Military Review

French Armageddon

35
French Armageddon



November 26 is a good day - the anniversary of the end of the battle on the Berezina, in which Napoleon Bonaparte’s "Great Army" invaded Russia was finally defeated. November 26 1812 of the year approached about 30 of thousands of soldiers and officers who were still able to fight and keep a line, and also - from 40 to 50 thousands of wounded, sick, frostbitten and weakened from hunger. And when on November 29 Bonaparte ordered the bridges to be burned, there were only 15-20 thousands of French and their allies on the west bank, of which only nine thousand were relatively combat-ready. The rest either died or could not cross and were doomed to a quick and inevitable death.

Thus, the irretrievable losses as a result of this disaster ranged from 50 to 65 thousand people or 70-80% army personnel. Such a huge damage in such a short time the French troops have never carried for all their history. Even Borodino on this background looks more modest and "more humane." Not surprisingly, since the word "Berezina" for the French sounds about the same as for the Germans, "Stalingrad". The expression "C'est la Bérézina" in French means a complete collapse and catastrophe.

At the same time, the Russian army lost only six thousand people, that is, 10 times less than the enemy. Nevertheless, the attitude to this epoch-making victory in Russia, without exaggeration, was rather ambiguous. Many considered it almost a failure and accused the commanders of the Russian troops of Chichagov and Wittgenstein that they did not completely destroy the French army and did not capture Napoleon himself, although they allegedly had every chance for that.

It got to the point that they scoffed at Chichagov frankly, they sarcastically called him "Napoleon's savior" and eventually forced him to leave Russia. Wittgenstein from such a fate saved the reputation of the savior of St. Petersburg, but he also received his share of criticism, including from the commander in chief Kutuzov. In general, everything is as usual. If the situation is deplorable, then the most insignificant (sometimes even fictional) success is often praised to the skies, and when things are going well, people want complete and absolute triumph, and they begin to mock those who have not provided this triumph.



Russian army on the Berezina. Painting of the Bavarian battle-painter Peter von Hess.



Picture by Polish artist Julian Falat "Bridge over the Berezina". The author managed to very graphically depict the chaos that was going on at the crossing.



The picture of another Polish painter, Wojciech Kossak, shows the retreat of those who managed to cross the Berezina. Almost all of them will soon die of starvation and fierce frost in December 1812.



The construction of bridges over the Berezina by French sappers. Of the 400 people who had to work in icy water, only nine survived.



Napoleon on the Berezina is watching the burning of the banners of his dead regiments. Painting by English artist Richard Cayton Woodville.



Napoleon and his retinue drives up to the Berezina. Picture by Albrecht Adam.



Another Dutchman painting by Jan Hoinck van Papendrecht depicting the French crossing on the icy bridge over the Berezina. A fall into the water is a guaranteed death, despite the fact that the depth of the river at this place did not exceed one and a half meters.



Huge crowds crowded the crossings on the eastern bank, along which Russian artillery beat. Many, having lost hope of getting on the bridge, tried to ford the river without thinking about the consequences.



In the 2012 year, to the 200 anniversary of the Berezinsky battle, a monument was erected near the crossing point of the remnants of the “Great Army”, which the locals call the “naked peasant” without much pietism. The monument was made with the money of Switzerland, which lost about 1000 of its citizens in this battle. The French somehow stingy.
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  1. midshipman
    midshipman 5 December 2015 07: 36
    22
    The paintings of foreign artists clearly show the state of the French army, or rather, a united Europe, when fleeing Russia. Of the 500 thousand fighters, Napoleon took away only 18 thousand. This science.
    In my youth in Petrozavodsk I met graves with French names in the cemetery. There, captive Frenchmen worked at the artillery factory.
    And now Europe, instead of friendship with Russia, is deploying American missile defense systems and American troops on its territory. What for? Think it over.
    Yesterday in St. Petersburg a monument to the Savior of Russia M.A. Miloradovich. Since 2010, I had to punch this question after the publication of my story about this outstanding citizen of Russia in the magazine "Youth". After my conversation with the Patriarch of All Russia, then the matter got under way. The monument has been installed. It was none of my business. I am the head of industrial and scientific enterprises, scientist, doctor of technical sciences, professor, Honored Scientist of the Russian Federation, Laureate of State and Government of St. Petersburg Prizes, Full Member of the Russian Academy of Science. But the fate of Russia is above all for me. My father died on the Leningrad front. I have the honor.
    I congratulate you readers of "VO".
    1. Morrrow
      Morrrow 5 December 2015 15: 11
      +1
      When your entire convoy burned down in Moscow, and winter is on the way, it's no wonder that a collapse will occur. There is nothing surprising here. The reproach for Europe's unfriendliness is not serious, since there is no such thing as "Europe". At that time, there were 7 anti-French wars in Europe, in which Russia took one of the main roles.
  2. Igor39
    Igor39 5 December 2015 07: 51
    +4
    The article is incorrectly named, it is "European Armageddon"
  3. Koshak
    Koshak 5 December 2015 08: 05
    +7
    "Why did I go to you, Russia,
    Holding the whole of Europe in your hands? "
  4. kit_bellew
    kit_bellew 5 December 2015 08: 32
    +7
    Quote: midshipman

    And now Europe, instead of friendship with Russia, is deploying American missile defense systems and American troops on its territory. What for? Think it over.

    And what about Europe?
    The total area of ​​European states (without Russia and the former republics of the USSR) is approximately 5 million square meters. km The total population is 512 and a half million people. If a single state was located on this territory, it would be the seventh largest and third largest population in the world. However, in reality in Europe there are about forty separate states. Twenty-four of them, however, belong to the European Union, but the EU is a supranational entity, more and more resembling a can with spiders.

    One gets the feeling that the Roman Empire fell in the XNUMXth century only formally, the principle of "divide and rule" regarding the conquered provinces was implicitly but strictly observed until the adoption after the end of the Second World Marshall Plan, which officially secured dependence feudally fragmented Europe is now from the United States.

    These eccentrics for one and a half thousand years could not, and perhaps did not want to create a single economic and political space. Or maybe it was beneficial for someone to maintain disunity in Europe (for example, the popes). Given all this, I strongly doubt that Europeans generally know how to be friends with anyone. It would be nice to learn. Especially with the head.
    1. Morrrow
      Morrrow 5 December 2015 15: 07
      0
      And what about Europe? Here is shown the next episode of the next Russian-French war.
      1. denis6064
        denis6064 5 December 2015 16: 04
        +5
        The French Napoleonic army was only 50%. The rest of the Germans, Italians, Poles, Spaniards, Croats, etc.
        1. Morrrow
          Morrrow 5 December 2015 16: 40
          +1
          The Russian army also included Germans and French. Conquered peoples are not counted. They were subordinate to the French.
          1. dudinets
            dudinets 5 December 2015 22: 19
            +2
            in the Russian army, unlike the army of Napoleon, there were no foreign regiments (Spanish, Italian, Polish, etc.). officers with foreign surnames were usually descendants of emigrants or personally swore allegiance to Russia.
            1. Morrrow
              Morrrow 6 December 2015 17: 51
              0
              The same thing is there.
  5. Nikolay71
    Nikolay71 5 December 2015 09: 14
    +2
    "At the same time, the Russian army lost only six thousand people, that is, 10 times less than the enemy. Nevertheless, the attitude towards this, without exaggeration, epoch-making victory in Russia was rather ambiguous. Many considered it almost a failure and blamed the commanders by the Russian troops of Chichagov and Wittgenstein in that they did not completely destroy the French army and did not capture Napoleon himself, although they supposedly had every chance for this.

    It got to the point that Chichagov was openly mocked, he was sarcastically called the "savior of Napoleon" and was eventually forced to leave Russia. Wittgenstein was saved from such a fate by the reputation of the savior of St. Petersburg, but he also received his share of criticism, including from the commander-in-chief Kutuzov. In general, everything is as usual. If the situation is deplorable, then the most insignificant (sometimes even fictional) success is often exalted to the skies, and when things go well, people want complete and absolute triumph, and they begin to scoff at those who did not provide this triumph. "
    I don’t understand this. Although Chichagov was not the most prominent commander, he honestly fought for his homeland, and then they later peaked for it.
    1. xan
      xan 5 December 2015 16: 16
      +2
      Quote: Nikolay71
      I don’t understand this. Although Chichagov was not the most prominent commander, he honestly fought for his homeland, and then they later peaked for it.

      Honestly fighting is not an achievement. Having a combat-ready army with a bunch of Cossacks did not bother to send pickets along the entire coast of the Berezina. He's just a boob, and rightly so. The war could end on Berezina, hundreds of thousands of lives of soldiers would be saved. The commander does not need to freeze in pickets, malnourish, freeze in the trenches, go on the attack, etc. He only needs to show the level of military intelligence, orderliness, and to monitor the implementation of his orders precisely and on time. Knowing what his reasonable actions could lead to, he let it go and let himself be deceived. Another would dig the earth and be right. After all, Napoleon did not show anything ingenious, he just caught the Russians for the simplest trick.
      1. Morrrow
        Morrrow 5 December 2015 16: 41
        -1
        And why then was Kutuzov almost 50 kilometers from the Berezina?
        1. xan
          xan 7 December 2015 13: 08
          0
          Quote: Morrrow
          And why then was Kutuzov almost 50 kilometers from the Berezina?

          Kutuzov is to blame for the fact that Napoleon left? I correctly understood the essence of the issue?
  6. Basil50
    Basil50 5 December 2015 11: 29
    +6
    In Europe, two officially recognized great commanders: Frederick and Napoleon, both started a war with a huge army, and ended the war with a complete defeat with the destruction of their own army. It will take a few years and already the Nazis will be recorded in the * great *, but how, they defeated them completely, then the condition is met.
    1. Morrrow
      Morrrow 5 December 2015 18: 16
      +2
      Another Turenne with Conde, Savoy, Gustav Adolf and Moltke
      1. Basil50
        Basil50 5 December 2015 18: 53
        0
        All the rest * great * only in any * region * of Europe. And the conditions for greatness are not respected. Not that these pan-European, which even had titles * .... great *.
      2. The comment was deleted.
  7. Cap.Morgan
    Cap.Morgan 5 December 2015 13: 00
    +3
    It was not only the French army that perished. Passing with the great commander through the crucible of a dozen wars, veterans.
    The party of Napoleon, his most loyal political supporters, was destroyed. Napoleon could not recover from this loss.
    1. Morrrow
      Morrrow 5 December 2015 15: 08
      +1
      How then did he defeat the allies at Dresden, Lutzen and Bautzen?
      1. ALEA IACTA EST
        ALEA IACTA EST 5 December 2015 15: 12
        0
        Quote: Morrrow
        How then did he defeat the allies at Dresden, Lutzen and Bautzen?

        Napoleon and without an army - Napoleon!
        Three years after fleeing from Russia, he conquered France, having at his disposal several hundred soldiers.
        1. Morrrow
          Morrrow 5 December 2015 16: 45
          +3
          Trite. Veterans and the guard did not die. Many soldiers simply fled and returned to Europe out of order. Not a single marshal was captured during the retreat. This was the key to his long struggle against a huge coalition.
      2. sivuch
        sivuch 5 December 2015 19: 24
        0
        Because Napoleon. But even then, these were victories, but not defeat, like Austerlitz or Friedland. There was nothing to pursue the enemy, the new contingents quickly ran out of steam and had to agree to an obviously unprofitable truce. With known consequences
        1. Morrrow
          Morrrow 6 December 2015 17: 43
          0
          Even Napoleon cannot force the boys to beat men.
        2. xan
          xan 20 December 2015 12: 39
          0
          Quote: sivuch
          these were victories, but not defeat, like Austerlitz or Friedland.

          The armies of Austria and Russia did not lose their combat effectiveness. The emperor of Austria was blown away, and the Russians fight alone in the name of what? For Austria chtoli?
  8. ratfly
    ratfly 5 December 2015 13: 42
    +4
    Europe is always destroyed by the habit of conventions (conditional war, conditional sanctions, conditional conviction, etc.), in Russia everything is seriously no conventions, everything is real!
  9. DesToeR
    DesToeR 5 December 2015 14: 02
    +1
    So send us, vitias,
    His angry sons:
    There is a place for them in the fields of Russia,
    Among the coffins that are not theirs.
  10. V.ic
    V.ic 5 December 2015 15: 09
    +6
    The French somehow stinted. Author Vyacheslav Kondratiev

    The Frenchman will hang himself for a centime. Sheramyzhniki, having occupied the southern part of Sevastopol, opened the graves of Russian admirals and robbed the dead. "Act on the mockery of the Anglo-French invaders over the graves of Russian admirals M. P. Lazarev, V. A. Kornilov, P. S. Nakhimov, V. I. Istomin"
    "... there was no epaulet on the half-rotted uniform of Admiral Nakhimov either." http://www.runivers.ru/doc/d2.php?CENTER_ELEMENT_ID=147155
  11. ALEA IACTA EST
    ALEA IACTA EST 5 December 2015 15: 11
    0
    And why did they climb to us? .. request
  12. unknown
    unknown 5 December 2015 15: 35
    0
    Probably to make a joint trip to India.

    Or, if you follow the version of Alexander Kassenko, the Oldenburgs completed the conquest of Russia.
  13. Resistance
    Resistance 5 December 2015 19: 30
    0
    Pictures - balm for the soul. He was extremely surprised to learn that Napoleon then picked up the army and gave the next three battles to our ...
  14. Robert Nevsky
    Robert Nevsky 5 December 2015 22: 03
    +2
    When I read this article, I realized much better - all the greatness of the Russian character and Russian weapons.
    Awesome is simple!
  15. gendir.grifon
    gendir.grifon 5 December 2015 23: 33
    +1
    That's what they need, civilizers. Everything is numb, everyone is climbing to Russia.
  16. barbiturate
    barbiturate 6 December 2015 12: 41
    +1
    The courage of the French pontoners to work in icy water really admired - not everyone can, and the commander himself, Jean-Baptiste Able, died a few days later from hypothermia and exhaustion. A worthy adversary and excellent soldiers were these French.
  17. Former battalion commander
    Former battalion commander 6 December 2015 22: 58
    +1
    Recently I watched a Western "popular science" film about these events, so there the crossing of the Berezina is issued AT FULL SERIOUS (!) As a VICTORY of a great army! Why in Russia they don't shoot their own truthful film for each such film, or, at worst, FORBIDDEN to show such pornography on their (already?) Television!
  18. geologist
    geologist 12 October 2016 09: 17
    0
    The French were surrounded and broke through with battle. Ordinary soldiers of Chichagov - fortress cannon fodder were defeated and several regiments captured by the guard of the emperor. It is simply amazing how Chichagov himself was not captured. Napoleon really is here, as it seems to me, he won - if victory can be called the salvation of his skin with the help of elite bodyguards. The great army here ceased to exist, but the emperor survived and there was no force that could stop him.
  19. Molot1979
    Molot1979 25 October 2016 11: 09
    0
    Actually, Kutuzov was not going to destroy Napoleon. His army had died and he was now safe for Russia. Kutuzov was also categorically against going deep into Europe to destroy Bonaparte. In his opinion, Russia would simply drag chestnuts out of the fire for England. Alas, the king did not listen to the commander. and most of all from the complete defeat of France, as expected, the British gained. And the Russians became a bogeyman for Europe, a "gendarme". Of the dubious advantages - the Duchy of Warsaw, that is, several million Russophobic Poles.