Field Marshal Kutuzov in 1812
When the popular faith voice
Appealed to your holy graying:
"Go save!" You got up and saved.
("Before the tomb of the saint")
This work was very well received by society, but for the poem “Commander” (“1835”) dedicated to Barclay de Tolly, the poet was criticized both by the “patriotic-minded” public and by relatives of Kutuzov. As a result he even had to “apologize” to the public in the 4 book of Sovremennik magazine for 1836, repeating, as a “symbol of faith”, a “sacred formula”: “His (Kutuzov) Titlo is Russia's savior.”
In the 60-ies of the XIX century, Leo Tolstoy wrote the famous novel "War and Peace" in which M. Kutuzov was partly deprived of his aura of the most brilliant and great commander of modernity, but he acquired a new one: Mikhail Illarionovich became the only person , understanding the essence of the Patriotic War 1812. But in the official Russian historiography a completely different direction triumphed, according to which the cause of Russia's victory in the 1812 war was “unity of the estates around the throne”, and the main hero of the Patriotic War was Emperor Alexander I was revealed. D.P. Buturlin (a participant in the 1812 war of the city, Alexander I's wing adjutant) became the founder of this concept. Later a whole series of loyal subjects of historians joined this view. Even such a recognized apologist Kutuzov, as his former adjutant A. I. Mikhailovsky-Danilevsky, in his writings wrote about the emperor as a "radiant luminary, which warmed and revived everything." Alexander I and M. Bogdanovich, a professor at the military academy, called Alexander I the Chief Leader of the Patriotic War. This researcher, generally maintaining a respectful tone in relation to Kutuzov, was one of the first who decided to reproach the field marshal for mistakes at Borodino, Tarutino, near Krasny and Berezina, and also for sending to St. Petersburg obviously incorrect reports on the outcome of the battles at Borodino and under Maloyaroslavets. Subsequent researchers, recognizing Kutuzov as an outstanding commander, were no longer called "the savior of the fatherland". S.M. Soloviev wrote about Kutuzov with great restraint, and V.O. Klyuchevsky generally avoided the field marshal's personality with silence. In the 7-volume work devoted to the 100 anniversary of the 1812 war, Kutuzov was credited with the merit, but admitted that he "was not a commander equal to Napoleon" and that "caution of the old leader in conjunction with some old stiffness, soreness and tiredness for our army and from the negative side. " The official concept, declaring “the organizer of victory” by Alexander I, was no longer popular among historians of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
As for the works of foreign researchers of the 1812 war, in most of them, the main positive qualities of Kutuzov-commander are cunning and patience. At the same time, it is noted that, as a strategist, the Russian commander-in-chief was clearly inferior not only to Napoleon, but also to some of his subordinates (for example, Barclay de Tolly). Without denying Kutuzov certain military capabilities, Western historians, nevertheless, believe that because of decrepitude and illness, his role in expelling Napoleon from Russia was minimal. Practical generally accepted in Western historiography is the position that in the battles under the Red and Berezina, Napoleon managed to avoid the complete destruction of the army and captivity, mainly due to the slowness and indecision of Kutuzov.
The historiography of the first years of Soviet power was characterized by a balanced, "moderately laudatory" attitude towards Kutuzov. The exception was the works of M.N. Pokrovsky, who the celebrated field marshal was not considered an outstanding commander and sharply criticized for the loss of command and control and the numerous mistakes made in the pursuit of the enemy. At the end of 30, the views on Kutuzov and the assessment of his role in World War 1812 began to change gradually, the views of the late academician Pokrovsky were subjected to scathing criticism. And after 7 of November 12, 1941 of Mr. JV Stalin named Kutuzov from the rostrum of the mausoleum among “our great ancestors” and, especially after the establishment of the Order of Kutuzov in 1942, the criticism of this commander became not only “ideologically incorrect”, but and unsafe act. In 1945, when 200 was celebrated since the birth of M.I. Kutuzov, the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR issued a resolution in which, after a long break, the thesis that "Kutuzov's commanding art surpassed Napoleon's comic art" was again put forward. In 1947, the Bolshevik magazine published an article by Stalin stating: "Kutuzov ... killed Napoleon and his army with a well-prepared counteroffensive ... Engels once said that from the Russian generals of the 1812 period, General Barclay de Tolly is the only commander deserving attention. Engels, of course, was mistaken, for Kutuzov was undoubtedly two heads taller than Barclay de Tolly. "
It was from that time that Kutuzov again, as in 1813, became the central figure of the Patriotic War 1812 and the only savior of the Fatherland for all historians and writers of our country. Even the work of H.T. Tarle, "Napoleon's Invasion of Russia", which was recognized all over the world, was subjected to criticism at that time. Under the conditions of the strongest administrative pressure and the threat of repression, the 77-year-old academician was forced to concede and write two articles in the "right" direction ("M.I. Kutuzov - commander and diplomat" and "Borodino"). At present, materials allowing to draw objective conclusions about the role of M.I. Kutuzov in the grand events of 1812 have become available to a wider audience of readers. For example, publications of the Rodina magazine: N 6-7 for 1992 g have become extremely interesting in this regard. ., dedicated to the Patriotic War 1812, and N 9 for 1995, the round table "Savior of the Fatherland. Kutuzov - without a textbook gloss."
The works of N.A. are exceptionally rich in factual material on this problem. Trinity. At the same time, the positions of supporters of the traditional point of view, which in most cases are shared by the authors of school textbooks and reading books, remain strong. For example, in 1999, Kutuzov’s biography of secondary school students was published with the eloquent title Savior of the Fatherland: the Life of M. I. Golenishchev-Kutuzov (I. Adrianova).
Let's try to objectively review the main facts of Kutuzov’s biography in the immortalized his name 1812.
In June, 1812, M.I. Kutuzov, was in his Volyn estate, Gorokki. Less than a month has passed since he concluded the Bucharest peace treaty with Turkey, for which he was elevated to princely dignity and conferred on the title of Lordship. The merits of Kutuzov at the final stage of the war with the Turks were indisputable and did not cause doubts even among the enemies. The international position of Russia that got involved in the coalition wars with Napoleonic France was extremely difficult: in addition to the wars in Europe, our country was forced to fight Persia (from 1804) and Turkey (from 1806) in the beginning of the 19th century. But after Kutuzov's victories over the superior forces of the enemy under Ruschuk and Slobodzee (in 1811), peace was concluded with Turkey and now the 52-thousandth Moldavian army could be used for the war in the western direction. France, as before, was forced to keep around 200 thousands of soldiers in a war-ridden partisan war in Spain, so that Napoleon could fight with Russia "only with one hand." On the eve of the Napoleonic invasion, Kutuzov was almost 67 years old (a very respectable age at the time) and it was already difficult for him to hope for a new assignment to the active army. But the war confused all the plans of the General Staff of Russia. 26 June 1812 Kutuzov arrived in the capital and on July 15 was appointed commander of the Narva Corps (intended to protect St. Petersburg), and July 17 was elected head of the St. Petersburg national militia. In this position, he was for 4 weeks, bringing the number of militias to 29 420 people. Meanwhile, events occurred on the main front of the war, which soon led to an unprecedented rise in the career of our hero. But before proceeding to the description of the most important months of his life, let's find out who he was in 1812 of M. I. Kutuzov. What did his contemporaries know and what did they think about him?
The answer to this question, it seems, lies on the surface: Kutuzov is the best commander of Russia, who was removed from the command of the troops because of the conflict with the emperor Alexander I. However, not everything is so simple. Before 1805, Kutuzov was considered a talented and brave military general, a brilliant performer, an indispensable assistant, who with time himself could become a major military leader - but no more. We illustrate the above, briefly following the combat path of our hero:
1764-65 - Captain Kutuzov as a volunteer fights against supporters of the elected king Stanislav Poniatovsky.
1769, in the same rank as Kutuzov, commanded by Major General Weimarn, fights against the forces of the Bar Confederation in Poland.
1770, under the leadership of P.A. Rumyantsev, participates in battles with the Turks at Ryaba Mogila, Larga and Kagul. Receives the rank of prime minister and under the command of General-in-chief P. I. Panin takes part in the storming of Bender.
1774, under the command of V. M. Dolgoruky, takes part in repelling the landing of the Turks near Alushta (gets the first wound to the head).
1777 g. - promoted to colonel (peacetime).
1782 g. - produced in foremen (peacetime).
1784 - receives the rank of major general (peacetime).
1787-1788 was the “Suvorov” period of Kutuzov’s career: the battle at Kinburn and the siege of Ochakov (the second wound to the head).
In 1789, he was once again under the command of Suvorov: the famous assault on Ishmael received the rank of lieutenant-general.
In 1791, Kutuzov was subordinate to N. V. Repnin and, for the first time from beginning to end, leads a significant battle on his own: at Babadag, the 22-thousandth corps of the Turkish army was defeated. In the same year, he commanded the left wing of the Repnin army at the Battle of Machin.
1792 - Kutuzov, commanding the vanguard of the Russian troops in Poland, Commander-in-Chief - General-in-Chief M. V. Kakhovsky).
After that, in the military career of Michael Illarionovich there is a long break associated with the execution of the posts of the Russian ambassador in Constantinople (1793-1794) and the director of the Land Gentry Cadet Corps. Under Pavel I, Kutuzov continues to carry out diplomatic missions and commands land forces in Finland. And Alexander I, who came to power as a result of a palace coup, appoints Kutuzov as military governor of St. Petersburg. According to many contemporaries, Mikhail Illarionovich failed to cope with this position: gambling and duel fights flourished among the nobles, and people were robbed literally in broad daylight in the streets of the capital. As a result, 20 August 1802 Kutuzov retired and sent a one-year leave.
In 1804, a new takeoff in a career: after successfully participating in maneuvers, Kutuzov was appointed commander of the 1 second Podolsk army, going to war with Napoleon in Austria. This campaign was the first truly serious test of our hero as the commander-in-chief of a large army. For Kutuzov, this was also a unique chance to prove himself: in his subordination were the elite troops of the empire (including the guard) and the best generals of the country: PI Bagration, DS Dokhturov, M.A. Mildoradovich, F.P. .Uvarov, N.M. and S.M. Kamensky. The result of the 1805 military campaign was a defeat at Austerlitz, which made a terrible impression on Russian society. J. de Maistre, who was in 1805 in St. Petersburg, reported to London: "Here the action of the Austerlitz battle on public opinion is like magic. All generals are asking for resignation, and it seems that a defeat in one battle paralyzed an entire empire."
Thus, after 1805, Kutuzov had a reputation as a general who showed himself very well under the leadership of Rumyantsev and Suvorov, but did not have the talents of the commander-in-chief. A lot of people would have subscribed to A.F.Lanzheron at that time: "He (Kutuzov) fought a lot ... he was able to evaluate the plans of campaigns which were presented to him, he could distinguish good advice from bad and knew what to do better. But these qualities were neutralized by no less laziness of mind and strength, did not allow him to really prove anything and really do anything himself. " The best illustration of the latter situation is Kutuzov’s behavior before Austerlitz: the commander-in-chief of the Allied army suggests an unhappy outcome of the battle, but does not even try to intervene in the course of the military council and meekly sends the troops entrusted to him for slaughter.
In 1812, the shame of Austerlitz has not yet been forgotten, many remember that in this ill-fated battle Kutuzov lost control of his troops, and only Bagration’s column (the only one of the five) retreated without panic. Therefore, among professional military men, Kutuzov does not enjoy special prestige. Moreover, none other than PI Bagration in 1811 writes to the military ministry that Mikhail Illarionovich "has a special talent for fighting unsuccessfully." Kutuzov was appointed to the Moldavian Army only after the cavalry general, I.I. Michelson, Field Marshal A.A.Prozorovsky, P.I. Bagration and N.M. Kamensky.
It was N. Kamensky (not to be confused with his father, who became the prototype of the old prince Bolkonsky - “War and Peace”) was the hope and rising star of the Russian army and he, and not Kutuzov, was considered the best and beloved student of Suvorov at that time. N.M. Kamensky received the rank of general for taking the famous Devil's Bridge during the Swiss campaign. In the society of this commander, they greatly appreciated and pinned great hopes on him. The researchers suggest that if it had not been for the early death in 1811, it was N.M. Kamensky, and not Kutuzov, who would have become the main candidate for the post of "people's" commander of the Russian army during the Patriotic War 1812 of the year.
Kutuzov had another, even more dubious, "fame": in society, he had a reputation as a person inclined to intrigue, slavishly bowing to his superior, depraved and not quite honest in financial matters.
“Kutuzov, being very clever, was at the same time terribly weak-tempered and combined in himself dexterity, cunning and talent with surprising immorality,” wrote AF Langeron.
"Because of the favor of the higher ones, he endured everything, he sacrificed everything," - F.V. Rostopchin.
"Kutuzov, a commander skillful and brave in front of the enemy, was timid and weak in front of the king," states the secretary of state, AS Shishkov, who is rather located to Mikhail Illarionovich.
Both in St. Petersburg and in the army, many knew that the well-deserved and gray-haired 50 — the summer general personally cooked in the mornings and served coffee in bed with the 27 — Catherine II's summer favorite Platon Zubov. In Notes on Russian History of the 18th Century, A. S. Pushkin called Kutuzov's Coffee Pot among the most significant symbols of the humiliation of the noble spirit. Interestingly, Count J. de Maistre believed that Alexander I "did not like him (Kutuzov), perhaps because of too much obsequiousness." P.I.Bagration and A.P.Ermolov, called Kutuzov an intriguer, D.S.Dokhturov - a faint-hearted, M.A.Miloradovich - "a man of mean temper" and a "low courtier". They recalled the words of Suvorov: "I do not bow to Kutuzov; he will bow once, but deceive ten times." Nevertheless, the situation in the army in such a way was such that Kutuzov had to go in the near future to save Russia.
The head of the 1 Russian army, MB Barclay de Tolly, had his own views on the tactics of the war with Napoleon. Back in 1807, he developed a plan for the "Scythian war", which he shared with the German historian B. G. Nieburg: "In the event of his (Napoleon's) invasion of Russia, you should skillfully retreat to force the enemy to withdraw from the operational base, to tire him with small enterprises and lure inland, and then, with preserved troops and with the help of climate, prepare him, at least behind Moscow, a new Poltava. " However, besides the "Scythian" plan of Barclay, there were plans for an offensive war in Russia, the authors of which were P.I. Bagration, L.L.Bennigsen, A.P.Ermolov, E.F. Saint-Prix, Prince A. Wurttemberg. But the most promising was the plan of the chief military adviser to Emperor Alexander of Prussia, General Karl von Fuhl, which was as follows: in the event of a war with Napoleon, one Russian army was to retreat to the fortified camp in the town of Drissa, and the second to strike behind the enemy. Fortunately, Barclay de Tolly managed to convince Alexander I to lead the army out of the trap of the Drissa camp and found the courage to ask him to go to Petersburg. After the emperor left, Barclay set about implementing his plan, dodging the general battle with the superior forces of the enemy, he withdrew his army to meet the regular and militia reserves and "on his way did not leave behind not only a single gun, but even a single cart" (Butenev) and "not a single wounded man" (Kolenkur).
If Barclay de Tolly had withdrawn his troops consciously, then Bagration, whose army was three times smaller (approximately 49 thousand people), was forced to retreat. This circumstance deduced the ardent descendant of the Georgian kings from themselves: “Step on! By God, we shower them with hats!”, Bagration called AP Yermolov, Chief of Staff of 1 Army. He also complained to St. Petersburg that the Russians did not live from the Germans, wrote that Barclay de Tolly "the general is not that bad, but trashy", "the minister is indecisive, a coward, confused, slow and has all the bad qualities", incidentally calling him "a scoundrel, a bastard and a creature." The soldiers of both armies were also dissatisfied with Barclay de Tolly, and, according to A.P. Yermolov, "they blamed him (Barclay) for the main fault that he was not Russian."
Dissatisfaction with Barclay was growing, the high society of St. Petersburg demanded the displacement of the “German”, and Alexander I was forced to reckon with public opinion. It must be said that this monarch had a very low opinion about the business qualities of his generals, in 1805 and in 1811 he even tried to invite the well-known republican general Zh-V to the post of commander-in-chief of the Russian army. Moreau, then - the Duke of Wellington, and already in August 1812 - J.B.Bernadot, the former Napoleonic marshal, who became the crown prince of Sweden. All these attempts were unsuccessful, and in the end, both in 1805 and in 1812, Kutuzov was appointed the commander-in-chief of the Russian army.
"The circumstances of the appearance of Kutuzov as commander-in-chief are usually presented as follows: the people, including the nobility, demanded it, and Alexander I finally agreed. There are still no documented data confirming this version: this is reflected only in some later memories ... The real reason was that 5 of August 1812 returned to St. Petersburg from the army P.M. Volkonsky and brought with him a terrible letter from Shuvalov, which reflected the anti-Barclayan sentiments of the generals. Against Barclay was the organization A proper real-life conspiracy with the participation of Yermolov, Bagration and Shuvalov ... Shuvalov did not ask the emperor for the appointment of Kutuzov, he only demanded the immediate removal of Barclay "(A. Tartakovsky). In order not to take responsibility, 5 August 1812 Alexander ordered to make a decision on the candidacy of the new commander-in-chief to the specially created Emergency Committee, composed of the Chairman of the State Council, Field Marshal N.I. Saltykov, Prince P.V. Lopukhin, Count B. P.Kochubey, Governor-General of St. Petersburg S.K. Vyazmitinov, Minister of Police A.D. Balashov and Count A.A. Arakcheev. The committee considered 6 candidates: L. L. Bennigsen, D.S. Dokhturov, P.I.Bagration, A.P.Tormasov, P.A. Palena and M.I. Kutuzov. Preference was given to Kutuzov. Some historians claim that the reason for this choice was the fact that the majority of members of this committee and Kutuzov were members of the same masonic lodge, but this version cannot be recognized as the main and only correct one. Alexander I was unhappy with this course of events, but 8 of August nevertheless approved Kutuzov in the post: "I could not do otherwise than to choose from three generals who are equally few capable of being commanders-in-chief (meaning Barclay de Tolly, Bagration, Kutuzov ), the one to which the general voice pointed, - he said to his sister Ekaterina Pavlovna.
Contrary to popular belief, Kutuzov’s appointment did not arouse enthusiasm for the high command of the Russian army: General NN Raevsky considered the new commander in chief "not in the spirit or in talents to be no higher than insignificance" and openly said that "having changed Barclay, who is not a great commander we lost here too. " PI Bagration, having learned about the arrival of the Most High Prince, declared: "Now go to the leader of our gossip is a woman's and intrigue." In addition to the current army, Kutuzov appeared accompanied by two mistresses disguised as Cossacks, so the English historian Alan Palmer had reason to write that by 1812 this commander had already passed the way "from a romantic military hero to a scandalous libertine." But it was not this that embarrassed the generals: Kutuzov was old and did not deny it himself: “I confess that in my summer service in the field is difficult and I don’t know what to do,” he wrote from Bucharest in March 1812. “Sly as a Greek, smart by nature, as an Asian, but at the same time European-educated, he (Kutuzov) relied on diplomacy more than on military prowess, for which due to age and health he was no longer capable, "to achieve success," the English commander recalled military commissioner R. Wilson. "I saw a completely different person in Kutuzov (in 1812), who was amazed at his famous retreat from Bavaria (in 1805). Summer, a severe wound and injured insults weakened his mental strength. The former enterprise, justified by repeated experiences, gave place to timid caution ", - AP Ermolov complained. The patriarch of the Soviet school of historians M.N. Pokrovsky believed that "Kutuzov was too old for any decisive action whatever ... With the appointment of Kutuzov - and until the end of the campaign, in essence - the army lost all central leadership: events developed completely spontaneously. "
However, Kutuzov was greeted with soldiers and junior officers with glee. Clausewitz, who himself served in the Russian army in 1812, wrote: “There was no unanimous opinion about the military reputation of Kutuzov in the Russian army: along with the party that considered him to be an outstanding commander, there was another one that denied his military talents; all, however, agreed that a practical Russian person, a student of Suvorov, is better than a foreigner "(i.e. Barclay de Tolly). "Progeny and history recognized Napoleon as grand, and Kutuzov as foreigners as a cunning, depraved, weak old court man; the Russians as something vague, some kind of doll, useful only in their Russian name," stated in his famous novel War and the world "L.N. Tolstoy.
Kutuzov arrived at the army after Barclay de Tolly withdrew the Russian troops from Smolensk destroyed in three-day battles, where Napoleon tried to "involve the Russians in the general battle for Smolensk, as for one of the sacred cities of Russia and crush both their armies at once" (N.A. Troitsky).
“What to do, friends!” Said Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich who left Smolensk townsfolk who left their homes at the time. “We are not to blame. They did not allow us to help you out. Not Russian blood flows in who commands us ... I have no less than you heart breaks. "
Demonstrating his patriotism to the public, Konstantin left the 1 army, saying that he was going to St. Petersburg to force his brother to make peace with Bonaparte. And he successfully brought the Russian armies out of the trap Barclay de Tolly set up by Napoleon and began to prepare for the general battle in his chosen position at Tsarev-Zaimishch, but his plans were confused by the appearance of Kutuzov. A.P. Yermolov, A.N. Muraviev, M.A. Fonvizin considered the place chosen by Barclay to be advantageous for the upcoming battle, initially considered it as such and the new commander in chief, but soon he unexpectedly gave the order to retreat.
August 22 (September 2) Russian troops approached the village of Borodino, where a few days later one of the most famous battles of world history took place.
The new position at Borodino was criticized by P. Bagration and A. Yermolov, K. Marks and F. Engels, V.V. Vereshchagin and L.N. Tolstoy. The latter, however, believed that neither the weakness of the Russian position, nor the commanding genius of Napoleon had any significance for the outcome of the battle.
“We’ll select places and find everything worse,” Bagration complained in a letter to F. Rostopchin. M.N. Pokrovsky, who considered the position of Borodino "extremely poorly chosen and even worse fortified," also supported this viewpoint, so that "Napoleon took our batteries with cavalry attacks."
But within the framework of the “new look” on the outstanding tactics of M.I. Kutuzov (who wrote before the battle that “the position in which I stopped at the village of Borodino ... is one of the best that you can find only in flat places ... the enemy attacked us in this position ... "), many Soviet historians began to evaluate the positions of the Russian troops in a completely different way:" Russian troops settled at a low altitude, and the French, as it were, had to climb the mountain, overcoming ravines and artificial engineering structures ... to step on all narrowing sections of the front, as if in a “funnel,” and then overcoming deep ravines, now climbing hills ”(VG Sirotkin). Let us consider the strengths and weaknesses of the position of the Russian army in Borodino.
The main strongholds of the Russian position were with. Borodino on the right, Kurgan height in the center and the village of Semenovskaya on the left. The disadvantage of the chosen position was the vulnerability of the left flank for a strike from the front: "Our commander-in-chief made a bad mistake, considering Borodino as his center of defense, well fortifying the terrain at the main road and especially the right flank, but not strong enough near Semenovsky and very badly at Utitsa, i.e. . on the left flank ", - wrote V. Vereshchagin.
Indeed, Kutuzov considered the right flank to be the main one (since he covered the shortest path to Moscow - the New Smolensk Road). The battle that preceded the battle of Borodino in the village of Shevardino made it very likely that the direction of the main attack of the French was determined, and Bagration, Bennigsen and Barclay de Tolly, who hated each other, came to a common opinion, proposing to regroup the troops from left to right, but Kutuzov limited himself to transferring to the left flank of the corps of Lieutenant General N.A. The commander-in-chief, nevertheless, ordered the left flank to be strengthened at the village of Semenovskoye and "bend it" to the flush. Thus, the flank was strengthened, but the shells of the French batteries, which were operating against it, fell in the rear of the center and right flank of the Russian army.
Many readers of the famous novel by Leo Tolstoy probably remember this description of the senseless death of Andrei Bolkonsky's soldiers: "Prince Andrei's regiment was in reserves, which until 2 hour stood behind Semenovsky in inaction, under heavy artillery fire. In the second hour the regiment who had already lost more than 200 people, was moved forward to a worn out oat field, to the gap between Semenovskiy and the kurgan battery, on which thousands of people were beaten that day ... Without leaving this place and not releasing a single charge, the regiment lost there is still a third part of his people. "
Here the writer did not sin against the truth: the length of the Russian position was 8 km, two lines at intervals of no more than 200 were infantry corps, followed by cavalry, then reserves. The excessive crowding and shallow depth of the combat order of the Russian troops allowed Napoleon’s artillery to strike all Russian lines, right down to the reserves.
The location of the Russian troops was as follows: on the right flank and in the center of the Russian positions was the 1 Army of Barclay de Tolly, the center was commanded by D.S. Dokhturov, the right wing was MA Miloradovich. The left flank occupied the 2-th army of Bagration.
What were the forces of the opponents? According to the latest data, the numerical superiority was on the side of the Russian army: regular troops — more than 115 thousand people, Cossacks — 11 thousand, militiamen — 28,5 thousand, in total — about 154 thousand people. The officers and generals in the Russian army were 3952 people. Interestingly, only 150 of them were landowners and had serfs (3,79%). 700 also hoped to inherit a very modest estate someday. Russian men and representatives of the military nobility came out to fight for Russia and for Moscow that day. And representatives of the highest clan aristocracy of Russia in that difficult year found more interesting and important matters: “Russian balls” and “patriotic dinners”, endless speeches in the Nobility meetings. Yes, and the harems of the courtyards of the girls (which some, especially refined natures, disguised as serf theaters) required constant attention. For 10% of officers, the Battle of Borodino was the first (and for many, the last) in life. The French army numbered about 133 thousand people. In artillery, a quantitative advantage was also on the side of the Russian army (640 guns against 587 French), but during the battle she, according to N.Pavlenko, released only 60 thousand shells against 90 thousand French (P.Grabbe gives other numbers: 20 thousand Russian shots vs 60 thousand french). In addition, speaking of the balance of power, it should be borne in mind that Napoleon’s guards (about 20 thousand people) did not participate in the battle, but Kutuzov used all the reserves.
Napoleon's plan was as follows: while on the right flank of the Russian army, the Gods of Heaven troops undertook distracting attacks, Neyu and Dawu had to seize the Semenovskiy flushes and, turning to the left, reset Kutuzov with reserves into the Kolochu River. Corps Ponyatovskogo commissioned to bypass the flush on the right.
The battle of Borodino began on August 6 on the morning of August 26, when a regiment from the division of General Delzon broke into Borodino. Then the troops commanded by Ney, Davout (who was contused at the very beginning of the battle) and Murat attacked the left flank of the Russians, and Poniatovsky's corps began a roundabout movement to the right of the flushes. Two divisions under the command of General Junot attempted to hit Bagration's troops from the flank - between flushes and D. Utica, but met with Corps Baggut, who was still on the right flank at the beginning of the battle, but was sent to Barclay de Tolly to help Bagration : “Most of Barclay’s army and, by the way, Baggut’s entire corps ran from the extreme flank to Bagration, who was already beginning to wear out with his small forces under Ney’s frantic onslaught ... Start Napoleon’s attack before dawn, and most importantly he doesn’t suffer that day with wake up the old disease (dysurie) and lead the matter more energetically, almost half of the army running over would hardly have ended up like that, "- V.Vereschagin wrote about this. PI Bagration himself was mortally wounded by a fragment of a nucleus during the attack of the grenadiers of the 57 French regiment - according to some data around 9 in the morning, according to others - around 12 in the afternoon. Realizing the tragedy of the situation and not relying more on Commander-in-Chief Bagration, he insistently asked: "Tell General Barclay that the fate of the army and its salvation depend on it." The injury of Bagration led to the fact that the 2 Army "was overturned in the greatest disorder" (Barclay de Tolly).
“One common feeling is despair. Around noon, the 2 Army was in such a state that it was possible to put some parts of it apart by firing away a shot,” is the testimony of A.P. Yermolov.
Under the command of General PPKonovnitsina, the troops of the left flank retreated to the village of Semenovskoye. DS Dokhturov, who appeared to replace Bagration, sat on the drum and declared: "Moscow is ours! Die for all, but not one step back." It was nevertheless necessary to retreat: the division of General Friant from the Davout corps seized Semenovskaya, but the Russians, having moved 1 km, managed to gain a foothold in the new position. Inspired by the success of the marshals turned to Napoleon for reinforcements, however, he decided that the left wing of the enemy was irreparably upset and gave the order to attack Kurgan heights in order to break through the center of the Russians.
What was the role of Kutuzov in the Battle of Borodino? Many researchers come to the disappointing conclusion that the commander in chief who was three miles from the battlefield lost control of the army from the very first minutes and had no effect on the course of the battle. N.N. Raevsky asserted: "Nobody commanded us." According to Karl Clausewitz, who personally observed the behavior of the Commander-in-Chief of 26 August (7 September) 1812, the role of Kutuzov in the battle of Borodino "was almost zero." But at this very moment, he, for the only time during the battle, intervened in the course of the battle and gave the order to organize a counterattack in the flank of the Napoleonic army by the forces of the Russian cavalry. Bypassing the left flank of the enemy went to the cavalry FP. Uvarova and the Cossacks M.I.Platova. By Soviet historians, this raid was rated as "a brilliantly conceived and brilliantly executed operation." However, the actual results of this maneuver do not give any grounds for such conclusions. VG Sirotkin cautiously admits that "the real damage to Napoleon's troops from this raid was insignificant," but then "the psychological effect is huge." However, Kutuzov himself very coldly met Uvarov who had returned (“I know everything — God will forgive you”), and after the battle, of all his generals, he didn’t introduce the “heroes” of this “brilliant operation” to the awards, saying directly to the king that they did not deserve : having met General Ornano's troops near Bezzubovo village, the Russian cavalry turned back. AI Popov noted that this “diversion brought more benefit to the Russians than harm to the French,” why? The fact is that for some time this raid distracted Napoleon’s attention from the assault on Kurgan height, which fell this way two hours later. For the first time, the French broke into the mound height around 10 in the morning, but were driven out by Russian troops under the direction of Yermolov, who happened to be nearby. During this counterattack, the head of the Russian artillery A.I. Kutaisov was killed and the French general Bonami was captured. The general assault on Kurgan height began at 14 hours. 300 French guns from three sides (from the front and from Borodin and Semenovskaya) fired at Russian positions at a height and, as Barclay de Tolly wrote, "it seemed Napoleon decided to destroy us with artillery." Count O. Kolenkur, led by the cuirassier division ("gens de fer" - "iron men"), broke into the Raevsky battery from the flank and died there. From the front, the divisions of Gerard, Uccount and Moran came to the height. None of the Russians fled, they were all destroyed by the enemy, and General PG Likhachev was taken prisoner. The attack on the cuirassier of Kolenkur is recognized as the most brilliant maneuver of the Battle of Borodino, and the capture of Kurgan height is the greatest success of the French in this battle.
But Napoleon did not succeed in breaking through the Russian front: two cavalry corps (Latour-Mobura and Grushi), trying to build on their success, faced the Russian cavalry of F.K. Korf and K.A. Kreutz. The situation was critical, Barclay de Tolly left his headquarters and fought like a simple hussar, many memoirists say that the commander of the 1st Army was looking for death in this battle. Latour-Mobourg and Pears were wounded, but the French could not overturn the Russians. At about 17.00 Davout, Ney and Murat asked Napoleon to throw the old guard into battle, but they were refused. Marshal Ney, whose red hair that day turned black with smoke, shouted in rage upon learning of this decision of the emperor: "S'il a desapris de faire, son affaire, qu'il aille se ... a Tuilleri; nous ferons mieux sans lui "(" If he has forgotten how to do his business, then let him go with ... to the Tuileries, we can do without him "). It was at this moment that Kutuzov, in response to the message of the adjutant wing L.A. Voltsogen about the fall of the Kurgan Heights, said: “As for the battle, I know its course as well as possible. The enemy is reflected at all points, tomorrow we will chase him from the sacred Russian land "(a description of this episode can be found in Leo Tolstoy's novel" War and Peace "). After the fall of the Kurgan Heights, the position of the Russian troops on the Utitsky Kurgan, an important height above the Old Smolensk road, became sharply complicated. She had already been captured by the enemy once (at about 11:00), but repulsed in a fierce battle, in which Lieutenant General N.A. Tuchkov-1 died. Until 16.00, the defenders of the mound under the command of K. Baggovut held their positions. However, after two divisions of General Junot entered the gap between the Semenovsky ravine and the village of Utitsa, Baggovut decided to withdraw his troops 1,5 km back - to the upper reaches of the Semyonovsky stream. After 17.00 the battle began to subside, only in some places did cavalry skirmishes take place and cannonade thundered until 20.00. "The battle on the Moskva River was one of those battles where the maximum merits were shown and the minimum results were achieved," Napoleon later admitted.
"If in the battle of Borodino the army was not completely defeated, that was my merit," said Barclay de Tolly. Perhaps, we can agree with this statement: correcting the commander-in-chief’s mistakes, he sent Baggovut and Osterman’s corps to the left flank, thus avoiding the complete defeat of the 2 army that occupied this flank, and Korf’s corps helped to repel the attacks from the right flank. Latour-Mobura. "The true savior of Russia" called Barclay and the famous battle painter V.Vereschagin.
The scale and great importance of the Battle of Borodino were fully appreciated by contemporaries, both French and Russian. Many participants in the battle left memories that allowed historians to trace the course of the battle literally minute by minute. The polarizing assessments of its results by domestic and foreign historians seem all the more strange. The French proudly speak of Napoleon's great victory at the Moscow River (in fact, at the Koloch), the Russians also declared Borodino a day of military glory. To emphasize the importance of the Battle of Borodino, some Russian historians went for a frank forgery, claiming that in this battle the myth of Napoleon's invincibility was dispelled (although until August 26, 1812, this commander did not win the battles at Saint-Jean d'Ancre and Preussisch-Eylau, and even lost the battle of Aspern on May 22, 1809) and that Borodino "was the last act of a defensive war" and the beginning of a counteroffensive (towards Moscow !?).
In order to make impartial conclusions about the victory or defeat of Russia at Borodino, two questions should be answered: first, what goals and objectives were set before the Russian army before the start of the battle, and second, was it possible to achieve the fulfillment of these plans during the battle.
Various researchers usually name three possible targets of the Russian army in the battle of Borodino:
1. MOSCOW PROTECTION
This task was considered a priority, and Kutuzov himself wrote to the tsar before the start of the Battle of Borodino that "my real subject is the salvation of Moscow," because "with the loss of Moscow, the loss of Russia is connected." The fact that this task was not solved during the Borodino battle was obvious. “To win is to go forward, to retreat is to be defeated. Moscow is given, this says it all,” wrote J. de Mestre. If we take a different look at the problem, we will have to quite seriously quote the "World history processed by" Satyricon ":" By evening, having won, Kutuzov retreated. The vanquished French occupied Moscow with grief. "However, let's not rush to repeat after M.N. Pokrovsky that in the battle of Borodino, Kutuzov" achieved only what was utterly defeated, "and look at the Battle of Borodino from a different angle.
2. APPLICATION OF MAXIMUM DAMAGE TO AN AHEADER WITH MINIMAL LOSSES FROM RUSSIAN TROOPS
"The whole goal is aimed at the extermination of the French army," Kutuzov wrote to Alexander I before withdrawing from the Borodino positions. "Kutuzov’s main goal was to defeat Napoleon’s army, possibly weakening him more, while at the same time preserving as fully as possible the combat capability and maneuverability of the Russian army ... Kutuzov very successfully carried out the defensive situation with the results he needed and for his army the battle of Borodino, and Napoleon lost absolutely hopelessly and indisputably the offensive battle, which he undertook in order to defeat the Russian army, "said E. Tarle. Let's see what the losses of the parties are:
According to statements from the archives of the Military Ministry of France, in the battle of Borodino, Napoleon lost a 28 086 man, F.V. Rostochin, referring to the "documents left by the enemy", determines the loss of the French in 52 482 man. At the same time, the Great Army lost 49 generals (10 killed and 39 wounded). The losses of the Russian army, according to various sources, range from 50 to 60 thousand people. 6 generals were killed and 23 injured. The trophies on both sides are about the same: the French captured 15 guns and 1 000 prisoners, among whom were the 1 general (PG Likhachev), the Russians - 13 guns and 1 000 prisoners, including also the 1 general (Bonami). Thus, the losses of the Russian army were at least not less than the losses of the French. Therefore, from this point of view, the Borodino battle ended in a “draw”.
3. BORODINIAN BATTLE AS AN "EXEMPTIVE VICTIM" BEFORE MOSCOW LEAVING
Some researchers claim that from the very beginning Kutuzov did not believe in the possibility of victory, but since he could not surrender Moscow without a fight, the Battle of Borodino became an "atoning sacrifice" before leaving the second capital: "Kutuzov probably would not give Borodino a battle in which, apparently, he did not expect to win, if not the voice of the court, the army, all of Russia did not force him to do this. Presumably, he looked at this battle as an inevitable evil, "wrote Clausewitz. A similar opinion on Kutuzov’s intentions was also held by AP Yermolov, who wrote that the new commander-in-chief "wanted only to show the resolute intention to defend Moscow without thinking at all." Yermolov also reports that when Barclay de Tolly in the evening of September 1 began to convince Kutuzov of the need to leave Moscow, Mikhail Illarionovich "having listened carefully, could not hide his admiration for not giving him the idea of retreating, and wanting to deviate as much as possible from reproaches himself, ordered that the city of generals should be convened by the council by 8 at night. " If we assume that Kutuzov didn’t really intend to defend Moscow and the Russian troops with their heroism were only to atone for the shame left by the enemy of Moscow, then it should be admitted that this task was brilliantly accomplished. French General Rapp recalled that he had never seen him "see such a massacre," and J. Pele argued that "other troops would have been defeated, and perhaps destroyed before noon. The Russian army deserved the greatest praise." But the French reasonably indicate that their army did not use all the possibilities, and that in the battle of Borodino the emperor Napoleon himself was not up to par: “Going through everything I witnessed during this day and comparing this battle with Wagram, Eysling, Eylau and Friedland “I was struck by the lack of energy and activity in him (Napoleon),” wrote Baron Lejeune.
"Napoleon ... at critical moments showed great indecision, and, having missed a happy moment, turned out to be below his reputation," says the Marquis de Chombre.
E. Bogarne admitted that "he does not understand the indecisiveness shown by his adoptive father," Murat said that he "did not recognize the genius of Napoleon on this great day," and Nei said that "the emperor had forgotten his craft."
Anyway, after the end of the battle, the French troops were withdrawn from the Raevsky and Bagration flash drives to their original positions, which most likely indicates Napoleon’s desire to give his soldiers the opportunity to rest away from the corpses that thickly littered the battlefield. The same circumstance gives reason to talk about the "no one's" result of the Battle of Borodino - the battlefield turned out to be a territory free from the troops of each side, and the Russian army, leaving its positions occupied in the morning, took another line of defense, to attack which, introducing the guard, the emperor did not dare. On Saint Helena, Napoleon put forward a formula that largely reconciled the military historians of both countries: "The French proved themselves worthy to win, and the Russians gained the right to be invincible."
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