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Crimean Campaigns

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Subject: Crimean Khanate, Expansion of Russia 1500–1800
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Crimean Campaigns

Crimean campaigns (1687-1689)
Part of Russo-Turkish Wars
Date 1687-1689
Location Chyhyryn, Russian Empire
Result 1st campaign:Russian defeat
2nd campaign:Russian defeat[1]
 Ottoman Empire Russia Tsardom of Russia
Commanders and leaders
Ottoman Empire Suleiman II
Autonomous Republic Crimea Petro Doroshenko
Autonomous Republic Crimea Yuri Khmelnitsky
1st campaign
Russia Prince Vasily Golitsyn
Russia Ivan Samoilovich
Russia Grigory Romodanovsky
2nd campaign
Russia Field Marshal Vasily Golitsyn[2]
Russia V.D. Dolgorukii
Russia M.G. Romodanovskii[3]
14,000 (initially) 1st campaign
2nd campaign
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown

The Crimean campaigns of 1687 and 1689 (Russian: Крымские походы, Krymskiye pokhody) were two military campaigns of the Russian army against the Crimean Khanate. They were a part of the Russo-Turkish War (1686–1700) and Russo-Crimean Wars. These were the first Russian forces to come close to Crimea since 1569. They failed due to poor planning and leadership and the practical problem or moving such a large force across the steppe.

Having signed the Eternal Peace Treaty with Poland in 1686, Russia became a member of the anti-Turkish coalition ("Holy League" — Austria, Venice and Poland), which was pushing the Turks south after their failure at Vienna in 1683 (the major result of this war was the liberation of most of Hungary from Turkish rule). Russia's role in 1687 was to send a force south to Perekop to bottle up the Crimeans inside their peninsula.

First campaign

On 2 May, 1687, a Russian army of about 132,000 soldiers, led by knyaz Vasily Golitsyn, left Okhtyrka on the Belgorod Line. On 30 May they were joined by 50,000 Left Bank Cossacks under hetman Ivan Samoilovich at the mouth of the Samora River where the Dnieper turns south. In the heat of summer, 180,000 men, 20,000 wagons and 100,000 horses set out down the east bank of the Dnieper. The huge force, which started too late and was perhaps not well organized, could only travel about 10km per day. When the Russians reached the Konskiye Vody river on the west-flowing part of the Dnieper, they found that the Tatars has set fire to the steppe(they had planned to use steppe grass to feed their horses). After a few days of marching over burnt land, their horses were exhausted, they were short of water and 130 miles from their goal at Perekop, however Golitsyn built a fortress at Novobogoroditskoe at the junction of the Dnieper and the Samara.[4] On 17 June they decided to turn back. (Ivan Samoilovich was made a scapegoat and replaced by Ivan Mazepa.)

Second campaign

In February 1689, 112,000 Muscovite troops[5] and 350 guns set out. On 20 April they were joined at Novobogoroditskoye by 30-40,000 Cossacks under Mazepa. They followed the 1687 route, but marched in six separate columns and made much better time. By 3 May they were at the point where the 1687 expedition had turned back. On 15 and 16 May they were attacked by Crimean Tatars near Zelenaya Dolina and Chernaya Dolina. The Crimeans did fairly well but were driven back by the Russian's tabor defense and artillery.[6] On 20 May they reached the isthmus of Perekop. Golitsyn was dismayed to find that all the grass in the area had been trampled down and that there was no source of drinking water north of the peninsula, thereby making a long siege or blockade impossible.[7] Further on, the Tatars had dug a 7km ditch which made moving the artillery forward, impossible. The next day, Golitsyn ordered his army to turn back.

The Crimean campaigns of 1687 and 1689 diverted some of the Ottoman and Crimean forces in favor of Russia's allies. However, the Russian army didn't reach the goal of stabilizing Russia's southern borders. The unsuccessful outcome of these campaigns was one of the reasons the government of Sophia Alekseyevna collapsed.[8]



Brian L Davies, Warfare, State and Society on the Black Sea Steppe 1500-1700, Routledge, 2007.

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