Alexey O. Verbovoy
Naval Academy named after Admiral of the Fleet of Soviet Union N.G. Kuznetsov
Verbovoy A.O. Russian river military flotillas in the repulsion of the French invasion of 1812. Vestnik of Kostroma State University, 2023, vol. 29, No. 3, рp. 16–20. (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.34216/1998-0817-2023-29-3-16-20
DOI: https://doi.org/10.34216/1998-0817-2023-29-3-16-20
УДК: 94(470)”1812”
Publish date: 2023-10-11
Annotation: The Russian use of river flotillas during the 1812 military campaign against Napoleonic France is discussed in this article. Their use on the Western Dvina River (the Daugava in Latvian) and the Western Aa River (now the Lielupe, Latvia) during the defence of Riga played a colossal role in stopping the advance of Napoleon’s troops towards St. Petersburg – the capital of the Russian Empire. What was a particularly significant factor was the fact that the said offensive appeared to be impossible for the French either during the clashes of Vilna (the Battle of Vilna), Saltanovka or Polotsk. As a matter of fact, the defence of Riga would not have been that effective without the participation of the Baltic Fleet. The considered flotillas, which were used in the water area of the above mentioned rivers, did not allow the enemy troops to break through to St. Petersburg bypassing Riga. It is this problem that is considered in this article. For the study of the voiced problem, the materials of the Russian State Archive of the Navy were attracted. As a result, thanks to archival materials and the works of historians Feodosiy Veselago and Nikolay Kallistov, it was possible to establish that it was the crews of the ships of the flotillas that successfully defended Dünamünder fortress (now Daugavgrīvas fortress) located on the Western Dvina River, and that by knocking the enemy out of Schlock (now Sloka district of Jūrmala) located on the Western Aa River, Russian naval sailors defended the latter town as well. The courage and skill of the crews of the ships of the flotillas helped to prevent the enemy from advancing from the western direction. This saved the capital and largely decided the outcome of the war in Russia’s favour.
Keywords: military river flotillas, Riga, Western Dvina (Daugava), Western Аа (Lielupe), 1812 French invasion of Russia, Napoleon’s army, Counter Admiral Berend Otto von Möller, gunboats, rowing vessels.
Literature list: Kallistov N.D. Russkii flot i dvenadcatii god [Russian fleet and twelfth year]. Saint Petersburg, Typ. of the Naval Ministry Publ., 1912, 184 p. (In Russ.) Tri veka Rossiiskogo flota 1696–1996 [Three centuries of Russian fleet], ed. by F.N. Gromov. Saint Petersburg, Logos Publ., 1996, 403 p. (In Russ.). Veselago F. Kratkaya istoria russkogo flota [The short history of Russian fleet]. Moscow, Leningrad, Voenmorizdat Publ., 1939, 304 p. (In Russ.)
Author's info: Alexey O. Verbovoy, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Naval institute, Naval Academy named after Admiral of the Fleet of Soviet Union N.G. Kuznetsov, teacher of the cathedra of Military-political activity in troops (forces), City of Saint-Petersburg, Russia, a.verbovoy@mail.ru.