History 12 Oct 2020 Boris Egorov
Hermitage Museum; Private collection. The Hague; Rybinsk Museum-Preserve; Public Domain After abolishing the opportunity to build a career at home, these officers set off for the remote exotic country of Russia, offering them much-deserved credit for their talents and military capabilities. 1. Patrick Gordon
Before Patrick Leopold Gordon from Auchleuchries transferred to Russian service, he had stint in Sweden and Poland. The Russian ambassador to Poland, Zamatnya Leontyev, was so impressed by his skills in the Russo-Polish War (1645-1667) that he succeeded in convincing the Scotsman to join Tsar Aleksey Mikhailovich.
After many years of war against Turkish and Crimean Tatars on Russia’s southern border, Patrick Gordon became one of Tsar Peter I’s closest allies and helped him carry out mass reforms in the country. A brilliant theorist and military scientist, Gordon became the godfather of the Russian guard: he trained the first guard members in all aspects – from formation variants to the construction of fortifications and the establishment of camps and so on.
In his role as one of the commanders, the forwarder participated in the Azov campaign 1695-1696, during which Russia took its first step towards strengthening its position in the Black Sea. When Gordon died in 1699, Peter I said at his funeral: “I only give him a handful of land, while he has given me a whole territory of it, along with Azov.”
2. Christopher Minich
The Hermitage Museum
When the Saxon count Burkhard Christoph von München received an invitation in 1721 to join the Russian service under Peter I, he had already served as a military engineer in four separate European armies and defied a large number of wars and conflicts. In Russia, however, the count (led by Christopher Antonovich Minich) was first preoccupied with civilian instruction, building roads, ports, and bypasses.
With Anna Ioannovna crowned Russian Empress in 1730, Minich was commissioned to reform the army. Christopher Antonovich performed the massive task of cleaning the books, setting up educational garrisons and hospitals for the wounded and founding, among other things, the first Gentry Cadet Corps in Russia. During its time, the Russian Empire received its first Hussar and Sapper regiments, as well as building and repairing more than 50 strongholds.
Minich also proved to be a military commander. In 1736, for the first time in its history, Russia entered the Crimean capital, Bakhchisaray, under his command. On August 28, 1739, the commander defeated the Ottoman army, which surpassed Russian forces (90,000 and 60,000, respectively) in the battle of Stavuchany, after losing only 13 men and with the enemy losing more than 1,000! It was this victory that put an end to the myth of the “invincible Turks” and marked the beginning of a series of 18th-century military successes against Turkey.
A soldier at heart, Minich was not very good at navigating intrigue. In 1741, on the orders of the Empress Elizabeth, he was banished to the Urals, where he spent 20 years. In 1762, Emperor Peter III returned the 78-year-old Minich to St. Petersburg. Later, the extravagant and unpredictable Russian monarch managed to turn his entire entourage against him and bring about his dethronement and thus his wife, Catherine II. The German field marshal was grateful to Peter and remained loyal to him during the coup. However, the empress did not punish Minich for this. On the contrary, she fulfilled her long-held dream by making him governor of Siberia, a position he held until his death in 1767.
3. Samuil Greig
Like many shots that preceded and followed him, Samuil Greig did not find it easy to advance through the Royal Navy. After discovering that Russia was hiring skilled foreign naval officers, it did not take long to decide.
During the Battle of Chesma (1770), one of the most famous in Russian history, Greig commanded the stormtroopers, who carried out the decisive strike on the Ottoman fleet. In the ensuing battle, the Turks lost 15 of 16 liners, six frigates and 11,000 soldiers and sailors.
Greig proved himself not only in battle but also in his contributions to the Russian imperial fleet. Thanks to him, the science of ship artillery developed, with new types of ships being developed, while the underwater parts of the ships were redesigned with copper sheet, which enabled smoother sailing.
4. Roman crown
In 1788, the 34-year-old Scottish lieutenant in the Royal Navy, Robert Crown, began his service in the Baltic Navy in Russia, where he was given the name Roman Vasilievich and was given command of the rowing ship ‘Mercury’. He had not had to wait long for the right moment to prove himself – the war with Sweden had begun the same year and lasted two more.
Crown had a determination and courage that enabled him to correctly choose the moment of attack. He had only 24 cannons on board, he believed in attacks and boarded the 44-cannon ‘Venus’ frigate, as well as the 64-cannon ‘Justice’ battleship. In the battle of Vyborg on July 3, 1790, his mercury sank 12 Swedish rowing ships.
The ensuing wars with France took Crown’s career to new heights. The shots appeared in the Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland, as did the naval blockade of French and Dutch ports. In 1814, Vice Admiral Roman Crown was awarded a special honor – his squadron of flagships was used to bring back none other than Louis XVIII from his English exile.
5. Log in to Geyden
Private collection. The Hague
In 1795, when the French army occupied the Netherlands and forced its leader Wilhelm V, Prince of Orange, to flee, naval officer Count Lodewijk-Sigismund Gustaaf van Heyden remained loyal to the exiled prince, who landed him in prison for several months. After earning his time, the bill understood that it would be dangerous to stay at home, so he swore an oath to Russia.
Login Petrovich Geyden was his name in Russia, where he distinguished himself in the war of 1808-1809 with Sweden and the war with France, which followed. But it was the battle against the Turkish-Egyptian navy at the Battle of Navarino in 1827 that became the highlight of his career as a Marine.
The squadron commanded by Geyden – who had then risen to the counter-contingent line – not only survived the enemy’s attack but also managed to crush their core and right flank. The victory played an important role in the struggle for Greek liberation and the country did not forget it: Geyden’s name adorns one of the streets in Athens today, while the city of Pilos has a monument and a festive stamp created on the 100th anniversary of the battle, with login Petrovich’s likeness.