Alexander Suvorov – great military leader
Alexander Suvorov was of the greatest military leaders. He made himself one of the best educated people of his time. He was well versed in literature, the art of warfare, fortifications and artillery, and fluent in several European languages.
Suvorov was born on November 13, 1730 into the family of a professional military man. Alexander’s father was a general, who had started his career as a batman, and incidentally, was Peter the Great’s godson. Alexander was an extremely sickly child, so that his father decided to prepare him for civilian service. From his childhood Alexander worked hard to prepare himself for military service. At the age of fifteen Alexander entered the service, hardened his body and improved his health.
In 1762 he was promoted to the rank of Colonel and appointed commander of the Astrakhan Regiment. He successfully directed operations against the Turks. The Russian troops under Suvorov’s command won victory after victory. They surrounded and destroyed Ismail the strongest fortress on the Danube. Soon he was promoted to the rank of field-marshal for his military skill.
Suvorov had many troubles with empresses and emperors and other superiors due to his straightforward nature. When after the death of Catherine the Great, Paul I came to power and began his military reforms, Suvorov was exiled to his estate and put under police surveillance. But when war against revolutionary France broke out in 1799, Suvorov was appointed commander-in-chief of all Austro-Russian forces in Italy.
Suvorov always acted suddenly and unexpectedly, and never lost a battle. His motto – “hard in training, easy in battle” – has become the rule for combat training. Suvorov was the author of the book The Science of Victory, in which he gave the main principles of troop training. Many of his proverbs have enriched the Russian language, and are still used today.
When Suvorov returned from the south empress Catherine II presented Alexander with a gold snuffbox. The gift was decorated with the diamond monogram of the Empress and precious stones. Even in extreme cold great commander dressed quite easily. Once the Empress presented him a luxurious fur coat and ordered to wear it. Suvorov did not part with that coat … but didn’t wear it and put on his knees.
Suvorov’s Swiss Campaign was the triumph of Russian Army and Suvorov’s Military Strategy. Suvorov received endless honors and awards. He was granted the rank of generalissimo; he was given the title of Prince of Italy, Count of Rymmk (the site of one of his brilliant victories over the Turks) and Count of the Holy Roman Empire.
He died in St. Petersburg at the age of 70 in 1800.
In honor of the brilliant military leader the Government established the order of Suvorov. During the Great Patriotic War special schools were established. Future officers study and receive education here. These schools were named after Suvorov: the Suvorov Military Schools.
There are 7 Suvorov Military Schools in Russia. They were founded to prepare young people for military service in the Russian Armed Forces. The term of study at a Suvorov Military School is three years. According to the academic programme, besides the usual school subjects cadets study such military subjects as tactics, marching, firing drill, topography, military regulations and others.