Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

THE FRENCH 8TH HUSSARS AT THE BATTLE OF OSTROVNO (OSTROWNO) (JULY 25 - JULY 27, 1812)

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • THE FRENCH 8TH HUSSARS AT THE BATTLE OF OSTROVNO (OSTROWNO) (JULY 25 - JULY 27, 1812)

    Hello,


    I am looking for information that would allow me to have a fairly detailed description of the participation of the French 8th Hussars during the battle of Ostrovno which took place during the Russian Campaign of 1812 on July 25th to 27th. Mainly, I am trying to find out which Russian regiments fought against the 8th Hussars.


    Regards,


    Richard

  • #2
    Do you have access to this book?

    The Greenhill Napoleonic Wars Data Book by Digby Smith?

    You might be able to find some of the information you want there and it could lead you to other sources.

    These volumes might also be of assistance:
    Russian Eyewitness Accounts of the Campaign of 1812 by Alexander Mikaberidze.

    Ilya Radozhitskii'S Campaign Memoirs translated by Alexander Mikaberidze.

    This might be of some help. Ostrovno is covered from pages 241-246:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=XD...trovno&f=false

    Comment


    • #3
      The battle of Ostrovno (25-26 July 1812) was a rearguard action fought between Ostermann-Tolstoy's rearguard of Barclay de Tolly's 1st Western Army and Murat's advance guard of the Grande Armée. The Russians were eventually forced to retreat into Vitebsk, but they held up the French for two days.
      Napoleon's early efforts after the invasion of Russia had been focused against General Bagration's 2nd Western Army, but by early July Bagration had escaped from the French trap and was heading east towards the Dnieper. Davout was given the task of preventing Bagration from moving north while Napoleon focused on Barclay de Tolly's 1st Western Army. In early July this army reached the fortified camp at Drissa on the Dvina River, but it quickly became clear that this camp was untenable. The Russians decided to abandon it and move east towards Vitebsk.
      Murat, who had been given the task of watching the Russians at Drissa while Napoleon focused on Bagration, reported the Russian retreat on 19 July. Napoleon's first instinct was that the Russians would head for Polotsk, half way between Drissa and Vitebsk, and he ordered his army to concentrate at Kamen (south-east of Polotsk). By 21 July Napoleon realised his mistake and ordered his troops to move east to Biechenkovski, where he still hoped he might be able to intercept Barclay de Tolly. On 24 Napoleon reached Biechenkovski, but on the same day Russian prisoners confirmed that Barclay de Tolly had already reached Vitebsk.
      At this stage Barclay de Tolly was actually planning to stand and fight. He believed that Bagration would soon be approaching from the south and wanted to hold on at Vitebsk until the two Russian armies could unite. General Osterman-Tolstoy, who had only recently been given command of 4th Corps, was given the Ingermanland and Nezhinsk Dragoons, Life Guard Dragoons, Sumsk Hussar and Life Guard Hussar regiments and ordered to delay the French west of Vitebsk.
      The French advance was led by General Nansouty's 1st Cavalry Corps, with Marshal Murat close behind. The first clashes, between Nansouty's advance guard and Russian cavalry, were won by the Russians. Murat's advance guard then arrived, and this time the French had the best of the fighting.
      Osterman-Tolstoy deployed his troops in two lines just to the west of Ostrovno, defending the main road to Vitebsk. The 11th Division (Nikolay Bakhmetyev) was posted in the front line with the 23rd Division (Aleksey Bakhmetyev) in the second line. The Ingermanland Dragoons were posted on the left of the Russian front line, the Sumsk Hussars in the second line.
      On the French side General Saint Germain's cavalry division was on the left, part of Bruyères's cavalry division formed the right and the rest of his cavalry along with the 8th Légere were in the centre. General Delzons' division was further west on the road.
      The battle started with a Russian cavalry attack, led by the Ingermanland Dragoons. This ended in failure when the French cavalry counterattacked. In the centre the French skirmishes were taking a heavy toll of the Russians. The Russian infantry attempted to drive them back, but once again the French cavalry defeated them.
      The French were less successful when they attempted to attack. The Russians had a strong defensive position with their flanks secured by woodland, and the famously stoic Russian infantry refused to retreat even when suffering heavy losses to artillery fire. Osterman-Tolstoy's own attacks were also repulsed, and eventually the arrival of French reinforcements forced him to retreat east.
      Overnight both sides received reinforcements. The Russians successfully held a new position at Kakuvyachino, three miles to the east of Ostrovno, for most of the day, before finally retreating to Vitebsk. Ostermann-Tolstoy's men had help up the French for two days, but at heavy cost, losing 834 dead, 1,855 wounded and around 1,000 missing or captured.
      By the end of the fighting the scene appeared to be set for the first major battle of the campaign. Barclay de Tolly's men were still at Vitebsk and Napoleon was approaching from the west.
      Further south Bagration had been unable to force his way past Davout's corps at Mogilev (23 July 1812). This meant that he would no longer be able to join Barclay de Tolly at Vitebsk. When this news reached him Barclay de Tolly decided to continue the retreat east, but if Napoleon had attacked on 27 July the Russians would still have been forced to fight. Instead Napoleon decided to pause for a day in order to allow more of his troops to take part in the battle. This would prove to be a disastrous decision. By the time Napoleon was ready to attack on 28 July the Russians had withdrawn from Vitebsk and were heading for Smolensk and the long-hoped for battle of Vitebsk was nothing more than a series of skirmishes with the Russian rearguard.

      Comment


      • #4
        RUSSIAN FORCES AT OSTROWNO, JULY 25, 1812.
        Modified battle order (completed and improved from Russian sources)
        Last edited by daddut roger; 07 Jan 20, 07:05.

        Comment


        • #5
          RUSSIAN FORCES AT OSTROWNO, JULY 25, 1812.
          4th Corps Osterman-Tolstoy
          13,800 bayonets (22 battalions).
          11th Infantry Division Major General Czoglokof
          deployed in 1st line (12 battalions)
          1st Brigade Maj.-Gen. Czoglokof : Kexholm Regt. (Lt-Col. Stessel) … Pernov Regt. (Maj. Lachinov)
          2nd Brigade Maj-Gen. Filisov : Polotsk Regt. (Maj. Peschchansky) … Ielets Regt. (Col. Izmailova)
          3rd Brigade Col. Bistrom : 1st Jäger Regt. ( ? ) … 33rd Jäger Regt. (Maj. Brevern)
          Artillery Brigade Lt.-Col. Cotlariev : Heavy Company n°2 __ Light Companies n°3 (Capt. Figner) and n°4 ( ? )
          23rd Infantry Division Major-General Bakhmetiev
          in 2nd line and columns of battalions (10 battalions)
          1st Brigade Maj.-Gen. Okulov : Rylsk Regt. (Maj. Nekrasov) … Ekaterinbourg Regt. (Maj. Bogdanovich)
          2nd Brigade Maj.-Gen. Aleksapol : Selenginsk Regt. (Lt.-Col. Leble) … 18th Jägers Regt. ( ? )
          2nd Brigade of combined Grenadiers Col. Yefimovich : combined Battalion of the 17th Div. (6 Cies.) … combined Battalion of the 11th Div. (6 Cies.)
          Artillery Brigade Lt.Col. Gulevich : Heavy Company n°23 … Light Companies n°43 ( ? ) and n°44 (Capt. Berg).
          Elements of the 1st Cavalry Corps (Ouvarov) and of the 2nd Cavalry Corps (Korf)
          3,000 sabers (32 escadrons).
          Advance guard : Hussars of the Guard (Col. Mandrake) … 5th Company Horse Artillery (Lt.Col. Kandyba) __ according to Buturlin__.
          Cavalry attached to the 4th Corps : Néjinski Dragoons (Col. Zagryazhsky) from 1st Corps ... Ingrie or Ingermanland Dragoons (Col. Argamakov) from 2nd Corps … Soumy’s Hussars (Col. Kanchiyalov) from 3rd Corps __ according to Thiers __.
          Reinforcement from the 1st Cavalry Reserve Corps : Dragoons of the Guard (Col. Chicherin) …
          Last edited by daddut roger; 07 Jan 20, 07:12.

          Comment


          • #6
            During skirmish just before battle 8th hussars with 16th chasseures attacked 2 squadrons of Russian Leib-guard Hussars and 6 guns of horse artillery (конная рота Nr.5). At the battle itself 8th hussars attacked Ingermanland infantry regiment in the rear. Attack was made together with 6th cavalry regiment (Polish ulans) and was successful and resulted in 200 prisoners.

            Comment


            • #7
              Extract taken from "History of Napoleon and the Grande Armée during the year 1812" by General Comte de Ségur ...
              The romantic style and certain inaccuracies will lead to accompany this work with the "Critical examination" by General Gourgaud, Former orderly officer and aide-de-camp of the Emperor Napoleon.

              On July 25, Murat marched towards Ostrowno with his cavalry. Two leagues from this village, Domon, du Coëtlosquet, Carignan, and the Eighth of hussars, advanced in column (1) on a wide road, marked by a double row of birch trees. These hussars were close to reach the top of a hill, on which they saw only the smallest part of a body composed of three cavalry regiments of the Russian guard, and 6 pieces of artillery. No skirmisher covered this line.
              The chiefs of the Eighth believed themselves to be preceded by two regiments of their division, which marched across fields, to the right and to the left of the road, and whose trees which bordered it, hid their sight. But these bodies of troops had stopped, and the Eighth, already well in front of them, was still advancing, persuaded that what he saw through the trees, a hundred and fifty paces in front of him, were these same two regiments as , without noticing, he had just passed. The immobility of the Russians completely deceived the leaders of the Eighth. The order to charge, appearing to them to be an error, they sent an officer to recognize the troop they had before them, and always advanced without distrust. Suddenly they see their officer, slashed, knocked down, seized, and the enemy cannons shoot down their hussars. They no longer hesitate, and without losing time, to extend their troops under this fire, they throw themselves through the trees and run over them to stop it. With a first impulse, they seized the cannons, they overturned the regiment which was at the center of the enemy line and crushed it. In the disorder of this first success, they see the Russian regiment on the right, which they had just passed, remain as motionless with astonishment; they come back on him from behind, and defeat him. In the middle of this second victory, they saw the third regiment on the left of the enemy, who, quite disconcerted, was moving off and trying to withdraw; they turn nimbly, with all they can gather, towards this third enemy, whom they attack in the middle of its movement, and which they still disperse.
              Animated by this success, Murat pushes, in the woods of Ostrowno, the enemy who seems to be hiding there. This prince wanted to enter it, but then a strong resistance stopped him.
              The position at Ostrowno was well chosen, it dominated; one saw there without being seen; it crossed a major road; the Düna on the right, a ravine in front, thick woods on its surface and on the left. Besides, it was within reach of the stores, it covered them, as well as Vitespk, the capital of these countries. Ostermann ran to defend it.
              For his part, Murat, always lavish in his life, that of a victorious king, as he once had been in the days of an obscure soldier, persists in this wood, despite the fire that come out; but he realizes that it is no longer a first impulse. The ground, taken by the hussars of the Eighth, was disputed to him, and its column head, composed of the Bruyères and Saint-Germain Divisions and of the Eighth Infantry, must be maintained there against an army.
              They defended themselves there, as victors defended themselves, by attacking. Each enemy body which appeared on our flanks as an assailant was in turn assaulted; the cavalry was driven back into the woods, and the infantry broken with sabers. However, we got tired of winning when the Delzons Division appeared; the king quickly threw it on the right and towards the retreat of the enemy, who became worried and no longer disputed victory.
              These defiles have several leagues. The same evening, the viceroy joined Murat, and the next day, they saw the Russians in a new position. Pahlen and Konownitzin had joined Ostermann. Already, after having contained the left of the Russians, the two French princes showed the troops of their right wing, the position which was to serve as their fulcrum and starting point for attacking, when suddenly great clamors rose to their left: they look; twice the cavalry and the infantry of this wing come to approach the enemy, twice they were repulsed, and here are the emboldened Russians, who leave in masses of their wood, uttering appalling cries. The audacity, the ardor of the attack passed over to them, and among the French it is the uncertainty and the astonishment of the defense.
              A battalion of Croats and the Eighty-fourth Regiment tried in vain to resist; their line diminished: before them, the ground was strewn with their dead; behind them, the plain was covered with their wounded, who withdrew from combat, those who carried them, and many others who, under the pretext of supporting the wounded, or of being wounded themselves, detached themselves successively of the ranks.(2) So begins a rout. Already the artillerymen, a troop still of the elite, no longer seeing themselves supported, withdrew with their pieces; a few more moments, and the troops of the different branch of arms, in their flight towards the same defile, were to meet there; from there a confusion, where the voice and the efforts of the chiefs are lost, where all the elements of resistance merging, become useless.
              It is said that at this sight Murat, irritated, rushed to the head of a regiment of Polish lancers, and that these, excited by the presence of the king, elated by his words, and that besides the sight of the Russians, carrying with rage, rushed in his steps. Murat had only wanted to set them in motion, and launch them at the enemy; it was not convenient for him to throw himself into the fray with them, from which he could neither see nor command: but the Polish spears were crowded behind him; they occupied the whole width of the ground; they pushed him forward, with all the speed of the horses. He could not put himself aside, nor stop: he had to charge in front of this regiment, (3) while he was there to harangue him, and as a soldier, that is what he did, to good grace.
              At the same time, General d'Anthouard ran to his gunners, General Girardin did the same to the Hundred and Sixth Regiment which he stopped, rallied and brought back against the Russian right wing to which he took his position, two cannons and the victory. For his part, General Piré approaches the enemy left and turns it: fortune changes sides; the Russians return to their forests.
              However, on their left, they persisted in defending a thick wood, whose advanced position broke our line. The Ninety-second Regiment, astonished by the fire that went out, stunned by a hail of bullets, remained motionless, daring neither to advance nor to retreat, held back by two opposite fears, that of shame and that of danger, and avoiding neither; (4) General Roussel ran to revive it by his words, to lead it by his example, and the wood was won.
              By this success, a strong column, which had advanced on our right to turn it, found itself turned; Murat noticed it; immediately, sword in hand, he exclaimed "May the bravest follow me!". But this country is crisscrossed by ravines, which protected the retreat of the Russians; all went to plunge into a forest two leagues deep, the last curtain which hid Vitepsk from us.
              After such a lively battle, the King of Naples and the Viceroy hesitated to venture into a country so covered, when the Emperor appeared; they ran to him, showing him what had just been done, and what remained to be done. Napoleon first went to the highest peak and closest to the enemy: from there, his genius hovering over all obstacles, would soon have pierced the mystery of these forests and the thickness of these mountains. He ordered without hesitation, and these woods which had stopped the audacity of the two princes, were crossed right through. Finally, that evening, from the top of its double hill, Vitepsk could see our skirmishers emerge in the plain which surrounds it .
              Everything here stopped the Emperor; the night, the multitude of enemy fires that covered this plain, the unknown land, the need to recognize it to direct the divisions, and especially the time it took for this crowd of soldiers, engaged in a long and narrow defile, to get out. We therefore halted to breathe, to recognize each other, to rally, to feed ourselves, and to prepare our weapons for the next day. Napoleon slept under his tent, on a height to the left of the main road, and behind the village of Kukowiaczi.
              1. On reading this passage, would we not believe that MM. Domont, Coetlosquet, Carignan, were at least generals, since he names them as he names Murat, without designating them by any title? We would be in a big mistake; these gentlemen are quite simply officers of the eighth of hussars, and one will know why the author quotes them alone, if one inquires of what they are now.
              2. The Ostermann's Corps wants to defend the defiles of Ostrowno: a fairly lively action begins. M. de Ségur does not perceive that he attacks the honor of one of our brave regiments (the Eighty-fourth of the Line). It is a free stain that would be done for French glory. The palace marshal was not involved in this affair.
              3. He could not also say that he saw Murat at the head of a regiment of Polish lancers, charging despite himself. The author should have enough military knowledge to know that the interval between the squadrons would have enabled the King of Naples to retire, if his personal bravery had not led him to take part in the charge.
              4. Here is another assertion, which further attacks the reputation of a French regiment. How can M. the Palace Marshall take it upon himself to thus compromise the honor of our regiments! Not being present at the affair, he should have read Prince Eugene's reports; he would have seen there that this prince, speaking of this regiment, expressed himself thus: "It was necessary the value of the troops and the persistence of the general who commanded, to succeed in such a difficult attack".

              Comment


              • #8
                I'd take Segur with a very large salt pill. He had the old soldiers habit of 'remembering with advantages.'

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think there was a good English translation of his work at at Project Gutenberg.

                  Regardless of historical accuracy (or bias), it is a enjoyable read, and gives good insight in the *methods* of warfare of the time.
                  Last edited by Snowygerry; 10 Jan 20, 03:20.
                  Major Atticus Finch - ACW Rainbow Game.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Massena View Post
                    Do you have access to this book?

                    The Greenhill Napoleonic Wars Data Book by Digby Smith?

                    You might be able to find some of the information you want there and it could lead you to other sources.

                    These volumes might also be of assistance:
                    Russian Eyewitness Accounts of the Campaign of 1812 by Alexander Mikaberidze.

                    Ilya Radozhitskii'S Campaign Memoirs translated by Alexander Mikaberidze.

                    This might be of some help. Ostrovno is covered from pages 241-246:

                    https://books.google.com/books?id=XD...trovno&f=false

                    Massena,

                    Thanks for your help! I'll start by buying the
                    "The Greenhill Napoleonic Wars Data Book". It is not difficult to find it and it contains surely a lot of information.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ulrih View Post
                      During skirmish just before battle 8th hussars with 16th chasseures attacked 2 squadrons of Russian Leib-guard Hussars and 6 guns of horse artillery (конная рота Nr.5). At the battle itself 8th hussars attacked Ingermanland infantry regiment in the rear. Attack was made together with 6th cavalry regiment (Polish ulans) and was successful and resulted in 200 prisoners.

                      Ulrih,

                      Thank you very much for your contribution.

                      Things are becoming clearer concerning the engagement of the 8th Hussars and the enemy with which it has been measured. However, I must make a modification to your statements. The Russian "Ingermanland" regiment was a Dragoon regiment, not an infantry one.



                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by daddut roger View Post
                        RUSSIAN FORCES AT OSTROWNO, JULY 25, 1812.
                        4th Corps Osterman-Tolstoy
                        13,800 bayonets (22 battalions).
                        11th Infantry Division Major General Czoglokof
                        deployed in 1st line (12 battalions)
                        1st Brigade Maj.-Gen. Czoglokof : Kexholm Regt. (Lt-Col. Stessel) … Pernov Regt. (Maj. Lachinov)
                        2nd Brigade Maj-Gen. Filisov : Polotsk Regt. (Maj. Peschchansky) … Ielets Regt. (Col. Izmailova)
                        3rd Brigade Col. Bistrom : 1st Jäger Regt. ( ? ) … 33rd Jäger Regt. (Maj. Brevern)
                        Artillery Brigade Lt.-Col. Cotlariev : Heavy Company n°2 __ Light Companies n°3 (Capt. Figner) and n°4 ( ? )
                        23rd Infantry Division Major-General Bakhmetiev
                        in 2nd line and columns of battalions (10 battalions)
                        1st Brigade Maj.-Gen. Okulov : Rylsk Regt. (Maj. Nekrasov) … Ekaterinbourg Regt. (Maj. Bogdanovich)
                        2nd Brigade Maj.-Gen. Aleksapol : Selenginsk Regt. (Lt.-Col. Leble) … 18th Jägers Regt. ( ? )
                        2nd Brigade of combined Grenadiers Col. Yefimovich : combined Battalion of the 17th Div. (6 Cies.) … combined Battalion of the 11th Div. (6 Cies.)
                        Artillery Brigade Lt.Col. Gulevich : Heavy Company n°23 … Light Companies n°43 ( ? ) and n°44 (Capt. Berg).
                        Elements of the 1st Cavalry Corps (Ouvarov) and of the 2nd Cavalry Corps (Korf)
                        3,000 sabers (32 escadrons).
                        Advance guard : Hussars of the Guard (Col. Mandrake) … 5th Company Horse Artillery (Lt.Col. Kandyba) __ according to Buturlin__.
                        Cavalry attached to the 4th Corps : Néjinski Dragoons (Col. Zagryazhsky) from 1st Corps ... Ingrie or Ingermanland Dragoons (Col. Argamakov) from 2nd Corps … Soumy’s Hussars (Col. Kanchiyalov) from 3rd Corps __ according to Thiers __.
                        Reinforcement from the 1st Cavalry Reserve Corps : Dragoons of the Guard (Col. Chicherin) …

                        Thanks Daddut roger! Very useful information!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Snowygerry View Post
                          I think there was a good English translation of his work at at Project Gutenberg.

                          Regardless of historical accuracy (or bias), it is a enjoyable read, and gives good insight in the *methods* of warfare of the time.
                          Gourgaud 'called out' de Segur because of his inaccuracies in his 'history' of the Russian campaign and shot him for his trouble. Gourgaud's account is much better, but de Segur's has value for relating material on the operation of the French imperial staff.

                          De Segur's account of the Polish cavalry charge at Somosierra in 1808, in which he took part and was wounded, is also inaccurate. The only Polish officer of the squadron who reached the top of the pass, Lt Niegelewski, that conducted the charge wrote a memoir which is undoubtedly the best account of the action.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Napoleon's Campaign in Russia by Philippe-Paul de Segur
                            'This colorful book, roundly damned as a 'romance' by many other veterans of this campaign, must be read with Segur's congenital tendency against the dull facts to spoil a good story firmly in mind. That considered, his book is a fair source of material on headquarters activities.'

                            Napoleon et la Grande Armee en Russie by Gaspard Gourgaud
                            'One of Napoleon's orderly officers, Gourgaud wrote this book as a 'critical examination of the work of Count Philippe de Segur.' Though fanatically loyal to Napoleon, Gourgaud also wrote as a brave and level-headed officer; under his matter-of-fact pen, Segur's gaudy drama wilts away. (As a more direct form of literary criticism, Gourgaud also 'called out' Segur and wounded him in a duel.)

                            Both were brave officers and served loyally. However, de Segur did have a tendency to 'remember with advantages', witness his treatment of the Poles charge at Somosierra (where he was wounded as he went with them). Comparing it to Niegelewski's memoir (he was the only Polish officer of the 3d Squadron of the Polish Light Horse to make it to the top of the pass, and he was wounded), it, too, 'wilts away.'

                            Gourgaud continually referes to de Segur as 'the officer of the palace' even though he too was a staff officer. Gourgaud was Napoleon's trusted senior orderly officer of proven ability.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Hussard5 View Post


                              Ulrih,

                              Thank you very much for your contribution.

                              Things are becoming clearer concerning the engagement of the 8th Hussars and the enemy with which it has been measured. However, I must make a modification to your statements. The Russian "Ingermanland" regiment was a Dragoon regiment, not an infantry one.


                              Yes, you`re right, it was Dragoon regiment. My mistake.

                              Comment

                              Latest Topics

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X