Rus Articles Journal

War of 1812. What usually do not write in school textbooks about? Part 1

7 of September - date of the Borodino fight. In our historiography (especially “popular“ - not for scientists, and “for all“) it costs among others, noting turning points of history. That is there is a lot of heroic battles, but not all of them led to turns during history.

Around similar events create an aura of representations. Alas, not always corresponding to reality. But bearing, and it should not be neglected, educational effect. Just you should not perceive “history for school“ as final instance! On it it is possible to learn dates and an outline of events, and here many nuances, contradictions, disputed issues and are not mentioned.

It concerns also events of 1812. Very much much there it was weaved factors! And not everyone they is mentioned in school and even high school course of history.

Not I will and try to state coherently events, and I will just give a number of the facts. Known, hidden by nobody, but the simplified history courses which are seldom mentioned in.

we Will begin with what I not incidentally prefer to tell not “French“, and “Napoleon“. In army of invasion of French was - about a half. Still - troops of Italy, Switzerland, the numerous German states, including Prussia … It is a lot of Poles and Lithuanians, especially campaign Napoleon called Polish, and the Warsaw duchy became the base for invasion preparation.

In a school course war from Napoleon is called aggressive, from Russia - defensive. Strictly speaking, only the second is fair; from Russia war also really was defensive and fair. Napoleon waged war of aggression - whether but aggressive? Its purpose - not annexation of territories (though some territorial losses for Russia were possible), but coercion of Russia to the world and implementation of the existing agreements.

Napoleon is compared sometimes to Hitler. The association is simple: both wars - domestic! Also were developed probably: an aggressor - the talented politician and the commander, the conqueror of a half of Europe; sudden invasion; retreat of Russians far inland; war tightening; “general frost“; national war; guerrillas! It and so, is also not present. The situation at the beginning of both wars, and the truth, was similar. Preparation of a preventive strike; idea of offensive war in others territory; “sudden“ beginning of invasion; retreat far inland... Only Napoleon did not conquer Russia. Its purpose - having broken army in decisive battle, to force Alexander I to the world on the conditions. Already coming, Bonaparte offered negotiations. And several times - in busy Moscow. Alexander dreaming of military glory ignored everything!

Strategy of Russians was logical. In a century before Peter I also “dragged away“ the Swedish army far inland, cutting off communications. At Poltava Russians, but, to tell the truth, hardly won. Won against the exhausted army at considerable numerical superiority, being in defense. At Borodino the situation was is similar: forces are approximately equal (the truth, taking into account at us a militia and Cossacks, active armed forces was less); Napoleon`s army was not exhausted yet, but damage from - for a poorness of supply incurred notable; Russians were in defense … having suffered at the same time approximately by one and a half times heavy losses. Not for the first time! Alas, it is necessary to recognize not only strategic, but also tactical superiority of the French army!

the True purpose and the main enemy of Napoleon. Its continental blockade was also a condition of the Tilsit peace which Alexander committed breach of, as a result and having provoked war. But about it later!

War of 1812 was aggressive from Napoleon. But it is somehow forgotten that before Russia participated in three anti-French coalitions, itself being an aggressor. And the Tilsit world followed the next defeat of Russia and allies. And one of the main reasons for war of 1812 - violation of the Tilsit world by Alexander I.

the Russian armies on borders were located counting on offensive war. Vrode by and Napoleon quite assumed that military operations will be developed in Poland. Not from scratch! War in good time prepared also Russians. Also there are certificates of participants that war in the Polish territory really prepared.

So can write off our defeats for Napoleon`s talent, of course. But only whether in it put if Napoleon somehow easily intruded in Russia and our armies hardly managed to connect in Smolensk? Why in several battles Russians, defending, lost more than attacking?

Why supply of army in many respects laid down on society? It is clear, that Napoleon could not provide the centralized supply at prompt approach. But Russians were at war in the territory! Were only going to come? Preventivno moreover and to Europe? Whereas missed the beginning of war? Alexander I had a fine foreign intelligence! Agents worked in the high society of France. And in Poland knew about concentration of huge army.

the Idea of approach was considered seriously. Not for nothing Bagration so was indignant with retreat! He also offered the plan: to anticipate Napoleon; in the beginning diplomatically, then a preventive strike through Poland. And it is possible, it was right. But solved differently: having receded, to defend in the prepared strengthened camp. However, it was unsuccessful and calculated on bigger number of troops. And from there left...

it is subjective, the offensive doctrine fine disturbed when the divided armies had to recede. It did not keep within in minds. Society, officers demanded approach, decisive battle, holding down the action directing at the beginning of Barclay de Tolly. But it was wanted also by Napoleon!

Bagration demanded to come! His bravery cannot be denied. But according to contemporaries, it was not theoretically prepared. Barclay had both knowledge, and experience. This combination supplements talent of a military leader … Bagration was brave rubaky. Perhaps, to tactics. But not the strategist. And the unification in the management depended on it. The commander-in-chief was not appointed. Barclay was Minister of War, but it did not oblige equal Bagration`s rank to submission. He complained of the colleague - the general, including to the patron Arakcheev! But that, at all influence on the tsar, did not promote in any way. Perhaps the military theorist (promoting Barclay`s promotion on a post of the Minister of War) recognized Barclay`s correctness? Thought - that of a preventive strike on yet not the ready opponent. And now Napoleon came. Not just ready, and looking for battles.

as a result displaced Barclay de Tolly who was actually implementing the plan of the emperor! Under pressure of public opinion that replaced it on unloved it Kutuzova. Continued in the same spirit. But it was Russian and the public calmed down!

Kutuzov was in resignation. According to textbooks, it, the skillful diplomat, made the peace with Turkey. Here only the tsar, it seems, was going to displace him for sluggishness and a tightening of business. Also Kutuzov on the eve of arrival of a relief became more active. Having hastily made much less favorable peace, than it was expected. For as got to disgrace.

I the same Bagration very unflatteringly spoke of the new commander-in-chief! - blamed of Barclay that he is “German“ - so, a hindrance the real Russian by which Bagration considered himself. By the way, indeed true patriot of Russia.

Here only Kutuzov, the Russian, Bagration puts in one row with Barclay. Any more not on a national identity, and on qualities of a military leader.

Be continued.