« AnteriorContinuar »
NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE.
THE MILITARY RESOURCES OF RUSSIA. PETER THE GREAT had only one boat as a nucleus for a fleet, which, at the time we write, consists of forty-five ships of the line and thirty frigates. The same creative genius had only one company of regular soldiers—the Potiaschni—who mounted guard at the palaces of Moscow, as a nucleus for the enormous army of Russia as it has since grown up. But while Napoleon adopted as a device “ After me the deluge,” Peter laboured avowedly for posterity. Hence the ever increasing power of Russia ; everything is done with a view not so much to the present as to the future. Russia does not raise a militia because a warlike cloud overhangs a neighbouring country; Russia does not extend and diminish her military resources according to the political aspect of Europe. From her eyrie in the Neva she has to watch over Europe, Asia, and part of America. Chinese, Tartars, Persians, Turks, are as much to her as Germans, French, and English. Her army is ever increasing in numbers, and her power is ever developing itself further and further in the acquisition of new territories, the colonisation of old, the subjugation of populations, and above all, as Mr. David Urquhart explains at length in his work on the " Progress of Russia,” by opening the sources of opinion, and appropriating the channels of wealth and power. * Long and not uninteresting would be the chapter we could devote to the latter subject; perchance we may have an opportunity of doing so yet.
What a development, then, has the kernel sown by the boatman of Saardam assumed! It has produced a tree, which now spreads its branches over three continents. Who will venture to lop off one of those branches ? The Turks are prepared to try: it will be soon seen with what little chance of success. Peter the Great had, before founding the old guard, to disembarrass himself of a feudal army of irregulars, strongly imbued with the military manners of Asia, and gathered around a small body of permanent troops—the redoubtable Strelitz--the Prætorians of Russia. An act of decisive energy, such as was afterwards put in force by Muhammad Ali against the Mamluks, and by Mahmud against the Janissaries, carried into execution in the midst of one of the most difficult wars Russia had till that time been engaged in, rid him for ever of this arrogant and domineering soldiery. The very successes of Charles XII. of Sweden served to instruct Peter and to aggrandise the army. Even disasters with such a nation only turned to the profit of their patron deity, Ruski-Bog ; and in nine years' time they were prepared to take their revenge at Pultava for their defeat at Narva.
After the death of Peter and of his great general, Gordon, the Russian * Progress of Russia in the West, North, and South, &c. By David Urquhart. Trübner and Co.
Oct.-VOL. XCIX. NO. CCCXCIV.
of Russia. army found in Keith, Munich, and. Mentschikoff, men equal to the task of continuing the work of the great founder. But even in the time of Frederick the Great, the Russian army, with its vasť bodies of Cos sacks Moving around the regular troops, was"still looked upon as some thing like those great Asiatic hordes which, from the time of Xerxes, had ever been more formidable to the people among whom they moved, than to the trained bands of more civilised hations.ed The battle of Zorndorf first showed the conqueror of Rossbach and of Leuthen which of his enemies were the most formidable on the field of battle. Keith wrote to Frederick 16 To conquer the Russians, you must make a breach, and then demolish them as you would a fortress,990 The reputation" for an almost invincible obstinacy has ever since remained to the Russians, and that reputation was only increased by the great defensive battles fought against Napoleon, Suwaroff has, however, shown that the Russians are also capable of taking the offensive. The assaults of Ismail, of Praga, and of Urnerloch, as well as in the lines of Warsaw, and the march across Switzerland, sufficiently attest What can be done with Russian troops under a good general. air of bbA .0909etod ISID 99TII to mo'lbsupa FI
I No trouble, no expense, have been spared since the great wars of Europe to strengthen and discipline the army of Russia. For twentyfive years has the present energetic and soldier-like emperor toiled at that great object. Even the expedition into Hungary taught the Russians that some little modifications might be introduced into their system with advantage, and they were at once adopted. The Russian army is now, in consequence, in point of number, organisation, and instruction, a totally different force to what it was in the time of the great wars. Nor in any other country of Europe have the military forces increased since the have remained the same, while the efficacy in orgamisation and science has become quite a different thing to anorgar o bas tout Joot OG 29 The Russian army is, in the present day, composed of fregular troops troops, that mainly constitute the light cavalry." The regular army is disposed according to the geographical and political necessities of so vast an empire. This is one of the most important points in the organisation of the Russian army, and it is the more interesting to the stranger, as it is the one to which the existing emperor has most particularly devoted his attention. "Every regiment is divided into battalions, or squadrons, on active service, and form part of an organised corps d'armée (Deistvouiouschtschiia), and of battalions of reserve (Sapasntia), or dépôts_ a gather ing-point alike for veterans and for young recruits. Other troops, belonging to the local garrisons, or to the irregular militia, are also attached to the great corps d'armée. énorberpa 801 pastor to etoiletted 808 2 Every corps d'armée is completely organised, has its own staff, engre neers, artillery, and waggon-train. It is composed, with the exception of the guard, which constitutes a corps of itself, of a corps of grenadiers, of six corps of infantry, and of two corps of cavalry of reserve. A corps so-called of infantry, "corresponds to what Napoleon understood by a corps d'armée, that is to say, it is a corps composed of troops of all arms, but of which the infantry constitute the major part. The corps of cavalry in reserve is composed of cavalry and of horse artillery it The second of these corps is peculiar to Russia. It is composed of dragoons, which are
% 0,233114 I will
Military Resources of Russia. dent ant of loupe gom listop)109pbgsboiull. Som ni beint is called upon to perform the service of infantry, of cavalry, and of artillery at the same time. By means of this peculiar corps, it is in the power of the commander to direct, with the utmost despatch, eight battalions of 600 men each, with 48. guns, upon the most distant points. The corps of the guard, and that of the grenadiers, is composed of picked men, and comprise the same number of battalions. tot tot, lb. air lo general the army is disposed as follows: Four corps of infantry, under Prince Paskiewitsch, in Russian Poland, commonly called the Polish army : the 5th corps of infantry, on the Black Sea; the 6th corps, at Moscow, ready to reinforce the Polish or the Black Sea army; the corps of the guard and that of the grenadiers, stationed at St. Petersburg and at Norgorod, the cavalry in reserve is stationed chiefly in the military colonies of Kherson and of Kharkoff, I musl m
The guard comprises 3 divisions of infantry, subdivided again into 6 brigades, 12 regiments, and 37 battalions; 3 divisions of cavalry, composed of 6 brigades, and 12 regiments, with 60. squadrons of regular, and 171 squadrons of irregular horsemen. Add to this 1 division of artillery, of 5. brigades, and 152 batteries, 44 guns horse artillery, 72 foot artillery, 1 battalion of sappers and miners, and 2 squadrons of horse engineers, with pontoons, &e. The infantry of the grenadier corps is the same, but it has only 1 division of cavalry, of 2 brigades, or 4 regiments, comprising 32 squadrons of regular cavalry ; also 4 brigades of artillery, with 14 batteries, and 88 guns; and i battalion of sappers.
I Each infantry, corps, or more properly speaking, each corps d'armée, comprises 18 divisions of infantry, 36 brigades, 72 regiments, and 294 battalions ; 6 divisions of cavalry, 12 brigades, 24 regiments, and 192 squadrons of regular horsemen. To these are attached 6 divisions of artillery, comprising 24 brigades, and 84 batteries, 96 mounted guns, 576 foot artillery, and 6 regiments of sappers. *
The 1st corps of cavalry, in reserve comprises 3 divisions of 6 brigades, 12 regiments, and 80 squadrons, with 1 division of artillery, comprising 6 batteries, and 48 guns. The 2nd corps of cavalry in reserve -- the hybrid mounted infantry—and dragoon artillery, is composed of 2 divisions, A brigades, 8 regiments, and 80 squadrons, with 6 batteries, and 48 guns. The division of light cavalry is also subdivided into 2 brigades, 4 regiments, and 24 squadrons, with 3 batteries, and 24 guns. Ho Total Russian force: 24 divisions, 48 brigades, 96 regiments, 368 battalions of infantry; 16 divisions, 32 brigades, 64 regiments, 468 squadrons regular, and 177 irregular cavalry. Artillery: 11 divisions, 33 brigades, 1281 batteries, 276 horse, 720 foot, or 996 guns.
It would resuit from this, that Russia can employ in an European war 368 battalions of infantry, 468 squadrons of cavalry, and 996 guns, without the reserve, the local garrisons, or the army of the Caucasus being in any way reduced. These troops, therefore, comprise neither veterans nor recruits.
What is much more difficult to determine satisfactorily, is the numerical force of these divisions. Some writers go to an extreme in one direction when they say, “ The Russian army only exists on paper." Others, as our present authority, the Baron Auguste de Haxthausen, with strong imperial tendencies, may be considered as unsafe in an opposite direction. These tendencies are made pretty manifest when we read such a passage as this : “ Napoleon's saying upon the future of Europe, fifty years hence (of which less than thirty remain to be accomplished), produces the greater effect, from every one attributing to that extraordinary man the faculty of being able to give, on such matters, not only a mere competent opinion, but a positive prophecy. Thus, then, Europe will be delivered over to democracy or the Cossacks. Now, since the Republican system is in manifest decline, are we not brought to think that we are likely to see the second half of this oracle realised !"
* When we read, then, that since the rejection of the Vienna note the third corps of the Russian army, under General Osten-Sacken, has received orders to march on the principalities, the reader will be able to understand that no less than 72 regiments of infantry, 24 of cavalry, with 96 guns, are meant,
The Baron de Haxthausen, then, allowing for deductions, non-combatants, superior officers, waggon-train, musicians, &c., estimates the Russian infantry at 383,600 men; if leave of absence was in operation, at 332,100 men; or, including deaths, desertion, &c., at 260,000; and the cavalry at 82,800 men, or, with losses as before allowed, at 70,000.
Thus at the present moment Russia can bring into active operation a force of 380,000 infantry, 87,000 cavalry, and more than 1000 guns, without reckoning 100,000 Landwehr raised since 1848. Adding the Cossacks, Russia can, in the eventuality of an European war, operate without its own territory with 500,000 men without laying itself open to Great Britain, to Sweden, or to the Caucasus.
Taking the system of reserve into consideration, the official statement would be as follows :
Active army................ 486,000 men, with 996 guns
699,000 „ „ 1468 , to which must be added the corps of engineers, waggon-train, and the light irregular cavalry.
But while in other countries the troops destined to form the active army are employed in times of peace in services that are performed in time of war by militias or national guards, these services are performed in Russia by a special army of regular troops. Thus we have in addition to the troops already enumerated 50 battalions of interior guard, 12 battalions of Finnish troops, 10 battalions of Orenbourg troops, and 15 battalions of Siberian troops. To this, again, must be added the army of the Caucasus, which comprises 55 battalions of infantry, 10 squadrons of cavalry, and 180 guns. Lastly, we have 26,000 reserve, 22,000 veterans, 13,800 invalids, 40,000 employed in works; total, 299,800 men. If to these we add 15,000 for the reserve of the line, we have a total of 315,000 men.
We have before seen that the active army presented a grand total of 699,000 men ; if, then, we add to this the other reserves, including the Cossacks, the Russian army could be made, from the organisation conferred upon it by the Emperor Nicholas, to furnish in case of a great war ONE MILLION of combatants, with 1800 guns ready harnessed! This is said to be the estimate of a Prussian officer of great experience
* Les Forces Militaires de la Russie, sous les Rapports Historiques, Statistiques, Ethnographiques, et Politiques. Par le Baron Auguste de Haxthausen.
on the point in question, as well as that of the Baron Auguste de Haxthausen.
The esprit de corps, necessary in all armies, is kept up in this vast assemblage of armed men--the largest the world ever yet saw by giving to the regiments the names of successful chiefs and emperors, or, as with us, of the towns or provinces where they were chiefly recruited. To this is superadded a system of numbering, which facilitates the classification of the regiments. This system is so perfect, and the mechanism more especially of brigading troops-is throughout so simple, that, if well and effectually carried out in active operations, if the springs work well, and nothing encumbers the wheels or impedes the harmonious working of every detail into a perfect whole, this enormous machine only wants the slightest impulse from a skilful hand to work with unexampled force and rapidity.
Much has been said against the Russian system of upholding the integrity of this vast force, by making the children of soldiers soldiers by birth. But the system has at least this advantage, that it encourages soldiers to marriage ; and what English or French soldier would not be glad to marry if he knew that his children would be educated and provided for by the state, as in Russia ? Haxthausen, a German, says, how many German soldiers are incapacitated by bad disorders, how many seductions and illegitimate children have their origin in the prohibition of marriage! “Proud inhabitants of the West,” he exclaims, “you, who pride yourselves that your civilised government does not, like Russia, treat soldiers and their children as a property, like so many cattle or sheep, go to some seaport of that free England and listen when an English regiment is embarking for the colonies to the lamentations of the miserable beings who have been honest enough to marry. See that woman and her children left on the shore a prey to the most grievous despair.” It is not separation only that causes such excessive grief. There is no provision for her or for her children, and her husband and her children's protector is taken away from her. In Russia, where soldiers' children are the property of the state, so also is the married woman and her offspring tenderly cared for. All the corps have their fixed stations, and even furniture for the married. In barracks alone the beds of married couples are simply marked off by green curtains. In the military colonies they have their private habitations. The children are brought up by subsidies given to the parents, or, if the latter wish it, by government. According to the invariable Russian rule of classifying everything, there are 25 battalions and 20 squadrons, with five batteries of wooden guns, of these children of the state.
The Russian army, it will be readily understood, is made up of very heterogeneous materials, the aptitude of which, for military service, differs considerably. Thus, the officering of the army is mainly in the hands of Germans and Great Russians. The Muscovites, known by the latter designation, have much aptitude for infantry tactics, but they are brutalised by frequent corporeal punishment. The White Russians, when subjected to the regular life and diet of a soldier, become too fat. The Lettonians are a cowardly race, who, after a time, affect the Frenchified airs of a Russian soldier. The Sarmatians, Little Russians, Tartars, and Cossacks, on the other hand, all take delight in war-the greater part as