Military Review

The war in Italy and the Swiss campaign of Suvorov

The war in Italy and the Swiss campaign of Suvorov 10 (21) September 1799 began the famous transition of the army of Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov through the Alps. The purpose of the campaign was the defeat of the French troops in Switzerland. During the hike, the Russian army fought through the most important mountain pass of the Swiss Alps - St. Gothard and Chertov Bridge and made the transition from the valley of the r. Royce (Royce) in Muten Valley, where it was blocked by superior enemy forces. However, in the battle in the Muten Valley, the miraculous heroes of Suvorov defeated the French army under the command of Andre Massena and left the encirclement. Given the fact that the corps of Rimsky-Korsakov was defeated, and the Austrians retreated, the troops of Suvorov had to make one more difficult transition through the snow-covered hard-to-reach Passenkopf pass (Panix), and through the city of Chur the Russians headed towards Russia.

Hike history

Suvorov followed the events in France with alarm and began to sound the alarm even before the heart of the war in Europe was fully formed. The great commander was opposed to the revolution, "rebellion" and was ready to fight with the "rebels" in any rank. Suvorov, during the suppression of the uprising in Poland, noted that French volunteers and officers were fighting on the side of the Poles. In August, 1796, Suvorov proposed to Empress Catherine II to provide military assistance to those monarchies of Europe who were faced with revolutionary France. The Russian commander suggested that the French army might be on the Polish borders of the Russian Empire. He proposed to preemptively destroy the threat and carry out an operation against the raging revolutionary France. Suvorov expressed his willingness to lead the operation. The Empress did not answer the commander.

Alexander V. believed that the war with France is inevitable. The future will confirm the fears of the great Russian man. Firstly, Napoleon Bonaparte will brilliantly play the "Polish card", the Polish legions formed from the most energetic representatives of the Polish people will faithfully serve Paris until the fall of the Napoleonic empire. The Poles will fight for Napoleon in Spain, Italy, to participate in the 1812 war of the year. The “Polish Question” will be one of those faults that will undermine the relationship between Alexander I and Napoleon. In letters to grandee D. I. Khvostov, Suvorov will shrewdly notice that it is the Vistula that will become the frontier that Napoleon will strike in Russia (and indeed the Vistula region will become the center of the invasion army in 1812). Secondly, Suvorov predicted that Prussia would participate in the anti-French wars, but after the defeat she would become an ally of France. The Prussian army will support the French in its war with Russia. An interesting fact is that Suvorov even predicted the possibility of a Turkish-French landing in the Crimea (although this would be the Crimean war of 1853-1856). Suvorov had a real gift of strategic foresight.

The Empress, in principle, decided on the participation of the Russian 60-thousand expeditionary force under the command of Suvorov, who was supposed to act together with the forces of other European countries, against France. Only the death of Catherine II stopped the implementation of the decision of St. Petersburg to get involved in the war on the furthest lines from its state.

Suvorov closely followed the actions of Napoleon. Once in a conversation with Count F. V. Rostopchin, Suvorov called the three best commanders in the world military stories: Guy Julius Caesar, Hannibal and Napoleon Bonaparte. Moreover, Napoleon was just beginning his military career, and to Austerlitz was still far away. Napoleon with his strategic decisions, art far from the template evoked professional admiration from Suvorov.

The beginning of the war with France. The reason for Paul deciding to go to war with France was Napoleon’s seizure of Malta during the Egyptian campaign. The Russian emperor was the patron saint of the Order of Malta. The knights controlled the island of Malta, which occupied a strategic position in the Mediterranean. In December 1798, Turkey and Russia signed a treaty of alliance against France. The Turks were angry that the French seized Egypt and part of Palestine with the fortress of Jaffa, which was considered the possession of Porta. Almost immediately, England and then Austria and the Neapolitan Kingdom joined the Russian-Turkish alliance. The allies set a goal - to return France to the old pre-revolutionary borders.

The Russian Empire allocated three corps for the war with France: 23-thousand. F.M.Numsen (then AM Rimsky-Korsakov will replace him), 20-thousand A. G. Rosenberg and 10-th. I.I. Herman. In addition, a separate 7-thousand was formed in Russia. a detachment of French monarchists under the command of Prince Conde Louis-Joseph de Bourbon (the compound, after the end of the war, was transferred to the service of the British). These were avant-garde forces; in Russia itself, on the western borders, two field armies of a total of 90 thousand were formed under the command of experienced commanders B. P. Lassi and I. V. Gudovich. In addition, Russia allocated most of the Baltic and Black Sea fleets for the war: 32 battleships, 14 frigates and 7 auxiliary ships. Their crews, along with the landing force, consisted of 25,6 thousand people. Russian-Turkish fleet under the command of Fedor Fedorovich Ushakov from August 1798, led the fighting against France, freeing the Ionian Islands.

The main role in the war with France was to be played by the Austrian empire, it exhibited three armies with a total of 225 thousand people. First 80-th. the army was under the authority of the Archduke Karl-Ludwig-John, brother of the emperor Franz, its flanks were covered by 15-thousand. Corpus A. Starray (in Bohemia) and 26-th. the case of Friedrich von Gotze. Second 48-thousand the army under the command of Heinrich Belguard was located in Tyrol. In Northern Italy was the third 86-th. army of Melas.

The French had six armies totaling 237 thousand people. The French armies were commanded by generals Brune, Jourdan, Bernadotte, Massena, Scherer, and MacDonald. Of these, three armies operated in Switzerland and Italy. The French were the first to launch an offensive. In January, Paris 1799 presented an ultimatum to Vienna, demanding that Rosenberg’s corps be expelled from Austrian territory. The Austrians rejected this demand and in February the French troops launched an offensive. The French in the shortest possible time occupied almost all of Switzerland and most of Northern Italy.

The opinion was that the main reason for the failure was the absence of a single commander in chief of Austria and Russia. The British offered to appoint Suvorov to this position. By that time, many in Europe had the impression that only the Russian commander Suvorov could stop the French revolutionary generals. Vienna agreed with the proposal of England. The Austrian emperor Franz I appealed to the Russian sovereign Pavel with a request to put the commander at the head of the Russian expeditionary forces, "whose courage and feats would serve as a guarantee in the success of a great cause." Suvorov at that time lived in the village Konchansky considering that his military career was over. He even thought about completing his days in the Nil desert.

Suvorov was greeted with enthusiasm in the capital, joy reigned in the army too. Field Marshal A.V. Suvorov-Rymniksky was received by all Russian troops against France. The Vienna court, although he proposed Suvorov to Petersburg as commander-in-chief, nevertheless, with a little eagerness, gave him command of the allied forces in Italy. Suvorov arrived in Vienna in March 1799 of the year and stayed there for ten days. Emperor Franz assigned the title of Austrian field marshal to the Russian commander in order to avoid misunderstandings in the relationship between the Count of Rymnik and the local generals. The commander refused all secular meetings and dealt only with official matters, studied the Austrian maps of the future theater of military operations. He came to a disappointing conclusion for himself: the territory of Northern Italy was of little use for a war of maneuver. Affected by the abundance of water barriers, strong fortresses and mountainous rugged terrain. In addition, the enemy had the opportunity to use defensive lines along the banks of the rivers Mincio, Chieso, Olio, Adda, Ticino, etc. The French command had in Italy: 58-thousand. The Italian army under the command of General B. Scherer (Northern Italy) and 34-thousand. Neapolitan army under the authority of J. Macdonald (Central and Southern Italy). Also in Switzerland, 30-thousand was deployed. Helvetic army with commander A. Massena.

However, Suvorov’s tactics, iron will, stubbornness in the performance of enterprises, unlimited moral authority over the troops, brought success in the new theater of military operations.

Italian hike. The Vienna court was planning to expel the French forces, first from Lombardy, and then from Piedmont. It was assumed that after the defeat of the French in Northern Italy, the remaining enemy troops in Central and Southern Italy would leave there, so as not to be isolated from France. The supply of troops was entrusted to the Austrian General Melas. 24 March Suvorov left Vienna and 3 April arrived in Verona. Rosenberg's corps was already there: 1 Grenadier, 7 Musketeers, 2 Chasseur Regiments, 4 Consolidated Grenadier Battalions, and 6 Don Cossack Regiments. The hull had 24 guns. Suvorov formed the avant-garde of the 6-th Jäger Regiment under the command of Major General Bagration, the grenadier battalion of Lieutenant Colonel Lomonosov and the Cossack regiment Major Pozdeyev.

On April 8, the allied Russian-Austrian army marched from Valeggio to the banks of the Adda river. Under Suvorov, there were 66 thousand Austrians (divisions of generals Vukasovich, Ott, Zopf, Fröhlich, Hohenzollern and Keim), and about 18 thousand Russian soldiers. Later came 10-th. Russian corps MV Rebinder.

By the morning of April 10 capitulated the garrison of the fortress of Brishia. Suvorov in the report to the emperor Pavel noted the courage and fearlessness of Bagration, Lomonosov and Pozdeyev (commanders of the Russian avant-garde). A strong Austrian garrison was deployed in the city. The capture of Brishia allowed the siege of the enemy fortresses of Mantua and Pesquera to begin, for this purpose the commander-in-chief sent 20 to thousands of Austrians under the command of Krai. But the main forces Suvorov led to Milan, the main city in Northern Italy. On April 12, the vanguard of Bagration broke the French squad by the Oglie River, the enemy could not prevent the Russians from crossing the water barrier. The rapid advance of the Russian troops decided the fate of the fortress of Bergamo. Russian Cossacks appeared in front of the city so unexpectedly that the French garrison ran almost without resistance, throwing 19 guns and large stocks of military property.

14 April Suvorov's troops reached the Adda River, where 15 — 17 (26-28) took place on April, in which 28-thousand. the French army under the command of General Jean Victor Moreau was defeated, having lost 2,5 thousand killed and wounded, 5 thousand prisoners and 27 guns (the allies lost about 2 thousand killed and wounded). 18 (29) April Milan was busy without a fight. On April 20 (May 1), Suvorov’s troops marched towards the River Po to prevent the forces of the retreating Moreau and General Macdonald and April 26 (May 7) from joining forces on both sides of the river, wedged between enemy forces. 15 (26) in May Russian-Austrian troops took Turin, French troops retreated to the south, leaving only a few blocked fortresses to the north of the River Po (Mantua, Koni, etc.).

The French command attempted to seize the strategic initiative and attack Suvorov with MacDonald’s forces (36 thousand soldiers) from the east and Moreau (14 thousand people) from the Genoa region. Alexander Vasilyevich put a barrier against Moreau in Alessandria, and 4 (15) of June moved towards McDonald’s troops, having 22 thousand soldiers. Two armies clashed on the river Trebbia. 6 (17) June - 8 (19) June was a fierce battle in which the French were defeated and retreated to Genoa. Moro's army also went there. MacDonald's army lost about 6 thousand killed and 12 thousand prisoners, the losses of the Allied army - more than 5 thousand killed and wounded.

At the end of July, the combined French forces under the command of General V. K. Joubert again tried to take the initiative into their own hands and launched an offensive from Genoa. The goal of the French troops was Alessandria, where the main forces of the allies were concentrated. Meanwhile, 17 (28) July fell the fortress of Mantua, which allowed Suvorov to strengthen the allied grouping by the liberated troops.

The Russian-Austrian (44 thousand people) and the French army (38 thousand people) met on August 4 (15) near the city of Novi. A new fierce battle has taken place. It lasted 15 hours and became one of the most bloody of the field battles of Suvorov. The French took the strongest position, but could not withstand the onslaught of the Suvorov miracle heroes. Joubert fell in this battle. The allied army lost 6 thousand people killed and wounded. The French lost 10 thousand killed and more than 4 thousand wounded. Moreau took the remnants of the army to Genoa.

Alexander Suvorov proposed to Vienna to finish off the French forces near Genoa, and then to transfer military operations to French territory, to advance on Marseille, in order to cut off France from the Mediterranean. However, fearing a sharp increase in the influence of Russians in the Mediterranean, caused by the brilliant military successes of Suvorov and Ushakov, the Vienna court did not accept the Suvorov plan. 16 (27) August Austrians sent Suvorov's forces to Switzerland to join the Rimsky-Korsakov corps. After unification, Suvorov should attack the French. So, the Swiss campaign began.

To be continued ...

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  1. Sakhalininsk
    Sakhalininsk 21 September 2012 09: 13
    Yes, then our great Suvorov and Ushakov gave the tinsel to the French. Truly, there were no more great regiments and naval commanders in Russia. Not their victories, but a sight for sore eyes.
    1. Redpartyzan
      Redpartyzan 21 September 2012 10: 11
      The best commander in history is neither more nor less. I am proud of such an ancestor and wear a T-shirt with his portrait. Just think he did not lose a single battle and in many of his troops were inferior in numbers. Great person.
    2. mongoose
      mongoose 21 September 2012 11: 18
      I do not agree, there were, just Suvorov and Napoleon is the pinnacle of military art of the era of muzzle-loading rifles
      as Nakhimov and Nelson top sailors of the sailing era.
      1. slav4ikus
        slav4ikus 21 September 2012 18: 20
        oh just don’t have to downplay the merits of people !!! simply Suvorov would not have made 60 victories and not a single defeat, but simply Bonaparte would not have crushed the whole of Europe for himself
  2. Yuriy3005
    Yuriy3005 21 September 2012 09: 45
    It’s a pity now that Suvorov is gone, otherwise he would have given the current main lovers of revolutions all over the world according to their faces ...
    1. mongoose
      mongoose 21 September 2012 11: 22
      and by the way, yes, then they fought with the commune and the era of the Napoleonic era generated by it.
      ps if you look not biased, then on the political plane (and Buonopart was not only an ingenious commander), the forerunner of Dzhugashvilli in many respects, also leaving phraseology replaced the internal content of states, from the revolutionary revelry of robbers and libertines, created the Empire)
      ps I don’t sleep who was the author of the 1812 company’s plan in Russia (I suspect that De Tolly) but he was not inferior to Napoleon in genius, what the Russians did with the Great Army contradicted the military art of those years
  3. JonnyT
    JonnyT 21 September 2012 10: 55
    Suvorov with his miraculous heroes of a fright all of Europe and allies and enemies !!! Such successes could be achieved only by a highly moral person, a patriot of his work and the Motherland!
    1. Click-Klyak
      Click-Klyak 21 September 2012 11: 19
      At the military council in Muot, Suvorov made a speech that later became famous, which shocked everyone present. According to Bagration's recollections, addressing Constantine, the son of the Russian Emperor Paul I, he said: "We are surrounded by mountains ... surrounded by a powerful enemy, proud of victory ... Now we have no help from anyone, one hope for God, the other for the greatest courage and the highest self-sacrifice of the troops led by you ... We face the greatest, unprecedented labors in the world! We are on the edge of the abyss! But we are Russians! And God is with us! "
      Do you think he said it from great success? Or because it all got really bad?
      1. JonnyT
        JonnyT 21 September 2012 16: 42
        Even the most highly trained troops without a leader, this is a crowd.
      2. slav4ikus
        slav4ikus 21 September 2012 18: 22
        he said this from faith in himself and his soldiers, with whom he shared shelter and food, and did not sit in the Duma
  4. Kolyan 2
    Kolyan 2 21 September 2012 11: 12
    If I'm not mistaken (I think not), then this is the only commander who fought not by number but by skill.
    1. mongoose
      mongoose 21 September 2012 11: 23
      not the only one, read about his teachers in Russian-Turkish
      and in general a similar opinion was created already under very specific conditions of communist propaganda, when the red fathers commanders did not take into account the lives of the Red Army soldiers, take the statistics of the Civil War or the first 2 years of the Second World War, nor when before there were no such losses
      1. smile
        smile 21 September 2012 15: 23
        Never before have we and no one else had such a powerful enemy. If we compare our results of 41 and the achievements of 39-41 of all other allies, then we should be proud that we withstood those conditions and were able to inflict such damage on the Wehrmacht and its satellites. Halder wrote in mid-December 41. that such troops as the Wehrmacht was on June 22, 41 Germany will never again ....
        But the red commanders and their white opponents, as well as their masters, the Entente, did not spare the soldiers in exactly the same way. The American tactic of ramming, when the soldiers drove into German machine guns almost in the ranks and the battle formations of the sausage-lined divisions were separated by tens of meters, led to the fact that the first million soldiers ended in 2,5 months (about 300 soldiers are only irretrievable losses). And this is at the front tens of kilometers, not 000-3 thousand. Neither red, nor white, nor the Red Army came to such genius.
        Accidentally put you a plus - unreasonably. Take the statistics (in your own words) ... it will be a shame ...
  5. Aleks tv
    Aleks tv 21 September 2012 11: 25
    I always admired Suvorov.
    This is the commander !!!

    He defeated any enemy of any strength and only those troops that were at his fingertips. TALENT !!!

    It's nice to say that, but he really did it: competent tactics and strategy, providing troops, constant training and exercises of the army from generals to soldiers ... And what was the fighting spirit in the army !!!

    Sincere respect.
  6. Sasha 19871987
    Sasha 19871987 21 September 2012 11: 46
    Yes, Suvorov, one of the best commanders, did not lose a single battle ... it costs a lot ...
    1. slav4ikus
      slav4ikus 21 September 2012 18: 25
      unfortunately he lost one single battle, on a personal front (((while he was at war, his wife instructed him with horns - a characteristic example of a glamorous fool
  7. Prometey
    Prometey 21 September 2012 12: 44
    Yes, Suvorov is a great commander. But a bit of a bitter pill - under Novi, Russian soldiers fled for the first time in a panic from the battlefield (not all, of course) in front of Suvorov and the French only managed to be knocked over after a flank attack by the Austrian convoy General Melas, who decided the outcome of the battle. However, there is no way to take it - Suvorov taught the Austrians to fight according to the new rules of the war, and the same Melas already in 1800 beat the French at Marengo, which for some reason is considered Napoleon’s victory, although Napoleon himself was smashed to smithere and the French won the battle generals dese and bude.
  8. smile
    smile 21 September 2012 15: 10
    Guys, recently in the library I ran into a description of Napoleon's deeds, including the events of the war in Italy, in the Geo magazine. In view of the eternal curiosity - I like to read enemy opinions - I got acquainted. Well, colleagues - according to this "truthful" source, the French fought the Austrians there. Suvorov finally didn’t come! And the Russians are mentioned in only one phrase - literally - the extravagant Russian Emperor Paul decided to support the continental blockade (no dating) ... that's it ... then I found an appendix to this ... the magazine - something like 100 major events in the world of the 19th century. So, there is no mention of Napoleon's invasion to visit us and his defeat in general! So a couple of some cultural achievements and books written for the entire 1812 ... that's it!
    And this rubbish is printed with us .....
  9. Vitmir
    Vitmir 24 September 2012 12: 47
    The French in 1799 fought off a massive attack throughout the rest of Europe. In that war, the unfinished Suvorov barely carried his legs through the Alps. Only 12 thousand of the 80 thousand Russian troops who came (together with the Austrians and the British) to establish their orders in France were saved with Suvorov.
  10. borisst64
    borisst64 25 September 2012 17: 02
    "Servant to the Tsar, Father to the Soldier" My opinion is that it is not for nothing that there are so many good sayings about Suvorov, he really was a patriot and a commander from God. But now they are trying to spoil his name.