Battle of Poltava, 28 June 1709

Battle during Great Northern War. Charles XII of Sweden had managed to maintain an army of 20,000 men through the Russian winter of 1708/9, although they were very short on ammunition and artillery. From May to June 1709, Charles laid siege to Poltava with a slightly increased force. Peter I the Great of Russia marched to the relief of the city with an army of 100,000 men, and after some initial skirmishing, battle was joined on 28 June. Charles needed a quick victory, and for some time it looked as if he would get one. His left and centre both succeeded in their attacks, and Peter I was close to retreat. However, the three elements of the Swedish army were not cooperating properly, and Peter was able to bring together 40,000 unblooded troops to face the main Swedish charge, which itself only contained 7,000 men. Superior numbers, combined with better supply, gave the Russians an overwhelming victory. Charles XII, who had been wounded before the battle, had to be taken to safety, and escaped to Turkish Moldavia with a mere 1,500 men, where he remained for close to two years. The Swedish infantry was almost completely destroyed, while 12,000 Swedish cavalry surrendered to the Russians. The Swedes lost 9,234 killed and wounded, and 18,794 prisoners, and were left open to plunder.
Peter the Great Humbled - The Russo-Ottoman War of 1711, Nicholas Dorrell. Looks at the short and almost disastrous Russian invasion of the Ottoman Empire, which ended with Peter the Great and his army trapped on the Pruth and forced to surrender on Ottoman terms. Covers the various armies involved on both sides, the commanders, the aims of the two main commanders and the course of the short, and for Peter, almost disastrous war. Despite some victories away from the main front, the war could have ended with Peter’s power greatly diminished and he was lucky to be offered rather generous terms(Read Full Review)
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (24 December 2000), Battle of Poltava, 28 June 1709, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_poltava.html

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