The Battle of Borodino: Napoleon Against Kutuzov

The Battle of Borodino: Napoleon Against Kutuzov

by Alexander Mikaberidze

This horrific - and controversial - contest has fascinated historians ever since.The survival of the Russian army after Borodino was a key factor in Napoleon's eventual defeat and the utter destruction of the French army of 1812.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Cultural
  • Rating: 4.04
  • Pages: 276
  • Publish Date: November 12th 2007 by Pen & Sword Books
  • Isbn10: 1844156036
  • Isbn13: 9781844156030

Read the Book "The Battle of Borodino: Napoleon Against Kutuzov" Online

Dr. Alexander Mikaberidze writes the best book thus far written on the Battle of Borodino largely because he writes it from the Russian perspective. The story of this climactic battle goes back to the winter of 1806-07 when Russia intervened on behalf of the Prussians who had been crushed with ease by the French forces under Napoleon. Emperor Alexander I of Russia, an ally of Prussia, marched an army under Bennigsen to intercept and destroy Napoleon. At the Battle of Eylau in February of 1807 the Russians delivered Napoleons first battlefield defeat, forever tarnishing his army's aura of invincibility. And at Friedland La Grande Armee killed a very large number of Russian soldiers, smashed their army and won one of Napoleon's most decisive victories. Emperor Alexander I was forced to come to terms with Napoleon and duly signed the Treaty of Tilsit. (Which sucks if your the woman as this means that basically, your just a tool of state...) However the Russians weren't interested in having the little Napoleon rutting around with one of their young ladies of the Court. While Napoleon was retrieving a disastrous situation in Spain by personally taking charge of his armies there, the Hapsburgs under Archduke Charles led their newly reformed army into Bavaria in the hopes of causing a nationalistic German uprising and thus destroying Napoleon's alliance. For one the German states actually rallied to Napoleon's cause with the Bavarian's, Saxon's and Badener's especially fighting like tigers against the Hapsburg invasion. Even worse Napoleon rushed reinforcements from across Spain, France and Germany and personally took charge driving the Hapsburg's back into Austria, taking Vienna, and fighting two horrifically bloody battles before the Austrians sought peace. It didn't help matters any that Russia was less than happy with Napoleon's creation of an independent Polish state (the Grand Duchy of Warsaw: the Pole's would subsequently fight ferociously for Napoleon till the very end in honor of this) and the worse happenstance to befall the short lived and ill fated Franco-Russian alliance was the Decree's of Berlin. Napoleon's force, however, was an allied army made up of not just French but also Spanish, Dutch, Swiss, Austrian-Hungarian, Croatian, Polish, Italian and troops from all of the German states including Prussia. Napoleon with the main arm of the invasion (which was divided into three wings) tried to entrap the main Russian forces under Bennigsen again and annihilate them in one epic battle. Their only major encounter was the Battle of Smolensk which Napoleon won although both sides would lose 10,000 men during the fighting and the old city itself was mostly destroyed, further eroding Russian morale especially when they, yet again, retreated.

The first -- at least historically speaking -- of Mikaberidze's accounts of Napoleon's doomed 1812 Russian campaign (followed by The Burning of Moscow and The Battle of the Berezina), The Battle of Borodino was a confused and confusing slaughter of men and potentially a book of this battle could easily suffer the same fate. The first 48 pages Mikaberidze spends on the weeks leading up to the big battle. Mikaberidze does a good job of laying out the long day interweaving differing accounts, bolstering the most likely, discounting the unlikely, and offering both strategic and tactical assessments all along the way.

This is the book a Russian general battled against Napoleon.

After working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia (1996-2000), he taught European and Middle Eastern history at Florida State and Mississippi State Universities and lectured on strategy and policy for the U.S. Naval War College.