Napoleon Invades Russia Battle of Borodino p1
In 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte had the largest empire and the most powerful army in Europe. With this army he was preparing to attack Russia. The reason for this attack was the Continental System created by Napoleon. This system was created because the British Navy had a naval blockade of France and its occupied territories from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. In response to this blockade, Napoleon created the Continental System under which all European The countries were barred from trading with Britain.
That is, Britain’s trade boycott was done, even Russia joined this system under Napoleon’s pressure. But within a few years, Russia and France were at loggerheads over the system. The first and major problem was that the Russian merchants were suffering a lot of economic losses due to the lack of trade with Britain. Another problem was Napoleon’s breach of promise. Napoleon promised the Tsar of Russia, Emperor Alexander I, that he would help Russia capture Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, today’s Istanbul.
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You know that Constantinople is the place that connects the Black Sea of Russia with the Mediterranean Sea. For this reason, the occupation of this city was very important for Russia. Napoleon had promised to help Russia but this promise could not be fulfilled. Because Napoleon was worried that Russia would not become a threat to him in the Mediterranean like the Royal Navy. So the Czar of Russia became angry with Napoleon over the breach of promise and loss of trade over the Constantinople issue.
They broke away from the continental system and started trading with Britain. In other words, Anhu ended the boycott and Napoleon attacked Russia in response. But they did not want to conquer Russia, but only to put pressure on the Tsar to bring them back into the system. But was Napoleon able to bend a great power like Russia? And finally what happened was that one day the French opened their guns on Napoleon Bonaparte. Friends, the hill you are looking at is located on the banks of the Neman River in the Baltic state of Lithuania.
It is called Napoleon’s Hill. On June 24, 1812, Napoleon watched his grand army cross the river and enter Russia from this hill. It is said that such a large army had never been seen before in the history of Europe. This army of 450,000 men included 80,000 cavalry, 370,000 infantry, and 1400 cannons. In comparison, the Russians had only two hundred and twenty thousand soldiers. Among them were forty thousand cavalry, one hundred and eighty thousand infantry and eight hundred cannons.
Although this number increased later, the number of troops was the same on June 24. My Curious Fellows On Paper The French army was far more powerful than the Russians. But the reality was a little different. Half of the men in Napoleon’s army were French soldiers. But the other half were not French but non-French recruited from different parts of the French Empire. Then the French soldiers also had a large number of young men who did not have much experience in war. Rather, many of them were going to war for the first time.
He was not used to difficulties. In contrast, the majority of the Russian army consisted of inexperienced workers and peasants. But they still had an edge over the French troops. That is, the laborers and peasants were used to hard work and they were in their own land. Then the sky rains fire in summer or the end of snowfall in cold weather. These people could survive in any weather. Therefore, it was relatively easy for these tough Russians to fight an inexperienced enemy on their own soil.
The success of the French force in Russia depended on two things. One is their sheer numbers and the other is their commander, Napoleon Bonaparte, a commander with great war experience, he never loses, it was well known. But friends, even the best commander like Napoleon Bonaparte had made a mistake. That is, they did not make any formal planning for the attack on Russia, their real plan was that if they bring such a large army to the Russian borders, the Tsar of Russia will panic and make peace.
That is, they will return to the continental system and stop trading with Great Britain. That’s why he stopped with his army on the bank of river Niman, he had not made detailed planning of the battle ahead. This river served as the border between the Russian and French empires. On one side of the river was Lithuania and on the other side was Poland. Napoleon was in Poland with his army because he ruled here. Napoleon was waiting for a conciliatory message from the Czar.
But when no such message came, they crossed the river on June 24 and stormed the Russian territories. They believed that if they advanced at most fifty miles into Russia, the Russian rulers would make peace. But the Czar of Russia disappointed him, no message of peace was sent. Now it became an ego problem for Napoleon too that he would continue to bow to the Tsar. So they continued to advance in Russia. They did not realize that the Tsar of Russia and his commanders were deliberately giving them an opportunity to advance.
He wanted to bring the French army so far into Russia that retreat would be impossible. Even a wary commander like Napoleon fell into their trap. This was the beginning of the terrible destruction of a great army. For the first one or two weeks, Napoleon’s military campaign continued with great success. His forces captured an important city in LithuaniaConquered Vilnius and made it the headquarters of his supply line. Then they marched through present-day Belarus towards Moscow. Friends, let me tell you here that at that time, not Moscow, but St. Petersburg in the northwest was the capital of Russia. Tsar Alexander I of Russia was sitting safely in the city while Napoleon Bonaparte was on his way to Moscow.
The reason for this was probably that Moscow was also a very important city for Russia. It was the center of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian people considered it a holy city. Napoleon believed that seeing this city in danger, the Czar of Russia would immediately make peace or fight a major war to stop them. But this was Napoleon’s misunderstanding. The message of peace did not come and the Tsar’s army did not come against them, but the Russian army continued to retreat in front of the French advance.
Now friends, the road from Vilnius to Moscow was more than nine hundred kilometers long and it would take two months to cover it. The 450,000 French army needed a lot of food to take them to Moscow. So what the Russians did was to burn every village and farm on their way back and poison the water wells. Even the cattle were killed so that the French army would die of hunger and thirst. Meanwhile, the Russian villagers also started guerilla attacks on the French forces. They would suddenly attack and kill some soldiers, loot some rations and escape. The regular troops of the Russian Army were also conducting raids against the French army.