31. The first moves
[Sorry, can’t download the really good map pf the theater, it is too big. So, it is either one of the previous chapter or, if you are really interested in all geographic names, here is the link to not-cooperating one: https://www.historicpictoric.com/pr...EwqSnUDQcDxoAWlnPZUPXCNFLU5Cc-7YaAhc-EALw_wcB ]
The Russian side
(from West to East):
1. Sheremetev’s army (Moldavian Army) - approximately 50,000 regulars (31,000 infantry in 3 divisions and 19,000 cavalry in 4 cavalry divisions) with 96 field guns and brigade of the siege artillery (32 guns). After leaving troops to defend the Crimea, it was strengthened by 20,000 regular troops mostly added to the existing divisions and it also received 5,000 Cossacks of Don and 5,000 Kalmyks. Holds front along the Dniester from Khotyn (Choczin) to Bender. The most important update of the command structure: Michael Golitsin is made a commander of the former Weide’s division.
2. Menshikov’s army (Bessarabian Army) - approximately 25,000 regulars (2 infantry and 1 cavalry division) with 64 field guns. Plus, 10,000 Ukrainian Mounted Landmilitia and 10,000 Kalmyks. Holds front on the Dniester from Bender to the Black Sea. Can be helped by a part of the Black Sea fleet (mostly the light ships of the former Azov Flotilla) based in Ochakov and so-called “Dnieper flotilla”, couple thousands loyal Zaporizhian Cossacks on their boats .
3. Crimean general-governorship. Governor-General Prince Yakov Dolgoruky,
[important info: Rurikovich in XXIV generation  but, notwithstanding such a handicap, a very intelligent and capable person. Peter’s loyalist since 1682. Held various administrative positions during Sophia’s regency. In 1687 had been sent on a diplomatic mission to France and Spain. Since 1701 head of Prikaz of the Military Affairs (appointments of the military personnel, raising the troops, commissariat, etc.) with a rank of “general-kriegscommisar”. Spent some time in Sweden getting familiar with the state institutions and then serving as Peter’s “consultant” on the subject . A rare bird: absolutely honest person and formulated his approach to the service as “The truth is Tsar’s best servant” . Taking into an account the general delicacy of the situation in the Crimea, Peter needed there a governor who is not going to start alienating the locals by the “traditional” looting and extortions and competent enough to organize an effective defense against the probable Ottoman attacks and the local fifth column. ]
The forces in his disposal: 20,000 regular troops and 3,000 Don Cossacks. Plus, out of the local Greek population of approximately 32,000 he started formation of 4 Greek battalions and of the Crimean Tatar regiment of approximately 1,000 .
As a military commander of these forces Dolgoruky has Weide: his failing health prevented him from participation in the planned campaign on the Dniester but he should be able to handle the defense of the Crimea.
4. There were garrison troops on the coast of the Azov Sea all the way to the Kuban River and on Taman Peninsula. Fortifications of Kerch and Taman had been strengthened to keep the strait under artillery fire and, in the case of Taman, to repel a possible attack from the land. Enough of the small craft had been kept in Kerch to allow a speedy transfer of the reinforcements to Taman the newly built Taman fortress.
The Don Flotilla
, had been based in Kafa to prevent enemy’s penetration into the Azov Sea. They should be covering all coast from Kerch to Balaklava. It included 12 “newly-invented ships” , 5 prams (floating battery), 4 auxiliary ships, 44 “military boats”, and 48 small boats. Later during the war 1 32-guns frigate and 5 transports had been added.
The Black Sea fleet
based in Ochakov included 9 ships of the line, 5 frigates and small ships.
The Ottoman side.
The main Ottoman army under command of the Grand Vizier Baltadj Mehmed Pasha was being assembled on the right bank of the Danube. On paper
it amounted to 120,000 (80,000 infantry and 40,000 cavalry) with 300 artillery pieces .
Besides this army, there were up to 35,000 Ottomans and 20,000 Tatars at Khotyn and 20,000 more Tatars on the right bank of the lower Dniester.
Not to be forgotten, there was also Polish confederacy in Podolia . Not that it represented any significant threat to anybody besides the local peasants who had to feed the confederates, but it was there and August could do little about it because the Sejm, after the LNW experience, was refusing to give him any funds and by the Treaty of Warsaw the Saxon troops could not enter the PLC territory. As a result, there was a small-scale across-the-border entertainment in which couple Landmilitia regiments had been happily involved.
In the rear, at Varna, the Ottoman fleet had been slowly assembled (money, money, money) to conduct landings in the Kuban, Crimea and wherever else it will be feasible.
Vizier’s general plan roughly looked as following:
1. Defeat and completely annihilate the Russians located along the Dniester.
2. Keep advancing to the Dnieper with an ultimate goal to capture Kiev. The confederates will help advancing from the Podolia.
3. A smaller force, mostly the Tatars, will have to march into the Crimea supported by the local massive uprising and landing of the Ottoman troops. From here it should proceed to Azov being joined by the Nogays advancing from the Kuban.
The plan was as good as it gets and the Sultan approved it. What else do you need for a victory?
 To those who did not flee with Gordienko, substantial cookies had been promised: a preserved (if somewhat trimmed on the sides
) autonomy, regular salary, a privileged social status, etc.
 Which makes Peter a parvenue.
 In OTL was taken prisoner in 1700 and spent years in Stockholm where was overseeing money distribution among the Russian POWs. While his exchange (to Rehnskiold) kept being delayed, took over a ship on which he and 44 other prisoners had been transported to Umea and made it to the Russian-held Revel. So I just skipped some unnecessary details but not the important fact.
 One of the very few people who dared to contradict Peter in public and get away with it. There was a famous case when he torn to pieces Peter’s ukaz saying that the Tsar would not want to upset him by insisting on implementation. Peter did not insist.
 In OTL these units had been created in the later times.
 An official name of the type of the ships designed specifically for the operations in the shallow Azov Sea. They were flat bottomed ships with 2 masts, draft at the full load - 2.6 - 2.75 meters. Their armament included: 2 3 poud mortairs, 2 1 poud hiwitzers, 14 10-pounders and 4 3-pounders (on some of these ships there were 12- and 14-pounder guns). A small draft was allowing them to go without problem from the shallow part of the Don to the Sea of Azov and operate in its coastal waters. Of course, their seagoing
qualities had been low.
 When it comes to the assessment of the Ottoman forces in the Russian-Ottoman wars up to post-1820s, we have to keep in mind a “double BS” situation: on one hand, the Ottomans tended to exaggerate their numbers all the way to absolutely fantastic (400 - 600,000) both to underscore the might of the Ottoman Empire and (as far as the leadership on all level was involved), to pocket the difference between the claimed and real expenses. OTOH, they had been actively corroborated by their Russian counterparts who could easily turn 4,000 into 16,000 to emphasize greatness of their victories. Plus, even within the reasonably shrunk numbers, the Ottomans routinely had a high proportion of the non-combatants. There is one thing that we do
know: Nappy did have very serious problems with managing 200-300,000 (and even less) highly disciplined and well-organized troops in the wide front campaigns and on a narrow front we have 1812. So, unless we have a bunch of the unrecognized military geniuses on the Ottoman side, probably certain self-restraint in assessment of their numbers is warranted.
 With the Swedes and Russians gone, it was a good time to organize a confederation with an official goal being return of the lands lost in Ukraine. Not that the confederates had any realistic means to invade it but when impracticality had been stopping them? Anyway, there was a Big Ottoman Brother ready to help in this noble goal and all types of the trifles could be ignored.