Saturday, 8 September 2007

Some small facts about the Battle of Borodino

As I have already pointed out, the battle of Borodino was part of Napoleons 1812 campaign in Russia. In June of that year Napoleon launched an invasion with an enormous army (La Grande Armee). It was made up of both French forces and allied troops drawn from the European states under French influence or control. This Grand Army marching against Russia was an awesome military machine. By the time it had reached Borodino it had declined in quality and above all in quantity. The Russian army at the beginning of the campaign was not that large, however still a force to be reckoned with. Before Borodino it also had declined due to the campaign, but their numbers were strengthened by some reinforcements just before the battle. Shortly before the battle took place the Russian army had received a new army commander too: the veteran general Kutuzov.

The battle itself is known under three different names. The Russians have named it after the village of Borodino that lies on the terrain of the battlefield. Napoleon called it the battle of the Moskova, the name of a major river near the battlefield. And finally some historians have called it the battle of Mozhaisk, a nearby town.

When I am using data when describing events of the 1812 campaign and about the battle it is important to know that these are data of the Julian calendar. Some sources (mainly Russian) use the Gregorian calendar. The Julian calendar has the battle fought on September 7th 1812 and the Gregorian on August 26th 1812. Furthermore I will regard preliminary actions that took place on September 5th and some that happened after September 7th as part of my story. This while believing these actions contribute to a full account and picture of the main battle and can be used for wargame actions too.

For the Russian names of persons and places I used the guidelines by Adam Zamoyski in his book "1812, Napoleon’s fatal march to Moscow".

Bert van Hal

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