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Armies of Ivan the Terrible: Russian Armies 1505-c.1700 (Men-at-Arms) Paperback – 11 Jan 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (11 Jan 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841769258
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841769257
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 0.4 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Well written and organized, the "Armies of Ivan the Terrible" is another in the great line of Osprey publications. That is is beautifully illustrated by Angus McBride, this reviewer's favorite Osprey illustrator, makes this book a must for anyone interested in this period." -Bolling Smith, "Coast Defense Journal"

About the Author

David Nicolle was born in 1944. He worked in the BBC Arabic service for a number of years, before gaining a doctorate from Edinburgh University. He has written many books and articles on medieval warfare, and has been a prolific author of Osprey titles for many years. David lives in Leicestershire, UK.Viacheslac Shpakovsky was born in 1954. He teaches in the History Department of Penza University in Penza, Russia. He has written a number of articles on various aspects of Russian and military history for both academic journals and popular magazines in Russia.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By simply brown on 4 Jun 2011
Format: Paperback
Having grown a bit bored with the history of 15/16th century England, I was intrigued having gone through Osprey military series to find this book on The Armies of Ivan The Terrible. As is so often the case when a powerful overlord or dictator comes to power, the first thing they do is re-organise (if they have not already) the military, which lets face it is how most historical leaders held on to power in those days anyway. Detailing how The Cavelary, Streltsy (armed musketmen), Cossacks & infantry were organised plus also the various enemies (Kazan Tarters etc) are also looked into & the different military instalations these armies worked & fought out of.
This book is a great (if some what slim) read with fine illustrations by the late Angus Mcbride, & makes me want to now concentrate on medieval Russian military exploits. Review submitted by Major Easy (Simply Browns`s partner).
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Wadecki Krzysztof on 10 Dec 2009
Format: Paperback
As usual "author" Nicolle doesn't have a clue about Slavic and Eastern European history and matters...

Unable to manage the matter on his own he wisely (?) takes the help of a Russian historian...
But Nicolle's ignorance on the subject leaves him completely in the hands of a historian that follows a chauvinistic Russian history tradition. Facts are omitted, fabricated or bent out of shape, all to suit a Russian nationalist point of view.

The huge Polish political and military influence on Russia of those days is here completely omitted, just the way chauvinistic Russian historians since ages always have tried to do in order to hide and forget that obviously inconvenient fact.
This is like trying to describe England's Napoleonic wars and as much as possible trying to avoid mentioning Revolutionary France!

The fact is that for a long time during this period the balance of power could have gone either way and it was rather by chance that Russia and not Poland became the power house in Eastern Europe - in spite of for instance the placing of a Polish Tzar on the Mucovite throne in 1610 by Polish forces.
In fact it was the Polish-Lithuanian dominance that stopped Russian expansion westwards for over a century, and was a reason for the Russian expansion towards Siberia instead.

This book, on the contrary, makes every effort not to mention this Polish-Russian struggle. At times it becomes comic, like the use of parts of the Polish painting depicting the battle of Orsha in 1512 and never mentioning that it actually shows a devastating Russian defeat against...a much lesser Polish force. Or when (several times) mentioning the Zaporozhian Cossacks that marched upon Moscow in 1618 and being defeated.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Great potential, mediocre outcome 23 Feb 2006
By Nicholas Dawson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I preordered this book with the greatest excitement. I had been wondering if Osprey would ever cover 16th and 17th C. Muscovy. Being a writer myself, I would have proposed this book had I not been locked in the NW USA with mediocre Russian language skills and no access to original sources, battlefields, and equipment. Unfortunatley Shpakovsky and Nicolle, who between them had everything I did not, did not write anything in this book that I didn't already have in English-language secondary sources. (I'll make a concession here - the section on fortifications has some very interesting marterial)

The first star I give just for somebody writing a book on this sorely neglected subject. I give the second star for all of the photographs of period pictures and military equipment. I would have bought the book just for them.

After these items, though, I can't say much for the book. The research seems to have been lazy and carries a very heavy "Great Russian" bias. I can inderstand this so some extent - all historians have their biases (although mature historians are aware of their own biases and try to cover the bases a bit more), but some of the comments are simply demeaning to Russia's neighbors. Choice was the timeline entry for the 1648 Cossack uprising - here called "the war to unite the Ukraine with Muscovite Russia," an description of the events that was formed only in the 1950s in Soviet Russia. This indicated not only bias, but poor research.

The plates are enjoyable, but have a disturbingly sharp resemblance to the plates of M.V. Gorelik's "Warrior's of Eurasia." Unfortunatley this book is out of print. But it seems that almost every figure from Gorelik's plates that was relevant to this topic has been copied right down to the details. I know that they would both be based on similar original sources, but the consistency of the similarities is disturbing. Unlike many of Nicolle's other (very good) Osprey works, no sources are given for the plates). Also, some of the plates are not as relevant to the test - esp. the Cossacks. The text deals mostly with the Don and other Eastern Cossacks, yet the plate only shows Ukrainian/Zaporozhian Cossacks. Finally, although I enjoy McBride's work, it seems a little rough here. The horses, especially, are starting to look a little disproportionate and weird! (just see the fron t cover pic.)

Ultimately, I just hope (although I fear that this is the case) that Osprey and other publishers will not neglect this niche of history, thinking that it has been "filled" by this book. I'm afraid we just get one book on this topic, and it's just not very good.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
lack of coherence and originality 8 April 2006
By dariopol - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book-let should be cited as a exmaple of how not to write works on historical subjects. The subject matter should be covered in 2-3 books Osprey-style, and still the material would have to be constrained to fit them. The Polish-Lithuanian title from Osprey consisted of 2 books yet it covers a bit less time frame - 1569-1696AD, and Russian armies did undergo more changes etc. Was this shortness of material caused by lack of knowledge on part of the authors?

The title alone is so... deceiving. Was Ivan IV the Terrible alive in the year 1500 AD? No, he was not, but his father was who actually set Russia on her path of the neverending territorial growth. Ivan IV assumed the trone in 1547, when

he came of age, and reformed the country ( also creating the first standing army - the strelets).

Where are the Don Cossacks, their organization and their fabulous conquest of Siberia? nowhere to be found!

What the hell are the Lithuanian warriors doing in this book? Lithuania was conquered by Russian in 1795, but prior to that time she was an independed country, with its traditions, language, armies etc. This Lithianian inclusion was also perpetrated in the 'Medieval Russian Armies 2' title of the same team, where all of the sudden Lithuania became part of so called "Western Russia" (known since the inception in the 10th century as Bielaruss).

Ukraine is also treated as part of Russia, and the Cossacks described here are the Zaporozhains - well, this is straight from the texts of the imperial Russian historians of the 19th century and their communist marxists followers of Soviet Union.

The reforms of the 1620 and 1440s are not given any adequate treatment, nor one can find any illustrations of the reformed, very Western looking army of the 1650-60s, the time of the terrible war with Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which nota bene Russia did not win, suffering terrible defeats one after another.

And so on and so forth...

Mr Shpakovsky might be a friend of Osprey Publishing editors, but he is a not a scholar nor authority of any sort in the Russian modern history, and rather a laughing stock in Russia proper - almost 20 years in his doctoral studies and yet to get his Phd degree (sic!)

Illustrations - nothing original, and actually some of them copied exactly from Mr. Gorelik's Montvert book titled 'Warriors of the Eurasian Steppe").

In summ, for 10 US dollars this appears to be not a bad deal, but what exactly one will be buying? My answer is that this is nothing but a convoluted, Soviet-style, terribly unimaginative and inoriginal material with some rather inogininal illustrations, Mr. McBride does save their skin here.

Was this title needed then? Perhaps, and after reading this Nicolle-Shpakovsky team work I believe the goal has not been achieved. Please someone, do a nice, thorough book on the subject, with some good illustrations etc.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Excellent illustrations by McBride but extremely biased manipulative text. 9 Dec 2009
By Wadecki Krzysztof - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As usual "author" Nicolle doesn't have a clue about Slavic and Eastern European history and matters...

Unable to manage the matter on his own he wisely (?) takes the help of a Russian historian...
But Nicolle's ignorance on the subject leaves him completely in the hands of a historian that follows a chauvinistic Russian history tradition. Facts are omitted, fabricated or bent out of shape, all to suit a Russian nationalist point of view.

The huge Polish political and military influence on Russia of those days is here completely omitted, just the way chauvinistic Russian historians since ages always have tried to do in order to hide and forget that obviously inconvenient fact.
This is like trying to describe England's Napoleonic wars and as much as possible trying to avoid mentioning Revolutionary France!

The fact is that for a long time during this period the balance of power could have gone either way and it was rather by chance that Russia and not Poland became the power house in Eastern Europe - in spite of for instance the placing of a Polish Tzar on the Mucovite throne in 1610 by Polish forces.

This book, on the contrary, makes every effort not to mention this Polish-Russian struggle. At times it becomes comic, like the use of parts of the Polish painting depicting the battle of Orsha in 1512 and never mentioning that it actually shows a devastating Russian defeat against...a much lesser Polish force. Or when (several times) mentioning the Zaporozhian Cossacks that marched upon Moscow in 1618 and being defeated. One gets the impression that this was some Russian internal affair or civil war, when it on the contrary was a great Polish-Russian struggle in which the Ukrainian Zaporozhian Cossacks only participated as loyal sovereigns to the Polish Crown as part of the Polish-Lithuanian force, since both Belarus and Ukraine were part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. By the way, the war ended with territorial losses for Muscovy which the authors also fail to mention.
And to still describe the Ukrainian Cossacks in the chauvinistic Great-Russian style as "Little Russians" is nothing but a pure insult to modern day Ukrainians. I find it very hard to believe that any greater portion of the Ukrainians ever felt like "little Russians", this being a Russian Pan-Slavistic term and just an excuse to dominate Slavic neighbouring countries (actually, historically it's rather the Russians being "Little Ukrainians" since they migrated FROM Ukraine TO Russia!). In the same manner in the chapter "Russia's Frontiers" there is a paragraph called "Western Russia and Lithuania" that actually is about Lithuania and Belarus which in true Russian chauvinist style is regarded as Western Russia. The reason for this Russian policy is to make their claims on Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine more legal by making the impression that those lands "always" have been Russian. All happy Russians here!

The book has lots of other bent facts. For one thing I wonder exactly when and where the superb Polish winged hussars were defeated by Don-Cossacks, or Zaporog Cossacks for that matter? The hussars went down in history virtually undefeated, participating in many won and lost wars and battles, but hardly ever failing in their own performance.
This false claim in the book, and many others like it, are made to enhance and embellish the Russian fighting effort of those days.

The fact is rather that besides the very disciplined and devoted Russian artillery the Russian army of the period was greatly inefficient, badly organized and unreliable. Small Polish-Lithuanian or Swedish armies would beat and scatter Russian armies of up to 4 or 5 times their own size. Even Ivan the Terrible almost fell into Polish captivity in 1581 when his troops got routed deep in the Holy Mother Russia (conveniently omitted in this book).

Also the book tries to take Russian credit for the unification of the Dnepr (Zaporog) Cossacks into a politico-military community, or host, in 1536. Yes it all happened all right, but not in Muscovy Russia but rather in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth which allowed such autonomic organizations. The despotic and autocratic Russia on the other hand was the one that actually prohibited and crushed the Zaporog host in the late 18-th century. But we're all happy Russians here...

The authors continue to talk of Cossack naval raids on the Black Sea against the Turks in 1612-24. Yes it happened, but it had nothing at all to do with Russia, since it was Cossacks of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth that were the perpetrators.

Furthermore the book tries to imply that the Zaporog Cossack rebellion 1648-54 was a war to unite Ukraine with Muscovite Russia! Nothing of the kind! It was a political civil war in which the Poles and Lithuanians (foolishly) denied the Ukrainians to become co-rulers of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (thus obstructing a Polish-Lithuanian-Ukrainian Commonwealth). It was not until the rebellion was almost crushed in 1654 that the desperate Zaporog Cossacks asked for the help of Muscovy against the Poles. The following war divided the Ukraine into a western Polish part and an eastern Russian part in 1667. The authors also fail to mention that the eastern Ukrainian disappointment with the despotic Russian rule was so great that civil war broke out and the desperate Ukrainians actually allied themselves with their arch-enemy Turkey against Russia!! Instead the writers mention that 10 Zaporog Cossack regiments entered Polish service after 1667, making it look like they deflected to the Polish side for some unknown reason, when in fact they re-entered Polish service out of disappointment with the despotic Russian rule. But we're all happy Russians here!

And now to some of the superb illustrations by the late, great and much missed Angus McBride. As always his work is excellent and the illustrations alone are worth a purchase of this book.
However it should be mentioned that figure C1, a strelets of Prince Radzivill actually is a Lithuanian enemy of the Muscovites, and not a representative of the Russian forces. In the same manner figure D1, tatar auxiliary of Belorus-Lithuania is a descendant of those Tatars that sought and found refuge in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1396 before the rampaging Tamerlane. This is another bending of history to make it look like Lithuania and Belarus always have belonged to or were a part of some mythical Russian brotherhood. Well, not before the Russians conquered and occupied these lands in the late 18th century. Figure G3, Guard Cavalryman is actually a poor man replica of the Polish winged hussars but it's not mentioned with a word in the book. Neither the fact that the unit was raised by the Tsar in 1654 under the renegade Pole Krzysztof Rylski or that it was the first Russian cavalry unit mass equipped with lances according to the Polish style - all signs of the vast Polish influence of those days.

In fact the Polish presence in Belarus and Ukraine has been longer than the Russian. But foremost, neither Belarus nor Ukraine are there to be dominated by Poland or Russia, they have an absolute right of their own to an independent existence.
Sadly Osprey has naively helped to spread post-Sovietic Russian chauvinism and untrue national myths that flourish in neo-imperialistic Russia of today.

This is the way Russian historians have been and still (anno 2009) are told to write their old and new history by the Russian authorities. Kids in Russia are still taught - in newly written history books, mind U - that WWII started in June 1941 with the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union. The fact that WWII started with the joint allied Nazi German and Soviet attack on Poland in 1939 is conveniently...omitted. All happy Russians here!

If Mr Nicolle would have had any knowledge at all of the subject he would not let him be lead by the nose in this dilettante manner.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Armies of Ivan the Terrible 24 Oct 2007
By K. Murphy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I cannot vouch for the historical accuracy of this book, but its content is presented in a concise and readable fashion, and it is well-endowed with excellent plates by Angus McBride. This title seems to be another humorous case of David Nicolle's habit of naming books covering a several century span after one man (as he did with Attila, Arthur, Saladin, and El Cid).
Not Ivan, Not Helpful 22 July 2014
By M. Hughes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Point one, don't be fooled by the title. Out of this too-slender volume, maybe two pages are dedicated to Ivan's armies. Most of the photos and writing describe armies as much as three centuries after Ivan.

Point two, for the price, this book is a ripoff anyway. It's little more than a brochure.

I bought this book because as a freelance writer-editor, I needed background for a historical novel I was working on set in sixteenth-century Russia. Frankly, I found more from judicious website searching than I did by reading this book, so it wasn't helpful at all.
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