Tsar Peter conducted the “work on the mistakes” and considered that the main problem is the river, sea component. Immediately began the construction of a "sea caravan" - military and transport ships and vessels. This venture had many adversaries - there was too little time for this task (one winter), the question was difficult from the point of view of organization, resource attraction, etc. But the plan was unswervingly put into practice. One by one, decrees and orders were issued from Moscow to the governors and town governors on the mobilization of people and resources.
Already in January, 1696 of the year in Voronezh shipyards and in Preobrazhensky (a village near Moscow on the bank of the Yauza River, where the residence of Father Peter, Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich) was located, launched a large-scale construction of ships and ships. The galleys built in Preobrazhensky were dismantled, brought to Voronezh, collected there again and launched on the Don. Peter ordered the spring to make 1300 planes, 30 sea boats, 100 rafts. To this end, carpenters, blacksmiths, working people were mobilized from all over Russia. The Voronezh region was not chosen by chance, for the local population the construction of riverboats was already a common trade for more than one generation. Total mobilized over 25 thousand people. Not only masters and workers traveled from all over the country, but also materials — wood, hemp, tar, iron, etc. — were carried. Work went quickly, and even more planes were built before the start of the campaign.
The task of building warships was solved in Preobrazhensky (on the Yauza River). The main type of ships under construction were galleys - rowing ships that had 30-38 oars, they were armed with 4-6 guns, 2 masts, 130-200 man of the crew (plus they could carry significant landing). This type of ship met the conditions of the theater of operations, galleys with their small draft, maneuverability, could successfully operate on the river, the shallow water of the lower reaches of the Don, the coastal waters of the Sea of Azov. In the construction of ships was used early shipbuilding experience. Thus, in Nizhny Novgorod, the ship “Frederik” was built in 1636, in the 1668 year, in the village of Dedinovo on the Oka - the ship “Orel”, in the 1688-1692 years on Pereyaslavl Lake and in the 1693 year in Arkhangelsk, with the participation of Peter, several ships were built. For the construction of ships in Preobrazhensky, soldiers of Semenovsky and Preobrazhensky regiments, peasants, and artisans were widely attracted, who were summoned from settlements where shipbuilding was developed (Arkhangelsk, Vologda, Nizhny Novgorod, etc.). Among the masters, the Vologda carpenter Osip Shchek and the Nizhny Novgorod carpenter Yakim Ivanov enjoyed universal respect.
Throughout the winter, the main parts of the ship were made in Preobrazhenskoye: keels (hull base), frames (“ribs” of the ship), stringers (longitudinal beams going from bow to stern), beams (cross beams between frames), pillers (vertical supports supporting the deck) ), cladding boards, deck decks, masts, oars, etc. In February, 1696 prepared parts for the 22 galleys and 4 branders (a vessel filled with combustible substances for arson of enemy ships). In March, ship units were transported to Voronezh. Each galley was delivered on 15-20 carts. On April 2, the first galleys were launched, their crews were formed from the Semenovsky and Preobrazhensky regiments.
In Voronezh, also laid the first large three-masted ships (2 units), with quite strong artillery weapons. They demanded a large shipbuilding complex. On each of them decided to install 36 guns. By early May, built the first ship - 36-gun sailing-rowing frigate "Apostle Peter". The ship was built with the help of the Danish master Augustus (Gustav) Meyer. He became the commander of the second ship - the 36-gun "Apostle Paul." The length of the sailing-rowing frigate was 34,4 m, the width 7,6 m, the ship was flat-bottomed. In addition, the frigate had 15 pairs of oars in case of calm and for maneuver. Thus, in the Russian state, far from the seas, in an extremely short time could create a whole shipbuilding industry and built a "naval military caravan" - a detachment of warships and transport ships. When the troops arrived from Moscow to Voronezh, an entire armada of military transport ships — the 2 ship, the 23 galleys, about the 1500 planes, rafts, barges, and boats — were already waiting there.
Frigate "Apostle Peter"
In the same period, the army was significantly increased (by half - to 70 thousand people), at the head of it was put a single commander in chief - boyar Alexei Semenovich Shein. He was a participant in the campaigns of Prince V. Golitsyn, during the first Azov campaign he commanded the Preobrazhensky and Semyonovsky regiments, thus he knew the theater of military operations very well. Shein was the first in Russia who officially received the rank of generalissimo. As a result, the problem of unity of command was solved. True, Peter could put at the head of the army another experienced commander - Sheremetev, but for some reason he did not like the tsar. Perhaps due to age. Young Shein was closer to the king and he brought him into his circle. Sheremetev was awarded for the successful 1695 campaign and sent back to Belgorod.
Peter also took care of the involvement of military specialists in engineering, artillery and mines. Poorly aware of the capabilities of the Russian army and the capabilities of its commanders and exaggerating everything foreign, Peter Alekseevich began recruiting specialists in Germany and Holland. Later, including taking into account the Narva defeat in the war with Sweden, Peter gradually began to rely on the national cadre, and toughened the selection of foreigners, among whom there were a lot of different trashmen, pozaryvayu to high wages in Russia.
Campaign plan changed. Most of the troops — border regiments, noble cavalry and half of Little Russian Cossacks — were taken from Sheremetev. He left an auxiliary detachment - 2,5 thousand soldiers, about 15 thousand Cossacks. Sheremetev had to go down the Dnieper and distract the enemy from Ochakov. Under the leadership of Shein, the main forces gathered - 30 soldier regiments, 13 Streletsky, local cavalry, Don, Little Russian, Yaitsky Cossacks, Kalmyks (about 70 thousand people). The troops were distributed in three divisions - Golovin, Gordon and Rigemann. Command fleet Peter appointed Lefort. Peter left for himself the role of “scorer Peter Mikhailov,” and gave command to Shein as a whole.
The first Russian generalissimo Alexei Semenovich Shein
Second Azov campaign
23 April 1696. The first echelon of 110 transport ships with troops, artillery, ammunition and food began the march. After that, other ships, warships, began to go out. The 1000-kilometer trip was the first test for the crews, the skill of the sailors was honed in the process, the deficiencies were completed. The movement went quickly, went under sail and on oars, day and night. During the march, there was a process of developing the rules for organizing service on galleys, conducting sea battle - they were announced in a special “Decree on galleys”. The “Decree” referred to the order of signaling, anchoring, navigation in marching, discipline, and active combat operations against the enemy.
On May 15, the first detachment of galleys approached Cherkassk, where the vanguard of ground forces also arrived (troops marched on ships and land). Cossack intelligence reported that Azov has several enemy ships. 16 May Azov was besieged. May 20 Cossacks on their boats a sudden attack seized 10 transport ships (tunbas), in the Turkish squadron panic began. Taking advantage of the first success, the Cossacks were able to approach the Turkish squadron (it was at night) and set fire to one of the ships. The Turks took the ships, and one burned themselves, not having time to raise the sail.
On May 27, the Russian flotilla reached the Sea of Azov and cut off the fortress from sources of supply across the sea. Russian ships took positions across the Bay of Azov. In the same period, the main forces approached the fortress, they occupied trenches and earthworks, built in 1695 year. The Turks in their carelessness did not even destroy them. The Ottomans tried to make a sortie, but they expected it. 4 of the thousand Don Cossacks, ataman Savinov, were ready and repelled the attack.
Shein refused immediate assault and ordered to "start trenches." The amount of engineering work was scheduled huge. Azov laid a semicircle, both flank rested against the Don. Behind the river was built "earthen town." Above the city a floating bridge was built on ships. Built batteries for siege weapons. Russian artillery began shelling the fortress. In Azov, fires began. Two strong batteries were placed at the mouth of the Don to strengthen the forces of the naval blockade. If the Turkish ships broke through our flotilla, these batteries would have prevented enemy ships from directly to Azov.
These precautions were not superfluous. About a month later, a Turkish squadron in the 25 pennants with 4 thousand troops approached the Azov garrison. Having found Russian galleys that blocked the mouth of the Don, the Turkish admiral Turnochi Pasha stopped his forces at a considerable distance. June 28 Turkish fleet attempted to land troops on the shore. On the Russian ships prepared for battle, we took off the anchors and went to meet the Turkish ships. The Ottomans, seeing the determination of the Russian flotilla for battle, retreated. Thus, the Turkish fleet refused to try to help the besieged garrison, Azov was left without outside help. This played an important role in further events: the Azov fortress was cut off from the supply of reinforcements, ammunition and food. Yes, and psychologically - it was a victory, the Turks were depressed, having lost hope of helping their comrades.
Russian artillery smashed the outer ramparts of Azov, and the infantry was digging the ground tirelessly, moving trenches closer and closer to the fortress. 16 June, our soldiers came right up to the moats. The garrison was offered to surrender, but the Turks responded with fire. Turkish soldiers still hoped to sit behind the powerful stone walls and towers, they were so thick that the cores did not take them. However, Shein still refused to assault. The commander-in-chief ordered a huge shaft around the fortress. We decided to move it and thus overcome the moat and climb the walls with the help of assault ladders and other devices. Large-scale engineering work began again. Shifts worked 15 thousand people. When the foreign specialists invited by Tsar Peter arrived, they were no longer needed. They did without them, they only wondered at the scale of the works that the Russians produced.
Contemporaries described these works as follows: “The Great Russian and Little Russian troops who were near the city of Azov were laying an earthen rampage to the enemy moat from everywhere evenly sticking and because of that shaft, ditch sweeping up and leveling it, with the same shaft through that ditch reached the enemy Azov shaft and the ramparts were reported only close, the hedgehog was possible with the enemies, except weapons, to be tormented with one hand; too, the land for their shaft throwing into the city fell. "
10 June and 24 June, our troops repulsed the strong attacks of the Turkish garrison, which 60 tried to help the thousands of Crimean Tatars, who were camped south of Azov, beyond the Kagalnik River. The Crimean prince Nureddin with his horde attacked the Russian camp several times. However, Shein put a noble cavalry and Kalmyks against him. They brutally beat and drove the Crimean Tatars, Nureddin himself was wounded and almost captured.
Val approached the walls, caught up with them in height. The batteries were installed on its crest, they swept through the whole Azov and inflicted heavy losses on the garrison. In addition, they prepared three mine trenches for blasting walls. The garrison was again offered to leave the city and leave freely, the Ottomans responded with fierce shooting. 16 July, our troops completed the preparatory siege work. 17-18 July Russian troops (1,5 thousand Don and Zaporozhye Cossacks) captured two Turkish bastions.
After that, the Turkish garrison was completely discouraged: the losses were heavy, the attacks failed, there was no help from Istanbul, the loss of basic positions began, artillery shelling now caused significant damage, as the Russian army had heavy weapons. July 18 was thrown white flag, negotiations began. The Ottomans were allowed to leave with personal belongings, and they left all the artillery and supplies to the victors. Shein even kindly offered to bring them on the Russian ships to Kagalnik, where the Tatars stood. Russian commanders put forward only one categorical demand: to issue “Nemchina Yakushka” - defector Yakov Jansen, who spoiled a lot of blood of the Russian army in 1695. Jansen at that time was “obsessed” - went to Islam, signed up to the janissaries. The Ottomans did not want to extradite him, but eventually gave way. 19 (29) in July, the garrison commander Gassan Bey capitulated.
Capture of the Azov fortress. Thumbnail from the manuscript 1-th floor. 18 century "History Peter I, Op. P. Krekshina. Collection A. Baryatinsky. SHM. The scene of the Turkish release of Yashka (Yakov Jansen), a Dutch traitor sailor, is included in the miniature.
From the garrison he left only 3 thousand people. Turkish soldiers and residents began to leave the fortress, loaded onto the piles and boats that awaited them. Gassan Bey was the last to leave Azov, laid down the flags of 16 at his feet, presented the keys and thanked him for honestly fulfilling the contract. Russian troops entered the fortress. The city found 92 guns, 4 mortars, large stocks of gunpowder and food. He could resist for a long time, if not for the skillful actions of the Russian army. July 20 capitulated also the Turkish fortress Lyutikh, which was located at the mouth of the northernmost arm of the Don.
The first regiments went north to Moscow in early August. 15 August left the king king. In the Azov Fortress, thousands of soldiers and 5,5 thousand of archers left the 2,7 garrison. In Moscow, in honor of the Azov Victoria staged an unprecedented celebration.
The capture of Azov. In the center, on horseback, Tsar Peter I and voivode Alexei Shein (engraving by A. Shhonebek)
Thus, the entire flow of the Don became free for the Russian courts. Azov became a Russian bridgehead in the Azov Sea. Tsar Peter I, realizing the strategic importance of Azov, as the first Russian fortress in the Black Sea region and the need to defend conquest (the war continued), on July 23 approved the plan of new fortifications of Azov. The fortress was badly damaged by Russian artillery. In addition, they decided to create a base for the Russian fleet, without which it was impossible to conquer the Black Sea region. Since Azov did not have a convenient harbor for basing the navy, already on July 27 chose a better place on Taganya Cape, where two years later they founded Taganrog.
Voevoda A.S. Shein 28 June 1696 was awarded the rank of Generalissimo (the first in Russia) for military successes. Later, Shein was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Army, commander of artillery, cavalry and manager of a foreign order. Since 1697, Shein has led the work in Azov, the construction of the sea harbor in Taganrog, reflecting the constant attacks of the Tatars and Turks.
Azov campaigns in practice showed the importance of artillery and fleet for waging war. And Peter drew conclusions from this, he cannot be denied organizational skills and strategic thinking. October 20 1696 of the Year The Boyar Duma proclaims "To be ships of the sea ...". Approved extensive military shipbuilding program 52 (later 77) ships. Russia begins sending nobles to study abroad.
“Cut through the window” to the south completely failed. It was necessary to seize the Kerch Strait in order to get a passage from the Azov Sea to the Black Sea or to completely capture the Crimea. The king understood this very well. After the capture of Azov, he told his generals: "Now we, thank God, have one corner of the Black Sea, and in time, perhaps, we will have all of it." To the remark that this would be difficult to do, Peter said: "Not suddenly, but little by little." However, the war began with Sweden and plans to further expand the Russian possessions in the Black Sea region had to be postponed, and as it turned out for a long time. Fully implement the plans of Peter was only with Catherine II.