IntroductionPatriotic War of 1812 — the military conflict in 1812 between Russia and the army of Napoleon Bonaparte, which has intruded on Russian territory.
France before war The military preparations of the French army were completed in March 1812. The "Great army", assigned for a campaign to Russia, was composed of 647 thousand persons and 1372 guns. French were only half of that army, into which entered the representatives of the nations won by Napoleon. "The great army" was headed by Napoleon; among his marshals were L.Davu, M.Nei, I.Murat, U.Ponyatovsky. Napoleon Bonapart
Russia before war To the intruded enemy resisted 220 - 240 thousand Russian soldiers at 942 guns - in 3 times less, than was at the opponent. Besides Russian armies have been divided into 3 armies. The moral spirit of the Russian army was extremely high. Apart brilliant military leaders Barklai De Tolli and Bagration, the armies were commanded by talented generals D.S.Dokhturov, A.P.Ermolov, P.P.Konovnitsyn, M.I.Platov, N.N.Raevsky. Barklai De Tolli, being the military minister, became the Commander-in-chief of the army. Barklai De Tolli
The war beginning The 12th of June 1812 Napoleon crossed Neman and entered the Russian territory. He expected to surround and break two Russian armies but Barklai, following his plan, moving to the connection with the army of Bagration. The 22nd of July Russian armies were unified in Smolensk. Having repulsed series of attacks of the French army, the Russian armed forces, the 6th of August, under the command of Barklai De Tolli continued to retreat. The plan of Napoleon, intending to crush Russian armies separately in frontier battles and to compel Russia to the conclusion of peace on his conditions, fell. The war was delayed, the losses of "Great army" grew. On the occupied grounds the wave of the guerrillas movement rose. From Smolensk, Napoleon sent to Alexander I a peace proposition, but did not receive the answer. Napoleon continued move to Moscow following Russian armies hoping for decisive battle.
Appointment of the new commander-in-chief The unsatisfaction due to the long retreat and the growing mistrust of Barklai De Tolli in the army and generally in the Russian society forced the emperor, the 8th of August, to appoint as commander- in-chief M.I.Kutuzov, an experienced and cautious commander. Kutuzov started the preparation for the decisive battle, for which the Russian army receded at the position near the village of Borodino, in 110 versts from Moscow. There, on the 26th of August (the 7th of September) took place the battle that played the important role in war. M.I.Kutuzov
Loss of Moscow The 27th of August, Kutuzov gave the order to continue the retreat in the direction of Moscow. Napoleon, hoping for new battle, was moving after. The 1st of September, at the military council situated in a village near Moscow Fili, Kutuzov took up the responsibility for the heavy decision about the leaving of the ancient capital without fight for the sake of the army. Leaving the city, Kutuzov and the Moscow general- governor F.Rostopchin ordered to burn warehouses. The 2nd of September, Napoleon entered Moscow left by inhabitants, and in the evening the city burst into fire in different places. The fire that covered all Moscow, destroyed stocks of the foodstuffs and arms; 70% of buildings burned.
BorodinoAfter a fight proceeding all the day, Frenchmen could occupy the positions of the Russian army, but did not crush it. The losses of the French Army were estimated at 28 thousand, Russian - 45,6 thousand persons.Napoleon managed to save its reserves (20 thousand); the reserves of the Russian army were lost. Kutuzov could not crush the French army nor stop its approach; but despite of heavy losses, the Russian army was rescued and could continue its campaign.
Deviation of Frenchmen Three times Napoleon proposed to Alexander I to start peace talks, but he did not answer him. Napoleon could not stay in the devastated city during the winter; that is why Napoleon and the French Army left Moscow on the 7th of October. Kutuzov, camping in Tarutino, near Moscow, was preparing for a counterattack. The 6th of October, Kutuzov began a counterattack against the army of Napoleon, expecting to go to the winter apartments at the western border of Russia. The 12th of October 1812, as result of a bloody battle in Maloyaroslavets, Napoleon was compelled to recede along the ruined Mozhaisks road to Smolensk. Famine, strong frosts, constant impacts of the Russian army on the French army transformed their retreat into flight. But it was not possible to completely destroy the former "Great army".
The war end Napoleon guessed the plan of Кuтuzov to surround the French army at the river Berezina, built a false passage and the 14th-16th of November passed the river in another place, lost 50 thousand persons, but saved marshals, generals and its guards (9 thousand people). The 23rd of November Napoleon abandoned the rests of the army and secretly left for Paris. The 28th of November, Russian armies finished their counterattack, and the 25th of December 1812, Alexanders I manifest announced the final expulsion of the aggressors from the territory of Russia and the victorious end of the patriotic war.
War has ended almost with utter defeat of Napoleonic army and carrying over of military operations on territory of Poland and Germany in 1813.