No GNW (or “Peter goes South”)

I’m a little confused about aspects of this update. I thought Kiev already belonged to Russia, but it’s mentioned as being part of the uprising in the PLC. Am I misunderstanding?
 
I’m a little confused about aspects of this update. I thought Kiev already belonged to Russia, but it’s mentioned as being part of the uprising in the PLC. Am I misunderstanding?
Poland still kept a part of Kiev Voyevodship (in OTL the uprising never spread to Kiev itself - it was Russian) but to avoid the confusion I edited the text. Thanks for noticing.
 
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Going to Little Silly War
136. Going to Little Silly War

The great art of any politician is not to swim against the current, but to turn every circumstance in his favor.
“Diplomacy without weapons - like music without instruments”
Frederick II
There are princesses after liberating whom you think: "And why did I kill a poor dragon?"
General observation

1769.

Vienna
. Communication from the Court of Moscow presented the Court of Vienna with a serious dilemma. A schema developed by Kaunitz and his French colleague, Étienne François de Choiseul, was, as usually, (a) rather complicated and (b) based upon the assumption that somebody else is going to take risks. The goal was to exclude a potential Russian influence in the PLC by the Bar Confederacy defeating King Stanislaw (who was considered to be pro-Russian by the virtue of not being a Wettin) and dictating him its conditions.
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To achieve this goal, Vienna and Paris were going to provide the confederacy with some help:
  • France was going to send to the PLC few officers to provide the confederates with at least some modern military expertise.
  • Austria was going to provide the Confederacy a safe heaven on its territories (Austrian and Hungarian) and perhaps supply with some weapons.
  • France and Austria were going to persuade the Sultan to find an excuse for declaring a war on Russia, in which war the Ottomans are going to be victorious (this part was somewhat of a wishful thinking not based upon any solid facts) and will get some Russian territories and perhaps some PLC lands as well. Maria Theresa in her capacity of the Queen of Hungary, as a compensation for the services granted, will occupy Starostwo Spiskie.
French gain in this schema was not clear to anybody in Vienna or Paris so it was assumed that France will generally benefit from a more pro-Austrian regime in Warsaw and eliminated Russian influence at Sultan’s court. Anyway, sending few officers to serve in Poland and instructing ambassador in Constantinople, comte de Saint-Priest, to conduct one more intrigue against Russia were not going to involve any serious expenses.
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The first problem with a well-conceived plan was that in Constantinople the Russian bullying proved to be a stronger tool than the French and Austrian persuasion. Sultan Mustafa III would not mind to get some Polish land but only if this did not involve any serious risk and in this he was supported by the Grand Vizier Yağlıkçızade Mehmed Emin Pasha (and by his two successors, Moldovancı Ali Pasha and İvazzade Halil Pasha who kept the position in 1769-70).
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Russian ambassador at Constantinople, Obreskov, served in various positions at the Ottoman court since 1740 and had much stronger connections there than the newly appointed comte de Saint-Priest. Which, of course, would not be critically important if not a trump card of 20 ships of the line outside Bosphorus and a promise of a big Russian army ready to invade the Ottoman territory. Volyn and Podolia were a promise not backed up by anything but promise of the Russian invasion was a clear and present danger.
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As a result, Mustafa remained uncommitted and even promised not to give refuge to any military units of the Bar Confederacy. The individuals asking for the Sultan’s protection were a different issue and nobody was going to question his right to accept them. So the first part of the great plan crumbled.

The Russians were seemingly indifferent to what’s going on in the PLC but it was not clear for how ling this position will last. The outcome of the ongoing civil war in the PLC was still unclear but it did not look like the confederates are getting an upper hand. Should Austria interfere militarily at a risk (as had been hinted) of the Russian and Prussian opposition? The domestic situation in the Hapsburg empire after the 7YW was still rather precarious and a new war could easily destroy it.

Unexpected proposal coming from Moscow was opening the brand new opportunities. Of course, acceptance meant betrayal of France and of the Bar allies but since when was this a consideration? OTOH, it was pretty much spelled out that the Hapsburgs could obtain a piece of a territory with a minimal military effort and no diplomatic repercussions whatsoever. Kaunitz would be a fool to miss such an opportunity due to some abstract principles. The last fig leaf had been removed by the news that the confederates had been planning to kidnap King Stanislaw [1]. The legitimate revolt was one thing but and attempt to lay hands upon an anointed monarch was not something that Hapsburg could condone. For the starters the confederates were refused the refuge on Austrian territory (but not in Hungary). The rest would depend upon the circumstances.

Berlin (or rather Potsdam). With Frederick communications were much simpler. Of course, his army suffered greatly during the 7YW but it was more than adequate for handling any obstacles which it could realistically face in the PLC, especially taking into an account that it is not going to act alone. So he jumped immediately to the important point, the reward, and spelled out his desire: a land connection to the Eastern Prussia. To which the Russian side had absolutely no objections.

Sweden was being on board all along so it was just a matter of coordinating what, when and how to do. Representatives of the interested sides assembled in Riga to discuss the details and make a formal pact.



________
[1] In OTL this “brilliant” idea took place in 1771 and even Austria was repulsed.
 
Still going ….
137. Still going …

Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.”
W. Churchill
If you need something from somebody always give that person a way to hand it to you.”
Sue Monk Kidd
“The principle of give and take is the principle of diplomacy – give one and take ten.”
Mark Twain
“Diplomats were invented simply to waste time.”
David Lloyd

The Russian-Swedish-Prussian-Austrian conference convened in Riga in December 1769 and kept going on without getting anywhere. While there was a general agreement regarding a need to do something drastic regarding “the source of irritation” and get a tangible reward for accomplishing this noble mission, the Hell, as usually, proved to be in the details.

Austria, encouraged by a perspective to get something for free, got quite ambitious and expressed desire to get Spiz, and the whole voyevodships of Krakow, Sandomir, Lublin, Russian and Belz. In a meantime, while the Bar confederacy was forced to remove its headquarters from the Austrian territory, they had been moved to Hungary and Austrian representative had been quite evasive regarding banning them from all Hapsburg possessions or restricting their communications with France (and Austrian court). Well, at least unless and until all Hapsburg demands are agreed upon. On a “positive” side Austria was agreeing to commit 15,000 troops on condition that there would be Russian and Swedish subsidies: government of MT was still recuperating from the financial losses of the7YW.

Prussia. Old Fritz, not to be outdone, wanted Bishopric of Warmia, voyevodships of Malbrock (with Elblag generously left in Swedish possession) Pomorsie, with Danzig, Poznan, Chelm, Inowoclaw, Brzesc Kujawski, Seradz and Kalisz. And, of course, subsidies for the Prussian troops which are going to occupy these territories.

On the military commitment both Prussia and Austria insisted that activities of their troops are going to be limited to the “zones of occupation”. No join command and no obligations to act outside these areas. Discussions kept going on without any visible progress and, seemingly, could last forever.

In a meantime in the PLC war kept going on with Franciszek Ksawery Branicki (not a Hetman, yet) faithfully, if with no meaningful success, leading what was passing for the Royal Polish Army (which even on paper was under 20,000 regular soldiers paid irregularly) against the bands of Bar Confederacy but mostly being focused on how to weaken the influence of Karol Stanisław "Panie Kochanku" Radziwiłł and possibly, on how to deprive Radziwiłł of his fortune. His only energetic action was suppression of the Gaidamak Uprising.

Unrelated factoid. On March 5, 1766, Branitsky had a duel on pistols with the famous adventurer Giacomo Casanova provoked by the first dancer of the Warsaw theater Binetti because of her rivalry with another dancer, the royal favorite Katerina Katai Tomatis. Branitsky's bullet wounded Casanova in the left hand, scratching his stomach before that. Branitsky himself, according to the Casanova, was seriously wounded in the stomach, Casanova's bullet “entered from the right into the stomach under the seventh rib and came out on the left under the tenth. One hole was ten inches away from the other. The spectacle was terrifying: it seemed that the insides were broken and he was already dead.”

The confederates reappeared in force in Lesser Poland and Great Poland by 1769. In 1770 the Council of Bar Confederation transferred from its original seat in Austrian part of Silesia to Hungary, whence it conducted diplomatic negotiations with France, Austria and Turkey with a view to forming a stable league against Russia. The council proclaimed the king dethroned on 22 October 1770. The Confederates also began to operate in Lithuania.
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Although the Confederates opposed rights limitations of noble class, but since they also opposed the king peasants of royal estates, for example, participants in the Shavel Uprising, counted on their help [1] . The Confederates also had the support of some Roman Catholic peasants where they were a minority of the population.
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The most popular Confederacy leader at that time was Casimir Pulaski. Not because of some outstanding military talent (he was beaten on numerous occasions) but because he was brave and very energetic, which was more than can be said about most of other commanders on both sides. In 1769, Pulaski's unit was besieged by numerically superior forces, in the old fortress of Okopy Świętej Trójcy, which had served as his base of operations since December the previous year. However, after a staunch defence, he was able to break the siege. On April 7, he was made the regimentarz of the Kraków Voivodeship. In May and June he operated near Przemyśl, but failed to take the town. Criticized by some of his fellow Confederates, Pulaski departed to Lithuania with his allies and a force of about 600 men on June 3. In Lithuania he managed to raise an “army” of 4,000 and deliver it back to a Confederate staging point. This excursion received international notice and gained him a reputation as the most effective military leader in the Bar Confederation.

On the international front:
  • The Ottomans, who were not really inclined to any actions but for a while wanted to keep a door open for the opportunities, had been disappointed to find out that, instead of promised 80,000, the Confederacy can raise only up to 10,000 irregular troops pretty much useless in the case of a serious confrontation with the Russian army. At that point the confederates ceased to be considered seriously and the French got a firm “no” on their proposal to declare a war on Russia. After finding out a scope of the French help to the Confederacy, Mustafa III became a convinced pacifist (at least on this specific issue 😂).
  • As its contribution to the Confederacy’s fight, the court of Versailles sent Charles François Dumouriez to act as an aid to the Confederates.
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The calls for the Russian help from King Stanislaw so far produced little beyond assurance that his dethronement is not being recognized but even this had been generating a lot of ill feelings among the confederates who remained somewhat delusional about their real situation and still expected some mighty force marching to their help from somewhere. A prevailing opinion from their leadership was that a drastic action is being needed to generate such a help.

… The talks in Riga kept going with the diplomatic couriers riding (and sailing) to and from the four capitals but no progress being achieved. With the year nearing to the end, patience of Peter II was wearing really thin when in December of 1770 the Bar Confederacy made him an unexpected present: encouraged and aided by France, it declared a war on Russia. Peter declared that this is a best Christmas gift he ever got.


_______________
[1] System introduced in the royal estates resulted in the increased oppression of the local peasants who were depraved of their land, forced to work in the folwark manufactures and forbidden to participate in trade. The Shavel Uprising was suppressed by the crown troops with its leaders executed.
 
Now what i don't get is why is Russia singled out by Confederation as from my understanding they pretty much coordinate their Polish policy with Sweden? Maybe because Orthodox population in the east?

On interesting note it's hard to see where this idea about Ottomans declaring war is coming from, ironically if we take into account that war of 1716/19 happened Ottomans could have easier time declaring war on Austria and reclaim their lost land's with Russian support. Thought not that Confederates are politically savy, expecting powers that just exited a costly war to help them and go to war against still fresh Russia and Sweden, potentially Prussia and Ottomans with British (always a French rival circling at the side).
 
With the year nearing to the end, patience of Peter II was wearing really thin when in December of 1770 the Bar Confederacy made him an unexpected present: encouraged and aided by France, it declared a war on Russia. Peter declared that this is a best Christmas gift he ever got.
Double facepalm!
 
Now what i don't get is why is Russia singled out by Confederation as from my understanding they pretty much coordinate their Polish policy with Sweden? Maybe because Orthodox population in the east?
I simply did not get to the Swedish part, yet (and Swedish participation is going to be limited even if not unimportant) but in general Russia is being considered the main enemy because it is bigger, has a longer border, has all these Orthodox “dissidents” in the PLC and there is a much greater hope to get a foreign support against Russia then against Sweden (I emphasize “hope” because hopes are not necessarily based upon a reality; anyway, France is anti-Russian but not anti-Swedish).

But, to be absolutely sincere, I want to keep the military operations reasonably close to the OTL.

On interesting note it's hard to see where this idea about Ottomans declaring war is coming from, ironically if we take into account that war of 1716/19 happened Ottomans could have easier time declaring war on Austria and reclaim their lost land's with Russian support.
It is getting scary: do you have some mind-reading device at home? 😂

I was contemplating Austro-Ottoman war as a way to keep the Hapsburgs busy and, preferably, beaten to make them more compliant and realistic. The only caveat is Laudon still being around but probably some cholera epudemics…

Thought not that Confederates are politically savy, expecting powers that just exited a costly war to help them and go to war against still fresh Russia and Sweden, potentially Prussia and Ottomans with British (always a French rival circling at the side).
Well, in OTL they were instrumental (as in giving an excuse) in starting Russian-Ottoman War and Austria was at least benevolent. Look at the expectations behind the uprisings in XIX century. I read somewhere that Nappy after being informed about Kościuszko’s political schemas ordered French officials to ignore him as a lunatic (and he was at least an internationally respected figure) so what do you expect from a movement in which “Pane Kohanku” and Pulasski are among the leading figures?
 
It is getting scary: do you have some mind-reading device at home? 😂

I was contemplating Austro-Ottoman war as a way to keep the Hapsburgs busy and, preferably, beaten to make them more compliant and realistic. The only caveat is Laudon still being around but probably some cholera epudemics…

Im generally assuming most logical outcome of atl geopolitical reality. With Russia generally uninterested in further expansion against the Ottoman's it fails to Austria to take the mantle. In this specific example Crimea was but a vassal state that is now firmly on Russian hands and it would be hard to maintain invasion there logistically, any war will cost far more than potential gains.

On second hand Austrian acquisitions were direct part of the empire (incase of northern Serbia and Bosnia) and are a lot more easy to invade with a lot more valuable gains then in any war against Russia ( in which victory isn't guaranteed).

Otherwise opposed to otl Russian policy that was focused on nation building in the Balkans, Austrian policy is more of expansionist nature, i can see series of wars for what was considered Belgrade pashaluk, Bosnia and parts of Valachia , with Austria more or less ultimately coming on top down the line, i generally expect same performance as Russia, but worse as Austria was lesser force, though with tangible gain's as i believe Austria would more or less pursue limited goals in any war against the Ottoman's.

Regarding future Russian Ottoman policy, i can see it turning to something similar to it's PLC policy, using Ottomans as a buffer state and expanded sphere of influence in middle east occasionally advocating for rights of it's Orthodox citizens (to appease internal demands), but nothing like championing national autonomy.
 
The discussion on an AH-Ottoman war got me thinking about Russia and the Caucasus. Would it be possible for Russia to interfere in such a war to limit Austria’s gains (in an Austrian victory scenario)? Or possibly in conjunction with the current Poland situation, to demand Austria take no gains vs. the ottomans but take a larger piece of Poland. Russia could then be compensated by a grateful Ottomans with a piece of the Caucasus. This achieves some Russian expansion in the Caucasus while also maintaining Russian-ottoman trade.
 
The discussion on an AH-Ottoman war got me thinking about Russia and the Caucasus. Would it be possible for Russia to interfere in such a war to limit Austria’s gains (in an Austrian victory scenario)? Or possibly in conjunction with the current Poland situation, to demand Austria take no gains vs. the ottomans but take a larger piece of Poland. Russia could then be compensated by a grateful Ottomans with a piece of the Caucasus. This achieves some Russian expansion in the Caucasus while also maintaining Russian-ottoman trade.

There's no Ottoman territories in the Caucasus that Russia should be interested in, there are Chechen and Carrcasian tribes , but once again Ottomans don't really control those directly. Also as of now Ottomans are still to strong to ceede territories for help .

Austrians on other hand probably won't accept such a deal and even if they do it would be a dead letter on a paper, so making concessions in Poland isn't worth it.

Now regarding Caucasus, @alexmilman did ask about potential Russo - Ottoman war, personally conflict over Caucasus as Russia moves towards Baku would be possible (in far of future).

Regarding Russian intervention in Austro - Ottoman wars, those are to far of as Austria is still to tired from seven years war to pursue to big gains and like in otl it would also have Prussia to worry about (they pretty much threatened Austria with invasion in war of 1788/91) , so Austria won't get to ambitious.

Regarding trade rights, Russia won those in war and if there are problems it can win them again, plus more. Ottomans otherwise won't break any treaty on their own.
 
Not quite at war and a danger of being a backstabber
138. Not quite at war and a danger of being a backstabber

While you’re busy stabbing my back, you can kiss my ass too”
“Dear two-faced friend, I can’t seem to decide which face of yours to slap first.”

Unknown authors
“This little doggie should be really brave if it is barking at an elephant.”
Krylov “Elephant and a little doggie”
I don't agree with mathematics; the sum total of zeros is a frightening figure.”
Never saw off the branch you are on, unless you are being hanged from it.”
Stanislaw Jerzy Lec


1771.
Moscow and Stockholm.

After finding out that both of them received “a Christmas gift” from the Confedracy, Peter and Charles came to the conclusion that there is no need for a further diplomatic coverup of what they had been planning for a while. Confederacy is now not just a rebel against the legitimate monarch (which was, so far, considered to be the PLC domestic problem) but also an aggressor against Russia and Sweden and a plotter trying to create an international anti-Russian (and by default anti-Swedish as well ) coalition: Dumouriez was openly raising the volunteers in Germany on behalf of the Confederacy so what other proof one needed?

Conference in Riga was abruptly closed and joined memorandum on the subject had been issued and distributed to the European courts. Not unexpectedly, it was received with a sympathy in Britain: not only the British government and public were not sympathetic to the Catholic cause but why to miss an opportunity to deliver a humiliation to the Versailles (at no cost to Britain)?

Reaction in Berlin and Vienna was muted: both Frederick and Maria Theresa still expected to win greater concessions by procrastination. One of the reasons for this position was that the last Russian and Swedish appearance on the European battlefields was during the WoPS, which was by now something of an ancient history and the Russian victories in Asia were saying little about its real military strength. So there was a chance that the Russian-Swedish involvement in the Polish civil war ends up in a prolonged mess that will provide Austria and Prussia with a good political leverage for receiving the big territorial gains without any effort. The court in Vienna considered an option, if the circumstances are right and the Russian performance is really bad, to interfere on the Confederacy side eliminating whatever influence Russia had in the PLC and substituting it with the Austrian. Well, and of course, to get an ample territorial compensation. Maria Theresa and Kaunitz considered this a good political schema with a conveniently open choice of whom Austria is going to stab in the back.

Constantinople
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The Ottomans graciously sent information regarding Confederacy’s diplomatic activities at the Sultan’s court and expressed a willingness to send its detained representatives to Moscow: after all, they did not represent any legitimate government and could not claim any kind of immunity. The proposal was duly appreciated but declined: Moscow had no use for these silly people. However, the Ottomans were offered a tangible token of the Russian gratitude which it gladly accepted.

While Mustafa III was reluctant to start a rather meaningless war with Russia (even due to a pure logistics reconquest of the Crimea was not realistic and, anyway, restoration of the Khanate did not look wise politically), regaining territories on the Balkans lot in the war of 1716-19 was a different issue. Russian gift of 60 modern cannons was duly appreciated both for its face value and as a confirmation of the assurance that in the case of war with Austria Russia will remain friendly neutral (and that the food supplies to Constantinople would not be harmed).

With these assurances, the Sublime Porte declared a war on the Hapsburgs.

Vienna.
Seemingly brilliant backstabbing plan went to pieces when a potential backstabber was stabbed in the back. Now there was a need to move army in a wrong direction and, to start with, to find a commander.
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The most capable of the Austrian commanders, Ernst Gideon Freiherr von Laudon, who was still only Feldzeugmeister, had been kept in a rather decorative position of commander-in-chief in Bohemia and Moravia and openly disliked by Emperor Joseph II who was intimate with his rival Franz Moritz Graf von Lacy who after the 7YW was made a field marshal, and given the task of reforming and administering the army (1766). He framed new regulations for each arm, a new code of military law, a good supply system. As the result of his work the Austrian army was more numerous, far better equipped, and cheaper than it had ever been before.
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So, by all intents and purposes, Lacy was a man of choice both by its higher rank and by the Emperor’s trust. However, with all his undeniably good qualities, his appointment meant implied a serious problem which neither Joseph nor his mother could recognize. He was a proponent (and one of creators) of cordon strategy or cordon system, the even deployment of troops along an entire front to cover the borders of a state and to conduct mainly defensive operations. The strategy had serious defects: the need to disperseforces over a wide front, which facilitated an enemy breakthrough; difficulties of troop maneuver andcommand; and the absence of unit and strategic reserves. His cautiousness was of such a degree that his capacity for supreme command was doubted even by over-cautious Daun, who refused to give him the command when he himself was wounded at Torgau. These trifles, and his seriously deteriorating health, had been overlooked (or ignored) and he got a command in the coming war.

The Austrian-Ottoman War of 1771-72 was conducted exclusively on the Balkan theater and was quite unfortunate to the Austrians because the Ottomans had been able to keep defeating their thinly spread forces piecemeal while advancing toward Belgrade. The final blow came at he Battle of Grocka, near Belgrade where 40,000 Austrian troops led by Count Wilhelm Reinhard von Neipperg encountered the Ottoman army of 80,000.
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The Imperial cavalry consisting of the Pállfy and Savoy regiments encountered the Turkish army and attacked without waiting for the infantry. The Ottoman forces were better prepared and, outnumbering their opponent, could fire on the Habsburgs from higher hidden positions. The Habsburg cavalry was then cut off and only the Savoy Regiment was able to break out. When the Habsburg infantry arrived, the battle raged on until nightfall, when the Habsburgs decided to retreat to Vinča and then withdrew further to Belgrade.
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With the lack of any reserves, Lacy could do little to repair the situation.
The Ottoman Army advanced and laid siege to Belgrade, until in 1772 the Habsburgs signed the Treaty of Belgrade.
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By this treaty the Habsburgs ceded the Kingdom of Serbia with Belgrade, the southern part of the Banat of Temeswar and northern Bosnia to the Ottomans, and the Banat of Craiova (Oltenia), gained by the Treaty of Passarowitz in 1718, to Wallachia (an Ottoman subject), and set the demarcation line to the rivers Sava and Danube.
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Moscow and Stockholm
It was decided between Peter and Charles that the silly mess in the PLC does not warrant an engagement on a scale of a real war. Neither doesn’t it warrant assignment of the top ranking military figures as the campaign commanders because this would give the Confederates and their foreign supporters unnecessary credit and self-esteem.

By the agreed upon plan the main goal of the Swedish operations is going to be a capture of Danzig, both to cut off a potential French support by the sea and to prevent it from falling into the hands of “Dear uncle/brother in law” Fritz. Sweden will allocate necessary contingents and Russia will provide a naval squadron for the joined operations with the Swedish navy.

For dealing with the Confederacy Russia was allocating a seemingly meager force of 10 infantry regiments, 2,500 carabiners (dragoons), 1,000 hussars and 1,650 Cossacks. Slightly over 20,000 [1].




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[1] In OTL approximately 10,000.
 

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The discussion on an AH-Ottoman war got me thinking about Russia and the Caucasus. Would it be possible for Russia to interfere in such a war to limit Austria’s gains (in an Austrian victory scenario)? Or possibly in conjunction with the current Poland situation, to demand Austria take no gains vs. the ottomans but take a larger piece of Poland. Russia could then be compensated by a grateful Ottomans with a piece of the Caucasus. This achieves some Russian expansion in the Caucasus while also maintaining Russian-ottoman trade.
Too late: the war already started and ended with the Austrian defeat.

Why would Russia at that time need a piece of the Caucasus out of those controlled by the Ottomans is anybody’s guess. As for the territories over which the Ottomans claimed overlordship, their population tended to be unaware of the fact that they are actually the Ottoman vassals. The OTL result of getting Ottoman concession on one of these territories, Kabarda, was a bloody war which ended only during the reign of AII and involved a genocide. A little bit too expensive just for providing the Kuban Cossacks with the extra land.
 
Reaction in Berlin and Vienna was muted: both Frederick and Maria Theresa still expected to win greater concessions by procrastination.

Well both will weary soon learn the meaning of "early 🕊️ gets the 🐛" . Due to Russia and Sweden having legitimate excuse to force their view it's safe to say that territorial dispute between Sweden and Prussia will go Sweden's way.

On second hand Austria just got caught with their pants down, not only are they in war with the Ottoman's and have lost, but they are caught housing Bar Confederacy at the bad time. I expect that they'll at least be forced to acknowledge Russian Imperial title.

Not speaking about potential Russo/Swedish influence in rump Poland.
 
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Well both will weary soon learn the meaning of "early 🕊️ gets the 🐛" . Due to Russia and Sweden having legitimate excuse to force their view it's safe to say that territorial dispute between Sweden and Prussia will go Sweden's way.

-No Danzig, brother Fritz!
- Hands off Danzig, Uncle Fritz!
😉
On second hand Austria just got caught with their pants down, not only are they in war with the Ottoman's and have lost, but they are caught housing Bar Confederacy at the bad time. I expect that they'll at least be forced to acknowledge Russian Imperial title.

Especially, if getting a smaller than expected but significant part of the PLC is subject to such a recognition,

Not speaking about potential Russo/Swedish influence in rump Poland.

After the initial Prussian and Austrian plans are made public, Peter and Charles start looking as the good guys and perhaps even saviors…
 
After the initial Prussian and Austrian plans are made public, Peter and Charles start looking as the good guys and perhaps even saviors…

Given that "pro Russian" King is on throne i expect that he will do his best to shift the blame on side supporting his opponents.

I'm generally assuming that Austria will be seen as Great evil here.
 
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Given that "pro Russian" King is on throne i expect that he will do his best to shift the blame on side supporting his opponents.

I'm generally assume that Austria will be seen as Great evil here.
Yes. First inciting and then leaving… Plus, trying to get a big chunk of the truly Polish territories….
 
Little silly war
139. Little silly war
Beat the enemy, sparing neither him nor yourself, the one who feels less sorry for himself wins.”
“Who is good for the first role, not suitable for the second”
“Those who are scared are already half defeated.”
“Never despise the enemy, whatever he is. Try to know his weapons and how they act and fight; know what he is strong in and what he is weak in.”

Suvorov​

In Berlin Frederick II, never reluctant to express his opinion, told Russian ambassador that to deal with the Bar Confederacy Russia has to have in Poland and Lithuania at least 90,000 troops plus to keep a special corps oof 30 - 40,000 on the border. [1]

In Moscow his advice was ignored. Chairmen of the military department of the State Council, Fieldmarshal Rumyantsev [2] expressed an opinion that a big deployment is not going to be needed against the ill-organized partisan bands if the operations are being conducted energetically. Victory by the mass deployment, unlike victory by a small force, would not add to the Russian military reputation. Besides, this would be a good training opportunity (and a chance for promotion) for the younger generation of the Russian commander. Minister of War concurred and assured that he’ll assign to the task the mid-rank officers well suitable for the task. Emperor Peter made his choice of a military leader of the future campaign, lieutenant-general Alexander Bibikov, a knowledgeable officer with a good administrative and military record.
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Just to avoid unnecessary illusions in Berlin and Vienna regarding a general size and might of the Russian army, some very massive military review should be held either in Moscow or (depending upon the general situation) somewhere closer to border with the ambassadors of Prussia and Austria being present).

In Poland. Strictly speaking, majority of the population in Poland and Lithuania remained rather indifferent to the uprising: the main classes involved were clergy and nobility. However, the lower classes had no option but to cooperate with the armed szlachta: even the powerful magnates are now were bending to its demands. The bands of confederates roamed all over the country, confiscating the government’s money and looting the friend and foe. This ability to loot with impunity unsurprisingly was attracting to the “cause” some members of the lower classes as well. Confederates did not have a supreme commander and were reluctant to obey any discipline but they were “historically experienced” in a guerrilla war. Their strength was in the fast movements and attack on the small parties and baggage trains thus exhausting the enemy.

On the first stage of the operation the Russian troops were ill-prepared to this type of a war. Russian ambassador, Repnin, wrote: “our troops are chasing this wind but can’t catch it.” The first successes, including taking of Bar and defeat of Pulasski, just resulted in appearance of the new bands elsewhere. Frederick was already talking about a need of 120,000 in Poland and 50,000 in Lithuania [3]. There was a need in a comprehensive plan.

On January 5 1771 Bibikov arrived to Warsaw. His instruction was simple: under guidance of the ambassador, Prince Repnin, act against the confederates according to the circumstances. During the following operation there were no further attempts of interfering in his operations.

As far as Repnin saw the general situation, the confederates are going to try capturing Warsaw, with the king in it, force him to join them with the crown troops and declare a general confederacy (if capture succeed, then declaration regarding dethronement can be ignored in a view of his usefulness as a figurehead). Based on this assumption, Repnin and Bibikov decided: (1) concentrate most of the troops in a Greater Poland leaving a smaller corps in Lithuania [4] , (2) the Lithuanian corps under command of general Nummers has a complete freedom of actions but its main task will be to maintain communication with the Polish corps via Vilno and Grodno, (3) In Greater Poland keep the main detachment in Warsaw and with the rest of the force occupy the strategically important places in such a way that they could be easily concentrated in Warsaw. (4) The Greater Poland has to be divided into the sectors and to each of them certain amount of troops is going to be assigned based upon its significance. (5) In each of these sectors to hold the important places with the minimal forces and use the rest as a mobile reserve for acting against the partisans in partisan-like manner, aka, by the fast moving columns, surprise attacks, etc. (6) there must be a general mobile reserve for acting n the whole Poland on the order of commander-in-chief.

To securely isolate the confederates from the South (Austrians), a separate corps of 8,500 had been moved into Volyn and Podolia. Its operations were organized based on the same principle as of the “Polish corps”.

Here comes the “strategic factor” (😉). Vanguard of the Lithuanian Corps (Suzdalsky regiment, cuirassiers squadron and dragoons squadron) had been under command of brigadier Suvorov. Brigadier was short, fragile, quarrelsome and very ambitious [5]. So far, his service was rather unremarkable and this was his first serious chance to demonstrate that he is also a great military leader so he was ready to jump to the first opportunity opportunity, which soon presented itself.
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[Side note. Portrait above is a real official portrait of Suvorov at the age of 52 by Dmitry Levitsky. In 1786, Levitsky received an order for a series of portraits of the Knights of the Order of St. Vladimir, established by Catherine II in 1782. The “everybody knows” appearance has as its source portrait by Saxon painter Johann Heinrich Schmidt made in 1800 in Prague when Suvorov was almost 80 years old. It was from this portrait that many lists were made, the authors of which often rejuvenated Suvorov and almost always "changed" him from an Austrian uniform to a Russian one, at the same time changing the collection of numerous awards.
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Needless to say that both portraits most probably did some “improvements” of the original as was a contemporary habit. On a medal minted be the order of CII in his honor his nose looks much less classic. Well, the painters managed to paint Paul I with almost “classic” nose. ]

Vanguard of Nummers’ corps marched on Minsk and entered the city on July 29 after which Suvorov got an order to load his infantry on the confiscated carts and move “by the straight road via Grodno to Warsaw” leaving the baggage train in Minsk.

The rest of Nummers’ corps remained in Lithuania where population was relatively indifferent to the confederate cause and where 5,000-6,000 of the crown Lithuanian troops had been stationed.

Suvorov started his independent military career with ignoring the order and, instead of Minsk-Grodno-Warsaw, marched by the route Brest-Warsaw. On August 22 he was in Praga covering 550 versts in 24-25 marches. Route through Brest allowed him to get familiar with the future theater of operations and to find a new direction of the raids overlooked by Repnin. However, after doing few scouting parties, on August 29 he, with 2 infantry battalions, cavalry squadron, 50 Cossacks and 2 cannons, was marching back to Brest-Litovsk to help Nummers against whom, and with a purpose to start uprising in Lithuania, was riding Pulasski. Upon arrival, he found that the confederates already left the city and to Russian detachments of colonels von Rönne and von Drewitz (1,500 and 2,000) are following them. Considering it necessary to keep Brest in the form of a stronghold, he left part of his forces there for protection, himself - with a company of grenades of the Suzdal Infantry Regiment, 36 dragoons of the Vladimir Dragoon Regiment, 50 Cossacks and 2 field guns - came from Brest to the south and walked all night. At dawn on September 1 (11), he met von Rönne's patrol - 50 Carabiniers and 30 Cossacks under the command of Captain Count Castelli - and attached it to his detachment. Now he had 320 under his command. Having again made a 35-back night march, Suvorov on September 2 at about noon caught up with the Confederates, totalling about 2 thousand with 2 guns, under the command of Puławsky, Arzhevsky, Malchevsky, near the village of Orekhovo. The Confederates took position four versts from Orekhov in the Krivno tract - on a small glade surrounded by swamps.

Approaching the swamp over which 4 (according to other sources - 3) bridges were thrown, the grenadiers rushed to the bridges, and the jagers, turning right and left, opened rifle fire. After crossing the swamp the grenadiers took position with a rear protected by the forest and the jagers, spreaded on the flanks, opened the fire. Carabiners and dragoons crossed the swamp after the infantry and the Cossacks had been left behind the swamp to protect the rear. Suvorov, at the head of 36 dragoons, attacked the enemy battery, while the Carabiniers simultaneously attacked the confederate cavalry protecting the guns. The Confederates, afraid of losing their guns, removed them from the position, took them behind the line and then attacked the grenadier from the front. Suvorov's infantry met the Poles with heavy fire and threw them away. The repulsed squadrons were replaced, however, with new ones, the attack resumed, but again failed. The Confederates attacked four times and every time with fresh squadrons, but all four times unsuccessfully, because they were repulsed by detachments of grenadiers, jagers, carabinieriers and dragoons. The Poles suffered great damage, because in addition to well-directed rifle fire, each of their attacks was met with buckshot, and the repulsed squadrons pursued by the Carabiniers chopping the fleeing.

The evening was coming and Suvorov decided to finish the enemy off. On his order Russian artillery used grenades to put Orekhovo village on fire. The Poles were already dispirited by the failure of the attacks they had just made, but now their confusion has been increased by the view of the village burning in the rear. Suvorov used this moment for a general bayonet attack. Russian infantry with the bayonets and carabinires with the swords charged and the Poles fled through the burning village being chased for the next 3 versts.

The Russians lost 5 killed and 11 wounded, the Poles few hundreds. The next day they had been met by the Kargopol Carabiners Regiment of von Roenne at Łomazy (Vlodawa). As a result of a short battle, the confederate column was completely defeated and scattered, suffering heavy losses (500 killed and 130 prisoners). All guns and baggage train were captured by Kargopol Regiment. Roenne was awarded St. George III class.

For the battle at Orekhov Suvorov was promoted into major-general. Needless to say that, being true to himself, Suvorov wrote a very uncomplimentary letter to Bibikov about von Roenne (who was not his subordinate) and his regiment:
With Rennes, we will reach the worst; he is a ill-famous, trouble-maker, dissolute, lousy soul and, frankly, the master of acquiring what is not his. Except for rudeness, he did not fix anything else here, but except for the above, he is unlikely to be capable of anything. A thick pocket covers everything... The grievances he caused overcome my patience; he is a very bad example for others...I don't mind that I get another regiment on schedule instead of Kargopolsky; not only because of his actions, but also because with this regiment you will get into trouble, and I already have a headache from looking back.”
It worth noticing that Suvorov had been highly praised behavior of that regiment during the campaign, was complimentary of some of its officers and picked himself and orderly out of that regiment after it was transferred into his command. 😉

Even earlier, pretty much the same schema had been used in a battle os Zawadi (Warsaw area) by colonel Prince Golitsyn. He had 4 infantry companies (less than 500), 60 jagers, 2 squadrons of carabiners (150), 200 cossacks and 4 guns against the “party” of Malchevski and Makranowski which included 3,500 cavalry, 500 infantry, 400 from other partisan parties and 8 guns. Leaving one company behind as a garrison he advanced with the rest. While the vanguards on both sides had been engaged, the main Polish force was absolutely unprepared for the battle. The Polish vanguard was separated from the main force by a swamp and river and, as soon as the main Russian force arrived and attacked from the march, it was almost completely exterminated. After which Golitsyn immediately launched attack against the main Polish force by infantry and artillery at the front (“advance directly at the enemy and charge with a bayonet”) with the jagers and cavalry covering his left flank against possible Polish counter-attack. 2 squadrons and the Cossacks formed the reserve.

Polish cavalry charge was easily repulsed, Polish infantry was broken, most across the river taken, artillery lost and cavalry which did not manage to extricate itself was destroyed with many drowning in a river. The Polish loss was 400 killed, 600 captured and all 8 guns taken.

The encounter demonstrated that “Suvorov’s methods” were anything but unique in the Russian army. However, he got enough of the name recognition to get assigned his own “Lublin district” that was considered the most important part of the Repnin-Bibikov schema.
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By his own definition, defense of the Lublin district was organized “as spider’s net” with Lublin as a center with the natural obstacles used as the ends of the “securing lines” going from Lublin and allowing to secure the river crossings for the future raids. The securing posts were in 50-80 versts from Lublin and observation posts 50-80 verst from the securing posts. Very small size of his contingent forced to compensate a complete impossibility to assign any significant numbers to the forward posts with a high level of a battle readiness and fortification of the positions and encouragement of a local initiative. The commanders were permitted to attack 4 or 5 times greater numbers “but with a reason, skill and sense of responsibility”.

Soon enough he was going to get a chance to act against a really worthy opponent, general Dumouriez.

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[1] Masloskiy “Notes on history of the Russian warfare” (“Записки по истории военного искусства в России”)
[2] Munnich died in 1767
[3] In OTL, this was an attempt to figure out a real strength of the Russian army in Poland. The Prussian ambassador in Russia confessed to Frederick that he could not collect an adequate information on this subject. To accomplish the task he proposed to assign the Prussian officers “volunteers” to the Russian army but proposal was politely declined. Finally, he got the data and Frederick did not believe them: “how can one hope to keep order in Poland with such a handful of troops
[4] This corps included 3 infantry regiments (Novgorodsky, Suzdalsky and Smolensky), 2 cuirassier and 2 dragoon regiments.
[5] Looks like a pattern…
 
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