Greetings fellow history buffs.

I read a book on the Soviet Army called, not surprisingly, Inside the Soviet Army. The author, Victor Suvorov (note this is an edit as there was confusion with the soviet general from 1700s), mentions how Soviet doctrine of attack/envelopment came from Russian doctrine which was adopted from the one the Mongols used in the 12th century. Seemed like a long time ago so I started looking into Russian engagements from the past (by that I mean country of Russia post say 1300) and saw a lot of instances when that tactic was used against them (Finland WWII, Germany WWI, Swedes in 1700s, French in 1800s).

However if Suvorov is correct, then there must be at least one example of the Russians employing these tactics successfully against somebody over the past 700 or so years, otherwise, why would it be doctrine? Looking back, I haven't found anything that would indicate the Russians employed this strategy prior to WWII.

Were the Russians themselves ever successful enough in using a Mongol-style envelopment to crush their enemy (pre-WWII presumably with cavalry) such that such a tactic would become doctrine?


  • Start with Suvorov himself. – Pieter Geerkens Aug 29 '20 at 17:52
  • I'm not sure Suvorov ever had the cavalry to do this as you suggest, but at the same time I don't think that should be the criterion? What specifically is the aspect of a "Russian battle" you are asking us to find tactical solutions to? Is it clear that someone in the 9th century can solve a problem one way, and that someone solves the same problem similarly five centuries after doesn't necessarily mean the same tactical doctrine is being followed? – gktscrk Aug 29 '20 at 18:23
  • No Suvorov, never had cavalry, lol! He made it seem like this was longstanding doctrine but I couldn't find any evidence it had been employed successfully prior to WWII. Will edit the question for clarity. – Prof Kev Aug 29 '20 at 18:59
  • I'm sure Suvorov occasionally commanded cavalry units. – Tomas By Aug 29 '20 at 19:05
  • 1
    Correct @TomasBy, the Suvorov I am talking about was the author: Viktor Suvorov, not the general Alexander. Sorry for the confusion. – Prof Kev Aug 29 '20 at 19:10

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