In 1812–13 Russia operated according to the Julian calendar, which was twelve days behind the calendar used in most of the rest of Europe. All dates in this article follow the Russian (Julian) norm.
Mobilizing Russian Horsepower in 1812
Article first published online: 15 APR 2011
© 2011 The Author. History© 2011 The Historical Association and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Volume 96, Issue 322, pages 152–166, April 2011
How to Cite
LIEVEN, D. (2011), Mobilizing Russian Horsepower in 1812. History, 96: 152–166. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-229X.2011.00512.x
- Issue published online: 15 APR 2011
- Article first published online: 15 APR 2011
Horses were of vital importance in Napoleonic-era warfare. For Napoleon the huge loss of horses in the 1812 campaign was even more important than the loss of men. Shortage of horses undermined his hopes of victory in 1813. The mobilization and utilization of Russia's horsepower is a crucial but little-studied aspect of these years. The largest single source of horses for the Russian cavalry in 1813–14 consisted of animals substituted for conscripts in the recruit levies. The first use of this policy occurred in the winter of 1812–13 in the provinces of Volhynia and Podolia and is the subject of this article. Its success led to the policy being adopted across the empire. As well as providing key insights into a crucial aspect of Russia's war effort, this article also illustrates the strengths and weaknesses of Russian provincial administration in these years.