The battle of Ruse, the story of Russian losses...

Dec 2019
83
Moscow
The battle of Ruse fought in Bulgaria between Russian and Ottoman empires in summer of 1811 resulted in the loss of 500 men out of 15,000 Russian soldiers and 5,000 out of 60,000 soldiers on Turkish side according to Russian article in wikipedia: ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Битва_при_Рущуке

However Dominic Lieven in his book "Russia Against Napoleon: The Battle for Europe, 1807 to 1814" gives a different picture for the losses incurred to Russians by Turks at the same place a year earlier when Russians sieged the Turkish citadel: Russians lost 8,000 men out of 20,000 soldiers, i.e. 40%. This figure was seemingly borrowed by Lieven from Fabricius.

Now some folks on Russian historic forums would argue that the figure of 8,000 men would include only 500 men killed, the rest 7,500 were wounded. This results in the loss ratio of 500 : 7,500, i.e. appr. 1 killed per each 15 wounded. This ratio seems arguably low once we start looking at the same ratio derived for other battles fought at the same period. For instance, in the Battle of Borodino the French army was approximately sized as 138,000 men, out of which it lost 6,547 as killed and 21,453 as wounded. This gives us the ratio of 1 killed per each 3.3 wounded. In the Battle of Austerlitz the French totaled 73,000 men, out of which 1,305 were killed and 6,943 wounded, which gives the loss ratio of 1 killed per each 5.3 wounded. When French sieged the Ottoman Acre in 1799 they lost twice less men than Russians did in 1810.

Someone with the military experience may notice that there is a huge difference between the battles fought in the open ground like Borodino or Austerlitz and the siege. Because in the past any siege would normally result in a higher men loss ratio incurred to the attackers by the defending counterpart. This has been changed however with technological advances in the artillery and the invention of aviation.

Well, Russian wikipedia is known to be distorting some historic facts and figures to make them look more lenient to the Russian national self-esteem (just like anywhere else, I suppose). But I am still curious how well the figures of Russian losses at beleaguered Ruse fit the historical context.. so other estimates of the loss ratio for the same period as well as your opinions will be appreciated.
 
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At Each Kilometer

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
4,232
Bulgaria
Bulgarian wiki page about this battle is a translation of Russian wiki page, so nothing interesting there. I checked the city net portal for information: "...during the Russian-Turkish wars Ruschuk (Ruse/Русе) was often a battlefield. Тhe Russians managed to seize the city for the first time in 1773 under the command of Count Rumyantsev. After the bloody battles in 1810, General Kamensky took Ruschuk with the price of 9000 KIA. In the following year 1811, General Kutuzov with a much smaller army inflicted great defeats on the Ottomans, led by the vizier Ahmed Bey near the villages of Slobozia in todays Romania and Kadıköy (Shurklevo). In Russian military historiography there are many details of the so-called Battle of Ruschuk (Битва при Рущуке)..." Source: Русе (rough translation from Bulgarian).

EDIT: Well, actually Kamensky in charge of the Danube army in 1810, which operated against the Ottomans failed to take this city the previous year.

Source: Русско - турецкая война (1806 - 1812) - Российская Империя - история государства Российского

Check the passage about the sieges of Shumly (Shumen of today) and Ruschuk (1810) in the middle of the article (Russian language). According to it Count Kamensky lost more than half of his troops (17 thousand) during the siege and failed to take the city. Any chance these thousands of KIA to belong to the siege previous year & general Kamensky?
 
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Dec 2019
83
Moscow
Bulgarian wiki page about this battle is a translation of Russian wiki page, so nothing interesting there. I checked the city net portal for information: "...during the Russian-Turkish wars Ruschuk (Ruse/Русе) was often a battlefield. Тhe Russians managed to seize the city for the first time in 1773 under the command of Count Rumyantsev. After the bloody battles in 1810, General Kamensky took Ruschuk with the price of 9000 KIA.
So does the figure of 8,000 killed Russian soldiers look realistic to you? I mean, if 8,000 include 7,500 wounded, then that would give a different perspective on how effective Russian army was in the battlefield...
 

At Each Kilometer

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
4,232
Bulgaria
Well, 8000 KIA i suppose they are KIA (потеряв под ее стенами более половины своего состава/lost more than half of his troops under the city's walls) out of 17000 troops. It is a carnage/massacre.
 
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Aug 2014
309
New York, USA
I have no idea about the details of the battle, but 8,000 KIA out of a total of 17,000 is unrealistic in my opinion, especially for attacking side that can always retreat. Those are pretty rare "total war" casualty rates.
Unless we are talking about completely indoctrinated fanatics or a cornered army that is about to be ethnically cleansed, it is hard to believe they'd sustain such losses in battle.
8,000 may include killed and wounded together, then it'd make more sense.
 
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Dec 2019
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Moscow
Unless we are talking about completely indoctrinated fanatics or a cornered army that is about to be ethnically cleansed, it is hard to believe they'd sustain such losses in battle.
8,000 may include killed and wounded together, then it'd make more sense.
If 8,000 include both killed and wounded, then how realistic do you find the estimate of the loss of 500 men as killed out of those 8,000?
Doesn't it look unrealistic either that the Turks could inflict such a minor loss to Russians?
 
Aug 2014
309
New York, USA
If 8,000 include both killed and wounded, then how realistic do you find the estimate of the loss of 500 men as killed out of those 8,000?
Doesn't it look unrealistic either that the Turks could inflict such a minor loss to Russians?
What are the sources for those numbers anyway? Someone saying "Person X lost half his army" doesn't have to literally mean a loss of half of an army, it could be just an expression meaning "he suffered a lot of losses".
If this would be routinely done, there would be no officers or generals in the army at all, since I doubt you could survive serving for 20 years in the military when the death rate is 50% per year (or even more if your unit engages in multiple battles in a year).
 

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
15,036
Europix
I've looked a bit around, out of curiosity (didn't knew a thing about this battle, thank You Novosedoff, for bringing it!).

I came across on more sites with two things: Ottomans had brand new French artillery served by good personnel, and good cavalry troops. On Turkish wiki it's said it was the first time in the war when Cossacks run away.

IDK, maybe it helps?
 
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Dec 2019
83
Moscow
What are the sources for those numbers anyway? Someone saying "Person X lost half his army" doesn't have to literally mean a loss of half of an army, it could be just an expression meaning "he suffered a lot of losses".
If this would be routinely done, there would be no officers or generals in the army at all, since I doubt you could survive serving for 20 years in the military when the death rate is 50% per year.
Well, I myself came across the mention of the fact while I was reading Dominic Lieven's book <Russia against Napoleon: the battle for Europe, 1807 to 1814>. I attach the pages to this post, although not sure how literate you are in Russian.. The book originally was written in English, so you can easily find it if you google Library Genesis, I suppose
 

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At Each Kilometer

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
4,232
Bulgaria
I actually find info about the losses: 360 officers and 8,000 lower ranks from 17000 troops total. The initial siege force of 10,000-strong led by Andreas Burchard Friedrich von Sass was powerless to cope with the 20,000-strong garrison of the fortress. Kamensky arrived from Shumen / brought with him reinforcements and attacked unsuccessfully Ruschuk on July 22, 1810. The Ottoman counterattack was devastating, Kamensky threw the reserves, which only increased the losses.