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“The strength is not in stones”, as Nicholas Nadejdin said

On almost on every of the numerous tours to the new Ovidiopil fortress we hear the same question: "Well, what is this little earthen fortress? Comparing to the Belgorod-Dniester it is even somehow not serious...". It has been noticed, by the way, . Back in 1839 Nicholas Nadezhdin, in his "Walk on Bessarabia", said: "This (Ovidiopol-Adzhider) was a house of cards in compare with the opposite stronghold Ackermann." Although immediately answered this question: "“The strength is not in stones”, And he was absolutely right ...

In the XVII century the era of terrible and heroic stone fortresses, with their walls, towers and a dungeon, came to an end. Sebastien Le Pretre, the Marquis de Vauban (1633-1707) - Marshal of France, was great in the history of war art proved: "Enough rising in the high walls, it's time to dig into the ground." And developed a "theory of forts" as a basis for the military art defense.

Ovidiopol`s fortress designed by Vauban's follower, Franz de Vollanom, is just such a fort - strengthening protected by earthen wall, covered by a moat, equipped with a shooting position. The effectiveness of this strengthening is confirmed by lifetime: 20 years of its existence, as the existing combat units, never even tried to attack it. Although the Turks, on the "other side" of the Dniester, were Ackerman, and Ishmael, and Bender, with their numerous garrisons and detachments of the army.

And how you do attack this? The brainchild of de Volan was very effective. Expedition kept two exhibits demonstrating this effect in our museum. Huge rocky Turkish core with a diameter of 31 centimeters and weighing more than 40 kilograms. A similar core is showed to the Akkerman`s tourists as it is “stuck in its walls”.

Even the photo shows that the core is encased in a wall as a decorative element. In reality, the kinetic force of the impact of such core would spread the stonework. And what to speak about the fate of these clutches when the cause were taken with iron cores gun weighting 5 pounds each and which were 104 millimeters in diameter, a sample of such iron core is in our exhibition? They shot one order of magnitude faster, core speed was 2-3 times higher, and it was possible to drag up these light weapons under the very walls of the fortress. And point blank.

But it didn’t work like that with earthen forts. Even at close range, even the rain of cores falling into-earth absorbs any kinetics. When, after 20 years, on the Borodino field, the French attacked the supporting center of the Russian army, the battery of Raevsky (18 guns), than in order to destroy the fort, constructed quickly by Raevsky`s soldiers on the "Barrow height", the French took five divisions and about 20,000 (twenty thousand!) cannon shots of the 150 (!) guns. That is to say, the French poured onto the battery more iron than it weighed all earthworks. And only after that the battery "went out", having to earn the nickname "the grave of French cavalry."

Here's how they were these small and inconspicuous earthworks. Small, but cocky. Therefore мy answer to the above tourists 'sacramental' question usually is: "Yes, the mighty and fearsome Ackerman was on the other side of the estuary. But it was the "past". And the "future" of military history was here in Ovidiopol-Adzhiderskoy earthen fortress".

Dmitriy Stadnik

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