At dawn 7 July began the attack. The janissary camps near the ramparts resisted fiercely, but were soon crumpled and fled. Cossacks captured enemy flags 16. As on the wings, the Donets soared to the man-made mountain, killed and drove away the excavators, broke it, demolished and set on fire everything that was possible. But the most valuable trophy was twenty-eight barrels of excellent powder! Kicking off the imposing Turks, who opened a mad rifle and cannon firing along the Cossack regiments, the Don fighters retreated to their destroyed fortress. Barrels of powder immediately carried and installed in the tunnel. After waiting for more enemy infantry to accumulate on the shaft, the miners set off a hellish car. The explosion, which was heard within a radius of one hundred kilometers, as peas scattered Turkish troops, prepared for the assault. Several hundred people were thrown with a shock wave to the other side of the Don, and into the fortress "through the air of the janissary we threw fifteen hundred people into the city with our digging of the living".
The losses of the Turkish army were enormous, as the chronicle reports, "many thousands of yanchen were beaten." Gassan Pasha was furious. He ordered the 30 of thousands of fighters to be singled out, divide them into groups of 10 thousands of people and, replacing each other, and in the morning of July 8 alternately attack the fortress day and night until they take it. At a signal, Turkish troops rushed to the breaches in the walls, to the broken city gates, while on the run the attackers prepared ropes and hooks for storming the towers. The Cossacks waited for as many enemy soldiers as possible to gather under the walls, and suddenly fired at them with a volley of samopalov, and, according to Chelebi, "hundreds of Gaziyev immediately drank the cup of death." A continuous assault began. For four, seemingly endless days, the defenders of the fortress tirelessly reflected waves of Turkish infantry rolling on the walls. By the end of July 11, the Cossacks were close to despair. During this time, 24 attacks were repulsed, according to 6 attacks per day! “And from such is their evil and clever business to themselves, from sleeplessness and from their grievous wounds, and from all fierce needs, and from the spirit of the foul corpse of ours, and we all became sick with fierce siege diseases. And everyone in the male squad remained, there was no one for the Peremenitsa, they would not give us rest for a single hour. ”
Justifying the small performance of numerous attacks on the walls of Azov, Evliya Chelebi reports that drunken Cossacks opposed the brave ghazies, which is why they were not afraid of death, and fought the Turks with the fury of the doomed. The fact itself is remarkable, but according to the rules of the Don Army drunkenness in a campaign or in a war was punishable by death, therefore there could not be a mass spree of the whole army in principle. This is how the Cossacks themselves explained this curious situation: “We were sick with sleeplessness; days and nights without suffering we suffer. Already our legs buckled under us, and our hands from defense no longer serve us, they died. Already from our languor our eyes do not look, from our incessant shooting our eyes burned out, shooting gunpowder at them. Our tongue in our mouths is not a screaming busurman. ” The cossacks staggering, with movements that were unfaithful from fatigue, with red eyes from insomnia and smoke, could indeed give the impression of being drunk.
And these half-dead from overwork and wounds, people decided themselves to go to the counter-attack on the enemy. Yawning gaps in the ranks filled in hand weapon women and teenagers. Having prayed and vowed that no one would run back, the Cossacks counterattacked the enemy, who was confused by such unheard-of audacity. Ahead of the formidable Cossack infantry, the image of John the Baptist high above his head was the Azov priest Serapion. From the breaches in the walls, from the ramparts, from the ruins of the houses, a hail of bullets flew over the heads of the Turks, having shot all the charges, the Cossacks took up sabers. The battle was terrible, for a long time the opponents did not yield to each other. But the Russian spirit turned out to be stronger; after a few hours, six thousand janissaries from a ten-thousand-strong detachment marching into the next attack were littered with the bodies of the walls and ramparts to the fortress, the rest trembled and ran. Another battle was fought when specially detached detachments of town-Cossacks began to destroy the Turkish fortifications, fill the enemy's trenches, destroy the property that was stored for the assault, and rivet the guns. The Turkish commanders decided that by some miracle fresh reinforcements came to Azov, immediately ordered to stop the assault and withdraw the troops to regroup. Exhausted garrison for a few days got a long-awaited respite.
Realizing that they could not take the fortifications by simple assault, the Turkish command decided to repeat the construction of the rampart in order to completely destroy all the fortifications of the Cossacks with artillery, although there was practically nothing to destroy in the city. In order to protect the builders of the mound from the attacks of the garrison of Azov, the Ottomans conducted a constant artillery shelling of the fortress, day and night, replacing each other, ready with all the weapons were camps of the Janissaries. Turkish troops left no attempt to seize what was left of the Toprac town, testing the defense with daily attacks. Finally 1 August shaft was completed. The Ottoman gunners dragged the cannon to its crest and began methodically leveling the city with the land, the Cossacks, fleeing bombs and nuclei, hid in a kind of dugouts dug from the back of the ramparts.
The next day, the second of August, Toprakov town fell. Retreating, the Cossacks repeated the landmine stunt. The Turks, who believed that all the gunpowder from the Donets had gone to blow up the rampart, fell into the fire trap again, over three and a half thousand enemy fighters were killed at once in explosions, and all the Turkish undergrounds under the walls of Azov were destroyed. When leaving the fort, Naum Vasiliev was seriously wounded, and on the same day a new ataman, Timofey Lebyazhya Shay, who led the defense of Tashkalovo town, was elected a troop circle. However, there was practically nothing to defend, only the smoking ruins remained from the once large city with thick walls and high towers, and the remains of the Genoese towers stuck out with broken teeth on the shafts.
The Turks sent envoys with a proposal for surrender, inviting the Cossacks to leave the fortress, and they would walk on foot to their villages and hamlets. However, the Donians did not buy this primitive ploy, knowing full well what the promises of the Turks, and especially their allies, the Crimean Tatars, are worth. The bribery attempt also failed. The Cossacks responded to all the promises of the Turkish serasker: “When we needed Azov, we took it without bargaining and not paying money; when we need money, we will come after them ourselves, and if you need Azov, try to take it, as we took. We don’t need anything from you. Good for us, well done, only eternal glory!". However, things in Azov itself were getting worse and worse. In the ranks remained little more than a thousand fighters. Hundreds of wounded lay in stinking dugouts, women tried as best they could to alleviate their plight, but in the blocked city, the destroyed city was not enough for the foundations. However, the spirit of the defenders was not broken. An underground war began, both sides made secret "podlazy", the Turks in order to supply mines under the city walls, the Cossacks fought a counter-mine struggle and penetrated into the rear of the Turks through secret passages, organizing pogroms and cutting out clean detachments. The Cossacks didn’t count on completely destroying the army exceeding them tenfold, but they constantly tried to disturb the adversary with daring forays, trying to inflict maximum damage on him. With such raids, the Cossacks repeatedly captured and dragged the guns with them. To continue to prevent losses of artillery attire, the Turkish commander ordered to tie all the tools together with a thick iron chain.
Not sweet and had besieging. A huge army lacked food, ammunition and fuel. Finally, the Janissaries began to openly express discontent, because according to the regulations of the then Ottoman army, military operations could not last more than 40 days without changing personnel. Gassan Pasha appealed to Istanbul for reinforcements. Sultan granted his request and on August 15 16 ships came to Azov, bringing the core, gunpowder, salary and replenishment. A thin stream came to help the Cossacks, ingenious Don people took a hollow reed into their mouths, lay on their backs, and the river flow brought them straight to the walls of the fortress. Using this method, several hundred people entered Azov to support the exhausted garrison in a fortnight. Gunpowder and other supplies were also delivered by the river, using at least the original method. At the bottom of a high-sided boat they tied up the necessary things, overturned it, dumped it with the help of cargo and sent an improvised submarine downstream. The parcel was delivered safe and sound, and the air bag and the powder remained dry. Finally, the Turks got wind of these tricks and blocked the river with a fence into which, according to иelebi, “even the fish did not pass.”
With the receipt of reinforcements, gunpowder and nuclei, the Ottomans became more active. A new bombardment began, which lasted as many 16 days. In the breaks between the fire raids, the fortress was attacked from various sides by strong detachments, but all attempts to break into the destroyed citadel were repelled. Ottoman army suffered significant losses in manpower. Then the annoyed Turkish military leader ordered the Tatar and Nogai horsemen to dismount, and sent them to the assault as infantry. Steppe warriors, who were not trained to fight on foot, died hundreds in vain, which caused serious disagreements between the Crimean rulers and the Turkish headquarters.
The Cossacks responded to the Turkish attacks with night sorties, penetrating the enemy’s location with underground passages and, according to Chelebi, terrorized the Turks in such a way, “that fears attacked the brave Gazies, and people lost their minds”. The Turks simply did not know what to oppose to such a method of warfare, because, as they themselves admitted: “I have never seen and never heard such brutal brave fighters — they didn’t let out any bullets for nothing, and repaired our evil great evils.” In addition, not without the help of Cossack agents, rumors about the approach of the two hundred thousandth Moscow troops began to spread in the Ottoman camp;
Autumn began, and with it came the rains and the early cold that year. Hunger and disease began to rage in the Turkish camp, open resentment began in the ranks of their allies. Part of the Tatar army suddenly withdrew and accelerated march home, as the Ukrainian Cossacks, trying at least somehow to help their bleeding brothers, struck the Crimea. “Having overcome Perekop, the Cossacks went inside the Crimea for a day's journey, having warred many of the Crimean uluses and captured a lot. They moved back intact, since the Crimean Khan with all the military men was near Azov, ”the chronicler reports. Gassan Pasha appealed to the Sultan in order to postpone the siege for the next year and achieve a withdrawal of troops from Azov, since, according to the laws of the Turkish Empire, hostilities should be stopped before the day of Kasim, that is, until October old style. To which Sultan Ibrahim replied: "Pasha, either give me Azov, or give your head." The Ottoman commander-in-chief had only one way out - a decisive assault.
In order to motivate their fighters to fight, the Turkish headquarters decided to recruit assault squads exclusively from volunteers, arm them at the expense of the Sultan's treasury and promise the most distinguished various preferences, including obtaining large land allotments. More than 10 thousand people, including sailors, responded to the call fleet, Tatars and Nogais. As Evliya ебelebi says in his narrative, these volunteers were given "seven thousand swords, two thousand shields, two thousand muskets, six thousand halberds, five thousand grenades and many other weapons."
September 1 began another destructive bombardment of the fortress. The Cossacks hid in holes dug in the back of the shaft, the core did not cause them much damage, but the more or less preserved fortifications were finally broken. The Turks rushed into battle. They managed to break into the citadel, seven hours among the ruins of Azov, there was a hand-to-hand fight. The Cossacks skillfully used in the battle previously prepared traps. Sowing enemies fell into wolf pits, others who tried to penetrate the tunnels, poisoned with sulfur smoke, covered with manmade landslides or shot at point-blank from ambushes. The Donetsians deliberately left one of the streets with little or no protection, and when crowds of jubilant winners rushed along the road to the center of Azov, land mines were triggered. More 1200 Ottoman conquerors flew into the air. The arrows, entrenched in the ruins of the Genoese towers, particularly annoyed the enemy. The fire was so dense and led so precisely that, according to an eyewitness, "some groups of Muslims were driven to the extreme and fled." In the street fighting killed another two thousand Turkish infantry and dismounted Crimeans. The battle lasted until the evening, the Cossacks skillfully threw their detachments to threatening areas along disguised moves and boldly attacked from the rear, then from the flanks of the finally demoralized Turks. The yanicharsky chows began to withdraw their soldiers after dark, the command of the Ottoman army was confident of victory and decided to postpone the final capture of the ruins of Azov until the morning. The Turks fortified themselves on the trees of Tashkalov town and on the ruins of the citadel wall.
And the next morning the Ottomans, who were anticipating a quick victory, saw in front of them a high wall, fortified with wooden log cabins. During the night, the Cossacks managed to build a new fortification inside the fortress. The dumbfounded Turks understood that they had to start all over again from the beginning. The fruitless attacks, alternated by massive bombardments of the fortress, continued until September 10. Finally, the Turkish troops finally exhausted. The situation of the people besieged in Azov was terrifying. Less than a thousand people survived, including Cossack women and children. Almost all of them received injuries of varying severity. In the fortress, food was almost running out and, most unpleasantly, the Cossacks had a dry supply of gunpowder. Everyone understood that they could not endure another assault; they also did not have to wait for mercy from the winners.
Meanwhile, a meeting was going on in the camp of the besieging army: the commanders decided what to do next. Autumn thaw was approaching, and after it was cold, therefore the Turkish headquarters unanimously decided to end the siege and leave for homeland in two weeks. The withdrawal of troops took place in the strictest confidence, the Cossacks, driven into their underground shelters by artillery fire, did not even know about the ongoing movements in the camp of the enemy. In order to demoralize the garrison of the fortress, the Turks spread a rumor that 70 thousands of Tatar and Circassian horsemen were coming to the aid of them, and made it so that this message reached the defenders of Azov. As a demonstration, the Turkish commanders put all those who knew how to stay in the saddle on horses and made them ride around the fortress, appearing now in one place or another. The Cossacks were not afraid of the Turks, but the appearance of a fresh army, which seemed to be able to simply crush a handful of defenders in their numbers, had a depressing effect on the fortress garrison. A circle was convened and the majority of those present decided to go for a breakthrough, waiting for favorable weather conditions.
In the night from 27 to 28 September, a thick fog descended on the fortress, visibility was almost zero. In complete silence, all who were able to stand on their feet, gathered near the ruins of the chapel of John the Baptist. The Azov priest, Serapion, served the service; people, preparing to break through or die, confessed and took communion, and, ascending above the line of icons from the city churches, marched towards the enemy with a speedy march. In the gray darkness, an enemy camp opened, the Cossacks with a decisive throw overcame the remaining distance, preparing to meet the fire with their breasts, but ... the enemy camp was empty. On the night of September 26, the Turkish army embarked on ships and sailed to the Crimea. The Ottomans once again proved that they were rightfully considered the best army of the time, having carried out a brilliant operation of withdrawing and loading a huge army into ships. The Cossacks captured 400 people captured, mostly Tatars, who remained to marry in the abandoned camp of their allies, and two thousand hopelessly sick and wounded Turks, left at the mercy of the victors.
The siege, which lasted 93 endless day and night, ended. The total losses of the Turkish army, allies and non-combatant workers near Azov amounted to about 70 thousand people killed and dead, including 20 thousand selected Janissaries. More than three thousand Cossacks laid down their heads in the defense of the Cossack capital, the survivors were "all wounded and crippled."
The entire civilized world of that time was stunned by the news of the defeat of the Turkish troops. The Istanbul government, as the chronicler describes, was in great confusion and fear. In European capitals, they refused to believe this message. And in Moscow, the report brought by Naum Vasilyev, who recovered from his wound on 28 in October on 1641, caused a stir. Still, after humiliating defeats from the Commonwealth in the west - such a deafening victory in the south! But then the question arose: what to do next? It is clear that Istanbul will not reconcile with the loss of the fortress and the next year the invasion will surely be repeated, moreover, in winter 1641, the Turks sent a draft of the new Russian-Turkish agreement, in which Azov was considered only as the possession of the Sultan. The tsarist administration decided to make a decision on the fate of Azov, as they would say now, for a nationwide discussion.
On the third of January, the Zemsky Sobor met 1642, deciding: “And now the city of Azov accepts both the governor and military people to send us to the point, and being in such a ravaged place is not a choke ...”. To disobey the will of the Sovereign and try to keep the city themselves, the Cossacks had neither the strength nor the ability. The fortress was completely destroyed, and only a little more than two thousand people remained capable of becoming operational after the tragic events of 1637-1641 in the entire Don Army. As the Cossack legend says, in tears and great sorrow, Azov and his wives and children left the last 500 Cossacks, taking with them icons from the Azov churches, the yoke of the city scales, and even the iron fortress gates. Not only humans, but not even a single animal remained in the abandoned Azov; there was no dog, no cat, no mouse left. Among the ruins of the fortress, the surviving ancient Genoese stone tower stood alone, serving as a silent monument to the heroism of the Cossack garrison.
Cannons, yoke of city scales and sash of the city gate of Azov
14 June 1642 of the year when the Turkish troops approached without a fight occupied the ruins of the fortress richly watered with blood. Fifty years later, together with the young Russian tsar Peter, the Don Cossacks would once again take the Azov rebuilt by the Turks, but this is already completely different. история.