Suvorov, Aleksandr Vasilyevich

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Suvorov, Aleksandr Vasilyevich

Aleksandr Vasilyevich Suvorov (əlyĬksän´ dər vəsē´lyəvĬch sōōvô´rəf), 1729–1800, Russian field marshal. Suvorov entered the army as a youth and rose rapidly through the ranks. He fought in the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–74, helped suppress the peasant rebellion led by Pugachev in 1775, and was created count for his victories in the Russo-Turkish War of 1787–92, notably at Focsani, Rimnik, and at Izmayil in Bessarabia. In 1794, Suvorov commanded the Russian army that suppressed the Polish revolt after the second partition of Poland by Russia and Prussia. In a swift campaign, culminating in the battle of Praga and the capture of Warsaw, he crushed Polish resistance. Suvorov's reputation reached its peak in the French Revolutionary Wars of 1798–99, in which he commanded Austro-Russian forces against the armies of the French Republic. Sent to oust the French from Italy, he defeated them at Cassano, took Milan and Turin, and routed the French on the Trebbia and at Novi. Having driven the French out of N Italy, Suvorov planned to march on Paris, but instead was ordered to Switzerland over the St. Gotthard Pass to join the forces of General Korsakov and Austrian Archduke Charles and to drive the French out of Switzerland. Before Suvorov could join Korsakov, Archduke Charles and his Austrian forces had been ordered back to the Rhine. Korsakov's troops, greatly outnumbered, were defeated by the French commander Masséna at Zürich (Sept., 1799). Suvorov was still struggling through the almost impassable Alpine mountain paths when news of Korsakov's disaster reached him. Harassed by the French, he succeeded in leading his half-starved and ragged troops to Lindau. He refused to participate in further action with the Austrians, and shortly afterward Russia withdrew from the war. For his exploits in Italy he was created Prince Italiski. Idolized by his men, Suvorov demanded discipline and sacrifice, but his willingness to let his soldiers plunder conquered territory gave Russian troops a bad reputation throughout Europe. One of the great generals of modern times, Suvorov was never defeated in battle; he ascribed his success to the principle of "intuition, rapidity, impact."

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