Distinguished guests:

sábado, 22 de abril de 2017

князь Михаил Илларионович Голенищев-Кутузов - Prince Mikhail Illarionovich Golenishchev-Kutuzov

Field Marshal of the Russian Empire, Kutuzov served as one of the finest military officers and diplomats of Russia under the reign of three Romanov Tsars: Catherine II, Paul I and Alexander I. His military career was closely associated with the rising period of Russia from the end of the 18th century to the beginning of the 19th century. 
Kutuzov is considered to have been one of the best Russian generals.

He was born in Saint Petersburg in 1745 to a family of Novgorod nobility.
His father was a Russian general and senator. Kutuzov began military schooling at age 12 and joined the Imperial Russian Army in 1759. Three years later Kutuzov became a company commander in the Astrakhan Infantry Regiment under Alexander Suvorov. He took part in crushing the Polish Bar Confederation rebellion. During the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–1774 he served in the staff of Pyotr Rumyantsev at Moldova for the battles of Larga and Kagul. In July 1774 at Crimea, Kutuzov was severely wounded by a bullet that went through his temple and out near his right eye, which became permanently scarred.
He returned to Crimea in 1776 to assist Suvorov and conducted negotiations with the last Crimean khan Girey, convincing him to abdicate and submit to Russia.


After Kutuzov became Governor-General of Crimea in 1787, the Russo-Turkish War of 1787–1792 began.
 He was again severely wounded in 1788 during the Siege of Ochakov when a bullet was shot through both of his temples. Kutuzov came back a year later, taking part in the Battle of Rymnik and Siege of Izmail. Near the end of the war, he led a decisive charge at the Battle of Măcin.
 Kutuzov was on good terms with Tsar Paul, but had disputes with his successor Tsar Alexander. 
In 1805, he led Russian forces alongside Austria during the Napoleonic Wars. The allied Russo-Austrian army was defeated by Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz. 
Alexander blamed Kutuzov and demoted him to Moldova for the Russo-Turkish War of 1806–1812. Kutuzov vanquished a four-times larger Turkish army at Rousse and brought an end to the war with a decisive victory at the Battle of the Danube. For his achievements, he was awarded the titles of Count and Prince.

Kutuzov returned at the request of Alexander for the French invasion of Russia.
He was appointed Commander-in-Chief, succeeding Barclay de Tolly and continuing his scorched earth policy up to Moscow. Under Kutuzov's command, the Russian army faced the Grande Armée at the Battle of Borodino.
He allowed Napoleon to take an abandoned Moscow, which was afterwards set on fire.

 Kutuzov counter-attacked once Napoleon retreated from Moscow, pushing the French out of the Russian homeland.
In recognition of this, Kutuzov was awarded the victory title of Prince Smolensky.
He stepped down from command due to deteriorating health soon after the French left Russia. Kutuzov died in 1813 at Bunzlau and was buried at the Kazan Cathedral in Saint Petersburg.
Kutuzov was highly regarded in the works of Russian and Soviet historians.

   Text source: Wikipedia

My impression of Kutuzov´s monument in front of the marvellous Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan, in St. Petersburg.  Not an easy task - plenty of tourists immortalizing themselves in the vicinity... :)

 Kutuzov´s tomb, inside the Cathedral (image taken from the internet)

Yet another of the wonderful miniatures I bought in St. Petersburg. 
It is made in Russia by EK Castings.

segunda-feira, 17 de abril de 2017

Василий Зайцев - Vasiliy Zaitsev

   Vasiliy Zaitsev 
 Sniper of the 1047th Infantry Regiment
 Autumn of 1942, Stalingrad, USSR 


 Васи́лий Григо́рьевич За́йцев (Vasily Grigoryevich Zaytsev) b. 23 March 1915 – d.15 December 1991, was a Soviet sniper and a Hero of the Soviet Union during World War II.
 Prior to 10 November, he killed 32 Axis soldiers with the standard-issue Mosin–Nagant rifle (effective range of 900 metres or 985 yards). 
Between 10 November 1942 and 17 December 1942, during the Battle of Stalingrad, he killed 225 soldiers and officers of the Wehrmacht and other Axis armies, including 11 enemy snipers.

 Zaytsev was born in Yeleninskoye, Orenburg Governorate in a peasant family of Russian ethnicity and grew up in the Ural Mountains, where he learned marksmanship by hunting deer and wolves with his grandfather and older brother. 
He brought home his first trophy at the age of 12: a wolf that he shot with a single bullet from his first personal rifle, a large single-shot Berdan, which at the time he was barely able to carry on his back.

 Zaytsev served in the Soviet Navy as a clerk in Vladivostok. 
When Germany invaded the Soviet Union, Zaytsev, like many of his comrades, volunteered to be transferred to the front line. 
He was a chief petty officer in the Navy and was assigned the rank of senior warrant officer upon transfer to the army. 
He was eventually assigned to the 1047th Rifle Regiment of the 284th "Tomsk" Rifle Division, which became part of the 62nd Army at Stalingrad on 17 September 1942.

During Zaytsev's career as a sniper, he would conceal himself in various locations – for example, on high ground, under rubble, or in water pipes. After a few kills, he would change his position. Together with his partner Nikolai Kulikov, Zaytsev would exercise his hide and sting tactics. 
One of Zaytsev’s common tactics was to cover one large area from three positions, with two men at each point – a sniper and a scout. This tactic, known as the “sixes”, is still in use today and was implemented during the war in Chechnya. Zaytsev took part in the Battle of Stalingrad until January 1943, when a mortar attack injured his eyes. He was attended to by Vladimir Filatov, who is credited with restoring Zaytsev's sight. On 22 February 1943, Zaytsev was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. He then returned to the front and finished the war at the Battle of the Seelow Heights in Germany, with the military rank of captain. He became a member of the Communist Party in 1943.

 After the war, Zaytsev settled in Kiev, where he studied at a textile university before obtaining employment as an engineer. He rose to become the director of a textile factory in Kiev and remained in that city until he died on 15 December 1991 at the age of 76, just ten days before the final dissolution of the Soviet Union. He was initially buried in Kiev despite his final request to be buried at Volgograd (Stalingrad). 

On 31 January 2006, Vasily Zaytsev was reburied on the Mamayev Kurgan in Volgograd with full military honors. Zaytsev's dying wish was to be buried at the monument to the defenders of Stalingrad. His coffin was carried next to a monument where his famous quote is written:

                             "For us there was no land beyond the Volga".

Colonel Donald Paquette of the U.S. Sniper School was present and laid a wreath as a sign of respect to a legendary sniper. U.S. Army News quoted Colonel Paquette: "Vasily Zaytsev is a legend and every American sniper must memorize his tactics and methods. He is a legend amongst snipers. May he rest in peace."

      Text and tomb photo source: Wikipedia

          Vasily Zaytsev posing with his Mosin-Nagant sniper rifle, Stalingrad, Russia, October 1942.

                        I bought this wonderful miniature in Petersburg some days ago. It is made in Russia by EK Castings.


sexta-feira, 17 de março de 2017

Soviet Veterans in Snowsuits #4 - The Officer

   Family portrait - my brave little squad so far.


Смерть фашистам!!!

quarta-feira, 8 de março de 2017


Soviet Veteran Squad in Snowsuits - my first volunteer...!

Still some adjustments to make, photographs allow imperfections to be noticed.