While fighting in Livonia and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Russian state was forced to hold defenses on the southern borders, where the Crimean Tatars and Nogai made their raids. This forced the Moscow government in the fall of 1564 to conclude an armistice with Sweden. Moscow recognized the transition to the power of the Swedes Revel (Kolyvani), Pernau (Pernova), Weisenstein and a number of other cities and fortresses in the north of the former Livonian Estland. The truce was signed in September 1564, in Yuriev.
This allowed the royal troops to go on a major offensive against the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In October, 1564, the Russian army launched from Great Onions and on November 6 captured the Ozerische fortress. After that, the Russian authorities, consolidating their presence in the Polotsk land, began to build new fortresses on the western borders: in 1566-1567. Kozian, Sitno, Krasny, Falcon, Land, Turovlya, Ula and Usvyat were built. The Lithuanian authorities, seeking to strengthen their positions in the difficult war with the Moscow kingdom, went to the unification of Poland. 1 July 1569, the deputies of the Polish and Lithuanian Seimas, approved a union, a state union between the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which created a single federal state - Rzecz Pospolita. This event ultimately had a decisive influence on the outcome of the Livonian War.
However, a strategic turning point in the war did not occur immediately. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania suffered heavy losses and needed a peaceful respite. Ivan Vasilyevich accepted the proposals of the Polish king for a truce. In the summer of 1570, a three-year truce was concluded between the Russian state and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. By its terms, the status quo was maintained during this period. Polotsk, Sitno, Ozerische, Usvyaty and several more castles retreated to the Russian kingdom.
The war in the Baltics
Ivan the Terrible decided to use this time to deliver a decisive blow to the Swedes. In the Swedish kingdom at that time, Eric XIV was overthrown, the new king was the brother of the monarch who lost the throne, Johan III, who was married to the sister of the Polish king Sigismund II Augustus Catherine Jagiellonke. Johan broke the treaty of alliance with Russia, which was concluded by his predecessor at the beginning of 1567. In Stockholm, the Russian embassy was robbed, arriving to ratify the union agreement. It was a serious insult to Moscow, the war was becoming inevitable.
In preparation for the strike on Revel, Ivan the Terrible decided to lure to his side a part of the local German nobility. In addition, Moscow was looking for an alliance with Denmark, which was at enmity with Sweden. To this end, a vassal kingdom was created in the part of Livonia occupied by Russian troops, its younger brother Frederick II’s brother, Prince Magnus, became its ruler (in Russian sources he was called Artsimagnus Krestyanovich). Magnus intermarried with the dynasty of Rurikovich, was married to the cousin niece of Tsar Ivan Vasilyevich Maria Vladimirovna, Princess Staritskaya - the daughter of Prince Vladimir Andreevich. Magnus arrived in Moscow in June 1570, and was showered with favors, proclaimed "King of Livonian." The Russian tsar released all the captured Germans in order to strengthen the position of the "king". The prince brought few soldiers, Denmark did not send the fleet to the rescue, however Ivan the Terrible appointed him commander-in-chief of the Russian troops sent against the Swedes.
Siege of Revel. 21 August 1570 of the year 25-th. The Russian-Livonian army, headed by Magnus and military governors Ivan Yakovlev and Vasily Umny-Kolychev, approached Revel. Citizens who accepted Swedish citizenship refused to accept the citizenship of Magnus. A difficult and long siege of a well-fortified city began. The Russian army by this time already had a great experience in taking the Livonian strongholds. Opposite the gate, large wooden towers were erected, on which guns were installed leading to the shelling of the city. However, this time this tactic did not bring success. The townspeople were active defense, often made forays, destroying siege structures. In addition, the strength of the Russian-Livonian army was insufficient to take such a large and strong fortress-city by storm. However, the siege was continued, the Russian command hoped to take the fortress in the winter, when the Swedish fleet could not supply reinforcements and supplies to Revel. The siege passed into the passive stage, when the Russian and Livonian troops engaged in the devastation of the surroundings, setting the population against themselves, without taking active actions against the fortress.
The Swedish fleet was able to deliver the necessary reinforcements, ammunition, food and firewood to the city before the onset of cold weather. This eased the situation of the besieged. The shelling of Revel with incendiary shells, which began in mid-January 1571, did not bring success either. The continuation of the siege became meaningless, only distracting from the solution of other tasks significant forces of the Russian army. 16 March 1571, the siege was lifted.
In 1571, the Swedes attempted to attack the Russian kingdom from the north - in the summer the enemy fleet entered the White Sea for the first time. The combined squadron of the ships of Sweden, Holland and Hamburg appeared near the Solovetsky Islands. However, for some unknown reason, the interventionists did not dare to attack the monastery, which had no fortifications yet and left without a fight.
New campaign in Estland. Ivan the Terrible decided to continue the attack on the Swedish Estland, taking advantage of the death of the Polish king Sigismund Augustus (July 7 1572), which interrupted the Jagiellonian dynasty and the “kinglessness” in Rzeczpospolita. The Russian command changed tactics: Revel was temporarily left alone, switching to seizing other cities and fortresses that did not have such a powerful defense, and completely ousting the enemy from the area. The Moscow government hoped that having lost all the cities and fortifications, the Swedes would not be able to keep Revel. This plan brought success to the Russian army.
At the end of 1572, Ivan the Terrible led a new expedition to the Baltics. In December, 80-th. The Russian army laid siege to the strong point of the Swedes in central Estland - Weisenstein (Paide). At this point, there were only 50 warriors in the castle, led by Hans Boye. After a heavy artillery bombardment, on the sixth day of the 1 siege of January 1573, the castle was taken by assault. During this battle, Tsar's favorite Gregory (Malyuta) Skuratov-Belsky died.
The continuation of hostilities. After the capture of Weisenstein, Ivan the Terrible returned to Novgorod. Military operations in the Baltics continued in the spring of 1573, but at that time the Russian army was already weakened by the transfer of the best regiments to the southern frontiers.
16-th Russian army under the command of Simeon Bekbulatovich, Ivan Mstislavsky and Ivan Shuisky continued the offensive and took Neygof and Karkus, then approached the castle of Lod in Western Estland. At this point, the Russian army was 8 thousand soldiers (according to Swedish rumors 10 thousand). The Russians met 4 thousand (according to Swedish data, there were about 2 thousand people in the detachment) the Swedish detachment of General Klaus Tott. Despite considerable numerical superiority, the Russian army was defeated and suffered heavy losses. Died in battle and the commander of the regiment of the Right hand - Boyar Ivan Shuisky.
However, this defeat did not affect the strategic situation. Russian troops continued to win victories: in 1575-1576. they, with the support of supporters of Magnus, occupied the whole of West Estland. 9 April 1575, the fortress Pernov was captured. The capitulation of Pernoff and the gracious treatment of the winners with the subjugated predetermined the further campaign. Relatively small 6-th. the Russian detachment surrendered to the fortress of Lodé (Kolover), Gapsal and Padis. "King" Magnus captured the castle Lemzel. As a result, the campaign plan was implemented in 1576 - Russian troops captured all the cities and fortresses of Estland, except Revel.
Attempts by the Swede to organize a counter-attack failed. So, in 1574, the Swedish command organized a naval campaign. The Swedish landing force was to make a surprise attack on Narva, but the storm nailed most of the ships to the shore, where they became easy prey for the Russian warriors.
Fight for Poland
Despite the successes on the Baltic front and the failures of the Swedes, the situation remained fragile. The Russian state could win victories until the opponents organize a simultaneous attack. A decisive turnaround in favor of the opponents of Russia was also linked by the name of the talented commander Stefan Batory. He was descended from the influential Transylvanian family of Batory. In 1571 — 1576 - Transylvanian prince. In the Polish – Lithuanian Commonwealth, after Heinrich Valois escaped into the 1574 year (he preferred France to Poland), the period of kingdom again came. Orthodox Western Russian gentry nominated Tsar Ivan Vasilyevich as candidate for the Polish throne, which made it possible to unite the forces of Lithuania, Poland and Russia in the fight against the Crimean Khanate and the powerful Ottoman Empire. In addition, the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II and the Austrian Archduke Ernst were nominated as candidates for the throne, who also adhered to the anti-Turkish line. Their candidacies were supported by Moscow.
Stefan Batory put forward the Turkish Sultan Selim II and demanded from the gentry that they did not elect other candidates. This requirement was reinforced by military pressure from the Crimean Khanate: a Tatar campaign in September-October 1575 of the eastern regions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Podolia, Volyn and Chervonnaya Rus) pushed the local gentry to the candidacy of Stefan Batory. Batory was chosen by the Polish king with the condition of marriage to the fifty-year-old Anna Jagellonke, sister of the deceased King Sigismund. In 1576, members of the Sejm of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania proclaimed the Transylvanian prince and the Polish king Batory the grand duke of Lithuania (in 1578, he acquired the rights to the throne of the Livonian kingdom for Bathory).
Becoming the ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Batory began active preparations for the war with the Russian kingdom. However, he was able to start active hostilities only after he had crushed the uprising in Gdansk, which was provoked by the Hapsburg agents who lost the battle for the Polish throne. In addition, he conducted a series of military reforms that qualitatively reinforced the armed forces of the Commonwealth: Batory went the way of refusal from the gentry militia, while recruiting the army, trying to create a permanent army by recruiting recruits in the royal estates, widely used mercenaries, mainly Hungarians and Germans . Before that, he in every possible way delayed negotiations with Moscow.
New campaign of Russian troops on Revel
Not in a hurry to start a war with the Poles and Ivan the Terrible, who wanted before the start of the war with the Commonwealth, to resolve the issue with Revel. October 23 1576, the new campaign was made 50-th army under the command of F. Mstislavsky and I. Sheremetev. 23 January 1577, the Russian regiments approached the city and besieged it.
The fortress was defended by a garrison under the command of General G. Horn. The Swedes managed to thoroughly prepare for a new siege of the city. So, the defenders had several times more guns than the besiegers. For six weeks, the Russian batteries bombarded the city, trying to light it. However, the Swedes took countermeasures: they created a special team in 400 people, who watched the flight and the fall of incendiary shells. The shells were immediately extinguished. Revel artillery fired at a heavy return fire, inflicting heavy casualties on the besiegers. So, one of the main commanders of the Russian army, Ivan Sheremetev, died from a cannonball.
Russian troops went to the attacks three times, but they were repulsed. Revel garrison actively carried out attacks, destroyed siege weapons, structures, prevented to conduct engineering work. Failed and attempt to bring a mine under the walls of the fortress. The besieged people learned about the underground works and conducted countergalleries, having destroyed the Russian underground passages.
The active and skillful defense of the Revel garrison, as well as winter conditions and diseases, led to significant losses in the Russian army. The bombardment of a powerful fortress, despite the large number of shells fired - about 4 thousand cores, proved to be unsuccessful. 13 March 1577, Mstislavsky was forced to lift the siege and withdraw the troops.
Hike to the Polish cities of Livonia
After the withdrawal of the Russian army, the Swedes, with the help of local volunteers, tried to organize a counter-offensive in order to fight off the fortresses in Estonia. But soon their troops quickly retreated to Revel. In the Baltic States again entered a large Russian army, which was headed by Ivan the Terrible. 9 July 1577, the army marched from Pskov, but moved not to Revel, which the Swedes feared, but to the cities of Livonia captured by the Poles.
The Russian command decided to take advantage of the difficulties of Stefan Batory, who continued to besiege Gdansk and could not transfer large forces to war with the Russian kingdom. Having captured land along the Western Dvina River, the Russian army could cut Livonia into two parts. The success of the operation contributed to the small number of Polish forces here. The hetman Chodkiewicz, who commanded the Polish-Lithuanian Baltic group, had only about 4 thousand soldiers.
Before the start of the campaign, Ivan Vasilyevich concluded with King Magnus, by which the lands north of the Aa River (Govya) and the Venden Castle south of the river (Pskov Agreement) passed under the authority of the Livonian king. The rest of the territory departed Russian kingdom.
Russian troops defeated the detachment of Colonel M. Dembinsky and began to capture the city and the fortress. 30-thousand The Russian army and individual Livonian Magnus detachments occupied Marienhausen, Lyutsin (Luzhu), Rezhitsu, Loudon, Dinaburg, Kreuzburg, Seswegen, Schwanneburg, Berzon, Venden, Kokengausen, Wolmar, Trikatu and several other castles and fortifications.
However, during this campaign disagreements arose between Moscow and Magnus. The Livonian "king", using Russian victories, captured a number of cities that were outside the territory allocated to him under the Pskov Pact. He issued an appeal where he called on the population to recognize his power and occupied Wolmar and Kokenhausen. Tried to seize Pebalg fortress. Tsar Ivan the Terrible harshly suppressed Magnus’s willfulness. The detachments were immediately dispatched to Kokenhausen and Wolmar, Ivan Vasilyevich himself marched on Wenden. The Livonian king was called to the king. Magnus did not dare to contradict and appeared. He was briefly arrested. A few days later, when he agreed to fulfill all the demands of Ivan the Terrible, he was released. In cities that dared to acknowledge the power of Magnus and resist the will of the governor of Grozny, indicative executions of the Germans were carried out. An internal castle in Wenden resisted, and was subjected to heavy artillery fire. Before the assault, the Venden garrison blew itself up.
A new campaign in Livonia ended with the complete victory of the Russian army. In fact, it captured the entire coast, except Revel and Riga. Triumphing, Ivan the Terrible sent Stefan Batory one of the captured Lithuanian military commanders - Alexander Polubensky. Peaceful offers of Moscow were transferred to the Polish king.
However, Batory did not want to come to terms with the Russian conquests in the Baltic. He sent Lithuanian militia units to the war, but the troops were few. In the fall of 1577, Polish and Lithuanian troops were able to recapture Dinaburg, Wenden, and several other small castles and fortifications. In addition, the Livonian king Magnus entered into secret negotiations with the Poles. He betrayed Moscow. Magnus conceded the throne of Batory and appealed to the population to surrender to the Poles, if they do not want to be subordinate to Moscow.
To be continued ...