The modern world, in a sense, is not much different from the world it was 200 or more years ago. It's not about progress, high technologies and achievements, in the field of democracy development and human rights protection, etc. Nobody can deny that the wars continue as before. And in this regard, the world has not changed - it is still at war. There is a constant danger of new armed conflicts. In this situation, Russia needs a highly efficient army to defend its territorial integrity and its national interests. Such that it would correspond to the words of the great Russian commander Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov: “For a scientist, they give three non-scientists. Three is not enough for us, give us six. Six is not enough for us, give us ten for one. We will beat everyone, knock down, take in full. Russia had such an army in the last quarter of the XNUMXth century, under Catherine the Great. Chancellor Bezborodko said eloquently about those times: "Not a single cannon in Europe dared to shoot without our permission." We need the same, small, but very strong, superbly equipped and impeccably trained army to ensure the defense capability of modern Russia. The article will focus on some historical facts.
The words of Emperor Alexander III, spoken more than 100 years ago, are relevant today as never before. You can make a slight correction in them for greater accuracy. Now Russia has three allies - the army and the fleet Aerospace troops were added.
Western media recently quite actively analyze the possibility of starting a war between Russia and NATO. Vox magazine was particularly successful in this “research”. The main messages were: obvious technical, technological, fire and other superiority of the armed forces of NATO over the armed forces of Russia. Of course, Western journalists take into account the presence of nuclear warheads in the Russian Federation, and they are considering the possibility of their use. Simply put, the nuclear shield of Russia serves as a reliable deterrent against the attempts to unleash a third world war with Western hawks. But Russia is not immune from the emergence of small wars near its borders, which can be waged by non-nuclear powers with the support of the West. Evaluating the military-political situation that has developed around the borders of our fatherland, Chief of the General Staff General of the Army Gerasimov said about a year ago: “We regard the current military-political situation as unstable ... This applies to resolving the crisis in Syria, the Iranian nuclear program, events in Ukraine, the creation in Europe of the position area of the American missile defense system and other key problems of global security. ” For the year that passed after this speech, the situation has become even more tense. Now we can say with a great deal of confidence that the threat to Russia's security is clearly visible from Ukraine (the political leadership of this country speaks about it openly), Georgia (which for these purposes is building up its military power), from the Middle East region in connection with the activities of Daish ( Arabic acronym IS) and in Central Asia in connection with the activity of Islamist organizations in Afghanistan. In addition to these areas, there are still areas where, under a confluence of adverse circumstances, armed conflicts with neighbors may arise. And these are the southern islands of the Kuril Ridge, for which Japan claims. Moreover, in the event of unleashing an armed conflict in this region, the United States will deny the Land of the Rising Sun direct military support, that is, provide the opportunity to fight on their own. America pledged to enter the war on the side of Japan only in the event of a threat to its territorial integrity, within the limits that exist at the moment. Recently, the West has shown an increased interest in the Arctic Ocean, competitors in the dispute over its natural resources are not only the countries of this region: Russia, Great Britain, Canada, USA, Denmark and Norway, but also the states whose territories are located far from its cold waters. , also show their interest. In this regard, it can be assumed that the Russian Arctic may also become an area of military tension. If you believe Clausewitz, whose ideas are highly esteemed by Western strategists, "war is an integral part of the competition, the same struggle of human interests and actions."
WINNING A SMALL NUMBER
The presence of such a large number of threats is a challenge for the Armed Forces, the military and political leadership of our country. Now, more than ever, there is an urgent need to prepare the army for victorious military operations in conditions where the enemy has a significant superiority in forces, that is, to fight, as Generalissimus Suvorov did, not by number, but by skill. The theoretical legacy that we received in letters, reports, orders, dispositions and other documents issued from the pen of the great commander is an invaluable material for the formation of modern Russian military thought. In the art of war there are immutable, eternal, fundamental rules that must be followed in order to achieve victory in the war. And these rules, which Alexander Suvorov embodied in his victorious battles, are being discussed. How significant is the personality of the Generalissimo, we can conclude by carefully studying the legacy of the commander and comparing his military activities with the successes of Suvorov’s contemporaries. The most significant competitor in this regard for Alexander Vasilyevich was Napoleon Bonaparte. Immediately make a reservation, I am not going to consider Bonaparte as the leader of a nation or criticize his administrative talent, which, by the way, was grandiose, the French still live according to many laws written by Napoleon. We are talking only about his commanding talent. Comparing Bonaparte and our great compatriot, some critics of Suvorov stated that he mostly fought against the Turks and the Polish partisans. Well, I will operate only with facts, the benefit is what to compare with.
Napoleon also fought against the Turks. If we evaluate his campaign of 1798 – 1799, then we can definitely say that he was at least unsuccessful, and in fact this war was lost by the great French commander. His landing at Alexandria was a complete surprise for the Sultan, because before that Turkey and France had been allies for a long time. And, of course, the sultan took Bonaparte’s actions as treachery. In Egypt, Napoleon fought against the Mamelukes. With the Turkish troops, he encountered a little later, but we must remember that the best troops of the brilliant ports were on its northern borders, and Napoleon fought with the incapable militia, which was assembled hastily. His march to Palestine ended in the siege of Acre (in the French military history literature San Jacques d'Arc is called), which lasted more than two months. Napoleon, having a twofold superiority in strength over the Turkish garrison, undertook 40 attacks, but was never able to seize the city, whose fortifications cannot be called impregnable. Napoleon went with troops to the walls of Acre 19 March 1799. After the siege was lifted from Acre, and this happened on May 20, the French commander was forced to ingloriously retreat to Egypt and from there request peace from the Sultan. Bonaparte understood that the capture of Acre was the key to victory in that war, and that is why he left the walls of the city only when it was completely unbearable to be there. The second time, Napoleon demonstrated his remarkable ability to lose the war as a whole, winning individual battles, in Russia in the 1812 year.
On the contrary, Alexander Vasilyevich brought all the military campaigns that were led by him to the bitter end. As for the taking of impregnable fortresses by the great Russian commander, here it is not necessary to go far beyond the example. 22 (11) December 1790, Alexander Suvorov stormed in one day Ismail, who was strengthened by the latest military engineering art of the time and all, mainly French and German, by military experts was declared completely impregnable. The number of regular troops from Alexander Suvorov did not exceed 15 thousand bayonets, and the irregular troops (arnauts and other militia) he had about the same. Seraskir Aydozle Mehmet Pasha, who commanded the defense of Ishmael, had more than 35 thousand soldiers under his gun. Fortification of the city had several contours, two citadels and 11 bastions, strong artillery, including heavy. At the disposal of the Russian commander was, though numerous, but only field artillery. Only six days it took Alexander Vasilyevich to prepare. And then the stronghold was taken in triumph with a single attack.
Yes, no doubt, Alexander Vasilievich Suvorov fought both against regular troops and partisans in Poland in 1770 – 1772 years, but there were also many representatives of regular armies of European states, in particular French and Germans, in the squadrons of the latter. In addition, the core of any guerrilla insurgent detachment was the remnants of the regular army of the Commonwealth. It should also be noted that France provided serious military assistance to the rebels. Polish and Lithuanian partisans fought against Russian troops in the vast territories of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which abound in water and forests, was where to hide. The rebels enjoyed the support of the population, and in relation to the Russian troops the locals were hostile. And Alexander Suvorov showed a magnificent example of how it is necessary to pacify the partisans effectively.
It is undeniable that Napoleon Bonaparte in the 1810 year in Spain and then in the 1812 year in Russia demonstrated a complete inability to fight against the partisans. As a result, the enemy acted, albeit with insignificant forces, but very badly on his lines of operation. The defeat of his troops both in Russia in 1812, and in Spain in 1814, to some extent, determined the partisan actions of his opponents.
By the way, the war against the partisans was and remains the Achilles' heel for many of the commanders of the West of past and modern wars. During the Second World Wehrmacht was powerless against partisans both in the western (France, Northern Italy), and in the eastern theater of war (the western territories of the USSR, at that time under occupation), especially in the eastern. American generals outright lost the war to the Vietnamese partisans. The recent actions of NATO in Afghanistan were not victorious, and as a result, the alliance leaves the country in a state of unfulfilled civil war, without appeasing the Islamists, that is, the guerrilla insurgents. The same can be said about the actions of government troops against the armed Islamist opposition in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and other African countries of the Sahara-Sahel zone. And, of course, an eloquent example of the inability of regular armies to fight against partisans is military action in Syria and Iraq.
But back to our topic. In tactical terms, the preference that Napoleon gave the infantry combat order - the column, one of the other other options, eventually played a cruel joke on him in the Battle of Waterloo.
Alexander Suvorov showed exceptional flexibility and insight; he reasonably and effectively used all the combat formations used at that time: line (including ledges), square, column, depending on the need and the situation. The attack of the enemy cavalry his infantry met with bayonets, lined up in a square. If necessary, he lined up his troops, sometimes using an oblique line to imitate old Fritz. Suvorov completely abandoned infantry fire volley in battle. He used only aimed fire and gave preference to the bayonet strike due to the imperfection of the rifle weapons in that era. He paid much attention to reconnaissance and engineering support of the battle. Skillfully used the advantages possessed by the Russian field artillery of the XVIII century, we are talking about unicorns. The great Russian commander carefully studied the dispositions of the best European military leaders of the XVII – XVIII centuries: Turenna, Conde, Eugene of Savoy, Frederick II and others - and willingly applied their experience in practice. What he eloquently wrote in his sermon: “Field battle. Three attacks: in the wing, which is weaker. The strong wing is covered by a forest. This is not surprising, the soldier will make his way through the swamp. It's hard across the river - you can't run across a bridge. All shorts skip. An attack in the middle is unprofitable, unless cavalry will be good to chop, otherwise they will squeeze themselves. The attack to the rear is very good only for a small corps, and it is difficult for the army to enter. Battle of the field: line against regular, hazel against basurman. No columns And it may happen against the Turks that a five-hundred square loot will have to break through a five- or seven-thousand-strong crowd with the help of flanking hazards. In that case he will rush into the column; but that was not the case before. There are godless, windy, extravagant frenchies. They are fighting on the Germans and other columns. If we had happened against them, then we need to beat them in columns! ”
Generalissimo of all Russian troops, Prince of Italica, Count Suvorov-Rymnik. 1799 year illustration
Alexander Suvorov participated in the seven-year war, where he had the opportunity to distinguish himself in battles against the troops of the Prussian king Frederick the Great. In the final phase of this war, Lieutenant Colonel Suvorov, at the head of small military parties, carried out independent combat missions. Very often he had to attack the enemy, having a clear superiority in strength, but Alexander Vasilyevich invariably gained the upper hand in every battle. He, and only he, had the right to say about himself, already with the rank of field marshal: "I did not lose by the grace of God’s battle." Than Napoleon Bonaparte could not boast, because he had lost battles on his account.
When it comes to the Italian campaign of Suvorov, the first thing that immediately catches the eye is the speed with which the Russian commander defeated the French armies and deprived them of their gains in the 1796 – 1797 war. Over four months, in the spring, in the summer of 1799, Alexander Vasilyevich coped with the task, the execution of which took Napoleon more than a year. And Napoleon no one bothers to lead the troops. But Suvorov was constantly under pressure, sometimes disastrous for the army he led, the decisions of the Austrian imperial military council (him. Hofkriegsrat).
HERITAGE OF SUVOROV
Alexander Suvorov’s military thought was ahead of her time, centuries later, many of his innovative ideas are still relevant today.
On the contrary, not so many ideas were borrowed from the military heritage of Napoleon by descendants. Of the most significant is the massive use of artillery and the gathering of international forces to march east, that is, Moscow. By the way, the Wehrmacht, whose first attempt in 1918 was interrupted by the revolution in Germany and the inglorious end of the First World War for the Germans, undertook the eastern campaign in 1941 – 1945, to some extent repeated the expansion of Napoleon. The troops that fought in the USSR were Hungarian, Romanian, Italian, Finnish and others. Regarding possible invasions from the west, Alexander Vasilyevich said prophetically: "All Europe will travel in vain to Russia: it will find Thermopylae, Leonid and his coffin there."
The great Suvorov gave a lot of unsurpassed samples of military art, which were later copied by other commanders and were taken as a guide to action. Particularly interesting in this regard is the Italian campaign of the glorious Russian commander, during which Alexander Vasilyevich improvised, covering his attention the whole theater, making decisions on the move, while always taking into account the existing operational environment and possible options for its development.
The plan of Alexander Suvorov at the Battle of Novi then, six and a quarter years later, was repeated by Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz. The irony of the situation was that, under Novi, the French occupied heights, and the allied Russian-Austrian army under the command of Suvorov attacked them from the lowlands, and won a crushing victory. Under Austerlitz, the allies (Austrians and Russians) initially occupied heights, while the French attacked from the lowlands. As in the first case, the brunt of the victorious side was brought down on the left flank of the vanquished, which was completely crushed, which was the key to a general Victoria.
The next vivid example of borrowing was the battle of Borodino. During this battle, Napoleon largely repeated the disposition of Suvorov in the battle of Trebbia. Bonaparte also struck the main attack on the enemy’s left flank, planning to crush him, then turn the direction of the attack to the left, squeeze the Russian army against the Moscow River and destroy (the description of the Battle of Trebbia can be found in the article “Step - Arshin, in going - one and a half” in 31 m number "NVO" this year). But Bonaparte’s plan crashed against the general talent of a general from the infantry of Peter Bagration and unshakable loyalty to the oath, desperate bravery, courage and fortitude of the soldiers he marched. In the course of the Borodino battle, while the right flank of the Russian army was practically inactive, the left flank was subjected to massive shelling of enemy artillery and numerous attacks, far superior in strength to the enemy. What happened in the area between the leading lunettes and the Semenov ravine can only be called a meat grinder. By noon, the entire battlefield there was littered with piles of bodies so that the land was nowhere to be seen, so much blood was shed that it was no longer absorbed into the soil, but collected in large clots. One of the episodes of this battle is indicative, when Tuchkov IV led the Revel regiment to the counterattack, the front lines of the battle formations of this regiment and the glorious young general were torn to pieces by a densely flying canister. After that terrible battle for many decades, the battlefield was littered with human bones.
Of particular interest in the Italian campaign is the battle of Adda. Where is the situation, incredible for the XVIII century. The Adda River itself was a magnificent natural barrier, its left bank is shallow, lower than the right, steep, the current is strong, the channel is deep with a small number of shallows. After retreating to the west, the French army occupied the right bank of Adda from Lake Como to the Po River, a front line (for the first time in the history of wars) of more than 120 km long arose, and this was an unprecedented event in the battles of that era. The genius of Suvorov appeared here. He instantly assessed the situation and made a decision that was optimal in the situation. Like Alexander Vasilievich acted in that battle, the descendants fought only more than a century later in the First and Second World Wars. This is the first time in the history of military art when a commander plans and inflicts many distracting blows, forcing the enemy to disperse forces. Suvorov also first used rokades to move his troops to support the offensive in those areas where success was indicated. And, as the crown of the battle, the main blows were delivered in the main directions, which put the victorious bold point in the history of this battle.
Let me give you a brief description of the Battle of Adda. The French at that time were inferior in the forces of the allied Russian-Austrian army, but on their side there was an advantage in the advantage of a defensive position. By 14 April 1799, the commander of the French forces, General Scherer, positioned his forces as follows: on the left flank, the Serryurier division, in the center the Grenier division, on the right flank the rearguard Labusera and the Victor division. The main forces of the Allied forces were located in the center. Ott and Vukasovich were located in San Gervasio and were preparing for an attack on Trezzo, the Molasses corps was concentrated in the depths in the Trevilio area, the generals Hohenzollern and Sekendorf were with the troops on the left flank, and on his right wing Suvorov deployed the Vukasovich division and the Rosenberg corps. And in the foothills of the Alps, the vanguard under the command of Bagration moved forward. At first (April 14), Bagration struck, pulling Serrurier's considerable forces over himself. Then Suvorov pushed Vukasovich, the Grenadiers of Lomonosov and the Cossack regiments of Denisov, Molchanov and Grekov to the right to the right, to be ready to support Bagration. By order of Suvorov, the troops of Rosenberg, advancing from the depths, also took to the right in readiness to force Addu and attack the main forces of Serrurier. Bagration at some point was in a difficult position, leading a battle against a superior enemy. He came to the rescue with a small detachment isolated from the troops of Rosenberg, his sworn "friend" and the eternal rival General Miloradovich arrived. Then Lieutenant-General Shveikovsky with two musketeer regiments entered the business. This action was successful, the left wing Serrourie was forced to rush left and right to prevent the enemy from breaking through his positions. The French undertook a desperate maneuver, transported infantry to the battalion in the hope of going back to Bagration, but met an artillery barrier reinforced by the Russian grenadiers battalion and were forced to retreat to their own shore.
The next day, Suvorov ordered Molasses to advance from the depths and immediately attack the enemy at Cassano (the center of the allied army), and Sederdorf to cross the Addu to Lodi (allied left flank). By order of the commander-in-chief, the Cossack regiments made the transition from the right flank to the center in the region of San Gervasio.
On the same day, the French changed the commander. Scherer was dismissed, his place was taken by a talented General Moreau. The new commander immediately made efforts to tighten forces to the center of his positions. General Grenier was ordered to occupy a section of the front from Vaprio to Cassano, the Victor division was ordered to take up positions south of Cassano. General Serryurie also had to shift the main forces of his division to the center. But at this time, Vukasovich began the crossing to strike in the Brivio area, thus forging Serryurie’s actions. Understanding the difficulty of his position, Moreau began to force all the cash in his rear, including small garrisons and foragers' teams, to the bank of the Adda.
During the coming night (from 15 to 16 on April 1799 of the year), Austrian pontooners, on the orders of Suvorov, made a crossing in the San Gervasio area. Early in the morning, still dark, Addu crossed the Allied vanguard (a hundred Cossacks and before the battalion of Austrian grenadiers) and occupied a bridgehead on its right bank.
Then Ott's division crossed over, followed by the Cossack regiments of Denisov, Molchanov and Grekov, who came from the right flank. Division Zopf went ahead after the Cossacks. The main blow Suvorov struck at Trezzo, in the joint between the divisions Serryurie and Grenier, where the defense was held only by one infantry battalion of the French.
Grenier advanced to Ken Ott's brigade, then sent the Kister brigade there. For a while, the Allied advance was stopped. But the advanced battalions and squadrons of the hussars of the Zopf division and three Cossack regiments under the general command of the marching chieftain Denisov entered the business. The subordinates of General Grenier did not withstand the onslaught, first they backed away and then ran. The Austrian divisions of Kleim and Fröhlich (from Melas Corps) broke into the French defense in the Cassano area. Victor threw them to meet part of his troops, a heavy fight ensued, for about five hours the French held back the onslaught of the enemy. Melas, in obedience to the orders of Suvorov, advanced 30 field artillery guns and additional infantry and cavalry forces to his forward edge. Unable to withstand the new onslaught, the French trembled and retreated, the forces of Melas were able to go into the rear of the Grenier division. Seeing the difficulty of the position of his troops, Moreau gave the order to the entire army to retreat to the west. The Allies began the pursuit. By six o'clock in the evening, the Austrian units, weary of the battle, stopped the offensive, and only the Cossacks continued to pursue the enemy.
The left flank of the Republicans hesitated somewhat due to the bad communication, as a result, Vukasovich with the support of Rosenberg managed to surround the main forces of the Serryurie division, and they surrendered to captivity led by the division commander. And the French detachment of General Soye, who occupied positions in the foothills of the Alps, was partially dispersed, and those who remained in the ranks retreated in disarray into the mountains. By the end of 17, the Allied Army had completely cleared the Adda's right bank from the French forces and continued to advance in part with the forces in a westerly direction.
The next commander who repeated 117 years later, a similar operation, was General Brusilov. Of course, the offensive operation of the South-Western Front, which took place in the summer of 1916, known as the “Brusilov Breakthrough”, was carried out by other forces and other weapons, with longer preparation and execution dates, the offensive was carried out at a much greater depth, but the very essence stayed the same. Suvorov’s other idea is not to disperse forces on the siege of the strongholds, but first of all be the enemy in the field, in an open battle, and then take up the fortifications when the enemy’s field army is finished, which he brought to life in the Italian campaign, Later, more than 140 years later, Wehrmacht commanders used during World War II. As Karl von Clausewitz wrote, "great examples are the best mentors."
MILITARY SUCCESS COMPONENTS
Alexander Suvorov himself explained his invariable victories in battles with the adherence to three martial arts: “the first is the eye, the second is speed, the third is the onslaught”. 215 years have passed since his death, and the eye, speed and onslaught are still the basic components of the victory on the battlefield and the distinctive qualities (along with many others) of the Russian military school, whose superiority is proven on the battlefield. Modern Russian soldiers, descendants of Suvorov's “miracle of the heroes,” deserve the glory of their ancestors. I want to remind the reader that, by definition, given during the time of Peter the Great, "a soldier is a common name, he is anyone who is in the army, from the first general even to the last musketeer, horse and foot."
The best study for any army is war. The non-military army either replaces combat experience with a constant intensive military training to maintain a high level of combat capability, or loses combat capability. Russia, unlike the United States and its allies, does not pursue a policy of global military expansion, so the possibilities for obtaining military experience for our army are very limited. The commander-in-chief of the country, President Vladimir Putin, Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation General of the Army Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation General of the Army Valery Gerasimov should be given their due, they pay a lot of attention to the comprehensive integrated combat training of the fleet, troops and headquarters. Only for the current year more than 80 major exercises are planned, and this plan is executed without a single failure. The army takes care of the morale of the soldiers, which is no less important than combat training.
The military-political leadership of the country is updating the weapons and technical fleet of the army and navy, introducing the latest management systems, improving the supply structure. Thus, up to 2020, in addition to those in service, the 100 combat ships, about 600 new and up to 400 modernized military aircraft, about 1 thousand helicopters must be available to the military department. The main focus is on air defense and missile defense systems, and in the same timeframe, troops will receive 56 C-400 and 10 C-500 air defense systems. The President of the Russian Federation set the task for the military and the military industrial complex to achieve equipping the Armed Forces of Russia with 70% with new models of weapons and military equipment, now their number does not exceed 33%, but this is enough to ensure the defense capability of the country.