Battle of Borodino

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"Borodino" redirects here. Battle of Borodino_sentence_0

For other uses, see Borodino (disambiguation). Battle of Borodino_sentence_1

For the 1941 battle during World War II, see Battle of Moscow. Battle of Borodino_sentence_2

For the World War II battle that was part of the Battle of Moscow, see Battle at Borodino Field. Battle of Borodino_sentence_3

Battle of Borodino_table_infobox_0

Battle of BorodinoBattle of Borodino_header_cell_0_0_0
DateN.S.: 7 September 1812
O.S.: 26 August 1812LocationBorodino, Russia

Result French tactical victoryTerritorial changes Napoleon captures MoscowBattle of Borodino_cell_0_1_0

DateBattle of Borodino_header_cell_0_2_0 N.S.: 7 September 1812
O.S.: 26 August 1812Battle of Borodino_cell_0_2_1
LocationBattle of Borodino_header_cell_0_3_0 Borodino, RussiaBattle of Borodino_cell_0_3_1
ResultBattle of Borodino_header_cell_0_4_0 French tactical victoryBattle of Borodino_cell_0_4_1
Territorial

changesBattle of Borodino_header_cell_0_5_0

Napoleon captures MoscowBattle of Borodino_cell_0_5_1
BelligerentsBattle of Borodino_header_cell_0_6_0
France

Confederation of the Rhine

Duchy of Warsaw
Italy
NaplesBattle of Borodino_cell_0_7_0
RussiaBattle of Borodino_cell_0_7_1
Commanders and leadersBattle of Borodino_header_cell_0_8_0
Battle of Borodino_cell_0_9_0 Battle of Borodino_cell_0_9_1
StrengthBattle of Borodino_header_cell_0_10_0
115,000–190,000Battle of Borodino_cell_0_11_0 106,000–160,000Battle of Borodino_cell_0_11_1
Casualties and lossesBattle of Borodino_header_cell_0_12_0
28,000–40,000 killed, wounded or capturedBattle of Borodino_cell_0_13_0 40,000–45,000 killed, wounded or capturedBattle of Borodino_cell_0_13_1

The Battle of Borodino was a battle fought on 7 September 1812 in the Napoleonic Wars during the French invasion of Russia. Battle of Borodino_sentence_4

The fighting involved around 250,000 troops and left at least 68,000 dead, making Borodino the deadliest day of the Napoleonic Wars and the bloodiest single day in the history of warfare until the First Battle of the Marne in 1914. Battle of Borodino_sentence_5

Napoleon's Grande Armée launched an attack against the Imperial Russian Army, driving it back from its initial positions but failing to gain a decisive victory. Battle of Borodino_sentence_6

The French had no clear way of forcing Tsar Alexander to capitulate because the Russian army was not decisively defeated, resulting in the ultimate defeat of the French invasion following the retreat from Moscow in October. Battle of Borodino_sentence_7

After a series of Russian retreats at the beginning of the campaign, the nobility grew alarmed about the advancing French troops and forced the Tsar to dismiss the army's commander, Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly. Battle of Borodino_sentence_8

Mikhail Kutuzov was appointed as his replacement. Battle of Borodino_sentence_9

In a final attempt to save Moscow, the Russians made a stand near the village of Borodino, west of the town of Mozhaysk. Battle of Borodino_sentence_10

They fortified their positions and waited for the French to attack. Battle of Borodino_sentence_11

The Russian right wing occupied ideal defensive terrain, and so the French tried to press the Russian left for much of the battle. Battle of Borodino_sentence_12

The highlight of the fighting became the bloody struggle for the large Raevsky redoubt near the village of Borodino. Battle of Borodino_sentence_13

The French managed to capture this redoubt late into the day, gradually forcing the rest of the Russian army to pull back as well. Battle of Borodino_sentence_14

French losses were also heavy, exacerbating the logistical difficulties that Napoleon encountered in the campaign. Battle of Borodino_sentence_15

The exhaustion of the French forces, and the lack of information on the condition of the Russian army, persuaded Napoleon to remain on the battlefield with his army instead of ordering the kind of vigorous pursuit reminiscent of previous campaigns. Battle of Borodino_sentence_16

Napoleon's Imperial Guard, the only unit on the battlefield that saw no fighting, was available to swing into action at a moment's notice. Battle of Borodino_sentence_17

In refusing to commit the Guard, some historians believe, he lost his one chance to destroy the Russian army and to win the campaign. Battle of Borodino_sentence_18

The French evacuated Russia's spiritual capital in October and conducted a difficult retreat that lasted until December, by which point the remainder of the Grande Armée had largely unraveled. Battle of Borodino_sentence_19

Historical reports of the battle differed significantly depending on whether they originated from supporters of the French or Russian side. Battle of Borodino_sentence_20

Factional fighting among senior officers within each army also led to conflicting accounts and disagreements over the roles of particular officers. Battle of Borodino_sentence_21

Background Battle of Borodino_section_0

Napoleon's invasion of Russia Battle of Borodino_section_1

Main article: French invasion of Russia Battle of Borodino_sentence_22

The French Grande Armée began its invasion of Russia on 16 June 1812. Battle of Borodino_sentence_23

In response, Emperor Alexander I proclaimed a "Patriotic War" and prepared to face the French. Battle of Borodino_sentence_24

According to the plan of German general Karl Ludwig von Phull, the Russian troops under the command of Count Michael Barclay de Tolly had to face the Grande Armée in the Vilnius region; the remaining troops under general Pyotr Bagration would launch an attack to the French southern flank and rear. Battle of Borodino_sentence_25

However, Phull's plan soon proved to be a serious mistake, as the enormous Grande Armée was more than large enough to separate and crush both Russian armies at the same time. Battle of Borodino_sentence_26

Furthermore, the participation of Tsar Alexander I as commander caused more chaos in the Russian army. Battle of Borodino_sentence_27

The Russian forces which were massed along the Polish frontier were obliged to fall back in the face of the swift French advance. Battle of Borodino_sentence_28

Napoleon advanced from Vitebsk, hoping to catch the Russian army in the open where he could annihilate it. Battle of Borodino_sentence_29

The French army was not positioned well for an extended overland campaign; it was 925 km (575 mi) from its nearest supply base at Kovno (Kaunas). Battle of Borodino_sentence_30

French supply lines were vulnerable and Cossacks, light cavalry, guerrilla forces and even French deserters attacked and seriously depleted French supply columns. Battle of Borodino_sentence_31

The central French force under Napoleon's direct command had crossed the Niemen with 286,000 men but by the time of the battle was reduced to 161,475, mostly through starvation and disease. Battle of Borodino_sentence_32

Nonetheless, the prospect of a decisive battle lured Napoleon deeper into Russia and further stretched his supply lines. Battle of Borodino_sentence_33

Infighting between Barclay's subordinates repeatedly prevented the Russian commander from committing his forces to battle. Battle of Borodino_sentence_34

Barclay's fellow generals and the Russian court viewed the constant retreat as a reluctance to fight; consequently, he was removed from command and replaced by Prince Mikhail Kutuzov on 29 August. Battle of Borodino_sentence_35

Although the 67-year-old General Kutuzov was not seen by his contemporaries as an equal of Napoleon, he possessed the ability to muster a good defence. Battle of Borodino_sentence_36

He was favoured over Barclay because he was Russian whereas Barclay was of Scottish descent and officers subordinate to Barclay could accept Kutuzov, thereby uniting the army. Battle of Borodino_sentence_37

On 18 August Kutuzov arrived at Tsaryovo-Zaymishche to greet the army. Battle of Borodino_sentence_38

After taking over the army, Kutuzov organized a strong rearguard under the command of General Konovnytsyn and then ordered the army to prepare for battle. Battle of Borodino_sentence_39

Kutuzov understood that Barclay's decision to retreat was correct, but the Russian troops could not accept further retreat. Battle of Borodino_sentence_40

A battle had to occur in order to preserve the morale of the soldiers. Battle of Borodino_sentence_41

The new commander had still not managed to establish a defensive position when the armies were within 125 kilometres (78 mi) of Moscow. Battle of Borodino_sentence_42

He then ordered another retreat to Gzhatsk (Gagarin) on 30 August, by which time the ratio of French to Russian forces had shrunk from 3:1 to 5:4. Battle of Borodino_sentence_43

The time to fight had arrived. Battle of Borodino_sentence_44

Napoleon's Grande Armée made its final approach to Moscow from the WSW along the Smolensk Roads with the Moscow River on its left flank. Battle of Borodino_sentence_45

A defensive line was established in the best available position along this path before Moscow near the village of Borodino. Battle of Borodino_sentence_46

Although the Borodino field was too open and had too few natural obstacles to protect the Russian center and the left flank, it was chosen due to the protection provided by the Kolocha river, because it blocked both Smolensk–Moscow roads and because there were simply no better locations. Battle of Borodino_sentence_47

Starting on 3 September, Kutuzov strengthened the line with earthworks, including the Raevski Redoubt in the center-right of the line and three open, arrow-shaped "Bagration flèches" (named after Pyotr Bagration) on the left. Battle of Borodino_sentence_48

Battle of Shevardino Redoubt Battle of Borodino_section_2

The initial Russian position, which stretched south of the new Smolensk Highway (Napoleon's expected route of advance), was anchored on its left by a pentagonal earthwork redoubt erected on a mound near the village of Shevardino. Battle of Borodino_sentence_49

The Russian generals soon realized that their left wing was too exposed and vulnerable. Battle of Borodino_sentence_50

So the Russian line was moved back from this position, but the Redoubt remained manned, Kutuzov stating that the fortification was manned simply to delay the advance of the French forces. Battle of Borodino_sentence_51

Historian Dmitry Buturlin reports that it was used as an observation point to determine the course of the French advance. Battle of Borodino_sentence_52

Historians Witner and Ratch, and many others, reported it was used as a fortification to threaten the French right flank, despite being beyond effective reach of guns of the period. Battle of Borodino_sentence_53

The Chief of Staff of the Russian 1st Army, Aleksey Yermolov, related in his memoirs that the Russian left was shifting position when the French Army arrived sooner than expected; thus the Battle of Shevardino became a delaying effort to shield the redeployment of the Russian left. Battle of Borodino_sentence_54

The construction of the redoubt and its purpose is disputed by historians to this day. Battle of Borodino_sentence_55

The conflict began on September 5 when Marshal Joachim Murat's French forces met Konovnitzyn's Russians in a massive cavalry clash, the Russians eventually retreating to the Kolorzkoi Cloister when their flank was threatened. Battle of Borodino_sentence_56

Fighting resumed the next day but Konovnitzyn again retreated when Viceroy Eugène de Beauharnais' Fourth Corps arrived, threatening his flank. Battle of Borodino_sentence_57

The Russians withdrew to the Shevardino Redoubt, where a pitched battle ensued. Battle of Borodino_sentence_58

Murat led Nansouty's First Cavalry Corps and Montbrun's Second Cavalry Corps, supported by Compans's Division of Louis Nicolas Davout's First Infantry Corps against the redoubt. Battle of Borodino_sentence_59

Simultaneously, Prince Josef Poniatowski's Polish infantry attacked the position from the south. Battle of Borodino_sentence_60

Fighting was heavy and very fierce, as the Russians refused to retreat until Kutuzov personally ordered them to do so. Battle of Borodino_sentence_61

The French captured the redoubt, at a cost of 4,000–5,000 French and 6,000 Russian casualties. Battle of Borodino_sentence_62

The small redoubt was destroyed and covered by the dead and dying of both sides. Battle of Borodino_sentence_63

The unexpected French advance from the west and the fall of the Shevardino redoubt threw the Russian formation into disarray. Battle of Borodino_sentence_64

Since the left flank of their defensive position had collapsed, Russian forces withdrew to the east, constructing a makeshift position centered around the village of Utitsa. Battle of Borodino_sentence_65

The left flank of the Russian position was thus ripe for a flanking attack. Battle of Borodino_sentence_66

Opposing forces Battle of Borodino_section_3

See also: Russian Army order of battle (1812) Battle of Borodino_sentence_67

A series of reforms to the Russian army had begun in 1802, creating regiments of three battalions, each battalion having four companies. Battle of Borodino_sentence_68

The defeats of Austerlitz, Eylau, and Friedland led to important additional reforms, though continuous fighting in the course of three wars with France, two with Sweden, and two with the Ottoman Empire had not allowed time for these to be fully implemented and absorbed. Battle of Borodino_sentence_69

A divisional system was introduced in 1806, and corps were established in 1812. Battle of Borodino_sentence_70

Prussian influence may be seen in the organizational setup. Battle of Borodino_sentence_71

By the time of Borodino the Russian army had changed greatly from the force which met the French in 1805–07. Battle of Borodino_sentence_72

Russian forces present at the battle included 180 infantry battalions, 164 cavalry squadrons, 20 Cossack regiments, and 55 artillery batteries (637 artillery pieces). Battle of Borodino_sentence_73

In total, the Russians fielded 155,200 troops. Battle of Borodino_sentence_74

There were 10,000 Cossacks as well as 33,000 Russian militiamen in the area who did not participate in the battle. Battle of Borodino_sentence_75

After the battle the militia units were broken up to provide reinforcements to depleted regular infantry battalions. Battle of Borodino_sentence_76

Of the 637 Russian artillery pieces, 300 were held in reserve and many of these were never committed to the battle. Battle of Borodino_sentence_77

According to historian Alexander Mikaberidze, the French army remained the finest army of its day by a good margin. Battle of Borodino_sentence_78

The fusion of the legacy of the Ancien Régime with the formations of the French revolution and Napoleon's reforms had transformed it into a military machine that had dominated Europe since 1805. Battle of Borodino_sentence_79

Each corps of the French army was in fact its own mini-army capable of independent action. Battle of Borodino_sentence_80

French forces included 214 battalions of infantry, 317 squadrons of cavalry and 587 artillery pieces totaling 128,000 troops. Battle of Borodino_sentence_81

However, the French Imperial Guard, which consisted of 30 infantry battalions, 27 cavalry squadrons and 109 artillery pieces—a total of 18,500 troops—was never committed to action. Battle of Borodino_sentence_82

Battle Battle of Borodino_section_4

Position Battle of Borodino_section_5

The Russian position at Borodino consisted of a series of disconnected earthworks running in an arc from the Moskva River on the right, along its tributary, the Kolocha (whose steep banks added to the defense), and towards the village of Utitsa on the left. Battle of Borodino_sentence_83

Thick woods interspersed along the Russian left and center (on the French side of the Kolocha) made the deployment and control of French forces difficult, aiding the defenders. Battle of Borodino_sentence_84

The Russian center was defended by the Raevsky Redoubt, a massive open-backed earthwork mounting nineteen 12-pounder cannons which had a clear field of fire all the way to the banks of the Kolocha stream. Battle of Borodino_sentence_85

Kutuzov was very concerned that the French might take the New Smolensk Road around his positions and on to Moscow so placed the more powerful 1st Army under Barclay on the right, in positions which were already strong and virtually unassailable by the French. Battle of Borodino_sentence_86

The 2nd Army under Bagration was expected to hold the left. Battle of Borodino_sentence_87

The fall of Shevardino unanchored the Russian left flank but Kutuzov did nothing to change these initial dispositions despite the repeated pleas of his generals to redeploy their forces. Battle of Borodino_sentence_88

Thus, when the action began and became a defensive rather than an offensive battle for the Russians, their heavy preponderance in artillery was wasted on a right wing that would never be attacked, while the French artillery did much to help win the battle. Battle of Borodino_sentence_89

Colonel Karl Wilhelm von Toll and others would make attempts to cover up their mistakes in this deployment and later attempts by historians would compound the issue. Battle of Borodino_sentence_90

Indeed, Clausewitz also complained about Toll's dispositions being so narrow and deep that needless losses were incurred from artillery fire. Battle of Borodino_sentence_91

The Russian position therefore was just about 8 kilometres (5 mi) long with about 80,000 of the 1st Army on the right and 34,000 of the 2nd Army on the left. Battle of Borodino_sentence_92

Bagration's flèches Battle of Borodino_section_6

Main article: Bagration flèches Battle of Borodino_sentence_93

The first area of operations was on the Bagration flèches, as had been predicted by both Barclay de Tolly and Bagration. Battle of Borodino_sentence_94

Napoleon, in command of the French forces, made errors similar to those of his Russian adversary, deploying his forces inefficiently and failing to exploit the weaknesses in the Russian line. Battle of Borodino_sentence_95

Despite Marshal Davout's suggestion of a maneuver to outflank the weak Russian left, the Emperor instead ordered Davout's First Corps to move directly forward into the teeth of the defense, while the flanking maneuver was left to the weak Fifth Corps of Prince Poniatowski. Battle of Borodino_sentence_96

The initial French attack was aimed at seizing the three Russian positions collectively known as the Bagration flèches, three arrow-head shaped, open-backed earthworks which arced out to the left en échelon in front of the Kolocha stream. Battle of Borodino_sentence_97

These positions helped support the Russian left, which had no terrain advantages. Battle of Borodino_sentence_98

There was much to be desired in the construction of the flèches, one officer noting that the ditches were much too shallow, the embrasures open to the ground, making them easy to enter, and that they were much too wide exposing infantry inside them. Battle of Borodino_sentence_99

The flèches were supported by artillery from the village of Semyanovskaya, whose elevation dominated the other side of the Kolocha. Battle of Borodino_sentence_100

The battle began at 06:00 with the opening of the 102-gun French grand battery against the Russian center. Battle of Borodino_sentence_101

Davout sent Compans's Division against the southernmost of the flèches, with Dessaix's Division echeloned out to the left. Battle of Borodino_sentence_102

When Compans exited the woods on the far bank of the Kolocha, he was hit by massed Russian cannon fire; both Compans and Dessaix were wounded, but the French continued their assault. Battle of Borodino_sentence_103

Davout, seeing the confusion, personally led the 57th Line Regiment (Le Terrible) forward until he had his horse shot from under him; he fell so hard that General Sorbier reported him as dead. Battle of Borodino_sentence_104

General Rapp arrived to replace him, only to find Davout alive and leading the 57th forward again. Battle of Borodino_sentence_105

Rapp then led the 61st Line Regiment forward when he was wounded (for the 22nd time in his career). Battle of Borodino_sentence_106

By 07:30, Davout had gained control of the three flèches. Battle of Borodino_sentence_107

Prince Bagration quickly led a counterattack that threw the French out of the positions, only to have Marshal Michel Ney lead a charge by the 24th Regiment that retook them. Battle of Borodino_sentence_108

Although not enamoured of Barclay, Bagration turned to him for aid, ignoring Kutuzov altogether; Barclay, to his credit, responded quickly, sending three guard regiments, eight grenadier battalions, and twenty-four 12-pounder cannon at their best pace to bolster Semyаnovskaya. Battle of Borodino_sentence_109

Colonel Toll and Kutuzov moved the Guard Reserve units forward as early as 09:00 hours. Battle of Borodino_sentence_110

During the confused fighting, French and Russian units moved forward into impenetrable smoke and were smashed by artillery and musketry fire that was horrendous even by Napoleonic standards. Battle of Borodino_sentence_111

Infantry and cavalrymen had difficulty maneuvering over the heaps of corpses and masses of wounded. Battle of Borodino_sentence_112

Murat advanced with his cavalry around the flèches to attack Bagration's infantry, but was confronted by General Duka's 2nd Cuirassier Division supported by Neverovsky's infantry. Battle of Borodino_sentence_113

The French carried out seven assaults against the flèches and each time were beaten back in fierce close combat. Battle of Borodino_sentence_114

Bagration in some instances was personally leading counterattacks, and in a final attempt to push the French completely back he got hit in the leg by cannonball splinters somewhere around 11:00 hours. Battle of Borodino_sentence_115

He insisted on staying on the field to observe Duka's decisive cavalry attack. Battle of Borodino_sentence_116

This counter-punch drove Murat to seek the cover of allied Württemberger infantry. Battle of Borodino_sentence_117

Barclay's reinforcements, however, were sent into the fray only to be torn to pieces by French artillery, leaving Friant's Division in control of the Russian forward position at 11:30. Battle of Borodino_sentence_118

Dust, smoke, confusion, and exhaustion all combined to keep the French commanders on the field (Davout, Ney, and Murat) from comprehending that all the Russians before them had fallen back, were in confusion, and ripe for the taking. Battle of Borodino_sentence_119

The 2nd Army's command structure fell apart as Bagration was removed from the battlefield and the report of his being hit quickly spread and caused morale collapse. Battle of Borodino_sentence_120

Napoleon, who had been sick with a cold and was too far from the action to really observe what was going on, refused to send his subordinates reinforcements. Battle of Borodino_sentence_121

He was hesitant to release his last reserve, the Imperial Guard, so far from France. Battle of Borodino_sentence_122

First attacks on the Raevsky redoubt Battle of Borodino_section_7

Prince Eugène de Beauharnais advanced his corps against Borodino, rushing the village and capturing it from the Russian Guard Jägers. Battle of Borodino_sentence_123

However, the advancing columns rapidly lost their cohesion; shortly after clearing Borodino, they faced fresh Russian assault columns and retreated back to the village. Battle of Borodino_sentence_124

General Delzons was posted to Borodino to prevent the Russians retaking it. Battle of Borodino_sentence_125

Morand's division then crossed to the north side of the Semyenovka stream, while the remainder of Eugène's forces traversed three bridges across the Kolocha to the south, placing them on the same side of the stream as the Russians. Battle of Borodino_sentence_126

He then deployed most of his artillery and began to push the Russians back toward the Raevsky redoubt. Battle of Borodino_sentence_127

Broussier and Morand's divisions then advanced together with furious artillery support. Battle of Borodino_sentence_128

The redoubt changed hands as Barclay was forced to personally rally Paskevitch's routed regiment. Battle of Borodino_sentence_129

Kutuzov ordered Yermolov to take action; the general brought forward three horse artillery batteries that began to blast the open-ended redoubt, while the 3rd Battalion of the Ufa Regiment and two Jäger regiments brought up by Barclay rushed in with the bayonet to eliminate Bonami's Brigade. Battle of Borodino_sentence_130

The Russian reinforcements' assault returned the redoubt to Russian control. Battle of Borodino_sentence_131

Eugène's artillery continued to pound Russian support columns, while Marshals Ney and Davout set up a crossfire with artillery positioned on the Semyonovskaya heights. Battle of Borodino_sentence_132

Barclay countered by moving the Prussian General Eugen over to the right to support Miloradovich in his defense of the redoubt. Battle of Borodino_sentence_133

The French responded to this move by sending forward General Sorbier, commander of the Imperial Guard artillery. Battle of Borodino_sentence_134

Sorbier brought forth 36 artillery pieces from the Imperial Guard Artillery Park and also took command of 49 horse artillery pieces from Nansouty's Ist Cavalry Corps and La Tour Maubourg's IV Cavalry Corps, as well as of Viceroy Eugène's own artillery, opening up a massive artillery barrage. Battle of Borodino_sentence_135

When Barclay brought up troops against an attacking French brigade, he described it as "a walk into Hell". Battle of Borodino_sentence_136

During the height of the battle, Kutuzov's subordinates were making all of the decisions for him; according to Colonel Karl von Clausewitz, famous for his work On War, the Russian commander "seemed to be in a trance." Battle of Borodino_sentence_137

With the death of General Kutaisov, Chief of Artillery, most of the Russian cannon sat useless on the heights to the rear and were never ordered into battle, while the French artillery wreaked havoc on the Russians. Battle of Borodino_sentence_138

Cossack raid on the northern flank Battle of Borodino_section_8

On the morning of the battle at around 07:30, patrols of Don Cossacks from Matvei Platov's pulk had discovered a ford across the Kolocha river, on the extreme Russian right (northern) flank. Battle of Borodino_sentence_139

Seeing that the ground in front of them was clear of enemy forces, Platov saw an opportunity to go around the French left flank and into the enemy's rear. Battle of Borodino_sentence_140

He at once sent one of his aides to ask for permission from Kutuzov for such an operation. Battle of Borodino_sentence_141

Platov's aide was lucky enough to encounter Colonel von Toll, an enterprising member of Kutuzov's staff, who suggested that General Uvarov's Ist Cavalry Corps be added to the operation and at once volunteered to present the plan to the commander-in-chief. Battle of Borodino_sentence_142

Together, they went to see Kutuzov, who nonchalantly gave his permission. Battle of Borodino_sentence_143

There was no clear plan and no objectives had been drawn up, the whole manoeuvre being interpreted by both Kutuzov and Uvarov as a feint. Battle of Borodino_sentence_144

Uvarov and Platov thus set off, having just around 8000 cavalrymen and 12 guns in total, and no infantry support. Battle of Borodino_sentence_145

As Uvarov moved southwest and south and Platov moved west, they eventually arrived in the undefended rear of Viceroy Eugène's IV Corps. Battle of Borodino_sentence_146

This was towards midday, just as the Viceroy was getting his orders to conduct another assault on the Raevski redoubt. Battle of Borodino_sentence_147

The sudden appearance of masses of enemy cavalry so close to the supply train and to the Emperor's Headquarters caused panic and consternation and prompted Eugène to immediately cancel his attack and pull back his entire Corps westwards to deal with this alarming situation. Battle of Borodino_sentence_148

Meanwhile, the two Russian cavalry commanders tried to break what French infantry they could find in the vicinity. Battle of Borodino_sentence_149

Having no infantry of their own, the poorly coordinated Russian attacks came to nothing. Battle of Borodino_sentence_150

Unable to achieve much else, Platov and Uvarov moved back to their own lines and the action was perceived as a failure by both Kutuzov and the Russian General Staff. Battle of Borodino_sentence_151

As it turned out, the action had the utmost importance in the outcome of the battle, as it delayed the attack of the IV Corps on the Raevski redoubt for a critical two hours. Battle of Borodino_sentence_152

During these two hours, the Russians were able to reassess the situation, realize the terrible state of Bagration's 2nd Army and send reinforcements to the front line. Battle of Borodino_sentence_153

Meanwhile, the retreat of Viceroy Eugène's Corps had left Montbrun's II French Cavalry Corps to fill the gap under the most murderous fire, which used up and demoralized these cavalrymen, greatly reducing their combat effectiveness. Battle of Borodino_sentence_154

The delay contradicted a military principle the Emperor had stated many times: "Ground I may recover, time never." Battle of Borodino_sentence_155

The Cossack raid contributed to Napoleon's later decision not to commit his Imperial Guard to battle. Battle of Borodino_sentence_156

Final attack on Raevsky redoubt Battle of Borodino_section_9

At 14:00, Napoleon renewed the assault against the redoubt, as Broussier's, Morand's, and Gérard's divisions launched a massive frontal attack, with Chastel's light cavalry division on their left and the II Reserve Cavalry Corps on their right; Battle of Borodino_sentence_157

The Russians sent Likhachov's 24th Division into the battle, who fought bravely under Likhachov's motto: "Brothers, behind us is Moscow!" Battle of Borodino_sentence_158

But the French troops approached too close for the cannons to fire, and the cannoneers fought a pitched close-order defence against the attackers. Battle of Borodino_sentence_159

General Caulaincourt ordered Watier's cuirassier division to lead the assault. Battle of Borodino_sentence_160

Barclay saw Eugène's preparations for the assault and attempted to counter it, moving his forces against it. Battle of Borodino_sentence_161

The French artillery, however, began bombarding the assembling force even as it gathered. Battle of Borodino_sentence_162

Caulaincourt led Watier's cuirassiers in an assault on the opening at the back of the redoubt; he was killed as the charge was beaten off by fierce Russian musketry. Battle of Borodino_sentence_163

General Thielmann then led eight Saxon and two Polish cavalry squadrons against the back of the redoubt, while officers and sergeants of his command actually forced their horses through the redoubt's embrasures, sowing confusion amongst the defenders and allowing the French cavalry and infantry to take the position. Battle of Borodino_sentence_164

The battle had all but ended, with both sides so exhausted that only the artillery was still at work. Battle of Borodino_sentence_165

At 15:30, the Raevsky redoubt fell with most of the 24th Division's troops. Battle of Borodino_sentence_166

All the Russian cannoneers in Raevsky died right next to their cannons, and General Likhachov was captured by the French. Battle of Borodino_sentence_167

But among the dead Russian troops lay the corpses of about 1000 of Caulaincourt's cuirassiers, including Caulaincourt himself. Battle of Borodino_sentence_168

However, the fall of the Raevsky redoubt did not have much significance on the overall course of the battle. Battle of Borodino_sentence_169

The Russian troops successfully retreated without being destroyed, despite suffering heavy losses. Battle of Borodino_sentence_170

So, in spite of losing some areas in the battlefield, the Russian formation was prevented from collapsing. Battle of Borodino_sentence_171

But gaining the Raevsky redoubt cost the French severe casualties and Napoleon himself then ordered his troops to retreat to their starting line. Battle of Borodino_sentence_172

The Russians were then able to reoccupy their previous positions. Battle of Borodino_sentence_173

Utitsa Battle of Borodino_section_10

The third area of operations was around the village of Utitsa. Battle of Borodino_sentence_174

The village was at the southern end of the Russian positions and lay along the old Smolensk road. Battle of Borodino_sentence_175

It was rightly perceived as a potential weak point in the defense as a march along the road could turn the entire position at Borodino. Battle of Borodino_sentence_176

Despite such concerns the area was a tangle of rough country thickly covered in heavy brush well suited for deploying light infantry. Battle of Borodino_sentence_177

The forest was dense, the ground marshy and Russian Jaeger were deployed there in some numbers. Battle of Borodino_sentence_178

Russian General Nikolay Tuchkov had some 23,000 troops but half were untrained Opolchenye (militia) armed only with pikes and axes and not ready for deployment. Battle of Borodino_sentence_179

Poniatowski had about 10,000 men, all trained and eager to fight, but his first attempt did not go well. Battle of Borodino_sentence_180

It was at once realized the massed troops and artillery could not move through the forest against Jaeger opposition so had to reverse to Yelnya and then move eastward. Battle of Borodino_sentence_181

Tuchkov had deployed his 1st Grenadier Division in line backing it with the 3rd division in battalion columns. Battle of Borodino_sentence_182

Some four regiments were called away to help defend the redoubts that were under attack and another 2 Jaeger regiments were deployed in the Utitsa woods, weakening the position. Battle of Borodino_sentence_183

The Polish contingent contested control of Utitsa village, capturing it with their first attempt. Battle of Borodino_sentence_184

Tuchkov later ejected the French forces by 08:00. Battle of Borodino_sentence_185

General Jean-Andoche Junot led the Westphalians to join the attack and again captured Utitsa, which was set on fire by the departing Russians. Battle of Borodino_sentence_186

After the village's capture, Russians and Poles continued to skirmish and cannonade for the rest of the day without much progress. Battle of Borodino_sentence_187

The heavy undergrowth greatly hindered Poniatowski's efforts but eventually he came near to cutting off Tuchkov from the rest of the Russian forces. Battle of Borodino_sentence_188

General Barclay sent help in the form of Karl Gustav von Baggovut with Konovnitzyn in support. Battle of Borodino_sentence_189

Any hope of real progress by the Poles was then lost. Battle of Borodino_sentence_190

Napoleon's refusal to commit the Guard Battle of Borodino_section_11

Towards 15:00, after hours of resistance, the Russian army was in dire straits, but the French forces were exhausted and had neither the necessary stamina nor the necessary will to carry out another assault. Battle of Borodino_sentence_191

Both armies were exhausted after the battle and the Russians withdrew from the field the following day. Battle of Borodino_sentence_192

Borodino represented the last Russian effort at stopping the French advance on Moscow, which fell a week later. Battle of Borodino_sentence_193

At this crucial juncture, Murat's chief of staff, General Augustin Daniel Belliard rode straight to the Emperor's Headquarters and, according to General Ségur who wrote an account of the campaign, told him that the Russian line had been breached, that the road to Mozhaysk, behind the Russian line, was visible through the gaping hole the French attack had pierced, that an enormous crowd of runaways and vehicles were hastily retreating, and that a final push would be enough to decide the fate of the Russian army and of the war. Battle of Borodino_sentence_194

Generals Daru, Dumas and Marshal Louis Alexandre Berthier also joined in and told the Emperor that everyone thought the time had come for the Guard to be committed to battle. Battle of Borodino_sentence_195

Given the ferocity of the Russian defense, everyone was aware that such a move would cost the lives of thousands of Guardsmen, but it was thought that the presence of this prestigious unit would bolster the morale of the entire army for a final decisive push. Battle of Borodino_sentence_196

A notable exception was Marshal Bessières, commander of the Guard cavalry, who was one of the very few senior generals to strongly advise against the intervention of the Guard. Battle of Borodino_sentence_197

As the general staff were discussing the matter, general Rapp, a senior aide-de-camp to the Emperor, was being brought from the field of battle, having been wounded in action. Battle of Borodino_sentence_198

Rapp immediately recommended to the Emperor that the Guard be deployed for action at which the Emperor is said to have retorted: "I will most definitely not; I do not want to have it blown up. Battle of Borodino_sentence_199

I am certain of winning the battle without its intervention." Battle of Borodino_sentence_200

Determined not to commit this valuable final reserve so far away from France, Napoleon rejected another such request, this time from Marshal Ney. Battle of Borodino_sentence_201

Instead, he called the commander of the "Young Guard", Marshal Mortier and instructed him to guard the field of battle without moving forward or backward, while at the same time unleashing a massive cannonade with his 400 guns. Battle of Borodino_sentence_202

End of the battle Battle of Borodino_section_12

Napoleon went forward to see the situation from the former Russian front lines shortly after the redoubts had been taken. Battle of Borodino_sentence_203

The Russians had moved to the next ridge-line in much disarray; however, that disarray was not clear to the French, with dust and haze obscuring the Russian dispositions. Battle of Borodino_sentence_204

Kutuzov ordered the Russian Guard to hold the line and so it did. Battle of Borodino_sentence_205

All of the artillery that the French army had was not enough to move it. Battle of Borodino_sentence_206

Those compact squares made good artillery targets and the Russian Guard stood in place from 4 pm to 6 pm unmoving under its fire resulting in huge casualties. Battle of Borodino_sentence_207

All he could see were masses of troops in the distance and thus nothing more was attempted. Battle of Borodino_sentence_208

Neither the attack, which relied on brute force, nor the refusal to use the Guard to finish the day's work showed any brilliance on Napoleon's part. Battle of Borodino_sentence_209

Both the Prussian Staff Officer Karl von Clausewitz, the historian and future author of On War, and Alexander I of Russia noted that the poor positioning of troops in particular had hobbled the defense. Battle of Borodino_sentence_210

Barclay communicated with Kutuzov in order to receive further instructions. Battle of Borodino_sentence_211

According to Ludwig von Wolzogen (in an account dripping with sarcasm), the commander was found a half-hour away on the road to Moscow, encamped with an entourage of young nobles and grandly pronouncing he would drive Napoleon off the next day. Battle of Borodino_sentence_212

Despite his bluster, Kutuzov knew from dispatches that his army had been too badly hurt to fight a continuing action the following day. Battle of Borodino_sentence_213

He knew exactly what he was doing: by fighting the pitched battle, he could now retreat with the Russian army still intact, lead its recovery, and force the weakened French forces to move even further from their bases of supply. Battle of Borodino_sentence_214

The dénouement became a textbook example of what a hold logistics placed upon an army far from its center of supply. Battle of Borodino_sentence_215

On September 8, the Russian army moved away from the battlefield in twin columns to Semolino, allowing Napoleon to occupy Moscow and await for 5 weeks a Russian surrender that would never come. Battle of Borodino_sentence_216

Kutuzov would proclaim over the course of several days that the Russian Army would fight again before the wall of Moscow. Battle of Borodino_sentence_217

In fact, a site was chosen near Poklonnaya Gora within a few miles of Moscow as a battle site. Battle of Borodino_sentence_218

However, the Russian Army had not received enough reinforcements, and it was too risky to cling to Moscow at all costs. Battle of Borodino_sentence_219

Kutuzov understood that the Russian people never wanted to abandon Moscow, the city which was regarded as Russia's "second capital"; however he also believed that the Russian Army did not have enough forces to protect that city. Battle of Borodino_sentence_220

Kutuzov called for a council of war on the night of September 12 at Fili village. Battle of Borodino_sentence_221

In a heated debate that split the council five to four in favour of giving battle, Kutuzov, after listening to each General, endorsed retreat. Battle of Borodino_sentence_222

Thus passed the last chance of battle before Moscow was taken. Battle of Borodino_sentence_223

Historiography Battle of Borodino_section_13

Battle of Borodino_table_general_1

Estimates of the sizes of opposing forcesBattle of Borodino_header_cell_1_0_0
made at different times by different historiansBattle of Borodino_header_cell_1_1_0
HistorianBattle of Borodino_header_cell_1_2_0 FrenchBattle of Borodino_header_cell_1_2_1 RussianBattle of Borodino_header_cell_1_2_2 YearBattle of Borodino_header_cell_1_2_3
ButurlinBattle of Borodino_cell_1_3_0 190,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_3_1 132,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_3_2 1824Battle of Borodino_cell_1_3_3
SegurBattle of Borodino_cell_1_4_0 130,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_4_1 120,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_4_2 1824Battle of Borodino_cell_1_4_3
ChambrayBattle of Borodino_cell_1_5_0 133,819Battle of Borodino_cell_1_5_1 130,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_5_2 1825Battle of Borodino_cell_1_5_3
FainBattle of Borodino_cell_1_6_0 120,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_6_1 133,500Battle of Borodino_cell_1_6_2 1827Battle of Borodino_cell_1_6_3
ClausewitzBattle of Borodino_cell_1_7_0 130,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_7_1 120,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_7_2 1830sBattle of Borodino_cell_1_7_3
Mikhailovsky-DanilivskyBattle of Borodino_cell_1_8_0 160,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_8_1 128,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_8_2 1839Battle of Borodino_cell_1_8_3
BogdanovichBattle of Borodino_cell_1_9_0 130,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_9_1 120,800Battle of Borodino_cell_1_9_2 1859Battle of Borodino_cell_1_9_3
MarbotBattle of Borodino_cell_1_10_0 140,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_10_1 160,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_10_2 1860Battle of Borodino_cell_1_10_3
BurtonBattle of Borodino_cell_1_11_0 130,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_11_1 120,800Battle of Borodino_cell_1_11_2 1914Battle of Borodino_cell_1_11_3
GarniichBattle of Borodino_cell_1_12_0 130,665Battle of Borodino_cell_1_12_1 119,300Battle of Borodino_cell_1_12_2 1956Battle of Borodino_cell_1_12_3
TarleBattle of Borodino_cell_1_13_0 130,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_13_1 127,800Battle of Borodino_cell_1_13_2 1962Battle of Borodino_cell_1_13_3
GrunwardBattle of Borodino_cell_1_14_0 130,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_14_1 120,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_14_2 1963Battle of Borodino_cell_1_14_3
BeskrovnyBattle of Borodino_cell_1_15_0 135,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_15_1 126,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_15_2 1968Battle of Borodino_cell_1_15_3
ChandlerBattle of Borodino_cell_1_16_0 156,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_16_1 120,800Battle of Borodino_cell_1_16_2 1966Battle of Borodino_cell_1_16_3
ThiryBattle of Borodino_cell_1_17_0 120,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_17_1 133,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_17_2 1969Battle of Borodino_cell_1_17_3
HolmesBattle of Borodino_cell_1_18_0 130,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_18_1 120,800Battle of Borodino_cell_1_18_2 1971Battle of Borodino_cell_1_18_3
DuffyBattle of Borodino_cell_1_19_0 133,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_19_1 125,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_19_2 1972Battle of Borodino_cell_1_19_3
TranieBattle of Borodino_cell_1_20_0 127,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_20_1 120,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_20_2 1981Battle of Borodino_cell_1_20_3
NicolsonBattle of Borodino_cell_1_21_0 128,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_21_1 106,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_21_2 1985Battle of Borodino_cell_1_21_3
TroitskyBattle of Borodino_cell_1_22_0 134,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_22_1 154,800Battle of Borodino_cell_1_22_2 1988Battle of Borodino_cell_1_22_3
VasilievBattle of Borodino_cell_1_23_0 130,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_23_1 155,200Battle of Borodino_cell_1_23_2 1997Battle of Borodino_cell_1_23_3
SmithBattle of Borodino_cell_1_24_0 133,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_24_1 120,800Battle of Borodino_cell_1_24_2 1998Battle of Borodino_cell_1_24_3
ZemtsovBattle of Borodino_cell_1_25_0 127,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_25_1 154,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_25_2 1999Battle of Borodino_cell_1_25_3
HourtoulleBattle of Borodino_cell_1_26_0 115,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_26_1 140,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_26_2 2000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_26_3
BezotosnyBattle of Borodino_cell_1_27_0 135,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_27_1 150,000Battle of Borodino_cell_1_27_2 2004Battle of Borodino_cell_1_27_3

It is not unusual for a pivotal battle of this era to be difficult to document. Battle of Borodino_sentence_224

Similar difficulties exist with the Battle of Waterloo or battles of the War of 1812 in North America, while the Battle of Borodino offers its own particular challenges to accuracy. Battle of Borodino_sentence_225

Modern historian Adam Zamoyski noted: "No other campaign in history has been subjected to such overtly political uses." Battle of Borodino_sentence_226

Personal accounts of the battle frequently magnified an individual's own role or minimised those of rivals. Battle of Borodino_sentence_227

The politics of the time were complex and complicated by ethnic divisions between native Russian nobility and those having second and third-generation German descent, leading to rivalry for positions in command of the army. Battle of Borodino_sentence_228

Not only does a historian have to deal with the normal problem of a veteran looking back and recalling events as he or she would have liked them to have been, but in some cases outright malice was involved. Battle of Borodino_sentence_229

Nor was this strictly a Russian event, as bickering and sabotage were known amongst the French marshals and their reporting generals. Battle of Borodino_sentence_230

To "lie like a bulletin" was not just a French affair either, with Kutuzov in particular promoting an early form of misinformation that has continued to this day. Battle of Borodino_sentence_231

Further distortions occurred during the Soviet years, when an adherence to a "formula" was the expectation during the Stalin years and for some time after that. Battle of Borodino_sentence_232

The over-reliance of western histories on the battle and of the campaign on French sources has been noted by later historians. Battle of Borodino_sentence_233

The views of historians of the outcome of the battle changed with the passage of time and the changing political situations surrounding them. Battle of Borodino_sentence_234

Kutuzov proclaimed a victory both to the army and to Emperor Alexander. Battle of Borodino_sentence_235

While many a general throughout history claimed victory out of defeat (Ramses II of Egypt did so) and in this case, Kutuzov was commander-in-chief of the entire Russian army, and it was an army that, despite the huge losses, considered itself undefeated. Battle of Borodino_sentence_236

Announcing a defeat would have removed Kutuzov from command, and damaged the morale of the proud soldiers. Battle of Borodino_sentence_237

While Alexander was not deceived by the announcement, it gave him the justification needed to allow Kutuzov to march his army off to rebuild the Russian forces and later complete the near utter destruction of the French army. Battle of Borodino_sentence_238

As such, what was said by Kutuzov and those supporting his views was allowed to pass into the histories of the time unchecked. Battle of Borodino_sentence_239

Histories during the Soviet era raised the battle to a mythic contest with serious political overtones and had Kutuzov as the master tactician on the battlefield, directing every move with the precision of a ballet master directing his troupe. Battle of Borodino_sentence_240

Kutuzov's abilities on the battlefield were, in the eyes of his contemporaries and fellow Russian generals, far more complex and often described in less than flattering terms. Battle of Borodino_sentence_241

Noted author and historian David G. Chandler writing in 1966, echoes the Soviet era Russian histories in more than a few ways, asserting that General Kutuzov remained in control of the battle throughout, ordered counter-moves to Napoleon's tactics personally rather than Bagration and Barclay doing so and put aside personal differences to overcome the dispositional mistakes of the Russian army. Battle of Borodino_sentence_242

Nor is the tent scene played out; instead Kutuzov remains with the army. Battle of Borodino_sentence_243

Chandler also has the Russian army in much better shape moving to secondary prepared positions and seriously considering attacking the next day. Battle of Borodino_sentence_244

Later historians Riehn and Mikaberidze have Kutuzov leaving most of the battle to Bagration and Barclay de Tolly, leaving early in the afternoon and relaying orders from his camp 30 minutes from the front. Battle of Borodino_sentence_245

His dispositions for the battle are described as a clear mistake leaving the right far too strong and the left much too weak. Battle of Borodino_sentence_246

Only the fact that Bagration and Barclay were to cooperate fully saved the Russian army and did much to mitigate the bad positioning. Battle of Borodino_sentence_247

Nothing would be more damning than 300 artillery pieces standing silent on the Russian right. Battle of Borodino_sentence_248

Casualties Battle of Borodino_section_14

The casualties of the battle were staggering: according to French General Staff Inspector P. Denniee, the Grande Armée lost approximately 28,000 soldiers: 6,562 (including 269 officers) were reported as dead, 21,450 as wounded. Battle of Borodino_sentence_249

But according to French historian Aristid Martinien, at least 460 French officers (known by name) were killed in battle. Battle of Borodino_sentence_250

In total, the Grande Armée lost 1,928 officers dead and wounded, including 49 generals. Battle of Borodino_sentence_251

The list of slain included French Generals of Division Auguste-Jean-Gabriel de Caulaincourt, Louis-Pierre Montbrun, Jean Victor Tharreau and Generals of Brigade Claude Antoine Compère, François Auguste Damas, Léonard Jean Aubry Huard de Saint-Aubin, Jean Pierre Lanabère, Charles Stanislas Marion, Louis Auguste Marchand Plauzonne, and Jean Louis Romeuf. Battle of Borodino_sentence_252

Suffering a wound on the Borodino battlefield was effectively a death sentence, as French forces did not possess enough food for the healthy, much less the sick; consequently, equal numbers of wounded soldiers starved to death, died of their injuries, or perished through neglect. Battle of Borodino_sentence_253

The casualties were for a single day of battle, while the Russian figures are for the 5th and the 7th, combined. Battle of Borodino_sentence_254

Using the same accounting method for both armies brings the actual French Army casualty count to 34,000–35,000. Battle of Borodino_sentence_255

The Russians suffered terrible casualties during the fighting, losing over a third of their army. Battle of Borodino_sentence_256

Some 52,000 Russian troops were reported as dead, wounded or missing, including 1,000 prisoners; some 8,000 men were separated from their units and returned over the next few days, bringing the total Russian losses to 44,000. Battle of Borodino_sentence_257

Twenty-two Russian generals were killed or wounded, including Prince Bagration, who died of his wounds on 24 September. Battle of Borodino_sentence_258

Historian Gwynne Dyer compared the carnage at Borodino to "a fully-loaded 747 crashing, with no survivors, every 5 minutes for eight hours." Battle of Borodino_sentence_259

Taken as a one-day battle in the scope of the Napoleonic conflict, this was the bloodiest battle of this series of conflicts with combined casualties between 72,000 and 73,000. Battle of Borodino_sentence_260

The next nearest battle would be Waterloo, at about 55,000 for the day. Battle of Borodino_sentence_261

In the historiography of this battle, the figures would be deliberately inflated or underplayed by the generals of both sides attempting to lessen the impact the figures would have on public opinion both during aftermath of the battle or, for political reasons, later during the Soviet period. Battle of Borodino_sentence_262

Aftermath Battle of Borodino_section_15

Although the Battle of Borodino can be seen as a victory for Napoleon, some scholars and contemporaries described Borodino as a Pyrrhic victory. Battle of Borodino_sentence_263

Russian historian Oleg Sokolov posits that Borodino constituted a Pyrrhic victory for the French, which would ultimately cost Napoleon the war and his crown, although at the time none of this was apparent to either side. Battle of Borodino_sentence_264

Sokolov adds that the decision to not commit the Guard saved the Russians from an Austerlitz-style defeat and quotes Marshal Laurent de Gouvion Saint-Cyr, one of Napoleon's finest strategists, who analyzed the battle and concluded that an intervention of the Guard would have torn the Russian army to pieces and allowed Napoleon to safely follow his plans to take winter quarters in Moscow and resume his successful campaign in spring or offer the Tsar acceptable peace terms. Battle of Borodino_sentence_265

Digby Smith calls Borodino 'a draw' but believes that posterity proved Napoleon right in his decision to not commit the Guard so far away from his homeland. Battle of Borodino_sentence_266

According to Christopher Duffy, the battle of Borodino could be seen as a new Battle of Torgau, in which both of the sides sustained terrible losses but neither could achieve their tactical goals, and the battle itself did not have a clear result, although both sides claimed the battle as their own victory. Battle of Borodino_sentence_267

However, in what had become a war of attrition, the battle was just one more source of losses to the French when they were losing two men to one. Battle of Borodino_sentence_268

Both the French and the Russians suffered terribly but the Russians had reserve troops, and a clear logistical advantage. Battle of Borodino_sentence_269

The French Army supplies came over a long road lined with hostile forces. Battle of Borodino_sentence_270

According to Riehn, so long as the Russian Army existed the French continued to lose. Battle of Borodino_sentence_271

This victory ultimately cost Napoleon his army, as it allowed the French emperor to believe that the campaign was winnable, exhausting his forces as he went on to Moscow to await a surrender that would never come. Battle of Borodino_sentence_272

The capture of Moscow proved a Pyrrhic victory, since the Russians had no intention of negotiating with Napoleon for peace. Battle of Borodino_sentence_273

Historian Riehn notes that the Borodino victory allowed Napoleon to move on to Moscow, where—even allowing for the arrival of reinforcements—the French Army only possessed a maximum of 95,000 men, who would be ill-equipped to win a battle due to a lack of supplies and ammunition. Battle of Borodino_sentence_274

The Grande Armée suffered two-thirds of its casualties by the time of the Moscow retreat; snow, starvation, and typhus ensured that only 23,000 men returned across the Russian border alive. Battle of Borodino_sentence_275

Furthermore, while the Russian army suffered heavy casualties in the battle, it regrouped by the time of Napoleon's retreat from Moscow; it soon began to interfere with the French withdrawal, costing Napoleon much of his surviving army. Battle of Borodino_sentence_276

Legacy Battle of Borodino_section_16

Poet Mikhail Lermontov romanticized the battle in his poem Borodino. Battle of Borodino_sentence_277

The battle was famously described by Leo Tolstoy in his novel War and Peace, "After the shock that had been received, the French army was still able to crawl to Moscow; but there, without any new efforts on the part of the Russian troops, it was doomed to perish, bleeding to death from the mortal wound received at Borodino." Battle of Borodino_sentence_278

In 1904, the Imperial Russian Navy named a battleship after the battle. Battle of Borodino_sentence_279

A huge panorama representing the battle was painted by Franz Roubaud for the centenary of Borodino and installed on the Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow to mark the 150th anniversary of the event. Battle of Borodino_sentence_280

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky also composed his 1812 Overture to commemorate the battle. Battle of Borodino_sentence_281

In Russia, the Battle of Borodino is reenacted yearly on the first Sunday of September. Battle of Borodino_sentence_282

On the battlefield itself, the Bagration flèches are preserved; a modest monument has been constructed in honour of the French soldiers who fell in the battle. Battle of Borodino_sentence_283

There are also remnants of trenches from the seven-day battle fought at the same battlefield in 1941 between the Soviet and German forces (which took fewer human lives than the one of 1812). Battle of Borodino_sentence_284

A commemorative 1-ruble coin was released in the Soviet Union in 1987 to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Borodino, and four million were minted. Battle of Borodino_sentence_285

A minor planet 3544 Borodino, discovered by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh in 1977 was named after the village Borodino. Battle of Borodino_sentence_286

From May 1813 to the present, at least 29 ships have been named Borodino after the battle (see ), as well as participants of the Borodino battle: 24 ships in honor of Mikhail Kutuzov, 18 ships in honor of Matvei Platov, 15 ships in honor of Pyotr Bagration, 33 ships in honor of the Cossacks, 4 ships in honor of Denis Davydov, two ships each in honor of Louis-Alexandre Berthier, Jean-Baptiste Bessières and Michel Ney; one ship each in honor of the officers of the Marine Guards crew I.P. Battle of Borodino_sentence_287

Kartsov, N.P. Battle of Borodino_sentence_288

Rimsky-Korsakov, M.N. Battle of Borodino_sentence_289

Lermontov; Prince Vorontsov, generals Yermolov and Raevsky, Marshal of the Empire Louis-Nicolas Davout, also 95 ships in honor of the emperor of the French. Battle of Borodino_sentence_290

See also Battle of Borodino_section_17

Battle of Borodino_unordered_list_0


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle of Borodino.