June 24, 1812: The French invasion of Russia begins.

Napoleon’s disastrous invasion of Russia began when he and his Grande Armée (swelled to some 690,000 troops) crossed the Nieman River on this day 200 years ago. By this time, Napoleon’s grip over Europe was already slackening, and his own physical and mental condition was in slow decline. Like Hitler’s invasion 129 years later, Napoleon’s first advance into Russian territory was fairly successful, but lack of supplies, scorched-earth tactics, disease, and the brutal effects of the Russian Winter undid Napoleon’s initial successes.

At the Battle of Borodino (fought in September of 1812) at least 70,000 of his troops were killed or wounded - the bloodiest single-day action during this invasion. And, though the battle ended in a Russian retreat, they eventually recovered from their losses. Napoleon, facing diminishing supplies and nothing much to show for his efforts other than the captured - but abandoned Russian capital, began his own retreat in October of 1812, with the Russians in pursuit. By the end of the campaign, his Grande Armée was a fraction of what it had been, with less than 30,000 troops still fit for battle; although Napoleon would raise new armies and achieve later military successes, French power would never fully recover

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    things i now care about: reading about napoleon and imagining how things will happen in temeraire. for example, in...
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