Peter the Great: Emperor of All Russia

By Ian Grey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
The Azov Campaigns 1695-1696

ON his return Peter plunged into plans for autumn manoeuvres, which, known as the Kozhukhovsky Campaign, were to prove the prelude to real warfare. A few months later Peter himself, writing of their labours "below Kozhukhov, in the game of Mars," commented that, while nothing of the sort had been in his mind at the time, this game had been the forerunner of his expedition against the Turkish fortress of Azov.1

The two armies marched in solemn procession through Moscow, and the townspeople lined the streets to watch them pass. The procession was not without an element of the ridiculous. The Tsar's jester led a detachment of noblemen, armed with arquebuses and bearing on their banner, not the image of a saint, but the picture of a goat. A detachment of twenty-five dwarfs formed part of Romodanovsky's army and marched boldly in front of a contingent of tall Cossacks. Each generalissimo cut a fine figure. But most staggering of all to the people of Moscow was the sight of their Tsar, marching on foot in front of the Preobrazhensky regiment as Bombardier Peter Alexeev.

The armies fought in two spirited actions, and Peter was delighted with their performance. He considered that they had shown marked skill in siege operations and that they had displayed the fighting spirit of a seasoned army. He now cast about for an opportunity to apply their experience in a serious campaign, and he found it ready at hand.

No armistice had been signed after Golitsyn's second expedition

-82-

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