Friday, September 07, 2012

Borodino from War & Peace by S. Bodnarchuk

Ordering away his breakfast in a hot mood
French Reserves were sent in and by 8:30 A.M. only the Guard remained as the fresh reserve
Kutuzov agrees to the counter attack plans
Under constant pressure to use the Guard, Bonaparte resists
Prince Bagration, commander of the 2nd Army falls in battle
Information about the front lines was scant at best, indeed both sides had only a vague idea of the exact conditions of the battle front.
Artillery Inferno
Constant Russian counter-attacks threw French, Italian and Polish troops back time and again.

The toll was grim
Bonaparte never did use the Guard at Borodino, by the end there were many Marshals that agreed with this decision.
Twelve hours of continuous fighting had gained the French barely a mile of ground.  Murat, the indefatigable, made one last appeal to Napoleon for the use of the Guard Cavalry about 10:00 P.M.   Some tough Russian generals were also in favor of renewing the struggle on the morrow, but Kutusov vetoed the proposal and ordered a careful withdrawal to begin shortly before dawn on September 8.  The battle of Borodino was over.  The French alone had fired 90,000 artillery rounds and perhaps two million infantry cartridges during the day.

~ D. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon, p.806

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