It was a brutal war between two large armies with excellent commanders and heavy losses
The Patriotic War of 1812 has been mythologised many times. Some may even think that this is almost a romantic story. However, this is wrong. It was a brutal war between two large armies with excellent commanders and heavy losses. Army movements, military decisions are still the subject of discussion, and many of them have become standards of military science. What conclusions do those long-standing events force us to draw now?
Important is the outcome after every war, or rather, what the world has become after the victory of one side or another. No less important are the reasons, which, as a rule, are very insignificant and not worth the grandiose losses. Remarkably, that the war exhausts both sides, and often someone else turns out to be a significant winner.
One of the reasons for the war of 1812 was that Russia interrupted the naval blockade of Great Britain, starting to trade with it through intermediaries, thereby violating its obligations given to France (does it remind you of anything?). It is believed that trade with Foggy Albion did not affect the overall Russian economy in any way, but was extremely beneficial to the Russian elite.
Besides that, Alexander I considered his hands free, since under the terms of the Treaties of Tilsit, Prussia was to be liberated from French troops, which did not happen. How shall we incorporate it today? Don’t make agreements for the sake of formal agreements. One of the vaccines against the war is a system of treaties that no one violates. Any violation results in a response. It does not matter how powerful or influential is the country which respects no rules. NATO ignored that fact. Outcome is known. The feeling of specialness always leads to a sad end. The end of Napoleon is well known.
One more thing. Alexander was extremely annoyed by Napoleon’s desire to make Poland a new Rzeczpospolita. Again Poland and its ambitions! It is a beautiful country with a great culture, which is always unlucky with allies and rulers. Isn’t it good time for the Poles to understand that there is no country closer to them than Russia, and that it’s time to change their minds?
Another argument. Napoleon tried several times to intermarry with the Russian imperial house, but each time he was refused. He was so offended, that he could only alleviate the offense by crossing the Neman River. Even great politicians sometimes act like ordinary people. Isn’t it better to behave like a normal person with them too? Maybe then there will be less bloodshed. Everyone should know that if Russia is offended and subjected to existential threats, it responds not only militarily and politically, but also with a grandiose solidarity of its people, which cannot be reversed. It would be good for modern globalists to study the history of Russia more carefully.
The lessons of that military campaign confirm that the main goal is to save the army. Then the war will be won. Gaining control of a city is not always a victory. Retreat is not always a disaster. The war must be stopped in due time. Kutuzov begged the tsar to avoid moving to Europe, but the tsar did not listen to him. This led to the fact that Great Britain won colossal preferences. It got more than victorious Russia. There is something to think about.
But the deeds of heroes are treated as sacred…
Timeline of the Patriotic War of 1812
June 4 – The French Foreign Minister Duc de Bassano signs a note on the severance of diplomatic relations with Russia in Königsberg.
June 12 – Main French forces cross the Neman River.
June 16 – The French enter Vilna.
June 17 – General Kulnev’s detachment repulses the attacks of Marshal Oudinot’s troops on the town of Vilkomir.
July 6 – Alexander I signs the manifesto “On the defense of the Fatherland and the creation of people’s militia”.
July 14 – Bagration deals a serious blow to Davout’s troops near the village of Saltanovka.
July 19 – Peter Wittgenstein withstands the battle near the village of Klyastitsy, repulsing the attacks of Oudinot.
July 22 – The 1st and 2nd Russian armies unite near Smolensk.
July 27 – Ataman M. I. Platov fights at the Molevoy Swamp with French troops of General Sebastiani, who were defeated.
July 31 – The Austrian corps of the Prince of Schwarzenberg attack Russian troops near the town of Gorodechna. General Tormasov retreats to Kobrin.
August 4-6 – The Battle of Smolensk between troops of Barclay de Tolly and the main forces of Napoleon. The Russians leave Smolensk.
August 17 – The new commander-in-chief M. I. Golenishchev-Kutuzov arrives in the army, occupying a convenient defensive line near the village of Borodino.
August 24 – The Battle of Shevardino between troops of Lieutenant General M. D. Gorchakov 2nd and the main forces of Napoleon.
August 26 – The Battle of Borodino. The losses on both sides were enormous. Kutuzov orders to retreat.
August 27 – Ataman Platov’s Cossacks repulse all Murat’s attempts to capture Mozhaisk.
September 1 – During the Council at Fili, Kutuzov decided to leave Moscow without a fight in order to save the army.
September 3 – The vanguard of Murat’s corps was forced to release the rearguard of General M. A. Miloradovich from Moscow. On the same day, Murat occupies Moscow, and in the evening Napoleon arrives in the Kremlin.
September 16 – The partisan detachment led by Colonel D. V. Davydov defeats the enemy unit protecting carts with fodder and artillery equipment near Vyazma.
September 20 – Russian troops enter the Tarutino camp. This is the moment the guerrilla war begins.
September 28 – The partisans of General I. S. Dorokhov storm Vereya.
October 3-5 – Sick and wounded Frenchmen set out from Moscow under the cover of Claparede’s division and Nansouty’s detachment.
October 6 – L. L. Bennigsen attacks Murat’s isolated units and defeats them. On the same day, a three-day Battle of Polotsk begins between troops of Peter Wittgenstein and the French led by Saint-Cyr. Polotsk is taken by storm by columns of Major General Vlasov, Major General Dibich and Colonel Ridiger.
October 10 – The last units of the Napoleonic army leave Moscow.
October 12 – The Battle of Maloyaroslavets.
October 17 – Napoleon enters the Smolensk road.
October 26 – Miloradovich’s troops take Dorogobuzh, defeating Ney.
October 27 – Napoleon enters Smolensk.
October 31 – Napoleon leaves Smolensk and moves to Orsha.
November 1 – French troops attack the corps of General Alekseev.
November 4, 5 and 6 – Kutuzov defeats the corps of Davout and Ney near the town of Krasny.
November 7 – Napoleon moves his army at Orsha on thin ice across the Dnieper River.
November 22 – Victor’s rearguard is defeated by troops of Platov and Chaplits on the road to the city of Molodechno.
November 23 – Napoleon abandoned the remnants of his army and fled to France.