Military Review

Marshall baton

The Emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte, said that in every soldier's knapsack there is a marshal's baton. Hinting at the fact that every soldier, demonstrating courage, bravery, military talent, can become a marshal. In every rod there is the soul of the marshal, his military genius and the military work of his soldiers who brought him victory.

Marshall baton

The Marshal's Rod is a symbol that demonstrates the greatness and strength of the army; according to its wave, tens of thousands of people are moving towards victory over the enemy. To get a marshal's baton, you must go through the harsh path of a warrior from the rank and file to the highest military rank.

The tradition of presenting and wearing a rod as a commander’s insignia originated in ancient Rome. The envoy of the Roman Senate - the highest legislative body in ancient Rome - presented the victor’s baton, a toga and a laurel wreath to the Roman commander-victor from the Senate and the Roman people. The commander-trimmer headed the triumphal procession, driving through Rome on a chariot at the head of the victorious army and holding a baton in his hand. Roman rod was made of white ivory and decorated with carving, as a rule, scenes of victories commander. At the top of the rod was set the golden Roman eagle - a symbol of the legions and courage. The commander-triumphant raised the baton so that during the procession he would be seen by the people greeting the army, with this gesture he would demonstrate the unity of the army, the people and the Senate, united by victory. The most famous commanders-victors were Guy Mari, Julius Caesar, Octavian Augustus, Traian. Guy Mari defeated the tribes of the Cimbri and Teutons, and thereby saved Rome from their invasion. Julius Caesar conquered Gaul, Britain, and Belgium for Rome. Octavian Augustus created the united Roman Empire. Traian defeated the Dacians in a brutal mountain war and made many other outstanding feats. All these commanders were exceptional people, they entered their names in history military art, became a role model for subsequent military leaders. In the Roman Empire, many commanders wore the baton of the commander.

This tradition was transferred to the Byzantine Empire. The army commander was called the "great domestik" and had the right to wear a rod - a symbol of the highest military power.

Medieval France became the cultural successor of Rome, therefore adopted the military tradition - handing the baton to the commander. The French were the first in Europe to award marshals with military batons. This tradition of awarding distinguished senior military commanders was also transferred to the armies of other countries.

Initially, the French royal army was headed by a constable, and he had the right to carry a rod. Marshal performed auxiliary functions. At the end of the XVI century, the king stopped appointing the constable to the post. And the French armies have since become led by marshals. The right to wear the rod gets the Marshal of France.

The most famous owners of the Marshal's baton and the marshals of France in the XVII century were Prince de Conde, Turenne and Vauban. Prince Condé successfully fought in the Thirty Years War. His famous victory in the battle of Rocroix in 1643 year became the classics of military art. Viscount Turenn began his combat career in 15 years, and received a marshal's baton and the right to command the army when he was 33 of the year during the Thirty Years War. In the history of military art Turenn has established itself as an outstanding strategist and tactician. His talent was highly appreciated by A.V. Suvorov and Napoleon Bonaparte. Vauban received a marshal's baton for outstanding achievements in military engineering. He was appointed head of all fortification work in France. He developed the theory of gradual attack and the theory of building fortresses.

The era of Napoleon Bonaparte’s empire had a peculiar effect on the culture of the marshal’s batons. Under Napoleon, the owner of a marshal's baton was called the "marshal of the empire." If only a nobleman could become the owner of a marshal's baton during the king, then under the emperor Napoleon any outstanding military man who showed talent on the battlefield and earned the trust of the emperor and the army. Napoleon, himself an outstanding military leader, awarded with batons of exceptionally talented commanders.

Marshal Joachim Murat is a typical representative of the Napoleonic era, he began his military service as a simple private cavalryman in the royal army. He distinguished himself during the revolutionary wars. For his ingenuity and fearlessness became an officer. Under the command of Napoleon, he became a marshal of the empire and received from the hands of the emperor a marshal's baton in 1804.

Another famous owner of the marshal's baton was Marshal of the Empire Davout. It was he who helped Napoleon surround and capture the Austrian army of General Mack in Ulm and predetermine the outcome of the campaign. Under Austerlitz in 1805, and Borodino in 1812, soldiers under his able command bravely broke open the enemy defenses.

The next outstanding owner of the rod was the marshal of her empire. Starting his service as a private of a hussar regiment, during 10 years, Ney became the commander of the most powerful French Rhine army, and all this thanks to military talent. In 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte was one of the first to hand Marshal's baton to General Neya.

In total, from 1804 to 1815, Napoleon handed 26 to the generals, who not only commanded the armies, but also occupied the highest administrative posts. Many of them deserved marshal batons on the battlefield and were truly loved by the troops.

Peter the Great - the founder of the regular Russian army of the European sample, introduced in 1699 the rank of Field Marshal, taken from the Austrian imperial army.

The first truly militant field marshal was Boris Petrovich Sheremetev, who defeated the Swedes in the 1701 year under Erestfere, using surprise. Peter on the occasion of the victory over the invincible Swedes handed him a field Marshal baton. Boris Petrovich began his civil service and was the emperor's steward, then he was deputy governor of a large regiment. He participated in the Crimean campaigns of the prince
Golitsyn and in the Azov campaigns of Peter and commanded the army. He conquered the Baltics from the Swedes, and then Ingria (Karelia) and Ingermanland (St. Petersburg province), knocking out the Swedish garrisons. In the battle of Poltava in 1709, he commanded all the infantry of the Russian army.

The names of field marshals P. A. Rumyantsev, M. I. Kutuzov and generalissimo A. V. Suvorov are particularly dear to the Russian soldier, and therefore their attitude to their field marshal's batons is especially respectful. In the Russian-Turkish campaign, Field Marshal Rumyantsev repeatedly smashed the Turkish army. His battles and victories at Larga and Kagul became classics of military art. In 1775, Empress Catherine II bestowed on him a field Marshal baton with diamonds "for reasonable leadership." The victories of Field Marshal P.A. Rumyantsev led to the conclusion of the Kuchuk-Kaynardzhi world, advantageous for Russia.

Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov, the most respected and authoritative commander of the Russian army, began his military career as a sergeant of the Semenov regiment. He participated as an officer in the Seven Years' War. He proved himself in the Russian-Turkish wars, repeatedly defeating many times superior enemy forces. Developed a new military theory "Science to win." Field Marshal baton received for the defeat of the Polish insurgent army and the capture of Warsaw in 1791 year. There is a legend that after receiving the field marshal's baton, Suvorov took him to the church for consecration.

Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov is rightfully considered the savior of the Fatherland from the troops of Napoleon Bonaparte. He participated in the storming of Ishmael under the command of the then General Suvorov. In 1811, in the style of a Suvorov military school, he surrounded and captured the Turkish army under Ruschuk, and as a result, forced Turkey to sign a peace treaty with Russia. In 1812, he led the Russian army in the war against the French army of Napoleon Bonaparte. Skillfully and skillfully led by both Russian armies in the battle of Borodino. Received field marshal baton in 1812 year after the expulsion of the French.

Mikhail Bogdanovich Barclay de Tolly, a native of the Scottish clan and a native of the Baltic states, began serving as a warden in the Pskov Carabinerine Regiment. Successfully participated in the Russian-Turkish wars of the second half of the XVIII century. He became an officer and general. Commanding the corps along with Bagration, he managed to lead Sweden to peace in 1810. He was the Minister of War of Russia and successfully led the military reforms. After the invasion of Napoleon, the skillful leadership repeatedly saved both Russian armies from defeat. Under Borodino, he commanded the right wing of the Russian army and personally led the regiments into battle, repeatedly proving his bravery. In 1813, commanding the 3 of the Russian army, he distinguished himself in the battles of Bautzen and Kulm, and under Leipzig he played a key role in the defeat of Napoleon's troops. In 1814, he received a field marshal baton.

Kutuzov and Barclay de Tolly were immortalized by monuments near the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg as the protectors and saviors of Russia. Moreover, Field Marshal Kutuzov, with his field marshal's baton, points the way to the people and the army for the salvation of the Fatherland.

Other famous owners of field marshal's baton in the history of Russian military art are well-known names of Peter Christian Wittgenstein s sweaters, heroes of the Patriotic War 1812, Ivan Fedorovich Paskevich, who had won the field marshal wars for defeating the Turkish army in 1828 – 29, mastering the fortresses of Kars, and defeating the Turkish army in 1877 – 1878. who commanded the Russian troops in the Caucasus and annexed Tarkov shamkhalism and the Derbent khanate to Russia, Joseph Vladimirovich Gurko, in the Russian-Turkish war XNUMX– XNUMX played a key role in mastering the Bulgarian Plevna.

In total, in the Russian imperial army from the time of Peter the Great, 63 field marshal's baton received General. These - for exceptional military talent, contribution to the art of war, the glorification of Russian weapons, significant for Russia victories and joining of new territories. Other generals received a rod for kinship with the imperial family, for political or career reasons or for less significant feats of arms.

The military ranks of the Russian Empire were abolished in the 1917 year, and accordingly the field marshal's baton as a symbol of the old army.

In 2009, the Russian Field Marshal's baton returned and was placed on the emblem of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

In addition to France and Russia, the rank of field marshal (general field marshal) also existed in other European countries, including Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, and later in Germany. Accordingly, each of them also preserved the tradition of awarding the commanders a symbol of their high military rank - marshal batons.

In the UK, for example, Arthur Leslie Wellington is one of the most famous and significant British field marshals. He received the Marshal's baton for a key victory in the war against Napoleon at Vitoria in 1813, as a result of which the French army suffered a crushing defeat and ceded the army of Wellington to the Iberian Peninsula. In 1814, he led the Anglo-Dutch army against Napoleon. Together with Prussian field marshal Blucher, in 1815, he defeated Napoleon’s army at Waterloo. For this victory, 6 of European countries was sent to Wellington marshal batons and assigned the title of field marshal.

In the army of the Holy Roman Empire (Austrian), the rank of Field Marshal was introduced at the beginning of the 17th century. The most famous field marshals were Montekukolli and Prince Eugene of Savoy.

In Prussia, the title of field marshal was introduced in 1653. The most famous field marshals of this country are Blucher and Moltke. Gebhard Blucher in 1813 year after the expulsion of Napoleon from Russia led the combined Russian-Prussian forces. He received a field marshal's baton for victories over the French under Katsbach and Wartenburg in 1813.

Helmut von Moltke (senior) served almost the entire military career in the Prussian general staff. It was thanks to him that Prussia defeated Austria in the 1866 year under Sadovaya and defeated the French army in 1870, as a result the German Empire was created, which united the German principalities under the auspices of Prussia.

Marshal baton is awarded after the battle on the battlefield or on the parade in front of the troops in a festive atmosphere. Thus, Field Marshal Ivan Paskevich received his field marshal's baton, to whom Emperor Nicholas I handed him before the parade formation of the troops. He was also presented at the royal or imperial court by the king or the emperor himself. In the twentieth century, for example, in France, the Marshal's baton is presented by the President of the Republic.
During military parades, the field marshal or marshal greeted the passing troops, raising their hand with the rod up, thus they showed that they were united by common victories, and the rod was a symbol of common achievements.

The most ancient French marshal's batons were decorated with golden lilies on dark blue velvet, and on the gilded tops of the rod was engraved the coat of arms of the royal house of Bourbons. Under Napoleon, the baton had a wooden base, covered with blue velvet, on which the imperial eagle was embroidered 32. The inscriptions “the horrors of war are a shield of peace” were engraved on the tips, one of the ends was the name of the owner, the date the baton was received, and the inscription: “Named Marshal of the Empire, Emperor Napoleon.” The Marshall Rod in the twentieth century was decorated with stars instead of eagles.

The Russian field marshal's wand was made of gold and decorated with laurel branches and diamonds. Laurel branches of the Roman military tradition symbolized victory. Russian imperial eagles were engraved on the top of the rod.
The British Field Marshal's baton is covered with red velvet, on which are embroidered gilded British lions, and its topping is decorated with St. George the Victorious, mounted on a horse.

The Prussian field marshal's baton was decorated with the crowns of the Prussian kingdom and Prussian eagles. The Austrian field-marshal's baton was covered with blue velvet, and golden Austrian eagles were embroidered on it.

The vast majority of future field marshals joined the army at a young age and dedicated their lives to serving their people and states. Some of them received a marshal's baton, being very young, thanks to genius and military successes, for example, Marshal of France Turenne or Prince Eugene of Savoy. Others received a marshal's baton by mature generals, in extreme old age. After all, military glory has no limits in achievements and age. I would like to note that all owners of marshal batons, despite their age or nationality, are united by the confidence of the army, sincere service to military affairs, great victories and military achievements for the people and state they served. Both the soldiers and the leaders of the states believed that by handing the marshal's baton to the commander, they were handing him their fate.
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. smile
    smile 28 February 2014 16: 38
    Interesting. I did not know that now the tradition was renewed, albeit in the form of introducing a rod into the emblem of the Supreme Commander.
    To be honest, for some reason I associate the concept of "marshal's baton" primarily with nervous strange manipulations of his baton by Partaigenosse Keitel when signing surrender. :)))
  2. Enot-poloskun
    Enot-poloskun 28 February 2014 19: 31
    Strange - and Soviet marshals? Were without a rod?
  3. ivanovbg
    ivanovbg 1 March 2014 17: 36
    Hitler's field marshals also had batons, and the article does not mention it. Unless Paulus did not seem to have a rod. Hitler sent him a telegram with the assignment of a new rank and a mention that before Stalingrad not a single field marshal of Germany had gone to the enemies alive. The adjutant general made a corresponding entry in the officer's certificate of the marshal and threw the seal into the oven. Almost immediately, a team of Soviet officers arrived, but the newly made field marshal did not kill himself. Soviet historians ascribe the phrase to Paulus: "If this worthless corporal imagines that I will kill myself because of that (rank), he is deeply mistaken." Although the source is far from impartial and no one really knows how it happened.