The “Magnificent Age” - Catherine II TL

23. The war. #1
23. The war. #1
A bad strategy is more than a lack of a good strategy. It lives its own life according to her logical laws.”
R. Rumelt
The best strategy is to always be as strong as possible; this means first of all to be strong at all, and then at the decisive point."
“The place of military action is the general's chessboard, it is his choice that reveals the abilities or ignorance of the military commander.”
“If a person understands how to do anything, even it is spitting against the wind, he can no longer be called a complete fool.”
“Go somewhere already...
Lord to Moses”

S.S. Musanif, ‘Shooter’s first rule’
"The problem of choosing lesser evil depends heavily on which side of the gun you are on. "
S.S. Musanif, ‘Epoch of the second rate scumbags.’
“If you want peace, prepare for war. If you want war, prepare for war. In short, if you want it or not, there will be a war.”
Unknown author​

Before the Ottoman army could be assembled, the Sultan decided to send the Crimean Tatars into a major raid to cause as much destruction as possible. For that purpose the current Khan was replaced with Qirim Giray, the best Tatar military commander. The numerous Budzhak and Yedisan hordes formed the core of the Khan’s army before his attack in 1769. In addition to them, in Balta, the Khan's army was joined by the corps sent by the Turkish Sultan with a force of about 10 thousand sipahi cavalry. The combined army of the Khan, which marched from the Balta in December 27, 1768 (January 7, 1769) numbered 80,000 Turks and Tatars, in addition, besides 8,000 of the small parties invading allied Poland to collect food and fodder.[1]

There were some critical comments about the weaponry and quality of these troops but strength of these armies was in their high mobility, great numbers and the raiding tactics improved to a perfection by many decades of practice.

December 27, 1768 (January 7, 1769) After a solemn, Asian magnificent ceremony, Qirim-Girey left Kaushany with his guard, top military leaders and dignitaries. The whole next day, December 28 (January 8), the "Bessarabian troops", the main forces of the Budzhak Horde, who had previously gathered in Khan-Kishl under the leadership of their Serasker Sultan, crossed the Dniester on eight ferries. In the camp near Dubossary, Qirim-Girey waited for some time for the rest of the Tatar detachments coming from the east. Then all the forces of the Khan's troops gathered in Balta and eight days later, on January 13 (24), moved from here to the east.


The war was declared in 1768 and Catherine and her Commission expected that it will start later in 1769 giving some time to prepare for it. This was somewhat silly because presumably at least the whole last year Russia was preparing to it and by that reason not sending more troops to the PLC and because starting from September 1768 there were numerous reports about preparations to the big-scale Crimean raid into the Russian southern territories. And most of the data received indicated that the Russian Elisavetgrad province would be the main target of the upcoming Tatar attack. This administrative-territorial unit was formed in 1764 from the former New Serbia and the Novoslobod Cossack Regiment. Pushed forward beyond the natural border formed by the Dnieper and the Ukrainian defensive line, the Elisavetgrad province was closest to the Turkish fortresses of the North-Western Black Sea and the lands of the Edisan and Bujak Nogais. The length of the southern border of the Elisavetgrad province (with the Zaporozhye steppes) was about 250 km, and the western border (with the Polish Uman region) was about 70 km. Strategically, the position of the region was open, and therefore its defense was considered an extremely difficult matter. By the beginning of the war with Turkey, the Elisavetgrad province included the districts of three settled cavalry regiments [2] - the Black Hussar (former Hussar Croats), the Yellow Hussar (former Pandur Infantry) and the Elisavetgrad Pikeman (formed from the former Novoslobodsky Cossack Regiment), as well as the newly settled schismatic freedoms. By the beginning of the war with Turkey, the newly formed province was in the stage of active settlement and numbered about 75,000 inhabitants of both sexes.

The administrative and military center of the province was the fortress of St. Elizabeth construction of which started in 1754. The fortress, located on the right upland bank of the Ingula River, was planned to be large and designed for a garrison of 2,000 infantry and 200 dragoons. P. A. Rumyantsev wrote about it: "The very fortress, laid down and not built completely due to a bad position, is not convenient for anything; it will always be under blockade and cannot stand for a long time without communication, which is easily suppressed from everywhere."

Governor of the province, major-general Isakov, Had a variety of service experience, including judicial, administrative and engineering, but did not command troops during the fighting. For a number of years, he managed the Elisavetgrad province, knew it well and considered its development and defense his main official duty. By 1768 the province had a single regular infantry regiment and about three settled regiments Rumyantsev wrote that they are “just the armed peasants”. On the top of it these cavalry regiments had less than 50% of the needed horses. There were also 3 Cossack regiments, totaling 1,038 people. They stood at outposts near the borders of Novorossiysk province.

Not that situation in Rumyantsev’s 2nd army was too cheerful. In total, 14 infantry and 16 cavalry regiments (3 carabinieri, 2 dragoon, 7 hussars, 4 pickemen) were assigned to the 2nd Army, with 40 field guns and 10 small unicorns. If the regiments were in a prescribed size, the army would have 21,728 infantry, 13 thousand cavalry and 9 thousand Cossacks. However, the recruits recruited at the beginning of the war had not yet arrived, and they only had to be taught military affairs; in addition, the already sparsely populated regiments were weakened by the allocation of teams to accompany the recruits. Out of 14 infantry regiments, 10 were a former landmilitia in a process of being transformed into the regular army. What’s worse, most of these troops had the old muskets, which were so bad that they simply could not be repaired. And the field artillery existed on paper: the army had only small regimental guns.

Small wonder that Rumyantsev believed that the lands of the Elisavetgrad province were too forward and open to enemy attack, which made it inexpedient to defend them. On September 23 (October 4), 1768, two days before the declaration of war by the Porte, Rumyantsev once again wrote to the Kiev Governor-General F. Min Voeikov on this issue: “As far as the defense of Elisavetgrad province by the introduction of my part of the troops is not only to Your Excellency, but also at the Court, I always said one thing that that land, according to its position, has no convenience to protect it with the forces here.

Catherine’s reaction was that while the gubernia is, indeed, vulnerable, but the military honor requires if not completely repel the enemy’s invasion, than at least make it extremely costly. In other words, for reasons of state prestige and military psychology, the defense of the Elisavetgrad province was considered necessary. Rumyantsev complied by sending two regiments but did not consider this to be a good strategy: his idea for the winter of 1768-69 was defense along the Dnieper and along the Ukrainian fortified line and, on this basis, he built his plans, in which there was almost no place for the Elisavetgrad province. Which, of course, was rather cynical because population of the province would be left at enemy’s mercy. But, OTOH, with his understrength army he was expected to defend the perimeter stretching from far end of the Azov Sea all the way to Moldavia and to be ready to provide help to the 1st Army which had to operate just in Khotin area.

Isakov was repeatedly reporting that the forces in his disposal are inadequate for the province’s size and expected invaders’ numbers. Even with the reinforcements his main force consisted of three under strength infantry regiments totaling 1,800 and garrison of the St. Elizabeth fortress had only 400 (by their quality they were not even considered for the field service). To act against the light Tatar cavalry Isakov asked for 5,000 Cossacks but Rumyantsev sent only 2,000 who proved to be of a low quality. Isakov distributed his forces in a cordon fashion on a front of over 180 km stretching from south-east to north-west with the St. Elizabeth fortress being a center of defense.

All this was done in expectation that the Southern flank is going to be protected by Zaporizhian Cossacks. However, when the invasion started, they made a neutrality agreement with a commander of the Crimean right wing allowing his troops to pass through their territory.

Having passed through the lands of Khan's Ukraine, the invading army on January 15 (26) crossed the ice of the Southern Bug and entered the Russian borders at the Oryol Shants (small earth fortification) at the confluence of the Sinyukha River into the Bug. Then the Tatars, moving along the desert steppes of the Zaporizhian territory, changed the route and went down the bank of the Bug to its left tributary of the Dead Waters River and along it rushed to the northeast, to the Russian Elisavetgrad province. In those days there were severe frosts, with abundant snow and blizzards. The Tatars reached the Ingula River, the border of the Elizabethan Province, crossed it below the fortress of St. Elizabeth, and already on January 19 (30), the advanced detachments approached the fortress at a distance of five versts. This difficult bypass maneuver benefited the Tatars, partly disorienting the Russian command. During the week of the journey, the mounted Khan's army with a pack convoy passed about 280 kilometers through the snow-covered steppe in the frost and blizzard, which was another proof of the unsurpassed mobility of the Tatar cavalry.

Isakov initially concentrated the main force of his force at the village 15 km to the west from the fortress but upon receiving the information that the Tatars are actually approaching from the South sent call for the reinforcements and marched close to the fortress.

At the border of the Elisavetgrad province at the military council of the Khan, it was decided to divide the army and send a third of it, composed of volunteers, to the carry roundup throughout the province. Scattering into many small detachments (or chambula, from the Turkish çapul) for many centuries has been an invariable tactic of predatory Tatar raids. According to Tott, the council decided that these detachments, "constantly splitting into the smaller units, will cover the entire territory of New Serbia, burn all villages, all harvest, capture residents and take the herds away." It was also supposed that "the rest of the army will cross Ingul the next day and go in small marches to the Polish border, gradually drawing up to the fortress of St. Elizabeth to guard the forage and wait for their return." The task of the main forces of the Khan's army was to imitate the threat of the fortress of St. Elizabeth and, without trying to attack it seriously, tie down the garrison forces to allow the chambuls to freely plunder the villages of the province. Then the Tatars were going to move to the Polish lands; the prisoners captured by the detachments should later be fairly divided between the entire army. When the next day the core of the Tatar army led by the Khan followed the chambuls to cross the Ingul, there was a short-term thaw, and by night severe frosts struck, and the next 24 hours became the most fatal for the horde, 3,000 people and 30,000 horses died from the cold. Turkish sipakhs especially suffered from the frost; unused for the harsh climate, they had no supplies, starved and begged for food from the Tatars.
Isakov was sending the parties, including the whole infantry regiments, but the Tatars avoided a direct confrontation. However, when it became known that the enemy’s force amounts to 80,000 the military council decided to keep troops on the fortress and only on January 20 (31) upon receiving report that the enemy is moving within 3 - 4 versts, Isakov got out with his main force. However, the winter storm was so terrible that the visibility was limited to few meters and nothing was accomplished. The Tatars had been spreading throughout the province looting and burning but the weather took its toll and when it reached the Shanets of the 19th Company of the Elisavetgrad Pikener Regiment, located 18 km east of the fortress of St. Elizabeth, “The army was so bad that it was afraid of a sortie: in fact, a detachment of two or three thousand people, attacking us at night, could cut everyone.” To save situation a volunteer unit imitated attack on the fortification allowing the rest of the army to spend a night in a nearby village and in the morning (after the village was burned) the army moved northward toward the Polish border. Isakov had been marching parallel to it at the safe distance. In a piecemeal fashion he got as a reinforcement three weak battalions but the Tatars were already leaving the province. Isakov in his report was blaming his passive behavior upon the small numbers and severe weather which caused a complete exhaustion of his troops.

On January 25 (February 5), when the Khan was already on his way to Poland, few thousands Tatar attacked fortress Tsibulev but were repulsed with the considerable losses. “The enemy suffered much more damage, because in addition to losing people from the cruel cold, seven hundred and thirty-four had been killed by parties sent by me, and we lost ten hussars, pikemen and Cossacks, two were missing, six were wounded.”
On February 1 Khan reached the Polish territory. On February 5 (16) after stopping and distributing the loot Qirim-Girey with the Budzhak horde marched from Savrani towards Kaushan. The rest of the Khan's army was disbanded and sent home. On February 13 (24) Khan reached Kaushani and the raid was over.

Rumyantsev’s headquarters were in Glukhov, 370 km as the crow flies from the fortress of St. Elizabeth, too far from the entire Ukrainian line. In addition, the Tatar attack caught Rumyantsev in Kiev, where he went to a meeting with the commander-in-chief of the 1st Army, Prince A. M. Golitsyn. Having understood from the reports of Isakov and other local commanders, that the events are not developing in the most favorable way, Rumyantsev criticized the commander of the troops in the Elisavetgrad province. “You had quite enough of infantry and cavalry, you had to, having learned only the entry of the enemy, meet him with a military hand and in case of battle, if you could not gain the upper hand, then it would be decent to retreat with your corps to the fortress under protection of its cannons… You, Mr. General, will be responsible for everything that you have already missed, and even more so, if the enemy freely reaches the Dnieper and you will not dare to hit him, behind or from the side, to slow him down with your weapon, without relying upon other commanders.” Isakov came out with his corps from the fortress only 6-7 days after the passage of the main Tatar forces near the fortress, and in two days with forced marches, despite the frosty weather, he went from the fortress to Novomirgorod, about 55 km in a straight line. From there, Isakov moved further west, towards the border entrenchment of Arkhangelsk. For chasing he sent ahead a light cavalry. It failed to catch up with the main Tatar force but was actively hunting down the small Tatar detachments. Taking into an account that most of that cavalry was composed of the locals, cruelty of dealing with the captured Tatars is not surprising.

Simultaneously with the invasion of the Khan's army into the Elisavetgrad province, the smaller hordes under the leadership of Kalga and Nureddin attacked Bakhmut and Wolf Waters, but were successfully repulsed by local Russian garrisons and quickly retreated, although they managed to take prey. The Tatar forces that approached Bakhmut on January 27 (February 7) were estimated by the Russian command at only 5,000 people.

While the military losses on the Russian side were negligible, those of the civilian population had been estimated approximately at 16,000 with a good chance that a big part of that number was taken on the Polish Ukrainian territories. Anyway, the province was thoroughly looted and destroyed.

Upon Rumyantsev’s insistence Isakov was removed from his position. Shortly after returning from the winter campaign, in the second half of March, in the midst of preparations for the upcoming summer campaign, Qirim-Girey suddenly died in his palace in Kaushani of an unknown disease, most probably as a result of poisoning: he was too often and too loudly expressing his opinion about the Grand Vizier.
[1] Baron Tott, who accompanied the Khan in this campaign reported 3 armies: 100,000 (led by the Khan), 60,000 and 40,000.
[2] These were leftovers of the old system of the military settlements with the military settlers representing a minority of g the province’s population. They lived around few small earth&wood fortifications and were, in general, ill trained and purely armed.
“If you want peace, prepare for war. If you want war, prepare for war. In short, if you want it or not, there will be a war.”
Unknown author
I feel that this is applicable to a lot of things

Also on a scale of 1-10 how screwed are the Ottomans, 1 being they win, 10 being oh allah, Constantinople has fallen, Ankara burns, and Dracula is skewering the Sultan
I feel that this is applicable to a lot of things

Also on a scale of 1-10 how screwed are the Ottomans, 1 being they win, 10 being oh allah, Constantinople has fallen, Ankara burns, and Dracula is skewering the Sultan
The war just started so neither side is being screwed so far. TTL belongs to the category “unpredictable past”. 😜
Well, lets just say OTL Russia more or less destroyed the Ottoman fleet, Egypt revolted, Greek revolt, Russia gained right to protect Christians, vassalized Crimea, annexed Kabardia and most Ottoman territories on north side of Black Sea, I'd say OTL was like a 7. Then a second war. Frankly I think there are good odds Alexmilman will have Ottomans in *better* shape than they were by early 1800s OTL. Frankly the Ottomans were lucky to make it roughly intact until 1912 given the shape they were in in early 1800s, really helped there were some other things European powers were focused on before 1820s and then most decided keeping Ottomans was better than getting rid of.
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The war. #2. Dances at Khotin
24. The war. #2. Dances at Khotin
“Usually soldiers win battles, and generals get honors."
"It's bad if young people learn martial art from books: it's a sure way to produce bad generals."
Napoleon I Bonaparte
“Nations always attribute victories to the talent of their generals and the courage of their soldiers, and the defeats are necessarily explained by fatal accident."
Anatole France
“A bad general leads a herd of victims."
Pierre Boist
The more lead in the chests of the soldiers, the more orders on the chest of the generals."
Talent generates enemies; talentlessness and mediocrity - friends.”
A. F. Davidovich
“I did not quite get the meaning of your last move.”
‘Father Goose’
“The moment of realizing your lack of talent is a glimpse of genius.”
Stanislav Jerzy Lec
Who wants to do something is looking for the method, who doesn’t - for an excuse.”
“It is not the uniform that makes a person worthy, but a person should be worthy of the uniform.”

unknown authors​


A little bit of a historic background. The fortress of Khotin, located on the right bank of the Dniester River, was founded somewhere in the X century and passed through the numerous reconstructions. The castle with its 40 meters tall walls belongs to the XIV century. In the XVI century it was regularly taken by pretty much everyone who bothered to attack it, including 500 Zaporyzhian Cossacks who captured it in 1563. However, with the same regularity it kept being returned either to the Ottomans or to their Moldavian vassals. For example, in November 1673, the Khotyn Fortress was lost by the Turks to Jan Sobieski to be recaptured in early August 1674, and lost again in 1684. With the 1699 Karlowitz Peace Treaty, the fortress was transferred from the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth to Moldavia. In 1711, Khotyn was again taken over by the Turks. By that time even the Turks had been able to figure out that perhaps the fortress needs some modernization and after six-year (1712–18) reconstruction under supervision of the French engineers, it became the foremost stronghold of the Ottoman defense in Eastern Europe. Which did not prevent its relatively easy capture in 1739 by Burkhard Christoph von Münnich.

Strategic situation after the Crimean raid looked as following. Rumyantsev sent a light detachment toward the Crimea and strengthened garrisons of Azov and Taganrog. Then he transferred the main forces of his army to Elizavetgrad, but could not move further: he had only 30 thousand, of which a third were the Cossacks armed with only pikes, while on the Dniester near Kaushan there was a Crimean khan [1] with 110 thousand Tatars and Turks, and 30 thousand Tatars threatened from Perekop. All Rumyantsev could do was spread false rumors about the movement of his army to Podolia, which completely confused the enemy's calculations. The center of gravity was transferred to the 1st Army on the Dniester.

Prince Golitsyn opened the campaign on April 15 1769 without waiting for the arrival of replenishments (only 45 thousand were considered in his army). Moldova rebelled against the Turks, the lord fled, and the Archbishop of Ias asked Golitsyn to hurry to Moldova to accept it into Russian citizenship. However, instead of going straight to Iasi, Golitsyn set out to capture Khotin first because according to the “master plan” his main task was not to let the Ottomans to enter the PLC and change of the geopolitical situation was neither here nor there.
Initially, Golitsyn operated quite successfully in his march toward Khotin due to a complete absence of an enemy but within few days he clearly demonstrated that such a trifle can prevent him from wrestling a defeat from the jaws of victory and on April 21 he turned back because Moldavia was devastated by the Ottomans and Tatars [2] and because he suddenly discovered that he does not have a siege artillery [3]. The Ottomans attacked his baggage train but had been repulsed with allegedly great losses. On April 24 the 1st Army successfully crossed the Dniester.

He sent cornet Münnich with the report about his maneuvers to St. Petersburg and the messenger allowed himself to report that the things are not going too well at Khotin. Catherine personally interviewed him for two hours and wrote to Panin “I was talking to Count Münnich for two hours and noticed a lot of nonsense and lies in what he said. So, I ask you not to judge anything before your arrival here in the Council tomorrow; then see from the report of the prince Golitsyn, that it's not like what Münnich lied.” However, getting back across the Dniester was undeniable fact and on May 6 Catherine wrote to Golitsyn: “We could not expect after your first report about a victory such an unpleasant turn of the events and with a great surprise can’t find in your report a detailed explanation of the reasons which, without a doubt, put you in such an extreme situation that the very next day you were forced to abandon the glory of a successful opening of the campaign and advantage gained over the enemy. Due to our unshaken trust to you and our generals, we want just to prescribe to you to assemble a military council and find a way to conduct some military operation which will replace, with some newly-acquired glory of our arms and usefulness in a future campaign an unpleasant adventure of your speedy return, which gives a reason to various public interpretations.”
Golitsyn wrote, as an excuse, that he did not took Khotin due to the difficulties which would be necessary to overcome by storming the fortress with the big losses which he would not dare to do without an imperial order and that he was forced to get back across the river because his army’s position was dangerous and because he did not get any information from Count Rumyantsev regarding the measures he could take to improve his (Golytsin’s) situation [4]. Actually, this was just the first step of his planned campaign because he was intended to retreat even further toward the magazines located in Poland. An idea to destroy the bridge across the Danube and a big Ottoman magazine because could not find the volunteers. He also reported that all his troops crossed to the left bank of the Dniester, the bridges are destroyed, infantry placed in the camp, and cavalry placed in the private quarters.

Catherine decided that he must be given some instructions and issued a rescript saying that the glory of Russian arms demands change of his present position and, instead of staying near the magazines, demands an aggressive actions to get advantage over the enemy. He was instructed to cross the Dniester, advance toward the enemy and to force it not only to retreat beyond the Danube but to end campaign with a victory “In order to clean Moldavia and give itself the freedom to conquer Khotyn, therefore, to occupy winter quarters on the Dniester itself.” [5]

In a meantime the Great Vizier crossed the Danube and, operating with the same speed as Golytsin, spent the whole month staying on the Prut. Following the initial plan the Vizier offered to the confederates to move to the PLC with all force of presumably 200,000. This was too much even for the confederates and their proposed an alternative plan of him marching with the main force into Novorossia against Rumyantsev leaving a contingent to protect Khotin. The plan was adopted. Having sent 60,000 Janissaries and Tatars to Khotyn under command of Seraskir Moldavanchi Pasha, the vizier moved with the rest of the forces to the Benders to go to Elizabeth from there. His campaign failed. Rumyantsev's skillful spreadig of false rumors about his army forced the vizier to overestimate the forces of the 2nd Army. He never dared to cross the Dniester and retreated back to the Prut stopping at Ryabaya Mogila (40 versts south of Iasi).

The accumulation of Turkish troops near Khotyn and the attempt of the Turks to cross the Dniester forced Golitsyn to move again in June to this river. On June 24, he crossed the Dniester, repulsed an attack of 80,000 Turks and Tatars [6] near the village of Pashkivtsi and blocked Khotin. The arrival of Seraskir Moldavanchi and the Crimean Khan Devlet Giray prompted Golitsyn to lift the blockade of the fortress and retreat for the Dniester. The commander of the 1st Army considered the goal of the campaign - the distraction of Turkish forces from Novorossiya - achieved. To his defense, he was just following a popular European school of a military thought in which the maneuver was much important than a battle but an excessive erudition is not always an advantage.

In a meantime, the Vizier (who, besides being too passive, was stealing too much) was replaced with more energetic Moldavanchi. The new vizier was commanded to move beyond the Dniester and seize Podolia. The offensive ended badly for the Turks. Moldovanchi crossed the Dniestef with up to 80 thousands on August 29, but these forces were thrown into the river by Golitsyn. The 12,000 strong detachment sent on September 5 behind the Dniester for forage was completely destroyed.

These failures, due to the lack of food and fodder, completely demoralized the enemy army, which consisted of three-quarters of irregular militia and Tatars. Almost all of her was dispersed. Moldavanchi managed to collect only 30 thousand in Iasi (and was forced to flee from them: they wanted to kill him). At Ryabaya Mogila only 5 thousand of them left... The hundred thousandth Turkish army was scattered like smoke. There was only a strong garrison in Bendery, weak detachments in the Danube fortresses, and a Tatar horde in Kaushany. Khotin was abandoned.

Golitsyn did not take advantage of such a favorable situation. He occupied Khotin without a fight (where 163 guns were taken), but then again, for the third time for the campaign, retreated beyond the Dniester. This second return because of the Dniester caused great irritation in St. Petersburg, especially since during July there were constant reports from Golitsyn about the successes. But what was the impression made by the news that they retreated, not fighting not only with the vizier, but also with his advanced military? We saw that Golitsyn directly complained about Rumyantsev; Rumyantsev, for his part, wrote to the prince. M. N. Volkonsky: “As you well know, in all my operations I must acting in agreement with Prince Alexander Mikhailovich but he, with his secret movements makes me completely confused or, better to say, makes me a blind man … not knowing plan of his operations, no matter how much I want to be helpful, can do nothing.”
Even Catherine could not delay the decision for much longer and on August 13 Chernyshov declared that the Empress “decided due to certain reasons recall Prince Golytsin from the army to St.Petersburg, general Rumyantsev has to take command of his army and general Peter Ivanovich Panin is appointed commander of the 2nd Army.”

While being seemingly reasonable, this decision was a part of the usual court intrigue. Golytsin, Chernyshov’s candidate, was compromised and had to be replaced. Rumyantsev’s appointment was, besides the common sense, intended to make the Panin’s party unhappy because they’d prefer that this position, as more prominent, had been given to general Panin. The Panin’s appointment was slap on the face to general Prince Dolgorukov who already served in the 2nd Army being responsible for defense of the Crimean border and neither by rank nor by military talent was inferior to Panin. Most probably, he was bypassed by combination of two reasons: the Panin party wanted at least some command for P.Panin and Catherine personally disliked Dolgorukov.

On September 18, Golitsyn left the army, over which he accepted the command of Rumyantsev. On the 26th, Lieutenant General Elmpt entered Iasi and swore the residents to the Empress of the All-Russian. The Russian detachment was marching toward Bucharest.

[1] Devlet IV Giray. Actually, the situation was not as bad as it looked because his attempts to raise an army were sabotaged by some of the local beys who were not enthusiastic all the way to starting the secret talks with Russia. Was dismissed in 1770 and replaced by Selim III Girey.
[2] Which was true but did not prevent in OTL from fighting in that region for the next few years.
[3] Discoveries like that were routinely happening over the ages. Presumably, the Spanish admiral sent to hunt down Francis Drake when he was looting the Pacific coast of the colonies, discovered at the last moment that, due to an omission in the instruction issued by the Vice-Roi of Peru, the gunpowder was not loaded on his ships; he had to return, report, wait for an updated instruction, etc.
[4] Besides guarding with a much smaller army a widely open border of at least 500 km…
[5] This was almost Napoleonic in a clearly formulated idea that the goal must be enemy’s army and not a geographic point. Of course, being “Napoleonic” also involves an ability to implement this principle and, so far, Catherine was relying too much on her personal sympathies and Chernishov’s proposals.
[6] The Russian general tended to feel themselves quite free with adding zeroes to the numbers of the Ottomans and Tatars so don’t ask me how this arithmetics adds up. The same applies to the numbers mentioned later in the chapter: they are all from the Russian reports.
I realize we're not quite there yet, but what (if any) response from the Winter Palace regarding the events of July 4, 1776?
I do not have the preconceived scenarios beyond a couple years or specific event. The American Revolution is too far away for me to make any plans but how about the OTL scenario?
Two men in a blackened room stabbing around with a dagger not knowing how close (or not) they are at stabbing the other.
Even Maurice de Sax was, IIRC, saying something about the battle being a sign of a mediocracy and MT ordered to mint a medal honoring activities of Field Marshal Daun with a motto “keep winning by procrastination” so, within this school of thought Golitsyn was almost a military genius. 😂😂😂

Of course, I fully agree with your analogy. Well, except that none of them really wants to get close to another.