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September 25, 1799

Discussion in '"Today in History", Literature & Media Review' started by Martin Rohmann, Sep 24, 2021.

  1. Martin Rohmann A Fixture

    Country:
    Germany
    Storm Across The "Devil's Bridge" ...!



    In 1799 a Russian army in the Austria / Switzerland area under the command of Field Marshal Prince Aleksandr Wassiljewitsch Ssuworow ...

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    … is operating against the armies of revolutionary France.

    On September 25, 1799, the 21,000 Russians stand in front of the "Devil's Bridge", a narrow stone bridge near the Swiss village of Andermatt, which is about 12 kilometers north of the St. Gotthard Pass ...:

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    Here is a photo that shows the bridge - as well as a later built new building behind it - in 1888 ...:

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    The bridge crosses the 25 meter deep Schöllenschlucht with a roaring mountain stream.

    On the other side of the narrow bridge are the French commanded by Géneral de division André Masséna ...

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    ... and their position seems impregnable!

    In addition, the French had begun to demolish the bridge as the Russians approached - and they were also badly damaged by artillery fire.

    But Ssuworow, the only never defeated general that history knows, and his soldiers make the impossible!

    Russian soldiers dismantle a nearby barn and manage to bridge the gap with the beams and boards under heavy enemy fire ...:

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    The Mestschersky brothers, all three officers in Ssuvorov's army, take their officer's sashes to temporarily tie the wooden beams together.

    Vasily Mestscherskij (the oldest brother) ...

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    ... is fatally hit by a musket ball and falls into the abyss.

    His brother Sergei Mestscherskij (the youngest brother) ...

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    ... be the first to reach the opposite side!

    The bridge was repaired in a hurry by the Russians - and just 16 hours after the capture, the Russian army can advance further to stab Masséna in the back!

    But not for long: while the French are advancing with superior strength, Ssuworow realizes that he was operating on the basis of false maps that had been made available to him by the Austrian allies.

    The Austrians are meanwhile being defeated by the French, Massénas and Géneral en chef Napoleon Bonaparte's armies are advancing with superior strength and the Russians are being hunted by hunters - but through brilliant tactical maneuvers, Ssuworow becomes the rest of his army - 12,000 men (and 1,400 French prisoners of war) rescue and escape the threat of confinement ...

    A monument in honor of Ssuvorov and his soldiers will later be erected near the bridge ...:

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    The ground on which the monument stands was declared honorary Russian territory - which is still true today!

    The smallest exclave the world knows ...!

    Marshal Ssuworow will be recalled from his command on March 20, 1800 (because the "disregarded service regulations" - read: has fallen out of favor at court due to his independent thinking and actions) and will die shortly afterwards on May 18, 1800.

    In contrast to the common people and their soldiers (who loved him because he wasn't a flayer!) ...

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    ... neither will Tsar Pavel I.

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    ... who will be murdered the following year, nor the court and the press officially take note of Ssuvorov's death.

    The marshal is buried in the interior of the Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Aleksandr Nevsky Monastery at Saint Petersburg ...

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    Even the Bolsheviki did not touch his grave ...:

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    Old Pete, valiant and Nap like this.
  2. Nap A Fixture

    Country:
    England
    Such bravery , amazing using their sashes to secure the bridge

    Thanks again

    Nap
  3. Airkid PlanetFigure Supporter

    Country:
    England
    It's amazing how many of these rickety bridges seem to figure in desperate battles throughout history. Crimea, Peninsula, ACW - all seem to have similar instances.
    Love the pictures Martin(y)

    Phil

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