Tarutino Maneuver of 1812

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tarutino Maneuver of 1812


a maneuver of the Russian Army performed from Moscow to the village of Tarutino under the command of Field Marshal M. I. Kutuzov from September 5 to September 21 (September 17 to October 3) during the Patriotic War of 1812.

Kutuzov devised the plan for the maneuver when it became evident to him that it was impossible to defend Moscow with the available forces. It was necessary to disengage from the enemy and occupy a position that would protect the Russian supply bases in Tula and Kaluga and threaten Napoleon’s operational lines, in order to gain time and create the conditions for assuming the counteroffensive. On September 2 (14), the Russian Army left Moscow and, after making two marches along the Riazan’ road and crossing the Moskva River at the Borovskii crossing, unexpectedly (for the enemy) turned to the west. This maneuver, completed under the cover of the rearguard under General N. N. Raevskii, was not immediately noticed by the French. The cossacks of the rear guard successfully completed a decoy withdrawal along the Riazan’ road to divert the cavalry of Marshal J. Murat, who only on September 12 (24) came upon the Russian troops near Podol’sk. During this time, the Russian Army made a forced march under cover of the Pakhra River and advanced to Podol’sk and along the Old Kaluga road to Krasnaia Pakhra, arriving there September 9 (21); after turning to the southwest, the troops fell back to the Nara River and on September 21 (October 3) halted at the Tarutino camp.

As a result of the Tarutino maneuver of 1812, which was a brilliant example of Kutuzov’s military leadership, the Russian Army escaped from the enemy and occupied an advantageous position for preparing and launching a counteroffensive.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.