Quartely Dispatch: Bonaparte's Bane GHQ.

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Bill Cann
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Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:14 am
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba,Canada.

Quartely Dispatch: Bonaparte's Bane GHQ.

Post by Bill Cann » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:39 am

I have always been fascinated with the two Napoleonic campaigns waged in Poland from December 1806- July 1807. The first campaign was fought in exhausting winter conditions, while the second occurred during a wet and muddy spring and summer. My favorite Napoleonic historian, Alexander Mikaberidze, has recently published Russian Eyewitness Accounts of the campaign of 1807. (See a list of the author’s works at, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander ... able_works ). As with his other eyewitness works, this one provides the reader with a wonderful and diverse array of translated recollections by Russian officers who participated in the campaigns. The Russian perspective provides a much-needed balance to the majority of English language histories, which rely heavily on French and secondary source material.
One of the many myths nurtured by western Napoleon historians is that the Russian logistical system was very inadequate, especially during the winter portion of the campaign. There are many accurate reports of severe shortages of food, fodder and even ammunition, including in this book. However, Mikaberidze’s Russian eyewitness accounts ascribe the shortages to a very different cause. The Russian army, which was marching to the aid of Prussia in December 1806 never, intended to fight in Poland nor be dependent on its own supply system. Indeed, the Russian army was planning to join with its Prussian ally and fight well west of the Vistula River, while being completely supplied by Prussian magazines. No one in the Coalition could have predicted Napoleon’s stunning victories at Jena – Auerstedt, the collapse and surrender off the Prussian field armies and fortress, nor the lighting fast pursuit to Warsaw. The fear of the speedy French advance even caused the Russian commander in Warsaw to abandon the city without emptying or destroying the large military magazine in that city.
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Mark Jones
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Location: Georgia, USA

Re: Quartely Dispatch: Bonaparte's Bane GHQ.

Post by Mark Jones » Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:57 pm

Thanks, Bill. I agree that we Western folk do need to spend more time reading the Russian accounts of the Napoleonic Wars as well. You cannot get an accurate representation of history until you read all sides.


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William Reaves
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Re: Quartely Dispatch: Bonaparte's Bane GHQ.

Post by William Reaves » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:34 pm

On that subject, I can recommend 2 excellent books: 1812-Napoleon's Invasion of Russia by Paul Britten Austin (in three volumes, but it can be found with all the volumes bound together in a single, very large, book). Also, Russia Against Napoleon by Dominic Lieven (three of Lieven's direct ancestors were generals at the Battle of Leipzig). Also worth a look is: With Napoleon in Russia-The Illustrated Memoirs of Major Faber du Faur, 1812. Although written by a Frenchman, the book is all full-page color illustrations with minimal text. Enjoy!

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