Napoleon's Russian Campaign Essay

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Napoleon's Russian Campaign

The peace between France and Russia in 1807 lasted for five years but was not satisfactory to either side. The Tilsit settlement was thought of by Napoleon as no more than a convenient truce. In 1807 he had been in no position to invade Russia but there was no way that he could tolerate another European power for very long. Napoleon felt that a war with Russia was necessary ‘for crushing England by crushing the only power still strong enough him any trouble by joining her.’ Napoleon began preparing for the war. He secured the support of Austria and Prussia since even though neither was in any position to refuse. Emperor Francis of Austria provided 34,000 men to cover the French but sent secret messages to
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Two smaller forces, each of 70,000 men and commanded by Eugene Beauharna and Jerome Bonaparte, were back on his right, and the wings were covered by Prussian and Austrian troops. The attacking force alone consisted of 375,000 men with more than 100,000 horses and would be advancing on a narrow front. Where after the first wave of men and horses had passed there would not be a blade of grass left to feed those who followed. In the space between the Klaipeda and the Pripet marshes lay two Russian armies. Barclay de Tolly's First Army of the West, which consisted of 110,000 strong men, was around Vilna and to their left was Prince Bagration’s Second Army of the West, which consisted of 60,000 men. The Third Army of the West under Tormasov consisted of 45,000 men that were mostly recruits. It was stationed to the south of the marshes, and had the task of keeping the Austrians under observation. There were also many other Russian armies being formed and larger armies from Finland and Romania were marching towards the Polish front. In the summer of 1812 though only the 215,00 men from the three Armies of the West were available to fight against the half million of the Grand Army. Napoleon's plan was to separate Barclay's army from Bagration and to defeat Barclay while Eugene and Jerome kept Bagration busy. The Czar had adopted a plan made by Ernst von Phull, a Prussian colonel. His plan was more of a defensive strategy. He planned

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