Saturday, August 18, 2012

Battle of Smolensk V - 18th August

Campaign map of Smolensk
Throughout the 18th very little activity took place, clear evidence of Napoleon's lack of drive, but by the end of the day most of Ney's men were over the newly repaired bridge, Junot's corps had arrived outside the city, and the leading units of the IV Corps were close by.  On the Russian side, the day saw the final breakdown of cooperation between Barclay and Bagration.  The latter, on his own authority, set out with is men for Solovievo, leaving only four regiments of Cossacks to hold the vital crossroads at Lubino, 18 miles east of Smolensk.  It was only late in the evening that Barclay's army began to follow their comrades.  All day, therefore, Napoleon missed a fine opportunity of placing part of his army between the two Russian forces.  A single corps would have sufficed for the task.  This inaction is partly explained by his uncertainty as to whether the foe were heading north or east, but Napoleon's abilities seem to have been in temporary eclipse.

~ D. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon, p.788

No comments: