began the wars against Revolutionary France well and truly
on the back foot.
army had undergone major reforms under Catherine the Great,
but her death in 1796 brought the reactionary Paul
I to the throne of the Tsar.
was determined to return his army to what he perceived to
be the best style for a military force - that of the Seven
Years' War - and went about introducing ridiculous drills
and uniform changes.
of these included marching stiff-legged and putting steel
balls into the hollow butts of muskets so they would rattle
on the parade ground.
for Russia's military, Paul was assassinated before he could
completely ruin it and under his son, Alexander
I, it returned to the path of modernisation.
Russian army was truly massive, with estimations of its strength
in 1795 being just under 750,000 men, more than 500,000 of
which were infantry.
to the infantry came from the nation's serfs, who were signed
up in regular levies by their landowners for 25 years' service.
were tough, uneducated men who suffered the difficulties of
military life with stoicism. If wounded, they were not allowed
to show pain and Baron Marbot said this often badly affected
his men who thought the Russians superhuman.
officers were not highly regarded by other nations' officer
corps, being ill-educated and prone to gambling and excessive
without doubt, these factors were overlooked on the field
of battle where courage and devotion could not be considered