Military Review

Battle of the pyramids. Egyptian campaign Bonaparte. Part of 3

Conquerors in egypt

The operation to seize Egypt proceeded for Napoleon successfully. Cairo, the second of two large Egyptian cities was busy. Frightened population did not think to resist. Bonaparte even issued a special appeal, which was translated into a local language, where he urged people to calm down. However, he simultaneously ordered to punish the village of Alkam, near Cairo, its residents were suspected of killing several soldiers, so the anxiety of the Arabs did not diminish. Napoleon issued such orders without hesitation and hesitation wherever he fought - in Italy, Egypt, in future campaigns. It was a well-defined measure, which was to show people how those who dared to raise their hand against the French soldier would be punished.

A significant amount of food was found in the city. The soldiers were pleased with the booty that they had captured in the battle of the pyramids (the Mamelukes had the custom to carry their gold with them, and indeed weapon was decorated with precious stones, gold and silver) and the opportunity to relax.

Kleber successfully subjugated the Nile Delta. Deze was sent to monitor Murad Bey. Deze pursuing the Mamelukes, defeated them on October 7 under Sediman and established himself in Upper Egypt. Ibrahim Bey, after several unsuccessful clashes with the French, moved to Syria.

Bonaparte, capturing Cairo, was able to proceed with the reorganization of the Egyptian control system. All the main power was concentrated in the French military commanders of cities and villages. An advisory body (“sofa”) was established among them of the most eminent and wealthy local residents. The commandants, with the support of the “sofas”, were to keep order, carry out police functions, control trade and protect private property. The same advisory body was supposed to appear in Cairo with the commander in chief, it included not only representatives of the capital, but also the provinces. Mosques and Muslim clergy were not oppressed, respected and inviolable. Later, the Muslim clergy even declared Napoleon "the favorite of the great prophet." It was planned to streamline the collection of taxes and taxes, as well as organize the delivery in kind for the maintenance of the French army. All land charges that charged the Mamelukes were canceled. The land ownership of the recalcitrant feudal lords, who fled with Murad and Ibrahim to the south and east, was confiscated.

Napoleon tried to do away with feudal relations and find support among Arab traders and landowners. His activities were aimed at creating a military dictatorship (all supreme power was in the hands of the commander in chief) and the bourgeois (capitalist) order. The tolerance of the French occupiers was supposed to reassure the local population. It must be said that in France itself, the attitude towards the Catholic Church during the revolution was very cruel.

It should be noted that Napoleon took the color of French science for good reason. Scientists during the battles took care: “Oslo and scientists in the middle!” The commander was well aware of the great benefits scientists can bring if their activities are directed to solving military, economic and cultural problems. AT stories Egyptology expedition Bonaparte played a huge role. In fact, it was then that the ancient Egyptian civilization was open to world science. However, it is impossible not to note the fact that the French, as then the British very thoroughly robbed the legacy of Egyptian civilization. This is a distinctive feature of the Western conquerors, both in the past and in the present, direct hostilities are always accompanied by robbery. Scientists play the role of "conductors", "appraisers" of stolen goods. In 1798, the Institute of Egypt was established (fr. L'Institut d'Égypte), which marked the beginning of a large-scale looting of the heritage of ancient Egyptian civilization and “fitting” the facts to the interests of the builders of the “new world order”.

The French army was able to establish the requisition mechanism, resolving the supply problem. But the money collected less than expected. Then the French found another way to get a specie. Alexandria Governor-General Kleber arrested the former sheikh of this city and the great rich man Sidi Mohammed El-Koraim, he was accused of treason, although there was no evidence. Sheikh was sent to Cairo, where he was offered to give himself a ransom in the amount of 300 thousand francs in gold. However, El-Koraim turned out to be a greedy man, or indeed was a fatalist, he said: “If I am destined to die now, then nothing will save me, and I will give, which means my money without benefit; if I was not destined to die, then why should I give them away? ”Bonaparte ordered him to cut off his head and carry him through all the streets of Cairo with the inscription:“ Thus all traitors and perjurers will be punished. ” Sheikh money was never found. But for other rich people this case became a very significant event. The new authorities in the matter of money were very serious. Several rich people turned out to be much more docile and gave everything they demanded. In the nearest time after the execution of El-Koraim, about 4 million francs were collected. People simply "dekulakized" without special ceremonies and "hints."

All attempts to resist Napoleon crushed mercilessly. At the end of October, 1798 began an uprising in Cairo itself. Several French soldiers were caught off guard and killed. The rebels for three days defended themselves in several blocks. The uprising was suppressed, then mass demonstrations were carried out for several days. The uprising in Cairo has found a response in some villages. The commander-in-chief, having learned about the first such riot, ordered his adjutant Croisier to lead the punitive expedition. The village was surrounded, all the men were killed, women and children were brought to Cairo, and burned at home. Many women and children who were driven on foot died on the way. When the expedition appeared on the main square of Cairo, the heads of the killed men were emptied out of the bags that the donkeys were carrying. In total, during the suppression of the October uprising, several thousand people were killed. Terror was one of the methods of keeping people submissive.

Battle of the pyramids. Egyptian campaign Bonaparte. Part of 3

Abuquir disaster

As noted above, Bonaparte was forced to reckon with a very dangerous circumstance for him - the possibility of a British attack fleet and loss of connection with France. French sailors were let down by carelessness. The command, despite the threat of the appearance of the enemy fleet, did not organize reconnaissance and sentinel service, only the right-side guns facing the sea were made for battle. A third of the crews were on the shore, others were engaged in repairs. Therefore, despite the almost equal strength, the French even had a slight advantage in the number of guns, the battle ended with a decisive victory for the British fleet.

Thomas Looney, Battle of Neil 1 August 1798 in 10 hours of the evening.

On 6 in the evening of August 1 1798, the long-awaited, but not at that moment, British squadron under the command of Admiral Horatio Nelson suddenly appeared in front of the French ships stationed in the Gulf of Abuquir in the Nile Delta. The British admiral took advantage of the opportune moment and seized the initiative in their hands. He attacked the French from two directions - from the sea and the coast. The British were able to surround a significant part of the French fleet and subjected them to shelling from two sides. By 11 in the morning of August 2, the French fleet suffered a complete defeat: the 11 of the battleships were destroyed or captured. The French flagship Orient exploded and went to the bottom along with the treasury - 600 thousand pounds sterling in gold bars and precious stones, which were seized from Rome and Venice to finance the Egyptian expedition. The French lost 5,3 thousand people killed, wounded and captured. Together with his fleet, Admiral Francois-Paul Bruies also died. Only the commander of the French rearguard - Admiral P. Villeneuve with two battleships and two frigates was able to go to sea. The British lost 218 people killed and 677 wounded.

Battle map

This defeat had very serious consequences for the Egyptian expedition. Napoleon's troops were cut off from France, the supply was disrupted. The British fleet fully dominated the Mediterranean. This defeat had negative political, military and strategic consequences for France. Istanbul, which had hesitated until that time, ceased to support the fiction spread by Bonaparte that he was not at all fighting the Ottoman Empire, but was only punishing the Mamelukes for the offenses inflicted on the French merchants and for oppressing the Arab population of Egypt. The Ottoman Empire 1 September declared war on France and the concentration of the Turkish army began in Syria. A second anti-French coalition is taking shape; it includes England, Russia, Turkey, Austria, the Kingdom of Neapolitan. The situation in Europe begins to take shape not in favor of France. The Black Sea squadron under the command of F. F. Ushakov will be connected with the Turkish fleet, and the Ionian Islands will be freed from the French. Suvorov, together with the Austrians, will soon begin to liberate Italy. The Turkish army will threaten Napoleon from Syria.

The defeat at Abukir, according to contemporaries, caused dismay in the army. Actually, a certain dissatisfaction was observed earlier, when the lack of water, the "joys" of the desert and dysentery led to a decline in morale. Egypt was not a country of fairy tales, full of riches and wonders. A particularly strong contrast was compared with blooming Italy. Barren, sun-scorched lands, sand, poverty and wretchedness of the local population, hating infidels, lack of visible wealth, constant heat and thirst. Abuquir disaster only increased the irritation of the army. What the hell did they bring to Egypt? Such sentiments prevailed not only among the soldiers, but also commanders.

Hike to Syria

The Ottomans, concluding an alliance with England, were preparing an army to attack Egypt through the Suez Isthmus. At the beginning of 1799, acre Pasha Jezar took Taz and Jaffa and advanced the vanguard to the fort of El Arish, the key of Egypt from Syria. Simultaneously with the attack of the army from Syria, Murad Bey was supposed to attack the French in We returned to Egypt, and in the mouth of the Nile they planned to disembark the landing corps.

Napoleon learns about the death of the French fleet only 13 August. The man of strong character, Napoleon, having received this terrible message, did not become disheartened. He experienced how it happened to him during a critical situation, a great surge of energy. He writes to Admiral Gantom, Kleber and the Directory. He outlines urgent measures to recreate the fleet. He does not give up his ambitious plans. He also dreams of going to India. The campaign in Syria was supposed, with luck, to become only the first stage of a grand operation. In the spring of 1800, Napoleon wanted to be in India already. However, the forces of the French army thawed out - at the end of 1798, Egypt remained 29,7 thousand people, of whom 1,5 thousand were inefficient. For a trip to Syria, Napoleon was able to select the entire 13-thousand corps: 4 infantry divisions (Kleber, Rainier, Bon, Lanna) and 1 cavalry division (Murat). The rest of the troops remained in Egypt. Dese was left in Upper Egypt, in Cairo - Dugas, in Rosette - Menou, in Alexandria - Marmont. A detachment of three frigates under Perre’s command was to deliver a siege park to Jaffa from Alexandria and Damietta (16 guns and 8 mortars). The corps accompanied thousands of camels with 3 food supplies and 15 water supplies to the 3 baggage wagon train.

The Syrian campaign was terribly difficult, especially because of the lack of water. On February 9, parts of Kleber and Rainier arrived at El-Arish and besieged him. February 19, when the rest of the troops approached, the fort, after a small exchange of fire, capitulated. February 26, after a difficult transition through the desert, the French came to Gaza. Initially, the course of the operation was successful. 3 March French troops reached Jaffa. March 7, breaching the wall, the divisions of Lanna and Bona took the city. In the fortress several dozen guns were captured. Palestine was conquered. However, the further the French went east, the more difficult it became. The resistance of the Turkish troops intensified, followed by the British. The population of Syria, on whose support Napoleon hoped, was also hostile to the infidels, as in Egypt.

During the storming of Jaffa, the city was severely defeated, the French soldiers were extremely cruel to the vanquished, exterminating everyone. Napoleon, before the storm, told the townspeople that if it came to an attack, there would be no mercy. The promise was fulfilled. In Jaffa, a crime was committed against prisoners of war. Around 4, thousands of Turkish soldiers surrendered on the condition of their life. French officers promised them a captivity, and the Turks left the fortifications they had occupied, laid down their arms. Bonaparte was very annoyed by this whole affair. “What should I do with them now? - shouted the general. He had no supplies to feed the prisoners, no people to protect them, no ships to transport to Egypt. On the fourth day after the capture of the city, he ordered everyone to be shot. All 4 thousands of prisoners were taken to the seashore and here everyone was killed. “I don’t wish anyone to experience what we experienced when we saw this shooting,” said one of the witnesses of this event.

In Jaffe, the plague appeared in the army. The dead population of the city "avenged" the French - not buried corpses lay around Jaffa. This disease undermined the morale of the soldiers. Napoleon was gloomy, walking ahead of the troops gloomy and silent. The war was not the way he dreamed, and he also learned about the infidelity of his beloved Josephine. This news caused him a great shock. Napoleon was furious and cursed all over the other recently most dear name.

But Napoleon was still hoping to turn the tide. 14 March the army moved on and 18-go came to the walls of the old fortress of Saint-Jean d'Acres (Acre). The fortress defended 5-thousand. garrison (originally, then increased) under the command of Ahmed Al-Jazzar. Napoleon believed that taking this fortress would open the direct route to Damascus and Aleppo, to the Euphrates. He saw himself walking along the path of the great Alexander of Macedon. Behind Damascus, Baghdad and a direct route to India awaited him. But the old fortress, which once belonged to the Crusaders, did not yield to Napoleon's troops. Neither the siege nor the storming yielded the expected results.

To the rescue of the fortress, the Turkish command sent 25 thousand army under the leadership of Damascus pasha Abdullah. Initially, Napoleon directed Kleber's division against her. But learning about the significant superiority of the enemy, Bonaparte personally led the troops, leaving part of the corps to besiege Acre. 16 April at Mount Tabor (Tavor) Napoleon defeated the Turkish troops, the Turks lost 5 thousand people, all reserves and fled to Damascus.

The siege of Acre lasted two months and ended unsuccessfully. Napoleon lacked siege artillery, and there were few people for a massive assault. There were not enough shells and ammunition, and their delivery by sea and land was impossible. The Turkish garrison was strong. The British helped the Ottomans: Sydney Smith organized the defense, the British brought up reinforcements, ammunition, weapons and provisions from the sea. The French army lost 500 (2,3 thousand) near the walls of Acre, killed and 2,5 thousand wounded, sick. Generals Kafarelli (led by siege works), Bon, Rambo were killed, Sulkovsky was killed earlier, Lannes, Duroc were injured. Acra ground a few French army. Napoleon could not join the ranks of his army, and the Turks were constantly receiving reinforcements. The commander became more and more convinced that his melting forces would not be enough to capture this fortress, which, with an irresistible stronghold, stood in the way of the realization of his dream.

Early in the morning of May 21, French troops withdrew from positions. The soldiers marched in a rapid march, reducing the time for rest, so that the enemy would not overtake, the same road from which they came, after three months of suffering and sacrifices that were in vain. The withdrawal was accompanied by the devastation of the region in order to complicate the Ottomans to conduct an offensive operation. The retreat was even harder than the offensive. It was already the end of May, and summer was approaching when the temperature in these parts reached a maximum level. In addition, the plague still pursued the French army. The plague had to be left, but the wounded and sick were not taken with the plague. Napoleon ordered everyone to dismount, and the horses, all the carts and carriages to provide incapacitated. He himself walked like everyone else. It was a terrible transition, the army was melting before our eyes. People were killed by the plague, overwork, heat and lack of water. Up to a third of its composition did not come back. 14 June the remains of the corps came to Cairo.

Napoleon's departure

Before Bonaparte had time to rest in Cairo, the news came that the Turkish army had landed near Abukir. On July 11, the English-Turkish fleet arrived at the Abukirsk raid, the 14-ths. Was landed on 18. landing party Mustafa Pasha was supposed to gather the Mamelukes and all those who were dissatisfied with French rule in Egypt. The French commander immediately marched and headed north toward the Nile Delta.

By July 25, Napoleon gathered around 8 thousands of soldiers and attacked the Turkish positions. In this battle, the French washed away the shame of the French fleet for the recent defeat. The Turkish Airborne Army simply ceased to exist: 13 thousand dead (most of them sank while trying to escape), about 5 thousand prisoners. “This battle is one of the most beautiful ones I have ever seen: not a single person was saved from the whole enemy army that had landed,” the French commander wrote happily. The losses of the French troops were 200 killed and 550 wounded.

Murat at the Battle of Abukir.

After that, Napoleon decided to return to Europe. France at that time was defeated in Italy, where all the fruits of Napoleon's victories were destroyed by Russian-Austrian troops under the command of Suvorov. France itself and Paris were threatened with an enemy invasion. In the Republic there was turmoil and complete disorder in affairs. Napoleon got a historic chance to “save” France. And he used it. In addition, his dream of conquering the East failed. 22 August, taking advantage of the absence of the British fleet, accompanied by his fellow generals Bertier, Lanna, Andreosi, Murat, Marmont, Duroc and Bessière, the commander sailed from Alexandria. On October 9 they landed safely in Frejus.

The command of the French troops in Egypt was entrusted to Kleber. Napoleon gave him an instruction in which he allowed to capitulate, if “due to incalculable unforeseen circumstances all efforts would be fruitless ...”. The French Egyptian army could not stand against the combined Anglo-Turkish forces. The troops cut off from France resisted for some time, but by the end of the summer 1801 had to clear Egypt, on the condition of their return to France. The main reason for the defeat of the Egyptian expedition was the lack of constant communication with France and the domination of the British at sea.
Articles from this series:
Battle of the pyramids. Egyptian campaign of Bonaparte
Battle of the pyramids. Egyptian campaign Bonaparte. Part of 2
Battle of the pyramids. Egyptian campaign Bonaparte. Part of 3
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  1. Prometey
    Prometey April 23 2013 09: 41 New
    But why are the Turks naked in the picture? Apparently the French captured a nudist beach, not a Turkish landing laughing And the Turks do not look at all military, but somehow coy.
  2. Canep
    Canep April 23 2013 10: 41 New
    Good story article. Thank.
  3. biglow
    biglow April 23 2013 11: 35 New
    Napoleon’s surplus energy and dispersal of forces. played a cruel joke with him
    1. biglow
      biglow April 29 2013 08: 42 New
      Napoleon made the same mistake that Hitler also dispersed his strength, and therefore could not even keep what he had conquered in Europe, not to mention everything else, although there was undoubtedly a chance to build a united Europe.
      Many of his ideas were supported by ordinary people in many countries, but Napoleon was not a good strategist.
  4. bazilio
    bazilio April 23 2013 11: 43 New
    Thanks to the author. I hope the series continues, all Napoleonic wars were very interesting
  5. 123321
    123321 April 23 2013 12: 47 New
    It was he, sabaka, who broke off his sphinx nose.
  6. datur
    datur April 23 2013 12: 57 New
    yes a genius so a genius, blew up the campaign, and threw the sick and wounded whom the local Mamelukes had finished !!!! belay In RUSSIA, he repeated the same thing, threw everyone to the mercy of our army and partisans !!!! laughing and equated himself with CAESAR !!! he at one time - did not leave anyone - when they battered him in gallium he brought out all who he could, both sick and wounded !!!
  7. omsbon
    omsbon April 23 2013 14: 28 New
    Napoleon would have remained great and undefeated in history if he had not sunk into Russia!

    I am proud of my homeland!