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lant3rn
13th September 10, 07:25 PM
Napoleon's idea to invade Russia was one of the worst military decisions in history.


In 1811 Napoleon's was hell bent on destroying Great Britain through a continental blockade, (Unable to establish a foot hold on the British island, he believed he could starve them into submission.) The plan though was being undone by Russians who continued on trade, undermining the French authority and previous peace deal they had already made with France 4 years earlier.

In December of 1812 Napoleon set out to deal with this challenge to his authority like any good dictator. To teach the Tsar a lesson he gathered a huge army of around 600 000 troops and set off to conquer his one time ally. By invading Russia in 1812, Napoleon was upping the ante. Once he sent his vast army eastward, there was no turning back; he was sucked farther and farther into the one territory he could not conquer.

Napoleon had developed a strategy of feeding his army off of the lands he conquered. To counter this, the Russians came up with what would now be called a "scorched earth" policy. By laying waste to the lands as they retreated, they were successfully able to cut off Napoleon's ability to replenish his supply's that were needed for such a large scale force. Leading the army into starvation, desertion, typhus, and suicide that would rob the French Army of more men than all the battles of the Russian invasion combined.

The tactic of constant retreat might not have been honorable in many peoples eyes, but it was definitely effective. Killing off a large number of Napoleons horses, destroying supply wagons and depleting the rations and other supplies brought along which were unable to be replenished. At the battle Borodino an embattled French army finally got their chance to take the Russian forces head on. It was the bloodiest single day of battle in the Napoleonic Wars. The Russian army could only muster half of its strength on September 8 and was forced to retreat, leaving the road to Moscow open.

The Russians decided to evacuate their capital and it was stripped of all supplies. When Napoleon marched in he was expecting to receive a delegation of dignitaries to finalize his triumph over Russia. Instead he found what could be described as a ghost town. With only about 1/4 of the city's population remaining.

In a normal surrender, the city officials would be forced to find billets and make arrangement for the feeding of the soldiers, but the situation caused a free-for-all in which every man was forced to find lodgings and sustenance for themselves. In the aftermath of that looting a fire was started. It it unknown it it was accidental or deliberate but it is estimated 4/5 of the city was destroyed in the blaze.

This left destitute an already distraught French force. Sitting in the ashes of a ruined city without having received the Russian capitulation and facing a Russian maneuver forcing him out of Moscow, Napoleon started his long retreat by the middle of October. At the Battle of Maloyaroslavets, Kutuzov was able to force the French army into using the very same Smolensk road on which they had earlier moved East and which had already been stripped of food supplies by both armies.

This resulted in an army of 600 000 strong turning into a mere 45 000 frost bitten troops.

Napoleons inability to adapt to changes in tactics and pigheaded advance in the name of victory destroyed his once Grand Armée. He said it himself that an army runs off of it stomach. But when push came to shove he was too proud to apply his own wisdom and marched his army straight into the frozen ground.

What did he end up having to show for this whole thing? Nada.
He just gave time for his enemies to strengthen their resolve and thoroughly destroyed his reputation as the unbeatable general.

500 000 + of his troops died for nothing. A terrible defeat.

SoulMechanic
13th September 10, 07:51 PM
MJS's name should be changed to Cornholeon Bonerfart.

lant3rn
13th September 10, 08:02 PM
MJS's name should be changed to Cornholeon Bonerfart.

I think it's a short person thing

Their short stature gives them some kind of kinship

Dark Helmet
13th September 10, 08:39 PM
A few things if I may.

One - Of the half a million over 100,000 of his armee that invaded Russia were French. Most were Bavarian, Italian and Croatian with a few Poles. So when Napoleon got back he didn't have a lot left of his French contingent. But whats a fraction of a 100,000?

Two - At this same time the French armee still had about a couple of a hundred thousand more French troops in the west. Granted some of them were fighting in the Iberian peninsula and not making any progress there.

Three - Napoleon still had a score to settle with the Russians. They're nation remained untouched after 4 wars up to this point. Each time before the invasion Russia could send in troops to join the Austrians and Prussians. Get schooled on the battlefield and star a new batch of conscripts for the next war.

Four - Napoleon had a big ego. But in fairness he probably felt invading Russia was gamble worth taking. Afterall, he beat them before and won. How hard could it be?

Now I don't know what every historian has ever said on the subject and I've certainly never read every book on the subject. But I believe Napoleon could have beaten them.

But just like the Germans 150 years later he started too late in the summer, depended way too much on foreign conscripts who didn't have the least bit interest to watch Napoleon get stronger and ignored important advice from other Generals.

So, the Conquest of Russia could have gone done as one of those things that could have changed the map of Europe.

WarPhalange
13th September 10, 08:43 PM
What did he end up having to show for this whole thing? Notta.


Did you mean to say "Nada"?

lant3rn
13th September 10, 09:00 PM
Did you mean to say "Nada"?

damn you

lant3rn
13th September 10, 09:09 PM
A few things if I may.

One - Of the half a million over 100,000 of his armee that invaded Russia were French. Most were Bavarian, Italian and Croatian with a few Poles. So when Napoleon got back he didn't have a lot left of his French contingent. But whats a fraction of a 100,000?

Two - At this same time the French armee still had about a couple of a hundred thousand more French troops in the west. Granted some of them were fighting in the Iberian peninsula and not making any progress there.

Three - Napoleon still had a score to settle with the Russians. They're nation remained untouched after 4 wars up to this point. Each time before the invasion Russia could send in troops to join the Austrians and Prussians. Get schooled on the battlefield and star a new batch of conscripts for the next war.

Four - Napoleon had a big ego. But in fairness he probably felt invading Russia was gamble worth taking. Afterall, he beat them before and won. How hard could it be?

Now I don't know what every historian has ever said on the subject and I've certainly never read every book on the subject. But I believe Napoleon could have beaten them.

But just like the Germans 150 years later he started too late in the summer, depended way too much on foreign conscripts who didn't have the least bit interest to watch Napoleon get stronger and ignored important advice from other Generals.

So, the Conquest of Russia could have gone done as one of those things that could have changed the map of Europe.

When i say "French Army" i'm just referring to the banner they were all fighting under.

I'm sure they could have been beaten. No nation is invincible.
But i'm not talking hypothetical's.

What happened .... well happened and it signaled the end of Napoleon. He should have turned around after he lost about 3/4 of his horses and almost all his supply wagon's. He didn't and historians generally think it's due to arrogance and also a naive belief the Russians would follow along traditional rituals of war.

MEGA JESUS-SAMA
14th September 10, 09:22 AM
If this was Napoleon's undoing then why was he so narrowly defeated by the Allies?

Kiko
14th September 10, 11:18 AM
http://verydemotivational.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/demotivational-posters-this1.jpg

Adouglasmhor
14th September 10, 03:41 PM
But on a brighter note, supplying his army in the field in light of the scorched earth policy led to the development of bottled and hence canned food.

Think of that next time you open a can of beer.

Dark Helmet
14th September 10, 09:03 PM
If this was Napoleon's undoing then why was he so narrowly defeated by the Allies?
When? Which time?

ICY
14th September 10, 11:13 PM
I think it was just another example of the inferiority of French and, by extention, Latin culture. Democracy won again. The fatal flaw of dictatorship, yes-men, sunk France's ship...again, as it would yet again 60 years later.

Robot Jesus
15th September 10, 12:16 AM
I would like to add this had nothing to do with tin buttons.

I don't think Napoleon's belief was naive. just not fighting is an odd way to fight. he probably thought it a delay tactic, and that once the heart of Russia was threatened a pitched battle would take place. it's less about rules of war, more about acceptable collateral damage and tsarist callousness.

ICY
15th September 10, 03:13 AM
Russian sensibilities=/=European sensibilities

Steve
15th September 10, 03:33 AM
Shut the fuck up.

ICY
15th September 10, 12:38 PM
Steve=/=Heterosexual or Manly

Spade: The Real Snake
15th September 10, 02:55 PM
Did you mean to say "Nada"?
no he meant to say "Notta Lotta"