That Totleben

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In January, 1828 law-abiding burghers Latvian Mitava were angry. Their children again returned from school in wet clothes, with face scratches and the punched noses. This time they played sword-bearers and stormed the strengthened pagan city of Zeeburg. Knights didn't manage to be taken fortress because the besieged ten-year-old Eduard Totleben ordered. That Totleben who in 25 years in the Crimean war will protect Sevastopol, and then will turn Nikolaev into unapproachable fortress for the opponent. This year 190 years since the birth of this talented military engineer were executed.

Inventor of underground "sonic depth finder"
Eduard Totleben was born in Mitava. Future engineer was the descendant of an ancient noble sort from Germany which natives moved to Russia in board of the empress Anna Ioannovna. The father of the boy Johann Meyster Totleben was tired to conduct idle life of the poor nobleman and registered in merchants to correct the family budget on trade in the wood.

Soon the family moved to Riga where Eduard sent to the closed man's board to get an education. Here young Totleben for days on end stayed in magistrate library, studied plans of fortification constructions of the ancient cities and the description of their siege. The boy so was fond of studying of serf strengthenings that in the summer in the country, on giving the father, he together with friends tried to build redoubts in due form engineering art and to play scenarios of known military battles. Having noticed bents of the son, the father in 1832 brought it to Petersburg where the young man arrived in engineering school. He studied successfully though from - for heart troubles it was several times compelled to take the academic vacation and for a while to interrupt study.

Totleben received engineering practice in the Riga engineer team, then in grenadierial minno - a plastunsky battalion near Petersburg. Here the capable officer was noticed by the known military engineer the general - the aide-de-camp Karl Shilder who began to charge it various difficult tasks. Development of pipe countermine system for fight against underground mine galleries of the opponent became one of them.

At that time open storm of powerful fortresses wasn't carried out without preparatory engineer work. Miners laid some underground tunnels under walls, put a powerful charge of gunpowder and blew up strengthenings. After that armies through breaches in walls rushed into the city. Besieged knew about these works and dug counter courses to blow up enemy mines. Sometimes underground sappers of warring parties met, and cruel fight in the dark inflamed.

The laying of mines those years was the whole science. Engineers started laying at once some false tunnels to confuse the opponent and to force it to concentrate efforts on neutralization of any one undermining. It was difficult to guess. It turned into a peculiar game of chess where to the winner got... victory.

Eduard Totleben invented underground "sonic depth finder" - and mine games of engineers lost at once meaning. It took an ordinary sea compass, then placed it in a three-meter well in the fortress territory. The magnetic field of saltpeter which was a part of gunpowder, unmistakably turned an arrow of a compass in the direction of the real mine tunnel which was laid by the opponent. The emperor Nikolay I who was present in 1842 on engineer doctrines at Kronstadt, embraced the young lieutenant and appointed to it imperial консегнанс (an imperial extra charge to an officer salary). For the dangerous experiments Totleben was awarded the first awards: in 1842 he received the Order of Saint Stanislaus 3-й degrees, and in 1847 - m - the Order of St. Anna 3-й degrees.

Career of the military engineer developed very dynamically. In the late forties it gets on the Caucasian war where is engaged in engineering support of operations of group of the prince Argutinsky - Dolgorukova. For active participation in a capture of auls of Salta, Gergebil, Akhta and other strong points of mountaineers it is awarded by the Order of St. Vladimir 2-й degrees and a rank of the captain. Upon return from war Eduard Totleben serves again at the general Shilder who has become by then the chief of all army engineers in Warsaw. In 1851 it goes to Petersburg to head divisions of sappers of Guards and Grenadierial cases.

"The Lord presented Totleben... "

The many-sided talent of the engineer revealed in the Crimean war. In January, 1854 it send to the main apartment of the Danube army where he becomes Shilder's most active assistant in engineering support of a crossing of the Russian cases of the prince
M. G.Gorchakova through Danube. During river speeding up Totleben made a number of brilliant rekognostsirovka under fire of the opponent, and after Shilder's wound headed carrying out obsidional works near Silistriya where on June 7 I blew up all front before strengthenings of this city.
In August of Bitterlings directs the best engineer for the aid to the Crimean army Menshikov, recommending it as "active, reasonable, brave" the person tested in a fighting situation. Having arrived to Sevastopol, Totleben attentively studies city strengthenings from the sea and land. Having found serious faults of defense system, the engineer busied all rear and engineer parts of garrison. Gradually defensive line of the city extended, included new forts and bastions. Works were conducted continuously. Where enemy investigation found still yesterday weak strengthenings, the continuous line of defense of Russians unexpectedly grew. Having a presentiment of a hard lot of Sevastopol, Totleben wrote the farewell letter to one of September days to the wife on a case of the death.

During a siege of the city Malakhov a barrow - the main object of the attacking opponent becomes special care of the engineer. Here the batteries providing cross fire are arranged, approaches to heights become stronger. Creation by Totleben of branched system of lozhement, the advanced entrenchments and the redoubts which have been carefully adapted for the district becomes the new word in fortification. They provided strengthening of gun fire, complicated to the opponent conducting obsidional works, promoted preparation of sorties, and, according to Totleben, became "ears and eyes defending". The admiral Nakhimov highly appreciated the talented engineer and more than once repeated: "The Lord presented Totleben, without Totleben we would be gone".

In March, 1855 the casual enemy shell gets to a commander blindage, kills counter - the admiral Istomin and four staff officers. Totleben only of present by a lucky chance survives.

In August falling of Sevastopol became obvious to all. Being on the verge of the physical exhaustion, Totleben wounded in a foot, after Malakhov's delivery of a barrow, leaves with a hospital transport the city. Made in the general - aide-de-camps, he is sent to Nikolaev for the organization of works for defense of a staff of the Chief commander of the Black Sea fleet and ports.

Defense of Nikolaev
The strategic importance of Nikolaev on the Black Sea was very great.In the city, besides military management of the Black Sea fleet, there was its economic infrastructure: extensive artillery warehouses, food stocks, repair base of fleet. Here it was concentrated 40 000 soldiers and officers. Through the city passed the strategic roads connecting Odessa and the Crimea with the central provinces of Russia. The military management of the anti-Russian coalition into which entered England, France, Turkey and Sardinia, understood that the following stage of war needs to be begun with capture of Nikolaev and to come to an operational scope North - the Black Sea steppes. The commander of the Sardinian contingent of an allied landing the field marshal Drull reported on coalition command: "Nikolaev never was fortress and therefore doesn't contain essential strengthenings from gulfs and land. The tsar sent here the well-known Totleben. That which on the Danube theater last year brought down Silistriya's walls.. It is necessary to hurry with a landing while Russians didn't strengthen the coast... ".

The city really was defenseless before armada of allies. In port there were no the large vessels, allowing to support actions of overland army by fire of the artillery.

Understanding importance of defense of Nikolaev, on September 13 there arrived Alexander II together with the brothers personally to be present at construction of defensive works.

Totleben who hasn't recovered from wound (the wound inflamed to dry gangrene), submitted to the emperor very simple and effective plan of protection of the city. Round Nikolaev in a short time the line of lunettes and batteries which reliably covered it from land was built. At each autonomous redoubt underground warehouses of ammunition and blindirovanny barracks for staff are built. Along the Bugsky estuary the defensive system in depth consisting of earth redoubts and batteries was constructed. One battery settled down on the cape, to the left of the modern bridge through Ingul, and had to cover the Admiralty. The second was between Varvarovkaya and Great Korenikhoy (the modern territory of the fourth gardens around the Didovy Hut), the third stood opposite to Spassky raid closer to Varvarovka, and the fourth was established on the very brink of the Leskov braid.

Outside the city, in the Wide Beam, under the direction of the general - the engineer K. Kauffman erected "the kaufmanovsky battery" - a pentagonal earth redoubt with six-meter shaft and a deep ditch.From Small Korenikhi to a half of the water area the narrow dam with the strengthened island where tools (the Konstantinovsky battery) too were installed was filled. Distant batteries settled down on Voloshsky and Russian braids which together with Ochakov strengthenings and Kinburnsky fortress made the powerful strengthened area.

Between Kaufmanovskimi and Konstantinovsky tools on the estuary put mines and stretched in water thick anchor chains not to allow small sitting vessels to deliver on I protected a landing. The old city wall was hastily repaired and became an additional obstacle for the enemy from east direction. All works were finished in two months. Nikolaev, according to the subsequent military experts, turned into unapproachable fortress.
Totleben worked on conscience. Armies of the coalition tried its defense on durability and... didn't venture to continue war.

Yury Kryuchkov fairly noted in the "Stories of Nikolaev": "After Kinburn's occupation allies several times tried to break by means of armor batteries to Nikolaev and reached even the Voloshsky braid, but here in narrow pass got under cross fire of two batteries and were compelled to recede. So our city was saved from capture English - the French armies".

After conclusion of peace Eduard Ivanovich Totleben left Nikolaev in long business trip across Europe where acted with lectures on fortification in military academies of Spain, Germany, France and Denmark. In 1859 on the occasion of 25 - the anniversaries of the first bombing of Sevastopol it was built in count advantage and there was Odessa a general - the governor.
In Nikolaev its surname isn't recorded in toponymics of streets and the areas, today's citizens know about the hero of the Crimean war who thought up one and a half centuries ago how to save our city from the European aggressors a little.

Head Totleben's column
Totleben for contemporaries was the mysterious personality. Despite honorary titles, awards and high positions, he until the end of life remained the modest person. Alexander III called it the "an old German horse".

Eduard Ivanovich worked until the last minute and died in the office behind a desk on July 2, 1884 in Frankfurt am Main. Ashes of the general transported at first to Riga, then according to the will of the dead remains sent by sea to Sevastopol where reburied on Bratsk a cemetery - among other defenders of the city.

During the German occupation Totleben's crypt was opened by unknown robbers. Awards, the smart weapon disappeared and... skull of the general.
"The German command, - the correspondent of the Sevastopol newspaper "Count Pier" in 2006 wrote, - made investigation, found for vandals, found awards and a skull of the count. The occupational authorities suited a propaganda reburial of the scolded remains of the hero in which representatives of ROA, the Italian officers and police commandant's office of Sevastopol participated. After city release, in May, 1944, Totleben's crypt underwent again cruel vandalism. It again opened. That there looked for after Germans, absolutely unclear.

But barbarians were comprehended by disappointment: awards, crosses and the weapon in a grave didn't appear. And then one of them took a skull of the general FOR MEMORY. Difficultly to believe in it, but it so. Also I stored it all these years. The second time the decapitated Totleben, probably, "turned over" more than once in the crypt. The hero of the Sevastopol defense, the national hero of Bulgaria didn't deserve such barbarity. On hearings, recently Sevastopol grave-digger - began to see clearly, confessed. Whether conscience tortured, whether sleeplessness in fifty years overcame... ".


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