Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics



 

Notes

 

Russian Artillery on the Eve of the Battle of Borodino: 7 September 1812: 1st Western Army

By Alexander Mikaberidze


On the extreme right were General Carl Baggevout’s 2nd Corps and General Alexander Osterman-Tolstoy’s 4th Corps. Korf’s 2nd Cavalry Corps was deployed behind Baggevout’s troops, with General Feodor Uvarov’s 1st Cavalry Corps further back to the right. General Dimitri Dokhturov’s 6th Corps occupied the high grounds between Gorki and Raevsky’s Redoubt, with the 3rd Cavarly Corps in support. Later on, the 2nd Corps marched from the right flank to reinforce Bagration and Tuchkov on the left wing. This Corps included the 4th (Colonel Voeikov) and the 17th (Colonel Ditterix II) Artillery Brigades with the 4th and 17th Batteries and the 7th, 8th, 32nd, and 33rd Light Companies.[4] It should be noted that the term battery comes from the Russian term "battareinaia rota", which translates literally as "battery company". As I understand it, it means a battery of "position" guns.

The artillery of the 4th Corps included the 11th (Lieutenant Colonel Kotliarov) and the 23rd (Lieutenant Colonel Gulevich) Artillery Brigades with 2nd and 23rd Batteries and 3rd, 4th , 43rd and 44th Light Companies.[5] The 4th Light Company had only 6 guns and its other 6 guns were attached to Lieutenant General Ertel’s Corps at Mozyr. The 43rd Battery was at Mozhaisk.[6]

The 6th Corps was deployed from the New Smolensk road to the Rayevsky Redoubt. It included the 7th (Lieutenant Colonel Devel’) and 24th (Lieutenant Colonel Efremov) Artillery Brigades with the 7th and 24th Batteries, 12th, 13th , 45th and 46th Light Companies. The 7th Battery Company was deployed in two fortifications (4 and 8 cannon) on the New Smolensk Road. The 12th and 13th Light Companies were deployed with the 7th Division of Lieutenant General Kaptsevich. The 24th Battery Company was assembled on the right side of the Rayevsky Redoubt. The 45th Light Company supported the Butyrsk and Tomsk Infantry Regiments and the 46th Light Company was with the Shirvan and Ufa Regiments.

The 24th Artillery Brigade was defending positions from the Kolotcha to the Rayevsky Redoubt. Another 16 light guns were deployed to defend positions opposite to village of Borodino.[7]

 

Russian Horse Artillery

Russian Horse Artillery

The cavalry and the horse artillery were deployed behind the infantry. The 1st Cavalry Corps was supported with the 2nd Horse Company; the 2nd Cavalry Corps - the 6th Horse Company, and the 3rd Cavalry Corps had the 7th Horse Company.[8] The artillery of 1st Western Army was deployed into two lines and numbered 234 guns.

The main reserve of the 1st Western Army was assembled in the rear and included the 3rd Corps (General Tuchkov I), the 5th Corps (Grand Duke Constantine), and the 1st Cuirassier Division (Major General Depreradovich), with their artillery.[9]

On 5 September, the 3rd Corps was deployed in the center of the battlefield, near the village of Knyazkovo. The Corps included the 1st and 3rd Artillery Brigades, with the 1st and 3rd Batteries, and the 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 6th Light Companies.[10] The guard regiments of the 5th Corps were deployed behind the 3rd Corps. These regiments included the Life Guard Artillery Brigade with the 1st and 2nd Batteries, the 1st and 2nd Light Companies, and 2 guns of the Guard ‘ekipazh’. There were also the 29th and 30th Batteries of the 2nd Reserve Artillery Brigade.

On  6 August, Kutuzov moved Nikolai Tuchkov’s 3rd Corps to the left flank to defend the Old Smolensk Road.  The Corps was supported with 18 guns (6 guns from the 1st Battery Company and the 6th Light Company). The Field Marshal also directed another 18 guns (6 guns of the 1st Battery and the entire 3rd Battery ) to reinforce Bagration’s positions.

 

 

 

Notes

[4] Dispozitsia dlia 1-oi i 2-oi Zapadnikh armii pri sele Borodine raspolozhennikh Avgusta 24 dnia 1812 [Deployment of the 1st and 2nd Western armies at Borodino on 24 August 1812] Feldmarshal Kutuzov: sbornik dokumentov I materialov [Field Marshal Kutuzov: a Compilation of Materials and Documents] (Moscow, 1947) 159; Larionov, Artillery at the Battle of Borodino, 117;  Alexander Podmazo, Order of Battle of the Russian Army, 1812 Internet Project

[5] Dispozitsia dlia 1-oi i 2-oi Zapadnikh armii pri sele Borodine raspolozhennikh Avgusta 24 dnia 1812 [Deployment of the 1st and 2nd Western armies at Borodino on 24 August 1812] Feldmarshal Kutuzov: sbornik dokumentov I materialov [Field Marshal Kutuzov: a Compilation of Materials and Documents] (Moscow, 1947) 159; Larionov, Artillery at the Battle of Borodino, 117;  Alexander Podmazo, Order of Battle of the Russian Army, 1812 Internet Project

[6] Kutuzov: A Compilation of Documents, IV, 145-47.

[7] Dispozitsia dlia 1-oi i 2-oi Zapadnikh armii pri sele Borodine raspolozhennikh Avgusta 24 dnia 1812 [Deployment of the 1st and 2nd Western armies at Borodino on 24 August 1812] Feldmarshal Kutuzov: sbornik dokumentov I materialov [Field Marshal Kutuzov: a Compilation of Materials and Documents] (Moscow, 1947) 159; Larionov, Artillery at the Battle of Borodino, 117;  Alexander Podmazo, Order of Battle of the Russian Army, 1812 Internet Project

[8] Larionov, Artillery at the Battle of Borodino, 117;  Alexander Podmazo, Order of Battle of the Russian Army, 1812 Internet Project

[9] Kutuzov: A Compilation of Documents, IV, 140-43, 159.

[10] Kutuzov: A Compilation of Documents, IV, 140-43.

 

 

 

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: August 2002

 

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