||It has been suggested that this article be merged into Mud season . (Discuss) Proposed since September 2012.|
The rasputitsa (Russian: распу́тица; IPA: [rɐsˈputʲɪt͡sə]) refers to the biannual mud seasons when unpaved roads become difficult to traverse in most of Eastern Europe, although the term historically describes the condition in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. The word may be translated as the "quagmire season" because during this period the large flatlands become extremely muddy and marshy, as do most unpaved roads. The term applies to both the "spring rasputitsa" and "autumn rasputitsa" and to the condition of the roads during those seasons. The rasputitsa occurs more strongly in the spring due to the melting snow but it usually recurs in the fall due to frequent heavy rains.
The rasputitsa seasons of Russia are well known as a great defensive advantage in wartime. Common nicknames in such context are General Mud or Marshal Mud. Napoleon found the mud in Russia to be a very great hindrance in 1812. During the Second World War the month-long muddy period slowed down the German advance during the Battle of Moscow, and may have helped save the Soviet capital, as well as the presence of "General Winter", that followed the autumn rasputitsa period - this sort of wintertime hindrance to German military motor vehicle transport on the Eastern Front partly inspired the design and mass production of a unique fully tracked artillery tractor for such conditions.
The corresponding term in Finnish is rospuutto, denoting "roadlessness". Most non-paved roads in Finland turn into mud. In olden days, this would make them virtually unusable; modern paved roads can be used but are dangerously slippery. In the Archipelago the period is known as kelirikko (literally "weather break"), implying the ice is too thin to bear the weight of people or vehicles, but is still too hard to be passed through by seagoing vessels not equipped with icebreaker bows. The only practicable vehicles during the kelirikko are hovercraft, hydrocopters or aircraft such as helicopters. Unlike in Russia where both the spring and fall seasons are affected, the Finnish rospuutto and kelirikko occur mainly in the spring when the snow melts and the spring rains begin.
Village street near Moscow, November 1941
- FAQ regarding what made Napoleon fail in invading Russia
- M. Adolphe Thiers, translated by D. Forbes Campbell and H. W. Herbert (1864). History of the Consulate and the Empire of France under Napoleon IV. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co. p. 243. "whilst it was almost impossible to drag the gun-carriages through the half-frozen mud" (regarding November 20, 1812)
- Overy, Richard (1997). Russia's War. London: Penguin. pp. 113–114. ISBN 1-57500-051-2. "Both sides now struggled in the autumn mud. On October 6  the first snow had fallen, unusually early. It soon melted, turning the whole landscape into its habitual trackless state – the rasputitsa, literally the ‘time without roads’. ... It is commonplace to attribute the German failure to take Moscow to the sudden change in the weather. While it is certainly true that German progress slowed, it had already been slowing because of the fanatical resistance of Soviet forces and the problem of moving supplies over the long distances through occupied territory. The mud slowed the Soviet build-up also, and hampered the rapid deployment of men and machines."