army were conducted Peter I. He created a regular army with uniform organization and the armament, a united system of military instruction and training, and a centralized Arms Forces Administration. In the same period the post of commander-in-chief was founded, along with the creation of the field staff headed by General of quartermaster, military schools for training of officer personnel were opened, and reglulations for the service of officers and other military-law reforms were carried ouied.
Because of the Petrovskiy reforms, the Russian army gained a brilliant victory above Sweden in the course of the Northern War (1700-1721), in which the basic purpose of Russia was the return age-old the Russian earth, seized by Sweden. In the general battle between the Russian and Swedish troops on 27 June, 1709, in Poltava, the Russian army completely destroyed the Swedish, that at the time was considered the best in Europe. Russian soldiers demonstrated bravery, durability, devotion to duty, love for the fatherland, and a readiness to defend it from the foreign aggressors.
Further development of military skill and a multiplication of the victories of Russia was connected with the activity of the great Russian generalissimo, Aleksandr Vasilyevich Suvorov. In the wars against Turkey, the Army under Suvorov abandoned the old bulky and clumsy battle formations, and boldly and having decisively used new, more maneuverability and mobile. The clear example of the celebration of Russian weapon, the model of the crushing defeat of enemy "not by the number, but as skill", served the victories of Russian troops under Suvorov's leadership with Rymnike (1789), assault of fortress Izmail (1790).
Russian army under the command of Suvorov in the Italian and Swiss marches showed the bright models of the strategy of decisive actions, and the impact of tactics of columns (1799). In these marches many characteristic features of the leadership talent of Suvorov appeared, and the high military qualities of Russian soldiers.
In the historical development of ground forces of the armed forces of Russia the War of 1812 occupies a special position. In the battles against the strong French army, which subjugated the entirety of Europe, Russian troops proved to be more prepared to the prolonged and intense fight. To the skill of experienced enemy were contradicted craftsmanship, durability, courage, initiative and resoluteness of Russian troops. Near Borodino the myth of the invincibility of the French was shattered.
The Russian soldier was docile, submissive, and brave. Like all slaves, he was supple, subservient, and cunning; like all natives of the northern regions, he was hardy, patient, and enduring. He had no other thought than to do implicitly as he desired; and there was a pertinacity in his nature which inclined him to persevere, or to stand firm, as the case may be, without troubling himself about consequences.
His courage was the result of insensibility rather than of moral force of character; and hence it was commonly more of a passive than of an active character. But there was, nevertheless, an element of indomitable ferocity in his composition: amidst all the apparatus and parade of civilization lay still three parts a barbarian. Hence his most brilliant achievements had been performed under men upon whom the force of civilization had made as little impression as on himself, and whom the instinct of sympathy had taught to develop his natural barbarism.
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