Russian Conquest of Kazan, 1552

In 1523 Russia undertook a campaign against the Khanate of Kazan, in which the fortress of Wassilsursk was established, as a base for future Russian operations. A campaign in 1547 was aborted due to logistical problems. The 1550 campaign reached the fortress of Kazan which was taken under artillery barrage. Worsening weather caused the Russians to abort the siege; the Russians built the fortress of Swijashsk only 25 km to the south of Kazan. In the spring of 1552, yet another campaign was undertaken; am army of 45,000 men moved against Kazan. Meanwhile, an army of Crimean Tatars and Ottoman soldiers had invaded Russia's south and laid siege to the city of Tula, a diversionary strategy because this siege was soon aborted.
In August the Russian force reached Kazan and laid siege. The Kazanka River was diverted, to deprive the city of her water supply; in addition, miners dug tunnels to place explosives under the city walls. On October 2nd 1552 the city was taken by storm.

Czar Ivan IV., byname the Terrible, was ingenuitive in the use of military techniques; his many wars depended on the supply of gunpowder (from England, via Archangelsk). The Khanate of Kazan, and soon after (1556) the Khanate of Astrakhan were annexed by Russia, which then controlled the entire Volga River.

Die Schlacht um Kazan (the Battle for Kazan), from Geschichte der Kriegskunst (History of the Art of War), in German
Muscovite Conquest of Kazan, by John Sloan
Kazan 1552, from Historiske Slag, in Danish

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 9th 2003, last revised on November 17th 2004

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