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"Borodino Russian Cavalry Confusion" Topic

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Timbo W04 Oct 2010 1:22 p.m. PST

Evening all, it seems that 1812 is flavour of the moment here, good stuff!

Anyway, I have a question on the order of battle of the Russian cavalry at Borodino. Various online and printed OBs seem to give different organisations and regiments.

Specifically I was looking at the Nafziger OB PDF link and found it didn't tally with some online ones eg Alexander Mikaberidze's link and Jonathan Gingerich's link

1- Nafziger has Chevitz's Bde of Depreradovitch's 1st Cavalry Div as the Chevalier Guard and the Lifeguard Dragoons, whereas others have the Bde as Chevalier Guard and Life Guard Cuirassier Rgts.

2- Nafziger gives Kreutz's 3rd Cav Corps as the Siberian Uhlans, Alexandria Hussars and Smolensk Dragoons. The other OBs don't include these regiments, and Korf as temporary commander owing to Pahlen's illness.

Now I'm guessing that the Nafziger OB might have been made before some of the Russia records were readily available. Is this the case?

PS usual apologies for dodgy Anglicization!

vaughan Inactive Member04 Oct 2010 1:42 p.m. PST

According to Haythornthwaite the Chevalier guard and guard cuirassiers were in the 1st brigade, 1st cuirassier division to which the lifeguard dragoons were attached (from 1st brig. 1st cavalry div).
He gives 3rd cavalry corp the same as Nafziger.

Graf Bretlach Inactive Member04 Oct 2010 3:24 p.m. PST

Alexander Mikaberidze – The battle of Borodino, Pen & Sword 2007 well worth purchasing, very knowledgeable author on the Russians, if in doubt go with Alexander.

Jonathon Gingerich also seems very good on this

Nafziger maybe stronger on the French, also the older information of the three.

We also have our own TMPer Justonemore who seems very fluent on anything Russian.

Steven H. Smith (alas no longer on TMP) just seems to pull out the smallest details on the Russian army at this time, see his posts/archives on the NSF (Napoleon series)

seneffe04 Oct 2010 3:52 p.m. PST

Of the two OBs I would go with Gingerich every time. I think the Nafziger OB is incorrect in both respects here. They are exactly the same errors as in Christopher Duffy's much earlier 'Borodino 1812' Russian OB.

The actual brigading of the 1st Cuirassier Division at Borodino was-

1st Brigade:
Chevalier Guards, Horse Guards (both Duffy and Nafziger OBs ignore the whole existence of the latter unit- famous though it was)

2nd Brigade
Emperor's, Empress', Astrahkan Cuirassiers (all line units)

At the time of Borodino, no regiment officially titled the 'Lifeguard Cuirassier Regiment' existed- although the Chevalier and Horse Guards were sometimes unofficially collectively referred as Lifeguard Cuirassiers- because they were in the Lifeguard and were equipped as Cuirassiers!

The 'Lifeguard Cuirassier Regiment' proper only came into being in 1813- it was the result of the 'promotion' of the 'Emperor's Cuirassier Regiment' (a senior line unit in 1812- see above 2nd Brigade) into the Lifeguard- partly because of its performance at Borodino. I think its full formal title was 'The Emperor's Lifeguard Cuirassier Regiment'. Same troops, new saddlecloths.

The inclusion of the Guard Dragoons with the Cuirassiers at Borodino is also wrong. They remained part of Uvarov's 1st Cavalry Corps, and operated on the far flank with the rest of that corps on the day.

The Duffy/Nafziger 3rd Cavalry Corps OB is fantasy- all those units were serving in different theatres aganist the French- not even at Borodino!

Korff was formally in charge of both the 3rd (vice Pahlen) and his own 2nd Cavalry Corps. Christian Kreitz (not Kreutz) was only a brigade commander in 3rd Cavalry Corps but from accounts of the battle, he seems to have done most of the active leading in the 3rd Corps area- Korff presumably having his hands full. I tend to regard Kreitz as the de facto most senior officer.

Depreradovich was also sick at Borodino, I think the commander of the 1st Brigade Borosdin II stepped up to lead the whole Division.

There are a few simplifications for clarity in the above for which I hope experts will indulge me. Hope that helps.

Earnestly recommend the book by Alexander Mikaberidze, and also the one by Digby Smith for accounts of the battle.

Timbo W04 Oct 2010 4:49 p.m. PST

Hi all,

excellent! Especially seneffe.

I guess this tends to point to Duffy/ Nafziger/ Haythornthwaite using the information easily available in the West at the time, but that better documentation has emerged from Russia (or at least been translated!) since the 90s. There was something odd about the 'old' OB that seemed weird and illogical to me anyway.

The poor old Horse Guards (not Lifeguards – I'm learning slowly) seem to be left out of all sorts of 70s-80s publications. Understood on the Emperor's and Empress's, I've been painting them on and off for the last few years – one day they will be finished (maybe by the 200th anniversary)!!

Indeed, the 3rd Corps thing was really confusing me as Digby Smith puts the Alexandria Hussars with Tormassov's army (by the way I much enjoyed his 'Napoleon against Russia'). How on earth three whole cavalry regiments turned up randomly in the old OBs I don't know – perhaps confusion regarding the command structure of the cavalry, what with Pahlen being unwell.

Indeed Alexander has a very good reputation on TMP, one for my shopping list I rather think, also looking forward to his new book covering the smaller 1812 engagements. I think he posts here occasionally as well.

I'm hoping Chu…er justonemore might pronounce on this as well, then I'll be doubly happy ;-).

DELETEDNAME3 Inactive Member04 Oct 2010 7:32 p.m. PST

Our "seneffe" beat me to it. He is spot on as far as I know.

And indeed I think we can rely on the Gingerich I have never found him wrong yet.

I believe that Mr. Gingerich had the help of the lamentably absent Mr. Steven H. Smith what a loss to us all! he is really the most knowledgable Napoleonic researcher I have ever known!
Poor Chuvak and Frayer locked accounts also.
And then we also managed to drive away one of the nicest men I have ever known "un ami". He once flew to Ufa (find that one on a map if you can!) just to get a few copies of an obscure detailed monograph on Bashkir cavalry from a professor at the University there. Then he had them all delivered to his friends and fellow gamers.

Well, we still have seneffe, sergeis and nvrsaynvr until they get turfed out, I suppose. Dr. Mikaberidze and the esteemed Robert Goetz also participate occasionally.

One more minor point "Sibirskiy dragunskiy polk" at this time (uhlans only in December).

The spelling and anglicizing is always inconsistent (except with Mr. Steven H. Smith) and a problem no one need apologize. Seneffe us gave the correct spelling for the colonel graf "Kreitz" as if he were indeed German. I might have done something like "Kreyts", since he was born in the land of the former Polish-Litwa Commonwealth near Minsk.

Maybe it is actually easier to just learn Russian.

Крейц Киприан Антонович полковник (с 16.12.1812 генерал-майор) барон
17.02.180808.03.1810 командир Сумского гусарского полка
08.03.181001.09.1814 шеф Сибирского драгунского (уланского) полка
http ://Крейц,_Киприан_Антонович

Timbo W05 Oct 2010 11:03 a.m. PST

I'm now officially doubly happy ;-)

Though sad to hear of all who have fallen to the slings and arrows of TMP-estuous fortune.

Siberian dragoons not uhlans of course that should have been another giveaway as they appear as dragoons elsewhere -doh!

Many thanks for the explanations and links all, at least sometimes TMP works out well!

PS I may not be able to find Ufa on a map but at least they had an infantry Rgt at Borodino ;-)

Rustveli Inactive Member07 Oct 2010 6:19 p.m. PST

Hi Timbo,

I just saw your message but Seneffe has provided your an exhaustive response so I do not have anything to add it.

I want to thank everyone for their kind comments on my books and I hope my forthcoming works would not disappoint you either.

With best wishes,
Alexander Mikaberidze

Timbo W08 Oct 2010 12:00 p.m. PST

Many thanks Alexander,

Now triply happy :-)

julianmizzi23 Oct 2010 6:33 p.m. PST

Whohooo Alexander . Are we allowed any tidbits on what is forthcoming ? :)

Timbo W24 Oct 2010 11:22 a.m. PST

I think its the 1812 atlas – see Alexander's blog here – link

julianmizzi25 Oct 2010 12:49 a.m. PST

wow looks very interesting – cant wait for it to be published

Rustveli Inactive Member29 Oct 2010 7:14 a.m. PST

Hi Julian,

As Timbo mentioned, the 1812 Atlas is in works and should be our in June-July 2011. I am also writing the third installment of my 1812 series and it will deal with the events in Moscow and Tarutino/Vinkovo. And you may even come across my anthology of Russian memoirs/diaries by the next Christmas :)

Best wishes,

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