Talk:Battle of Lesnaya

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Nada Sources[edit]

No Sources at all, Who wrote this? Seems to be almost copypaste from the Karl XII (Charles XII) article80.197.1.72 22:52, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Draw?[edit]

This was a Swedish defeat, at least a strategic one. --88.114.242.180 17:58, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
The Result section, based on the reading in the opening paragraphs should state that it was a Tactical Russian victory, but Strategically indecisive. Currently this is labeled the other way around.

Tactical operations most often refer to individual battles and field maneuvers, where as strategic operations refer to the governance of whole campaigns.

Modern military usage refers to tactics as small maneuvers, most often conducted by company sized units or smaller within battles. Operational actions refer to battles or limited battles with several medium sized units operating simultaneously, while strategic maneuvers refer to whole campaigns and large numbers of units, often acting over wide distances.--68.134.180.21 (talk) 17:23, 3 September 2018 (UTC)

Recent edit-wars[edit]

Notice the recent edit-wars this artcle has suffered. I have several sorces that claims it was a draw, and even a Swedish victory, alltough Voyevoda stills claims it was a Russian victory. Maybe strategical and morale, but tacticly, no.

Coments, please. /Snillet 09:42, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

My comment: you failed to provide a NEUTRAL (non-Swedish) source for your questionable claim. All web sources describe Lesnaya as Swedish defeat, here are some of them: [1], [2]. I suggest, we lock the article with the more traditional interpretation until Snillet delivers neutral proofs for his sensational history revisionism. Voyevoda 22:43, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Browsing through Google, I agree that most English-language sites assert that the battle was a Russian victory, particularly because Sweden's supply lines were heavily damaged. If Swedish sources claim it was a draw or victory, though, that fact should be included - e.g. "Swedish historians *name*, *name* and *name* challenge the general consensus that this battle was a Russian victory, suggesting instead that.... blah blah blah" --Hyperbole 10:11, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
This is crazy in the extreme: the German, French and Italian articles all claim a Russian victory. Looking at the September 28 articles I can add Greek and Dutch wikipedia. All of these authors have no historic axe to grind. Calling something a tactical draw because half of the Swedish losses were due to drunkenness is plain silly, of course. Shall we call Pearl Harbor a draw because the US Navy was caught with their pants down? Calling it a draw because the Swedes "managed" (or were forced) to engage a numerically superior opponent and could even disengage from the fight (in "some" fashion, I would add) is even worse: by that token, even Waterloo is a draw. The undisputed fact that the Russians lost fewer men than their opponents is already telling, it is quite atypical for battles involving any Russian army.--Paul Pieniezny 10:23, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
There is nothing atypical about it, look at Russo-Turkish wars or the Seven Years' War, the Russo-Persian wars or many battles of the Great Northern War. In the most battles, the Russians had more moderate losses. Voyevoda 12:24, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Internet source that claims a draw (http://www.birthday.se/kalender/2007/09/29/):
"Slaget hade ingen given segrare men Peter den store, som förde befälet över de ryska trupperna lär senare ha kallat slaget "Poltavasegerns moder".
"The battle had no direct winner, but Peter the Great, who commanded the Russian force, later said the the battle was the "mother to the Battle of Poltava". /Snillet 15:12, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Have you overseen that your main fault is the inability to bring any NEUTRAL (non-Swedish) sources? Voyevoda 11:42, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

So the heart of this edit war is what we're going to put in the "result=" field, more than the editorial content of the body of the article, right? What about something like "result=Generally considered a Russian victory"? It does appear (as best I can tell, since I don't read Swedish) that while the general international consensus is that the Russians won this battle, the Swedes do not consider this a military defeat, largely because a great portion of their losses came during a mutiny after the battle was over. It definitely needs to be mentioned in the article that many Swedes do not now, and perhaps never did, consider this battle a defeat. (By analogy, see Vietnam War, where there has been controversy over the "result" field and a paragraph discusses the fact that many Americans do not consider the war a military defeat, but rather, a political one). --Hyperbole 15:48, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Hyperbole: I like your idea! /Snillet 20:41, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, one can mention it in the article, but in the "result" field there must be definitely the more common interpretation. After all, in the Battle of Borodino article there is written "French victory", though Russians do not to consider the battle as Russian defeat. Voyevoda 11:42, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
Actually, our account of Borodino says both sides retreated for the night, while there is a contemporaneous Polish source claiming cossacks ruled the battle field and had even taken over the notorious fleches. Control of the battlefield is often a parameter used to decide who won when there is an unclear issue to a battle. But so is the direction of the troops the day after and the casualty count, and those are generally taken to favour the option that the French won. In any case, the fact that most Western historians favour the French victory vision, is probably due to the Russophobic atmosphere in Britain from 1815 to 1905. --Paul Pieniezny 21:15, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
We could add a reference-mark and then write that Swedish historians thik it was a draw or Swedish victory. /Snillet 14:16, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
In any case, there must be a mention of which Swedish historians claim it is a draw or even a victory. Something like that in a note needs to be sourced specifically (just write the name of the historian). By the way you can sometimes force Google books to show a snippet of text from the book, by searching for a text string like the Swedish for " victory at Lesnaya". That is better than useless edit warring. --Paul Pieniezny 21:15, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Russian nationalists please stop acting like little children putting fantasy casualty figures of 6300 dead and wounded Swedes and deleting correct facts.

I Edited the text to a more historical correct version but did not discredit any of the sides, stop deleting correct texts just because they don't fit your fantasies on how the battles were fought.

If you have any objections against my edit then im willing to discuss the sources, until then try to behave like grownups. 00:37, 29 December 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.226.32.90 (talk)

..[edit]

Out of the 6000 men lost, 1000 were killed on the swedish side. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 83.250.44.122 (talk) 14:02, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Swedish casualties[edit]

The article says that Sweden lost 6,307 soldiers, wich must be incorrect because 1,500 managed to get back to Riga, so they should not be included in the "casualties"-box. /Snillet (talk) 20:01, 10 April 2008 (UTC)


Some annoying narking has been editing lately. The Swede forces present were around 14,000 (of which 8,300 defended the supply wagons). 5000 captured, 1000 killed, rest went missing, and 6000 Swedes returned to poltava exhausted. --Nikitn (talk) 14:39, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Any neutral observer looking at the numbers given by Nikitn sees that they are perfectly compatible with the Swedish contention that 1,500 made it back to Riga (there are two thousand "uncertains" in his figure). A few history lessons:
1) until the advent of modern medicine to the battle field, armies counted their own and the enemy's "casulaties" to include the wounded and the missing in action. Anyone who did not remain in the ranks was a casualty. That is why the numbers must be interpreted with care.
2) although armies in the eigteenth century were no longer the pillaging, murdering and raping bands of the religious wars in Germany, they were still followed by a train of half-military people whose job it was to:
a) take care of victuals and non-military materiel. They continued to re-supply with the local populace, where possible applying as little pressure as possible - large-scale pillaging was found to be less productive and would of course hamper re-supply when withdrawing (that by the way is what did Napoleon in in 1812 - his "win" at Borodino and subsequent decision to takle Moscow forced him to return the same way he had come, through land his troops already had had to pillage)
b) after victory, finish off the enemy wounded and take care of own wounded (since this usually involved stealing all valuables off enemy, and sometimes even own, soldiers, this was the main attraction for people to join the retinue train and also explains why the train often included women and children - soldiers' family even)
Retinue would usually be lightly armed, with pikes and knives. They had to guard the waggons against marauders and needed something to perform their battle field duties. They would very often disappear "into nature" after a defeat. Some of them were even local, and simply switched to the winning side. This battle did not take place in Sweden or Russia proper, so there is a good chance that retinue on both sides included Belarusians/ White Russians, Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians ...
All this explains why the figures must be handled with care (even the Rusian estimate of Russian dead is probably too high) and why we are having an edit war over this article, while the general picture of what happened is not in dispute. The Russian side is obviously ignoring those 1,500 escaping to Riga, because those were probably not part of the Swedish force that actually fought at Lesnaya. the Swedish viewpoint is that because the main Russian objective (to wipe out the Swedish force and to prevent them from joining up with the main Swedish army) was obviously not attained, it counts as a Swedish victory. Some compromise must be found. The texts which are being added and deleted must be sourced. Put them here, for everyone to see. Then start looking at texts in the other side's references which contradict them, source that and find a compromise. The neutral West European version would probably consider this as a skirmish and add it to the battle of Poltava as an introductory battle (and I guess, probably count it as a Russian victory). I am sure you guys would not particularly like a merge, because this battle has a special meaning in the history of Russia and Sweden, but if the edit war continues ... --Paul Pieniezny (talk) 09:39, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Date and Location[edit]

I do not really know what is more disruptive - taking out the Gregorian calendar date for this event (so we have only a Russian OS and a Swedish calendar date for something that happened in a place using the Gregorian calendar at the time) or putting up the Polish name of a place in Lithuania (in an obvious attempt to draw the support of Polish Wikipedia editors) and/or deleting the Belarusian name of the place, but this is obviously the part that must and can be be fixed the fastest. It is known as the "Battle of Lesnaya", it took place at present-day Lyasnaya, near a place which is mostly known (and at the time was almost exclusively known) in the English language as Mogilev and they used the Gregorian calendar there at the time. --Paul Pieniezny (talk) 09:39, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure about this location link. I checked the village of Lysasnaya on google maps and came up with a location near Brest on the Polish/Belorussian border. The map didn't show Mogilev, which is the 3rd largest city in Belarus and the historic home of an army division. Thus, I suspect that placing the battle in Mogilev is incorrect.Jweaver28 (talk) 11:20, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

1 st set of figures sourced[edit]

Taken from User talk:Voyevoda:

I've added the more exact source information in the article. You can download the text of the book from here: http://files.zipsites.ru/slovari/100velikih/100_velikih_bitv.rar. However, it is a text file which does not keep the original layout and is thus not easy to read. You should open it with your browser and switch the encoding to Cyrillic. Here is a little excerpt from page 222:

Обнаружив утром покинутый вагенбург, Петр I бросил в погоню драгун генерал-лейтенанта Пфлуга. Корволант же стоял на месте битвы три дня. 29 сентября Пфлуг настиг и порубил в Пропойске до полутысячи отставших и взял остатки обоза, правда, без военного снаряжения — порох и заряды Левенгаупт успел утопить в Соже. Потери шведов убитыми и ранеными составляли 6397 человек, из них 45 офицеров, около 700 солдат попали в плен. Русские потеряли 1111 человек убитыми и 2856 ранеными. Победа под Лесной не была полной — были упущены часть трофеев и половина корпуса Левенгаупта. Voyevoda (talk) 15:09, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

I haven't had time yet to translate this all, but based on translation2.paralink.com this translates as: "Having found out in the morning that the wagon train had left, Peter I sent into [hot] pursuit the dragoon general-lieutenant Pflug. The Korvolant stood on war footing for three days. On September 29th, Pflug had overtaken and had chopped in Propoysk up to half a thousand [men] lagged behind and had taken the rests of the transport, but in truth, without military equipment — the gunpowder and charges Lewenhaupt had been able to drown in the Sozhe [river]. Losses of Swedes killed and wounded men were 6397 persons, of them 45 officers, nearby 700 soldiers were taken prisoner. The Russians lost 1111 persons killed and 2856 wounded men. The victory at Lesnaya Wood was not complete — part of trophies and half of the corps of Lewenhaupt had been missed."

Korvolant = corps volant of course. Hot pursuit cavalry. Propoysk - a little town in the neighbourhood.

The problem I see here is that the 500 Swedes overtaken by Pflug may not be the 500 missing earlier, but may be included among the other Swedish losses.

Still, looks like a good source. I like the way they describe the victory as "не была полной". doe not sound like propaganda at all and leaves room for compromise.--Paul Pieniezny (talk) 17:08, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Answer to different accusations[edit]

Next time you start to revert in an article please study the subject first.
1) Your claim that I added the Polish name Lesna in the article only because I wanted to attract Polish editors is just plain ridiculous and offensive. If you had studied the subject you would have noticed that the battle is often known as the Battle of Lesna, so including it in the article certainly has nothing to do with claimed nationalism. And the battle took place in what was then the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth so in fact by calling it Battle of Lesnaya is a Russian POV. But I have never had any intention to change that of course. And please explain what you find nationalistic on my userpage? And if you think I'm a member of a nationalistic tag team you are clearly wrong. The only tag team I know about in the articles related to the Great Northern War is the Russian one that like to use abusive edit summaries such as [3] or vandalizing userpages [4].
2) You claim that I deleted the Gregorian calendar date is plain untrue if you care to check the edit history. What I have done is to add the Swedish calendar. Before it was just the Julian calendar which at the time was in use in Russia. Now you have deleted both the Swedish and Russian dates. That's what I call disruptive edit. For someone studying the subject it's more than needed to know both the Swedish and Russian dates. The person would be very confused with the date you have added now. Of course all dates should be there, not just a modern one.
3) You claim I deleted the Belarusian name when it was I who inserted it! In fact it was the Russian tag team that has been trying to add "Lisna" instead, which to me sounds more like a Ukrainian version of the name. So again check the edit history before you accuse someone!
And I have not changed Mogilev to Mahilyow which is the name of the article here in the English Wikipedia. I have nothing to do with that.
4) And now about the casualties. Do you know where the figure 6397 killed and wounded Swedes come from? If you had studied the sources you would have known it's from a Swedish source, not a Russian one! It's taken from the second lieutenant Robert Petre´s diary. He was a member of the Swedish army that fought at Lesnaya. On the 30th (Swedish calendar) he has a rather detailed table on how many were missing and how many who could be counted at the time. 4549 from the infantry, 697 from the cavalry and 1151 from the dragoons or altogether 6397 men were missing. What he didn't know at the time is that many of the missing men made their way north to Riga instead and some even managed to join the army later. What is wrong to tell that? And the same Robert Petre also gives an exact figure on how many men followed general Lewenhaupt from Courland: infantry 8.000, dragoons 2.900, cavalry 2.000 and 50 Polish dragoons. Altogether 12.950 men. Not 16,000 as the article now states.
By the way Robert Petre calls the village Jesna, which probably was how the name was pronounced at the time. Interestingly he often writes placenames the way it was locally pronounced like Hadjatz and not the Russian way Gadyach.
5) I also think that this battle was more of a major skirmish leading up to the battle of Poltava, but I don't think it should be merged to that one since lots of things had happened inbetween and the battle of Poltava took place almost a year later. What was important with the battle of Lesnaya was that the Swedish army lost all supply wagons which was more than needed for king Karl XII´s army. This probably explains the Swedish defeat at Poltava, and that's probably why the battle of Lesnaya in Russian history is called the Mother of the Poltava victory. Närking (talk) 19:11, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
About the tag teams: I stand by my story. Let us hope that the other Russian user, Nikitn, (with different numbers) will still come here after your accusation. And that he will remain polite.
The names: that Grengam thing definitely seems misnamed, I agree but what counts is the way it is usually remembered in English. All these forms in this article just mean the same thing in various Slavic languages. Coming back to Napoleon, the "loo" in Waterloo also means wood or bush, but it is a substantive, while this one here is an adjective. I checked "Battle of Lesna" with google and found six texts, one of which calls Poltava Pultawa. Of course, Wikipedia has spoilt the googles for "Battle of Lesnaya", far too many, but you can level the ground by looking for " "Pierre-Denis Martin" Lesnaya -wikipedia" and comparing that to the same search with Lesna. 50-0. Those West European art galeries are really full of Russian POV, aren't they? I agree that Lisna was silly, except if it is the Lithuanian name (that is the main problem here, everyone is introducing controversial material without sourcing it or disuccing it on the talk page, where this sort of thing should be discussed). Yes perhaps if this was never mentioned before in English, we should call it the battle of Lyasnaya - but that is not the case. Funnily, this is how Mogilev Region invited English-speaking tourists to come to the place: [5] (no, I am not going to direct you to the casualty figures they quote, too embarassing) However, I think Lesnaya and Lyasnaya are enough. No need for Lesna, Lisna, Lesnay or whatever, though one of them would get some leniency on my part if were proven to be the Lithuanian name. As for the pronunciation "Jesna", that either suggests the German town of Jena, or a complete misunderstanding of "Wesna', which would be the Polish form "Łesna", completely different from "Leśna", I assure you. No, he just misunderstood this "ly" thingie at the beginning of the word.
As for the Russian numbers being based on a Swedish diary, that is the first time it is mentioned on this talk page. Frankly, if it is true, I am not impressed by the argument. Source A says X numbers, but source B says Y got somewhere else. And then you say: "so we must deduct Y from B because A could not have known about B". Er, sorry no go : that is typical WP:SYNTH, especially as there are perfectly other categories to put Y in, as I explained in my bit of history. Is there a Swedish source explaining the difference? Or is the source just saying 4800 or 4900 casualties? Because as I explained: you've got to be very careful with the numbers of "casualties" because those given at the time were usually exaggerated, yes, even own casualties were on occasion exaggerated. And you must compare like with like. You cannot compare a reduced Swedish figure ("this cannot really have been correct, let's deduct 30%") with the Russian figure given at the time. Note that Nikitn's version mentions 14,000 Swedes (not 16,000) and is perfectly compatible with 1,500 Swedes (probably not part of the main fighting force) making it back to Riga as there are 2,000 missing "in nature" in his figures. But Nikitn's version is not sourced. Please note that the other 16,000 number, for Russian combatants this time, seems to be based on an entry in Lewenhaupt's diary. The Russian wiki suggests that he got that information off a highly-ranked Russian prisoner of war taken at the beginning of the battle (who may have exaggerated in order to impress). Basing ourselves on two diaries written by participants (and both fighting on the same side!) can lead to problems: I hope these things cannot be interpreted as primary sources...
Your point about the calendar: I never said you deleted the Gregorian date, if you read my remark carefully you will notice that I am suggesting that the use of OS rather than NS for an event happening in Lithuania was done by the other side than the one who put up the Polish name. And that it is important that the place where this happened did use the Gregorian calendar at the time (they switched back to Julian later in the century). Contrary to what you claim, the OS date and the Swedish calendar date are NOT missing from the article, they are in a special note. If you want both in the text (the argument conceivably being that all Northern War battles have this peculiar double dating) after the NS date, no problem, even three dates can be given, but the note will have to go then. But perhaps the note is the place to do this. I just noticed that there is more than one date mentioned, so we could perhaps say "subtract 10 days for all dates to get the Swedish date and for the OS calendar date, subtract eleven days".

--Paul Pieniezny (talk) 23:06, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

After reading your answer it's obvious that you still haven't studied the subject. Instead you are trying to talk around and away from your previous accusations.
Here are just some short comments. The village where the battle took place was situated in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth where Polish was the official language so it's not strange you will find it called Lesna on maps and official documents at the time. That's also why the battle is known as "Slaget vid Lesna".
It's also interesting to see that your Russian book apparently doesn't give any source for its claim of 6397 killed and wounded Swedes. It's obvious it comes from the diary of the Swedish officer Robert Petre. This also tells something about how the Russian author is using its sources. And if the Russian book also claims to source something from "Lewenhaupt's diary" it must be a new discovery since there is no known diary left from the time. He did write down his memories later during his captivity, but that's something completely different.
And about the date. Even the Russian Wikipedia states the old style date first, which also is the most understandable way to write it. Anyone who truly wants to study this subject will find the old dates in all the sources and books. Or you also want to change the October Revolution to the November Revolution? Närking (talk) 10:29, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
You are wrong about the language: [[6]]. Lyasnaya was a small village, the reason why it was Lesna according to the Swedes was that they copied it from Polish or German maps, rather than Russian or Lithuanian maps.
You have looked at Russian wiki, but claim that the assertion about Lewenhaupt's diary comes from the Russian book. No, Russian wiki (which is of course not a good RS, but can be used as argument on talk pages) says that the figure came from a Russian adjudant general taken prisoner before the battle. Your claim that Lewenhaupt wrote his diary after being taken prisoner, would of course stop it from being a primary source (a diary may conceivably used by commanders to help during the rest of the campaign, may be important military intelligence in the hands of the enemy, and so on), but you give no evidence of that (actually, hitherto I haven't seen any of your evidence). When was the other diary written? Because on that one you use the fact that it was written immediately after the battle to allow you to deduct the people who reached Riga.
Obviously, Russian wiki would put OS first, because the Russian Empire used the Julian Calendar such a long time and later, after the battle, imposed it on the people living in this area. You seem to think that I am here to impose the Russian view, which I am not. Comment on my edits, and not on me please. I am sure you haven't even noticed I took the word "victory" out of the account of the battle (side remark to Russian editors: "there is no reason to use controversial words like "victory", "liberation" if you can describe what happened without them). --Paul Pieniezny (talk) 10:56, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
No, I have not read Russian Wiki, I have read your answer where you write "Please note that the other 16,000 number, for Russian combatants this time, seems to be based on an entry in Lewenhaupt's diary." Once again he might have written a diary, but there is no such available today. He did write down memories later, but that is not a diary. The officer Robert Petre did write a diary. It ends some days before the Battle of Poltava.
I have no idea what kind of view you might have, Russian, German, Greek or Finnish, it doesn't matter, just try to use reliable sources and study the subject first. But for no reason you have accused me of being a Swedish nationalist and also accused me of trying to get help from a Polish tag team. Närking (talk) 11:12, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Style date in article[edit]

Battle article in German wikipedia [7] tries to solve the problem as follows: 28. September jul./ 9. Oktober greg./ 29. September 1708 schwed. I found it more elegant and useful than here. Elysander (talk) 11:44, 25 November 2008 (UTC) Apropos: Different views by different reliable historians are always helpful. ;) Elysander (talk) 11:44, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

No problem, my point was that the local date was not even there. However, we have more than one date here - do we repeat that thing all the time? --Paul Pieniezny (talk) 16:04, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Hmm ... excluding battle day date itself i find only 1 or 2 additional dates in article text. Elysander (talk) 22:54, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Russian casualties[edit]

Am I the only one thinking the casualties reported for the Russian regulars is not very reliable? We know that the Russian proparganda reduced their strenght with about 100 men or more in each regiment (thanks to author Pavel Konovaltjuk). They probably then, also reduced the reported casualties with the same amount of '%' as the strenght (or more), compared to their 'real' casualties. Pavel Konovaltjuk, says the Russian casualties are not very reliable since they're not complete. And + this, as we know, there were also unknown amount of irregulars. Swedish proparganda speaks of 6,000 killed and 12,000 wounded Russians (which is heavily exegerated). Lewenhaupts said he gathered reliable information about Russian casualties during the time as a captive from Russian generals speaking of 9,000 killed or wounded Russians (total number including irregulars). And there is also, other Russian generals who states 8,000 dead or wounded Russians, the old book 'Charles XII and the Collapse of the Swedish Empire, 1682- 1719 - R. Nisbet Bain' speaks of 6,000 dead and wounded Russians. Main concern here is, why do we only follow up the Russian regular stereotypical casualty reports, which most likely isn't reliable or complete? When there's other sources mentioning 6,000-9,000 dead and wounded (Swedish AND Russian), which do not serve proparganda purposes? Imonoz (talk) 16:40, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

6,000 till 9,000 serve propaganda purposes much more than Russian numbers. The Swedish commanders needed to somehow justify their losses. Their reports are very inaccurate and contradictory. They never had the opportunity to seriously count the Russian losses. Their numbers are highly doubtful and are not being used in serious literature. Not even Swedish Wikipedia uses them. The Russian numbers are based on internal use documents of the state which are not for propaganda but for the correct military managemenent. Reducing the own losses and getting a wrong picture would have been highly counter-productive. I insist that we don't use the freaky numbers of 6,000 to 9,000. Moreover, it's not acceptable that Russian sources are deleted! I've read some other articles of Imonoz, for example Battle of Lode. The guy seems to understand nothing about military but to be a pusher of phantasy propaganda to glorify Sweden. Numbers that insult the common sense. --Shervinsky (talk) 00:47, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Before you start accusing me for being bias, I would like to say that these are the very 'modern' sources available on the battle of Lesnaya. 9,000 might be propaganda, much of the numbers in this time was, in every battle. For example, the Russians reduced every regiments' strength with 100 men, in some cases more, because of that the total strength was reduced to 15,707. However, Russian historians have found documents saying there were 17,926 men (no officers included), I will present the 'order of battle'. About the 3,967 dead and wounded Russians, new modern Russian research says The Russian list of casualties is both incomplete and contradictory, the fact is that there is no exact reliable numbers to use. This Russian casualty list doesn't verify missing soldiers, neither does it verify dead and wounded in Bauers' dragoon division, no wounded in Rostovsk dragoon regiment, no officer casualties and no Cossack or Kalmyk casualty reports, still this number have been the accepted in Russian literature. With this said, modern research denies the reliability of many the Russian sources in this battle and if I understand it right, you deny the reliability of modern research?
Let's take a look at what you want to be shown in the infobox, let's start with the 16,000 Swedes. This is how big Peter estimated the Swedish force when it marched from Riga, sounds reliable, we should trust Peter's sources here shouldn't we? The same Peter who reduced his numbers of strength to look better, could you please show me an order of battle of these 16,000 Swedes, I would love to see it. Then you want 6,397 to 8,500 Swedes be displayed dead and wounded in the actual battle. So if we trust the Swedish sources on Swedish strength here and not Peter's, 6,400 to 8,500 fighting Swedes died of an total fighting force of 9,000? Yet it was the Russians to withdraw? When there was perhaps only 500 Swedes left? Do you actually see any reliability in this or are you just blinded of nationalism? Further more, you're claiming Pavel Konovaltjuk to be a Swedish historian when he's actually Russian? He's born 1958 and lives in Moscow. I would also like to know why the actual battle itself is considered a major Russian victory in your eyes (the tactical view)? Tsar Peter I let his enemies [the Swedes] walk away and continue their march, their objective (Lewenhaupt was ordered to avoid battle), while Peter I's goal was to destroy the whole Swedish force (where he failed). Only the aftermath, the continued march brought disaster to the Swedish army, thus not because of actual fighting with the Russians or the battle itself, but only because of their present in the area, but the battle favored Russia in a strategic view, hence "strategic Russian victory". Besides, you just got rid of 6,000 kb text I added to the article, I'll have you noticed for vandalism. Stick to your traditional /soviet/ sources, but please avoid them on Wikipedia, I won't have you destroy this article which I've done so much for. And please, don't call me bias.. Imonoz (talk) 12:00, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
I'll try to give you a more detailed answer in the evening. Concerning your 6,000 kb text, you can add it again without deleting existing sources. It's up to you to initially add content correctly, not up to me to laboriously unite versions. --Shervinsky (talk) 12:35, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
No, there's an unwritten rule which basically says "don't delete already existing sourced material BEFORE you visit the discussion page", so now when yours is gone, I would like to know why it should be added? Imonoz (talk) 14:18, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Unwritten rule is nothing against a written rule. In this case it says that deletion of sources is forbidden. You violated it first. I will remove your content and restore my sources. You are free to add your content without violations. --Shervinsky (talk) 19:22, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Was that your "more detailed answer"? I thought it would be more in the lines of why your sources are reliable hence modern research says they're not? Anyways, I will continue remove every "unreliable" source you add (since, they're all already proven unreliable against newer Russian research), this will be a daily routine for me, you won't destroy this page. You started removing my sources (which are all, by the way, modern Russian sources), without having the matter discussed first. Your way of approaching Wikipedia is very immature, once you mentioned "idiot Swedes", you're saying I'm bias while you're the one denying modern research. You're vandalizing as well. Imonoz (talk) 20:18, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
I've put the numbers of casualties into the infobox and supplied them with references; all of them are taken from an article by V. Artamonov, which offers a good insight into the Swedish and Russian propaganda surrounding the battle. Although there is no doubt that the fight resulted in a Russian victory, even despite Lewenhaupt's forces were far from being completely destroyed, both sides of the conflict made efforts to play down the size of their armies and casualties and customarily exaggerated those of the enemy. It's clear that the battle was a very severe one, but neither the numbers provided by Lewenhaupt nor any other can be considered "complete" and "absolutely correct". Eriba-Marduk (talk) 08:02, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
At the time after the battle the result was disputed as both sides claimed victory, only the Swedish loss at Poltava drastically changed the view in favor of Russia. The Russian official claim of 9,000 casualties for the Swedes is heavily exaggerated, at least according to the newest research and quite frankly impossible seeing how the Swedes only were some 12-13,000 men strong with at least 6,500 making their way to the main army and another 1,500 back to Courland, so in reality, the Swedes could only have some 4-5,000 who were either killed, wounded or captured during the battle and pursuit, or perished during the march to the main army and back to Courland. 6,000 to 9,000 Russian casualties is not the Swedish official claim, the article clearly states 9,000 men are numbers given to Lewenhaupt by Russian officers participating in the battle, the Swedish official claim is 20,000 Russians killed on the battlefield, should this be added into the infobox as well or should we perhaps stick to modern research? Imonoz (talk) 13:04, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for the detailed and well-thought-out reply. It's quite obvious that the official Russian and Swedish claims dating back to the 18th century are hardly reliable, but I'm not sure if the numbers provided by Lewenhaupt and the story of him discovering the 9,000 Russian casualties from Russian officers are credible enough to be equated to "modern research". Perhaps, we should tag his estimates with "according to Lewenhaupt" (similar to "according to Petre" in another part of the table)? I'm afraid it won't make much sense if we brand his 9,000 as a "later Russian claim", since that estimate is not based on modern research in this field or any Russian sources whatsoever and is not a communis opinio doctorum. For example, Artamonov, who is the leading Russian expert on this battle, regards that claim as made up by Lewenhaupt in defence of his reputation, for it is not supported by any evidence at all. On the other hand, another number of casualties that we have here, 3,967 dead and wounded, has been reasonably criticised by Konovalchuk as "incomplete", so my proposal is to put it as "at least 3,967 (the number is incomplete)" and make a reference to Konovaltjuk & Lyth (2009). Eriba-Marduk (talk) 13:30, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
The problem I see with Petre and his numbers is that they're not really that reliable. I mean sure, the numbers could be correct, but in reality, Petre was nothing more but an ensign in the army marching with Lewenhaupt and he most likely didn't even have all the army material available as an ensign to properly count the figures, unlike Lewenhaupt or Stackelberg. I agree that the figure Lewenhaupt claims was given to him by Russian officers during captivity is not confirmed, but this is the case with most sources regarding this battle unfortunately. It should be said however, that this is not the only source hinting towards heavy Russian casualties, a Swedish field doctor later claimed, after having escaped captivity in Russia where he also participated in the treatment of the wounded Russian soldiers after the battle of Lesnaya, that the Russians had 7,784 men wounded. A Russian statesman also criticized Tsar after the battle seeing how the Russians had, which he claimed, suffered up to 8,000 casualties, of course Peter denied this, the problem with both of these claims is that I don't have the sources for them, which is why I can't put them in the article, the sources are stored on another harddrive which I can't access for the moment. I am interested in Artamonovs view however, what do he think of the numbers of 4,000 Russian casualties and 9,000+ Swedish casualties? Or those of 1,000 Swedish casualties on the battlefield which Lewenhaupt claims? What does he say about casualties overall? Reading the Russian Wikipedia article of the battle I get it as the numbers of 4,000 Russian casualties isn't exactly reliable there either, is this Artamonovs view? Or who is the source of the Russian article of the casualties there? I'm merely asking you here out of pure curiosity. I am of course talking about this:
По завышенным пропагандистским русским данным, потери шведов у Лесной составили 8 тысяч убитыми и ранеными и около 1 тысячи пленными. Был захвачен огромный обоз с трёхмесячным запасом продовольствия, артиллерией и боеприпасами для армии Карла XII. В. Артамонов подсчитывает, что из корпуса численностью 12 950 человек 877 попало в плен, 1,5 тысячи солдат и офицеров через всё Великое княжество Литовское вернулись в Лифляндию, и только 6,7 тысяч (или 6503 чел. по ведомости шведских главных сил о принятии на довольствие) Левенгаупт смог привести своему королю; таким образом, во время преследования корпуса Левенгаупта и битвы потери шведов составили 3873 человек[2]. Общий урон русских составил по минимальным оценкам русских источников около 4 тысяч человек (1111 убито и 2856 ранено). В Ингерманландском полку — ранено 22 офицера (включая бригадира, полковника, подполковника и 4 капитанов) и 361 нижний чин; убито 8 офицеров и 354 рядовых. В Семёновском лейб-гвардии полку — 141 убито и 664 ранено (почти половина состава). В Преображенском лейб-гвардии полку — 52 офицера убито и 21 ранено; из нижних чинов убито и ранено 1551 человек. Т.е. всего в 3 главных полках пехоты - 3.174 чел. уб. и ранено (не считая неизвестных точно потерь присоединённого батальона Астраханского пехотного полка). Т.обр. на долю всех других сил (10 драгунских полков Корволанта, 8-10 драгунских полков корпуса Боура, пехотные части корпуса Боура и иррегулярная конница) остаётся якобы 793 чел. потерь, что явно не соответствует действительности, т.к. только один Нарвский драгунский полк потерял 338 чел. из 604 чел., участвовавших в бою. В общеизвестной ведомости потерь не приведены потери значительной части драгунских полков, других сил пехоты и иррегулярных частей кавалерии. Исходя из того, что сражение продолжалось фактически весь день и было крайне ожесточённым, можно говорить об оценке общих потерь российских войск до 6000 чел. или даже больше. По воспоминаниям очевидцев на местах обоих этапов боя русские и шведские трупы лежали столь густо, что под ними часто небыло видно травы, и поэтому вполне логично говорить о том, что потери обоих сторон были сопоставимы. В мемуарах участников событий эпохи Петра I даже с российской стороны также неоднократно отмечается не только блистательность победы, но упорный и кровавый характер сражения, что позволяет говорить о реальных потерях намного больших, чем заявлено в неполной первоначальной ведомости. Из известных полководцев с российской стороны получил смертельную рану генерал-поручик русской кавалерии принц Гессен-Дармштадтский; тяжело ранен генерал-поручик кавалерии Р. Х. Баур (пуля вошла в рот и вышла через шею со стороны затылка («В рыло, и язык почти вывалился», — как глумливо отзывались позже шведы). Генерал-поручика, у которого отнялась рука и нога, замертво вытащили из боя и он оставался в беспамятстве до 30 сентября. Активнейший и смелый кавалерийский командир был потерян для Русской армии на несколько месяцев. Ещё 4 декабря 1708 г., оправляясь в Москве от ран, он не мог владеть правой рукой, однако под Полтавой он уже бился со свойственным ему геройством и распорядительностью)[2]. Дивизию Р. Х. Баура принял князь А. Д. Меншиков. За опоздание к бою генерал-майор Н. Г. фон Верден лишён команды. По первоначальным оценкам самого Адама-Людфига Левенгаупта, в ходе трёх стадий сражения русские потери составили приблизительно 6000 человек и он сам официально опроверг как лживые сообщения европейских и шведских газет о потерях россиян якобы в 20000 чел. в битве при Лесной. Однако во время своего 10-ти летнего московского плена, в который он попал в результате капитуляции на Переволочне, этот шведский генерал пехоты содержался достаточно почтёно и смог произвести собственное расследование итогов сражения при Лесной. Так, опираясь на ведомости полков, к которым его допустили (понятия войны были иными в 18 столетии), и на данные лично ему знакомых обер-офицеров армии Петра он неожиданно для себя выяснил, что общие потери россиян составили более 9000 человек известных поимённо только в регулярных силах. При этом в своих мемуарах (изд. в 1757 г. в Стокгольме) он сообщает, что выяснить же точно потери казаков и калмыков из иррегулярной конницы оказалось уже тогда невозможным, т.к. сами россияне не ставили их на армейское довольствие и имели лишь смутное представление об их численности, опираясь только на слова их ханов и атаманов, не говоря о точном учёте потерь. Однако их роль в сражении была минимальна, традиционно большой вред они принесли только при преследовании, а главная тяжесть потерь русской армии в битве при Лесной легла на плечи гвардии и спешенных драгун.
What does it say in short (I'd be glad if you could help me out here)? And what is the source? Imonoz (talk) 22:13, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks again, I know it well and am not going to defend Petre or prefer him over others as a somewhat more reliable source, since my only point was merely to provide different estimates of casualties, which vary widely, without sticking to an exact, single number or pretending to know the whole truth. As you have correctly pointed out, we cannot confirm the estimate made by Lewenhaupt (or any other participant of the battle, especially given the fact that all of them were more or less biased in favour of their country), so I propose to provide different numbers in the infobox, tag every one of them with “according to X” and let the reader decide the rest.
As for V. Artamonov, he considers the 9,000+ casualties as exaggerated by Lewenhaupt and is often sceptical towards the general’s analysis of the battle. In the Russian text that you have posted, it is told that according to Artamonov the Swedes lost 3,873 men, although the 18th-century triumphant propaganda put their casualties at about 9,000. The minimal number of casualties sustained by the Russian army is said to be about 4,000 (1,111 killed and 2,856 wounded); of them 22 officers and 361 lower ranks of the Ingermanland Regiment were wounded, 8 officers and 354 lower ranks were killed in action; the Semyonovsky Regiment lost 141 killed and 664 wounded, whereas the Preobrazhensky Regiment had 52 officers killed and 21 wounded and lost 1551 soldiers. That is, the main three infantry regiments lost 3,174 men killed and wounded, not counting the casualties sustained by the additional battalion of the Astrakhan Infantry Regiment. Thus, it turns out that the remaining Russian military formations lost only 793 men in total – a number that is considered too low in the text. The article proceeds to say that the Russian list of casualties does not include the losses taken by a significant part of the dragoon regiments, other infantry formations and irregular cavalry that took part in the operation (it is noted, however, that the irregulars played a very secondary role in the battle and were unlikely to suffer high losses – a view that is in line with that of Artamonov) and goes on to say that according to the accounts of eyewitnesses the battle was extremely heated and bloody, with many commanders killed or wounded and the field being covered with lots of dead bodies of Swedish and Russian soldiers, and that therefore it is not impossible to assume that the overall number of Russian casualties was about 6,000 or more, but doesn't get into details. It also makes a mention of Lewenhaupt and his claims regarding the Russian losses that were published in his memoirs in Stockholm, 1757. The references lead to the book by V. Artamonov, “The Dawn of the Poltava Victory: The Battle of Lesnaya”. I hope this will be helpful to you. Eriba-Marduk (talk) 12:02, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for that translation. Looking at this table which shows all present regiments of regular formula, one can see that these casualties is, indeed, only accounted for 4,830 men (+ their officers) and leaves the rest, consisting of 13,096 soldiers (+ their officers), in uncertainty, that is more than 2/3 of the Russian army with no casualty figures (although it should of course be noted that the division of Bauer arrived later and therefore likely did not suffer equally many casualties as the initial force). I think, by only looking at this, one can agree with modern research and views, not only by V. Artamonov but also Konovaltjuk and his Swedish co-writer and historian Lyth, that the Russian casualties most likely stretched over 6,000 men, and that 4,000 Russian casualties is an incomplete and unreliable figure, as Artamonov also seem to agree with.
Bare in mind, that the casualty figure was initially presented as 6,000–9,000 Russian casualties before it now got changed, which worked as a meeting point between the 6,000 estimation and that of Lewenhaupt and his claims of Russian officer numbers, and I honestly don't see any problems with these figures as it's all along with modern research. With this said, I don't understand why we should put figures and references to numbers, like the 3,967 of Russian casualties claimed by Tsar Peter and 1,000 Swedish casualties claimed by Lewenhaupt if they're both proven unreliable, just like 18,000 Russian casualties which is the official Swedish claim, nor the almost 10,000 Swedish casualties which is the official Russian claim.
Back to the issue with Petre, as you maybe noticed I changed the number of 6,397 Swedish losses you initially put him as reference to, for the other, 4,549 which is there as of now. The sources I have available says 4,549 here. One thing to remember though, is that the number of 6,397 is an estimation made by Petre of how many Swedish soldiers were missing after the battle, all of them can't be regarded casualties as seemingly 1,500 made it back to Sweden and many perished during the way because of battle wounds, but also sickness, exhaustion etc. The other issue regarding Petre is that even though we list him as a reference, the reader won't know who he actually was, there's no Wikipedia article about him nor any other information at all. I suggest, that as far as the Swedish casualties are concerned, we put it at around 4,000 which is both in lines of that of V. Artamonovs estimation but also Petre. So as far as casualties are concerned, I think the best solution here would be to have the article show 4,000 Swedish casualties and 6,000 to 9,000 Russian casualties, which, again is in line with the very modern research. Many different estimations in the infobox will only confuse the reader I feel like, especially as the difference between the estimations themselves differs so heavily with 14,000 men for the Russian casualties (4,000 being the lowest and 18,000 the highest number) and 9,000 men for the Swedish casualties (1,000 being the lowest and almost 10,000 the highest). What do you think of this?
I am also curious to know, what V. Artamonov says about strength for both armies, how strong do he estimate the Swedish to be? And how strong do he estimate the Russian army to be? I take it, from trying to translate the Russian article, as he estimates the Russians to have a total force of 36,000 to 38,000 men, including the irregular cavalry. Is it correct? Reading from this: 10 полков драгун (7792 чел. с Лейб-региментом Меньшикова) и 3 полка посаженной на коней пехоты, в т.ч. 2 гвардейских (4830 чел.) + 1 батальон Астраханского полка при 30 пушках. На втором этапе сражения присоединилась кавалерия корпуса Боура - 8 драгунских полков (4976 чел.). На заключительном этапе сражения подошла пехотная дивизия фон Вердена (ок. 9600 чел.пехоты) с неизвестным числом орудий. Число иррегулярной лёгкой конницы из казаков и калмыков, присутствовавших изначально на поле боя, точно неизвестно, но было весьма значительным (вероятно до 5-6 тыс. казаков и до 4-5 тыс. калмыков).
Thanks again for translating that first part I asked for, I really appreciate it. Imonoz (talk) 13:19, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
I think the best solution here would be to have the article show 4,000 Swedish casualties and 6,000 to 9,000 Russian casualties – I agree with your proposal, even though the number of Russian casualties is a matter of scholarly debate, but it is noteworthy to mention again that V. Artamonov takes Lewenhaupt’s estimate of 9,000+ Russian casualties as incorrect and unreliable, so perhaps we should not include that number into the infobox (e.g. the Russian article puts the number as high as “up to 6,000”). As for the size of the armies that participated in the battle, Artamonov puts the strength of the Swedish forces at 13,000. According to the Russian article, at the initial stage of the battle there were 10 dragoon regiments of 7,792 men and 3 regiments of mounted infantry (including two Guard Regiments, accounting for 4,830), supported by a battalion of the Astrakhan Infantry Regiment. Later, when the fighting escalated, they were joined by 8 dragoon regiments of Bauer, being 4,976 men strong. After that, at the final stage, an infantry regiment under the command of von Werden brought about 9,600 men and an undetermined number of artillery pieces to the battlefield. The overall number of Cossack and Kalmyk irregulars, who played a secondary yet helpful role in the operation, is said to be about 9,000–11,000. There are also two references leading to another modern source, namely Liljegren, B., 2000. Karl XII: En Biografi. p 162, which estimates the strength of the Swedish and Russian armies at 16,000 and 12,000 (!?), respectively, but I haven't checked it and am uncertain about its credibility. Eriba-Marduk (talk) 08:25, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
I can confirm that the numbers in Liljegren, B., 2000. Karl XII: En Biografi. p 162 presented on the Russian Wikipedia, is not right. The numbers presented in the book (which is a biography of Charles XII) claims there was 15,700 Russians and 8,300 fighting Swedish soldiers. So here it comes clear the author excludes the "Convoy guard" from the Swedish force (the force was 12,000 men strong in total with the convoy guard included, according to the book). In regards to the reliability of the source, it's clear the author here used the newer "list" of the Russian soldiers, which is said to have been modified upon the original list of the time, to lessen the actual strength of the Russian army for propaganda reasons. In short, all regiments in the battle were reduced with ~100 men, so the total force for Peter, Meniskov and Bauers divisions landed on ~15,700 soldiers, when in reality, as the original list claims, there was instead almost 18,000 soldiers in these divisions, like both V. Artamonov and Konovaltjuk states in their books. Furthermore, the irregular cavalry of 9,000 to 11,000 men (as Artamonov stated) is excluded and also the division of 8,000-9,600 men under von Werden. So no, this reference is unfortunately not reliable here, even though Liljegren is otherwise an excellent author, but it seems he didn't have the newer material available when writing about this battle.
The issue with the Russian casualties is that there's no real limit as to how big they could actually be. In comparison, the Swedish casualties are easier to estimate, as long as you know the initial force of Lewenhaupts army, which however, is disputed. Lewenhaupt himself claimed his force was about 10,900 men strong, Weihe claimed it was 11,500 men strong, and so there's Petre who claimed it was 12,950 men strong when starting the march from Riga. As we know, about 6,500 Swedes made it to Charles XII main army and another 1,500 made it back to Sweden, so at least 8,000 men here can't be regarded casualties. So the Swedish casualties couldn't extend over 5,000 men (in both the battle and retreat), that is if we trust Petre's numbers (it couldn't extend 3,000 men if we trust Lewenhaupts numbers). But the Russian casualties however are much harder to estimate, like I said, there's no "limit" as to how many casualties there could have been, unlike in the Swedish case.
I have, however, just found some sources regarding the Russian casualties. The book The History of Peter the Great, Emperor of Russia by Alexander Gordon claims there was 3,000 dead and 4,000 wounded Russians, only in the battle. So this does not include the aftermath, the chase of the Swedish army or the smaller battle at Propoisk which the Swedish casualties include. Another source I've found, which is a book written in that time The Military History of Charles XII, King of Sweden claims a captured Russian Adjutant-General named Schultz who participated in the battle was taken captive some time after the battle and said that the Russians had "6,000 killed and many more wounded". Furthermore, there's new books suggesting the Russians had 10,000 men casualties, like Encyclopedia of Battles and Russia at War.
I'm curious however, does V. Artamonov consider the number of "9,000 Russian casualties" unreliable and not possible, or just the reference, being Lewenhaupt? As far as his estimation of the Swedish army strength, 13,000 men. It's based upon Petres numbers of the Swedish army while it marched out of Riga. Here the author Nicholas Dorrell in his book The Dawn of the Tsarist Empire instead estimated the Swedish force to be about 12,500 men strong by trying to calculate the casualties sustained during the march from Riga to the battlefield of Lesnaya.
I'm really happy once again that you helped me out with translating the text! Imonoz (talk) 11:00, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Thank you very much for clearing that up! Right now, I don't have enough time to check all of the sources, but you have given me a good reason to remove the references to Karl XII: En Biografi on the Russian page or change the numbers there to those provided in the book. “The issue with the Russian casualties is that there's no real limit as to how big they could actually be” – this is indeed so, because, unfortunately for historians, the number of Russian casualties is not supported by archive documents, therefore the estimates that we have to deal with are based on either allegations or claims of those who were likely to have a bias in favour of their country (such as Tsar Peter I, General Lewenhaupt or G. Аdlerfeld, the chamberlain of the king, who refers to the "captured Russian Adjutant-General named Schultz" on the pages of The Military History of Charles XII); these contradictory claims are usually repeated in modern-day popular books without being carefully and critically examined. For example, some of the modern works put the Russian casualties at 10,000, as you have shown above, whereas Dictionary of Battles and Sieges by T. Jaques says that Lewenhaupt lost 8,000 men (p. 582), Wars That Changed History by S. C. Tucker claims that the Swedes and Russians lost 8,000 and 4,000 men, respectively (p. 188), etc. That's the main issue with modern research when it comes to the losses sustained during the battle – many authors seem to repeat the same things that were officially declared in the 18th century and cite them without criticism.
The work by A. Gordon, which you have mentioned, was written from a neutral point of view and seems like a good source. I wish I had more time to check it personally, but since I'm too busy at the moment, I recommend that you revert the article to the last good version.
V. Artamonov agrees there is uncertainty regarding the casualties and compares numerous sources, such as Weihe, Petre, Аdlerfeld and others, each containing a different number, but I haven't seen him getting into the details about the estimate provided by Lewenhaupt. I'll check his book and his articles to settle this question next time, when I have more time in my hands. Thanks again for your interesting and informative replies! Eriba-Marduk (talk) 13:47, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. Regarding Adlerfeld and his work in The Military History of Charles XII I'm suspecting that's where the number of 6,000 Russians dead and 12,000 wounded originates from, later used in the official Swedish announcement regarding the Russian casualties. But these were not the most exaggerated numbers used in the Swedish propaganda at the time, there were even worse ones, initially it was said that the Swedes fought 80,000 Russians at Lesnaya and 20,000 perished. Fortunately however, neither of these ridiculous claims are used in Swedish literature anymore. During the time, Lewenhaupt himself even denied the numbers of 18,000 Russian losses, some time after the battle. Many present authors and historians does not even use modern research of their own, but like you say, just goes with the "latest" in literature and goes on from there, which is why we should be grateful for deeper works and new research made by V. Artamonov, Konovalchuk and Lyth etc on this very subject. I have no idea where the numbers of 10,000 Russian losses comes from however, might be that the authors just rounded of the number of 9,000 Russian losses given to Lewenhaupt to 10,000, seeing how Lewenhaupt stated "they were even more". What's interesting about the work made by A. Gordon however, is that the number 7,000 match the one I talked about earlier about the Russian "statesman" (which I'm not entirely sure he was) claimed there was 8,000 (which probably was 7,000, only my memory failed me here) Russian losses, which Peter seemingly denied. I think that's the source of the claim, even though I can't confirm it as I've yet to find the source and the text.
About V. Artamonov work, I'm curious to know how his estimation (if an estimation at all or an actual number he as come over) of 3873 Swedish losses in the battle is counted, I suspect it's counted off of the initial Swedish force, like that of Konovalchuk and Lyth but it seems too precise to be an "estimation". I will modify the article slightly by using the numbers of V. Artamonov at Russian strength and Dorrells estimation and calculation of the Swedish force, which he says was around 12,500 men strong, and not 12,000 as the article currently suggests, and also clear up the strength base, making it easier and more informative for the viewer. Furthermore, I'll change the Russian casualties to "at least 7,000 dead and wounded" using the Russian source in A. Gordon's work, and skip out on the 9,000+ men claimed by Lewenhaupt, for now, until you get a more detailed look in V. Artamonov's book to see what he thinks of the number. The total losses for the Swedish army will be at around 4,000 as earlier suggested which is in lines with both V. Artamonov (although I think a number of captured Swedes "877" should be included in those 3873, which was only losses in the battle itself) and Konovalchuk and Lyth's work. Give me a hints up if you would like to suggest anything about this change. Imonoz (talk) 16:16, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
You're absolutely correct. However, I doubt that changing the number of Russian casualties to “at least 7,000 dead and wounded” makes much sense as there is hardly any concrete evidence to back up this estimate. I've just checked the book by A. Gordon and found out that his estimate of Russian casualties is about 4,900 dead and wounded (The History of Peter the Great, Emperor of Russia… V. 1, Aberdeen, 1755, p. 202), whereas the Swedish casualties are put at “above three thousand soldiers killed and wounded”. These figures are quite interesting and noteworthy, given his service as a Major-General with the Russian army during the Great Northern War and the fact that his description of the battle seems to be entirely free from any propaganda clichés of the time. Perhaps we should make a mention of him in the article, since Gordon is probably the only neutral source of information related to this battle – a Scottish officer whose work was published in the city of Aberdeen.
After making a quick search in the book by V. Artamonov, I have to say that your suggestion about the 3,873 Swedish casualties is right; indeed, that number was “counted off of the initial Swedish force” and included the 877 prisoners of war that you have mentioned. Also, so far as I can tell, his scepticism towards the claim made by Lewenhaupt is based on the fact that that claim is not supported by evidence and comes from a Swedish general most interested in defending his military reputation after the battle. Eriba-Marduk (talk) 07:09, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Page 202 of the book The History of Peter the Great, Emperor of Russia… V. 1, Aberdeen, 1755, p. 202 is about the battle of Gemauerthof and not Lesnaya, unfortunately. You have to go to page "277" in order to find the claim of 3,000 killed and 4,000 wounded at Lesnaya. I too think the source looked quite neutral, only he used the higher figures of Swedish casualties in his description of Lesnaya, but as you say he seem to be neutral and a good source regarding the Russian side, at least. It's also interesting regarding the battle of Gemauerthof which you mentioned to, it says the Russian army was 20,000 men strong on page 197-198 and not 14,000 as that article currently claims which is a source from Russian generals, at the same time however, he claims the Swedish force to have been between 8,000 and 9,000 men at page 199 and not 7,000 which is a claim by Lewenhaupt. This is quite interesting, actually. Anyway, I take it as you also think A. Gordon is quite reliable and written from a somewhat "neutral" perspective? I think 7,000 men dead and wounded might be better than 6,000-9,000 men for the Russian casualties here. We have to remember that 3,000-3,500 Swedes killed and wounded in battle at Lesnaya is not an actual claim by anyone at that time, but just an estimation and calculation made from later historians, Lewenhaupt said he only lost 1,000 men in the battle, so it's not only the Russian side which is seemingly "underestimating" their casualties in some casualty reports. Imonoz (talk) 10:55, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the correction, I was in a hurry while flipping through the book for a mention of the battle of Lesnaya and didn't notice that. The book by Gordon is a very interesting one, indeed, as it was written by a retired high-ranking officer and is full of curious details, but, alas, it is now impossible to say what sources and methods Gordon used for the calculation of armies and casualties and whether his book should be preferred over other sources or not. As you have noted, “he used the higher figures of Swedish casualties in his description of Lesnaya”, and I'm afraid that there is a risk that, at least in some cases, he relied on official figures, many of which are questionable at best. “Anyway, I take it as you also think A. Gordon is quite reliable and written from a somewhat "neutral" perspective?” – Yes, that's right. Like I said, there is no certainty about the sources and methods that Gordon used, but what we can say for sure is that he was a major-general, had a somewhat neutral point of view and therefore deserves to be taken into consideration (it is strange, however, that his name is not even briefly mentioned by Artamonov, who otherwise used a whole range of sources for his book). It would be great to find other sources, if there are any, but I doubt that we can achieve much success in doing so, especially given that we don't have archive documents concerning the Russian casualties. Eriba-Marduk (talk) 13:45, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Well, I've now read some out of the book and it seems like it does in fact match up well in many other battles and encounters, like Hummelshof, Gemauerthof and Poltava to name a few. It's correct, we don't know the home of the source, or how it's made but it's pretty clear that, when reading the book, Gordon made research of his own regarding the battles and stuck with a neutral view, or at least more neutral then what official claims made by each side, tend to be. It's clear here the numbers of 7,000 Russian losses at Lesnaya are not taken out of nothing, to me it seems likely that he did research of his own, even here. Regarding the Swedish casualties he mentions in the battle of Lesnaya, those are obviously based upon the official numbers in Russia during the time, being around 10,000 Swedish casualties, which is not even likely. What we have here is the official Swedish story of 1,000 Swedish casualties, the official Russian story of 4,000 Russian casualties which are both proven highly doubtful by all three authors being Artamonov, Kovalchuck and Lyth, with the three infantry regiments of Russia suffering over 3,000 men alone, and the unusually "bloody" outcome of the battle. All three sees it likely that the casualties spanned over 6,000 for the Russians and around 3,000 for the Swedes, in the battle. We don't have archive documents concerning the Russians, and neither the Swedes, it all got lost and burned during Poltava and the aftermath of the battle unfortunately. And reading in the literature used in the research of the book Vägen till Poltava. Slaget vid Lesnaja 1708 by as mentioned Konovaltjuk & Lyth, there's surely over 40 books used in Swedish, English and Russian, but this one isn't mentioned, so the figure isn't even considered or looked at by these two, so it's the same case, but it doesn't say the number is not trustworthy, they sure would all agree that it's more trustworthy than 9,000-10,000 Russian casualties, I believe. As I see it we have two options, we go for 1,000-3,000 Swedish casualties, even though the first number being 1,000 is most likely not accurate or we just go with around 3,000 which is the more reliable one here. Same with the Russians, we either go for 4,000-10,000 Russian casualties, even though both numbers are unlikely seeing the word from our three main authors (4,000 being too low, and 9,000-10,000 too high). Or we go for 7,000 which is an actual contemporary source of Russian casualties made from a seemingly neutral perspective of a Scottish high-ranked officer in Russian service and what's even better is that it even works as a middle figure for the two other "exaggerated" and doubtful numbers of 4,000-10,000. I still think, Gordon's number of 7,000 is the way to go here. Imonoz (talk) 17:08, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
It's great that you have already read bits of it; that book is obviously worth it. I'll do the same when I have more time. As we know, there is a whole range of opinions regarding the casualties, but I guess you can use Gordon's “about 7,000” and cite his book as an authoritative source. My only questions are as follows: what should we do with the strength of the two warring armies and the casualties taken by the Swedes? Shall we estimate the strength of the Russian army at “about 28,000”, following Gordon, instead of "30,000", if we decide to use his book as a source? And what shall we do with the 3,873 Swedish casualties and other modern estimates of Swedish losses? Perhaps we should somehow reflect different opinions on this matter. P. S.: I've just found out that there is a very short Wikipedia article about Gordon. Eriba-Marduk (talk) 19:08, 17 January 2016 (UTC)


Yes, I think about or around 7,000 killed and wounded would work great here.
Regarding the strength of the Swedish force, I'd like to put it at 12,500 instead of the present, which is 12,000. This is in lines with English author Dorrell's The Dawn of the Tsarist Empire: Poltava & the Russian Campaigns of 1708—1709" estimation of the force, calculating the casualties it suffered having marched from Riga with, if Petre is correct, 13,000 men and applied the losses the force could have suffered during the march towards the battlefield.
About the Russian strength, Gordon's number of 28,000 is actually in lines with that of Artamonov. Artamonov claimed there was 12,941 Russians in the opening phase of the battle under Peter and Menshikov, 4,976 joined the battle later under Bauer, and at last 9,600 arrived under Werden (here we would to mention that this force only had a small part in the battle as they arrived so late), so all in total = 27,517, only 500 away from Gordon's 28,000. Furthermore, there was 9,000-11,000 Cossacks and Kalmyks, obviously as these are not counted as regular forces in sources we would have to seperate them from the others and not bunch them together with the regulars but instead refeer to them as irregulars, so the reader won't think they were also regulars. I think the best option here is to go with Artamonov's source alone, seeing how they're actually detailed.
Swedish casualties are a little bit more tricky, in an estimation made by Lyth and Konovalchuk, the Swedes lost at least 2,500 in the battle itself, if counting from Petre's number of 13,000 Swedes which they had just before they marched from Riga, if taking 12,500 men into consideration, the loss would have been 2,000 men, and even lower taking in consideration the other estimations of the Swedish army being 10,900 (Lewenhaupt) and 10,500 (Weihde) men. Here my suggestion is instead that we put the losses in the battle at 3,000-3,500 men, as I've found a Swedish source claiming there were little above 3,000 men. This would put it between the estimations made by Konovaltjuk, Lyth and Artamonov by using this source. Concerning the Swedish total losses (with the events as Propoisk) if we are to include these, the figures of these vary greatly also here, Artamonov puts them at 4750 (counted of 13,000 men), Konovaltjuk and Lyth puts them at roughly 4,000 men, again counted off of 13,000 men (2,500 in the battle, 500 killed and 1,000 captured at Propoisk) and Lewenhaupt himself estimated them to less than 3,000 (counted off of 10,900 men). After the battle the Swedes left most of their wounded at Propoisk, while the fit ones kept marching towards the main army, these were 6,500. Seemingly, the ones left at Propoisk were about 1,000-1,500 men (these were the ones mostly killed or captured by the Russians later). Another bunch of soldiers about 2,500-3,300 men strong instead marched back to Sweden, of which 1,500 arrived the rest perished because of possible wounds (we don't know how many of them were wounded, but most of the wounded were as previously said left at Propoisk) others because of sickness, starvation, exhaustion etc. My suggestion is that we put total Swedish casualties to 4,000 men here.
Well, with that said, what do you suggest on the matter? "Perhaps we should somehow reflect different opinions on this matter." are you saying here that we, for the Swedish casualties, should make it 1,000-3873 in the battle and 3,000-4,750 overall? Also, I think we could have a link in the infobox right under the given casualties, directing the reader to more detailed information (expanding the text at the "casualties" section", for the ones who are interested. There they could also read about the other claims, such as the 4,000 and 9,000 and 18,000 Russian casualties and 1,000 and 10,000 Swedish casualties etc and what the authors think of them and why they don't find them reliable, what do you think? Imonoz (talk) 21:14, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
"I think we could have a link in the infobox right under the given casualties" - Right, that sounds like a good idea. I have just added a link leading to the "Casualties" section and enlisted the sources that I have mentioned so far. Also, I've just finished reading some of the articles published by P. Konovalchuk and to my utter surprise found out that he is in fact not a professional historian, has never had any academic degree whatsoever and works at the Scientific Research Institute of Nutrition (despite not being a certified specialist even in that field of knowledge, as far as I can tell). In all of his Russian publications he is referred to as nothing more than an employee of the Institute of Nutrition. That said, I have classified him as a "writer" instead of "historian". Eriba-Marduk (talk) 10:27, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
I did some further expanding in the "casualties section", most of it is the calculation made by Einar and Pavel, and also Artamonov (although I'm not sure how those numbers were calculated, maybe you can help here). Also, I made hints as to why some of the claims are not regarded reliable according to the authors. I did the changes I mentioned earlier as well, changed both the Swedish force and the Russian force. Artamonov actually presents a number of possible irregulars (Cossacks and Kalmyks) and Einar and Pavel does not, which is why I think Artamonov's more detailed and complete list of troops is better here. Also 12,000 to 12,500 Swedish troops, in lines with Dorrell's estimation of marching losses from Riga. Yes, I see now that Pavel Konovalchuk is not an historian, good and important correction of mistake in the article, on your part. Imonoz (talk) 19:11, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Right, I see that. In my recent edits I have slightly improved the grammar in some parts of the text and deleted the words that were wrongly attributed to Artamonov; they were my translation of the text taken from the Russian page. When I have more time, I'll try my best to add more sources and details to the article, including those from the book by Artamonov. Eriba-Marduk (talk) 21:11, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for correcting my grammar mistakes. Well, alright, Artamonov made a valuable point in regards to the official Russian claim of 4,000 men dead and wounded, if I understood it correctly. Just like he made a valuable point regarding Lewenhaupt's claim in Moscow. But yes, those were wrongly taken from your translation, you didn't seem to add his opinion in your first edit so I added it instead and hoped you would modify it to his actual saying, but yes, please add it when you have time. Do you have his book or are you reading from his articles? Imonoz (talk) 21:59, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
You're welcome. I have a digital version of his book and some of his articles and hope to make use of them in the future. And again, thanks a lot for your help! Eriba-Marduk (talk) 22:13, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Hi. I've just finished reading “The Dawn of the Poltava Victory…” by V. Artamonov and have to conclude that the numbers from the Russian page are not based on his work; nowhere in his book does Artamonov estimate the Russian strength at “36,000-38,000 men”, but he does mention the 12,941 men that were present in the Russian ‘'Corps Volant’’ and states that there was an unknown number of Don Cossacks and Kalmyk irregulars that accompanied them and played a minor role in the battle (their limited participation should be made clear in the article, I believe, as these troops were used only for skirmishes and pursuit of the fleeing enemy). Here is an excerpt from his book with all the numbers included: [8] It seems like somebody used his own figures for the Russian page, and I'm afraid that we will have to find another source. Eriba-Marduk (talk) 12:01, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
Okey, that's great. No, of course we can't have 36-38,000 cited with him as reference, if that's the case. What numbers do he put for Bauer's division (arriving 16:00) and Werden's infantry which arrived just after the battle? Are these the same? 4,976 men and 9,600 men or are there any differences here? Was that of Russian and Swedish casualties (Artamonov being skeptical towards the Russians official casualties and Lewenhaupts claim) really Artamonov? Did he say anything about it in the book? I wonder what source Russian Wikipedia is using here. In regards to the irregulars, in the article I have put them as "irregulars" redirecting to Irregular military, their main task during the battle was probably to attack the Swedish convoy to bind up as many Swedish troops there as possible, so they wouldn't be available against Peter's "regular" force coming from the north. Swedish descriptions speak of such attacks. Probably about 3,000 Swedish soldiers could not be used in the main battle at all due to this reason, but was on the other (southern) side of the Lesnjanka stream protecting the convoy against irregular attacks and being used in the vanguard, another 2,800-3,600 men arrived in the actual battle after several hours since they too was first issued to protect the convoy because of irregular troops. But yes, we need to check the sources to see which ones matches with that of Artamonov. Imonoz (talk) 13:03, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
According to Chapter 5, there were 4,076 men in the eight cavalry regiments of General of the Cavalry Bauer. As for the infantry regiment under Major General von Werden, it is said in Chapter 3 that it had 6,191 troops in total. In a detailed footnote, Artamonov proceeds to explain that the initial and maximum strength of the regiment was 8,118 (which is still less than 9,600; I wonder where the latter figure comes from), but a part of it was lacking for different reasons. The number of casualties varies in his book, as he enlists almost all figures known to date and even explains how some of them were derived, but nonetheless he puts his own estimate at 3,873 for the Swedes, just as I noted in my earlier replies. For the Russians, he uses the official figure of 3,967, adding briefly that this number is incomplete. With that said, I'd like to ask you a question about what R. Petre and F. Weihe (Weihe Fr. Chr. Löjtnanten Fr. Chr. von Weihes dagbok… S. 11-12) say in their books about the casualties of the Swedish army? Do Petre's 4,549 men lost in the battle (s. 171-172) include only infantrymen, like at least one of my sources claims? Is there any mention of 1,749 dragoons left out of 2,900 that I have found in my source? What does he say in regards to the cavalry? Eriba-Marduk (talk) 21:17, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
I see. I suspect that the detachment (900 men) at Propoisk is not included in that number of 4,076 men under Bauer? Personally I've never encountered a number of 9,600 under Werden either, only 6-8,000, however, it could be that the number of 9,600 includes irregulars, but I'm not sure. It seems like the number of 9,600 comes from the same source like that of 9-11,000 irregulars, which we don't know. Unfortunately I neither have Petre's or Weihe's books. So I'm not exactly sure how Petre got the number of 4,549 men (these are the total casualties and not only from the "battle"). What I know is that, according to Petre, 6,503 men were "fit for combat" in Propoisk after the battle and the rest, 6,397 were either lost in the woods, killed in the battle or by Kalmuks, wounded or sick. I suspect Petre took note of the 1,250-1,500 men who made it back to the Baltics of those "missing" and also the stragglers that made it to the main army. Reportedly, Lewenhaupt had 6,000 men with him when he reached the main army (so about 500 had died because of wounds, sickness, starvation etc). But in total, 6,500-6,700 men reached the main army, so it's possible 500-700 men were stragglers from those initially missing, so at least 1,750 men would be reduced from the number of 6,397. However, I've not seen any statement saying Petre "ignored the losses of the dragoons" from any Swedish author. Weihe said that the Swedes lost a little over 2,000 men in the battle and another 1,800 men afterwards (at propoisk etc), so 3,800 in total. I wonder what source used the numbers of 9,000-11,000 irregulars, I've found the user adding the information, it's "95.79.166.143" on the Russian Wikipedia page. I'm interested in the source, not only because of the numbers of irregulars at the Lesnaya battle, but also because of the Battle of Grodno (1706) (Russian article) where the same user added information about the Swedish casualties being 3,000 men (and not 100 which is currently there), probably using the same source. Maybe we could try to contact him and see if he answers? Imonoz (talk) 17:34, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
That's great, thanks for the helpful details. It looks like there is a typo in the book by Artamonov, as other Russian sources provide a figure of 4,976 instead of 4,076 (that said, in one of the works that I have recently found the overall number is said to be 17,926 regular troops with 30 2- and 3-pounder guns). I've dropped a message on the talk page of the anonymous user in a hope that he is still active there in the Russian Wikipedia and won't miss it. I have to agree with you that at least some of his figures are not supported by other sources and are somewhat dubious, especially given that even the maximum size of the regiment under the command of von Werden, which includes every single soldier and officer attached to that military unit, even those who were absent in September 1708, is still lower than 9,600. It is also puzzling and leaves one wondering how he calculated the number of the irregulars; Artamonov, who uses different archive documents, believes that their real number is hitherto unknown and “hard to estimate”. The latter states in his book that in the Battle of Kalisz Menshikov had about 10,000 Cossacks and Kalmyks under his command, “an unusually huge number”, while on other occasions their numbers were much lower. Eriba-Marduk (talk) 09:19, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
Okey, I understand. Yes, something similar like that of 17,926 regulars engaged in the battle is also what is said in the book by Lyth and Konovalchuk. Okey, hopefully he answers, seems like an interesting source he's using, I wonder what it says as well about those 9,600 men under Werden, maybe those include civilian campfollowers. That's interesting, 10,000 irregulars in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is massive, indeed. According to one Russian source, there was around 50,000 Cossacks and Kalmyks with the Russians sometime in 1708, which is quite a big number (seeing how the Russian regulars consisted of not much more than 100,000 men against the Swedes in the Russian campaign). The closer towards Ukraine the war raged, the more irregulars it seems. Look at Poltava where there was a possible number of totally 30,000! Cossacks and Kalmyks fighting for both sides, but you're right, during other battles there were not more than 2,000-4,000 irregulars. Imonoz (talk) 20:05, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
Yep, their numbers varied widely. The anonymous user in the Russian Wikipedia was active for a very short period, that is, only two days in November 2015, but it is not unlikely that he will return someday, so we can wait for him to reply. By the way, I have found another estimate through browsing the Web: 5,149 infantrymen under the command of Golitsyn, 7,801 cavalrymen under Menshikov, 4,976 cavalrymen under Bauer, i.e. 17,926 regular troops in total. Still, however, I can't find those 9,600 under von Werden anywhere in primary and secondary sources alike. Eriba-Marduk (talk) 15:43, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Did that source say that Golitsyn commanded 5149 men and infantry only? and Menshikov 7801 cavalrymen? because according to the sources I've seen there was at least one infantry regiment with Menshikov. There was 5149 infantry (including the artillery gunners) and 7801 dragoons in total initially with Tsar? I doubt he will answer back, it seems like he uses a lot of different IP:s. I checked it through and saw at least 4 different IPs used by him when editing. I saw his last edits on the Russian article about the battle of Fraustadt 1706. He is the unknown editor with the different IPs contributing around November 19-24 I believe. I found a clue to the source (perhaps, if it's the same one) and it's in here "Опираться на Тарле - это смешно. Есть новейшие профессиональные исследования. Как с Вами связаться ?" and "Ещё раз повторюсь - опираться на Тарле когда есть исследования 2008-2012 гг, это смешно". There is a source in there right? And by the way, why was all his edits in the article removed by the other users? I couldn't understand the fuzz about it. Imonoz (talk) 17:56, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes, exactly. It mentions only cavalrymen under the command of Menshikov (7,801) and Bauer (4,976), that is, 88 cavalry squadrons with 12,777 men in total. The text is as follows: "Infantry. Commander: General Count Golitsyn: Preobrazhensky Life Guards Regiment: 1,556 men; Semyonovsky Life Guards Regiment: 1,664; Astrakhansky Regiment: 319; Ingermanlandsky Regiment: 1,610; in total: 5,149. Cavalry. Commander: General of the Cavalry Count Menshikov. Cavalry brigade of Colonel Rozhnov: Nizhegorodsky Dragoon Regiment: 753; Troitsky Dragoon Regiment: 839; Tverskoy Dragoon Regiment: 779; Nevsky Dragoon Regiment: 786. Division of Count Menshikov: Brigade of Colonel Count Meschersky: Life Guards Regiment of Count Menshikov: 604; Vladimirsky Dragoon Regiment: 914; Sibirsky Dragoon Regiment: 702; Smolensky Dragoon Regiment: 888. Brigade of Colonel Kempel: Rostovsky Dragoon Regiment: 767, Vyatsky Dragoon Regiment: 769. In total: 7,801. Squad of General Bauer: Brigade of General Bem (dragoons): Koporsky Regiment: 588; Yamburgsky Regiment: 546; Kargopolsky Regiment: 582. Brigade of General Schaumburg (dragoons): Kievsky Regiment: 612, Narvsky Regiment: 385, Ustyuzhsky Regiment: 655, Novgorodsky Regiment: 930. In total: 4,976. 12,777 cavalrymen, 5,149 infantrymen, 30 guns = 17,926 regulars."
As far as I can tell, the anonymous user was critisised by other editors for adding a lot of unreferenced content written in an emotional style that is not suited for an encyclopedia. In the summary of his edits, which you have quoted, he stated briefly that there are newer sources published in 2008-2012, yet he didn't cite any of them, except for this one: "Fraustadt: a Field Dyed Red". Apparently, he meant "Fraustadt 1706: Ett fält färgat rött" (2008) by Oskar Sjöstrom. Eriba-Marduk (talk) 19:20, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Sorry for my late response. I see. What source is that you're using? I will try to look for the source the anonymous user had, it might take some time, so during the time we should change what's currently wrong being cited by Artamonov. Like the numbers of irregulars and the party under Werden. We could still have the irregular number there, but put a "reference needed" note behind it, in case any other user knows the source. Furthermore, we should change the number of Werden's army to 6 or 8 thousand (which one do you prefer?) until we know what those "9600" men is. Imonoz (talk) 16:33, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
It's okay, I'm not very active here either. The source that I used was Bespalov A. Battles of the Great Northern War. M.: Reiter. 2005 (in Russian), a book that I recently found on a website. I'll be happy if you find the source that the anonymous person used for his estimates or anything else of use that we can cite here in a reference list. Bespalov and Artamonov put the number of the irregulars at hundreds to thousands men, but I'm afraid that it is nothing more than guesswork, as the real number remains a mystery. Perhaps we should put it at “thousands of irregulars”, without getting into details. Von Werden had 6,191 men under his command at the time when he arrived to the battlefield, according to Artamonov, and from hence I guess that we should add this number with a reference to Artamonov V. The Mother of the Poltava Victory: the Battle of Lesnaya. 2008. Chapter III. Another number, 12,941, is also provided there in the same part of his work. Oh, and one more thing: after looking at the title of the scan of his book, I've noticed that it is actually called “The Mother of the Poltava Victory”, as Peter the Great himself named the battle of Lesnaya, although in Web sources this book has a somewhat different name: “The Dawn of the Poltava Victory”. We should prefer the real name, of course. Eriba-Marduk (talk) 16:01, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
I see. In the book "The Dawn of the Tsarist Empire" by A. Dorrell. he gives a rough estimation on page 108, also based on guesswork, at between 2,500 and 5,000 irregulars in the battle, maybe this could be used until we know (if I find the correct source) a more exact number? So, basically 12,941 with Peter (Artamonov), 4,976 with Bauer (Bespalov), 6,191 with Werden (Artamonov) and so 2,500-5,000 irregulars (Dorrell)? When you say "arrived to the battlefield" regarding Werden's division, does Artamonov clarify about when they arrived? Imonoz (talk) 17:11, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes, these are the numbers that we should add to the infobox, I believe. “4,976 with Bauer” are also mentioned by Artamonov on other pages of his book, as I have just found out, so it's pretty obvious that “4,076” was nothing more than a single typo. Both authors agree with each other on this matter. Bespalov provides a smaller number of the irregulars than Dorrell, however, “from 900 to 2,500” men, which is guesswork too. I guess that we should use both the highest (Dorrell) and the lowest (Bespalov) estimates, i.e. “900-5,000”, in order to reach a consensus. And regarding your question: unfortunately and alas, Artamonov does not say when the infantry division under von Werden stepped on the battlefield. Hope this helps. Eriba-Marduk (talk) 11:46, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
I guess 900-5,000 would work just fine, so we cite both authors here. 4,076 doesn't have to be a typo as that's how many that arrived to the "actual" battlefield, joining up with Peter I's forces, the missing 900 men had been engaged with the Swedish vanguard at Propoisk since the very beginning of the battle. But Artamonov does say that they stepped on the battlefield, as the battle was still raging? or did they arrive just after the battle was over? It's also some uncertainty in the book by Lyth and Konovalchuk regarding the "exact" arrival of Werden. Imonoz (talk) 20:34, 18 February 2016 (UTC)
the missing 900 men had been engaged with the Swedish vanguard at Propoisk” Alright then, we can leave that figure (4,076) without change. “But Artamonov does say that they stepped on the battlefield, as the battle was still raging?” Nope, he says only that there were “8 divisions under Bauer (4,076 men)” in the “actual” battle and that according to the official source they lost 321 men wounded in action, but unfortunately, he doesn't get into details about the exact size of the troops during the fighting. Eriba-Marduk (talk) 21:05, 18 February 2016 (UTC)
I did some changes to the infobox (the article needs these changes as well) accordingly, but I need the pages of Artamonov's book to the numbers. Also, do Bespalov say that there were 900 irregulars initially with Tsar Peter I, or 900 in total, with both Peter and Bauer? Because Dorrell splits his numbers up with at least 2,000 with Peter and at least 500 with Bauer. Just to make sure. And, can you put a Russian version of the "citation needed" mark on after the claims made my the anonymous author in the Russian Wikipedia in an attempt to see if anyone can give the correct sources or if the author comes back? I think that would also help (I've not managed to find anything myself yet). Imonoz (talk) 16:19, 23 February 2016 (UTC)
Here you go, I've added references to the infobox. Bespalov believes that there were between 900 and 2,500 irregulars in total (P. 242), while Artamonov puts their overall strength at between "hundreds" and 2,000 (P. 47). Also, in response to your advice, I left four "citation needed" marks on the Russian page yesterday. Eriba-Marduk (talk) 14:50, 24 February 2016 (UTC)
Thank you so much. I'll rewrite the article slightly in the weekend (hopefully) to these numbers and sources using your pages. I'm very happy you found out Artamonov wasn't the source behind the earlier estimate of troops. And thank you for that notification on the Russian page. I feel like we've improved this article a lot, I'll perhaps try to make it a "good article" in the future, but I want to wait a bit to see if it's stable enough to avoid edit wars etc. And by the way, if there's anything regarding the Great Northern War which concerns you (perhaps an article you feel is too bias towards Sweden) tell me if you're searching for other Swedish alternative sources and I'm happy to help and make it more neutral and balance it. Again, thank you so much for your help. Imonoz (talk) 16:24, 24 February 2016 (UTC)
Thank you very much for the kind words and your great effort in improving this article, min käre vän, it is always a pleasure for me to work with an intelligent and competent editor. I, too, hope that one day it will be nominated as a good article. Perhaps, in the future, I will also add a few sentences regarding the tactics of the Russian army, with references to Artamonov and other sources, when I have enough time. It is great that we can share our knowledge of Swedish and Russian sources with each other. Eriba-Marduk (talk) 12:04, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

Where is Friedrich?[edit]

Will the real Friedrich von Hessen-Darmstadt (the one who died in 1708) please stand up! The article at present wrongly links him to a Frederick who died in 1682. Cheers, Bjenks (talk) 14:59, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

OK, I seem to have found him here, in German Wikipedia. I don't have any German, so could someone else fix this, please? Bjenks (talk) 15:22, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
Yes, you're right Bjenks, sorry for this "lazy-edit" by me, didn't notice I linked to the completely wrong man. I'll make a short English article about Friedrich von Hessen-Darmstadt (1677-1708), giving I don't have a whole lot of information about him or none German speaking skills, we will see what google translate can do for me here. And once again thank you so much for your recent edits! we all appreciate it. Imonoz (talk) 15:40, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
I'm glad to help out, Imonoz. A couple more suggestions: (1) The "Gå-på" does not sit well in English—we need to either find a good translation or link it to an explanatory article; (2) If you want to refer to the same book over and over again, why not reference exact page numbers, using Template:Rp? Here is one example of how it could look. However, not many English readers will have access to your sources or be able to understand them! Cheers, Bjenks (talk) 09:09, 6 June 2013 (UTC)
I totally agree, the "Gå-på" tactic might be confusing for English readers who're not familiar with the tactics used. Thing is, the closest translation of it would be something in line with "Walk-on" (but even then it would still be confusing, some might just think this means they marches against the enemies and exchanged fire as in typical warfare during this time). Which can only be obvious to some but not for all. When I've came across the words of the tactic in English literature it's usually shown as "Ga-Pa" with a short explanation of what it means. here's one example:
Ga Pa: This was a tactical system unique at the time to the Swedish army. It was an extremely aggressive tactic that called for the troops to advance into hand to hand combat as quickly as possible, using the minimum of firing and the instead relying on the bayonet and the pike. Deployed in 4 ranks units would advance as quickly as possible, sometimes not even bothering to form line! At about 50 yards the unit would pause to allow the 2 rear ranks to fire a volley, at about 20 - 30 yards the front 2 ranks would do the same, then the whole unit would charge into combat.
Although this site in particular might not be reliable enough as a reference, it shows a good example of how it could be mentioned in the article. Now I don't know what's best, citing another wikipedia article mentioning the Ga-Pa method as Caroleans or quickly giving a short explanation of it in the current article, what do you think? (The book "Vägen till Poltava" which is the common reference in this article, explains this very good) And in case of mentioning it in the article, I could try doing so. The Swedish cavalry wedge formation mentioned in the article, could also be misleading as it was close to unique during the time and should not be confused with the typical "arrow shaped formation". Here the cavalry instead charged in a more looking "plow-formation" knee-behind-knee "under Swedish cavalry tactics" to get the impact as great as possible.
Yes, that would probably be ideal giving a more detailed explanation of what sites being refereed to. Great suggestions, I'll have a look at them along with fixing that map and making of the Friedrich von Hessen-Darmstadt article. Imonoz (talk) 10:32, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

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