Armies of the Middle Ages by Ian Heath

By Ian Heath

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The network of garrison towns grew even thinner here. The oldest and northernmost tier of Russian settlement in this region, partially shielded by the Riazan’ Array, began at Zaraisk on the Osetr river, below Kolomna, and ran along the Oka through Pereiaslavl’-Riazan’ and the Meshchera forests to end at Kasimov. ” Not far below them stretched a second tier of garrison towns, most of which had been built in the mid-sixteenth century: Mikhailov, Pecherniki, Epifan’, Dankov, Pronsk, Riazhsk, Shatsk, and Sapozhok.

The regional security provided by the defense line and corps arrays in turn encouraged further military colonization to the immediate south; and when enough new garrisons were established south of the original defense line a second defense line was erected to link them up, and the corps relocated to this second line, thereby establishing a new perimeter much farther south. Thus the longterm trajectory of Muscovy’s southern frontier defense strategy can be seen in the successive southward shift of force concentration from the Bereg Line along the Oka (c.

Just over half (4211 men) were cossacks or middle service class cavalrymen, most of whom were concentrated at Riazhsk, Voronezh, and Elets; six of the other towns had fewer than 250 cavalrymen each. 19 Even in regard to siege troops most of these garrisons were undermanned, and certain of them – Dankov, Riazhsk, Shatsk, and Lebedian’ – desperately needed more artillery, larger grain stores, and repairs to their fortifications. 20 38 State Power and Community in Early Modern Russia Let us call these three belts of garrison towns the Nogai Front, since they faced out upon the easternmost of the main Tatar invasion trails, the Nogai Road.

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