Preparing the army of Kutuzov for a counterattack. Supply Problems
To leave the Russian army on the offensive, after the abandonment of Moscow, it was necessary to create certain conditions. The army needed to be replenished, in a short time to train recruits, arm them and equip them. An equally important task was the creation of mobile stores, supply bases, the establishment of mobile hospitals. For this, the war ministry and government agencies have done a great job. The special organizing role belonged to Mikhail Kutuzov.
16 (28) of September, Mikhail Illarionovich united the 1 and 2 army into one, retaining the name of the first western (or Main Army). It made no sense to keep the two armies as separate separate units. The command of the army was left to Barclay de Tolly, Ermolov remained chief of staff. Major-General KF Lowenstern was appointed commander of the artillery of the army, Major-General E. Kh. Foersch as engineer troops, F. P. Uvarov as cavalry, and M. Miloradovich as a reserve. V. S. Lanskoy remained the chief manager of the food sector, and Colonel V. N. Cherepanov, General-Wagenmaster.
There was a process of strengthening the troops. The 3,5 Thousands of Warriors were counted among the engineering troops. The head of the artillery of Levenshtern in early September had 18 battery, 24 light and 10 equestrian companies. They were consolidated into 13 field and 2 reserve artillery brigades. 900 people and a sufficient number of horses were handed over to the artillery units. When the Russian army entered the Tarutinsky camp, it included 85,7 thousand people with 622 guns. This number included the warriors of the Smolensk and Moscow militia, recruits, who were included in the regular troops. The main concern of the command was the manning of the troops, it passed through 82 and 83 (additional) recruitment sets. The formation of infantry reserves began at the stage of the retreat of the Russian army. The military ministry planned to form the corps of Miloradovich, the divisions of Rusanov and Urusov (7 infantry and 4 Jaeger regiments) and replenish the corps of Wittgenstein with six regiments. This task was assigned to the generals Lobanov-Rostovsky and Kleinmichel. But only the corps of Miloradovich was prepared for the battle of Borodino, the rest of the regiments were prepared and handed over to the army only after leaving Moscow. The 10-11 (22-23) of September from Kaluga under the command of Major General N. A Ushakov arrived at the 2 infantry regiment, the 2 jaeger battalion and the 8 reserve squadrons. In September, the division of Major-General Rusanov arrived in the 4 infantry and 2 Chasseurs regiments. The division of Urusov joined the Main Army already during the counteroffensive, at Slonim. Of the six regiments that Kleinmichel prepared, three arrived in August, the rest in November.
After Kutuzov became commander-in-chief, he ordered Lobanov-Rostovsky to form in the Arzamas 39 infantry and 28 rangers battalions. Kleinmichel was instructed to make 12 infantry and 12 grenadier battalions in Yaroslavl. In the capital, 6 battalions for the guards and 18 battalions for the Finnish corps were formed. In addition, a significant number of soldiers and officers who were cured of injuries returned to the ranks. Infantry reserves amounted to 28-30 thousand people.
The formation of cavalry reserves involved General A. S. Kologrivov in Murom. Here, two squadrons were trained for each of the 47 cavalry regiments - a total of 94 squadrons. In order to speed up their training, the Nizhegorodsky and Borisoglebsky regiments and five reserve squadrons of the Lubensky, Taganrog, Serpukhov and Vladimirsky dragoon regiments were sent to Murom from the Caucasus. Of them formed 15 squadrons and sent to the army. The remaining 79 squadrons entered the army only at the end of the 1812 company of the year. For five guards regiments formed five reserves (10 squadrons). In addition, Cossack regiments were an important source of replenishment of army cavalry. As a result, the army had 35 cavalry regiments before the counteroffensive. Measures were also taken to increase the horse composition of the army.
Artillery reserves formed in St. Petersburg, Tambov, Kostroma and Nizhny Novgorod. For the formation of reserve artillery companies, 12 thousand recruits from the 83 set were sent. Replenishment of 26 spare artillery parks was carried out in Novgorod, Bryansk, Kaluga and other cities. The number of sapper units was brought to 3100 people (in September there were about 1 thousand people).
By the beginning of the counteroffensive, the size of the Main Army was brought to 120 thousand people. Combat training of new formations was not high. Therefore, Mikhail Kutuzov decided to send the rank and file from the new regiments to the old ones, and send the main personnel back to the new formation. At the same time, the task of creating reserves for the 1813 campaign of the year was solved. So the division of Urusov was completely disbanded, its personnel went to recruit other parts of the main army. The commander-in-chief usually sent back badly trained, armed and unsatisfactoryly equipped units (as he did with Kostroma's 4 and 9-m regiments).
The process of replenishing the army continued with the entrance of the counterattack. The center for the formation of replenishments from Murom and Arzamas was transferred to Orel, and from Yaroslavl to Vitebsk. 17 (29) November M. M. Borozdin was appointed extraordinary commissioner for putting the army rear in order. He was supposed to unite stragglers in battalions. The officers in the battalions were appointed officers who were treated in hospitals of the 1 and 2 lines. To perform this function, Borozdin received the 4 Ukrainian Cossack regiment.
All these measures made it possible to preserve the main personnel of the Main Army, which, as a result of continuous marches and battles, suffered heavy losses. At the time of its entry into Vilna, it consisted of 27 thousand people with 200 guns, and together with Chichagov’s army (without Essen and Saken corps) and Wittgenstein forces - 86 thousand soldiers with 533 guns. However, the troops of the first line were already actually ready reserve army, which numbered about 180 thousand people.
The war and the preparation of the army for the offensive required a large number weapons, ammunition, ammunition, food. Despite the fact that the enemy seized a significant territory and the Moscow arsenal, there were no particular difficulties in supplying the army with weapons. At the disposal of the Russian command remained such military bases and weapons production centers as Riga, Kiev, Bryansk, Tula, etc. The central industrial group provided supplies for the Main Army of Kutuzov. The North-West Industrial Group ensured the supply of Wittgenstein troops. Kiev arsenal supplied the army of Tormasov and Chichagov. Ural enterprises supplied weapons to both the field army and the militia.
Small arms came from the Tula, Sestroretsk and Izhevsk plants, the St. Petersburg and Kiev arsenals. In particular, the Tula plant in August - September manufactured 13420 rifles and 636 pairs of pistols. In October, the company manufactured another 7320 rifles. The Sestroretsky plant did a tremendous job: the company in August-September produced 5263 guns, 50 thousand guns were put in order, which were purchased in England (they were incomplete). In addition, the factory repaired the old guns 12280.
It is clear that although the military industry was working with great tension, it could not fully meet all the needs of the armed forces. Thus, they could not fully provide the militia with small arms. Most of the militias were armed only with lances and axes.
The main artillery of the main army was replenished from the Moscow arsenal - 70 guns, besides 146 guns were received from Bryansk. As a result, the artillery park of the army had 622 guns by the beginning of the counteroffensive. The loss of gunpowder enterprises in Moscow was filled by increasing production at the Shosenko and Petersburg factories. The main army supply base for ammunition was located in Kaluga. Large ammunition depots were located in Kiev, Kremenchug, Novgorod and Riga.
In the area of supplying the army with food and ammunition, the authorities faced greater difficulties than the production of weapons and ammunition. This happened due to the loss of significant territories from the Neman to Moscow, where significant stocks of food and uniforms were concentrated. Kutuzov had to find such supply methods that would meet the new conditions of warfare. The army could not rely only on a system of stationary bases, which were located far from the front, had to switch to a system of mobile bases. The question of creating mobile stores arose before the war, but it was not possible to solve this problem before the campaign began. The system was complex and required a significant number of people and carts. During the preparation of the counterattack to the idea had to return.
By order of Mikhail Kutuzov, in September 1812, mobile shops were established in 12 provinces. Each province should have 800 operational and 100 reserve horses, 400 carriages (and additionally 5 reserve) and 413 drovers. Mobile shops quickly launched their activities, but they were able to satisfy only part of the needs of the army. It turned out that with this system, troops could be provided with food and ammunition only for 12-15 days. With the rapid movement of troops mobile stores did not have time to replenish, and there was a gap between the army and the permanent supply bases, which constantly increased during the offensive. Therefore, in the course of the counteroffensive, the command had to create new lines of supply bases. Off-road, imperfect horse-drawn transport and the shortcomings of the bureaucratic system created serious obstacles to the supply of the army.
The situation with the supply of troops of Wittgenstein and Chichagov was better. The Wittgenstein corps relied on the Riga, Pskov, Velikolutskaya, Vyshnevolotsk and partially Tver bases. They had large stocks of food. The forces of Chichagov and Tormasov were based on the Mozyr, Kiev, Kremenchug, Zhytomyr, Zaslavl and Dubna bases. The largest was the Kiev base.
The main army received food from the Kaluga, Trubchevskaya, Sosnitskaya and partially Tver bases. On October 10 (22), the troops had a full 10-day supply. By organizing offensive operations, Kutuzov ordered to transfer reserves from Tver to Velikiye Luki and Vyshny Volochek, and to move the Kiev and Kremenchug reserves to Mozyr.
The task of supplying the army with hay was even more complex. For 60 thousand horses in the army required daily 1 thousand pounds of hay. The delivery of 250 thous. Poods of hay was entrusted to the governors of Tula, Ryazan and Kaluga. For the transport of hay, 8, thousands of wagons that had been mobilized in these provinces, had to be attracted. By the beginning of the counter-attack, 130 thsd pounds of hay had been delivered.
Until Smolensk, the army was provided with food well. But after Smolensk began serious interruptions in supply. It was necessary from the Kaluga province to deliver to the army 100 thousand quarters of bread, cereals and oats, and more 100 thousand pounds of corned beef. The chief of the food division, V. S. Lanskoy, ordered that the 5 thousand vehicles from the Kaluga province add the same number of carts from the Ryazan province. In addition, it was ordered to move reserves from Trubchevsk and Pskov to the army. When approaching Belarus, the commander-in-chief ordered to give all the cash to soldiers to buy supplies from the local population. An order was issued to establish reserves in the Kursk, Chernihiv and Poltava provinces. Then such an order was issued in relation to the Volyn and Chernihiv provinces.
The tense situation with provisions was somewhat improved after a significant amount of products of the French army were seized in Minsk (they allowed the army to meet the needs of a few days). A significant amount of bread was donated by the inhabitants of the Mogilev province.
No less difficult was the task of providing the army and militia with uniforms, especially winter clothing. In early September, the commander entrusted the governors of the Oryol, Tula, Ryazan, Kaluga and Tver provinces with the task of preparing 100 thous. Short fur coats, 100 thou- sand pairs of boots and 120 thou- sand pairs. Unfortunately, the hope of a patriotic rise among traders has not justified itself. Prices rose 2-3 times, which was one of the reasons for the delay in blanks. For example, the first batches of uniforms from the Oryol province arrived only in the middle of October, already during the movement of the army. Fully the task of Orel province was solved only 10 (22) December 1812, when the army was already abroad. Similarly, the task was carried out on blanks in other provinces. In addition, the transports were slow, the troops were in dire need of warm clothes. The soldiers suffered greatly from the onset of cold weather.
The rates of advance of the Russian army were faster than the movement of the rear and the army was in need of food, clothing and footwear. However, the moral uplift of the troops was so great that the soldiers endured all the difficulties without grumbling. Everybody remembered the address of Mikhail Kutuzov to the troops: “Winter is coming, blizzard, frost. Are you afraid of them, children of the north? Your iron chest is not afraid of the severity of the weather, nor the anger of enemies. It is a reliable wall of the fatherland, about which everything is lamenting. You will be able to transfer short-term flaws, if they happen. Good soldiers are distinguished by their firmness and patience, the old soldiers will give an example to the young. Let everyone remember Suvorov: he taught how to demolish both hunger and cold when it came to victory and the glory of the Russian people ... ”
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