Eighteenth-century Russia Expansion I

Russian Guards of the 18th Century.

Eighteenth-century Russia was dominated by women. Of Peter’s immediate successors, his widow, Catherine I, his half-niece Anna and his daughter Elizabeth together ruled Russia for more than thirty-two of the thirty-six years following his death, and Catherine II, known as ‘the Great’, reigned for more than thirty years thereafter. Peter II (1727—30), Ivan VI (1740-41) and Peter III (1761-2) interrupted the sequence, but had little impact on events.

The fact that most of these rulers were women did not diminish their authority, though there was some muted grumbling among the lower orders. However, none of them had received an education to fit them for supreme office, and apart from Catherine II they tended to be rather more dependent on one or two trusted advisers than most rulers. Cronyism and factionalism do seem to have increased at the Russian court, though this may be an impression given by observers who expected it to be so. The eighteenth century was a heyday for gossips. Empress Anna’s favourite, Biron (Bühren), was the dominant figure in the government, yet not — in Finch’s view at least – the linchpin that was needed. That function, he thought, was fulfilled by Count Andrei [Heinrich] Ostermann.

Ostermann, Russia’s ambassador to Sweden, was given charge of the Foreign Office after Peter’s death, and soon undertook a thorough reassessment of Russia’s foreign relations in the light of current circumstances. The findings of this complex exercise led him to conclude that, although Peter’s policy of alliance with Denmark and Prussia had helped to keep a usually complaisant Poland in tow, it involved risk and yielded insufficient dividends. Prussia had proved an unreliable ally, and the orientation towards the Baltic region was too narrow to serve the Empire’s interests in the new era. Ostermann wanted to extend Russia’s influence in Europe as a whole, and, at the same time, to promote imperial growth. He was to achieve both these aims with brilliant economy, through one revolutionary turn of the diplomatic rudder.

The means was an alliance with Habsburg Austria, which was signed in August 1726. The two powers had a number of interests in common. They wanted to preserve the independence of their mutual neighbour Poland, the ‘sick man’ of Europe for the previous half century (its brilliant showing at the siege of Vienna in 1686 had been deceptive). They also wished to contain the Ottoman Empire, and to deter their other enemies – in particular France. But expansion to the south also figured in Ostermann’s strategy. His instructions to Ambassador Nemirov, Russia’s representative at peace talks with Turkey in 1735, included claims to the Crimea and the Kuban. As yet they were only negotiating points to be conceded, but they were not forgotten. Indeed, two years later Ostermann drew up a plan for the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire. Strategists tend to plan for contingencies of course, but the Ottoman Empire was nowhere near collapse, as Ostermann well knew. These aims were for the longer term. A generation later they were to be pursued by Catherine the Great. Meanwhile the immediate thrust of Ostermann’s policy was directed further west.

One fruit of Ostermann’s policy of co-operation with Austria had ripened in the early 1730s, when the allies succeeded in getting their candidate, rather than France’s, elected as king of Poland — though not before a Russian army had advanced to France’s frontier on the Rhine. Russia had at last become a member of Europe’s major league. But the allies’ first war against the Turks ended in disappointment in 1739: Austria lost Belgrade, and although Russia regained Azov it was forbidden to harbour warships there. In 1741, when Peter’s daughter Elizabeth was brought to the throne by a coup d’état carried out by the guards regiments, Ostermann was arrested and purged. But the alliance with Austria continued to hold firm, and was to serve as the launch pad for brilliant advances late in the century. Where, then, did the cause of failure in 1739 lie?

Peter had left an army of 200,000 men – seven battalions of crack infantry guards, fifty regiments of infantry, and thirty of dragoons. Apart from a few hussars, the remainder were mostly garrison troops. By 1730 the complement of the guards had increased — by five squadrons of cavalry guards and three battalions of infantry. Three regiments of cuirassiers had been added to the establishment, and fourteen militia regiments to defend Ukraine. By 1740 Russia had 240,000 men under arms, and by 1750 270,000 — not counting over 50,000 irregular troops, mostly Cossacks and Kalmyks. Although the range of Russia’s military commitments meant that few more than 120,000 regulars could be fielded in a campaign, the army was growing in size.

Nor was it deficient in equipment. There were formidable magazines at Briansk, for operations in the west, and at Novo-Pavlovsk, for operations in the south, aside from the great arsenals in St Petersburg and Moscow. There were six cannon foundries, and two small-arms manufactories, one at Tula, the other outside St Petersburg, in which ‘everything is so well ordered that the connoisseurs, who have seen them, agree, that they are masterpieces of their kind’.

There was also provision now for specialist troops: an engineering school for the army; a navigation school for the navy. There were even some successful operations. In the Crimean campaign of 1736 Tatars had swarmed round the invading force as soon as it crossed the Perekop, but the regiments formed into square formation and marched on to the capital, Bakhchiserai. They captured it and sacked it, but they could not hold it. A third of the army had fallen sick, and the rest were exhausted from the great heat. However, in the following year the great Turkish citadel of Ochakov on the Dnieper estuary was taken, and its fortifications were demolished. Eighty-two brass cannon fell into Russian hands on that occasion, along with nine horsetail banners — the Ottoman emblems of senior rank. Those who had participated received a gratuity of four months’ pay from a grateful government. Four years later Swedish Finland was invaded and the well-defended strong-point of Wilmanstrand was stormed, taken, and ‘razed to the ground’.

Yet these successes were both hard-won and expensive. The root of the problem, according to an experienced officer, was not the enemy, however. ‘The Turks and Tatars … were what [the army] had least to dread; hunger, thirst, penury, continual fatigue, the marches in the intensest [sic] heat of the season, were much more fatal to it.’ And then there was the plague which broke out among the troops at Ochakov in 1738 and spread quickly into Ukraine. No wonder that by the end of a campaign regiments were seriously under strength, some by as much as 50 per cent.

The great empires of the age depended on sea power, and both France and Britain had considerable navies. Russia’s, on the other hand was outclassed even by those of Spain and Holland. The navy had been neglected under Peter’s immediate successors. The proud Baltic fleet of thirty ships of the line with their attendant frigates, sloops and cutters had mostly been allowed to rot. Empress Anna made some attempt to halt the decline after 1730, but in 1734 when the city of Gdansk had to be besieged the Admiralty found difficulty in fitting out even fifteen ships of the line, and some of those proved barely seaworthy. A serious programme of naval construction finally got under way again in 1766. But three years later, when the government attempted to send a fleet to the eastern Mediterranean to support a Greek insurrection against the Turks, operational difficulties soon became apparent. Since the enemy commanded the Black Sea, ships had to be sent from the naval base of Kronstadt near St Petersburg. The long lines of communication were as problematic as the army’s logistical problems had been on the long marches to the Crimea. Without help from Britain the voyage might never have been managed.

Admiral Spiridonov set sail from Kronstadt with many troops on board in the summer of 1769. The flotilla under his command was bound for Hull, where Admiral Elphinston was fitting out another force of three ships of the line and two frigates. Things did not go well from the start. One of Spiridonov’s 66-gunners had to turn back almost at once, and a frigate was lost in the Gulf of Finland. The rest proceeded to Copenhagen, there to be joined by an 80-gun ship; but bad weather in the North Sea caused the flotilla to disperse. They eventually put into Portsmouth, some of the ships in poor condition and their crews tired. But the British Admiralty had instructed the authorities there to be helpful, and by the spring of 1770 they were repaired, refreshed and ready to sail for the Mediterranean, Admiral Elphinston carrying his flag in the 84-gun Sviatoslav. This tidy force of nine ships of the line, three frigates and three sloops sailed on to engage a superior Turkish fleet of fourteen bigger-gunned ships off the coast of Greece in the Bay of Chesme. A Scots officer in Russia’s service, Captain Samuel Greig, led the attack in the Ratislav, and fire-ships proved the decisive factor. As many as 200 Turkish sail were set ablaze. It was a famous victory.

Greig was only one of many foreigners who were to influence the development of Russia’s armed services and its traditions. Scots, Greeks, Irishmen, Germans, Danes and Italians all served in them, as did a future American hero, John-Paul Jones. The best remembered are mostly those who held high rank: marshals Münnich and Lacy, generals Keith and Lowendal and a brother of Jeremy Bentham in the army; admirals Greig, Arf and Elphinston in the navy. However, the chequered career of a little-known naval captain, John Elton, draws attention to lesser men who served as instruments of Russian imperialism, and in less well-known areas of operation — in this case the territory of the lower Volga, Central Asia and Persia. Elton was not a conventional sort of eighteenth-century hero. He won no brilliant victories, was not an enlightened reformer, had no political importance, and was unknown in the haute monde, though he was for a time a serious nuisance to officials, businessmen and diplomats. Venturesome, entrepreneurial and courageous, he was also choleric and unstable in his loyalties. At times, indeed, he appears as an anti-hero rather than a hero. Entering Russia’s service in the early 1730s, he was employed as an explorer and cartographer on land rather than being given a command with the fleet. He served with the so-called Orenburg expedition, set up in 1734 to secure the area round the confluence of the rivers Or and Ural, to explore the region’s potential for agriculture, mining and trade, to navigate the river Syr-Darya, and to investigate the suitability of the Aral Sea for navigation. Elton was involved with all these projects. He was also sent to Tashkent, disguised as a merchant. He surveyed the coast of the Aral Sea, which had been thought to be connected with the Caspian, looking for a possible site for a dock to build ships; he helped construct the citadel of Orenburg itself, and sounded the upper reaches of the Ural river to determine its possibilities for navigation.

It was while exploring the low-lying steppe beyond the east bank of the lower Volga that he mapped the great salt lake which still bears his name. His find soon proved very useful to the state, which maintained stocks of salt in order to guarantee the supply of this essential commodity and control its price. When the Stroganovs began to demand higher prices for Perm salt, Moscow was able to resist the demand thanks to Elton, and an ecological problem was also avoided, for the salt-boilers used a great deal of wood and the government now had a policy of forest conservation. Lake salt could be panned from the brine; it did not need boiling. Production at Lake Elton was expanded, and by the late 1750s it became by far the biggest source of salt in Russia. Long before then, however, Elton, piqued at failing to receive the promotion he thought his due, had resigned the service and had immediately become involved in other ventures.

He set out to pioneer a new trade route from England, across Russia to Khiva, Bukhara and Tashkent. If such a route were found, he knew fortunes could be made by selling English woollen cloth there and bringing back valuable silks. While working with the Orenburg expedition he had questioned people who had crossed the Central Asian steppe, including Cossacks who had been taken as slaves on Bekovich-Cherkasskii’s ill-fated expedition of 1717. Concluding that the plundering Kyrgyz, Khivans and Karakalpaks made that approach too dangerous, he now set out to promote a new and safer route that went down the Volga, across the Caspian Sea to Rasht, and thence by camel caravan across the desert to Meshed and points east. Having negotiated the approval of the Persian authorities, he took his proposal to the British minister at St Petersburg and the Russia Company in London. Recognizing that the route would give it an advantage over its rivals, the Levant and East India companies, the Russia Company seized the opportunity and appointed Elton its agent.

But Elton soon fell foul of the Russian authorities, who suspected him of being in the pay of the Persians and of building a fleet for them to contest Russian mastery of the Caspian. Following diplomatic representations by the Russian minister in London, the Russia Company tried to recall Elton, promising him the handsome sum of £400 a year from the company’s profits and to use its influence with the British Admiralty to obtain a naval command for him. Elton, however, preferred to stay. He was distrusted now by both the Russians and the British. A political revolution following the death of his protector, Nadir Shah of Persia, made his position untenable, and he was eventually shot dead by his Persian enemies. His contributions to Russian imperialism survived, however.

The Orenburg project which Elton had served had been planned in the 1720s but was implemented only in the early 1730s. The submission of a group of Kazakhs under Abdulkhayir of the Little Horde in 1731 had given impetus to the scheme. They had wanted Russia’s protection against the Jungarians further east, and they had held out the prospect of helping Russia to subdue the Karakalpaks, Turkmens and Khivans. But most Kazakhs would not submit, and, realizing that diplomacy alone would not resolve the problem, the Russian government proceeded to develop a new fortress city of Orenburg at the point where the river Or flowed into the Ural river, between the Bashkirs to the north, the Kyrgyz-kaisaks and the Volga Kalmyks.

Two primary purposes were to exploit mineral deposits in the south-east and to find the most convenient routes to access the silks of Persia and the rubies, gold and lapis lazuli of India. A third priority, on which the others depended, was to protect the south-east frontier from the steppe nomads, and to insulate them from restless groups within the Empire, notably the Bashkirs of the southern Urals and the Volga Kalmyks. Furthermore, if these peoples could be brought into submission, not only would the region become safe for settlement, and hence more productive, but the tribute or taxes they paid would help the needy exchequer.

A range of persuasive means was used to encourage the steppe peoples to submit to Russian rule. The Kalmyks were allowed to trade at the frontier free of customs duties, and Muslim Kazakhs were allowed to build mosques in Orenburg. Chiefs were persuaded to send a son into Russian care to receive an education, and to serve as surety for the group’s good behaviour; they were also promised protection against their enemies, and sometimes an attempt was made to awe an important subject chief and prospective client or subject by showing him the sights of St Petersburg, including the collection of wonders in its new Academy of Sciences.

A key figure in the dealings with the Kazakhs was a former Tatar mirza who was employed by the Foreign Office as a translator. He was used in negotiations in 1734, later converted from Islam to Russian Orthodoxy, and was promoted a major-general based at Orenburg. His efforts paid dividends. In 1740 the Middle Kazakh Horde at last paid allegiance to Empress Anna, and the relationship proved to be mutually profitable. The Kazakhs were encouraged to divert their trade to Orenburg, where, so long as they met the Russians’ requirements of good behaviour, they were offered good prices for their wares and advantageous terms for Russian goods. By 1747 they were bringing 7,000 horses and 28,000 sheep a year to Orenburg.

But, although some Bashkirs had continued to serve the state, many opposed the Orenburg project. They had ambushed one of the first columns bringing labourers, building materials and supplies from Ufa, killing its commander and more than sixty dragoons and labourers. They also rode off with over forty carts carrying supplies. The building of Orenburg proceeded, but other Bashkir raids followed. Fearing that the Bashkirs’ attitude might be contagious, St Petersburg ordered up strong reinforcements from Kazan and put a new commander in charge of operations in Bashkiria. A bitter colonial war was soon under way there. The raids continued, some of them on a large scale. In retaliation, villages were torched and such leading rebels as could be caught were hanged.

Eventually a cordon of Cossack villages was established and stable administration followed, to a large extent using the Bashkirs’ own elders. But the pacification had been as cruel as such operations tend to be. ‘Seize their wives and children, their property, horses and livestock …’ ran an order from Kirillov, the Russian commander at Orenburg. ‘Destroy their homes and punish the main instigators as an example to the others.’ Minor offenders and male children were sent to the Baltic as conscripts for the army or the fleet. The women and girls were given to ‘whoever wants to take them … in order that their roots will be completely torn out’, for Kirillov reckoned that rebellion in Bashkiria tended to run in families. In 1740, after five years of rebellion and suppression, 17,000 Bashkirs had lost their lives, over 3,000 had been sent to the Baltic, and nearly 700 villages destroyed.

These operations had also been costly to the Russians, but the rewards were great. Rich new deposits of copper and iron had been found in that part of the Urals which was Bashkir country, and no time was lost in exploiting them. By 1750 the area accounted for 90 per cent of Russia’s considerable iron production and 70 per cent of its copper. Furthermore, the Bashkir threat to Russian communications with Central Asia had been eliminated. Both Bashkiria and Kazakhstan could now be counted among the Russian Empire’s permanent possessions.

On New Year’s Day 1740 St Petersburg was treated to an exotic spectacle. Representative couples of various native peoples in the Empire, including Bashkirs, went in procession to an ice palace, constructed on the ice of the river Neva, where the wedding of a courtier, Prince Mikhail Golitsyn, was celebrated. Charivari had long been a feature of the Russian court at this season, but the like of this had not been seen before. Pairs of Lapps and Finns from the far north, Tatars, Kyrgyz from Central Asia and Tungus from furthest Siberia, as well as the Bashkirs, rode on sleds drawn by dogs, reindeer, camels or whatever their native beasts of burden were deemed to be; each couple contributed to the festivities by dancing their native dance, and ate a celebratory dinner of their native foods. It was an exotic show, but also a live, if incomplete, demonstration of the Empire’s ethnic variety, which by that date included peoples even more exotic than these. In the far north, beyond the river Lena, for example, lived the Yukagirs and Nganasans, who were totally dependent on the seasonal migrations of wild deer for their food, housing and clothing; and in Chukhotka, in the far north-east (which involved a considerable journey not only in space but back in time) were the settlements of the Yugits, who hunted walrus and Greenland whales and wintered in dug-out igloos framed with giant whale bones.

The native Siberian population was soon to be severely reduced, however — not so much by war, for many of them had fought each other before the Russians came, but because of influenza and smallpox, which the colonizers inadvertently introduced, and syphilis, which became endemic because of their crowded living quarters. Nor was Russia the only power that wanted to impose its order on the natives. The Chinese, Russia’s competitors in Dzungara, slaughtered many Mongol- and Turkic-speaking natives in the 1750s. Yet the Russian government’s policies were enlightened, and even in furthest Siberia its administrators and explorers often exemplified the civilized values of the age. Some, indeed, were almost touchingly earnest in trying to persuade the native population to abandon their primitive ways. As one of them told the natives in the far north-east as he doled out a gift of beads and showed them portraits of Empress Catherine II and her son, the future Emperor Paul, ‘The Russian monarch and her successor are extremely gracious and diffuse their blessings among innumerable people. They also pay indefatigable attention to the welfare of all these nations who border on the Russian empire and have no protector; employing all possible means to preserve them in content, peace and security.’ One gets the impression that the speaker believed what he was saying. Another conscientious representative of enlightened imperialism

laboured to persuade [the natives he encountered] to quit their savage life … which was a perpetual scene of massacre and warfare, for a better and more happy state. I showed them the comforts of our houses, clothes and provisions; I explained to them the method of digging, sowing and planting gardens, and I distributed fruit and vegetables and some of our provisions amongst them, with which they were highly delighted.

All in all, Russian colonization in this period was kind rather than cruel, and if the smallpox the explorers introduced took its toll among the native peoples, so it did in St Petersburg. The population of Siberia as a whole grew at roughly the same rate as the rest of the world from the eighteenth century.

Chappe d’ Auteroche, a member of the French Academy, who visited Russia in the early 1760s, published an account of it in 1768 which enraged Empress Catherine II. In his book he denigrated the condition of Russia, and even poured scorn on its armed services. The army might be a quarter of a million strong, but it could field no more than 70,000 effective regulars. Moreover, the infantry was effective only in defence, and the cavalry was ‘the worst in Europe’. Russia’s artillery might be good, but ‘the corps of engineers … [was] incapable of conducting a siege.’ As for the navy, it had few ships and ‘the sea officers have as little knowledge as those on land.’ ‘In the present state of population and wealth in Russia, an army cannot be sent beyond the confines of the empire without being ruined even by the victories it may gain; a Russian army in such a situation must be almost entirely destroyed.’

Chappe was to be confounded on every point of his assessment. During the Seven Years War (1756—63) Russian troops had not only raided Berlin, they defeated the army of Frederick the Great at Gross Jägersdorf and at Künersdorf. And they were to triumph, almost without interruption, on every European front for the remainder of the century. The upshot was a considerable expansion of the Empire, much of it at the expense of Poland. Yet Russia did not initiate the first partition of Poland, in 1772. It had no interest in doing so. Poland was already a client state. Its king, Stanislaus Poniatowski, had been the Empress’s lover, and Russian garrisons were already quartered there. It had been Poland’s weak government, derived from its lopsided constitution (‘anarchy tempered by civil war’ was what one wit termed it), which had invited intervention. Russia did not want instability on its frontier. Furthermore, there was the question of the treatment of Orthodox Christians in Poland. Russia’s use of this issue is often regarded as a cynical excuse to intervene. So it may have been, but the Polish Church had a long record of persecuting Orthodox Christians, and Empress Catherine, who had been born a Protestant and was herself a convert to Orthodoxy, could hardly overlook it.

In fact the first partition was precipitated not by Catherine but by Frederick of Prussia. The port city of Gdansk and the Vistula estuary on which it stood divided his realm, and he wanted to unite it. He chose his moment to propose a partition carefully. Both Russia and Prussia had their hands full fighting the Turks. In other circumstances Catherine and Maria Theresa of Austria would have combined to warn Frederick off. However, as things were, they agreed to territorial compensation at Poland’s expense. So Russia gained a swathe of territory between Riga and Chernigov, whose inhabitants were predominately Orthodox and ethnically Ukrainian or Belorussian. It was soon to make more gains as a result of the Turkish war: the western shore of the Black Sea, the coast between the rivers Bug and Dnieper, and the Kerch Strait between the Crimea and the north-east shore of the Black Sea. And Ottoman troops were to quit the Crimea itself.

The Crimea was nominally independent, but since pro-Turkish sentiments were rife among its predominately Muslim population, and since the neighbouring Kuban region was as unstable as Poland, in November 1776 Russian troops crossed the Perekop again, and installed a Russian puppet, Shahin Girey, as khan. But this device did not work well enough for long, and so on 8 April 1783 Catherine annexed the Crimea, accusing the Turks of bad faith in order to justify her own breach of the treaty terms. The new imperial property was doubly valuable. It not only yielded a range of exotic crops — from wine, silk and olives to sesame seeds, dyes and cotton — it offered command of the Black Sea. Before long the old Tatar towns of Akht-mechet and Akhtiar began their transformations into the city of Simferopol and the naval base of Sevastopol.

It had been the birth of a second grandson, in 1779, that had served to crystallize Catherine’s ambition for the Empire’s advance to the south. She had him christened Constantine, after the founder of Constantinople, engaged Greek nurses, and later tutors, for him, and asked her secretary, Count Bezborodko, to sketch out a plan which was to achieve notoriety as ‘the Greek Project’. This contemplated the division of the Ottoman Balkans, the creation of an independent Romanian state of ‘Dacia’, even the replacement of the Ottoman Empire by a revived Byzantine Empire, to be ruled by the infant Constantine. In due course the plan, which drew on the earlier ideas of Andrei Ostermann, was shown to her ally Emperor Joseph II. This is somewhat surprising, since Austria might well have been expected to object to it as potentially detrimental to its interests. But, though Joseph demurred, he did so only on grounds of feasibility. Nikita Panin, president of Catherine’s College of Foreign Affairs, was soon dismissed and replaced by Ostermann’s son, Ivan. Thenceforth Russia’s policy in the south became more aggressive, as did its economic exploitation of conquered territory. But it did not go uncontested.


Eighteenth-century Russia Expansion II

Equestrian portrait of Catherine in the uniform of the Preobrazhensky Regiment.

Battle of Kagul, southern Bessarabia, 1770

A substantial number of Nogai Tatars — nomads who had roamed the north Caucasian steppe since the Mongols had arrived centuries earlier — raised a revolt in the north-western foothills of Caucasus. Ottoman agents and Muslim religious had probably helped to stir them up, as they did other Muslim groups deeper into the mountains. In 1782 Aleksandr Suvorov, the general who had performed so brilliantly in several battles of the First Turkish War of 1768—74, was sent in to sort the problem out. His objective was to secure the eastern flank of the operation, which was to bring under direct Russian administration not only the north Caucasian plain and the north-eastern shores of the Black Sea, but also the Crimea and the Black Sea littoral as far as the river Bug to the west of it.

Suvorov employed a whole armoury of means to persuade the Nogais to accept Russian rule. He staged demonstrations of force; he used diplomacy; he offered bribes; and, inviting them to swear oaths of loyalty to the Empress, he laid on a feast to celebrate the occasion – 100 roast oxen and 800 sheep, to be washed down with dozens of barrels of brandy. The results, however, were disappointing. Only 6,000 Nogais turned up to the ceremony, and at least as many took up arms against the invading Russian troops. Three thousand were killed in one battle; many more fled towards the mountains, but pursuing Russian units caught up with them as they retreated northward up the river Laba, and its banks were soon littered with their bodies. The establishment of a new line of Cossack settlements along the banks of the river Kuban now went forward, and the Greben and Terek Cossack lines to the east were strengthened. Before long the rolling plains to the north and west of the Caucasus were being marked out for settlement. But country further south was also brought within Russia’s sphere. In 1783 Catherine had agreed to a request for protection from King Erekle of Kartlo-Kakheti in Georgia. Some authorities have seen in these episodes the real origins of the Eastern Question.

However, the fate of the Nogais had sounded alarms among the Muslim Chechens of the northern Caucasus, and by 1785 Sheikh Mansur Usherma had succeeded in bringing together most of the diverse mountain peoples, from Dagestan to the Kuban, in an anti-Russian jihad. That year Sheikh Mansur’s warriors trapped a sizeable force of Russian troops on the river Sunzha, and massacred most of them. The Russian command reacted systematically as well as strongly. By 1791 Mansur had been taken and imprisoned. Those followers who survived were subdued. Officials in the region remained watchful, but decades of relative peace were to follow, with no obvious sign that Mansur’s victory on the Sunzha was to be a harbinger of things to come.

A few months later the Sultan finally accepted the loss of the Crimea, at which Russia quickly put the new property to use. A primary aim was to establish naval bases, but increasing its population was also a matter of strategic concern: census-takers counted only 160,000 inhabitants in 1793. The troubles prior to the occupation had taken their toll of casualties; so had the disturbances which followed it, and the plague. But the chief factor was an exodus of population, including most of the Tatar elite, once the Treaty of Jassy confirmed the Crimea’s transfer to Russia, removing all hope that the Tatar state would ever be resurrected. However, those elements of the old Tatar establishment who stayed on — Muslim clerics as well as secular notables – were prepared to co-operate with the Russians, and the transition was further eased in the first instance by having Tatars versed in the old ways of doing things administer Russian rule. Furthermore, the demands imposed on the remaining inhabitants were at first very light. Until the end of the century they were even exempted from taxation and the standard recruitment laws. However, the kid gloves were slowly drawn off and a regime more consistent with practice in the Empire as a whole was gradually imposed, including an obligation to furnish sufficient recruits to man two regiments.

The repopulation of the Crimea was doubly advantageous for Russia. Not only had the country been rid of hostile elements, now there was space for new settlers and new projects. But the ambitious colonization programme for the south — of which Prince Grigorii Potemkin, the Empress’s one-eyed lover, had charge — involved far more than the Crimea itself. All the new territory between the lower Bug and Donets, along with the Zaporozhian Sech, which had been broken up in 1775, was placed under his administration as part of a new province called New Russia (Novorossiia). Its economic potential matched its strategic significance, but first new foundations had to be laid. Potemkin’s far-reaching plans for his new satrapy were based, according the Empress’s wishes, upon the most rational and enlightened ideas of the time. The policies he implemented as viceroy derived in part from legislation of the early 1760s which aimed to encourage foreigners to settle in Russia. However, the approach now concerned not only individuals, but entire communities. The purpose was to make underpopulated areas more productive.

Orthodox Christian settlers—including 20,000 Greeks, some Armenians who knew how to raise silkworms, and others — were recruited from Ottoman territory to help make the land fruitful. Some Georgians also arrived, responding to the offer of protection and financial inducements, and soon a major colonization programme was being implemented. Romanians who understood viticulture and Albanians also came. Poles were allowed to settle there too — and even Jews, who for the most part were confined to the-so-called ‘Pale of Settlement’ in the Polish provinces. These Jews, generally excluded from Russia proper, were valued here for their skills as artisans and, like the Greeks, for promoting trade. The policy was to result in a healthy development of commerce as the immigrants exploited connections with their places of origins and former trading partners. Greeks had long been important in the Levant; Jews were responsible for the growth of overland trade with western Ukraine, especially through Austrian Lemberg (Lvov), though many of them later became free farmer settlers. They were also prominent, alongside Italians and other immigrants, in the development of the port city of Odessa, which by 1802 was receiving an average of over 300 merchant ships a year.

Substantial numbers of Germans were also attracted to the Russian south. Indeed they were reckoned at a premium on account of their industry, orderliness and farming skills. The terms offered them were tempting indeed: freedom to choose their occupation, cash subsidies or an allocation of up to 70 acres if they wished to farm, seed for the first winter and spring sowings, two horses per family, and either free equipment or money in lieu of it. They would also enjoy freedom from taxation for up to thirty years, be exempt from recruitment into the services, and receive the costs of passage if they needed it. Some settlers were even told that they would be under a form of administration based on the Swiss cantonal model. Recruiting contractors were engaged and were offered appointment to a military rank (which brought some privilege and prestige) if they produced a large enough number of settlers.

The prospects for German migrants were painted rosily by the recruiting agents. A prospectus for the Saratov area of the Volga issued in 1765 informed the public in the targeted area that the climate of their potential new habitat was ‘similar to that of Lyons in France … The soil… is extraordinarily fertile … There are the most magnificent meadows … also a great quantity of stock … The horses are … swift … can travel up to fifteen German miles a day and cost no more than six rubles … A milch cow [costs] not above three to four’ and the best of meat cost only a kopek a pound. In some areas grapes could be cultivated, yielding wine of ‘a splendid flavour’, and the soil was also suitable for tobacco. Fruit and flowers grew in abundance, and there was a profusion of game to be shot. The prospects, in short, were altogether excellent. But in case there should be any residual doubt, an assurance was offered: ‘The director of the colony … will make [every effort] to ensure that each new settler … shall be able to enjoy a peaceful and plentiful life.’

Not all the colonists found the Volga to be quite the promised Eldorado, but the strategy as a whole proved productive. This scheme, like many associated with the Empress, bore the hallmarks of the Enlightenment. Indeed, some of the leading luminaries of the Enlightenment, including Diderot and Voltaire, longing for a country to receive their progressive ideas, and judging Bourbon France to be a hopeless case, now looked to Russia as the great hope for the future. This was not simply because Catherine was powerful and subscribed to many of their ideas, but because Russia was so backward and possessed so few institutions. This meant that the Empire could accept the imprint of their ideas and be moulded by them.

But if the government’s policy towards immigrants bore the stamp of the Enlightenment, what was it in regard to its other subject peoples?

In Poland, which presented such contrasts to Russia institutionally and culturally, sentiment was not totally hostile to Russian rule. Indeed, as a German traveller observed, ‘the Poles, particularly the nobility and gentry, are better affected to the Russians than the Prussian, as was … manifest [at the partition crisis] … when they made no scruple of openly declaring their intention to receive the Russians with open arms.’ The vast majority of the population, of course, were politically inert peasants.

Although some nobles were fiercely hostile to the new regime, a number of prominent aristocrats, notably those of the Czartoryski family, had been inclined towards Russia before the partition, and served their new masters willingly. What reconciled the more important Polish nobles to Russian rule, even though they were Catholics, was not simply the preservation of their noble status, with all the rights that in Russia went with it (Kazakh chiefs who did military service enjoyed the same privileges), but the preservation of serfdom. Its abolition in neighbouring Prussia threatened to undermine many of their compatriots across the frontier economically and destroy their local power. Even though, in conformity with Catherine’s provincial reforms, Russian laws and the Russian language were introduced to eastern Poland, the nobility was left in control of local government, and the Catholic Church was not interefered with. In fact most peasants and many townspeople in Russian Poland were Orthodox. The second and third partitions of Poland, in 1793 and 1795, brought 1.7 million of these under the Russian crown, and when the Uniate Church was brought into the Orthodox fold and under the administration of Russia’s Holy Synod it seems that as many of its communicants were relieved as were offended.

The partitions, however, created another religious problem by bringing well over a million Jews as well as several million Catholics into the Empire. This was the chief source of Russia’s reputation for anti-Semitism. Hostility to Jews had been imported into Russia, as into every other Christian country, with the writings of the Church Fathers. Yet Russians themselves were no more anti-Semitic than other European peoples, and less so than many. Before the partitions few Jews had been allowed to enter Russia proper except by express command of the tsar — a policy most probably due to the state’s care to avoid antagonizing the privileged merchant class, on which it was long dependent for financial advice and tax collection, as well as the Church, which had been an important economic support for the state before the eighteenth century. Anti-Semitism in the Empire was for the most part characteristic of certain subject peoples rather than the Russians themselves, having been entrenched for centuries among Ukrainians, Baits and Poles — in short, among the people who inhabited the frontierlands of the Catholic Church where it confronted Protestants or Orthodox Christians.

Although what had been eastern Poland was now subject to Russia militarily, the occupying power did not wish to alienate the Polish ruling class and so delayed the imposition of Russian norms on the Polish territories. But in the 1790s the Polish elite as well as the Russian authorities became increasingly concerned about how to counter the influence of revolutionary France. Polish landowners were terrified by the Jacobinism which had infected some of the budding intelligentsia in the towns, and Russian rule became more popular. But Russian concern resulted in the Polish elite retaining their social, cultural and legal distinctiveness. This helped to embed them as a ‘foreign body’ within the Russian imperium, creating a problem for the future.

Russian Ukraine west of the Dnieper was administered as part of Russian Poland, but eastern Ukraine was subject to policies that would help absorb it, indeed Russify it. This was not the consequence of any master plan to extinguish Ukrainian independence and distinctiveness, however. Since nationalist sentiment did not develop there until well into the nineteenth century, there was no need no counter it in the eighteenth. Nevertheless, some Ukrainians valued their autonomy as well as their traditions, and the Russians were to eliminate Ukrainian autonomy. They did so partly to improve security and prevent disorder. This is why the Zaporozhian Sech had been destroyed and its inhabitants dispersed in 1775, although some of its Cossacks had promptly gone over to the Turks, who allowed them to form a similar community on the lower Danube under their protection. The removal of obstacles to an enlightened monarch’s power was in itself an enlightened idea. So was the abolition of regional, sectoral and any other rights regarded as antiquated and irrational.

The occasion for implementing this principle of uniform centralism had come long before, in 1763, soon after the Empress’s accession. The Ukrainian elite, numbering about 2,200 out of a population of a million, had petitioned for their Council of Officers to be converted into a constitutional Diet of the Nobility. They had also wanted parity of rank and privilege with Russia’s nobility. At the same time Hetman Razumovsky of Ukraine, who had been the favoured lover of Empress Elizabeth, asked for his appointment to be made hereditary. This had angered the enlightened Catherine, who had just acceded to the throne. She not only denied the petitions, but abolished the post of hetman, appointed a governor-general for Ukraine, and looked forward to the time when, as she put it, even the memory of hetmans would be obliterated. There was strong resistance from those who demanded a new appointment, but the Russian authorities reacted with severity. Thirty-six of the objectors were sentenced to death, though they were subsequently reprieved.

Russia’s new system of regional administration, proclaimed in 1775, was applied to Ukraine. However, this obliged the government to recognize the Cossack elite as nobles on a par with the Russian nobility, and in 1783 serfdom was introduced into Ukraine. These measures mollified the Ukrainian elite, who were landowners as well as Cossack officers, so that when Ukraine’s own indigenous institutions were abolished, as they were in the 1780s, protest was muted. Indeed it was Ukrainians on the Russian governor-general’s staff who installed and administered the new regime. Although the Ukrainian elite continued to take pride in their Cossack past, most of them accepted the new order, and in time many of them were to become Russian patriots.

The processes by which differences in wealth within a community increased, and the officer class was accorded both the privileges of noblemen and the right to keep serfs, took place in other Cossack communities which had previously been rebelliously inclined. In 1773 the Don Cossacks had produced in Pugachev the most terrifying rebel of all, but another development also helped to break them in. This was the emergence of an ethos of pride in loyal service which the state helped to shape. The ethos related conveniently both to a sense of social privilege and to pride in military glory.

The later eighteenth century saw an almost uninterrupted series of campaigns in which Cossacks were involved. The imperial citations, awards of decorations for bravery and donations of colours combined to create a patriotism that was gradually to blot out any will to assert a collective independence. Indeed, when the government needed to establish a new Cossack community to build and guard the Kuban river line, former Zaporozhian veterans who had served as marines in the Second Turkish War of 1787—92 were allowed, as a reward for their valued service, to kneel down before the Empress and petition for a grant of land in the area on which they could settle. The petition was, of course, granted, the purpose of the ceremony having been achieved. In an age when glory could inspire both pride and awe, the state now possessed a means other than suppression to fend off thoughts of protest and manipulate its subjects. That is how the Cossacks came to be psychologically enslaved.

The Baltic provinces constituted a quite different case. The great majority of the population there were peasant serfs whose horizons extended very little further than their village and who spoke local Baltic dialects (the modern literary languages had not yet been constructed). Russian rule made little difference to such people, except that men in Russian rather than Swedish uniforms garrisoned the towns and when necessary patrolled the countryside. Authority was represented by the same lord that they had had before. The lords themselves were predominately German-speaking, and, as we have seen, they had been co-opted into the Russian elite. Every governor-general in the eighteenth century was a Baltic German except one, and he, George Browne, was an Irishman married to a Baltic German.

The dependence of government on educated Germans became so pervasive from the 1730s that many a provincial governor would put his signatures to reports that were actually written in German. So long as the Baltic Germans preserved their right to use German in the local courts and in correspondence with the imperial government they had little incentive to learn Russian unless they aspired to very high office. Indeed, until the middle of the century German was the principal language of the imperial court, as subsequently French would become the favoured medium. Furthermore, in the later eighteenth century Baltic Germans held a far higher number of senior positions than their numbers warranted in the imperial administration, the judicial service and the military. They were content with Russian rule. The honeymoon ended only when, in August 1796, the terms of Catherine’s Charter of the Nobility of 1785 were applied to them. The charter deliberately ignored the noble traditions and institutions of the Baltic Germans. Its introduction prompted polite remonstrance, and then protest. But Catherine — a German herself — was adamant. The protestors, she said, did ‘not appreciate the advantages offered to them, but [clung] to traditional habits … The disposition of rulers’, she warned, ‘should at all times be accepted with respect and obeyed without demur.’ The sword of the enlightened improver cut evenly against ancient constitutions and the habits of savages alike.

As ever, there was less restlessness among the peoples of the north and west than in the southern provinces of the Empire. In part this was due to rising affluence, in part to a measured combination of firmness and concession. Indifference and inertia also counted. But, if there was little opposition to Russian rule, there was little inclination to assimilate either. Religious toleration — another principle of enlightened government — helped reinforce the distinctiveness of Catholic Poles, German Protestants and Jews. So did the preservation of serfdom and the persistence of private law. The state was beginning to encroach on privilege and localism, though decades were to pass before the effects were very visible. Had these reforms been implemented earlier and been more widespread, a far higher proportion of the population would have been Russified and there would have been less scope for the nationalism of an age yet to come.

Yet no thoroughgoing Russification policy was applied consistently, even in the mid-Volga region, one of the earlier scenes of Russian empire-building. If Russians came to predominate in that region, this was because of demographic expansion rather than policies of absorption. Russians had formed the majority of the population at least from Peter I’s time. In the 1790s the Chuvash in the region numbered 310,000, the Cheremis 140,000 and the Votiaks only 127,000, but there were more than 250,000 Mordvs and 400,000 Tatars. Some of these minorities, as well as Russians, moved into the Bashkir areas of the southern Urals. The Kalmyks, about 200,000 strong, found they had to share their part of the steppe with Ukrainian, Tatar, Mordv and German as well as Russian colonists. Again, no great effort was made to Russify these elements, although between 1740 and 1755 the Church did mount a missionary campaign directed at animists, and groups whose co-operation the government particularly valued were offered inducements to convert to Christianity. Kazakhs and, later, Crimean Tatars and others who did so were granted three years’ remission of taxes and allowed to own Christian serfs. Yet no attempt was made to make even the patriarchate of Moscow a Russian preserve. Of the 127 Orthodox bishops installed in the Empire between 1700 and 1762, no fewer than 75 were Ukrainians and only 38 Russians. And there was no policy to promote ethnic homogenization.

Russia’s laws, policies and institutions — including Catherine’s ‘enlightened’ rationalizing measures — came to apply to the new provinces as well as to the old, to the Crimea as well as to Livonia and Ukraine and Moscow Province. Not only did they arouse understandable resentment, however, they sometimes resulted in anomaly rather than standardization. In 1795, thanks to the partitions and the age-old policy of co-opting elites, there were some 600,000 registered noblemen (szlachta) in Russia’s Polish provinces — four times as many as in Russia proper. Many of them, however, were devoid of resources — in effect they were the servants of noblemen with means. And, although the local-government reforms of 1775 were applied throughout the Empire, their norms regarding the administration of justice in particular remained a dead letter in Siberia, because the new laws had allotted various administrative functions to members of the nobility, and the Siberians had no noble class.

The Second Turkish War, which formed the backdrop to these developments, confirmed Russia’s superiority over Ottoman Turkey, and established its power in the Black Sea and the northern Caucasus. Success in that war was achieved through a succession of brilliant victories in hard-fought battles – the defence of Kinburn, the battle of the Rymnik, the storming of Ismail. At the same time Russia was able to sustain successful operations, chiefly by sea, against a hostile Sweden. The gains resulting from this triumphant progress were only half digested when another southern project got under way. In 1796, 30,000 troops moved down the Caspian coast to take Derbent and Baku and to prepare for an advance into the heartland of Persia. The ultimate objective of this ‘Oriental Project’, led by the brother of the last of Catherine’s lovers, Platon Zubov, was to seize Tibet and the roads into India.

Already alarmed by the build-up of Russian sea power in the Black Sea and the eastern Mediterranean, Britain was spared further concern by Catherine’s death later the same year. But, although the Oriental Project was called off and British interests in India became safe for the moment, the progress of Russian arms was not to end there. Suddenly, in November 1798, the Knights of St John – based on Malta, the pivotal point in the Mediterranean — elected Catherine’s son and successor, the Emperor Paul, grand master of the order, so Malta in effect became a Russian protectorate. Yet there was to be no clash between the Russian fleet and the British who had helped to create it. Indeed, they were soon united by a common enemy: revolutionary France. Thanks to Russia’s alliance with Britain, Napoleon Bonaparte was to be denied Malta and Egypt, but Russia’s Mediterranean plans were also to come to nothing.

By the end of the century the Empire covered well over 2 million square miles, more than a fifth of them in Europe. Just before the turn of the century a Russian—American Company was founded to exploit the trading possibilities in the north-eastern Pacific and to administer territories on the eastern side of the Bering straits ‘belonging to Russia by right of discovery’. Russian explorers had already been burying inscribed copper plates in new-found lands and erecting crosses over them declaring them to be ‘imperial Russian territory’. The company was empowered to make new discoveries south as well as north of the 55th Parallel, and to exploit them.

This had all been achieved with relatively modest military resources, given how great a power Russia had become. Of a total military establishment of 435,000 in 1782, more than half were garrison troops, labour battalions (of convicts, rebel tribesmen and the like) and frontier troops such as the Cossacks. There were only 118,000 regular infantry, 52,000 regular cavalry and 29,000 artillerymen. The cost, according to the reliable Le Clerc, was 5,173,000 rubles a year. The navy cost a further 1,226,999 a year, compared with 1,588,747 for the court and a mere 73,000 for the Academy of Sciences.  Richard Hellie has estimated that the army cost one-eighth of all Russia’s productive resources in the eighteenth century.  Russia lost 653,000 men in its eighteenth-century wars, nearly a third of them in the Turkish wars. High as these costs were, they were not an excessive price to pay for the immense assets gained — territorial and human — and it has been calculated that between 1719 and 1795 the male population had grown by almost 7 million, not counting the population of the new territories.

Russia was incontestably a world power now, and, as powers do, it attracted opposition. Not only traditional rivals like the Ottoman Turks and France, but former allies now harboured misgivings. Britain was concerned at possible Russian threats to its interests in the Mediterranean and India; Habsburg Austria, long Russia’s closest ally, was now worried that a collapse of the Turkish Empire, previously unimaginable, might precipitate serious problems for it in the Balkans. In the natural way of things, these powers would have been expected to club together with France against Russia in order to restore a balance of power in Europe — but this did not happen. A new factor had intruded itself: the rise of revolutionary ideology. Concern about France’s radically new form of imperialism with its weapons of mass mobilization, democratic populism and subversion was ultimately to mobilize a new, nationalist, form of opposition to it. But in the meantime the disruption of Europe in the Napoleonic Wars was to facilitate the further expansion of Russia’s traditional empire.

Bristling With Antennas, Russia’s A-100 Is Likely More Than Just A New Radar Plane

They may be able to gather signals intelligence, act as a flying command posts, or even launch electronic attacks.

By Joseph Trevithick

November 21, 2017

The first prototype Beriev A-100, set to be Russia’s newest airborne early warning and control aircraft, has made its first flight, with the Russian Air Force hoping to get the first examples by 2020. In addition to its prominent radar dome on top, antennas cover significant portions of the plane, suggesting that United Aircraft Corporation, or UAC, is moving ahead with reported plans to make the design a multi-purpose command and control, electronic warfare, and intelligence gathering platform.

On Nov. 18, 2017, the initial A-100 prototype made its maiden flight from the Taganrog Aviation Scientific and Technical Complex (TANTK), situated near the Sea of Azov that sits between Russia and Ukraine. UAC used an existing Il-76MD-90A transport aircraft to create this “flying laboratory,” referred to specifically as the A-100LL, which will serve as test bed make sure the various antennas and fairings are aerodynamically sound and that the various radars and other systems work as intended.  The production versions will reportedly use new build Il-76MD-90A airframes, also known as the Il-476, and will replace Russian Air Force’s existing A-50M and A-50U Mainstay radar planes.

“This is one of [the] priorities of the current arms procurement program,” Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said of the aircraft in March 2017. In September 2016, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had boasted that the A-100 would be “superior to its foreign equivalents.”

In an official press release, UAC said the A-100s would be able to detect both air and surface targets at long range and help direct fighter jets and strike aircraft to their targets in the air, on land, and at sea. In the past, Russian officials have said that the new design will be able to spot and track nearly any enemy, including low-flying cruise missiles and stealth aircraft.

We have no way of confirming these claims, but the new A-100s will definitely be a significant improvement over the older A-50 types. The most widely reported upgrade is the replacement of the old, mechanically-scanned with a new Vega Premier faster scanning active phased array radar (APAR).

Vega Premier manually scans in azimuth, but electronically in elevation and gives the A-100 the ability to detect and track multiple targets at longer ranges and with greater precision. Russian officials say the system can spot aerial targets more than 370 miles away and warships nearly 250 miles from the aircraft, according to Jane’s 360.

Whether it has the ability to detect low-observable aircraft or not, the A-100 will still be another important component of Russia’s anti-access/area-denial arsenal as it offers an inherently flexible means of monitoring potentially contested air space, such as over the Baltic Sea or the Black Sea. The Russian Air Force’s existing A-50s have already gone to Syria to challenge the ability of aircraft belonging to the U.S.-backed coalition fighting ISIS to operate over that country with impunity.

Linked together with fighter jets in the air and integrated air defenses on the ground, an A-100 might further improve their ability to defend against complex threats, including enemy stand-off attacks using low flying cruise missiles, such as the U.S. military’s Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missile strike against Syria’s Shayrat Air Base in April 2017. In 2015, the Russian Air Force said that four MiG-31 Foxhound interceptors had successfully knocked down a Kh-55 cruise missile during a test with the help of an A-50.

In using the Il-76MD-90A as the starting point, the A-100s will be easier and cheaper to operate than the A-50s that used older Il-76 airframes, as well. The MD-90A variant has four PS-90 high-bypass turbofans, which make it more fuel efficient and give it more flying time, allowing it fly longer distances or loiter over a certain area of the battlefield for a longer amount of time.

The latter capability is particularly important for an airborne earlier warning and control aircraft managing operations. It is possible that this updated aircraft will also offer better altitude performance, allowing for longer radar horizons. The A-100 will also have an aerial refueling capability, a feature already present on the A-50M and U models.

On top of that, the new aircraft will have new avionics, mission systems, and work stations to help reduce the workload for the flight crew and systems operators. The standard Il-76MD-90A cargo plane already featured a “glass” cockpit with six large multi-function displays and other enhancements.

But a closer examination of the A-100LL prototype shows a number of other striking features that the Russian Ministry of Defense and UAC have declined to highlight, notably antenna farms on the top of the forward fuselage, on the wheel well sponsons, and across the tail, as well as what appear to be satellite communications domes, some of which seem extraneous to an airborne early warning and control mission. Signals intelligence and radio relay and data-link information fusion aircraft more commonly have this type of configuration and it could be that the A-100 will be able to perform a number of different roles. Even a tertiary electronic warfare mission isn’t implausible considering Russia’s focus on these tactics as of late.

“The aircraft is also said to have advanced signal intelligence for greater independence and electronic warfare capabilities for protection,” Russian media outlet RT, which is nominally independent, but receives significant funding from the Kremlin, reported in August 2016, citing unnamed sources. “An A-100 reportedly may be used as a fully-fledged flying HQ [headquarters] for the military.”

Below are a series of cropped images of the A-100LL prototype focusing on the various antenna arrays.

A tactical airborne command center capable of rapidly passing large amounts of information back and forth between other aircraft and troops on the ground could increase Russia’s ability to deploy relatively quickly and support operations in places where it would otherwise have limited military communications infrastructure. And like the U.S. Air Force’s Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN), an A-100 operating a central operational hub could just help speed up the flow of important information and extend the ranges at which various units could talk to each other and share vital data. This in turn would improve commanders’ overall understanding of the battlefield and how best to respond to what might be rapidly evolving situations.

Having the A-100 able to take on this mission would be a boon to the Russian Air Force, which at present only has a handful of Il-80, Il-82, and Tu-214 command post aircraft. In addition, these are existing planes are dedicated strategic communications assets, not tactical battlefield management aircraft available for routine, conventional military operations. The Il-80s and Tu-214SRs in particular are highly specialized “Doomsday” planes able to ferry the Russian president and his closest advisers around during a nuclear attack and are analogous to the U.S. Air Force’s VC-25A Air Force One and E-4B Nightwatch National Airborne Operations Centers (NAOC).

The Russian Air Force has a larger, but aging fleet of aerial electronic warfare and signals intelligence platforms, primarily consisting of a number of aging Soviet-era Il-20 and -22 Coots. As with the A-50s, these aircraft have already been flying over Syria, helping forces loyal to Syrian dictator Bashar Al Assad and Russian forces support him locate and engage rebel groups.

Another variant of the Tu-214 was supposed to replace those older aircraft, but so far the Kremlin has been able to acquire just two of these Tu-214R. These planes are multi-intelligence platforms that reportedly carry signal snooping gear, imaging radars, and multi-spectral cameras. Underscoring their importance to Russian operations, in February 2016, the Russian Air Force reportedly deployed one in an apparent field test and returned it to the country later in the year after it officially entered service.

After the A-100LL’s first flight, Russian Ministry of Defense’s internal Red Star newspaper also reported that there were plans to use the platform to control unmanned aerial vehicles. Since the Russian military relies on line-of-sight control for its unmanned aircraft, this could dramatically extend the range and scope of its drone operations.

Russian troops have already made significant use of unmanned surveillance drones in Syria and Ukraine to spot targets, adjust artillery fire, and assess the aftermath of air, sea, and land-based artillery and missile strikes. With this capability, the A-100s could free these pilotless planes from the tether of control stations on the ground extend their reach further deeper into enemy controlled areas. It could also give commanders on the ground and in the air the option of adding drones into additional types of missions or open the door for more complex unmanned operations in the future.

Again, adding even a limited electronic warfare or signals intelligence capability to the A-100 could add additional flexibility during limited deployments. With the ability to track, monitor, or even possibly jam enemy radars or communications nodes, just one of the planes could be a huge force multiplier. Another possibility is that the aircraft could use sharply focused beams of electromagnetic radiation from either the Vega Premier or a separate active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system to disorient or even disable targeting radars, protecting the aircraft or a larger force package en route to a target area.

The Russian military’s steadily increasing focus on electronic and cyber attacks and information warfare means that it is possible, if not probable, that the new aircraft could carry specialized equipment to block or spoof satellite navigation signals, launch cyber attacks, or pump out propaganda messages. As we at The War Zone have noted many times in the past, taken together, these capabilities could easily allow Russian forces to disrupt enemy military operations, sow confusion, or sap troops’ morale. When it comes to attacks on the GPS network specifically, this could impact not only a U.S. military force’s ability to navigate, but also their ability to feel confident in employing certain precision guided munitions.

And though we don’t know this will be the case for sure, as already noted earlier, turning the A-100 into a multi-role platform with diverse capabilities would be well in line with Russia’s interest in new systems to readily deny opponents access to certain areas. It is also possible that the A-100LL could end up being a test bed for modular electronic warfare or signals intelligence packages that will fit on other Il-76 cargo aircraft.

The Russian Air Force has more than 100 Il-76s in service and has already experimented with turning some of those aircraft into bombers. How effective a cargo plane carrying a few unguided bombs would actually be is debatable at best, but having the ability to quickly turn them into electronic attackers or intelligence platforms, in to a limited degree, could be significantly more useful.

The U.S. Air Force has already demonstrated how valuable such modular kits can be on the C-130 airlifter. For the Russian military, it would offer a distinctly low-cost way to add additional specialized aircraft in the face of shrinking defense budgets and competing priorities.

As we at The War Zone have noted many times before, the Kremlin has repeatedly struggled to field a number of advanced military systems as a result of the country’s flagging economy and international sanctions in response to its active support of armed separatists in Ukraine. By combining a number of functions into the A-100 or using it to test more limited modifications for other aircraft, the Russian military might able to squeeze more value from the program overall.

With all this in mind, and from the modifications already visible on the prototype conversion, it seems likely that the Vega Premier on top of the A-100 will only be one small part of the final design’s overall capabilities.

Tunguska Air Defenсe Missile/Gun Complex

For Russian Army air defense, a handful of ageing ZSU-23-4 self-propelled vehicles are still in service, but mainly because their four rapid-fire 23mm cannon are useful in a direct-fire role, as proven in Chechnya. The real backbones of the Army’s point air defense are the Strela-10 (SA-13) short-range missile launcher, and the Tunguska (SA-19) gun/missile system and its successor, the Pantsir-S1 (SA-22). Both of the latter mount two 30mm autocannon and missiles: 6x 57E6 for the former and 12x for the latter.

The 2S6 entered limited service in 1982. The layout is similar to the ZSU-23-4, with a large turret mounted in the centre of the hull and the engine at the rear. The 2S6 is armed with a pair of 2A38 30mm cannons (one on each side of the turret), and four SA-19 Grison missiles (two on each side of the turret). A target acquisition radar is fitted at the rear of the turret, and a tracking radar at the front. The guns are stabilised in both planes to allow firing on the move, but the missiles can only be fired when stationary. The vehicle is armoured to a level sufficient to provide protection from small arms and shell splinters. In 1986, the main production system, the 2S6M, entered service. This increases the missile load from four to eight missiles (four on each side of the turret). The fire-control programmes are improved, and improved guns (2A38M) and missiles (Soviet designation 9M311M) are fitted.

The late 1960s saw a sharply increased interest in the development of highly mobile battlefield short-range air defenses capable of operating as part of forward forces that could be attacked by enemy anti-tank helicopters and low-flying planes, as well as capable of repelling enemy ground attacks if necessary.

The design specifications for a new generation of short-range air defenses were developed with due regard to the first years’ field experience with the SHILKA self- propelled antiaircraft gun (SPAAG). On 8 June 1970, the USSR Council of Ministers decided to conduct preliminary studies to assess the feasibility of developing a new SPAAG equipped with 30mm artillery armament. The KBP Instrument Design Bureau was assigned prime contractor.

In 1973, the CPSU Central Committee and USSR Council of Ministers passed a resolution to develop detailed design and a prototype of the TUNGUSKA SPAAG. However, assessments made at KBP by this time showed that the maximum efficiency of a new battlefield short-range air defense system could only be achieved with combined artillery and missile armaments. In this case, missiles had to be used to fire at air targets throughout the entire engagement envelope, while artillery armament had to be employed to engage targets like aircraft flying at extremely low altitudes and helicopters suddenly emerging from behind cover in the near zone. In addition, it was appropriate to use artillery armament to destroy cheap and massive targets like unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and ground targets, due to low cost of ammunition.

In 1975 this concept was approved and the performance specifications for the Tunguska equipped with both artillery and missile armaments together with an optical sighting and radio remote control system for the surface-to-air missile (SAM) were finalized.

As a result, the key feature of the TUNGUSKA, compared to known AA systems, was that one combat vehicle mounted artillery and missile armaments, radar and optical detection, tracking and fire control instruments using common equipment to support artillery fire and missile guidance: target acquisition radar, target tracking radar, ground receiver / interrogator, optical sighting equipment, digital computing system, and laying drives.

The TUNGUSKA was to be armed with two 30mm autocannons with a liquid cooling system and an ammunition load and 8 launchers with launch tubes and 9M311 missiles in the transport- launch containers. The range of the guns was to be 3.5-4 km, the missiles up to 8 km. In fact, the gun / missile TUNGUSKA was to be the world’s first two-echelon self-propelled short-range air defense system.

KBP’s development efforts on the 9M311 missile yielded a one-stage SAM of an unrivalled bi-caliber configuration, with a separable booster and an unpowered sustainer stage. Such a layout ensured extremely high performance of the missile. Thus, the absence of a motor in the sustainer stage of the missile eliminated smoke blocking the target line-of-sight, ensuring reliable and accurate guidance of the missile, reduced its weight and dimensions, simplified the layout of onboard equipment and warhead. This was also aided by the use of passive aerodynamic damping of the missile airframe during flight, provided by a control loop correction through sending commands to the missile from the SAM system’s computer system.

In general, the use of the bi-caliber layout helped nearly halve the weight of the missile compared to a single-stage SAM and achieve higher ballistic characteristics.

Along with KBP, the TUNGUSKA program involved also the Ulyanovsk Mechanical Plant, Leningrad Optical and Mechanical Association (LOMO), MIET OKB Design Bureau, Kovrov-based Signal VNII Research Institute, Kirov-based Mayak Engineering Plant, Izyum Instrument Plant, Minsk Tractor Plant, etc.

The official tests of the SAM system began in September 1980. On 8 September 1982, the 2K22 TUNGUSKA entered service.

In the second half of 1990, an upgraded version, the TUNGUSKA-M (2K22M), underwent tests. The basic improvements included the introduction of new radio sets and a receiver for communications with the PANTSYR (PU-12M) battery command post and the PPRU-1M (PPRU-1) command post, as well as the replacement of a gas turbine engine (part of the SAM system’s power unit) with a new one with a twice longer service life (600 hours).

In the process of further upgrade efforts on the TUNGUSKA its combat vehicle received equipment for automated acquisition and processing of external targeting data coming from the PPRU (9S80) mobile control and reconnaissance post. This allowed automatic allocation of targets among the combat vehicles and significantly improved the effectiveness of a SPAAGM battery while repelling a massive air raid. Upgrading the TUNGUSKA’s digital computing system through the use of a new computer has expanded its capabilities to handle combat and monitoring tasks and increased the accuracy of their solving. In addition, a relief circuit was introduced that greatly facilitated the gunner’s work in optical tracking of a moving aerial target.

The following components were added to the combat vehicle’s equipment set: equipment for automated acquisition and processing of external targeting data coming from the battery command post, infrared missile locator – missile coordinate generation equipment, a new computer having higher speed and larger memory, and an improved rolling angle measurement system.

Missile improvement was another focus of upgrade effort. The upgraded missile received the designation 9M311-1M. Its sustainer stage was equipped with a continuous / pulsed light source (a floodlamp). The missile equipment was also modified – its immunity in engaging targets that used optical jamming was increased, and the laser proximity sensor was replaced by a radar sensor with a circular antenna pattern.

All the above has increased the engagement range of the SAM system up to 10 km, improved immunity of an optical link in the missile control system and provided assured engagement of small targets like cruise missiles.

High combat and operational properties of the TUNGUSKA have been repeatedly confirmed during exercises and combat firing practice. The SAM system was repeatedly shown at international military equipment exhibitions. The TUNGUSKA SPAAGM and its variants are in service with a number of states.


TUNGUSKA-M1 is designed to provide air defense both for the land forces subunits in all types of their combat actions and defense for the appropriate facilities. TUNGUSKA-M1 is a modern short- range mobile air defense missile/gun complex that can engage aircraft, helicopters (including the hovering and surprise) and the low-flying targets while on the move, at short halts and from the stationary positions as well as destroy the ground and surface targets. TUNGUSKA-M1 incorporates:

– combat assets;

– maintenance equipment;

– training equipment. TUNGUSKA-M1 standard set includes:

– up to six air defense self-propellled gun mounts 2S6M1;

– surface-to-air missiles (SAM) 9M311- 1M in the container-launchers;

– ZUOF8 30-mm rounds with an explosive incendiary projectile and ZUOR6 30- mm rounds with an explosive tracer projectile. Maintenance equipment includes:

– ADMGC maintenance and repair equipment and automated missile integrated test facilities;

– facilities of temporary storage and transportation of missiles and gun rounds and loading of the air defense self-propelled gun mounts;

– group and repair SPTA sets for all the ADMGC assets. TUNGUSKA-M and TUNGUSKA-M1 may be upgraded to extend the life cycle of the combat vehicles. Upgrade of TUNGUSKA-M1 2S6M1 combat vehicle includes:

– introduction of a full-time TV thermal imaging system with the target automatic tracker based on the targeting & optical equipment;

– upgrade of the target acquisition radar;

For upgrading TUNGUSKA-M combat vehicle to a level of TUNGUSKA-M1:

  1. a) the automated external target designation equipment is to be installed;
  2. b) the turret, cabinets and units of radar, tracked chassis and the operational documentation are to be updated;
  3. c) the central computer system, targeting & optical equipment, radio command coder unit, AA automatic guns, motion angle measuring system and cables are to be replaced;
  4. d) a 15 % re-configuration is to be used for changing the composition of the single and group SPTA sets; e) maintenance and repair facilities are to be modified.

After upgrade, TUNGUSKA-M1 takes the new combat properties:

– day-and-night combat operation of the missile/gun armament;

– high level of automation of the combat operation and higher firing capacity; for automating the combat control, the complex assets can be integrated with the unified battery command post of the RANZHYR-MK type.

On the whole, the level of combat effectiveness of TUNGUSKA-M1 in the jamming environment is 1.3 to 1.5 times greater than of TUNGUSKA-M.

Like its predecessors, the 9K22 TUNGUSKA provides a mobile and flexible air defense for armor and motorized regiments. According to Russian practice, the Tunguska has its own battery within the regimental air defense battalion. A 9K22 battery is composed of a headquarters section, transportation section, and three air defense platoons. Each platoon has two 9K22s, for a total of six per battery.

As the regiment’s primary air defense weapon, the Tunguska performs a variety of missions. These include but are not limited to defending armored columns, setting air defense ambushes, and establishing a roving air defense patrol. When defending armored columns on a tactical march, the 9K22s are divided into pairs and placed at least 1,000-2,000m from one another to optimize their interlocking fields of fire. In the air defense ambush, two 9K22s take up static positions and only engage targets that come within a designated aerial sector. The Tunguska SPAAGs relocate after engaging a target or upon discovery by enemy forces. In the roving defense, instead of lying in wait for the enemy’s aircraft, the Tunguska teams move to whatever area is most likely to fall under the enemy’s air attack.

Unlike the ZSU 57-2 and ZSU 23-4, the 9K22 Tunguska has not seen a wide export market. Russian Ground Forces remain the primary operator of the vehicle, with more than 250 currently in service. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the various successor states (including Ukraine and Belarus) retained the existing fleets of 9K22s that remained within their borders. The Indian Army, a long-standing customer for Soviet exports, continues to operate the 9K22 alongside the T-72, T-90, and BMP. During the past decade, the Tunguska has also been exported to Syria and Morocco.



Original system, with 9M311, 9M311K (3M87) or 9M311-1 missiles with a range of 8 km. Some of these early versions of the “Tunguska” system were known as “Treugol’nik”. This system is mounted on the 2S6 integrated air defence vehicle.

2K22M (1990)

Main production system, with 9M311M (3M88) missiles. This integrated air defence vehicle 2S6M is based on the GM-352M chassis. 2F77M transporter-loader. 2F55-1, 1R10-1 and 2V110-1 repair and maintenance vehicles.

2K22M1 (2003)

Improved version with the 2S6M1 combat vehicle on a GM-5975 chassis, using the 9M311-M1 missile (range: 10 km) and with an improved fire control system. Passed state trials and entered service with the Russian armed forces on 31 July 2003.

2K22M with 57E6

Complete upgrade of system with new 57E6 missile and new radar system, with detection range of 38 km and a tracking range of 30 km. Missile range is increased to 18 km.

Specifications: 2S6M Tunguska

Crew: 4

Combat weight: 34 tonnes

Length: 7.93m

Width: 3.24m

Height: 4.01m (3.36m with radar stowed)

Maximum road speed: 65km/h

Maximum road range: 500km

Vertical obstacle: 1m

Trench: 2m


8x SA-19 Grison missiles (2S6: 4x SA-19 Grison missiles)

2x 30mm 2A38M cannon (1,904 rounds) (2S6: 2x 30mm 2A38 cannon)



Battle of Klushino


There were some large-scale and decisive field battles in the wars of the Baltic theater (Orsza, Klushino, Dirschau, Warsaw, Kliszow, etc.), but they do not provide a clear test of the superiority of Mauritsian line tactics-this is true even of many of Gustav II Adolf ‘s battles-in part because terrain was often too broken to facilitate line tactics, troops lacked the drill to master more than the most elementary firing systems, and because commanders still preferred to trust to cavalry action to decide the final outcome. At Kirchholm and at Klushino Polish husarz cavalry routed much larger forces of Swedish and Scots musketeers and pikemen. Except in Swedish and mercenary forces pikes were not much used-janissary, haiduk, and strelets infantry largely dispensed with them. To substitute for pike protection musketeers were often deployed behind field fortifications or in a wagenburg.

The battles of Kokenhausen and Kircholm illustrate the devastating effects a well-timed, precisely aimed Husaria charge could have against even a much larger enemy. The two engagements also illustrate the marked superiority the concerted heavy cavalry charge had during this time over Western cavalry still trained in the caracole. However, it is important to note that neither victory would have been attained were it not for the close coordination of infantry, artillery, and cavalry required to create the perfect conditions for the Husaria to strike effectively. Luckily for the Husaria, during the early 17th century the Polish army was fortunate to have been led by a series of truly brilliant battlefield tacticians. In fact, just four years after Kircholm at the Battle of Klushino in 1610, Stanislaw Zolkiewski, despite being outnumbered five to one, skillfully used his Husaria to defeat a Muscovite army of 30,000 under the command of the tsar’s brother.

For the Husaria, their crucial role in such spectacular victories as Kircholm, Klushino, and Chocim solidified their importance as the Polish army’s elite arm. The latter battle in particular, which saw them man the ramparts at times alongside the infantry, earned them a reputation as universal soldiers that could fill any battlefield role when needed. Not surprisingly, the Husaria’s success and prestige, coupled with their noble pedigree and the fact that they were the only purely Polish (and Lithuanian) unit in the army, soon fostered a regimental culture and tradition markedly different from any other unit in the Commonwealth or indeed in Europe.

Sieges were more common than field battles and until the beginning of the eighteenth century the capture of enemy strongholds was considered a more important campaign objective than attriting or destroying enemy field armies. Until the mid-17th century, when some Baltic coast cities were refortified with trace italienne works, most for tresses were old curtain-wall stone fortresses and not very large (with the exceptions of Ivangorod and Smolensk), or, as in Muscovy and Lithuania, palisade or ostrog-style wooden fortresses with high towers. One would suppose both types to be more vulnerable to bombardment than the trace italienne, except that the heavy rains and early freezing of the ground made it difficult to dig trenches to bring siege guns close enough to the wall. Guns were more often moved and positioned behind shifting gabion lines than through trench approaches and behind fortified redoubts. 2 Rain and frost also complicated mining. Gunnery skills before the mid-seventeenth century appear to have been low; there may have been gunners of good eye who knew from experience or intuition how to point a piece, but there was little evidence that knowledge of the principles of scientific gunnery had spread far into Eastern Europe. Although the Muscovites followed the Ottoman practice of acquiring great numbers of heavy bombard-style guns (Russ. stenobitnye pushki, Turk. balyemez), these do not seem to have guaranteed success in besieging enemy castles and fortresses, so that the Muscovites were usually forced to fall back on lobbing incendiary shot over the fortress walls to start fires within and then taking the walls by storm assault.

A spectacular and decisive example of betrayal by mercenaries switching sides in mid-battle occurred at Klushino in 1610 when Vasilii Shuiskii was betrayed by De la Gardie’s Swedes, whose pay was in arrears. This threw open the road to Moscow to the Poles.

By the time the commonwealth was giving Charles IX cause to question his invasion of Livonia, things were starting to fall apart on the eastern frontier once again. Ivan the Terrible may have been a nightmare in life, but in death he was a catastrophe, a fact that Muscovy’s long border with the commonwealth turned into yet another war.

Ivan IV, in one of his many fits of pique, allegedly struck his eldest son with a staff during a fierce argument, killing him. Whatever the true cause of Ivan Ivanovitch’s death, it left the tsar’s half-witted son as the only heir. Fedor I took the throne in 1584, ushering in a period of utter chaos that came to be known as the Time of Troubles.

The sickly Fedor carried on with the help of his chief minister, Boris Godunov, who was proclaimed tsar upon Fedor’s death in 1598. But without unimpeachable legitimacy, and facing a state that had been in decline since the Livonian War, Godunov struggled against resistance to his rule. Ironically, his greatest threat came from a corpse: a series of three pretenders claiming to be Dmitry, a son of Ivan the Terrible who had supposedly died in 1591, bedeviled the stability of Muscovy.

When Godunov died in 1605, he had failed to defeat the “first Dmitry,” whose followers placed him on the throne and then murdered him in 1606 for marrying a Pole and filling the capital with unsavory foreign influences. Vasilii Shuiskii, a boyar, or Russian aristocrat, was elevated to tsar, his first order of business being the destruction of no less than two other Dmitrys and their enthusiastic followers. Bedlam reigned in Muscovy.

From Sigismund III’s perspective, the situation was delicate. The commonwealth was already at war with Sweden, after all. But the troubles in Moscow were drawing in Poles and Lithuanians who had devoted themselves to one or another of the Dmitrys and who now, thanks to increasing Russian consternation and xenophobia, were being killed in the chaos. The first Dmitry had been a Catholic and therefore was seen by Orthodox Russians as an interloper backed by Poland, a largely Catholic nation. Matters in Muscovy were taking an ugly sectarian direction.

Driven by this, as well as the signing of a new Russo-Swedish alliance, Sigismund opted for war against Muscovy in 1609. Chief on his list of priorities was Smolensk, the mighty fortress near Muscovy’s border with Lithuania, the conquest of which would place the commonwealth in an ideal bargaining position. He began siege operations against it in 1609, the year before his hetman Stanislaw Zolkiewski won his spectacular victory at Klushino against enormous odds. Matters took a decisive turn when a group of boyars in Moscow, having defeated Vasilii Shuiskii, elected Sigismund’s son Wladyslaw as tsar.

Smolensk, along with Danzig, Poland’s largest city, was one of the most heavily fortified places in Europe. Between 1595 and 1602, the Russians had undertaken the modernization of the city’s defenses, embarking on one of the grandest construction projects in European history. The result was a stronghold that Sigismund, with 22,000 men and some thirty heavy guns, could not take in less than two years.

But take it he did, opening all Muscovy to invasion. In one of the most notorious chapters of Russian history, a garrison of Poles occupied Moscow until 1612. Although they were ultimately starved into submission by an angry populace, the event served as the high-water mark of Poland’s interminable fight against Muscovy.

The Battle of Klushino, part of the Polish-Muscovite War of 1609–1619, served to highlight the strengths of Polish-Lithuanian tactics. But as dramatic as Zolkiewski’s victory was, it could do little to help shape events in a decisive manner in this part of the world where war had become endemic.

This was a part of the world where perpetual war was all but unavoidable. To begin with, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, created to ensure the safety of its citizens in a volatile region, lay near the epicenter of a four-way grudge match for control of the Baltic world. Moreover, dynastic complexities and the rivalries they invariably sparked locked the commonwealth in power struggles that paid little heed to borders. Religion, an inflammatory issue in Early Modern Europe, also played a role in fueling conflict, as predominantly Catholic Poland found itself surrounded by Orthodox and Protestant powers.

Then there was the nature of Eastern Europe itself, a vast, sparsely populated region that dissipated the best efforts of invaders, ensuring that wars rarely, if ever, ended decisively. Finally, there was Muscovy—the tsars of which proved most dangerous of all to Poland for their unyielding desire to gain access to the Baltic and command the vast, almost fluid, frontier that separated the two countries. Its control ensured the upper hand in this tumultuous part of the world.

Cavalry played an important role in battle and campaigning. The Poles won cavalry victories over the Swedes at Kokenhausen (23 June 1601), Reval (June 1602), Kirchholm (27 September 1605) and, over a much larger Russo-Swedish army, at Klushino (4 July 1610), although at Klushino the firepower of the Polish infantry and artillery also played a major role. At Kirchholm and Klushino, the mobility and power of the Polish cavalry, which attacked in waves and relied on shock charges, nullified its opponent’s numerical superiority and the Poles were able to destroy the Swedish cavalry before turning on their infantry. Exposed once the cavalry had been driven off, the Swedish infantry suffered heavily. At Kircholm, they lost over 70 per cent of their strength. This was a powerful reminder of the need to avoid an account of European military development solely in terms of improvements in infantry firepower. Similarly, on 8 July 1659 at Konotop, Russian cavalry were heavily defeated by steppe cavalry: the Crimean Tatars allied with Hetman Vyhovsky of the Ukraine and the Cossacks. The Russians lost largely due to poor reconnaissance and generalship: they let their main corps get lured into a swamp.

Polish cavalry tactics influenced those further west, not least thanks to commanders such as Pappenheim who had served in Poland. Aside from providing a warning about the customary emphasis on infantry, these battles also suggested that the novel military techniques that are held up for particular praise, were of only limited value. At Klushino, the Swedish force was largely composed of mercenaries familiar with conflict in Western Europe, while one of the commanders, Jakob de la Gardie, had served under Maurice of Nassau.

The Battle

The ability of Polish-Lithuanian troops to defeat western troops, when Zolkiewski led a small army of 5,556 hussars, 679 cossack horse, 290 petyhorcy (the Lithuanian equivalent), 200 infantry and two small field guns to victory at Klushino on 4 July 1610 against a combined Muscovite-Swedish army with a massive numerical advantage. Żółkiewski took his small army on a forced march at dead of night through difficult forested terrain to arrive just before dawn at the Muscovite-Swedish encampment. The Muscovites, led by Vasilii Shuiskii, numbered some 30,000 if the numerous peasant auxiliaries are included; of this, perhaps 16,000 were strel’tsy, pomest’e cavalry and mounted arquebusiers. The Swedes, led by Christoph Horn and Jakob de la Gardie, who had spent two years in Holland learning the art of war from Maurice of Nassau himself, were largely composed of French, German and British mercenaries, some 5–7,000 in all: on their own they possibly outnumbered the Poles Żółkiewski enjoyed the advantage of surprise, but his plan of an immediate attack on the two enemy camps before they awoke was thwarted. As the Poles emerged from the forest, they had to negotiate a palisade and a small village before reaching the enemy camps. At first light, as Żółkiewski’s men smashed gaps in the palisade and set fire to the village, the Muscovites and Swedes began to deploy. The battle which followed was a dramatic demonstration of the effectiveness and endurance of the Polish cavalry. Żółkiewski directed his first assault against the Muscovite horse on his right. With no possibility of a flanking attack, he sent Zborowski’s hussar regiment, no more than 2,000–strong, in a direct attack on the hordes of Muscovite horse. Samuel Maskiewicz, who took part, described how:

The panic-stricken enemy … began to stream out of their encampments in disorder; … the Germans were first to form up, standing in their usual fieldworks, on boggy ground by the palisade. They did us some damage, by the numbers of their infantry armed with pikes and muskets. The Muscovite, not trusting himself, stationed reiters amidst his formation, and drew up the common folk, a numberless horde so great that it was terrifying to observe, considering the small number of our army.

Some units charged into the mass of Muscovite horse eight or ten times:

for already our arms and armour were damaged and our strength ebbing from such frequent regrouping and charges against the enemy … our horses were almost fainting on the battlefield, for we fought from the dawn of a summer’s day until dinner-time, at least five hours without rest– we could only trust in the mercy of God, in luck and in the strength of our arms.

The hussars were seriously hampered by the palisade, which had only been partially demolished: the gaps were only large enough for ten horses to pass through in close order; this prevented them attacking in their usual extended formation and the steady fire of the foreign infantry, protected by the palisade, was causing heavy casualties. The Muscovite horse, however, was beginning to crack. Vasilii Shuiskii asked de la Gardie to support it with his cavalry. As the reiters advanced, however, the hussars exposed the caracole as a useless parade-ground manoeuvre:

they handed us the victory, for as they came at us, we were in some disorder, and immediately, having fired their carbines, they wheeled away to the rear in their normal fashion to reload, and the next rank advanced firing. We did not wait, but at the moment all had emptied their pieces, and seeing that they were starting to withdraw, we charged them with only our sabres in our hands; they, having failed to reload, while the next rank had not yet fired, took to their heels. We crashed into the whole Muscovite force, still drawn up in battle-order at the entrance to their camp, plunging them into disorder.

As the Muscovite cavalry fled, Żółkiewski turned on the Swedes. His hussars, many of whose lances were shattered, had little chance of defeating the ‘Germans’ unsupported. At this point, however, Żółkiewski’s small force of infantry and the two guns, which had become bogged down in the forest, arrived to rescue the situation. As the infantry and the cannon shot gaps in the palisade and inflicted casualties on the foreigners, Żółkiewski sent in Jüdrzej Firlej’s company, whose lances were still intact, against ‘the whole foreign infantry … standing in battle-order, protected by stakes, beside their camp … Firlej broke this infantry, having attacked it with courage. We … supported him; … having broken our lances, we could only join the attack with our sabres in our hands.’ As the rest of the foreign cavalry was driven from the field, accompanied by de la Gardie and Horn, the infantry took refuge in their camp. Abandoned by their commanders and by the Muscovites, individuals and groups began to slip over to the Poles. By the time Horn and de la Gardie returned to the battlefield, it was too late; they were forced to negotiate an honourable surrender. Many of the foreign mercenaries entered Polish service; de la Gardie led the Swedes and Finns to Novgorod.

Russian historians have frequently explained the outcome of Klushino as the result of foreign treachery. This is a travesty of what happened. Polish and foreign accounts agree that it was the Muscovite horse which left the battlefield first, and it was the foreigners who felt abandoned. If Klushino demonstrated anything, apart from the inadequacy of the pomest’e cavalry, it was that western methods were no magic elixir. Foreign mercenaries had been involved in Muscovy from the start of the Time of Troubles. De la Gardie had instructed Muscovite troops in western methods, especially pike tactics, and there were native Muscovite units of mounted western-style arquebusiers, officered by foreigners, at Klushino. Yet if western-style tactics certainly improved the defensive capacity of the Muscovite infantry, they could not win the war. For that, cavalry was still the decisive arm in eastern Europe. Pike and shot alone could not produce a military revolution in the east.

Germany – 1813

Russian, Austrian, and Prussian troops in Leipzig.
Painting by Alexander Sauerweid.

The Treaty of Reichenbach between Austria, Russia and Prussia signed on 27 June set out the four minimal Austrian conditions and guaranteed that Austria would enter the war unless Napoleon had accepted them by the expiry of the armistice on 20 July. The allies made it clear to Metternich, however, that although they would enter negotiations on this basis they would only sign a peace if it included other terms which would end Napoleon’s domination of Germany and guarantee Prussian security. Relations between Austria and the allies reached their lowest ebb when Metternich returned from discussions with Napoleon in Dresden and imposed an extension of the armistice until 10 August. Some of the loudest denunciations of this extension came from Baron Stein. In his case the normal allied view that Austrian peace terms were inadequate was enhanced by fierce disagreement with Metternich about the war’s ultimate goals. Stein wanted a reborn and more united German confederation with a constitution guaranteeing civil and political rights. He appealed to German nationalist feeling to achieve this. Since April 1813, however, Stein’s influence with Alexander had been in decline as Germany failed to revolt against Napoleon and the allies’ need for Austrian assistance became more pressing. Now he attempted to strike back, claiming that Metternich was pulling the wool over allied eyes and that with half a million Russians, Prussians and Swedes ready to take the field against 360,000 enemy troops Austrian help was probably unnecessary anyway. Previously he had supported Nesselrode because the latter shared Stein’s view that Russia should commit herself wholeheartedly to the liberation of Germany from Napoleon. Now, however, he called Nesselrode Metternich’s dupe, a well-meaning but empty weakling.

In reality Nesselrode was right and Stein was wrong. The allies could not have driven Napoleon out of Germany without Austrian help. At the very moment when Stein was writing these denunciations Metternich was moving quietly to swing Austria towards the allied camp. With peace negotiations now in the offing, Metternich wrote to Francis II that it was essential that he and the emperor were in complete agreement as to future policy. The peace negotiations might have three outcomes. The two sides might agree terms, in which case Austria need only rejoice. Metternich did not need to spell out to Francis how unlikely this outcome was, since the Austrians were well aware how far apart the opposing sides were as regards acceptable peace terms. A second and somewhat likelier possibility was that Napoleon would accept the Austrian minimal terms and the allies would reject them. Metternich wrote that Austria could not determine in advance what to do in this event since to some extent it would depend on contexts and circumstances. Under no circumstances could it side with France, however, and the defeat or dissolution of the allied coalition would be a great threat to Austrian security. Armed neutrality might be a short-term option but it would be very difficult to sustain for any length of time and the only other alternative would be to join the allies.

Metternich’s memorandum concentrated, however, on the third and likeliest possibility, which was that Napoleon would reject the Austrian terms. In that case Metternich’s unequivocal advice was that Austria must declare war. He concluded his memorandum with a question: ‘Can I count on Your Majesty’s firmness in the event that Napoleon does not accept Austria’s conditions for peace? Is Your Majesty resolutely determined in that case to entrust a just cause to the decision of arms – both those of Austria and of the whole of the rest of united Europe?’

Francis responded that any decent man must desire stable and lasting peace and that this was all the more true for a sovereign like himself who bore responsibility for the well-being of ‘his good subjects’ and their ‘beautiful lands’. No greed for territory or other advantages could justify war. But he trusted Metternich’s judgement: ‘To a great extent I have you to thank for the present excellent political situation of my monarchy.’ Therefore he agreed with his foreign minister’s conclusions. In the event that Napoleon accepted Austria’s terms and the allies rejected them he would await Metternich’s advice. If Napoleon rejected the Austrian terms then the monarchy would declare war on France.

In the end therefore everything depended on Napoleon and he played into the allies’ hands. The French representatives at the Prague peace conference arrived late and without powers to negotiate terms. Nothing could have done more to confirm Austrian suspicions that Napoleon was merely playing for time and had no interest in peace. Not until two days before the armistice was due to expire did Napoleon make a serious diplomatic move. On 8 August Caulaincourt, one of the two French delegates to the peace conference, visited Metternich’s quarters to inquire what price Austria required to stay neutral or join the French camp. Not until the day after the armistice expired did the French provide Metternich with a response to the four minimal peace conditions set out by Austria. Napoleon agreed to abandon the Poles and hand over much of Illyria to Austria. He conceded nothing as regards the north German ports, rejected Prussian annexation of Danzig, and required compensation for the King of Saxony to make up for the fact that he had lost his position as Duke of Warsaw. These conditions would never have satisfied Metternich and by now it was in any case too late. Austria had closed the peace conference and now declared war on France.

Ever since August 1813 most historians, French ones included, have condemned Napoleon’s ineptitude in failing to use diplomacy to divide the allies and keep Austria neutral. Even the inadequate concessions presented to Metternich on 11 August might have made an impact on Francis II if put forward as a first move at the beginning of the peace conference. There was room to exploit differences in Austrian and Russo-Prussian war aims, as regards both German and Polish territories. If the peace conference could be extended to include Britain, Napoleon’s chances of sowing dissension must improve further. All the continental powers resented the fact that, while their territories had been occupied and ravaged, the United Kingdom had remained inviolate and become seemingly ever richer. They hoped to achieve territorial concessions by Napoleon in Europe in return for British willingness to hand back French colonies.

Nevertheless, even if Napoleon erred in not using diplomacy more skilfully to explore potential splits among his enemies, it is possible to understand his point of view in the summer of 1813. Refusal seriously to explore peace terms was much less obvious a blunder than his initial agreement to the armistice. The French monarch feared that once he began making concessions the allies would raise their demands. He was correct: the Russians and Prussians intended to do just this. The concessions he was being urged to make in north Germany might conceivably be acceptable in the context of a general peace which would include the return of French colonies, but Napoleon could hardly be expected to concede these territories in a continental peace and thereby find himself naked when he had to bargain later with the British.

A fundamental issue underlay all these peace negotiations. The allies, and indeed Austria, wanted to restore something approaching a balance of power in continental Europe. Napoleon was committed to French empire or at least hegemony. His defenders might plausibly assert that unless he preserved some version of French dominion on the continent he had lost his war with Britain and the vastly powerful maritime empire which it had created. Napoleon’s basic problem was that although the continental powers resented the British version of empire, the French version was a much more direct threat to their interests. No amount of clever diplomacy could alter this. The only way in which Napoleon could get the continental powers to accept his empire was by re-creating their terror of French military power, which the disaster of 1812 had undermined. This was not an impossible task in August 1813. Napoleon had good reason to believe that he could defeat the Russians, Prussians and Austrians because the chances were very evenly matched. This adds to the drama of the autumn 1813 campaign.

In numerical terms Napoleon’s forces were inferior to the allies but not greatly so. The Russian and Prussian official histories put allied numbers in Germany at the beginning of the autumn campaign at just over half a million. Napoleon himself reckoned in early August that he could put 400,000 men in the field, not counting Davout’s corps at Hamburg, which was subsequently able to detach 28,000 men from garrison duties for an offensive against Berlin. On 6 August his chief of staff reported 418,000 men in the ranks. Exact numbers available for action on the battlefield are impossible to calculate for either side: roughly speaking, however, in the first two months of the campaign Napoleon could put rather more than four men in the field to every five allies. It was fortunate for the allies that 57,000 French troops were facing Wellington in the Pyrenees and another small corps under Marshal Suchet was still attempting to hold Catalonia.

After two months the odds would shift somewhat towards the allies. The only reinforcements Napoleon could expect were Augereau’s small corps which was forming in Bavaria. There were dangers in moving Augereau forward, since this made it easier for Bavaria to switch sides, which is what happened in October. To some extent the Russians faced a similar dilemma in the Duchy of Warsaw, where Bennigsen’s Army of Poland was both a strategic reserve and an occupation force. In the Russian case, however, it was possible to move Lobanov-Rostovsky’s Reserve Army into the Duchy to replace Bennigsen’s 60,000 troops when they set off for Saxony. A steady flow of Austrian recruits also joined Schwarzenberg’s army in September and October. In addition, once one began looking beyond the 1813 campaign it was clear that Austria and Russia had greater reserves of untapped manpower than Napoleon, especially if he was forced to rely just on France’s own population. Napoleon’s best chance of defeating the allies would therefore come in the first two months of the autumn campaign. This thought is unlikely to have worried the French emperor. After all, most of his great victories had been won in less time than this.

They had been won by better soldiers than he commanded in August 1813, however. Above all, Napoleon remained very inferior to the allies in cavalry. His mounted arm had improved considerably during the armistice, chiefly in terms of numbers. Some good cavalry regiments subsequently arrived from Spain. The Guards cavalry was mostly competent, as were the Polish and some of the German regiments. But the bulk of Napoleon’s French cavalry was still well inferior to the Russian reserves formed by Kologrivov, not to speak of the veteran Russian cavalrymen. In addition, all sources agree that the cavalry was the best arm of the Austrian army. The situation as regards artillery was if anything the opposite. French equipment was much less cumbersome than Austrian guns and caissons. The Prussian artillery was so weak that the Russians had to second some of their own batteries to a number of Prussian divisions in order to give them sufficient firepower. The Prussian general staff history concluded that French artillery officers were usually more skilful than their allied counterparts. The main allied advantage as regards artillery was numerical. If they could concentrate their three field armies and Bennigsen’s Army of Poland on a single battlefield, the weight of their firepower should be overwhelming.

The majority of both the allied and the Napoleonic infantry were recruits, most of whom had never seen action before August 1813. The French conscripts were younger than their allied peers, but on the other hand many of them had experienced the spring campaign, which was true neither of the Austrians nor of the Prussian Landwehr. The Russian reserves were also going into action for the first time but at least in their case they had enjoyed plenty of time to train and were usually very tough and resilient. Above all, however, the Russian infantry contained more veterans than its French counterpart. This meant not just the men who had served throughout the 1812 and spring 1813 campaigns, but also many thousands of veterans who returned to their regiments during the armistice from hospitals and detached duties. Not surprisingly, the Guards contained exceptionally large number of veterans. The Guards regiments had not seen action in the spring 1813 campaign, and many of them had received drafts of veteran troops from regiments of the line.

Though his army was inferior to the allies in both numbers and quality, in other respects Napoleon enjoyed key advantages. As he himself pointed out to Count Bubna, Metternich’s envoy, interior lines combined with a clear chain of command and his own undisputed leadership were very valuable in themselves. When opposed to a coalition made up of equal great powers with diverse interests, and with armies deployed in a huge semicircle from Berlin in the north to Silesia in the east and Bohemia in the south, these advantages ought to be decisive. In his memoirs, Eugen of Württemberg wrote that in August 1813 he had been optimistic about allied victory but having discovered after the war how disunited and conflict-ridden the allied leadership had been he was now very surprised by ultimate allied success.

The allied commander-in-chief was the Austrian field-marshal, Prince Karl von Schwarzenberg. Before 1813 Schwarzenberg had shown himself to be a skilful ambassador and a competent and courageous commander of a division. His record of commanding larger units had been less impressive. Nothing in his personality or career suggested that he was a match for Napoleon as the commander of a huge army. Schwarzenberg was a patient, tactful, kind and honourable man. He believed in the allied cause and served it unselfishly and to the best of his ability. A grand seigneur, he had the manners and the lack of personal ambition appropriate to his status. In the manner of an Eisenhower, he could absorb and defuse conflicts between the many ambitious and aggressive personalities over whom he exercised command. Of course, the aristocratic Schwarzenberg was fluent in French, the lingua franca of the allied high command. As commander-in-chief, however, he was hampered by his lack of confidence in his own military ability, his awe of Napoleon, and the immense difficulty of commanding a coalition army of equal great powers, two of whose sovereigns insisted on travelling with his headquarters and second-guessing his decisions. Though he often found Alexander very difficult to handle, Schwarzenberg on the whole liked him. He echoed the consensus that the Russian monarch was ‘good but weak’. Frederick William III on the contrary was ‘a coarse, churlish and insensitive person whom I dislike as much as I value the poor, valiant Prussians’.

For all his inadequacies, Schwarzenberg was the best man available for the post of commander-in-chief. The supreme commander had to be an Austrian, not a Russian. This reflected allied dependence on Austria in August 1813 as well as the fact that the largest allied army was deployed on Austrian territory. Even if the Austrians had been willing – which was far from the case – Alexander himself would never have accepted the job. Had he wished to be the supreme military commander, the position was his for the asking after Kutuzov’s death in April 1813. Some of his generals urged him to take personal command then but Alexander was far too lacking in confidence in his military abilities to agree. Instead he preferred to operate from behind the shoulder of the actual commander-in-chief, to the latter’s acute discomfort.

The emperor treated Schwarzenberg with more respect than he had Wittgenstein. At the beginning of the autumn campaign, for example, one even finds him telling Wittgenstein to obey Schwarzenberg’s orders when they conflicted with Alexander’s own commands. Quite soon, however, confidence in the supreme commander began to fade and old habits to some extent returned. Schwarzenberg quickly learned that the only way to guarantee that Russian commanders would actually execute his orders was to consult in advance the emperor’s representative at allied headquarters, Karl von Toll, and on any major matters to get Alexander’s own approval. Inevitably this delayed and blurred decision-making to a degree which could have proved fatal.

Consulting Alexander and Frederick William entailed listening to the opinions of their military advisers. In Alexander’s case this meant above all Barclay de Tolly, Diebitsch and Toll. Always inclined to trust foreign ‘military professors’, Alexander now found a partial substitute for Pfühl in Major-General Antoine de Jomini, one of the most respected military writers of the time, who had deserted from Napoleon’s army during the armistice. Alexander put even more trust in Napoleon’s old rival General Moreau, who had defeated the Austrians at Hohenlinden in 1800 and whom he had invited into his entourage from American exile. For Schwarzenberg and his Austrian staff officers it was bad enough having to listen to the allied monarchs and their Russian and Prussian generals. Having to defer to Moreau and Jomini was the final straw. The commander-in-chief wrote to his wife about the frustrations of being ‘surrounded by weaklings, fops of every sort, creators of eccentric schemes, intriguers, idiots, chatterers and fault-finders’. Mikhailovsky-Danilevsky commented in his diary that allied decision-making was sometimes akin to the deliberations of a popular assembly, quite unlike the clear-cut system of command which had existed – in his rather idealized memory – at Kutuzov’s headquarters in 1812.

If Schwarzenberg’s power over the main army – the so-called Army of Bohemia – was conditional, it was almost non-existent as regards the two other allied armies. The Army of the North was commanded by Bernadotte and was deployed around Berlin. As the de facto sovereign of a large, independent country Bernadotte had to be given command of one of the armies and would be very difficult for any commander-in-chief to control. In so far as anyone at the main army headquarters could influence Bernadotte’s actions, it was Alexander to whom the Swedish crown prince to some extent deferred. In any case, the whole area between Schwarzenberg’s and Bernadotte’s armies was held by Napoleon, so messengers between the two headquarters generally made a huge detour to the east and took many days to shuttle back and forth. Even Schwarzenberg’s attempts to control General Blücher, the commander of the Army of Silesia, bore little fruit. By delay and by appealing to Alexander and Frederick William the Prussian general successfully resisted all the commander-in-chief’s many efforts to draw the Army of Silesia into Bohemia in order to cover the main army’s right flank. At least in the Army of Bohemia Schwarzenberg could give direct orders to the 120,000 men who formed its Austrian contingent. In the Army of Silesia and the Army of the North, however, there were no Austrian troops.



Charron Armoured Cars

Two Charron partly armoured cars were built in France in 1904, based on saloon car bodies. A hand-traversing machine gun turret was fitted on the roof over the rear seats. One was purchased by the Russians and the other was used by the French in Morocco.

In 1902 when the Charron, Giradot et Voigt company exhibited at the Salon de l’Automobile in Paris a car with a circular shield of armour plate instead of the rear seats and within it a pedestal mounting for a Hotchkiss machine gun. A French Army commission carried out firing trials with it in 1903 but saw no need for such a vehicle.

Nevertheless, Charron, Giradot et Voigt continued to work on the development of an armoured car in collaboration with the Hotchkiss company and Major Guye of the French Artillery, whose patented turret it incorporated. The resulting vehicle was still based on a passenger car chassis but it had a fully armoured body surmounted by a turret with a Hotchkiss machine gun. It came to weigh about 3 tonnes and was capable of a road speed of 45km per hour.

The new vehicle was ready by the beginning of 1906 when it was inspected by the French minister of war. This was followed by tests during the autumn manoeuvres of the French Army, but a commission that reviewed reports on the vehicle as well as other new developments concluded in May 1909 that armoured cars should not be considered further because they could not move over all types of terrain and because of their high production cost. Moreover, the French cavalry preferred unarmoured machine gun cars.

Nakashidze-Charron was the first Russian armored car. It was designed by M.A. Nakashidze in 1905. It had a single turreted machine gun and was armored with 3mm steel plate. After the design was accepted by the War Ministry, the French firm Charron, Girardot & Voigt at Puteaux near Paris was contracted to build the prototype since the Ministry decided that the Russian industry of that period was not capable of producing such a vehicle. After the prototype was completed, trials conducted on the vehicle during the summer wargames of 1906 yielded positive results.

The War Ministry ordered the production of ten more vehicles. The French firm completed these vehicles in 1908 but only eight arrived in Russia. The Germans claimed that the other two vehicles were “lost” in their rail transit through Germany. The two stolen vehicles were spotted during the Landwehr maneuvers. One of these vehicles was still in France when the First World War broke out in 1914. It was immediately requisitioned by the French authorities and sent into battle but only to be quickly lost.

Nakashidze’s armoured car.

In keeping with the other armies of the time, the horse provided transport for all arms in the Tsarist Army, although as early as 1905 attempts were being made to provide the cavalry with armoured cars for use in the war against Japan. Shortly after the outbreak of the war the Cossack body of the Manchurian Army in Siberia, under Nakashidze, completed the design of an armoured car project, but in spite of the support given by the Commander of the Manchurian Army, General Linevich, the War Department refused to undertake the project in Russia. Nakashidze’s drawings were, however, despatched to France, where the construction of his armoured car was undertaken by the firm of Charron Girardot et Voigt. The initial order for 36 vehicles was, reluctantly, reduced to one, and in 1905 the completed vehicle was delivered to the Russians. Designed from experiences in combat in Manchuria, the vehicle proved to be of exceptionally good design. It had a large ground clearance and the wheels were protected by armoured discs as opposed to the contemporary use of wooden spoked wheels. A portable bridging device facilitated overcoming obstacles, such as trenches, up to 3 metres in width. A machine-gun was mounted in a revolving turret, and another stowed within the vehicle. The armour was 4-5 mm thick, giving the car a combat weight of 3 tons. Its maximum speed was 50 kph.

In 1905, Nakashidze submitted an official report to the War Department wherein he requested an official trial for evaluating the possible future value of armoured cars in the Russian Army. Following this, in 1906, a trial was carried out with experimental armoured cars, moving along all types of road and across dry, arable land, on a route from St Petersburg via Oranienbaum (now Lomonosov) to Venki. Experimental machine-gun firing was carried out at the Imperial Officer School firing range. Both stationary and mobile firing trials were conducted at the school under the supervision of Filatov, the Chief Range Officer at the Oranienbaum School. The results of these firing trials were very favourable, and an armoured car was subsequently entered in the Krasnoseliskikh manoeuvres during July 1906. The commission who tested the car stated that it was of great value for reconnaissance in the rear and flanking areas of the enemy, for liaison between fronts, for disordering attacking enemy cavalry, for partisan work and in the pursuit. The Commission stated that:

The armoured car has a wide future as a supporting means of combat.

Following this evaluation, it was proposed to redesign and improve the armoured car at the Izhorski Zavod, but although supported by the General Staff, the proposal was turned down by the War Department.