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Kutuzov M.I.

Kutuzov M.I.Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov was born in 1745 in the family of military engineer, retired general Illarion Matveyevich Kutuzov.

Under Peter the First all noblemen should serve in the Army and teach their kids science of war. After Peter's death when a son was born in a noble family he was usually enlisted on private military service, and during boyhood he "was on home leave" and got ranks year by year. But luckily not all the noblemen did this way.

So young Kutuzov, who had the excellent training, had been distingushed at once among the other cadets of the Artillery-Engineer School. In the age of 19 ensing ("praporshik") Kutuzov began his military service.

At the beginning of the XVIII-th century the danger of the Swedish or Turkish invasion into Russia became very strong. These countries didn't allow Russia to the Baltic and Black Seas, and besides they had their own predatory plans. So the main Russian foreign policy at those times was the struggle for independence and way out to the seas.

In 1764 when the Russian troops went to Poland, captain Kutuzov was transferred to the acting Army. In 1764, 1765 and 1769 he particiapted in some small combats, got used to the field life, but as he said afterwards "he hadn't understand a war yet".

In 1770 Kutuzov was transferred to Rumyantsev's Army, fought against the Turks in Moldavia and Valakhia. Kutuzov was in the Corps of very skilled General Bour, who usually executed the most important tasks in every battle. After Kutuzov was appointed the Army Ober-Quartermaster.

But his service in Rumyantsev's Army had stopped suddently. Someone of Kutuzov's foes reported to Rumyantsev that Kutuzov had copied his manners and walk. The Commander-in-Chief was very touchy and young Kutuzov was saved from Rumyantsev's anger only by his military merits and excellent service. He was transferred to the Crimean Army.

This event had a strong emotional impact on Kutuzov's soul. From that time he became reserved and distrustful. In the battle at Alushta Kutuzov was seriously wounded. A Turkish bullet hurted his head, but fortunately it didn't touch the brain. Kutuzov had recovered. Ekatherine II gave him a leave for treatment.

He went abroad for treatment. He travelled a lot over Europe, for a long time lived in Leiden, which was a big centre of science then, met with many European scientists and generals there - Frederick II and Laudon.

After return Kutuzov was appointed to the troops based in the Crimea. A.V. Suvorov served there then. Kutuzov comprehended the scence of forming columns for campaign, organization of march, rest and all Suvorov's science of training troops. Those days he was appointed the commander of the Bug Chasseur Corps.

In 1787 a war with Turkey began. Kutuzov with his Corps protected the Russian border along the Bug, then his troops joint the acting Ekatherinoslav Army. The commander of this Army was Potemkin. He decided to seize Turkish fortress Ochakov on the Black Sea coast. The Russian troops and Kutuzov's Corps among them layed siege on Ochakov. The siege lasted very long, Russian soldiers lost lives falling sick of various diseases. Military actions were not intensive: only small affairs, Potemkin didn't decide at the beginning of the main assault.

During one of Turkish sallies they attacked the chasseurs of the Bug Corps. In this combat Kutuzov was heavily wounded. The bullet had pierced head in the area of his first injury. The doctors thought the wound was fatal but Kutuzov started to recover, though his right eye became blind every since.

Since 1793 the new stage of Kutuzov's life began. He became a diplomat - the Russian Ambassador Extraordinary in Turkey, in Kostantinopol (Istanbul) - and showed himself as a very talented diplomat.
But he occupied this post for a short time - till 1794 year, then he was appointed the Director of the Land Cadet Corps, where he managed training of the future officers of the Russian Army. Kutuzov delivered lectures to officers and was first teacher of tactics in the Corps.

At the same time Kutuzov was the Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces in Finland.

After the death of Ekatherine II, Pavel the First ascended the throne, and he established the Prussian rules in the Russian Army. The soldiers were dressed and armed in Prussian style, and the main thing in the Army became not a war but numerous parades. Many officers who fought under the command of Suvorov had sent in their papers.

In August of 1802 Kutuzov was dismissed under his own "petition", but in real he was just removed from St. Petersburg. Kutuzov went toGoroshki village in Volin gubernia.

In 1805 Russia faced with the danger of Napoleon's troops invasion. Austria and England were in difficult situation. And the coalition of England, Russia and Austria against Napoleonic France was formed.

Emperor Alexander was mede to apply to Kutuzov and ask him to command the united Russian-Austrian Army, which would attack the France.

On November 20, 1805 (December, 2 by new style) near the Czech town of Austerlitz a grand battle took place. Alexander I commanded the Russian Army, although nominally Kutuzov was the Commander-in-Chief. Alexander was afraid of Napoleon but tried to look brave.

Kutuzov's experience prompted to refrain from offensive activities. Russian camp was lack of food and decision should be made quickly. A war council was held and Kutuzov suggested to retreat to the Rudny mountains, wait for reinforcement and Prussia entering the war, but his proposals were rejected.

In 1807 Russia had to make a peace treaty, which was signed in Tilzit and was called "the Tilzit peace" afterwards. It lasted till 1812.

In spring of 1809 the military actions against Turkey started again. Russian supported the Serbian uprising against Turkish janizarys.

The Russian Army got the necessary reinforcements and attacked the French Army, which had left Moscow at that time.

With great losses Napoleon retreated slowly to the Berezina, where the final death of the Grande Armee took place.

For Kutuzov the war against Napoleon ended when Marshal Ney with his troops crossed the Neman and left the Russian territory. But for Alexander I it was only the beginning. There was long-standing, constant and hopeless disagreement between the Emperor and the old Field-Marshal.

On April 28, 1813 M.I. Kutuzov died in the town of Bunzlau. The coffin with his body was coveyed to St. Petersburg for one and a half months. 5 versts before the city the horses were unharnessed and people carried the coffin on their shoulders to the Kazan Cathedral where he was buried solemnly.

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