a city; the administrative center of Maloiaroslavets Raion, Kaluga Oblast, RSFSR. Located on the right, high bank of the Luzha River (in the Oka basin). It is a junction of automobile highways. Its railroad station lies on the Moscow-Briansk line, 121 km southwest of Moscow and 61 km northeast of Kaluga. Population, 21,200 (1970).
An experimental plant of the Scientific Research Institute for the Technology of Tractor and Agricultural Machine Repair is located in Maloiaroslavets. The city’s industries include a plant producing adapters and fastenings, a brickyard, a dairy, a branch of the Moscow Krasnyi Bogatyr’ Plant, a furniture plant, a garment factory, and a plant producing souvenirs. Maloiaroslavets was founded at the end of the 14th century by Prince Vladimir Andreevich Serpukhovskoi and was named laroslavets in honor of his son laroslav. In 1485 it was annexed to the Grand Principality of Moscow and began to be called Maloiaroslavets (to distinguish it from Yaroslavl).
During the Patriotic War of 1812 a battle between the Russian and French armies occurred at Maloiaroslavets on Oct. 12 (24), 1812. The defeat on October 6 (18) of Marshal J. Murat’s advance guard at the Chernishnia River accelerated the retreat of Napoleon’s army from Moscow, which had begun on the evening of October 6. Napoleon decided to withdraw to Smolensk through Kaluga, where he expected to seize large stores of provisions and fodder. He intended subsequently to take up a position along the Zapadnaia Dvina and Dnieper rivers in order to begin a new campaign from there in 1813. The movement of Napoleon’s troops was discovered by a detachment of General I. S. Dorokhov, who informed M. I. Kutuzov of the matter. Kutuzov moved General D. S. Dokhturov’s VI Infantry Corps and the I Cavalry Corps to Fominskoe. After determining that Napoleon’s main forces were going to Maloiaroslavets, Dokhturov hastened there in order to cover the road to Kaluga.
On the evening of October 11 (23) the main forces of the Russian Army moved forward from the Tarutino camp, and on October 12 (24), Kutuzov sent the VII Infantry Corps of General N. N. Raevskii to Dokhturov’s aid. On the morning of October 12 (24) the forward units of the VI Corps dislodged from Maloiaroslavets two French battalions, which had occupied the city during the night. With the approach of A. de Beauharnais’ IV Corps, the French again took the city. Gradually, new forces (up to 25,000 of each country’s troops) came up to the city from both sides, and the battle took on a desperate character: Maloiaroslavets changed hands eight times, and by the end of the day it was left in the possession of the French. The French lost 5,000 men; the Russians, 3,000.
After the arrival of the main forces (90,000 Russians and 70,000 French), Kutuzov’s army occupied a position 1-3 km to the south of the city on the road to Kaluga. On October 13 (25) both sides prepared for the continuation of the battle, but the next day Napoleon ordered a retreat via Borovsk, Vereia, Mozhaisk, and Smolensk. The battle of Maloiaroslavets was a strategic victory for the Russian Army, which then seized the initiative, not allowing the enemy to reach the southern provinces and forcing him to retreat along the ravaged Smolensk road.
During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45 bitter fighting took place in Maloiaroslavets Raion during the Battle of Moscow of 1941-42. The city was taken by fascist German troops on Oct. 18, 1941, and was liberated by the Red Army on Jan. 2, 1942. The Museum of the Patriotic War of 1812 is located in Maloiaroslavets.