Military Review

Berezina-1812: the last “victory” of the French in Russia

12 failures by Napoleon Bonaparte. In French, there is such an expression "C'est la bérézina": "This is Berezina." The expression is extremely harsh, almost on a par with traditional French abuse, meaning complete collapse, failure, catastrophe.

This autolithography by V. Adam is considered a classic image of the crossing of the Berezina.

"Civilizers." On the way to Paris

It is believed that the French emperor managed to bring to Berezina about 45 of thousands of fully operational warriors, who were joined by no less than 30 of thousands of "fellow travelers", including conscripts, martyrs, as well as soldiers from regiments and divisions that were already completely destroyed. Among them were several thousand wounded and even Russian prisoners. With such a burden, the very fact of the French crossing the Berezina can be considered an achievement.

Do not wait for the story of the “tragedy of the Great Army”. Repeating everything that has already been described many times, there is no point. However, one cannot help but recall that, having crossed the Berezina, Napoleon will immediately go to France. Many in his entourage, and even in the army, suspected this. This is evidenced not only by memoirs of contemporaries, but also by the few surviving documents.

Nevertheless, even at the last crossing, it would never have occurred to anyone that tens of thousands of completely helpless people would almost be left to their own devices. Everyone stubbornly continued to believe in the “Bonaparte star”, as can be seen, because after several weeks of terrible torment and loss, there was no longer anything to believe in.

Maneuvering on the banks of the Berezina, Napoleon was not at all obliged to justify these expectations. A tough pragmatist did everything to ensure that the maximum possible number of battle-hardened soldiers and officers came out of Russia. The emperor himself had no doubt that he would answer the Russians for the failed 1812 campaign of the year.

As Vladlen Sirotkin convincingly proved in his research, the war with Russia was generally conceived by Napoleon as a struggle of European civilization with semi-Asian barbarism. However, the Great Army, which repeatedly won in the fields of Europe, actually did not exist. Even as a backbone for the new army, a bunch of "civilizers", which, according to so many researchers, could really play the role of liberators in Russia, was hardly suitable.

Even in France, no one argues that the great V.V. Vereshchagin best depicted the flight of the Great Army

Here is how General Roger, one of the division commanders of the Young Guard, who was not the most famous of the memoirists of the era, described their "tragic" retreat:
“From the evening of October 19, on the orders of Napoleon, I left Moscow as a security commander of the treasury and property of the quartermaster’s headquarters evacuated from the city. I took trophies from the Kremlin with me: a cross from the bell tower of Ivan the Great; numerous decorations for the coronation of emperors; all banners taken by the Russian troops from the Turks for a century; the image of the Virgin, decorated with precious stones, presented in the 1740 year by Empress Anna Ivanovna Moscow in memory of the victories against the Poles and the capture of Danzig in the 1733 year.
The treasury contained silver in coins and silver objects melted into bullion, found in large numbers in burnt Moscow. Accompanying the treasury and trophies, I moved along the carts of our army stretched on 15 leagues (66 km), loaded with useless luggage. The French, men and women who lived in Moscow before the war, were a heavy burden for our troops: few survived the retreat from Moscow. ”

This is called "comments are superfluous."

Russian "troika"

The main forces of the Russian army after a fierce battle near Krasny, where the guard snapped for the last time, noticeably lagged behind Napoleon. At some point, when the French were already engaged in the construction of bridges, Kutuzov was in four passages from the Berezina. The Russian commander in chief could not know that Napoleon long before the last crossing ordered to get rid of almost the entire pontoon park.

The calculation was made that this time “General Moroz” would be on the side of the French - the rivers would stand up and leave Kutuzov would not be difficult. Moreover, Napoleon at first seriously hoped to recoup on the armies of Wittgenstein and Chichagov, who managed to mop the flank corps of the Great Army, battling his three marshals and allied commanders.

Berezina-1812: the last “victory” of the French in Russia

Cavalry General Peter Hristianovich Wittgenstein

Admiral Pavel Vasilyevich Chichagov

The Prussians at that time generally only pretended to continue to fight on the side of the French emperor. The Austrian Commander-in-Chief Schwarzenberg, who will very soon receive the rank of Generalissimo, actually missed the Moldavian army into the rear of Napoleon's main forces. As an excuse, he cited some inconceivable data on the forces and capabilities of the 3 Russian army opposing him. In fact, this army, as a separate unit, no longer existed at all.

It might seem that in the most favorable situation for encircling the Napoleonic army, Kutuzov deliberately slowed down so that his great adversary would not be in a hurry to force the last large river in Russia. With more competent actions of the Russian armies, which acted on the flanks, the traffic jam at the exit from the Berezina crossings, wherever they were directed by the French, could be shut up quite reliably.

The main reason that Napoleon eventually slipped away, although throwing most of the convoy and conscripts, was not even the contradictions between the three Russian commanders, but the fact that, in fact, they generally acted without paying attention to each other. Kutuzov tried to save everything that remained of his main forces, and openly exposed Napoleon to much fresher troops that were coming from the north and south.

He knew perfectly well that Napoleon, even having joined the corps of Oudinot, Victor and MacDonald, or General Rainier, could no longer defeat at least one of the Russian formations. The field marshal was sure that if Napoleon again thirsted for it again, he would always have time to bring his main forces.

At the same time, we must not forget that the Russian commanders on the flanks were Admiral P.V. Chichagov, and the newly-minted cavalry general P.Kh. Wittgenstein, not taking into account all the messages of the partisans and Cossacks, as well as urgent dispatches of Kutuzov, considered the remnants of the Great Army as before a powerful force. And so powerful that the prospect of converging with her in battle separately, both equated suicide.

In the end, it all ended up in the fact that in the battle of Stuyanka they fought against the French side by side, but by then Napoleon had already managed to go far, and with a considerable force to leave. The Guard, as well as everything that remained of its best corps, also managed to get out of the almost inevitable environment.

And even with such detailed maps in hand, it’s hard to understand how Napoleon succeeded in an amazing feint that made Admiral Chichagov, with his almost 40-thousandth army, make a useless march south, in the direction of Borisov. This is a separate topic for many more studies.

Once again, it seems on the old military map that everything seems much more understandable

For two hundred years, historians have not agreed on a single version. The events of several days on the Berezina in detail and fairly objectively, which is recognized by both experts and readers, are considered in one of the publications on Military Review: “The Battle of Berezin on 14-17 (26-29) on November 1812”.

It remains to make a few thoughts about the causes of another crushing defeat of Napoleon, declared another victory, as well as those who played both positive and negative roles in this battle at once.

The reasons certainly lie on the surface: the Napoleonic army to Berezina has already ceased to be that indestructible force with which Kutuzov preferred to enter into direct confrontation as rarely as possible. With personalities, everything is also not so complicated - Kutuzov did not even try to hide the fact that he does not crave Napoleon’s blood, and most importantly, he really appreciates Russian blood.

Well, the young Alexander Eagles, the 43-year-old Wittgenstein and the 45-year-old Chichagov, simply turned out to be no match for their almost peer Napoleon - a truly brilliant commander who even managed to outplay them with an exhausted army.

And if Napoleon got caught?

You can repeat as much as you like история He does not know the subjunctive mood, but this does not interfere with considering possible scenarios of the development of events under somewhat different circumstances. So, the Russians had, and quite real, opportunities to encircle the French main forces on the eastern coast of the Berezina and even to capture Bonaparte himself.

And it might seem that neither foreign campaigns nor the capture of Paris would have been needed. However, the events most likely would have taken by no means the most favorable turn for Russia. But let us begin with the fact that Napoleon did not just stockpile poison after the battle of Maloyaroslavets. On Berezin, he would be able to use it, leaving the remnants of the army and all his associates to the mercy of the winners.

Napoleon secretly leaves the army in Russia

And it seems that even a peace with France, capable of overshadowing Tilsit's shame, could have been concluded almost immediately. But with whom? The then France would not dare to think of any Bourbons. With the baby by the Roman king Napoleon II in the arms of Mary-Louise or with the traitor Talleyrand. Or maybe with Murat or with Viceroy Eugene Bogarne in the role of regent, whom Napoleon’s elite could actually take.

Paris after such a Berezina would hardly have been as quiet and serene as on the day of the conspiracy of General Malet. And in general, without Napoleon, a republican coup in France would certainly have been much more likely than the return of the royalists. Allies on their bayonets could have returned the pot-bellied Louis XVIII to the Tuileries Palace, and it was no coincidence that in 100 days he was so easily thrown out of there.

But France, with all its then hegemony on the old continent, was not alone in confronting Russia. Prussia and Austria, the two strongest European powers, remained Napoleon's allies. About the members of the Rhine Union, as well as about Saxony or the same Spain, no matter how many English soldiers were there, in this context it is enough to just mention.

And is it necessary to remind here how difficult it was to return the same Prussia and Austria, and then Saxony and Bavaria to the camp of Napoleon’s enemies. And without him, at the head of the empire and the army, there would have been just a terrible discord that would hardly have rallied everyone against a “different” France. But against Russia - what the hell is not joking. Forty years later, already under Nicholas I, this became the terrible reality of the Crimean War.

By the way, even Sweden, with the successor to the throne Bernadotte, could again turn to St. Petersburg by no means face. And Turkey, no longer fearing the wrath of the French emperor and the division he promised once, would probably have gotten involved in a new war with the Russians.

All the mini-versions examined here are quite suitable in case Napoleon didn’t take the poison, but simply surrendered to “brother Alexander”. However, in this case, all political and military combinations would become even more complicated. So, the Russian emperor should also thank Kutuzov for not catching Bonaparte, but pushing him to Polish and German lands.

"To all kinds of Germans," starting with the Prussians together with the Austrians, after that there was nothing left to do but forget about the alliance with France and march into the new anti-Napoleonic coalition. With Russia at the head. And with the British Empire behind.
Articles from this series:
The French in November 1812 th near Red. Defeated, defeated
1812-th: to see Moscow and die
Russians have the right not to consider Borodino a defeat

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  1. lucul
    lucul 28 October 2019 06: 07
    Not bad, not bad.
    Almost like Leo Tolstoy.
    1. antivirus
      antivirus 28 October 2019 20: 10
      "This is Berezina" (fr) - the opposite of our "STALINGRAD"
      but after all, we also had 41 g of Berezina, twice a contrast.
      1. Jurkovs
        Jurkovs 4 November 2019 09: 17
        This is Berezina "(fr) - the opposite of our" STALINGRAD

        This is Berezina - the opposite of our "polar fox" came. What has Stalingrad to do with it? Stalingrad is a symbol of our fortitude and Victory. But for the Germans "Stalingrad" - "This is Berezina".
    2. Kenxnumx
      Kenxnumx 28 October 2019 20: 58
      Description of the war by Leo Tolstoy caused a mass condemnation of still living veterans and many different articles and even books on the subject of the numerous jambs and stupidities of the novel
      1. Karen
        Karen 28 October 2019 21: 35
        And I always said: Tolstoy wrote so much about this war for the sole purpose - so he could write in more detail about the great migration of peoples organized by his ancestors of the Huns ...
        1. Kenxnumx
          Kenxnumx 28 October 2019 23: 19
          Tolstoy wrote a magnificent novel, but did not completely devote time to details that were important to many. The main complaint is that he gave too much influence to fate and little to the will of the participants in the events.
  2. Far B
    Far B 28 October 2019 06: 42
    a terrible discord that would hardly unite everyone against a “different” France. But against Russia - what the hell is not joking.
    Um ... I would like to ask the author - and when did this discord, the more terrible, helped to unite, especially to such different "details"? But history is rich in reverse examples.
    1. podymych
      28 October 2019 08: 52
      And the Crimean War, and the Berlin Congress, and military intervention in the Civil War, and even the strange 21st century, are talking about this - why the hell is not joking?
      1. Far B
        Far B 28 October 2019 09: 01
        And the Crimean War, and the Berlin Congress, and military intervention in the Civil, and even the strange XNUMXst century
        But were the alliances and coalitions of those times the result of a terrible discord? On the contrary. They were the result of a mutual coincidence of interests. The result of a terrible discord was the defeat of Russia from the Mongol-Tatars (in the canonical version). The extermination of the originally much more numerous Indians. The conquest of the Italics by Rome. "Dispute" is, in fact, "you are no longer my friend, give my toys and do not pee in my pot." What kind of union is there.
      2. Pane Kohanku
        Pane Kohanku 28 October 2019 12: 53
        you never know?

        Alex, read with interest, thanks! But it seems to me .. nevertheless .. it is rather from the field of alt-history .. what By that time, everyone in Europe hated Bonaparte. And it is unlikely that anyone would start to fight with Russia for some reason - there was nothing to divide but Galicia. Bernadotte, it seems, was more concerned with affirming himself beloved on the throne, he did not really need a big war. wink
        forty years later, already under Nicholas I, this became the terrible reality of the Crimean War.

        then there were completely different realities. Europe has not been worn out by wars for twenty years! hi
        Or maybe with Murat or with Viceroy Eugene Bogarne in the role of regent, whom Napoleon’s elite could actually take.

        I read somewhere that Alexander almost seriously considered Eugene one of the options. what I must say that the descendants of Beauharnais quite settled in Russia, moreover, they entered the imperial family. The Mariinsky Palace in St. Petersburg (where ZAKS is now) and the Sergievka estate, a la "country house" - everything for Eugene's son and Nikolai Pavlovich's daughter - Maria, his wife! hi By the way, in Sergievka it is very beautiful, although the buildings are not very repaired - I recommend it. drinks With respect, Nicholai hi
  3. Korsar4
    Korsar4 28 October 2019 07: 01
    Outplayed Napoleon of Admiral Chichagov. But what difference does that make? And as a result, the answer to the question about the army: "The army is no more."
  4. Aviator_
    Aviator_ 28 October 2019 07: 59
    An interesting interpretation of possible events. To the author - respect.
  5. Olgovich
    Olgovich 28 October 2019 08: 04
    And is it necessary to remind here how difficult it was to return the same Prussia and Austria, and then Saxony and Bavaria to the camp of Napoleon’s enemies.

    Of course it is.
    For even with living Napoleon, Prussia broke away, practically, at once :December 18 (30), 1812 commander of the Prussian corps, General G. York in the city of Taurogen, signed with the representative of the Russian command, Major General I.I. Dibichem neutrality convention and separated from the French troops of Marshal E. MacDonald.
    And on February 16 (28), Russia and Prussia signed the Kalish Treaty on a joint war with Napoleonic France
    1. podymych
      28 October 2019 08: 55
      I totally agree with you, our esteemed monarchist! It’s just that at some point the Prussian sovereign finally began to realize that he wouldn’t take away anything from Poland except Poland, but Bonaparty could take everything away right away, completely forgetting who was ready to go with him to Moscow were to step
      1. Olgovich
        Olgovich 28 October 2019 09: 07
        Quote: podymych
        I totally agree with you!

        But with myself, it turns out, no. request
        Quote: podymych
        our esteemed monarchisт

        ?! belay
        1. podymych
          28 October 2019 18: 57
          But is it worth looking for contradictions where they do not exist? Is it worth reminding that it was said in the sense that it’s worth it, but to spread a lot about how the Prussians began again for us is a completely different topic. And General York is not the king of all Prussia and not even the commander in chief of the entire Prussian army
          1. Pane Kohanku
            Pane Kohanku 29 October 2019 09: 02
            And General York is not the king of all Prussia and not even the commander in chief of the entire Prussian army

            however, it was harder to find Bonaparte's more implacable enemies than Blucher, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau! wink the army of Prussia would certainly be against the French ... drinks
          2. Olgovich
            Olgovich 29 October 2019 09: 50
            Quote: podymych
            But is it worth looking for contradictions where they do not exist? Is it worth reminding that it was said in the sense that it’s worth it, but to spread a lot about how the Prussians began again for us is a completely different topic. And General York is not the king of all Prussia and not even the commander in chief of the entire Prussian army

            Prussia collapsed, almost immediately after the transition of the Neman of the Russian Army.
            That is all I wanted to say.
  6. midshipman
    midshipman 28 October 2019 08: 05
    My great-great-grandfather served in the troops of P.Kh. Wittgenstein. As I know, about 9 thousand Frenchmen managed to escape along with Napoleon through Berezina. The rest remained in Russia (dead and captured).
    Somehow I went to a cemetery in Petrozavodsk (this was in 1955). Surprised, many graves with French surnames. And these were captured artillery specialists. They worked at the Petrozavodsk Artillery Plant and refused to return to France.
    1. Pane Kohanku
      Pane Kohanku 28 October 2019 13: 01
      And these were captured artillery specialists. They worked at the Petrozavodsk Artillery Plant and refused to return to France.

      Yuri Grigoryevich, it seems to me that very many settled in Russia. exactly what they surrendered and parted. what
      Recall Pushkin:
      Monsieur l'Abbe, the wretched Frenchman,
      So as not to exhaust the child,
      I taught him everything by joking,
      Do not bother with strict morals,
      Slightly scolded the pranks
      And he went for a walk in the Summer Garden.

      and where did he come from, this "wretched monsieur"? Personally, I have a feeling that this is precisely a reference to the numerous "sharygs" request the Russian language was enriched with this word from the Great Army. When they surrendered, or when they begged, they said "cher ami"-"Dear friend"! hi
      1. Kenxnumx
        Kenxnumx 28 October 2019 20: 51
        "Sharomyzhnik" was in Russian speech long before the Patriotic War. Most likely it is formed from the word "sharma", which means "for nothing", "free".
        1. Pane Kohanku
          Pane Kohanku 29 October 2019 09: 03
          colleagues Konstantin and Town Hall, very grateful for the amendment of Pan Kohanka. drinks Honestly, I did not know, I was in the "dark" yes
      2. Town Hall
        Town Hall 28 October 2019 21: 00
        Quote: Pane Kohanku
        Personally, I have a feeling that it is precisely the reference to the numerous "sharygs" that the Russian language was enriched with this word from the Great Army. When they surrendered, or when they were begging, they said "sher ami" - "dear friend"!

        Do not repeat the mistakes of the famous website author writing about Russian Atlantis and looking for the word Rus or Slav in all yakhiks. The word Sharomyzhnik (like Schwal and Chantrap) is artificially Russian and has nothing to do with the French and 1812 hi
        In the same way, the word Bistro has nothing to do with the Russian language and appeared in a completely different era and meant a completely different "phenomenon".
        1. Pane Kohanku
          Pane Kohanku 29 October 2019 09: 04
          In the same way, the word Bistro has nothing to do with the Russian language and appeared in a completely different era and meant a completely different "phenomenon".

          Town Hall, make it clear! drinks what a phenomenon, from what it took. Thank you I said the comment above! yes
          1. Town Hall
            Town Hall 29 October 2019 09: 51
            Hello hi The word Bistro appeared in the 70 / 80s of the 19th century (70 years after Napoleon) and meant not very good quality wine
      3. voyaka uh
        voyaka uh 28 October 2019 22: 28
        Most of the French appeared in Russia after the Great
        French revolution 1789 of the year. They fled from terror.
        It was a know. In Russia, they had to work as tutors,
        After 1917, the reverse process occurred. I ran from terror
        already a Russian nobility. And they also had to work in France
        taxi drivers and footmen.
        1. Pane Kohanku
          Pane Kohanku 29 October 2019 09: 10
          They fled from terror. It was a know. In Russia, they had to work as tutors, teachers.

          Walking around the city, near the post office of Strasbourg, where the travelers changed horses, Moreau met a Russian officer. In order not to mash the high sultan in the low carriage, he took it out of the shako and put it in a beautiful case.
          - What regiment do you have in uniform?
          - Horse Guards, since the time of Potemkin.
          - Hm. You have a great Parisian reprimand.
          - It should be so. As a child, I was taken out by my parents from the horrors of the revolution, now I am making a good career in Russia ... Gerard de Sucanton! - called the young man. - I was honored by sending a courier to Paris to send letters to our prisoners. At the same time I can visit the graves of unfortunate relatives in Paris.

          V.S. Pikul, "To each his own."
        2. Mikhail Matyugin
          Mikhail Matyugin 30 October 2019 01: 03
          Quote: voyaka uh
          Most of the French appeared in Russia after the Great
          French revolution 1789 of the year. They fled from terror.
          It was a know. In Russia, they had to work as tutors,

          Not quite know and far not only know. A lot, as I said, was simply from educated middle classes. It is the highest (which had the means) to know settled in Europe, closer. Many of them returned after the amnesty.

          Only a few French exiles from the nobility got to Russia, mostly deprived of everything with the hope of finding a job. Most were simply from the bourgeoisie or other middle classes. And many of them, starting from the Baltic states or St. Petersburg, were forced to leave right up to the Urals, and some even to the Baikal region (in some way repeating the path of the Swedish captives who arrived in Russia a century before the French terror and Napoleon).
    2. Mikhail Matyugin
      Mikhail Matyugin 28 October 2019 15: 40
      Quote: midshipman
      Somehow I went to a cemetery in Petrozavodsk (this was in 1955 year). Surprised, many graves with French surnames. And these were captured artillery specialists.

      Not necessarily so. Many people forget that 15-20 years before the "Napoleonic ballons" (who were often simple and poorly educated soldiers) there was a very large wave of educated French migration from the upper and middle strata to the Russian Empire due to the persecution of revolutionaries at the end of the XNUMXth century.

      At the same time, people often lost everything, but in Russia they were very much expected as specialists (moreover, many retained even high titles, though often for life, without inheritance). And it was Petersburg that was a kind of gateway to Russia at that time — from where many had already dispersed — someone to Petrozavodsk, someone to Moscow, and someone even to Ukraine. And many of them fought against the troops of revolutionary France as part of the Russian army - most notably the Marquis de Langeron in particular.
      1. Pane Kohanku
        Pane Kohanku 28 October 2019 16: 09
        And many of them fought against the troops of revolutionary France as part of the Russian army - most notably the Marquis de Langeron in particular.

        thank you for reminding me Michael! You can still recall the Duke de Richelieu, the famous Odessa mayor. hi
        1. Ivan Petrov_9
          Ivan Petrov_9 29 October 2019 17: 56
          The French who fought in the Russian army: the leader of the royalists, Prince Louis-Joseph de Conde, generals K.O. Lambert, E.F. Saint-Pri, A.A. Belhard, M.I. de Damas, A.O. Delagard, O.F. Dolon, L.O. Roth, A.A. de Scalon, M.I. Ponset, F.F. Dovre and F.G. Gogel. It is worth mentioning the Minister of War, Admiral Marquis I.I. Traverse and personal enemy of Napoleon, Corsican Pozzo di Borgo.
          1. Pane Kohanku
            Pane Kohanku 30 October 2019 09: 10
            It is worth mentioning the Minister of War, Admiral Marquis I.I. Traverse and personal enemy of Napoleon, Corsican Pozzo di Borgo.

            oh, I completely forgot these! drinks Although all sailors should remember the term "marquise puddle". At the request of the Marquis, most of the maneuvers of the Baltic Fleet were carried out in the section of the Gulf of Finland between St. Petersburg and Kronstadt. The place there is shallow, especially you can't turn around. request behold, the sailors called him that. drinks
  7. igordok
    igordok 28 October 2019 09: 42
    Let me remind you, this is still autumn, late, but autumn. According to Napoleon, the frosts from November 7 were deadly for his army, although many doubt the excuse for General Moroz. He has not yet hit the real frosts of Russia. Although, even in modern Europe, the peak of deaths from hypothermia (not from the cold) occurred in November and December. Do not have time to change the type of clothing.
    According to eyewitnesses of those times, there was little snow at that time. But in the paintings and prints, the snow is not measured. Most of the paintings were painted afterwards, under the influence of the myth of the great Russian frosts. On the principle "I see it this way." Even in the film "Hussar's Ballad" there is too much snow.
    1. Tavrik
      Tavrik 30 October 2019 00: 16
      According to the Vilna Astronomical Observatory, from November 9, the temperature ranged from - 3.5, +25.11 degrees. There are numbers for each date. So 2 was -26.11, 4 -27.11, 4 -28.11, 1.5 -18. , and on the 19th and 1.5th - +XNUMX each. Those. the snow was completely lying to itself.
  8. Mikhail Matyugin
    Mikhail Matyugin 28 October 2019 15: 50
    Unfortunately, I cannot agree with the author in everything. For example, in the fact that he assumes that the capture or suicide of Bonoparte is the worst outcome for Russia. On the contrary, it was the BEST possible outcome - complete encirclement and complete destruction, and not the defeat of the essentially already incapacitated "tail", as it happened in the end. Then there would be no terrible blood of Overseas Campaigns, and there would be no "Hundred Days".

    In this case, the role of Kutuzov is still seen as unclear and incomprehensible - in spite of the direct instructions of Alexander I, Napoleon was largely released from the trap. Why? the big question ... Well, Chichagov is not only against him, but even against the best marshals of Napoleon - not power ...

    And so Berezina - both TACTICALLY and STRATEGIC - is the victory of the French, whatever you say! They were able to break through, inflicted losses on us (even taking more Russian prisoners than at Borodino!), The core of the army came out and the "evil genius of war" himself escaped.
    1. antivirus
      antivirus 28 October 2019 20: 19
      For some reason I agree - they released the NB and had to activate the Brits and others, otherwise the RI would claim all the possessions of the Emperor Buonaparte, and that means that it could have chewed off too fat a piece from under everyone's nose - it always annoyed the "prodigious Europeans" - united would be against RI
    2. swyatoslav
      swyatoslav 28 October 2019 20: 54
      Yes, in general the Patriotic War of 1812 is still the cause of disputes of both professional historians and enthusiastic researchers.
      For example, the famous historian E. Ponasenkov has a completely different view of the development of events: - link to the page about the crossing of the Berezina.
      No matter how much his critics would regard him, not a single historian has ever refuted Ponasenkova E. in public discussions (I watched some, I was surprised by many). It is difficult to refute the facts set forth in the documents, testimonies, letters and memoirs of the participants in the events. Documents are the true truth about events.
      And what does the author Podymov A. tell us?
      Who to believe, him or D. Davydov, K. Clausewitz and other participants in the events of 18212?
      1. Kenxnumx
        Kenxnumx 28 October 2019 23: 02
        Ponasenkova in the first place is not known, in the second place is not a historian (dropout), but a manipulator. The fragment you quoted is nonsense from beginning to end.
        1. swyatoslav
          swyatoslav 29 October 2019 17: 46
          The fragment I have cited is part of Denis Davydov's memoirs. If you don’t bother to check his veracity, please: - a page about Berezina. Here Davydov explicitly declares Kutuzov's hatred for Chichagov, his inaction during Napoleon's crossing, and belated reports of a situation that has already changed - read it, do not consider it a job.
          To call nonsense the memories of the honored and valiant Hero of the War of 1812 is not worthy.
          If you still do not believe it, look for documents with statements and comments (they are indicated in the first link) and make sure that all this is true. Unpleasant, but still true.
          1. Kenxnumx
            Kenxnumx 29 October 2019 22: 09
            I read the memoirs of Davydov and his research on the war of 12 g and the war in Prussia and his thoughts on General Moroz and much more on the subject. Ponasenkov is a manipulator pulling pieces out of eyewitness accounts in order to prove his type as fresh, but actually stupid theories. Well, Kutuzov Chichagov did not like and so what. He served Napoleon on a silver platter to the fresh troops of the ground admiral. If we recall that at that moment Kutuzov himself remained, then more than reasonably he did not try to stop Napoleon. And sorry vysery about Moscow, Maloyaroslavets and Tarutin. And yet this prehistoric refers to some magazines, beloved Trinity (the same low-value source) and himself. I once read his vile book. I wanted to wash my hands
            1. swyatoslav
              swyatoslav 30 October 2019 17: 54
              You something on Ponasenkova moved off the topic of the Berezina.
              Let me remind you that you called ALL THIS nonsense. However, these are indeed the considerations of Davydov and many others about the situation with the poorly used flea market of Napoleon’s army crossing the Berezina.
              It is strange to hear from you that Kutuzov did the right thing, that he evaded the extermination of the enemy, instead of joining other armies and causing maximum damage to the French.
              Well, after Borodino, he saved the army, but here what? That is, disparate Russian troops (including) could attack the crossing army, and Kutuzov correctly did what he expected the outcome (four days) far from the place of the flea market at the crossing? Chichagova sent reports of misinformation (from Davydov's memoirs).
              What did he achieve by "feeding Napoleon on a silver platter to the fresh troops of the land admiral" and dodging a battle with the enemy? Preserved Bonaparte and the backbone of his army for subsequent battles.
              Moreover, he (according to the esteemed contemporaries) was not ashamed during the battle with the invaders, to go down to personal accounts with another general! To the detriment of national interests.
              I don’t advertise Ponasenkov, but he shows documents (original) of which a slightly different truth appears (not bravura-patriotic, but home-living-life) truth.
              This does not detract from the merits of our soldiers and officers in that war! And does not replace its results.
              But for me personally, it’s better to hear the truth, rather than varnished slogan phrases. Although this is a purely personal matter.
              1. Kenxnumx
                Kenxnumx 31 October 2019 19: 30
                You tried to look at the map. You saw the loss of Kutuzov during the persecution. Though shabby but still reserves approached Napoleon. And Chichagov had a river and fresh troops. He just had to not let himself be deceived. And do not let the crossing begin. Then Kutuzov’s troops, rested and catching up with the lagging behind, would solve the problem. Learn damn history. But Davydov and most importantly Ermolov oh how partial.
                1. swyatoslav
                  swyatoslav 1 November 2019 10: 54
                  If you (a highly learned historian) do not understand (or do not want) that Kutuzov intentionally supplied Chichagov with outdated information, then it is useless to study anything at all. The strong exhaustion and shabbiness of the troops did not prevent Napoleon from repulsing the attacks of fresh Russian forces, taking prisoners, building a crossing and saving the combat-ready backbone of the army. But Kutuzov stood and deceived Chichagov, instead of connecting with him. It doesn’t matter what he wanted, what matters as a result of THANKS to his actions and inaction is important.
                  Yes, Davydov, Eromolov and other PARTICIPANTS of the events are biased, but they WERE THERE and LIVED at that time.
                  And I have more faith in them than you, the same biased appraiser, only living and giving an assessment 207 years later.
                  Stalin is very respected on this resource, and so he would put Kutuzov on the wall the next day for avoiding a battle with a retreating enemy and misleading other commanders (that is, helping the enemy).
                  1. Kenxnumx
                    Kenxnumx 2 November 2019 12: 12
                    As you know, the supply of information without a mobile phone. The courier had to go through Napoleon’s army, reach the river, cross it somehow, then find the addressee. This is a week, if not a week. Information is out of date by definition. This is not clear for modern children? What connection could Kutuzov go if between them was Napoleon and the river. Kutuzov had many stragglers, and on the contrary, units operating in the area approached Napoleon. Those. Napoleon’s army was disheveled but at best not inferior to Kutuzov. If you read Davydov, you would know that the main plan of Kutuzov was the persecution with the destruction of Napoleon’s supply with his cavalry, which N. did not have. A week without supplies and all - no N. Chichagov should have prevented him from crossing. He had enough cavalry for reconnaissance. Determine the place of the crossing and pull up the guns there. All. Why would Kutuzov risk a battle if his opponent starves to death. Kutuzov was generally a shore of Russian soldiers, his rule was to win a strong position and give the enemy a brow. Here he did everything the same. But a great idea about ... a ball that let itself be deceived.

                    About contemporaries. By the way, such spiders in the bank as Russian officers of that time still look. They all wrote slogans on each other. Ermolov didn’t write well about anyone at all. But Davydov, by the way, had a somewhat tarnished reputation, because he had flushed out of the army just before the fight for his native collective farm (Borodino was his property), and went into a raid., Where there were much fewer chances to kill.
                    1. swyatoslav
                      swyatoslav 3 November 2019 11: 45
                      I believe that further polemic does not make sense. So you can get to the tactical games on the cards. And still not convince anyone.
                      Thanks for the opinion.
                      1. Kenxnumx
                        Kenxnumx 4 November 2019 13: 07
                        I urge you to be very careful with pseudo-historians who seek to dig up as much nasty things about the great ones as possible. This is done for self-PR and it is not difficult. The rare greats were perfect and everyone had many detractors among his contemporaries.
        2. Tavrik
          Tavrik 30 October 2019 00: 00
          Ponasenkov is, of course, an unpleasant type, for the historian I don’t think at all, but there is a grain of truth in the above fragment. Kutuzov was in no hurry to make peace with the Turks in 1812. But when Alexander sent Chichagov to replace him, annoyed by this, the world was fast
          concluded, and not on the most favorable conditions for Russia. In short, Chichagov was also why he did not like Kutuzov. Well, accumulated abuse ... All people, all people, with their weaknesses.
          1. Kenxnumx
            Kenxnumx 31 October 2019 19: 31
            And it doesn’t come to mind that the world in those positions was not so simple to conclude
            1. Tavrik
              Tavrik 1 November 2019 09: 37
              The position is this: Russia again defeated Turkey in another war. In reality, ours could easily enter Istanbul. But Alexander had completely different plans. Therefore, it comes to my mind to recommend that you familiarize yourself with the literature on the subject.
              1. Kenxnumx
                Kenxnumx 2 November 2019 12: 15
                Eugene. All the troops were taken from him, which is Istanbul. It’s good that he somehow controlled Bessarabia. But the Turks still quite had troops. Kutuzov could only chatter and bribe opponents, which he did. Moreover brilliantly
    3. Sergey M. Karasev
      Sergey M. Karasev 31 October 2019 14: 31
      [quote] [Well, Chichagov is not only against him, but even against the best marshals of Napoleon - not power ... / quote]
      Why be surprised? Chichagov was admiral, not a general. I have not heard of a single admiral who skillfully commanded a land army.
  9. Ivan Petrov_9
    Ivan Petrov_9 28 October 2019 22: 35
    When Napoleon on November 14 (26) began to cross the Berezina in the Studenka area, Kutuzov with the main forces stood for the second day in Kopys, almost 130 kilometers from the enemy. Ertel did not come to Berezina on time, for which Chichagov on November 7 (19) removed Ertel from his post and sent him to the order of M.I.Kutuzov. In fact, Chichagov, with 20000 people stretched along the Berezina, was left alone with Napoleon's army. On November 12 (24), Marshal Oudinot knocked Chichagov out of Borisov, having half the strength of his forces, capturing all the wounded and sick in the city, treasury, regimental carts. troops killed and captured amounted to about 1000 people. Kutuzov's report to Alexander I said: "The vanguard under the command of Count Palen, being met 10 versts from Borisov by the entire (...) enemy army, brought it on his shoulders to Borisov at a time when the Commander-in-Chief was quietly dining there." Wittgenstein reached the Berezina only on November 15, when the crossing had already begun. November 15, Borisov entered Borisov, sent by M.I. Kutuzov, the vanguard units of the pursuit under the command of the ataman M.I. Platov and General A.P. Ermolova. In his book "Diary of Partisan Actions of 1812" D.V. Denisov wrote: “Ermolov, having appeared to Chichagov, decided to give him advice not to spoil the Zembinsky defile; he said that due to the nature of the terrain, well known to him from a young age, this was almost inconvenient due to the swamps and swamps surrounding the Gaina River, but if it was possible to spoil some of the more accessible gats, then they could not hinder the movement of the enemy from the action of frost, which without being burdened with weights, he could easily follow them ... ". Schwarzenberg and Rainier, together with Dyurut's division from the 11th Army Corps of Augereau, defeated Osten-Sacken at Volkovysk on November 15-16, but were unable to continue the offensive on Minsk and Borisov. killed and wounded about 2 thousand people, captured about 1,5 thousand people. Victor's German cavalrymen broke through the square of the Russian rangers, most of the rangers died in hand-to-hand combat, and the survivors were captured (in their memoirs, the participants called this attack "an attack of death"). The goal of the Berezina operation was not achieved, since Alexander I and Kutuzov planned to exterminate “the entire French army” on the Berezina, “to the last” of its soldier, including Napoleon, of course. Meanwhile, Napoleon himself, all 10 of his marshals, all corps and even divisional ones, except for Partuno, generals, guards, more than 2 thousand officers and almost 7 thousand of the most combat-ready soldiers broke out of the encirclement and left. Further to Vilna there was not a single Russian soldier, all roads, bridges and gats were intact, although the ataman Cossack regiment Kaisarov was sent to damage them.
  10. Tavrik
    Tavrik 29 October 2019 23: 49
    The crossing of the Berezina is described in sufficient detail by OV Sokolov in "Napoleon's Army", pp. 405-414. Some facts from there. Follow the chronology.
    1. The French began to build bridges on November 25.11 in the evening. About 400 people of Eble sappers, who retained their full equipment and weapons, with six wagons with a tool, with two wagons - traveling forges and with two wagons with coal (!). The pontoon park was burned five days ago, because there were no horses. Zrada, however!
    2. The width of the Berezina is about 110 m, the depth is about 2 m.
    3. At dawn on November 26.11, a cavalry detachment with Voltigeurs on horse’s cereals crossed the west coast to ford the coast. A battle ensued with a Russian detachment, which, to Napoleon's surprise, did not persist.
    4. By 13 o’clock on November 26.11 the first bridge was ready, then, by 16.00:2 the second. A ferry to the west coast of the XNUMXnd Udino building began.
    5. 27.11 at dawn Napoleon with headquarters and guards crossed to the west coast. The organized parts of the corps of Ney, Davout, Beauharnais, reserve cavalry, and artillery followed him. Bridges were cordoned off by gendarmes who did not let the stragglers, deserters, civilians and other loners. Those. everything was organized, without panic.
    6. By the evening of the 27th the crossing of the army was completed. Victor's 9th corps remained on the eastern bank to cover the crossings and wait for Partuno's division, plus thousands of "declassed elements", wagons, carriages, etc.
    7. On the night of 27 to 28, the bridges were free, but none of the unorganized crowds began to cross. But in order to strengthen Victor’s corps back (!), The Dendels’s division moved to the east bank. This is done because Partuno’s division died, and the Russians were close.
    8. By the morning of the 28th, there were about 20 people on the west bank, consisting of units and formations. In the east, Victor has about 000 people.
    9. On the 28th, on the western shore, the French were attacked by approximately 25 Russians Chichagov, on the eastern - 000-14 Wittgenstein. On the west bank, at first the Russians pushed the French back, then those cuirassiers of the Dumer attacked the Russians and pushed them back. Then it came down to skirmishes with separate bayonet battles. No one wanted to aggravate. On the east coast, on the morning of the 15th, Wittgenstein attacked Victor. Here crowds of refugees, crushing each other, and rushed to the bridges. That same epic crush began, which everyone remembered, reinforced by volleys of the Russian battery, which took an afternoon position on the shore and shot along the river. The only French battalion actually from the corps of Victor in 000 people pressed the Russian infantry and forced to remove this battery. French guards artillery began to operate from the west bank. A series of attacks and counterattacks followed.
    10. By the evening of the 28th, Victor's tiny corps remained in position. So that he could cross, 150 pontoons began to dismantle the rubble near the bridges. At 21.00, the corps crossed to the west coast, leaving separate posts on the east to observe the enemy. Crowds of people remained right there in a strange dullness. Bridges were free all night. Eble sent officers to warn that the bridges would be burnt, but to no avail. By 06.30 on November 29.11, the last posts of the 9th Corps also crossed to the West Bank.
    11. At 8.30 the bridges were lit, and at 09.00 parts of Wittgenstein approached the bridges, capturing about 5 unarmed men of both sexes and all ages, several guns and many trophies.
    12. Results: the French left. And not a victory, and not a defeat ... The loss of the French - about 25000 people, half of which are deserters, unarmed and civilians. The total losses of the Russians in four days are about 14-15000 people. It is interesting that out of about 25000 "French", there were about 5000 Frenchmen proper. The rest were Baden, Swiss, Poles, Dutch, etc.
    13. IMHO: somehow ours didn't really try to do something. The French noted that the Russian generals did not lead the battle, and in general the Russians acted unorganized. Apparently, the desire to "fill Bonaparte" was balanced by the fears "oh well, him ... out of harm's way ...". Let the neighbors start and we'll continue. It seems that no one wanted to ask for trouble. Plus "politics" - who will "substitute" whom.
  11. geologist
    geologist 2 November 2019 08: 43
    Frost -2 hail seems easy to us when we are full and move, but this is not so for sick and hungry people. From memory, it is inaccurate according to the memoirs of a Frenchman witness Berezina - "... by the evening the bridge was ready, but several tens of thousands of ragamuffins from different parts of us were not allowed on it. We begged a bearskin from some rich man who was wrapped in expensive fur coats. By morning he died of frostbite, and we, having eaten roasted horse meat, slept well around the fire in bearskin. At night we could freely cross the bridge, but no one had the strength to get up from the fires to take even a step. In the morning volleys were heard Russian artillery and thousands of people rushed to the bridge, sweeping away all obstacles. A traffic jam formed and soon the bridge collapsed
  12. Ehanatone
    Ehanatone 5 November 2019 04: 27
    With his attempts to whitewash the failures of A1, which with the blood of Russian soldiers ensured the prosperity of Europe, and especially the Saxons, only their true admirer can so shamelessly shield small-shavens ...
    And also the cynical a1, a supporter of the murder of his father Paul 1, and the policy of the unbridled behavior of his grandmother e2, who spent more than one budget on her ass and lovers ..., ...
    Why ri with a small one, but because there cannot be a great country under the empress of super-easy behavior, and ...
    And with the "blessed" emperor a1, who declared, upon accession to the throne, that all vegetables from e2 would be long and with him ...
    Who did not deign to at least treat the goblins with the Naglitsky ambassador, a direct participant in the murder of his father Paul 1, but became an exemplary guide to the Naglitsky policy ...!
    And who laid the lives of thousands of Russian soldiers on the prosperity of the Nagliya and Europe, ...
    Well, so that there is good thought of him worthless ...
    Well, at least a few days! ...
    And where is the "blessing" here ...?
    Brainlessness yes ...
    Vanity - undoubtedly! ...
    He took the net goods of the uplifts in order to whitewash A1, who, in principle, did not care about Russian interests, but only care about their reputation in Europe! ...