Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Major Episodes of the French Invasion of Russia in 1812 and the Factors for Russian Victory

In the 1812, there was a period of the French invasion into the Russian territories. This war is mainly known as the period of French invasion of Russia. The Russian forces was led by Napoleon Bonaparte and they started their march into Russia on 24 June 1812. The first Russian place they have entered is the River Neman, where they planned to go further into Russian territories.

The aim for Napoleon to bring his army into Russia was to force Russia to cut off its business relationship with England as England was the enemy of France. However, it could be that French’s main political intention was to actually seized Poland from Russia. So, because of these reasons, Napoleon came into Russia together with his Grand Army consisting about 680,000 soldiers.

During the early invasion, the Russian army did not really fight the French but they took decision to just keep retreating into deeper Russia, while the French army keep following them. In the meantime, the Russian Cossacks were given orders to destroy all villages and crops in their way to cut the food supply for the French who were following them. In 7 September 1812, French and Russia met at Borodino, a place near Moscow. So, there was a battle between the two forces. This battle was known to be the biggest and bloodiest battle in the history of Napoleonic war, resulted with 70,000 deaths in just one day.

Later, French managed to enter Moscow. However, Moscow was already destroyed and left deserted under the command of the governor Count Fyodor Rostopchin. Napoleon  waited for a month, hoping Tsar Alexander I would come to Moscow for peace negotiation. But his wait was unfruitful. So, Napoleon decided to move forward until Kaluga. As usual, the Russian army keep on retreating into deeper Russian territories. As the French followed them, the weather had changed. Now it came the winter time.

The French army was now exhausted. They did not have enough food supply to equip them for further movements. What more was terrible is that it was winter but they were not equipped with winter clothings. So, Napoleoen decided to pull back his forces to go out of Russia. Thus, with the end of the Russian invasion, it marked the end of the Napoleonic war. French lost about 300,000 men from the war and 100,000 were captured by the Russian, left only about 27,000 who were with Napoleon during their withdrawal.

The reason for the Russian victory was they were well-planned to confront the French army. In the battlefield, the Russian keep on retreating its army into deeper Russia and it might be one of their strategies to exhaust the enemy’s force. By doing so, they have the chance to cut supply of food for the enemy by destroying the villages in their way and they could kill the small groups of the French soldiers who were responsible to go out to search for food.

Besides, the Russians also was well adapted to the Russian lands. It would be easier for them to move from one place to another without so much difficulties as they understand their land. Unlike the French, they were from another place and they might be not well adapted to the Russian geographical characteristics. This factor became one of the help to Russian victory in the war.

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