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  • 1812

    THe last time I have started about one thing. Why did Napoleon go to Moscow.? The capital of Russia was St. Petersburg no Moscow.

    When they conquered Moscow the didn't destroy administration centrum. If he would counqed St. Petersburg he could have destroy centrum of country.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Camillus2 View Post
    THe last time I have started about one thing. Why did Napoleon go to Moscow.? The capital of Russia was St. Petersburg no Moscow.

    When they conquered Moscow the didn't destroy administration centrum. If he would counqed St. Petersburg he could have destroy centrum of country.
    While St. Petersburg certainly was the administrative capital and the official seat of the Imperial family, Moscow was the former old capital and in Russian eyes a holy city. For the Russians, Moscow was a religious shrine, and Napoleon thought, that it would have a very high moral and psycholgic effect if he conquers Moscow. I didn't aim to destroy Russia. He wanted to bring the Zar to sue for peace and he thought he could achieve that when he conquered Moscow.

    What a terrible mistake that was!!!!
    Last edited by the Iron Duke; 06 Apr 10, 03:24.

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    • #3
      I believe it is Segur who quotes Napoleon at Vilna as saying he will take Moscow in 1812 and St-Petersburg in 1813 and that the russian campaign was to take two years.

      Unfortunately for him the Grand Armeť didn't return from Moscow.

      Also as the main Russian army was still undefeated and retreating to Moscow I suppose there was a case to be made for following them as they would have cut his supply lines otherwise.

      To boot I think St-Petersburg is quite defendable, being semi surrounded by water etc.

      FWIW.
      Lambert of Montaigu - Crusader.

      Bolgios - Mercenary Game.

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      • #4
        Also Kutuzov's main reason to give battle at Borodino was to save the armies honour and to make a last stand before retreating through Moscow. At the end Borodino was more of a draw, than a vicotry for the French, but I think Kutuzow never actually expected to win a pitched battle, but honour demanded that an attempt is made to stop Moscow. This shows how important Moscow was in Russian eyes.
        If Moscow would not have burnt down, Napoleon could have spent the winter quite comfortably to carry on the campaign the next year, but fate thought otherwise.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by the Iron Duke View Post
          Also Kutuzov's main reason to give battle at Borodino was to save the armies honour and to make a last stand before retreating through Moscow. At the end Borodino was more of a draw, than a vicotry for the French, but I think Kutuzow never actually expected to win a pitched battle, but honour demanded that an attempt is made to stop Moscow. This shows how important Moscow was in Russian eyes.
          If Moscow would not have burnt down, Napoleon could have spent the winter quite comfortably to carry on the campaign the next year, but fate thought otherwise.
          Kutuzov was forced to give battle by Alexander`s staff, his generals, army and public sentiment. Kutuzov himself never wanted this battle and it wasn`t draw. It was still Napoleon`s victory, with heavy casualties etc. but still victory as russians lost 1/3 of army and had to leave all their positions and continue to retreat. However Kutuzov claimed that this was russian victory and said to his troops that there will be one more battle next day but when he received lists of casualties that night he decided to retreat and "save army" as he said. IMO this exactly shows that russians lost battle otherwise they would try to stop Napoleon at the gates of Moscow as there was still huge pressure from Alexander and whole nation.

          P.S. Funny thing that russian and especially soviet historians found special definition for Borodino - "it was not military victory, but it was moral victory".

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          • #6
            I know it was a French victory. The reason I said it was more of a draw than a victory is, because I think the battle was not decisive. It was a pointless waste of manpower on both sides. The Russians had to retreat, but the French had hardly enough cavalry left to pursue them vigorysly enough. The French had also lost 30 000-35 000 men in dead and wounded. The Russians didn't loose that many more men if you consider the proportions. They lost 39 000-45 000 men.
            Not many Russian prisoners were taken because they often fought to the death. The French had lost twice as many generals and officers than the Russians. Maybe Borodino was not a draw, but it was a terrible victory.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by the Iron Duke View Post
              I know it was a French victory. The reason I said it was more of a draw than a victory is, because I think the battle was not decisive. It was a pointless waste of manpower on both sides. The Russians had to retreat, but the French had hardly enough cavalry left to pursue them vigorysly enough. The French had also lost 30 000-35 000 men in dead and wounded. The Russians didn't loose that many more men if you consider the proportions. They lost 39 000-45 000 men.
              Not many Russian prisoners were taken because they often fought to the death. The French had lost twice as many generals and officers than the Russians. Maybe Borodino was not a draw, but it was a terrible victory.
              Yes, it was terrible victory....Napoleon was ill that day and battle plan was very poor - massive frontal attacks on russian left wing almost all day and weak flanking maneuver by Poniatovsky, and that`s all.

              I wonder what would happen if Napoleon would send Old guard in attack when marshals asked this...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Ulrih View Post
                Yes, it was terrible victory....Napoleon was ill that day and battle plan was very poor - massive frontal attacks on russian left wing almost all day and weak flanking maneuver by Poniatovsky, and that`s all.

                I wonder what would happen if Napoleon would send Old guard in attack when marshals asked this...
                We are never going to know. He might have won the battle with his Imperial Guard, or they might have been bombed into submission by artillery like most other units on both sides. I don't know of any other battle during the Napoleonic wars, where so much artillery was used.

                In a way, it was good that Napoleon didn't use the Guard. His victory might have been more decisive but Zar Alexander would have been to stubbern to sue for peace. The Guard was one of the few formations during the terrible retreat which kept some sort of order. A kind of nucleas for the rest of the army. If Napoleon would have used the Guard at Borodino, maybe unsucessfully, he wouldn't even had that.

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