5 July 1737, after a short rest, the Russian army moved to the Bug and went up the right bank of this river, fulfilling the initial plan of the campaign deep into enemy territory. Burdened almost 8 with thousands of sick and wounded, Russian troops moved very slowly. In addition, being careful of enemy cavalry, the regiments lined up in several squares, and they were detained by large transports. As a result, the army lost maneuverability.
Soon there was the first major clash with the enemy. Early in the morning of July 12, quartermaster general Colonel Fermor and Lieutenant Colonel Lieven left with their flats and Fourier to find a convenient place for the camp. Without waiting for a meeting with the enemy cavalry, they did not take the cover allocated for them from the two dragoon regiments, but soon they met the Cossack patrol, from whom they learned that a large enemy detachment was coming to meet. Fermor's squad had to withstand the 5 attack of thousands of Turks and Tatars. Having built in a square, the soldiers bravely beat off wave after wave. Finally, the attackers, making sure that they were not dealing with easy prey, retreated. On the same day, the Tatar cavalry attacked the train of the field marshal himself, but the attack was repelled by the cuirassiers.
By July 18, the exhausted troops reached the confluence of the Bug and the Chigakley River. The commander learned that there is a convenient place for crossing and that on the left bank of the Bug there are excellent meadows for the pasture of horses. Engineers immediately proceeded to the construction of two bridges (one pontoon, one - on the barrels), on which 21 July avant-garde forced the Bug. But the ferry was not over when a dispatch arrived from the capital with an order to attack Bendery. To resolve this issue, a military council was convened. All its participants unanimously decided to start a withdrawal, because "by that late time and by great advancement for the saving of troops, it was not without danger to enter the enemy's lands at such a distance."
On July 26, the army celebrated the coronation day of Empress Anna Ioannovna, and Minich arranged a ball for the officers. A captive of the Turkish seraskir (commander of the Turkish troops) was invited to him. When talking with the commander of the Turks admitted: “I am amazed at the excellent view of the Russian troops. In Constantinople they do not believe in what I see with my own eyes. ”
Unfortunately, many commanders, relaxed by the capture of Ochakov and the absence of the enemy, have lost their vigilance. They were sure that the enemy was far away, on the right bank of the Bug. On July 31, a large Tatar squad unexpectedly crossed the river, attacked Russian foragers and beat off more than a thousand bulls from them. Cossacks rushed to the enemy, knocked him over and drove forty miles. About a hundred Tatars died in battle, but they failed to repel the bulls.
On August 2, troops began to move down the Bug, to the mouth of the Kutsye Elany River, towards flotilla. At this time, the Russian commander received a letter from the Moldovan boyar Lupula urging him to launch an attack on Bender. According to him, after the fall of Ochakov, the Ottomans allegedly seized panic. However, the field marshal did not change his mind, especially since an epidemic began in the army. On August 8, Russian troops reached the river, crossed it, and, having walked along the steppe 23 versts, camped on the Bug. On the same day a flotilla approached. Prince Baryatinsky brought 48 double boats, 4 kanchebasa and 57 large boats, loaded with food. Two days later, 6 double boats and 24 canoes of Lieutenant Colonel Dolgoruky approached. Minich was extremely pleased with the arrival of the flotilla and rightly believed that now the Turkish command would be in constant tension, not knowing what the Russians would do. He immediately sent part of the ships for supplies to the Ochakov fortress, and he himself led the army to the east, to the Ingul River.
On August 17, Russian troops crossed Ingul and soon camped in 40 versts from Ochakov, right at the confluence of the Bug into the estuary. From here, Minich informed St. Petersburg that because of the fatigue of the army, it was impossible to take any action on the Dniester, that there was a drought, the water in the Bug turned green and became unsuitable for drinking. It was true. Zaporozhets Philip Orlik, in a letter to Lupul, noted: “The dragon (dragoons) did not become a little pesch, carts with provisions do not wallow, so to speak. All the lads are so miserable, but the bones just and the skin on them catches them. ” Despite all the efforts of doctors, a real epidemic of gastric diseases broke out in the army.
On August 7, Don Cossacks were allowed to leave for Samara, on August 22 released General Biron with the dragoons, and 27 Infantry Regiments remained with the field marshal. A week later, Minich, sending two regiments near Ochakov, led the rest of the troops back. By mid-September, he reached the mouth of the Saksagani River, and from there he headed for Perevolochne to winter apartments. This ended the heavy Ochakov campaign. During this campaign, the Russian army lost 11 thousands of soldiers and officers, 5 thousands of Cossacks and 1 thousands of warriors who served as drovers in the train.
Ukrainian line. Fragment from the Map of the Theater of Operations in the Russian-Turkish War in 1737, compiled by J. N. Delille for the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1745 year
Siege of Ochakov by the Turkish Army
A Russian garrison was left in Ochakovo under the command of Shtofeln. The first thing the commander decided to bring the line of defense forward. Half a kilometer from the north face of the fortress, the construction of a rampart with six redoubts began. This line was supposed to rest its flanks on the shores of the Black Sea and the Dnieper Liman, safely covering the approaches to the Ochakov fortress. It was also planned to strengthen the internal fortress with the help of bulkheads and barbets (a protective structure around an artillery piece).
However, the work went slowly, and the main problem was the lack of materials. Only at the end of July, 1737, a part of the Dnieper Flotilla under the command of Colonel Khripunov arrived in Ochakov, bringing food, cannoning grenades, gunpowder, tours and timber. On August 4, 57 of large ships (“canoes”) of Prince Baryatinsky arrived at the estuary with various supplies. As a result, by October, Ochakov was provided with the most necessary supplies, but construction work could not be completed. Especially in poor condition were living quarters. Therefore, when autumn came, the soldiers began to get sick massively. The burial near the walls of the fortress of thousands of dead Turks, of course, did not improve the hygienic situation. Therefore, at the end of September, the garrison numbered only 5 thousands of people, of whom at least a thousand were sick.
The Turkish command, having learned about the withdrawal of the Russian army, decided to launch a counterattack. On October 5, an Ottoman flotilla appeared in front of Ochakov, but after finding Russian ships, the Turks went to sea. On October 8, at night, a cavalry detachment of vultures approached a redoubt built near the Dnieper estuary. The Turkish soldiers dismounted and attempted to attack by surprise the redoubt garrison. However, the Russian soldiers noticed the enemy in time and repulsed the attack with an accurate rifle fire. A week later, large masses of enemy cavalry attacked two Russian camps, located on the sides of the fortress. The attack of the Turkish-Tatar cavalry was able to repel, but now the enemy did not go far, camped on the bank of the Dnieper estuary. As the “tongues” captured by the Cossacks have reported, 40 of thousands of Turks and Tatars under the command of the Turkish military leader Ali Pasha and the Crimean Khan Mengli Giray stood against the fortress.
Khan Fatikh-Giray was removed from the throne, as he could not protect the Crimea in the summer from the invasion of the Lassi army. Khan was appointed a man who had once proven his outstanding abilities as a ruler - Mengli II Giray. He already ruled in Crimea in 1724-1730.
October 16 Turkish troops began to build their own opposite the Russian fortifications. To cover the siege works, they repulsed three right-flank redoubts, after which Shtofeln took all the troops from the unfinished fortifications to the fortress itself.
On the night of October 17, Turkish artillery began the bombing of Ochakov and Turkish troops were able to occupy an unfinished redoubt on the bank of the Dnieper estuary. In the morning, the Ottomans attacked the left flank of the position. Columns of 1500 and 4500 people moved to the barracks of the Smolensk regiment and the Preobrazhensky Gate. Russian garrison made a sortie. A small Russian squad of 250 soldiers with two guns managed not only to overturn the smaller squad, but also hit the larger flank. Turkish troops hurriedly fled, leaving 400 dead on the battlefield.
October 18 the Ottomans continued shelling the fortress and firing all day. Russian troops responded, as a serf artillery, and from ships stationed on the Estuary. Around 6 hours of the evening one ship ran aground. The Ottomans immediately rushed to the ship, trying to take her to the boarding. But under heavy fire were forced to retreat to the shelter. The attempt by the Ottomans to assault the redoubt on the left flank failed.
In the following days, the shelling of the fortress continued. At 2 o'clock in the afternoon of October 20, one of the enemy bombs hit a small (6 barrels) gunpowder warehouse at the Semenov Gate in the center of the Russian garrison position. Encouraged by the explosion, the Turkish troops rushed to the assault. However, the Russian soldiers did not lose their head and threw the enemy away with accurate fire. In the evening, a small Russian detachment under the command of Major Antsiferov, making a sortie, beat off a redoubt from the Ottomans on the bank of the Liman. Soon the Turks counterattacked him with large forces. The Russians were forced to retreat, but before that the guns were riveted. The Russian soldiers again tried to seize the redoubt, but did not succeed. In this stubborn battle, the Turkish troops lost 500 people, and the Russians lost about 100, and Antsiferov was among the dead.
Over the next few days, the positional struggle continued. The Turks and the Russians fired at each other, built siege constructions, strengthened defenses, dug ditches and trenches. On October 28, an hour before dawn, Turkish sappers blew up mines between the Izmailovsky Gate and the Leuvenvoldovsky bastion erected to protect them. The Ottomans planned with this explosion not only to destroy the fortifications of the fortress, but also to fill the moat with the thrown earth. As a result, a large breach was to appear in the defense system, into which large masses of troops were about to be thrown and to put down the resistance of the weaker-sized Russian garrison. But due to the fact that the tunnel was shallow, the explosion did not bring the desired result. However, 5000 of dismounted vultures rushed to a decisive assault. In the midst of the assault, the Russians blew up their mines, destroying the enemy’s battle formations. The Ottomans fled in panic. This battle has dramatically drained the Turkish army. The assault claimed the lives of 4000 Turks and Tatars, while the Russians lost 5 officers and 66 lower ranks.
The Turkish command was still hoping for success and was preparing for a new decisive assault. However, Ali Pasha received news that reinforcements were coming to Ochakov along the Dnieper. Field Marshal Munnich was very concerned about the campaign of the Turks to Ochakov. Under his order, Lieutenant-General Leontyev with 10 thousands of people moved to Ochakov by a dry road. In addition, several regiments were put on board to be sent down the Dnieper. The Ottoman commander immediately ordered a cease-fire and prepare for withdrawal. The next day, the Turkish troops went to Bender. The Turks threw on the site a large number of bombs, grenades, fascines, stairs, shovels and picks.
Thus, the siege of Ochakov lasted about two weeks (from 15 to October 30). Of the five thousand strong garrison of the Russian fortress, more than 2 thousand people died, but the Turks lost almost ten times more (about 20 thousand people), and at least 10 thousand people died from the outbreak of the epidemic. Unable to break the stubbornness of the defenders, who actively defended and inflicted heavy losses on the enemy, the Turkish army broke the siege. “I doubt,” wrote Manstein, “that there would be another army in the world, which, like the Russian, was able or would have decided to patiently endure such exorbitant labors that were transferred by the Russians in Ochakovo.” The entire garrison received cash awards for their courage. Major General Shtofeln was promoted to lieutenant general and granted lands in the Ukraine, and his closest assistant brigadier Bradke became a major general.
Second Crimean campaign
The second Russian army under the command of Peter Lassi during the 1737 campaign launched a second offensive against the Crimean Khanate. According to the original plan, it was supposed to total about 40 thousands of regular troops and 15 thousands - irregular. To support ground forces from the sea, Vice-Admiral Bredal's 500 ships were exhibited.
On May 4, the avant-garde of the Crimean Army, numbering thousands of people in 25, left Azov and headed for Pavlovsk Fortress on the Mius River. Around her, 15 May, Lassi divided his troops into columns, and then continued on to the Kalmius River. There he stopped waiting for the flotilla. On May 23, 320 ships entered the estuary, carrying over 10 thousands of soldiers and officers led by General Levashov, the flotilla commander Admiral Bredal himself. The dragoon regiments of General Douglas were also brought forward to Kalmius directly from Bakhmut.
To avoid a re-assault on the Perekop line, which this time was ready for defense, Lassi decided on a bold experiment: cross the floating bridge over the Sivash, between the Arabat spit and the mainland and go further along the spit. June 18 his troops gathered at Genchi, where they were joined by four thousand Kalmyks, and already 25 June the army completed the crossing. Most of the generals were against this plan, considering it dangerous, and offered to return. But Lassi insisted on his own, inviting all the "oppositionists" to leave the army and go to Little Russia.
For the Tatar command, this maneuver of the Russian army was a complete surprise. Khan Fatikh-Giray did not allow the thought that Russian troops could try to go to the Crimea, somewhere other than Perekop. Therefore, he stood there with the 60-thousandth army and waited for the appearance of the enemy. However, when the news of the appearance of the Russian troops reached Fetih Giray, he decided to do exactly what General Lassi was so afraid of: to lock the Russians on a spit. Surrounded by Russian troops doomed to death or surrender. The Khan sent a small part of his army to Gencha to destroy the bridge, and he placed the main forces in the fortified camp behind the village of Arabat. Fortunately, the Russian commander learned about the movements of troops in time and took countermeasures. Lassi advanced a detachment under Major Hrapov to imitate the attack to Arabat, and himself once again forced the Sivash at the confluence of the Salgir River and swiftly moved to Karasu Bazar, ravaging Tatar villages along the way. Khan rushed to meet the Russian troops and on July 12 attacked their vanguard in Salgire. There was a very stubborn battle, and only the arrival on the battlefield of Lassi himself with 3 dragoon and 6 infantry regiments forced the Tatar cavalry to retreat. In this battle, the Tatars lost about 600 people killed.
14 July, the Russian army moved on. In the forefront was a detachment of Major General Douglas, 6 in number of thousands of people, and behind him the main forces under the command of Lassi himself. All transports were left in the fortified camp under the cover of the 5-thousandth detachment of brigadier Kolokoltsev. On the same day, Russian troops captured and completely burned the city of Karasubazar. After that, the Cossacks and Kalmyks scattered across the peninsula to plunder and capture prisoners, so that it was commonplace that era. It was necessary to destroy the military and economic potential of Russia's longtime enemy - the Crimean Khanate. Regular troops retreated to the camp. 15 Julia went to the Russian camp 70-thousand. Army of the Crimean Khan. Khan was eager to avenge the ruined city and was about to attack, but Lassi was ahead of him. The Russian commander sent forward the vanguard of Douglas, who crossed the Karasu river four miles above the Tatar horde and attacked it. After a stubborn battle, the khan's troops retreated.
The losses of the Russian army in two battles were small, but again the intense heat and the lack of drinking water threatened mass sickness and exhaustion of the soldiers. The military council decided to withdraw troops from the Crimea. In order not to go again along the dangerous Arabat Spit, Lassi suggested heading towards the Shungura tract, which lies between Perekop and Genchi, at the narrowest point of the Sivash. On July 7, the army marched off the Salgir River and in five days reached Shungura. Throughout the campaign, irregular forces of the Russian army robbed and ravaged the surroundings, almost 30 thousand oxen and 100 thousand rams became their prey. On July 22, our troops began to force the Sivash on a pontoon bridge. As soon as part of the troops crossed the opposite bank, the Tatars reinforced by the Turks, who had come from Kafa, attacked the other part. However, the accurate fire of the Russian artillery forced the enemy to retreat. On July 24, the Lassi army concentrated on Genchi, and then retreated to the Milk Water River. In September, the troops of Lassia went to Little Russia. Khan Fatikh-Giray no longer dared to attack the Russian army. For the failed campaign of 1737, the sultan of Fetih Giray was replaced by Mengli Giray.
Actions flotilla Bredal
While the ground forces fought the army of Fetih Girey and smashed the Khanate, the Bredal flotilla accompanied the army and withstood several clashes with the Ottoman fleet. 28 June Russian ships found the enemy fleet. Bradal quickly led the flotilla into shallow water, landed teams on the shore and ordered to build a redoubt. Taking the battle to the sea was unthinkable: the Turkish squadron included the 64-gun ship of the line under the flag of the Kapudan-Pasha itself, another 60 gun ship, the 32 gun frigate, the 15 galley and the 70 half-galer. And Bredal had only bots, boats and various light vessels, most of which were not armed. The Turks did not dare to attack the Russian positions right away and sent galleries to 2 for reconnaissance.
Meanwhile, a storm began at sea, which defeated the Russian flotilla no worse than the enemy. The waves ripped off light Russian boats from anchors, threw them ashore, smashed them against stones. Only by noon on June 29 the element subsided. Of the entire flotilla, Brida survived all 47 boats, and even those were badly damaged. 170 boats sank. Crews were able to escape on the shore, but a large amount of ammunition and provisions died.
On June 30, the Ottoman fleet approached the remnants of the flotilla four miles and sent the ship to measure the depths. At noon on July 1 all Turkish ships were anchored and moved forward. For two miles from the coast, they lined up with a crescent, having both ships and a frigate on the left flank. By that time, Russian soldiers and sailors managed to build two batteries: the left gun on the 23 and the falconta and the right one on the 27. Turkish ships began bombing the right battery. Under the cover of ship fire, Turkish galleys rushed forward to land the landing. Our artillery was silent to open fire at close range. At 3 one o'clock in the afternoon, when the Turkish ships came closer, Russian artillery fired back. Turkish galleys could not stand it and turned back. Soon the Ottoman fleet left. For some time our troops spent on batteries, fearing the return of the enemy. Then Bredal put some of the people on those boats that were in more or less good condition and sent them to Genchi. Most of the people and the vice admiral himself moved there by land.
The Bredal flotilla was restored - it was replenished with new ships. July 28 Vice Admiral led his ships from Genchi to Azov. In total, the Russian naval commander had 5 armed bots and 284 boats. The next day, in the morning, the Russian flotilla again had to withstand the battle with the Turkish fleet, who was waiting for the Russians at Vissarion Spit. The Turkish fleet consisted of 2 battleships, 13 galleys and 47 rowing ships. That is, the Ottomans had a complete advantage at sea.
Bradal again did not dare to take the fight to the sea, which was quite reasonable. After all, numerous Russian boats can not even be called warships in the full sense of the word. The admiral ordered most of the crews to be landed and the cannons unloaded, from which they built a coastal battery. All day July 29 and morning July 30 Russians and Turks fought a fierce artillery fire. Our gunners managed to damage one Turkish ship of the line and the Ottoman fleet immediately retreated into the sea. Until August 8, the Ottomans continued the blockade of the Bredal flotilla, but then went to Caf. After this battle, only four bots and ten boats could continue on their way, but its outcome is considered very successful for the Russians: no amount of broken boats can repair the damage of a battleship. Entire ships were taken to Azov by Lieutenant Brahms, and those damaged to the Berdyansk Spit by Captain Lunin. The admiral himself moved to the Azov by dry means.
Drawing of the Prach “Flea”
Prum "Do not come close." Source: Chernyshev A. The Great Battles of the Russian Sailing Fleet
Fighting in other directions
The presence of the army of Lassi kept the Crimean Tatars from retaliating. However, the Kuban Tatars took advantage of the situation. Knowing that most of the Don Cossacks went to war, at the end of July 1737, they crossed to the right bank of the Don and attacked the village of Bystryanskaya. The few inhabitants of the village put up fierce resistance, and women were actively involved in the defense. But the forces were unequal. Stepniaks ravaged Bystryanskaya, as well as stanitsy Nizhne-Kargalskaya, Tsimlyanskaya and Kamyshnikovskaya. They hijacked about 1 thousand people, burned more than 700 Cossack houses. Lassi, having received the news of the invasion, sent to the Don about 3 thousands of Cossacks with ataman Krasnoshchekov. They immediately rushed in pursuit, but could not overtake the enemy.
In response, the Don Cossacks made a raid on the Kuban in November. It was attended by 9500 horse Cossacks and 1500 on foot under the authority of the ataman Stepan Frolov. On November 1, they crossed the Don and immediately offered to take part in the raid on the Dunduk-Omo Kalmyks. However, the Kalmyk leader continued to act very passively this time. However, on December 7, the forward detachment of Cossacks and Kalmyks was able to crush the Tatar nomads on the island of Multian. But in general, this campaign was much less successful than in 1736.
At the beginning of the 1737 campaign, the Austrian army behaved passively. Vienna, declaring Porte a war, still did not start hostilities. Only at the very end of June, the Austrian army, under the command of General Friedrich von Sekkendorf, moved from Belgrade to Niš and on July 3 crossed the border at Parachin. Another army of Count Valis was to go from Transylvania to Wallachia, and the third of Prince Hildburghausen - from Croatia to Bosnia. The first army advanced successfully. The weak garrisons of the border Turkish fortresses capitulated without a fight, and on July X. Austrians occupied Nis.
The Turkish command pulled the troops to Vidin, which they were preparing to defend to the end and from there to threaten the Austrian communications on the Danube. Therefore, the Austrian command left a small garrison in Nishe, and sent most of its forces to Vidin in the valley. The Austrians offered commandant Vidin to surrender, but having been refused, they did not dare to besiege the fortress with available forces.
The army of Count Valis invaded Turkish Wallachia in early July. The Austrian troops, breaking up into separate units, occupied Targovishte, Pitesti and Bucharest. However, then the Turks sent the Bosnian army to Wallachia and launched a counterattack. The Austrians left Bucharest and withdrew to Targovishte. In early August, Walis led troops into Austrian Wallachia. In Bosnia, the Austrians suffered a serious defeat. In early July, Prince Guildburghausen’s army forced the Sava and laid siege to Banja Luka. However, the Turkish army soon approached and defeated the Austrians.
This forced Vienna to negotiate peace. Petersburg was forced to join the negotiations. In July, a peace congress began in Nemirov, to which representatives of Turkey, Austria and Russia arrived.
Thus, the 1737 campaign did not lead to the decisive success of Russia and Austria. The Russian army was able to take Ochakov, a fortress of strategic importance. However, the army of Minikh and Lassi, due to previous problems (terrible heat, lack of water, mass diseases, the death of horses, embezzlement and bureaucracy sloppiness, etc.) could not achieve new decisive successes. Russian troops again ravaged the Crimean Khanate, but failed to gain a foothold on the peninsula. The Turkish attempt to repel Ochakov failed. Turkish troops suffered heavy losses.
To be continued ...