Napoleon Invades Russia Battle of Borodino p2
The supplies sent to the French army, especially from Vilnius in Lithuania, were also looted by Russian soldiers or villagers. Napoleon had to leave many troops behind to protect the supply line. But the Russians continued to attack these troops. Napoleon tried hard to surround and destroy the bulk of the Russian army so that the Russians would surrender and be unable to resist. If that had happened, Napoleon would not have needed to go to Moscow. He would force the Tsar of Russia to make peace and return to France.
But the main body of the Russian army under the command of the Supreme Commander General Barclay de Tully was not coming into their hands. This Russian army was constantly retreating and in its pursuit, Napoleon was also continuously moving towards Moscow. Now it was June, July and it was very hot in Russia. But the French troops were running out of food and water. Even on the way, they were not getting water or any other help from anywhere. Their supply line was also destroyed.
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The starving soldiers killed thousands of their own horses and ate them. But even that was not enough. Such a large army was not getting enough food and water every day. The result was that extreme heat, hunger, thirst, seasonal diseases and enemy attacks claimed the lives of thousands of soldiers. The European soldiers in the army who were not French started to leave the army and run away. Thus, hundreds of kilometers before Moscow, the great army of France began to be destroyed. By mid-August, the situation was such that between five and six thousand French soldiers were either unable to fight or fleeing each day due to illness.
Within a few months, the French army had lost one and a half million soldiers. Now remember, comrades, that this condition of the French army was happening in the summer, in the summer season. While Russia’s harsh winter was yet to come. Meanwhile, on August 18, the French army approached the main Russian army in the city of Smolensk, four hundred kilometers from Moscow. On this occasion, the first major battle between the Russians and the French army took place. The Russian army was entrenched in the city.
Napoleon Bonaparte had every opportunity to surround the city and block the enemy’s way back to Moscow. Thus the Russians would be completely surrounded in the city and their entire army would be destroyed. But. Why did Napoleon make a huge military mistake and instead of completely besieging the city, he attacked only the main gate of the city. That is, the other ways out of the city were not blocked. The French army at first heavily bombarded the city with artillery. After that they entered the city.
In the streets and buildings of the city, fierce fighting took place between the French soldiers and the Russians. During this time some fourteen thousand Russian soldiers were killed. Napoleon also lost ten thousand soldiers. After two days of fighting, the Russian army retreated towards Moscow through the other unblocked avenues of the city. Napoleon captured the city but once again had to pursue the Russian army. The situation now was that the Russian General Barclay was in the front and Napoleon was in the rear.
I don’t know how long this game of cat and mouse would have continued, but suddenly General Barclay received a message from the Russian Emperor, which changed the map of the battle. Dhar had said that the exercise of tiring the enemy is over, now a decisive battle should be fought with Napoleon. A new commander was also brought for this war. This was the seventy-year-old General Kutuzov. This old general was not a commander in all of Russia. He was made Supreme Commander and sent to Moscow.
He reached the Moscow front and took General Barclay under his command and started preparing for war. The Russian commander set up a front near the village of Borodino, one hundred and thirty-two kilometers west of Moscow, and began to wait for Napoleon. Now there was only one wall between Moscow and Napoleon, and that was the army of General Kutuzov. Meanwhile, Napoleon realized that RWasi Dekikkun was preparing for war, so his joy was endless. Desiring to destroy the enemy in a decisive battle, he spurred his tired army forward and reached Borodino.
Then on September 7, 1812, a decisive battle was indeed fought, but it was perhaps too late for the decisive battle of Napoleon’s will. For the battle of Borodino, the French emperor had one hundred and thirty thousand soldiers and five hundred and eighty seven guns. The Russians had one hundred and twenty thousand soldiers and six hundred and forty cannons and guns. That is, there was very little difference in the number and strength of the two armies. But one advantage the Russians had was that most of their troops were fresh.
While the French soldiers were very tired after traveling hundreds of kilometers. A further problem with the French was that their commander-in-chief, Napoleon, had fallen seriously ill. Due to his illness, he was unable to make sound decisions. According to the French, this was not the ideal situation for a decisive battle. But still sick Napoleon started this war. The situation of the battlefield was such that the river Moscow was flowing between the two armies.
The Russian army had taken up positions along the eastern bank of the river along the small hills and plains. Before the arrival of the enemy, they had built several mud forts and installed cannons in them. At the center of the Russian army was also a large fort with at least eighteen cannons mounted on it. Apart from this, they had built safe fronts for the soldiers along with their defense line. Instead of planning a long-term battle, Napoleon ordered his army to attack the enemy’s positions directly.
Such an attack was risky as the enemy could fire from their protected positions and inflict heavy casualties on the French forces. One of Napoleon’s generals advised him not to attack directly. Give me forty thousand troops, I will cross the river at night and try to surround the enemy from behind. But why did Napoleon refuse? At six o’clock in the morning of September 7, the French artillery began to bombard the Russians heavily. Russian artillery also responded. After that, the French army crossed the river and started attacking the enemy.
But capturing enemy positions was not easy. The Russian troops were constantly shelling their defensive positions and especially the mud fort-like fronts. When the French soldiers approached, the Russians started firing at them. The French military commanders who were in the field were also worried that Napoleon was not with them on the front lines. Therefore, they could not take any decision quickly as it would take a long time to convey a message to the emperor and then receive his reply. One of their commanders angrily asked his soldiers why the emperor was not in the front lines. If they are no longer able to command, go back and let us command. But Napoleon was neither relinquishing command nor leading the army properly.