Fight of the Berezina 14-17 (26-29) in November 1812

The Battle of Berezina 14-17 (26-29) in November 1812

The defeat of the French army under the reddish could be a prelude to the complete defeat of the enemy. For this it was necessary to bring zagadannoy Misha Kutuzov plan to encircle the enemy forces in Mesopotamia. Kutuzov related operations conducted in the war with Turkey, where more than a feeble forces than the enemy, he suspended the coming of the Turkish army in Slobozia, then pinned her to the Danube, surrounded and forced to surrender. Now had to kill a lot more professional army than the Turks.

After the fight, a reddish (Fight with reddish 3-6 (15-18), November 1812 ) Kutuzov gave the troops a rest day — 7 (19) of November. The troops had to get in order to clear the rear of the remnants of the defeated French troops. Continued pursuit of the enemy vanguard Miloradovich Cossacks Platov squad Ozharovski and other commanders of the individual compounds. For the upcoming Advent was very principle to establish a connection with the armies of Wittgenstein and Chichagova to wreak coordinated attacks against the enemy. Russian commanders believed that the enemy troops can go to Lithuania, or move to Volyn, the connection with the Austrian-Saxon troops. Movement of the French to the north, so team up with Victor and Saint-Cyr, there were unlikely. Wittgenstein was ordered to put more pressure on the right flank of the retreating army of the enemy, and promised him a reinforcement force Platov and Adjutant General Kutuzov. Commander also ordered Chichagov speed up access to the Berezina, to forestall Napoleon and take him earlier Borisov. Kutuzov, who believed that Chichagov has teamed up with the troops Lüders and Ertel, so Makarov, his army would be increased to 60 thousand fighter. With these forces, Admiral Chichagov fully able to withstand forces of Napoleon, who was virtually no cavalry and artillery.

Acquired 8 — 10 November from Platov Ermolova Seslavin and information to make a picture clearer. It was evident that the enemy continues to move from Orsha on the high road to Borisov. So Makarov, the army Chichagova had to take the hit. The plan of the Russian command was the fact, that the forces of Wittgenstein's army from the north and from the south Chichagova take a defensive position on the strip of rivers Ulla, Berezina front to the east and cut off the retreat of Napoleon's troops to the west. The main army under the Kutuzov was to strike at the French from the east.

One of the main problems of the army was the question of supply. As the distance to the west army received is less and less food. To some do a better situation, it was decided to grab a few bases French. One of the great food enemy bases housed in Mogilev. Commander gave the order, and orders Ozharovski Davydova seize it. Ozharovskiy perfectly fulfilled the order. Along the way Ozharovskiy defeated in the town Hills enemy unit. In battle, destroying nearly 1.5 thousand enemy fighter, about 600 were captured and taken four guns. In addition, Ozharovskiy destroyed enemy unit in Shklou and rescued the city from destruction. By detachment Ozharovski joined 10 thousand Cossacks Ukrainian militia. 12 (24) November his troops took the city and proceeded to cleanse the south of Belarus from the enemy.

In addition, the command has taken steps to establish a food bases in Smolensk, Kiev, increase supplies in stores Bobruisk. More serious was the situation with winter clothing. The bulk of the fighter as before was in a summer outfit. As a result, every day of the Army ebbed significant number of cases of a fighter, which have been hammered coming from behind and moving to the rear of the stationary instituted by hospitals. Such losses have exceeded combat and made 30 thousand people. After the fight with reddish Kutuzov's army had less than 50 thousand fighter.

At that time, as the main army was moving south of the capital roads, Chichagov with avant-garde Lambert spirited blow 4 (16) of November captured Minsk, where they were important food supplies to the enemy (about 2 million rations). In the city and its districts were seized more than 4 thousand enemy fighter in the main they were wounded and unhealthy. 9 (21) November vanguard Lambert, after an angry battle, defeated the superior forces of the enemy and captured the crossing at Borisov (Southern direction. The coming of the army Chichagova ). The remaining forces of the enemy at the start of Dombrowski were obliged to move and headed towards Napoleon. For vanguard Lambert to Borisov approached the main force Chichagova and established themselves in this position. Immediately profit groups and Chaplitsa Lukovkina. Chaplitsa came to Zembin and Lukovkin — to Shabashevich. Chichagov troops began to pass on the left-saving value of the Berezina. At the same time, replaced in order to smuggle the first cavalry and infantry, he began to translate the artillery and baggage, but on November 9, it was clear that the French should wait after 2-3 days.

In Borisov Chichagov also received a message from Wittgenstein that his troops replacing part of Udin and Victor, who, in his opinion, depart via Loshnitsa south to Lower Beresino. Chichagov sent to Loshnitsa 3 thousand vanguard under the Palena (Lambert, was seriously wounded and was focused on healing) to establish a connection with the forces of Wittgenstein. Troop Palena, moving along the Smolensk road without a tribute to escort measures have Loshnitsa ran for 10 thousand vanguard of the army of Napoleon at the beginning of Udine. The road on which was Palen, took place in a dense forest, which excluded the possibility of deploying troops. Specifically in Loshnitsa road coming out of the woods and passed through a small copse. Udin received information about the movement of Russian troops deployed its own housing in this particular copse. Across the road he placed artillery and infantry, cavalry behind. When a Russian column came out of the woods, she was met by fire French cavalry. Russian advantage of the confusion and the fact that they could not deploy troops pulling artillery, Udin went on the attack. The Russian infantry was driven into the forest, and the cavalry overturned. Russia, pursued by the French cavalry retreated to Borisov. The French appeared at Borisov almost immediately with the retreating Russian troops.

The emergence of the French in the town was a surprise to Chichagova. He submitted that these are the main forces of Napoleon and did not dare strike up a fight. Admiral overestimated the power of the army of Napoleon, believing that he has more than 90 thousand combat-ready fighter. Replaced in order to delay the enemy's available forces, while other troops did not cross over to the right-sparing Berezina, he decided to clean Borisov. The town had been trafficked to throw a piece of carts and undermine the bridge over the river. 12 (24) of November Admiral Chichagov, overestimating the strength of the enemy, withdrew his troops (about 25 thousand fighter) of Borisov and moved to the right-saving value of the Berezina Zembin to ears. Capture Borisov has permitted Napoleon to be the owner of the left bank and elect a place to cross. In addition, Chichagov was obliged to disperse his forces for what to observe the forces of the enemy.

Wittgenstein did not act better Chichagova. At first, he meant that Napoleon would go on connection with cases of Victor and Oudinot, who held Chereyu. But soon came the news that the French troops went to the connection with Napoleon. Acts of the French adopted Wittgenstei
n's thought that the French would try to cross to the south of Borisov. He said this in a letter Chichagov. Wittgenstein did not know that Victor troops retreated in spite of the orders of Napoleon, who had sought to delay the positions and create the appearance of the coming of the entire French army in the north-west. Having established the fact of withdrawal of the French troops, Wittgenstein began to move slowly behind them.

Acts of Napoleon

Napoleon after the defeat at Reddish had to solve two main tasks. In 1-x, make every effort to keep the main frames troops who retreated to the west under the blows of the same parts of the Russian regular and guerrilla groups. In-2, in front of him was a most difficult task to rescue troops from the direct impact of three Russian armies, which together totaled about 100 thousand people.

Being in Orsha, the French government reformed 1st Davout in three battalions, the 3rd Corps Ney also brought in three battalions, the 4th Corps de Beauharnais and 8th Corps Junot were consolidated into two battalions each. Napoleon gave the order to collect even the banners of all the buildings and burn them. The remaining artillery also reorganized. In Orsha 30 guns came from the 9th Corps of Victor, in addition to the town itself was already a fleet of 36 guns. 6 of them have formed cells and increased their body Ney and Davoust Beauharnais. The troops were needed ammunition and supplies from warehouses in Orsha and Dubrovna. Of the remaining cavalry was formed detachment of 500 officers, Napoleon called him "a sacred squadron." These measures increased the combat capability of the army. With the arrival of the corps of Victor and Oudinot size of the army increased to approximately 75 thousand people, with the same overall number of stragglers and unhealthy fighters that lasted for buildings, was about 85-90 thousand people. The combat readiness of the same core of the army was about 40 thousand fighter.

In Orsha Napoleon received word that the body of Victor failed to fulfill the intended purpose — it had to push back the army of Wittgenstein for the Western Dvina. Obtained also had a message about the capture of Minsk troops Chichagova. Concerned government order Uda immediately go to Borisov, to forestall Russian. The case of Victor had to play a vanguard role flank, he had to convince Wittgenstein that Napoleon's troops will retreat north of Borisov. After the withdrawal of the main force of Orsha housing Victor began to play the role of the rearguard.

9 (21) of November French troops left Orsha and killed all the crossing of the Dnieper. 10 (22), the French arrived in Talachyn. There was a report of the capture of Chichagov Borisov. This news caused concern Napoleon, and he called a council of war. A question was raised on the follow Army. Asked to turn north to push for Wittgenstein Dvina, and go through the deepest in the Vilna. Jomini believed that you can go to Borisov, to force its way to the Berezina and Vilna. At this time, received a report about the discovery Uda ford near the village Studenki. It's led to Napoleon's decision to cross at Borisov.

Until Borisov Napoleon's army was day or three. The first came to the city of Udine, for him were guards units. Here Napoleon day or two stood in indecision. Uda took runs along the right bank of the Russian knocked out of Borisov and crossed the Berezina River in Veselov for the avant-garde Wittgenstein. When the French headquarters made sure that this assumption is incorrect, have been vigorously preparing for the crossing. To divert attention Chichagova started cooking the wrong ferry from Lower Berezina, where several thousand fighter had to carry out a demonstrative act. The actual crossing was prepared at the village of Studenka, 15 km from Borisova up the river Berezina.

Deception succeeded, Chichagov as Wittgenstein was misled. Admiral imagined that Napoleon wants to break through in the direction of Minsk to unite with the Austro-Saxon troops. Chichagov against the advice of the Chief of Staff Sabaneyeva and corps commanders ordered troops to concentrate in the Lower Beresino. In Borisov's body was left Langeron and the village Flews Chaplitsa squad. In addition, Langeron considered that opponent trying to bring back the crossing in Borisov and ordered Chaplitsa throw at Zembin only observation unit, and the rest of the forces to go to him. As a result, the place where the French decided to cross was tucked detachment of General Kornilov as part of the 1st Battalion, rangers and 2-regiments of Cossacks, with 4 guns.

14 -15 November (26 — 27): the crossing of the Berezina

Napoleon, having established the fact of moving the main forces of the Russian army to the south of Borisov, gave the order to immediately restore the crossing of the Berezina River in Studenki. Work began 14 (26) November under the engineering generals J. Eble and F. Chasselas. One bridge was designed for infantry and one for cavalry, artillery and baggage. Sappers had direct crossing into the icy water. According to the testimony of witnesses in fact they later died from the cold. On the same day corps commanders were ordered to pull troops crossings.

General Kornilov, finding a cluster of French troops in Studenki, opened fire on them from their own guns. Immediately he sent a message of preparation Chaplitsa crossing. But Lanjeron delayed Chaplitsa in Borisov. They both imply that Napoleon crossed the Berezina River, goes to Vilna, and Minsk. Kornilov could not stop putting in the crossing. Russian battery was soon suppressed by fire 40 guns, which are set at the highest bank of the Berezina. Under the protection of artillery, cavalry brigade crossed Corbineau, followed by rafting and rifle battalion of the division Dombrowski. These forces was enough to push the squad Kornilov. When the bridges were ready, cavalry crossed the river Dombrowski Dumerka Cavalry Division, 2nd Corps Uda. These forces have covered the approaches to the crossing and was overcome Zembinskim defile, where the bridges across the marshes remained intact. If Chaplitsa Lnzheron and destroyed the bridges, the French lost time. When Chaplitsa came to the place of the crossing, we met a superior force of the enemy, who pushed him out of the village Stakhovo. He sent an urgent message Langeron. The latter sent to the aid of only two regiments, he was afraid to go to Borisov, where there was plenty of French troops.

At this time, on the left bank of Wittgenstein as previously believed that Napoleon's troops moving south from Borisov. Only in the evening 14 (26) November Wittgenstein decided to push forward and establish a connection with Chichagov. It was evident that if Wittgenstein took steps to more profound intelligence, he found a place of crossing the enemy and could take Studenki to prevent the retreat of the enemy. But he also overestimated the strength of the enemy and did not want to make an impact on your army. Army forces Wittgenstein (35-40 thousand people) completely was enough to withstand the pressure to keep the enemy for 2-days, so he would have the opportunity Chichagov threatened to leave the site and come up Kutuzov's army.

At this time Chichagov received the news that the ferry from Lower Beresino wrong, and the real is available at Studenki. And soon received a message Langeron on enemy actions. Admiral realized that was ruthlessly okolpachat enemy and immediately addressed. 15 (27) November after going for a day more than 30 miles away, the army Chichagova again came to Borisov. The troops were exhausted by the march, and they had to give rest to Studenka sent only part of the cavalry. As a result, 15 (27) of November the French crossed quite relaxed. On this day, the river forced the Guard, 1st and 4th Corps Davoust and de Beauharnais. As a result, Napoleon was on the right bank of the river is 14-15 thousand combat-ready fighter.
2nd Corps Uda defended the place of crossing, and the 9th Corps delayed Victor Borisov. By night, November 27, November 27, stragglers troops began arriving, crowds drop gun, patients and the wounded soldier, a civilian transports. Napoleon Bonaparte ordered to pass only combat-ready, "marching in formation" of the group, carts are not skipped.

Wittgenstein at the end of the day or only on November 15 decided to push the vanguard to the old town, along with the main force to go to the newcomer Borisov. The vanguard under the command of Major-General Vlastov, reaching the edge of the forest, through which the road ran from an old Borisov to Studenka, found the French and began to fight. It was a division of General Partuno, which had to delay the puzzle Borisov before the end of the crossing. But Partuno left the city because of an earlier power Platov and Ermolova. Under the supervision of the French general was about 7 thousand people. Partuno at dusk stormed the Russian troops, but was repulsed with the loss bolshennymi. Seeing that he was surrounded, Partuno sent to Wittgenstein officer to negotiate the surrender, and the part with the division tried to sneak the forest for the crossing, but did not have of success and was taken prisoner. On the morning of November 16, laid down their weapons and the other French. Only then Wittgenstein realized his mistake and decided to storm the French army.

The main army at the time was preparing for battle. Ordering Chichagov and Wittgenstein to block escape routes to the west and north, Kutuzov wanted to force the enemy to move to the south, where it waited for the main forces of the Russian army. 15 (27) Summary of November the army was stopped to rest in preparation for the final showdown.

The Battle of Berezina 14-17 (26-29) in November 1812

Fight on the Berezina 16 — 17 (28 — 29) of November

Happy November 16 Napoleon as before delaying both banks of the Berezina behind. He wanted to transfer baggage and the body of Victor. He did not know about the surrender of the division Partuno and believed that Viktor two divisions. Preserving the crossed over to the right about 20 thousand people, yet remained about the same on the other side.

Around 10:00 am Wittgenstein forces stormed Vlastov and artillery fire unleashed by the masses of people piled up at the crossing. Victor went to the counter, but the shot did not have of success. Right behind Vlastov vanguard in the fight entered Infantry Division Berg and reserve Fock. Stubborn battle lasted till night. The shelling caused panic in the mass of retreating, began crowding, people rushed to the crossings. One of the bridges fell.

Troops Chichagova this day also came to the crossing and heard artillery fire from Studenki also fled to coming. Punch took over the body of Udine. Corps troops Sabaneyeva during the second attack almost killed one hundred percent Vislensky legion. Huge losses suffered by other parts of the French corps. Napoleon sent troops to the aid of Udine Ney's corps, the old guard and For the latest. Sam Udin was injured and replaced by Nehemiah. The area was marshy, making it difficult to conduct the cavalry, because Russian troops were only able to oust the French. Soon Sabaneev was required to finish the attack, and go to the artillery bombardment. On a fierce battle in present day shows the number of the wounded and killed the French generals in 3 cases — 17 people.

Housing Platov taking Borisov evening 15 (27) November, in the morning on November 16, crossed the river on the right is laid up and moved around to Zembinskomu shows.

November 17, Napoleon realized that the artillery and baggage can not be saved, and the order of Victor throw a left saved. The troops of this corps had cleared the way for himself, throwing people off the bridge and began to run across to the other saved. Once part of the troops defected to the other side of the ruler ordered the General Eble burn crossing. Napoleon feared that the cabinet of Viktor breaks and the Russian infantry. Was thrown a few thousand more combat-ready fighter and a great crowd stragglers incapable of fighting the French fighter. They were cast in order to save those who managed to cross. Most of the abandoned drowned trying to cross or were captured, some hacked to death by Cossacks.

By Zembinskomu parade Napoleon brought only 9 thousand combat-ready fighter (almost half of them guards), followed by the crowd, who lost combat effectiveness. The French crossed the swamp and killed his bridges. Russian troops fled the swamp a little later, when the force of the ice cold tie.

The Battle of Berezina 14-17 (26-29) in November 1812

P. Hess. The crossing of the Berezina. 1840s.

The results

— General loss of the French army at 14-17 (26-29) have gained November 50 th fighter (according to other sources 35 thousand). With approximately 20 thousand were lost among combat-ready units of the army, in the battle with the forces of Wittgenstein and Chichagova. Only Russian prisoners captured five generals, 427 staff and senior officers, about 23.5 thousand fighter. The actual "Grand Army" Napoleon did not exist. The crossing of the Berezina and related fights were a disaster for the French army. The Russian army lost during this time 6-8 thousand people.

— Napoleon managed to escape on the Berezina river environment and complete destruction, which could lead to the surrender of the army together with the remains of the king. Napoleon was able to break through in Vilna. Were preserved color generals, most of the officer corps and the Imperial Guard. As a result, Napoleon kept the core of the army, which he could build, using troops stationed in Europe, having the latest mobilization in France.

— Napoleon managed to break more because of errors Chichagova and Wittgenstein, not because of his own ability. The confluence of events and the number of errors Russian generals helped the French ruler. More active and decisive actions armies Chichagova and Wittgenstein could lead to a brilliant victory. On the other hand, there is the view that it was the perfect ending to this fight. Forcing Napoleon to be decisive and final battle, the Russian army suffered a great loss. But in the end battle of Berezina "big army" Napoleon and so practically ceased to exist. Kutuzov retained fighter, deciding the strategic puzzle to eliminate the hostile army, with minimal losses.

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