Sunday, 19 February 2012

Napoleon's Retreat from Moscow - 1812

Emperor Napoleon I invaded Russia with his Grande Armée on June 24, 1812. This enormous force, featuring more than 500,000 soldiers and staff, was the largest European military force ever assembled at that time.

During the opening months of the invasion, Napoleon and his troops faced a Russian army in perpetual retreat. Refusing to engage Napoleon's superior army in a full-scale confrontation, the Russians, commanded by General Mikhail Kutuzov, burned everything behind them as they retreated deeper and deeper into Russia.

On September 7, the indecisive Battle of Borodino was fought, in which both sides suffered terrible losses
On September 14, Napoleon reached Moscow hoping to find supplies but instead found almost the entire population evacuated, and the Russian forces having retreated again. Early the next morning, fires broke across the city, set by Russian patriots, and the Grande Armée's winter quarters were destroyed. After waiting a month for a surrender that never came, Napoleon, faced with the onset of the Russian winter, was forced to order his starving army out of Moscow.

To learn more about these historic events, come along to our meeting on Tuesday 21 February at 7.30pm in Kilmarnock College Lecture Theatre.  You will be made very welcome by our members.

Our speaker that night will be Dr. Ian Matheson and the title of his talk is:

"The Turning Point ; Napoleon’s Invasion of Russia 1812"

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