Military Review

Peter I, Army and Navy

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Peter I, Army and Navy


Peter's coup is one of the decisive moments in the formation of negative myths about Russia. Not because with him and after him, Russia is increasingly turning towards the West. The fact is that before Peter this is done in a completely different way than under Peter and his successors.

Before Peter, the whole XVII century Russia borrows technology, equipment, methods of organizing the army. In this glorious and complex age of Russian stories almost everything is laid that was later attributed to Peter. Military regulations are ordered, and the first of them is already in the 1621 year, just 8 years after ascension to the throne of the first of the Romanovs, Mikhail Fedorovich. The sexton of the Pushkarsky order, Anisim Mikhailov, the son of Radishevsky, wrote the “Charter of military, cannon and other matters related to military science”. Back in 1607, he began to translate Leonard Fronsperger's Military Book, two parts of which were released in 1552 and in 1573.

On the basis of almost new 663 articles of the new Charter, a regular Muscovite army began to take shape.

According to the Charter, the army maintained the Streltsy troops and the noble militia, but in parallel with them “foreign regiments” were being introduced: soldiers — that is, infantry, dragoons — that is, cavalry, Raytar — that is, mixed. Since that time, the regiments of the foreign system gradually crowded out the old Moscow, and when in 1654, near Konotop almost all the “old” noble militia died, such regiments constitute the core of the Russian army. Almost half a century before Peter. Creates a navy. Merchant fleets were in Russia before. Since the 15th century, there is a very good fishing and merchant fleet of the coast coast, which is based in Kholmogory and Arkhangelsk.

Kochi - Russian ships, fully met all the requirements that were imposed in Europe to the ocean ship: with a keel, deck, bulwarks, two masts, a system of sails. These vessels could go out into the open ocean. The size of Kochi was no less than the caravels on which Columbus discovered America, and certainly more than the ships of Northern Europe - built in Sweden, Norway, Scotland, England.



At least the fact that the Pomors regularly visited the archipelago, which the Norwegians called Spitsbergen and Svalbard, speaks about the qualities of the Koch. The Russians for this archipelago, which lies on 75 – 77 degrees north latitude, had its own name: Grumant. They floated to him about 2000 kilometers from Arkhangelsk, of which 1000 kilometers through the open ocean, away from the coast. “Walking on Grumant” at the Kholmogory sailors was an honorable occupation, but rather ordinary.


Peter I. 1723
A vivid example of how a bad environment and the absence of any upbringing and education can ruin the life of even such a naturally gifted person. And also, how good intentions pave the way to hell


Kochi was almost ideal for navigation, fishing, and fishing for marine animals in the northern waters.
This fleet arose completely independently of the fleets of other European powers and without the slightest teaching from them.
It is believed that Richard Chancellor “discovered” the mouth of the Northern Dvina, Arkhangelsk and Kholmogory in 1553.
Wilim Barents in the 1595 – 1597 years, “discovered” the sea, which bears his name, “discovered” Spitsbergen and Bear Island and died, “discovering” the New Earth.

It is necessary to quote the word “discovered”, because all these islands, straits and seas have long been known to Russians. Not to mention that the “discovery” of Arkhangelsk by the English looks no funnier than the “discoveries” of London or Glasgow by us.

If Chancellor “discovered” Russian Pomerania, then the Russians “discovered” many European lands. The first traces of the Russians on Grumant-Svalbard have been known since the 10th century. From the XII – XIV centuries, they get to the New Earth and the Bear. From the beginning of the 15th century, Russian sailors of the North sailed regularly along the entire Murmansk coast. Rounding the northernmost point of Europe, the North Cape, they reached Norway and established trade with the Norwegians.

In 1480, Russian sailors first landed in England - by the way, 70 years before Chancellor. They visited England more than once. I do not detract from the fame of Chancellor, the Barents and other brave sailors of England, Holland, Norway. But sorry, who discovered whom? Probably the best and most honest thing to consider and recognize all the discoveries. All opened all, floating on the seas towards each other. But even in this case we “discovered” the British 70 years earlier than they did us.



Kochi was intended for the northern seas. Their hull was arranged differently from that of ships sailing in ever-freezing seas: the hull of the ship in cross section resembled a barrel. The shape of the bend was calculated so that if the vessel was rubbed with ice, then the same ice, squeezing the sides of the vessel, lifted it, pushed it up. The current continued to push the ice, the ice floes continued to push and push each other, but it was no longer dangerous for the ship.

Thus, the contours of the polar vessel Fram (Forward) constructed according to the design of Fridtjof Nansen were calculated. Nansen used the national, Norwegian version of the "Northern Carrack". His calculation was justified. The "Fram" in the polar winter had sunk the ice, its hull rose almost one and a half meters, and no matter how the ice raged, he could not crush the hull of the vessel.


Pomeranian Cochi

Our cots were just as good.

And the Caspian bus sailed along the Volga and the Caspian was a huge vessel with a displacement of up to 2 thousand tons and a length of the deck up to 60 meters. According to Lloyd’s classification, this is a “galleon”. But no Mediterranean bead or galleon has ever been built more than 600 – 800 tons with a displacement. Galleons, on which the Spaniards exported the wealth of America to Spain, had a displacement from 800 to 1 800 tons. Only a few of them did not reach the size of the largest Caspian bead.

None of the caravels on which Columbus sailed to America had a displacement greater than 270 tons.

The displacement of most of the trading ships of Holland and England, including those sailing to India, to America, on the island of Java, did not exceed 300 – 500 tons.

Koch, with its displacement up to 500 tons, was no different from European ships in size. Caspian beads - much more.


In the stormy Barents Sea, the Pomors sailed on typical sea cochs, which the ice was not afraid of. Koch was suitable for the “Mangazeya march”, adapted for shallow water and the pavement


Kochi was built in Kholmogory and other towns along the Northern Dvina. Caspian beads were built in several places along the Volga and Oka. XVII century Russia absolutely did not need any foreign instructors, no masters from Holland to build ships.

But during his trip to the north, Peter in 1691 found a “terrible” thing: the savages from Kholmogory made the “wrong” lines of the ship! Not like in Holland! Either Peter did not listen to any explanations, or no one decided to explain to Peter that this is the way to build ships for navigation on the Arctic seas. After all, the Dutch fleet north of Edinburgh and Oslo never climbed. He could never swim in such latitudes and in such icy conditions as Kochi.

By a special decree, Peter ordered the construction of all the “wrong” ships to be stopped and only the “correct” ones to be built in exchange, with the same hull lines as in Holland. And the Caspian fleet ?! There, too, the wrong contours of ships! Break it down!

But maybe foreigners were needed to teach the Russians to drive ships on the high seas?


A. Strok "Frigate" Holy Apostles Peter and Paul ", in the construction of which Peter the Great participated." 1698
Peter built frigates, but won his main naval victory (under Gangute) with the help of rowing galleys


Battle Fleet Alexei Mikhailovich

No, there was no such need.

One of the first Russian generals, Grigory Ivanovich Kasogov, in 1674 led the construction fleet near Voronezh and its actions in the Black and Azov Seas.



In 1672, he takes Azov by storm, opening the way to the sea. And he begins to build a fleet, attracting Russian masters, the creators of the Caspian bus.

The ships of Kasogov were not, of course, frigates and brigantines of the Dutch or English admirals. These sailing-rowing ships, galleys and scampaways were more like the fleet of Venice - the very one that completely defeated the Turkish fleet at Lepanto in 1571.

No need to scornfully say about the galleys - and in the battle of Lepanto, and in the Northern War, galleys proved to be very good. Yes, these are not ocean-going vessels - they are slow moving and do not withstand strong excitement. But in the narrow places of the straits, among the small islands, the galleys turned out to be more efficient than ocean-going ships: they were less dependent on the wind. The ships of the Swedes' battleships were constantly helplessly sagging, they needed a lot of time to maneuver. And the galleys confidently went on board the frozen ships or turned overboard for a volley.
And in the time of Peter the Russians were forced to start galleys, not at all resembling the ships of the Dutch.
Recall, his main "naval" military victory in the Northern War, in the Battle of Gangut, Peter owes precisely the active use of galleys! It was inexpensive rowing galleys, not sailing frigates that “devoured” more than one annual budget of Russia — that was what provided us with a spectacular victory point in the long-term war with Charles XII. But half a century before Peter and his Baltic fleet, Grigory Ivanovich Kasogov had to transfer his troops along the rivers to the Sea of ​​Azov, along the narrows of the shallow Sea of ​​Azov and along the coastal parts of the Black Sea. The fleet of Kasogov, squadron in the 60 pennants, performed these tasks superbly. He transported troops under the Azov, and after the capture of Azov built new ships and struck the Turkish and Tatar fortresses on the coast of Crimea.

Built or destroyed?

The first Russians came to Kamchatka precisely on the coch

What happens? Under Peter, by his direct decree, they abandon rotting, or even simply break the beautiful ships with which to swim and swim, destroy two excellent fleets. From the raw forest, hastily, they began to build others - under the guidance of foreign specialists.

But when the new ships were built, it turned out that they didn’t have any seaworthy qualities of the former kochi. Russia, the Russian Pomorie, lost forever their priority in the northern seas, their “know-how”, which allowed them to compete confidently with any foreigners in the North. And the fleet of the Caspian busses was never restored - foreigners simply did not know how to build such large and reliable vessels.

Yes, Peter I built a fleet! For the Black Sea near Voronezh, for the Baltic - in many places. Yes, it was built ... It was built under the guidance of foreign masters, ignoring all national experience. And besides, incredibly in a hurry.
With this approach to business, nothing good happened. The ships were built not by the free craftsmen Kholmogor, but by the driven “datochnye people”, who really did not understand what they were doing and why. The ships were hustling together, without any adherence to technology. All the fleets built by Peter were knocked together in a shock-short timeframe from the raw forest, the hell out of which were floating coffins barely holding onto the surface of the water.

Decrees of Peter destroyed the construction of Russian ships. The fleet he had built under Anna Ivanovna, in the 1740s, could not leave the Gulf of Finland. The fleet had to be re-created, already under Catherine.


F. Rokotov "Catherine II". End of 1740's
Being German by blood, could become deeply Russian in spirit
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