“In a thunderstorm and lightning the people of Russia glorify their glorious destiny. See the whole history Russian Every encounter turned into overcoming. And the fire and strife only contributed to the greatness of the Russian land. In the splendor of enemy swords, Rus listened to new tales and learned and deepened her inexhaustible creativity. ”
April 18 in our country celebrates the Day of Military Glory of Russia - Victory Day of the Russian soldiers of Prince Alexander Nevsky over the German knights on Lake Peipsi (Ice Battle, 1242 year).
It is worth noting that the event itself took place on April 5 in the old style, i.e. April 12 on the new, 1242 of the year, but officially the holiday, the Day of Military Glory, is celebrated on April 18. These are the costs of transferring dates from the old to the new. Apparently, when setting the date, the rule was not taken into account: when translating dates of the XII-XIII centuries, 7 days are added to the old style (and 13 days were added by habit).
The situation before the battle
The middle of the thirteenth century was a time of severe tests for Russia. During this period, the Russian land was divided into about a dozen independent states and even more autonomous princely powers. They had several development models: 1) South Russian and West Russian (Kiev, Pereyaslav, Chernigov, Polotsk, Smolensk, Galitsko-Volyn Rus and other principalities). In the previous period, Southern and Western Russia was severely ravaged and weakened by internal strife, the invasion of the so-called. "Mongols" (The myth of the "Mongol-Tatar" invasion; The myth of the "Mongols from Mongolia in Russia"; Russian-Horde Empire), which caused a strong outflow of population in the internal (forest) areas of Russia. This eventually led to the fact that South and Western Russia was incorporated into Hungary, Poland and Lithuania;
2) northeast (Vladimir-Suzdal and Ryazan principalities), which gradually became the new passionary core of Russia with a strong central princely power, the center of unity of all Russian lands;
3) the north-western (Novgorod Republic, and from the XIV century and the Pskov Republic), with the power of the trade-aristocratic elite, which put its narrow group interests above the people, and was ready to surrender territory to the West (German knights, Sweden, Lithuania), only would save your wealth and power. The West, after the capture of a significant part of the Baltic States, tried to extend its power to the north-western lands of Russia. Using the feudal fragmentation of Russia and the "Mongol" invasion, which weakened the military power of the Russian lands, troops of the Crusaders and Swedish feudal lords invaded the north-western borders of Russia.
Influence of Novgorod in Karelia and Finland violated the interests of Rome, which implanted Catholicism in the Baltic States with fire and sword (it was also part of Russia’s sphere of influence), and planned to continue military-religious expansion with the help of German and Swedish feudalists interested in dependent population growth and plunder rich Russian cities. As a result, Novgorod clashed with Sweden and the Livonian Order, behind which stood Rome. Since the second half of the XII century. in the middle of the XV century. The Novgorod Republic was forced 26 times to fight with Sweden and 11 times with the Livonian Order.
At the end of the 1230, Rome prepared a campaign against Russia with the aim of seizing the northwestern Russian lands and planting Catholicism there. Three forces were to take part in it - the German (Teutonic) Order, Sweden and the Danes. In the opinion of Catholic Rome after the Batu invasion, the bloodless and plundered Russia, moreover, divided by the feuds of the great feudal lords, could not provide any serious resistance. The German and Danish knights were supposed to strike at Novgorod from land, from their Livonian possessions, and the Swedes were going to support them from the sea through the Gulf of Finland. In July 1240, the Swedish fleet entered the Neva. The Swedes were planning a sudden blow to take Ladoga, and then Novgorod. However, the brilliant and lightning victory of Prince Alexander Yaroslavich over the Swedes 15 July 1240 on the banks of the Neva temporarily dislodged Sweden from the camp of the enemies.
But another enemy, the Teutonic Order, was much more dangerous. In 1237, the Teutonic Order, who owned Slavic Prussia, teamed up with the Livonian Order of the Sword, thereby extending his power to Livonia. Combining, thus, the forces directed by the Holy See and receiving support from the Holy Roman Empire, the Teutonic knights began to prepare for the "Drang nah Osten". The masters of the West - at this time, the "command center" of the Western world was located in Rome, they planned to seize and subjugate Russia, destroy and partially assimilate the eastern branch of the Rus ethnic group, as they had destroyed the Western ethno-linguistic core of the Russo-European super ethnic group in Central Europe ( the territory of Germany, Austria, Prussia, etc.) - the lands of the Wends-Vendians, Lutus-Lyutichs, the Wake-hearted ones, Ruianes, Porus-Prussians, etc.
At the end of August 1240, Bishop Hermann Derptsky, gathering militia from his subjects and knights of the Order of the Sword, with the support of the Danish knights from Reval, invaded Pskov and seized Izborsk. Pskov gathered militia and decided to recapture their suburbs. An attempt by the Pskov militia in September 1240 to repel the fortress ended in failure. The knights laid siege on Pskov himself, but they could not take it in stride and left. A strong fortress could withstand a long siege, the Germans were not ready for it. But the knights soon took Pskov, taking advantage of betrayal among the besieged. Earlier, the prince-rogue Yaroslav Vladimirovich, who reigned in Pskov, fell down with the boyars inside the city, headed by Pskov posadnik Tverdilo Ivankovich, glittered them with money and power. At night, these traitors let into the enemy's fortress. German governors were planted in Pskov. By the end of 1240, the crusaders settled firmly in the Pskov land and began to prepare for a further offensive, using the previously captured territory as a supporting bridgehead.
The knights acted according to the traditional pattern: they captured the earth, destroyed the enemy's living force of the enemy, terrorized the remaining inhabitants with terror, built their temples (often on the site of already existing shrines), turned them into "holy faith" with fire and sword and erected supporting castles for defense bases captured land and further expansion. So, the knights invaded the Novgorod possessions of Chud and Vod, devastated them, and laid tribute to the inhabitants. They also built a fortress in Koporye. The castle was built on a steep and rocky mountain and it became the base for further advance to the east. Soon after, the crusaders occupied Tesovo, an important trading point in the Novgorod land, and from there it was already within reach of Novgorod.
Novgorod elite at the beginning of the war did not act in the best way. After the Battle of the Neva, when the people greeted the victorious squad of the young prince, the merchant-aristocratic elite of Novgorod, who looked at the prince with suspicion, fearing the growth of its power and influence, quarreled with Alexander Yaroslavich. At a convocation meeting, he was thrown a number of unfair accusations, and the victory over the Swedes was presented as an adventure that brought Novgorod more harm than good. Enraged Alexander Nevsky left Novgorod and with his family left for his inheritance - Pereyaslavl-Zalessky. As a result, the gap with the young, but talented and decisive warlord disastrously affected the position of Novgorod. However, the looming threat led to popular indignation, the Novgorodians forced the boyar "lord" to call on Alexander. Novgorod's ruler Spiridon went to him in Pereyaslavl, who asked the prince to forget the old offenses and lead a speech against the German knights. Alexander at the beginning of 1241, returned to Novgorod, where he was greeted by popular exultation.
Battle on the Ice
In the spring of 1241, the city of Alexander Yaroslavich, at the head of his squad and militia from Novgorod, took Ladorians and Korela Koporye. The fortress was razed, the captured knights were sent hostage to Novgorod, and the Chudi and Vod warriors who served with them were hanged. Then Alexander defeated the enemy’s small detachments, who had been robbing in the vicinity and by the end of 1241, the Novgorod land was almost completely cleared of the enemy. In the winter of 1242, Prince Alexander, together with his brother Andrey, who had brought reinforcements from Vladimir-Suzdal land, beat off Pskov. The German Rhymed Chronicle tells about the capture of Pskov by the troops of Alexander Yaroslavich: “He arrived there with great force; he brought many Russians to free the Pskovs ... When he saw the Germans, he did not hesitate for a long time after that, he expelled both brothers and knights, putting an end to their furry, and all their servants were driven away. ” Pskov boyars, traitors were hanged.
Then the Russian troops, reinforced by the Pskov militia, moved into the lands of the Order. The news of the movement of the Russian troops soon reached Dorpat, and the local bishop turned to the Order for help. The Crusaders gathered a large army, which, with auxiliary troops of the Chud, was ready for a decisive battle. One of the forward detachments of the Russian army was ambushed and defeated. Alexander realized that the knightly army itself is looking for a general battle, decided to give it in favorable conditions. He took his shelves from the Livonian borders and stood on Uzmeni, a narrow channel connecting Peipsi and Pskov lakes, by the Crow stone (a cliff island now hidden by the water of Peipsi). This position was very convenient. Crusaders, passing to the lake, could then go to Novgorod bypassing Lake Peipsi to the north, or Pskov - along the western coast of the Pskov lake to the south. In each of these cases, Alexander Yaroslavich could intercept the enemy, moving along the eastern coast of the lakes. If the Crusaders decided to act directly and tried to overcome the strait in the narrowest place, then they would directly collide with the Russian troops.
Russian army goes to Lake Peipsi. Chronicle miniature
The Teutonic troops, commanded by the landmaster of the Teutonic Order, Andreas von Völven, besides the order knight brothers, included the Dorpat episcopate and Danish knights led by the sons of the Danish king Valdemar II. The German Crusaders were usually built in battle order, known as the “boar's head” (“pigs”). It was a narrow, but rather long column. At the head was a wedge of several narrowed to the front of the ranks of the most experienced and battle-hardened brothers-knights. Behind the wedge, gradually expanding in depth, became squads of squires and knights. The knightly heavily armed cavalry also moved on the sides of the column. In the center of the column there was infantry from hired bollards (from the Baltic tribes subordinate to the Germans), who were assigned a secondary role in the battle (finish off the defeated enemy). Not only could the enemy withstand the blow of a heavy knightly cavalry. Knights on strong horses, like a ram, with a powerful blow, split the enemy's line in two, then crushed it into smaller groups and destroyed them in pieces (already with the participation of infantry). But this construction had its drawbacks. It was almost impossible to keep the order of battle after the main attack. And to maneuver in a situation that suddenly changed during the battle in such a formation was extremely difficult. For this it was necessary to take the army back, to bring it in order.
Knowing this, Alexander Nevsky shock his forces placed on the flanks. The basis of the combat order of the Russian troops of that time were three regiments: the “forehead” —the main regiment located in the center, and the regiments of the “right and left hand”, located along the flanks of the “chela” ledges backwards or forwards. All three regiments constituted one main line. Moreover, the "man" is usually formed from the most prepared warriors. But the Novgorod prince placed the main forces, mainly cavalry, on the flanks. In addition, behind the regiment of the left hand in ambush to bypass the flank and strike the enemy in the rear were the cavalry squads of Alexander and Andrey Yaroslavichi. In the center is located the Novgorod militia, which was to take on the first and most severe blow. Archers stood in front of all, and behind the Russian army, near the steep coast, sleds with sleighs set up with chains were set up to give additional support to the Russian infantry and stop, deprive the enemy cavalry maneuver.
Behind the Russian army was a thick forest overgrown with steep slopes, which excluded the possibility of maneuver; the right flank was protected by a water zone called Sigovitsa. Here, due to some features of the flow and a large number of underground keys, the ice was very fragile. Local residents knew about it and, undoubtedly, informed Alexander. The left flank was protected by a high coastal cape, from where a wide panorama was opened up to the opposite shore. In Soviet historiography, the Ice Battle was considered one of the largest battles in the history of German knight aggression in the Baltic States, and the number of troops on Lake Peipsi was estimated at 10-12 thousand people of the Order and 15-17 thousand Russian people.
Source: Bloodless L. Atlas of maps and diagrams on Russian military history. M., 1946.
The battle took place 5 (12) on April 1242 on the ice of Lake Peipsi. The beginning of the battle "Rhymed Chronicle" describes it like this: "The Russians had many shooters who bravely stepped forward and were the first to take the onslaught before the prince's team." Further: “The banners of the brothers penetrated into the ranks of the gunmen, it was heard how the swords jingle, the helmets were cut, and the fallen fell on the grass from both sides.” Thus, the news of the "Chronicle" about the battle formation of the Russians as a whole is combined with the reports of the Russian chronicles about the allocation of a separate infantry regiment in front of the center of the main forces. In the center, the Germans broke through the ranks of the Russians: “The Germans, on the other hand, chased a pig through shelves.”
Knights broke through the Russian center and got stuck in the train. From the flanks they began to compress the shelves of the right and left hands. “And the evil that was cut off was great by Germans and men, and a snow pipe from spears of breaking, and a sound from a sword section, and you wouldn’t see ice covered with blood,” the chronicler noted. The final change was outlined when the prince's squads entered the battle. The Crusaders began to retreat, which turned into a rout. Part of the knightly troops were driven by Russian warriors to Sigovitsa. In some places, the spring ice broke, and the heavy knights went to the bottom. The victory was left for the Russians. The Russians were chasing the runners on the ice throughout the 7 version.
Captive knights barefoot and with uncovered heads were led on foot, near their horses, to Pskov, captured by hired soldiers. The Livonian Rhymed Chronicle claims that the 20 knight brothers were killed in the Battle of the Ice and 6 were captured, that is, it clearly understates the loss. The Chronicle of the Teutonic Order seems to be more accurate and reports the death of 70 brothers and knights. At the same time, these losses do not take into account the fallen secular knights and other order soldiers. It is also worth remembering that the Germans took into account the death of only brothers-knights. Behind each knight was a “spear” - a combat unit. Each spear consisted of a knight, his squires, servants, swordsmen (or spearmen) and archers. As a rule, the richer a knight was, the more fighters counted his spear. Poor "single-faced" knights could be part of the spear of a rich "brother." Also notable people could be the page (approximate servant) and the first squire. Therefore, in the First Novgorod Chronicle, the losses of the opponents of the Russian are presented as follows: “and ... the fall of the besschisla, and Nѣmets 400, and 50 with the hands of Yash and brought to Novgorod”.
The defeat in the battle on Lake Peipsi forced the Livonian Order to ask for peace: “What we went by the sword ... from that all retreat; how many have your people taken captive, by that we are exchanged: we will let yours go, but you will let ours go. " For the city of Yuriev (Dorpat), the Order pledged to pay Novgorod "Yuryev's tribute". And although the war 1240-1242. did not become the last between the Novgorodians and the Crusaders, their spheres of influence in the Baltic States did not undergo noticeable changes for three centuries - until the end of the XV century.
Battle on the Ice. Miniature of the Facial Chronicle, mid-XVI century
V.A. Serov. Battle on the Ice
Alexander Nevsky after this battle forever entered Russian history as an image of Russian national and state identity. Alexander Yaroslavich shows that no "peaceful coexistence", a compromise with the West is impossible in principle. Russia and the West are two worlds that have different ideological, conceptual beginnings (“matrices”). The Western matrix is materialism - the “golden calf”, slave-owning society is the parasitism of the “elect” over the others, which leads to self-destruction and the death of the whole civilization (hence the modern crisis of capitalism, the white race, humanity and the biosphere as a whole). The Russian matrix is the domination of the ethics of conscience, justice, the pursuit of an ideal society of service and creation (the “Kingdom of God”).
Therefore, Westerners in Russia are trying in every way to blacken and belittle the significance of Alexander Yaroslavich Nevsky and his victories, to knock out one of the foundations from the historical memory of the Russian people. Alexander Yaroslavich is trying to turn from a hero into an antihero who allegedly went to an alliance with the "Mongols" instead of cooperating with the "civilized and enlightened West".
Monument to Russian soldiers of Prince Alexander Nevsky. Installed in 1993 on Mount Sokolikh in Pskov. Designed by sculptor I. I. Kozlovsky and architect P. S. Butenko