The Russo-Ottoman War of 1711 was largely triggered by the Ottoman decision to give shelter to Charles XII of Sweden after his crushing defeat at Poltava during the Great Northern War, and the ever more instant Russian diplomatic attempts to get him expelled. Eventually the Ottomans declared war, but it would be Peter who went on the offensive. He decided to launch a multi-pronged invasion of the Ottoman Empire and her Tatar allies, with one army heading towards the Crimea and his main army moving into the Balkans, in an unsuccessful attempt to cross the Danube before the Ottomans could move their army that far north. This plan failed, and eventually Peter was trapped against the Pruth River by a much larger Ottoman army, besieged and forced to surrender on surprisingly generous terms.
Some aspects of this war are amazingly obscure, with the Walachian army being almost undocumented. The size of the various armies involved is also a difficult topic, but the author comes up with some convincing figures. One minor quibble is that he makes much of the difference between ‘western’ and ‘traditional’ units in the Russian army, without making it clear what the differences actually were. This was a coalition war on both sides, and came at a time when the Balkans were still in Ottoman hands, either directly or indirectly through client states, so there is quite a bit of material to cover here.
It’s nice to have something that covers this war in its own right, rather than as part of the story of Charles XII of Sweden, who was actually quite a minor player in the events of 1711, despite having played a major part in provoking the war. The Ottomans also emerge as still being a serious power at this point, even if they failed to take full advantage of their victory.
1 - The Origins of the War
2 - The Opposing Commanders
3 - The Opposing Armies
4 - The Crimean, Ukrainian and Kuban Fronts
5 - The Balkan Front: Orders of Battle and the Opposing Plans
6 - The Balkan Front: The Campaign
7 - The Peace, Action at Braila and the Aftermath
Author: Nicholas Dorrell