Medal "For the victory at Kagul"
The Turkish state, this political parasite on the body of the Byzantine Empire that was slaughtered by it (and here, as usual, did not go without the help of the crusaders who were the first to conquer and plunder the treasury of antiquity - Constantinople), in the middle of the century of interest to us Western Europe, the spread of militant Islamism, but still posed some danger to others.
That is why her country, a semi-wild, barbaric country in the sense of refined Europeans, was intrigued from the banks of the Seine, the Thames, the Danube and the Spree and tried, not without success, to incite the northern neighbor. Given that then, as now, the Turks behaved insidiously and unpredictably: after all, to some extent they inherited the imperial spirit of Byzantium, they certainly wanted to play the role of a great Eurasian power. But one desire, naturally, is not enough.
The country that continued to exist in the coordinates of the Middle Ages, has lagged behind in its development. The giant land army, the huge fleet of Turkey, with all their quantitative superiority, were qualitatively inferior to any probable European enemy, including Russia. Yes, in Petersburg they still remembered the unsuccessful Prut campaign of Peter.
Although, even if cut off from the Black Sea, the Russian state, in the event of a war with Turkey, would not have limited itself, as before, mainly to land actions somewhere far from Istanbul Ukraine. Now, taking advantage of the gratitude of the Danes and the temporary, due to the moment favored by England, its modern battleships could be swiftly transferred from the Baltic to the Mediterranean, where in the rear of the Turks, and in addition also in threatening proximity to the sultan's harem, for centuries the Greek fire faded away resistance.
However, the erdogans of that time did not want to notice the obvious. They directed their foggy hookah on the eyes of their recent enemy - Poland. Torn apart by intrigues, Rzecz Pospolita, at least in the face of the representatives of the so-called Bar Confederation (the city of Bar in Podolia, but a different interpretation is appropriate, because it led, of course, the gentry), in its centuries-old hatred of Russia, as well as from opposition to to Catherine the henchman, King Stanislav II, Augustus Poniatowski was ready to surrender in a political sense to anyone, even if the Istanbul sultan was in a protectorate.
The reason for the war was, as they would say now, a border incident. A detachment of pro-Russian right-wing Ukrainians, in pursuit of Polish confederates, approached Balta, a Podolsk town in Turkish territory, and, after the Turks refused to hand over Poles, knocked out both of them. The rash actions of the Haidamaks, who responded to the cruelty of the enemies by almost more cruelty, caused irritation in St. Petersburg: the armed action was soon suppressed. But to Sultan Mustafa III, all this turned out to be just right: on September 25 (October X. NUMX) 6, he declared war on Russia.
The fighting initially wore too cautious. Small Russian troops in March next year occupied Azov and Taganrog. The main army, commanded by Prince Alexander Golitsyn, was twice shipped across the border Dniester, timidly approached Khotin, and both times returned to the left bank of the river: both the numerical superiority of the enemy and the insecurity of the Russian commander affected. In August, the emboldened Turks decided to cross the river themselves.
Medal "For the sea victory at Chesme. 24 June 1770 G. "
They were repulsed with such losses that they left Khotyn and in complete disarray fled to Iasi. Golitsyn was fired as a field marshal, but replaced by the more decisive Peter Rumyantsev, the hero of the Battle of Kunersdorf.
Indeed, it was impossible to make a better choice: Rumyantsev led the way so that soon the Turkish army, numerous and slow, began to suffer one defeat after another. The campaign of the next year, 1770, was marked for Russia with brilliant victories: June 17 (28) at Ryadoy Grave, 7 (18) July 1770 at Larga and finally 21 July (1 August) 1770 at Kagul. The last battle in which Rumyantsev, leading relatively small forces (about 30 thousand people), with minimal personal losses to pieces fell the 150-thousandth Turkish army of vizier Ivazade Khalil Pasha, put him among the greatest generals not only domestic, but and world stories.
In this battle, there was one particularly dramatic moment: 10, thousands of janissaries, violently attacked and upset the square of Lieutenant-General Pyotr Plemyannikov. Seeing that the soldiers of the Astrakhan and Moscow regiments were leaving the building in panic, throwing banners, Rumyantsev rode to them, shouting “Guys, stop!” Stopped the runners and led them forward again. From the flank of the 1-I Grenadier Division hit the enemy with bayonets.
Russian artillery properly poured them grapeshot. Janissaries were stabbed with a part, and the rest of the cavalry were driven back to the retranshement. The next morning, the defeated and demoralized Turkish army melted away like fog, scattered in flight, leaving the train and all the guns.
Later, complaining about Rumyantsev to the highest degree of the Order of St. George and the rank of Field Marshal, Catherine noted in her rescript: “Your one word“ stop! ”Paved the way for new glory, because at that time it was hardly heard that in any people by the same people and in the same place, a torn-up quarant was again formed, in the mind of the enemy, and so that at that very hour, going forward, he had to participate in the victory. ”
Rumyantsev officers received various degrees of "St. George". The lower ranks did not go unnoticed: “In memory of the victory of our first 21 army last July at Cahul, the victory over the enemy was complete, we were commanded to make special medals, and we all graciously favor all noncommissioned officers and privates to give this sign their courage and the service rendered to us and to the fatherland were carried on a blue ribbon in a buttonhole ”. We note in particular that, unlike in previous times, the medal has now become exclusively soldier (and sailor, as will be discussed later) award.
Its design (the author of the stamp - the famous carver-medalist Timofey Ivanov) in this case is extremely simple. On the obverse - a portrait of the empress with a circular signature. On the back side in large letters: “Cahul”, and below - the date in three lines (of course, in the old style).
All were made and sent to the army 18 thousand copies of the medal. They could not be enough for everyone, because according to the list submitted to the Military Collegium, 29 157 of the lower ranks participated in the battle from our side. There is no information that the shortage was filled later.
Whether some mistake has crept in here, or, more likely, considerations of prestige brought to the point of absurdity, however, in the monument of authorship by Antonio Rinaldi, soon erected and still standing in Tsarskoye Selo, everyone can read what turned the Turkish Vizier into flight to the river Danube "the Russian army number seventeen thousand." The usual, unfortunately, thing: the great feat, they forgot the heroes themselves.
But back to the theater of war, now the Mediterranean. As was to be expected, having rounded Europe, the Russian fleet headed out of the Baltic (20 battleships, 6 frigates, 1 bomber ship, 26 auxiliary ships, about 8 thousands of landing forces) under the nominal command of Count Alexei Orlov, brother of the Empress favorite, - The so-called First Archipelago Expedition began.
In March, 1770, the 1 squadron (Admiral Gregory Spiridov) had already cruised into the Aegean Sea. Gradually, new forces approached. There were several energetic clashes, as a result of one of them, brigadier Ivan Hannibal (the eldest son of “arap Peter the Great”) took the landing of Navarin with a blow (do not confuse this battle with the large naval battle of 1827). And in June it came even to a serious fight.
The Day of the Chesme Battle - 7 July in a new style - is now celebrated as the Day of Military Glory of Russia. The Turkish fleet (16 battleships, 6 frigates, 6 shebeks, 13 galleys and 32 small ships), sheltered after the generally unresolved Chios battle in the Chesmen Bay under the protection of coastal batteries, was destroyed by a sudden attack of the Russians (9). 3 frigate, bombardier ship, 17 – 19 auxiliary ships and transports) right on the roadstead.
The destruction of Turkish fleet in Chesme Bay
On the eve of late evening, Russian ships bombarded the Turks with brandy hulls, cylindrical shells filled with incendiary substance, and so successfully that one of the enemy battleships exploded, and then - around two o'clock in the morning - the firefighters entered the bay and headed, despite the storm attack, to the Turkish ships, setting them on fire. Soon the irrepressible flames engulfed the enemy fleet. By some miracle, only one 80-gun battleship Rhodes was taken out of the fire and captured. The rout was complete.
Aleksey Orlov, who showed himself a little later, when he seduced and insidiously took from sunny Livorno to the gloomy casemate of Petropavlovka, the notorious Princess Tarakanova, but for Chesma, however, he received a first-degree George, 100,000 rubles “for the correction of the crew” gold. chain from the Admiralty and a prefix to the names: Chesmensky. In addition, he was awarded a personalized gold medal with his own image on the obverse and a pathetic inscription:
"The winner and the fighter of the Turkish fleet."
One of the silver copies of this award, along with “George” of the II degree and the title of admiral, went to Captain Samuel Greig, the true hero of the Chesme battle. Samuel Karlovich (as he began to be called in the Russian manner) heroically commanded in battle a detachment of firefighters, setting fire to them with his own hands. Well, again, the usual thing.
And what simple sailors and soldiers landing?
“Wishing to express the Monarchs Our pleasure to Our fleet now in the Archipelago, for providing us with the tomo 24 and 25 of July last, important for us and the Fatherland to victory and extermination of the fleet, we commanded the Most Graciously commanding Our Admiralty Collective to arrange a service for us in order to defend the fleet in the Archivelago. for guns, taken ships and other awards, who therefore had a chance to deserve; Moreover, we still complain to everyone who was on it at the time of this happy incident, both sea and land lower ranks of silver, in this case they made medals and deign that they would wear them on a blue ribbon in his buttonhole in memory. ”
The design of the award (the author is still the same Timofey Ivanov) is as follows: on the obverse - the profile of the empress and the corresponding signature, on the reverse - the images of four Russians (foreground) and five burning Turkish ships, the fortress walls (the signature under them: “Chesme”), and under the edge: “CHESME. 1770 OF THE YEAR JULY 24 D. ”. The inscription at the top: “WAS” is very witty. That is, they say, was the Turkish fleet, but swum, or rather, burned.
The Chesme and Kagul defeats did not mean a final catastrophe for Turkey. The hostilities dragged on until 1774. During this time, the Russian army under the command of General-in-Chief Prince Vasily Golitsyn stormed the Perekop (Turkish) wall and captured the Crimea in sixteen days. The Russian fleet continued to raid the Turkish coast, Rumyantsev crossed the Danube. The last action finally led to the defeat of Ports.
Under the terms of Kyuchuk-Kaynardzhi peace treaty, the Crimean Khanate gained independence from Turkey, and Russia — the most important outpost on the Black Sea — Kerch, the right to have a military fleet here and to allow free passage of ships through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles. Another important right of Russia was officially recognized - to patronize the Orthodox Danube principalities.
On this occasion, a diamond shape (master - Samoyla Yudin) was made commemorative medals for soldiers with the empress on the obverse. On the reverse, in the upper part, there is a laurel wreath and an inscription in it: “WINNER”, and in the lower half there are four lines: “CONCLUDED MIR - S PORTO - 10 JULY - 1774. g. "
The medal was issued on the orange-black ribbon of the St. George Order, although there is information that they wore it on the blue St. Andrew's ribbon.
Field Marshal Rumyantsev was awarded with an addition to his last name: Transdanubia, and a personal gold medal with the inscription: "To the winner and the conciliator." His officers received orders, orders. And who was honored with golden weapons, like Suvorov.
About him - next time.