Napoleon's Conflict with Russia Essay

892 Words 4 Pages
Napoleon's Conflict with Russia Napoleon was one of the greatest military leaders of all time.
By 1812 Napoleon had expanded the territory of France all over Europe including Spain, Italy, Holland, and Switzerland. The countries that
Napoleon did not directly control, he was usually allied with. The turning point of Napoleon's career also came in 1812 when war broke out between France and Russia because of Alexander I's refusal to enforce the continental.

Even the French nation could not provide all the manpower and supplies needed to carry out the Emperor's grandiose plan for subduing
Russia. Throughout 1811, he worked to mobilize the entire continent against Russia. He not only levied the vassal
…show more content…
Dying horses littered the roads and the advanced guard found little forage as Russians everywhere abandoned their homes. Napoleon knew that he needed to fight. At Smolensk, he set up for a battle and waited but the
Russians, afraid of a trap steadily withdrew their troops from
Smolensk and continued to retreat deeper into Russia.

The only major battle in the Russian campaign proved that something was definitely lacking in Napoleon's judgment. Borodino was a battle of legendary proportions. Before the battle Napoleon proclaimed, "Soldiers, here is the battle you have so long desired!"
However, the fight was inconclusive. At its end, Napoleon found himself the possessor, not of a victory, but of a barren hillside and an increasingly compelling commitment to advance further into the east. Well into the battle, the French had almost cracked the left side of the Russian Army. Several French generals had requested that
Napoleon would commit the guard infantry into battle. This would create the final blow and insure the Russian defeat. After 14 hours of intense combat, the fighting died out at nightfall, and Mikhail
Illarionovich Kutusov, the Russian general, gratefully began to retreat his troops. The guard infantry had remained unused. After the
Battle of Borodino, in which losses on both sides totaled ! over 70,000 men, Napoleon had 100,000 effectives remaining, while
Kutusov probably had no more than 55,000.
Open Document