What are you reading?

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[EUG]MadMat
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby [EUG]MadMat » Thu 21 Jun 2012 09:31

Back from vacations (in Corsica, Napoleon's island ;) ), I've decided to take look at a Russian view about the French Emperor's struggle against Russia.

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Russian sources about the Napoléonic Wars are not that common in the West, so it can be interesting to see what is said about the 1812 campaign from "the other side" ... :)

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby ikalugin » Thu 21 Jun 2012 11:53

You mean that it wasn't General Winter that defeated him?
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby [EUG]MadMat » Thu 21 Jun 2012 12:15

ikalugin wrote:You mean that it wasn't General Winter that defeated him?

I suspect this book to be full of nonsense, like pretending our brilliant Emperor may have commited some mere human mistakes, while it is well known only the weather defeated him. ;)
What best to expect from an author bearing the name of two of those Tsarist generals who fought him? :D

Actually, I find it very interesting to confront the more common French/German/Anglo-American views of that period with more recent "Eastern" sources. I like reading the works of authors like Polish historian Adam Zamoyski about the Congress of Vienna or the Campaign of 1812, or Russian Alexander Mikaberidze.

But at least, I make the effort of reading both sides ... do you do the same? ;)
You mock the "General Winter" legend, but I remember well that Russia only acknowledged that the battle of Borodino/La Moskowa was a Russian defeat less than a decade ago. And Tolstoï in "War & Peace" and the Soviet regime have also done their part in biasing 1812's history into a golden legend of national resistance against the invader ... Only since the 90's have the Russian historians started dusting the old myths to produce (very good, I must say) works on that period.
The same goes in France in the last couple of decades, with people finally stopping to take Victor Hugo's "Les Misérables" and Henry Houssaye biased work about Waterloo as the cornerstone of 1815's History. But calling Hugo, the most highly regarded French author, a liar is still dangerous ...

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby ikalugin » Thu 21 Jun 2012 12:50

I speak of recent studies that show that the largest losses were in summer months, so the great army of Napoleon wasn't broken just by winter/distance/logistics.

In general ofc. logistical nightmare (wich was caused by distance, reluctance of population and weather) did play its part.

The reason why I find that campaign interesting as it sort of relates to the 1941 one.
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Spoiler : :
We need more missilez code for the missilez god.
Praslovan:
"Tactical Ikalugin inbound on this position in 10... 9..."
Image

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby [EUG]MadMat » Thu 21 Jun 2012 13:49

ikalugin wrote:I speak of recent studies that show that the largest losses were in summer months, so the great army of Napoleon wasn't broken just by winter/distance/logistics.

Indeed, Napoléon's army was much depleted in its march from the Niemen to Moscow. But many of those losses were only temporary: many wounded, sick, stragglers, ... caught up with the army latter, when it finally stopped in and around Moscow. Other were left as garrisons in cities along the line of operation, or just left in hospitals to recover in those same cities, expending those garrisons when fit or marched to the army.
At Moscow, the Grande Armée actually recovered from some of its wounds, and all along the retrat, they also amalgamated garrison and depots in all the city they passed by. Near the Berezina, they even caught up with two army corps that had been detached on the flanks.

So, yes, the Grande Armée had already suffered a lot from its march toward Moscow, maybe 50%, but all of them were not definitive and some caught up later with the Army, either at Moscow or during the retreat.
When marshall Davout made a roll call at the end of the campaign and established that his III. Corps (the most diciplined and well organized of the Grande Armée) had lost 95% of its strenght, those were at least for half of them due to the retreat, both combat and attrition (lack of food, exhaustion, sickness, cold, ...).

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby ikalugin » Thu 21 Jun 2012 14:30

But those casualties were caused by the retreat were they not (the winter ones)?

So the defeat before the winter (and the run from Moscow that it produced) was responsible for the total casualties, not the weather/winter.

Hence the mistake that I perceive is when cause (the defeat before the winter) and effect (massive losses in retreat) are misplaced.
Image
Spoiler : :
We need more missilez code for the missilez god.
Praslovan:
"Tactical Ikalugin inbound on this position in 10... 9..."
Image

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby [EUG]MadMat » Thu 21 Jun 2012 15:25

ikalugin wrote:So the defeat before the winter (and the run from Moscow that it produced) was responsible for the total casualties, not the weather/winter.

Hence the mistake that I perceive is when cause (the defeat before the winter) and effect (massive losses in retreat) are misplaced.

What is "the defeat before the winter"? Borodino? Malojaroslavetz? Krasnoe?
Only the former happened before the retreat, but it was a victory ...

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby ikalugin » Thu 21 Jun 2012 15:37

[EUG]MadMat wrote:
ikalugin wrote:So the defeat before the winter (and the run from Moscow that it produced) was responsible for the total casualties, not the weather/winter.

Hence the mistake that I perceive is when cause (the defeat before the winter) and effect (massive losses in retreat) are misplaced.

What is "the defeat before the winter"? Borodino? Malojaroslavetz? Krasnoe?
Only the former happened before the retreat, but it was a victory ...

Defeat is not always in purely military form. The length of communications, need to keep garrisons on the road, existence of russian army that can resupply lead to the defeat of Napoleon, not by the direct defeat and destruction of his armies, but rather by lack of decisive victory on his part.

So he was defeated before the retreat, which is the effect event to the lack of victory he had in Moscow (which was the cause)
Image
Spoiler : :
We need more missilez code for the missilez god.
Praslovan:
"Tactical Ikalugin inbound on this position in 10... 9..."
Image

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby IR0NMIKE 6 » Mon 2 Jul 2012 18:37

ikalugin wrote:So the defeat before the winter (and the run from Moscow that it produced) was responsible for the total casualties, not the weather/winter.



I would agree that the Russians and the Winter didn't defeat Napolean...... - Napolean defeated Napolean as one of the major errors was not retreating from Spain which sapped alot of his military power with the Spanish Guerrilla warfare there. Napolean was defeated the second he marched to Moscow and before he even entered Russia.


Interestingly another would do the same mistake almost a hundred years later..........

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Tac Error » Tue 3 Jul 2012 01:12

I finished an ancient two-volume copy of "A Staff Officer's Scrap Book" recently. It's a primary account by British General Ian Hamilton when he was attached as a foreign observer to General Kuroki's 1st Army, during the Russo-Japanese War. The tactical coverage is quite detailed, and the accompanying maps and terrain sketches are surprisingly excellent!
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