Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov (1730-1800) is considered the most famous Russian commander, a classic of military art. Thanks to his military genius, this man received the title of generalissimo in Russia, was a knight of all Russian orders, as well as many foreign ones.
Suvorov’s talents are told at least by the fact that he did not lose a single battle, although in most battles the enemy had numerical superiority. Most of the military career of the commander is associated with the name of Empress Catherine II, who appreciated his talents.
But Emperor Paul I sent his mother’s obstinate mother to resign, but had to call him to the service again. Suvorov same Italian campaign and crossing the Alps again proved its greatness. This man is a national hero of Russia, whose name is called streets, squares, schools, orders.
However, the classical and canonical image has a lot of fictional, so we will deal with some popular myths about Suvorov in this article. Suvorov is a native Russian.
It turns out that this is not a thoroughbred Moscow nobleman, but a descendant in the third generation of Swedish nobles. It is from Sweden that the Suvorov family comes into being. It is well known that in 1622 two Swedes, Naum and Suvor, fled their homeland with their families to the Moscow kingdom. Here they were given citizenship and called honorary citizens. And the descendants of Suvor in the books of the Streletsky order began to be called the Suvorovs. The grandfather of the commander under Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich showed himself well. So Suvorov received nobility and land. Suvorov’s mother Avdotya Manukova may have been a relative of the legendary Manuk. But the Armenian roots of the commander remain an unproven legend.
Suvorov won the Russian-Turkish campaign.
In the biography of the commander, vivid pages are the battles of Kozluj, Kinburn, Fokshaan, Rymnik, and the storming of Ishmael. At the end of the XVIII century, Russia actively expanded its southern borders, which led to several wars with Turkey. However, in their course Suvorov himself commanded only the corps and the division. Yes, he acted quickly, swiftly and unexpectedly. But his victories were local. The war with Turkey lasted a decade, against this background the capture of Ishmael – an episode. Especially since he was taken earlier, and already after Suvorov again surrendered. In that war there were no decisive or crucial battles – Russia gradually moved to the South, taking two steps forward and a step back. The real commanders, who led the large-scale campaign, were Rumyantsev and Potemkin. The first for his victories was obelisks in Tsarskoye Selo and St. Petersburg, Catherine herself offered to honor him with an entry on a triumphal chariot, as in ancient Rome. The conquest of Rumyantsev was continued by Potemkin. His achievements are amazing: the conquest of the Crimea, the creation of the Black Sea Fleet, the foundation of many cities, the resettlement of the colonists. For those events, Suvorov was a secondary figure, remaining in the shadow of more ambitious individuals.
Suvorov does not bank soldiers.
There is information that Paul I did not like Suvorov at all for the attitude of that to the drill. It was said that the military commander, with training marches for 20 versts from the company of 200 people, left only 40. The rest were considered sanitary losses that died, in fact. This myth has a very specific origin. It turns out that during one of the swift transitions to the battlefield with the French, only 40 people remained in the company. Suvorov ordered them to conduct an offensive against the enemy. But the rest did not perish at the transition, but simply fell behind. In “Verbal receipt of soldiers” Suvorov strongly orders to protect people. In his letters, the commander lamented about the great losses in the capture of Ishmael, and after all, from 6 to 13% of the whole army perished, that is, relatively little.
Suvorov always defeated the enemy, commanding inferior troops in numbers.
But in the Battle of Novi, Russian-Austrian troops were one and a half times more than the French.At the same time, some French and Polish historians generally believe that at that time Suvorov did not win, but his opponent, Moreau.
Suvorov fought selflessly.
Modesty of the commander is a myth. Awards he passionately loved and resented when he was deprived of them. He honestly wrote about this in his daughter’s letters. True, for the sake of justice it should be noted that Suvorov recognized only military orders. When he received all the Russian awards, Catherine began to give him the same, studded with diamonds. But when Suvorov received a “wrong” award, he was offended. In particular, after the capture of Ishmael, he expected to receive a Field Marshal’s staff, but he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel of the Guards Preobrazhensky regiment. It was an honor, given the fact that the Colonel was the Empress herself. That’s just such a lieutenant-colonel was with a dozen. Such a reward Suvorov considered a mockery, “Ishmael shame.” Sometimes the commander even set himself a reward – after the Battle of Turtukai in 1772 he directly wrote to Commander-in-Chief Saltykov that he would like to receive the Order of St. George of the second degree. Suvorov was awarded ranks for military victories.
General Suvorov became in 1768. But he did not fight with the external enemies of the Russian Empire. In Poland, the Confederates’ revolt against King Poniatowski began. The empress sent him Russian troops to help. Suvorov at that time commanded the Suzdal Infantry Regiment, becoming a foreman in Poland. His actions had a significant influence on the course of the campaign, and Suvorov himself became a Major-General at 40. For those times it was considered almost old age. In 1774, Suvorov participated in the suppression of Pugachev’s uprising, but arrived at the final stage. Alexander Vasilyevich escorted the rebel, suppressed the remnants of the mutiny. And in 1794 Suvorov was again implicated in the Polish events, suppressing the uprising of Tadeusz Kosciuszko. For a number of victories won the general received the rank of general-field marshal. In modern encyclopedias, the lines that Suvorov displayed extreme cruelty disappeared. Apparently, he was advancing in the service not only due to victories over the enemies of the country, but also severely suppressing the riots inside her, serving the empire.
Suvorov mass hung the rebels.
Recently, more and more often in the Belarusian and Polish media there is information that when suppressing the uprising of 1794, Suvorov left gallows everywhere along the route of his troops. The picture looks awesome. But there is a direct order from Potemkin not to ruin the villages, to spare and not to offend the local population. August 22, 1794 Suvorov himself orders the troops to avoid robbery, and spare prisoners. Before the storming of the city of Prague near Warsaw, the commander of the troops was ordered three times, so that the soldiers could understand the impossibility of punitive measures against civilians. Yes, and entered the city of Suvorov, citizens solemnly presented the keys to the city, rejoicing the liberator.
Suvorov came up with a lot of military aphorisms.
There are quite a few army aphorisms attributed to Suvorov. In particular, he repeated that it is difficult in teaching, easy in battle. However, such a phrase does not at all correspond to the ideas of his teaching. The commander, who went through all the stages of service, suffered injuries, understood that the battle is not just work, but also a real opportunity to die. And it can not be easy here. And the words of Suvorov were already altered by his ill-wishers. In fact, the commander in his book “The Science of Victory” said: “It is hard in teaching, it’s easy to go on a campaign”. It was said that Suvorov came up with the aphorism “Bullet fool, bayonet fellow”. It is only forgotten that, as a regiment commander, this officer conducted among the subordinates a lesson on the rate of fire, bringing the skills to automatic. And Suvorov actually said: “And the bullet is not a fool, and the bayonet is well done.” So he did not deny the new types of weapons, but considered it reasonable to use them together with traditional ones.
The crowning glory of Suvorov was the Swiss campaign.
It is known that for this campaign Suvorov received the title of generalissimo, Emperor Paul ordered to build a commander monument in St. Petersburg. It was only the campaign that began on September 10, 1799, and the honor began to be paid already on October 28. But at that time the campaign was in full swing, and the fate of the army was not yet clear. Having received the order to advance in mid-August, Suvorov withdrew from his place only on September 10, and it was autumn, winter was approaching. The Allies let down the Russian troops and they went camping with a meager supply of provisions and without much experience. Historians miss the criminal negligence of Suvorov – he really did not know where he was going. The army went without terrain maps and guides. Near Lake Lucerne, it turned out that there was no more road, so soldiers had to walk through the snow-covered pass. The troops of Rimsky-Korsakov, to whom Suvorov came to help, were broken. The army withdrew from the campaign without food, ammunition, guns, losing a quarter of its personnel. But the transition itself was useless from a military point of view. But the domestic chroniclers declared this a great success.
All Suvorov’s military successes are due to the weakness of the opponents.
Some believe that Suvorov fought mostly with unorganized Asians, Turks. In principle, there was nothing to counterpose to the disciplined European Russian army. But Suvorov just as successfully fought with the Poles, and with the French. But the latter were at that time almost the main military force in Europe. And Austria-Hungary could not counter anything against the French, calling Russia to help.
Suvorov founded Sevastopol.
For the first time Sevastopol Bay was investigated as early as the fall of 1773. One of the first to appreciate its importance is Suvorov, seeing here the opportunity to build a fortress city. At that time he commanded Russian troops in the Kuban and in the Crimea. Suvorov, and built here the first fortifications, having received for it from Catherine the award in the form of a gold snuff-box with diamonds. These batteries frightened the Turks, forcing their squadron to go to sea from the Ahtiyar harbor. In 1783 ships of the Azov and Dnieper flotilla arrived here, becoming the basis for the creation of the Black Sea Fleet. And the date of foundation of modern Sevastopol is June 14, 1783. On this day there were laid the first stone buildings – the house of the commander of the fleet, a chapel, a forge and a landing stage. The work was conducted under the command of Rear Admiral Thomas Fomich Mekenzi. And although by the time the fortifications and barracks on the shores of the bay have already been, it is him who should be considered the founder of the city. And on February 23 Catherine, by her order, named the new fortress Sevastopol.
Suvorov was a freemason.
This myth is based on the protocol of the meeting of one German box. Records say that the new member was a Russian officer Suvorov. It’s only in the same protocol that his rank is given – the lieutenant. And at that time Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov was already a colonel. Masons had no benefit to play down the rank of their newest member. Alexander Vasilyevich himself was a man of traditional views, professed Orthodoxy and did not want to participate in mysterious underground organizations. So that the Masons entered a forgotten by all the namesake of the general.
Suvorov came up with field kitchens.
It’s no secret that the rapid movement of troops was Suvorov’s trump card. Earlier in the campaign, the army made long halts for food. Each soldier was preparing for himself, cleaning up. Suvorov solved the problem – equipping horse carriages with cooks and food. They went ahead, and by the time the main forces arrived they were ready to give out food. This allowed to reduce the transition time, give soldiers a full meal or extra time for rest. So the appearance of field kitchens the army really owes to Suvorov.
Suvorov had all the Russian orders.
According to the medal statutes of the time it could not be. It is correct to say that the commander had all the highest degrees of Russian orders of his time.In the Russian Empire, the rule was that according to which the reward was made strictly in terms of degrees, from the youngest to the oldest. If the chevalier had an order of the highest degree, this meant the previous awarding of younger degrees. But in the case of Suvorov there were exceptions. So, in July 1783, for the annexation of the Kuban peoples Suvorov received the Order of St. Vladimir immediately first degree. The mission was important, but in the virtual collection of orders of junior degrees this award was not. Suvorov was generally a gentleman of the highest degrees of six of the seven Russian orders. Saint Catherine was presented exclusively to the court ladies.