Why Napoleon believed that his star has risen again "on the Berezina?



Why Napoleon believed that his star has risen again "on the Berezina? Battle of Berezina 14-17 November 1812 completed the rout of Napoleon's troops in Russia. But if the battle of Borodino there is a large literature, some of the Berezina historians mention very sparingly. What was this battle really is: a success or a miscalculation Kutuzov?

By early November, the French army was rapidly falling back to the Berezina. Now, Kutuzov, with significant superiority in numbers, could squeeze Napoleon's army to the river in the area of Borisov and clobber. But to take full advantage of this opportunity he could not or would not.

Another 9 November Danube army Chichagova came to the Berezina and seize the crossings in Borisov. The road to the west of Napoleon was closed. Even his closest marshals were preparing for the worst. Murat, of whose fearlessness was legendary, said at the Berezina: "We all die here." And the emperor himself had little hope of a favorable outcome, once ordered the burning of flags. He saw the flag with the triumphant words: "Austerlitz", "Eylau", "Wagram" turned to ashes.
It seemed that Russian is to deliver the last blow, and simultaneous with the army of Napoleon will be eliminated. But there was something strange, and from a military point of view - absurd. The persecution of Napoleon's army, far behind at 1-2 transition, continued only small vanguard and main force of Kutuzov November 10 arranged to rest in 130 kilometers from the Berezina. The body of Wittgenstein, who was walking from the north, maneuvered on the distant approaches to Borisov. The real threat to the French army was represented only Chichagov. Russian military leaders like to "give" Napoleon's last chance. And he took advantage.

 Why Napoleon believed that his star has risen again "on the Berezina? "The crossing of the army across the Berezina River. Unfinished painting VV Vereshchagin November 11 the French rush took Borisov. Affected traditional Russian carelessness - the troops were not ready for defense. But the Russian, stepping on the right bank, managed to destroy the bridge. November 13 to Borisov approached the main forces of Napoleon, but the move failed to cross that river. On the west coast were redoubts with Russian guns. For the crossing remained two of the most convenient place: north of Borisov near the village of Studenka and south - near the village of Uholody. In this situation, Admiral Chichagov committed an unforgivable mistake. Believing in the demonstrative intention of Napoleon to begin crossing near the village Uholody, he sent a major force, leaving the opposite Studenki small detachment.
After waiting for care Chichagova south, Napoleon, requiring the Studenko battery of 40 guns, in the morning on November 14 sent a cavalry brigade to cross. A small detachment of General Kornilov to prevent the crossing could not. After capturing a beachhead, the French began to build bridges. Pontoon worked in icy water, many died of hypothermia. But by 13 o'clock the bridge was built for the infantry and cavalry, and by 16 o'clock - for the artillery and wagons. The first crossed Corps Marshal Oudinot. He outright rejected the Russian to the forest on the edge of which they were fiercely defended.

 Why Napoleon believed that his star has risen again "on the Berezina? "At the crossing of the Berezina. Artist Yu Falata way to Vilna, was opened. Learning of this, Napoleon exclaimed: "My star has risen again!". November 15 at the right bank of active hostilities was not conducted. Russian sometimes blazing, but the French easily crossed the Berezina River. In the middle of the day passed over Napoleon. By nightfall, most capable of the French troops with guns and part of the convoy were on the east coast. Before the bridges were tens of thousands of followers army wounded, sick, various non-combatants. At dawn the following day of frantic people rushed to the bridges. There was a panic, which intensified when the vanguard of Colonel Vlastova escaped to Studenka.

To honor the soldiers of Victor, a fierce battle, they were able to push the Russian from the crossing and held the position until the evening, allowing mad people to cross to the western shore.

At this time, on the west bank coming up part Chichagova attacked the French. Fought fiercely, with varying success. In one of the attacks, the French were able to capture about 1000 prisoners (more than in the Battle of Borodino). Only dusk stopped the fight.

At night Victor building, leaving the gun, crossed the right bank. Before dawn on November 17, to burn bridges, Napoleon made with the remnants of the army to the west. Under the desperate cries of remaining on the left bank, and there were about 20,000, the bridges collapsed.

Berezinskaya operation ended. The French army lost in it, according to various estimates, from 35 to 50 thousand people. However, the main objective of the operation - the complete destruction of the invaders, was not met. Together with the French emperor to escape by all the ten marshals, and the hull, except for one were captured, Major-General, more than 2 thousands of officers, almost half of the Guard and 10-15 thousand more combat-ready soldiers.

Russia has always managed to find the culprit here, "the only culprit," the relative failure was declared Chichagov. The Admiral made a unforgivable mistake, but that his troops were actively prevented the crossing and, despite heavy losses, the French blocked the road to Minsk. And what's been doing the "honest" Kutuzov and Wittgenstein?

While November 14 is 20 kilometers from Studenki, Wittgenstein learned that Napoleon began the crossing, but led his body is not to her, but to bypass the French to Borisov. It seems that he was afraid of failure "raised questions" laurels savior Petersburg.

Kutuzov during the battle was in 100 kilometers from the enemy, to the Berezina was in no hurry and coordinate the actions of the troops at the crossing could not. And his army, except for small units Platov and Ermolov, the operation did not participate.

Actions Marshal of Berezina for many years caused heated debates. Some suggest that Kutuzov, as an experienced politician who merely give Napoleon a chance for salvation, knowing that the complete defeat of the French army did not break in favor of Russia prevailing power balance in Europe. Others believe that the reason lies in the wounded pride of Field Marshal, who wants to show that the St. Petersburg plan of defeating the French at the Berezina has significant flaws. Some mention the fact that many of Napoleon's marshals were masons, as Kutuzov. There are other versions. Unfortunately, the documentary evidence that would refute or confirm them, yet been found.

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