Burkhard Christoph Von Münnich - Ottoman Campaign of 1734-1739

Ottoman Campaign of 1734-1739

In 1734, by the reference of Ernst Johann von Biron he was sent to take the city of Danzig (Gdańsk) and after a prolonged siege and evasion of Stanisław Leszczyński was heavily reproached. However after that in 1733, the Russian Empire was able to install Augustus III of Poland as the King of Poland (ratified in 1736).

In 1736, as the Commander of the Russian army he headed the Turkish campaigns besieging the important ports of Azak and Özi. On May 21, 1735 he stormed and sacked Or Qapı penetrating into the Crimea peninsula. Münnich destroyed the important Tatar cities of Kezlev, Aqmescit, and Bakhchisaray. He was forced out of the peninsula due to poor logistics and battle fatigue of his formations, while another General, Count Peter von Lacy, took Azak earning himself a rank of the General-Fieldmarshal. Münnich refused to resume the campaign the very next year, but he returned to the lower Dnieper steppes in 1737, and on July 2 took the fortress of Özi with the help of the Russian artillery. During the sack of Özi, he manually raised the regimental banner of the Izmailovsky Regiment on one of the towers of fortress after a successful attack. Also the siege of Özi was later mentioned in the comedy tales of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, based on the adventures of the page to Duke Anthony Ulrich of Brunswick, Baron Münchhausen. Due to the heavy losses, the campaign was paused again while conducting negotiations in Nemirov (Podolie) without much result. In 1739, Münnich won the Battle of Stavuchany, took Khotyn two days later, and established himself firmly in Moldavia. His victory in this campaign was later mentioned in one of the Lomonosov's odes, considered to be the first poem of Russian literature. Threatening to burn down the capital of Moldavia, the city of Iași, he forced the Moldavian boyars to sign the annexation of Moldavia. After the Ottoman war he was awarded the Order of St. Andrew and the Golden Weapon for Courage. Due to military losses of the Habsburg monarchy and worsening of the relationship with the Swedish Hats, the Russian Empire had to sign the Treaty of Niš by which it had to return the newly acquired Nogai steppes while keeping the fortress of Azak.

Marshal Münnich now began to take an active part in political affairs, the particular tone of which was given by his rivalry with Biron, duke of Courland. Münnich's activity was brought to a close by the revolution of 1741; he was arrested on his way to the border, and condemned to death. Brought out for execution, and withdrawn from the scaffold, he was later sent to Pelym, Siberia, where he remained for several years, until the accession of Peter III brought about his release in 1762.

Catherine II, who soon displaced Peter, employed the old field marshal as director-general of the Baltic ports. Münnich died four years later in Tartu and was buried at his estate nearby, where his grave was damaged by the Soviets. The Russian 37th Dragoons Regiment used to bear his name.

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