Pyotr Bagration

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Pyotr Bagration_table_infobox_0

General Prince

Pyotr BagrationPyotr Bagration_header_cell_0_0_0

Nickname(s)Pyotr Bagration_header_cell_0_1_0 "God of the Army"

"The Eagle"Pyotr Bagration_cell_0_1_1

BornPyotr Bagration_header_cell_0_2_0 (1765-07-10)10 July 1765

Kizlyar or Tbilisi, Kartli-KakhetiPyotr Bagration_cell_0_2_1

DiedPyotr Bagration_header_cell_0_3_0 24 September O.S. 12 September] 1812

Sima, Russian EmpirePyotr Bagration_cell_0_3_1

BuriedPyotr Bagration_header_cell_0_4_0 Borodino Battlefield, RussiaPyotr Bagration_cell_0_4_1
AllegiancePyotr Bagration_header_cell_0_5_0 Russian EmpirePyotr Bagration_cell_0_5_1
Service/branchPyotr Bagration_header_cell_0_6_0 Imperial Russian ArmyPyotr Bagration_cell_0_6_1
Years of servicePyotr Bagration_header_cell_0_7_0 1782–1812Pyotr Bagration_cell_0_7_1
RankPyotr Bagration_header_cell_0_8_0 General of the InfantryPyotr Bagration_cell_0_8_1
Commands heldPyotr Bagration_header_cell_0_9_0 Pyotr Bagration_cell_0_9_1
Battles/warsPyotr Bagration_header_cell_0_10_0 Russian-Circassian War

Russo-Turkish War (1787–1792)

Kościuszko Uprising Italian Campaign

Swiss Campaign Finnish War Russo-Turkish War (1806–1812)

Napoleonic WarsPyotr Bagration_cell_0_10_1

AwardsPyotr Bagration_header_cell_0_11_0 Weapons:
Gold Sword for BraveryPyotr Bagration_cell_0_11_1
Spouse(s)Pyotr Bagration_header_cell_0_12_0 Catherine Bagration née SkavronskayaPyotr Bagration_cell_0_12_1
RelationsPyotr Bagration_header_cell_0_13_0 Ivane (father)

Roman and Alexander (brothers)Pyotr Bagration_cell_0_13_1

SignaturePyotr Bagration_header_cell_0_14_0 Pyotr Bagration_cell_0_14_1

Pyotr Bagration (10 July 1765 – 24 September 1812) was a Russian general and prince of Georgian origin, prominent during the Napoleonic Wars. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_0

Bagration was born in Kizlyar or Tbilisi to a family, part of the Bagrationi dynasty. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_1

His father was an officer in the Imperial Russian Army, into which Bagration also enlisted in 1782. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_2

Bagration began his career serving in the Russo-Circassian War for a couple of years. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_3

Afterwards he participated in a war against the Ottomans and the capture of Ochakov in 1788. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_4

Later he helped suppress the Kościuszko Uprising of 1794 in Poland and capture Warsaw. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_5

During the Italian and Swiss campaigns of 1799 against the French, he served with distinction under Alexander Suvorov. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_6

In 1805, Russia joined the coalition against Napoleon. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_7

After the collapse of the Austrians at Ulm, Bagration won praise for his successful defense in the Battle of Schöngrabern that allowed Russian forces to withdraw and unite with the main Russian army of Mikhail Kutuzov. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_8

The combined Russo-Austrian army was defeated at the Battle of Austerlitz in December, where Bagration commanded the right wing against the French under Jean Lannes. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_9

Years later he commanded Russian troops in the Finnish War against Sweden and another war against the Turks in the Danube. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_10

During the French invasion of Russia in 1812, Bagration commanded one of two large Russian armies, the other commanded by Barclay de Tolly, fighting a series of rear-guard actions. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_11

The Russians failed to stop the French advance at the Battle of Smolensk. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_12

Barclay had proposed a scorched earth retreat that was approved by Alexander I, although Bagration preferred to confront the French in a major battle. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_13

Mikhail Kutuzov succeeded Barclay as Commander-in-Chief and continued his policy until the Battle of Borodino near Moscow. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_14

Bagration commanded the left wing, later called the Bagration flèches, at Borodino, where he was mortally wounded and died a few weeks later. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_15

He was originally buried at a local church, but in 1839 was reburied on the battlefield of Borodino. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_16

Life Pyotr Bagration_section_0

Pyotr was born in 1765 to a prince of the Mukhrani branch of the Bagrationi dynasty, Colonel Prince Ivane Bagrationi, who was the eldest son of Prince Alexander, an illegitimate son of King Jesse of Kartli, which is now central Georgia. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_17

He studied Russian and German and was taught Persian, Turkish, Armenian, and Georgian by his father. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_18

However, unlike many other Russian aristocrats, he did not know French. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_19

Bagration personally identified himself as a "pure Russian" (chistoi russkoi). Pyotr Bagration_sentence_20

Pyotr joined the Imperial Russian Army in 1782, enlisting as a sergeant in the Kavsansk Rifles of the Astrakhan Infantry Regiment. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_21

His younger brother Roman joined the Chuguevsk Cossack regiment as a uryadnik (a Cossack NCO) at the age of thirteen in 1791. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_22

Both would go on to become generals of the Imperial Russian Army. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_23

Bagration served for some years in the Russian-Circassian War. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_24

He participated in the Siege of Ochakov (1788). Pyotr Bagration_sentence_25

In 1792 he was commissioned as a Captain and transferred to the Kiev Cavalry Regiment that year as a second Major, transferring as a full first Major to the Sofiiskii Carabineers on 15 May 1794. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_26

He served in the military campaign to suppress the Polish Kościuszko Uprising of 1794. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_27

He received successive promotions to Lieutenant-Colonel (26 October 1794), to Colonel (1798) and to Major-General (1799). Pyotr Bagration_sentence_28

His merits were recognized by Suvorov, whom he accompanied in the Italian and Swiss campaigns of 1799, winning particular distinction by the capture of the town of Brescia. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_29

From 1798 to 1799, he commanded the 6th Chasseurs; from 1801 to 1802, he commanded the Chasseurs of the Imperial Guard; then from 1802 to 1805, he served as GOC Jager Brigade. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_30

He was the alleged lover of Emperor Paul's daughter Catherine. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_31

In 1800 Paul recognized the title of "Prince (Knyaz) Bagration" for Pyotr in Russia, and unexpectedly married him off to Countess Catherine Pavlovna Skavronskaya, the favorite niece of Grigory Potemkin and one of the Empress Maria's ladies-in-waiting. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_32

Bagration and Catherine had been casually involved, but the marriage was a failure. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_33

The young and lovely Catherine soon preferred traveling and, in 1805, fled to Vienna, where her salon and running affair with Prince Clemens von Metternich—who called her "the Naked Angel"—permitted her to serve as an important agent of Russian intelligence and diplomacy. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_34

Bagration was obliged by the emperor to claim their daughter, Marie-Clementine, as his own and to subsidize thousands of rubles of Catherine's debts. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_35

He had a reputation as a heavy gambler, as well, and was forced to sell estates to cover losses that rose as high as 80,000 roubles. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_36

In the wars of 1805 Bagration's achievements appeared even more brilliant. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_37

When Napoleon ordered Murat to break an armistice he had just signed with Bagration, the general was able to successfully resist the repeated attacks of forces five times his own numbers under Murat and Lannes at Schöngrabern (16 November) near Hollabrunn. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_38

Though Bagration lost half of the men under his command, their stand protected the retreat of the main army under Kutuzov to Olmutz. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_39

When Kutuzov was overruled and forced into battle at Austerlitz (2 December), Bagration commanded the advance guard of the Prince Liechtenstein's column and defended the allied right against Lannes while the left attacked Napoleon's deliberately undefended right flank. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_40

He was promoted to Lieutenant-General in 1805, and in 1807 fought bravely and obstinately at the battles of Eylau (7 February), Heilsberg (11 June), and Friedland (14 June). Pyotr Bagration_sentence_41

He was successful as commander of both Russia's Finnish Campaign in 1808 and Turkish Campaign in 1809. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_42

In the former, he captured the Åland Islands by a daring march across the frozen Gulf of Finland. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_43

His rapid transfer to the distant Moldavian front against the Ottoman Empire has been seen as a reprimand for an alleged affair with the tsarevna Catherine, who was married off shortly thereafter. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_44

While there, he led the Russian army at Rassowa and Tataritza and was promoted to full General of Infantry. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_45

In 1812, Bagration commanded the 2nd Army of the West. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_46

A few days before Napoleon's invasion on 24 June, he suggested to Alexander I a pre-emptive strike into the Duchy of Warsaw. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_47

Defeated at Mogilev (23 July), Bagration led his forces to join the 1st Army at Smolensk under Barclay de Tolly, to whom he ceded overall command of both armies on 2 August. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_48

Bagration led the left wing at the Battle of Borodino (7 September) where he constructed a number of flèches which, due to a shortage of engineer officers, were poorly-built. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_49

During the battle he received a mortal wound and later died on 24 September, in the village of Simi, which belonged to his aunt. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_50

It is said that, while wounded, Bagration kept giving orders to the troops without knowing that the Russian army was abandoning Moscow. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_51

When he finally heard the truth, Bagration was so shocked that he rapidly stood up, totally forgetting about his grave wound. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_52

Such an act was too much for his severely wounded body and it quickly cost Bagration his life. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_53

Napoleonic Wars Pyotr Bagration_section_1

Battles of Hollabrunn and Austerlitz Pyotr Bagration_section_2

In the course of the War of the Third Coalition, Napoleon's defeat of General Mack's Austrian army at Ulm on 19 October 1805 led Kutuzov to consider withdrawing and uniting his forces with reinforcements arriving at Brünn. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_54

Kutuzov ordered Bagration to guard Vienna with just a single regiment in order to stall a possible French assault. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_55

The French marshals Murat and Lannes made a false armistice claim to position themselves near the Danube at Vienna. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_56

When the guards were distracted they rushed over the bridge to secure the town. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_57

Kutuzov was in hurry to unite his army with the Russian troops commanded by Buxhoeveden, so he needed a diversion to delay the French advance. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_58

Bagration then took command of the Russian army's rearguard to do so. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_59

His combined Russo-Austrian force numbered less than 7,500 men facing a foe more than five times the size. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_60

Bagration took up a position 6 km north of Hollabrunn, on the hill north above the small town of Schöngrabern, and formed a huge line in order to trick the French into believing the entire Russian army stood before them. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_61

In fact Marshal Murat hesitated to attack and later even agreed to an offer from Bagration to negotiate an armistice, halting the entire French advance without informing Napoleon. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_62

This delay gave Kutuzov enough time to save his army. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_63

When word reached Napoleon he was enraged at Murat's obstinate behaviour and ordered him to resume the attack immediately, ending the armistice on 16 November. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_64

The vanguard of Lannes's and Murat's 45,000 men attacked Bagration's position repeatedly but were repelled each time, unable to take the hill for some six hours. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_65

General Bagration personally led some of the counter-attacks, which drove the French back. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_66

Even though his force suffered heavy casualties and total destruction seemed inevitable, Bagration managed to manoeuver his remaining troops out of the area and unite with the rest of the Coalition army at Brunn on 18 November 1805. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_67

His actions prevented the Russian army from being cut off and destroyed. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_68

Just two weeks later, on 2 December 1805, the opposing armies would meet at Austerlitz. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_69

This time Bagration assumed command over the Coalition army's 13,000 men strong right wing, opposing Lannes' equally strong French left wing. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_70

When the coalition army started to rout, Bagration too ordered his men to retreat after not achieving any progress against Marshal Lannes, who had the support of elements of Marshal Murat's forces, even though his men fought bravely and fiercely. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_71

The battle was lost at that point. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_72

While Bagration saw no other option but to commence a strategic withdrawal, Marshal Murat refused Lannes' suggestion to further pursue him so that his corps wouldn't suffer further losses. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_73

Battle of Eylau Pyotr Bagration_section_3

General Bagration demonstrated his skills as military commander particularly during the brutal Battle of Eylau which took place in East Prussia on 7 and 8 February 1807 during the War of the Fourth Coalition. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_74

After destroying the Prussian army at Jena (October 1806), Napoleon was pursuing Russian forces under Marshal Kamensky. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_75

In a series of inconclusive clashes the French did not reach their ultimate goal of destroying the enemy, while the Russians successfully continued retreating. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_76

However, on 7 January 1807 General Levin August, Count von Bennigsen assumed overall command of the Russian forces and carried out a successful surprise-attack on the French left wing against Marshal Ney and further against Marshal Bernadotte. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_77

Bernadotte managed to evade destruction by winning the Battle of Mohrungen (25 January 1807) and by retreating. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_78

Napoleon saw an opportunity to envelop Bennigsen's unprotected left wing by instructing Bernadotte to keep retreating and allowing his army to cut off the Russians from their own retreat. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_79

By a stroke of luck, a group of Cossacks intercepted a French messenger carrying Napoleon's orders to Bernadotte and quickly reported to General Bagration. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_80

Bagration then informed Bennigsen, who immediately halted his offensive and retreated. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_81

The French pursued, and after several engagements finally confronted the entire Russian army at Eylau on 7 February 1807. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_82

Bagration occupied high ground a mile in front of the town, facing Marshal Soult's IV Corps and Marshal Murat's cavalry. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_83

The combined French forces assaulted the plateau, but Bagration's heavily outnumbered troops repulsed them. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_84

The general demanded bitter resistance from his men in order to gain time for Bennigsen's heavy artillery to pass through Eylau and join the main Russian force. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_85

During the afternoon the French were reinforced by Marshal Augereau's corps and the Imperial Guard, making up about 45,000 soldiers in all. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_86

Under pressure from greatly superior numbers, Bagration finally conducted an orderly retreat to join the main Russian army. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_87

Russian forces under General Barclay de Tolly covered the retreat. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_88

Despite a clear numerical advantage, the French were not able to achieve a greater victory than eventually driving Bagration's small force off the plateau. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_89

Bagration's delaying action and skillful withdrawal enabled the Russian army to escape destruction and consolidate for a decisive battle. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_90

In 1946, Soviet authorities renamed the town of Preußisch Eylau as Bagrationovsk in honor of Pyotr Bagration and of his remarkable skills as a tactician. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_91

Finnish War Pyotr Bagration_section_4

Initial Assault Pyotr Bagration_section_5

During the Finnish War from 1808 to 1809 Bagration commanded the 21st division of the Russian forces under Buxhoeveden. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_92

Not wanting to wait until Sweden had concentrated a large army in Finland, The Russian Empire took initiative and decided to take action. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_93

On the night of 9 (21) September (February 1808) Russian troops crossed the border to Finland and launched an offensive. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_94

Bagration's 21st division was forming the Russian center and moving ahead in order to quickly seize Hämeenlinna, Tampere and Pori. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_95

Under pressure of the swift advance, the Swedish forces began a hasty retreat to the depths of Finland and were pursued relentlessly. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_96

Bagration's men had to endure worst weather conditions, severe frost, snowstorms and forest debris. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_97

In addition the retreating Swedes were constructing obstacles and destroyed any possible food source as well as roads. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_98

Nevertheless, Bagration's division overcame those obstacles and took all objectives, Hämeenlinna on 22 February (March 6), Tampere on 1 March (13) and Pori on 6 (18) March 1808. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_99

Bagration managed to advance over a distance of 200 km and capture three cities in just eight days and securing the way to the Gulf of Bothnia. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_100

His manoeuvre split the Swedish forces in two, a northern and southern group, providing the Russians the possibility to strike each group one after another. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_101

Bagration correctly assessed the situation that the main Swedish force was in the north and intended to turn his division for an attack. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_102

But the commander in chief Buxhoveden foiled that plan by miscalculating the situation and assaulting the southern Swedish group, which had itself fortified in numerous fortifications, with his superior force, including the 21st division of Bagration. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_103

This allowed the main Swedish force to retreat unharmed to Oulu. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_104

Despite that Bagration himself still achieved success by capturing the strategically important Turku province. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_105

In September 1808 Bagration became ill and was forced to leave the theater of operation. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_106

He was keenly interested in the events and hastily returned as soon as he became fit for service again. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_107

Upon arrival he was appointed commander of the Russian forces defending the west coast of Finland. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_108

Swedish assault on Turku Pyotr Bagration_section_6

In September 1808 the Swedish command decided to land troops on Turku in order to distract attention from the northern Russian Front that threatened the Swedish main army and to secure the southern part of the west coast of Finland. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_109

A 2,500 men strong advance guard arrived at the Åland Islands and from there departed for the Turku coast. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_110

Bagration made a timely response and quickly threw the Swedes back to the sea. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_111

The Swedish leadership decided to take Turku at all cost to be able to create a bridgehead for reinforcements. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_112

King Gustav IV arrived at the Åland Islands to personally supervise the operation. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_113

On 14 (26) September a Swedish vanguard of 5,000 men was landing on Turku. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_114

Bagration was carefully monitoring the enemy's activities and allowed the Swedish troops to set foot on shore before he commenced a full assault which destroyed the entire enemy force, leaving only a few who could escape with boats. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_115

By the end of 1808, suffering heavy casualties, the Swedish troops were in full retreat and the area of Finland completely cleared of them. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_116

Despite those setbacks the Kingdom of Sweden was not ready to give up the fight. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_117

Battle for the Åland Islands Pyotr Bagration_section_7

In 1809, the Russian command had decided to take the war to the territory of Sweden in order to finally crush her army. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_118

The Russian army was divided into three operational groups commanded by Bagration, Barclay de Tolly and Pavel Shuvalov []. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_119

Bagration's 17,000-strong corps consisted of 30 infantry battalions, four cavalry squadrons, 600 Cossacks and 20 guns. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_120

The main assault was to be carried out by a daring march across the frozen Gulf of Bothnia from Turku, reaching and capturing the heavily fortified Åland Islands, which were garrisoned by about 10,000 Swedish troops, before continuing on the frozen Sea towards Stockholm. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_121

Bagration carefully planned his campaign and managed to supply his troops with fresh food, warm clothes, ammunition and weapons. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_122

The expedition was ready on 26 February (March 10) 1809 and began the next day. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_123

The offensive against the Åland was carried out in five attack columns: four engaged in a frontal assault while the fifth bypassed Åland from the south. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_124

The Swedish troops did not put up much resistance, preferring to retreat to the major Åland island, from where they intended to stop Bagration's advance. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_125

In order to do so, the Swedish commander general Carl von Döbeln proposed negotiations for an armistice. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_126

Bagration refused, convinced that the sole purpose of von Döbeln's offer was to delay his movements. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_127

After completing negotiations, he ordered his troops to advance at an even faster pace. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_128

Fearing an encirclement, General von Döbeln abandoned the Åland Islands. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_129

Pursued by Bagration's troops, the retreat quickly turned into a devastating rout, leaving ammunition, weapons and equipment behind. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_130

To intimidate the Swedes, Bagration ordered a 400-man cavalry detachment under Major General Yakov Kulnev to pursue the Swedes to their own shores. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_131

Kulnev managed to take the Swedish town of Grisslehamn, which was just 70 km away from Stockholm. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_132

This unexpected turn of events brought shock and confusion to the Swedish leadership and population, who were surprised to hear of Russian troops on Swedish soil. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_133

Stockholm was fortified and an army quickly put together and sent to intercept an enemy that was not actually there. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_134

The plan worked beyond Bagration's expectations as the psychological impact of Kulnev's incursion into Sweden was decisive for the course of the entire war. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_135

Simultaneously the other Russian corps also reached their goals so that the Swedish side found itself forced into peace talks after losing all its claims in Finland. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_136

Bagration was highly praised for his conduct of the campaign and was promoted to full general of infantry. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_137

French Invasion of Russia Pyotr Bagration_section_8

During the early stage of Napoleon's incursion into Russia, Bagration commanded the 2nd Russian Army deployed close to Vileyka, Belarus. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_138

The French march on Vilnius intended to split Bagration's forces from Barclay de Tolly's, who assumed overall command. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_139

Napoleon would then destroy Bagration's 2nd army with a combined hammer and anvil operation conducted by the Marshals Jerome, Davout and Eugene after he falsely assumed they ran into Bagration's army when it were only elements of General Dokturov's cavalry. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_140

Confusion, false assumptions and lack of information prevented the French from having a clear picture of the situation. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_141

On the other side it was not much better. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_142

Conflicting orders and lack of information had almost placed Bagration in a blind march straight into Davout's forces. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_143

Mud tracks, supply problems, weather and command dispute among the French gave Bagration enough time to join with Docturov and assume command over a 45.000 men strong force. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_144

Having already lost a large portion of his troops to skirmishes, bad weather condition and diseases, Marshal Davout was reluctant to fight Bagration without Jerome first reinforcing him. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_145

The French cavalry was defeated twice by General Platov so that they were kept in the dark. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_146

Bagration wasn't better informed with both sides overestimating the other's strength. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_147

Davout thought Bagration had some 60,000 men and Bagration thought Davout had 70,000. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_148

Bagration was getting orders from both Alexander's staff and Barclay (which Barclay didn't know) and left Bagration without a clear picture of what was expected of him and the general situation. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_149

This stream of confused orders to Bagration had him upset with Barclay which would have repercussions later. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_150

Even though Barclay de Tolly was given overall command as minister of war, Bagration was not subordinate under him since he was the older general. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_151

This is a reason why he constantly received orders from Tsar Alexander and Barclay at the same time. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_152

Despite massive losses among the French, their rapid advance by force march towards Moscow repeatedly prevented de Tolly to establish a defensive position and was forced to retreat every time he intended to. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_153

The commander in chief refused to put up a fight despite Bagration's numerous urging. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_154

De Tolly's continuing resistance to give battle would later lead to his removal from his position. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_155

Battle of Mogilev Pyotr Bagration_section_9

The battle of Mogilev, better known as Battle of Saltanovka was the result of Bagration's unsuccessful attempt to unite with the Russian main army after he had suggested a pre-emptive strike on the French to tsar Alexander. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_156

His 2nd army got intercepted when trying to reach Barclay de Tolly's 1st army and clashed with Marshal Davout's forces at the Dnieper river. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_157

In order to break through the French lines at Mogilev, Bagration deployed the 20,000 men strong 7th corps led by General Nikolay Raevsky. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_158

On the opposing side marshal Davout's corps consisting of five divisions with a total strength of 28,000 men had formed defensive lines around Saltanovka. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_159

Davout waited for the approaching Russians and set them under massive musket volleys and artillery fire. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_160

Raevsky continued the advance personally leading his men in the assault. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_161

Despite great determination of the Russian troops, the French managed to repel the attack along the entire line. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_162

Davout then mounted a counter assault which threw the 7th corps back, although Raevsky was able to fend them off repeatedly until Bagration decided to order a general retreat when his army got also struck by other French forces at the flanks and rear. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_163

In order to avoid complete envelopement he quickly withdrew to Smolensk. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_164

Both sides suffered heavy losses, but Bagration misjudged the situation, believing he fought Napoleon's main army when it was only Davout's forces and some reinforcement. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_165

This highlighted the poor communication between the Russian armies. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_166

However at the same time Bagration's decision to withdraw thwarted Napoleon's plan to destroy the Second Western Army and he was eventually forced to fight a unified Russian force at Smolensk, which is what happened because Bagration fearing another attack, retreated to Smolensk and waited for Barclay to reinforce him. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_167

Battle of Smolensk Pyotr Bagration_section_10

On 14 August 1812, the three Marshals Murat, Davout and Ney crossed the Dnieper River on quickly constructed pontoon bridges. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_168

The plan was to race toward the city of Smolensk, taking it without a fight. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_169

Napoleon saw Smolensk as a vital supply and replenishment base from where he would march to the north to attack the rear of the Russian main forces under Barclay de Tolly. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_170

The town had also symbolic, religious importance for the Russian side. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_171

Unfortunately for the French, conflicting orders and a breakdown in communication had already led Bagration to disobey orders and instead of marching west, he occupied Smolensk to the south. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_172

By 16 August, French forces found the city heavily garrisoned by Bagration's troops. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_173

He got further reinforced with the arrival of de Tolly's army. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_174

Napoleon, however, assumed the Russians would fight outside the city to avoid the destruction of historical monuments, which did not happen. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_175

The fight for Smolensk started on 16 August 1812 with Napoleon's forces of three corps capturing parts of the town's suburbs but being repelled soon after. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_176

Continuous artillery shelling set the town, which consisted of mostly wooden buildings, ablaze, but the French didn't manage to get past the suburbs and to the walls as they lacked ladders and other equipment. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_177

Inflicting heavy losses on the attackers, the Russian garrison was able to hold its positions. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_178

However, the widespread fire forced Bagration and de Tolly to abandon burning Smolensk on 18 August 1812. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_179

The battle ended inconclusively, with the Russian armies retreating and Napoleon conquering but as quickly leaving what was left of the city as it was of no use anymore. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_180

Guerilla warfare Pyotr Bagration_section_11

From the very beginning of the invasion Bagration had understood that the Patriotic War was not an ordinary one, but rather a national war. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_181

Local citizenry displayed great bravery where they could against small French units, particularly around Smolensk but also in other parts of Russia. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_182

Sporadic attacks from small diversionary groups of lightly-armed peasants had already caught Bagration's attention earlier and he was fascinated by their determination and effectiveness. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_183

From then on he was convinced that a smart cooperation between irregular forces and the regular Russian armies would be the only method to stop Napoleon's advance. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_184

His aide-de-camp, vice Colonel D.V. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_185

Davydov, commander of a Hussar regiment, shared Bagration's views on a guerilla movement and proposed a possible course of action. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_186

Bagration approved the proposal but, when he presented the plans to Kutuzov, the commander in chief only allowed a very limited number of troops to be provided for such operations. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_187

Davydov gave his word that he would take full care and responsibility for the supplies and action of his troops, only dissatisfied about the resources he considered very insufficient, asking Bagration to give him at least 1,000 Cossacks. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_188

Bagration, much as he wanted to meet his officer's request and carry out that operation himself, did not want to disobey Kutuzov, and replied: "I would give you 3000 of them to start with, for I do not like to act superficially, but I can not even speak about it; Knyaz (ie the Prince) has defined the composition of the group himself; it is necessary to obey." Pyotr Bagration_sentence_189

Afterwards Bagration wrote the following instruction to Davydov: Pyotr Bagration_sentence_190

Bagration than also wrote letters to General Vassilichikov and General Karpov regarding the allocations and general information about the best Cossack and Hussar units available. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_191

On the request of Davydov he provided the vice colonel a copy of his map of the Smolensk province and when parting wished the young officer the best of luck, and also hoped for his success. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_192

His confidence would soon be emphasized when the guerilla movement developed wide scope. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_193

Soon, besides Davydov's movement, other groups emerged: those of General Dorokhov, Captain Fisher, Captain Seslavin, Colonel Kudashev and many others. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_194

These groups successfully strove against the French, combining their activities with those of peasant guerilla groups. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_195

Bagration became the author of the first real tactical instructions for such activities and one of the founders of the Russian guerilla movement against Napoleon. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_196

Battle of Borodino Pyotr Bagration_section_12

Main article: Battle of Borodino Pyotr Bagration_sentence_197

Fearing that Napoleon might take the Smolensk Road to Moscow, Kutuzov ordered Bagration and his 2nd Army to the left while Barclay de Tolly was guarding the right with the 1st Army. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_198

Other than the 1st Army, which was deployed on positions which were strong and virtually unassailable by the French, Bagration's army had no terrain advantage at all and his request to change to a more advantageous position was denied by Kutuzov. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_199

So he decided to create one himself by ordering his sappers to construct four big Redans, also known as the Bagration flèches, four arrow-head shaped, open-backed earthworks which arced out to the left en echelon in front of the Kolocha stream. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_200

When the battle started on 7 September 1812 with a massive cannonade against the Russian center, Davout sent two divisions against the flèches at about 6 am. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_201

His force of 25,000 men supported by 102 guns faced 8,000 Russian defenders with 50 guns. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_202

While advancing, Davout's divisions were hit hard by massed Russian artillery, which was deployed on the other side of the Kolcha to support Bagration's lines and also by Russian jaeger units that were deployed in front of the fortifications. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_203

The French troops suffered heavy casualties before they could reach their objective and the undertaking was about to fall apart when Davout saw his troops retreating and rushed forward to personally lead the charge. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_204

With the second attempt he managed to take the southernmost flèche at 7 am. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_205

But in response Bagration ordered Raevsky and his 7th Corps once more to confront Davout, only this time the French were struck on their flank and thrown back for the second time. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_206

Napoleon already held Bagration in high esteem, calling him the best the Russians could possibly throw against him, but was surprised by the stiff resistance he offered. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_207

While Napoleon reinforced Davout with Marshal Ney and Junot for a third attack, Bagration repositioned his troops and deployed his reserves, the 2nd Grenadier and 2nd Cuirassier divisions. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_208

The 3rd Infantry Division was still held in reserve at Semyenovskoe for the possibility that the French might try to outflank him. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_209

Kutuzov, who observed the heavy fighting at the flèches, was sending the 2nd and parts of the 5th Infantry Corps with 100 guns from his artillery reserve, but their arrival would take one to two hours, which meant that Bagration was on his own. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_210

Napoleon demanded that the flèches be taken at all costs, and opened the third offensive with a massive artillery bombardment, followed by a simultaneous infantry and cavalry assault. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_211

At first the French managed to occupy the right and far left flèche but were again driven out by Bagration's troops. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_212

Marshal Poniatowski, who had the task of enveloping the Russians and striking Bagration's rear with his cavalry corps, was also defeated by Tuchkov's 3rd Infantry Corps. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_213

The defenders restored their positions at 9 am. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_214

Failing for a third time, Napoleon became furious and now also added Marshal Murat to the operation, launching a fourth assault at 9 am. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_215

This time Napoleon's forces were not only able to drive Bagration's forces out of the flèches but also captured Semyenovskoe. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_216

By this time however, the 2nd and 5th corps sent earlier by Kutuzov for Bagration's aid finally arrived and Bagration threw all available forces against the French, repulsing them completely from all occupied positions and inflicting heavy losses. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_217

After that, three more French attacks were repelled in a row, General Tuchkov being killed in the fifth assault. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_218

Despite the mounting casualties, Napoleon continued to assault Bagration's position. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_219

His troops were hit not only by musket fire but also canister shot from artillery at close range. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_220

Heaps of corpses and wounded prevented the cavalry and infantry from manoeuvring properly on the battlefield. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_221

Napoleon considered sending his elite Imperial Guard to bolster the morale of his troops but hesitated, not willing to risk it being torn apart as well. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_222

At noon, the French launched their eighth assault, with around 45,000 men supported by 400 guns against the defending 18,000 Russians and their 300 guns. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_223

Bagration decided to meet the attackers boldly in what led to a long and brutal melee, probably the bloodiest scene during the entire battle, described by the historian Buturlin as follows: Pyotr Bagration_sentence_224

Bagration ordered his entire force to counterattack, but was seriously outnumbered and slowly driven back. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_225

The French 57th Line Infantry Regiment kept attacking the flèches, even though it was almost completely torn to pieces by musket fire from all directions. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_226

Their courageous behaviour earned two "Bravo" shouts from Bagration, and it was then that the 2nd commander-in chief was struck by shell splinters in his leg. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_227

His subordinates quickly carried him to a safe place away from the fight while trying to conceal what had happened, but Bagration's absence was soon noticed. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_228

Rumours of him being killed spread and the morale of his troops began to increasingly waver. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_229

Bagration, now unable to control the situation, insisted on not being moved from the field until the battle was decided, hoping for the success of the 2nd Cuirassier Division of General Duka. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_230

The Cuirassiers managed to defeat the forces of Marshal Ney but the news of Bagration being hit quickly spread and brought confusion and morale collapse within the 2nd Army. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_231

Its management broke down so that the Russian forces were starting to abandon their positions in the chaos and to retreat from the overwhelming French assault. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_232

The Bagration flèches were abandoned and left to the French, but it had cost them a huge price. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_233

From the 60,000 French soldiers who participated in the operation, about 30,000 were killed or wounded. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_234

Russian casualties were also high, but fewer. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_235

The battle, however, ended inconclusively, with both sides returning to their initial deployment zones. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_236

The battle drained from Napoleon his last fighting capabilities and resources and finally forced him to abandon his plan of capturing Russia when he entered an empty Moscow. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_237

Tactics and doctrine Pyotr Bagration_section_13

Bagration, heavily influenced by Alexander Suvorov, was an innovative tactician who favoured mobile offensive warfare even though many of the battles he was engaged in with the French were of a defensive nature. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_238

He refused what he perceived as obsolete positioning tactics and instead would give the Russian army strategic objects and tactical manoeuvers, always going for the quick confrontation, where speed and accuracy were most important, to deny the enemy any chance to react, respond or even organize. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_239

This led to much tension and rivalry between him and general Barclay de Tolly, who was given overall command and relied mostly on the search for adequate positions to entrench and wait for the enemy. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_240

Bagration's applied doctrines were ahead of time solid concepts for both offensive and defensive warfare, as even his retreats were conducted in equally good and impressive fashion, given the sometimes impossible odds he was facing. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_241

Bagration's strategic views defined also his insights about the character of tactical military action. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_242

It is possible to discern these insights, for example, by considering the famous order to the forces of the 2nd Western Army, dated 25 June 1812. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_243

In the order, written by Bagration with his own hand, instructions were given concerning actions to be taken against the French armies if they invaded Russian territory. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_244

He wrote: Pyotr Bagration_sentence_245

Attacks were to be conducted with troops formed in columns: Pyotr Bagration_sentence_246

Bagration recommended deployment of the forces in a battle array that was not too closely packed, but sufficiently so to permit soldiers to feel each other's presence with their elbows. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_247

In case of counter-attacks by enemy cavalry, Bagration advised the use of battalion masses and squares, or "carrés". Pyotr Bagration_sentence_248

"When the enemy cavalry attacks infantry, it takes only a minute to form either a column closed on all sides, or a battalion in a 'carré'." Pyotr Bagration_sentence_249

With the purpose of increasing the enthusiasm of armies, all attacks were to be made with a shout, and during the approach the drums were to be beaten and music to be played. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_250

Similar insights are reflected in a number of Bagration's other orders, instructions and letters. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_251

In particular, as the characteristic of his tactical perspective, the "Manual for Infantry Officers on the Day of Battle" may serve as an example. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_252

This document was prepared on the basis of the "Manual to Officers of the Narva infantry Regiment," authored by M.S. Vorontsov in 1812. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_253

According to military historian P. Simansky, Vorontsov's manual "was strongly influenced by Suvarov's precepts, and was appraised by the most favorite disciple of Suvarov, Prince Bagration; it was slightly corrected by him, as in some places it concerned only Narva infantry Regiment, and then in July 1812 it was dispatched to all units of the 2nd Army." Pyotr Bagration_sentence_254

The "Manual to Infantry Officers on the Day of Battle" recognized the offensive as the fundamental form of combat. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_255

The principal manifestation of offensive combat was the bayonet attack, concluded with a vigorous pursuit of the defeated enemy. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_256

This manual considered in detail the question of action in separate lines and in columns and about conducting aimed fire. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_257

The necessity of maintenance by skirmishers of a close communication with their columns was specified; movement forward was to be determined only by an order of the chief of division or battalion. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_258

If it was necessary to operate on separate lines in forests, it was suggested to hold a reserve behind one of the flanks in order to have an opportunity to suddenly envelope the flank of a counter-attacking enemy. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_259

Attacks by enemy cavalry acting in separate lines were to be met by fire, having permitted the enemy to advance to within 150 paces; after that it would be necessary to divide into small groups of ten and to repulse the enemy by fire and bayonets until the approach of reinforcements. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_260

Upon approaching, reinforcements were to be redeployed from a column into square, firing on enemy cavalry from a distance of 150 paces. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_261

The "Manual" demanded that officers demonstrate constant care for their soldiers, to remind them of their duties and their oath, to explain what was required from them during military actions. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_262

Special attention was addressed to the maintenance of trust in the virtue of "Russian bayonets", a spirit of boldness, courage and persistence in the fight. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_263

"Persistence and courage," declared the "Manual", "have won more battles than all other military talents taken altogether." Pyotr Bagration_sentence_264

Dissemination of all rumors of disaster and panic, such as "We are cut off! Pyotr Bagration_sentence_265

", were categorically forbidden, under the threat of severe punishments. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_266

It was specified in the "Manual" that: "Brave people are never cut off; wherever the enemy goes, turn your breast to follow and defeat him." Pyotr Bagration_sentence_267

Thus, in the field of tactics, as well as in the field of strategy, Bagration acted as an innovator, a convinced supporter of decisive offensive action. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_268

He doggedly introduced advanced tactics; he dispensed with obsolete positional tactics and applied tactics of columns in a combination with separate lines. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_269

Paying great attention to the value of offensive combat, Bagration at the same time did not reject the opportunity to conduct defensive operations. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_270

He creatively approached planning for his assigned tasks, applying such forms of combat as provided exactly the right answers to particular circumstances. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_271

His practical legacy offers experience rich in the conduct of offensive battles as well as the development and practice of waging both advance and rear guard fights. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_272

Bagration was the unsurpassed master of organization of these extremely complex kinds of action. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_273

It was not by chance that, at the most crucial moments of the wars of 1799–1807, it was Bagration who was appointed to command the rear guards and advance guards of the Russian Army. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_274

The engagements conducted by Russian armies under Bagration's leadership during the Italian campaign of 1799, and also the advance and rear guard combats during the Swiss Campaign of 1799 and war between of Russia and France in 1805–1807, belong among the finest accomplishments in Russian military art. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_275

Bagration built a process of education and training of soldiers on the basis of the system developed by A.V. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_276

Suvorov. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_277

He paid great attention to the training and education of troops to develop soldiers with courage and initiative, capable of carrying out orders quickly and skillfully. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_278

Bagration constantly worried about his soldiers' health, and that they should be well clothed and fed on time. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_279

S.G.Volkonsky, who during the Franco-Russian conflict of 1806–1807 was frequently in Bagration's group, wrote: Pyotr Bagration_sentence_280

While showing a concern for the soldiers, however, Bagration at the same time demanded the maintenance of high military discipline, considering it to be the foundation of military service. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_281

"In military service," he wrote, "the first objective is order, subordination, discipline, unanimity and friendship". Pyotr Bagration_sentence_282

First of all, Bagration was extremely demanding of himself. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_283

"...To execute the will of the sovereign, of the emperor and my commanders is the most sacred obligation which I follow and obey at every step of my service... Pyotr Bagration_sentence_284

I love soldiers, I respect their bravery, and equally I demand order and discipline." Pyotr Bagration_sentence_285

Armies under Bagration's command were always distinguished by high discipline and, in some sense, this was one of the main reasons for their brilliant victories over their enemies. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_286

Honours Pyotr Bagration_section_14

On 15 October 1800, Bagration was granted the hereditary title of a Prince of the Russian Empire (Kniaz Bagration) by the Emperor Paul I. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_287

He was also awarded the Orders of St Andrew (1810), of St. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_288 Alexander Nevsky (1807), of the St Vladimir, 1st class (1809), of the St Anna, 1st class (1800), the St George 2nd class (1805) and made a Commander of the Order of St John of Jerusalem (1800). Pyotr Bagration_sentence_289

He was further honoured with a gold sword of honour for bravery (1808). Pyotr Bagration_sentence_290

Bagration's foreign awards also included the Prussian Orders of the Red Eagle (1807) and the Black Eagle (1807), the Austrian Military Order of Maria Theresa, 2nd class (1799) and the Sardinian Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, 1st Class (1799). Pyotr Bagration_sentence_291

He is portrayed with a supporting role in Leo Tolstoy's epic 1869 novel War and Peace. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_292

In the novel's 2016 adaptation, he is played by Pip Torrens. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_293

Tsar Nicholas I had a monument erected in his honour on the battlefield of Borodino. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_294

The general's remains were transferred to the place where he had fallen and remain there to this day. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_295

The grave was blown up during World War II (reputedly, the local museum authorities were able to save only shreds of bone and cloth from the grave) but has since then been restored. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_296

Joseph Stalin chose Bagration as the name of the Soviet offensive launched on 22 June 1944 that defeated the German Army Group Centre and drove the forces of Nazi Germany out of what is now Belarus. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_297

After the war, the Soviet Union annexed northern East Prussia, and the until-then German town of Preußisch Eylau—the scene of the 1807 battle—was renamed Bagrationovsk in his memory. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_298

In Moscow, the Bagration Bridge, which commemorates the 850th year of the city is named in his honour. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_299

An asteroid 3127 Bagration and Moscow Metro station Bagrationovskaya are named after Prince Bagration. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_300

In the 20th and 21st centuries, at least 15 ships associated with the name of P.I. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_301

Bagration. Pyotr Bagration_sentence_302

Quotes about Bagration Pyotr Bagration_section_15

See also Pyotr Bagration_section_16

Pyotr Bagration_unordered_list_0

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Bagration.