The role of the cold weather in Russia's military history
• The role of the cold weather in Russian military history
Since ancient times Russia was famous for the harsh climate, which has often played an important role in military history. Let us recall the three cases, when the frost has played into the hands of Russian soldiers and helped win.
1. The defeat of the Swedish Army, 1708 - 1709
According to forecasters, the winter from 1708 to 1709 was the coldest in Europe over the last five hundred years. It is at this period, long-term Northern War, which lasted twenty-one years. Arctic frost was so strong that not only killed many animals and birds, but also destroyed half of the Swedish army, while she pursued Peter I of Russia immense.
As a result of sixty thousandth army of Charles XII remained no more than thirty thousand soldiers. The rest are either frozen or starved to death. Peter I realized the superiority of forces (at the time of the king's army was twice Swedish) decided to attack first. It was a large and complex battle, known today as the Battle of Poltava. Despite a significant advantage in the number of Russian army of the Swedes were able to break through the line of defense, but still lost the battle and were forced to surrender.
However, it is worth noting that Peter I did not yet know about the upcoming fierce winter, and how to turn the course of events, not once offered to Charles XII truce, and even part of the conquered territories. Who knows what would have decided the outcome of the fight, if not for the harsh Russian cold.
2. The retreat of Napoleon, in 1812
Helped Russian frost and during the Napoleonic Wars. It is worth noting that most of the cold Frenchmen died already on his way back from Russia, though winter has played an unimportant role in the outcome of the war. Those interested in history knows that the beginning of the Battle of Borodino by almost half a million of Napoleon's army there are not more than 140 thousand soldiers - others were in the garrisons on the border.
In 1812, the cold came earlier than usual - in October. After the occupation of Moscow burnt cold and lack of food forced Napoleon to return to France. Already during the retreat of many French soldiers died of cold and hunger. Since ice is not much time to freeze, many simply collapsed under the water. It should be noted that Russian is also very badly affected by frost. However, to find shelter and food at home it is easier, therefore the army of Alexander I suffered much smaller losses.
3. World War II, winter 1941, 1942 and 1943 s
During World War II German propaganda was trying to "shove" in the Russian cold all the failures on the Eastern Front. In the USSR, on the contrary, help "General Frost" did not seem to want to notice. As if there was not, the truth lies somewhere in between. Of course, an unusually cold winter in 1941, 1942 and 1943's, helped the soldiers of the Red Army made the first successful offensive movement.
Although Germany and southern country, the Germans were simply not ready for such a harsh Russian cold. This is evidenced by numerous records and chronicles of the time. That winter, the first successful defensive operations were conducted: Moscow and Stalingrad battle, which became a turning point in the war. The fact that God was on the side of the defenders of Moscow, said the Germans themselves. So, November 7, 1941 hit terrible frost of minus 30 degrees. Russian soldiers later remembered that winter in the year, if to spite the Germans began much earlier and was particularly cold.