MILITARY HISTORY OF RUSSIA
This bibliography is divided into two sections. The first section
contains all the sources I have been able to examine to date. For each entry I
have written a brief description and evaluation which, it is hoped, will be of
some value and interest to the reader.
The second section is a list of sources I have been unable to obtain, but which
I have reason to believe would be valuable sources of information on the topic
of this report. Of these I have noted with an asterisk (*) that these are most
Agrenich, A. A. Ot Kamny do Sovremennogo Snaryada (From Rocks to
Contemporary Shells), Moscow: Military Publishing House, 1954.
The first chapter is a very interesting survey of ancient and
medieval siege engines and other missile firing weapons. It is well illustrated
with typical pictures of such machines. One value of the chapter is the Russian
terminology one can obtain from it. The rest of the book contains a well
written account of the development of artillery missiles, cannon balls,
canister, shrapnel, bombs, grenades and modern high explosive shells. The era
of Peter the Great is discussed particularly well. Again, the correct Russian
terminology for already well known types of shells is worth the reader's
attention to this book.
Akademiku Borisu Dmitreivichu Grekovu ko Dnu Semidesyatiletiya
Sbornik Statei., Moscow: Publishing House Academy of Science,
This collection of articles in honor of Professor Grekov's 70th
birthday contains an extremely wide range of articles, reflecting his academic
interests. A number are on ancient Russia and somewhat esoteric problems
relating to its history. There are several articles on peasant uprisings and
military actions taken to suppress them from 1030's to 1850's.
Allen W. E. D. and Muratoff, Paul. Caucasian Battlefield.
Cambridge University Press, 1953.
By using both Russian and Turkish sources, the authors have written
an unusually detailed and evenly presented account of the campaigns in the
Caucasus from 1823 to 1917. This is a model for the historian who desires to
give the full story of any military campaign.
Alston, Patrick. Education and the State in Tsarist Russia.
Stanford University Press, 1969.
The major part of this book deals with the latter 19th and early
20th century. However, the author gives a brief account of education under
Peter I and his successors. He indicates that Peter and other state officials
realized the crucial importance of education for the success of their own
reforms, especially military ones, and acted accordingly to bring the state
influence to bear on educational policy. He remarks that The
battle-tested Army became the primary agency 0f social stability and individual
advancement under Peter I.
Anderson, Matthew S. Britain's Discovery of Russia, 1553-1815.
London: Macmillan and Company, 1958.
The author uses a vast quantity and variety of original sources
such as diaries, newspapers, books, state papers, letters and treaties to show
the British opinion of Russia from the discovery of the White Sea route to the
era of the Napoleonic Wars. Since much of the British interest was in Russia's
military forces or in the international political complications occasioned by
their appearance on the European scene, this book contains quite a bit of
information on the Russian Army and Navy. The author is careful to distinguish
between reality and the British image of Russia that is his subject. The many
contemporary evaluations of Russian military strength, even when in error,
reflect the fundamental truth, which beclouded the fine details, that the
Russian military machine was becoming more and more a significant factor in
European politics. The sources are cited in extensive footnotes but there is no
Andreev, A. I., ed. Petr Velikii (Peter the Great). Moscow:
Academy of Science, USSR, 1947.
The most interesting and useful article in this collection is by P.
P. Epifanov, The Military Regulations of Peter the Great. The
author discusses the subject objectively. He shows the foreign influence as
well as the Russian basis for the new regulations published by Peter I. The
article supplements other articles by the same author listed elsewhere in this
All the other articles are interesting also, but they pertain to a
variety of non-military topics. Two articles are bibliographical studies, one
by B. B. Kafengaus on Russian studies of Peter and one by C. A. Fagina on
foreign literature about Peter. There are articles on the creation of the
Academy of Science, manufacturing industries, diplomacy, and two very good
articles on the Great Embassy of Peter in 1697-98.
Andrzejewski, Stanislaw. Military Organization and Society.
London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1954.
This is a book which must be read, studied and then reread whenever
one is working in one of the topics covered in it. Professor Andrzejewski
combines sociological theories of the purest kind with historical data to
create a work truly indispensable to an understanding of the role of war in
social history. He provides an excellent bibliography, which, however, does not
contain any books on Russian military history because, as he says, there are
none in West ern languages. The book is nevertheless full of citations to
Russian history for examples of various types of military organizations and the
effects of war. One of his generalizations is the more frequent and
serious are the wars in which a political unit is engaged the more monocratic
will be the form of its government for which he cites the evidence of the
Muscovite Tsardom, the most despotic regime in Europe and the one most engaged
It is my intention to make the theoretical formulations in this
book the basis for my analysis of the interrelationships between war and
society in Russia which will form the final section of my paper.
Babyshkina, G. K. Mezhdunarodnoe Znachenie Krimakikh
Pokhodov, 1687 and 1689 (The International Significance of the Crimean
Campaigns of 1687 and 1689), Istoricheskie Zapiski, XXXIII (1950), pp.
This article does not contain much information on the military
aspects of the campaigns themselves, but it does indicate their strategic
significance in the total European setting.
Bain, R. Nisbet. Daughter of Peter the Great. New York:
This book presents a well balanced account of the reign of
Elizabeth Petrovna. The author relies mostly on Soloviev's history but also
uses several eye witness accounts of the Seven Year War. There is little social
or economic history in this book, only political. It is useful for the general
accounts of the campaigns in the Seven Years War and for the picture of the
behind-the--scene struggle at court in which the generals played their
___________ The First Romanovs. London: 1905.
This is a general, popular style account of the reigns of Michael,
Alexis, Feodor and Peter I. There are accounts of the major military campaigns,
particularly in the Northern War, but numerous discrepancies in dates appear
when one compares this book with other sources.
_________ Peter III Emperor of Russia. London: Constable,
This is a judicious attempt to present Peter III in an objective
way. The author discounts the more sensational accounts of Catherine's
apologists but does not agree with Peter's supporters either. He judges that
Peter would have made a decent country squire but could never have ruled an
The book contains some information on Peter's private military establishment of
Holstein guards and some information on his projected campaign against
Barbour, Philip L. Dimitri Called the Pretender Tsar and Great
Prince of all Russia. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966.
This book contains a popular account of the romantic tale of the
self proclaimed son of Ivan IV who raised an army in the Ukraine and Poland and
succeeded in having himself crowned Tsar of Russia. The book also contains
descriptions of the battles fought during Dimitri's success ful campaigns.
Especially interesting are the descriptions of his military reform and training
methods undertaken during his brief reign.
Barnard, Henry. Military Schools and Courses of instruction in
the Science and Art of War. New York: 1672 (reprint edition, New York:
Greenwood Press, 1969).
This is an extremely detailed and comprehensive study of the
military educational systems in use in Europe and the United States in the
1660's. Thus, the section on France numbers 275 pages, that for Austria is 55
pages and Russia, 10 pages. The section on Russia is devoted mainly to the
Imperial Staff School in St. Petersburg. Even with this limitation, the book is
useful for the general picture it gives of education for Army officers in the
pre-reform era, and for the comparisons one can make by reading the sections
devoted to other countries.
Beloff, Max. Russian Nobility in the anthology entitled
The European Nobility in the Eighteenth Century by A. Goodwin, New York:
A & C slack, 1953.
In this short article the author gives only the briefest comments
on the connection between the nobility and their theoretically primary life
work, military service. He draws attention to a number of peculiarities of the
Russian nobility in comparison with West Europe, such as the lack of respect
for noble birth as such and absence of the practice of primogeniture.
He notes that the officers returning from service in Germany in the Seven Year
War had developed a changed outlook toward society and politics. This same
change is more well known in relation to the officers who returned after
similar service in the Napoleonic Wars.
He notes the military impetus behind education and considers that the
beginnings of the intelligentsia are found in the class of educated officers.
He also notes Catherine II's desire to free the monarchy from the influence and
danger of the nobility and place the support of the autocracy on a bureaucratic
foundation rather than a noble class. The class spirit of the nobility was
increasing in 1767 and found expression in military service. Hence, the
abolishment of compulsory state service was as much a move to secure the throne
as a favor for the nobility. It could be expected that the more dissatisfied
types inclined to radical politics in the military service would retire to
their estates and become apolitical if given the chance.
Beskrovnii, L. G., ed. Polkovodets Kutuzov--Sbornik Statei
(Kutuzov, Military Commander--A Collection of Articles). Moscow: State
Publishing House, 1955.
Perhaps the most important article in this collection is the one by
G. V. Bogdanov. and E. P. Voronin on the archival material pertaining to
Kutuzov. The authors have assembled an impressive list 0f separate archives
which possess material on Kutuzov.
Professor Klokman who has written extensively on the period of the
Russo-Turkish wars of the 1770's and 80's, provides an article showing
Kutuzov's service in these wars and his military education under Rumyantsev and
Suvorov. Professor Beskrovnii, who relentlessly relates everything to its
economic basis, affirms that the development of Russian military art under
Kutuzov was an outgrowth of the industrial and other economic developments
which took place in the 18th Century. N. I. Kazakov gives some less well known
information on Kutuzov's activities in the RussoTurkish war of 1806-1812.
Professor Beskrovnii himself contributes an article on one of his specialties,
the Russian counter-attack following Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812.
Other articles emphasize other aspects of Kutuzov's career, such as his role as
a military theoretician. The reader will not only learn quite a bit about
Kutuzov, but also will receive a full course in Marxist military historical
Beskrovnii, L. G. Review of Polkovoe Uchrezhdenie by A. B.
Suvorov, Moscow: Ministry of Defense, 1949, in Voprosy Istorii, II
Professor Beskrovnli rightly hails the publication of this
interesting work of Suvorov's, only found in manuscript in 1938. The work is in
six chapters, each relating to aspects of field formations, guard and interior
service. This manual was written by Suvorov as a guide for his Suzdal regiment
while he was serving as regimental commander in 1764. The book reveals much of
Suvorov's method of training and his opinions on what was most important in the
success of military operations on the unit level. It shows that he preferred a
more humane discipline to the excessively brutal methods employed by most of
__________ Poltava: K 250 Letiv Poltavakogo Srazheniya
Sborñik Statei (Poltava: For the 250th Anniversary of the Poltava
Battle, a collection of articles). Moscow: Akademiya Nauk. 1959.
This book contains a collection of interesting articles on a wide
range of topics related to the battle. The most valuable articles are on the
following topics: Strategy and Tactics of the Russian Army,
Artillery at Poltava, The Military Council, 1708-09 and
Military Prikaz. Relations with France, Poland and Turkey, internal
political and economic developments, topographic maps, printed sources' and
mementos now in Soviet museums all also receive extensive treatment. The
introduction is a bibliographic study of the battle.
__________ Production of Armaments and Ammunition in
Russian Factories in the First Half of the 18th Century, Istoricheskie
Zapiski, XXXVI (1951).
This article contains much more information than the title
indicates. In order to contrast it with the production of armament during the
reign of Peter, the author gives a complete picture of arms production in 17th
Century Russia. He has a complicated task because, while showing that the
Russian armaments industry was of a poor quality and insufficient to the
country's needs, he also wants to take every opportunity to show that Russia
was superior to the West. Thus we read, It is necessary to emphasize,
that in Russia despite the weak production base, already at the beginning of
the 17th Century they produced flintlocks while at the same time in the West up
to the 80's of the 17th Century they made matchlocks. One has to stop and
think to see the cleverness of this wording. Beskrovnii wants to make the
impression that Russia was superior, without telling any outright falsehoods.
Thus he says they made flintlocks in Russia in the early 1600's and matchlocks
in the West in the late 1600's. What he does not say is that they also made
flintlocks in the West before 1600, or that in the late 1600's the Russian army
still used many matchlocks. Naturally, the conversion from matchlocks to
flintlocks proceeded gradually in both Western Europe and Russia, so there was
a long period of overlap in which both weapons were used.
Similarly, he mentions early experimental breech loading weapons in Russia and
asserts that breech loaders were made in the West only by Krupp in the 19th
Century, completely ignoring experimental breech loaders made in Italy in the
These points illustrate the problem one has when treating Soviet authors as
historical sources. No doubt the article is full of correct and well presented
information on the date, time, place and people responsible for the
introduction of new weapons and their production, but one must be careful when
using the conclusions Soviet writers draw from their data.
In this article, the author gives a wealth of material on both the
manufacture and the import of arms and ammunition by Russia in the 17th
Century. He then proceeds to the main part of the article, which is an even
more detailed study of production of arms and ammunition in the first half of
the 18th Century. The author provides maps and tables of date which help make
the picture clear. There is no doubt that under Peter's direction, the Russians
made tremendous advances not only in armaments production, but also in the
whole field of metallurgy which provides the basis for armaments. The maps show
the main centers of production in the central Urals near Ekatarinburg, along
the Kama river, between Ryazan and Tambov, between Moscow and Tula, around
Olenets, near Lipetsk and near Bryansk.
In the early 1740-1760 period the Russians invented a new arti11ery weapon, the
famous Shuvalov howitzer. This weapon was tested in Vienna by Russia's allies,
Austria and France. The father of modern French artillery, Gribeauval, studied
the weapon and used some of the test data in his work modernizing French
artillery. The author explains all of this and more.
Once again we are confronted with a problem due to the propensity of Soviet
authors to exaggerate. If what Beskrovnii says is true, it is a very
interesting point, but can we be sure? When I was at the Military Museum in
Vienna, the curator showed me Austrian records of this same test and his
opinion was that the Austrians did not think too much of the Shuvalov howitzer.
This is a subject worth pursuing further, both for the interest the topic
itself has and as a check on the veracity of Soviet authors.
_________ Review of The People's War in the Ukraine against the
Swedish Invaders in 1708-09, by V. Shutoi, Kiev: 1951, Voprosy Istorii,
V (1952), pp. 117-119.
The reviewer finds little wrong with the author's views on the
peasant war of the Ukrainian people against Charles XII. He corrects some minor
points on the nature of the Russian army of the l7th-l8th Centuries. He agrees
with the author's emphasis on the fact that the war was not only an external
war against the foreign invaders, but also a class war against Mazeppa and the
wealthy Cossack leaders. This was an important factor in preventing Mazeppa
from obtaining more support among the Cossacks.
Then Beskrovnii makes a very interesting observation. He notes that the author
characterized the war as progressive from Russia's point of view,
but failed to declare it was also just. Beskrovnii says this is a
mistake because all progressive wars are by nature just.
__________ Russkaya Armiya i Flot V XVIII Veke (The Russian Army
and Navy in the 18th Century). Moscow: Military Publishing House, Ministry
of Defense, USSR, 1956.
This must be considered the authoritative Soviet work on the
subject written as it is by the dean of Soviet military historians. Professor
Beskrovnii divides the century in two equal halves and then treats each half
under four major headings: the staffing, organization and direction of armed
forces, material-technical base for the army and navy, combat preparation of
the army and navy, and development of military art in the wars of each half
century. The author emphasizes the close connection between military art and
economic-social conditions. Military developments both are dependents on
industrial- technical and other economic aspects of society and influence their
development in turn.
This book ought to be translated and published in English for the insight it
gives into Soviet military-historical thinking as well as for the information
it gives on the subject.
As usual, the author includes in his introduction a detailed bibliographical
study in which he evaluates the contributions of many authors (I don't know how
close to being complete this is)beginning already in the 18th Century. This is
obviously an outstanding source of information for developing further source
material. However, as is common with Soviet books of this type, it does not
contain a bib liography. Frequent citations are made to the sources using
footnotes in the text, but this is not a substitute for a much needed list of
the archival and other unpublished sources used by the author.
___________ Review of Semiletnyaya Voina-Materiali o Deistviyakh
Russkoi Armii i Flota v 1756-1762, N. M. Korobkov, ed., Voprosy
Istorii, V (1949).
Professor Beskrovnii finds this book to be a valuable addition to
published material on Russia's wars and suggests that the archivists publish
similar works containing documents on Russia's other wars. We could not agree
more with this opinion. He also notes several shortcomings, mainly in the
absence of material he feels would have improved the book's usefulness. He
cites particularly the absence of enough documents to prove the priority and
value of the Russian invention of the Shuvelov howitzer. This weapon was a
secret weapon introduced by the Russians in the Seven-Years
War. It was tested also by Russia's allies, Austria and France, and from this
Professor Beskrovnii deduces that Gribeauval, the famous French artillerist,
obtained his new artillery system from the Russians. There is much material on
this, including drawings and test data, preserved in the Military Museum in
Vienna. According to the archivist there, when I discussed this weapon with him
last year (1970), the weapon was not too successful and failed to impress the
Austrians at the time of the trials.
__________ ed. Stranitsi Voevogo Proshlogo (Pages of the
Military Past). Moscow: Nauka Publishing House, 1968.
This collection includes articles on military history from the 13th
Century to World War I. Each article is on a different war or era; thusly,
The Struggle of the People of our Country for Independence in the
l3th-l5th Centuries, The Struggle of the Russian People with the
Polish-Swedish Interventionists at the Beginning 17th Century, Minin and
Pozharskii, The War of Liberation of the Ukrainian and BeloRussian
People in the Middle 17th Century against Foreign Oppression. Unification with
Russia, Northern War 1700-1721. The Struggle of Russia for an
Outlet to the Baltic Sea and the Return of Russian Lands in the Baltic
Area, The Seven Years War 1756-63, The Struggle of
Russia with Turkey for the Northern Black Sea Coast and Crimea in the Second
Half of the 18th Century, The Struggle of Russia with France at the
end of the 18th-Beginning of the 19th Century, The Fatherland War
of 1812, The Crimean War of 1853- 56, The
Russian-Turkish War of 1877-78 and The First World War
These are all typical Marxist and Great Russian inspired articles. They are
narrative accounts of the respective wars containing little new information.
The strength of the Russians generally seems lower than it really was, and the
opponent's strength is usually overestimated.
The first two articles are necessarily quite general, surveying as
they do, long periods. The Struggle for Independence in the 13th- l5th
Centuries is mostly an account of the Mongol invasion and the Teutonic
Knights' campaign with little said of the Russian activities in the 15th
Century, no doubt because they wouldn't make such good reading. The Northern
War is treated at length and well, but it is amusing to see how Professor
Klokman jumps right over the Pruth Campaign; again, it wouldn't make such good
reading. As usual, the Swedes are accused of every crime imaginable but nothing
is said of the Russian-Tatar-Kalmuk atrocities.
The Seven Years War is given only a very brief article. It is typical
that the Russo-Turkish wars of the 1730's are completely ignored; for one
thing, they were unsuccessful, and for another, they were conducted under the
regime of the German government officials who ruled during Anna's reign. The
Russo-Turkish wars of the years 1760- 1790 receive full attention. Even more
space is devoted to the later wars (19th and 20th Centuries), There is no
bibliography. There are no maps. But this is the only one-volume military
history that treats this wide range of military operations. Therefore, the book
does serve as a useful introduction to the major part of Russian military
__________ The Victory at Poltava (The Poltava
Victory), Voprosy Istorii, XII (December, 1959), pp.
This is a brief article churned out for the occasion of the 250th
anniversary of Poltava. Some of the footnotes are useful as leads to further
bibliographical material, but otherwise the article is not significant. It is
more propagandistic than average for Professor Beskrovnii. He does not give an
overly detailed account of the battle itself, but spends most of his time
giving opinions and evaluations of the battle's significance and role in
Russian history. Thus, we read that Poltava victory showed, finally, that
Russian military art surpassed the Swedish. He emphasizes the just nature
of the war from the Russian viewpoint and its historical necessity.
There are a number of interesting details worth reading this article to find,
such as the number of Kalmuk present at Poltava (3,500 out of 40,000 they had
available). The account of the battle, brief as it is, differs in some details
from other accounts. He tries to build up the number of Swedes participating in
the battle to make the army look more formidable, but these figures do not
correspond to the data he gives at the end of the battle in accounting for the
Swedish dead, captured and escaped.
__________ed. Borodino-Documents, Letters, Memoirs. Moscow:
Publishing House, Soviet Russia, 1962.
The selection of documents in this book includes the complete
casualty figures by unit for the battle, and two strength reports, prior to the
battle, of the Russian army by corps. There are several fine illustrations and
photos of battle maps. This volume will serve as a fine comparison to Professor
Beskrovnii's books on the War of 1612 and on Kutuzov. Each document is fully
identified as to location In the archives, previous publication, if any, and
__________ M. I. Kutuzov--Sbornik Dokumentov. Five Vols.
Moscow: Military Publishing House, Ministry of Defense, USSR,
Although only three of the five volumes of this monumental work are
so far available, it is evident from a rapid scanning of them that it will take
months if not years to properly use this source. In each volume the Soviet
editors have collected hundreds of documents, all in chronological order,
organized in chapters by topics. The tables of organization, reports about
armaments, organization, recruiting and hundreds of other subjects give a full
picture of the Russian army of the period as well as Count Kutuzov's role in
it. Volume V contains a bibliography over 70 pages long. Certainly no study of
the Napoleonic confrontations with Russia can be complete without using this
___________ Military Schools in Russia in the First Half
of the 18th Century, Istoricheskie Zapiski, XLII (1953).
The subject of this article is really the whole issue of obtaining
and training officers for the Russian armed forces; the military schools were
only one means of achieving a higher caliber officer corps. The author begins
with the 17th Century army, showing that there was no attention paid to the
education or training of officers at that time. The individuals in command
received their posts due to family rank and background rather than to
capability. Most commanding officer positions were temporary posts
rather than permanent ranks of individuals anyway, as the army was disbanded
after the campaign.
The new style army required trained officers who were obtained from
Western Europe. The author accuses pre-revolutionary historians of giving undue
credit to the foreign officers in helping create the new Russian army. He
rightly cites the reports which complained of the many shortcomings the
foreigners showed in 1700. But he is convincing in view of the fact that Peter
continued to call for foreign officers, for instance in 1702. In playing down
foreign influence it seems the author only considers as a foreigner
someone who came from abroad, in response to the advertisements, seeking
employment in the government service, and not the many non-Russians who were
born in Russia or lived there a long time. Also, by converting the terms of
discussion from foreign influence to influence of
foreigners he is able to disregard the many Russians who were sent abroad
to study and who certainly brought foreign influence into Russia in ways no
foreign officer ever could.
Professor Beskrovnii gives a very detailed description of the military and
naval schools, their student body, and course of instruction. He provides
information on the officer corps during the 1730-1750 era not usually discussed
in detail in Russian military histories. For instance, during the period of
German influence which characterized the reign of the Empress Anna, the foreign
officers devised a scheme for their own rapid promotion. At that time the
officer was promoted one rank upon his retirement. So the Germans would retire,
be promoted, then come back on active duty in the higher rank, then retire
again and repeat the process. When the Russians' protests became loud enough
for the Empress to hear, she ordered a stop to this scheme. As usual, the
author provides full citations to a wide variety of archival and published
sources, but no bibliography.
__________ Otechestvennaya Voina, 1812. (The Fatherland War of
1812). Moscow: Publishing House of Social-Economic Literature,
The subject of this book is outside the present limits of my
interest (1450-1800) but it is listed here to bring it to the attention of
readers who may be interested in the War of 1812 in Russia. The text is well
done with excellent maps. As usual, there is no bibliography, but at least
there are some footnotes. Professor Beskrovnii is undoubtedly the senior
Russian expert on Kutuzov and the Russian participation in the Napoleonic wars
so I am sure his book would be a very valuable means of balancing the French or
German accounts one usually has to work with. That is, if the reader will
remember that Professor Beskrovnii nearly always finds a chance in the
productive forces behind every major development in military science.
__________· Russkaya Voennaya Kniga
(Russian Military Books), Krasnaya Zvezda (26 February
This article honors the 400th anniversary of printing in Russia.
The author explains that the event he is celebrating is the printing on 1 March
1564 of the book Apostol, the first book printed in Russia. Shifting to
military books, Professor Beskrovnii mentions the 1607 printing of Voinskaya
Kniga and the 1621 edition of Ustov Ratnikh, Pushechnikh i Drugikh Del.
One of these was a translation of a German text and the other a compilation
of European manuals. He does not draw attention to the striking difference
represented by these two books (being the output of a century of military
science in Russia) in comparison with the hundreds of military books printed in
Europe during this period. For the 18th Century, all he can think to mention
are the Ustav Voinski of Peter I and the well known works of Rumyantsev
He lists more works in the 19th Century and a few of the 20th. When the reader
reaches the end of the article he sees that the whole piece is written to extol
the leading position of contemporary Soviet military science. What the article
has to do with the 400th anniversary of printing is hard to see. But as an
example of contemporary propaganda, it serves very well.
__________ Velikii Russkii Polkovodets (A
Great Russian Military Leader)., Krasnaya Zvezda (24 November
Professor Beskrovnii celebrates the 225th anniversary of the birth
of Suvorov with this article extolling Suvorov's genius and contemporary
importance as a model for all patriotic Russians. The summary of Suvorov's
strategic and tactical theories and techniques of training troops, is very well
done. He uses a variety of Suvorov's victorious campaigns to illustrate the
Generalissimo's ability. But he indulges in the same misconstruction of Western
military affairs that Professor Klokman and other Soviet writers indulge in, in
order to prove the greatness of the Russians. Because Napoleon used deep
columns instead of the thin line employed by Frederick the Great, the Russian
writers are all desperate to show that Russians used deep columns first, even
if the references they find are to campaigns against the Turks and Tatars.
Suvorov was certainly not the first general to discover the value of a deep
column and square formation for protection against Tatar cavalry. V. Golitsin
and the much maligned Marshal Munnich both employed it and they weren't the
Bibikov, G. N. The Battle of the Russian People's Militia
with the Polish Interventionists,, 22-24 August3 1612 at Moscow,
Istoricheski Zapiskii, XXXII (1950).
In this battle Prince Pozharski and Kuzma Minin led the militia
forces of Russia in the decisive battle which prevented the Polish army from
reaching their compatriots in the Kremlin. The Polish garrison in the Kremlin
was then forced out and The Time of Troubles was soon brought to an
end. Using many quotations from the primary sources, the author gives a much
more detailed account of the battle than is found in Professor Razin's more
general history. The battle is representative of the small unit engagements
which filled this period in Russian history. The reader learns of the armament,
tactics and organization of the various elements which made up the Polish and
Russian armies of this period.
__________ The Experience of the Military Reform of
1609-1610, Istoricheski Zapiskii, XIX (1946).
In this brief article the author carefully limits his topic to the
introduction of Western military techniques in the militia army of Prince
Skopin-Shuisky in 1609-1610. By quoting from contemporary Russian, Swedish and
Polish sources, the author clearly demonstrates the Influence of the most
up-to-date Dutch military practice in the newly formed militia. The adoption of
Dutch infantry tactics produced immediate results which were noticed by
contemporary observers. In Prince Skopin-Shuisky the Russians had a leader and
organizer of unusual ability. Unfortunately for them he was killed in 1610.
With his death the military reform was dropped, despite its success, due to the
opposition of the boyar aristocracy. The author concludes that the
social-economic basis for the new army was not yet established in Russia. He
remarks that the reigns of Michael, Alexis, and Fedor Romanov were required to
create the necessary social conditions which enabled Peter I to fully
reorganize the army.
Blum, Jerome. Lord and Peasant in Russia. New York:
Already a classic in the field of Russian studies, this is social
and economic history at its best. This book gives the background information
essential to an understanding of the military developments in each period of
history. The author devotes considerable attention to the relationships between
military requirements, economic capabilities and political policy. He explains
the shifts from votchina to pomestie and back to votchina.
The bibliography and notes are excellent.
Bobrovskii, P. 0. Perekhod Rossii k Regulyarnoi Armii, (The
Transition of Russia to the Regular Army). St. Petersburg: V. S. Balashev,
The standard pre-revolutionary work on the subject, this book
complements that of Chernov. He notes that the real awakening of Russian
leaders to the superiority of Western military power came during the Time of
Troubles. The new tsar, Michael, began a crash program to modernize his forces;
but, in taking in mercenary teachers and adopting German military regulations
and practice of the 1600-1620 period, they were taking a system that under the
Spanish had dominated Europe previously but was already obsolete due to the
innovations of Gustavus Adolphus' Swedish Army.
The author paints a very dismal picture of the Russian Army in the
last half of the 17th Century as it struggled to adopt the newer techniques but
refused to abandon the old. He gives an excellent explanation of the creation
of the Russian Army by Peter I. According to Bobrovskii, the first attempt in
1699-1700 was on the German model. This army was nearly destroyed at Narva and
its officers were captured. Peter's second attempt in which General Ogilvie
figured prominently was based on the French model and had many new officers,
most from Saxony. However, most foreigners soon left (by 1708) due to the
insults of Menshikov and generally poor treatment. Finally, for the 1709
campaign, Peter adopted the Swedish model for his units.
Bogoyavleshkii, S. K. Vooruzhenie Russkikh Voisk v XVII- XVII
Veka The Armament of the Russian Forces in the 16th and 17th
Centuries), Istoricheski Zapiskii (71).
This is an especially remarkable article because the author
contradicts the vast majority of Soviet writers and flatly states that the
Russians copied the weapons of their enemies, but not before they had been
defeated in battles by enemies using these weapons. His evaluation on the
Russian dvoriani cavalry and its lack of interest in developing its own
armament is refreshing in its harshness after so much praise one finds in other
The author bases his work on the records of inspections and other archival
materials pertaining to the 16th and 17th Centuries. The article is well
illustrated with examples of the firearms and cold weapons used in
Russia. The author discusses the armament of each separate arm of the Russian
Army in detail and indicates how the Russian weapons differed from similar West
European models. This is a very important article.
Bond, Sir Edward, ed. Russia at the Close of the 16th
Century. London: Hakluyt Society, 1856.
This volume contains two important accounts of Russia, Of the
Russian Commonwealth by Giles Fletcher, and The Travels of Sir
Jerome Horsey by himself. The long introduction by Sir Edward Bond is
itself a useful summary of all the early contacts between Russia and England
and a detailed description of the diplomatic negotiations in which Fletcher and
Fletcher's book has been reprinted elsewhere in modern English more
easily read than the text in this volume, but Horsey's account is not available
in a better text. Both authors give a few details of Russian military affairs
around 1590-1600, but are mostly concerned with the diplomatic and mercantile
transactions in which they participated and in court life.
Bray, William G. Russian Frontiers--From Muscovy to Khrushchev.
New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1963.
This is a polemical work designed to alert the general public to
the menace posed by Russian Imperialism. The major portion of the book is
devoted to the 20th Century but the author also includes a description of
Russian expansion since 1462. The text combines narrative and analytical
approaches to show the essential continuity of Russian ex pansionist policies.
The author contends that the central objective of Russian policy, to expand
their frontiers and conquer the world, has not changed in 500 years; and also
that the techniques, strategic and tactical, employed to achieve this objective
have not changed either.
Furthermore, the author contends that the Russians have received much from
foreign sources. He traces Russian policies and political- military technique
to the Mongols. And he claims that Russia is indebted to the West for most
modern scientific and industrial know- how.
Brieckner, A. G. The Life of Patrick Gordon and His
Diary., Zhurnal Ministerstvo Nordnogo Proveshcheniya (December
1877 and March 1878).
In citing passages from Patrick Gordon's diary and in describing
its contents the author whets our desire to obtain the diary itself. It is
clear that the expatriate, Gordon, tried to maintain his ties to the West by
means of letters and books. The author gives estimates of the enormous sums
Gordon spent on this activity. Gordon assiduously purchased and read the latest
military works including, for instance, the book of Vauban on fortification; a
number of his books were passed on to Peter I. Indeed, Gordon was Peter's chief
tutor in military affairs. It would be most interesting to know the titles of
the books in Gordon's library and the ones he gave to Peter I.
This article gives a general assessment of Gordon's personality, life and
influence but does not go into details of his activities on campaigns except
the campaign episodes of the suppression of the Streltzi.
Brodie, Bernard and Fawn. From Crossbow to H-Bomb. New York:
Dell Publishing Co., 1962.
This popular survey of warfare concentrates on armaments,
scientific and engineering developments related to war, and the tactical
results of new weapons. Evidently much of the material is taken from other
books such as War in the Modern World, but there is also a lot of
useful material not readily available elsewhere. The authors give the dates and
locations of each major development in hand firearms, bayo nets and artillery.
These data contradict the claims for prior invention made by a number of
Bruce, Peter Henry. Memoirs of Peter Henry Bruce, esq., A
Military Officer in the Services of Prussia, Russia and Great Britain,
Containing an Account of His Travels in Germany, Russia and Tatary...
London: T. Payne and Sons, 1762.
This is an eyewitness account written in the homey popular style of
the day by a soldier of fortune who entered the Prussian service in his teens,
fought under Marlborough in France and Holland, served as artillery and
engineer officer and as aide de camp in the Russian Army under Peter I, and
than fortified the Bahama Islands for his Britannic Majesty. While in Russia,
he went on the Pruth and Persian campaigns, surveyed the Caspian Sea, fortified
the Baltic seaports and served in the army on campaigns in Denmark, Germany and
Sweden. His accounts contain much interesting information on campaigns, court
life and personalities.
Brzezinski, Richard, Polish Winged Hussar 1576-1775, London: Osprey Pub.
A highly illustrated - typical Osprey - paperback with extensive text and with
extensive bibliography and glossary.
Brzezinki, Richard, Polish Armies 1569-1696 (1) London: Osprey, 1987
Another highly illustrated Osprey paperback about the Polish army more
generally without thebibliography but with chronology
Buganov, B. I. Razryadnie Knigi (Razryadnie Books). Moscow:
Publishing House Academy of Science, USSR, 1962.
The Razryadnie Prikaz was the nearest thing to a war office the
Muscovite government of Ivan IV and his successors had. It kept the records of
who was appointed to which commands and many other details of military
operations. Therefore, the books of this office that have survived the various
fires in Moscow and other ravages of time are in valuable sources of historical
information on military and other subjects. The author makes a clear
bibliographical study of the editions of these books and of the use made of
them by other historians. These books cover the period 1375-1650's. Besides the
official books there are also in existence manuscripts of private family
written books of a similar nature.
The purpose of the author in this book is to make a careful and
complete analysis of these Razryadnie books as historical sources. He uses the
chronicles and other sources. Thus, this book also serves as a source of
information on the chronicles. He discusses the existing copies of these books,
thereby giving information on the archives in which they are located. Each copy
has different material, which the author briefly describes.
Razryadnaya Kniga, 1475-1598. Moscow: Publishing House,
This book should be used in conjunction with the other book of
Buganov, listed above. This is the most recent and correct edition of the
official Razryadni book of 1598. As the editor explains, the information
contained in many of the private Razryadni books pertaining to the period
1375-1475 was mostly reconstructed by the writers from the chronicles and other
sources. The official government books were made in editions of 1556, 1584,
1585, 1598 and 1604. The 1585 edition was republished by N. I. Novikov in 1790
and the 1556 edition plus a supplement to 1565 was published by P. N. Milukov
in 1901 (see under Milukov). This edition contains all the materiel included in
these editions and continues the listings from 1565 to 1598. Moreover, this
edition benefits from the most recent scholarship and includes notes comparing
the various manuscript versions when they differ. Also, it is printed in the
The years covered by this book, 1475-1598 were of extreme
significance to the formation of the Russian State. They include Ivan III's
campaigns in Livonia and against the Tatars, Vasilii III's campaigns and those
of Ivan IV. This is the essential primary source document giving the names of
commanders of major units and towns, dispositions of forces, campaign movements
and results and a great wealth of other military information on these crucial
Bumagin, A. A., ed. Voenno-Istoricheskii Muzei Artillerii,
Inzhenernikh Voisk i Voisk Syyai (The Military Historical Museum of the
Artillery, Engineer and Signal Forces, a Brief Guide). Leningrad: Museum
This book provides general background information by way of
explanation of the exhibits in the museum. Most of the book is devoted to
artillery. There is a shorter section on engineers, mostly fortifications and
river crossing equipment. There is a brief section on uniforms.
Buxholveden, Sophie Baroness. A Cavalier in Muscovy. London:
Macmillan and Company, 1932.
This is the only biography of General Patrick Gordon, a Scottish
adventurer who rose to the position of quartermaster General and division
commander in the Russian Army of Peter I. He had a long and distinguished
career under Alexis, Feodor, Sophia and Peter. He was present on two campaigns
to the Crimea, both sieges of Azov, and was the leading general responsible for
both Peter's initial victory over Sophie and for the suppression of the
Streltzi rebellion of 1698.
His diary upon which this biography is based would be a very
valuable source of material on the Russian Army of the 17th Century and the
Western influences in it, but the diary has never been published in full in
Cassels, Lavender. The Struggle for the Ottoman Empire. New
York: Thomas Crowell, 1968.
Mrs. Cassels very thoroughly presents the struggle which culminated
in the Turkish re-capture of Belgrade as seen through the eyes of the French
ambassador to the Porte. As he was a central figure in the drama and played a
key role in the negotiations which delivered the fortress up to the Turks, this
approach is entirely justified. The book contains brief accounts of the Russian
campaigns against the Turks as well as an account of the political maneuvering
at the Russian, Austrian, Ottoman and French courts.
Channon, John, The Penguin Historical Atlas of Russia Londson: Penguin
Excellent general maps of the region from early Slavic occupation and Kievan
Rus to Gorbachev era. And extensive chronology as well
Chebotarev, B. V. and Kazakova, L. M. Azov, A Strong
City, Voprosy Istorii, VIII (August, 1967), pp. 210-212.
This is a short but useful article which gives the basic military
history of this port and trading post that played an important role in the
Russo-Turkish struggle for the Black Sea. The authors give the basic facts
pertaining to each of the many sieges and other battles that took place in the
Cherepnin, L. V. Russkie Feodalnie Arkhivi XIV-XV Vekov (Russian
Feudal Archives, l4th-l5th Centuries),, Part I. Moscow: Academy of Science,
This is a Marxist effort to provide an analysis of the documentary
sources on feudal relations in the 14th and 15th Centuries. It is undertaken to
refute Belyaevm Veselovskii and others who do not agree that feudalism played
the same role in Muscovy as it did in Western Europe. One need not agree with
the Marxist interpretation to find this book a valuable guide to the documents
concerned. The footnotes provide much needed information on the archives, but
unfortunately, there is no bibliography.
Chernov, A. V. Vooruzhenie Sili Russkogo Gosudaretva V XV-XVII
Veke (The Armed Forces of the Russian State in the 15th, 16th and 17th
Centuries). Moscow: 1954.
This book is a detailed account of the important changes which took
place in the Russian armed forces during this period and could serve as the
major source of information on this subject except that it is badly marred by
the author's insistence that Russia's armed forces developed without any
external influence and were at all times superior in quality and techniques to
all others. This is an extremely xenophobic and tendentious work, filled with
Russian chauvinism, not to mention Marxist preconception. It is useful as a
basic guide to the developments of the era, but every statement should be
checked. (see summary translation
__________ Obrazovanie Streletskovo Voiska (Formation
of the Streltski Corps), Istoricheski Zapiskii,
The author examines the contemporary accounts to establish the date
of formation 0f the Streltzi by Ivan IV. He then recounts their participation
in the sieges of Kazan in 1552 and of Polotsk in 1563 to show the significance
of the Streltzi to the success of the Russian army. He notes that this was the
first permanent armed force organized by the Moscow government.
Since it was entirely infantry and entirely armed with firearms and
not pikes, he concludes that this shows Russian military practice was ahead of
Western European practice. He does not take into account either the relatively
small size of the force nor the different military conditions existing in West
and East Europe.
_________ Tsentral'nii Gosudarstvennii Arkhiv Drevnikh Aktov,
kak Istochnik po Voennoi Istorii Russkogo Gosudarstva do XVIII Veka (The
Central State Archive of Ancient Acts, as a source for the Military History of
the Russian State before the 18th Century), Trudi Istoriko- Arkhivnogo
Instituta, IV 61948).
All the military historical materials relating to the period prior
to Peter I's reorganization of the government are collected in this archive.
The author is an expert on the military history of Russia in the l5th-l7th
Centuries. In this article he gives an extremely well done picture of the
complex nature of these archives which should be of great benefit to the
researchers. In the course of his explanation of what types of documentary
materials are available, the author actually gives an excellent, concise
description of the armed forces themselves and of the administrative organs
which controlled them. These archives were subject to many disastrous losses
such as the fire of 1626, yet from this description, it appears that much more
was preserved than one might expect.
Curtiss, John. The Russian Army under Nicholas I. Durham:
Duke University Press, 1965.
Emperor Nicholas I was addicted to his army and made military
affairs the center of his life. Nevertheless, the results were sadly
disappointing, as Professor Curtiss so well demonstrates in this excellent
study of the major institution of Nicholas' Russia. The book is a model which
future scholars could well follow in writing on the Russian army during other
periods. By using the personal correspond ence of the principal actors, the
author is able to bring out their motives and private feelings which influenced
their official decisions and actions.
Suffering from all the shortcomings so amply documented by
Professor Curtiss, it is a wonder the Russian army was able to survive the
Crimean War at all. The reason it did was the nearly equal incompetence of the
Turkish forces and those of the Western powers.
Davies, Brian L.Warfare, State and Society on the Black Sea
Steppe, 1500 - 1700). Routledge, London, 2007.
A major contribution to the growing study of Russian military
history now appearing in both Russian and English.
Denisov, M. M. Russkoe Oruzhenie, XI-XIX Vekov (Russian Weapons:
A Short Account of Russian Military Armaments in the 11th to 19th Centuries).
This is the best book available on the subject. It is extremely
well illustrated, a very important point when trying to differentiate between
various types of swords or different types of muskets, etc. The author gives
detailed descriptions of the weapons, and explains their use. He also describes
their manufacture. Most importantly, he also indicates which type of unit was
armed with which weapons and gives the dates when each new weapon was
introduced and old weapons phased out. The book contains the usual assertions
(which can easily be discounted) of Russian superiority and foreign, especially
Dmytryshyn, Basil, ed. Medieval Russia--A Source Book. Imperial
Russia--A Source Book. London-New York: Holt Rinehart and Winston,
In these two paperbacks the editor has collected a very useful
group of original documentary sources and descriptions. It includes a number of
essays or documents relating to military history. Included are Korb's
eyewitness accounts of the Streltzi-revolt- l698, Peter's Table of Ranks,
Manstein's accounts of Elizabeth's Assumption of Power and Anna's selection as
Dodge, Theodore A. Great Captains. New York: 1889 (reissued
Kennikat Press, 1968.
This book is a somewhat dated series of personality sketches of six
great military leaders in which the author does not hesitate to point out the
unpleasant characteristics of each individual. The major campaigns of each
leader are evaluated for their contribution to the military art. Gustavus
Adolphus and Frederick II both receive much praise for their innovations. This
is a poor substitute for the author's full length books on each of the same
grand captains but unfortunately these books were not
Donnelly, Alton. The Russian Conquest of Bashkiria,, 1552
1740. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968.
This is a thorough, well written study of Russian expansion into
and across the Urals and of the resistance offered by the Bashkirs and other
native inhabitants of the area. The author has used an extensive bibliography
of primary sources. The study shows two characteristic Russian techniques in
operation; obtain as much military support as possible from elements of the
conquered people themselves and denounce anyone who resists Russian expansion
as a traitor to the best interests of his own people and as a troublemaker for
The author discusses the military techniques involved in the campaigns to
subdue the Bashkirs. Of particular interest is the discussion 0f the massive
fortified lines and zones constructed by the Russians to surround and seal off
the areas being conquered.
Dorn, Walter L. Competition for Empire,, 1740-1763. New
York; Harper and Row, 1940.
The author begins his general history of Europe in the era of
Frederick the Great with an excellent discussion of the balance of power system
and the role of war in European life at this time. He also includes lengthy
descriptive and analytical sections on the armies themselves. The narrative of
the history of the wars is excellent. The Seven Years War in particular
is well done. The author combines description with extraordinarily clear
explanations of the reasons: for Frederick's policies and actions.
Dukes, Paul. Catherine the Great and the Russian Nobility.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967.
The author indicates in his introduction that this book is devoted
primarily to a study of Catherine the Great as a legislator and especially to
the Legislative Commission of 1767. However, to complete the picture of the
relationship of crown and nobility he thoroughly describes the development of
the nobility in the 18th Century both before and after 1767. This is a social
and also economic history rather than military history. But the chief service
duty of the nobles, which they sought to avoid or modify, was military service.
The nobility formed the officer corps. Therefore, to obtain a picture of the
officer corps and its outlook this book provides much of value. Moreover, it
will aid the student in understanding the larger issues of the interactions of
military and other social phenomena.
Dzhincharadze, V. Z. A Survey of the Content of the Vorontsov
Archive Kept in the Central State Archive for Ancient Acts,
Istoricheski Zapiskii, XXXII (1950).
This article well demonstrates the problems a researcher has in
knowing what materials may be located where in the Soviet archives. The author
indicates that materials from the Vorontsov family archives are now in five
separate archives in the USSR. He provides in this article a list of 3,243 out
of 8,000 of the documents collected in one of these places. The specifically
military documents fill over six pages in the list alone and there are many
other related documents in the other categories. The documents range in date
from the 1750's to the 1850's and touch upon most every aspect of military
history one could imagine. That the Russian archives depended upon the
circumstance of what materials might be given to them by private individuals is
in large measure responsible for the happenstance way in which some documents
are now preserved and others not. The author indicates that this particular set
of 8,000 items was only put into usable order in 1949 and had not yet been well
studied when he wrote in 1950.
__________ Bor'ba s Inostrannim Shpionazhern v Rossii v XVII
Veke (The Struggle with Foreign Espionage in Russia in the 17th
Century), Istoricheski Zapiskii, XXXIX (1952), pp.
This is a very interesting article for the Russian attitudes it
reveals. The author contends that Russia was subjected to an espionage campaign
conducted above all by the foreign diplomats accredited to Moscow. The
diplomats used secret agents to gather information. The foreigners living in
Russia were used in this way and even some Russians were subverted and used as
spies. Gregory Kotoshikin, to whom present day historians are grateful for his
having written an account of Russia in 1660's, is singled out as an example of
the traitors who fled the country and gave valuable information to Russia's
enemies. Besides reconnaissance, the author gives examples of Polish attempts
at disinformation, underground activity, and sabotage. The Russian
government knew about this activity and countered it. The author describes some
of the government measures, especially the fortification of frontier posts and
the Kremlin. The government also took measures to prevent foreign efforts at
starting uprisings among the people. The author gives many interesting details
about specific espionage incidents and the biographies of individual
Eggenberger, David. A Dictionary of Battles. New York:
Thomas Crowell Company, 1967.
This book contains brief descriptions of 1560 separate battles from
1479 B.C. to the 1960's. The accounts include a brief summary of the
background, strategic situation, forces involved, and results. The book suffers
from the Western orientation of the sources used. The author has attempted to
cover Oriental and other areas but has been unable to give non-Western European
sources. For instance, there are more battles listed for the American
Revolutionary War alone than the entire history of Russia. Even so, it is a
good source for basic information on European wars.
Epifanov, P. P. Sbornik Dokumentov-Voennie Ustavi Petra Velikogo
(The Military Regulations of Peter the Great). Moscow:1946.
This small booklet contains reprints of five of the basic military
regulations or orders pertaining thereto, issued by Peter the Great from 1700
to 1714. The introductory article by the author is unusually (for its era) free
from ideological arguments that Russian military science was entirely
self-developed. The author does not hesitate to show that Peter sought military
experience from foreign sources. This approach enhances his evaluation of the
purely Russian elements in Peter's military regulations. It is unfortunate that
the author-editor did not re-publish the other military documents pertaining to
this subject, especially the report by A. Weide given to Peter on Weide's
return from study of and service in foreign armies in the 1690's. (see
Esper, Thomas. Military Self-Sufficiency and Weapons
Technology in Muscovite Russia, Slavic Review, XXVIII. Na. 2
This is an extremely well written and thoroughly documented study
of the changing and increasing requirements for firearms and the measures taken
to obtain or make them in Russia from the first appearance of firearms in the
late 1300's to the end of the Northern War in the 1720's. The author shows the
causes for these increased requirements, discusses the general military
problems facing Russia in the period, and details the combination of foreign
and domestic resources which were employed to secure the needed arms. His
conclusion that despite a general level of economic backwardness, Russia was
able to achieve a satisfactory level of arms production, should be of current
Essame, H., Major General. The Suvorov Legend,
Military Review, XLI (January, 1961), pp. 14-23.
In this excellent article, General Essame presents the essential
characteristics of Suvorov's style and military theory. He shows that the
Russian general was a master of the blitzkrieg techniques and that he had
little patience for the parade ground formalism or ponderous operations favored
by his contemporaries. He remarks that Suvorov learned his military art from
studying the campaigns of Charles XII, which is no doubt true. Current Soviet
official history would denounce this view however, claiming that Peter I was
Suvorov's precursor and model. The author notes Suvorov's Swedish
ancestry--something the Soviets do not mention.
In a most interesting section, General Essame remarks that great leaders such
as Suvorov place their stamp on a nation's military history in such a way that
they are the mold for future great leaders of the same country. (This makes the
study of the military history of a country as it is taught in that country an
important source of intelligence about the dominant mind set and outlook
determining the strategy and tactics of its military leadership.) If one can
accurately determine and understand these governing views, one can go far
toward predicting the actions of the commanders whose education was in
accordance with these concepts.
Falls, Cyril, ed. Great Military Battles. New York:
Macmillan Co., 1964.
The book contains the following articles pertaining to the 17th and
18th Centuries: Adair, John. Poltava 1709, Boudet, Jacques.
Fontenoy 1745, Chandler, David. Blenheim 1704,
Falls, Cyril. Rocroi 1643.
This is a beautifully illustrated extremely well written study of
military history from 1600 to 1944 by means of detailed analysis of selected
battles. Also included are essays on the development of tactics, artillery,
fortifications, small arms and uniforms.
The section on Poltava is of special interest. The fact that the author
recounts the battle from the losing, Swedish, point of view, contrary to the
general practice, is itself indicative of the unavailability of Russian sources
for Western writers. He gives much detail on the Swedish Army and quotes from
He repeats an opinion of Western writers that Peter discouraged the
Turks from entering the War by sailing his fleet out into the Black Sea. The
Soviet historian, A. P. Blagol, has shown that this is not so. Peter avoided
all chances of provoking the Turks by such war- like demonstrations and instead
kept them neutral by the opposite technique of being extraordinarily peaceful.
He also persuaded the Turks into thinking that Charles was about to sign a
Fedorov, V. C. Istoriya Vintovki (The History of Rifles).
Moscow: Military Publishing House, 1940.
This short book is well illustrated. Unfortunately, the
illustrations are not all captioned correctly, as on page 7 where the Assyrians
are identified as Egyptians. The author gives a brief but complete introduction
tracing the use of typical weapons before the development of gunpowder. Some of
the illustrations of medieval Russian warriors are excellent. The many
illustrations showing details of firing mechanisms, bolts, cartridges, etc. are
Actually, this is a remarkable book in many respects, but the least
of which is the author's candor and truthfulness in crediting the various
inventors of weapons. Thus, we find that the Spanish invented the flintlock,
the French invented the bayonet, Gustavus Adolphus lightened the musket, etc.
The author is quite explicit in his criticism of Russian arms manufacturers
during periods when Russian armaments obviously lagged behind those of other
countries. This candor, so unusual in Soviet books, makes the reader much more
ready to believe the author when he does cite the genuine contributions of
Russian artisans and inventors. This is by far the best book on the subject I
have found to date.
Fennell, J. L. The Correspondence between Prince Kurbsky and
Tsar Ivan IV of Russia. New York: Cambridge University Press,
This Is the full text of the famous letters between the Tsar and
his former general plus detailed notes and comments by the outstanding
specialist on the period. Although Prince Kurbsky was one of Ivan's leading
generals and commanded an army in the Livonian War, the correspondence does not
shed much light on military affairs. Prince Kurbsky was decisively defeated by
the Poles in Livonia, and, fearing the wrath of Ivan, fled to Lithuania where
he was welcomed. The fact that Prince Kurbsky considered himself in danger of
his life for having sustained a defeat, even though he was one of Ivan IV's
closest advisors and had participated in Ivan's earlier reform activities, in
itself is indicative of the Tsar's attitude toward military
_________________The Emergence of Moscow 1304-1359.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966.
Dr. Fennell illuminates in great detail the complex circumstances
surrounding the victory of Moscow in the multi-sided struggle for supremacy
over the Russian lands. The roles of personalities, religious policy, economic
factors, political considerations and military strength are all seen to have
affected the outcome. The cunning and sophisticated manipulation of the power
balance exhibited by various Russian and Tatar princes are worthy of a
Metternich or Machiavelli. This book shows how deeply rooted in
Muscovite-Mongol history are the present day practices of their inheritors in
Moscow and Peking.
________________. Ivan the Great of Moscow. New York: St.
This is the most comprehensive and detailed study In English of the
reign of the founder of the modern Russian state, written by an expert in the
field of medieval Russia. Ivan III is shown to be an extremely crafty
manipulator who achieved his objectives through indirect maneuvers whenever
possible. Several of his policies are worth noting. He always maneuvered others
into doing his fighting for him or into being his allies when it was not
necessarily in their long-range interest to do so. He made it a policy to use
destructive, terror campaigns and guerilla warfare methods to soften up the
areas he planned to conquer later. He used propaganda and psychological
warfare, even marrying his daughter to his chief enemy in the expectation that
she would be able to help him from her vantage point in the enemy capital and
Filjiushkin, Alexander Ivan the Terrible: A Military History
Frontlikne Books, London. 2008.
.An excellent study using primary Russian sources. An unbiased
evaluation of Ivan and his policies.
Fletcher, Giles. Of the Russe Commonwealth. (Ed. Albert
Schmidt), Cornell University Press, 1966.
Giles Fletcher was an English ambassador to and from Muscovy in
1586. He describes the political and military administration. As a foreigner,
he was especially interested in describing phenomena which would seem unusual
to his readers. For this reason his remarks about military organization,
tactics, weapons, strategy, and capability in general, although brief, are
nevertheless of great interest, showing as they do the peculiarities of Russian
practice as seen by a Western European.
A particularly interesting evaluation of Fletcher's is the
If the Rus soldier were as hardy to execute an
enterprise as he is hard to bear out toil and travail, or were as apt and well
trained for the wars as he is indifferent for his lodging and diet, he would
far exceed the soldiers of our parts; whereas now he is far meaner of courage
and execution in any warlike service, which cometh partly of his servile
conditions, that will not suffer any great courage or valor to grow in him,
partly for lack of due honor and reward, which he hath no great hope of
whatsoever service or execution he do.
Florinsky, Michael. Russia, A History and an Interpretation.
New York: Macmillan Company, 1947.
This is the best textbook history of Russia, but it is too short to
contain much of the details of military history. One value of the book is
Professor Florinsky's sober approach to the greats of history, most
of whom he successfully deflates.
He remarks that Russian historians both underestimate the influence
of the Tatar Yoke and overdramatize the events which led to the
liberation of Russia from the Tatars. He notes the many evidences of Tatar
influence including inter-marriage. And the use of Tatar military help to
further the Muscovite ends is fully chronicled. He does not correctly indicate
the cause of a Muscovite army rejecting Ulu Mehmet's offer of alliance in 1438,
and his discussion of the relations of Ivan III to the Crimean and Kazan Tatars
at the time of the Horde invasion of 1480 is too brief to fully explain the
Professor F1orinsky's skepticism toward the chronicles and other written
records as true records of events matches his feelings toward the rulers they
eulogize. He quoted Soloviev's data that between 1228 and 1462 there were 133
foreign invasions of Northern Russia and adds 90 internal wars. His account of
the rise of Moscow is the clearest available.
Fortunatov, P. K. P. A. Rumyantsev. Two Volumes. Moscow:
Ministry of Defense, USSR, 1953.
Only Volume Two of this massive collection 0f documents relating to
the career of Field Marshal Rumyantsev is available to me. It contains over 390
documents from the period 1768-1775. Among the more useful ones are tables of
organization, and directives showing the composition of the Russian army and
its movements in the Russo-Turkish war. There is an excellent index and a very
fine glossary of military terminology. The maps are excellent. The proper use
of this fine documentary collection will take a great deal 0f time but should
yield much valuable information to the student.
__________ Review of Field Marshal Rumyantsev in the Period
of the Russian-Turkish War 1768-1774, by U. R. Klokman, Voprosii Istorii,
VI (June, 1952), pp. 134-136.
The reviewer finds this to be a very useful and much needed book
due to the lack of books on Rumyantsev. He takes issue with Professor Klokman
and other Soviet historians who try to show that Rumyantsev and Suvorov were in
advance of their times in comparison with Western Europe in that they had
already discarded linear tactics in favor of columns. He also believes
Professor Klokman underestimates the military capacity of the Turkish Janissary
Corps. He has specific objections about details of individual battles as
reported by Klokman, such as the number of Turks at Kagul and the actions of
Rumyantsev against the Tatar cavalry in general.
The reviewer emphasizes that the connections between military events and the
internal social and political life of the country should be more fully
Illustrated. For instance, he notes that the relations of events in the Balkans
to the Pugachev rebellion are not sufficiently explained.
Fuller, J. F. C. A Military History of the Western World,.
Three Volumes. New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1955.
Volume II 0f this comprehensive history of Western military history
contains a chapter devoted to the Battle of Poltava and the Northern War. This
is the standard history of the art of war and this account of Poltava must be
taken as the basic Western version. When comparing General Fuller's account of
the Northern War with the Soviet sources, it is hard to believe they are
describing the same war. If only half of the Russian account is correct, it is
easy to see why they are so incensed by Western treatment of Russian military
At the same time, General Fuller's inclusion of so many clearly
factual things which the Russians leave out calls into question their veracity
and motivation. We need not be concerned about General Fuller's judgements
expressed in such comments as Poltava was a Marathon in reverse and
his general view that Poltava unleashed a pseudo-European horde of
barbaric Mongoloids on the West. It is the total disagreement between his
account and the Russian account as to strength of forces, casualties,
operations, and intentions of the commanders which makes an accurate
description of this war so difficult. The author cites no Russian sources,
which may account for some of the discrepancies. It should be noted that this
work also contains much information on Western military history in the 15th,
16th, 17th and 18th Centuries.
Garder, Michel. A History of the Soviet Army. London: Pall
Mall Press, 1966.
A concise, well written history of the Soviet Army, this book has
two introductory chapters on the Imperial Army. The author evaluates the work
of Peter I in a few pages of well chosen prose. He credits Peter I with
creating a well run and effective army which lost much of its virtues during
the reigns of his successors. Catherine II's greats generals revived the
Russian Army, but it again fell on evil days under Paul I and Nicholas I. The
author gives a clear assessment of the foreign influences and native sources
which formed the army.
Golishyenkov, I. Bitva na Kalke 31 May 1223Moscow; Izgoraf, 1991
Well illustrated with color paintings by Igo Dzis' and illustrations of
artifacts uncoverd from archeological sites.
Golobutskii, V. A. Zaporozhskoe Kazachestvo (The Zaporozhie
Cossacks). Kiev: State Publishing House for Political Literature, Ukrainian
When one finds in the first chapter that the people of Eastern
Europe have been recently liberated thanks to the heroic efforts of the Russian
people, one must wonder just what lies in store for us by way of new insights
into the history of the Zaporozhski Cossacks. The author discusses much more
than just the Cossacks. The author describes the Tatars and their raiding
tactics in a very interesting fashion. The author's terminology is heavily
Marxist and propagandistic but in such a long work on a narrow subject one is
bound to find some interesting factual details. The inventory of weapons
captured when the Russians destroyed the Sech in 1709 is one such example.
The author explains the relations between the Don and Zaporozhski Cossacks. He
discusses the Bulavin uprising in detail. It is interesting to note how
positively he views every uprising against the Tsar's government, such as the
Bulavin revolt in 1708 and how quickly the same opponents of Peter I are viewed
negatively when the Swedes come onto the scene. The effective use of Kalmyks by
the government to suppress rebels is also noted.
Gordon, Alexander. The HiBtory of Peter the Great. Aberdeen,
Scotland: F. Douglass, W. Murray, 1755.
The author arrived in Russia in 1693 and soon made lieutenant
colonel in the Russian Army. He was given command of a regiment after three
years service. He fought the Tatars in the campaign of 1696. At Narva, he was
captured. He was exchanged and upon return to Russia, was promoted to brigadier
general. He blocked Charles XII crossing of the Desniya River in 1708, but was
in command of a detachment operating in Poland during the battle at Poltava. He
was married to the daughter of General Patrick Gordon.
This history of Peter the Great was one of the best accounts of the Tsar to
appear in the 18th Century. It deserves to be reprinted. He gives interesting
personal observations and comments, such as the remark that the Russians hated
foreigners, especially the Scots.
Gordon, Patrick. Passages from the Diary of General Patrick<
Gordon of Auchlenchries. Aberdeen: The Spaulding Club, 1859. Reprinted:
London: Frank Case, 1968.
This is an extremely valuable account of service in the armies of
Poland, Sweden, and especially Russia, in the 17th Century by one of the most
famous teachers of Peter the Great.
This book contains selections from what must be an extensive diary preserved in
the Russian archives. Unfortunately, the Scottish editors in the 1850's were
more interested in Gordon's remarks about life in Scotland than in his detailed
account of military life in Muscovy, so the latter are merely summarized. The
original diary would undoubtedly be an even more valuable source on Muscovite
military affairs during the reign of Alexis and Theodore and Sophia.. The
original diary was published in both German and Russian translations under the
Tagebuch des Generals Patrick Gordon, ed. and trans. from
English original by Prince M. A. Obolensky and M. C. Posselt, Vol. I, Parts 1-
2, Vol. II, Part 3, Moscow: 1849-1851.
With all the reprinting that is currently being done of rare and
out-of-print books, it is to be hoped that someone will reprint the entire
diary. Well see below
Dnevnik Generala Patricka Gordona, in Chteniya Imperatorskom
Obshchestve Istorii i Drevnostei, Book IV, 1891, Book I, 1892.
Unfortunately only certain parts are published. Vol. IV for 1891
has the years 1635 to 1661 and Book I of 1892 contains the years 1661 to 1683,
except for the parts of the diary which were never found. It also contains a
biographical note on each of the Gordons who served in Russia in the 17th and
18th Centuries. General Gordon created a problem for those wishing to publish
and those wishing to use his diary. He recorded in it every event in such
extreme detail that it is impossible to publish the whole work; the editor,
therefore, faced a problem in selecting what to print, and the user is left
wondering what was left out.
Gordon, Patrick. Dnevnik 1635-1659; - 1659o-1667;- 1677-78; -
16894-1689 in these 4 volumes, translated byh D. G. Fedosov, Moscow, Nauka
2005 and subsequently. Asnother volume is coming. This is a major treat for
Russians, but rather than retranslate this back into English, lets have a new
edition of the Diary.
Gorelik, Mikhael V. Warriors of Eurasia: from the VIII century BC to the
XVII century AD Stockporft, U.K.: Montvert Pub. 1995
The author and illustrator is the best of the Russian authors on the subject.
The excellent illustrations include all the various ethnic groups who have
occupied the region.
Grey, Ian. Catherine the Great, Autocrat and Empress of All
Russia. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1962.
This is a well written popular style history of the famous ruler.
The author gives quite a bit of information on the personalities at court and
the effects of their intrigues on political and military affairs. He gives
rather more details of the military campaigns in the Seven Years War,
during Catherine's early life in Russia, than of the campaigns undertaken
during her reign. He gives full description of Potemkin and briefer comments on
Rumyantsev and Suvorov.
___________Ivan the Terrible. Philadelphia: Lippincott,
This is a popular history of the reign of Ivan IV. The author
devotes a considerable part of the book to narration of Ivan's many military
campaigns. He draws attention to the connection between the creation of the
centralized state and the new military class on which it de pended. He gives
the names and something of the personalities of many of the leading advisors
and generals who played a part in these events. Thus, this book is a useful
supplement to such books as Chernov's which give the details of the military
reforms but not much about the personalities involved. He shows the bad
influence of the perennially conniving Shuisky family. Ivan clearly had good
reason to distrust and dislike the boyars. Grey says boyar feuds during Ivan's
youth set Muscovy back ten years. Ivan hated most boyars for personal reasons.
In assessing the successes of Muscovite grand princes, Grey makes a very
interesting comment. The Grand Princes had asserted the hegemony of
Moscow, not by dashing exploits or by victories won in open battle, but by
careful diplomacy, steady expansion, and by taking advantage of the enemy's
_______________Ivan the Third and the Unification of Russia.
London: English University Press, 1964.
This is a short, popular and highly readable account of the crucial
role played by Ivan III in the centralization of Russian affairs under the
control of Moscow. The accounts of Fennell and Vernadsky are sufficient to our
purposes. The author gives a full description of the various campaigns and wars
of Ivan's reign.
_______________Peter the Great. New York: Lippincott,
This is both the best book on Peter I, I have seen and the best of
the works of Ian Grey that I have used. He has included a good bibliography and
extensive notes. From the notes, it appears that he has relied most on
Bogoslovsky, Solov'ev and Ustryalov for the general course of events, but he
also uses a great many other sources for details. The accounts of the
campaigns, especially the Poltava and Pruth Campaigns, are the most judicious I
have read. He gives Peter much more credit as a leader and organizer than does
Professor Florinsky. But he does not omit the fault's as the Soviet writers do.
He especially emphasizes the treacherous way Peter and his allies secretly
prepared and attacked Sweden, hoping to take advantage of the boy king, Charles
XII. Mazepa likewise is treated objectively as is the whole issue of Ukrainian
and Cossack participation in the War.
The author does not concentrate his attention on Peter's military
activities, but it is clear from his narrative that war and the necessary
preparations for war occupied most of Peter's time and energy, as indeed war
took most of the time of most sovereigns of that day. The author's remarks on
Peter's use of foreign assistance include three main points I consider most
significant; that the assistance was desperately needed and Peter did not
hesitate to seek it, that many of the individuals who arrived from the West
were rejects from their own country and incompetent, and that Peter had no
intention to remain dependent of foreign assistance any longer than
Hale, John R. The Art of War and Renaissance England.
Charlotsville: University of Virginia Press, 1968.
This interesting booklet contains a selection of the military
literature published in England in the 16th and 17th Centuries. The author
comments on each book and provides a general introduction which describes the
state of military art in Europe at that time. He shows that the English were
not as heavily engaged in warfare at that time as the continental countries
were, so they had to rely on foreign sources for the latest developments in
military affairs. The Spanish led Europe in the 1500's followed by the Dutch
and Swedes in the 1600's.
The author traces the development of firearms in this period, the shift from
cavalry to infantry, the revival of interest in Greek and Roman military
methods, the requirement for drill and discipline occasioned by the tactical
formations, and the low quality of personnel conscripted into the
Of interest is William Barriffe's Military Discipline of
1639 which explains the Swedish method of battle. The word for file is
rot and the word from which the English made platoon is
peloton. He notes that many published drill manuals reflected the
fancies of the author and not actual practice.
Hamel, Dr. Joseph von. England and Russia, Comprising the
Voyages of John Tradescant the Elder, Sir Hugh Willoughby, and others.
Trans.: John Leigh: 1854. Reprint: London: Frank Case,, 1968.
The author has consulted an impressive list of manuscripts and
other sources to prepare this account of the early contacts between England and
Russia. Dr. Hamel was a Russian who went to England with Alexander I in 1814
and obtained access to the English manuscript collections. Having also access
to the Russian archives, he was unusually well prepared in that time to write
this book. The early explorers were merchants and/or naturalists, so their
affairs naturally predominate, however, there are some remarks also on the
service of foreigners in the Russian Army, circa 1590-1610 and on artillery
practice as con ducted in that period.
Hassell, James. Implementation of the Russian Table of Ranks
during the Eighteenth Century, Slavic Review, XXIX, No. 2 (June,
1970), pp. 263-295.
Basing his work on primary sources, especially the Russian Law
Code, the author shows how Peter the Great's new table of military and civilian
ranks fared during the reigns of his successors up to 1809.
He notes that the civil service suffered social inferiority to the military
service during most of this time. He notes also that the sons of clergy were
the leading non-noble group gaining access to the civil service. Peter's idea
of a career open to talent was violated by the exclusion of certain classes
from entry into service. Peter's decree that office holders in St. Petersburg
would receive double the pay of others in equivalent jobs, a measure he took to
encourage movement to his new capital, was reaffirmed and remained effective
long after there was a special need for such encouragement. After compulsory
service was abolished, the government continued to maintain social and moral
pressures on the nobility to encourage their service.
Hatton, R. N. Charles XII of Sweden. London: Weidenfeld and
The author has made extensive use of Swedish sources but very
little use of Russian ones. The evaluation of Charles seems to be well
balanced. The accounts of his campaigns in Russia could have been made more
complete with some views from the Russian side. The Northern War is seen as an
unprovoked, sneak attack on Sweden by three opportunists hoping to use the
international situation to cover their seizure of Swedish lands. There are
interesting descriptions of Charles' early military training and of the Swedish
national army organization.
Hawes, Robert, trans. The Testaments of the Grand Princes of
Moscow. Cornell University Press, 1967.
The author has assembled a fascinating set of documents which are
presented in the original as well as in translation, and with copious notes.
They are of interest primarily for the references to various military
commanders made by the princes in their wills and for some of the terminology
employed. The book contains all the available wills written by the four Ivans,
three Vasiliis and Dmitri Donskoi.
One can also plot the expansion of Muscovy during this period on the basis of
the lists of territories given to each heir and can often ascertain how the
particular areas came into the possession of Moscow by the remarks made by each
Herbestein, Sigmund von. Description of Moscow and Muscovy 1557.
There are two recent editions. 1) Bertold Picard, ed. New York: Barnes and
Noble, 1969. 2)R. H. Major, ed. New York: 8. Franklin (Haklay T. Society, No.
The author was ambassador to the court of Ivan IV from the Holy
Roman Emperor, Maximilian. He describes the wars of Vasilii III with Tatars and
Lithuanians, including remarks on tactics and strategy, weapons, locations of
forts. One comment seems especially familiar. It is constantly the custom
for the Russians to be behind in everything, and never to have anything ready;
but when necessity presses, they are anxious to finish everything
Hoffmann, Anton. Das Heer des Blauen Konigs. Munchen: Verlag
von Piloty and Loehle, 1910.
This is the classic book on the uniforms of the Bavarian Army of
The Blue King, circa 1680-1720. Primarily a book of magnificent
engraved pictures of the Army, the book also contains much useful description
of arms and organization of one of the leading military forces in Western
Europe at the time of Peter the Great.
Horniker, Arthur L. The Corps of Janizaries,
Military Affairs (November 8, 1965). see
This is the best short study of the most famous element of the
Ottoman Army and one of the greatest military units in history. The author
traces the history of the tribute children from their origin to
their eventual destruction. The author emphasizes the close connection between
the Janizaries and the Ottoman Empire itself. As he says, The history of
the corps faithfully reflects within itself the whole history of the Ottoman
Empire, the secret of its power and its subsequent weakness. It is
important to understand this history in order to properly evaluate the Ottoman
Empire and its army as opponents of Russian expansion.
There are certain similarities between the Janizaries and the
Streltzi worth examining. The Janizaries also bear study as the first truly
professional modern army unit. Their history is unique yet it contains elements
which have had parallels elsewhere.
Illeritskii, V. E. and Kudryabtsev, I. A. Istoriografiya Istorii
SSSR (Historiography of the History of the USSR). Moscow: State Publishing
House for Social- Economic Literature. 1961.
This is a standard Marxist interpretation of the development of
historical knowledge in Russia. The authors critique all the famous Russian
historians and many not so famous. The book is of value for the researcher in
military history because it contains descriptions of all the chronicles and a
number of other less well known primary sources for Russian history of the
period prior to 1800. A number of works which devote attention to military
developments are mentioned. Full bibliographic references are provided for all
Jackson, W. G. Seven Roads to Moscow. London: Eyre and
This is a very uneven book; uneven, not only in the descriptive
detail accorded the various invasions of Russia, which is ascribed by the
author to the unevenness of source materials, but also in the credibility of
the author's evaluations and opinions. In attempting to present an account of
the long and varied military history of Russia in one short volume, and in
addition to include his own conclusions on the significance that the Russian
military experience might have for us, the author has undertaken a formidable
task. He chooses to present and analyze this history in terms of the invasion
routes taken by various military commanders. This is an interesting and valid
approach, but it ought to be used with more attention to other important
factors when attempting to draw general conclusions and comparisons of the
routes with each other. For instance, there was a major shift in the location
and nature of the target between Rurik's use of the River Road and
the other invasions. Also, there are major differences between the problems
facing steppe nomad warriors and those facing commanders of the armies of
sedentary nations. Moreover, he leaves out important wars in which Russia
participated because Moscow was not captured or threatened despite their major
significance in Russian history and the important lessons to be learned from
them. He is not very critical of his sources, especially when he takes the
legends of Rurik as history.
He correctly points to the reign of Ivan III as the military turning point in
Russian history, but the four factors he gives as basic to the policies of
Muscovite and present day rulers may be questioned. His factors are as follows:
the inborn Varangian desire to colonize new lands, the Slav craving for
security, the inability of the Slavs to work together without a strong,
autocratic leader, and the Russian people's unwillingness to accept irresolute
rulers. With these four factors, he explains the ebb and flow of Russian power
and the expansion and contraction of their territory. One might question if the
desire to colonize new lands is a Varangian monopoly and conversely if the
Varangians had much lasting influence in Russia. Likewise, the desire for
security is not a Slav peculiarity. Nevertheless, these two factors, expressed
not as Varangian or Slav attributes, but as normal desires made more intense by
geographic factors, are major operating factors. The third and fourth factors
are no more characteristic or significant in Russia then in, for instance,
France (Fronde, religious wars) or England (War of Roses, Civil War). What is
significant as a determining factor is Russia's relative backwardness or
equality in military capability with the foe. Of course, internal unity has
been a crucial necessity to the existence of an independent Russian state,
unity is a necessity for any state; but major expansion has been achieved
during periods of relative military ascendancy and contraction has been forced
on the Russian Empire even when united, during periods in which it lagged
behind other states in military capacity.
Kaplan, Herbert R. Russia and the Outbreak of the Seven Years'
War. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968.
The diplomatic maneuvering which preceded the Seven Years' War was
extremely complex. The true nature of this diplomacy and especially Russia's
role in it has been obscured in the past by the obvious fact that Frederick II
initiated military operations with his invasion of Saxony. The opinion that
Frederick should bear the major blame for the war was furthered by the failure
of Western historians to study the Russian sources on this subject.
In this excellent book, the author presents the results of his searching
analysis of archival sources in Russia as well as Western states. His
conclusion is that Elizabeth of Russia must be considered the chief instigator
of the war.
His topic is the political and diplomatic history of the period, but he also
includes reference to the military situation in so far as it affected the
diplomatic negotiations. He gives estimates of the troop strength of Russia and
the other nations and discusses the mobilization plans. The impression one gets
of the mobilization of Russia, Austria, and Prussia is extraordinarily similar
to the picture that was seen again in 1914. The author's bibliography reflects
his labors in the archives. In fact, the bibliography may be the most useful
part of the book, showing as it does, the availability of a great deal of
material in the military archives in Russia.
Karasulas, Antony, Mounted Archers of the Steppe, 600 - BC - AD 1300
London, Osprey, 2004
A highly illustrated paperback in the standard Osprey format with both original
paintings and photos of artifacts. While much of the content pertains to nomads
active before our period, it also included in this general study the Mongols
and various local oponents of the Russians.
Keenan, Edward Louis, J. Muscovy and Kazan': Some
Introductory Remarks on the Patterns of Steppe Diplomacy, Slavic
Review, XXVI, No. 4 (December, 1967), pp. 548-558.
The author advocates the use of comparative methods in which the
study of patterns can help to fill in the spaces made blank by lack
of original documentary evidence. One pattern he examines is Steppe diplomacy
among the successor states to the Mongol Empire. His explanation clears up a
great deal of misunderstanding about Moscow's relations with the several Tatar
states. He emphasizes that Individual relationships must be examined
within the whole dynamics of steppe history, and that cultural,
particular religious antagonisms play a very limited part in the actual
workings of diplomacy within this system. This is a very important
article on the conquest of Kazan by Ivan IV in 1552.
Keep, John. The Muscovite Elite and the Approach to
Pluralism, The Slavonic and East European Review' XLVIII, No. 3
(April, 1970), p. 201.
In this very important article the author examines the internal
political situation in Russia in the later 17th Century in great detail. One of
his key judgements is particularly interesting: In any centralized
political system there is an obvious relationship between warfare and
He uses modern political terminology and analytical techniques to show the
political mechanism at work in Muscovy. The chief pressure groups were the
metropolitan nobles, provincial nobles, and Streltzi; all of these were groups
having important military functions. Hence, the political balance was affected
by changes in military technology, unsuccessful campaigns, changes in military
recruitment and other military factors. The author gives details on the role,
numbers, and organization of these groups and their political goals.
Kerner, Robert J. The Urge to the Sea. Berkeley: University
of California Press, 1946.
In this small volume, Professor Kerner presented a fundamental
hypothesis to explain the course of Russian history. His work has been a major
influence on a generation of students of Russian history. He combines an
overview of the larger strategic and geo-political imperatives operating in the
East European plain with detailed lists of the fortifications undertaken by the
Russians to achieve mastery over it.
He quotes the remarks of King Gustavus Adolphus to the Riksdag at the time of
the Peace of Stolbov in 1617-1618 on the strategic importance of the region
around present day Leningrad, an importance also appreciated by Peter the
Great. The author emphasized the Russian use of river systems, portages and
fortified lines in opposition to the Tatar reliance on land routes across the
same portages. That this opposition made these portages key locations is seen
in the early dates of their fortification by the Russians. The book has
excellent maps and appendices which clearly identify the critical
Khrestomatiya po Istorii SSSR (Reader in the History of the
USSR). Vol. II, 1682-1856. Moscow: State Pedagogical Press, 1949.
This reader has a number of interesting documents pertaining to
military affairs. Especially so are the popular poems and soldiers songs from
the various wars. There are excerpts from Peter's military regulations and
Suvorov's Science of Victory. The War of 1812 and the Crimean War each
are well covered. The table of organization list of personnel for the Crimean
War is interesting; it shows a total army strength of 31,392 officers and
Kliuchevski, Vasilli. A History of Russia. Five Volumes. New
York: Russell and Russell, 1960.
__________________Peter the Great. Liliana Archibald, trans.
New York: Random House, 1962.
__________________Course in Russian History-- 17th Century.
Natalie Duddington. Chicago: Quadrang1e, 1968.
Still the best sources for a general view of Russian history, the
works of Professor Kliuchevski contain a balanced appraisal of many issues
since clouded by most post revolutionary controversy. He includes both
judicious general appraisals of the Russian military forces and details on
campaigns, personalities, techniques, etc.
Klokman, U. R. Fieldmarshal Rumyantsev--In the Period of the
Russo- Turkish War3 17681774. Moscow: Publishing House, Academy of
Science, USSR, 1951.
It is a pleasure to note that this book contains a truly excellent
bibliography, contrary to most Soviet histories I have seen. The listing of the
archives and the unpublished as well as published material relating to
Rumyantsev will be of great help to the researcher. The career and achievements
of Marshal Rumyantsev are unfortunately generally overlooked by Western
military historians. In fifty years of service he was responsible for many
missions of a diplomatic as well as military nature. He was the teacher of both
Suvorov and Kutuzov. This book focuses on his major military campaigns which
resulted in the rout of the Ottoman army and great gains for Russia in the
Black Sea area. Marshal Rumyantsev opposed much of the contemporary Russian
military establishment and its adherence to rigid formulas. The author brings
out this conflict when establishing Rumyantsev's originality.
____________Review of Aleksander V. Suvorov 2730-1800
by K. Ossipov, Voprosy Istorii, II (February, 1950/, pp.
This review should be read by anyone using Ossipov's book on
Suvorov. Professor Klokman takes Ossipov sharply to task for a whole series of
errors ranging from specific dates, names and events to general views and
conclusions on Suvorov's qualities as a commander. Professor Klokman's basic
complaint is that Ossipov, in the attempt to popular ize Suvorov, has overly
idolized him at the expense of other important creative figures in Russian
military history, such as Peter I and Rumyantsev.
Among the specific errors are Ossipov's contention that already when a colonel
commanding the Susdal Regiment, Suvorov had formulated his definitive views on
military training; that the pre-Petrine Russian Army contained numerous
mercenaries; and that Suvorov expected his subordinates, and indeed every
soldier, to know the battle plan and act in accordance with it. Professor
Klokman points out that this last idea comes from an erroneous interpretation
of Suvorov's words. Actually, Suvorov merely intended to emphasize that each
man must know his own job and own maneuvers in battle. Professor
Klokman gives interesting information on both Suvorov and Rumyantsev. The
review contains some of the usual disparagement of Western military practice.
Professor Klokman asks the very pertinent question: if Suvorov's influence was
so widespread already in the Russian army, why was Rimski-Korsakov defeated in
_____________ Rumyantsev as a Military Tehoretician,
Istoricheski Zapiskii, XXXVII (1951).
There is no doubt that Rumyantsev was an outstanding military
leader who deserves more attention from Western military historians.
Unfortunately, Professor Klokman's adulatory style in evidence in this article
does more harm than good in creating interest among Western readers. Being a
good Marxist, the author attempts to tie the appearance of Rumyantsev on the
scene with the material base of war characteristic of the
manufacturing period of war. In trying to show that his hero was
ahead of his times, Professor Klokman contrasts him with the worst Western
generals rather than the best. He picks on a favorite Soviet target, the linear
tactics employed in the West and attempts to prove that Rumyantsev was ahead of
his times in employing the column formation.
This is a favorite Soviet argument. Just because Napoleon later found column
tactics useful for his mass army, the Soviet writers try to claim that in the
middle 1700's and before, whenever a Russian army formed column instead of
line, this was an innovation. In the first place, the Russian deep column
formation was used against Turkish and Tatar armies, largely composed of
cavalry. Also, it was so used already in the 1600's in this situation.
Moreover, the Russian army of the 1700's was quite different from the Western
European army in composition and the problems it faced were different. That
column formations were used in Russia in the 1700's shows only that conditions
were different, not that Russia surpassed the West.
Kolosov, E. E. Razvitie Artilleriiskogo Vooruzheniya i Rossii
po Vtoroi Polovine XVII Veke (The Development of Artillery armament
in Russia in the Second Half of the 17th Century), Istoricheski
Zapiskii, LXXI (1962).
This is a scholarly study using archival materials to give a very
clear yet detailed picture of the development of Russian artillery in the
1600's. The article is filled with data, dates and specific information on
production and use of each type of artillery piece. Of special interest is the
re-arming of the Russian regimental artillery by 1699 with three-pounder
cannons of 76 mm caliber, which greatly improved the regimental artillery.
The author indicates that the role of Peter I in improvement of Russian
artillery was great already before the Northern War. On the basis of early
experiments and new models tested in the Azov campaigns, the Russian ordnance
factories were already producing new artillery in the 1697-99 period. In 1700
they produced 100 three- pounder cannons and 100 mortars.
Konavalov, S. Patrick Gordon's Dispatches from Russia,
1667, Oxford Slavonic Papers, XI (1964), pp. 8-17.
Patrick Gordon was evidently as prolific a letter writer as
he was a diarist. This we might imagine from the careful way he notes in his
diary letters sent and received. Unfortunately, most of the letters have not
been preserved. In this article, seven very interesting letters from Gordon to
Joseph Williamson, then editor of the London Gazette in 1667, are
published for the first time. Gordon discusses trade conditions, the Polish
Embassy to Moscow on the Peace of Andrus sovo, operations of the Tatars and
Cossacks, the uniforms of the foreign regiments in Moscow and other diverse
______________ Seven Letters of Tsar Mikhail to King Charles
I, 1634- 8, Oxford Slavonic Papers, IX (1960), pp. 32-63.
This article with the publication of seven letters found in the
British archives is part of a series in which all the known letters from Tsar
Michael Romanov to King Charles I were published. The tsar writes about his war
in Poland and the defeats encountered there. He notes that the Cossacks and
Tatars have been helping Poland. He mentions the treachery of
General Shein. The main topic is trade and customs duties. The letters are
indicative of the lively nature of Russian-English trade.
Konstam, Angus, Poltava 17609 London: Osprey, 1994.
This is in the larger Osprey 'Campaigns series" that provides more text
and color illustrations including maps. The illustrations of soldiers are from
Viskovatov. There is a minute by minute description of the battle action and a
short list of further reading.
Konstam, Angus, Peter The Great's Army 1: InfantryLondon, Osprey,1993.
This is in the standard Osprey paperback format with color and B/W
illustrations. It includes tables of uniform colors per regiment and discussion
of tactics and organization. This and the following book are good supplements
to the book on Poltava.
Konstam, Angus, Peter The Great's Army 2: Cavalry London, Osprey, 1993.
A companion to the book on Infantry with the same format of color and B/W
illustrations and tables showing regimental uniform colors. There are also a
chronology and illustrations of cavalry standards.
Korobkov, N. M. ed. Fel'dnzarshal Kutuzov: Sbornik Dokurnentov I
Materiaiov. Moscow: State Publishing House for Political Literature,
This collection contains 226 documents pertaining to the career of
Field Marshal Kutuzov from 1787 to 1613. One of the most useful parts of the
book is the very fine bibliography of published documents and works about
Kutuzov. This book should be used in conjunction with the much more massive
collection of documents prepared under the editorship of Professor L. G.
_______________ Field Marshal Rumyantzev, Sbornik of Documents
and Materials. Moscow: State Publishing House for Political Literature,
This collection of 190 items relating to the service of one of
Russia's most famous generals is an excellent primary source of information on
the Seven Years War, Russo-Turkish wars of 1768-74 and 1787-91 and the
occupation of Poland in 1794. A full index and glossary of unusual terms aid
the reader, as do the maps.
_________________ Semiletnyaya Voina (The Seven Years War,
1756-62; Materials on the Operations of the Russian Army and Navy). Moscow:
Military Publishing House, 1948.
This collection contains over 360 documents and is organized into
chapters devoted to the different phases of the war. The maps are excellent as
is the index and especially the glossary of terminology in use in the 18th
Century. This is the only primary source readily available, containing the
Russian documents on this war. Its use should greatly improve the picture of
the war, derived from Western sources, found in the standard military histories
and studies of Frederick II of Prussia.
Krilova, T. K. Diplomaticheskaya Podgotovka Vstupleniya
Russkoi Armii (The Diplomatic Preparation for the Campaign of the Russian Army
in Pomerania in 1711), Istoricheski Zapiskii, XIX (1946).
The appearance of Russian troops in Denmark and Mecklenburg during
the Northern War stirred up a great deal of diplomatic activity on the part of
England, Holland, Hannover, Brandenburg and other interested states. This
article does not deal with military affairs but from it we can get an idea
about why Peter's Western campaign did so little to advance his own aims and
finish the Northern War for him.
Kurochkin, P. A. ed. Osnovi Metodiki Voenno-Nauchnogo
Issledovaniya (Basic Methods of Military-Historical Research. Moscow:
Military Publishing House, Ministry of Defense, USSR, 1969.
This is a handy little guide book to conducting research and
writing reports. It covers everything from picking a topic to preparing the
manuscript for the press. Of particular interest is the chapter on using the
archives. The author describes each of the main Soviet archives that contain
military historical material. He gives a great many valuable tips on how to use
these archives to best advantages. Most of the recommendations are of a general
nature that certainly makes them applicable to researchers anywhere.
Kuznetsov, F. E. Fondi Tsentrai'nikh Cosudarstvennikh
Voennikh Arkhivov SSSR i Ikh Nauchnoe Ispol'zovanie (The
Collections of the Central State Military Archive of the USSR and its
Scientific Use), Trudi Istoriko-Arkhivnogo Instituta, IV
The central military archive was founded at the time of Tsar
Peter's reorganization of the entire governmental administrative structure, but
did not begin systematically to collect materials until much later. In this
excellent history of the archive the author traces its varying fortunes through
the 18th and 19th Centuries and shows that it was only recently that it became
a really scientific establishment. He gives the reader a general idea of the
type of material preserved in this archive. A great amount of material was
never kept and a great deal more that was kept was lost in various ways, such
as the Moscow fire of 1737 and the World War II evacuation of Leningrad. The
article also contains information on the history of the Russian General Staff
and its various reorganizations. The author mentions a number of publications
of the archive including collections of documents pertaining to Suvorov,
Kutuzov, Rumyentsev and others and various catalogues and guides to the
collections in the archives.
Lamb, Harold. The March of Muscovy. Doubleday and Company,
____________The City and the Tsar. Doubleday and Company,
The first of these books deals with Ivan IV, but also gives a
general history of Muscovy from 1100 to 1648. The second book continues the
history through the reign 0f Peter I. This is popular history at its best
(well, at least considering the lack of access to Russian archival sources).
One can find a surprising amount of information carefully tucked into the flow
of words that makes all Harold Lamb's books so popular. He relies on the better
Russian historians, especially Kliuchevski, and the principal Western
historians, such as Vernadsky and Bain, for the Russian side of his story. But
he uses the eyewitness accounts of the Western visitors to Russia, such as
Fletcher and Korb, to provide the interesting anecdotes and assessments. Thus,
the books take on a Russia through Western eyes kind of spirit. The
author places considerable emphasis on military factors. He has some especially
interesting comments on Peter's army, the Northern War, and internal unrest in
the Empire. Among the disconcerting notes to be found in the book is the
author's insistence on calling the Preobrazhenski guards the
Lebedyanskaya, A. Arkhiv Pushkarskogo Prikaza
(Archive of the Artillery Department)., Voprosy Istorii, I
(1946), pp. 122-130.
The author gives a brief history of the Pushkarski prikaz gleaned
from references in chronicles and documents. She points out that the archives
were burned along with the rest of Moscow in 1571, again destroyed during the
Polish occupation, again burned several times during the 17th Century and
finally blown up along with the arsenal in 1812. Nevertheless, some documents
He recounts the history of the efforts of a series of Russian historians in the
19th Century to reconstruct the history of the Pushkarski Prikaz. Two of these
men were P. M. Stroev and P. N. Fus. However, much of the work of Stroev is
itself now deep in the historical archives and not known to modern students.
Moreover, there are many documents pertaining to the Pushkarski Prikaz that are
still to be found in various libraries throughout the country.
Most of what remains relates to the period 1625-1701. The surviving documents
are in five categories: personnel, artillery, ammunition, city fortification
and the fortified lines on the southern and southeast borders. The author
describes the documents in each of these categories and the research that has
been done on them to the present. This is an extremely informative article. The
footnotes them selves provide a wonderful source of references to the
appropriate archives, libraries and special books on the subject.
Lens, Bernhard. The Grenadiers Exercise of the Grenades 1735.
London: National Army Museum Historical Series, 1967.
This is a reprint of a series of engravings illustrating the drill
in use by the First Regiment of Foot Guards, now known as the Grenadier Guards,
during the period 1730-1740. An introduction explains the origin and
development of the grenadier in European armies in the period
Longworth, Philip. The Art of Victory: Life of Generalissimo
Suvorov, 17291800. London: Constable, 1965.
What a brilliant book! This is the best English language book on a
Russian military historical subject in this bibliography. The author's
concluding chapter in which he evaluates Suvorov's career and military genius
is alone worth the price of the book. There is a list of references
in the form of footnotes, but one regrets the lack of a full
The author establishes Suvorov's claim to be one of the world's
greatest generals, especially one of the greatest not a reigning head of state.
It would indeed have been a match if Suvorov had been able to remain one year
longer in Italy with a good Russian army to face Napoleon on the Corsican's
return from Egypt. The author shows that the Russians are justified in their
protests that Suvorov's genius has been unfairly ignored by Western military
historians. But he also shows that the Russians should not claim that Suvorov
was representative of the general level of the Russian army, command at that
time because, in fact, he had to fight practically the whole
establishment and his theories and practices were not practiced by
many of his contemporaries.
Luvaas, Jay, ed. Frederick the Great on the Art of War. New
York: The Free Press, 1966.
Professor Luvaas has organized into a coherent whole the thoughts
of Frederick the Great on the military art as found in his many writing over
the course of his career. Frederick was the greatest general of his era and his
opinions represent the highest level of achievement in military theory at that
time1 This is therefore an essential book for the student who would understand
the possibilities and limitations of 18th Century warfare. The author has
provided a useful bibliography and a fine glossary of 18th Century miliary
terms. Of special interest is Frederick's evaluation of Charles XII and the
Swedish king's conduct of the Northern War.
Lyons, M. The Russian Imperial Army, A Bibliography of
Regimental Histories and Related Works. Stanford, California: The Hoover
Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University, 1968.
As the subtitle indicates, this is a bibliography limited to
Regimental Histories and similar works. It does not contain general histories
of the Imperial Army or of Russian military campaigns. There are 1,239 entries
organized by unit designation within the various types of unit such as Imperial
Guards units, Grenadiers, and Line units. Without a complete listing of the
units in the Imperial Army, there is no way to know if every unit is listed in
this book, but it seems likely that the great majority are to be found in it.
Unfortunately the author has not indicated where the copies of the listed works
are to be found today. He indicates that many are unpublished and may be found
in the Soviet Military archives, but for those published in very small editions
by emigres after the revolution of 1917 the problem 0f location is critical for
the prospective researcher. Despite this shortcoming, the author is to be
congratulated and thanked for the enormous amount 0f effort he so obviously
expended in the preparation 0f this essential research tool.
Madariaga, Isabel de Ivan the Terrible Yale Univ Press, New
A fine new biography that places Ivan's many wars and military
'reforms' in the total context of his personality and Russia of his
Mallet, Alain Manesson. Les Travaux de Mars. La Haye: H. von
The section of this general book on European armies that pertains
to the Ottoman Turks has been republished by Wilh. C. Rubsamen, Stuttgart, with
the title De la Milice des Turcs. It comprises a set of excellent plates
showing the various units and other features of the Ottoman army with several
pages of text each, describing the plates. Such detailed information of the
Ottoman army is extremely difficult to find.
Mal'tsev, A. N. The War for Belorussia and the Liberation of
Smolensk, 1654, Istoricheski Zapiskii, XXXVII (1951), pp.
If the reader can control his reflexes long enough to get past the
propagandistic and thoroughly sickening introduction in which the author
asserts that the Ukrainian people eagerly threw off the Polish and Turkish
exploitation and strove to unite themselves with the brotherly
Russian people to secure for themselves better economic and cultural
conditions, he will find this an interesting article full of facts on the
seizure liberation of Smolensk by the most pacific Tsar
The author includes a great deal of archival reference to support a well
organized description of the one campaign. He names the unit commanders and
estimates the size of their forces. He does not mention that the seizure of
Smolensk done under cover of the Ukrainian Cossack uprising when the Muscovites
were supposed to be helping the Cossacks actually represented a diversion of
Muscovite military strength from the Ukrainian theater and in no way helped the
Margeret, Capt. Jacques. Estat de L'empire de Russie et Grand
Duche de Moscovie. Paris: 1669 and 1821.
Captain Margeret was a mercenary serving in the Kremlin guard of
Dmitri the Pretender. He had previously served Boris Godunov as well. His
account, published in 1669, gives interesting details of activities in the
Kremlin during the Time of Troubles.
Maslovskii, 0. F. Materiali k Istorii Voennogo Iskusstva v
Rossii, Ustav o Stroevoi Pekhotnoi Sluzhbe Fel'dmarshala Municha. Dokumenti
Finlandskoi Voini 1743 Goda (Material toward the History of Military Art
in Russia, Regulations of Marshal Munnich on Infantry Service, Documents on the
Finland War of 1743), Chteniya V Imperatorskom Obshchestve Istorii i
Drevnostei Rossiiekikh pre Moskovskom Univereitete, Kniga 4, Moscow:
This is a very interesting article and collection of documents. The
article is an introduction and explanation for the documents, which pertain to
the Russian army of the Empresses Elizabeth and Anna. The regulations for
infantry drill and formations by Marshal Munnich are most interesting. The
documents pertaining to the Finnish campaign of 1743 include reports from the
front, registers of troops present in the campaign and the journal of
operations of the army in conjunction with the fleet. These documents show the
complex problems which arise when an army must coordinate its operation with a
fleet of ships and galleys.
Mavrobin, V. Some Remarks on the Article by P. B. Smirnov,
Formation of the Russian Centralized State', Voprosy Istorii, IV
(1946), pp. 45-54.
Professor Mavrobin was one of the Soviet historians whose views
were questioned by P. Smirnov in the cited article (see Smirnov, P.). In this
article, the author replies to the challenge. It is interesting, to read these
articles from 1946 to note the change in tone between 1946 and today. The
slavish way these authors all try to cite Stalin as source of wisdom and
knowledge of their subject makes it difficult to put much trust in their other
The author is correct in criticizing P. Smirnov for referring to the Muscovite
state as a national state when it was already from its founding a
multi-national state. Most of his other arguments, however, rest on citations
to Marx or Stalin and are of questionable value. He does make a valid point,
however, in emphasizing that the creation of the centralized state and the
victory of Moscow in the struggle to be the capital are two different issues
and one cannot assume that factors which worked for the success of the former
necessarily predestined the achievement of the latter.
Mazour, Anatole G. Russia, Tsarist and Communist. New York:
D. Van Nostrand Company, 1962.
This is a one volume textbook history of Russia to 1957. Despite
the limitations imposed by the requirements for brevity, the author manages to
present a clear picture of Russia in the period 1400-1600; all of which gives
due weight to the role of military force in external and internal affairs. The
discussion of the Stenka Razin rebellion is particularly good. The author gives
emphasis to Mongol and Western influences, especially in military affairs.
There are some obvious slips, such as referring to Azov as a former Venetian
colony on one page and as a former Genoese port on another. The
political-military skill of Ivan III is clearly shown. The author fails to note
the significance 0f Simeon Bekbulatovlch's appointment as tsar by Ivan IV,
persists in calling the boyars a class and does not give enough
attention to Ivan IV's military reforms. He shows that Peter's reforms were
developed as necessary supports 0f his military plans without explicitly saying
Mikaberidze, Alexander TheBattle of Borodino - Napoleon Against
Kutuzov Pen and Sword, South Yorkshire, 2007
A major new study of the battle using Russian as well as western
original sources, with extesnive bibliography and end notes.
Milukov, P. N. Drevnishaya Razryadnaya Kniga--Official
Edition of 1565 in Chteniya v Imperatorskom Obshchestve Istorii i
Drevnostei Rossiskikh pre Moskovskom Universitete, Kniga 1. Moscow:
This is the classic edition of the Razryadi book published by the
great Russian historian, Milukov. It has now been superseded by the edition
published by Buganov in 1966.
Mitchell, Meirin. The Maritime History of Russia, 848-1948.
London:, Sedgwick and Jackson, 1949.
The organization of this book makes it somewhat confusing to the
student not already familiar with Russian naval history, and makes it difficult
to use to extract historical information. The author treats his subject mostly
by geographical regions, that is, Black Sea, Mediterranean, Persian Gulf. This
organization is helpful in bringing together all information on Russian
activity in a region, but if the reader desires to learn about Catherine II's
naval expeditions, or Russian naval activity in the Crimean War, or foreign
influences in the navy, he must search through most of the book for remarks
scattered here and there. There is much information to be found in this way,
especially on the English and Scotish officers who created the Russian Navy for
Peter I and Catherine II.
Moellering, Maj. John H. The Evolution of Modern Warfare.
USMA, West Point, New York: Department of History, 1970.
This is a special text produced for instruction in military history
at the U. S. M. A. It contains a group of essays and excerpts from other books.
Most useful for our purposes are the following articles:
Braim, Paul F. A Study of the Role and Effectiveness of
European Cavalry in the Latter Middle Ages.
The author describes the latter medieval army and the decline of
cavalry in the 14th Century when confronted with pikes or bows.
Westerhoff, C. J. The Origins of Maurician
This is a fine study of the introduction of linear tactics in the
Montrose, Lynn. War for Profit.
This is a chapter from his book War through the Ages. It
describes the wars of Louis XIV from the French point of view.
Moellerlng, John H. The Warrior and the Wall.
This is a well illustrated and interesting article on
Montgomery of Alamein, Field-Marshal Viscount. A History of
Warfare. Cleveland, Ohio: World Publishing Company, 1968.
This is undoubtedly the most sumptiously produced book on general
military history available today. The illustrations are superb, the maps
excellent. In content, the scope is impressive, from the earliest time to the
present and including a considerable section on the Asiatic civilization. To
accomplish such a grand design, the author has had to be rigorously selective
in his emphasis. He must treat whole wars in a few sentences in order to devote
several pages to a key battle. His selection is excellent from the point of
view of Western military history.
Unfortunately, for the student of Russian history, Russia is practically
ignored, even though long chapters are devoted to the Mongol and Ottoman
armies. This is a measure of the fact that, from the authors point of
view, the Russians have neither developed a separate military science worthy of
being studied in its own context, like the Japanese, Chinese and Indians; nor
have played a formative role in Western military history.
The author treats the Northern War from the point of view of Charles XII, whom
he dismisses as a very poor statesman and strategist. The Russian victories
over Frederick the Great at Gross- Jagersdorf and over Napoleon in 1812 are
mentioned but only in passing. True, the Russian participation in the World War
is given the detailed treatment it deserves, but those war are outside the
period under consideration in this study. The author's account of Western
military history points up the many errors made by Soviet historians when
writing on this subject.
Moore, Major, Richard. Foreign Military Influence in
Russia, 16101716, unpublished essay, University of Illinois,
In this essay, the author effectively demolishes the assertion of
Chernov and other Soviet military writers that the Russian army's development
was entirely self-generated and internally led, with no foreign influence.
Major Moore has provided a helpful bibliography as well.
Muzeum Wojska Polskiego u Warsuawie. Zolnierz Polski--Ubior,
Uzbrojenie, i Oporzadzenie od Wilku XI do Poku 1960. Warsaw: 1960.
Volume One of this massive history of the Polish Army covers the XI
to the XVII Centuries. The book contains over 200 full page illustrations
showing all the various types of soldiers in the Polish army of this period.
The book also contains descriptive sections explaining the pictures and an
Nef, John V. Western Civilization since the Renaissance, Peace,
War Industry and the Arts. New York: Harper and Row, 1963.
The thesis of this book is that war has not been the major promoter
of human progress as Werner Sombart said, but a major bloc to progress. The
author shows that war and peace are both closely related to all other human
activities and that the interrelationships are more complex than they might
appear to be. He gives a great deal of information on the introduction of new
weapons and the results which followed. His remarks on the introduction of the
bayonet and its use by Charles XII against the Russians are particularly
interesting in view of the common assertion by Russian historians that it was
the Russians who emphasized reliance on the bayonet while Western armies used
the outmoded tactic of musket fire.
Nicolle, David, Lake Peipus 1242 London, Osprey, 1996
This is in the expanded Osprey 'campaigns series' format with excellent maps
and color illustrations. It includes description of both sides and the entire
campaign, not only the battle. Therfe is a chronology and short list of
Nicolle, David, Armies ofMedieval Russia 750-1250London, Osprey, 1999
There is a chronology and map in addition to the color and B/W illustrations.
The list of recommended reading is extensive. Both Russians and their opponents
Nicolle, David, V. Shpakovsky Medieval Russian Armies 1250-1500London,
A continuation of the previous entry with similar format. As the title
indicates the focus and all the color illustrations are about the Russian
armies, so do not include the Mongols and others that are subjects in other
Osprey booklets. There is a chronology - also many artifacts arfe shown as
Nicolle is an expert on the subject.
Nicolle, David, Hungary and the fall of Eastern Europe 1000-1568London,
This is about Russia's western neighbors plus Mongols. It follows the standard
Osprey format with color and B/W illustrations and chronology.
Nicolle, David The Age of Tamerlane London, Osprey,
The paperback booklet has maps, chronology, color and B/W illustrations.
Tamerlane's opponents are described in other Ospreyh booklets.
Nikiforov, L. A. Review of The Persian Expedition of Peter I,
172223, by V. P. Listsov, pub. MGU 1951, in Voprosy Istorii,
IV (April, 1952), pp. 105-108.
The reviewer states that Listsov gives two principal reasons for
the Persian Campaign; first, the economic reason, desire to secure trade
relations on a favorable basis, and second, the political reason , the
necessity to secure the southern frontier which was in great danger from
Turkish expansion in the area. The reviewer disagrees with this priority. He
states that the necessity to secure the frontier was paramount and that the
economic reason played a small role.
This is an interesting example of an orthodox Marxist approach
attempting to assert the primacy of economic reasons being rejected by the
reviewer in favor of an approach which is calculated to better serve Russian
national interests. The Marxist view here places Russian motives in too harsh a
light, by emphasizing the necessity of this campaign for national
defense of vital interest, it is hoped the aggressive nature of this invasion
will be played down. The reviewer goes on to make the incredible assertion that
the campaign was not a war on Persia anyway, but a friendly move to save
Persia's independence. Actually, it was an attempt by Peter to take advantage
of Persian troubles with Afghanistan and Turkey. The attempt was not too
successful due to Persia's recovery from those other troubles.
Nossov, Konstantin S., Medieval Russian Fortressess Ad 862-1480 London:
A very much needed reference on fortifications in medieval Russia. It contains
a chronology, glossary, maps, tour of sites and descriptions of them today.
Nossov, Konstantin S. Russian Rortresses 1480-1682 London: Osprey, 2006,
A continuation of the previous book with maps and full color illustrations. It
includes description of the frontier defense lines. Note the author does not
title these 'castles' because they were urban fortifications.
Novoselskii, A. A. Borba Moskovskogo Gosudarstva s
Tatarami v XVII Veke (The Struggle of the Muscovite State withthe Tatars in the
17th Century. Moscow: 1948.
This monograph is the most comprehensive treatment of the subject
available. It also includes a chronology of all the Tater related incidents in
the 16th Century. There are useful maps included and a bibliography. The
author, on the basis of scattered documentary reports, makes calculations to
determine the total number of prisoners taken by the Tatars and cost of their
raids to the Muscovite state.
Most historians discuss Ivan's abandonment of the state in 1564 in
terms of his dissatisfaction with the boyars. The author gives very interesting
information showing that the boyars were dissatisfied with Ivan and accused him
of failing to perform the Tsar's chief duty of defending the state from its
Nussbaum, Frederick L. The Triumph of Science and Reason,
1660-1685. New York: Harper and Row, 1953.
This was the era of three revolutions: the Cartesian revolution in
science, the political revolution which brought absolutism, and the military
revolution which created the modern army. The author relates these and other
developments to give a clear picture of Europe in the full flower of Baroque
civilization. Russia and Eastern Europe are also fully discussed.
Obchinnikov, R. V. Several Questions on the Peasant Wars of
the Beginning 17th Century in Russia, Voprosy Istorii, VII(July,
1959), pp. 68-63.
The questions under discussion here, such as the date and length of
the siege of Moscow by Bolotnikov in 1606-07, are very narrow. The article is
of use primarily as a source of information on the primary sources and works of
other historians that relate to the peasant war in the Time of
Troubles. The author uses an impressive array of sources which no doubt
contain much material bearing on more directly military issues. The Razryad
books in particular must be worth reading.
O'Brien, Carl Bickford. Muscovy and the Ukraine, from the
Pereyaelavl Agreement to the Truce of Andrusovo, 1654-1667. Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1963.
This book presents a thorough analysis 0f the complex relations
between the Polish, Muscovite and Cossack governments during the critical years
when Moscow extended its influence into the Ukraine. The military campaigns of
each party are discussed with respect to their political causes and effects,
but not in sufficient detail to give a clear picture of the tactics,
organization, and training of the units. One gets the impression of cavalry
units moving across a vast plain in the manner of naval squadrons at sea, to
attack villages located like scattered islands in the ocean. A clear picture of
the Muscovite doctrine of once a part, always a part of Muscovy
emerges from the attitude of Tsar and council. The Russian policy 0f having
others do the fighting if possible can also be seen clearly in the policies of
This entire subject is so obscured by nationalist passions that it is difficult
to find the truth in most writing done by either Russian or Ukrainian writers.
Dr. O'brien has made use of primary sources and carefully shows the reader
where the truth most likely lies amid all the arguments of both sides. Compare
this with the opinions expressed by Professor Vernadsky.
______________Russia and Turkey, 1677-1681--The Treaty of
Bakhchisarai, Russian Review,, XII, No. 4 (October, 1953), pp.
The author places the Treaty of Bakhchisarai in its proper place in
the history of Russian expansion to the south and west. He discusses the series
of wars involving Muscovites, Poles, Turks, Austrians, Tatars, and Cossacks
which developed out of their mutual desires to control the areas where their
interests met: Ukraine, Moldavia and Wallachia. The campaigns which are central
to this study are those which grew out of the attempts of the Right Bank
Ukraine Hetman, Peter Doroshenko, to preserve Ukrainian independence by
securing Turkish help. This brought on a Turkish-Polish war in which the Tatars
supported Turkey and Muscovy supported Poland. The Poles signed a separate
peace leaving the Russians to face the Turkish military might in the Ukraine.
The Turks captured Chigirin in the famous siege and then offered peace.
Tsar Feodor Alekseevich accepted and the Treaty of Bakhchisarai was signed.
Tsar Feodor had unsuccessfully appealed to Vienna and Warsaw for aid.
Therefore, when the Turks turned on Vienna in 1683 and the requests for aid
were reversed, Russia struck a hard bargain for their help. The treaty
marked a turning point in Russo-Turkish relations
This period also was notable for the appearance of a Pan-Slav interest in
Russian movements to free the Balkan peoples from the Turks.
__________ Russia under Two Tsars, 1682-1689: The Regency of
Sophia Alekeeevna. Berkeley: University of Calif. Press, 1952.
This is a well written and thoroughly researched study of the much
maligned regency of Peter the Great's half-sister, Sophia. The author shows
that things were not so bad as Peter's propagandists would have us think they
were. In fact, Sophia continued the Westernization begun by her father, Alexis,
and thereby prepared the way for Peter's more extensive reforms. The author
includes a great deal of information on military affairs. The two unsuccessful
Crimean campaigns of Golitsyn played a part in his downfall and that of Sophia.
Peter's coup d'etat and the suppression of the Streltzi rebellion also rested
on military force.
Olivia, L. Jay, ed. Russia and the West from Peter to
Khrushchev. Boston: D. C. Heath and Company, 1965.
This collection of articles and documents emphasized the relations
between Russia and Europe in the period 1700-1960. It includes Voltaire's
Description of the Battle of Poltava, Peter's Decree on the
Employment of Foreigners and excerpts from the works of Karamazin, Kliuchevsky,
Sumner and others.
Oman, Sir Charles. A History of the Art of War in the Middle
Ages, Two Volumes. New York: Burt Franklin, 1924.
This was for many years the definitive work on the subject. But
there has been a massive amount of research and new writing on medieval warfare
since the 1920's. This work does not contain much information on the Russian
army except that which confronted the Mongol invasion of 1238-40. But it does
contain much else of critical importance to an understanding of Russian
military history. It is also weak in study of siege warfare.
First and foremost is the description of the Mongol and Tatar armies which both
fought against and allied themselves with the Russians. Besides this, the
Mongols had great influence on the development of the Russian army itself. Then
there are the excellent descriptions of major Russian opponents in the West,
the Turks and the Poles. Finally, and most useful as an antidote to the
inflated claims one finds in Soviet texts, there is a wealth 0f material on
Western military history including invention of weapons, tactics, organization
and the like. A firm grasp of this material is necessary to dispel the
misconceptions which abound in Soviet works on military history whenever
authors seek to show that Russian tactics, weapons, skill, organization or
whatever were superior to contemporary Western practices.
__________. A History of the Art of War in the Sixteenth
Century. New York: E. P. Dutton and Company, 1937.
This volume is the essential continuation of Professor Oman's
history of medieval warfare which carries the story through the military
revolution which so altered the conduct of war in this period. It is very
unfortunate that Professor Oman never wrote a comparable study of warfare in
the 17th Century; which, with the further changes effected by Gustavus Adolphus
and Maurice of Nassau, set the stage for modern warfare. There is no material
in this book on Russian military history, but the book is nevertheless
essential to our purposes for the same reasons mentioned for The Art of War
in the Middle Ages.
Ossipov, K. Bogdan, Khmel'nitskii. Moscow: TsK BLKSM
Publishing House, 1948.
Despite the somewhat popular style of this biography, it contains a
useful bibliography; the author gives a great deal of attention to the
historical background. He outlines the development of the Ukraine from medieval
times and includes chapters on the Cossacks and on their wars with the Poles
and Tatars prior to the uprising led by Bogdan Khmel'nitskii. The reader can
discount the author's opinion on the motivations and aims of the Cossacks and
use the data he gives on dates of battles and their outcome. The final section
on the reuniting of the Western Ukraine to Russia after World War II can be
__________ Suvorov. Moscow: TsK BLKSM, Molodaya
Gvardia, 1949. English ed.: Foreign Languages Publishing House,
The English edition of this biography is significantly abridged.
Practically all of the sections on Suvorov's personal life, marriage and
children have been left out. The book is designed for a general audience
unfamiliar with military history.
The author praises Suvorov. The book is intended to evoke a patriotic pride
from its Russian readers or an admiration of the Russians from the foreign
readers. A great many details of military operations, numbers of troops,
decisions of military councils, etc. are included. Everything Russian is
extolled and everything foreign, including Russia's allies, is castigated. When
one reads that Bestuzev, Apraksin and General Femor, among others, were
involved with Frederick II in anti-Russian intrigue, and that the
foreign generals were not only incompetent, but in Frederick's service, one
wonders what else in the book one should question. The Russian edition contains
maps and illustrations.
Palmer, Lt. Col. Dave R. and Britt, Maj. Albert S. The Art of
War in the 17th and 18th Centuries. West Point: U.S. Military Academy,
Department of History, 1970.
This is an excellent text written for use at the U. S. Military
Academy. There are chapters on Gustavus Adolphus, Marlborough and Eugene,
Frederick the Great and the Revolutionary War in America. The maps are
outstanding and the bibliography is very good. Besides very clear descriptions
of the campaigns and battles, the authors have pro vided a great deal of
valuable commentary and evaluation. It is a disappointment, however, to find
that the career of Frederick the Great is only treated halfway; the major
battles against the Russians are omitted. In all, the book gives a clear basic
guide to the art of war as practiced in the West, which can be used as a basis
for comparison with contemporary Russian practice, and especially with the
statements about it by Russian authors.
The authors might have made the text even more useful by adding more material
on the connection between theory and practice as found in the drill manuals and
other publications which proliferated at that time and were designed to
instruct untrained troops in the new techniques of war, and more material on
military theory in the 17th and 18th Centuries.
Pankov, 0. V., ed. Razvitie Taktiki Russkoi Armii (The
Development of Tactics of the Russian Army). Moscow: Military Publishing
House, Ministry of Defense, 1957.
This is a collection of nine interesting articles on the tactics
employed by the Russian Army at different periods from 1700 to 1918. The
articles on the tactics of Peter I, Rumyantsev and Suvorov are very useful. The
authors skip the period when, during Anna's reign, Russian military affairs
came under the control of the Germans. There are many excellent maps
illustrating the articles.
__________ Is Istorii Russkogo Voenno-Inzhenernogo Iskusatva
(From the History of Russian Military Engineering Art, a Collection of
Articles). Moscow: Military Publishing House, Military Ministry, USSR,
This small volume contains eight articles on separate periods in
the history of military engineering in Russia. The style is popular, but the
content is nevertheless useful, containing much data not published in English.
The purpose, to praise Russian engineering skill, is evident throughout.
Of special interest are the articles on military engineering in the l6th-l7th
Centuries, at Poltava, Suvorov's engineering, and Kutuzov's military
engineering. There are very good maps throughout.
Panov, V. A. Petr I Kak Polkovodets (Peter I as a Military
Leader) Moscow: State Military Publishing House, 1940.
One does not know quite how to evaluate this book when one finds on
the very first page the statement that the Streltzi were armed one- third with
muskets and two-thirds with pikes. Either the author knows something no one
else does or he makes a fundamental error, because all the other sources
emphasize that the Streltzi were armed one hundred percent with firearms and
berdisches In fact the usual Russian opinion is that the Streltzi were superior
to the western army because they did NOT use pikes.
The purpose of the book is to exalt Peter I as a great military leader. This
the author does by giving Peter credit for everything good and explaining away
everything bad. This is most apparent concerning the Pruth Campaign against
Turkey. Peter's mistake is said to be trusting too much in allies, which is not
a strategic or tactical mistake, according to the author. Of course, this same
mis take on the part of Charles XII in expecting too much from Mazeppa is a
different matter. Actually, one should be glad the author has included the
Pruth Campaign at all. (He gives a great deal of information on it not found
else where. Some of the Russian sources, such as The Northern War, don't
even mention it.
The book is useful. The author gives a complete account of the Northern War, a
very good account of the two sieges of Azov, and a brief account of the Persian
Campaign. The Russian army did make great strides forward under Peter's
direction. He undoubtedly was the guiding spirit and motivating force behind
this transformation and should be given due credit for a job well done, but a
somewhat less adulatory style would be more creditable.
The author's statistics on strength of armies in battles and losses suffered
are questionable. Did the Turks really have 250,000 men plus their Tatar allies
on the Pruth Campaign? The chapter on Peter's education is interesting. The
author mentions Patrick Gordon and the other Western instructors from whom
Peter gained his early training. The book contains some excellent maps of the
theater of war and individual battles.
Pashyto, V. T. Geroicheskaya Bor'ba Russkovo Naroda za
Nezavisimost, XIII Veke (The Heroic Struggle of the Russian People for
Independence in the 13th Century). Moscow: State Publishing House for
Political Literature, 1956.
Reading this book, one gets a better understanding of the Russian
sense of being surrounded by powerful enemies against whom it is necessary to
wage an unremitting struggle. It is difficult to find a more bloody century
than the 13th, during which the Russians fought the Germans, Hungarians, Poles
and other Western states more or less successfully, only to be almost
completely conquered (except for Novgorod and Pskov) by the eastern Mongol
The author uses all the terms of opprobrium at his command to denounce the
invaders and evoke a sense of indignation in the reader at the depredations of
these war loving peoples in the weakened, internally split land of Rus. He also
includes a separate mention of the struggle of the Caucasian and Central Asian
peoples to free themselves from the Mongol invaders (an interesting attempt to
appeal to all the present Soviet nationalities). In the same spirit, we find
that the peoples of the Baltic region, Latvians, Estonians, Finns, etc. were on
the side 0f the Russians against the German invaders. (This is more difficult
to believe than the assertions about the Asian peoples.)
A large part of the book is devoted to a description of Russian society, state
economics and culture prior to the invasions. One purpose of this description
is to show that internal weakness due to division, feudal separatism, class war
and failure of the various peoples to unite sufficiently, led to the invaders
being able to seize large parts of Russia. Another idea which follows from this
is that all these lands, which Russia has recently regained, were Russian and
therefore should be Russian again.
This is clearly a highly propagandistic work; even so, it contains quite a bit
of information on the military affairs of the 13th Century. It contains several
excellent maps, including two detailed campaign maps showing the various Mongol
and German invasions.
Paszkiewicz, Henryk. The Making of the Russian Nation.
London: Dacton, Longman and Todd, 1963.
When faced with a monumental work of scholarship which contains
hypotheses of an extremely controversial nature, a non-specialist finds it
difficult to know what to do. This book is both a continuation of and defense
of Professor Paszkiewicz's The Origin of Russia. The two most important
controversies are over the assertion that the early Rus were
Scandinavians, and the assertion that the three present day groups, Great
Russian, Belorussian and Ukrainian are not all descendants of a common
Old Russian or East Slavonic nation, but that the
Muscovite ethnic origins are Finno-Ugric.
The role military affairs played in the various shifts in population, conquests
and assimilation that occurred during the 8th- l6th centuries is treated but
inevitably buried in the mass of footnotes, claims, counterclaims and
The author points out that Slavonic was a language, not an ethnic group, and
was spread by churchmen to peoples who did not originally speak it. Likewise,
Rus was a religious concept in the Middle Ages in that it was not
original ethnic ancestry but adherence to the orthodox religion which
determined if one was a member of the com munity or not. Antedating this
process was the Slavonic colonization of the North-Eastern Territory during the
Throughout, the author cites primary sources; later, secondary sources; and
present day opinion, all of which is mixed together in a maze of conflicting
claims until the reader's confusion nearly equals that of the experts. The
sixty-nine page bibliography is so extensive; the author should have made note
of the most important sources in it.
Payne, Robert & Nikita Romanoff Ivan the Terrible,
Thomas Crowell Cop, N. Y., 1975
The author focuses on Ivan's personality. This is much more a
biography rather than study of the full context of contemporary Russia. But the
conquest of Kazan is described..
Pelenski, Jaroslaw. Muscovite Imperial Claims to the Kazan
Khanate, Slavic Review, XXVI, No. 4 (December, 1967), pp.
The author examines five types of claim advanced by Muscovite
propagandists to justify the conquest of Kazan. These are legal, religious,
historical, dynastic and national, He notes that the conquest occurred during
the period in which Moscow's expanded claims for recognition as an
international power and as the appointed gatherer of all the Rus
lands were being formulated. The conquest of Kazan was justified in these terms
and in turn was used as a basis for enhancing the image of Muscovy as a
powerful and influential empire in international affairs. The author refers to
the chronicles and other documents to indicate which personalities were
responsible for formulating each of these justifications and to show to whom
each justification was primarily directed.
Perry, John. The State of Russia under the Present Czar.
London: B. Tooke, 1716. Reprint: Frank Cass and Company, 1967.
This is an eyewitness account of the efforts of Peter I to
modernize Russia, by one of the English engineers hired to help in this work.
The author gives a very sympathetic evaluation 0f Peter's efforts to overcome
the inertia and obscurantism of his countrymen. Most of the observations
pertain to economic, political, religious and social mat ters, but there are
also some interesting remarks on the military reforms instituted by Peter and
on the Streltzi rebellions. Perry sees Peter's service as a junior officer and
his play acting with rituals as an effort to show the nobility that they, too,
should start careers from the bottom and not be excessively concerned with
Philips, E. D. The Mongols. New York: Praeger,
This is a very up-to-date study of the Mongol Empire of Chingis
Khan and his successors. It contains excellent illustrations, including much
archeological material. The author includes details of military organization,
tactics, weapons, administration, etc.
Pozdnev, A. Tvortsi Otechestvennogo Oruzhiya. Moscow:
Military Publishing House, 1955.
The author states that his purpose is to strengthen the reader's
patriotic feeling and belief in the creative strength of the Russian people as
evidenced in their development of weapons. This is a fascinating book.
According to this author, the Russians invented practically everything. Thus,
we find that Russians were the first invent tanks, lighter-than-air craft,
airplanes, telegraph, telephone, electric light, radio, etc., etc. But their
inventions were not appreciated or exploited fast enough by the reactionary
tsarist government and were stolen by the greedy capitalists. Only the
Communist Revolution has enabled the Russian people to properly put their
genius to work.
The interesting thing the author says, without meaning to necessarily, is how
the Russians connect science and industry with military superiority. According
to the author, all these inventions were devised by military scientists for use
in the Russian armed forces. The purpose of radiotelegraph, electric light,
etc. is to increase the power of the country. But these inventions were
perverted when they were stolen by Western commercial interests.
The author quotes at length from original documents and
eyewitness reports but naturally, there are no footnotes at all.
With all these absurd contentions about more recent scientific inventions
before us, we can hardly believe the author's assertions about the Russian
inventions of firearms, cannon, and a host of clearly military items in
ancient, medieval and early modern times.
The ludicrous boasting reaches some sort of height when the author
gives an illustration supposedly showing the wooden siege tower on wheels used
by Ivan IV at the siege of Kazan. Such towers were of course in common use from
ancient times, and there were towers built at this siege, but this tower is
bristling like a hedgehog with so many cannon and falconets that the recoil
would have knocked it apart if the sparks didn't set it on fire. And just to
show the lack of seriousness of the author's research, he skips
over with hardly more than a mention, the real Russian invention of the late
Middle Ages, the gulyai-gorod (walking fortress). The
author is correct however, when he emphasizes that the history of Russia is
filled with wars. However, we might question his claim that when Russia lost a
war it was not the people's fault, but only due to the ruling classes.
His remarks about the Tatar yoke are pure fantasy, as are the comments on the
Napoleonic invasion. The book should be read to learn what a national
inferiority complex can produce. When a foreign invention cannot be denied,
then we find that the Russians significantly improved it. Sometimes the signals
get crossed, however. Thus, we read that when the famous Gatling gun was
introduced into Russia, the well-known Russian inventor, Gorlov,
improved it by in creasing the number 0f barrels from six to ten; and another
inventor, Baranovski, independently invented an even better multi-barreled
machine gun. But another Soviet author, Zaienchkovski, pursuing the same goal
of extolling Russian inventions, writes that when the Gatling gun came to
Russia, it was Baranovski who improved it and he did so by reducing the number
of barrels from ten to six. Both authors say the improvement
enabled the weapon to reach a rate of fire of 200 to 300 rounds a minute.
Actually, in the U.S. the weapon fired over 600 rounds a minute. Similar
confused treatment is given to the Berdan breech loading rifle, which in
reality reached such a widespread employment in the Caucasus and in Russian
generally that the name entered the language as a Berdanka. One
could go on with this type of thing, but enough is enough.
Preston, Richard A., Wise, Sidney F. and Werner, Herman 0. Men in
Arms--A History of Warfare and its Interrelationships with Western Society. New
York: Praeger, 1962.
This is an excellent study of the relation of war and other social
phenomena. The account of strictly military developments is as fine as in any
military history devoted exclusively to the subject; and, in addition, the book
contains material, not assembled elsewhere, which illuminates the close
interconnections between these military developments and social, economic and
political changes occurring in the society at large. It is one of the most
important books on military, history. As the title indicates, the authors
concentrate on Western society. It is a goal of the present author to show that
these same relationships existed in Russian society.
Pritsak, Omeljan. Moscow, the Golden Horde, and the Kazan
Khanate from a Polycultural Point of View, Slavic Review, XXVI,
Number 4 (December, 1967), p. 577.
In this skillfully prepared article, the author demonstrates not
only the advantages of a polycultural point of view but the
importance of knowing the who is who in history. One important
revelation he makes is the role of Simeon Bekbulatovich, who was installed as
tsar by Ivan IV. Simeon was a Chinggisid and as such, had the charisma to be
ruler of a state.
He also indicates Ivan's own later descent from Mamai, through his mother,
Elena Glinskaia. (But Mamai was not a Chinggisid.) And he shows the dynastic
relationships of the other chief protagonists in the 16th Century struggle to
succeed the Great Horde. He brings Moscow's conquest of Novgorod, Kazan and
Astrakhan into proper perspective by relating it to the Ottoman conquest of the
Middle East, which made the Volga River trade route again an important artery
Prudnikov, U. F. On the Question of Manning the Russian Army,
1794- 96, Vestnik Moscow University, Seriya IX, Istoriya 4 (1970),
pp. 15- 26.
Using the reports of the commanders and military commissions
involved with the problem of finding enough recruits to man the Russian army in
the 1790's, the author presents a rather dismal picture of the army of
Rumyantsev and Suvorov. As the author indicates, the basic problem was serfdom
and the arbitrary way in which men were taken from their families for a
lifetime of military service in harsh conditions from which they could not
expect to return. The high rejection rate and rate of dropouts due to medical
problems is indicative of the fact that the landowners tried to send their
worst serfs whenever possible.
The article gives a clear picture of conditions near the midpoint between the
organization of this recruiting system of Peter I in 1705 and its reform after
the Crimean War in the 1870's. The conditions correspond closely to those
described as being prevalent already in Peter's time and to those still in
existence in the 1850's, when their inadequacies were finally to prove
disastrous for the Russian army.
Punin, L. N. Field Marshal Kutusov. Moscow: Military
Publishing House, 1957.
After giving a brief summary of Kutusov's early career, the author
concentrates on the years 1805-1813, during which Kutusov, at the peak of his
career, led Russia's armies against the French and Turks. The author is
extremely laudatory in his style as well as content. Kutusov is shown to be a
true son of Mother Russia; that is, a military genius. He no doubt was an
outstanding general, little studied in the West, so this account serves a good
purpose. A number of interesting anecdotes are included, such as the occasion
when, during a maneuver, Kutusov tricked the Emperor Paul, who was in the
opposing army, into an ambush and captured him. Unfortunately, there is no
bibliography. However, there are some useful footnote citations to the
Putnam, Peter, ed. Seven Britons in Imperial Russia.
Princeton University Press, 1952.
The author has selected and edited excerpts from the accounts of
seven visitors to Russia during the period of its transformation into a modern
state. These accounts have been selected from among the many available to
reflect the opinions of the four types of visitor the editor considers typical:
the foreign expert, the diplomat, the merchant, and the tourist. The accounts
show as much about their authors and England as they do about Russia. The
editor has supplied an excellent introduction and full discussions of each
For the student of military affairs, the accounts of John Perry and
General Wilson are most interesting.
Raeff, Marc, ed. Peter the Great-Reformer or Revolutionary:
Problems in European Civilization Series. Boston: D. C. Heath and Company,
The absence of a single essay on Peter's military reforms from this
otherwise very fine collection of articles evaluating Peter and his reforms is
itself an indication of the unfortunate failure of historians to place his
reforms in the context of the Northern War. This is particularly unfortunate
when the connection between the War and the other reforms is clearly made by
such historians as P. N. Milukov, when he remarks that the political and social
reforms were merely the outgrowth of Peters, war requirements.
Rakovskii, Leontii. Generalissimus Suvorov. Moscow: Military
Publishing House, Ministry of Defense, 1959.
This is a military novel, actually a biographical work
on Suvorov written in the form of a historical novel. It begins in 1759 when
Suvorov was already a Lieutenant Colonel on campaign in the Seven Years; War.
It is difficult to know what anecdotes and details are true and what made up by
Rappoport, P. A. Defensive Works of Ancient Russia,
Voprosy Istorii, XI (November, 1970), pp. 56-64.
A general and preliminary outline of the results to date, this
article distinguishes by time and place the various stages in the development
0f fortifications in ancient Rus. The author indicates that much more
archeological work must be done to develop more details. He shows that
defensive works were closely related to the nature 0f the threat they were
designed to counter. He notes the general connections between
fortifications--engineering and technical skills, social organization, and
internal and external political relationships. The influence or lack of
influence of Western models in various parts of Russia is noted. Much more work
needs to be done to complete the picture. Fortifications is among the most
significant but least described aspects of Russian history.
Rasin, J. A., Major General. Istoriya Voennogo Iskusstva (The
History of the Military Art). Five Volumes. Moscow: State Publishing House,
Ministry of Defense, 1955.
General Razin began publishing his comprehensive study of military
history just before World War II. However, he had to suspend publication due to
Stalin's insistence on being the only authority on military history. In fact
Razin barely escaped with his life for presuming to know more about military
history than the leader. A new edition appeared beginning in 1955. It is a
major contribution to military historical writing, using, as it does, not only
all the familiar Western sources, but also many Russian sources not employed by
Western writers. The point of view is strictly Marxist, which also gives it a
special character. In magnitude, it must rank with Hans Delbruch's History
of the Art of War within the Framework of Political History. A translation
into English would be most welcome as a means to bring the Soviet conception of
military history to Western students and specialists, as well as to provide a
fuller exposition of Russian military history than is found in any general
military history written in the West.
Ray, Capt. Oliver A. The Imperial Russian Army Officer,
Political Science Quarterly, LXXVI, Number 4 (December, 1961),
After a brief introduction tracing the development of the Russian
officer corps from Peter I to Alexander II, the author focuses attention on the
officer as he existed from l86O-19l7. He emphasizes the education and training
received or not received, the social origins of the officers and their
historical setting to show why they were, in large part, unfit to handle the
great political and social problems that faced them during the
Riehn, Richard. The Rise and Fall of Linear Tactics,
The Guidon, XVII, Number 2 (July, 1959).
In this short well written article, the author explains the
development of linear tactics in the 17th and early 18th century, its use by
the Prussian Army of Frederick the Great and its decline during the years
preceding the French Revolution. The author includes interesting statistics on
the rate of fire possible under various conditions. He shows that these
tactics, when correctly employed, answered the demands of 18th century warfare.
This article should be compared with the disparaging remarks made by Soviet
military historians who seek to discredit the linear tactics and especially the
Prussian employment of them. (Except of course when it was streltzi who were so
far advanced by the use of linear tactics.)
Robert, Michael. Gustavus Adolphus--A History of Sweden,
16111632. Two Volumes. London: Longmans, Green and Company,
As the subtitle indicates, this is much more than a biography of
Gustavus Adolphus. Along with the excellent economic and social history 0f
Sweden, these volumes contain a wealth of material on the Swedish army, its
revolutionary transformation by Gustavus, and the campaigns in which it created
an empire for Sweden. Volume One contains the best description of the
Russo-Swedish war during the Time of Troubles, and the Livonian
War, that I have seen. It is much clearer than descriptions in Russian sources.
Volume Two contains a thorough study of the Swedish army and its campaigns in
the Thirty Years War.
Roberts, Penfield. The Quest for Security, 1715-1740. New
York: Harper and Row, 1947.
The period treated in this book forms a sort of lull between the
world war of the War of the Spanish Succession and the world wars of Frederick
the Great's era. Yet, the book is not without interest. Russia was involved in
wars in Poland and against Turkey. The other nations of Europe also conducted
wars, even though on a somewhat smaller scale than before or after. This book
admirably provides the continuity needed to understand 18th Century European
Rogers, Colonel H. C. B. Mercenary Soldiers,
Tradition, XLIX (1970).
The author discusses the more famous mercenary units in Western
Europe during the 17th and 18th Centuries. According to this article, these
units served well. They were outstanding, for the most part, in their
professionalism, especially while they were composed mostly of the original
nationality: Irish, Scotch, German, etc. Their record is quite different from
that of the mercenaries in the condottiere armies of 15th and 16th Century
Rogger, Hans. National Consciousness in Eighteenth Century
Russia. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press,1960.
It is interesting to read that compensatory nationalism
was as much a part of the intellectual scene in the Russia of Catherine II as
it is today. Professor Rogger describes the foreign influx into Russia in the
first half of the 18th Century and the Russian reaction to it. He shows that
the development of nationalism was itself a part of the Westernization process.
There are interesting remarks on the effect of foreign influence in the army.
The symbolism of uniforms is illustrated in the rush with which the guards
regiments changed from the hated Prussian style uniform of Peter III back into
their Russian style uniforms of Peter I, when they hurried to greet
Catherine II and support her coup d'etat. That Peter's uniforms were themselves
a major departure from the truly Russian style uniforms worn before 1700 and a
major part of his Westernization campaign had apparently already been forgotten
in the 1760's. The way questions of national honor disrupted the scholarly work
of historians and the Academy of Science then is remarkably similar to the way
such consideration dominate Soviet writing today.
Romanovich, Slavatinskii. The Dvorianstvo in Russia--From the
Beginning of the 18th Century to the Abolition of Serfdom. St. Petersburg:
1870. Reprinted, The Hague: Mouton, 1968.
In his introduction, the author makes the point that before the
institutionalization of the dvoriani as a state service class by Peter I with
his Table of Ranks, there was no nobility as a class in Russia. Rather, there
were a large number of ranks corresponding to duties and offices. These ranks
were all tsar's service people. They varied from the descendants of
Rurik, Gedimin or Tatar khans to the lowest deti-boyars. They had varying
amounts of honor and privileges. The boyars didn't have anything in
common with the okol'nichi, etc. A corporate spirit and class
consciousness developed only after Peter organized the,
shlakhetstvo, importing a Polish-German name for the new class.
He gives many fascinating details of the life of nobles and serfs. The author
gives the numbers of serfs given to the leading officials and generals as
rewards for various successes and victories by their grateful rulers from Peter
I through Catherine II. He thoroughly explains the military and civil service
requirements placed on the dvoriani class by Peter I and traces the development
of this service through all its changes to its abolishment by Peter III and
then discusses the results of this abolishment.
Ropp, Theodore. War in the Modern World. New York: Collier
The first chapter of this survey of modern warfare is a concise
analysis of the development of military art in Western Europe from 1415 to
1798. Thus, it admirably parallels the most interesting period of development
in Russia. Comparison of the descriptions of Western armies, tactics,
organization, administration, supply, recruiting, armament, etc. given in this
book with the conditions existing at the same time in Russia, clearly shows the
similarities and differences between the two parts of Europe. The author gives
names, dates and places of introduction of many significant developments such
as the bayonet, musket, artillery, line tactics, horse artillery, etc. He
explains the practices of neo-classical rate of fire and accuracy
of the musket with the parade ground drills, and strict discipline with the
type of conscript used.
This comparison shows that the Russian historians both 1. make unwarranted
claims for Russia's being the most advanced country militarily, or having
introduced some new invention earlier than Western Europe, and 2. do not
emphasize other significantly unique features of Russia's military system which
perhaps should be considered as superior (such as the absence of the practices
of buying commissions and colonels contracting to recruit regiments).
Rothenberg, Gunther E. The Austrian Border in Croatia,
1522-1747. University of Chicago Press, 1960,
________________The Military Border in Croatia, 1740-1881.
University of Chicago Press, 1966.
These books present a scholarly yet readable account of this socio-
military institution from its foundation to its dissolution. The trials and
tribulations recounted In these two volumes have a modern sound. Dr. Rothenberg
is especially astute in evaluating the human motivations behind the various
policies sought by the conflicting groups and leaders. The military border
calls to mind both the Cossacks and Alexander I and his military colonies. The
long conflict between Ottoman and Habsburg Empires contains lessons for today
as well. The author includes a full picture of the Balkan situation in general
and of the complex range of problems facing the Ottoman and Holy Roman Empires.
In addition, this study of the Hapsburg solution to their border problems gives
the student material for comparison with the Russian solution to the same
problem. It is interesting to note that the Russian government began its
fortified border line shortly after the Habsburgs began theirs.
Sakharov, A. M. Obrazovanie i Razvitie Rossiiskogo Gosudarstva
v XIX- XVII Veke (The Formation and Development of the Russian State in
the 14th to 17th Centuries). Moscow: State Publishing House for Higher
This is a textbook for a survey history of the formative period of
Russian history during which Moscow emerged as the center of the new state. The
general narrative proceeds according to the familiar story giving all the key
dates and events found in such histories as Florinski or Clarkson. But there
are several very interesting evaluations, observations and remarks concerning
the nature of this emerging state. They are especially noteworthy for being
found in a Soviet textbook.
The author states that this state had a multi-national character from the
beginning; in fact, he seems to consider it one of his main missions to
emphasize this fact. He intends to show that the state was formed before the
Russian nationality itself. He notes that the Tatar influence was not limited
to the period of the struggle for independence, 1237-1480, but continued into
the 17th Century. He remarks of the 500 year battle along the southern border
that only the Balkan peoples have such a history. History of not one
other European country knows anything similar. He observes that the
Russian princes frequently used Tatar help against each other. He emphasizes
the military role of Moscow and remarks that in the struggle for supremacy,
real power will win out over apparent power. There is much worthwhile thought
in this book.
Saxe, Marshal Maurice de. Reveries on the Art of War, Trans.
General Thomas Phillips. Harrisburg: The Military Service Publishing Company,
Written by one of the great generals of the 18th Century, this book
should be read for an understanding of how war should have been
fought then, not how it actually was conducted. However, comparison of the
ideas formulated in this work, with those of Rumyantsev and Suvorov will show
that the Russians did not have a monopoly on advanced military theories. One
might speculate on what the course of European history might have been if this
great soldier had married either Anna Ivanovna or Elizabeth Petrovna, both of
whom later ascended the Russian throne.
Sevcenko, Igor. Muscovys Conquest of Kazan: Two Views
Reconciled, Slavic Review, XXVI, Number 4 (December, 1967), pp.
This brief introductory article makes the point that one must look
at historical events from several sides. He remarks that Moscow was one of
several successor states to the Golden Horde, the one with the best methods of
exploiting subject populations and best military technology.
He discusses Moscow's justifications for its conquest of Kazan in relation to
the past history of their relations with each other. His comparison of
Sviiazhesk and Vasil'sursk to Anadolu Hisar and Rumeli Hisar is especially
appropriate. It would have been even better if he had included
Muscovite-Kazantsi relations during the reign of Ivan III to show their
continuity. If he had done so, he would have seen the reason for Professor
Keenan's remark that 1480 has nothing to do with the ?Tatar Yoke.
This is so because at that time, two other Tatar successors, Kazan and Crimea,
were on Moscow's side; Moscow had subject Tatars, such as Kasimov; and yet
another two Tatar groups, the Siberian and Nogai, were the ones who caught the
Horde on its way back from the Oka.
Shunkov, V. I., ed. Voprosii Voennoi Istorii Rossii, 1.8-19 Veke
(Questions on the Military History of Russian, 18th and 19th Centuries).
Moscow: State Publishing House, Science, 1969.
This collection of articles is dedicated to Professor Lubomir
Grigorevich Beskrovnii, one of the Soviet Union's most outstanding military
historians. It is fitting that this book contains some of the best, least
biased, and most interesting articles on Russian military history of the 18th
and 19th centuries to come out of the USSR in recent times. It also contains a
bibliography of the works of Professor Beskrovnii, over 140 entries, which form
a major part of the recent scholarship on Russian military history of this
period. Professor Beskrovnii habitually includes a bibliographic study in his
works, so it is appropriate that the first four articles in this book are on
There are also three articles on military thought, five on military industry
and supply, six on recruitment and training of troops, four on war-related
topics, five on class war and the army, and five articles on miscellaneous
topics, all containing new material. The most important articles for the
present study are the following:
Klokman, U. P. Questions of the Military History of Russia,
18th and Beginning 19th Centuries in Soviet Historiography.
This is a well done study of the work of pre-revolutionary as well
as Soviet historians, and is of great use as a source of bibliographic
Meshcheryakov, G. P. From the History of Military
Theoretical Thought in Russia in the First Quarter 18th
This is a useful study of the work of Weide, Golovin, Peter I and
others, in creating the regulations, drill manuals, and tactical rules
governing the new regular Russian army.
Kochetkov, A. N. Russian Military Literature and Military
Thought in the Second Half 18th Century and Beginning 19th
The gap between the beginning of this article and the end of the one
listed above is no doubt due to the fact that Germans dominated the Russian
government and army in the second quarter of the 18th Century. The reluctance
of Soviet historians to devote much attention to this period is quite
noticeable. The article contains information on many little known works on
military theory that appeared during the de signated era.
Kapustina, G. D. Cart Transport in the Northern
This is a valuable article on this important and little known aspect
of military operations.
Nazarov, B. D. On the Dating of the ?Regulation for
Infantry and Artillery Affairs'.
This is a very interesting article on the first Russian written
military regulation manual printed in 1620 but never put into use. The author
shows that this manual was actually begun on the order of the Pretender,
Dmitrii, in connection with large-scale military reforms he planned but was
dated later by its author so as to appear to be a work of the reign of Michael
Rabinovich, M. D. The Formation of the Regular Russian Army
on the Eve of the Northern War.
This is a very important article making use of archival materials to
give a detailed picture of the recruitment and training methods used to form
the new Russian Army in 1699-1700. This was the army which was sent to Narva in
the opening campaign of the war.
Vodarskii, Y. E. The Service Dvorianstvo in Russia at the
End of the 17th and Beginning 18th Centuries.
This is a short article packed with statistics showing the numbers
of dvoriani of various types who were available and who served in the Muscovite
armies before and after Peter restructured the army and changed the nature of
Sichynsky, Volodymyr. Ukraine in Foreign Comments and
Descriptions VI to XV Century. New York: Ukrainian Congress Committee of
This is a Ukrainian nationalist book which is designed to show the
unique and separate existence of the Ukraine from the reports of foreign
travelers to the area. The author's first task is to disprove the Norman
theory of ancient Rus, which he simply denies. He next tries to
read the Muscovites out of the Slavic world, calling them Mongolo-Finnic tribes
which accepted only the superficial aspects of Slavic language and culture from
Kiev. He claims the term Ukraine as the country's name from the
12th Century. Next, he calls the Zaporozhskaia Sech a Knightly military
After these preliminary remarks the author begins the main part of
the text, which is quotations from a very great number of sources. Many of
these quotations refer to Kievan or Ukrainian military affairs. Although mostly
quite short, these quotations serve as references to the sources which will
give fuller descriptions of military affairs in the Ukraine. Some of the
earliest authors are Patriarch Photius (d. 891), Constantine Porphyrogenitus
(905-959), Leo the Deacon, Al-Massudi and Ibn-Dast. Medieval and early modern
writers also included details of military practice in their reports. The author
especially likes Giles Fletcher's book. Another very important writer is Sieur
de Beauplan. The author notes that the parts of Patrick Gordon's diary
pertaining to his years of service in the Ukraine were conveniently lost by the
Muscovite government and the Muscovite government pressured the Austrians to
ban the notes which were unfavorable to them from the book of J. G. Korb.
The book is certainly full of Ukrainian nationalist bias, but this is good as
an antidote to the Muscovite bias one finds in most Russian books. Thus, the
picture of Mazeppa and of the Ukrainian participation in the Northern War is
completely different from that given in Soviet sources.
The author also includes many selections from the same sources giving the
writer's impressions of Muscovy. These are invariably the most gruesome,
negative accounts imaginable and are designed to highlight the contrast with
the favorable descriptions of Ukraine. Even in acknowledging this purpose, one
must say that these accounts, especially those describing political behavior,
show conditions strik ingly similar to conditions seen today. The book contains
an excellent bibliography of Western writings on Ukraine and Muscovy.
Comparison of this list with the list of eyewitness accounts quoted in the text
reveals that many of the authors cited have not been published under their own
names. Unfortunately, the lack adequate footnotes prevents identification of
the published source for these excerpts.
Simon, Edith. The Making of Frederick the Great. New York:
Little, Brown and Company, 1963.
This book on the family background, upbringing and early career of
Frederick II concludes with his second Silesian War. Thus, we must await the
forthcoming second volume to read the author's account of the Seven Years' War.
However, there is much of interest in this volume. The creation of the Prussian
army, the reasons for its legendary drill and discipline, the invention of the
iron ramrod, and Prussian participation in the Northern War are all discussed.
Moreover, we have interesting personal portraits of Peter the Great, Charles
XII, Augustus the Strong, and other leading figures 0f the era. Brief
descriptions of Frederick's early battles give an indication of the state of
the military art in the 1740's. Study 0f Prussian drill and tactical methods
from their point of view is made necessary by the general insistence of Russian
military historians that this technique was not good and that its introduction
into Russia was a regressive move.
Skrinnikov, R. G. Samoderzhavie i Oprichnina (Autocracy and
Oprichnina) in Vnutrennyaya Poiitika Tsarizma. Moscow: Academy of
Science, USSR, Insitute Istoriya, 1967.
The author challenges the commonly held views on the purpose of the
Oprichnina, such as those of Proffesor Zimin. He uses documentary evidence
giving the names and family connections of those eliminated, those who survived
and those who actively led the oprichnina to show that Susdal and Vladimir were
the first targets, then Rostov, Starodub and Yaroslav.
The Moscow ranks such as the Basmanov's and Pleshcheev led the oprichnina.
Certain families such as the Zakharin were especially severely hurt. The author
shows that the oprichnina was not a simple device to increase the power of the
lower dvoriani, but on the contrary, a device to achieve the tsar's purposes
without widespread concessions to the dvoriani. He also notes that the Church
was a major supporter of the centralization of power and not an opponent of
this aspect of Ivan IV's program.
Smirnov, I. On the Path Of Research on the Russian Centralized
States Voprosy Istorii, IV (1946), pp. 30-44.
This article is a response to the article by P. Smirnov on the
Formation of the Russian Centralized State. The author severely
criticizes P. Smirnov for not delving deeper in his historiographical study. It
is not enough to present the views of each generation of historians. One must
connect these views with their class background, historical situation, etc. to
clearly explain why they held these views. We must answer the question in what
lies the responsibility for scientific progress (or regress) in the study of
history. By way of illustrating this, the author compares Solov'ev and
Kliuchevski and says that the latter represents a step backward. This opinion
reflects the contemporary Soviet view of the two historians.
Turning to the theory of the development of agriculture as a result of the
introduction of the improved plough by Ivan I. I. Smirnov is even more harsh in
his criticism of P. Smirnov. Many of the critic's in individual remarks on
factual errors made by P. Smirnov seem well taken, but the overall tone of the
attack in which the names of Stalin and Zhdanov and Kirov are cited as great
authorities, makes this argument appear to be more political than
Smirnov, P. Formation of the Russian Centralized State in the
14th and 15 Centuries, Voprosy Istorii, II (1946) pp.
This is an interesting historiographical study in which the author
examines the views of a series of great historians including Solov'ev,
Kliuchevski, Milutin and Platonov, on the subject, What were the basic
causal factors in the formation of the centralized state at Moscow. One
finds that virtually all of the presently expressed theories were expounded by
one or the other of the 19th Century historians. Milukov stressed the military
necessity for defense as a main factor.
Among Soviet historians, the author pays great attention to the views of Lenin,
and especially to Stalin. The author then gives a very clear exposition of his
own views, which combine many of those expressed earlier. He sees the growth of
agriculture as the basis of the increasing population and strength which gave
the rulers the capability to wage war on the Tatars and Livonian knights. The
concept that the Tsar was the owner of the land was a helpful factor. But the
author says that none of the grand dukes had a plan for the freeing of the land
and uniting it. Many of the details of the author's theory seem farfetched,
such as ascribing the introduction of the improved plough to the personal
action of Ivan I and that action to his desire to obtain more money to pay the
Tatar tribute. Judging from the storm of abuse the author received (see
Mavrobin, I. Smirnov, C. Ushkov), he was rather more than brave to publish such
Solov'ev, S. M. Istoriya Rossii s Drevneishikh Vremen (History
of Russia Since the Most Ancient Times). St. Petersburg: 1894. Reprinted,
Moscow: Publishing House for Social, Economic Literature, 1962.
No comment is needed on the value of this famous multi-volume
history of Russia. It can be noted, however, that the reader is constantly made
aware of the ceaseless struggle with enemies, east and west, that occupied the
central place in the Russian historical experience. The author devotes much of
his work to description and analysis of military affairs. He is able to include
much detailed material not found in shorter histories. Volumes 14 and 15 are
devoted to the latter 17th Century and beginning of Peter's reign to 1705. One
finds the Russo-Turkish wars of the 1670's, the two campaigns to Crimea, the
two sieges of Azov, and the opening phase of the Northern War, all fully
described. The role of the Streltzi, in the effects of
mestnichestvo, the military reforms and other similar matters are
Spaulding, Oliver Lyman, Jr., Nickerson, Hoffman, and Wright, John
Womack. Warfare. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1925.
This was for a long time the best book on military history from
ancient times to the end of the 18th Century. The content is limited to Western
history. The authors include a great deal of information on military theory,
organization, administration, and weapons, along with the narratives of
campaigns and battles. The sections on the 17th and 18th centuries are
excellent. They show that many assertions by Soviet military historians about
Western armies are in error.
Stecki, Stephen F. Polish Winged Hussars,
Guidon, XXII (March, 1964).
In this brief article, the author describes one of the most unusual
cavalry units of Europe, the Winged Hussars of the 16th and 17th Century
Poland. These men received this name because of their unique costume, which
included enormous wings rising from their shoulders. These wings were designed
to make a whirring noise during the charge. This helped to frighten the enemy's
horses. But the principal purpose was to defeat enemy lasso tactics. The author
describes the armament and horses used by these hussars.
Stevens, Carol B. Russia's Wars of Emergence 1460-1730
Pearson, Longman, London, 2007.
A strong contribution to military history that is much needed. The
author provides a useful annotated bibliogrpashy of recent publications that
shows the redcent increase. The notes show strong use of Russian sources, but
unfortunately confirms the view one has during reading the text that Turkish
and other languages are missing.
Stewart, Francis. Scottish Influences in Russian History from
the End of the 16th Century to the Beginning of the 19th Century. Glasgow:
J. MacLehose and Sons, 1913.
According to the author, the first Scots to enter Russian service
were prisoners of war captured in Livonia in 1581. The author traces the
development of foreign military influence in Russia in general, not just that
part played by Scots. There were various individuals and small groups serving
during the period 1580-1615; It was after 1615, when Tsar Michael began the
reorganization of the army along Western lines, that the real influx of foreign
soldiers came. In 1631, Sir Alexander Leslie began extensive recruiting of
foreigners and purchasing of foreign weapons.
The author mentions the Scots by name and gives biographical information on the
more famous men. After Peter's death, the numbers of Scots exercising influence
gradually diminished. There were several Gordons, Bruces and Hamiltons,
descendants of original mercenary captains, who were Russified and continued to
serve in the Russian Army throughout the century.
Strokov, A. A. Istoriya Voennogo Iskusstva (History of the
Military Art). Slave Owning and Feudal Societies, Vol. I. Moscow: Military
Publishing House, Ministry of Defense, 1955.
This is Volume One of a multi-volume general military history. For
an unexplained reason, Volume Two, which was published in 1967, begins with the
Russo-Japanese War, whereas Volume One ends with 1799. This appears to be a
condensed version of the History of the Military Art of Professor Razin.
There are many fine maps and illustrations, some of which are also in Professor
Razin's book. This volume covers the same period as the first three volumes of
the history by Razin, with the corresponding advantages and disadvantages one
would expect from a shortened version. I prefer the longer work. This book is
outspokenly Marxist in methodology, or perhaps it is better to say Leninist in
Sukhomlin, A. V. Suvorovski Sbornik. Moscow: Academy of
Science, USSR, 1951.
This is a very useful collection of articles about Suvorov. There
are two types of articles, detailed reports on bibliography and biography, and
general evaluations of his campaigns and career. The most important articles
are the following:
Kochetkov, A. N. Toward the Question of the History,
Textual Study and Bibliography of ?Science of Victory' by
A very fine textual analysis of this famous booklet of Suvorov's,
this article gives a great deal of information for the researcher interested in
Suvorov. The author discusses the original text and then traces it through its
many subsequent editions. He includes a very useful list of thirty-seven
editions and books about Science of Victory.
Novikova, Z. M. The Documentary Legacy of
Potentially the most useful article for the researcher, this study
indicates what archive contains which bit of information on Suvorov. Because of
his long and varied career, the letters, memos, reports and other documents
written by or to or about Suvorov are to be found in a great number of
different archival collections. In the process of leading the reader through
this maze, the author gives the names of a host of archives, little known to
this beginning researcher, that could well, be investigated for their holdings
on other military topics as well.
Beskrovnii, L. G. The Strategy and Tactics of
No collection of articles on the military history of 18th Century
Russia would be complete without a contribution from Professor Beskrovnii. As
usual, he places Suvorov in the historical period, and its economic and social
characteristics. Of course, he sees Peter I (rather than Charles XII) as
Suvorov's predecessor and teacher. Suvorov was a great innovator and
heretic from the military conventions of his time and Professor
Beskrovnii is eager to show every innovation. He gives a summary of conclusions
as to Suvorov's main strategic and tactical principles. The article has several
Klokman, V. R. Rumyantsev and A. V.
This author also includes a lot of economic history by way of
fulfilling his Marxist duties. He describes Rumyantsev's views on strategy and
tactics and emphasizes the superiority of Russian ideas and practice over West
European ideas and practice at this time. He then shows that Suvorov continued
and built on the principles of Rumyentsev.
Leshchinskii, L. M. The Italian and Swiss Campaigns--the
Summit of the Military Leaders Art of A. V. Suvorov.
Apart from the author's use of derogatory adjectives to describe
Russia's allies in this war, the article is well written. It uses archival
sources and gives a detailed description of the events of these campaigns and
Suvorov's role in them.
Al'tgovzen, M. L. The Art of Military Leadership of Suvorov
in the Swiss Campaign.
This author's adulation of Suvorov gets the better of him.
Gutor, A. E. Toward the Question of the Date of Birth of
Alexander Vasilevich Suvorov.
The author cites many documentary sources to prove Suvorov was born
in 1729 and not 1730. The interesting thing is that such detailed attention is
paid to this issue, when, as far as I can find, no mention is made of Suvorov's
Shatagin, N. I. Great Russian General.
This is the introductory article and is full of the usual great
Russian chauvinism that accompanies so much Soviet military-historical writing.
Perhaps the function of this article is to concentrate all this nonsense in one
place, thereby freeing the other authors to write in a more scholarly
Suknovalov, A. E. The First Military-Naval School in
Russia, Istoricheski Zapiskii. XLII (1953).
This article complements the one by Professor Beskronvii which
accompanies it in this Issue of Istoricheski Zapiskii. The school in
question was established by the foreign naval officer, Mathew Melankovich who
arrived in Russia in 1698 to offer his services. His offer was accepted and a
small school opened with children of foreign residents in Russia as its first
students. The author gives an interesting picture of the first years of this
Sumner, B. H. Peter the Great and the Ottoman Empire.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1949.
This short book contains much interesting information on
Russo-Turkish relations during the reign of Peter I. The roles of the Balkan
Christians, Crimean Tatars, and other Moslem peoples of the Russian Empire are
also discussed. The author indicates that lack of Turkish sources limits his
ability to present a full picture, yet he succeeds very well in showing the
Turkish as well as the Russian side of events. A useful list of the Crimean
Khans during the period is included. The Pruth Campaign and Tatar raids during
the war are discussed.
_________. Peter the Great and the Emergence of Russia.
London: The English Universities Press, 1966.
The author emphasizes the role of the army in the achievement of
Peter's objectives and the role of Western European influence in the creation
of the army. He shows that Peter, despite initial setbacks, such as Narva, and
various shortcomings of many of the foreign officers, nevertheless did not lose
faith in the correctness of his Westernization nor in the value of his best
Western officers. He gives a great deal of information on the key individuals
responsible for the introduction of Western drill and tactics and on the key
dates of the introduction of Western weapons. At the same time, he emphasizes
that Peter placed Russians in charge as soon as possible. The author also
stresses the Russian accomplishments, especially the rapidity with which they
began production of their own armaments based on the imported models.
Suvorov, A. V.Documents. Edited by G. P.
Mescheryakov. Moscow: Military Publishing House, 1949-53. Three
Only Volume Two of this collection has been located so far. It
contains over six hundred documents pertaining to Suvorov's career from
1776-1790. The collection includes several very useful maps of battlefields and
campaigns. The Russian archivists have rendered excellent service in publishing
these documents. Their proper use will require a great deal of study. It is
hoped that Volumes One and Three will be located so that a fuller picture of
Suvorov's career may be obtained.
Tarle, E. V. Charles XII in 1708-1709, Voprosy
Istorii, VI (1950), pp. 22-56.
Charles XII is made to appear in the worst possible light in this
propagandistic article. The author, nevertheless, gives many details of the
Poltava campaign not found elsewhere, such as the Swedish conduct of the siege
itself. He states that Swedish powder supplies were extremely low preventing
them from employing artillery. The author says Charles's political objectives
were impossible to obtain even if he had been smarter and more talented than he
was and even if Peter had not been as much a genius and as energetic as he was.
Charles refused to consider reality. He fanatically believed in himself and had
a blind mystical belief in illusions.
The author carefully examines Charles's actions after Poltava and particularly
concerns himself with the surrender of the half of the Swedish Army which
escaped Poltava at Perevolochna. He makes extensive use of Swedish sources
which enable him to explain many things, but even so, he does not
satisfactorily prove his contention that Charles's political objective in the
war was not only to set Russia back to the time of the appanage princes, but to
re-institute a Yoke, this time, a Swedish one.
__________ Michael Iliarionovich Kutuzov--Military Leader and
Diplomat, Voprosy Istorii, III (March, 1952), pp. 34-82.
The author seeks to add certain comments by way of correction of
his earlier books on the same subject. From the tone of the article, one can
detect that he is replying to ideological criticism and trying to cover
himself. He makes the characteristic complains that Western historians falsify
the history of 1812 in general, and of Kutuzov in particular. Among the guilty
parties are Clausewitz, Delbruch and von Wartenburg. Robert Wilson not only
falsified history, he was a spy during his stay in the Russian camp in 1812.
The French participants in the campaign also come in for their share of abuse.
He also take the Encyclopaedia Britannica and other Western works to
task for failing to devote sufficient space to Kutuzov and to Russian military
leaders and events in general. Tarle then explains the purpose and main points
of his new book and how it more fully answers to the demands of Comrade Stalin
than did his previous book on 1812.
In the article himself, Tarle reviews Kutuzov's entire career to show his
excellence as a commander and diplomat. He blames Alexander I and some of his
advisors for the defeat at Austerlitz and says that Kutuzov strongly advised
against the fatal mistakes made in this campaign. From the time of Austerlitz
on, the Tsar disliked Kutuzov and could not forget that the general had been
correct when the Tsar was wrong. But there was no other Russian general
who would come close to Kutuzov in talent, so the Tsar had to live with him.
The author gives an interesting account of Kutuzov's participation in the
Russo-Turkish war' of 1806-11, He indicates that Tsar Alexander was most
reluctant to appoint Kutuzov Commander of the Army after Smolensk, but did so
due to overwhelming public, opinion in favor of Kutuzov. Despite the adulation
of Kutuzov required of Russian writers in the 1950's, the author manages to
give a great deal of valuable information on the campaign of 1812 and
especially on Kutuzov's plans and actions in the campaign.
__________ Krimskaya Voina (The Crimean War). Moscow: Academy
of Science, 1950.
Although it lies outside the limits of my present interest, this
book will prove useful to students of the Crimean War. The excellent
bibliography alone is worth study. Professor Tarle has set himself the task of
writing a series of works about the various invaders who have dared to tread on
Russian soil. His treatment of the invaders is hardly objective and his search
for causes behind any Russian defi ciencies which do appear usually finds the
Tsar and nobility at fault. Of course, the Crimean War, set in the problem
filled reign of Nicholas I, is a fertile field for such analysis. Even with
these reservations we must consider the book to be a very welcome addition to
the literature on the Crimean War.
Tel'pukhovski, B. S. Severnaya Voina (The Northern War,
17001721). Moscow: Military Publishing House, 1946.
Published during the reign of Stalin, this book naturally reflects
his view that Peter I was a great military leader. Moreover, the book suffers
from the perennial Russian tendency to deny any debt to favorable influences
from abroad. The author cannot help indicating how Peter launched a surprise
attack of open aggression against Sweden and used every opportunity to take
advantage of her troubles with other states, yet he persists in calling the
Swedes invaders, aggressors, conquerors, seizers of land, and other unfavorable
names until the reader almost believes everything was the fault of the Swedes.
He carefully refrains from giving the Russian battle strength when this would
show they had a three or four to one advantage. He accuses the Swedes of
cruelty arid inhumanity to civilians and does not mention the ruthless
campaigns of destruction waged by the Russians in Livonia, Estonia, and
Thompson, James Westphal. The Wars of Religion in France.
Reprint, New York: 1958.
This is a masterpiece of historical writing by one of the
greats in the field of medieval history. The author's keen
scholarship and firm grasp of an enormous collection of sources enables him to
find his way through the most complicated plots and incidents, yet his facility
with words enables him to bring the reader along with him in this maze of
Medician intrigue. The campaigns are described for their political
significance, however, the military details are omitted. The book is useful for
a comparison one can make between the France 0f Catherine de Medici and her
offspring and the Russia of Ivan IV.
Tikhomirov, M. N. From the Vladimir Chronicle,
Istoricheski Zapiskii, XV (1945).
For the years prior to 1395 the Vladimir Chronicle is the same as
the Troitski Chronicle, therefore Professor Tikhomirov has limited this
publication to the years 1395 1523. The author of this chronicle lived
during the reign of Vasilii III- -l505-1523 and was especially interested in
church affairs. The chronicle includes the significant years of the reigns of
Vasilii II, Ivan III and Vasilii III which saw the creation of the centralized
state in Moscow.
Tikhonov, U. A. Occupation of Azov, Voprosy Istorii,
VIII (August, 1970), pp. 90-110.
The author places the Cossack capture of Azov in 1637 and occupation
of the fortress until 1642 in the international arena of Eastern Europe. He
evaluates the occupation as an important contribution to Russia's successful
construction of a southern border defense against the Tatars and Turks. Both
the initial siege by the Cossacks and the subsequent siege by the Turks, in
which the Cossacks succeeded in defending Azov, are described in sufficient
detail to give a picture of military methods in use in Southern Russia in the
middle 17th Century.
Tolstoy, Alexey. Peter the First. New York: Macmillan
The historical novel genre is an effective one for giving a living
picture of an era or personality. Alexey Tolstoy has used this technique
effectively to depict both Peter I and Russia during the 1690-1705 era.
Unfortunately, his story ends with the Northern War only just begun. To have
written the story, with the same intensity of detail, to the end of Peter's
life, would have taken at least another seven hundred page volume. For the
novelist's purposes, he achieved dramatic effect by concluding the book with
the scene of Peter confronting his archenemy, General Horn, the defender of
Narva, who has just lost the city after four years of war.
The author has been criticized on both political and literary grounds, but I
find this book both interesting as a novel and successful as a historical
biography. He makes a hero out of Peter, but also clearly shows that Peter fled
from Narva in 1700 in full knowledge of Charles's approach. Other Soviet
historians try to claim Peter left before word of Charles was received. He
emphasizes Peter's reliance on foreign assistance and judiciously separates the
effective advisors from the incompetents. He shows that the surrender of the
Duke de Crovie and the other officers was prompted by the mutiny of the Russian
soldiers, not their own treason.
The account of the first Azov campaign is excellent; unfortunately, space
limitations and the requirements of dramatic interest prevented the author from
describing the second campaign in the same way. The author very effectively and
accurately depicts the general spirit of the times and especially the
smell of gunpowder in his battle scenes. It is not possible to say,
without having done an equivalent amount of research, if he is correct in the
many details of individual portraits he paints. He depicts Charles XII in the
conventional way as a rather bloodthirsty warrior type who cared for nothing
but war. This opinion is not shared by Charles's most recent biographer, R.
Hatton, but was the common opinion when this book was written. One wishes that
the author had penned an account of the battle of Poltava to go with those of
Azov, Narva and the others. This is a very useful supplement to the straight
histories of Ian Grey, V. Kliuchevski, etc.
Tushin, Lt. Col. V. K Istorii Voenno--Morskogo
Sudostroeniya (?Toward the History of Military-Naval Shipbuilding),
Voenno Istoricheski Zhurnal, III (August, 1970), pp. 101-104.
In this short article, the author discusses the first shipbuilding
for government-sponsored naval craft on the Don and Volga rivers in the 1600's.
He gives interesting descriptions of Cossack river craft, and gives details of
the employment of Dutch master builders and crews to build and man the first
Russian naval craft on the Volga- -the Orel. He describes the ship and
narrates its brief history which ended when it was burned by Stenka Razin at
Astrakhan in June, 1670. Apart from the introductory part in which the author
tries to obtain credit for Varangian naval exploits as a part of Russian naval
history, the article is well done and free from exaggeration.
Ushkov, C. Toward the Question of the Formation of the Russian
State in the 14-16th Centuries, Voprosy Istorii, IV (1946), pp.
This article is in answer to the article on the same subject by P.
Smirnov. He doesn't add much new information to the argument. He agrees with
Mavrovin that the creation 0f the state and the victory of Moscow are two
separate issues. He makes an excellent point in remarking that an agricultural
revolution which greatly increased productivity cannot be the cause of Moscow's
victory unless one can prove that such a revolution took place only in the
Moscow lands and not throughout Northeast Russia. This Smirnov cannot do.
It is interesting to note that Smirnov in placing his emphasis on agriculture
was using Marxist methodology in that he stated that the development of the
means of production proceeded first and determined the other developments in
political and social life. His opponents accuse him of too much emphasis on
this to the exclusion of other com plex influences.
Usmanov, A. N. Kinzya Arslanov Vidaushchiisya
Spodvizhnik Pugacheva (Prince Arslan--Leading Supporter of
Pugachev)., Istorichesky Zapiskii, LXX, pp. 115-132.
The author presents a strong, well documented case for the opinion
that Pugachev's chief assistant and main supporters were Bashkirs, motivated by
national feelings for independence as well as economic grievances against the
government and its agents. He gives details of the military strategy and
tactics of both sides and the campaigns which led to Pugachev's capture. The
Russian technique of divide and conquer is evident. The author makes some
interesting comments on the prerequisites for success in a peasant- guerilla
Vainshtein, 0. L. Rossiya i Tridtsatiletnyaya Voina (Russia and
the 30 Years War). Leningrad: State Publishing House, 1947.
Russia's role in the 30 Years' War is practically ignored by Western
historians. She did not take part in the fighting in Germany, but the Smolensk
War of 1632-34 with Poland had a bearing on the larger conflict. The Russian
war with Sweden and Poland in the period 1606-18 also had its role in that
Gustavus Adolphus in this war developed his own and his army's military
capabilities. This volume gives interesting information on both wars. The
narrative of the campaign at Smolensk is especially useful. There is a large
and helpful bibliography included.
Vasil'ev, M. Osada i Vryatie Viborga Russkimi Voiskami i Flotam v
1710 (Siege and Capture of Viborg by the Russian Forces and Navy in 1710).
Moscow: Military Publishing House, Ministry of Defense, 1953.
So many historians of the Northern War only summarize briefly the
military operations which took place after Poltava in 1709. This small booklet
fills a gap in our knowledge by describing in detail the campaign of 1710 which
resulted in the Russian victory at Viborg. The author includes a general
introduction on the course of the war from 1700 to 1710 and a good description
of the fortifications of Viborg to enable the reader to appreciate the
significance of this siege. He has used the archival material well to bring out
the personal opinions of Peter, Apraksin and the other leaders during the
campaign. The campaign was a join effort of the army and navy, a fact well
brought out by the author's attention)to naval matters. The book is well
illustrated and contains a helpful glossary of military terminology.
Vernadsky, George. A History of Russia, Volumes 1, 2, 3.
New Haven: Yale University Press, 1953.
In Volume One, Professor Vernadsky treats the prehistory of Eastern
Europe and the early era of formation of the tribes which came to inhabit it.
This volume contains the most controversial of the author's theories, that on
the meaning of the word Rus and on the early relationship between Slav,
Scandinavian and Alan peoples. Volume Two continues the history into the Kievan
period. There is much useful material on the military aspects of Kievan Russia.
Volume Three is a history of the Mongols in which the Russians appear as one of
their subject peoples as well as a history of the Russians, Lithuanians and
other West Russians. This volume contains the most important material for an
understanding of the Mongol military machine and its influence on Russia.
Professor Vernadsky shows how great that influence was. The volume ends with
Russia recovering her strength under the rule of Vasilii II.
From this book we can develop a clear idea of the medieval Russian army as it
reached its ultimate form before the changes introduced by Ivan III and IV. The
author stresses the role of the Tatars in this army and in the politics of
Muscovite rulers. He includes such factual date as the first use of cannon and
firearms and the first stone fortifications at Moscow.
Professor Vernadsky pays more attention to linguistics than any of the other
historians of Russia writing in English. He provides much helpful information
on the origin of terms, not only in Slavic, but also in Turkic and Mongolian
_________ Russia at the Dawn of the Modern Age. Volume Four
of A History of Russia, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1964.
One of the most valuable characteristics of Professor Vernadsky's
books is that he consistently treats all the area of modern Russia as the
Russia of whatever period he is discussing. Thus, in this book on the 15th
Century and the 16th Century, he does not confine his story to Muscovy as some
accounts do, but gives considerably attention to Lithuania and Ukraine. He
gives excellent descriptions of the Lithuanian army and the Cossack forces.
Conflict, internal and external, is central to the expansion of Muscovy in this
period and the author traces in detail the various wars and campaigns from the
strategic and political level. He does not have space, even in this
multi-volume history to dwell at length on tactics and armaments and other
narrower military problems.
He states that the reign of Vasilii II was the turning point in the
rise of Moscow, whereas others might postpone it to the reign of Vasilii II's
son, Ivan III. Nevertheless, he shows the methods of Ivan III in extending the
control of Muscovy to be adroit and successful. Ivan used every means short of
war to achieve his ends, if possible. Yet, he had to resort to war with such
regularity that a chronicle of the campaigns is virtually a history of his
reign in its political aspects.
Professor Vernadsky gives great attention to terminology, explaining names and
words used in diplomatic correspondence. He is especially strong in the
explanation of Mongol and Tatar affairs. There are several discrepancies in
dates between those given by Vernadsky and those given by Fennell. He gives the
dynastic ties of the principal political personalities. Knowledge of these ties
is very important to an understanding of the political policies of the rulers.
This book is particularly useful because it contains material on Vasilii III
and his reign.
___________ The Tsardom of Moscow, 1547-1682. Volume Five of
A History of Russia. Two Volumes. New Haven: Yale University Press,
This continuation of Professor Vernadsky's monumental work is packed
with information of interest of the military historian. In this volume, the
author brings the history of Russia up to the close of the reign of Alexis
Michailovich. It is unfortunate that we will not have volumes on the regency of
Sophia and the reign of Peter I. As usual, the author treats in general detail
many matters not mentioned in shorter histories devoted strictly to Muscovite
affairs. He describes developments in West Russia and the Ukraine from the
internal point of view of these countries, not merely as objects 0f Muscovite
foreign affairs. His comments on Bashkir and especially on Kalmyk activities
are fascinating. It is interesting to learn how quickly the Muscovite
authorities evaluated the military strength of the Kalmyks and used their
services when they migrated into the Volga river basin in the 17th Century.
The struggle for the Ukraine was so complex, involving Poland, Lithuania,
Moscow, Turkey, Tatars and several different factions and groups of Cossacks,
not to mention Moldavia, Sweden, Brandenburg, Hungary, and other interested
powers, that even with Professor Vernadsky's exhaustive (and almost exhausting)
treatment in hand, one must refer back and forth from chapter to chapter
several times to get a clear picture of the course of events. In his attitude
toward and general evaluation of the unification of the Ukraine to Muscovy (or
conquest 0f the Ukraine by Muscovy), Professor Vernadsky takes a position
which, if not completely in agreement with the Great Russian views,
nevertheless follows its main arguments.
The maps are excellent throughout all these volumes. One of the most important
parts of these volumes is the bibliography which each contains. Professor
Vernadsky's bibliographies are an essential source of information on the
documentary source material available.
Veselovskii, S. B. Sinodki Opal'nikh Tsarya Ivana, Kak
Istoricheskii Istochnik (The List of these Disgraced by Tsar Ivan
as an Historical Source), Probiemi Istochnikovedeniya.
The author reevaluates this famous list of those who fell from favor
and lost their lives during the reign of Ivan IV. The list exists in several
versions depending on which monastery maintained it. The author claims that
previous historians were in error to believe that the list was developed from
lists of those punished by Ivan made contemporaneously with the events. He
shows that the lists were a later creation in response to Ivan's realization
only late in his life that he should provide for the souls of the departed. The
Sinodik therefor loses some of the historical accuracy ascribed to it by
previous historians. Nevertheless, it is a very important document, or rather
set of documents. The major part of this article is an extensive list of those
executed or exiled by Ivan. The author indicates the source of his information,
in many cases not the Sinodik; and gives a brief biographical entry for each of
the individuals in his list. This type of detailed investigation is essential
to establish just who was executed by Ivan. From a study of who was killed and
a reconstruction of the circumstances surrounding each case it may be possible
to more accurately determine the Tsar's motives in each case. Only after such a
case study will it be possible to say if he was bent on destroying the boyars
as a group or had other motives for his actions.
__________ The First experience in Reorganizing the Central
Pówer under Ivan Grozni, Istorichesky Zapiskii, XV
The title is not really descriptive of the main theme of this
article. The essay is devoted to a study of the reform of 1550; but more
specifically, to an analysis of the Thousand Book and the Court
Notebook as sources for a study of this reform. The author states that the
selection of the thousand dvoriani in 1550 was an effort to obtain a
cadre of loyal followers who would serve as officials in the newly expanded
central administrative agencies, as well as officers in the army. The
thousand was not formed as a guard detachment or separate unit in
the field army. The Thousand Book contains the names of the select
officials and serves as a valuable source of biographical information. The'
Court Notebook was compiled later in Ivan's reign and contains a list of
court retainers and officials throughout his reign. These lists are useful for
comparison with the Oprichnina lists and could serve to help explain the
rationale behind the Oprichnina. The author contends that the chief concern of
Ivan in judging individuals for membership in the Oprichnina or for banishment
and other punishment was family relationship. Not only were the members of
certain families removed but also all persons connected with them. Ivan also
cleared his own household of junior as well as senior courtiers. The article
shows that there was a lot more to the Oprichnina than some historians have
_________ Uchrezhdenie Oprichnogo Dvorei v 1565 I Otmena Ego v
1572 Godu (The Foundation of the Oprichnina in 1565 and its
Abolishment in 1572), Voprosy Istorii, I (1946).
The author divides the lands seized for the oprichnina into three
categories according to the purpose they were to serve. He examines the
individual case histories of many princely and boyar families to see how they
fared during the oprichnina. It is clear from his data that the tsar was not
treating the boyars as a class enemy, but as individuals some were destroyed
and some were elevated. He also shows that in certain areas the lower rank
deti-boyari were also dispersed and their land seized. This was true in
Kostroma and Pereyaslavl, where until then they had maintained their own
separate military organization, serving under elected leaders.
The case of Novgorod is also interesting. There the landowners were already
pomestniki due to the population shifts of Ivan III. When Ivan IV found they
were unreliable, he singled out certain areas, for instance, Bezhetski, and
replaced the Russian dvoriani with Tatars from Kazan and Astrakhan in whom he
had more faith. It is also interesting to note that the oprichnina included the
major routes of international trade and even the foreign (English) traders. The
disbanding of the oprichnina is also linked to military affairs. In 1571 the
oprichnina failed to save Moscow from the Tatars, but in 1572 the regular
forces (Zemshchina) did defend Moscow successfully. The oprichnina was
disbanded immediately after this.
Voenno-Istoricheskii Journal, Number 7. Moscow, pp.
A report on the author of the Ustovi Ratni Del of 1620 gives
the history of this work and efforts to ascertain its author. The report
indicates that recent research by N. A. Petrushenko in the Leningrad archive of
the Academy of Science has established that the author was Anisim Mikailovich
Radishevski, a well known printer, builder of hydrologic works and master
artisan of the artillery office who came to Moscow from Volhinia in 1586 and
died in 1648. This book was the first technical military treatise in Russian
and incorporated material translated from other languages.
Voyce, Arthur. The Art and Architecture of Medieval Russia.
Norman: University 0f Oklahoma Press, 1967.
This is an extremely well illustrated survey of Russian art and
architecture. The author includes quite a bit of historical significance of the
various examples of architecture. The military architecture of Kievan Russia is
not included, presumably because examples have not survived to the present.
The author notes that the 16th Century was the turning point in the
history of Muscovy, and that Russia acquired the characteristics of
a multi-national empire, during this period. He emphasizes the
contributions of Western architects and engineers who were brought to Moscow at
the tsar's request. He also shows the importance of English influence after
Richard Chancellor's visit in 1553.
The book contains a section devoted to arms and armor and their decoration.
Fortification is not treated as a separate subject but since the monasteries
and kremlins of the l6th-l7th centuries were mostly fortified, the author
included some information on this subject. The book contains a chronology and
an excellent glossary of Russian terms.
Wahlde, Peter von. Military Thought in Imperial Russia. Ph.D
Dissertation, Departrnent of History, Indiana University, 1966.
As the author points out, the field of Russian Military History has
been sadly neglected by scholars. This dissertation is an important step in
filling the gap. After surveying the slow development of military literature in
Russia in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, the author concentrates his
attention on the explosion which took place in Russian military writing in the
19th Century. Dr. von Wahlde has done well to select a topic that lends itself
to orderly analysis and presentation within the limits of a dissertation. The
result is an excellent history of the development of Russian opinion on
military history, strategy, tactics, and the nature of war during the period
which preceded World War I. The author identifies a number of the leading
influential figures who played roles in this development. By focusing on
military thought the author can fully exploit the published literature and
avoid having to deal with the mass of documentary materials that would be
needed to support research on the military actions which flowed from this
The author's bibliography is most impressive. Since he is writing about theory
and not campaigns, the works of Russian military writers became primary
sources. By connecting the development of theory with the events that
accompanied it he also gives us a general picture of Russia's military history
in the period under study. The author identifies the major schools
in Russian military theory of the time and shows how the theoretical
formulations made in the pre-war period contributed to the problems that faced
the Russian army during the World War.
Walker, Major Frederick. The Modern Russian Army;
Development to Disintegration from the Reign of Peter I to that of Nicholas
II.~ Unpublished essay prepared at the University of Kansas, 1969.
This essay gives a good general picture of the Russian Army in the
18th and 19th Centuries. The bibliography is especially helpful.
Wedgwood, C. V. The Thirty Years War. New Haven: Vale
University Press, 1939.
A masterpiece of historical writing, this book describes in detail
the complex multi-sided series of wars in Germany 1618-1648 that decided its
fate until the era of Napoleon. The author's vivid descriptions enable one to
feel the spirit of the times as few historical works do. Military campaigns are
thoroughly discussed. While Muscovy did not participate directly in this war,
the war did have an effect on her activities in Poland-Lithuania. Gustavus
Adolphus did war against Muscovy before the 30 Years' War and the military
technology, tactics and organizational developments of this war found their way
to Russia in succeeding years, often in the hands of the soldiers of fortune
who sought service with the tsar after the war in Germany ended.
The book is not a strictly military history, but one can get a very
graphic picture of the military conditions prevalent in the mid 17th Century
from this account of the war.
Wipper, R. Ivan Grozny. Trans. J. Fineberg. Moscow: Foreign
Language Publishing House, 1947.
The author is frequently accused of having tried to make a hero out
of Ivan IV to serve present day Soviet purposes, but this is really a much
better book than such remarks would indicate. He does try to justify a great
deal, blaming the tsar's many enemies for bringing his wrath upon themselves.
But in certain respects, he is right. While I do not agree with the view that
Ivan's enemies were class enemies in the Marxist sense, I will agree that they
were personal enemies and largely of their own volition.
The author devotes considerable attention to the military problems facing Ivan
and to his solutions. He quite excellently places Ivan's foreign policy and
Muscovy's role in their international setting with relation to the West
European world, but he misinterprets some important aspects of the
international situation in the East. For instance, he accuses Stadden of
ungraciousness in referring to Ivan as a Grand Prince and the Crimean Khan as a
He does bring the entire international picture into clear focus by the
brilliant remark relating the Tatar raids on Moscow of 1571-72 to the Turkish
defeat at Lepanto. I have never seen this issue and the conclusions Wipper
draws from it discussed by any other historian. He makes extensive use of
Stadden's memoirs while at the same time denouncing him most unceremoniously.
Wipper's comments emphasize the importance of obtaining a copy of Stadden's
Wolf, John B. The Emergence of the Great Powers, 16851715.
New York: Harper and Row, 1951.
This book provides the European and world-wide orientation needed to
give the student a proper perspective of the Northern War and the emergence of
Russia as a European power. The author weaves all the events and seemingly
separate wars into a remarkable picture of Europe struggling to re-establish a
balance of power. He treats such separate war in detail and indicates the role
0f new weapons and changing tactics.
The book provides an essential antidote to Russian histories that claim Sweden
was a much stronger power which Russia was very brave to resist. The author
emphasizes Peter's aggression and brutal military offensives. He also shows
Western armies to be not quite what the Soviet historians claim they were. The
relation of war to economics is also stressed. Of major interest in the
author's basic theme is that war was the chief determinant of the historical
process in this period.
Wolrab, Johann Jacob. Military Exercise, 1730. Introduction
by S. J. Gooding. West Hill, Ontario: Museum Restoration Service,
This is a reprint of a very interesting 18th Century illustrated
drill manual, Curioae Anweisung der Handgriffe der milittarishcen Exercitii
in alien Tempo mit der Flinte, Bajonet und Grenade vorgestellt,
printed by Johann Jacob Wolrab around 1730. Mr. Gooding has provided a very
useful introduction describing the history of such drill manuals and giving a
bibliography of the more important ones to appear from the 1590's to 1820. The
book is useful as an instrument to the subject.
Yakovlev, A. Zasechnaya Cherta Moskovskogo Gosudarstva v XVIII
Veke (The Fortified Defense Line of Moscow State in the 17th Century).
Muscovy constructed many miles of frontier defense lines during, the
16th to 18th Centuries, to defend against Tatar attacks. This book deals in
very great detail with one year's reconstruction program on one of the several
defense lines. The oldest, and most important from the point of view of Moscow,
line was through Tula, not far south of the Oka river. In 1637-38 the
government expended considerable effort to rehabilitate this line due to the
experience of the Smolensk War of 1633 when the Tatars had easily raided the
southern border and to the immediate threat of war with Turkey and Crimea over
the seizure of Azov by the Cossacks in 1637.
The author has employed the financial records in the archives to show how the
government accomplished this enormous construction project. Unfortunately, he
does not give equivalent detail on the military engineering aspects of how the
fortifications were laid out or on the tactical problems 0f their defense. The
introductory chapters which give some of the history of the defense lines are
more valuable than the main body of the study. As is typically of so many
Russian books, there is no bibliography; the student must use the somewhat
cryptic footnotes to find the sources. There are two good maps.
Zaionchkovskii, P. A. The Rearmament of the Russian Army in
the 1860's, 1870's, Istorichesky Zapiskii, XXXVI (1951).
This is an excellent article on the Russian army of the 1860's and
1870's. The author gives a great deal of information on production and
capability of various weapons before and during the Crimean War and then turns
his attention to the rearmament, the necessity of which that war showed the
government. He emphasizes the improvements made by Russian inventors and
artisans in the foreign weapons sent to Russia for testing that is, the Gatling
machine gun and Berdan breechloading rifle.
Zamoyski, Adam,Moscow 1812 - Napoleon's Fatal March Harper,
Collins, N.y., 2004
Another major addition to growing publications on Russian military
history. The author uses extensive Russian sources. In contrast to
Mikaberidze's Borodino, this book describes the entire campaign from beginnning
Zenkovsky, Serge A., Ed. Medieval Russia's Epics, Chronicles and
Tales. New York: Dutton, 1962.
This anthology contains excerpts from several Military
Tales, The Story of Stephen Bathory's Campaign against Pskov,
The Zadonshchina, The Tale of the Destruction of
Riazan, The Lay of Igor's Campaign, tales from the
Novgorod Chronicle on the war with Suzdal and the battle on the River Kalka,
Prince Oleg's campaigns, Sviatoslav's campaigns and several others.
These contemporary or late medieval stories have a dramatic tone
which brings their subjects to life. I especially like the Story of
Stephen Bathory. His unsuccessful siege of Pskov was a major victory
for Ivan IV and brought the Livonian war to a close. A similar failure by
Gustavus Adolphus about forty years later also saved Russia from a Western
conqueror. These two sieges show the strength of defense and its superiority
over the offense in the 16th - 17th Centuries.
Zheleznych, V. I., ed. Voenno.-Inzhenernoe Iskusstvo i
Inzhenernie Voiska Russkoi Armii (Military Engineering Art and Engineer Forces
in the Russian Army). Moscow: Military Publishing House, Ministry of
This book contains twelve articles on different aspects of
engineering in different eras. Four of the articles pertain to the period
before 1800. The two articles by Colonel of Engineers Shor on The
Russian Military Engineering Art in the 16th and 17th Centuries in the Light
of the ?Regulation for Infantry, Artillery and Other Affairs and
Methods of Engineer Provisioning of Sieges of Fortified Towns and Forts,
Employed by the Russian Forces in the 16th to 18th Centuries are
Zimin, A. A. and Tikhomirov, M. N., eds. Iuasafovskaya Lstopis.
(Josephian Chronicle). Moscow: Academy of Science, Institute of History.
This is a convenient translation into modern Russian of one of the
primary sources for the period 1437-1520. It contains a narrative of the
important events in the reigns of Vasilii, Ivan III and Vasilii III.
Zimin, A. A. I. S. Peresvetov and His Contemporaries. Moscow:
State Publishing House, Academy 0f Science, USSR, 1958'.
I. S. Peresvetov was a contemporary of Ivan IVs and wrote a
memorandum for the Tsar recommending a number of political and military
measures to strengthen and centralize the government. Among these
recommendations was a military reform that included the creation of a personal
guard armed with firearms and modeled to some extent on the Janissaries.
The author on the basis of extensive use of primary sources not only presents
the life and work of Peresvetov in detail but also describes the social and
political scene in Ivan IV's Muscovy in great detail as well. A most
interesting book by an expert on the history of l5th -l6th century
___________ K Istorii Voennikh. Reform 50kh Godov, XVI
Veke (Toward the History of the Military Reform of the
l55O's) Istorichesky Zapiskii, LV (1958).
The author emphasizes the necessity for military reforms in 16th
century Muscovy. He connects these reforms with the creation of the centralized
state. One reform was the limitation and regulation of
mestnichestvo. A second reform was the designation of a select
thousand dvoriani to be settled near Moscow. The author points out that the
sources give no evidence that the selected men ever received their new
pomesties. The in ability of Ivan to obtain land for this purpose in 1550 is a
cause of his resort to more violent methods in forming the oprichnina. He
discusses the significance of the creation of the Dvorovoi Tetrads
which contained names of court dvoriani who were differentiated from city
dvoriani. The organization of the streltzi was the third reform accomplished in
the same period. Professor Zimin clearly differentiates between the streltzi
and the pishchalniki.
_______________Oprichnina Ivana Grosnovo (The Oprichnina of Ivan
the Terrible). Moscow: 1964.
Professor Zimin is an expert on the history of Muscovy in the 16th
Century. This is a well documented and clearly presented study of the
controversial institution used by Ivan to eliminate opposition. Professor Zimin
takes the Soviet standard view that Ivan's enemies were members of the
________________The Zemski Sobor of 1566",
Istorichesky Zapiskii, LXXI (1963).
The author makes detailed investigation of the background of the
participants in this meeting. He says Kliuchevskis conclusions are
incorrect. The sobor was attended by 374 men. The author says most were third
class deti-boyars who were raised to first class. Most were from
West Russian towns. The author shows which towns were represented and why or
why not). The topic for discussion was the peace terms that would be acceptable
in the war then in progress against Lithuania. Professor Zimin raises several
questions about the connections between this Zemski Sobor and the Oprichnina.
The article is useful for the details it gives on the military service class
and their support of the war.
Zweguintzow, W. Russkaya Armiya (The Russian Army). Volumes
1, 2, 3,4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 1700-1917. Paris.
_________________Formi Russkoi Armii (The Uniforms of the
Russian Army, 1914). Two Volumes. Paris: 1959.
________________Khronologiya Russkoi Armii (The Chronicle of the
Russian Army, 17OO - 1917). Paris: 1961.
________________Znamena i Shtandarti Russkoi Armii (The
Flags and Standards of the Russian Army. Two Volumes. Paris: 1963.
The late Mr. Zweguintzow was engaged in a labor of love
in researching, preparing and publishing an enormous mass of material on the
Imperial Russian Army. The basic subject of The Russian Army is the
uniforms worn by every unit since 1700. In addition, a great amount of detail
is given on organization, tactics, armament, drill, ranks and campaigns. Eight
volumes have appeared covering the period 1700-1917. Each volume includes a
great many fine illustrations of uniforms including insignia detail, and battle
maps. The illustrations provided are sufficient for the reader to color each
one himself and have thereby the uniform of every unit depicted.
The basic source for this book is the famous multi-volume series on
Russian uniforms by Viskovatov published in the last century and long since
only seen in rare book-rooms and private collections. Mr. Zweguintzow has
consulted many of the latest sources to supplement the materiel provided by
Viskovatov, especially for the campaign summaries and organizational details.
And the original Viskovatov series ended in 1840 upon its publication. It was
supplemented by the Imperial general staff in the 1880's and by the Soviet MOD
________________The Uniforms of the Russian Army, 1914, is
similar in format. Every unit is depicted in the plates and mentioned in the
______________The Chronicle of the Russian Army is a listing
by year, arm of service and type of unit of the date of formation,
reorganization and disbanding of every unit in the Imperial Army, including the
irregular and training units. It is crass referenced by unit designation and a
separate chronology in which all dates pertaining to a given unit are grouped
together is also provided.
In Flags and Standards of the Russian Army, the author gives
a detailed text plus pictures of all the unit flags; included are many banners
dating from the time of Ivan IV and the pre-Petrine Romanov tsars. Some of
these are in the Hermitage and others in the Artillery Museum.
Together these books give all the material a collector of Russian
militaria could want. The scholar must only add to the framework provided in
these books the details of why changes were made, who made or who ordered them,
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