- Russo-Turkish War (1806–1812)
Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Russo-Turkish War (1806–1812)
Russo-Turkish Wars and Napoleonic Wars
caption="Russian Fleet after the Battle of Athos" by
Moldavia, Wallachia, Armeniaand the Dardenelles
territory=Treaty of Bucharest
commander1=flagicon|Russia Prince Prozorovsky
flagicon|Russia Prince Bagration
flagicon|Russia Mikhail Kutuzov
casualties2=The Russo-Turkish War,
1806– 1812was one of many wars fought between Imperial Russiaand the Ottoman Empire.
The war broke out in
1805–1806 against the background of the Napoleonic wars. The Ottoman Empire, encouraged by the Russian defeat at Austerlitz, deposed the Russophile hospodars of its vassal states Moldavia( Alexandru Moruzi) and Wallachia( Constantine Ypsilanti). Simultaneously, their French allies occupied Dalmatiaand threatened to penetrate the Danubian principalities at any time. In order to safeguard the Russian border against a possible French attack, a 40,000-strong Russian contingent advanced into Moldaviaand Wallachia. The Sultan reacted by blocking the Dardanelles to Russian ships and declared war on Russia.
Initially, the tsar was reluctant to concentrate large forces against Turkey while his relations with Napoleonic
Francewere still uncertain and the main part of his army was occupied fighting against Napoleonin Prussia. A massive Ottoman offensive aimed at Bucharestwas promptly checked at Obilesti by as few as 4,500 soldiers commanded by Mikhail Miloradovich(June 2, 1807). In Armenia, the 7,000-strong contingent of Count Gudovich destroyed the Turkish force of 20,000 at Arpachai (June 18). In the meantime, the Russian Navyunder Dmitry Senyavinblockaded the Dardanellesand destroyed the Ottoman Fleet in the Battle of the Dardanelles and Battle of Athos, thus establishing Russian supremacy on sea.
Campaigns of 1808–1810
At this point the war might have ended, if it were not for the
Peace of Tilsit. Alexander I of Russia, constrained by Napoleon to sign an armistice with the Turks, used the time of peace to transfer more Russian soldiers from Prussiato Bessarabia. After the southern army was augmented to 80,000 and the hostilities were resumed, the 76-year-old commander-in-chief Prozorovskymade little progress in more than a year. In August 1809he was eventually succeeded by Prince Bagration, who promptly crossed the Danubeand overran Dobruja. Bagration proceeded to lay siege to Silistriabut, on hearing that the 50,000-strong Turkish army approached the city, deemed it wise to evacuate Dobruja and retreat to Bessarabia.
1810, the hostilities were renewed by the Kamensky brothers, who defeated the Ottoman reinforcement heading for Silistria and ousted the Turks from Pazardzhik(May 22). The position of Silistria now appeared hopeless, and the garrison surrendered on May, 30. Ten days later, Kamensky laid siege to another strong fortress, Shumla. His storm of the citadel was repelled at great loss of life, and more bloodshed ensued during the murderous storm of Rousseon July, 22. The latter fortress did not fall to the Russians until September 9, after Kamensky's army had surprised and routed a huge Turkish detachment at Batyn (August, 26). Young Kamensky died soon thereafter and the new commander, Mikhail Kutuzov, in accordance with his cautious character, evacuated Silistriaand slowly started to retreat northward.
Kutuzov's withdrawal induced a Turkish commander, Ahmet Pasha, to lead his 60,000 men against the Russian army. The battle took place on
June 22, 1811near Rousse. Although the offensive was repelled, Kutuzov ordered his forces to cross the Danube back to Bessarabia. Several months later, a separate detachment secretly returned and, surprising Ahmet Pasha at night, routed his army thoroughly (October, 2). More than 9,000 Ottomans were slain during that night, leading to Ahmet Pasha's surrender to Kutuzov on November, 23.
According to the Treaty of Bucharest, signed by Kutuzov on May, 28, the Turks ceded
Bessarabiato Russia(although that land belonged to their vassal Moldavia, which they were supposed to protect). The treaty was approved by Alexander I of Russiaon June 11, just thirteen days before Napoleon's invasion of Russiacommenced.
*Петров А.Н. "The War between Russia and Turkey, 1806—1812", vol. 1-3. SPb, 1885—87.
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